Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Rainy Day Story

If you give Nanette a label-maker, she's going to want to make a label. Chances are, since it's been a while since she made a label, the batteries in the machine have run down.

So she's going to have to look for more batteries in the closet. When she goes to the closet to look for batteries, she's going to see the hodge-podge of batteries, light bulbs, lamp timers, etc., and she'll remember that she needs to reorganize the stuff into the baskets she bought at the Dollar Tree.

When she starts to organize the tools and stuff, she decides that she should throw away the broken tool box and put the tools into a plastic shoe box.

After she gets the tools and batteries organized, she will probably want to make some labels to make sure everyone in the house can know what's where in the closet.

So she'll get the label-maker out. And chances are if she gets the label-maker out, she'll remember that it needs new batteries and that there weren't any triple-A batteries in the closet.

So she'll go sit on the couch and watch TV.

(My apologies to Laura Numeroff, the author of the popular children's book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More than a job, it's a calling, part 2

Fast-forward to the spring of 2009. I had been out of college for twenty years (gulp!). I had worked in various capacities at a Christian organization, feeling confident that God had led me to those positions. During those years, I had gotten married, had a child, and then divorced. One thing I was not, and had not been, was a youth minister, nor had I worked on a church staff, other than filling in for people for short temporary positions. My current job was a corporate position at a national insurance company. I really wanted to quit, but needed to have something else to go to. Plus, I knew that the job had been God's provision for me and it gave me valuable experience that I needed after being out of the workplace.

Then one Sunday, there was an announcement in the bulletin at church. They were looking for an Office Manager, since the person in the position was leaving to have a baby. I sent in my resume, not knowing if anything would come out of it. The rest is history, as the saying goes. I was called for an interview. Then they called me back for a second interview. The next day I was offered the job. And I accepted. I could hardly believe that it was happening! I turned in my resignation at my corporate job and was working at the church two weeks later. My first day was April 20, 2009.

Over the past year, I have never regretted that decision. In fact, the first month or so, I had to keep figuratively pinching myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. As I learned the ropes and said good-bye to my predecessor, and made my own place in the office, I realized that it was a good fit for me. Then one day the thought came to mind: I am doing what I was called to do, using the gifts that God gave me and serving Him on a church staff! Only God knew back in 1987 that this is what it would look like for me, in 2009 and beyond!

I am so thankful that God is in control of my life and that He truly does know the plans He has for me. And only God knows how long I will work as Office Manager at Grace Community Church. From this viewpoint, I'd be perfectly happy to stay there until I can retire (it is kind of funny to imagine what everyone will look like by then). But since I can't know the future, I'll just continue to do what I know I'm called to do right now. And I'll be thankful that I have a job, a calling, that I love!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More than a job, it's a calling, part 1

It was the summer of 1987. I was working as a summer missionary at a suburban church in New Jersey, only an hour's drive from where my family lived. God had placed me there, in my home state, serving in the association of churches where my parent were full-time missionaries, as a special little gift, so that I was able to attend my sister's high school graduation. If I'd been serving in Kansas, for instance, I probably would have had to miss that family occasion.

My primary job for the summer was to work with the youth group. I planned and led Bible study for them each week, took a group of youth to Centrifuge in upstate New York, and helped with Vacation Bible School. I loved the pastor and his wife and had a wonderful summer with the families of the church and getting a taste of what it was like to work in a church.

While at Centrifuge, the Lord was speaking to my heart as I anticipated my next two years of college, trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. These verses from Jeremiah 29 became special to me that summer:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

At the end of that summer, I was really feeling the Lord calling me to full-time Christian service, but I didn't know what it would look like. At that time, I thought maybe I was supposed to work with students. The church where I was serving "sent me off" at the end of the summer, praying for me and affirming the call that I felt the Lord leading me to. It was really special, too, since my dad was able to be there that Sunday.

I went back to Belmont and started my Junior year as a Communication Arts major. I think I started working with youth at my church and continued to live my college life, still wondering what all God had in store. The following two summers, I worked on staff at Centrifuge camps, which were awesome experiences and God continued to reinforce the calling I felt in 1987. By the time I was in my Senior year at Belmont, I was seriously considering going to seminary to pursue a Master's in Christian Education.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The scale is NOT my friend

If a scale was on Facebook and requested that I be its friend, I would IGNORE, IGNORE, IGNORE! I might even BLOCK it from ever asking me again!

I have had an almost life-long struggle with my weight. Sometimes I've lived in denial and just let myself eat whatever I wanted, and didn't worry about the results or consequences. At other times, I've been successful at losing weight and even at maintaining a healthy weight for fairly long stretches of time.

