Moving, Day 3

I had quite the scare this evening at our new place.

When you're moving into a house with concrete floors and remodeling underway, things are covered in dust and debris and its hard to know what to do with your stuff.  I mean, I don't want to move anything into a room where piles of concrete dust and tacking nails from carpet that had been pulled up and pieces of drywall are laying around everywhere.  So I did my best to clean up- sweep, shop vac and pick up debris.

The glass shower doors from the downstairs shower were resting against the wall in the hall, so I picked one of them up to move it into the laundry room.

This is what it looked like when I picked it up:


This is what it looked like after it exploded in my hands before I even sat it down in the laundry room.




Considering that I was showered with glass, I felt protected and thankful that I walked away with a superficial laceration on my finger.



James got more done on the shower upstairs.  A man is supposed to come with the cultured marble slabs on Friday to finish the job.

Almost all the work James has paid someone to help him with on this house- the septic install, garage door repair and automatic door opener install, and shower slabs- has come through Craigslist.  Craigslist has turned out to be a pretty good resource for this move.

We have much more to do.  It will get done, and we'll be tired.

I got my badge at today's orientation at the hospital.  I was supposed to meet with the director of my department, but it turns out, there is no director currently in that department.  Not sure what to think of that.  The unit secretary who gave me my packet and said she would text me in a day or so with my schedule for next week, when I will actually shadow a nurse on night's shift, was very nice though.

I have a hard time not obsessing about work issues.  When I'm not working as a nurse, I thoroughly enjoy the domestic business of being a homemaker and give myself to it gladly.  But when I am working as a nurse, I find the hours, and sometimes days before and after keep my mind busy with thoughts.  What ifs.  Scenarios. Concerns. Anxieties.  I'm fighting to keep those anxious thoughts running.  Being busy with the stuff of moving helps.  But most of all, I find myself casting all those cares on my Lord, because He cares for me.  It's not good to be overwhelmed with anxious thoughts, but it is good to cast all those cares on the One who searches and knows my anxious thoughts already.




Quieted,
Sheila

Moving. Day 2.



It's too late for a thought out and well-edited blog post. But before I hit the hay I wanted to share some interesting highlights of the day.

I was able to start orientation today with Abrazo Healthcare.  The lady at HR called and apologized at 7:30 this morning and told me I was good to go.  There were about 50 of us in a large room all day listening to 3 or 4 different talking heads.  The most interesting speaker was the supply chain head.  He had a dry sense of humor and made an otherwise boring topic actually thought provoking and funny.  You don't realize how much stuff costs and how much waste goes on and how many hands the stuff has to pass through to get to the patient and how many people have to get paid to get it to the patient.

Twenty years ago there were 30 or more generic drug companies.  Any guesses how many there are now?  If you guessed a two digit number you're wrong.  3.  There are 3 generic drug companies in existence today.  70% of the world's generic I.V. medications are made by one company.

In other interesting facts, Abrazo Healthcare does not hire people who use tobacco products because in Arizona, people who use tobacco products are not considered a protected class.

Additionally, according to the risk management presenter, if the airline industry performed as poorly in safety as hospitals do, there would be one 747 crash with hundreds of fatalities daily.

Also, because people like me may blog about work-related things, I signed an agreement to put a quote on my social media posts something to the effect that: The thoughts expressed here are my own and do not reflect that of Abrazo Healthcare.  Since this blog is the only place I might posts thoughts about work, nursing or Abrazo, I'll add such a disclaimer somewhere on my sidebar.

We moved more things over to the Surprise house today.  James worked on moving the pipes another inch or two so as to align with the drain hole in the shower base.  He says this bathroom remodel is by far the hardest do-it-yourself project he's ever undertaken.  There's a thick layer of drywall dust everywhere.  The dumpster people didn't empty the dumpster today.  With a full dumpster and more debris building up piles around every corner I think I'm going to have to make a haul to the dump myself soon.

My sister-in-law (I hate calling her that... she's my sister in Christ... she's my sister) sent me a very encouraging thought today.  She was reading Genesis as she's taking notes of what God is speaking to her heart as she reads through the Bible and she noticed how first God spoke light, then formed things, then gave us dominion over them.  She noticed it more as an order of the creation process rather than just as He made this day 1 and this day 2 and this day 3, etc.  She shared it with me with this move in mind and how were sort of starting from scratch... no carpet, no showers, no laundry, etc.  First, speak light into the situation.  Next put things into formation.  Last rule over it.

