Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Challenge You ...

There is a very interesting group called TED (Technology Entertainment Design) that holds a conference each year with the hope that the free exchange of ideas will change the world. Some of the most brilliant minds speak at this conference and many of these talks are available for the rest of the world to experience.

There is an annual prize given each year and in 2007 it was awarded to James Natchwey, an international photojournalist. The prize consists of $100,000 and the granting of a wish. His wish comes to fruition this Friday, October 3. He asked for assistance in accessing a story that needed to be told and in disseminating the breaking of that story in creative, digital ways so that many people around the world would be part of this.

After viewing the video below, I am absolutely terrified of what story he finds so important that he has asked the digital community to assist him in breaking it. The man has seen the worst that this world has to offer and has photographed it in a compassionate, yet extremely honest manner.

I challenge you to watch his talk at TED all the way through. If you can do so without feeling surges of emotion, you have more control than I. It is 20+ minutes long (the last 2 minutes are an ad for clean water).

And then, come back here on Friday, click on the badge and we'll see what story he is telling.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Are you kidding me?

Have you seen this forecast?

This is a GOOD week to live in Omaha.

Digging at the guts

Ok, that title might have been a little too visceral, but sorry ... that's the way I think.

I'm trying to dig apart 31 Psalms for the study I'm beginning at the Pour Out a Blessing blog. It's exciting to me. This stuff makes me a little high. But, I want to beat myself for some of my early choices - ok, my educational choices. And then, I want to stand in front of high school seniors and college freshmen and tell them that they had better not DARE allow themselves to be driven by their fears and expectations of failure.

There was one thing I was good at when I left high school - music. So, it seemed that the best option for my future was to teach music. Actually, I was going to be a music therapist. I think I also believed that I would quickly be married and would end up in a small town in Iowa, working in a local nursing home and raising a family.

Uhhh ... do you see any of that in my life?

I made those decisions because I was not challenged to make different decisions. I don't know why my parents didn't push me into something bigger. I suspect a lot of it was driven by financial concerns, some of it was the fact that mom wanted me to stay within the state of Iowa, and much of it was that they allowed me to make decisions for myself. But, those decisions were made by a girl who attended a small high school in a small town and who had seen very little of the big life out there.

Today, I wish that I had gone to seminary and had been forced to learn Hebrew and Greek. I would like to have that information parked in the back of my head so that as I tear through these Psalms and as I write Bible studies and teach, I would have that information available to me without having to rely on extraneous sources.

I know, I know. It's never too late to learn. And I'm working on it. But, it would certainly be nice to have it already finished and have had 25 years of practice in place so that these things would be familiar and easy to me.

Oh well ... I just wrote a study from Psalm 33:11. Yes, the Lord's plans stand forever. I'll count on that now...

Short Night. Alternate Title: Freedom

Last night was quite a short night. I was asleep by, oh ... about 4:30 am. I woke up at 8:00, asked myself if I was nuts, turned over and went back to sleep. But, by 9:30, I had a shivering dog (trying not to wake me up because she needed to go outside) and I knew that I had things to do today. However, looking at the clock, it's taken me nearly an hour to wake up enough to do anything productive.

I started to write a blog last night on 'Banned Books Week.' At some point, I realized that I have difficulty writing a blog about things that inflame me so as to stir others up. You won't catch me writing political blogs or issues based blogs. It seems that every time I do that, I tick someone off and end up in a passionate argument with them and that just stresses me out. It's not that I won't argue my point (most of you know I will), but you will find that I do that in speech rather than the written word. That way, the words tend to dissipate quickly.

But, I am passionate about freedoms and banning books falls in line with a lot of other freedoms that seem to fade away the older this country gets. I tend to keep my mouth shut about a lot of this, because I also believe that everyone has the freedom to have an opinion, even when they disagree with me.

I think that basic freedoms are not only granted to us by this country, but we are also given an assurance of freedom as Christians. We are given the freedom to not be bound up by a legalistic Christian society, we are given the freedom to learn about God in ways that might seem strange to those around us.

