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Can You Hear Me Now?

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.