Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The new job journey

(*Author's Apologetic Note and Warning: Reading this post will be a journey!)

We knew change was coming at Jared's office. We just didn't know what. Or who it would effect. As the staff/office manager, the doctor had shared some vague information with me. He was able to share more with Jared but not enough specifics for us to really know the full scope of the situation.

On Monday, Feb. 24th, Jared came home and his hands were ice cold. He couldn't warm them up. That was a sign. He was worried. He said that we could very well lose our family benefits. Dr. Hicken has paid every last dime for every full-time employee's benefits since he went private in 2006 when Jared joined the practice. I said something like "Posh! You're a provider...a producer. You generate money for the office." Jared wasn't so sure. I nodded my head for a little bit taking in his soberness. I quickly assessed my feelings and was surprised when I felt complete and utter calm. I simply said, "Then we move."

In our home, where money is concerned, Jared's in charge of production (the CEO) and I'm in charge of distribution (the CFO as Jared lovingly calls me :) But we make financial decisions, big and small together. Several years ago, when we had a couple of months where finances were super tight, I had a revelation. The thought came to my mind that if we ever had to pay for benefits (even just a little bit) we wouldn't be able to do it. Perhaps if we had started his job that way, we would have been able to work our budget around it. But having worked for several years without that cost in our budget, it gets really difficult to find an extra $400+ a month that you didn't have to have before. I expressed my financial concern to Jared and he agreed. What further complicates our financial situation is we have over $700 a month that we pay to Jared's student loans (two master's degrees, one in sports medicine and the other to be a physician assistant). So we're already $700 behind where other people would be without having to pay for full benefits.

I'm so grateful for that epiphany a few years ago. I believe that was the Lord preparing my heart...a heart that can get so easily attached to people and places and situations.

So when Jared repeated that he felt losing our health insurance benefits was a very real possibility in February, I did not hesitate to declare that we must move.

Two days later, on Wed. Feb. 26th, Dr. Hicken and his wife, sat down with every employee of the office, individually, to explain the financial and staffing changes taking place. As the senior provider/employee, Jared was first. I was visiting teaching at the time when I got a text from him. It simply said, "We need to go to the temple real soon." (We go to the LDS temple to perform vicarious acts of service for our ancestors, but to also seek answers to our prayers and to feel peace). I knew what that meant. But, amazingly, I was not panicked. My heart did not sink to the floor. I just texted back, "seriously?" And he said, "very seriously."

I needed to swing one of the kids by the office that afternoon, ironically enough, so I had my meeting with the doctor and his wife after that. In addition to learning of the change in benefits through Jared's employment, Dr. Hicken informed me that his wife would be taking over staff manager duties that I had been doing. I wasn't surprised. And truth be told, being replaced by the doctor's wife isn't the worst thing. I think it might have felt like a blow below the belt had I been replaced by someone other than his wife. That change also resulted in a reduction of my hourly salary. But that was okay. Our days were numbered anyway.

As the doctor and his wife explained to me why they were having to make the drastic financial changes with the business, I cried some tears for them. Dr. Hicken has been so very generous to everyone, not the least of which has been our family. We are so grateful for all that he's done for our family as a friend, employer and physician and I tearfully told him so. Jared met me in the break room as I left the meeting. A few other employees saw me cry and were worried about me. They assumed I was upset over not being manager anymore because they had already been told I was no longer in that position. But that wasn't it at all.

When Dr. Hicken was explaining the changes to Jared earlier, he had told Jared he knew that losing family benefits (me and the kids) would be a significant thing for our family and that it might mean Jared would have to find another job. Jared didn't say anything definite but said he'd have to look at the numbers of the new health plans. Dr. Hicken had told me the same thing...that it would be anywhere from $700-900 extra a month for us (he was paying everyone's monthly premium AND yearly deductible for medical, dental and vision). I look at the numbers all the time in our budget and they are simply not there. I don't honestly know anyone who could drum up an extra $700 that they're not using. If we had that kind of money floating around, it would be floating into retirement and other investments and we wouldn't feel right giving those up for benefits. In fact, we calculated that if we canceled our education fund, my Roth IRA, and full family life insurance, we still wouldn't have enough money to pay for benefits and throwing away our future to have that kind of coverage just isn't worth it to us. Jared would have to work a second job and I would too and that's not cool either.

