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Can You Hear Me Now?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Can You See Me Now?

This sign was at the 1st NM Rest Stop...notice the "Watch for Snakes" portion...isn't that a pleasant way to greet the newcomers to the state?

Here is the "gecco house" I told you about...The sun was shining down on the pic is a bit filtered, but it was the best we could do on limited time. The larger picture looks much better...but it's this giant lizard sculpted directly onto this home. The resident is the owner of one of the more popular restaurants in town "Little Anita's".

This was the "sign" at the same house with the lizard on it.

To the right is the Sandia Casino (posterized...can you tell what my favorite effect is...but wait there's more) situated on the northside of Albuquerque. My "lucky" husband won $150 or so...on a nickel machine! He told me he's lucky because he got me! He is SUCH a keeper!

This is the picture of ME at the first statue in the statue garden...
Look how tiny I am...teehee...this was no easy feat climbing up a railing and I got flash backs of gym class on the balance beam...only that was only 6 inches off the ground and this was 2-4 feet off the ground!

The picture to the right is my husband in the 2nd statue of Rings that I asked him in my "loving wife voice" to jump up there and stick his head through the top...and this is actually one of his first genuine smiles and I think his inner child started coming out in preparation for the wedding later that day...

I like to call this one of me and my little friends to the left "Just the three of us"

The picture to the lower-right I call "Paul and Legs!

This one to the left is "Me and the Bears". Original titles huh? Okay let's call this one to the left "GRRRRRRRRR" much better!

I love this picture of Paul and his "buddy". I'm calling it "Rock Solid Friends!"'s better than "Stony Silence" don't you think?

This was our first home together. This is actually owned by Paul's mom and it was a home given to her and Paul's dad as a wedding gift. Man wedding gifts have sure de-evolved haven't they! I asked Paul if it was weird sleeping in his parents old room...of course he said "No." No explanation or interjection, just "no!" That is just the way he works.

This lovely couple (postarized of course) looks like they're at a wedding or some other festive it's a wedding! Look how happy they are in red and pink!

This was at the entryway to the Cadillac Ranch. It was at the base, near the ground and I happened to notice it as I looked down while walking to look for ticks and/or is Texas after all! Anyway, as usual, God blessed me with this reminder that Jesus IS forever!

This picture to the right is my darling husband with paint in hand...painting a future gallery piece, no doubt! MOMA, here we come....

I realize it looks like I know how to graffiti, but I'm telling you emphatically I have never done this before....and that is what I'll tell the judge if I should be held for questioning for any personalized graffiti they may find!

"No officer, I have no idea what Kpjara means!"

and this lovely lady is kpjara in the flesh...posterized (of imperfection), cropped (of second coming of chin), and laughing (cause that's what she does most)! Hey I don't look half bad out here!

To the right over the humble (and when I say humble...I MEAN humble) welcome to Oklahoma sign at that rest stop I spoke of.

This really is the end...seriously...on to much more important world matters! It's been fun! and in the words of Lauren....


Postcards from the Edge

Thank you for joining me on this part of the journey...have a wonderful Wednesday!

Vacation...the road home

As promised this was supposed to be the final installment of the Vacation series I've been running for several days now. This has been a blast, I might add and I would LOVE to help write some "Foder's Blogging Guide to Vacation!" Wouldn't that be fun! I also look forward to other travels from each of you out here in this blogdom...

Due to technical difficulties...there will be 2 more posts. I couldn't get my photos to 'upload' last night and as the bewitching hour approached, even in my blog-bliss state, I decided sleep must be priority because today (actually Wednesday regardless of what this "draft" copy shows), my friends, is end of month, which means report-arama, in my job. The good news is once I will complete the reports by noon, I can't start any NEW posting til tomorrow so I will have all afternoon to try to figure out those pictures...and hopefully post them...that is, IF I remember to bring the disk in after lunch.

On with the story...

We left off with the "tearful goodbyes"...okay so maybe not tearful but at least heartfelt wishes that the family will make the trip east for Paul's graduation in December. With promises made and goodbyes said...we headed back to the hotel to pack, shower, sleep and drive.

We were in bed by 2:00 a.m. as was becoming our vacation curfew (I'm so glad I'm not an insomniac!). We actually set the alarm for 6:00 so we would be up and ready to leave by 6:45 a.m. Being goal driven...I wanted to be ON THE HIGHWAY by 7:00 a.m. to beat some late starters. I woke up at 5:57 a.m. Somehow my internal clock is usually really good about beating the alarm sounding.

I arose and started getting ready, my husband woke up and you'd have thought I let him sleep the day away by his tone of accusation: "Where you just going to let me sleep all day?" he accused... it was 6:08 a.m. Goofy husband! What I was THINKING, but remained unsaid was: "Why yes, husband, I'm going to quietly load all this stuff, including the ice chest and about 14 sacks and 4 bags, by MYSELF and then check out of the Hotel and leave you here to start life anew from Hotel Blue!"

We got all the remaining bags, etc., lugged down to the front desk and out to the waiting car...I checked us out, turned in the cardkeys and we were on our way by like 6:26 a.m. I remembered we had to stop one last time at the Big "W" to pick up some frozen green chile'. The crops don't come in til August/September and during that time you can get fresh roasted Green chile' EVERYWHERE and the smell permeates the streets like Chestnuts in NYC in the wintertime. Unfortunately, this year we were scheduled in too early so frozen Chile will have to suffice. We bought 6 containers of green and 1 of red, along with several bags of dried red chile and the dried whole red chiles.

I packed the frozen chile-sycles in the ice chest while the hubs got himself some Mickey D's inside. It is my humble opinion that Mickey D's has the world's worst breakfast and to attempt to eat it and then travel for 9 hours...not so much!

Now let's reflect in pictures some of the remaining trip...are you ready...okay here we go!

Green Chile Bagel anyone???

This is a shot just prior to my removing MOST of the mound of cream cheese (you don't want to kill the chile taste with too much cream cheese).

**So clearly I got this 1 picture to upload last night, but when I attempted to upload 3 others...they were no where to be seen.

Story continues...

We got on I-40 eastbound and headed out. Traffic was wonderfully light going around the psuedo-mountain wall and that's always a blessing, because as small as that Mountain is...I still have tendencies towards car-sickness going around multiple curves and up and down hills. One of my personal weaknesses (hate it)!

**Note on psuedo-mountains: These "Sandia Mountains" (Sandia means "watermelon" for the red color the mountains appear at sunset) are a bit of an understatement to me...BECAUSE (don't get your hairs in a dither)...I lived in Colorado for 11 years and the ROCKIES are mountains by my baby Sandias...not so much!**

We drove on and didn't stop til "Clines Corners", just 40 miles outside Albuquerque, because of course, once your settled into the driving 'zone', the wife will decide she really DOES need to pee just one more time...and it's a giftshop! Don't ever be tempted to EAT at Clines Corners. The parents did it once (it has some magical lulling pull apparently), and they said it was VERY salty food...which of course means BUY MORE DRINKS! at CLINES CORNERS.

We were in and out of there in oh...about 20 minutes! Nothing of note to photograph though, except people...and I hate being too obvious getting a close-up without some sort of press-pass. We drove on and on and on and on and on...we stopped next at the ARNOT you remember why? Let me refresh for those of you just joining us on this journey...The Cadillac ranch is situated between the ARNOT exit and some other exit a mile or so down the road.

We pulled up to the "parking area", which is nothing more than a larger shoulder, got out and those cadillacs are not just right off the highway as they appear from the road. Those puppies are like a quarter mile back off the road. I don't know if there is some sort of ordinance in Texas on how far back 'planted cadillacs' must be placed, but trust one is ever going to HIT one of these babies even flying OFF the highway at 70 mph.

We walked and walked and walked through dirt and dust (thank God for a windless day) and we walked some least with it being all DIRT...the tick patrol can put it's guard down for a bit. We walked and they started to appear almost lifesize...we walked some more and lo and behold we were there among another 20 or so guests.

You can climb on the cars. You can get in the sides of the cars. But the absolute CLENCHER for me can PAINT the cars. There were empty spray paint cans EVERYWHERE. I should have photographed that, cause it might have made a cool statement, but instead we did the "tourist" thing and Paul climbed up a car (me...not so much) and I took his pic...then he found a can with some paint left over (and it was green!...not MY green, but A green. Had to be a God thing). First he painted a heart with P + K 06' inside it. I got pics. Then I painted "kpjara" of course...and got pics of that. There was an entire family playing "hide n' go seek" out there too, that was HILARIOUS!

