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Can You Hear Me Now?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

I happened to look at my little ‘earbuds’ today. I guess I had never paid that much attention to them. I bought these ‘discounted’ (under $4.00) at a store solely because they had ‘bling’ on them and they go into the ear instead of ‘sitting’ outside the ear where the only thing I can hear is all the distractions I am trying to block out on a daily basis.

Anyhoo…when I looked closely at these little earbuds…they actually have a tiny R and L for right and left. They look identical in every way. How could they be assigned to an ear and is it MY right and left or my right and left when FACING me.

I tried them in each ear and I think they actually do sound a bit different; however, I had never noticed it before or paid attention to it before. It must be power of suggestion.

I’m going to be diligent to wear them in the assigned ear, so as not to reduce the sound quality…and because, of course, I must follow the rules!

My other observation, which is more of a life lesson, involves a random purchase I made the Saturday after Thanksgiving while shopping for gifts. I think I bought more for myself than anyone else. Let’s just say I’m going to have a number of gifts under the tree from the dogs! I found this little ‘lesson’ in Gordman’s, one of my FAVORITE stores. They have this ‘As Seen on TV’ section I was perusing for strange gifts for a work party, when I found these:

And thought I’d give them a shot.

The first thing you should know is I am NOT double jointed and frankly there should be a disclaimer that states: “If you are unable to reach behind your back and attach the second strap, while holding the 1st strap in position and then slide the device down your back, past the plastic thingamajig that is currently causing the slipping to begin with, you will have NO problem using these devices. If however, you are not double jointed, experience chest pains from exertion, have never done gymnastics, or are over the age of 24, you will be unable to complete this maneuver and should just deal with sliding bra straps or safety pin those things to your clothing. The tape included (as a bonus) DOES NOT WORK to provide more slip control, so please do not attempt this as you may regret the itching and pain and swelling accompanied with their use, not to mention the frustration of having to use the tape if the ‘devices’ would work. You may want to video tape the application effort in for America’s Funniest Video’s, however As Seen On TV will expect a small stipend from any monies earned in the application of this device, in the amount of 37%. Thank you for your purchase and enjoy your product!


I’m sure this ‘inventor’ was a man and never actually attempted to wear one of these. I now have a box full of these (sans the one I tried to use which may just be cursed). I plan on giving them to some unsuspecting family member or anyone who mentions they would like to ‘try’ them. If there are any takers out there in the Blogdom…let me know and I will forward these little babies to you.

I also saw one of these:
And would have purchased it too…but I have a feeling it may not work EXACTLY as they stated and I have a limit on how many As Seen on TV items I indulge in. PLUS, I took one out of the package and was rubbing my hand with it and frankly, I couldn’t see how effective it would be…though, I didn’t put the little sand paper attachments on the device. Yep…it was legitimate sand paper. I’m sure there are different grades, but I’m NOT sure women should ‘sand’ the hair off her legs. I saw an episode of some crime show where the ‘killer’ used a belt-sander on someone’s leg and it tore off part a large part of their skin. WHY would I CHOOSE to do this to myself? With the exception of a few mentally unstable girls/women, I can’t think of one person that would choose to do this. Thought it may be better than the Epi-lady, which I never fell for either!

And so…Oh Happy Day, I am listening to my Christmas tunes, with the earbuds in the correct ear and lamenting my falling bra straps. I probably should just buy a properly fitted bra, but I do NOT want to go for a proper fitting…Nah, I don't think so, I’ve heard those stories...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sanguine Wanna-Be

I have several acquaintances that are ultra-Sanguine. This is that temperament that has never met a stranger and you are the most important person to them...until someone else comes along. They are comfortable with everyone and always seem so at ease and 'engaged' in conversation.

I also had what I would consider a 'best friend' that is a Sanguine primarily. We had been friends for 27 years and then suddenly she stopped speaking to me. I'm still not exactly sure why, though I'm pretty sure it had to do with our temperament differences. I am much more aggressive and a tad (LOL) moody. She goes with the flow.

In any event, it broke my heart that she won't speak to me.

The thing with Sanguines is they are typically the people you meet first because they are so outgoing! But soon you realize EVERYONE is their best friend and it's sad to be uncertain if they would even be available if you needed them. So in our new church I watch, (honestly) with some envy, the Sanguines and their friends and I wish I could be like them.

I realize in my heart God made us all different for a reason. You see, while Sanguines are awesome at being friendly and outgoing...they don't necessarily feel empathy as deeply as some of the other temperaments and as I mentioned they don't just have a few friends, EVERYONE is their friend (or wants to be).

I am trying to truly embrace who God created me to be and I know, beyond any shadow of doubt, that I am not a Sanguine, alas, and never will be.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

From the Middle

I had this odd realization this year that my life is on the last half. I’ll be celebrating my 46th birthday this month and while age has never ‘bothered me’, each passing year does bring the memories of the goals I’ve made along the way…both successes and redirections.

This year my goals are:
Commit to ‘Gathering Women’ and see what God does.
Find and begin pursuing my Dream (job, life, etc).
Take better care of myself physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Strive to be a better wife.
…and most importantly…have fun!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On a Rant...

I’m tired of people who complain, but never have any solutions.

I’m tired of people who are late everywhere they go.

I’m tired of people who don’t use signals while driving.

I’m tired of people who don’t work at their marriage and wonder why they’re struggling.

I’m tired of political labeling and prejudice.

I’m tired of religion.

I’m tired of laws created to protect that result in anarchy.

I’m tired of turning my head to every injustice in the world.

I’m tired of excuses.

I’m tired of this week.

And now I’ll go face my day and hear the complaints. I’ll forgive the tardy and the person who turns without signaling. I’ll listen to someone about their struggling marriage. I’ll turn off the television during political commercials and news. I’ll focus on God and not religion. I’ll vote, when I can, against laws that are created and written to be ineffective. I’ll pray for injustice. I’ll make it through this week.

WOW! I had no idea what all was going on in my head until I sat down to journal it. I had a disagreement with my father last night and ended up leaving before it got too heated from my side. But my father was screaming at me as I left. Then something happened that had never happened before…when I got home from church last night I checked my email and he emailed me an apology. That’s a first. I didn’t know what to do with all these feelings I’m having and struggling with and since I don’t see a counselor I figured...BLOG!

And now I understand why I heard a devotional yesterday that at the very end said…

My Faith is small,
My God is GREAT!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Inside-Out

There is this tree outside our office window that is ‘going through the change’. I guess I’ve never noticed it before but it changes its colors from the inside out. The leaves closest to the trunk are bright red and orange and yellow. The leaves on the outside are still bright green.

As with so many of my ‘life lessons’, it got me thinking…

This tree is like I am. My beauty comes from my inside. The more whole and full my heart and soul are (the inside), the more beautiful I become on the outside. My outer ‘branches’ are still a bit green and less unique, but they are also less easily broken and act as a protective barrier to the more beautiful, yet fragile inside.

I realize that soon I will have to ‘give up’ these beautiful, fragile leaves as they fall to the ground and my trunk prepares for a long rest and then re-budding in the spring. I realize that my ‘tree of life’ goes through seasons exactly like this little tree does. I, too, go through times of molting and changing and rest and restoration and new growth. I will lose some leaves in the storms of life. I will sometimes flower and be surrounded by other life. I am sometimes praised for my beauty and sometimes ignored when I am bare.

Underneath the ground, my roots are growing stronger and larger. Each spring I come back a little bit stronger after weathering the seemingly endless winter cold. Each spring I am less ‘bothered’ by the winds and storms. I am stronger and know that each of these seasons in life are not without purpose.

I know if I am not cared for and pruned and watered I will die before my time. I know that I rely on my Creator and His creation to care for me. I know that I will not live forever, but I will live as long as I am supposed to live. I will leave behind a memory and a certainty that I was here…that I grew and knew life. I will know that my seeds created or encouraged or enabled others’ to live. I will know that my life had purpose and that my beauty was absolutely from the inside-out.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Knock-Knock-Knock

“Hello! Is anyone there?” I thought as the door to my heart reverberated from someone knocking.

I had just experienced the incredible freedom that comes from seeing the fruit of much prayer and planning, preparation, and pause as Gathering Women kicked off last night. I could finally exhale. The women DID in fact come and we shared a meal, we had a few laughs and we immediately began to identify the various personalities accounted for; from the all-too-loveable, to the extremely shy & introverted, and everything in between. I felt the anointed on the prayers and felt completely at ease sharing my heart and hope for this group.

My very best girlfriend came as a guest (and I hope she will come as often as she can), even though she attends a different church and it made it so much easier to share just knowing she was in my corner as vulnerable as I was feeling. She stayed after and we got to sit and visit about how things went and what to try differently.