I am trying to keep an open mind about my nephew attending a Bible college. You see, one of the things that I try to do when I teach is make information available to those who are learning from me. I hate the idea of choosing a side and then teaching only the information that will prove that side of the topic. It is important to me that those who are in the initial stages of learning the things of God be taught to hunt for the truth themselves, not just be indoctrinated into a belief structure.

I don't think I'm making my thoughts very coherent here. I guess I'm still trying to formulate them into words and I'm probably jumping the gun with this blog. Sorry 'bout that!

I can't emphasize enough the importance of studying scripture for the Christian or even the Christian-searcher. The Bible offers freedom, not bondage. The older I've gotten, the more that makes sense to me. I'm frightened when I watch people allow their spiritual leaders to do all of the learning and studying for them. Christians through the centuries have allowed themselves to be caught up into terrible things because they allow a leader to interpret the things of God.

For all of this, I take the ideals of the Bereans very closely (the original Bereans, not necessarily the Bereans of the 20th/21st Century). Read about them in Acts 17:11.

The say that power comes from information. So does freedom. Know why you believe. Know why you act. Know why you trust.

Hmmm ... I only hope that the random thoughts of this blog will stir random thoughts in your own mind.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Announcing - A New Blog

I am beginning a new blog on October 1: Pour Out a Blessing. You will find the first day's blog up there already, but the next won't hit until October 2.

The desire to study scripture and then teach what I learn is quite intense in me. Before I decided to go ahead with this, I needed to ensure that I would be able to maintain the insanity of writing something on a daily basis. I can. Especially when I do most of the writing beforehand and just schedule the uploads.

I have chosen 31 of the Psalms to begin this project. We will read one each day during the month of October and I will have done a little study and a bit of writing about them. I'm not yet sure what will happen during November, but right now it looks like I will be studying I & II Peter.

There is a fabulous tool that allows me to reference scripture passages and it will highlight those for you so that you don't have to click away from the blog. Cool stuff!

You can either choose to read this in the blog format, or I will be glad to email the daily information to you. If you would like to receive this via email, just drop me a line at nammynools(at)cox(dot)net and I will get you on the list.

You don't have to know me well to be a part of this journey, in fact, if you have a friend that would enjoy (or could use) a daily prodding to get in to Scripture, please invite them to participate either on the blog or via email.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My little corner of the world

Here is my world during the day. The door beside me is open all the time ... beautiful breezes coming through. The overhang doesn't allow rain to get in and it's always shaded. The books in the case are Max's. Lots of photography stuff and a few other strange things. One of these days, we'll find this collection of books a new home and mine will start showing up in here. But, for now, this is ok.

This is Max's space. (behind my chair). He gets the back of the room. But, if he wants the two windows open, that's easy. He tends to like to control the lighting of the room, so the blinds don't get opened very often - especially when he's working on his photography. The crazy man has calibrated our monitors to a specific lighting set. I love him.

And because my girl (Leica) hangs out with me all day, here are a few pictures I snapped of her. Sitting up on her haunches, she is generally telling me that it's time for her to go outside. She can hear Max's van come in the alley. She pops up to watch him get out of his car and walk towards the house, then runs down the stairs to greet him. Not a bad life, eh?

I finally got a new bed for her - reduced the clutter of blankets in the room. It's pretty amazing. She is so at peace with the world and I'm absolutely certain that this little dog keeps me calm, just by hanging out with her.

Ahhhh ... much better!

Life is THAT much better when things begin heading back towards normal. Max finished with my computer about 9:00 pm. I sat down at my desk, rearranged my things (I am becoming quite concerned with my obsession over unnecessary details) and I felt all warm and fuzzy inside (there's a joke somewhere about eating a cat - warm and fuzzy inside, get it? Oh well.)

So, now it's 2:45 am, the dog is sound asleep beside me, the cat is wandering around feeling a lack of attention and Max is asleep. The house is quiet, the crickets are chirping ... hmmm ... different pitches, quite a song!

