31 December 2004

Help

If you can, please visit the Red Cross to give whatever you are able to spare to help those in need. The death toll in the tsunami's wake is now beyond what my heart and mind can fathom.

Please remember to mention those in need in your prayers.

29 December 2004

Little Dancers


Found some time this month to see my favorite ballerina

She's having fun in the class

Now her little sisters can hardly wait for their turn Posted by Hello


O.k. I know it has been ages since I sat down to chart on my progress through this life. Those of you sending e-mails requesting funeral information may stop doing so. While there isn't much evidence to support it, I am indeed alive and mostly well.

I just survived my first holiday season in retail. Those who know the dangers already feel my pain, and the rest of you I will spare the horrors. Fortunately most of our clientele are super. Not much to complain about other than being phenomenally tired.

We are now in the middle of our busiest time. Only once a year does our best selling product go on sale. This means that contrary to every other retailer, January is our biggest month. I expect to be tired for a while yet.

I will try to post a year in review on Saturday. Check back then.

10 November 2004

Let your love be known

Last week was my father's birthday. I called to give my wishes and sing a song. It's just something we do in my family no matter how old you become. This year when I turned 43 my parents called and sang to me. It's a silly but important ritual to the day.

Rituals can be comforting. While all the world is changing around us it is good to have some things that will always be the same. The ritual itself is not anything special, what's special is the love that accompanies it. I don't place much importance on the tradition, I do on the love it shows.

Too many times with our family and friends we forget to let them know we care for them. We assume they know we cherish them. If there is only one thing I have learned in my life it is to let those you care about know how much you do care for them.

Tonight I spent some time with my favorite songbirds. I told them a story of a girl who would always let those close to her know she loved them. The story explained all those she loved were happy to know of her love, and the happiness it brought her. We talked about the many ways to show and to tell loved ones they are loved. I used the example of calling my dad last week to sing a song over the phone. This led to them wanting to do the same. Daddy wasn't answering the phone just then so we did the next best thing and you can find it in the entry below.

Sing a song of birthdays

this is an audio post - click to play

21 October 2004

Can't wait


Looking forward to seeing them and their big sister tomorrow night for dinner. Posted by Hello


After having a difficult week working and looking for work, dinner with friends tomorrow night sounds like a great idea. Add having 2 flat tires at the beach yesterday and it sounds even better.

Work tonight was good. Gift wrap wonderland has come to visit and the buyer really outdid herself this year. I used to love visiting the store when the wonderland was in place. It's just as much fun working in it.

16 October 2004

Photo op part 2


Here's the other half of the dynamic duo

they can be a fun and busy handful

So although you leave them feeling tired, it's a good feeling. Posted by Hello

Wanted to be sure to give the partners in crime equal time.

Spent the whole day in space planning. I really need to come up with a new word for tired. What I am now goes way beyond exhaustion.

Fortunately I have the day off tomorrow. I plan to make it to church and then to do nothing else. Hope your day goes well for you.

15 October 2004

08 October 2004

Beautiful music

Tonight I spent time with my favorite little girls again. We started with a fun and interesting dinner. Good food and varied conversation. We then played quite a bit with lots of imagination and energy. Moved from that to bath time in the kitchen sink.

Julia seems convinced that any night I am here calls for special tubbies in the sink. All goes well but it is getting harder and harder to get five year old big sis in and out of the sink. We may have to abandon that soon.

Julia is singing often these days. The last time I was over, she sang to my mom on the phone. She wanted to sing on the phone again so I had her share the soundbite below with you. Hope you enjoy it.

Getting ready to face a big week. I have something scheduled for work every day for the next 8 days. Tiring but necessary to meet budget demands and to be able to purchase groceries. God provided well this week with coupons and a kind friend who bought me dinner at church on Wed. It has been an amazing year and I am humbled by how good God has been to me.

Hope this next week is a great one in your life too.

A voice which makes angels weep with joy

this is an audio post - click to play

24 September 2004

Being Judged

After spending the day in a fruitless search for extra work I was ready to pack it all in. Unfortunately there was still much more to come.

The lady mentioned in my previous entry called me back. She started with a tirade questioning my Christianity as I was unwilling to help her. She asked why I wouldn't work for her. I told her it had disturbed me that she had broken her word not to call me at work. She said that was not a good reason to abandon someone. I informed her that I have worked many times in the past for people who did not keep their word and did not wish to do so again.

She began telling me all the reasons she had to have gone back on her promise. She didn't apologize but just listed her excuses. She asked me if what she had done was unforgivable. I told her that nothing was beyond the boundaries of forgiveness. Still, she had yet to ask for mine. Too bad she couldn't bring herself to apologize, I would have forgiven her and then tried to find some way to help her.

She stated I could not be a Christian or I would not have treated her this way. I explained to her that I knew myself to be a Christian as I have an ongoing personal relationship with Jesus Christ. After continuing to yell at me for a few more minutes she at last hung up.

I headed downstairs to let Sharon know of the situation. For her accounting of the events visit her blog. After three or four minutes the woman called back. She was still loud and now rather mean spirited. She attempted to sway me with badly misquoted scripture about judging others and the wrath of God. I explained that I was not judging her but that how we behave in an instant gives witness to our true character. (refer here for more)

She said my faith was worthless as I was unwilling to help a fellow Christian. I reiterated I was comfortable in my belief I was a child of God and that she was mistaken about how much I helped others. I explained there were several areas where I gave of my time and talents.

Sadly I could see no way to reach this woman. She wouldn't let me finish a sentence without interrupting using harsh and hateful words. She hung up after telling me I was the sorriest witness of God she had ever known.

Five minutes later she called again with one final proclamation.

"This is __________________, I just want you to know you will never have God's mercy because you have shown no mercy to me." She hung up for what I hope was her final insult.

At that point I felt a heavy sadness for this woman. I do not believe that any one who can be this rude and cruel knows the love of God. Even worse, she has been deceived into believing she is one of His and it will be hard to convince her she needs a Savior.

If you've taken the time to read this all the way through, thanks. I would like to ask a favor of you. Please pray for this woman. She needs God's love.


21 September 2004

But...I'm a Christian!

Today has been a very unusual day. Things were good but goofy at work. Lot's of odd requests and thinking so far outside of the box it could not be found.

My roommate had someone contact her who needed some computer work done. Knowing how close to destitution I hover, she referred them to me. While she was still talking to the woman the bomb was dropped. She assumed that I would be willing to work for nothing, since I would be helping another christian (yes I used a lower case, and not to slight Christ, but those who use their connection to Him for their own advantage). After this woman agreed not to call me at work, but to wait to contact me this evening the call came to a close.

At about 5:45 this evening, I got a call at work from this woman. She asked if I would be willing to help her and could I please do it inexpensively as she was another christian woman seeking help from a fellow believer. Not knowing she had already spoken to Sharon, I was intent on just getting her off the phone as I was still on the clock. She threw a Praise God into every other sentence and really played the poor old woman card. I know where she lives, she can't be poor and live there. I told her I would be calling her later this week to see about setting up a time to get together.

I came home and got the full report on her from Sharon. I will be calling this potential client tomorrow to decline the opportunity of working for her. To those who find this odd, let me address why and how I made this decision.

I give of my time to several good causes of my choosing. I do not want someone who tries to bully me into helping them out by spouting Christian catch phrases.

I have to support myself and see no shame in it. I am a laborer who is worthy of her hire. Asking for and receiving payment for services rendered does not in any way lessen my commitment to my Lord.

Anyone who cannot even keep her word for an afternoon, is not someone I want to work for. (remember she promised not to call me at work)

Lastly, I trust my instincts. I felt unease the entire time I spoke with her. I believe the Holy Spirit gives us guidance all day long. We just need to recognize it for what it is instead of trying to rationalize or ignore it.

So for these reasons, this poor girl is turning down work.

