Monday, December 31, 2012

2013... Here I come, ready or not

2013 is going to be a great year.

I'm going to do what I love ('cause life is too short to do anything else)

I'm going to believe in my ideas ('cause if I don't, who will?)

I'm going to take calculated risks ('cause anything worth while is worth taking a chance on)

I'm going to juggle well and do it with a smile ('cause when you smile you keep them guessing)

I'm going to trust others ('cause it means I'm taking a risk)

I'm going to say NEXT to the naysayers ('cause I don't need that negativity in my life)

I'm going to be proud of my failures ('cause it means I'm trying)

I'm praying 2013 brings you everything your heart desires. Keep pushing yourself and keep believing in YOUR ideas. You owe it to deserve it!

Happy New Year!

1.  A week of intense rest and relaxation
2.  Making new friends
3.  Staying home on New Year's Eve with my favorite people
4.  Time to read BOOKS
5.  Reading Christmas cards from old friends
6.  Hope for a very good 2013
7.  Peace in the knowledge that God is in control
8.  Love for my God and my neighbor
9.  Being happy with myself

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What has happened to personal responsibility?

"We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."  Ronald Reagan

Personal responsibility.  There's a concept from the past.

The tragedies of this month have again brought out the question, who is to blame?

Who is to blame for the bad things happening in this country?  Is it the parent's fault?  Is it the school's fault?  Is it the fault of the NRA and the legality of assault rifles?  Is it the fault of the makers of violent video games?  Is it the fault of the doctors and professionals in the field of mental illness?  Is it the fault of vaccines and the possibility of their relationship to autism?  Is it the fault of neighbors and friends not seeing the signs of trouble?  Is it the fault of the high divorce rate and the crumbling of marriage in the US?  Is it God's fault?  Is it the church's fault?

Taking personal responsibility has, for the most part, disappeared.

We want to blame the NRA for lobbying to keep guns available for legal purchase. 

We want to blame McDonalds for the rise in obesity in the US.  I don't know about you, but in order for me to eat McDonalds fries I have to go there and get them and then put them in my mouth and eat them.  Nobody has a gun to my head.

We want the government to take care of our birth control for us, so we don't have to worry about our sexual promiscuity.

We want government to take responsibility for the raising, education and feeding of our children.  

We want our health care paid by the government while we continue to overeat, under-exercise, smoke, drink and use recreational drugs.

We want to retire comfortably without saving money during our working years and preparing for the future.

We want to give the responsibility for all these things, and more, to an institution that has proven itself to be very bad at managing anything and especially bad at managing money.  Why oh why to we continue to look to the government to take care of us.  They have showed us who they are.  We need to stop begging for them to do a better job.  It can't be done.

Personal responsibility.  If you need to depend on someone to help you with a problem area in your life, look for a mentor.  You can find mentors in your life through older family members or friends, neighbors, spiritual leaders, community leaders, the networks of your friends and colleagues.  People like to be asked for help, but they don't want to do it for you.  Don't depend on these mentors to do your work for you.  Take personal responsibility for yourself.

We need to grow up in this country.  Life is hard, but we aren't in it alone.  God knew life would be hard, so he sent his son to reconcile us to him.  He gave us prayer, an opportunity to speak with him.  He gave us church, an opportunity to join with fellow believers for support and fellowship in this tough, tough life on Earth.  I pray for churches to be filled during this holiday season and for people to return to the roots of faith this country was built upon.  We don't need to look any further than the bathroom mirror to discover where change needs to begin.  Let's decide we want to do better for ourselves, not have more done for us. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

768.  Last day of work before my Christmas break
769.  Red velvet donuts from Dunkin Donuts
770.  New carpet day in the rental house renovation
771.  Enjoying the final couple weeks of my son living with me
772.  Reading books for pleasure
773.  Reading blogs for pleasure
774.  Watching movies in the morning
775.  Going to a 9:00 p.m. showing of Lincoln and knowing I don't have to get up for work in the morning
776.  Listening of off-key Christmas carol covers  :)
777.  Thinking about the peace of Christmastime and getting all my work done so I can enjoy it
778.  Organic lettuce and baby greens salads
779.  Vodka made from potatoes
780.  Advent services at church
781.  Thinking about hanging ornaments on the tree, but ok with knowing it may not happen
782.  Three hours of administrative leave on the last day of work in 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Messy Christmas

I hope you thought this blog title was a typo.  Alas, it is not.  This year I'm having a messy Christmas.  I'm not saying it won't be a happy Christmas, but it is messy, none the less.

Long long ago, when I was a sah-mom, I gloried in decorating my house, inside and out, for Christmas.  I looked forward to cranking up the Kenny G and hanging ornaments on the tree.  I loved switching out the everyday towels in the kitchen and bathroom with cute snowman and reindeer monogrammed towels.  There would typically be an entire weekend devoted to baking Christmas cookies and sweet treats for teachers and babysitters and friends and church parties.  I looked forward to setting out the lladro nativity set and telling the Christmas story to my son.  Typically all worked stopped for a Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or It's a Wonderful Life.  It was Christmas for at least a month at our house and I loved it.

I have noticed the past few years, Christmas has been becoming a bit slapdash at my house.  Eventually I get the tree up and decorated and get the Christmas cards written and sent.  Eventually I get my husband to put up the outdoor lights and hang the wreaths on the windows.  Eventually I bake a few cookies for my co-workers and neighbors.  And on Christmas day I cook dinner for my family and whomever else is visiting.  If I don't cook the dinner, then I must be on the road traveling to visit my family far and wide in this great nation.

This year, I believe is the year I don't eventually get much of this stuff done.  This year, Christmas is going to be messy.

I did convince my husband to put up the outdoor lights during half-time of the Redskins game a couple weeks ago, but the wreaths did not make it out of the eaves.  I did get the artificial tree dragged out of the attic.  We hadn't used the artificial tree in so long we didn't remember how to put it together.  After a few sharp words between my love and myself, and finding the reading glasses and an extension cord, the tree is assembled and lit.  There are no ornaments hung on this tree.  I have no idea when that is going to happen.  There are gifts wrapped in logo-stamped plastic bags arranged around the base of the tree, which is in the "living room" we never use because we didn't feel like moving the grandfather clock out of the entryway and putting the tree where we usually put the tree.  I can guarantee that no baking will be happening this year.  This may be good for the waistline, but it's sad for the spirit.  Neighbors and friends are getting wine.  I hope they're good with that, 'cause that's the best I can do.

I'm attempting to write my Christmas cards during working hours.  I know this is wrong, but this is when I can find a moment or two.  I'm shopping for my mom and dad on line and even at that, I'm hoping I ordered early enough to get Christmas delivery. 

I'm going to guess the very first Christmas was a Messy Christmas, too.  There is just something about giving birth that is messy enough, but giving birth in a cow-stall sounds very messy.  Thank goodness for the angels coming to the shepherds and giving them the news of Jesus birth.  I always like to think they were glowing or radiating some form of heavenly light.  I've never been to Israel, but I've been to other countries in the Mediterranean region, so I know there were evergreen bushes and trees.  Who knows, maybe they had Christmas candles in the barn?  They were probably made of tallow, so no sugar cookies scent, but candles.

