Sunday, April 30, 2006


The week was going by as it typically would: I was working hard, feeling physically exhausted and bruised all over. On Wednesday, I mentioned to our receptionist that I wished I had known who was going to the Women of Faith conference from our Sunday School class because I would have really enjoyed that.

Well, it turns out that one of the group had seriously injured her foot and would not be going. I told her to find out how much it was going to cost and maybe I would be able to go. Next thing I knew, she came to me and told me that everything was covered and they wanted me to go. It was no problem getting the day off since we’re ahead on orders.

So we left for Columbus after work on Thursday. All day Friday we attended at pre-conference session where Patsy Claremont was the main speaker and Sandi Patty did some of the speaking and all of the music. It was awesome!!!

Friday night and all day Saturday was the main conference. The speakers and the music were awesome. We were totally saturated and abundantly blessed.

We ate such good food. Thursday we ate at a place called Hoggies and it was some of the best barbque—mmmmm! Then for dinner on Friday we ate at a place just outside of Nationwide Arena called Boca di beppo—Italian! They serve the food family style. We got a really yummy spinach salad, spaghetti with meat sauce, and manicotti. That was the bestest manicotti I’ve ever had—it just melted in my mouth!

But even better than the food was the fellowship. I don’t think that I’ve ever felt more immediately accepted and included in an already existing group. We laughed and laughed. It felt so good. My joy meter was running pretty low. And being with these women buoyed my spirit completely.

So today was a real day of rest. I’m still basking in the joyfulness…now if the race would just stop being on a rain delay.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Musical Upgrade

I need guidance, suggestions, help, and technological wisdom.

I've been listening to my CD player at work...I think I've mentioned that a couple times recently. Anyway, I've been cramming the player in my pocket and working hard to keep the earplug chords on my back so that they don't get tangled up in the machinary that I'm working on.

It's not easy or comfortable. I'm changing CD's with unclean hands and changing them way more often than I'd like to be.

So, I've started considering moving into the 21c. What would you recommend? Now keep in mind I'm technologically challenged and have some limits within my budget.
What do you use? What do you wish you had?

Can you help me here?

Musical Upgrade

I need guidance, suggestions, help, and technological wisdom.

I've been listening to my CD player at work...I think I've mentioned that a couple times recently. Anyway, I've been cramming the player in my pocket and working hard to keep the earplug chords on my back so that they don't get tangled up in the machinary that I'm working on.

It's not easy or comfortable. I'm changing CD's with unclean hands and changing them way more often than I'd like to be.

So, I've started considering moving into the 21c. What would you recommend? Now keep in mind I'm technologically challenged and have some limits within my budget.
What do you use? What do you wish you had?

Can you help me here?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Purring and Emmaus

It’s been a good day.

I was purring earlier…I’m sure of it. Nelson got the mower running so I mowed the yard. It was getting so long I was going to need a tractor to make the first cutting and some kind of bailer.

Then I made a wonderful fruit salad in the afternoon. We took down the ramp we had put up for Nelson after his accident. And Nelson purchased my ticket for me to go visit my Mom in Arizona. I’m going to leave on May 27 and come home on June 3. That will give us a full week of Scrabble!

Now I’m watching the race and flipping over to catch the score of the baseball game.

I got a call from Pastor a little bit ago and his first question was: How flexible are you? First he asked me to prepare a monologue, then he said we might be able to use it due some other things that were needing to be in the service (I was way okay with that…I know how important it is to be flexible), then he emailed me yesterday and said that we were going to use it. I’m completely flexible.

The thing that is causing the need for all this flexibility has to do with a presentation of a service project. The week before Easter our congregation reached out to a family in our community and did an Extreme Makeover of their home. We called it “Extreme Renewal.” It was an awesome thing. So many people within the congregation and the community gave so much in time, talent, and support. In the service there’s going to be a video presentation and a time for participants to share. That’s the part that may bump the monologue—it’s just next to impossible to figure out who and how many may want to share.

