Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You'd think ...

I would go to bed. It's 11:15, I complain regularly about not getting enough sleep, and yet ... here I am wide awake! Since I'm never fully alert in the morning, I think I will try to get myself organized before crawling under the covers. Get the clothes out that I plan to wear tomorrow, ensure that I have all of the stuff ready to take to work and hopefully by that point I will be sound asleep!

You know, I don't think much happened today. On the work front, Cody and I finished up the 'Creative Suite Deadline' brochure. Whoopee! (not so much, eh?) On the home front, Max managed to blow a fuse just before he left to come get me, so we had to stop at Ace Hardware, pick up fuses and then I found my way through a darkened house to the basement to replace them. Yup, it's the joy of living in an old house. But, for my troubles, he went to Malara's to pick up dinner. The BEST homemade spaghetti noodles around.

I was talking to Pastor Craig today about restaurants - what we love, what we don't love so much. Max has always talked about the food in Atlanta and of course, Craig has lived there and decided that it was important for him to tell me about these great places that he and Amber used to frequent. Ummm ... Kenyan, Cuban, Persian food. Are you kidding? That would be so much fun!

Tomorrow night ... the beginning of the new season of LOST. I can't wait. Well, I can wait ... they are certain to introduce new mysteries and not clear up old mysteries. Now, while this certainly makes for a terrific show, it's driving me batty! And since we are dealing with the writer's strike, it will be a short season and we won't get too much information. But, I will be glued to the television set for the unveiling of the new mysteries. I doubt that the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 will make it off the island, but it's going to be entertaining to watch!


Cold morning + Warm blankets + Warm Dog = Oversleep. omigawd, omigawd, omigawd!!

I really hope that I didn't forget anything important this morning in my mad dash out of the house. But, if I did, I suppose that it won't make any difference. What's done is done and here I am!

The good news is - I got an extra half hour of sleep. Actually I got an extra 2 hours of sleep. When I'm waking up at night, I will wake up at 4:30 and really never go back to sleep. So, this was spectacular!

So here I am ... at work ... I didn't get in too much later than normal, but it was certainly a quick moving morning!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Black Helicopters, Christmas Lights and Italians

See, here's the deal. If you want the weird things in my head, you have to put UP with the weird things in my head. Honestly, if I were to blog all of them, you'd probably be afraid for me. So, we have Canticum Novum rehearsal tonight ... all goes well. I leave. I'm going to Sonic for supper (at 9:30 pm - yup, going to sleep badly tonight). As I turn north on Saddle Creek, I see a Walgreens. "OH! I forgot that was there! Yea!" And I whip in (FYI, the car has not warmed up yet). I get out of the car, head inside for some important things (of which m&ms is included) and am greeted by a creepy Italian who is trying to vacuum the entry way. He promptly looks at the clock on the wall and then again at me. My immediate thought is, "Are you closing?" and I scurry to get what I need and then head for the candy aisle. As I was scurrying, it occurred to me that 9:30 is NOT a normal closing time for a Walgreens and that was weird! So, I slow down. He has just checked another customer out as I walk to the counter with my purchases and is back to vacuuming the entryway. Of course, he's annoyed as he has to walk ALL the way around the counter to get to the cash register. I understand that ... but, hey! So, he starts ringing up my purchases. Another customer walks in - he looks at them and then at the clock on the wall. Another customer walks in - same look. Now, it occurs to me that this is a bad habit of his - he should KNOW the time by this point. Oh, and I know that he's Italian because his name tag reads 'Gino'. All of my candy should be ringing up at 2/$4.00 or 2/$5.00, but he didn't bother to enter the proper codes and has to re-do everything, all the time telling me what a favor he's doing for me. When I thank him, he responds with 'That's what I'm here for.' And yes, that conversation occurred more than once.

There's the Italian.

From Walgreens, I went to Sonic - addiction to Strawberry Limeades is becoming quite prominent. Then, the drive home. The car is finally warming up - whee!!! I'm driving along, thinking of all of you and the grief I have gotten over not blogging. And, I think to myself, "If I had a way to blog while I'm driving or doing other weird things, you all would be sorry you asked for this!" And, I giggled.

