Monday, April 30, 2012

Why I can't take my eyes off the train wreck

I have to admit it.  I am mesmerized by a social train wreck.  Remember Britney Spears and the head shaving, umbrella wielding episodes?  Remember the Alec Baldwin and the American Airlines outburst or the rant he had on his daughter's voicemail?  How about good old Mel Gibson and his drunken tirade?  How about the ongoing saga of Lindsay Lohan?  I can't wait to see how the Elizabeth Taylor movie turns out.  Let's guess... fiasco?  I could go on and on with celebrity train wrecks.  Between Perez Hilton, TMZ, E!, and more and more than I can count or even look up on the internet, there is nothing more entertaining or profitable than a celebrity train wreck.  It's sad, but true.  If you think you're above all of this because you don't buy the tabloids or watch tv, don't kid yourself.  Did you watch the computer-shooting-dad on facebook?  Yeah, I thought you did.  Why are we fascinated by these people?

So why do we do it?  First of all, we do it because everybody is talking about it.  We want to feel connected to the people.  Whatever bad feelings we may feel from gawking at the celebrity antics are outweighed by the fear of being left out of the loop.  It's one thing to catch a glimpse of a tabloid headline or magazine cover while waiting in the check-out line at the grocery store.  It's the same with channel surfing and catching a newsflash or tease on an entertainment network.  However, in these days of YouTube and social media these events are available world wide in a matter of seconds.  Not only are these events available to view, but these events are interactive.  The viewer can add their comments to the YouTube posting.  The reader can share the event on their facebook page and comment or pontificate away.  And if a blogger decides to sink their teeth into one of these train wrecks... well, then I guess we get to read their opinion of whatever incident is titillating the nation (or world, for that matter) at the time.  We find ourselves with a front row seat of the latest train wreck, or we can hang back in the shadows of cyberspace.  Either way, we not only have the pleasure of viewing, but can affect the course of events with our commenting, viewing and blogging.  Awesome.

Of course, as with anything, too much of even a good thing isn't good for you.  It isn't good to have too much fascination with train wrecks, celebrity or otherwise.  You have to "check yourself before you wreck yourself."  Are you spending too much time looking at profiles and pictures?  Have you found yourself trying to connect with these people?  Are you lying to yourself or others about the time you spend seeking information about them?  Are you neglecting your real life responsibilities?  The answers to these questions will reveal if you have slid too far down the slippery slope of gawking.  You may be causing a giant tie-up on the freeway of your life.  You will begin to annoy those traveling the road of life alongside and behind you.

This morbid curiosity we find in observing a Charley Sheen rant or a facebook drama has been around since the beginning of time.  We can always look at the situation and be glad this isn't us.  We can step quite close to the edge of craziness and get a good close-up view of it.  We can watch people make decisions that may put their lives or the lives and well being of their families in jeopardy and avoid any involvement or responsibility whatsoever.  It offers an escape from the hum-drum of our day-to-day lives and gives us the excitement of being close to the danger without actually stepping out on that ledge.

We've all been the star of a curiosity show in our lives.  We may have lost our temper in the grocery store with our kids.  (There's some good entertainment.)  Or fought with our sister-in-law at Christmas dinner in front of the entire family.  (Here's something that can be rehashed every Christmas from now on.)  Maybe we've had too much to drink at an office party.  (Boy, don't say you didn't make an impression with your boss.)  Or what about the dreaded "walk of shame" from a college frat party.  (Fingers crossed, yearbook photo!)  But, we don't have to suffer being the spectacle that celebrities going off the deep end into insanity suffer.  No paparazzi are hiding in our bushes.  We don't have to write about our family troubles or money troubles in our blogs.  We can keep our facebook status pleasant and not air our dirty laundry on the newsfeed.  We don't have to be the advice giving well intentioned facebook friend.  Most people aren't interested in helping or even being sympathetic.  Most are looking for a show, and when you provide a show, people are going to watch.

198.  IT people who know what they are doing (I hope one comes to my office tomorrow)
199.  A reader with a skin care line and the kindness to send bunches of samples
200.  The cleansing effects of fire
201.  Good neighbors
202.  Bloggers without a filter

Friday, April 27, 2012

Organized blogging

I've come to realize, after a year and a half of purposeful blogging, I need to get organized.  It's getting tougher and tougher to sit down in front of the computer screen and fire off a blog post.  First of all, it's super hard to think up a topic off the top of my head.  Sometimes I'll get an idea for a post while I'm cooking or driving or showering, but I don't write it down and the *poof* I forget what I was thinking about.  I've seen a flowery fancy blog organizer advertised on the internet.  These must be for Mommy Bloggers.  I don't mind a flower or two, but this one was certainly flowery to the nth degree.

Another organizing tool I would like to begin to use is a calendar of some sort to remind me of special bloggers I'd like to link-up with on certain days.  Often I'll finish my post and hit Publish, and then *facepalm* I've forgotten to add the link to their blog and have to edit my post.  Or worse, forget to link altogether.

One blogger told me she has a "dummy blog page" where she writes drafts of potential blogs and then copies and pastes them to her real blog page when she is read to publish.  The header for her dummy page is DO NOT PUBLISH in giant red letters.  I don't know if this would work for me.  I think it may have been helpful when I was working on redesigning my page.  I know I went back and forth and back and forth on what I liked and what I didn't like.  I even scared myself when I thought I'd deleted the whole thing.

I'd love to hear any suggestions my blogger friends or readers use to organize their blog and blogging time.  Some of you have such gorgeous blogs. 

191.  Organic local strawberries (these cannot be compared to grocery store berries)
192.  Knowing I will be ON VACATION at this time next week
193.  An "attaboy" from my boss (rare and far between)
195.  It's Friday (just sayin')
196.  Knowing I'm making lamb stew this weekend (we love lamb stew)
197.  I've started walking again and it's a good thing

SuperBlogger

Thursday, April 26, 2012

God uses this stuff

I heard this song on the radio today.  It not only has a catchy tune, but the lyrics really spoke to me. It probably caught my attention because of the word STUFF.  I've got stuff on the brain.  I can't believe how many times little things like losing my keys or my cell phone can throw me into a full-on, cussing, anger-spewing melt-down.  Seriously, keys.  I am so blessed in my life.  When I read the posts from bloggers who are missionaries in other countries and they tell about the joy the people in those churches have for Jesus.  When they tell how far the people walk to gather together to worship.  When they tell about the dangers people face just by saying they are christians.  I am humbled.  More times than I care to admit, I get to the end of my blog post and struggle with my list of gratitudes.  How can that be?  I have so much to be grateful for.  Am I struggling because of the embarrassment of riches I have.  I can pray, "give me this day my daily bread," but what I should be saying is "Thank you for all the ways you've blessed me, and, btw, I could stand to loose a few pounds, so hold the bread."  I am so glad I heard this song on the radio today.  I'm looking forward to uploading it from iTunes and being able to listen to it often.

