Five Ways

I was looking up some creative writing prompts and thought the following was interesting:

Make a list of five ways you’ve changed in the last five years. What changes do you wish to make in the next five years?

Five ways I’ve changed in the last five years…hmmm. It’s not as easy as it sounds but I will give it a try.

1. I believe I have matured in my faith. I have learned a great deal over the past several years; by this I mean gaining Bible knowledge but also about the Lord and my relationship with him. I understand now that he doesn’t always answer prayer when we want him to or in the way we want him to but that things do truly work together for the good of those who love him. I have seen this in action and believe it with all my heart. I understand the importance of spiritual disciplines and studying the Word so that verses will be stored up in you when you are in need of them.

2. I have come to appreciate the importance of family more, both of my blood relatives and also my family of friends I’ve created. I always knew these people were important but that has taken on a new & deeper meaning in the last few years.

3. I’ve gotten slightly better with managing my finances. Not great, but better!

4. I’ve become somewhat more organized in my home and tried to eliminate some of the clutter.

5. I’ve become more patient. I know some of you would disagree but in general, this is something I’ve worked on for a while. I was always the queen of instant gratification but in waiting to find my home and my new job, I’ve learned that patience really does pay off.

The changes I want to make in the next five years are easier…we all have resolutions and goals!

1. I want to focus more on making time for the things I enjoy rather than simply doing things I feel I must all the time. It’s easy to put off fun for things you “have” to do but lately I am really feeling that the fun component has been missing in my life. I need it back!

2. The old standby: I want to lose weight and get in better shape physically. There are many reasons/excuses I make constantly for not focusing on this but given recent family history, it’s a change I must make before it’s too late.

3. I want to improve my financial management skills. I said that that was something that had changed/improved over the last five years but boy, do I have a ways to go.

4. I want to eliminate unnecessary clutter in my life. I want it out of my house! I am a big believer in everything having a place and often start out very well in that regard but drift. I want to be organized and maintain that. I know there are some changes I can make in my life towards that and hope to find time to work on that. It sounds silly but it’s important to me.

5. I want to continue to grow in my faith and find new and better ways to serve the children I work with. I know that is a broad statement but it is something I feel very strongly about, especially given the issues going on in our church as of late. I need to let God work on me and in me more, to help me grow in the fruits of the spirit. Which takes us back to patience…(well, really, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control…)

Very interesting exercise. Give it a try. You might find out something about yourself.

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Graduation

I thought this was a neat trip down memory lane, so I borrowed it. Thanks, Ginger!

HS Graduation Year: 1989

1. Who was your best friend?
Faith

2. What sports did you play?
None

3. What kind of car did you drive?
Toyota Corolla, can’t remember the year. It was blue.

4. It’s Friday night, where were you at?
Perkins!

5. Were you a party animal?
Not really, just hung out a lot

6. Were you in the “In Crowd”?
I got along with everybody

7. Ever skip school?
Nope

8. Ever smoke a cigarette?
Not in high school. I think I tried it in 8th grade and thought it was disgusting.

9. Were you a nerd?
No

10. Did you get suspened/expelled?
No

11. Can you sing the Alma Mater?
I don’t know if we even had one. Nan…did we have one????????

12. Who was your favorite teacher?
Even though she was sometimes difficult, I have to say I loved Ms. M. She taught me a lot. I also loved Mr. Ritter. I had him for Creative Writing and he was always one to challenge you and make you think.

13. Favorite class?
Senior year…all of them. I had a bunch of easy courses like Latin, Creative Writing, Trumpet (the newspaper, not the instrument), Early Childhood Development…if I had to pick, I’d say Creative Writing.

14. What was your school’s full name?
Parkland High School

15. School mascot?
Trojan

16. Did you go to Prom?
Nope

17. If you could go back and do it over, would you? Prom? Yes. I would have gone. The rest of it – no.

18. What do you remember most about graduation? Michelle Bogert telling me she was pregnant when we were standing in line to go in for the ceremony.

19. Favorite memory of your senior year? I have a lot…probably Creative Writing class, though. We had a great group and a lot of fun.

20. Were you ever posted up on the senior wall? I don’t know what that is…

21. Did you have a job your senior year? Yes, I worked at Dorney Park

22. Who did you date? No one during the school year…Andrew that summer

23. Where did you go most often for lunch? The lunch room or the Trumpet room

24. Have you gained weight since then? Um, yeah…! : (

25. What did you do after graduation? That night? Can’t remember. That summer I met & dated a guy from Scotland and then I went to Temple

I believe in their dreams


So many people have said they are sick of the Olympics. American Idol is getting better ratings, which I guess is not that surprising.

I guess I am one of the faithful. I remember watching the Olympics growing up. It was a special event and I always looked forward to it. I still do today. I went out with a friend on the night of the opening ceremonies, but told her I wanted to be home to see the start. I’ve stayed up late many nights to watch and even taped some of the skating gala last night.

