What Now?

Not sure if anyone will relate to this week’s blog post topic, but I thought I would be transparent on where I am right now…

 

Billy is getting settled into his new job, and Liam has acclimated to his new school here in Texas.

 

Once we had settled from our move, I had planned to start substitute teaching. However, just this week I learned that I missed our school district’s last hiring phase of substitute teachers.

 

So, here I am sitting here at my computer- in my robe, and it’s after 10 a.m.  LOL

 

This feels VERY foreign to me after nearly 20 years of teaching, much of it spent as an intern, taking classes to earn my 3 teaching credentials, managing a full-time work, and a family.

 

Prior to leaving California, I was talking to a co-worker, and she said something like, “It will be kind of cool to reinvent yourself (in Texas).”

 

My initial thought was,”I’m not going to do that.”  I don’t want to change who I am…

 

Guess what? I kind of don’t have a choice LOL.

 

I’m not going to re-invent the core of who I am, but here’s what I AM going to re-invent:

 

*Though I believe God has given me some talent in the area of teaching, I believe in being open to other day job options. Maybe God doesn’t want me to be a teacher anymore…I have applied for various job options in our local school district, and I plan to keep an ear open to other types of opportunities.

 

*I am going to take time to refocus on my purpose and my goals. I purchased this book to do some homework on me (below). I’m realizing this is necessary if I’m going to maintain a growth mindset. Otherwise I will continue to stay stagnate. I’ll let you know what I think of the book!

book

 

*I WILL MOVE—this is closely tied to my previous point. I think I’m like a lot of people out there: I wait for inspiration and motivation to happen to me. Like it’s some spiritual great awakening. Truth be told—motivation comes from within. We have to take that first step!

 

*I will be more forgiving—when things don’t happen on my time table. I will extend grace to myself when I have a less productive day. I will trust God’s timing as He will bring the perfect opportunities to me. Oh, I will knock on doors. Multiple doors at once LOL. The anticipation of which door will open will spur me on to my next chapter. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

 

*I will stop making excuses.

excuse

 

mind

 

Isn’t this the truth? Self-doubt, fear, anxiety, our past—all fan the flames of excuses in our mind.  I will work on not going there (the dark side LOL). However, if I do, I’ll work on capturing these thoughts much quicker and replacing them with daily affirmations. My favorite affirmations are promises from the Bible.  I know who I belong to, and I trust that His plans are bigger and greater than my plans.

godsays

 

 

Though I  don’t have any hard leads for a teaching position, there are some other possibilities that are brewing. I’ll let you know what happens as this whole thing plays out. If this encouraged you in any way, please never hesitate to let me know!

 

 

 

 

Leaving California Finale: Random Things We Didn’t Consider

When we considered our big move from California to Texas, we talked about the “big stuff”…..

 

*The sacrifice of leaving loved ones…

 

*The importance of securing jobs…

 

*The need for a new home….

 

BUT, there were a few things that never crossed our minds.  We want to share these with you, to give you a bit of an edge in case you’re thinking about a big move:

 

*Healthcare:

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You must start over with all your doctors.  This is a hassle, especially as you are trying to learn a new area, what doctors take your insurance, etc. God forbid you are injured or get sick before you have a general practitioner. That’s what happened with us! Liam became ill, and we had to default to an urgent care. Fortunately, the clinic doctor recommended a pediatrician to us, and she was accepting new patients. I highly recommend finding doctors, and having your records transferred as soon as possible.

 

* Allergies:

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Apparently, you can develop new allergies when you move? Billy, Liam, and I are all dealing with either a virus or allergies to something—possibly Cedar which is everywhere here. We are going on 3-4 weeks of sniffles and coughs. Here’s a great overview about why allergies may develop…

When Allergies Develop Suddenly

 

*Drivers License and Car Registration:

car

Every state is different! Prior to moving, be aware of the time frame you have to change your drivers license, car registration, and check state car insurance requirements. We did some extra running around because Texas requires that you deal with your car registration PRIOR to changing your drivers’ license. Also, car registrations are dealt with at the Tax Assessor’s office not at the DMV.

