Thursday, November 29, 2012

Facebook privacy

Isn't this the ultimate oxymoron.

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

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 If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Soup kitchen Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy ThanksLiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy ThanksLiving everyone!

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

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

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

The housekeeper in my building

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then they tell you, she left a note.

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

Friday, November 9, 2012

The fall of the Wall

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Decision 2012, God is still sovereign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

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

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

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

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

I almost decided to quit this morning.

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A month of Thanksgiving

Welcome to November!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday.