Archive | June, 2012

New Job

23 Jun

I just finished my first week on my new job. I am not sure if time flies by faster with or without a job but this week flew by. 

I had some apprehension about this new job since my last job didn’t end so well. And since I really don’t count that as a job, the fact that I haven’t worked in my field of clinical social work in over two years. I turned it over to my creator and asked for strength before the week started. I must say the week went pretty well.

The first day was orientation with two other employees and the trainer. As you know, it is very interesting reviewing policy and procedure, especially in the medical field in which I have never worked in. My two new co-workers were pretty negative, both even stating that they hate the city I now dwell. I didn’t let their negativity get to me since the trainer, a 13 year employee seemed very committed and positive. 

After the first day, I took a dip in my park’s pool and felt good to be back among the working. The second day was pretty much like the first, more policy and procedure. We even had to take “tests” to make sure we understood the material. It’s interesting to observe other employees reacting to the new employee. Some are very friendly and some just avoid you. I was trying to remember as many names and faces as I went along. I am used to working in small agencies, less than 10 employees and my new agency has over 240 employees, plus 175 residents. That’s a lot of people to meet and greet.

The third day was pretty uneventful but the fourth day was the best. I had an inservice with eight other supervisors. I walked in two minutes late. Yes, I was late 40% of the time my first week on the job for a total of four minutes. However, the inservice hadn’t started yet. I got mostly blank looks when I walked in since nobody knew who the heck I was. The position I filled has been open for over a year so people were surprised I was the new clinical social worker director. 

Of course, I broke the ice and asked everybody about everybody’s favorite topic, food. I asked about a particular restaurant in town and they all had their two cents. I found out who has the best cinnamon rolls (Grandys), the best Mexican (I know mom, you don’t like Mexican) and even the best pizza in the whole state of Oklahoma. The nurse who shared that sounded like the name of the place is Salmonella and that got a big laugh. What she was actually saying was “Sam and Ella’s” in Tahlequah. I also learned that day that I ask a lot of questions. I asked the HR Director at break if I was asking too many questions and she said no, you are asking questions that others’ want to ask but don’t.

During this inservice, I met another new employee who was originally from Wisconsin so you know what that means, he is a Packers fan even though he hasn’t lived in “the state that recently blew the governor recall election” since 70′. I, of course, told him I was originally from Minnesota and the battle was on. Of course, by the end of the day, he found out that I shared a bedroom (in different beds) in college with the biggest Packers fan in the world, and  that we are still good friends to this day. 

The final day of the week was a bit scattered since I waiting for my office to be ready for my use so I remained in the training room for most of the day. I finally got to talk with my boss during lunch and we had a very productive talk. I laid out where I saw I could best be utilized and she agreed. I like when bosses agree with me. I found out from her about the scandal that rocked my new place of work that led to five top positions getting the ax, including the last clinical social worker. 

Yes, as the week came to a close, I realized that that I had only met a handful of residents and about 30 employees. I feel so honored and blessed to be working and serving the men and women who served our country during the last 60 years. I hope I can give them an ounce of what they have given us.

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Move Accomplished!

16 Jun

It all started about 48 hours ago. I got up at 6 am and packed the Jimmy (GMC stopped making the model after mine came off the line in 01′) with my 32″ TV (my Dad’s TV is twice as wide, like a movie screen), wall hangings (nothing expensive except maybe for my oil painting of Niagara Falls which I need to get restored), microwave, boom box (it is my stereo equipment), and bedding. Yup, the Jimmy was full up.

I then finished packing. I think it is best to pack when the “real” deadline is upon you, nothing of this packing in advance for weeks. Actually, I only had about 7 days once I accepted the job offer in Ardmore, Oklahoma. I cleaned the bathroom (first time in 9 months, just kidding?) and then it was off to turn in my internet modem to CableOne. Since they had turned my service a day early (they weren’t supposed to), I was a little miffed and wanted a token credit for my whatever. The Cable Gal (not guy) apologized for upsetting me. I didn’t realize I was wearing upset but I assured her it wasn’t her fault. 

