Thursday, August 31, 2017

I'm Always Being Guided...

A few months ago, I wrote something about the topic of being guided.  I don't know if it ever made it to the blog, or beyond a note on a pad of paper, but I do know I wrote something about being guided.  It was shortly after I finished reading The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein because it was, while reading that book, that I realized I am, in fact, always being guided....even when it doesn't feel like it.

Let's take a look at this year from my perspective.

January... cut hours, it's okay, it'll bounce back, everyone is slow in January
February...even more cut hours and unexpectedly dumped, ouch
March... working one day a week, start struggling with depression
April... out of a job but working one hour a day on a farm but at least the baby lambs are cute and keep me company
May... the farm is still my only source of income, living off a credit card, things aren't looking good for me in any area of my life...
June... temp agency places me in a factory...the one where my ex and all his friends work, hello anxiety
July to mid August... work an average of 60 hours, commuting a lot, absolutely HATE the factory life, feeling less and less like myself every day

And then I got an email that went something like this, "Jennifer, I found your resume on indeed and I would like to talk to you about job..."

I rolled my eyes and assumed it was a robot or a MLM gig, and responded with a quick response.   He wanted to have a phone interview, after all, he was located in Indiana.  I agreed.  During the interview, he asked me what my salary expectations were.  Having no clue what size of company this was, or even fully understanding what the job would be, I threw out a number.   He chuckled and told me that would be okay.  A few more emails were sent and when I was asked to meet for an interview, I stopped being so skeptical, and met an older man named Ken.  It was in the middle of the interview with Ken said, "you know, I think we were just meant to be."

"I might have to agree with you!  I always knew I had that odd list of jobs for a reason..."

So, let's zoom out and take a look back on my job history...

2001-2005.... sewing cushions for rocking chairs, mostly indoor, sometimes outdoor
2006-2008....sewing sails and covers
2009-2014... food service and engraver... irrelevant to this story
2014-2017... restaurant booth upholstery, (farming, and factory work)

Ken wanted to offer me a job to run a satellite location for his company which makes covered window treatments.  Based on my resume, he knew if I could cover a restaurant booth, I could cover a window valance.   What is interesting is he has several locations of shops in the States and well... just listen...

Indiana - covered window treatments
Indiana #2 - branching to outdoor cushions
Indiana #3 - embroiders and sews bedspreads
Florida - branching to sail covers

I'm sure you can see why my resume stood out to him.  It's also why he picked a shop location based around my answer of whether or not I would accept his offer.  So much so that he wouldn't sign the building lease until I gave him my answer.

Wanna guess my answer?

Yup!  I'm out in Indiana training so I can get my satellite shop up in running in a few weeks.  So much of this seems surreal but looking back, it seems pretty obvious that I've been on this path for a reason.  

I've spent a lot of this year wondering if I was on the right path or if I'd miss my turn years ago, but "it just so happened" that Ken offered me a job right after I quit the factory.  (I started in another upholstery shop and hated it on my first day, I held out for 3 days... then quit.  They were sad to see me go and even more then a week later, they've messaged me to see if I have any interest in coming back.  Um, no.  I'm off to bigger and better things!)

Oh, and remember the pay I suggested?  He's starting me off $1 more per hour than I asked, on top of benefits, incentives, and bonuses.  He has no doubt that I am the right person for the job, and after a few days of training, I know I will ROCK this JOB!

After all, I'm always being guided.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Lesson in Resistance

A lesson in Resistance

Miss Prim, my faithful and ever so loving cat, rarely misses an opportunity to snuggle.   It’s the first thing she wants to do in the morning, the last thing she wants to do at night, and whenever I am home, she is by my side, anxiously waiting for me to sit down so she can curl up on my lap.  She is my steady lovebug, and because of her, I have learned many life lessons on unconditional love, faithfulness,and patience.   

Yesterday, she taught me about resistance, and surrender.

Even though Miss Prim is constant in wanting love and attention, there are days she likes to play.   We wrestle, and she will attack my arm as I go in for a belly rub.   After a few minutes, I will tell her she is getting too rough and I will tell her to give me kisses the next time instead of attacking my arm.  She calms down and licks the wounds she has given me, then snuggles and purrs like the happy and lovable cat she is.   Yesterday, she wanted some play time, and it was long overdue.  My schedule was allowing me little time at home and I had been neglecting our play time.   So, I got down on the floor and wrestled with her.   But, this wrestling was different.   She was much more aggressive, attacked harder, and didn’t seem to be playing.

