Saturday, December 31, 2005

Getting Ready for the New

Nelson is napping.
Beth is getting herself around.
I’m sitting here at the computer, listening to the Top 20 Meltdown of Christian Songs from 2005.

I just browsed through my entries from this year. What a year it’s been. I started out with a trip to Mom’s in January. January should always include a trip to Arizona. It’s just the right thing to do. February included a visit to Annie’s and wonderful time with Penelope. March chronicled the start of my new position at R Company. April held late snows and my birthday. May was Nelson’s birthday and the start of the house construction—finally! June was when Nelson broke his ankle and so July was a time for surgeries and recovery. August held my own falling and wounding of my foot. September we began the pregnancy journey with Beth. October we started attending church again. Sweet Caden was born in November. December I shared some of my story at church and had a reflection piece published on the church website.

It was definitely a years of highs and lows, but one thing seemed to weave throughout the entries and thoughts and that was the grace of God expressed in multiple blessings and right on time mercies. Disappointments and discouragements flared, but were quickly replaced by peace and sometimes even joys.

I don’t know everything that 2006 will hold. I do know that we will have another new baby. Soon hopefully. I know that Nelson will have to figure out how to walk all over again and may have to face changing the way he does “work.” I know that I am going to start attending a meeting geared at helping aspiring writers. Nelson and I are going to hit the intentionally healthy eating plan again (notice what word I am NOT using to describe this) with the hope of losing some weight.

I’m going to write something every day. This means I am going to be reading more and observing more. I’m going to face the coming days with my eyes open to see, explore, and reflect. Having the Traveldrive will help in this commitment.

And I’m going to ride my bike this year. I don’t know how much. I’d love to get to the place where I was riding to work…we’ll have to see about that. I just know that I loved riding bike and I miss it.

Well, that’s all for now. I have some things to do around the house. I already did laundry, made breakfast, and vacuumed downstairs this morning. We’re going to drive down to where we used to live and spend the evening with some very dear friends of ours. We used to spend every New Year’s Eve with them. It will be sweet to be with them again. Besides Karen and I always whoop the boys at cards and I could use a dose of winning right about now.

Be safe and smart tonight and may the new year become for you a year of discoveries, mysteries, and beauty!

Friday, December 30, 2005


Wherever I go.
Whatever I write.
Wait that’s not how the song goes…but it is how my writing is going. I can take my thoughts and creativity wherever there’s a computer. Another excuse removed by my amazing little Traveldrive that I got for Christmas. I’m pretty excited about this.

I wrote some things here at work. Then I wrote some more at home. I made corrections and deletions and now I’m back at work typing in the same files I was typing at while I was home. This technology is so cool.

Wednesday after work Beth and I were supposed to go to M-town to pick up her bed and then go get a mattress set. Well, the guy with the mattresses needed to cancel. Beth was disappointed. She still went to get the bed. While she did that Nelson and I went for pizza at Pizza Hut’s buffet. He showed off a bit, walking in the parking lot without his crutch. He only took about 20 steps and was warn out and had to go back to the crutch. After dinner Beth was back with the bed so I manhandled the monstrosity and got it up to her bedroom.

Thursday after work Beth and I planned to go to get the mattress set. When we got to the place we were disappointed beyond belief. The set that we were told about on the phone was trash—but they would sell us this better version for only $350. That was more than we wanted to spend and I was so irritated that we just left. We went over to Big Lots. They had a set that was still more than we wanted to spend, but Beth liked it so we called Nelson to make sure we had enough on the card. I went back in and wrote a Capital One check against the balance on the card. The clerk had to call for approval and the check approving company denied the check. So we came home empty handed again. I was so bummed. Beth is so uncomfortable sleeping on the futon and it’s becoming more and more difficult for her to get out of bed.

Nelson had his last therapy session Wednesday evening. He needs more. He’s at the doctor right now.

I wrote my therapist a letter. I haven’t seen her since March. It was a good way to think back over the year and examine some of the ways I’ve grown, held ground, and used the things I learned about myself through the course of therapy. It was a good exercise and a good letter.

That said, I must confess that I have nearly fretted about something to the point that I have made myself physically ill. I’m beginning to think maybe I’m not cut out for this job. Ed came to me right before lunch and told me he was shutting down the production line right after they finished the next order. It won’t start up again until Tuesday. That means there won’t be enough work for the team. I need to tell them that they won’t need to come in until next Wednesday. My head assures me that I did everything I could. I know that fiscally it’s the responsible thing—but they just were off two weeks because there wasn’t any work and now at least two more days off next week (we’re closed on Monday).

This level of disappointment has to be the manifestation of all the disappointments of this week—including anticipating bad news from Nelson’s doctor visit. All my perkiness is buried under a thick scratchy wool blanket—like the one I had in jail: very little warmth and no comfort whatsoever.

I just got off the phone with Nelson. He got frustrated with me and hung up. The doctor has told him to stop wearing the walking boot, gave him some smaller ankle support and told him to wear a shoe. I am beginning to think that his man may work well with bones but he is not a healing specialist. A surgeon, yes—but he is so blatantly clueless. Well, he did one thing. He moved me out of disappointment to full blown anger.

He’s still concerned with the swelling, but his solution was to write some note to the therapist that he needs to squeeze the fluid out. Having worn a compression hose for 6 weeks after three months of ace wraps didn’t “squeeze” the fluid out. But what do I know?

The only good I can see that is coming out of this is that he wrote a script for 6 more weeks of therapy, Nelson doesn’t have to go back to work before his next appointment (Feb. 2), and supposedly he’s healing nicely.

And now I have to push away from my desk, go back out on the floor and make boxes and act like nothing is wrong. I don’t think I’m that good an actress. I’ll let you know how I did.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

News from Our Corner

I got another present yesterday. It didn’t come from friends or family. It was a gift from work. Since I started working in the factory I have had to wear my vision correcting glasses and then put a pair of safety glasses over them. This was awkward at times and downright painful at others. Two sets of ear pieces digging into the sides of my head. Two pairs of glasses steaming up on hot sweaty summer days.

When I got my new prescription glasses I turned in the paperwork for a pair of prescription safety glasses. My employer provides these. All it cost me was the visit to the optometrist which I was doing anyway.

So yesterday, at the end of the work day, Joy from the front office paged me to let me know that they were in. I was—am so excited. Granted they’re not as attractive as my other glasses, or as lightweight. They have side shields on them and a lined bifocal instead of nifty progressives. But I so don’t care! I don’t have to wear TWO pairs of glasses. And I don’t have to wear my cool prescription glasses—so they won’t get any scratches or other damage as they sit protected in their little snap case during the work day.

It’s going to rain today. I didn’t wash my car to make it rain. I didn’t kill a spider (old wives tale/superstition of my mother) to make it rain. No, what I did was make plans with the daughter to go pick up her new bed and mattress set after work today. I knew it was going to rain because I am becoming a weather vane. My aching toe (from the injury this summer) and draining (more like a deluge) sinuses informed before I ever got out of bed this morning that a rainy day was in store. Lovely.

Getting this bed is important, but it also looks like we should be hurrying to get a crib. Poor Beth has been swelling something awful. At the end of a work day for her, her little toes look like little sausages they’re so swollen. Yesterday at her now weekly check ups the doctor did another ultrasound and has decided that the baby weighs about 6 and a ½ pounds. Things generally pointed to her being in her 35th week, until he measured her belly and it read out at 41 weeks. He also told her she is losing amniotic fluid. Beth has been saying for days that the little guy is wanting to sleep in a crib. We thought it might be wishful thinking, but it looks like he’ll be here much sooner than originally expected. And I for one will not be disappointed!

And one last thing…I thought I had a hot flash last night. Nope. Yesterday the guys the landlord hired to put in the new furnace worked their magic and we have heat. And let me tell you: it works well. I think we can safely turn it down a couple notches…at least at night!

Have a truly wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Goodies

Well, here it is two days after Christmas. As days with family go, Christmas came with its inherent stressors. Too many schedule changes to suit Nelson. He’s really lost his ability to go with the flow—it must go with loss of range of motion like with his ankle. But in the end, it was nice. My sis and her two boys joined Nelson, Beth, Annie, Travis, Penelope, Caden and me for the day. There was way too much good stuff to eat and grazing was the opted manner for eating.

Beth bought Nelson a football game for the Game Cube and that was a hit with my nephews and Travis. They ended up taking up to our room and hooking it up to my TV so the rest of us could watch football on TV…now that made a lot of sense? In the end I was thankful to have all that young energy off in another space…I sound so old.

Santa was very good to me. I got a jump drive so I can take my writing with me wherever I go. Beth bought me Scent Stories and a pay as you go cell phone. I love them both! Annie got me a basket full of yummy smelly things and the movie “Must Love Dogs”—my favorite kind of movie: Romantic Comedy. Nelson also got me a new coat. It’s a denim barn coat that has the Pooh characters on the back and also the front pocket. I absolutely love it!!!

The surprise gift of the day was also from Nelson. Since he couldn’t get out he did almost all the Christmas shopping from his bed in the living room—gotta love eBay! Well, something he ordered for me hadn’t come. But Sunday morning, Christmas morning, there was a knock at the door. It was a postal carrier driving a US Postal truck wearing a Santa hat. He was out delivering presents/packages on Christmas morning and he brought me my new Pooh umbrella. It’s so cool and I was so tickled to get it that way on Christmas!

Annie, Travis and the kids stayed over Sunday night and Monday we watched a couple movies. Annie, Travis, and Nelson watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith while I watched Mulan with Penelope. Later we watched Must Love Dogs—Nelson napped through that one. It was a quiet lazy sort of day—my favorite kind! For lunch we went to Applebees so that Beth could show off her niece and nephew.

