New Background

Can You Hear Me Now?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Synchronicity

We had to get to church uber-early this past Sunday because my husband was serving, so I was sitting outside reading a book and watching people...and a car parked directly in front of me. I watched as an elderly man got out of his side of the car and walked around to let his elderly wife out. They were probably in their late 60's, early 70's. They held hands and began walking and immediately their steps fell in sync.

They walked hand in hand, step by step, to the door and at the risk of sounding cliche', it touched my heart. I thought about my own marriage and how truly blessed I am to have the most ideal husband God could have created just for me, even on days when I wonder how we could be more different in thought and deed.

I pray our marriage deepens to the level this couple at church has...this level of unconscious synchronicity. The level that says we are truly soul mates and God has blessed us with a marriage that is full of harmony and when worked and molded this harmony can lead to synchronicity. It's not just a natural occurrence.

Oh sure, the steps can be measured and attempts made to walk together in unison. But true marital synchronicity takes a lot of work. It takes giving beyond what you think you can give. It takes selfless acts of love, not just daily, but sometimes hourly. It takes putting aside the fleshly desires and thinking of your spouse first.

In the words of our Father, it's another of the sow and reap principles.

I know this...I desire for my marriage to be the way God designed it to be...and I want to walk in step with my husband all the days of our lives!

Have a blessed Friday!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Heroes

Confession...I watch Heroes. I have since the beginning and I like it. I know some would say it's a banal waste of time and has no redeeming qualities...it's just television...I would have to disagree.

Heroes reminds me of our own God-given gifts. I know it may seem like a far cry from the television program, but I don't think it really is. You see, I believe each day that we choose to deny our gifts and just live our life for ourselves and our close-little circle of people we choose to interact with, the more we lose a little bit of that gift.

God showed us through the parable of sow/reap, and the parable of the talents and throughout the Bible that if we will not be used, He will find someone who will become a vessel for Him. We have the use it or lose it gifts. Our gifts are not for us...they are for HIM!

When I shut down between churches recently, I quit actively encouraging others and the less I encouraged, the less encouraged I was. It was a palpable difference. Even with the small amount of this I have resumed at church and at work, the more encouraged I am...the more joy I walk in.

The same principle stands for my gifting of teaching and leading. The more I lie down and allow Satan's voice to echo over the audible voice of God inside me, the more battles I defer to the enemy. I can't just lie down and allow him earthly victory when I know Christ died to give us eternal victory and to share that on earth as long as we're here...in our words and deeds.

Remember God won't ask us to do the possible. God will only ask us to do the absolutely, completely, utterly IMPOSSIBLE, so He gets the glory and recognition of the ability He brings us.

So the bottom line is I am a Hero. I have powers. We all do. Our mission is not just to 'save the cheerleader, save the world!' Rather our mission is clear...share the message of the salvation of the world...not through a cheerleader, but through a Savior.

So...are you a hero too?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Echo of a Whisper

Last night in Bible Study we talked about Elijah and one of his encounters with God. Elijah was looking for the great and mighty Lord to LOUDLY reverberate as He passed by Elijah...but he didn't. God whispered to Elijah, the same way he often whispers to me...to us.

God has been whispering to me more and more...or perhaps more likely...I've been quieted down enough to hear the whispering that is there much more than I ever dreamed. You see, something has happened to me in the past several months.

I originally thought it was just related to church "burn-out" or even apathy. I didn't FEEL apathetic, but I did feel a bit 'burned-out' and I just sort of quit talking about it all. I quit talking about every little thing I felt passion about. I thought I just got tired of the noise. Now I think it's something more.

I think God quieted me down. I think He's been waiting and waiting for a chance to talk to me and He knows me well enough to know I had to be quieted down before I'd ever hear Him.

I know I've shared how quiet my husband used to be. He could easily sit in silence in a room full of conversation, for the entire time. I would just be chatting away and he'd comfortably sit and take it all in. The last few times we've been out with friends or even in a church social setting, I sit quietly, while he chats away with ease.

Don't get me wrong...I CAN and DO talk...especially when I get really riled up. The difference is now I can hear the meaningless banter and turn it off much more quickly. Perhaps part of it is the aging process. Perhaps part of it is allergy related (LOL). I have to believe the largest part is God and the words of encouragement He's given me over the past weeks.

God is whispering...and I'm praying for that echo!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Meme and a Trip...

I'm so excited...I've been 'tagged' for a Meme and I haven't done one in...let's see...oh about 1,000 years. Okay, a bit of an exaggeration perhaps...but it's been awhile, and it's from a new friend. I do realize I've been in a self-imposed state of seclusion with regards to saying much here until recently. But I do believe I have found the whisper that comes my way when I pipe down long enough to hear Him.

The hubs and I are going to Arkansas this weekend for a little family reunion on a side of the family I don't EVER get to see. I'm UBER-excited! We leave tomorrow a.m. and Mary Poppins is once again watching the 'girls' and our home. We'll be back Sunday evening and I'll try to post some pics and some words on our return. In the meantime here is my

Profile Meme:
My Blog Name is: kpjara


But people usually call me: Kim, Kimbo, Kimmers

I was born here: California

And I’ve lived here: California, Arkansas, Kansas, Colorado, Alaska, Maryland, New Mexico

Until I wound up here: Oklahoma

My occupation is/was: Billing & Collection Supervisor, Insurance Co.

My favorite color is: Lime Greem and Pink (all shades)

My favorite hobby is: crafting, reading, watching movies, writing

My favorite season is: Summer, FallBecause: I love it HOT, HOT, HOT…and I love the colors of Fall and the break from the HOT, HOT, HOT!

A few favorite books are: Anything by Karen Kingsbury, and a plethora of other fiction and non fiction Christian writers.

Some of my favorite music is: Toby Mac, any piano music, SuperChick,

My favorite kinds of movies are: Romantic Comedies and Drama, suspense

My favorite actor/actress is: Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon

My favorite food indulgence is: Chocolate.

My favorite drink indulgence is: Vanilla Tea

My favorite dessert indulgence is: Cheesecake Factory’s Chocolate/coconut cake…YUM-O!

One weird thing about me is: My sense of humor is sometimes a bit ‘weird’.

One of my fantasies is: to win the lottery and give it all away…once the bills are paid off.

One of my pet peeves is: prejudice born of ignorance.

A big shout out to: Grandma Dawn, SuperMom, and anyone else feeling up to a little Meme!
and a BIGGER shout out to Maudie Mae. I look forward to getting to know you a bit more. Loved your answers by the way! I'll give a hey to Arkansas as I pass through and stay in one of those cabins you're seeking!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Before the Rain

We were expecting a storm system to travel through the metro this morning and the news stations all reminded us to bring our umbrella, be prepared, yada, yada, yada...

The dogs were very excited this morning as they heard some high frequency something in the sky that I couldn't hear. As I opened the door to let them out I did see some of that notorious green sky, indicating a storm was indeed on the way in full force.


I got my things together and turned on the television for the girls and started my short commute to work, in hopes of missing the rain altogether.


As I pulled out of the tree-covered neighborhood and the sky was clear of obstruction, I saw the most amazing thing...the rainbow BEFORE THE RAIN!!! It was an amazing Technicolor rainbow, as clear as I've seen for many years. It got me thinking about the reminders God gives us even before our storms...like this rainbow reminder.


I thought about my own storms recently and how God has prepared me and girded me with His Word and His love and His encouragement, before I walked one foot into life's storm. He reminded me that even when I doubt His covering...He covers me. He reminded me that even when I step onto the water and begin to sink, He is there to take my hand and lead me to dry land. He reminded me that when I am being pelted by stress, worry, fear...that He is the Father of mercy and grace and love.


I quit looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because God has reminded me that the true beauty is in the reminder...that is the Rainbow.


I hope you have a rainbow-filled day!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What Do I Deserve?

I went to my first Bunco Game last night. It was at the church we’re attending and I made a couple of observations. One…I like Bunco. It’s fun and fast paced and has great potential. Two…I don’t want to play it at church again. This game has a tendency to bring out…let’s just say…a not so pretty side of women. Yes…including me!