19 September 2004

Random thoughts

Made it to Armchair Apologetics this week. We are doing the Alpha course. I have done bits and pieces of it before but not in this format. We break into small groups for sharing and prayer after the main session. A new thing for me is being in a group where I didn't know anyone. I am enjoying it greatly.

Work is going well, just not enough of it. I'm out drumming up business to augment the rather anemic income. Not to panic though, God is very good at taking care of me.

On that note I want to share an Irish blessing one of my sweet friends sent to me.

Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that have stuck by you.

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

Good advice I'll be sure to be remembering a long time


04 September 2004

Day off

I won't know what to do with myself tomorrow. It's my first day off in ten days!

I'm thinking a nice long nap after church sounds good. Still I should probably attend to the hundreds of little tasks I have been letting slip by. I know laundry will rear it's ugly head. I'm out of clean clothes for work on Monday. And yes, I am laboring of Labor Day.

Still, maybe I can squeeze in a little nap.

02 September 2004

The balloons have fallen

The convention is over. I was able to only catch bits and pieces of tonight's activities since I had to work. I will confess that the best moments for me have been catching glimpses of my brother-in-love on the screen. I was very thrilled to be able to see his address to the convention on Monday. He did a great job and I was soooooo proud of him.

The whole experience has been grand. The music has been good, the speeches for the most part filled with touches of humor. I didn't get to hear most of Mr. Miller's remarks. I understand he went quite a bit over the top. I hope to read his transcript.

I can say I have been impressed with most of the invocations and benedictions. It speaks volumes about the people that they make the prayers part of their gathering.

Now that it is over it is time for us all to get busy on working to get out the vote. We have little more than two months to get everyone mobilized. Tell someone every day to be sure to vote in the election.

24 August 2004

Strong woman

A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape...
but a woman of strength kneels every day to keep her soul in shape.

A strong woman isn't afraid of anything...
but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of fear.

A strong woman won't let anyone get the best of her...
but a woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone.

A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future...
but a woman of strength realizes mistakes can also be God's blessings and capitalizes on them.

A strong woman walks sure footedly...
but a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls.

A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face...
but a woman of strength wears grace.

A strong woman has a faith that she is strong enough for the journey...
but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey she will become strong.

Unknown Author

18 August 2004

Gone but hopefully not forgotten

As is evident, the pace of my life is rather hectic at this point. Between working two jobs and trying to finish several design projects, only the absolute essentials get done. Blogging loses out to the need for sleep. A necessity as I age.

I am really enjoying my job now. I have gotten lots of training, and support and encouragement from those I work with. This company has found the best way to keep employees. Empower them to do the job and pay them well.

Last week I played hooky from some contract work in a law firm to visit the beach with my sister and her girls. We had a great time. I love those girls and look forward to time we get to spend together. I even ventured into the disgusting waters known as the Gulf of Mexico so we could play in the surf.

The one disadvantage in having grown up around the world is missing the things you became accustomed to. Okinawa is a lovely little island in the middle of some of the most amazing water you can find. It is crystal clear and invites you to see all the wonders of the reefs surrounding most of the island. The Gulf is less than inviting and not very clear here.

Still, the advantage here was the presence of my nieces. So I braved the murky waters and we had a great time.

I'll not be offering any more apologies for the sparseness of my blogging. Such as it is, this is what I can do now. I hope you can enjoy it.


29 July 2004

Those Cheeks!

Posted by Hello


The past couple of weeks I have been working six days a week at three different jobs. It has left little time or energy for blogging. Sorry to those who check in regularly. I am still getting a lot of training at the main job. I enjoy it but it is a drain on my mental reserves, such as they are.

I love the new job and find I seem to have an aptitude for selling. Who knew? I always thought this would be something I wouldn't be good at.

I have had no trouble promoting good ideas, causes, or candidates. It was a little surprising I could do the same with merchandise. I think it is because I believe in what I am selling. I 'm really selling a way to simplify lives. This is something near and dear to my heart.

I was able to spend some time last week with my favorite little girls in town. Even though they were sick and tired we had a grand time. I gave each a blob of dough and a rolling pin. It eventually became pizza for lunch but in the interim it was a fun artistic endeavor.

I will try to do better with keeping in touch. Those of you who have been e-mailing to find out if I have died can rest easy.(and stop the flood of messages, you are filling up my inbox)

15 July 2004

Wow!

See what happens when you don't get to blog every day.  Last night I had no voice or data service at the house.  The night before blogger was updating so I could do all this neat new stuff.  I'll need time to figure it all out.
 
The situation on the job is the same.  I'll need time to sort it all out too.  The people are great.  The schedule is not so great.  I'm going to wait it out and see if things take a turn for the better.

12 July 2004

Too tired

Well, today was my third day on the new job. I still don't know if it is going to work out. Will need to see about scheduling. Had hoped this could be a full time job to support myself but only one in six of the staff can do so.

Right now I am just too tired to go into any detail but will try to update you on Wednesday.

08 July 2004

Beginnings

Spent my first hour at my new job yesterday. Filled in all the paperwork, walked the store and then headed over to the lab to pee in a cup. I hadn't done that for a job in years, not since I worked in Detox.

Tomorrow is officially my first day. I am excited and a little apprehensive. This job is a new thing for me. My people skills are fairly solid thanks to spending a childhood always being the new kid on the block. At least I'll have no worries about that.

I'll be working in a place I have been shopping in for over a decade, so it is familiar territory. Will let you know later how it all turned out.

06 July 2004

Answered prayer

Today was a doozy. I went to my temp job and ended up working a little late. On the way home I got stuck in traffic. My phone began to ring from the bottom of my purse. At this point I usually ignore it but decided not to today.

The call was from The Container Store. Tony asked if I still wanted to work with them. I said I was looking forward to it. He then offered me a part-time position three days a week with better pay than I had been told to expect.

I go in tomorrow to begin the paperwork to become their newest employee. I will still be able to work part-time at my temp job too. This is good news for the budget.

I first applied with this company seven months ago. I don't know what the usual timeline is for processing their employees, but I am certain God had a hand in this situation.

Had I gotten a job right away I wouldn't have had the opportunity to see first hand just how much He cares for me. I wouldn't have had the time spent in prayer, or the love and encouragement from so many. I did so many things this year I would not have been able to do had I been tied down with a steady job.

So...........I am very happy to be on the way to being gainfully employed and am grateful for the lessons learned along the way.

04 July 2004

America the Beautiful

Sometimes taking a new look at an old familiar friend can make it seem like you are seeing him for the first time. Just recently I happened upon the complete America the Beautiful. I had never read the entire piece. It is long but I think you will be glad you have read the whole thing through.

America the Beautiful - 1913

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife.
Who more than self the country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America ! America !
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man's avail
Men lavished precious life !
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

Katharine Lee Bates wrote the original version in 1893. She wrote the 2nd version in 1904. Her final version was written in 1913.

02 July 2004

It Means What?

The Rev. Kim Nelson, of San Jose, CA, pointed out that the Health Issues Committee was closely divided on the issue after heated debate. Even if emergency contraception were to become available without prescription, he said, it would still be “behind-the-counter” and require a pharmacist's counsel. “This is not about terminating a pregnancy,” he said, “but a decision to support effective contraception.”

I was going to follow this quote with the definition of contraception. I went to several websites for a link and got a huge surprise. The definition for contraception has been changed. I don't know when it happened.

In 1976 American Heritage Dictionary defined contraception as follows:

Contraception: The prevention of conception.

It is this year defined as:

The prevention of conception or impregnation

Now it's no longer history that falls under the revisionist's agenda, but words themselves. As a long time lover of words this makes my heart heavy. Sure words have had eras where they can take on new meaning, but the original still remained.

That we have allowed this to occur makes me ill. I'll forego what I had planned to write and instead mourn the loss.

