Monday, December 22, 2008

The Polar Express

I watched "The Polar Express" for the first time tonight with my nephew, Howard. The movie is a good one; butI thought it was actually kind of scary in some parts. Maybe it's me being sensitive to Howard, who himself is a very sensitive little boy. But, he didn't seem to be too bothered by the parts I was concerned he might be.

While watching the movie, I was thinking about how it can be likened to the biblical stories about the lost coin, the lost sheep, or the prodigal son. The woman swept her whole house until the coin was found. The father rejoiced when his wayward son returned. And the little boy found his heart warmed by the bell that was returned to him, which symbolized his belief in Santa Claus; his belief in the wonder of Christmas. These can all be compared to faith. How there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents!*

The Polar Express is "about" a little boy renewing his "faith" in Santa Claus. But I think that it speaks to a deeper faith; the faith that gives us a reason for Christmas at all. The bell was found, lost, and then given back to the boy. How similar to our faith that tells us that Jesus seeks us, even when we feel lost, and gives us a new identity as ones linked with Christ. The hero in the story hears the bell and continues to hear the bell even when the world around him ceases to be able. There were conflicting experiences regarding the bell. May we go forth this Christmas season hearing the sounds of faith, despite the conflicting messages that tell us otherwise. Thanks be to God!

*Luke 15:10

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Prayer

Lately, I've been thinking about prayer; not just the Lord's Prayer and other common prayers like, "Now I lay me." I'm thinking about how different people are perceived to have "better" or "more effective" prayers. When I was doing CPE, it seemed that some people needed an "authoritative" religious person to pray with them. Some people were content praying on their own, and some people didn't pray at all. I was also thinking about prayer because before just about every Hebrew Content and Language class, someone led us in prayer. When it was my turn to pray in Hebrew Language, I stumbled. A LOT. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a "bad" pray-er. In fact, many people tell me I'm a "good" pray-er. But, I think what I got tripped up on was that I was trying to be too verbose. A lot of times people, especially Christian leaders, think they need to pray long, elaborate, flowery languaged prayers in order for them to be heard by God. I've fallen victim to this thinking myself sometime. And in response, I've written three prayers that I think could be done anytime, anywhere, by anyone. Here they are:

Holy and Gracious God, you are with us. Help us to remember that ALWAYS. Amen

Holy and Gracious God, you know us. Help us respond to your love. Amen

Holy and Gracious God, your mercy is new every day. Open our eyes to see. Amen.

God hears us. Thanks be to God!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What will happen?

I am from the great state of Illinois, so I find it slightly disturbing that we have such a bad political reputation. However, I think that it would be more fair to say that CHICAGO has a bad political reputation. That being said, Rod Blagojevich WAS elected by popular majority. Conversely, since taking office, his policy has been largely for the benefit of Chicago and surrounding areas. Considering there are approximately SIX MILLION people in Cook County (the county Chicago is in), and almost one million in DuPage (the county right next to Cook), while there are only about six million people in the REST of the state, we can see how powerful Chicago can be.*

Also, I HATE when people say things like, "Not my President," or "Not my Governor." The truth is, they are elected by popular vote. However, Blagojevich is thought to be one of the LEAST popular governors in the whoe United States. He had an unprecedented 0% vote of excellence. NO ONE in the WHOLE state thought he was doing an excellent job. Something like 4% of the people thought he was doing a "good" job. But, we can dislike a politician for EVERYTHING they stand for, but the truth is, they were elected by the majority, thus making them THE POLITICIAN for whatever office to which they were elected. I'm fairly certain that he would not be re-elected during the next election, even without this new development.

Regardless of him being the state's governor, I am glad that he has been arrested. I am not happy that he'll (hopefully) be going to prison, or at the very least, be impeached, but happy that there are days coming for the entire state of Illinois when more competent and honest leaders will take the office. I am not at all a fan of Blagojevich, not only because he doesn't represent the WHOLE state, but because he is dishonest, and he is always looking out for number 1. Public servants are supposed to work for the good of the majority, and not simply for themselves and their pocketbooks. I don't like how he was trying to cut funding for Children's Memorial Hospital. I was a patient there for 4 1/2 years. The fine doctors there diagnosed me with growth hormone deficiency and started me on treatment that allowed me to grow 16 1/2 inches in four years. I would be at LEAST a foot shorter had they not treated me. Not only do I laud them for my own very successful treatment, but also because they are a leading hospital in the nation, and I would dare to say, even the world. When we would go there, we would see license plates from across the nation, and even from different countries. Just looking around at other people while traversing to where we needed to go, I could see different skin tones and different ways of dress. I could hear different languages, accents, and dialects. Different people were patients there. A funding cut would cost not only the hospital, but also the patients. Healthcare should not be an option; it should be a right.

My main peeve about the governor is not the hospital situation, though. It's his dishonesty. Older Brother the Younger is a prison guard. He used to work at Pontiac Correctional Institute, which houses some of the most dangerous criminals in the state. It is a maximum security prison which even has a condemned unit. They don't execute people at Pontiac, but instead simply house them and then move them. That being said, there is a moratorium on the death penalty in the state of Illinois, so there haven't been any executions there for almost nine years. Governor Blagojevich wants to close down Pontiac prison to make budget cuts. With the state of prisons all over the nation, Illinois included, it is a bad idea, in my opinion to save the budget at the expense of the prisons. Prisons as it is now are overcrowded, underfunded, and understaffed. When Governor Blagojevich works to close prisons down, he works to put good, honest, hard-working men like my brother in danger. I don't like that. I also don't like how short-sighted his logic is. Pontiac is a town that thrives on business drawn in from the prison. People visiting their loved ones at the prison get gas, eat in, and buy things in Pontiac. The hundreds of people who work at Pontiac prison make their work there. With the prison gone, how many families would be uprooted or thrown into even more financial crisis? And the thing is, SO MANY prison guards campaigned, put signs in their yards, and VOTED for Blagojevich because of his promises that it is even a bigger slap to their faces now. He didn't keep his word, and it's a BIG word to break. There are so many issues surrounding the potential closure of Pontiac that I can't even touch on them all.

Anyway, I am reading and watching with interest about what will be happening with the governor's legal plight. I have hope that things will look up for our fine state, because I know the people deserve better.

For some comedic relief, check out this video clip from when Blagojevich was on the Daily Show in 2006. It's humorous.

Thus ends my pontificating.

*http://illinoisgis.ito.state.il.us/census2000/county_census.asp?ct=P0010001

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A worthwhile view...

My friend Ray posted this on his blog and I felt the need to share it as well with my 3 or 4 regular readers. :) Considering I am playing the "conservative church lady" in Ethics today for our sexuality presentation, I wanted to offset my "playacting" with something with which I agree. Think about it.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I've "been away."


I've said it a lot recently, but I'll say it again: I haven't been blogging very regularly lately. I'm trying to better discern a healthy mix of sharing online and sharing with people face to face. But another reason I've not blogged much this past week or so is because my grandma died on October 30th. She died peacefully in her sleep at the nursing home where she had lived for the past few years. Grandma was eight days away from turning ninety-five years old. She lived a good, long, love-filled life for which I am extremely grateful, and yet I still am sad and grieve the loss.

It's an odd thing; grief. I know that Grandma is finally at rest, and I don't wish she were still alive, but I still grieve. When I moved to Seminary, I put some pictures of family members up on my refrigerator. I put two of her up. One picture was taken more than twenty years ago because Gram has her arms around YS and me. The other picture was taken just about two years ago, and shows Gram holding Howard when he was a little baby. I love those pictures because Grandma has big smiles on her face. She really loved us kids. Even when she couldn't remember exactly how we all were related, she knew that she loved us. I am also very fortunate because even though Grandma was VERY forgetful, she was still herself, even to the end. She had a lot of one line funny remarks, and was always quick with a smile. She was so special and I loved her so much.

I was reminiscing about Grandma the other day because I was thinking about when I was a kid, how Gram and I would sometimes share a birthday celebration. Her birthday was November 7th, and mine was the 10th. We would have a family dinner and open presents and have cake. And even though Grandma had almost seventy years on me, she always let me feel extra special on my birthday. But, that's who she was.

Grandma lived about a block away from me growing up. We would go out our front door and run through the church yard and be at her house. Visits to Grandma's house were normal things. Grandma ran a nursing home in the town where I lived until the mid or late sixties. Her parents had started it, and she ran it when they got too old. But, the state came in and said they needed to have an elevator and various other things that a nursing home in a town of 400 people couldn't afford, especially since my grandma and her family didn't charge people what they couldn't pay. So, the nursing home closed down after they found places for all the residents to go. Well, all the residents except for one: Donna.

I don't know what was wrong with Donna. I just remember that Grandma took her to live in her house. Donna was bed ridden and probably weighed all of seventy-five pounds. She had dark brown hair, couldn't talk, or do much of anything. She would open her mouth and go, "AHHHH AHHHH AHHH." Not in pain, but as her way of communicating. Donna's bed was in the living room (it had rails on it and couldn't fit into the other rooms, I think). When Grandma got a cat, it would get up there and lay in the bends of Donna's legs. She seemed to like it. Donna's sisters would come visit sometimes, and they were so grateful that my seventy-something year old Grandma was able to take care of her. Thankfully, back then, the doctor still made housecalls and would come to see Donna. I think that's a part of what made her living with Grandma possible.

