Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A letter to my 32 year old self

Hi Sweetie,

Welcome to Monterey, CA.  You are going to have a blast here.  Thank you, Navy, for putting us up in this rockin' duplex at the top of the hill in La Mesa.  (fyi, boy this website makes it look so much different than it did when I lived there.  if you look at the map, my house was on revere rd.)  This is such a cute little (read, tiny) house.  I think it's great that you fit all our furniture in this house and I really don't care that you're using our kitchen table as an end table in the front room.  I think it looks just great like this.  We will eat in the kitchen on a tiny plastic table with our son, sitting in his high chair.  This is going to work out just great.  The kitchen is so little, you'll be able to wash the floor in five minutes with a cup of water.  You will LOVE it.

It's great to be here at Post Graduate school.  I'm happy the husband decided to get a master degree and not go to war with all his friends.  I know this is the kiss of death for his naval career, but you'll be glad to have him here with you and our 2 year old son.  It's cool to see old friends from Italy here, too.  It's too bad we will only be here a year and a half, but this is better than never have gotten to live here at all.

I know it was a bummer to get Bell's Palsy right after you got here.  I know it was a shame you had to miss your brother's wedding in Chicago.  Being sick and in pain isn't fun.  Good thing the pain only lasted for a month.  The five more months of paralysis sucked, but you'll get better and you'll hardly remember how crummy it was.  Good for you to get out and still make an effort to meet new people and start an Avon business with your face half frozen.  Wasn't it amazing to see how much of that stuff you sold.  You really put forth a lot of effort.  Good for you for not being so self-conscious and vain that you thought all that people cared about was how your face looked or how short your hair was.  Good for you for acting like an adult.  After all, you are 32 years old and the mom of a two year old.  It's good that you are able to get out and meet people and make friends.  You are doing the right thing by not waiting for your husband to get home and entertain you or take your child off your hands.  He's busy and he has homework.  Getting a master's degree in a year and a half is hard work.  This hard work is something he will be able to take with him when he leaves the navy.  You will be able to look back at this time of your life and remember how good it feels to be a strong woman.

You are going to love that you were supportive of your husband and his schoolwork.  It's great that he bought an Apple 2E computer.  It was worth all the money.  I know you had to eat popcorn and hot dogs for a month to make the payments for that computer and the Volvo.  (I'll bet you didn't know you were going to drive that Volvo for 17 years.)  But it was worth it to make sacrifices for your future.  It's good that you were able to put off your immediate gratification to save for your son's future and the future of your family.  (and, you learned to appreciate Apple and it's founder Steve Jobs.  that is really going to pay off in the future.)  You know, your husband is going to appreciate you typing all his papers for class.  Isn't it amazing that back then we wrote our papers in longhand and had to have someone read that chicken scratch and type it up!  I'm glad you put forth the effort to do this for your husband.  He's going to remember things like this when you need to take time for yourself.

Finally, I know that the earthquake you experienced was a terrible thing.  I know you were scared out of your mind because husband and son were away from the house.  I know those 15 seconds were the longest 15 seconds of your life, but you endured.  I know that seeing your husband come home on his bike and wondering what all the fuss was about was the happiest moment of your life.  And, I know that giving away any extra blankets or food or kitchen equipment or money or whatever you could give to help those who had more damage than your family never caused you to bat an eye or feel a pang of resentment.  I want you to know, that when that phone rang, and it was your mother, and you got the opportunity to tell her you were all ok and then the phone died and didn't start working again for a week, yeah, that was God.  (amazing how we managed before cell phones and email and the internet)  You are never going to forget that moment.  You know what you're going to remember the most?  You're going to remember getting all the families on the street together to bar-b-que, because none of us had electric or gas for a week.  You're going to remember, because you gave up most of your summer to do the HUGE vacation bible school music and program, so many of the families in the neighborhood knew you and were happy to help your family just the way you were happy to help their families.  You're going to remember how much this time in your life felt like community and the best way navy families support each other.

You will remember your time in Monterey, CA so fondly.  You are always going to wish you could go back.  But you know, you can never go home.  If you do get a chance to go back, just know, things have changed.  You will have changed, too.  Have fun at Cannery Row.  Enjoy the Monterey Bay Aquarium and watch the otters play.  Go down to Carmel by the Sea and Big Sur.  Check out the Dennis the Menace park and remember how much fun your little one had there.  Go down to Fisherman's Wharf and feed the sea lions.  Yeah, do all those things and remember that you didn't miss a beat while you were there.  You had the time of your young life.  I'm proud of you for being the strong, adult, navy wife you were back then.  You did yourself and your family proud.

Your 55 year old self

471.  Having the time to remember a fun time in my past
472.  Learning from different people with different points of view in my small group bible study
473.  Listening and being able to accept their positions without feeling like I have to change their opinions
474.  Realizing that this is emotional growth for me
475.  Seeing emotional growth in my son, too (or maybe I'm seeing him through more grown-up eyes)

Monday, July 30, 2012

eat mor chikin

Wow, did your fb newsfeed, twitter account and blogroll BLOW UP over the Chick-fil-A story?  Evidently the owner of a privately held company is not allowed to have a personal belief and not allowed to have his personal belief affect the way he runs his privately owned company.  Huh?

We get it, Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, doesn't think gay marriage is biblical.  And he said so.  This is not illegal, nor a surprise.  Another non-surprise is that Cathy is a christian.  He even believes his employees ought not work on Sundays and in response, his stores are not open on Sundays.  Non-Surprise!

The gay-rights activists had a field day.  Gee, more stuff for them to complain about.  The liberal christians (almost all mainstream christian churches now-a-days) had a field day with this "news" story, as well.

Cathy didn't say he wouldn't serve gay people.  He didn't even say he wouldn't hire gay people.  And he REALLY didn't say he didn't like gay people.  He said he didn't believe that gay marriage was biblical.

