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Archive for the ‘Life in general’ Category

This week of the year always, always seems to be the craziest. In the shower this morning, my thoughts were running something like this:

GLOW rally this weekend! Ack! Food, check… video montage, check… glow-in-the-dark bracelets? No! Got to go buy glow-in-the-dark bracelets… T-shirts? Well, they’re on their way… should I call and check on them? Maybe…

And thinking of calling and checking on things, why has Swamp John’s not called me back? Need that catfish for the Tornado Relief Benefit Concert! I know it’s short notice… the tornado was short notice! Give me a break, Swamp John’s!

Thinking of breaks, I could use my lunch break to buy a mother’s day present. Drat! Mothers’ Day! What to buy?!? And thinking of mothers, I am a horrible mother! Between a full-time job and GLOW prep, I’ve barely seen my son all week!

I’ve also barely thought about the GRADUATION BANQUET on Sunday… sigh… how in the world am I going to pull that off? Decorations… food… maybe that’s what I should do on my lunch break. Or maybe I should send some more queries…

No. Queries have to wait until after the weekend. [argues with self] But I’m THIRTY-TWO! If I don’t send out queries now, I’m going to be EIGHTY before I’m finally published!

And on and on it goes.

Then I remembered what the wonderful Kate said in The Cutting Edge (a classic, by the way… find it and watch it! today!): “Sometimes all you need is a little flip.”

I’m getting to spend the whole weekend with a couple hundred of the world’s great teenagers. Flip.

I’m organizing tornado relief efforts because I was blessed enough to not have to be relieved. Flip.

I have the world’s most amazing mother. The definition of giving. And the world’s most adorable son. Flip flip.

The graduation banquet will get done, and some of my favorite kiddos will get graduated. Flip.

I’ve written a book that I love. The future is in front of me. And I’m only thirty-two. Flip flip flip.

I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

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>If I could live in any movie world, I would choose to live out my days as Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail”. I mean, a movie that includes Pride and Prejudice, a children’s book store, Joni Mitchell music, Tom Hanks, twinkle lights, coffee… AND all the lead females wear tights every single day? I’ve not been to heaven, but it must be something like that.

I’m pretty sure that I could use a quote from the movie to answer almost any question you could ask. They’re appropriate for almost any situation. For instance…

When at a party… “That caviar is a garnish!” When someone asks the importance of Starbucks… “so people who don’t know who on earth they are or what in the world they’re doing can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an utterly defining sense of self… Tall! Decaf! Cappuccino!” When talking to your soulmate… “One hundred fifty-two insights into my soul!” When discussing finances… “If you need more, ask me. I’m very rich. I bought intel at 6.” When complimented… “Thank your, ladies and gentlemen.” When considering whether to read any Jane Austen novel… “Read it. I know you’ll love it.” When you need to make a hasty exit: “This place is a tomb. I’m going to the nut shop where it’s fun.” When discussing relationships… “Oh yeah, right, it’s a snap to find the one single person in the world who fills your heart with joy.” When shushed during a movie… “A HOT DOG is singing. You need quiet while a HOT DOG is singing?”
But there are also some real truths in YGM; things I think about in the dead of night. In fact, I believe I started this blog with one of them many moons ago. Like this: “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?” Or this: Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?” The irony, of course, is that so much of my life reminds me of something I watched on YGM, when shouldn’t that be the other way around? I’ve never quite figured out the answer.
I could go on. It’s the movie that, sad as it may be, sort of defines my life. What movie defines your life? In the words of Kathleen Kelly, “I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So, goodnight, dear void.”

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>Well… hello. To say that I am a terrible blogger would be so much of an understatement that I’ll forego the apologies and just say that, after over a YEAR, I’ve decided to start blogging again. I have so much to say (read: write about) that the blogosphere is calling my name. So here I am.

