Thursday, December 24, 2009

While waiting for Christmas to arrive...

I hung out with my youngest brother and his fabulous girlfriend yesterday. And by the time we'd been together for, oh, I don't know, about 25 minutes, I already had a wealth of great quotes. So, here to amuse you (hopefully) as it amused me, are the quotes I just couldn't let die:

- High five, right pinky toe! - R
- I don't trust your game. - R
- Pretend you're a pirate leaning on somthing. - S
- Oh, come on! That's like one of the all-time quotes-best. - S
- Rah-darn?? - R
- They had milk cartons and everything. - R

Then we went upstairs, where my mom was listening to a cassette tape (yes, not video, audio) from Christmases when my brothers & I were little (think 1987 - 1990). Meaning that the first one she was listening to, I was about 5, D was 3, and S was 7 months old. Again, quotes I couldn't help remembering, including one interjection as we listened:

- Carebear chopstick!! (chapstick) - K, age 5
- Mom: Do you know what that is, D?
D, age 3: (very excited) No!!
- Processing... - S, now
Face loading... - R, now
- Well whaddya know! - K, age 5
- and then more of 'em came singing glory to God - D, age 4
- My name is 2!! - S, age 2

OH, the joys of children. Especially children (young or old) at Christmas. ;)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's December 23rd.

Only 2 more days!

I just LOVE Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Week

Things that have thrilled me this week, so far:

- had a great lunch with some good friends/coworkers
- finished reading Harry Potter 7 for the 3rd time (ever, not in the week, i'm not that nuts...)
- baking TONS of cookies. I now have 3 types of chocolate chip cookies, 3 types of sugar cookies, puppy chow (pb, powdered sugar, chocolate treat), and snickerdoodles. yum.
- it has snowed for 4 of the last 5 days when i've been at home - even having to brush my car off several times hasn't made me dislike it yet!
- i am at my parent's house as of this afternoon - here for the rest of the week until after Christmas

and i am looking forward to:
- sledding with my brother and his girlfriend
- playing Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit with my brother, his girlfriend, and my dad
- watching funny parts of a couple movies with my dad
- Christmas Eve with my immediate family at my other brother's church
- seeing my other brother, my sister his wife, and my niece their sweet daughter
- Christmas day!!!
- music, games, laughter, good food and conversation
- being surrounded by those i love

and that's just in one week.
God is good and i am blessed.
oh how i love love Love Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Have you ever...

Opened a Firefox browser, just for the mere purpose that when you closed it (immediately after opening it) you could click "quit"?

I did.
Just now.

And now I get to do it again.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Surviving the crazy weeks

I have actually gotten through 2 of 3 crazy Christmastime weeks at work. (!)

The first one had moments, not lengths, of crazy. And I was foolish enough to think "hm, this might not be so bad this year!" Stupid to think that. I should have known better.

The second week was much more crazy. It had moments of peace. Actually, it only had nano-seconds. But that's ok. I still saw God working, and in the end, that's what it's all about. Completely. Plus, when it was all over (and I actually mean literally after the event was over on Saturday night - well, ok, literally after I was finished cleaning up for the immediately following service) I had several people saying "thank you" to our team, and expressing how much they enjoyed it and how great it was to have this event at our church. Bonus. Glory to God!

Now, I look forward to the last week. I know there will be moments of crazy. I am hoping that the craziness this week is limited to nano-seconds (reverse of last week). I actually think that may be possible. But I know that when this week is over, God's glory will be shown - through everything I'm lucky enough to be involved in. My job, my volunteering in the choir and the production they're doing this weekend, and all the extra time that goes with it.

I look forward to seeing family on Sunday, as well as friends, family, and more friends in the two weeks following, along with some time off from work. I look forward to going back after this break refreshed and ready to jump into the new year with new anticipation and excitement for how God is moving in our area, in our church, in our lives, in our hearts.

It's gonna be good. I can't wait.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

In the midst of the craziness...

there is hope. there is friendship. there is (astonishingly) peace.

when you feel like things are at their worst, and you stop, and you pray, it is amazing what can happen. when you actually let go and let God - wow.

He puts friends around you just when you need them. He listens when you pray for each other. He gives you the strength you need to get through each situation. He brings help when you think you've reached the end of the line.

the most important thing to remember: He's got it all in hand; not one detail overlooked - and that is something that makes Him worthy of all our praise.

don't forget it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My favorite movie. Ever.


I was watching White Christmas on tv tonight (caught the last ... three-fourths... of it while doing things around the house, and when it started over again immediately after the credits finished rolling -thank you AMC- I couldn't get myself off the couch) and I realized (once again) how much I love Danny Kaye. I have seen several Danny Kaye movies and each has its memorable moments. haha. Like this (start at :45 if you don't want to watch the intro). hehe. Oh how I love it.

Don't get me wrong, White Christmas is easily one of the best Christmas movies ever. I love it. And every year I watch it several times - probably more than most would ever be comfortable with. I love the songs. I sing them very loudly (usually when I'm alone) along with the movie,. I love the dances. Some of them would never work ever again. But I love them. They are amazing and wonderful and perfect - nothing else would be good enough for this movie. And you have to admit - these folks are all extremely talented. *sigh* Plus, you can never get enough of Bing & Danny doing the "Sisters" routine. Never gets old.

I hadn't seen it yet this year, and while watching Bing & Danny dance and sing, I just had to look up some details. ;)
Thank you, IMDb.

However, White Christmas is not my favorite movie. Even if you were tricked by it being fabulous, and the huge picture, and the title, and my effervescence on the subject. And I was reminded while I was looking at the many movies these folks have been in (while digging around on IMDb) - my favorite movie. And yes, it stars Danny Kaye.

Court Jester. Best movie ever. I am always a little shocked, and a little more saddened when people have no idea what this movie is. So many fantastic quotes. "'Get it?' 'Got it.' 'Good.'" "The pellet with the poison..." Mmhmm. And that's just a start. The joys!

Oh, and it also stars Glynis Johns (mom from Mary Poppins), Angela Lansbury (please tell me you know who that is), and Basil Rathborne (the best bad-guy and swordsman ever - even better than Errol Flynn; No, really - and he was 63 when he filmed this one).

If you haven't watched this movie, you need to. Great humor; good, fun story; fabulous songs; some interesting choreography; tongue twisters I have never been able to say quickly enough to count; and good actors. Again all I can ... *sigh* ... If you can't find it, let me know. I have it taped. (Well, my dad did. And it now 'lives' at my house.) And maybe, someday, if I'm really lucky, I may own it on dvd before my tape gets worn out. ;)

Anyone able to name any other Danny Kaye movies? Go ahead, try it. Good stuff. Watch out or I may make you watch quite the marathon. :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's December 2nd.

Only 23 more days!

I just love Christmas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Its Beginning...

Thanksgiving time is here.

A couple friends have already posted stuff about what they're thankful for this year, and I wasn't planning on writing anything like that just yet. Actually, I wasn't planning on writing anything like that at all.

But after a conversation with a dear, dear friend tonight, I realized how thankful I am for her. She is always praying for me, always willing to listen, always sharing her heart with me. No matter how busy we are, we always find time to "spend" with each other - despite living over an hour away. We talk almost every day, and when that doesn't happen -even for a day or two- it feels like an eternity. The beginning of the conversation after a lapse usually begins with one of us saying "oh, good, you are alive!"

Thanks for being you, and for your constant friendship and love.
You really do rock.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Did You Know...

there is a Muppet Frog Prince Movie?

Well, there is. I remember it. And I love it. And no one else could remember it or believe that it exists.
But it does.

Look What I Found Today!!! (thanks to the joys of internet at home and time to search and be a nerd...)

Proof of Jim Henson's The Frog Prince. *sigh* I love this movie.
-- and I'm loving the ability to post a 2nd (!) post in the same day at HOME - it feels pretty great!

I found it where I can watch it on YouTube. Can you remember this song? "Nime ine-teen, nime ine-teen, by mirthdays do-tay" .... :D Apparently it was made for tv in 1971, but as you can see from the left bottom corner, they played it on the Disney channel at some point when i was a child- or something...I remember that particular Disney logo being more recent (yes, yes, I watch too much Disney for someone my age), so maybe I was in jr high or something. But still. It exists. Yay!

Here's the proof. (Yes, it's the entire fabulous movie - and only about 50 minutes long):

Video 1:


Video 2:


Video 3:


Video 4:


Video 5:


and, I'm pretty sure this movie is why I love Sweetums so much. :) *sigh*

I feel so spoiled

which is kinda dumb, but I do.

I got cable and internet this weekend and I am writing my FIRST blog post from home! Others have been written on lunch breaks, or just after work. I am so glad to be doing this in the comfort of my living room. :)

I haven't even found anything good to watch yet-- except the end of the Vikings/Seahawks game. And the end of Pirates (1), and part of Kingdom of Heaven, I suppose. But the best thing so far was the football game. Definitely. And it was just because I got to have it on at my house and it was very ... "home-feeling" ... if that makes sense. It just feels right to have football on on a Sunday afternoon in this season. I even got to have a conversation with my dad about it, while it was on. *sigh* good times.