For my two cents (and I'm sure it's not even worth that much) I agree with him.  I would never say I don't like gay people, but I will say I don't like their political agenda, I never have.  I don't like the way they've twisted the idea that gays cannot be christians.  This has never been the case.  It's always been about living in unrepentant sin and being in leadership in the church.  Now, if you want to make the issue that gay sex isn't sin (and they won't, 'cause nobody wants to talk about gay sex) then that is another story.

It's too bad we cannot focus on love outside of the context of sex.  Sex is optional.  Love is essential.  I believe we do not celebrate singleness and celibacy enough, especially in the church.  I think it's a shame the rate of divorce in marriage is the same for confessing christians as it is for those that do not confess Christ.  It is heart-breaking to listen to fellow christians bash each other, instead of support each other, when one's faith is being held up to ridicule. 

Even though I'm not a big chicken consumer, I'm going to be shopping at Chick-fil-A more often.

464.  Laid a friend to rest and I have confidence he is with Jesus
465.  Coverage of the olympic games  
466.  Slightly cooler weather
467.  A clean and organized freezer
468.  Peach and blueberry pie (I know, I said I'd make a cobbler, but it ended up being pie)
469.  Food bloggers and their delicious recipes
470.  More watermelon  

Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer night walk

 I can't lie, my son took this picture

Footsteps clip clap in flip flops. 

Headlights sweep 'cross dirty feet. 

Drizzling mists.  Streetlamp turning drops to diamonds. 

Spy a frog, hop the step. 

Nope, you cannot catch me yet. 

Thunder claps as lightnings flash. 

Drips drop harder, falling fast. 

I’m soaked to skin, my steps splish splash. 

Unbolt the door and let me in.

Joining G-Man with a Friday Flash 55

460.  Going out for dinner (to my favorite restaurant) with friends
461.  Husband is home from his travels
462.  Fully alert and awake this morning
463.  Friday (I just had to say it)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Use caution when operating machinery. No kidding!

This isn't a picture of my toe, but my toe looks just like this and itches like crazy.
It kept me awake most of the night with the incessant itching.  Finally, at 5:00 a.m. I took a couple benadryl.
That was a bad idea.  The image below is a pretty good representation of me today, at work.
Not pretty.
457.  Coffee
458.  More coffee
459.  Husband on his way home to me

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A random act of kindness

I was smacked with a random act of kindness yesterday and I'm still smiling.  Someone, not my husband, sent me flowers.  They are gorgeous and I'm thrilled.  Tulips just happen to be my favorite flower (I wrote this in the 100 things about me post.  see the tab ^).  The card does not have a name on it, so I'm guessing whoever sent the flowers wants me to guess who they are or remain anonymous (ok by me).  The card does say "Have a joyess day!"  (I'm not sure what to make of this.  did the sender mean "have a joyous day!" and the florist misspelled "joyous?"  or, did the sender mean "have a joyless day!" and the florist forgot the "l?")  These two options mean two completely different things and could slant my response to this random act as one of kindness to a random act of not quite as much kindness.  I'm going with kindness ('cause I like to stay positive.  I'm just like that).

My husband wishes it was he that sent the flowers, 'cause he said it was a good idea.  If anyone out there wants to own up to this lovely gesture, feel free to email me.  I'd love to say thank you, in person.  The rest of you can enjoy the image.  I think I may need to pay this random act of kindness forward.  It makes for good feelings and a happy day.

did you notice how I cleaned off my desk so the pic looked nice!
452.  generous people
453.  having flowers on my desk makes the work day so much nicer
454.  checking things off my "to do" list
455.  watching a movie of my choice with my son (he only said he was bored 4 times)
456.  knowing that the work week is half over 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A survivor's story

I haven't written about the CO theater shooting, until now, because I didn't know what I could say.  It was horrible.  Worse than horrible.  Young people, killed by a young person.  It makes no sense.  I prayed for the survivors.  I prayed for the families of the victims.  I prayed for the injured.  I prayed for the family of the shooter.  It's senseless tragedies like this that cause people to question the presence of God in this world.  I thought back to 9/11 and the questions about God and where was he and how could he let this happen and more.  I believe God was in the World Trade Center on 9/11.  I believe he was in the planes on 9/11.  I believe God was in that movie theater in Aurora, CO in the early moments of Friday morning.  I came across a blog by a woman who was in that theater the night of the shootings.  I realize there is always a chance that something on the internet is not true, but something about this post rang true to me and I hope I could react as bravely and hang on to my faith as securely as Marie at A Miniature Clay Pot.

Marie posts about what it was like to be in the theater at that midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in her post on July 20th and survive.

"I was there in theater 9 at midnight, straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark Night Rises began. I’m not a big movie-goer. The HH and I prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home…where I can use subtitles and get a foot rub. I don’t like action movies. And I don’t like midnight showings.  But, as I wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and I decided I would take my fourteen year old and sixteen year old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman Trilogy. Twice I had the opportunity to back out and twice I was quite tempted. But something in me said just go with your girls. I did.

So I was there with them, fidgeting in my seat, some forty or fifty feet away from the man with the gun. It’s still a bit surreal, but I do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor. I threw myself on top of my fourteen year old who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from the shooter.  In that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, I truly thought I was going to die. And I realized that I was ready. I have put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that I would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that I have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Still, as I lay over my daughter, I began praying out loud. I don’t even remember what I prayed, but I don’t imagine it really matters. I’m sure it was for protection and peace. It drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. The girls and I jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body, people were screaming and pushing, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and I dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. I yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. She did. He did. We booked on out of there."

