Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I love to play games - card games, board games, online games, puzzles. The computer games can be really addictive - hours go by and here I sit with nothing REAL to show for it. But I have GEMS and TREASURES and BADGES and RANKINGS and TOKENS, oh my! Facebook is horrible - check in every day for extra bonus spins or points or coins or whatever. I finally had to block Gardens of Time and Castle Age. I never did Farmville, but I did Social City and had to give that up, too. Honestly, the hidden object games with the stories in them - I dream about them. Silliness.

So what's behind it? Why the obsession? Am I truly that dissatisfied with life that I immerse myself in empty things that don't matter? Am I in so much pain that I have to distract myself from reality hours on end? It's harmless, right? I enjoy activating those brain cells to solve the crime or figure our the pattern or find the secret. It's actually supposed to be good mental stimulation. But HOURS and HOURS? Really?

So I had some prayer time today and it came to my attention that I really don't read the Bible as much as I would like to. I don't have time, you know. What with all the GAMES and things I have to do! There's also the normal household chores plus my t.v. time - can't cut in to that. I'm following several blogs plus writing this one on occasion, so that Bible reading gets pushed further and further down the list. It's not like I want to be all "holier than thou" and such. Reading the Bible just leads to judging others who don't read it as much as I do. So better not go there. Right?

Anyway, I love games. Games bring people together - we had some great game time over Thanksgiving. Sophie beat us all at Rummikub, and our Canasta game was so close, I can't remember who won! Not to mention all the football watching that took place. And minding the fantasy league. It was and is great fun.

I will always play games, but I think I'm going to have to be a lot more careful about these computer ones...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Other People's Music: Exprayeriment.

This totally "found" me today...

Other People's Music: Exprayeriment.: Today, I decided to try an experiment. Of prayer. An exprayeriment. (I also can't resist making entirely ridiculous words out of existing o...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Duty Calls

I have been released from jury duty. It was anti-climactic. That sense of not wanting my life to be interrupted by this annoying civic duty was contrasted with an excitement at an opportunity to participate in this fascinating process. I've only been called once before (in Reno) and was released then, as well. I've never even been asked any questions. My number doesn't get called and I get sent home.

In comparing my two experiences, I have to say that Harris County has a much nicer set up than Washoe (although it might have actually been a federal jury I was called for in Reno; I can't remember). The waiting all takes place underground. I couldn't get a signal on my cell phone and when I tried to access the Free WiFi, I could connect, but had no internet access. And yet there were people who looked to be using smart phones, tablets and laptops, so maybe I was just in a hole or something. I probably could have gotten some work done, if I'd had internet, but alas, no luck. :) So I tried to work on my memory verses and watch people. It was a nice change in the routine.

The main thing I remember from Reno was that I was wearing those knee-high stockings with my pants. About an hour into sitting there, I recognized that one was black and one was tan. I really shouldn't dress in the dark. I think I managed to get them off and into my purse with no one noticing. Sure. This time I wore socks - white - both - double-checked.

It's pretty cool that you can get a free bus pass for the day with your jury summons. So Mike dropped me off and then when we got released I caught the bus back. Very convenient and saved the $6 for parking. They also had a little coffee counter and a pretty good selection of vending machines. My guess is they call about 2500 people per session, about half show and then another couple hundred claim exemptions or are disqualified onsite. So my room was around 300 people, and probably about 80 of us got released without even going to a courtroom. I had plenty of people to watch.

It's fun to watch people. It was really an interesting mix of folks:
Too cool
Dazed and confused
Take charge
Paper Books
Houston Chronicle
New York Times
Ear buds
Can't sit still

Fascinating, Truly.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011



I sponsor a child (Ximena) from Ecuador through Compassion International. I've been doing this for a couple of years now. I picked Ecuador because it's a place I hope someday to visit. Mike went on a summer mission to HCJB in Quito when he was in college (LONG time ago - I was preparing for Kindergarten at the time). Anyway, he really has a heart for Ecuador and would love to go back. 

This week there's a group of bloggers visiting Ecuador with Compassion and blogging about their experiences. Two of the bloggers I follow regularly and the others I might start! It's already been very moving to read their first few articles. And incredibly interesting to get the different perspectives from such very different "voices".

