College Grad Tips Top 5 Countdown #3: Do your part in the process

7 May

DO YOUR PART IN THE PROCESS

While yesterday I said to enjoy the process, today I’m telling you to do your part!!  I have met and seen so many Christians who just sit and wait for God to drop opportunities in their lap.  I’m sad to say that usually that’s not how things work.   There is WORK to be done to reach the places God has for you.  You need to create your resume, look for job openings, network wtih those you know, have initiative in contacting prospective employers both before and after the application process, SEEK out what it is you’re looking for.

God does indeed do wonderful things and gives us blessings unexpectedly, but way more times than not, there is work to be done to get to that point.  Don’t let your trust and faith in God keep you motionless to work/walk the path before you.   Your job is to PLANT the seeds (apply to jobs, follow up, etc), God’s job is to GROW them!

*Disclaimer:  Now, I’m not saying to ONLY work.  Keep God at the center of your life through all of this work that must be done.  Talk to Him, study his Word, LISTEN to Him.

 

ps If you’re stuck on HOW to do some of what the “work” is, I’ll cover that tomorrow!

 

 

College Grad Tips Top 5 Countdown: #4 Enjoy the process!!

6 May

So, you’re graduating from college huh?!    How many times have you been asked this question already:

So, what are you doing after graduation?

 Do you know how I know you’ve been asked this?  Because as a the parent of a soon-to-be college graduate, I know how many times I’VE been asked what Jessi is doing. Whether or not you know the answer to this question yet doesn’t really matter.   I want to remind you to enjoy the journey. Figuring out the next step in your life can be stressful–very stressful.

  • finding job openings
  • sending resumes
  • following up on applications/resumes that are sent
  • interviews
  • IF you should go to grad school
  • WHERE to go to grad school
  • can you AFFORD to go to grad school
  • etc, etc, etc

So many things to think about and such big long-term decisions to make.

While I really want to tell you to not stress, don’t worry, etc, I know that is so much easier said than done. What I can tell you is to enjoy the process.  When you feel the stress coming, take a deep breath and just enjoy the process.  God has big plans for you and you just need to figure out where you will allow Him to use you. Look at all of these things that bring stress as stepping stones to the unfolding of YOUR story.  One day, you’ll tell others what God has done in your life and how He led you to where you are.  YOUR story will be an AMAZING story that others will want to hear.

How can I share this blanket statement when I don’t even know who is going to read this?  Because if you love the Lord and desire to follow and serve him, then YOUR story is your testimony and God will use that to draw people to Him.  Remember, even especially the things that are stressful, hard, etc will shape this testimony that you will get to use to point people to Christ and isn’t that what the life of a Christ-in is all about?

So I can’t tell you that you aren’t going to feel some pressure.  That’s frankly just part of “growing up” as they say.  But what I can remind you of is that God is in control.  Don’t let the stress get the better of you…just stop and think about how the outcome of this process will bring praise to the Father.

So whether you have a full-time job all lined up or acceptance to graduate school already or you don’t have any idea what the next year will hold for you, ENJOY THE PROCESS!

ps I’d love to hear about what you’re doing as well so don’t be shy in using the comment section! 😉

College Grad Tips Top 5 Countdown: #5 TALK to people

5 May

When I decided to do this very short series of things I’d want to say to a college graduate, I thought they’d all be emotional, encouraging, etc.   Maybe not so with this one?  But still something I find important!

Technology is a WONDERFUL thing.  I mean, I LOVE my smart phone and embarassingly admit that I feel like I’m missing my arm if I accidentally leave it at home.  I love being able to communicate with anyone at anytime and I don’t even have to talk out loud!   I love playing games when I’m bored waiting somewhere (currently this game is 2048…anything with numbers is super fun!).   So please know I’m not saying technology is bad.  Just don’t let it take the place of personal connections.

I’ve noticed what is happening with this generation who has grown up with technology is that they often forget how to communicate with actual PEOPLE.  So here are my pointers for not letting technology take the place of people:

  • The internet is not the ONLY place to get information!  Sometimes a phone call is worth the time.  It is much more likely to get what you need when you take the time to TALK to a person.
  • When you can’t find information online, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!  Make a call and find out!
  • Please don’t use texting lingo in emails or in person.   Let the world see your true intelligence.
  • Slightly off topic, but be timely in your communication with potential employers.  Don’t wait too long to make a follow-up call or email.  Show YOUR interest in them and they will be more interested in you!

Well, this one is short and sweet.  I promise the rest will be more thoughtful and emotional. 😉   It’s a countdown so the best is yet to come!!

 

PS  HAPPY 21ST BIRTHDAY TO MY DAUGHTER, JESSI FRANCIS!!  

She’s baaacccckkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4 May

Well, I hope I am anyway!!

I just read through my previous posts and realized it has been TWO YEARS since I last posted.  Let me tell you it has been busy!

