Saturday, April 30, 2005

Saturday Blessings

Okay, I just want to let you know that even though I’ve been working my butt off some of it was still present and it’s probably a good thing. Thursday right before lunch my feet decided to do a strange tangle tango and I landed on a short stack of pallets with a crash. Extra bottom side padding comes in handy! I’m stiff and sore and didn’t even wound my pride as no one saw me do it. (LOL)

Yesterday we were short staffed again, but we worked hard and respectably. Before the crew had gotten there, I went into Ed’s office to ask a couple production questions. During the conversation he informed me that he really appreciated all my hard work and was going to request that I be bumped up I’ve only been an employee for 6 weeks and I got my first raise!!!! I was so excited I went straight back to my office to call Nelson and tell him.

Toward the end of the day M (my Saturday call off guy and the hardest worker on my crew) and I decided to stay after and rearrange things. I worked off the clock. We were able to relocate things in such a way that items will be much more accessible. Ed came out while we were working along with company owner and gave their stamp of approval on our effort. Ed also gave me the letter making my raise official starting Monday. While he was there he talked to me about whether I thought M was ready to be hired on full time. M is such a hard worker and Ed has been noticing this. I told him yes, that M was who I depended on a lot. I hope it works out for him—I’ll just miss him terribly in my department.

Well, I just finished lunch. Nelson and I both went to bed early last night (before 9:30) and slept till after 7:30 this morning. When we both were up we just sat and talked. It was really nice. Then the conversation shifted over to matters of money. What a perfect way to squelch a lovely morning. Sigh. I have such issues about money. I’m not so sure the issue is as much about money as it is about worth. But somehow in my mind money equates somehow into worth.

Part of our conversation was about how he isn’t getting paid and how he was justifying not confronting Dave about it. His reasoning is that having known Dave for so long, knowing that he’s a kind, caring man, he just keeps waiting for Dave to come to work one day and say that he was going to either pay Nelson more when the house (the one they’re remodeling) or more when they finally start building the other one. He says he just can’t imagine it being any other way and that’s why he hasn’t confronted Dave. Nelson wanted to go to the Resurrection service tomorrow at the Messianic Congregation, but we just don’t have the money for gas (it’s an hour and a half trip to get there). We talked about it later and decided that if Dave asks where he was he’s going to tell him that he couldn’t come because he didn’t have the money and that things have been really tight since he hasn’t had a paycheck since mid-December. Whether he quits on the spot depends on what Dave’s reaction will be. (Sigh.)

Nelson and I went to Aldi’s to get groceries before lunch. We just got essentials and spent about $55. Hopefully that will hold us for two weeks. That’s how tight things are.

After lunch we turned off the TV, turned on the stereo and put out the Scrabble board. We played two games. Nelson killed me the first game and returned the favor in the second game. It was such a nice few hours: good music, sweet smelling candles, mellow hazelnut coffee, and just the best company around. I’m so thankful that we can spend time together and enjoy each other.

I’m just feeling abundantly blessed right now. In spite of the financial concerns. It's just an is in my life. What really matters is that I know I will have what I need. And it’s a really good, good feeling.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tagged Again

I got tagged again. This time by Waterfall. (Thanks for the nice description...I really do enjoy playing scrabble!) I enjoyed doing this a second time, because I was really torn when I made my choices the first time.

Here's the scoop on how to play: I pick 5 occupations out of the list below and post my answers. Then I tag 3 other people to post their answers on their blog. If I tag you, and you don't want to be a part of this, then that is okay. Just let me know and I'll tag someone else.The "questions": If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an inn-keeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be an astronaut...If I could be a world famous blogger...If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...If I could be married to any current famous political figure...

1. Musician: I have always wished I could play piano. When I was little my grandmother bought us a piano. It was a beautiful upright. We had it for three months. In that time I learned the notes for the right hand and the notes for the left hand. Then we moved and the house we moved to wasn’t big enough to take the piano so it went back to my grandmother who promised it to me. Many years later, after I was married, after I had our first daughter I went to visit my grandmother. I was ready to reclaim my piano. It was gone. I took piano lessons one time after that, but wasn’t able to connect the hands. If I were a musician I would play the piano.

2. Chef: My hubband and I could open a catering business together and we would be well-known for our healthy but seemingly decadent scrumptuous food offerings. We’d be highly in demand and so well paid that we could work when we want and travel a lot!

3. Painter: I would paint rooms for people because so many people hate to paint but would love to improve the look of their homes. I would offer specialized stenciling to go with my painting business.

4. Psychologist: I would work with families to improve their communication, especially during the transitional times of life OR I’d work with hospice.

5. Architect: I would design, build, and run a complex that worked with families. There are a lot of kids in foster care when really it’s the parents who need to be in care. Adults have children who are barely able to care for themselves and need massive amounts of guidance. Even after spending years in foster care, many of these children return to these deplorable situations and begin the sad process of unlearning so that they can “fit in.” I think it would be better to work with the families in tact.

So who do I want to tag...let's see. Since I owe JettyBetty an interview I'll tag her instead. I also tag Reverend Mommy (aka Theresa)--hopefully she can take a break from her studies. And finally Kim of the Upward Call. This should be very interesting indeed!


I needed today, no really, I wanted today to go smoothly. It was our second day running two lines. Today’s test was running two different parts. We were short on help and one of the workers who was there was sick with an absessed tooth and had to duck out to see the dentist for a few hours, but I figured we’d make it work. We were able to get 1800 parts done. That’s impressive. I wish I could feel good about the day.

I don’t like the way I’m feeling. I thought I was over this…beyond this. Hi, my name is Tina and I’m a perfectionist. I hate it. It can be a strength: it helps me be effective and get things done. But on day’s like today, it makes me crazy and sick to my stomach. (Insert big sigh.)
Let me try to explain what happened. I HAD to make the part boxes for the second line. It moves twice as fast as the other line and no one else can keep up like I can. I even work ahead. Since I had to do that I had to trust someone else to put the labels on the packing cartons. This is where things started to fall apart.

I think I’ve owned that one of my HUGE flaws is that I try to do everything. I learned that from my mother. She never delegated. I never learned to cook because I would make a mess in her kitchen. I never did laundry because it was easier for her to do it than to teach me and trust me. I never learned to sew. I never cleaned house. And on and on. One of her pithy little life sayings was: if you want something done right, do it yourself. I learned that lesson way too well.

So for me, learning to delagate and trust others has been a stretching experience. I have a couple guys at work I really trust. I’ve been trying to include others in that. Today that nearly proved a HUGERIFFIC mistake.
I have worked hard to create a system that is checked and balanced against itself so that if something isn’t right it will show up BEFORE we ship anything out. My system collapsed today.

It’s so not hard. I’ve explained the importance of keeping it straight. I’ve harped. I’ve snapped. I’ve tested. I’ve begged. Today I raised my voice and used a couple of explitives. One of the guys I trust and I had to go through all the completed and ready to ship pallets to try and find the mistake. I still have to lids with paperwork attached that don’t match anything.
The problem is that the problem isn’t fixed. I don’t handle that well. I would have stayed to fix it but two guys needed rides back to T-Net. I called the shipping clerk to make sure that the pallets weren’t being shipped out today or in the morning so that I could fix it when I get there in the morning tomorrow.