If you're interested or slightly curious, just click the Ecuador picture up in the right hand corner to go to the blog roll on Compassion's website. Highly recommended.

Oh, and does anyone know why I can't ever get a cake out of a bundt pan in one piece? I'm greasing it up plenty. Too much? Should I be flouring the pan, too? Or maybe I'm not baking it long enough or hot enough?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Back on Track

Mike and I met again with our friend at First Baptist, and came away feeling pretty good overall. He was very enthusiastic and encouraging. Says we are a match made in heaven (whudda thunk?); I do admit I'm rather fond of Michael.

Anyhoo, what we needed was someone to tell us we weren't off-track. And we got that. Mike feels reassured that not only is he moving in a good direction, but that our past experiences are not as much a jumble as we thought. More of an expression of who we are - a positive thing, not a negative thing. It really feels good to be told that it's ok to be who we are - that this is what God is doing with us. We can relax a little and enjoy the ride.

Relax A LITTLE. Mike is still looking for a job - a career even. Still going to seminary (and loving it). And we're still hanging on by the skin of our teeth. But we're breathing again. And it's good.

Oh, by the way, as much as we enjoyed Bayou City Fellowship, we're back at First Baptist. For this season of our lives we are needing what this church can give as well as what we can give to this church. It's a much better fit. That being said, our buddy had some recommendations as to where we can participate at First and really grow and serve. It's exciting!

However, this weekend Mom and I are going to the White Oak Baptist Ladies Retreat in Round Top, TX. (So I like a lot of churches - big deal!) I'm very much looking forward to spending the weekend with these ladies, and even more so with my Momma!

Here's a picture I took last year. The place is beautiful! Looking forward to a fun and refreshing weekend away. Now more laundry and then packing tomorrow...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I hate cleaning, but I love things to be clean

I'm not a great housekeeper. It's not like I don't have time; I just don't have the energy. I know people who are just tireless. They work all day, pick up and transport kids everywhere, volunteer on countless committees, do the church thing, party with friends and attend cultural and sporting events, and still cook, clean, pay bills, blah, blah, blah. I work all day. Whew.

So if I get behind in the housecleaning, I REALLY get behind in the housecleaning. Things get a little dusty or cluttered and I give up. I get so overwhelmed with all that needs doing, that I don't do anything, so it gets worse and worse. And then I start to feel guilty and miserable and ashamed. My failure stares me in the face from every direction. (Does that phrase make sense? If something is staring in my face, it's not from every direction is it? It's probably right in front of me. How about, "My failure shouts at me from every direction." That makes more sense.)

And finally, I can't take it anymore, and the cleaning begins. It's therapeutic really. There is so much in life that I have no control over, but I can get the dust off the chachkies in this bookcase.

So on Thursday I spent the evening cleaning a 5' x 10' space in the living room that houses the entertainment center, a little impromptu desk for the &$$#%* Mac computer and the wall clock. I cleaned everything on every shelf. Did some rearranging. Threw some stuff away. It felt great. It looks so good. Dust free bobbleheads!

Friday was a hard day. There were issues. So I cleaned the hearth and the mantel (and everything that lives there). This time I had an audience. We were actually talking through some stuff (and watching t.v.) while I was cleaning and making dinner all at the same time.

"Is this making you feel better?" Mike asks, while I've got all the items off the mantel and lined up around me on the floor.

"Yes," I said.

"OK," was his response. I think he was a little wary because I happened to be holding the shotgun at the time. It's just a prop, but I think it looks good up there.

I did the full on clean, too. Dusted everything. All the glass got run through a vinegar rinse, and I scrubbed down the tile. I even re-glued the little jewelly things that had popped off the planter boxes.

Then I sat back and felt better. A LOT better. It's weird how tidiness soothes me. Even today, I can just sit here on the couch and look at the front of the room and the fireplace, and I feel good. Not that I did that ALL day. I actually cleaned the bathroom today. That room was disgusting.

I don't know why I just can't keep the place clean all the time. Why do I put myself through this? Now I'm ready to do some laundry. Maybe tomorrow I'll get the kitchen clean (ish) ...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What to do...what to do...