Thanks for indulging me on this one.
Now I'm off to decorate my house for... yep you guessed it: Christmas. ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Christmas Movie Quotes Challenge!

Last night while I was home finishing something crafty that should have been done about 2 months ago, I was watching Christmas movies. On VHS. Well, I guess there was one on dvd too. And in there somewhere was a non-Christmas movie, but it does have lots of snow in it, so it went along with the rest just fine.

While I was thoroughly enjoying my favorite lines, I realized I don't know how many other people would be able to quote them with me... and thus the idea for this challenge was born. More than one quote per movie most of the time, but not necessarily right in a row! Oh, and the only movie that is not technically a kids movie, is the non-Christmas one... ;)

There are 16 questions. Tell me what movie the quote is from,
and if you know- what character said it.
(I did give you hints on which were from songs...aren't I nice?)

Aaaand, Go!

1. That's the girl for me!

2. Chawlie, are ya hoit? (accented)

3. Eat, Papa. Eat!

4. Thank you for making me a part of this.

5. It's the Minuet for clarinet for me!

6. Not hurt. Didn't even break his concentration.

7. Yes? Who's there? There's who? OOOh! A baby!

8. Not happy in my work, I guess...

9. We ain't never hardly ever seen one.

10. Heat wave! () This is my island in the sun. Hoo! Hoo!

11. I reformed this bumble! He wants a job! Looky what he can do!

12. Didn't I ever tell you about bumbles? Bumbles bounce!

13. Ears, Nestor.

14. Either they are going or I am going. And I am certainly not going!

15. We evil magicians have to make a living too.

16. Is it too early for breakfast? (Yes) Oh good. Suppertime.

Oh how I love Christmas. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

God Knows Best

I logged on today to complain.
I'm having a tough day so far, after a tough afternoon yesterday, and I am quickly feeling like I will reach my limit long before today is over.

Oh, and I'm supposed to pray and be sincere tonight.

When I logged onto my dashboard, I saw that Leash had written a new blog post (a few days ago), and went to read it before I jumped into my post.

God knew I was coming.
He gave me this, through my friend.
Thanks, Leash, for being who you are and for writing honestly and sharing what God gave you in His Word.

I reiterate her thoughts here: "I know all I can do is continue to work hard myself, try to help people in the best way I can, and ultimately pray."
And the verse she shared, I now want to share with you: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Decorating

In case you missed my last post - short though it was - this post is my elaboration. Because I can. ;)

I am very excited about this part of the season. And I do mean Christmas, and yes, I know Thanksgiving hasn't happened yet. Move on. I love Christmas.

Yesterday evening I pulled out all my Christmas stuff from my storage space. I am planning on hanging my lights on my patio this weekend. And possibly, if there are enough, in a window or two as well. I am making the excuse that it will be fairly warm this weekend, and what a better reason to hang them up now instead of when it's really freezing? That doesn't mean I will turn them on, just put them up.

Oh, who am I kidding? I will most likely not make it to Monday before I set the timer and turn them on. The joy knows no bounds. Man, I love Christmas.

Plus, everything else is pulled out - the tree (in a box), its decorations, lights, and the other knick-knacks that will go around my house. I plan to leave them in their corner...until next Saturday. 'Cuz then weekends get crazy and nights I will be too exhausted, and I want them up when I come home from Thanksgiving. So there. (Pouting child? Who let this girl write a blog today? Sheesh.)

Yay. I love Christmas. I am listening to Christmas music on my computer at work today. (I am in the office alone, and am up in my corner of this huge building, so I am bothering no one and am making myself very happy.) Fabulous.

So, tonight I will clean. This Saturday, I will be outside moving plants and putting up lights as quickly as I can. Next Saturday, I will be decorating the place with the rest of the Christmas stuff. And after that, anyone who comes to my house better be ready for it - and no jumping on me for having it all up and out already. I love Christmas and if you are friends with me, this is the cost. You have to just get used to it. Most of you have already, but this is fair warning - it is around the corner, quite literally.

If you've begun counting, I've said "I love Christmas" 4 times already in this post. Actually, make that 5. Onward with the joy.

I can't wait until the decorating dates I have with myself. And then comes family fun at Thanksgiving, and then December, which is the month of Christmas! More family, friends, and joy just because of the time of year and what it means on so many levels for me. Here comes 6: I love Christmas!

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's official-

-ly November.

Can I start decorating for Christmas now?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My morning commute

La Traviata
Claire de Lune
Supermassive Black Hole
Flightless Bird, American Mouth

all on one cd.
nice.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Danger, Will Robinson

Having internet access at home is dangerous. Very. Dangerous.

Especially when you don't know how long it will last.

Tonight, I was to be packing. For a trip I leave for on Thursday, from work. Tomorrow night I have my small group (yay!) so tonight is the only night to pack, other than the last minute throw-ins on Thursday morning. BUT, instead, having (for the second night in a row, mind you) gotten a signal on my wireless connection, I wasted some time. Ok, ok, lots of time.

I got on the library website and reserved a couple things I've had no luck finding on my own. I looked up a couple movies I'm waiting on - both on dvd and in theaters. I looked up the weather for my trip, and for home so I know how to dress for work the next couple days and on Sunday when I am getting back home. I also looked at a recipe or two (I love the food network), and a couple tv shows to see when they come back on/when their season ends.

Now, as I sit typing this, I wonder how I could let my evening get so out of hand. How have I gotten to 11pm and STILL not started packing?? Granted, it won't be that hard: jeans, socks, tennis shoes, t-shirts, sweatshirts - we'll be doing yard work, etc. But still, I should have put it in my bag. And I'm realizing that even if I wait until tomorrow after small group, it won't be as late as it is now. But I will (most likely) be more tired ... I think. So, I still plan to at least pull things out, even if they don't make it quite all the way into the bag tonight.

I also started to get a little worried about what will happen when I have internet (that is faster, and easier, and doesn't require the slight shifts of the computer trying to get a good enough signal) regularly. However, I then realized that most of my ... obsession ... with it tonight is that it is a novelty. And I don't know how long it will last. Or if I'll be able to get it back tomorrow. If I try. Which means, when it's official, and I'm not sweating that I might lose it and never get it back, I will not be so obsessed with trying to look at everything (essential and non-essential) in one sitting. (At least that's what experience has taught me.)

So, again I state: the internet at home is dangerous.
It makes it far to easy to get Lost in Space...

but (of course) I still want it! ;)

This is Tuesday.

(this video got removed so now, click here.)



If only it were that easy to leave.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ratatat - Classics - Loud Pipes

(Band - Album - Song)
I'm pretty stuck on this song right now.

Interesting sound, beat, etc.
Quite repetitive, which usually drives me nuts in music when it's 'overused' like this, but...hey, what can I say? I guess I just like what I like.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

150

150 photo boxes is a lot.
it took me about 150 minutes to get them all unloaded, and put in their proper spot. (well, more like 180, but there were at least 30 minutes worth of 'interruptions'...so 150 is probably closer to true.)

for those of you who (like me) can't do math that quickly, that's about 2 & 1/2 hours. sheesh.
but they are safely in their 'home' -- until i need to take them down again.

of course, that won't be all at once, just a few at a time; and that i can handle.



it's always the 'little' things that take so much time, isn't it?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Yes, It's True

I can't wait for Christmas.

This morning, I was shivering at home. Then, I was shivering outside on the short walk to my car. Now, I am shivering in my office. Later, I will be shivering outside and then at home again.

I can't wait.
So much that I almost watched a Christmas movie last night.
No joke.

I really just want to get all my Christmas stuff out and start decorating. And listening to Christmas music. But I will wait (or try to) until Thanksgiving. Although truthfully, I haven't made it that long yet. Not once. The longest I held out, I still gave in to the music and at least pulling the stuff out about 2 weeks before the end of November.

What makes it worse is that it's supposed to snow sometime this weekend - who cares if it doesn't stick, or stay that long... it's snow! And, of course, I mean "worse" in a purely "how will I possibly hold out now" sort of way. (For those of you not crazy like me, and thus not quite paying attention, this post is frighteningly early. Last year I held out until October 17th. I'm about a week and a half early. Oh, wait. I did post this last week, so maybe this current post just solidifies the crazy. Shoot, that means I was 3 weeks earlier than last year! There is no hope now...)


Who's with me?
Anyone?
Anyone??

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

'Fast' Sound

You know that sound when something is whizzing by you? You hear a voice in the moving car, a yell in the falling bungie jumper. The zoom of the car gets louder, and then more muted again as it moves away.