I believe I might have gotten a bit more sleep when I was limited to a laptop that didn't have my life on it, but wow, that's just not any fun now, is it?

I've paid bills, worried over the economy (those two things work well together, eh?) become annoyed with campaign season, tried to learn some new information (today in 1957 - West Side Story debuted on Broadway), sorted old mail, discovered that the Tastefully Simple website was down for maintenance and picked trash up off the floor in the study (Max was ripping boxes apart on the floor - he got the big stuff, but managed to completely miss small pieces of trash).

Time for bed. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Nope, there's nothing going on ... just looking forward to the day!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'll tell the world

How often do you have an emotional telephone conversation with your mechanic? A man you have never met. It doesn't happen very often for me, that's for sure. But, today, it did.

So ... I told you about my car breaking down on me a couple of days ago. You read my fury and frustration. I failed.

Last night we finally got the car towed to the garage and this afternoon, the manager called me. We spoke for a few minutes and then he said, "You are a very, very lucky girl."

He went on to explain that two bolts had come out of the caliper on the front left brake. They were messing with the tire, which was my problem. Ok. That's fine. I am lucky. This happened now and not in a month while I was on vacation.

And he said, "No. You're right, but that's not what I'm talking about. We found another problem." Now, before you all start telling me about dishonest mechanics - this is not who this garage is. These guys are people I trust and they're good. Their prices are more than reasonable, in fact, generally 25-30 percent lower than anyone else. At least. I've experienced a 50% difference at times.

I asked, "What was the problem."

"Diane, the tie rod on your steering was loose. It could have come off at any time and you would have been without steering capability. It would have been like steering a child's toy. The car would have been going on it's own and you would have had no control."

He repeated. "You were very lucky."

I said, "God was watching out for me and everyone else on the road."

He chuckled a little. "Yes, I think He was."

I repeated, "No, I'm pretty sure that I was in God's hands through that entire thing. He stopped the car before trouble could happen."

He chuckled again. "I believe you are right. It's a good thing you have a great relationship with Him."

At that point, I was hit by what this guy was saying to me. And I started to cry. I don't know if he heard the emotion in my voice, but he told me that they would get parts tomorrow and would get things all fixed up.

We talked about a couple of other things - I wanted to ensure they looked everything over before I took the car to Arizona in October. Then we closed. I said "Thank you." He repeated. "It might not have been luck, but this week you were a very lucky girl."

I am! And not only that, but today, I'm a thankful girl. Very thankful that nothing happened where I could have hurt someone else with my vehicle and very thankful that the problem was caught by someone who could fix it. I certainly don't mind telling him that I have a God in heaven watching out for me.

**POSTSCRIPT. It doesn't escape my notice that I was furious on Tuesday evening about the annoyance of all of this in my world. I imagine God listening to me complain and whine about the whole thing and wanting to pop me on the head, saying, "When will you understand that I see the big picture and your narrow little mind only sees the moment?"

He is God and I am not. Thank you, Lord!

I feel so out of synch

I feel like I should be writing more here, but to be honest with you, my world seems out of synch and I don't know how to overcome it so that I can concentrate on writing! With all of the shows I've been watching and books I've been ready that have to do with psychosis and obsessive compulsives, it makes me curious about myself.

Oh well, sigh ...

My car is at the garage. I don't know anything yet. The tow truck driver announced to Max last night that he had 'never heard that sound before.' Great. As the guy at the garage said to me when I told him that, 'that's a little unnerving.' Ummm ... yup. That's my baby you're talking about there. I waited for a long time to get her, please take care of her!

After much hashing and thrashing about, the motherboard finally arrived at my doorstep this morning. Now I have to wait for Max to get home so that he can even begin to install it. That doesn't include all of the insanity that will commence once the board is installed.

Sigh ...

Things are discombobulated in my world and I obviously don't handle it well. Who knew? At least I'm not just sleeping ... I'm whining.