I wasn’t sure until Thursday night why the Olympics were so important to me. Sasha Cohen had skated very well on Tuesday night and American eyes were upon her to capture Olympic gold. But there were many naysayers…those who said she couldn’t do it, that she does well on a first performance and then not so well on the next (only they don’t say it as nicely as that). Apparently she had hurt herself in the near-perfect program on Tuesday and I watched her fall several times in her warmup. You could see in her eyes that she knew she would not be perfect that night but that she was determined to go out there and do the best she could. She skated to Romeo and Juliet and she did fall in the beginning. But she got back up and gave it her best. I thought one of the announcers summed it up best when she said, “Others skate to Romeo and Juliet. Sasha is Juliet.” You could see that she was truly enjoying the artistry of the choreography and that she had become Juliet. It was simply beautiful.

I started thinking more about it then. These athletes devote their entire lives to becoming perfect. They want to be the best in their sport. They want to win the gold at the Olympics. It is their dream; it becomes their lives. They give up so many other things in pursuit of this. And they work very, very hard at it. Even when it hurts, when they are injured, they rarely give up. They believe so strongly in their dreams and I admire that. How can you not? We are all gifted in different ways. We can’t all be Nobel Prize winners or leaders of great nations. But we can find something we enjoy and we are good at and work towards becoming great. Like these atheletes, we can put in the time, the energy and the tears for something we care about and believe in. We can stretch ourselves just that little bit farther than we thought possible for something we dream of achieving.

Think about it for a minute. What’s your dream?

Being a Grown Up

There are a lot of things I hate about being a grown up.

1. Having to go to work every day
2. Not having summers off
3. Not being able to go play with my friends whenever I want
4. Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry…
5. Paying bills
6. Doing taxes

Tonight, my mind is on #6. I did my federal & state on Monday with TurboTax and now I am in local tax hell. The form doesn’t even make sense to me. And why can’t they do what the IRS does and be specific as to what goes in each box for mathematical morons like me? I’ve now tried twice to do this and am probably doing it wrong. But I want to get it done so I don’t have to keep looking at it each night and feeling like I should “work on it”.

Sigh.

10 mintues later…

Ok, so apparently all I had to do was vent about it and it all became clearer when I went back to it…yippee!!!!!!

Please welcome


…Audrey! Congratulations, Sarah & Joe!!

I went to visit them tonight and mom and baby are doing well. Audrey is a little princess and has Daddy wrapped around her tiny finger…as it should be. : )

And then…

As I said, my birthday was not a banner day. There were a lot of things that went on in the course of the day that were unusual and not terribly pleasant, but I won’t go into all of that. I had planned to come home and make myself something special for dinner (boy, that sounds pathetic as I write it!) and just relax but our pastor had asked me to come and meet with him instead. I didn’t want to say no because it was my birthday because I didn’t have any real plans to cite as my reason, so I said yes. But I had a bad feeling about it. It seemed odd that he wanted to meet with me the night before a regularly scheduled meeting we have. I spent a lot of time the night before mulling it over in my mind and just kept coming back to one particular idea…and the fact that it wasn’t good.

So, I came home, got some bad Chinese takeout and headed out to my meeting. I had some errands to run and since we were meeting in a bookstore’s coffee shop, I thought I would turn my bad day around by buying myself a book or two for my birthday. I did that and settled in to wait. When he arrived, I was even more certain that he was going to tell me something bad. When my friend’s husband who was also meeting with us arrived, he handed me a card from his wife and said he didn’t know what it was for but she had told him to give it to me. I said it was my birthday and the look on the pastor’s face told me again that the news wasn’t going to be good. He said he was sorry, if he had known it was my birthday he would have made the meeting for the day before instead.

To make a long story short, he’s leaving our church. He feels that he is being called to start (we call it “plant”) a new church in an area about an hour and half or so away. My friend’s husband and I sat in stunned silence. I had had a hunch that this was it but when it was said out loud, it was hard to take. Two years ago, our associate pastor, who was a very good friend and mentor to me, left. I was absolutely devastated. I went through all the stages of grieving their loss and when this announcement was made, all I could think was I can’t do this again. Then I immediately started to think of his kids and wife and how hard this must be on all of them. I truly believe that this decision was an exceptionally difficult one for them and that it isn’t one they would have chosen on their own. But sometimes God makes choices for us that we don’t understand and sometimes don’t like…but will ultimately see a reason for and good in. I think this is one of those situations.