When I hear what I feel is negative, I begin to shut down. I pull away and withdraw from the activity. I know WHY, I just don’t know HOW to change it. And actually, I’m not sure I should change it. In any event, I almost won most Buncos…but there was a tie and I had a roll-off with the other woman competing and lost the roll-off. It got me thinking about what I DESERVE in life…

I know I’ve written here before, that ever since we’ve moved back to Oklahoma, God has been dealing with pride in my life. I’ve struggled understanding what I deserve and don’t deserve. I understand that I don’t DESERVE God’s grace and mercy but that’s the wonder of God. Grace is a gift. God’s grace is unmerited and UNdeserved favor from the all-powerful and incredibly loving God of the Universe. So while I may not deserve it…God lovingly offers it new each morning!

Satan knows this about me and he wreaks havoc every chance he gets. He tells me pretty regularly I don’t deserve the wonderful husband I have. I don’t deserve help from friends and family. I don’t deserve a good job or a healthy life or fun of any kind. I don’t deserve to feel any joy or any of those healing fruits of the Spirit. I don’t deserve redemption. I darn sure don’t deserve eternal life or Jesus Christ’s salvation.

Satan also reminds me what I do deserve. I deserve to fail. I deserve judgment. I deserve fear. I deserve loss. I deserve mistrust. I deserve anything bad. Satan tries to tell me each and every day what a loser I am.

I could tell you how easy it is to tell him to ‘bug-off’. But it’s not always so easy. It’s downright HARD most days. Some days I actually mistake his voice for God’s, usually the times when I haven’t been listening to God’s voice enough. Usually I remember that God doesn’t need a martyr, God wants our lives, to help us be the very glory he created us to be…in Him.

I pray today that God would remind each of us to be the friend we want to have and to seek every opportunity to encourage others around us each day.

Have a blessed Saturday!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Update From Here in the Heartland

WOW! It's been a while since I've last put fingers to keyboard (as the case may be). Lots of stuff happening, most of it probably not all that enthralling to anyone in the blogdom...other than me, but I'll journal some of it for my own records.

I shared previously that we were going to attend a church for awhile and just see how the settling in 'fits'. A part of that is attending a Wednesday night discipleship class as well as joining a women's encouragement group. I LOVE the encouragement group and I'm warming to the Wed. night class. The teacher on Wednesday is a bit green around the gills, but his heart is in the right place. His passion is discipleship...that is clear.

We also tried a different "small group" this month and it was a better fit than the other we visited. We may go back to this one or we may try one more group. For some reason my husband and I are more comfortable around the older crowds. I don't know if we enjoy being the youngest (after years of being considered seniors in our 30's), or if it's the wisdom this group has and shares so openly. Whatever it is, we typically find ourselves most at home with the 50-60 y.o. groups.

The encouragement group is a 'mystery encourager' for a quarter. So I've been having fun writing cards and picking out little gifts to encourage her on her journey. Plus, I'm all about wrapping the stuff and the presentation.

I'm also starting a women's study this Tuesday evening at another church in town that we had visited. While we aren't going to the church, I was interested in their studies and emailed the leader. The book is by Kay Arthur; "Lord, Teach Me How To Pray". I've read a few of her books, but done no studies. I do like her writing style and I know it can only add to what I already practice.

The most exciting news is that just a few short weeks ago I got to meet a blogger I've read and 'loved' and talked to on the phone a few times...in REAL LIFE on a recent visit she made to Tulsa. The hubs and I drove up to meet with her for an afternoon amidst a family situation she was helping maintain. It was so exciting and she was as sweet and encouraging in person as she is on the phone and in writing. She doesn't write so much anymore...I don't know why, I think life has just sort of taken over, but I'm keeping her on my blog list because I know she'll check in eventually...I know you're dying to know WHO it is...well wait no longer, it is Time For Twittering, Tam.

We shopped a bit together and shared a bite to eat at Cheesecake Factory...which was a blast. I could talk to her easily all day and night for days on end if the opportunity ever presented itself...and I'm very excited about sometime...hopefully SOON getting to go up to her hometown and visiting her and her whole family!

That's pretty much it from here in the heartland! I hope all is well everywhere else in this blogdom and beyond. Christmas is fast approaching and I'm not ready, nor am I the slightest motivated about it. I love the season, but am rethinking the whole over-gifting thing...at least today.

Have a blessed and beautiful Pre-Fall Sunday!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Girls

On Days when people overwhelm me...
these are the ones that show me what REAL love is
...everyday!
Let me introduce (from left to right): Bubba and Mimi




Monday, August 27, 2007

Heart Pains

My heart is heavy.

I'm in a pretty major disagreement with my folks about a family issue.

I obviously can't share much, except to say sometimes it's hard to be the fall-guy.

Some days I don't want to be the 'bigger' one.

Some days I want to be immature and not care who I hurt.

Some days I want to be the one that doesn't just walk away, but actually speaks her mind.

Today is not that day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Crazy Beans

Out among the vast and testosterone driven masses, lies a small...almost non-existent fantasy football league. And among these manly men, carrying their masculinity in their lists and picks...is a genteel, fairer one...who has decided to arm herself with a team for the 'girls'.


I have a friend who is a SPORTS FANATIC...and I am not using that term loosely. She knows more about Basketball, Baseball, and Football then almost any man I've met (except my 10-y.o. nephew). She decided to play along in this league and asked me to represent at the draft as she is busy, busy, busy with work!

I went. I picked...and I believe I conquered! I withstood some criticism for my selections. I read some disparaging (but not horribly so) remarks that questioned my ability to choose this team. It is done. I brought home the pigskin and fried it up in my mind!

The thing that struck me is I made my picks almost entirely based on my...come closer so the guys don't hear this...my intuition.

Don't repeat that anywhere it would kill them, because you see, I'm fairly certain my picks were just about as good as theirs. In all fairness I did look at the top performers based on the league stats, but mostly...it was my heart that sold me. My co-owner was pleased. We may have to make a couple of free-agent drafts because of early injuries...but we'll see where it all winds up at seasons end.

Yeah, there was question about our 'name' but that's a name we're also saving for a local coffee shop where we'll serve 'manic mocha's' and 'edgy espresso' one day in the not so far away future. I'm going to be a baker in the little shop (and co-owner hopefully) and we'll just visit with the locals and enjoy our free evenings...ah but I'm getting ahead of myself.

For now, it's FFB and the Crazy Beans are representin'!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hurricane Sans Beach?

What the heck! I don't get the beach front, but I get the hurricane. What's that about.


We've had some weird weather in Oklahoma in all my combined years of residence here...but the hurricane conditions we had Sunday early a.m. where absolutely remarkable. We got about 7-8 inches of rain in about 2-3 hours and there was one point when I looked into the backyard and couldn't see the grass beneath of the water and rain.

In other news...there is this product I've been meaning to share that we've been trying since Mid-May and I just haven't done it. My apologies...cause it's a good product and one people should know about.

You'll think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

It's the Foot Flush, and it looks a little something like this:

Amazing isn't it! I'll even give you a snapshot of it in use...


The best thing about it, aside from amusement and showing all our friends and family...is it really is good for someone with back pain, or someone who can't bend over or a smaller child that can't always reach the handle. I still think the company should have a toilet lid closer attached and then it would be almost hands free for everything!

As silly as it sounds, this is one of the better products I've seen advertised and I think some people who have tried it at our home are considering purchasing one for themselves.

Well, clearly not much going on here. I did pick up some great finds this weekend at the garage sales including some cd's for twenty-five cents apiece (Christian music mostly) and one of Rob Lacey, The Word of God and he actually goes through the entire Bible in 70 minutes in 65 tracks. I've listened to it and it's pretty good. Obviously VERY condensed, but it hits the heavy points and is insightful in some areas.

I hope you're having a pleasant, hurricane free week! I guess I should count my blessings I wasn't in the eye of the storm on an island somewhere.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Full Moon?

This morning as I was leaving my home for work, our next door neighbor (the one who hasn't spoken since we moved in...after the 'fence' incident) stopped mowing and WAVED at me. I mean a big "LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME!" wave.


I almost wrecked. Thankfully I didn't because I would have run him over and that would NOT be good.


