As part of my training I have to arrive at various places in Manhattan at either 8:00 am or 8:30 am. And depending on the location there are some days I’m up at 4:30 am or as I like to call it “o’dark thirty”. The buses aren’t running at rush hour speed until after I catch the 6:40 am ferry, so I need to be in an earlier bus than necessary in order to be on time for the ferry to be in time for the subway.
I’m not complaining though, this is what I wanted. I wanted to work in the city, I wanted a great job and God had graciously provided such for me. On the upside I get to see the most beautiful sunrises from the ferry. I’m able to see Manhattan wake up from the slumber of darkness and it’s pretty cool. Also people riding the ferry and bus this early in the morning are for the most part quiet and not prone to too much chit chat.
The subways in the other hand are a different story. There’s all types of people going to all types of destinations. Work, high school, college, the store,etc… The subway isn’t quiet unfortunately.
Today I’m on my way to the upper west side; Harlem to be exact. Honestly aside from getting up so early the commute isn’t that bad. I take a local train to an express train and I get there in about 40 minutes from the ferry in Manhattan.
The school I’ve been training at is a special needs school from grades pre k to 5th grade. The nurse training me has been wonderful, very calm and even tempered. She likes her job which I guess is why she’s go easy going. I’ll be there next week too as well as other places around Manhattan for class room training/lecture.
Today after work I get to pick up my first pay check. Exciting! I haven’t had a “real” paycheck since May so this is pretty cool. The only downside is I have to travel to downtown Brooklyn to get said paycheck. Oh well, it’s Friday I can manage the extra travel.
Last year I was piercing ears for a physician run company in Manhattan. I then applied to a different company who had a contract with the local hospital where I live to do chart abstraction (putting information from a paper chart onto a specialized computer program). At both jobs I thought this was it, God was answering my prayers. They were both “office jobs” they both seemed exactly what I wanted, what I had been praying for the past 3 years. The only exception was that the chart abstraction job was full time and that was really great.
Then I was laid off. Ugh! I totally did not see that coming. I knew the abstraction job was temporary but the supervisors told us the job would probably last up to 3 years. I wasn’t expecting to only work 6 months and then collect unemployment.
I was frustrated when I was laid off. I would go to the gym after bringing Samantha to school, I needed something to do to pass the time, I was used to working full time. One while at the gym I was more frustrated than ever and began applying for jobs online via my iPhone. I had uploaded my resume to a job search website so it was easy to apply to any job from that site.
I applied to an insurance company doing intakes or something like that, I don’t remember exactly. Then I saw the job posting for the board of education for a school nurse for special needs children. I applied for the heck of it. The next thing I knew the insurance company called me for an interview at their home office… in Queens. At first I was ok with that. Then I started researching the company and there were a ton of complaints by guess who? The nurses. While that was going on the board of education emailed me wanting to schedule an interview. I was so surprised as it had only been 2 days since I sent my resume in. I quickly and politely cancelled the interview with the insurance company. I’ve written about my interview experience with the board of ed. How I had to take a written nursing exam complete with medical dosage calculations. Then the actual interview with 4 nursing supervisors. The whole time I was praying and texting and facebooking my friends and family. The final moment for me was right before I was told I was hired. I sat in deep prayer saying to God, “This is it Lord…I’m your’s…if this is the path you want me to take then I’ll do it…” Right then I was called back and told I had the job. That was not a coincidence or luck or the stars aligning just right. That was God.
I think the key to faith is summed up in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It’s also praising the Lord while weathering the storm, not just when things are going well or your way. I know I love praising The Lord when the sun is shining on my life and nothing could be wrong at that moment.
In October of 2016 my family went through quite a storm. It poured on us. I remember praying to The Lord and I remember saying, “Thy will be done,” because honestly I had no other choice but to bend to His will and trust that God knows what He is doing. Faith and trust. Two simple words but not simple doings.
I have 2 “adult” children, my oldest boy and my oldest girl. Thomas and Alyssa. Thomas recently turned 21 this past July and at that age the Board of Ed was no longer responsible for educating him in special ed so Thomas graduated high school. Alyssa is my typical adult child and she’s 19 years old attending college.
Thomas is home this weekend and we went to Target to buy him pajamas and a new comforter for his bed along with a new blanket and a couple of t-shirts. Thomas picked everything out himself and he chose really nice things. He knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like. And there’s no talking him into any thing or any situation. He definitely has a mind of his own and I’m so proud of him for that. While at his residential school Thomas also does a great job in advocating for himself, I’m told by his social worker.
