Sunday, February 27, 2005

Sunny Sundays

I didn't sleep well. My cough kept waking me up. I was up and down two or three times. I was afraid I was keeping Nelson awake, but he assured me later that he hadn't heard a thing. He's not feeling well again. Looks like a combo sinus and ear infection. He's sleeping now.

This morning before worship time we gathered early for breakfast. It was such a nice time. We all shared about our week and what God had been teaching us. The food was good and the fellowship sweet. We were sharing lots of thoughts and needs. Our conversation finally worked itself around to Jim's scripture presentation. The segue that he used was a piece by Basil Pennington from "Centering Prayer." Unfortuneately I left the paper and my Bible at T-Net. I'll try to remember to post it tomorrow night.

Anyway, I just thought it was very interesting. I hadn't ever heard of Centering Prayer before I started reading blogs here. Really, I think it was as recent as the beginning of Lent. This is something I want to learn more about.

Another special thing this morning was an offer that came my way. There's a gal in worship group that I am just getting to know. I don't know her story yet. She's a very intriguing personality. I learned today that she'll be 40 on her birthday (which coming soon). I wouldn't have guess that she was that old. Nowhere near! I had been told a couple week ago that she played the guitar. Well, today she asked if she could see mine. I opened the case. She treated it so gingerly, with such care and respect. She told me over and over how nice it was. It made me feel good. Then she played. Wow! I love her style. She's so talented! I had been told that she might give me lessons. I asked. She agreed. And she doesn't want to charge me anything! I don't feel right about that...but I can't afford lessons either. We'll have to work something out. Either way: I'm quite excited.

I went to work right from worship. I got there when the factory was finishing their lunch break. As planned (and hoped for) two of our team members started to work at 7am. They did break any records with their work, but they did ok! We finished taping the valve stems at 2:30 and were told to go home because there wasn't anymore work for us. I have no idea what we'll do this week. I'm not big on surprises, but I guess it doesn't matter because at least I know there will be work!

Well, I just took some NyQuill in hopes of sleeping better tonight. Hope you have sweet dreams too!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Overtime Reflections

This morning I had lots of time to think. The guy that was supposed to come in and work with me, who is on our team, called me at about 6:15am to tell me that he just didn't feel up to working. Great.

So I was alone at our station working on the part that the guys were whining about yesterday. It's a stem that is about an inch and a half long with a nut about one-third of the way down. It's not the right size part so we're having to add a layer of teflon tape--three actually. We have to count all our piece work. It's tedious work. All the guys could keep saying is that this is stupid...over and over. One guy kept questioning why we're being punished?

So standing there alone this morning I had plenty of opportunity to reflect, meditate, and pray. It was really nice. One of the thoughts that struck me and stuck with me was a response to the punishment question. I was reminded of Job’s response to his wife after his calamities. She says, “Curse God and die.” And he responds with, “Shall we accept the good from God and not the trouble?”

I was remembering it as: Shall we accept the good and not the bad? Why are we so quick to assume that something’s wrong when something’s wrong? Why do we presume that we’ve been abandoned when things aren’t going the way we want them?

Then my mind rambled over to thinking about Brother Lawrence and I started wishing I could converse with him. Brother Lawrence, did you ever feel that your friends dumped the crumby jobs on you because they knew that you wouldn’t complain? Did you ever wonder how much worse it could be? How much more you could take? I know. Whatever job, wherever you were, you experienced God’s presence. I understood that a little better today, standing by myself, working a tedious job, meditating on the Word.

After considering Brother Lawrence I meditated on a passage we had been discussing this week from Philippians. 2:14: Do all things without grumbling or complaining. We came across this while studying in Purpose Driven Life. (As a side: I was taking a page from that book while mediating. Warren says we all know how to meditate. He likens it to the same mental pattern as worrying. This ruminating follows Philippians 4:8, though.)

I don’t know about you, but when God wants to teach me a lesson, He quite often uses people around me to teach me. Over the years I’ve referred to “not grumbling or complaining” many times—mostly with my own kids! But this week the word was for me. I laughed out loud when it dawned on me working alone today.

Last night, I was talking with Nelson about the weenie-whiners at work yesterday. I remember saying, “They sounded worse than a bunch of old women with their complaining.” Today, as my memory was pricked with my own words, I was thoroughly challenged to really live the verse…live the truth. There’s a reason for this lack of complaining: to bring greater glory to God. People expect the complaint. What happens when instead of complaint they are met with praise?

When I was in jail, I was a trustee and I worked in the kitchen. Our major task was clean up. Setting up was fun. Cleaning up could be a real disgusting pain. The other woman trustee tended to fall into that pattern of complaining. One day, standing before an endless mountain of gross dishes and pans that were screaming defiantly at us, she started to whine, and it hit me: job security! As long as there was a dirty dish, I had a job. As long as I had a job, I could be out of my pod and busy and productive. The time would go faster. So bring on the grease and grime!

