Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Only 87 Today

OK, so we're no longer assimilating to Austin. We're assimilating to Seattle. It's 87 degrees today - a scorcher for our new neighbors, but a piece a cake for us. Where are the jackets?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Plan B

Plan B. What the heck are these vagabonds doing now? Read the post, then decide for yourself.
Well, OUR plans certainly didn't work out as we had them designed. The idea was to slowly acclimate to a community. Jana would work full time for a little while, then she'd go back to part time once I found a teaching job. While teaching we'd find a good church where I'd eventually become a staff member.
Here's what went well. We found some good churches and began attaching to one in particular...that met in a school - of course. That's what we do. I found a great mentor, Pastor Jody Mayes, who came alongside me in my search for employment and significance. We found great friends in a short time: Matt and Maya next door; Meagan and Chase who've also adopted a great "Elias"; plus others I won't have time to mention who quickly embraced us. Our house is big and beautiful. My beloved running trail, mountain biking parks, and the gym we joined provided great opportunities to relieve stress. Places like Caffe Medici, Mozart's, Chavelo's, and Sonic became family favorites.
But one month after arriving, it was announced that a hiring freeze in local school districts were being instituted - even for substitute teachers! The economy in TX wasn't immune to the rest of the country's woes. It just came a year later. Teachers who had lost their retirement on Wall Street decided to work an extra year or two.
So I handed out tons of resumes - sometimes to jobs that I'd never have considered...and nothing came. Meanwhile Jana's job proved to be extremely difficult - for more details you can ask her to blog. You know when your spouse is filled with anxiety before a 12 hour shift that it's time to do something. So I did. I began applying for jobs out of state simultaneously with Austin jobs. We realized we loved Austin, but something had to change.
So I applied to jobs in a few places - big PNW cities, a few big CA cities, and Denver. I had a couple of interviews here and there, but along came an interview in a beautiful Seattle suburb - read "National Park" called Sammamish. After 2 phone interviews, one being in a non-air conditioned 100+ degree car - we were invited for an "in person" 3rd interview...which led to an all family 4th interview weekend.
If you remember the movie, The Firm, we became suspicious of this church's motives. We were given airline tickets, two beautiful hotels - the second with a 3 room suite, great meals, babysitters to watch the kids, and super friendly people. Hold on a minute - I couldn't get the time of day for other jobs that I was qualified for. Now, I find myself with a great job prospect in a beautiful location with generous people. Something's wrong, right?
It seems that four months wandering in the desert (Austin is pretty darn hot in the summer) enabled us to refresh, refocus, and submit to God's will. He placed neat people in our path - whom we could be friends with for life - and reminded us that no matter how hard we try (multiple applications, testing fees, drivers' licenses, etc.), it's always best to enjoy the crazy path we're on and to seek him first.
So in a few weeks, I'll be the Children's Pastor (get to hang out with my own kids!) with an emphasis on families and parenting at Pine Lake Covenant Church. It's 20 minutes from downtown Seattle. There are many Ethiopians in Seattle - one I met at the airport yesterday - and with Microsoft just around the corner, there's quite an international community. They're doing some great things at Pine Lake and with a huge population of kids in the area (the highest density in the state) there is tremendous opportunity. Thanks for your thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, and patience as we slowly found our spot...and come on up for a visit!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

As Sure as the Sun Rises

Well, it's a rite of passage - is it not? As sure as the sun rises (which I rarely see) and as sure as amusement park food is overpriced and inedible, Kiera cut her own hair.

Just a few days ago I heard the rumblings of a heated conversation about to begin between said child and her mother. I raced upstairs to witness the carnage - long strands of blonde hair strewn out across the bathroom floor. It took 3/10 second to realize what had occurred. I arrived just prior to the confrontation:

Mom: "What happened to your hair?"

Kiera: "Umm, Meris...umm, Elias pulled out my hair."

Background - Elias loves to pull his sisters' hair. It is common to find a significant tuft of blonde hair in his clutches - but this much hair, cut so cleanly?

At this point I turned around covering my mouth, trying to muffle my laughter. It was astonishing - not the lie, but her dangerously clever and quick response. She may have a future in politics. Of course her sister completed this act a few years ago and to this day will not fess up. Meris' hair-cutting was a group conspiracy. All three girls pointed to the other claiming, "SHE did it." Even when I asked her this week about it she replied, "I don't remember who cut it." Hmmmm. Two politicians.