Friday, February 18, 2011

He is employed! (the long version)

A few weeks ago I felt like I should begin looking for a teaching job. I resisted. I need to stay at home with my children. They need me. I don't feel like I can be a good mom unless I am there for them each morning, available when they need their homework they left at home, available when their tummy hurts or when they just really need a ski day break from school. I continued to resist until the impression was so strong that I couldn't resist it.

I looked for a teaching job. First I looked in Utah and found the perfect job. I imagined teaching there and what it would be like to do again what I went to school for. I imagined how it would feel to plan important high school history lessons and be praised for my teaching skills. I imagined talking to teens instead of toddlers all day long. And I really wanted to do it. But it didn't feel right because I am a mom right now and the timing is all wrong. I couldn't actually apply and I didn't feel like I needed to.

Next I looked in California. Based on some research it would be much easier for me to begin teaching again here so I looked for a job. I found several but I couldn't apply for them. It didn't feel right. I wouldn't want to leave my children all day yet. I can't turn over their care to anyone else. As I was looking I found a position that I thought Cameron might want to apply for. Something about the requirements made me think of him. The job didn't say Civil Engineer. The position was asking for someone with landscape architecture, architecture, or related background. It asked for someone with administrative experience. He didn't have any but I left the position up for him and when he got home we read it together.

It's funny because I felt like I needed to apply for jobs so strongly that I finally began looking but once I saw that job I never looked at Ed Join again. I never felt the need even though we still didn't have a job and we weren't sure this position was one Cameron could every qualify for. If I hadn't been looking we never would have found the position because it was not posted on any of the regular places we looked for work. I know that was an answer to my prayers.

Cameron felt that he really didn't qualify and I pretty much agreed with him. That was supposed to be the end of it. But I couldn't stop thinking about it and I brought it up with a friend over dinner. Our principal friend encouraged Cameron that he should apply for the position. He made Cameron sound perfect for the job and so Cameron had the energy to apply.

Two full days later Cameron completed the long application. He dropped the application off after a monthly visit to the temple and we waited. We figured that nothing would come of it. Fast forward to the 11th. Just before 5:00 pm in Arizona Cameron received a call asking him to come into an interview at 8:00 am on Tuesday. We were shocked to even get an interview for the position and Cameron's mind began turning.

Our weekend plans changed a little as we realized that Cameron needed a suit to interview in. We needed to buy the suit Saturday and get it tailored same day. It all worked out and the manager of Men's Warehouse was great working with us. In fact we got two suits for the price of one. Cameron researched and talked to different people trying to learn as much as possible about the position.

Monday he spend the entire day preparing for the interview. He worked harder for that interview than I thought was possible. He talked to several people his dad set him up with and learned what he could about what he would be doing if accepted for the position. (His dad was a principal in a nearby school district for many years and these people love him so much they were happy to help his son even though it was a no work day for them) Then that evening his dad spent his time practice interviewing his son and preparing him. I am grateful that he was willing to suspend his Valentine's Day plans to help us and I know that it helped.)

Cameron first had to write a mock memo and then they called him in for a panel of 6 interview. He said it went as well as he could do and now we would just have to wait and see. We didn't have to wait long when he got a call that afternoon for a 2nd interview the next morning.

The first interview was amazing to get but getting a second meant that he was the closest he had been to a job in 5 months. I asked everyone I knew to pray and I spent the night fasting and praying. I don't think I really believed that anyone could pray all night for anything before this. But I did. I know that many other people did the same thing for us. I could feel the prayers and I know that Cameron could too.

Cameron said that the second interview went well and he did the best he could. We just had to wait. They called later that day to say they were going to check his professional references. All day I felt worried and needed to pray and felt the need to plead for the job if it was Heavenly Father's will. I really wanted to know Heavenly Father's will. When my fast was finished, I felt peace and I knew that everything had been done to procure the job. I just felt peace and was positive that everything would work out the right way. I didn't worry anymore. We had to wait one more day and then Cameron got the call. He was offered the job!