01 July 2004

My head hurts

Spent time with my niece tonight chatting IM style. I really enjoy getting to keep in touch with her that way. I don't get to see her often and it helps to keep us connected. Of course my bizarre thinking and equally weird typing can lead to some pretty interesting conversations

Still.... the goal is to communicate and have fun. That we do in abundance.

30 June 2004

Taking a spin around town

Today I got called back for an interview at a church. They need someone to manage their print jobs. Unfortunately it is a part time job and they prefer a church member. Still, the pastor did recommend me to someone else and set up an interview there. This was also at a church and right now they don't have the funding to hire but are looking into it.

On the way home I got to try out some new moves in the car. Some inattentive driver ran a red light and hit the lady in front of me in the intersection. I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting her and the car went into a spin. Remembering all my dad drilled into me while he was teaching me to drive I was able to regain control of the car. Fortunately there was a very convenient and very empty parking lot. My car had no damage. The lady in front of me was pretty banged up and the guy behind me hit a post and dented his car. My only problem was spending a while waiting to give my statement to the cops.

The good news is no one was hurt badly and the little car did well under stress.

28 June 2004

Oh where, oh where has my shiny sun gone?

Even more rain today. Over a week with rain everyday. This is Houston in June. For some reason the start of hurricane season doesn't always bring monumental storms. It does bring our daily dose of rain.

When I first moved down here from West Texas I could not believe that we get more rain here in the summer than they get all year. It takes some getting used to. I had forgotten how to live with lots of rain.

Many years ago I lived in Okinawa. They have a rainy season that rivals the best. Before that I lived in England. Enough said. Rain and I have been friends before and we now are friends again.

27 June 2004

Now we wait


A great place to pray Posted by Hello


Well, the nominees for Stated Clerk have been introduced and the wait begins. I had misunderstood that the election was to be today, but it will be on Friday morning. Waiting is something that I am not very good at even though I have had quite a bit of practice. I waited eight months this past year to buy a car. During that time I waited every day for bus service. For further info ask my mom about spending three weeks in an airport waiting for a military space available flight.

All this waiting gives me more time to pray. So it can be a good thing. I ended up heading to the beach yesterday to ease the waiting. I tend to get out for a prayer walk when my head and heart get too full. Once I was so wrapped up in the walking and praying that I didn't realize how far I had gone until I was four miles from home. I try not to do that any more and walk in a big circle instead.

Check back later to see how it all works out.

26 June 2004

More Cause for Prayer

Responding to a question from a minister commissioner about efforts to remove a section of the Book of Order that forbids the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals, Ufford-Chase said: “I have close friends who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. This church should welcome their gifts.

This is from the new Moderator. God must love us a lot to give us so much to talk to Him about. The next two years will be interesting, hope they are not sad ones.

Check in tomorrow for the Clerk's election. Should be a doozy.

Cause for Prayer

Tonight will see the election of a new moderator for my denomination. Presbyterians face many of the same problems others face. Perhaps the largest cause for concern and prayer is the effort by some to abandon the basics of our beliefs and re-invent ourselves into a more "evolved" church.

My Pastor is standing for election as Moderator. His name is Dave McKechnie. I can tell you he is a good man committed to the Lord. We had a prayer meeting on Monday night to pray for him and the issues facing our denomination. After the meeting I had a chance to chat with him for a bit. He was facing a big week and yet he took the time to talk with me about my job search and how he could help. This is the kind of man I would like to see representing my church.

Also in the forefront are those who want to make changes in the ordination policy. Even the other two candidates for moderator are putting this forth. One has even stated he welcomes the removal of the requirement which prohibits unrepentant homosexuals from serving in church office. Currently there are certain requirements in place for those who hold church office. They are clearly stated in the Book of Order:

G-6.0106 Gifts and Requirements

G-6.0106a. To those called to exercise special functions in the church--deacons, elders, and ministers of the Word and Sacrament--God gives suitable gifts for their various duties. In addition to possessing the necessary gifts and abilities, natural and acquired, those who undertake particular ministries should be persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, and love of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Their manner of life should be a demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and in the world. They must have the approval of God's people and the concurring judgment of a governing body of the church.

G-6.0106b. Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.


Why homosexuals would seek to find acceptance in their sin I find confusing. Other sinners do not find approval of their sins. Certainly a adulterer or embezzler will not find approval either. I have given this issue a lot of thought and I have finally reached a conclusion. I think the "homosexual agenda" is an effort to force others to accept them as they are. I believe they want this as they still feel uncomfortable themselves and are under the assumption if everybody else accepts them they will finally feel at ease. This of course is not true.

I have spent five years volunteering with a hospice for aids patients. I see the sadness in their eyes. I try to show Jesus' love so that they may know the peace of forgiveness. So often they are greeted with hostility by those who call themselves Christian. It seems that many are on opposite ends within the church. Either accepting of everything, or rejecting of all. Love the sinner, but don't condone the sin. Be glad to have anyone come into church seeking to know God better. Keep to the requirements for those in leadership.

Please join me in prayer that we can come together in love and work to address the needs both inside and outside the church.

23 June 2004

Little Princess


A real Sweetheart Posted by Hello


This is the cutie pie who sings on the blog below. She is one of the best things about living in Houston. She and her sisters are great fun. You'll find them mentioned throughout this blog. She keeps me on my toes with her version of life and questions about God.

Kids are great ones for making you rethink things you have taken for granted. If you are needing to get back on track take some time to sit down and talk with a child. They will really get you straightened out.

21 June 2004

Sweet Songs

this is an audio post - click to play



Make sure you have you sound turned up for wav files to hear this in all it's glory. The spelling is a bit shaky and the words change often but she loves to sing.

My Birthday

Today I turn 43 years old. Funny thing is I don't feel it.

This year has been one of the most unusual I have ever lived through. Interestingly enough it has also been one of the best. I've learned much about myself. I've seen how truly marvelous it can be when you trust in the Lord. I've known the comfort of a supportive family. I've been rewarded with the encouragement of caring friends.

All in all a very good and fulfilling year. I look forward to this next one.

Happy Birthday to my Uncle Fred and Prince William, we share the same special day.

20 June 2004

My Dad


My Daddy Posted by Hello


This was a more than a few years ago and it says a lot about my dad. To understand you need a little background information. My dad has four sisters, no brothers. He married and had four daughters, no sons.

Still, he never made me feel anything but treasured, never intimated he might have been happier had he been blessed with sons rather than daughters. Never made me feel anything but loved. While other girls may not have gotten the mechanical training dad provided, no son could have gotten more.

But the even more important thing about my dad was his easiness in sharing his love. He showed it, and sometimes missing in relationships he stated it.

Perhaps more than anything else he made it natural for me to tell people how I feel about them.

Thanks Dad for being so wonderful. I love you more than I can say.

17 June 2004

Character

There has been quite a bit of talk about the man who plowed over a little boy to get a foul ball. From now on this man will be forever known by his actions one day at a ball game. Regardless of what he accomplishes he will be remembered as the rude jerk who ran roughshod over a four year old child.

Is this fair? Is he really the world's biggest ding dong? Or is he the kind of man his pastor says he knows him to be?

Can one wrong move change who you are? No. It is however, a glimpse into who we are.

It is the choices we make in an instant that reveal our true character. How we behave when in the moment is the best indicator of who we are in the long run.

Anyone can make the right choice when he has time to think it over. A man with good character does the right thing to begin with.

16 June 2004

Learning to love reading


It begins early Posted by Hello


This little gal has already learned a valuable lesson. She has cultivated a love for reading before she can even do so. This has happened because those who cared for her made time to read to her. There is no substitute for a parent who takes the time to read to a child. She will have an advantage that will work for her benefit her entire life.

She will one day raise a child who also learns to love to read.

Before you invest time and money in the latest programs to educate your child, remember one thing............what you teach them when they are young lasts a whole life long.

15 June 2004

Once more into the new frontier

Well, I've started a second blog. It will be done all in photos, new and old. It's a busy week learning many new things. Check it out and let me know what you think. Thanks.