OK. So I've been hung up on Spiritual gifts for a while. I've taken SHAPE classes and done DiSC tests. I've read books (even the Bible!). I'm still unclear on what makes a gift Spiritual. And how you're supposed to know if it's Spiritual or just genetic or something. Be that as it may, I do believe that I have the gift of Administration. Exciting, huh?

Last week Mike and I met with a person at First Baptist to try to gain some insight into our life. We've been drifting for some time, waiting for something, but not sure what. And we know we have a tendency to have blind spots, so we were looking for some help. Turns out our very good listener friend thinks we should look at our gifts, talents, abilities, etc to help us grasp what God is doing in us and with us.

Of course, I've already taken the assessment (a couple of months ago, in fact), but Mike hadn't done this one before. So Mike did his yesterday. (It was supposed to take about 45 minutes, but it took Mike over three hours. Does this tell you anything about our indecisiveness?) Now we're trying to figure out what this means (on our own because our friend is out-of-pocket for a week or so). We haven't come up with much, but I always find it a fascinating exercise.

Basically it looks like Mike is schizophrenic and I'm OCD. I'm thinking we'll make a followup appointment with our new friend as soon as possible.

We're both big on "helps" - Mike more in a mentoring/discipling kind of way; I'm more of a behind-the-scenes organizer. I certainly can see all kinds of places the two of us could participate, but what we desire is to make it a full-time commitment, not just a weekend hobby. The hard part has been convincing anyone else. And it's not like we're independently wealthy - we'd need to make some money doing it, too. So are we headed for disappointment? Are we doomed to be ministry wannabees?

We'll see.

Oh, have I mentioned "The Sing Off" is on again? Love it!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Not a fan

I've been moonlighting at the TUTS gift shop going on four seasons now. I only work the shows that are self-produced, so it can be two - four shows a year. I've always enjoyed it both for the extra cash and for the chance to be near the theater again. I often think as a show draws near that this may be my last one. It's two weeks of 12 hour days (because I still have my "real" job) with no weekend break. But then I do it again, and although I'm completely exhausted and out-of-the-loop when the two weeks are up, I have a blast!

I used to be all about the theater - music theater was my major at ASU. But I'm coming to realize that I much preferred doing theater. In other words, I'm not really an avid fan. I certainly enjoy watching, but I have never been someone to "follow" theater. I don't usually watch the Tony awards. I don't know the latest shows running on Broadway, or who the big names are, or what will be touring when.

In fact, there are many things I enjoy but I guess I'm not really a fan because I don't stay on top of what's happening. Things like music. I love to sing. I enjoy music, but I don't download MP3's, or follow artists on twitter or facebook, or get newsletters, or go to concerts or even regularly turn on the radio.

I like sports. I play fantasy sports. But I don't pay that much attention in the off-season. I don't remember who was in the playoffs from year to year. Or who played for whom and when. I like tv and movies - but I don't check the entertainment news and blogs every day to see what's in the works or who is dating or divorcing or even care. I do care about politics and the direction our country is going; then again I didn't know anything about the Occupy Wall Street protests until yesterday.

Is this normal?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

15 Years

I just love my husband. This week we're celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. I look back and I can't remember all the reasons why I was in love with him when we got married, but I'm sure glad I had them. I know why I love him right this moment. I was just thinking today about how lucky I am because there are things that have just worked out that I'm pretty sure I didn't much consider fifteen years ago. Here's a short list:

* He loves Jesus. - At the time we got married, we were both believers but wandering in the desert. This did not seem all too important at the time, but has become to mean everything since!

* He's a creative artist and simultaneously a sports fan. - He'll go to both the theater and the ballpark with me.

* He thinks I make the best burritos and enchiladas in the world. - Shhh...don't tell him any different.

* He doesn't notice dirt and/clutter. - Sure takes the pressure off doing housework. Of course, he also doesn't help much with it either.....

* He likes cats. - He'll even feed her sometimes.

There are many other things I love about him (his voice, his eyes, his passion, his encouragement, his vulnerability....) and I'm so glad he's stuck it out with me. There have certainly been, are and will be hard times, but I wouldn't trade him for anyone.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where is the balance?

