Friday, November 30, 2007

Does anybody know?

For the past couple of years our pastor, Rob Ketterling, has made it his goal to read 100 books. We're not talking Kindergarten fiction here, we're talking serious books - interesting looking books. Pastor Rob is a reader. I am a reader wanna be. When I've traveled on mission teams with him, he'll take a walk around the plane about seven hours into a flight and say, "so far, I've written my sermon for next week, taken a nap, and finished three books." Oh please, I'm generally on page 50 by then and have taken two or three naps. (I think I take shorter naps than he does.)

Don't get me wrong though, my reading issue only pertains to non-fiction books. Set a novel in my hands and I'll read until I need to hold my eyelids open with toothpicks. I don't even allow myself to read fiction at home because then everything falls apart until I'm done with the book. I save fiction reading for trips, which makes traveling even more fun. I LOVE fiction books. Still, I'm a painfully slow reader.

At the beginning of 2007 I decided to set a goal for reading non-fiction books. I have a few dozen on my shelves as I purchase them regularly with great intentions of reading them. And, in my defense, I have read parts of many books but, generally I get side tracked part way through. I'm sure you are wondering what my goal is for 2007. It's four. I know, I know, not too many but truly, this is a lofty goal for me. Oh, and my rule is I have to read them from cover to cover.

So, the good news is that I know I've finished FIVE books as of this evening. The bad news is, I only remember the titles of four of them. This is driving me nuts! So, if I shared with you (probably this summer) the name of a book I was reading would you let me know what it is? Seriously, how can I forget the title of one of FIVE books? I can see forgetting it's general content, but the title? Aagh!!!

Here are the ones I remember reading:
Every Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge
In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
Bonding with the Blonde Women by Ellie Lafaro
90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper

I still have a few chapters left in a Beth Moore book and I'm halfway through another book by Kay Cole James. Both are great books but I seem to be experiencing my typical reading A.D.D. with them. With some perserverance I'll finish the Beth Moore book by the end of the year, getting my total to six! That is of course, if I can actually count the one I don't remember.

I have a stack of books waiting for me to read in 2008. I'll set a higher goal for next year but it still won't be 100. I'll leave that for Pastor Rob.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fancy meeting you here. . .

I attended a conference at our church yesterday for pastors and other leadership people. It was a great conference, but that's not what my blog is about. There were a number of women at the conference and during each break I managed to find myself in line with all the other women needing to "rest" in the restrooms for a moment. I attend a fair number of conferences each year and truthfully, the amount of time I spend in line for the restrooms would equal many days of my life. So, I figure that since I'm taking precious time out of my life to hang out in line, I should get to know the people there. I've met some fun and fascinating people in restrooms over the years. Yesterday was no exception. Yesterday, a woman walked into the restroom behind me and she looked like someone with whom I could strike up a conversation. Not everyone wants to talk while in line. I can't figure that out. Seriously, what else are they going to do? Contemplate the urgency of the situation? Anyway, this woman looked friendly enough so I asked her what church she was from. She told me she was a missionary to Thailand. I happen to know a woman who is a missionary in Thailand. I met her four years ago, we chatted back then, she bought a few Creative Memories products from me, and then headed back to Thailand. We've emailed a few times over the years but obviously don't see each other much. So, I asked this woman if she knows my friend in Thailand. Not only did she know her, she WAS her! What a hoot. Neither one of us recognized each other - apparently, we'd both changed more in four years than we thought - but it was fun to run into her and catch up. Later in the day, I met a woman whose son is on the deacon board with me. She was a lovely woman and I enjoyed getting to know her a little. So, it turns out, all of my time in line yesterday was not a waste. It makes me wonder how men ever get to know anyone. There is never a line for their restroom.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A standing ovation. . .

Generally speaking, standing ovations crack me up. At the end of every concert, regardless of who is performing, the "star" says good night and walks off the stage. The audience erupts in applause and comes to it's feet, encouraging the performer to reappear and do a couple more songs. Of course, the "star" reappears and continues the performance and everyone in the audience is excited, with the possible exception of those who are really tired, or who have to leave to take the babysitter home.

Today, I wanted to give a standing ovation to a different type of star. A real hero in my book. At MOM's group at our church this morning, it was announced that Nancy Dickey had returned from a one-year stint overseas in service to our country. I don't know Nancy well. We've talked only a couple of times, but I remember how sad I was when I heard that she had been called into active duty, which required her to leave her family (a husband and 3 kids.) I don't know that I could have done that when my kids were little. I'm sure she missed a lot of ball games, concerts, and just plain fun with her family in her effort to protect mine.

