Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review

I'm sure there are thousands of bloggers world wide anxiously tapping away at their keyboards trying to put to word the joys, pains, lessons, and sorrows that 2011 held.  It is now 8:45 on the 31st, less than 16 hours until that infamous ball drops and all the country, or at least this time zone, will sing Auld Lang Syne and kiss the appropriate person next to them firmly on the lips.  It warms my heart to think of the promises the new year can and will hold, but also saddens me to know that another year is being closed and that the tome will be be placed forevermore in the memory banks of those who wrote it's pages.  This year saw many things for my family as well as for me, these include:

1. The start of this blog
2. My mad quest to read 150 books
3. My children all celebrating another year
4. The loss of our family dog, Dorothy
5. My youngest starting pre-school
6. My oldest starting her last year of Elementary school
7. A trip of a lifetime to Israel
8. Immense new opportunities at my work
9. A roller coaster of emotions
10. Friends made and friends lost
11. Two family vacations
12. Employment and a layoff for my hubby
13. More college under my belt...
14. Personal growth
15. last but not least, the promise of a better tomorrow despite how it was packaged

I know the above list isn't entirely informative, but the detail can be found in the words of all the posts made this past year.  However, in the spirit of moving forward, below are some things I plan to do in the coming year (some refer to these as resolutions ~ I prefer to not jinx them with such a guilt laden title):

1. To grow stronger in my walk with the Lord
2. To become more knowledgeable on the current state of our nation's politics
3. To share those findings (#2) in a blog created by my best friend, the title to come at a later time
4. To begin another blog focusing on my wellness journey
5. To remember that I am only human and that in the end it is God's view of me that matters more
6. To maintain my integrity especially when other's lose theirs
7. To preserve more memories; which requires more to be made
8. To celebrate my 10 year wedding anniversary
9. To not have a set reading goal, quantity wise
10. To enjoy what may come and to grow from what it may teach

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Traditions

I got to thinking about traditions the other day.  What constitutes a tradition?  Is it something that has to have happened for so long that you don't remember when, or even where, it started?  Is it something that you did several years back, a few years back, and then again just recently?  Is it something you decided one day, just a couple of weeks ago, that you are going to start doing?  I ask because it seems that in the scheme of things there are as many traditions as there are people of the world and also just as many that have no traditions at all, and that, in itself, is the tradition. Regardless of how they are born, be it recent or older than Christmas itself, I think there is something almost as magical in a tradition as there is in the season as a whole.

When our first daughter was born in 2002 I knew that I wanted to make everything special, especially the holidays.  I'm sure that I am not the only parent in the world that has these thoughts.  However, making a tradition is hard.  Knowing where to start and what to focus it on can be difficult.  That year, I bought her a wooden ducky as her baby's first Christmas ornament.  It wasn't much, as we didn't have much, but it was white and pink and I carefully wrote 2002 on it.  Then 6 days before Christmas in 2003 our second daughter was born.  Sadly, I don't recall getting her a baby's first Christmas ornament.  But, in the years that followed, as we would walk through the Christmas sections of various stores, the girls would ooh and ahh over the glittery and shiny baubles and we would let them each pick one. Next thing I know, without it even being planned, we had begun our first family tradition.  Then in 2008 our third daughter was born.  I knew then, with all my heart, my family was complete and that we were going to make the best of the tradition we had borne.

Each ornament discovered is as unique as the girl who picked it out.  They get to pick only one new ornament each year, as I think the joy is in finding that one ornament that is the most special to them that year. (This of course does not include those that are hand made or received as gifts.)  My heart was so filled with warmth this year as we were decorating our tree for the season. As I was sitting back and listening to them try to remember where they picked the ornament up at, who some of them belonged to, and what they wanted to get for the next year, I knew that our tradition was special to them too.  Our tree is an eclectic display of personality and likes.  There are no specific themes or colors, just a tree filled with tradition and love. 

Merry Christmas from our house to yours.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

It Is What It Is...

and sometimes, that really is enough. 

There was a time, in the not so distant past, that I would cringe whenever someone said that line to me.  Not because I hated what it implied, but more from  not fully understanding what it meant.  Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I have had a profound epiphany on the quote, but rather that I am now, at this point, in complete accordance with the flippancy that is holds.  Why this; why now?  Perhaps, nay, not perhaps, it is all due to coming to that place when I really don't mind what a certain set of people think.  Yes, I think my demeanor holds that same amount of flippancy.

So, I ask of you, have you ever reached out, offered something, anything, to someone but got exactly what you didn't expect in return?  And by that I don't mean more than what you expected, but rather less, much less.  There is a chance that I have high expectations for others; which, wouldn't be a hard concept to process seeing as how I expect a lot from myself.  However, this is not the case.  I'm talking about validation in the simplest of ways.  I'm talking about sheer common, nay rather, human decency.  Then I got to thinking again, there is a chance that is the response I got and it simply is what it is.

In this time, where social networking is the way of life, I think back to when feedback used to take a day, a week, a month even.  I realize that I am not "that" old, but computers weren't even really big until I graduated high school.  (Or maybe they were and I was behind the 8 ball.) So, as I sit here and wonder why I didn't get the feedback I was looking for, on the forum or in the manner I was looking for it, that I remember though despite my expectations, I know deep down, that it is what it is and only I can really be satisfied with that fact.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Little Snow Begs for a Lot of Patience

We had our first "official" snow fall yesterday.  I say official because even though we had a dusting prior to Thanksgiving, yesterday's actually stuck, and stuck, and stuck, and...  The day started off with a little rain. OK, who am I kidding?  It was like a monsoon in the middle of fall.  I think Mother Nature fell asleep and pushed the wrong precipitation button, then when she woke up she realized the mistake and promptly turned it off and pressed the snow button.  I kid you not.  It wasn't a gradual change, no, it was about as subtle as a freight train.  The thing that gets me, living in the Midwest, is how many people have to re-learn how to drive in the winter.  It is almost like the seasons we have surrounding any that contain snow fall erase all winter driving memory and common sense.  Which brings me to my random thoughts, below are a few I had from this season's christening.

1.  Snow plows are optional until 6 inches or more have fallen.
2.  There is always that "one guy" in the red car who has to blow by the rest of us...yes, the one in the ditch a mile up the road.
3.  Why do the morons always drive red cars?
4.  A 4x4 does not make you invincible.
5.  Do not hold a schedule during the season's first snow fall, you will inevitably be disappointed.
6.  A snow plow can, and will, throw snow across 4 lanes of a city street.
7.  Vehicles were designed with 3 heat settings: 1) cold - the windows are going to fog up, 2) warm - the windows are still going to fog up, and 3) hot - you need to roll the windows down in order to breath, but hey, there is no fog.
8.  Don't have the windows down when a snow plow is going by, a couple lanes over, in the opposite direction.
9.  When re-routed due to road obstructions, look for all applicable road signs.
10.  When there is a chance you will go through an immense amount of standing water remember the lesson on line 8.
11.  Fill your gas tank up prior to beginning your journey - sage advice regardless of the season.
12.  November 1st is the official "Put Your Ice Scrapper In Your Vehicle Day."  OK, it isn't but it should be that way you have it when you need it.
13.  Christmas songs do not lighten the mood when surrounded by idiocy.
14.  Keep a spare novel, puzzle book, pad of paper, pencil, box of crayons, some snacks, etc in your vehicle during the winter...you will thank yourself later.
15. Pay attention to the "Bridge May Be Icy" sign; it actually does mean something 4-5 months out of the year.
16.  Call or text your loved ones when you have reached your destination; it prevents them from calling in the National Guard looking for you.