Oh, another interesting thing to note...Grandma had two children: My dad, and my aunt Joyce. Joyce was born extremely mentally challenged. I don't think she could talk either. She could walk though, with help. I remember Grandma going in to her room and helping her walk out to play "cards" with us little ones. So, Grandma took care of Donna and Joyce (who we pronounced Joycee) at the same time, until Joyce died of a heart attack when I was four years old.

Eventually, Grandma had to ask Donna's sisters to find a new place for Donna, because Gram was getting too old to take care of someone so intensively. Donna moved away then, and I don't know what happened to her. She probably has died by now. She wasn't that old when Grandma had her, but that was still almost twenty years ago.

Grandma was a beautiful and caring woman. She gave selflessly and sacrificially to those she loved. Despite having lived through wars and rumors of wars, the Great Depression, the death of husband, and BOTH her children, a grandchild who died at birth, and countless other events, she didn't get cynical. She laughed, she joked, and she poked gentle fun. She loved her family (which was small, considering she had been an only child), and she was willing to try new things, even as she got older and older. My grandma was very "go with the flow," and yet she still managed to get things done. She was a really special lady and I am grateful for the many, MANY warm memories I have of her.

In honor and memory, I give you one of my refrigerator pictures (considering if I were to meet you on the street, you probably wouldn't know me from this picture). I give God thanks for her life, and entrust her to the tender compassion and care of Jesus Christ, who has conquered death and who has promised to be with us always, even unto the end of the age. Thanks be to God!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Knowing and Being Known

It's been a long time since I've posted anything substantial, dear readers. I'm dreadfully sorry. Life has been busy. Anyway, I'm going to stop making excuses.

Several weeks ago, I went to Illinois to preach at a church near my home church, and to spend some time with my sisters, their significant others, and Howard and Sunscreen. I also decided that I needed to go and tell Ma that J and I got engaged. After worship on Sunday morning, I headed over to the Supermax to see her.

When I got there, I walked in the front door, through the door to walk down the hall to her unit, and then input the code to be able to swing open the gate to get into the dementia unit where Ma lives. I walked around the corner and looked around at the people sitting at the tables where they eat. I saw Ma sitting at a table with another woman, and as I got closer, she looked up, smiled, and said, "Hi, Trisha!" I was SO thankful that she knew me. She's been slipping a bit more lately, so it was nice to have her "with it" enough to know who I was.

I sat down at the table with Ma and the woman with whom she was sitting. Ma's tablemate would mumble something every so often, and repeat the same words over and over, and I couldn't really understand her, so I just shook my head and said, "okay" a couple of times. I turned my attention to Ma and asked her how she was doing. Ma can't speak in complete sentences anymore, and often uses words that don't belong. So, we can't have meaningful conversation, but she knows I love her, and I know that on some level, she is still able to love me.

After Ma quit talking for a minute I said, "Well Ma, I have something to tell you. I got engaged!"

It didn't register with her. At all. She piped up with new and different things to say. But she didn't acknowledge what I'd told her.

So, I just asked her some more questions and let her tell me the things she was saying, all the while feeling a bit bummed that she couldn't share with me in my joy of being in love and planning a wedding. But, I figured she wouldn't get it. I'd just hoped a little bit that she would have some spark of excitement. But she didn't.

What I did have joy in though, was that she knew me. It's a hit and miss thing when I go see her, whether or not she will know who I am fully. And when our visit was all said and done, and I said, "Goodbye. I love you," I walked to the gate, re-entered the code, walked down the hall through the door to the hallway, and input the code to get out of the Supermax. But, I left knowing that that day, she knew who I was.

As I reflected on the experience, I got to thinking about how NICE it is to be known, and how often we take this familiarity for granted. And I got to thinking about how we are known by God. As a Christian, I can say that I "know" God (in a certain sense; I can never FULLY know God. What I mean is that I know of God and the salvation God offers in Jesus Christ) and am fully known BY God. God doesn't forget me. I believe God knows me in my joy of becoming engaged, and as I grow in love toward J, and I believe God knows the pain I have in my heart because Ma is not well. God knows. God knows me well, as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:11. That God loves me and knows me is something I cling to in times of hardship, even though I may not always seem like it does much for me. It does.

To know and be known is a great and merciful thing. With faith that God never forgets who we are, may we live. Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Substantive Posting is forthcoming, I promise.

But for right now, here are only a few more quick snapshots of what is going on with me.

My oldest brother's 48th birthday was on Monday. I called him, but he didn't answer. I left a message of good will an hope he got it.

This past weekend was a busy one. On Friday, I had my endorsement interview. Endorsement is a big step in the candidacy process in the ELCA. A person is an applicant to candidacy at the beginning. That process involves psychological testing, background check, essay writing, and an entrance interview. Once successfully completed, a person becomes an official candidate and enters seminary. After that first year, a person does some reflection on their call and on their theology and write an endorsement essay. This essay is sent to synod people and an endorsement interview is scheduled. The E.I. is largely undertaken in order for the "powers that be" to see if they believe a candidate is ready for internship. They generally tell the candidate places they have seen growth, as well as some places for continued intentionality. Pretty much everyone freaks out about the E.I. in some manner or another. I think I did pretty well with it, although I was a little nervous. However, the interview was conducted with two candidacy people, my advisor, and me, and was more like a conversation than a grilling. When they sent me out to talk about me, I wasn't too nervous, but it took a bit longer than I thought it should have. When they called me back in, it was to apologize because they had started having regular old conversation, and needed to reel it back in. They are recommending me for endorsement to the entire panel that will meet on January 3rd. I'm excited. They spoke of many good things about me, and also challenged me to grow in a few particular places. They also made a few suggestions to me for the future regarding my spiritual development and the need to find honest and trustworthy people with whom to discuss my feelings regarding my mother, especially when she dies. But, none of the growing edges they discussed with me were really a surprise.

So, Friday night, after my E.I., we had a wee bit of a party, but I could only stay about an hour or so. I needed to go to Illinois because I was going wedding dress shopping with my sisters on Saturday, and was leading worship at a church about 15 miles from my home church on Sunday. I stayed at the party long enough to stomp all my friends at the game, "Apples to Apples!" (THE FUNNEST GAME ON THE PLANET!) and to have some good conversation. One of my friends said that they came out with a biblical version of Apples to Apples. I interjected, "Yeah. It's called, 'Apples to SIIINNNN!!!!'" Got good laughs.

I drove home on Friday night. It was an uneventful trip; one I've done many, many times. I got "home," and went pretty much directly to bed. I was tired.

On Saturday morning, Howard and Sunscreen (who is walking like no other these days!) came into my room while I was still lying in bed. Howard said, "HI TRISHY!" and Suncreen was going, "TRISHY! TRISHY!" It was TOO cute. They got up on my bed and gave me hugs and kisses. It is one of the best ways to be woken up. They're my boys. Sis said that she had been telling Howard all week that Aunt Trishy was coming home, but hadn't said anything that morning. As soon as she brought them down, Howard said, "Trishy? Trishy?" And then came to my room! I love my nephews something fierce!

YS came over, and my two sisters and I shared breakfast with the boys, and then the three of us left to go WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING! Sis and YS had four places in mind for me. One was David's Bridal, and we had an appointment. I only saw three dresses in their catalog I liked, and the consultant brought them to me. I was a little nervous, and so had a little trouble breathing while putting them on. Lol. I kinda liked one, but thought I'd continue looking at the other places, too.

So, the second place we went was probably my LEAST favorite. It was a small boutique with hideous wallpaper and carpeting (not that that REALLY matters, but still...). We had to sign up at the front desk to be put on the list to get a dressing room. We found a few dresses (actually I should say that Sis and YS found a few dresses. I didn't actually do any of the looking) and the proprietor said, "I have a room, but it's very small." We said that would be fine, and she showed it to us. It wasn't that small at all. Sis, YS, and I went in, and they were helping me. Then, a knock came at the door. I said, "Uh... Hold on a minute." And the knocking kept coming at intervals until finally she just CAME IN! The proprietor thought I NEEDED HER HELP! EXCUSE FRICKING ME, LADY! THAT'S WHY BROUGHT SISTERS! SO STRANGERS WOULDN'T BE SEEING THE GOODS! lol. My body language and tone of voice should have clued her in, but it didn't. After that, I was like, forget this place. Let's go! So we left.

The third place we went was lots better. The consultant told us about the dresses, but not overly so. She let us go to looking (and again, by "us," I mean Sis and YS), and then when we found several, she took us back the dressing rooms. She said, "Do you want my help?" I said, "No, thank you." She said, "That's what they're for, right!?" And it was well understood and all was happy. She said she would wait outside the dressing room to answer any questions we had. I tried on three dresses, with no luck. Sis told me that when she tried on her dress, it screamed, "BUY ME!" I wasn't expecting that for me, because I'm not the kind of person that fashionable things scream at. But, the fourth dress I tried on there spoke quite loudly to me. It is simple, yet elegant, and for a dress, makes me feel relatively comfortable. So, I asked the woman to hold it for me, because we had one more place to go. She said no problem, gave me her card, and said she'd appreciate hearing from us when we decided.

The fourth place... Nothing spectacular. I think I tried on two dresses or so there. Neither of them even whispered at me, really. So, we went back to place number three and I said, "You are the winner!" And the consultant said, "Yay! Not because you chose us, but because now you have your dress!" And she was quite a delight to deal with, and she didn't breach every single boundary issue I have with people and my physical person. So, I bought the dress, and am happy that that part is done. I simply need to have it cleaned (it was the last of its kind and was on the sale rack-score~!-so it had makeup from other women on it), and I need to have it altered just a little in the straps. I'm pumped. But, I can't tell you more about it, because my beloved reads this blog (sorry, my love!) and it's "supposed" to be a surprise. And I kind of want it to be. So that is the story on that.

