Friday, August 31, 2012

This is how my tenant rolls


First of the month, nothing.  Days pass.  Nothing.  The 15th, bell rings, it’s her.  She’s got on her best smile and rattiest shirt.  A granddaughter sits on her hip, check in hand.  Rent's short, again. 
Can I give her a break?

My mortgage was due on the 5th.

That baby better work harder next month.

I'm prepping for the DNC and getting my tissues out to cry me a river for the entitled.
Linking with G-man for a Friday Flash 55 

547.  A job
548.  A home
549.  A family
550.  A work ethic 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Neglect (or, maybe we just don't care)

So many people just don't take care of their stuff anymore.  An acquaintance of mine had their house on the market.  It was a five-year-old house.  They had purchased it brand new.  I couldn't believe they had the courage to put the pictures on the MLS that were there, but they did.  Beside the fact that they didn't bother to clean before taking the pictures, from the looks of things, yard work hadn't made it into the "to-do" list in the five years they lived in the house.  Neglect.

From the MLS.  Doesn't this just say "buy me?"
I read a post written by someone one rejoicing in the glory of dandelions in their yard.  They had no grass, just dandelions, and they were extolling the beauty that had sprung up all on it's own due to their lack of interest in doing yard work.  I'm sure their neighbors were thrilled, as well.  (not)  Neglect.

A couple weekends ago the husband and I went to Atlantic City for a relaxing weekend.  One thing I asked to do while we were on this trip was to stop in south Atlantic City, in an area called Margate, and see Lucy the Elephant.  (click to read Lucy's story) 
I took this picture and, of course, did not step back far enough
Lucy is more than 6 stories high and is listed on the National Parks registry of Historic Landmarks.  She is over 130 years old and was constructed as a real estate gimmick.  Lucy has survived bootlegging, ocean floods, hurricanes, and even an accidental fire started by some drunken party-goers during Lucy's tenure as a tavern.  The one thing that almost brought Lucy's existence to an end was Neglect.

added by Floflo79
Of course, the antidote to Neglect is work, money, time and effort.  Many of the things we neglect oughtn't take enormous amounts of those items if, (Big IF), one keeps up timely maintenance.  I noticed this area of south Atlantic City called Margate was a lovely area.  The homes were well kept.  The shops were clean, neat and inviting.  This is such a contrast to the neighborhoods off the boardwalk area around the casinos in north Atlantic City.

My belief is that the key to fighting neglect is self-respect and care.  The blogger rejoicing in the neglect of their yard admitted they didn't care because they were leaving soon.  I'm guessing this is the same for the acquaintance selling their home.  The area around the big casinos and the way that area has fallen into disrepair shows the lack of care.  (btw, the casinos are beginning to look pretty shabby, as well.  maybe it's time time to change the focus of entertainment?  just sayin'

I know when I get home from my day job, I have my second job to do.  If I don't care for my house and property, who will?  I don't know how to fix this growing attitude of not caring and not taking care of person and property, but we need to return to an attitude of having pride in ourselves and not just sitting around and wishing for something better to come along, but taking care of what we have and being happy with ourselves.
The End
543.  Listening to Condoleezza Rice's speech last night and being inspired by her calm, direct manner of speaking and her story
544.  Listening to Susana Martinez speak and being inspired by her story and the hope she has for the future of this nation
545.  Listening to Paul Ryan share his enthusiasm and energy and ideas for the economic recovery this country needs
546.  Having confidence in a nation that will vote and elect leaders to guide our nation into recovery

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sometimes I can be harsh, but I'm not afraid of snakes

Evidently I can be harsh at times.  This was brought to my attention yesterday.  This was brought to my attention two times.  I can be harsh.

There are two ways I can look at this revelation.  One way would be to blame it on a bad day.  Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  Maybe I wasn't feeling particularly cheerful yesterday.  Maybe there was a fragment of underdone potato that wasn't digesting properly.  (I believe this is from the book, A Christmas Carol, but I'm not completely sure.)  This would be one way to look at this observation of my demeanor.  By looking at this criticism of my personality this way, I don't have to do a thing about it.  I can stay just as I am and let it roll off my back.

Another way I could look at this revelation is to take responsibility for it and acknowledge that, indeed, I can be harsh.  I can accept that, at times, I am not careful of the feelings of others.  I, myself, do not get my feelings hurt very often.  I really don't live in a world of feelings.  I live, more or less, in a world of facts.  For me, things are or they aren't.  Feelings are very messy things to deal with in other people.  I find, often, that people with lots of feelings don't even understand their feelings and can't name them or identify them in any real and concrete way.  This is difficult for me to wrap my head around.