Today it’s back to work. That alarm went off so dreadfully early, but that’s probably because I went to bed so late. I have a crew and we’re working away---in fact I need to get out there and make sure they’re on task.

May the Spirit of Christmas: love, giving, family, peace and joy continue to invade and bless your days.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Spirit

I’m not a Scrooge, I promise. And I know that in my circle of journal friends there are some (one in particular) that truly love the snow. But Friday after work and then again yesterday I felt my mood improve as the snow disappeared under the warmth of a December thaw. In fact yesterday it was so nice out that I just wore a jacket while I went out to finish shopping.

I was going to clean house and wrap presents, but instead I shopped, decorated the tree and watched football. The way things went was much more fun!

In the morning I went to the upscale grocery (that we had gotten a very generous gift card to) to buy fixings for dinner tonight. Ann, Travis, Penelope and Caden are coming today; as are my sis and her two boys. So with Nelson, Beth, and I we’ll have a small army to feed. We were given a spiral cut ham from work so we decided to have ham sandwiches and a bunch of yummy things to go with.

After lunch, I went back out again because I had forgotten a few things—big surprise there. While I was out I also stopped at Goodwill and found a pair of Carhartt bib overalls—for $5! I was pretty excited about that since they’re normally $50. These are practically new. They’re a bit baggy on me so that should make them way comfortable. I also got my haircut while I was out and stopped at Walmart one last time to buy a gift for a friend at work.

When I came home I started watching football with Nelson. He made a comment that I should probably take down the tree or get ready to face the ribbing of family since it was still undecorated. So descended once again into the bowels of this old house to retrieve decorations for the tree. I now am quite pleased with my “theme” tree.

I have no where to hang stockings here so the tree became a stocking tree. There are two strands of colorful lights, some garland and one ornament representing Nelson, Beth, and me—and the rest are stockings. Over the archway between our living and dining rooms I hung other ornaments, and the final decoration I put up was a sleigh bell wreath on the front door.

There are so many wrapped presents that there is barely room for people in the living room right now. It feels quite festive and really makes me smile. I just have a few more things to wrap for Nelson and then we’ll be ready!

Last night was also very special as Nelson, Beth, and I attended the early Christmas Eve service together at church. We opened the service by singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. That felt really good! I went back for the 10 o’clock service to again sing with the choir. Standing in the glow of candlelight singing Silent Night is such a special moment. For a brief spanse of time there truly feels like peace. It’s as if God throws that cashmere blanket over us and shares the depth of his love for us and His deep desire to bring us peace—individual as well as worldwide. Maybe someday we’ll trust Him enough to receive those gifts for more than just the moment.

Well, there are presents to wrap, dishes to finish up, and a yummy Christmas morning breakfast to make…so I better scoot. Merriest of merry Christmases. Make sure you hug someone…and smile!!! Look for the blessings and tell me what you find.

Warm hugs and Hershey kisses for you all!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Just a Note

I wore a Christmas Tree on my head yesterday.
I wonder if people had a hard time taking me seriously? So what else is new?

The shipping clerk made me some yummy smelling candles a while back—they smell so good and make my office in the factory an oasis for me! Then she followed it up with some equally delectable potpourri. Yum! In the bag with the potpourri was a red headband that had a Christmas Tree attached to it. I had been wanting to wear it, but didn’t want to look goofy alone. She wore hers for a while yesterday (until the band started cutting off blood flow to the brain—gotta love old fashioned plastic headbands). I wore mine for the rest of the afternoon. I’m going to wear it all day today.

Yesterday I wore something else new! My glasses came in. I went last Tuesday for the exam and they came in Wednesday. They are so cool. I love the frameless look. And light! Wow, it’s like not wearing anything…on my face! And clear!!!! No scratches. I can’t wait for my safety glasses to come in so I don’t damage these.

I had workers yesterday. That was really nice. I was able to ease up a little on the physical labor and work my brain. Good thing it doesn’t go to sleep like my hand does…don’t ask my family about that one though…

Last evening I went shopping for a bed with Beth. We found the headboard and frame she likes, but are still working on the mattress set. Those things are so expensive. We looked at cribs. She knows what she wants but we just can’t seem to find it. That seems to happen a lot for her. We still have a month so we’ll keep on looking.

Today we have a carry in lunch at work. They bring a grill in and cook dogs and burgers. The place smells so yummy. Well, I need to go ice the brownies I made so I’m gone.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Twice Baked

Where to start…so many little things have been happening.
Saturday I baked. That in itself should draw a gasp from the crowd. The kitchen is not my environment. No one will mistake me for Betty Crocker. My cooking escapades are the fodder for many a joke with my family. So when I signed up to bring snack for Sunday School on the eighteenth, Nelson’s expression spoke volumes.

I decided that I wanted to make mini-muffins. How hard could that be? Or better, how hard could I make that, or them. I even found muffin mix that only required adding water. I was actually beginning to think that this could work. Along with the mixes I bought the cutest non-stick muffin pan (I had to go back to the store and buy the little papers).

I would like to report that the mini-muffins were a big hit. After Sunday School I was trying to pack up and I had to walk away from the table to let folks continue their talking and nibbling. I heard one person comment that they were one of the best snacks ever. Shoot, I was just hoping for edible!

Sunday night was the Christmas Musical Program at church. The plan was to have a dessert intermission. I signed up to bring something. Nelson put in a request this time for Tingalings. Another easy fix for me: melt the butterscotch chips (in a large pan) and stir in chow mein noodles, spoon on to a tray, and let sit (try not to eat them all before they sit). They were gobbled up!

The program was called Christmas Memories. Right in the middle the script called for a testimony of a Christmas that was difficult or sad, but in the reflection was good. The director had someone lined up and they cancelled out so I offered. I had several options of different Christmas memories, but really felt a thumb in my back to tell of my experience in 2001, the Christmas that followed my turning myself in and preceded my time in jail.

When I decided that this was the way to go, I spoke to the pastor to get his input and sort of to warn him. He was very supportive. Sunday morning I began to see why. His message had strong words about reconciliation and restoration. The way I planned to present my story followed well with what he preached.

I was nervous about sharing so I wrote out what I was going to say. I’m very glad that I did. Even with practicing on Nelson, I choked up as I read the words. But I made it through and moved quickly back to my seat in the choir.

There was one more song and then the break for desserts. I was quite surprised by the number of people that came up to me, before I could move from my chair, and gave me hugs while they told me how much they were moved by what I shared. The hugs were so genuine and life/love giving. My harshest critic (next to myself) even gave me words of praise. That would be Nelson…

At the close of the service Pastor G was wrapping things up and was able to tie his message and mine together and truly invite the people into receiving the gift of reconciliation and restoration that is being offered at Christmas…and always. In my heart, I knew the message was for someone…I just wondered who.

So all things considered it was a very blessed weekend.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Fear Not

(A reflection on the messages of Christmas)

The phone rang. Bad timing. I was getting ready, last minute rush of course, to head out the door for a weekend retreat. I looked quickly at the caller ID—Indianapolis: the younger daughter. A smile returned to my face as I grabbed the receiver.

Quick hellos, hers a bit stiff. That mother instinct bristled. “Mom, the first thing I want to say is that I’m all right.”

No conversation should start this way. The words that followed nearly buckled my knees. “I was hit by a car.”

I responded with, “Is the car okay?” Thinking that she meant she was in an accident and rear-ended or something. No, she was crossing the road from her dorm to the main part of campus, in a clearly marked crosswalk with a group of students, when a car decided to run the red light and plow right into her. Stunned, she got up and walked on to the other side of the road. The lady pulled into a nearby lot and checked on Beth.

Friends took her to the emergency room. Nothing was broken, but she was severely bruised and battered. Forget the retreat, I was ready to run to Indianapolis (about a three hour drive) if I had to just to be near my baby (who was twenty and way too independent for my liking).

“I’m okay. They gave me some pain meds.” There was some promise that she would call her father later. And she was off the phone. Reluctantly, I went on to the retreat.

There are just ways that conversations shouldn’t be started. I was reminded of this as I was reading my Advent devotional this week. “Fear not” should probably be at the top of the “don’t use” list.

Imagine being blinded by an incredible light while sitting out in the field at night keeping your eye on the sheep. Imagine being a young teen, engaged, hopeful of a normal life, and getting the news that Mary received. Imagine being Joseph. An angel, or a huge army of them, comes to you and says, “Look, don’t be afraid, but…”

For that matter imagine the “Fear nots” that come our way: Fear not, it’s cancer. Fear not, she’s had an affair. Fear not, it’s a pink slip. Fear not, it’s the transmission. Fear not.

Those are tough pills to swallow and our inclination, or least mine, is to go with Mary: how can this be? My downfall is generally in the moment I focus on the struggle, the challenge, and fail to see that if God is willing to send an angel, or an army of angels, then I can trust He’s got things covered. I just need, like Mary, to accept, ponder, and then move ahead in strength and confidence.

His “fear nots” are really promises. From the very outset of whatever it is that we are facing, He presence is His bond to be with us all the way. And that’s the good stuff to hold on to!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Naked Truth

I had a really disheartening revelation this morning. I had taken our full-length mirror and set it up higher to get a different angle on an outfit I was trying to decide whether to wear or not. It was a definite not.

I left the mirror up, no particular reason. This morning I caught a full view of my girth this morning and it wasn’t a pleasant discovery—not in the least. And a little light came on in my head—fortunately no more light was turned on in the bedroom.

It was a brief window into the Genesis experience of Adam and Eve realizing they were naked and realizing they were naked. They didn’t know that, they weren’t dissatisfied with the way they were until they listened to the deceiver and then there was a ruch to cover up.