I'd be interested in hearing your random thoughts in regards to the season's first snow fall, so leave a comment or two. 


Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Season of Thanksgiving

This past Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving with my family at my mom's house.  There is just something altogether magical about the day. OK, I admit, magical is not the word to use; perhaps special is a much better choice.  I love Thanksgiving.  Lets start there.

Thanksgiving is so many things to so many people.  To me, it is a day that holds no pretense.  What does this mean, you ask.  Simply, it means that the day is filled with no expectations.  No expectations of what did the gift cost, does my hair look the best, is my outfit going to meet approval, will I say the right thing, will I do the right thing, am I loved?  No, Thanksgiving is that day when you shed all those expectations and reflect on the fact that; you had the money to buy the gift in the first place, you haven't had to fight a cancer that robbed you of your hair, you have the opportunity to be clothed completely, you get to spend time in conversation with others who won't judge you unwarranted, but rather give you corrective criticism and steer you in a clearer direction, and when you do do the wrong thing, pick you up, dust you off and love you anyhow.  That is why I love Thanksgiving.  It is the one day when the silver lining, in all things, is the focus.  A day when, above all else, time spent together gets to come first.

I don't have a perfect family, but they are perfect for me.  I think God gives us the families we have for several reasons, but mostly because He designed our paths and placed us where we will be of the most use.  Despite all the humanness in us all, it is God who uses us to touch other's lives. I know I may fail repeatedly and wish for a more divinely inspired narrative, but trust that despite it all, I will remain true to myself and yielded enough to His molding and teaching to be the beacon of light my family needs.  I know also that there are going to be bumps in the road, forks approached and the wrong path taken, but through it all, I have God and the love of my family to see me through.

The "adults" table...missing 3...I think the camera scares people off...and then there is the timing aspect - other houses some have to go to first.

The "kids" table...missing my brother's kids...again, timing... NOTE:  these are actually the perfect picture of my kids...it tells their personalities to a T!  Audrey - "Mom, get that thing out of my face I just want to eat.  Kelly - really, another picture, really?! and Lillian - "I'm a ham bone, but I come by it honestly."

A "friendly" game of electronic Monopoly.  Whoever thought letting my brother be the banker, well, that's another story for another time, but regardless, here is the the whole crew, minus me and the hubby of course!

Ah yes, my hubby looking over the Black Friday ads and the kids all playing Just Dance 2 on the Wii.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Today's Random Thoughts

I had a thought process I wanted to take today, but I couldn't seem to get all the letters and words to come together in a coherent manner.  Therefore, what I will do instead is share today's random thoughts.  They are after all, another form of eloquent prose!

1. Sometimes the search for answers takes you outside of Google's boundaries.

2. Relationships require more than words.

3. Blood family makes for a strong bond; don't underestimate the power it holds.

4. You can still love a person despite the choices they have made.

5. If you want unconditional love this side of eternity; get a dog.

6. Children are one of God's way of saying; "I think you can!"

7. There are times when you have to put your own wants aside for the other person's needs.

8. When things don't seem to be going exactly like you think they should, make sure the motives aren't purely selfish.

9. Wishin' and hopin', thinkin' and dreamin' are great for a song, but when it comes down to brass tacks, prayer works best.

10. No matter how big the problem is; God is still bigger.

11. Sometimes it is ok to just let it go.

12. Asking for advice does not signify ineptness.

13.  If you don't ask; you may never know.

14. Mind reading only happens in comic books.

15. You are never alone; you just have to seek, knock, and ask.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What You Don't See

Have you ever just looked at other people; something akin to noticing what they don't realize others actually see?  Now, I'm not talking about unhealthy observations here - that is just creepy, but observation in general, due to the utter fascination with the other bipedal inhabitants of this crazy sod?  Alright, if you won't come out and admit it then by all means, I will.  There I was today, in the middle of my non-routine, routine.  Ah, yes, I must preface this all with the fact I had a vacation day which afforded me the opportunity to, well, observe my fellow man. 

I went to the corner gas station this morning, which is something I do every day to get my daily dose of diet Pepsi from the fountain, and thus my day begun.  As I approached the light there was a kid, no more than 18 skating away on his skateboard.  He was really into it too, doing tricks and jumps and skating back and forth on the side street in some semblance of an organized frenzy, but in all of that activity not really obtaining any real end result.  I wonder if this kid has goals and dreams, if he finished high school, if he has a job, or if he, like so many others was looked over by his parents as they strove to live their lives for themselves instead of enriching his.  Then there was the pony-tail guy at the check out counter who I could smell from the soda fountain.  It wasn't one of those, I live outside smells, it was one of those, I'm too lazy to focus on hygiene smells.  Now, don't get me wrong there could be a reason for which I have no clue, but that is what comes from watching, you get the perception view of it all, not the fact behind it.  Now pony-tail, bought himself three packs of Pall-Mall, which he argued with the cashier over the cost all the while using his state unemployment card to pay for them then sauntered out the door spouting off about needing to quit soon.  Made me wonder, if that unemployment money, that the fine citizens of this great state are helping to provide, could have been used in a different way.  Then I remembered that there are those who fight their internal wars with external weapons, it appears his weapon of choice was a cigarette.   Next was the young couple who were holding hands and taking a leisurely stroll down the isles at Walmart as I was grocery shopping.  She in what could only be described as pajamas, flannel cartoon character bottoms and skin tight spaghetti strap tank which kindly shared every bit of her voluptuous self to all who gathered to take a look, and he in his jeans and winter coat.  Seems to me if he were any sort of a gentleman he would have offered her his coat to ward off the stares and the cold she was exposing herself to by being out and about in only that get-up.  However, this young couple was a good reminder to me that not everyone knows what good self esteem is.  For instance, this young girl probably believes that dressing in such a way is how her beau will recognize her, but she was so blind to what she wants from him, the attention, to notice that in all of it he wasn't giving her any at all.  I wanted to reach out to her and let her know that she is worth so much more.  We are all worth so much more.

I made many additional observations today, but in all of my looking I realized I am the one who learned today.  The lesson?  We live in a broken world.  A world that drives us to focus on ourselves and forget the lives of others, a world that says it is OK to fight your internal battles with external weapons, and a world that devalues a girl/woman to the point she has to bare all to find something/someone that isn't even looking for her.  I wonder about those who look this way, are they really seeing it like it is?