I went on to pick up my 14 foot UHAUL truck from TJ. TJ’s place was burned to the ground in 08′ by an 18 year old who is now serving 66 years in the BIG house. His little, old grandma, the getaway driver only received a one year suspended sentence. She claimed that she didn’t know what he was doing (as he placed safe after safe in her trunk and watched the buildings burn in her rear view mirror). 

I signed the documents to rent the truck and trailer for two days. If you have never rented a truck before, the paperwork involved is comparable to buying a home for life. I loaded up my faithful helper, will call him Zed to protect his identity from the Mob (are they still around?) and headed back to my lush, one bedroom, 2nd story apartment. 

I had recruited Zed about two months ago when I realized that I probably couldn’t secure employment in Ponca City, Oklahoma. I started applying for jobs all over the state and Zed assured me that he would help me load, travel, unload, and travel back when the time came. Thank God (literally) I got the idea to rent a trailer for the Jimmy so I wouldn’t have to travel and then travel back with Zed and then return to my new home. Only one glitch, I needed someone to help me unload once I got to Ardmore by myself. 

No problem said my new employer, we will find someone for you. Well, you know me, Mr. Trusting, I let it go until the day before my move. I called my new employer and she said they couldn’t find anyone to help me unload. All I need is someone to help me unload my super couch and three drawer dresser. But God is great and I called my new landlady, will call her Dorothea, oops that’s her real name and told her my situation. She immediately offered up her maintenance man. Whew, thank you Dorothea, the woman who didn’t even know how to send a fax. I will trust you. May the force be with me…

Back to the loading, Zed wasn’t a very good helper. He liked to sit down a lot and only carried one box at a time. When he helped me with a two-man task, he had difficulty finding hand holds and then would carry at a very slow rate. As you know, when you are loading, you want to move as fast as possible so you don’t have to hold stuff too long. It turned out to be a 3 1/2 hour load instead of a planned one hour load. Thank God (again literally) for my faithful friend Ron who saved the day with his brilliance and skills, even though he has a bad back. 

As I was about to leave PC, I asked Zed how much I owed him for his “trouble”. He said $10 because he took a lot of breaks (really?). I gave him more but hey, that is the kind of guy I am. BTW, Zed is also a friend, not just a hired hand. Ron refused any monetary funds but I insisted and gave him a Lincoln to buy breakfast. 

The trip down to Ardmore from PC was smooth as silk. I played 94.7 The Brew and cruised to the tunes, especially White Snake’s “Here I Go Again” so appropriate for my time in life. I didn’t stop at all, less than a 200 mile journey. When I was about 20 miles out from my destination, right smack dab in the Arbuckle Mountains, I got a message that the gas was low and I had about 50 miles to go before the liquid ran out. I thought, no problem, I only have 20 miles to go. Well, climbing up those mountains (really hills to me), the message showed that the miles of gas to go was expending faster than I was moving. Would I make it? The suspense was killing me. I, of course, played that suspenseful music from the movies as I motored on. 

I made it to Ardmore with 20 miles of gas left. Whew! I only unloaded a little that day because I was wiped from the morning. Jack, the maintenance man was very helpful but he smelled of alcohol, not good. I called it a night and headed over to the Sporting News Bar and Grill to watch the Thunder game since CableOne couldn’t get me scheduled for an “install” until the next day. Before I left for the Grill, I came across a man about my age walking his Basset Hound. I don’t think I ever seen a real, live Basset Hound before. They are long with floppy ears. The man, I will call him Bob said that his dog drools a lot. 

Well, Bob told me that he was a Christian recording artist. Wow, Bob is the second artist I had met in the last two months. Bob also told me that his wife of 13 years had left him in February. We chatted and decided right then and there that we would be friends. Later he dropped off his music CD on my porch. Isn’t that amazing? Sometimes friendships take years to find and others are made in just an instant. 

