Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quick Takes - Take 3

1. My bible study ladies gave me the most fantastic surprise. I thought I was meeting a friend for dinner and when I walked into the restaurant there were about 15 smiling faces sitting there singing happy birthday. It was such a fun and wonderful time. We shared laughs and stories and connected. It was just what we all needed and they made me feel very special. Thank you again.

2. Well, I didn't win the KLOVE cruise. Bummer. I hope to take the cruise someday, but I guess I'll have to do it the old fashioned way and save the money. God is still awesome.

3. Does anyone want to adopt a cat? I feel really guilty, well, not. She has started misbehaving. ie. she sometimes thinks the living room is a litter box. I put some mousetraps down in the spot, but I'm afraid she will just pick another place. Does anyone have suggestions to correct the problem? My daughter would love you for the help. Even as I'm typing this, Calie is asleep in her favorite basket blistfully snoring. How funny. She has no idea of my devious plans.

4. Ok. I lied on my drivers test about my weight. I'm sorry. I did weigh that recently, just not now. Hopefully I will get there again soon.

5. I began my day by listing to people call in to my favorite radio station and talk about the latest flu outbreak. It is very discouraging. Can I give you some information from the other side of the issue. First, I do NOT want to make light of the people who have lost their life, that is a tragedy.
  • We are pig farmers. My family has been raising pigs since 1895. Our business is built on hard work, honesty and persistence.
  • The flu outbreak is being called swine flu, but no hogs anywhere in the world, including Mexico have been found with H1N1 in relation to the infection of people. It simply is not happening from pigs. It is a people-to-people problem.
  • This mutated virus is a combination of H1N1, Avian (bird) and human virus.
  • The agriculture industry, including crop and livestock farmers, has been reeling from economic blows for 18 months. First, there were exorbitant prices from the alternative fuel policy that were more than some farmers could stand. Second, the worldwide economic downturn forced even more out of business and many who survived are on fragile financial standing. Third, this mistaken name pinned on the flu outbreak has caused another economic devastation in our industry.
  • It may mean strike three for many more. Economists on reports today are estimating that possibly up to a third of pork producers will lose their economic fight.
  • I don't have crop reports, but I know their markets are down. To many, a market price may simply be a passing numer on a news cast, but to us it is our paycheck.

6. Farmers have not gotten into this position because of risky mortgages, fraud, speculation or greed. We have been trying to make an honest living. In Washington, it seems we are invisible and of no consequence. We feed the world. We feed you.

7. When you sit down to your meal tonight, will you please pray for all the people involved who brought you your food. We need your prayers.

I'll get off my soap box now. For lighter takes, visit Conversation Diary.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quick Takes - Take 2

1. At work today we told one our our employees he could go home early. A little surprised, he said maybe he would go get a pedicure. Then laughing he said he didn't even really know what they were. He is kind of a scruffy looking dude. I thought it was a good moment to join in the fun so I mentioned a time when I walked past a salon at a shopping mall and saw a man getting his brows waxed.

To which our employee replied. "Oh, man I need to get that done. That last time they did it, I looked like I was surprised for a week." He even added a dramatization. Needless to say I turned back to my work quickly and will never assume anything about a man's personal care regime.

2. I heard this week that the last remaining survivor of the Titanic was auctioning her items from the ship to pay for nursing home bills. She was nine weeks old when the ship went down. This is the second time she has had to auction Titanic items and hopes to make $50,000.00. I went through the Titanic museum last fall in Branson, MO. They devoted the last room to the making of the movie. I googled the movie and this is the amount one site reported for worldwide revenue. $1,842,879,955.00 You would think someone involved in that ginormous sum could help her.

3. We have a very difficult situation in my family that seems to have no quick or positive resolution. It is really hard for everyone and deteriorating. I was thrown unexpectedly into the center of it yesterday. I prayed. I tried to be an objective mediator. I tried speak truth to the spiritual battle that is going on and express God's desire for a relationship with them. The more I said the angrier they became. My words were twisted to be what they wanted me to say. It was horrible. I was very frustrated and discouraged. No wonder I felt drawn to read Psalms this morning. Stand in the attack. Stand for truth.

4. The crab apple tree across from my office window is in full bloom. It is a snow crab and is living up to its name. Beautiful work God!

5. My daughter played a piano solo yesterday at District Music Contest. Because of rules about having only original music (no copies), she had to play from memory. She was really afraid she would just go blank and not remember her music. It was a great opportunity to pray together, share a verse about fear and watch God help her do fantastic. She got the highest score. You go girl! Today is a hard marimba solo.