I want to fix it now. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight. I’m playing the stupid ‘if only’ game in my head. If only I would have kept a closer eye on the guy doing the labels. If only I would have staffed the work area differently someone else would have been doing the labels. If only I had planned better I could have made boxes and done labels….now wait! That’s ridiculous…but I’m still battling with those thoughts. (Insert even bigger sigh.)

Ed is a very wise man. He’s the production manager. He walked up to me while I was going through the finished pallets trying to find and fix the problem. He asked one question: doing an internal audit? He let me know that it was good that I caught the problem before it left the building. I want to feel good about that too, but I’m too busy feeling bad that it happened at all.

Isn’t that just crazy? Sure feels crazy to me. I don’t like feeling crazy. The situation is screwed up---I wish I could stop feeling like a screw-up. I know I’m not, but I am sure feeling that way. That’s pretty crazy, too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Disappearing Butt

I should have no butt at all because I have been working it off like a crazy woman. Sadly, it continues to follow me around…sigh.

Today, we reconfigured the work area and added a second line. I had to smile. I went back and read some journal entries about when I first started working at R-company last fall. I was excited because we did 5 skids of parts then (approximately 400 parts). Today, with two lines we packaged 2020!!!!!!! We had 1200 done by noon and then lost 2 people. So it was a very productive day!

We did, however, have a casualty. I’m a bit sad about. One of the guys who I trained with there with T-Net left the packaging business to go to work at Dairy Mart. His departure was in part due to my being asked to be team leader: he’d been there longer and felt he should have been offered the position. He doesn’t have the leadership or organizational skills necessary for this position. He doesn’t have the people skills, either.

Well, he decided he didn’t like his job at Dairy Mart: the hours were horrible and were starting to take a toll on his health. So he asked to come back to the packaging business with T-Net. We needed workers and so we willingly welcomed him back. Today was his second day.

I kept telling everyone that there would be lots of bugs to work out with this new “two line” system. Things were really in a state of flux. He couldn’t handle it. I made one too many changes and he just blew his stack. Dan was working with us this morning and he saw the steam start to roll. He approached the guy to help him calm down. It wasn’t going to happen. The guy just started getting louder and more verbally inappropriate until finally he just stormed out.

Dan was pretty adamant that he wasn’t going to let the guy come back. He had blown up and caused problems last fall. He was pretty confrontive with Dan about feeling slighted regarding the team leader slighting. It’s a sort of “three strikes you’re out moment.” It makes me sad. I like the guy. He is a hard worker. He just can’t control his temper. It’s landed him in jail before. It probably will again.

I’m not going to let it take all the joy out of my hard work today! And my hopes about tomorrow! Tomorrow will have it’s own challenges. We’re not only going to run two lines, but we’re going to run two different parts with two completely different kinds of packaging. This is a big test. We should be able to better today’s production.

At the end of the day, there was a humorous interchange. With this increase in parts and packaging, there has also been an increase in ordering and delivering of packaging supplies. There have been some moments when I’m not the favorite person of the tow motor drivers and shipping clerk.

We finished an order today, so I went to her office to let her know she could ship the order. I walked in and the office looked like a hurricane had hit. File cabinets were pushed all over and B, the head of shipping, was prying chair rail off the walls. He said, “It’s all her fault (pointing to me)!” V agreed and gave me a pouty face.

The demolition in the office was to better accommodate a larger white dry erase board to track the receiving, packing, and shipping of parts. The new board is nearly twice the size of the original. That’s how good we’re doing.

I grinned and sheepishly asked if they’d rather I didn’t do my job so well? They laughed and told me no. It’s all good!

I stopped to see my PO on my way home. I almost forgot. She asked how things were going. I told her I was working my butt off. That’s what she typed in her report. I guess that makes it official!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

News from the Corner

Friday night Nelson and I were guests of Dave and Linda at a Passover Seder at the Messianic Congregation they attend. This is also the congregation where Dave and Nelson built the platform for the church and are working on the kitchen. I had to get special permission to go, but my PO was ok with it. I’m glad.

The occasion was a “meal” but it was an amazing worship experience as well. There was such a spirit of joy and freedom. As soon as the music began, the dancers moved to the front area and began the dance. What a celebration! I learned a lot and was so moved in my spirit. Nelson was invited to participate in the service.

One of the blessings of the service was a real growing moment for me. I had been praying all week about my resentful attitude toward David regarding his treatment of Nelson at work. I knew I had to release this if I was going to receive anything from/in the service. At one point we were invited to participate in a footwashing. Linda had never done that before. I had. In those moments all my anger and resentment felt as if it dripped into the water, leaving me only feeling love for both Linda and Dave. I still don’t understand how they could treat Nelson like they do, but I don’t feel any anger or resentment towards them.

Yesterday I worked. As I was getting ready I got a call from one of the team to tell me that he wouldn’t be able to work. He’s one of our hardest workers. I count on him a lot. As soon as the phone rang, I knew it was him. He called off the last time we were offered overtime. My biggest concern was that he was going to run the tow motor—so now how were we going to move anything. Fortunately, the new guy also knew how to run it! We were able to finish one order and get a lion’s share of another one done. Not bad for the small group we had. Just another example of God providing and blessing.

Last night before bed Nelson asked me if I was planning on going to our small worship group? I felt completely apathetic about going. I don’t like feeling nothing. I used to have such a passion for worship. I only went this morning because I knew I should.

Our gathering time was good. There were only four of us. When Nelson and I arrived the leader was talking with the one other guy. The guy is the one with severe brain damage. He has a tendency to get stuck on things. The most recent stuckness is about creation creation and dinosaurs. He asks a lot of questions but he’s not really open to the answers. Sometimes his questions make no sense, or come at odd times in the discussion. This morning they were oddly appropriate.

As we talked, Jim (the leader) shared that Moses wrote the Genesis account to explain the relationship between God and us. It dawned on me then that to try and align or reconcile the Bible with science, history, or even geography is to try and do something with it that it was never intended for. Scripture’s primary purpose was to explain the relationship. Period. Nelson then commented on how to get “stuck” asking the questions for which there are no concrete answers is to fall into a trap of the Evil One. It’s like being stuck in neutral. You just get nowhere.

Then when we got home from gathering, I picked up “My Utmost for His Highest” and read a phrase that just stuck in my mind: [be] obedient in the work He has placed closest to you. Part of my heart longs to be preaching or teaching, but it isn’t my time for that. I need to be looking where God is working around me and join him there (thanks for the reminder Biscotti!).

It’s just a really rich time in my corner of the world. Hope it is where you are, too!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Game of Tag

Ok, so Cindy Lou tagged me today in a blog game. Here's the deal: I have to pick 5 or more of the following occupations and post my answers here. Then, I tag 3 other people to post their answers on their blog. Got it? Sounds like fun, huh? Here goes....The "questions":If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an inn-keeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be an astronaut...If I could be a world famous blogger...If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...If I could be married to any current famous political figure...