You know that song from "Oklahoma" - "I'm Just a Girl Who Cain't Say 'No'"? I remember a time when that song ran through my head continually - I was a big-time church lady. I did everything anyone ever asked me to do, and lots of things they didn't. I know every word to that song, even though it's about kissing boys not organizing fundraisers, but STILL! I was very tired.

However, I finally cured myself. Actually I think God spoke through someone else and said it was ok to say no. I didn't have to do everything. It would better serve to utilize the giftings I have and put some boundaries on it, than to exhaust myself doing stuff I was only kinda sorta ok at and end up not being able to do the stuff I'm good at very well. See? Freedom! I was released from the bondage of legalistic "doing" for God. I got to pick and choose - Free Will! Yes!

Oh that fit right into my rebellious side. So much so, that I started swinging too far to the other side. Nothing gets my dander up or my knickers wadded more than someone telling me what I should or should not do. Even if it's true, whatever it is, the very fact that someone told me to do it (or not) makes me push back and dig in my heels. You ain't the boss of me! (Can you hear the attitude?)

I was actually quite enjoying not doing things - not going to Sunday school or not being in the choir or not helping in the nursery or not bringing a dish to the potluck or not going to church at all. I will not be compelled by the desire to impress people with my "good girl" act. I have no desire to impress people at all.

Except that's a lie. I began trying to impress people with my lack of need to impress. Does that make any sense at all? It's like being proud of your humility - really stupid and the opposite of logical.

So where is the balance? It's tricky; I know that much. So back to what God was saying to me before - "It would better serve to utilize the giftings I have and put some boundaries on it." Hmmm. Interesting. I don't really know what that means -"What giftings?" is my first question. And "What kind of boundaries?" is the second.

All of this to share with you that I don't have any answers yet. I am reading 1 Peter chapter 4 - the spirtual gifts part - and mulling. I'll have to get back to you on that.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bayou City Fellowship - First Sunday

Mike and I attended the "inaugural" service for Bayou City Fellowship this morning. It was wonderful! Very well attended, too. I had never heard Curtis speak before - he is great! Very engaging; laid-back; funny!! Mike was a bit embarassed for all of his LOL moments, but we weren't the only ones cracking up. It is nice being a newcomer when everyone else is, too. We didn't feel overly self-conscious. It was weird recognizing so many people that I follow online but have never met. I almost feel like a stalker - I feel like I know them personally, but they have no idea who I am. Not that I'm anybody, but still.

So Curtis is starting with a message series on 1 Peter. Ha! Anyone who is speaking about Peter is definitely going to have Mike's attention. This first message was mostly an introduction about Peter but with (of course) 3 main points:
-1-Jesus interrupts our lives by getting into our stuff (material things), i.e. Peter's boat.
-2-Jesus interrupts our lives by getting into our business (what we think we know), i.e. Peter's fishing expertise.
-3-Jesus interrupts our lives by getting into our plans (redirects our future), i.e. Peter left everything and followed Him.

Why would we want this? Because it allows us to witness the impossible become possible.

Mike was particularly impressed with Curtis' interpretation regarding point #1 - he took a different perspective than Mike had considered before. Mikey liked it!

We'll be going back next week. Can hardly wait!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Peace Out

I was working on my memory verses without my "cheatsheet" spiral notebook yesterday, and I was all twisted up on my very first one. Partly because I'd been reading it recently in a different version than I had "memorized" it, and partly because I'm on somewhere around my 14th verse for the year (I'm behind) and I seem to be running out of room in my head.

I used to be in theater!!! I used to memorize monologues and music! Good grief! I even wrote lyrics for myself that were ridiculously wordy. I never had a problem like this. It's either age or stress or I'm just losing my chops. Out of practice. Drives me crazy!

So anyway, that's not really why I got on here. The thing is, one of Mike's Bibles was handy (he has them all over the house) when I got lost on James 3:17, so I looked it up. The particular version was different (again), but it still helped. And I read the verse after it (that would be James 3:18).

It says, "And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." So I start thinking about that. What the heck does that mean? If you're a peacemaker and you sow (or plant) peace, you'll grow righteousness? How's that work?

Peacemakers strive to keep things peaceful, I would gather. But doesn't making peace mean compromise? And compromise isn't always good, especially in terms of values and beliefs. Plus, it seems to me that in times of peace, people have a tendency to grow complacent and selfish and mean, until it stops being peaceful again. I don't see righteousness there.

