Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What I've been up to lately, part 2

Sometimes God and I have trouble together.  Sometimes the challenges, burdens, responsibilities God places on my shoulders are ones I would rather just dump under the table and leave alone.  As much as I try to offload the responsibilities, they just keep hanging around the back of my brain.  I can't escape them.  I really want to but I just can't get away from them.

One of the roles I continually find myself in is what I will call "Woman capable of doing more than some men think she can".  Think Rosie the Riveter.  (Note, I said some men, not all men think this way.)  In this role I am constantly pushing up against the boundaries of those who think that women can't _____________  you can fill in the blank.

In late March, I'll be joining up with 30 high school students and 15 adults, heading to Moore, Oklahoma to do tornado relief work.  If you have been around this blog before, you will know I am not unfamiliar with disaster relief work.  In fact, this will be my 16th work trip specifically for disaster relief.  On these trips I have learned how to build ramps, dig post holes, cement posts, lay flooring, tear up flooring, sheet rock/tape/mud, use a nail gun (under duress), use a screw gun, use a skill saw, use a sawzall, build a fence, oh, and put up and tear down scaffolding and so much more.  I happen to seriously love my steel toed boots, jeans and sweatshirts.  I've been known to do my fair share of swearing at posts that somehow turn after they've been cemented in or when I measure for electric boxes, cut the sheet rock and am off just enough to cause a problem.  So, when heading into trips, such as the one to Moore, and leaders on the trip say things like "Have you told them we have 18 girls on the trip?", the inference being the girls are unable to accomplish things the boys can, my blood boileth over.

I don't want to start a war.  I don't desire to be labeled "that feminist".  Yet, here I stand ready to take on the battle because I know the girls CAN.  They can use the nail gun, the screw gun, the skill saw.  They can dig post holes and put up sheet rock and build ramps.  They can learn about how to frame a house or rough in electrical wires.  They can roof, they can pour cement, THEY CAN!  Sure, it might take longer.  Yes, they aren't always capable of lifting super heavy items but please, just because they are girls, don't discount their abilities to succeed.  In fact, most young women who are on work sites are there because they WANT to learn and they WANT to help people.  By discounting their willingness to learn and what abilities they may have, sends a big message...a message I don't want to have anything to do with.

The other day Yo Momma asked one of the neighbors if they were building a deck, as they had piles of wood and what looked to be the beginnings of a deck by their house.  Turns out our 12 year old neighbor girl and her dad are building a play house.  We can just see the foundation of the playhouse going up now from our kitchen window.  It's awesome.  She is going to learn how to swing a hammer, how to measure, the importance of having a level foundation and so much more.  What a gift to a young girl, to empower her to learn something new, go into territory that has been seen primarily as "men's work" and potentially tap into a talent she would never have found before.  Plus, what a bonding experience between a daughter and her dad!

As I head into the trip to Moore, Oklahoma, as we gather for team training and gather as leaders, I hear God's voice so clearly, telling me to be an example, to keep urging others to empower, equip and encourage the young women in our midst, to help them dream new dreams, tap into strengthens they never knew they had and be willing to take on tasks others say they can't do.  It's a voice some would and will argue with but I believe it is God's voice nonetheless.

We leaders are creating an opportunity for the young people on this trip to learn and grow, to serve and create, to find new strengths and gain knowledge.  So let's give ALL of them the opportunity.  There may be a young woman on this trip who suddenly realizes she likes to figure out angles and how pieces fit together.  There may be a young woman who finds out she loves creating things with wood, there just may be a future carpenter in the group...but we never know until we give the young women on our team a chance.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What I've been up to lately...part 1

This year on my Christmas Amazon wish list (love that wish list) I had one very practical item.  New headlights for the race car.  Not just a lamp but the whole headlight assembly.  12 years of driving had taken a toll on the old headlights, they were foggy, and yellowing.  I tried the different remedy's they didn't work.  So I spent some time online, found a few YouTube videos and figured out I could replace the headlights pretty simply.  Amazon wish list here I come.

Christmas Day, Papa Bear and I headed out to the garage to change out the headlights.  Papa Bear was skeptical that it would be a simple fix.  I had watched YouTube videos and figured we had this handled.  Sure 'nuff, it was as simple as the video had led me to believe.  There wasn't even any swearing involved.  THAT is an accomplishment, people!  A couple of days later I watched another YouTube video and figured out how to align the headlights as well.

Race car before
Race car after

Doesn't the race car look pretty?!  BTW, the pictures were taken using my Christmas present from the year before...a Kindle.  Pretty awesome.

Later that day, I drove the race car over to my favorite coffee shop for some seriously needed caffeine.  Since it was such a beautiful day, the convertible top went down on the race car (Song friend would be so proud of me!)  Arriving at G.G.'s for Christmas dinner, I went to put the top up and noticed it was taking a very long time to close.  One repair done, another comes along to take it's place.

I had some free time in the following days so I did what every capable woman can do...I googled the problem,  "Convertible top going up slowly".  Guess what appeared?  A YouTube video!  I watched a gentleman take the back seat out of his race car, pop up the hydraulic fluid tank for the convertible motor, refill it with the correct fluid and voila!  Problem solved.


I contemplated, did I dare take apart my car and try this?  Papa Bear questioned the validity of the YouTube video but what, really, did I have to lose?  So a couple of Sundays ago, I gathered the necessary items.  Dexeran III, ratchet, turkey baster, cloth for spills and my courage.  It took 10 seconds to get one side of the bottom of the backseat up and 5 minutes for the other side (could NOT find that latch!) and out popped the bottom backseat.  That piece is amazing light.  Then I set to work on the bolts on the back part of the seat.  Once I had the tools correct, the bolts were out and I was moving on to taking that seat up.  On to the motor and filling the tank and finally the hardest part...getting the rubber stopper back into the tiny hole in the tank.  A pair of pliers and a maybe a few swear words (I am my Father's daughter) and the stopper was in, the tank was back in place and I was tentatively starting the car.  It WORKED!!  The top went back up and down pretty smoothly...a new motor may be in the future but hopefully the DISTANT future.  A little clean up and the seats went back with ease.  Game, set, match.

The sad part of this story is the race car still needed some work.  Yes, I drive a Ford and yes, I do know that Ford is an acronym for Fix-Or-Repair-Daily.

This past weekend I tackled the next problem...the leaky convertible top.  See, when I was googling the motor problem, I also googled the leak problem.  Turns out that's most likely a pretty simple fix.  I just needed some free time and a day that was dry and 70 degrees or above to tackle the leak.  Seeing as how I live in the part of the country where the "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge" of high pressure (as a Stanford Professor has named it) is refusing to let rain anywhere near the state, well, dry and 70 degree weather is in abundance.

I located the most likely source of the leak, patched it up and will stubbornly wait for it to rain in California to see if the problem has been solved.  I may be waiting a long time.

In the meantime, there is a point to my relating these tales to you...stay tuned for part 2!