Where or where is my time? Time to do the little things that never seem to get done. The time to do the things I want to do. And the time to do the things I HAVE to do. With the same 24 hours in any days you would think that there should be always enough time but there never is. There’s never enough time to take care of my existing workload at the office before more is added in this current government culture of more with less (I’m a civil servant). There’s never enough time to organize the house with two little girls. There’s never quite enough time for personal enrichment with work, family, and home responsibilities. Its overwhelming at times but I’m not sure I would really have it any other way (well maybe less work at work :))
But I am going to try one of my goals again…more frequent blogging. Wish me luck.
I never thought I would be someone who would even want to work for myself. When I envisioned my career it was in a downtown office working 9-5. In fact, I always planned a career in public service and that is exactly what I have done for the past 9 years. But then, I married a man who worked for himself. It is true that it was the stability of my career in the first couple of years of marriage that allowed him to not have to worry about the money and just focus on the establishing his business foundation but I think he would have continued on this path even if it hadn’t been for the stability of my job. He just does better working for himself. In the past couple of years I have increasingly found myself wishing for the same freedom he has on a day to day basis. Most mornings he’s in bed an hour after I leave for work. He can work 2 or 3 jobs that last 4-5 hours total and still beat me back home again. He does on occasion have to work late or incredibly long hours but that is about once a week or less. I can easily learn to do what he does and join him in the business but I really don’t have much interest. I would love to be his office manager and focus on really establishing my genealogy consulting business (which is an incredibly small field btw) but there is still that matter of needing some income coming in from me. It doesn’t help that economy isn’t great and that makes if difficult to find even a part time ‘normal’ job.
Right now the gears are turning and I’m attempting to think of or find something that I can turn into my own business. I would love to be a consultant but again part of the problem is my ‘professional’ field is small and I’m not in the right part of the country to be an effective consultant and moving is not an option for us. So in the meantime I keep working and looking to see what, if anything, is out there either in a traditional professional career or through a small business of some type. I’ll figure it out, I just haven’t done it yet.
Anyone have any suggestions? Maybe, you’re interested in learning more about your family tree…if so, check out my website to the right.
For a few weeks now I have been itching for a change. My oldest is in Pre-K and will be starting kindergarten next fall. I’ve said for years that I want to ‘quit working’ when she starts school. I have achieved and lost (due to relocating offices and downsizing at work) the goals I had set for myself when I began my current job. Due to the state of the economy there is no room for growth at my office now or anytime in the immediate future. In fact, it just gets more stressful and depressing as time goes on. I want a change.
I’ve been thinking and talking about career change with those around me but I have yet to see any real opportunities. I’ve been brainstorming what I want and can’t seem to find anything that remotely matches what I’m looking for.
This morning I checked out the blogs that I regularly monitor and realized that two of them have posted ‘this is the end’ messages. A third, has pretty much already taken that form those she does update on occasion (about 3-4 a year). The fourth has recently been undergoing changes but her post today seemed to fit the the goodbye messages of the other two…change, focus on family, less is more. It seems to me that they were also sending a message to me. It is time for a change.
I’m not sure how I am going to accomplish my changes but I do know that it is time for a change, a drastic change.
Here is what I know that I do want:
- an organized house (I need the time to accomplish this)
- a flexible job that would allow me to spend more time with the kids especially once school gets out (afternoons, school holidays, etc)
- I would love to run my own business which would give me the flexibility that I want but my interests and skills do not lie in high demand fields
- I want to go back to school and get my master’s degree even if it is only one class at a time
- one day when the kids are older, I would love to have the ability to travel but that is a more long-term goal
Its time for me to move on but I’m not sure what I need to do to make those first steps and I’m definetly not sure which direction I am supposed to go so that I can achieve my goals.
I guess my first step should be obvious. Its time to focus on prayer and ask God to direct my steps.
So here is to figuring out what is the first step to change…
On Monday we celebrate Memorial Day. This weekend is the traditional beginning of summer for the majority of the country and this year will be no different. However, a year ago this weekend, Memorial Day took on a new meaning for my family and I. We will never look at Memorial Day weekend the same.
You see, on May 30, 2011 (Memorial Day) just after 4 in the afternoon I received a the phone call from my parents that I had been dreading/waiting for all day. They told me I needed to come to Birmingham where they had been staying for the last week with my brother and sister-in-law. I needed to come and say goodbye to my 23-year-old baby sister who was laying in ICU with a heart that had given out and with probable brain damage due to the length of time she had gone without oxygen when her heart and lungs had failed the night before. She was on life support and her vital organs had begun to shut down. The doctors had told my family that there was no chance at recovery and to call the family in. So we came.