Hmmmm...ok. Reel it in. This whole Bible study thing can be dangerous. I read two verses out of context, and I've got a whole blossoming thought process of contradictions and confusion.

What is James about? Spiritual maturity.

What is he talking about specifically in Chapter 3 here? Keeping our mouths shut.

So as he's wrapping up his discussion about taming our tongues with the wisdom from above (which among other things has a characteristic of peacemaking), does it make sense that he would suddenly start talking about large general cultural concepts? I'm thinking no.

I think this is advice for getting along with people. And the way to do that is to seek God's wisdom (and I hear He just gives it to people who ask for it). And you'll recognize it by its gentleness, peacefulness and resulting righteousness (or as it says in verse 17, "full of mercy and good deeds, showing no favoritism and always sincere").

So I just wanted to kind of write that all out to clear it up in my head. Peace out!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Best Laid Plans

I decided yesterday that I was going to be productive today. I warned Mike last night, so he could take cover if he wanted. His only question was, "So does that mean you're getting up early?" Isn't he just too much? Ha!

So after sleeping in until about 8am, I got up and announced my plan to install the doorbell today. We really hated the fake chime that was here when we moved in, and we took it down when we painted the place. It never went back up. So we've been doorbell-free for years now. A few months ago we purchased a $10 bell, but it's been sitting on the kitchen counter ever since.

Mike does not do anything dealing with electricity (except use it). So I'm the house electrician - I even have a soldering kit! Anyhoo, part of the difficulty is that the bell goes on the wall in the stairwell - like high up the wall. So Mike helped get the ladder stabilized on the stairs (with a cinder block and a stack of books - "Traveling Light" by Max Lucado managed to be on top of the stack, I kept noticing). And I climbed up to investigate what by all indications would be a simple install.

Hmmm....instead of the three wires I expected, there were six. Nothing labeled, of course. Not sure which circuit this would run on, and even though it's only supposed to be about 15 volts, I had turned off the stairwell and the bedroom circuits. That means I have no light. So I'm standing on a ladder that really isn't tall enough, balanced on a stack of books, with a flashlight in my mouth and not a clue.

After many trials and all errors, I got on the internet and confirmed that I was right - there should be only three wires. Unfortunately, that didn't help me with the reality I was looking at. I love these kinds of puzzles. So I turned it in to a story problem, drew some pictures, and tried again. Eureka! I got one button to work. But why not the other one? I figured out three of the wires. The other three were still in question. I also now know which circuit breaker I need off, and it's not the stairwell. So I can lose the flashlight.

After many trips up and down the ladder, to the circuit box in the closet, to the front door bell, to the back door bell, and back around, I finally got it working! I went in for my final trip up the ladder to clean up the wires, mount the bell, and put everything away. The bell broke. One of the main screws that the wires attach to (and to which I'd been putting wires on and off and tightening and loosening ad nauseum) popped out of its cardboard setting - and isn't going back. It breaks the circuit. I'm too tired to pull it all down and see if I can fix it. :P

So I know more about my doorbell's wiring than I did before, but I still don't have a working bell. Does it still count for a productive day?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

There Will Be Consequences

I'm concerned that the average citizen of our great nation is losing something important - a voice. In fact, I'm starting to suspect that the "great" part of our great nation, is quickly fading. I could easily be convinced that the whole voting process is a sham. How would we know?

It appears to me that the people we have elected to office have stopped caring about the country and are only looking to increase their own power and wealth and other self-interests. What's so disturbing is that they keep telling us everything they are doing is on our behalf. They are lying.

The communist system was "for the people", too.

Our system is broken, and it can only be fixed by self-sacrifice. But everyone must sacrifice - sacrificing personal perks and handouts. And because not everyone is willing to do that, and it really has to be everyone, it won't happen. It won't be fixed.

Most people are apathetic. We talk politics. We complain. But we do nothing. Those who organize and try to take a stand are generally dismissed as wackos and extremists. The rest of us just go about our business assuming nothing will really change. And we're OK with that. And then when it really does change - and not in our favor - we will be caught completely by surprise. How could this happen? Why didn't anyone do something?