The hubs came home and shortly thereafter my dear friend headed for home and we went to bed. I tossed and turned not in uncertainty, rather in restlessness as my mind raced with thoughts and ideas about this ministry. I finally succumbed to exhaustion after 11:30 pm, realizing today is my ‘early’ day at work.

The knocking actually started while I was tossing and turning last night. I ignored it because I knew how important it was that I get some rest. It then resumed first thing this morning and I made a huge mistake…I answered without checking to see who was there.

Yep it was him, the evil one! He just started in about how incapable I was of doing anything at this church or any church. He told me I should just keep my mouth closed and not share and leave these women alone. They don’t want to hear what I have to say and if they do, there is someone much more eloquent and knowledgeable then me.

I’m telling you…he never rests. Obviously I realized I would be under attack, he works overtime on anything we desire to do for God. I’m sure these attacks will continue, but right now I’m absolutely certain that only solidifies my initial certainty that I am exactly on track with what God desires for Gathering Women!

Happy ‘Satan-Free’ Friday!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gathering Women

God spoke, every ‘t’ is crossed, every ‘i’ is dotted, Pastoral meetings have been held, scheduling has been nofified, a logo has been created (commercial to be postponed until voice over is available), prayer requests made, invitations distributed, and this Thursday…@ 6:30 pm, Gathering Women begins!

It’s amazing to me the amount of time and work that goes into this ministry. I’m pretty sure it would have been fine with the God speaks…Prayer spoken…ministry begins, but I have long since learned in being a part of many a ‘start-up’ church that church is as much a business as it is a place of worship.

The seed is planted (this is the baby sister of the group I always talk about CAYA-Come As You Are) and I’m so ready for it to bloom into the beautiful buds of new friendship and a full-fledged garden of every beautiful thing each woman will bring. I’m truly hoping it will be a place of love, accountability, mentorship, freedom, worship and above all else…ministry!

Prayers appreciated!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dedicated to...

One of my long-distance friends ‘got onto’ me about my lack of blogging as this is the way he stays caught up with my life. He said if I was struggling with material that I could write an entire post dedicated to him…so here it is!

My dear friend DBL!

Obviously God destined us to meet and become the best of friends from the very beginning! You were one of the friendly faces in that Physics Lab and we hit it off immediately. Silver never knew what hit him. The pranks we pulled and the rides with the t-tops were so fun…after you taught me how to remove those t-tops. You made that big University transition do-able and ultimately enjoyable.

I love your ability to teach anything. You can show a person how to do ANYTHING you can do and you truly embody the spirit of ‘give a man a fish he’ll - eat for a date, teach a man to fish

Okay maybe not ANYTHING because I could never do all the nursing things you do. I do remember going on ride-alongs and watching you teach your patients…so patiently, how to take care of themselves. I remember your compassion with all those patients and how it changed their lives to the end.

I remember the CATS audition in Dallas. I remember math class and the paper on suicide in nursing school. I remember even in our absolute differences of opinions, we could still discuss freely and passionately our ‘side’ at no cost to our friendship. I remember the all-night study sessions and waking ‘Ginger’ up to call the radio.

If someone asked me what your adage of life was then; I would say the one I remember most is: ‘Don’t burn your bridges’. You taught me to value speaking clearly and to articulate and to say ‘yes’ instead of ‘yeah’.

You taught me to choose my battles carefully (particularly with regards to family). You taught me that blood is thicker than water. This was important during some of those rough family times. You taught me to keep my mouth shut, when it seemed like I would burst if I didn’t say something! You taught me to think about what I’m about to say (and I need that reminder to this day)! You taught me to value my husband and remind me regularly how blessed and lucky I am to have Paul as my partner.

You taught me that life is not a goal, but a journey. You taught me that it’s never too late in life to do and accomplish things.

I am so proud of you and all you have accomplished. You have changed lives for the better. You have overcome challenges that might have debilitated others. You have passion and fire and work harder than anyone I know …sometimes to a fault (remember the grass you cut with scissors for my rehearsal dinner?).

I hope you remember the things you taught me about the importance of family and how you can never get those times back. I hope you remember that family is more important than another zero on your pay-check. Personal success is far more important than professional success. Our lives are absolutely measured by the lives’ we have touched.

To this day I would travel thousands of miles to be there for you if you called and needed me and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt you would do the same. You are one of my most long-term friends and I thank God for you in my prayers.

I know I would have survived had we never met, but I thank God that He saw the value in our meeting and that we have weathered distance and time apart. I thank God that you are my friend!

I love you.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blog-Dog

I’ve been a blog-dog lately and not only have I not written anything, but I’ve been extremely lax in reading my favorite sites too!

Let me see if I can post an update if for no other reason than to have an entry for the month.

1. My 11th anniversary is tomorrow. Since we are not blessed with children of our own…it is still one of the most treasured days of my life on earth…right up there with birth and graduations.

My husband is still the ‘one’ and I hope we have many more years together.

2. We just returned from a mega-vacation. We had really anticipated going to Disney World this year (and we still will one day)…but instead decided a trip to see my brother and SIL would be better. They live in a lovely township across the bridges from Philadelphia in Mt. Holly, NJ.

Thursday: We did so much traveling. We drove from OKC up I-44, to Indianapolis the first day (LONG DRIVE). We didn’t site see there, too late to do much.

Friday: The following day we drove over to Canton, OH to see the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. Very cool, if I do say so myself, oh and we happened by this darling Smucker’s outlet that is the site of the original Smucker’s kitchen. I had no idea Smuckers, Pillsbury, Martha, some coffee company and a few others were all one big company now and they all represented.


Saturday: The next day it was on over to Mt. Holly via the Poconos and Northern Pennsylvania. We saw TONS of corn. As a matter of fact from IL through PA we saw corn, corn, corn, corn! I can’t imagine what the real CORN state is like.

Once we arrived in NJ, my brother had made a dinner of homemade ‘brick-oven’ style pizza, then we drove over to Wildwood a beach on the edge of Cape May, NJ. It was about 9:00 pm when we arrived there and PACKED OUT! The first thing we did was walk the ½ mile across beach to put our feet in the water. I always feel so at home around the beach. I’m definitely a water person!

We walked the boardwalk (miles of it) and then headed back to their home. We got in after 1:00 am…slept like a log!

Sunday: The next day we were up and out early to go to their local Flea Market. It was like a giant garage sale with local food. It was very cool. I picked up a couple of little things for my home.

We went to their very URBAN church in downtown Philadelphia that evening and I was amazed to see so many homeless people attending. It was d efinitely a different but great experience. The sound wasn’t great, so it was hard to hear the message, but it was cool just to sit and observe.

Monday: Labor Day, we drove to Staten Island and took the Ferry across to NYC. We spent all day at NYC. We walked about 20-25 miles during the course of the day and my legs were beat!

Tuesday: We went to Amish Country and shopped and ate…
Wednesday: We went to downtown Philadelphia and were typical camera carrying site-seers.
Thursday: Hung out close to Mt. Holly and then attended the Philosophy class my brother teaches at a local college.

Friday: Headed out early and drove to Knoxville, TN (LONG DRIVING DAY). Did see this lovely creature there...at a gas station no less! He had the nerve to Cock-a-Doodle-Doo me (when I took his picture) and it was already after 8:30 am

Saturday: Over to Memphis to see Graceland (Swooning for Elvis) and then to Mississippi to a River-Boat Casino.

Sunday: Home again, Home again. The dogs were SO happy to see us.
Monday: Laundry and mentally prepare for work.

So…I do have an excuse for a few weeks in preparing for the trip and being gone and without a laptop to blog-long-distance anymore, it makes it hard to keep up.

I still go back and forth about whether to even continue this blog, but I just can’t bear to close it up. It’s been so therapeutic for me so many times and it’s much more hand-friendly than handwriting a journal.




















Thursday, August 06, 2009

Total Bummer

The hubs and I have been diligently working the "Dave Ramsey" debt payoff plan for a few years now (yep...a few YEARS). It's good to work towards this goal, but sometimes the experience is less than rewarding.

We recently tried to refinance our home at a better interest rate and everything was going along swimmingly when suddenly...stopped cold by the lender. With the great new interest rates and SO many homes available it seems lenders are a bit less friendly about their lending. So...not only are we not refinancing but we're out earnest money. Total bummer!

I realize in the long run I'll understand the WHY'S to this minor set-back and we'll continue on our debt payoff plan...but man oh' man is it frustrating today!

I realized it's almost been a month since I've posted anything. In all honesty, I've been reading tons and just haven't made time for the posting.

On reading...my nephew (not the 12 y.o., but the 21 y.0.), who was passing through on his way to a communal farm he's going to move to outside San Francisco, loaned me a copy of Paulo Coelho's, "The Alchemist". I had never read this book and I LOVED it. It makes me want to read ALL his books. I was moved so many times by this journey and this story. If you haven't read it...DO IT! You won't regret it.

We also had a great visit with this nephew. I haven't seen him in years!

