I’m so bad at thinking of creative titles!

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. I wrapped things up at my job last Friday – literally down the wire! Every day they were giving me something new to take care of…some of it a little ridiculous, I might add…and I was also trying to get things organized and sorted out nicely for whomever they hire to replace me. So that was a little stressful!

In the midst of it, my friend Kim got very sick and ended up in the hospital for most of the week. They are still unsure whether it was a terrible migraine or viral meningitis. Why they are not sure, I don’t know…but they are not. She came home last Friday, thankfully, but was still not feeling well. Even now she’s not 100% but she is improving.

Last Sunday, Michelle & I went to the Nascar race at Dover. The traffic is so horrendous! They close the exit that takes you directly to the track – you have to pass it and it takes another HOUR (no, I am not exaggerating) to get to the track. The race was great – we had a lot of fun and the forecasted thunderstorms held off until right as the race ended. We had a scary moment when the announcers started saying to move “quickly and smoothly out of the stands; the storm is fast approaching”. Metal stands, thunderstorms… not a good combination! But we made it out safely and only got partially drenched in the downpour. Then we sat for THREE HOURS trying go get out of the parking lot! It took us five hours total to get home…and the track is only about 2 hours away. Maddening!!

Monday I spent the day with Mom. Her birthday was earlier in the month and we went out to Lancaster for the day. It was a lot of fun. And as usual, we spent WAY too much money. But it was a good day.

Wednesday, I started my new job. So far, so good! It’s a very small office and everyone seems very nice. I have done a great deal of reading to become familiar with the project that is going to be mine. I’m still very nervous because it’s a different job than I’ve ever had – has some of the same elements as my past work but not entirely. So there will be a learning curve but I’m hoping to catch on fast.

Today I had a pastoral management team meeting for several hours this morning and am now trying desperately to get some things done before heading out for an all-day youth outreach. It’s already going on but I needed to get some things done at home and also needed to start my new Children’s Ministry course (Intro to Christian Ed…you’d think I would have taken that BEFORE Pastoring Children but I have to be a rebel sometimes!) I just finished the first unit. I’m hoping to do a unit a week and stay on track this time. I was SO far behind with the previous class it was ridiculous. I just have to factor in time each week and focus.

Well, tata for now…gotta dash!

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Just finished

…my course on Pastoring Children.  It was truly down to the wire!  My instructor helped me finish the final piece today and I just submitted everything.  Whew!

Reading Challenge

I am an avid reader. By avid, I mean that I would rather sit and read than do anything else in the world. Seriously. When I am overwhelmed or extremely busy, I actually feel like I am having reader’s withdrawl. I go through periods where I have little time to read and others where I read constantly. About two weeks ago, I picked up the new Anne Lamott book, Plan B, and also Women of Faith’s novel of the year, Reconstructing Natalie. I think I read them both in a total of four days…during the work week.

Now this isn’t to say that it’s always like that. I’ve been busy this week and have been reading a little bit of Sheila Walsh’s new book, I’m Not Wonder Woman, each night. I’m nearing the end but haven’t gotten there quite yet.

Callapidder Days has started a fall reading challenge…so I am taking this opportunity to commit to a few books I’ve been wanting to read but haven’t had time.

Bible Studies
I’m doing Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself and also Kay Arthur’s Living Victoriously in Difficult Times.

Nonfiction
Gift from the Sea – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I’m Not Wonder Woman – Sheila Walsh
Making Life Work – Bill Hybels
God at Your Wits End – Marilyn Meberg
Cure for the Common Life – Max Lucado
Shepherding a Child’s Heart – Tedd Tripp
Unlikely Angel – Ashley Smith
Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey
Inside My Heart – Robin McGraw

Fiction
The Witness – Dee Henderson
Family – Karen Kingsbury
Divine – Karen Kingsbury
Redeeming Love – Francine Rivers

These last two I added because so many others had them on their lists & sang their praises.

Looking forward to it all! There’s a lot on this list – I’d better get reading!