Lately, though, or maybe for longer than I realize, I've been having a reeeaaallly hard time losing weight, even though I do all the "right" things. If you know me well, you know that I go to a really intense exercise class three or four times a week. And I've been using walking as exercise for many years. Then there's the food factor. I know what to eat and how much of it to eat, and know that I'm more successful when I journal my food intake. So I've been doing that gain faithfully for a few weeks now, since I have someone who is holding me accountable and reading over it for me.

So my question is, Why does my body keep betraying me? Why does the scale only do what it wants to do? (OK, I just realized that was two questions.) When I weighed in this morning, I had gained back the two pounds that were "gone" at last week's weigh-in, so my "official" total weight lost since the end of March is only ONE pound. Very frustrating!

I know that there are lots of factors that come into play: hormones, age, metabolism, the fact that I don't have a thyroid (but take medicine to give my body what it is missing). So I'm trying not to be too hard on myself or get (too) discouraged. And I'll try to resist going to get a DQ Blizzard to drown my sorrows! But I can't be held responsible if the scale goes missing, either.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Free candy!

So, someone from the local Kroger called the church house and asked if we might be interested in some free Easter candy that they were trying to donate to a church or group who could use it. Thinking it might be some favortite miniatures that could be used for kids/youth events, we decided to go check it out and take them up on their offer. I mean, it's FREE, right? Well, here's what we got:

3 of these

4 of these

a few of these guys

all of this cotton candy stuff

and a bag of these

We could have gotten a WHOLE GROCERY CART full of those candy-coated marshmallow eggs . . . but I decided to leave them for someone who could REALLY use them.

And don't worry, I didn't eat it (any of it) myself. I "shared" it with the rest of the staff (teehee)!

Taking time . . .

. . . to smell the roses. Or maybe not smell them, but take pictures of them!
And maybe not roses, but . . .

gorgeous tulips

and these too

and dogwood

and pansies

Of course, then I got home and had only one, pitiful tulip in my yard, thanks to squirrels who have swiped the other bulbs. Oh well.

At least I got to enjoy the beautiful showing of flowers in other yards around town.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Time is flying by

Before Daniel was born, I started writing letters to him in a journal that I intend to give to him one day. This morning I was planning to write in it (I have gotten very lax in keeping up with it and haven't even written anything since he turned 13, almost two years ago). As I turned to a blank page, I couldn't help stopping along the way to read earlier entries.

Memories flooded my mind as I remembered things he used to say and do, and I saw how fast time has passed. I cannot believe that in just a couple of months, he'll be turning 15! I wouldn't want things to be any other way, since I'm glad that he's been growing and becoming the man God created him to be. But, whew, the time has flown by!

Later in the afternoon, we were driving home from the store and I joked about how I could walk to Jeanette's house and he could drive. He liked that idea, and I would have let him, except for the small technicality that he doesn't have a drivers' license . . . yet. As we pulled into the driveway, I stopped right by the street and put it in "park". Daniel looked at me and I said, "I'm going to get out and let you get in the driver's seat. Then you can try driving the car."

I love saying something that totally surprises him and catches him off guard and that was one of those moments. You should have seen the smile on his face, after he realized I wasn't joking.

We switched seats. I had him put on his seatbelt and check to see if the mirrors were adjusted for him (gotta start him off with the basics). He looked at me and wondered if I minded if he crashed into the shed. I assured him that wasn't going to happen (although the thought crossed my mind about what to do if it did). I told him to put his right foot on the brake pedal (the big one on the left) and to shift into "drive". Then I told him to slowly lift his foot off the brake pedal and let the car roll forward. We drove forward a few feet and then I had him shift into "reverse" and back up to where we'd started (in my mind hoping he wouldn't go barreling backward into the street or the neighbor's driveway across the street). He was cautious and we went slowly backward. Then I had him shift back into "drive" and go forward all the way to the basketball goal. Except for a couple of hard stops, he did great!

I know he'll be a good driver and I'm not too anxious about future lessons I'll be giving him as he learns to drive. I just can't believe it's my CR-V he's behind the wheel of and not his little red and yellow Little Tykes Cozy Coupe!


On our way home from the Good Friday services last night, Daniel told me that he loves our church. This wasn't the first time he's said that, nor was it too suprising to me. I was glad to hear him say it at that moment, though, since we had been at the church for longer than just one service and he had been recruited to help with various things that were going on behind the scenes. Now that he's a "staff kid", it made me even happier to know that he didn't mind the extra time spent at church.

As we continued to drive, I asked him what were his top ten favorite things about our church. His answer was:


Then he said,

All I could do was smile.