 

*Proximity to Shopping:

shopping

 

We knew we were moving to a more rural area, but what we didn’t fully comprehend is how spread out everything in Texas is—I mean, it’s a HUGE state. With that said, it’s easy to hop on the freeway and arrive in another town within 15+ minutes. Some of these towns/cities have GREAT dining and shopping selections, which was a very pleasant surprise!

 

Weather:

hot weather temperatures

Okay, so we knew about the humidity, extreme summer heat, and possible tornadoes, BUT, we didn’t know how bipolar Texas weather is! Within one day, weather can run the gamut! So, we dress in layers, and throw sweaters and jackets in the car LOL.

 

*Landscaping:

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If you want to improve the curb appeal of your new home, you need to know about weather, soil, and WILDLIFE. We planted gardenias only later to find out that deer supposedly love them. Thankfully this hasn’t been an issue yet even though deer are literally everywhere in Salado. We had also heard that plants bought from certain stores are native to the area, and survive better compared to non-native plants purchased at big box stores, which tend to die once planted.

 

*Social Etiquette:

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We knew about “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir.” In fact, we had started to teach Liam some Southern manners prior to our move. Fortunately, his great grandma had just bought him a HUGE Charles Schultz Peanuts book with comic strips from the 1980’s LOL. What we didn’t realize- how fast our speech patterns were, and our tendency to cut people off or finish their sentences! So, we have had to adjust that to avoid offending our new Texan friends.

 

 

***This concludes our four-part series, Leaving California! We hope you enjoyed tagging along with us on our big Texas adventure! Maybe you will decide it’s time for an adventure for you as well! Let us know if you feel inspired to make a big move or change! We’d love to hear about it!

Leaving CA Part 3: The Gambler AKA The Opportunist

The other day I had a flashback. I was sitting in my mother’s rust colored Volvo station wagon in the drop off line at school. A familiar tune was playing on the 8 track.

Do you remember those things?

 

“If you’re gonna play the game, boy,
You gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold ’em,
Know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run.
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealing’s done…”

 

Talk about an analogy for life: sometimes we need to decide if it’s time to “fold em” and walk away, or literally “run” from a situation. That requires discernment and wisdom.

 

In the game of Poker, a gambler’s experience determines the type of player he or she will be. The goal is to develop the ability to recognize opportune times to make one’s move.

 

In the game of life, there seems to be 3 key factors one must be able to recognize in order to take advantage (for lack of a better word) of an opportunity. 

 

First, the timing of a situation must be perfect.

timing-is-everything

 

When we were contemplating our move to Texas, the housing market in our town had changed dramatically. We knew if we listed our home, we would sell quickly and most likely above our asking price, based on what we were observing. That is exactly what happened! The quick sale of our Chico home enabled us to purchase our Texas home!

 

 

Second, you must be willing to make sacrifices!

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Careful consideration went into our decision to move to Texas. We knew that we would be leaving loved ones behind. We would be leaving the security of what we knew: our jobs, our way of life, etc. We had to weigh it all in order to determine if it was worth making the sacrifice to start a new life in Texas.

 

Third, you must have faith it will all work out.

praying-hands-on-scripture

In regards to our move, that is yet to be seen. So far, details SEEM to be coming together. Our Chico home sold, we bought our Texas home, and Billy had received a verbal offer of employment. That is what we had when we moved. Only this week, did Billy sign a contract with his new employer. And, my employment is yet to be determined. Even still, we are trusting that God has led our family to Texas, and that He is working everything out in His timing.

 

When it comes to opportunity, it is truly in the eye of the beholder. We know that others may not follow our suit to make a move. That’s okay. Everyone must decide what they want their life to be like. Maybe one of the best questions one can ask is…

Could you live in your current situation indefinitely and be satisfied?

Question Marks on Blackboard

 

If not, you may need to determine to “fold ‘em walk away,” or “run.”

 

gambler

 

 

Part 2: Leaving California

After our epic, 1800 mile drive, we had about a week before our new home would close escrow!

 

We knew we wanted to have the concrete floors polished prior to moving in, but another pressing matter surfaced….

 

When we had walked through the home a month before, it was fully furnished. However, not with your typical, run of of the mill furniture…

 

It was super-sized, massive furniture….  We felt we had walked into a plantation home in Charleston. Beautiful hooded (for lack of a better word) chairs, Victorian curved couches. Jazz musician statues….