Marie goes on to share how she and her daughters began to process this event.  I, personally, cannot imagine how the conversations would sound.  Marie took the time to share some of the processing she and her family experienced.  From what I can tell, this blog blew up after Marie's first posting.  It appears she added some answers to comments afterward.  I can only hope (and still do not want this hope tested) that I would be able to respond with the same grace and faith that Marie has shown.

"(Maybe, just maybe God spared my life because He loves YOU and wants you to hear this..He wants you to believe that He loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son that if you would believe in Him you would have eternal life.)

So, you still believe in a merciful God?”  Some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. Regardless of the motive behind the question, I will respond the same way.


Yes, I do indeed.

Absolutely, positively, unequivocally.

Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil.  God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. A man did.
In His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil.
Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil."

Evidently Marie's post blew up with comments that she felt compelled to address in her posts on July 21st and July 22nd.  I was surprised by the negativity she encountered, but then again, this is the internet and there is that shield of anonymity.

As hard it is to imagine being in the position Marie claims to have experienced and survived, is to understand how quickly life can change.  It is so strange to read the blog post Marie wrote on July 19th.  She wrote about bacon.  Bacon.  The most pressing thing on her mind on Thursday July 19th was her daughter's food preferences.  The paradigm from which Marie viewed her life shifted drastically a few hours later.  Yet, the faith she has in God stayed firm.

I emailed Marie and asked permission to share her story and link to her post.  In all that has been written and spoken of this tragedy, it is writing like this that gives me hope for our world.  I know there will be more to come.  A trial and sentencing.  There will, most likely, be victimization of shooter.  It's hard for the world to believe or understand that God was in that theater, but he was.  God is everywhere.  And he is there before you get there.

448.  Reading about people with unshakable faith in God
449.  A good God in a world full of evil
450.  Bloggers using their blogs to teach the good news of Jesus Christ and his salvation of the world
451.  Surprise gift of flowers

Monday, July 23, 2012

Keeping my eyes open for Jesus in my life

I've been toying around with the idea of starting a meme or link-up or whatever you want to call it about sharing how we have seen or had contact with Jesus in our week.

So, what do I mean by this and why does it interest me?

I've shared about being in a small group bible study now and in the past.  To be perfectly honest, I've been in a lot of bible studies.  I like them, but lately, I'm not finding them very satisfying.  I want to be challenged to be living my christianity and not just reading about it.  This hasn't been the easiest thing for me to do, since I went back to work, full time.  I remember back when I was a sahm and I taught adult sunday school classes on Sunday morning.  The class was mostly couples with at least one spouse working and sometimes both.  The working members of the class were never prepared.  Typically, they had never opened their bible.  They expected to show up and just share their thoughts without any prep.  This used to annoy me.  (remember me, the rule following ISTJ)  Now I'm the one working 40 hours a week and struggling to get my lesson done.  However, getting my lesson done isn't the thing I miss most about my walk with christ since working full time.  I miss noticing how Jesus was working in my life on a daily, or at least, weekly basis.  Back then, I was looking for answers to prayer or doing faith based service work or just plain, hanging around with other christians.  Now, not so much.

When someone asks me why I believe that Jesus is my savior or why I'm a christian (and this hardly ever happens, but once in a while it does) I'd like to give a personal answer and have a recent encounter with Jesus to share with them.  I don't want to spout bible verses or theological dogma.  I want to share experiences of Jesus working in my life or changing me or convicting me or blessing me.  I don't want to get up in everyone's business.  I don't want to know what horrible sins they've been forgiven from or what horrible situations they want their husband or wife freed from.  I mean, I'll pray for people's needs, but I don't want to be a voyeur into their lives.  But, I guess I do want to know how they feel freed and empowered by forgiveness of sin.  I want to know about a situation containing a struggle with making the ethical choice over the easy choice came about.  I guess I want to hear and be encouraged by people choosing to do What Jesus Would Do over what they would typically do.  And, more to the point, I want to notice when Jesus intervenes in my life during the work week and I make a decision that is a decision or action Jesus would have made over one I typically would have made.

Do any of you think this is something that would be interesting and uplifting and encouraging to people that read blogs?  I read blogs from people that seem to see Jesus in their lives every day.  I'm just trying to find a way I've let Jesus have a hand in my life once a week.  Do you think I'm alone in this search?  Do you think there are other christians out there that have too much World in their lives and not enough Jesus?  Maybe I'm way off and this isn't the way Jesus works in people's lives.  I'm open to any and all suggestions

I was thinking of calling it Finding Jesus Fridays.  Maybe I'll try it for 10 weeks and see what happens.

445.  Meeting with my small group bible study and seeing some good friends off as they return to their home
446.  A relaxing weekend with movies and without golf on tv
447.  Looking forward to my husband coming home on Friday

Friday, July 20, 2012

What comes of whining

I speak my need as you requested.

You’re busy with chores.  I shouldn’t be crying.

You get angry.

I give up, more easily than I typically do.  

Is this what I want? Are you going where I’m going?  Are cuddles on the couch forgotten feelings?


Silence settles around the house, now that you're gone.

Joining G-man with a Friday Flash 55

441.  Friday is here
442.  Only one more week on my own
443.  Understanding that sometimes when people yell, or talk very loud and aggressively to me, it's about them.  It's not about me
444.  Cooler temps outside.  whew

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hi India!

A long, long time ago I wrote this post about being addicted to checking my blog stats on Blogger and seeing how many followers I have and how many page views, etc., etc.  I was addicted to the stats.  I've come pretty far since then.  I don't check my stats as often (seriously, not nearly as often) and I don't dwell on them or let them effect me the way they used to effect me.  My emotional temperature does not rise and fall at the addition or loss of a beloved follower.  I think I've come to a place in my blogging were I'm comfortable knowing that even though there are people reading my blog that know me (hi you guys!), I'm going to write what I need to write.  I'm never ashamed of anything I share and I don't bash people here or write anything here that I would not say to that same person.

