22 December 2008

It just occurred to me...

...that Christmas is in four days.
...that we are leaving day after tomorrow (technically, tomorrow, since I am writing this on Monday, even though it feels like Sunday cause I haven't gone to bed yet).
...that I'm starting to feel better.

...that the shepherds weren't the first to find out about the Saviour, Immanuel. Mary was, when the angel told her.

18 December 2008

A List of Short Posts all Rolled Into One Post

For my birthday, I received a Lodge Reversible Grill/Griddle. Last night, I made pancakes on it. Love it. It cooks so well!!
I want these biscuits. Right NOW.
The last few days around my house have been like a sewing sweatshop. I'm sewing, sewing, sewing! BUT last night I sewed fleece for the first time, and sewed a zipper for the first time...I sewed a zipper onto fleece. Something cozy is on it's way!
I recently got a promotion at work. Now I teach art lessons, science demos, and story time. It's been good so far.

16 December 2008

Road Trips

Here is a map of all the states I've visited. I've also visited Hawaii, even though it's not shown on this map.
I like road trips. I might have to plan one to fill in those sad, white states that need to be colored in. (There are so few of them. A couple summer trips would fill this map right up!)

10 December 2008

Elemental Sacraments

God used such mundane, everyday things to be the elements of our sacraments.

Bread. Wine. Water.

Did he invent water for baptism and then let us use it for washing and drinking and for 96% of our body's blood volume and other vital things? Or did he use something that was already mundane and sanctify it so that it would become special?

By the same token, did he make bread and wine staples of so many meals for so many people, and then elevate them by making them part of Communion, or did he make them with Communion in mind, then let us use them in all sorts sorts of workaday ways?

LInkage: 7 December

I want to listen to all the accents! I love accents!

This is awesome. But the book is much, much better. (Much. I might also say, real life is much, much better than the FB.)

You can be assured I'll be checking this for a good forecast just as soon as I can! (10 days before Christmas, it says! 10 Days Before is coming right up!)

The school principal from my junior-high days (who also, ironically, turned out to be my husband's first boss...in a totally different region of the country) used to talk about the pitfalls of an instant culture. That was almost 20 years ago. It's still true now, and Intellectuelle has posted an excellent essay on that very same subject.

I like to read 6YearMed. She recently posted about the discomfort of not quite 'fitting in' in your town. Not that my town is snooty (hah! far from it), but every now and then the 'Southern gentility' fits just a teensy bit too tightly on this Coloradan.

09 December 2008

Christmas Gifts

Steph, your gift is coming together! I'm excited to see it coming together. I hope you will like it.

Ian, your gift is wending its way here. I can't wait to see you open it. I hope you will like it, too!

Double Digits Tomorrow?

This month is flying by. Whenever the month's date becomes a double digit number, I'm always surprised, because time is flying by.

October always surprises me, too, because that's when the month's number becomes double-digits. Here we are in the last single-digit date of this year. (I was going to write "of 2008," but that's too rhyme-y and syllabic.)

Seriously, where is the time going??

Just wait till this time next year, when we'll be in the countdown to the last single-digit YEAR. Yikes, and double yikes.

02 December 2008

Two funnies...

Some of you may know that my husband and some of his siblings say "Oh, gravy!" to express frustration instead of other phrases that may or may not include God's name.


Well, last Thursday, I was looking at my list of things to do before 2pm, and I had forgotten one thing. "Oh, gravy!" I said. I meant it literally.


It was pretty funny!


---


I got on the elevator with a colleague yesterday. (Let's call her...Bianca.) The thing about working at a children's museum is...sometimes educators let the immaturity out and just have a good time.


This is what Bianca and I do. Do you know what we do when we're on the elevator together? We (this is embarrassing)...we make loud, obnoxious...we make fart sounds...and laugh ourselves silly.


Yesterday, I was on my cell phone, and Bianca stepped on the elevator. She got a gleam in her eye, and made the loudest fart sound ever.


You know who was on the phone? My mother-in-law. I heard her pause in what she was telling me, and hesitantly go forward with her talking. I know she heard. I was in the elevator. And Bianca ripped a loud one!


Then, I got the giggles. I had to explain, but how do you explain that it was a fake fart sound? That sounds like blaming, like I didn't want her to know that I passed a good, loud bit of gas. But I didn't! I mean, I didn't fart! I only happened to be in the elevator when Bianca faked a superloud fart!


Well, MIL giggled when I told her, paused again, and went on with her story. (What else do you do in a situation like that! There's no section of etiquette training that says 'Here's what you do when your daughter-in-law gets in a situation that involves fart sounds.')


I'm sure it'll never be mentioned again.


It was pretty funny.

I Wish I Had a Scanner

So, our little local library has a box with free magazines that you can take. Anytime. Usually it has lame-o magazines like Sailing and Boating Quarterly, but sometimes you hit the jackpot.

Last night, I hit the jackpot. I found a Highlights for Children magazine. (I read a lot of them in the doctor's office when I was little. I was at the doctor's a lot. Between all my colds, my strep throat scares, and three-times-a-week visits to the allergist for two years...yes, I was there.)

But I digress. I found a Highlights for Children magazine from 1969.

I'll find a scanner and post some nuggets. There's a "New Technology" section that's a delight to read ... a "What We Hope to Find on the Moon" because this particular issue is from before the moon landing (that's actually hard to imagine for such a young'un as I) ... and a profile of "Our New President, Richard Milhous Nixon."

!

01 December 2008

Shame on Us

This Black Friday death is tragic. Why should someone die for our culture's desire to consume more and more and more.

It's all the more tragic because the article (and, apparently, the local authorities) blame the store for inaproppriate security measures. Perhaps the problem goes deeper...maybe we shouldn't have a shopping day that is so intense that we need security fences and stuff like that? Maybe enough is enough, and more stuff is not the solution.

28 November 2008

Obligatory Post-Thanksgiving Post

I've been cooking all week, including cooking the turkey and carving it the evening before Thanksgiving. So, all I had left to do on Thursday was the last minute stuff. It got done.

Things that happened Thanksgiving morning before the meal:
  • Monkey bread was baked and served for breakfast-snacking.
  • Cheese ball was put out for breakfast-snacking.
  • Chocolate-Pecan Pie was compiled and baked off.
  • Apple juice was simmered with 3 cloves and 1/2 cinnamon stick (simple, easy cider; if orange peels simmer for too long they turn bitter).
  • Table was set.
  • Butter was put onto butter dish early enough for it to get soft for the meal.
  • Potatoes were boiled and mashed.
  • Green bean casserole was baked and topped with French fried onions.
  • Peas were steamed.
  • Crescent rolls were baked.
  • Turkey was plattered and reheated (and still didn't get dry!)
  • Martinelli's was poured (yes, we had a bottle of wine, but we didn't serve it. Long story).
The only food-related hitch was that the peas overcooked. I couldn't find regular crescent rolls this year, only the "big and buttery" ones...I didn't read the baking instructions beforehand, and they needed 10 extra minutes to bake...those were the 10 minutes that overcooked the peas. Oooooh well. I'll write that down to remember for next year's turkey dinner.

It was a great meal. It was a really nice day. I loved it. Some of the people I love were there, some new friends were there, and a lot of the people I love were elsewhere. Still, it was a great day.

25 November 2008

Like/Don't Like Illustrated Edition!

Things I Like:
The Library
Hugs, and pictures of ridiculously cute cats
Shopping in a nearly empty store
Colby Cheese
Cheese and Crackers
The occasional boys' choir song...especially at Christmastime
Compliments
Things I Don't Like:
Black Friday Shopping
Precious Moments
Swiss Cheese
Hearing too much of the boys' choirs (oh, the shrillness)

Pate

24 November 2008

Pet Peeves #756 and 757

  • High-talkers who end all their sentences with an upward intonation, as if everything is a question. "Any more questions? I think you look good in black? I grew up in rural/urban/suburban America? I'm glad the price of gas is falling?" Argh!
  • Meetings that should have taken 15 minutes but took 90 minutes. Argh!