I turned from Farnam on to 52nd Street and was startled by the Christmas lights that were still up. Full-blown Christmas. Really? I know it's too cold to take them down right now, but the last weekend was beautiful? Or ... maybe they are as lazy as Max and I are. Well, less lazy, because they got them up. We didn't even do that!

There are the Christmas lights.

Into the alley and I pulled into the parking space. The car is really toasty by now. Doggone it, I do not want to get out. But, I had coney dogs for Max and I knew that I had warm animals in the house for me. Argh ... here I go. As I opened the door of the car, I heard that noise - the helicopter. I live 10 blocks from the Med Center. I know that the helicopters flying over my house are generally medical flights, but black helicopters that spy on people in their homes is a conspiracy theory that Max and I have laughed over for years. Every time we hear a helicopter above us, we make a comment about them.

There's the black helicopters.

Now, I'm hoping that I have posted enough blogs for one day. If it's not enough, I'll try to be back tomorrow.

I go back and forth between light-hearted romps and deep, spiritual thoughts. If you can't keep up, I apologize. It's how I roll.

Who am I to Complain?

Well, that supposed to be the title of the last post, but I never got around to it! I started talking about spending time with Max in the car and got lost in the thought process ... so, I changed the title and realized that I still wanted to say something about complaining.

You see, I have no reason to complain ... about anything! Oh, I certainly could justify complaints, but that would be worthless. I have a terrific life. I'm sitting here at my desk with my arms wrapped around a cat while I type. He is purring away and nuzzling my nose. Since my nose is a little cold, burying it in warm cat fur is wonderful! Leica is curled up under blankets on my sofa and I'm thinking about my friends as I type this. Each of you! Ok, at least the ones of you that I know are reading this blog.

I'm a fortunate, fortunate person.

Max and I are beginning a purging process in the house. We have GOT to begin eliminating garbage, stuff and junk from our lives. As I sit here and think about the 'things' in this house that are important to me, I realize that there is nothing except the warm-blooded lives here that I couldn't easily give up. So, why am I holding on to all of this crap? I honestly have no idea.

Does anyone want a really nice collection of Department 56 Dickens Village? No, really - do you want it? Max needs to pack up his entire camera collection and send it off to a friend, I have books that need to be purged - some I will keep, many I will get rid of. There isn't anything in the house that is worth anything. It's pretty much just crap. But, at some point in my life, I had decided that it was important for me to have collections of crap and so ... here they are!

I seem to have collected all of the memory stuff of our family - old scrapbooks, etc. Oh my goodness. My dream for these is to get everything scanned and identified. Then, I will build a website that is interactive so our family can have access to the fun pictures and all of the stuff. But, it seems that every time I get working really hard on this stuff, my computer crashes and I have to start over. Oh, and then there's the whole thing with my dad dying and it's difficult for me to identify some of the things from mom's side. Yup, I have piles of this stuff around the house.

Then, there is music from a lifetime of ... well ... music. All of my classical piano books from my days of actually practicing the piano. I haven't looked at those in years, much less played from them. But, it kills me to get rid of them. I spent a lot of hours turning those pages as I practiced and practiced and practiced. I have shelves of choral music that I collected while directing choirs. Will I ever use it? Not likely ... Oh, and the shelves of wedding music and Christmas music and oh my GOODNESS! Make it stop!

I'm not much for garage sales - so, I'll have to start making some decisions about what to keep and what to toss, what to give away and what to sell Ebay, what goes to Goodwill and what goes into storage.

Too many decisions ... I need a wife!

But, as I look around while sitting here at my desk ... I'm awfully fortunate. I still have my nammynools and my husband, I have my family and my friends. I have a great job (so does Max) and a church that brings me fulfillment. I have the desire to spend time with God and read His Word.

Who am I to Complain about anything?

Choices and Consequences

Max picked me up from work at 5:00 and we drove home ... hashing out our day. This is one thing I will miss when we get two cars again. When we first got married, we only had one car and we spent an awful lot of time together in that one car. If we were going to do something, we had to do it together. It was pretty terrific. However, after awhile, we recognized the need for two vehicles. We both had our things to do - work hours no longer coincided, I had activities at church, he had other things going on - we needed two cars, so ... we got the second vehicle. You know what? I hated it! All of that time we had spent together was gone. We were both racing here and there and since we had the time to spend wherever we were at, we used the time doing our activities ... apart. All of a sudden we were spending less time talking to each other and more time passing each other as we did our things.