Her thoughts immediately brought to mind:

You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden. - Matthew 5:14

(my view as I was leaving the Surprise house this evening)
Things may seem "formless and void" right now, chaotic even, but Jesus is the Light of the World, and He is in me.  And greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world.

Quieted,
Sheila

Longing for home


Big sigh. Friday at 5 am we got in the car and began our travels back home to Arizona. Yesterday around 5 pm we pulled in to our Litchfield Park address. But, there was no settling in and relaxing to be done. We spent the remainder of Saturday unpacking, doing laundry and preparing for today- moving day 1.

At the beginning of the month we purchased a home in Surprise on horse property.  The house required some fixing up and invited some remodeling projects James was excited to start.  So, while the boys and I were on a road trip and visiting family in Nor Cal and Oregon, he was at the Surprise address knocking things down, tearing things out and running into road-blocks as is the normal course in any remodeling project so I'm told.

As of today, we still have no showers and no washer and dryer at the new house.  The basement floor (where all the bedrooms are) still has no carpet, just concrete.  That I can live with for awhile, but showers, not so much.  James has been working non-stop after work and on weekends to complete the projects he started a couple weeks ago, but things just haven't gone as he planned, so now we're sorta in a pinch.  We have to be out of this house we're renting by July 1st.  That's next Monday.  Yikes!

On top of all that, I'm supposed to start my week of Abrazo's orientation tomorrow.  But, it might not happen.  While I was at the hotel in Bakersfield yesterday morning, I checked me email (which I hadn't checked for several days) to find a disturbing email from my future employer saying I had until 3pm on the 20th to complete a mandatory training online or I wouldn't be able to start on the 24th.  Well, that didn't happen.

My first response in situations like that is to get a big knot in my stomach and worry.  But this time, I just looked up and knew Who was in charge.

I don't know how I missed this mandatory training.  The email I got suggested this was something I should have known about. I looked back in a packet of papers the lady gave me the day before I left for our road trip and found a paper about this training.  It didn't mention any timeline for getting it done and I don't recall anyone saying anything to me when I went to the HR department to do all the paperwork.  So I figure the worst that can happen is they'll think I'm a flake and choose to not hire me.  And if that doesn't happen, I guess they'll give me a later orientation date.  Both options would open up this week for me to focus on getting things packed and moved to the new place.  But, since this all went down yesterday, in my head, with no communications possible with the HR department, and since I did the training in the hotel room yesterday as soon as I read the email, I'm going to show up tomorrow at the orientation and see what they say.  If they say I'm not hired, I guess I'll start looking elsewhere again.  If they say I have to take the orientation at a later date, so be it.  I'll go home and get busy moving.  If they say I can stay, I'll stay.

I feel sort of like I have no real home.  It's an uneasy feeling.  Moving from place to place on our road trip.  Coming home only to pack and move half our stuff to another house.  It's good for me to feel this way.  It makes me look up and take hold of, "...we have no continuing city here.  But we seek one to come."

I think in part I feel this way even more because even in my own home, there is no unified rest in that promise.  And when I'm away, like I have been for these weeks, and I come home and know I can't go to spend time in prayer and in learning from God's word and in worship together with others who I know do rest in that promise; and when I can't go spend that precious time when I feel most alive, teaching God's word to the kids at Pathway (and at home or anywhere that happens), I feel a deep ache.    Today, I needed to stay home and help my husband get stuff moved.  But in my heart, I longed for that set apart time, when I get "centered down" for the week to come.  When my focus gets rightly fixed on Jesus to run the race of faith this week.  When I remember where my real home is and preach to soul, "Why so downcast oh my soul? Hope in God!"





 Quieted,
Sheila

More Roadtrip Thoughts











Not much time for blog posts on a road trip vacation like this. From the time we reach my sister's in Redding till we leave Roseburg to head back for our long drive home to AZ, the days are packed full of visiting family.