My list of 1000 gratitudes
184.  My car and the radio in it
185.  Christian radio stations playing Christ-honoring music
186.  YouTube videos of music I want to hear again and share with others
187.  A heart soft enough to be humbled by stories from missionaries
188.  A spirit generous enough to give to the work of God in the world
189.  A comment from a Christian blogger I admire so much (I cannot believe he read my blog)
190.  Walking hand in hand with my husband after work

This Is The Stuff, by Francesca Battistelli

I lost my keys in the great unknown
And call me please 'Cuz I can't find my phone

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

45 in a 35, Sirens and fines while I'm running behind, Whoa

(chorus)

So break me of impatience
Conquer my frustrations
I've got a new appreciation
It's not the end of the world
Oh Oh Oh

(chorus)

Oh Oh Oh Oh, This is the stuff You use

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Secretary's day

It's the day of the year, set aside to honor me, and all those doing the job I do.  I'm a secretary.  It's what I do.  I do it, because it is important to do work.

"Without constant activity, the threats of life will soon overwhelm the values." -- Jim Rohn 

Today is a slow day at the office.  Even the phone is silent.  My office is cold and the hum of the fan on the space heater is droning low and constant.  A quiet day like this is few and far between, but today I am not enjoying it.  I know I'll long for a slow day like this when I'm swamped and up against the wall with work.  Today, I'm wishing for a project.  Maybe I'm wishing I was home, clearing the stuff out of my house.  Having a project to work on while I'm at work makes the day go by faster.  It gives me a purpose.  Today, I wonder why I'm here.  I texted my husband and asked him why I was here.  He reminded me I carry my son's health insurance and his dental insurance.  I have a purpose.

"I never remember feeling tired by work, though idleness exhausts me completely." -– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

I can relate to Sherlock Holme's dad on this one.  I'm yawning and finding my head being held up with my hands.  I'm wondering if anyone will notice if I lay my head on my desk and fall asleep.  One of my co-workers told me that another co-worker closes the door to his office and takes a nap, sometimes.  She knows, because she can hear him snoring through the wall.  That's funny.  I could never get away with this.  My boss has an "open door" policy.  And I don't mean "open door," I mean open door.  He doesn't allow me to close the door from my office to the hallway and the door between our offices remains open unless he has a private meeting going on in there.

"Laziness is a mood or a pose.  It's like a coat--you can take it off whenever you decide to. Activity breeds productivity. Get busy and you'll get business." -– Tom Hopkins

I'm planning to have lunch with my husband today.  I think he wants to celebrate his GENIUS in the stock market.  I'm proud to be able to join him and compliment him on his great day in the market.  (I think his love language may be words of affirmation)  Between the effort I'm putting forward on this post and the diversion of having lunch with the husband, I hope to return to the office invigorated and ready to find something to do.  I will Get Busy!  As I glance around my space, I see a couple piles of papers I could sort through and file or toss.  Granted, it's not a lot, but it's something and then it will be done.  (this is completely off topic, but my boss just emitted a gigantic yawn.  seriously GIGANTIC.  yawning is contagious, just sayin')  I believe Mr. Hopkins when he says, "Activity breeds productivity."  I believe there is also a law of inertia that says a body in motions will stay in motion, unless acted upon by another force.  (I'm sure I've worded this incorrectly and will gladly accept any corrections)  If I get moving, I'll get something accomplished.

"Well done is better than well said." -– Ben Franklin

This being said, now all that is left to do, is to do, right Ben?  And just as I type these words, I notice a dumpster has been placed in the circle outside my office building.  Is this a sign?  I believe it is.  I will have a giant cup of coffee, a short walk to my car, an exhilarating drive to the restaurant, a stimulating conversation with my husband, a delicious, but light lunch, another exhilarating drive back to my office and do all I have said I would do.  I will work as Mr. William J. Bennett describes.

"Work is effort applied toward some end. The most satisfying work involves directing our efforts toward achieving ends that we ourselves endorse as worthy expressions of our talent and character."

177.  A job with a purpose
178.  Being married to a stock market genius
179.  A boss that appreciates the work I do (when I remind him)
180.  Delicious Thai food for lunch on rare occasions
181.  Coffee (have I said this before, because I AM super grateful for coffee)
182.  A slow day at the office once in a while.
183.  A basket full of petunias

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursdays

Pile of stuff
PLUS
Yeah, it's coffee


EQUALS

Clean shelf
a basket of petunias = appreciation

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Persistent prayer

Luke 11:1-10  The Lord's Prayer 

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”  And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.  And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

This week the small group bible study  studied prayer, imparticularly, persistent prayer.  We learned, through the verses above, to pray and pray and pray, until we get an answer to our prayer.  God promises to answer prayers.  (Matthew 7:7 Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened to you.)  Of course, we've all prayed to get a good grade on a test when we were in school, and then we didn't.  So, we know God doesn't give us what we ask for just because we pray.  In the bible it says Jesus asked God, "take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will."  We know God did not remove the bitter cup of crucifixion from Jesus.  He went to the cross and was crucified.  God's will was done in this instance.  This prayer thing is pretty confusing.  If God is going to do what God wants to do, what is the use in praying?  And further, what is the use in persistent praying?

The neighbor with the bread, in the story above, is in bed and does not want to get up to answer the door for the neighbor who needs bread.  Btw, these neighbors are friends, not just neighbors.  We were told we needed to put this story in a cultural setting.  Homes in this place and time were typically two story homes.  At night the family slept together in one room on the second floor and they sheltered their animals in the first floor.  Being the middle of the night, the neighbor tells his friend, essentially, go away, I'm not waking my entire family and upsetting the animals to give you bread.  However, the bread needing neighbor is persistent.  Seriously persistent.  So, the sleepy neighbor gets up and gives him the bread.