But, we got used to it and life became convenient. When I got rid of the second car last fall, it really wasn't that big of a deal. Max still wasn't working, we hadn't driven it in a long time and it was just taking up space in the driveway. And no, Cody, don't think for a minute that I want that silly thing back - YIKES NO!

Max and I spent time together talking again - oh, sometimes I babble at him and he just listens (you KNOW that's most of the time), and sometimes (in the dark, early morning) neither of us talk, but we are together. And I like that!

Yes, I'm going to get a second car as soon as we are financially able to do it. I can hardly stand these o-dark-thirty mornings. But I'm going to really miss these forced moments together. When we get home in the evening both of us will be tired from our day and we'll do what we are doing right now - one of us may head upstairs for a nap, or we'll turn the television on and let our minds release the stress of the day, or we'll both get online to ensure that the world didn't collapse around us in the previous 15 minutes. We won't sit in a car and for 15-20 minutes have no other distractions but each other.

As a friend of mine's father says, "Choices and Consequences..."


See, I also feel really guilty about spending any time at working ... writing my blog. I know I should be working on things that are productive in my world. Now, I'll be honest with you, I pretty much work 10 hours days at a minimum, and I'm the ultimate multi-tasker (this morning I actually had four printers working at the same time from my computer ... life was good and getting complete!). So, why should I feel guilty? Well, you can blame Dad for that. If we EVER sat down on a Saturday morning and he happened to pass by, he'd ask us what we were doing and if there wasn't something we should be doing. If we deigned to look askance at him, he would find things for us to do.

Carol and I managed to carry that behavior into our adult lives and the idea of sitting around with nothing to do during the work day is difficult. For poor Carol, it's difficult for her to sit around doing nothing even into the evenings! Reading a book was fine, but we had to be doing something productive with our time.

When I was 'not working' last fall, I was actually staying quite busy writing my Revelation study. I got up in the morning and began researching or writing. Every day! I had people tell me that they couldn't believe I was actually able to stay disciplined about that habit. Oh my! I had owned a business for the last 20 years and before that I had been living in my father's home. I didn't have a choice with this. It was either stay focused and busy ... or scream! I made the correct choice.

All of that to say, I feel guilty for writing this blog at work. And I shouldn't. And I shan't. I remember making a conscious choice to eliminate guilt from my life when mom was dying. I recognized immediately that guilt was one of those things that took up time in a short life. And hey, most of my guilt through my lifetime was from mom ... if she was dying ... this emotion needed to die as well!

I suppose I should also do more blogging while at work. That's where and when all of the interesting things happen. By the time I get home at night, I struggle to recall the conversations and things of interest that happened to me during the day. Let me tell you, I have a LOT of conversations!

So, here's the deal. I have two thought processes pulling at me and I'm not being very successful in blending them: 1) Guilt over blogging at work, 2) forgetfulness and vegetative state at home.

Hmmm ... what will I end up doing?

p.s. just for those of you who don't know me very well ... I will probably end up doing the same thing I have since I started this blog. I don't enact change very well in my life ... status quo is what I do.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Taken to Task

Well, Julie got me in my last blog. Tomorrow marks 2 weeks since the last time I blogged. Whoops! I told her I didn't have much to say. She commented that I probably had a lot to say, but didn't dare say it all publicly. I suppose she might be right. Yes, I remember my mother telling me that if I didn't have something good to say about someone, I shouldn't say anything at all. I also remember my mother telling me that I should never put something down on paper that I didn't want my father to read. Let me tell you, that certainly kept my diaries boring! I know that dad never would have even thought about reading my diary. Mom would have, though! And that would have gotten me in all sorts of trouble.

Honestly, though, I told mom a lot of what was going on in my life. There wasn't much she didn't know. She didn't approve of everything I did, but she didn't really give me a lot of judgment. She gave me a lot of guidance.

So ... back to why I haven't been blogging. Well, I moved from being an active participant in my evenings to a passive person. I've been watching LOST with Max so that we could get caught up before the season premiere this week. It's difficult to blog while watching that. I also watched Stargate: Atlantis. And, I discovered BONES (Fox). So ... my brain went into a vegetative state and I didn't do much constructive with it.

