This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!
~~~o0o~~~

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Planting trees

 My husband, Eric, planted trees on the east side of our property. If you look close, you can see where he staked the property line east of the white fence.
 This grassy knoll once had big trees on it, but they were cut down and the owners never replanted.
 Right now the area is covered in wild blackberries which will end up taking over the entire space. Eric  ordered 100 Doug Fir trees to plant here in hopes that when the trees grow up they will shade out the blackberries and we will not have a problem anymore. Plus, it will be so beautiful to see a forest growing on that part of our property.
 The little seedlings are about 2 feet long and come in these big parchment bags.
 My husband started his career in forestry as a tree planter, so he knows what he's doing!
 Blondie is always nearby wanting to be near her owners!
 The first thing Eric does is dig a hole about 8 to 10 inches deep.
 He pulls back the soil with the shovel and slips the seedling in the hole.
 Then he covers up the roots with soil.
 The final step is to pack down the soil around the tree.
 Then he moves on to the next spot.
 We are hoping these little guys will take root and one day in about 5 years we will see them from the driveway and in 10 years see a small forest!
 No, Blondie, we don't have time to play with you right now! haha
 My job was to give each tree a good soak after he planted them. It was a fun day working with my hubby.
This grassy knoll will one day be a wooded forest. I love this picture of Queen Blondie looking down on her kingdom!

"He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers." Psalm 1:3 

Hugs, Sharon

Friday, May 16, 2014

Big change for me.......

Shop Girl circ 1980
This is me about 35 years ago when I worked in a department store called The Bon Marche. I started right out of high school and worked there for 12 years. I started as a sales girl, got promoted to Customer Service Supervisor (CSS) and then to a Department Manager and ended up as an HR assistant. I was a single young lady dating my soon to be husband, Eric, in the picture above in my role of CSS. I basically grew up while I was working at the Bon, I got engaged, got married, and had two babies during the time I worked at this store.
Department manager circ 1985
This is me working as the Manager of the Mens Department after I had my first son, Mackenzie. This was such a fun job, there were many older women that worked there for years and they kind of mothered all of us younger girls who worked there. My sister, Kathi, also worked there for a short while and that was really fun!
Me at my most favorite job as HR Administrative Assistant circ 1987
After I had my second son, Cameron, I went part time and got a promotion as the administrative assistant to the Operations/Human Resource manager. This is me in my little office. This was my favorite job I've ever had. As a little girl I always wanted to be a secretary working in a busy office and I often played office pretending to answer the phone and type letters for my boss. I always identified with the women in movies who worked in offices such as the mom (Doris) in the original Miracle on 34th street, Tess in Working Girl or Carol, the secretary in the Bob Newhart show with her cool circular desk!
Happy at work in my cute little office circ 1988
I absolutely loved this job! It was fun and challenging, and my days went really fast and I loved the people I worked with. After I had my third son, Grayson, I quit working and became a stay-at-home mom. We later had baby Hayden to complete our family. I loved being a full time wife and mother!
Me working in my home office as a medical transcriptionist circ 2002
I was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom for many years and then my husband said he thought we needed a little more money and asked if I could find a part-time job and work from home if possible. The Lord really blessed me with a person who told me about medical transcription. I took a correspondence course and actually found a job before I graduated from the class!

I was very blessed and worked at home for six years. I worked just three days a week and chose my own hours, so I was available to my family whenever they needed me. I would get up early and get my husband off to work, then type for an hour, then wake up my boys for school and take them to school, come home, clean my house, then type for a couple of hours, bake something, type some more, then pick up the kids at school and be with the family for the rest of the day. I was able to go to all of their field trips and class plays, etc with this job.
Me working as a surgery scheduler for the cardiac surgeons circ 2007
Working at home was the was a perfect job for me (and the whole family) for several years, but then my boss lost her contract with the hospital, so I was out of job. I found another transcription job, but soon realized that it had lost it's luster. The new company demanded that I work more than I wanted and I really wasn't happy with them.

I also realized I was getting lonely during the day. My kids were older and busy and I didn't feel I was needed at home as much. I felt like I was ready to get out of the house and meet new friends and get a job outside the home. My husband and kids supported me with this decision and I started looking for a new part-time job outside the home. I decided that I was only going to take a job that had benefits so I could get insurance, paid vacation and build a retirement. Again, the Lord blessed me with a great job at a hospital working just 16 hours a week, one thing led to another and I had several different positions at the hospital from 2004 to 2008.
Me at the local clinic as the front desk receptionist circ 2011
In 2008 I ended up transferring to the family practice clinic in our little town and worked there for six years.