1. If I could be a doctor—I would listen to people, but also be as tenatious at finding the problem as House.

2. If I could be a gardener—I would have a large garden and share my flowers freely. I would take lots of pictures of the flowers, too. I would also plant public gardens to beautify communities. I would have children’s gardens, too, so that the art and beauty of gardening wouldn’t be lost.

3. If I could be a professor—I would teach the Personal Philosophy and History of Christianity courses I didn’t get to teach in 2004. I would also like to teach speech, interpersonal communication, and oral interpretation.

4. If I could be a writer—I would write a devotional study of Philippians (that I’ve started). I would also like to write sermon resources for pastors, specifically sketches and monologues related to biblical passages.

5. If I could be an inn-keeper—I would have a Bed and Breakfast/Retreat Center that would accommodate individuals and groups. It would be in a beautiful rural setting with lots of trees, trails, and some water. There would be a main house with tastefully decorated rooms. There would be a lodge that would accommodate the groups or individuals on spiritual retreats. Nelson would do the cooking and I would be able to provide spiritual direction (of course I would need to get the training and certification to make that possible—but this is a place to dream!)

Thanks Cindy-Lou! Now I want to hear from Debra, Biscotti, and Hope. A few others would be fun too.

A Key

There’s a commercial that’s pretty current. It has Reba McIntire holding a key. She’s talking about how a key is just a key unless it’s a key to a house Habitat for Humanity is building for/with someone. Then that key becomes a life changing thing. Have you seen it? I’m such a sap—I tear up every time it comes on.

Yesterday (Friday—since I’m typing this at 5am Saturday morning) we got yet another order for packaging. Ed decided to offer us overtime. Now for the T-Net team this will put them just at 40 hours since they only work 35 during the week. I will get 5 hours of overtime. We’ll be working from 7-12.

Here’s the teary part…No members of management want to come in extra. So I was given a master key to the building and the green light to bring my team in to work! I walked around for about an hour at work grinning from ear to ear. All could think about was how much power there was in a little piece of metal.

I used to carry a massive set of keys. I had keys for the four buildings I worked in, plus my offices. I had keys for the church I was pasturing. I had house keys and car keys. I felt trusted and important with all my keys.

After life crashed, I had a house key and a car key. I couldn’t hardly believe that anyone would trust me with a key again. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be trusted. So when Ed handed me that key—I can barely describe how incredible that felt! I don’t even care that I have to give it back on Monday. Today I am being trusted to open up that huge factory and take my team in to work.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough joy for one day, as I was walking towards the time clock to punch out, Mr. R flagged me down. He told me again how much he appreciated the job I’m doing, my hard work, and the way I’m leading my team. I started to tear up again. I could barely choke out my thought, to thank him for the opportunity to work again.

Mr. R is an amazing man. In a town where it’s hard to find work because so many factories are closing, relocating, and jobs are hard to come by, he has chosen to offer a major packaging contract to a ministry that works with people coming out of jail and prison. Unless you have to mark that “have you ever been convicted of a felony” box, you don’t know how hard getting a job is. When an employer holds two resumes/applications in his/her hands, one of a felon and one not, 99% of the time s/he picks the non-felon—no matter how trained, qualified, or absolutely amazing the felon is.

Now granted, some felons probably aren’t good workers. They’re unstable in their work ethic and experience. Others, however, just need that opportunity to turn things around, to be believed in again so that they can really change their lives. Mr. R offers that kind of an opportunity.

So today, I’m going to walk into that plant with three other felons and one repeat misdemeanor guy and we’re going to package our hearts—glad for the chance to work. Thankful to find someone who ignores the naysayers and takes the risk.

A key really can open a lot of doors. The key I was given opens yet another door marked restored and valuable. I hope some good doors open for you today, too!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

It's Lilac Season

The first moments of my day could have shaped all moments to follow. The alarm went off and I rolled out of bed. I plodded off to the bathroom and there I found my monthly friend, for the SECOND time this month. Not fair. Not nice.

So I went through my morning stuff and my cramps and I headed off to work. I wasn’t sure how the day was going to go, but I wasn’t holding out hope for a positive day. I should have more faith.

We did 1642 parts today. That’s killer. It’s awesome. It’s THE absolute most we’ve ever done—ever dreamed of doing. We finished 2 orders and started on a third and have the boxing ready for the next order. We’re doing so well. The company is really pleased. At one point Mr. R (company owner) was giving a tour to some people from another factory. He was trying to explain what we do and how we’re going to increase our production (we’re getting parts from them) and process for stamping identification into the bearing. He started and then stopped and said, “Tina can explain it she keeps everything running around here.” And so I did.

Then on the way home I passed a gas station where the gas was still 2.07 a gallon. It’s not the easiest station to get in and out of, so I decided to try my usual station closer to home. I passed two other stations where the price had already jumped up to 2.23. My regular station was up 2.22. So I made a quick turn around and quickly headed back to where I saw the gas cheaper. I was able to fill up at the cheaper price. I’m so thankful!!!

Oh, and one more neat thing as I rounded the corner near home---Lilac buds!!!! Pretty soon full blown sweetness. My most favorite smell. My most favorite part of the season. I smiled so big at the very thought of it all. “It’s lilac season.” (sing along if you care to!)

So I’m thinking this day turned out tons better than it started. I’m so very thankful for that. And now I think I’ll put my happy though crampy body to bed. It’s lilac season!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Dryer Sounds

I’m sitting in my chair in the living room. I’ve been home for two hours. I’ve started laundry, but I’m waiting to put it in the dryer. The laundry room is on the first floor, I like that. It’s too close to the living room so the aging dryer’s squeak and rocking noises invade the living space—I don’t like that.

I put an old fashioned window screen in one of the living room windows. I have the front door open too. I’m being serenaded by the birds and the wind blowing through the chime. I’d rather listen to that than the dryer!

When I got home I was confused. Nelson’s job is to wash the dishes. The dishes were washed, but the silverware was still in the sink. That’s generally a sign that Beth is trying to be helpful. I’m not sure what allergy she has to washing silverware, but it’s a serious one. I’m just thankful that the dishes are washed because now I can do my job and put them away! After the birds stop singing and I turn the dryer on.

I called Nelson to find out if he had made it home. This was of course before I started the laundry. I would have known immediately by the overflowing basket in the laundry room. I started the load while we talked. Fortunately the washer isn’t as loud as the dryer.

He nursed the truck home. It is leaking transmission fluid quite badly. David is adamant that he will not put any more money into the truck. Odd. Having access to the truck was a part of the original “work package.” Of course, so was being paid. Today Nelson was busting up the concrete sidewalk behind David’s house; using an inadequate tool and not getting paid. Nelson hangs in there because he is so blasted loyal that he won’t broach the topic of being paid. I am now at the place where I don’t understand how this ‘friend’ of ours could take such horrible advantage of Nelson. We’re supposed to spend Friday evening with this couple…I’d rather listen to the horrible squeak and hammering of the dryer!

