Monday, July 31, 2006

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

I went shopping tonight. I only have one pair of shorts that are comfortable to wear for working out at Curves, and they’re not perfect. They’ve gotten a little bigger and that’s not good since I bought them at a garage sale by mistake—they’re maternity shorts (no insert). So, I have this annoying and extremely unattractive pooch in the front.

So, I went to my favorite little shop: Goodwill. They had no shorts for me. I did however find a couple pairs of jeans. Allow me a brief digression: I went shopping on Sunday in my closet and dresser and found that I could get into a pair of size 16 jeans and also into my size 14/16 pants! That felt quite good. Well, I was feeling a bit brave so I tried on 16’s at Goodwill. Keep in mind: Goodwill is generally used clothing, used jeans mean washed jeans, mean smaller—typically: THEY FIT!!!!!!! I quit being sad about not finding shorts. My mood went soaring!!!

Today I walked 27,198 steps, 4933 aerobic steps, 977 calories, and 9.44 miles. I’m sort of exhausted when I think about it.

It’s been so hot here that they’ve issued a heat advisory. To address that and take care of our employees, the management of the factory where I work decided to offer us the option of working 5-1:30. Everyone accepted the offer—except the crew I supervise. That will probably work out okay, since they’re packing parts faster than we can make them right now. They’ll come in at 7.

No word back on my letter.

Nelson is up to 8 minutes on the treadmill at a speed of 1.2 miles per hour.

I think I’m going to go to bed. Exhaustion is definitely setting in.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Deep Breath

I had to take a lot of deep breaths today. It helped a little. I just couldn’t believe it. And yet I should have absolutely not been surprised.

Right before lunch we were running out of parts to package. I knew that the production line had a basket about 2/3 full that would be ready. I knew that the plant’s production manager (my boss) had put a rush on the work so that my crew would have work to keep them busy. I told the crew (twice) that we were going to work until the parts were done. It was 10:50 so I told them to head to lunch and the basket would be there when they got back.

I was detained 5 minutes by a phone call and when I arrived in our work area the crew had signed out. They had decided that they didn’t want to finish the work and not have anything to do tomorrow so they left. Well, I used my anger energy to move my feet to my office and called the director of T-Net and let him know what had happened. Fortunately, I reached him before they did. He chewed them out and two of the crew came back. One of them said she didn’t want to work. The other knew he was wading in deep doo-doo so he tried schmoozing and blowing smoke. I sent them home. There is no work until Friday.

After they left I talked to the director again. I told him they came out. I told him I sent them home. He told me they told him that I never told them to work until the parts were gone. Friday morning we’re going to have a meeting where they can call me a liar to my face.

I’m a rehearser. I practice anticipated conversations. I’ve done this since I was a child. Some attribute this to being raised in an alcoholic family and my need to be prepared for anything that came my way. After about 20 rehearsings and rehashings, I just had to tell myself to stop! I was alone in my work area and I just started talking/praying out loud.

“God, I don’t want to do this any more. It doesn’t help me to feel better to keep going over this. I don’t want to feel angry. I don’t know why I expected anything other than what I got. These folks are in this position because this very kind of behavior, this very lack of work ethic. I don’t need to think about this. Help me to move on, to do my work, to keep only positive and helpful thoughts. Thank you.”

It was a good prayer. I had to pray it (sort of again) after I got home and Nelson asked how my day went. I was able to regain my peace about it.

I’m still going to Curves. Nelson is still working hard at therapy. Beth took Asher to Sears to get pictures taken. It’s hot here. I had thought about mowing but took a shower instead. The grass will be there tomorrow.

Speaking of Curves…I bought a pedometer. I used it yesterday and was pretty impressed with how I did—then it reset itself, because I hadn’t set it right. Grrrrr. Today it worked right. As of right now, 12241 steps, 409calories, 4.25 miles. I feel good about that. I know that it’s keeping me moving at work. I take the longer path to reach where I’m going. And I am feeling good about it. And that’s what really matters.

Oh, and I sent the letter—after I made the corrections. Guess we will really see what we see.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Yesterday was such a nice day. It cooled down so much that we put the screen in the front window, turned off the AC and open wide the front door. It rained off and on most of the day. At one point it was such a gentle rain. I felt completely relaxed.

I remember a conversation I had in therapy way back when we lived in Kansas City. My therapist suggested that in my life I needed that kind long soaking rain spiritually and emotionally. He was right then---and it’s true now as well.

A phrase that rumbles around in my brain now and then comes from Phinneas Brezee (leader in the Church of the Nazarene back in the late 1800’s): I want to be under the spout where the glory comes out. And I just want to soak and soak and soak.