Out of Sorts

I am feeling odd. Kind of unwell but unable to put my finger on what exactly is ailing me. I know I am nervous about the new job and trying desperately do everything my current boss wants, in the way she wants it, before I leave Friday. I’m also trying to finish up my online course on pastoring children that I have allowed to drag out W.A.Y. T.O. L.O.N.G. I have the final unit to complete, some reading, verification of 6 weeks of continuous children’s ministry service (ahem), a book content quiz, a final exam and two interviews with children’s pastors to complete. I’d like to have it all completed tomorrow.

Hmmm.

**UPDATE**
Believe it or not, I finished the final unit, the book content quiz, service verification and final exam tonight! Now I just need to interview the two children’s pastors and submit them and I am all finished!!

Crazy…but that’s how it goes…

I have been running full steam ahead since last weekend! But it was a good week.

I went to Kent & Cindy’s home group on Tuesday night and they are planning to do a Kay Arthur 40 minute study for a few weeks. I think I’ll join them – I missed seeing them on a weekly basis and boy, did we laugh ourselves silly on Tuesday night. It was a lot of fun.

Wednesday was youth and we got together with another group we hope to do some activities with in the future. It was interesting…and in some ways it really made me appreciate our kids! But I’m looking forward to getting together with them again and trying some new things. They have a full time youth pastor, so there are definitely some benefits there – and hopefully, they’ll be blessed by us, too!

Thursday, I started a Beth Moore study at another church. I’m really excited about it. I was interested in Beth Moore’s Daniel study when I read Pezmama’s blog about starting it recently at her church. Our church is still relatively small and we don’t offer a women’s Bible study in the evening so I started searching high and low for Daniel locally. I am not sure how I even came to the site of the church that was offering it (well, OF COURSE, I DO know…nothing is by accident in this life!) and I was so excited. I emailed them and the pastor emailed me back within two hours and said someone would contact me the next day. They called me at 8:30! But I was disappointed to learn that Daniel was only being offered for the daytime ladies group. But Beth’s study, Living Beyond Yourself, about the fruit of the spirit was being offered in the evening. After a momentary fuss, I decided to sign up for that as well. I talked to my mom about it, including the part about not knowing how I even came to find this church’s website…and she told me that my Grammy had gone there years ago! Anyway, I went on Thursday night and really enjoyed it. I think the study will be great and the women were very welcoming and kind.

Friday it was off to Women of Faith with a few of the gals. It was a great night. Avalon & Nicole C. Mullen played – I absolutely love her! Sandi Patty also sang and totally blew us away. What a wonderful voice! And I just love the Women of Faith ladies. Patsy Clairmont gets me giggling every time and Sheila Walsh just touches my heart. It is simply a miracle that they have made it through all they have been through and through the grace of God alone are able to travel all over the country and minister to women.

Saturday brought us back down for the conclusion of the conference. Robin McGraw was there and her testimony was great. She spoke about how we, as women, put everyone’s needs before our own and how that will ultimately hurt our loved ones more than help them. Her talk was really very convicting to me. I’m looking forward to reading her new book. At the end, Dr. Phil came out to walk her off the stage – the whole stadium went WILD. It was mayhem! He spoke about how important their faith is and always has been and how they understand that their platform is an excellent opportunity to share that. They just taped a show with the Women of Faith ladies and it will air on October 3rd!!!

Last night we got together with our preteen class to make bags & purses. I can’t sew to save my life…almost flunked Home Ec – seriously! But I had nice fabric and Kym was kind enough to guide me and sew it all up. Now I have a nice tote for all my church stuff. And the girls made some really cute purses and bags. I was VERY impressed!

Today I taught a lesson about birthdays. I searched all over but couldn’t find one so I wrote my own. The children were very responsive and interested. We talked a lot about how much God loves us and how he has known us always. I talked to them about how important they are to God and how he made them all different and gave them different interests and gifts. And then I told them that instead of celebrating a birthday each week or month as they came along, we would choose one day a year and celebrate all our birthdays together! They loved it. We sang “happy birthday to ME” and had cake and just had a great time. It was a really nice day.

I was feeling under the weather when I came home so I ate quickly and laid down for while. Now I am doing my normal Sunday evening scramble. : )

Big News!

I got a new job!  I’ll be starting my new adventure the last week in September.
 
