Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ping-pong balls and my job queue

I realized last night that I remind myself of a magician I once watched.

He had some cool tricks, some gospel messages, and some routines that were more comedic than anything. In one routine, he pulled out a ping pong ball and asked if we thought he could make it disappear. We all cheered, of course. He rubbed it between his hands, then drew his hands up to his mouth to blow on it, and repeated that two more times. After the third time, he opened his hands to show the ball wasn't there, and said, speech not nearly as clearly as before:

"Oh, yeah, shee? No ball!"

We laughed and clapped.

"Now how bany ob you thig I can make two ping pong balls dishappear?"

We cheered.

He did the exact same thing as before, and said, with cheeks suddenly much rounder, "I know wat you're thigging - wow!"

We laughed.

"Now how bady ob you thig I ca make tree ping-pong balls dichappeaw?"

We cheered.

And he did the exact same thing again.

"Oh, yeah, baeby! Tree ping-pong ballsh! Naw haw ma-ay ob you thig I ca make four pig-pog ballsh didappeaw?

We cheered.

And once again, he rubbed a ping-pong ball between his hands, raised it up to his mouth three times to blow on it, the third time opening empty hands.
Now, cheeks bulged out so far his lips could not completely close, he said, "Na I know wha yo tigig - dish ith da gwatetht ma-iciah evah! Na ha ma-y ob you thin I ca ma fibe pe po baws di-a-pewa?

We cheered.

"YOU'RE CWAZY!" he spat out.

I've started making lotion, since I have issues with the ingredients in most lotions on the market. So I started thinking, "I wonder if I can sell this?" And a couple I know has been looking to pay someone to help clean their house while the wife recovers from surgery, and I think "I could do that--help pay for my gas and other expenses." Then it dawns on me that I'm considering taking on a fifth job. And that's how the magician popped into my head.

In case you haven't been up to speed with the erraticness that is my life, I'll summarize my work:
1) TEN3 Curriculum department head. This includes revising and maintaining the Computer Training Outreach material, developing BHLM (see the FAQ page if you have no idea what I'm talking about), administration, training and working with writers, and figuring out the process for licensing it to schools.
2) SIM missionary. Includes communicating with people my need for support so I can maybe someday get a salary for job #1, as well as reporting to them for accountability and making sure all my logistics for travels are in order.
3) Substitute teaching in three school districts. It's quick payment that can go long-term but does not require specific time commitments that I couldn't make while needing to keep up TEN3 work and travel.
4) Helping a college bookstore during their rush periods. Basically, 4-6 weeks of 35-50 hours a week, then only an occasional day of work until the next rush.

I like to work, and I really like all my jobs. But my mind seems to be having trouble with all this gear-switching lately. So, I just have to wonder, will my forgetting meetings and leaving e-mails unanswered four days at a time pass as a phase, or am I just trying to fit in too many ping-pong balls? How crazy is too crazy?

There are a few things I might do to try to simplify my situation. Maybe I'm just not working hard enough at job # 2; after all, if I get all my support in, then I won't need job # 3 or 4 (or 5, for that matter ;) So I'm considering a special training/accountability program for missionaries raising support.

Also, we talked in our TEN3 meeting today about our hope that when we have enough students using our material, we can be product supported, as in actually getting paid for what we offer instead of from charitable donations. But it's hard to imagine that actually becoming strong enough to support us for a few years yet.

So most of all, I just need to pray, and ask your prayers as well, for the Lord to direct how I spend my time among all my jobs, to keep seeing to my needs, helping me to serve my best in all things, and bringing all TEN3 exactly where He wants us to be.