We said goodbye to the Cadillac Ranch and vowed next time to bring multiple cans of paint so I could just spend some serious art time out there! We drove on and through Amarillo (just minutes down the road) and we made it through the 'constructions zones' without as much delay. We drove on and on and on and passed the giant cross and reminisced on our recent visit only days before. We drove on and on and on...I-40 really should do some revamping through these miles of dirt and very limited signage or any visual diversion.

We drove on and on and on and we finally reached the Oklahoma Border. Of course, we missed the beautiful sign...but we did capture one at the first rest stop which the Hubs decided we MUST stop at to capture an Oklahoma sign and frankly it's what I would have scrapbooked anyway...You'll see! We got the pics and drove on and on and on and stopped in Clinton to stretch and refresh (as much as you can on the road). No pics here, just exhaustion setting in from the vacation-elation decent.

I dozed a bit on the last leg of the trip, while the wonderful hubby drove on and on. **Note: I have never been able to 'sleep' in a car until recently with the husband driving. My family used to take night trips to grandma's (12 hours away) and no matter what my age, I was the one that stayed awake the entire time...worrying about wrecks, etc. Now, in trust of my husband (I assume) or sheer exhaustion, I can sleep comfortably with him behind the wheel. I still don't sleep with any other driver though! Hey, "chance favors a prepared mind."

We arrived back in the city and at our front door by 5:40ish and the hubby even unloaded the car while I went to visit the dogs. The "girls" were SO happy we were home. They always are. I swear dogs should be the U.S. greeting team. I've never met a dog NOT happy to see it's owner...unless it's just done something BAD and even sometimes then they forget about it and dash out to meet and greet.

The drive home was nowhere near as fun and exciting as the ride there, it never is. But we made it home safely and soundly (mostly) and now we will buckle down for a 6 month stint of his schoolwork and my...whatever it is I do...until December when we will once again be free to travel and "see the world"!

Thank you for joining us on this part of the journey. The temperature in Oklahoma City today is a pleasant 69 degrees, with a light breeze cooling the city. Estimate high temperature today of 96 degrees with 83% humidity. We hope you enjoyed the trip and will travel again with us on a future destination.

Have a wonderful Wednesday and please stay tuned for picture perfect p.m.

Vacation: the last day...

Alas, as I write this I’m back at work, sitting at my desk and staring at a “not so bad” stack of work that I thought would be VOLUMES…but in fact, is only a mere pile of a days accumulation. I will be through it today and vacation will be a fading memory. Sad enough now…

Travel back with me to Sunday. My husband and I decided in light of the fact that we hadn’t been going to SLEEP until after 2:00 a.m. each night/am, we would forgo any church visitation and sleep a bit. I slept til 7:30 a.m. and we got up and got around and headed out for the green Chile bagel. As crazy as it sounds, out of all the wonderful food here, this one is not only one that I miss the most, but it is one that evokes the wonderful memories of our lives here.

After breakfast we went to pick up some “Deep Woods Off” to cover ourselves in for the outdoor wedding held at the Botanical Gardens/Aquarium. We had been walking by a new park the night before that sits on a man-made pond/fountain and we were almost eaten alive by mosquitoes! Of course, goof that I am, I had slathered myself that day with Papaya Body Butter and I’m sure I was a sweet treat to the little demons with fangs and wings! My husband slapped my back a few times to which I assured him they were not biting THROUGH my clothing. He felt different, apparently!

We picked up the “Off” and took it back to the hotel and dropped off my now consumed “left-over” breakfast (green chile bagel #2) for return-to-work-Tuesday. The bagel was just as yummy today as it was Sunday, BTW.

We then headed down to Old-Town, the center of old Albuquerque, where all the tourists gather each day and Native American and Hispanic artists are represented, along with some camouflaged, “made in China” items…or turkey-turquoise, as I like to call it.

I picked up even more postcards. We did really well with sending out postcards this year. We sent at least 10 a day to friends, family and unsuspecting acquaintances. I love to send and receive quirky postcards.

We picked up the tacky tourist t-shirts for ourselves and friends. They weren’t even really that tacky, they were fun shirts that were of course…CHEAP, but functional for washing cars or sleeping in or recalling the lazy days of vacation.

We strolled up and down the streets of Old Town and ate at the Church Street CafĂ©, which was rumored to have the best fried ice-cream in town…alas, it wasn’t the very best, but the red chile was incredibly well prepared and had, what we guessed to be a hint of chipotle that made it a stand-out among sometimes boring red chile sauces. I had a Pueblo Burger, which was a burger on Indian Fry Bread, with cheese and green chile…it was HUGE but I ate one-third of it and saved the remains for what I figured would be a late dinner.

Old Town is situated around several local museums, one of which has converted a parking lot into a statue garden…so, being the big goofball I am, we had to do some pics with the statues. My husband, who as I’ve shared in the past, has irrevocably grounded his inner-child, had to give the poor guy some ‘release time’ to come out and play with me during these random shots. He finally caved and I saw a bit of younger Paul for a little while. I hope when he completes his Engineering degree in December he won’t be a complete braniac…and he’ll be able to ‘play’ randomly in kpjara fashion!

After a day of strolling, tourist-ing (in our old stomping grounds), and being out beneath a cloudless, azure blue sky, we headed back to the hotel weighted down by gifts aplenty and showered up for the wedding event for the night.

We readied ourselves fairly quickly and headed over to the chapel where we were married (the University chapel on the UNM Campus) and took a picture outside the locked doors. It was such a beautiful chapel. It only held 125 people, so it was crowded that day in September, 1998. It was a beautiful place to get married. The walls inside are surrounded with hand painted pictures of saints and there is a balcony above the entryway door with an old pipe organ, which we did not use for our wedding music. I could still hear the CD version of “Ode to Joy” as I approached the doors. What a wonderful day that was.

We also wanted to photograph a ‘door’ on campus…yes I said a door…it is…WAS a blue door that sat beneath some big old trees and it reminded me of a door to refuge. It is no longer blue, it is white. I took the picture anyway because we’d come all the way around campus and I just had to do it…It reminded me that our lives are often full of many different doors…and in this case, in my absence, one of the doors of my past is gone. It will be a future entry, and titled “The Doors of our Lives” because I was SUCH a ‘Day’s fan about 100 years ago, back during Bo and Hope’s initial courting in the early 80’s.

After this brief visit to campus we headed over to the Botanical Gardens/Aquarium site of the wedding. It was a beautiful evening, about 85 degrees with a light breeze flowing through the courtyards. We met up with some other family arriving and strolled onto the grounds. Having never visited this place, it was a treat to see the foliage and statues and children’s area and flowers abounding. We worked our way back to a site that was akin to some fairy tale. It had vines twisted and rounded forming a ‘cave’ for the seating area and marriage aisle. It had beautiful benches lining the perimeter and so many different plants…it was gorgeous. She didn’t try to “outdo” the beauty with floral arrangements; rather she used the natural surroundings to be her backdrop…good choice.

We were given bubbles upon entry to blow during their departure and of course…I practiced a bit with the bubbles when we were seated…yep, BEFORE the wedding. They worked just fine! And I only got one ‘look’ from my hubby and one aunt. Bah HUMBUG! Hey I wasn’t the only one “testing” my bubbles…

The wedding was of the short “Protestant” type (thank GOD). I love this family but they are almost ALL Catholic and frankly, Catholic weddings are LONGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! They did a really neat thing after their vows. Instead of having a unity candle, they did communion together (for the 1st time as husband and wife). It was so beautiful. They played music for the congregants…while in the back of the arbor, they took communion together. It did take a little bit of time, which was fine in this beauty, but my husband leaned over and whispered (which translates to mean, spoke a tiny bit quieter, but not quietly enough) and said: “What, are they baking the bread back there?”

To which I burst out in the silent, body-shaking laughter/giggling that is most abhorred in these SERIOUS settings. I mean really people…it’s a wedding, a happy event. It’s not as though it was a funeral…of which I can also get the giggles. I tend to laugh in uncomfortable situations. I’m not the only one. So my husband and I are shaking in our seats and finally calm ourselves. The wedding ended and we headed to ‘reception time’.

The reception was held inside the Aquarium with the dining/dancing area in front of this wall-sized Aquarium with sharks, giant sea turtles and every fish known to man swimming by alongside us. It was PHENOMENAL. I have been to the Aquarium in Baltimore, but never at an event like this and it just added so much to the experience…while giving the children something to entertain themselves with.

We sat outside on a veranda that overlooks a small pond and enjoyed a quieter atmosphere with a smaller group of family members. We rearranged the tables together and just visited throughout the meal. We did go inside to dance a few numbers together and visit with others. Overall it was a beautiful wedding and I’m so thrilled for “little Tree” and her new husband! I wished them both as much happiness as we’ve had in our marriage and told them to remember to keep God at the center and they would remain strong! “A cord of three is not easily broken”, after all!