Now here’s where I may be stepping a bit out on a limb, but it’s my revelation so I’m allowed. It seems to me that the “cover up” was denial and a major effort to keep from really seeing what was going on. At least that’s the truth for me.

I had been feeling pretty good that I had gone down a pants size this year. While that is a good thing, I let it become a camouflage to the real problem. There in my mirror this morning I couldn’t hide from the rolls and dimples of fat. I quickly put on my clothes for work and that’s when it hit me. I had become pretty good at blousing my shirt out over my pants to hide some those rolls. Long skirts and pants covered my dimply knees and no one was going to ever catch a glimpse of those thighs.

I hated what I saw. But grace made me peal away a few layers to get at some real loathsome stuff. What else was I getting good at covering up? What attitudes needed liposuctioned off my person? What grievous choices was I trying to sugar coat by giving them more politically acceptable labels? It was much easier to put on my work clothes and cover up my rolls than to escape the truth I was now seeing in my soul. I couldn’t yank a shirt on quick to get away from this.

I had another clothing thought/memory last night, also. This past summer I was delighted to find a plus size very lightweight flannel night gown. It’s about mid-calf in length, red plaid. Whoever had it prior to me had cut the sleeves off so that they are about ¾ length. I pulled it out and matched it up with a lightweight pair of thermal pajama pants. Yes, winter has arrived in my corner of Ohio and we turn the heat down a bit at night, so it’s time to pile on the pj’s and quilts.

Anyway, I was reminded of a much loved nightgown I had right before I got married. My mom had made it for me when I was in college. I have a few special memories of the things my mom sewed for me. Sewing was quite a chore for her, something it seemed she felt she HAD to do not something she wanted to do. This nightgown was a lime green color and I had her make it extra long so that I could wrap it up under my feet while watching TV or studying. I wore it to death. I can’t even count the number of times it had to be re-sewn under the arms and at spots around the yoke. Spots had been worn nearly throw that defied patches and yet I refused to part with it.

As I was preparing for my wedding both my parents sternly talked with me about how that nightgown needed to be trashed and shouldn’t be taken into the marriage. I knew they were right, but was too sentimental to follow through.

I did end up buying a really fancy nightie and robe set that was very pink and feminine. I planned to take it on our honeymoon. My friends loaded “my clothes” (in truth, they loaded an entire closet of about three different people’s clothes into the car because they didn’t know which were mine) into the car for us to take on our honeymoon. They were trying to be so helpful. But in the process of loading us down with strange clothing the fancy night-set fell off the hanger. Fortunately, I had tucked the ratty green flannel gown into my suitcase. I’m not sure why I did, but I’m sure glad. As it turns out, Nelson got a horrible case of the flu and slept in the other bed in the room.

Now there’s no startling revelation to go with that memory. Just a smile and reminder of my humanity and need for comfortable/cozy. If anything, it’s a thought for me to ponder about my need to hold on to things and stay where it’s comfortable.

Well, I have much to think about and a little work to do too, so I better scoot.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Friends and Hope

25 Thousand
600 Minutes

I went and saw RENT today with Annie. Wow! Now I know it’s not a movie for everyone. But I really enjoyed the movie. I was moved by it. The characters with their passion, creativity, and most of all love, made me think, laugh, cry, and thank.

And for now that’s all I want to say on that.

Last evening I went to a Ladies Advent Candlelight Tea at church. It was nice, but it wasn’t what I expected—what I hoped for…longed for it to be. I like the fact that this church has activities. There is always something to do. Once upon time that would have been enough. The busyness would have satisfied my need to take on anything and everything and appear to be juggling the world. “How does she do it all?”

I like that there’s something to do, but I’m not doing for doing sake. I’m going hoping to connect, to find a friend, maybe even more than one. I was thinking back over my “church history” and the memories of the different friendships at different churches brought a smile to my heart.

I remember Rita. We were young moms, new to Toledo. We met at the women’s outing when we toured a glass factory. She hooked her arm through mine and announced that we would be friends. We still are though separated by distance.

There was Florene, Rita, Jean, Connie, Elaine, Chris, Laurie, Marsha, Connie, Irene, Joyce, Carol, and Now…no one. Not yet. I’m still very, very hopeful.

I have to be. Here’s why: I am totally and absolutely convinced that we are exactly attending the church where God wants us to be. I was absolutely overwhelmed by this awareness as I sat in Sunday School this morning. We started a new quarter, and had a new teacher. As the new teacher stood to teach, I started to cry. In some distant muffled awareness, I knew the teacher was speaking about the transforming love of God. In that moment I was totally immersed in the experience of God providing grace and love.

When we moved here in August 2005 the plan was to attend the Nazarene church in a nearby town. The first block to that we experienced came from my PO. Then we observed seriously disturbing behavior with the Pastor of the church. We were terribly confused and hurt when that door closed.

But another door opened and we joined up with a little worship group. There were ups and downs with them, but the support and love we felt was balm to our hearts and we were able to use our gifts, received many blessings, and were there when they closed that group down.

The summer months were a sort of dessert experience. We tried to watch church on TV, but it I was left with an empty feeling. Then at the beginning of June we were given the okay to “go” to church. At the end of June Nelson fell and we weren’t “going” anywhere.

With mobility came resolve to try the nearby Brethren Church. We were received so warmly. After a few weeks we decided to go to Sunday School. I had a few reservations, but they were easily laid to rest. Yesterday morning sealed the deal.

I was sitting there flooded with overwhelming thankfulness. There in that classroom were my two most favoritest seminary professors—and one of them was going to teach the class this quarter. But that wasn’t all. My supervisor was there—what a tenderhearted godly man! And the owner of my company is a part of that class too. And when he prays—wow!

I sat there just getting my socks blessed off as Dr. M (too much respect to cozy up and call him by his first name) taught the class. He’s so dynamic and entertaining and then he gets you with the point. I loved it. On the way home I asked Nelson how he liked it? He said it was too short. Exactly!

In the afternoon there was a shower for Beth. Several of her work friends came. My in-laws drove down from Toledo. Annie did the games. Penelope entertained us. It was fun. Beth got some lovely things.

And now it’s Monday morning. I’m a little nervous about going to work. Friday afternoon several people at the plant got laid off. We only have about 35 workers. About 8 were to get laid off. I wasn’t one of them, though I was lower on the seniority pole. Since I’m am trained for my area I made it through the first cut. That’s not going to make some people very happy. If we don’t get work this week, I may be next.

On my way to work this morning the thought occurred to me that trusting in God doesn’t necessarily mean that the queasy stomache associated with “stepping in the water” doesn’t automatically go away. And I’m really okay with that, because it reminds me to keep trusting.

He’s provided so much—I’ve no cause to doubt that He WILL carry me through.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

All Day Training

All day training.
There was a time when I loved going to training. I always considered myself a learner. I thrived on opportunities to learn something new. I was like a sponge.

I was thinking about it today, and I spent a huge portion of my life doing what came naturally, so learning wasn’t that difficult. I picked things to train in that I had a natural bent towards. The result was that I tended to take the role of the really talented “student.” My star shined a little brighter and I received positive strokes and feedback—and it felt good!

Today was the first all day training I’ve been to for over four years. At the end of the day my head felt like an over-blown balloon: stretched tight and ready to explode. This was nothing I was used to or very good at. Mostly it was related to accounting and math related stuff. Way, way out of my comfort zone. But I felt I needed to wrap my brain around as much as I could. The more training, the more training in different fields, the more I know, the more valuable I become—as an employee.

Now, catch that. I almost missed it. There was a time when being more valuable as an employee meant (in my brain) that I was more valuable as a person. Not today. Greater knowledge equals greater job security but not worth as a person.

I wish I could tell you how absolutely wonderful that feels. It took all the pressure off of learning today. Sure my brain was stretched, but I wasn’t looking for brownie points I wanted to understand a difficult process. I don’t have it all nailed down, but that’s OK! And that is amazingly freeing.

Then tonight, I joined the choir at church. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE singing? There was an announcement and invitation in the bulletin for individuals who wanted to sing in the Christmas musical to come and practice with the choir.

I went. It felt so good to sing. Joining voices with others, reading music, singing really high notes and having them come out right—well, even just having them come out! It was glorious.

And when it was all done, my head didn’t hardly hurt at all. Now my muscles from exercising last night—well that’s another story.


It wasn't until my very last pastorate that I finally began to understand the meaning and purpose of Advent. I took it very seriously, which really frustrated many of the "let's just sing hymns, hang greens, and get it all over with" kind of folks in the congregation. In the fall of 2001, though, I began to really experience the meaning of waiting and anticipating.

October 8 I called the authorities and began the process of turning myself in. It wasn't until November 4 that I met with the detectives to make my official statement. They told me that I wouldn't have a court hearing until after Christmas. Grace was at work, even in the legal system.

At times I wasn't sure how I made it through the days. I felt so broken. So shame-filled. Alone, but surrounded. And all the time, waiting. I had absolutely no control in this process, or so it seemed.

Right in the middle of this overwhelming chaos, I woke up to the realization that Christmas was coming. The words describing Mary's response to the goings on around her struck a chord in my weary heart. She wasn't in control either. But instead of fretting she pondered and held the truths that she uncovered close to her heart.

So I began to look, to watch, and to ponder. Almost immediately I began to notice how God was providing so many things for me. A marvelous therapist who trudged through the depths with me. Friends who stood by me while others turned away in disgust and distrust. A Christian attorney who gently guided me through the process and understood that I didn't want to look for loop holes to get out of punishment. And an incredible husband, who like Joseph, might have been justified in leaving me in my own disaster, but who listened to God and stayed...and loved.

The list goes on and on. I found that the more I relinquished control, the more strength I found to face the pain in the moment. And though I faced incarceration (loss of freedom) I felt more freedom than I had ever known. I began to anticipate the presence of God each step along the way.