To me, this sounds like Jesus is saying God is the sleepy neighbor with the bread and if we want to get God to give us what we want, we have to bug him about it.  Does being persistent in prayer mean to be annoying?  This was a tough one for me.  After all, God knows everything, so he knows what I need and want.  And, God can do anything, so nothing I want is out of his abilities.  (btw, two churchy words for you here, omnipotent and omniscient, just sayin')  Yet, Jesus is telling his disciples God wants them to pray about the same thing over and over and over again until God answers their prayer.  This is what our group was told regarding persistence in prayer.  Pray until; 1. Your prayer is answered just as you hoped it would be answered.  2.  Your circumstances or perspectives have changed.  3. God leads you in a different direction.

I find a lot of comfort in these verses and some interesting insight.  First of all, one of the disciples asks to be taught how to pray.  This is interesting to me because these were Jewish men.  I'm sure they had all been bar mitzvahed.  They had been taught by their rabbi how to pray.  Obviously there was something different about the way Jesus was praying and the way John had been praying.  They wanted to learn Jesus' way of praying.  Secondly, we are reminded that God's name should be revered and not misused.  (this is certainly something I don't always do.)  We are taught to pray for our daily needs.  God does not grow tired and bored with our daily needs.  Neither is he bored with our request for forgiveness.  In fact, I believe confession of sins is encouraged.  God wants to forgive us and in turn, he wants us to show forgiveness to others.  This is a good practice.  I'm guessing it teaches us gratitude for what we have and compassion for others.  I think the world would be a better place if there was more of both of these attributes in people.  These verses teach us to ask to be kept from temptation.  God knows there is a lot of temptation out there.  By praying to be kept from it, we are reminded to stay away from it.  Lastly, by being persistent in our prayers we are reminded to be on the lookout for answers to our prayers.  I know I often pray and then put what I've prayed for out of my mind.  I've heard keeping a prayer journal is a good idea, but I'm not good at journaling.

Working through these verses and this study doesn't clear up everything about prayer for me.  I still have questions about why some people seem to be healed when prayed over and some are not.  One thing I can share from my personal experience is about a prayer I have been praying for a very long time.  I've posted about my son a little bit on this blog.  I like to keep his privacy intact, so I don't write about him very often.  I cannot tell you what issues, if any, affect my son as far as falling under the autism spectrum disorders or another attention deficit disorder.  There have been so many theories.  He has been diagnosed with aspergers or pervasive development disorder or executive function disorder.  He also has suffered from depression and is dyslexic.  I have prayed and prayed and prayed for him to be healed of any or all of these issues.  He has not been healed.  I have been persistent.  I have prayed daily for YEARS.  I got to the point of believing God must hate me or not be there at all.  It began to hurt my heart and harm my relationship with God.  (I've mentioned, I like God a lot.  His church, not so much, but I've always liked God.)  Lately, and I mean quite recently, I've noticed a change in my husband and son's relationship.  Lately, it seems, my son shown some desire to please my husband and to put forth effort to do what he asks him to do.  There seem to be fewer melt-downs and self-harming behaviors.  This gives me hope.  Maybe there is something to this persistent prayer.  Maybe God is answering my prayer differently than I had hoped and prayed.  Maybe he is healing my son through his relationship with his father.  Maybe God does hear my prayers.

172.  A very nice lunch out with my boss and several co-workers for Administrative Professionals Day (aka Secretaries' Day)  'cause I'm a secretary.  :)
173.  Azaleas blooming everywhere
174.  Using my imagination to see animals and people in the white fluffy cloud shapes
175.  Goldfinches turning bright yellow and sitting on my birdfeeder
176.  The feeling of hope in my heart

Linking with Shanda at On Your Heart Tuesdays

Monday, April 23, 2012

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose

"Nothing don't mean nothing honey if it ain't free, ..."  Sing it, Janis!  I hope I've got this song stuck in your head.

Lately I've had this song stuck in my head.  I've been feeling very anxious about clearing the clutter and, just plain STUFF I have in my house.  I'm falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning with this one thought on my mind.  "I've got to get rid of all this stuff."  It's starting to choke me.  I'm feeling weighed down by my stuff.

Yesterday I went to the store because I needed new pants and shirts for work.  Can you believe I couldn't find any black pants?  Well, I couldn't.  So, I'm wearing my old black pants.  I could, however, find a brown pair of pants, so I bought them.  I also bought three new shirts.  Yay.  When I go home I threw away three old shirts and an old pair of brown pants.  Gone.  I don't need extra stuff.  The reason I went to the store was to get new clothes because the old pants and shirts were looking shabby.  I am not saving shabby clothes.  I don't need "clean the house" clothes or anything of this sort.  And, no one wants my worn out shabby clothes.

I need to start emptying drawers and cupboards.  I need to have less stuff.  I've always felt I needed to sell my old stuff.  Now I'm beginning to think I need to get rid of the stuff.  I tried to toss some things away last week.  I was thwarted in my efforts by both my husband and my son.  They saw the stuff in the garbage and they said, "hey, who's throwing my stuff away?"  Mind you, the stuff I tossed had been sitting on a table in the spare room for no less than three years.  Seriously!  Three years!  But it was precious to them.  My new way of getting rid of stuff will be to double bag it and THEN toss it in the trash.  No way will I allow them to garbage pick it back out.  Stuff HAS to go.

The next things going out of the house on eBay will be collectibles that no longer have any value whatsoever, to me.  Btw, they have no collectible value, either.  Gone will be Lladros, Nao by lladro, Longaberger baskets, etc.  If you like any of this kind of thing and you don't follow me on Twitter or my Facebook page, you'd better start now.  The stuff has to go and it has to go soon.

I want to be free.  I want to be free of my stuff.  'Cause freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.  I've been watching my co-worker freeing herself of all her belongings and I've never seen her look happier.  I want to feel the feeling of only possessing things I use all the time or things I love.  I want to focus my time and energy on the people in my life, not the things.  I'm ready to let it go.