Christmas will still come whether my decorations are up or not.  The meaning of Christmas will not change because I haven't put out the nativity set.  Christmas will still be Emmanuel and hope coming to Earth.  And Christmas will be full of joy and family and love without a huge Christmas dinner.  I'm crossing my fingers that Netflix streams a Charlie Brown Christmas, but if they don't it will still be Christmas. 

By the way, if anyone wants to buy a nativity set, feel free to email me.  I'm willing to let it go.

754.  Photography bloggers with their Christmas pictures
755.  Bakeries that sell Christmas cookies
756.  Trader Joe's that sell wine (thank goodness I live near VA)
757.  Off-site meetings my boss must attend  :)
758.  The magi Christmas stamps and a US Postal worker wishing me a Merry Christmas
759.  Kenny G on Pandora
760.  A sunny day in December after many gloomy days in a row
761.  The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  (rent this!)
762.  It's a good day in the market
763.  Being invited to houses that are decorated for Christmas like a picture in a catalog
764.  Almost everyone likes wine
765.  Remembering good times with old friends when I write their Christmas cards
766.  Children's Christmas pageants at church
767.  Christmas carols

Monday, December 17, 2012

Waiting for God

Isaiah 30:18, So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.

As Christmas day draws closer and closer, some of us may find some of our company finding it more and more difficult to wait for that special day to arrive.

I know I have a difficult time waiting.  In fact, there have actually been times I've considered becoming a thief, just to avoid waiting in endless checkout lines in stores.  There have been times I have muttered curses while waiting in traffic, just to be behind the person who needs the green light to become an even GREENER light before they will venture out into the intersection.  And, I must admit, I have very little patience in waiting for my son to do almost anything I ask of him.  (for some reason his timing and my timing are very, very different)

In Luke 2:21-40 there is a story about waiting.  Simeon and Anna are the two people in this story who waited on God.  All we know of Simeon is in verse 25, Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  What we know of Anna is from verses 36, 37, and 38, And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.  She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. 

These two waited for the coming of the Messiah their whole lives.  They believed in the promise that Israel would be reconciled to God through the coming of Jesus.  Suddenly, one day, just like any other day each of them spent at the temple, a small family came to the temple to offer sacrifices in obedience of the Levitical Law regarding the birth of the first son.  Because Jesus' family was poor, the sacrifice was a pair of turtledoves and not a lamb.  The Holy Spirit alerted both Simeon and Anna to the identity of this child and their waiting was ended.

Waiting on God is difficult to be seen as a privilege, but I believe it must be.  Waiting with patience and confidence would certainly be a trait of maturity.  When I see someone actively pouting while waiting in a long line at the grocery store or the Wal-mart, I don't think to myself, "wow, that is one mature individual."  No, I don't.  Ditto with the horn-blarer at the green light.  I've even seen fellow christians spend money they cannot afford, as well as borrowed money, by forcing their own timing instead of waiting for God's answer.  I wonder what the end of the story would have looked like had they actually waited on God's answer?  So when I see this impatience in myself, especially when it comes to waiting on my son's timing, I see opportunity for growth and maturing in my walk with Christ in myself.

As we move through this time of Advent, this time of waiting on the coming of the Messiah, let us strive to show confidence in what we are waiting for.  As we struggle with the brokenness of this world and the tragedies and wars and disappointments, let us remind each other of the confidence we can have in our God.  He has overcome the world.

I found this little image on facebook.  When I looked at it I thought that this little slice of the pie, Wait for His Answer, was the toughest one of these for me to do.  Now, I'm not so sure that each and every slice of this pie isn't a challenge for me, but I will keep leaning on the tenants of my faith and continue to mature as a believer.  I'll not find perfection in my faith, but I will progress and grow.  God is good.

746.  Advent time and the focus it puts on our hope
747.  Knowing that God is in the deepest, darkest places there can ever be, and he is there before any of his children end up there
748.  Fog on the river
749.  A sore back (evidence of hard work, or possibly just weak abs. :))
750.  Husband finding Teacher Barbie in the Navy Exchange (I couldn't find one in Target or Wal-mart)
751.  Someone selling a stove to my son for $1
752.  Looking forward to seeing my small group and rejoicing with them in answered prayer
753.  Finding joy in waiting on God's answer

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Am I helping Girl-11 Family#1 or am I hurting her?

Tuesday I posted about the joy I feel about being able to be a part of bringing Christmas to a family that might not have been able to enjoy a traditional Christmas because of financial hardships.  I am happy about being blessed with enough finances and enough willingness to self-sacrifice and use our financial blessings wisely to be able to share these blessings with others.  It's true, there is real joy in giving.

Today I was looking at the list for the 11-year-old girl I'm giving gifts this year.  She made a list of what she wanted.  This year I don't have to ask my blog readers what the gifts listed are.  She wants clothes and a teacher Barbie.  I can figure this out.  There is a note on my list to tag the items Girl-11 Family#1.  Family#1 is the mom and dad and four children our small group is supporting for Christmas this year.  I will not know Girl-11's name.  She won't get to know my name either, because the school has asked us not to reveal this information.  So, there will be gifts to Girl-11 from "your friend."  This is so impersonal.  This breaks my heart at the same time it brings me joy.

I wish I could go over to Girl-11's house after work today.  I wish I could take her shopping today for Boy-7 Family#1's Christmas gifts.  I wish we could pick out ornaments for her to hang on the tree that will be at her house soon.  I wish we could choose a gift for mom Family#1 and dad Family#1 from Girl-11 Family#1.  Wouldn't that be fun!

What will Girl-11 Family#1 think about her Christmas this year?  What will she think about "her friend?"  Will she wonder who I am?  What about Family#1?  Will they think about the people sharing there blessings with them?  Or, will they think we are just rich people trying not to feel too guilty about our wealth at this "giving" time of year?

I have posted a few times questioning those people who consider themselves poor or whether they are just feeling entitled and are lazy.  I'm not judging Family#1.  I just wonder if I'm helping them or I'm hurting them.  It seems to me that Christian charity shouldn't be anonymous.  It seems to me that Christian charity should have a face and a smile and a hand on someone's shoulder.

I guess I can understand the anonymity the Public School feels is important to protect.  After all, they don't know me from Adam.  It's a shame we are losing community with our neighbors and there is so much distrust, even in a small town.  I'm praying over the gifts I purchase for Girl-11 Family#1 today.  I'm praying that somehow she knows they are from someone who cares and isn't rich, but just wants to share some of the blessings God has given to her.

734.  Christmas shopping for a little girl
735.  Office holiday party (this gratitude is marginal, at best, but I'm putting a smile on my face)
736.  Pandora Christmas stations
737.  Luke 2:1-20
738.  The opportunity to serve Family#1
739.  The color red
740.  Surprise cookie treats from the office supply guy
741.  The movie Elf
742.  Counting the days to a nice long break from work (we get a week and a half off!)
743.  Snuggling under the comforter on chilly mornings
744.  Having a fire in the fireplace ('cause having it in the kitchen would be dangerous)
745.  Seeing nativity sets in people's front yards

I'm sharing (again) with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday's

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Prayer is what makes it a wonderful life

Sometimes prayers get answered in such unexpected ways.

My son is buying a house.  He is buying our house.  This is the house I wrote about a while back.  This house had been a rental property of ours.  The last tenants we had in this house were members of the 47% Mitt Romney spoke about.