And I have no recommendations. I have no hope that I could make a difference. I continue to write my representatives, but am I alone? If not, why are we not heard? In some ways I look forward to when it all comes crashing down. Just get it over with. There are consequences to how the country has been going about its business, and those consequences can be delayed but not denied. It's going to be ugly.

Friday, July 22, 2011

On The Bright Side

(This post goes with the previous post.)

Lest anyone think I'm wallowing...

1) At least it will all be over before we leave for our trip next weekend
2) Swapping pillows seems to be solving this problem
3) I can't complain about starving
4) Even if I did, I'd have spent it all already
5) It rained this week
6) My husband is blind to dirt and clutter
7) We're going this week
8) I have a job
9) I have no fashionista expectations hanging over me
10) Mike loves me
11) I didn't lose the stone, just have to get it put back in
12) I know some people
13) I know it's out there, I just have to look
14) I have a weekend coming
15) Done!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

At Least the Astros Won

Moody! Yes, I am! In fact, all conditions seem to have aligned perfectly to create in me a Perfect Storm (emotionally speaking). Blah!

Here's the list:
1) It's THAT time of the month - except it isn't - it's a week early!
2) I have a pain in my neck - for real
3) I'm fat
4) I have no money
5) It's HOT and humid - Oh so oppressive
6) My house is a mess
7) We've skipped church the last two weeks (I know this is a key ingredient in my emotional and spiritual health)
8) I'm feeling undervalued at work (and overworked and underpaid and...)
9) My clothes don't fit (see #3) or are old and ugly or worn out or all four
10) Mike feels as bad as or worse than I do (he's still not smoking though, mostly)
11) The diamond fell out of my engagement ring
12) Our computer is screwed up and horribly slow - I know it's gonna die any minute
13) I can't find purpose (existence is futile)
14) I have no beer
15) The sink is full of dirty dishes

But the Astros won two in a row!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Baby Steps

Mike and I are not typically very social. We enjoy each other; we make each other laugh. Other people generally don't seem to get us. We recognize, however that we need community.

And this weekend was full of other people. Friday night we had dinner at our place for Mom's birthday - that was 5 of us. Saturday was a trip up to the north side of town for lunch with the Payton's, my folks and my brother and niece. Followed up by the family coming back to our place again to hang out. Sunday we went to two different Sunday school classes (test driving) plus church. Then we spent the evening at my brother's place with his daughter, my parents, and my other brother's family. Today we went to a 4th of July party that one of the Sunday school classes we went to was having.

As we walked up the driveway, we looked at each other. Mike says, "This feels weird."

We're standing outside some one's house we don't know. We don't know anybody, in fact.

"Let's not go in," he says.

"We can do this."

"But why?"

Now another family is making it's way up the drive.

"You told them we were coming, right?" I ask. "We can do this."

We went in. It was weird, but nice. I'm not sure a lot of them really knew each other well anyway. We chatted. We ate. We hit overload and left after about 45 minutes. It probably didn't help that Mike decided to try and quit smoking today.

We'll do better next time. It's a marathon, not a sprint, right?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Baseball Time

No one goes to Astros games anymore - it's crazy expensive unless you're sitting in the upper deck. Plus just about every game is on t.v. now. Much better view from my couch and the snacks are cheaper and pretty tasty at that. And it's not like they're winning or anything.

However, they were running a 10 games for $20 special, and even in the upper deck, that's a pretty good deal. So we'll be going to 4 games over the course of 7 days starting Thursday. I'm really excited! I like being at the game. It's fun to keep score, and I hear they got a new awesome HD scoreboard. We'll get to see Lance play agin, too.

Downside is I can't see how my fantasy team is doing while we're at the game. Also, the concessions are still quite pricy. Plus we've never been to that many games in that short a time - do I have the stamina? Can I hang with the diehards? We shall see...

UPDATE: Last night's game was a lot of fun even though we lost. But just to show how few people actually go to the games anymore...we got to the ballpark about 10 minutes before game time, and we found street parking. I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Reading Luke

Mike's been teaching our Sunday School class and we just started Acts. We did a quick overview of Luke to get our bearings before jumping in, and so I went back and started to read Luke again. Luke is the first book I journaled through many years ago, and I really haven't sat down and read through it again since.