Internet Advertising

I don't like it. I don't like advertising in general.

But you have to admit, when it does something cool when your mouse rolls over it on your way to the scroll bar (or whatever), it's eye-catching. Some of the animated advertising is cute.

But I still hate it.

20 November 2008

Knowing and being known

Knowing another person is a fearsome proposition. When I meet someone new, he's already been living for years on a screwed-up planet. What bruises has he picked up along the way? I've formed the beginning of relationships only to discover people were clingy addicts or incorrigible gossips ... and I had no idea at first. It's enough to make me afraid to shake hands after church.

Being known means revealing your own scars from 20-odd years of wading through life. You're opening yourself up to rejection on a deeper level than those junior high insults when people said your Mama dressed you funny. The eighth-grade clowns could only pick on your looks. If a person knows you, he has power to stomp your dreams.


Read the rest of this article here at Boundess.org, which has come through once again with good writing. Write on, Boundless staff!

What I Did Yesterday

Yesterday, I learned to attach a piano hinge to two pieces of wood. AND I attached 6 piano hinges while entertaining/engaging a bored 10-year-old boy.
I love variety.
(I also vacuumed up ground-in chalk by using the hose attachment on a vacuum, scrubbed the grime from about 20 4-legged stools, talked about lower back pain, and cleaned.)

18 November 2008

Thoughts of Former Seasons

Chatting with a colleague today, I realized that I've forgotten how stressful and uncertain the single/dating days were. Now that I'm here, I'm married...and we've navigated those strange newlywed days (and I've switched my thinking pretty much over to "us" not "me")...I look back and see all the ways God led and provided for me, for us.

But this colleague is in the thick of it. Is he the one? Will we be good together? Do I love him enough to do __ career-wise? Does he love me enough to do __ with his career?

So many, many questions. I must not forget the tenuousness and strain of those days. I post myself a little reminder here.

14 November 2008

In Defense of Cashiers

Last week a co-worker complained about the cashier she'd had at the grocery store the night before. Today I read an 'open letter to cashiers' on someone's blog. And so, I've had enough of rudeness and disrespect towards cashiers. (And just so you know, I cashiered for three years. Before that I was as disrespectful, both subtly and overtly, as anyone else in middle-class America. I've learned to think charitably towards cashiers the hard way.)
  • They might have a headache, a backache, a neckache. Standing in one place all day hurts. Their feet probably hurt. They might be getting carpal tunnel syndrome because of the repetetiveness of scanning merchandise, loading bags, swiping credit cards, etc. They may be tired of being inside and only seeing artificial in-store fluorescent lighting. Be kind even if they are grumpy.
  • They might have had it up to here and just can't smile at the 10,000th complainer come through their line being rude about something self-centered like "I couldn't find your toasted almonds." Be gracious even if they are distant.
  • In big box stores, each department operates pretty independently from all the others; most likely the cashiers know nothing about any of the other departments and how they operate. It's not their fault you couldn't find the toasted almonds. Don't talk to them like they went and hid all the toasted almonds on purpose. Be patient even when you are annoyed. (Even though advertising makes you feel entitled to toasted almonds, and entitlement makes you feel anger when thwarted, remember that in context of eternity, you actually aren't entitled to toasted almonds. Treating someone like they are scum because your desire for toasted almonds was thwarted is rude. It's more than rude. It's sinful.)
  • Don't talk on a cellphone when you are being checked out. It's (so very, very) rude. You hate it when cashiers have their own conversations; cashiers hate it when you totally, completely, and in all others ways ignore them and treat them like they don't matter.
  • If you can't hang up your cellphone when it's your turn at the cashier, at least take a moment during your call and say something like this: "Excuse me, Loretta, just a moment...Hi, Cashier, I'm sorry I'm on the phone. This is an important call...yes, Loretta, I'm back..." At least you are acknowledging that a person is waiting on you, even though it's not as good as hanging up the phone in order to interact with your cashier.
  • Keep in mind that most stores require employees, especially cashiers, to do their darndest to solicit new business. It's their job to offer you more stuff, another credit card, or whatever. Whatever you decide to do--accept or decline--be polite.
  • Be patient if your cashier doesn't have change for your big bill. They will get change. In the meantime, you can be patient.
  • If you've been waiting in a long line, it is not the cashier's fault. Do not take your frustration out on them. (Your frustration may not even be valid; it might be fruit of self-centeredness and sinful entitlement.) (Take advantage of the long wait to read all those magazines they have right there, or to interact with your kids, or to memorize Scripture, or to pray for the people you see around you while in the long line.)
  • Cashiers know that kids tend to melt down in the checkout line. They have seen it all. (I have seen it all. Consequently, I will raise my children perfectly when I have them. *wink, wink*) Just deal with your child--you do know your own child, after all--deal with your child as best as you can. (I think I shall also blog about parenting in a checkout lane.)
  • If there's something a cashier can do for you (like help you load your groceries into your cart while you wrangle your kids), and they seem to be ignoring you, they might not be ignoring you on purpose. To get their help, just ask them. Be polite, and say something like, "Excuse me, could you help me load these bags into my cart while I keep my kids in hand? That would be very helpful. Thank you." Don't expect them to read your mind, because they can't.
  • If you shop with little kids, they are learning all their social norms from you. Do you want them to grow up treating cashiers (and other employees) like second-class citizens? No, of course not. Be careful the behaviors and attitudes you model for your kids.
  • Do you think your cashier is too slow? They might be new. They might be tired, sick, fighting a migraine, worried about something really intense. They might be slow thinkers, or just not as quick to process as you are. They might have a lower intelligence and are working as fast as they can.
  • If you know Jesus, think about how He would treat cashiers. Would He treat them like they were expendable? invisible? stupid? irrelevant? Cashiers are used to being treated--by customers and bosses alike, which is sad--as if they aren't very important. You have a chance to change their day by being 'Christ with skin on' for them. Remember that they too are eternal souls, valuable and precious in God's sight.
  • Do they act like they have stopped caring? It seems minor, but it's actually the saddest symptom of all. We were designed to care about our work and to derive pleasure from it. If they've stopped caring, they need your care, concern, and consideration all the more. Be 'Christ with skin on' for them by caring about them even when they don't deserve it.

13 November 2008

Some thoughts and links, Part 3

The most important reading I've been consuming has been the Bible. Just yesterday, I was reminded that the belief that a text is infallible, inspired and trustworthy is a matter of faith.

Anyway, here's a short verse that I've been meditating on for a week:

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. --Matthew 3:6
Also, here's Matthew 3--the whole chapter.

Some thoughts and links, Part 2

I'm going to make this breakfast casserole the next time I make a breakfast casserole.

Why not buy inexpensive crates and personalize them instead of buying expensive stuff-to-hold-stuff?

I need to organize my crochet hooks.

Here are some cute placemats.

Organizing crayons? Not necessary for me, but you never know if some young friends or relatives might want to!

Even better than organized crayons is a kit for colored pencils and notebook.

Some thoughts and links, Part 1

Hi! How are you? It's been a while (as my title says), and life continues to march forward, but none of it seems important enough to blog about. It's just time, sliding by.

So I'm sharing a few posts today (hopefully) that will give you some reading and thinking.

First, this article from boundless-dot-org: When Pigs Fly. It gave me a new insight into some cultural influences on the men in my life--specifically my husband--and how to pray for them. When we got married, I made it a goal of mine to study him and learn him, and make him feel like I know him better than anyone else.

(whoa, I feel a post coming on! off I go!) I like to learn about personalities, reading books about personalities and relationships any chance I can get. Once I learn a little bit about patterns, I can learn how my husband tends to react in similar situations, and I can accomodate him and make him feel valued and treasured.

With all the different facets that we people have in our personalities (the topic of the article being only one of many!), it's a challenge to be a continual student of my husband's patterns, but it's a worthwhile and satisfying way to honor and respect him.