At first she looked at me like I had lost it. Then a smile broke out across her face. From then on, the bigger the mountain, the more fun we had. And whenever one of us teetered on the brink of grumbledom the other would just throw out: job security and we would burst into laughter and before we knew it the job was done.

So, Brother Lawrence, I will accept both the good and trouble from the hand of God, without grumbling or complaining, that my life will shine like a star for the one who created me, walks with me, and keeps teaching me!

Quick Note

Only have a few, but wanted to get a couple thoughts down.

Yesterday was a full day. We worked hard and long at the factory all week. They have been good to keep their word about finding work for us to do. It's not always been easy, but we've hung in there. I think each time they give us a new task they're surprised at how we are able to finish it more quickly than they anticipated. I say that because we're always running out of parts!

In the afternoon yesterday, the guy subbing as the plant manager (while the regular guy is on vacation) came and asked if any of us would be interested in working Saturday and Sunday. I wish I hadn't seen dollar signs so quickly, but I did and I agreed to both days. One guy refused since we weren't getting double time. One of the other guys was supposed to work with me today and he just called me to cancel--he's too sore. Like I'm not?

Last night after work, Nel and I both scurried home to get cleaned up. We had been invited out to dinner with his boss and wife (Dave and Linda) and then to a barber shop quartet concert. Dinner was at a fish fry at a K of C. Oh my! The perch was fried perfectly. I wanted more for the taste, but held myself to about four fillets. It was quite enjoyable.

The concert then was amazing. It was at the Akron Civic Center. The archetecture was worth the trip! What an amazing old building that was beautifully restored. The quartets were SO good! One was a senior competition winner and their paradies were so funny. Another was a collegiant winner and their exuberance and harmony wonderful. But the best by far was a family group with a lead that sang like silk. I didn't want to leave!

And finally, very quickly, so I can scoot and because for some reason my hand and arm is numb, Penelpe had a very good week at daycare. On Thursday she toddled into the room and didn't even say good bye to Annie. So while she was pleased, she also was hurt. I think mother and child will be just fine!

Good Saturday to you all!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

10 Things for Fun

This may be a life isn't all that "different."
1. I was 4th runner up to Miss Teenage Columbus (back in 1974).
2. I'm over-schooled: I have 3 Masters Degrees (New Testament; M.Div.; and MAPC) plus I have taken 2 courses of a Doctor of Minstry; and I have taken 10 quarters of Clinical Pastoral Education.
3. I was cast in the role of God (Zuess in a college production of "JB").
4. I did a marathon of hair washing (60 girls and at least a dozen counselors). We found a couple cases of head lice and had to nip the problem in the bud!
5. I paid a church to be their associate pastor. Really, they paid me $50 a week (about $200 a month) in salary, but I paid them $400 a month to rent their parsonage.
6. I worked 6 summers at Cedar Point. I worked at the Hotel Breakers front desk, working my way up from cashier, to clerk, to Front Desk Manager.
7. I was 7months pregnant when I was ordained as a minister in the Church of the Nazarene. (Does that make my daughter "pre-ordained"?)
8. Thinking I would just take a little bite to taste it, I ended up eating an entire cheesecake (I blame it on being pregnant, alone, and having a gorrible sweet-tooth).
9. I had the blessing of baptising both of my daughters.
10. I failed my orals for my M.Div so badly the first time, that instead of meeting wiht that committee again at a later time, they chose to "pretend" that I had never been there. I met with a completely different committee the second time to a much better result.

How's that?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Perfectionism Attack--Thwarted

I had a really hard time at work today. It started before work. I just struggled to wake up. I “woke” up at about 5:15am. After a stop in the bathroom (do not pass go, do not even think about doing anything else!), I clicked on the computer to check mail, play scrabble, read blogs/journals, and read my online devotionals. But when that was done my head felt like someone was sitting on it. I ached all over. So I did something I rarely do: I went back to bed to sleep for about 45min.

Today at work we were taught two new jobs. The one I started on was the initial assemblage of a pressure regulator for semi trucks. It wasn’t hard, just repetitious. After lunch I switched to the other job: disassembling regulators that were put together incorrectly. This one hurt. There was a gauge on it that was really on there tight. It ate up my hands until I was able to find the proper equipment for the task. After last break I switched back and it was a more pleasant and pain free last hour and a half. We worked until 3:30, getting in a full 7 hours today.

So what was the hard time? It wasn’t the work per se. It was my attitude. I found myself getting overly irritated at the laziness of one of the workers. When we were assembling the regulators I was doing three for his one. He was told how to do it, and he chose instead to reinvent the wheel and do it completely differently. I had to keep an eye on him to be sure it was being done correctly. I asked him to move some parts to a certain location and he put them in a completely different spot.

Then, while I was working on disassembling the regulators, I found myself getting irritated while watching the other gal on the job. She was just putzing through. The guy who was working with her had to keep coming over and checking on her work. She’s not normally a slow mover. It was as if she was playing the helpless female to get the guy to rescue her. I found that annoying.

