Preparing for the Hunt

By: Sherree Thompson

In light of me heading back into the workforce, I thought I’d share with y’all how I’m going about it. The next few posts will no doubt be some interesting writing sessions. I know that most people have their own way of seeking employment, but I may have a twist or two that might bring a tad bit of comedy to the table.

The process has actually already started. It started when I spoke the words “I’m going back to work,” out loud to a friend. That simple verbal admission made it real. Since then I have been keeping my eyes and ears open to job announcements. I’ve perused the internet for listings. I’ve looked at a few state job vacancies, skimmed over Amazon postings and even asked around a bit. It’s really an interesting world out there in the land of job-seekers. I didn’t look through all of this information to find my dream job. I looked at this to see what employers are seeking. To get a snapshot of what is in the work world. What type of minimum education employers are seeking. What the time allotment is, part-time versus fulltime. Are employers looking at all applicants or for a specific set of qualifications? And of course, pay.

So now that I have an idea of what’s out there, it’s time to start a résumé. Oh fun! I’m totally joking; this is not fun for me at all. In fact, I may find a friend to help me because this Job searchis one of my very, very weak spots. To me it’s collecting all your talents, achievements, skills wrapped up in a nice gift that you present to a complete stranger to judge. At the moment, my skills are a bit rusty, my talents are hard for me to see, and frankly I’m not even sure what achievements look like anymore. I mean in the work-world. In my best attempt to remedy the previous sentence I’ll be writing a list of them. But most importantly, I’ll be seeking help from the people that know me. They will be a jewel of information. I see a few courses in my future too. I mean, I’m still using Word 2007 for crying out loud.

Something else that I have to do to get this ball rolling is to make sure that I set time aside to do all that needs to be done. This includes, but isn’t limited to, getting up and implementing a “work” routine. For me that is showering, getting dressed (makeup and shoes), sitting down in a clean work space (my kitchen table) and having the tools I need ready to go (computer live, pen, paper, other resources.) Today was the first day I implemented this key step. Without it, I’d be vacuuming, doing the dishes and other things that “need” to be done. I’m actually sitting here with my back to the dishes from last night. I can hear them screaming at me, but this must take priority.

I know I’m not mentioning a few of the other things that I have started but I will get there. My brain is funny in how it prioritizes steps, so bare with me. If you don’t see me doing something you think I should be, chances are that I just haven’t mentioned it yet. But feel free to guide me; I need all the help I can get.

Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler

LexMed Heart & Sole Women's Five Miler

Lexington Medical Center is pleased to announce it’s now the title sponsor of the Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler, which is set for Saturday, April 25 in downtown Columbia. As South Carolina’s premier all-women road race, Heart & Sole includes a five-mile run, and three- and five-mile walks.

For the past 14 years, the event has encouraged healthy lifestyles through physical activity and called attention to the issue of heart disease as the #1 killer of women. More than 2,000 women participated last year.

With a personal and supportive environment, the course begins near Finlay Park at Laurel Street, and winds through the Vista and the University of South Carolina campus before ending on the Taylor Street side of Finlay Park. This year’s event will begin with an opening ceremony at 8:00 a.m. featuring news anchors from WIS-TV, the co-sponsor. The five-mile race begins at 8:30 and the walk at 8:35 a.m. Top runners will receive cash prizes.

After the race, participants will enjoy special refreshments, entertainment and an expo featuring health screenings and local vendors.

We know you’ve got heart. And we know you’ve got soul. So, join us on April 25! We’ll see you at the start line!

General Registration

Registration is only available online.

For group of 7 or more people, registration is $23 before March 20. There will be no group registration after March 20.

Individual registration varies:

  • $28 before March 20
  • $33 through April 24
  • $45 on Race Day

Get Social

Learn more about the race on Facebook! LexMed Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler

Follow Every Woman Bloggers, Sherree Thompson and Crissie Kirby, who are training for Heart & Sole here from now until race day!

Transition

By: Sherree Thompson

SherreeWith the onset of New Year comes renewed goals and resolutions.

Our goals for our financial future, for our children’s education and of course, personal growth, cannot be met without change. For these goals to resonate, I must return to the world of employment. As you know from my last post, my son just had his fifth birthday. His birthday also marks the anniversary of me being home and out of the workforce.

I know far too well that I am not alone in the world of stay-at-home-moms. This community has been really good to me. The support I have found in them has been amazing. I also know many of them who have returned to work for a number of reasons. And that is how I am finding comfort. Knowing I am not alone when “returning to the real world” (as some have said to me) somehow brings solitude in such a nerve-wracking decision. What I didn’t know or expect is how I actually feel about being at this particular step in life. I am a freaked-out, scared, nervous wreck. I mean five years is a long time (or “A bunch” as Daisy says) to not have worked. I’m not saying that balancing the house, family, and the rest of the crazy isn’t work, because we all know it is. But to be accountable to someone that is giving me the vehicle to reach these life goals is scary. Having to be ON-TIME in itself is almost impossible for me right now. And then to function at someone else’s level of expectation and be accountable for maintaining (or surpassing) that level is major. I struggle with meeting my own expectations. Yes, I realize I said accountable twice. I felt the situation warranted the overuse of the word.