I've found a couple of blogs that are intriguing, read some good fiction, and I go to bed at night thinking about a world set far into the future and the characters, tensions and lives that I could create (I like dreaming up fiction). I've done a little knitting, and we signed up for Netflix ... movies are also coming in. Wow. This stuff isn't terribly conducive to good blogging!

Ok ... so, oops, I just discovered that they uploaded a brand new episode of BONES. Off I go!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nap and a Limeade

You know, it really is the little things in life that make it easier to get through the day. I took a nap when I got home from work, went to Canticum Novum rehearsal and picked up a strawberry limeade from Sonic on the way home from rehearsal. These two things just made me smile this evening! I blame Julie (at work) for turning me onto these limeades. Hello! They're wonderful. We really don't have a Sonic close to us, but I made it work tonight.

We brought the little electric heater home from my office tonight. The house has been having a difficult time keeping up with this REALLY cold weather the last couple of days and I was tired of being frozen while hanging out in the evenings. I don't need or want a lot of heat through the night - we aren't around during the day, but those few hours that Max and I are home in the evening, I prefer warm to frozen!

I love the place that I live in, but yikes! there is no insulation in this place, the windows are drafty and it's just cold! Max and I have commented in the past that we aren't terribly worried about carbon dioxide poisoning - there's much too much air movement. It's all good, though.

Back to small things that make me happy. Do you know about Great games. There is a jigsaw puzzle that refreshes daily. It's pretty cool and the rest of the games are fun, too!

Cat snugglies. Ever since Howard (the cat) died last fall, Ichabod (the mean cat) has been quite generous with his affection. Right now he is sitting in front of me with his paws on my chest, snuggling his face into my neck and purring like crazy. He doesn't much like it when I move too far, so I'm going to be stuck typing for a few minutes. I don't like it when he growls at me. (I just ticked him off and he managed to try to bite my hair - stupid cat. Thank goodness it was my hair and not my face!)

Blankets. I'm addicted to blankets. One of my favorite stores is the woolen mill in the Amanas (near Iowa City). I always end up buying blankets when I'm there. I have piles of blankets - quilts, afghans, lap blankets, on and on - all over the place. There is no such thing as too many blankets. Ok, I'm afraid that someday there will be too many, but right now ... I still have fun with them. My friend, Fran kept giving Max blankets for Christmas and I managed to abscond with them. Whoops! She was smart and finally gave me a cool Mexican blanket this year. Do I have to beg? (hehe)

Text messaging. I'm really bad at this - I haven't figured out how to do with any speed. But, I love it! I can get a message to Max and not bother him while he's working. He can choose to contact me when he is free.

Well, those are the random thoughts going through my brain tonight. It's time to upset the cat in my arms and head to bed. Tomorrow morning will be here whether I'm ready or not!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Radical Prayer

I have been overwhelmed lately with books on prayer. Some of them are garbage, some are ok, and some are really making me think! I started reading "Red Moon Rising" today. Before I blog about it - I'm going to finish it. So far, I love the excitement that 24/7 prayer has generated. I love that people are finding themselves committed to getting to know God intimately.

I'm tired of weak, unfulfilled prayer. I want to pray knowing that I am fully living within God's will and that my prayers are simply outgrowths of the relationship that He and I have. I'm not even sure what this looks like! But, I want to know more! I don't want to be satisfied with the status quo any longer. I beg and plead with God to shake the foundations.

Am I ready for this? Have I got the internal fortitude to hold up under that kind of moving and shaking from God? Well, what an interesting question. The answer: I don't have to.

I just read an interesting interview with the founder of "Big Idea" (the guy who did VeggieTales). In three years he built a company and then lost it. He no longer dreams - because that's all about HIS dreaming. He brainstorms like crazy, but every day he operates within what he knows is God's plan. He doesn't do things at all without spending time in prayer and letting God tell him what is coming next.

