Sunday, November 30, 2008

That amazing scent

You know that scent that encompasses you when you walk into the library or even a used bookstore? Any reader knows or remembers that smell. There's nothing quite like the musty, musky scent that seems to overpower you, until all of a sudden your eyes light on a book, you open it and read the first page and you are lost in a world that exists only between you and the author for the time being.

Today has been a day of reading for me. I didn't do it in a library and I didn't get to experience the scent of old books, but I managed to tear through 4 novels. Pure, unadulterated pleasure.

The Kindle has eliminated the need for me to immerse myself in used bookstores or libraries. I have access to nearly every book available immediately. That's kind of sad, but at the same time, I have boxes of Dad's old books - and some of them are very old and musty - and if I need a memory refresh, I just bury my nose in one of those books.

As I was reading "The First Patient" by Michael Palmer this evening, Max asked what I was doing. I told him that I was reading mind candy - stuff I could rip through pretty quickly. He made a flip comment about mom (the woman read everything she could get her hands on) and then asked if she had read Proust since she had such a strong French language background. I told him that she probably did, but I knew for a fact that she loved trivial reading as much as or more than I did and if she had read it, she did it for a class. We talked for a few minutes more about it and it occurred to me that I could probably download Proust to the Kindle and at least look at it. So, I spent some time reading 'about' it on Wikipedia and then went to to see if it was available. It certainly was! And those books are all out past copyright, so they are free. Awesome.

Then, the trouble began. I realized that most of the books I loved as a kid were more than likely available and they would be free. Before I realized what I was doing, I had downloaded 20 novels to my Kindle! Jane Austen (all 7 of hers), Joseph Conrad, Dumas, Defoe. I could download books all night. My 2 gig SD card will hold nearly 2000 books. I could easily come unglued right now just thinking about it. In fact, my breathing has quickened a bit at the anticipation of having immediate access to that many books.

New authors are finding that the fastest way to get their writing in front of readers is to publish electronically. Once they get a solid readership, I suspect that it would be much easier to find a publisher for later pieces. New authors are all over and similar sites.

So ... I could continue to write about this or I could just go back to what I was doing before I allowed the high of the old books scent memory to overwhelm me. I'm going to get some more books and then I'm going to read. Who needs to sleep, anyway?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving with the Greenwoods

Here's what a 36 hour period at the Greenwood household with a slough of Greenwoods looks like.

The entire family was on the internet. All of the laptops were up and running while we were watching movies or just sitting around. At least we weren't chatting with each other online, we were actually speaking to each other. But, it was really fun be talking about something and watch someone head to Wikipedia or Google to get more information.

Jim - cooks. The poor guy seems to be always cooking! But, the good news is - he loves it. He loves experimenting with different flavors and he loves watching his family experience what he has done. He did an amazing job with the Thanksgiving dinner - all of the fixins. This morning he was up early and made breakfast - experimenting again! But, we had a casserole that used up the mashed potato leftovers (base of the casserole) added eggs and bacon, etc and then he topped it off with some doctored up leftover gravy. Oh yummy. For lunch he made a split pea soup. You have to know that the idea of that turned my stomach. I watched my father cook that for every single lunch for a lot of years ... and I know that's what they used in "The Exorcist" when Linda Blair vomited all over everything. However, Jim asked me to taste it and I know what a good cook he is. It was awesome ... except for the fact that there was a lot of 'heat' in there (read: chili peppers) and I'm a pepper wimp.

Carol. Well, Carol is as Carol does. As they tried to get out of the house this morning to go shopping, Carol told me that she had found her glasses. Since I had lent her my extra pair last night, I asked where they were so I could make sure things were back where they were supposed to be. Ummm ... yup. She had lost both pairs by that point. After much searching around, she discovered that she had promptly placed them in her backpack. Then, she couldn't find her coat. She knew she had it since she had gone for a walk the day before. They searched closets and bedrooms, all over the place. Jim found it somewhere. As we were getting ready to leave tonight, she carefully packed up her laptop. She opened her laptop bag and there was no power cord. She had to wander around - searching out where she might have put it down as she was packing. This girl can't move into a large home - she'll never find anything. She seems to always be the entertainment at the gatherings. We laugh at her a lot.

Janet. The woman is a dork! We knew this when she met Jim and married him, but she keeps getting worse. She has this incredibly ... well ... strange sense of humor and when it pops out, we giggle a lot and shake our heads. But, she also does a lot of the structure for this family. When they began to express an interest in the "Twilight" book series, they got the audiobooks and those are loaded on iPods ... the kids have been having a great time listening to these stories. Well ... as I was looking at the packages under her tree, I discovered that the Twilight characters were giving gifts to her family. Yah ... it's never just Santa's name under the tree ... you never know what is going to show up on your gift tag! She's a gadget geek, too and I think she has raised her children to love those things as well so that she has an excuse to bring the weird things into the house.

Max. He's actually pretty quiet. It was nice for him to have his camera with him - that seems to allow him a lot of expression. Max had announced his desire to leave his carb-free diet at home for the holiday and Jim took that as a personal challenge when cooking. But, poor Max - his heart wasn't really in it. At one point during dinner, he was trying to have a conversation and Jim zapped him, "Max! You are talking! You never talk at these meals! What's wrong? Have you lost your zeal?" Yup ... that happens when you lose 35 pounds.

Matthew. Well, this was a rough holiday for my boy. His girlfriend broke up with him and his heart was just laid open ... raw, wounded. I'm so thankful that it happened while he was at home. He is so sensitive and loving. It was hard on me to see the pain that he was dealing with. But, the good news is that he is also fairly pragmatic. He knows that life moves on and at some point he'll get there too. Just not today, just not right now. For right now - it hurts. Jim decided that guy's night out watching a testosterone filled movie was a good idea - James Bond ... here they come!

Emma is the queen of texting. If she wasn't texting her friends last night, she was talking to them online. She loves her friends! It's hilarious watching her interact with her parents. She's as stubborn as any of them and is not afraid to voice her opinion. She does all the girl stuff and couldn't wait to get out this morning with Carol and Janet to go shopping. And then, when one of her friends wanted to hook up, couldn't wait to dump them and head out with a friend. Awesome!!! (hehe)

Jake. Well, he's a geek. He spent most of the time doing 3 things. He played a lot of World of Warcraft. He listened to "Breaking Dawn" and then, he was creating hydrogen from water using electricity and anodes and ... aw heck, I have no idea. He watched his science teacher at school doing some fun experiments and decided to see what he could come up with. He scared his mother - we all know that hydrogen is flammable. Fortunately, there wasn't enough created to make a boom - it was more like a pop.

Dogs. Jackson - a big, stupid Vizsla. Very loving, desires to be near a human all the time. He's only about a year old and is still trying to figure out what to do with all of his height and his speed. But, you can obviously tell that he's Pinky in the bunch. And the Brain? Well, that's Nicky. The West Highland Terrier/Schnauzer mix. Smart dog. Independent dog. Carol wanted to steal him - she loves him. Leica loves being there - she gets free rein outside - no leashes, no one telling her to come in until she's ready. She chases with the two dogs, but gets a bit protective of her family. However, she's a lot more tolerant of those two animals being around her people than she is of the cat that she lives with!