Many people have found it hard to believe that we, as employees of a doctor's office of all places, would lose our family medical benefits. But what they don't understand is that Dr. Hicken is a private practitioner. He works for himself. He doesn't have the advantage of working as a large corporation that can absorb all the extra insurance costs like hospitals can. Just the fact that Dr. Hicken has to pay payroll taxes for every employee is enough to make me, Frugal Franny, want to vomit. Never mind the fact that health insurance costs have been steadily rising 10-20% a year since Jared started working. Even though Dr. Hicken's practice continues to grow and produce, the overhead costs of the business have been rising also. He simply had to tighten the belt to do what was best for his family's future. And because of it, for the exact same reason...to pay off debts, we are doing the same. In fact, we assured other employees at the office of a couple of things. #1) This is the best case scenario for our family. We assumed we would always be in Oregon working for Dr. Hicken--a fantastic gig...especially right out of school--unless a) Dr. Hicken died and we no longer had a supervising physician or b) Jared got fired. And we are leaving for neither! It's amicable between Dr. Hicken and Jared and we're super grateful for that. #2) The way Jared's been feeling about the weight of his student loans recently, we probably would have left Oregon of our own accord in another year or two anyway. This transition just makes it really easy for us and again, we're grateful for the timing because Jake starts high school this fall. It's a good time to go.

If we were going to leave Oregon, we were going to get as much from this change as possible. Our goal: to secure a new job that would offer student loan repayment in exchange for Jared working in a rural or underserved clinic. Interestingly enough, our family home evening theme for February was "financial preparedness." We talked to the kids about stretching their dollar, the importance of tithing and saving and of course, to avoid consumer debt like the plague. At dinner on our Valentine's date, Jared said he had been feeling the impression more and more that he needed to get rid of his student loans as quickly as possible. We have done everything we can to pay that monster down. We have a large federal loan and a smaller private loan at a variable interest rate. When Jared was working extra shifts at the urgent care, we'd make triple payments. We went from $160,000 to $125,000 in those three years that he worked there. The middle of February, Jared confided that he felt he would never be able to pay off his loans if we stayed in Oregon. I believe that was the Lord preparing Jared's heart.

In Jared's field, you can really go wherever you want. There are Physician Assistant jobs ev.er.y.where. Since we were narrowing the search down to loan repayment jobs only, and in the south where our dollar would go further, we only had a few options. In the beginning it was Texas, Oklahoma, or Arkansas. We were open to living in any of the three states, but were partial to Texas because, believe it or not, it's where we were looking to settle down out of school until Dr. Hicken made Jared an offer we couldn't refuse. Jared contacted the recruiter, Kurt, from the main online job site and got his resume off that next day or two. In the meantime, I had Jared tell Dr. Hicken that I was giving my notice. I would work the Fridays through March and then I was done. I had more important things to be doing...like getting my house ready to put on the market.

I immediately started working on the closets and cabinets at home....cleaning things out, donating what we don't use, tossing other things. One of the kids asked what I was doing. I said I was doing our spring break cleaning a little early. We didn't want to say anything to our kids quite yet because once it's out, it's out. But we couldn't keep this from them either. We felt like we were deceiving them by not saying anything.