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it -- that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."  (and btw, the fact checker at CBS says Romney was right on the money when it comes to the percentage of folks paying no income tax)

If you recall, I said of the four people living in the house; the baby, the grandmother, the father and the uncle, the baby was the breadwinner of the family.  And that's the way the 47% roll.

And, if you recall, I mentioned they lived like animals.  (I'll let you pick which animal, but you cannot choose homo sapien.)  Everything in the house was broken.  Cardboard was taped over broken windows.  The stove was non-functioning and the refrigerator was full of rotting fast food in bags and styrofoam containers.  I could go on and on, but it's Christmas and I don't want to kill any sugar-plum buzzes going on out there.

Ever since we got the very bad tenants evicted from our house my son and my husband have been cleaning and painting and ripping out horrible, very stinky carpeting and replacing windows and tiling bathrooms and fixing plumbing and repairing kitchen cabinetry and replacing light fixtures.  They have been working so hard.  My son is learning how to be a homeowner in one super-crash course of home repair.

My son is becoming a man.  I've prayed for my son ever since the day he was born.  Every mother prays for their children.  But I'm now beginning to see a glimmer of an answer to prayer I had given up on God answering.  Seeing my son move toward independent living and being a homeowner is something I didn't think I would get to see.  Motivation and being a self-starter has never been his strong suit.  For some reason, and I'm not exactly sure what it is, there seems to be a huge number of adults falling into a condition I call "extended adolescence."  My son is 25, so I don't see him on the older end of this condition, because I've seen it in adults even older than he, but he has this condition, nevertheless.

I've watched the way my husband and son interact.  I've watched their relationship grow.  I think I've seen my husband become the father he wished he had.  I've seen him display patience and love and respect to my son and really show him what being a man is all about.  I've developed a stronger appreciation of the gifts of kindness and gentleness and sweetness he possesses.  I'm appreciating what he is and not focusing so much on what he is not.  My husband and I are growing as parents.

Yet, God is good and God does answer prayers.  He uses his own good time and you have to keep your eyes open.  You aren't going to be seeing me sitting back and putting my feet up and relaxing in this answer to prayer.  I'm going to keep on praying for him and for his success in living this life here on earth.  I certainly don't know what the future holds for him, but I do know he is on his way and held safely in God's hands.

I think back to the movie, It's a Wonderful Life and the scene with George's friends and family praying for him.  We hear the prayers being lifted to heaven.  I feel the power of those prayers and I believe in the power of prayer for my son, as well.

The prayer scene at the beginning of the movie.

Mr. Emil Gower: I owe everything to George Bailey. Help him, dear Father.
Giuseppe Martini: Joseph, Jesus and Mary. Help my friend, Mr. Bailey.
Ma Bailey: Help my son, George, tonight.
Bert: He never thinks about himself, God, that's why he's in trouble.
Ernie Bishop: George is a good guy. Give him a break, God.
Mary: I love him, dear Lord. Watch over him tonight.
Janie Bailey: Please, God, something's the matter with Daddy.
Zuzu Bailey: Please bring Daddy back.    

I know there was a time when I doubted God listened to my prayers.  I wondered what the point of praying was if there were no answers forthcoming.  I believed my prayers for my son were noble and should be on the top of God's list.  I was impatient.  Now I see how God used my prayers to change me and my vision of my son.  God gives us the opportunity to pray so he can use those prayers to change us.  He's not a vending machine.  No prayer is more noble than the next, but all prayer changes us to be more of what God wants us to be.

726.  Christmas movies
727.  Courage to ask for a raise (you can pray about that for me if you like)
728.  Seeing answer to a long time prayer
729.  Seeing prayers answered quickly
730.  Getting Christmas cards from old friends
731.  Poinsettias
732.  Cars with reindeer antlers on them
733.  The blessing of not having to enter the house until all the work in it is complete.  My son wants me to have the Big Reveal

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A bird pooped on me

This morning while walking from my car to my office a bird pooped on my hand.  I've heard getting pooped on by a bird can be considered good luck.  I can't imagine why this is something some people think, but evidently it is.  Maybe there is something about the randomness of it?  Maybe it's because it's a good thing cows can't fly?  Who knows?  Anyway, today ended up being a very good day.

This morning I got to work and my boss gave me 2 lbs. of my favorite coffee.  He told me he was in Trader Joe's and he just thought of me and the fact that he knows I like TJ's coffee, so he bought it for me.  Then I got a call from my girlfriend.  She had the name of a family with real Christmas needs this year.  There are four children and a mom and dad that are really hurting this year.  My small group bible study is giving them Christmas from soup to nuts, and by soup to nuts I mean a decorated tree, gifts, Christmas dinner and groceries and heating oil for a month.  There is just something about sharing the joy of the Christmas season with a family that really needs it.  Both the mom and dad have been laid off work since the summer.  (yeah, I know I'd love to get 99 weeks of unemployment, but I wouldn't want to lose my husband's pension.  I know I'm blessed.)  I found the perfect gift for my son, and I didn't even have to leave my desk.  I was able to give someone exactly what they wanted for Christmas and it didn't even cost me a dime.  Today APPL is up $10 and you know that's been a long time coming.  One of my co-workers put in his resignation today.  I don't know if I'll actually miss him, but he said he'll miss me.  Then he gave me a giant bag of candy for the candy jar on my desk.  My husband took me to my favorite restaurant for lunch and the special for lunch was my favorite, the seafood bisque.  I haven't even reached the end of the work day and so far, it's been a great day.  I can't wait to see what happens when I get home.

So if you're wondering if it's good luck if a bird poops on you, in my experience, it is. 

716.  My favorite coffee
717.  My favorite soup
718.  Giving someone the perfect gift
719.  Decorating Christmas trees
720.  Driving around at night and looking at Christmas lights
721.  Eggnog (but not too much)
722.  My small group bible study (I know I've said this before, but they are the BEST)
723.  Watching a big pine tree get cut down from my office window
724.  Smelling the scent of pine in my office and at just about every house I visit
725.  Christmas cookies

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Facebook privacy

Isn't this the ultimate oxymoron.

If you've got a facebook account, I'm sure you've seen the status update from your "friends."

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention).  For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!  (Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall.  This will place them under protection of copyright laws, By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook's direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).  Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to
publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates

If you don't want to take my word for it, go to and check it out.  But seriously, and I'm talking to the grown-ups that read my blog, we all know there is no privacy on facebook.  AND, if you don't understand there is not privacy on facebook, you must at least understand that copying and pasting a status update on you facebook page is not going to protect your privacy.  AND, if you don't believe me, at least believe facebook.

Finally, and this may be the best meme I've seen on this subject or anything regarding privacy on the internet.  (hey all you fb blockers and "to all my FB friends: I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you..." folks.)

 Just remember, if you are on facebook with a page or a personal account or a business page or a blog or a website or whatever site you join on the internet.  It's not private.  And for my special friend, Mikey, go ahead, make my day.

709.  Facebook privacy and keeping tabs on people (did I say that?)
710.  Being unfriended on facebook
711.  Being blocked by your Christian friends on facebook
712.  Watching a minister argue about a bible verse with his parishioner on facebook
713.  Liking the facebook page of the Christian friend that blocked you on facebook
714.  Hearing from "friends" with a surprise email at work
715.  Facebook and all it's opportunities 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Soup kitchen Thanksgiving

This year I enjoyed my Thanksgiving dinner at a soup kitchen.