Sunday, I led worship at the church. It went pretty well. I preached REALLY short, but I felt it wrapped up nicely. I didn't feel the need to just go on and on. I got some positive feedback, and then went to the adult sunday school between church services. It was weird because I pretty much led that, too, which I was not at all comfortable with. I used to work on Sunday mornings and couldn't do Bible Studies, so this was pretty much my first one. Lol. But, I think they were satisfied with my input. I don't know. I then led the second service, which I liked better because it felt more like "church" to me. All in all though, things went well.

I then went to visit Ma at the home. She knew me, so that was nice. She can't speak in coherent sentences, so that's not so nice. And I told her I'm engaged and she doesn't understand the concept. I could say more, but I'm not going to.

So, then I went "home" again, saw my boys for a while, and then came back home to the castle. Classes are going fine, for the most part, although I'm not a big fan of Hebrew Language or Educational Ministry. But those are my own issues. I'm working on them. And with that, I'm off to my "FIELD WORK" for Ed. Min. Yeehaw. Have a great day, and I am thinking about a post about knowing and being known. Be prepared.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A few quick updates

This Monday and Tuesday, we have Reading and Research (R&R) days at the seminary. It's a time to catch up on work, ideally. I did a little bit of homework yesterday, but I really need to get cracking.

The weather is changing, and with it, the leaves and the amount of sunlight hours. I love looking out the windows in the dorm hallway on my floor and seeing the trees in various color stages. Many trees are still green, but there are a few near ones that are almost bare already.

I read a book yesterday called, "When Love Gets Tough, The Nursing Home Decision," by Doug Manning. It's 90 pages of interesting material. The book didn't really apply so much to my family and our situation, but it was decent to read for future reference. My main beef with the book was language and how the author talked about "his" decision to put his mother in law in a home, and did not talk about his wife's input or anything of that nature. If you can get past this subtle "theology of ownership," it has much valuable information. What I liked the most about the book was that he emphasized and re-emphasized that there will be guilt, but that guilt is a normal reaction. He doesn't deny the difficulty of the situation. Another valuable part of the book was when he said that we should not argue with our loved ones about how they feel because it causes them to defend their position, and thus feel the need to stick to their guns until, basically, they are dead. And lastly, about the book, my favorite line in the whole thing said, "I would rather light one candle than curse the darkness." I don't know exactly why I like that so much, but I do.

Let's see, let's see... On the wedding planning front... I think we've basically been taking a bit of a break from it. We have the church, pastors, reception hall, photographer, hotel rooms blocked for guests, and honeymoon including air plans and insurance pretty much set. I am going wedding dress shopping next Saturday with my sisters. They are also finding catering information for us. I need to get cracking on finding a DJ and a florist. The Knot (.com) keeps telling me that I am behind, but there are plans in the making for most of the stuff we are behind in. I'm not too worried.

And lastly, I have been reading some articles and what not online lately about grief and the like. Here are a couple of the blogs/grief articles I have found that can be useful for people who are going through all sorts of grief, and not just the grief of having a loved one with dementia:
An Article On Anticipatory Grief

The Grief Blog

Grief & Bereavement from the Alzheimer's Association

There we have it. A few quick updates on what I've been doing. I hope you all are enjoying the change of the seasons, and that things are going well. Shout out to ya later.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

It was the Salmon Mousse!

Alright, so obviously I'm feeling a bit better. It always helps to write down my thoughts and what not. I get them out, and then I can think about them more and feel better, which I do.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you all a story about what happened on Wednesday/Thursday for me.

A good friend, whom I shall call "Earsy" for the purpose of this story txted me on Wednesday night. She has been to the doctor, emergency department, and acute care about six times in the past two weeks for ear pain/infections. So, she texted me and asked if I would go with her to the Emergency Department. I said yes, because ear infections suck, and I wouldn't want to have to keep going alone if I was having recurring problems like that. Being alone in that sort of situation is not fun. So, I drove her to the hospital around 10:30 on Wednesday night. I waited in the waiting room while they took her information and took her back to an examining room. I was reading for Hebrew Content, so I was not too bored. Anyway, after a few minutes, one of the ladies from the front desk came out and asked if I was with "Earsy." I said yes, and she said, "She would like you to go back there with her." So, the woman took me back and I sat on the chair by her. She was laying on one of those rolling beds and had an IV hooked up and what not. Earsy said that they were going to take her down for a CT scan to make sure she didn't have something more serious wrong with her. So, we were just waiting patiently because they had a heart attack come in and an ear infection takes the back seat in relation to a heart attack. Anyway, so Earsy and I were just talking and what not, and a nurse came in and gave her a shot of painkiller because she was in some serious pain, and she could not see out of one of her eyes. Needless to say, Earsy got a little dopey. While we were waiting, we had a word of prayer, and then talked some more.

Eventually, a young lady came and wheeled Earsy down to CT to get her scan done. I waited with her stuff because they said I should not go. So, whatev. Anyway, they brought her back up about ten minutes later, and we talked some more. Around 1:30 a.m. the doctor came in and said that it wasn't as serious as they thought it could have been, and so she could go home. The doctor gave her some instructions, and then the nurse came in with the paper of instructions and papers to sign and what not, and we were set to be able to go.

Earsy was still a bit woozy from the pain medicine they had given her, so she clamped onto my arm, and I walked with her out to the car. I leaned her against a pillar and drove to come get her. When we got back to Seminary, she clamped onto my arm again, and we walked to the elevator and came up to our floor (3). So, I helped her into her room, and she laid down without even changing her clothes (not that I blame her). I told her I would come get her in the morning so she could come to my section of Hebrew because she didn't think she'd be able to make it to her earlier section. On my way out, I turned off her main room light, turned on her bathroom light, and walked down the hall to my room and immediately got ready for bed. I set my alarm for class in the morning and went to sleep. By that time, it was 2:30.

Six hours later, I was woken up by the eardrum-piercing shriek of the fire alarm and the blinding flash they make. I don't even remember getting out of bed, I got up so fast. I put on my glasses and my zip up black sweatshirt, my slip on brown shoes, put my phone in my pocket, and walked out my door. I remembered Earsy and that oftentimes she cannot hear the fire alarm (she has hearing aids and what not), and that she had asked me before to make sure she was up when the alarm goes off. So, I was going to just walk into her room and get her for the sake of time, but it was locked. She must've gotten up in the night and locked the door. So, I started pounding on her door, and she answered by opening the door a little bit. I said, "I don't know what is going on right now, but we need to go outside." She said, "Okay, give me a second. I need to put some shoes on." So, I turned around and saw one of my neighbors coming out of his room while putting on his shirt, and a neighbor down the hall come out of her room in her pajamas. All the while, I was just standing there at Earsy's door, waiting for her. So, Earsy came out of her room and we all went down the stairs the first floor to get out. On our way, I noticed the room by the door to get outside was propped open and there was smoke coming out of it, as well as a burnt smell. So, our residence hall manager was making sure we were coming outside. Earsy, as well as most of my neighbors and I were standing outside the residence hall at 8:30 in our pajamas. I was thinking, "What time is it? I'm going to be late for church!" I was so out of it. I thought it was Sunday! And about five minutes later I realized that it was Thursday and that I had classes still! So then, I noticed that I was still in my pajamas. And not just ANY pajamas, but my yellow Spongebob Squarepants pants. Everyone else pretty much had plaid pajama pants or they were dressed (good thing Earsy went to bed dressed when I brought her back). So I said, "I win the dorkiest pajama contest!"

So, by this time, the first responder cops showed up and I could hear the firetrucks coming from down the street. The RH manager told us we should go to the Refectory (cafeteria) to stay warm and to get out of the way of the firemen who would need to go in, check to make sure there was no fire, turn off the alarm, and get the scoop on what really happened (one of the international students microwaved a breadstick or roll for way too long and it started smoking). Anyway, so we went to the refectory and I was just hoping and praying that Dr. Printimating wouldn't come through and see us all (namely, ME!) in our pajamas. And what happened two minutes later? Dr. Printimidating came through. Haha. Not that it REALLY matters, but I'm not a fan of random people seeing me in my pajamas. Especially not people who I respect and who intimidate me. Oh well.

The funniest thing about this whole experience to me was that when the fire alarm started going off, I had the presence of mind to remember Earsy. Usually I forget about her because she's a big girl and can take care of herself, but that day, I pounded on her door, which turned out to be a good thing. She had woken up, but could not figure out what the sound was. She thought it was her alarm or that her ears were REALLY messed up. Granted, the building wasn't really on fire either, but whatever. Also, the funny part is that we were standing on either side of her door, practically having a conversation through the shrill shriek of the alarm, while all of our neighbors started filing out. And the funniest part yet, for me, anyway, was when I said, "I don't know what is going on right now, but we need to go outside."

I was really out of it. Haha. But anyway, we were able to go back to our rooms within fifteen minutes or so, and I went back to bed for an hour. Then, to the classes for the day. Fun times.

And the title of this post? I just watched "The Meaning of Life" for the first time ever, and I laughed SO hard I was screaming. I thought Earsy and I were both so out of it that we could say that the culprit was the Salmon Mousse. I vote yes.

Have a fantastic Saturday.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Smiling is an important daily activity.

