Thursday, September 24, 2009

Furlough Fridays No. 7

These furloughs are blazing by so fast.

As I sit here, working on this particular post, I'm amazed that it's already been 7 weeks since these furloughs started.

I am thankful to say that God really has been overshadowing everything from our finances to other situations during this whole time.

And while there have been some stressful times, those seem to be over and I can honestly say that things are going pretty good.

Could they be better? I guess that depends on what angle you're coming from.

Everyone has some sort of dependence on one thing or another.

Most of us have many things we depend on.

And our individual financial situations seem to be the areas that cause us the most grief.

Why is that?

I think it's because we like to be comfortable.

Or perhaps it's because we like to be comforted.

And for many people, money seems to be the one place they find that relaxation or relief.

Thankfully I have a greater source of comfort than money.

I'll be honest: money helps things go easier.

But even when I'm out of money, I still have peace.

Now let me set something straight: I'm not some sort of crazy person who doesn't stress out about anything. I get worried about this or that just as much as the next person.

What I do with those worries, however, may not be as common.

Peter writes in his first epistle, "Give all your worries to God, for He cares about you."

Now that's a lot easier said than done.

When I have my worries, I have a sense of control.

Well ... I think I can at least control how I handle the situation.

But even then I'm unsure.

When I try to figure stuff out on my own, even if I think I have the right answer, there's still that small piece of doubt in the back of my mind.

I question myself.

So to give up that control, and to hand off that worry (or group of worries) to Him, and to trust He will handle my problem(s) ... that's always a tough thing to do.

And I'm not sure if my brain will ever learn to remember all the times He's brought me through.

But my heart reminds me. And His Holy Spirit reminds me.

And so I let go.

And He takes care of me.

And for that I am thankful.

This last Friday was uneventful.

I'd really tell you about it, but there's not much to say.

I'm enjoying the time off with my family.

My wife is awesome, and my girls are amazing.

What else can I say? :-)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Furlough Friday No. 6 ::: Furlough Interrupted

Furlough no. 6 was pretty different than the others in that it was on a Thursday instead of a Friday.

A friend at work need to swap days so she could do some wedding planning stuff, so I took Thursday off and went in on Friday.

And what a Thursday it was!

Personally, I thought it was the best Furlough yet!

Around 8am, I received a call from my boss letting me know that there was no power at the building, courtesy of some crazy person crashing into one of the utility boxes on the back corner of the property.

Right away he remembered that I wasn't coming in, so he said not to worry about it.

And I didn't :-)

To be honest, I went back to sleep for another couple of hours.

When I woke up around 10am, I brushed my teeth, went downstairs and started the grill.

We cooked some carne asada (or "skirt steak" for my lighter friends) and it was awesome!

Susie made some beans and rice, and the meal was on!

Why does food cooked at home taste so much better than anywhere else?

Anyways, while I was at home enjoying the best meal ever, my coworkers were busy trying to get a paper out.

Oh the joys of working. When you're not working. :-)

I may have to take more Thursdays off!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Furlough Friday No. 5

Another furlough has come and gone.

This last Friday, however, was the beginning of a super-long weekend, thanks to Labor Dabor.

And this Friday was pretty nice.

Susie and I did a little running around with the girls, and even had dinner again at B.J.s.

Overall, the long weekend was really nice.

Now I can look forward to a shortened work week.

Nothing to crazy to note for this one!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Furlough Friday No. 3 and No. 4

As I share this last entry with you, I want point out that the title is "Furlough Friday No. 3 and No. 4"

And the reason why the last two Furlough Friday blog entries are combined into this one is what I want to discuss.


I seem to be running out of time.

My work week is now four days long instead of five.

My weekend is now three days long instead of two.

And I'm running out of time.

My work weeks have been blazing by so fast, I can't remember what I'm doing sometimes.

And my weekends are going by so quickly that it feels like I'm not getting to do some of the things I told myself I wanted to do when the furloughs started.

To be honest, I can't even remember what those things were.

Let's get a quick recap of the last 4 furloughs (as best as I can remember as I type this).

Furlough 1 was the nicest. A nice morning, a gentle afternoon and dinner with my family.

Furlough 2 was pretty busy. That Friday, we drove into town and picked up Samarah's birth certificate.

No. 2 was also busy because a few of us from H2O were getting ready for a special service at our church that Sunday night.

That Sunday morning was pretty extraordinary in that I was asked to minister at New Destiny Church in Phoenix after their pastor got sick. Pretty last minute, but God is awesome and I was able to help out.

Furlough 3 may have been the most interesting because that Friday night, as Susie and I were eating dinner at BJ's restaurant, we saw Tara from the last season of The Biggest Loser. We said Hi real quick as we were leaving, told her we were rooting for her the whole time. She said thanks, she appreciates it, and that was that. Pretty cool for us, 'cause we liked that show, and Tara was a fun contestant to cheer on. Tara didn't win. Oh well.

