Saturday, January 31, 2009

Maid Service Required

Outside of small children, I think I am one of the the messiest eaters I know.

I don't buy expensive clothes, as I know that I will eventually mar them with some stain that I cannot remove. White shirts, khaki pants...those are just begging for a coffee spill, or tomato splotch. Or worse, mustard.

And I simply CANNOT eat popcorn without making a fool of myself. There is popcorn all around me when I finish. I think this is because I am never paying attention when I eat popcorn. Popcorn is eaten while reading or watching a movie or working on a project at work. The problem here is...I eat a mini bag of popcorn almost every day.

Now, outside of popcorn, the food spills would appear normal to outside observers...little things here and there--normal stuff that just happens. However, these things happen constantly, and that--among many other things--makes me abnormal...though I'm sure you would have already used this word to describe to me.

I do know, however, that I am not THE messiest adult eater I have ever known. At one point in college I was going to school with a SIXTY-year-old man who we needed to vacuum around when he was finished eating. I am not exaggerating. Seriously. The table, the chairs, and especially the floor were covered with his crumbs...which would fly out of his mouth while he was talking and chewing simultaneously.

It was very appetizing.

So, just for the record: I am not THAT messy of an eater.

Unless popcorn is involved. And then, well... Does anybody have a Dustbuster?

Snacking away,

(c) 2009

A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment? --Ecclesiastes 2:24-25, NIV

Friday, January 30, 2009

How Our Economic Status Came to Be...

Okay, I truly have better things to say, but this one is too good not to pass on. Received via email forward (and since I don't 'do' forwards, this one goes to you here!):

Young Chuck moved to Texas and bought a donkey from a farmer for $100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.

The next day he drove up and said, "Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died." Chuck replied, "Well, then just give me my money back." The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already." Chuck said, "OK, then, just bring me the dead donkey." The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with him?" Chuck said, "I'm going to raffle him off." The farmer said, "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!" Chuck said, "Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead."

A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?" Chuck said, "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $898.00." The farmer said, "Didn't anyone complain?" Chuck said, "Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back."

Chuck now works for Goldman Sachs.

Bwahahahaha... And so, our current economy breeds humor, despite it all. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh. (If only reality wasn't so close...)

Always willing to laugh,

(I found these verses when I searched 'laugh.' It isn't totally related, but it was instructive (ergo, I am including it). Those who practice evil, believing no one can see or will judge--David asks God to judge them...but not to kill them. "Keep them around so that the people of God won't forget the lesson that our omniscient God is a righteous judge and so that Your greatness is declared throughout all the earth." Hmmm...a powerful, interesting prayer.)

They [evildoers] return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city. See what they spew from their mouths—they spew out swords from their lips, and they say, "Who can hear us?"

But you, O LORD, laugh at them; you scoff at all those nations.

O my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. God will go before me and will let me gloat over those who slander me.

But do not kill them, O Lord our shield,
or my people will forget. In your might make them wander about, and bring them down. For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride. For the curses and lies they utter, consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more.

Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. Selah -Psalm 59:6-13, NIV

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm..."

Has anyone read Terri Blackstock's Restoration Series (Last Light, Night Light, True Light, and the most recent one (which I haven't read), Dawn's Light)? I love fiction, but don't often read it these days. However, over that past year I read this series. Then, last week, a friend directed me to this link:,2933,478024,00.html

So...anybody know how to dig a my backyard?


My times are in your hands... - Psalm 31:15a

(c) 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Photo That Started It All...Kinda

There were many, many things that started me on the weight-loss path that I call The Journey. Myriad, tiny things that God planted in my heart and mind. God knows that I'm a slow mover-grower-changer kinda gal, and in His grace, He is always patient with me.

But one thing that was very instrumental in moving me along that path was a photograph. Here, lifted from my friend Beth's Facebook page (uh, thanks, Beth!), is the photograph:

This photo was taken toward the end of the summer after my freshman year of college. I don't know where...I don't actually remember it being taken. (This was also the tannest my legs EVER got--a summer in shorts will work wonders for even the whitest of girls!)

Why did that photograph affect me? All of my life, from early childhood on (more on that later), I had believed myself to be fat. As soon as I began to grow, it was instantly obvious that I was destined to be tall...and not tall & lanky, or tall & skinny, but tall and average build. But I didn't understand that, nor did many around me, and so the idea of "I am fat" infused itself into my soul.