"Respect him." Two simple words! The one is the verb--what I should do (and tacked on to it is the subtext of why I should do it); the other is the object--whom I should respect. I'm not commanded to respect his masculinity, or his career, or his spirituality (though those are very vital parts of who he is)...I'm commanded to respect him. The wholeness of his personhood. How can I do that to the very best of my ability if I don't tailor it to the uniqueness and quirkiness of who he is?

08 November 2008

Fruit

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. --Matthew 3:8

05 November 2008

Jumbo Tour Group Part I

Lots of people have been asking me, "What do you do at a children's museum all day? What does a Museum Educator do?"

It's different every day. Lately, I've been leading tour groups. We have a temporary exhibit that gives guests (especially the kiddles) a chance to simulate everyday tasks with some disability or another. Mainly, the kids can try out school tasks or climbing a climbing wall with vision-disability goggles on, try out wheelchair basketball, or try communicating while pretending to have a verbal communication disability. It's pretty neat. It's "a day in the life of a child with a disability."

So, with lots of corporate sponsorship and community volunteers, kids from our area can come have the Kids Like You, Kids Like Me Tour for free. That makes it a pretty big draw!

(Sorry this is reading like a brochure/pamphlet. I'm totally confident in your ability to deal with it.)

The tour usually consists of four parts: (1) time in the actual exhibit to simulate a day in the life of a child with a disability, (2) a tactile art lesson, (3) up close and personal time to talk with and ask questions of a local person with a disability, and (4) a puppet show. It's a pretty cool tour! I've enjoyed it the most with 3rd-4th graders, but 1st-2nd grades do pretty well; the kindergartners don't. They just don't quite get the point...almost, but not quite.

Today, we had a tour group of 155 kids. (Yes, 155 kids. That's a lot.) I'll tell about the ins and outs tomorrow!

Politcal Thoughts

I'm not a political thinker. It doesn't interest me. It seems too distant and, honestly, annoying. Instead of sincere efforts to (1)provide for our nation and (2)bring true leadership, it seems more like an extended power play. It's like Survivor, except that these contestants play the game in offices while wearing suits. (Please! Survivior is a game show that's intriguing because of the hunger, the thirst, the gross-food-eating-challenge and the blatant obviousness of the game. A government should not play itself out like a game show!)

Anyhoo, here is an extended quote from Intellectuelle that also expresses what I'm thinking this morning:
Let's face it, there is no way that any of us can become educated enough about all the complex systems that run our country to even know what really would be best in many situations. This is not to say that all issues aren't clear-cut. Some are. It's also not to say that I don't think we should vote. We should.

I just think that what we actually vote for isn't presidential candidates but for our own hopes and dreams. It's good that we can hope and dream. It's even better that we have a lot more choice in this country than those in many other parts of the world can even dream of. We have a responsibility to honor this freedom of choice and...choose. But we must also realize, I think, that we don't have the power we think we do; that politicians and their policies don't always have the power we wish they did; and that, often, they do actually have a lot more power than is good for either them or us.

But God, thank God, is sovereign, and good. God is good. Even when it may seem very hard to believe, we must have faith to see that this is true. And if we are citizens of His kingdom, we need not worry, in the face of eternity, about whatever happens, seemingly good or bad, here on this earth.

In light of the sickening consumerism I observed while working in retail...and the way the population was so humiliatingly manipulated by marketing campaigns...this quote sums up part of my response this morning.

More politi-blogging to come.

04 November 2008

I'm a Georgia Voter

Whoo hoo!

It makes me a little teary-eyed. Seriously.

03 November 2008

Voting: It's a Privilege!!

A woman at work told me this morning that the long lines weren't worth the effort. She wasn't going to vote.

I was shocked. The lines are too long? Excuse me? The lines are too long?


I told her off! I firmly but gently told her one part of my family's story, and reminded her that we are not totalitarians. We have a choice and we should wield it.

So VOTE! We have a choice...a true choice. I may not agree with the choice you make when you vote...but you must vote. You have a ballot to cast. You are not under oppression. Get out there!

29 October 2008

Binging

I just binged on apple slices. At least it wasn't a package of freakin' Oreos...but I still have that uncomfortable full feeling. It is roughage, at least.

In related news, I HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND cutting your apples in halves, and then using a melon baller to scoop out the core. It was speedy, neat, easy, and attractive.

28 October 2008

Question for Readers

When we married, I asked him for a new Bible for my birthday. He came through (of course), and I resolved not to write in/highlight/underline in this one.

I like my old Bible with all its underlining and notes, but I really wanted to allow the words to speak to me freshly each time I read them. The previous markups remind me only of the previous lessons from those particular words.

So, what do you do? Do you mark up your Bibles, or do you leave the pages as they are? AND why?

23 October 2008

Educating. Magic.

When I was in college, learning about being a secondary (not elementary!) teacher, I sneered at the Elementary Education majors. Then, I taught 5th grade for a while. I learned a bit of respect, but didn't really want to teach the little kids full-time.

I took a college class last year: Developmental Psychology. Learning all sorts of intricacies about how people grow and develop through all the stages of their young lives...awesome. Our Creator-God is so wise and gracious to us!

But I still never thought I'd want to teach the little guys. But last week, I got to do something new. I was a classroom assistant in a little-kids' classroom. Yes, there were 17 kindergarten-2nd graders.

I thought I would be irrelevant and stodgy to them, but I really got to like them. They were so cute. They thought new things were adventuresome instead of tedious. They attempted (and succeeded!) most of the crafts and activities we threw at them. They thought I was the coolest. They drew me pictures. They gave me goodbye hugs. They gave me good-morning hugs. Aaaaaaw. (Hugs make me melt.)

I sat with one boy on the bus after our field trip. He is a kindergartener. He told me all about his school, his teacher, his classmates. We talked about what we had done on the field trip (we saw sheep! we learned about spinning wool! we got koolaid packets to dye the wool they gave us!).

Here's the best part: he recently learned to read (he learned the letters and how to sound-out words, at least), and I helped him read the word "LEMON"...then I showed him the picture of lemons on his koolaid packet. His eyes lit up and he read the word again, and again, and pointed to the picture. "They're the same thing!" he said.

Magic. I love little kiddles now.

16 October 2008

A Very Clever Spider

has built a web right outside my kitchen window. The moths congregate there, so he (she?) constructed the web right where the buffet is hot and the eatin' is good! She (he) is wrapping a moth right now.

If I had a digital camera, I'd take a picture. It's cool, like a science lesson right outside my window!

Let Us Then Rejoice

Taken from Intellectuelle. It's a quote from Malcolm Muggeridge's The End of Christendom.

Let us then as Christians rejoice that we see around us at every hand the decay of the institutions and instruments of power, see intimations of empires falling to pieces, money in total disarray, dictators and parliamentarians alike nonplussed by the confusion and conflicts which encompass them. For it is precisely when every earthly hope has been explored and found wanting, when every possibility of help from earthly sources has been sought and is not forthcoming, when every recourse this world offers, moral as well as material, has been explored to no effect, when in the shivering cold the last [log] has been thrown on the fire and in the gathering darkness every glimmer of light has finally flickered out, it's then that Christ's hand reaches out, sure and firm. Then Christ's words bring their inexpressible comfort, then His light shines brightest, abolishing the darkness forever. So finding in everything only deception and nothingness, the soul is constrained to have recourse to God Himself and to rest content with Him.

15 October 2008

You are my Shepherd

I drove to work this morning in a hurry. My morning "blah" time was interrupted. I got to Husband's school to drop off the VITAL thing he forgot and got really annoyed. This darn laryngitis! I realized the core of my bad attitude: I was mistrusting God's sovereignty. After all, why would He strike me dumb in the middle of a week in which I assist in teaching 17 K-2nd graders?

Then we went on our field trip. Know where we went? To a sheep farm. And you know what sheep are? They are creatures designed by our loving heavenly Father to teach us a little about ourselves...and how He cares for us.