Four days later was Fast Sunday, and the day when Jared does his PPIs (Personal Priesthood Interviews) with the kids. I sat in on the interviews this time. We spoke to Jake first. He rarely cries. I expected this to move him to tears. This kid...is an amazing young man. Seriously, we can't take any credit for him. He is who he is. He knows what's right and he sticks with it. He's got soooo many great things going for him too. He was excited to start his second year of marching band this summer, go on his first High Adventure with his young men group and was recently invited to be in an elite group of young pianists--sharing their love of music together in an incredible way. He's made a wonderful reputation for himself with adults, teachers and young people alike. And now, he has to start all over. But...because he's so great, I believe Jake will handle this change with greatness too. Would he believe that though?

It took about half a minute or so for the news to register with Jake when Jared told him. But, I smiled in response to his question about where we'd be going and said "how 'bout tornado alley?" He all but propelled himself off the bed he was so excited! Jake shares my love of storms and has repeatedly expressed his desire to go on a storm chasing expedition for his senior trip. We started telling him about all the advantages and fun things that would come from this move. Later that night, when I asked him if he was really feeling okay about the change, Jake commented, "You know, Mom, life is 10% what you're handed and 90% attitude." (I agree completely...now who are you and what have you done with my teenager?? ;)

Cooper was a little more solemn but I wouldn't expect any less from our little actor. He will miss his friends and the teachers/church leaders he'll never have. He was 18 months old when we moved to Oregon so this is the only place he's ever really known. The only school he's ever gone to. The only ward he really remembers. But when he found out where we might be moving to...he was just as excited as Jake. What a blessing.

We met with Karcyn and Calvin together. They were all excitement. Especially Calvin, who only a month before had asked when we were getting a new house. I laughed cynically and told him never...he needed to learn to love the house we're in. He said he didn't like it anymore and was ready for a new place. Well, Calvin, you got your wish. And...we assured Karcyn, who is currently sleeping in the living room on the hide-a-bed after Calvin rammed her little chin into the chair rail in the dining room causing her to get her first stitches, that she will have her own room in our new house.

The kids LOVED looking at the homes for sale on realtor.com. So did Jared and I!

Phew...that was just the first five days!

The beginning of that next week, Jared spoke with Kurt again. The Arkansas job was ruled out because they were only offering $10,000 a year to your loans, which is better than nothing, but they tend to hire only AR residents because they don't want to pay to relocate someone...and we would definitely be needing that. Kurt also swayed Jared away from the OK job. He said that the area is more isolated and he was concerned with how it might affect me and the kids. So we were back in Texas. Jared had continued to look online at job postings after sending his resume in and let Kurt know about the jobs he was interested in.

There was a family practice/urgent care job in Navasota (near College Station, TX) and one similar to that in Huntsville, TX (north of Houston). There was a loan repayment job in Madisonville, TX--about 40 miles north of College Station. It had FULL loan repayment. The loan repayment job in the other two locations were PARTIAL loan repayment. We asked what that meant. With full loan repayment you get $30,000 a year to your debt. Partial is $20,000. Nice. I was thinking full was $20,000 and partial was $10,000. While the job in Madisonville did have full loan repayment, it was all occupational medicine (workman's comp, DOT physicals, etc.) In Oregon, PA's aren't even allowed to do workman's comp, so he has no experience with it and that is definitely not the kind of medicine Jared's interested in, so we said, "no thanks" to pursuing that option. Jared ideally would love to work in an urgent care setting, but he'd do family practice also or a little of both. Kurt took note and said he'd be in touch. Of course every day that goes by when you don't hear from your link to future employment is like an eternity! A couple days later, Kurt said that the clinic in Huntsville is on hold because they already have 6 PAs (whoa! six? really?) and need another supervising physician before they can hire more. So there went that possibility. But he was able to get something arranged with the St. Joseph health system in Bryan/College Station (south central) Texas for the Navasota position. They reviewed Jared's resume and found him to be a very strong candidate.

