Saturday, February 28, 2009

Two months in ...

Another month is coming to an end. 2009 is already shaping up to be quite an interesting year!

Max and I have spent more time this month traveling together around the state of Iowa than we have in the last 10 years. It's been awesome. I'm thrilled that he is renewing his passion for photography. There were a few years when the mundane life took over and didn't allow time for art. That's behind us now.

I have started taking online classes. Ok, it's one class. But, it's Greek. I love this! I really, really, really, really love this!

Friends from high school and college are turning up on Facebook and I have reconnected with people I never would have thought to encounter again in my lifetime. This is really exciting for me.

I am really memorizing scripture. For the first time in decades! The last time was when I was in Confirmation class. My fifth verse will post tomorrow on Beth Moore's blog. This is cool for me.

My friends are still my friends. Changes in my life have not necessarily meant that I lose my friends. You see, when I was young and moved away from a community, there was no way for me to maintain contact with my friends and after a few months of mailing letters back and forth, we all drifted apart, moved on and made new friends. I was a little afraid of losing touch with friends I had made while working at Faith-Westwood. And while we aren't spending hours together every day, they are still my friends. That makes my heart very happy.

I have spent more time reading the Bible than I have in years. Much of it has to do with the Pour Out a Blessing blog, but still. Guess what! You can actually have a relationship with Jesus Christ and not go to church every Sunday. Who knew?!

I am thankful for this life I live. For my friends and family, for the abundant blessings that are poured out on me every day. Thank you Lord for bringing this month to a close and for being with me as I anticipate a new month.

Grammar Nazi

When email began taking over the world (I'm old enough to remember a time before email) and then texting became prevalent, there were those who foresaw doom and predicted that dreadful things would happen to the English language.

For awhile, I suspect that they were correct. However, what I have discovered is that the opposite of that prediction has begun to occur. Interest in the proper use of the English language has overtaken much of the online world, to the point that people are correcting each other on Facebook. It is a little more difficult to execute proper English grammar when you are only given 140 characters to make a statement, but if you misspell a word or end a sentence with a preposition, you will find that there are plenty of people ready to take you to task.

I have always had a basic, natural understanding of grammar. This is probably due to the number of books I've read and the fact that my mother adored the English language. She and Dad would have heated discussions over the proper use of a word. At some point they would giggle when they realized that they were angry with each other over a word! Now, while I know what a sentence should look like, I will admit to making many errors and sometimes having no clue regarding proper usage of the language.

Since I have begun learning Greek, I've discovered that I have an inability to recall basic grammatical rules and I have completely forgotten how to diagram a sentence. I knew that it was time to brush up on all of that information so that I could translate it into Greek. The structure of words in the Greek language is based on where they fall in the sentence.

I purchased a couple of books on grammar and then discovered one that was called "The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need." Could it be true? I read the reviews of the book and they were excellent, so I purchased it. It's just a small book and it is amazing! For heaven's sake, it is only $7.95 on Amazon!

I find myself surprised at how poor our education system has been at giving us a basic comprehension of grammar, of the proper use of words, of spelling, of so many things regarding our language.

For instance, there continues to be a lack of understanding of the when to use 'your' or 'you're.' While it seems simple to me, I suppose that most don't take the time to think about it. Only use you're if the sentence can be saying you are. It is a contraction! The sentence You are beautiful. is NOT Your beautiful. (A contraction is simply removing a letter and replacing it with the apostrophe - in this case, remove the 'a'.)

The word your is used when something belongs to you. If it makes sense to say our, it can make sense to say your. This is your car. (you would not want to say This is you're car because you aren't saying This is you are car.)

The other set of words that get used incorrectly are to, too, two. The word two needs to be eliminated immediately. The only time two is used is as a number.

Now we are down to two words (see what I did there?). The only time the word to is used is when there is a direction involved. We are going to Chicago. This word is also a preposition and will be used as such: Whom are you going to the party with? This still uses the word to as a direction.

The word too has a couple of different ways it can be used. If you mean something additional, you use the word too - it has an additional o. Too is an adverb - it can be used to describe the action part of the sentence. The sentence: She is too smart for him. The word too describes how smart she is. You can not use the word to here for several reasons. First of all, the word to is not a descriptive word and secondly, the verb is not a direction.

Make sense? Probably not. All I know is - these are a couple of the most common errors used when typing and writing.

My father embarrassed himself while in college. He was a good student and an intelligent young man, trying to impress his professors. On one of his first papers, he thought he had done an excellent job, when much to his chagrin, it was returned with red marks. Due to his hearing problems, he had never understood the difference between granted and granite. Through the entire paper, he had been taking things for granite. He remembered that embarrassing lesson for the rest of his life.

Do you have a memory like that?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Angst-filled brokenness

Today as I sat to pray for some friends of mine, I felt overwhelmed by the fact that I needed to come clean with God first.

My worst sin is pride. And as I began to break down and weep in front of God, I remembered the resolution I made at the beginning of the year. "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2)

That has been my prayer for quite some time. To actually eliminate my 'self' and know only Christ in my life. For someone like me that is quite a struggle! And lately, it seems as if everything is conspiring to break me from that resolve.

Now, here's the deal. I consciously made a decision to break with the world of success. I did it after hearing God tell me that wasn't where He wanted me to be. So, I can hear Him when He tells me 'No' if I ask about participating in the world again.

My sin lies in questioning where I am at, the fears the come up and the insistence that my self-confidence is more important than my relationship with God.

For instance, I have found a lot of old friends on Facebook from both high school and college. No matter what they are doing, most claim to be finding fulfillment and success. They proclaim it loudly. How do you suppose I respond when asked what it is that I do? Do you suppose that I say, "I'm waiting on God right now. He wants to break all of my reliance on self so that I rely only on him."? No, I cover it by saying that I am taking some time to do writing and working towards a Master's Degree. And oh, they are ever so impressed with that.

My friends are planning to gather again to prepare worship in a location that I left several years ago. The best thing I had going musically in years is regrouping and I can't be a part of it. It is killing me personally, but in so many different ways, God has shown me that I am not supposed to be active in this.

Even my writing trips me up. When I walk away from the actual writing and think about the blog and the bible studies, etc., I find myself driven to be success oriented. How can I build my blog so that more and more people will read what I write. And then, at what point can I begin accepting minimal advertising and at what point will I be able to point to that blog and its success as I enter into discussions with publishers?

To be honest, as soon as those thoughts hit my mind, the niggling fears of self-doubt enter as well. It's quite the battle in there. But, the battle is between two sides that shouldn't exist in any case. Whether or not my writing is any good is not what this is supposed to be about.