6. I have to renew my drivers license this month. I'm stalling. I know what I want to tell them my weight is and I don't want to lie. Can anyone relate? A friend once joked that she thought they meant our goal weight, not our actual weight. Ok, I'll ask forgiveness now and try to make it the truth by next week. Well, the closer I get to it the smaller the lie. Right?

7. I have wanted to take the KLOVE cruise for years. I mean really, really wanted. They are running a contest to give away a free cruise for two. Last weekend I prayed that God would allow me to be the 10th caller and guess what, He did! I'm a finalist for the cruise giveaway. YEAH! Now I'm trying to courageous enough to pray that he bless me with the cruise. There is no way I can afford it. It feels selfish to pray that. Especially since I have found out two other people right here in little ol' Nebraska are finalists also. Wierd. Why is it hard to sometimes pray for extra special blessings? God wants to shower with his richness doesn't he? It just feels so undeserved. But then again, isn't that what grace is about?

Visit Conversation Diary to read more interesting quick takes.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The drink that got the best of me

It's Saturday night. Late. The day has been long and hard. Working most of 12 hours to reclaim my house to the side of law, order and cleanliness. Scrubbing evidence of weekly grime from my floor was the last stop on my beat. I filed my report "I quit" at 8:00 p.m. Exhausted, I fall to the sofa and try to remove the memories of my shift. Sights no household should have to endure.

The drone of the newscast is now finished. I know sleep is still far off. Something to relax is what I need. Coffee? Negative. Hot Chocolate? That's the ticket.

I put water on to boil as I ready to retire. At the siren of the teapot, I pour my cup and stir while turning lights out and placing the phone in its cell. In the dark I hear the crash. The cup hits the counter and hot contents explode to freedom. What's a cleaning cop to do?

"Blessed be the Lord," I exclaim. Lights turn on for inspection. It's dismal destruction of a good scrub job. I apprehend cleaning rags and towels and re-clean my clean floor. More hot chocolate? Why not, it will take more than that to make me surrender. I use a different strategy.

I pour my cup with milk and hit 2 minutes on the microwave while I shine the last of the mess. The timer goes and I tear open the chocolate pouch and start to pour. The pouch escapes my grasp dumping chocolate mix on the cup, counter and floor.

"Oh my gosh," I cry. This situation is borderline riotous. But any seasoned veteran knows to keep a cool head. Undaunted, I stir in the remaining mix, pop the cup in the microwave for another 30 seconds and head for the vacuum. I wisely deduce this will be quicker on dry powder. Yes, but the vacuum couldn't handle the mini marshmallows and I had to take it apart to use the nozzle. As I secure my weapon back in the closet, I look forward to my victory and comforting warm drink.

I open the door of the microwave and discover another crime scene. I nuked it too long and the milk boiled over. I observe my cup resting in a pool of chocolate. With the slump of a beat-weary cop, I scrub the plate and carry the criminal to the reporting room. I surrender. As good as this drink tastes, it really got the best of me.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Quick Takes - Take One

-=> 1 <=-

God keeps reminding that I need more patience and empathy. Recently there are situations when I seem to have less tolerance and I am wrong. I am typically patient and sympathetic to the point that I often embarrass my daughter with quickly shed tears. But it is wrong of me to put my desire to look forward and need to move ahead on others as their only right course. There were times in my life, when I couldn’t move on. I still needed love. There were times when problems so overwhelmed that I could not see beyond them. I still needed understanding. I'll work on this. I’m sure God will provide me the opportunity.

-=> 2 <=-

Is it taking stretching the dollar too far when I intentionally use less toilet paper? And no, I don’t count the squares.

-=> 3 <=-

Monday’s food journal. (The day after two huge Easter meals.)
Breakfast: Vanilla pudding cherry cake dessert from Easter.
Morning snack: Chocolate and a donut
Lunch: Carrot cake
Afternoon snack: Lots more chocolate
Dinner: Cake and punch
Evening snack: Salted peanuts and probably more chocolate.

-=> 4 <=-

God prepares. I know it, I’ve experienced it. I’ll post more on this soon.

-=> 5 <=-

I was deciding where to grab something to eat when I drove past KFC and they had a new sign. Kentucky Grilled Chicken. Sounded good. I pulled up to the drive thru order menu and asked for chicken only. I never get the sides; too loaded with calories. Please don’t hold #3 against me. The girl took my order and I pulled ahead. The drive through window opened, a teenage boy leaned out looked right at me and said, “Grilled breast”. That’s just WRONG.