The reason the dryer squeaks and wobbles is that I am no mechanic. I am also no mathematician. I have made two $1000.00 errors in purchase orders in the last week. We needed the stuff, so the company was willing to pay. It’s just that company that we purchased supplies from would rather get paid sooner. I felt like such a ninny. I’m going to have to be my own secretary and check my figures. Just shove me in the dryer.

Some good things are happening: the new girl is working out fabulously! She’s such a hard worker and has caught on very quickly. Dan hired another guy to start this week. We talked about it and we’re going to only use the one guy who has some serious deficits due to brain damage only twice a week at the factory and Dan will keep him busy the other 3 working at T-Net. I’m sleeping better. My hands haven’t been numb since Saturday morning! And I’ve lost a few pounds! (I’m speed walking all over the plant, sweating up blue blazes, working hard, and drinking mostly water…it’s all good!)

Well, I think I’m going to settle in with some pizza and get ready for American Idol. I wish I had a remote for the dryer so I could turn it on during the painfully, pitchy songs! Have a wonderfully dryer-free night!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Surgery, Truck, and Sweet Dreams

Nelson’s dad came through the surgery well. They removed diverticula, put a stint in his kidney, and then worked on his bladder and urethra. The doctor felt that at first look there was no cancer, but everything is being checked.

Nelson stayed with his mom until she returned home after his dad was in his room and appearing to be doing well. While at his parents he picked up a day bed that they were giving to Annie for Penelope. He drove from Toledo to Annie’s.
After delivering the bed he took off from Annie’s and headed home. He stopped in the next town to grab some dinner. While at Taco Bell the guy behind him in the drive-thru line came up and told Nelson that the truck was leaking fluid in massive quantities. Nelson got out and looked and found the engine leaking oil. He decided to drive back to Annie’s and spend the night.

Last week the truck needed work and David told Nelson that if there were any more problems he was through. He felt that he had put too much money into the truck. The availability of the truck was one of the “perks” that was presented to Nelson last year when he was considering taking this job. Just one more thing that hasn’t worked out.

Unlike Nelson, the day for me went really well. Dan (director of T-Net) was able to get the county jail to agree to work with one inmate for work-release. When I saw her I was a little nervous, she’s barely 5’ tall and thin. But let me tell you, you can put R and the 21yr old on the opposite ends of the spectrum. R caught on, worked hard, and anticipated what was needed or next. All the guys were impressed and let her know that they appreciated her work. So did I! We’re also going to get one of the guys back that was working there when I first started. He’ll be an asset too.

Ed, plant manager, informed me that we will be receiving a new order later this week and that another order that was scheduled for 4000 has been increased to 11,000! That’s good news. With the new help, we began discussing the logistics of creating a second line. I had done some consulting with the team and had drawn a possible schematic. No sooner had I finished that discussion when Ed returned and began a discussion about a second line to handle the increase. I showed him my idea. He looked at me and smiled. “You’re one step ahead of me again. I like that. Keep it up.” I liked that. It felt good.

Well, I’m avoiding going to bed. I’m tired, but I don’t like sleeping in this house alone. I started out sleeping with the light on last night. I finally was able to turn it off. Without Nelson’s C-pap machine “shooshing” in my face I hear every noise. I admit it: I’m a coward. But a tired one, so I’m going to go and try to fall asleep. Maybe I’ll dream positively productive dreams…or not…maybe I’ll try to imagine the wonderful vacation I’ll get next year.

Gayla's Interview Questions

Here are Gayla’s Interview questions.

1. If you could back in time, what year would you visit and why?
I’m assuming by a visit, it’s not a situation where I can change something, but the opportunity to experience something and return.

So…..(I have sat here staring at this screen for twenty minutes thinking about this…hmmmmm) I think I would like to go back to (I had to finally go answer all the other questions and come back to this one.)…I would like to go back to the Upper Room where the believers had gathered and met everyday for prayer waiting for Pentacost. I would like to hear their stories, hear their prayers, and then feel that power and really see the church grow!

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would want to live down the street from my grandkids and my mom…The difficulty with that is that Mom lives in Arizona and grandkids are in Ohio. I would love to live in Arizona so I’m going to have to convince the Son-in-law that year round golf is really wonderful so he’ll be willing to move to AZ.

3. How far in advance do you prefer to plan?
I love spur of the moment activities. I love to do things “last minute.” I totally enjoy serendipity! But I also know that some things need planning. At least a couple days worth. I loved the way my daughter only took about 4 months to get ready for her wedding. I don’t like to overplan or wait for things to happen.

4. If you could wave a magic wand and stop any one thing, what would it be and why?
Fear of differences that leads to hatred and bigotry. I have never been able to understand why people hate and distrust others because they’re different color or religion or from a different country, or wear their hair different or their clothes different, or have tattoos and piercings or don’t. It makes my heart break when that fear and hatred leads to destruction and loss of life.

5. What do you think are the most common misconceptions people have about God?
That because of His incredible love, He winks at sin.
That God and Santa Claus are pretty much the same.
That God helps those who help themselves.
That God can be bargained with (if You’ll…then I’ll…)
That if I don’t say what I’m thinking or feeling out loud then I can hide it from God.
That God is too busy too care about things in my life.
That an individual can be too bad or too far gone and be beyond grace.

Those are just a few.

Thanks Gayla, this was fun to think through…and fun to read the answers of others as well!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Driving Reflections

Yesterday we drove over to Annie’s to take Penelope all her garage sale goodies. She was absolutely delightful as she played with them all, laughing and squealing with each new toy or try. When Annie was fixing dinner Pnel came over and asked me to pick her up. Annie doesn’t always oblige this request, but Gramms can’t resist. So I picked her up. We went over to the chaise and played “pull the things out of Pepa’s pockets” (much to Nelson’s total delight!). After a couple of yawns Pnel was out like a light and took her nap all nuzzled into me. It was a precious time---worth the trip alone. I tried to lay her down when Annie called us for dinner, but I was too clumsy and she woke up. She ended up sitting on my lap and eating most of my mashed potatoes and some of my meatloaf. I didn’t mind sharing! Annie says I spoil her. I say it’s my job!