So, I began to lay this out in front of God. I don't want to wait until He has to do the breaking and it hurts in a very bad way. I'm going to try to nip my 'self' in the bud right now. And I'm going to fail miserably. I don't know how to stop the need for accolades and appreciation. I don't know how to stop being prideful. I don't know how to stop desiring success. I don't know how to make it all about Him and not at all about me. I don't know how to 'know Jesus Christ and him crucified' only.

Here's the rub ... as soon as I laid this in front of Him and began wondering how He was going to continue to break me down ... I wondered about the time after that - would that be when the success finally came? Yup, He and I have a lot of work ahead of us.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Quick (really) Random Thoughts

Today, my brain is having many random thoughts ...

I have this terrible desire for office supplies occurring right now. Pencils, notebooks, highlighters. I really want this stuff right now.


Reading a book on grammar "The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need." It's awesome and my brain is being refreshed.


About the only thing I miss about not having Insty-Prints is access to paper. I just got creative regarding scrap paper and realized how ridiculous it was, but I don't want to use up all of my 3x5 cards! (no worries, I've fixed it)


There are two measures from a song circling my brain - and have been doing so for hours. I might screech at some point.


I opened a bag of Cheetos from the bottom last night and it's annoying the heck outta me. However, I have to put up with it until it's empty. Doesn't make much sense to open the other end now, does it?


I took some pictures of my computer screen with SpongeBob & pals hanging over the top for entrance into a contest. The contest is for $100 of product from an online bible study program. While it's awesome, I'm just weird and don't know if I need to share that with the world. (ok, fine - here it is). The site is Truly - the best (bar none) Bible Study software EVER! It is one of the reasons I sound like I know what I'm doing when I write. A bit of an investment, but ... I'm so thankful that I did.


I'm scared to death right now to take a Unit Exam for Greek. I hate the idea of doing anything less than 100% and failure makes me sick to my stomach. But, I have to take the stupid thing so that I can move on to the next Unit.


I love having my head massaged, but it certainly messes up the hair!


My grey cat's blue bed is starting to look like a grey bed. Time to put the thing in the washing machine. It does however, offer him a modicum of camouflage.


I can't tell whether or not Leica prefers the blankets on her bed to be folded and flat, or scrunched up and fluffy.


How do two people create so much trash? And dirty dishes ... and dirty laundry ... and messy floors ... and dirty toilets. Do you know anything about entropy? Gawd, it's nearly impossible to keep it from taking over.


Bought a couple of books by an Iowa photographer to see what he's doing. Max is a much better photographer. I don't think I'm just being biased. (you can see Max's photos here)


Max is picking up groceries from Hy-Vee after he's done with work tonight. I love ordering online! I actually save money by doing it this way. I don't spend any more than I want to spend and I avoid being drawn in by spur of the moment desires!


No, I haven't spent a lot of time on this post ... I just left it open on the computer while I read and studied and did other things. When the random stuff popped up - I typed it. Oh ... and I am ignoring some of the things popping into my head ...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Radio Buttons

There's yet another crisis that comes with getting old. You start running out of radio buttons. You know those little round buttons beside the age ranges on a survey?

One night last week, Max had a very panicked tone in his voice when I heard, "Oh no!" I immediately wondered what terrible thing had happened. He went on, "I've run out of radio buttons!"

Since this has been an ongoing subject of conversation for several years, I understood his comment.

But, really? Usually radio buttons go to at least 59. Have they stopped at 50+ now? He kept looking. Whew. There was at least one more radio button available.

Then, as I was on Facebook earlier today - a quick poll showed up in my News Feed.

Now, that was just rude! 13-17, 18-24, 25-34, 35-49, Other. (I'm not sure why it resorted on the output page). Max would have to choose 'other'! I felt quite cocky in that I could still choose 35-49. Whew!

I don't care what the surveyors want to know this information for, they need to start thinking about their constituents! We are NOT done at 49!!! We don't turn into the OTHERS! And yes, I might be a little overexcited about this, but help me out here, folks!

Oh well, sigh ... here's hoping I'm prepared for the last radio button when I finally get there.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I don't ALWAYS talk about Wil Wheaton

But, because I read his blog and his books and follow him on Twitter ... I seem to quote him a lot to friends that hang out with me. In fact, I find that if I'm thinking of something funny I just read, I have to concentrate so that I don't mention him one more time. I'm sure that some of you think I'm obsessed. Sorry 'bout that.

Max just puts up with me and actually has learned to chuckle enough so that I get through the story quickly and move on to something else. You see, there are several things that I love about Wil. But, mainly, he makes himself available to the world. He's been in movies (Stand by Me), my favorite television show ever (Star Trek:TNG) and now he hangs out and plays with technology geeks.

I discovered his blog well into him becoming popular there and was startled by the world of 'hate' that surrounded his character on STTNG (Wesley Crusher) and tended to move from there to him personally. Really? The thing about it was what did it say about me that I kind of liked the character and was sad when he left the show. Oh well ... I've been known to be tolerant of things that others weren't, it wasn't a big deal.

Then I started reading about his love/hate affair with Hollywood. Hmmm ... this guy is just plain normal. Well, not really. But, close enough. I started reading about his adoration for his stepsons and love for his wife. Wil Wheaton married a normal woman? Good for him.

I discovered he was a writer - a good writer. He writes about his life as a kid growing up with video games and Star Wars and comic books and Dungeons & Dragons and all of the things that I loved - though I am a bit older. He writes about his life now and the experiences he faces every day.

I've been waiting for these books to come out electronically. He finally put one of them out in audio format. And his latest venture just came out in PDF format. "Sunken Treasure." You can buy it for 5 bucks - straight from him. Then, download it to your computer! And, if you have a Kindle - you can format it yourself by using MobiPocket Creator or email it through Amazon.

Look, buy the book. You'll love the stories he tells about his life. He's way more than just a Hollywood actor. And ... if, after reading it, you still think I'm crazy when I quote his oneliners or talk about something funny he brought to my attention ... fine.

Friday, February 20, 2009

All Better ... for now (+ randomness)

My computer is running smoothly again. Whew! We ran a utility that tracked down bad sectors and recovered information. That thing ran for 32 hours! And it did the job that it was supposed to do and I'm back to a semblance of normal. I also now own an additional 500gb drive. We'll just hold that in reserve. For some reason or other, I'm murder on hard drives.


Last night I started having a craving for Papa John's pizza. Since it was 3 am, I decided to wait. But, by 12:30 this afternoon, I was eating pizza. Whew! Gotta love delivery. My brother chose to live in rural Nebraska and often complains about not having access to pizza delivery. Like my friend says, "Choices and Consequences." If it weren't for his lousy internet connection out there as well, I would love to live in that area of the world, but I looooo-ooooo-oooove having speedy internet.