The next day, Jared spoke with Lauren, the recruiter for advanced practitioners with St. Joseph. She gave Jared some information about the hospital and the growth that's happening in that area (they're building a new trauma center and a couple of urgent care facilities...and hiring 31 new PAs and 31 new docs). She let him know of the two positions (Navasota and Madisonville) that were open in their system with loan repayment. Jared explained that he was interested only in the Navasota position. After their conversation, she immediately sent an email that outlined their benefits package in addition to an extensive skills questionnaire that Jared had to fill out. I found it interesting that he hadn't even interviewed with a provider yet and they were already showing us their benefits package, but we looked it over and amazingly, it was very easy to understand. We were happy to discover that full benefits for our entire family wouldn't be much more than $220 per paycheck...which is already a wash for our budget because that's about how much Oregon State Tax was taken out of each paycheck and...Texas doesn't have state income tax. We also sent our financial advisor a copy of the benefits to review. He said it was one of the best he's seen and he's seen a lot as he works with medical providers only. He liked how it was very user friendly and that they will contribute 1% of his income to retirement whether we do anything or not and will still make a match beyond the 1% if we also contribute.

After receiving Jared's skills questionnaire, Lauren let Jared know he would have a phone interview on Wed. March 12th with Kim who is the representative over advanced practitioners at St. Joes. It was scheduled for 7am our time. 7am came and went. As did 7:15am. And 7:30am. And 7:45am. Finally at 8am, Jared contacted Kurt to let him know that no one called him. Such a bummer. You can't help but wonder...is this a system you want to work for? But I told Jared to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You just never know what might have happened.

Later that afternoon, Kurt called Jared to tell him that it was Kim's first week of work in this position and her assignment to have a skills interview with Jared somehow slipped through the cracks. Kurt apologized profusely and, as if reading Jared's mind, assured Jared this was a good, solid health system to work for and that as soon as he had this interview they'd fly him down for a site visit in short order. Kurt seemed pretty confident about the site interview. I guess these phone interviews were more formality than anything.

Kim called Jared on Friday, March 14th, while he was having a lunch meeting with some other people from the health community. He felt bad having to excuse himself, but wasn't going to miss this call. They talked for a good 30-45 minutes. She asked him what he did, his skills, how a typical week is with hours and the scope of medical needs he sees. Kim also explained that Texas had opted out of taking federal money to do certain things with it and almost sounded slightly apologetic but Jared said that didn't bother him one bit. She asked him about our family and why we were looking at Texas. He explained that the loan repayment was a big draw, but that we're wanting stability and with five kids ages 14-2, we are not looking to uproot our family again any time soon. He also shared where he hoped to live as we'd already been researching the schools and area. This impressed Kim because it told her that he was serious about this. Kim, who is a neurology nurse practitioner, was really excited about Jared's athletic training background which would be a good fit in Texas where football is big and concussions are prevalent. Kim noticed Jared got his masters degree in sports medicine in Kalamazoo, MI and asked him if he was familiar with Paw Paw, MI where she had lived for a short time. Jared replied, "you mean the place so nice, they named it twice?" :) That's the Paw Paw motto. She got a good laugh over the fact that he remembered that. Jared has a way with people. He said he felt the conversation went really well and I continued to be at peace.

But this was a Friday and we had to wait through the weekend again before hearing back from St. Joes. Spring Break was a week away and Dr. Hicken had plans to be gone. Jared worried that they'd fly him down that week which would not be good for his current employment situation. Jared and Dr. Hicken avoid being out of the office at the same time because they can see the same volume of patients in a day. In addition, Jared needed to be here to baptize Karcyn on the 29th. So he contacted Kurt and explained his schedule dilemma. If they could get him there before our spring break started, that would be ideal. But of course, this was on St. Joe's dime, or so they said (we've been burned by a doctor before who said the same thing) so we didn't feel like we could be super picky.

As it turns out, Lauren sent him an itinerary on Monday, March 17th. He'd leave two days later, Wednesday, March 19th early in the morning and fly into Houston. They arranged for a rental car so he could drive up to College Station (home of Texas A & M University). He'd interview all day Thursday with a variety of staff and big wigs from St. Joseph, spend Friday with a realtor that they've provided and Saturday morning he would head back to Houston to fly home. We were so grateful at how quickly they responded to his scheduling requests.