Worth a Thousand Words

14 June 2004

Learning even more new things

Just tried out the new adioblogging abilities to the site. It was quick and easy to use. This could lead to serious changes. Now I can really just "phone it in."

Make way for progress.

this is an audio post - click to play


First Audio Blog

11 June 2004

Good Bye to a Gentleman


President Reagan....as rendered in his favorite treat.....jelly beans Posted by Hello


Today we as a country said farewell to a great "gentle man". He was the epitome of all things desired in a gentleman. He was devoted to his family, a protector of his country, a friend to all in need, and a soul who looked to God for guidance.

I count it a rare privilege that the first time I was eligible to vote for the Office of President, I was able to cast my vote for this man. This man who gave us his strength as we suffered through dark hours. This man who joked with doctors after his shooting to show us that we can choose to be happy no matter the circumstance. This man who readily admitted his need to get on his knees to pray and seek God's wisdom. This man who adored his wife and cherished his family. This man who had the vision and the courage to change the world and ask others to work for change with him. This man who dared to speak hard truths and challenged us to do the same.

To President Reagan's family I want to say thanks. Thank you for sharing this extra-ordinary man with us. May God bless you and ease your hearts as you miss this good man. Remember that nothing can ever separate us from those who love the Lord.

Truly the most fitting of final remarks comes from Baroness Margaret Thatcher in her condolence note "Well done thou good and faithful servant" Matthew 25:21,23

08 June 2004

Sorry to be gone so long

The photo placed here needed to be removed. Sorry you missed it.


Time has really flown by recently, mostly for good reasons.

Mom and Dad were able to come for a visit after the Texas Republican Convention in San Antonio last week. It is always a great time when they get here. We did everything and nothing. A fantastic way to pass the time.

They brought a program from the convention and it was interesting to see all that was accomplished. On a personal note, my brother-in-love used a photo I had taken for his page. Wow! Very glad to be published for a good cause.

They were able to go to church with me and I finally had the chance to introduce them to some of my friends. I was glad they were able to meet the folks who have meant so much to me.

We found an armoire for dad at Ikea. To get him ready for the task of assembling it, I got him to put a dresser together for me. It had made it to my home last year but stayed in it's box until dad set it free.

Mom had brought pictures of my sister's visit to Utah. The above is from that visit. Aren't they just the sweetest things? Their aunt sure thinks so.

Will try to be a more consistent blogger. Thanks for checking in.

31 May 2004

Memorial Day


Duty.....Honor....Courage Posted by Hello


There really isn't anything more to say. Many men and women have responded to their country's need by offering the best of themselves. Many more continue to do so. They deserve a country which acknowledges their service with grateful thanks.

Thank you for stepping up to the plate. Thanks for choosing to do the hard task. Thank you for keeping this country protected.

26 May 2004

Day full of things


Little Mermaid Posted by Hello


This is how I ended a long day. I was able to visit my favorite little girls in swim lessons. As Mom and Dad have to acompany the twins during their lesson, no one has been able to get any pictures. I was able to get a few great shots. This gal has really made progress and is diving in the water every chance she gets. I love watching her tackle new tasks. She has a real longing to learn.

I finally finished a long project at the current job du jour. There was great rejoicing in the office as a database was declared complete. On to other tasks now.

Still trying to find a regular job and some steady employment. Temp-ing is not the most comfortable of ways to try to support oneself. I am glad I have been able to use my skills to find work needed to pay the bills.

23 May 2004

Changes

The theme for today seemed to be changes. The sermon was taken from Jonah, which is full of them. Jonah decides to change his itinerary from what God wants to what he wants. When he finally did make it to Nineveh, the people he went to warn changed their ways. God, seeing their response, changed His mind and spared them. All of this seems to be the natural progression of things. What is puzzling is Jonah's reaction to God's decision. He is angry that God decided to be merciful to the people and forgive them.

My sister sent me an e-mail this week that dealt with God's ability to change those who trust Him and the frequently harsh response they receive from others who call themselves Christian. I would like to believe that is not true, but I know better.

I have a wonderfully sweet friend who used to live a very different lifestyle. I have seen the difference in how some people treat him once they learn of his past. It is like they cannot believe God can take what he was and transform him into what he is now. In truth, God did no more for him than he did for me. We were both sinners in need of a Savior. We both need God's mercy and forgiveness. God doesn't keep score so my friend's need is no greater than mine. Yet even now there are some friends I do not introduce to him for fear of their reaction once they learn of his past.

This has gotten me thinking it is time for a change on my part. I need to make a radical change in those I call friend. They need to be others who will help me in showing God's love, lifting my spirit, teaching me to follow and worship Him. If we can't do that for each other we are more like acquaintances than friends. This doesn't mean I'll be tossing anyone away, I'll just need to re-evaluate where to invest myself.

The most important thing I have learned in this very unusual year is the need to be a completely integrated being. All that I do relates to my faith and the journey I am on. Every part of me and my life is involved in loving God. This doesn't mean you will now always find me sitting around quoting scripture. It just means I hope to be better at practicing the presence of God in all of my existence.

19 May 2004

A Big Help


Cute Coworker Posted by Hello


This little guy has come to help out at the office. He has crawled around and explored all the nooks and crannies. He has even taste tested some of the paperwork. Watching him has made the dull task of data entry bright.

17 May 2004

Reading anew

Last year my parents gifted me with a Bible. I have truly enjoyed the newness familiar words have had in reading The Message. Today I was in the sixth chapter of Matthew, studying prayer and what is more commonly referred to as "The Lord's Prayer." The biggest impact from the passage were the instructions preceding the prayer.

Pray with Simplicity
5 "And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
6"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
7 "The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. 8 Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. 9 With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.


Matthew 6:5-9, The Message, NavPress Publishing


What really hit home was the "just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage...the focus will shift from you to God." So many times in the past I have taken prayer for granted and have settled for it to be less than what it should be. I can tell you that this past year the time off from work has forced me to give prayer the important place in my life it deserves. What I have treasured the most is learning to listen to the Spirit. After all, this is conversation with my Father. I ought not to be doing all the talking. I should be spending most of the time with my heart open to hear.

Driving home Sunday I saw something that brings this message home. The sign out in front of Saint Cyril's this week says "you have a heavenly father, so don't live like an orphan". I talk with my earthly father often. He's a wonderful dad and I am blessed to have him so available. I don't call him up to hear myself talk to him. I call to hear his voice and seek his counsel. I want to know what he thinks because I know he loves me and wants only the best for me. But even more so does my heavenly Father, and I would be doing myself a great disservice not to seek the same from Him.

No real point here just a thought from my quiet time. Thanks for the Bible Mom and Dad. It's getting a lot of use.

15 May 2004

Good beginnings


You are never too young for a Stetson Posted by Hello

This one has learned early. Although it is not visible she is wearing a pair of dress-up shoes. She loves to wear them with an assortment of hats. Before she could walk she loved to have something on her head. Maybe the predilection for accessories is born in you.

The best part of her beginning has been being part of a family that loves her. She has parents who cherish her, sisters who love her (well, most of the time), grandparents who adore her, and aunts and uncles who spoil her. More importantly, all of her family shares the love of Christ with her.

Wouldn't life be grand if every child in the world had this advantage?

14 May 2004

Hide-n-seek


A twist on hide-n-seek Posted by Hello

When we got together tonight we decided to play hide-n-seek. The concept of the game is still a little shaky. I either had the two little ones counting with me or hiding with me. The hiding is hard when you have two sweeties calling out "here I am." Equally hard if one of them hides by just covering her eyes. Needless to say, we were always easy to find.

Still, the goal is to have a good time and we achieved our objective.

On a side note, I love this new hello service that lets me add photos to the blog. Let me know what you think.

13 May 2004

Rejected again

I ended up spending the day at home. A migraine came to visit yesterday and has decided to hang around and see how bad it can get without actually killing me. This one is a determined little bugger, but then so am I.