Work has also been crazy! Though things are improving from a business standpoint.

I guess that's really all for now. Just licking my wounds as I wait the 4 more weeks til we head out on vacation...and I can HARDLY wait. We haven't been on a real vacation since our honeymoon (11 years ago).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Life Quotes

We put up meaningful quotes on our office dry-erase board in an effort to encourage and teach. I found this cool quote today for the board:


When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.
Henry J. Kaiser (1882 - 1967)


It dawned on me that this is really our life’s mantra:

When your LIFE speaks for itself, don’t interrupt!

After all, what is more telling than the way you live your life. Sometimes words only mislead, puff up, or sully the message that is…my life!


I like it. It reminds me of the old ‘walk the walk’ adage.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

In A Shadow

I'll admit I usually like the happy endings. As a matter of fact I'll avoid a movie if it seems like it's going to end sadly. I walk out of movies feeling completely let down when the hero or heroine dies and I wasn't expecting it. After all I go to the movies to be entertained. Life is hard enough without paying to see additional sadness.

Maybe it's supposed to make us feel better about lives...when we see characters suffer on film. I don't know. In any event, I had been waiting to see "My Sister's Keeper" until I had read that book. I bought the book and thought I'd let my niece read it first, since she is sometimes a quicker reader than I and she has the summer off, so she has plenty of reading time.

She didn't get it read and lost the book, so I went to the movie not sure what to expect (aside from the information on the trailer). I knew it was going to be sad and a tear-jerker. What I didn't realize is that it was going to hit so close to home.

What dawned on me during this movie is that having a little sister who has struggled with her health her entire life...literally...has left me feeling that my life is less important because I am healthy. The realization hit my heart like a knife.

Don't be alarmed, my realization has nothing to do with the movie's plot.

I have never been one to ask for much of anything and i don't regret this as I became fairly independent at a young age. I have been reminded that I didn't receive much because I didn't ask and that memory stings a bit in light of a sibling who did ask...and did receive.

I also realized that a sibling who is ill requires more help...but it doesn't change what's happening to everyone else. I remember birthdays and holidays overshadowed by illness. I remember parents running off to be with a sick sibling regardless of what is going on in my own life (albeit less physically challenging). It's felt at time as though she is the only one that matters.

I talked to my brother about it and he doesn't feel this way at all, so perhaps it's my own journey to self-realization I'm experiencing. Whatever it is...I hope it's worthwhile at the end because it's painful in the interim...feeling like I'm living in a shadow.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

From the Desk of Methuselah

You know you work with YOUNG people when you announce that Farrah Fawcett died YOUNG at 64 years old and they reply:

“Well at 64 she was old. She lived a long life.”

“WHAT?” I said. “Sixty-Four is YOUNG. I hope to live to be in my 80’s”.

She just laughed and said: “Well, it seems old.”

She just turned 27. You think I should let her know according to her philosophy she is now basically middle aged?


In other news…Locally the news has been reporting that the recession hasn’t hit Oklahoma. I beg to differ based on this Odd-News tidbit from Yahoo:

Police: Man attacked in Okla. for bologna sandwich

OKLAHOMA CITY – A man in Oklahoma City said he was attacked for his bologna and cheese sandwich. Police say 24-year-old Roger Hamilton told them he was sitting on a bus station bench Wednesday, about to put mayonnaise on his sandwich, when another man began staring at him.

Hamilton told police that the man then punched him in the mouth and grabbed his sandwich and left.

Police said Hamilton has a swollen lip and his face was covered in blood. The police report listed the value of the sandwich at 76 cents.
Police have not found the attacker.



…and YES, I am SO happy it’s Thursday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Under the Influence

My Grandmother popped into my head today. Well that’s not exactly how it happened. I was thinking about ordering some Avon nail polish (gotta love those summer shades), and that made me think of my Grandmother…My dad’s mom. She loved Avon…I never understood why she didn’t sell it. I’ll bet she spent $200 a month on Avon…a lot of money even now…imagine how much more back in the 60’s-70’s.

My Grandma babysat at the biggest church in Augusta, Ks, but also babysat most every child within a 10 mile radius, from birth til they were in school. She was called Grandma by so many children, I finally got ‘wicked mean’ and informed some of those kids, she was MY Grandma, not theirs! In my defense, it gets old sharing your Grandma with hundreds of other children…especially under the age of 10.

The older I got the more I saw how she shared her WHOLE life (time, talent & treasure) with all these children. It was like a Hallmark commercial at Christmas with all the cards and letters she would receive from all these ‘children’, thanking her for her role in their lives. As they grew and had families of their own she would watch their children, until she became too ill to care for them.

I used to spend summers with my Grandma. We lived in Colorado, so I'd come out in early June and stay til August. My grandma taught me so much during those summers I spent with her.

She taught me how to do laundry. We would go to the local ‘fluff n’ fold’ every week to wash the laundry, then bring it home to hang on the line (there is nothing like the smell of sun dried sheets). I think I got paid like seventy-five cents a week and a lunch at Taco Tico for helping. We’d sit and talk during the wash cycles, then add the fabric softener at the right time and I’d help her load those wet clothes back into her car for the trip home.

She also taught me about the Bible. The first story she read me was about Ruth. It was her favorite book of the Bible. She’d read to me the stories or have me read them to her.

She taught me how to babysit. I’d help her babysit some Sunday’s before I got old enough to sit in the sanctuary or join the choir. She taught me how to rock and pat a baby (just so) to sleep. She taught me how to teach children with love…not fear. She taught me to value each individual child and see them as individuals. She taught me that children do not all learn or respond identically and not to expect that.

Grandma died a number of years ago. I couldn’t attend her funeral. It made it too real. I miss her every summer or when I see a grandmother rocking a baby or when I see a clothes line full of clothes…I miss her.

I’m proud that she had a hand in making me who I am today! I guess I’m to be reminded that we are under the influence of many things/people we encounter…some of them are good…and some of them are not so good!

Here's to our Grandma's, may you be under their influence!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lessons from the Folding Chair for Start-Up Churches

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this post are obviously my own, & any names used in this post may be changed to protect the innocent.


I was chatting with the hubs yesterday about my continued disillusionment from the many churches we’ve attended. We have a fairly good church right now and I have long since come to realize there will NEVER be a PERFECT church. I refuse to believe, however; that God wouldn’t have THE church for the KPJARA family. That said, I want to share a few things with those of you who may have any influence within your churches or those of you who just need a humorous distraction for a couple of minutes.

Lesson #1: Gun-toting greeters do not make for a very welcoming experience.

Lesson #2: When the pastor needs a body guard, I do not feel safe. Surely you don’t feel you need to protect him or her from ME!

Lesson #3: When the front row is within a pastor ‘spit zone’, you may want to rethink that chair arrangement (particularly with the H1N1 pandemic).

Lesson #4: A pastor who is the greeter, lead worshipper, usher, accountant, and teacher has a control issue.

Lesson #5: Just like our mothers’ used to say: If people don’t like you, you may want to look at yourself, before pointing the finger at everyone else. (In other words: if the church isn’t growing, it’s not ME it’s probably YOU).

Lesson #6: Serving Popcorn at a service does not make it okay to have only a movie screen pastor.

Lesson #7: If over half of the congregants are yawning, you may want to move directly to the closing prayer.

Lesson #8: On Communion Sunday, please have someone pick up the little cups, since there are no holders on the folding chair backs. Oh and please stop breaking up Styrofoam cups to serve as the “body”; I don’t think it makes Jesus very happy.

Lesson #9: If you are going to do video announcements, please do a spell check prior to service…and the bulletin as well.

Lesson #10: Please perform all mike checks before service.

Lesson #11: The folding chairs do not need to touch each other, we are going to move them over a little anyway, so you might as well give us space to begin with and maybe there wouldn’t be so many empty seats between us as we vie for our personal space.

Lesson #12: Please do not compromise OR ignore the word of God to make me feel better. I have come for the truth; not a personal story, comedy show, lecture, etc.

Lesson #13: When volunteers ASK to help, don’t ignore them, and don’t try to force them into a service that isn’t their ‘gift’ (you will both regret it).

Lesson #14: Teaching is a gift, not a job.

Lesson #15: Don’t name your church on a whim. If your church is called “The Most AWESOME Church in town”, I have HIGH expectations and am let down easily. If you are the MOST AWESOME Church in town, I’ll know from my visit.

...just a few lesson from the folding chair.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I know I’ve seen this out in the blogdom, and I thought I would share mine today:


1. A heart filled with Jesus
2. Sound sleep all through the night
3. Summer Rain w/out Tornadic activity or hail
4. New breakthroughs in cancer treatment for my sister
5. Friends that ‘stick’ and help keep me in line
6. A husband whose love is real and enduring
7. Fresh fruit of summer
8. A Job that does more than pay the rent
9. Air conditioning at work and home
10. A good book
And the bonus…
11. Chick-fil-A Sandwich w/extra pickles

Thank you Lord for love, life, freedom, and every other little thing you created just for us!

oh and here is a cool shot of a cloud I took going out to ABQ this past weekend...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rough Day at the Office

I came in to work on Monday ready to get down to business after our extended weekend in Albuquerque and I had no idea what I was in for.