We ate a lot of food, watched some movies, did some shopping - some in town and some online. We watched movies (I really did like the newest "Incredible Hulk"). Jim made fun of Liv Tyler's big collagen-injected lips. He also started in on Angelina Jolie's lips. Whoops! He says that a week isn't fully complete without watching at least one Harry Potter movie - so ... we watched two.

You know? I can't wait for Christmas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank you

Today is a day to give thanks. I'm glad that we have set this day aside to spend with friends and family and share memories, love and thanksgiving - as well as incredible amounts of food. I would like for my life to look like this every day.

What would it look like if I could fill every moment with gratitude?

My family would know how important they are to me. There would never be a question as to the amount of love that I have for them.

My friends would know how they have impacted my life for the better. I would express how they have introduced new aspects of the world to me and opened my eyes to so many things.

The world would know how important my faith is and how much I rely on God. I would speak my gratitude over and over.

I would be content in every moment, no matter how stressful, because I would know that all things come from the God who created me.

Today I am grateful for all that I have been given, for the people that have come in and out of my life and for the love of a God who sent His Son to die for me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Puppy Cam

I know that some of you laugh at me because of my addiction to this thing, but good heavens, they're adorable! And they're also leaving in a week or so to go to their new homes, so leave me alone and let me enjoy! Ok, and you can too ...

Streaming live video by Ustream

Figure it out!

This evening I have gone through every temperature shift possible. Absolutely freezing, pulling on blankets, sweaters, fleece-lined slippers to sweating while wearing a nightgown. Good heavens! Oh, the joys!

Now, I will admit that some of this is due to the lack of insulation in this brick house (the actual house, folks - I have plenty of insulation). By the time darkness comes, the sun has warmed the bricks and the house begins warming up. It works in reverse during the day with the coolest point of the day happening around 3:00 pm.

Since I have confidence that this is the way my house and body are going to react on a daily basis, I have taken extra steps to make it tolerable this year. The temp in the house goes down. I don't care ... it's going to stay down around 62 degrees. Sweatshirts, sweaters, blankets and slippers are now to be found surrounding us. Max is learning to keep a sweatshirt nearby - you never know when the next freeze is going to come through. Animals are learning to crawl under blankets. I'm very good at adding layers of clothing to warm myself up ... there's only so much I'm willing to strip off to cool myself down.

I do feel a little guilty when Leica leaves me to burrow in the blankets in the bedroom. I find her shivering in here until I get her wrapped up. Ichabod? Fat cat ... with lots of fur ... I think he prefers the winter, just like I do. Max? You all can just feel sorry for him.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

When in doubt ... write!

Every writer that, when asked to give advice to other writers, says "The only way to do this is to write. When you don't know what to write, write anyway."

HAH! Not as easy as it sounds.

This morning I had a bit of a breakthrough in the piece of fiction that I'm working on. Aw heck, I simply added another character. But, it did begin to define the direction. However, I wrote the first scene and then. stopped.

I leaned back in my chair (I have an amazing rocking chair that sits at the perfect height for me), I shut my eyes trying to imagine the characters and what they might be doing and I found myself nodding off sometimes and other times simply wandering away into other thoughts.

Fine. Set that aside and work on the Pour Out a Blessing blog. Cool! I'm a couple of paragraphs into it and distractions take over. I could call them outside distractions, but really, I'm just allowing the outside to tempt me to avoidance.

Here I am ... posting on blogger. Not finishing either thought that I have going - because - I'm not confident yet of either thought.

Is it writer's block? No ... something much worse. Mindless distraction.

Alright ... Max has gone to get some supper and do an errand. That will give me 1/2 hour of absolute quiet in the house. I'm going to finish something now. I. Must. Write.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November 22

Well, I just read a couple of interesting things.

Those who pay attention to dates know that November 22, 1963 is the date that President Kennedy was assassinated.

Now, please notice that I didn't say I paid attention to dates. Max is the one that has all of this weird stuff in his head ... I just tag along for the ride. And generally, I'm quizzing him on what happened on specific dates. In fact, it's never a fair quiz. I give him a date and a year and he has to do the rest. If it's really obscure, I'll give him a bit of a lead, but that doesn't happen very often. He usually gets what I'm looking for.

He's like a fun trivia toy. I press a button and he responds. Awesome.

But, Aldous Huxley (Brave New World author) and CS Lewis died on the same day in 1963.

And in 1873, a French ship sank in the North Atlantic. Horatio Spafford's wife and 4 daughters were on that ship ... the daughters died. As he traveled to meet up with his wife, he wrote "It is Well With My Soul" while passing over the spot where they died.

I will probably not remember this information in a month, but for today ... it's fun to fill my mind with weird stuff. When Max gets back with breakfast, I'll tell him and he'll remember.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Could have been different

I will NEVER regret any of the decisions that I have made in my life. I have the life that I live right now because of every single decision that was made throughout these last (errr) years. That is the caveat to this entire blog.

If I had been able to know this older, wiser Diane, I think I would have changed my educational focus while in high school in college. There are things that I could have done, but chose not to do because I was lazy. But, now ... these things fascinate me so much so that I wish I had spent more time learning about them as a younger person.

Physics. I simply did not want to take the time to comprehend theorems and equations that had more letters than numbers. Sometimes when I am reading physics books, I can sense that there is something just outside my comprehension that is so amazing and so thinly veiled, all I would need is a bit more understanding of the processes and I'd get it! It's one of the most abstract, exciting sciences for me.

Anthropology. I am constantly thinking about the relationships of people and the world ... how we have come to the place that we are at ... all of the questions that relate to human interconnectiveness. This would have been a fascinating branch of study for me.

Seminary. Learning this stuff when I was younger and not quite so opinionated would have been much easier for me. I'm certain that the concrete learning will be exciting and fun for me (Greek/Hebrew, etc.), but the more subjective stuff is going to send me into tailspins. I'm old enough, mouthy enough and opinionated enough that if a professor crosses me and refuses to allow my belief structure validity, I will blow up!

This last one I am planning to take on - and see what I can do. As for the sciences, I don't know that I have a great enough desire to overcome the obstacles needed for learning. We'll see. I will never say never.

It does excite me when I see young people pushing past family expectations and easy education for the job and really learning to delve into exploration. I wish I could encourage every middle-schooler and high-schooler to use every moment they have.

Now, if I could just get more of these high-quality universities to offer more classes online. You'd never see me outside again!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Randomness of the Day

I love Christmas shopping ... online. So, some of the gifts are starting to come in. I do love this part of the season. I spend a lot of time thinking about friends and family as I consider the gifts that I would like to give to them.

After getting up rather late, I realized I had nothing in the house that was easily edible for lunch. So, a trip outside was required. Leica and I got into the car and headed to Jimmy John's. That's always a good decision. I love their iced tea! What a great flavor. My car was warm and the day was sunny. I considered pulling into a park and eating while reading my Kindle (because it's always with me), but I couldn't do it since I refused to share my lunch with my dog and I had nothing for her. Am I insane? Probably a little bit.

Max usually gets home between 4:00 and 4:30 pm. I generally watch the clock - because it's what I do. Either he showed up early or I wasn't paying attention today, but I ended up having to jumpstart my heart. I had gone to the bathroom and completely missed the back door slamming shut. The bathroom is directly at the top of the stairs. All of a sudden, I heard "Leica, go outside" and I leaped off the toilet, scrambling, and SCREAMING at the top of my lungs. Talk about a startled woman. Yes, I understand the importance of the timing there ... I immediately started howling with laughter, though. Good heavens, but I have a strong startle reflex. I'm still giggling about it!

