Saturday, March 31, 2012

Joplin Bound

Having an employer with a motto of "Service Above Self" is a good thing.  They didn't even blink when I said, at my initial interview, that I would be in Joplin, Missouri this week.  In fact, they are even letting me make up hours when I get back.  So awesome!

Today I join 32 of my closest HSCC friends and one favorite from FPC.  We'll be spending a week in Joplin helping with Tornado Recovery work.  In a little twist of irony, my friend Tom from Mississippi called me soon after the tornado hit last May and asked if I would be willing to take a group to Joplin.  I'm sure you all know my response.  :)  It turned out that there were plenty of other groups going at that time but here I am, almost a year later, making the trek.  I'm not sure what to pray for this week besides an openness and willingness to follow God.

If you would like to check on our progress, you can go here --><-- , click on the "Oasis" circle and follow the link on that page to get all the latest updates and photos and maybe even some video blogs from the students.

See you in a week (unless I get computer access and then you never know!)

Friday, March 30, 2012

What color is your world?

My friend Emily left a comment about a post yesterday.  You can find it for yourself, if you like.  Her comment made me think about how I view life.

I'm not sure if I'm a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full kind of person.  I think it tends to change depending on the situation and how much sleep I've had.  I do know that I don't look at the world and see either black or white.  I look at the world and see a lot of color.

I look out at the world and see a plethora of color, of ideas, attitudes, genetic make-up, past history and future history that creates and molds human beings into the complex beings they are.  I look at problems and situations and don't just see right or wrong but the vast chasm of humanity in between.  I at the trees, plants, animals, all of nature in general and marvel at the details, the complexity of all that is there.  I see a lot of color.

In my judgement, people who only see black and white are missing out, limiting themselves, not seeing the complete picture of the world.  The attitude of "it's either this or that, but can't be anything else" saddens me, frustrates me and leaves the impression of a very small, very cold world.  I know many people who live in the world of black or white.  

I live in a world of color.  A world of confusion and complexity.  I live in a world where there are more things left unanswered than answered.  I live in a world of mystery, of grace, of chaos, of control, of ups and downs, lefts and rights, of beauty and ugliness.  I live in a world that allows people to be people, whether I get it or not.  I live in a world requiring me to recognize and accept the imperfection of people including myself.  I live in a world where I don't have all the answers, where I may never have answers and I have to be okay with that.  I live in a world with a great big God who can do great big mighty things, who knows so much more than I could ever know...and who has created some amazing colors.

What color is your world?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I cried on the bus this morning.

That sentence sounds very dramatic.  The moment didn't happen anything like that.

What did happen was I got on the bus, found a seat just for me, put in my headphones, turned on my iPod and listened to a song...which made me think of life...which made me think of a friend who's had more than their fair share of ups and downs and turmoils.  Life is looking up for this friend but the past is still there...the wounds life has dealt are beginning to scab over...the scars will still remain.  All of this was going through my head and the next thing I knew the tears had formed and were trickling down my cheeks.  I'm not sure anyone around me noticed.  I didn't try to hide the tears.  I let them fall.

The tears came easily, partly because they have been waiting, just behind the lids of my eyes for a few weeks now.  My soul has been feeling a little fragile, a little tender lately.  The tears fall easily.  It happened at work just last week.  I found myself reading something, an email I think, and the those waiting tears commenced.

At church on Sunday, the same thing happened.  I'm not sure if it was Pastor Bruce or the visiting Missionary but someone said something and there they were, those tears.

I've been in this place before, this tears-in-waiting place.  It's usually as God begins to birth something new in my life.  I have no idea what is coming next.  All I know is I'm feeling a little fragile...kinda like glass...and it's a good thing.

Just in case you are curious, the video below is the song...I deliberately chose the video that just had the lyrics and music.  Thompson Square "Glass".

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Oh yes, it's Tuesday

Randomness abounds in my brain today.  Want proof?  Here goes:

