Saturday, January 30, 2010

recurring themes

One of the books I started in 2009 and hope to finish this year is Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Today I finished a young adult biography about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian, and the similarities in themes amazed me. Below is an excerpt from Bonhoeffer's writings:
If our Christianity has ceased to be serious about discipleship, if we have watered down the gospel into emotional uplift which makes no costly demands and which fails to distinguish between natural and Christian existence, then we cannot help regrading the cross as an everyday ordinary calamity, like one of the trials and tribulations of life. We have then forgotten that the cross means rejection and shame as well as suffering. The psalmist was lamenting that he was despised and rejected of men, and that is an essential quality of the suffering of the cross. But this notion has ceased to be intelligible to a Christianity which can no longer see any difference between an ordinary human life and a life committed to Christ. The cross means sharing the suffering of Christ to the last and to the fullest. Only a man thus totally committed in discipleship can experience the meaning of the cross.
The victory in my Christian life ultimately comes down to my view of the cross. It's that simple, and yet a principle that I so often brush aside as "heard it, got it, let's move on". And yet the reality is that I can't get on with my life as long as I push aside this important principle.

The last year Bobby has also been reading through a book detailing the historical timeline of Hitler's regime. Tonight at supper we compared notes, both astounded at how silent and complacent the church was, thus enabling Hitler to rise and flourish in power. Some of Bonhoeffer's writings could easily have been written to the church in America today.

One other quote from the biographer (the context is detailing Bonhoeffer's concern that the Nazi's demanded the church ignore the Old Testament because of its Jewish ties): "The Old Testament, which could not easily be separated from the message of the New Testament, was all about living by faith in this world. It was not about holding on until another world appeared. And if someone was required to live by faith here, he would not be irresponsible about what happened here...To retreat from life...was to retreat from a full, biblical vision of who God was."

to live by faith IN this world...isn't that our struggle still today? As a teenager it drove me crazy that all the old people in my church only seemed interested in the hereafter. I wanted a religion that made a difference in the here and now, not the hereafter. And yet today, I hesitate to witness for fear of shoving my beliefs on others, or don't call someone because listening to them would tie up too much time in an already busy day, so how is my faith being lived out today in this present world? The sad answer is that my focus at those times comes off the cross and onto me. I'm minimizing the cross and its impact on my life when I remove it from front and center of my life.

Now, if the next sermon I hear or book I read addresses this same topic, then my Mom would tell me I need to quit being so hard headed and actually apply what God is trying to tell me. It's still the cross.