I've discovered a lot of bloggers in the "less is more" genre.  Leo Babauta and Matt Baker and Beth Dargis are a few of my favorites.  These blogs encourage me to live more with less.  Leo and Matt may be a bit hard core in the minimalism.  Matt has taken photographs of all his stuff.  He doesn't have much.  Leo, from what he says, has very few possessions.  I don't think it's necessary to go quite this far,  but you can learn a lot from them.  I am encouraged by Mariza.  She went from a huge single family home to living in an RV.  She does it with such style.  I'm not sure I could make it to this level, but the desire is burning in my soul.  Who knows, maybe I can do this, too.

168.  Encouragers in the quest to live with less
169.  Bloggers showing me how to live with so much less
170.  Bloggers living with less, yet living with style
171.  For having more than I need and yet wanting to live with less

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ken Cook's dinner


How hungry must I be to swallow the politics served to me?
Farm Bill 2012, food stamps and environmental incentives altered,
allowing factory farms federal dollars.
“Please pass the buck, um, I meant, salt.”
Money earmarked for small farmers spent on political reelection.  
Hoping the wine will wash away the entitlement taste from my mouth.


Having dinner tonight with Ken Cook and other liberals very nice people seeking the passing of the Farm Bill 2012,  I was tricked into this with the lure of a "cooking class" at the farm I buy my veggies from. and linking with G-man with a 55.

164.  The promise of a rainy weekend
165.  Soup in a cup to eat at my desk when I need to search the internet to study for my dinner conversation
166.  Clean water to drink
167.  Friday, the end of a long, long week 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I didn't win the writing contest

Nope.  I didn't win.  I entered a humorous writing contest back in March.  (I told you about it here)  I didn't really expect to win, but it always feels a little bit bad to be a loser, doesn't it.  At least, I think it should feel a little bad to lose.  You know how much I like to be a winner.  :)

Actually, I didn't deserve to win.  I didn't really put all that much effort into my submission.  I hope the person that won the contest worked very hard on their submission.  I hope they did what I didn't do.  I wrote the first draft of my submission as a blog post.  I think I may have put a half an hour or 40 minutes of time into the piece.  The first draft was about 550 words.  The contest rules said the submission was to be between 1000 and 2000 words.  I knew, to meet the requirements, I had to flesh out my piece.  I procrastinated and procrastinated.  I hope the winner took his first draft and rewrote and edited it over and over until he had a tight, funny piece.  I did what losers do.  I took my first draft and added to it.  I edited it for spelling and grammar, but I didn't tighten the piece into a proper essay.  In fact, if I did anything, I edited the funny right out of it with my halfhearted addition.  I hope the winner took his essay to others and had them read it and critique it.  I hope he took the suggestions or criticism to heart and used it to improve his work.  I asked a couple people to read my work.  Then I didn't make any changes regarding the critiques.  In fact, one of my readers said, "it's not very funny."  (Yeah, I kinda knew that)

I learned a lot from this experience.  I learned I can do exactly the same thing other losers do.  I can give a half-assed effort just like they do.  I will lose, just like they do.  Winners WORK for it.  I knew this, but the experience of losing drove it home.  I am glad I know where I failed.  I am glad I know what I can to to improve.  I am glad I don't feel like I deserved to win and was cheated in any way.  And, for pete's sake, I'm glad I'm not a crybaby about it. 

The bible talks about giving your best effort in all you do in both the old testament and the new testament.  In Proverbs 13:4 it says, "The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied."  I got nothing.  I was the sluggard (lazy person).  In Colossians 3:23-24 it says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ."  I certainly didn't work heartily (the opposite of halfhearted) and I didn't work as if I was working for the lord.  In fact, I don't do that very often, if at all.  If I want to improve my writing, I have to start working on it.  I'm not looking for reward or praise.  I'm looking for the satisfaction of a job well done.

I'm joining Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursdays today.  Don't be mislead when reading Em's work and all the wonderful blogs linked to her today.  Good writers make it look easy.  It's not.  They've worked hard on their posts.  Enjoy the blogs from some very good writers here today.  I thank her for allowing me to add my imperfect effort to the group.

Today I'm grateful for
159.  The April showers that bring May flowers
160.  The joy that comes from making the perfect risotto
161.  Taking the opportunities to be helpful
162.  An invitation to a friend's son's college graduation party
163.  Jojoba oil

 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

God's not fair. He's good.


Matthew 20:1-16   The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.  He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.  About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 

He told them, “You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. 

He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing.  About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around.  

He asked them, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?”

“Because no one has hired us,” they answered.

He said to them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.”

When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.”

The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius.  So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.  When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 

“These who were hired last worked only one hour,” they said, “and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.”

But he answered one of them, “I am not being unfair to you, friend.  Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?  Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you.  Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”

So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

How unfair is this?  Those that put in a full day of work get the same pay as those who worked for only one hour, at the end of the day.  This is seriously whack.  Why did Jesus tell this story?  This is the lesson we worked on in our small group bible study last night.  This story teaches us how different God's ways are from our ways.  These verses are all about grace.  God is full of grace and God is good, not fair.  Thank goodness God is not fair.  I don't think most of us would like to receive a fair sentence from God.  I think we'd be pretty darn unhappy with a Fair God.  I believe we like the Good God.  

For example, what if God worked the point system.  We lose a point for every infraction of the 10 Commandments.  Minus a point every time we failed to honor our parents.  Can you remember being a teenager?  Yeah, there are a lot of negative points in that short period of time.  How about "bearing false witness?"  That is, essentially, lying.  Have you told any falsehoods?  Anybody stretch the truth?  You know I could go on and on.  There's that commandment about coveting and the one about using God's name in vain.  LOTS of points can be lost on these two.  How would we gain the points back?  I guess we could do good deeds.  That would be one way.  We could give money to churches and charities.  That would be another way.  Do you think your good deeds could make up for all your infractions of the Big 10?  I don't think so.

God is full of grace.  Some of the workers called came early in the day.  Other workers were called a few hours later.  Do you think some of the workers hired a few hours later were there when the first workers were hired?  Yeah, I think so.  The owner (God) gave them another chance.  And he gave them another chance a few hours later and then another chance a few more hours later.  Finally, at the 11th hour, he gave another chance.  God wants you to be reconciled to him, but he won't force it.  

