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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Layoffs, Love, and Life: Happy 15th Anniversary, Kip



Today is 15 wonderful years with my amazing, incredible husband, Kip. (If you want to know more about his story and ours, read last year's post.)

My husband has encouraged me from day one with every dream, hope, and frustration.  He has an amazing intellectual mind and a kind heart towards people.


But, I want to tell part of his amazing story right now because there are a lot of people in the US who are having a hard time right now.  It is "layoff time" again.

A little over five years a go, the Monday before Thanksgiving, my husband walked into his incredible civil engineering job of four years to find out that they were "right sizing" and he was on the wrong side of the size.

So, that Thanksgiving, we were thankful for our family, our home, and everything, and yet, we were heartbroken at the uncertainty -- he had 12 weeks to find a new job.

Incredible people get laid off

I know amazing people who get laid off and my husband is the most amazing person I know.  We prayed and prayed on our knees and what we felt God was telling us was that "God never gives demotions, only promotions."

So, we held to that.

It took the FULL twelve weeks to get on with another company.  Yes, he had TONS of offers to move to Atlanta or Tallahassee or other places to be an engineer, but he wanted to keep us in rural Georgia.  And trust me, in rural Georgia engineering jobs definitely don't grow on trees - pecans do!

So, he stuck to it.  He started with an incredible company down the road and during the last five years -- he has been promoted SEVEN times.  He is now manager of engineering and reports to the plant manager. 

My husband has made himself an expert in LEAN manufacturing principles -- and not just in the theories in actually making it work for the bottom line.  (Indeed so much of what he teaches me are things I apply in my own classroom -- elimination of waste is a big one and he's the reason I DETEST wastebasket work.)

He is good at what he does.


What to do when hard times hit:  NEVER QUIT!
And yet, for all of the blessings of the past five years, if he had just given up like a sailor lost at sea and gone down -- it wouldn't have happened.

There was a teetering, hopeless moment when he looked into his life and instead of choosing to see the abyss of despair, he saw the vacancy that would make room for future success.

I don't think I'll ever say that the best thing that happened to us was him getting laid off, however, it was FOR our best.  Kind of like pruning shrub.  The poor shrub looks dead but it is getting ready to grow like crazy.

Keep going
So, for those of you caught up in uncertain times, take hope.  And as we also again deal with the uncertain times in manufacturing and say "Oh dear, what if his plant closes?"  we again know that we are the the hands of the Great Engineer of life and will be able to make it through.

My Anniversary Wish

Honestly, there is not one thing I want for our anniversary except one thing.  I pray for my husband to last a long time with great health so that he and I can grow old together and hold hands in the nursing home and chase each other around in our walkers.

I really just want him.  That is it.  Because all of this other stuff is just stuff, but he is someone that cannot be replaced ever.  

He stuck by me when I was terribly sick when I was pregnant with all three of our kids, left a high paying job to be a stay at home mom, and left another great job to teach.  He encourages me to travel, meet people, and live my dreams.

And as I think of Kip, I honestly cannot think of any time he criticized me directly.  He has always been kind and loving to me -- like a big tough bear gently holding a glass orb to the light.

To say I'm blessed is an understatement, but I also want to say this.

Love is a Choice
I think I love the stories of people who overcome horribly tough circumstances because I can say from experience that the toughest times of life do take a toll on marraiges.  During tough times, I'm not a Pollyanna laughing through the back yard -- I get horribly down.  I'm crabby and kind of depressed.

And there were times, I know for a fact, Kip had to remember that he decided to love me, because when I was so terribly sick -- I was NOT a lovely creature!

How does this relate to education and teaching?
I recall the chapter in Ken Medina's amazing book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School (Book & DVD) and how he talks about the negative impact that stress has on the brains of children.  He cites a marriage health program that has amazing results and talks about the positive impact on education that improving marriage and home stability would have.

When parental instability is in the home, the stress on children causes grade instability.  It just does.

I don't profess to be a part of a perfect home, but if there is something that I have learned it is this... love IS a decision if you're going to have a fifteen year anniversary.

I always say that I'm the luckiest woman in the world because I get to be married to my boyfriend! 

But I also teach my own children that most great things in life require a lot of hard work and persistence -- and this includes marraige.

So, Happy Anniversary, Kip!
If I had been told fifteen years a go that I'd be writing something like this on a thing called a "blog" and that someone out there might actually read it, I would have laughed.

So, Kip, if you're reading this -- the air conditioner man just fixed the air conditioner (so you won't be sleeping in 86 degree heat tonight), the knob for the washing machine just came in (so I can wash your clothes again), and I couldn't be prouder of any man on this planet that I am of you!

Don't bring me flowers... just bring me YOU!  Happy Anniversary!
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