I tried to go to bed early last night. I actually could have fallen asleep pretty quickly, my Kindle was trying to slip out of my hands on numerous occasions, but I could also tell that Max wasn't falling asleep and I know that when I sleep, I snore. It's much more important for him to get sleep at night than it is for me to fall asleep early, so I finally crawled out of bed and sat at my desk and read until I could stand it no longer. Deliberate insomnia is a bad thing. A nap will occur soon.


It's hard to imagine. 47 years ago today - February 20, 1962. John Glenn was launched into space to become the first American to orbit the earth. The world has changed so much in those 47 years. It's quite exciting and a little frightening.


I still get excited every single time I find another old friend on Facebook. Sheesh, I'm such a dork.


Well, it's time for me to go dream about changing the world, or something like that.

Stressing your mom out

A friend and I were discussing our patterns for dealing with stress on Twitter (hehe - 140 characters ... heckuva discussion! Demands precision dialog). She ended it by saying that she inevitably called her mom.

My first thought was, "I'm so glad you do that. I wish I still could." Because you see, I want to tell every young woman out there to treasure the moments you have with your mom because all of a sudden, some day she'll be gone. And there won't be any new moments ... only memories.

But, that was quickly replaced by a memory (see, I told you!)

I was 22 years old, living 6 1/2 hours away from home in Spencer, IA working at my first, real job - Christian Ed and Music Director at a Methodist church. Mom and I were really close friends and our phone bills were fairly unhealthy. One night I was out of control stressed. I remember that I was having trouble getting my apartment warm enough in the middle of a northwestern Iowa winter, I had dealt with something 'unfun' at an education meeting at church and my senior pastor was pushing me to do some things I was completely uncomfortable with.

I called mom up and totally unloaded all of my fears and frustrations on her. We talked for a few minutes and then, I had to go to another meeting. I left, did the meeting, came home and went to bed. You see, after I unloaded it all on her, I was fine! I just needed someone to talk to.

Before dawn the next morning, my phone was ringing. Now, this was in the day and age of phones being attached to a wall (1983) and the only phone in the apartment was in the kitchen. It had a 20 foot cord on it, but I did have to get out of bed to answer it. I was just sure something terrible had happened. Oh yah ... it had. Mom was completely freaked out and worrying about me. I don't know what she thought I was going to do, but she hadn't slept all night. By 6 am, she was a wreck.

Of course, I had slept soundly and had completely forgotten the conversation. As I listened to her yell at me, I just giggled. This is what love is all about! She finally calmed down enough to listen to me and I explained that I was all better after talking to her. I think she told me I could never do that to her again.

The next thing I did to her? A tornado ripped through Spencer one night. I sat in my bathtub and called her. When I told her that I wanted someone to know if I died, she wasn't terribly impressed. But, she stayed on the phone with me until the storm passed. It ripped homes apart 1/2 block away from my apartment. I waited awhile to tell her that part of the story.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My computer is punishing me

The date is actually marked in my calendar. The blog that I wrote about it is here.

On January 20th, 2009, my hard drive gave up the ghost. Max went to Best Buy and purchased a new 500 gb drive for me. He installed it and I began the long and drawn out process of reinstalling software and personalizing every aspect of my computer. I don't know that I had completed the process to my satisfaction yet.

It doesn't matter anymore. Because tonight before I left the house for a meeting, things began going wonky on me. Max and I were chatting and I saw that MS Outlook was taking a long time to start. I realized that it was locked up, but no big deal ... it would either sort itself out, or I would just go to the Task Manager, end the program, restart the computer and things would be fine. Right? Ummm ... no.

I went to the Task Manager. It wouldn't come up. Now, that is just plain freaky. It always comes up - no matter what! I tried again. Nothing.

"Max, I'm going to do a hard restart on this - got a problem with that?" He shook his head and looked a little concerned. I pressed the button. The screen came up and then went black, with a little dialog telling me that the hard drive couldn't read or write.

"Grrrrr." It also said I could press ctrl-alt-delete to retry. I did. Same screen. More growling.

Max turned the machine all the way off and we let it sit. Things came back to life.

Ok. We'll be fine. I will export my Outlook file for backup and start dragging things to the Drobo (main backup). I had to leave, but it seemed as if the files were taking an awfully long time to copy to the Drobo. This doesn't look good.

I got back from the meeting and the computer informed me that it would take 16 hours to copy these files to the Drobo. Ummm ... what? That's not right. I cancelled the copy, restarted the computer.

More black screen with nasty dialog. We powered down and it came back to life ... but, oh my was there incredible lag. For every 15 seconds of activity, there was 3 minutes of no response.

"Max, just go to Amazon and order another drive. I can wait until it gets here on Friday."

I was kind of chuckling. He didn't think that was appropriate behavior on my part. It ticked him off! There is no reason that these things keep happening to me. But. They do. I still chuckled. He still didn't think that was appropriate. He is not looking forward to reinstalling Windows. But, hey! I have to install every single other program on this thing and I have to find all of the areas that I personalize and I'm the one stuck on an itty, bitty laptop for the next two days. Hello!!! Feel sorry for me.

He doesn't. Well, maybe a little bit.

Me? I'm feeling very sorry for me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It is the little things

Well, I just completed a 3 minute sob-fest. I'm such a dork.

I've been stressing and stressing about Greek. Ok, and there's been a little obsessing too. I don't think any of that is going to change.

However, I had gone online last night to pull down some more information so as to better comprehend the cases and genders and anything else regarding nouns.

This author used a different word for the verb 'to be' than the author of my text and I was decided to pursue the information just a little further.

I hadn't yet pulled out the Greek/English New Testament that I purchased a couple of years ago when I decided to try to learn Greek on my own. But, this material from the internet was reference the Galatians 5:22 passage (fruit of the Spirit). Just for my own edification, I decided to see what it looked like.

I began reading (in Greek - this is just a transliteration): o karpos tou pneumatos estin agape, chara, irete, makrothumia, chrestotes, agathosune, pistos, prautes, enkrateia. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

I started sobbing! I understood this! The verb 'is' - 'estin.' We all know 'agape,' but I had just learned charos (rejoicing) and it was easy to make the leap to chara (joy). I understood the sentence structure and the use of the articles.

For a short moment (a very short moment), I was part of something ancient and filled with depth that goes beyond my surroundings.

That is more than enough to draw me back into my studies.


Have I told you the story about my father and the man who called him from Florida to say that he was so despondent he just wanted to commit suicide?

During the phone call, Dad asked this man to write down 10 things that he was thankful for and to call him back the next day. The man promised that he would do this. The next day when he called, they talked about these ten things and then Dad asked him to do it again. There was another promise made and another phone call. This man was in Florida on a business trip and he and Dad spoke every day. Every day, Dad asked him to write down ten things that he was thankful for.

This man returned home completely transformed. Such a simple assignment, but one that forced him to focus on things other than his fears and depression. His marriage was transformed, his relationship with his daughter, his relationship with his business associates and he found a relationship with Jesus Christ through this.