I was 28 weeks pregnant at the time, 2 more weeks and I would not be allowed to travel due to my risk of premature labor. I threw some clothes in a bag, put my 3-year-old in the back seat and said goodbye to my husband (being self-employed its near impossible for him to drop everything at the last second) and I drove off into the evening for an 8-hour trip through back Georgia roads to Birmingham, Alabama. Outside of St Louis, my other brother, his wife and his father-in-law loaded their things into a car and headed the same direction. My aunt jumped a plane, and my parents friends from Pensacola made their journey as well. We all gathered the next morning for one more time together as a family…the Tucker 6 became no more just after 10am CST on May 31, 2011.
This weekend we honor those men and women who have served out country with honor, those that have given their lives and suffered injuries during their service. In my own family, we will honor my brothers, my cousin, uncle, both of my grandfathers (one of whom passed away in 2009). But we will also honor the memory of a 23-year-old graduate student, a daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, granddaughter, and friend. We will honor the memory of my baby sister, Amber-Marie.
I know I have a desk in my office. I pull up to it with my chair everyday. I can even see parts of the wood finish around my monitor and keyboard. However, lately I can’t see any of the rest of it (and its a U-shaped desk)! Currently, my desk at work is buried under 30,000 sheets of paper, files, books, and other assorted things. I can’t remember the last time I have been this swamped at the office and I still don’t feel like I have gotten anything really accomplished today. My goal for the day is to be able to at least see a little bit more of the wood on my desk! I just hope I am successful…
So in my Google search for a good picture of a pile papers to illustrate my previous post I came across a website that I think I am going to love (no this is not the site where I eventually found my picture).
The author uses the following quote in a few of her posts and I think I am going to make this my new mantra
the fewer things you keep, the more special they are
Her website is here: Small Notebook
So one of my major goals for the year is to ‘get my house organized.’ A big part of this mess is my paper file system. It’s absolutely out of control! To make it even more chaotic is half of it is still packed from our move last year. I never bothered unpacking those boxes because I knew they were not active files I needed and I was pregnant at the time and I just didn’t need the extra stress of at least having to SEE the entirety of my paper file nightmare.
There have been several times where I have sat down and spent hours attempting to get my filing system organized but it all ends to no avail. I also ways purge out quite a bit of paper and that does make me feel slightly accomplished but I am still left with a slightly less than before massive of partially organized papers that maybe stacked with their like counterparts but it’s still a PILE! I’ll try filing all of this and realize I don’t have enough file folders that are labeled and ready to go. If I attempt to take the approach put them in the file and label later, I forget what is in each file and then create multiple files of the same category (like electric bills) or spent several extra minutes looking through all of the non-labeled files trying to find the corresponding file for one particular piece of paper. This usually ends up with frustration and I just give up to forget where I was by the time I think about coming back and then I just avoid it some more…its a vicious cycle that just continues as more paper comes into the house.
This time I am attempting to take a different approach. I have been working on a list of categories I believe that I will need corresponding files for. I think I have most of them listed out and now I am going to organize that by master category (i.e. financial, property, medical, etc.). My next step will be the one that I hate but is the most important in order for me to finally get moving on this filing system. I am going to sit down and create a LABELED file folder for each category and subcategory on my list. I am not going to file one single piece of paper until I finish ALL the files as I currently have them. Once I have finished this most crucial step then I will arrange them on my portable file rack in their proper categories. THEN and only then will I start to put files in the labeled and organized file folders.
My problem is I HATE HATE HATE labeling folders. It doesn’t matter if I have a handy labeler or pen..its a monotonous job that will drive me up a wall but I need to make myself do it. I also should probably arrange for someone to watch the girls while I do this part because an energetic and talkative 4-year-old and a needy (and easily bored) 6 month will make this task near impossible to do.
A few months ago Ancestry.com did some updating to their website and their family tree features. One of the new features they introduced was a “view relationship to me” button. I was so excited when I found this new feature. I knew my tree had a great deal of erroneous connections and people that were no longer connected to anyone that needed to be weeded out. At one point I started to make a new, leaner family tree but my heart was still in my first tree…I just didn’t want to start all the way over from scratch even though I went a little overboard (ok WAY overboard) with my tree as I started my research.
I have spent the last several months going person by person through my entire tree using this button. I think I have removed somewhere around 4000 people from my tree that were not connected or were only connected by marriage to one extremely distant cousin and really didn’t need to be in my tree any longer. Today, I am FINALLY 100% finished with going through all the people in my tree. As I type this I believe I have one family left to sort through and that will only take about 15 minutes of my time. Now I will have to start this process over unfortunately because as I deleted some families I missed the spouse and children of the children I deleted…so I have to double check one more time. I know that will take a couple of more months of gradual work to get through but it will be quicker this time because I won’t have millions of hints popping up for everyone anymore (Ive already sorted through the majority of those). I have also changed the last names of my direct ancestors (or at least 90% of them) to all capitals so I can find my direct line more quickly as I look at the lists of names.