So here’s the plan. We’re going to play the 8:30 service by ear, but it probably isn’t going to happen. The crowd is much smaller in the 9:30 is much smaller so there may be less sharing, but Pastor wasn’t sure. The 11:00 service is much more traditional and the pastor who headed up the project (the paper did a piece on the project and called him “the Ty Pennington of Extreme Renewal) has to head over to the Alternative Worship Time in the other building so he probably won’t take as long. So this service will probably be the one I’ll make the presentation—if I do it at all. Just call me Gumby.

Now here’s the monologue (it’s from Luke 24:13-35 and comes from the perspective of Cleopas’ wife):
What a day. My feet ache. I’m so tired, but I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep.

First, it seemed so hopeless. There was such sadness and confusion among the followers of Jesus. We had such hope. We believed he was the one. But then came the cross. And he was gone.

Then this morning there were strange reports by some of the women. They said they had gone to the tomb and found it empty. It was said that Mary saw Jesus. That he talked to her. Peter reported it too. But it was so hard to understand. Our hearts were so torn…it was just too much. Cleopas said that we should just come home. So we did.

As we walked, we talked. Really I talked and talked. Cleopas says I chatter. I do that sometimes when I’m distressed. I couldn’t help it. I just wanted to know why. Why did the master have to leave us? Why wasn’t he the one to free us? Why did it end this way? Why would the women make up such a story? Why, why, why? There I go again…(deep breath).

So while we were walking and I was talking, this man walked up beside us. It nearly scared me to death. You just don’t do that. These aren’t safe days. And to just interrupt our conversation like he did was rude.

What we couldn’t believe was the question that he asked. What were we talking about? What else? Cleopas’ response was almost as rude as the stranger’s question: have you been sleeping under a rock these last three days? Cleopas told him that we were talking about Jesus, who was a prophet, and whom we had hoped would free us.

Now what came next had a strange tugging at my heart. The stranger became somewhat rude. He called us foolish and used Cleopas’ own word, saying that we were slow to believe all that the prophets had taught. Then he talked us through the scriptures showing us how Jesus truly was the fulfillment of all the promises.

By that time we arrived at the house. Cleopas is so generous; he invited the stranger to stay with us and have something to eat. He wanted to hear more. I did too, but I was tired and we hadn’t been home. I didn’t know what there was to eat.

I put some bread out and a few other things. The stranger took the bread, lifted it to toward heaven and as he blessed it and broke it---we had seen him break the bread that fed the thousands. We had seen him break bread with the disciples…It was Jesus—but just as his name was about to come to our lips---he was gone.

He disappeared. It was Jesus. That’s why my heart was so moved as he talked of the promises. Cleoplas and I stood there for a moment and then we both headed for the door. We ran all the way back to Jerusalem. It was as if we were Elijah running from Mt. Carmel after witnessing the power of God.

When we got there we found the followers. We were so excited to tell them that we had seen Jesus. We had talked with him. The women were right. He had appeared to Peter too.

I felt badly that my despair had kept me from recognizing the Master. As I looked into his eyes all my questions seem to fall with the crumbs as he broke the bread. He walked with us and talked with us. He is alive and he wants us to know that he really did come to set us free.

What does your birthdate mean?

Ok, sometimes I do this things for fun. Sometimes there's stuff in them that applies to me. I have never taken one where it was so spot on that I sat there speechless...until now.

Here's what it said:

Your Birthdate: April 9
You are a born idealist, with more pet causes than you can count.You prefer be around others, both when working and while relaxing.Generous and giving, you believe you can change the world one person at a time.You're open minded and tolerant. People feel like they can tell you anything.
Your strength: Your go-with-the-flow flexibility
Your weakness: Your flair for the over dramatic
Your power color: Pine green
Your power symbol: Circle
Your power month: September
What Does Your Birth Date Mean?