  • Why, oh why, do people insist on calling the roundness of a pregnant woman's tummy a "baby bump".  Totally dumb phrase.  I'm ready for it be gone.
  • Same with the phrase "baby daddy".  Use it and I automatically take points off.
  • Lionel Richie songs from the 80's are just fine.  Lionel Richie songs from the 80's redone by Lionel Richie and Country Singers are not fine.
  • The 2 inch circle of flesh that was ripped off my heel by my new, cute shoes last week make it impossible to wear any of my go-to-the-office type shoes with heels.  Good thing I have the other new cute shoes without heels.  
  • I'm pretty sure that God or the universe (pick one) keeps trying to remind me that I'm NOT the business wear type girl.  The new, cute shoe fiasco was one reminder.  The fuzzy sweater remnants getting all over my black blazer this morning is another.  I already feel like I'm faking it in this new job, do I really need clothes and shoe hassles as well?
  • The driver's seat incident of two weeks ago has rendered me reliant on the generosity of Papa Bear and Yo Momma.  I've been driving whatever car they can do without.  Like I don't, already, owe them enough.
  • HOWEVER!  The driver seat incident of two weeks ago may soon be over thanks to Papa Bear (who is doing the work) and Pastor Bruce at New Church. Pastor Bruce is a salvage yard aficionado.  He found a new/used seat for me today.  Yay!  Such a blessing.
  • I leave for Joplin, Missouri on Saturday for a week of Tornado Relief work with New Church youth.  I'm excited, can't believe it's here already and feeling like I'm cheating on Pearlington a little.
My lunch break is officially enough blogging for now!  Back to work!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pondering hypocrisy

I had lunch with a friend on Friday.  We are attempting to have lunch together once a month.  The two hours we have flies by, the conversation jumps around and around but usually settles on church.  We worked together in church for awhile.  We come from different backgrounds, have different political viewpoints, have different life viewpoints and yet the friendship is good and strong.  She talks, I listen.  I talk, she listens.  We respect each other and never once have I felt judged for disagreeing with her.  I hope, she has never once felt judged by me either.  Grace abounds in our friendship.  It is good.

At the tail end of our conversation on Friday, as we talked about church stuff, we got onto the subject of why people go to church or don't go to church.  It's a big topic these days.  I've read many a blog post about the subject from many a Christian and the responses vary but usually there is one constant theme running through the reasons for not attending church.  Hypocrisy.

I made the statement to my friend that as a church-raised, church-loving girl, I struggled a lot with the hypocrisy I see within the church.  I fall into the hypocrite category at times, so pointing fingers feels really wrong.  Not standing up and acknowledging the hypocrisy, though, seems wrong as well. 

We preach forgiveness and redemption and hold grudges and anger.  We preach social justice and grace and withhold grace to people who are "sinners" or don't look or act the way we think they should.  We label certain sins as really, really bad and tend to overlook the verse that says "all have sinned and fallen short of the grace of God."  We say that numbers of people in the seats don't matter, then look around and wonder where everyone is on a Sunday.  (True confession, I caught myself so many times overlooking the youth who were sitting right in front of me, wondering where everyone else was.)  We say God and Christ can do anything but give up on people when they don't change they way we think they should in the time frame we think they should.  We confess faith in Christ on Sunday but don't live that faith out Monday through Saturday.  Those are just a few of the things I've seen.

I've struggled with church a lot over the last few years.  I love the church. I also recognize the church is not perfect.  It's not perfect.  It's not ever going to be perfect because the church is made up of human beings...imperfect human beings.  I wonder if that is maybe the problem with the hypocrisy I see in the church.  We work really hard at forgetting we are imperfect, striving for a perfection just out of reach and stumble all over ourselves trying to cover up the mess we make in the meantime.

I don't have any answers, just a pondering mind, a desire to keep seeking God and recognize and admit my imperfection...and the imperfection of that institution I love...the church.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A post about food stamps

I started a post a month or so ago that I've never published.  It's very political and I'm very hesitant to enter that circle.  I have my feelings and thoughts.  I know how I'll vote in each election.  I know what kind of leader I'm looking for and I know how I feel on certain issues.  I don't, however, want to close the door on conversations, so I choose to just remain silent on many of those thoughts.

Tonight, I'm speaking up on one thing.  I came across this post on another blog and I highly encourage you to read it.  It's called "I'm on Food Stamps.  Don't Hate Me For It."  I am tired of the conversation that goes something like "everyone on food stamps is ripping off the system".  I believe there are plenty of people who are on food stamps, on welfare, that aren't ripping off the system and are desperately trying to keep their families afloat...people who don't want you to know they are on welfare. 

Yes, there are things wrong with the system.  Yes, there are people who rip the system off.  There are far more people who are trying to make it in the world and just need some help, right now.  Thank you, Vicki, for sharing a part of your story.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A job perk

My new office is located in an office building complex.  There are six buildings total, with 5 floors each.  5 of the buildings surround a really beautiful courtyard complete with a fountain.  It's kind of like an oasis in the middle of energy.  Very peaceful and quiet even though there is a major road just one building over and the airport can be see just beyond that.  The building complex itself is just one of many in the area.  Down the street is a TV station, a probation office and then eBay/PayPal. There are companies with the "semiconductors" or "microsystems" in their name as well. Welcome to Silicon Valley.