I can’t wait to get back to the point that I can start digging deeper for more information about my main family lines and try to answer some of the questions that I have and better trace their migrations. But first I want to make sure the people in my tree is as clean and lean as possible…
Yes, I know we are now officially one month into the new year but it doesn’t mean it’s too late for goals and it doesn’t mean that these weren’t already my goals…I’m just now getting around to writing them here.
Its better late than never right?
In the year 2012 it is my goal to:
- Better organize my home
- Work with my husband to better organize our business
- Learn to live more ‘frugality’ and use more couponing and sales in my shopping
- Slow down and enjoy the small moments my daughters are growing way to quickly
- Continue to expand my researching skills and genealogical research
- Blog more often and with some regularity
- Spend more time focusing on my relationship with God because without him I can do nothing and will get nothing accomplished
I just realized that I never explained the reason why the song “My Sister, My Friend” makes me cry.
On May 31st, 2011 I stood around a hospital bed in the ICU of the University of Alabama – Birmingham Hospital with my parents, my brothers and their wives and my Aunt Carla. Lying upon that bed was my 23-year-old sister. Thomas was not able to join me at that moment (due to work) and Natalie was in the care of my mom’s best friends in the waiting room. We were all there to say goodbye. Amber-Marie “Sunshine” Tucker breathed her last breath after 10am CST. Her passing was quick and unexpected. She was born with serious heart defects that should have caused her to pass away before or soon after birth. Instead she surpassed everything the doctors said she would never do. She lived a full life and was studying for her MBA in the months before her death. Infections were always a concern because of her weakened heart and in April she was hospitalized with an unknown blood infection that was traced to her heart. She underwent a month of at home IV antibiotic treatments to hopefully completely eliminate the infection.
The beginning of May I was at church on a Sunday when my Sunday School teacher referenced Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” It immediately jumped out at me. I remember thinking, “Are you trying to tell me something God?” After class I went on to choir and our song for the day was written around that exact same verse. This time ALL the alarm bells started to go off. I was worried. I begged God to not let us go through anything with our daughter’s health again. I was afraid that DCF was going to show up and we would go through that nightmare all over again. I knew it wasn’t healthy to worry so I tried to just ignore my fears and go on. If something was going to happen I would just have to react when it happened.
A couple of weeks after that Sunday I got a call from my parents. My sister was back in the hospital, the infection had returned. A few days later I was told they were transferring her to Birmingham to be near her surgeons. We were told she was looking at the possibility of needing a heart replacement and the doctor initially talked about the possibility of another valve replacement (we had previously been told in years past that it would be impossible due to the difficult placement of her heart in her chest). I never seriously worried. I knew she was going to be extremely ill for a long time but there was never a doubt in my mind that she would not get better and continue her life and be around to fulfill her role as the ‘annoying little sister’ for the remainder of my life.
I got a call Sunday night, May 29th. She had been moved to the ICU her lungs were filling with fluid and she could barely breathe (this is a sign of heart failure). I received a phone call a few hours later that her heart had stopped and they were trying to get her on a bypass machine. A couple of more hours passed and I finally spoke with my dad about 1am. It was then I heard the entire story. It took them a long time to get her on the bypass machine, much longer than it should have. There was a serious possibility of brain damage due to the amount of time she went without oxygen and a heart beat. My parents and brother Jason and his wife Mary sat across from her in the ICU and watched the doctors and nurses frantically work on her. They had iced down her body in attempt to trick the brain into resetting itself. She was temporarily stable and they would make a decision the following afternoon as to the next steps in her care. Monday afternoon about 4pm EST I received another phone call. I was asked to come to Birmingham. I threw everything I needed for a funeral and several days away in my car, put my 3 year old in the back seat and myself being 6 months pregnant drove half the night on the back roads of Georgia and Alabama to get to my sister to say goodbye. Just after 10am we did and she left but not before I promised her that we would name her newest little niece in her honor…
Since that day I have lived with a guilt that I don’t think will ever completely go away. I was never the sister that I should have been to my baby sister. I kept waiting and looking forward to a day when we would FINALLY be on the same stage in life and could finally be able to better relate to one another. I was 5 years older and always 2 steps ahead of her it was hard to relate. I wish with all of my heart I could go back in time and appreciate her more and treat her differently than just my little sister. I wish we could have had the friendship that I am already praying that my daughters will eventually have with one another.
It is too late for me but I do not hesitate in telling others that they should be grateful that they still have their sisters/brothers (or whatever family member it is for them). It could be the other way so incredibly easy…