It is funny to see things from hindsight. It is 20 20. It is easy to see the lessons we needed to learn that Heavenly Father helped us to learn. It is easy to see his hand in it all. It is easy to see that while we didn't have a job we were being taken care of and that everything was perfectly within his control. It is easy to see the ways we were loved and sheltered from the full effects of unemployment. It is easy to see that we would have never found this perfect job without Cameron being unemployed. It is easy to see that we never would have had the faith necessary for fasting and prayer to work without the struggles we went through. I am grateful for this experience which was not easy to go through but which produced results that could not have come in any other way. I hope that I can continue to keep the lessons in my heart and continue to feel the way I feel.

Some scriptures that have been in my reading recently are Jacob 2:17-19.

Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you. But before you seek for riches, seek ye first the kingdom of God. And after you have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good- to clothe the naked, and feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.

I think that we first had to seek Christ fully before we could be ready to have a job.

I also like Mosiah 2:22

And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

I am very grateful for what I believe to be a miracle. Cameron obtained a job that I feel he is qualified for but that without the Lord's influence and blessing he could have never obtained. I am grateful that we can begin a new chapter in our lives which I am sure will also not be easy but that will be worth it at the end also.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The girls get an allowance each week. I pay them so that they can very easily pay tithing and put 10% into savings right away. I pay them on Sunday morning to make it easier. I really like the method we use for allowance lately. I also really like the kids having to hold their own money and be responsible for it.

Last Saturday we went shopping at Target. Ever since we got the Wii our favorite place to visit is the Wii game aisle. The girls were discussing buying games and they decided they would really like to buy mario kart. It was funny to see them sit down between the aisle (where it wasn't too busy) and lay all their change and dollars out to count what they had. I liked that Ali could easily do this and she knew exactly how much she needed to buy it. When it was all said and done they were a dollar short.

I really just wanted to give them a dollar but for me giving an allowance isn't about them having money but it is more about them learning to handle the money they have. They simply didn't have enough. I explained that we never borrow money. Ali tried to negotiate us giving next week's allowance a day early but I didn't allow that either. I explained that in the real world checks never come early but they often show up late for no apparent reason. I also explained that we should make sure this was the cheapest price for mario kart around so that we didn't spend more outside. So they didn't buy the mario kart.

I guess we will see if they still want to buy it this week. They haven't said much. Isn't that just like an impluse buy? The next day you really don't need the item anymore. And if that is the case save your money for something that is important.

I also never buy anything for them if they don't have their allowance with them. They are responsible for bringing it and holding on to it. I also don't pay them their allowance if they don't have their wallets. Hopefully my kids can learn from their allowance financial skills that will last into adulthood.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lessons Learned

I really want Cameron to have a new job. I yearn for a job and each time he applies for a job I imagine what it would be like to have the job. I imagine him going to it and what he would be doing and whether he would like it or not. I imagine the paycheck. I imagine what I would do with the paycheck. I imagine where we would live. (He has applied to jobs in all sorts of different states.) I imagine what we would do there. I think of the ways I could use the money in a better way than we used it before based on what I have learned while waiting for a job.

Waiting for a job to come along has been tiring. Cameron was called as Elder's Quorum President yesterday. That is the 3rd Stake Calling in a six month period. He has accepted all them because we need blessings (and because he was asked to do it). I spoke with a friend and said there is only one blessing that I want. Cameron to find a job to support us. We talked about the lessons learned and what I still may need to learn now.

I have learned a really important lesson about money. Don't spend as much as you have ever. In the past 5 months of unemployment I have learned that saving 10% of your money is very important because you never know when you might need it and you might as well take care of yourselves first. We accomplished a very important landmark in our savings account yesterday.

I have learned to pay my tithing religiously. I have always paid it but now it is the first thing out of the account and I feel proud to hand over the money I feel I can't live without. I also have learned to pay a fast offering. The fast offering is more for us than it is for anyone who might need it.