Until the day, a year-and-a-half ago, when I saw this photograph. And suddenly, rushingly, I knew, I could see, that I had NOT been FAT. I had been normal, average weight.

And that's when all my self-conceptions came under deep, deep scrutiny. And eventually, a thousand tiny steps and reasons later, I would begin The Journey.

It is still surprising to me how profoundly this photo from my past affected me. And I still can't fully articulate all that it shook up/loose/crazy in me. But I do know that that one, innocuous act of posting a photo from our ministry team that summer by a long-lost-but-recently-found friend was part of God's plan for my life at this time.

And as usual, I'm awfully grateful to Him for such grace.

Still walking this road,

P.S. Can you pick me out?

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. --Proverbs 19:21, NIV

(c) 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Salmonella...doesn't it sound like an exotic flower? One that only grows in the rain forests of Southeast Asia? With blooms bigger than your hand, and a bush that grows taller than a man? Doesn't the sound of that name conjure all kinds of beautiful pictures in your mind?

Too bad that's not true. Too bad such a lovely word is tied to such an ugly that makes people really, really sick. Sometimes, even killing them.

Don't worry. I don't have, nor have I ever had, salmonella (though this is strictly due to God's grace, considering my penchant for raw cookie dough...). But in light of the recent concern over peanut butter which might have been contaminated with it, I've been a-thinkin'...

Me? Thinking? You're scared now, aren't you? {wink}

As I understand it (and I have made no great search into the matter, so I could be completely off my rocker here), Nabisco and a number of other companies have issued recalls on a number of their products which were produced by a company whose facility might have accidentally (one would hope!) mixed in a little salmonella with the PB. And here's where the thinking started...

The recall is affecting numerous businesses and many, many families and individuals, all because a tiny bit of this organism got mixed in a bit of PB. Most of the products recalled were probably not affected. It's even possible that none of a given company's products were affected...yet each company is tainted by this tiny bit of disease.

Jump to the illustration: We Americans are FAMOUS world-over for our individualism. In the USA, it's about the I, not the We. We believe in the individual to such an extent that somewhere, fundamentally, we have come to believe that what I do doesn't/shouldn't affect you.

But ya know, that just simply isn't true. What you do WILL affect others, maybe me. Perhaps people you don't even know or haven't met yet.

Take a basic example: If I decide to stop following all traffic laws, that's gonna affect somebody. I will probably have an accident that involves someone other than me. If I miss my own accident, I might cause others to have an accident. What I do bleeds over into the lives of others.

And no where is this more true than in the Church. Why? Because we are ONE BODY. One. We are united in Christ. What I do affects you. What you do affects me. Ever try to talk to someone about Jesus, only to have the door (literally or figuratively) slammed in your face because someone else claiming the name of Jesus got there before you...and it wasn't pretty? I have. Ever have people say to you, "You Christians are so X." Um...maybe I'm not, but somebody associated with the body of Christ was.

I don't know that this is a comfortable truth for American believers to accept. Weeding out our culture from our calling in Christ can be tricky for anyone. But I do believe that on this one, we have generally accepted our culture OVER what God declares as truth. And that, that's a dangerous place to be.

So please know: I recognize that what I do today--how I live, speak, drive, tip, dress, carry myself, sigh even--affects you. So I purpose--firstly for the glory of God, secondly for the health of the Body--to consider this as I tootle my way through life. As it turns out, it matters if even a little bit of salmonella gets in the PB.

Just my thoughts,

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." --John 17:20-23, NIV

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. --Ephesians 4:3-6, NIV

P.S. For the worriers whose world I just disrupted (sorry about that!), here is the Food and Drug Administration's page on this current outbreak:

(c) 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Quick Look Back Before Moving Forward

I'm really lousy at keeping up with my communications: phone calls, email, Facebook, even thank you notes. I'm guessing most of you know that already. :-( It's not that I don't compose these notes/calls in my head...I DO! It's just that I struggle getting from the planning to the implementing stage. I know that this is...not nice.

Since this has been a struggle for me my entire life, I don't expect to conquer it all at once. But one of my non-resolutions (I don't make New Year's resolutions 'cause I'd just fail and feel guilty; I DO however take the opportunity at the beginning of each year to review areas I want to improve in.) was to try to do better in this area.

And step #1 was to clean up my email inboxes. I have three main email accounts: one for work, two personal--mostly divided as one for subscriptions/junkmail and one for personal notes. Between the three accounts, I had over SIX-HUNDRED emails in my INBOX. That's not including myriad additional folders (generally a dozen or so) attached to each account.

