Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Talk About Family Tuesday-More Gram

I know I've talked about my spunky grandmother-my mom's mom-before. She has been on my mind and heart a lot lately, still, so I will again today. We went to visit with her when we were there for Thanksgiving. She called me "Sweetie" like she didn't remember my name. She recognized me, and looked at my husband like she thought she should know him but didn't. It was sad to see her memory continuing to fail. I asked if she had had any visitors and she told me that her deceased sister came to see her. My mom said that they visited her last week. She seemed less lethargic, as if she were not in so much of a daze, but still so confused. The dementia continues to creep in and steal little nuggets of her memory. I know it is even harder for my mom to watch. Gram hugged me goodbye when we visited. I told her I'd come by again and she she took my hand and wouldn't let it go. It's hard to see her like that-in a nursing home, where people are on their way to the end of their lives. It's heartbreaking, especially knowing her earlier in her life, how much she loved coming to our house to visit, content just to spend time with us. That's how I choose to see her in my mind...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Social Media Monday

I follow leanin.org on Facebook and today their post was phenominal. I love it and shared it via Facebook. Now, I'm sharing it again, here. :)

One Little Word Recap 2013

This year I chose the "One Little Word" Grow for myself. Here is how it worked...

I grew in my running mileage: in 2011 I ran 506 miles, in 2012 I ran 725 and this year I ran-up till this moment, but I will increase over the last few days this month-844 miles. I also "grew" in speed as I ran my fastest half marathon yet.

I grew in my openness as far as a job was concerned-from teacher to funeral coordinator and chaplain-in-training.

I grew in my openness to God's work-from reading my Bible on my own to co-leading a Bible Study and working toward becoming a chaplain to help others in times of need.

I grew in my relationship with my daughters-not that it was lacking before, but it has been a different type of growth. One daughter is off at college and our communication has changed. One daughter is here, the only child of sorts, and our relationship has changed, as well, both for the better.

I grew in my knowledge of myself... so many things I could list here...

I grew in my list of "books" I've read: I set a goal on Good Reads for 20 books and read 22. My goal for 2014 is to read 24. One of those books I worked on this year was my daily devotional and my daily Bible reading time.

Now, what to set as my One Little Word of 2014?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Job

I have mentioned in a few posts that I have a new job. I have mentioned in a few posts some simple moments that led to my changes in my job. Here I am collecting those moments and combining them to tell the story. At this time over the last two years, I was a part-time middle school Social Studies teacher. I enjoyed it, loved the staff and students, and kept busy. I enjoyed my job. Then, last spring, my husband asked if I could see myself doing this job "forever". We discussed what else I might be doing: getting my certification and teaching Social Studies in a public school with 30 kids in each class, staying in the same setting, or trying for the full time elementary school teaching position I had desired all these years. I prayed on it and thought over it.
I came to the conclusion that I wanted a full time job, to contribute to our oldest daughter's college costs. I had always felt I was better at teaching elementary school, but was always told that I needed that "classroom experience" before I would be hired. I applied for every job under the sun in a 40 minute radius of us. I applied for any job I was certified for. And I was never called. So, my husband and I discussed that I needed to sub this year and get my name and face back out there. I went through the local subbing training again, as required. They said it would be a week or so before my information was put into the system, but they really needed subs so it shouldn't be too long. It ended up taking over a month! 
During this waiting period my husband's grandfather passed away. A chaplain did the service, even providing a short story for the little children in attendance. As we drove away my husband mentioned that he could see me becoming a chaplain. I was surprised, considering my faithful/service gift to only be with children, Sunday School and the like. He said he considered me warm with everyone. I prayed on it. We also discussed what doors I should close and open toward my future. I was feeling like the house that had been on the market for too long-there may be nothing wrong with it but people won't buy it because they wonder what is wrong with it. I had received many reference letters, and recommendations, votes of confidence from administrators, staff and parents that I had worked with over the last almost ten years. However, that job had just eluded me for so long... 
I was also in touch with an administrator who told me I was first on his list, etc. etc. Then he got me confused with my sister in law and called her for a long term substitute job. It worked out well for her. And in that time, I decided to clear my plate completely, to step away from teaching and see where it led me. 
I went into our church to discuss with them the chaplain program. I talked with someone from the Care Ministry division and she said she'd keep me updated. About a week later she called and said they were saying they were thinking about creating this funeral coordinator position since three-four people were all doing parts of it, would I be interested. I said I'd come in and talk with them about it. Then, over the next week and a day, our church held three funerals. Each were different, and required different things, and I got to be part of each, learning all I could. I took the job and am our church's new funeral coordinator. I am blessed to be able to help families in their times of sadness and need, giving them care and comfort. I truly feel it is a blessing-not once did I wonder if this job was really for me. I felt like it fit perfectly and made my heart full. I get nervous of course, because I want it all to go smoothly.
It's not the full time job I thought I was looking for. It does pay me, which is a blessing. Beginning this month I will also be leading a Bible Study for 8 weeks and beginning the chaplain program which will last until spring.
I cleared my plate and truly feel that God began to place items on it. I wonder what awaits me next!