It was a gorgeous day to travel across the state, weather-wise. My senses were really tuned in as we made our trek and my mind was racing to take in all the data. It made me sort of wonder what other people think of when they drive. Here are some of my observations:
-I saw the most dead deer at the side of the road or median that I have ever seen in one trip. It made me very alert on the way home!
-Our winter was very hard on the trees. The broken limbs and split trunks from the ice storm in late December continues to grab me. Driving past tree lines marked by brokenness makes me sad. A new one I noticed was a split tree where the fallen portion landed on the back end of an old farmhouse. Not the way I want to get a skylight.
-Do Speed Limit signs mean anything? About half of our trip is on 2 lane state route. I normally drive between 55 and 59. This route is dotted typically with half hidden State Highway cars hunting for speeders. I can’t remember how many cars went flying by me, but there were quite a few. Close to Annie’s a big SUV flew around me (we were on the 4 lane then and I was cruising at about 68mph), as he passed me we came under an overpass and there sat the Statie. He was so caught.
-Ohio farmers are amazing. Every field had a tractor or sometimes two out working the fields. There were several still out on our way home, way after dark. The weather has been so conducive to getting the fields prepped for planting. When we were coming home it smelled good. There was just a hint of fresh dirt in the air. Only one spot left us gagging since it appeared that they had cleaned out the barn that day…peuiiiiieeeee!
-Flowering trees make me smile, so I was smiling a lot yesterday. And the greening of the earth makes my heart feel like it’s breathing again! I just love spring. It’s about birth, life, and beauty! (to me anyway)

Nelson is taking a nap right now. In a little bit he’ll be heading over to his parents’ in Toledo. His dad is having surgery tomorrow. The surgeons will be performing about 4 different procedures related to his kidneys, bladder, and urinary tract. They did a scope last month and there was such a large amount of cloudiness that they’re not sure what they’re going to find when they get in there. The one word they haven’t said is cancer, but I am concerned that’s what they may find. My father had bladder cancer and it was the root cause for his death (at 53yrs old) back in ’89. I know that this is on Nelson’s mind. He and his dad aren’t real close—his dad is an alcoholic that seems to take delight in belittling Nelson at every opportunity. Nelson is going over to support his mom while she waits.

I guess I’ll end this before it becomes a novel. I guess that would be novel. LOL.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Wisdom and Chimes

Okay. I’m 48. I don’t feel as old as that sounds. Well, sort of. I worked really hard today and I’m walking like an 80 year old woman: stiff and slow. Here’s an idea of how hard I’ve worked: the team came back to work on Thursday last week and we did 480 parts. On Friday we upped that to 816. Today we did 1254!

But back to being 48. I was thinking about how fast the time has gone. I reflected on some of the really stupid things I’ve done and the big mistakes I’ve made. That got sort of depressing so I decided to think about some of the wisdom that has come with 48 years of living. Here’s some of it:

-First, I have figured out that it’s okay to be 48. That probably doesn’t sound like much, but a few years ago when I lost my career and seemingly my future I couldn’t say that or imagine it. Quite honestly, I was afraid. I didn’t know how to be anything other than what I was: a pastor and a counselor. I had done thinking service oriented jobs all my working days as an adult. What was I going to do? At nearly 50, how was I going to start all over? I had no idea what God had in store.

-I used to compare myself to weebles and Gumby. But I am not either. I’m not Wonder Woman either. Remember Weebles? “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.” They might not, but I know how to: get arrogant, think your indispensable, avoid accountability, compartmentalize life, and ignore the wise counsel of caring friends—oh and think you’re perfect or need to be perfect and therefore fail to ask for help because of how vulnerable that will make you look.

I’m also not Gumby. It’s good to be flexible, but absolutes do exist and need to be heeded. It’s okay to say no and enough. Boundaries are necessary.

As for Wonder Woman…I would look horrible in the costume but beyond that the only super power I have comes from God.

Well, that’s about as profound as I can get these days. My job is making me weary. I haven’t worked full-time since October 2001. Back then I could and did run myself to death. I tried to function on little to know sleep. I’ve had a couple jobs since then, but they were part-time and really not that difficult.

My job now is also physically demanding. As a pastor and counselor my jobs were more emotionally and cerebrally challenging. The last few nights I took a mild sleeping aid so that I wouldn’t wake up forty times with the pain in my shoulders and arm and the numbness in my right hand. I think it will get better as I get more in shape. My hand is less numb this week than last!

That sounds a lot like I’m complaining. I’m not. I honestly enjoy my job—for the most part. Ed keeps commenting on how pleased he is that I’m on top of things. I just somehow to be able to be one thought ahead of him. My biggest blooper today was that I forgot to order bubble wrap. It’s not where everything else is and I overlooked it. Fortunately, the company we order from can get it here tomorrow. Crisis averted!
I was thinking today of how I could put the 21 year old on a point sheet. The place I used to work was an agency that worked with kids in out of home placements. In our group homes the behavior system was point based: earn for positive behavior and loose for negative. I was thinking, “Yeah, I’ll put her on a point sheet and then she’ll see all the problems I see.

About that time that annoying little chime sound went off in my head. The one that sounds when I’m missing the point. Do you ever hear that? Anyway, I remembered another part of the point strategy. This behavior system was founded on positive praise and it’s ability to shape behavior. So the strategy for the “teaching parents” (and all others working with the kids) was to strive to have a ratio of 4:1. Four positives for every negative. You literally had to catch the kid doing four things right for every time you pointed out a negative. That’s not always easy. The trick (I mean strategy) was then to create opportunities for the youth to earn the positive praise and thereby avoid the negative. The more positives earned the better the youth feels, the more privileges they earn, and the sooner they get to move out of the group home.

So back to the 21 year old. I’m thinking of the many ways I can point out all her errors when that chime sounds and I am face to face with the fact that I hadn’t been pointing out the things she was doing well. I wasn’t looking because I was so irritated with her for all her screw ups. Okay, okay. Note to self: watch for (create if necessary) opportunities to praise the 21 year old. I’ll report back later as to how we’re doing.

Well, the 21 year old that lives in my house requested spicy Chinese rice for supper (it’s loaded with chicken and broccoli too) so I better get to it…or it will be bedtime before I know it.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

My Day

This was no way to start my birthday. At 1:30 I finally got out of bed and went downstairs to try and sleep in the chair. I had been turning in the bed like I was on a rotisserie. I was coughing to beat the band. And the heartburn was killer. I ended up getting on the computer and being awake until nearly 4:30.

Funny thing is when I finally woke up at 7:00am I felt rested and fine. Except for the numbness in my hand. I overdid it at work yesterday and last night every muscle and joint felt like it was weighted with led. I figured if I was sitting in the chair I wouldn’t be tempted to roll around.

So I’ve had my hazelnut coffee and a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese. I think I’m purring. We’re planning to spend the afternoon and evening with our friends/family Steve and Rhonda in Elyria. Rhonda suggested a movie, and though Nelson liked the idea of movie popcorn, he wasn’t interested in her selection (Miss Congeniality 2). I guess we’re just going to dinner and maybe play some cards.

Yesterday I had a nice surprise at work. I was planning to work through my break doing paperwork sitting at my desk. I walked into my office and found a beautiful springtime bouquet of flowers “From Your Babies.” I was so delighted. There’s nothing quite like getting flowers at work. Annie took the lead on this one. She asked Nelson what kind of flowers I would like. He told her (and quite correctly) that a bouquet of daisies would be best. So that’s what she ordered. I got the prettiest arrangement of 3 pink carnations, 2 orchids, a purple iris, some other purple flowers and an assortment of weedy looking filler that is quite pretty in a vase with a pink bow. When Nelson walked in he immediately noted that it wasn’t Annie ordered. So when she called I told her it was lovely, but not what she had wanted to get for me. She was quite hot as she paid too much and had been very specific. She had called several florists and was assured that she was getting daisies. I’d hate to be on the other end of that line his morning! She gets her temper from her father…..

Well, I’m going to get out of here. I think we’re going to hit some garage sales. I love finding treasures and bargains! Have a grrrrreat day! TTFN.

