Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Five: Royal Wedding Edition

Songbird @ RevGals says:  Admittedly the media attention directed at a certain wedding is a tad askew given the challenges our world faces, yet for some it is an appreciated diversion. I'm at kathrynzj's house, along with her mom and sister, for a pre-dawn pajama party complete with scones! And while the DVR will cover us if we oversleep, the participants in the actual wedding had better have someone to get them to the church on time.

With kathrynzj's help, here is a Royal Wedding Friday Five:

1) Will you be watching? If so, is this your first royal wedding?
No alarm setting in my world...just an internal clock that is all haywire.  I woke up in time to see Prince William begin walking down the aisle.  Then couldn't go back to sleep until it was over.  This was my first royal wedding but not my first royal event.  I was up in the wee hours of the morning for Princess Diana's funeral.

2) The bride has chosen as her wedding cake a fruitcake. Where do you stand on this pastry?
Really?  She chose fruitcake?!  No thank you.

3) The dress code for royal weddings has not seen the same sad decline as that for most other weddings. If you could design your own royal wedding hat, what color would it be and what special decoration would it feature?
Honestly, this is one dress code thing I could do without.  I am SO not a hat person.  The thing perched on top of of one if the cousin's heads (Eugenia?  Beatrice?) had me talking to the TV...what was that?

4)  Any chance the Archbishop of Canterbury is using a Sustainable Sermon (tip of the mitre to the Vicar of Hogsmeade)? What would you tell the couple were you offering the homily?
I absolutely LOVED what the Bishop said!  I don't think I would change much about it!  In fact, I may borrow some of his thoughts for a wedding that I get to be a part of in July.  The cord of three strands not being easily broken came to mind as I was listening...wait, did he actually mention that?  It was too early.  I also loved Romans 12 being read during the service. 

5) Believe it or not, kathrynzj is getting up early mostly to see the wedding dress. By the time this post is up, the world will have seen it. Did you like it?
That's why I turned on the TV when I woke up.  I really liked the wedding dress.  LOVED the lace sleeves.  Loved that she had sleeves!  I did, however, get a little frustrated watching her walk down the aisle and the train wasn't even on both sides...wanted to stop everything and fix it.  Yeah, a little OCD tendencies in me.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Take four

Yesterday my AC adapter/power cord for the laptop died.  The little blue light on the adapter says it's charging but my computer says no it's not.  Sigh.

This has been an ongoing saga.  Power cord number one died suddenly.  I emailed the company, they sent out a replacement.  It worked for about a year.  It was on the 3rd or 4th Mississippi trip that cord number 2 died.  Just up and died.  Would not charge the computer at all.  I gave up on the company cords and went for the universal power cord.  It was a huge investment...huge!  But the power cord has lasted...ah yes, now I remember.  It's been 3 power cords but three "tips" for the universal power cord.  The first tip and the floor had a "falling out".  The computer slid off the couch right onto the power cord tip.  Nice.  Which is when I found out one can buy replacement tips for universal cords.  In my wisdom I bought two.  Just recently, after retrieving the computer from the repair shop, I realized that tip number 2 had mysteriously been swapped out by said repair shop...or the power cord that might make the story change a bit here...anyway, I was grateful that I had thought to buy an extra replacement tip.  So it was on tip three...and then the power cord died yesterday.  Which, now that I think about it, may not even be my power cord but someone else's...naaahhhh it had all the same scratches on it, just the wrong tip.

So here I am, with power cord number four.  I am happy to report, though, that in cleaning off my desk at work, I found a coupon for $15 off a purchase of $75 or more and so I saved money on this power cord...yes they are that expensive.  I don't want to have to purchase number 5.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Warning:  The following post gets a little, well, um, yeah.  It's awkward.  I'm only reporting things that actually happened.  Just remember that.

About mid-March I went to Home Depot in town for some new work gloves.  My last pair of gloves I left in a trash can in Mississippi (on purpose) and I needed a new pair for the Texas trip.  I was standing in the aisle contemplating my choices when a man in his mid-fifties came up on my right.  He started exploring the knee pads.  I kept hearing him mutter..."$19 for knee pads.  Wow, those aren't bad.  Hmm...theses are $25.  Whoa!  Those are $40 knee pads.  What are they made of?"  I smiled to myself and went about my business of selecting the right gloves.

Pretty soon, though, it became apparent that the gentleman next to me was not going to be content talking to himself.  I was going to be a part of the conversation.  Again he said, "$40 for knee pads.  Whoa." but this time the comment was directed towards me.  There was no escaping.  "Yep," I replied, "they must be the cadillac of knee pads."  I was hoping that I would get away with that.  I didn't see the next comment coming. AT ALL!

"Wow, for that cost I would be wearing these knee pads all the time.  I can just see it now heading to bed in just my knee pads.  My wife would look at me and wonder what kind of kinky sex we were having that night.  She'd probably ask where the whip was."