I've spent holidays at soup kitchens before.  Being at a soup kitchen and serving those less fortunate than myself is a great way to stay grateful and to serve others.  I've had the blessing of serving, regularly, for the lunch serving at a soup kitchen in my neck of the woods.  Eventually, I came to know most of the folks that came there by their first names.  Some, I got to know better.  But there is nothing like serving a Thanksgiving meal at a soup kitchen.  People seem to come out of the woodwork to eat Thanksgiving dinner.  In fact, when I've worked a Thanksgiving soup kitchen, the time FLIES by.  Before you know it, it's done.  Then you can go home and eat your own Thanksgiving dinner.

This year, however, I did not serve at a soup kitchen.  This year I ate my Thanksgiving dinner at a soup kitchen.

This soup kitchen.  These folks put out this spread one time a year.  It's a school in Kankakee, IL.  This year three of their guests drove 810 miles to partake in the feast.

Servers rushed around and served us Family Style.  We sat with strangers around tables covered with white table clothes.  The family we sat with counted this Thanksgiving as their seventh at this soup kitchen.  They proudly told me how everything, except their underwear, had been purchased at thrift shops.  They couldn't understand why we had come so far to eat here.  I shared that this was something my mother and father wanted to do.  They had heard it was good and they didn't want the day to be too tiring for my mom.

I admit, I didn't go into this experience with the best attitude.  I was willing to cook and serve and clean-up at mom and dad's house.  I really didn't want to be served at a soup kitchen.  I tried very hard to be positive about this whole thing.  And then I ate the food.  It was not good.  Nothing was freshly prepared.  There were GFS boxes stacked around the room.  This was not what I considered a Thanksgiving dinner.

I have to admit, I'm a little ashamed of myself.  My father insisted that the meal was good.  He was happy there was no clean-up to do.  And, to assuage our reluctance to attend this Thanksgiving event, he planned to prepare a turkey breast just so we could have leftover turkey sandwiches.  And I complained about the pre-cooked; pre-sliced; and reheated in some kind of brownish salty liquid; turkey.  I tried to look around me at all the other guests and consider the situations they found themselves living in day after day.  Nope, couldn't do it.  I was too busy thinking about how bad the boxed mashed potatoes tasted and how bland the gravy was.  I tried to remind myself that Thanksgiving isn't about the meal, but about giving thanks for all our blessings.  It's about getting together with family.  It's a day to set aside a minute or two to be thankful.  But, I was too preoccupied with trying to figure out what that taste was in the stuffing, because it certainly wasn't sage.

So there I was, fully prepared to be thankful and enjoy some time with my parents and I failed.  I was completely in my flesh.  Thanksgiving dinner only comes around once a year.  I love the taste of my stuffing and my gravy is to DIE for.  I think it was Paul the Apostle who said, "I don't understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."  Yep, that's me.  (I guess I should be a little happy.  I found something the Apostle Paul and I have in common.)

I planned to laugh at this situation and even laugh at my parents and their cheapness.  I mean, we could have gone to a restaurant and enjoyed a meal and had no clean-up, but my dad doesn't trust the servers in restaurants.  (Don't even let me go there)  My husband tried to hard to keep me on the straight and narrow.  He kept telling me to "stop talking" and "don't say anything else."  He was able to tell the lie with a poker face.  He just kept saying over and over, "everything is very good."  He's a great son-in-law.

By the way, I'm cooking a turkey this Saturday.  Why couldn't I just sit and chew and smile and think about that?

Thanks so much all you cooks and servers.  I know you gave up a good portion of your day to feed me.  God bless you all.

701.  I serve a God of second chances and Lord knows I need one today
702.  You can cook a turkey any day of the year
703.  A safe trip to and from my parents home
704.  The opportunity for my son to spend some time with his grandparents
705.  Time together for my family (even if it was being trapped in a car together for 14 hours)
706.  Mom's delicious home-made pumpkin pie
707.  I didn't gain any weight from that dinner
708.  The housekeeper from my building is well enough to go home from the hospital today.  AND, she is retiring from working here and moving to Florida to live with her sister.  God is certainly good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy ThanksLiving

"Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly." ~ Henri Nouwen - Dutch priest and author

It's hard to imagine this kind of gratitude, isn't it.  This quote from Henri Nouwen certainly reinforces the truth, gratitude is an attitude involving a conscious choice, it is not just a reaction.  Choose gratitude even when your feelings are less than joyful.  Choose to be grateful instead of complaining.  Choose to speak about goodness, even when you are longing to accuse.  This is the discipline of gratitude.  These are the exercises in the regime of a happy and joyful life.  Sure, life is tough and bad things happen, but you can decide how it is you respond.

"The careless soul receives the Father's gifts as if it were a way things had of dropping into his hand... yet he is ever complaining, as if someone were accountable for the problems which meet him at every turn. For the good that comes to him, he gives no thanks - who is there to thank? At the disappointments that befall him he grumbles - there must be someone to blame!" ~ George Macdonald

George Macdonald was considered by C.S. Lewis to be his master and was an inspiration to J.R.R. Tolkien.  Can you imagine being a fly on the wall during brandy and cigars in that parlor?  George calls it carelessness to accept God's gifts as if they are expected.  It is careless to complain and grumble, as if the problems we come to meet in this walk of life should be considered unexpected.  Choose your attitude in this time on Earth.  Will you have an attitude of gratitude for the generous gifts you have received?  Or will you be a complainer, grumbling at the disappointments that are common in life?  

(On the night he was robbed:) "I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed." ~ Matthew Henry

Wow, you may think Matthew was a "Pollyanna" in his attitude of gratitude, but when you think about it carefully, you can see the benefit.  Finding the blessings in a terrible situation doesn't change the situation.  Finding the blessings and taking an attitude of being grateful for those blessings changes you.  Being robbed is a terrible thing.  It's unfair.  It's wrong.  It's a violation.  Yet, grumbling or anger or fear or bitterness after the fact is not something inflicted on you by the robber.  It's something you inflict upon yourself.  Finding the blessings in a terrible experience can be very healing.  I learned this after my house was broken in Hurricane Irene.

A thankful person tastes joy twice.  Once when something joyful happens and again when gratitude is expressed to God for the joy.

God wants us to be grateful and respond with thanks every day of our lives.  In I Thessalonians 5:18 Paul reminds us, "No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."

My wish is for everyone of my readers and those I love to experience ThanksLiving every day of their lives.  Can you imagine the changes we would see in this world?  Lord, let this change begin with me.

Happy ThanksLiving everyone!

Please continue to keep the housekeeper from my building in your prayers.  Evidently she is not improving, as hoped.  She is in critical condition and on a respirator.  This is very dangerous for anyone, but especially an elderly person.

I'm traveling for the holiday.  I hope to be able to share good news when I return.  I trust, no matter what the future holds, God is good.

691.  My warm comfortable bed
692.  The hot water in my shower
693.  A blow-dryer and big round brush
694.  The option to eat breakfast, if I want to 
695.  My parents (even though they are a little bit crazy)
696.  My brothers and their wives and children (we are a very blessed family)
697.  A reliable car to take us on a 900 mile trip to have Thanksgiving with my parents
698.  Having my son join us on this trip
699.  Readers covering a person they don't even know in prayer (I can feel your prayers, thank you)
700.  Finding out that the purpose of gratitude and thankfulness is to increase the joy in my life

Monday, November 19, 2012

The housekeeper in my building

This is the day the housekeeper at the building you work in asks for a piece of paper and a pencil and you give it to her without even raising your eyes from your computer screen or saying good morning.