Interview from JettyBetty

1. Most of your blogs are so positive--can you tell us why?
The glass is half full and I am thankful for it. I have always looked for the positive in the situations where I find myself. I sat here and pondered this for a while. There are three kids in my family. I’m the oldest and the most overtly optimistic. My brother is two years younger and is the pragmatic realist. My sister is two years younger than my brother and she is the epitome of Eeyore: the fatalistic pessimist.

So partly, it is my role to have been and be positive. And partly it is my joy. One of my favorite illustrations to this point is about a two kids. Both are left in rooms full of poop. The first child is soon found sitting in the corner crying about all the poop. The second child is found furiously digging around in the poop. When asked why, the response is: well if there’s this much poop in here there must be a pony, too. I’m always looking for the pony.

2. Does your family know you blog? What do they think of it?
Yes. My younger daughter helped me get started with an online diary. I maintain that diary and she posted to it while I was in jail. When she really wants to know what is going on in me she goes and reads it. She hasn’t found this blog. My husband appreciates that I have a place to express myself and marvels at the amazing support I have received from people. He wants to know when I’m going to start writing a book about all the things I blog about. My older daughter knows, but isn’t much interested unless the younger daughter fills her in on something.

3. If/when you and your granddaughter, Penelope, spend a day together, what would you choose to do?
Penelope is total busyness and activity. We would take a walk, play at the part, eat whatever we wanted, and laugh and laugh, and laugh! I would spend most of the day on the floor playing with her and loving every minute of it.

4. You say you would like to write a book--what do you think it will be on?
I would like to write a devotional commentary on the book of Philippians and perhaps a book on my experience of grace in brokenness.

5. You have gobs of graduate hours in religion/ministry. How has taking academic classes in Bible changed you?
I have a totally insatiable appetite for study and learning. Changed me? Enriced me. Challenged me. Opened me. Sent me to my knees in prayer. Blessed me. Humbled me. And may it continue to do so.

This continues to be very challenging to me. I like the way the questions push me to think in areas I might not go on my own.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Interview from CindyLou

1. If you were a song, what song would you be? Why?
Classical Gas. I absolutely love that song. It is fun and full of energy.
2. What do you want your grand children to remember the most about you? Why?
I want them to remember my love for them and my love for God. I want them to know I was playful and that I was there for them.
3. Besides Jesus, who from the bible do you most want to meet in heaven? Why?
This is an interesting question. I think I’d like to meet Mary Magdaline. I want to sit and talk with her about how amazing it was to feel so completely forgivent that she would enter that house and annoint Jesus. That or I would want to meet the Samaritan woman of John 4 and ask her what her name is because I think it’s sad that she is unnamed.
4. Cake, ice cream, or both? Why?
Cake. I never liked to mix the two and I’ve never been much of an ice cream eater.
5. What's your favorite scripture? Why?
Matthew 11:29-30 especially from The Message:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythyms of grace I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

followed very closely by Mark 1:40-42
40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. "If you want to, you can make me well again," he said. 41 Moved with pity, F8 Jesus touched him. "I want to," he said. "Be healed!" 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared – the man was healed.

The first “fav” speaks so to my heart and always has. I especially like the concept of the “rhythms of grace.” Besides I need help to learn to live freely and lightly.

The second is the amazing truth about Jesus touching the leprous man before he healed him. What an amazing touch that must have been! He was willing then…he’s willing now.

Anybody want to be interviewed by me?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Packaging Specialist

I think I know how Joseph felt. You remember Joseph. His dad gave him that awesome coat and he was so excited he went to show his brothers and they were really ticked off!

Today they cleaned out the office that is going to be mine. They put a desk and file cabinet in it. Let me pick out desk stuff (stapler, tape dispenser, etc.). I was so excited. The ‘piesta resitance’ was that Ed put a sign on the door that says: My Name, Packaging Specialist. It was so cool. I wanted to celebrate. It took all of my self-control not to squeal with delight.

The reason I felt like Joseph is that like his jealous and upset brothers in the midst of my want to celebrate I sensed that my coworkers were extremely jealous and put off by my getting an office. The newbie isn’t supposed to get an office. The newbie needs to keep their place on the bottom of the totem pole. Otherwise they look uppity.

There was a lot of whispering going on with long and angry faces. I asked Ed (plant manager) if he thought that his action was going to result in hurt feelings. I hate hurting people’s feelings. One of my strengths is that I am sensitive about other people’s feeling. One of my weaknesses is that the opinions and feelings matter too much to me and often dictate my actions. (Sigh)

Ed had a really good response. He said that he had been thinking about that very thing and that I shouldn’t worry about it. He told me that he felt that my arrival there was totally timed by God. They had wanted to hire someone to oversee the packaging but when there was a possibility the work wasn’t there. When I started working not only was there someone the company felt could do the job, but the big contract the company had been waiting for came through. Ed showed me an email from Timken (who we have the packaging contract with) that said they were going to be sending us 20,000 parts in the rest of April and May. That’s significant. The team is going to be working. This is good news.

So the real question tonight has nothing to do with anyone else’s feelings. It has to do with Winnie the Pooh. I have quite a collection and now I have an office where I can display some. I feel pretty good about not obsessing over my coworkers and I’m pretty psyched about the joy of decorating.

I hope I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

PS: for Dreaming Again...As for my blogger name: Corner Chair
When I was growing up, I "inherited" my mom's old chair from the living room. I put it in the corner by the window. I had my stereo close by. I would sit in the chair to think, to daydream out the window, to croon all my favorite heartbreak tunes--it was a wonderful place and space to be. Many years later, when we moved into our current house, I created a safe space for reading and writing: my own little corner chair. That goes then with one of my favorite songs from Cinderella (Rogers and Hammerstein) where she sings about how big her world gets and how safe she feels in her corner chair...and that's how I picked my name.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Spring Time Happiness

It was a good Monday. I worked hard. I wasn’t asked to do overtime. I was disappointed about that. I was afraid that I had done something to knock me off the list—paranoia can be a devastating thing. When I left I left with a lot of people so obviously it wasn’t me—only a few people stayed today.

It was nice to emerge from the factory while there was still ample daylight left. It was such a gorgeous day. I called Nelson at work to find out when he would be done. I needed—well actually wanted a couple things from Home Depot: my own box knife in a fancy color so that everyone will know it’s mine! And a pair of goggles that aren’t all scuffed up! I found a neon green knife and cool goggles so that I don’t look like a strange bug-like creature (since I have to wear goggles over my regular glasses until I can order the prescription goggles or safety glasses when insurance kicks in).

After Home Depot, Nelson and I went out to dinner. My mom always sends birthday money and we usually use part of it to eat out. We had dinner at Golden Corral. It was really nice. Afterward Nelson took me to ABC Warehouse to buy my birthday present. I’ve wanted a smallish TV for the bedroom—for several reasons. There are times when I would just like to go to bed and fall asleep watching some show. There are also times when Nelson needs to just stay in bed and having a TV would give him something to do so he would stay in bed. I also got a small CD/radio for those times when I’m all alone at work and music would help pass the time. Yay!