I saw the flock of sheep come running when the shepherdess walked to the gate with their bucket of food. They saw a crowd of strangers, hesitated...and when one turned away, the rest of them ran away.

I heard the shepherdess tell us about the importance of fence. Fence keeps the sheep off the road, on the pasture, out of the ponds, and fence keeps the coyotes and wild dogs OUT!

I heard the shepherdess talk about looking for a lost sheep. If one doesn't come for the morning feeding (she counts them to verify their presence), then she goes looking for it.

I saw a sheep getting sheared. Do you know they only have to fasten the sheep's head to what they call a "block." The shepherdess said, and I quote, "All we have to do is tie the sheep by the head and the rest of the sheep will follow the head. If the head is fastened good and tight, then the sheep will stand totally still."

!

He turned my attitude around then and there. I thanked God for his faithful care of this poor silly sheep...even in the midst of mute laryngitis...even with a bad attitude...even when I'm stubborn and ridiculous.

Because I'm easily spooked. Because I need safe fences to keep me away from danger and predators away from me. Because I get lost and need Him to come looking for me. Because I want to be docile and manageable--I need to be docile and manageable.

Lord, shepherd me.

Right Now, I Am...

Right Now, I am:

feeling... thankful that I have a little bit of voice back (I've had laryngitis for two days)!

enjoying... the last of the crickets' chirps outside my office window.

wondering... why I doubt and fear so very, very often.

listening... to ABBA.

drinking... hot lemon tea with lots of honey.

wanting... to go to Greyfriars with some good old college friends and have hot chai and a good talk.

loving... being tenderly cared for by a loving Shepherd.

looking... at pictures of me and my family.

07 October 2008

Fall Puzzle

I Actually LIKE the Place that I Work!

  • I love to see children engaged with a challenging task...they learn better coordination, motor skills, problem-solving skills...and they are so pleased with themselves when they master it!
  • I love when parents (or other adult-people) engage themselves with their children when they visit the museum. The children are so pleased with themselves, and their grownups have a wonderful chance to celebrate that happiness with their children.
  • I am so thankful for co-workers who choose to work at this place. There are certain skill sets and personality types that gravitate toward a place like this. I have yet to meet someone who works here that is irritated or annoyed by smaller, younger, less mature people. Those people wouldn't even be hired; they would not even apply! Still, here we are.
  • I love being able to develop my own teaching/classroom management skills. It's a good place to grow.
  • So many families, so many children, so many co-workers...so many, many chances to pray for those that need Jesus' salvation and for Jesus' influence and healing in our broken lives.

28 September 2008

Crusted Over

I've been writing this one post and it was going to be all about why I like my new job so much more than other jobs I've worked in recent history. It's ok to have preferences, BUT my attitude has been hard-hearted and purely pragmatical.

You're getting this post instead.

The Reading of the Law in this morning's church service convicted me. Have you ever had one of those moments, where you are reading or hearing some of the most familiar words of the Bible and they just seem to leap out at you? Read this passage, and I'll emphasize for you what leapt out at me:
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. --Ephesians 6:5-8 ESV (emphasis mine)

The double-edged sword of the Word of the Lord cuts through even our attitudes--not just our actions. I confess that my 'sincere heart' and 'good will' have been crusted over by a layer of cynicism. I do like my job, but I want to think about the reasons that are positive in and of themselves, instead of "why it's so much better than my previous jobs." My cynical hard-heartedness shines forth in that sort of comparison. So, I'll wait another few days till I post about why I like my job.

26 September 2008

Record

I scored a new journal today. It's pretty cheap, but I got it for nearly nothing. Yippee!

The cover says "Record," and I know it was intended to be a noun, as in, "This is a record of events." But I am looking at it as a verb, as in, "I am going to record what needs to be recorded."

Writing Writing Unit Plan

I haven't written a Unit Plan in over three years, and I'm pretty rusty! As much as my heart and my mind miss teaching, and as much as I've wanted to get back into it, I'm finding myself surprised that it's this hard to write a simple writing Unit Plan.

I'm trying to keep in mind that Writing was never something I enjoyed teaching (it's time-consuming! hard! confusing! hard to systematize!), so that's part of the challenge at this time. BUT on top of that layer of challenge is a layer of dust...or rust...or just plain stiffness...in my Unit-Writing muscles.

The only way out is through. So off I go.

25 September 2008

Sweet Tea

Now that the weather is changing, I am drinking sweet tea. I'm sure some imagine sipping a tall, icy glass of sweet tea while sitting in a rocking chair on the front veranda of a beautiful antebellum Southern mansion.

Not me. It's getting chilly, and now I want sweet tea. (Also, I can't buy coffee yet. Payday's not for a while.) (Anyway, if there are any Aussies reading this blog, this post should be right on time for your spring- and summer-time.)

So here's my recipe, adapted from Paula Deen. (Hers is too sweet.)

Krista's Sweet Tea
  • Bring to a boil 2 cups water in medium saucepan. As soon as it boils, take it off the heat, put two family-size teabags in, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes or so.
  • In two-quart pitcher, dissolve 1/3 cup sugar in some hot water. Tap water is fine.
  • When the tea has steeped, pour it over into the pitcher. Stir.
  • Fill the pitcher with cold tap water.
  • Serve over ice.
Yield: 1/2 gallon (2 quarts). Double the recipe for a 1-gallon pitcher.

24 September 2008

For My Library List:

The Kentuckians, Hannah Fowler, and The Believers. By Janice Holt Giles.

23 September 2008

Chat with Mother

It's amazing how much a chat with Mom helps perk you up.



Thanks, Mom. I love you.

Pet Peeve #49,704

I have absolutely no contact with people for an entire decade (coincidentally the amount of time that has passed since I graduated from high school) and suddenly, out of the blue, comes a friendly piece of mail asking me for a donation to a (reasonable, good, and worthy) cause.

Quietness

One of my brothers-in-law (yes, that is the correct pluralization of this hyphenated word!) blogs only when he is glum, dreary, blue, down in the dumps, in the doldrums,....

His blog (or mySpace or whatever) consequently reads like someone's suicide note. If you didn't know him, you'd worry.

However, I'm finding that I don't want to blog when I'm in that state of affairs. 1) I don't want to broadcast my state of mind to all the Internets everywhere. 2) Broadcasting it to all the Internets everywhere is creepy at best and dangerous at worst. 3) Re-reading it later sounds like whiny complaining. (Did you ever reread any of your journals? I re-read a Middle School Journal...whoo nelly was that ever soaking in patheticness! Ick! As cj's daughter says, "No thank you!")

I am doing a considerable amount of journaling in my private journals, though. At least it gets it out of my system, even if it's maudlin and filled with histrionics when I read it a decade later.

20 September 2008

I like it, too.

Here's a link. It is about why traveling is fun. Please read it.

Yo, Appalachia

17 September 2008

Green (through no effort of my own)

I've been trying to be a little more mindful of the resources I use. No, it's not because I'm a perfect, wonderful ecologist, but because we just don't have the money to buy paper towels and other products.

So, I've returned to cloth napkins. We are out of paper and we just can't afford paper ones right now.

And, when I cleaned the toilets, I used some of my cleaning rags to wipe it down (exterior) instead of some of the (expensive) TP. (I put them RIGHT into the washing machine with all my other whites and washed them HOT with BLEACH!)

So that's something. The trick will be to maintain this little bit of conservation when we have a tad more money again.

15 September 2008

Rod.

Past tense is so closed, so final. It's over. Nothing more is going to happen, because it's past, not present.

Roderick Dylan Jackson. May 13, 1962 - Sept 12, 2008.

We who are Christ's, however, will not have to live with the past tense forever. We know the Lord Jesus. He will come again soon, making wrong things right, and creating for us a new heavens and a new earth...with no more endings.

Thank you, Lord. Come, Lord Jesus.

14 September 2008

presenting...the Early Fall Makeover!

There it is.

Primary inspiration from the photo, which is my brother-in-law Peter's work. (Thank you, Peter. You are talented and should keep taking pictures.)