I told her it was time to calm down and play, but again she attacked.  I asked again, but she attacked.   I quit playing with her before we got to the snuggle time.   When I headed to bed, she did as she usually does, and followed me into the room, and hopped up on the bed, waiting for snuggle time.   I went to scratch her ears and again she attacked me.  I tried to rub her back but she attacked.  The closer my hand got to her body, the darker and more distance her eyes got.  This was not the Miss Prim I’ve come to love.   This was a closed off cat who neglected what she wanted most simply because she could.   She was the definition of resistance.

I crawled into bed and closed my eyes.  A few seconds later, I felt Miss Prim’s nose on my nose.  I opened up my eyes, nearly going crosseyed trying to see her face.  “What do you want now?”  I ask, half expecting to get clawed in the face.  But she just looks at me with love in her eyes.  “Aww, there is the Miss Prim I know!”   And with that, she collapses, right in front of my face.  She lets out a loud sigh and starts purring deeply.   I hesitate to pet her since my hand is covered in scratches, but as I put my hand on her furry little body, I felt her surrender to my petting.  She purrs even louder, and when I stop petting her, she pulls my and in close, just to hold it next to her body.  She as fully surrendered.

It’s at this moment that I realize how resistant I’ve been in my life.  It’s more than just a daily occurrence of resistance.  I long for love, connection, and snuggles, yet I am always hesitant because I don’t want to get hurt.  In my resistance and self-defense, I am hurting everyone else who constantly wants to reach out and shower me with love.  I think about my relationship with God and how I resist His love, guidance, and grace on a daily basis because I think I know what is best for me, instead of surrendering and trusting that He will continue to take care of me.  I try to remember the last time I let out that loud sigh and completely surrendered.

As I type this, Miss Prim is curled up in my arms, digging her paws into my skin, because she is holding on tight to this moment.  She is in complete bliss because she constantly surrenders to her need to be loved, and without hesitation, goes for it...even to the point of annoying me.  This is what makes her life be fulfilled.  She needs to be loved and adored, just like many of us need to be loved and adored, yet we resist, fearing we will come off as clingy, needy, and annoying.  And all we really need to do is release and surrender.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

When Life Doesn't Give You Time to Live

I fell of the face of the blogoverse again.   It wasn't planned, it just happened.

In fact, there have been nights that I tell myself to sit down and write that epic story that I want the world to know about, but pick sleeping, or eating dinner, or doing a headstand, instead.

On May 30, 2017... I got a job through a temp agency.  It wasn't anything I wanted to do, the pay was okay, but working an hour on the farm wasn't cutting it for my bills, so I started working in a factory as a quality inspector.   The following week, I was put on mandatory 12 hour shifts.   The week after that I was working weekends.  The week after that I was sent to a different location, an hour drive each way.  And then, I got a 40 hour work week and my location was in Wooster!  It was the best week ever.  I could actually clean my apartment, go grocery shopping, and not wake up at 4 am so I could squeeze my workout in before a long day.

On July 26, 2017... my supervisor sent me a text asking if I could go to Zanesville the next day.   I had heard of Zanesville but I wasn't exactly sure where it was or how far away it was from Wooster.  Before I googled the distance and the drive time, I agreed.  It was only for a day anyway.

It is 100 miles to Zanesville.  That's 1 hour and 45 minutes each way.

I got up extra early to squeeze in my workout because I had to leave my house at 5:15am to get to work on time.   The drive was easy.  It takes me through sections of Amish country, and down towards some epic hiking areas that I've always wanted to adventure through.  

At the end of the day, my supervisor asked me if I could finish up the week in Zanesville.  I agreed, after all, that was only 2 more times of driving and I would be getting paid for mileage once I got the paperwork to be filled out.

I am still driving to Zanesville every day.  I managed to squeeze in an interview and get a different job between my 12 hour shifts....and being no where near Wooster.  The supervisor isn't thrilled that I am quitting mostly because the job in Zanesville is going to need someone there to do the job for at least one more month, and not because I'm a good worker!  I still haven't been paid for my mileage and there's a part of me that thinks they won't pay me for it.  After all, when they realized how far I was driving every day, they made remarks about finding someone closer, and I happily told them I would be okay if someone else took this job in Zanesville.