Like this…

plantation

 

When we returned to take a second peak, we were pretty shocked by what we saw…

 

The absence of the furnishings revealed:  multiple wall markings throughout.

 

In the master bedroom, a splatter of what appeared to be coffee on the wall where the bed had been. A splotch of what appeared to be red wine on the master bathroom door jam. Every room had something. We felt like crime scene detectives speculating what made each mark…

 

 

Painting the entire house wasn’t an option. We decided to match the paint and cover spots.

 

This wasn’t an easy task: the same dark-ish, flat paint was used throughout. First, we enlisted the help of Home Depot.

 

How could the paint cover and blend perfectly in one room, and not another LOL?!

 

The bright, natural lighting in the dining room revealed the first attempt wasn’t a good match.  We approached the builder, asked for the name of the paint, and once again, Home Depot helped us mix up a better match.

 

We are not big on flat paints–eventually we will repaint with a lighter, semi-gloss.

 

Billy worked tirelessly: buffing and polishing the concrete floors, and spot painting walls and trim. At times resembling Chip Gaines, minus a demo day…

 

We closed escrow on a Friday, and moved in the following day!

truck

 

We were blessed to have a team of 6 helping us!

 

Within 3 hours, the moving trailer was emptied, and our team began re-vamping the front yard to improve our curb appeal!

 

BEFORE:

newhome

 

AFTER:

revamp

***************************************************************

This blog post is best completed with  “thank you’s” to all who made this Texas-sized move possible; in no particular order:

Mom and Dad: we can never thank you enough for all you did to help us! Thank you so much for doing everything you could throughout this huge endeavor!

Uncle Ron: thank you so much for helping Billy with the master bathroom remodel.

Tom: thank you for your help with the plumbing in the master bathroom remodel.

Aunt Sherry: thank you so much for coming over and helping us pack!

Grandma and Gaia: thank you so much for the meals you provided us!

Jon and Kasha: thank you for introducing us to life as a Texan. For offering advice, support, and for hosting us!

To Kim and George (our Chico and Salado realtors): thank you for keeping us on track throughout the entire process!

The Well Ministry: thank you for providing us a team of men  to help pack our moving trailer!

Our employers: thank you for understanding our decision,  releasing us from our positions, and offering kind words of encouragement and support!

Our close friends (you know who you are): thank you for your love and support!

Billy: you amaze me! You truly are one of the most talented people I’ve ever met!

Liam: thank you for rolling with all that you had to over the past couple of months! We love you, and we did this for us!

Our readers: thank you for following the next chapter in our journey!

 

 

 

Part 1: Leaving California

I will never forget our dear friends’ faces when we told them that our family had decided to move from Chico, California to Salado, Texas-within a matter of a few short weeks.

 

The common responses were: “What’s in Texas?”

“I didn’t know you wanted to leave California.”

 

Their perplexion was justified.  We had kept our “situation” quiet so we could sort through things….

 

There were several factors that HAD to come together for us to make such a big move. Our California home had to sell, we needed to find a new home in Texas, we both had to be released from our jobs, and my husband Billy needed to secure a job. We prayed and waited. Details, big and small, began coming together. We began preparing our home of 14 years for the new owners—Camp Fire victims who had lost everything…

doormat

A door mat we purchased for the buyers of our Chico home!

 

We were ecstatic when our offer on a beautiful Texas home was accepted!

newhome

 

 

Prepping our Chico home to sell was no small task. Our master bathroom had been gutted for 3 years, and it needed to be completely remodeled prior to our closing escrow. Billy worked tirelessly on the remodel while my parents and I packed the house, garage, and two sheds!

bath

 

 

One day, we received a shocking email: the appraisal on our Texas home was ordered later than expected, and we were informed our escrow wouldn’t close till the end of the month. This was HUGE as we had planned everything around closing mid-month. We immediately made some phone calls…Eventually our closing date was adjusted to the 22nd.  We called the moving company to check the cost of their holding our trailer for a few days. Then, we called my cousin in Salado, who we planned to stay with until our escrow closed, to ensure a few extra days at their home would be okay.

 

We enlisted the help of a local Christian men’s ministry to help pack our moving trailer. Within a matter of days, Billy and I were on the road.  Our son Liam stayed behind with my parents, and flew out with them on a later date in order to miss out on the massive 1,800 mile trip.