Carol is coming to pick up our television later this afternoon. I have a large amount of 'stuff' that I'm also giving to her. Things for her to use in her classroom. Lots of great books, and for some reason or other, I have a bunch of toys from fast food restaurant promotions. She can give those away to her kids. She's getting all of my games for her classroom and some other crap that I hope she can use. It will be good to have more stuff gone from my world, but it's never enough.

So, nothing extraordinary or holy or even thought-provoking happening in my world right now.

Sigh ...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What do you do when you're angry?

Ok ... my day sucked. In nearly every way.

The morning didn't start out badly at all. I woke up, came upstairs and logged on to the computer. The wind was blowing outside, I had the door open and the screen was allowing me to enjoy the breeze. What a beautiful day this would be. There was a storm brewing, but I was looking forward to enjoying it from the comfort of my little study.

Storm brewing - hah!

About 11:45, I decided it would be a wonderful thing to go get lunch today, rather than forage through the kitchen. I put Leica on the leash and opened the back door. OH! There's a box there from Amazon.com. I know what's in it, so I don't need to open it, just put it inside on the kitchen counter and head out. I did that and Leica was pulling on the leash - ready to go. I walked out the door, pulled it shut and said, "(INSERT EVERY CURSE WORD HERE) I left the keys on the counter and am stuck out here with no way to get back in!!!"

My brain went into overdrive and I realized that Max would be going to lunch soon. I did have my wallet and my cell phone. I called him. He told me he would be getting off in 15 minutes and then he would come home and let me back in the house. So, I sat on the back stoop and enjoyed the breezy time, called a couple of friends, chatted with them, watched Leica play in the yard. He showed up 1/2 hour later and let me in.

After that, Max went back to work and I went out to Arby's to pick up lunch. I nearly picked off two pedestrians in our alley - couldn't see them at all. That would have been bad. Then, I had to pull into a parking space at Arby's and after they brought me my food, I checked and checked and then backed up and a guy came whipping through the parking lot and I nearly hit him.

At that point, I was just glad to get home in one piece.

I spent most of the day fighting with an online computer parts retailer - they said that a package was supposed to have shipped, but it didn't. The idiot customer service people were sending me over the edge - I got a little snippy to say the least. Max was glad it was them I was focusing my anger at and not him. I was PISSED!

And THEN, to top off the whole day ...

I left the house early to pick my nephew up for a rehearsal (Canticum Novum - check out singomaha.com). We were going to head to Scooters for some caffeine before rehearsal started. I got 10 blocks from home, pressed down on the brake and heard a strange lurching sound. I managed to pull into a parking lot. The car would go in reverse, but not forward very well. I had to call Max to come get me with the other car, call Matthew to tell him I was going to be a little bit late. I left the car there and by the time I had Matthew in the car, I was spitting fire!

He's such a great kid - he just listened to me and let me rant and rave. We got to rehearsal - I was five minutes late, not too bad. Then, I took Matthew back, came back here, picked Max up so that we could see if maybe the brakes had locked up because of the rain. Ummm ... nope. And now that I think about it, it's probably the Serpentine belt.

So, tomorrow, I have to deal with getting it towed to my garage. But, we have a good warranty on the thing, the cost isn't going to be a big deal and there's no reason for me to have to go anywhere tomorrow.

Now I'm home, I finally have some supper in me. I've calmed down enough to get through the night. Tomorrow will be another day (hehe).

I try to handle my anger, but sometimes a day just freakin' gets the better of me!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And they were singing...

Bye, bye Miss American Pie ... drove my Chevy to the levy and the levy was dry. Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing "this will be the day that I die. This will be the day that I die."

So, I had a great start to the evening. I took Matthew to Panera to help him study a bit for his Old Testament Survey test that happens tomorrow. We both enjoy it. I got home and hmmm ... weird, the dog is downstairs. She has been limping the last day or so, wonder why she's not upstairs with Max.

"Max? Have you let Leica out?"

"Yup, about 5 minutes ago."

Hmmm ... so why aren't you back upstairs with him? Maybe your leg hurts. Ok, I'll bundle you under one arm, grab my Iced Chai and Max's supper and we'll head up.