I don't know what stopped me from my standing ovation this morning, but Nancy, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You, and the rest of the service people, regardless of where they serve, are my heroes. Whenever I see you, remember that there is a standing ovation going on in my heart. You are a true "star!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A day of celebrations

Yesterday was a day of celebrations. It started with a bridal shower, held by my friend, Debbie, for our soon to be daughter-in-law, Heidi. What a great time! I am blessed to have so many family and friends who could come and celebrate Adam and Heidi's upcoming marriage and bless Heidi with beautiful and thoughtful gifts.

After the shower, we went out to dinner with Heidi, Adam, Heidi's parents, and our other daughter-in-law, Erin (married to Paul who was out of town working.) Erin recently had a birthday, which we'd not had time yet to celebrate, so at dinner she opened her presents from us. Good thing we gave her Sara Groves' new CD. She was planning to buy it at the CD release concert that we were headed to after dinner.

We ended the day at the concert. Sara is one of the most real performers I've ever seen. She's honest, sweet, and has such a great heart for the Lord.

Throughout the day I couldn't help but think how blessed I am to soon have two wonderful daughter-in-laws whom I love, who love me, but more importantly love the Lord. I am doubly blessed!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Can't I pay someone to do this?

I haven't blogged for the past few days because of computer issues. Numerous problems really. The keyboard went gimpy on me. The space bar would only work if you hit it on the left side. I never really thought about how I hit the space bar before but apparently, since I'm right handed, I hit it, generally, with my right thumb. Everything else worked but for a couple of days I had to hit it with my left thumb and it really slowed me down and messed me up. Not only did it slow me down, but I started actually typing backwards. I'd type "ot" for to, and "ti" for it. It probably would have created new brain waves had I continued with my old keyboard, but seriously, I don't have time for that.

In addition to my keyboard issue, my printer seemed to be developing a major attitude and quite frankly, I'd had enough. So, last night, I went out and bought a new printer, keyboard and mouse. My other mouse worked just fine but I found a new "ergonomic" mouse that is supposed to be better for your hand and wrist. Since my chiropractor suggested it, I decided to make the switch all at once. Today was the day I had set aside to deal with electronics. I had hoped to quickly install the new printer, keyboard and mouse and then spend some time getting to know my new cell phone that has been sitting in a box for a week.

I started with the printer which required first that I get it out of the box. This process alone required some major tugging and pushing, and I set the "additional pieces" on the floor around me as I unloaded everything. I finally freed the printer from the Styrofoam in the box and set it on the desk. It had strict instructions NOT to plug in the USB cord until I had completed the rest of the installation. This wouldn't be a problem because I hadn't bought a USB cord. I mistakenly made the assumption that since I already had a printer, the cord connecting to the computer would be the same as I would need for this printer. This was the first of many bad assumptions. After a trip to a local computer store for a USB cord, I was back in business. Now where was that printer driver? Oops, it was now sitting on the floor, UNDER my desk chair wheel. Fortunately, it is strong and still in working order when I found it.

Next, I put the CD in the computer and started the installation process. All was going well, it was 96% complete when I was instructed to plug in the USB cord. This began the first of many trips under the desk. In order to plug in the USB cord I had to turn the computer so I could see the back and find the spot. In the process, I accidentally pushed the eject button on the CD drive, thus stopping the installation process! The other problem I noticed was an extreme amount of dust building up on the back of my computer. That can't be good for it, so I decided I'd need to go get the vacuum and clean it up a little bit. So, vacuuming completed, and USB cord in, I decided to try the printer to see if it works in spite of the disk ejection issue. I quickly typed "help" in MS Word and pushed print. It worked great so I decided not to worry about the fact that I'd disturbed the installation process.

Now, onto the mouse. My next incorrect assumption was that since I'd be installing a new mouse and keyboard, the old mouse could be unplugged. What was I thinking? Back under the desk I went to plug the mouse and keyboard back in. I wasn't counting but I think this about my 15th trip under the desk. In addition to the general pain of crawling under a desk, getting a flashlight so I can see, finding some glasses to help my aging eyes, and hitting my head on the desk as I climb back out, there was about 8 layers of dust that had piled up (seriously, it's hard to vacuum around cords and the like.) So, by now, I'm starting to itch from the dust, but I must press on. The mouse installed quickly and easily but required that I restart the computer to complete installation. That seemed easy enough, until it started up again.

