Tuesday, March 31, 2009

When in our youth ...

I spent the evening with an old friend. It was incredible. We caught each other up on our lives over the last 30 years and enjoyed reminiscing about the fun we had in high school.

When he asked what had happened to the last 30 years, I had no answer. They've flown by. In my heart I'm still that young girl with lofty dreams for her future and a hope for accomplishing anything set before me. There was nothing that was impossible for me to achieve.

We can never return to those moments, to the innocence and freedom that we had. We lived in a little tiny world where we were very comfortable. Sigourney, Iowa was a small town - about 2300 people and we filled it with life. We filled it with our lives!

I loved my high school years. I never lacked something to do and had plenty of friends. I felt safe, I always knew that within a few houses there was someone that knew me and would take care of me if anything ever happened.

Friends moved in and out of the community, babies were born, family members died. Gossip was everywhere. Of course, everyone knew what was happening in that little town! It was frustrating. It could be spiteful and hateful and hurtful. People knew way too much about their neighbor's business and power struggles were as great there as on any international playing field.

I didn't get home very often. My family moved away after Carol graduated from high school and Dad was never one to look back. He knew that it was important for him to give the new pastor an opportunity to create relationships without the old pastor lurking at the back door. I don't think I realized how that impacted my relationships with friends and people I had considered family for the 9 years we lived there.

The girl that shows up in pictures from those days is very different than I am now. I kinda miss her sometimes. But, who she was formed who I am today. I wonder what she would have thought if she could see me. I think she would have wept for the losses and rejoiced in the joys. She might have encouraged me to be a little more frivolous and worry less about things. And then she would move forward doing all that she did, knowing that in the end ... it's life!

Live life with the moments you are given.

Friday, March 27, 2009

So, here's the deal

When life gets weird, you might lose a few things.

Remember yesterday when I posted that 501st blog about all of the turmoil that hit in 2006/2007? Well, the reason I was thinking about all of that was that last weekend we got a certified piece of mail from the insurance company telling us that they were discontinuing our auto insurance because my license was suspended. Ummm ... oh for heaven's sake.

Rush, rush, rush ... what's going on? Oh ... uh oh! Let's see, I got a ticket in 2006 for expired plates. Thought I had totally taken care of that. But, I'm guessing I was wrong! And by the time they were notifying me of it ... well, topsy-turvy described my life and it was just one of those things that got ... lost.

I contacted my insurance agent (this is why I like agencies and not online insurance) and she told me that she could deal with it as soon as I got the license thing straightened out.

So, Max took yesterday off and I traipsed my butt down to the courthouse to pay the ticket (long lines ... blech). Back home to go online and pay the recertification fee (the DMV is online now! how cool is this?!?! Pretty soon we're going to be able to get our driver's licenses online. What a relief from lines that will be. Anyway ...

I'm legal again. I've contacted my agent, she's handling the rest of the paperwork. Whew.

I have a tendency to deal with high priority things first and if I don't leave myself notes and triggers to deal with other things, they get ... not dealt with. And they bite me in the butt. I hate when that happens.

Lesson learned? Oh, you'd hope so, wouldn't you? But, I know better. There will always be something in my life that I didn't deal with in the right way and it will find its way back to haunt me. That's just the way things go for me.

BUT, on the plus side. I had Max home yesterday, we got to eat out for lunch together (which we never do - and Katie's on 40th Street? AMAZING!), my license is fixed and life is back to a semblance of normal.

What's next?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Post 501

Well, I have posted 500 blogs in the last year and a half. I started writing on this site in August of 2006 - just before everything in my life turned upside down.

In that first post, I wrote: "I am a normal person, living a normal life. I have a desperate desire to share what I have learned over the years with you. I don't believe that I have more information than you do, but I do believe that it's a bit different. Just as each of us are unique and special, the information that resides in our minds is unique and quite special. That means that I am here to learn and to teach."

Within a month of that post, everything that I knew to be normal turned upside down with the closing of our business and me looking for a job. From that point on ... normal became a word to be redefined on a regular basis. My father died, my cat died, my mother-in-law died, two uncles died. I got a new job, I left my new job. Max lost a job, had a 12 week recuperation following ankle replacement surgery, he got a new job (which he has managed to enjoy and continue). For awhile, our world seemed to be in complete chaos. But, I don't know that I ever freaked out. Oh, I had my moments of wondering what in the world was going on, but above all, I knew that we would be alright and God was with us.

I do remember Max asking me at one point in late 2007 ... do you think that next year will be better? It had to be. It just had to be! And ... it was.

I've told many of you this, but one of the most foolish things I ever did when I was young was to actually ask God to help me find patience. Yup, I did it ... I asked for it. And managed to spend the next decades of my life learning to be patient. I fail miserably most days, but the one thing that I have discovered and I hope shows up in my posts on this blog is that allowing God to have control of my life has given me a peace around the craziness that happens.

And ... it all does work out! As I scan through these 500 posts, I see ups and downs and learning (and relearning), but mostly I see joy. JOY!

Joy ...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pour Out a Blessing Blog for April

April Blogging

There is less than a week left in the Isaiah study. We're going to stop at Isaiah 39 this month. Isaiah 40-66 is practically a different book, so this is a good place to break. I'm really weary. This study has taxed my brain more than any other so far. I've learned a lot, but I'll be thankful to leave the prophecies of Isaiah for awhile.

April's study will be on the book of Mark. The timing won't be perfect because Easter will come in the middle of the month rather than at the end of the month when I'll be writing about it, but c'est la vie! We'll just have to face the crucifixion and resurrection twice this next month.

I can't wait to bring May's study to you. It's going to be great! But, I'm not going to tell you about it right now, you'll just have to wait.

The next few days would be a great time for your friends to sign up for the email reminders. Just have them email me at nammynools (@) cox (.) net [remove the parentheses and spaces] and I will get them on the reminder email list right away. If this blog would be an encouragement for someone you know, please tell them about it!

The Lord's Prayer

I have just posted a (nearly) 2-week devotional guide to the Lord's Prayer on my website. Each day you contemplate a different phrase from the prayer. There are scriptures and questions and little bits of information.

Please download the PDF file and print it out for yourself or anyone else to use. If you like it, let me know ... if you don't ... well ... you can let me know that too.