Can you write down ten things today that you are thankful for?

When we were kids, each year we knew at Thanksgiving we would be required to have 5 things that we were thankful for. Dad would put 5 kernels of some type of corn on our plates and we would go around the table naming something we were thankful for, then eating the corn. When he discovered candy corn, we were very happy kids!

Can you write down five things today that you are thankful for?

I think we spend too much time criticizing each other and finding fault with the world around us. We've become cynical and mean-spirited, we are afraid of each other and hide in our little padded lives. Can we break out of that to express gratitude every day?

What are ten things that you are thankful for. They don't have to be a big deal.

1. Max
2. Leica
3. Ichabod
4. Jim
5. Janet
6. Matthew
7. Emma
8. Jacob
9. Carol
10. God

See!! I'm thankful for my family and my animals. I'm thankful for my relationship with God. But 10 items on my gratitude list? That was easy. What about you?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How I Learn

I am finally beginning to put into words and understanding the means by which I learn something new. I'm sure that I could spend time looking through various learning methods and match what I do to their assumptions, but for now ... I'm just going to let this be me.

I've always known parts of this about myself, but now, while I'm trying to learn something that is completely alien to my experience, I am actually trying to figure out what frustrates me in the learning process. Because, let me tell you, I have been more than frustrated in these last few days. Things are not locking into place the way that I'd like them to and now that I'm beginning to comprehend why that is, I'm releasing a bit of the frustration.

Learning has always come easy to me, so I'm guessing that my style of learning is not a big deal. But, when presented with something new, I have had to discover ways to assimilate information quickly and then process it so that I can either translate it for someone else or produce a result.

I learn from makros to mikros (Greek - large to small - see, I am trying!). When Max is working on processing his photographs, the extremely large file sizes cause them to open immediately and when opened, they are blurry. With a little bit of processor crunching, seconds later they snap into focus. This is much like my process. But, I don't always get the large file first. Teachers/Professors insist on teaching by building blocks and foundations and adding to those without giving the overall picture first. And that's when I get frustrated.

1. For example: When I need to learn about a new town, the best way for me to know where I'm going is to look at a street map. I get the overall layout of the city in my head, major streets - whether they're going east-west or north-south or maybe it's one of those wacky cities, surrounding communities, etc. Then, as I begin driving through the area, details lock into place based on the overall map I have in my head.

2. For example: If I am presented with new music to play, I scan through the piece quickly, I also then sightread very well, but there are plenty of mistakes and plenty of issues ahead that I need to process while I am learning the piece. But, again, as I work through it several times, details lock into place and begin to make sense based on the overall structure of the piece of music.

3. For example: I've often wondered why it takes me awhile to warm up in a group process. It's because I have to assimilate all of the information in the room before I begin to cooperate. I need to understand the motives of the individuals in the group and then the processes they use to interact with each other. If I rush too quickly into the conversation, I generally say things that I don't mean or regret later. But, as I see the details coming forth and as I get to know the people that I am working with, I can begin to participate fully.

Which brings me to what I am learning right now. The text, etc. is based on a foundational, building block process. And when I'm presented with things that I haven't learned at all, or am given no way of clarifying my own interpretations of the text, I get easily frustrated. Yes, being in a classroom and getting much one on one time with the professor would eliminate some of this frustration, but at the same time ... this learning process is different than the one I use to succeed.

I find myself looking deeper into the text for answers to the big picture questions and searching online to get answers to questions that aren't even being asked right now. I need to have the overall map of this process so that I can lock in details as I go.

Actually, there are no answers to this right now, but it is certainly nice to understand what I'm looking for!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What a great day!

I'm a little worn out. Two days on the road can wear a body out, but we had such a great day today. In fact, there was one wonderful little area of Mills County, Iowa that we entered into the 'Favorites' on our GPS because we wanted to return there this spring and summer.

I tend to set aside the map and just drive when I'm in Iowa. The wonderful part about that state is that it is generally set out in a grid formation. Every mile or so there is another road and for the most part they're in pretty good shape. Of course there are plenty of exceptions to that rule, but I learned long ago from a farmer boyfriend, that you just can't get too lost in Iowa. It's wonderfully comforting.

The sun was shining brightly, the snow was sparkling, the scenery was breathtaking (yup, I'm still talking about Iowa) and we were having fun. I knew that things were different today when Max would get back into the car and not rush to thaw himself out in front of the vents. He wanted to warm up, but he wasn't frustrated and annoyed. There were so many more times that he asked me to stop, turn around and go back because he had seen something he wanted to shoot. He kept telling me that he was actually excited about stopping today.

We found a little Methodist church in the middle of nowhere - founded in 1858. Twelve years later they opened a cemetery right across the road. We found an abandoned building that someone uses as a party house - lots of pop cans and cigarettes in there. A beautiful little pond just behind a gate that was left open and had long since deteriorated.

To top it off, the sunset was amazing and Max was actually able to get a picture of it because we were parked while he shot pictures of another abandoned church.

Later tonight, you'll start seeing some of his processed photos go up on his Flickr site. Check them out! There are a few there right now from yesterday, but he's not terribly happy with those. Wait for awhile before you go looking for pictures from today's shoot.

How to mess with your husband

Max just got back from church. He goes with his friend, Dave.

I was reading Beth Moore's blog, finishing up the posts from women around the country and their favorite Valentine's Day memories, as well as her twice monthly post regarding scripture memorization verses.

I've loved reading these Valentine's memory posts ... it's good for us to remember how wonderful our husbands are, even when they are complete goofballs!

Max came up the steps, Leica bounded to meet him. He had two things in his arms. Lunch from Pepperjax (my very favorite place) and a box ... of ... DONUTS!!!

I truly have not had a cake donut in over 7 months. I've lamented it a couple of times, but in he walked with a special gift for me.

I started to sob. He looked at me in complete shock. "I didn't mean to make you cry!"

Oh honey, if you knew what I'd just been reading, you'd know that this was the final catalyst to the tears.

He's so good to me and I don't deserve it (sometimes I do - but not always).

Then, he told me that today was a beautiful day for photos. "Alright, then," I said. "Give me 15 minutes to get dressed and we're outta here!"

"Really? You'll go out today?"

Yesterday was kind of a bust for him. He really didn't like the photos that he took. We put my lunch in the fridge - I think another donut will keep me pretty well satisfied for the day. I'm dressed and about to pack my stuff back into my purse for another day on the road.

I love my husband. I love that he wants to spend time with me and I can't wait to hang out with him.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

I guess I couldn't let the day go by without a post. It has been a good day. I spent it with Max.