What’s happened in the past year? There’s really no way to describe how much my life has changed since my last post. I’ve thought about it for some time, and the only way I can think to sum it all up is this: in the past year, I’ve come home.
On January 1 of last year, we started a new work with the Killen Church of Christ. We started out full of excitement and anticipation, with a little apprehension thrown in for good measure. And what we quickly realized was that everything about Killen – the people, the elders, the programs, the mission, just everything – was exactly right for us. Ever since I graduated from high school, when people ask, “What’s your home congregation?”, I have told them Rogersville. And that is still true in the sense that it is and always will be the church that helped mold me into who I am. But sometime in the past year, before I even realized it, the answer to that question somehow became Killen. It’s home. It’s where we belong. And we are so grateful.
And only a few weeks after that amazing life change, we discovered that we were expecting. A baby, that is. Back the truck up… now there’s a life change for ya! It would be impossible to go back and relive all the incredible emotions (and incredible weight gain) of the next several months. But if you’ll allow me to fast forward to November 2, our precious boy was born. Brennan is the cutest little thing you have ever seen. I guarantee it. I know I’m his momma, but it’s still the truth. And again, it’s been like coming home. He just makes everything click. Having a kid forces you to slow down (even if you thought you already did), and it forces you to “ponder these things in your heart”. We have nightly rituals now, and traditions, and so much to look forward to.
I have lots of posts already building up in my mind, but it was only right to start with this one. I go back and read what I wrote in 2009, and I am still that person. Only, hopefully, a little better. A little better and a little more at home.

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>People Who REALLY Annoy Me

>Not trying to be negative or anything, but really… some people just get on my nerves. Here is a partial list (reserving the right, of course, to add to it at any time):

1. “Customer Service” people who refuse to give Customers Service. Last week my car died in the parking lot at McDonald’s. (Sad thing was, I wasn’t even eating there… long story.) Anywho, Nicole and her mom happened to be just across the street at the mall, but we soon realized that none of us had any jumper cables. So in we go to ask the MickeyD’s workers if they might be willing to share. We ask the cashier on duty, who, by the way, was not busy in any form of the word. She turns and screams at all the other workers, each of whom mumble a halfhearted “no, don’t got any” in their turn. So the lady turns back to me and says, “I’ve got some in my trunk.” At this point I’m wondering why she felt the need to yelp at the others when she had some all along, but hey, a favor’s a favor, right. “Great,” we say. Unfortunately, she wasn’t done. “Yeah, I’ve got some in my trunk, but I can’t go out and get them, sorry.” Seriously? The other customers look at each other in disbelief. We all look at each other in disbelief. We look at her in disbelief. She gives a sort of apologetic smile and turns back to her oh-so-important-guarding-of-the-counter. Now, I used to work at McDonald’s. I realize there are rules. I also realize that, in quasi-emergency type situations, the rules are made to be broken. “I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t come around the counter to Heimlich that french fry out of your throat. There are rules, you know…” Geez.
2. People who embarrass themselves (and others) with completely irrational statements. Examples are numerous as the sands on the seashore, but I’ll go with this one… I have seen one too many facebook statuses in the past couple of days blaming President Obama for the tragedy at Fort Hood. Seriously, people? You don’t have to like his politics, you don’t have to like anything about him, but really… to imply (or state outright) that he had anything whatever to do with that horror story is absurd. The guy was a Muslim. True. a) Obama is not a Muslim. b) As I told the kids in my class last week, you have to be really careful when throwing out blanket assumptions. “Christians” have bombed many an abortion clinic, but that doesn’t mean that those radicals are representative of Christianity as a whole. Let’s learn from the plight of Japanese Americans in World War II, and not overreach. Be angry at the individual who committed the crime, and not an entire race of people. Don’t let prejudice take root in your heart. Nothing good comes of that.
3. Scrooges who don’t like Christmas. This one is thrown in just for good measure… Santa Claus is coming to town, folks, so you might as well enjoy it!

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>Well, I am officially a horrible blogger. Drat. I promised myself that, once I started, I would not get so busy with other things that I wouldn’t take the time to do it. But then – what with a difficult graduate class, several retreats, workshop, and a multitude of other life-i-ties – I did exactly that.