Christmas came in 2001. It was an extremely precious time of gathering together with family. There was a fullness and sweetness of each moment. And while I really don't remember what presents were unwrapped that day, I can name the gifts that came one, by one, by one.

And now it's 2005. It seems like so many more than four Christmases have passed and I have a choice of whether I will focus on the trappings, or focus on the Gift. As for me and my house, we will choose the gift.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reason to Celebrate

Write everyday.
That’s not easy. And not always very interesting.
Monday night: It’s been a good evening. Nelson was so proud of himself. He took a shower without his walker. It’s unseasonably warm here (nearly 70degrees) so Nelson wanted to wear his flip flops. Prior to this accident anytime he wasn’t wearing workboots he had on flops. He’s hurting now. The combination of the extra walking without his boot and getting worked over at therapy took a painful toll. The interesting thing is that he’s smiling. He needed this boost, to see what he could do, to regain just a bit of independence.

Son went home a couple days early. I think he got tired of sleeping on the couch. Much as I love him, I wasn’t unhappy for him to go home. Beth’s out tonight, too. So it’s just me and the big guy.

Fell asleep in the chair…went to bed early.

Tuesday night: It was a good day. I had to look busy all day long. I’m good at looking busy. I had no workers today because I had no parts to package. I hated telling the crew there would be no work, but not near as bad as I felt calling in and telling them there wouldn’t be any work again tomorrow.

Tonight I joined an exercise group at church. It’s a women’s group that follows the Leslie Sansone aerobic walking program. My hips were burning for a while, but I persevered through and was able to complete the whole workout. Yay for me! The group works out on Tuesday and Thursday—and I’m going to do them both!!!!

But wait…there’s more!!!!

Nelson peed in the bathroom!!!!!!!!!! I offered to burn that stupid urinal jug, but I was told no. Drat. Oh well, I’m going to celebrate the end of pee dumping.

It was a very, very good day.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Better Picture of Nelson

(After reading some of your notes, I felt that I owed it to Nelson to give you a fuller picture of his situation.)

More times than I care to admit, I can relate to Job’s wife. Now, I would never tell Nelson to curse God and die, but I have, weary of watching him suffer, asked God to just take him home. I love my husband dearly and would be lost for quite some time without him, but I ache so deeply in my heart watching him suffer.

To merely say that Nelson gets depressed is to only paint part of a picture for you. I sat across the room looking at my beloved as we got ready for church this morning and I couldn’t see much of the handsome man I married. The day of our wedding, Nelson weighed in (fully clothed) just under 160lbs. Today, he tips the scale at around 350lbs. His sparkling blue eyes have lost their luster and his smile is very rare.

In 1983 Nelson was injured in an accident at work. While carrying a very large and heavy steal pipe the person on the other end dropped their end and a disc was ruptured in Nelson’s back. Paperwork was not filled out properly and neither insurance nor Worker’s Comp would pay for surgery so all these years he has suffered from back pain that has fluctuated between chronic to debilitating. He has added a couple of bulging discs to the mix and spurs up and down his spine.

From the early days of dating I dreaded Nelson falling asleep, he snored horribly and would stop breathing. Finally, at a retreat in 1993 a doctor insisted that Nelson get a sleep study done. He’s had several since then and sleeps with a C-Pap machine set at such a high setting that the respiratory therapist refused to set it that high when he was in the hospital this summer for his ankle.

Even with the C-Pap Nelson doesn’t sleep well. He was on an anti-depressant, but the medication was for depression related to his lack of sleep. You see, it’s all pretty cyclical. He needs to lose weight so that he will sleep better, but he can’t exercise because of the back problems, so he eats out of depression (and to console himself) and he gains weight but he needs to lose weight to sleep better….

He’s been diagnosed with Epstein Barr Syndrome and then had it retracted. He’s been diagnosed with thyroid problems and taken medication, and then had another doctor take him off the meds because it wasn’t really a problem. He’s been diagnosed with high cholesterol and put on meds only to have that taken away because he really didn’t have that high of a cholesterol problem. He’s been told he could develop diabetes, but given no guidance to avoid it. He’s been told his blood pressure is high but not so that it needs medication. He has reduced lung capacity. He can’t put on his own shoes and socks or walk across the room without breaking into a sweat and losing his breath.

And now his ankle is being held together with plates of titanium, screws, and wires. He wants to walk, but he’s terrified (not spoken just felt) that something is going to go wrong with this.

Nelson has been on several different meds. He has been in counseling. He actually does better when he admits that he’s losing it and just works his way out. That’s what he’s doing now and in the past couple days I can really sense the difference. I think Beth has too.

So this will go on for a season and then we’ll deal with the next thing to come along and I hope when I look at the man across the room I can still remember the sparkle. I cherish him. I just feel helpless at times. But I refuse to be hopeless. So in my weariness I moan for a bit, pray quite a bit, bite my lip, and remember how much I love this man. And how much he loves me.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Defined by

The act of depressing.
The condition of being depressed.
An area that is sunk below its surroundings; a hollow.
The condition of feeling sad or despondent.
Psychology. A psychiatric disorder characterized by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, loss of appetite, anhedonia, feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness, and thoughts of death. Also called clinical depression.
This morning Nelson asked if I had a good Thanksgiving. I said for the most part. It’s as honest as I could be. He said something about sleeping better last night. I said it looked like he slept better (his affect was much brighter). I shared the conclusion that perhaps his recent lack of sleep might explain his sour mood and negativity. He owned that he could feel himself slipping into depression, that he has a lot to be depressed about. He thinks he should create a holiday for depressed people: No Thanks Giving Day.

I knew he was slipping into depression. While he lives with a sort of low grade depression all the time (an Eeyore mentality/personality), there are times when he cycles into deeper quagmires. This is one of those times.

The really difficult thing about the down times is that he says really hurtful things. I am able to attribute the comments to his depression. They sting at first and maybe hurt like a deep bruise for a couple days, but I can move beyond them. Love does that.

My deeper ache is for the hurt he inflicts upon the girls. Now I’ll admit they aren’t perfect and can be frustrating in their own unique ways at times, but they don’t deserve some of the venom filled quips and barbs that are hurled against them. For Nelson, however, depression removes all ability to be diplomatic and takes it straight to hurtful. When you adore your dad, those comments can’t brushed away with the wave of the magic “Oh it’s just depression talking” wand.

So we’ll ride this wave and hope it doesn’t last too long. If it could melt as fast as yesterday’s snow, I’d be an even happier camper.

Thanks Giving

Wednesday night and Thursday (Thanksgiving) were times that definitely enhanced my prayer life.

When I got home from work on Wednesday, I began to prepare for Nelson and the crew to head over to Annie’s. Nelson announced that since he and Ann had words, they weren’t going. He was only going over there to make a turkey on Thursday morning and since she didn’t care about that…so I had to call her and tell her that plans had changed—yet again.

Then the dilemma became how I was going to Sis not to come up. I couldn’t imagine three more people in my already too populated house. She covered me and informed me by phone call that she wasn’t going to come up because she wanted to cook her stuffing at home. Well, that was an answer to prayer.

Thursday morning began sweetly and that lasted about two minutes. Nelson was in a mood. We’ve been married nearly 27 years now. And I love him dearly, but whenever he knows he’s going to be around his parents he gets negative. His comments were negative and hurtful. At one point he looked at me and with all seriousness said, “I was trying to think of what I was thankful for, and I couldn’t come up with anything.” That definitely sent me to my room in tears and I took him and the hurt to prayer. It wasn’t just me he was being that way to, it was both the girls as well.

Aside from Nelson’s surliness, the day went well—even with snow predictions that made me quiver. Sis did arrive and I drove her car over to Annie’s. It was blowy snow most of the way. There was only one spot where the car seriously fishtailed and I kept it under control.

We got to Annie’s and put the final preparations on the meal. I had made sweet potato casserole and much to everyone’s surprise it was quite good. (My cooking is more generally the fodder for excessive joking rather than praise.) I even made the gravy! First time I’ve ever done that. And it was pretty good too. MIL and FIL were an hour and a half late. We started without them. And basically finished without them—except for Nelson who sat at the table and waited for MIL to show up with her pecan pie. Since there was pecan pie and pumpkin pie, my pumpkin bars were untouched. (We ate some when we got home and Nelson said they were even better than the sweet potato casserole. Now there was a comment I didn’t expect.)

Coming home I rode with Nelson, Jon, and Beth. It was a tight squeeze, but it went pretty fast. Once home I put away the food, played a couple of online scrabble boards, and toddled off to bed. That’s where I am now. I love snuggling under my quilts and typing on my laptop. But I will take the laptop downstairs in a bit so that Nelson has access to the internet there in his hospital bed.

I have three days off. Three. I know that one thing I’m not going to do is shop. I refuse to go out into the insanity of the holiday shopping masses this weekend. I may see if Rhonda wants to do something. I’m planning on little to nothing else. And it sounds wonderful to me. Cleaning will be to a minimum. Writing and reading will be front burner. Massive quantities of tea and turkey will be consumed. I am a happy camper.

So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Isn’t it interesting? I make a commitment to be consciously thankful and life jumps in my lap and dares me to continue.

Work has had its challenges this week. The stamping machine has given me fits. If it’s not one thing it’s another. I had a guy really challenge me when I said he and couple other people wouldn’t be working on Monday, because we were going with a short crew due to the number of pieces we had to work with. But I’m still thankful I have a job and the job I have. I was so blessed at the end of the day yesterday. They told us they were going to give us a turkey. I expected a 10 pounder. Nope: over 16 pounds!