We went back to Paul’s moms home for a short visit and a final goodbye before going back to the hotel for packing and our last night of vacation. I took the required annual, immediate family picture and we said goodbye with kiss-kiss, hug-hug and out the door.

Stay turned for the final installation of the Vacation: the trip home…

Monday, May 29, 2006

Home Sweet Home

For those of you who have been following the "Vacation Journey"... we made it home safely and as wonderful as vacation is...returning home is the most wonderful thing to me. It's that love and joy that is our home...

I am going to rotate days of posting the rest of the vacation story and tonight I will share the first few pictures, cause frankly this girls gotta get some beauty sleep for work tomorrow! oh and for those requesting pics of the author...those, my friends, will be posted on the finality of this vacation series. Cruel, aren't I!

Here we go...

the 'LOVE PONIES' (that one on the right is ALL male).

This next shot is a very small portion of the "Quality Beef Products" just outside of Amarillo. The refreshing scent that only thousands of cattle can bring, permeates the nasal membrane of even the most congested sinus!

The next site was the "GIANT" cross and here is a unique pic we caught as the sun slipped behind this massive structure...and I posterized it slightly.

This is one quarter of the "stations of the cross" represented.

This second picture is me at the base looking up the cross, just to show perspective and size.

and of course...who could forget the "HOLY TICK!" site.

What evil lurks even at the cross sign! Giant Deer Ticks! Here's the closest pic I could find of what it looked mom of course told me I should have burned it to ensure it's death...I'm telling you it's a good thing I don't smoke anymore because I would have set that car on fire!

Mine looked like the 2nd from the left. Still gives me the heeby-jeebies! Stop laughing at me! Look at your pinky fingernail and imagine a tick half the size of that nail on your leg...just looking for some "skin" to snuggle in and start sucking your lifeblood direct from the source! LECHHHHH!

The next stop, was to capture this somewhat scary look at the entrance to the "Land of Enchantment". It doesn't look like much til you get in further...afterall it's just a bit of desert with scrub brush. I'll just let you use your imagination (unless you've seen it yourself) and I'll save Albuquerque pics for a few days so you can just pause with me and thank God for vacation and in wonderment of why he would create ticks?
Blessings on this Memorial Day! Have a wonderful evening.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Vacation Day III

Uncertain Heart

Today was good and bad, as are all days I suppose on some level.

Don’t get me wrong, vacation is still AWESOME. I just got a bit of bad news from my sister and my heart is full of such pain and sorrow. I know these are exactly the types of emotions Jesus has taken to the cross, but I HATE to see any person OR animal for that matter, hurting senselessly at the hand of another. I’m trying SO hard to give this completely to God and since I am not THERE, I cannot do anything more than pray anyway, but it just hurts right now.

Okay so the good…today started with some WONDERFUL Posole’ which is a Mexican version of “hominy” (nothing like the “canned version”) with red Chile and meat and cheese and I put a tortilla in it. It is so wonderful. We went to the Frontier…which is sort of a “staple” among Albuquerque-ans. It has been here since 1 971. It sits just on the edge of the UNM campus and it is a very popular haunt for the young and ‘mature’ alike.

It’s a place with character. Due to it’s ideal locale, the outside door is ‘home’ to many homeless ‘regulars’ who sit in wait for someone to ‘help a guy out with some change’. There is never any lack of takers and givers of money and meal alike. There are people who stand out there that I have seen since I worked here just 5 years ago. Just a reminder that life can and does stand still if we don’t move forward at God’s urging.

Just inside the door of this place is a line of patrons and almost as many cashiers with green lights flashing to “prompt” the next patron to the window for orders. The place runs like a well oiled machine. I’ve been in there when the line went back over 50 feet and I got my meal ordered and received within 10 minutes. You heard me right…10 minutes. Top that Mickey D’s! Fast food my EYE!

Upon completion of ordering you are now lulled to one of the 5 rooms, each with an individual style and ‘artist’ representation through all types of art, both 2-D and 3-D. I always find my way to the back room (you know me!). The 5th room is the “John Wayne” room with a huge 4 x 6 foot painting of the “Duke” hanging immediately upon entry. Surrounding every wall is southwest art, mostly all of Mr. Wayne, along with southwest wool ‘carpets’ that resemble those serape’ ponchos that are popular south of the border. The carpets line the ceiling, somewhat bowed by aging and settling factors.

The people who frequent this place are so very diverse. In our room today we entered and there were only 2 other tables taken by small parties of four or less. Within 30 minutes one large “family” of extended relations came in and pulled 6 tables together to dine together. Then within moments of their arrival came a group of “mature” women (over 60) basketball players wearing their jerseys and apparently coming straight from a game or practice. They were having a wonderful time just interacting and reveling in their apparently strengths on the court. I just looked around, breathing it all in as time sped by.

We then headed over to another area of town, a strip mall of sorts, with a very eclectic bookstore and a unique paper store called “Pennysmiths”. I love paper and ribbon almost as much as cards and they have it all. I found a “book” stamp that you can have special made with you name (I’m ordering kpjara), and stamp your personal library to ensure return to the owner. I loved it. I love books and have tons that are loaned out and I’m sure the “borrowers” forget where they got the book. Unfortunately sometimes I forget who I loaned what to, and I’m just not prepared to have an official “check-out” system complete with Dewey-decimal-online checkout.

Guess what. I also found some more cards. I love cards…they are like a breath of fresh air and ‘soul lifters’ for recipients…or at least that’s what I tell myself. I found one with a bottle of “Aunt Jemima Syrup” telling a bottle of “Frangelica”:

“I’m a morning person & you’re a night person.”

That is PRICELESS. You’ve got to admit it! You laughed! I also found a line of cards done by children and submitted to Here are some samples:

Sometimes you just need to take a nap and get over it.” Maura Stuard …age 8

“Life is about who you love” Anna Yu…age 12

“I cannot seem to find out why I got picked to be in this family.” Hassan Jeng…age 9

but my favorite “card” purchase today is this:

He who does not see God in the next person he meets, needs look no further.” Mahatma Gandhi.

The rest of the day held time at the ‘graduation party’ for a future Jayhawk (bless his Rock Chalk heart)…and his poor parents with a son at KU and a daughter at Texas Tech.

I got to spend some time with “Tree”, as highly anticipated, and her family. I had an opportunity to just encourage her to live “life” and not “work it away”. I listened to her ‘story’, the parts we hadn’t been privy to in our absence and I tried to remind her God brought us together as family to walk arm and arm together and not do it alone! I hope I conveyed it well enough.

I will spend more time with her tomorrow at the wedding reception and I will continue to pray for her soul. I know God has great plans for her and I know she is walking in much fear…been there, done that. I love her and I will pray her up to heaven’s gate and back! I also love her family, which includes the most wonderful 9 y.o. daughter “E” who I had a great time interacting with. That’s such an awesome age!

Tomorrow is the wedding of “Little Tree”, a young lady who is marrying the perfect partner (thank God). She dog/house sat for us when we went on our honeymoon almost 8 years ago, and was only 17 at the time. She was dusting our home and accidentally broke one of our champagne flutes used at the reception and worried deeply about the “curse” on our marriage. Silly girl, curses from broken glasses...

She searched high and lo to find a ‘replacement’. (Because I am a sale shopper, it’s hard to replace anything I purchase, LOL), but she found one at Pier 1 and when we returned from our trip she confessed tearfully, apologized profusely and was so concerned our marriage would be cursed. I assured her otherwise and guess what she’s getting for her wedding gift…that’s right…those same champagne flutes. I had to dust the heck out of them, but they are as beautiful as the day we wed. I know she’ll cherish them! And heck we never even drank our wedding champagne (we received on the flight to our destination).

Tomorrow is our last full day here, then back to life, back to reality! Vacation is good, but I do feel a pull homeward to my sister and her children…to my beading and to my church and to my friends and to my full-sized computer…these small keys on this laptop are so slowing me down! I’ve been working on THIS post for over 40 minutes…good grief!

I pray each of you has a blessed Sunday…I’m going to be visiting a new church…one I haven’t cleaned a toilet in, LOL (just kiddin’ Abs)…and I know we’ll be blessed in the House of the Lord as we are each day in His presence.

Joy and prayers to each of you and special prayer of strength to MOMRN2 who is enduring such incredible trials each day. God be with her and her family. May strength, peace, love and the presence of Jesus help her endure and be her voice in times of such battle. Also to my sister who has had more pain in her life then any person should ever know on earth. She is strong and growing stronger and I pray a hedge of protection around her life and her family and that wisdom would go before her and guide her steps each moment.