I always knew that I would go back to work. There were days I’d beg to go back. I just never expected that when the time actually came that I would feel this amount of heartbreak having to leave the children. There is worry that goes hand-in-hand with entrusting someone else to fill my shoes on a daily basis. I’ll take comfort in my mom-community. Knowing they are there giving me their trusted contacts, ways to navigate being a working mom, and just cheering me on. I take comfort in knowing I am not alone during this milestone transition and trust that God’s plan is in place.

Let’s Do This!

An Every Woman Blog Reunion

Every Woman BloggerLast week, we hosted a dinner for the Every Woman Bloggers to celebrate the holidays and thank them for their dedication to our blog! It was a fun evening full of delicious food, wonderful stories, and a fun ornament exchange.

Our bloggers provide us with inspiration as they handle being mothers, wives, professionals, sisters, friends, and providers. Please join us in thanking them for sharing their lives with us!

Turning Five

By: Sherree Thompson

I’ve been pretty quiet lately. It’s amazing what you can see and hear when you’re not talking. I mean really see and hear….

I’ve been hearing my sweet babies push each other to the point of anger – that point when the gloves come off and the teeth come out. Sweet Daisy is no match for her brother’s strength, so she bites. He, on the other hand, squeezes like he is hugging her. Yeah, I have learned their boundaries, their I-have-had-it-and-now-it’s-your-turn limits.

On Wednesday Jesse will turn five. Five? I have asked myself how in the world he will be five already every day this month. I have reflected over these past years and how amazing it was when he joined our lives. It has been an amazing ride thus far. It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the word, but it has still been amazing. His entrance was anything but easy. He actually didn’t even want to come out. A week over-due, we finally caved in and did a c-section. It was a smooth surgery, but the following days were insane and blurred by stress and drugs.

Newborn

Jesse began to have a bit of swelling on his cranium. After days of us asking nurses about it, they rushed him to the NICU. They had just given me my last round of pain meds when they returned with the doctor and this big plastic box. The doctor gave me the papers to sign and my baby was on his way. It was the day I was to be discharged. They tried to rush my discharge so I could fill my prescriptions and then drive to meet Jesse at the NICU. I swear, that was the longest, slowest-moving time in my life.

As I’m writing this, my heart feels that same fear of the unknown. It’s the kind of fear that has no words and leaves you literally speechless. So, the drive to the NICU was very, very quiet. When my husband and I finally arrived, we quickly found where we needed to be and waited. It was this tiny waiting room. At that point, the tears started uncontrollably rolling. I’m so very grateful that God lead me to my husband. There we sat, first time parents, waiting to find out what was happening. Praying that whatever it was, it would be okay.

We were finally brought back to talk with the Doctor on duty. As we made our way through all the tiny, tiny babies, I thought our situation could be so much worse. I didn’t even know what our situation was yet. But seeing a three-pound child fighting like he did made me see a bit of silver lining. As it turned out, Jesse had bleeding between the layers in his head. There is a very technical term for it, but it’s something I have a hard time pronouncing. It was a scary sight to see. The Doc was fantastic in explaining that it WOULD be okay. No surgery was necessary. He explained how the healing process would work. How the body would reabsorb the blood. That it might even take a year for his head to shrink back to normal.

5th birthday

Parents always say what a blessing children are. What a special gift from God they are. When you are knee-deep in poop, your milk is leaking, and your home is a war-zone that is the last thing you want to hear. But looking back at everything that sweet kid has brought me, I can see what they are talking about. He has unintentionally taught me a lot about life and myself. He reminds me to slow down and just listen. To see the beauty in situations that shouldn’t have any. So today, I’m jumping on board with parents and counting him as such an amazing gift.

Happy birthday, my sweet boy!

Feeling Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! Here on the Every Woman Blog, we wanted to slow down for a moment in order to focus on what Thanksgiving is really about – appreciating all of the wonderful blessings in our lives. We asked the Every Woman Bloggers what they are most thankful for in their lives. Check out what they had to say and then tell us about what – or who! – makes you feel thankful.

Shannon: John Wooden once said, “If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.” I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing this incredible man back in the day when I was working in Los Angeles, and I plan to take Mr. Wooden’s words to heart because I know that I will be much happier if I magnify the many blessings in my life. I have so very much to be thankful for, so my personal goal this holiday season is to focus on all of my many blessings!  😉

Brady's son

Brady’s son, Benjamin

Brady: My son! He has totally changed my life and made me value things differently.

Chaunte: After having the privilege to help serve hundreds of homeless men and women recently, this holiday season I am thankful for everything and everyone God has blessed me with. Sometimes I have a desire for more, but that experience made me realize that I really have enough, and I’m grateful.

Elizabeth: Every Thanksgiving I am most thankful for my family and the fact that we are all healthy and together.