We took off about noon for parts unknown and traveled through a good portion of eastern Nebraska. The sun was supposed to be shining, but for the most part we had haze and cloudy skies. Not much fun for a photographer. And the poor man nearly froze his tootsies off. He had doubled his socks - one pair was woolen! He got back in the Jeep and was miserable. He pulled his boots off and jammed his feet up near the vents. They finally warmed up.

But, we always enjoy being together so the day wasn't a total loss.

I commented on a young man's status on Facebook the other day. He was making fun of the corporate holiday that demands we find ways to say "I love you" on this day. There's been a lot of that going around this year. And then there's always "Single Awareness Day" or SAD. My comment to Max was that this young man really just needed to learn to let it go and get the card or the flower or the chocolate for his girlfriend. It's so much easier.

When I said that to the kid, he responded by telling me that this shouldn't just happen one day of the year. Well, of course not! But, neither should celebrating Jesus' birth or the resurrection. Or the life of Martin Luther King or the independence of our country. It's good to have a day that we actually remember to express our love in ways outside the norm. And it doesn't hurt that a few flowershops will actually make enough money on this day to help them get through tough months without a lot of sales.

I was reading Beth Moore's blog today and there were so many wonderful stories from her readers about their memories of Valentine's Day. Some were painful, some were so sweet I wanted to weep, some were hilarious. But, in all of these, the expressions of love were so important. And we forget that. We even forget to say "I love you" on a regular basis.

Today I'm thankful for a husband who doesn't forget Valentine's Day, but is sensitive enough to my needs and desires to interpret what I want. He knows I don't want 'stuff' from him. It was fun getting flowers last year when I was in an office and everyone around me could see them, but this year that wasn't important.

But, yesterday when he came home with lunch AND supper, he also brought me a bar of Ghiradelli chocolate. He knows what I love. It didn't cost much, but it let me know that he was thinking about me even when he wasn't with me.

Valentine's Day? Sweethearts get to have their day. A day to remember how to say "I love you."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Snow Day!

Well after the stress of last night, today was awesome!

Alright, here's the deal.

Last night when Max and I got home from dinner, he discovered a chewed up bunch of Trident gum on the floor. Leica had gotten into a drawer and managed to get to the gum. Trident gum has Xylitol in it and this is pure poison for dogs. It lowers their blood sugar and can do massive liver damage, put them in comas and even kill them.

I knew about this, so was pretty careful of where I left gum. Not careful enough. I forget that dogs are about the equivalent of 2 year old children. I called the emergency clinic and they encouraged me to bring her right over. Though she was showing no signs of distress, the last thing I wanted to do was wait until it was too late. Max and I got back in the car and headed out. I had to leave her so that they could induce vomiting, monitor blood sugar levels and flush her system.

We came home. I was told that they would know more after midnight. Since I'm generally up, that would be no problem. I didn't hear anything at midnight, gave it some more time and finally just called them. She was doing fine. They had discovered several pieces of gum in her belly and her blood sugar level was pretty good. They would keep her all night to ensure she was fully flushed and fully rehydrated. Whew! Time for bed.

The only problem with that was that when I crawled into bed, there was no Leica to greet me. I haven't slept without her since we got her! I don't know that I've ever been a part from her over night. Wait. There was a staff retreat in Columbus. Ok. Once. I didn't like that either.

Between not having her there and feeling relief at the fact that she was ok, I just started to cry. I tried to stay quiet, but failed. Poor Max didn't want to ask me though if she had died. He just worried quietly on his side of the bed.

But, he woke up early and took off to get her and bring her home. He got her home by 6:50 this morning while I was still asleep. I heard her come flying up the steps and look around for me. I called her name and she dashed down the hallway, through the bedroom and into bed with me. We spent a little time hugging each other while we both relaxed. All would be fine.

I did get up (had to go to the bathroom) and checked email. Whee! OPS had a snow day. However, when Max is designated staff, so he went to work anyway. He did call at 11:30 to tell me that he was being sent home. What? Are you kidding me? WHEEE!!! So, I asked him to pick up lunch AND dinner while he was out. Two favorites for me. PepperJax for lunch (can I hear an AMEN?) and Jimmy John's for supper. Yup ... I'm addicted to takeout and when I can get a day with my favorites brought to the house ... it's a WIN day!

I love days when plans get set aside for freedom. We had a nice quiet afternoon - even got a nap. It was nice to crawl back in bed with everyone! (that means the dog, folks)

This evening we watched 4 episodes of LOST (about the only television show we actually watch together) and will be heading to bed soon.

Today was a good day. My dog is fine, my husband was home, the snow is beautiful, everyone was safe. A good day for me.

What a treasure.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How do we use words?

How do we use words?

Do we say and write things that encourage others or to prove our point?

Is it better to create division or to promote peace?

Are we even aware that when we speak or when we write, we might offend or hurt another?

Words have power. Your words have power over the people around you.

You can choose to lift up or choose to tear down - all with a single word.

You can proclaim glory or ridicule with the words you choose.

Grace and mercy are more than just words. These attributes should flow through our actions and our words.

Caveat: Just in case you think you've ticked me off and I'm writing this to you, I'm not. Thoughts flowing around in my head, that's all!

Webcomics and me

I planned to go to bed an hour ago. Obviously, it didn't happen. I got caught up in a strange world of characters that I really enjoy. And this time it's not television or a book.

I've discovered the joys of online comic strips. Oh, not the whole thing, though that's absolutely awesome. Yes, I have the gadget on iGoogle and have set it up with my favorite comic strips, but I'm talking about these guys who have built webcomic sites and have developed quite an amazing following, to the point where they are able to make some money and do what they love more than anything!

Tonight I spent some time with Brent Sienna and all of his cohorts, drawn by Scott Kurtz. You can find them at

Alright, the characters are geeks and play to every geek stereotype out there. But, that's why I've fallen in love with them!

I'll be honest, I came to this party quite late. I didn't discover them until last fall when the artist did some Dungeons & Dragons podcasts. I haven't had time to go back and look through old strips, which is what I did tonight.

I think I blew my brain out on Greek today and needed something that would entertain me and not tax my synapses. This was just the ticket.

Lots of fun for me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Imagine My Surprise

I opened my computer this morning and discovered that everything was now displaying in Greek. Well ... not everything. But, anything that came from Windows ... all in Greek.

I giggled that 'this is going to be entertaining only if I can fix it' giggle and had to explain to Max what was happening.

"Oh no!" was his chuckle.

You see, I had installed a language pack earlier this week so that I could type out my lessons in Microsoft Word. I don't know that I really messed with it, but obviously didn't pay attention to something. Overnight Windows did an update and when my life came back online, well ... one of my erroneous clicks within the Regional languages control panel tab had now come back to haunt me.