There was an advertisement in our local paper yesterday and larger town’s Sunday paper today for adjunct professors for our local university. I want to teach. Sometimes I want to so bad that my heart literally aches. But the fear I have is stronger even still. I remember how devastated I felt after doing all that prep work for the courses I had been hired to teach before being character assassinated by some “well-meaning” citizen.

So here’s what I did. The newly elected president of the university is a member of our Sunday school class. I wrote him a letter. I wanted to know if there was any chance whatsoever of my getting hired to teach as an adjunct professor. Here’s the letter: (The first paragraph refers to the Sunday school class this morning where Dr. F and some other people shared about the ministry of the Brethren Church in India. The comment about sewing machines refers to the Sewing School that empowers Indian women by teaching them a trade and then providing them with a sewing machine—through the gifts of others.)

July 23, 2006

Dear Dr. F,
First, I just want to let you know that Nelson and I really enjoyed and were challenged by your presentation in Sunday school. We’ve even discussed giving a sewing machine for Christmas. Nelson also commented that if we passed the envelope more than once a month we could sponsor more than one pastor, too. I think we’ve caught the vision.

The main reason for my writing is to check with you about the advertisement I saw in both the Atown and Mfield papers regarding the university’s need for adjunct professors. This is a position that I am extremely interested in, but one that I fear may beyond my reach.

A couple years ago, before we moved to Atown, a woman who is a trustee at Urbana University, who knows me very well, recommended me to the Chair of the Humanities department to teach a couple courses (Personal Philosophy and Christian History). I put a LOT of work into preparation for these courses and was quite excited. I taught the first night of the philosophy course and the next day was in the process of preparing for the first class of the history course when the dean called. It seems that someone called him and completely embellished the truth, and painted a horrible picture of me both as a person, and as a criminal. I was immediately fired and completely devastated. It wasn’t until almost six months later that the trusted friend (and trustee) learned what had happened and informed me. By then, there was nothing that could be done.

In April 2003 I worked with Dr. R, director of the counseling program, to present my “story” to the ethics course of the counseling program at the seminary. Briefly, in 2001 I turned myself in and was convicted of the crime of sexually battery. I served time in jail and am about to complete my time under the equivalent of probation.

Over a year ago now, I had a conversation with Mr. R (company owner). He offered, that if I hung at the factory position for a year, he would use his influence to help get me a position teaching with the university. I was deeply touched, but never pushed or pursued that based on my earlier experience. I know that I’m qualified. I have three Master’s degrees, two from ATS (MA in New Testament and Pastoral Counseling) and an M.Div from the Nazarene Seminary. But I know that no matter what I know or how well I might do, I might be disqualified by my actions. So I am writing to see what the university’s position is and what my chances might be.
I understand you are extremely busy and I deeply appreciate your taking a few minutes to address this matter for me. Continued blessings on your ministry through the university.


I guess we'll see what we see.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Thank-fully Stuff

I am feeling good.
I joined Curves this week, on Wednesday, and have worked out twice. I like it. I like it, a lot! And it’s going to do something really good for me. I have struggled with being famished when I get home from work. I have started with a snack and ended up eating almost an extra meal. This has stymied my weight loss progress. The two times I’ve worked out I worked out after work and I am in no ways hungry when I get done! It’s wonderful.

Today, after working out, I treated myself to a yummy salad at Friendly’s. I thought it was my night to provide a meal for a lady in our Sunday School class who recently was diagnosed with breast cancer and had mastectomy of the left breast and this week learned that she’ll have to have the right breast removed in August. When I called to suggest going out to dinner, she informed me that someone else already provided her dinner. Huh? I had my mouth all set for a yummy salad out somewhere.

When I got home, Nelson suggested I still go out. So I did. I took a book with me. Ordered a carafe of coffee. Ate my salad. Drank my coffee. Read my book. And enjoyed a Happy Ending Sundae. I love those Sundaes because they’re small enough that I don’t feel like I’m being bad, but so lulicious that I am completely satisfied! Only problem was, it cost too much. The meal was good. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t worth what I paid. I could have eaten at a really nice restaurant for less. Sigh. I need to remember it’s just not worth it the next time I get a hankering for a sundae.

I’ve really been working on my attitude at work. I was finding myself grumbling about all kinds of things. It wasn’t the kind of grumbling you do TO someone else, rather it was the kind you do under your breath ABOUT someone. Typically, it had to do with ignorance or laziness—two things that I’m too easily irked about at work.

