As most of you already know, I was blessed to be able to spend the past year and half at home being a mom to my teenage boys.  My whole life I have worked, and/or worked and gone to school, but the last year and half has been a very different experience for me.  Let me start off by saying that I was lucky to be offered a fantastic job opportunity with CC Hodgson Architectural Group (a partner of Dorsky, Hodgson, and Yue) located in Beachwood, OH.  It is more than I ever expected to get in this crazy economy and I truly feel lucky and super blessed!  My "official" title is, Focus Specialist, but we really don't use titles at our company.  The long and short of this unusual title is that I am basically CC Hodgson right-hand, go-to person.  The position involves wearing many different hats, from marketing, business development, to organizing business processes and Staff parties.  It's perfect!  

That being said, I have made some interesting observations about my time off.  During my time home I had always said, "God is wanting me to rest up for something BIG He must be  planning for me."  And of course I was not wrong.  The same week I found out about my job at CC Hodgson, I also found out that I was accepted into the Diocesan Pastoral Ministry program.  For those of you who may not know exactly what that means, basically it means I will be going back to school....again!  This time I will be pursuing my master's degree in Theology at St. Mary's Seminary in Wickliffe.  Sooooo, here I was getting up each morning, looking for work, taking the dog for quiet strolls, making family dinners, then....WHAM!  I am back to working long hours and going to school at night and on weekends.  

In addition to taking classes, as part of the program you must attend what they call "formation."  What is Formation you ask?  Well, I'm not sure I got it all figured out yet, but when I do I'll certainly write about it.  The best I can tell at this point is that formation is a time when you come together as a group, (there are 4 of us in my formation class), and discern what God is asking of us in terms of sharing our gifts with all of you!  Also, they try to pull you out of your old ways of thinking and doing and try to give us a new way to think and do.  We mostly meet on the weekends which sometimes conflicts with my sons football or soccer games, so I do feel king of torn at times.  

My life went from peaceful and restful to full blown craziness literally over night!  But some of the things I noticed now that I am back in full-swing, is how great the people I work with are.  They are all so understanding of my commitment to my faith, they support my education efforts and especially my ministry in El Salvador.  My first day on the job I was literally so nervous that I prayed, "God, I have no idea if this is what you want me to do.  I feel like I am betraying you by going back to work full-time, so please, help ease my nerves by giving me a sign that I am where you want me to be."  I walked into my new office area (the architects have a very open floor plan), and I introduce myself to the architect who is sitting next to me, who apparently read my bio that my boss sent out to each of the employees, and says, "hello, my name is Rene and I am originally from El Salvador and I am very impressed with what you do down there."  I instantly felt a huge relief.  I knew that was the sign I had been asking for.  Ever since that moment I have felt comfortable in my new job.  

Also what I have learned is that God knows what He is doing.  And I knew God knows what he was doing because I never took one minute of being home with my kids for granted.  I cherished every second and was thankful each and every day.  I did not worry (too much) about where I would work or what I was going to do because I knew God wanted me to enjoy that rest He had provided...and I did!  Now, I really don't know where I am going to get the strength to work all day, go to school, go to formation on the weekends, be a mom, a wife, a daughter to my sick mother, a friend, a sister, and most especially, a child of God. But I do know that I don't have to worry about it either.  The God who gave me rest will give me strength as well.  

After my second week of work and school I was so exhausted coming home from school at 10:30 pm one night that all the way home I said, "I just can't do this...I'm exhausted!"  "I am going to drop my class and just work and go to formation."  I had clearly made up my mind.  When I walked in the house my son John and my husband were in the living room and I said to them, "well, I have decided to drop my class because I am killing myself trying to do all of this."  My husband, knowing how hard things had been on me, said, "well, do what you think is best."  But my remarkable son said to me, "Mom, don't quit your class. Nick and I are in high school now and we don't need you to do so much for us anymore. Soon we will be off at college ourselves.  Stay in school because this program will give you something to look forward to when we are gone and leave for college." 

Nothing more was said.  I went to my next class.  How nice of Johnny to think about MY future.  It really was a selfless act on his part and one I will never forget!  

Things always happen for a reason and if you are patient you will appreciate all of them...even those that seem like burdens.  Today and always, I am grateful!    


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