Today, I am hearing a yell. It is coming from somewhere ... inside me, I think. It keeps getting a little closer, then further away, but I can still hear it. It never gets far enough. I think I'm trying to run away from it, but somehow the ____ (insert whatever it is here - cuz I haven't figured out what it is yet) is still keeping up just enough to hear the scream.

It's driving me crazy. and it's making me want to yell. Maybe if I do, I'll get it out, and it will go away; I'll be able to outrun it. Maybe it'll just make it worse. I don't know.

but it's got to stop.
i'm starting to go nuts here.
and it's making everything else almost unbearable.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

cold air

the air has been pretty cold for a few days now.
mostly since last friday.
i love it. it's fresh. it's crisp.
it makes me want to pick apples, carve pumpkins, make pies.

i really like fall.
'cuz it means winter's coming.
mmm. winter.
winter means Christmas.



and i LOVE Christmas.
;) (edit: I made it, barely, but I made it -it's been a month since I mentioned Christmas.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Perspective

something i need.

something hard to find.

something even harder to hold onto once found.


"Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying."
Romans 12:12 NLT

Friday, September 18, 2009

Here she is!

Yes, I know I'm not either of the parents...but they've already posted some pictures on facebook. These are just the ones i had on my phone that look the best and won't get anyone mad at me for sharing them! :) (So, I'm sorry, but there are no pictures of Mommy & baby...)

Her name is Belle Elyana (El-yan-na), she was born yesterday, September 17th, and she is amazing. Her name means 'beauty' and 'God has answered' (it is an English-type "translation" of a Hebrew word). I love her so much! I wish I could have stayed longer! ;)

Ok, here she is!

With her Daddy:


Her pretty self - she was very sleepy today!:


Oh, the sweetness...
Thanks for indulging me on this one. ;)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Excitement

Today (most likely) I will become (officially) an aunt.
I was excited before, and I'm sure when it's my own kids I'll be even more excited, but I'm more excited about this little girl than I thought I could be. I'm distracted. I can't wait to see her, meet her, hold her, love her. I get to see her tomorrow. AH! My little brother is about to be a daddy! Coolest thing ever.

Just had to get that out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hope is an Interesting Thing

I have found myself hoping for many things lately, probably due in part to the stress I have been feeling.

I hope to feel closer to God, rather than farther away like I do now.
I hope to get better at my devotional time.
I hope to be a better Christian.
I hope to be a better witness.
I hope I stop feeling so stressed.
I hope my niece is born soon.
I hope to find a husband.
I hope to have children of my own.
I hope to be a better friend.
I hope to be more positive.
I hope I am encouraging to those around me, even in tough situations.

Some of these things require diligence, patience, and work on my part. Some of them require patience, and waiting on God. All of them require faith - and that will only be steady as I grow. If I become stagnant, I will not remain faithful.

I hope I can continue to grow.
I hope I can be patient.

I know my Hope will see me through.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering

I have seen many comments, posts, statuses, etc. today about this day eight years ago.

Most of them have been prayers, or "Do you remember where you were"-type things.

It made me think: I can hardly believe that it has been that long. But I suppose, in the grand scheme of things, 8 years is really quite short. And I can't quite wrap my mind around that yet.

I was in my sophmore year of college. I had gotten up that morning, to get ready for work. My roommate got up, turned on the news, watched it for approximately 2 minutes, then headed for the shower. As soon as I woke up enough to drag myself out of bed, I went to change the channel (I don't particularly enjoy the news, especially early in the morning). It had to be just before 8:00 am (cst), as I had to be at work at 8:30 to open. I flipped to channel 9 (wgn - the channel I can bear news from in the morning while I wait to see the weather for the day) and it took me only a split-second to realize that 5 (nbc), 7 (abc) & 9 (wgn) were all showing the same picture.

That never happens. 5 & 7, sure, but not 9 too...

I flipped back to 7 (abc - I trust their news more when I really want to pay attention) and watched the first tower smoking, listening to the newscasters, etc., discussing what may have happened, what may be going on. I'd been watching for about 5 minutes. I was not moving from the spot standing in front of our tiny tv. As I listened/watched, another plane flew into the shot, and a fire-ball exploded out the other side. The man speaking stopped mid-sentence and said without taking a breath "Oh my god! What is going on?!?!?"

My heart dropped. "This is crazy," I thought. "What is going on?"

About that time, my roommate came back into the room from her shower.
"Are you watching the news?!?!"
"Shh."
"Why? What's going on?"
"Shh!"
"Oh. (pause) Wow. What happened?"
"I don't know. I was watching and they were trying to figure it out, and this other plane flew into the shot and hit the second tower about a minute ago."
... silence ...
"Shoot. We have to go to work, like now."

Once we arrived at work, we spent the morning sending eachother back (or having people sent up) to give us updates to the news they were listening to on the radio. That's how I found out about the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, as well as the one in the field.

Most of the day was spent in shock for all of us. This stuff just doesn't happen here. We're too safe, too comfortable.

I remember that at work we listened to Michael W. Smith's worship album all day.
I remember that I prayed for our country and our president, our the firefighters, the military, and those who were wondering and beginning to grieve.
I remember chapel being open all day with a constant service - prayer, worship, conversation.
I remember that our choir director spent time with us in prayer and we sang a few worship songs, but we did not rehearse because he didn't want us to forever correlate those songs we were working on with that day, that event.
I remember a professor in the evening who was so stuck on the rules that he did not dismiss us in time to hear the president's speech.
I remember wishing I understood more, and being frustrated at people for criticizing the nation's leaders so quickly, before all the details were even figured out.
I remember the fear that San Francisco, Denver, or Chicago would be next.
I remember the country on red alert for weeks, months afterward.

6 months later, I was in New York City with my choir on a tour. A few of us went to Ground Zero to see what was being done. There were walls of memoriums, pictures, candles, crosses, prayers. They were blanketing the blocks surrounding the site. One of the most moving experiences. I remember thinking, "Oh my word. This is where it happened. This is where that was that I was watching on my tv in my room."

It made me realize that many people (more than I had ever admitted to myself) turn to "religion" only when they "need" it. But they don't realize that they always need it. It was crazy to see/hear that many people, including newscasters and politicians - who have to be so careful - praying and talking about God and heaven constantly on tv, in newspapers, on the radio. It made me realize how lucky I was to know God personally before that event, and to know that even if something happened to me or my loved ones, I knew the end result of my life. I knew that my purpose was whatever He deemed it to be.

Whenever this day comes along (a week after my birthday), I always am reminded of the tragedy, and the unbelief I was feeling that day. I pray for those who are still grieving, for those who lost loved ones, for those who are still unable to move forward.

And I thank God that still, despite it all, He has been faithful.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yes, I am a geek.

...just in case you didn't already know. I reconfirmed this fact with myself yesterday. (And I should be working right now, but I just had to get this out there before I got so busy I forgot.)

I literally got so excited about a couple Excel equations that I found/figured out that I had to call my dad and share it with him. And, of course, we shared about a 10-minute (or so) conversation about it, even though both of us were still at work and still had many things to do. Thrilling. No, really, except for the topic, we sounded like 2 little kids excited over the shiny new toy we were sharing.

EDIT: My dad (who knows so many things that many call him a genius) also taught me how to pronounce "concatenate" which I couldn't do for the life of me, much to his amusement. In case you are wondering it is "con-CAT-uh-nate." :) And it made me laugh because he was laughing so much over my inability to pronounce this word. end edit.

haha. *sheepish smile*

It's just that it made some things I was doing SO much easier, AND faster! So sweet. So exciting!


Oh yes, I am a geek...

...and, I am my father's daughter.
Absolutely no doubt about that either. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mmm, coffee...

It does a body good... :)

This morning (thanks to a birthday gift card) I got some Starbucks coffee. A huge one, too. It definitely is doing its job of keeping me awake...and I think this may be the first time I was able to finish one that large!

Thanks to the coffee, and the worship music I've got on at my desk, I'm in a better mood than yesterday. So far, there has not been anything unexpected. I realize the day is still young, and that there is potential for that, but so far it hasn't happened today. Which is good, because I'm actually getting the other stuff done... well, started at least. :)

So, I failed the challenge miserably yesterday, but today I'm doing better.

And I give all the praise to God!
2 Corinthians 12:10

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

er... challenge...

GAH!

Challenge #2

Do you remember the challenge I placed to myself back in May? I was feeling pretty overwhelmed, and decided to see if I could succeed at the challenge to have a better day. I logged my progress a few times so anyone who wanted to could see how I was doing and keep praying for me as well. I (unexpectedly by the end of the day) came out on top.

Today, I'm trying the challenge again.

I will pray. I will strive to keep my attitude in check. I will accomplish what needs to get done with as little stress as possible. And hopefully, the rest of today - and this week -will be better.

I have already failed this today, and am feeling like the tunnel keeps getting darker and deeper, more winding and confusing. Which is why I'm trying to keep this challenge in the front of my mind.

I covet your prayers, and will try to let you know how I do at the end of the day.
As I already know, this challenge is not easy, but it can be good, and only done with God's help.