Friday, January 29, 2010

friendliness, or lack thereof

I think (and is my totally biased opinion) that one of the reasons Barak Obama was so popular with younger and older people is because of his positive attitude during the campaign. His promise of hope and cooperation had a refreshing and resonating ideal that everyone wants to dream is possible. And now comes reality.
Given that Obama was one of the more liberal members of the Senate prior to the Presidency, it's not a big surprise that his policies and viewpoints are in direct disagreement with so many moderate Democrats and Republicans. His staunch and steadfast adherence to his principles (yes, even liberals can staunchly stand by immoral policies) in the past shouldn't cause anyone to be surprised that his current motto could easily be: Agree with me and friends we'll be.
Obama's unwillingness to meet half-way, his irritation at being questioned, and his arrogance in deriding others who disagree with him has eroded his very campaign promise of stopping politics as usual.
When all is said and done, many Americans shrug and say that's how politicians operate.
Sadly, I think this is how mankind operates.
When I go online and read news articles, the comments that follow shock me at the vitriolity and lack of common courtesy for opposing viewpoints. I seldom read the newspaper's editorial letters or comments on news forums or blogs for this very reason.
What disturbs me even more is that the church is not immune to such pettiness.
Believers should be passionate and zealous about their faiths and beliefs. We should adhere to I Peter 3:15 and be ready to give an answer for the hope within us. But it concerns me when I hear believers laugh or belittle other siblings in Christ who differ on doctrinal issues. It reminds of the parable in John 10 where Christ said, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." I know Christ was talking to the Pharisees here, and many think he was alluding to the future Gentile believers, but when we arrogantly laugh at something that doesn't make sense to our frame of reference, are we not being Pharisees?
I often found it interesting in China that a group of believers who have not been taught doctrinal persuasions would be divided after studying certain Biblical passages. They were never told about terms such as charismatic, pentecostal, calvinism or apostasy, and yet while all praying for understanding they would argue and debate passages divided along those lines.
During the late 1700's, believers in Holland, England, and other countries would become so volatile over doctrinal differences that they would strive to ban the disagreeing brethren from holding any political office, living within a town, or fellowshipping with other believers. Things became so bad in Holland at one point that believers were burned at stake (by other believers). After questions were raised about the validity of such extreme persecution of non-believers (the victims were praying and praising God to the death), the believers in charge ordered the opposing believers' tongues to be cut out before they were brought to the stake and burned - all over doctrinal differences.
I'm just as opinionated as the next person. I can be extremely agitated when trying to help someone understand why they need to think like I do. (How's that for arrogance?) I sometimes gasp inside at the chasms between those of opposing political or religious views. And yet I shudder when I read historical stories and listen to myself and those around me. How many steps away are we from being as believers in Holland or the Nazis in Germany or even Muslims? I like to think that I could never ever be that extreme. And yet every comment deridingly made on an opposing viewpoint is simply one step closer to such arrogant danger. I'm not saying we can't disagree or debate things, but that there's a big difference between disagreement and derision.
So my dear readers, should you read (or hear in person) anything that comes across as such derision, please let me know. I fully desire to give an answer for the hope that is within me. But I want that answer to point to the Hope and its source and not away from Him.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

time

60. 1. 60.1. 24. 7. 4. 12

60 seconds lasts forever when doing one footed jumps in aerobics.
1 Minute is nothing when it's time to leave for choir practice and I'm still not ready.

60 minutes flies by when I'm reading or listening to music.
An hour is an eternity when I'm ironing.

24 hours looks like a lot of time when I'm staring at my calendar.
One day is nothing when I've booked several events back to back and need space to get things ready for different event.s

7 days a week appears to be plenty of time to clean house and work on a project.
One week is a blink when we factor in church, work, and routine jobs.

4 weeks in a month: ample time for company, a project, to lose 2-3 pounds, plan a few activities.
One month: sickness, rain (more housework), yardwork, a holiday, and exhaustion

12 months of busyness.
1 year of life.

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. ~ James 4:14

I'm finally starting to comprehend it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

spoiled rotten

I have a house full of cool gadgets like ceiling fans, computer, microwave, washing machine and dryer:
Delights my three little monkeys oohed, aaahed, touched, and exclaimed over:
Equipment I take for granted.

I live in a country where I can easily apply for a passport.
It doesn't take several months salary, or a bribe, or trips to the country's capitol.
And yet travel isn't exactly easy for us.

If I needed to work, I would have several options before me: retail, fast food, design, administrative assistant, housekeeping, childcare, and the list goes on.
Our "little girl" is cleaning houses. Not a job she hoped for, not a job she chose, not a job for which anyone ever trained her. But I am thankful she has one, and pray that she has a warm, dry and safe place to put her head each night. So many orphans don't.

Lord, forgive me. I have been given so stinkin' much, both in material possessions and in opportunities, and yet I am so guilty of taking them for granted. You gave us 24 draining yet precious weeks of being parents, and yet as the time passes without a word I easily forget to pray and deliver them to the one who not only sees where they are but knows their hearts.

Belarus information for 2010: All presents were delivered. Mikalai is taller. Tatsiana is cleaning houses for a living. Aleh's present was delivered personally by an American. No agreement between Belarus and the US has been signed, though relations have improved, so Mikalai is again not eligible to come visit. And unless we get a letter from Tatsiana, that's probably all we'll hear until this time next year.