She's been working in the building longer than you have, and that's a long time.  She's 70 years old and you have to say everything twice to her, 'cause she can't hear very well.  She doesn't really clean very well, 'cause she's 70 years old and can't really see the dirt anymore.  She shuffles when she walks down the hallway, so you always know she's coming.  She steals the last cup of coffee out of your coffee maker and never makes a fresh pot.  She tells you too many things about her personal life and you find it's easier to act as if you're too busy to listen than to respond with any interest.  She's the housekeeper.  She's always around.  She's kinda like the furniture.  She's always there, but easy to ignore.

She's lower in the pecking order than you are.  So, sometimes, when the workday is particularly stressful, it's easier to get frustrated with her than to be kind.  Every Christmas the building takes up a collection to give her a "Christmas bonus" and you, reluctantly, toss in $5 bucks.  After all, you don't get paid much more than she does and nobody is giving you anything.

You listen to her complain about her granddaughter and how kids these days have no ambition.  You forget she's as old as your mom and her granddaughter is the same age as your son and you forget she's probably the only one in the household with a steady job.  You forget that your lifestyle doesn't depend on the money you make at this job.  You come in every day and you always know, in the back of your mind, that if they treat you poorly today, or they don't give you the respect you feel you deserve, or if your boss gives you a look you don't appreciate, you can leave.  You can take that college degree and eleven years of administrative assistant experience and walk out.  You aren't trapped in this job.  She's been here a long time.  You don't even know how long.  She's got nowhere else to go.  In fact, now that you think about it, you've heard her say she has a second job she goes to when she get's off work here.  She cleans another office building after she cleans this building.  She's 70 years old.  She's the same age as your mom.  She's on her feet all day.  You sit at a computer screen and type and sit in a chair.  When you get home, you're exhausted.  And the 70 year old housekeeper goes to a second job.

She never does her hair.  She gets herself a new wig about every six months.  She wears it like a hat.  Sometimes, when you are feeling a little "less than" about yourself, you laugh at it.  Sometimes she talks to you about cleaning the bathrooms here, and she's gives a little more detail than you'd like to know.  But, maybe, she just wanted to talk to somebody, but you don't want it to be you, so you say "I'm busy now" and she goes away.  She's WAY TOO dramatic when she tells you there is a mouse in the other office or that she saw a snake outside the building or there is a bee in the building.  But, maybe she just wants to talk to somebody.

So, today the housekeeper in the building you work in asks for a piece of paper and a pencil and you give it to her without even raising your eyes from your computer screen or saying good morning.  And then you see an ambulance and police cars pull into the parking lot in front of your building.  And you find out they have pulled a housekeeper out of the river.  At first you don't know who it is, but then you find out it is the housekeeper from your building.  It's awful.  You can't imagine how she came to be in the water.  Everyone is wondering what happened.  While everyone is talking and wondering and speculating, you remember that she asked you for a piece of paper and a pencil.  You hope it doesn't mean what you are afraid it means.

And then they tell you, she left a note.

686.  I just heard that she is breathing on her own
687.  Knowing that some of my readers will pray for her to get well and recover completely
688.  Knowing that God is in this deep dark place, too
689.  Comfort from co-workers 
690.  Being able to give comfort to co-workers

Friday, November 9, 2012

The fall of the Wall

The Wall, erected in the dead of night, divided Berlin for 28 years.  An announcement to the East German people declared travel through the border to the West open this day in 1989.

People rushed to see if it was true.  The border guards, with no instructions as to what to do, let them through.

Commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall, November 9th, 1989.
I'm linking with G-man for a Friday Flash 55

676.  A surprise bushel of turnips
677.  Calm in the face of a trustee meeting
678.  Still seeking peace with a nation I no longer understand
679.  Listening to my husband speak about our son with a touch of pride in his voice
680.  Accepting the gratitude of others
681.  Green holly leaves and red holly berries beginning to show up all over the place
682.  Looking forward to my small group bible study to ponder the results of the election
683.  Crisp days and cold nights
684.  Continuing to socialize myself with cheerful people
685.  Thinking about roasting as many turnips as I could ever eat

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Decision 2012, God is still sovereign

I woke up this morning to more of the same.  I wasn't very surprised.  The difference, at least for me, was that this was my first Facebook election.  It is amazing the things people will say behind their computer screen.  I have to say, some of the statuses and comments have made me question the character of people I thought were "friends."  I'm fairly sure these same strong opinionated folk wouldn't have the same courage of their convictions face to face.  Btw, you don't even want to get me started on the minister and church lady comments.  Do these people know we can SEE them?

Romans 13:1  Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Paul is reminding us that all governing authorities have been put in place by God.  God can raise nations up or tear them down.  In Isaiah 46:9-10 God tells us,  ".. for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me .. My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."  This is the sovereignty of God in a nutshell.  God has the authority to do as he chooses and God has the power to do as he chooses.

Sure, I'm disappointed my guy didn't win.  Sure, I'm disappointed that there will be amendments to my state constitution I don't approve of.  Sure, I'm thinking about moving to Belize.  (just kidding, sorta, kinda)  I see these next four years as another opportunity for me to show my true colors and to trust my sovereign God.  Am I a true follower of Christ?  Do I believe that no matter what happens to me on this earthly walk of life I still am a daughter of the king?  Do I truly believe that heaven is my home?  Will my actions show this to those I meet in this life as well as to my facebook friends?

This campaign was painful to me.  Maybe it was the addition of social media.  This campaign and all its ugliness seemed inescapable.  The additional fact of the expense of both campaigns also sickens me.  If there is one thing I hope we learn from this is that too much is just TOO DARN MUCH.  I believe this campaign was very divisive.  I hope the damage it inflicted on this nation is not irreparable.  I cannot help but reflect on history and think of the pain our nation suffered during the Civil War.  I can't imagine the fear and anger and outrage and pain in the nation at that time.  When I think of that time in history I know I am turning to the same scriptures those christians turned to for comfort.  I pray the same prayers prayed by christians facing war with their fellow Americans.  Yet I have the blessing of seeing how God healed our nation and did not turn his face from us.  This experience should give me comfort.

In Psalm 75:7 the psalmist says, "But it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another."

I encourage my christian friends, both in real life and on facebook, trust God.  Read what the Bible says regarding God's sovereignty.  Have faith.  Be brave and show that faith to everyone you meet and on every social media tweet, status or blog-post you write.  

670.  Living in a nation that settles its elections peacefully 
671.  Facebook.  As much grief as I give those that misuse social media, I do think it has its good side
672.  Digital books.  I really like my kindle, too.  I can read my bible anytime I choose
673.  Having mature christian friends.  Those folks who walk the talk
674.  Having choices.  I am so blessed to have the choices available to me in this life
675.  Vodka.  I think I've said this one before 

 Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Some days it is easy to be thankful, and then there is today

I'm struggling today.  I'm crabby today.  I'm crabby with a capital C.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the election?  I voted this morning.  So, I can't say I didn't accomplish anything today.  (or maybe I can.  after all, I don't live in a swing state.)  It was the first time in all the years I've lived in this county that I had to stand in line (a line the went all the way outside) to vote.  I wonder what that means?