-=> 6 <=-

I get very frustrated after sitting at a computer all day to come home and not be able to figure out how to do some tech thing. I just want to get it done and not waste time! I haven’t been on windows vista and mail very long and I can’t even find my problems in their help center. I just want someone to do it for me. Send me the geek squad.

-=> 7 <=-

I love LOST. The “island” is all about unfinished business from the past and how it affects each person. They have to face hard things about their past and reconcile them for today. I can see a lot of Christian applications. However, I don’t like it that now they have a guy who can communicate with the dead. It is really out there. I saw a reference to God on a blackboard in the last show. I mostly like LOST because it stretches my tiny little brain cells to figure out all the connections, because everything is connected. I like the challenge.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Holy Alphabet

I received this in an email recently. It is so good I want to share.

Although things are not perfect

Because of trial or pain

Continue in thanksgiving

Do not begin to blame

Even when the times are hard

Fierce winds are bound to blow

God is forever able

Hold on to what you know

Imagine life without His love

Joy would cease to be

Keep thanking Him for all the things

Love imparts to thee

Move out of 'Camp Complaining'

No weapon that is known

On earth can yield the power

Praise can do alone

Quit looking at the future

Redeem the time at hand

Start every day with worship

To 'thank' is a command

Until we see Him coming

Victorious in the sky

We'll run the race with gratitude

Xalting God most high

Yes, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...

Zion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Coulda Shoulda

I had a meeting today at work. We have had tons of them lately. You know, the economy and all. We are intensely analyzing, planning and strategizing. Tough stuff. The funny thing about lending insight to our business is that it invariably comes home to roost. Irritating. Take my latest word of encouragement, and I’m using that term loosely, to this contribution to the meeting.

“Maybe we should have done this last year when the advice came through. We could have done that instead and maybe things would be easier now.” Heads nodded in understanding and talk moved on. Was I the only one who really heard what was said? Oh, gentle woman that I am I couldn’t let that pass unnoticed.

“Wait, let’s go back to that point. We could have? We should have? We need to be saying we have and we will. It is too important to our future. We can’t overanalyze ourselves to indecision. It’s time for action. Of course we might make some mistakes, but never making a decision and taking action is almost always wrong.”

Now I haunt myself. I’m the nag at the back of my own mind. I am a Coulda Shoulda pile of inactivity. And it’s too important to my future. There are things I want to do and be and ways I hope God can use me. Much of that seems to be lost in inertia. Huh? Why did I pick that word? It is not common to my vocabulary.

Inertia: Medicine/Medical. lack of activity, esp. as applied to a uterus during childbirth when its contractions have decreased or stopped. From

Facinating. I’ve been fervently praying for direction and a more clear understanding of God’s call and desire for my life. Now God plops a word in my mind that relates to the process of birth coming to a stop. I’m staring at these words and all I can think is. That’s scary. The last thing I want is to stop growing. He wants me to be more for Him. Renewed. Reborn. Is God trying to bring something to life that I am holding back with my inertia?

The journey of the Israelites is a great example. They were promised so much, but they didn’t have the faith and gumption to walk in and receive God’s gift in the promised land. Their lack of acting on God’s promises led to disbelief, sin and eventually forfeiting the life they could have had. Although God was rightfully just to put me in the wilderness, he is also faithful to restore. There is no better preparation for the heart than the wilderness. I want to be more for Him. How do I move from Coulda Shoulda to I Have I Will? How do I move from inertia to birth a new life?

Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness. Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up and every mountain and hill be made low and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed. Isaiah 40:3-5

That takes work. Plain and simple. Preparing the way in my heart for God takes the effort of laying down my will and my humanness. It takes picking up the spiritual shovel and putting in some back breaking, sweat producing exertion. Everything in me must be placed on God’s scale. Anything that doesn’t measure up? Gone. Ouch!

Maybe I can’t work past my Coulda Shoulda inertia until I absolutely believe the other side of the river truly is better. It is promised. What is it worth?

Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold I will do something new. Now it will spring forth: Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. Isaiah 44:3.

This is a promise and declaration to Israel. Quit treading in the sea of regret. Yeah, I could have and should have done a lot of things. But I didn’t. No surprise to God. Now he urges me to look forward. Be aware of the new life he is sprouting. God spent 40 years displaying his protection and miracles in ways we haven’t seen since. The “something new” is a miracle so much more magnificent than any previous; the people will completely forget what happened in the past. I have and I will.

Commit thy way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5