Waiting is so simple, but so hard to do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

not quite soaring

"And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not."
~ Galatians 6:9

Approximately six months ago I joined Rex Wellness Center in Garner. There's been days when the last thing I wanted to do was go work out. There have been days I've been so sore I could hardly move. And there have been some days when I've come home and just literally crashed. Thankfully those get fewer and fewer.

Then last September I took things a step further and half-heartily started trying to make us eat more "healthy". I haven't given up chocolate, but I have drastically cut back on it.

And yet, when all is said and done, my weight loss has plateaued. I'm not gaining (whoohoo!) but I'm not losing, either. And this after ramping up our healthy eating another notch. It's discouraging. As a teen I'd quote that verse "bodily exercise profits little" as an excuse on why I didn't need to exercise. After all, if the Bible recognizes that exercise does such little good, then why bother with it?

I know I'm in better shape. I can walk up the hill from feeding animals and if I'm winded at all, it's only slightly. Six months ago taking that walk put me so out of breath I'd have to stop and rest. At the retreat I could make it up and down the steps 98% of the time without losing my breath. Six months ago that wouldn't have happened. Bobby says I have more energy. I personally haven't noticed that (though exercise doesn't totally drop dead exhaust me now).

And yet, I have to admit I'm a little disappointed that as this month draws to a close my weight loss is simply not there.

My attitude going in to this whole mess was that I didn't put all this weight on overnight, and it's not going to come off overnight. I guess I was unrealistically hoping it would come off just a little bit faster, though.

I'm not soaring today by any means. But I am still flying, so I guess that counts for something.

Monday, January 25, 2010

strength vs. comfort

"God is concerned with making me strong. He isn't concerned with making me comfortable."
~ Sharon Daniels, first session

I've never been a big group kind of person. Prior to this weekend, I had previously been to two ladies retreats in my whole life and hadn't overly enjoyed either one. So I entered this weekend with more than a little trepidation. I shouldn't have. Yes, it did stretch me a little past my comfort zone to be with that many people for three whole days, but I can honestly say I enjoyed it! Bobby laughingly commented last night that he sent me to a retreat for rest and I came home exhausted! I told him that was true, but at least I was recharged! It's a good thing I didn't stay up late to play games or I really would have been wiped out! I can't even begin to list all the things I enjoyed (there was way too many!) but here's just a few of my more favorite memories:
Rhamatu during the "God and I" time
I loved being able to see the ocean, take walks, and sit outside to reflect on things. Even with the rain Thursday and some Friday, we could still see the waves!

June "Janice" Kidd, my roommate
Rhonda dubbed Mrs. Kidd "Janice" the first night. Mrs. Kidd never once corrected her. I enjoyed our conversation times, and found it neat that she was working on the type of stamped cross stitch that I enjoy. Her grandson's wife is expecting twins (a boy and a girl) next month, and she's diligently trying to make sure both child has a baby blanket. She had just started the boy blanket when we arrived. Keep stitching Mrs. June!

1/2 of my last night supper buddies "no kids clique"
Coming home we stopped for supper.Lauren, Jacqueline, Emily and I shared a booth and had a great time chatting and getting to know one another. One of the cool things we discussed was how all the CBC Moms aren't exclusive. Other than quite a few homeschooling discussions, the retreat wasn't filled with conversations centered around children. I love the fact that CBC Moms read books, have hobbies, and enjoy maintaining more than just their Mom facet. Don't get me wrong. I love hearing about children and what they say and do, but it's also nice to have friends who are Moms that can carry on conversations I can participate in. That's one of the many things I have loved about CBC. I have never once started a conversation with a CBC lady who answered, "I don't have time for such things. I'm a Mom." And that's pretty cool.