Click on the photograph to directly link to the PDF file. This page will also get you there.

Midweek randomness

I told a friend today that it was completely unfair. You all find out everything about what is going on in my life by reading my blog and so you are fully comfortable with what's going on. On the other hand, all y'all don't do this, so it's difficult for me to know what is happening! Argh. Ok ... give it up, Diane. No one cares about your problems with communication. (sigh - feeling sorry for me yet?)

Max is ... well ... phamous (his word). Check this out! Yah. He's pretty cool.

I got my tush kicked tonight at SingOmaha rehearsals. That required some heavy duty concentration and a whole lot of intense piano playing. It's so darned good for me, but tonight it wore me out! I was exhausted by the time I left rehearsal. That certainly doesn't happen very often. So ... while I'm on topic, we're having a concert on Sunday, April 19 - 7 pm at Faith-Westwood UMC. This would actually be one of those you shouldn't miss. The music is awesome, the musicians are amazing and the literature is going to be terrific. I'm just saying ...

I've been studying Isaiah for my Pour Out a Blessing blog and while I get tired of all of the stupidity of the people of Judah and I get weary reading about the slap-down God is going to put on them because they can't straighten up (if they would just figure this out, it would all be so much better), I find myself enervated by Isaiah's prophecies. They were not just for the time that he lived, but apply to my life in so many different ways. I have such a hard time starting these blogs ... I never know how to begin writing all of the information that is flowing through me. By the time I need to be finished, I don't want to stop because God has SO MUCH to say to His world and to you and mostly ... to me.

"Twilight" came out on video Friday night at midnight. Ummm ... yup ... hadn't seen it in the theater, but I watched it at midnight Friday on Amazon's Video on Demand. And I watched it again Monday night late and if I thought I could stay awake tonight, I'd probably watch it one more time. Oh ... yah ... so, while Max and I were traveling around northwest Iowa ... I read the last three books of the series this weekend.
What a great story! I'm glad to admit to an addiction for these books. Whenever anyone can write a good story, I'm thrilled. Gives me hope that someday maybe I will be able to do just that.

Some of the best worship music ever created was done so by Israel Houghton. His new solo cd, "The Power of One" came out today. Oh, I love Amazon. I pre-ordered the cd and it was actually here for me today. How cool! I listened to it this evening. Oh good heavens, I love this man's work! I can never sit still while the music plays. You just can't help but worship God with this music playing.

Alright, it's 1:30 am (early for me), so I have some time that I can spend reading before my body forces me to sleep. 'nite.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

All alone in a strange place

I know, it's the middle of the night again, but I was just lying in a strange bed in a motel in LeMars, Iowa with my dog curled up next to me and thinking about how she is perfectly fine in strange places because she is with me and Max. She has no fears as long as she has us near to protect her.

Then I began reflecting on a conversation I had with Max earlier today as we drove into Spencer. I'll be honest, those two years that I spent there were really difficult. I was 21 years old, this was my first real job and it was 6 1/2 hours away from everyone that I knew. I had no friends here, no family, no pet ... just me. As little as I remembered about how to get around in Spencer, I did remember the first time I drove up there - looking for an apartment with my parents. Dad had done some research (his friend was the senior pastor at the church where I would be working) and had some locations for us to check out.

I told Max that it had been really rough and honestly, I had hated that first year there. By my second year, I was making friends and had a couple of really close girlfriends and was enjoying things a bit more, but Mom called and asked me to help her start a business. I grabbed the opportunity to come back to my family and flew from that community.

Later on, though, as we were driving through various small communities, I commented to Max on how wonderful Iowa towns were and that I could see myself living in practically any of them ... as long as he was there.

I can't believe that I moved to Spencer alone - no friends, no family. I certainly wouldn't do that now! I love my friends and I love having my family close. But, I also know that Max is all I need to start over. (sorry guys ... hehe) I could do it again, if he were there. (no, there are no plans ... you aren't getting rid of me yet)

There are so many things that I do with confidence because I am safe with Max ... just like Leica is assured of her safety when she is with me (and him). There is a life that I live, though, because I have confidence in God. I couldn't do many of the things that I do ... live the life that I live ... if I wasn't fully assured of His presence. I just couldn't imagine a life like that!

I'm about to crawl back under the blankets with a VERY warm little tiny dachshund. She'll wriggle around until she's gotten herself tucked as close as possible to me and then sigh and fall asleep, completely safe and secure. Hmmm ... you know what that relationship is with the Father? El Shaddai.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Traveling with the Muirs

Well, we were out and about again today. It's been a lot of fun. I've said it before and Ill say it again ... I love hanging with Max. I wanted Max to see the Amusement Park at Arnolds Park (Lake Okoboji area). And I knew it would be a lot more fun for him without hundreds of people (and screaming, excited children) in his way. That was our goal for the day.

We drove through Spencer. It's been 25 years since I've been there. I lived there and worked at Grace United Methodist Church there from 1982-1984 before we opened Insty-Prints. We drove into town and I had only vague memories of the place. I really drove around that area every day for 2 years? My memory begs to differ. Sigh ... After a short period of time reminding myself that I am getting old and 25 years passed way too quickly, we left town and headed north.

When we got to the Arnolds Park Amusement Park, Max was thrilled. It was so similar to an amusement park that he grew up with ... but this one has been restored. It's just awesome. When I was there in the early 80s, we fully expected that the thing would be torn down, it was deteriorating and had very little traffic. But, it has been restored and since then has been named a historic site. It is gorgeous. And filled with memories for a lot of people, I'm sure. There weren't hundreds of people there, but even today, with the park closed, people were riding bikes, walking, running, roller skating or just wandering through with their families.

Then a short jaunt to Spirit Lake and back through Arnolds Park and down to LeMars for the night. It's been a peaceful, wonderful day. We're in the Ice Cream Capital of the World and I am probably not going to get any ice cream. How sad is that? Oh well ... that's ok. I can get Blue Bunny ice cream in Omaha if I want it. But, we'll see what happens in the morning - who knows where we'll end up for breakfast!

Max will be posting pictures from the weekend as soon as he can get them processed. I can't wait to see what he's done! You can check all of the rest of his photos here!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bag Addiction

I prefer to blame my friends for those things that I can't control in myself. It makes it much easier to accept my own failures. I had been doing so well since my last purse purchase. In fact, I still really like the bag and use it all the time.