When I hit the top of the steps, I should be able to look into our 'study' and see Max at his desk. He wasn't there. He wasn't in the bathroom. I know that I just talked to him. Where is he? I put Leica on the floor and stepped up two more steps, looking for my husband. Not finding him. This is weird.

I walked into the study and there were strange noises emanating from it. And I found him, kneeling on the floor with my computer case open and the entrails strewn across the floor. He looked up at me.

"I'm so sorry! I walked past on my way to the bathroom and as I walked, I watched the screen go black. Something has happened and I can't get it to move past this (and he showed me a strange bootup screen) screen."

Guhreat ... of course! Well, it's not his fault and he feels terrible. Fortunately, all of the things that I am writing are also contained on a flash drive. He worked for a few more minutes, told me that he needed to order a mother board and we powered up the laptop.

Argh! I am not kidding you when I tell you that every 3-6 months something weird happens to my computer! The worst thing is, I'm fairly picky about how I want my desktop, email and browser window to look and act. I personalize these things immediately. So ... every 3-6 months, I end up reworking a computer. You'd think I would have it down to a science. I pretty much do.

What I love about myself is the trust that I put in each new computer setup. 'Surely this is going last a couple of years.' And I start building my little onboard nest. Then, whoosh ... it's gone again.

A girl could begin believing that God is trying to teach her about the impermenance of life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Found: Lost Memories

Oh my, I just delved back into my scrapbooks from high school and college. I haven't looked through these in years. Pictures from musicals and shows, pictures from trips around the country, pictures from groups I performed with, newspaper articles, invitations, memories from an innocent, wonderful time of my life. I cried at the things I had forgotten. Best friends that are scattered around the world, boys that I loved, pets that I treasured.

Though it may be an overwhelming task, it's time to start scanning my memories to ensure that I have access to them digitally. I have watched too many natural weather occurrences destroy these things lately. I have several lifetimes of information that need to be preserved. The thing is, it might take a lifetime to get all of this digitized ... but, I'm ready. It will be one of the most enjoyable things I ever do!

I am one of those very fortunate people. I had a wonderful childhood. I loved junior high, I had a great time in high school and college (all 3 that I managed to attend in 4 years) was a blast! I had terrific friends, I had a great family. I was very fortunate. So, as I look back on those years, I get to do so with a sense of joy at the fun I had and nostalgia at the things I miss.

And I have to say ... the music of the 70s? Can you even believe it? How fortunate was I to be in high school and have the radio on when that great music was first being played! Ummm ... oh yah!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The middle of the night

I'm sure that most of you know by now that I am awake while the rest of the world sleeps. I figure I am going to bed early if I make it by 2 am. Everything is quiet and peaceful at that hour. The world around me is sleeping, however crickets are still chirping.

The other night I was standing out on the front porch while Leica had one last run at the grass. There are very few cars traveling at that hour, sometimes in the 4-5 minutes that we are outside, only one will pass my front door.

I always wonder what that one person might be doing. Have they left a party? Or a girlfriend (boyfriend)? Are they leaving work or going to work? Did they get a call from someone that needed them urgently?

But then, they are gone, and those fleeting thoughts give way to observations of the world around me.

A half block away is a traffic light. At 10 pm, it turns to flashing yellow (or red, depending on your aspect). The other night, it was so quiet that I heard the lights shifting on and off. As I concentrated on the sound, I also noticed that the Martinizing store's 'open' sign was also flashing on and off. Hmm ... someone forgot to shut that off ... unless ... they were still open at 2:30 am.

Living in the city, I rarely am exposed to silence at the level that I can hear a traffic light change. I've missed that. But, between 2 and 4 am, I come close. I like it. A lot.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I totally love geeks

I am an unrepentant geek fangirl. There it is. I totally rock on geeks. I read Wil Wheaton's blog religiously, not because he acted in Star Trek: The Next Generation (but, that started my adoration), but because he loves all things geek. I love playing Dungeons & Dragons. I love comic books (graphic novels), I love science fiction and fantasy. I love that people were freaking out over the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). Gadgets and computers totally fulfill me. The best thing about being old is that I was reading Asimov and Frank Herbert before most of the geeks around today were even born.