Saturday morning sunrise
This was the first retreat I have been to where we had ample free time to enjoy nature, fellowship with others, or just relax. From the monstrous and multitude of sea shells on the beach, to the high waves during the storm, to watching birds fight over crabs, it was great. It was also neat and a little funny to watch people straggle down for breakfast. I didn't take pictures since we were all sharing bathrooms and many were graciously waiting until after breakfast for showers, but it only took two mornings to figure out who the early risers were. Now if I can just figure out how on earth Alice, Lydia, and Rhonda can stay up so late and still be refreshed so early in the morning, I'll be in business.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

and more craziness


Grandma Ball's footstool is now recovered. I measured the foam, cut it, measured the fabric, hemmed the edges, made an elastic holder, inserted the elastic and...it wouldn't go on. I didn't measure the elastic and it was too short. So I pulled the elastic out, whipped out my staple gun, and BAM! It's not professional-looking. I don't think I cut the foam evenly, but IT IS FINISHED! and it matches my couch and rocking chair and Bobby actually thought it looked nice.

This just goes to show how crazy I am. My mother-in-law will be staying at our house while I'm gone to the Ladies' Retreat, (my first time away in 10 years!) and my brother-in-law will be coming in every evening to help out with other things. So what do I do instead of cleaning house and getting things organized for them? Work on projects! Of course, to my crazily wired brain this makes perfect since. See, the fabric for the footstool and the rocking chair (which is not done and hidden in a bedroom) was on the kitchen table, which had to be cleaned off. And if we're trying really hard to put things where they go, doesn't it make sense to literally put the material and foam where it goes? And yesterday's mirror was propped up on the laundry room door, so it needed to be cleaned, repaired, and hung. I still haven't hung it yet, but seeing as I have another hour before leaving that might actually get done. Meanwhile, the hallway had to be cleaned out (you know, all the stuff I had to drag out there from my cluttered art room so I could reach the Christmas decorations) so in order to put that stuff away I had to actually start cleaning the art room. You can now see 3/4 of the hospital bed in that room, as well as 75% of the floor! Progress!

Now I just need to finish packing and feed the chickens.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

project craziness

the mirror we brought home from Grandma Ball's house

And the same mirror after glass cleaner wipes and gold leaf wax polish.

Now that it's out of the laundry room doorway, I guess have no excuse not to iron now.

I also worked on a few other projects: updating pictures in frames, though I still have a mat to cut for one picture before tomorrow; cutting out the foam and material for the footstool from Grandma Ball's house, and I started cleaning out my art room which seems to stay in perpetual mess. It may not be completion, but at least there's project progress!




Tuesday, January 19, 2010

life

I've had a full and interesting morning.
We added/replaced some hens to the flock last night, so it's been interesting to watch the scurrying this morning as the birds all check each other out and determine the pecking order. We also bought a gander (a male goose), but I've yet to see him this morning, though I can hear him.
The rest of my morning has been here in front of the computer working on a website for my portfolio. I've spent almost three hours, and I still have another two hours to go. I don't know if I'll finish today or night, but just knowing that I'm this close is exciting! It's not the professional looking site I had wanted, but it will do to showcase my work until I'm ready (if ever) for something larger.
Meanwhile, there's housework to be done. Anyone care to come iron for an hour or two?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

feet

Last fall at the annual Wake County Library Sale, one of the books I bought, written by a podiatrist, dealt with why people's feet hurt. While the author discusses evolution in the introduction, so far the chapters have dealt with both scientific facts about the body and experiences from her own life and her practice. After reading four chapters, I can't help but put the book down and think of the verse from Psalms "we are fearfully and wonderfully made".

Did you know most of the bones in a child's foot remains cartilage until well after puberty? It's only after the foot stops growing that the cartilage solidifies to bone. How well designed is that? A female's foot will change sizes twice after that...during or after childbearing, and in the early 60's/ late 70's...due to relaxing of muscles, which allows the bones to spread. Again, how well thought out!

Also, circulatory problems can be detected in their early 30's (such as emphysema from smoking) even though other symptoms won't show up until twenty years later...by the color of the feet. I'd always heard Dad say you could always tell when a diabetic wasn't eating right by the swelling or discoloration in their feet, and I've since learned with other family members that the feet can also indicate how well the heart or kidneys are working. If the vital organs aren't functioning properly, one of the first places it shows is in the feet.