 

truck

ontheroad

 

Still we had our lab, Josey along for the ride. We enjoyed the first half of the trip together (as our Hummer was pulling my Murano),  re-connecting as a couple and spotting points of interest along the way—though we didn’t stop:

josey

 

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Image result for tombstone, AR sign

tombstone3

 

The countless…. LOL

 

crackel

 

Until the Hummer over heated in New Mexico— in the middle of nowhere.

 

With very few options, we chose to rent a U-Haul truck for Billy to pull the Hummer on the auto trailer. I would drive the Murano.

hummer

 

Cara-vanning for the remaining 12+ hrs. of the trip was in one word: CRAZY!

 

At times, we were on the phone just so Billy could direct me through insane highways designated for 75 mph speeds!

 

I quickly learned that I needed to up my driving “game!”

 

Additionally, issues with my brakes, a horrific bloody nose, and a “warning” from  law enforcement (our trailer lights had become disconnected), delayed our arrival time.

We were so grateful to FINALLY arrive at my cousin’s home, but we had no idea what BIG challenge lie ahead….

 

Make sure to catch Part 2: Leaving California next week!

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

I wasn’t sure about this picture gracing our Christmas card this year.

Our usual Christmas card is serious. Dressy. Traditional.

The opposite of this one LOL.

bunny

If you guessed it was my husband Billy’s idea to do a funny picture to “change things up,” you’d be correct.

He often pulls me outside of the “norm” aka. my comfort zone.

I’m so thankful for him- for so many reasons.

Words can’t express my gratefulness for that boy in the pink “deranged” bunny suit. He’s fun, quirky, and plays along with our shenanigans.

Though it isn’t as plainly on our card this year as in previous years, please know: our family gives all glory to God for “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).  Especially the gift of Jesus, and the hope found in Him (Luke 2:11).

 

Praying that you experience His comfort and peace in your life!

 

We wish you a merry Christmas!

 

Love, 

 

The O’Neal family

 

Why Do Facebook Lives?

If you had told me two years ago, that I would be putting my life out there on Facebook, I would have thought you were crazy.

 

In May 2017, my husband Billy and I began our FB Live “journey.” Little did we know that we were accidentally  ahead of a trend:

 

live

Screenshot of one of our first Facebook Lives

 

According to Facebook consultant John Eric, by 2020, 80% of your FB newsfeed will be comprised of FB lives. That means, you need to get cozy in front of the screen, or….

 

 

From a Facebooking sense, you WILL DISAPPEAR.  That means your friends will not see the majority of your posts in their newsfeed anymore. In fact, unless they intentionally visit your FB timeline, they will not be able to stay current with you.

 

 

Is that a big deal to you?

 

I would argue that it is a big deal for most Facebookers. How many times have you seen a friend post “comment if you can see this post?”

 

People want to be seen on Facebook for many reasons….

 

*It’s how we share the latest that is going on with us/our family.

*It’s how we share important information within our community (this has been especially important in light of the recent Camp Fire that has impacted my Northern California area)

*It’s how we interact with friends and family (especially those who live away from us)

*It’s a way to meet and to get to know new people

 

For example: Last week, I was shopping our local Costco, when I heard,”Heather?”

It was Heidi who I had met on Facebook months ago, but we had never met face to face! She had recognized me from my pics and FB Lives! I was so thankful that she said “hello” to me! That’s what I want–more personal connections through Facebook! 

 

FB Lives are SUPERIOR to traditional written posts, pics, videos, memes.

 

Why?

 

FB Lives offer you to the opportunity to create unique content that captures your excitement in a “real time” format. It is true that most of the viewers will catch a Live on a replay, but usually you will have a few viewers that you can interact with as you are Live.

 

If you’re an entrepreneur, FB Lives offer you a creative medium to feature your product or service.  Pictures are powerful. Videos are even more powerful. However, FB Lives are KING!

 

Lastly, FB Lives drive traffic to your FB profile— back to being seen. Whether you just want your friends and family to know the latest in your life, or you are promoting your business, FB Lives puts you in front of your audience.

 

Whether we want to admit it or not, FB Lives is the wave of the FUTURE!

 

So, get past those inhibitions!

 

Ready?

 

Set?

 

GO LIVE!