Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh yes I did, I had to...

Clear the air. Set things right. Excuse oneself. Retract. Grovel. Whatever you call it, I knew that I needed to do it. Apologize, ask forgiveness. Be set free.

I needed to do it for the reputation of my Lord.
I needed it to do it in honor of my parents/the way I was raised.
I needed to do it to clear my own conscience.

So this morning, I returned to the scene of the crime.

"Please Lord, don't let there be anyone else around."
There was.

"Please Lord, I don't want to cry in front of strangers"
I did-- and it was the scrunched up face, ugly cry.

But I said the words and meant them from the bottom of my repentant heart.

She was surprised by my admission and gently granted forgiveness.

What a way to start the day...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh Yes She Did!

In the spirit of MckMama's Not Me Mondays, I have one of my own to share. And I'm glad to hear MckMama has had a better Monday than I did.

It may or may not have been months (or weeks) that somebody's vehicle has been held hostage at the local car repair jail. And that somebody may or may not have had enough when the vehicle was finally paroled only to have it die in the middle of what could have been the most traveled street in our fine city...at rush hour...in the rain. And we may or may not have had to pay yet another towing fee for said vehicle to be hauled back to the car penitentiary.

And this slow boil of frustration may or may not have come to a full explosion when the custodian of said vehicle returned later to collect this new and improved vehicle only to find some inaccuracies in the billing process on top of what was deemed by some as flagrant customer service violations and general apathy. This possibly could have led to a verbal exchange that bordered on a heated discussion which ended in someone putting all manner of billfold, sunglasses and keys back into one's handbag with some sort of strength of force and left said establishment in mid-apology from the innocent bearer of bad news behind the counter. And it definitely was not an exit that was interrupted by another individual waiting the release of their vehicle who inquired of a certain someone, "I think we were in Bible study together, weren't we?"

Oh yes she did!

I may or may not have mumbled something excusing my bad behavior and quite possibly left the establishment with a repaired vehicle, a corrected bill, and egg on my face.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

If You Give a Mom a Massage

If you find that your husband and the father of your children has scheduled a guy golf trip in another state on Mother's Day weekend...you might want to schedule yourself a massage.

And since it is Mother's Day... you might take along your Princess and a friend to enjoy the whole spa experience with.

And if someone offers you spa cards to services in the big city...you might plan a trip to that big city for the massage.

And if the big city is more than 2 hours away... you might decide it would be fun to stay over and really make it a special weekend.

But as you are really trying to be careful about money...you might use Priceline to score some really good rates at a 3 1/2 star hotel in the big city.

And since there is a Cheesecake Factory in that big city...you should definitely make plans for lunch there.

And because there is a mall surrounding that Cheesecake Factory...it would be good to walk off the extra calories consumed at the Cheesecake Factory by walking around that mall and admiring the merchandise.

And if you have made the spa reservations,

And booked the hotel,

And decided ahead of time to which flavor of cheesecake you will order...

...You might want to check The Princess' school calendar to make sure there is NOT a required choral competition scheduled on the same weekend!

Nice to Be 'Preciated Ya'll

Have I told you what a great group of people I work with? Most everyday I am excited about going to work. When The Princess was discovering the trials of the service industry in her first job, she said, "You just don't understand, you work in the church world not the real world!". Well we all know that it's not perfect in "church world" (one staff member at another church would remind me that "sheep bite!") but this is one of the healthiest environments I've worked in and we value serving each other and our church family.

Administrative Assistants day is for some, a Hallmark holiday--something created to sell more cards, flowers, and to stir up feelings of false sentiment. For our staff of pastors and directors, it's an adventure and an opportunity to lavish fun on those who serve by their side day in and day out. Our staff goes over and above each year to make Administrative Assistants day memorable and meaningful.

This year was no exception...and this is how it all started:

With these invitations clipped to our computer monitors, we knew we were in for a wild ride.

On the day of the event, we were properly donned with appropriate attire for the occasion and were sent out for group pictures then to our awaiting stagecoach.

We were driven to an undisclosed location where we were given an assignment to complete before we would be fed. In keeping with the theme, we were taken to a boot/western wear store where we browsed the inventory, interviewed the octogenerian owners, shopped and photo opped. With that task completed, we boarded the coach to our next location- lunch!

We were treated to a catered BBQ meal inside one of the coolest buildings in town. One of our church members has created a working environment for his employees that reflects his company's values of excellence, teamwork, and creativity. We had our lunch in the "community room" complete with a ball pit and a loft with comfy chairs arranged in conversation condusive designs.

Other pastors lent their musical talents to serenade us with specially prepared songs of original compositions. The saw and sax jazz/country duet was a new musical genre all to itself.

"Now to some were given gifts of graphics, to others gifts of music, and
then to some gifts of navigating city streets in buses filled with chatty women and with no detectable shock systems...
But to others were given the gifts of food appreciation and

I'd like to thank all the staff who made this such a great day. Even without all this hoopla, we know that we are appreciated by your encouraging words and your servant hearts every day of the year. Thanks to the staff who stayed behind to take our place answering phones and making copies and taking registrations... we KNOW you appreciate us!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Than Meets the Eye

"Beauty is only skin deep" - My mother, but I think someone else said it before her.

"It's tough being a woman where beauty is a treatment" - Beth Moore, Esther

"Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!" -Proverbs 31:30 The Message

Compliments are nice. They are an affirmation that what we've said or done or are has been noticed and appreciated by another. I received one the other day. "You always dress so nice--and look so put together"a nice person said to me (obviously it was not while I was at home frittering away the day in my jammies or sweats with no make-up and no visible sign of hair products). "Thanks." I replied. I accepted her compliment but lingered over its undertones for a while.