Unlike the Chinese, I've never considered feet beautiful. (In the rural and countryside of China, only immoral girls will wear sandals without hose or socks comparable to going bra less here). And yet I'm amazed to discover how vital and important our feet really are.

Five years ago I had to start wearing either orthopaedic shoes or a special tennis shoe. I hated it. But with two days of wearing correctly fitting shoes, my hip pains were 95% gone, my lower back totally disappeared, and the pain in my feet was 40% better. All because we correctly supported my arches. I would never have dreamed that something as simple as flat feet could cause so much pain throughout the body.

The more I learn about how our bodies, including our feet, interact, the more impressed I am with just how awesome our Creator is. His Design is amazing, and I long for the day when we are given the perfectly designed body free from all curses. When I think about how intricately designed this broken body is, I can't even begin to fathom what awaits.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Matthew 6:21

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

I must confess, I often switch the nouns around in that verse and had to look it up before I typed this to make sure I had it correct. Does the treasure follow the heart, or our heart our treasure?

A Christian mission agency where many of my friends are employed have been dramatically impacted by the economic situation. Between America's declining economy and jobs (resulting in a decline in donations) and the rise of the Euro and fall of the Dollar, financially things are looking grim. So dire in fact, that for the first time in the organization's fifty year history, they may actually have to "lay off" missionaries.

I've heard from two friends today directing attention to sites to help the people in Haiti. And no one disputes that Haiti's need is desperate.

We have so many people in our church who are financially struggling, and many of them through no fault of their own.

When I think about these things, and think about replacing the dog pen (which now has 3 holes in it and one warped pole), or signing up for a one day sewing class (which was reasonably priced), or shopping at a store that has a clearance sale going on (which is a great time to buy clothes), it makes me reflect on what is truly important. At what point do we concede that we've done enough and it's okay to do for ourselves, and when do we say that others needs are more important? All my life I've heard about sacrificial giving, but sometimes I think that Americans don't truly understand what it means.

What is my treasure and where is my heart?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

practice, or lack thereof

In my fridge I had some lemon juice, egg whites, and 2 pie crusts that needed to be used before they went bad. I plan to use one of the pie crusts for a quiche, but since the other ingredients were screaming for use as well, I pulled out my Granny's recipes and tried my hand at a lemon meringue pie (aka, lemon ice box pie). The pie itself turned out well. And I was quite surprised that my meringue was fluffy and spread beautifully into high peaks. I did have to call my mother-in-law to find out how long to cook the meringue. Granny's recipe didn't have that on it (I guess that's something all good cooks should know), and I couldn't remember if it was broil on high or bake at 350. For some reason it seems most foods are cooked on one of those two numbers. So I'm pleased, as well as enjoying the thought of surprising my husband who happens to like meringue. Imagine my disappointment when I pulled the pie out of the oven and the meringue is flat with the tiniest of little brown peaks.
If my Granny Rea were still alive and standing beside me and that pie today, her right hand would be on her hip, her eyebrows would be raised, her mouth in a frown, and she'd humph and say "Somebody needs more practice."
Meringue is not only on my list of foods I dislike, it's also on my list of foods I find difficult to prepare. And I'm typing that with my held head even. That's just one of those things I don't think this southern girl will ever muster.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

sin is like housekeeping

Everyone has to eat. Or at least they should.
You cook, the fam eats supper, and then the kitchen is a mess.
So there's a choice: read the paper or wash the dishes.
And here's where I envision Nancy Knight in her quiet little voice and hand motions: "Two choices on the shelf: pleasing God or pleasing self."
Don't get me wrong. I don't equate washing dishes with godliness.
But if I choose to relax and leave the mess until the next day, there's a slim possibility that I might even put them off yet another day. After all, there's few extra dishes from heating up leftovers.
And so the saga goes.

I sweep and mop the floor.
Bobby comes home.
The shiny floor now has wheel tracks through it.
The wind blows at night, filling the garage floor with dust and feathers.
We track it in the next day.
And the floor? Oh, it was mopped you say?
And so the saga goes.

Devotions. Yeah, did those yesterday.
What? You mean it has to be done AGAIN? Today?
And so the saga goes.