Well, friends, I'm going to be honest here and say that I've not been feeling the best the last couple of days. The weird thing is, I have SO much for which to be thankful; the love of a good man, two sisters whom I love, three beautiful nephews, a brother and his wife I'm fairly close with, an awesome array of friends, a God who loves me unconditionally, and the opportunity for education. So, with all this, I just feel like a big whiner for saying that I'm having a rough go at it right now. But that's the truth.

I guess I'm just kind of sad about the way things are with my mom and how that affects her, me, and the whole rest of my family. And lately I've also been thinking about my dad and how I miss him. I'm a bit sad that at our wedding, J isn't going to get to do a Mother-Son dance and that I don't get to have my dad walk me down the aisle or to dance with me. I'm sad that I can't talk to my mom and hear her advice on how to live with and love a man for decades more of my life. I'm bummed that she won't get to sing at my wedding, or even attend because it would be too much for her. And I'm also worried that I am going to catch flak from people who don't "get" the situation who think that it is selfish of me to not find a way for her to come.

But there is nothing I can do to change these things. I can remember with joy and love the way things used to be. I can know that Christ is with me in the range of emotions I am feeling right now, and that I don't have to deny them. I can even try to deny these feelings and just keep swimming. It's just hard to do sometimes, and darn near impossible at other times.

Mom keeps deteriorating, and because Alzheimer's and Vascular Dementia are so similar (and often Vascular Dementia is accompanied by AD), I have come to believe that she is in Stage 6 of her dementia. After talking with YS today, I am pretty much convinced. And I looked ahead to what we can expect and there is more to come, but the thing that gets me the most is that she's going to lose the ability to smile. My mom, who taught me humor by her own example, and who appreciated laughing and smiling, is going to lose the ability to do these things. And I think that really fricking blows.

And at this point, I *should* say something optimistic about how the love of Jesus is with me to get me through, but I think that's candy-coating it, and I don't feel like candy-coating today. Don't get me wrong, I'm not losing my faith; not at all. I just don't think we are called to smooth things over all the time. And right now, I think to smooth things over would be to disrespect the human condition; the condition that God in Christ came to embody.

Suffering produces endurance, eh?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fun Times

Well, here we are, 4 or so weeks into the semester (depending on whether or not you count prologue wee). J has been living in his new community for what seems like FOREVER. I miss him a lot, but we talk every day in some way or another. Last night, we had a virtual date. We had a video call on MSN messenger, and we played the games that they offer. We even put a puzzle together, and it was so much fun (even though I suck at puzzles). I had a great time. It's amazing to think of my life and how much I love him, and how only 10 short months can change a person. I was planning on staying single forever, but that didn't happen. J and I started hanging out near the end of the fall semester of my junior year. Then, on Valentine's day, we said we liked each other, and on March 13, we made our relationship "official." And now, we're engaged. It's amazing.

Back before J, I thought that I was going to be single forever. I told people that I was going to be single forever. But now I am blessed with the love of a good man, and I'm gushing. In my former days, I would be about puking by now. Lol. All this is just exciting. I can't believe it. I still get giddy when I remember J asking me to marry him. :) :) :)

I guess the point of this post is to say that it is good to be open to new experiences. I'm so thankful I was wrong. :) Enough gushing for now. See y'all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm slacking!

Hello, all. Well, I've been slacking with this whole updating thing. It's the beginning of a new semester, and I'm still trying to figure out the correct balance of doing things. Right now, I'm TOTALLY not balancing right. It's my own fault though. I'm too excited to be wedding planning with J than to focus on my schoolwork. Although, I am really enjoying Hebrew Content. The Hebrew Scriptures are really interesting (when you're not having to deal with genealogies and numbers and what not). There's scandal, people overcoming odds, and all kinds of stuff. Very interesting.

Anyway, so, the wedding date is May 30th, 2009, at my home church. We're very excited. Because, well, this is an exciting time. It's also an exciting time because J is about two weeks into living in the communities to which he has been called to serve. He's in the midst of ministry, and I hope, feeling affirmed and delighted. I'm excited for him, and I'm excited for the people who called him. He's a really talented, smart, and funny man, (only a few of his wonderful qualities), and they are fortunate to have him.

Tonight is the season premier of Law&Order:SVU. A friend and I have watched this show on Tuesday nights for the entire time she's been here and it's been on. It's grown a bit to include other friends, but it is a good time. I'm excited.

Lastly, Pumpkin seeds aren't near as tasty as sunflower seeds. That is all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I sure hope this isn't a premonition...

Today, I took a bit of a nap. I had gone to classes this morning, and also worked out when a panel from Illinois could come for me and another young woman from Illinois to interview us for Endorsement. It took a wee bit of work to schedule all of this stuff, but I got it done. After I got that figured out, I went to check out this youth center where I will be doing my "field work" for a class. When I got home I laid down on my bed. I really wasn't all that tired, but I felt a bit off, and thus decided to rest. Soon enough, I was asleep, and having a crazy dream.

I dreamt that it was the day of the Endorsement Interviews. The way it works is that one person from each synod (or state, as in my case) is the lead coordinator and works to find a day and time when all the people they are grouped with can have the interviews. The leader can delegate tasks, so long as a room for interviewing is reserved, the panel, student, and faculty advisor are there, lunch is straightened out, and for those who come from a long way to get accommodations. So, I'd been slightly stressed about getting all this done because there are some things going on in my synod that are going to make the assistant to the bishop for candidacy affairs unavailable for a while. I wanted to get things hammered out before she left, so that she didn't have to be worried about it while she is away. Needless to say, I've had Endorsement on the brain. Anyway, so back to the dream...

I dreamt that instead of having these interviews on all separate days, every single synod was doing their interviews on the SAME day. Seminary set up big old rooms for dinner and what not about it. Well, on this day, my fellow Illinoisan and I forgot to meet our panel at the front desk. When we remembered and got there, he was like, "Finally!" and he rolled his eyes. So, he was saying snarky things to us about how incompetent we were and what not. And so, we were trying to be apologetic and polite, and so we took him to the dinner. There were ice sculptures set up and big long tables of food that people were sitting at. Our "panel" (which consisted in the dream of just this one guy), was not impressed. He had to wait for his meal, during which time, he continued to degrade us. So, after the meal (which I don't remember eating in the dream), there was some sort of presentation. He was not amused, and in fact, did not like at all. All of a sudden, it was like an hour or two had passed, and I loked around and saw that one ice sculpture was severely melted, and another one was basically destroyed. Just the base of it was there with a bunch of water in the ice "walls" that remained. Not many people were in the room anymore, and I looked around to see our "panel" destroying the ice sculptures. I knew that they wouldn't have degraded so quickly. He pretty much told us we were incompetent failures, and that he shouldn't have wasted his time.

At this point, I jerked awake and was like, "Dude... What the heck!"

I've been having some weird dreams lately that have been causing me to jerk awake. It's weird, and slightly amusing because when I wake up, I know that my subconscious has just blown things way out of proportion. I'm fairly confident that my Endorsement Interview (the next step in Candidacy for me and my classmates) will go well. My academic work has gone pretty well, I think I'm growing in this whole, "Trying to talk in class" thing, and I think I'm becoming more confident with my particular gifts and abilities. Dreams are bizarre things, I reckon. That, and I have lots o' stuff going on (obviously).

Anyway, I just thought I'd tell y'all of my crazy dreaming again. Have a delightful day.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Ring!

I forgot to post about the engagement ring J and I picked out! It is 1/4 carat princess cut diamond with a white gold band. Here is a picture:



It is simple, which is just my style. :) See you all later.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Most of you already know...

But J asked me to marry him and I said yes. He asked on Sunday, August 31st, 2008 (obviously). He asked me to go with him to his new home to help move him and his stuff in. His call is about 11 hours away from Seminary. Four of his congregation members came down in a suburban to help him move that weekend. They got here late on Friday night and went to sleep. Early the next morning, we went down to J's apt and loaded up his Uhaul. Two people drove the truck, two people went in the suburban, and J and I went in his car. Before we departed, he asked me to go get a CD he had made me. Good music.

We stopped a couple of times for gas and food, and made it to his new home in pretty good time. There were several congregation members there to help unload the truck, and J got to tell them where to put all the boxes and furniture. Someone else brought pizza, beer, water, and pop, and so we had some good time for fellowship and getting to know you. One of the congregation members showed us how to get to the hotel at which I would be staying. Then, J brought me back to his house, after we went and saw the church. It seems like a really neat place, and I mentioned how much I like it. When we got back to his house, I helped him set up his bed so he could sleep comfortably during his first night in his new place (even though he was coming back to Seminary for about two more weeks).

After we got the bedroom situation figured out, he took me back to the hotel because we were both pretty beat. As I was getting ready for bed, he sent me a really sweet text message, and I replied, and then went to sleep.

The next morning, he came to get me for our long trip home. We drove around the town in which one of his congregations and the parsonage are. It's a town of about a thousand people. They have a prominent landmark right off the Interstate, and so we stopped and looked at it and read about it for a little bit. Then, he took me to the town where his other church is. He showed me the outside of his other church because we couldn't go in. They were still worshipping. Both places seem really cool, and I enjoyed the congregation members I met. Good folks.

After he showed me around that town, which has about 200 people, give or take a few, we headed out. We drove for a little while, but then stopped at another prominent landmark in a town on the Interstate. We had our picture taken with said landmark, viewed the museum and tourist sites there, and then got back into his car. Before he started the car, he said, "Did you ever listen on your computer to the most recent CD I made you?" I told him that I had only ever listened to it on my DVD player. He said, "So you don't know the names of all the songs?" I told him that I didn't. Then he said, "I finished the insert for you. You might want to pay special attention to the first letter of each song." So, I read the first letters that spelled out, "Trish will you marry me?" I turned to him and said, "Are you asking?" And he said, "Yes. Will you marry me?" Of course I said yes, and I am thrilled. We got the engagement ring later that week because he wanted us to pick it out together.