I have been checking out the Pillsbury Bake-Off site to see if I had made it to the finals with my Egg Nog Custard Pie recipe. I have entered a recipe every year for the last 7 years. I didn't have high expectations for this year's entry so it's failure is no great surprise. In order to be eligible for the contest you must use one of the products they manufacture. I changed my recipe to accommodate their ready made crust.

Now I believe the success of a pie is largely due to the tastiness of the crust. I make the best crust you will ever wrap your lips around. No false pride, just the truth told to me by many. The ready made are better than greasy cardboard by only a small margin. Consequently the judges did not get to taste my pie as it should taste.

On a brighter note I had made a strawberry coffee cake earlier this week to take to two different meetings. At both places it was well received. One man even told me it was the best thing he had ever put in his mouth.

It's a good thing I bake for my own enjoyment and am not swayed by the opinion of others. Because I am either a spectacular cook or a lousy one. I know I am good at it, but I do it because it is fun. The best reason to do anything .

10 May 2004

This and that

Had a good day at work today. There was a little guy who crawled around the office and filled the place with his sweet sounds. He is around nine months old and just as cute as can be. He definitely was a bright spot to the day.

Got stuck in traffic and it turned out to be a blessing. I was able to spend the time catching up with my baby sister. She would probably not like me referring to her that way. After all, she's all grown up with children of her own. Still, from time to time when I think of her I picture how precious she used to look when she was tiny....how cute she was learning to ride a bike...how smug she looked while spying through the mail slot on me and the boyfriend.

I think it is because she is far away that I am missing her so. It may seem silly, but I haven't seen her for a year and this is the longest I have ever gone without visiting her. I also haven't seen my oldest nephew for a year. This happens when they go off to college.

Still, I am glad I get to see my family fairly often. I am equally glad they want to see me.

09 May 2004

A Bad Influence

I think I may have confused my niece. I was talking with her mother today and chatted with her for a little bit.

A little over a month ago I went to see them and get some photos to be used in my brother-in-love's campaign. She hadn't seen me for a while and had just gotten up from her nap. Searching for a way to get her to warm up to me I showed her how the camera on my phone worked and let her take a few pictures. She then played with the phone and had fun looking at all the pictures in storage.

When her mom and I were getting close to wrapping up the call, she asked her mom to give her the phone again. She wanted to show me her new toy car. She held the car up to the receiver and shouted "look aunt Jene'." Not wanting to disappoint her I pretended I could see it. Now I am afraid I may have thoroughly confused her.

I hope I haven't screwed her up too badly as I am counting on all my nieces and nephews to take care of me in my old age.

06 May 2004

An collection of unusual things

I know it seems I have abandoned my blog but things have been busy. Fortunately I have been able to pick up a good bit of work lately. This is always good for a gal who has to pay her bills. Even if the work leaves her too tired to blog.

Today got off to a rather early start. Someone out front has a new car alarm. It is very effective at disturbing the neighbors at 3:30, 4:30, and one last time at 5:30 a.m. I don't know how good it is at deterring theft, but it works as a dandy little wake-up call.

The next fun moment happened when I got in my car to drive to work. I had a stowaway in with me. A determined mosquito decided to come along for the ride. I swatted at him every time I made it to a red light. This did not sway him from his mission. He finally made a dive down my shirt where I regret to report he achieved his objective. This made for some itching that was hard to explain to a co-worker.

My boss du jour had an excellent idea for dealing with those who write viruses and worms. His suggestion was to place them in Amish communities. Maybe some time in an electric-free zone would tame their desire to pester others. Until they find a way to power a computer with candle flame they would be unable to wreak any more havoc. A much better idea than what usually happens,and I think a more effective one.

That was the collection of things which made up my day. Hope your day was interesting as well.

29 April 2004

Bad Manners

Today I was talking to someone who is the mayor of a town here in Texas and I learned the extent to which rude people plague our nation. This Mayor is dealing with a city council in which several of it's members have forgotten there are common decencies every citizen deserves. One particular member was addressing some of his constituents by calling them rude and vulgar names. He had even gone so far as to use these terms in an e-mail from his office. Had he done this in corporate America he would face possible termination. Because he is an elected official, no such consequence awaits him.

The entire situation got me thinking how far we have come from the day when two people could disagree without resorting to obnoxious behavior. When did it become acceptable to be mean and hateful? How does this become so common place that we allow it to continue?

Shame on us for condoning with our silence. Shame on us for trivializing good manners. Shame on us for not holding each other to higher standards. Shame on his Mama for not raising him right. Shame on him for being disrespectful to his constituency. Shame on everybody who elects this kind of person.

25 April 2004

Why Kerry can't get the car keys

I finally got caught up with all my news reading today. Did any of you catch the interview Kerry gave out about SUVs? He was asked if he had one and said no. He was asked if his wife had one and after thinking a bit replied yes, but that it was his family's car, not his. This man wants to run the country and evidently his wife can't trust him to run her car. At least that is the impression he gives trying to distance himself from the big bad SUV.

He also stated in this interview that he was talking to Ford about making a hybrid car his "campaign car." My question is when? He has been campaigning for more than two years, he still hasn't figured out what to do for a "campaign car?"

Do you really want a guy who can't drive his wife's car and can't figure out what kind of car to get for himself running the country?

24 April 2004

Week in review

The good news is I had work for the whole week. The bad news is that it was so tiring I just couldn't seem to find energy to do much more than collapse each night.

I occupied my days sorting through thousands of pieces of paperwork creating an index database. It still isn't finished so I'll be returning next week.

I spent last night with my favorite little girls again. We played hard and they hammed it up when I brought the camera out. We popped corn on the stove top in a pan with a glass lid in order to catch all of the popping action. The entire event was accompanied by singing a popcorn song.

After the younger ones went to bed we watched the last half of the Easter Carol by Veggie Tales . At one point when the movie was quiet this sweet little girl blurted out " Jesus Christ." I waited a moment and then turned and asked "what about Jesus?" She replied "He died for us you know."

I had noticed that in saying bedtime prayers with her sisters earlier she had mentioned how sorry she was He had to die. When it was time for her to go to bed she said " I am sorry you had to die and I really believe in you." After her prayer I kissed her goodnight while fighting back happy tears. She noticed my eyes were watery and told me not to be sad about Jesus dying because He had come back to life.

The perfect ending to a very busy week.

19 April 2004

You won't find it in the news

Was cruising around catching up with all my favorite blogs and learned a little interesting fact. It seems that last week when the new Miss USA was crowned, she made a remark in support of the war in Iraq. The response from the press was a resounding silence and a failure to include her remarks in any of their reports.

Usually whatever the winner says gets press play. This obviously doesn't apply if the winner happens to be a Republican. Wow am I surprised! Who knew the press would choose what to report based on the subject's political affiliation?

Put this in your "knock me over with a feather" file. In case you are wondering, all the members of my family learn sarcasm at an early age in self-defense.

Many thanks to Joshua Claybourn for getting the truth out.

18 April 2004

A Good Example

I started out my day with words from I John 2 and they reminded me of many, but today most particularly of my Aunt Carol. This afternoon she boarded a plane headed to Romania. She goes there to be of service and to aid and visit a friend. This same woman volunteers in a medical office which provides care for those who cannot afford doctor visits. She sings in the choir at her church and conducts the handbell choir. She spends time visiting others as a Stephen Minister, teaches Sunday School, has driven the church bus, and is active in various committees. She is a good neighbor and kind friend to all who know her. She has always been the most supportive and encouraging of aunts. So what does she have to do with the second chapter of First John?

The Only Way to Know We're in Him
Here's how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments. If someone claims, "I know him well!" but doesn't keep his commandments, he's obviously a liar. His life doesn't match his words. But the one who keeps God's word is the person in whom we see God's mature love. This is the only way to be sure we're in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.

