Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Virtual Book Tour on the Way

Trisiti Pinkston is at it again.

A successful writer herself, Tristi also works as Senior Editor of Valor Publishing. In that role she has been a real champion of finding fresh and innovative ways to get the word out about new books coming to market. One that she has successfully done is the "Virtual Book Tour" in which several bloggers are invited to read a pre-release copy of a new book and then write a candid review of that book on their blogs.

I have been fortunate enough to be included in this gathering of readers in the past. On March 24 I will be reviewing The Cleansing of America by Dr. W. Cleon Skousen.(Click HERE for a biography of Skousen)

While I have heard a lot about Skousen's past works, I have not yet read any of his books. I have a PDF file of this soon to be published work on a flash drive I will take with me as I am traveling to Arizona this week. I have about a three hour lay over in Salt Lake at an airport that does NOT offer free wi-fi. (What's the deal SLC?) So instead of bemoaning the fact that I can't get online while I'm there I'll use that time to do some reading.

I look forward to seeing what the book has to offer and I very much appreciate Tristi's continued confidence in me as a reviewer. I'm excited to have the opportunity to give this book careful thought and share my reactions to it here.

A giant's passing

I'm on my way back to Arizona to attend the Memorial Service of my beloved uncle, Tom Pendley.

Many thanks to my cousin (Tom's daughter), Kathy Shaw, for sharing this obituary of her dad:

Arizona native, Thomas Tilman Pendley II, 87, of Phoenix died February 23, 2010.

Mr. Pendley was born February 22, 1923 in Clemenceau, (now Cottonwood), AZ to Frank and Jane Pendley. Tom grew up on the family homestead at Slide Rock, north of Sedona, where they raised apples, peaches, and pears which they sold at their roadside store. Tom attended grade school in Oak Creek Canyon, high school in Flagstaff, and university at ASU. He married Dorothy Diers in 1955 and returned to manage the family farm in Oak Creek from 1963 to 1985. Tom recognized the vulnerability of the orchard crops and added sweet corn to the produce raised at Slide Rock. He developed a loyal following of customers looking for that “picked this morning” freshness that had disappeared from the local markets. Tom’s passion for quality fruits and vegetables was the motivation for his collaborative effort in the foundation of the Coconino County Fair. He fought for the rights of the family farmer at a time when government and developers were exploiting nature’s wonders. Tom worked tirelessly to make the family farm a success and to preserve the natural beauty for generations to come. Through his efforts and those of Govenor Bruce Babbitt, Slide Rock became a State Park in 1985 and has since become one of the most popular State Parks in Arizona.

Tom and Dorothy enjoyed retirement by travelling to destinations in Alaska, Europe, and Mexico. Between trips he continued farming by raising tomatoes in his backyard garden; always with the emphasis on flavor over appearance. Tom brought the flavor of life to a family that will miss him dearly.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Frank L. and Jane H. Pendley, his brothers Don and Frank Pendley, sisters Jill Jonovich, Eva Young, Patricia Rueger, Marge Theriault and Joy Odell.

He leaves his wife, Dorothy of Phoenix, daughters Kathy Shaw (Ed) of Flagstaff and Karen Harkey (John) of Flagstaff, son Tom Pendley III (Kathy) of Phoenix, and three grandchildren Maya Shaw, Brooke Warren and Orion Pendley and sister Nina Lovett of Cottonwood,

A Memorial service will be held at Life in Christ Lutheran Church, Peoria, AZ, on Sunday February 28, at 3:00 p.m. (623) 773-1234.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Friends of Slide Rock State Park, P.O. Box 3432, Flagstaff, AZ 86003.

Thanks to my older brother, Wayne, for sharing THIS LINK to Tom's Oral History with pictures of the apple ranch in Oak Creek that is now Slide Rock State Park.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Work / Home Balance

I've been giving some thought to the whole issue of Work / Home balance. It seems the primary reason I did not get my job in Alaska was because I was not willing to be a corporate drone. Everything looked great, and I had indeed been told that I was the person hand picked for the job. But then I started asking questions about what sort of schedule would be expected. I spoke to the person who performed the same job in Pasco, WA. Apparently that guy routinely put in 70 hrs per week. I attributed this to him being a crazy work-a-holic. Then I met the person with the same job in Anchorage. He worked even longer hours. When do these guys sleep?

As I kept inquiring and exploring the same theme kept coming up. Throughout the company the expectation seemed to be for people to put in LONG days, often taking work home over the weekends and having precious few holidays and very little vacation. They lived to work. After talking to numorous people it became clear this was endemic with that company NOT because the individuals involved had no sense of balance in their lives, but rather because it was a corporate expectation. This is the dark side of far too many companies...expecting people to give up their lives for a paycheck and that is something I simply will not do.

So I balked.

I talked to the head CEO and told him point blank "I am a very good employee because I am passionate about what I do and I give 100%. However, one of the reasons I can be such a good employee is that my life WORKS. I have a great marriage. I am a member of a faith community. I have hobbies and interests. I enjoy a rich and rewarding personal life. So while I work very hard at my job, I need to be able to consistently go home and have time to fully rejuvenate in that personal life so then I have the energy to go back to work and give 100% all over again. I will work hard and as a professional I certainly understand that there will be occassional projects that require extra long hours or even the occassional weekend. But I would expect that as matter of routine I would not typically work more than 45-50 hrs in a week. I think anything more than that would mean that either the job was ill defined, efficient systems were not in place or the expectations were unreasonable. Any job that expects more than that on an ongoing basis would not be the right match for me."