Well, there I stood across the way, watching this and I felt myself doing a slow burn. Ugh. Grrrr. I didn’t like the way I was feeling. I remember thinking about what a hard worker I am. I used to be so consumed by perfectionism. I had to be the best. I worked hard (I still do) to be noticed, recognized. My value was always based on what I did, what I could do.

My thoughts were not only frustrating, but also scary. I’ve worked hard to get away from that mode of operation. As I was thinking I realized that I hadn’t been “practicing the presence.” I took a deep breath. I didn’t need to fret about work production. I didn’t need to “show anybody up.” All that was required of me was that I do what was asked of me and keep connected to my source, my Lord.

I sang a few choruses. I expressed my feelings to the one who already knew what was going on. Immediately, I noticed the tension release from my shoulders and the tightness in my back disappeared. Coincidence? I think not. I was carrying a load I wasn’t meant to carry.

Who would have thought that the creator of the universe cared about semi truck regulators, or about my petty feelings? I’m reminded of a song I heard recently: Who Am I by a group called Casting Crowns:
Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You're

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who Am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who Am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours

(c) 2003 Club Zoo Music / SWEC Music
(Admin. by Club Zoo Music) / BMI.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Good stuff to know! And to remember.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

$3 Happiness

There isn't much spiritual here...procede at your own laughter.

I just colored my hair. I finally found the "right" color. I had been going too blonde and I didn't like it. The last two times I settled on a golden blonde. It's very natural looking and it covers the stray grays so nicely.

I didn't start coloring my hair until last year. I was always afraid that the chemicals would damage it. My hair is extremely fine and thin. I used to wear it short and then then for years I permed it. Somehow I hoped that frying my hair would make it look thicker.

When I turned 40 (nearly a decade ago...sheesh), I decided ENOUGH! No more perms! I was amazed at how happy my hair seemed to be with the decision. It was thinner and finer, or so it seemed, but it seemed softer and healthier than I remembered or could have imagined.
So to return to chemicals was a fearful decision for me. What was going to happen? What happened has made me happy. I love the golden color and it seems fuller. Oh, I know it's still my baby fine hair--but we both seem happy.

It used to be that I was jealous of my sister's THICK hair with it's natural wave. Not these days. She can't keep color in hers. And she keeps perming it. I ask why? She can't seem to come up with a sensible answer. Sadly, her hair seems brittle and dead. She's never happy with it. I think I'll keep mine!

Oh, and I haven't had it cut since before Annie's wedding in September. It grows very VERY slowly. Right now it's just brushing my shoulders.

I walked into the computer room after blowing it dry the other day and mentioned to Nelson that I thought my hair was really getting long. He just looked at me with a stupid grin. He remembers the days when it was way down past my shoulders. He liked and likes it long. So for him this is so not long. We both busted into laughter. So I rephrased my revelation: My hair is getting longer (emphasis on the ER).

So, I'm sitting here feeling a little sassy this morning. Longer, fuller, happy hair...happy me. Isn't amazing how much happiness can come from a $3 box of hair coloring?

Forgive the vanity...I just feel sort of pretty.

(Side note: I was unsure about posting about my wonderful sweetie yesterday, given that some of my absolute favs here are struggling with difficult or ending relationships. Please know that I wasn't trying to rub pain is in other areas of my life and sometimes I go on about what I feel blessed helps me balance things out to count and recount those blessings. And just as a funny about it: when Nelson was laying on his back replacing the drain in the kitchen sink, I told him how I had written about how amazing he was. He sort of shook his said and told me that I need to stop that otherwise people aren't going to believe he really exists. Funny man!)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Twenty six years!

There's so much celebrating going on in blogdom. Birthdays are abounding everywhere. I love the festiveness!

I got home about 8pm last night. I was exhausted after being up all night with Penelope. I hated to leave but I wanted to be home. What a delight to walk in the front door and be met with the olfactory blessing of fresh salmon and fried potatoes. In case I haven't mentioned it, Nelson was a chef/cook for many years and absolutely knows his way around the kitchen.

It was our 26th anniversary. We've been together for more than a quarter of a century. We have lived in Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, and back to Ohio. We have raised two fine daughters. We cared for about 25 foster children, one who still claims us. We have lived in parsonages, rented houses and apartments, and tried to own a home. We survived the failure of a business (a sports card shop in Kansas) and the closing of two restaurants, and the subsequent bankruptcy. We made it through my legal problems, jail time, and the hassels of probation. I can't imagine my life with anyone else. God blessed me with the most amazing of men. He has taught me more about love--real unconditional, lasting, dogged love.

Annie, realizing what an amazing man her father is, named her daughter Penelope. She will not be called Penny....Penelope will only be shortened to Nel. She was named for her grandpa, her pepa.