I waved back and immediately asked God... "What is going on Lord! This man hasn't even glanced our way in 4 1/2 years and today he makes it very clear he is WAVING to me!" It almost scared me. It definitely unnerved me.


I began to reflect on my recent frustration and angst and how I was just on the verge...and apparently God heard my cry and wants to remind me that He is still the sovereign, loving God I remember. He is the God of miracles; big and small. He is the God that desires us to love our neighbor as ourselves.


In my defense, I haven't been 'loving myself' too well lately either...so the neighbors shouldn't expect much.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hump Day Hilarity

It's been hot-hot-hot here in our fine city. I'm not complaining...just setting a mood.


When I go home at lunch my car thermometer reads between 104-109 degrees daily. When I go home for the day it's still well into the triple digits.


It's HOT! It's the kind of hot that you literally feel on your skin as you spend more than 5 minutes outdoors. It's the kind of hot that makes the steering wheel almost too hot to touch (even with a cover). It's the kind of hot that could burn exposed legs on leather or pleather (neither of which I have to deal with). It's the kind of hot that could cook an egg on the sidewalk...or something a bit more desirable...


A group of us at work were talking about a possible experiment for these dog days of summer. I decided to go forward with the hypothesis testing. This morning I cooked chocolate chip cookies in the 'hatch back' in the rear of my car.


I just put foil on one of my 8 x 8 pans and put 6 individual cookie dough pieces on the pan. I put them in the 'auto-oven' this a.m. and just left them in there. They traveled to work... home for lunch...back to work and then come afternoon break (which ran late due to a last minute crisis-averting meeting) I went outside (sans potholder) to get them.


That pan was HOT...I had to use a plastic bag I had in my auto-oven to carry them inside. I served them to the other group participants and surprisingly they were cooked through. They were a bit chewier than oven-baked perhaps, but they were cooked! I'm thinking I could have a side business at work.


I'll include a picture...

That's the only one left. It's mine. Nope I haven't even tried it yet, because I had to get the photo. As you can see there's hardly a crumb left.

So, in conclusion...dog day afternoons = chocolate chip cookie breaks!

How's the weather in your parts?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Another Kind of Acts

Hosted by Sting My Heart

"Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name..."
~ Matt Redman ~
Lyrics from "Blessed be Your Name"


I have always been an actor. I can put on faces for any occasion. I can act. Acting is a wonderful and entertaining ability. Acting is not conducive to the lifestyle of transparency to which Christ has called me. I struggle sometimes to separate the two.

I have sung this Matt Redman song on more occasions than I can count on toes and fingers and many times...in all honesty...I was acting. I see the words. I hear the words. I even sing the words. But there have been so many times when I heard myself singing these same lyrics and one of the masks would appear on my face. The mask of praise and worship. This mask hid the misunderstanding beneath. This mask hid the lack of wisdom. This mask began to fade and expose the truth.

The truth is there are days when I find it very, very difficult to sing these same lyrics. There are some days when I want nothing to do with these words. There are some days when frankly...I want nothing to do with Christianity.

These days, when I wake up to say: "Forget it God...I'm not playing this game today!" God doesn't come down and kick me out of bed. God doesn't 'guilt' me into worship. God doesn't say a thing. God waits.

God waits for me to come to Him. He waits for me to bring praise and worship...not just in words, but in attitude. THIS is the God that I gladly...even joyfully bring praise and worship to. This God that waits...quietly, assuredly, knowing my heart...He waits!

Blessed be HIS name!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Get Behind Me Satan!

No sooner were the words...We're committing to this church...out of my mouth then Satan reared his UGLY head.

I got an email on Friday a.m. from the women's pastor (AKA: New Pastor's wife) just saying 'thank you' to all the women who attended a recent gathering to blast-off the new women's ministry that would have small groups for women with similarities to help them 'connect' to other women in the church. The email went on to say they had made a decision to forgo this new endeavor as it seems to be quite a bit larger than they anticipated...perhaps? I don't really know the reasoning behind the withdrawal.

I do know I am horribly 'bummed' about it.

Yes, they will still have Bible studies (2-3 per Fall/Spring) and yes they will still have social gatherings quarterly or semi-annually, but no small groups specifically for women. They do have small groups that meet monthly for families, but trust me when I say there is a HUGE benefit to having women's small groups! Not just a benefit but almost life-sustaining for women, who are inherently relational.

My heart knows I need to trust God on this...I'm just struggling on the heels of this news, especially after sitting through the huge gathering of women and getting pumped about it. There were probably (in 2 meetings) well over 150 women ready to get started.

I'm praying God gives me some peace about the whole thing and the Bible study is enough to help me 'connect'. I'm also praying the small group we 'land in' is the best fit for us.

On the heels of this news and my own Sunday angst, I was a little less than enthused at church today. It was a good message about fears and some of it really hit me on the head/heart...and being the third David and Goliath message in 4 months, I'm wondering if God is trying to tell ME something specifically or if the "Book of Sermons" for the summer is inundated with David and Goliath material.

Lord help me maintain a positive attitude and put my WHOLE heart forward drawing on the positives from the past and ignoring the nagging voices within trying to self-defeat before we even get it started.

Signed,
A De-churched Wanderer...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

30 Days Later

I'm here, I'm here!

Things are much the same. I'm working tons. I only have access to the computer at night and with the hubs and I actually getting time together...well, understandably the writing has taken a back seat.

We've been staying busy. We see at least a movie a week. None of them have been overly impressive...though I'm looking forward to the Bourne Ultimatum movie we're seeing this weekend. No Reservations was a bit of a disappointment. Live Free, Die Hard was good. Ratatouille was good...and Fantastic 4, The Silver Surfer was also surprisingly entertaining. Nothing award winning, just okay...and enough to beat the dog day afternoons of summer.

I've also been working on some stained glass I'm going to sell in a friend's shop she opened this summer. I'll include some of the pics.


I've shown the 'fruit of the spirit' piece here before...but it's one of my favorites.


The blue "Hand of God" is actually my hand.



I'm working on another sign language "I love You" and another really large piece to go above a door in her shop as a 'gift' to her for allowing me to show pieces there.


I'm also hoping to show other art work there, but we'll start with this and see how it fairs.

At homes projects are taking a back seat until fall when it's cool enough to undertake the painting and outdoor work I would like to do.

I've had to shave the dog twice in less than a month because of the ever rising temps. I guess the solid rain through early summer really spoiled us with regards to temperatures. The evening walking may be relegated to video tapes if it doesn't get any better.

Work is in flux with personnel issues and position changes...I won't bore you with the details.

And church...well after trying out several churches of different denominations we've really narrowed it down to 2 churches. Both of them are large, though one considerably larger than the other, with over 10,000 members. We decided to just focus on the very first church we visited some months ago.

We're going to North Church and trying both men's and women's functions as well as Sunday service and small groups that meet monthly. This is the church where we know a few of the families that attend. It's a good church. It's got 'good bones'. I think there are some wonderful people here..and any trepidation I'm feeling could just be from my inner-man rebelling from lack of discipline and regular Bible study.

I confess I almost reached apathy with regards to religion as whole. I never have, and I pray I never WILL lose hope in God...I just feel so challenged with CHURCH and this never-ending pulse that tells me in the words of Brian McLaren...We ARE missing the point.

And so I'll plug in and give my all (or whatever is left) and continue to pray and seek the very meaning of church and Church and CHURCH!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Is Grace Enough?

I heard one of the D.J. of a local Christian station last week on the way to work, 'slamming' a television/movie star on air. It's not important who it was. What's more important and what had me switching my station to secular music is this sense of disgust with the judgment being poured out more freely than the grace given us as Christians...the very namesake we are called to model.

Sometimes I think the 'church' does little more than just sit back in their grace-filled chapel casting out judgment and hate to the world.

There is nothing like a little effective proselytizing, eh?

This is what I hear....
Yes, Jesus loves you...IF you look and act like us!

No, they can't come in here or receive love because they don't look right or sound right...or because of what they said...or because of that tattoo...or because of their lifestyle...or because of their family...or because we are called to a higher standard!"

I find myself becoming more and more incensed by the whole scene. Not so long ago, this kind of judgment and evil nearly took down a nation. Historically we have faced this type of evil that attempts to rename itself the 'betterment of society'.

