I have been asked by some where did the idea come to go and work for the carnival? how did we find the jobs that we are going to be doing? and where will we be traveling? so I thought I would tell the story of how this has all come to be.
For the past couple of years we have talked about traveling and working and in those talks "working for the carnival would be fun" as entered our conversations. It was an idea just sitting there waiting for something to happen. Well I did some research and found a website www.carnivalmidways.com that lists carnivals all over the United States. We looked at many different carnivals and just kept dreaming.
Well our talks began to get a bit more serious in January as Ron faced little to no work in his plumbing and home repair business. He worked for one week in December and 7 days in January. One day Ron said, pick where you want to go and let's see what happens. We had been praying about Ron's work situation and wondering how the Lord would provide for us. So one Friday in the middle of January I sent out 5 emails to carnivals in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. After out trips this past Fall and wanting to stay close to the kids and grandkids guided me in the ones I chose. The following Monday I received two phone calls. One from Davis Amusements who said to call back around the middle of March which is when they do their hiring and one from Funtastic Shows. (Both are based in Portland, OR) I then received a call from Rob Rhew from Funtastic Shows. We talked for about 20 minutes and he asked if we could come to Portland for a job interview. I told him I would call him back after speaking to Ron. I hung up wondering if the Lord was opening a door for us.
I talked with Ron and he said since I had to go to Seattle for an eye doctor's appointment on the 3rd of February we could just drive the rest of the way to Portland. So I called Rob back and set up an interview for the two of us on February 4th. I put the dates on the calendar and just sort of put it out of my mind.
The weekend of January 29-31 I went to the Women of Whatcom ladies conference at Semiahmoo. I was blessed with a scholarship as a commuter participant. This meant I could go to all the sessions and meals but I would be staying home at night. That Friday I met my friend Dee, we had a bite to eat and then went into the first session of the conference. The speaker, Lori Salierno, spoke from her heart, sharing about being broken and in our brokenness God can heal and bring joy into our lives. Lori ended the evening with a challenge for each of us: to ask ourselves what was standing between me and God. Immediately what came to my mind was "how I worry about Ron's work situation." Lori then encouraged us to spend time in prayer turning that barrier over to the Lord. As I knelt next to my chair and prayed...Lord I know you want me to trust you and it is so hard but I am going to turn Ron's work situation over to you. You know what we need financially to meet our obligations and I turn this all over to you. Help me, when I start to worry to turn back to You. I can't explain the peace that came over me...the peace that passes all understanding...that the Lord knew what was going on with us and He would take care of me. When I crawled into bed that night and prayed I thanked the Lord that I didn't need to worry any more about Ron's work, He was in charge and He would take care of everything.
Saturday the conference continued with Lori speaking three different times. She spoke on being deployed to the mission field and that our mission field is wherever the Lord puts us. In session four she spoke about being empowered, reminding us that with God anything is possible and that as long as we seek Him, he will guide and direct us. We just have to be open and willing to follow his leading. She asked the question: am I going to be available when the Lord calls me to do something? I prayed, Lord, help me to be willing and open in all situations that you put me in. In my mind I was thinking in my work at the church, working for Patricia and Patrick at The C Shop and with whomever I came into contact with. Little did I know where the Lord was leading. Session 5 on Sunday morning was on being free. Free to be the woman God has formed me to be and that He loves me just the way I am and that I am free to serve him where he leads. I came away from the conference feeling at peace about our work situation, knowing that somehow someway God would provide for us and that through every circumstance that I find myself in I can come out on top with the power, perseverance and strength of the Lord. I was thankful that I had been allowed to go and reconnect with friends and to strengthen my relationship with the Lord.
Ron and I had decided that we would pray about our upcoming trip to Portland sharing with three friends what we were doing and asking them to pray along with us as we traveled to Portland. Many people knew we were going to Seattle so I could see the eye doctor and we knew they were praying for us as well. On Wednesday morning after Ron attended the men's weekly mens breakfast and Bible study we headed to Seattle. My appointment with Christie and Todd went really well. My eye socket looks great. There are no tears or blisters in the socket. My artificial eye had a scratch on it but they were able to buff it out and polish it up real nice. The only recommendation they had was for me to use the silicon oil once a week to keep the eye lubricated. I made my next appointment for August 16th and then told them I might have to change it depending on what happened in Portland. Todd and Christie were excited about the possibility of new jobs for us and said they would also be praying for us.
We had an uneventful trip to Portland and settled into our hotel room for the evening. When it came time for dinner we went to a local restaurant across the street from the hotel. We had a delightful dinner of cod, salmon and shrimp. Ron ate my salmon and I ate his cod. One of these days I will have to learn to like salmon. Dinner was compliments of our friends from Sudden Valley - it was a thank you for the work Ron did on helping them remodel three bathrooms. After dinner we went hot tubbing and talked about whether or not we were crazy to apply for jobs with the carnival. I kept ending every conversation with "we just have to wait and see if the Lord opens any doors for us." We had a good nights sleep, waking feeling refreshed and eager to see what the day would bring.
We got to Funtastic Shows about 15 minutes before the interview so we sat in the car and prayed. I prayed "Lord you know why we are here. We just pray that you clearly open or close the doors for us. You know I don't do waffling very well." Ron said he was a little bit nervous and I reminded him, either they like us or they don't. They can say yes or they can say no. I went in feeling very good, not nervous at all. I felt like I was walking in to just talk to someone not really going for a job interview. Ron was pretty nervous and I could see his nervousness come out a little bit as I introduced him to Rob. Well we followed Rob down this hall and into a conference room. He apologized for the mess - there was carnival toys and tickets on the table and boxes of stuff laying around the room.