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Procrastination

Why do today, what you can put off until tomorrow?  Or wait, isn't it why put off until tomorrow what can be done today?  Oh, I always get it mixed up, but I do know one thing, procrastination always happens when life comes first.  Here is why: kids.  They don't care that you have homework or even an exam to take.  No, they still need fed, taken care of, time spent with,  or in other words, bonding.  So, what is the one thing that gets pushed aside?  Exactly, it isn't just one thing, it is many things, and for me that is anything that takes time away from them.  After all, it wasn't their choice that I went back to college as an adult.  Nope, no sirree, it was my desire to stay employed that did that.  Regardless, I have found that I've become the world's worst procrastinator and in all honesty I can't rightly blame it all on them, as easy as that would be.

Now, I'm sure if getting this degree was something I really wanted it would be a different story.  Oh, don't get me wrong, a higher education is something I really want and in some sense already have.  Granted, it is the form of a measly Associates Degree in Business.  Meh...with that these days you can't even find employment at McDonald's; which is why I am pursuing its big brother the Bachelor's of Science in Business Management...blech! 

So here, I sit, knowing I have T minus 12h 47m until the deadline for my Finance class on line exam and I really have no desire to start it.  I get 2 hours for said exam and it only covers 3 chapters (the first one was 90m and covered 6 chapters).  Now, I'm looking at that thinking, either it is really, really hard and he realized from the first exam that not all students are doing well or he added several more problems to the exam.  Either way, I am in no hurry to rush right into it and start.  Of course, not doing it now in no way removes the fact that it needs done, but...

...yes, yes, I know...I'm off to get it done!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Snarkiness and A Few More Random Thoughts

Have you ever woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and I don't mean geographically?  Today, I did.  I don't know what it was, perhaps it was the way the previous day ended, or that the new alarm clocks we just had to have don't work in the simplest manner, or perhaps because my toddler decided that she needed to crawl into bed with me halfway through the night thus destroying any chance at sleep I was going to get.  Whichever of the aforementioned it was, or wasn't, I am snarky.  Yes, this isn't a wildly recognized word, in fact it is one I only recently learned, but sakes alive it certainly has the character and unique enough sense to truly describe my attitude.

Have you also noticed that on those exceptionally snarky days others tend to reach out to you more?  By this, I mean, every one and their cousin decides that it is the day they just have to text, email, call, IM, or otherwise contact you.  These are the days when a person can never think for themselves so they must call you several times in a row to ask you the questions you would have already provided answers to, due to your ability to think ahead into the conversation, but they hung up too quickly in their haste to complete said task half-baked?  Yes, you are completely feeling my snarkiness, aren't you.

Then, it is only after the day is lost, you finally stop to realize that through all this snarkiness you forgot to enjoy your day because you were too focused on what you wanted to be left alone to do, to actually do it.  (Circular, but rational, I know.)  So here are the random thoughts my day has drawn a conclusion to:

1.  No one else can know how you feel on the inside if you don't verbally share it, but do so only in a calm and collected manner.
2.  Yelling, fuming, stomping your feet, and huffing in annoyance doesn't remove the fact someone else needs answers.
3. The day is going to go by regardless of how you feel, so get over it already.
4. You will never be able to reclaim lost time; therefore, enjoy it while you have it.
5.  Some of life's lessons are taught repeatedly and yet never learned.  It is kind of like analytical geometry or thermal dynamics...yeah...the subject matter goes over your head!
6.  Children don't get sarcasm.  They take everything at face value.
7.  If you want something done right, realize right isn't always black and white and then let someone else handle it.
8.  Perfection can only be achieved by 3 people: God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; don't try to fit everyone else into that mold - they can only get there on their own free will and the personal help of the aforementioned.
9.  Life will happen whether you enjoy it or not; simply put, the choice is yours.
10.  In the end, I really do like to help others and feel blessed they think I am smart enough to answer their questions, or in the least, they value my opinion enough to ask for it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Car Go Beep, Beep

I realize that my title is by far childish, in fact it is down right rediculous, but it was the nicest thing I could say to express the way I feel.  When a child is small, typically around toddlerhood, grown-ups think it is great fun to teach them car sounds.  Perhaps it is more because saying vrroom, vrroom and beep beep are fun to say and the child presents an excuse.  Regardless, it happens.  So there we adults are, training generations on the first basics of car vernacular.  Why is this so significant?  Well, there comes a time, roughly 14-15 years after those first utterings that said child will get behind the wheel of a car; heaven forbid!  Honestly, I now fully realize how my parents felt X number of years ago when I first started to drive.  However, that is another topic for another time.  I'm making a different point tonight.

Now enter this scenario:  It is raining, heavily.  There are 2 lanes on the exit ramp which pump into 5 lanes of highway that abruptly reduce down to 3.  There is a little black pontiac cruising along in my blind spot that won't go anywhere and we are quickly approaching the "if I don't get onto the highway now, I'm going to eat sound barrier and guide rail" moment and I start to speed up.  The individual, who at this time shall remain ageless, decides, oh crap I better slow down, I speed up, which the person behind me follows suit, only to get into the rain induced blinding mist coming off the mud flaps of the eighteen wheeler who couldn't get over either.  This, in turn, causes me to have to get quickly behind the semi and into the other lane before I became road kill.  Unfortunately there was only one place left to go and that was in the precariously close range of a silver Lincoln Navigator. 

Now, all that said, the little girl driving the black Pontiac was probably applying her lipstick, while texting some rediculous string of letters commiserate to OMG this lady just...letter, letter, number , number combination, all the while singing "car go beep, beep" to the tune of what ever popular Justin Beiber song is current on the radio waves.  The guy in the Lincoln decides he is going to take his $50k dollar vehicle and make it into a death machine, in such, he attempts to run me off the road, I think he missed his exit playing his games, oh well, vrroom, vrroom, beep, beep buddy.

Now I am home, heart back to its normal rate, and thinking back on the potentially fatal circumstances of my drive home from campus.  What could I have done differently?  What possible string of events could have allowed for less rage?  I will never know, but I only hope the little girl has pucker perfect lips and the guy in the Lincoln was able to get out of his vehicle with clean seats.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Time

Several years ago, circa late 1997/early 1998, I went on a group "date" with a bunch of friends and we watched a scary-ish movie with a song in it which lyrics stated "time is on my side, yes it is."  I can't help but to think, that though the memories of that evening are greatly shadowed and the people I shared it with are vastly dispersed from my life right now, that there was some truth in the matter.  I know this probably seems like a form of psycho babble, but work with me here.

Time has a way of being on our side.  No, really.  I know that it flies and it is something no matter how hard you try you will never get back, but it is those moments you are given that are truly yours; they are essentially on your side.  For instance, this weekend, the sum of 48 hours, in no way held the adventure, the lure, the promise, of great memories being made, but it held in it time spent in my home, with my family, doing what families do.

What does that picture look like?  Oh, for certain it looks nothing like your picture, but in the album of my mind it has a place.  I won't have a song to recollect it in the next decade or two.  In fact, I wouldn't count on being able to describe it to you in another week, but for what it was and is finishing to be, it was my time and it was on my side.