Each time I find myself headed down that road, I remind myself that no one can steal my joy and contentment unless I leave the door open and invite them in. People are just going to be people, and that means they’re going to be ignorant and lazy. I don’t have to carry that. I’ve maintained an attitude of “let it go.” And it turned out to be a better week for me. That’s good, because it was a little longer of a week, going in to start work at 5am on Thursday and Friday. Yeah, for overtime!

I must confess though, that I had to shake my head a few times. First, on Thursday, a couple of the guys were having a loud conversation and throughout it they were dropping the “F” bomb. I went over to them and very nicely, and with a large dose of humor asked them how they would feel if Mr. R (company owner) would back there with some guests? They decided it wasn’t appropriate. So, I suggested they stretch their vocabulary and use some different adjectives. The one guy looked at me and as seriously as a heart attack said, “I’m not being negative—that’s as positive as I get.” He thought that “adjectives” was related to his “attitude.” I had to explain the difference.

Today, the crew finished packaging an order, and instead of moving to the next order (and possibly not completing it) they chose to go home at 2:30 (more like 2:15). I used the time to commandeer a tow motor and put away some packaging materials that had come earlier in the day. As I re-entered the packaging area I realized that whoever plugged in the hand operated pull behind (Big Joe) had it blocking my path. Big Joe gets plugged into a battery charger every night. Now, do this one must join the plug from the battery to the plug from Big Joe. That’s not how I found it. Whoever plugged Big Joe in plugged the battery directly into him—this is a sure ticket for frying the circuits. I’ll have to address this on Monday. Nelson bets that “no one” plugged Big Joe in. He’s probably right.

Sigh. Some days it’s really hard to stave off the frustration. Then I remember it’s Friday and I am abundantly thank-full for the weekend. And that very thought makes me smile. Having spent 20 years in ministry, I never really understood why people “lived” for the weekend. I didn’t really have a weekend. I worked everyday—and extra on Sunday. Now—I get it! And now, I treasure that down time—I’m actually quite jealous for it.

So, enjoy your weekend. Stay cool. We’re supposed to be a couple degrees cooler so I guess I’ll mow. Yehaw!

Oh wait—I almost forgot. Nelson had an appointment with his doctor this morning. He was released to walk again—just don’t pull out the stiches! So he actually walked on a treadmill at physical therapy!!! He had a major improvement in the range of motion in the ankle. This is wonderfully wonderful!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sweeties Weekend

Saturday was a wonderful mema sort of day. Ann and Travis were going to a Cincinnati Reds baseball game (about 2.5 hours from their home). They were going with a bunch of people from one of Travis’ ball teams. They were also going to make a day of it in Cincinnati (the game didn’t start until 6:00pm). Ann asked if I would watch the kids.

(Just an aside…isn’t it interesting. I live 2.5 hours away. Travis’ parents live 8 miles from the kids. I was the one who was asked. They are nice people, just not the all day babysitting kind.)

I said of course I would.

So, I got up as early as I would on a regular work day, drove across the state, and got to spend the day with my two grandsweeties.

Now, I think I’m beginning to understand why we have children when we’re young! Penelope is 2.5yrs old and Caden is 8mo. For some reason, neither of them decided that they needed to take a nap. Fortunately, Caden went to bed at 8:30 and Penelope at 9:00 and Mema at 10!

Penelope and I have a wonderful connection. I’m one of her favorite toys. Caden is a completely different story. I don’t know him. We did better yesterday, but I don’t know how to read him like I do Penelope or Asher. I may need a few more Saturdays to feel comfortable and competent with that little guy.

Yesterday was also an anniversary for Nelson and I. Those of you have been with me a while know that Nelson and I celebrate 3 anniversaries a year: our first date, our engagement, and our wedding. I am quite blessed to have a man who remembers them all and uses each opportunity to do something quite special for me or us as a couple. I wasn’t sure with everything that happened this week if he would have time to do anything or even get a card. I was wrong.

As I was leaving yesterday, Nelson pointed out that a card had been delivered for me. It was one of those really heart warming, romantic Hallmark cards and tucked in the envelop was also a plastic card—for Barnes and Nobles!!!!!!! What a good man I have! Now I just need to find some time to run down to the next town to the south and browse, shop, and maybe even enjoy a decadent cup of extremely overpriced coffee. Mmmmmmmm!

This morning I got up at 4:30am and drove home so that I could be at church in time for worship team practice at 7:30am. I made it with time to spare. And I wasn’t exceeding the speed limit either. One of the neatest things about the trip was to be driving home right into a gorgeous sunrise. The colors were so amazing. I counted it as a precious gift and enjoyed it for miles and miles and miles.