I was getting tired so I headed the car toward home. Nelson told me to stop at Goodwill in Ashland. I wanted a lightweight zipper sweatshirt to wear at work when it’s cold in the morning. And I found one!!! We also found a shelf/coat rack that was decorated with Cleveland Indians logo—Nelson’s favorite team. Quite nice. But the buy of the evening cost me fifty cents. We always look at the toys with Penelope in mind. There amid the junk was a Bob the Builder talking doll. Nelson is in construction and he’s bought Pnel several Bob things…like a total workbench. It’s really cute.

I’m reading two books right now. I started reading Miller’s book “Searching for God Knows What” a few weeks ago. I love his style. This is one of those books that I’m only able to read in small chunks. Most recently the chunk I was reading was talking about reading the Bible not looking for formulas but instead seeking a relationship. I’m also reading Yancey’s book “The Bible Jesus Read.” The last part described how the Hebrews were invited into a story. Quoting Perry Miller Yancey writes: When you have a covenant with God, you no longer have a ineffable, remote, unapproachable Deity; you have a God you can count on. The Hebrews and God had entered into a kind of story together and everything about their lives sent back echoes of that story (p. 29). I think it’s interesting how well the two are going together.

This was an even better day. I worked on a packaging order (fortunately I had some help again) and then back to the other area. I worked on a new (to me) machine crimping hose ends—keep those fingers out of there. Then in the afternoon I got to do some real power! I cut 250ft of plastic sheething on a TABLE SAW!!!! Watch those fingers!

One of the things that made today so good was that I played CD’s while I was working. I enjoyed having music to work with. The positive input sure chased away the stinky thinking. Such a big difference! I’m so thankful for that.

Another thing that made today good was that I was asked to do overtime. Hopefully there’ll be more coming this week.

This morning started shakily…the alarm didn’t go off! Fortunately I woke up at three minutes till 6:00…that gave me a half hour to pull it all together. All those dashes to college classes paid off! I was out the door at 6:30. That felt so good that there was no way to feel bad! But trust me…I’ll make sure the alarm isn’t just set…I’ll be sure it’s on tonight!

Well, American Idol is almost over. And when it is, this little head is going to be hitting the pillow…may there be sweet things in your dreams tonight.

Another Interview

These are my “interview” questions from Pearls and Dreams:

1. Start with an easy one: Why did you choose your blog name?
When I was in high school the mother of one of my best friends died from cancer. This woman had a profound impact on my Christian faith and development. Though her name was Carol, she went by Daisy. While in college I took the name Daisy as my pen name for a creative writing course. Marie is my middle name. The two seemed to go weel together…so daisymarie I am.

2. In your profile, you say that you like the book Celebration of Discipline. What about that book caught your attention?
I grew up with a mom who was very rigid and disciplined so I tended to rebel by being scattered and unorganized. I used to think discipline was oppressive, certainly nothing to celebrate. This book helped me change this oppinion. I learned so much. I especially got a lot about service and study.

3. What fruits of the spirit do you think are the easiest & hardest for you to display in your life?
Easiest: love, joy, kindness, goodness, gentleness
Hardest: peace, patience, and self-control

4. In your answers to Biscotti Brain, you said you feel like a denominational mutt, do you see this as a bad thing or a good thing and why? How will this both help & hurt you in your future?
It’s funny that you picked up on that. Sometimes I wish I had a pedigree. When I was more connected to the Mennonites, I must confess I occasionally envied their history and connectiveness. I think my “muttiness” (aka eccumenicalism) enables me to feel comfortable and connected to many different people of faith. It was a definite strength when I was a chaplain…I imagine it will continue to be.

5. Where do you see God taking you in the future?
Heaven. Sorry, that’s a bit flippant. I guess the real answer is that I have no idea. I used to think it was extremely important to have the future all planned out—but not any more. I’m much more comfortable going with the flow and living for the moment. Right now I see myself working at the factory until next year, enjoying being a grammy, and reveling in the empty nest with my hubby!

Thanks for the opportunity to share!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

My Interview Questions

These questions are from Biscotti Brain...a true sister!

I would like to suggest Michael W. Smith’s cd “Freedom” for your listening pleasure while reading my responses to Biscotti’s questions.

1. Your blog has been a story of brokenness and of joy. What have you learned about brokenness and joy in the last few years?

I have learned so much! Where to begin…I’ve learned that being broken isn’t the worst thing. As I looked at my life in pieces before me, I scrambled to try and put it back together. Somehow I thought was my job. Crazy, huh? But no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it back.

I learned what it really means to live into the reality of 2 Corinthians 4:7…I am a cracked pot and I’m in good company and there’s no reason to lose heart!

I am learning to live in the present instead of always looking ahead. I’ve learned I don’t have to be perfect…I can’t be…and that’s okay! I have learned that when the waves begin to crash in on me because I have arrogantly gotten out of the boat and tried to walk on water, that my Savior stands before me holding out his hand.

I have seen grace in the most amazing of places and revel in God’s constant presence and provision.

2. Five months ago, you were contemplating a paper route. Yesterday you were doing a full body smile in a uniform with your name stitched on it. You seem to have a deep grasp of God's provision and faithfulness. Could you describe some of that here?

So much of my life I was trying to arrive somewhere, as if the important thing about living was getting somewhere, not being in the moment. I found my only value in what I perceived others thought about me. I had to keep working to gain that approval. If I could do enough I might be acceptable. I needed to be the best at whatever I was doing. I was competitive—driven!

I even caught myself falling into this pattern when I was in jail! It dawned on me one day that I was striving to be the best Trustee that jail ever had. It was insane. As soon as I realized it I began to see more clearly how God was working in my life.

Here’s a few examples: My former employer was very good friends with the Sheriff in the county where I was going to jail. As I was being processed in, I was asked if I wanted to be a Trustee ( a job one usually has to earn). Being a Trustee meant I didn’t have to stay in the general population cell and that I could work which would give me something to occupy my time and enable me to earn days off my sentence.

At the same time I was coming out of jail the Transformation Network was starting to expand it’s ministry. They purchased their building. Then they added a worship component for people who couldn’t attend services or who would feel uncomfortable in a traditional service. Last August, the very month we began to move into our new home here in Ashland, T-Net worked out the details and began a work program with Reineke Manufacturing. And that connection, that amazing provision made it possible for me to be involved in weekly worship and to have steady full-time job with benefits.

There are so many examples of God’s provision and faithfulness. I am so bountifully blessed. Some days I feel sad for what I have lost, but then I focus on what I have gained and I can’t help but rejoice!

3. What led you to Bible college and full-time ministry? What were your favourite aspects of both experiences?

When I was a little girl I dreamed of being a minister. My sister and I shared a bedroom and slept in twin beds. They made a perfect “sanctuary.” I would line up all our dolls and stuffed animals like they were sitting in the pews and I would use the clothes hamper as my pulpit. But I was a girl and therefore I wasn’t minister material.