I was covering for another staff person who is on vacation this week and we typically get a TON of mail on Monday which has to be scanned, encoded, etc…so I’m working as quickly as I can and one of my staff people comes in the ‘cold room’ that houses these machines and is visibly shaking…and not from the temperature.

She proceeds to tell me that one of the other staff people whom I had to reprimand the previous week had told her peers that ‘she was not afraid of me and we could just go outside and handle the problem like women’. I don’t think she meant an outdoor tea party and nice conversation. She then advised another employee that she was going to slash my tires if I didn’t leave her alone.

I did speak to my supervisor about it and advised I did want HR involved and…well after a day of meetings and individual phone conferences it was decided nothing needed to be done.

Now I’m all about forgiveness, but somehow I don’t feel so good about this resolution. Basically if she says or does anything else or retaliates against the other two staff people, then HR will do something further.

My boss asked me if I was okay with that.

I informed her that “No, I was NOT okay with it, but I guess I would get okay with it, since that was the decision.”

I’m not afraid of this person, (necessarily) after all she IS a professed Christian; however, I do think it continues to send the message that the harassee has more protection than the harassed. Never fear I do not intend to be a martyr to this employer. I will do my best to continue to supervise her fairly, but I will keep my eyes open wider.

As I sit here pondering what life lesson is to come from this…I think it’s less about forgiveness and more about the reminder that God is truly the only sovereign and just ruler and while my employer may turn their head, God will ALWAYS be here to cover me.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

And the Award Goes to...

This morning I heard Forbes had announced the new ‘World’s Most Influential Woman’ is no longer Oprah Winfrey and while I’m not terribly disappointed to see her dethroned her replacement leaves me stunned...and not in a good way.

Yes, it’s none other than tattoo altered, blood vial necklace wearing, husband-fetching, Angelina Jolie. I’m not a huge fan of Ang’, as a matter of fact…I’m not a fan at all. Oh sure, I’d love to have her bod. She’s got the ‘look’, but in terms of her influence on me as a woman of the world…well let’s just say that perhaps I’m not one of the women taking this poll to determine who will influence me. Yes she’s doing her part in adopting a child from every nation and I suppose she is supporting unemployed Nanny’s of the world, and she is a UN Ambassador for volunteer work…but her only influence on me is what movies NOT to see.

In all honesty, I haven’t been terribly influenced by Oprah either. I think she done some incredible things with her money and time, but I also think she rides the fence a bit and is more about pleasing the masses, than what her heart dictates.

Oh and before I forget, it only stands to reason that the most influential infant…Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. Yep, the little heir seems to have inherited that influential gene from her mom.

This week the hubs and I saw this Christian Comedian (Elijah Tindall) who is relocating to L.A. to work with the entertainment industry and help affect change in L.A. He reminded us that while we are sometimes, as Christians, frustrated with the words and actions of these STARS, we might be better off by praying for them, rather than berating them.

Okay, so my new prayer goal is Angelina Jolie…that she would live to represent and influence me as a woman…in a positive way! Oh and obviously that she would hear and receive the powerful message of the gospel.

*side note: After researching this more closely on the information-soaked Internet, it appears Jolie was actually named: Most Influential CELEBRITY. Okay, well the prayer list grows as it appears both Oprah and Madonna are close to the top as well.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sticks & Stones

…will break my bones, but names will hurt forever.

There is a very quiet young woman at my work who is consistently apologizing for what she says, does, questions, etc. all day, every day. I remind her daily she does not need to apologize when she questions things or when she says things related to work. She even apologizes for her feelings. Admittedly there are times when it begins to push buttons with me and I want to remind her sharply NOT to do it…however, there is a group of older ladies at work, one in particular, who is a BULLY. She jokes with others’ about this other young lady and intentionally mocks her in front of her peers.

I feel strongly about not reprimanding others’ in front of their peers, but I am beginning to think the only way this older lady will learn is to embarrass her in front of her ‘posse’. I guess that’s sort of akin to spanking a child and saying: “we don’t hit!”

I do meet monthly with these ladies to give them ongoing evaluations and I will discuss it with her; however, my greatest concern is the long-lasting damage to this ‘target’. She rarely interacts with any of the other staff and when she does, it’s as though her opinion or thoughts are less important than theirs.

I’m not sure if it just reminds me of my past, though my temperament is such that I only took it for about 15 minutes, then I began to unleash my own ‘names’. Whatever it is it bugs me…because words really do hurt far longer and harder than any broken bones.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Touchy-Touchy

I am a very tactile person. I love to touch things. I cannot go through a clothing store without TOUCHING all the fabrics everything is made of. I touch everything. I touch fruit, vegetables, artwork, glasses, flowers, sand at the beach, jewelry; just about anything I’m legally allowed to touch.

One of my friends from college used to give me such a hard time about my ‘need to touch’. I have no explanation…maybe it’s because we were always told as children “don’t touch anything” when we’d be forced to go with Mom shopping cause Dad was watching a game. It could have just been another form of rebellion…at least initially. Now I just love the ways things feel.

This could also explain my need to use my hands with artwork. I like to paint with my hands, create things with my hands. I never could get into knitting and crocheting…I think it’s because I can’t just do it with my hands. WAYYYY back in the late 70’s I used to go to a macramé group with my mother. I really enjoyed it…I think because you use your hands. Don’t scoff; macramé was very popular before it became the brunt of all hippy jokes. I would probably also enjoy basket weaving, though I’ve never given it a try.

There is this fairly new commercial, I think it’s for Kleenex or some tissue product. Anyway the woman in the commercial touches everything she walks by and says the word, “touch”. Then she gets to the product and she touches it and says, “Feel!” It’s as though she finally FEELS something.

Of course all this thought process brings me to my own experience. Perhaps part of my need for the touch stimulus is because I am an extremely feeling person. I am not really SHOWY with my feelings, but I feel thing extremely deeply.

The other thought is that we are created in God’s image and I know, based on how God created us, He LOVES TOUCH TOO!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Destined For the Impossible

Lately I’ve pondered my creation. I’ve been considering all that God created me for. Sometimes it can be so self-defeating it’s almost debilitating. Sometimes I can’t quite reach what I was created for and sometimes it almost feels overwhelming the things God DOES want me to do. There are times when I wonder if I’ll ever reach my potential.

The answer is a resounding…no.

I’ll never reach MY potential, and I’LL never reach God’s potential.

I was reminded of a few things this past week.

#1: There are people who will stop at nothing to keep us from achieving God’s dream in us.
#2: God pre-ordained us to the dream He placed in us.
#3: God doesn’t call us to the possible. He ONLY calls us to the IMPOSSIBLE.

I have this CD called “The Nature of God”. I wish I knew who did it. All I can tell you is it’s an Australian pastor. Here is part of what he says:

God doesn’t call you to security in what you’re doing, He only calls you into security in who He is.
The only assurance is that His great heart will sustain us.

What God has called us to is outrageous, impossible, & totally unpredictable and the only way that we will do it is because we are secure in the nature of God.

You’re perfect, you’re perfect for God. He’s going to make you perfect in his nature, stamping the image of Jesus on you. It’s going to be great. That’s what the desert is about, it’s about discovering the majesty of God.

Hosea 2:14-15: I will captivate her heart and draw her into the wilderness to speak kindly to her.

And out of that place of coming into a revelation of the nature of God, to me, God will give you a vineyard of fruitfulness. You see he knows the plan he has for you, the things he wants for you to accomplish, but first, first, I want you to see me, as I really, really am for you. As I am for you, as I am for you. I want you to know me as I am for you. Every one of us needs a revelation of the nature of God.


So I am ABSOLUTELY destined for the impossible…maybe it should be called the Him-possible!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Why I Don't Read the DSM-IV

I’ve mentioned this wonderful study I’m doing right now with a dear friend of mine… “Hiding From Love” by Dr. John Townsend. It’s quite insightful and helpful with regards to understanding the ‘why and what’ to our hiding.

The one problem I’m finding is I can relate to almost each scenario. We’re on the second to last chapter, “Hiding From Authority and Adulthood”, and as I reviewed the work book I had to literally stop and meditate about whether I was just being too hard on myself or did I really have valid examples for almost every single scenario.

Then it dawned on me...even I’m not quite THAT hidden!

…and that is why I don’t read the DSM-IV.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rain Rain Go AWAY!

I think I’ve got a bad case of S-A-D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) going on. The lack of sunshine is totally bumming me out. I’m crankier and get agitated easily. I am tired and want to laze around and hibernate until summer. And I want to whine about it…apparently.