I was just reading Wil Wheaton's blog and he was playing D&D with some friends who happen to write comic books. Argh! I'm just glad I wasn't in the room. I would have totally embarrassed myself with my mouth open until I drooled. I linked off his blog from one thing to the next and started looking through pictures on flickr and giggled as I read the t-shirt of one of the geeks from Wizards of the Coast (producers of all things D&D), I read "I spent my reward on ale and whores" with a picture of a drunken dwarf lying underneath the words. I laughed and laughed and realized that I simply love these guys. I'll never meet them - they all live in California. They'll never know that there is this old lady in Omaha, Nebraska that lives out her inner geek self through all the wierd things that happen in the world.

God knew that I was like this. Oh, for heaven's sake, I never hid it! I was on the internet back when Al Gore was creating it! And God found a geek just for me. It's a good life I lead.

A little offended

Alright, already! I had a birthday this week. I'm getting older. I get it. I get it!

I get a lot of scripture verses coming into my email account each day.

When this one came in this week, I giggled a little:

(The Lord says,) "Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." (Isaiah 46:4)

But, really, a second one? I mean, I understand when they all start stacking up around the holidays. The various senders want to ensure that I remember it's Christmas or Easter or Mother's Day or Father's Day or Labor Day or whatever day. But, none of these mail bot systems know that it's my birthday! So, when I got the second one, I was a little concerned that someone was trying to tell me something...

The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old. Proverbs 20:29

Yes, that one just popped into my email inbox and I laughed out loud. It's 1:30 am and I'm laughing. Hopefully I didn't just wake Max up. Stupid email inbox. I do not need this abuse.


Dear Lord,

It's so difficult to comprehend all that has changed in our world in the last seven years. But, here we are. We've managed to maintain a sense of stability, if not a reality of stability, after our innocence and feelings of safety crashed around us when those airplanes hurtled toward imminent destruction.

We've given up freedoms to feel safe, we've watched young men and women die when many of us have no understanding of the full purpose of a war that was waged in reaction to that fateful day. Every disaster brings back memories of that gorgeous September morning with nary a cloud in the sky. We are haunted by the pictures and frightened of the possibilities.

In this great land, we have forgotten that to trust in You is to place our confidence in the One who brings perfect peace. We have put our trust in governments and policing agencies, hoping they will bring perpetrators to justice and make us feel safe again.

Oh, God, our God, You are our hope. You are our strength and shield. In You alone will we find safety.

Today, Lord, I ask that You show us small reminders of Your power and grace. Show us mercy when we need it, help us to find peace in the midst of chaos, help us to reach out to those around us with trust and openness.

Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior.

Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty - he is the King of glory.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The difference between you and me...

I shut down my computer upstairs, took the dog outside for one last trip around the yard, went to the car to get my Kindle so I could read myself to sleep and in the quiet of the night, began thinking again about how I am less than honest with whomever reads this blog and for that matter, with myself. You see, I still find that I am constantly aware of every word that I put down on paper, so to speak.

For the most part, that's fine. Most of the time you don't want to read what is going on in my head. I'm going to lose my 'G' rating and just say it. I'm a bitch. Most of the time. Some of you know that, some of you don't want to believe it. But, it's real. I know it. I cover it up really well. I've learned how to be gracious and kind. Oh, and trust me. I don't say things that I don't mean. So, I won't lie to you when I am gracious and kind. If I don't think nice things, I simply will say nothing.

But, the running commentary in my head is filled with sarcasm and strange comments and thoughts. All of these are kept to a level of a dull roar so that they don't intrude on conversations. I catch my friends trying to draw my attention back to a conversation and wonder what I might be looking at. Oh, don't mind me. I'm paying attention to a woman who has her skirt hiked up in the back because she didn't look at herself in the mirror this morning and her butt is too big. She needs a different size. But, she's also wearing spike heels and thinking that she is all that. Lady, wash your hair, wear clothes that fit and really? This is appropriate attire for an office? Oh ... I see. You're going to the nail salon on your lunch hour - because your freakin' bright red, long talons aren't scary enough.