For quite a long period of time (more than a month or two), I actually hadn't had to squelch a desire to buy a new purse ... until Rebecca reminded me how much I actually loved the stupid things. And then I was like ... well, I was like a dog who can smell the food on the table and even though he/she knows that it is wrong to be on the table ... instincts will reign over good manners.

Instinct reigned. There is one other thing that I love. Well crafted leather bags. I spend way too much time wandering around Renaissance Art's website looking at their different bags and journals, portfolios, pouches, etc. I discovered them last summer when I was looking for the perfect laptop bag. Oh ... I love my laptop bag.

So, I've been looking at the moleskin pouches for awhile (well, heck ... looking at them along with everything else) and after the gentle nudge (or push into the raging river) reminding me how much I desperately loved a new bag, I took the plunge ... no more self-control.

It's just a little pouch. It didn't cost a lot of money and I'm so excited! It's going to be cooler than I expected. But, it smells really good and it feel really good.

Max didn't say too much tonight when I tried to explain the reason behind my purchase. He just smiled. I'm pretty certain that he didn't walk away thinking to himself, "My wife is just awesome. Look at that fabulous little leather pouch she just purchased."

No, I suspect that he just rolled his eyes and chalked another mark on the "Eternal Quest for the Perfect Bag" chart.

That's ok ... as long as he doesn't give me trouble about bags and books, I don't give him trouble about lenses and adaptors.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Before Max and I got married (the day before), my father insisted on at least one sit-down 'counseling' session. Let's just say that it was awkward. I think that if he had tried to talk to us about sex, you wouldn't know either of us at this point, we'd have simply melted into the chairs and ceased to exist. Fortunately, he didn't.

For those of you that don't know our story, Max and I met online. I flew to North Carolina to meet him in person in March of 1994 and then flew back to drive him and all of his possessions to Omaha in April of 1994. We got married within a week of him moving up here. My family and most of his family gathered at my dad's church in Iowa where Dad performed the ceremony.

Dad talked a little about money and how we should ensure open communication regarding that. Sure, that made sense. But, he really wanted to talk about forgiveness. I don't remember all that he said, but I do remember listening to Dad and realizing that he was very passionate about this topic. He told us that many times, forgiveness was even more important than love. When we weren't feeling very loving toward each other, we still had to know how to forgive each other. If we knew how to forgive, we would have a successful marriage.

Sometimes forgiveness takes a bit longer for me ... I've been known to hold out for days when I'm really angry about something. But, it always comes. I can't imagine holding a grudge against my husband for an exceedingly long time. He is a gift that God gave to me! I'm not messing with that.

But, what about relationships outside the family? Or extended family relationships? Friends, coworkers, peers, employees, etc. How do we respond when we feel justified in our anger or even our disdain for them?

I've eliminated a lot of people from my life over the years because of their terrible, terrible actions against me. I am completely justified in my behavior ... by human standards. In many cases, I felt it was easier to just move away from the situation or allow that person to drift away rather than work to mend the relationship.

Jesus was very clear about the fact that it makes it difficult for God to forgive us when we refuse to forgive others. (Matthew 6:15) Paul says that we are to forgive as the Lord forgave us. (Colossians 3:13)

What do holding a grudge and acting as a Christian have in common? Nothing!

Someone once described anger, bitterness, revenge, etc. as a malicious virus. The only problem is - those things are found inside you, they never eat up the person with whom you are angry. Destruction begins to happen within you.

I've spent many years dealing with things I handled badly in the past. I am nowhere near being done with this and every time I ask God about it, He clearly reminds me of another grudge or annoyance that I've been holding on to. Sometimes I get tired of it and ask Him to please just handle a few for me without my involvement. I suspect He chuckles.

Ask yourself what you are angry or annoyed about right now. Will your punishment, revenge, or whatever way you choose to handle that emotion actually achieve a positive, healthy outcome? Are you justifying your behavior because you feel wronged or feel that you need to protect something? And, since I don't think I've ever asked this question before (and I'll try to never do it again), what would Jesus do in your position? If you can answer that question honestly, I'll bet that forgiveness will be at the top of the list.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cats & Dogs ... and the Love Chapter

Today as I was trying to work on memorizing Greek noun declensions, my cat walked up to me and started making noise (trying to get my attention). I dropped my hand down to my side so that I could scratch his head and giggled as I thought, "Love does not insist on its own way."

Well, the distraction had occurred and my mind took off

From 1 Corinthians 13.

My cat is never patient and not particularly kind. He doesn't really care about anyone else, so envy doesn't enter in. Again, he doesn't care what anyone thinks, so he doesn't have to boast. But, he is proud, he saunters through a room and expects to be paid attention to ... on his terms. He is rude - always interrupting, yakking wherever he likes (middle of the night jaunts through the house require slippers sometimes). He is quite self-seeking ... no one in the house matters as much as he does and he makes his needs known quite loudly. Easily angered? Try simply walking past him and he will hiss and bat at you with little to no provocation. Fortunately he has a cat's small brain, his record-keeping (of wrongs) lasts for just a short time, but in that short time he will remember and he will punish you. I don't know that he's capable of evil, but he's definitely capable of nasty and if truth means 'his way,' then he rejoices in that. He protects his space, rarely trusts that we won't hurt him, hopes that I will care for him beyond his nastiness and when he wants something, he perseveres until he gets it ... or at least has driven me to distraction.

On the other hand, there is my dog.

She is patient - always patient. Her loving-kindness extends to anyone that comes near her. However, she is quite envious and does not like it when I give any attention to the cat. She isn't boastful or proud and rudeness is not part of her nature. She is not self-seeking and I've never seen her angry. Record of wrongs? Well, I've seen that a couple of times. She doesn't like it when I get mad at her and will show me by ignoring me and hanging close to Max, but within a day ... it's all gone. My dog loves everything good and ignores the bad. She would protect me, completely trusts me, is always hopeful that good things are coming her way and she perseveres through all things.

I don't know that I've ever applied 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to my animals before ... but it seemed like a good idea today.

Creativity? YES!

Sometimes I pay attention. When seemingly random events occur and I find that they are bound together, I realize that I need to pay attention.

Last week, I was exposed to this book.