We're in Roseburg now, got here late Saturday night. The family worlds all come together here. My dad plays basketball on Saturday nights right down the street from where my house full of nephews live. This is our home base (the house full of nephews, aka the Simmie house) here in Roseburg. On Saturday when we got in, we visited my grandmother in Oakland for a little bit (this is my boys' great-grandmother) and took the tour of the house she's living in, which my dad has been working on remodeling for quite some time. My dad does carpentry work well, even though he is a log truck driver, he's gifted in home construction, furniture carpentry and masonry. He's made much progress on the house. I'm always amazed at the ability to build things from raw materials.

My grandfather is living with my dad.  Ryland is thrilled to find Rockhounding runs in the family.  My grandfather (his great-grandfather) has a collection of rocks he inherited from his dad (my great-grandfather) who was a rockhounder, did masonry work and made jewelry.  Ryland is thrilled!  He spent much time talking to a his mostly-deaf 80 year old great-grandfather about rocks.  Ryland doesn't know it, but my grandfather can probably die happy now.  Not another child or grandchild in his family  has shown as much care for the rocks he's kept as Ryland.

My Simmie nephews are all awake now (it's 11:30 and this is a night-owl house in the summer :)  and we're off to go for a hike in a bit.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, or back at the Waddell hacienda my husband is holding down a full-time work schedule in a new position at work, trying to install new showers and purchase used appliances, keep our rental house clean while prospective renters come to look at it... amidst all that he says he really misses food.  Real food.

We'll leave very early Friday morning and will be home late this Saturday night.  I start my orientation with Phoenix Baptist Hospital on Monday and we have to be moved out of our rental by July 1st.  It's gonna be busy until then.




 Quieted,
Sheila

“There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes.” - C.S. Lewis

When I read Psalm 8, my mind goes to Lamentations 5.

What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. -Psalm 8:4-5 
The joy of our hearts has ceased; our dancing has been turned to morning. The crown has fallen from our head; woe to us, for we have sinned!... Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! - Lamentations 5:15-16,21

We are Imago Dei.  We human beings are created in the image of God.  We are "gods" in the sense that we were created by God to rule his creation and were crowned with a glory and honor special to being creatures in God's own image.  Yet the crown has fallen from our heads.  We have sinned.  The nature of Imago Dei with which God made us is now twisted, distorted, perverted.  And so we twist and distort and pervert the glory and honor He has made us to have.  We need to be restored.










We made it to my sister's in Redding late last night.  I finished listening to The Last Battle as we made our way up from Monterey to Yuba City where we ate dinner at Subway with my childhood friend Lori.  Lori and I met each other in first grade and have kept in touch and been friends ever since.  That doesn't happen very often.  She and her little girl Lily are a joy!  I think there should be a book titled Lori and Lily.

From the moment I woke up this morning until a couple hours ago I've been enjoying the cool weather, beautiful surroundings, and, most of all, watching my sons and nephews fish, craw dad hunt, ride bikes, laugh, wrestle, and play together.

Tomorrow my mom will join us here.  It's so good to see my sister and brother in law's fervor for God's word and God's ways to be taught and lived and learned in their house, with their kids.  Truly I'm getting to see the work of God I got to participate in all those years past praying.  What a gift!!!



Quieted,
Sheila

He's chasing me









I'm married to a police office, even still, when I see an officer behind me, I get all nervous. Suddenly I'm trying to recall everything I learned in driving school. How many feet from an intersection do I need to turn on my blinker? Who has the right of way? Grab the wheel at 12 and 2, or is it 9 and 3? And even though I don't have a lead foot, I do occasional drift above the speed limit, so when I see that patrol car behind me, my eyes immediately check my speed.  I've had several of such moments on the road today as we made our way from Litchfield Park to King City, CA where we've stopped for the night.

As I was driving I remembered reading Ann's blog regarding this line from Psalm 23:

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life... (vs. 6 ESV)

She talked about the word for follow: radaph.  It means to pursue or chase or run after.

I smiled as I drove.  God is chasing me with his goodness and mercy.  He is following me, not to punish me for my sins (Christ took all my punishment), but to show me his goodness and give me his mercy.  I'm being pursued by God's mercy and goodness!  Just think about that.