And then there's the woman who is chain smoking. Her son is driving (gawd, I hope it's her son) and they are meeting the husband for lunch. She can't be bothered to put out her cigarette before she is good and done with it. She reeks of too much perfume and cigarette smoke, her voice is husky from years of smoking and her gabardine pants should have been left in the 80s, along with her strange hair style.

Yup, these are the things that go on in my mind when I'm watching people. They take only split seconds of my attention, so I try to process on all of the conversations around me.

I was also thinking tonight that I tend to live in a very different world when I'm in my home then I do when I'm with my friends. I am an information-aholic. No, you don't understand. I can't check out a few blogs online. I have to have a blog reader so that I can get MANY of them coming in to my computer. I read blogs from all over the place. If I check out your blog - I see who you are reading and if they are interesting, before long, they are in my blogroll. I can't be left out of the loop. I must know what is happening.

I read a blog by a sci fi writer. I love that she gives a lot of information as she is writing about her process, but I know about her personal life - and I'm not sure why this information is important to me! But, her blogs have taken me all over the place to other writers and people that she knows. I love geek blogs. Wil Wheaton is one of my favorites. He's just really cool. I'm the only person I know that reads these strange things. Who am I going to talk to about them? So, I exist in my little space and contain my thoughts within my brain.

It's a good thing I have Max that shows up every afternoon at 4:30 pm or so and doesn't leave me until we sleep. He listens to my insane ramblings. He doesn't judge me for my snarky commentary on life. He hears what I'm trying to tell him (for the most part) when I read strange items on the net. (sometime you should go to amazon.com and look up condoms. It's just a total "FAIL" on their part - because its standard procedures. But the listing for Trojans tells you that you can buy new and used for $9.99. See!!! strange things in my brain!)

2:40 am and I am probably rambling. I don't know if I've said anything new here. But, that's alright, I feel a little better just by getting words out of my fingers. Good night!

Monday, September 08, 2008

It's an Interesting Life

Never boring.

I was out with a few friends this evening to celebrate my birthday. It's pretty cool that among my friends, I count my sister, my husband and my nephew. I do love my family. Matthew wiped me out. He gave me flowers. I cried. I'm not sure why. It kind of startled him, too. But, I cried. He gave me a fuzzy purple pillow. Awesome.

My memory serves me well in many areas, but as for celebrating holidays ... well, I stink. I don't remember specifics about holidays (including birthdays), but I remember conversations and snippets of events. I looked through my jewelry box this weekend - something I haven't done in quite some time. It made me emotional. I found treasures from my past, but I can't remember why they were treasures. I just remember that I loved those pieces. There are a couple that I have anchored in my mind, but others ... well, not so much.

When we cleaned out my grandmother's apartment, we found that she had put little labels on the bottom of her precious pieces or stock little notes in vases, etc. All of those things told us exactly what the piece was and where and when it had come from. It helped us to anchor her memories.

I have many calendars that I have filled out over the years. I generally get started well, but then lose track of what I'm doing. But, those little snippets of my memory are wonderful. I just found journal entries (in a steno pad) from late 1995/early 1996. Max and I were traveling around Iowa a lot as he photographed the landscapes. I was reminded of the dates and times of things that we did and places we saw. I'll be honest with you. If I hadn't read my own handwriting, I would never have believed that we went to some of the places I say that we went. Terrible, terrible memory.

Tonight, though as I think back on mmy life, I can't believe how fortunate I have been. I see God's grace moving through my life. Occurrences that had the power to destroy me have become nothing more than a bit of a memory.

The gifts that I have received, though are greater than any difficult times in my life. My family, incredible friends, experiences, everything ... my life has been a gift. I know this and I am thankful for the opportunity to live my life in response to that gift.

