Thursday, November 12, 2009

Home, Sweet Home...for now?

The recession has impacted most everyone in America over the past couple of years but particularly in the past twelve months. Blame whom you want - George W. Bush or Barack Obama - but it is bad out there in the job market.

My kids and I are no exception to being impacted. We're feeling the financial sting just like everyone else. Personally, I don't buy into the claim for a minute that the country's economy has "turned the corner" toward recovery.

That has me in the position to make some possibly life-changing decisions very soon. Life-changing for me and for Austin and Amber. There is so much to consider right now: money, job security, education, social support and networks and, of course, God's plan for me and the kids right now.

In one of those good news-bad news situations, I expect to receive a job offer next week. A good one.

That's the good news...that, and it is also a job I would thoroughly enjoy and be very good at. It is the kind of work that drives me, that I have a passion for and would want to get out of bed to go to each day.

The bad news: it is not in Grandview (or the Kansas City area). It would require the kids and I to move at some point in the near future.

I can't really say much more about it right now for business reasons.

There is so much to consider.

I read an article on earlier this week that put the jobless situation in a different perspective. When you consider all the people in our country who are looking for full-time work and compare that to the number of full-time jobs that are available right now, it is - statistically - just as hard to get into Harvard (8% of applicants) as it is to find a full-time, permanent job in America right now.

Whoa. Mentally chew on that for a minute.

I am working two part-time jobs right now and getting some short-term (some would call it contract) work on occasion. It is tough but I am, frankly, blessed to have that much work at the moment. Many others have nothing and are seemingly losing everything. My budget is very tight but there always seems to be just enough provision to get by.

I have been looking for full-time work since the presidential campaign ended over a year ago (I worked for one of the campaigns in a high-level, but low-paying role). The campaign job was a step down financially, so my income has drastically changed since I left the corporate world over a year and a half ago.

The strange thing is: I've been personally happier even though I'm making only a portion of what I have made in corporate salary in the past. Sure, I'm frustrated with not having any nibbles on my resume week after week. However, I get to work from home most of the time and have missed very few of my kids' events.

I'm in elected office and thoroughly enjoy it. Being an Alderman is intellectually challenging, tests your resolve on occasion and is a constant education. I love it. I appreciate the challenge of contributing to solutions, even when the problems are serious.

Austin and Amber have only been in one school since they day each entered kindergarten. The people of the school - faculty, staff and other parents - have watched my kids grow up, watched me go through a divorce and were a tremendous help most anytime I needed it after getting custody of the kids.

Blue Ridge Christian has been very good to me and , more importantly, to Austin and Amber (although Austin would argue that assertion whenever he's assigned math homework that includes story problems). It has been a rock of stability and a good influence on them.

My want is for them to finish school at Blue Ridge Christian School. I know that is what they want, too.

We are also in a church that is ideal for us. Southland Baptist Church in Belton, Missouri is not too big, not too small and has an active youth group that Austin benefits from. The AWANA program is unusually large for a church our size and something Amber really likes. The church is also another wonderful source of high-quality people who have stepped up over the years to help me when I've needed it.

Oh, and by the way, it's doctrinally correct and provided excellent teaching.

My want is to stay right where I'm at, with my friends.

I have alot of great people and things right now, even if money is not among them. That could be called being in a comfort zone, I guess and it is scary to think that I may have to step outside of it in such a big way.

I know that, if we moved, Austin and Amber would make new friends at their new school. I did just that a couple of times when I was a kid. I also know that we would find another church, although I cannot imagine that we would find one as good as where we are now.

It's just nerve-racking when it comes down to pulling that proverbial trigger....facing that decision to uproot and start over.

Sometimes, it's easy to forget that we are not supposed to fear: The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. (Prov. 29:25)

I catch myself with that doubt and fear sometimes. What is the right decision? Where should I go now? Where am I supposed to be? What is the best thing for Austin and Amber?

I have not figured out the answers to those questions yet.

The only thing I have figured out so far is that I'm not smart enough to figure it out. I know that I am not supposed to fear and the track record of having enough provision to meet my needs should be all the proof I need to have faith.