Today, I discovered a perk to working in this particular area.  On the first floor, one building over is a cafe.  It's a cute place with soup, salads, sandwiches and some amazing baked goods.  I had lunch their with one of the people who had come in to train me the other day.  Or rather, we went in, ordered our food and then took it back to the office because it was so crowded in the cafe.

Yesterday I went in for a pick-me-up.  Peanut Butter Cup Brownie.  It was a chocolate brownie with a dollop of peanut butter in the middle.  So good.  Today as I was getting ready for work I realized I hadn't planned for my lunch.  I decided to just grab something on my way over.  That didn't happen (can anyone say traffic?) so when lunch rolled around I decided just to go down to the cafe.  First, though, I decided to look at their menu online.

That's when I noticed it...the "order here" button.  What?  I could order BEFORE going to the cafe.  Sweet.  And then I noticed the other part, "pay here".  Ohhhh it just gets better.  By the time I was done, I had created an account (buy 12 lunches and get one free), plunked in my debit card number and ordered my lunch to be ready in 30 minutes.  20 minutes later my cell phone buzzed and the text message (yes, I said text message) said "Lunch is ready!".  I went down through that courtyard oasis, to the cafe and picked up the bag that was waiting with my name on it.  Heaven!

I plan on taking my lunch much more than buying lunch but what a sweet service that is!  And what a great excuse to take a break, to breathe in fresh air and enjoy the beauty of my surroundings.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Is it really only Wednesday?

I've been driving to work all week.  I think I've said that recently on this blog.  I can't remember.  I could look.  I'm not going to.  (Can you tell I'm tired?)

It started raining on Tuesday and hasn't really stopped since.  It's good.  We need the rain.  It does feel ironic that we are getting more rain now then we have had all winter long and winter technically ends next week.  But I digress.

Tuesday morning it was slow going.  Tuesday afternoon it was slow going.  This morning it was slow going.  Anyone noticing a pattern.  Tonight I checked a traffic website about 30 minutes before I left work and it seemed like it would slow going on the way home as well.  I mentally prepared myself for a long drive home.  I didn't prepare myself for car malfunctions.

Before I even got to the car I dropped my cell phone, couldn't get my umbrella out of the holder, nor open, got in the car and couldn't get the umbrella closed then closed the door on my jacket.  Reopening the door I pulled my jacket free, closed the door, leaned back to get my jacket out from under me and wound up lying flat as the driver seat recliner thingy broke.  It just broke, as in the seat will no longer sit up.  Crap, crap, crappity, crap, crap!

I am resourceful and the Lightening McQueen booster seat that Creative Guy picked out was in it's usual spot.  I wedged it between the drivers seat and the back seat so that I could drive and got on the road.

It was on the way home, as I started thinking about how much this repair might cost that I started to feel worn out and beaten down.  New tires and getting the brakes checked were on my list of things to do with my tax refund money (Thank you GOD for a tax refund).  I guess one of those will have to wait (the tires, they aren't that bad yet). Just when I felt like I was getting ahead. Oh and that was AFTER I found the crack in the sole of my Dansko's.  So that's where the water was getting in.  Lovely.

Off to research pick 'n' pulls.  I've got a busy weekend ahead of me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A dotty Tuesday post

  • Left my cell phone sitting on a chair at home.  Realized it as I was heading out of town for work.  Oh well.
  • Florescent lighting really highlights the grey (gray?) in hair.  I do not like it.  No man to wash out of my hair...gonna wash the grey (gray?) right out.
  • Survived my first rainy day commute.  I am not a fan.  If I didn't have appointments or meetings before or after work this week, I would be taking the bus.  
  • Ben deserves Courtney and Courtney deserves Ben.  Lindzi dodged a bullet.
  • This office building that I'm in is interesting.  There are random groups that come in to use the conference rooms every week.  Yesterday was the four guys with the one tall blond woman.  The guys were drooling.  It was such a cliche.  She was nice, though.
  • Guys talk really, really loud when they are trying to impress a woman.  The walls are thin, gentlemen, tone it down!
  • The pants I am wearing today are too big at the waist.  I believe this is their last day of work.
  • Speaking of work, I had better get to it!  Hope your day is great!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Riding the bus

It's always good to have friends who will push you.  Not literally push you so that you fall flat on your face or rear and are injured, but metaphorically push you, encourage you, spur you on to something that will be good for you or challenging.  I think you get the point.  I have friends who do that.  Sometimes let myself be pushed.  Other times my feet are planted firmly in cement and there is NO.WAY. that I will move.  Stubbornness runs in my family.

Wednesday afternoon, K texted me. She asked about the job and something else and then said "so, have you taken the bus yet?".  No...  K's reply was "I'm teaching over there tomorrow, we can carpool home."  Push.

