Saturday, December 31, 2005

As 2005 draws to a close...

If all goes according to plan, I will be at a party tomorrow night, ringing in the New Year with my Oasis family. Provided the weather improves and I am able to get there, that is.

In the meantime, I've been reflecting on the past year, and I have to say, I'm glad 2005 will very soon be history.

Of course, the new year is just an imaginary line in the sand. Time does not know boundaries and limits. It does not know that it has been divided up into years, months, weeks...moments. Aside from our practical purposed for breaking time into bite-size pieces, I think the act of bringing in the new year enables us to break psychological ties with the less pleasant aspects of the things that happened the previous year. It helps make life a little easier to process.

This past year has been a difficult one. When I think of it, I think of hurt and betrayal. I think of the security I felt at the beginning of the year, compared with the free-fall I feel like I'm experiencing now. I think of all I've been asked to endure, all the pain I've had to process between work and personal relationships...and I think that it is true, what does not kill us only makes us stronger. Still, I'm ready to move forward from pain into healing.

This past year was not all about pain and betrayal, of course. I have developed stronger relationships with my friends, and that has been a tremendous blessing. Herbie and I have developed a surprisingly strong friendship, and I've gone from a devastatingly mad crush on him to having the quiet safety of our friendship as a haven throughout many of the trials I've been experiencing. I have found tremendous value in him as a friend, and that by far outweighs any dreamy ideals I had about what I had once hoped our relationship would become.

Pain and endurance have taught me what comfort and ease could never teach me about God and how He works. I have learned of His faithfulness in ways I never would have otherwise. Even this past week, a friend was asking me how my finances were holding up as I got my business going. I told him it was tight, but I would manage, as I've been broke for about six months now. Then on Thursday, this same friend pulled me aside, told me someone had asked him to check on me, and that he had something to give me on the condition that I did not ask about where it came from. I agreed to the terms, and he handed me an envelope, which contained enough money to cover my expenses until I get my commission from the sale of my first policies (which I am enrolling next Thursday, by the way). It is just like God to work that way. Throughout this past year, I have seen time and again where God leaves me hanging just long enough, then He comes through in the most surprising ways at the moment when I feel like I just can't hang on any longer.

God works differently in different people. Over the last few months, His preferred method with me seems to be to let me hang on until I can't hang on any longer, then my grip fails and I fall on His mercy. I've been taken down to the wire many times, only to learn more assuredly every time that God is faithful, and He will come through. "He is not a tame lion." I do not always understand His methods, but I can trust His heart.

As I write this, I can't help feeling some sadness as well. I long to share my life and love with someone. It has been one of the strongest desires of my heart over the past year or so. I know there are a lot of other things going on in my life right now, and you would think they would be a distraction from that desire. But, women are excellent multi-taskers...The men I know do not seem to like me, at least not beyond seeing me as a friend. I feel so lonely sometimes, it literally hurts. A dull ache, but a persistent one. If there was one thing I hoped to receive in 2005, it was the gift of finally being with the man God has chosen for me. Of all the things I could be sad about when I look at this past year, it is that one thing that leaves me hoping 2006 has better things in store.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas is about...regifting

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We had our Oasis Christmas party last night, and it was a lot of fun. As people are prone to do at such parties, we had a white elephant gift exchange. I blessed someone with a few gag gifts that had been given to me by various folks, and I was in turn "blessed" with a Yanni Christmas CD. I then "blessed" Pastor Rick with the CD, because he said he would actually listen to it.

I am very blessed. I realized that as I was surrounded by my Oasis family last night. Not everyone is so fortunate as to have wonderful people in their lives who laugh with them, cry with them, pray with them, and stand with them in good times and bad.

During sales school, I took my sales school roommate over to Herbie and Co.'s house, to drop off the gifts I picked up for the His Hands and Feet ministry. I didn't want her to get bored at the hotel, so I invited her along. We hung out there for awhile, and when we went "home", she said that they seemed like really great guys. I told her they were really great guys, and were some of my best friends. We talked for awhile about Oasis, how important it has been to my life, how Herbie and Co. have so positively impacted my life, etc...It was awesome, because she could see the difference between what she saw at Herbie's place, and what she is used to seeing among her own group of friends, and it really ministered to her. It opened the door to a lot of conversation that we would not have had otherwise. You just never know when you're being a witness.

In other news, life is going well. I have been Aflac'ing for a full week now, and I've managed to schedule several appointments which will likely lead to writing business very soon. I am loving this new career so far, even though it is a terrifying leap of faith. I know God is in it, and I am just enjoying the journey.

