Thursday, January 20, 2005

Employed (Sort Of)

Jasper Speaks:

I have accepted a job. It is with Enterprise rent a car. The hours really SUCK (3pm-midnight Thursday-Monday) but it will pay the bills for now. I start on February 7th for three weeks of 9am-6pm training.

I had a particularly cool phone interview yesterday. It was to be the project director of
Camp Coca Cola St. Louis. It sounds like an AWESOME secular program and a REALLY good fit for me. Please pray that they will feel the same. I actually didn't apply for this position I applied for another job within the company that administers the camp and they said, "wait you are way overqualified for the position you applied for but we think you could be a good fit for this better paying more important job." It was an ego boost I really needed after 3 weeks of being interviewed by 20 year olds with cracking voices!

So please, please pray that it will happen! I would love it! I am praying that the Camp Coca Cola folks will get back and LOVE me before my training begins at Enterprise. It will stink if they call about the same time because Enterprise's policy is no excused absences during the three week training and working from 9-6 will make it hard to fit in interviews.

I sort of had another interview tonight. It actually was much more an informational meeting. I feel like they kind of misled me because they said it was going to be an interview and it really wasn't. It is a college operated by a corporation and it is very sells driven. Great pay and benefits but I dunno. The odd thing they did was have each of us stand and tell why we thought we were the best person in the room for the job. Then we had to fill out a form with our contact information and on the form say which of the OTHER people in the room we would hire. Odd. I just hate interviewing.

Mostly, I know that I will keep looking. I really want a regular 9-5 type job so I can have a life as well. Kendra is still looking for a hotel job. We will see. She feels rather under challenged at
CTA. She likes the people and the company but feels a bit wasted in her current status there.

So keep the prayers coming for us and our employment situation. It is a long frustrating road. Mostly, I just want to be a Youth Pastor and know God will provide that again someday ... I hope.

Recommended Reading

Jasper Speaks:

So the other day I drove Kendra to work and because I am unemployed I had nothing to do. She was only working for three hours that day so I knew I needed to kill sometime.

I wound up at a Borders and just started looking around. I got to the Religion section where I stopped and started looking through the John Eldredge section. I pull out three books and headed to the borders cafe.

I ordered a Mocha capuccino and opened up Epic : The Story God Is Telling and the Role That Is Yours to Play. It was a small book of only 106 pages so I thought I would see how far I could get. By the time I needed to leave I had finished the whole book.

He uses popular movies and literature to drive home his point. Eldredge tells the story in four parts: Eternal Love (a personal God creating a personal universe); The Entrance of Evil (Satan the villain); The Battle for the Heart (God's calling humans to love him), and The Kingdom Is Restored (God, through Christ, makes all things new). As in past books, Eldredge illuminates scripture using movies (Braveheart, The Matrix, Apollo 13 and The Last of the Mohicans) and literature, including Yeats, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Chronicles of Narnia. That really helped to relate it to me and the way I think. It challenged me to remember that there are two worlds that I live in. One is the reality that is the crusty old earth where I reside, the other is the spiritual one that is eternal.

I enjoyed the book very much. It challenged me. There is one portion of the book where Eldredge brings hell and the consequences of sin into a new light for me. He talks about hell being the natural consequence of sin because it is giving us over to our desire to be on our own. It means utter separation from God but in sinning and seeking our own way, isn't that what we are saying we want all along?

It was deep. I didn't buy it because I am broke but I enjoyed my afternoon of reading in the Borders Cafe. I was able to be alone and listen to what God had to say to me that day. I recommend that you check this one out.

Monday, January 17, 2005

A Hard Time

Jasper Speaks:

I talked to a couple of the kids from our youth group in Maine tonight. I am pretty low. Kendra and I miss being there very much. We miss the kids. We miss having a life.

Some of the kids have beeen IMing me with their hurts and concerns and it kills me I am not there to help them in person. We are praying desperately for a ministry opportunity to open up but right now we are just hurt and missiing affecting kid's lives. Mostly, life just sucks.
We Had A Wedding

Jasper Speaks:

My oldest neice got married on Saturday. She was a beautiful bride. She is way young (18) but was determined to marry and most of all get out of her parent's home. My brother is a pastor and lives in Illinois, just outside of Hannibal, Missouri. That is about three hours from where we live. We rode up with my sister and her family.

The wedding was to start at 1:30. When we arrived at the church at noon, my neice THE BRIDE was still in jeans, hair undone and her hands were blue from dyeing roses. I should have know things were only going to get more frigtening. Turns out that she and my sister-in-law had just assumed that my sister would do everyone's hair and that Kendra would do everyone's make-up. Now these are tasks neither begrudged but neither had been asked to do until noon of the wedding day. We sent the bride and her mother off to get ready and Kendra began being on flower patrol. She was to make the boutineers for the men in the wedding. She didn't now this before we got there but she is a wonderful girl and jus jumped in and started working. She tried to teach me but I had no clue whatsoever. When the time came for her to begin makeup duty, I stayed and supervised a woman whose identity was a mystery to me who took over.

After the flowers were ready, I followed the mystery woman around with a tray full of carnations and helped her pin them on men who passed by who looked like they should have one.

Darla and Kendra worked frantically to get the girl's hair amd makeup done in about 30 minutes. I an around like a florist fool pinning on flowers and still wondering how the woman with me fit into the whole scheme of things.

The wedding itself was nice enough. It was odd that my other neice sang a duet of Ave Maria in this Baptist/Lutheran wedding but hey, a little Latin keeps us on our pre-reformation toes I suppose. My 75 year old forgetful and nearly deaf father poerformed the ceremony. Mostly without incident. although he pronounced the couple and had to go back and let them light the unity candle after that.