And we begin...

the new week is here.

it is "short" but it will be very long.

and i can almost be guaranteed to work more than normal anyway due to the nature of the week and the projects it contains.

God give me the strength, the energy, and the excitement i need.

i sure won't have it without You.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Today, I celebrate.

Yup. It's my birthday.

And, (apparently) I like the word "yup." I've used it too much in my typing lately... along with "apparently"...

Today, I am blessed to have been given 27 years on this planet, and to have spent 22 of them as a child of God. How much better can it get?

Life may not be easy, but I sure am thankful today.

Thankful for the several/many (I didn't count) friends who have wished me "happy birthday" on facebook or via email - both old and new and in-between. Including a link to a song from my brother, which made me laugh (though I don't really like the show) because I could hear him singing it in my head (though I've never heard him singing that particular song either - i don't think - but I know the voice he uses to mimick such things). I laughed out loud. Thanks Drew.

I am thankful that I am breathing. I am thankful that I have a place to live, a job to support me, and friends and family who care for me. And for the Starbucks treat that came my way unexpectedly today (a venti (L) drink for the price of a different (cheaper) grande (M), and a coupon for a free drink the next time I decide I'd like Starbucks). Mm. nice.

Plus, I'm looking forward to a long weekend (thanks for the labor-day weekend always around my birthday) with friends, family, friends, family, and possibly more friends.

Today, I feel like I can do anything.
Today, I celebrate.

I am Kara, hear me roar.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

OH my.

So... yesterday evening, I had an actual, genuine thought that I wished it was Christmas & winter.

Yes, folks, I am sick.

It happened rather out-of-the-blue. It was not due to some random music thing on my ipod, or an old movie with a Christmas moment on tv. No, it was soap.

That's right, soap.

I was cleaining my house up a bit in anticipation of my parents being over on Saturday, and I realized that my almost-empty hand soap dispenser laying on it's side looked a little ghetto. Ok, ok, maybe not ghetto, but it looked pretty sad/bad/tacky. Yikes. And seeing as my dad hasn't been to my new digs since he delivered the piano 2 days after I moved in, back in May, I think I should at least try to present a good front, regardless of how much I have to shove in closets or under the bed. ;) Needless to say, I began digging in my collection of "extras" in the cabinet - extra toothpaste, extra shampoo, extra medicine, extra soap. I found to my happy surprise that I had not 1 (as I expected) but 2 (!) soaps to choose from! Consequently, I pulled them out and took a whiff to decide which to replace the old-practically-empty one on my counter. They both smell fabulous, but the 1st was a smell that told my brain "this is good for cold weather. It's a comforting, warming, cozy smell. Like at Christmas." Seriously. That was what ran through my head. SO I put it back under the counter, and pulled out the vanilla scented soap for now.

As I walked into my living room (windows wide open, mind you) to continue with my evening plans of working on a cross stitch ... thing ... for my almost-here-niece, I smelled the fresh, cool air, and (coming off of the soap thoughts) I thought (or may have actually said aloud to myself) "Wow. I wish it was Christmas. I wish it was snowy and cold and there were Christmas lights out." Then I laughed (this time I know it was out loud) and thought, "It's September 1st. SEPTEMBER 1ST!!!"

Laughing, I immediately called my mother (who's from California) - who just wishes it would snow ONLY on Christmas eve, and then go back to being warm the rest of the year - to share this little story with her. I knew she'd get a kick out of my craziness. She did. She laughed and said, "You and Dad. You really are your father's daughter." (He'd like to live in a cooler climate - by water, or in the mountains.) I told her I think mabye God made a mistake, and should have dumped me in the Alps or something when I was born... which she disagreed with, of course. But maybe then I wouldn't love it so much. Mabye the (tiny) contrast of a Chicago summer is what I needed to enjoy the season of winter so much. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love all the seasons in their place, but I think Spring is the respite I need when I finally get sick of Winter, and Fall is the anticipation of Winter, and Summer is the "oh my word, this is why I love Winter."

Yes, on September 1st, I was anticipating Christmas.
I was a tad disgusted with myself, but all in all, I really do love the coldness and the Christmas, and the cheer. So mabye that doesn't count for disgusted.

I promise to try (really, really hard) not to post about Christmas again for at least a month, but I just had to share this -- it was too good to pass up, and to indicative of who I am and where my mind goes... all to often!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Making it through

I'm heading into a long weekend after an even longer (than expected) week. Which is saying quite a lot, as I knew this week would be a big one.

I'm hoping to relax, see friends, get some good sleep, watch some movies, finish as much as I can of the cross stitch project for my niece (who's almost here), read, and feel refreshed for Monday.


Thanks to my amazing Lord, I made it through.

So maybe I am a pirate.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGH!"

shoot.


"Here it is, Lord. It's Yours."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Certainty of God's Promise

I found this in an old email to myself. I must have thought it would be good to stumble upon sometime. Today was the day, apparently.

Hebrews 6:13-20 (emphasis mine)

"When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, "I will surely bless you and give you many descendants." And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

**We have this hope as an anchor, firm and secure. Jesus has entered on our behalf. And all we have to do is wait patiently.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Knowing the Will of God

This is a topic that came up in a meeting I was in today... and now it's got me thinking some things...they've been mulling in the back of my brain for the last while, and they've got to get out. I warn you, it's a bit raw and unpolished, and very fresh:
How DO you know what God's will is for your life?
And, not just in a general way, but specifics? In each situation, it is different. Not just "God I want to follow your will, get me from here to there." Not just "God, I want to follow You, oh, look, that's what You did, it must be your will." Not just a vague hoping that it'll all "work out" the way He wants it to and you're just stuck in it until that happens.

How do you know when He wants you to interact with that difficult person?
How do you knwo when He wants you to stand back and wait and pray?

How do you know when He wants you to move on?
How do you know when He wants you to stay where you are?

How do you know when you should give up on a situation?
How do you know when you should keep fighting, keep hoping, even though it seems impossible or improbable?

Is it possible?
Is it likely?

I know we can 'know' the will of God, but how often is it very specific, and how often is it a general feeling that we hope is right, and hope is His direction?

We are more likely, of course, to be on the right track if we are continually getting to know Him better; if we are praying constantly, if we are reading and (key) studying His word, if we are gathering with other believers for fellowship and learning and worship. BUT, that doesn't mean (at all) that we will always KNOW in our heart of hearts what His will is in every situation. Sometimes we will. Sometimes He puts it so clearly in our faces that we cannot miss it unless we are staring at our noses, smashed against the ground. However, you must acknowledge that there are times when you will not KNOW, you will be hoping, wondering, wishing, that you knew what His will was in a given situation. Those are the times I am asking about.

Is there a way?
Is there a reason to ask this question?
Or do we "give up" and "hope" that we are close enough to Him (through methods mentioned before) that we are hitting the right track, and haven't fallen off. That we've made (or are making) the right choice, the right decision.

Is this the time when you just "gotta have faith"and move on, and trust that He is working and will somehow show you what to do? When does that point come? How do you know when you've hit it?

How do you keep going when you are feeling like the hope is not real, and the path is clouded over? When do you let it out, and when do you keep it in, and how do you decide what the healthy choice is? Especially if letting it out doesn't necessrily lead to a productive end?

Hm.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How do you...

...get (or stay) motivated when you would much rather be sleeping, reading, or watching pointless movies?

...continue to be accomplishing things when all you can do is dream about the nothingness you'll be doing later?

...keep at it when you just want to be home?

...get these thoughts out of your mind so you can actually be motivated and productive?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The "Comment" Post

Interesting...
Before you read the rest of this blog go read this one. If you don't, the rest of this won't make sense. (I had read this post this morning when I got to work, and as I typed my comment, I realized it had gotten WAY too long to leave there, so I moved it here.)

As I was reading this, I thought to myself "Well, I can 'see' the words in the Bible but I don't always 'see' a tangible demonstration of it," and I wondered what the difference was between those two types of seeing. However, your point was clarified when you spoke of that very thing. Can we hear Scripture and remember it? Not very easily, most likely due to the cultivated sense of sight.

I will make one point though, that could just be tied to me (or maybe a few others): Many of the verses I know today I learned (by hearing them over and over) through a song, or even just repetition as a child (1 John 4:7&8). Those of us who grew up in the faith can probably attest to this. Yes, as we got older, we had words on screens for those songs, but I knew them without looking. And those are some of the things that come back to me easily today. How does that affect your questions about sight? Is it something that we could correct in a generation or two if we put more focus on listening? Or are we now hardwired in some way so it would take as long a time to get back as we have taken to get to where we are today? Perhaps one could argue that my point is slightly invalid because the adults who were teaching the songs/verses were reading them, and they probably know them just as well. Or maybe it's the music or the sing-song way of saying the verses that keeps them in our brains. And perhaps, these songs, although full of truth and goodness from the Bible, do not always conquer the harder concepts, although sometimes they do, you just don't realize it. (... He who loveth not, does not know God for God is love...)