I’m moving one day at a time on this journey…

Friday, May 26, 2006

Vacation Day II

We've been here 1 full day now and while the sky is beautiful and the weather is fantastic there is also so much poverty here. There are homeless people in droves all throughout the downtown area, which is where our hotel is situated. It's clear which people are homeless based on attire and the not-so-quiet mumblings as they approach and pass. I told my husband perhaps God had sent us HERE to NM on a mission trip...not entirely kidding on that. There is a palpable need for Jesus here, not only because of the poverty, but because of the culture of acceptance to the point of apathy and sheer number of bars almost outnumbering restaurants.

Albuquerque is a city for the 20-something set; where the lights downtown are bright and beckoning and the drinks are being poured without restraint. The music is somewhat entrancing and the desire for entertainment is without filter. It is interesting to be my current age (42 years young believe it or NOT), at this place in my life (fully immersed in the Love of Jesus), more as a participant, than my typical youthful observer of the past. I not only watch, but I feel free to interact and question what I see and hear. Enough's the lo-down for today.

My darling husband was victim to my central time zone sleep pattern and while we didn't fall into slumberland until after 2:00 a.m. I was up and awake by 6:15 here (7:15 back home) and the poor dear was less then enthuasiastic when I opened the drapes and allowed the blinding sunshine to pour into our room. He mumbled something about it being vacation, but I'm a morning person and heck, I'm on vacation...things to do...places to go...stores to shop...

We got up, got cleaned up, and made a list of things "to do". We headed down to the now-popular complimentary continental breakfast and wrote out our postcards home while enjoying some juice, coffee, and a homemade waffle with this TOO cool waffle maker that will be included in the photo blog upon return.

We strolled down Central (the main drag downtown) and at 7:30 a.m. there was limited traffic, I began to wonder if the whole city had taken the day off. We were in search of a good "coffee shop" (my husband has become quite the coffee snob and has to have something akin to Starbucks-stomach melting coffee with a double shot expresso and some frou-frou flavoring to boot) and we eventually found one that was not only open and empty, but they were playing Frank Sinatra...who wouldn't love some Frank Sinatra that early in the a.m. He was such a crooner, oh Frank not my husband, but the hubby does try! We strolled along and took pics of some of the local haunts and some old established places as include in our video journal. It was sad to walk by the restaurant we held our wedding reception in and see it was closed. That was the most wonderful September evening you could imagine...another post one day...

We then went to the Big "W" to pick up some creamer and GOOD coffee for the hotel room. Frankly, the downside to be a coffee connisseur is the NEED for something other then prefilter wrapped coffee and no creamer OR 'pink stuff'. Yes, I'm a child of the 80's and I only use the 'pink stuff" in coffee and tea. I don't care about the rat cancer tests and all that's all I can stand! I"m not being defensive about it, I'm just saying...

So after experiencing the NM Big W, we brought the "booty" back to the hotel and went to meet my hubbies mother and younger sister at Duran's Pharmacy for breakfast/brunch (it was already after 9:00 a.m.). They have absolutely FABULOSO Huevos Rancheros with red chile that doesn't burn, but it does tease the tastebuds awake! In addition, they have that wonderful shaved ice in their drinks, that makes my heart sing. I love crushed ice and shaved ice is one of the things I know God made just for a handful of His children, me included.

This particular pharmacy also has some wonderful cards (I can spend HOURS shopping for cards in case you were wondering...) that I perused and picked a selection from...along with some really unique postcards to include in our growing collection of mailables. We then dropped his younger sister (we call her "Nee") off at home and headed out to a few local shops that I can't come to ABQ and not visit. One of the most important of these is the bakery we used for our wedding cake. They have the BEST cookies and we picked some up for the dinner we volunteered to prepare for the family tonight.

We drove around town (covering a good 60 mile area) and just mentally reminisced our past time here. We drove through one little village and I was able to get a few photographs of this home I've always 'coveted' that has this GIANT lizard sculpted onto the outer wall (blog picture to come). We picked up some groceries to prepare the dinner and took all that back to the hubbies mother's home and began to cook.

Unfortunately, the hubbies older sister (Tree) isn't coming down til tomorrow, but that gives me one more day to hear what God has to tell me for her...I'm hopeful that His love and desire will be evident in our interaction. Side note: I think it's interesting how it's often times (for this traveler) easier to share the love of Jesus with complete strangers than loved ones that are so obviously lost and hurting. I know a part of that stems from the obvious fear of rejection of Jesus by a loved one. Which in turn is actually rejection of ME because Jesus is what Kim is all about...and that would be hard to take...I just have to realize that Jesus can take care of not only Himself, but also His beloved children...all of them...especially the lost sheep! It wasn't so long ago I was crying Baa Baa, myself! No it wasn't yesterday during tick fever time!

So we watched the movie "Proof" tonight as his family are netflicks subscribers and we all wanted to check this flick a word it was..."Heavy". To me it was a real representation of a life without balance, a life from the left brain only! It was linear and harsh. It's not that I regret watching it, but I gave up two hours of my life for it and I'm searching for the lesson to take from it...for's definitely balance. I am hoping I always find and maintain balance in my right and left brain...remembering that while praising and worshipping Jesus with other believers is awesome and I love that time...Jesus put me in the job I have and in the family I have for balance.

Tomorrow is the graduation party and some quality time with Tree and her family. I can't wait for you to meet her, she is something else! Oh, I almost forgot, for food tomorrow...Posole' at the Frontier (I'll have to forgo the sweet roll or I'll be in serious trouble) and a green chile bagel from Einstein bagels...ohmyLordinheaven they are truly manna from God...because they're good tasting, but also they don't keep I can't ever bring them home...I have to trust my taste-memory to hold them for another year or so!

Miss you all and yes I realize how sad that sounds...I've never met any of you, well except my dear sister, but I feel like you're all family...okay not family, because sometimes they BUG (extended family...relax)...instead you are all friends and mentors and encouragers and sisters and brothers and lifelines...I get so sappy and 'ellipsical' on vacation I hope I remember my passwords at work when I return...and I lost my sidebar somehow, but am afraid to mess with it on I'll suffer and can only connect to others from the sites I "know by heart" and their links, or my comments...More tomorrow, and if I'm lucky (yeah right, so NOT lucky) or my hubby is lucky, we'll win big at a casino and I can retire and write the story of my life...hmm...I'm already kind of doing the writing thing why am I not retired...oh yeah, the money...okay, tomorrow is casino day to play my dads lucky money!

Blessings for a very wonderful Saturday!

The Land of Enchantment

We made it safely to this land of enchantment, though I must say for a holiday weekend there was more construction in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico than I have ever seen. We faced 3 in Oklahoma, 2 in Texas and a 30 mile one-lane stretch in New Mexico, good heavens what’s up with that! So last car trip for a long time, at least until such time as all three states coordinate better road repairs.

I am NOT able to upload the pictures while I’m here so I’ll save those and do a total photo blog upon my return. What fun that will be.

It has been a bit of a different experience trying to capture in photographs the trip. I decided to go ahead and make a scrapbook of this last vacation before my hubby’s graduation and our ultimate vacation to the Caribbean next year some time (fingers crossed, bank account suffering, ultimate swimsuit season in mind and lacking).

I wanted to share the highlights from my own perspective.

My husband and I prayed for provision, favor and protection in traffic and angel guards around the vehicle, not to mention a spirit of unity and love. God was good to bring this to pass…well with a few hormonal episodes I experienced from riding in a car for extended periods of time in the most lacking highway expanse you can imagine. I really do LOVE to travel by car, because I can stop at the funky little shops and check out unique ‘artwork’, though I use the term somewhat loosely.

We have driven this path many times over the years, both to and fro, and this time we actually stopped at the Cherokee Trading Post outside Weatherford, Oklahoma (one of the states tornado capitals I might add). Why did we stop? Well, pee break first, and to photograph the ‘buffalo’ that resides at the trading post, in addition to some pics by an antique (looking) wagon.

We walked the entire fence line (next to the highway) to get the up close shot of the Buffalo and he just continued eating the plains beneath him as though we weren’t even there. Buffalo have such attitudes, they remind me of some bosses I’ve had in my past.

We also had the opportunity to see two miniature ponies that live there as well, although ahem’ we interrupted them apparently and while my husband (romantic that he is) wanted to photograph the private party, I refused to indulge him. So between the tiny pony love dance and the Buffalo with a tude’ we left with our pics and dignity intact.