Many times in this past 24 hours that Thomas has been home he’s told me, “I’m a man…an adult…I graduated.” I of course agreed with him no matter how much it pinged at my heart. The past 21 years have literally flown by. I can recall almost every moment of Thomas’ childhood no matter how chaotic and frustrating it was.
Twenty one years ago I was given this special needs child, this gift and I was terrified up until only a few years ago that I failed him terribly as a parent. Thomas was a wonderful baby, he had such a pleasant disposition and was just great to be around. It wasn’t until was about a year old did the chaos begin with him hitting me and throwing things. I know every parent has to baby proof their house but we had to go above and beyond even with toys because of Thomas’ actions. And things only got worse and more chaotic as he grew older.
It wasn’t until Thomas was 12 years old did we receive his diagnosis of “static encephalopathy”. It means brain damage that won’t get worse but it won’t get better either. Tommy and I felt as though we were punched in the stomach at that time.
Fast forward to today and my son, my grown man of a son is pleasant, has manners and is just an all around “nice” person. I know this is due in part to the residential treatment he received. Making that decision was not easy nor was it what we really wanted to do. But sometimes what you want and what you have to do are polar opposites. The steady, structured environment the residential school provided was what we could not provide and it was exactly what Thomas needed to thrive.
We are currently waiting on the State’s office to approve Thomas moving to a group home. I’m excited for him to move on to the next stage in his life. When the move happens Thomas will have house mates and he’ll attend a program during the day hopefully a vocational program that will allow him to do something constructive. Until then we wait.
I’m so proud of my Thomas. No matter how old he gets he’ll always be “mine”. Don’t get me wrong I know all my children will always be mine but I knew from a very early age with Thomas that he would be always with me. It’s hard to explain but I remember that day distinctly. Thomas was a year and half old and I was leaving a specialist appointment. At that appointment I was told that Thomas would probably need special ed services when he was older. I knew right there and then walking down those stairs at that young age of his that my Thomas would always be just that; mine. And I was right. He is mine.
I went to church yesterday morning and Pastor John is starting a new series from the book of Mark titled, “Who are you following?” I loved his message; Pastor John clearly explained what it means to truly follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He talked of how the first disciples were fishermen and they literally dropped their nets and left everything to follow Jesus. And following Jesus means we are to be making disciples.
Of course that led to an inner taking of stock within myself. Am I really following Jesus? Have I made disciples? I know when I accepted Christ as my Savior he changed me. And there was even more change after I met the Lord. And my girls followed me in that change. Even Thomas knows who Jesus is. God has in His infinite wisdom placed Christian workers at Thomas’ school who minister to my son. At the end of one of my phone calls with Thomas I told him I was going to church the next day and he said to me, “Pray Mom, pray. Pray to Jesus.” I got goosebumps. My Thomas knows and gets it.
My girls are faithful believers and have accepted Christ as their Savior. I don’t know if that would have happened had I not returned to church where they had the opportunity to hear the Gospel and be surrounded by Godly people and also be with peers who believe. My girls and I do talk about God and having faith. AAlyssa has recently discovered Brooklyn Tabernacle Church through the parent’s of children she babysits for. I’ve never been and I’m thrilled for her to get to experience a different church and experience worship with a different group of diverse people. She loves it there and I’m proud of her for branching out.
So getting back to making disciples…I have made disciples as evidenced by my children. When I first returned to church I used to think I was a bad Christian because I wasn’t making disciples or bearing fruit and I didn’t bring other people besides my children to church. Like, I didn’t invite friends or neighbors to join me. Looking back bringing my children to church was enough, it was what I was supposed to do. I was to take care of my responsibilities at home before branching out to the world. What good would I have been if I made disciples all over the neighborhood yet my children had no idea what the Gospel was or who Christ was?
My responsibility now is to widen my circle, there are people God has placed on my heart who have heard and know about the Gospel yet they are still not saved. It’s not my job to “save” them only God can do that. I need to remember them in prayer and continue to show them Christ’s love so that they may turn to Jesus and follow Him and in turn make disciples of their own. It’s not easy and it’s uncomfortable. But God doesn’t always call you out and make you comfortable. To God be the glory.
So I officially began my new job on Monday September 11. It was somber commuting into Manhattan that day. All over the ferry terminal were people gathered together to travel to the city. Some were victim’s families shown by the “Never forget” t shirts along with their family member’s name and the formal uniformed fire fighters also traveling together.
I was still nervous. Although I had no reason to be. On the first day we mostly went over benefit packages, health insurance, union membership, pensions and tax deferred annuity (TDA). To everyone who told me to sign up for the TDA; I did, lol and thank you for looking out for me. We also were given the famous infection control class every health care professional is required to take every 4 years. That was cool even though I wasn’t up for renewal yet it was good to get a refresher.