Others have reminded me that the rain bring the flowers and keeps our grass green…but I only have one flower pot and I water it regularly and green grass isn’t a huge priority for me…sunshine, on the other hand, is a ‘must-have’ in my life.

I was just thinking…maybe this is how the H.S. feels while indwelling me and when I lack SON shine. All those times I hide in the shadow of deception or jealousy. The times I choose to wear SON glasses ‘protecting’ my eyes from truth and light.

Maybe this rain is here to help remind me to appreciate the SON Shine in my life and to nurture it and to allow it to shine!

…just thinking.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My Life Is An Open Book...

But is it one worth reading?

I got to thinking this morning on the drive into work about my love of books. I love a good read and get through probably 50-100 books a year. I read both fiction and non-fiction. I have favorites. I have authors I can’t wait to read; like Karen Kingsbury, Terri Blackstock, Carol Kent, and Brian McLaren. I also have authors I have to avoid…no need to name these.

Several years ago when God was ‘cleaning out my life-closets’ He encouraged me to purge all the junk. The hubs and I purged cd’s and books that didn’t seem so edifying and served no real purpose in our lives. Purging books wasn’t easy…at first. After several months with only Christian fiction, I began to see that my mind was being transformed by what I was reading. I would pick up other books at garage sales and flip through them and some of the stories were so full of ‘junk’ it was hard to see any story behind those words.

God, in His ever present quest to ‘purify’ has recently been ‘cleaning out more life-closets’ (you know how closets can be such a dumping ground of everything you don’t need or want to see RIGHT now)…and God pointed out a couple of things. My ‘story’ was straying a bit from the stories I now choose to read. My ‘story’ was becoming filled with ‘fluff’ and not even really edifying fluff. Of course God, in His infinite wisdom, didn’t make me empty the closet right then, but He did ask that I really give thought and time to the process of my life (story) and remember the transformation so many years ago.

So, today I’m reflecting on my life and hoping to do a bit of a ‘life-purge’ a little at a time and maybe, just maybe, my story will be one I’d love to read one day!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Follow You Where?

This morning AIR-1 was talking about the Scripture in Matthew when Jesus ‘asks’ Matthew to leave his work and follow Him.

Matthew doesn’t hesitate…he gets up, leaves and follows Jesus.

So I began to wonder what would happen if Jesus came to my desk and said, “Kim, leave your work, come and follow me and be my disciple.”

The remainder of this (imagined) conversation goes a bit like this…

KIM: “Well, Jesus I have quite a bit of work to finish up on here, I may have to catch up with you during the evening discipleship classes only.”

JESUS: “Kim, there is nothing here that someone else cannot do. I am asking you to come and follow me…now.”

KIM: “But Lord, what about the problem solving and friendship…and the money I make here. How will I provide for myself?”

JESUS: “These are all mine to take care of. Our Father provides for all our needs, so money has never been an issue.”

KIM: “Well what about everything I need to take care of at home?”

JESUS: “Mine! Come on, it’s time to step outside that comfort zone and just listen to me and learn.”


Okay, so perhaps it would be a bit different, but somehow I have a feeling I would have hesitated. It does concern me a bit, because I WANT to believe I’d get up and drop it all and follow Him, but I’m not really sure that’s how it would play.

Thankfully Jesus will ask and ask and ask and ask and ask…and one day…I’ll be ready to leave it all behind and GO!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Good Day...

The day your niece FINALLY moves home…

You wear a new ultra-white sweater and don’t get one stain on it…even after drinking chocolate milk for breakfast…

The sun peaks out from behind the storm clouds…

The temp crawls above 80…

Your dogs remind you just how loved you are…

You hit the lights green…

You see the weekend ahead and it’s not jam packed…

Your favorite neighborhood is having a neighborhood garage sale this weekend…

May Day means summer is just around the corner…

The Edmond Arts Festival is this weekend, which means time with good friends…

You can walk during breaks and not feel any pain at all…

You have some new outside window Windex ready to try out when the rain lets up…

You have TONS of extra hangers…post garage sale…

I have a Heavenly Father who thinks the WORLD of me…and YOU too!


…it’s been a very good day!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Scene From My Cube...and OF My Cube


Yep, this is what I see when I'm standing up from my desk. There are a BUNCH more cubes to the left, but you can't see them til you walk out of the area a bit.



This is the far left of my desk. Yep! I scored a window and YEP that's the fabulous view of the dumpster!
This is the middle of my desk where the computer is and that darn phone!



And here is the far right. Yes, that is a boxing alien with a peace sign. I joke that he fights for peace!
Well...I hope you enjoyed this little visit to my daytime abode!
Have a pleasant day and thanks for visiting!









Monday, April 20, 2009

Heart Surgery

Okay not really, but it feels a bit like it and in a sense…I suppose it is.

I just finished reading “The Shack”. I’ll be honest it was rough at first. I didn’t think I would be able to finish it as it was S L O W going the first couple of chapters. When I read if I don’t delve right in I may never finish it. Everyone I talked to that had completed it said it was rough at first but once you get going it’s a pretty good read.

I have come to realize they don’t give it enough credit.

When Mack (the main character) ends up at the shack (a place of horrendous personal memories for him) he is greeted by God, Jesus and the H.S. God is embodied by an African American woman. Jesus is an average looking Jewish male and the H.S. seems to be some sort of ethereal Asian (perhaps) woman who never stays still long enough to get a full glimpse.

As if that isn’t enough to pull you in, the conversations these three have with Mack are truly thought provoking. When speaking with “God” about free-will, God reminded Mack that even free-will is influenced by so many things and we don’t even realize it. God asks if it is still free-will if it is influenced by gender, socio-economics, our own prejudices, etc.

The H.S. when addressing good and evil reminded Mack that; evil is the absence of good, dark is the absence of light, and death is the absence of life.

I cannot even begin to tell you how this has forced me outside comfort zones and perhaps even a bit of stagnancy. I’m hopeful I'm able to comprehend everything, but I may just read it again for good measure.

My heart has been touched...healed to an extent and I'm at that place where I want to read something else, but I don't want to let this story go yet.

If you haven't read it...do it. If you've started but got stuck...keep reading!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Life Preserver

So, I was sitting at work this morning feeling a bit uncomfortable. I felt so uncomfortable in my skin. It was like I was wearing a life preserver around my waist under my clothes. You see, I’ve put on about 11 pounds in the past 3-4 months and I was having a hard time figuring out why.

God, in His infinite wisdom (and grace), took my focus off the question of why I had gained weight and put my mind back to the life preserver.

I was like… ‘Yeah, God, I get it. It’s a LIFE preserver! It’s uncomfortable! It’s big and bulky like me right now!”

God usually just waits patiently as I process through these thoughts.

“No!” he said. “It’s not ALL about the food you are eating. It’s not ALL the chocolate or the processed junk food you snack on. Think more about the WHY and not the WHAT.” he prodded.

Then He flicked the switch because I was just ‘swimming’ and ‘drifting’ in thoughts that were taking me farther and farther away from His lesson. (Didn't you love how I did that? LOL)

“My precious daughter, the life preserver is the WHY! You are eating in an effort to keep yourself afloat emotionally and sadly, it’s doing just the opposite, both emotionally AND physically, and frankly…spiritually.”

WOW! What’s a girl to do with that little epiphany? Of course God reminded me that His love is not conditional to the size on my pant label, nor is it lessened by the chocolate that passes my lips. Like a loving parent, (minus the judgment and harsh words), God desires my life to be full and without the hindrance of this extra weight. When I ‘eat’ something to feel better I am trying to replace God’s sovereign role in my life. God wants to be the only life preserver in my life.

“I’m not sure how to take it off, Lord. I’ve had it all my life!” I sadly confessed.

“I will show you, if you trust me. Do you trust me?” He asked.

“I don’t know.” I said sadly. “I really thought this was your judgment of my bad choices.”

God just shook his head slowly, side to side, with a tear sliding down his face. “No, my daughter. Your weight is not my judgment, it’s yours. Your weight is a part of this journey of life. You may take a turn I wouldn’t desire for you, but I do not sit in judgment of that turn. I desire that you seek ME with all your heart, soul, mind, body, spirit, but even if you don’t…I still love you deeply!”

You know what I had to ask! “Why can’t you just speak this weight off of me?” I couldn’t help it, I had to know.

He reminded me that the number on the scale…the destination…is not nearly as important as the journey! My journey to lose this impractical and uncomfortable life preserver is where the grace and mercy resides that I am so in need of right now.

Thankfully Jesus will also teach me to walk on water, so I don’t need the darn preserver anymore!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

God's Serendipity

This is a side story of MY STORY. I just felt it deserved its own place in my story because it truly changed my life.

When I was living in Baltimore, back in the early nineties I got some news from my employer that I was going to be laid off. I wasn’t really all that sad as I had been there about 4 years and that is typically my ‘max’ anyway (before I get too bored and need a change).