With his journalism background, Mike makes a big deal about reading the Bible with intent, looking at the who, what, when, where, and WOW! as you go. I didn't know that was what I was doing when I started reading the Bible and journaling as I went along, but I did recognize I needed to study not just read. I was always pretty good in school, but never really developed study habits to speak of. So the journaling was a recommendation from a pastor or someone, and I gave it a try.

I am not journaling Luke this time, but instead I'm reading and pondering, and then looking back at my old notes. I find it interesting that some things that jump off the page at me now I barely mentioned back then and vice versa. A lot of my notes are unanswered questions. I thought I might impress myself with now knowing the answers. But some things like, "How would someone recognize an angel as an angel?" just don't have answers. And of course, "Why?" is always a toughie.

It's also been interesting to compare Luke to Matthew. Luke writes a great deal about John the Baptist's birth. Matthew doesn't mention it. Matthew goes into detail about the wisemen and Herod; Luke doesn't mention it. So, why? (I ask again.) Lots of speculation but no one can really know.

The mystery of the Bible is fascinating, puzzling and often frustrating! But I never get tired of diving in.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mom

I recognize that somewhere in my teens my mom and I became a bit estranged. For whatever reason, we had a difficult time connecting. I honestly can't remember if there was a specific problem or if it was just a general phase. It lasted too long, and I'm pretty sure it was all me.

That being said, I'm so thankful that we (I) got passed that, because my mom is now my friend - my best friend, second only to my husband. I truly enjoy her and value what she has to say. She makes me laugh; she makes me roll my eyes; and she makes great enchiladas. :) Mom brings to life music and creativity, joy and energy, humor and love.

I can't imagine how hard it must be to be someone's mother. And the idea that you never stop being a mother once you are one, is overwhelming. I'm sure glad my mom became a mother, though.

There seems to be a bonding that takes place between a mother and daughter when the daughter takes her turn and becomes a mom herself. I used to be sad that my mom and I wouldn't share that. I also felt guilty for denying her something I imagine she would want. But now, I look at the relationship we do have, and I wouldn't trade it for anything - not for advice about diapers, tantrums or snotty noses; not for free babysitting or noisy holidays; and certainly not for a shoulder to cry on during those teenage years. I like just being us.

I love you, Mom. I love being your daughter. I love being your friend. I look forward to every opportunity to spend time together. See you next week. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, April 30, 2011


I make pretty good enchiladas. (I'm just sayin'.) My momma taught me. She makes better beans than me, though. Which is ok, because Mike really just likes refried beans out of the can, so it's only me who misses out.

But enchiladas are a lot of work. It takes time and lots of pots and pans with grease flying all over. Enchilada sauce stains pretty bad, too. And they're one of the cheapest things on the menu at most Mexican restaurants.

But sometimes...sometimes it's worth it. They're really good. And there's a definite sense of accomplishment when it's done. And Mike is always appropriately gleeful when I make them.

So, I guess I'll go clean up the kitchen now...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Memory Update

So today I start on my 8th verse. I'm doing pretty well with the first 7 - really good at #1 from James! Still need 'hints' on some to get me started.

Mom asked how I decide which verses to memorize. I don't really have a method. Some of these come straight out of something I've been reading/studying already. It will just connect with me, so I do that one (like the verse from 1 Peter). Other times I do a search on a theme for something I need help with (like "peace" or "waiting"). Beth Moore always posts her verse, and sometimes I just say - yeah, that's a good one, and do that one, too. (Which is the case with today's verse.)

Speaking of today's verse: Isaiah 30:18 (NLT) - "So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help."

It's pretty cool how these do pop into my head during the week. Even though I may not have it totally memorized, I'll think, "Hey, that reminds me of one of my verses - from James, maybe?" So I grab my little notebook and find it. And run through it again, trying to "transform my mind" and keep my focus on God and off me. (Not easy, I think about me a lot.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Church People

Is it just me, or does everyone have a love/hate relationship with their church? People can be so annoying sometimes. I hear people, good people, say such ridiculous things sometimes, I wonder if they even hear themselves.

"Drums in worship is wrong - straight from the devil."
"We don't do that, we're Baptist."
"We don't want to draw the wrong kind of people."
"I'll stop giving if the pastor doesn't _____________."
"We've always done it this way."