Maybe it's because I had to get up earlier this morning to vote before I got to work.  Maybe it's because I stood in line for 40 minutes to vote.  Maybe it's because I had to stand in line next to a faculty member of the college I work at that has dedicated his life to making my boss (and by association, me) miserable.  Maybe it's because I almost rear-ended the president of the college I work at this morning, as I was hurrying into the office, because he stopped along the side of the road to read the critical areas legal signage we posted in preparation for some planned construction.  Maybe it's because the first email I read when I sat down at my computer was from a faculty member advertising to All Staff, All Faculty, and All Students that they have a state van to drive people to the polling place nearest the college.  (can you say, fraudulent use of a state vehicle?)  Before I've even had my morning coffee I discover my blood is boiling.

I almost decided to quit this morning.

Instead, I'm venting.  I don't know which would have been the better choice.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

I'm still focusing on being thankful in this month of November.  I need to remind myself that even though there are things in this world that annoy me I can decide what my attitude will be.

Last night, at my small group bible study, we focused on the biblical meaning of preparedness.  This was in reference to preparing for Superstorm Sandy and relating it to being prepared for the return of Jesus Christ.  When I look at my current demeanor and attitude in the frame of being a christian and having the hope that Jesus will come back for me (sooner than later, I pray) I know I need to refocus.  I know there is nothing better than focusing on gratitude to change the look on my face.

661.  Seeing neighbors and friends while waiting in line to vote
662.  Spending an evening with my small group of christian friends
663.  Having such a busy day at work, yesterday, that the day just flew by
664.  Having enough time today at work to write on my blog
665.  Looking forward to watching tv without political ads and relief from the robo-calls all evening long
666.  Hearing my husband say positive things about the way my son is stepping up and working hard to clean up the rental house
667.  Seeing my son's face brighten when asked how he did on an exam, then hearing him say, "I think I did pretty well."
668.  Peppermint scented body lotion 
669.  Noticing a smile creeping into the corners of my mouth even though nothing about my day has changed

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A month of Thanksgiving

Welcome to November!

Let the hustle and bustle begin.  How many days until Christmas?  Now that Halloween is over it is now "officially" the Christmas season.  It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the holiday season.  There is so much to do.  There are cards to send and gifts to buy and cookies to bake and a dinner to prepare and a tree to buy and gifts to wrap and a house to decorate and shopping for food and decorating a tree and... and... and so on.

I am going to begin this Christmas season continuing the tradition of gratitudes I began at the New Year.  My goal was to reach 1000 gratitudes.  You can see by the numbers corresponding to the gratitudes at the bottom of my post that I am off tempo.  I'm going to have to kick up the gratitude attitude into high gear to reach 1000 gratitudes by December 31st.  I'm a little ashamed of myself.

I am an extremely blessed person.  And yet, every time I post I struggle with my little list at the bottom of my post.  Lately I've been proud of myself if I come up with five items.  Pathetic.  I was hoping this exercise would help me develop an attitude of gratitude.  I'm sure it has helped, but I'm a long way from having it come naturally.  *head hanging and eyes downcast.  Even though I am so blessed and have a very comfortable life, I still take too much of it for granted.  It is still much easier for me to focus on the flaws than the beauty.  I still see the glass half empty.

Last night I saw a show called 19 Kids and Counting.  I had heard of this show, but I'd never seen it.  Wow, that mom is the sweetest woman I have ever seen.  Even when she was obviously unhappy with her haircut and new style, she smiled and pointed out all the best things about it.  It was her birthday and her friend from high school gave her a make-over as a birthday gift (and to be on the show, I'm sure) anyway, it was quite obvious the mom was not thrilled with her new look.  Yet, she cared much more about the feelings of her friend than she did about her hair.  She was grateful for the gift of time with her friend and realized her hair would grow back.  She was also given a gift of a trip to Japan and China.  Just before the family was to leave on the trip six of the kids got sick.  It looked as if they are going to have to cancel the trip.  She still smiled and shared how grateful she was to have this snuggle time with sick kids because before you know it they are grown up and they don't snuggle with you when they don't feel well.  She finds a silver lining in every single cloud.  What a wonderful example of an attitude of gratitude.

And here's the thought bubble I have hovering over my head, "Is she for REAL?"  I'm such a cynic.

But the only person that can change me is me.  So here we are at the beginning of November.  This is the month of Thanksgiving.  I can do gratitude.  I have blessings to spare.

647.  Time in my day to sit and focus on gratitude
648.  Watching my son get excited about school and good grades
649.  The opportunity to participate in Operation Christmas Child and be excited to do so
650.  An office chair that is pretty darn comfortable
651.  Fall weather when the temperature is this mild and it isn't raining
652.  My health (I really need to stop taking it for granted and take better care of this body)
653.  Clean water to drink (sometimes I think about how precious clean water is and how I take it for granted)
656.  Living in a free country (even though the campaigning is grating on everyone's nerves, no one is afraid for their lives if there is a change in administration or not)
657.  Having a job (I know I complain, but I am glad I have a job)
658.  Having a pretty fair minded boss (I know I complain about Mr. Non-confrontational, but he's mostly a good guy)
659.  The view of the river from my desk 
660.  My faith (I absolutely know I take my faith for granted and I don't have it because of me)

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Color me happy

We are fine.  Sandy came and went and didn't pack as big a wind as her sister did last year.  Relief and happiness are our middle names.

To add more happiness to the relief we felt, the schools in the county were closed on Monday and Tuesday so I didn't have to go to work.  Bonus!

It was strange to be watching the storm on tv and then to look out the window and see something completely different.  There was some wind, but I think the strongest gusts were only 65 mph as opposed to the 95 mph winds we had with Irene.  It looks as if New Jersey and NYC bore the brunt of this storm.  She was certainly huge.  Thank you all for your prayers and concern.  I felt completely covered in prayer.  In fact, my husband was amazed to watch me sleep peacefully in my bed (on our top floor) Sunday night, while he paced and watched the effect of the wind on the trees on our property.  I just felt safe.  And that was a peaceful feeling.

Today is business as usual.  I saw a few trees down on my drive into work this morning, but not many.  Almost everyone in the county has power.  Our power only flickered twice.  Amazing.  There were electric company bucket trucks everywhere you turned on Sunday night.  Those guys were awesome.

As I mentioned, I'm back at work and because of the two days off, the work is piled high and wide.  I wanted to thank you all for your prayers and let you know we are well.  God is good.

643.  Electricity.  I really, really like electricity
644.  People who evacuate the area when the authorities ask you to evacuate the area
645.  Friends checking on each other
646.  Knowing we would be ok, no matter what happened.  Everything was in God's hands
647.  Seeing the sun shining today

weren't the photoshopped Statue of Liberty pics hilarious?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Frankenstorm Sandy, please please be gentle with us

Hurricane Sandy will come to my house between 2:00 a.m. Monday and 2:00 a.m. Tuesday.  Color me nervous.

Let's look over the checklist of everything I need to do to prepare for Sandy.
  1. Buy bread, milk, and toilet paper
  2. Get furniture off the deck
  3. Tape windows
  4. Invited Hurricane Irene to come last year and clear most of the trees from around the house
Yeah, I think we're ready. 

Prayers are welcome.  Seriously.  Pray for us.