Our afternoon has been spent watching Asher—no really watching him. He’s learned to sit up on his own. He was also watching the NASCAR race with us. It was so funny to watch him sitting in front of the TV yelling at the cars as they flew by on the screen. I’m actually about laughed out.

I was going to mow the yard, but the heat index is still over 100degrees and it’s nearly 7:00pm. Nelson and I decided that the grass would still be there tomorrow. Wisdom says it’s really ok to put off till tomorrow what I might be able to do today.

I think I’m going to find something soothing to drink and cuddle up in bed and hopefully fall asleep early. Sweet dreams.

Face of Grace

We saw the face of Grace on Tuesday. One of Nelson’s biggest concerns as he faced his surgery was the starting of the IV. Now, for most people that might not be a big deal, but for Nelson it is a very painful process—typically that is.

We had been hanging out in the surgery waiting area and had already been notified that the surgeon was running about a half hour late. Finally, a green scrub garbed woman entered our curtain area. She greeted Nelson and informed us that she would be starting his IV. I was amazed how well we were able to quash our unified groan.

Quickly, our green garbed angel, who identified herself as Grace, set about the task of locating a vein and gathering her supplies. I wanted to shake my head as she began to work on a vein in Nelson’s right hand. This was never going to work. I bit my lip, struggling with protecting my husband from unnecessary rooting and assuming that I could tell this woman how to do her job.

What happened next amazed us: she loosened the rubber strap and pronounced that she was done. What? One stick and success?

Nelson was the first to speak: “Honey, write down her name. Any time we have to come back, the only woman who can come near me with a needle is Grace. I stopped short of leaping from my chair and hugging sweet Grace. I did thank her profusely. I was deeply appreciative and thankful for her skill and finesse.

Many things happened that day to reassure me that are prayers had been answered. God gave us Grace to bring comfort to my heart and remind me that He was—and is in control.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Surgery Day

At the hospital:
Okay, this is too weird. I brought the computer along today to do some writing while Nelson was having his surgery. As the computer was coming up it told me that it was recognizing internet connections and did I want to connect. So I did! This is so cool. I thought I'd be off-line until I got home whenever that would be...and now I'm posting and entry. Sometimes technology is cool, even when I don't understand it.Nelson is having some of the wires removed from his ankle as they appear to be pressing against his tendon and inhibiting his ability to bend his toes--along with causing him constant pain in his big toe. This was supposed to be out-patient surgery at the office, but here we are at Akron General again--almost a year exactly from his last surgery.Well, I'm going to play some scrabble--while I can. I'll update later at home.

Well, we’re home. The surgery took less than an hour and he was in recovery even less time before they contacted me to come and get him because he was ready to go. Wow!

The doctor left orders that Nelson is to be non-weight bearing for a week. That’s going to be hard. Good thing we still have the walker. It was a little tricky to get in the house but he managed to hop his way in. The problem is that he can’t get upstairs and will have to sleep in the living room. I’m thinking of going to our local furniture store and get him a recliner. It would give him something comfortable to sit in but also sleep in till he can get back to bed.
I spoke with the doctor over the phone in surgery waiting after the surgery. He said he was able to remove the wires, but made some comment that left me feeling/thinking that he wasn’t sure how much mobility Nelson was actually going to get back after this. Time will tell.

Well, I’m off to the furniture store. Be back later.

Ok. I'm back from the furniture store. Well, make that 2 furniture stores. I went into the one where we bought our washer and dryer in April. It's the bigger of the 2. The prices were high and no one talked to me until I decided to leave. Their loss. I went two blocks down the street and found better prices and someone greeted me right when I walked in. I found a terracotta colored, microsuede fabric rocker recliner within the range I could pay. It's a Berkline. When you recline's sooooooo smooth!!!! Like butter. I'm so pleased. It'll be a good chair for Nelson: day and night.

So it's been a good day. Nice surprises. I'm very thankful...and a little bit tired. Bedtime will be early tonight!

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Isn't she adorable!!! (One of these days I'll figure out how to put text with pics...sigh) Anyway, her name is P2. We had a much loved calico many years ago who ran away from home. She's having great fun exploring!!! She's quite soft and gives little kisses. I'm already in love!

Look Who's New At My House

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here's the pic

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

New Sweetie Pic

This was taken on Father's Day after Caden's dedication. We couldn't believe that the girls dressed the boys in the same outfit! I love the sweeties!!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Reflections and Rejoicing

So, I’ve been trying to listen more. Here’s some of what I’ve thought and some of what I’ve heard.