The next stop was in Groom, Texas where the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere exists. It is 160 feet tall, 16 stories and I got some great photos. I have always photographed this huge cross from the highway on each trip and we have these sort of blurry, through the windshield, pics of a large white structure passing by at 75 mph. This was the first time we stopped.

The Stations of the Cross are represented in bronze sculptures and it was quite sobering. There was one of the last supper and a special one with Mary and a dedication to all aborted babies. It almost made me cry. It definitely made me pause and pray for the mothers and the babies. God bless them both. We spoke briefly with a groundskeeper there and he shared of a homeless man that traveled there and explained the significance of each of the stations and the actual cross itself and its representation of Jacob’s Ladder and the ‘eye of the needle’ in the form of an access hatch to the internal cross structure.

We also stopped on the exit to photograph a government sign, that said “Cross” and upon returning to the car, from the tall, grassy, field I walked in for the “perfect shot”, I saw movement on my pant leg. Thank GOD I was wearing capri's and not shorts, because lo and behold the biggest tick I have ever seen in my 40 something years was stomping up the cloth to receive the blood of an unwilling donor…me! I screamed, my husband just looked at it and looked at me and said kill it. I don’t do that.

I don’t kill critters…I just can’t do it…not out of some freakish love of all nature, it’s more out of not wanting to feel death beneath my hands in the form of a crunching sound or blood on myself…YUCK! So I thought I scooped it up in some paper and transferred it to a cup…and then I saw what I thought was a second tick crawling along the same path of destruction. I grabbed that one as well and stuck it in the cup where only the one existed. I realized I hadn’t caught it the first time, but now it was lying in it’s death pool.

Now you must know that because I had to be certain I wasn’t infested with the ticks and headed from lifelong bliss to a lifetime of lyme disease and certain death by tick infestation that we stopped shortly afterward at one of many CROWDED, nasty LOVES in Texas. It’s not that I hate Loves, it’s just that they don’t have much of a cleaning ethic from what I’ve experienced and the ones along the highway are the worst! Perish the thought of actually using the facilities, but if you must, take extra hand-washing precautions.

I arrive in the bathroom and a woman is in the other stall and I’m not kidding when I tell you she is groaning! I wasn’t sure if she was dying or just ate something at a previous Love’s and was paying the price now. In any event, I quickly did a scan for any infestation and while I felt somewhat itchy, I was certain I was “all clear” and wouldn’t be heading immediately to the hospital in Amarillo.

Okay, so we get to, and slowly through, Amarillo, as they have been working on I-40 through the city for over 3 years now! We did capture a few pictures from the highway of the BIG TEXAN, a site for all of blogdom to experience…the restaurant of fame where you attempt to eat a 72 oz steak and if you succeed (along with all super sized sides) you get it free…yeah right! As if…and you have a time limit on the whole experience…so like you’re 3 and not wanting to eat your peas…you pick and poke at room temperature undercooked beef lying waste next to a loaded baked potato and salad along with some half brewed sweetened tea. You totally needed to hear and experience that, therefore I oblige and you will see the pics from the highway come next week.

The next stopping point is one of Texas’ largest stockyards. This one was for “Jimmy” (aka: Hubbies boss), who wanted to know how large this place was. I told my husband there were thousands of cattle but we had to stop and photograph the beasts. Some of those cows had the gall to look at us with the same disdain the gorillas show when we sit outside their glass enclosures at the zoo. These Texan cows were angry about something, I suppose they weren’t MAD COWS in the literally sense, but they were definitely ticked off (well hopefully not TICK-infested)…too many puns, to much time from home I suppose.

Okay so we missed the Cadillac ranch, but we’re hitting it on our return. It is the spot in Texas that has the buried Cadillacs that stick up out of the ground. It’s cool! I’ve always loved it, but never stopped, so we are stopping. The exit is ARNOT…as in Are Not! Yes I am!

We then headed into New Mexico and stopped at the rest stop. We only stopped for pictures of the WELCOME TO NEW MEXICO sign and among many signs was one that said “Watch for Snakes” which we decided was far worse then any tick or mad cow we had experienced so far…so quick picks, get a free map for hubbies “co-worker” who apparently has a map fetish…well according to my hubby he doesn’t have a fetish, he just likes maps in case he has to do genealogy or some other lame excuse…he has a fetish according to Kim.

After a couple of hours of “name that tune” while randomly hitting the seek/scan button on the radio we made it around the mountain and into the valley that is…Albuquerque. It was just as I remembered. Hey, wait it really is as I remember it, people flying past us in cars…they have to be from L.A. or Dallas, and so many people without smiles. Everyone appears to be in a hurry, well except the desk clerk at our hotel.

He was actually kind and while he seemed “new” at the whole hotel concierge/check in person, he did give us some random information for visitors to the area. Thankfully having lived here for 5 years we are fairly aware of the “draws” to this beautiful city. It was 9:30 p.m. when we went to grab a quick burger and over to the hubbies mom’s house for a quick visit until tomorrow. Now it’s almost morning and I had to get this down…yes I have serious blog issues!

I know this is nowhere near as enthralling as our journeys with Morning Glory on the Sunday Drive, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it.

More tomorrow, when the family fun begins! I think I’ll blog about the hubbies sister, we call her Tree and she is a dear friend to me, though one I don’t see near often enough. I’m praying God would use me to remind her of His love for her…something I fear she’s lost along her own journey. Prayers are welcome!

Happy Friday early a.m. Talk to you later when I’m checking in tomorrow, which is actually later today!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Jesus Meme

Okay, I admit it…I “stole” this from GiBee at Kisses of Sunshine and I love that Heather (with the 2 blogs; this one, and this one) in all of her 23 years of age, and many more eons of wisdom placed in her by the Heavenly Father, came up with it and sent it out to this blogdom.

I love that out of all the Me-Me’s it’s the most Him-Him…so I’m In-In…even if I stole it from Her-Her are you tired of This-This…so either steal it from me (or GiBee) or wait to get tagged…I never was one to wait for much of anything.

1) What is your life verse:

Psalm 139:14 “I will praise Him for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” though the verse God is constantly trying to instill in me is throughout the Epistles: “Walk in a manner worthy of your calling” (I usually read it in Ephesians.)

2) Give a bit of your testimony:

This is probably the “scariest” question for me in the blogdom because while you KNOW the me I let you see…you have no idea who I was or who I am. I will say a bit, but frankly it’s too long to fit here neat and concisely and I’m much more about who I’ve become then who I was. After all, God’s grace is sufficient…for me and for you, right?

Okay, so while I received my “fire insurance” at the tender age of 13, I had many unanswered questions about what it meant. I was deferred by clergy and leaders and that was a bit of a turn-off for the questioning girl that I am. I lived for me! for the next few years…few being about oh…hmm…til I was in my 30’s? Sure I rededicated my life a few times through my young adulthood, but true-blue, all-or-nothing faith didn’t come til I was in my 30’s, when I finally gave up! I had that prodigal moment of “it’s time to go home and beg for forgiveness”. The best part was God didn’t need me to beg. He needed my humble heart full of such repentance and He let me sit in His lap while I offered it.

I have been to the pit, jumped in, wallowed around, attempted to flee on my own, fell back in, forgot why I came and where I was going and just sort of idled there for a good part of my journey. I will tell you this: I spent a day in jail (following a bad choice), I was labeled a “prostitute” (thankfully for only a short time and NOT why I spent a day in jail), thought I’d attempt “drinking away” my problems, and I spent 15 years trying to figure out why I was created to begin with. I contemplated suicide more than once.

The good stuff that reminded me that He is never far away included: seeing an actual ANGEL in the flesh, with wings and everything…feeling a tangible touch from God on my shoulder…seeing my sister healed of terminal cancer…hearing God speak to me as clear as can be…witnessing new and renewed faith, through sharing my own story with others and hearing their stories, at the wondrous love of Jesus.

That is a part of my story so far...hopefully the uphill climb won’t be from the pit again!

3) Do you have a favorite preacher?

I love hearing T.D. Jakes preach (especially in person, but even on CD he ROCKS). I have so many…let’s see: Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Juanita Bynum, any of the Women of Faith, Liz Curtis Higgs, and most definitely Carol Kent! Oh and of course, I’m crazy about my own preacher: Ryan Abernathy, who pushes us to that point of discomfort to run, not walk, towards God and how He created us for this earthly season.

4) What's the best Bible Study you've ever done?

There are 2 that come to mind: Me and My Big Mouth ~no comments from anyone~ (Joyce Meyer), and Believing God (Beth Moore).

5) What do you feel God's calling is on your life? To encourage and disciple other women through writing and in relationship.