As I read different people's impression of the book, I realized that I needed to read it. I asked a friend who works in a library to pick it up for herself and let me know what she thought. I also know her inherent creativity would probably resonate with this book. As I looked through the book and more information on Amazon, I also knew I couldn't wait, I needed to just order it. As disturbed as I was about the fact that it wasn't yet on the Kindle, this seemed to be a book that needed to exist in paper form.

The author teaches you how to unblock your creativity and it seems that she has been extremely successful at this. There are exercises and processes that when put into place, release the creative part of you. And, surprise, surprise ... everyone is creative!

Today, after receiving the book and reading the first chapter, I was entranced and went looking for a bit more information - and discovered that of course, she has a website (I can NOT believe I didn't find this last week).

However, before the book got to the house, a friend from high school posted a link on Twitter/Facebook to a TED lecture by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. She speaks on creativity, releasing our inner genius (genie/daimon) and moving beyond the torture of creativity to the LIVING in creativity. What an amazing talk she gave! I will embed the video here ... I can't tell you how impactful this video is. You just have to experience it.

Each of us has more to offer than we realize. What stops you from doing the wild things that you used to dream of doing? Or maybe you still dream about doing them, but are wrapped up in the busyness of life.

Both of these events came into my life from different sources on the same day. I'm definitely going to pay attention to that!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


So, what is your measure of currency?

Max and I tend to measure the worth of something by how it measures up to things that we really love or desire.

For instance, when we talk about our friends and their love of cruising the high seas, Max will remind me that a $2000 ticket is a high-end lens for him. When Leica needed to be at the emergency room overnight because she ate some gum with Xylitol and I paid the bill, Max took one look at it and didn't want to tell me that the first thing that crossed his mind was that it was the cost of a decent lens.

Max measures the worth of items against his passion - photography.

The other night, I cancelled an order for a $20 battery for my Kindle. I thought my present battery was in trouble, so in my haste I placed the order. I discovered later that it was fine. When I cancelled the order, I laughed at Max and told him that now I could purchase 3 books. I measured the worth of an item against the cost of books - my passion. (I can get a lot more books than he can get lenses.)

When I was growing up, mom always measured the worth of extravagant items against the need for clothes for the three of us kids or school needs. She didn't buy too many new clothes for herself until we were much older.

The Bible tells us that where our treasure is - our heart resides. Preachers love to use this passage during pledge drives to guilt parishioners into releasing the tight grip they have on their wallets. Is my passion the church? Not really.

Mothers take care of their children's needs, fathers take care of the home and the needs of their family, spouses take care of the needs of each other, friends give to friends, businesses take care of the needs of their customers and employees (honorable businesses, at least).

But, the passage in Luke that this idea comes from is not about giving to the church (or any other charity) it's about letting God provide for us. If we stock up on possessions and stuff and money, we are showing little faith in Him. If we are worrying about our 'stuff,' we can't be enjoying the relationship with God.

God does call us to set aside earthly things in pursuit of Him. But, I suppose that the reason He has to say it over and over and over again in His Word is because He also knows that we are so very human and that we will always place our desire of objects and self and our passions and our children and our home and our (insert your own thing here) above our desire to spend time with Him.

Where does your treasure lie?

Monday, March 16, 2009

When the lightbulb dims

Today has been a weird day. I generally spend Mondays in pretty intense study. More than likely that's because I've done nothing productive over the weekend and sometimes even on Friday (when it comes to studying and learning Greek).

But, yesterday I was able to devote some time to it since Max was out playing Dungeons and Dragons with his buddies. However, I got to the online page and the Chapter lecture wasn't posted. What? Oh for heaven's sake. And I got stressed. Why isn't it there? Am I doing something wrong, is the professor not keeping up with this stuff ... what's going on?

I went to bed that way ... stressed. My problem is that I am so excited about learning right now I could just pop. And I want things to go smoothly in the learning process.

So, I got up early this morning (after having gone to bed late last night). I was wide awake, sent a letter off to the professor with my query and then didn't know what to do. One of the things his lectures allows me to do is check my work and then he also explains things in a very clear manner - much moreso than the text.

I was wide awake ... for awhile. Then, my body reacted against 3 1/2 hours of sleep. Since I wasn't getting much done, I lay back down and finally slept well.

When I finally woke up, I realized that I could figure all of this out on my own - do the work and then just email it to him for critique. There ... that should fix it. So, I began to work. And this is where the lightbulb went a little dim.

Voila! I got an email - the lecture was posted and he gave me the link. I checked my work. Oops, missed this, missed that. What? How am I totally missing these things? Oh, good heavens, I simply don't feel like I'm getting it. And I keep referring to my notes ... this stuff is not sinking in folks.

I was at the edge of a bubble this afternoon and I just slid off ... onto the floor.

The thing is - I do understand a lot of the techniques and the things that are happening. It all makes sense, I just can't connect it to the actual process.

Tonight I went back to the beginning of the text. Rather than moving on as quickly as I'd like to (because I can hardly wait to learn all of this stuff!!!), I need to back up and go over everything again. Reinforcement is the name of the game.

Hah. I don't do this part very well. I learn and move on. I design/develop/create and move on. This whole 'going back and checking myself" stuff? I don't do so well.

Not looking for words of comfort here ... just putting it out there ... that's what I do. And I'll get past this block. I know that. It just ticked me off that I had a good day (what a gorgeous day!) to get a lot of studying done - uninterrupted by the world - and it wasn't quite as productive as I would have liked.

Thank heavens that there's always tomorrow!

Finding where you put it

I have been having the best time today. I've been listening to (watching) NASA TV online. The space shuttle Discovery launched this evening and since then, I've listened to them working with mission control.

At this point, the gentleman who will be staying on the International Space Station as a flight director can't find his personal hygiene kit - the one that will go onto the station with him. Then, they're having a problem getting the camcorder on the shuttle to link up with mission control. So, they want to replace a cable, but no one knows where it is.

Now, all of these items are listed, but they have to search out these lists to locate the items. The lists are duplicated on the shuttle and on ground, so both crews can search the lists and then go looking for the particular items they need.

Hmmm ... they found the probable location of the hygiene kit, but can't find the cable. Oh, and they found his food, too - MF14G. Yup, that's where it is! (hehe)

I truly think this is awesome! If they can't find everything they need in the small space that is the shuttle ... with computerized lists, how am I supposed to expected to find anything in this much larger space with no lists - AND I don't have genius scientists planning where to put things.

