Thursday, January 29, 2009

Since You've Been Gone

I was reading blogging hints the other day and one source suggested that you should post at least 3 times a week or you will lose your audience. I'm not sure how many bloggy friends I have out there but I don't want you to go away, so here goes.

It's been a busy week. I can't believe there are only 24 hours in a day. I would wish for more but if there were, I'd be Lost. Now don't Lie to Me, I know you would like more hours in a day too. But what would we do? Pursue more activities that leave us frazzled and worn out? That would be an American Idol. Do you really think we would all just stay in the House and pursue our hobbies, read books, and spend quality family time? I doubt it. We would live life as if we were still Bachelor's or like we did when we lived at home with our Brothers & Sisters. So it's good that there are only 24 hours in our day. We should choose wisely how we will spend them.

Some of us need a reality check. Can you tell how I've spent my week?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Beuaty Pageants- Now and Then

I have always loved beauty pageants. For as far back as I can remember, whenever the Miss America pageant was on TV, my family watched it together. I loved it as the contestants floated across the stage in their evening gowns and admired the various talents that each contestant performed. I probably fantasized more about being in a beauty pageant than about being a bride during those impressionable years. Eventually I saw that fantasy come true when I represented a group in my college's title pageant. Except it was more a nightmare--wearing a bathing suit at the pool and wearing one on a stage are two very different experiences. I walked away with the Miss Congeniality trophy and lost to a gal that a few years later would represent our state in the the national competition. That single experience cured any illusions I might have had about a career in pageants.

In preparation for this year's Miss America pageant, I DVR'd theTLC show, Count Down to the Crown. This was the second season for the show created to help re-invent the Miss America pageant to make the program more relevant in today's society. Count Down to the Crown was a way to get to know something about the contestants before they graced the big stage in Las Vegas. The voting public got to have a say-so as well. Four girls were selected from the gold sash winners by viewers texting in their votes a la American Idol. Even though America spoke, the final winners were in the hands of more objective judges.

The irony of the four weeks of Count Down to the Crown culminating in this past weekend's broadcast of the Miss America pageant is that I'm participating in Beth Moore's study on Esther. This week's homework has been about the preparation of Esther (and all the other virgins in the harem) before they were to be brought before King Ahasuerus so he could pick a replacement for the exiled Queen Vashti. There have been many correlations between the two "beauty parades". Here are a few quotes and thoughts from this week's homework:
  • It's tough being a woman in a world where beauty is a treatment.
  • Those of us who know Jesus personally live under divine rule where all us girls get to be princesses.
  • Praise God for a King who gives a woman dignity instead of taking it.

If you are a fan of pageants like I am, you might want to read the account of Esther in the Old Testament and see for yourself that there was more than a crown at stake in that beauty pageant.

Friday, January 23, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I was tagged to play this game. It was harder than I thought it would be. Since I've already expended the mental energy to create the list and since I've been pretty busy keeping up with 24, American Idol, and a few other shows...
I'll share it with you.

1. I taught 5th grade for 5 years before I had children and chose to stay at home with them.
2. I love making party food and baking cookies but do not like cooking meals.
3. I watch waaaaaaay too much TV (especially reality TV shows, anything on TLC or HGTV)
4. My fantasy would be to be a back up vocalist and go on tour with a Christian band or country group.
5. Most of the time, I like to be in charge (just ask my family).
6. Bible study is the best use of my time. My favorites are Beth Moore studies and the inductive method (Precept) of studying.
7. I like re-decorating my house with the seasons or when I'm bored.
8. My dream job would be to be a personal shopper :)
9. I love watching my daughter sing and dance in show choir.
10. I would like to be crafty but I'm too perfectionistic.
11. I like trying new things...this past year I started blogging and went snorkeling for the first time.
12. I watch football because my husband likes it, I watch basketball because it's fast paced and high scoring.
13.I have never won a prize or a give-away...anything...ever.
14. Hello, my name is Gina...and I'm a preacher's kid...'nough said.
15. My strength finder list: communication, woo, empathy, strategic, positivity
16. I am very loyal and can keep secrets
17. I can only drink coffee with lots of sweet, syrupy stuff in it
18. Clutter, disarray, and dirt drive me crazy!!!!
19. I love both the beach and the mountains and would be happy spending a week either place.
20. I think someone died and made me judge...on American Idol and any Show Choir competition I attend.
21. I get bored with routine (see #3, #7, #12)
22. I own more hair products than my hairstylist has in her shop!
23. I love being a girly girl but was somewhat of a tom-boy growing up.
24. I was born in Texas (explains #22) but also call Arkansas "home".
25. Thanks to God's continuing work in my life, most days, I am free from the grip of sin in my life, the shame of past decisions, the fear of the future, the lies of Satan, and the opinion of others. On days I'm not, He is faithful to remind me that I am precious in His sight, I am forgiven, and he will never leave me or forsake me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Moment in Time

I've heard the word "historic" many times today. There's no denying that it is a significant day when the first African-American to be elected President of the United States takes the oath of office. It will be a day marked in history as significant.