Crissie: This year was crazy busy. I am so grateful to God for sending me on a new path in my life ~ becoming a teacher. It has been one of the hardest, but most rewarding, jobs I’ve ever held.

Lara: I am most thankful for my family – the family that raised me and taught me what was important and the family that raised my husband and taught him what was important – so we would be able to pass those same lessons down.

Leah: We just wrapped up our semester with our homeschool hybrid group, and I am overwhelmed with thanks for all it means to our family. I am thankful for every single teacher and staff member as well the many volunteers and our host church. For me, it takes a village to be a homeschool mom and my village is fantastic! And I’m thankful every day for God’s mercy through each season of life. I feel like I need that mercy more each day. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Katie: For me, Thanksgiving is a time to slow down, soaking in time with family and friends. I love this time of year! Life seems to slow down long enough to get together and create new memories. Many of my memories are with family and I am so incredibly thankful to have them in my life!  Family is there to celebrate your successes, laugh with you, and lift you out of your darkest corner. My family is my rock and I couldn’t imagine the holidays, or my life, without them!  Wishing each of you a wonderful, memory-filled Thanksgiving. 🙂

Mary Pat:  After my father and grandmother passed away, Thanksgiving wasn’t the same. I’m so thankful for The Elliott family, close friends who’ve adopted us as part of their Thanksgiving family. We enjoy traditions similar to the ones that were part of our Thanksgivings – like great food and a kids table – but have also started some new ones, including a mid-afternoon walk and movie.

Sherree: I’m so very thankful for a community that supports me even when I fall. The love that has been shown to my family since moving to the area is just overwhelming. That is something I treasure and I’m so happy to have found. From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

In The Garden

Every time I get the chance, I head to the garden. Or what’s left of it. I like to look about and see what’s new. I find the typical things like new blooms, remnants of pests, and on occasion, I find a sweet treat in the form of a friendly bug.  I recently found not one but two mantices. One was on the heirloom tomatoes and the other was in the basil. I was seriously so giddy and excited that I did a little happy dance. I’m sure my neighbors got a good laugh, but it had to be done.

Praying Mantis

With this growing cycle coming to a close, I took some time to reflect on how this year’s garden has progressed compared to last year’s. I must say, I have come to think that at this point one must just be flexible with their expectations. I say this because, as I look back, the only real thing I can control is the soil, location, seed type and how I deal with pests. The rest is up to God himself. I mean, it’s not like I can say, “Today I’m going to make it not rain for the rest of the summer,” which was the issue last summer.

This season has been challenging in its own way. We started with new soil, a hardheaded, I-can-figure-it-out-on-my-own gardener (aka: me), and of course the weather. Ah yes, the weather. This has been some trying weather, hasn’t it?

As you know, I started planting in February. Mostly to keep the kids interested and get things geared up for outdoor planting in mid March. Yup, that sure worked out real good. I think we shocked the heck out of them because these tomatoes have just started to ripen and the zucchini, squash and corn didn’t make it. I did manage to rehabilitate two sweet pepper plants, but they still don’t have any blooms. The Amish Peas did okay, but the yield was minimal. Honestly, I think I’d be in shock to if I lived through a crazy ice storm, was shoved into raw soil, and had inconsistent sunlight. Really now, who wouldn’t want to freak out at that point?

Anyways, the things I have learned over the past few months really can be compared to real life. For example; would you plant yourself in a life setting (the soil) you know nothing about? How can you flourish and grow in the unknown? Having yourself planted in a fertile foundation is instrumental in how you grow. If all of your roots are shallow and parched from lack of nurture, how can you produce fruit that will survive the storms? From now on, I will take the time to learn what is in “the soil.”

I always struggle with relationships. Mostly because, well, I think everyone is good. When I discover they are not, it shocks me. Even though I know better, I still get heartbroken. At church this past Sunday, a young man spoke about his mission trip to Honduras. He read from his journal, reciting things he had learned. It was really beautiful to see him grow in his faith. As he read his writings, he recited a message from God that “he will build us up and use us. Then break us down so he may rebuild us for another use.” I’m totally paraphrasing, but my take away was this: I will always struggle with relationships. I will because I am not in control. I am a tool that He uses to do His work; therefore, He will build me, mold me and break me down. I will learn new things along the way, some good and others…well, not-so-good.  Being God’s awkward tool sounds way better than being “shallow and parched.” With each changing season, I will learn how to grow and sow with the elements. I will plant myself in nutrient-rich soil. I will learn from the paths I am taken down, and hopefully do what it is I’m supposed to with those pests that pop up. Lord knows I’m not a good listener. It usually takes some blatant situations for me to “get it,” but when I do, there is no stopping me.

Now that it’s time for re-planting, I can apply these simple lessons. I will take a soil sample and head to the Clemson Extension to find out what’s needed to balance the soil. I will plant ornamental flowers that draw good bugs, and most importantly, I’ll have faith that with the right soil I can have a full harvest.