This was his answer to the last question in the article:

Do you pray differently now?
My perspective at Big Idea, what drove me was always, was "how far have I gone, and am I gaining on Nickelodeon, MTV … the ones using the attention of our kids for selfish gain? I need to catch up with them." I was always measuring results and comparing myself. The big difference is focusing not on results but obedience: What has God asked me to do today, and am I doing it?

To answer the question: I find I spend more time now praying for other people. I spent more of my time before praying for my plans, my dreams, myself.

This goes against everything we know in the United States: setting goals, measuring the results and changing our plan of action to get a higher measurement. We are so focused on success that we measure our relationship with God based on the success or failure of our activities.

We finally get to the point where we eliminate God completely from our decisions - even from the activities in our church. We get so busy doing and succeeding (or failing) that it becomes all about our dreams and our plans.

Check out the article ... it's kind of interesting. Looks like this will be one more book that I will end up reading in the next few weeks.

I'm going to need a new set of glasses pretty soon!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Relationship With God, Part 3

When we finally enter into a full relationship with God and see Him as more than a vending machine – yes, the metaphor works, we start fully understanding that prayer isn’t only about asking for blessings and for petitions for ourselves and others. Those things are part of the relationship, but only part. I asked my parents for money to go out for pizza or money for gas or help with a problem or intervention with a friend’s problem.

But there were times that I just curled up on mom’s lap or sat beside her while we watched a movie. Sometimes I just went fishing with Dad and we would watch the sun come up over the lake in Canada at 5:00 in the morning together. Sometimes I went into the other room to play the piano for Dad because He loved hearing me play or I would bring mom a flower out of the garden because she loved them on the table.

I had a relationship with my parents. It was a relationship that went both ways.

When I read the Bible, it’s not about racking up points to achieve the next level of prayer response, it’s about knowing God better. That correlates quite nicely to listening to my parents as they told stories of their lives before we knew them, or as they talked about their day with me. I knew my parents intimately because I listened to them. I know God intimately because I read His words and learn about Him.

When I work at the church (outside of my normal work day), I am just participating in the normal life of the relationship. It’s much like cleaning my room or setting the table, washing the dishes or laundry, or getting things ready for guests to come to dinner.

When I tithe, I am supporting the things that our family does together. I didn’t have to contribute a lot to the family when I was growing up, but at a certain point I wanted to do more and I did end up contributing. I was expected to grow up and learn how to spend money wisely and how to purchase the things that I needed because mom and dad couldn’t handle everything. I fI wanted a car, I had to find out how to pay for gas and insurance. If we want things to happen at the church, we have to figure out how to pay for all of those things – it’s a relationship.

So, when I pray … this is my time alone with God. We talk. I don’t just hand Him a list of petitions. We get to those. One night as I was praying, my mind began bombarding me with name after name of people that I felt I needed to pray for. All of a sudden, I heard Him say, “You know what. I know all about those. I’ve got it. What I want from you right now is for you to just enjoy me.” So, I relaxed. He DID know about all of the things I was worried about. He had ‘em. I needed to release them and just relax. I remember going home after a dicey meeting. Mom had been there, she had experienced the same things I did. We sat down on the couch and I began unloading on her about everything. Finally she just said, “I was there – I remember. Let’s talk about something more pleasant.” Well, we did.

I don’t know if I can teach you how to pray. I certainly don’t feel like I’ve got a complete handle on it yet. In fact, I’m pretty confident that I never will feel that way. But, I don’t worry about it anymore. I still enjoy reading the books and learning what God is saying through other people, but I’m concentrating on the relationship. If He doesn’t answer all of my petitions, well, it’s not really my call. I don’t know what the big picture looks like. I’m stuck in my own image of how the world should look. I might be right a lot of the time, but I’m not God. I don’t know what things work out as they do, but I know that He does.

This relationship? It’s being built on trust. Me trusting in the One that created all things. And when it all plays out … I’m going to just be thankful that I can hang out with that Creator and He and I will know a lot about each other. That intimacy is an incredible thing and I look forward to being up close and personal with God in the throne room.

A Relationship With God, Part 2

God wants to have a relationship with us. A full relationship. A relationship like we have with the people around us. He wants to surprise us and to have fun with us. He doesn’t want to just sit there and have to respond to our prayer lists of needs.