Okay, thankfully I did this work yesterday and can get this posted cause now I’m going to work like a dog (translation: get stuff done I won’t remember by Tuesday, and do a limited surf of my favorite reads). I’ll be posting (hopefully including some random travel shots) on the other side of this rainbow in Al-B-Ker-Key!

And to Ken, from “The Voice”, It is a beautiful city and even if you never make it during the balloon fiesta (which is quite a site with over 1100 balloon floating heavenward),

you should definitely do a trip there some time…mountains, beach (without the ocean of course, but tons of beach), great outdoor activities; skiing, hiking, biking, etc, beautiful weather, adobe homes and businesses everywhere,

Native American history and heritage, not to mention some beautiful casino’s and outdoor opera and museums and outdoor concerts…it’s gorgeous, truly, it is. And the food ROCKS and absolutely tops anywhere I’ve been

and I’ve been to over 30 states. Hopefully I can convey some of the beauty and rich culture in pictures.

I better get busy…have a wonderful and blessed Memorial Day! What/who will you be remembering? I’m remembering family that have gone before me and the love of a God so great that He gave is Only Son to die for my sins and is now seated at His right hand!
Super-Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Randomness on Wednesday

I’m doing an online book study right now by Elizabeth George called: Life Management for the Busy Woman. I had wanted to get involved in a local book club, but it just didn’t happen, so I opted for this instead.

When I selected one among MANY ‘clubs’ to join I had originally only narrowed it by Christian books, which pulled up hundreds…then I typed in non-fiction and it went down to about 10…so I selected this Elizabeth George book based on title and my own experience with her studies.

Before being allowed “IN” you have to write an entry paragraph to introduce yourself and also why you should be allowed to “join” the group. Initially I had flashbacks to elementary school, when I had to “race” another girl to be the play partner of one very popular girl. Of course, I always won with my long legs…so the fun was short lived, not to mention the arrogance we soon recognized in this peer (even before we knew the word, we knew the meaning). But I went ahead and submitted my ‘diatribe for admittance’.

So…I received my email notification “I was being admitted” along with letters of introduction to the site administrator and mediator for the study. I was also sent copies of ground rules and posting rules. It was intense! It felt a bit over-structured to me, but I went with it.

It’s still a bit foreign to me and lacks the immediate interaction you get face to face, but it is challenging in the sense that this particular study addresses many of the issues I deal with daily in my “busy-ness”.

The women are younger, yet as I have found often online, they have deep character and because of the “safety” of being online, the women tend to be more brutally honest about where they are in their own lives and a bit more brutally honest in assessment of my own journey.

It’s definitely not my preferred method of Bible/Book Study, but it is obviously where God wanted me for this season. Have you done these? And if so, how were they, what was your experience?

Now…fun stuff…I’ve been ‘chattin’ with Tam of ‘Time for Twittering’ about sharing some recipes…so I thought I’d go ahead and put mine out there. I told Tam I was going to photograph the actual recipe, but it’s so covered in “ingredients” (chocolate, butter, etc) that I thought it would be to ridiculous…then she convinced me to do just that, but I kept forgetting to bring the recipe back HOME to photograph and upload…so I’m going to do just straight typing of it after all…sorry Tam. But as a little reward…I’m adding a new wonderful recipe to post with it.

You should know I am the “baker” of my home. My husband does the majority of cooking the meals…but I do dessert.

Lemon Crunch Bars
Great Recipe from Cake Mix Bible

Yellow Cake Mix (w/ pudding in the mix)*
1 egg
1/3 C. Oil
Stir til crumbly. Reserve 1 Cup of mixture.

Push into bottom of greased 13 x 9 pan and bake at 325-350 for 15 minutes (do not over bake).

While that is baking, mix together:

1 egg
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/3 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice (fresh or bottled)

When the crust comes out of the oven, spread the cream cheese mixture over it, then crumble remaining crust mixture over the top and bake an additional 12-15 minutes at 325-350 or until slightly brown on top ‘crust’.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour or as long as overnight. Cut in bars and prepare to make more!

*notes of interest. I made this without the “pudding in the mix” cake mix and the crust was HARD (but edible). I also got a tad too much oil and the cake mix didn’t stay crumbly so the top crust spread out a bit too much. On the same trial, I also forgot to soften the cream cheese so I mixed this with a mixer and it was way too airy and didn’t cook as firmly. I AM NOT A PERFECTIONIST, but dessert should be HEAVENLY…right?

Suffice to say my mom’s are better, but I’m going to work on this one. It’s yummy and not overly lemony.

The 2nd one is also EASY and it’s from Pampered Chef Season’s Best Recipe Collection, Fall/Winter 2001.

Double Chocolate Mocha Trifle
1 pkg (18.25 oz) brownie Mix (prepared using cake-like brownie recipe on box)
4 tsp instant coffee granules (dissolved in ¼ cup warm water) (I used cold coffee from that morning)
1 ¾ cups cold milk
2 packages (3.4 oz each) white chocolate instant pudding and pie filling (YUMMY)
2 cups thawed Cool-Whip
3 toffee bars (Heath bits are better than Skor bars for this)
Additional Cool-Whip for topping and chocolate shaving for garnish if you like.

1. Prepare brownies according to package directions for cake-like brownies. Bake and cool completely.

2. Mix prepared coffee; milk and pudding mix; whisk until mixture is smooth and begins to thicken. Gently fold in whipped topping.

3. Cut brownies into 1-inch cubes using serrated bread knife. Chop Heath bars (or just use the handy-dandy heath bar bits sold in the grocery store).

4. Layer 1/3 of brownie cubes into bottom of trifle bowl. Top with 1/3 of pudding mixture; press lightly. Sprinkle with 1/3 of chopped toffee bits. Repeat layers two more times. If desired, garnish with additional whipped topping and shaved milk chocolate (everyone has milk chocolate bars at home, don’t they?)

This supposedly makes 12 servings, but I’ve seen it serve 5 or 6 dessert loving people (myself included).

The only negative thing I’ll say about this recipe is: it’s a strange texture. The feeling of chewy brownies with the creamy pudding is kind of weird in my mouth, but everyone else loves it! It’s pretty and presentable and very easy! But heck...give me a symphony bar with toffee and almonds and I’m happy!

The bad news at the bottom of the recipe is for 1/12 of this recipe you are consuming 450 calories, 22 g of fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 58 g of carbs, 5 g of protein (some redemption there), 400 mg of sodium and 1 g fiber.

YIKES! It better taste really good for that kind of trade-off

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Que Sera' Sera'

I am heading on a much needed vacation this weekend, as my husband and I make our annual pilgrimage to Albuquerque to visit with his family and attend a graduation AND a wedding for two different family members. It's more like a vacation because we're staying in a fun new Art Deco Hotel I found in the downtown area. Should be fun, and frankly with the junk (she said knowing there was a better word but not wanting to offend) going on at work...I am so looking forward to it. We leave Thursday as soon as I get home at lunchtime! Praise God!

So posting has been, and will continue to be, a bit "light" in the "make you think" category...without further ado, here is Tuesday's Speedbump for you to ponder!

Credit to the uber-cool Sister Claire Joy for sending me to the "sign generator" site to begin with!

Happy Tuesday?

Monday, May 22, 2006

On Your Mark, Get Set…

Hold that “mark” for a moment please…

I remember in basketball the laps and laps and laps of seemingly endless and fruitless running. The entire team thought our legs were going to fall off at the exact point in time the coach would call for wind sprints…to the lines and back. It was torturous!

In track and field (back when it was a required course in school), I didn’t mind all the field events, and even excelled in some of them, thanks to my height and strength, but the running just never came with the passion others hold for it. I dreaded these events and while I could hold my own in the sprints, I ‘ate dust’ in the long-distance events and eventually found myself barely ‘jogging’ to the finish with the other less enthusiastic participants.

Clearly, I’ve never been fond of long-distance running. My response to invitations to run is always: “I only run if someone or something is chasing me!” Well it seems I’m being chased, because once again I find myself running.

When I read in the Bible the references to racing and running I often find myself rolling my eyes heavenward in that plea only a Heavenly Father could understand and the whimpering: “Do you mean this literally Lord? You know how I feel about running and how I struggle with losing! Surely this message is for someone else or better still it’s a reference to something else.”

Of course God gives me the smirkish look that says, “We’ve been over this before my daughter…but if we must, we’ll review!” (Sometimes God’s got to be sort of ‘in your face’ with me).

What I realized this weekend during the time my husband and I spent with some very dear friends we hadn’t seen in awhile, is that God has given us “water-people” along the sidelines to provide life-giving “water” to us when we thirst in the race.