If you are looking for color codes to use for you own color-scheming, I like Computer Hope dot com's color page. It listed all the colors, all their hex codes, and gave good examples of each one.

13 September 2008

Layout Better

That's better than the previous one.

It might be growing on me.

Layout Bleah!

I'm noooooot liking it.

At ALL.

Off I go, to another one.

12 September 2008

New Layout

So, I chose a new layout and color scheme. It probably won't last, but I'm going to find a scanner one of these days and get some of my photos scanned and THEN you will see some MAGIC!

A Confession PLUS A Question

Am I the only one that likes to listen to 50's/60's/70's folk music? I'm talking Peter, Paul, and Mary...The Kingston Trio...and so on?

04 September 2008

Going Public

I am headed off to orientation at my new job. Yes, I'm telling everyone: I'm finally employed again. I'm working at a local children's museum, and I'm excited about working...especially excited about NOT working in the retail world.

I'm also getting paid. Probably it will all go to gasoline, but at least we will have a larger number in the "Deposit" column in our checkbook.

All in all, a good announcement.

01 September 2008

I'm a feminist? Really?

I used to be angry. I had all the potential of becoming one of those women you read about in the newspaper or see on TV...you know...the ones that fly into rants and are so upset that their eyes bug out...the ones that are so desperate to be heard that they don't listen at all! You know, a Feminist.

I didn't arrive there. Instead, I'm here. I'm married to a man. I'm a happy member of a conservative Presbyterian church in a conservative Presbyterian denomination. Best of all, I don't have this huge, heavy chip on my shoulder that fills me up with anger and bitterness. I'm happy and (usually) at peace.

However. Last night I almost launched into a rant with some of my church friends. Both men, both leaders of our congregation. They made me mad, and as I stood at a figurative fork in the road with the choice to launch into a rant or let the moment pass in favor of peace, I let the moment pass.

I'm happy with my choice. If I had the moment to re-live, I'd make the same choice that I did. But let me just say that I'm so tired of being labeled a feminist because I pay attention to the way issues, policies, patterns, and sins affect women differently than they affect men. I'm not a feminist.

And, for your reading pleasure, I present a well-written essay that puts my thoughts into so much clarity. Intellectuelle, thank you for doing a better job than I can at putting these thoughts into words. I am in your debt.

28 August 2008

Candlelight

I'm listening to The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket while I do my cooking today. The villain, Count Olaf, is brilliantly described! Even his accessories are wicked. Here's the description of his candle:
His candle gave off shadows.

You'd think that a candle would give off light, but this candle is described by its shadows. I love it! Good writing, Lemony!

22 August 2008

Remodel

I'm itching to remodel my blog. Something fall-ish. But it's still summer down here in the South. Also, I haven't scanned in any of my own photos yet.

It's coming, though. Just in case you were wondering.

Come to think of it, what DOES my credit card say I own?

There's a banner ad on my email page asking me "What does your [credit] card say you own?" Then it shows a picture of a businesswoman being strong and powerful. She owns her business. There's a picture of a yuppie. He owns a comic book. A young couple. They own a crib, a changing table, a beautifully painted nursery.

The ad writers got the question wrong. It should say "To what extent does your credit card own you?" Businesspeople, ok, they may need credit cards. But comic books? Spifftastic (and extremely trendy) expensive baby furniture? They own you, people.

21 August 2008

Ironic, eh?

Oh, the irony. At least click to see the headline!

19 August 2008

Hunger

I'm hungry right now. I can feel tightness and emptiness, that odd hot-but-not-burning sensation in my entire gut but centralized in my stomach, and the general discomfort of hunger. My stomach hasn't started growling yet, but it's getting ready to.

I haven't ever been really, really hungry. Never starving. But I feel it right now.

Pop quiz, everyone: describe hunger when you're not hungry. Or describe a headache when you're not headachy; or sciatica when your legs feel fine; or (not that I've ever felt this pain either) a broken bone when you're fully intact; or anything else when it's not urgent.

How can we do it?
How can we describe faith when the urgency of need isn't there? How can we explain to somone, "Well, I figured out that my soul is eternal and that my sin sets me at odds with God, the Just Judge of eternal souls, and I knew something had to give, and I asked God to do what he promised me--I asked him to save me," when they don't feel the pressing need like we do?

14 August 2008

Last Names

Am I the only one that thinks that it's a little odd that two women who grew up together now have totally different last names?

I mean, I've been married three years (+), and I've pretty much gotten used to the whole different-name-different-identity thing, but it just hit me again: my sister and I have different names now.

11 August 2008

Awesome/Not Awesome

Awesome: the weather wasn't killingly hot today.
Not Awesome: the days are getting shorter and winter is creeping our way. :(

Awesome: we had a superfun weekend with my sister-in-law!
Not Awesome: it's a two-hour drive away and the weekend is over.

Awesome: Ian had a good day today in his InService.
Not Awesome: School is starting, and that is a grind.

Awesome: I submitted about 10 job applications today.
Not Awesome: I need to be working (and getting paid) now.

Awesome: Job applications can be submitted online (thus less gas burned).
Not Awesome: Spending all day on the computer is hard on a recluse like me.

Awesome: I have all this time! I can visit friends, hang out and read, blog all day,...
Not Awesome: I can't afford to drive anywhere unnecessary or buy anything non-vital.

Awesome: Deeper, truer knowledge that God Provides.
Not Awesome: The painful side of sanctification.

08 August 2008

Out of Town

We're going to Atlanta this weekend. My sister-in-law lives there. It's been a while since we've seen her. So off we go.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

05 August 2008

Post-Camping Thoughts (these are the deep ones)

So, we went camping last night. It was very fun! I enjoyed it so much...except that I didn't sleep all that well. Oh well, I've got a real bed tonight, right?

Anyway, here are some thoughts I thought as we camped:

:::We camped lakeside. Our campsite was waterfront, and it was beautiful. I sat and watched the lake and listened to the little waves splash and thought about what I learned in high school physics about wave motion. I thought more than I will say...but I'll at least say that the water may look turbulent when it's moving up and down, but the water molecules themselves are still in comparison to each other. That's how I should be, right, with waves and turbulence looking like they're ruffling my surface, but actually at peace.

:::There was a duck family that lived in our little bay. They swam around and around the inlet, getting handouts from all the campers. Fortunately, I had some extra graham crackers (from the s'mores, of course), and I fed them. I tried to feed them all equally, but they fought each other and snapped at each other to get each bite I threw them, even though I had so many crackers and was feeding each one a fair amount. How many times to I fuss and whine because I think that God, my provider, is being unfair and feeding others more than he feeds me? He himself is the perfect provider, so I should trust his feeding hand...but I'm just like a stupid duck, panicking and fighting because I want more.

:::It's really nice to get away. I haven't been myself lately, and it's nice to be able to be away and relax, even just for an overnight.

:::Water, and trees, and ducks, and all that while camping are beautiful. It's really, really beautiful in the world. God is a wonderful creator.

01 August 2008

Sunday's Coming

I want to meditate on a passage to move my heart towards the Lord. His day is important, and his table is important. May my heart be filled with love for him, instead of with...self-centeredness and apathy! And so, I have chosen Isaiah 12, a passage that has a history with me (or I have a history with it):


You will say in that day: "I will give thanks to you, O LORD,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.

"Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation."

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And you will say in that day:

"Give thanks to the LORD,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted.

"Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel."

30 July 2008

Living Space

Here's a thought for all you Soviet-way-of-life Buffs. Did you know that (at least in Latvia) a person's living-space allowance was 9 square meters? So a family of, say, 5 would get 45 square meters. That's equivalent to about 484 square feet, or a room 22 feet by 22 feet.