May you start your day, or finish it, with the thought that though it may not have held all it could have, it was given to you none-the-less and for that you were able to walk side by side with it.  Happy memory making to you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Helpless but not Hopeless

Today was a difficult day.  My little girl had to have emergency surgery.  Well, the doctor's called it that.  I didn't see how they thought it was much of an emergency seeing as how it took almost 42 hours from the moment the doctor said it had to happen that it did, but emergency none-the-less.  Now, that said, and for those who know me, I was going crazy.  Me, the natural fixer of all things; the person that always needs to help someone find the answer or direct their path, etc, etc.  I couldn't "fix" what was the matter, per se.  There I was the person she needed the most to help her and I had to let her go.  Allow me to start at the beginning.

This past weekend baby girl got sick, really sick.  Due to this "cold" (for lack of better terms) her tonsils and adenoids swelled up to such a large size (they were on a bigger size to begin with - but not causing her any issues with eating, sleeping, breathing, well functioning in general) that she couldn't breath.  In fact every breath she took through her mouth, because she couldn't breath through her nose, caused her whole body to lurch and she gasped.  Think about how a 50 year, 3-pack a day, veteran smoker tries to breath after walking up a flight of stairs, yes it was that bad.  Therefore, I took her to the family doctor first thing Monday morning at which time he sent me straight to the ENT specialist.  The ENT took one look in her throat and said they needed to come out.  So he scheduled her for Wednesday  morning, today. 

So there I was looking at my little girl, who was struggling to do what we are all fortunate enough to do and I couldn't make her better.  That is a parent's worst nightmare you know, not being able to take care of your child.  He assured me that this was routine and that I needn't worry.  I think he failed to realize taht which is routine for him is in no way routine for me; whereas he may go through several sets of adenoids and tonsils a day, I most certainly do not!

So there we were 730 this morning changing our baby girl into her teddy bear hospital gown (which got me wondering why adults don't get fun prints) and I was mentally running through each horrible thing that could happen.  I knew they were unfounded, but needless to say the thoughts were there.  After we got her dressed we went to the staging area (for lack of better words) and she had to go through the gamut of questions and pre-op tests.  I was strong for her here, but the minute the scrub nurse came to take her back to surgery and my little girl got up from her daddy's lap and walked hand-in-hand with the nurse, my insides fell apart.  Then I remembered that even though I had no control over the situation, my Jesus had complete control and He loves her more than I ever could and since I love her with my whole heart, that is saying a lot.

Post-op recovery was awash with emotions, but the doctor didn't steer me wrong.  Her routine procedure, which yielded as the doctor quoted "trophy sized tonsils that the nurses were climbing over each other to see" went well and she is now safely home with us.  The moral of this story?  Simply put, God is always bigger than what's the matter; it's the remembering of that that takes some working on!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Deciding Which Road to Take

Have you ever been disappointed?  I mean truly, unequivocally, disappointed? When this happens is it the result of another person?  Or perhaps it was due to some preconceived notion or plan you had developed that didn't pan out the way you thought it would?  Sure you have.  In fact, I knew the answer to this even before I made the words come together on this page.  You know what I don't know though, is how you get through it.  That is the million dollar question today.  It isn't so much that I am looking to write a book and I am seeking ways to fill it, but that I wonder if there are others who suffer from the wrong way to process the disappointment.

You see, when disappointed the first thing I want to do, yes even as a thirty-something I still do this, is throw a temper tantrum.  For some reason, the inner toddler in me wants to come out and be heard.  After all, there is something that is not right in my environment and I do not know how to process the feelings that I have.  This tantrum occurs, despite the disappointment, because it isn't specific to one thing.  However, what I do know, and am learning to control, is that it is no more acceptable for me than it is for my toddler.

I wonder if it isn't my fears that drive the tantrum throwing?  Perhaps when faced with the disappointment of a broken engagement (not the marital sort, the appointment sort) it is the fear of abandonment that drives it.  Or when someone breaks a promise, it is the fear that I failed to deliver something I should have known to deliver.  Or when another doesn't live up to my preconceived notions, then, gasp, it is my fear of not being the person they need me to be.  Yes, I know putting it all down on paper, per se, does make it seem all very...sad, but it is what it is. 

Therefore, in light of the fact this very thing has happened today, in fact, just in the past hour, I am going to take a moment to decide which road to take.  I have taken the destructive one far too many times so I am going to take a moment of inner reflection and upward projection and take a road much less traveled, at least by me, and accept that these things happen and for it I can do nothing, save for to change my take on it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Power of Routine

There are days when the best thing that can happen is that nothing happens at all.  Well, almost nothing.  These are the days that are started and ended with out hick-ups; the ones that flow solely because they have a routine.  I like that word - routine.  It is a comforting sort of word.  One that implies there will be no surprises and you can bank on what will occur.  For instance today - get up, go to work, go to class, pick up the kids, check school papers, ensure kids are showered, teeth are brushed, and they are snuggled into bed.  These routine items rarely change, at least for this semester.  I am sure the next one will create a new series of events that will define our way of life. 

It is quite funny, not the ha-ha kind, but funny none-the-less how the simplicity of a daily task can make a chaotic, harrowing event pale in comparison.  Perhaps not in the moment, but in the larger scheme of things that event is but a blip on the map of life; something similar to the tiny town I live in.  Why so much about routines today, you ask?  Simply this, a routine is a habit and some habits are good and there is one habit/routine that I am working on setting.  This particular thing is far too important to be just a momentary blip; no, this one has far greater importance.  I am referring to my devotions. 

I would like to encourage you all to form this routine, if you haven't already, but in all honesty today I don't think is a day I want to go there with you.  Instead, I want to keep this light.  Therefore, think back to your day, for those in a different timezone, think back to the prior one.  Was this a day filled with routine?  Did you find it to be comforting and exciting because of it?  Or are you like some of my friends, in such you enjoy constant change?  Did you know that constant change has a routine?

Time to go, I still need to check the free Kindle book list, check in on FB and read some more of my current book before I can tuck myself into bed. Ah...routine, how sweet the sound.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

20 More Random Thoughts

OK, so I started typing today with one point to make and realized that you can't force a subject.  True writing will flow when there are meant to be words on paper, or in this case letters in space.  When it comes down to it, I just have a list of random thoughts going through my head.  Perhaps a bir of my randomness will become a conversation starter for one of you out there, or perhaps not.