When the words "knee pads" and "bed" came into the conversation I wanted to run screaming from the store "AAGGHH!!!  TMI!  TMI!!"  (TMI means "too much information" in case you were wondering.)  I didn't.  I laughed that awkward laugh of someone in an uncomfortable situation.  The guy didn't really notice.  He just kept talking about the knee pads.  And then he noticed the gloves I was trying on.  "So what do you do?" he asked.  I made some stumbling remark about going to Texas and helping with hurricane relief, which led into a discussion about how I'd been to Mississippi multiple times doing the same kind of work, to which the knee pad man replied "Are you going to Japan?  I have a friend who is going to Japan.  I told him not to go right now.  I'm an electrician, I know about those nuclear reactors.  You don't want to go to Japan right now.  Don't get anywhere near it."  I reassured him that Japan was not on my list of places, yet, to go.  After a little bit more conversation, during which I found out that he was a "good catholic boy", I bid farewell to knee pad man.  I'm not sure if he bought any knee pads that day.  And to be honest I don't want to know.

Now, fast forward to last week.  It was 7:30 on a Sunday morning at the La Quinta in Slidell, Louisiana.  I was heading to the breakfast area to get a glass of water.  A harmless, lousy glass of water.  The water container was right next to the juice machine.  There was a gentleman standing at the juice machine looking at a pretty weak glass of orange juice in his hand.  As I approached he looked up and said, "Well, the it doesn't look great but it still tastes like juice."  There was a slight pause and then he continued, "It's kinda like me.  I don't look so good but all my parts work."  I laughed, awkwardly, and made some comment that I really can't remember because all I could think was "why do random people feel so comfortable talking to me about stuff that I don't want to hear?!"

Those aren't the only two stories I have of random people sharing information with me.  I think I must have a face that says "talk to me, it's okay!".  Maybe it's because I try to smile when I make eye contact with people.  I don't know, sometimes it feels like a curse...I know way too much information about some people out there in the world.

But then there was tonight.  Tonight at the grocery store the checker started talking about her mom.  Her mom who has cancer.  It struck me in our brief conversation that sometimes random people talking to you isn't such a bad thing.  As I drove home I prayed for the checker and her mom.  As I drove home I felt a little grateful that random people feel comfortable confiding in me, for whatever reason.  I need to look at is as a gift...sometimes it means I pray for people and other times I have great stories to tell!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Jimmy works at Cracker Barrel in Slidell, Louisiana.  We met Jimmy on Friday night after a long, hot days work.  It was close to 8pm and we were hungry, tired people needing refreshment on many levels.  Yo Momma, Jon-boy, Debbie and I were perusing the menu when Jimmy first approached to take our drink orders.  We were giving each other a bad time as usual and Jimmy got caught in the middle.  We also tend to be a bit needy at times and that was apparent as both Jon-boy and Debbie were much concerned with whether or not their meals came with biscuits.  By the time Jimmy got to my order he was quick to reply "and your meal comes with biscuits."  We were all laughing by the time Jimmy walked away to put our order in.

About halfway through the meal, Jimmy came out to check on us and leave the check, "I'm gonna leave the check now, because I tend to forget but I wanted to tell you all thanks.  I was having a bad night and was in a bad mood before y'all came in.  But you've made my night so much better!  I went back to place the order and one of my co-workers said 'Jimmy, what happened?  You are so much happier!' and I told them, it's that table of people out there.  They cheered me up!  So thank you for making my night better!  Come back and see me anytime.  I work all weekend."

I left Cracker Barrel that night shaking my head.  It happens all the time on these trips.  One person gets caught up in the whirlwind that is our group and they are a good way.  The joy that comes from serving other's is contagious.  The joy that comes from following our passion spreads.

We didn't see Jimmy again.  Maybe we will the next time we are in Slidell.  Just happy to be a blessing that Friday night in Cracker Barrel.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A working poem

My shirt quickly soaks
with sweat that pours
from a body working

My jeans could possibly
stand on their own
after one day's layer
of sheet rock dust...
from a body working

My hands are a little achy
from measuring and cutting,
rasping and clutching,
moving and pressing
the sheet rock...
and are covered with
a layer of dust...
after one day...
of a body working

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You're a little late

We were at Houston Hobby Airport on Saturday, checking in for our flight home.  The group was split into two, with a few people in between us.  All of our team was wearing either their team t-shirt or sweatshirts, it was apparent we were together.  As we stood in line, one of the people in the group between us asked "So where are you going?"  It was explained to the gentleman that we had been working in Galveston all week doing Hurricane Ike rebuilding and that we were heading home to California.  To which the gentleman replied "Well, you're a little late.  You should have been here two years ago."  The group leader went on to explain that the group had been helping out the previous two years.  I don't remember much  of the conversation after that.