I am trying to figure out how to soften this part of my personality.  I guess saying nothing is a better response to someone than telling them to "get over it."

Yesterday a student, with the support of her parents, said she would not be able to sleep in her dorm room because she saw a snake in it on Saturday (it is now Monday).  She, and her parents, needed proof the snake was gone.  This proof was provided, in my mind, by the 24 sticky boards laid down along the baseboards of her room by the exterminator, for two nights and one full day.  I suggested this girl, and her parents, needed to "get over it."  My boss said this was harsh.  Of course, I didn't say this to the snake-phobic girl.  I said it to my boss.

I know this post does not paint me in a very favorable light.  I know my personality is exactly what is needed in times of stress or crisis.  I can make decisions at critical times with a calm demeanor.  I guess I want to learn to put on the "being nice" face when confronted with people sinking deep into their feelings and being controlled by them.  Even though I don't understand their feelings, I need to find a way to speak to a person in this situation without being harsh.

This is the tiniest snake I have ever seen

538.  People telling me the truth about myself
539.  Students willing to talk about their views on different current events (it's so fun to see how their minds work)
540.  Being acknowledged for doing a good job
542.  Being ok with writing this weak post, and hoping that someone will tell me I'm ok just the way I am and there is a place in this world for harsh people and sometimes people really need a person like me in their lives.  Just hoping.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Remembering Hurricane Irene and praying for Isaac to be weak

Good Monday morning! 

There's a phrase you won't hear come from me very often.  However, this Monday morning is a good morning, for me.  Today I am praying fervently and continuously for those in the path of Hurricane Isaac.  Last year, this very weekend, was the Saturday night my house was broken by Hurricane Irene.  (I'm just gonna say, I hate the "I" hurricanes, 'cause back in September 2003 when Hurricane Isabel his my area it wasn't so much fun, either.)

Because this was such a huge issue for me and I blogged about my hurt, fear, anger and recovery, I feel today may be a good day to take a walk down memory lane.

I have to admit, before Irene hit I was pretty hopeful.  The forecasts weren't predicting a very strong storm surge with this hurricane.  Back in 2003 the storm surge from Isabel was pretty devastating and the flooding was awful.  This storm wasn't going to have any of that, so I was hoping for the best and even singing songs about Irene.  August 26, 2011

The night of Hurricane Irene came and went.  It was a terrible night.  A tree fell through our roof.  There was so much rain.  It just rained and rained and rained.  My husband and I put three 5-gallon buckets under the largest holes and just kept dumping them into the toilet.  The tree fell around 9:00 p.m. on Saturday night and stopped around 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning.  It was an incredible amount of water.  While my husband and I bailed, my son cleared his room, because it was the most damaged.  Needless to say, we were moving fast and furiously.  The next morning we went out to check out the neighborhood and it was shocking.  There were, no kidding, hundreds and hundreds of trees down in the neighborhood.  Dozens and dozens of homes were damaged by falling trees.  I had never seen such devastation.  Our neighborhood is only 126 homes.  I'd guess half of them had serious damage.  It was heartbreaking.  August 29, 2011

I started feeling sorry for myself pretty quickly.  The guys that came to take the tree off the roof of my house dropped it on my deck.  More repairs would be needed.  Looking at the mess in the bright morning light was overwhelming.  We had a broken house and a smashed car and a broken deck.  All I could see were dollar signs and WORK.  Someone told me the feelings I was experiencing were similar to those of people robbed while at home.  My home was invaded.  The invader was a tree, but it was still an invasion.  August 31, 2011

There is just something about getting to work on a problem that helps you gain perspective.  Once we started having the insurance adjusters come to the house.  Once we started getting estimates for the repairs.  Once we started getting to WORK on the problems, things started looking up.  My husband put the mother of all patches on the roof.  We had planned a vacation to Reno, NV to attend the US Navy Tailhook convention.  It is always held the weekend after Labor Day.  We'd pre-paid and we were going.  I wasn't comfortable with a blue plastic tarp on my roof and not being home.  My husband made a plywood and shingle patch.  It could have lasted for a year.  Boy, that's love.  September 2, 2011

Another aspect of my recovery from Hurricane Irene was my desire (my son would call it OBSESSION) with clearing away STUFF.  To this day I am committed to clearing away anything unused or unnecessary in my home.  It's an ongoing issue, but it's going my way and it feel great.  September 19, 2011

A month after Hurricane Irene wrecked my house I was beginning to gain perspective and regain a sense of control over my life.  (I am aware it is an illusion, but I love the illusion of control)  Our family was recovering.  We still had a lot of work to do, but the work was getting done.  September 27, 2011