Either way, I still have to say that I find it amazing that people would memorize Paul's letters (among others) because they'd probably never see them again, they couldn't copy enough for everyone, and it was important stuff. I doubt you could make all of Romans or 1 Corinthians 'sing-song-y' enough to remember it easily. Dedication, of course is the necessary step, but the motivation has to be there too, and in our culture, that's almost laughable.
As for your question about faith, I would offer one comment (as I know I haven't really even begun to touch on that): I think we still "believe without seeing" - as mentioned before, I may be seeing the Word of God, but I still don't have a tangible visual or experience for everything He says through it. I still have never actually seen God. And yet, I believe.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sometimes

I feel more lonely than I do at other times.
Maybe that's trite. Maybe that's boring. Maybe it's too much information.

But that's where I am.

We all have these feelings, and they seem to fluctuate with seasons, events, or even a bad night of sleep. Sometimes it lasts for a day, sometimes a week, sometimes longer. I am in one of those longer periods right now.

I have great friends, whom I get to see almost every week. I have others I can't see as often, but we talk often enough to make up for it. I have family relatively close. Great things are happening around me, and I am involved in several of them. And still I sit here feeling like this, and I don't have to wonder why, but it still frustrates me.

I want to be past this. I want to be through it, over it, beyond it. I don't want to have to think about it again. I want to enjoy the life I have and not be wondering about the future.

But that's just where I am.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I'm not a Pirate... I don't think...

Today I only have one thing to say: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!"

Followed immediately by, "Oh, yeah... [thanks to the reminders from myself in the last posts] Give today to God - again. And again. And again."

"Here it is, Lord. It's Yours."

Hopefully, I can remember the blessings a little more clearly now.
And, hopefully, I won't need that outlet again for a long time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thoughts & Blessings

This morning I read (most of) an article entitled, "Who Can Be Saved?" from an intellectual-type magazine-type publication called "First Things" and the article was written by Avery Cardinal Dulles. My dad gave me this magazine about 2 months back (this particular edition is from February 2008) and I just got around to reading the reason he gave it to me this morning.

As you can derive from the title of the article, it is a thought provoking one. I have thought about this before. I have wondered how it is that literally everyone can be saved if only they believe in God, when I know clearly that there are people (whether becuase of remote living places or shortness of life) that they have not been able to hear the "Good News." How is it that God can say that eveyone has been given the opportunity to become believers, and be saved, and spend eternity with Him?

This question has racked my brain many times...and I'm not sure I've gotten to a good decision about it yet. I don't like the idea of people being condemned to hell when they haven't had a chance to "see" Jesus/God/witness the Holy Spirit. However, the article makes a good point about general revelation. The problem is, does that make it "good enough" to save you if you believe in God through that? or "a god"? or a "supreme being" by whatever name you give it?

That, of course opens up discussion about other religions or other "Christian" type lifestyles, etc. I think I'll save that for another day's discussion/thought process... otherwise you might be reading forever today, and I don't think either of us can handle that right now.

Many things to think about; and I think it's healthy to think about these types of "dilemmas" (or whatever you'd like to categorize them as) from time to time. I would venture to say we don't think about them often enough. Today as I pondered them on my way to work, and thought about the things I would have to do today, I realized how incredibly lucky and blessed and excited I am that God chose to allow me to find Him early in my life and be as close to Him as I am. I am so blessed to be given the opportunity every day (although I don't take it as often as I should) to learn about Him, to talk to Him openly, to read His Word and get to know Him better, to talk about Him with other believers- both privately and in public places. Amazing.

And it made me think about what I need to do to start my day and keep my (true) priorities straight. Start by giving it to Him. Not holding anything back to myself. Because I can't do it. None of it. He gave me the gifts and the time. He gives me the ideas and the strength - literally and figuratively. He is the one who can accomplish it by using me.


Have you given today to God?

No?
Not yet?
2 times already?
50 times already?

Just do it (again).
Do it now!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Look at that view!

Through which lens do you view life?

Far too often, I view it through my own eyes. I don't see someone else's viewpoint without trying really hard. I don't even see it through a view like my former soccer coach/English teacher. He sees "Life through the Lens of Leadership." Not everyday, perhaps, but often enough that he has something say about it, and to teach/learn from in the process. Other friends view it through the perspective of ministry, or of family, or of the world's secular veiw of Christianity and how we can combat it.

Yes, they are pretty incredible. And, there are many, many ways to view the passing moments.

Currently, I am finding it very hard to look at life from someone else's perspective. To walk in their proverbial shoes. I am wrapped up in my craziness, in my stress, in my need for sleep, and for interaction outside of work.

Just a couple days ago, I was learning about faith. It was amazing me. I even shared about it at small group last night. But today, as I was trying to "get everything done" I forgot that I also "gotta have faith." Sad mistake.

My new goal, and my challenge to you: share with me a lens that works for you so you don't get too bogged down with the "me" in everything. Then, together, let's try to keep our focus where it should be and not always on ourselves.

My guess is, the view will be much nicer from there.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You gotta have faith...

This morning's devos included Hebrews 11, the known "Faith Chapter" of the Bible. I always enjoy reading it, and I always find more in it.

Today was especially encuoraging as I noticed that Sarah (Abraham's wife) is on this amazing list of faithful people, when she made a mistake and tried to take those circumstances into her own hands. I never would have expected her to show up in this passage of the faithful.

It was encouraging because it shows (again) that even when I screw up, God is faithful. That is what is so amazing. He forgives my faults, he holds me close and says, "I love you anyway. I see you as faithful anyway, because of My Son, and because of your belief in Him." He knows I am striving to be like Him, and when I mess up, Jesus covers me.

Wow.
That's all there is to say. I can't explain it any more - I don't really understand it either. How He can do that, and love me despite what I do.

Wow.
And, thank You.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What is needed

I logged on for a minute of my 'lunch break' today to type this quickly, since it's been over a week, and I still haven't posted it, plus, hopefully it'll bring a little smile to some faces, as it was sorta funny. Not laugh out loud, but more like small chuckle. Either way, it should lift spirits a tad.

And when I did, I saw my last post, and while I'm having too rough a day to really laugh out loud or even chuckle, they did lighten me a little bit. So, good job me, on that last post, I guess. ;)

There are 2 things about this make the title correct:
1. Sometimes, you need funny stuff.
2. Sometimes, you need ID.

The actual reason for this post: I just wanted to make a note about getting carded, while with my parents at their "Lakeside Festival" in Crystal Lake. We walked up to the booth, we got ready to pay, the guy asked for our ID's. None of us had them. We were all (me, my mom, my dad, and my youngest brother) over 21. He gave my parents the regular orange daily color wristbands, and then gave me and my brother the "fun ones" (his words, not mine) - so those crazy kids can't cheat and get booze. None of us were planning on getting any alcohol, but it was the principal of the whole thing. We didn't know they were charging to get in (never done that before) or that you would need to have your ID with you.

The kicker is, this guy looked like he had to be my age, maybe a year or two older/younger. So there he sits, trying to make me feel better about the fact that he can't give me an adult paper bracelet... give it up, kid, give it up.

Hey, at least its sort of a good story.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Laughter

It really is like medicine. It can make you feel so good...and sometimes even sick to your stomach!

We have had so many random laughs in the office today-- over good things, over silly small things, over big praises. Good, deep laughs too. Laughs so hard that our stomachs were hurting and some people started snorting, and we were trying to catch our breath! It made me think about the things that make me laugh/smile.

Here are just a few quotes that have made me laugh in the last couple days...

"Tadalah...!"
"I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine. And he shall be my Squishy."
"I am a grownup."
"Like, 50."
"...Send somebody to fetch a child of 5!"
"Can we panic now??"
"Scary Andrew Barnes!!!"
"Knots are hard."
"Maybe!"
"Mr. Fish, did you die?"

...these literally brought a smile to my face as I typed them. A couple made me laugh out loud (maybe!) These are the ones that always make me laugh. ;)

(points to those of you who can name the movies...)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Attitude & Others

I found out something interesting today. I may have known it before, and just forgotten. Or I may have "known" it, but never really experienced it in a way to make it real. Today, I can say that - at least for now - I know what it is to be cheerful for someone else because they just can't do it.

I don't just mean you fake it. I don't mean that you sit in your chair and smile a huge smile and tell them it will be ok. I mean a genuine, positive, uplifting attitude that permeates everything you do and say around everyone you meet. And it's affected by the fact that someone you care about is having a really rough go of it. But not in a negative way (for you). You may be commiserating with them, admitting that this is no fun, but your attitude still shines through, and changes the atmosphere for everyone involved.

