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December 20th

The phone rang.  It was my manager from Kirklands.  Apparently the corporate office wanted to interview me for an Assistant Buying position.   

I had three interviews in less than a week.  I received an offer 10 days after the first call.

I thought I had been preparing for this day for months.  But the transition my mind had to take in a 10 day span was overwhelming.

I had researched the company and felt good about it. 

For months I had planned, explored, brainstormed, networked, analyzed and prepared- for only God knew what.  But one thing I hadn’t done.

Grieved.

I had not grieved the loss and eventual leaving of an industry I’d lived and breathed for over 15 years. 

And so I grieved.

And then I started thinking about the job.  The opportunity and what it could bring.   The most basic change of having my nights and weekends back would alone be a welcomed change.  Everyone I met during the interview process was so nice.  And I love Kirklands’ products.  Half the items in my house came from that store.

I spent some serious time with the Lord.  Clearing out any pre-conceived notions, making sure my will was completely surrendered to whatever God was calling me to.

And I got excited about it.

January 5th I began my new adventure as Kirklands’ new Assistant Buyer for Lamps, Furniture and Seasonal items.

I am officially out of ‘temporary retirement.’

I have a job!  woo hoo!  God is good.  And His timing….well that just cracks me up!  I joked with Him that I’d try to avoid calling Him “Last-minute Lord” and instead reverently refer to Him as “Just in time Jesus.”   

I bet that made Him grin.

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Well, hello there.  I hope you are doing well.  Yes, yes, it’s been a good while since I’ve written.  A grievous offense in blogdom.

Allow me to give you the cliff notes edition of my last few months.  I have not really wanted to write about it until now.

I had a wonderful job in Christian Publishing, an industry I’ve been in for over 15 years.   The economy tanked and  I was laid off from the wonderful job.  Ministries are often the first to feel a hit when financial strains occur.  Although the following months were full of varying emotions, I knew full well none of it came without first passing through the sovereign hands of God.  I had days of excited anticipation over a new adventure and then days of frustration from the lack of progress in the job hunt.  One can stand only so many hours a day of searching online, filling out applications, sending out resumes and leaving unreturned messages for hiring managers. 

My heart goes out to anyone without a job in this current environment.  It will test your metal.

However, along with the expected stresses came wonderful joys for me.  For one, I got more sleep than I’ve had in years.  Thanks to severence, savings and most importantly, The Sovereign, my season of  ‘temporary retirement’ was a gift.  

I finally got around to all those house projects.   Finish painting the last two rooms.  Sort through years of paperwork, shredding the old documents.  Reorganize the kitchen cabinets.  Decide on window treatments etc.

I was able to get reacquainted with dear friends.  Like going to the mall and the zoo with my friend J and her two adorable little boys.  Having coffee with friends in and out of ‘the industry’ to catch up and even discuss potential future career opportunities.  That’s the wonderful thing about Christian Publishing in Nashville, coworkers become life-long friends.

Of course in that span were the trips to India and Missouri.  I continued to work evenings and weekends at Kirklands which became busier with the oncoming holidays.

Yes, Christmas was around the corner.  I love the holidays but I couldn’t help but feel a little antsy.  What was on the other side of that season? 

I had begun to work on Plan B.  Which was the option of starting my own consulting business which lead to shopping for individual health coverage.

Just what I had always NEVER wanted to do.  Own my own business.  But I had to at least pray and do the research.  Nothing else was developing.  Pray, I did.  And research, I did.  I bought books, and actually read them.  I consulted with friends and friends of friends on the matter.  You can’t imagine the prayers that went up.

The daily-ness of the ‘big unknown’ was beginning to wear on me.  But I never truly allowed myself to dwell on it.   It’s not my way to dwell on unpleasant thoughts of doubt and fear.  In fact, I just let go.  I literally let go.  I put aside the research and even the thought of consulting.  My brain needed a break during the upcoming holidays.

So, I finished my Christmas shopping an learned to make toffee. 

Yep, that’s what I did.  

Then came December 20th.

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Yep, it’s up!  A little post-007 adrenaline in my system and this was up in 15 minutes. 

Ok.  Not really.  But it was a record, I’m sure. 

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I’m smack dab in the middle of that lovely life-lesson called “You’re not in control of things so just let it go.”   I suppose this is my little rebellion.  The one thing I can control.   When my tree goes up. 

So, what are you NOT in control of right now?

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Several of you have asked me about the results from the Terry & Carmen Thompson benefit last week.  It was a packed house that brought in $40,000 towards their medical expenses.  Of course, this is just the beginning as Carmen has to undergo another surgery in the near future.  Michelle Prentice is already working on next year’s benefit as well.  I’m looking forward to it as I got out bid on both auction items I was trying to win.  I’ll come better armed next year.

What a joy it was to see so many people coming together for such a worthy couple.