Tomorrow's lunch will be leftover fajitas from Chili's. Yummy. So, I told Max to take the Jeep. It's going to get COLD tonight and I'm betting I sleep better than I usually do. I love lots of blankets, but I hate getting hot. And when you sleep with a man that puts off every degree of 98.6 and a small dog that sleeps very close, you are thankful for cold weather. At Bible study on Wednesday, I was the first one into the sanctuary and the facilitator asked me, as she walked in, if the temperature was ok. My response: I'm a nearly 50 year old woman. I am the last person to ask about temperature. It will always be too warm.

Ok ... this is going to piss some people off, and I'm sorry ... (hehe - not really - well maybe), but I feel a little more justified. I have never liked "The Sound of Music." I love Julie Andrews and I love much of the music, but it was one over-played musical when I was growing up. I got so tired of that sappy thing that I couldn't stomach it any longer. I just read an article regarding Christopher Plummer's disdain for it (he played Captain Von Trapp). Made me laugh just a bit. Sorry, folks ... I know, I know ... I'll burn in a special place in hades for this opinion.

As much as I am loving the Shiba-Inu puppy cam, I absolutely adore There is no shortage of adorableness on there and every day I get pictures of a different puppy. I become a blithering idiot over the dachshund puppies, but I love the others as well.

Twilight opens this weekend. I'm almost scared to see the movie since I love the books so much. I'm not sure how they will be able to translate the books to screen and do it well. I've thought a lot about the power of these books. A return to chivalry and trusting someone to truly take care of you and protect you. Everyone wants to feel safe. Edward Cullen makes Bella feel safe, no matter what comes at her. He never diminishes her power and strength, while protecting her from things that are worse than she can imagine. Heroic behavior.

I began looking at my husband and wondering how he does this for me and I watched to see that it happens moment by moment. Last week, when I saw the police outside and realized how close we were to a murder, all I wanted to do was crawl in bed and fold myself into his arms.

I'm not sure that we'll go see the movie this weekend, I don't want to deal with hoardes of high school girls as they adore Robert Hattinson (Edward Cullen). We'll see.

Alright, enough randomness ... time to concentrate on other things.

Life Photos Online

If you haven't seen the news about this - well, I don't know how you missed it!

However, this has to be one of the coolest things that has happened lately. Google and Life Magazine plan to have 10,000,000 images from the Life Magazine repository online. Two days ago, 2 million went online.

My poor brain is going to explode! There is already too much information on the internet for me to absorb and this is awesome!

When you do an image search on Google, just add the words 'source:life' after the search, for instance, my favorite actor is Cary Grant. cary grant source:life.

What a fun resource! I know, I know - it's 1:10 am and I should go to bed, but I think I'm going to play on the internet for awhile!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tragic Memories

We will all remember September 11. Many my age and older will remember November 22, 1963 as the day that they were stunned upon hearing of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Tragedies have a way of burning themselves into our minds.

An event that I remember clearly, but without the date attached was the mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. I was shocked back into that memory yesterday as news and commentators remembered the events.

I was only 4 years old when Kennedy was assassinated, but I clearly remember news reports following the assassination of Martin Luther King. That balcony scene is still stuck in my mind.

Jonestown happened when I was a sophomore in college - November 18, 1978. The shocking news just seemed to keep coming out of that compound, beginning with the slaughter of reporters and a congressman and ending with the mass suicide of over 900 people. We were shocked that Jim Jones had actually taken his own life. Random news reports throughout the 70s introduced the world to this man and he was perceived as a murderer. When his body was discovered among the many that were lying throughout the compound, people breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that a pursuit, arrest and trial would be a hideous daily reminder of the events of that day.

"Don't drink the koolaid" became a part of our vernacular and we moved past the tragedy to deal with others as they presented themselves to our society.

Each person is marked by the tragedies and triumphs they experience. Those memories form us and shape us into the communities that we choose to participate with. Memories turn to history and time moves forward.

Yesterday was a difficult day to experience and an interesting day to remember.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ichabod the Cat

Ichabod has been needy as of late. Moreso than usual I would suspect, but then, I have changed his world around and he hasn't adjusted well.

When my desk and life was downstairs, he could jump from the sofa to my desktop with no proclamation and startle the heck out of me. But, there he would be, in front of me, begging for some attention. He almost always got it, except when he landed on books and papers spread before me.

That is no longer an option. There is no way for him to get to me without me picking him up and placing him on my desktop.

To announce his desire for attention, he will put his front paws on my legs and meow at me. If I lean over to pick him up, he skitters away and then moves back and forth as I attempt to corral him with my arms. It's a game we play.

Sometimes I just put my hand down at my side and he will rub against my fingers as I try to proceed with what I am doing. But, that's never enough. He wants me to play the game and try to pick him up. Because when I finally get him into my arms, he is content and is where he has been desperately trying to get to for quite some time.

If I don't play the game, he will lie down on the floor beside me and meow at me. He'll only say something for a second or two and then he will be quiet. I forget that he's there and concentrate on my reading or writing again, but am soon startled by the plaintive meow. I will lean over and tell him to be quiet ... he'll meow at me again and then settle down - as will I. Then, he'll startle me out of my reverie again. This happens again and again until I relent and attempt to pick him up. That's when the second game begins.

He is not content to be in my presence - he wants to be in my arms.

I tried to think of some great and profound way to turn this into a parable about God, but really ... I'm definitely not like God in this situation, because I'm impatient and I'm glad to ignore the cat while I'm busy. Ichabod isn't like me either ... yes, I want to be in God's arms ... not just His presence, but because God isn't ignoring me - I don't meow and then fall silent when I don't get an answer, only to startle Him out of His reverie in a few minutes.

So ... it's just a story about a cat and me.

Star Trek XI

Ok ... can't wait. Next summer is going to bring some fun at the movies!


To write a study on death, one must fill one's mind with death.

This is weird.

It's not like this freaks me out or upsets me. It's just weird.

My Kindle is filling with books on death and my Google searches are beginning to unveil some interesting things.

Speaking of online searching. If you are writing or studying for something and want to maintain and organize your work, I've discovered a really good Firefox extension. Check out Zotero. I have several different collections out there - based on long-term searching that I am in the middle of doing. I really like managing my thoughts and research this way.

Anyway ... death. I am finding a lot of fascinating information and thoughts regarding humanity's understanding of death.

I find that it's a lot like childbirth. It happens to everyone - you're born and you die. It's a common factor for all of us. Yet, we are consistently looking to re-invent how childbirth is done and we seem to have learned nothing about death.

I'm very curious as to how this is all going to turn out for me. But, the obsession has begun.

Again, though ... this is weird.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pop Culture

It's an interesting life I lead.

I've written before about how my father ignored pop culture as much as possible. I grew up without cartoons on Saturday mornings because dad thought it was more important to do chores and be responsible little children first. If he had to be out of town on a Saturday (that happened a lot), it didn't mean that things relaxed ... he left a list on the blackboard in the kitchen.

So, I missed a lot of 60s / 70s Saturday morning pop culture.

Our television when I was a kid was a black and white thing - in my parent's bedroom. Mom didn't put the television into the living room until the last year of her life. It moved into a family room, but we were all in middle school / high school by that point.

We lived in small town Iowa and until I was in Junior High, there was no such thing as a movie theater in town. It was a huge excursion to see a movie!