This has just been pure fun for me and I think could easily become addicting. I can leave it playing in the background while I work. Most of the time it's silent ... sometimes the mission commander and shuttle commander talk about things - there is a NASA anchor that explains things if they aren't obvious. They are planning to go to sleep here in a few minutes (about 1:15 CDT).

Maybe I will too!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Such a good time

Max and I had a great time yesterday traveling the backroads of southwest Iowa. We took the interstate over to Highway 25 because before we got started on the photography, Max had remembered seeing a historical marker for Henry A. Wallace and wanted to find it one more time. We did. Just outside a little town called Orient, Iowa.

We tend to wind around an area quite a bit and never end up going quite as far as I think we have gone. I'm always a little startled when we finally get to a main highway to return home. My plan is always to go out as far as we'd like to go and then meander our way home. But, I generally find that we have traveled in the same area for 5-7 hours and have a long drive home.

Since we drove further into Iowa this time, we were having difficulty finding broken down outbuildings and barns. You can tell there is obviously more money in these farms - buildings are much newer and yards are much cleaner. So much less for a photographer to do. But, we were able to find a few good locales.

We finally pulled into a little ... well ... town. There was an old abandoned church and I pulled into the driveway of a new home being built - there was no activity there - so that Max could have some concrete underfoot while he loaded his gear. I was just across the street from the church. He took off and I read. After a bit, a van pulled in as if to go to the house. I rolled down my window and it was a young guy coming to check on the house. His home was parked across the road and we'd been there long enough that his curiosity had gotten the better of him, I'm sure.

It was a great conversation! The little town no longer existed, but it had been called Nevinville. There had once been over 650 homes in the community (if there were 25 still in existence, I'd be surprised). He remembered a lot of activity in that church, including quilting bees. An old man had been living in the church up until last year and was looking to sell the place. 2 1/2 acre lots with whatever buildings were on them were going for $25,000. We really are paying too much by living in cities, aren't we?

He also was telling me that the community had been on the Underground Railroad and that Harriet Tubman had been through there. Now while I'm absolutely positive of the existence of the Underground Railroad in Iowa, I'm not so sure that she was ever here bringing slaves through to the north. But, in the home he was building, the cave had been just below the garage that now existed there. He went on to tell us about a graveyard that had quite a few Civil War soldiers buried in it - just north of town and told me how to get out there.

I gave him a business card so that he could get to Max's Flickr site and then Max returned to the car, chatted with him for a moment and we were off. I went north to find the cemetery, but it was closed by the time we got there.

The day was getting late and the next few spots that we found were in shadow, but Max marked them on our GPS so that we could return.

We stopped in Red Oak for gas and as I crawled into the passenger seat beside Max to finish the drive home, I felt wonderful. There is nothing more terrific than spending a day with him while he does what he loves.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Poor Carol

Yup, she's the brunt of this story.

About 15 minutes ago, my phone rang. I looked at it, saw that it was a weird number, but picked it up anyway. A woman said, "I'm sorry, wrong number" after I had said, "Hello." I flipped the phone shut and went back to what I was doing.

Finally, Max came over to me and said, "That's weird."


"The phone rang and only one word was spoken."

"What?" You have to know that by this point, I had long since moved on from the phone call and was processing on Isaiah. I had forgotten all about that call.

I must have looked confused, because he went on, "The phone rang. You answered it and said, 'Hello.' I know that Carol has long monologues, but this was ridiculous!"

Ah ha! I remembered the call. "Oh, that was just a wrong number!"

"Whew!" he said. "I heard the call, waited one minute, waited two minutes ... ten minutes was just too long, even for Carol!"

Oh ... I do love to giggle.

Crazy woman

Oh, I'm a weirdo. Last night at 1:15 am, I got a wild idea. I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could update my website a little bit. It's actually been a few years, so it was definitely time. I've poured most of my creative writing energy into this blog and the Pour Out a Blessing blog and the poor website has been sadly neglected.

At 5:00 this morning, I shook myself out of the 'do this now' process and decided it was probably time to get some sleep. If I hadn't made plans to go out this evening with friends, I might not have gone to bed until much later, but I knew that there was going to need to be a plan for the afternoon to get myself together for public presentation. It took awhile to drift off to sleep this morning, but I finally made it.

When I got up (later in the day), I started working on the website again. Just little tweaks until I can spend some intensive time in the Dreamweaver manuals. But, I got caught up in transferring my old Myspace.com blog into the website. I decided it was time to set that aside. Those were interesting times in my life. I got caught up in this political ranting and commentary that is so not me. Some of the blogs over there were about me, but it was just not what I wanted to be writing about. I'll leave that to those that enjoy it. I certainly don't. I remember being grateful for this blog because I knew that the readers I would draw would come here based on the blog itself, not some idea of who I was because of friends and acquaintances.

I didn't copy all of my blogs from there and I have now deleted all of them. Some just didn't mean anything to me at all. But, those that did and a few that made it past my filter are now archived in a place that allows me easy access.

My 'blogging' started back in 2003. Much of the early stuff is just fun observations I was making as I traversed the internet. It was so exciting to find new information.

The website (nammynools.com) has a long ways to go. We'll see if I have the ingenuity to figure out all of the intricacies of Dreamweaver so that I can make the site do what I'd like it to do. I promise, though ... it will be in English - not Greek.

Waiting patiently

Well, actually, I'm not being so patient about waiting, so I'm going to write a bit.

I'm waiting for my website to fully download to my computer so that I can begin working on it again. Ahhh ... the disasters of losing hard drives, you forget about all of the things that you had taken care of, such as the interminable wait in downloading a large website. Ahhh yes, I did this last fall and wasn't any too happy about having to wait and wait and wait. Here I am, doing it again. Maybe I'll be smart about this and actually save this stupid thing out to our backup drives.

The worst thing about it is that in the end, I will use very little of this old website, but I have to have it so that I can recreate or destroy the links that are there.

Wow, all of those years of learning to exercise patience and THIS is killing me. Crazy woman. I suppose I could go to bed and let it work through the night so that it would be ready and waiting for me in the morning, but are you kidding me? It's only 1:30 in the morning! Much too early to go to sleep.