We worked all of 2012 to fix up our home of almost 22 years to put on the market.  It went on the market at the end of January 2013 and sold to the first person who saw it.  We moved into a rental home at the end of February, put a contract on a townhome in July, and moved into our new place in October!!!

So what has prompted me to come back to bloggy land you might ask.   Simple.  A mom’s heart musings.

This has been a week of both reflecting and looking forward.  Plain and simple, my kids are growing up and I have so much more I want them to know and be before they leave!!  Can I get an “amen”?!

My son is finishing up his junior year of high school and is in the process of finding a college where he can play baseball.  Do you know what that means??  Yep.  He’s going to leave home.  And do you know what that means???  This nest will be empty.  And do you know what that means????  This mama will be on her knees even more!!

My daughter has a big week this week.  Tomorrow she has a birthday and will turn 21.  WHERE HAS ALL THE TIME GONE?!  Aren’t I just 25??  *sigh   On Saturday, she will graduate from Liberty University with a BA in Youth Ministry and a minor in Global Studies (or Global Ministries or Inter-Cultural Studies…she keeps telling me and I keep forgetting :/ ).   Not only has she been an RA this year, but she is going out with a bang carrying her highest GPA yet this semester!    I am beyond proud of her and can’t wait to watch God unfold His plans for her life.  She is SO ready to serve Him in any way He calls her to do, but most importantly, ANYWHERE He calls her to!  Please pray for her as she is seeking His plan for the next steps of her life.  She will be working at Watermarks Camp this summer and is just tickled about it!  She has fallen in love with the owners, Travis and Angie, and their heart for serving  the Lord.

So as you see, many things for my mommy heart to dwell on right now.   My plan for this week is to do a countdown of the top 5 things I believe college graduates should know before heading out into the “real” world.   I hope you’ll join me as I share a piece of my heart with my daughter!  🙂

 

My Excuses..they don’t work

23 Apr

Well, once again, it’s been quite some time!   It seems like so long ago that I sat down to write something and I’m sitting here trying to figure out why.  Here are the excuses I’ve come up with:

1.  I’m busy!!   Now, while this is true, I don’t really buy this as an excuse (even though I use it!)  We all make time for what’s important, don’t we?

2.  I don’t have anything to say.  Well, if you know me, you know that’s NOT true!  I have plenty to say.  Just not always sure I want to put it out there for all to see.

3.  My kids don’t like when I write about them.  This is sometimes true, sometimes not.  They’re like the rest of us:  if it’s good, they’d probably wish I’d write everyday.  If it’s not so flattering, “Mom, why did you have to write that?”

I’d like to save some of the details of what God’s been doing in my life for a later post, but for now, here are some quick overviews of what He is working on in me in regards to being a mom.  God’s been showing me these things mostly through friends who aren’t afraid to speak truth to me (thanks Caryl and Sandy).

  • Parenting is full of “seasons”.  If the one I’m in is tough, it’s ok, the next season is coming and “this too shall pass”.  🙂
  • I could be the perfect parent (and I’m far from it) and that would not guarantee my kids will make the right choices.
  • I cannot parent out of fear.  My natural thought process is one full  of worry and fear.  I fight it every day.   I’ve learned that even though my kids don’t necessarily understand that’s what I’m doing, they certainly don’t respond to that parenting style.
  • Watching my child make mistakes is hard.  Letting them bear the consequences of those mistakes, even harder.  But it’s absolutely necessary if they are to grow up to be responsible adults who can make good decisions.
  • I am not in control.  God is.  It was easy to not realize this when my kids were young because it was so easy to just control everything.   Now that they’re teens/young adults, it has become abundantly clear how NOT in control I am.  But God is.  He has a hold on my children’s hearts and I need to trust that He is holding them.

I’d love to share more details but hope to eventually share each of them in their own post.

“It takes a village?”

27 Feb

I used to hate the statement in the title of this blog.  My kids were young and I believed that they only needed MY love, guidance, caring, and protection.  I didn’t need a community or a “village” to help me.   I mean, I homeschooled my kids their whole lives.  Why would they ever need another human to help them grow and learn?   I’ve come to realize that sometimes when I get headstrong in ideas like this, it’s exactly when God uses it to teach ME a lesson in humility.

We’ve had a rough patch with my son over the last couple of years–nothing super major, nothing too rough, nothing earth shattering when I hear of others’ stories, but difficult for us nonetheless.  I am beyond thankful to the Father for providing strong men and women of Christ to speak Truth and love into his life (the “village” of Southside Nazarene Church).   There were times where he would just not hear one word from us–not one.   But by God’s grace, his heart is turned to the Lord.  He is LISTENING when God speaks to him.  He is even talking to us about what God is saying.  It has been absolutely amazing to see God work.  I’m enjoying watching my little boy grow and mature into a strong young man.

