Daunting Doubts

In my sophomore year of college, I signed up to be part of a Co-Op program between local companies and the University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering.  I was pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, and, though the program added 1-2 semesters to my overall college career, it provided an awesome opportunity to do hands-on work in the field of engineering, gain experience and create good networking contacts.   The program was designed to have students work full-time for a company during their second-semester sophomore year instead of attending classes, then attend class full-time during the next semester – and continue this rotation right through graduation.  Not all students who signed up were hired by companies, but the university did its best to ensure all applicants had a fair shot at interviewing.  The students were subject to candidate competition just as in the “real world”. 

On the day before my interview in the Test Engineering department of a local manufacturing company, I learned that one of my classmates was also interviewing with the same company.  He was a better student than I was.  He would surely get the job.  The insecure part of me told me that perhaps I should cancel the interview, but the rational part of me told me I should interview if not just for the experience of it.  I was positive Tom would get the job; there was no way I could compete against him.

I approached the interview much as I approach everything in life – by just being me; open and honest and just myself.    When the  Test Engineering manager asked me what motivates me, I answered with the only honest answer I could give:  “Fear of Failing”.   A few days after the interview, I was surprised when I was offered the position.  I accepted, and became the only female in the test engineering department.

During my first semester working there, I created schematics for black-box testers they used but didn’t have documentation for in case they ever needed to recreate, and designed and built some additional test equipment.  I also worked on a process problem that they were having, which involved gathering and evaluating data on their combustible gas sensor manufacturing process.  At the end of the semester, I had to give a presentation to the CEO of the company (along with my boss and managers in between).   Within the first few minutes of the presentation, the CEO discovered that I was left-handed – and so was he, so he made a few comments which helped to put me at ease.   After the presentation, my boss told me I had done a great job. I mentioned that, though I was finished with the “project” itself, I wanted to follow through with the process changes that were made, to see how they were performing during my school semester.  I asked if they could continue to send me data during the semester.  He was so surprised by this that he went to HR to ask if I could simply work part-time during my school semesters; so, until I graduated, I worked for that company – sometimes full-time and sometimes part-time. 

Sadly, as I approached my graduation time, the company had a hiring freeze because it was closing a plant in another state and relocating people to Pittsburgh, so they were unable to offer me full-time work after graduation.  During my exit interview, my boss told me two things that really impressed him about me.  The first was that comment about being motivated by fear of failing during my interview.  He said he’d never had anyone be so honest in an interview before – that was the single moment that secured the position for me – brutal honesty.   

The second thing that impressed him was how well I fit in with his male-dominated department.  Most of the guys in the department were in their mid-late twenties (I was 20-22 at the time), although a few a bit older, and all of them respected my work, were able to kid around with me.  We all had a great working relationship  (some of them called me “cupcake” – LOL – that was before people got so uptight about everything).    I’ve actually kept in touch with a few of them for all these years. 

Thinking back to my own moments of self-doubt, when I thought for sure Tom would get the position over me. I could have crumbled in the face of competition, but I didn’t allow my insecurities to deter me. Instead, I just was myself, and I happened to be who they were looking for. When you’re feeling insecure about something, just remember that sometimes you can’t see the big picture. Keep your faith and be yourself Be blessed today, my friends

SB

Copyright 2018 journey for life. All rights reserved

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Retrouvaille – a rediscovery

In my book, Masquerade, I recount, through fictional characters, the suicide of my neighbor, who left behind two precious children, just eight and ten years old.  The youngest, a beautiful girl named Lindsay, stole my heart.  When I still lived at home, I gave her piano lessons.  We invited her to make Christmas candy with us.  After my husband and I were married, we have her over to our house to do special things like make cookies, carve pumpkins, etc.

At some point, her father decided to move to Florida, and took the kids with him.  I tried so desperately to keep in touch with her – this was before cell phones and social media were really a thing, so I used to buy calling cards for her and send them to her so that she could call me “long distance” any time she wanted.  She never did.  I was never sure if the cards I sent even made it to her.  My heart was broken not knowing how life turned out for her.

As social media grew in popularity, I would search and search for her – she has a very common name, and I could find many of them, but never her. I even sent messages to a few, hoping they could confirm the identify to no avail.