Everything went smoothly as he arrived in College Station Wednesday evening. They even had a gift basket in the hotel room waiting for him.

Interview day began bright and early with a breakfast interview at Chick-fil-A with the medical director. After about 30 minutes, Lauren picked Jared up and they toured a couple of medical facilities in College Station. They had a little time before the next meeting so Lauren drove Jared around some of the neighborhoods (which, of course, were out of our price range!).

Next, Jared interviewed with Sister Penny, one of the head nuns that works for St. Joseph. She wanted to know who Jared was, things he's done, etc. He was almost waiting for her to rap his knuckles with a ruler :) But she was very nice.

Then it was lunch time. Jared met with Lauren, Kim and an administrator who is over all the rural health care clinics at a local sandwich shop.

Afterwards, Lauren drove Jared to the clinic in Navasota, about 20 miles south of College Station. Jared LOVED it. He felt he'd fit right in with staff and met with the Nurse Practitioner and the doctor who would be Jared's supervising physician. We later found out that the doctor was very impressed with Jared which was great news! Jared told me that night after the interviews that he felt he could work at the Navasota clinic forever. Not just for the loan repayment contract. And he about fell over backwards when he learned that St. Joseph uses the exact same electronic medical records system that Dr. Hicken's office does. And Dr. Hicken is only one of two doctors in this whole region who uses that system. The odds of that were insanely slim. Talk about incredible. Jared would be able to hit the ground running and not have to be slowed down by having to learn a new system. In fact, while he was at the clinic, he answered some questions they had about the EMR and gave the staff some tips and shortcuts. They haven't had the EMR that long, whereas Jared's been using it for 7 years!

While he was at the clinic talking with the group, he learned that they were still trying to build the clinic's numbers. That was the only drawback Jared could see...that Navasota might not be ready for another provider quite yet. He explained to the staff and even the administrator over the rural clinics that he has just spent the last 7 years building a practice by word of mouth advertising only and felt he could do that at the Navasota clinic, as well. I have no doubt he could too.

After Navasota, Jared was done with his interview day and found himself some Texas BBQ for dinner. :)

Friday, Jared spent the morning with the local realtor, Saundra, and they looked at several homes. Most of them he wasn't super impressed with. I had been looking at homes online the day before and then sent him links of the ones I was interested in. It's nice he could walk through them and find out first hand if we'd like them or not--almost in real time. One we were really interested in ended up being a total frat house. Nasty & gross, with college students still in bed when they were walking through around 11am. Good to know! He came away from that experience saying that if we lived in College Station, he felt the best place for us would be a neighborhood south of the city limits where they're building the last phase of homes in the subdivision. We wouldn't have any yard or property. But the house would be new and it would be the best value. I was a little bummed to hear that, but totally appreciated what Jared had to say. After all, we're going to Texas to get out of debt, not go into more with a house we can't afford.

When they finished looking at all the properties, Jared went to the local store, bought a box of Thank You cards and wrote one for every person he interviewed with and delivered them before leaving the next day. I was so impressed!

On Saturday, he had a meeting with another realtor in Montgomery, about 45 miles east of College Station, on his way back to Houston to look at homes there. Montgomery would be about 30 miles from Navasota (College Station is about 20 miles) so comparable in distance and both cities have excellent rated schools. We could have chosen to live closer to Houston where the housing is actually a better value. But I didn't want Jared's commute to be any more than 20 miles. 30 was already pushing it.

Even as a school teacher, I have never had "good schools" be a determining factor in where we live. I guess I just want to give all schools/teachers the benefit of the doubt. Even if a school has "low" ratings, due to state/standard test scores most likely, doesn't mean our children won't succeed. Usually it's a flag about the demographics that feed into that school. We have loved all our schools and all our teachers. I find that volunteering regularly in the classrooms only strengthens this love and appreciation. Those teachers have a LOT on their plate and get very little in return. It was tough when I was teaching and that was over 12 years ago. I think the schools are what we as individuals and families choose to make of them.