Because we didn’t have a lot of money when I was a child, there were certain toys that just didn’t make sense for mom and dad to buy for us. I remember there were several years that I desperately wanted an Easy Bake Oven. My friends all had one and I wanted to be able to make hideous brownies under a 60 watt light bulb. I didn’t get one. Then, I wanted the Operation Game. My friends all had one and I wanted to jump every time I hit the side with the tweezers, too! Then, I wanted Light Brite. I wanted to make cool pre-punched pictures with lights. I got none of those gifts because of the expense and my parent’s sense that I would simply play with them for a short time and they would become trash.

My parents made beautiful gifts for us. One year Dad completely built a wooden kitchen set for us to play with in the basement. It was awesome! He painted the stovetop and put hinges on a door for us to open the oven. There was a small refrigerator that of course didn’t work, but we played for years with these things that never fell apart. Mom would sew beautiful stuffed animals for us and make wonderful clothes and would cut out gorgeous paper dolls for us and then taught us how to make clothes for those dolls with paper and crayons. We got lifetime gifts from our parents.

But the surprise? Well, that was saved for 30 years later when my husband came to Christmas one year with a big box. Inside that box was an “Easy Bake Oven”. I couldn’t believe it. He LOVED being able to surprise me with that gift. The next year for Christmas, I got a Light Brite from him and the year following that I got an Operation Game.

Do you think that God enjoyed watching me love my husband because I was able to be surprised at his gifts to me. Things that I thought I wanted and needed all of those years ago, but I really didn’t. Now I appreciated how much the gift-giver loved me. I turned around and gave away the Easy Bake oven to a child who really loved it – a 60 watt light bulb wasn’t going to do much at my age, but I have kept the Light Brite – I should pull it back out of the closet – it’s so much fun and the Operation Game still makes me into a failure. I guess I’d be a lousy surgeon.

A Relationship With God, Part 1

I’ve heard over and over and over that God is not like a big vending machine that we can go up to, pop our prayers in the coinbox and expect to pull a lever for D9 to get what we want. Well, of course He isn’t! He’s the Creator of the Universe! How can I expect to command His attention for my petty little desires … like a bicycle, or money to pay my bills, or health for my family. Who am I to expect God to answer my prayers?

And here is the biggest problem I face. It’s easy to see God as a Divine Judge and nothing more. We see Him sitting on a justice’s bench with a stern face and judgment in His hands. He’s ready to say ‘no’ because we haven’t measured up to some unknown tally. If we get to a certain point in our ‘goodness’, it might tip the scales and He MIGHT say ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’. If we read our Bible every day, or work at the church, or do something nice for a person in need, or donate enough money, or … on and on, we might earn the right to receive a ‘yes’ from God. And if we get a ‘no’, that just means we work harder the next time. And sometimes when someone else gets a ‘yes’ and we’re still getting a ‘no’, we try to change our habits of prayer to match theirs. They obviously have a better relationship with God, so He is meeting their pleas and not ours.

It is hard to admit that this is the way we see God, because when it’s said out loud, it sounds insane.

I grew up in a household with two other siblings. I was the oldest and then Carol and then my brother Jim. We always needed and wanted things as we were growing up. Mom and Dad didn’t set an arbitrary standard for each of us to achieve something before we could receive the blessings that they handed to us. Because we were their children, we received good meals and clothing, we received an education and Christmas presents and family vacations. We received love and support and chance after chance to try and fail at things until we found things that we loved. We received guidance and advice, we received pets and friends and entertainment, exploration. The list goes on and on. But we didn’t have to do anything to receive these things from our parents. Because they loved us and because we were their children, we received these things from them.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?" (Matthew 7:9-11)

It’s hard for us to consider God as more than how we know or knew our parents. Because He is God and He created us, He wants to bless us, He wants to give us everything that we need. So, how do we get to that point from here?

I’m going to go a little further with the metaphor of my parents vs. God (oh, they’d love this)! We don’t get everything that we think we want, because sometimes we don’t know what’s good for us. Oh, this makes sense, but we forget to apply it to God. We think we know what is best for our own lives – much like we did when we were children. Do you remember? And if you can’t remember all the way back to your own childhood, think about the things that you refused to give to your children because you knew that it wouldn’t be good for them.

