Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'm tired! And I feel like complaining...

... about a lot of things.

Right now, I am tired of discipline and structure for the girls. It's been tough since I came back from my trip. We feel that my being gone really stirred up anxiety in O, or she is just going through a regression phase, but regardless of the reason, we are sick of behaviors we thought were behind us. It's sad to watch really. She feels the need so much to be in control, to be the parent, to be in charge for her and her sister. But she's only 4 and doesn't have the skills or the mental capacity to even know what to do. So she just does SOMETHING... ANYTHING... in her mind to deal with what is going on around her. This typically leads to destroyed things, defiant behavior, a lot of really wrong choices, and a whole host of things that make her annoying to be around. Who is this kid? And why did we invite her into our home? :)

I'm tired of the heat. We had an amazing summer. Temps in the 80s and low 90s during the day and chilly at night. That's all forgotten now - it's 103 today. We run the air constantly, and I know the electric bill will be huge.

I'm tired of how the stress of everything is affecting me physically and how almost everyone I know has told me "... you look really tired..." I'm tired of hearing that! I'm tired of the bags under my eyes and the solemn look on my face that is present most days.

But mostly I am so very tired of uncertainty. It's been almost three years now that we have been living with the fear behind having no idea how we will pay our next mortgage payment. Maybe we are banging our heads against the wall and just not listening to what is being told to us. Maybe we are living above our means and we should cut our losses, take the destroyed credit rating, and move back to a mobile home. Maybe we will never again enjoy the kind of earnings we experinced four and five years ago. The stress of this is just overwhelming at times. It is a black cloud over me all the time - draining my energy, robbing me of joy, keeping me from investing in others because I am so focused on our own situation.

It seems much worse now that we are responsible for two more lives...

I have about two weeks left at my job. Unless something dramatic happens this week, our company is sunk. We owe much more than is in the bank account, and when that is gone, there will be no money to pay me anymore. This is sad for a lot of people - not just me. I've learned a lot, and my resume is certainly more impressive, but this company was perhaps the best chance I will ever see in my lifetime to be in on the ground floor of a business that has the opportunity to grow into a worldwide presence. It has been fun to dream of all the good things I could do for so many people as I helped direct the company. It's been sad to watch my boss deceive himself and others and waste the many opportunities we've been given. He will be in overwhelming financial trouble. At 62, I wonder what other opportunities are out there for him. A lot of good people will lose their investments and the hopes they had for the future as well.

There has been a verse that has been on my mind for about a week now. Matthew 5 starts out with

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven...

I've been wondering a lot about what it means to be "poor in spirit." I love the way The Message paraphrases that, "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope..." Jesus spoke so much about the Kingdom of Heaven being at hand. Not that life sucks here on Earth, so just deal with it until you die and get to Heaven. Jesus taught that God's Kingdom was here - now. So what does that mean??? How do I live like I belive that?

I know I feel poor in spirit. I know I'm at the end of my rope. I'm tired of having $10 in the savings account just to keep it open. I'm tired of saying "No" and correcting my daughter dozens of times everyday. I'm tired of Jenetta's business being in the toilet. I'm tired of going back to applying and interviewing for a job and begging for someone else to take a chance on me. I'm tired of the uncertainty and doubts. Maybe it means when I acknowledge that I don't have the answers and get a proper humble perspective of myself and God, that there is room for Him to work in my life and my circumstances. At times, I have clarity of thought. I can look back and see time after time after time how God took care of us, provided us with what we needed, and made things work out in a way that I couldn't conceive of before. I was telling my dad that it would be really nice if God gave us the same spiritual acuity in future events as we seem to be blessed with when looking back. There wouldn't be much room for faith, but it sure seems like it would be more peaceful for everyone... God doesn't work that way. I don't know why.

I want to experience God's Kingdom right now. I want the peace that God gives us. I want to be able to think back on God's provision Jenetta and I have personally experienced over the years, and then have that affect the way I feel for longer than 4 or 5 minutes before the stress comes back. I've been thinking about the phrase from Mark 9:24 a lot lately:

Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

Because that's about all I can do.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trip to Bethlehem, PA

I'm sitting in the airport in Charlotte, NC enjoying a tasty BBQ pork sandwich and a few minutes' relief from the middle seat woes... Traveling with the boss - guess who gets the middle seat? :(

This trip was necessary for work - it was kind of a hail mary attempt to raise some capital for our company. We are so close - we have distribution ready to go - we have product warehoused in PA and SD, everyone loves the water, BUT we just don't have the necessary capital to support the sales and marketing effort. So we met with a small group of our investors. Basically, if we don't get more money from them or from their friends in the next two weeks, our company is pretty much done. I felt pretty good about the meetings yesterday, but the follow up and candid conversations I've had afterward leave me with my nagging doubts.

I could go on and complain about the state of things, how I don't want to lose my job (again), or that if we shut down, a lot of really good people will have lost a significant chunk of money that they will never get back, or how the travel to and from was just about the most terrible I've ever experienced, but that just makes me dwell on it more and I just end up soliciting a bunch of "poor Jon" comments on the blog.