Sometimes significant days or events aren't quite so obvious. A decision, an action, or an event can change the course of a person's life even if the impact is not immediately obvious. I shared here about a time when my life was changed dramatically. But it was a single decision (my parent's decision to move to another city/church) that set in motion the circumstances that brought me to a place of life change. I personally believe that no event, decision, or action is random but has been ordained by my Creator (Ps. 139:16b) and is for my ultimate good (Jer. 29:11)

There's a Stephen Curtis Chapman song that communicates this truth--

There's only ONE who knows
What's really out there waiting

In all the moments yet to be
And all we need to know

To Him the future's history
And He has given us a treasure called RIGHT NOW
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

And if it brings you tears
Then taste them as they fall
And let them soften your heart

And if it brings you laughter
Then throw your head back
And let it go, let it go


Listen to your heartbeat

There's a wonder in the here and now
It's right there in front of you
And I don't want you to miss

This day is significant and historic-- not because we've witnessed history being made but because His Story is being played out in my life-- and your's-- this very this very moment.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

There Aren't Enough Clothes in My Closet

Seriously, I don't want to beat a dead dog but this is the coldest weather I've ever seen and apparently we are setting new records here in the midwest.

There just aren't enough clothes in my closet to put on to keep me warm. It is especially impossible if I don't want to appear to have gained 10 pounds overnight. Layers people--that's the only way to survive. Most of the year I sing the praises of Spanx but this time of year, it's Cuddle Duds that get my approval. Wouldn't it be great if the two companies combined their product and we got underthings that squeeze you in and keep you warm at the same time?!?

Some on our staff had nothing better to do today than test out this experiment:
What happens when you throw a cup of water into the air during negative degree temperatures?

Poof, gone in an instant.
Just like cellulite under Spanx.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It Could Happen...

Hell freezing over. I know it's a statement of improbability but if it could happen, it might be tomorrow. Predicted high temperatures for my neck of the woods--

degrees Fahrenheit

below zero

not factoring in wind chill


Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Year that Changed My Life

I get my morning news courtesy of Good Morning America. I once was a fan of the Today show but when Katie left, so did I. Besides, my local news team of choice also happens to be the ABC affiliate so now I don't waste time channel jumping between local and national news when I need the First Alert weather team to tell me how to dress for the day.
This week GMA is featuring each of the team telling about The Year That Changed My Life. The segment title was intriguing. It got me to thinking...

What year would I say changed my life? I didn't have to think about it for very long.
It is really more about a relationship than a year-- but more about that later.

It was 1976. Nadia Comaneci gave perfect performances at the Olympics. The Eagles released Hotel California (back when you bought vinyl albums, not tracks, tapes, or discs).
Gasoline was .59 a gallon, and I graduated from high school. The original Rocky was showing in theaters and a couple of guys started a company--something about apples and computers.

I was a rebellious preacher's kid who couldn't wait to be independent and in charge. My family had moved to another state the day after graduation. I didn't know where I belonged. The life I was leaving behind was filled with deceptions, regrets, and flawed decisions. I was fully under the cultural influence of the 70's. I was in church 3 times a week but didn't see a connection with what went on there to my everyday life.
Moving to another state was somewhat of a relief. A chance to re-create myself. Start over. Clean slate. The outside was pretty easy to change. Our new church had a large youth group. They were cool kids, popular in their school and we shared a love of music. They were fun in a good, clean way. I knew what to do, I knew what to say. I fit in. After only a month or so of hanging out, I saw that for them, it wasn't an act. They lived what they believed and were a positive influence on their peers. I wasn't content to imitate, I wanted what they had. The Holy Spirit was working on me. At 8 years old I had prayed to God asking him to forgive my sins and let me go to heaven when I died. I believed with child-like faith and I know He heard. I was His child, but a self centered one for sure. I wrestled with the double life I lived. In a moment of total submission, I declared that I wanted to walk in obedience and follow Christ in every aspect of my life.
Nothing would be the same after that. I changed my college plans, ended a 2 year relationship, and headed off in a new direction. 33 years later no regrets and not many detours--it's been quite a ride!