Like the night that mom told me not to go out riding around (that was our fun in rural Iowa) with friends. Well, it was snowing a lot that night and we were shooting snowdrifts in my Subaru and got ourselves good and stuck. The evening went by, it got later and later and I knew that Mom was going to be furious! We finally got hold of a friend with a truck and chains who pulled us out. I was IN TROUBLE by the time I got home. I had insisted on my own way and it wasn’t a good outcome.

Last year we had to close Insty-Prints. We had run out of money. I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to bring us more customers, to get our many non-paying customers off of their butts to pay us for services rendered. Oh, I prayed a lot about that place. But, God knew that it was time for me to be done. He did NOT answer my prayers, but He met my needs. He knew much better than I did what was good for me.


CHP = Church of the Holy Pillow. Which is where I'm going to be tomorrow morning. I've actually been planning all week to skip church this week. How sad is that?! Max and I don't take very many Sundays to sleep in and by golly, I'm doing it. The worst thing ... I feel a little guilty. Not enough to change my mind, but enough to make me talk about it here. However, I'm really looking forward to sleeping in! So, 'Away with you, guilt!'

I got the talk written in 3 hours. It didn't hurt that I had most of it done in my head. And honestly, I can write cohesive thoughts down pretty quickly. Most of the time they make sense. And when I'm writing about stuff and can use scripture passages, I make a lot more sense. God just isn't that difficult for me to discuss! In fact, He is pretty easy to talk about. One of my very favorite subjects.

So, I got it written and even got in a short nap before heading out. The Saturday evening service went well, it's a great group of people. I talked about prayer - another of my favorite subjects.

Do you ever have those things that take you forever to seem to comprehend? Well, the idea of a 'relationship' with God is one of those things for me. I'm not quite sure why I've been so dense about this subject, and I admit that I've always 'known' it in my head ... but I'm just beginning to comprehend the depth and reality of what the relationship is.

As I was writing the talk on prayer today, I was pondering the process of the relationship with God and I began comparing it to my relationship with my parents. I had a terrific childhood and lived in a very safe home, so it isn't difficult to use this relationship to try to comprehend my relationship with God. I'll use the next couple of blog posts to relate what I wrote in my talk for this evening using that simile.

A book that I read this week also has gotten me to thinking about the 'relationship' that God and I share. I would love to MAKE everyone I know read this book - it's transformational. And it's fiction! It is the best thing I have ever taken into myself.

Alison gave me the book on Wednesday. She'd been talking about it and I knew that I had to read it before too long because she'd ask me about it. So, I took it home with me that evening. I didn't get a chance to start it until about 10:00. I read for 45 minutes before falling asleep and got about 1/2 through the book. The next morning I was at work really early and knew I had to finish it. Cody came in to work while I was reading (I actually had work I had to do that day as well - doggone it!). I cried several times through the book and then I closed the book after finishing it and within moments my body convulsed into sobs. I kept them as quiet as possible - I didn't need to make a scene.

Jen came in to work as I was dealing with the tears. I opened the back door for her and handed her the book. And then I ordered 5 more from Amazon so that I can hand them out to friends and family. I think I need to order another 5 at least because I keep coming up with people that I want to share this book with.

What book? "The Shack." It's a fictional story by William Paul Young. But in the midst of the fiction is incredible truth. I'm not going to tell you about it. You can find information about it at Read the book, allow the truth to flood your heart, allow yourself to be changed by this truth. That's all I'm going to say about it.

The next few posts will be from the talk that I gave tonight - mostly about how my parents taught me (though it took a lot of years for the lesson to make sense) about relationships and how the earthly relationships we have teach us about our relationship with God.

Shame on the Bad Blogger

Well, goodness! It's been awhile since I've blogged and I should be a little ashamed! And it's Max's fault. Ok, not really, but it's much more fun to blame someone else than to accept responsibility for my own lack of ambition.

I returned to work and work returned to me ... full swing! I hate to complain too much about work, for heaven's sake, that's where a bunch of my readers come from! And it's actually my favorite place to be, but this last week and a half has hit hard! It doesn't help that I have to get up at o-dark-thirty to get there. Right now Max and I are at one vehicle and since he has to be at work at 7:30 in the morning, that means I'm at church by 7:00. That's just wrong! I'm definitely a night person. I had managed to retrain my body to be a night person again over the holidays and kicking it back into shape for the early morning action nearly killed me.

