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Can You Hear Me Now?

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.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Big Brother

My big brother called last night. Apparently my mom let him know I hadn't been attending church and was struggling a bit with religion altogether. You know how our moms are always looking out for matter how full-grown the 'babies' are.

I'm not sure what she thought my brother could offer...besides comic relief. He's an ordained pastor who is now working with a company that educates seniors (not 12th graders...elderly seniors) on Internet use. He also rebuilds computers.

I guess he probably does know a thing or two about organized religion and he truly did make me smile and laugh a bit. He offered me the 'older brother advice', which amounted to what I honest about my expectations, realizing they will NOT be met, but being up front about what I can and cannot accept.

He suffers some of the same bad memories of our childhood church and has been denominationally challenged most of his life as well. Ironic he chose that field...that a career for many years. He's a wonderful evangelist and I imagine he's a strong pastor; he just has too much passion for truth to 'settle', and that resulted in stepping on some mighty big toes.

The thing he reminded me is to try things that I haven't tried in the past. Try new denominations. Try new environments. Try new 'types' of churches. Give it a don't have to give it your all...but give it a chance.

I can do that...I think.

I'm probably going to use this space to truly 'work through' what I find in this search. I've already got a list going of places I want to visit and it's always interesting being the 'newbies' for a while.

I still don't know the outcome of this part of my journey, except to say I'm willing to try...I'm just not fully convinced...I guess this is the part where I leave it up to God. He hasn't let me down yet (literally or figuratively), and I already feel this pull towards Him as I stand on the edge of this new horizon.

I also want to thank each of you who commented and encouraged and spoke from the heart. It's always reaffirming to hear others' stories.

I pray your Friday is fully blessed!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Think I'm Flunking Church

I’m up early and didn’t sleep well last night. I know its God. I know how He works with me. I know how He nudges. I recognize His voice in my dreams. I recognize His hand as He pushes me.

Yesterday was also restless. Actually I’ve been restless for awhile now. Ironically, my husband is reading “The Rest of God” and as he read me a passage from his current chapter yesterday it gave me a bit of peace I’ve been lacking lately.

We met with our pastor yesterday. We have decided we must change churches. This was not a decision easily reached, particularly for me. My husband, as a new Christian (within the last five years) has been to three churches, all very different. I keep telling him what it is I need and what I believe church should be…I’m just not sure it exists. As I reflect, I also believe this is one of the reasons I ‘de-churched’ initially, so many years ago.

I love our current church. I have loved serving there. As a ‘start-up’ church there are always challenges, but nothing too great for God. We just came to the conclusion that the theology was not in line with what we believe. It became an insurmountable obstacle. I quit going altogether as my husband continued with his service commitments.

I’m not completely clueless; I know there is no ‘perfect church’ this side of heaven. I’m just not completely convinced I can realistically ‘do church’ this side of heaven. I KNOW this is what God wants…church; community, relationship, service, etc. I just don’t know if the organization of CHURCH is what He intended.

I want to thank each of you for the input from my last post. I won’t bore you with all the details. I honestly just wanted to say that this is a very difficult place to be right now. I also want to assure my local ‘readers’ whom I went to church with, that I don’t have any ill-will towards this church or anyone in it. I received an email that reflected something I did not intend. I pray there is forgiveness and perhaps some understanding after this post.

The bottom line is I cannot align my beliefs with the pulpit and it would be unfair to all of us to continue in this position. My prayer is that this church grows and continues its Missional desires and that the people reached feel the incredible love we did.

As I reflect and try to keep from being swallowed by feelings of ‘flunking church’, I realize that just like in each of my personal ‘stone of remembrance’…we take with us so much from this experience and that is what I have to CHOOSE to think on as we set out to find a new church home.

More importantly I will remember:
He was…
He is…
He is to come!

Prayers of Godly guidance and peace are welcome.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

In Search Of...

When I was MUCH younger, a friend and I placed ‘personal ads’ for each other (sort of on a bet). She wrote my ad and I wrote hers. Suffice to say…in retrospect, it was a really bad idea!

Enough said…

I was thinking about a personal ad for a church...something like this perhaps:

MCF ISO NDC w/H.S. Gifts present.
Desire prayerful group.
Active ACTS community desirable.

Let me translate that for you:

Married Christian Female in search of Non-denomination church with Holy Spirit gifts present. Desire prayerful group that gets together, loves one another, takes care of one another and is open to all newcomers.