I remember having an older girl stay with us for awhile - she listened to the radio - a lot. She knew all of the words to all of the songs. That made an impression.

Mom had an immense record library - all classical stuff - no pop culture.

So ... I missed a lot of pop culture.

I did my best to make up for that when I was in high school, college and my early adulthood. But, let's just say that meeting Max transformed my ideas of what pop culture was all about. The man is a walking trivia game when it comes to pop culture references and information of the 50s, 60s and 70s, and some early 80s. He watched all the television cartoons. His mother would drop him off at the theater on Saturday afternoons and he watched movies all the time. His knowledge of all types of music is incredible.

I just sit back and listen when he gets started.

At some point, I completely embraced popular culture. It's a lot of fun. i suppose I probably fill my mind with inane things, but that's ok. I'm barely using 10% of my brain anyway ... if I fill it up with a little craziness, there's plenty of room for the esoteric.

The best part is wondering what they're going to come up with next. Life is always an adventure - even when it's just pop culture.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A specific level of insanity

What do you get when you put 3 + 3 Greenwood siblings and assorted spouses in the same room? Insanity. Nothing more than unmitigated insanity. And ... it's so much fun.

I remember a long time ago (before the male Greenwood clan moved back to Nebraska), listening to my sister lament the fact that we didn't have a family around us. She watched her friends hanging out with their parents and it hurt her soul that we didn't have a chance to do that.

Well, Jim and Janet moved into Lincoln and that all changed in a hurry.

I love watching Jim's kids growing into young adulthood - they are dealing with the same things that we did as high schoolers: boys, girls, grades, driving, teachers, parents, friends, not friends. These three kids are bright enough and quick enough to enter into any wild conversation that we have as adults and they manage to keep up with us all pretty well. I believe it will be deadly as they get some more maturity and experience.

They are affectionate with the aunts and uncle and that certainly makes us happy. More than I can say. It's also really interesting to watch how each of the kids is learning to find their own peculiar way in this world. Their interests are so diverse and their personalities quite dissimilar, yet amidst the rough housing, punching, yelling, screaming, (this is not a quiet home - for a couple of old hermits like Diane & Max), there is this incredible love and respect for each other.

I love that I have a family close enough to enjoy. I love that my husband enjoys being around my crazy family. I love that we truly care for each other, no matter what. I love that at the age of (nearly) 50, I have a family that has maintained a sense of normalcy together. We know what is most important ... each other.

Now I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I struggle with this word ... a lot.

It all depends on how you measure success. And then, as I think about it some more, I wonder why it's so necessary for us to even measure success.

What are we trying to prove - and to whom?

In my concordance - the word doesn't exist in the New Testament. Jesus never spoke about competitive striving to be the very best in whatever you do. Wealth, popularity, fame ... all of these things seemed to be in direct opposition to His teachings.

Today's society / culture tells us that unless we are successful, unless we constantly are striving for the next step up the ladder, we are slackers. We can not break away from that!

I have been dealing with this in my mind for the last several months - and have not been able to break the desire to be successful.

For instance. I know that God has called me to study and to write. My greatest desire is to do what He calls me to do. Yet, I dream about publishing and becoming famous. He did NOT call me to those things. Oh, I can justify the dream by saying to myself things like, "more people will be touched by what He has taught me if I have greater exposure."

When we owned Insty-Prints, a lack of success meant failure. Even when working at the church, we were constantly driven to build greater programs, bring in more people ... in other words ... succeed at growing the institution.

Am I going to be ok with the fact that I don't make millions of dollars in the Christian publishing world, that I don't travel around the country presenting my studies to countless women and that my words may never be read by anyone other than my close friends and family?

You see ... I'm dealing with that. I know that I have to be ok with that. Because reality is harsher than my dreams.

Will that stop me from doing what God is calling me to do?

In a word ... no.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Do you REALLY believe in prayer?

Do you REALLY believe that prayer works? Do you really believe that God takes an active interest in the things that happen in the world today?

If you do believe this - how does that affect your prayer life?

I only ask these questions out loud, because they resonate through my head a lot.

Can God ... or even ... will God change things for better?

I just read an online article about the shooting at the convenience store last night. There were 3 shootings in the city last night - they were all related. 2 people are dead. The young woman who was killed 1/2 block from me was closing the store and was killed ... probably for money. The shooting a few minutes before that at 50th & Underwood happened after a man withdrew funds from an ATM. And just a few minutes before that, the killers were at 15th & Dorcas.

The article said that there have been 7 people killed this month from gun violence. The month isn't even 1/2 over!

Have you made a concerted effort (not just a short, one-sentence prayer), but a concerted intercessory effort for this city lately? Let me tell you - if it can reach my neighborhood, it can reach yours.

Will you pray for this community? Will you pray for the young people that are using violence to meet some need in their lives? Carol teaches 6th grade in a school that sees its share of kids from severely broken and messed up homes. She recognizes immediately that there are kids who will find themselves in gangs and lives that will lead absolutely nowhere. She offers them all that she can, but is limited by so many things when it comes to changing their lives for the better. She can't do it ... only God can.

At Bible Study yesterday morning, we talked about how there are people that need God so badly in their lives. We can't change them, though. Only God can do it.

If you can find ways to be actively involved in changing lives ... do it! If you can't ... intercede in prayer.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Stupid printer. We have to take it to the doctor. It's just a little over a month old. I can't imagine that more than 500 sheets have printed to it - and the board is gone. Blerg.

I pretty much lost most of today. I slept through the bulk of it and was exhausted through more of it. Took another nap about 5:45 and woke up at 8 pm. Now, I'm fully awake and wondering what I shall do with the rest of my evening.

I was counting on being able to print out a ton of pages so that I could actually work 'on paper.' Well, whaddya know ... I'm going to have to work online! (hehe)

So, I think I shall pop in "Star Wars: A New Hope" and have that playing in the background while I work on building some outlines. It's one of those movies that I love so much, I don't have to concentrate while it's playing. Great background noise.

I'm still running the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam in the background as well. This thing is HUGE! Millions and millions of hits. I read somewhere that 12.5 million hours have been spent viewing this group of 6 puppies. People Magazine will have an article in next week's magazine, Canadian mTV ran a piece, The Guardian out of the UK picked it up. Wow. A young couple simply wanted to keep their eyes on their newly born pups and the world has embraced them. Overload of cute? Of course it is. But, I can pretty much guarantee a smile if you watch for awhile. Even while they sleep, they're adorable.

Alright ... off to set up the movie, grab a bottle of water (maybe a few m&ms), and get to work.

Shots Fired

This morning, Leonard asked me why I didn't know something was going on - with all of the sirens. I don't actually know what I heard. We hear so many sirens - all the time, what with the fire station just down the way. They are always traveling west and I just absorb them into my regular consciousness. In my last blog post, I said that the knock on the door was at 1 am, but I realized that it was midnight ... I do NOT like being freaked out in the middle of the night. That is supposed to be my quiet time!

Imagine me ... standing at my front door ... with it wide open at 3:15 am, trying to figure out what has just happened. There is a police car directly in front of my house - pointed north at my house with its flashers going: blue/red/blue/red/blue/red/blue/red. Annoying! I looked out - saw all of the crime scene tape - totally wrapped around the two houses and dentist's office directly to the east. I was worried that something had happened to the girls next door and I didn't know it!