Actually there are many other things I could be doing: watching a movie, reading a book, praying (hmmm ... _), working on my Greek lesson (actually, I'm at the point in the chapter where I need to listen to an 1 1/2 hour class that occurred last fall as they discuss the reading material, so that needs to wait until tomorrow), folding laundry. See ... lots of things, but I'm writing. Well, I'm babbling at this point.

I've been thinking about pride for awhile. What are the things that make us prideful - think that we are better than someone else. And how do we express that pride?

Do you express pity for someone that isn't in as good physical shape as you are. Do you question someone's input because they don't have the same level education as you, or maybe they don't speak articulately in a way that will allow you to accept them. How about their Christian beliefs. If they don't participate at the church as you do, are you judgmental about their commitment level to Jesus.

I think there are a lot of hidden ways that we express pride. Please do not think that I'm making any judgments here on anyone other than myself. I know full well that I face these issues regularly and in fact, as I was writing, I began realizing other ways in which I project my pride.

This is not one of those sins that we should take lightly. It was pride that brought down many an Israelite King. Pride is what destroyed Belshazzar (Babylonian king). Pride is what caused satan to think that he was greater than God and that he could expect the Son of God to fall down and worship him!

So, what are some expressions of our pride? This is something I need to be face down before God about.

(I'm still waiting ... there were a lot of images on this website!)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I must apologize ...

I must apologize to my friends who will be stuck in windowless offices next week. I WILL be enjoying beautiful days with the breeze flowing through open windows and a door right beside my desk.

I can hardly wait! Spring is coming and I'm going to fling those windows open wide and enjoy this!

Meet a friend of mine

I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Rebecca Bauman. If I haven't sent you to her blog before, I'd like to invite you there now.

I met Rebecca on Myspace. It was totally a God-introduction. I've never met her in person, but my goodness, I feel like we are soul-friends from way back. She has experienced life in ways that I could never imagine and her experiences and enthusiasm for life make her writing a lot of fun and a whole lot of interesting.

She tells her stories in parable form. It's awesome! And the new series that she has started uses her purse as the basis for understanding her relationship with God. Let me tell you ... as a fellow purse-aficionado, I get it!

Check her out ... comment on her blog if you'd like. Here's the LINK to the first in this series. And if you can't get through myspace.com to get to her second blog - here's that LINK.

By the way, I have links on the side of this blog to a bunch of GREAT blogs. My friends are bright, creative people and I love that they share that with the world.

It's been a couple of days

Sorry 'bout that! But, I have had my head buried in the Greek language. The thing is? I absolutely freakin' love it!

I remember sitting in algebra class - freshman year in high school. I was doing everything I could to understand matrices. All of a sudden, I saw the pattern and there was no stopping me. I could solve everything quickly. Dad had tried to teach me over and over and that math was a puzzle and if I could figure out the patterns, I could understand it. When I finally grasped that concept, I fell in love with math.

Now ... I was a lazy high school girl and didn't pursue it because I thought I was just going to get married and live a small life somewhere. Why would I possibly need to know and understand advanced mathematics? Argh.

Anyway ... I'm having those same sensations again. I see the patterns in the language begin to open up. It's so exciting! Before I get to overexcited, though, I find that there is an incredible amount of information that I need to commit to memory. I'm trying to memorize vocabulary and all of the forms of the verb 'to be' (no language can exist without that verb, eh?) as well as everything else that is being handed to me.

I'm having so much fun!

I'm still trying to regain some sense of sanity from the time change. Yup ... staying up extremely late again and getting up late in the morning again. Just when I was beginning to regain some sense of normal daytime hours. Oh well, sigh ... not going to complain.

Poor Max. I called him on the way home from a meeting tonight. The moon was so COOL! Shining brightly in the dark sky with a thin layer of clouds in front of it. Just awesome. I asked if he wouldn't like to gather up his camera gear and I'd drive him somewhere that we (he) could take some great pictures.

It was 9:20 pm. The outside temperature was 18 degrees. But, he said, "Sure, let me get my shoes on." I pulled in the driveway, ran in to go to the bathroom, put Leica on the leash and we headed out. We only got a couple of blocks and found a really nice place to pull in and shoot. The moon was between a couple of great trees ...

I sat in the warm Jeep with the dog, while Max tried to get the camera and long lens on the tripod. I saw him getting frustrated and when I rolled down the window, he was cursing. The lens wasn't easily fitting on the tripod or the camera and his fingers were getting cold. He finally asked me to come out and turn the screw to anchor the thing. I did.

He tried to get a couple of shots and I watched him shaking his hands and then shaking his body trying to hold on to warmth. Finally he put the camera back in the Jeep and crawled in to the front seat - frozen. I cranked the heat and asked if he wanted to just come home or try another spot.


Well, he didn't get a good shot of the moon. He was just too cold and it was too dark for him to think straight. Poor guy ... I guess I can be a little tyrannical as a photographer's assistant. But, it was such a cool moon! And he's taught me to look for the shot.

Oh well, sigh ... hopefully the weekend will get warmer!

Monday, March 09, 2009


Greek for 'I love you.'

And actually, I haven't studied that at all ... but, I do have a brain that seems exhausted right now.

Today got off to kind of a weird start. Well ... a late start. You know me - up until all hours of the night and sleep through the morning. I like it that way. I think the best part is the completely empty bed from 6:30 am until I crawl out. Leica and I like it that way. But, the crazy dog still insists on sleeping right up against me unless I move her out of the way. I mean, RIGHT up against me! In the middle of winter (we're talking 20 degrees or below) it's fine, but right now the window has to be open in our room because I can't take the heat.

Anyway, back to my day. I fully intended to lock in and finish the current chapter in my Greek textbook. But, I spent time on the telephone talking to Jen about the wonderful worship at GUMC yesterday and then wrote a few necessary emails, talked to another friend about ordering some stuff and while I was on that phone call ... I heard the back door open and close and Max was coming up the steps. Ummm ... ruh oh - it's 4:00!! Ok, I hadn't eaten lunch until 3:00 ... that will definitely mess with a day. One more phone call with another friend about stress in her life and then another call with my sister.

And I had gotten absolutely no work done on Greek. Well, shoot.