I loved going through this lesson with my group.  There were so many stories.  Such different roads we've all traveled to faith in God.  I was born into my faith.  My mom and dad are christians and go to church, faithfully.  God was a big part of my growing up.  One day, I understood I wouldn't be able to rely on my parent's faith and I'd have to accept God's grace on my own.  I did.  Then I studied his word and tried to live an obedient life.  I failed constantly.  Thankfully, I understand I am forgiven and even more, God knew I would fail and he still wanted me anyway.  It's good to be around others who came to accept after living a long life of rejecting God.  They are so grateful for God's grace and the difference it has made in their lives.  This is something I will never experience.  It doesn't make me sad.  I listen to them tell about their transformed lives and I'm grateful I didn't have to experience life without God in it.  I have to remind myself of my blessings and not become a grumbling early hire.  Working in the vineyard, under the hot sun, for the creator of the universe is where I want to be.  I'll keep working on letting this knowledge show on my face, with my smile and show in the way I move through this world.

Who are you, in this story?  Do you know when the 11th hour will come?  I don't.  In my selfish way, I hope it is soon.  For the sake of any readers who haven't accepted God's grace, I pray you don't miss anymore chances.  God is good.

154.  Learning to cook a new vegetable, pea shoots
155.  Time to clean my office from the clutter starting to accumulate during these past few weeks
156.  Readers with encouraging and thought provoking comments
157.  The best episode of Mad Men yet, "Signal 30
158.  A recovering Dow
denarius

Monday, April 16, 2012

Life begins at...

Conception?  Birth?  Puberty?  Adulthood?  Marriage?  After the birth of your first child?  When?

When did your life begin?  This isn't a pro-life piece, although I am pro-life and anti-abortion (aka anti-choice).  Lately I've been wondering what stage of life people consider their life to be THEIR life.  The first reason for thinking about this is because I've been thinking a lot about my son and his future.  He will turn 25 this June.  I wonder if he considers the life he's living as HIS LIFE.  I mean, he lives in his parent's house.  He lives in his room.  Because of his living situation he is compelled to follow our rules.  If he chooses not to follow the rules of our house, he cannot live in our house.  My question is this, is he living his life or is he still living a part of my life? 

I've heard questions similar to this being broached on the blogs.  Am I living my life if I'm not doing what I DREAMED of doing?  Am I living my life if all I'm doing is working a job that pays the bills and raising a family?  And if I'm not living my life, who's life is it that I am living?  They want to be rich and famous.  They want to do what they LOVE to do (not work), but make LOTS of money doing it (not work).  The 9 to 5, Monday through Friday workweek is for suckers, not them.  They are free spirits and they deserve better than this.  Where, in the rulebook of life, does it all say we get what we want?

I've also heard mommies complaining about losing themselves in the needs of their children.  They find themselves living their lives for their children and their desires get pushed to the side.  I've heard from men and women who've found themselves living in this "lousy with strip-malls" community that is neither a town nor the country and 80 miles away from anything resembling civilization.  They find themselves living their spouse's life and struggling to find a life for themselves in this place.  Unless their dream is to be a teacher or working at Walmart or Target, they are out of luck.

Does life begin when you are living your dream?  Does life begin when you are paying your own bills?  Does life begin when you are raising the next generation?  We are all different.  We all find our own sense of self.  I think it can come to each of us at any age.

For me, my life began at 14 years old.  I know that sounds young, but at 14 years of age I started taking steps to move away from my parents and be on my own.  Of course, my parents wouldn't let me move out, but all I could think about was getting out.  I got a 20 hour a week job and freed myself from my mother's choice of clothing and entertainment.  In college I worked full time.  I needed to live at home, but I paid my parents rent in order to free myself from their rules and questions.  After graduation, I moved out on my own.  All I could think about was having my own life and living it the way I wanted to live.  Freedom.

I don't have an answer for this question.  I had dreams of being a scientist.  I had a dream of being a mom.  I had dreams of traveling the world.  I kinda, sorta, did some of these things and I'm sure I'm going to do even more in the future.  I think my biggest dream was to be independent of my family of birth.  I think my dream was to not be beholding to my mom and dad in any way (particularly financial).  Even though my life has been intertwined with my husband's life and my son's life and the United States Navy, I've been able to live my life and fulfill my dreams within the web of the lives of those I love.

147.  A wonderful life with dreams small enough to be fulfilled, yet big enough to give me something to strive for
148.  Three bottles of Patron Silver (with my $200 gift card)
149.  A summer's worth of margaritas
150.  A return of wonderful spring weather
151.  Family saved from the swath of tornado activity in the mid-west
152.  Faith in God to comfort those families that were not spared
153.  The opportunity to talk with my husband on a four hour drive up and back from AC

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shopping in AC

I'm taking a weekend away from the suburbs and I'm in Atlantic City, NJ.  The last time we were here was in December.  I don't know how this happened, but somehow I've ended up with a $200 gift certificate to shop at The Quarter in the Tropicana Casino and Resort.  I haven't figured out where I want to spend the money.  Maybe one of my wonderful readers could give me some advice?  I'm thinking chocolate.  What do you think?  What should I choose?  I don't usually have discretionary money to spend.

Before I go shopping I'm going to go for a walk on the boardwalk.  I hear they've just opened up a 2.4 BILLION dollar casino at the north end of the boardwalk.  It's a NO SMOKING casino.  Who says we're in a recession?  I guess these owners are counting on the no smoking gamblers to spend big and make it worth their while.  Btw, this casino brags a HUGE floor to ceiling window wall with a view of the Atlantic Ocean.  Seriously?  A casino with windows?  I'm not a gambler, but I've never been in a casino with windows.