And then I had a new roof.  There is comfort in the phrase "a roof over our heads."  Until I had a roof that was secure and hole-free, that phrase never had as much meaning.  It's amazing how one perspective can change with their circumstances.  October 21, 2011

Finally the drywall, paint, and carpet cleaning was being completed and we would soon be able put our possessions back where they belonged.  (I'm still trying to convince my son that his possessions do NOT belong in the guest room)  Irene was becoming a distant memory.  November 10, 2011

And then everything was fixed.  The last piece of the puzzle came with the replacement of the window in my bedroom.  I cannot tell you how much work it was and what kind of mess we had to live in to get through it.  But, we did it.  I learned so much about myself and my family in this time.  Mostly I learned how much patience my husband has.  He did all the dealings with the insurance and the mortgage company.  They were a PITA.  I've heard tell that normal is just a setting on your dryer.  There may not be a universal normal, but there is an individual or a family normal.  And when you get it back, it feels wonderful.  January 18, 2012

Thanks for taking this look back on surviving Hurricane Irene with me.  Please pray for all those in the path of Hurricane Isaac. 

534.  Learning that journaling or blogging can help me gain perspective and increase the gratitude I have for God's blessings
535.  Praying for people you don't know, but are experiencing something you do know, increases my faith.
536.  Lots of rain over the weekend and lots of green this morning
537.  Getting news from an old friend you haven't spoken with in a long time  :)

Hurricane Isaac

Friday, August 24, 2012

Why I choose life

I’m not garbage.  Nothing more than a reminder of trauma.
Don’t define me by him.
I'm me.
I’m a woman, daughter, wife, and mother.
I have a family. I love my children and my God.
Time could heal you, but your decision will be permanent for me.
I was conceived in rape.  

(this is not a personal story, but it could have been)

530.  Uplifting music in the car on the way to work
531.  Precious stories about life
532.  Having my heart broken by my son (it keeps me humble)
533.  Friday

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Todd Akin is an idiot

I think that pretty much sums it up.  If he's not an idiot, then I'm assuming his goal was to lose the seat in the Senate and screw the GOP in the election.  But wait, that would make him an idiot, too.  And let me add this, because THIS is extremely important, Todd Akin is running for a seat in the U.S. Sentate.  He is running against the incumbent Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, and was almost assuredly going to win this seat.  Almost assuredly, until he decided to show everyone in the world that he is an idiot.  (I cannot stand pro-life supporters that are idiots.  they make us all look stupid, and I, for one, am not stupid.)

If you don't know what I'm talking about, let me shed some light on this subject.  There is plenty of buzz on the interwebs and network news to teach you all you need to know, and more.  Believe me, the Democratic party and the network and cable pundits are giggling with glee like eight year old girls. 

The Senator from Missouri, a Republican, was being interview by St. Louis television station KTVI.  Sen. Akin was being asked about women's health issues (read, abortion, because that IS the only health issue we women have) and asked whether a woman can become pregnant when they are raped.  Sen. Akin replied, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," according to The Washington Post.  Akin added: "But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."

Of course a woman can become pregnant if she is raped.  What the heck is a legitimate rape?  I know, he's talking about the gray area of date rape, but seriously, rape is rape and no is no.  Of course, the punishment should be on the rapist and not the child, but most victims of rape aren't thinking about the child.  It takes a lot of love to put a child's life ahead of your own pain.  And, of course, he is now backpedaling like crazy and accusing the Democrats  of using this snafu as an opportunity to get him to back out of the election.  The Democrats are using women's health (abortion and federally funded contraception) as the issue they want to use to distract the nation from the economy.

Hey, America, the real issue is the ECONOMY!  Please don't forget this.

Heck, I want him to back out of the election.  Any Republican with an ounce of sense wants him to back out of the election.  Did you see the interview with Claire McCaskill?  She couldn't wipe that smile off her face if her life depended on it.  Please Sen. Akin, step down, shut up, and don't come out until you learn how to talk in front of a camera.  Please stop trying to help the party and the pro-lifers.  The last time we got help like this was in the middle of the night when Clinton vetoed the bill to ban partial birth abortion bill.  Just go away.  This kind of stink gets all over everyone, not just you.

To the people of Missouri, please, please, please, I beg of you, if Todd Akin does not drop out of the race for this Senate seat, please, please, please, I beg of you, stage a write-in campaign for the next U.S. Senator from Missouri (remember Lisa Murkowski?).  The former senator from Missouri,  Christopher "Kit" Bond would be an excellent candidate.  This election is too important to waste.  Write-in campaigns have been successful in the past.  You can do it, Missouri.  Just "Show Me" your commitment to electing an administration that respects your individual and state's rights.