I looked at the lay-off and severance package as an opportunity to go back to school and MOVE to Phoenix. I was SO excited. I called and started finding about apartments, utilities, etc. Then I called the school and was informed the Art Therapy program was being phased out and they were currently only having every other year applications. In addition I needed some additional art courses and a professional portfolio with sculptures (which I hadn’t even begun yet).

I immediately felt defeated. I had always wanted to go to Phoenix and after a few Baltimore winters I was MORE than ready. So…I did a search for other Art Therapy programs in the southwest and lo’ and behold found one at UNM in Albuquerque.

Now back then I didn’t even know how to SPELL Albuquerque, must less know where it is. My friend and I looked it up and saw it nestled in a valley by a big mountain and it looked ‘okay’. It wasn’t Phoenix, but it would do in a pinch. I read about the ambient temperature and lack of snow and felt pretty certain this was the next best thing.

So, I sold and gave away almost all of my belongings, found an apartment online and secured it, sight unseen, it was close to the University and that was all that mattered at this point. A friend of mine helped me load everything left over in my little rental U-Haul and attach that baby to my car and off we went. We left Baltimore on February 14th, 1995.

My friend is a bit of a zealous driver and we drove and drove and drove and only stopped once we got to Oklahoma City early, early February 16th (it’s about a 22 hour drive from Baltimore to OKC) to say ‘hey’ to family and hit the road the next day to get on to my final sunny destination. When we left OKC it was like 35-40 degrees.

We arrived in Albuquerque, on February 17, 1995, it was warm (like 80 degrees) and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It reminded me of an old west town. We found my TINY apartment/loft and unloaded my few belongings, returned the U-Haul and went to investigate.

My friend left on February 18, 1995 and I was on my own. I found a job quickly, enrolled in a couple of basic courses I needed and met my future husband on May 4, 1995. We were together every day after that til we were married in 1998.



Nope…I never got that Art Therapy degree…I still think about it every once in awhile. But God certainly had another plan! Now I’m married to my absolute dream husband, and I don’t ever have to wake up from this dream!


Thank you God that your plan’s are ALWAYS better than ours!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Original Dora the Explorer!

Paul’s Grandma Dora passed away yesterday after a long illness. She is survived by her husband, 6 children, 15 grandchildren (I’m pretty certain), 1 sister, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. She was home with her husband and son when she slipped away.

Grandma Dora was truly the originally explorer! I don’t know ALL about her life because I entered it at a much later stage and while there are many stories, not all of them have been shared.

The one and most important story (at least to me) is when my husband was born (about 2-3 months prematurely). Paul’s mom and dady were returning from Guam. The flight landed in LA they went to the hospital and he was born and not long after, Paul’s mom had to relocate to TX with Paul’s dad and was unable to stay at the hospital. Grandma Dora would come to the hospital and visit and hold baby Paul every day at the hospital, until his mom could come back. I think that one thing helped ensure Paul’s survival and a deep relationship with this Grandmother.

When I met Grandma Dora, it was love at first meeting. She was the most loving, kind, open woman I think I’d ever met. You see it was not always easy being ‘the white girl’ in this LARGE Hispanic family. There are many traditions and some family members felt strong that the blood line should remain Hispanic.

Not so with Grandma Dora.

I don’t know if she saw how much I loved her grandson immediately, or if she just loved ME so much she couldn’t help but try to keep me…LOL! IN any event she flat out told Paul, I was a keeper and he better not lose me…He didn’t.

Grandma Dora used to come to Albuquerque to visit every year and I loved these visits. We made it out to LA once and visited with them and the best word I can use to describe it was…serene. It probably sounds strange for LA, but it really was peaceful and Grandma Dora was the picture of serenity.

She was a woman of faith and family. She loved her kids fiercely…all of them. She would have done anything for any of them. She also loved the Lord with her whole heart and trusted Him with strong faith.

I know she’s dancing with her Father God in fields of grace now and without pain and suffering.

I thank God for her life and for her part in my life.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Teeth Minus Two

No…I didn’t say “T” minus 2…I said Teeth minus 2. I had a tooth pulled this weekend and as it turned out I had to have essentially 2 pulled.

I had broken a tooth a few months ago and had been trying to work up the nerve and money to go to the dentist and have it repaired. I never could come up with the $1500 out of pocket expense so I was mulling over a decision to just have it pulled. Suffice to say I’ve had some back experiences and ‘bad luck’ with my teeth…and dentists. I think I may be in a bad gene pool for teeth!

The exposed nerve was causing me so much pain for the past three weeks that I finally broke down and went to the Dental Depot close to my home on Saturday (after I went to the requisite garage sales) and sat waiting for the ‘death of #16’. The hubs was with me or I probably would have left after the hour wait. Eventually I proceed on back to the x-ray machine then to the chair for MORE x-rays (the uncomfortable, gag-reflex-inducing ones) and another wait.

The dentist popped in to shake my hand and fight his case for the root canal/repair job, and I said only that it wasn’t in my budget at this point. I think his eyes visibly narrowed and his friendly handshake became a vice like grip as he said… “I understand.”

Why do they lie? He has NO IDEA about dental costs, because I’m quite certain he gets his services free. In any event, the request was made, the dentist left and I waited another hour for the ‘finance’ person to come explain my exit cost as I prayed that my nephew would choose a dental career so the family could reduce these expenses and wait time.

The finance lady came in and explained how much it would be, apologized for the wait. She asked if I was having nitrous and I explained I usually just get shots. She just told me if I wanted to it would be an additionally $45.00.

Then one of the dental assistants came by and stuck some NASTY tasting swabs in my mouth to help deaden it for the upcoming shots. I guess my lack of budget for the root canal/crown resulted in removal from the nitrous oxide program. Then ANOTHER dental hygienist came in and sang to me while she gave me several extremely painful shots. I had scooted almost to the bottom of the chair as she just sang and said… “This is going to sting a little bit.”

By now the train has rolled round…oh about 483 times and I’m so OVER the whole train on the track and I just want to go home and pretend I’m just fine!

But eventually the pain subsided and I didn’t feel the final plunge of the needle as it dug into my jaw line and everything from mid-lip to my EAR went numb. I’ve never had an ear go numb and initially I wondered if that was a problem.

Finally the doctor came in and easily extracted a root and remaining tooth from the bottom tooth that was a ‘failed’ repair from years past and then started working on this pesky molar on top. He pulled and pulled and dug and dug and pulled some more…then he said ‘Hmm, I think we’re going to have to cut this one out.’

“WHAT?????????????” I said internally? This is where I’m thinking, “If this sucker wants to stay in that bad…leave it.” Of course there’s no sharing because they’ve got the bite block in and my mouth is filled with hands and needles and apparently scalpels.

Another 10 minutes and I’m sewn up, filled with gauze and headed out to the ‘finance lady’ to pay my $100.00 bucks. I remember to ask about my prescriptions, which they don’t hand over until AFTER they run your debit card, I might add.

I went to the lobby asked the husband to take me home and go fill the pain prescription. I tell my husband as we’re leaving…well at least my deductible is met now. I also said I would do whatever is necessary to keep from EVER experiencing that again.

…and so 6 pain killers later…lesson learned is…remember to floss daily! And to save for any extra dental work!

Is it Monday already?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Telling My Story, Part II

Age 40-45

Well, since I’m doing this in reverse, I think the next memory stone would really be my 40th birthday. Yes, I know that’s a huge 5 year gap but I’ll cover the gist of that 5 years in this one post…you’re scared aren’t you...me too!

My 40th birthday was actually really sweet. My dear husband attempted to have a surprise party for me with all our ‘closest’ friends, but since 6 people weren’t enough for a decent surprise party…he invited nearly our entire church, to our 1500 s.f. home. He was in school and working…so guess who ‘threw’ the party? Yep, me…mostly. It was fine really. That way I felt more in control of it and Lord knows I like control, even more so back then.

We limited the gifts to what people could create or make on their own. That was the most wonderful part, seeing what people could create.

My 40th birthday was unfortunately also a time when I was deeply struggling with our infertility and Satan had me fully convinced that I was not worthy to have a child and God would NEVER give me a child because of my sin and my past and I was basically a bad person. Of course it didn’t make it any easier seeing people pop out babies right and left…including those who didn’t even want children.

The turning point for me came after reading this book, by this person, which I happened to WIN at the CWA site. I blogged about it here and here. It absolutely changed my life when I realized God wasn’t angry with me…His plan was just something different. By then I was 43, so you see it wasn’t overnight. I still thought about it some and hurt about it often, but God and my loving husband helped me realize God had another plan. Part of that plan is to remind other mothers’ regularly to LOVE those babies and to LOVE those kids and to LOVE those teenagers and to LOVE those annoying young adults and to LOVE those grandbabies…because it could have gone another way.