I start to wonder if I make any of those type of ridiculous statements. Would I recognize it? A friend of mine says shes fasting from judgementalism for Lent. And I think, "How can you do that? If you knew you were being judgemental, would you normally still do it?" I guess I'm judging her for that, hmm?

Anyway, I do love my little church. They are frail humans, but they love each other the best they can, and try to let Jesus lead them in all they do. I just have to remind myself of that sometimes. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I can't believe how time flies these days. I've been at my current employer for over 3 years; my birthday is just around the corner; my nephew is almost 21 years old; my husband is an old man :). And my parents have been married 49 years!

I guess I am starting to feel old physically (I don't work out, you know). But I don't feel old in my mind. I don't feel young, necessarily, but I don't feel different. It's like I've learned things along the way, but my thought processes have always been the same - which really can't be true, can it?

But I'm starting to look around me and see things pass me by. I used to be cutting edge - latest and greatest technology and all that. Not anymore. Just got our first GPS this Christmas (thanks mom). Last Christmas was the first digital camera. I don't have or even want a Smart phone. Am I the only one who thinks those things are ridiculously expensive? Not the phone itself, but the service plans to actually be able to use them. And it's all just frivolous stuff. My folks have HD tv and DVR all their shows. We don't even have a flat screen. I have 3 songs on my MP3 player.

Oh well, pretty soon I'll just be "cute" and "quaint". The younger people at church already call me "Miss Gena". Oh how I hate that!

I'm left with the occasional blog post, fantasy football and online banking as my high tech achievements. *sigh*

Monday, January 17, 2011

Not Too Bad So Far

Ok, I think I've got that first scripture down. And I don't know how much I'm getting out of it yet, but I do know that it helps me re-focus when I get a little anxious or upset or bitter or frustrated or ... you get the picture.

For example, I start getting a little bit irritated by my husband (obviously this never actually happens, but let's just say if it ever did), I catch myself. And instead of screaming at him out loud or in my head or playing the insult over and over in my head, I think, "But the wisdom from above is first of all pure..." This seems to help.

Granted, one might say that any kind of "mantra" could have the same effect. Well, we'll see. Part of the whole plan is that, no matter the situation, I will have a verse that I've tucked into memory that will focus me back on God; remind me that He is in control; help me find His joy.

Our pastor this week gave a reminder (from the book of James, by the way) that problems can be looked at as opportunities for God to work amazing things in and through our lives. I'll try to remember that.

So I'm on to verse #2! Now comes the hard part - remember a new verse without forgetting the old one. Don't read anything into this, but the verse is:

1 Peter 3:5 - "This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

So what do you think of scripture memorization? Mike thinks Baptists tend to over-emphasize scripture memorization for the sake of "works". Mainly that it's something people do for points and is therefore, legalistic and overbearing. Easy for him to say - He lives in the Bible and just speaks in verses that he's "memorized" without even trying.

I do see his point though. Memorizing scripture for the purpose of feathering your cap is not fruitful, but worthless. Spouting out memory verses to impress people with your knowledge or shame them with their ignorance - also not cool. But focusing on God's Word, internalizing it, holding it in your heart - what untold blessings can come from that?

I bring this up because I'm starting a year long scripture memory effort. Beth Moore is doing something through her blog (Siesta Scripture Memory Team) to encourage people to memorize scripture and help with accountability. Basically the idea is to memorize two verses a month. She uses her blog to have people sign in and log their new verse every couple of weeks. I did this a couple of years ago and didn't get but about halfway through the year before I bailed. Ack! Anyway, I'm also big on FREEDOM and not getting hung up on the rules, so I cut myself lots of slack over things like this. But this time, maybe I'll make it all the way through.

So everyone picks their own verses because they have to mean something to you and your particular situation at the moment or they don't matter. I may use my blog to explore my verse of the day (or week or part month or whatever). Or I may not - who knows what I will do?

However, here's my first verse of the year:

"But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere." - James 3:17 (NLT)

It's kind of long but sets the tone I'm wanting to maintain for the year - seeking God's wisdom and not getting hung up on other people's business. At least that's what I get from this verse. Maybe as I meditate on these words for the next couple of weeks, I'll get more.

Happy New Year!