I thoroughly enjoy a road trip.  For me, it's not about getting there fast.  It's about the memories and the experiencing new places and changes of scenery.

This is our 4th year going west for the summer.  This year might be the last two week trip to Nor Cal and Oregon we get for a couple years.  Since I'll be starting a part time position at a hospital 2 days a week, I won't have two months of summer free.  So I'm especially treasuring this year's trip with the boys.

They did really well considering they were stuck in a small car for about 11 hours today.  Connor especially has very long legs and not much room to stretch back there.

While we were driving we listened to 15 chapters of the Last Battle by C. S. Lewis.  I had not read that book in the Narnia series.  So many great analogies in Narnia... the dwarfs hardened their hearts to the notion of there being an Aslan at all.  They'd been told lies by the ape and had been tricked into slavery by the Calormen.  When face to face with the truth about Aslan they chose to not choose.  They would be independent, they thought.

Tomorrow we head to the Monterey Aquarium.  I'm sure it will be a great time.  We went to cannery row last year, but didn't have time to go to the aquarium.  We'll spend the first half the day there and then head north.  At least that's the plan.  Whatever happens tomorrow, I'll be looking over my shoulder for His goodness and mercy and slow down long enough to give thanks for it!  And I'll be missing the sweetness of the gathering of believers at Pathway.



Quieted,
Sheila

Refuge in the Unchangeable.

I haven't written consistently over the past few years. In fact, I stopped blogging and journaling about 4 years ago when my husband and I separated. I felt like God shut my mouth (or hands). In part I couldn't write publicly because I was afraid of what would come out and the further damage it may cause. But mostly I just didn't have the overflow of thought to pen or keypad like I had before that major earthquake hit my life.  It wasn't really until my pastor encouraged me to write more that I started doing so.  But, even since then, I've been very inconsistent.  Tonight, while reading his blog, I was immediately reminded that I need to "stir up the gift".  I may have had a season of being quiet in my writing/blogging, but it's time to start again, and if I don't shake these cobwebs off, and keep writing I'm gonna be wasting something God gave me.  Not that each post will by any means be "inspired", but I certainly could improve at being more disciplined in writing for the value of the exercise itself.

I watched the eighth graders at Wildflower (the school where I've been employed as a nurse for four years) commence into high school today.  These four years have gone by so fast.  So much has happened.  When a period of time is eventful it seems to go by more quickly.  When I started at Wildflower I was at a very low place in my life.  I didn't want to be there.  I didn't want my life to be the way it was.  But God put me there.  And I'm convinced, after these four years, there were at least some specific children I was put there for.  Not that I was the main instrument of ministering.  Those children were used of God in my life more than they'll ever know!  I was never "Nurse Sheila" before.  And being called "Nurse Sheila" will feel like a hug to me henceforth.

Watching those kids walk in the commencement ceremony today, it hit me:  Connor is going into fifth grade this fall.  That's exactly the age these kids were when I began caring for them at Wildflower.  This means my firstborn son is going to be graduating from 8th grade in a flash!  Oh dear.  I haven't much time.

There are so many changes on the horizon, and, although I know and have great assurance that my good God is sovereign over them all, and has, in fact, ordained them to be, I am still a bit queasy for all that movement and change occurring right now.  I'm starting a new job in the hospital this month.  James  purchased a fixer-upper house which we will be moving into at the end of this month.  The house is on horse property and is in a county-island with a Surprise zip code.  The boys will either have to be driven daily to the school they went to this year (it's a good school) or go to the school where our new house is.  I like the idea of them going to a school in their neighborhood.  I like to know my neighbors and have my kids involved with the kids in their neighborhood.  Going to the same school as your neighbors is a good way to do that.  But I also don't like switching schools.  They both love the school they're at now and so do I.  It's a decision we have to make.

All of this is going down and the boys and I are taking off to Oregon and Northern Cal this weekend for our annual trip home.  We'll be gone for two weeks and when we get back, all those changes will be upon us.

I say all the changes have made me queasy cause that's literally how I feel.  Uneasy. Unstable.  It sure is good to know the Rock in times like this... to know where your anchor is.