Here's to 2009 and more opportunities to grow in grace!

Monday, January 5, 2009

No Joke!

Q: How do you take out the trash on an ice covered driveway?
A: Very carefully! yuk, yuk, yuk.

Seriously, it's trash night and my driveway is covered in ice. Our little municipality has a few guidelines in regards to trash disposal and pick up. As a law-abiding citizen, I am strongly compelled to follow these guidelines. And there was also the one time they banned a guy in our neighborhood from trash pick up due to non-compliance--seriously!
The trash policy goes something like this:
"All pick ups are at curbside and must be out prior to 7 a.m. on the scheduled day. Trash may be placed on the curb after 7 p.m. the night before the scheduled pick up day but only after dark and only by persons in acceptable attire as is proper for the disposal of solid waste, yard waste, and recyclable waste. Containers with attached/hinged lids are not acceptable for garbage collection or yard waste. The maximum weight allowed per container is 40 pounds. One container or bag is allowed per week. Additional garbage must be tagged with a sticker."

I may or may not have elaborated on some of the policy but the truth is that it is easier to put out the night before, under the cover of darkness, while still fully clothed and properly shod.

So today as I pull in the driveway I decide that I should just get it over with and put out the trash. Normally, our weekly haul is not that significant and I can take it all in one trip. However, we've had Christmas, we've had a New Year's Day party, AND we've been cleaning out the basement--we've got LOTS of trash this week. My code compliant 32 gallon, non-lidded container was smack dab full. Perhaps even exceeding the acceptable height of protrusion "beyond the lid/rim of said container." In addition to the over-stuffed trash can, I have 2 (two) recycling bins full this week. This will require at least 2 trips. Did I mention that my driveway is ice covered? And is on a slant? I can't tell you the degree of incline but it seems steeper when ice glazed.

After surmising the situation, I decided that using the power of gravity, I'd just slide the containers down the driveway. Unable to calculate the velocity at which the full containers would travel downhill on a slick surface (that would require, like, math skills), I deducted that keeping hands on the containers and controlling the speed would be preferable to chasing the containers into the cul-de-sac. The recycle bins were first-- low and wide their area surface (see I know something about math) gave a fair amount of resistance and they travelled at a manageable rate if speed and they ended up where I wanted them. The trash can was next-- taller and with a smaller base--this presented new challenges. Once sent into forward thrust, it traveled more rapidly than the afore mentioned bins. Should I let it go, hang on to it and risk a face plant on the ice? That could have been painful or funny depending if you were the one participating or the one observing.

Good thing it was dark... nobody will ever know.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New Lists

My husband asked me if I'd made my new year goals (aka new years resolution) to which I grumped, "NO"!
It's not that I'm opposed to the tradition, in fact I'm quite a fan of setting goals in general. It's just that I am tired of lists. I just need a break from lists. First there was the Christmas Gift List. It was actually a pretty short list. The men in my life couldn't come up with anything and The Princess' first draft looked like this:
1. Puppy

Needless to say, I handed it back to her and suggested that she fill it in with a few other things. Then her list looked something like this:

Chi hair straightener
Ugg boots (tall)
Tiffany heart toggle necklace
iPod (newer than the one she has which is "full")

I think it was her strategy to get me to think that a dog wouldn't be near as bad as this pricey list. It didn't work.

Then there was the Holiday Food Shopping List. Due to bad weather and slightly loose meal and party plans, I decided to stock up on all ingredients for several of my traditional party foods as well as menus that could be put together as the need demanded. I ended up with an overflowing pantry, 2 full refrigerators, and about 10 blocks of cream cheese. Apparently every appetizer I think is a must-have for a successful party requires cream cheese.

Next came the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day menu list. I have a great mother and mother in law who have set a very high standard of Christmas menus. I was compelled to re-create their meal traditions for my crew. My mother-in-law is a master at preparing most of her dishes ahead of time so she can enjoy the family and not spend all her time in the kitchen. That is also a goal I set for myself and so it required a strategy--another list.

Just when I thought I had it all wrapped up...came the Last minute things I forgot to get/shopping with my procrastinating sons list. It was Christmas eve and I was out shopping with my two sons and as well as many other males. It could have been entertaining if I'd had the time to stand by and watch the fiasco. These poor guys were at the mercy of some aggressive sales clerks pushing their wares.

Fortunately, my lists were helpful. The meals were made, parties were thrown, gifts were distributed and nothing made the Things to Return to the store list.

It's only the first day of 2009, I've got 364 more to go to get my new years goal list completed. I'll think about that list another day...