I don't know if this is the right approach, but what I've prayed and what I've told the kids to pray is for God to do one of two things: throw open the doors to this possible opportunity so wide that I can't help but fall through or slam the doors shut so hard I could not try it even if I wanted to.

Otherwise, I'm relying on just me to make a life-changing decision and I want to do much, much better than that.

Wherever we are, be it here in Grandview or somewhere else, I want to know we are in the right place. The rest may not always be easy, but it will be a good thing.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

¿Se enviará en una fecha conmigo?

Routine things sometimes turn into unusual events.

After picking the kiddos up from their friends' house this afternoon, I really didn't feel like making anything for dinner* and decided to take them out to eat. Of course, given that things are financially tight right now, Taco Bell was an easy pick. It's nearby, it's tasty and - of course - it's cheap.

When we walk into the restaurant, we're caught off guard a little because the first thing we see is a couple having a candlelight dinner.

Did I mention we were at Taco Bell?

Obviously, the young man wanted to make an impression and make the evening memorable. He had a bottle of Mt. Dew on a bucket of ice (turns out Taco Bell was out of champagne), candles, nice plates on which to dine and wine glasses (obviously for the aforementioned Mt.Dew). The table was covered in a tablecloth. It didn't match the "89-cent Menu" window stickers that provided the backdrop but, hey, they had the nicest table in the joint.

He carefully poured refilled her glass when the Mt. Dew ran low. Very gentlemanly.

The cashier told me this was a first date. The guy set it up with them in advance. I don't know how it went for them, but it will be memorable either way.

I was tempted to laugh at them (well, him) but, then again, he actually had a date.

Actually, I think it was clever. I don't know these folks, but maybe they are suffering financially like millions of others and they found a way to have a date without spending alot of money.

Maybe they are college students and, like most people that age, are short on cash.

Maybe he just wanted to be different than the other guys. Either way, he seemed to be acting with a level of manners not always seen in today's young people and I have a feeling that will make more of an impression on the young lady than the Beef & Cheese Burrito.

For their sakes, I hope the faux-Mexican food that is Taco Bell's product doesn't make an impression at any point in the date...just sayin'....

Really, the more I think about it, there's really no downside for him in all this. Think about it: let's say the date tanks and they don't like each other at all. Big deal - he spent something like $8.46 on dinner. Also, the Grandview Taco Bell provides a bowl of after-quesadilla mints which will come in handy in case he gets himself a first date goodnight kiss.

Now, let's say things went well and they are the perfect match for one another. The expectations aren't set very high - the honeymoon could be at the Super 8 near Six Flags and he's not going to disappoint.

Genius! This guy is a genius I says!!!!

* "making anything for dinner" is a relative phrase. I can't cook worth a darn to start with, so my not cooking is nothing unusual. A typical "Mike recipe" is 1) Open Box 2) Lift Corner of Film to Vent 3) Microwave on High for Three Minutes...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Let me introduce myself to you...

First posts on a new blog are sometimes the toughest. Do they set the tone for the blog?

I don't know - I guess I'm not THAT tuned into the blogosphere. I do know that I have a number of little nooks and crannys on the web. For the most part, they relate to my work and/or political things in which I'm involved.

This blog, though, is going to me from me...not Mike the news reporter or Mike the elected official: it will be my thoughts on other aspects of real life. So, here's the basic introduction:

I'm a 37-year-old single Dad in Missouri. Right now I juggle two part-time jobs: being the morning news producer/anchor for KLJC (Calvary 88.5 FM in Kansas City) and being an elected Alderman (what most cities call City Councilman). I also do a fair share of work filling in for both the morning and afternoon drive-time talk show hosts on KSSZ (The Eagle 93.9 FM in Columbia, MO). I dabble in public relations work as well.

My children, Austin (13) and Amber (10), and I live in Grandview, Missouri. They attend Blue Ridge Christian School. The kids live with me 100% of the time.

This blog's name, "On Eagle's Wings", comes from my favorite Bible verse: Isaiah 40:31.

Faith, family, fitness, finance...that's more or less what I'll write about here. I'll save the politics and media stuff for other online places.

Hopefully, I'll connect with some new people and maybe make a few new friends. If nothing else, there might be something interesting that comes along here that you might enjoy.