Crowded homes in which children have little privacy and control over their experience pose developmental and behavioral risks, including decreased well-being, poor academic performance, social withdrawal, and aggressiveness. Crammed into a small apartment with too many other people, perhaps able only to claim a drawer or two and a portion of a closet, a small child can learn to see the world as an overwhelming place in which he or she has little influence. At home, this child may react by turning inward for relief, becoming secretive and avoidant.
What does that overcrowding do for all the people who grew up in that environment? Can you picture an entire culture whose elders are shaped by this sort of overcrowding?

Gallagher, Winifred. House Thinking: A Room-by-room Look at How We Live. New York: Harper, 2006. Page 186.

29 July 2008

(Hopefully) Meal Planning Success

After 3+ years of working and trying and getting frustrated over a (darn!) meal planning system, I believe I've finally hit upon a system that (hopefully) will work:

Google Calendar.

I've got this week planned, shopped for, and scheduled. I've got next week planned and scheduled. Woo hoo.

25 July 2008

First Room on Checklist? Done!

So that's done. It's not the best mopping job I've ever done, but at least it's done, right? Next room:

Bathroom:
-shower
-mirrors
-counter/sink
-toilet

But I'm not starting it for another 10 minutes, due to my 30 minutes on, 10 minutes off housework policy. (That is, it's the policy today.)

Back to Reality to do List

We got home (from that mysterious place called "away") just 7 days ago. I was tired, my body had had too much changing and fast pace and rich food and lake/boat/dock time. I got a cold for the first time in 5 weeks (if you have to have a cold when you're traveling, be sure to get one on the very last day).

I'm finally feeling better, and so I'm going to hit my house hard and whip it into shape. Here's my clean-but-not-deep-clean-because-I'm-trying-to-do-the-entire-house-today house to do list:

Kitchen
-stovetop
-sweep
-mop
Bathroom
-shower
-mirrors
-counter/sink
-toilet
Bedroom
-make bed
-pick up floor
Dining Room
-clean off table
-dust
Living Room
-clear clutter away
-dust
-water plants

Wish me luck! I'm going to play my housecleaning music, too. That will help, I'm sure.

23 July 2008

Linky-Link Sidebars Updated

...and there are lots of them. Whew! I'm going to figure something else out. In the meantime, get your scrolling finger in shape!!

22 July 2008

Grocery Sack Recycle Updade

I was given a Chico Bag just a few weeks ago. I signed up for an online giveaway and received another reusable grocery tote in the mail while we were gone.

With those factors, and the renewal of committments that comes with being away for a while, I've not used a new sack at the Wal-Market since we've been back!

All three times I've been to said store, I've asked the checker just to stack the groceries on top of the turntable-o-bags they have there. I load the items into my cart, pay the bill, bag the stuff into the bags I brought, and keep the receipt out in case I need to prove I didn't steal the groceries. It's worked great, and I intend to keep it going.

Oh, by the way...

...I'm updating my linky-link sidebars. I use GoogleReader to read my daily blogs, and I change it so often that it's hard to sync the two. Give me a day or two and you'll be able to see from my blog what I partake of on a regular basis.

'Re-Entry'

Whew! I have been out of commission for a long time! Where have I been? Well...here and there, traveling and relaxing, but mostly hanging out with my family.

I miss them a lot when I am not with them. My life is here in Chattanooga, so I sometimes even miss them when I am with them...because their lives are away from Chattanooga.

We've hit the ground running as far as our 're-entry' into Normal Life. Except that I didn't bring a dish to the Sunday Potluck at church.

My main project has been to (as seems to be the case for me) find a job. This time I'm looking everywhere but retail because I'm DONE with retail. My ideal job would be a middle school Language Arts classroom somewhere in the area, and that is what we have been hoping and praying for...but it's hard to maintain the level of faith it requires to pray boldly and with faith.

Good thing my faith was a gift to begin with and comes with maintenance guaranteed. Seriously, if maintaining my faith was solely up to me, I'd be sunk.

18 June 2008

Sirens

In this small town, the way they've always done it is the way they still do it. Even though most people work indoors where there are clocks, the sirens still blow at noon (that's the Noon Siren) and at 6pm (that's the Evening Siren).

So as we were packing up for Prayer Meeting, I heard a siren and it didn't register that the time was not 6pm.

It was 7:23 pm.

When a siren blows and it's not the Noon Siren or the Evening Siren...it's a tornado warning. So, instead of going to the Prayer Meeting, we all trooped down to the basement to wait out the warning. The hail came (some stones were really big, about ping-pong size), so s-i-l A and f-i-l S moved A's car to the garage, then stayed in because the hail was so big.

Ian and I stayed in the basement, watched the local tv stations for updates, and realized that the worst of the storm had already passed us by. We breathed a sigh of relief.

Days in Kansas so far: 7
Tornado Warnings experienced so far: 2
Tornadoes spotted: 0

14 June 2008

Sister-in-Law

We drove to Wichita with my sil A, and once we made it to Wichita, we met up with my mother-in-law J, Ian's brother D, D's wife S, and their baby C. We all went to the airport to pick up Ian's youngest brother P.

It's been a good time, at my husband's childhood home, with all his siblings here (finally) and able to spend time together without my wedding keeping us busy, D and S's wedding keeping us busy, or A's graduation keeping us busy. We're just frittering time away!

I'm getting to know their personalities, some communication styles, some likes and dislikes, the different senses of humor...all that stuff that makes an individual an individual.

*sil S has an ironic sense of humor, is talkative and expressive, and is a good mommy to baby C.
*bil D, so far as I've seen, is quieter than S, but is kind and caring of both her and baby C.
*baby C might be a lefty, she likes to dance and jump, and she's starting to recognize me!
*bil P is an engineer with a strong linear thought process, but told me about his art class from last semester and how it helped him grow.
*I already know sil A, but I'm also learning that she is very good with little children and babies and takes good care of baby C.
*Ian, sil A, and I all live near each other and have rapport that only time can build. We all went to the same college; that's where Ian and I met!
*bil D, sil S, and bil P all live near each other and have the same rapport. They all went to the same college; that's where bil D and his wife S met!

In any case, it's been a rare treat to be able to spend such long stretches of time together all under the same roof. You who live in the same city as your family (or even the same state), don't take it for granted that you have the benefit of sheer time to know and learn more about your loved ones.

11 June 2008

Hit the Road

We're Wichita bound.

I'm excited to be gone. It'll be good to have a change of pace and location.

Keep in touch, y'all.

26 May 2008

Engagement

They announced their engagement today. We are all (the church people) thrilled to death for them.

Congrats, G and D!

Blank Book

I've got a love affair with blank books. I browse the shelves in the bookstore, imagining myself writing in each and every one of them. There's the travel journal (I can catalogue all the road trips we take!), the prayer journal (write prayer requests and answers!), the journal with the artistic, nature-inspired cover (I can write about the way that shaft of light just hit the roadside daisies today as they whipped around in the pre-thuderstorm wind!).

Inevitably, they end up sitting on my bookshelves at home, each with one or two entries in the first few pages. All the fantasies about journaling every day go crashing down to the ground.

So I made up a rule: no buying a new journal unless 1) the old journal has ten or fewer blank pages left, 2) the very perfect journal turns up on the bookstore shelves or the grocery store shelves or the used bookstore shelves, and 3) we can afford it.

That third one has been tough these days. (A tank of gas is like forty dollars! Like, zoiks, man!) I try to discipline myself to buy a seventy-five-cent composition notebook and just decorate the cover with magazine photos (artfully cropped and collaged, of course), but it's hard. Because I want. I want it!*

Ok, so I got a little sidetracked. But I'm needing a new blank book for sermon notes. I realized today that I'll probably only make it through one more Sunday till I need a new one. So there...I have a week (give or take a few days) to decide if I'm going to be good and just settle for a composition notebook--or if I'm going to look around for a nice, cool, pretty, reasonably-priced blank book that I will tote to church every Sunday for the next few months. (If I'm going to have it with me that often, I have to feel as if I'm going to like it for at least that long.)

---

*I heard a little child in the store saying that very thing. I hear it all the time. Little children react to stimuli exactly how we all react; they are the only ones that don't know how to filter their reactions to the so carefully constructed stimuli that make them feel like they want. Think of that next time you are in a store, feeling like you absolutely must buy that ____ in order to make you truly happy.

