Monday, 5 October 2015

Jobs, careers, hobbies, interests

I've always had a wide variety of interests and hobbies, many of which could be turned into jobs or careers.  The trouble now is trying to decide what is what.  Over the last couple of months, I feel like one by one, the pieces of the puzzle are finding their place.  A lot of prayer and pondering has gone into this process, and it's not done yet.  But this is the direction I've received so far.

Music is meant to be just for me.  While in the past I have earned money teaching and coaching, I feel strongly that for now it is for my own healing.  I play and sing and write for myself, or to share my gift with others freely.  Right now, I cannot attach a price to this.  Freely I have been given, and freely I must give.

Photography is to be for enjoyment, for learning, and for a small profit.  I am not pursuing clients, but I will take those who approach me.  I am digging into the training I received years ago in university, and teaching myself new techniques in photography and editing.  I charge a nominal amount, really a very small amount compared to what my time and training are worth.  But in this I am able to give family photos to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it, while making a small amount of money on the side.

Teaching is where my next career is going to start.  This will involve two years of university, starting next September (hopefully.)  In a special blessing I received years ago, meant to help and direct my life, I was told that I would be a leader and example in the career I chose, and that the choice would be up to me.  That was a little scary to face, given the pressure for success but also the complete open ended choice.  I have always had a passion for teaching, but I feel that I won't stay in a classroom for 25 years.  Instead, I feel drawn to help in curriculum development or classroom teaching methods, or something like that.

Writing will pay for my schooling.  This is the biggest leap of faith for me, and the most recent puzzle piece to fall into place.  For a moment I doubted the truth of it, because it can be difficult to earn anything while writing, let alone paying for a university education.  A small miracle occurred to solidify my faith; while I was wondering and doubting, praying for a confirmation, I received an email out of the blue.  A producer for whom I wrote a script over a year ago emailed to say he had finally received payment from a client and was sending me my writing fee.  I had given up pursuing this money last year, and had completely forgotten I was owed it.  Then, just when I asked for confirmation that I could write and earn enough money, it arrived.  Currently I'm writing a screenplay, and if it moves forward as expected, I should receive a large payment for it.  There are no guarantees, but my confidence is buoyed.

I have a hundred writing ideas, and a dozen small business ideas, and I've never felt that I would lack ideas or abilities or opportunities to make money.  But it is a new experience to trust God so completely in such important decisions, instead of relying on my own strength and capability.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

General Conference

Okay, this is me needing to get something out there.

Twice a year, my church live streams 4 two hour conferences over a Saturday and Sunday.  It's called General Conference.  It is a combination of beautiful music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and inspirational talks from church leaders.  It's a time to be renewed, find direction and purpose, and be uplifted.

As a kid, this conference was only available by satellite broadcast to our local church building.  while some people would go back and forth to view all four sessions, most families simply brought their kids to the Sunday morning session.  We would bring books to read and pictures to colour and maybe, just maybe, we might tune in to a story or two.

Now, the conference is broadcast over the internet, so we can view it on our own TVs, sitting on our couch (and yes, even in our pyjamas.)  This has made watching all four sessions a whole lot easier for parents with young kids.  Traditionally we let the kids just go about their business while we listen in, still able to change a diaper or get a snack while hearing everything.

Over the past five years or so, there has been a huge shift in Mormon culture to create a slew of activities that help your kids watch not just one two hour session, but all four.  Pinterest exploded with activity packets.  Two current favourites are "colour the speaker's tie" or eat a certain candy whenever the speaker says a certain word.  And over the past few years, I have faithfully prepared elaborate picnics, printed out hundreds of activity pages, provided glue and markers and scissors, and plied my kids with candy.

None of it works.

To colouring ties: "That's not the right shade of green for his tie! I think it has dots.  No, it's diamonds. Dots are easier to draw.  Diamonds are right. Those stripes are too thick. I don't like colouring. That woman isn't wearing a tie."  For two straight hours.

To candy rewards: "Did they just say the word? I think they did. No they didn't. That was the other word. Yes they did! I'm going to eat one. Don't you dare because it wasn't the word!"  For two straight hours.

To clever crafts: "Pass the glue.  He threw the glue at me. Can you clean up the glue that spilled? I cut my shirt with the scissors.  I cut my hair with the scissors. I can't cut the paper with the scissors. She's colouring her arms instead of the paper." For two straight hours.

So I sat myself down one day to figure out why on earth I was doing what I was doing.  I'm not opposed to hard work, but sometimes I forget why I'm doing something.  The goal was to create a love of conference in my children, a desire as they grow to listen to these inspiring words.  But what I was doing was not doing that.  Not at all.  The result of what I was doing was four kids pumped up on sugar, frustrated from the crafts, and nobody hearing a single word.

I realized that I love watching conference, and I did not grow up being made to watch it.  the love came as a grew to an appropriate age for the kind of activity it is.  I was getting caught up in Pinterest and Facebook land, and by a style of learning that, while seems to work for others, was clearly not working for us.

So this weekend we simply had the conference on.  James and I watched what we could, and listened to the rest if we had to step out of the room.  The kids came in and out, watching pieces here and there. Somehow all three boys heard the story about young boys digging a huge hole in a field and creating a mud puddle in which to swim.  Juliette fell asleep next to me for a bit.  There were no tricks or gimmicks.  And I have to trust that one day my children will love it like I do.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Long breaks

These long breaks between entries are not intentional.  September was supposed to bring with it a return to schedule, and a moment to breathe again with the boys back in school.  Somehow I just haven't found the groove yet.  Supply teaching, working out at the gym, writing, has just gone by in a blur.

Juliette started preschool, which gives me one morning a week to run errands without a three year old in tow.  This has been the most difficult part of mothering so far: four kids who just don't do well in large spaces. My children crave the freedom to run, and that just doesn't work in a Wal-Mart, or a parking lot, or the grocery store.  The first day Juliette was at preschool I must have hit a dozen stops in less than two hours.  It was so stress-free I relished it.  It was supposed to be my writing time (a looming deadline is fast approaching) but it was too tempting.

Speaking of writing, I'm head deep in writing a screenplay.  The first draft was completed back in June, but a complete revamp is now underway.  As a writer, I have a dozen new story ideas a week and I can't wait until I have some time to get some of them on paper.

Soccer is about to start up again.  Colin and Caleb both had rep tryouts, and both made their teams.  We really enjoyed that part of our summer last year - lazy summer nights sitting by the field, chatting with friends, the younger ones at the parks, watching the boys play their hearts out.

I'm gearing up to apply for teacher's college, starting next fall.  I've had so much encouragement, from teacher friends and from teaching professionals who have seen me supply.  While I don't know that I'll stay in the classroom for my whole career, this is definitely the first step.

After a decade away, I've rejoined the cell phone league.  I still have trouble remembering to charge the thing and make sure I take it with me, but we've ditched the landline at home, so hopefully before long it will start to stick.

And finally, I moved our piano from the playroom into the living room.  The poor think has been gathering dust because I can only play it when the children are all otherwise occupied, but that usually means they are in the playroom, which makes it difficult for me to actually sit at the piano.  This year I joined a choir and we are preparing Handel's Messiah for the Christmas season, but I've been sorely missing my musical outlet as of late.  Time to remedy that.