Well, the amazing man just got home from work. He's going to fix the kitchen sink drain pipe that rusted through and he found this morning while he was doing the dinner dishes from that wonderful supper he made last night. Then he's going to take me out to dinner at Applebees (we got gift cards at Christmas from his mom).

Last night I was so happy to be home. We sat down to watch CSI and I promptly fell asleep. He woke me up as the credits at the end were rolling. We toddled off to bed. I was asleep as my head hit the pillow...but I remember his strong arm laying across my waiste. I felt warm and loved.

And after 26 years...that's a really, really good feeling!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Smiles and Travel

Or Travel and Smiles...

On Sunday Annie called. Penelope is much sicker. At that point they were thinking it was upper respiratory viral something and they put her on albueteral and a steroid. She just wasn't getting better. Ann wanted to know if I would come and stay with Pnel for a few days. We talked it through and decided that she would take Monday off and then I would come on Tuesday. That way I could work on Monday at the factory, finish the grant proposal I was writing that had to be turned in on Tuesday, and come over Monday night. I was also hoping that Pnel would be better.

It turned out that Pnel did show some improvement so Monday night it was decided that I would not travel to their house. So Tuesday I went to work. Monday and Tuesday we worked hard. Our efforts have been noticed and appreciated by the factory owners. They need our assistance on another project. So they're going to cross train us. It's a good thing.

As I was wearily walking through the door yesterday afternoon, the phone was ringing. It turned out to be Nelson. He wanted to inform that there was a message from Ann. Pnel is worse. Ann had her back at the doctor and they've placed her on a strong antibiotic and were adament that she shouldn't go to work with Ann at the daycare for the rest of the week. So it was grammy to the rescue. I packed a quick bag, hopped in the car, and headed cross-state.

Pnel sounds awful. She only smiled and laughed a couple times. She's whiny and mopy, but it's because she's feeling so badly. My heart just aches for her. Ann doesn't sound much better. She's got a deep bronchial cough. (A little side note for the ladies...Ann used to make fun of me when I would stop and cross my legs when I would sneeze or a futile attempt to stop the ineveitable leakage...(insert big smile) I warned her that her time would come. Well, it has. She was all flustrated by the lack of control and of course blamed it all on me! Can you imagine? LOL)

I'm not even sure she should go to work with that cough, but she's already missed two days this week and is only seeing her paycheck shrink.

Now for smiles...I've been intentionally "practicing the presence of God" (think Brother Lawrence here). While I'm working or driving or wherever I carry on that mental conversation with God. The other day (Monday) I was struggling a bit at work because of my own congestion and cough. Each time I would start to feel weak, I would hear the chorus in my head "You are my strength when I am weak, You are my all in all!" And I would smile.

I would start to grumble internally about how SLOW (painfully, horribly slow) this one guy I work with is. And I would hear a small voice reminding me that it didn't matter at least he's willing to work and he's God's child and God loves him--would I do any less. And I would smile and my heart welled with a bit more love and patience.

So part of me wonders what my coworkers think about how I just burst into smile for no obvious reason while I'm working. I wonder if they even notice. Sometimes the smile is so big I just laugh out loud.

Is it crazy? I don't think so. It's just the delight of being in God's presence.

One more you ever listen to the music so loud you can feel it? I can't sing right now and that's hard for me. I love to, really LOVE to sing. This cold has me croaking out a pathetic bass horribleness. So since I couldn't sing yesterday on my trip over here, I just cranked the CD player to super loud and soaked in the words, the music and meaning. Right now the CD of choice is Michael W's "Worship Again." I just can't get enough.

Well, I need to grab a shower before the world wakes up here. Feel the love!

Sunday, February 13, 2005


It was an awkward apology. He called me. He was apologizing for offending me last Sunday. I accepted his apology. But I also clarified my feelings. I said I wasn’t offended (probably not true), but I was definitely confused by his behavior and response.
He went on to say that his problem was with the worship study leader, that he had thought that we were going to function as a team, not go off doing our things. “I see. Well, thank you for your apology.”

But there really felt to be a ton of things unsaid. Now normally, I would have rushed into an immediate response of reciprocal apologizing. I didn’t do that and it somewhat surprised me. I sensed in the pregnant pauses the expectation by this man that I should be apologizing, too. I stood my ground. It felt weird to me.

I did a quick inventory. We had read earlier in the week from Psalm 139 and the ending verses’ invitation to inner search for any offensive way. Had I been offensive? No. I did what I had been asked to do. I was confused as to the response.

“Well, I just wanted to apologize.” (Again I felt the invitation to dance the dance of insincerity…and I didn’t go there.) “Well, thank you. Will you and Janet be with us this morning?” I sensed that I had been willing to “make nice” they would come back. “No.” “Well, blessings on you both then.”

In so many respects I feel like I did the right thing. Responded appropriately. I have always (ALWAYS) been quick to apologize in an effort to make peace. A great majority of the time I didn’t feel that I was in the wrong, but someone needed to take that step toward mending things. Apologize and put it behind us.