On Tuesday evening, after my mom read my book, we talked about Lindsay. Ironically, just last week, my mom was going through some old pictures and came across pictures of Lindsay with her mother, and mentioned how she would love to be able to give Lindsay a copy of it – perhaps she didn’t have any pictures of her mother.

In the quietness of the evening, I thought I would try to google her again – after all, it had been several years since I had tried.  Low and behold, a Facebook profile picture popped up on my screen and took my breath away!  She’s beautiful!  I sent her a message to connect, and she responded right away, confirming that it was her!  My heart was overwhelmed with joy and I began to cry.  I was so thrilled to learn she’s doing well.

God is so faithful to the prayers that we have, even when we don’t realize it.   I have prayed for Lindsay and her brother for years and years and years, praying for a time we could be reconnected so that I would know how her life has turned out.  I am so grateful for a loving God who gives us the desires of our hearts.  Despite the difficult things we face in life, He is always there to help guide us.

We may face oppression in our lives, and there may be times when we feel like giving up, but I am here to encourage you today…. NEVER GIVE UP!  This is the reason that Masquerade was published – to share that message with hope to those who may not feel it today.

If you’ve already ordered a copy of Masquerade, I thank you with all of my heart, and pray that you will be blessed by its message.  If you haven’t ordered yet, you can order your copy here:

Order Masquerade Here!

Thank you, Jesus, for the wonderful answers to prayers – the ones you’ve already answered as well as the ones you will answer in the future.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life – All rights reserved.

 

 

Thinly Veiled

Where to begin….

Yesterday, when I got home from work, a package for me was sitting on the ottoman in my family room.  When I opened it,  real-live paperback version of the book that was published was sitting in my hands.  As I mentioned, I’ve seen the cover 1,000 times, but to touch it and flip through the pages was a righteous moment for me… and then I thought, “what if my mom see’s it?”    LOL (40-something years old and afraid of what my mother will think – can anyone relate?)    I mean, really, she doesn’t yet know anything about it… in the book, through fictional characters, I have laid out some of the most painful memories of my life… what if she reads it and judges me?  what if she’s angry that I’ve publicly admitted my weaknesses?   Could I hide it from her forever?   Probably not.   I was reminded of the conversation I had with the publisher when I told him my husband didn’t know about the book – he said, “well you better tell him before he sees you on the news”.

It had been terrifying for me to tell my husband, but I asked those encouraging me to pray for me.. and one night, I worked up enough courage to tell him.  His response (“what was your purpose?”) caused me to deep-think how I would like to see God use this book.  What seemed daunting to me ended up being a catalyst for me to change the “note from the author”  (funny how life works that way sometimes).

At any rate, I decided that when my mom got home, I would simply ask her to read a book, and not tell her I was the author, since, of course, I have a pen name.  She reads quickly – in fact, I believe she taught Evelyn Wood how to read back in the day!   I went to a different room because I didn’t want to feel her judgement as she poured through the pages of my open heart.  At one point, my daughter told me she was looking for me – but  I was hiding.

After she finished the book, she came into the room where I was – I could swear there was a tear on her cheek.  She said, “well, that was – WOW”   I wasn’t sure if she meant WOW in a good way or a bad, so I asked her, and she said, “Good”, which I will take at face value.   We talked about how my prayer is that it would reach people who are hurting and need to know God’s love.

I asked her if she was angry.  She said, “Why would I be angry?”   She said she knew I was the author in the first chapter – my identity is “thinly veiled”, as she put it.  I asked her to keep it secret from the rest of my family.  I told her they would not understand me.  She agreed on both counts.

I really don’t know why I was so afraid, except to say that the pain that I experienced in my life is also pain that she experienced.  I have seen how she’s handled it (well, I might add – she’s a fighter), and perhaps was afraid that dredging up old memories of pain would be difficult for her.  She loves Jesus as much as I do – probably more.  I believe that she will honor my prayer that God will use the message to let people know that, no matter what they’re going through in life, God is there with them and will help them through.

Many of you have already reached out to let me know your ordered your copy – thank you, thank you, thank you.

If you haven’t, and want to, please click the link below.

Order Masquerade here!

If you haven’t followed my journey, please do.  I have a feeling it’s about to get real.

Have a blessed day, everyone!

Blessings, SB

 

 

Copyright 2018  Journey For Life – All rights reserved.