Furlough 4 was busy again because we were going to a concert in Phx. with H2O. Downcast Fable, Uprise, and I am Empire all performed in a crowded church. We had a blast.

And so now, as I type this, it is technically Monday morning.

My last load of laundry is in the dryer, but I'm not waiting for it.

No, I need to go to sleep so I can hopefully (but doubtfully) go to work a little early.

I have so much to do and so little time to do it in.


It's what I should have more of, thanks to the furloughs.

But it's also what I seem to be running out of.

So if I seem rushed this week, please be patient with me.

I'm just trying to catch up.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Furlough Friday No. 2

So this last Friday was Furlough Friday no. 2.

Let me try to remember for a second what I did that Friday ...

Okay, I remember:

This whole weekend we were getting ready for a worship service on Sunday night at our church.

Our youth group, H2O (here), had been practicing all week and we had just a few more days before Sunday to make sure our songs, three of them, sounded as good as they could.

So Friday morning, I had the afternoon already planned out.

But the morning wasn't over yet, so we had some morning things to get out of the way.

Susie and I hadn't picked up Samarah's birth certificate yet, so that was something we wanted to do.

We drove into town and visited the Office of Vital Records.

What a name, right?

The name itself reminds me of an episode of the X-Files when Scully and Mulder break into this building out in the middle of nowhere and inside are a bunch of file cabinets with names of people who have been experimented on in one way or the other.

Scully's name is on one of the folders and it turns out she's been worked on. Doh!

Anyways, we walk into this building and ... it's like the DMV in there! There are a ton of people waiting in line and in chairs with numbers waiting to be called.

My first reaction was, "Boy, am I glad I brought this book."
(Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis)

But actually, it didn't take that long for them to call our number (492) and give us Samarah's birth certificate. We were out of there in less than half an hour or so!

That afternoon, before our last full practice with the band, we took everyone out to P.F. Chang's for dinner.

That was pretty nice, we all had a good time.

Practice went well, we were done by 8:30.

And that was pretty much my second Furlough Friday.

In case you're wondering, Sunday night went well.

I'll try and post some pics on Facebook.

I hope your weekend was as well as mine!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Furlough Friday ::: Day One

It's interesting, to say the least, that on my first furlough day, the jobless rate went from 9.5% to 9.4%, the first decrease in unemployment in 15 months.

It should be noted, however, that unemployment numbers don't include people who are unemployed but not looking for work.

People lose their jobs, start seeking new jobs, and are counted as unemployed.

After a bit of searching, and heartbreak, no doubt, they're unable to find jobs and decide to stop looking. They'll look some more once the economy gets better.

But once they stop looking, they're not counted as unemployed. And the number of individuals who are "unemployed" drops.

Please note that this is not the only reason the unemployment numbers "improved" they way they did, but it probably played a significant role.

So what does this mean for me?

Will I stay on furlough for long? I hope not.

Today, however, was my first day of furlough.

And when I first heard we were going to be having furloughs, I told myself I'd stay as positive about the whole situation as I could.

He is my provider, so I'm not to worried about the whole thing.

He is good to me.

He is good.

He Is.

And that's enough for me, although I could get a little carried away with the fact that He Is and what that means to me ... but I digress.

My first day of furlough was pretty good.

We all slept in today, got up nice and rested, and started our morning routines.

Averie had some school work to finish up and I started to clean up the garage and pull some weeds from the front yard.

Susie did some running around, and when she came back, we went shopping.

Averie got some new shoes and some new clothes.


Taco Bell provided the quick lunch we needed and after a truly wondrous nap, we had some really good dinner at Memphis' Best BBQ in Buckeye with my folks.

Afterwards my mom and dad came over for desert.

Averie and I played a game of Uno (I won, a rare event) and then we just hung out and visited.

Now, as I type this, Samarah is down for the night and my two ladies are playing make-up.

I love living in a house full of girls :-/

So Furlough Friday No. 1 was a success.

Now I can enjoy my weekend.

I love Saturdays because we sleep in, wake-up late, leave the house for lunch and some running around, and then enjoy the best summer Saturday evenings ever.

Sundays are the best because it's a day dedicated to Him.

Sunday morning worship is a time of family. Me and my brothers and sisters gather together to praise Him and enjoy each others' fellowship.

It's amazing.

- Fin

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Furloughs start tomorrow ...

Tomorrow is furlough day no. 1.

I can't honestly say that I'm super-stoked about taking an unpaid day off from work, but it is what it is, so ...

So I decided to keep a diary of sorts for my furloughs, so that when it's all over I can look back and say to myself, "Dang, that sucked."

Or not.

Either way, you're invited to follow along and see how fun furloughs can really be.