I John 2:3-6 from
The Message, NavPress Publishing Group

She has taught me by her own life that those who are close to God, show it by how they live their life. No matter how learned someone is in the Scriptures, they do not know them if their life shows no evidence of Christ. All the "right words" mean nothing if they do not live in your heart. If they do live in your heart, there is ample evidence in how you treat others, how you give life to God's love by sharing it, and how you worship Him.

This was taught to us by Christ's own example. He treated all with compassion. He showered those considered unworthy with His Father's love. He worshipped His Father is everything He did. I have been blessed to have many living examples of these lessons before me. I am striving to do as well as they.

To further demonstrate how great God is to me, the sermon today was taken from the verses following these. My Lord has an elegant sense of timing. He makes sure I do not want for what I need.

17 April 2004

Not quite sick

A lot of fever, a little of congestion, and general unease. I'm not sure what it all adds up to but I don't like it anyway. I told my roommate I wasn't sick, just caught a bug. She nearly hurt herself trying not to laugh. We both concluded whatever this is it is affecting my brain. I'm going to take it easy and get ready for a full week of work. I picked up temp work for all of next week. A good thing for a girl who needs to pay the rent.

14 April 2004

Victory

Well, I didn't make it back to post the results until now. Victor has made it through the primary and now faces the November general election. Many of my friends had to drive out of their way to vote as the polling places had been condensed here in Houston. To all of you, many thanks. I promise to leave you alone until the fall.

I spent tonight with my favorite little gals here in town. We had tickle fights, played house, hide-n-seek, and bathtub games. I had great fun but got thoroughly worn out. They are all talking a blue streak now and it was hard to keep up. I was out numbered three to one. I loved it completely.

13 April 2004

Elections

Today my brother-in-love is in a run-off election for Railroad Commissioner. It has been exciting trying to get out the vote once more when we just had the first election a month ago. One of my nephews had helped his mom find his uncle Victor's name on the ballot the last time she voted. When he found out about the new election this past weekend he asked her "we have to vote for him again?" Politics begins to confuse early, and for the most part it stays confusing.

That is why this has been such an important election. I know I am voting for a good man this time. It hasn't been a choice between the lesser of two evils. I'll blog tonight and let you know how it turned out.

11 April 2004

Easter

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Made a weekend trip to Austin to gather with most of my family at my sister's house. There was lots of fun and laughter. More eggs scattered throughout the back yard than I could count. Children who are naturally exuberant made even more so by the infusion of chocolate and sugar. Time to appreciate each other and the silliness that comes when you get that many funny folks in one house.

The highlight for me was being able to go to church with my family. Enjoying my niece as she sang in the choir and played her guitar. That was the what made today great for me.

08 April 2004

A Not So Ordinary Day

I left the house this morning for a prayer walk. Several friends are in difficult times and I'm still on the job search roller coaster. When I need to clear my head and center my heart, I take to the road. It is easier for me to focus both if I am engaged in some activity which keeps the rest of me busy.

Before I knew where I was I had traveled a good distance. Guess I should pay a little more attention to how far I am traveling. Still, the walk achieved it's goal. By the time I got home both my head and heart were back in shape. This was good as I had decided to spend the day getting out the vote for Victor's run-off election.

I got all the necessary voting info to quite a few people. I myself was able to cast my ballot in the early voting. I even played chauffeur for a sweet little old lady who wanted to vote but couldn't get there.

To finish the day off I made it to the Maundy Thursday services at the church. It was a time for personal reflection. I was in the chapel for prayers and scripture with soft music. Then I was able to partake of the Lord's Supper. To complete my day my pastor took me by the hand, knelt with me at the altar, and prayed for me. This personal touch is what means so much to me. I am part of a body of believers who are trying to love one another as Christ loved us. Until I get to heaven, it just doesn't get any better than this.

07 April 2004

Impact

Tonight was the last night for my "Lent in the Living Room". We spent the time in good fellowship and sharing the impact the movie "The Passion of Christ" made on each of us.

I saw it last night and could not blog about it then because I so moved I didn't know what to write.

There has been a lot of talk about the movie, both good and bad. Some have said it was anti-semantic because of it's portrayal of Jews as the reason for Christ's crucifixion. Some have said it was too much from a Catholic point of view. Some are complaining it is too violent. Some have even said it was wrong for Mel Gibson to be profiting from the Scriptures.

These are the points I will address.

The Jewish leaders were what God used to accomplish His will. God was offering His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. The Sanhedrin were just the tools He used. He also used Herod, Pilate and Judas. For anyone to feel that Jews are entirely responsible for the crucifixion they have missed the point. We are all responsible for it. My sin is what nailed Him to the cross.

The words of Christ, the events of the night and day, and the crucifixion itself are taken from the Gospels and the prophecies of the Old Testament.

The violence is not excessive for what it is. The whole persecution was extreme. In Isaiah we are told Christ would be beaten until He would be no longer recognizable as human. He was beaten for twelve hours. It was violent and more than we usually think of Him bearing for us. Mostly we just gloss over the gory details when contemplating the Passion. If you see this film, you will never be able to do that again. For that alone, I am glad this film was made.

Lastly, Mr. Gibson used his own money to make this film with no guarantee he would ever see it's return. If you own a Bible ask yourself where you got it. Did you buy it? Did someone buy it for you? The store and the publisher both made a profit on it. Why is that o.k.? This laborer is worthy of his hire and deserves to be paid.

I'll need some more time before I comment further. Plus, I am going to see it again on Good Friday.

05 April 2004

Healing

The other day I did what everyone who wears glasses has done at one time or another. You have your glasses on in the shower, they fog up and you think you are going blind. Today I had a new twist on that old problem.

The pollen and mold counts have been astronomical. Every allergy sufferer in Texas has known this first hand. Because of this I have rarely worn my contacts. So rare has it been that I forgot I had put them in this morning.

I come home and take a shower to ease sore joints and settle my allergy symptoms. While I am shaving my legs I realize I am able to read the back of the soap container. Since that is something I cannot normally do in the shower I am surprised. I get excited and think God has healed my nearsightedness. I am just about to yell to my roommate that I have been healed when I remember I have my contacts in.

God is good and could heal my vision, but perhaps he wants to start with my mind. It obviously has the greater need for healing. So have a little chuckle on me. Laughter heals as well.

01 April 2004

A Bigger Family

Very exciting news! Last night there was a change in my family. Now it's probably not what you might be thinking. My nephew has asked Jesus to become the center of his life. This makes him my brother in Christ.

Each time I hear of a niece or nephew accepting the love God has shown for them, I can't help but be thrilled for all it will mean in their life. From then on they have the comfort and help even the most loving family can't provide. They have the grace of God to carry them over the rough patches to come. They'll know the joy of sharing fellowship with others. Most importantly they will have the peace that cannot be found in the world.

Now for another bit of exciting news. While I was typing this entry I talked with my youngest sister and found out our family will be getting bigger in December. That is when the newest member of the family is expected to arrive. I can't even begin to tell you how much joy this brings me. It will be hard to sleep tonight. I am way too happy.

29 March 2004

Tired

I am almost too tired to blog, but decided to have a go at it anyway.

Yesterday was a great day. I went to Austin to take some pictures of my brother-in-love and the family. The trip there was fantastic. This year the Texas roadsides have outdone themselves. We usually get wildflowers. The last few years the blossoming has been rather thin because of a variety of weather issues.

I stopped a couple of times and was able to capture some of the beauty on digital media. Somehow that just doesn't have the romance of capturing on film. I love my digital camera. I am grateful to not be wasting any film. I enjoy being able to choose which photos to keep right away.

Still..........something has been lost in the expectation. Taking pictures and hoping you had caught the moment you wanted. Dropping the film off and waiting for the pictures to come back (yes you young folks, in the olden days there wasn't a one-hour photo). Ripping open the package and finally getting to see how it all turned out.

There is something that is made all the sweeter by the waiting. Christmas, birthdays, vacations are all appreciated more by waiting for them.