God, I’m really torn on this one. Should I call him back? Should I accept the responsibility? Should I let this man bully his way back into fellowship? What’s more important: me being humble or me being true? Humility is about waiving my rights. Is this more about surrender or holding someone accountable?

Wait….we taught our kids (and foster kids) that an apology is way more than “Sorry.” (Make sure you get the half sarcastic, flippant tone and attitude.) A real apology involves three things: sincere regret (I’m sorry for what I did.); seeking forgiveness; and commitment to changing behavior (I will try not to repeat the offensive behavior.).

If I believe what I taught, then I didn’t get a real apology. Sure, there was more than the quipped “sorry.” But there was a real lack of sincerity. He did add that he hoped that Nelson and I would be able to forgive him. It was the third part that was lacking. At one point he said that he was aware of his behavior, his tendency to respond in anger and shortness. But there was no expressed intent to change. I don’t know if he doesn’t think he can or if he doesn’t care to. I think he likes the excuse to behave badly.

This man is a recovering alcoholic. He has three years of “sobriety” but really hangs on to addictive behaviors. An apology (sincere in his own way of thinking) will always make things right, but there is never a real expectation of change…after all he is what he is.

Okay, enough of this. I’m going to go prepare for worship. Inside and out.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Sweet Surprises

Officially (at least in my non-medically professional mom opinion) I have a cold. I'm steadily working my way through two boxes of tissues. I'm sneezing. I've developed a little cough. I feel like someone is sitting on my chest. My nose is very, very sore. Puffs aren't even soft enough right now.

I do want to report that I slept for 10 hours last night. Not bad with a cold! I no longer feel like I'm going to die if I don't lay my head down in the next nanosecond. I have a sense of a little more energy, but can't use much of it because I'm having so much trouble breathing.

So I guess the word for the day is somewhat. Somewhat better.

I worked yesterday. I really worked. The factory has a huge (HUGE) order for a specific part that they have to get out by next Friday. Four of us worked really hard and steady on it yesterday and put out 15 skids: 960 parts. I made 800 of those boxes. Towards the end of the day one of the guys was getting really frustrated and so we swapped positions. This was good. I needed to get out of the physical routine of box making or I wasn't going to be able to move when I got home. The bosses were pleased with the amount of work we did. It's more than has been accomplished in one day by any crew since we started working with this factory.

Been spending extra time on the phone with the married daughter. She started a new job last week. A daycare center in the next town bought a new building and was reopening. Ann is so good with kids. They hired her to be an floating aide. They offered to let her bring Penelope and only charge her $40 a week. It seemed like a really good situation.

Penelope is only 13mo old. She is one of the busiest children I've ever been around. She did not adapt well to being confined to one room. In addition to that she's been fighting colds and an upper respirtory infection. The owners of the daycare told Ann that it might not work out for Penelope and Ann would have to find other care options. (Picture me in the background, jumping up and down and waving my arms. Pick me!) If Penelope can't adapt, then Ann will quit and seek other job options.

I was just talking with Nelson. Having dreamingly and half serious, we talked about moving over that way and me watching Pnel again. I had the awesome blessing of caring for her almost everyday of her first 6mo. That's when I decided I was going to be one really, really connected grammies. Moving would depend on many, many things--the biggest a sense of God's approval on the change. It would involve getting approval from probation first. Then moving again. An expense we can't afford. I just realized this is something to pray more about and start saving for. Okay. Enough of that.

We have friends coming to visit tonight. We all went to college together. The wife of the couple, Rhonda, was my roomie in college and at Cedar Point. She was married to my brother for 7 years. She and I have remained closest of friends. Her husband, Steve, pastors a church plant with the Wesleyan church. They're the couple we spent New Year's Eve with. Rhonda was with me when I bought the jeans at Goodwill that had the twenty dollar bill in the pocket. I realized this morning I never told her the story. It will be fun to share all over again.

Having friends over is a buoy to the spirit and something else very important: incentive to clean. I vacuumed, did dishes, cleaned the microwave, cleaned the bathrooms, and even dusted a little. I had to go in little spurts throughout the day since it's still really hard to breathe. I lit a candle to help the house smell inviting, but alas I can't even detect its wonderful aroma.

Right now, I'm sitting across the dining room table staring at my wonderful husband. I must have told 4 dozen times that I love him today. He's been working on taxes and computers all day. He took some time out to go run to the grocery for me. I like when he shops--that way he can't say there's nothing to eat! And he always brings me a surprise. Today it was peanut M&M's.

So, it's much later now....Rhonda and Steve came to visit. Rhonda made some money on ebay with some sweet scarves she crocheted and sold. With that money she went to Aldi's and bought us a mountain of groceries. I just stood in my kitchen and bawled. What a precious friend. They also brought us a dishwasher. It was an extra one they had. It's the kind you roll over to the sink and hook up to the faucet. I feel so blessed.