Fortunately for me, Max was concentrating on his watch. It was definitely not doing what he wanted it to do - it's one of those atomic watches that is supposed to sync with an over the air signal to get the exact time. It did not want to make the change to daylight savings. He didn't need my attention.

I put the headphones on and started working my way through the chapter lecture. This is a lot of freakin' work! There are so many things about Greek that I have to know. Things that if I had a strong background in English grammar wouldn't be so difficult, but ... I didn't walk into this knowing all of the cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative).

I don't want to whine too much about this - I am thrilled with learning. THRILLED! It just wears me out, though. I finally got through the textbook exercises with the online lecture. Now I have to do the exercises in the workbook and then I will go through the online quizzes several times. At some point I will have enough confidence to move on to the next chapter. Yup ... 4 chapters before the next unit exam. I have a lot to learn.

It will be another late night for me. I definitely want to finish this tonight. And I have enough Diet Mountain Dew in me to keep me going for quite awhile ... wheeeeeeeeee ... off I go!

Stupid Clocks

I prefer clocks that automatically change time for me.

We have atomic clocks in the house that pick up a signal and adjust the time. My telephone picks up a signal and adjusts the time, the computers all automatically adjust the time, even the Kindle automatically adjusts its time.

Then, there are those OLD clocks. I have two digital clocks that require my attention. Whoops - 3 - forgot the one in the car. Those were pretty simple to adjust this time. I only had to advance an hour. They're a pain in the behind in the fall when I have to go all the way through the numbers ... it really stinks when you are clicking away and go to far. Argh! Do it again!

I have two completely analog clocks - sweeping hour/minute hands. I don't know if I've ever changed the clock in the kitchen. Guess what, it's right on time again as of today.

My brother's family gave me an awesome clock for my birthday last year. The face looks like all of the numbers have fallen off into the corner and it says "Whatever." (I'd take a picture, but the camera is downstairs and I'm too lazy). Hah ... whaddya know - found it online!

Anyway, since there are no numbers and I generally just look at the minute hand anyway to tell me where we are at in the hour, I don't pay too much attention to it. BUT! This morning at 4:22, I looked up at that clock and realized that ... hmmm ... it's on time again. Didn't bother to change it last fall.

All of my clocks are reading the right time again. They'll be fine until this fall when I'll only get most of them adjusted.

Maybe I should use the hour that I retrieve this fall to ensure that they're all reading the correct time. Nope ... probably won't ... this is much more entertaining.

That'll teach me

I hate Daylight Savings Time. Well, that's not exactly true. I love having more daylight in the evening hours, but I really don't like losing an hour of sleep. Totally messes with me. The worst thing is my own psyche. My poor brain gets so upset about losing the hour of sleep, I stay up much too late. I'm not one of those intelligent people that can go to sleep an hour early so that they retrain their bodies to the new schedule.

So ... last night I was reading. I looked at the clock on the computer - the one that will automatically change. It said 1:53 am. Cool! That's just fine. I have plenty of time. And I kept reading. The next time I looked at the computer clock it read 4:22. What? What? What? How did I do this? I mean, NO!!!!!

I quickly gathered up my Kindle, took one last shot at the bathroom and dashed into bed. By golly, we hadn't gotten the digital clock in the bedroom changed - it still read 3:22 am. I knew that without a doubt this was going to mess with my poor brain in the morning, but it was too dark for me to stumble around trying to remember how to change the clock.

After just a few minutes of reading, I fell asleep only to wake up at 8:10. I knew that Max was planning to pick his buddy, Dave up at 10 am for church. That meant he had to be out of the house by 9:35 at the very latest. The time was really 9:10. I heard the shower ... alright, Max is running a little late, he'll be fine. Time passed and I REALLY had to go to the bathroom (I know, TMI, sorry) and Max wasn't hurrying out of the shower. Wow ... he's going to be late. I finally hauled out of bed because I was worried about him. He was just warming the water up in the shower (it takes forever here) and was calmly sitting in the study.

"Max, do you know that it's really 9:23?" Of course he does, he's the time-god around here. "Yup, Dave called ... he was out too late last night ... we're not going anywhere."

Oh. Ok. Well, hmmmm ...

After dealing with my immediate needs, I sat down at my desk. You see. My friends were all leading worship out there in the world, and some of them were doing it for the first time in a new location and were without me! I wanted more than anything for this to be a good morning for them, so I set everything aside and spent the next 1/2 hour in prayer.

My eyes and body told me it was time to go back to sleep, so I headed back to bed. I was in desperate need of some more sleep. I couldn't fall asleep easily, so I just kept praying and soon enough, I fell asleep.

45 minutes later, the phone rang. I recognized my sister's ring. She was singing with the worship team and I know she wanted to tell me about it. The phone was in the study, I planned to ignore it. 45 minutes after that, the phone rang again - this time I recognized the text message ring. Ignore. 1/2 hour later, the phone rang again and within moments I recognized the voice mail ring.

Good heavens!!! Max finally brought the phone in to me. He was laughing. I started checking things out. While I was laying there trying to figure out what to deal with first, the phone rang again. I recognized another friend's ring. Cool. She thought I sounded still asleep ... hehe ... not anymore! As soon as I hung up with her, yet ANOTHER friend texted me asking if I had gone to worship that morning. Ummm ... nope!

Oh and that stupid beep that my phone does to remind me there are missed calls, voicemails and text messages? How in the world do I kill that? It's not easy trying to fall asleep when it beeps at you every 2-3 minutes - even when the phone is two doors down.

So, what does this teach me? Oh, nothing too profound. It was nice to connect with 75 percent of my immediate friends and family today. It was good to hear how wonderfully things had gone in worship and it was amazing to hook up with my family for just a few moments this afternoon.

Here I am - 1:51 AM and still awake. My Kindle is charging beside me so that I can crawl in bed and read. I've been decimating the battery lately.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Everyone I know is looking forward to spring. I am with you all. Last night's thunderstorm was amazing! All of the power of nature ripping through the skies.

But, with the storm came a change in weather that didn't bode well for desired warmth. The day has been cold and grey and we didn't want to go anywhere.

Max and I headed to the storage unit, though, to pick up some binders filled with his old negatives. He has completely embraced digital photography and has returned to building images with a lifetime of devotion. If we can't get out of the house so that he can shoot pictures, he needs to have something to work on when he's in front of his computer.

