Be, Do, Learn

Self-Improvement - one step at a time

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Fight ’til your fists bleed, baby.

On Chris Scheidies

Sometimes it feels like its all a struggle...some days I feel like I went down the wrong path and life and am fighting to correct it. I had a great job that I really liked, it was certainly a challenge but it was fun and I loved it. Then the economy took a downturn along with my income and the kids were not getting a good education in school (another story in itself) so things got pretty stressful. I had a friend closer to home that had been running an IT services startup, and had been trying to recruit me for two years to be his first official employee. The pay seemed more stable than my other tech consulting/sales job in the music industry. So after much thought I moved my family and took the job. Very quickly however I realized this was a mistake, but it was too late...there was no going back. The startup was not even remotely in a financial position to make my wages and within three months I was out. WOW...also since I was considered a contract employee I was not eligible for unemployment, nothing, zero, zip...so here I was stuck up a creek without a paddle.

I spent the next few days going on lots of walks, thinking about what to do. The plan was to some day start my own business but I certainly was not ready now. Here I was stuck in a city I had lived only three months, with no savings, no funding, no income and no network to even meet customers. Needless to say I was stressed. So I decided, right then and there, I don’t need to chase anyone for a paycheck. I will generate my own income one way or another. So I started taking contract work from sites like onforce and started a production/design company with no knowledge of how to run one or how to get customers or anything. It was TOUGH, a massive struggle, especially when we were falling behind on our bills anyway. Every morning I would wake up and apply for jobs, then try and find customers and then contract tech work.

Several times we had our power shut off, and were constantly behind on rent. My wife found a few temp jobs, then got a nice full time one. But the job market was not kind on either one of us. I thought for sure I would be kicked out of my house and my family would have to move in with my parents. It was devastating. I remember seeing work orders come through on onforce to fix TV’s, and I thought “I have no idea how to fix a TV, im a tech guy with a audio engineer/IT background” Then when things got bad I figured “Well if I am losing my house anyway, who cares if I break a TV its not like they can sue me, I don’t have any money” So I starting fixing TV’s, and you know what, it was EASY work. Then I started working on servers, and doing vonage installs and I could do them. I could do them all, once in a while I had a contract job that would really stump me, but I would struggle through it. Customers started coming in and I started making websites for local businesses. I made some money from composing music and video production as well. I had applied for about two hundred jobs at this point, and gotten a few interviews but none of them offered enough money for me to be interested. By now I was almost making 40k from design and contract work, but the income was all over the map. I remember making $5000 one month and $500 the next.

We bought groceries every few days in small amounts as we had money. Now 40k was not NEAR the kind of money I was accustomed to making and is certainly not enough to raise a family, but I am still proud of that number. Just imagine being dropped in a city where you know no one and have ZERO resources and go make a living. Try it, I dare you. Do it with a rent payment and a family to feed. It took years off my life, but it really changed my perspective about life and the system in general.

Big Questions, Deep Thoughts, Turning Points

On Rock Solid

At certain times in my life, there seems to be moments of decisions or turning points. I'm a fourth year Bible college student working toward my B.A. in Applied Linguistics: TESOL. After this I will have one semester left before graduating. But can I share that I question where it's all heading?

I joined the TESOL program with the intention of going overseas, to serve as a Christian English teacher, sharing Christ through my life in whatever cultural, societal context I should end up in. TESOL opens doors to virtually any country in the world. But I'm finding more and more that my heart is being stirred for my own country of Canada. Honestly, it feels really confusing for me.

I am acutely aware that Canadian culture, along with North American culture in general, is essentially as individualistic as a culture can be. I am far from the exception to this rule but I'm also very drawn to learning what it means to do life in community, especially through church discipleship and through church relations. (Hence, the preceding posts about the Catholic church and my relation to it.)

As for discipleship, practical, healthy discipleship at work, I don't know that I've ever really seen this worked out in a "church" setting yet. The closest I've ever seen has probably been in my involvement through serving at Joe's Place Youth Centre in Moose Jaw. It's a Christian organization but its aim is to serve all and any youth that come through their doors. The staff and volunteers have become family. It's not exclusive to any one denomination and it provides the opportunity for volunteers to grow in their faith and unity as they pray for the youth and serve the city of Moose Jaw. Joe's Place staff and volunteers are not inward focused but seek to actively be involved in changing the lives of youth in Jesus' name, for his glory.

This is something I've actually seen happen. Take my friend DR. The first memory I have of her in 2010, before even meeting her, was the one night when my friend Jerred asked everyone to write her cards of encouragement while she was away for drug rehab.

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