You’ve seen these people at marathons; they step right out onto the track and almost throw the water to the runners. The runner drinks the water or pours it over their head and throws the cup down for these “water-people” to pick up the remains. The water people are this enthusiastic for each and every runner. They cheer the runners on and remind them “You can do it!”

Like these “water-people”, God has given each of us (in the race) people to give us water; to refresh us, to encourage us, to pick up our trash along the course. For me, this weekend, it was these friends we hadn’t seen in so long. They came, just like the “water-people” at the exact moment of my thirst. I was facing certain shin-splints had they not arrived when they did with the live-giving water refresher provided.

I have known this friend since I was 19. We have been to the pit and beyond together, and we have both been rescued by our Savior; Jesus. We both now seek to serve Him by serving others and we realize sometimes we need to replenish our water in our quest as we thirst. We have been there for one another with “water” many times over the years.

I love that God, in His desire to see me run to completion the race before me, has not asked me to run without support. I love that God has in fact given me “water-people” to help me when I’m most thirsty or to cool me when my head becomes to hot! I love that God has given me the strength to endure the race and the hills and turns come only when He has prepared me and enabled me to run them!

“…Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12-14
Now back to the mark… “GO!”

Happy Monday Running!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Left IS Right!

I know it sounds ludicrous but for me LEFT is RIGHT! I am one of those TOTALLY left handed people. I write left handed. I play all sports left handed. I use scissors with my left hand. I hold tools with my left hand. I start walking “left foot first”. When I approach a door, I pull the left door with my left hand, so typically I’m entering through an exit door. I set my dinner table with the silverware and beverage glass on the LEFT side. I cross my left arm over my right arm when I’m making that “I’m disgusted” expression. I do EVERYTHING with my left hand.

Why am I going on about this? My left brain was in a “dither” about the lack of accommodation to my dominant left hand while attempting to use “normal” scissors. I nearly strained my hand in discomfort and “awkwardness factor”. I did master them and was able to cut what I was attempting to, but it was no easy feat and it always reminds me how the world revolves around the right-handed majority. Between that and my "middle-child syndrome" I'm just a mess!

I own a can opener that nearly “rocks my world” in frustration every time I pull it out of the drawer to begin the weekly battle of wits: Kim versus the can-opener! So far I’m ahead at 225 to 196, but I feel the pressure of that can opener gaining on me, especially as I age and my hands become weaker.

Obviously there are some adaptations I’ve made to survive. I can insert a key into an automobile ignition and start my car with my right hand. I can also use my right foot to accelerate and apply the brakes in my vehicle. However, I refuse to even use some products that are strictly created and marketed for right-handed people. I don’t use spiral bound paper, I don’t sit and work at those chair/desks that are nearly ALWAYS on the right side.

I remember when I was learning to write in elementary school the teachers tried to make me hold the pencil and/or crayons with my right hand to “correct” my handwriting “issue”. I now realize it’s because they couldn’t teach me “backwards” and it was less frustrating for THEM to just teach me to use my right hand. It never “took”. I just became one of the many left handed individuals who write “upside down and backwards” according to the “norm” because the teacher couldn’t teach us how to hold the pencil and write.

I do realize now, after the frustration and minor ridicule of being “different” what a huge blessing this anomaly also brings. I am extremely creative. I find ways to adapt things to work and I can brainstorm ideas with ease. I find creative solutions for problems both interpersonally and in more pragmatic means as well. I have learned “endurance” while trying to ‘fit in’ to the right hand culture that is our world. Plus, I was able to show my nephew how to tie his shoes with him doing exactly what I did...while sitting in front of me! How cool is that?!

I can now embrace my left-handedness as a blessing, not a curse. It has been the source of many wonderful creations and I believe a more open mind to people and their uniqueness.

Here’s a little info to think on: (taken from Gauche! Left Handers in Society).

“The following common tools all require left-to-right wrist turning movements more comfortable for right-handers: corkscrew, rotary dial phone, analog clock-setting & winding, screws, lightbulbs, etc. The following are specifically designed to be used in a right-handed fashion: scissors, can openers, coffee makers, computer keyboards (numeric keypad on right), calculators and pushbutton phones (left-to-right array), golf clubs, many musical instruments (especially stringed), cars built in right-lane countries, most hand-held power tools (drills, saws), etc. Many of these tools are also used in the work environment (telephones, computers, power tools, kitchen utensils). But real danger is often encountered in manufacturing and construction environments: industrial meat slicers, drill presses, band saws, textile machinery, production lines, and heavy equipment. Some researchers believe the risk to left-handers under such conditions can be significantly greater than to their right-handed co-workers (Coren 1992).

Presented with ubiquitous right bias in the physical world, a left-hander or ambidextral has two options: (1) to learn to use the tool in a right-handed fashion (awkward and inefficient at best), or (2) to learn to somehow hold the tool backwards so that it can be manipulated with the left hand (often dangerous).

Have a wonderful, left-handed day!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Weekly Pondering

Good News: I get off work uber-early today. Instead of my usual 12:30 p.m. departure, I'm outta' here at 10:00 a.m.

Bad News: I'm leaving early to attend a funeral of a friend's father. This friend, a young woman, with 5 young boys (ages: 12, 10, 8, 7, 5, 6 months...God bless her!) is honoring her father with a memorial service. She is a woman I mentored a few years ago and we know each other well. I have watched, first-hand the effect of this father on this young woman and his grandchildren.

He was not a "good" father by any standard. He was an alcoholic who called this daughter many times at all hours of day and night to bail him out of jail, even from other states. He barely provided for her when she was younger and he didn't speak nicely to her or her family. I never met this man but I saw the impact it had on this young woman's life. She never turned him down.

I think it shows her maturity and 'heart' that she was not only willing, but DESIRED to take care of this memorial. She has older siblings who washed their hands of this "father" years ago. My friend never gave up on her dad. She has taught me the true meaning of Scripture that tells us HOW TO FORGIVE. I also know her Heavenly Father is so proud of her in keeping His commandment to honor her parents.

I will say one MORE thing...parents remember that the choices YOU make DO affect your children; both directly AND indirectly. Choose a lifestyle that is not only pleasing to God, but one that recognizes the fact that you have been hand-picked by God to care for one of his children.

Here is something to think about today: What specific things are you doing in your life to make a difference in the life of your children or any children you encounter?

Trust me, I'm thinking on it too!

Blessings of peace for this Friday.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Picture it…you’re the person that washes their hands every 30-45 minutes. You never feel completely clean and it’s life-threatening-ly frightening to you to enter a preschool room full of 2, 3 & 4 year olds with dirty hands and quite possibly ‘dirty’ pants! This is Mr. Worship-man at my church. Okay, so maybe he's not THAT bad…allow me to elaborate…

Mr. Worship-man, who reminds me of what I think John would have been like (in the Bible), has such passion for worshipping God, both in song and in life. He prays with an assuredness and intensity that awes me. His desire is to chase after God with all his heart, soul, life, and that is how he leads others. He is AWESOME!

Like all of us, even this man of God has “issues”. His ‘issues’ clearly appear to be “germs”! He abhors germs. It’s become a bit of a joke among some of us to find something ‘germy’ to tell him, or better yet SHOW him…to “gross him out”.

During a recent “Potluck” he was found in the kitchen (absent of all men usually), “sterilizing’ the container for tea. He was trying to figure out how to get all the bubbles out of the now sparkling container! This case is actually a bit warranted because the container had been left for a bit too long ‘brewing’ fungi, in the form of mold on some old water. Yes, water in Oklahoma molds…gross isn’t it. Water never MOLDED in Colorado! What’s this about? No wonder people here don’t drink beer as much as other states, their WATER comes fermented! People can scoff at me for BUYING water all they want…at least I’ve never seen it mold!

Stay on track, Kim, stay on track!

He and his wife are expecting their first child and while it’s so exciting, it’s given my husband great pleasure to point out all the “germiness” of parenthood (obviously only from observation and limited exposure).

After working a stint in the “baby nursery” this past Sunday, my husband couldn’t wait to tell Mr. Worship-man about how babies chew on toys and drool all over everything (present company INCLUDED), and then another baby comes along and picks it up and starts drooling and chewing on the same toy!

My husband experienced and shared the drool, the sneeze-in-the-face, the kicking, the pulling of leg hair (always wear long pants around babies if you have leg hair…hey they’re learning how to reach and pull! Notice how many moms wear their hair UP and BACK, DUH!). He didn’t get to experience the formula-spewing-in-the-face or the diaper changing surprises. He was playing with one baby a bit too ‘rough’ (the lift, toss and catch thing) and I warned him of their explosive behavior. In his words, humans are a ‘closed system’; they look for and find exits for any build-up!