We went out for dinner. We laughed and talked and ate. We were silly. It was such a heart lifting time. When we got home, we talked some more and then we played some cards. We taught Steve the game. He caught on quickly, but wasn't good enough to beat Rhonda and I. They just left. It's about an hour drive home for them.

All in all, it was a very rich day. My house is cleaner, my cupboards full, and my heart merry for the friendship and laughter. And church is in the morning...more and more blessings to come!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2005


I feel crummy today.

I worked hard yesterday, so hard that I could barely move last night. My limbs felt as though they were weighted with lead. I laid down for a half hour, but couldn't sleep. I had felt like I was feverish early in the day, but pushed myself through it. I wasn't thinking as sharply as I needed to and made a couple calculating errors and gave poor directions. Fortunately, I was able to catch myself and correct things before major uncorrectable errors were committed.

My head feels weighted today and my nose won't stop running. Thankfully, I'm not sore and achy like I was yesterday. But I called off work and cancelled my therapy appointment. I'm not sure if I feel crummier for calling off work when I'm not on my deathbed or because I can't breathe. I haven't been to therapy since December and I didn't really want to drive the two and half hours there, chit chat for an hour (spending $30 unnecessarily), and then drive home two and a half hours. I know it's mandated by the court, but not only does it seem like a waste, I feel crummy, and there's a couple inches of fresh snow out there with more on the way.

Financially we needed me to work. I realize I would have only brought home about $25, but that would buy groceries. I just couldn't make myself do it. And that feels crummy to me.

I need to make myself sit down at the table and crank out a grant. I'm rebelling against that because I knew I'm not going to make any money for my effort. And that really feels crummy. I enjoy the word crafting immensely, but there's no provision to pay me for my time or effort.

And to top it all off, I'm all out of soup!

I realized something today while I was cruising blogs: people write back notes to notes. I decided to read notes on blogs that I've noted. I wanted to see who was reading the blogs that I enjoy and get blessed by. I figured it was another way to find interesting and encouraging blogs (but y'all probably knew that). Anyway, what I found in addition to some good new reads, is that there were notes back to the notes I left. I felt really crummy then. These writers took time to respond back and I probably looked like a stuck up schmuck for not responding back. I'm sorry!!! I wasn't ignoring you. I was just plain ignorant. Now doesn't that feel crummy.

Okay. All this crummy talk has made me hungry (I've been told that breathing makes me hungry...and I can do a little of that right now.). So, I think I'll go get some cinnamon toast and cup of tea. Maybe then I'll feel a little less crummy.

Oh, I have another question. Is there a tutorial somewhere that can teach me how to post pics and post my fav blogs? How do I dress up that marginal column like the rest of you? Just curious.

Postscript (AKA: afterthought...requiring
I wanted to let you know that Jim, the worship leader, called me the other night. He wasn't asking us to dinner as orginially planned. He was wanting to let me know that he had just had a conversation with the music guy who had "shared his heart" on Sunday and caused such a stir. It seems that the guy's chief complaint was with Jim. He felt that Jim had betrayed some trust and he no longer felt that he or his wife would be able to worship with the group. Jim wanted to let me know right away so that Nelson and I wouldn't back out also, especially since the reason for our not returning was no longer going to be a problem--and would I please bring the music for Sunday. It's a weird thing. It both makes me happy (relieved?) and sad at the same time.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

More please!

I am turning into a veritable Betty Crocker!!!

Last week I made some yummy chili and cornbread. I made it with out beans. That made Beth and I happy, but Nelson groused a bit about it just not really being chili without the beans.
Then on Friday I made ham and beans. It was ok. The beans weren't quite as smooshy as I like them, but the cornbread was yummers!

Last night I made corn chowder from a recipe card I got from Annie's Pampered Chef party (I'm having a book party if anybody wants something!). It was was sooooooooooooo delicious!!!!

Today I've been crock cooking a zesty chicken veggie soup. I made it without a recipe!!!! I used my blender to blend a couple cans of tomatoes and a can of diced tomatoes and jalepenos (I got the latter at Aldi's). I added a couple cans of mixed veggies (which have plumped up quite nicely in the crock pot. Then I cooked a couple chicken breasts and shredded them. I used the following spices: cummin, lemon pepper, oregano, and sweet basil. I'm sending Beth to the grocery (really she's going for something else and I'm just having her pick something up for me...yea, right, like I could make her do anything...but I digress...)to get some fresh hard rolls from the bakery. Should be absolutely delicioso!!!

I guess if there's any positive to come out of being tight financially it's creative cooking: making a lot (that hopefully tastes good) for as little as possible...and having leftovers to take in lunch the next day!!!