143.  Time to relax with my husband
144.  Warm day to walk on the beach
145.  A great night's sleep
146.  No desire to gamble amid a plethora of temptation

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Settling

This year, I will have been married for 30 years.  I think this is right.  Math isn't my strongest suit, but I was married in 1982, so I believe I have done the math correctly.  Wow!  30 years.  That's a long time.  I know long marriages are becoming a thing of the past.  (and I'm willing to bet marriage by a man and a woman may become a thing of the past, too)  I wonder, sometimes, why it seems so hard to be married.  Believe me, there is nothing special about my marriage.  We are regular people.  Neither of us married the other for their money or status.  We married each other because, at the time, we were "in love" with each other.  (whatever "in love" means)

When I think back to the time I fell in love with my husband and agreed to marry him, I try to think about where I was in my life.  I was living in Chicago and working in a hospital as a medical technician.  At the time, this was a pretty good job.  I had a pretty nice apartment.  I lived alone.  I had a lot of friends.  And my best friend had just gotten married.  I had dated a couple guys pretty seriously and one of them had asked me to marry him, but I wasn't ready to get married.  It wasn't the right time for me.  Actually, when I think back on it, he wasn't the right guy for me, either.  When I met my husband, I liked him, but he wasn't really my type.  He wasn't very tall and he wasn't dutch.  For some reason, those were characteristics I liked about the men I dated.  I liked my husband.  He was a naval flight officer.  I thought that was pretty cool.  I think I met my husband at the right time of my life.  My best friend was married.  In fact, I had been going to quite a few weddings.  And, my husband had a job that would take him anywhere in the world.  I LOVED to travel.  At the time, that was pretty much all I needed to know.

I'm gonna tell you, that's not enough to hold a marriage together.  I think my husband and I were incredibly lucky.  It just so happened, we were born about two miles from each other.  Now, I didn't meet my husband until he was 27 years old and living in Jacksonville, FL, but we came from the same place.  I think that helped a lot.  We had quite a few things we hadn't discussed thoroughly before we decided to marry.  We hadn't discussed money.  I was a super saver and he was a spender.  (fyi, there has been an adjustment in those standings in the years of marriage.  somewhere around the time our son was born, my husband became a saver.)  We hadn't discussed children.  Like, how many or how to raise them.  We were lucky.  I was only able to have the one child.  This decision was taken out of our hands.  We did discuss adoption, but my husband wasn't keen on this.  I think both parents have to REALLY want this or just not do it.  These are two giant issues we should have been much more clear about than we were.  Fortunately, we were able to compromise with each other and find agreement.

Another thing we hadn't discussed was how to raise a child.  My mom was a sahm.  Husband's mom worked three jobs.  I will tell you, this was quite the issue in our early marriage.  I ended up staying home until my son went to middle school.  I think this was a fair compromise.  Unfortunately, this was something we fought about a lot.  Again, there was something inside us that told us we'd rather be together, fighting, than apart.  Before I go too much further, I have to remind you that my husband was in the navy.  We had PLENTY of time apart.  The navy is awesome at separating married couples.  Back in the olden days when my husband was active duty we didn't have cell phones or email.  We had letters.  We were seriously separated.

The point of this post is "settling."  I think the secret of our long marriage was, for my part, the ability to settle for the situation the way it was.  I didn't get to choose where we lived.  The navy chose.  I was a city girl and, luckily, most of our duty stations were near cities.  I felt comfortable.  My husband always worked on a base.  Even though the faces of the people he worked with changed, the clothes (uniforms) stayed the same.  He was happy anywhere we lived.  When we moved to the mid-Atlantic and had to live in a rural/suburban area, it was tough for me, but I settled.  Even though it's been 16 years, I know I won't be here forever.

Somewhere "settling" for the sake of the family has become the worst possible thing a person can do.  Women are told they are losing themselves if they settle for what their husband wants.  Even if he is the major earner.  Men are told that they need to take a step back and allow the woman to succeed in her own right.  I think more emphasis is placed on what is good for the INDIVIDUAL at the expense of the marriage.  I don't know a lot, but I'm pretty sure nobody is getting exactly what they want all the time.  Sometimes  you have to settle for what you get and make the best of it.  We aren't all Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and sometimes you have to spread a little fertilizer around to get the greener grass.  For what it's worth, a long marriage to someone you like is worth settling for.

136.  Tomorrow is Friday
137.  Starting a new bible study on Monday
138.  Quiet time alone in my office
139.  Bringing flowers to a co-worker recovering from surgery
140.  Cleaning up a lot of loose ends in the office
141.  Warm sweaters and warm socks
142.  Hot mug of tea in a chilly office

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Is that you, God?

I've been wondering, lately, about how to discern God's will in my life.  It's a tough thing to do.  It's tough because my will is so BIG and my thoughts are so LOUD they may be drowning out the voice of God.  So, if I can't hear God's voice does it mean he's not talking to me?  This is hard to say.

I know there is no way I would be able to hear the voice of God unless I took some serious quiet time.  From what I've learned, God is not the type to elbow into my life.  He is unbelievably patient.  He will wait.  A LONG time.  Time doesn't carry the same weight for God that it does for me.  In fact, I believe, since God created time he exists outside of time.  Even after I wrote it I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it.  I don't think I would be able to hear the voice of God while I'm at work and the phone is ringing and my boss is talking to me and I'm answering emails.  Nope.  I'm pretty sure those things would keep me from hearing him.  I don't think I can hear the voice of God while I'm watching tv or listening to music or watching a movie streaming on Netflix.  Nope.  I'm pretty sure those things would keep me from hearing him.  You may find this surprising, but I don't think I can hear the voice of God while I'm in my bible study.  I'm usually listening to what the others are saying or, worse, not listening to the others and thinking about what I want to say.  (btw, I know God can speak through others.  I've heard of prophets)  Finding quiet time to sit and listen for God is a discipline.  I know I have a hard time finding quiet inside and outside of my head.  My thoughts race about what I need to do or what I want to do.  I hear planes flying overhead.  I hear birds.  And on and on the distractions come.  I've heard God can speak through dreams.  I don't know about you, but sometimes I try to manipulate my dreams if I wake up a little during them.  And you know what.  These are the dreams I often remember.  I've also heard God can speak through images in my mind.  I think it may be awfully difficult to discern God through mental images.  I know, sometimes, if I've played too much Words With Friends, I can see the images of the game in my mind.  Maybe this is why it was so much easier for the patriarchs to hear the voice of God.  Not as many distractions.  Maybe?