Anyway, it's been very difficult for me to have any time for myself beyond eating my dinner, working out, and taking a shower, for the last month.  Until last week, I was also still working on the farm every day for at least an hour, so every day was a 13-14 hour day.   

My apartment was a disaster, my cat was lonely and in need of attention, and I have been in need of sleep.  

Yesterday, I spent all day on the couch watching Netflix.  I didn't even wear pants all day long!  It was by far one of the best days I've had in a while.  Part of me felt guilty because it was a beautiful day outside.... perfect for hiking... but deep down I knew that I had to have a day of complete relaxation.

I start my new job next Monday, so I have another week of driving to Zanesville.  Though I don't have a super good feeling about this new job, and it is a 40 minute commute each way, I know that it has to be better than this chaotic job and schedule I've been living for the last two months.  I'm just excited to start having my own schedule and life back... so that I will have time to blog again, or work on some of my other writing projects I've been pondering on starting for months.

I know work is important because it pays bills, but living my life is way more important than being a slave to a job, especially when I don't even like the job!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mixed Messages

Since the start of this year, my friend and I have been playing a little game.  We never discussed the rules, we simply started playing one day, and it has continued at least once a week since.  We both were going through similar situations, me getting my work hours cut, and her having surgery on her foot and unable to even walk for months, so we knew we would have to encourage each other to keep a positive attitude, because we didn't want to add depression to these already difficult circumstances.

I don't remember who sent the first message, but it doesn't really matter.  Instead of sending each other what we'd read in our morning devotional, we'd simply send each other the verse, making the other person get in the Bible, even if it were only for one sentence.  Then, the other person would respond with another bible verse that adds on to the previous verse.  The game continues until we run out of verses to respond with or it gets so far out of context that it no longer makes much sense.

I have the slight issue of sending her verses, only to have her respond with "WHAT?"  And then I will realize I had a slight moment of dyslexia, and send her the correct verse.  For example, on Mother's day, instead of sending her a verse about God's love, my typo had her read a verse about killing babies.

Today, started with message from her telling me it was the first morning she woke up with a normal looking leg, there was no swelling, and she could actually put on her shoe!  So, I responded with what I thought was John 9:3...but really sent John 3:9, luckily, I caught the mix up before she did.  But she told me to just go and read what I sent her anyway....

John 3:9
"How can this be?"  Nicodemus asked.

Yep.  That's the verse.  "How can this be?"  I couldn't have planned it better if I'd tried.

The verse I actually meant to send her was a little more encouraging, "....but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."  It comes from the story of the blind man being healed, but I'm kinda wishing I would have left it at "How can this be?"  because I would have loved to know what her responding verse was going to be!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bucket List #35...Check

I haven't done anything with my hair in years, unless you count growing it out and trimming it off every couple months.  I haven't done any color or new cuts.  I've just been plain-Jane in the hair department and I've been okay with this...because I have really great hair!  Seriously.  The reason I get my hair cut is because my hair is so thick that it gets too heavy to pull back and stay up.  "You have so much hair..."  is a common comment from hair stylists, and I always reply with reminding them I'm the one who has to deal with the thick, heavy, curls day in and day out.  "People would kill for hair like this."  And I understand, because I know what it's like to throw my hair up in a bun and the struggle of putting my niece's thin hair up in a pony tail.  I'd pick mine too!

So, about a year ago, I decided I wanted to go purple.  I didn't have a reason for picking purple besides having confidence I could rock the color more than any other color.

However, thinking about going purple and actually making the appointment to go purple are completely different things!  So, I tipped my toes into the great adventure of purple hair as a birthday present when I turned 34... but we didn't lighten my hair and the color washed out the next day.  I was a bit sick knowing how much I paid for 24 hours of purple hair that no one even noticed!  I liked the color but I knew if I was going to really go purple, it wasn't going to be a short process.

A few weeks ago, a hairstylist friend of mine asked if I could reupholster some chairs for her.  I accepted the job in exchange for purple hair.

The catch was I had to do the upholstery project overnight... like in an Extreme Home Makeover kind of situation. (I'm trying to think of a more relevant show...unless that show is still on...ok, you caught me... I don't watch tv...)  I picked them up one night after working on the farm, tore one apart to assess the foam situation, then headed to the store to get supplies.  At the crack of dawn the following morning, I set up shop in my parents garage and ripped a hole in my hand from tearing apart the cushions so fast.