1) Wishing to be something doesn't always bring it to fruition.
2) Time is not relative, it moves regardless of who you are or what you are doing.
3) Submersion in anything will not make you an authority.
4) The answers aren't always in the back of the book.
5) People come and people go, what matters is that you remain the same.
6) Friends are those people who know the real you and still call to say "hi".
7) People can never be a replacement for God.
8) Heartbreak follows the former when you don't realize its truth.
9) Reading just the headlines will not give you enough information to hold an intelligent conversation.
10) Being in two places at once will never happen, choosing which place to be can make the world of difference.
11) Busy-ness is not always the answer to boredom.
12) Raising a family doesn't take a village, it takes want to and determination.
13) The road of life is paved with good intentions; not everyone will see it this way.
14) Perception will trump fact in every situation, don't waste time trying to set the facts straight.
15) Reducing your calorie intake will only get you so far - then discouragement takes over.
16) Loneliness is a state of mind; it just happens to be bigger than Texas at times.
17) You can't ever get more out of life if you aren't will to put more into life.
18) Raising children is hard work and in the end you need to be happy with the job you've done, not worry about what another person thinks.
19) Growing, shaping, and forming little minds is not a task to be taken lightly.
20) Someone always has it worse, but still be happy for the guy who has it better.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Broken and Beautiful

OK, so I am moving a little slow through James.  Well, it is has more to do with my inconsistency of devotional time.  I reread James 4 this morning, more from forgetting where I left off rather than the desire to reread it, but boy am I glad I did, since last time (being a couple of days ago) I totally missed this section. Perhaps God is talking to me after all.
 
How many times have you been tempted to think to yourself or whisper to another something negative about yet another person?  Now, now, don't sit there and try to say you've never done such a thing.  You are human; therefore, it has happened.  How do I know?  Because I have done the same thing!  Ah-GASP!  Don't be shocked, as I have probably shared the thoughts with one of you, or vice versa!

Here is what I read, rather reread, this morning, but actually understood or grasped as if for the first time.  (I love how God does that by the way; showing you something again as if for the first time.)

James 4:11-12 says: "Brothers, do not slander one another.  Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it.  When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgement of it.  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.  But you - who are you to judge your neighbor?"

Pretty convicting isn't it?  Almost like a harsh slap across the face.  However, not that physically scarring.  I can't help but to think how many I hurt without their knowing because of my littleness.  By littleness, I mean, that I was too focused on sitting in judgement of them to realize the brokenness I myself have.  Each of us has a brokenness and each of us has a weakness, but God He is made complete in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) It isn't that He desires us to be broken and weak, but that he desires that we seek Him to complete our wholeness and fix the brokenness in us.

What is my weakness?  What is my brokenness?  Oh, I can no sooner pin point that one thing than to admit there is only one thing.  However, what I do know is that I am broken and beautiful because He says so, but I am also made whole by Him because He is always faithful. (1 John 1:9)

In ending, I offer my apologies to all that have been subjected to my brokenness.  It is my hope that God will continue to grow me to a point where this is something I never have to seek forgiveness for again.

Have a blessed day! Oh...and enjoy this song! Broken and Beautiful by Mark Schultz

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Finding the Right Word

As I was driving down the road today I got to thinking ( I know this is typically where all bad ideas begin) and it struck me that I have a very minuscule vocabulary.  I mean, the English language is riddled with beautiful words and though, I think I have a profound grasp on it, I do not.  I use the same vocabulary over and over in the hopes of expressing myself enough that it sticks; somehow, someway.  I digress. Words, beautiful words, words that are fluid and flowery, words which curve intricately through time and space much like the smells emanating from the vendor carts along food alley at a county fair. 

What makes a word good?  Is it one that has special meaning?  One that is obscure and obtuse?  One that covers a brevvy of areas in its quest to be all inclusive?  Are their words like this? 

Therefore, dear reader, as I keep this entry uncharacteristically short, what is your favorite word and why?

Mine, in case you are wondering, is: forgiven.  Why?  Because, though I was lost, I am now found and not because of who I am but because of who He is and and not because  of what I've done but because of what He did.  I don't think there is a more profound word.

Monday, September 26, 2011

20 Thoughts About my Day

Have you ever had a day when the subjects you bounce in and out of are as random as the people on this planet?  Well, today was my day and here is just a bit of the randomness that happens in my brain.

1.  Coupons are a way to get you to spend money you never would have in the first place.
2.  I read today in my devotional that spending without a budget will make you broke, perhaps I need a budget.
3.  Batteries for 2002 Chrysler Town & Country's are not cheap.
4.  Sometimes I just want to play hooky from work, but I'm too guilt ridden to try it.
5.  Some people love spontaneous gestures, many do not.
6.  Cranky old people should not be made the center of a joke.
7.  There are fortunate people who do not look at all like their age, particularly men.
8.  Public schools are not centers for learning, rather centers for the ravaging of parents' bank accounts.
9.  Never assume because you have agreed on something verbally that it will take place.
10.  There are people that have no morals, I seem to find one everyday.
11.  My heart aches for a friend who lost a loved one.
12.  My prayers go out to a friend who is asking for the first time I can remember for them.
13.  Sometimes a phone call is all it takes to put a smile on someones face.
14.  A voice can trigger the most beautiful of memories and longing for parts of childhood that are long gone.
15.  Children have a beautiful way of looking at the mundane.
16.  Talent surrounds us, I saw it at the fair grounds judging hall today.
17.  Making of lists in no way means your day will go as planned.
18.  Peace has to come from within.
19.  Procrastination is not a valid form of expediency.
20.  Some books just hit too close to home.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The First Move

For those who have stumbled across this blog or specifically chose to read it; think back on your most recent relationship.  Do you remember the first day you met this person?  Who initiated the relationship?  OK, now if applicable, look at previous ones, who was the one to initiate those?  I am the one who initiated the relationship with my current husband, my previous one, and every boyfriend/date I had prior to that.  I can say with 99% certainty that I have never been asked out.  (I secretly wonder what it would feel like to know someone liked me enough to do that. But anyhow...)  The real reason that I am asking this has everything to do with my devotions this morning.

I am in James, yes still, and James 4:7-8 really hit home.  "Submit yourselves, then, to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."  It was the "Come near to God and He will come near to you" that had me.  Why?  Well, for all of my "dating" years I was the one to initiate a relationship.  I would walk right up to the person and say something like: "hey, you want to go to a movie?"  Yet, with God I seem to want Him to make the first move.  I want Him to take the initial step.  But why?  Subconsciously I am telling myself it is because I am tired of being the one to make the first move, but honestly it may be because I'm scared.

Scared, that taking that first step and "asking God out on a date" will require me to be someone else.  Of course this is irrational thinking because God never changes the good characteristics of a person, only the bad ones.  However, I think it is my bad ones that are the most comfortable to me.  After all, they have been my security blanket for quite a few years.  I'm going to have to think on this, I mean, I want the relationship to grow.  I already have His number, so to speak, and know how to contact Him at any time, but that first step just seems so hard.  Seriously, what IF He said no?  Yeah, I know, He never says no to the right things.

Wish me luck...

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Price of Vanity

Have you ever gotten a truly BAD haircut?  I mean one that had you running straight for the door of the salon so fast while at the same time assuring the stylist you just LOVE what she did?  No?  Well, lucky you!  For me, this just happened tonight.  It started as an innocent thought.  I just had a great party (I sell GC candles) and thought I would surprise my girls by taking them to get their hair cut and styled.  Of course, going with the flow of things, I too MUST get my hair cut.  I should have known it wasn't going to be good when...