I think sometimes this why I struggle so with the Christian faith. It takes daily, methodical maintenance. It demands discipline. It requires repetition. Sounds eerily like housework. Must do daily or it all becomes a mess.
And so the saga goes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

sunshiny Monday

Today, I am thankful because:

  1. The sun is shining!
  2. I live in America, where repairmen actually REPAIR things.
    (As opposed to looking at a broken object and saying "It still works.")
  3. The broken shower was repairable and is now fixed!
    (as opposed to just a hole in the wall with water pouring out!)
  4. One of our chickens is laying eggs again!
  5. We think we've found a replacement pen for the dogs.
  6. I don't have to walk to the post office to get my mail.
  7. HEAT!
  8. Appliances (washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, and RADIOS!)
  9. Freedom of speech!
  10. Freedom of religion!
  11. Freedom to assemble!
  12. the Right to Bear Arms (now if I can just learn to hit where I aim!)
  13. Running hot water ALL the time!
  14. good health
  15. family & friends

Saturday, January 9, 2010

easy way out

One of my unwritten goals for the first half of 2010 was to start learning and applying some of the web design software that came with the graphic design software. My hope was to comprehend enough of it to create my own website by June. I'd still like to do that.

However, learning new things is both time consuming and frustrating. Meanwhile, anyone looking for a freelance designer wants to see an on-line portfolio. So last night I found that Google has free sites available, with both templates and free-style pages. The site name isn't easy to remember, but for this point in time it will meet my need of having an online portfolio. So hopefully by tonight I will have enough of my work converted into pictures so they can be posted.

A part of me says I'm taking the easy way out, this is cheating, and unprofessional. But on the other hand, I'll never be able to apply for freelance jobs unless there's a site where people can go to view my work. Hopefully by tonight you will all be receiving a message for me asking you to visit my new site!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

winter wonderlands

God's modern art

the pond drain...water is still seeping in, despite the ice!

I love how the wind froze the water in waves!

walking on water

What is this? Where's the water?

Is this stuff safe to walk on?

For the second time in 10 years, the pond has 98% frozen across the surface. (The geese keep one small section water by leaving two swimming at all times.) It was interesting to see that one end is frozen solid at the edges, while the side near the dam is water at the edge and 1/4" thick about a foot's width out. I love the patterns and being able to see clearly what is beneath and the brighter reflection of the moon on the ice. While my favorite season is spring, the starkness of winter is one of the many things I enjoy about this season (2nd to Christmas, of course!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

full moons


I love starry nights, full moons (most of the time) and seeing the reflection of the moon on the pond. It's the only time I see the water at night! Maybe I'll be able to get a shot tonight with the pond frozen so the water's not blurring everything up!

Monday, January 4, 2010

sparks and fires

Several years ago one of the settings on our dryer quit working. I called a repairman who spent quite a bit of time checking out things, only to tell me there was nothing wrong. Uh-huh..yeah right. Fours year later and only one setting that semi-works, Bobby got tired of me complaining (or else finally realized it was taking 60-90 minutes to dry a load of clothes), and we gulped at the prices and bought a new dryer. It was delivered today. Whoohoo!

But any time you build a nice cozy fire, these little things called sparks shoot out. I had to put up the ironing board and move all these gadgets stashed between the dryer and freezer before they came so they could get the old one out. And I discovered that the floor AND the baseboard behind the ironing board and the dryer was absolutely filthy. So instead of taking down Christmas decorations as planned today, I scrubbed 3/4 of one baseboard and a floor.

So about the time I start getting ready to clean and organize the guest room (one of those rooms I chuck stuff in and close the door when I'm cleaning in a hurry), my mother-in-law called. They're emptying out Bobby's grandmother house since the estate is finally being settled, and she wanted to know if I wanted to go along. (Most of it was cleaned out when she went to the nursing home, but I had never seen anything but the kitchen and living room so was curious.) I came home with some baskets, one of those wooden crate/shelve things for putting potatoes and onions in, a small footstool that needs recovering (we found 2 old slipcovers underneath the top layer!) and some extra kitchen chairs. I was excited.