So when I read a blogger (that I know in real life) write about a fellow christian (seriously, they go to the same church and share an abundance of fb friends.  of course, the blogger has blocked me from her fb because I have called her out on some of the things she has written, but the fellow christian is a fb friend of mine.) and just BASH her and her vocation and make judgments regarding her faith because of some images she posts on fb.  And then, she is surprised and crushed and crying (and, hopefully ashamed) when this blog gets back to the person she wrote about.  Then she tweets, "I want to trash my computer and pretend the internet doesn't exist."  No, just stop being mean on your blog.  We can SEE YOU.

I digress.  What does this have to do with India.  Today I took a peek at my blog stats and saw that dozens and dozens of people (or it could be just one person clicking over and over again) have been viewing this post.  This is a little haiku I wrote while visiting my parent and listening to them argue.  Just 17 little syllables reminding me of this visit.  I know I will not hear my parents argue again.  My mom is starting to show symptoms of dementia and pretty much goes along with whatever my father says.  This is good and bad.  I kind of miss my mom's spunk.  Anyway, this is one of the perks of blogging.  These posts hold my memories.  But I don't have any idea what the couple hundred people in India are getting out of it.

I'm glad to have them stop by.  मेरे ब्लॉग में आपका स्वागत है। I खुशी है तुम यहाँ हो रहा हूँ।

438.  Busy day and it's flying by
439.  Looking forward to visiting a friend tonight
440.  Cantaloupe for dinner

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My 2nd chance

Aren't second chances the BOMB!  I know we don't always get a second chance, but when one does... revel in it.

Today I got my second chance.  I got to set up another meeting, similar to the meeting from my bad day.

*Background on this is that my boss has placed a meeting on his calendar and hopes I will notice that he put it there and I will then take care of everything and make all run as smoothly as silk feels.  Oh yeah, and he is out of the office on Monday and Tuesday at off-campus meetings and he doesn't return my texts.*

Yesterday, at 4:00 p.m., my boss asked me to find a venue for this meeting and invite the attendees with the meeting information, location and time.  He did not give me a list of the people he wanted me to invite.  THIS TIME there were going to be no assumptions on my part.  I sent him an email with a list of names and asked it these, indeed, were the people he wanted invited to the meeting.  (fool me once, shame on you.  fool me twice, you know how it goes)  He replied to this email with a "yes" and adds an additional list of names of people he wanted at the meeting.  (seriously, if you are a boss of ANYBODY, communication is KEY)  This was a very good start in my 2nd chance.

I asked him if he wants me to pick up catering for this breakfast meeting and he said, "no."  (yay, I hate schlepping coffee and the like)

This sounds like a piece of cake, right?  Wait for it...

The first monkey wrench get thrown into the works when the meeting room initially reserved for this meeting is still off-line because of slow (read, not showing up) HVAC workers who have left it in a mess in the midst of ac installation.  No worries.  I find a new room and send out the email to the (correct list of) invited meeting attenders.  I love it when I can make a problem into a non-issue.

There is more.

Then my boss strolls into my office at 4:50 p.m. and says, "btw, I told a trustee of the college the wrong meeting room and he never looks at his emails, would you call him and let him know where we are meeting tomorrow morning.  Oh, and this trustee says he hopes there is coffee at the meeting, so will you provide catering for 20."  Yeah, this is the way it goes.  I call the trustee, who is, fortunately, at his desk in his office.  Booyah!  Then I call Dunkin Donuts ('cause Panera Bread, you messed me up and I'm not playing with you anymore.) and order coffee and donuts for 20.  (just sayin', my boss hates donuts.  too bad.)  So far, so good.  Right?  You'd think so.

There is more.

I get home from work and I'm chillin' in front of the tv and sipping on a cocktail.  Life is good.  *marimba*  *marimba* (that's my ringtone)  It's my boss.  (thanks iPhone for telling me who is calling)  It's 6:30 p.m.  I debate whether or not to answer.  Calls at this time are never good news.  (Like, hey happygirl, I was calling to see if I could take you and the hubby out to dinner?  or  hey happygirl, I just heard you're getting a raise and I wanted to tell you right away!)  Calls after working hours are never good..  I answer the phone.  Some of the attendees have responded that they cannot come to the college and have asked to be conferenced into the meeting.  Would I mind setting up a conference phone and setting up my shared meeting materials website?  Gee, yes.

There is nothing I'd like to do more. 

In the end, all went as smooth as silk and I got the chance to shine in my 2nd chance.  As I considered the blessing of having this opportunity, I thought about God and the way God treats me.  I serve a God of 2nd chances.  I've been known to do exactly what I ought not to do and not do it accidentally, but with intention.  This is known, in christianese, as SIN.  I've lied when I ought to tell the truth.  I've gossiped when I ought to have said nothing.  I've stolen when I ought to have paid.  I've cheated, lusted, cussed... (get the picture?)  The God I serve knows I did these things, and still gives me another chance to do better when I ask for another chance.  All I have to do is ask.

God is good.  All the time.

434.  Gotta say it... 2nd chances
435.  Talking with my girlfriend on the phone and just ... talking
436.  Eating a leftover donut
437.  Drinking beet juice for lunch so I don't feel so guilty about eating the donut

Me, chillaxin'

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Clearing out the good stuff

I've written here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here about clutter and how I don't like it, but I still have some and I want to get rid of it all.  (there are even more posts on clutter, if you check My Road to Happiness cloud, but I got tired of making the links)

As you see, clearing clutter is important to me.  You know if you have clutter.  All you have to do is open up your closet or the trunk of your car or look for a place to set the mail on the counter where there isn't already a pile and you can see if you have clutter.  You can have a cluttered mind, too.  Are you trying to read the bible or the newspaper, for that matter, and you have the tv blaring?  Are you checking your facebook newsfeed and talking on the phone at the same time?  Do you check your emails while you are talking to your husband?  Does anything get your complete attention? 