So here's what blew me away:
1. I'm extremely idealistic.
2. I'm an extrovert that does need to be around others. Though, I am finding that I also like the quiet of being alone.
3. My fixation on changing the world one person at a time was what drew me to Chaplaincy ministry and ultimately was my undoing...I crusade causes and sometimes see people as cause to crusade. Ick.
4. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me that I was easy to talk to or that they had never told that to anyone before. I wouldn't ever need to work again. Sigh.
5. Flexible--hah! I've so often said that I'm so flexible you should call me Gumby.
6. I hate my penchant for the dramatic.
7. What I could tell you about green...oh my!
8. The circle. I could write a book here and probably could. I came to embrace this symbol as a fundamental teaching tool about the balance of life and faith. I teach from it, preach from it, and refer to it all the time.
9. I don't know about September, but I may consider it!

Now here's a weird thing about this: Remeber the guy I work with who was making me crazy and who I finally decided I couldn't work with and wouldn't work for? That guy has the same birthdate as me.

Well, enough of that. The day is already slipping away and I want to suck the life out of every moment! TTFN

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Studdly Do Right

It’s Tuesday and for two days now I’ve been on the stud press machine. I have a few more aches and pains---okay, a lot more. My hands are sore and my right knee is aching quite a bit. But even still, I have a smile. I smile a lot more. I don’t have any idea what I’m doing tomorrow---it’s all an adventure!

I got an email from Pastor and here are the scriptures/themes he’s looking for monologues on:
***April 23 – The Two on the Road to Emmaus – Luke 224:13ff
April 30 – Jesus appears to the disciples and to Thomas – John 20:12-29
May 7 – Jesus with his disciples results in the great catch of fish – John 21:1-14 cf. Luke 5:1-11
***May 14 – Jesus restores Peter – John 21:15-24
***May 21 – Five times the risen Christ presents the Great Commission. Focus on them. This is Faith Promise Sunday.
May 28 – The risen Jesus Ascends into Heaven. Acts 1:1-11
***June 4 – This is Pentecost Sunday, so we’ll do Acts 2 to begin our year long journey through Acts
***June 11 – The continuing presence of the risen Christ in His Church – Rev. 1 (Jesus walking among the “candlesticks”)
I got this email this afternoon and I’ve been giving some thought to which texts I’m going to write on. I think I’m going to work with the ones that I put asterisks beside.

For Sunday, I’m going to do the monologue from the perspective of Cleopas’ wife. The biblical account of the Emmaus encounter with the risen Christ says that he comes upon two disciples and names one, Cleopas. The very fact that they don’t name the other makes me wonder if it might have been his wife---quite often women went nameless. So, she’s going to recount the story. I’ll share it with you when it’s all done.

I have a lot of ideas for Peter. I just want to be sure to get someone who can really present the piece dramatically---aka: not be afraid to cry. Nelson would do so wonderfully, but already told me that he couldn’t see himself hobbling up there.

For the piece on the 5 presentations of the Great Commission, I’m thinking of a reader’s theater—maybe.

Pentacost will be a recounting that comes from a woman in the crowed. And I don’t have a clue about the last one, but I’m sure it will stretch me.

This continues to be an exciting time for me. Maybe you caught that!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

TIme For Change?

In A Welcome Field

He walks the furrowed row of earth scattering his seed,
Working all alone against the dust and the heat,
Looking to the distance and the acres left to sow,
Hoping for a harvest in each handful he throws.

Some will fall along the pathway
Where the root will not take’
Some the birds will steal;
Some will fall into the good ground
And flourish in the life found
In a welcome field.

The Father sows His Word like a farmer sows his seed;
It falls where hearts are hardened and gets choked by the weeds,
In places it will blossom and a crop of life will start
If the seeds of truth are planted deep in the heart.

Some will fall along the pathway,
Where the root will not take;
Some the birds will steal;
Some will fall into the good ground
And flourish in the life found
In a welcome field.