525.  A break from blogging and finding that my blog is still here.  I just hope I still have a reader or two.
526.  Kids back on campus and business as usual.
527.  Discovering my son lied to me about taking a class this summer and surviving.
528.  Taking a co-worker out for lunch to celebrate her 50th birthday.  (I'm not the only old lady in my building.)
529.  Cooler weather in the mornings and the promise of autumn.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Best of my blog: Can you play Monopoly without tears?

I’m still taking a little break from writing this week.  Here is another rerun of a favorite post you may have missed.  I watched a documentary on Monopoly called Under the Boardwalk: the Monopoly story.  There wasn't too much crying or name calling and it was very entertaining and informative.  I learned that my family isn't the only family reduced to fighting and tears in a Monopoly game.  It streams on Netflix if you want to check it out.  I'm not completely caught up on my work, so enjoy another oldie, but goody.

Not at my childhood home.  No way could a game of Monopoly go to completion without tears.  Sometimes the tears were mine.  Sometimes the tears were my brothers'.  Sometimes the gaming board was tossed and the money scattered.  Competition.  I grew up in a competitive family. 

I'm a competitive person.  I like to win.  Of course, I'm not a sore loser anymore.  I'm a grown-up now.  But, I know the feeling of Wanting To Win.  What's the point of playing the game if you don't want to win?  I know it's "just a game," but everyone wants to win.  Don't they?

I think they do.  I know some people say they don't care if they win or not.  (btw, we aren't just talking about Monopoly now)  I don't believe them.  I think it's an excuse for losing.  Or an excuse for not trying their best.  I think these same people often quit trying.  They may not scatter the money to the floor, but they walk away.  They won't play anymore.  They stop trying.  They quit.  And you know how the old saying goes, "quitters never win."

I'm reading a book recommended to me by a reader (hi Lynn).  The book is Born To Win by Muriel James.  It is full of exercises to guide you in focusing on the roles we unconsciously play out in our day to day lives.  It is teaching me about the way I relate to people without thinking and then helps me focus on my thoughts and behaviors when dealing with other people.  It is teaching me to think like a winner.  I haven't finished reading the book yet.  I will keep you posted.

My husband thinks like a winner.  Here is an example of his winning thinking.  If you've read my blog, you know we like to go to Atlantic City every now and then.  There are some very bright lights in AC that are paid for with money from losers.  Yep, LOSER'S $$.  People go to places like AC every day of the year with the attitude of losing.  They say to themselves, "I'll bring $100 (or any amount) to gamble with, and when it's gone, I'm done."  This is the attitude of a loser.  They are planning to lose.  They don't even consider winning.  They are setting themselves up to fulfill the prophesy they predict for themselves as they put the money they plan to lose in their wallets.

Winners don't think like this.  They plan to win.  Of course, it's still gambling, so there is no guarantee of winning, but they plan to win anyway.  Winners plan to gamble with a certain amount of money, as well.  Here is where the similarity stops.  Instead of gambling mindlessly, a winner will watch the fluctuation of the "luck of the draw."  They will bet more when the luck is on their side of the table and bet less when the luck has moved away.  They are playing to win.  They have an attitude of a winner.

Losers always think the winners are beating them.  Losers don't get the fact that they are defeating themselves.  No one is a born loser any more than anybody is born to win.  Losers blame and winners take responsibility.  There will always be competition in the world, but the most important place we need to play to win is in the way we live our lives.  Think like a winner.  After all, every loves a winner.

Btw, if you think this post is about you, it is.  Stop being such a loser.  :) 

520.  My small group bible study is just... wonderful
521.  Leftover eggplant parm, so I don't have to cook tonight
522.  Talking to my mom and hearing about a nice dream she had
523.  Continuing to catch up on work
524.  A job to have work to catch up on 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Best of my blog: Get on the bus

I’m taking a little break from writing this week.  School is starting up and things are very busy around here.  But that doesn’t mean I won't give you anything!  I’ll be featuring a few reruns of some of my favorite posts you may have missed.  I wish I was cool enough to ask some of my favorite bloggers to guest post for me, but I'm way too shy to ask.  Anyway, maybe I'll get all caught up and be back later in the week, but in case I don't, enjoy some oldies, but goodies. 