... at 5pm we walk into the salon, there are only 2 stylists on the clock and we are instantly told it would be "45 minutes so jsut put your names down and leave and come back".  So, being it girls night, I treat the girls to a dinner of their choice.  (I can't go wrong here, right?  After all they are kids!)  We end up 3 shops down getting Subway.  This would have been a simple endeavor had my toddler not needed to be held the whole time, the oldest two not fought over the fact that they just could NOT get the same toppings and then the whole ordeal of getting through a meal without someone inevitably wearing some of it.

We get through dinner, sort of, and at about 530 we head back to the salon and the remaining 15 minutes of the 45 minute wait turns into 35 minutes and the kids are getting restless; I mean REALLY restless.  Finally my oldest gets called over and promptly tells the stylist she wants her hair short.  The stylist, thankfully, has the right mind to look at me and raise her eyebrow.  After the lengthy discussion of how short "short" would be she gets underway.  As she begins cutting I have flashbacks to when she was 3 and decided she was going to cut her own hair.  I still shutter at what it looked like and vowed NEVER to let it get abover her shoulder blades for as long as she lives in my house.  She lost over 7 inches of hair tonight...I'm still trying to deal with it.

About 5 minutes into her hair cut my middle daughter is called.  She is my uber girly-girl and promptly began showing the stylist with her hands what she wanted, and I agree it sounds fine and walk back to keep an eye on my toddler, who by this time has all but tore the salon to pieces.  My oldest daughter asks for more length to be cut off, I agree to a bit in the back and then I look over and my middle daughter is having a breakdown.  I mean come on, she is 7 years old and you would THINK she was dying.  Apparently too much was taken off the sides so I ask  the stylist to trim up the back to make it kind of layer. My daughter on the other hand decides she wants it really short and spikey...SPIKEY!  Where does she get this? I'm thinking to myself and promptly ask her, and the only response a parent dreads is this: "well this is how my friend _______ has hers cut."  Uh-huh!  Well, mom won this one and she is still not talking to me because apparently she looks stupid and all the kids are going to laugh at her.  When in actuality she looks beautiful and just like a 7 year girl should look.

Finally, after 2 emotionally draining haircuts I sit to start mine.  I should have known straight away it was going to stink when I agreed to forgo the wash because the kids were getting irritable.  I should have just got up and left and come back by myself on another day, but oh no, not me, the master of let's get it all done in one trip.  I now not only have virtually the same style as I was trying to get RID of, but it is also 5 inches shorter!  SHORTER!  I DO NOT looks good.  So now, as I am having an internal breakdown, because at this point I can't reinforce the behavior I just reprimanded my middle daughter for, I want to kick myself in the butt for not thinking this one through.  Ah, the price of vanity...I suppose I will just have to wait for it to grow back and start again!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Starting Over Takes Want To

By starting over, I don't me with my life, per se.  I can't rightly become an infant again anymore than I can redo yesterday.  In fact I can't even undo any of my past choices.  However, what I can do it chose today as a day to start over in a key area of my life; a life that was created and wanted before it came to be.  What I mean by this is my walk with Christ.  In case you haven't picked up on all the subtlety in the past few posts I have been noticing a great divide in my life, a chasm that needs filled and I know that the only substance that has the power to fill my Grand Canyon-esque valley is the living water, the truth of life.  I'm not trying to be poetic or flowery, I'm trying to put it into words the only way that I know how to.

I often wonder if God has you do a few certain things in life, against your knowledge, that will redirect your path.  Here is why I ask that.  I shared yesterday the three book series that I just finished.  This series really, really, really has me thinking.  It created a longing in my to search for that thing that I am missing, the answer to the all consuming void.  I also think, that though, getting sick is not fun, it happened to give me the time to read these books, simply because God knows me better than I know me and he knows that I love to read, that books are closer to me than people and also that I take written words to heart.  Oftentimes, too literally.

I sat here today consumed by this need, this hunger and thirst to have an answer.  I prayed for God to direct me path on what scripture to read. As up to this point, I had decided to re-read the Bible from covereth to covereth, and am hopelessly failing.  I think the reason for that is I lack the discipline to do it and there are other things that may need my attention.  Anyway, to my point.  I prayed as I opened to where I left off in Isaiah and got no response.  Then I flipped to Matthew, as that is typically where new Christians are directed and again felt no response.  Then I landed on James, divinely, I can't say, but I did and there I began reading.  Man was I convicted. 

James 1:13-15 essentially says that God does not tempt, no he cannot even be tempted.  In fact, the temptations occur when personal evil desires drag us away and entice us.  It is after this desire is conceived that sin is born. ~ WOW!  I cannot even begin to tell you the number of things that flooded to my brain once I read this passage.  I allow temptation because of my evil desires.  Funny how simple something like reading instead of spending time with your children can be an evil desire.  (It is called selfishness!)

James 1:22-25 essentially says that we are not to only listen to the word of God but also do what it says.  The analogy of looking at yourself in the mirror and yet forgetting what you look like was a refreshing take on what the passage means.  Seriously, how many times in a day do you glance at yourself only to do it again because you have forgotten a detail.  Makes you wonder!

James 1:26 Here was the sinker for me... "If anyone considers himself religious but does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."  Um...if you are trying to catch my parallel to this one read my 3o random facts posts...sheesh I feel like I was hit by a mack truck with this passage.

Proverbs 10:19 (I was led here because I know that Proverbs has a lot to say about the tongue and this is the first passage that I came to in reference to the tongue that I had previously underlined.)  "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."

I can't say if I will never detour from the path again, only God knows what it truly at the heart of a person, but all I can say is that in the past week all these variables have led up to this point.  A point that I know I wouldn't have reached on my own, but that I was searching for.  I hope that I can continue to draw on His strength and be the person that He has designed me to be.  (Which by the way is a Super scary thought...I like control!)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Good Book

OK, so I just completed a series written by a 20-something Christian author who penned the books for girls in their late teens and early twenties, or at least that is what I gathered from the details on Amazon. (I started reading it because book one was a free book choice on Amazon's kindle list, which lead me to spend the other $10 on books 2 & 3...yes they are that good!)  Anyhow the series had three books, is called the Lauren Holbrook Series, and well, I am in love.  In love with the author's writing style, the characters she created, and the fact her books are saturated in scripture.  Now, don't take that negatively, as that is a good thing.  However, like all things that you love, there are also those things that you hate, be it the item's yin/yang.  Here is my "hate" list (I know that is harsh and I don't really mean it like that anyway):

I hate that real life isn't like this.  No, seriously, there is no way that real life has people who out and out are happy and joyful and downright content with who they are and where they end up.

I hate that in books, there is always a sweet proposal scene.  I mean come on, not everyone gets proposed to that ends up married.  OK, OK, yes I am a bit bitten here as I haven't been proposed to and I have been married going on 10 years.  (It's a long story and frankly embarrassing because it leads me to believe and feel as if it was never really wanted in the first place, and I suppose that after all these years I should really just let it go, but...)

I hate that due to choices I made I didn't have the opportunity to have a beautifully planned, laid out wedding, with the colors I wanted, etc etc and now will never have the opportunity to redo it.  (But am thankful for those who helped make it what it was.)