The reception was a nightmare. Seems that my neice had not secured anyone to prepare and serve so my sisters, Kenda, some family friends and I all jumped in and tried to do something when we realized this oversight had occured AFTER the wedding. Basicaly we looked like boobs as we tried to throw together food and drinks quickly. There was not nearly enoughof either to go around and we found ourselves stealing a lot from the Lutherans. I am not sure if that is a big sin or not. After two trips out to the grocery store for reinforcements, the reception was somewhat saved. Mostly though it was just scary and we were all a bit put out that we had to do all of this without even knowing it had to be done.

But in the end Amanda is married, although I am a little creeped out by that concept. I mean she is so young! I got a couple of lumps in my throat as her sister Elizabeth walked in as Maid of Honor and again when the bride and her father walked down the aisle. I guess I am just getting old.

The good news is we all survived the first grandchild wedding virtually unscathed. I warned each of the other 5 grandkids that if their wedding were anything lie Amanda's, I would physically hurt them. They laughed. Iwas pretty much serious!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Of Long Journeys, Blown Head Gaskets and Unemployment Part Two

Jasper Speaks:

Sorry this update has benn so long in coming. So, we pulled out that afternoon from State College, PA. I hope I never have to go to State College, PA again. Our original plans were to stop over in Indianaoplis the second day but we didn't get out of State College until after noon so we altered our plans.

Once again, Ocean Properties in Maine came to our rescue and Kendra was able to call the guy who replaced her in her position and reserve new rooms in Dayton, Ohio instead. By the time we arrived there that evening all four of us were glad that we decided to only drive 8 hours rather than 10. We enjoyed pizza together and slept.

The whole trip was not an easy time for me to sleep. I was constantly waking up due to discomfort in bed or general worry about our lives. The night we spent in State College, PA, I literally woke up every hour at some point. There were some hours I woke up two or three times or more. So when Kendra suggested that she and Michele ride together for awhile and I moved into the truck with professional driver, Dennis, I completely collapsed into deep sleep. I slept hard for about two hours and that really helped. When I woke up we were nearly to the Illinois border in Indiana. St. Louis was in sight and the "miles to" signs bore its name.

We still had one problem. My parents live on a very residental street where parking is a premium. So we had t find a place to park our van. Thankfully I still have a great relationship with the Senior Pastor of the church I left to move to Maine. He allowed me to park the van on his gravel lot adjacent to the church parking lot.

There was a mixture of joy and tears as we spied the Gateway Arch while driving over the Poplar Street Bridge from Illinois to Missouri. There was relief that we were home but sadness that our life as we had known it was over.

My sister Darla and a few of our friends met us at teh stoage place. It took us a little over an hour to unload the truck there and repack it with the things we needed to move into my parent's house. After we unladed at my folks (let me just say moving a king sized bed into a VERY small basement is a great way to use all that geometry from high school) we went to the Marriott St. Louis West with Michele and Dennis to get a full night's sleeep.

The next morning Kendra's sister came to the hotel to meet us to take usto Kendra's mom's to celebrate the New Year and a belated Christmas with our family in North Central Missouri. I needed to go with Michele and Dennis to return the U-Haul and Kendra had a job interview so we scattered. Just as we arrived at the U-Haul facility my cell phone rang and it was Kendra saying she had been offered the job. She wasn't sure exactly what it was doing but she was scheduled to start the following Monday. One of us would be employed.

After returning the truck, I took Michele and Dennis home. They live in Festus, which is about 25 miles south of my parents in St. Louis. I got out and looked around their new home and then got back into our car to meet Kendra and Aislinn and someof Ailsinn's friends for lunch. As I pulled out of the driveway, the car died. I had taken about all I could at this point and Dennis came out and gave me a push back up the driveway. I was completely overwhelmed. I had no idea what to do. I was so stressed out I couldn't think. Dennis check a few things and I got back in the car. This time it started. I had missed lunch but was happy that the car was going to get me home.

We had a lovely two day visit with our NC MO family and headed back to St. Louis to finally move into the basement. My parents are quite possibly the worst pack rats in America. We have so little room here but have tried to make due and keep a good attitude.

Kendra went to work that Monday. She had a horrible experienced and begged me to let her quit. I caved and she quit the job after one day. However, she had landed another interview for Wednesday and after that interview she was employed again at a company that she really likes. She is still looking for a hotel job but this one is easy and good for her in the meantime.

I have not been so luck. Even though I have sent out over 100 resumes, I still have not had any good solid leads. I just want to be a Youth Pastor but that door seems closed at the moment. I have interview at a couple of places and left frustrated by the whole process. Also, why is every HR or Manager in the world a 21 year old punk who reminds me of all the guys I hated in High School. Sometimes I feel like I am living a really bad reality show.

This past Friday I interviewed for a position with Enterprise rent a car. The world headquarters for reservations is located in St. Louis. I think I nailed the interview but I shouldn't hear back from them until the end of the week. The hours completely suck because they would be from 1PM to 10 PM three weekdays a week and every Saturday and Sunday. I will take it for now if they offer it to me but I seriously need to find something with regular hours so I can get involved in church and have some semblence of a life.

We have visited one church and we really liked it. We are going back next Sunday. We have met with the pastor and our meeting was very good. I think it could be a place of healing and service for us. Please continue to pray that God would open a door for joobs for both of us. Kendra specifically needs a salaried position in the hotel industry and I of course would love for a YP job to fall into my lap but would just be happy with a stable 9-5 Monday - Friday position. The journey continues ...