I have learned to attend the temple. I have made it a goal to go monthly and to enjoy being there. I appreciate the learning and growing I can do there. I appreciate the chance to learn with my husband.

I have learned to pray.

I have learned that Heavenly Father can provide for you even when you think it might be impossible. I have learned that blessings can come in many different ways.

I have learned that unemployment checks come whenever they want. On time, two weeks late, or not at all. You just have to accept that fact and deal with it. Even when our checks are very late we have never gone hungry.

I have learned that lots of people care and help out in all sorts of little ways. (Cameron has found fences to build, rooms to paint, and other things to build to help out.) Thanks to our ward members for helping out.

I have learned that there are a lot of worse things out there than being unemployed. I am grateful for our mostly healthy bodies, for the chance we have to be together as a family. I am thankful for my trials and glad that I am not experiencing anyone else's trials right now.

I guess the lesson I still need to learn is to be completely happy with what I have. Or to be happy despite what I don't have. I still want more. I am not sure how to force myself to learn this lesson. I want what we don't have and I think I should want it since if I don't we would be accepting a life of living off unemployment. I guess the lesson to learn is to really want something but be content to wait until the Lord sees fit to give it to you. I hope I can learn this lesson soon.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Trip to Joshua Tree

We took a trip to Joshua tree in January for the day to go climbing. It was Conner's birthday. He is a 16 year old from our ward and he likes to climb so his parents asked Cameron and our branch president who is also an avid climber to help with his party. I tagged along with the kids.

We set up three routes next to each other and some of the guys climbed a 4th route in the afternoon. I loved the day spent at Joshua Tree and still admit that it is my favorite place to go climbing. Most of us climbed at least once and I made it to the top! I won't tell you how soar I was afterwards because that would spoil the accomplishment. I will tell you that I am no longer scared to sport rock climb and that seems like an amazing accomplishment since at one time I regularly cried while on the rocks. I hope to climb a lot more in the future.

Annika spent the day rolling around in the sandy dirt. She loved every minute. She was pretty hard to watch but a lot easier than she would have been at most places you can rock climb at.
This is the 5.10A that Cameron climbed at the end of the day. He managed to get all the way to the top but it was a little harder than in days past when he was always climbing. I guess we will have to go out more often to climb.

Ashling spent the day convincing all the boys to lift her to the top of this rock or help her get up somewhere she couldn't quite make on her own. Thank goodness she is cute and nearly every boy was willing to do whatever she asked. She was pretty good at getting up most rocks on her own too. She climbed all the way to the top of the rock we were on the back way and felt accomplished enough with that.
Ali climbed to the top of the rocks on her own. She also played with the boys her age who were there and threw a football a lot. She convinced Sierra, her dog, to climb all the rocks with her.
Cameron did not like setting up the climb for the 5.10 and he didn't like rappelling off the top either. It was a sketchy thing but he did it anyways without any problems. Good job Cameron!
We ended our evening at taco bell and then drove home the back way to Running Springs. It was interesting to drive through the barren Johnson Valley and think that they are just a short ways from metro LA but everything is so rural out there.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

After the rain came snow...

It rained for so long but then at the end of the rain it finally started snowing. Once the road was covered we dressed for snow and went for a walk. We were so excited to get out because in the rain you really can't go outside but with snow you can go out as long as you are dressed right. We went on a walk to check out the overflowing dam. We loved the walk and the girls loved the rain. The only bad side was all the water everywhere caused the girls to get wet inside their boots and then they were freezing.

It Rained and Rained...

We had quite the rainstorm right after school got out for winter break. It rained for 8 days straight with hardly any breaks. Cameron measured the rain and in 8 days we received 34 inches of rain. The last part of the storm was quite intense and there were mudslides everywhere. Our highway washed away and will be closed for what they say will be 1 -2 years. In addition parts of highland were covered in 3 - 4 feet of mud and houses were completely destroyed. It is amazing what mother nature can destroy in a day and how long it takes us to rebuild it!