Home has its challenges. Nel still can’t make it to the bathroom quickly enough to pee, so I’m still dumping a pee jug. Some days it makes me gag and it’s hard to do with a smile. But dump I do. Our son, Jon is with us for a week. This might not be so bad if we had space, but he’s sleeping on the couch. An extra person with all their “stuff” (including a PS2 game station and all its cords strewn across my living room) is a real challenge to my new resolve for orderliness. And Jon is EXTREMELY anxious. This is in part due to his paranoid schizophrenia and partly due to the meds for the disorder. He paces a lot or stands and rocks from foot to foot. It’s as if he can’t relax. That kind of tension charges the air and makes it hard for me to relax. It makes me thankful for work and the peaceful space that I have created in my bedroom.

And tomorrow. Nelson, Jon, and Beth will be leaving early this evening to go to Ann’s. That’s where we’re gathering for dinner tomorrow. Nelson’s parents are coming. They’re bringing green bean casserole and pecan pie. Nelson’s sister and husband are coming. They’re bringing cranberry stuff (several items with cranberries in them—SIL’s specialties). Nelson will be taking a turkey with him (already cooked). I’ll be going tomorrow with my sister and her two boys. They’re bringing relish tray, dressing, rolls, and a pumpkin pie. Tonight after work, I’m going to make the second turkey, sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin bars. My sis has an Aztec so we’ll be putting the food, a fold up table, and chairs in the back of it. The only thing Annie has to make is mashed potatoes. I think we’ll have enough to eat and plenty for leftovers! The good news is that I think I have everything so I won’t have to go out with the other last minute shoppers.

So tonight I have the house to myself. Just me and my stove. Part of me thinks that would be a delectable way to spend an evening. But some crazy-needs-to-be-smacked part of me is actually considering sending my sis an email and inviting her up to cook and spend the night. I really am torn on this one. My nephews could crash in the living room. Julie and I could play scrabble and cook and clean. So far I’ve been able to resist the urge to send the email. I may consult Nelson. Perhaps a little of the chaos at work will cure me of this extroverted urge and my craving for serenity will override my fear of being alone in the kitchen. We’ll see.

Ok, it’s later. I talked with Nelson and he thought it would be good for my sis and nephews to come tonight. So I sent them an email invite. We’ll see.

I had an interesting lunch. Another challenge so to speak. We had homemade tacos for dinner last night and I put the leftovers in a bowl and crunched up some tortilla chips. I knew I had a packet of Bob Evan’s Wildfire Ranch dressing in my desk at work. I was really looking forward to lunch. Well, dopey me failed to read the packet of dressing: it needs to be refridgerated and no matter how cold I think my office is, it’s not a fridge! So there I sat with a yummy looking salad and no dressing. For a moment I thought lunch was ruined. To my absolute delight and appetite it was great. I tasted everything (and continue to taste the onions, sorry) and it was so good.

I need to quit anticipating the worst. I need to be more joyfully accepting. It (whatever life throws my way) is what I have and I need to enjoy it…to truly count it all joy.

I started out the day tired and negatively anticipating today and tomorrow. It’s amazing to me the attitude adjustment that has come my way. I feel good. I feel blessed. And I am thank-full!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

40 Minutes Later

I took Nelson for his second therapy session. He’s made some progress in regaining range of motion. He’s worked diligently on his exercises. I would expect no less from him!

As soon as we got there I checked again that it was really okay to walk through the building. The receptionist assured me. I was walking through two separate workout/therapy areas and down two different halls. I found Nelson’s CD player and popped in a peppy CD and donned my headphones. I felt sort of conspicuous and downright weird, but I pushed through and got in a 40 minute workout. It felt good!

The ability to just go ahead and do this comes from some thinking I’ve been doing this week. At one point I was feeling sort of overwhelmed by my life. It wasn’t a good feeling. I started to sense a pity party coming on. My house was a mess, dirty dishes overflowed the sink, the recyclables were taking over my kitchen. I got to work and my desk was a horrible mess of “stuff” I hadn’t filed or pitched. I cried out to God in my discouragement and the very clear message I got was: So do something about it. And so I did. The misery was my choice, my own making. So I started making better choices. Dishes are done every night, no matter how tired I am. Trash is no longer is in control of kitchen.

And I’m eating SO much better. Beth bought a gift for me: a salad shaker. It’s a cool gizmo where I put the dressing in the lid and then when I’m ready to eat I push on the lid and it then dispenses, so my salad stays fresh and I still only have one container in my lunchbox. So it’s been salad every day for lunch. And I’m drinking water again. It’s amazing how that one little thing makes me feel so much better.

Since today was Beth’s birthday we offered to take her out to dinner. Some friends from work took her out to an early movie. They went to see Chicken Little. Crack me up!!!! She’s 22 and that’s what she wanted to see. When we asked her what she wanted for dinner she said pancakes. And not just any pancakes: Bob Evans pancakes. So that’s where we went for dinner. I decided to try the salmon: excellent choice, even if do say so myself!

Choices. Making good ones has made this a better week for me. They may not seem large in the grand scheme of life where debates over war, life and death loom large. But this is my life, right where I live.

I’ve been noticing lately that there have been a lot more people taking time to be thankful in their writing. I found this while reading this week: “Theologian Henri Nouwen says in his book Return of the Prodigal Son that gratitude is more than a mere ‘thank you.’ It is a discipline to be practiced each day in a conscious way.”

So, since I’m working on becoming more disciplined, here is a list of some things I’m thankful for (in no particular order):
-I’m thankful that I have a husband who loves me, even at my most unloviliest.
-I’m thankful that we have a comfortable house to live in.
-I’m thankful for my job…where I work, that I work, that I work with and for some great people.
-I’m thankful for two incredible daughters.
-I’m thankful for the friends and encouragers I have found through this experience!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mario Laughter

It is the evening of my baby’s birthday. At this time 22 years ago I was starting into some serious labor and she was born at nine minutes after one in the wee hours of the morning.

Right now, Nelson and Beth are enjoying Beth’s birthday present. Not long ago she told her dad that she wanted a Nintendo Gamecube. Nelson saw in Sunday’s ads that Target had this system (bundled with extra controller and cool Mario games) was on sale. He had purchased some Target gift cards on Ebay so we got the system for a greatly reduced price. If I didn’t know better I would think that there are two giggly adolescents in my living room right now! It’s wonderful to hear their laughter.

I have worked extra hard the last two days. We’ve had a couple new people start so I wanted to keep an eye on them, make sure they were trained right, and were able to see the level of work I expected—and who better to show them than me? I was heaving parts and boxes. I was setting the pace by stamping parts at a killer pace. I just hope I can move tomorrow.

As much as I may be enjoying the laughter, I’m afraid I’m going to have to mosey my weariest of bodies off to bed. Adieu!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Reading, Trusting, and Walking

This evening I was doing some more reading in Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline.”

I read so much more differently than I used to. Growing up, books opened the world to me. Several books and a few authors became my friends. I grew in those relationships. Later, with school and on into all my Master’s work ( I have three Master’s degrees…) I read mostly because “pages” were required or for an assignment. The only relationship was a ticking off of pages read. When I moved into ministry and later counseling, too, reading was to meet an immediate need, whether it be for a message or related to understanding someone’s need at the moment. I read very few complete books, just chunks here and there—and I read quickly!

Now, it’s very different. I read to grow, to understand, to search, to journey, to stretch, and I read slowly. I mull. I ponder. I reflect. I am also very picky about what I read. I like this phase.

So tonight I was reading in Foster’s book, the chapter on prayer and then some in the chapter on fasting. He spoke quite a bit about the way a child so openly comes to the Father. And I began to wonder and ponder about that relationship with my Father. Perhaps that is why I’ve been doing so much thinking lately about this child thing. Perhaps I need to work on my openness, trust, and receptivity with regards to my relationship to the Father. My earthly relationship with my dad wasn’t good. He wasn’t really emotionally available to me. His travels and alcoholism made him less than trustworthy. I confess that has tainted my ability to move even more deeply in relationship with my Father. There’s definitely work to be done here.

And tonight I was reading because I was sitting at the rehab clinic while Nelson was in his initial physical therapy visit. It took an hour. Appointments for the next couple months will be either a half hour or forty-five minutes. Teasingly, I told the receptionist that it was a shame there wasn’t a track there that I could walk on. She told me that the building has a loop that I could walk while Nelson is in therapy. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do! For the next couple months I’m going to use my time wisely and get my feet moving. I’ll either listen to some good music on CD or maybe listen to some books on CD…ooh, I like that idea. Then I can listen slow while I move fast.

Well, right now the fast moving I’m going to do is to toward bed. That storm last night kept me awake. Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

From the Little Girl I Am

A couple of “quotes” or comments have really caught my mind and heart recently.

The other night we were watching a television program that we’ve only caught a couple times, “Ghostwhisperer.” The theme for the week was forgiveness, or better put: the consequences of unforgiveness. Here’s the quote:

Being unforgiving is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

One of the largest issues people seemed to be dealing with when I was a counselor was the issue of not forgiving, whether it was not forgiving someone else or not forgiving one’s self.

Then this morning in ABF(Adult Bible Fellowship, aka Sunday School) the teacher was leading us to think about the discipline of service. She played a recorded piece that featured Tony Compolo. It was a very thought provoking piece—and tear producing. Here’s the quote:

…the poor and oppressed are sacramental. Christ comes through them to us.

Compolo tells a story about meeting a man on the street (an extremely dirty, psychotic, scary sort of guy). The guy offers Tony a drink of his coffee, from the grimy cup in his filthy hand. Compolo accepted the offer, but then suspecting that the man wanted something asked why he offered him some of his precious coffee. The man responded with this: it tasted so good I just wanted to share it. The only thing I want in return is a hug.