That bit of conversation has stuck in my head for the last couple of days.  It's made my brain itch a little.  It symbolizes an attitude that pretty much pisses me off.  That attitude that says if you haven't gotten things together within a year after a disaster, then you aren't working hard enough, doing enough, trying and should just be written off.  There's a self-centeredness there too...if it's not affecting me directly, then the crisis must be over.  I can't stand that attitude and yet I resemble that to a certain extent.  I tend to forget about things that aren't in my face all the time.  It's not to be mean or hard-hearted, it just happens.  I tend to focus on what I can see, touch, feel, smell and hear and forget about the other stuff. 

If that gentleman had been with us, he would have found out that the work was far from done.  In the office of the organization we worked for, there were whiteboards on every wall with names of people and the needs for their homes.  One of the homeowners, Miss Rita, shared that her 82 year old mother was still waiting for her house to be rebuilt.  We passed plenty of homes that have yet to be touched...the need is still there.  It's just not as "in your face" as it once was. 

No, sir, the work is not done.  There is plenty left to do...the question is are there still people willing to do it?  Or have we all moved on?

Friday, April 8, 2011

One day to go

It's been an enlightening week in many ways...and tough...and good.  Today our group will be heading to a homeless shelter and serving up a hot dog feast.  A group has worked there a lot this week and it seemed like the way to end the week by all of us serving together.  Jonathan and a group are finishing up work at Raymond and Rita's and then, that's it.  Home tomorrow.

I am looking forward to my bed.  Pics and info still at

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Yo Momma sent a text message to me the evening after our first day of work...that would be yesterday...and said "the last group did bad work, u don't have the tools you need.  Sound familiar?".  Oh did that sound familiar.

My group started on Monday at Raymond and Rita's house.  They have a basement in their home that was flooded out after Hurricane Ike.  They are renovating it to do three different things.  One room will become a guest room to house who ever needs a safe place to stay.  One room will be a bible study room.  Another will be a meeting from for an AA group.  Of course, we didn't learn all of that the minute we walked in.  What we saw were newly sheet rocked walls, with mud that needed sanding down and a room that needed sheet rock put in.  That was the first glance.  The second glance revealed that the group that put the sheet rock up, well, didn't secure it very well in places.  Or they just didn't bother to secure it AT.ALL.  Mr. Ben in Mississippi would have put his foot through the wall a couple of times.  AAGH!

The stories we are hearing aren't that different from the stories I've heard in Mississippi.  There is no money, the helpers are all disappearing, the work is mounting and what volunteers do come through aren't always, well, given the help that they need.  The big difference this time is that supplies and tools are in abundance.  Partly cuz of money we brought with us, partly because there are two fully stocked, completely organized trailers full of tools.  YES!

The group has been working hard, eager to learn new things and having fun.  It's a good thing.  Pictures can be found on the Oasis Blog

Tomorrow we will have a group at a Homeless Shelter, two groups doing sheet rock, another group painting and cleaning.  We will be busy!  Keep praying!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

And we're off!

This post will go "live" about the time our plane is set to take off from SFO heading towards Houston.***  I've got a lot of things that I'm hoping for this week.  I hope to be able to update as the week goes along, but in case I can't you can go to  There will be a link there to the Facebook site where pictures and updates will be put.

In specific order, things that I am praying about/anticipating/hoping for this week:

1.  A-ha moments for the youth.  For the vast majority this will be their first Mission trip.
2. There are a mountain of things resting on my shoulders right now that have the potential of tearing my attention away from what God wants to have happen on this trip.  I'm praying that my focus will be right where it needs to be at all times and not so focused on the future that I miss the present.
3.  Rest at the right moments.  My introverted self is very challenged on these trips.  Being with people 24/7 wears me out.  I'm praying for moments of solitude to recharge and find my center again.
4.  To reconnect with God.
5.  To be open to the experience, to new people, to the team, to learning, to just whatever is supposed to happen.

Most of all, I just want to do what God wants while being true to who God has made me to be.  Let the journey begin!

***Well, the scheduled time anyway.  It's 8:30am on Saturday and the plane is already a half hour delayed according to the airline website.  We aren't even supposed to leave til does that happen?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Five: Quick Pick Edition

Kathrynjz @ RevGals writes:

Greetings all!

We're in the midst of 'it' and I'm hoping that it is not just me who is starting to get a bit overwhelmed. So for today I am asking for five quick picks of things that are good in your life. 
And as a bonus, 1 pick for a thing you could do without.
If you want to describe them? Great.
If not? That's fine too.

Five good things in my life (this week):
1. Prayer with others and alone.
2. Friends who listen
3. A "way out"...cryptic but the one who provided will understand.
4. A convertible and air conditioning in unseasonably hot weather (seriously, last week we were on flood watch, this week it feels like the middle of summer.)
5. An afternoon with Adventure Boy.

Bonus:  Right now I could do without that anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach that just won't go away.  I just want answers!