So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary. - Hebrews 6:18-19

 Quieted,
Sheila

Anticipation



(Pics from last year's Oregon trip)

We spent almost the entire day at the new house but never managed to see much of each other. The boys were out on the back half of the acre most of the day either digging for treasure, shooting at ant hills with the BB gun, or chasing each other with water guns. James worked on pulling out the old sump pump from the basement and getting a new water softener and water heater from someone on Craigslist while I did the only thing I'm comfortable with in buying a fixer-upper... clean, and played gopher for James when he was at Lowe's and needed me to measure the pipe sticking up out of the sewage ejector pump and get the model number off the corroded thing. I plugged my nose and did my best. Ugh. I can't imagine working in the sewage business. Yuck!

 Bailey, our black lab, wore herself out chasing a squirrel and sniffing for cottontail bunnies.

 By the time we got home all my normal Saturday energies were spent, but I haven't even begun to do the normal stuff that needs to get done on a Saturday around the house we're still living in. I have a lot to do this week if I'm going to head to Oregon on the 8th.  Monday, after work, I take my physical and do all the HR stuff with Phoenix Baptist hospital. I start orientation on June 24th. Tuesday evening we have the end-of-season baseball party at a laser tag place. Wednesday is my last day at my school nurse job and I get to pick up a friend at the airport. Thursday and Friday will be preparing to leave Saturday for the long drive to Redding, CA to stay with my sister.

I look forward to these trips to Nor Cal and Oregon every year!  But I think my boys enjoy it even more.  They're yearly calendar seems to revolve around this trip.  They mention it throughout the school year with longing.  And as we get to summer, daily they ask, "When are we leaving for our trip to Oregon?"  They love the early morning wake-up the day we start out on our road-trip.  They anticipate it.  They know good times are comin'!

It's like that as a Christian.  Our calendar is built around the celebration of Christ.  And life is a pilgrimage and we move through our full days, change of addresses and daily tasks longing for those times when we get to come together and revel in the promises, and tell the Old, Old Story, and rejoice in the gift of Christ, and love one another and Him together, and anticipate the day of the consummation of our longing.

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David. I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD." -Psalm 122:1

And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,  including the new bodies he has promised us.  -Romans 8:24






 Quieted,
Sheila

Sojourning Sheila


I'm thinking of changing my blog title to: Sojourning Sheila {and so I did}.

What I write reflects who I am. Six years ago, when I started blogging, I was inspired by the beauty of making a home and being a helper Imago Dei.  I'm still inspired, yet, refined. Several years ago, my vision of being a homemaker (albeit inspired by scripture) had begun to crowd out who I really am- a sojourner; not finding here any continuing home, but rather looking to the eternal home promised me in Christ.

Psalm 39 is a template of my recent life.  Spiritually, the rhythm of things {the last 7 years} has been harmonious with David's expression in Psalm 39.

I was off course and I realized it at the correction of my good Father. I decided to shut my mouth and guard my ways, hence a nearly complete backing off of all my blogging and writing 4 years ago. But when I don't write, when I keep my mouth shut, a fire burns in me. I have told others I feel as though God has shut my mouth. He has.

 "I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it."

In the past year I have begun writing publicly more often again.  And every time I write here, and see that title: A Homemaker's Meditations, I am reminded of my previous obsession with being home and my off-course plan from which my Lord has lovingly corrected me (although like David I have often felt his discipline has consumed like a moth that which is dear to me- even so He is exceedingly good.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord!).

Yesterday we received keys to our new fixer-upper home.  It was as I drove there that the words of Psalm 39, especially verse 12, washed over me like clean water.  God has moved us there.  Doors have been shut that seemed to be unshutable.  Doors have opened fast and wide that seemed very likely to close.  And there's fear in the air hissing it's temptation to grab hold tightly and yet the Prince of Peace pervades, pushing back fear like an invisible shield.

This world is not my home
I'm just a passin' through.  
My treasures are laid up 
Somewhere beyond the blue.

If a man has Christ and nothing, he has infinitely more than if, without Christ, he has all the family, finances and security this world offers!  I have Him.  I am His and He is mine!  I can hold every thing He gives me with an opened hand.

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in.  Aim at earth and you will get neither. - C.S. Lewis



Quieted,
Sheila

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