I started working on a new machine…new to me that is. It’s a Telesis pinstamp which I use to put a date stamp on some relatively heavy parts and then I load them on the line. Anyway, I noticed that the rhythm felt familiar. Then I found myself trying to put words to it. The words that came to mind were from the old hymn: It Is Well With My Soul. The phrase was: sorrows like sea billows roll. The next phrase in the song is: whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul. I kept singing it over and over and over…and I felt much calmer this week.

Sometimes I get the funniest thoughts while I’m working and thinking. It occurred to me there in my moments of solitude that I was a little like Superman. You know, he was Clark Kent until he was “needed.” Remember Clark, the mild mannered reporter by day, and superhero when “needed.” I’m a mild mannered materials handler by day and spot on Bible teacher when “needed.” I just wish I was needed more.

One of the descriptions in the Nurturing Silence book for a “noisy heart” is a heart that is struggling with relationship issues. The between people problems that we face can raise the noise levels in our heart. Oates quotes one guy who said he cared too much for his blood to stay in a working relationship that left him with growing anger and discomfort. It reminded me a lot of how I was feeling when I was working in that other area for that guy who had no people skills and even less ability to manage and organize the department. As I read the description I just felt so much better and healthier for having gotten myself out of that situation.

I also noticed something the other day when I was working with the packaging group. They were listening to a really hard rock radio station. I was thankful that I was far enough away that I really didn’t have to be saturated with the noise and negativity. After a bit, I noticed that the station had faded out and all that they were listening to was static. It was like ten minutes before anyone moved to tune the station back in. It seemed like any noise was better than quiet. That so is not the case for me!

On the home front: Something really neat came out of Nelson’s first therapy session on Wednesday. In April at Nelson’s last appointment he got on the scales to check his weight. He weighed so much that it wouldn’t even register. The therapist guestimated that his weight was probably around 375-380 lbs. When he got on the scales on Wednesday, he weighed 339!!! It did so much for his spirit to realize that his hard work has been paying off. And it’s going to just keep coming off. His therapy is at 30min a session this week, next week he’s off, and then he jumps to 45 min 3x a week, and then 60 min! I better get on the stick or he’s going to just outdo me to pieces!!

I had jotted down some other thoughts, but left the paper on my desk at work…fodder for another entry!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Nurturing Silence

Sunday school went well. I was rushing just a bit to get the last 7 rules (we did the first 3 last week) done today. It was also a bit unnerving to have the teacher (a PhD professor from the seminary) that I was filling in for show up for the class. And on top of that both my supervisor and the company owner were in class this week. Then throw in this cough that just doesn’t want to quit---and I’m thankful it went so well.

At one point in the discussion I shared something that I had shared with one of the folks whose journal I read. She has been facing some really tough stuff from her mother’s cancer and other illnesses, her son’s depression, her husband’s struggle with losing his job. She described it as feeling like each issue was crack from an iron skillet in the hand of God. Now, I’m not one to preach in my notes. I shy away from criticism and try to only make positive comments. But I really took a risk to let her know that I didn’t think it was God bonking her with that skillet, but the enemy of her heart and soul. What she needs to see—what we all need to see and experience is that God wants to envelop us in his love and grace. When we face the tough times, God’s deepest desire is for us to experience his presence as the God of all comfort and consolation. I told the class that if they felt like they were being bonked it wasn’t God because God doesn’t even own a skillet—in fact there isn’t even a kitchen in heaven! The point was well taken.

I snuck away for a little time yesterday to take in some quiet. I went to my room, sat in my corner chair, and picked up my copy of “Nurturing Silence in a Noisy Heart” (by Wayne Oates). Oates speaks early to our need to listen more and speak less. This has always been an area of struggle for me. When I get nervous I talk. When I feel the need to negotiate peace (step into my peacemaker role) I talk. When I feel like the party is lagging and dragging I talk. When I have an opinion, an anecdote, or something that will help clarify the discussion I talk. I struggled to listen as a therapist.

Oates points out that Jesus suggests a type of praying that is not “known for it’s ‘much speaking.’ He taught simplicity of utterance. Your “yes is to be “yes and your “no” is to be “no.” Silence is a discipline of choosing what to say and to what to listen. …What you do say…will have a hundred times more influence. If you limit, change, or expand the objects of your attention (your listening), you can become the kind of person you want to be, change the kinds of directions in which you want to go.

I’m going to be reflecting on what I’m reading in my next posts along with seeing how it fits into life. Should make for some interesting writing.