I don't know if there was anyone in that police car - doubtful, now that I think about it. It was parked across Leavenworth - and there was tape all down the south side of the street, too. Surely, they would have seen me - in my nightgown - trying to figure out what was going on and at least tried to give me some information - or ask if I knew anything. And ... duh ... I didn't!

I came back upstairs to get away from the flashing lights - sat down in my chair and totally freaked out. What in the heck had happened? So, I looked up the number online for the police department, called them and asked. When she told me that a shooting had happened at the convenience store, my first reaction was relief - the girls next door were ok. I hung up and panic set in. If the police were still here - that meant they didn't catch whoever did it.

I really needed to talk to someone and poor Max was sound asleep. But, at some point, my panic was going to get too great to handle and I was waking him up! He's the husband, he needs to take care of me. But, before I could do that, he woke up to go to the bathroom. He stumbled down the hall and muttered - "What's up with the flashing lights?" I told him what was going on. Poor guy - I talked to him the entire time he was in the bathroom. That settled me down quite a bit - just being able to say it out loud and knowing that I was not the only person that knew about this!

He went back to sleep and I knew that I was NOT sleeping anytime soon - so I watched some episodes of "The Unit" and waited for him to get up for the day.

I fell asleep about 8 - woke up for good at 12:45. I'm still pretty freaked out - I've cried several times - don't know if it's frustration or fear or exhaustion.

I can't wait for him to get home from work now.

When our house was broken into several years ago - it only took a few weeks for me to feel comfortable and safe in the house again - I'll get over this more quickly, I assume. I just wish I knew why this girl was shot - was it random, while they were driving down 52nd Street? Did they know her - did she get in their way? Is it safe for me to stand outside with Leica at night? Sheesh ... I hate this.

Totally freaked out

I swear to God, I need to move to small town Iowa.

Alright, here's the deal. I thought I heard something at my front door at 1 am, but I'll be damned if I'm checking it out. No more knocks and I decided to ignore it.

I just went downstairs and there was a flashing light in front of my house. I look outside and there is a cop parked there, crime tape beginning at my next door neighbor's house and extending down to the east end of the block ... at least.

What in the hell? I walked to the back door - crime tape at the dentist's office - extending east a ways. Oh my gawd! What is going on?

Alright ... I have to know. I can't go to sleep thinking that something awful has happened to my neighbors.

I called the police station - there was a shooting at the gas station (Infinite - corner of 52nd & Leavenworth). I hung up ... and panic set in. What in the hell?

This is More Like It

It's 2:55 am and I'm up ... thinking and processing on things. Last night I went to sleep by 1:30 because I had to be in Gretna for a Bible Study at 9 this morning. I have to admit, I feel like a complete dunce at this Bible Study. I haven't got ANYTHING going on in my brain, no matter how much caffeine I suck down. I smile and nod a lot. It's good to get to know people and it's always good to let other people speak. But, talk about a fuzzy brain! Wednesday mornings that is all I have. My goodness, but my body clock has changed. If you want to have Bible Study at 1 am - I'll be alert. I might be the only one, but I will definitely be alert.

I was trying to wear my brain out, so I decided to play a little Hold 'em on the computer. Failed miserably. I've never played this before and I find that it annoys the heck outta me. Don't like it. I allowed myself a couple of games to get the rules of play going. OK, I have the rules - now ... let's go! Ummm ... nope. Stupid, stupid game. How many different ways can a person learn to throw away money. I prefer shopping on - thank you very much!

My printer or the router or something is frustrating me. And I can't very well wake Max up in the middle of the night to come fix it. I want to print out some stuff so that I can begin organizing for my December "Pour out a Blessing" blog. Yeahhhh ... no. The printer keeps going offline. Ticked me off.

Right now I have 4 specific projects I'm working on: 1) Editing, citing sources for the Revelation study, 2) 1st & 2nd Peter for Pour Out a Blessing (POAB), 3) Writing the outline for December POAB, 4) Gathering information - which includes a TON of reading for some type of study (I have no idea yet) on grief, death and dying.

I need to make some decisions about the Revelation study - what I want the presentation to look like and I really need God to tell me how to move forward on this grief study. All I've heard Him tell me so far is to read. So, I'm reading. I've finished two books, am well into a book by Billy Graham and have started Randy Alcorn's "Heaven." I found some more books today - by people in varying walks of life and can't wait to get those started.

Have I told you lately how much I love my Kindle? Well, the coolest thing is that I can highlight passages in these books and the Kindle saves it to a file. I can't sort yet by topic, but one of these days they'll get there with all of that. For now it's enough that I can find the 'highlight' file and go back and find things that I thought were important as I was reading. Cool, eh?

Alright - 3:10. NOW it's time to go to bed. I'll let Leica out for one last run and curl up with a good book. THIS makes much more sense to me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Last night I went to sleep about 3:30 (yes, AM). This is not a huge crisis for me. I love the quiet of the night. No one is around, the house is quiet and there is no stress. Max usually gets up about 6:15 or so and is out of the house before 7 am. He lets the dog out before he leaves and generally makes plenty of noise that wakes me up. It's no big deal - I get up, go to the bathroom and go back to sleep!

I woke up this morning and casually turned over to look at the clock - figuring that he was moving around and that's why I woke up. Ummm ... no. It was 8:55. The first time I stirred. I panicked a bit, thinking that he may have overslept as well, but no - bed was empty, he was gone. I completely slept through his morning! Once I got over the shock, I crawled back in bed and slept for another couple of hours.

He called me at 12:30 (pm). I asked if he felt like he should have taken my pulse when he left this morning. He just laughed and told me that he hadn't been extra quiet and that the dog had made plenty of noise as she jumped out from under the covers (wrapped around my legs) and then crawled back under the covers again. I slept through it all.

I'm one of those people that likes to feel confident when I sleep that I'm going to wake up if there is anything bad happening. I am not that person. I slept through the two worst storms this summer - yup, even hurricane force winds weren't enough to wake me up.

Oh ... then, there was the time when Max and I were 'dating.' We always talked on the telephone late into the night because of our jobs. One night I was totally exhausted and my dear long-winded husband had begun a story that had lots of bunny trails and side stories. I remember the start of the story ... and somehow I got alert just as he was finishing the story - several minutes had passed and I completely missed this story.

I couldn't tell him what I had done, I felt awful! At least I hadn't snored on him. Well, maybe he would have stopped talking if I had. So ... we got married and in May went out to Ohio for a wedding reception with his friends and family. We ended up going out to dinner with the friend that was a part of that story I had completely missed. Dave began telling the story at dinner and I was a smart enough woman to recognize that I needed to pay attention. I got the story that night.

It's just not that easy to listen when you're asleep.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I was tagged by Cayla - and that always gives me fodder for thought and for words:

3 Names I go by:
Diane - that's it ... how do you break it down?
Dinah - mom really was the only one that used that
Hairbear - another life, another name

3 Restaurants I love:
Greek Islands

3 Trips to plan on this year:
My brother's house for the holidays
Maybe a trip to the Pacific Northwest next summer
Weekend jaunts into Iowa

3 Things I want badly:
My own point and shoot camera
A master's degree in Biblical studies
A clean house

3 pets I've had: (the 3 latest)

3 Things I did yesterday:
Wrote my Pour Out a Blessing blog
Took my nephew out to supper at Jason's Deli
Stayed up until 3:30 am (because I can)

3 Things I ate today:
Leftover Mamas pizza
Snack size bag of m&ms (plain)

3 Fears:
Extreme heights
Tight spaces with too many people
Losing my mind

3 Things I plan on doing tomorrow:
Getting up late (every day I can!)
SingOmaha rehearsals

3 Favorite Holidays:
Memorial Day/Labor Day (extra time with Max)

3 Favorite beverages:
Diet Mountain Dew
Chocolate Martinis

3 People I tag:
Jim - a lifetime of him being the younger brother
Rebecca - where are you girl?
Cody - really ... just blog already!

