Daring To Dream - Making The Move To Branson, Mo (Or Are We?)
So, where were we?
Have you ever heard the saying that goes something like this?
"God never closes a door but He opens a window"
Well, no sooner than the door(s) were shut with my interviews gone south but something else was opened. First, a little more background. On the day I was traveling to one of the interviews, some two hours away I arrived early (I just have to make sure I arrive early at an unknown location in order to get the lay of the land) and stopped at another location I had applied to. Books A Million in Branson could be my Dream Job. They needed several Assistant Managers and I applied for all of them. I have a solid background in Retail Management; love to read; am literate (when I want to be) and feel I would be a solid fit for the position. The problem was, I had applied several weeks ago and calling the store weekly had not gained me an interview. So I took it upon myself to drop in and speak with the Store Manager.
I received exactly two minutes of their time, and I was on my way once more. They were busy (had one customer) and just did not have the time to speak with me. A week later, I called once more and was told that they had reviewed my application and I had failed their little "test". Now, I know this test quite well, having interviewed upwards of a thousand people while using this very test as a backdrop for the interviews. To say I failed it would mean I knew nothing about Retail Management, Interviews, or Hiring. Sorry; can't buy that. What is more likely is that they simply did not take the time to review my app and decided to go with someone else. Okay, no problem.
When I was number two at the previous job interview, I was told of a position coming available in a few months. I had contacted them and spoken with the current person in the position a few times and felt good about my chances. When the time came to actually apply, I did so and waited. A call came in...
And it was not who I thought it might be; rather it was the other position I had been second on. Seems they were having second thoughts on their choice and wanted me to come to work for them. So what to do?
I spoke with this person for a bit and asked for a day or so to think on it. This was granted and I hung up. The phone rang once more and it was the new opportunity, asking me to come up for an interview shortly. I accepted and now wondered what God desired me to do.
I went home that evening and spoke at length with my beautiful wife. We prayed on the choices, then researched both positions online, looking at the towns they were located in, housing possibilities, schools, and such. Both are quite near to our eldest daughter who is gaining her Master's degree. Our youngest daughter graduates high school shortly and has already been accepted to the same school her sister in attending, so that's a good thing. She also has an interview in a nearby town for a private Christian faith based university which has the added bonus of working on campus to offset the cost of her education as well as the school adding her degree field this coming year, so she would be able to gain her degree in a man heavy field from a prestigious university and graduate with no debt. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!
Back to my choices: I made the drive to the new position. The interview was polite, with me seated in a chair in front of no less than ten people or so, all asking questions. I had been ill, so did not feel my best but they still seemed to like what I had to say. After roughly thirty minutes, I was asked to meet the Superintendent for a few minutes.
I entered his office, and he shook my hand then asked for a few minutes with the group. I sat and waited; he re-entered shortly. Another thirty minutes of casual talk resulted in his offering me the position. Right there and then; will you come to work for us?
Now I Have Two Choices!
So only a few days prior, I had nothing. Now, two offers. Thank you Lord!
Only, which way to go? One offers less pay, but more assistance surrounding me. It is in a larger town, with more buses to look after but much less responsibility overall. Fewer hours too.
The other offers more pay, but fewer buses; more on par with my current position. However, I have additional support staff I can depend on than I currently do so that will make it an easier day for me. The town is smaller, more comfortable. The school district really seems to genuinely want my family and I which makes it nice.They are building a new facility to house the department in and seem to be on the right track. But their buses are older and while well maintained, there may be a cloud on the horizon regarding them. But I feel they are committed to doing the right thing so maybe a change is in the works.
We made the choice, and I made the call. Sorry to the one who made me their second choice. I appreciate your offer, but I feel my family will be better suited to the environment in the smaller town. It is quite close to where our daughter currently attends, and should our younger daughter attend here in the fall, will work nicely. If by chance or Divine Intervention she attends the other school, it is only a short hour or less away so we can visit very easily.
Did we make the right choice?
Now We Look At Our New Town
So now that we have made our choice, we begin to look hard at housing. After only a couple of days we find a nice rental home, larger than what we currently live in for less of a payment. In a quiet neighborhood literally within walking distance to the school our youngest son will attend and my new job. A large backyard will allow for the pool we have and our trampoline. There is also a little side area, completely fenced, that I can use as a garden! Perhaps 10' x 40' it will be perfect! The ground is so fertile that while mowing the backyard we come across strawberries growing rampant. Patch after patch, strewn here and there across the yard, strawberries growing wild. A couple of old apple trees, a few rose bushes and a Tulip tree in full bloom complete the picture. A large sun room for our cats to watch the birds as they make their nests in the trees and eat from the bird feeders outside the windows; two car garage with an area beside the house for our trailer; two living areas; and bookshelves! Built in bookshelves that I can have all of my books in, in a room I can add a comfortable chair to read in. Ahhhh! It also offers something we have not had in years, but both my wife and I love: an attic fan! Perfect for those cool summer evenings, just open the windows and turn it on to draw in the cool night air.
So God was directing us here all along, we simply had to trust Him. That is the hardest thing we all have to do, simply trust Him in our daily lives when it should be the easiest. The outside world gets in the way, occluding us from His sight or rather occluding Him from ours. We are blocked, not able to see our way through to where He desires us to go. It took a lot of prayer, meeting several wonderful people along the way, enduring countless hours of job searching, traveling several hundred miles for interviews, shedding more than a few tears and basically giving up for Him to be allowed back into control of our lives thereby providing for us a job that will allow everything we need to be, to be. Fewer hours at work; sufficient pay to offset our bills with enough left over to bank for retirement; close enough to our children attending college; solid school district for our youngest and enough nearby fun locations to spend quality family time at without driving a long distance to do so. Sounds good to me!
So now we wait; until that magical date that we finish our move. We are currently taking trips to our new home each weekend, loading our little trailer up, packing the back end of the truck almost looking like The Beverly Hillbillies as we transfer items from one household to another. Mowing the grass at each location, trimming the hedges and generally just anticipating being there for good. The job begins on the first of the month, so time is drawing nigh.
We are excited!! The Dream has come true, and it is a better Dream than what we dreamed it would be!!