19 May 2008

I Have a Confession...

I see a lot of people I know where I work. (That's not the confession.)

Saturday at work, I saw a former professor's wife and her twin daughters. My husband coached the girls in cross-country and in track.

I hid behind the girls' bikini rack so they wouldn't see me. I just didn't want to talk to them, didn't want to explain why a teacher is working at this store, didn't want to go through the false cheer.

I saw them leaving, too, and hid again.

I'm embarrassed that I hid and embarrassed about all the reasons (and potential reasons) that I hid. Twice.

16 May 2008

Persistence

is a very hard trait to employ.



Especially when it has to do with forgiveness.

The Only One


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere is
1
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

15 May 2008

Shower Cleaner

I just used a 2:1 mix of baking soda:borax to scrub down my shower.

The verdict?

No terrible fumes that require me to set up a fan to blow air through the bathroom!
Just about the same amount of elbow grease needed to get rid of hard-water stains.
Much less expensive than commercial cleaning products.

I'll keep using it. But I have to be CERTAIN to CLEARLY mark my little recycled sour cream container as "Tub Scrub" because borax is pretty toxic when ingested, according to wikipedia. I'm going to lock it securely when we need to baby proof*; even though it's so white and clean-looking, it's not a food (duh, right?) and shouldn't be used around food. That's good to remember.

---

*No, this is not an announcement of bun in my oven. I'm not expecting.

09 May 2008

Irony of the Day (Yesterday, 8 May 2008)

Every. Single. One. of these shirts was on the floor in a heap or hanging askew from the hangers yesterday. Every single one. Some of the hangers were still hanging from the rack, some were mixed in the pile of shirts, and some were scattered on the floor.

None of the other clothes in the area were that trashed.

Sunday Meals

Monica posted about another layer her family adds to the specialness of the Lord's Day, and it inspired me to share what we do on Sundays.

Our church has a potluck every Sunday. Yes, every Sunday.

I really like it. I like the obvious reason of only preparing one casserole (maybe two) and sometimes one dessert to share with the whole church family, instead of an entire meal for just the two of us. I also like more subtle reasons: the chitchat and catchup with the folks in the kitchen as we prepare the food to go on the tables; the visiting over meals that we all get to do; the comments and compliments I get to share with other cooks in my congregation; the way we all crowd into the fellowship hall. We get in each other's way, we bump into each other, the little kids are underfoot...but we are all there, sharing this time together, learning at least a few of the minutiae and details of each other's personalities. (For example, one gentleman has Parkinson's but wants to contribute anyway, so he brings a box of cookies each week. There's always someone who puts his little donation into a nice dish so that they're just as special as any of the homemade desserts. Another example: the pastor's wife happens to have a real 'leadership' personality, and she organizes events that need organized.)

Don't think that it's all sunshine and roses, though. Like any family dynamic, this routine of Sunday potluck also brings out some weaknesses. There are patterns and routines we have when we all get together that I don't like, but nonetheless--we're a family, and the Big Sunday Potluck has potential either to make people feel included or to make them feel overlooked. My experience is that it's inclusive and fun.

07 May 2008

Drips and Drabs: Wednesday, May 7

It's been a while since I've posted! Let me give you a few glimpses into how things are right now:
  • Work is harder than I thought it would be. The physical part isn't hard, other than being up so late (I don't leave till 11pm...and Ian has to come pick me up!). It's the emotional part and the spiritual part that's hard. Working for a massive corporation that treats its employees (and customers) like cogs in a machine rather than the Imago Dei is hard. However, God's grace is present, and it's new every morning!
  • Regarding God's grace: the Children of Israel wandered around Egypt for 40 years, but their clothes and their shoes did not wear out because of God's grace. In the same way, God's grace won't wear out no matter how many years I walk around before I arrive in the Promised Land.
  • I meditate a lot on Psalm 37 ('Fret not yourself because of evildoers') because it's written in response to a life where the wicked prosper. The first few verses feature seven commands of what to do in response to the evildoers and their unjust prosperity. Pop over on that hyperlink and read it for yourselves.
  • I've also been studying Psalm 139 ('You have searched me and you know me'). I was needing some self-esteem help because I was relying on my own and others' assessment of me to feel happy about myself, when instead I need to rely on the Lord's assessment of me to feel happy about myself! It occurred to me that this is a Messianic Psalm. It prophesies Christ's death in the same way the story of Jonah does, and since it teaches us about the Messiah, it teaches that Christ was an actual human person in his physical body.
  • A young woman in our church is getting married on Saturday. Just about everyone in the church is helping one way or another, and I'm looking forward to another wedding...what a great lesson about the depth of the Lord's love for us, his bride.
  • Ian's track season keeps plugging along...now he is helping the high school track team with their big season-ending meets. They hosted a big meet yesterday afternoon and will host the second part of that meet this afternoon...18 schools!...and I really wish I could go.
I think that's all. Keep in touch.

01 May 2008

Grocery Bag Recycling

Some time ago I resolved not to take any more bags home from the Mega Grocery Mart. Well, today, circumstances finally conspired to let me follow through with that resolution!

Circumstances:
A) The bags were in the trunk instead of on top of the dryer.
B) I remembered the bags were in the trunk.
C) I brought the bags into the store.

So there I was, in the checkout line, asking the cashier to put the groceries right in my cart instead of into bags and then into the cart. Thankfully, the Mega Grocery Mart is very slow at this time of the morning (I was in the grocery line by 9:15), so the cashier wasn't distracted by thousands of customers milling around and hundreds of customers in her line.

Still, I had to remind her a couple times...the first couple items were put into a bag. I've cashiered, so I know you operate on routine and habit most of the time. However, when the PIN pad asked me if the cashier had been friendly today, I clicked "no." She wasn't friendly, especially when I interrupted her routine and habit.

We have to change our thinking: these bags aren't disposable! They can be used over and over and over. Just because we've grown up thinking that they are disposable doesn't mean that we are slaves to that thinking. We can retrain ourselves to think according to facts...right?

In any case, I came home with the same amount of bags I left home with. I'd say that's a success. And the Mega Grocery Mart cashiers are just going to have to get used to letting me bag my own groceries.

23 April 2008

The Big Employment News

I have worked two shifts already. The first shift, I trained on the register. Today, I trained on the sales floor.

The orientation and training so far have been outstanding. They've clearly communicated expectations and set forth the basics of this store's culture in the orientation, and my training for actual tasks and jobs has been good. The people I've trained with have not only taught me how to do what needs to be done, but have also explained the why of how we do what needs to be done. I really appreciate that! It helps me learn, and by gum I'm determined to succeed at this job!

I see a lot more people I know at this store than I do at my previous job at Mia Cucina. I also see a lot more people I know at this store than at my very first retail job. It's something about the demographic.

I am so, so thankful to be working! Remind me to never, ever complain! (I worked near a Super Complainer today and it was so unflattering to her and such a downer for everyone near her.) And besides, I have nothing to complain about.

Anyway...so far, so good.

19 April 2008

Saturday Chores: 5:17pm

Accomplished:
~vacuumed all the moldings (eeew)
~vacuumed behind the dryer, while I had the vacuum out
~mixed two cake mixes, and made 2 doz. chocolate/vanilla marble cupcakes
~2 layers of a chocolate/vanilla marble cake ready to be baked

Saturday Chores: 3:06pm

Accomplished:

~Both beds made up
~All sheets organized
~Load of whites in dryer
~Curtains and tablecloth out of dryer
~Tablecloth back on table
~Curtains to be put up after I vacuum the cobwebs from the moldings
~Nearly all dishes washed
~Lunch eaten (with Ian)

To do:
~Iron
~Vacuum Cobwebs
~Put curtains back
~Fold laundry (several loads!)
~and more

Saturday Chores: 1:41pm

This time, I did some Daily Chores before I started the timer for my Fifteen Minutes:
~Set a sinkful of dishes to soak. (In order to do this, I emptied a sinkful of dishclutter, scatter it with baking soda, scrubbed it out, rinsed it out, and filled it with hot water, soap, silverware, and glasses.)
~Started the washing machine. I have to wash my new red shirt for work on Monday*, and I don't want it to bleed into all my clothes, so I...took down my red curtains and took off my red tablecloth which are all verrrrrry dusty(!) to wash together.