“As often as you did it unto the least of these, you did it unto me.” That’s what Jesus told his followers, and it’s the word for us as followers today.

The teacher then prompted us to think about how we were either servants or the recipients of service this past week. I was surprised by what came to my mind as I sat there in the class. Work. And more specifically the people I work with. My thoughts were reinforced today when I stumbled across an article about the denial of voting rights to felons even though they have served their time and their community control or probation/parole. They are disenfranchised for life.

The article hit me hard. Thankfully, I don’t live in one of the five states that denies for life the basic right of citizens.

I had another thought creep up on me yesterday at work. I was carrying on one of those internal dialogues that I often have, when in my head I identified myself as a girl. Excuse me? I’m nearly 50. (I know I have a year and a half to go, but I figure I better start warming up to the reality of that number!) I’m a grandmother—almost three times! I’m a mother-in-law. I have adult children. I am not a girl….I’m a woman. But I don’t see myself as a nearly 50 year old woman.

Now here’s a couple implications of this faulty thinking:
I am always working to be taken seriously.
I lack confidence that others my age seem to experience quite naturally.
(This one is sort of embarrassing to admit) This is probably why I have never been able to fully experience sexual pleasure.

With this “new” awareness, I was pondering what, if anything, I need to do to grow up. I guess that’s a part of the dilemma. I need to really plum this one and find out if I’m merely young at heart and have a slightly distorted self image, or if I’m pathetically underdeveloped emotionally and in other ways as well. I’ll keep you posted on how that pans out.

And FYI: we spent Saturday with the babies. Grammy fulfilled her duty with about four poopy diapers. Sunday was a nice day with friends and good food. And Monday I started drinking water and rededicated myself to shedding some of this excess poundage!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

T time

What a week.

Sunday, Annie called. She thought maybe her water broke. I had to have my broken so I couldn’t really tell her what it was like—just what I had been told. I did tell her to call the hospital. The nurse she talked to talked her out of coming in. So I didn’t go racing over. I did go into work and get things ready IN CASE I did get to make a special trip.

Well, while I was on my way home, Annie called and said she wasn’t in labor. Two hours later she called again and she was having contractions that were about 5min apart. I started packing my bag. I left at 8pm. The contractions were at 3 min. I called from a half hour out and she was getting ready to head to the hospital.

I drove my typical 5mi over the speed limit. I made the trip in just 2 hours. As I walked off the elevator the OB nurse told me that Annie had just delivered. I just missed it. She had her father in law in with her and she had him cut the cord. He was so excited–it was his first grandchild.
Caden Andrew was born at 10:18 and weighed in at 7lb12oz. He was 20in long. He had lots of dark hair. He is absolutely beautiful!!!!!

I stayed with Annie at the hospital on Sunday and Monday night. When they were ready to go home on Tuesday I fought the urge to tag along and headed home instead. I felt they needed to go home and spend some time just as a family.

I drove home, but stopped at work first. I had taken Nelson’s cell phone with me on my trip and had been in contact with the work crew several times throughout Monday and Tuesday. I should have gone home. Problems out the whazoo. I was so frustrated. We ended up pulling 30 pallets off the truck because three workers chose to not do what they absolutely knew needed to be done. The standard phrase is "fill the void" with bubble wrap and these orders had big voids, requiring large amounts of bubble wrap. And they put none in–NONE! I was livid. The good news was that Dan fired two of the problem people and the third one quit. The work area was also a total shamble and no materials had been ordered. By the end of today things are under better control...translated: I have things back under control!

Yesterday after work Nelson and Beth drove over to Annie’s so that they could see the new baby and spend time with Penelope. I was excited about having a quiet evening. I got cozy in the chair, with my computer and promptly fell asleep before 8:30pm. I’ve enjoyed a little quiet since I got home from work tonight, but they’re on their way home as I type. The little bit I’ve had has reminded me that I need to figure out how to find some me/quiet time.

Well, I need to clear out the laundry room so that Beth can do some laundry when they get home. Then I’m going to just soak in the silence, breathe in the sweetness of my scented candle, and listen to some Kenny G. Ah, sweet tranquility.

Friday, November 04, 2005


How many people do you know who can change the desktop properties and start crying? I make myself laugh…and cry.

I’ve had yellow tulips on my desktop since I went full-time with the R-company in March. I figured it was time for a change, so I decided to check out what was available to me. I started at the bottom of the list. I almost stopped at “home” because I really like that one, but decided to check out the rest. I got to the top of the list and found “ascent.” I clicked on it. I applied it. I sat and cried.

When I went to jail, way back in February of 2002, several different people, totally independent of one another, directed me to hold on to Psalm 121:
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

I used to think that the “watching” was a very detached thing. I most likely got this from my “growing up place.” We were watched, sometimes when we were unaware, but the watching was usually to catch us doing something wrong. There was very little praise, and I never really felt protected. (I know there’s a real difference between the reality of the protection I received and what I perceived.) It was very easy (translate: natural) to shift that perception to God. You might say that the “theme song” for me growing into adulthood was: Be careful little eyes what you see.

I guess that’s why I continue to be surprised when I detect God’s loving care and protection. I had another one of those revelatory moments earlier this week when I was taking my shower. It was that I was taking a shower and that so can Nelson. Let me explain.

When we moved here to Ashland, we had a difficult time trying to find a house. Landlords and rental agencies don’t rent to felons (especially with my classification), nor do they like to rent to people who have filed bankruptcy (something about liking to get the money). We found one house that we absolutely fell in love with. It was the kind of house that I have dreamt of living in: older with lots of character, knotty pine paneling in the kitchen, nooks and crannies, built ins, and lots of windows. And we could afford it! I wanted it so bad I ached---never a good sign, in my experience. We didn’t get it. They didn’t want to rent to my kind of people.

We weren’t near as enthused about our current house, but it met our needs, was in our budget, and they were willing to rent to us. Perfect. The house has a bath with an old fashioned claw foot tub upstairs and a bath with a shower downstairs. The downstairs bath appears to have been an afterthought. The shower is an inexpensive shower. It’s not a “pretty” room, but it functions wonderfully and is especially appreciated since there is no water pressure in the upstairs—oh, and no hot water.

Now here’s the blessing…we didn’t know when we were looking for a house that Nelson was going to fall and destroy his ankle and not be able to go up stairs. We didn’t know how much we were going to need a first floor bathroom with a shower that he could walk into with his walker. I’m sure we even groused about the poorly constructed, aesthetically unpleasant bathroom when we first moved in not realizing how much of a blessing and provision it would become.

I could go on and on, but let me just say this: yes, it’s been a tough year. I haven’t understood most of what has happened, but this I know for sure: God is lovingly watching out for me and no matter what (and I mean that with the sincerity of the three Hebrew children as they faced the fiery furnace [Daniel 3:17-18]) and I will continue to walk in that truth. Makes me kind of excited to see what’s around the corner—isn’t perspective an amazing thing!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Going Deeper

Monday we were working, but it didn't feel right. It reminded me of my car a while back. I pulled out of the R-company parking lot and put pressure on the gas pedal and my car didn't take off. I was still moving down the road, but I couldn't get any faster than 10mph. I decided to keep driving, hoping it would kick into gear, but even if it didn't I knew I was moving closer to home.

Cars were passing me as I putted down the road. I was afraid the next time I looked up that I was going to be passed by a horse and buggy I was moving that slowly. I neared a parking lot and began the internal debate of whether to pull over. I bit the bullet and headed my car into the lot. I shut the car off. I laid my head on the steering wheel. All the way to that point I had been praying: Come on car. Come on God, please get me home. Come on car. I turned the key and the engine engaged with a much better sound. I pulled out of the lot onto the road and zipped on home. And since that day, I haven’t had any similar incidents with the car.

So Tuesday morning as we were getting ready to start the day I told the crew the story about my car. I was trying to cover up my disappointment over three workers not showing up or calling in sick. (Insert big sigh) I wanted them to have a clean start, after all, it was a new day! I would like to think that I’m really quite motivation, but it might sound a bit braggish to try and take credit for their increased output.

Today, one of the three absentee workers returned. I was very, very happy to have him back! Yesterday while we were working I realized that all the workers were relatively knew. The reality of this dawned clearly on me as my head began to feel like it was being tied in multiple knots. I felt as if I was thinking for everyone. It was exhausting.

Another thing at work has made the week quite challenging and frustrating for me. We now have to stamp the part number, company initials, and date (month/year) on every part. Well, that’s not quite exactly true. We don’t HAVE to until Monday, so this week we have been "practicing" and working out the bugs. And let me tell you: there have been lots and lots of bugs, a couple times I began to wonder if the machine was down more than it was working.

A couple times I found myself just dropping my head and praying. I am so unmechanical and there I was trying to get my hands to work pliers and wrenches, working with air hoses, moving supports, and trouble shooting. I was ten times worse than the proverbial duck out of water. It was awful. Every time I went to change the part numbers my hands would cramp up. I kept dropping tools. I wasn’t able to control any part of the whole process–it was totally frustrating to me.

We were able to package over 1400 parts today. It’s not enough but it’s better. We’ll have a full day on Friday and will be working on Saturday to be able to get orders out on time. The bad thing will be if we don’t get parts next week. I have work through next Tuesday. Hopefully more parts will come in.

As I reflect on the day, I marvel at how life has changed for me. I spent most of my life using my brain and my mouth, now I work with my hands and keep things going by organizing things with my mind–but on days like today it seems very secondary. I find it very hard to be patient with myself, but I am trying very hard to be patient and grace-full. I mean, I’m everybody else’s cheerleader: shouldn’t I be mine, too?