I enjoyed learning about the union I’m now proudly a part of. The nurses are part of The United Federation of Teachers or UFT. Go Union!
These past 2 days I’ve been in a lecture hall at the department of health (I think that’s where we are). All I know is I have to take the 4 train to the 6 train and get off at 28th st and then walk about 15 minutes to 1st ave. Yesterday I made the rookie mistake of wearing new shoes for the first time and boy did I pay for that mistake. Never again.
Yesterday was all lecture about the role of the school nurse given by these dynamic nurses who were school nurses and now teach others to do the same. Today will be more of the same lecture, and that’s ok because it’s far from boring, thank God.
Tomorrow I’m off to Harlem to work with a Dept of Ed nurse at her school. I’m hoping to not have to be in super early given how far uptown I have to go but we shall see. I have to call the nurse and let her know I’ll be with her tomorrow. I hope she’s nice.
The rest of my orientation is similar to this week, lectures and precepting with an experienced nurse. There is also a lab day to practice clinical skills. I’m really looking forward to that. I like the women I’ve become friendly with. They’re nice. Quiet, but nice. Mostly everyone is quiet and keeps to themselves. I expected a more social group but it’s only been a couple of days and things can change. Heck I’m even quiet and don’t talk much.
At the home front things have been somewhat smooth except for this morning’s breakdown from Samantha over her ponytail not being straight. She got over it thank goodness. I was not in the mood. Alyssa and Lelly have been great with helping to get dinner on the table. It’s nothing gourmet but hey no one is going to bed hungry.
I’m looking forward to what today brings.
My youngest, Samantha started 6th grade this morning. She’s truly the baby of my family. Daniella who is technically the middle child was my youngest for 5 years before Samantha came along so in an odd way I have two “babies”.
I feel a little lost with everyone going back to school and I haven’t started work yet. They’re all at ages where they don’t need me anymore like they did when they were younger. Over the summer I was able to run errands or go to stores without dragging everyone with me. I have that freedom. So it’s not like I’m counting down the days they go back to school the way I used to do when all they did was fight with each other all summer.
Alyssa is off starting her 2nd year of college and Lelly is a high school junior this year. It’s so hard for me to believe we are here at these different stages of our lives. In 3 days I’ll be starting a new career. To combat the nervousness I pray. Pray that Samantha will have a great year or even just take it day by day and let her today be great for her. I pray that Lellys schedule is perfect for her and her classes are the ones she wants.
While I’m in that mode I ask The Lord to guide my steps and be with me as I begin this new chapter in my life. He was with me all through the interview so I know He’ll be with me on the job and that I’ll be working for His glory. The Lord will also be helping my family adjust to the new normal with me back at work again.
I hope everyone has a wonderful school year whether it’s a start of something new or the return of an old routine.
My new career starts soon, in 9 days to be exact. My first day is Monday, September 11. I have to report to a location in downtown Manhattan which is great because my commute will only consist of one bus and one ferry. I’m fairly certain the office is a walkable distance from the ferry.
Im excited and nervous all at the same time. Actually I’m excited and nervous also for Samantha who starts middle school this coming week. My youngest is a sixth grader. Jeez…grammar school seemed to take forever just as it did for my older girls. Now middle school…I know from experience once middle school is over (and it does go fast), then there’s high school and wow do those 4 years fly!
Im glad I start the new job after Samantha starts school. I’ll be able to be with her at the bus stop the first 2 days, then she’s on her own. I have to be at work by 8:30 am. I don’t think I’ll have time to wait for the bus with her like I did last year.
My job starts with a month of training then I shadow another school nurse for I don’t know how long…then I’m on my own. My stethoscope is all dusted off and ready to go and I’ve purchased the most recent edition of the nursing drug handbook every nurse uses. The only thing I have left to do is update my malpractice insurance. I’ll do that on Tuesday.
There’s a part of me that can’t believe this job is mine. Although I shouldn’t be so unbelieving because for a long time I prayed and prayed to God to provide a job for me. And not just any job. I wanted to be in an office and I wanted weekends off. There were other criteria for a job that I prayed for and He has provided just like He always does. It never ceases to amaze me how The Lord meets you where you are. You don’t have to have it all together, that would be impossible. God knows we can be messy and He loves us just as we are. Mess and all. And He listens. You may not think He hears you because He hasn’t answered your prayer, or He hasn’t answered it the way you wanted. He works all things for our good, even when you’re in the midst of a storm and it’s hardest to pray. He is there. He is good. He is God almighty and worthy to be praised.