When I was in 9th grade we moved to a new town and began attending a church that had a woman minister on staff. I shared my dream with her and she encouraged me to develop my gifts. That church also had a dynamic youth group and my best friend in that youth group attended Mount Vernon Nazarene College (because her uncle was the mayor of Mount Vernon and on MVNC’s board of trustees).

My parents were adament about not paying for college if I was going to go for a degree in ministry so I tried to consider other majors: audio and speech pathology or nursing. I needed to get away and think about what I was going to do so I decided to spend my spring break at MVNC with my friend. I fell in love with the school and decided it was important for me to be who I was and not who my parents wanted me to be.

I remember coming home from MVNC and telling my parents that I WAS going to MVNC and I WAS going to be a minister. I told them that if I needed to I would wait a year to go to school, work, and save up my money. They decided I was serious. We ended up compromising. They paid for school. I was a sociology major with a religion minor.

While at MVNC I joined the Nazarene Church and began the process toward ordination. The Nazarene denomination has always encouraged women in ministry, but have been slow to really create viable ministry opportunities for them.

Favorite experiences? I LOVED studying Greek and doing exegetical studies. I am a die-hard student. I have a passion for language and an insatiable desire to learn more about scripture. One of my highlights was speaking at Student Revival.

I loved preaching. I love crafting sermons. I loved coming alongside people in their happiest and saddest times of life—just journeying with them. The absolute highlight of my ministry was baptising my daughters.

4. You seem to relish the role of grandmother. Are there ways that you have been changed in exploring what it is to be a grandmother?

Yes, absolutely. I spent a lot of time wondering if anything I said or did made any difference on my girls. From the time Ann found out she was pregnant until now, I marvel at how much I know and how much my opinions are valued. I must confess it feels good!

Becoming a grandmother also helped me step into my age. In ways that I’m not exactly comfortable admitting, I was afraid to be 47. The really down side to all that was not being able to access my experience and wisdom. I was so horribly disconnected. Penelope has been the glue pulling me back together and the catalyst that made me be present.

Penelope has also given me another gift: play. I didn’t know how and didn’t value play. Being around Penelope I have rediscovered my child within and she’s quite fun!

5. You have been involved with a couple denominations, and a few different types of congregation. What kind of community of believers do you now find yourself craving? What qualities would make you feel worth the commitment of you and your husband?

I have been Presbyterian, United Methodist, Nazarene, and Mennonite. I sang in a Catholic folk mass in high school. I have two Master’s degrees from a Brethren seminary. Sometimes I feel like a theological and denominational mutt.

I asked Nelson which church we’ve attended together did he think epitomized the ideal church. As I suspected his answer mirrored my own. Of course he also had a runner up. The runner up was a church we attended in Kansas City: Shawnee Church of the Nazarene. This was a large church that still had a small feel. Lots of fellowship and great opportunities to reach others.

The church that we both hold as ideal is a small inner city Mennonite church in Springfield, Ohio. This church ministered to homeless, mental health, poverty stricken people. No one wore masks. They felt that their ministry was one of healing. One of the women talked with me when we were getting ready to leave to move here. She described how she was saddened to see us leave until she realized that theirs was a healing and sending church. She talked about how so many seemed to come and get involved and bless the congregation and then move on. Then the Lord revealed to her what we had learned from our time being apart of their fellowship.

One of the things that stands out in my memory of this church really being church happened on a sunny Sunday last summer. After the morning worship service we were having a grill out picnic. People of the congregation went to the surrounding houses and also watched up and down the streets for people to invite. Instead of a meal just for those who attended the service the service went out to those around the building. People in that impoverished neighborhood were treated to great food and some of the most precious fellowship that I have ever been blessed to be a part of.

Your question about craving comes at a very interesting time. I have enjoyed our time with the worship group at T-Net. But it’s really not much more than a Bible study or Sunday School class. It’s wonderful for what it is…but…I miss congregational singing. I miss a good, meaty sermon. I miss opportunities to get lost in “wonder, love, and praise.” I miss feeling like I’m part of something bigger.

What would draw us to commit? The congregation would have to have a feeling of honesty and realness. There would have to be an acceptance of brokenness. There would need to be openness and receptivity of diversity. There wouldn’t be a rigid deathgrip on tradition and ritual simply because “we’ve always done it that way.” There would be a hunger for the Word and a passion for service. It would be a place where I would be encouraged to use my gifts and where Nelson felt comfortable. Oh, and permission from probation and the pastor would be necessary, too.

Thanks to Biscotti for the opportunity to think through these things and share my thoughts.


I’m heading out the door here shortly. I got the chance for overtime and I consider it quite a blessing so I’m going to take it. I wasn’t sure if Nelson would mind—it seems we get so little time together these days. He was excited for the monetary blessing as well so I felt better about my decision. There could even be an offer for tomorrow. I’ll have to think that one over.

A couple weeks ago I called a nearby pastor to ask a few questions about the situation and frustration I was having regarding the pastor of that church who wasn’t willing to “put his congregation at risk” by letting me attend that church. You might recall this man also pulled some “stuff” on Nelson’s boss. It just made my heart ache to see the boss in such emotional pain. I pretty much knew the answers I would get, but still needed to hear them.

All that to say…The pastor I called was a friend of ours in college. His wife was one of my roommates. Vicky was completely responsible for making my wedding reception happen. It would have been a total fiasco if she hadn’t just stepped in and helped. She was such a blessing to me. We kept contact with them until about ’83 when we moved to Wisconsin and they were in Pennsylvania.

When we moved to where we live in Ashland I realized that we were going to be neighbors so to speak as they live in a very nearby town. I called one time but must have caught Vicky at a very stressful moment. I invited her to a Home and Garden Party last fall but their son was very ill and she couldn’t come. I wanted to connect with her, but my shame level made me begin to wonder if she perhaps didn’t want to connect because she knew about my crime. (I’ll have a little paranoia with that shame, please.)

When I called and talked to Lester about my concerns I shared briefly about my crime and my situation with not being allowed to go to church. Humbling to say the least. At the end of the conversation Lester said we should get together for dinner. I wondered if it was just a polite suggestion, and so it was a pleasant surprise when he called back this week and offered to take Nelson and I out for dinner last night.

So last night we met Vicky and Lester for dinner at a local steakhouse. The meal was very good. (I had a grilled Cajun Salmon Salad with cilantro ranch dressing—talk about yummers!) The conversation was amazing. We were there for a couple hours catching up, sharing our journey of the last few years, and receiving boatloads of support and encouragement from these dear friends. It was a sweet time of reconnection.

Towards the end our time together, Lester shared about the vision for his congregation. He and Vicky shared examples of how they’ve been reaching out to the “de-churched” and seeing people who have had horrible struggles come to a new experience of grace. Lester shared that he would be more than willing to meet with my PO and work through the process to enable me, us, to attend their church. It was a very tempting and sweet offer, one that Nelson and I are going to both pray about.

Goodness, I better scoot. Thanks for catching my “hour” error in my last post. Y’all got what I meant. I guess I was just too tired to explain myself very well. Anyway, don’t forget to “spring forward.” Have a sweet sort of Saturday!