Lessons from the Soup Line

Men Waiting Outside Al Capone Soup Kitchen

Four weeks ago yesterday, I lost my job.

Happy unemployment-versary to me.

So, while I sit here fielding rejection emails and eating chocolate chips out of the bag, I thought I would share with you some things I’ve learned:

October is a terrible time to look for a teaching job.
No one is hiring teachers in October. Seriously.
I’ve gotten on a few substitute lists for schools in the area, but do you know what also doesn’t happen in October? Sickness. No one is missing class!
Is it terrible to pray for the flu to hit a faculty? That’s bad, isn’t it…

It takes about a week and a half to watch all six seasons of The Good Wife.
Trust me. I know.

Forgiveness is a choice.
Leaving the school was not entirely my decision. Some people said (and are still saying) some ugly and hurtful things. And I’ll be honest, for a little while I was rather defensive and indignant about the entire thing. For a few fuming days, I wondered what I could do to plot their destruction and my revenge. But eventually, I realized that I wasn’t responsible for their actions, just my own.
Every moment I allowed anger and resentment to cloud my judgment was a moment I gave up control of my own choices. I was allowing their actions to dictate my attitude.
Instead, I chose to forgive – to free myself from the bondage of their decisions and allow God to use this situation for my good and His glory.

And sometimes it’s a hard one.
Giving up on resentment and revenge is only the first step of forgiveness. And it’s a relatively easy step. Moving from bondage to blessing is the really hard part.
David’s imprecatory prayers for his enemies are much easier to pray than Jesus’ prayers of blessing on His enemies.
Holding my tongue when I want to be unkind about those who wronged me is easy. It’s passive. I don’t have to struggle…much. But speaking words of kindness and blessing instead – that’s the hard part.

You can do without a lot of things.
I’ve lived on a budget pretty much my entire life. But I’ve always had income to budget. When there is no income, only outgo, you learn rather quickly what can be trimmed from an already slim plan. If possible, I’ve become even more frugal than I was before.

Toilet Paper isn’t one of them.
I may be able to do with out pedicures, haircuts, meat, and food that is within its expiration date, but there are some things you just have to break down and buy.

My family is pretty amazing.
Actually, I already knew that. My family is super cool. And the way we all step up when one of us is need doesn’t really surprise me. We’re just awesome like that.

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Cyber Cheer

I’m always surprised by the first one: an oddly shaped envelop I find in my mailbox sometime after the first of December. A week later there’s one more. Then two or three trickle in. Pretty soon, a steady stream of extra postage and “Do not Bend” scrawls pours into my house.

I open them one by one to be greeted by plastered smiles and photographed cheer. Some are faces I see every day. Some, I haven’t seen since last year’s avalanche of Christmas cards. But I welcome each and give them a place on the front of my fridge. Continue reading

Bros Before Hoagies

Note: If you haven’t read the previous post “Slap Yo’ Mamma,” you’re going to be confused… you’ve been warned…
So my brothers were in town this weekend. We spent quite the quality family time together. Translation: epic Words With Friends tournament/battleground (…103 points for “farouche” …oh yeah.) There’s nothing like sitting around the living room with your family with everyone glued to his or her iPad, laptop, smartphone, or what have you, yelling out such encouraging remarks as, “Two letters gets you 45 points??!! You stink!!” or, “How is THAT a word!!” or better yet, “You can’t ask MOM! That’s cheating!” …good times, good times.
In betwixt the wild sesquipedalian antics, I showed my brother my blog. I pulled it up on his iPad and twiddled my thumbs nervously while he read it. I looked over his shoulder as he perused the first two posts.

“Well, I hope you got that shipping worked out. I want my present.”
Then, the jewel of my witty intellect, “Slap Yo’ Mamma.” He read…and scrolled…and read. I waited for laughter…a chuckle?…a smile??
“So what happened?” he asked.
“What do you mean, what happened?? We went to the deli, then I wrote this hilarious, insightful post about it. It’s funny. Maybe you didn’t read it right.”
“No, I mean what happened with the sandwiches. I read this whole thing waiting for you to tell me about the food, and you never did.”
“Yes I did. I said I mixed the condiments!”
“That doesn’t count. You have to talk about the food.”
“You stink.”
“Whatever. And ‘farouche’ is not a word.”
…then we continued with our *ahem* polite discussion of word game polity.

But he was right. I didn’t talk about the sandwiches. And since he’s my favorite brother (don’t tell the others), ergo, here we go:

Like I said before: I’m extremely particular when it comes to sandwiches. That doesn’t mean they have to be pristine squares of perfectly aligned meats and breads, though. I like sloppy sandwiches. There. It’s out. I admit it. I like wilted lettuce, oozing mayonnaise, and dripping tomatoes. I like melted cheese and barbecue sauce that slides out onto the wrapper so that you scoop it up with the next messy bite. I like swirling greasy grilled cheese in syrup and licking the sticky goodness off my fingers.
But I do not like soggy bread. (Had to draw the line somewhere. A gal’s gotta have SOME standards!)
Apparently, Momma Goldberg’s is home to the steamed sandwich. I didn’t know that until I looked them up online to check out what really was supposed to be in that Bull Rider sandwich. And, in case you weren’t paying attention in physics class, steaming a sandwich makes the bread soggy …now you know.
But in spite of the soggy bread, the sandwiches really weren’t that bad. I would have preferred real roast beef on mine instead of the “lunch meat” stuff, but I’m ok with that for now. I’m waiting to try the Reuben before I pass judgment for good. …I wonder if they’ll give it to me without steaming it. Maybe I’ll ask that polite young man…

Something Corny This Way Comes

‘Twas the Day After Christmas and all through my house
Everyone was still sleeping – as snug as a…um…mouse?
I was frantically searching for gifts I haven’t yet bought
It’s that my bro’s come this weekend – NOT that I forgot!
My wallet is empty …my pocketbook to let.
Thank goodness for gift cards! …or I’d be in major debt!

To Amazon! To Ebay! To [other sites that don’t rhyme]!
Shipping is outrageous!! – I’m running out of time!!