I follow one blog as a guilty pleasure.  I know this person "in real life" and I've promised myself NEVER to comment on her blog.  It's caused a problem in the past and now our relationship is broken.  This wasn't my choice, but there you have it.  Anyway, she has a DONATE button on her blog and has been collecting money to buy an old yellow school bus to pack her family up and travel the country.  She considers her family "unschoolers" as she is supposedly allowing her children to learn at home at their own pace and desire.  Evidently, or according to her blog, she and the family have BOUGHT THE BUS.  But, now her son doesn't want to stay home and unschool, he wants to GO TO PUBLIC SCHOOL.  I read all this on her blog.  I understand her dilemma.  How can you live your life the way you want to live your life when your child won't let you?  But this isn't my problem.  My problem is this.  I want to comment on her blog, and I can't.  So I'm commenting on my blog.  Here it is.

So will you be driving your son to school in the bus?

513.  A great weekend for catching up on a few things
514.  Cooler temps reminding me that fall is on the way
515.  Anticipation of a trip to AC to see an air show
516.  A freezer and pantry full of summer goodness to take us into the winter months
517.  New co-worker
518.  I can give back the part of the job I've been covering during the vacancy
519.  Still enjoying the antics of the folks in this blog topic (guilty pleasure)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Short sale in a (55) nut shell

Short sales are for homeowners on the brink of foreclosure. 

You won’t make money from a sale.  Profits will pay off your debt. 

Buyers may come your way, but the bank has the final say. 

Uncle Sam will get his cut on any debt forgiven.  You'll pay.

Your credit is still shot. 

Greed ain’t good.

Linking with G-Man for a Friday Flash 55

508.  Rain
509.  Funny movies
510.  Rhythmic gymnastics
511.  Synchronized swimming
512.  People paying back what they borrowed

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Those olympians are so lucky

I've been watching the olympics and enjoying the heck out of it.  I know NBC has had it's share of screw-ups in the broadcasting, but all-in-all, it's been fun to watch.  Since I'm a person without the opportunity or time to watch the events live, streaming on the inter-webs, NBC what I've got.

It's funny, to me, at least, how watching these summer olympics every four years finds me in a different paradigm just about each and every time.  I remember there was a time when I watched and thought to myself, I could DO that, if I really put forth some effort.  Then I'd get out there and start pounding the track or swimming (gymnastics were never my thing).  Later in my life I'd watch the olympics and think, my kid could DO that, if I get him in gymnastics class and on a swim team and playing basketball and buy him a horse (no, I never seriously thought about buying him a horse, although I do enjoy watching the equestrian events).  Now, I think I enjoy watching the parents of the gymnasts as much as I enjoy the gymnastics.  I remember my husband and I tag teaming the kid to gymnastics class.  I enjoy watching Michael Phelps' mom and Missy Franklin's parents and I remember sitting in the hot sun at so many swim meets I can't even count and I remember how hoarse I'd be from screaming encouragement to those kids.  Now, I adore seeing the 54 year old British equestrian and I feel pride, even though all I've done in my 55 years is stay alive.   

Those olympians are so lucky to be able to compete at this global level.  They get to be on tv and have the world watching them.  The parents of those olympians are so lucky to have kids that are so good at their sport or activity.  Lucky.  Yeah, lucky.

When I watch the olympics I think of thousands and thousands of hours of training and running and driving to and forth from practice.  I think of coaches and fundraisers and sacrifice.  I think about hours of homework done in the car or up late at night or getting up in the wee hours of the morning.  I don't think I'm exaggerating one little bit when I say thousands of hours.  Those olympians, they are so lucky.

Ya think?
503.  Today's work day is much much better
504.  Encouraging bloggers
505.  Bloggers with great housekeeping ideas
506.  Funny bloggers
507.  Even bloggers who've seemed to take a vacation from blogging (they remind me it's ok to take a break sometimes)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Be certain it is God speaking

A while back I wrote a post about discerning the voice of God.  I've struggled with "hearing" God speak to me.  I guess I have a problem with it because, for some reason, God's voice sounds an awful lot like my voice.  I mean, he has a Chicago accent and everything.  Sometimes, I swear, I believe God says to me, "Go ahead, you can eat that donut."  I wonder if the others who say they hear God telling them to do something hear God speaking with a Chicago accent?  I mean, God has been accused of telling people to do some crazy stuff.  I've heard of people who do horrible things under the guise of saying God was telling them to do something.  They've killed their children or raped somebody or shed someone's blood or tried to sell their house as a short sale so they could live in a bus.  I'm pretty skeptical that God was telling them to do these things.

I've watched people who are absolutely certain it is God telling them to do some crazy things (not crazy like hurting or killing someone, but pretty darn irresponsible) and watched door after door slamming in their face, but they are still certain it is God's will (not their will) to quit their jobs or move or go into debt or whatever.  I guess they really believe God wants them to put themselves into bankruptcy or jail or whatever.  Really?