Everything was going smoothly and I was making good time, the only thing I was struggling with was the arm rests, mostly because the screws kept stripping.  Before I knew it, it was time for me to "take a break" and head to the farm to do some work.  When I got done with that job, I took a shower, and headed back to finish the chairs so they could be delivered, and reinstalled, before she opened up the salon the following morning.

What should have been a quick job of reattaching the handles on the chairs, turned into a long evening of trying to figure out how to make something work and cover up the evidence.  It didn't take long for me to recruit my parents to help me hold, and/or drill.

Once it was finished, I loaded up the car and took them into the salon.  The reinstalling part didn't go smooth either, and it took the both of us, and a lot of patient team work to put them together again.  But once the were installed.... I'll admit it, it looked good!  

She was pleased, gave me some dining room seats to do, and I made an appointment for the following week.  The dining room chairs were easy and went smoothly.  Again, I gave myself a pat on the back for being so dang good at upholstery.  Since we've been slow at the shop, I've considered buying an industrial machine and really going at it and starting a business, because I know it's something I have the skills for, however, I also know how hard it is on my hands and I haven't missed the mornings of numb and achy hands with the slower work schedule.  However, I'm currently not going to turn away any projects that come my way and that I am capable of doing with the supplies I have.

Today was the day of my appointment and I excitedly went in to the salon with the finished dining room chairs.  Installation went much smoother, however, it still required teamwork...and a screwdriver.  (I took a philips but I needed a flathead....luckily she keeps a toolbox in the shop!)  

Then, the new look began!

And lighting my hair was quite the process.  

Four hours later, and a few remarks from the other elderly clients  (mixed reviews, some liked it, some hated it, some told me I rocked it and it was amazing....)  I finally got to look in the mirror and see what I looked like with purple hair!


I seriously don't know if I'll ever be able or willing to go back to my natural color...but I'm pretty sure my budget will determine how long I can keep up with it!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Currently: (How is it) May Edition

Every once in a while I take the time to look around and what's been going on in my life.  Sometimes the little things are worth remembering.

Current job:  Part-time upholsterer, part-time farm help/odd jobs, part-time Beachbody coach

Current weather: Cold, cloudy, possibly rainy and definitely windy
Current (audio) book:  Gut Balance Revolution by Gerard E. Mullin, MD

Current book:  No God but One - Nabeel Qureshi
Current obsession: Figuring out how to make money doing things I enjoy

Current favorite song:   Justin Nozuka - After Tonight

Current Netfix marathoning tv show:  It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Current challenge: Giving money away, 365 days of inversions, and 52 hikes 

Current blessing:  Where to begin?!?!  The money that keeps coming to me, the fact that my needs are still being met, the fact that life is good?!?

Current triumph:  Finding my fitbit charger.  I know, seems silly but I tore apart my whole place trying to find it
Current outfit:  shorts, tank top, sweater 

Currently thinking about:  if the coffee maker is going to work 

Current craving:  chocolate chip banana bread

Currently looking for in a future spouse:  a man of faith, with a heart full of love for God.

Last movie seen in theater:  Beauty and the Beast (and it was amazing!)

Last thing I ate: homemade chipolte bowl

Number of hikes last month:  8...running total of 15/52

Number of dates: 3

Something I learned last month:  You can't control life, but you can control how you react to life.
Yesterday I…  worked at the upholstery shop, worked at the farm, slid in the mud, almost landed in a pile of horse poo, wandered around Walmart for over an hour looking for 2 items, hit 20,000 steps
Today I… did yoga and meditated, worked at the upholstery shop, worked on the farm, searched for my fitbit charger and blogged
Tomorrow I…  am finishing up a side upholstery job and working on the farm

Wanna see the first part of my side upholstery job?

What are you currently up to?

Friday, April 28, 2017

When Paying it Forward Backfires

I mentioned a few days ago that I was going to work on giving money away for 29 days.  Let me tell you, it is much harder than I imagined.  The first few days were easy, giving a dollar to my neighbor, throwing change into a tip jar, and dropping a few quarters in my apartment complex's hallway, but then, I discovered, that when you don't spend any time with other humans, or go anywhere but to a farm, giving money away becomes a little more challenging!.