I deliberated for awhile and then I got in my car to go home at 5:15pm.  It took 15 minutes to go two blocks.  I stopped in at a Target instead.  I got home a little after 7pm, stressed out and not looking forward to driving again the next day.  I guess I was taking the bus.

Thursday morning I got up extra early.  I went to my favorite coffee spot, which was so much quieter at that time of the day than when I had been there two days before an hour and a half later.  Favorite coffee in hand I went to the bus center.  I was 5 minutes too late for one bus and 15 minutes too early for the next one.  But people were already starting to head down to the center, so I got myself together and went down the hill.

Now, there are no markings anywhere that say which side of the center the bus will stop at.  There are no markings that say "stand here for Bus B".  There were a group of people lining up, so I kinda lined up with them.  A bus came and I thought, "wait a minute this doesn't look right."  So I spoke up.  "okay, I'm new here.  Is this the express bus?"  "Yes", was the reply, "for company-named-after-fruit."  Ohhhh....private bus for that company-named-after-fruit, got it.  Not mine.

I turned around and saw another group of people lining up.  I meandered their way.  That's when I clued into the phenomenon that I hadn't clued into with the company-named-after-fruit line, which is they were getting in a line.  It was fascinating.  Just like school children waiting for the school bus, they all lined up.  I wasn't in the line, I was clearly breaking code.

When the express bus pulled up, that line marched right on.  I muscled my way into the line, got on the bus and spotted a seat along the back of the bus.  It was a bench seat with two people already seated but room for at least two more.  Someone else sat next to me and the bus got on it's way. 

The bus ride was quiet.  Super-duper quiet.  No one talked.  No one.  The lady to my right was on her smartphone for half the trip.  The lady to my left was doing schoolwork.  Two others were sleeping, one doing that awful head-nod-JERK! thing.  Another lady went between reading her book and using her phone and sighing whenever she checked to see how far along the bus had gotten.  Another one had her headphones in and so on.  The whole bus was quiet...and segregated.  With the exception of the young woman who had a rolling soup cart, the men were in the front of the bus, the women in the back.  I finally gave in and pulled out my iPod and started listening to the audiobook I had gotten from the library (Sandra Day O'Connor, The Majesty of the Law). 

As the express bus made it's way over the hill (which is literally how this commute is referred to in this part of the country) I began to pay attention to the movement of the bus or rather, how I moved with the bus as it took some of the turns on this commute.  Having nothing to lean on, I began to brace myself  with my right or left foot, so I didn't slide into my neighbors.  Maybe this wasn't the best seat. (Or was it?  That seat shall hereto after be referred to as the bus-butt-workout-seat.  My glutes and hamstrings were sore on Friday!)  We finally made it down the hill and to the bus stops.

This is where my anxiety started to rise again.  I had made it onto the bus, would I get off at the right stop?  Luckily, this bus is also equipped with an automated voice system and scrolling information bar that helps out.  It announced where we were at various intervals on the trip, including the upcoming stops.  Soon my stop was listed and the next thing I knew I was on the street, looking for the light rail.

A short, anti-climatic ride later and I was at my office door...a full 20 minutes before my scheduled start time.  I had survived the bus.  One way, at least.  I will be attempting a round trip ride on Monday.  I wonder if people are friendlier on the way home?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The first week

It's 2:45pm.  I'm at work.  Yes, I am blogging.  Why? you ask.  Well, it's something to keep my mind occupied and right now there is  I've been through the job website, I've filed the papers that I could, I've read the magazines and organized the folders I have.  I've called the people I'm supposed to call, sent the emails I needed to send.  I answer the phone on the 2nd ring (don't want to appear to eager) and have researched all the things that I can research for now.  I know that in a month or two things will pick up.  Heck, tomorrow things could pick up, but right now, it's pretty-kinda-sorta quiet.

It's only been three days.  I can already tell you that I like the two office coordinators, they have been awesome, that there is a gentleman who eats his lunch precisely at 12:30pm everyday, at the same table.  Maybe tomorrow I will get his name.  I can tell you that the chair I'm using right now is awful...I definitely need to get another one.  I can also tell you that I'm not so much a fan of the amount of gas it's taking to get from home to here and back.  The bus/light rail and an extra 1 1/2 hours each way of commute is looking better and better.

I'm starting to slowly add things to the office that will make it mine but also theirs at the same time.  Tomorrow I'm going to bring a picture in...this one on this post, actually.  There isn't a window in this 133 sq. ft. office, so I need something to "look out".  The beach is good.  :)  I added my picture cube today, along with my Louisiana has an alligator on it.  I can be business, but fun is always lurking beneath the surface.

Tomorrow the computer arrives, along with the printer.  And hopefully more work will follow.  Until them, I'll just be grateful for a new job...and I am.