Clearly, I wasn't managing my electronic communications.

As I began the process of weeding out my inboxes this week, I discovered something very important: I had quite a 2008...and God sustained me through it all.

Wanna review a bit with me?

**February: Doctors found suspicious calcifications in my breast (sorry, guys), that led to a series of painful and expensive procedures {the day before}...eventually to tell me I was just fine {the day after}. Yee-haw. But this is the month one of my girls received Christ as her Savior...I still tear up at the memory.

**May: I was contacted regarding my 'dream job' and began a deep, draining, God-seeking journey to discover His will regarding this opportunity.

**June: May & June are my very busiest time of year at work, and coupled with the strain of the process above, this made for a really challenging month. I thought it was tough enough, until my mother was (finally!) diagnosed with a serious, life-threatening disease (she is quite stable now, thank you) {as it began} and my handicapped sister started code-blue-ing (stopped breathing) several times a week for no discernible reason. This was an achingly difficult month.

**July: Interviewed for this job and visited my family. My mother began to respond to treatment, and a battery replacement(!) resolved my sister's ailment. My elders asked to meet with me to pray over me and for my family--one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given. EVERYONE in my life who knew about the job opp thought it was a done deal...until I had to turn it down. Yet I truly believed God would intervene and open the door. He didn't.

**August: Felt adrift and alone in the aftermath of the previous months, and really struggled to find my footing again.

**But by October, things were looking up. Despite the near-totalling of my car, joy came when TWO of my sisters gave birth to boys in the same week! AND my brother announced that he and his lovely new bride were expecting in May! Good news for a happy aunt! And, I celebrated happy milestones in The Journey.

**November: We voted! I celebrated some more Journey milestones. The girls I work with shocked the pants off of me when three of them (out of five) finished memorizing the books (2 Timothy, Ephesians--only one per girl!) I had assigned them. To see their growth and their excitement was so thrilling...and humbling.

**December: A busy, happy month. Of course, I started day 1 with the stomach virus (you should definitely pass on this one!) and spent the entire month (until now, actually) sick in some form. BUT, I love the Christmas season, and work--though crazy busy--was full of excitement and fun. THEN, I tried getting out of the boat; that didn't go so well. But THEN, most of my wonderful family came for a crazy week of food and fun at my house! Whee-ha! And THEN, I got to start the new year with a trip to visit my BF from middle school...still one of my very dearest, most precious friends. Busy, busy, but happy.

A review of my email showed me encouraging blog comments and prayers from many of you, and the consistent care of my local church leadership and family. And though there is little electronic documentation, I keenly recall the love my work family poured out on me in those really intense times.

And when I look at all of this, I recall the goodness of our God. How He carried me through unknown and frightening waters; how He brought me words of wisdom and encouragement at my most desperate moments; how, even when He would not answer my questions, He comforted me with quiet assurances of His presence and His plan.

And though I would be okay if 2009 didn't bring with it some of the crazy, scary, nutty things that 2008 did, I would not trade His sweet presence and lessons for anything at all.

I'm so glad I started the year with a communications clean-out. I think it made for one of my best New Year's ever.

Now, onto 2009 and all that it holds,

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. --Hebrews 13:20-21, NIV

(c) 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Exhaling Now...

Ooookaaaay. Let's see if I can get myself back into this groove...

Where have I been for, say, the last month or so, you might ask? Well, kind of you to inquire. Here's the bullet list:

**December 1: An auspicious start of the month...with a really vicious stomach flu. I lost 7 lbs. in 48 hours. Unfortunately, those were not permanently-gone pounds. The best part? I got sick the morning: 1.) I was supposed to take my BF to the airport; and 2.) the morning a guest (a missionary from Asia, whom I had not met previously) came to stay for a week. Yum.

**That was a rough 48+ hours, BUT...something else hit me immediately--headache, malaise, aches and chills--and dogged me for the next week and a half. It was a lovely time.

**All of this fell at the second busiest season at my workplace--CHRISTMAS! The church where I work hosts a number of community-wide events during this time, and my finger is in every pot. It was nutso, but eventually, every person was contacted, every ad placed, every check cut, and every program designed and printed. And THEN...