I was just talking to my daughter (in between interruptions from the grandbaby) and telling her about these cooking experiments. Her question was: Who are you and what have you done with my mother? Nice. But true. Cooking is not my gift. No one would clammor for anything I would bake. Don't put a knife in my only becomes a weapon for me to cut myself or demolish an innocent vegitable. Let's face it: I'm no Martha...and I'm just learning how to really be a I've spent a lot of years with a real identity crisis.

There's just something really encouraging about someone actually saying, Ooo, Mom this is really good. And get the smelling salts ready if they ask for seconds!!!

I hope your evening is full of seconds and lots of encouragement!!!!

Further Exploring the Sadness

The interesting thing that has come out of Sunday morning’s service is a quiet sense of peace. I was sad, but not devastated. I wasn’t angry or feeling especially violated. I was just sad that it truly doesn’t appear that this opportunity is going to pan out and perhaps a smidgen confused, and wondering: what’s next God?

Much later that evening, I recalled the piece of this man’s "sharing" that struck me the hardest. He was talking about "playing games." It really felt accusatory. I thought, "He’s really quite clueless. I’ve never been more real." Circumstances have both forced and allowed me to really put down my mask and just be me. It was easy to "let go" of that attempt at putting me down. It just left me feeling sad that he felt so pressured to try and put me down. Guess he was feeling pretty badly about himself.

Some of us gathered Sunday night to watch the Super Bowl together. We snacked and picked teams to root for, and snacked and rooted some more. It was loud and fun.

The worship study leader, Jim, was with us. I struggled with wanting to say something about our feelings from the morning experience and thinking that maybe it wasn’t the right place or time. Then at half-time he broached the subject with us. Trouble was Nelson really wanted to watch the Paul McCartney I ended up pretty much talking to Jim about it myself.
He started by asking, "I was wondering what you guys thought about the service this morning?" My reply was a question. Nelson hates it when I answer a question with a question. I have a bad habit of over-clarifying. Anyway, I asked, "Do you really want to know?" There are people in the world who ask questions not really expecting an honest answer: "How are you today?" And then they scurry on, without ever really expecting an answer. I was pretty sure Jim asked because he wanted to know. I’m not sure he anticipated the level of honesty he got, but get it he did!

When all was said and done, I was listening to Nelson sing "Hey Jude" and making some comment about fireworks–I love both. Sigh. Jim was stating that he and his wife, Cheryl would like to get with us this week, go out for dinner, and talk about things. I’m not sure what good it will do, but I’m not one to close a door prematurely, so we’ll go...if they call. (One thing Jim shared is that he had talked the whole thing over with Cheryl. She hadn’t been at the gathering as she stayed home with their younger daughter who was ill. She was VERY angry at what Jim told her had transpired. Sometimes anger is a comforting thing.)

So right now there is no resolve. And oddly enough for this control nut–that’s okay. I’m not stressing. I’m not discouraged. I’m also not worried. I’ve opted to take Michelle’s advice and just nestle in Abba’s love this week.

And it’s a very good place to be!

Sunday, February 06, 2005


Last Sunday I took my guitar to worship gathering. The "usual" song leading person wasn't there, so I pulled some choruses together in an instant and provided a music segment for our time together. When the gathering was over, the worship study leader asked me to come prepared with music next week. We spent a few moments talking about his topic and direction so I could pick out "appropriate" music. I was pretty excited about the assignment. I went home and quickly pulled together a music package that seemed to fit. I shared it with Nelson and he gave me some real encouragement.

Nelson and I walked into the building today and I instantly heard the "usual" persons guitar and his wife singing. I left my guitar in the hall when I entered the room.

I don't even know where to start to sort through these feelings. How about a couple Wednesday nights ago? This couple ("usual" song leader and his wife) were leading the Wednesday prayer time. He informed the group that we spent too much time talking and we were going to go directly to prayer. It didn't feel right to me. I look forward to the opportunity of sharing concerns and needs and catching up with people mid-week. But I wasn't in charge so I held my tongue. This "leader" proceded to use his prayer time to malign the T-Net director, the T-Net program, the "guys in the program (and technically, I'm one of the "guys"), anything spirit filled (aka charismatic) and a bunch of other stuff. I wanted to run out of the room, but I convinced myself to stick it out. I convinced myself I was over-reacting.

The following Sunday was when he didn't show up and I was asked to prepare for today. So I prepared. And did I mention that I was excited to have the opportunity?

The music the guy picked were three choruses I had never heard. I don't sing choruses I don't know. I listen to learn them. So while they sang I listened. I also wondered what was going on and I prayed that God would keep my spirit sweet. They took my not singing to be my taking an attitude. The music guy invited me to play my guitar, but I tried to back out. Everyone insisted. So went and got my guitar and music and shared the music package I had prepared. The theme was the holiness of God and how when Jesus taught the people were astonished and amazed. I picked choruses that focused our thoughts that way: Come into the Holy of Holies; Majesty; Heart of Worship; We are Standing On Holy Ground (both versions) and We Exalt Thee.