I have 2 wonderful friends that I was in close contact with today who are both in that hard hard place. And, though I fully expect to be hard pressed myself at some point in the next 2 weeks, today, I was in a great mood. I was praying for them almost non-stop, I was listening, I was offering to do what I could to help, I was genuinely in a good place in my head - despite not having slept well last night.

This is not intended as a 'pat-myself-on-the-back' sort of note. It merely occured to me, moments ago, that a day that could have been a major downer turned into a blessing - and hopefully not just for me.

And honestly, I really think this positive attitude generated from my morning devos, where I pretty much was just thanking God for several things - specifically, not just generally. That's a good way to start any day, and I honestly believe that that is the reason I was able to make it through today the way I did.

ALL glory be to God and His goodness.
See what He can do when you let Him use you instead of you trying to figure it out.
Awesome.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Awesome & Amazing: Piano Song(s)

There is no other way to describe it.

"Love Story (Taylor Swift) Meets Viva La Vida (Coldplay)"
Check it out here. It's worth your time.
I wish I could be this good - watch this guy play. Wow.


Thanks to Alicia for telling me about it.
Thanks to Jon Schmidt for creating it.

Stories to come:

So I have a story of the trip to Minnesota brewing in my brain.
And it's a good one, but will take longer to write than I have right now.
Here's wishing for some "free" time.


Hopefully, I'll be able to get it written soon -- so you can laugh with me and I won't sound so strange laughing by myself. ;)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Can you smell it?

Driving into work today, I saw some landscapers/carers out mowing. Even with the windows barely cracked, I could smell the freshly cut grass. Mmm.

It caused a succession of thoughts revolving around those things which, when I smell them, bring a smile to my face - every time. I'm sure you have those too, most people I've ever talked to have at least 1 or 2 things that give them that feeling of nostalgia when the smell acosts their nose.

Here's my list, in no particular order:
*(obvious) freshly cut grass
*the air after a huge rain (when it's been only one day...not weeks...)
*my grandma's house (either one, but both are distinct)
*the lake/cabin (again, different, but distinct, and sometimes rolled into one)
*clean laundry
*Jasmine flowers -at Grammie's house or mine.
*my mom's apple pie baking
*skin after it's just been in the sun for awhile (blame my mom, but don't tell her!)
*my dad's aftershave
*the ocean, and all that goes with it (seaweed, sand, etc.)

At this point, I arrived at work. I still was "smelling" some of those things (funny how your brain can do that...) but had to fix my focus a little (work to do, you know). By now, I've usually forgotten whatever it was I was thinking about in the car. But not today. Today I can't stop smelling ocean and laundry, and I'm looking forward to smelling the cabin for real come Tuesday night.

Let the good times role.
And notice the smells around you. :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Homage to Kim

About a week ago or so, Kim wrote this blog post about shoes in the street.

It made me laugh. And, it made me realize that on the occasion when I see a shoe in the middle of the road, I vaguely wonder how it got there. Especially if it belongs to an adult. Children tend to randomly throw things about in the car, so a child's shoe is not so hard to figure out -- except perhaps in winter. Nonetheless, an adult shoe is much more ... disturbing/interesting.

This morning, as I drove to church after running an errand, I noticed something odd: 2 adult shoes in the middle of the left turn lane. They were about 4-5 feet apart, and they were both right-side-up. I am not sure how this happened, but it made me think of Kim's story, and made me wonder what that (assumption alert) guy did to lose both of his shoes while in a car.

Wonder with me.
(and write a possible story if you'd like!)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Psalm 57

Needed this a couple days this week.
Thank our Amazing Lord for using my devotions.
Check it out.

I especially needed these verses (but the whole thing is great):
v. 2, & v. 7
and I thouroughly enjoy that 5 & 11 are the same.

When it comes down to it, that's what's important.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The challenge took an interesting twist

When I left work today, I was pretty sure I'd failed the challenge completely. My post at 11:30 (or whatever) this morning got me back on track, and I continued to listen to my music during the duration of the afternoon, but I just kept getting bogged down by frustrations, and too much to do in the time I have left in the week. I'm sure you noticed from my late-afternoon-post.

Plus, I had told a friend I'd babysit for her tonight, and as they are moving soon (out of state) I wanted to go; not only for the reason of helping her and her husband have a night out, but to see them once more before they leave. It doesn't hurt that I've watched their son since he was only a few months old (now he's about a year and a half), and love him so much I will really miss him as much as I'll miss his mom. As the day went on, all I could think was "Ugh, I have to go babysit after this." But honestly, I could use the extra cash it will provide, AND I really don't know when I'll get to see them if it isn't today. "I should go." So, I left work, stopped by my house for a book to read after he went to bed, and headed over to their house. I only talked to her for a moment, and mainly about the basics for the evening. (I know that when they come home we'll have a good little chat.)

When I got to the house, the little guy was pretty sad. He cried when he realized Mommy & Daddy were gone, and it was just him & me for the night. But, as I sat in the chair hugging him, trying to calm him down, he put his sad little head on my shoulder and hugged me back. He stopped crying pretty quickly and we just cuddled for a few minutes. Then he was happy and smiling (as usual) and we spent the rest of the evening playing and having fun together (he loves his baths!) which was a very nice change of pace for me.

After bath time, he gets put down for bed. I picked him up and told him goodnight, and hugged him a little. Immediately, he hugged me back and leaned his head on my shoulder to cuddle. This was unusual. Almost every time I babysit in the past, oh, probably 6-9 months, he is ready for bed - no cuddling needed or wanted. He actually reaches toward his crib as soon as I pick him up. So the hugs and cuddles were unexpected and very sweet. And, as I stood there hugging him back, it dawned on me: this is a very good, positive, happy way to end a day; with a child hugging you, and loving on you a little. It was especially nice for me as (obviously) I don't get that very often.

I prayed over him standing there, and then put him in his crib, said goodnight again, and headed down to read my book. As I picked it up, I realized that my attempt to take the challenge did not end up how I expected it to, but I did reach my goal. I started and ended my day with a positive attitude. I prayed ALOT throughout the day. When I realized this, I just had to share it with you. I (and only with God's help) reached my goal today.

I'll be praying even more tonight and tomorrow.
And with God's help, tomorrow will be even better.

Struggling at this challenge

I don't want to admit it, but I'm failing. Badly.

Jesus, help me succeed. Help me end today well. Help me fix my attitude. Help me be positive and encouraged and encouraging. And, please, don't let any more get added to our plates.


I don't even really feel like praying but I know that's what I need.

This challenge is hard...

Yup. We all knew it would be. And it delivered.
Or I should say: Satan knows what he's doing.
Yuck.

I am making phone calls, I am creating things.
I am editing things we thought we were done with. Things that have been sent on to those who need them to print. Things that have been through more than enough people already and should not be looked at again.

I am struggling to keep the attitude up.
And I hate the fact that this has become another post that is a downer instead of interesting or encouraging or fun.

Good thing God gave me a new Relient K cd to listen to today. And an older one that I love.
They are keeping me going, song by song; bit by bit - silliness, reminders of what God is doing/can do, etc. I actually really believe He did that for me, small though it may seem; it's huge for me today.

--Mood rings
--Gibberish: "Lirp crawn" "paravillintiniay"
--"nice to meet you, I'm your better half."
--"i'll never amount to the kind of person You deserve to worship You"
--"i'm getting into you because i've got to be; You're essential to survive. I'm gonna love you with my life."
--"i'll give until there's nothing else. give my all until it all runs out. and i'll have no regrets, i'll give until there's nothing left"
--Words of my Savior: "I am the Way. follow Me and take My hand. I am the Truth. embrace Me and you'll understand. and I am the Life and from Me you'll live again. for I am love.
I am Love.
I, I. Am. Love."

Praise my God, I'm back on track.

Challenge Accepted

That's right.
I accept the challenge I laid out for myself (and you) yesterday evening.

Today has begun with a positive attitude.
Not a great one, but a positive one.
I hope by the end of today to have a great attitude,
and to have had a great day.

I am jumping in.
Actually, I have already.
I started my workday with prayer.
--not just for myself, but for a friend too.
----and for another friend who is dealing with a hard situation.
------and for the others who are part of that hard situation.

Now, as I turned to my computer to continue my work, I thought I'd take a minute to accept the challenge and let you know how I have begun.

And you?
Do you accept?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Overwhelmed

That is the general explanation of how I have felt today. I won't trouble you with the details, but I just wanted to take a second to try to encourage: you as well as myself.

Today I saw a friend had written something about the fresh perspective you get with the dawn of a new day...and then the comment that he needed a new day every 2 hours. When I shared this with another friend of mine, she remarked that she could use a new day about every 20 minutes. By the middle of my day, I would have said I could use a new day every 30 seconds or so.

Needless to say, it was a little rough, and I was overwhelmed.

Thankfully, I have some great friends/prayer warriors. They lifted me (and the situation) up to the Lord all day. They gave me words of advice and encouragement - some were easy to hear, some were hard. But I know that's what has gotten me through.