Part of that plan is still unknown to me because I choose to continue to swing back and forth from God’s playground to the enemies. God says He’ll use me when I’m willing and when I’m fully His. I just keep playing paddy cake with the enemy…

My 40th birthday was also a time when I had lost ALMOST all my extra weight. I looked better than I had ever as an adult. I also quit smoking when I was 40. Sadly… over the past 5 years I’ve gained almost all that weight back, but I will NEVER smoke again! I keep thinking I’ll eventually lose this extra weight, but even if I don’t I’m ALMOST at a place where it doesn’t completely debilitate me anymore.

The other BIGGEE for me during the first half of this 4th decade has been the church-shopping experience. Since 2003 we’ve been to:

The Edge – I fell clean off that edge.
Church on the Rock – Gun-toting members…so NOT kidding.
Bridgeway – Not one person spoke to us and we went twice!
People’s Church – Really great church but not where we belong.
Real Church – average age 17-21, we would DEFINITELY be the oldest!
Northwest Christian Center – Sweet, sweet people, but the pastor put me to sleep…seriously!
NorthView – Not allowed to wear jeans and I just can’t do that. God doesn’t care what I wear!
Passion Church – Scared me and my HUSBAND…not easy to do!
New Church – Good solid church, but a bit too liberal (can you believe I’m saying that?)
Journey Fellowship – Great church, GREAT Pastor, I just couldn’t agree with the bylaws and constitution. Still the saddest church departure for both my husband and me! We LOVE these people and this church! This is where I went through some great spiritual healing.
Passion Church – Scared my HUSBAND!
NorthChurch – I’m just not ready for a MEGA-CHURCH yet.
The Gathering – where we landed for …such a time as this!

Suffice to say I feel like a serial ‘church-dater’ and frankly if I could find even a semi-great home church that’s where I would STILL go!

I think that is probably enough for this chapter and I leave this age with sweet & bittersweet memories. I truly have loved being in my 40’s because it has been a time when I didn’t have to focus on the outward as much and a time when God helped me focus on the inward and such sweet, sweet healing.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Passing Passover

It started off innocent enough with an employee joking around and stating she had converted to Judaism and needed off for Passover.

I was completely ready for her antics and said… “Oh, could I read your essay for conversion? I remember when my friends converted and they had to write an essay in order to be reviewed for conversion!”

Of course she just laughed it off. But this little joking conversation brought up the conversation of Passover…yep right here at work! With the exception of one employee, I believe all 12 of my team members were at least raised in a Church-attending home. I know some of them don’t currently attend church and struggle with their faith…I figure these conversations always help renew MY faith in God and I’m hopeful they do the same for others.

In any event, two of the most ‘zealous’ believers (people who have made comments about their faith) didn’t know a thing about Passover and what it represented or what it meant to us as Christians. I gave them a little info then told them to read their Bibles last night and lo’ and behold they both did and could tell ME about Passover this morning.

Today I’m thankful for THE blood and for freedom of speech!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Greater Expectations!

I had a disagreement with one of my friends…actually, my oldest friend. We sort of have a history of disagreements and usually the argument ends with acceptance that we are different people and have different expectations.

I have really been hurt by this friend and I’m not even sure she even knows it. You see she is a 99% Sanguine/1% Melancholy. She has a million and a half friends and has never met a stranger. She is the proverbial extrovert! She is sweet and kind and giving of her time…and therein lies part of my problem.

I am Choleric-Melancholy…with a heavy dose of Melancholy. For those of you who haven’t studied temperament it has been the greatest indicator of my actions and reactions and I would encourage you to study the temperaments with your spouses or loved ones. In any event what it means is I am extroverted (in an aggressive sense) and I am introverted with my feelings and tend to get them hurt easily. I am the person who gets her feelings hurt when I’m removed from someone’s blogroll for crying out loud! AND…I have great expectations of my friends.

On the flip side I tend to be more careful with others’ feelings and can relate empathetically to most people who have been hurt.

I was basically taking inventory of the friendships I have and I’m feeling in a bit of a drought lately. I asked my husband (and my mother) why I didn’t have close friends and they both assured me I would probably never meet a friend like I am. Isn’t that a nice, pat answer. Of course with this insight the enemy began to ride me about expecting far too much, after all people are only human and they probably don’t care that much about anyone but themselves anyway.

Leave it to the Reaper to make an uncomfortable situation a bit worse!

I’ve been ruminating on it this week as I continue this inventory and consider my past friendships as well. You see in my temperament it would be fairly easy to ‘hide in a closet’ and become a loner of sorts. I would be a bit sad for a while but the walls would re-form and eventually God & I would have the ‘come to Jesus’ meeting about relationships.

I’m going to T*R*Y to go the other direction. Seek God NOW and ask him to help me with the 7X70 thing again and again and again! And help me find and nurture friendships that He desires.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Telling My Story, Part I

I've decided to do a multi-post recording 'my story'. It's not so much for you as it is for me.

I worked on my 'mask' this weekend and God showed me it's still full of junk I should be fully over by this point in my life. Apparently I had been snuffing a lot of these feelings because the pen began to work on it's own until I looked at what I'd done in a short amount of time and was a bit surprised.

I'll show you a picture just so you can see my starting point. It's obviously not finished yet, but I had to get the yucky stuff over with. I'll post the outside tonight and perhaps, later on in my story, I'll show you the inside.



The 1st thing I did was wire the mouth shut and outline the eyes.

I've never really felt 'heard' for most of my life. Obviously my husband hears me and my captive audience here 'hears' me (at least the me I want to share)...but most of the time I feel like what I have to say doesn't really matter.

I outlined the eyes because that is the me most everyone sees first. That is what I got compliments for...as far as appearances. I always wondered if that is why I got this droopy eyelid syndrome as an adult because that was the one feature about myself that I felt 'loved' for. Now I have two unequal eyes that...to me...look a bit freakish. Add to that the signs up aging that seem to appear almost over night.

I was glad to see that I do feel peace about where I am in my life right now and I can honestly say that at 45 years of age I feel more prepared to tell my story than ever before.

Because I have such scattered and few early childhood memories I think I'll do this in reverse
and see where we end up...

Today I am a woman who is loved beyond words by a husband she is blessed to have been married to for 10 1/2 years. I work outside my home and we have no children. I am okay with it now. It used to be quite painful and I've shared much of that pain here...but I trust God and what His plan is and for now...it's no children. I've basically accepted that we will probably never have children of our own or even adopted. We have spiritual children and that seems to be enough.

The UPside to being without children is that I am able to see friends (that are parents') and encourage them to be the very best parent they can be and to cherish every moment with their children because these moments are truly special and should NEVER be taken for granted. The other upside is Paul and I have been able to keep our focus on each other and I think our communication has improved because it's just the two of us.

I don't love my job and I am one of those people who wonder if I should be somewhere else...but again, I trust God led me to this job and will lead me out when the time is right. Oh...and I've never LOVED any job after awhile. Suffice to say I get bored easily!

My dream is to open a coffee shop/bakery with some friends of ours and/or write full time. Instead I stay behind the safety of this online journey and working the 8-5 job.

Today's memory stone is a reminder from Esther (can't help but pull from that recent study)...I have a divine destiny that is just waiting to be fulfilled...and every part of my story is a part of that destiny...a divinely inspired part of that destiny.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Mask-To-Her-Aid

Masquerade’s can be a ‘ball’ (pun intended) and it’s fun to dress up (every once in awhile) like some heroine in history or even a fictional beauty we create only in our dreams. But many of us (ahem…myself included) are much too reliant on masks to make it through our days, weeks…lifetimes.

I had the wonderful opportunity to go back to CAYA last night, which is a women’s ministry group that resumed after a bit of a hiatus. I love this ministry, the premise, the history, the meaning of the word. It’s a “Come As You Are” gathering of women and believe me when I say…we do. Women come as they are physically, emotionally, socially…in every sense of the term.

In any event, the ‘leader’, a woman after God’s own heart, spoke to us last night about the masks we wear. She reminded us that sometimes these masks are self-imposed and we willingly take on masks to cover what we deem as unworthy or even unlovable.

Personally I have masks of every color. I can put on a happy mask, a mask of brilliance (one of my personal favorites), a spiritual mask, and obviously the list goes on and on. We all took a mask home last night to keep during this season of reviewing these masks and we can do with them whatever God leads us to do with them. They can be ‘blinged out’ with gems and jewels, or colored black or covered in scripture or just returned exactly as they are. But eventually we will gather together with these masks again and do a bit of a ‘show & tell’ of what God revealed to us during this unmasking.

I know it will be cathartic and healing and most of all HARD. There are so many masks I’m not sure I can even pry off if I try, but I will pray… and listen… and wait…

More than anything else I’m excited to be involved with this group of women, new friends and old. This is most assuredly, just what God ordered!