You look in your closet and see clothes with the price tags still on them.  Maybe you have 20 pairs of bluejeans.  Or you see shoes that you've only worn twice.  Maybe you have over 100 ties.  This stuff is all good stuff.  These things have value.

You look in the trunk of your car and you see 25 reusable grocery bags and two sets of jumper cables and an extra spare tire and four screw drivers and a couple lunch boxes.  This is all good stuff.  This stuff has value.

Our bible reading and newspaper reading and emails and phone calls are important.  There is important information out there in the big wide world.  We need to keep up on what is happening in the European Union and the stock market and the election and what our neighbor-down-the-street's kid has accomplished lately.  This stuff is all good stuff.  We need to know this stuff.

Let me suggest to you that an over abundance of stuff, even GOOD stuff is not a good thing.

If you've, at any time, watched an episode or two of (my guilty pleasure) Hoarders on A&E you know there are basically two types of hoarders.  Those who don't throw ANYTHING away (yep, that's a flat cat) and those that buy buy buy, but never use.

Yep, even too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.

I know I can get caught up in believing that some of my clutter has VALUE and I shouldn't just toss it out because that would be WASTEFUL.  (btw, I must tell you that two of my brothers have the hoarder gene, which I am certain my father has, so there is a very good chance I have the recessive gene, therefore I may have some latent tendencies.  yeah, I know I do, after all, my son is a full-fledged hoarder.)  Anyway, I have to use some very positive self-talk to get me to throw things out that I think I may want to sell on eBay or an on-line yard-sale on fb or craig's list.  The self-talk I find the most effective is to remind myself that I am clearing space in my life to allow room for the BEST stuff.  I'm clearing out my closets from out-of-style clothing that may not even fit and ties that are too wide or too narrow to look even remotely stylish.  I'm clearing my trunk of junk that prevents me from taking home groceries from the store and feed my family.  I'm clearing out the good stuff to make space for the BEST stuff.  And sometimes that BEST stuff is peace and serenity.  And sometimes that BEST stuff is time with your family because your house is easier to clean.  And sometimes that BEST stuff is a good night's sleep in a bedroom free of dust and junk on the bed.

Along with the clearing of the good stuff, my mind can be cleared, as well.  When I look around and see empty flat counters and tables and chairs I can focus my mind on one thing at a time.  I can read a book or do a bible study or have a conversation and I don't have to distract myself from whatever annoying thing that is going on that I don't want to think about.  There will be no critical voices in my head telling me I should clean or clear.  I can be still.  I can be.

Paul said in Philippians 3:12-14, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

When I clear the good stuff from my house and car and mind, I can focus on the best stuff.  And just like Paul says, when I'm striving for this goal I will forget (all about the good stuff I just threw away) what is behind me.  I will focus and press on toward my goal to win the prize (the BEST stuff). 

Continuing my list of 1000 gifts and continuing to be grateful
429.  Diving into the book of Mark and getting more out of it than I ever have before
430.  Having the house to myself (sort of)
431.  Tomato salad for lunch and supper
432.  Finding time and energy to read fiction (and escape into my imagination)
433.  Clearing my inbox of all red flags (yay, fires are all out)    

Monday, July 16, 2012


I've seen a few things written about money, lately, that make me wonder what in the world some people are thinking.  I saw on facebook one of those pictures of a famous person with their quote photoshopped over their image. It was an image of Richard Buckminster Fuller (yeah, I had to Google him, too.  inventor, architect, author, ... and futurist!) They used this quote of his.  "We must do away with the absolutely specious notion (wrong or misleading.  I had to look this up, too) that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory (survival of the fittest), he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living."  And this quote was interpreted, by the poster and the comments, as meaning that people today don't need to earn a living (have a job to make money) because one person in every 10,000 people can make a technological breakthrough and earn enough money to support the slackers other 10,000 people.  And again, to these people who have no desire to work and earn money, they say that money is meaningless.  I believe what Bucky is saying here is there shouldn't be an artificial job created to employ people to artificially decrease unemployment levels.  I don't believe he meant that only 1 in 10,000 people need to work or that one rich person should pay for the care and feeding of 10,000 people that do not want to work.  People should do work that is useful and then they don't justify their reason for existence, they HAVE a reason for existence.

Another person feels that money is a trap. She feels it is an illusion. She says the illusion of money is not a feeling, it's simple truth. She says people have decided that certain things would be worth something, and so they are. Period.  And yet, another person hates money. She hates that her husband works a job that he doesn't really like to make money to pay for a house they can't afford and bills and for things they don't really need.  (so why did they buy these things?)  She then goes on to tell us that she would like the church she attends to allow them to live in a house on a property the members of this church bought and allow them to start a commune and have multiple people or families living in the house.  (I'm guessing it's ok for the church people to be caught in the money trap and have to work for the money to pay for this property, just not her)  Anyway, this goes on and on and makes no sense to me.  I know there are always going to be people with their hands out.  People who think that because they don't WANT to work, they don't HAVE to work. 

I think these people hate NOT HAVING money.  They don't hate money, itself.

I've written here about money.  I respect money and I don't believe it is meaningless.

I once gave a Children's Sermon in a church.  In it I showed the children some money.  I showed them a crisp, brand new one dollar bill, a really old and worn one dollar bill, and one dollar bill that I ripped in half and then taped back together.  I asked the children which of the one dollar bills was worth the most?  At first, most of them said the new one was worth the most, but when I asked them if anyone wanted the old one, or the one that was torn and taped, yeah, they wanted them.  I asked them why they wanted them?  They said, they wanted the dollar so they could spend it.  I then took the new crisp one dollar bill and crumpled it up.  Then I put it on the floor and stepped on it.  I really stepped on it hard and stamped it into the floor.  I asked the children if the dollar was worth the same now, as it was before I crumpled it up.  They were getting the point.  A dollar is worth a dollar, no matter what condition it is in.  You can still take it to the store and spend it.