It’s closer to home (only a 20 minute ride – yahoo!!) and will give me a lot more variety and challenge in my work day, which I desperately crave!  I am so excited and nervous all at the same time – but I feel like this is a good opportunity for me and the right move.  Giving my notice this morning was difficult.  Even though I haven’t been here long, I really do think it is a good company and my boss is a great person.  The job just wasn’t the right fit for me – and unfortunately, you often don’t know that until you’ve been in it for a bit.
 

9-11-01…I Remember

I started the day at the gym, unbelievably. A local cancer center my company was at that time affiliated with had opened one onsite and my company was allowed to use it. I’d gone a few time but was planning to start making it a morning routine. I rushed through my morning workout, showered and hopped back in the car and dashed over to work, worrying about being late.

I got to the office and started to settle in, booting up the computer and getting ready for my day to start. I had signed up to receive CNN breaking news reports via email and it wasn’t long after getting in that I got the first – that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. Like so many, I assumed it was a small plane and clicked in to CNN. The page wouldn’t display. I tried FoxNews…same thing. I got up and went into our IT Director’s office and said that something was wrong with our internet connection – I couldn’t connect to CNN. He said he’d check it and I went back to my office.

I can’t remember exactly the next thing that happened. I remember him coming in and saying that the internet was fine. He mentioned that a plane had hit the World Trade Center and I think we talked about that for another moment, how odd that that could happen.

Then another breaking news email came through, staying that it was not a small plane but instead a commercial airliner that had hit the tower. Thinking back now, I still feel like the world stopped there for just a moment.

And then the next plane hit.

I was absolutely terrified. I couldn’t even begin to grasp the magnitude of what was happening, just an hour and a half away from us. I picked up the phone and dialed my mom but got a recording that the call could not go through because of the lines being busy. I know I tried several times and finally must have gotten through but the exact sequence escapes me. I know I called friends to make sure they were safe and to just have someone to share the absolute stun I was feeling. I think I called Nancy specifically to make sure that her husband wasn’t in New York City for work that day. He was safe and I was relieved. I know I talked to Lisa & Mike as well and we sat on the phone in silence for a while in complete and utter disbelief. I know someone called me too (and maybe it was Lisa, I cannot recall) to make sure I was not in New York for work that day. I thank God today that I was not.

Coworkers came in and out of my office and we all didn’t know what to do. By this time some of us were listening to the local news radio station. I made a point to go and talk to my friend Lisa, who was a Christian. I was still very new in the faith at that time but I knew I needed to pray and keep praying. Lisa was my touchstone that day, for that very reason. I knew that she understood and that she was praying too.

When we heard that a third plane had hit the Pentagon, I think many of us began to panic. Our CEO, COO and Office Manager, as well as other staff, had been in DC the day before for a Board meeting and were scheduled to be on Amtrak on their way out precisely at that time. Were they ok? What would happen next? Would the trains be targeted? We didn’t know but thankfully were able to get in touch with one of them. She said they were fine, worried, but fine, and that the train had temporarily stopped. I don’t remember how long it stopped but we heard they were on their way home and we were thankful.

At the time, we shared a building with people from the local cancer center. My friend Jean knew them and they told us we could come over and watch their tv. We walked in to a small room where many people were gathered, murmuring to one an other in disbelief. It was then, almost immediately, that the first tower fell before our eyes. It was absolutely unbelieveable and literally gut-wrenching. I truly did not grasp what was happening as they began to replay it over and over. Tears welled in my eyes as I prayed for the souls who were lost.

I didn’t want to see anymore and remember sitting again, alone in my office. Our CEO arrived then. It turned out he had taken an earlier train out of DC and had stopped home when it all happened. He had a friend who worked in the World Trade Center or nearby, I cannot recall correctly, and had tried to reach him to no avail. He was visibily shaken and upset – and I had never seen him this way before or ever again. He came to each of our offices and told us he wanted us to go home, and be with our families.

I made a few more calls – I think to Lisa and my mom – and got in my car. But I was afraid. We live about 45 minutes from a major metropolitan area on the East Coast and they were shutting everything down. There seemed to be a real possibility that we were a target as well.