Based on that, it seems, they decided that I was no longer the right match.

In all honesty I am VERY relieved we found out this basic mis-match BEFORE I took a job and moved rather than after.

As disappointed as I was to not get my dream of moving off to moose land, I am very clear that was NOT a good match for my values and needs.

So my job search continues. I have two interviews this week and another one the first week of March. I am gathering no moss.

Through it all I have had lots of opportunities to think about what kinds of jobs would be a fit for me and what would not. So many people I know are locked into jobs they hate, or at best jobs they merely endure. I really don't want to end up in that boat. I understand that EVERY job has things that will be annoying, tedious or uncomfortable. (That's why we consider it work instead of play, right?) Still, I believe it is possible to build a work life that is rewarding on personal levels and well as economic ones.

When looking for a place to live I've carefully considered what characteristics I want from a community - things like climate, size, and types of resources available. I think it makes sense to do the same sort of analysis for what sort of work life would be the best fit and reaching specifically in that direction rather than merely grabbing on to whatever might become available.

There is a lot I'm still not clear on. But these are the things I know for sure.

1.) I would rather work inside than outside. While I do like the chance to get a change of scenery now and again, I'm not likely to enjoy working outdoors in all sorts of weather.

2) I would rather work with ideas than machines. I worked in a factory once, long time ago. I could never do that sort of employment again. It was truly miserable.

3) I need to be able to support the overall mission of the company or organization that I work for. This means that even the very best job in a company that makes bombs or produces pornography would not be a fit. I have to know that the overall goal of my employer is to meet a legitimate need or improve quality of life somehow.

4) I need contact with other people. I'm good at statistical analysis and I have skills in data management. But if I'm stuck in a room by myself crunching numbers all day I'm going to go Postal. Whatever job I get needs to allow me some amount of contact with other people on a regular basis to keep me energized.

5) I can be a Chief or an Indian, but do not mircomanage me~!
I had a job in a medical research facility once where my supervisor wanted to approve every document before I was allowed to FAX it to the vendor we worked with. Every move I made had to be discussed and signed off on by higher ups. It was excruciating. I have a brain. Let me use it to do my job.

6) The flip side of not liking micromanagment is I don't really want to be totally left on my own. I am capable of making decisions and I work well independently. Still, I like to have someone else I can bounce ideas off of and it helps if I feel like there is a leader who is aware of what I'm doing. I tend to get highly motivated when working out of loyalty to a specific person, far more so than for individual success of any given project. While I don't need much hand-holding sort of supervision, I do like having some support and/or sense of being part of a team.

Ok - those are some basic generic things I know about what I want from a job. Now all I have to do is find a position in one of the geographic regions my husband and I have identified as desirable that meets (or at least comes close to meeting) most, if not all, of those criteria.

Don't know what I'm going to be when I grow up, but the journey of exploration to find it has certainly been interesting.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Life can turn on a dime...

Earlier today I found out that I did NOT get the job I had been expecting in Alaska.
Oddly enough, despite how much I had been looking forward to heading north to Moose Land, I have felt a complete calm and peace about this.

I posted the news on my Facebook page earlier. As a result, I have had several people writing me messages giving me condolences for having missed out on the job I was so sure I had.

But you know, I just don't feel badly about it. YES, I wanted to move to Alaska and am a little baffled because the President of the college essentially had told me I had it. But apparently she got trumped by the corporate CEO. For whatever reason, things have shifted.

But here is the interesting part. The same day I found out I did not get the job, I also got a call from my son in Michigan telling me my 13 yr old grandson was needing emergency surgery on his heart. (He has had heart problems for some time so it is not totally unexpected, however complications arose just in the last week requiring the doctors to act FAST.) He came through the surgery just fine and by all accounts he will be ok. Still, I'm feeling a STRONG prompting that we need to be more available to our family.

Then tonight I opened up my scriptures at random as I often do. The first passage I turned to in the Doctrine and Covenants was this:

"And now, verily I say unto you, that it is not expedient that you should go until your children are provided for, and sent up kindly unto the bishop of Zion. And after a few years, if thou desirest of me, thou mayest go up also unto the goodly land, to possess thine inheritance." (D & C 99:6-7)

Uh, yeah. It seems really, REALLY clear to me that Heavenly Father is not saying NO, he is saying "Not Yet". I trust His timetable.

I do not know if this means we will head back to Michigan to be close to the grand kids or if it means we will stay here or if it means back to Boise or what. But clearly, it seems Alaska is on hold.

Living in Limbo like this is sorta discombobulating. I really want to know where we will land. But I am learning more every single day to "Trust in the Lord with they heart and lean not unto thine own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Pins & Needles..

I've been up most the night not able to sleep. My nerves are all a jangle with anticipation about whether or not I'll get the job....

However, as skittish as I may be at present, I've been learning a whole lot from this whole process. As much as I want this move north, I honestly believe I'm ready to fully accept the outcome no matter what it is. If I do not get hired I will of course be disappointed. I have so many reasons why a move to Alaska just now would be a lovely fit. But ya know what? I am finding myself very aware these days of how richly blessed I am.

I am healthy.
I have a great marriage.
I have a strong spiritual life.
I have some great friends.
I have a great dog.
I live in a place with lots of freedom.
I have a supportive family.

The list goes on and on.

So if I DON'T get to move of to the Land of Bears & Moose, it really will be ok.
But if I DO....oh holy cow, what an adventure that would be.

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