Monday, October 29, 2007

The Best Darn Rock

Since Randy and I have been working in the Young Professionals at our church we find ourselves trying to counsel people on things we don't really know anything about. For instance, being single and 30-something, buying a house on your own, still trying to get out of your parent's house, dating, etc.

One of those things that I just couldn't seem to grasp was the "I-really-thought-this-guy-was-the-one" thing. I mean you either know or you don't. I knew. I knew right away. Even when I didn't know, I knew because I remember praying for somebody like Randy.

About 5 years ago the company Randy had been working at, Macromedia, closed their Texas offices and tried to move everyone to San Francisco. After a good laugh at the thought of moving there, Randy started looking around for another job in the metroplex. Through a friend he found a contracting job with a game company called Ensemble Studios. After two years they had to shut down the department he was working in, so once again Randy was forced to find something else.

To get a job at a game company is like trying to get a job in acting. I mean, an acting job that actually supports you, like movies or TV. Many people want to do it, but only a very few get the chance. So for Randy to even get to spend two years in the gaming industry, at a company with a major title nonetheless, was incredible. But alas, it was not meant to be. His next job would be the one that would really mold him.

Insurance. I know. To go from rock star status at Macromedia to almost seeing the promise land at Ensemble insurance software. And thus began the "Dark Ages" at the Varnell house. He did everything but throw himself in the floor and throw a temper tantrum like a 3-yr-old. It was a very trying time for all of us. We couldn't understand why God would make us go backwards.

I don't know when it happened, but somewhere along the way there was a change. Randy decided that he was going to be the best insurance software tester there ever was. He decided that he was going to be "content in all circumstances" (Proverbs 4:11) . He decided he was going to stick around and figure out what God was trying to teach him.

Not long after his resolution, he was promoted to manager of his team. Things really took a turn, not just at his job, but in his heart and soul and in our family. He became a better Sunday School teacher and better husband and a better dad. He would interview with other companies to try and find a better situation, but nothing would pan out. We'd be a little disappointed at first, but then we'd realize that God's got something better.

Today Randy started his new position at a very successful game company in downtown Dallas. He went from being over 5 employees to 40 in Dallas, LA and Russia.

This past weekend Randy spoke at a singles retreat and one of the sessions was on solitude- about being in the desert. Sometimes God puts us in the desert until all doubt is gone or until we've learned what we've needed to learn in order to move on (Numbers 14).

Looking back over the past three years it's so obvious why everytime Randy had a job interview it wasn't the one. We didn't understand it at the time, but now it makes so much sense. God wasn't finished with us. Randy hadn't learned everything he needed to learn. I never gave up on Randy having his dream job. It was pretty plain to me that God was testing Randy and preparing him for something amazing, but sometimes it's so hard to see the big picture. It's like when you're 8 months pregnant and you think you're going to be pregnant...forever!

I can't remember where it came from, but because I've done so much theatre my mom and I talk about having small roles in the play. We call them "rock" parts- like a children's play where a kid has to dress up like a rock and sit there because the teacher can't think of anything else to do with him. She'd tell me "go be the best darn rock you can be" and then eventually you'll get your starring role.

From one dream job employee to another- get ready for your close-up and standing "O" babe. Love you.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Lesson

Rachel had a history fair project that she told us was due on Friday the 26th. Then she told us that it would be due on the 24th. Monday she comes home and says "Actually it's due tomorrow (the 23rd)." She'd already spent some time researching her topic, The Battle at Marathon, so the grunt work had been done. She decided that she wanted to do a power point and that her friend Shelby was going to help. Monday had come and all we had were some notes. She had signed up for the fair over a month ago.

Randy and I scolded her for waiting till the last minute, something that she keeps having a problem with. I thought she should drop out because the last thing I wanted was for her to submit something that looked thrown together. Randy said that she should go ahead with the project and that it would be a good, but hard lesson for her to learn. She'd get there and the other projects would be well thought out and polished and she'd have to deal with a bit of embarassment that her's was a last minute project.

I agreed with Randy. There's a scripture in Proverbs that says, "Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways."

Rachel won first place. *sigh*

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fun with Groceries

Rachel had to stay after school today so Graham and I went to the grocery store after I picked him up from school. He wanted to go look at all the fun Halloween stuff but I decided he needed to stay with me and help.

My dream is to be the only one in the grocery store shopping for the rest of my life. If I had a wish from a genie, that would be it. There's always those couple of women who have hours to shop and need to look at everything and read the labels. Okay, that's me sometimes, but at least I try to stay out of people's way and not park my cart in the middle of the aisle so that others can't get through (deep cleansing breath). Anyway, I realized what time it was and that I had about 7 minutes before I had to pick up Rachel from school. So we rushed to check out and I decided that instead of standing in line it would faster to go through the self checkout line.

Normally, the self checkout is fast and I'm pretty good at it...but only, it seems, when I have all the time in the world and about three items to check out. This was not one of those times. It wanted to know if the item was bagged and if not was I going to bag it. In my haste and frustration I told Graham to get the full bags and put them back in the cart. I also told him he could scan the gum I allowed him to get. He began to do both.