Christmas is coming

I was recently told by a friend about someone they knew that had 98 items on their Christmas wish list. Now, this person is a young girl in middle school, but yikes! And these weren't small items, we're talking iPods, gaming consoles, cell phones, things like that! 98 items!

My family has a very difficult time trying to figure out what to get for me for Christmas. I have made it much harder for them over the years because I've made it very clear that I'm eliminating 'stuff' from my life.

My poor husband gets frustrated because he can't surprise me anymore. It's very hard to find a gift for me that I know nothing about. I won't let him buy clothes for me because that would just freak both of us out. Books and DVDs are out now. I watch everything on Netflix, Hulu, or we've got it DVRd - and I'm in charge of all the books that I download to the Kindle. I don't collect things anymore (eliminating 'stuff' from my house) and I certainly don't need any more furniture, lamps, or things to decorate my house. I don't cook that much and besides, I have every kitchen gadget, pot and pan, dish and bowl that one woman could possibly need.

I haven't left much for Christmas lists. I'm sincerely going to despise getting that dreaded phone call from friends and family, "So, what do you want for Christmas this year?" I think I've done great damage to my psyche on this one.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

...Or in my case, a cat

Nothing like a Sunday afternoon with lambswool slippers, a blanket and a cat in your arms to keep you warm.

It's not that I'm cheap, but I really don't like a lot of heat in my house.

And Max? Well, he's learning to layer again. He has to re-learn this every fall.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

For lack of a camera

I need my own camera. A point and shoot, not some fancy-dancy SLR hand-me-down from Max. Something easy and clickable ... and done! I borrowed Fran's for the trip. It was wonderful, I could set it down on the console and pick it up - whoosh! when I wanted a quick snapshot.

Max's camera sat in it's bag in the back of the Jeep. We had to stop and go into full production mode for him to take a picture (ok - a photograph).

Well, I gave Fran's camera back to her and Max's is sitting on the tripod here in the study with some big lens on it and ... well, I have no idea how to use it.

Yes, he knows that this is a priority for Christmas for me.

Before we went on the trip, I whined about a camera and he got his all set up for me so that I could just pick it up and take a shot. I felt a little like an opera singer standing in the back row of a high school choir ... it just wasn't right. I have no idea how to use that thing. I'm totally camera-stupid.

In high school one of my best friends was a photographer. I spent hours with him ... yup, even in the dark room (doing only photography, I was a stupid young woman). I took a photography class in high school. The darkroom was off the chemistry classroom (I guess that makes sense) and the chem teacher was a pretty good photographer - so it made even more sense.

I remember sitting in that stupid class trying to comprehend light and meters and ISO and F-stops and hearing 'blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.' For a very smart woman, that crap made absolutely no sense to me.

Max tried to teach me in the early days of our marriage. We spent every weekend traveling with his cameras. He is very patient and really wonderful at explaining difficult things. And again, I heard blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

You would think after nearly 15 years of being married to a man with that much knowledge regarding the camera, I would have picked up on some of it. Ummmm ... nope. The words no longer seem alien to me, but I really don't know how to apply what they mean to the little black box in my hands.

Max is going to upgrade his camera system as soon as the new Canon gets to the market. We are going to have a very nice camera that I should be able to use. The lenses will be interchangeable, it would be a dream camera for most people I know.

Except me. What in the world am I going to do with that monstrosity? I can't drop it in my purse, I can't leave it on my desk or tuck it in a drawer. It will require its own camera bag. Hello?!?! I have spent weeks looking for the perfect handbag - and now I have to carry a stupid camera bag? Think again.

Well, the original intent of this post was to whine about the reason I haven't put photos on my blog. I have (had) some fun things to say about items that have come into my home the last few days, but it's not that much fun without pictures.

Poor Max, he's going to come home from work tonight and I'll relay this entire monologue to him. He'll immediately get his camera set up so that I can use it again (to its fullest extent - hah!) and then he'll consider getting a point and shoot for me prior to Christmas. I'll have to remind him that though I don't seem like a very patient person, God has been training me for the last 30+ years (don't ever ask God for patience. I did when I was in high school and have been learning it ever since). I can wait until Christmas. But, it better be the first gift I open!

I guess it's time to go back to work now.

Nothing to Say

You know ... it's really awful when a person who considers herself to be a writer feels like she has nothing to say.

I remember watching couples who had obviously been married a long time sit at restaurants together and never say a word to each other through the entire meal. I was never comfortable with that and I never wanted my relationship with my husband to get to the point that we had nothing to say to each other.

There have been evenings, though, when we were both completely exhausted and chewing and swallowing seemed to be using all of our strength. There was nothing left for conversation. That doesn't happen very often with Max and me. There is always something to talk about, even though he hates to hear that dreaded question, "What are you thinking about?" I know better than to ask it. If Max has something he wants to say to me, he generally just says it out loud and I don't have to ask. I also know that it makes him crazy when I do ask the question, so sometimes I just ask to get him stirred up.

I want to ask God that question sometimes. "What are you thinking about?" Just to get the conversation started. Sometimes I don't know what to say to Him and I'd like Him to start things off.

If it's been awhile since I really took time to listen, I expect that what He is thinking about is disappointment with me, or maybe I feel like I've done something to make Him turn His back on me or hold me at arm's length. These are reactions I receive from people around me when I disappoint them or upset them by hiding in my own world, so I project those same reactions on the relationship I have with God.

Then, I find myself avoiding the encounter and time begins to pass. Before I realize it, days and weeks have passed and I have done nothing more than throw monologues at Him and quickly ask Him for help when it might be necessary. Oh, I tell Him thank you and I tell Him how amazing He is. I have no problem with those short exchanges, but to actually be quiet and listen ... when I suspect that He knows better than I do how long it is and will harangue me regarding that ... I avoid. Human nature, right?

The thing is - God's not human. He's God.

Psalm 28 speaks to this.

Psalm 28:1-2
To you I call, O Lord my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.

Psalm 28:6-7
Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Leica just woke up and came in for some affection. She was in bed with Max. She chose to leave me tonight and crawl into bed with him. I wasn't upset that she left, and I was so happy to see her little face when she came in, put her paws on my leg and nuzzled my arm. I suspect that since I'm awake, she also hopes for a quick trip outside. That's ok, I'm glad to take her out.

I actually think that God responds more like that, than with disappointment. You see, He knows everything about me ... when I rise and when I sit, my thoughts, all my ways. I am thankful to be hemmed in - in the cup of His hand ... even when I lose sight of where I am.

And look ... I had something to say after all.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Days of Memory

Today would have been my father's birthday. I have a few of these dates locked into my mind and they will be there forever. Dad was born in 1933. I don't know that he was ever fully aware of his place and time in history. He grew up in Clarinda, Iowa and though the Everly Brothers were on the radio in nearby Shenandoah, he had no idea who they were.