638.  Stores with vodka (hurray!)
639.  Tenants are out of my house (there will be a blog on this)
640.  Knowing there is only so much we can do to prepare for the storms in our lives.  Trusting in God and his plan for us is the most we can do
641.  God is good    
642.  The faith in God given to me by the Holy Spirit

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Maybe I'm a Disney princess

I think I may be a Disney princess.  After all, I'm 55 years old and I'm 50 lbs. overweight.  I wear glasses.  My hair is graying.  And my boobs are racing each other to my knees and I think the right one may be winning.  Yeah, I think that sounds like a Disney princess, don't you?  Maybe I'll name myself Bellerella.  Or Mulahontas.  Or Tiana-Ting.  Anyway, I think I may be the lost Disney princess and I'll tell you why.

I have found myself in conflict with an evil villain.

The most recent villain in my life entered just over a month ago.  Let's call him Sir Boringoldguy.  He is my newest co-worker.  Unfortunately, his boss (aka my boss) was on travel during this guy's first week of work.  Sadly, I was tasked with introducing this guy around campus and settling him into his office.  I was, essentially, being his "go-to" person.  Super sadly, this guy became quite attached to me.  Seriously, if I didn't know full well that I look exactly like the person described in the first paragraph of this post, I'd think he was trying to "come-on" to me.  And yet, I'm the more vivacious of the pair of us.  If you get my meaning.

Some of his dastardly deeds include coming to meetings with my boss 20 minutes early so he can sit down in the chair across my desk and talk to me.  I now know way too much about this guy.  I can tell you, I learned way too much about this guy in his first two weeks.  Here is a guy with no boundaries.  None.  I know his son is wanted by the police.  I know the entire story of why his son is wanted by the police.  I know he is hiding his son from the police.  I know he is still looking for another job because he believes he can do better than this.  I know how EVERYTHING was done on Capitol Hill in regard to environmental health and safety.  And you know what?  I don't care about any of it.  This guy is trying to bore me to death.

I've attempted to fight my nemesis off with comments like, "You know?  I'm busy just now and really don't have time to talk."  And this one, "You really shouldn't be telling me all this.  It's none of my business."  And my favorite, "Please leave.  I have a lot of work to do and I have someone coming to my office in a couple minutes."  This guy, evidently, has a force field and all my verbal arrows bounce right off of him.  Bummer.

Face to face combat is not the only evil trick he has up his sleeve.  He is also the master of lengthy, rambling emails.  His emails usually contain two or three forms of bullet points (arrows, dots, blocks...), at least one bolded word, a couple of words in ALL CAPS, italicization, and (my favorite) multiple colors and fonts.  He's the type of villain that uses 500 words when five words would suffice.  Oh! The humanity!

Unlike most Disney princesses, there is no Prince Charming around this place to rescue me from this evil villain.  None.  My boss is King Non-confrontational.  Even though I have actually gone into my boss' office and told him this guy is bothering me and will not stop coming over to my office to chat, my boss will do nothing.  I am an orphan and my king will not save me.     

I will become Princess Happy-merida-girl.  I will load my quiver with arrows that will pierce any force field.  I'll use "No, you can't sit there."  And, "You need to leave."  As well as, "Does it smell like mothballs in here or is that you?"  How about the always effective, "Go away, now."  Let's pray it does not come down to cursing by foul words and the all-powerful Human Resource curse.

I hope I end up living happily ever after.  Or, at least until the countdown on my I Quit This Job clock strikes zero.

The end.

634.  Two days with King Non-confrontational on travel
635.  The most beautiful fall weather, EVER!
636.  Co-workers I enjoy working with
637.  Memories of the other evil villains that have been my life that have been slain or conquered

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What is man that you are mindful of him?

Psalm 8:1-9  O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

I have always struggled with my worthiness.  Why have I been so blessed in this life?  Why do I have a husband that loves me so?  Why did I grow up in an intact family?  Why did God choose to bring me into this life that I am living?  Why?  why?  why?

Last night at my small group bible study we read this verse.  In fact, the verse was almost skipped because we were pressed for time.  I'm glad we didn't miss it. 

I have been made a little lower than an angel.  I have been made ruler over creation.  This is pretty big stuff.  This makes me pretty special.  If mankind has been created for a position such as this, it makes us pretty important in this world.  No wonder we have harnessed all it's resources and used it to our advantage.  But, you know what they say, "with great power comes great responsibility."  Yes, we have been given the position of authority over this earth, but we have also been given the responsibility to care for this earth.  This is the balance we need to exert. 

A question in the study asked if I had had any particular event in my life bring me to an understanding of who God is and what my relationship is to him.  I listened to the answers around the room.  Some spoke of the time in their lives (typically the college years) when they strayed from their faith and walked on the wild side.  It was interesting.  Kind of.  Sort of.  It would have been a lot more interesting if someone in the room had ACTUALLY had a racy past, but that wasn't the case.  Two members of the group are Naval Academy grads.  Nope, no racy past there.  One new graduate of William and Mary College who is also the preacher's kid.  Nope, no racy past there.  Others are government contractors or DOD employees.  And still, no sordid past.  I'm good with this.  I'm glad I study with so many upstanding citizens.  I'm glad to delve into the truth of God's word with these people.  I like them.

It was nice to know I didn't have the past of being a crack whore to fit in.  The event that changed my understanding of who God is and the nature of my relationship with him came to me when I accepted his forgiveness for a sin, I thought, was unforgivable.  I had always heard that God was in the business of forgiving.  I confess, God forgives.  That's how it works.  Yet here I was, living with an event from my past that I thought was too horrible to be forgiven.  I lived with it for years.  Then, one day while driving home from one of my son's therapy sessions in Washington, DC, something someone said on a radio program made me remember that God forgives all sins.  Jesus died on the cross for each and every one of my sins.  None were left out.  Because of the blood of Christ, God forgives and it is all arrogance, on my part, to not accept his forgiveness.  Arrogance.  I was so surprised.  I hadn't thought of it as arrogance.  I'd always thought of it as unworthiness.

But here I am.  A being created a little lower than the angels.  This is why I can be proud of who I am.  This is why the creator of the universe is mindful of me.  This is why he knows the number of hairs on my head.  The arrogance is not in how I live as a daughter of the King.  The arrogance is in thinking I know better than the King.

630.  The freedom of living with forgivness
631.  The joy of studying the word of God with like-minded people
632.  Christian radio stations
633.  Little moments of time to myself to ponder who I am in this world

National Geographic

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Setting a goal

Boss:  Happygirl you need to set a goal for yourself this year.
Me:  Ok, I will.
Boss:  So, what is your goal?
Me:  I’d like to take a creative writing class.
Boss:  Oh?  How would that apply to your job?
Me:  I think it will make next year’s annual budget report a real page turner.

I'm linking with G-man for a Friday Flash 55

625.  Juice making with my son this morning
626.  Oyster Festival (nothing better than a belly full of beer and oysters)
627.  Leaves tuning colors and starting to fall
628.  Apartment hunting (aka as dreaming of a place on the beach)
629.  Waking myself to reality and being satisfied with what I have

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'm a Titus 2 older woman

Here I am, the Titus 2 older woman.  Even I can't believe I'm here.  My whole adult life I thought of myself as the Proverbs 31 woman.  I guess one can be both, but that's asking an awful lot of just one woman.  Even though the bible doesn't speak of the women as often as it spotlights the men, the verses directed towards us are chock-full of action items.