I was so frustrated trying to scan my groceries and in such a hurry that I was not paying attention to anything but getting everything scanned and bagged. I heard Graham say "uh oh" and assumed that he was referring to my problems with it taking an eternity to scan the groceries.

Now let me pause here to impart a life lesson. When your child says "uh oh" always, always find out what the "uh oh" is for. Even if you think you know, ask. If they're standing in front of you and drop their gum out of their mouth and it lands on the floor and they say "uh oh", go ahead and ask them "what's uh oh?".

Graham then asked me if I was frustrated. They've learned that when mom and dad are frustrated it's better to wait for questions and comments until mom and dad have gotten their self-control. I replied as nice as I could, "Yes, Graham. I'm a little frustrated. These groceries don't seem to want to scan." He was wringing his hands and it looked like he was really in a dilemma.

He said, "You know when you told me to put the bags in the cart?"


"Well, I put them in that other ladies cart that was right here (at the end of our line) and she left with that cart."

I had just paid for everything. He had no idea what she looked like. Finally, the nice young man who worked at the store heard our situation and helped us look for the lady. She was gone. We looked at the receipt and I was able to go get all the groceries that was missing. Thank you, Wal-Mart.

Fortunately Rachel's teacher has a great sense of humor and we had a good laugh.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Sleepover

Rachel had her very first sleepover this past weekend.

3:15pm Rachel has student council meeting after to school, so Graham walks home with friend #1. Upon entry into the house, Graham asks if he can get himself and friend #1 a snack. I agree.

3:17 Graham and friend #1 are sitting on the couch watching Disney. Sitting at my desk viewing the back of the couch I notice how close their heads are. Upon further inspection I see that they are sitting next to each other...very close.

3:25 I ask Graham if he has a crush on friend #1. He assures me that she is a friend and not a "sweetheart".

3:30 Pick up Rachel from school

5:00 Pick up friend #2 and head to nail salon.

5:30 Arrive at nail salon 15 minutes late to be greeted by a frustrated and weary Asian receptionist that is mumbling in Vietnemese. I share the same weary smile already feeling the effects of being in a car with 3 ten-year-old girls and an 8 year-old boy.

5:32 Pam calls telling me she's been called back to work and cannot pick up Graham from the nail salon as we had planned. Graham is fine with this as he intently watches friend#1 get her manicure. The ladies in the salon think he's adorable and asks if he wants his nails done too. Graham is conflicted as he watches the girls get little designs painted on their nails, but testosterone wins out and he refuses.

6:00 Still at nail salon. Randy calls to say he just left downtown Dallas and will stop at home to get changed and then meet us all the way out in Frisco. Through a gritted smile I tell him to please hurry.

6:30 Arrive at Steak-and-Shake. Our server, Melanie, greets us to take our order. She looks non-plussed and I sympathize with her. She asks what we'd like to drink. Rachel- chocolate milkshake, Graham- chocolate milkshake, friend#2 coffee mocha milkshake (I ask if this would be okay with her mother and she assures me that it would be...I make a judgement call in favor of the milkshake), friend #2- banana, no chocolate, no banana, no chocolate, no...Melanie sighs deeply and looks at her watch...banana it is.

6:36 Randy calls to say he's left the house and will be there as fast as he can. We order our food.

6:40 Rachel opens presents and proceeds to open all the packages of markers and paints that friend #2 gave her. After a "look" from Melanie I explain that it's not a good idea to open it all up right there.

6:55 Randy arrives just in time for us to pay the bill and head to the movie theatre. We are late for the movie.

7:15 A paycheck later I hand everyone their movie ticket and we head inside. Pam has met us there.

7:18 Randy inadvertantly embarasses Graham in front of friend #1. Graham cries and hides. I explain to Randy the situation between friend #1 and Graham. This only heightens the situation as Graham holds to his position that friend #1 is just a friend and not a "sweetheart".

7:35 Friend #3 finally arrives fresh from soccer practice. By the time she and I get to our theatre she has asked me 42 questions about the evening so far. I assure her that she's not missed much, remembering that the other girls will fill her in on every last detail.

10:00 We arrive at our house. Graham is safely with Pam at her apartment.

10:45 After playing "spies" the girls declare they are hungry. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but there was not much food in the kitchen that 10-year-old girls would enjoy. I find a box of macaroni and cheese and begin to boil the water. Meanwhile the girls are passing out Rachel's old ballet costumes and writing the story to a ballet to be performed.

11:00 I attend the impromptu ballet (which turned out to not be half bad...this is Plano...they've all had at least one year of ballet).

12:30am Randy, the nightowl, declares he's tired and is going to bed. I put a movie in, turn out all the lights and go over the boundries of the house.

7:15am Friend #3 has to leave for a soccer game.

9:45 Friend #2 is taken to play rehearsal. Hannah Montana is requested and all sing to the top of their lungs.

2:00pm Friend #1 is finally taken home...much to the chagrin of Graham who finally admits there might just be...something there.