Then I said, we are like these dollars to Jesus.  We have worth to him no matter what condition we find ourselves.  Sometimes we are ripped or broken and we don't get put back together just right, like a soldier who has been injured in a war or a child who is born with cerebral palsy or downs syndrome, but to Jesus, we all have the same value.  Sometimes people are very old and don't look so good anymore and cannot do very much anymore.  They are frail and tattered at the edges.  When Jesus looks at them he sees they are just as valuable as a younger person.  Sometimes we start out nice and clean and new, but then someone makes us feel bad and hurts us and steps on us and treats us like we are worthless, but to Jesus we still have the same value we always had.

It makes me sad to think there are people out there that do not value or respect money and see it as meaningless.  It makes me angry that there are people out there that don't want to work, but are quite happy to have me or the government give them the money I earn.  Maybe the just want someone else to take care of them?  Maybe they think they are better than those of us working for a living?  I guess if I told this little story to someone that believes money is meaningless, they wouldn't understand it. 

425.  A (sorta) apology from my boss for the meeting screw-up
426.  Bible study tonight, and I'm really looking forward to it
427.  A project at work that is interesting and something I can succeed at
428.  Squash juice, it's better than it sounds

Saturday, July 14, 2012

You're not young

Finally, some of the 30 somethings are getting it.  Yes, some of the Millennials and GenXers are getting it, and they wrote a song about it.  Adolescence is over.  Look in the mirror.  You're NOT young.  You may have 500 fb friends that are still in high school, but you are NOT.  It's time to grow up.  It's time to get a job and pay your bills.  Quit depending on the adults in your life to loan you money, or a place to park your crappy bus, or take care of your children.  You're not young.   

Enjoy this video and have a good laugh.  Hopefully some of you will be able to laugh at yourself because some of us are laughing at you.  :)

421.  A day off and the opportunity to recharge after a long week
422.  Browsing YouTube and laughing 
423.  Laughter, it makes a body feel good all over
424.  Tomato and mozzarella di bufala salad

Friday, July 13, 2012

I had a bad day

Yep, I had a pretty bad day.  It started out with me having to do, pretty much, the thing I hate about my job the most.  I had to stop at a shop and pick up food because my boss scheduled a meeting inside the two week window that on-site catering is available.  I know this doesn't sound like a very difficult thing to do, so I'll tell you the rub.  No matter where I go to pick up food for a meeting, whether it be for breakfast or lunch or a snack, it never turns out well.  So, what happened on this day, you may ask.  I ordered catering from Panera Bread.  I know, you're all saying yummy, yummy.  Yeah, I know, Panera is yummy.  Here's the thing, when you order food for take-out, you never know what you're going to get.  I ordered something they call a 13 pack and two jugs of coffee.  The coffee was supposed to serve 8 cups per each jug.  This would equal about 16 cups, right?  This is what I thought.  So, I have coffee for 16 cups and 13 bagels with two small tubs of cream cheese.  Easy peasy.

Not so fast.

The first thing I discover when picking up the food is that they give me the bagels in a bag and not on a tray.  Evidently, you have to order your bagels on a tray if you want them on a tray.  And, they add $2.50 + tax for the tray.  Thank you.  I need a tray.  Secondly, they don't give you plates with your catering.  You have to specifically ask for plates.  Thankfully, I asked for plates when I ordered the food, so I didn't have to pay extra for the plates when I pointed out that I needed them and they weren't in the bag.  Also, remember the bagels.  Well, you must have to ask to have the bagels sliced in advance, because the bagels I got where not sliced.  And finally, even though you've ordered bagels and cream cheese for 13 people, they must think all 13 people are GREAT friends.  They gave me four plastic knives.  Four.  Four plastic knives for service for 13 people.  This is not good.  I scrambled around the building and found three more plastic knives.  Evidently, plastic knives are the holy grail of plastic cutlery.  By the way, Panera gave me enough sugar to give the biggest sugar addict enough sugar for an entire year.  TONS of sugar, four plastic knives.  AND, they didn't slice the bagels.  I guess I kind of get this, no slicing of the bagels thing.  Maybe they thought I wasn't going to eat them right away.  However, I did say I wanted these for a catered breakfast meeting.  I guess I didn't put the dots close enough together.  Oh well.

But this wasn't the worst thing about my day.  By a long shot.

As I drove down to the college for the breakfast meeting, I had an uneasy feeling.  Scheduling this meeting was challenging.  For some reason, every time I sent an email with the meeting information, the recipients would ask me questions like, "what time is this meeting?"  Even though it was on the email.  Or they would ask, "what sub-group meeting is this?"  Even though it was on the subject line.  They even asked, "what day is this meeting?"  Even though I said, in the email, it was tomorrow.  Odd.  Weird.  But, wait for it...........  wait for it..........
I invited the wrong people to the meeting.  None of the people I invited were in the sub-group the meeting was supposed to be about.  None.  I invited the wrong sub-group to the wrong sub-group meeting.  When my boss returned from the meeting he says to me, "something went wrong.  didn't it?"  I said, "yeah."  Sure, as soon as he said something was wrong, everything made sense.  These people didn't know what meeting I was inviting them to attend, but nobody said anything to me.  My boss never made the sub-group list.  (no wait, he did, but he made it at 7:45 a.m. on the morning of the meeting.  too late to help me.)  Then he says to me, "I'm not mad."  Seriously?!?  You're not mad?  This meeting was a total waste of some very important people's time.  I made admirals come down to the college from their posts.  I made presidents of companies come to a NON-meeting.  I screwed up.  BUT, yeah, I had a lot of help.  From my boss.  I had never even seen the list of people to invite to this meeting.  He forwarded his request for this meeting from the wrong email thread.  The list of CORRECT attendees for this meeting didn't even exist until 45 minutes before the meeting was to start.  So, I guess he's not mad.  He has someone to blame.  me.  It sucks, but at least there were bagels.