So, today, while I was relistening to You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero, I was reminded of my on going goal of giving money away, and I hadn't given any money away in three days.  I decided it was finally time to go grocery shopping... something I haven't done in months.  Yes.  Months.  (Last month I challenged myself to not get any groceries until April, and I got so good at cleaning out my cupboards and working with what I had, I didn't need to go to the store other than for one or two ingredients.  I believe I only spent $15 on food for the month of April.  I would also like to note several people gave me food such as potatoes, apples, spaghetti squash, and avocados, to name a few).

My dad had given me a left over visa gift card and he told me to use it to get some groceries.  I followed his advice, and headed to Aldi's to purchase some fresh fruits and vegetables.  My mouth was salivating at the thought of a salad.  (This is how I know I am lacking with my nutrition... I was craving a salad.  I love vegetables but I'd rather eat them other ways besides salads.  Salads get old fast, in my book, anyway.)   On the drive over, I realized this would give me an opportunity to give away some money because in order to get a cart at Aldi's, you have to put in a quarter to unlock it, and when you lock it back up, it gives you your quarter back.   My game plan was to give someone a cart!  Easy!  Right?!?!

I pulled in just as a lady was finished putting her groceries away.  I poked my head out of the car and told her I'd take her cart so she wouldn't have to take it back.  I grabbed my Aldi's quarter which always resides in the arm rest of my car door.  I offered her the quarter but she refused to take it since someone had given her the cart, so she was simply paying it forward.

Yay for the cycle of paying it forward continuing but nay... I wanted to give some money away!

I loaded my cart with groceries and headed to the check out line.  Once the cashier started ringing up my items, she came across a small wheel caddy I decided to purchase for my avocado tree.   It'll be a lot easier to move around when it is on wheels.  Except, when I added this caddy to my cart, the sku code sticker did not come with me.   I told the cashier I was pretty sure it was $2.99 but she just shrugged her shoulders, put her finger over her lips, made a shush sound, and placed it in my cart.

I have always said if there is no price tag, it means it's free... but this was the first time that statement was true.... or maybe I just had permission to shoplift the caddy... either way, it was in my cart of paid for items and I didn't pay for it.

She read my total and I swiped the gift card.  I had an idea of how much was left on the card and I knew I'd spent over the amount that remained, so I expected a second total to be paid on my debit card.

It went through.  I had $13.66 left to pay.  I swiped my debit card.

Nothing happened.  No beep.  Nothing.

I tried it again.  Again, nothing happened.

"It isn't working.. the screen doesn't even say it's ready to swipe.  Do you have to press any other buttons on your end?"  I asked the cashier but she said her screen looked normal and I just had to swipe.

I tried again, nothing.  I pulled out my credit card.  Nothing.

I looked in my wallet.  I had one crisp dollar bill and mentally slapped myself on the forehead for forgetting to get cash out when I went to the bank to deposit my paycheck a few hours earlier.

"I don't even have enough cash to pay that.  I only have my cards.  It's not like I don't have the money, it's just not letting me swipe!"  I mumble more to myself than the cashier, and the patient people in the line, looking at me and wondering why I am holding up the line.  I apologized to them for making them wait, but no one seemed annoyed at this, instead they all gave me sympathy smiles and shrugged their shoulders.

The cashier took my card and tried a few tricks but nothing was working.  It was some sort of technical error that wasn't reading the card.  She called the manager and as the manager arrived, so did another customer.  Without talking to me, she simply swiped her card through the machine, hers didn't read either.

"Oh, you don't have to do that, it's not that I don't have the money, the machine isn't reading anything."  I explain to her, grateful for her attempt to pay the remaining of my bill, yet feeling slightly embarrassed my register was becoming the center of attention.

Meanwhile, the manager typed in a few codes and the machine did something because the screen was now telling me to swipe my card.  However, the other customer never left and she swiped her card, typed in her pin number, and walked away, barely even giving me the chance to get out a thank you for her kind act.

I move my cart aside and start loading up my groceries, and I heard other people making small talk, "bless her heart, we've all been there...."

Once I got to my car, and emptied my cart, I looked around for someone to give my cart to so I could at least pay it forward with the already free cart.  The previously busy parking lot was empty.  I locked up my cart and took the quarter, chuckling to myself as I walked back to the car.... "Okay God, that was funny, I see what you did... I wanted to give money away and people ended up blessing me and taking care of me.  You are funny....there's no doubt about that..."