The couple refused to sing. The music guy didn't even open the book to the choruses. Music that was supposed to be uplifting and draw us to the throne fell flat and futile. Nelson was concerned. The worship study leader could barely look up.

Then, the leader presented his study. He's such a student of the Word. I respect him for his learning, but also for his spiritual maturity. At one point he shared that forty times in the scripture the response of the crowds to Jesus' teaching was astonishment and amazement. Nelson made a comment about how this impacted him. (We're a small group, so interaction is the norm.) The music guy made a comment that was judgmental about what Nelson said. It wasn't kind, but very dismissing. I tried to tie their two comments together and the music guy about exploded. He decided to "share his heart" and he was sorry if this was going to step on anyone's toes. And he let lose with a judgment laden pronouncement that was harsh and squelched the spirit totally.

We're not going back. The group wants to hand hold and coddle this couple because the give money. They've been fellowshipping with this group since it began. They've got history. They can have it. I don't want to be someplace where someone can poison prayer with personal opinion and get away with it because they're praying and who else can judge their prayers? I don't want to be a part of a fellowship that condones someone "sharing their heart" which is just a disguise for spewing a spirit-squelching stench.

Now, the really sad part is that this is my only "church" option at this time. Not going here means that until I'm off probation I won't be going anywhere (as long as I am in this county and the surrounding counties of this probational region). I, we, will miss the new friends we were starting to develop. I will miss leading music. I will miss gathering for fellowship.

I'm sad today.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Placing Periods

I mentioned the other day that we are studying Purpose Driven Life in our devotional time at T-Net.

I mentioned that I was blessed by his reference to Hezekiah and the way God left him…wait let me quote it to get it right:

God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart.
2 Chronicles 32:31

Hezekiah had enjoyed a close fellowship with God, but at a crucial point in his life God left him alone to test his character to reveal a weakness, and to prepare him for more responsibility.

Here’s my question: where do you put the periods? Sound weird? Perhaps a little, but think about it. How often when you read scripture do you put the period where it was never intended and then wonder why things aren’t turning out “right?”

In the example of Hezekiah, using Warren’s explanation, I put the period after the test of his character. Applying it to my own life: I put the period in after the failed test. The test presented itself and in failing the test, I became a failure; and thereby unusable to God. In misplacing the period, I failed to see that God was wanting (and needing) to uncover that weakness so that I could be prepared for more responsibility. In essence in reading the verse, and God’s intention, incorrectly I quit to soon. I put the period in the wrong place.

People do that with verses like:
-Ephesians 3:20: They want to see God do the exceedingly abundantly above all they could ask or imagine…without realizing that it’s all according to His spirit that is at work in us.
-Romans 8:28: Sure all things work together for the good, but don’t put the period there. Everything works out for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. Somehow they interpret this to mean that everything’s going to work out for good—or have a good outcome. Truth is this is for the believer, and God will cause all things to work together…that may not be experienced as “good” in the moment or ever for that matter, but when examined in the grand or God scheme of things is what He wants.
-1 Corinthians 10:13: Not let’s see if I can do this one without totally going off (lol). Way too many people quit early in this verse. “And God is faithful (best words in scripture), He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear, but with each temptation He will provide a means of escape.” Our tendency is to put the period after “bear.” And then we complain when things get tough. “It’s too much.” “What is God thinking, I can’t handle all this.” God is faithful that with each temptation will comes the means of getting through. We have to trust that and operate in that trust to seek His means. Not always easy. But ALWAYS there.

So, be careful how your life puts punctuation into the Word that defeats God’s intended best for you.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Celebrating Words

I had such a wonderfully fantasmagorical day.

I worked with my brain and my words instead of making boxes and moving brake drums.
I am stoked. I’m energized. I don’t want to quit. I need to get some of this energy out before Nelson gets home from work, or I’ll just blow him away!

I worked on grants today for the Transformation Network and its Family Life Skills Learning Center. Oh my giosh. I started the day with some research. Then I wrote an initial inquiry letter for both components of the agency. The programs are different and so are the needs. Then I wrote a very short grant for FLSLC for $500 from RadioShack Corp. I did some prep work for a local foundation for the T-Net. I sat and went over figures and descriptions with the director.
I was amazed at how the words just kept coming. No blocks. No frustration. I am a word crafter. I love to put together letters, newletters, articles and the like. It felt so good to use my brain and use my word power.

Tomorrow we don’t have factory work because they failed to order parts for us so tomorrow I’ll be working on grants again. I’m also going to be doing some PR and begging for donations from local businesses. Sunday the Sports Café is celebrating its grand opening with a Super Bowl party. (The Sports Café is one of the community ministries of T-Net. The goal is to provide an safe alternative to the "bar scene" for people who are dealing with chemical and alcohol issues.) My goal is to get one of the local pizza places to donate pizza for the party. I’m pretty excited about the challenge.

Well, there’s research and writing to be done. Catch you later...unless I run out of words for the day....nah, doubt that will happen!