I have run the emotional gamut since then. You honestly do go through the stages of grieving in a situation like this. Mostly, I’ve been angry, I’ve been depressed, I’ve felt abandoned. It was hard being one of the first to know, too. I kept trying to figure out how others would react and to steel myself to deal with whatever reactions came. The announcement was supposed to be made last Sunday but we got snowed out. We still had our leadership meeting that night and I’m glad for that. I am glad the leadership team heard the news first and was able to talk to people yesterday after the news was brought to the congregation. I know some people are completely shocked and overwhelmed by the news. It’s a lot to take in. He started this church from nothing almost nine years ago. He’s been the only pastor I’ve personally had in my life. He baptized me. He’s helped me through some huge challenges in ministry and helped direct me when I was getting off course personally. And I’m sure many others feel the same way about him as I do – and some have even more of a history and friendship with him than I do.

As part of the management team, I’ll be on the team that helps to select a new pastor. I’m glad to be involved in the process but have so many questions at this point. I just don’t know what to expect or what will be expected of me…I hope that I am up to the task. It is going to be a difficult few months, to say the least. If you are praying folk, please pray for me, our congregation, my pastor and his family…we will all need it.

I had my children’s ministry meeting yesterday right after the announcement was made and I was completely blown away by the outcome. Regardless of all of our personal feelings and the sense of loss and uncertainty, I really feel like we are all even more dedicated to caring for and serving the children of our church through this and beyond. I’m so thankful for the people I serve with and who are a part of this team. After dealing with the news myself for some time and seeing some of them come out shell-shocked yesterday, it was a total blessing to sit down and find us all still united in our mission. I know God was at work in that room and will be at work throughout this situation…and that gives me comfort.

Where to begin?

I was sitting here trying to figure out where to start, which tale to tell, and was surprised by which surfaced first. So I’ll begin there.

In January, I started a new job. I’m doing the same work I have been for the last six plus years but on a much larger scale. I enjoy the work I do and I like to be busy, so so far that part has all been good. When I made my decision to accept the job offer, I had no reservations. I was not at all concerned that this was not the right fit for me or anything like that. I had been unhappy in my previous job for way too long and it was time to move on to something else. Don’t get me wrong here, either, I am not one of those “the grass is always greener” people either. I know that there are challenges anywhere you go, no job is perfect.

Despite my troubles at my old job, I had a lot of good friends that I had made over the years. They knew the ups and downs of my life both in work and out. They were the only thing I knew I would miss when I made this change. But I didn’t realize how much. Although everyone I’ve met so far has been very nice (and I do mean that!), I haven’t really connected with anyone there. I can go a whole day without talking to anyone. For some people, that probably seems like an ideal day but for me it is very difficult. I’m used to stopping by to visit a friend for a couple minutes during the work day to catch up on the goings on of work and life. Having someone (or several someones) to each lunch with most days. Having someone who knows and cares what’s going on with me.

My birthday came and went on a work day. Those of you who know me know that I make a big deal out of my birthday. It’s weird to say but I feel like it’s the only day that’s truly mine. I spend a lot of time celebrating things that are important in other’s lives and I just feel like my birthday is my day to celebrate. My friends joke that it has become a birthday month, really, because we always end up celebrating throughout for various reasons (snow, difficulty scheduling time, whatever). My mom always calls me at the time I was born and this year was no exception. She asked me if anyone had wished me a happy birthday…and I said that no one knew and I didn’t think they would’ve cared anyway. It makes me feel stupid to write that because I know most people would rather their birthday slip by unnoticed. I guess that’s just the problem right now…I don’t want keep being unnoticed.

I keep thinking back to my friend Jess’ little brother. We’d ask him where he was going and he’d say he was going out to look for friends. I feel like that little kid now. Every day, I am looking for a friend.

Why does it matter? Why does it bother me that other people who have been there for years have friends and I can’t even seem to get in on a conversation? Aren’t I at an age where that shouldn’t matter anymore? But it does. People keep trying to reassure me and tell me that I’ve only been there a short time and it takes a while and so on. But I honestly don’t even see any opportunities. And that makes me sad. And makes me miss my old pals even more.

Winter Hath Returned

Ok, first of all, it is very sad that I keep posting about the weather. I have other things I would like to post about but can’t at the moment…so the weather it shall be.

Last Saturday night/Sunday, we got 17 inches of snow. The temperatures went up to the upper 50s on Wednesday & Thursday and then dropped down to the 20s last night. The snow all melted like it had never been there but now it is bitter out. Global warming? La Nina? I haven’t a clue but I wish it would stay on the warmer side. Maybe I need to move out to San Francisco. The highest they get is about 80 and the low is around 40/50. THAT I could live with. This, not so much. : (

Yes, I Did Eventually Get Out of Bed…

…but the way things are going lately, I kind of wish I hadn’t. I can’t post on much right now – I will – but not now. Probably sometime next week.

Maybe I should work on my 100 things in the meantime. I always like to read them on other peoples blogs…

On a more entertaining note, this is my home group.

We were asked to take a picture for the home group board at church (where people can take a look and see if they want to visit any of the weekly groups where we do bible study, pray for each other, etc.) We looked at some of them and just thought they were very run of the mill. So here’s us, on my couch, in our pjs. : )