I knew how to fix the problem, so off I went to the Control Panel. Ummm ... no. It's all in Greek. And everything has been resorted into Greek. Oh, thank heavens for icons! Max opened his control panel, told me which icon to look for. Alright, now ... I've found the icon and opened the right window. Ummm ... what do the tabs say. Ok ... now, what in the heck is Greek for 'English'?

Thank heavens for Google. I looked it up. Oh good! It at least starts with an "A" so that means it will be at the top of the list. Whoops there are a bunch of English options and I have no idea at all which is which. I was just lucky to get to this point. I took a stab. It looked like something could say "American." Maybe there was a North American English. Now ... how to get this to accept it. Finally, I figured out to hit "Apply" and clicked the button. My computer logged off and then back on.

Oh, whew! Things made sense to me again. I checked the language options and found that I had clicked on English (South Africa). Well, at least I could read the language again! So, I fixed it.

I think I had best hurry up and start memorizing vocabulary!

Monday, February 09, 2009

If I could give you anything

If I could give you anything, it would be encouragement, so that you believe that you ...

... are actually made in God's image.

... can do anything because He strengthens you.

... are better than what the world says you about you.

... are worth the time that people invest in you.

... are in the time and place that God has chosen for you.

... are beautiful.

... are going to make it through whatever you are dealing with.

... are loved by so many, and yes, me too.

... are bright, witty and capable.

... do not have to listen to self-doubt.

... are surrounded by friends that want more for you than you realize.

... have been given a talent. If you don't know what it is now, you will someday.

... glow when you find joy.

... will soar when you finally believe in yourself.

... are loved in so many ways by so many people.

... are the reason that Christ gave His life. He loves you!

If I could give you anything, it would be the knowledge that you are a most amazing creation of God. Live like you know this!

It's already February 9

February 9. I'm a little shook up that this much time has happened in the new year.

I remember being young once. I remember thinking that 16 would never get here. Then, 18. I never thought I would get to college. I never thought I would get through college.

21 was no big deal for me. I was living in an age when 19 was the drinking limit. But, 25? Then I would be able to rent a car. When I hit 30, it was ok because Matthew was born that year and there was something more exciting than my old age creeping up on me. Just before I turned 35 I got married. Life was still ok.

I had thought to myself that I had a long time until the year 2000 - and that would be the year I turned 41. But it was so far away that I didn't have to worry or think about it. That is also the birthday that I crashed and burned. I cried that year for the loss of my youth. 30 didn't freak me out, 40 didn't freak me out - but 41 wasn't so good.

Dad used to tease me that I had said something to him when I was very young about how OLD he was at the age of 40. Well, Dad ... you were.

Time seems to speed by and I am holding on to days as tenaciously as I possibly can, yet them seem to slip from my fingers as if I have no grasp on them at all.

I suspect that is why I stay up so late at night. I can't bear the thought of another day slipping by, so I grab as much of it as possible. Now, you see, that's a bit insane, because I sleep through much of the morning. I don't get any more time awake in a day than the rest of you. Don't worry, I know I'm nuts.

I also suspect that is why calendars and journaling (even scribbled notations in the calendar) are so important to me. If I write it down, if I take a picture, if I anchor the memory ... can I make this moment last a little longer?

Maybe this is why I'm so excited about learning Greek and doing some other things in my life. I'm tired of everything being a retrospective with me. I'm scanning all of my old photographs so that I can remember the past. I'm clearing stuff out of my house and while I do that, I remember why I have these things in my life. I do recall being in my early 20s, though and beginning to anchor memories through stories. I've always been this way. Our family has always been this way. The stories were told over and over so that we would remember.

I always get a little melancholy when the first of the year seems to speed by so quickly. But, I have to admit, I yearn a little for the days of childhood that seemed to stretch on forever. Days when playing outside or swimming with my friends were all that I focused on. The immediacy of the moment rather than planning for the next event in my life. What sweet days those could be ... if I could just learn to let tomorrow be what it is and grab today for all it is worth.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

A beautiful day in Iowa!

Max and I had a great day out and about southwest Iowa today. It took me awhile to wake up this morning, but once I got moving and out of the house, I was fine. I didn't even fall asleep in the car once (when I was sitting there waiting, not while I was driving, I promise!) We took off on Highway 92 going east. I always like to drive on these excursions because that gives Max a chance to keep an eye out for the perfect image. He's so transparent, it's adorable. We were driving through Carson and I saw an old run-down red building to the left. I could see his eyes trailing as we drove past. "Max, should we stop and let you look at that?" I'd already driven past and he was turning around looking at it. "I guess I'll just go up here and turn around, would that be a good idea?"

Turns out, it was a great idea. He spent some time shooting pictures of this great old building while I wandered with Leica and then worked on my Greek. I'm going to have to get a good lawn chair for this summer so that I'm not stuck in the vehicle on gorgeous days while I wait for him.

There were lots of opportunities for pictures. I tend to drive off the main highways and on to the gravel roads so that we can easily pull over and not obstruct traffic. Poor Max feels like he draws a crowd when he shoots, anyway! I'm not afraid of the minimum maintenance roads most of the time, but with the winter thaw, those things are a mess right now and I avoided them today. We pulled into a state park near Griswold and pulled right back out because the parking area threatened to intimidate my Jeep!

The best pictures happen out of the blue. We stopped in Atlantic at the old railroad depot, which the Chamber of Commerce refurbished. Leica and I had done our wandering and Max was getting close to wrapping up his shooting when two hobos came off the tracks and asked him if he would like a couple of good ole boys to make the picture more realistic. He agreed immediately and they wandered over and began chatting with him. They sat on a bench in front of the depot and he shot their picture. I wish we had been able to do something more for them. Max was out of cash and it has NEVER occurred to me to carry a photo printer in the Jeep. There's so much history with the hoboes - not transients, not beggars, just free spirits who ride the rails. They don't frighten you or intimidate you and these two guys were just glad to be part of our day. Ok, I'll admit it - I cried a little as I watched my wonderful husband interact with them.

The wildest part of the trip was between Atlantic and Walnut. Wind Farms! Max and I had never seen anything like this. In fields of black dirt filled with black cattle rise these very science-fiction looking windmills and dozens of them spread across the area! These were absolutely images that I could see as covers for science fiction novels.

With the sun setting at such an early hour, we got home in plenty of time for Max to begin working on his images. He'll get them posted throughout the weekend. Check them out on his Flickr page!

It never stops

I couldn't fall asleep, so I came into the study to look at some Greek, thinking that would wear my eyes out enough. It didn't, but that's another story.

I heard a bump and a crunch, but not enough to make me think it was a car wreck. We hear a lot of those on Leavenworth - people don't like a lot of things about this part of the street. They don't like 55th & Leavenworth because they want to turn north and cross traffic. Boom! They don't like the T that we are on, because they are constantly trying to turn across traffic to go west. Boom! And at 52nd & Leavenworth, they refuse to accept that people are going to either stop at the light, turn left at the light or turn right to go into the dry cleaners. Boom! We hear a lot of screeching around here. Both Max and I tend to hold our breath, hoping to hear no Boom!