The next day, I unloaded the truck by myself except for the super couch and dresser. Later in the day, Jack assisted me with the last two items and I was finally done. I took the truck back about six blocks from where I live now and walked back. I was going to take a dip in the pool but it was closed since we had a speck of rain in the morning. The water had to be tested by Dorothea’s hubby before it was safe. Oh well, I still had to deal with the Cable Guy (not gal). Usually (remember I’ve moved a lot in my life) the Cable Guy gets it done in a matter of minutes. This guy, I didn’t get his name (probably for the better) took over 2 1/2 hours to get me “connected”. Plus, I got the speech about how they don’t hook up “third party devices”. Do you know why? Because they don’t know how to hook them up even though he said he could. Too funny, not really. Then I spent 25 minutes talking to this sexy voiced woman from CableOne about registering my high speed internet to CableOne. We talked about the Ellen Show, she doesn’t like talk shows. She would rather sleep or play with the dogs. 

Well, about 48 hours later, my cats are happy, I’m happy, another move is in the books. God, please don’t move me again for awhile. Please….

 

How To Pick God’s Voice Out Of The Noise

13 Jun

How To Pick God’s Voice Out Of The Noise.

Another Move…

11 Jun

I have officially lost count of how many times I have moved in my life. I kept a list of my moves up until about 20 years ago. Although, in the last 17 years I probably can narrow it down to 17 relocations and with my upcoming move to Ardmore, Oklahoma, that will be #18.

Wow, whew! That’s a lot of location changes. I am not in the military, although in my new position in Ardmore, I will be serving Veterans. I am not in the FBI or CIA. I wanted to be in the FBI, 23 years ago but then I realized I would be unable to carry a gun. I don’t like guns. I used to love guns when I was kid but once my Dad said “no” to by request for a BB gun, my interests went elsewhere.

Yes, at age 45.10 (mos), I have owned and sold five homes, all for a profit except the last one which I had to use a blood sucking realtor after the housing market crashed and burned. I have no plans at this moment of owning another home for sometime.

So you are probably asking by now, well, Darron why have you moved so much in your life? Very good question, thanks for asking. Well, it all started back in 1-9-6-8 (when Robert Kennedy should have been President not that crook). Oops, sorry keep politics out of it. My parents had a beautiful home constructed in a beautiful neighbor in Plymouth/Wayzata, Minnesota. We moved in, my parents, me and my older brother, yes it was heaven, just the four of us and a few pets.

This home was ideal and the best part, I joined forces with three other kids from the neighbor”hood” and we were called the Four Musketeers: Ty, Troy, Tommy and Me. Not only did I have the guys, I had the gals too. Yes, I started pursuing the opposite sex at a very early age. Hey, what can I say?

Life was good until 1-9-7-3 when I had just turned the big 7. My Dad announced that we would be moving to Dixon, Illinois because he had found a new job. What about all of the jobs in Minnesota, Dad? We packed up our stuff and shipped off for the great unknown, leaving behind everything and everyone I had ever known and loved. Life would never be the same again.

I am still amazed by the statistic that over 50% of Americans have never left their hometown. Boy, did I leave my hometown, never to return and never to really find a “real” home again. I see a place to live as interchangeable to changing clothes. When you got to move, you got to move.

I have started to put down roots in 10 towns/cities in my life, including a summer in Wagga Wagga, Australia all to be uprooted for another destination. Ardmore will be #11.

I lived in Ponca City, Ok from Oct. 99′ to Sept. 05′ and now for the last two plus years. I really thought that PC would be it for me. I have a church that I like. I have a 12-step group that is like family. My mom lives here. PC is a small town but not too small (yes, Dad we have first run movies in our one theater). PC has a couple nice lakes (living by water is always a plus for me). I got involved in the Kay County Democrats (yes even in a state where the majority is the other party). The girls that I raised for eight years live here (and unlike a lot of men, I wanted to stay involved in my girls’ lives after the break-up with their mom).

It’s sad but exciting to be moving again. I think moving makes my character stronger. I will have the challenges of a new job, new place to rest my head at night, making new friends. It’s hard to leave those behind I’ve come to trust and love, but at least I will only be about three hours away so I can visit often.

The most important point is that God will be with me every step of the way and with that I know I will be just fine.

Love is…

9 Jun

Love is…a risky proposal. You hope for the best but you really don’t know what you will get.