What that meant for my blogging habit was that when I got home at night, I was pooped (yes, I need 8 hours of sleep and when I get only 4 or 5 hours, I tend to use up all of my reserves during the day). By the time Max and I get home in the evening (usually 9:00 or so if I have activities or am out with friends), I'm toast! I have enough energy to sit and talk to him quietly for a little bit and both of us crash by 10:00. The poor dog is becoming quite desperate for a little attention from me!

So ... that's where I've been and though I apologize for my bad blogging this last week and a half, I am determined to not feel guilty. This is my life. I love it.

Activities you ask? Well, this is where the fun comes in. A week ago Friday, (Jan. 4th), Canticum Novum sang for the Northrup Grumman Holiday Party which was held at the Doubletree downtown. We'd had a rehearsal the night before and were ready to sing Christmas songs for a large group. It was an interesting exercise in ... futility. We sang in a large ballroom to a group that was not interested in anything but hanging out with friends and consuming alcohol. Max picked me up at the door when I was finished and since hadn't actually spent time together for several days, we went out to dinner at Taxi's (120th & Blondo). I've known the owners for nearly 15 years. Mac Thompson and Bill Johnette have been in Omaha for years running great restaurants. They owned the Neon Goose (downtown) and YoYo Grille at 120th & Pacific. Bill died on Thanksgiving from cancer and I was glad to get in there and let Mac know that I was thinking about him. Good guys ... great restaurants ... great food.

Max and I had a wonderful evening together - almost romantic!

I crashed like a fool on Saturday - did absolutely nothing productive. Thank you Jesus! Sunday morning I was at church helping to lead worship, lunch with friends and back to church that evening to lead Disciple I Bible Study.

College Football Championship Game. DJ's Dugout. Brook's Sandwich (BLT with a fried tomato). Friends. Ohio State lost. Let's just say I was glad to get home and fall asleep. After work on Tuesday, Max begged to just stay home. Yup! Takeout and crashing. I was asleep by 10:00.

Now that was a weird evening. I fell asleep at 10:00. Just about the time when I was really getting snuggled in and falling into that deep sleep, I was roused by a sound that was vaguely familiar. The back doorbell? No, it couldn't be. But, it had roused me enough to bring me up out of the deep sleep. Within a couple of moments, I heard it again. Yup, it was the back doorbell. I had fallen asleep on the couch with Leica and was praying that she wouldn't react. I certainly wasn't going to head for the door. And then, there was tapping at the back door. Are you kidding me? It was 10:20 pm. I don't answer the door for anyone at that hour. But, Leica reacted. She leaped down and headed to the back door barking and barking.

The kitchen light was on, I went out and turned it off (so I could look out the kitchen window). As I did, the person was getting in their car. It was a female getting in a silver car. Hmmm ... Carol has a silver car - could there be something really wrong and was she needed my help? Why didn't she call me first? I called her immediately and she thought I was nuts. She was home and settling in for the night. Ok ... whew. But, it freaked me out enough that I couldn't get back to sleep for awhile. Another night of sleep condensed to a few hours.

Wednesday night - rehearsals begin again and I'm out to dinner with Fran and Leonard. Fun! And ... we're home late again. Thursday night - Praise Band rehearsal. Home by 8:00 - watched "The Illusionist." (Oh, we got Netflix - I love it!) 10:00 and doggone it, one more short night and then one more day of work. Friday night - drive to the Post Office to drop off a couple of bulk mailings, home to let the dog out (she'd waited 12 hours for that. Good dog!) and back out for dinner with the Neffs. Home by 9:00. A new movie had come in, Max pleaded with me to not watch a movie. Are you kidding? I need sleep!

So, here I am. Saturday morning and I have to get a sermon written for the Saturday night service. I have an idea floating around in my head, but I really need to get some words down on paper ... the minutes are flying by! What did I choose to do first, though? Write all of this down. Nothing profound, nothing spiritual. In fact ... it's a little self-serving. Hmmm ... that doesn't bode well for the rest of the day's writing! Here's hoping (and praying ... a lot) that it gets better than this!