To feed my brain this week, I picked up my copy of Foster’s "Spirit of the Disciplines." Much of my life feels shallow, craving something deeper. I’ve read it before...but there’s still gems to mine. So I think I’ll wrap this up, do some dishes, check the laundry, and grab my book on the way to bed. TTFN

Monday, October 31, 2005


It has been quite a week in contrasts for me, all the way through yesterday morning when the message title was "The Great Commission In Contrast."

Early last week I was struck by the concept of sin, my own sin in particular. I remember teaching about sin and how the deceiver comes at us, knowing how to lure us into sin. I taught then and still believe that if sin came knocking at our door in all its ugliness, clearly holding forth the consequences, we would run from it like we would run from a grotesque Halloween monster!

When I look at my own life, I would never have imagined that I would have been caught up in what I was. The deceiver was premier at hooking my bent toward arrogance, appealing to my need to be needed, and convincing me that I could walk right up to the edge and not fall off. I knew what the outcome could and probably would be, but The Twister of the Truth shielded the depth of loss from my view and convinced me that I could come through unscathed. Lies. Nothing but lies.

Knowing better and doing less resulted in massive amounts of shame and that was the second thing that I battled with this week. I worked last Sunday and while I was working I dropped a gage I was working with. The guy I was working with (who had really been trained to do the job while I was given a very quick briefing on what I was to do and none of the why or detail) didn’t say anything about it so I kept working with it. Wednesday we were notified that there was a problem with the part. I was asked about dropping the gage. I admitted it. I felt so stupid. Then I did what I’m good at: I beat myself up. I let the shame monster rise up and eat away at all my confidence.

Thursday and Friday we started a new process of stamping parts. I felt horribly inadequate. I was functioning out of fear of failure rather than competence. Finally on Friday I was feeling better when I found out that the gage problem wasn’t my fault. But walking for a couple of days in a shroud of shame became the field of reflection for me. During those dark hours I heard a song by Joy Williams. It’s called "Hide." Here are the words:

To anyone who hides behind a smileTo anyone who hold there pain insideTo anyone who thinks they’re not good enoughTo anyone who feels unworthy of loveTo anyone who ever closed the doorClosed their eyes and locked themselves away
Chorus:You don’t have to hideYou don’t have to hide anymoreYou don’t have to face this on your ownYou don’t have to hide anymore
So come out, come outCome out wherever you are
Anyone who’s trying to cover up their scarsTo anyone who’s ever made a big mistakeWe’ve all been there so don’t be ashamedSo come out, come out and join the rest of usYou’ve been alone for way to long
And if you feel like no one understandsCome to the one with scars on His handsCause He knows where you are and where you’ve beenHis scars will heal you if you let Him
You don’t have to…You don’t have to hideCome out, come out wherever you areYou don’t have to hideCome out, come outCome out wherever you areYou don’t have to hideYou don’t have to…

I sat in my office listening to the words and when she got to that verse about how we’ve "all been there so don’t be ashamed." All the loneliness in my heart that I had been trying to ignore welled up in huge overwhelming waves of sobs and tears. I wish I didn’t have to hide. I wish I didn’t have to wear a mask. I don’t really trust enough that there are enough people who will understand, forgive, and still love. I’m not done with this one…revisit we will.

Saturday Nelson and I decided to go visit the older daughter so I could get a dose of my Penelope. Best choice. We played and laughed and laughed and played. And when it was time to go she cried and latched onto me. Then I cried. This little person owns my heart. I can’t hardly imagine how much fun and love there’s going to be with three!

My cup felt much fuller and a smile had come back to my face. Then Nelson and I went to church and it was tremendous. The service again was quite good. The message was fresh and the music caused my spirit to soar. Nelson and I decided to go to ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship, aka: Sunday School). We were received wonderfully. So many people introduced themselves that my brain was turning to mush trying to keep all the names straight. It was a good kind of overwhelming feeling.

Now it’s back to work. I’m not sure what demons will be lurking there, but I’m going in with a fuller cup and I will seek to keep it full…or fuller than I did last week. We’ll see how that works—I’m sure much better!

Saturday, October 22, 2005


I dwell in possibility.
If I can stop one heart from breaking, I will not live in vain.
We turn not older with years, but newer every day.

The above are quotes attributed to Emily Dickinson. I have the first one on a poster that used to hang beside my desk. I like it a lot. It fits me well.

I was reminded of that poster and sentiment as I was reading through other people’s diaries/blogs. Thinking about it made me curious about Emily Dickinson, so I did some internet reading about her. It sounds like she lived a very sad life. Most of the articles I read described her as a social recluse. To me she sounded depressed, terribly talented and depressed.

I do dwell in possibility. I am an "I can" person. I am able to look at most any situation and see a way to make it better. I love to be given the opportunity of turning around an inefficient or unproductive system.

I attribute this ability to my father. When I was growing up, he worked for Columbia Gas (a natural gas supplier). About the time I entered Junior High he started a new position with the company. He would travel throughout Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and to Delaware, visiting various offices, working with them to turn around their deficits. But he was never satisfied with mere improvement. He would turn fiscal disasters into what the company identified as "orchid" offices. It was a complete turnaround. I never got the details–especially when he would dwell on numbers. I did, however, catch the spirit and the drive–the vision for what could be and the consuming drive to get there.

The second quote caught my attention and initially I was ready to say that it really summed me up. The more I thought about it, though, the more it just didn’t seem to fit.

I was reminded of the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. Remember when the Wizard was ‘caught’ blowing smoke and then pulls out his bag to give them what they sought? The Wizard offers the Tin Man a heart shaped watch, a testimonial. The Wizard says something about how the heart will never be practical until it can be made to not be broken. There was a time when I might have agreed. But just as I don’t think my purpose is to be about saving everyone from having a broken heart, I don’t think the best heart to have is an unbroken one.

A baseball player wouldn’t walk into the game with a glove that hadn’t been broken in. A marathon runner wouldn’t show up at a race with shoes that had not been broken in. Without understanding pain, loss and sadness can I really appreciate love? If one knows no disappointment, can one really know joy?

Is that too overstated? Perhaps I need to make that more personal, individual. It reminds me of a conversation I was having with Beth recently. We somehow got onto the topic of my family’s dynamics. We were classically dysfunctional, but I didn’t know how much so until I started reading about dysfunction and double bind when I was living in Kansas City and in CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education). It’s sort of odd. As a family we’re very dysfunctional and in the midst of it all I am the picture of resiliency.

To begin with, I was the anticipated and longed for child–except I had the terrible misfortune of being born a girl. An instant disappointment that lasted until my brother’s birth. So in some ways I have the characteristics of a first born, but many of a second born. Talk about identity confusion.

Then I had the added burden of being born with a defect. Now granted, it wasn’t totally disfiguring or limiting, but it was constantly held up as a burden of finances and time. There was no way I could make my eyes work together. I was wearing classes and patches when I was only two. I cringe when I look at pictures of me as a toddler and throughout school. In the days before lazars, I was a test case and experiment. The science was being perfected. At 48, I still have a horribly ‘lazy’ eye and no hope for improvement. I wish I could describe how frustrating it it at times to be talking directly to someone only to have them look over their shoulder in an attempt to see who I’m really looking at.

Then my parents had another child. Soon, not only was not the golden child, I wasn’t even cute. My little sister was born and she was perfect. Thick curly locks framed her cherub-like face and huge deeply perfect eyes.

The competition in our household was extreme. We competed most for our parents’ attention and the meager displays of affection. The relationships between us as adults continues to be strained. I think our parents meant to encourage us to be better, to do better, so there were often comparison statements made. They may have been effective in their immediate result, but the residual sucks.

Never feeling like I could measure up, I threw myself into perfecting my behavior. If what I was wasn’t good enough then perhaps I could find the approval I so naturally craved through recognition of what I did. I became a human doing. I applied this theory to my spiritual life as well as all other aspects of my person and my relationships. I constantly strived for recognition and approval, but rarely believed what I got.

There have been three key relationships in my life that were focused on proving the ‘love-ability’ of another person. Each one could have "destroyed" my facade of perfection. Each person keyed into my neediness and vulnerability. In each I allowed myself to be victimized, controlled, lost. I nearly killed myself with the last one. Looking back, I believe I did want something to die. And something did. I did.

It was through breaking that I finally was able to be whole. The amazing thing I am learning is that the wholeness has very little to do with the image I thought was so important. It isn’t about winning a competition. It isn’t about the praise and awards. It is about feeling good about me, overweight, crooked eye, popping jaw, thin hair, beat up car, unused degrees and all. It’s about knowing that right now I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and being me–no more, no less.

I felt this other day very clearly when I was talking with the Lieutenant Governor and Mr. R. When Mr. R made comment again about getting me back into teaching. I said out loud (to my own amazement) that even if I could just teach part time, that would be more than I hoped to happen. Right now, I am very content with my job and see it as important work. The value might not be seen by others, but I saw Friday afternoon.

We are going to be starting a new procedure of stamping our parts with an identifying mark and date. The machine we use, if not used properly, could seriously injure a person. I wanted some input from my Team Leaders about who they saw as being the most qualified for the job. So, at the end of the day I pulled them in for a meeting, explained what I envisioned and invited their thoughts. Their eyes were big as saucers–someone wanted, requested and valued, their opinion. I knew the look, I knew the feeling, because not too long ago I felt it when I was told how much I was valued there.

As I sit here typing in my living room with Nelson asleep in the hospital bed across from me, my eyes are full of tears. I had been used to having my opinion sought. But I always assumed it was because of what I knew, what I did, and how I did it. It wasn’t until I lost all position and started over from the heap of brokenness that I began to realize that I don’t have it all looking put together to have value.

So I see my purpose not in keeping hearts from breaking, but in helping others start to see the beauty in the pieces that remain. I’m about rebuilding. I’m about seeing the possibility. It’s like creating mosaics: taking the pieces and making something beautiful.