Love is…being alive. Your senses are heightened, your feelings stronger, your thoughts more peaceful.

Love is…being with that person despite everything and/or everybody else.

Love is…God’s greatest gift to us to be shared.

Love is…putting your trust in someone else.

Love is…wanting to wake up next to that person to experience another day together.

Love is…always growing, reaching out and encompassing others.

Love is…other centered but very self satisfying.

Love is…mysterious, never really knowing what is going to happen next.

Love is…mood, goal, and life changing.

Love is…wanting to hold her just after holding her.

Love is…precious, unique and wondrous.

Who is on first?

8 Jun

Who or what is at the top of your list when comes to your time and attention?

Most people would probably answer that question with kids and work.

Not a bad answer but not the best answer. The best answer must be God first, and your spouse or partner second.

You may ask from time to time, why is this world so screwed up? The answer is very simple, our priorities are screwed up. How many hours of  TV do we watch each week? How much time do we spend with God or serving him? You see the math adds up to our priorities are not right.

When we are with God (through study, prayer, serving, etc..), we are living a life that is right and just. When we are with TV, video games, hobbies, others, etc… more than we are not with God we are not living right and just.

Why do we have a better than 50% divorce rate? First, most individuals didn’t take the time to really know their partner before they said, “I do.” Second, they don’t have God at the center of their relationship. Third, they don’t take their problems to God for his wisdom and strength. They try to rely on themselves solely. Finally, they don’t give the time or attention to their relationship like it needs.

Why do we have high unemployment? First, companies are more concerned about making profits then they are to take care of their employees. They are not following the golden rule of God: love your neighbor as yourself. Second, companies (which are made up of individuals) do not have God at their center of their vision and mission.

Why do we have high crime rates? First, there are a lot of lost and confused people running around. They were most likely mistreated by their families and then by their communities. Second, they don’t have God in their lives. Why should they believe in God when they can’t even believe in their parents?

I could go on and on but I hope you get my point. Please put God first in your life and your spouse or partner second. Everything else will fall into place if you do that. I promise because God promises it. Thank you God. I love you.

What a Team!!!

7 Jun

Wow, holy moly, incredible, truly amazing!!! Those are the first words that come to mind after watching the “taped” OKC Thunder win over the Spurs this morning. Yes, I had something more important to do last night but that won’t make this post.

I haven’t been inspired by a professional sports’ team since…when the Minnesota Twins won the World Series in 87′. That’s a long time to go   uninspired. Don’t you think?

What the Thunder has done in only four short years is truly amazing. First, the franchise is moved from Seattle (big fools!) to OKC. What? An NBA team in Oklahoma, are you kidding me? Yea, I didn’t believe it until last year when they almost knocked off the eventual NBA champ Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. Next, you build a “relocated” franchise with unknown players. What? Westbrook, Durant, Harden, are you kidding me? Yes, they did it with unknown, untested players and now those three are no longer unknowns. Next, the Thunder fire their experienced head coach, P.J. something and put in his place an assistant coach, Scott Brooks. What? Are you kidding me? No, they weren’t kidding and now the young, non-flashly Thunder are on its way to the Finals.

Down by 15 points at the half in Game 6 of the WC Finals and most teams would crumble. Most teams would just wave the white flag of surrender. Not this Thunder team. They clawed back and led most of the 4th quarter. Not once did I see a sign of giving up or letting down. No, this team just gets more fired up (and they have great fans too).

I am really not awe struck by this Thunder team and its wins. What I am truly fascinated by is their great respect and honor for each other and their Coach. I am truly dumbfounded by this Thunder team’s humility and grace. This team is way beyond its years in so many ways. I am so relieved that there is FINALLY a pro team that both kids and adults can look up to and aspire to live up to their long forgotten values.

17 years ago, Oklahoma City and the Country was rocked by what happened when a disillusioned, lost young man blew up the Murrah building. 17 years later, Oklahoma City and Country can be truly grateful that peace and goodness has been restored and largely that is due to this very young Thunder team and its fine Coach. Thank you God for restoring hope and peace once again, in a way that only you can!!!