So, in a rather uneventful day that celebrates my entrance into time and space, I reflect and then, I look forward. I always look forward with wonder to what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Studying for Exams

Well, I had my first study session with my nephew this evening. Out to dinner at Panera and then spent a little time going over information for his Old Testament Survey class. There are some definite benefits to being an old lady that has lived in the Bible for a lot of years. I discovered that there is some basic information I simply have absorbed into my life that I had to drill Matt on tonight. That's cool. I'm just glad he is starting to learn the info.

What are the first 5 books of the Bible called? The Pentateuch. Penta = 5. Teuchos = Scrolls. 5 Scrolls. What is the Hebrew word for it? Torah. What language was the Old Testament written in? Mainly Hebrew with a few scattered passages in Aramaic. What was the first Greek translation called? The Septuagint: 72 men worked on the translation. They didn't know what else to call it - so it's simply ... 70. What are the two major rivers around the Cradle of Civilization? Tigris and Euphrates. And what is the land called there? Mesopotamia. What was the first civilization group? Sumerians. And their written language? Cuneiform. What was the written language of the Egyptians? Hieroglyphics. What were two of the major roads through Israel called? Via Maris (Way of the Sea) and the Highway of the King.

What is the canon. Canon literally means "measuring stick." So, books of scripture were measured to find if they qualified. A book had to be written by a prophet or inspired by the Holy Spirit, it had to reach to all generations and it had to fit within the rest of the text of the scriptures to qualify.

Wonderful information about our scriptures. It's one thing to learn scripture, it's even greater to learn about them and where they came from - what about the people and the landscape of the world at the time. How do our scriptures fit into the relevance of ancient times as well as today's world. What are the other creation stories that were being told at the time? What about other flood stories? What is so different about the Bible and other tales and myths from that era.

I'm loving this early information ... I don't know if I'm going to love going back into Leviticus and Numbers. I've read those books quite a few times in the last several years and you know what? I'm tired of 'em. Lots of laws, lots of details. But, here we go again!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

So Much, So Little

Alright, my poor brain has decided that it wants to explode. And that's only because I seem to be abusing it. Sometimes I have difficulty accepting a linear type of input into the brain. I want to absorb it all and I want to make it happen right now!

Here's the deal.

  • I want to re-work my website. I've started hacking at it. Pulled some things off that needed to be gone. I've gotten Dreamweaver back and I'm working away at it.
  • I'm writing. I have 2 different fictional stories rattling around in my brain. This doesn't include the 2 others that I have begun but not finished. What this means is that I have story lines happening regularly in my mind.
  • I have a short study I'm writing (Bible-based study on "The Shack") and a long, intensive study that I am just starting to process on.
  • I am working with Matthew as he learns Biblical Hermeneutics and as he is doing the Old Testament survey class.
  • I have completely re-discovered my intense passion for fiction.
  • I need to continue to clean and purge the garbage from my house.
  • I am knitting again - I can, however, do this as I read.
  • Some of my favorite television shows are starting up this week (Bones is the first).
  • I've begun playing Dungeons & Dragons with my family. This requires a bit of study and research on my part so that I play well and it is an enjoyable experience for everyone.
  • One of my great joys is emailing back and forth with friends and family. I generally try to put a lot of thought into those missives.
Consequently, the mundane things in life tend to annoy me. They take up brain activity that I don't want to relinquish. Things like actually talking to people (my husband), going to the bathroom, taking a shower and getting dressed in the morning (it's always better after it's done), sleeping, making a real meal and not snacking on crap, taking the dog out for a potty break, etc., etc.

What generally happens is that I begin to process on all of these things at once and my brain lurches into a dead stop. That's guaranteed to put me to sleep. I then avoid everything and do nothing. It takes a fair bit of discipline to keep me on track and to remind myself to maintain a linear mode of thinking. Some days I don't exercise that discipline and I discover a level of frustration at the end of the day.

I'm definitely not going to complain about these things in my life. I am fortunate that these are the things that I get to concentrate on during the day. Now, if I can just make the brain slow down a bit so that I can catch up, all will be pretty near perfect!