I like the way the sounds. I like the fit on that. It’s a lot of who I am.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Guess Who I Met?

What a day I had!

The morning was spent working on the problem from yesterday morning. Faxes, researches, counting, contacting, talking, walking. Nothing has been determined, but at least I know where the MSDS sheets are stored.

Then right before lunch and for a while after lunch I had to do an extremely detailed inventory to accommodate a change in procedure. It never seems to fail, just when I think I have it all and put it down nice and neat, I remember something else and have to start over. I restarted 4 times, but it finally got done. Part of what took a chuck of time was that I created a new form to use for the process. It’s needed to be redone since I started, today I just bit the bullet and cranked one out.

In between all of that I generated all the labels and work orders for the current day’s packaging and tomorrow’s as well. I just love changing ribbons and rolls of labels. Have I ever mentioned how non-technological or mechanical I am? Machines have always intimidated me, but I am getting better. It’s funny because I’ve sort of convinced folks that I know what I’m doing. In the past this was a problem for me and resulted in my taking on too much. Now, I’m just learning how and getting better. And I am getting better–but I already said that.

Finally, at about 2:30pm I made it out to the floor to actually do some hands on work on the line. About the time that I had closed a couple dozen boxes Mr. R walked up to the line. He asked how long we’d be working. I told him until 3:30 and he smiled. Then he told me that Betty Montgomery was going to be coming by to check out our work program. We worked right up to 3:20. We no sooner started to close down and clean up when around the corner came our state’s Auditor. I spent about 15 minutes talking about the strengths and accomplishments of our program. Ms. Montgomery seemed very interested and was very easy to talk to. I think I did ok–sure helps that speaking and "selling" are strengths of mine.

At one point at the conversation Ms. Montgomery asked what I did three years ago. The question stunned me for a moment. Quick scan. What was she really asking? I stated that 4yrs ago I turned myself in for a crime, but that prior to that I had been a counselor and a pastor. I decided she wasn’t asking so much what had gotten me there, but what equipped me for the current position. By the way that the conversation went, I think I answered appropriately.

At this point, Mr. R told her that I was a “graduate” of the program. He went on to repeat his promise of getting me back to teaching. I was humbled again by his support. That wasn’t the first time this week he did that, though.

Last week when I saw my PO I asked again about the early release. She owned that due to busyness she hadn’t been able to work on it—I wasn’t surprised. She suggested that I get a couple letters of recommendation: someone from R Co. and Dan from T-Net. Mr. R had me read his prior to signing it. I nearly cried. I got Dan’s yesterday and was humbled all over again. I take the PO the letters today. Hopefully they’ll help.

So, as I sit at my computer this morning, I’m aware it’s going to be much colder and probably rainy, but I know nothing else much about the day. Surprisingly, I have a sense of peace. I’m learning the art of rolling with it—whatever “it” might be. Relinquishing control is hard…but I’m starting to enjoy the benefits.

May you know greater peace in your today.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Best and Worst

It was the best of times…it was the worst of times.
Of days that is.

Today started out rough. I thought I was going to lose 2 workers. Then just as we were getting things organized and started for the day, I was summoned to the far end of the plant where one of my workers was mixing the solution we use to treat our parts. Only he was using floor cleaning soap instead of a preservative. He’d been doing that for nearly a month. The guy who was supposed to show him what to do just told him to go do it and instead of asking more questions he just tried to figure it out on his own. I was mortified. I thought I was going to lose my job. I immediately wrote a corrective action procedure and will follow it up with training. I still get sick at my stomach thinking about it.

Then, if that wasn’t enough tension and stress, the rep from corporate offices, THE packaging specialist, came to spend the day. This was where the day turned surprisingly pleasant. I suggested to Ed that I take her for lunch. We went to the coolest restaurant in town. Cuisine. Fancy presentation. Amazing food. And someone else picked up the tab—doesn’t get much better than that!

But the food wasn’t the only cool part. I had been given the impression that this person was cold and aloof. We hit it off, shared really personal information, laughed and just plain got real. It was a tremendous lunch!

Then we went back to work and she gave me all kind of insight, pointers, and help. She listened to my questions and wrote down my concerns. I felt heard and helped—that was beyond priceless!

At the end of the day I attended a meeting. Again I felt heard and helped. It was valuable.

Then I went back to my office. I had so much to do. I could see at least an hour or two of work staring back at me. I turned off the light and went home. Nelson and I had Chinese. I went and did grocery shopping. We watched “Commander in Chief”—I’m liking it except for the million commercial interruptions. And now I’m going to bed. Tired but smiling. I’m actually looking forward to tomorrow. Maybe it’s because I haven’t stressed about it all evening.

It may have been a rough day, but it was a really good one too!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Weekend Ramblings

Such a lovely weekend I’ve had. Where to start?

On Thursday Beth met with the magistrate and was granted an emergency protection order. I’m so very proud of her. She has a court date next Friday. I plan to take off work and go with her and Nelson. To celebrate (or just enjoy a good meal) the three of us went to Red Lobster for dinner. I love their coconut shrimp–Yum!

I was going to be trained on a new machine/part at work so I went to work at 3am on Friday morning. Yawn! The machine was broken down so I did some other things and will learn later since I’ll be going in at 3am Saturday morning and working for 12 hours! That overtime will be a special blessing!

Since I got off early on Friday it feels like I’ve had a long luxurious weekend. I’ve done dishes, laundry and vacuuming, but outside the minimum workload, I’ve sat and soaked in massive quantities of baseball, football (College and Professional), and racing. It has been glorious! I enjoy it personally, but I treasure the fact that Nelson and I watch it together. Very special time indeed!

We ate out way too much this weekend. It’s bad for the cost and the waistline. But I think there was a smidgen of an ulterior motive on my part. Several of the outs got Nelson out as well. So he was up and getting some walking time in on that ankle. It may not have turned out to be a good thing as yesterday afternoon he started having flu-like symptoms.

Friday afternoon I got two new front tires on my car. I suggested we take it to Walmart, but Nel wanted to get tires to match the rear ones so he said to take it to the place where we got those. Unfortunately, they didn’t have matching tires, so again I recommended Walmart. Nel negated the idea sternly. It ended up costing so much more and he was in a money slump for quite a while on Saturday. Sigh. That may have played into my overeating as well.

While the car was being worked on I stopped at Goodwill—my favorite place to shop. And I got a really nice outfit: burgundy/plum pants and a paisley corduroy over shirt. I wore it to church on Sunday. Service was quite uplifting and I felt pretty. It was a good combo! My hair even turned out nice.

An aside: That was one of the points at which I linked with Anne Lamott in Traveling Mercies: her struggle with her hair. My struggles and frustrations are at the total other end of the spectrum, categorized by most under: What hair? It’s bone straight, baby fine, and extremely thin. Right now I am wearing it almost exactly the same way I did when I had my senior pictures taken—some 31years ago! It’s not about nostalgia, it’s just that’s really the way it looks best. Beth called it “old lady hair” because it’s so short. Maybe so, it’s just this way there are more good days than bad…sort of like Anne’s cornrows.

I was thinking a lot about perfection this weekend. Odd, since I was in such a relaxed state. I always wanted to be good at something. I didn’t care what so much. One of my blogging favs described herself as “10ft wide and a ½ in deep.” I can relate to that. I’m spread so thin searching for the one thing I might be good at. Trouble is/was I always wanted to be perfect, not just good. And I wanted it instantly. The one thing I was really told I was good at is public speaking—and I haven’t done that for well over a year. Perhaps this time was to be about maturing. Maybe I’ll get that back—hopefully, and how much better it will—I will be!

But today we will work on packing hubs in boxes, pray that the hubster gets better, and watch the daughter develop as a person and a mother. It’s early, but I think it’s going to be a very, very good day.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Friday Five

I've been reading the RevGalPals...and found this there...

The weather in your location: It’s a wonderful Fall afternoon. Temperature is about 65F (18.3333C). The leaves are in various stages of changing colors, which creates an absolutely tremendous palette.

Where you are typing this: I’m sitting in my favorite swivel rocker in the living room, typing on my new laptop. Hub is sleeping in the hospital bed across the room from me.

Where you might like to be sitting if you could be anywhere: At my older daughter’s house with my most precious granddaughter playing nearby!

A chore you have to do this weekend: moving the younger daughter’s packed up stuff to the attic–we had to make room for the influx of baby things–hard to believe she’s not due until January.

Something delightful you will do or would like to do this weekend: I’m going to church Sunday morning (second Sunday in a row!!!!). And I’m watching sports all day long!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

No Matter What

The scripture prompt was:
(Meditation: Jeremiah 17:7-8)Blessed are those who trust in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. The shall be like a tree planted by water sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.

The written prayer was:
God, if today brings joy, I will rest in You. If today brings pain, I will rest in You. If today brings accomplishment and success, I will rest in You. If today brings set-back and failure, I will rest in You. If today brings vibrant good health, I will rest in You. If today brings sickness and death, I will rest in You. You are my rock and my salvation. Through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

Where it took me:
This reminded me of the "nevertheless" faith of the three Hebrews as they faced being thrown into the fiery furnace. And of Job who asked: shall we take the good and not the bad? No matter what. Come what may. Deeper, deeper though it cost hard trials.

When I was a counselor with kids, I often played the game Chutes and Ladders with them. Even with the older ones. The game teaches very well the concept of both negative and positive consequences. I used it also to talk with them about pushing on in spite of the negative. I needed the message as much as I shared it.

So today, no matter what! I WILL enjoy the people who cross my path. I WILL look for and expect the blessings of God to be present and for God’s presence to walk with me. And it will be a goodly day. Amen.