There is nothing worse than the Boom and the hideous crunching of a car getting smooshed.

This time there was some weird crunching and dragging, but no boom and no screeching. I just figured it was a truck dragging something and didn't pay any more attention. I went back to translating an awesome paragraph about a farmer named Dikaepolis who is Athenian, but doesn't live in Athens. Rather he lives in the country and works as a farmer. He works too hard and the farm doesn't provide very much. He works long hours and groans and complains at Zeus.

whoops ... anyway ...

Then, I heard more activity out front. This time I went into the bedroom to investigate. The window is open, so sounds, of course, are louder. Yup, a tow truck was loading a mini van and the police car was flashing blue/red, blue/red, blue/red. I'm glad I hadn't been in there earlier, I would have been frustrated by the flashing.

It's gone now. It's 3:30 am. We're hoping to go out and shoot some pictures later today. I probably ought to try to get some sleep or I'm going to be very grumpy.

Friday, February 06, 2009

What am I thinking?

How in the world am I going to memorize and learn an entire language when I have trouble memorizing a few scriptures.

I've told you before that I am following Beth Moore's blog and attempting to memorize scripture with 3000 other women around the world. On the first and fifteenth of the month we are to choose a new passage and begin working on it.

If you have paid attention, I should have three of them memorized at this point. I do. Kinda. Don't hesitate to ask me to repeat them to you. I should be able to do it.

However, don't be surprised if I give you a startled, blank look and begin scrambling for my moleskin. In it, I have hidden the cards with the verses. Not so much hidden as tucked away so that I can practice wherever I am at.

The first one: 1 Cor. 2:2. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

The second one: Isaiah 25:1. O Lord, you are my God. I will exalt you and praise your name for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.

The third one: Jeremiah 15:16. When your words came to me, I ate them. They were my joy and my heart's delight for I bear your name.

There. I did that without looking at the cards. Whew!

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Wow. I begin concentrating on other things in my life and my writing takes a big hit! I'm not particularly happy about that, but it seems to be my reality right now. It's been a busy week and now all of a sudden I am pouring myself into studying again and don't really want to come up for air until I get it!

Honestly, things generally come pretty easy to me. I read things - they make sense. But, learning a language that uses symbols I'm not familiar with and pronunciations that are quite different than I'm used to is quite a trip.

In Greek, the 'i' sound is 'ee.' Ok, that's fine. A lot of foreign languages are like that. But, I have to pronounce a hard 'th' sound (as in 'the') for a 'd'! And a hard 'v' sound for a 'b'! What looks like a 'v' is actually an 'n.' What looks like a 'u' with an extended tail on the front is actually an 'm.' What looks like a freaking 'n' is actually the 'eh' sound. My brain hurts and I haven't even gotten to the vocabulary yet!

To top it off, there are 4 different pronunciation structures for Greek. You see, the Greeks got so melded into societies around them, that they actually lost the pronunciation that they were using. So, scholars have been making it up. Guhreat. At least they have it down to four. But, what you know from college fraternities is not actually correct and what we know and have heard from mathematics and science isn't actually correct. So, everything that I think I should know - is wrong.

Oh, then there are dipthongs and digraphs, fricatives, liquids, spirants and nasals. And don't forget the accents. Always with the accents. Oh whee, I have to learn 3 of them right off the bat, but then there are those that are at the beginning of a word that tell you how to aspirate the vowel sound.

I am doing pretty well on the letters - there are only 24. Well, sigma (the 's') sound has two letters that you have to learn. One that is used at the end of a word only and the other that is used at the beginning or in the middle of a word. So, that makes 25 - well, only 24. Oh my.

I'm really looking forward to this and I do know that at some point, the lightbulb is going to switch on and I'm going to get it! How much pounding my head against the wall is it going to take? I have no idea.

If I'm muttering strange words - no worries. I'm just talking to myself.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

It's All Greek to Me

Well, I did it.

I just enrolled in an online Beginner's Greek course.

To be honest, I'm actually terrified! This is the beginning of a dream that I've had for many years and the idea of failure scares the heck outta me. It's one thing to be a scholar in one's own mind, but to do something about it kind of makes it real.

Most of you will not believe that this is me. Who knew I was such a scaredy-cat about learning? It's one thing to take a $20 Beth Moore Bible study with folks that love me and a completely different thing to be in a course that costs a bit more than that with a professor who has no idea who I am.

It's also a bit frightening to come face to face with information with which I have very little experience. Sure, I can read the Strong's Greek words in association with my Bible, but it's time for me to be able to independently read Greek and flex my brain.

This also means that it is time for me to build structure back into my life. I thought I would be able to produce without it, but ... lesson learned. If I am ever going to accomplish my dreams, the time to start is now.

I sat here and prayed about this commitment before clicking the 'yes' button. I'm so scared, I actually got a little emotional. Then, I heard God telling me that if it was easy, I wouldn't need Him and this is what He wants for me.

Ok. I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I need to get through this first online course so that I have the confidence to move into online distance learning for a Master's Degree. More and more seminaries are finally getting the idea that they will reach more students if older folks (like me ... yes, I'm admitting that I'm older) can do it online rather than move on to campus.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Israel Houghton - in Concert

I don't get terribly excited about many musicians. I love music and I love listening to the good stuff, but I don't invest a ton of time falling 'in love' with musicians. I've never been a big concert-goer type of person - not a fan of crowds, in my past the music was never as good live as it was on the album, things have gotten really expensive nowadays, just not a fan.

I've seen very few great concerts - the last was Green Day - I only went because Max was desperate to see them. I wasn't excited, but it was honestly the best show I'd ever seen.

So, there it is. I've probably seen more Christian musicians in concert than anything else and some of those have been pretty entertaining. I remember going to hear Petra in the 70s. Mom took me to Des Moines. I loved it! She was just plain shocked. It was good for her. She actually took me to quite a few concerts, now that I think of it. Goodness, she was a good mom.

Back to the reason for the post.

Last fall, I saw that Israel Houghton was going to be touring with Chris Tomlin. Here was someone I was ready to drop everything to see in concert. I discovered his music by chance one day at Parables. I listened to a couple of tracks on the New Breed CD and nearly fell into a lump. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! The most amazing music and no one was really into his stuff. I bought it, and then bought the next CD. And he was so smart, he immediately published charts to go along with his CDs! Well-written charts! I bought those too.

When Jennie came onto staff as the worship director, I had to share. Her mouth dropped and we had to figure out how to make this music happen. She knew just the right people to build the band and off we went. Incredible, amazing music began happening in worship.