Then I thought a step further...what about a computerized church matching tool that might be a bit more useful than traditional dating services.

Think about it. You plug in what your beliefs are, doctrinal knowledge, and spiritual gifts. You could be as specific as you want. Perhaps have Y/N questions too.

Do you believe in miracles?
Do you believe in prayer languages?
Do you believe in healing?
Do you know the Lord’s Prayer?
Do you know the Apostle’s Creed?
Do you know WHAT you believe?
Do you question God?
Do you even speak to God?
Do you hear God?
Do you listen to God?

Then the computer would match you to a local church (hopefully) and place you in the best ‘fit’. Just a thought…

How did you find the church you’re in now? Or did it find you? Please chime in…

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Uniquely Me

This was on my daily calender of inspirational quotes and it spoke to me.

"The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness."

~Therese of Lisieux

Have you ever been in a contest or competed for anything? Have you ever felt out shined or shadowed beneath something or someone? It could be in a job or at church. It could be in your family. It could even just be in your mind. Whatever it is, it can chip away at the core of our being.

I'm clearly human and have lived by comparison from my parents to bosses, friends and foes, both physically, spiritually, and intellectually. I have been challenged and I have been defeated. I have challenged others (sometimes without their knowledge) and I have won and I have lost. I'm a fairly competitive person.

The funny thing about ME and competition is...I tend to ONLY compete in things I know I"ll prevail, or at least have a fighting chance. I tend NOT to compete in things that I don't feel I have a fighting chance in; i.e. Marathon races, Mrs. America, Survivor, and finally...Graduate School. I had this really cruel professor in college (during a particularly low phase of life anyway) tell me that I would do well to just finish undergraduate studies and not attempt graduate school, a word...I wasn't going to succeed.

Of course I did get my grades up, get accepted into graduate school and even took a couple of courses just to 'prove him wrong'. I didn't finish. I don't regret it.

I think the crossover and what has been stolen from my life is primarily in the gifts God has given me. God did not gift us to compete. I believe He gifted us to CONTRIBUTE to the whole. I believe that these gifts we have...the scent we carry...the strengths we exhibit...are to be expressed in tandem with others. We are called to be a body and according to what I've read in the Bible, our gifts work TOGETHER.

I may never be a rose. I may be a simple daisy, or even a dandelion. I just pray I would quit comparing myself to the roses and other flowers and just stand in the glory of the garden in full bloom!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Joy of Cubicles

I remember cracking up as GiBee shared some of her cubicle tales and thinking "What fun that must be!"

Now here I sit with the 4 foot maze of walls before me. I can see across all 40-60 cubicles surrounding me. I thought I had it 'good' being off in a corner with a vacant cubicle next to me and a quiet tenant in front of me.

The honeymoon is over! I was informed someone would be moving in next to me...another supervisor (over another department). They didn't give me much information other than I'd have to find a new storage space for some checks and printing paraphernalia.

I hardly gave it another thought...except the loss of storage that I thought was our departments.

Well in the words of Gomer Pyle: Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! She's decided to start moving stuff over today! She doesn't officially come until next week, but she wanted to 'load her drawers' with all her coffee creamers and cubs and 'personal' snacks. I had to find a new place for my WORK related stuff today!

Second, even BIGGER surprise...She's LOUD...I don't mean she screams out (at least not yet, though I've heard she does occasionally)...I mean her everyday, working voice is BOOMING! She is like a human volcano, spewing forth all day! She is LOUD to the point of erupting with each word she carries. Her voice could easily carry across 25-30 cubicles and probably over all the cubicles back to where her staff sits.

I'm almost certain they requested she be moved and I can see why. For one, they can still hear her loud and clear from across the room.

I don't know if you've picked up on this yet, but I'm fairly quiet, keep-to-myself sort of girl, unless provoked or driving (really one in the same usually). I try very hard to mind my own business, but it seems this new 'shared space' will be my business.

Sad but true admission: I struggle with LOUD people. Not the fun, life-of-the-party people, but the LOUD just to be LOUDER than everyone else people! I don't enjoy people who raise their voice thinking that will MAKE me hear them. The moment their voices drone above an INSIDE voice, I zone out, in an effort to protect both my eardrums and my sanity.

Second sad truth: These are the same people that i have to ASK God to show me what it is He seems in them. And the Lord reminds ME, that He died for them too!

I told you it was sad...that's the reality of ME...He's not done with me yet and I hope He never is!