Once the computer came back on, a note popped up to inform me that my installation of the printer didn't go quite right. It would now automatically see if it could fix the problem. I tried to tell the computer it worked just fine but it forged ahead in its diagnostics. This looked like it would take awhile so I went to take a nap. A half hour later I returned to the mess in my office to the cheery note that they computer was unable to figure out the problem so I'd have to uninstall the printer and start over. NOOOOO!! It didn't leave me the option of telling it how stupid it was being so I just pressed the key to continue. When all was said and done, the computer said it had uninstalled the printer but the printer was still listed in the printer folder and when I typed "help" again, it printed it out in record time. Phew!

By now, I had to leave to meet a friend for dinner, knowing that when I came home, I'd have to start with the keyboard. That went well, and only required one or two trips under the desk. The new keyboard has some really cool features, my favorite is a button that automatically brings the calculator right up. I do use the calculator a lot so this could save me minutes in a year. I'm so excited!

All of this brings me to my title question. Can't I pay someone to do this? Would it be cheaper in the long run to get some geek guy over here? I don't suppose he would have taken the time out to vacuum along the way, nor would he have the same feeling of accomplishment. Romans 5 says that perseverance produces character. I'm sure I have more character tonight.

The phone? It'll have to wait for another day or two. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Spiritual Consumerism

I had the incredible privilege of spending some time talking with Sara Groves before she spoke for Chick Night at our church, River Valley Church, on Sunday evening. We got to talking about Africa and mission trips and how when you go to Africa it puts life into a different perspective. When you see children fighting over an empty water bottle, it changes you. As we were talking, Sara mentioned "spiritual consumerism." Yes, we have a lot of "stuff" in America, but we also have the incredible privilege of being able to openly read our Bibles, attend church, go to conferences, etc. and what do we do with that? What do we do with all we are able to learn about God? Do we share it, or keep it to ourselves?

One other thing that Sara shared while she was speaking was how people look at evil (or bad things happening to good people) and say, "where is God in all of this?" Wow, I've thought that myself. She quoted someone else's response to this question, and I wish I could tell you who, but the response was this, "Instead of asking where is God, our real question should be, where are God's people?" A powerful question!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My son, my son

Was it Jimmy Durante that used to say "my son, my son?" I can't remember, but I know it was someone famous like that. Anyway, my son, o.k. our son, Adam, came home for a visit this weekend. His bride-to-be is out of town at a conference so I guess we're his next best choice for people to hang out with. I'm perfectly fine with being #2 on his list. We still offer the cheapest accommodations, the best food (when Adam helps cook), and a free washer and dryer, which, thankfully, he's well trained in using. I realized when he came home that this will be our last chance to have him here for some quality time before his wedding. As we played cribbage on Friday night I mentioned that to him and said, "It's kind of sad, really." to which he replied, "well, not really." I'm guessing that the six weeks until his wedding won't go fast enough for him. We can't wait, either, to welcome Heidi into our family.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Don't quit

Writing a blog doesn't seem so difficult to me, but writing my first blog has proven to be challenging. It's like writing the opening sentence in my Christmas letter every year. How to start? Last night John and I watched the movie "Facing the Giants." This movie came out last year and I have to say, it'll never win an academy award. But, what it lacks in acting skill and special effects it greatly makes up for in spiritual truths. I ended up replaying parts of it this morning so I could take notes. "Facing the Giants" is the story of a losing football team and how they turned it around. I don't want to spoil the movie if you haven't seen it but there are three quotes from the movie that I want to comment on.

1. "Your actions will always follow your beliefs." - Wow, how are my beliefs limiting me? I have some big dreams but unless I believe they will come true, I won't even put forth the effort to make them come true. I'm not going to tell you what they are right now (this is just my first blog, afterall) but as time goes by I hope to share with you some of my successes.

2. "I resolve to give God everything I've got and leave the results up to Him." - I have to admit there have been times that I've let fear or fatigue keep me from giving God everything I've got. What more could I do for Him if I just gave Him my very best effort 100% of the time?

3. "Don't quit 'til you've got nothing left." - This was by far my favorite quote in the movie. I've actually had women tell me that they didn't have any dreams left, or didn't know how God wanted to use them, or that they were too old to have big dreams anymore. My response to them has always been, "when God is through using you on this earth, then He will take you home." Don't quit, my friend. God has great things in store for you. Imagine what He'll do with your life if you give it to him and DON'T QUIT! There are days when I'm ready to give up, take an extended nap, and let someone else do the work but then I remember that God has something planned for ME to do. I can't quit, I won't quit, I will keep doing whatever God calls me to do until the day I fall into His arms.