I've been waiting a long time to hear Israel in concert and tonight was the night. I didn't think he would ever show up in Omaha. Alright, he showed up in Council Bluffs. He asked the crowd tonight how many had never heard of him. An awful lot of hands went up. I am so thankful that he is on tour with Chris Tomlin so that he gets exposure. Because what I began hearing around me was sighs of joy as his voice soared through the auditorium. Thousands of people are being exposed to the worship style that he offers.

I cried through most of his set. I couldn't believe that I was fortunate to actually be there ... finally ... after all these years. I'm an old white lady who loves his rhythms, chord structures, deep soul sounds more than anything. If I think about it too much, I will start crying again (it's what I do).

If you haven't experienced much of his music - just go to You'll recognize a bunch of his stuff - you've sung it in worship. But, let me tell you ... ain't noone leading it like this man can!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

25 Things About Me

This has been going around Facebook for several days and I have been tagged more than once. Rather than ignore it, I decided to post it on my blog. That way I get a couple of things done at once! And, since most of my friends are on Facebook and have either already done this or been tagged ... I'm just forging ahead. If you'd like to do one of these in a note on Facebook or anywhere else, consider yourself tagged.

...these are in no particular order.

1. I'm addicted to Diet Mt. Dew. I remember when it came out - the first place I found it was in northern Minnesota on a fishing trip. I was pretty sure that Jesus was coming back at that point. My husband thinks that my blood will run green and refuses to drink the stuff because it looks like nuclear waste.

2. I just wiped my cat's cold wet nose with a tissue. That's weird. But, he was nudging me and rather than dealing with cold and wet all at once, I wiped it off. He didn't like it. He also isn't giving me a lot of space to type right now. He insists on taking up every bit of available landscape on my desk.

3. Max and I met online in 1994 - before the internet was common. I had actually been online since 1987, back in the dark ages of text only conversation. When AOL's GUI (Graphical User Interface) came out, we abhorred it. But then we were only on 9600 baud modems (step up from 300 to 1200 to 2400 to blazing speed!) and hated all of the download time each time you logged on. We also paid per hour to be online - life was expensive then.

4. I am blessed at this point in my life to not have to be in the workforce. Now, I just need to figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of my life.

5. Writing is a passion of mine. Bible study is also a passionate pursuit for me. I'm doing my best to combine those into something productive.

6. My mom was an amazing writer. I never would have imagined that I would be doing this at any point in my life - I could never have compared myself to her. But, look what God does!

7. I love my siblings. Carol and Jim mean everything to me and I think we are fortunate to be so tightly knit. Jim and Janet, Matthew, Emma and Jacob fill up my life. When they moved back to Nebraska, my life was wholly complete.

8. I have the best friends in the world. The early years of my life were always in transition and after a few years with friends, I ended up moving away. The fact that I still can call them friends and that I have met incredible people throughout the years and established amazing relationships is enough to wipe me out. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up." I have many that have helped me up throughout my lifetime. Thank you!

9. It's sometimes quite lonely in my mind and I'm thankful for the friends and family that I have. I miss my parents a lot and still cry when I think about the amazing life I had with them. If there was one thing I wish I could teach people it would be to treat your family with love and respect. I'm appalled at the awful ways we have discovered to abuse our loved ones. I miss my parents so much and desperately wish they were still here for me to love.

10. My college degree was in music education. Dad wanted me to be a concert pianist. I did not want to spend hours alone in a practice room for the rest of my life. When I got out of college, music was losing its position in the schools and full-time jobs were few and far between. I'm not a music teacher any more. Whew!

11. I owned a business for 20+ years with my sister. I'm awfully thankful to no longer be responsible for employees and customers. SO not my personality.

12. I am trying to rid myself of the 'collecting this and that' bug. GoodNESS I have a lot of stuff. Max isn't much better - in fact, he's worse.

13. Knitting is a lot of fun for me. I had to learn it from a knittnig shop owner because my talented mother couldn't figure out how to translate what she was doing to what I needed to be doing. She blamed me for not being able to figure it out. Whatever.

14. I love purses and bags. A lot. Max tells me that I'm on the eternal quest for the perfect bag and I will never find it. I'm just glad when I find one that keeps me happy for longer than a month.

15. Being a geek is a lot of fun. It's easy for me to admit to being a bit geeky. I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means, but I have played most of them and enjoy them - they just take too much time out of my day!

16. Max and I made a choice to not have children, so you don't have to worry about asking me about this. We didn't get married until we were in our mid 30s. We also didn't know each other at all when we got married. My mother never told me that giving birth was the best thing that had happened to her, so I was in no hurry to go through that! *giggle*

17. Oh. Other food addictions. Bread. M&Ms. Medium rare steak. Cream cheese and/or cottage cheese goes on anything! Tony's Pizza.

18. I will probably always have a dachshund. These are such great dogs! And short. Like me. I got Leica as a rescue - she was an old lady (like me).

19. I love stuffed animals - what in the world? Like I need one more thing to take up space at my house. One year for Christmas, Max got me the very large stuffed lion - Aslan. I cried. I prefer 'real' looking animals (not taxidermy - thank you very much) to fakey things, but I do have a nice collection of Spongebob Squarepants characters.

20. There is nothing more important to me than my relationship with Jesus Christ. It defines who I am and how I act. I look forward to His return. I believe in the power of prayer and I believe that the Holy Spirit is active in our lives today. God is the creator of all things and I cannot wait to physically be in His presence for eternity.

21. I have lived in Nebraska for the last 24 years. Someday I'm moving back to Iowa, where my heart still resides.

22. Along with my geek persona, I love all things Star Wars & Star Trek. The original 3 Star Wars, thank you very much. Alright, not all things Star Wars. George Lucas screwed a lot of things up in a lot of ways and it still makes me growl. While I'm here, I'll just admit it - if it's sci fi (not horror) - I will watch it or read it. I love the way that Science Fiction can introduce new concepts and ideas to the world. (I loved The Matrix - not sure if it was the plotline or Keanu Reeves in that black leather coat).

23. Amazon's Kindle? Best thing ever. If you read my blog at all, you have read about my addiction to this great form of technology.

24/25. I'm finishing the last two with the most important human being in my life. When Max and I met online and then began talking to each other, we began to realize what an answer to prayer we were for each other. God knew so much better than I who would be the perfect man for me. I've never had someone in my life that allowed me to be fully me with no hesitation, no judgment. I am completely safe in this relationship and can barely comprehend sometimes how fortunate I am. He is brilliant and creative, he needs me in ways that fulfill me instead of draining me. We got married 4 1/2 months after meeting online - 1 month after meeting in person. There was a lot of 'getting to know each other' time ahead of us. Our 15th Anniversary is this April. It seems that every year I fall more and more in love with this man. What a gift I have been given.