**It was my birthday! Yea for me. I turned thirty-*muffle-sniffle-cough*. Okay, okay. I don't really care that much. I turned 36. An age I plan to enjoy immensely...'cause apparently the 35 I was so attached to isn't going to let me claim it anymore. It hurts when your friends turn their back on you... ANYway, my BF threw a kinda-surprise party for me the night before, and we had a blast! So many wonderful people, gifts, and sentiments! I really enjoyed myself. And the next day--my actual birthday--my BF provided me with a very special dinner from (Kraft) Macaroni Grill. It did not involve boxed noodles; it DID involve salmon, a favorite of mine. YUM!

**Then, I had to teach an extra Sunday...usually our church takes two Sundays off of Sunday School during the holiday season, but this year they didn't, and I wasn't totally prepared for that. But you know, God redeemed it, and it was wonderful. I was able to give a very clear explanation of the gospel and how to know your relationship to it (how is your life reflecting/not reflecting this faith?). It was just one of those Sundays where you know God has spoken through you. I love those days.

**That very day, my family began to arrive. They've never let me host Christmas before, and, as I mentioned previously, I was pretty doggone excited about it. And, apparently, a little uptight about it too. It took a few days and some choice conversations before I found the balance, but in the end, I think we all had a good time. Right guys? Guys? Uh, hellloooo? Uh, um...I had a good time, anyway. ;-)

**After God filled my 'family-time' cup to overflowing (in all the best ways!), they tried to leave. This worked for some of them, but not so well for others. My nephew, who had been sick the whole time, turned up with RSV. If you don't work with kiddos, you may not be aware of this respiratory virus, but it can be very serious in younger children. My nephew was 2-1/2 months. It got very serious. After a few days, everyone (doctor included) thought he was stable enough to travel...but we were all wrong. They made it to the Tennessee border before he took a significant downturn. They ended up in a hospital in Knoxville for a couple of days+, where they were treated wonderfully, and even got to stay in the Ronald McDonald house while they awaited his recovery from what was now pneumonia. My other nephew LOVED the McD house (cried when it was time to leave! LOL!). All kinds of special blessings were bestowed by God during this trying time. God's cool like that, huh?

**I got my family on the road just in time to celebrate New Year's Eve with some friends of mine who are musical missionaries based in Europe. They are amazingly cool people, and I've missed them bunches since we sent them off. It was really wonderful to get to see them. I didn't get to fellowship as much as I wanted to, however, as apparently RSV: 1.) Is HIGHLY contagious, and 2.) Presents as a severe cold in adults. I just love the gifts my nephews give me. Three years ago, one gave me the stomach virus. I guess I should be grateful it was only RSV this year, huh? LOL! I--in a HIGHLY atypical fashion--fell asleep in front of the TV just after the ball dropped. BIG night out. ;-)

**I didn't sleep in too late however, as I had a trip to get ready for! My BF since MIDDLE school had invited me up to Iowa to visit snow...I mean to visit her and her family. I rose at 3 a.m. on January 2 to fly out to spend four action-packed days with them, and to share my lovely RSV a little more broadly. (I just know all those people on the planes were THRILLED to have my hacking, snotty self on board with them. "No really, I'm not contagious *hack, hack, sniffle, blow*." Oh, yeah.) We got little sleep, shopped, played games, cooked, kidded, and harrassed her crazy children--and it was wonderful! I had a great time...but did NOT get to visit snow. See, snow is something I want to visit. I don't want to live in it anymore, but I do want to see it from time to time...and old piles of now-ice-formerly-snow do not count...though sliding down the icy street sideways was kinda fun. You should try it.

**I got home late, midweek, and started back to work the next day. And so it is only now, Friday night, when I can say to you all...

I'm sorry I was AWOL and I missed your kind selves very much!

And I'm ready to start this new year, fresh in all kinds of ways and the same in the really important ones. I hope you are too.

Until my fingers find the keys again,

A Blessing for the New Year: "May God give you of heaven's dew and of earth's richness—an abundance of grain and new wine." --Genesis 27:28, NIV

I'm Baaaack!

Well, sort of. I have much to blog & catch you up on, just as soon as I catch my breath. Until then, I thought you'd enjoy a tiny bit of sarcasm that my friend/roomie shared with me. It'll just bring you up to speed on the past year's news. Or a version of it, anyway.

I've not looked deep into his site, so wander at your own risk. But I found this year in review priceless. Now everyone, sing along! "Welcome to Bejing, barumpbarumpbum..."

Love and sarcastic humor,

P.S. And no, I don't agree with it all, but it IS well-stated. Uh, sung. ;-)