The prompt for this post was his facebook status last night.  I am copying and pasting (even with all of his grammar mistakes!)  😉  It touched me and his dad to tears.  Thanks for letting me share!

“I’ve have put my parents through many hardships. Sometimes I’ve put them beyond the limit they are usually willing to go. Yet, they have stuck by side through everything. I think when i say these next two simple words, I am speaking for many other teenagers. Thank you. Thank you to my mom and dad for being there for me no matter what. Alot of teens may not realize that there parents are just trying to do the best for them. There not trying to make us angry or sad or anything. God didnt just a pick a random family for you to be in. He picked the family that He knew would help you grow stronger in your faith. So that right there is one reason to say thank you. And think of everything they do for you, get for. And there always there. So once again, thank you mom and dad”

It’s been a while!

9 Feb

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  My theory is that if nothing “hits” me as important to write, then don’t force it!   But here’s just a little bit of what I’ve been thinking about lately.

I’ve been learning a lot lately about parenting a college student.  I wrote in an earlier post ( Parenting Teens ) about being deliberate in changing my parenting as my kids entered the world of adolescence.  Now it’s time for me to learn how to parent a college student who is legally an adult!  I don’t know why I didn’t realize I was going to have to do this again, but I just figured it would come naturally.  Not so much.

I have been seeking advice lately from moms who I admire who have had students in college before.  I’m learning how to let go of telling her what to do and coaching her instead.  Let me stop here and tell you that my daughter doesn’t need a lot of coaching.  She is amazing.  She loves is in love with Jesus.  Her desire is to do what is right and pure in His eyes.

The things I need to coach her on are those “business” type of things that come with being an adult that she’s not had to deal with before-being assertive, finding a job, paying bills, etc.   It’s so much easier to just give her a list of things to accomplish and tell her to go do it.  But truly, what will she learn from that? I haven’t really handled teaching her these things too well (yet).  I am making mistakes while I’m learning and pray my daughter understands that my heart is for her to learn how to handle adult situations in a godly way.  My desire is for her to not make the same dumb mistakes her dad and I made  – to be a wise and prudent steward of her time, talents and finances.

Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Balancing unworthy sinner with child of the King

1 Jan

As I was thinking about writing this post yesterday afternoon, I started wondering if I was the only one that sometimes worries about balancing these two “conflicting” ideas as I’ve taught them to my children over the years.  On the one hand, I want them to know that as part of the human race, they are sinners.   Like me, they are so unworthy of God’s gift of salvation.  On the other hand, God loves them SO MUCH that he sent His only Son to pay the penalty for THEIR sin.  They are children of the King!

One of these concepts could cause them to think too poorly of themselves, while the other can cause them to think too highly of themselves.   My plan for this post was to talk about how I really pray that I’ve conveyed them in a balanced, healthy way to my kids.  With these thoughts fresh on my mind and still not quite sure exactly what I’d write, I head to the 2nd night of Winterfest.

As we were watching Tenth Avenue North perform, the lead singer Mike Donehey comes into the crowd.  He climbed his way up the middle of one section standing on the chairs with fans surrounding him.  When the song was over, he spoke about this exact idea of balancing unworthy sinner with being a child of the King.  I believe what he had to say was so simple, yet so profound that it became the “answer” to my post.

(paraphrased)  “We need to not think too highly of ourselves.  Nor do we need to think too poorly of ourselves.  The key is we need to not think of ourselves at all.”    Amen!  It’s not about us.  It’s not about how we feel about ourselves.  It’s all about Jesus.  It’s all about serving Him.   Now there’s the answer!

“I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You,
It’s all about You, Jesus”

Rocking it at Winterfest

31 Dec

I’m at Liberty University this weekend with my son attending Winterfest.  If you’re not familiar with Winterfest, it’s 2 nights of multiple bands playing (mostly) Christian rock with some punk, hip-hop, etc thrown in.   The line-up for the two nights includes bands like Manic Drive, Family Force Five, Hawk Nelson, Skillet, Anthem Lights, Trip Lee, Red, Tenth Avenue North, and Switchfoot.    Now, I do my best as a mom of teens to keep informed on what’s “in” (though my children would probably disagree).  I have to admit though, that I was a little apprehensive about this weekend.  To be honest, I was expecting a migraine by the end of the night.

Well, one night is over and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  The music was energizing, the bands were entertaining and the speaker was engaging.     I am SO looking forward to tonight!    **Sidenote:  I wish I knew the WORDS to all of the songs and not just a few!  I would’ve enjoyed it even more.   At the risk of sounding my age, why don’t they put the words to the songs on the screen like they do in church for worship?

Well, all this to say that I enjoy learning and experiencing the things my kids love.  I hope that by entering into their “world”  I’m showing them how much I care about them and what they love.   And who knows, I may even end up with a new favorite band!

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

May Christ be the center of your season!!

God bless,

The Francis Family