I hate that dating is always perfect in story books.  My husband and I never dated and still 10 years later have never dated.  I often wonder what it would be like?  Would we really have anything to talk about or would it be like it now, a day full of no conversations?

I hate that in books, the hero and heroin are always so perfect for each other, regardless of what their backgrounds are, they make it work and are perfect for it.  Real life in no way, shape or form is like this.  Perhaps that is why I love my stories...I like to read about perfection.

I hate that this particular series had God at the forefront of everything and that in all things He was the main deciding factor in all choices.  OK, so I really don't hate that at all.  No, rather, I love that.  What I hate is that I didn't know God earlier in my life to let Him direct my path and chose the right things for me; rather, I took life upon myself and am now asking Him to clean up my mess.

I hate that I always end a wonderful series yearning for more; more of the author, more of the characters, more of the story line, more of my life to be like what I just read.

Of course, after all this "hate" I do have one thing to say.  (OK, more like a few, but honestly, you all know me by now.)  There will always be another book series that will have me thinking another way.  The God who helped this talented young lady discover her gifts is the same God who will help me find mine, should I take a moment and spend my time reading the Good Book and not just a good book.  That the life I have is the one of my making and it will only ever be what I make it; therefore, I must somehow enjoy what it is for I have done nothing to change it.  Lastly, I will never be a character in a story, even though there is a Christian song that says God wants to make a Bible story out of me (and you too of course!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thinking

So as I was perusing Amazon's free book titles this morning... yes, I know it is a Friday and I should be at work, but I have had this head cold for 10 days and it is getting worse, not better so I think I will go to the doctors.  Late is better than never, in some cases.  Anyway, back to the Amazon thing.  Right.  So, there is nothing worth getting from the free list that I haven't already gotten, but as I was scrolling away my eye caught a fun title on the books that cost list.  (This is how I classify it, work with me here.)  So this book, which is by a British author, is titled, "I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother."  Naturally, this led me to wanting to read the descriptioin, and well, now I want to buy it.  But for more reasons than the whitty lines in the text.  After all, I am a working mom and I do enjoy a good work of fiction.

Then, due to my penchant for drawing parrallels to everything and and my need to dissect thought, I reflected on what I do in a week's time.  I look at my work schedule, my school schedule, my family schedule, etc and then I think hmmm...is there anything whitty about my life?  Anything that would be considered funny, interesting enough to read about?  Nah.  Now, I do like to attempt humor, sometimes I succeed, mostly I do not.  I think the reason is my audience.  I struggle with that, saying the right thing at the right time.  Who doesn't?  Do you remember in You've Got Mail where Kathleen Kelly (meg Ryan's character) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks character) talk about saying the right thing at the right time?  Allow me to share:

Joe Fox: [talking via email to "Shopgirl"] Do you ever feel you've become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora's box of all the secret, hateful parts - your arrogance, your spite, your condescension - has sprung open? Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and moving on, you zing them? "Hello, it's Mr Nasty." I'm sure you have no idea what I'm talking about.
Kathleen Kelly: [talking via email to "NY152"] No, I know what you mean, and I'm completely jealous. What happens to me when I'm provoked is that I get tongue-tied and my mind goes blank. Then, then I spend all night tossing and turning trying to figure out what I should have said. What should I have said, for example, to a bottom dweller who recently belittled my existence?
[stops and thinks]
Kathleen Kelly: Nothing. Even now, days later, I can't figure it out.
Joe Fox: Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could pass all my zingers to you? And then I would never behave badly and you could behave badly all the time, and we'd both be happy. But then, on the other hand, I must warn you that when you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say at the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows.

Well, that is me; the remorse part that is.  I always say what I am thinking, be it the right time or not.  I do not apply filters; thus not always coming up with a whitty statement.  Well, it may be whitty, but only to me.  I fall flat.  I ineveitably offend someone, make them think I am not someone who they want to be around. Now, at least I am being true to myslef, or perhaps I am just mean?  Who knows; after all, I was just thinking...

...and now you know where thinking gets me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

30 Random Facts About Me

Hey, it's my blog so I can type what I want.  After all, it's your choice to read it!

1.  My favorite color is white.  Yes, I understand that that is actually the absence of color, but it is what it is.

2.  I love to think about things; deeply.  In other words, I will dissect something until there is nothing left.

3.  I love quietness.  In fact, the joy of only hearing the fan blades turning and my fingers typing on the keyboard right now is FANTASTIC!

4.  I have regrets.  I may share them - or not.

5.  I love Dodge brand vehicles because they are all sexy looking.  No other make/model can hold a candle to the design.

6.  I second guess myself all the time.

7.  I really don't have all the answers.

8.  Just once I'd like to not have to make all the decisions and feel safe and comfortable with the person who is.

9.  I'd like to drastically change my life, but fear keeps me from doing it.

10.  I used to have a dream, now I have a life.

11.  When I was a child I wanted to be a teacher.  To this day thinking about that makes me want to cry because I find great joy in helping others learn.

12.  I have read the Bible from covereth to covereth and can't find the discipline to do it again.

13.  I want a deeper walk with God.

14.  I want to want a deeper walk with God.

15.  I wish God would force the issue without a lot of trials.

16.  I hate that my degree is in Business.

17.  I hate that I am working on another business degree.

18.  I'd rather read a book than do anything else.

19.  I don't watch t.v. - I think it is a waste of time.

20.  I love playing in the kitchen.

21.  I'm a lousy housekeeper.

22.  My children aren't perfect, but I love them anyway.

23.  I'm not a perfect mom, but I hope they love me anyway.

24.  I keep my guard up all the time; it is found in the way I present myself and what I say.

25.  I would like to go to a psychiatrist - someone must know what is wrong with me.

26.  I abhor jokes at the expense of others and do not like stupid comedy.

27.  I am a black and white person because I have found colors get messy.

28.  I'm still searching for that "thing".

29.  I am an emotional eater; therefore, my weight is an extension of the emotions I have.

30.  I am a realist.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Looking Back

I know there are hundreds of thousands of people sitting back today remembering where they were and what they were doing when the terrorist attacks began on September 11, 2001.  I am one of them, and here is my story.

I had gotten off of work at 7am (I was on third shift at the time) and was on my way to school in Fort Wayne.  I had just decided that summer to go back and start to make something of myself; after all, it was 5 years since I graduated high school and many in my peer group had already received their bachelors and several were enrolled in graduate school.  2001 was a big year for me.  It was the year I found out my ex husband had a girlfriend (thus making him my ex), I met my current husband and became pregnant with my oldest child.  Anyway, as I was heading into the city listening to Bob and Tom I realized I was dangerously low on gas so, I stopped at a little gas station off the beaten path, filled up and got back into the car.  When I turned the radio back on I entered in mid story.  And if you have ever listened to Bob and Tom you know that their stories are, well, not always the best and they often prank on the live radio; therefore, I thought that was what was happening.