Weren't we all just one prayer away from hell?

Was grace enough?

Is grace still enough?

Just wondering...

My husband and I visited a PH church this weekend. It was probably the friendliest church we've been to yet! I would imagine over 2/3 of the congregants made their way to us to greet us and introduce themselves. We attended the early (8:30 am) service as we are both morning people and we were truly among some elders. At 30-40 we were by far the youngest there.

From what I understand from friends who have visited this church, the service is absolutely split. The late service is very contemporary and the early service...very traditional. I didn't mind the hymns and the wonderful wisdom with the congregants. The pastor was absent so we heard a youth pastor speak about David and Goliath...a good message about facing and fighting our giants. We also attended 'Sunday School' and it was a little less interactive than I would like to see...but overall it was a good experience.

Still searching and waiting for church home...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

For Grandma...

I got a dreaded call this a.m. My sister called to notify me my Grandmother died last night. I believe she was going to be 95 in August...yes a long, long life she lived. I thought I'd share some of my few memories of this women who gave me my mother.

My mother is a very hard worker and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt she got this from my Grandmother. My Grandparents were a product of the depression and never lost that 'save it all' mentality. They worked very hard all their lives at farming, and my grandmother, in the 50's and 60's (before it was considered acceptable for women) worked as a maid in motels in the little towns they farmed.

My grandparents lived in Arkansas all MY life...in a small town called Mountain View. They lived in an unpretentious home, with 3 bedrooms and enough land in the back yard to raise their own food with some to spare. They also had chickens and turkeys. It always felt like we were going to visit the 'country' when we city-slickers visited from Denver.

My brother and sister and I would get so excited about getting a home grown watermelon straight off the vine in those late summer visits. We'd GET to help grandma can the green beans. To this day, my sister despises anything but home grown green beans. We'd have fresh fried okra and there would always be some kind of berry to be had. There would be vegetables and fruit to consume to your belly's content.

We never had to attempt to wring the chickens' necks for dinner but I always wondered about the excess feathers in the backyard. My mother has since told me stories of her feeble attempts to perform this task at the young age of 4 or 5 and the chicken just flopped back and forth and got down just angry as can be! We did get to go gather eggs and that was always strange too for city folks who 'gathered eggs' at the grocery story. These eggs were WARM!

Sometimes we got to go out to my uncle's farm and he had horses. Those were the best days. He also had cows and we had to attempt to milk them (not nearly as easy as it looks I might add) and then we'd ride horses til we could barely walk!

I remember my grandparents' house wasn't very kid-friendly and it seemed a bit 'cold' at times, but in retrospect I know they were a product of their own generation and the demons that chased them from the times of want and need.

On Saturday evening we'd get to go to the hootenanny (an informal or impromptu performance by folk singers, in which the audience often participates) at the town square (I'm being totally serious). It was a highlight of the week. All these farmers and small town folks would come into town and right in the center of downtown (literally 4 streets surround the courthouse) was a town square where locals sang, danced, played the fiddle, and we all drug our lawn chairs out there or blankets and sat and sang along or just visited with friends and family in town.

As we grew older the appeal to visit was less strong and I skipped some of those later visits during late high school and college. I did attend their 50th anniversary. I was amazed that two people could be married that long! My parents just celebrated their 46th this year. Seems hard to believe they too, will soon celebrate this golden anniversary.

I was not able to attend my Grandfather's funeral...many years ago now, due to schedules. Frankly funerals are not 'my thing'. I have been to only a handful in my life and would much rather attend a memorial service than a funeral. I can't bear the emotional upheaval. I will be attending this one...for my mother.

My grandmother, on more recent visits, had literally been watching a clock across from her bed and chair in her final home. She could barely hear or see anymore and though she did recognize me the times I went, she didn't always recognize my mother, in more recent visits. She did, however; show some of that spunk when people would step in front of that clock with the giant LCD display (probably 6 inches high) telling her the time was passing one minute at a time. She wanted...NEEDED clear vision of those minutes ticking by!

I see some of my grandmother in me. She is where I found the passion to read. She is where I learned a strong work ethic. In that same spirit I pray each day I better understand my mother and her uber-high expectations of each of us...because this is her heritage and we are her legacy...a legacy that was passed down from my Grandmother...may be rest in peace at last.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Speed Bumps & Potholes

Speed bumps have a way of slowing us down. Typically I see them in neighborhoods or around restaurants or schools. Sometimes they are HUGE and you really have to watch out for them or they could damage your vehicle. Sometimes they are smaller and they barely effect the traffic flow.

Potholes also slow us down; but unlike our ability to anticipate the speed bumps, potholes pop up quickly and without warning. You know when you've hit one because typically you're moving along at the speed limit (or a little above) and you feel the ground drop out from beneath a wheel (or two) and you are jarred senseless for a moment.

You can also dodge potholes. I've seen drivers nearly drive off the road in an attempt to miss the potholes that cover our city routinely. It's much harder to dodge speed bumps. I remember in one parking lot it became a challenge to try to hit the speed bumps right in the center where there was a space just wide enough for a small car to get through without going over the bump.

These two nuisances (to the average driver) remind me of our life on earth.
We hit speed bumps & potholes in life almost every day as well. Like the parking lots, the speed bumps in our life are also nearly impossible to avoid, even though we can SEE them and PLAN for them well in advance.

These are the bumps in life that are there to make us think before we act. If we don't choose to slow down, we feel the impact. It could be something as simple as the birth of a new child. You know it's going to happen (within plenty of time usually) and when it does, sometimes you are completely unprepared.

There are also the potholes...those unexpected, life-jarring moments that are sometimes painful, but you do move through them...like a small pothole of an accident or injury or a huge (seemingly insurmountable pothole) of losing someone we love.

I believe these speed bumps and potholes are part of our life to allow us time to prepare or heal. Sure you can avoid them altogether...if you never move forward, but that's not even living now...is it!

Remember to 'drive' carefully on the road AND in life!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Few Good Words

We obviously made it to NM safely and have been enjoying our brief visit with Paul's family. We even had time to hit a couple of shops I used to love. We picked up a couple of souvenirs for home and had some wonderful local cuisine....lots of red and green chile'! Yum-O!



Tomorrow we head out of the Land of Enchantment and back to our fair city...our home. As nice as it is to get away, there is not much like pulling into the drive-way back home after a few hours on the road.



Tonight was the actual graduation party. Paul's sister got her Master's in City Planning and has worked in the field for a few years already. I don't doubt she'll make history one day in her field...she's that bright!



For me the highlight of the evening was visiting with the young lady whose wedding we attending on our visit last May. She and I were able to sit and visit and talk about the first year of marriage; struggles and blessings. We talked about family and life and hopes and dreams. She's such a sweet young lady and one of my favorite NM people!



Paul and both decided we couldn't live in NM again. It's an awesome place to visit, but it just isn't home anymore.



I pray Sunday brings inspiration and peace!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I Met Mary Poppins...

...for dogs that is!

Last night our dog-sitter stopped by. I hadn't even spoken to her on the phone as Paul did all the arranging for this sitter and meeting. She came by the house about 5:40-ish (after calling of course) and I went to the front door to help greet her (translation: control the dogs). The 'girls' can be a tad over-welcoming to all who approach from the front. We actually have friends come in through the garage so as not to be impaled by claws upon entry.


The moment the dog-sitter speaks, the girls while excited, are not overly so. They don't jump up on her as they do most. It could be because she immediately kneeled down to their level and in the sweetest, most charming southern accent she proceeded to love on them both.


She didn't show favoritism (which usually occurs). We have one very 'beautiful' golden/cocker spaniel mix that everyone is naturally drawn to (and she is the Alpha dog), and a little more 'plain' black/white rat terrier mix that is less furry and striking by most standards.


She spent a full 5 minutes in the entry way just talking to them and petting them and 'figuring them out'.


She then came on in and I was almost as mesmerized as the 'girls' as I proceeded to ask her about how she got started in this business and how long she'd been a 'sitter'. She cleans houses as her primary business, but she LOVES dogs...so much so that she carries a bag of dog biscuits with her to offer to strays as she tries to rescue them from the streets or at least offer some food relief.