I know that I will face challenges even as I head home this evening. I know that when I come into my "fresh perspective" in the morning, it could very easily get tainted. But, since I know this is possible, and since I am thinking about it, I have a new goal tomorrow: Prayer. Constant prayer on my part. I didn't do too much of it today - at least not as much as I should have. Tomorrow I will pray. Tomorrow I will strive to keep my attitude in check. Tomorrow, I will accomplish what needs to get done without so much stress as today. And hopefully, tomorrow, my day will be better. That is my challenge to myself, and to you if you need it.

Tomorrow, I will check in and let you know how I did.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Leadership

I have lately found myself facinated with leadership. I am not sure when it started; perhaps around the time I realized I am something of a leader at my church. (That feels very strange to say, because I really do not feel like that most days. I feel like little-ol'-me just doing what God has asked me to do. Then again, maybe that is part of what a leader should be.) Since discovering this, I have been in meetings, seminars, classes, etc., that have at least touched on leadership. I have read books, been recomended speakers to listen to, had conversations, etc.

As you can see from the sidebar, there are a few blogs I read fairly regularly. I don't read them everyday, or even every week. However, these are people who's storytelling abilities are fantastic, who's insights are amazing, who's opinions are valid, and/or who's experiences and advice are worth listening to. One of them (The Hope of 'What If?') is soley about leadership and it's different aspects. Lately several of them have touched on leadership in one way or another.

These are a few leadership posts that I came across in the last week or so that really challenged me and/or inspired me. The guys who write them are leaders. Their leadership is demonstrated different ways (from each other as well as depending on circumstance. They ask tough questions. They point out what they have learned to encourage others along the way. The list could be longer if I had more time to sift through them all, but here you go:

1. Bottom Leaders
2. Encouragement
3. Habit
4. Questions to Help Me Avoid the Real Issue

I encourage you to check them out.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Uplifting

God hit me up today.

I have a few friends who blog, some frequently, some not so frequently. Some of them probably don't even know that I read what they write. That's ok. I enjoy their insight, the knowledge God has blessed them with.

Today was rough. Today was a day when I would have liked to stay in bed and have someone else in my shoes. Nothing was particularly bad, I just had a hard time of it.

This afternoon as I didn't really have time to start another project, I thought I'd take a minute to read up on a couple blogs I hadn't checked in about a week. One had a great encouragement just waiting for me. I still feel a little bogged down and drained, but my perspective has begun to shift already (I read it only a few minutes before writing this). It is a good echo to what I had written earlier. God is my strength, and only when I have faith can I be strong because of Him.

Thanks, Adam, for letting God use you today.

Honestly

Honestly? I have a bad attitude.
Honestly? I need to adjust it.

But, I'm stuck. I can't get out.

Honestly, I'm feeling lonely.
Honestly, I'm feeling like a failure.
Honestly, I'm feeling like I don't succeed at anything I try to do.

I know in my head that this line of thinking is bad, and is wrong, but for some reason Satan is trying to get in and ruin something; but I don't know what, and I don't know why.

I have so many things on my mind right now, and I just can't seem to get it all organized. I seem to be stuck in crazy world with no time to sort anything out. I'm just whirling around in circles trying to remember stuff and keep it going.

And honestly, I'm failing.

I keep praying but I feel like it's just hitting the ceiling. "Lord, can you hear me?"

Honestly, I know that I need to keep praying.
Honestly, I know that I need to keep trusting.
Honestly, I know that whatever this is, it will pass.
Honestly, I know that without His help, my faith will fail. With His help it will grow stronger.

Honestly, I know that God is in control and is the One Who is keeping me going right now.

Because on my own, I'd just be in a ball on the floor in the corner.

Honestly? I hope this ends soon.
Honestly? I know it may not.
Honestly? I know that whatever comes, He is with me. Really with me. Not just words.

I am weak. So weak.
He is Strong.

Friday, April 24, 2009

thank God for a good friend

yesterday did not start as a good day.

i had some stress that jumped in without warning. horrible.
i called a couple of my best friends (who were, of course, at work and unable to answer the phone) and my dad (same story). was there no one who could calm me down? let me vent and get it out so i could start to try to move past it?

when i finally got to my email at work, i saw an email from another best friend (one i hadn't tried to call). i called her immediately. despite being at work (the others, including my dad, had been in meetings - absolutely NO blame on them), she answered and was able to let me get out my emotions and ask for prayer. upon hanging up, i felt slightly better, but not as good as i would have hoped for such a beautiful, sunny, busy day.

i must say this is the part where the friend came to the rescue. this is a good friend. she admitted later that she spent some time after we hung up trying to think of a way to cheer me up. needless to say, she did come up with something. it involved a very good knowledge of the types of things that make me smile, and the knowledge of me to know that this was the time to pull it out. a magical email came my way and made me laugh out loud. i called her directly to let her know what a miracle she had just worked.

my attitude was immediately 1,000 times better, and remained so for the rest of the day.

she had class last night, and when she got home early, my response was, "wow, you're home early!" her answer was, "well, i'm giving you a massage now." :) nice. so, after the massage, and downing a rather large glass of water, i went to bed in a much MUCH better attitude than i had been all day.

today, i was able to start off well, and have the prospect of a very fun weekend.

thanks, friend. you started me back on the right road.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

today

today i am stressed.

today i am tired.

today i have felt overwhelmed. more than once.

today my music has been distracting instead of helpful.

today i have tried to be positive.

today i have prayed. alot.

today i have asked questions.

today i have worried about others.

today i have asked for help.

today i have almost cried. almost.

today i have felt lost.

today i have tried to keep my focus on the Reason i am here.

today God has gotten me through.


tomorrow has possibilities. i hope they are bright.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sun & Fresh Air...

I love sun. It makes me happy.

Not happy like I want to sit in it forever and get cancer, but happy as in, skies are blue, birds are singing, flowers are blooming, I can open my windows and let the fresh air in.

Maybe that's it. I love fresh air. IT makes me happy.

That's what is the best - even if it's raining, I love fresh air. Have you ever taken a walk in the rain? In a sprinkle? In a downpour? On purpose? So fresh. And very nice.

Today I left work for a break to run to the bank, and I had a very hard time getting in my car to drive there. Then, when I returned, going back into the building to go back to work was just as hard! But, I anticipated the end of the day and walking back out into that perfect fresh air and sunshine so much. Ah, perfect day. So wonderful! Definitely taking a walk when I get home.

I know this is contradictory as you are online to be able to read this, but I strongly encourage you to turn off your computer and go outside. Enjoy the fresh air. Whether it's raining or sunny where you are, it doesn't matter. Take a book, or take a walk, or a run, or whatever else you would like, and sit under a tree or under an awning if you have to, whatever, but get out there.

And the good news is, tomorrow in Chicagoland will be fabulous as well! 70 degrees, more sunshine. So if you're in that vicinity, there's really no excuses! ;)
Then, the next time it's raining, I challenge you to put on a sweatshirt and a raincoat and some good shoes, and go outside. It's a wonderous experience.

Oh, fresh air, how I love you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What do you say?

I don't know if anyone will respond to this, but after a day of relaxing, and wishing it had lasted much longer, I got to wondering this morning about what the ideal day would be.

It must be stated that the ideal day can come in many forms, even for me. Sometimes I want to be very active, outside, walking, swimming, biking, etc. Other days I just want to curl up under a blanket and read.

So, now it's your turn. While I ponder what would be the perfect combination for a 24 hour period, I'd like to hear what your perfect day would be. Join in the fun. Toss out some ideas.

Let's see what we come up with.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Crazy

can be Awesome.

God has shown me that through this past few weeks. I have been working strange and long hours, I have been so tired I don't know what's keeping me going, I have craved diet coke (which my friends do, but I do not, although I do enjoy it). These types of things should drive a person crazy, but instead, I have felt blessed. And I have seen many others blessed because of what is going on in my church.

This weekend consists of:
  • Good Friday services (2)
  • Easter ExploXion (Egg Hunt & more)
  • Easter Eve services (2)
  • Easter Morning services (3)
I don't have a ton of time to write (tons still going on), but I felt the need to just jot these things down.

God can use the crazy - if you let Him. He turns good attitudes in a crazy time into a wonderful witness. It encourages people you didn't even know needed encouragement. He lets you see the kids with huge smiles on their faces. He lets you hear their parents talking about what a great thing it is for their families.

We had 2 services for Good Friday, and God provided workers. He provided kids for how many crafts we had prepared so we weren't wasteful. He provided stands for banners in the nick of time this morning. He provided people to volunteer at all the stations that we needed this morning. He provided patience as people waited in lines for egg hunts, obstacle courses, cookie decorating, and petting zoos. He is providing people to blow up balloons, as well as to hand them out to the kids that come, both tonight and tomorrow morning. He is providing people to watch and teach children tonight and tomorrow.

I am excited to see what else He will do tonight and tomorrow as young and old are presented with the opportunity to walk through the door and accept Christ into their lives.