This was a rough week for me at work. Tuesday I wrote about some of my frustration. I deleted the entry because I just felt like a complainer, and I was afraid that the company eavesdropper might be lurking around the corner. Then I couldn’t believe it, but it got worse on Wednesday! I ended up writing a letter to Ed to formerly request a different placement. Then on Thursday and Friday I worked alone.

As much as I enjoy working with the folks in my workspace, there is one thing I definitely like about working alone. I grab my CD player and jam to the music I want to listen to. One of the CD’s I grabbed was a Fernando Ortega. I like his style and stuff.

Above is one of the songs I listened to by Ortega. I was so impressed by the song that I was very close to changing the name of my diary to Welcome Field. I have loved the parable of the soils. I was totally impacted by Godspell’s presentation of the story. I want to be the welcoming and producing soil. I have a lot to work on to make that real—but work I will.

On Thursday I started listening to some Josh Groban and then followed it with a CD I had gotten a while back but not listened to: The Best of Simon and Garfunkle. It was fun to listen to the "old" songs and remember where I was when the first came out (sure made me feel old). But another thing I realized was the strong impact those songs and those words had on my faith and my self-esteem. Wow.

So that had me thinking (especially in light of my Welcome Field thoughts...): what had I been doing to be a welcome field. As much as I enjoyed the trip down Memory Lane, I decided I needed a better musical diet, so I fed my spirit many more hours of praise-full music. And I noticed, quite clearly, a distinct shift in my mood and in my productivitiy--a change clearly for the good.

And on another the end of worship service this morning Pastor came up to me and asked me if I was still interested in writing some monologues to be used as sermon helps. Interested? Abosolutely!!!! So he's going to give me some of the biblical characters that his sermons are going to focus on and I'm going to get busy! I'm so excited. This is going to be fun.

Oh, wait and one more really super thing happened today: one of my mostest favoritest professors taught our Sunday School class. I felt like a learner again. I've missed feeling that way. It's a good attitude to take into my new writing adventure!

How am I going to sleep tonight?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

It’s my birthday. I am 49 today. I started the day off at church. I sang a solo, “Broken and Spilled Out.” It’s the first solo I’ve sung at this new church. It was received well. Three of us in our Sunday School class share this birthday so Nelson and I provided bakery decorated (yummy) cake (one white and chocolate) for our class. I read from Dr. Suess’ “Happy Birthday to You.” It was fun. After class Nelson took me to lunch at Ruby Tuesday. We went there because there was a $5 coupon in the paper yesterday. I had ribs---they were luscious and melted in my mouth…mmmmmmmmmm!

Last week Nelson and I went and purchased a new washer and dryer since ours was barely limping along. This was my birthday present. They’re Maytag, quiet, and wonderful. I’m quite happy. Nelson also bought me a Pooh pendant/locket watch. It’s quite pretty. Beth got me some Glade scented oil candles. They’re so nice. They make me feel pampered. Ann (and the kids) were here this week and she cleaned my refrigerator (quite a needed and awesomely appreciated gift).

Yesterday I went to a rummage sale and got a bag of clothes for $2. I got 6 summer shirts and a faux suede skirt (that I wore to church this morning). I’m wearing my Pooh sweatshirt that has a big 49 on it. It says “Pooh Cuteness.” It fits in many ways!

Now I’m going to relax, watch baseball and the race. This evening, as is our denominations tradition, we will be having a three-fold communion service. It will be my first since joining the church. I’m looking forward to it.

I celebrate life today. I celebrate friends. I celebrate my faith. I celebrate---just because I can! Blessings to you and on you! Hugs and Hershey kisses.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Tonight is my 30+1 class reunion. And I feel like such a kid: a bundle up muddle of mixed emotions.

Recently I’ve spent some time looking over photos and annuals. I was trying to remember faces and events. I came away with many smiles, but also with some sadness.

I moved the summer between 8th and 9th grades. I was really just connecting with a lot of people in junior high and was really excited about the transition to high school. Then my dad announced that we were moving. Devastation barely describes the deep of my newly discovered teenage angst.