He was in high school and college during the Korean War, yet he was so busy with his activities and studies that he didn't pay much attention to that era. He didn't remember much about WWII - his family was too young to fight and his father was too old and had some serious physical issues.

That all changed when he met mom. They actively watched world events and ensured that their kids were aware of things that were happening around us. Sometimes we refused to pay attention, but I remember nights in front of the television as astronauts left the confines of the earth and as national leaders were assassinated. I remember watching the news during the Viet Nam war and being fully exposed to all of the elections that occurred.

Dad would have felt pride watching this election. I don't know who he would have voted for, he moved back and forth between the major parties as he weighed the candidate's platforms. But, the fact that this country has elected an African-American president would have thrilled him. He worked and prayed for an end to bigotry. He would have been proud that a woman was on the ticket.

I thought about my parents and their reactions to this election tonight. I'm sorry they didn't see this kind of progress in their lifetime, but I'm thankful that there were people like them that taught us to respect all people, regardless of race or gender, and to believe that anyone can be President of the United States.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Pre-Election Commentary

Yah. Uh huh. That's exactly what I want to talk about. Ok. That was sarcasm. I really hate public confrontations. I am uncomfortable in debate situations and I hate controversy. So, imagine how much I love election campaigning. Some people get all charged up over the verbal banter. I get sick to my stomach. I'm going to be glad to get tomorrow started and will be even happier when January 21st is here and the speculation is over and someone actually gets to work.

Max and I will, however, stay up late tomorrow night watching the returns. We always have fun with that.

I've been reading commentaries on I Peter today. Interesting man, that Peter. I really love it when an author causes me to think outside the box regarding something I've taken for granted. I get so caught up in the text of scripture that sometimes I forget to look at things in complete context.

For instance, much of his language and turns of phrases were words that Jesus spoke. These were simply a part of his vernacular. Much like we incorporate phrases and ideas that have come from famous speakers, world leaders, movies, television, books, etc. It's kind of cool to think about the fact that he was so close to Jesus, that Jesus' words became his words.

I've adopted a phrase into my speech patterns that I distinctly chose to pick up from a friend, who got it from her husband, who got it from his father. Now ... that's 4 generations away from the originator of the phrase and yet it has become a part of me. Peter heard these things directly from Jesus. That means that the early church, the people that read this letter first, were hearing things from Peter that had probably been taught by the other disciples as they traveled preaching and teaching.

This knowledge makes the letters of Peter so much more personal to me, now.

As I was reading, I also discovered that there have been papyri discovered of the letters of Peter and Jude that date to 200 CE (Common Era). Along with those papyri were others that contain the books of John and Luke, some of these date to about 125 CE. That is within 35 years of John's death! I just started to cry as I read this information. It's not necessarily new information, it just got to me today. I began hearing the verse, Isaiah 55:11.
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Many liberal scholars have insisted that Constantine corrupted scripture, yet these papyri, dated long before his reign, prove that scripture has maintained its integrity.

Proof that the time change screws up our world existed in my world this morning. I could not figure out what Max was doing up at 5 am. I thought that he was sick. And at 6:20, he left the house. That was weird. He is usually up at about 6:40 and out of the house by 7:10. Yup ... he was totally confused due to the time change. It wasn't that the clocks weren't reading the correct time, they were (we only have a couple of clocks that have to be manually changed, Max has atomic clocks around the house - and the computers and phones change automatically), it was simply that he was stumbledum (my own word, don't look it up) at 5:00 in the morning. It certainly confused me and Leica. Oh well ...

I will say that, though I like having a little extra sunlight in the morning, I do not like the intense darkness at night. Especially when it gets here as early as it does now. Darkness will continue to close in on us until December 21 and then it will hold until January 2 when we will gain an extra minute of sunlight in the morning and the evening each day. Yes. This is information my husband imparted to me this evening.

I've started my intense Christmas shopping. Have you started? My intent is to be finished by mid-December. Since I do most of it online, I have to be sure to allow for shipping days. is good, but I can't be stupid! (hehe)

Alright, enough of the pre-election banter. You can go back to your regularly scheduled lives.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Better than a Bookstore

I really didn't think there was anything better than a bookstore. In days past, when I was stressed about things, I would head to a bookstore and spend money. It was the only money that I could easily justify spending. Well, that's not true. When I was very young and had absolutely no money, I would save my stress up for the grocery store. I could only afford to buy groceries, so I would treasure every moment and every choice.

HOWEVER ... I moved past that stage in my life sometime in my 30s and books were my obsession. I would walk into a bookstore and leave with an immense bag of books and at least $150.00 less in my checkbook.

While my Kindle has been filling up with books, I've done the 'filling' quite judiciously, never buying a book until I was ready to read.

Until tonight. I hate to admit how my relationship with my family impacts me, but when one of them is stressed about something, I react. My reaction always involves shopping. Amazon got my wrath and I'm not even certain that the memory on my Kindle is going to be able to hold all of the books I now own. I went a little nuts. I didn't buy one 'Dresden Files' book, I bought 3. "Pieces of My Heart" by Robert Wagner is awaiting my perusal (I've been in love with him for a very long time) and David Jeremiah wrote a new book on end times prophecy. Can't pass that up if I'm going to keep up with the newest information on end times, can I? Hmmm ... there's a story about a cat named Stella on there now. Oh and since I never finished the entire Phillip Pullman trilogy beginning with "Golden Compass," I purchased those three books as well.

Oh my ... It's 1:00 in the morning and I have a rather large reading list ahead of me. What have I done to myself?

The good thing about all of this? Kindle books cost less than books at the bookstore, they don't weigh a thing and I can get them at 1 in the morning. I win!!!???!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I'm thankful

The last several posts have been a bit too negative. I'm not necessarily fond of that attitude in my life, so tonight I'm going to spend time being thankful.

1. My nephew, Matt. I picked him up about 7:30 this evening south of Gretna. His parents brought him up most of the way and I brought him in to Omaha and took him back to school. I have loved spending time with him as an adult this fall. He is incredibly sensitive and very loving. God gave us all a great gift 19+ years ago and I'm glad to be a part of his life.

2. My family. Good heavens, how can I not be thankful for this crazy group of people that I am associated with! We were raised by the same two people, but Carol, Jim and I are so very different. It's pretty hilarious. I remember Dad worrying about the family splitting apart after mom died. I also remember reassuring him that our family was close enough that it would take more than mom's death to separate us. Jim has extended the family with three great kids and a wonderful wife. Wow, I'm a fortunate woman.

3. My husband. (Just so you know, these are in no particular order). I'm fairly certain that God planned our relationship so that He could sit back and have a laugh. We have the best time together, we are complete dorks when we are together and neither of us could imagine being anywhere other than with each other. Max takes such good care of me and is selfless in every aspect. He never thinks of himself first and sometimes that just blows my mind. It's a good life I lead.

4. My parents. Carol emailed me tonight and complimented me on my writing skills - and commented on the excellence of my brother's as well. She told me that we have mom's writing abilities and that were she alive, she would be writing as fast as possible to keep up with us! Both she and dad gave us a lot of skills and imparted much knowledge along the way. She taught all of us to love words. Both she and dad gave us each different ways of looking at our faith, which ensured we were each quite strong in that aspect. Dad taught us to excel in what we did. He never allowed us to settle for second best.

Tonight I'm very thankful for my family, for my heritage and for the future that I see with them. God has blessed us with each other. It's good to be a part of this amazing group of people.