So, my life is made easier and more manageable but the anticipation is gone. I think I miss it.


27 March 2004

Computer Woes

I have spent a good part of the last two days helping friends deal with an ailing computer. It had caught a small virus that was wreaking large amounts of havoc. They were unable to even get online for help in diagnosing the problem. I had downloaded updates and worm removal tools at my house last night. After running several search programs the problem finally came to light.

After removing the offending worm, we then went online to bring all the sytems up to date. Unfortunately on dial-up service downloading those can take the better part of a day. While that may seem frustrating, this part of the day was great. For one thing, it meant the problem had been solved. For another, I was able to chat with my friends. We even had time for a shopping errand while waiting for the computer to finish.

The day ended up being a great one as the fun time heavily outweighed the annoying time.

25 March 2004

Special People

Houston is a town just chock full of special people. Let me explain what I mean. Houston is a city with many miles of roadways. Most of them are simultaneously under repair. This means that is it almost impossible to drive anywhere in this town without running into a road crew.

At each of these occurrences there will usually be some sort of signs to redirect traffic. The most common seems to be the no left turn sign. Here is where the trouble begins.

All of the "special people" believe that sign is for everybody else and not for them. These people will ignore the signs and back up traffic to the suburbs rather than finding another way around. They will pull into intersections when there is clearly no room for them. They will decide at the last minute they need to turn and will cross four lanes of traffic. It matters little to them that three other cars have to slam on their brakes. These are the "special people " we seem to have in abundance.

When you come across these folks there is just one thing to do. Take a deep breath and remember that God made them too. While they seem so intent on ignoring the traffic around them, rest assured they will one day be repaid for all their rudeness. Some of these folks are going to make it to heaven with us. Let's just pray they won't be driving there.

P.S. If you are a "special person" and you are going to heaven, remember, God is watching. If you aren't going to heaven drop me a line. I'll be glad to let you know how to get to there.

21 March 2004

Smiling moments

Very glad I made it to church today. The service was full of happy moments. Today was our pastor's birthday. He got a full congregational rendition of "Happy Birthday to You".

I sat next to a sweet baby girl who looked about four months old. She smiled and cooed all through the service. I love seeing babies in church. I think it gets them off to such a good start.

We also had the Baptism of two babies and one toddler. This is one of my favorite things. I love to see parents placing their children in a covenant of faith. The small ones are promised to be raised with knowledge of their Savior and His love. As part of their church family I pledge to help support their parents as they complete that promise. I think this is the most important thing we can do for each other.

Just something that makes me smile.

20 March 2004

Wrap up

Today my only goal was to sleep in and wake leisurely. That goal was not achieved thanks to a call from a friend who can't recall there is a major time difference between Rome and Houston. He was very apologetic and offered to call back later. I explained I was already awake so we might as well chat. I had a good time catching up with him in spite of the fact it was 4:30 in the morning. Would have been even better had I not gone to bed at 3:00.

Friday I was blessed to spend the morning with my favorite little girls. We played hard, created art and baked popovers. I love spending time with them. It is always an adventure.

That afternoon I met with the manager of a store in which I had interviewed last week. It was encouraging being asked back. She said she would have some word for me late next week about the job situation and the openings they will be filling now. Please pray.

Thursday I spent the day as a fill-in switchboard operator at a large church. This job vacillates from boredom to busyness. My favorite moment revolved around trying to make a woman understand the difference between a funeral and a memorial service. It went as follows:

Me: Good Morning, ------------------ Church, how may I help you?

Her: Do you know anything about the services for-------------------?

Me: Yes ma'am, the gravesite services are at 10:30 a.m. and the memorial service is at 1:00 p.m. in the chapel.

Her: So will the viewing be before or after the memorial service?

Me: (repeat last line given)

Her: But that doesn't say when the viewing is?

Me: Typically ma'am, there is no viewing at a memorial service.

Her: So when will I be able to see her?

Me: Ma'am the gravesite services will be at 10:30 in the morning, there will be no viewing at the memorial.

Her: So the viewing will be at a different time?

Me: Usually after the gravesite service the casket is buried in the ground, that means there will be no viewing service that day.( I really wanted to ask her if she would like us to dig up this poor woman so she could have a look. I didn't)

Her: Oh, can you tell me how to get to the church?

Me: Yes ma'am, where will you be coming from?

Her: My house.

Me: Alright, where is that?

Her: At my house, I won't be going anyplace else first.

Me: O.K. where is your house?

Her: I'm in Katy.

Me: Great, I can tell you how to get here from Katy.

You get the general idea of my day from this call. Still poor gals can't be choosers, we have to take all the work we can get.

17 March 2004

Lent in the living room

This is the name for my small group Bible study for the season of Lent. I am enjoying this year's study even more than last year's. This year the devotional has been written by members of the church. I like learning how others have been able to apply what they have learned to their lives. Gives me hope that I can do the same.

Everyone tonight was sweet and said I had done well leading the class last week. The one thing that has stood out in the years since I joined this church, is how kind and caring the people are. When I was searching for a church a few years ago, I felt welcomed here by everyone I met. Grace seemed to be a place where folks lived in and shared the love of God. I am happy to report it is still so.

Difficult to explain

Another day spent in search of a job. Meeting lots of nice people but nothing to report yet. I have a couple of days of part time work this week. That will help but I must have a job by next week. Bills are coming due faster than I can pay them. Is it scary? Yes. Do I think God has forgotten about me? No.

I don't know what God has in store for me but I do know He has a plan. I don't know how anyone can make it through rough times in life without the comfort He has been to me. Whenever things seem overwhelming it is calming to know I am not alone. I can't really explain it in any rational way. It is just a sure belief that I am being held in His hand and loved as I am. I think it is something you just have to try for yourself. I wish I could tell you how this works or why. Faith is something that each person must experience for themselves.

14 March 2004

Q-bert

This morning I awoke with thinking my ears were going to explode. Oh the joys of allergies. I tried twice to get up and stay up without much success. Dizziness is a life deterrent. Realizing I was in no shape to drive to church I finally made it downstairs to have some breakfast. When I went into the kitchen something caught my eye on the windowsill. Thinking a leaf had blown in I bent down for a closer look. To my complete surprise staring back at me was a teeny tiny frog. I watched him for a bit and then went upstairs to get my roommate to confirm I was not hallucinating. Verifying I was not going bonkers we began to think of ways to reunite Q-bert ( I love naming animals) with the great outdoors. After Sharon had opened the front door, I scooped him up in a plastic container and then set him free outside. He has since moved on and I fear he will never return to visit. Still, for a little while this morning, we had a pet.

13 March 2004

Collection

It is official! The arrival in the post today of another postcard of rejection brings the total of the same to two. Now I have a collection. One was too pretentious to be a collection on it's own. Two are quite a promising start to what I hope will remain a small accumulation.

This one was kinder than the first, and while it did not address me personally, at least I was not reduced to being an "applicant". This one came from the Swedish retailer mentioned in an earlier entry. While I am saddened to have another avenue closed I am still hopeful. Either I am incurably optimistic or more tired than I thought. Both might be true.

12 March 2004

One more time

Tonight I participated in a group interview. A novel concept but a fun evening. I was at a store which can help you organize your entire life. This is a place I would enjoy working. I love to shop there and am always finding great new useful gadgets. I have also researched how they treat their employees. Keeping the workforce happy is a fundamental plank in their corporate policy. Finally people are realizing that happy people are more productive people.

I also spent a good deal time on the phone with my sister. My nephew is heading home for his first college spring break. Unfortunately he had plane troubles and got stuck at the airport. Wish I could make it to West Texas to see him. He's a nice guy.