I'll end this south bound post with an uplifting story: I was having a monthly meeting with some staff and we were discussing financial matters and work flow in the midst of some pretty major changes about to be implemented, when one of the women said this to another:

"M, on the xyz report do you do your OWN eyebrows?"

Yes, she did say that.

I just looked up and without a pause said "Could we stay on track please."

And YES, M does her own eyebrows and they are quite stunning!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Life Savior

Yes, you read that's not about the five flavored candy disks with the hole in the middle. It's about our Savior...our LIFE Savior.

On the heels of the upcoming Christian Holy-Day I can't help but reflect how Christ has saved me time and time again. I thought I would write a short tribute to those moments in my life when Jesus was more than Lord and Love...times when He was my LIFE Savior!

Picture if you will a girl, just one girl, praying for her Knight in Shining Armor. Now picture a Father above who loves her enough to bring His perfect mate for her at HIS perfect timing. The meeting is somewhat stilted and not as idyllic as one might suppose as the enemy tempts the two to self-destruct their union.

Somewhere in the heavens, on a cloudless night, a Father hears the cries of His daughter and He straightens the once crooked path. He removes the obstacles and replaces the temptations with the everlasting cord of three strands that tests stronger than any temptation can bear. He assures His much loved daughter that He has created this man just for her.

...And two people fell in love!

Picture if you will a girl, just one girl, praying for purpose for her life. Praying that the things she loves to do the most would align with the reason her Father created her. Now picture a Father above who loves her enough to have given her gifts not just at birth, but BEFORE that...long before that. Before the girl was a desire, He gave her intent and purpose. He gave her gifts to accompany her and make her life meaningful and bring Him glory and honor. He gave her gifts to use every single day of her life on earth and beyond.

...And the girl wrote and created and worked for God's glory!

Now picture if you will a girl, just one girl, growing older and unsure if her life has brought Him glory. Wondering if there was something she could have done, should DO to bring her life in line with His will. Now picture a Father smiling on the woman, and holding her tight in His arms and telling day at a time my dear child!

I thank God for this LIFE Savior and for what this Holy-Day means to me...and to each one of us...whether we know it...or not!

Happy Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday!

...Oh and I have SO missed this and all of you!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Blogs That Make You Go Huh?

I would say I'm honored beyond words but that totally defeats the purpose of the "Thinking Blogger Award" or what I'm calling the "Meme of Thinking"...all about words!

I have been honored twice (by two of my favorite no less) and even better than the sun-shiny bliss of being an 'award recipient' (and for WORDS no less...some of my favorite things), I GET to pay-it-forward. I get to pick 5 "Make Me Think" authors in this world of surreal truth, hope, encouragement and sometimes gut-wrenching honesty! Thank you Dawn and thank you GiBee for your kind words and for being one of these people for me as well!

And...without further ado, and so sorry for my delay, I've been blog-free for a few days as I pray, contemplate and consider whatsup with the "Kim and God" show.

Disclaimer: These are in NO I have shared in the past; each 'read' represented on my list is there, at least in part, because of these qualities.

1. This person makes me think, sometimes beyond my comfort level...Claire Joy at Flavor of the Month. She is FAMOUS (at least to me) for not only stepping outside the 'box of religiousness', but for shredding the box and setting it on fire so that the contents can only grow! She has helped me see the narrowness with which I sometimes confine TRUTH. She has helped me grow. Thank you Sister, You ROCK! Keep on writing!

2. Tammy: whom I have had the genuine pleasure of speaking to IRL several times and I hope to actually MIRL this year some time, trust me when I say every word she shares either uplifts or helps redirect my sometimes MISdirected thoughts or words.

3. Sally at Eternal Echoes: A woman who seeks authenticity in life. She grabs hold of each opportunity to hear others and learn from them. She offers insight, poetic beauty and so much more. I never leave this place disappointed.

4. His Singer at His Unfinished Work: I just love this woman! She and I are much alike from what I read and gather about her. She is HILARIOUS first of all. She can put a positive spin on some of the ugliest stuff I can relate to. She has charm, wit, wisdom and her words are laced with love.

5. Erica at Butterfly Kisses: I came upon her blog through another blogroll or comment somewhere and she helped me find "Senior Angels" as well as the recent "Two Weeks of Sacrifice" challenge. She is another one who isn't happy settling down in complacency. She is striving, growing, learning, and teaching both her children and anyone who reads her words. Thank you Erica!

I give each person on my blogroll an honorable mention because without your words, the past year and some months would have been a really uninspired place to exist!

The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).