Daylight Savings

Ok ... weird. I looked at the clock on my computer and it said 1:16 am. Ummm ... I could have sworn that a little bit ago it said 1:53 am. Within a split second I realized that at 2:00 am the clock changed back. And I missed it! Doggone.

So, here I am with an extra hour in my life. I think I shall squander it.

I had decided to work on the Bible study I'm participating in. However, I got annoyed with the teaching and decided I might just put it down until I can pray about it and deal with it in my brain. Oh ... for someone as opinionated as me, you have to know that this happens regularly. It's not that big of a deal.

The evening has been a bit strange. A little earlier I heard a police car give chase. I first heard a car squeal its tires as it peeled out and within moments, sirens were screaming and they were off. After awhile it was over. Who knows what happened. Then, I heard young men scrambling around in the alley outside my back door. With the upper door open and the lights on, I can't see outside, so that weirded me out a little bit. And just now, I heard what sounded like a gunshot. Oh, it could be a car backfiring, but I probably should have heard the car. It was a distance away, so I'm not worried or anything.

I am overwhelmed by the violence in this community. I hate being a fatalist, but I just don't think there is anything that can actually be done about this. There is no end to the problem. We can deal with individuals and do our best to help them, but the problem is so much greater than the individuals. For every program that cares for one person, more are tossed onto the streets. Carol told us at dinner tonight about a 10 year old who sold a piece of candy to a 7 year old for $20. And when he wanted another piece, he gave her another $20. Where does he get that kind of money? A seven year old kid! And how shameful that an older child would take such unfair advantage. This cycle continues to spin out of control.

There are many days that I want to move to a small town in Iowa and hide from the world.

Max goes back to work on Monday. It's probably a good thing. I actually don't get as much done when he's around. I'd much rather talk to him and honestly, as soon as I get involved in anything, he'll turn to ask me a question and I break away to respond. I need to do some cleanup in the study. We have managed to trash this place pretty badly. Lots of stuff got brought in here after the trip and with both of us hanging out here, it just keeps getting worse. So ... he'll go back to work and I'll get things straightened up. Of course, the straightening might just happen tonight yet or at least tomorrow. We'll see how much I can tolerate.

I've been readjusting things on my desk. It's a small desk - not really made for a keyboard and screen. I need to make room so that I can actually prop books up while I type and read from them. I would love to have multiple monitors so that I can look things up and type (write) at the same time, but heck ... I love my computer and I'm not going to complain.

It's time to start thinking about Christmas gifts. I did about 95% of my shopping online last year. I really need to get busy so that I can actually enjoy looking for and dreaming up fun gifts for my family and friends. I have started the list, but I got wrapped up in vacation planning and set it aside. It's probably time to bring it back to the forefront.

Max and I have already done our geeky election research project. We talk all year about the major races, but there's nothing I hate more than going in to vote and facing names that I've never heard about. So, every election we find the sample ballot, pull out our voter registration card to find the districts, etc. and we go through the ballot together simply to figure out who everyone is and what the initiatives are. I remember having to buy a newspaper to get that information, I don't mind having it available online now.

Well, I've used about 25 minutes of my extra hour. I think I'm going to try to read "Emma" by Jane Austen tonight. If that doesn't put me to sleep ... well ... I'm betting that Leviticus will!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

2:30 am

I tried. I really tried! But, I'm awake.

I love my Kindle. It is the best thing for a rapid, random reader (like the alliteration?) like myself. I read books quickly and I read a lot of books at the same time. To have all of the books that I am reading available in one container? Absolutely awesome.

However, even the Kindle couldn't help me tonight. I started out by reading a commentary on 1st Peter (which is what I am studying in the Pour Out a Blessing blog). I figured that should put me to sleep quickly. Oh no ... it gave me a word I didn't understand. There's a dictionary on the Kindle, so I tried to look it up. Nope. Alright, Wikipedia is available on the Kindle. Nope. No help. Just put it out of your mind, Diane. You can look it up tomorrow.

Just FYI, I've already looked it up. Haustafeln

The Domestic Code material followed ancient patterns widely discussed in the first century family or household. Typically these discussions centered on how the various members of the family (wife, children, slaves) were to relate to the dominating male (husband=father=master) of the household. In the early Christian pattern the discussion of responsibilities flowed both directions and often centered on the male's obligations to the other members of the family. Thus the NT texts will be developed in pairs: wife/husband; children/father; slave/master. Not every passage will contain all three sets relationships, but the ones that do surface will be discussed from both sides of the relationship.

The following procedure is suggested for identifying and interpreting Haustafeln in the New Testament:
1. Identify the Haustafeln in the NT by holding to the more specific definition the "domestic" or "household" codes. These occur in Col. 3.18-4.1; Eph. 5.22-6.9; 1 Tim. 2.8-15; 6.1-2; Tit. 2.1-10; 1 Pet. 2.11-3.7.

2. Gain a broad understanding of the origin and purpose of the NT Haustafeln. For this purpose the reader is encouraged to begin with NIDNTT, s.v. "Haustafeln" and to continue more in-depth research by investigating primary source material.

3. The greatest exegetical energy should be reserved for understanding the actual content of the codes and their role in the epistle. The major commentaries and leading studies are the interpreter's primary tools. The most recent leading studies include: Balch, Domestic Code; Charles Talbert, ed., Perspectives on First Peter (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1986). Cf. also Crouch, Colossian Haustafeln.

Well, that was obviously not putting me to sleep. I finished "Coffin Dancer" by Jeffery Deaver. Still not asleep. I wonder what the next book is chronologically by Deaver? I'm going to have to look that up on Wikipedia so I can buy the next one.

I started reading "Assassination Vacation" by Sarah Vowell. Hmmmm ... I wonder where I found this book? Why is it on here? Oh, I think I read about this on ... maybe Tena's blog? Alright. Fine. Let's try this. Nope, I'm still wondering where it came from. Fine. Leave it. Deal with that tomorrow morning.

Alright. I'm not really into steampunk sci fi, but I know that I should read some William Gibson. I've tried starting "Neuromancer" several times. If I can just get past the first chapter and let the characters become part of my life, I'll probably really like it. But, I can also guarantee that getting past the first chapter will put me to sleep.

Hmmmm ... the battery is starting to die on the Kindle. It's been going for a few days. I have to remember to plug it in before I fall asleep. Every few seconds I glance down again to ensure that there is still enough. Diane! There are still two full bars available. Quit obsessing. Quit being distracted. Read. And relax.

Leica is sleeping on top of the blanket rather than curled up against the back of my knees. Sheesh, that's annoying. "What's up, little girl?" And she looks at me and tries to ignore the fact that I'm bothering her. I kick around a little more and she moves further away from my feet. Ok - this isn't going to work.

Now, relax. Surely there's a book on here that will help you relax and fall asleep. Oh damn, now I have to pee.

Well ... here I am. In front of my computer. I've looked up the things that were bothering me. The Empty Chair by Jeffery Deaver is now being delivered by Amazon Whispernet to my Kindle, I'm not quickly finding Tena's reference to "Assassination Vacation" and I now understand what the author of the commentary on 1 Peter kept referring to. My Kindle is plugged in while I'm away from it and the dog has crawled under the covers - this time I'm certain she's snuggled up against Max. That's just fine with me.

It's taken me 20 minutes to type this and grab all of the links. Good thing I don't have to get up in the morning!