We tried to keep it quiet, but told several of our friends the next week. I asked the usual Seminarians Gone Wild crew to go out to lunch for a "pre-Wednesday get together event." All but one was able to go. We went out to lunch at a Chinese Buffet. As I came back from my second trip, I was standing up near the end of the table and I said, "Hey guys. Hey guys... I lied. The reason I wanted you all to come to lunch is because we're engaged." It was so neat to see their reactions. We got hugs and squeals and all that good stuff. We asked them to keep it on the downlow because were were planning on going to Illinois to tell my family the coming weekend.

So, Friday, we got to Sis and BiL's house. I wanted to tell both of my sisters at the same time, so I had kinda put a bug in YS's ear that she needed to visit us at Sis's house that weekend. I'm thankful that Sis, YS, Howard, Sunscreen, BiL, J, and I had dinner together on Saturday night. YSB had to be someplace else, so that was a slight bummer. Anyway, though, before dinner, I was making cocktails, because I gotta make myself useful somehow, and YS came up to me and said, "Hey T, I had a crazy dream about you the other night!" (Remember that the week prior, I had had that dream where she was incredibly angry and she really was?) I said, "What did you dream about?" She replied, "I had this dream that when you and J came home, you guys were married!" I kinda smiled and said, "No... We're not married." Then, about an hour later, after we had finished eating dinner, we were enjoying a nice glass of peach champagne when I asked BiL when he was going to Canada. He told me when and then he said, "Too bad we're turning right at (town where J and I got engaged), or else I'd come see you, J!" I said something like, "So, you're turning there? That's where he asked me to marry him." And they were all like, "WOW!" And BiL said, "I KNEW IT!" And YS said, "My dream was almost right!" And they gave us congrats. YS said, "I told YSB that if T gets a ring before I do, I'm going to be pissed!" I asked her if she was okay with it, and she said, "Yes, I'm very happy for you!" And she was. I can tell when she's upset, and she wasn't upset. Maybe this will be the impetus for YSB to ask YS. They've been together a good long while, and he's a good man. I just think he's been burned before.

So, the family knew, and that freed J and me up to tell whomever we wanted.

The next morning, we went to my home church and I introduced Pastor to J. Pastor told J congrats on graduating and being ordained, and J said, "Among other things." And I held up my ring hand and said, "We're engaged!" It took Pastor a second to realize that I was holding up a ringed finger and he was excited about it. We told him that we had wanted to wait until we told my family, but now we could broadcast it to the world. So he said, "I can help you with that, if you'd like! I can make an announcement if that's alright with you!" We told him that it would be.

So, Pastor did the regular announcements that morning, and as the last one he said, "Some of you maybe have met Trish's friend, J when he was here in August?" (He looked at me to see if that was right and I said, "July"). "When he was here in July when Trish led worship when I was gone. J is a recent graduate and is ordained and will be starting a call (in his call towns). But when we were talking this morning, Trish held up her hand like this and showed me that they're engaged!" I heard the whole congregation go, "Awww!" And then they all started clapping. I turned bright red, of course, but I felt very loved by them. It's good to have "congregational approval," despite the fact that I'm in love and would marry him even if they didn't approve.

I'm just glad they didn't freak out and think I was going to quit seminary. That is not AT ALL my plan. J realizes this and supports me in my continuing education. We are planning on getting married this coming May, though. I'm excited, to say the least. I just wanted to share this news with you, my blogging community, despite the fact that most of you knew already. :)

Anyway, this has been an extremely long post, so I'ma head off now. Have a delightful day.

Friday, September 05, 2008

I'm a slacker!

I'm dreadfully sorry for not having posted anything lately. I've been a little busy. Prologue week ended today, and so there is a picnic later today that I will be attending with J. I'm glad that Prologue Week is over. I ended up making myself look stupid more days than not. Haha.

We had opening worship on Monday night. A friend asked me to be a standard bearer, meaning, I had to stand in a designated area with my classes colored (black) banner. I, along with the water bearer, led our class into the refectory to be seated for worship. But, before we went in, I was just standing there as a beacon. I was looking through some of the photos of the event later in the week and saw one of me looking intently at my banner. It's not too terrible, but I have a look of concentration on my face and the people are probably like, "WHAT is she LOOKING AT!?" Lol. I was looking to make sure none of the black ribbons that made up the banner had come off again and started flying away. But, most people don't know that.

Let's see, I don't think I did anything on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, I was really tired, and so I put my hands on my forehead to rest my head. I wasn't *Really* sleeping because I could still hear every word the prof was saying. Then, he said something interesting, so I took my hands down and wrote it down. However, about 10 seconds later, I decided I needed to shift in my seat. The unfortunate part is that my chair did not have the screws in the bottom of the seat to keep it down. So, I started to fall forward until my friend sitting next to me put his arm out and anchored the back of my chair down. Most of the people in the class started laughing and the prof said something to me regarding falling asleep. I told him I wasn't falling asleep, but that my chair was broken, but I don't think he believed me. And the rest of the profs (Prologue week is team taught) thought I was sleeping. Thankfully, my small group leader asked me what happened later. But, the whole thing just made me feel stupid because everyone thought I was sleeping, and then the professor and I had a short conversation right then and there and I turned bright red and he said he was blushing too. It was just weird.

Thursday, we were all sitting in class, listening to the lecture, when the professors asked us to ask questions. Because I hardly spoke in class last year, I thought I should work on that this year. So, I tried to ask some question, but it met with silence and bewildered faces. So, I said, "That isn't clear to you at all, is it?" and they said, "no." So, I rephrased, and they kind of answered, but not quite the question I was asking. I don't want to be "that girl" who just talks and asks stupid questions. Ugh. Oh well.

Today, I didn't really do anything to make myself look stupid. Which is a good thing. One of the profs, I think made another classmate feel stupid because he (the prof) was not paying attention to what was going on when my classmate had to leave. He brought attention to her as she left, and I felt bad for her because I wouldn't appreciate his comments in the middle of class like that either. He wasn't being mean, but he was drawing attention to her. And then, when he realized WHY she left, he brought MORE attention to her. Gimme a break.

Oh well. Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come. I think things will be fine; we just need to get back into the swing of things.

Oh yeah! And I need to tell you another story about something ELSE that happened today!

J and I were at HyVee returning a RedBox movie (A new thing for me, but really cool). Anyway, someone else was using it when we got there, so we were going thru the movies for sale bin. This older woman in a motorize shopping cart was also looking through the movies when she said to J and me, "This is what the world is coming to!" while pointing to the movie, "The Omen." At which point, she launched into this diatribe about how we all need to repent from our sins because satan is here and we're about at the end of the world and would experience God's wrath if we all didn't repent. And she talked to us for like, 10 minutes! I tried to tell her that J is a pastor and she just blew right on by, continuing to talk about the mark of the beast and the coming judgment and what not. She then said she was going to give me some information about what is happening, but I said, "We have to be going." But then this woman dragged me into MORE conversation. Then, when she finally took another breath, I interjected about how I am glad that we are the recipients of God's wonderful grace. She took that as an opportunity to talk more about how, despite God's grace and goodness, we still need to DO things. I'm all for living a faithful life, but she was not listening at all to us.

It reminded me of pastoral care last year when we were told that before we want to be heard, we have to listen. I guess this chic missed the memo on that one. Oh well. The whole experience reminded me of a good friend of mine here who has weird experiences ALL the time! I am excited to tell her about this lady, who we finally got away from because the RedBox finally became free. Yikes.

Anyway, so that is that. Have a great weekend all. See you, and I'll try to post more frequently.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I called YS

So, I called YS this afternoon to tell her about the dream (see post below). It turns out she IS really angry... Just not at me. YS is a pharmacy technician, and is VERY good at her job. Mama did a good job at instilling within all of us a good work ethic. YS is very capable and understands things that are lost on some people. Anyway, she works in the pharm. department of a hospital, and has for about a year or so. The only thing is, these two ladies were giving her all sorts of flak because she was assigned to the robot when they got it right around the time she started working. These ladies were not assigned to the robot because it is newer technology and they have proven to be a bit difficult to instruct because they apparently can't handle constructive criticism. So, YS knows all about this robot and is very efficient at it. But, the ladies were offended and have taken it out on her. So, YS got fed up with her attempts at being nice to ladies who would have none of it, and would talk smack about her, or ignore her completely, so she was going to quit and go back to her job as senior pharmacy tech at WalGreens. However, the hospital stepped in (despite the fact that YS is not a "tattle-tale." She didn't say these ladies were the problem until after much prodding by the boss) and they all had a meeting and gave her a substantial raise, and so now she is working both jobs.

Needless to say, she's stretched a little thin, in my book. YS is a wonderful, wonderful person, but she's not so good at realizing the need for self-care. In my opinion, she is becoming frazzled. Thankfully those two ladies are being nicer to her. The unfortunate thing is that there is a young man who works there, but "works" is used loosely. From what YS has said, he pretty much just scoots around in an office chair all day, asks YS to do his work, and draws chicken people on pretty much any piece of paper he can find. Strange, yes... So, YS is really fed up with his laziness, and says she wants to punch him in his face every time she sees him, which to me is slightly funny because she's not a violent person. But anyway, when she told me all this, she had prefaced it with, "You had that dream about me because I AM mad! Just not at you!"