Sweet Dog

I haven't posted in weeks, again. I have been caring for our big dog, our weimaraner Merlin, who had begun to decline rapidly. If you stopped by recently, you saw my previous post about his visit to the vet. His big fatty deposit had begun to grow again and he could hardly get around. My time was spent on my new job and snuggling/caring for my sweet dog. We knew his time was nearing. My girls and I had discussed it, and cared for him knowing it was nearing his end.
On Tuesday, Dec. 17th he didn't get up all day, and he hadn't been eating much for a week. I had even made chicken and rice, and put broth in his food, but he unusually wanted neither. So, I called the vet and they asked a lot of questions. They asked us to bring him in for a consultation. We did so. They told us it was time to put him down, which was what we expected, but still so hard to hear. We have had him for 13 1/2 years. He was my sweet shadow, following me around the house even right up to the end. He could barely carry that big bump, which was stealing all his nutrients, leaving his legs weak and scant of muscle. And, yet, the night before he died I woke in the night to hear him struggling to get up the stairs to sleep outside my bedroom door, per his usual. It's also strange not to have him anxiously awaiting us as we return from a run, he would pace the house until we were all home again.
On his last day, as he just laid in his bed, we covered him with a blanket. Our other dog, Percy, who didn't usually interact directly with Merlin, laid with his head on Merlin's legs. He sensed it was time, as well. Poor Percy has wandered around our house looking lonely. He laid on the blanket we covered Merlin with and won't let us remove it from his pillow.
It was hard, still is at certain moments. Those first few days, opening my bedroom door and expecting to have to step over him, and he isn't there, it tugs on my heart and makes me so sad. When the girls were off to school and my husband was off to work, Merlin was always tagging along, going wherever I went. Now, Percy sleeps in his bed and Merlin isn't here. It is strange-a void is left in his place.
When we would go away, our neighbors would care for the dogs because Merlin didn't like to have to go somewhere else like a kennel. I texted some friends when we had decided to take him to the vet, our neighbor being one of them. She asked if her youngest son, who is an animal lover and cared so much for Merlin, could come say goodbye. It was so sweet watching him care for Merlin, and Merlin trying to give him some tail wags. After Merlin's passing they came by again, this time with a gift. They had donated money to our local animal shelter in Merlin's name "In Memory of a Good Friend". Such a sweet gesture. It still brings me tears to think of. We went and picked up his ashes last week. I have them in a nice wooden box with the certificate from our neighbors, a card that came on flowers from my sister in law and a card from our vet. I found a nice etsy shop, too, that had wooden frames you could personalize. I ordered one and now just have to decide on a picture.
I will get to blogging more, now, Readers, since the busy Christmas holiday is over and my snuggling and caring time for Merlin has passed. I do appreciate you stopping by.