I know that the impact this weekend will be huge.
Thank you, Lord!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lol

Today I have the giggles.
I really do.
And, being April Fool's Day, you may be wondering: no, it was not due to any sort of prank.

When I woke up, I was in an ok mood, sorta tired,
but what else is new?
Got ready for the day, and headed out the door.
The sun is supposed to be shining, but it wasn't - at least not yet.

When I got in my car, I plugged in my ipod to listen to some tunes as I drove to work.

That's when it happened. The first song that came on (I'm currently in a random shuffle, thanks to genius) and I just started smiling. Huge smile, all random and alone in my car. I sang my heart out. I'm sure it was very pretty. (umm... maybe not.)

The next song brought a new smile to my face.
It was loud, it was crazy, it was great.
The third song followed suit. So did the next ones that followed.
Great stuff, music.

Fabulous.
And, though I haven't listened to anything else yet today,
I'm still smiling.

And when you smile, it becomes contagious, and cheers others around you as well.

So, when you're feeling frustrated, or down, or don't really have words to describe it, here's my piece of insight for today (some of you may have heard it before):

Smile, it almost always helps.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Movies

Why are they so much a part of everyday culture?

Through every genre, they have impact. They bring huge income for many people, and not just those in front of the camera. I will admit, some are smaller, bringing in less, and are made more for making a statment in itself than making money. However, even those that have more of a focus on how many people will see it make statements in one form or another.

I love movies. I own several, and have friends and relatives that own so many my collection seems tiny. But sometimes when my "big plan" for the night is to go home and watch a movie, I wonder why that's all I want to do with my time. Generally speaking, it is a movie I've seen before, whether a few times or lots. These are the times when I have my "sometimes" thoughts.

I wonder why I want to spend my time watching something that is merely entertaining. Yes, as I said above, there is a message of sorts in every movie, but sometimes it's just some sort of comentary on college kids, or society, or boys and girls. And, if you've seen it once, there's nothing left in it but the entertainment.

I could get more out of my relaxing if I read a book. Yes, it may not teach me anything new, but it keeps my mind working and keeps reminding me of words I don't commonly use (depending on the book, of course). Or if I crochet or knit, I'm creating something that has value or purpose to it, and is usually a gift of some sort.

I have no conclusion. Movies are fun. This much is true. They can be educational in one sense or other, though many are more wasteful of time than anything else. Anyone who has known me even for a little while knows how picky I am about what I will watch, but even so, I wonder if I should be watching any. I really don't like that thought, because I really do love watching them. Plus, when I get to that mindset, it makes me start to wonder about tv too, and there are a handful of shows I'd rather not miss.

Hm. well, I guess the wondering will just have to go on.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Print Please!

Why has no one designed a printer to fit in a normal office that can bleed color to the edge of the page so we (the layman types) don't have to cut off all the white edges every time we print something?

I know that these printers exsist; I also know that they are about as large as my office, and that there are printing companies that have them, and that this is how they make their living. The problem is, for me to have "them" print these things for me (and thusly, cut them) it costs so much more than it would if I could just print this stuff in house. The other problem is, if we have the machine they do, we don't print enough to make up for the cost of these huge things.

Which is why I ask this question. Is there no way to make these machines work unless they are that large and expensive? Has anyone tried to figure that out? Don't get me wrong, the printers we have here are really great, and the "heavy duty cutter" we have is fabulous (you try cutting 75 -100 sheets of cardstock on a regular paper cutter and let me know how it goes, and how long you spend doing it - on this bad boy it takes me about 5 minutes or less - one cut goes through them all together). However, to be able to cut it in half or in fourths, and not have to trim the edges would make my life SO much easier, and eliminate so much time! Especially with all the things we have going out and around...

So I was just wondering about it. I think it would be great.
Of course, its just my opinion. But it would be helpful to many, I'm sure.

Anyone feeling motivated to be creative and engineer this for me?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cold

No, not the temperature... at least not today. Today it is a balmy 73 degrees, and I am loving it. I am typically a winter girl, but by about mid-late February, I'm ready for spring. I know (having grown up in the midwest) that it is still a long time comin', but I'm ready for it. Ah, blue skies..."smiling at me"... Huge smiles.

The original reason for this was to discuss the annoyances I feel towards colds ... the kind that give you a stuffy or runny (or both) nose, sore throat, loss of voice, headache, other aches, etc. It's not so fun. And lately, these colds seem to hold on FOREVER. They just can't let go. No matter what medication I take, or what doctor I see, these colds (within the past year it seems) have gotten relentless. They take weeks to get out of someone's system.

However, through the randomness of emails recieved during the typing of this post, and the searching for a couple things during the process, I have decided that this negativity should really end here. Because I may have a cold, and it may be colder tomorrow (and the rest of the week), but life goes on, and, thanks to the Lord, it is good.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I know I've said this but...



I really don't understand how people live without music. or books. and not just one or the other, but both. I have a brother who enjoys both, but would really rather be reading or writing most of the time. I took car trip with him, and he wanted to listen to audiobooks.

I have nothing against audiobooks, I'd just rather read the books myself. Reading itself is so important to me. I can't seem to remember everything if I 'hear' the book. However, if I read it (ask ANYONE in my family) I can remember so many details, you'll be telling me to "cut to the chase" and skip the boring stuff. I can't get enough. I go home thinking "I get to READ tonight!" (Yes, I have embraced the nerdiness of that statement.)

Music is essential too. I can hear most instruments' parts in an orchestral piece. Not the first time, mind you, but even on the second I could hum some of the harmony with the cd for you. And when there are voices, that step may even occur by the end (and sometimes the middle) of the song. Pretty much any type, too. It makes me smile, comforts me, makes me want to dance. So great.Mm. I love it so much.

I suppose what got me thinking about this is that I'm getting another piano today. The previous one didn't work out, and a very wonderful friend found another (free again!) one for me to have... so now it's just a question of any hidden problems like last time (which I doubt), and, of course, getting it to my house...

Needless to say, the day when I can head home thinking "I get to read AND play the piano tonight!" is not far away. And that makes me a very happy girl.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ever Feel Frustrated?

I'm pretty sure it's a common human dilemma. We get frustrated with people, with cirucumstances, with ourselves... it never seems to end. There's always something that could frustrate you just around the corner. The problem is when you let those frustrations run your life. When you let the fear of the next frustration keep you from the excellence you could acheive. Or you are so frustrated you lose sight of your priorities. You get upset or angry with those around you, even some who are not part of the "problem."

These are not good things (obviously). This spirals you into a very bad cycle of frustration, anger, "oh well" attitude, and back to frustration. We need to remember the promises God gave us in the verses I shared in my last post, and cling tightly to what He says He'll do. Because He will. He won't frustrate you. Often times, when I'm feeling frustrated, if I step back and take a time out to look outside myself, I can see that it is Satan trying to sabotage whatever God is using me for in that situation. This is not God frustrating me or not answering, it is Satan digging in me to try to mess things up. I cannot let that happen - but neither can I stop it. I am not strong enough.

Thank God that He is. That is the prayer that must always be on my heart and mind, must always be in the forefront of my soul. That God would use me, keep me with the right attitude, and keep Satan away from my heart and mind. Only then can He use me as well as He'd like. Without me in the way.

Monday, March 2, 2009

we do not lose heart

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress. I will never be shaken."

"My help comes from the Lord... He will not let your foot slip -- He who watches over you will not slumber..."

"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness'... I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me...for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rest

I read a blog this past Friday about leadership and rest. It was a good reminder for me. I had a very busy week last week,but then, this weekend was not as restful as I expected it to be.

That does not mean that it didn't have its restful moments; it did. But it wasn't the fully restful experience I needed.

I'm not sure I really understand (or remember) how to rest. There is always something to do, always something to think about, always something lurking that I'm afraid I forgot. I am always jumping in to do things with and for people. And while these are not bad things in and of themselves, when I don't take the time to stop and truly rest, I feel myself sinking into the realm of the burnt out and overwhelmed. That's just not good - for anyone around me.

It takes over my productivity. I can still do things, but the quality and time efficiency suffers.

I used to be able to wake up in the morning and start reading a book (stopping only for meals - and sometimes not even really stopping) and finish it by the time I needed to go to bed. Where have those days gone? I used to play the piano for a few hours at a time and barely notice how much time had passed. The last time I sat down to play, after about 15 minutes, I felt like I should stop and do the other "more productive" things in my head. I wished I had just stayed there, and kept playing.

That, to me, is one of the best ways to truly rest. To recharge, reenergize. We need those things. They seem like a waste of time as they don't "accomplish" anything, but in reality they do. They accomplish alot: they put us back in the state we began in, so we are ready to jump back in and give our all.

Next time, when I feel like I 'should' stop, I'll try to remember to just keep playing, and only quit to go read a book. Only then will I be able to rest, and therefore, truly shine.