God is good.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

It's been awhile since my last post, so I thought I better get on the ball and post an update of some sort on how life has been lately...

The semester is over, for which I am very thankful. I finished to the best of my ability, and I think I actually did okay. I received a 4.0 on my final English paper, which might help make up for the 2.5 I received for the paper prior to that one. lol I am not sure how I will do in Criminal Justice, though, as I was not able to complete my court observation assignment. But, I did the best I could, and that's all I can do.

I have decided not to take classes next semester. I just have way too much going on.

I finished sales school on Thursday, and had my first day out in the field on Friday. I scheduleld five appointments, which I'm told is pretty good for a new agent's first day of cold calling. My first appointment is tomorrow morning at 11:15. I'm a little nervous, but it will be fine, I'm sure. I'm a "hands on" learner, so if things do go horribly wrong tomorrow, it will only mean that my next appointment will go that much better.

As I step out further in faith, I realize the risks become steeper. I am almost done with my now part-time job at Shanty Creek, which means my income will be dependent on doing well with Aflac. On one hand, I have so far been very blessed with good leads and welcoming business owners, and I am confident that I will begin signing groups and selling policies very soon. On the other hand, I realize that if I don't do that, I'm in trouble. However, there is nothing about this journey that has been at all conventional, and has not required every ounce of faith I have. Every step of this journey has been "all or nothing", and this is no different. Either I believe God brought me here for a reason and intends to provide what is necessary for me to succeed, or I believe He brought me here to fail completely and intends to abandon me at this very crucial point. There is no half way.

After my first day out in the field, it has become apparent to me that I will need to move in order to make the most of the opportunities available to me. I am working in the Petoskey/Harbor Springs area, and I live an hour or so south of there. Making that drive two or three times a week just to prospect businesses is going to become costly, not to mention what it will take to be able to service those accounts adequately.

It is funny, because for roughly the last year or so, my dad has been telling me that I needed to move up that way. I kept saying no, I don't want to move there, I want to move to Traverse City. But that door has remained tightly shut. I've also wanted to become more involved in ministry, but have had a hard time finding my niche in an area that is absolutely saturated with people willing to serve. However, my church is currently working on a church plant up in Petoskey. Lots of room to serve there! All indicators point to a move north. Now, I just need the business so I can generate enough income to make the move.

But, all that will come in time. It is good enough for now to finally feel at peace with where I am and where I am going. And with what I've seen so far, I can say with confidence that when the time is right, God will provide all I need to make the move.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Now where was I...?

Okay, so it has been nearly a week since I passed the exam. Life since then has been very busy, and I have had little time or energy to post.

I signed my contract with Aflac last Thursday. This morning, I met with my manager, then spent the afternoon calling various businesses in the area, introducing myself and asking if I may send the owner some information about my business. My business. Yikes. This is scary.

I've never envisioned myself as a business owner. I've always wanted to be my own boss, but never really saw that I would be able to do it. This is dream, finally realized.

I am praying now that God will lead me to the right businesses. Being my own boss is great and all, but without people to actually write business with, it doesn't do much for my income. I am praying for good leads, receptive business owners, and a healthy income to begin very soon. I am praying that God will give me the district. :) (If I'm going to dream, it's going to be big.)

As for my school work, it has suffered greatly in all of this. I just do not have the time to give to it that I did at the beginning of the semester. On one hand, I feel badly about it, because I do not believe in doing anything half-heartedly. On the other hand, I am investing my time in more pressing matters.

I have concluded that I am not cut out for school. I think I've been out of the academic loop too long, and getting back into the swing of it has not agreed with me at all. I do not do well with such rigid structure, unless the structure is done on my terms.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do for the remainder of the semester. It is only a couple more weeks, but in those two weeks, I have Sales School to complete, cold calling to learn, appointments to make and keep....Some people are very good at spinning plates. I am not. I never have been. Especially when I've gotten to the point of not caring too much if one of my plates falls.

I had an uneasy feeling about starting classes this semester. I should have gone with that.

Still, aside from that, this is a very exciting time. I can hardly wait to get through Sales School so I can get rockin' and rollin' on making sales.

I'm glad God has lead me here. I think I am in for a greater adventure than I can even imagine.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Very quickly...

I am too tired to elaborate at length, but...


(Pat, you already know this, but just in case someone else is reading...)

I'll write more tomorrow, but I wanted to post at least that much.

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