I worked at the front desk greeting patients, checking them in, making & canceling appointments, answering the phone etc. This was a really great job for me and for my family for many years.
Hayden waving goodbye to me after he popped into the clinic to visit me
What I loved most was that I only 3 days a week and because the clinic was 1-1/2 miles from our house, I got to go home every day for lunch. I still felt like I was really there for my family. Also, my kids could pop in to see me anytime they wanted if they needed me and/or I could run home for them or run to the school for them on my breaks.
Two years ago I went up to 4 days a week, which was great for the pocketbook, but as a housewife and mother, it was too much. I was itching for change. Last year, when our youngest son, Hayden, was in college, I started realizing that I NEEDED a change. I wanted more fulfillment from my job. While I enjoyed many aspects of my job, especially my co-workers and the nice patients, I felt kind of like I was dying inside. I knew everything there was to know at this job and there was no room for promotions, it was a dead-end. I also really wanted to go back to just 3 days a week. I felt like I had so much more to offer and wanted to use my untapped talents.
Me ready for a big interview in February 2013
I started applying for jobs and sadly, I did not get the callbacks like I did ten years ago. In the beginning I was only applying for jobs at the hospital I worked for because it's such a big company and there were always lots of openings for jobs I was qualified for, but I NEVER got interviews. It was very disheartening. I felt like was over the hill and unhireable. I was beginning to think that perhaps somehow mistakenly there was a flag in my file or something.

I started applying for jobs at other hospitals and clinics and even at offices outside of the medical field. In February of 2013 I finally got a call for an interview from a bank where my friend works! I wore my gray pinstripe pantsuit with a black blouse, black heels and purse and wore pearls.
I went in for the interview and I felt like it went really well! I was so excited about this job! It was challenging work in the marketing department and I would be able to see my best friend, Shannon, every day!!!
I went home and waited......
....and prayed...continued plugging away at the clinic....
...and waited some more, but my phone was not ringing!
Finally the phone rang and I was so very bummed, I didn't get the job, BUT there was good news, they wanted to interview me for another position. It was not as good of a job as the first, but I thought that any way to get my foot in the door would be wise, so I set up the interview for the next week.
Ready for another interview 2013
This is what I wore; a long black skirt, short black blazer, green blouse with a bit of lace and black boots.
Oh my gosh, I was so nervous! Once again, I felt like the interview went well....
....and I waited for the phone and guess what????
Heading off for another interview 2013
....they called again and I didn't get that job, but they wanted to interview me for another position....really???
I'm trying not to get excited about it because I don't want to be disappointed. I wore gray slacks and a gray twinset sweater with cute black heels and fun black jewelry.
Once again.....the interview went well, but.....
...crickets...no phone call. I never did hear back from them, not even a rejection letter or email. I was so discouraged, but I also thought that I don't think I'd like working for a company that would bring a girl in three times to interview and not even have the courtesy to send a reject letter.

After this I applied for a department coordinator position at my company, had an interview, but did not get chosen. I was feeling very old and undesirable and unhireable.
Heading out for yet another interview. Fingers crossed, will this be the one?
Well, a few weeks later another medical group called me to interview me for a part-time administrative assistant position. Here I am ready to go in for my interview. I wore the same outfit I wore at one of my last interviews. Once again, the interview went very well and they were very excited about me, but it turns out this is not a benefited position and I could not take it (why don't they list this in the ad for the job?). I was so disheartened, but then we ended up buying our house and I became very busy with that and our new grandson and the holidays.
Here I go again to another interview January 2014
In January I started looking again, once again I got my hopes up because I got an interview as an administrative assistant to the social worker in a local nursing home. I spoke with the manager on the phone and it sounded very promising!
This is what I wore, black slacks, a black shell and my houndstooth blazer with pearls. The interview went spectacular! I felt like the manager liked me and he even gave me a tour of the facility!
A few days later he called offered me the job!!! But sadly, I was disappointed again, it is a huge pay cut. While it felt so wonderful to be offered a job, I had to decline the position. Why does this stuff keep happening?
Oh my gosh, I'm just so tired of this, will things ever change for me? I feel so defeated. Where is that confident HR assistant that I used to be 25 years ago? She's gone. Well, actually she's there, but I feel like no one out there knows about her skills and talents. In a year's time I applied for about 25 different jobs with only a handful of interviews. It was demoralizing.

I kept praying about it and one day on a whim, and actually with a bad attitude thinking, "Why am I even doing this, they won't call me",  I sent in my application for a part-time benefited position in the Education Department of the company I currently work for.