Anyway my husband, observant man that he is, continued to think of the things to “warn” Mr. Worship-man about in his new-parent-to-be bliss. I only wish there were a video to capture Mr. Worship-man’s expression of utter fear at the prospect of the germs this baby will encounter and will expose him to.

I often find myself laughing at this poor man. He just has no idea. I tried to explain that between the doors we touch, the money we handle, even the restaurants we frequent, we obviously have a pretty good built-in defense to germs. I think he visibly shuddered as I shared this. I most certainly will purchase a NEW DAD gift of a basket FULL of those antiseptic wipes and waterless cleaners (don't tell him studies show they're fairly ineffective, k?).

Having a degree in Biology with an emphasis in Microbiology has been amusing at times like these. I spent an entire semester on a senior project which consisted of identifying and classifying a “bug”. Not a bug in the sense of (shiver with me) cockroach or visible insect…I mean bug in the sense of GERM…bacteria! The stuff some infections are made of. Trust me when I say…they are EVERYWHERE! Even the boy in the plastic bubble was exposed to SOME bacteria and germs.

Don’t get too ‘bugged’ by it (aren’t I funny), just wash your hands thoroughly (use the Happy Birthday song to gauge how long), at least after each bathroom break and for some of you…more often, depending on your external exposure to others…and use soap!

Why are you still sitting here...go wash your hands!

Happy Germ-Free Eternity!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

In Response...

So I’m pondering the questions from yesterday in accepting Sister Claire Joy’s ‘challenging’ response to perhaps do a follow-up with the answers I find. I did pray for much of my day yesterday and here is my ‘stop and catch my breath’ moment.

I followed up my posting yesterday by just asking God why I was feeling such emptiness with regards to life (work, church, family, friends, etc). I’ve found that if I don’t ASK for His view, I sometimes get stuck in my own distorted views. It’s akin to asking God to reveal my unspoken, deeply hidden sin. For me it’s the ‘junk’ I have packed away in the darkest recesses of my heart and mind, thinking I’ll never have to deal with it and even proclaiming it is gone. It is that junk I’ve written about a few times that I keep lugging AWAY from the cross.

I have not felt PASSION about any of it, where did the PASSION go? Of course then the enemy sneaks up and says: “so maybe you never had any PASSION about any of it to begin with!” He is truly pure evil…and he tried to pass himself off as God again. He tried to sound very sincere and worried about it…which immediately clued me in that it was NOT God. God doesn’t worry…God knows the outcome and so does the enemy!

I’ve been feeling really disconnected, almost isolated, from friends. I have felt little zeal about my work at church. It’s as though every book I read and get so excited about, only discourages me further when I feel like so many people aren’t even committed enough to COME to church, much less WALK AS A BODY!

We proclaim to want to be a community and serve our community, but we can’t even show up and share when we’re hurting? We can’t be honest enough about where we are in our life to seek the wholeness God has for us in this community? I know there will always be those who are just “playing church”. I also KNOW that the change starts with me.

I don’t want to lose this battle and I rarely give-up, so...when people don’t COME to church, we are to GO…take church to them. Church is not a building, it’s a lifestyle! Church is NOT a sermon, safely packed in 25-30 minutes (if your lucky) of oration. Church is love-exhibited in service…for everyone.

I have felt an aching emptiness and out-of-control with my sister’s situation. I felt leftover emptiness from Mother’s Day. I was looking for any valid excuse to just go home sick and seal myself in my bedroom, throw the covers over my head and wallow in the piggishness of it all! My emotions were once again running away with me.

At that moment of escape, I asked God to remind me of the joy so richly planted in my soul, to let me feel that joy. You see I learned some time ago that joy is not some sap-happy state. Joy, in the biblical sense, is emotional stability and that’s what has been severely lacking in my life the past week or so. What happened to me yesterday is that God reminded me of THAT joy! The fruit of the H.S. joy! The eternal…for the rest of my life…there when I seek it…since the day I was saved…joy!

It is with that reclaimed spirit that I come to these questions again today.
1. How can I align the passions of my heart with my day to day life?

The passion cannot be limited by the earthly self-defeating definition of “intense emotion” rather it is the definition of Jesus Christ’s suffering that I must choose to push my heart forward day to day. For me this means as I continue to seek God’s will in my life…the very God who placed a passion in me through sacrifice…will unfold the destinations He desires in my journey

2. Where is this road going anyway…and who chose it?

The road I’m on depends on me. God gave me, gave us, free-choice. The moment came when I chose to get off MY road (leading to ‘worse then NO-WHERE’) and get ON God’s road leading to my destiny. God won’t reveal the final destination...what faith would that require? Instead He asks me to trust him no matter WHERE the road leads and stay close to Him on this journey.

3. Am I the result of my environment or is MY environment a result of me?

I agree with Sister Claire Joy: YES on both counts. I am a result of the things I experience. Including but not limited to things I ~ see, feel, perceive, hear, taste, touch, and think ~ my environment. My environment is then a result of me, which then affect and effect others’ environment. We are a global blend! Hey new coffee idea, global blend! Grab that one Starbucks…well; it might be a bit too strong for some folks.

4. Is ignorance better defined as gaining all the wisdom of the world but choosing not to walk in it or is it in never attaining any wisdom?

For me, ignorance is never attaining or seeking to attain wisdom. To gain all the wisdom of the WORLD and still chose not to walk in it…is wisdom! God calls me to walk in HIS wisdom, not the WORLD’S skewed and selfish wisdom. AHA: trick question!

5. Is it better to seek and NOT find, or to not seek and be found?

This made me think of the game hide-n-seek…a game I spent many hours of my youth playing. We never wanted to be ‘it’…to have to go search and FIND others. Why was that? The irony of that is now I’m always the one asking to go FIND ‘it’.

There are so many answers to this question for me. At immediate glance I think I’d rather be found, and not seek. Then, knowing ME, I would go crazy WAITING! I have to get out and go seek. There are so many wonderful ‘discoveries’ we make in these little adventures. In my ‘seeking mode’ I have found friendship, jobs, homes, hobbies, talents, church-family…my poetic side would even say…I’ve found my heart!

So in the midst of my weakness, God is once again made strong. He has reminded me of His presence and PASSION is His 1st name! God has such PASSION for each of us and I pray we can all hold on to it today and everyday and perhaps tomorrow offer it to someone else.
Happy Wednesday!
"...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I “borrowed” this from Tam over at What was I thinking. I’m so glad she has returned.

I know, I know I’ve already done one of these “MeMe’s” this week, but you know I love words and the subject of this one ironically enough is…WORDS!

What is your favorite word? My favorite word….okay, now let me my answer is: bliss.

What is your least favorite word? My least favorite word has to be: stupid.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Creatively: putting my hands into/onto something and FEELING the creation come to life.

Spiritually: Feeling the presence of God in and around me and HEARING God speak to me (recognizing His voice).

Emotionally: childlike moments in life. The truest expression of emotions among people.

What turns you off? Prejudice, ignorance, hate, selfishness, abuse…among many, I’m afraid.

What is your favorite curse word? It is not blog-appropriate!

What sound or noise do you love? I loved Tam’s responses…I’ll try to be original on the heels of such expression.

I love the sound of children laughing. I love the sound of Jim Brickman on Piano. I love the sound of a wave crashing inland. I love the sound of my best friend’s voice. I love the sound of rainshowers. I love the sound of my husband’s voice.

What sound or noise do you hate? I hate LOUD, GANSTA Rap Music. I hate hearing people fight. I hate loud screaming.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Writer of encouraging books, of course! Graphic Artist. Personal shopper. Owning/running a comfy, loungy, coffee shop; furnished completely in garage sale finds! Hairdresser.

What profession would you not like to do? Telemarketer!

What would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? The obvious: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Over and above that maybe, “Welcome home my child! Come here and give me a hug!”

Just Another Day...

I'm finding trouble being "content" where I am and I'm unsure if it's God prompting me to step out of this boat? or if it's my own unsettled spirit. With that in mind I don't have any 'inspired' messages today so I will share a favorite quote and a short question.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. -- Voltaire

So this begs the question: What is/are your question(s)? Here is a starting list of mine…

1. How can I align the passions of my heart with my day to day life?

2. Where is this road going anyway…and who chose it?

3. Am I the result of my environment or is MY environment a result of me?

4. Is ignorance better defined as gaining all the wisdom of the world but choosing not to walk in it or is it in never attaining any wisdom?

5. Is it better to seek and NOT find, or to not seek and be found?