I fully expect the dogs to be disappointed upon our return because they won't get to see their new best friend until our next trip.


And so I pack with confidence that the girls will have the best care and we can enjoy this short trip.


I'll write tomorrow from the other end of the road!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Priceless




Cost of gas in region: $ 2.80/gallon

Price for gas for trip: $ 121.74

Cost of Hotel for 2 night: $ 180.00

Cost of gift for SIL: $ 55.00

Cost for doggy sitter: $ 60.00



Husband attending little sister's graduation party: Priceless




Yes, we're taking another trip back to Albuquerque. You may recall I "Blogged" the entire trip last time and each stop we made along the path as that was our vacation for the year. This year I wasn't sure we would be going, however; Paul's little sister has received her Masters degree and he really wanted to attend the party.



If I were completely honest I'd say I don't 'dig' these short 3 day trips where 18 hours of the trip are on the highway. I'd also say I don't enjoy HUGE gatherings...actually I KNOW I've said that before. BUT...I know how much this matters to my husband, his family (especially his little sister), and I know these are the moment that matter in life.



I'm one of those people who say regularly: "Life is about choices...choose well!" I totally believe this. I don't always practice it...particularly in some of the words I have chosen and in some of the arguments I have elected to participate in, but I do believe this adage.



We hit a pretty big snafu early on in the pre-planning because our current dog-sitters (i.e. my parents) were going on their own 2 week vacation and weren't available for their grand-dogs. We started calling around thinking...'no biggee, we'll find a dog-sitter.' UH....BIGGEE! We started by calling...I guess I should say PAUL started by getting online and calling the 'bonded and insured' sitters first. They wanted $20.00 per visit. Each time they come let the dogs out!!! or $50.00 per day. That's almost as much as our hotel.



Then we started asking friends who love dogs...none available.



We then contacted the vet and went to the pet stores and got a few names. We finally found the one we HOPE to use. We (Paul, me and the 'girls') will be meeting with her this Wednesday to make sure it's a good fit. Before you even ask, we couldn't use a kennel because the girls are 10 years old and have never been away from home (except for walks and moving), and they would FREAK out.



We tried to take one of them for grooming and she cornered the groomer. Paul had to go pick her up. Needless to say, one semi-pro groomer purchaser later, I'm the groomer (with help from my sometimes-reluctant husband).



Suffice to say I've decided this could be a great 2nd job for us. We both agree we could let dogs in and out over weekends and make some extra bucks! We're going to check on the insurance because I don't want any problems, but it seems to be a good idea so far.



And remember if you have pets, take them to the kennels early in their lives so they get used to it. I've already decided all future pets of mine are going at least 6 times a year for overnight visits so I can travel in peace.



I'm going to be sure and take photographs along the way and blog at least once so I can share the experience once again...and it gives me a little 'cool down' period each evening after the family get-together.



Have a pet-friendly Wednesday!

Monday, June 18, 2007

5 Things I Dig About Jesus

I was tagged for this meme by Sally at Eternal Echoes. How could I NOT join in. Jesus and all things Jesus are at the very top of my 'things I dig in life' list!


Here's how it works:
Those tagged will share 5 Things They Dig About Jesus.
Those tagged will tag 5 people.
Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of this post so everyone can keep track of what's being posted..

so...now keeping it to 5 things should be interesting!

1. Jesus embodies passion...in life and in His death. I dig passion! I dig Jesus' passion. It's something I strive for daily...passion!

2. Jesus didn't wait for people to come to him...he sought them out.

3. Jesus was a great teacher!

4. Jesus got personal. He didn't just talk in generalities...He spoke truth with love. He got in your face and just spoke truth. He even cried out in his own pain and suffering...in truth!

5. The thing I dig most about Jesus, is his love for us. Jesus loves me. I dig that love!


So now I tag:

Pdiddy
Shalee
Becky
Dawn
& Swandive

I look forward to reading many of these as they travel through the blogdom! This has got to be one of the best memes I've seen out here!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Habits & Facts Meme

Claire Joy over at Flavor of the Month has tagged me for a meme. If tagged (or if you feel like doing this one), and you accept, these are the rules:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

I did the 7 random facts not too long ago and I remember the 8’s going around…but I never got tagged. Now I figure what with all my word-lack lately maybe I could just do this.

1. I hate movies that don’t end well. I need the happy ending…or at least the illusion of a happy ending.

2. (I’ll steal from my ‘tagger’ for this next one). At the young age of 40-something, I have had about 20 jobs since I started working: I have been a pretzel maker, an ice-cream scooper, a seasonal ‘actress’ (dressed up as animals for children’s events), Wal-Mart cashier (before SUPER Centers), dorm desk clerk, librarian asst., lab assistant, retail cashier, an answering service operator, muralist, day-care teacher, art salesperson, research technician, phlebotomist, transcriptionist, med tech, computer operator, Q.C. coordinator, ofc manager, receptionist, and bookkeeper.

3. My dream job is to write books that encourage or a movie critic.

4. Until only recently I found great pleasure in debating anyone who felt passionate about something (even if I agreed with them)…just to argue.

5. I used to make up tremendous ‘tales’ when asked questions I had no idea of the answer…just to see if people would believe me…they usually did.

6. I feel closest to God when I feel the sun beating down on my face.

7. I have a gift of ‘reading’ people…but sometimes I ignore it because I’m too drained. People who have to talk and be ‘heard’ non-stop drain me.

8. When I’m stressed I like to bake and create new desserts. I also like to get lost in a good book and read myself away from my stress.


I will not even attempt to tag anyone as I think just about EVERYONE has been tagged…but if you want to share…have at and let me know so I can come see too!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A few days later...

Well, it's been awhile since I've posted...not TOO long...and I just thought I'd post some thoughts I had today.

Paul and I went to a "fellowship group" with the church we've visited a few times. I'm still not completely convinced its 'our' church, but we thought we had to at least go visit some groups and do more than just the Sunday morning experience.

The small group was two other couples...doesn't get much smaller than that. I was a bit surprised because the church is at around 700 people. We purposefully chose a small group that wasn't run by 20-somethings, because we aren't 20-somethings. These 40-something have clearly been together for some time. They know each other. They are friends. It didn't feel like such a great fit, but they were extremely open and inviting.

During the prayer request I shared our request for prayer about the church we are seeking and they asked point blank what it is we are looking for. I looked to Paul and while he searched for his answer I immediately blurted out: "We're looking for a church that lives the mission and vision statement it prints!"

That's when it dawned on me...we've been a part of churches and visited churches that have these incredible and sometimes elaborate mission and vision statements and a 5-fold purpose statement...but they don't necessarily live that out. Sometimes it's due to the evolution of a new or start-up church and sometimes it's timing and it's just too early to see...but sometimes it's clear...the mission and vision are in word only.

I HAVE to be a part of a church with a purpose, a church that truly reaches out...a church that above all...LOVES (like an action verb)! I NEED to be a part of a church that also includes an awesome worship experience (open to interpretation), and has respect and opportunities for ALL God's people to serve. I NEED to be a part of a church of diversity. I NEED to be a part of a church that serves.

Not so long ago I asked my husband what he thought it would be like to be a part of a church full of all the people that had left (or were asked to Leave) other churches...he just looked at me and said he wondered what it would be like to be a part of a church with 100% of the members serving in some capacity, instead of the statistically measured 10-20% of the congregants serving.

And so...we continue in our search and I feel a bit more empty each day. Some days I wonder if it really matters...and my heart says YES and my flesh just shakes its head and so far...I continue to find some reason to stay in the search.

On a more upbeat note...I see how God is using me in the lives of those staff that I supervise. Not a day goes by when one of them doesn't come to me for personal advise or even a prayer request...and so I know God can and IS using me whether I am firmly planted in a church-body or not...and that alone...right now...is enough...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Nothing Much

I'm not exactly sure what's going on with me...well aside from the obvious...I think about things I want to write or share but then I just never sit down and do it.

I guess I'm on a blog-cation of some sort and I hope to get out of the 'funk' soon cause I miss it...I really do...the words seem to be hidden in a place somewhere just beyond my grasp.

I remember someone saying something about a Monday Blessings kind of post and I may try that to help me get out of this place...this pit...I've found myself in lately.

