Last time I posted, I mentioned the changes that I was making in my life and this is a follow up to say thank you to God for the direction and discernment to make those decisions. It has been an amazing year. I continue to work as Program Manager for Lazarus Ministries and find that I really enjoy working with the Sojourners and volunteers each weekend. I've always loved people through food (going to point to my family culture for this one) and this job encourages that and uses the skills I feel I've developed for my whole life. I've gotten to know Harvester Food Bank better than ever and am SO appreciative of the things they do for and in our community - I seriously couldn't feed the hundreds of people who come to us each weekend without them! I've become a pro at shopping Harvesters, Costco, Restaurant Depot and sales at my local grocery stores to put together menus that offer some variety, decent nutrition, and special treats every now and then (some of my favorites have been an ice cream social, fresh made blueberry cobbler and soon to come fresh baked chocolate chip cookies).
In addition to my position with Lazarus, my wife and I completed another deployment to Afghanistan - what was possibly our last - and this time we were legally married and I was a recognized military dependent. I learned how to shop in the commissary (yes, we have one in Kansas City even though the base closed years ago) and handle military health insurance. I was elected Board Chair for my position on the Board of Directors at The Surplus Exchange, an environmental nonprofit that recycles and refurbishes electronics in the KC region. That has been a HUGE learning experience and continues for the rest of 2015. I've also become an independent contractor for CWS, the organization that sponsors CROP Hunger walks all across the country and does ecumenical hunger and relief work around the world. Working with the KC CROP Walk committee has been another educational - and entertaining - venture as I draw on my skills in nonprofit work, fundraising, relationship building and social media. I feel like I've got a great variety of things going on. Yes, they're all part time jobs, essentially, and only a couple of them pay me anything (and it doesn't add up to much), but I'm immensely fortunate to have a spouse that works in a job that offers us the financial stability for me to do these things and the health care to not worry about having a full time job myself. It's letting me explore things I wouldn't have done otherwise and I'm learning and growing in confidence each day.
As this is Mother's Day weekend, I of course want to give a shout out to my mom and the opportunities she gave me while growing up and the ways that she helped me develop into the person I am today. I also want to give a shout out my mother-in-law, grand mothers on both sides of our family and aunts and cousins who are all scattered around the country but have all taught me things about what it means to be a woman and have relationships and care for other people. Most of all, I want to thank my wife, who isn't technically a mother (although our two cats might allow her to claim the title some days) but who loves and supports me in ways nobody else could, encouraging me and enabling me to do some things that others might not ever understand. Life is an adventure and I'm glad I get to do mine with you!