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Answered Prayer, folks!  There are some fabulous developments regarding the benefit concert/silent auction for Terry & Carmen Thompson this coming Tuesday at The Factory, in Franklin, Tn.

1.  AMY GRANT WILL BE THERE IN CONCERT!

2. No purchase of tickets are required for attending the concert/silent auction.  Just a donation at the door gets you in to this wonderful opportunity to bless this amazing couple.

At the time of this posting the website (www.terryandcarmen.com) hasn’t been updated with this information.  I do have a pdf file on it, but I’m not able to get it inserted here in the posting. 

Please spread the news and gather your friends for an amazing night of fun, food, fellowship and, most importantly, ministry to our Brother & Sister in Christ.  THIS night is a perfect opportunity for the Body of Christ to truly be The Body of Christ – functioning together to benefit all.

If you are not familiar with their story, go to the website and read it there.  Summary:  newlywed couple – wife is paralyzed in a freak accident – no insurance because she’s also a cancer survivor = overwhelming medical bills.  Which is just another opportunity for us to all pitch in and lighten our brother and sister’s load a bit.

Once again, here are the details:

Tuesday, June 24th

Donations taken at the door

Silent Auction begins at 5:30 along with refreshments

Concert begins at 7:00pm

 

See you all there!

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God orders our steps.

That phrase pretty much sums up this Tuesday.  This day was too full of events that even a non-believer couldn’t discount it as random or chance.  I had a serious time of pleading with the Lord today.  I needed Him to meet some pretty specific needs and asked Him to make Himself known to me today.

Walking to a typical meeting, I ran into a friend and coworker at the office today – she works from home – I NEVER see her at the office.  She had to come in for a conference.  As she walked around the corner and we hugged, I learned, she had literally just received a dreaded call.  Her Grandfather  – for whom she is the sole heir and care-taker, was unresponsive. 

I saw her cry for the first time. 

We talked through her possible next steps in preparing to go across the country.  I’m nothing exceptional, but I’m so glad to have been there just to hug her and listen. 

I just got off the phone with her this evening.  She’s driving as far as she can tonight just to take some miles off the long road trip.  I was amazced to hear her share how the Lord has ordered each step for her during this journey.  Her Grandfather’s passing has been expected for the last 4 weeks or so.  His sudden turn for the worse last month, the hanging on and then the passing on to HOME, were so well orchestrated by our heavenly Father.  Each phone call from the nurses and hospice, work details, business trips, personal trips, every detail attended to.  My friend is grieving, yet even in her grief, the Lord is revealing His EVER LOVING SELF to her.  And to all of us watching from the wings.

God is not random.

Tonight I went to a meeting that was supposed to end with dinner at an ethnic restaurant.  Only one lady and I could make the dinner portion of the evening so, at the last minute our ethnic choice became Cracker Barrel.  I walked through the restaurant to see if she’d beat me there and ran into 3 friends from my childhood.  One of them was my childhood Pastor.  The one that won my Dad to the Lord.  I have mentioned him before in my post about Clinging to Camelot.  The trials they have endured involve the disappearance of their son almost 4 years ago.  Kyle disappeared, literally, without a trace. 

It was so good to see Bro. Terry again – and so ironic after just seeing him last week at the SBC convention in Indianapolis.  I thought it odd to see him here as he lives in another state.  Come to find out he was in town on business.

After locating my ‘ethnic dinner’ friend and placing our orders, I politely excused myself to go speak further with my former Pastor, expecting to have a minute or two of the general niceties of seeing old friends.

I was wrong.

I almost missed Bro. Terry’s words as I pulled up a chair to their table.

“We found Kyle today.”

Having just read Elisabeth’s Smart’s new cover article in People Magazine, last night – my heart jumped.

But it wasn’t the same miracle discovery for our friends. 

It wasn’t the ending we’d all prayed for, but it is the beginning of closure for Kyle’s entire family.  The rest of the family members are making their way into town, for how long, no one knows.  There are detailed policies and procedures the families will have to wait upon before Kyle is returned to them. Nearly four years of not knowing is a unique form of torture for families.  Now they can have a proper service and burial for him on this Earth. 

But God’s timing is so interesting.  It wasn’t random chance that Bro. Terry was in the town of his son’s disappearance, on the day he was found.   It wasn’t random chance that my dinner plans were changed.  It wasn’t random chance I walked all the way to the back of the restaurant to find my dinner partner – spotting my old friends.

God is not random.

We pray, He answers.  Not always in a way we expect or desire.  But oh, the comfort knowing He goes before us and with us.

We are not left in the hands of randomness.

We are in the hands of Almighty God.  Maker of the Universe, Sovereign Lord, and Loving Father.

 

 

 

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As promised, here is more information on Carmen & Terry Thompson.  I blogged about her a couple of weeks ago, and now have more information on the benefit concert and auction coming up on her behalf. 

This website has all the info. needed: http://www.terryandcarmen.com/

 

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