The roads were eerily empty as I drove home and that too made me afraid. I remember coming home and immediately turning on CNN and calling my mom and Lisa again. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if I should go somewhere else. I couldn’t stop crying and I was afraid of being alone. Lisa told me I could come to their house but honestly, I was also afraid to get back in the car on the empty highway. I talked to my mom again and we agreed that it wasn’t sensible either for me to drive up to their house. We simply did not know what was going on.

We were at war.

And we did not know with whom.

Or what the next target would be.

The next days passed in a blur. I know I went to work and we all went through the motions of what we had to do, still knowing that the magnitude of this attack would weigh heavy on us for days, months, maybe even years to come.

I remember driving up to Mike & Lisa’s to help them get some things done at the new house they were moving into. I drove base the local naval air station and started to cry when I saw the cement barricades all around and the servicemen with their machine guns at the front gate. We’re used to military aircraft here but the increase in flights of all types was apparent. I watched them do maneuvers as I drove up the highway, and wondered how soon our men & women would be going to war.

My friend Jessica was to be married in Milwaukee on September 22nd. She and her fiancé both worked for an airline and had decided to move forward with the wedding. She and I talked about how I was going to get there – though I had tickets on their airline – and finally decided that flying was the best option. My dad assured me that I would be safe – probably safer than another other time I’d flown in my life.

I steeled myself to be brave, driving down to the airport. I held my head up as I walked through the terminal. But when I saw the National Guardsmen with their machine guns armed and ready throughout, I almost could not bear it. How could this be?

The airport was literally deserted and my flight was probably about a quarter full. I stared each person in the face as I walked by them to board and wondered which one was the air marshal. If there was one aboard, I couldn’t tell.

The flight was somber and quiet. I was always happy to land safely, but never as much as on this day.

I wasn’t sure how I would handle this day, all the rememberance coverage on television and radio…and thought perhaps I’d not listen, not watch. But that is not me and as I listened to people on my local Christian station this morning talk about where they were, all the emotions came flooding back. I think I cried the whole ride into work today.

I cried for those who were lost, for that deep empathy I felt for the people who’s stories I have heard, and most all, for the loss of that feeling of safety and security I once had in our nation.

It shall be no more.

Friday Feast 110

Appetizer
Name 3 things that you are wearing today.

Tan tshirt, pj pants with clouds & stars and my Old Navy sweatshirt.

Soup
Who was the last person you hugged?

Kendra, Maria & Casey…all at once when I was heading out from youth group. Group hug!

Salad
What do you like to order from your favorite fast food place?

Hmmm. I have many favorites. I’ll go with Wendy’s – spicy chicken sandwich and biggie fries.

Main Course
What time of day do you usually feel most energized?

Um, there is no time of day I feel energized!

Dessert
Using the letters in your first name, write a sentence. (Example: Sweet unusual spaniels are nice.)

Take rests in cafes, ignoring all.

Thirteen Reasons I Love My Mama (a belated birthday post)

1. She puts up with me, even when I am crabby & difficult to be around

2. She spends hours on the phone with me, talking about life & world events & who knows what else

3. We like to watch tv together…over the phone

4. She likes Nascar, football & dog shows

5. She loves teddy bears – my old room has been converted into the “Bear Room” . Here they all are on housecleaning day.


6. She loves animals as much as I do and takes care of hers like they were her kids, just like I do. She’s got three dogs and I have three cats…

7. She’s willing to try new things – usually after some cajoling – like working out, eating better, using email & surfing the web, etc. I’m really proud of her for all of these!

8. She’s always supported me, even when she didn’t agree with my decisions.

9. She’s always been there to listen when some of those decisions didn’t QUITE work out as I had planned.

10. She has a great sense of humor. Sometimes she makes me laugh so hard, I cry.

11. She can be very focused when she wants/needs to be. I was very concerned about her when she had her hysterectomy but she bounced back like nobody’s business in no time flat. I was totally stunned – and only hope that I will be that way too if I ever need to have major surgery. There were things to be done and she wasn’t letting this “little” thing get her down.

12. She loves my friends and always has.

13. She’s my mama – even though the circumstances weren’t ideal and she was probably very afraid, she had me and loved me for always.

Thanks, Mom! I love you.