But this wasn't even the worst thing about my day.  Oh no.  There was more.

There is a HUGE hubbub down here at the college.  Two long-time and well loved employees were fired.  One had 25 years of service and was an administrator, albeit, not at executive level and the other had 37 years of service and was support staff.  Fired.  (seriously, support staff don't get fired because of a change in administration.  support staff only get fired when they do stuff wrong.  like invite the wrong people to the wrong meeting.)  And then the all-staff email that broke the news essentially said, this is what we did and don't you dare ask us anything about it.  (also known as, F.U.)  For a college with staff that hasn't had raises in 5 and a half years, this was morale breaking.  A student blog has taken this issue on, as well as the local newspapers.  The college is stonewalling.  Silence.  When there is silence, everyone thinks the worst.  Everyone here is afraid for their jobs.  It's awful.  But what did I do to make my day even worse?  I did a stupid thing.  I opened the student blog and planned to post the link to one of the stories from the local paper.  I wasn't going to say anything or add to the fury with an actual comment.  I was just going to post the link.  And, I was going to post it anonymously, or so I thought.  But no.  No.  no.  no.  It must have been my trembling hand readying to click the mouse.  I didn't just click.  I DOUBLE clicked.  And when I double clicked not only did I post anonymously, but I posted with my Being Happy profile.  With my lovely avatar and link to my blog.  Disaster.  How UN-anonymous can you be.  My smiling face and my blog.  You know what they say about the internet, "once something is on the internet it is there forever."  (maybe they don't say it, but I certainly do.)  I had been joking about doing something similar to this earlier this very day.  Not as myself, of course, but with an actual person's name as my log-in.  (this would have been the name of a co-worker I don't like very much.  I know, it's hard to believe I don't like EVERYONE, but I don't.  can you believe that karma, or whatever you want to call it, came around and bit me in the butt so fast.  no, me either.)

It was a bad day.

I did email the owner of the blog and ask him to remove my avatar and blog info.  He was kind enough to do this.  I do feel a bit of relief.  I hate screwing up.  I REALLY hate screwing up on the internet.

417.  A husband that listens to my fears
418.  Learning a tough lesson, but surviving it
419.  A boss that gives the leftover bagels to another office to spare me the calories
420.  Friday, even if it is the 13th

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hot, hurting, and Happy

Maybe some of you remember that it was hot last week.  HOT.  As in, really HOT.  I was in MN last week and it was really hot.  I couldn't believe it.  How in the world to people decide to live in a place that can be 50 degrees below zero and 100 degrees above zero?  I'm fairly sure my family is much happier with the 50 degrees below zero than they are with the 100 degrees.  I was freezing inside their air conditioned home.  I don't think the ac in my house can even reach the temperature they were keeping in their home.  It was certainly refreshing.  (brrrrr)

I don't like the heat.  But, I can take the heat if I don't have to do anything more strenuous than lay on a lounge chair.  I was awesome at laying on a lounge chair.  I made a valiant effort to read a book, but it was hot.  Super hot.  I looked up from my book and the lounge chair and I saw the lake.  Typically, I'm not a big fan of swimming in the lake.  There are weeds growing up from the bottom of the lake and they wrap around my legs and freak me out.  Worse, there are fish in that lake.  I know there are fish, because in other years, when it wasn't so hot, I'd go fishing.  One of the things either my dad or my brother (whoever was taking me fishing) enjoy more than anything is to see me catch a fish.  I, on the other hand, would be happy to listen to my music and drink beer.  But, my dad and my brother usually get what they want and as a result, I've caught fish.  I've even caught really big fish.  This does nothing for my desire to swim in the lake.  I've seen the teeth on those fish and I'm afraid of them.  Even though the worse that has ever happened to me while swimming in the lake is to have little sunnies or bluegills nibble at my mosquito bites, the thought of those big fish give me pause.  But, I went swimming.  And, I jumped three feet straight up when a bluegill nibbled on the mosquito bite on my leg.  And, I screamed.  This was all to the great amusement of my husband.  (yay.  so glad I could make his day)

Did I mention it was hot in MN?  Yeah, hot.  It was hotter in MN than it was in FL at the same time.  There is something wrong with this.  Doncha think?

I stayed in the lake for a very long time.  I think I was in the lake for an hour or maybe even two hours.  This was a world class record for me.  It was so pleasant to sit on a noodle floatie and bob in the water and just be cool.  It was entertaining to watch a two year old sit in a floatie and smile and repeat every word he heard.  It was relaxing.  Very relaxing.  But even relaxing can become tedious.  (I know, it surprised me, too)  Most of the family decided to go for a boat ride on the big pontoon party boat my parents have.  I believe it holds 13 people.  I believe they squeezed 13 people on the boat along with two big coolers of drinks and SNACKS.  For some reason the thought of squeezing on that boat with 13 other hot, sweaty bodies did not appeal to me.  I chose to stay behind.  As they were leaving, my other brother invited me to play around on one of the two wave runners he had towed up to the lake.  I think I've been on them once or twice.  I know I've only driven one once.  And, I drove it like an old lady.  And, when I drove it like an old lady I wasn't as old of a lady as I am now.  I didn't think I would be taking the wave runner out on the lake.

But, I did.