Trust me, if he isn't working on something productive, he's looking up the weirdest stuff ever! Random, strange conversations start when he is looking up odd things, so as much as I love holding these interesting conversations, sometimes they are a little too off the wall.

To keep him busy when he doesn't have fresh new images to produce, I knew it was time to search out the old negatives. A short trip to the storage unit and he has enough to work on for several months. AND, I get access to my favorite photos again.

I like keeping him busy ... when he focuses on a task, he doesn't pay too much attention to me. That means I can mutter strange words in Greek all I want without bothering him. OH! speaking of Greek, the professor promised that it would happen - and he was right. I woke up this morning with Greek words floating around in my dreams. The more vocabulary I learn, the more I'm going to end up dreaming this stuff.

You can see his images HERE!

The best part, though? I can read more and more in my Greek/English Bible. It's enough to fill my heart (and my eyes with tears).

Friday, March 06, 2009

Free books everywhere!

Ok, this is it. I'm certain that I'm going to explode. My poor brain is going to overload and I'm going to be finished.

Next week is Read An Ebook Week and there are many sites that will be offering free books to me. I just read a blog and downloaded 4 free sci fi books from Amazon ... I swear I'm going to explode! This is more excitement than an old lady needs! (breathe, Diane. Breathe)

The best part? I'm not killing trees, I'm not overstuffing my bookshelves and right now I'm not even paying for books. Wow ... it's enough to make me very happy.

Oh. If you're reading this and you have an iPhone or iPod touch, you can download the Kindle App from Apple and start reading all of these fabulous books on your iPhone. It's not as good an experience as on the Kindle, but hey! You're the addict on the iPhone and you already love it - so here's one more way for you to use the heck out of it! And yes, all of these free books would be available to you.

It just excites the heck outta me that people are reading like this. There has been an amazing sense of community that happened with everyone on the planet (ok, not everyone ... but, almost!) reading the Twilight series. Whether or not you got on that bandwagon doesn't matter to me, but for those who did and could talk about a BOOK with their friends - that's exciting!

There are blogs and podcasts and magazine articles popping up everywhere that talk about books! I've heard more than one friend tell me that they are involved in a book club. A book club!!! It's a good time to be reading ... yes it is.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


I thought I was better at multi-tasking. I am obviously not that good. I have immersed myself in verbs and cases and stems/roots/endings for the last couple of days and have only come up for air when it's absolutely necessary!

I suppose some of you might say that it's a good thing I have a few outside activities so that I don't stay locked in my house for long periods of time, but honestly ... it's what I love.

I leave emails open in Outlook to remind me to respond ... otherwise I'd forget. Leica is smart enough to stand up on her hind legs when it's time to take her outside. I'd forget that too. If there's food up here in the study, I might munch on it, but until she needs to go downstairs and outside, I don't bother with lunch. So, it's good to not have any food up here!

Now, this isn't to say that I don't do anything else. Facebook is open all day long and when I am at the point of ripping hairs from my head because the brain won't respond properly, I release my thoughts and do something a little interactive ... then I can return to concentrate on the task at hand. I play a few games of solitaire just to stop thinking about things.

I find myself doing that with my Bible study as well. I can't tell you how many times I read these passages and commentaries before I can actually put something in writing (I was going to say 'write something down,' but I do it on the computer and not on a piece of paper). I have to read it and then leave it for a moment so that it sinks in and processes. If I find myself doing that quite a few times, I recognize it as writer's block. Then I have to leave it for just a bit longer so that I can come up with something creative. Heck, sometimes I am just glad to get a title for the blog!

I was beginning to wonder if I actually have Adult ADD. My concentration requires me to flit away from the task for a few moments so that I can get it to spread its tendrils through my mind.

Ack. Who knows.

Right now, though ... all that is on my mind is Greek grammar and Isaiah. I don't want anything else up there if that's alright with the world!

Monday, March 02, 2009

It is so quiet!

Sometimes it is unbelievably quiet in this house.

1. It's just me and Max. While we do converse quite a bit, sometimes we are reading, writing, doing our thing and it just doesn't involve talking to each other.

2. There is no television in the house. Well, there's one. It's not even plugged in anymore. I still watch some of my favorite shows, but they're either Divo'd or online and I usually watch them when Max is asleep or gone. The television no longer runs 24-7. I'm getting a lot more reading done these days!

3. When Max or I watch or listen to things on our computers (television, youtube, podcasts, music), we generally have headsets on so that we don't bother the other person.

4. The animals don't make a lot of noise and when they do, it's startling!

Yesterday I spent the day with my family. That's just not quiet. At all. I rode with Carol going to Firth and we brought Matt back with us. There was conversation the entire way. Jim's family is not what you would call ... quiet. However, it was no problem for me to take a nap in the midst of their family. So, it's wonderful noise. Lots of life happening, animals, kids, media ... it's just awesome.

I wonder sometimes how I got to this point of 'quiet.' I certainly don't mind it, but when I think about it, it's kind of strange.

The Psalmist tells us to "Be still and know that He is God." (Psalm 46:10) I will tell you definitively that it is easier to talk to God and to hear from Him when the noise is turned off.

Whew ... I did it.

Alright. I've been avoiding Greek.

I didn't want to take the Unit Exam, because I wasn't sure what it was going to look like and I was only going to have one shot at it. I have rather high expectations for myself.

I also didn't want to record myself trying read the paragraphs from the book - I didn't want to sound like an idiot.

But, I had to overcome all of that today. No more avoidance.

It took a little research to figure out how to record myself. Oh, duh ... look, there's a little app called Sound Recorder. Huh. whaddya know!

So, I started recording myself ... over and over. I finally got up the courage to listen to one of them. While it's not necessarily a smooth reading of the paragraph, it's better than I expected.

Now that I've accomplished that, I'm going to hit the quizzes one more time and then I HAVE to take this exam.

I finally took the exam. 50 questions - 50 minutes.

Ten minutes later, I was finished. Again. Whaddya know! I did ok. And when I submitted the exam, I had made only one error - and it was a stupid one. I can't believe I missed it, simply not paying attention. But, 99% is acceptable. Not what I would like, but it's acceptable.

So now I can move on to the next two chapters. I can hardly wait! And I won't be as tentative when it's time to take the next exam because now I know what to expect!