I thought it was interesting that I would have a "YS is really angry" dream when she is in fact very angry. I've not talked to her in about a week and a half, and she'd not told me about this chicken people drawing guy. Dreams are weird. And with that, I'm going to go have dinner with some friends! Have a wonderful evening.

Crazy Dream

Last night, I had a bizarre dream. Since I enjoy posting the weird ones, I bring you, "Catfight!"

I was back at my home in Illinois and YS and Ma were there, too. YS and I were being animous toward each other though, especially as we started to go outside to get into the "family" car in the driveway, which was like my old Jeep Cherokee (not Grand Cherokee, just Cherokee). I hurried up and ran to the driver's side so I could drive, but YS was screaming at me because she wanted to drive. I said, "Tough." So, I got behind the wheel and she got in the back seat to pout. Then, Ma (with all her faculties) came out and sat in the passenger's seat. I could tell YS was really mad, but for some reason, I didn't care. So, we set out, and all of a sudden, we were at a restaurant. YS, Ma, and I got a seat, but then, YS started getting snarky with me, and so she tackled me in the middle of this restaurant. We were rolling around on the floor screaming at each other and hitting each other and everything.

Then I woke up, probably out of shock because YS and I haven't fought in years, and there is nothing on my mind to be angry with her about. The other thing is that YS is not a fighter. She can't handle the tension. She will most times, try to smooth things over, or bury her own feelings so as to not "make waves." When we were younger, we used to argue a lot, but that's because I was always doing the "big sister" thing and trying to protect her from herself. I realize in hindsight that I should have let her be more independent so maybe she wouldn't have made so many mistakes (considering I think that my trying to control her made her rebel against anything I said). I'm glad that I have backed off of her. I don't harp on her like I did when we were teenagers, and I'm glad that she's doing relatively well for herself. We are good friends, I think, my younger sister and me. All three of us girls are pretty close, so I'm very thankful for that.

Anyway, it was just an interesting dream, what with the time warp back to a time when some things were better and some things were worse. But, I guess it helps me see that nostalgia has a time and place, but I live in the present. Hmm.. Have a lovely day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I was slightly surprised!

I just got off the phone with Sis. I had called her because I was trying to call my bank about some stuff, but no one was answering. That's because the bank closes at noon on Wednesdays. But, anyway...

After Sis told me that the bank was closed, we got to talking (because they're allowed to talk on the phone at work), and she told me about the boys. They're at their new babysitter, and Sis says they are being stinkers about going in the morning. She says they bawl and when they get there, Howard grabs her arm and says, "READY TO GO!" And then, when she comes to pick them up, he does the exact same thing. However, the sitter says they are good during the day, so I don't know what the deal is. Probably the transition. They had the old babysitter for most of their lives, and then they had me, and now it's someone absolutelly new. I think it'll just take a little bit of time before they're excited about going there.

But, the thing I'm blogging about is that Sis and I were talking and she said, "We're moving." My reaction? A crescendo of, "you're moving? You're moving? You're Moving? YOU'RE MOVING!!!!" and then crazy maniacal laughing. Sis said, "That's an interesting reaction." I was just a little surprised, that's all. I mean, I knew they were talking about the POSSIBILITY of moving, but they're actually moving. They do have a room for me, though. It will be in the basement, but I'm cool with that. They have wanted to a smaller house for some time. The house they have now is huge, and is more than they can take care of. I'm slightly bummed because their current place has a hot tub and a pool, but they say they're going to take the hot tub with them unless it's a selling point. At this point, I'm slightly bummed I didn't get more landscaping done while I was there. It's hard to work hard when you have two little ones who require constant attention and supervision.

But, it's just weird to think that Sis and BiL and the boys are moving again. They have been at their current place for about four years, which is a record for Sis. I think I'm going to like the new house because I am all for not having more house than you can keep clean and tidy. Plus, living in the "country" will be a good experience for them, I think. BiL has issues sometimes with neighbors and all the junk that living in a small town entails.

That is the news I'm slightly surprised at. I wish you all could have heard my reaction when Sis told me about this. It was pretty classic. ha. Anyway, I need to go write my Endorsement Essay now. I'll probably post on that later. Peace out.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Take a Look! It's in a Book! It's Reading Rainbow!

Earlier this summer, some of you might remember that I posted about some books I had read. I read, "The Rapture of Canaan" and "Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal." They are both very good books, but in different ways.

Anyway, I kind of had to take a break from reading while I was in Illinois watching my nephews. They would wake me up far earlier than I would ever wake up if I were left to my own devices, and so I could not stay awake late into the night reading. But, now that I'm back at Seminary, I am reading a new book for fun. It is called, "Waiter Rant-Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter."

This book was written by the man who has maintained Waiter Rant for the past four years or so. His blog has been in my "favorites" list for quite some time now. He has blogged mostly about his experiences as a waiter in high end restaurants in New York City and the surrounding areas. Because his blog is wildly popular, and because it garnered much attention, he was given a book deal.

I am almost finished with the book, and for the most part I have enjoyed it. He tells good stories about the restaurant industry; stories that even I, who worked in a plain-jane restaurant (not a chain, but not a dump, either) can relate to. The stories The Waiter (as he goes by) tells do a nice job of linking his experiences to the outside world. He even tells a bit of history here and there and weaves analogies from waiting into these historical concepts. It brings his material alive and helps people realize that restaurants are not separate from society, but rather reflect the attitudes and behaviors of society.

However, there are some points in the book that I think could have been reworked to make it a notch better. For example, The Waiter talks about entitlement, which is a very real thing waiters and waitresses experience when dealing with the public. When people go out to eat, some of them think that the wait staff's sole purpose in life is to bring them their meals. Well, that may be their purpose while at work, many of the people who work in restaurants are also putting themselves through school, or waiting tables as a second job to save up because times are tough, or whatever. Entitlement is really out there. But the thing is, as much as The Waiter complains about it, it seemed to me, in certain places, that he exhibited these behaviors himself. At one point, he was talking about the chef making the staff some lunch before the shift started. He asked the chef to make tacos (the chef was from Mexico, I think), and then, when the tacos came out, he said, "Finally!" It just struck me as a bit odd that he would display that sort of behavior in the middle of his schpiel on the evils of acting entitled. Maybe I just took it wrong, but that's how it came across to me.

There are a few other examples in the book that seem to me to show how The Waiter does not speak to the situations of wait staff who do not work in high-end establishments, and is, in fact, much more off in his assumptions about them than he would probably like to admit. He seemed to imply that you have to work in a high-end place to make any kind of money. Granted, my time at Restaurant didn't garner me LOTS of money, but I had enough to cover what I needed, and even to save quite a bit every week. Maybe that's because I'm cheap, though. The point is, you don't have to work in a restaurant that charges thirty bucks an entree to get by.

And lastly, the thing that probably bothers me the most (because the other things aren't THAT bad; simply observations I have made), is that there are LOTS of typographical and grammatical errors all throughout the book. I think I found nine errors by the time I reached page 102. And I've found a couple more since then. I'm a bit of a neurotic when it comes to proper spelling and grammar, and it just frustrates me knowing that people make GOOD money to EDIT these things, and yet, so many errors slip by. This is the first book I have ever read with SO many blatantly obvious errors.

With all this talk about the shortfalls of the book, though, I want to put it out there that I am indeed enjoying the read. It gives me a glimpse of what the wait staff in high-end establishments have to deal with. Additionally, The Waiter has some really interesting reflections and observations because of his background of working in the mental health field, and of having been a Catholic seminarian. I would recommend the book to those who aren't fanatics about spelling and grammar. I would especially recommend the book to people who eat out at restaurants often. I was very fortunate during my time as a waitress because about 90% of my customers were quite tolerable. Many of them were actually a delight for me to serve. Very few customers prompted my inward groaning. What's nice is that The Waiter talks about the good, the bad, and the ugly; it's not just a complain-fest about the dining public. So, if you're interested in finding a good read, I recommend, "Waiter Rant-Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Special Day!

Today is a special day! Today, my one and only, J, was ordained into the ministry of Word and Sacrament! J's birthday is also today, which makes it even more special. Worship this morning was quite lovely. J chose good music, good leaders, and he looks mighty fine in his stole. :) I read one of the lessons he had chosen, and I also helped serve communion, so I felt honored to be a part of the day. Thank you! I'm so proud of him, that he's come so far, and that he's got an interesting road ahead of him that I am confident he will maneuver with grace and love. Congratulations, J, and I love you!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Catching Up

Because I was in Illinois for the past month and a half (basically), and because my computer with all my favorites was not able to be connected to the Internet, I was not able to read some of the blogs I frequent. Tonight, I was doing the rounds, and I saw a plea from a man who blogs over at http://www.lutheranhusker.blogspot.com. He is walking in his area's Memory Walk to raise money to find a cure for Alzheimer's Disease, and so he is asking for donations to help him meet his goal of raising $2000. He's already at over $1700, which is very laudable. I know that most of the people who read my blog are cash-strapped seminarians, but I thought, what the hey? I could throw the opportunity to support this very worthy cause out there. To donate to Matt's team, go to this page. You can donate online, or print out a donation form, write a check, and send it via snail mail.

Dementia is a horrible, horrible disease, and Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia. Unfortunately, it is also incredibly destructive. Memory Walks are organized in many communities. If I'da been on the ball, I could have scouted out the possibility of making a team to walk from the Seminary community. Thankfully, there are people who do the walking. Here's to finding a cure in our lifetime!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

East and West

Psalm 103:8-14

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he keep his anger for ever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love towards those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far he removes our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
For he knows how we were made;
he remembers that we are dust.