If I want to hear the voice of God I have to learn to recognize it when I hear it.  I need to spend time in God's word and learn the sound of his voice.  I've heard that God's ways are not my ways and visa-versa.  So does that mean that if I have a wild and crazy thought, completely opposite to the way I usually think, that is the voice of God?  I don't think so.  I think that just may be my own selfishness popping up.  Do I think that if a scripture verse keeps coming to my mind, that's the voice of God?  I don't think so, either.  I remember a time in the bible when the evil one quoted scripture to tempt Jesus.  Yeah, I think that one knows all the words, he just doesn't have my best interest at heart.  I think if God were to speak to me through scripture he'd give me more than one verse and he'd assure me what he is asking of me is honoring to him.  So reading and learning scripture can help me recognize God's voice.  Maybe this is why it was so much easier for the patriarchs to hear the voice of God.  Less scripture had been written.  Maybe?

If God is speaking to me, I'm sure he would make sure I could understand him.  I don't think God talks over our heads or uses language we don't understand.  I think when he told Abraham to go and then told him to stop, Abraham understood what he meant.  He may not have understood why, but he understood what God was saying.

Lastly, if God is speaking to me, he wants me to obey him.  

So, what if I take the time to learn what God's voice sounds like by spending time in his word?  What if I take the time to spend in quiet reflection and prayer?  What if I do all that and I'm still not sure I'm hearing the voice of God?  If it was me, I'd wait.

I'm pretty sure when God speaks to me, I'll know it's him.  I'm certain when God speaks to me, I'll know what he is saying.  I won't have to decipher a code or anything like that.  And, I'm sure when God speaks to me I'll know exactly what I need to do. 

131.  Time to get the work done I need to get done
132.  Enough distractions in my life to allow me a break from difficult work
133.  A thick enough skin to allow the teasing of my co-workers to roll off my back
134.  An evening with nothing scheduled
135.  A little space heater under my desk to warm me on a chilly spring day after they've turned the heat off in my building


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I wonder how long I'll continue to work

It's only Tuesday and I feel as if I've worked an entire week.  It's like this in the days and weeks before a trustee meeting.  My boss is the king of procrastination.  He's so funny, and by so funny, I mean he's not funny in any way, when he finishes a report and emails it to me and then asks me if "I'm done."  Seriously, all I have to do after he gives me reports is proofread them, convert them to pdfs, put headers and page numbers on them, and compile them into one document.  I guess he thinks that takes a nanosecond.  Regardless, I'm a secretary and that's what I do.  I format.  I type.  I file.  I answer the phone. 

I went to Human Resources today to look at my health benefit package.  One time a year we are allowed to revise our package and if you miss it, too bad for you.  I wanted to check into two things.  The first thing I wanted to check was the coverage for my son.  I am very fortunate to be able to provide my son's health and dental insurance until he it 26 years old.  After that, he is on his own.  This year will be the final year of health insurance coverage by me, his dear old mom.  I pray he finds a job with benefits soon.  (this is the first hint needed to answer the question how long I'll continue to work)  The second thing I wanted to check was the process for getting my husband on my company's insurance.  He's retired now.  With this retirement came a cancellation of his company's insurance coverage.  I got my answers and now I know exactly what I need to do.

We know we don't want Obamacare.

Today I got a sliver of the feeling my husband had all these past years of employment.  All these years my husband has been carrying the weight of providing for his family on his shoulders.  My job always provided the "extras."  It provided some extra income.  It provided some extra benefits, like free tuition, had my son wanted to take advantage of this.  He did not.  Now, I am the provider of benefits.  I feel the responsibility of it.  This just gives me even more respect for my husband.  How was it that I was completely unaware of this feeling while I was a sahm.  I'm sure it had a lot to do with being the primary care giver to our child.  I wonder if my husband ever feels the responsibility I was feeling while I was doing the "mom-thing."  You see, now he is home when my son is home from work and I am not.  Isn't life funny sometimes?

I wonder how long I'll continue to work?  People ask me this a lot.  People ask my husband this question a lot.  I guess the answer is, for sure a year.  I like working toward a goal.  Maybe my goal will be June 25, 2013.  How does that sound?

121.  A job that provides health insurance
122.  Doctors willing to use the health insurance my company provides
123.  Dental insurance
124.  A healthy husband and son
125.  The ability to let insensitive comments roll off my back
126.  A small space heater under my desk for these cooler spring days after they've turned the heat off in my building
127.  Knowing there are leftovers in the refrigerator at home when I know I'll be too tired to cook
128.  Good discussion on ethics and how to work toward changing the world for God
129.  Church-wide bible study
130.  Opportunities to serve others in the name of Christ

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He is Risen

He is risen, indeed.  We cannot visit the grave of our deity because he is not dead.  He is ALIVE.  Happy Easter.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday.  Some would say this day was not so good for our lord.  Today is the day we remember he was falsely arrested, humiliated, beaten, stripped and hung on a cross to die.  He did this willingly.  He took God's cup of wrath and drank it down.  This week I've been a bit ungrateful for all the blessings in my life.  I know this because my writing was a bit self-centered and it took me a bit of time to come up with my "gratitudes" at the bottom of my posts.  Today I absolutely know what I am grateful for.  I hope you do, too.

Thank you Johnny Hart

116.  My lord and savior, Jesus Christ
117.  Fellow believers
118.  The freedom to worship my lord without fear
119.  The opportunity to attend a lecture, at the college I work at, about the God I serve, by a professor openly acknowledging his Christianity
120.  Knowing there is a remnant of students, here, that are believers (this gives me hope)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them

We push a lot of hurt and discontent way down deep in efforts to do what we need to do in our day to day lives.  I wish this wasn't true, but for the majority of us, I think, it is.  Today I heard a lot of discontent bubble to the surface.  Today I had lunch with all my peers at the college I work at.  There are some deep hurts that have been inflicted by the new administration of this college.  Was it good to allow these hurts to have a voice?  Will there be names attached to the comments spoken aloud?  What comes of a meeting like this?  Is it cleansing for the soul or will the administration cleanse itself of those employees who have been hurt?

We will see what the future will bring.  I know, for me, it felt good to have my feelings validated by other staff members of the college.  Our college has brought on, as president and first lady, the quintessential east coast intellectual liberal elite couple.  In the first few months as the new administration this man, at an all staff meeting, proceeded to tell the staff they were unnecessary to the running of a liberal arts college.  All that was needed was faculty.  Staff were non-essential.  I know he regretted this statement.  I know he didn't mean it the way it sounded.  Here's the thing, what kind of person could make a faux pas like this?  I'm guessing it is the kind of person who thinks he is above most of the rest of the people he meets.  I'm guessing we aren't talking about a humble person.