Here is a condensed version of what the Proverbs 31 woman is.  (this is the model God has for us girls.  ladies, hold on to your hats.)

The character of the Proverbs 31 woman is to be:  confident, courageous, dignified, diligent, an early riser. faithful, generous, industrious, influential, kind, moral, not lazy, observant, organized, prudent, reverent, sensible, one of strength, trustworthy, well groomed, and wise.

Her skillset is to include the textile arts, where she is to be creative, know handspinning, be knowledgeable in textiles, and have sewing skills.  She is also to be skilled in the culinary arts as the purchaser of choice foods and supervising meals.  Her management skills should include:  attention to detail, common sense, knowledge of home businesses, being a wise investor, observant, organized, taking the role of the overseer, being philanthropic, prepared, realistic, showing stewardship, being successful, teaching, and just all around wisdom.

Finally, her relationship with her husband should be one that shows appreciation for him, has his best interests at heart, be one of trust, full of praise for him, and be one of unity.

This, my friends, is a full-time job.  Oh?  What is that you say?  You have a full-time job outside of the home, too?  Just remember to take your vitamins.  Your going to need the energy.  Luckily, or not (depending on your point of view), you get seven days off each month to sit in a tent or cave on your own while you have your period.  (I hope I didn't offend anyone by saying "period,"  Especially Richard, the fb ranter of maxipad commercials.  check it out.)

One day you will wake up and discover you have become the Titus 2 woman.  Just when you got a handle on being the Proverbs 31 woman, wham, life takes a turn.  I can tell you, the day comes (about 25 years into your marriage) when the relationship with your husband has become such a close partnership that each and every one of the recommendations in Proverbs becomes as natural as breathing in and out.  You notice that you've gotten a handle on the home management thing, too.  (especially now that those sticky handed toddlers and non-driving teenagers have left the nest.)  You think you've checked the box.  But, No.  God has a new job for you.

Titus 2:3-5  "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God."

This is my new biblical admonition.  If, by any chance, you find yourself in my shoes and have discovered you are now a Titus 2 woman, remember this; just because we are able and capable to train the younger women, that doesn't mean they're going to listen to us.  And, if by any chance, you are a younger woman doing your best to follow the Proverbs 31 model; take a moment to ask a Titus 2 woman what she thinks or how she handled some of marriage's, motherhood's and general life living situations and struggles.  Believe it or not, things have not changed that much and there may be some wisdom between those older ears.

God knew what he was doing when he wrote these two passages.  Iron sharpens iron.  Experience is an excellent teacher.  One great thing about being in fellowship with other christians is to seek out wisdom and life long experience of walking this life with Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us instead of the latest parenting trend or following the lifestyle trends of the Hollywood set.

Allow me to introduce myself as one of the newest Titus 2 women on this earth.  I know God has said (and I paraphrase), "You have not, because you ask not."  Feel free to ask me anything.  :)

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday.

619.  Loving in a long marriage
620.  Raising a loving son
621.  Walking with Jesus for many years
622.  Being forgiven much
623.  Learning from Godly older women
624.  Caring about the next generation of christian women

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why I despise a liar

"Watching the debate tonight will be like watching a televised meeting of the Pathological Liars Club."

"The second episode of "Half Truths, Lies and Damn Lies" tonight! Must see TV."

These are both facebook statuses from ministers to their flocks.  Maybe this is why we've moved lying from the SIN category to the IT'S OK category.

There is something about being lied to that hurts in a way that pales to the pain of a punch in the nose or a slap in the face.  It takes so much longer to recover from being lied to.  

Consider the respect given to the office of the president of the United States.  The statements from those ministers would not have been uttered, let alone, written down prior to the Watergate scandal and the resignation of Richard Nixon.  You would think we, as a nation, would have learned one thing from that whole affair.  The one thing we should have learned was that committing the crime is one thing.  Lying about it after you are caught only makes it worse.  But we didn't learn, did we?  Enter Bill Clinton and his sex scandal with an intern and the "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, ..." finger wagging admonition on national television which resulted in his impeachment.  Watching the downfall of two powerful men as a result of their lies should teach each and every one of us a lesson.  But it doesn't.

I'm thinking this must be some sort of mental disorder.  I can tell when I'm being lied to.  Don't misunderstand me, it's not because I think everybody lies.  (actually, I do think this, but that isn't what I mean here)  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.  When someone tells me something about themselves, I usually believe them.  That is, until it doesn't make sense anymore.  Let's face it, most liars think they are smarter than the people they are lying to.  There is some sort of superiority complex going on in their minds.  I don't completely understand the psychology involved.  

I know, from personal experience, that many people tell a lie to avoid the consequences of their actions.  I know when I was a child I did this.  At some point in my childhood I discovered that the consequences of my actions PLUS the consequences of being caught in the lie made my life more miserable.  I learned if I was going to do the crime, I was going to have to pay the price.  Thank goodness for the Holy Spirit living in me and reminding me of right and wrong.  (or a strong moral compass for you unbelieving readers)  Evidently not every child learns this lesson.  Recently I was lied to by my son.  He told us he was taking a college class over the summer, when in fact, he was not.  My husband and I knew he was lying to us.  We gave him opportunity after opportunity to tell us the truth.  (my husband said I gave him opportunity after opportunity to lie to me)  Finally at the end of August he confessed.  We were furious, but not surprised.  How could he think we were so stupid we didn't know or wouldn't find out?  He lives with us, for Pete's sake.  I have an extremely difficult time believing anything he tells me.  He's offended by this, but that's just the way it is.

I don't understand how an adult (is 32 years old considered an adult or is it still a part of the extended adolescence?) can tell everyone a lie about her family and her house for six months.  It was a stupid lie and doesn't matter to anyone.  Just because she didn't understand how a short sale works, I guess she thought no one else understood how a short sale works, either.  This seems to be part of the superiority complex that goes along with lying.  And, it is far from the first time she has lied to family and friends, gotten caught, confessed, and then lied again.  She is a self-confessed liar.  I get that.  When people tell you who they are, believe them.  Yet, she is comforted and forgiven for lying to her friends, ...again.  I wonder how long the long-suffering of her friends will last?  Maybe she is what is known as a pathological liar?  Maybe she just hasn't grown up yet?  Maybe the consequences of her actions haven't hurt enough?  I don't know.

Our tenants have lied to us, continuously.  And they know we know they are lying.  They just keep doing it.  Don't liars know that when you lie to a person it is so disrespectful?  The minute they begin to speak we know a lie will come out.  The minute they begin to speak we dislike them more.  It's like they think we are stupid or something.  Or maybe, it's just their nature.  

Then again, maybe we are becoming a nation that has been told so long to be tolerant of everybody that we've begun to tolerate bad behavior and call it a disorder or something.  This is kind of frightening.  We are a nation that tolerates killing the unborn.  We are becoming a nation that tolerates lying.  Where will this downward spiral end?  What are we becoming? 

Colossians 3:9-10:  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Proverbs 12:22:  The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

619.  My readers.  Thanks for missing me and letting me know you miss me and are concerned.
620.  Time to myself.
621.  People telling the truth.  I just love those people.
622.  Ministers that are not snarky.  I'm getting so sick of that type.
623.  Vodka.  (I cannot wait until this election is over)