On my recent trip through several states, while driving through the night and trying to stay awake and alert to watch for critters, which I inevitably would hit anyway, I got to thinking about how far our sins are removed from us by God's gracious work in Christ Jesus. They're removed as far as the East is from the West, but how far is that, really? I mean, really, if you think about it, where East ends, West could be thought to begin. That would mean they're not very far apart at all. However, this drive took me from Interstate to Interstate, and I thought about Eastbound and Westbound traffic. They're only a median apart, and yet they never meet. East goes its way and west goes its, all the while, but they never meet.

What does all this talk about Interstates have anything to do with how far our transgressions are removed from us? Good question. The way I see it, when our transgressions are taken away, it's like they never happened. It's not like God keeps a ledger of who does what wrong and when. In Christ, the richness of grace is showered upon us. Maybe, in baptism, when we are baptized into Christ's death, the old person who has been drowned in the waters of baptism can no longer meet the new person who is made alive in Christ. The forgiveness we are freely given keeps us going along those Interstates, still ourselves seeing what we have done and what we continue to do, and yet trusting in God's grace in Jesus to bring us ever closer to Christ.

Hmm. Well, it's late, and this idea is still pretty new to me. Maybe I'm not making any sense, but I thought, what the hay? I am only awake right now because I'm doing laundry so I can go back to the Castle later today. I'ma go visit Grandma at her nursing home, which I would have done on Sunday, but I can only handle one nursing home a day, and maybe stop by my church if Pastor is there, and then head on out. It's time to return to the land of adult interaction every day. Have a good one.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Counting Down the Days

To what, you may ask? I am counting down the days until I go back to Seminary. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my family, but like I've said before, I need adult interaction every single day. Sis and BiL and I do chat, but they're usually tired by the time they get home from their work, and then they want to play with their kids, (obviously! Who wouldn't want to play with them. They're adorable!) watch a little t.v. and go to bed by about 9:30. Me, on the other hand; well... I'm re-energized when they get home. Tonight, I walked my bike uptown to put air in the tires so I could go on a bike ride. Unfortunately, after I aired up the tires, I realized I couldn't pedal because the chain had rusted a bit and fallen off. I managed to get it back on so that it wouldn't click, click, click as I pedaled, and it goes along just fine. I just can't change gears. Oh well. It's not in the toughest gear and it's not in the wimpiest gear, so I'm okay with that. Sis didn't want to take the kids for a walk today, so I had to get out, and bike riding is what I did.

BiL and I also replaced the gauge/instrument cluster in my car, Neno. The speedometer has been messing up for a few months now. I would be driving along and the speedometer needle would start dancing all over the place. It didn't do it too terribly often; just enough to annoy me. It didn't even really give me much trouble on my trip last weekend. But, one of the last times it started not working, the tripometer/odometer didn't work either. Thankfully, I gave the underside of the wheel a good whack and it all corrected itself. But, I wanted to get it fixed, all the same, so Sis, BiL, and I ordered the part off of EBay, and we put it in tonight. I had no idea the top part of the dash just snaps off. It's really cool. It was only a 20 minute job, but if I'd taken it to a car repair shop, it probably would have cost me a couple hundred dollars. We got the gauge cluster (used) for less than 50 bucks, and I didn't have to pay for labor. Good work! Yeehaw. I can go back to the seminary with a fully functioning car (knock on wood).

As I prepare to go back, I also am thinking about things I have yet to do. I am leading worship/preaching on Sunday. I finished my sermon yesterday, I think, but I'm going to go over it to make sure it isn't ridiculously boring. I hate being boring when I preach. This sermon is a tad bit more academic than I'm used to preaching, but I don't think it'll be over the congregations heads at all. I'm kind of excited to preach it. Hopefully they hear a word of grace in the message.

I also plan on calling my good friend who was the cook at Restaurant while I was there. She's still there, despite the fact that she is 78 years old. She was disappointed back in the Spring when she couldn't come see my presentation from Israel/Palestine. So, I told her that if I ever got a laptop, I would bring it by and show her. So, now that I have a laptop, I can. I wanted to show her a couple of weeks ago, but I got sick, and then she had family come in from California, and then she went with them. I think she's back now, but that is why I need to call. I don't just want to pop in on her, although I'm confident she wouldn't mind. I love that woman, and she loves me. It's a good feeling.

I also need to go to the Supermax and visit Ma one more time before I head back to school. The home where she stays just sent Sis, who is the Power of Attorney, her Care Plan Guide. I read through it, and found most of the information pretty obvious to anyone who has seen her lately. However, there were some disheartening things in there regarding her mental status and another physical thing that we were told could be a potentiality back in December. It's still "only" a potentiality, but the fact it looms over her and us is just a bit saddening. I guess you never know when the end will come, and so I don't want to have regrets. I have had experiences where I have "lucked out" and gotten to see someone I loved right before they died unexpectedly, but I have also had experiences where I have not seen a person and so have lived with regrets. Since I don't know when the end will be for Ma, I want to make sure to visit her reasonably frequently so that I don't have those regrets.

And lastly, Sis and BiL are having a "send-off" dinner for me on Tuesday night. YS and YSB are coming, as well as BiL's sister and her boyfriend. My little ol' heart was warmed the other day when BiL's sister told me that she refers to me as her sister in law, because we're just like family, anyway. It's nice knowing they don't just consider me to be a person they have to put up with to see Sis, BiL, Howard, and Sunscreen. They like me, they really like me! Anyway, for dinner, BiL is going to make my absolute favorite meal ever, which is roast done medium rare, homemade mashed taters, and dark brown gravy. He's going to put the roast on the rotisserie in the grill, which is AWESOME. He offered to make me one of his famous prime ribs, but I would much rather have the roast. And, better yet, he's sending me along with the leftovers. Weehaw!

Anyway, so that's what I'm doing these next few days. I'm going back to Seminary on Wednesday. That is the day the new babysitter starts. The ex-babysitter is back from vacation in Florida, and they came to visit the boys. She said she misses them, which is a natural thing. But, she made her decision about not watching them anymore. Hopefully, Howard and Sunscreen grow to love the new babysitter like they did the old one. I want them to be happy. I love my boys so darn much.

Oh, and a quick aside. Tonight, I got Howard to say, "How YOU doin'?" It's so cute. It comes out more like, "How doin'?" but it's so cute. Sunscreen still isn't walking. He's about 14 1/2 months old, and Howard didn't start walking til he was 15months old. They're both smart; just slow to get going. Anyway, that is enough blubbering for me. Have a wonderful evening, and stay safe. 4 more days til I go back and see J, my room, and all that being back at school entails! I miss everyone! Peace out.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Reflection

This past Saturday, as I was chatting with some seminary friends at another seminary friend's wedding reception, we got to chatting about the peculiarity of life. Basically, we were just remarking about how we got to meet/see all kinds of new people we would otherwise not have met because they live 1000 miles away from us, but because we went to this wedding, we "met" them. We also talked a little about how people's lives are so deep and rich and there is no way we could ever know all about them. For instance, one of the guests just got engaged last week, but didn't want to say anything for fear it would steal away from celebrating Bride and Groom's day.

As I reflected on that, I got to thinking about how EVERYONE has things that even good friends don't know about. There are milestones, happy and sad, that are faced all the time. There are personal struggles that are either painful or embarassing or whatever that they don't want to share. But there are also joys and happiness that sometimes people don't share for fear of minimalizing a friend's emotions.

It dovetails nicely with the saying, "Be kind to everyone you meet because they are all facing some sort of battle."

Every day is a new day. But, every new day comes after an old day that has affected how we live. Each day is not lived out in a vacuum, unless, of course, you are Drew Barrymore in "50 First Dates." Days have symbolic meaning in our culture. We measure the passage of time in days. We celebrate days: Christmas Day, New Year's Day, birthdays, Independence Day, etc. And we also reminisce about days that bring forth memories; some painful, some joyful, and some a mixture of many things.

On this day in 2002, I went to the movies and watched "Austin Powers: Goldmember" with my two step-nieces. When I returned from an early showing, Ma told me that her biopsy had come back with news of breast cancer. From that day forward, she dealt with surgery, chemo, radiation, the loss of all her hair, illness, pain, and a host of other effects of cancer.

And yet, as I look back on my own experience with this particular day in history, I know that others have far more painful memories associated with it. Conversely, I know that this is the birthday for many, many people, as well as the wedding anniversary, or any other celebration that we have under the sun.

We can live out each day, even days that bring us painful memories without shame because pain is just as valid an emotion as any other one. It's too bad that our culture tells us to shut up and get over it already. To all who remember "anniversaries," good or bad, I say, "Embrace your feelings. They are valid, and you are valid."

Mastercard Post

7 stops for gas:mucho deniro
denting the car by running over a HUGE racoon:$0 because I'm not having it fixed
Room for the night:$40
Getting to traverse through five states on the 17 hour drive in order to see a good friend's wedding:Priceless!

I was super busy this last weekend, to say the least. On Friday, YS came to Sis and BiL's house so that she could watch the boys and I could get ready to leave for my mini-date with J, and go to seminary friend's wedding 4 states away. When I got back to Seminary, I found J at the party that was being held on the quad. A couple of students (and one recent grad), a professor, and the president of our seminary are in a musical group. They were playing music and a whole mess of people were out there listening. It was fun. J was doing some paperwork things, so I talked with some friends I had not seen in a while. Thankfully, we did get to spend a little time together before I had to go. It was good to see him, and good to see some of my friends. I can't wait to go back next week. I love the nephews, and I'm sure I'll have a little bit of sadness when it's time to go, but I need adult time, each and every day.