To my complete and utter surprise, I received an email from the manager stating he would like to set up a phone interview with me. I was so very excited, but also absolutely scared to death. You see, after all the failures and disappointments, I had no confidence in myself. I was completely drained and had no belief in myself, but I did believe that God could help me and I was in the palm of His hand.
I really prepared for the interview. I printed off the job description and made sure I was brushed up on everything they were requiring. I searched the internet for interview questions and had answers prepared. I put signs on my doors in case someone came over during the interview. I called all my prayer warriors and had them praying for me.
I laid out all of my information in front of me including my resume and I also had my coffee (of course) and a glass of water in case I got a frog in my throat, and Kleenex in case I needed to sneeze. I used the landline so there would not be any cell phone service issues or the call would get dropped. I tried to troubleshoot for any unforeseen situations that might occur.

It was 10:30am and I was prepared and I made the call. I was soooo very scared, but God gave me a confidence and I felt like I did really well! The manager was so nice and we communicated very well. He seemed excited about my resume and all of my past experience. I was very honest and told him that I didn't have experience in some areas, but that I knew I could learn it. We spoke for an hour. When I hung up the phone I felt very good and I could not believe it when I got a call later that day to set up a face to face interview!
Hopes up, fingers crossed and lots of prayers on my way to my big interview. March 2014
This is what I looked like on my way to the interview. I was very careful in choosing an outfit that looked professional yet modern, I wanted to look young and hip, yet not like I was trying too hard. It's really hard to know how to dress, in the old days I always wore a skirt suit with a professional blouse, but now a days that can make you look old and dated. I ended up wearing gray slacks, a beautiful gray floral top and a gray fashionable cardigan. I wore my cute gray herringbone pumps and carried my matching herringbone handbag. I wore fashionable, yet understated silver jewelry.

I also brought my black leather portfolio which held packets I had prepared with my cover letter, my resume and 5 letters of recommendation from my previous supervisors.

I lightened my hair, whitened my teeth and did my nails. Because of my previous defeats, I had no confidence in myself, if God wanted me to have this job, He would have to do it.

The interview went very well, but I have learned from my previous experiences that I cannot trust how I feel about the interview. They seemed to like me and seemed very impressed when I handed each of them my resume packets. At the very end of the interview they asked if I had any final thoughts and I threw my Hail Mary, after all, this is my last chance, what have I got to lose? I said, "Well, I just thought I would tell you that at every job I have had my co-workers have told me they hate it when I have a day off because they enjoy me and miss me when I'm gone." I told them I felt strange saying that, but it's true and they all smiled and loved that I said it.

As soon as I got home I sent them a "Thank you for the interview" email and then waited.

Will they hire me? I don't know, I'm giving it all to God. They said they would probably know by Monday. Monday came and went and I never heard a word. I thought it was all over, but......
It's not a reject email, it's an offer!!! I got the job!!! 
...on Tuesday morning I received this email from a recruiter in the human resource department! I got the job offer!!! Yep....I GOT A NEW JOB!!! And I also got a very nice raise!!! Woot-woo!!! I have no idea why God had me go through all of those interviews, the ups and downs and feelings of rejection, but I can think of a couple of things. Perhaps He wanted to show me how much of a miracle He did for me, perhaps I needed to be completely humble and empty of myself, like I should be anyway, and was totally relying on Him. For whatever reason, I am truly grateful to Him for giving me this job.
This is where I'm sitting! I've been here for a month now and I am so very happy!
I have this humongous desk and I am doing work that I am really enjoying! I only work two and a half days a week (20 hours) and I love it! The best thing is that every single person I have met is so nice. There is not one unpleasant or mean person in the bunch! They also have made me feel so welcome and all told me that they are so glad that I'm there and they appreciate me. I cannot even believe it! This job reminds me of the job I mentioned at the top of this post where it was my favorite job ever!
Happy, thankful working girl April 2014
God answered my prayers! I don't know why I had to wait so long, but it was worth it! I want to encourage you to not give up, God does hear your prayers and will answer them! I waited for a very long time and believe me I went into the valley and the depths of despair at many times. I was defeated, had no confidence and was starting to give up. Through the bad times though, I kept my chin up, kept plugging away and kept praying.

I know this blog post is really long, but I wanted to share with you how utterly defeated I felt and how God brought me through it all by His strength, His mercy, His grace and His favor.

"May the favor of the Lord Our God rest on us and establish the work of our hands for us, yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17

"So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot." Ecclesiastes 3:22a

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord." Colossians 3:23a

Hugs, Sharon
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