Then I started my timer and began my Fifteen Minutes of Work to chip away at the Guest Bedroom Quest:
~Finished organizing all my sheet sets. I have a set of Queen sheets, two sets of Full sheets (one of which is on the Full bed), two sets of Twin sheets (one of which is on the Twin bed**), a flat sheet and two pillowcases for a Twin bed, and a set of flat and fitted sheets (no pillowcases) only for a Twin bed.
~Put all these organized sheets into the Linen Cabinet.
~Made up the Full bed, but have yet to pillow it up.

In the rest of this break (which is long, because this post is long), I am going to do the following:
~have a glass of water (I'm verrrry thirsty!)
~check the washer
~wash the dishes and set more to soak
~and then get back to my Guest Bedroom Quest using my Fifteen Minutes at a Time Strategy.

---

*More about 'work on Monday' later!
**This is the very Twin bed that was mine in my single days. Yes, I moved from a Twin bed to a King bed when I married. Some of my friends slept in Full or Queen beds when they were single-but-not-at-home-anymore, but I decided not to. I never wanted to become accustomed to sleeping in the middle of a large bed ('hogging' the bed) before I was married. Anyway, we still have this Twin bed, even though Ian and I sleep in a King bed now.

Saturday Chores: 1:09pm

Accomplished in the last 15 minutes:

~made up twin bed
~found pillow, put two pillowcases on it (because its tick is cheap and plasticky which is uncomfortable throughout the night)
~pulled all sheets out of linen cabinet in order to organize them
~organized my full sheet set and put components into one of the pillowcases
~went and got paint cards and safety pins, cut one of the tan paint cards off the strip, wrote "FULL" cutely on it, and safety-pinned it to the pillowcase-bag

Liveblogging my Saturday Chores: 12:40pm

I'm waaaay behind on my chores. My housecleaning is suffering!

My strategy is to work for 15 minutes at a time (a manageable time period) and then take a 5-minute break before I get back to it. I'll post during the 5-minute breaks to let you know what I've just done.

Accomplished since 12:26:
~packed one more box of Christmas decorations

Small list, I know--but I'm trying to pack things well so that next year, unpacking will be a little more streamlined.

I have 3 minutes left of my break. I'm going to look at one of the links in my link lists and see what there is to see.

Ta ta for now!

14 April 2008

It's getting to be a habit. This is my 3rd post with nothing but linkage.

This Modesty Heart Check will be useful to me when 1) I start teaching middle schoolers again or 2) I ever have daughters.

So will this three-part series on modesty. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

I can't get out of bed in the mornings, and this list might help!

I'm going to browse through this list of organizers.

Motivation to do those chores I hate (I hate all chores, so this ought to be good).

I like this take on the marking of time.

Here's an organizer's take on setting goals.

The same organizer writes about evening routines.

Aaaand for fun: here's a dude who travels around correcting typos in public places. Hooray!

150th post...not what I intended it to be, but turning out to be a pretty good post after all.

I found the digital camera Ian won when he test-drove a car a couple years ago. I also finally found the box it comes in. So I took some snaps of the spring flowers and trees and had this wonderful post all written in my head. I was going to premiere photos (my own photos, that is) on my blog. I was going to talk about how delightful spring has been here in the South, and how the dogwoods are all blooming now, and most of the redbuds are still holding on, while the cherry blossoms are mostly done, and the pears are totally done blooming but still inspiring happiness because the bright fresh greenness of the leaves is so...so...ahhhh. The whole of spring just makes you go ahhhh, while filling your eyes and mind and memory with every day's effort and showing forth the very best of Spring.


However, when I uploaded my photos, this is what I saw:

(From left to right: view from the window where I sit and blog (those white fluffs are the neighbor's dogwoods); view from the top half of that same window; purply purple iris ; tulips (the only two around).)
Hm. [That's the sound of disappointment.]


So that terrible foe, covetousness mixed with jealousy, reared its ugly head and is threatening to ruin my day.


Here's an antidote to that insidious enemy, sin:
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me...You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything else that is your neighbor's." --Deuteronomy 20:2-3, 17 ESV*
And as more antidotes, I'll share some verses that hit me yesterday during church services. Read the footnotes for explanations.
"My mouth with speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever." --Psalm 145:21 ESV **

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." --Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV ***

---


*This command means I cannot covet others' blogs, layouts, ways with words...I cannot covet their personalities, their descriptive ability, their readership, their skill and ability. I won't covet because covetousness reflects a heart of discontent with the resources that God has given me. And after all, he has given me good gifts: the best of all, that he rescued me out of the land of slavery. I will not put any gods before the Lord, no matter how subtle.


**Caught my attention because after the psalm lists all sorts of reasons to commit to praise, the psalmist verbalizes a commitment to praise the Lord.


***Caught my attention because though I memorized Ephesians 4:32 when I was in 1st grade (we sang a song to memorize it...yay for Scripture memory for kiddoes!), I'm reading it again, seeing that in context, it's even more meaningful. The preceding verse gives the inverse of the positive command: "Don't do terrible things x and y; instead, replace that trash in your life with the good qualities a and b."

11 April 2008

A Lovely Tea

I had tea Wednesday at a lovely tearoom (something about the Britishness of having tea makes me call it a lovely tearoom, even though I don't actually talk like that) with a new friend who's just about to graduate. She is an MK and spent a lot of her growing-up years in England, so a lovely tearoom makes her feel at-home-ey.

Anyway.

She gave me the best compliment: "I told people I was having tea with you, and I told them 'Oh, she's like my big sister.'"

Yay! I'm someone's big sister.

07 April 2008

Psalm 98 (selection A for singing)

Oh sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The LORD has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the
nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who dwell in it!
Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together
before the LORD, for he comes
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.


It's a good one to sing. You should try it some time.

03 April 2008

Sabbatical

Hey, reader(s), I'm going to take a blog sabbatical. At least a week long.

02 April 2008

Early Mornings

I'm still not a morning person. I don't like to get up, I'm not good at getting up, and those people who get up with a smile (didn't Cinderella get up with a song in her heart and a spring in her step? you know, with the birdies singing all around her?) make me a little mad.

Coffee helps. So does my husband, who gets me up ever so nicely. And he's persistent.

I have an 8:00 class at Covenant. My very first class ever (10 years ago!) was an 8 o'clock, and I remember thinking that 8:00 am was terribly early--terribly early!!!--and that the professor would understand if I nodded off during class.

Hah.

This morning I saw a classmate nodding off. Seriously, the bill of her baseball cap was resting on the desk. (That was a trick I would have pulled--wearing a baseball cap to class--if I'd had a baseball cap. I didn't, and still don't. Trust me--I'm not a hat girl, in much the same way this girl isn't a hat girl.)

Anyway, it just makes me think--these last 6 years post-college of getting up for a job have really taken the edge off that. Here are some factors that have helped:
1) The accountability of a job. People depending on you to come in--and a financial penalty if you don't come in.
2) Coffee. I should have had a coffee pot in college. Then I would not have fallen asleep in my 8 o'clocks.
3) Getting up earlier than 5 minutes before you need to. It may have been 10 years (10 years!) since my first ever 8 o'clock, but I still have the strong urge to get back into bed (oh, bed, I love you!) for an hour after I get out of bed. Plus, it takes me about 30 minutes of uprightness and consciousness to become truly alert. My brain has to shake out the last of the cobwebs.

If only I had known these things in my college days. Although, to be honest, I probably would still not have gotten my carcass out of bed in a reasonable and responsible manner.