I found this Story Of The Remote Employee by Sandy Gregory on the blogs while looking around for information on hearing the voice of God.  (I just finished studying Mark 1:11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”and Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" So I know sometimes God does speak so EVERYONE around can hear him.  I wish that happened around me.  A little confirmation would be great.)  This story is so good as an analogy for discerning whether or not it is God speaking or somebody else.

Imagine you are hired to open up an office in Anchorage, Alaska. Your new boss gives you a high-tech looking two-way radio, a policy and procedure manual, and tells you that you will receive instructions once you arrive, and off you go. Upon arrival you hear your boss's voice over the radio, saying, "I will communicate to you through this radio unit. But take note: our competitors, our enemies, also have access to this channel. They will try to impersonate my voice with false messages to thwart our purposes." "Oh no!" you panic, "Then how will I know if it is you or the enemy giving me instructions?"

Your boss's voice comes back over the radio: "Three ways. First, considering the situation, check every message supposedly from me against the policy and procedure manual. Since I wrote it, I'm not likely to ask you to violate it, right? Also, if I am not talking, don't focus in on the noise, pretending that I am. If I am not speaking, let the manual be your guide. Don't let any impersonating voice mislead you, or your own overactive imagination."

"Second, since the Manual does not cover every situation, you will have to get to know my voice. I know, this will take time, and so I am not likely to ask you to do anything radical until we both have some low-risk successes under our belts. Remember, I understand the situation perfectly well, so I'll go slow at first. A time will come when I will be able to tell you to do the wildest things, and you will know it is me. In the short-term, you must be trained through low-risk experience."

"Third, over time, my overall purpose for your work will begin to come into focus. You will begin to see the grand strategy in the policy and procedure manual, and the overall pattern of my true instructions. When this happens, you'll know instantly if what you hear through your unit is 'of me', just your imagination, or enemy misinformation. False instructions will begin to appear silly to you then. So take heart, and get to work."

After reflecting on this a few moments, you hear your boss's voice again on the radio unit. "Take all of the money from petty cash and give it the next person that walks in, no questions asked." Hmmm... You look in the policy and procedure manual, and this is specifically forbidden. Besides, you know your boss wouldn't tell you to do something that risky right off. And also there was an certain "twang" to the voice, an appeal to something different within you, and a plan that was not in the long-term interests of the company. So, even though you are on a hostile channel, you are beginning to have hope that you can indeed do this job.

There is the rub.  This world is a hostile channel.  You don't even have to believe there is spiritual warfare all around us.  You don't have to believe there are fallen angels seeking to tempt us and turn us from the narrow path.  You can have confidence that this weak body we inhabit wants what it wants when it wants it.  I think that may be why God sounds so much like me.  Do you think it's my will I'm listening to?  Ya think?

To get a handle on whether or not it is the voice of God you need to check the manual, often, and learn the policies.  (It's THY will be done, not MY will be done.)  Learn the sound of God's voice.  (I'm thinking this is going to take time.  Maybe this is why he waited until Abram was 75 before he told him to leave Ur.)  Finally, we need to fully grasp God's overall purpose for our lives.  Wherever you are, God has put you there. God has a purpose in your being there.

Be careful when you tell yourself you are following the will of God because God is talking to you.  There is a good chance you may be following someone else, or as Flip Wilson used to say on Laugh-In, "The devil made me do it."  (ask your parents)

499.  I can quit my job any time I want to (and today I'm coming awfully close)
500.  My computer still works (I spilled my soup on my keyboard)
501.  My mom is still fun to talk to (she didn't remember my wedding day, but that's ok, she still remembers her own wedding day)
502.  Capturing summer goodness in freezer bags and canning jars

Flip Wilson

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

30 years

Thirty years ago I was 25 years old and I was getting married.

We got married at four in the afternoon and it started pouring rain just after we said, "I do" to each other.

The reception was in my parent's backyard.  300 people.  Thank goodness we had a tent.

It rained so hard.  It rained for an hour.  There was a river running through the middle of the tent.

Men rolled up their pant-legs and women took off their shoes.  My father said "F**k the rain."  I'd never heard him say that word before.

I was smiling.  I was happy.  I was turning a page in my life.  I was stepping into a new chapter and I was doing this with the man I loved.

My brother held a sheet of plastic over the bartender as he served drinks.

Everyone laughed and drank and danced.  No one went home.  Then the rain stopped and the sun shone and the water flowed away.

We all ate the food and took more pictures and drank more wine and danced more dances.

This was the first day of 30 years together.

A friend asked me if I remembered all the fights and tough times and hardships.  I guess, if I think very hard, I can remember, but it isn't what I find the easiest thing to remember.  The things that come to mind the quickest and strongest is the fun we've had.  The joy we've shared.  The successes we've had, individually and together.  These are the things I can remember.  I'm so glad.  I am blessed.