Perhaps the lessons of Esther are still wrapping around my head and heart but I wondered, "is that how I want to be known-- by the way I appear on the outside?" Now this person doesn't know me well and it is quite a natural human tendency to notice--or even judge-- another person by their appearance.

Case in point, there's been quite a stir over Susan Boyle, a contestant in the British version of American Idol--Britian's Got Talent. By all appearances, it seemed that her turn to appear before the judges was a farce or comic relief. You know how they do that on American Idol by sending through less talented (or no talent) people over real singers because some people watch just for the William Hung-like acts to air. Anyway, back to Susan Boyle-- when she started to sing, her talent soon over-shadowed her appearance (older and frumpy). Those who were present in that auditorium (and the 47 million who have since watched her on You Tube) were amazed by her talent and the beauty of her gift. She was noticed for her voice and not her face.

That's what I want. While I appreciated the compliment, what I really want is to be known for are inner qualities that speak louder than my appearance:

I want to be known as--

... an excellent wife, highly favored by my husband

... a loyal and faithful friend

... a wise woman passing that knowledge and wisdom on to another generation

... a good and faithful servant of the Lord Most High and someone that has lived my life making an impact both in this lifetime and in the one to come.

So what do you want to be known for?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Along Withs

I love Thursdays. On Thursday mornings our hallways are filled with women heading to Bible study classes-- some pushing strollers, some pushing coffee carts. There are young ones and not so young ones and those who are somewhere in the middle. Some of them I call my dear friends and I always look forward to seeing them. That, and we usually take the opportunity after class to discuss serious Biblical truth(and a few less serious topics) over a hot plate of Mexican food.

This past week was the last lesson in Esther for the Thursday morning gals. I got to sit in on their class as I missed that lesson with my own Tuesday evening group. Beth's opening comments were significant to me that day. She said that we were not called to be autonomous and that we all needed "along withs" in our lives-- people to walk beside us in this journey. This is what some of these women are to me. They are the ones who will speak truth in my life when I need to hear it, they will encourage me in the tough times and celebrate with me in the victories. I am grateful for their contributions in my life and for working/worshipping in a community of faith that provides opportunities to study the Word of God and to growth friendships through those studies.

"My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don't waver. Stay on track, steady in God."
Philippians 4:1 The Message


Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Fashion Find

I don't know if I have what it takes to make this a full fledged Friday thing but Big Mama is my fashion hero and blogging idol. Her Friday posts always gets me thinking about my own fashion quandaries so I wanted to share something I figured out this morning that worked for me.

I love clothes but I don't like fussing with them. By that I mean I don't want to wrestle or do contortions to put them on and once they are on, I don't want to spend my day tugging things up or smoothing them down or re-tucking. The best outfits are those that I feel great in and I don't FEEL them at all (no pinching, binding, scratching, creeping, slipping, etc).

So here was my idea:
I was going to wear this 3/4 sleeve cardigan over a long sleeved white collared shirt but since the cardigan is a bit more fitted than the shirt, I dreaded the whole sleeve twist action that I usually must do when I put the sweater over the shirt. So this morning I thought, "why not put the shirt and sweater together on the hanger and get the shoulder seems and sleeves to line up, then unbutton the shirt and put them on at the same time?"

It worked great! I dressed the hanger, got both tops lined up, put it on, buttoned up, rolled up the sleeves, accessorized and didn't have to mess with it again! I started my day with such a sense of accomplishment... I was ready to take on the world (at this point the theme from the Mary Tyler Moore show should be playing in the background of your mind). I'm tossing my metaphoric beret in the air.

My heightened sense of fashion euphoria was short lived. When I got to work, I realized that I had forgotten to put on mascara!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Waiting Game

Making it is exciting, not making it is disappointing but either way, the wait is excruciating. There's a tradition at The Princess' school when it comes to cheerleader try-outs. After the jumps have been jumped, the cheers have been cheered and the judges have tallied the scores but before the results have been posted, the senior girls go to the homes of the newest varsity squad's members and "kidnap" them for an evening of celebration and a sleep over. Bonding---girl style. This afternoon was try-outs, this evening was the wait. It was excruciating- for her, for me.

How do you encourage them without elevating their expectations? How do you prepare them for possible disappointment without dashing their hopes? You don't, you sit with them and wait.

We watched time crawl by. Any outside noise made us jump, it was hard not to position myself with a clear view of the driveway. And then I had to leave--a previous commitment that couldn't be dismissed. It was hard--leaving her there, to wait alone. This was the last time she'll try out for a high school cheer squad. It won't be the last time I can't be there when what lies ahead for her seems uncertain-- it's just the first step of letting go and letting her grow up.


P.S. The Princess was gone when I got back home. A text message later confirmed what I had hoped for her: "i made it!"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

McCafe coffee- no foolin

I do not consider myself a coffee aficionado, in fact, I'm pretty easy to please. I only started drinking the stuff about 10 years ago. It had something to do with peer pressure, jet lag and a Starbucks stand in an airport. They had me at Caramel Macchiato. Starbuck's isn't the only coffee I like, it's just the most available in my neck of the woods (or should I say, prarie). So when McDonalds unveiled their McCafe coffee, I figured it was worth a try--and it was free on a Monday not too long ago. The McCafe set up looked like a coffee shop and the gal making my drink seemed to have the froth & caramel topping technique perfected. Unfortunately, the taste was about equal to those convenience store cappuchino machines. Not so great--even for free.

Today, I saw a $500 Starbuck's card give-away on my Facebook page sidebar. Silly me, I fell for it and clicked in. Instead, I got this:

I like the McDonalds McCafe commercial mocking the pretense of some people who inhabit upscale coffeeshops (and stay there all day may I say) but I don't know if it's enough to keep me out of the Starbuck's drive-through this morning on my way to work.