I decided, along with my husband, it would be fun to scoot around the lake on these contraptions.  So, we did.  I got on one and my husband got on the other and off we went.  I went FAST.  I wanted to go as fast as I dared.  I zipped back and forth behind other boats in the lake with the intent of "getting some air" as I flew over their wakes.  (I am quite sure I never "got air")  It was fun.  I went in a circle as fast as I could to try to jump over my own wake.  I had to hold on so tight.  The tighter I held the handlebars, the harder I turned the accelerator.  It felt like the wave runner would scoot out right from underneath me.  I held on so tight.  My husband stayed behind me.  I think he was anticipating a rescue situation rather than not being able to keep up with me.  I'm quite sure I wasn't going as fast as it felt I was going, but nonetheless, it was exhilarating.  I was thrilled and proud of myself for both, pushing myself to do something a little scary and not falling off the thing.  It was a fun, fun ride.

And then I paid.

I paid, in pain.  I woke up the next morning with arms and shoulders so sore you'da thought I'd chopped a cord of wood.  It took me until early afternoon to figure out why I hurt so bad.  At first I thought I was sick.  I thought I had a fever and my joints were aching.  Or maybe, it was from a HUGE mosquito bite I had on my elbow.  But then, I remembered.  I went jet skiing on the wave runner.  I paid for that half hour of fun for three days.  I remembered that hurt you feel when you've had a good workout.  Yeah, that one.  I haven't felt that hurt for a long time.  It felt good, after remembering why I was feeling it.  I need to start doing something to give me that feeling again.  Sometimes exercise is fun.  (so that's why thy change it up on the Biggest Loser)

411.  Beat juice
412.  Watermelon
413.  Anticipating tomatoes from the farm
414.  Good advice from my husband on dealing with a snippy co-worker
415.  Catching up on work
416.  Did I say watermelon?

Not me, but it coulda been.

Monday, July 9, 2012

My normal is not... normal

I'm back from a week-long vacation with my family.  I use the term, vacation, loosely.  Seriously, are there actually people out there in the world that consider a visit with their families a vacation?  Anyway, I was with my family.  I was with my mom and dad, my three brothers and their respective wives, and all the grandchildren, plus one plus one great-grandson and one girlfriend.  The only person missing, from what we could call a family reunion, but we won't, because I was told in no uncertain terms that it wasn't, was my son.  (he says he feels bad about missing this, but I assured him he had a very good end of this stick)  I'm back and I'm back to work and I'm back to blogging and I'm hoping upon hope, I'm back to normal.

My plan was to live as if I was from a planet of goodness and light and to treat everyone as if they were from my planet.  This was a good plan, and for the most part, it worked.  You know what they say about trash talking and gossipping, you improve the situation 100% by saying nothing at all.  Saying something nice or giving a compliment is a bonus.  Let's just say, for the most part, there was 100% improvement in the way my family dealt with each other this week.  It had more than it's share of pregnant pauses, but this was much improvement over criticism and sarcasm.

I wasn't able to completely live as if I was from the planet of goodness and light.  I don't know how to do this.  What I did do was make Romans 12:3 the wallpaper of my iPhone.  "For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned."  Even when my brother teased me about smoking and lying about it to my mom and dad when I was in h.s.  (seriously, I quit 21 years ago)  Even when my brother teased me about playing with my phone.  (didn't he know I was reading the verse over and over again?)  Even when I feel like a fatso next to my slim sisters-in-law.  Even when I second guess myself over every move I make or comment I speak.  No mater what I did I never thought of myself more highly than I ought.  I tried, oh so hard, to think that no one was thinking of themselves more highly than they ought.

I saw people pitching in and helping make food and clean up after food was served.  I saw brothers bringing water toys for all to play with in the lake.  I saw sisters-in-law sharing clean-up help and offering help wherever needed.  I saw grandchildren playing games together and accepting each other and enjoying the games without fierce or demeaning competition.  It was a huge change for me to focus on the good and beautiful and not the flaws and ugly.  It felt good to do it.  It felt good, but it didn't feel normal.

There were so many times during this week that I reflected on the way it felt to look for the good and to overlook the mistakes.  I want this to be my normal.  I was proud of myself for letting the comment of my misspent youth roll off my back.  I forgave myself for dwelling on cake-balls that didn't turn out as pretty as was hoped.  (I got over it, but it took longer than it needed to take)  I want to be that "live and let live" kind of person.  My heart broke for my niece as her idol crush was criticized by her cousins and me.  Why do we do this?  I know my sisters-in-law saw how close she came to tears.  I wanted to tell her how proud I was of her to come back to the group when we promised to change the subject.  I saw her grapple with her feelings that night and then return the next morning with a smile on her face and embrace us without any bad feelings.

I could tell my niece and her mom of the awe I felt as I could see the change of heart my brother showed to his family and siblings.  Why couldn't I say it to him?  Instead, I only spoke to him about the moments he fell short.  I want a new normal that does the opposite.  I want to praise the progress and minimize that slips.  This is who I want to be.

I have a beautiful family.  As a family, we are abundantly blessed.  There was news of a new baby on the way.  There was positive cash flow in our corporation during tough economic times.  There was laughter and hugs and graduations and college plans and new jobs.  This is all good stuff.  This is a family that is richly blessed.  I want my normal to have the blessings be my focus.  I want my normal to let the critical comments go unheard.  We all grow at a different pace.  I want my normal to be the encourager of growth and the ignorer of missteps.  I had moments of feeling how this new normal would feel, and it feels good.  I want to give up competing with my brothers and compliment them.  I want to cover flaws with love.  My dad was very quiet this week.  I'm hoping he saw a glimpse of what the new normal can be for our family and decide it's the way he wants his normal to be, too.  I hope...

405.  Pleasant visit with family
406.  Safe travel for all of us
407.  My house didn't get hit by the giant limb (about the size of a small tree) that fell in the storm on Friday
408.  A break in the dreadfully hot weather
409.  Being welcomed home by my son
410.  I still have a job (they fired two long-time employees while I was gone, 25 and 37 years each.  this place is getting scary)