This morning it rained so hard my windshield wipers couldn't keep up with the rain.  My garage flooded.  And I remembered that 30 years ago it rained so hard on my wedding day.  And I was smiling.

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose answering the question, what does it mean to be blessed?

495.  Being married to my friend
496.  Smiling in the rain
497.  Celebrating our marriage
498.  Realizing the blessing of a long marriage

Monday, August 6, 2012

Where is the love?

Ok, I get it's all about love.  All you need is love.  Love can change the world.  The power of love.  Love don't  cost a thing.  Love grows (where my Rosemary goes).

Love.  So, to quote Telly Savalas, "Who loves ya, baby?"

Is it more loving to agree with somebody you believe is making a poor decision, a decision to do something that you know will not only be unsuccessful, but will cause incredible financial harm for their present lives and their future.  Something you wouldn't sit back and watch your own children do without warning them of .the dangers, not only for themselves, but for their family.  And you don't say anything because you know disagreeing with them will cause them to cry and break off all contact with you?  So now you have kept the relationship and you are watching this family self-destruct in front of your eyes and you smile and give them the "thumbs up" signal (Like) and say, "I'll pray for you."


Is it more loving to disagree with somebody you believe is making a poor decision, not only for themselves, but for their family, and risk making them cry and break off all contact with you?  You tell them because, even though they aren't your blood relation, you are older and wiser and you know the risk and reward of the situation they want to place themselves into and you just want to warn them of these dangers.  And, you know they hate your guts, but you keep praying for them to come to their senses and act like adults, even though this isn't what they want to do.

Who is showing the love?

490.  Cooler, cloudy day with a chance of rain
491.  A bushel of tomatoes in my freezer and 25 lbs of beets in jars
492.  The good feeling of accomplishment
493.  Peaches fresh from the tree
494.  Knowing that you cannot screw up God's plan, no matter how hard you try

Who loves ya, baby?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Defending the faith

Chick-Fil-A, Love Wins, Hermoine in 50 Shades of Grey
Hey, how's a believer to answer back?
Wring our hands?
Spout vitriol on the blog?
Is it enough to believe LOVE will be enough?
Is it fire we need to fight this firestorm?
Or squarely shut the door on all debate and pray it goes away?

Joining G-man on Friday flash 55

485.  The deepest crimson crepe myrtle I have ever seen
486.  A blue bird sitting on the basketball backstop in my driveway
487.  Sunny yellow gold finches flying around my bird-feeder
488.  Bright white begonias blooming outside my window
489.  Purple salvia standing tall next to the begonias

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Who is the failure?

Last night my son was eating his dinner at the kitchen table, I was sitting on the couch watching the RHOBH and sipping on a vodka and tonic, and my husband was sitting on the couch playing with his iPad.  Then my son says to me, "I think, you think I'm a failure."

I'm going to guess that many of my readers are thinking I must have been devastated by these words.  To be completely honest, I wasn't.  (just a minute, let me pull this knife out of my chest and get a tissue for all this blood.)  I will say, however, it stung a bit.

This summer has been a HUGE learning opportunity for me.  You know what God Oprah says, "The universe (aka God) is always trying to get your attention. Sometimes it starts out -- any major problem you encounter -- as a whisper. By the time it gets to be a storm, you've had a pebble knock you upside the head; you've had a brick; you've had a brick wall; you've had a house fall down. And before you know it, you are in the eye of the storm. But long before you are in the eye of the storm, you've had many warnings, like little clues."

The first thing about whatever it is that I'm supposed to be learning began with the trip to MN to visit my parents and ALL the family.  This was a big learning opportunity.  I learned that no matter what I do I will never please my father.  Seriously, even if I do exactly what he asked me to do and I do it completely successfully and I do it better than even I could imagine it being done, it isn't good enough.  Even if I (and my brothers) take the money my father insisted with use to form an investment group.  Invest the money and actively try to grow this investment.  Even if the purpose of giving us this money was to try to control his children and force them into having to interact with each other as adults, whether we wanted to do this or not and believe me it hasn't always been easy but in the end we have figured out how to get along and manage the money and our relationships and it only took 15 or so years.  And we Did It!  And, he's not happy about it.  No "good job" or "you did it" or "you are great kids" or even "you didn't screw this up."  Nothing.  Silence.  Well, not silence, because I've heard some snide comments, but you know what I mean.