However, we MUST have good schools now. JJ will be needing special services for his significant speech delay or, most likely, speech disorder. We've learned that, while speech services here in Oregon are managed by the counties, they are managed by the actual school districts in Texas. We already decided we would be living in either Montgomery or College Station where, on a scale of 1-10, all the schools from top to bottom (elementary, intermediate, middle and high) are all 8, 9, or 10.

And despite the distance, Jared LOVED Montgomery and said that's where we would live. Montgomery is on the edge of the forest trail region and has lots of trees and more property in between homes. He was looking at new builds there as well. They were a bit pricier though in Montgomery.

Jared made it home and got his feedback two days later on Monday. Everyone Jared interviewed with was super impressed with him and they all felt he'd be a great fit in the St. Joseph health system. However, there was one problem. Like Jared had figured, the Navasota clinic was not ready. They could not offer him a job there.

What?? Why would they drop $1500 to bring him out and have him interview there if the site wasn't ready yet?

The decision came from the bean counters up top. Welcome to the world of corporate. Lauren, Kim and Kurt all felt really badly. They didn't think there'd be a problem, obviously. BUT...because they really liked Jared, and knew how important loan repayment was to him/us, they just wanted to bring him down and "get him in the system" so they presented the Madisonville clinic as an option. The occupational medicine clinic. The one that was 40 miles from College Station. Everything we didn't want. Wrong medicine, bad commute. Except that they were offering $30,000 (tax-free) to our student loans, instead of $20,000. *sigh*

This new job journey took an unexpected turn. It was almost as if Heavenly Father was asking us "So how badly do you want to get out of debt?" We'd be getting 3 years of loan repayment money for the price of 2. And it would definitely require sacrifices.

To add further complication, St. Joes couldn't offer Jared this position because it's not a St. Joe's facility, it's a community health clinic supported by St. Joes. Jared would be employed by St. Joes but before Jared could be offered the job, he would need to have the blessings of the providers and administrators in Madisonville in the form of three more separate phone/Skype interviews. Ugh....poor Jared. And of course, this was only after St. Joes made sure Jared would accept the salary they were offering. It was even lower than the lowest that we were expecting. Talk about discouraging. But...we had to remember to include the $30,000 as part of the total "package." Ironically enough, we are taking a $30,000 annual salary pay cut to get $30,000 in loan repayment.

Madisonville...that's north of College Station...with not much in between. That ruled out living in Montgomery. We'd have to live in College Station, especially since he doesn't expect to work in Madisonville much past 2 1/2 years.

I worried about Jared for a couple of reasons. I didn't want him to have to commute 80 (eighty!!) miles a day just to work. (Ironically, a week after the bombshell at Jared's office, Jared knew he would need a better commuter vehicle. He's only had his Honda Pilot for a year and we were about a year from paying it off. But we needed to start saving money on gas and car payment as soon as we could. I just want the record to show that Jared was the one who suggested getting rid of the Pilot and I was like, "wait a sec, let's not get hasty." Completely opposite responses to our normal states as CEO and CFO. It was a proud wifey moment for me when, Jared, of his own accord, manned up and traded his Pilot in for a Honda Civic. He just wanted a smaller car payment and something with good gas mileage. He was surprised when the dealer could put him in a brand new 2013 Civic with 60 miles on it. Later, we chuckled at the prospect of Madisonville. We were thinking it was neat to get a new car with no miles on it while all along Heavenly Father was thinking "You're gonna need this." 80 miles a day, 5 days a week=400 miles a week. 1600 miles a month. 19,200 a year...just driving to work....).