Later on in his tenure with the college the state provided on opportunity for a few staff members to receive pay raises.  This opportunity was really out of the administration's hands.  If they didn't give some of the staff the raises the state would take this to mean that raises were not necessary for anyone.  That is certainly not the case.  I haven't had a raise in five years.  The state has promised us a raise this year.  Yay, but wait, how much of a raise?  Answer, 2%.  Thanks State.  I'm so grateful I have a job.  Nevertheless, a few (18) staff  members received raises last December.  The fact that it was only 18 people was tough enough to take.  The president had to put a little salt in the wound.  He sent out an email informing ALL staff of what departments the 18 staff members worked and how many staff from each department got a raise.  (I wonder who it is?)  But wait, Mr. Sensitivity was not done.  In his email he shared to ALL staff (all the staff that didn't get raises) that these 18 individuals were ESSENTIAL staff members.  (I guess that makes the rest of us... not)

For the most part, I have pushed these hurt feelings down deep and continued to do my job.  I wasn't able to get them pushed down deep enough by Christmas, so I did not attend my boss's "holiday" party.  (btw, he was ESSENTIAL to the tune of $6K.  oh yeah, we are a state institution.  this information is public, even though they like to act as if it is not.)  Today these feelings bubbled up again.  It's tough to want to work hard for an administration with such obvious disregard for more than half of their employees.

I work in the same building as our new president.  I work in an office on the same floor as this man.  He comes into my office at least once a day on days he is in the office.  He doesn't know my name.  He never says good morning.  I wrote a post about Maya Angelou back in September.  In it I mentioned a quote of hers, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

We need to take this quote to heart and believe who this man has told us he is.  I know I'm to forgive and turn the other cheek.  It's unfortunate that this "other cheek" is my employment status.  I felt most sorry for those women in the room who are single mothers and trapped in their jobs.  I know working for a paycheck is not nearly as rewarding as being respected for the work you do.  I know I should feel sorry or have compassion for this couple.  Somehow they have lost their capacity for empathy or maybe it's a superiority thing.  Regardless, they are lacking a portion of their humanity and this is a sad, sad thing.  It's funny, they seem to care more about the grass, flowers and trees on campus than they do about the people hired to take care of those things.  Maybe this is a characteristic of the liberal elite and we will just have to live with it.

Thanks for letting me blow off a bit of steam.  It does help to have an outlet.  Sadly, I did make a comment or two at the luncheon.  We will see if I will become eligible for those 99 weeks of unemployment entitlement our other president is handing out.

111.  Apple stock
112.  Kind people
113.  Knowledge that time heals old hurts
114.  Self confidence.
115.  Maundy Thursday church service  (I need to ask forgiveness)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Retirement and me

It's been a little more than a month of retirement for my husband.  The first three weeks of his retirement I was sick.  Really sicky sick with quite a few days home from work.  I don't think I was able to get a very good view of what living with a retired guy was going to be like.  I was too focused on myself and my breathing.  I really didn't even notice he was home.  Then we had a week of me going to work every day, although I was still pretty weak and had no voice or energy when I returned home in the evening.  Sadly, I was still quite focused on myself, but I did notice my husband was home.  Further, I noticed my husband was home when I got home from work.  Since he usually returned home about two hours after me, this was a significant difference.  I noticed.  Last week my husband went on vacation without me.  I absolutely noticed this.  I was completely recovered and no one was home when I got home from work.  It was a little lonely, but I was so busy at my job I really enjoyed the down time when I got home in the evening.

This week my husband is home from vacation, I am healthy and he is still retired.  I'm getting a good look at what this retirement thing looks like.  So far, I can tell you, it seems very good.  In the morning I make juice for all of us for breakfast and I leave the dirty juicer on the counter.  When I get home in the evening the juicer is completely clean and ready for me to use again for dinner.  This is a wonderful thing.  I love being cleaned up after.  This has not happened for me since I was nine.  I discovered my husband knows how to use a washing machine.  He told me he used it twice while he was on vacation.  He told me he came home from vacation with all clean clothes.  I am so tempted to test him with this new knowledge at our house.  I'd love it if he did the towels and the sheets.  This would be a big help.  I'm tempted, but I haven't asked, yet.  (I am aware he often reads my blog, so he may see this)  People have asked me about the cooking.  I'm not thinking about this.  Sure, it would be nice to come home to a cooked dinner, but I don't think cooking is something my husband wants to do.  I don't think he should have to do too many things he doesn't want to do.  After all, he's retired.

I do have a few hopes and dreams for his time while he's retired and I'm working.  I'd love to get our bathroom tub area re-tiled and get the faucet and stuff updated.  I'd like to paint the front hall and the living room.  I LOVE to have the garage emptied out and the basement emptied out.  I know I have to do a lot of work around the house, myself.  I want to get rid of all the lladros and baskets and books and crap scattered all around my house.  My dream is to move out of our house with nothing but suitcases in our hands.  I know it's a dream, but a girl's gotta dream, doesn't she.

All this dreaming aside, we have to keep the priorities straight and do first things.  My husband has to finish his dissertation.  This is the priority.  (btw, if you would like to add anything to your prayer list, this would be a great one)  I know he wants to complete his PhD.  This is very important to him.  Secondly, I know he wants to fix up our rental property.  This will be a big job, as well.  Maybe I'll have to keep working to pay some of these bills?  We will see.

I have a coworker in the same situation I as mine.  Her husband retired and she is still working.  They've already bought their retirement home in another state.  He's already moved down there.  She's got their house in this state for sale.  I think the moment it sells, we will see her last day of work.  Wouldn't it be funny if we both quit on the same day?  Yeah, I think it would be hilarious.  :)

103.  My son is getting an A in his college class, so far
104.  Finishing a big work project
105.  Time to relax when I get home from work
106.  The anticipation of a weekend getaway
107.  Lots of great advice from readers for my dry skin
108.  Sacrifices we made when we were young to provide for opportunities now
109.  Coffee (have I said this before?)
110.  Smart phones (iPhone)

Sexy  ;)