So I'd like to highlight two good things about the trip.

Breakfast this morning was awesome! The blueberry muffin was adequate - that really had nothing to do with the awesomeness...

There is a man on our board of directors who is by far our most active shareholder. He has been a friend to my boss for many years. He is the guy my boss turns to when he's struggling. This man is a sports medicine doctor and former olympic medalist. He is also a believer. He has been such an encouragement to me. Knowing there is someone else out there who I can tell the unvarnished truth to (dropping the annoying company line) is so refreshing. He is a father of 5 young children, and his wife homeschools them. Everything about this guy is rock-solid.

This morning, he and I went away from our hotel and walked down the streets of Bethlehem, PA and talked and prayed together. One of his kids is into astronomy big-time. He was talking about a star called Canis Majoris, which is apparently is 1800 times larger than our own sun. His boy brings that up a lot when he is facing a tough time - "just think - a star that massive - and God just SPOKE it into existence!" We talked a lot about the beauty and power behind that. Words really don't do it justice. We have a relationship with the God who created Canis Majoris. Yet He is intimately involved in our lives and knows the number of hairs on our head.

We prayed for each other and left the cafe where we ended up knowing that no matter what happens with the company, God is in control. We don't have to be...

The other thing deals with the girls. I have been in pretty close contact with Jenetta when I could during this trip. She even took care of mapquesting directions for us from the Newark Aiport where we ended up at midnight on Wednesday. In our conversations together, it is obvious that me being gone for three days has a big effect on the girls. Jenetta is really frustrated. Behaviors we haven't seen in months are resurfacing. Jenetta is convinced that the stress and uncertainty is coming back for them. No matter how much I tell them I am coming back on the phone, they've heard all that before, and won't belive it until they see me when they wake up tomorrow morning.

Hearing her talk about this just breaks my heart for our daughters. We try so hard to provide stability for them, and they have shown so much improvement over the last 5 months. It is such a fragile thing...

But in a way it makes me feel kind of good, too. It's good to feel needed. It's good to feel responsible for something other than your own hapiness. This was the reason we were interested in the concept of adoption anyway.

So I am exhausted, and hoping to get out of Charlotte in about 45 minutes. Pray that I make it home and have energy and strength and patience to be full-time dad tomorrow.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hawaiian Luau

Last night we enjoyed a "Hawaiian vacation" right here in San Diego. We went to the Kona Kai resort on Shelter Island. They had a really great buffet that included BBQ Kalua pork. After the meal, there was a demonstration of different Polynesian dances and songs with a really nice narration of the meaning behind each.

The girls even got to go on stage near the end and dance with the show! Sorry, I can't post the video of that. But if you live close to one of my family memb
ers, they can share the video with you sometime. It was really cute.

We went with CJ and Joy, and it was a really fun evening. Plus, the girls spent the night at Grandma's house afterwards - what could be better? :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I thought we were past this...

There are many great things about being close friends with people who are 10 years younger than you. Watching them start their families, stress out about home purchases, walking alongside them as they struggle in areas you've been through.... It can be very rewarding. It is also a lot of fun!

But there is a downside. When we were in Flagstaff and early in our time here in SD, we were at the age where friends came and went as directed by schooling and careers. It is hard to go through that. You feel like you really are close to someone and then they (or you) move on to another chapter in your life. Most of our peers are pretty much settled by now. They have homes, families, steady incomes, (more of less) etc., and because we have lived here now for 11 years, everything pretty much stayed the same. You get accustomed to the knowledge that they will be there for you and you for them.

Except for a few years ago when we joined a homegroup of other double-income-no-kids people. Now almost all of them have kids and/or only one income, so much has changed! And today, we are going to a good bye party for two families we really love and respect so much. It's hard to go through that again - I thought we were pretty much over that.

Brandon and Crystal Barnett (and Austin) are being transferred to Washington DC. After that commitment is up, they will most likely be returning to the Republic of Texas, so the chances are good we may never live close to them again. Brandon and I are very different, but I've really enjoyed our time together. He's a good friend. (Even if he was convinced he wouldn't like me before we met)... :) He was a great support as I trained for the marathon. They are a great family. Crystal is an amazing mom, and even though we knew that moving around is part of Marine Corp life, it still will be hard to see them go.

Cassia and Brad Carter are moving to Chicago as Brad pursues a graduate degree in art. Brad is a talented painter and an amazing volleyball player. He is a quiet thinker, so when he speaks, it is always worth hearing what he has to say. Cassia is outgoing and warm. She is the person I ask when I have any wine questions, but she is also a person who thinks and likes to discuss and learn. Their attitudes about spiritual growth and understanding are almost infectious. When you are around them, you want to discuss and learn more. We will miss them a lot, too.

So, in a few hours, we are gathering around a pool to hangout and have a good time together, but for me it will be a bittersweet event. It's hard to say goodbye to people that have invested in your life. They've been there for us during a time of great change for us - business dying, changing careers, adopting girls, changing careers again, and so much more.

I don't know how to end this. I'm just sad about it.

About This Blog

  © Blogger template 'Personal Blog' by 2008

Back to TOP