I wish I had words...I just don't

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement and hopefully I'll find some words soon!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Remembering on Memorial Day

At the church we visited on Sunday the pastor asked us to think about a family member who had served in the military and lost his/her life and say a prayer of remembrance for that person.

I thought and thought but I couldn't think of any of my immediate family that had lost their life in fighting for my freedom. I prayed a general prayer for ALL those who have served and sacrificed. I prayed for the families and I asked God if there was anyone I was forgetting.

A conviction fell over me swift and sure. God asked about His son...Jesus.

Of course...Jesus has fought for my freedom, for OUR freedom and won the final victory for our souls...our eternity. And so I prayed again, a prayer of repentance and thanksgiving for this reminder...for this sacrifice. The sacrifice that matters over all the others.

Here's to ALL who have fought...to all who have sacrificed...and to Jesus...the Savior of all!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Church #4

My Hubby blogged his first Meme...check him out to encourage this relatively new hobby. It's not easy for him because he looks at the written word as absolute...obviously not like me in this way! But give a 'shout out' if you have a free minute!

We visited, what I would consider, a MEGA-Church today. It is a non-denominational church and we already watch the pastor on TV each Sunday typically. We love to hear this pastor speak and teach. He has a natural ability to teach and preach with passion. We've visited here a few times and seen special speakers at this location.

They are doing a special series "He Said/She Said" in which both the pastor and his wife are teaching. Today they covered Gary Smalley's; "The Five Love Languages". I love the book and my husband and I have listened to the CD's in the past so it was a good refresher.

I'm still more of a temperament follower than love languages, but I see the value of both in just learning more about those we love and even those we interact with.

SO...why don't we just choose this church and start 'plugging in'? Mostly because it is SO big...there are 6 weekly services and each one, including the 9:00 a.m. service we attended today, are packed out. I believe they have well over 10,000 members, if you include their off-site locations in OKC, Norman, LasVegas, Texas, and online. That's overwhelming to me and even with small groups I don't know if it would ever feel like a 'home church' to me.

They were actually doing a small group expo today and we picked up some information on small groups available and this is also the church that sponsors the writer's small group I have attended.

I just don't want to be a part of a church that wouldn't know whether I was there or not and it doesn't really matter whether I serve or not. My husband did point out that it might be nice to attend a church with more volunteers.

Each week I long for a home church or a small intimate setting. Cool Mama recommended in one of her comments to me, that we sit down and write out what it is we're looking for in a church home.

I haven't formally done that...but I just may attempt it this week. I think part of it is I'm afraid to be too concrete for fear it really doesn't exist. I think about how I met my husband and how it was SO God...and I want to believe the same will happen with church.

It was a good visit today...but I seriously doubt it's our new church...as the search continues.

We also went to see the movie "The Invisible" today...and it's not even worth a link. It just wasn't a great movie...not even a good movie...thankfully it was an early "cheap" movie.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Praying it Forward

I'm sure you remember the movie "Pay it Forward". Remember how wonderful and encouraging it was to see the good deeds 'paid forward'. Each person, both the giver and the recipient was blessed.

I'm thinking of taking it a bit further...hence the title...PRAY IT FORWARD! I can't think of anything more certain, more rewarding than praying it forward.

I don't doubt that this is on my mind because God placed it there. The other night as my husband and I were preparing for bed, I felt this urgent need to begin journaling my prayers and God's answers. I'm not sure where it will lead, but I've decided the journal will be called "Pray it Forward".

SO...I turn the corner on this block of my journey and begin the time of praying it forward.

My prayers today are:

Health for myself and many others
My sister and her splintered family
Finding a church home
My husband's wisdom and growth
Our financial peace
The words I hear from God
The person God is forming me to be
The obedience that eludes me
The passion that drives me
The love that dwells within me

I guess that about covers the first few things I'm praying about!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Church #3

We visited this church this past Sunday. It was not at all what I expected. The worship was really powerful and the mood was set with a candle lit room. There were open invitations for families to come and pray together at prayer tables...or at the alter. It was Mother's Day so of course it was a bit different than usual...the Pastor's Wife spoke...she shared her story as a Mom and wife in ministry.

I thought she had a wonderful ability to connect to the women and men alike. She shared her story openly...even the stuff from the beginning of their ministry where she had to learn some hard lessons about serving and boundaries.

The message was primarily directed to the mothers and at first I thought it would be hard...another mother's day without that experience...but what really got to me...and opened up the faucet of tears was when she started talking about how God works.

She reminded us (me) that God...the God of the Universe, who can speak things into existence; God who created EVERYTHING saw a need for an Abraham Lincoln and he used a poor farmer women to bring this baby into the world. When God needed a Martin Luther King Jr. he chose another woman, not a wealthy woman, but a God-fearing woman to bring this baby into the world. And when God needed a Savior...He used a young girl with a heart for God to bring a Savior into the world. Our creator did the same thing with us.

God needed a Kim to do His work...so He chose a man and a woman to bring this baby into the world for God's purpose. While God may not use me to bring a baby into this world, I will be used to do His will in His time, at His leading. That's a humbling and incredibly love-filled reminder.

We left the service and while I don't know my husband's take on the whole thing, I think I was more 'touched' than he was. We'll probably go back and at least hear the Pastor preach.

After church, we took Mom (and Dad) out to see the movie "Georgia Rule". It was definitely "R" rated. The language was stronger than I thought it needed to be. The story was much more intense than the previews let on. It's really a story about overcoming the bad stuff life brings...with family. It's a love story, but a difficult story to watch, because so much of the lesson is born of pain.

Jane Fonda was incredible in her role (and I'm not a huge Jane Fonda fan...but she really stole the show). Lindsay Lohan was 'okay' and Felicity Huffman definitely held her own. There was some beautiful scenery of Idaho (or what I imagine was really Idaho). And thankfully it ended well...so overall I don't regret seeing it and while I may not recommend it over some other movies...it was okay and Mom really liked it.

Now...it's Monday evening and I'm zonked...I guess this is everything for now.

I hope your mother's day brought joy and an increase in wisdom! Thank God for our Mothers, the women used by God to bring His children to earth.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Week Gone By

WOW! It's Thursday night and I haven't even had the computer ON since my last post. We've been inundated with very active and ominous weather and I didn't want to risk losing my hard-drive by one strike of lightening.


I have so much to say...so many words reserved but I already feel my eyelids drooping and begging for some shut eye, so I'll try to be brief.


We had the opportunity to go see "CoSign" with my sister and a friend of hers last weekend. It's a comedic musical performance by Deaf Interpreters and it is a show worth seeing. It is hilarious. They are from Connecticut but come to Oklahoma occasionally because of family. I can't believe they don't have a link...but take my word for it...they ROCK!


Saturday I scored some good buys at garage sales and then my husband took the niece and nephew to see Spiderman 3 while I cleaned the house and did all the laundry and watched Lifetime television. We had a quiet evening together.


Sunday we visited Church #2. It was an experience. It wasn't a BAD experience...just an experience. It's a church that moved because their old building was leveled by a tornado a few years ago. The building is beautiful and as we pulled up to the place I immediately made an observation: we were under-dressed.


You see, I don't put on 'airs'. I wear whats comfortable, especially on the weekend! We were in shorts and t-shirts. Actually I had on a pair of capris and a t-shirt, not too shabby...but NOT a dress or slacks.


My HUSBAND, my casual day, EVERYDAY husband...says as we're approaching the suited greeters: "I told you, you can NEVER be overdressed." I laughed and laughed as I attempted to shake the man's hand, forgetting that many denominations don't shake the woman's hand. Okay, strike 2 for me. I am under dressed AND tried to grope the guy...LOL


We make it inside and it's gorgeous in there. People are smiling and very friendly. One woman approached us and we explained we were new. She quickly gave us the history of this place, pointed towards the sanctuary and asked if we had any children.


My husband and I have decided in tribute to Bill Engvall, we are going to come up with some of our own "Here's your sign" remarks to this question. Here's some samples:


"Oh we NEVER bring the kids to churches we're just DATING!" or how about...


"The baby was sleeping so soundly we decided to leave her home. She's okay in that crib."