Anyway, about 10:00 p.m. I left the seminary for my friend's wedding. Google maps said it takes 13.5 hours to go from Seminary to the place where the wedding was. However, I figured it'd be a bit longer than that with gas stops. When I got on my way, I thought at one point I was off the plotted course, and it turns out I was. Google told me to stay on a particular road, and I did, but it turns out, I should have stayed left at the fork. I only tacked on about an extra hour to the trip, though, so it wasn't that bad. I drove all through the night, watched the sun come up over the prairies, and arrived safely to the place of the wedding at around 1:00 p.m, despite hitting a racoon somewhere in Minnesota (I think) in the middle of the night. I'm a little bit neurotic about watching for deer, cops, and critters, but this thing just darted right under my wheel. Maybe the thing was suicidal, I don't know. And it was a HUGE racoon. I saw it dart out from the grass on the side of the road, realized I had no time to do anything to avoid it safely, and tensed up as I went "kaplump, kaplump" right over it. When it got light out, I stopped for gas and surveyed the damage. The thing dented my front bumper up pretty good, but I think I might be able to fix it myself. It looks like if I give it a strategically placed whack from the back side like it could pop back into place. When I got to the camp where the wedding was being held, another seminary friend who also used to work at the place told me to take a nap, so I did for about 35 minutes or so. It was good enough to refresh me a bit.

The wedding was at 4:00 p.m, so I changed clothes and woke up a little bit by talking to some people. After a little while, we went down to the lake where the wedding would be held. People were starting to be seated and so I saw one of Bride's friends who I had met when the friend visited at the seminary. I sat with her and her husband for a few minutes before the wedding was to start. Unfortunately, I had a MONSTROUS headache, and sitting in the sun was making me feel weird and gross, so I had to go to the back and sit in the shade. But, I got a good view of the bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring bearer, flower girls, and the bride and her dad as they walked down the aisle. The bridesmaids wore deep blue dresses, while the groom and the groomsmen wore tannish colored suits, perfectly colored for such a warm day. Bride looked absolutely beautiful in her white dress, that wasn't Plain Jane, but wasn't over the top, either. She was gorgeous!

The ceremony was beautiful, as well. It was like a worship service, but with vows in it. We sang, as well as listened to readings and a sermon. There was even communion, which I am a fan of at weddings.

The reception was also quite nice. The food was good, the company was good, and I had been given some ibuprofen to get rid of my headache. I also saw a couple of other seminary friends who were there. We sat together at the reception. It was fun. Those friends are getting married (to each other) on the 16th in Arizona. I wish I would have felt up to dancing, because I can bust a groove (although with little to no coordination). But, by the time I got back to the camp (the soon to be married couple drove me back around 11:00), I had been up for 39 hours, with about 45minutes of sleep in there. But, I am so glad I went. I wouldn't have missed it.

The next day, I slept in and missed church (I know, I know... My bad. But I figured God would prefer me to get a good night's sleep in order to make it safely back to Illinois so that I could attend faithfully in years to come than go that morning and get into a wreck or something on the way home!). I woke up around 10:00 or so, settled up with the payment part of it all, said goodbye to my seminary friend who was not the bride, and left around 11:30 or so. I drove and drove and drove. For some reason, the drive toward home through the first two states seemed to take longer. They're beautiful states, just kinda boring to drive through. I stopped at the first rest stop over the border at the second state though, and refilled my water bottles. There were two ladies who serve as information givers or something. We struck up a short conversation. They asked me if I was a teacher and I said, "No. I am a graduate student at MySeminary." They said, "Oh really!? That's really neat." I said, "You've heard of us?" They both replied that they had, and I was impressed. Maybe they are Lutherans! :) But, we talked for a few minutes, they gave me some information about their lovely state, and we said goodbye. They wished me luck on my schooling and my ministry, and I went on my merry little way. They were quite nice. It was a good place to have stopped.

The drive back took me about 17 hours or so, but I was well rested, so it wasn't too bad. I even drove past one of the churches to which J has been called. I took a couple of pictures on my new camera phone (YS and I are on the same plan because that was her gift to me for my birthday a couple of years ago. Because the contract was up, we got new phones for renewing it). There were several folks who looked to be going there, and I was impressed because they waved when I waved. Good sign.

When I got home, I brought in the essential things that I had gotten out of my suitcase, came inside, put my pjs on, and went to bed. I was beat. It was a great weekend of fun and friends, which I wouldn't have missed for the world. I'm thankful for making it home safely, and with no big occurences. One of my high school friends, who is one of the group with whom I get together multiple times a year, lives in one of the cities I had to go through. I wish I'd not gone through the city in the dead of night, or I would've stopped to visit. But, I did get to talk to her to make sure my roads weren't hindered due to the flood and the damage it did. I was all set. Thanks for helping me out, homegirl! You're the bomb!

Anyway, that was my weekend. Now I'm back here in Illinois, watching the boys. They're being naughty little dudes today, but I think it's because they're not feeling well. Oh, and I'm no longer "homeless." I've come to think of Seminary as home, in a way, but I still have Illinois license plates and what not, and I want to vote in Illinois and all that stuff, so I didn't want to make SeminaryState my home. But, I changed the address of my license online to Sis and BiL's house, so I have a house again. I also updated my voter registration. So, that's kinda nice that I have an official home. And now, I need to go because I hear a little boy who wants up from his nap and is telling me so by kicking the wall by his crib. Have a delightful day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Plans

Well, the boys are upstairs napping, and I am thinking about what I am doing or preparing to do.

J's ordination is coming up within the next few weeks, so I'm planning on going to that and showing my support. Yay! Good work, what with getting all the way through and jumping through all the hurdles and everything. I'm proud!

I'm also planning on going to the seminary this coming Friday to have a mini-date with him before I hit the road for about 12 or 13 hours to go to a wedding in a state I've never been to before. I'm looking forward to seeing the state where the wedding is because it's also the state to which J has been called. I'm also looking forward to the wedding because it will unite a very good seminary friend and her fiance in holy matrimony! Congratulations!

On the trip, I'm also excited to see at least one other seminary friend. It seems like forever since I've seen her, but it's only been a couple of months. She's been doing Clinical Pastoral Education, and I've been at the castle or in Illinois watching the boys. I'm glad that my friend is done with CPE and has a bit of down time before the semester begins. I'm proud of her for getting through! YAY!

And as I plan for the future, I think about where I was last year at this time.

At this time last year, I was up to my eyeballs in the Summer Greek program at seminary. I was struggling with declensions and verbs and nouns and all that good stuff. I was meeting the people who are not a part of my class, and for whom I am incredibly grateful to have in my life.

At this time last year, I was also having to contend with Ma's quick cognitive decline. Today actually marks the one year anniversary of her living in a nursing home. We thought it would be July 27, but it ended up being the 30th because they needed to prepare her paperwork and make the place available for her. So, today marks the day that she entered the home to live. However, she was moved not long afterwords to a locked dementia unit because she escaped from the first home 32 times in one night. I blogged about that experience when it happened. If you're interested, search, "32 times." I'm too lazy to link to it right now.

The point of this post, I guess, is to say that life always changes. Bad and good things happen, and we keep trucking on. It's not necessary to deny these feelings that we experience through living, and it's not even necessary to deem them "good" or "bad." It's just easier sometimes to label things. With faith, love, and grace, I have also gone on to have hope, even when things seem to bite the big one. Here's hoping you also find hope in and through your own life experiences. Peace Out.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A nice respite

This past Saturday, I got to go hang out with some awesome friends I have had for varying lengths of time. One I've known since grade school, some from middle school, and one from high school. They're all wonderful people. I've blogged about them before; about how we go for months without seeing each other, and some without even really emailing or anything, but then, when we get back together, it is like no time has passed. I have been involved with 3 of their weddings, and the other person is not married.

I love my friends. We get together at least two times a year. Once in the summer and once around Christmas/New Year's. This past Saturday, we got together not only for our summer get together, but also to have a mini baby shower for the one of us who is pregnant (not me!). It's amazing. The friend who is having a baby is the friend I've known since grade school. It's so awesome that she and her husband are having a wee one. I'm excited for them. I'm also glad that she was game for a lot of festivities on Sunday.

We went to lunch, to a family fun park and mini golfed (I won because I made TWO hole in ones! Or holes in one; I'm not sure), and we went to the DQ for cold treats. After DQ, we went back to the apartment of the friend who lives in the town we were hanging out in. We talked and talked and talked. And ordered pizza!

It's just amazing how varied friends can be. I have these friends and friends from college and friends from seminary and random friends from here and there. And they're all different, but they are all SO valuable to me. Thanks, friends. You all are awesome!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hewo? Hewo?

A couple of days ago, Sis and BiL got home and so I was "off" duty from watching the boys. I'm never FULLY off duty, but when Sis and BiL come home, I can relax a bit.

I was off in the kitchen doing something, but then I remembered that I needed to go to the basement to change the laundry over (Not only do I watch the children, but I'm also practically their housekeeper and gardener). However, on my way, I noticed that the bathroom door was shut, although I had left it open since Sunscreen was not around to go in there and swish around in the toilet. As I walked by, I heard someone on the other side knocking on the door, and ever so calmly say, "Hewo? Hewo?" I opened it up to see Howard in there, in the complete dark, standing and waiting for someone to let him out. As he left the room, he said, "Dark!" It was so cute. I had to share. Peace out.