So… I guess I’ll just have to start over now. And now is a very good time to start over. I’ve had lots to think about lately.
I found out today that my best friend and roommate from college has been very, very sick. In fact, she still is. That in itself has been difficult enough. But aside from the sickness itself, what has made it even more difficult for me is the fact that I know that I have not been the friend to her that I should have been.
We were inseparable in college. Our apartment was classic… the refrigerator was held up by pizza boxes, the air conditioner was held in the window by duct tape, the bathroom door was so warped that it wouldn’t shut, and the roaches outnumbered us 200 to 1. And we had the time of our lives. It would take me through Friday to tell half the stories I would love to share here, but the bottom line is that we loved each other dearly.
And we still do. I still know that she would be there in a second if I needed her. And I believe that she still knows the same about me. But, as life and distance tends to do, we have let the past ten years or so allow us to grow gradually apart, until most of my thoughts about her are about how things were instead of how things are. I’ve thought about that many, many times, and I always resolve to change it. And I never do.
But today, when I talked to her about all the difficulty she’s had lately, it made me realize with crushing force just what a powerful influence she has been in my life. She – and, very possibly, I – will never know exactly how much she has meant to me. But I do know this: I’m so grateful to God for the time that I have had with her, and I don’t want to take her for granted ever again. I’m glad I still have time to enjoy my friend. I know that not everyone is so blessed.

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>We did it!

Last night Nicole and I enjoyed a great evening at the UNA outdoor concert with Andy Davis… and as promised, here is our photo with him!
No starstruck PR professionals this time…

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>Honesty time. A while back, a couple of the students at HCU (where I work) came by the PR office (more specifically where I work) to let us know that they were planning a “Student Gospel Meeting” on campus, and to ask if we would be willing to help them with advertising and such like. Outwardly I smiled and said we’d be glad to, while inwardly I groaned and made that “tsk tsk” noise… until they walked out of the office, at which point I groaned and made the tisking noise out loud. There were a million reasons why I, in all my PR wisdom, knew that this was a silly idea. For one, it’s hard enough to get anyone to come to a gospel meeting anymore, even at their own congregations. So who’s going to come to one without congregational backing? For another, the people who will feel obligated to come – those of us who work for the university – have heard more than our share of sermons. Working as we do for a non-profit, religious organization, we are overworked and overstressed… and this is just another addition to our workload. For another, it’s the week of the biggest fundraising event of our year, so we’ll be much too busy… And etc., ad nauseam. These were my internal observations.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I had been in Birmingham all day for a doctor’s appointment where I had been poked, prodded, and stuck… tried to play catch up for the graduate class that I missed due to said doctor’s appointment… and haggled with a book distributor that has made preparations for the big event this weekend a nightmare. I really did not want to go to this “student gospel meeting”. Only my guilty conscience caused me to shove myself off the couch and make the trek to Florence. But like so many other things, I arrived to find that the Lord had a lesson ready and waiting for me… it just wasn’t hanging on a string above my love seat. I had to go out to get it.
This time, the lesson was this… this meeting was something these students needed to do. As ministry students, they needed an opportunity to learn how to organize an event… to introduce a speaker… to mail out flyers… to lead singing, and prayers, and all those things that they don’t always get to do at their home churches. They needed to learn, on their own, what things work and what things don’t. They needed to make their own mistakes, and adjust, and to succeed. It reminded me so much of… myself.
All of a sudden, sitting there watching them as they sang and introduced and preached, I remembered myself, not too long ago, at the Christian Student Center at UNA. The girls and I wanted to have a ladies’ day. We didn’t have congregational support. We didn’t know how to do – well, pretty much anything. But we wanted to try, and so Danny, the campus minister, let us try. He didn’t tell us we couldn’t, or that it was a bad idea, or that no one would come, or that we needed to do our schedule this-or-that way. I think he knew that some lessons we would have to learn for ourselves.
And we did. We learned that if you schedule a ladies’ day from nine to three, only your mothers will stay the whole time. We learned that the PR advertising techniques you used in class for businesses wouldn’t work with little old ladies from churches. We learned that you never, EVER try to make a million gallons of chicken salad, from scratch, the night before, or you will all be crying in the floor of the industrial-sized kitchen at 4 a.m. But all those things made us better, and stronger, and more capable. 
I should have been so much more supportive. I should have been proud that, out of all the projects they could have chosen to undertake, they chose to teach the gospel. Especially in the light of the sad news of the closing of Magnolia Bible College, I should have been glad that we have so many students who are eager and willing to preach. I should have been better. Our students – and I am so proud to call them our students – will be better, stronger, and more capable for having organized this week.
And one more thing… I realized, too, that I, one of the chiefest of sinners, can never hear more than my fair share of good preaching. But the great thing about God is that He keeps giving us room to grow, and lessons to learn. I’m so grateful for the chance to learn this one, and next time I will be better.

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