But since I needed to clean all those items and put them in their proper place so I could get to the rest of my kitchen, that means the dishes are STILL not done. more sparks...

Meanwhile, January is steadily ticking on. Hopefully tomorrow will be what I've scheduled and planned and not shooting sparks (although I will admit today's sparks have been nice ones).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

vanity of vanities

The week before Christmas an item that I have been wanting went on "sale". Three different stores had this electronic gadget for its regular price BUT all three had extra incentives to go with it. Wal-Mart was throwing in a free $50 itunes giftcard, BestBuy, for an extra $20, was offering $50 worth of merchandise, and Target was offering an extra pair of headphones for half-off. I didn't have time before leaving to thoroughly investigate prices and items, so when we got to AL and my sister was heading to Wally World late Christmas Eve, I sent her with my credit card and driver's license. (Our handwriting looks close enough and my DL pic is an old one so we could pass for each other on it.)

She came back with the item in tow and I was so excited...until I saw it. It was green. I hate green. I like green in nature, but that's about it. So we stopped at Wal-Mart at 40/42 on the way home to see if we could exchange the item for a blue or black one, only to be told they had sold out of EVERY SINGLE ITEM!!! Today while out and about we stopped at the Wal-Mart in Garner, and they not only had the same item, they had it in BLUE!!! (black was my second choice)

In my simple mind, all they had to do was swap the unopened nano for a different nano. 45 minutes, three managers and three sales clerk later, it was a done deal. I understand that technology complicates things (they couldn't figure out how to ring up the exchange because there was a free gift card included in the original transaction), but it made me a little sad that what should be common sense and straightforward required so much consultation and approval for a simple swap. When we finished, my dear not-so understanding husband looked at me and said, "All this for your vanity?" I simply smiled and said "Yes." What more could I say?

Now, if they had insisted I give up or pay for the free gift card that went with since the promotion was no longer taking place, I would have stuck with a green nano.
But thankfully that didn't have to be. Did I mention that this one is blue and shiny?

I probably won't blog tomorrow as I'll be charging the battery and surfing itunes. :O) Music suggestions anyone?

Friday, January 1, 2010

looking both ways

Ready or not, 2010 is here. I never finalized the geese's nesting area, nor finished the painting for the living room, nor finished prepping the garden for winter, but that's okay! Maybe I'm actually growing up, but it's bothering me less and less for jobs to be left undone. I set goals to help me accomplish things, and it does help me tremendously! I still hope to finish these things (and soon!) but (as always) I've already compiled a new list of projects I want to tackle for this year.Yes, that noise you're hearing is Bobby's exasperated sigh that I'm already planning MORE projects before I finish the ones I have.

Pastor Mike's challenge a few weeks ago really made me stop and think about my priorities. One thing I started last year was trying to read a book a month. I'm going to push myself out of my comfort zone this year and try to read at least 3 Christian related non-fiction books (this doesn't include biographies). I really dislike non-fiction. I did read 3/4 of
Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick and hope to finish it this year, but have decided for this decision to have any real teeth I can't include it in this year's list. Uughh. (and the same goes for the parenting book from 2 years ago...sigh)
And along with that, I want to re-invigorate my devotions. I know our church is reading through a 3 year study, but I'm having a very hard time getting motivated with it. I have a small Bible study that I plan to start off with, then hope to move to the Chronological Bible I bought last year. Those are my spiritual goals.
There's a few personal goals I want to tackle, but I'm also trying to be realistic with how much I can accomplish in 12 very short months (only 364 days!), so I'm not going to post those for now.
It seems strange to say I'm excited about a New Year when to me the New Year always seems like a continuation of the next one. I am very thankful not to be Chinese and have the superstition that your house must be clean top to bottom so you don't carry any bad dirt from one year to the next. That would have pushed me past my limits this year with all the traveling and family visits from the last 2 weeks.

2010- Upward and onward!