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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

News at last!

This morning I received notice that I have been selected to work on a FEMA project in an office in Alexandria, Virginia. It's great to be off the bench again! This assignment is for one year, starting Monday, May 1.

This is the same project that I interviewed for last Tuesday. I was very impressed with the people I met, and I'm looking forward to developing web services and writing in Java again. I also like the type of work the project is producing: we're providing systems to support the mapping of flood-plains. While it would be even cooler to work on the actual mapping software, I can be happy that the group we're supporting does work that is of general benefit to humanity.

My primary concerns are with transportation. The office is about 53 minutes drive from my home not counting rush-hour traffic. Using the WMATA trip planner, the absolute best travel time is 1 hour 52 minutes, not counting a half-mile walk at the beginning and a one-tenth mile walk at the end. I haven't looked into MARC or VRE travel yet, but my past experience suggests that MARC travel will be much more productive for me than Metro in terms of being able to sit down with a computer on my lap. Perhaps we should move closer to Alexandria.

The more significant concern, I think, is that this office is more than an hour away from our current brass rehearsal location, not counting rush hour traffic. Given that our rehearsals are scheduled in the middle of the heavy traffic part of the day, I anticipate significant stress in continuing to attend these twice-weekly rehearsals. Changing the rehearsal time or the location is likely to cause others in the group to withdraw, so I don't want to push that idea too hard.

Vicki suggests that perhaps it's time to foster a new branch of the ensemble with rehearsals in Virginia, with the two branches rehearsing separately until shortly before a performance. Perhaps.

One other item that hits me hard is this: Peanut has shown a significant attachment to me. We are just beginning to figure each other out, and I have greatly appreciated being at home because of this, on top of the significant value I find in being accessible to my wife and children throughout the day. A very interesting job had come to my attention with the possibility of significant work-from-home time. However, due to a series of circumstances I was not able to get a good shot at landing that job. I confess that I am experiencing significant disappointment in being placed in a job where travel promises to be a significant burden and there appears to be no chance of working from home with any frequency.

After I spent too much of today stressing about these commute problems, we came home from an awesome concert to find this article on CNN reporting on recommendations that FEMA be shut down! And at almost the same time I got an e-mail from an old friend on my previous project asking whether I would have an interest in returning to it if circumstances permitted. Too strange! Please continue praying that God will place me where He wants me to be.


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