And I didn't want Jared to not only dread his drive to work but also the prospect of going to work. As we talked it over that night, we came to this conclusion. Bottom line...there are no other loan repayment jobs out there at this time. And we can't afford to stay in Oregon. Furthermore, it is really hard to say no to an infusion of 30,000 tax-free dollars to our student loans each year. Jared said that he's never done occupational medicine so it might actually be something he likes. His brother who is a cardiology PA says it's a super cushy job :) We'll see.

We decided to move forward with the Madisonville job. Hopefully they would like Jared just as much as the other team did. And as I took another self-assessment, I realized I still felt an undercurrent of peace. Somehow this would all work out.

Jared had an interview on Tuesday, March 25th, with the sports medicine team. Apparently there is a bit of sports med that comes through that clinic. They of course loved that Jared has a background in this area. Maybe a little too much. They were talking about Jared going to local sporting events and having him be "visible and accessible". Well, Jared grew up in a small town in central IL and knows exactly what being visible and accessible means. In Jared's mind, that meant being at every Friday night football game and all the tournaments and one thing after another. I was getting a little worried. There's a reason why Jared didn't go into athletic training---the crazy time commitment with the teams away from family and church was why. I told him that's what the trainers were for and he agreed. But didn't know how to delicately tell them that he's interested in the job but not at the expense of his family.

Wednesday he had another interview while he was on break at work. Their connection in Texas wasn't very good. They kept cutting out so they ditched Skype and just did the phone thing. This time it was the occupational administrators. They explained it was a newer program and they wanted him to go out and schmooze the oil companies and advertise to the community about their services and that he would do more occupational med than sports med. He caught the "visible and accessible" vibe again and asked as diplomatically as possible how much of a time commitment they were expecting him to give to these extra things because he has a wife and five children who also need him. The female administrator was really impressed with his priorities. Lauren, who had been at all these interviews, totally discerned Jared's concern about giving even more time, considering his commute just doubled each day, etc. She assured Jared that everything they were talking about him doing would be encompassed within his normal daily work hours. If anything they would ask if he could go to a football game every few months and maybe the Relay For Life event once a year, things like that. Phew. Okay...we can handle that. Jared was SUPER grateful that Lauren picked up on his tentativeness. He even called her later that day to thank her. She told him that after the interview with the sports med guys the day before, she went back to her office to talk with her colleague and said that they needed to make it very clear what Jared's expected duties were so that Madisonville didn't burn him out. Thank you...Lauren! She also said that if, after the two year loan repayment commitment is up, Jared could certainly get a job closer to home. That's the beauty of being "in the system". Additionally, Kurt had told Jared that if Navasota came available, Jared could transfer from Madisonville to Navasota, it would just be a $10,000 decrease in loan repayment. So...you never know. But...we're expecting and planning on 2+ years in Madisonville. But we can do anything for 2 years. :)

And finally on Thursday, March 27th, Jared interviewed with the hospital administrator in Madisonville. On Friday Jared heard from Lauren that everyone loved him and felt he'd be just what they need to build the Madisonville occ/sports med clinic. Of course they couldn't offer him an official job because the vice president who does that was out of town. Naturally. So we waited a little more. And Jared baptized Karcyn that weekend.

The official job offer came on Monday, March 31st--a month after we found out we'd have to leave. He certainly would have had a job offer sooner if it weren't for the clinic glitch. But even still...that's pretty darn fast. We were very blessed through this job search process (and most grateful to Kurt and Lauren) and are excited to be a part of the St. Joseph Health System. Jared's official start date is JJ's 3rd birthday....August 11, 2014.


We are all SO excited to move to Texas. We will certainly miss our friends and activities and associations from these past 10 years. But we just can't stop smiling and talking about all the fun, new things we'll get to do and see and experience. There is a little trepidation of course with the unknown, but Jared and I believe in our social, adaptable kids. And we know that it won't be all cupcakes and rainbows. There will be sacrifices. There are trials even with or especially with making and following the right choices. But that's okay. Because we feel like we're being called to Texas.