I hope you have a mask-free weekend! Unless of course it’s one of those facial massage type masks where you get the mud pack and…well you know what I mean.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Busted!

I went into the restroom this morning...just for a quick trip, in and out.

I had also left my book in there from previously in the week. I picked it up and basically got lost in my reading.

Pretty soon there was a knock at the door. And my wonderful husband saying...

"You know, you can read out here."

...yeah, I know...BUSTED!

Monday, March 09, 2009

I AM Loved!

I have been uncertain what areas to serve in at the church we are now attending, but I've watched as one of the women I really care about has run herself just about ragged trying to take on TOO much at a church that has more than enough people to help.

Suffice to say, I finally felt compelled to really help her out. The hubs and I started out by spending the weekend helping paint, organize, pull together the newly redone children's rooms at church.

Then on Sunday, I went in to 'kidsplace' to see if perhaps this is an area I could help. I was hesitant, because it's been a LONG time since I've served in the children's area. My passion is more adult women, but I see this area is really in need of some help.

So during the lesson "loving one another", as I sat and pondered what I could offer... this young lady (5 y.o.) finished her project and we told them they could give their 'gift of love' to anyone they wanted...well she came up to me and gave me her gift of love.

That's the picture of that gift above. I will proudly display it in my house as the gift from an angel!

As usual, God used this small child to show me His love through her. I reached out for a hug and left church feeling like I had been touched by God.

God really is good...all the time.

Thank you Lord for using these children to reveal your wisdom to me! And YES, I'll go again.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Mind Revival

There is always lots of STUFF going on in our lives. That’s why we’re supposed to experience the journey and not skip ahead, fully relishing every lesson and experience, good AND bad.

Here’s my journey these days:

My FAVORITE women’s group “Come As You Are” (CAYA) is resuming not church-affiliated, for all women…
Work is unstable and more layoffs are coming…
My husband still amazes me with his love everyday…
Niece still refuses to move away from abusive boyfriend…
The weather is so SPRING-LIKE…
Church is just a place to go on Sunday morning…
I get to go hear an incredible Choir this weekend…
Negative Nelly (in the cubicle in front of me) has reached an all time low in negativity…
Negative Nelly reminds me to renew my mind daily…
Paint fumes at work are burning my eyes…
Our department renovations are almost complete…

I got a new CD last weekend. It’s the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, “I’ll Say Yes” (click that link to hear some of the cd) I had forgotten how incredible it is to hear 290 voices all singing together to create an absolute angelic sound. Though from what I understand the angel chorus will be something none of us has EVER even come close to experiencing.

There is a song on this cd that I use each day as part of my ‘renew your mind daily’, it’s called “I Never Lost My Praise”.

I’ll share some of the lyrics here…

I’ve lost some good friends along life’s way
Some loved ones departed in heaven to stay
But thank God I didn’t lose everything.

I’ve lost faith in people who said they cared
In the time of my crisis they were never there
But in my disappointment in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed.

I never lost my HOPE
I never lost my JOY
I never lost my FAITH
But most of all
I never lost my PRAISE!

It goes on but trust me you need to hear this song!

So I’m sitting here in my MIND REVIVAL just focusing on God’s plan that overrides everything and everybody else!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Greatest Compliment

I think I’ve mentioned I work as a supervisor and it is not a very glamorous job. I get the un-fun job of redirecting staff and resolving many a disagreement, as well as occasionally disciplining staff for various things. I’ve been able to maintain a level of ‘decency’ about it because I have had SO many NOT-SO-GREAT supervisors and I think the negative examples are far more memorable than the positive one.

To make a long story short I am able to function as a supervisor (keeping the professional distance necessary to prevent additional problems), but also really witness (through my own life) what I believe God calls us to be at work…real, broken, repentant, willing, forgiving, loving servant! If I can be this at work, I’ve done my job.

Today one of the staff people gave me the greatest compliments…she’s on another team, but I work with her daily. Today after I helped her with something she told me I’m “made of Awesome”.

Awe shucks! It made my day! Well that and over 80 degree weather!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

BB Come Home

My niece (whom I call BB) has had a heck of a year. This is the same niece I've written about so many times. The niece that miscarried a baby last year. The niece that moved in with a 'not-so-loving' boyfriend. The niece that is in fairly constant pain. The niece that is a gifted poet. The niece that cares about others' more than herself.

I know she is torn about what to do and where to go. I'm just praying that she knows...to come home...is not to fail. To come home is to rest and regroup and find the love we all need when we need a 'rewind'.

BB, I'm seriously praying you take this chance and hit the rewind button and just come home.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Things I'm Not

In our Beth Moore study a week or so ago, Beth reminded us not to focus on things we’re ‘not’, rather to focus on things we are.

So of course immediately Satan has been reminding me of all the things I’m not. I thought I’d get them off my chest here and then move forward to a new focus.

I am NOT…
A size 2
Even a size 12
A published author
A successful artist
A business owner
A doctor
An architect
A comedian
A gifted singer
Queen of a nation
Perfectly Symmetrical
A Mother
A Grandmother
Perfect by any standard
Sinless

I AM forgiven and redeemed and exactly who I am supposed to be at this moment in time.

I am loved by God.

Take that Satan!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy President's Day

You know what I love MOST about President's Day?

A day off!

I know, I know, I should be thankful we live in a free country with democracy and so many things we take for granted.

But more than that...today...I'm thankful for a day off.

How am I spending that day?

Well...went to breakfast with the hubs...going to the doctor this morning, then to see a movie.

We've seen TONS of movies lately. Today we're seeing 'Confessions of a Shopaholic'.

Yesterday we saw, 'He's Just Not That Into You'. It was alot better than I expected and it touched me as much as it entertained me.

I saw a comment from Dawn about my new 'do' and I am going to try to post a picture of it; however, my picture dealy hasn't been working so great with my new computer. I may have to log into NON-Vista IE.

I'll give it a try and see if I can get a pic up!

Happy President's Day. Enjoy the day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oh My!

I did it.

I started obsessing about my sagging eyes.

It's no coincidence that this is the week of Beth Moore's "Esther" study when the focus question was: "It's tough being a woman when beauty is a treatment". We talked about Esther 2, where the most beautiful women were secluded and went through a year of beauty regimen to vie for the King's affection and ultimately a crown.

So...I started looking at my face this morning and I rarely take that close a look. I've honestly never been really vain. But I pulled that extra eyelid skin back and then the whole chin and face thing and I had to rebuke myself right then.

I am 45. I look exactly as I should at this point.

Could I make improvements?

According to the world's standard...YES!

...but honestly I think this is the ME God embraces; exactly where I am tonight.

It does help that I had my hair done and it looks awesome! I have the world's best hairstylist, who just happens to be our Pastor's lovely daughter.

I'm growing to love her and she can work miracles with hair.

I am ready to face this weekend of "love" with a good attitude and a great haircut.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Glimpse of Her

Every once in awhile I watch her and I don’t think she knows I’m there.

She may be heading out to school or off to her first job. She’s so full of hope and a certainty that nothing can keep her from her dreams. She is full of life and speaks with assurance that her dreams will become her reality.

She wants to change the world. She wants to help make it a better place. I don’t have the heart to try to dissuade her. Who knows…maybe she’ll succeed. Maybe she’ll go further than the one before her could. Maybe she’ll make more headway then I could.

I watch her as she interacts with others. She is shy and introverted only to a point. When her passions are flamed she becomes much more outgoing and outspoken. She will NOT watch another suffer if she can help it. She is a champion of the underdog, the cheerleader of the losing team.

I watch her apply the smile each day. She smiles at what the day can become.

I watch her shed the tears each night. She cries for what the day became.

She is young and she will survive. She will take with her the wisdom of these daily lessons. She will leave behind the uncertainty of her youth. She will walk away changed.

Now as she sits at this computer writing these words, she remembers…without regret…the girl she used to be. The glimpse of her before.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Forgetful Forgiveness

God spoke to me this morning and unlike the occasionally whispering, he was very clear about what he had to tell me.

You see, prior to going to church, I pretty much told God I just wasn't sure about this whole church thing... I know, I know, same story over and over with me.

As we began worshipping, I asked God to prepare my heart to receive the message and to hear Him.

God didn't waste any time before he let me know my unforgiveness is what is holding me back in church(es). I am holding on to unforgiveness going all the way back to my first experiences in church...and some of my recent experiences as well.

I asked God to reveal it to me in His time and help me move through it and while attending a church potluck today, I actually felt at peace and had some fun...for a change. These things usually make me feel so uncomfortable, but not today.

In God timing I realized as I visited with a friend today about our personal study: "Hiding From Love", that I also had unforgiveness in an answer to questions about my 'hiding'.

Thank you God for revealing my hidden heart and helping me release and forgive and forget!

Proverbs 27:5 "Better is open rebuke, then hidden love."