Boy was I wrong.  I kept hearing more and more, but still wasn't quite sure what was going on.  In some ways it reminded me of what folks must have thought back in the 40s when Orson Wells' War of the World was read over the radio.  Once I got to campus the administration had wheeled televisions out into the commons areas as well as many classrooms, and that is when I realized this wasn't a prank, no, this was terror.  This was worse than any horror movie or story I could think of.  My country, our country, was being attacked because of some unknown reason; mostly because of who we are.

I continued on to my class.  I had Math 100 level something (pre-calculus) and no one could concentrate.  The professor, I can't remember her name now, didn't even try to teach, she just let us talk.  There was a girl in my class whose father worked at the Pentagon, her phone, needless to say rang off the hook that morning due to many of her family members trying to find out if she had heard from her dad.  I'd like to say I know what happened to her father, and even to her, but that was the last day she came to class.  I sincerely hope she had a happy ending, though I will never know.

Now, here it is, 10 years later and I'm still enrolled in school (3 major changes and a degree later) and I can remember almost every detail.  I'm sure over the years more and more will fade, but then again, maybe not.  Great tragedy has a way of impacting people, of imprinting images and facts on the brain. 

We had a beautiful service at church this morning.  The offertory and special song were done in remembrance of the day, but though the song/music was beautiful it is the pictures that got to me.  You really don't know what is at the heart of a person until you see them for who they really are and more so when it is caught on film.  Click here for some picuters.

Here are two that make the tears flow for me (they are a couple of the most well known.)


I have nothing else to say, save for may God bless you as you remember this day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Looking for My Hat

This past week I have been strangely disappointed.  Disappointed in a lot of things, but mainly in myself.  How many people look for, search for, yearn for their place in the world and actually find it?  How many have found their true identity and are pleased with what it looks like?  Well, those two questions are why I am strangely disappointed in myself.  What is my place?  Where is my place?  What will I look like when I get there?  Have I already seen myself and scoffed at the reflection because I was looking for more?  That is truly the answer isn't it?  More.  There is never enough.  More.  This constant quest for more is what leads to the circular reasoning of never getting to the place I have already been yet cannot find again.

What drives this?  Why am I so afraid to be who I really am?  Do I really know who I am?  There are so many hats that I want to wear, so many that really do fit and so many that look so cool.  Have you seen "You've Got Mail" with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks?  That is my favorite movie.  One of the lines that I love the most is when Kathleen, Meg's character,  is talking to Joe aka NY152, Tom's character, and says: "Once I read a story about a butterfly in the subway, and today, I saw one! It got on at 42nd and off at 59th, where, I assume, it was going to Bloomingdale's to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake, as almost all hats are." Where am I going with this?  Well, I have wondered a lot this week about if some of the hats that I am wearing are mistakes?  Am I still searching for that sale at Bloomingdale's where I can buy yet another one that will also turn out to be a mistake?

Don't take this the wrong way, as I am sure some of you are.  These hats don't involve my family per say; these hats involve me and choices I've made and possibly will make.  For instance, do I want a Raspberry Beret or will my floppy ol' sun hat work just fine?  In other words, do I need a prestigious position in life, and all that comes with it or is the one where I have the honor of raising three precious little girls and teaching them to find their perfect hats in which they will get to pass on, so on and so on fit just fine?  The first one looks great, the price is unbeatable on the sale rack, but once you put it on, you realize it costs more than you have, but sadly all sales are final.  The chintzy looking straw hat has a whopping price tag yet pays you back daily.

Then there is my kingdom hat.  This hat is ever more precious, because it is really a crown.  You see, I know that God loves me, He sent Jesus for me (you too!).  You may be wondering why I am being pompous enough to talk about a crown, well, God is the king and as his child that makes me a princess and all princess' get a crown!  Sadly, I haven't been wearing mine.  Oh, I'm sure it is breathtaking and I know He wants me to have it.  I don't even have to really pay for it; he did that for me.  But I have only been looking at it.  Why?  First, my Raspberry Beret is too big for the crown to fit on top of and too tight for it to fit under.  Second, because it is so heavy.  Heavy how?  I've made it so by running around in circles looking for, searching for, yearning for something that is mine to grab and put on.  And this is all because I am scared.  I am afraid of what this hat will require of me, of the person it will make of me.  Of the semi quasi-comfort zone I've made for myself.

Why a semi quasi-comfort zone?  Because I'm really not living comfortably in my anger, my bitterness, my jealousy, my pride, my fears, but I'm living this way because these hats have fit for so long.  They are my beanies, my ball caps, my snow hats.  They are the hats that have "protected" me with their false sense of security.  However, I want to fly freely and flutter about; hopping on at 42nd and getting off at 59th were I will most assuredly place the crown exactly where it should be because all gifts should be accepted with gratitude and a smile, and I really didn't need to go to that sale at Bloomingdale's anyhow.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Old Cars

There is just something about old cars.  I'm not talking about the one I drive, which being a 2002 would be considered old, I'm talking those cars that were made before me, my mom, and in some cases my grandma.  These cars are classics.  I may not seem the type to get excited about old cars, but I do.  I can appreciate the passion that went into the design, the tastefully selected color schemes, the artistry of the details, the engineering of the engine, drive train, and internal gauges.  I mean, these cars were the front runner of modern technology; each one though assembled was still done by hand.  There was not a single robot to touch them. 

Then there are the people who have lovingly restored them; worked themselves to the bone to bring back that note of history.  These people found love in the passion the designer had and took what years have taken away from it and given the car back its life.  I may never own one, but I can surely appreciate a fine machine. 

This year I took a little different approach to my photo taking.  I decided to highlight where they are all from since each car is as diverse as the owner.  Therefore, you aren't going to see lots and lots of detail shots (which if I had this blog in years past that is all that you would have seen).  Nope, you are going to get back ends!  OK, they are the rear shots showing the license plates.  Some of these cars have a lot of "trunk space" if you will, some are just plain "sassy", while some are what they are, the tail end of a car - a very nice car at that.

Enjoy!

1. Alabama - No Car       

2. Alaska - No Car       

3. Arizona        

4. Arkansas - No Car       

5. California        

6. Colorado        

7. Connecticut        

8. Delaware - No Car      

9. Florida - Can't find the picture :(        

10. Georgia - No Car       

11. Hawaii - No Car        

12. Idaho - No Car       

13. Illinois        

14. Indiana        

15. Iowa - No Car        

16. Kansas        

17. Kentucky - No Car       

18. Louisiana        

19. Maine        

20. Maryland        

21. Massachusetts        

22. Michigan        

23. Minnesota        

24. Mississippi - No Car        

25. Missouri        

26. Montana No Car       

27. Nebraska - No Car       

28. Nevada - No Car       

29. New Hampshire - No Car       

30. New Jersey        

31. New Mexico - No Car       

32. New York        

33. North Carolina        

34. North Dakota - No Car       

35. Ohio        

36. Oklahoma        

37. Oregon        

38. Pennsylvania        

39. Rhode Island        

40. South Carolina - No Car       

41. South Dakota - No Car       

42. Tennessee        

43. Texas        

44. Utah - No Car       

45. Vermont        

46. Virginia        

47. Washington        

48. West Virginia        

49. Wisconsin - No Car       

50. Wyoming - No car