Rob asked us to tell him about ourselves. Ron said he was a journeyman plumber. I kept waiting for Ron to say more but nothing came. I shared that my work experience has been as an office manager, secretary, that I had done HR, AR/AP, and payroll. Rob then asked Ron a few more questions about his working career. Ron shared that he had worked as a laborer, been in the Air Force, led a crew in the service and worked construction. I was so glad that Ron finally opened up. Rob then asked how did we decide that we wanted to work for a carnival and we told him about wanting to work/travel and that by working in a carnival it would allow us to do both. He then said he had jobs for the both of us if we wanted them. He then added that Ron would have to shave his beard off (he wants to play Santa for the grandkids again). Ron said that would not be a problem and I just smiled. Now don't get me wrong, I like Ron's beard as long as he keeps it trimmed but he keeps telling me that Santa has a long bushy beard. I wondered if his beard would be a deal breaker. It's not a deal breaker, Ron is going to shave come the middle of March.
Rob then got us applications to complete, talked to us a few more minutes wanting to know about our motor home and our ability to travel with it. Ron explained it was a class A sportscoach and that we had been living in it for the last 3 years and 3 months and that we enjoy being in it. Rob then explained that we would be traveling the Western OR/Western WA areas beginning in Portland then going to the Puyallup Spring Fair and that the other two big fairs they do are the Oregon State Fair in Salem in August and the Puyallup Fair in September. He then went onto explain that they work a carnival every weekend from the time they start with the Spring Fair until the season ends in September with the 3 week Puyallup Fair. We would have steady work for the full six months. He ended the interview saying again, he had jobs for us if we wanted them. To go home and think about it, figure out if it would work for us and then let him know the following week. He told us that I would be doing office work. He seemed excited that I had so much experience with Excel and knew my way around an office. I would also sell tickets if they needed me. Ron would be doing maintenance, set up, tear down and rides. He added we would be working 35 or more hours a week. Ron would probably get lots of over time. He shook our hands and said he would talk to us early the next week.
We got in the suburban and just looked at each other. Ron then said "Well, God clearly opened the doors for us." And then he laughed. I just looked at him and replied, "Guess He did." We left Portland and headed for home. We talked all the way home, making a list of the many things that we would need to do if we accepted the job. Discussed what we would do with Charlies Brown. A sad thing to think about getting rid of him but would it be fair to be locked up in the motor home for hours on end with both of us working. It was not like Ron could take him to work with us. I think the Lord was preparing us both that we would need to find a new home for Charlie Brown. One of the questions we had was to ask Rob if it was a problem having a little dog with us. We came up with other logistical questions like how do they do payday? are we paid via automatic deposit? how do you do banking on the road? what about doing laundry...do they have washers/dryers in the condo trailers for the single employees? In our conversation on the way home we decided to talk with a couple from our church...to ask them to pray with us and for us and what they thought of the idea. We picked up Charlie Brown, sharing with Kristy how the interview went, asked her to pray about what to do with Charlie Brown and for us as we decided what to do.
On Friday, February 5th we met with Gerald and Sandra. We talked about our trip to Portland and how we felt the Lord had clearly answered our prayers about open/closing the door. After a long chat we spent time in prayer and left feeling very good about the possibility of accepting the new jobs. I then went and met with Charles at church. I went in feeling very confident and excited to share about the new possibility of employment that the Lord was giving us. Charles and I had a great discussion. He said he would be sad to see us leave on a personal note but that taking this job does meet some of the things that we have wanted to do ~ work and travel at the same time. We continued to share with friends and family getting positive and encouraging words from everyone. We then spent time looking at our budget and doing some figuring. I sent an email to Rob asking him our questions. We received an email back answering our many questions. The hardest one to read was that we could not take Charlie Brown with us. Unbeknown to us, Kristy was praying that if we had to get rid of Charlie Brown we would find a good home, the transition would go smoothly and that we would have peace about the whole situation.
I am happy to say that the Lord brought a single mom and her little girl, Hannah Mae, into our lives and they were excited to get Charlie Brown. They had recently had to put their chihuahua down due to to health reasons. Hannah just fell in love with Charlie Brown. She carried him around like a little baby and Charlie Brown just played and played. We left him with Sarah and Hannah feeling like it was a good match. I told Sarah to call if there was a problem and we have not heard anything...so in this case no news is good news.
On Monday morning, February 8th, I called Rob to tell him that we wanted to accept the positions with Funtastic Shows. He said he was glad to hear that and he is looking forward to having us on their team. We don't have the exact date to be in Portland but know we will be going around the middle of March.
We will be traveling/working with the carnival for six months...from the middle of March to the end of September. After that we hope to go to Lewiston and spend some time with Brandon and his family and then back to Birch Bay to spend some time with Jamie and his family and of course all our friends at Northwood and in Blaine.
Now we are busy getting ready for the new adventure. We are cleaning, organizing, sorting, discarding and donating things from our storage units to go from two to one. We have already gotten rid of 27 boxes of books. The owner of the used book store in Blaine was excited to get them all. Ron has built shelves and organized all his plumbing stuff and now we are ready to move the boxes and bedroom set from the small storage unit into big storage unit. We have made arrangements for a friend to pick up, sort and send us mail packages every three weeks or so. We are letting friends borrow the suburban while we are gone. They only have one car, so having an extra vehicle around will be nice for them. We are still working on what to do with the pickup while we are traveling but know the Lord has that under control. In the next two weeks we will be sorting through some of the stuff in the motor home to clean it out as well.
We are excited to be taking steps in this new journey and are looking forward to see how the Lord leads us along the way. Once we get our itenerary I will post it here ~ maybe we can meet up somewhere along the way.
Sorry this post was so long but I wanted to share how God has been working in our lives, the doors he is opening for us and how we are doing with the upcoming changes.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please share them with us. We look forward to staying in contact with each of you.