We didn't actually say that but we both agreed it's a strange question to ask two adults who are clearly without children.


SO we go into service and again it's a beautiful, perfectly pewed church, with well-dressed folks just there to worship God. Pretty soon we were glad we were the 'fashion don'ts' because the air was broken and it has been HUMID lately in this rain forest of a city. SO while most everyone is fanning themselves with the worship bulletin, we're basking in our state of under dressed coolness.


I listened to the worship, hoping for something less traditional, but enduring through it. The prayer time was awesome and full of the Spirit of God and the Scriptural reading was awesome as well. We heard a sermon from Isaiah 40, a wonderful passage of hope and God's glory. We were reminded of the God who transcends everything; circumstance, person, power, every other god or idol...everything!


The preacher was passionate and spoke again and again to the youth who sat together near the front. As I sat and listened I realize we wouldn't be back. Not because it was 'missing anything', but because I'm somehow stuck between desiring freedom and uniqueness in a church setting and the desire for some traditional elements. I want it all and while we search and wait, we might as well try them all, right?


So, church #2...not so much! They were lovely people and it was very age-diverse, which is a HUGE plus to us, but it just isn't the church for kpjara and P-diddy.


So we continue on our search...this week another denomination and another one close to our home. My parents visited and thought it was too 'out there' which of course is what draws me. We'll see.


We are also going to 'Rooster Fest" one of Broken Arrows events each year. I've never been, but it was featured in one of the Fun and Family Magazines and we thought we'd give it a try. Plus I'll get to visit my sister and the kids too.


Then of course Sunday...we'll spend with Mom. We're going to see "Georgia Rules" with Mom and Dad and probably have some dinner. It should be a full weekend and lots of fun.


I hope to get back online before the end of next week. The weather sounds like it's going to be clear until the end of next week.


Have a wonderful Mother's Day and know that if you're a mother you're blessed among women!
Enjoy the celebration of your legacy!

Monday, May 07, 2007

7 Things About Me Meme

Tami at The Next Step tagged me with the meme, 7 Things About Me. I haven’t been tagged for any of these things in SO long…I had to get right on it! Before you read mind...go read all about her!

Here are the rules: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. You need to choose 7 people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged and to read your blog!

Let’s see what are my 7 random facts/habits…

1. I daydream entire years sometimes in moments. I can sit and daydream for a few minutes and it totally helps me regroup and relax.

2. I used to think the way I ‘heard’ from God was weird, but it’s exactly how Karen Kingsbury writes her characters hearing from God…with Scripture reminders or just talking to me.

3. I hate shoes. I hated them more until this past Thursday when I stepped on some glass and after my mother and husband trying to dig it out with a needle and xacto knife, I went to the doctor and let them dig it out.

I would be happy in a ‘glass-free’ environment…never wearing shoes again. I even go shoeless in the winter…to get mail or the paper, or trashcan. I just prefer my feet bare!

4. I love to watch people…and listen to what they talk about. Sometimes I’ll go to a coffee shop and just watch…and listen…and sometime pray for what I heard. I’ve even been known to ‘shsh’ my husband to hear other people.

5. I do not like talking on the phone. I will do it in spurts, but I prefer emailing or visiting in person…or apparently eavesdropping.

6. I watch the Bachelor…I can’t help it. I know those relationships are essentially doomed from the start, but I almost always get sucked in.

7. I tend to jump ahead way too often. I have to force myself to stop and experience the moment without trying to forge ahead. I think it relates to a competitive nature and desire to be the best.

Wow! That was a bit tough. Now let’s see, who am I going to tag? I’ll go with these:

P-diddy (let’s see what the hubs says)
Becky at Words of a Wolfe, someone I would like to know more about.
Rachelle @ Seek First His Kingdom, I’m always interested in her thoughts.
Dear friend Dawn, over at Call Me Grandma Dawn.
His Singer at His Unfinished Work.
Brigitte, @ a Gentle and Quiet Spirit.
& of course I’ll try to get Twittering Tam.

So..now I’ve got to go ‘tag’ them and if you want to ‘tag yourself’ let me know and I’ll come get to know you a bit better too!

We visited a new church Sunday…I’ll share those observations tomorrow.

Have an truth-filled Tuesday!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sheep Gone Bad

I love The Far Side comics. I think they speak directly to the heart of the matter. One of my co-workers has The Far Side calendar for 2007 and she brings me the daily comics each morning. This morning spoke volumes about the 99/1 lesson I struggled with so much in the Bible.



So I read this. *it says: "Wait! Wait! Listen to me! ... We don't HAVE to be just sheep!"

Then the light begins to dawn...This is something I would do and say! I am clearly that sheep. The one that would wander away because I just KNOW I can be MORE! I am the sheep that had to be chased down and possibly have my legs broken because I tend to wander off. I am the sheep that could even convince a cluster or small group of other sheep to go astray...out to where the wolf lies in wait to devour lost sheep.

For me, finding and remaining in the place God puts me is a difficult challenge. It's not impossible. I stayed at my last job WAY longer than I would have, had God not been leading me. These are some of those painful growing pains. The growth is absolutely necessary...and the pain that accompanies this vital growth with not soon be forgotten.

As I recall stories of childbirth from friends and family, I remember hearing ALMOST each one that the pain was unbelievable, incomparable, even excruciating. My sister swore she'd never do it again. Yet my nephew was born just 6 years later.

I have to believe it's the same with life lessons. Some are so painful we think we'll never allow ourselves to go through it again...but even some of the most painful become just bittersweet reminders that everything comes at a cost. There is NO true growth WITHOUT pain.

And so...I continue to learn; it's not about being JUST a sheep...it's about learning to be the very best sheep I can be. It's about honing and embracing each of my sheep qualities.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Becoming...

"What you are becoming is more important than what you are accomplishing."

This is a quote from my calender of motivational quotes. It's from a few days ago but I had been so BUSY accomplishing things...I hadn't been reading my daily motivation.

As with so many things 'art imitates life'. There are days when I am so busy just accomplishing the the only thing I become...is exhausted.

There was a line in a movie we saw last weekend (In the Land of Women), where Meg Ryan's character says (and I'm seriously paraphrasing because I have a horrible memory), "I just don't want to look back on my life and wonder where it went."

I can so relate. I think most of us can SO relate.

I want my focus to be about how God is growing me...in every venue of my life. I don't want to wake up one morning and I'm on the last quarter mile of my journey, or even standing before God and I'm the same unchanged and unchangeable person I was as I entered this journey.

This is the thing, one of the things, that keeps me going, keeps me growing, keeps me moving towards the "ME" I know God created me to be.

I ponder what it is to 'become'. I don't think it's a goal anymore. My life journey has really been a process of becoming.

Before I was born, I was becoming someones infant.
When I was an infant, I was about becoming a child.
When I was a child, I was about becoming a teenager.
When I was a teenager, I was all about becoming an adult.
When I was in my 20's, I was all about becoming rich.
When I was in my 30's, I was about becoming wise.
Now that I'm well into my 40's, I realize I have the potential to become each and every day.

I hope I remember in my 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's (for as long as God uses me) to use each moment of each day to become. I hope I remember to value the journey instead of the destination.

Have a becoming week!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Barbie and the Good Eggs

Before I get started on this ‘mini-rant’ I wanted to say I didn’t do a church review this week because we returned to the church I visited alone last weekend, so my husband could experience a time of worship I knew would meet a need!

It was a good visit again. On some level it’s hard to not just start attending because some of our best friends attend, but I know we have to wait for God’s word on our church…so we wait.

Okay, so I’m reading the Sunday edition of our fine newspaper (albeit a bit right of center), but acceptable at least for the ads and travel section. Right on the front cover was a story titled “GOOD EGGS” and it had a large picture of Barbie on it…let me see if I can take a photo of it…one moment please! This article talks about the qualities the egg donors that are considered ideal would possess…and I didn’t have a problem with a majority of the criteria. It included a high IQ, an acceptable psychological exam, healthy egg supply, nonsmokers, able to pass blood tests…then it said ‘good looks’. My issue with ‘good looks’ is that is a fairly subjective quality. Beauty to one is clearly NOT beauty to another and in the words of Forrest Gump… “Beauty IS as Beauty DOES”.