11 March 2004

Tidbits

This week has been an odd collection of happenings. Monday I was getting ready for a job interview. The leader of my small group Bible study called and asked me if I would be willing to stand in for him this week. Now, I am confident that I have much to share with all that God has done and is doing in my life. What I am not confident about is leading a class. Fortunately this situation is more about facilitating others to share than teaching. Getting folks to open up and talk is something I am good at. While I was nervous through most of the study, I believe all went well. At the very least, they are all too kindhearted to tell me if I did a bad job.

Tuesday I was going to head to Austin to be with my brother-in-love while waiting for his election returns. A last minute interview kept me in town. I attended my precinct convention instead and ended up serving as secretary. We only had nine people present. The entire election has been a less than stellar experience. I emailed, called and spoke to over 500 people trying to get out the vote. In spite of my best efforts voter turnout was abysmally pathetic. It saddens me profoundly that only a small minority of citizens care enough to exercise their responsibility as Americans. My word to all those who don't even bother to register or vote is "keep quiet". I don't want to hear one word of dissent from you. If you aren't part of the solution you are the problem.

Wednesday was filling in applications and then the aforementioned Bible Study that night.

Today has been more of the same. Still the sun is shining and there is food in the pantry to cook. So I am doing much better than many people in this world. It's good to remember that although things sometimes seem dismal, there is always some joy to be found. And yes, many of my friends call me Pollyanna.

08 March 2004

Back in the web

After what seemed an interminable time I am hooked back up to the DSL network. Wow! The speed is tremendous especially after over a week on dial-up. I am now even four times faster than my previous DSL. Way to go SBC.

I have to zip out for another job interview. Nothing to report yet. I have had a call back from the Swedish company. Still holding out hope for that job. I'll get back to serious blogging when I get home tonight.

22 February 2004

Switching

I am having my DSL switched to a point closer to us in order to lessen problems. This will also give me much faster speeds. For this to happen I will have the service terminated for about a week. I will be back to the little remembered process of having to use dial-up. For those of you who have not gone high-speed yet, be warned, there is no going back. It loses it's novelty and becomes the expected. You will never want to return to the early days of surfing at molasses speeds. That being said, I don't know how often I'll be blogging until I am back up.

Last night I experienced speed of another sort. I went to spend a few hours with some of my favorite little girls. There is nothing on this world faster than a two year old. Being with twin twos and an older sister was great fun and very exhausting. Being considerably older than two, I no longer have their speed. Still, a good time was had by all. Time with kids is great and forces you to be sure your priorities are in order. Best of all is the joy you find when you are close to those so "fresh from the hand of God".

20 February 2004

Thinking

The past few weeks have given me plenty to think about. Searching for work has taken over most of my days, but thoughts of my mom have overwhelmed my evenings.

Mom is alright but has been having a few problems which have led her to spend quite a bit of time making new friends in the medical community. I love my mom very much, and I thank God for my parents every day.

Mom is so much more to me than just a parent. She is my best friend. She supports me in my crazy adventure of a life. She challenges me to try new things by her own life example. She doesn't say "I told you so". She has taught me to laugh at some of the less than stellar things I have done by laughing with me and not at me. She has taught me everything I know about being a gracious, compassionate, Godly woman. When I fall short of that it is through my own shortcomings, not anything she failed to teach me.

I know that someday one of us will leave for heaven while the other stays behind. Still, on the day that will seem to separate us I will lose two people important in my life, my mom and my best friend.

So pardon my rambling and waxing sentimental. I'm so grateful for the blessing of my mother that I wanted to let everyone know how fantastic she is to me.


N.B. In case you are wondering, my dad is equally fantastic, it was just mom's turn for praise.

18 February 2004

Electronic life

At the end of January I blogged about how easy it was to e-file my tax return. Well the story has come full circle. Last night my tax refund was electronically deposited into my account.

What used to take months when I first began filing my taxes is now completed over a network of energy surging through various computers in two short weeks. Not yet up to the speed of the "Jestons" but quick enough for me.

Now, if I could just fly my car over traffic.

15 February 2004

Sundays

I like this day. All of my days seem the same as I search for work. This day always is the anchor to my week as it stands apart from the others. Even though I have had a few interviews on Sunday, this day is always different.

On this day I get to move from my personal relationship with God, to fellowship with others who love and worship Him. This is what makes the rest of the week work. Today I was surrounded by people who love me just because I am one of God's children. They encourage and challenge me. They help me to follow our Father by sharing His love and what He has done in their lives.

This is why I have to attend church. Not because it is expected, or the "right thing to do", or even some misplaced notion of duty. I go because being in the midst of God's people is the closest thing to heaven here on earth.


12 February 2004

A visit to Night Court

This evening I took a friend to Night Court to deal with her first traffic ticket. A fairly routine operation. What made this unique is the fact that she was experiencing American justice for the first time. She has not been in this country for many years, so the whole situation was a new one for her.

She did great and the entire visit was shorter than the drive in to town. She was calm and seemed to be excited to have accomplished this task. If you are wondering how that can be you must know what was going on outside of the courtroom. There were many folks who were lifting her up in prayer and surrounding her in the peace that only comes from surrender to Jesus. Tonight was just another example of God's faithfulness to those who call upon His name.

Her next new thing will be attending Defensive Driving school. She'll do alright there too. It's all in Who you know.

Strange but true

I check out the strange news on the AP every few days. The past couple of weeks have been weird in Europe. A cow walked into a bank in Berlin. I assumed that was the strange part. What made the cow's visit to the bank stand out was the fact the cow was supposed to be at a wedding. It seems that after her ceremony the bride was to milk a cow to demonstrate her skills at caring for a family.

Speaking of weddings, a woman in France married her fiance' last week. The strange part here is that he had been dead since 2002. There can be no comment on just how twisted that is.

A newspaper in Switzerland carried an obituary of a cat complete with picture. Strangeness here is that they did not realize it was a cat. Even with the picture they thought it was a child. However, now they believe pet obits are a good idea and will run them in a separate section of the paper.

10 February 2004

More Job Info

Today I, along with many other applicants, made my way to a furniture retailer of Swedish origin. The wait was long but well worth it. I interviewed first with an assistant and was asked to remain to meet with another interviewer. I took this as a good sign as all those who had gone before me had left immediately after their visit.

I was asked about my ideas, my designs, and my willingness to work. She said I would hear from her within a week either to set up another interview or I would receive a post card letting me know there were no openings for which I would be suited.

So, I am on another countdown to possible post card of rejection. Still, until it comes I am looking forward to a phone call of acceptance.

08 February 2004

Not a good idea

Some pilot for a major U.S. airline pulled a boner which should have nothing but negative fallout for the Christian community. He asked for all the Christians on board to raise their hands. He then suggested the others ask the Christians about their faith. Now on it's face, nothing he did was wrong. He just hasn't figured out the dynamics of reaching folks on a personal level.

I am supposed to live my life in a way that others will see Christ in me. That seems to imply they must have time to know me, if even for a little while. For this to happen, I must spend time with those who have not yet met my Lord.

Jesus went to the everyday man, those called heathen, and the despised. There was little chance He would have ever seen them if He had stayed in the synagogue. When He was with them He met their needs, He listened to their woes, He gave them comfort. He even performed His first miracle at a social gathering, not in the temple.

There has to be a middle ground between remaining the frozen chosen in the pew, and accosting strangers in the street. There are so many in need of a Savior, someone to love them unconditionally. Be a mirror of God's love in your neighborhood. Reflect Christ's compassion with those at work. Volunteer to meet a need in your community. Show those you come in contact with that the Body of Christ is alive and well.

This means you are going to have to move out of your comfort zone. But let me tell you a little known fact about doing just that. Once you move away from what you perceive to be comfort, you will find the comfort goes with you. You can't go anywhere where the grace of God doesn't go with you. So keep this in mind, and find a place to make a difference in your community. Teach someone to read, feed the hungry, build a home for the homeless, visit someone in the hospital, take a shut-in shopping, volunteer at a neighborhood school, talk to the guy in line with you at Starbucks.

Take a pointer from Nike............Just do it.