My husband wonders why I always consider myself a failure or find the problems in anything I do or say, even if it seems like I was successful.  I can always find my mistakes or find things I think I could have done better.  I have to tell you, these overwhelming feelings of failure don't just come a couple times each week.  They come over me any time of the day.  I can be walking into the bathroom to get ready for work and I see knik-knaks sitting on the windowsill that I've thought to myself, "you know, you should sell that stuff on eBay" and then I'll see the things sitting there, not being sold on eBay and I'll think to myself (and sometimes even say out loud), "I'm a failure."  This happens so often during a day, even I can't believe it.  For some reason I have convinced myself that anything I think I should do is something I should do and if I haven't done it and if I haven't done it better than I think anyone could do it, I'm a failure.

I don't think my son is a failure.  I told him, "I don't think you are a failure."  He hasn't failed at anything, yet.  I told him he hadn't really done anything yet either, but he was still young and had time to succeed or fail at whatever he chooses to do.  Somehow I have been a great success at reflecting my father's opinion of me onto my son.  I continued trying to be encouraging to my son and tell him over and over that I don't think he is a failure.  While I'm trying to say encouraging things, my husband is translating what I'm saying to my son, so he can hear it in a positive tone.  (is the irony of my screen name and blog name showing?)  Who knows if my son can even hear anything encouraging or positive from me anymore.  Maybe after 25 years of listening to the sound of my voice, maybe "pass the salt" sounds like "you're a failure" to him when it comes out of my mouth.

I believe God is showing me the how and why of my personality and showing me clearly, that I need to work on positivity harder and stronger than I've been working on it.  I thought I was getting more positive.  And, maybe I have.  Maybe I wouldn't have noticed how negatively my father behaves if not for becoming a more positive person.  Maybe my son wouldn't have had the courage to say those words to me if not for noticing I've become a more positive person.  Maybe...  maybe...

I know I don't want to get to the point of being in the eye of the storm.  I don't even want my house to fall down on me (I've been close enough to that when the tree fell on my house).  Those words from my son's mouth last night were definitely a pebble hitting me in the head.  Yeah, it hurt a little.  It hurt enough to get my complete attention.  Being encouraging.  Being positive.  Being Happy.  These are the important things to be.

480.  My son and his honesty
481.  My son and his love for me
482.  My son and his trust in me
483.  My son and his faith in God
484.  My husband for translating my words and tone for my son to hear

Mark Stivers 2004

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Making wishes in August

Can you believe it is August already?  The summer is flying by.  Before you know it the children (you remember I work at a college) will be back to school.  (with the extension of adolescence to 30-35 years of age, the undergrads that come here at the end of each August are acting more and more childish)  Again, I digress.

August is always a special month for me.  My mom and her mom's birthdays are on August 12th.  Happily, (or sadly, if you aren't a christian believer) Grandma is in heaven.  This year will mark my mom's 80th birthday.  Old.  I love her, but she is old.  There is just stuff about being old that is a little tough to take.  But, they say, it is better than the alternative.  (sometimes I'm not so sure about that)  And, again, I digress.

The point about August and it being my mom and grandma's birthday on the 12th is that every year, when I was young, we drove out to The Country to celebrate Grandma's birthday.  We lived in the suburbs of Chicago and The Country was a farm in Wichert, IL.  This was a tiny, tiny area outside of the tiny town of St. Anne, IL, which was a tiny town on the outskirts of Kankakee, IL.  Most people from Chicago did not know what or where Kankakee, IL was.  The cool thing about going to Grandma's house, besides seeing Grandma, was that on the way home from Grandma's house there would be TONS of shooting stars.

I could hardly see the stars at my house.  There was too much artificial lighting coming from the shopping center near my house and it made it hard to see a lot of the stars.  But when we drove home, at night, from Grandma's house, I could see MILLIONS of stars.  And, for some reason, unknown to me at this time, when we drove home from Grandma's house after celebrating her birthday I would see shooting stars.  I would make wish after wish after wish.  My mom used to tell me there were always shooting stars on her birthday.  She didn't tell me why, but she knew the stars were always falling on her birthday.

Now that I'm the sophisticated grown-up that I find myself today (and because of the internet), I know why there are always shooting stars on my mom's birthday.  Sure, she's special and deserves a celestial light show, but the fact remains on August 12th the earth passes through a debris field from the Swift-Tuttle comet.  The result is the Perseid meteor shower and the show is spectacular.

If you have the opportunity on August 12th to view the sky in a remote area where the stars can be seen clearly.  Do it and enjoy the show.  You could wish my mom a happy birthday, too.

476.  Taking time to remember my grandma
477.  Lunch out in town with my husband
478.  Watching olympic gymnasts doing their very best and winning GOLD
479.  Being inspired by olympic athletes (but still sitting on my couch)

photo by wikipedia