I just cannot believe my city; my major newspaper would have a picture of Barbie for the ideal egg donor comparison. This is the same Barbie who clearly struggles with aging and settling down in marriage. She has been known to be a bit reckless; at least she was in my toy chest. Add to that, she may have an eating disorder, because I don’t ever see her eat.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the people who run our newspaper would select a blonde haired, blue eyed DOLL as the ideal egg donor. If you’re wondering what I expected I would have to say either NO picture, or a collage of many different woman, or at least many Barbies.

I promise you if it weren’t for the coupons I clip each week I wouldn’t even subscribe to the newspaper. I have to just glance at a NY Times occasionally or Washington Post just to be certain intelligent life and newsworthy stories still exist. I do love this city and most of what it offers; I’m just struggling in the aftermath of my reaction to this cover story.
So, what rides the front page of your newspapers on a Springtime Sunday issue?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Aplomb Plumbing

Ahhh…Monday, glorious MONDAY! Oh how thou never disappoints.

I arose this morning at 7:30 am, as this is my ‘late’ day at work, which means I work 9-6. Thankfully I awoke early. I prepared for my shower and selected wardrobe for a humid, potentially stormy day. Little did I know the storm would arrive early…sans water from the sky.

I started the water running to get it to its balmy warm temperature and took an exhilarating and refreshing shower. I turned off the water and began to towel off when what to my wondering ears did I hear, but water running, “oh Dear, OH DEAR!”

I checked the shower just to see if I had left the water running even partially. Nope, shower is ALL OFF!

I listened closer and most assuredly it was coming from my bathroom sink. There wasn’t even a drop coming from the faucet, but I reached underneath and turned off the valves. I could still hear it!

I went to my bedroom closet which is attached to this bathroom and it was so silent you could’ve heard a cricket…which would have been as annoying as the water running.

Now I was beginning to freak a bit. I decided I had a choice, call the hubs and have him come home or deal with it myself!

I immediately called the hubs! I got another person instead who apparently could hear the fear in my voice because he said he’d get a hold of him and have him call right back.

…A man of his word, my hubs called within 5 minutes.

I told him of the water sound and what I had done so far…and awaited his sage advice, or offer to rescue this damsel from the pending floodgates.

He asked me if it was the toilet running….I assured him that NO…I had checked that and it was ONLY coming from under the sink.

I then asked how to shut off water to the whole house…as I imagined the wall building up pressure with water being forced behind the drywall. Then out to the front yard…wet with dew…I trod.

I found the place, lifted off the cover (it’s plastic…I was surprised), then I saw down into the muddy hole, the valve I needed to turn 90 degrees. I had already picked up the appropriate tool…some sort of wrench or pliers. I reached down into the ‘netherworld’, said a silent prayer of protection from the inevitable hand I knew would grab and pull me into the depths of this hell…and turned the valve.

I got it shut off. I was certain this would suffice until the plumber could come out.

I went back inside and lo’ and behold the dang water continued. Now my husband was certain it was a slow leak in the toilet tank and I heard the water because there is still water IN the tank. I thought he was crazy but assured him he didn’t have to come home I would call my father to come over and wait for the plumber.

I called my father, ever the optimist (NOT)…he gave me the dreadful cost estimation of "that’s going to cost a lot of money if they have to go into the wall!” I thanked him and said I’d leave a signed check.

I contacted the first plumber and they said they were busy today but could come tomorrow. After just a nanosecond of consideration I politely thanked him and said I would call around before committing to a day without toilets, while water ran uncontrollably somewhere in the walls of my house.

I then contacted the second plumber and the guy actually asked me: “So what’s the problem?”

Now if I truly KNEW the problem…I wouldn’t be calling…but I just played his game and replied in the perfect southern bell voice: “Why, sir, I have no idea what the problem is…I just hear some little ole water running under my sink…but I don’t SEE a thing.”

He then told me I was on the schedule for today. I felt like I had won the lottery. I asked if he could determine if it would be am or pm. He told me it would likely be am, which translates to… "I don’t know…you’re lucky I’m coming at all on such short notice.” I thanked him and disconnected. I then had to call him back with my father’s cell phone, because dad suddenly had some urgent errands he needed to run.

I always figure giving my dad’s cell phone to anyone is dad’s way of saying he is NOT available. He will most likely not hear the ringing or pulsating vibrations or will write it off as a medical issue or terrorist attack. I didn’t have a choice…I had to trust him.

Now I was getting worried about making it to work on time…so I went to empty the contents from beneath the sink. I had NO IDEA how much stuff that little space holds, but it could easily be converted to my storm shelter. I emptied the abundant contents onto my guest bed and then decided I should go ahead and empty the drawers. I opened the first drawer and it was virtually empty…I opened the second one and decided since it was SO full; I would pull the whole thing.

I noticed as I pulled it out the noise was getting louder…I peered into the cavernous space the tiny 4 x 4 x 12 inch drawer left and when I put my ear by the hole the sound dimmed. I put my ear by the drawer and heard the noise as if the water was running into the drawer.

I started digging around the drawer and found this little ‘sweater shaver’ and pushed its switch and at that very second the water stopped running. Uh…yeah.
The water running beneath my sink was actually a sweater shaver in the drawer that literally sounds the exact same and if I had the capability I would play it for you…so you’d stop laughing and hear what I heard.

I shook my head at my ‘detective work’ and made the appropriate calls to the hubs, the plumber and my father…who heard every word of my story (thanks for not laughing dad), and even told me something similar had happened to him with a battery-operated toothbrush. A story I would have scoffed at only moments before.

So…I then decided due to incoming storms I had better go back to the front yard and turn my water back on or my husband would drown in the attempt. I got the water turned back on; the valves repositioned, checked the flow and headed out to work, thanking God I don’t have to be a stay-at-home-mom-plumber-cook-cleaner-…everything else.

Than you God for work away from home and for the gift of hearing! Thank you most of all God for Monday, for each one makes me that much more thankful for Friday!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Church #1

I visited a church today, while the hubs took care of a last commitment at our previous church. It still sounds so weird saying that..."previous church".

The church I visited is a church some of our best friends attend. We've actually been to this church with our friends before they relocated to this new facility. We are crazy about these friends and actually met them at our first church in Oklahoma...another start-up that we both ended up leaving at different times.

The church is close to our home. I was able to stop and get a frozen coffee drink and still arrive in the parking lot in just over 10 minutes. Any church that welcomes people with drinks is a good start...this one does! Yes, I realize that sounds a bit 'fleshly', it's just a 'perk' (pun intended) to this church. They even have a little 'cafe' outside the sanctuary, which is also a nice place to go and visit or meet with others.

The church is not overly large, though it is BIGGER than we've attended in awhile, but it was still VERY friendly. The people clearly care about one another and welcoming was top-notch. Our friend is actually one of the greeter's so I knew that would be a non-issue.

The music was upbeat and worship-full. There was a short skit that was funny and memorable and tied into the message and the sermon was also memorable and meaningful. It seems there are many opportunities to serve in this church.

As God always does, he spoke clearly through this message; the sermon was about "Selfishness". I shared with my husband later that I really felt reassured by God, with regards to this tough decision, from some Scripture we read today out of II Corinthians.

I'm encouraged that this first experience was such a good one. When we searched for our last church, it was a long, arduous experience. If this is any indication of the 'new search' we could find a new church sooner than I thought.

I think it's important to note that each church we have been a part of (3 so far) we have grown and taken SOMETHING with us. Not always ALL good...but definitely pushing and prodding us, as only a loving Father does. The upside to doing the 'church search' before, is we learn a little more about what is important to us and what is not so important. We also have already narrowed the search from our past visits. I guess it's a bit sad to realize and confess we've visited probably 12 churches in the past 3 years.

Oh and my FAVORITE thing about this church...they have this really cool 'encouragement ministry' (you know I'm ALL about encouraging), and the church has this little table where you leave 'secret gifts' for a recipient to encourage them. I think that's such an incredible ministry opportunity and what a blessing!

Paul and I are going to go check out a church even closer to our home next week. It's one that also recently moved to a new facility, but has been established for some time.

I'll be sure to give you some input about that experience same time next week.