We moved from a quaint small town to eastern suburb of Columbus, Ohio. It was culture shock, plain and simple. Dad had found a brand new subdivision and bought one of the first homes built. We were now on the out edge of the world so it seemed with no one around us. I had no opportunity to make any friends before school started. I was totally alone and terrified.

I remember those first steps on campus. As I walked toward one of the buildings the cement sidewalk seemed to double in size, or was that just me shrinking in my fright? Providence, in retrospect, clearly had a hand in what happened next for the first connection I made was band.

My peer group for the next four years was located pretty much within the confines of the band and choir. From that pool there was a subset of people that were closely associated with the academic challenge team (In the Know as the program was then called on TV) that I was particularly close to.

Nelson teases me about being boy crazy. For a long time I denied that, but my recent walk down Memory Lane confirms his observation and a few other things I’m not very proud of. I desperately wanted to be loved, but was involved in two types (maybe three) of relationships. In one I was constantly pursuing relationships I couldn’t have, guys that were “too good” for me, weren’t interested, or in one case: bad boys. Then there were the relationships that I took the role of manipulator. I was in control and control I did. The last relationship was one I could have but never felt worthy to have. It was such an on again off again thing. There was deep love and an almost spiritual connection, but I never seemed to be able to sustain it.

Needless to say with all this going on I was labeled quite the flirt. I hurt way too many feelings and garnered a deserved but disdained reputation. I lost most all of my girlfriends over it and couldn’t trust the guys to be really caring about me as a person. I was pretty miserable. I wish I could say things improved when I moved on to college, but it was the same song next verse with an interesting bridge.

There have been many times I have said that there isn’t enough money in the world for me to go back and be a teenager again. I’ve repented of that hasty remark—after all, there’s a lot of good I could do with that money. I’ve also said I’d go back if I could know what I know now. In my reflection this week, I decided I probably did know a lot of what I know now. I would just need to trust it enough to do it.

So I started thinking about the three lessons I would take back with me if I could do it all over again. And I think I came up with a pretty good short list. First, I would put my girlfriends first. I wasted so much energy and heart chasing boys to find some kind of completion and hurt the people who really knew, understood, and loved me unconditionally. Relationships with girlfriends last. Then, I would either tattoo it or get a huge poster and hang it on my wall that I amazingly talented, extraordinary, intelligent, and wise. I never believed I could do anything. I never really got any encouragement to do anything, to be anyone. I thought I was destined to be a runner up. I couldn’t even finish first in a contest of one. I never really applied myself—what was the point? Such an unfair untruth. And finally, I would start to savor the moment much, much earlier. I spent so much time and energy rushing to get ahead, arrive somewhere, that I missed the treasure of the current. I know this because I absolutely love staring into Asher’s face, cooing with him, noticing every change and nuance. I must have done this some with the girls, but not near enough.

Well, it’s time to get ready. I’ll let you know how it goes.

It went wonderfully. We were all showing off pictures of kids and/or grandkids. There was lots less hair and bigger bellies. The old adage that people don’t change was quite true for some—many in fact. And a couple of the guys that I just thought were the hottest things breathing when we were in high school just lost some of that luster over the years. I just made me smile.

One of the best parts of the evening was reconnecting with one of my very dearest friends. We had stayed in touch until 1989 and then life happened. Seeing her was wonderful. We will stay better in touch now.

The other best part was the hug and dance I got from one of my greatest high school sweethearts. He will always own a piece of my heart. What really surprised me was how I melted when he took my hand. Out on the dance floor we swayed to a classic Barry Manilow song, “Looks Like We Made It.” Time vanished and it was 1973 again. My heart is so happy that life is good for him right now.

Bottom line: I almost didn’t go. Our car broke down yesterday. I had a migraine on Friday. I was starting to wonder why so much seemed to be saying not to go? But I’m am so glad I went. I am very, very thankful that a couple people took on this fete and gave us a wonderful evening.

Now we look forward to 2010. The pictures should be quite interesting then!