Sunday, June 29, 2008

A John 21 Kind of Day

I totally had a John 21 experience this morning. No, I didn't go fishing and no one cooked me breakfast. It wasn't a conversation involving lambs and feeding them, it was John 21:18.

"Truly, truly, I say to you when you were young you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old; you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go."

OK, I read where the term Perfect Storm is totally passe...but this morning, it was the perfect storm. Got up around 7:00, had breakfast, read a bit and it was time to get ready for church. Before getting in the shower, I drank some of this Spa de-tox mixture that I am currently on day 3. You know to get rid of toxins etc... 32 oz a day of the mixture and an additional 32 oz of water. Mix in poor choice of breakfast food, too hot of shower, knee pills that make me dizzy sometimes and the detox mixture = woozy, dizzy, think I am gonna faint type of morning. I could not stop sweating and after the least little thing, I had to sit down. I decided I was going to "gut" this thing out. Roy was ready and had no idea of my process. I am sweating bullets as we get into the car and immediately I turn the A/C on Max. Froze Roy out... We get to church...don't even think I am parking off site today...and we begin walking toward the CLC when I grab Roy and say, I think I am going to faint. We take two more steps...Roy, really, I think I am going to faint right now. He grabs my hand and says we are going to take little steps into church. So there he is, holding my hand and we walked together like a little old couple. In fact Bill and Peggy met us and started laughing at us and when they saw me, white as a ghost, sweating bullets, and barely moving they knew it wasn't fun and games. We headed straight to the second to last back row where I gained my composure and cooled off. I felt compelled to stand for all the America songs but that is about it. The John 21 verse was going on inside of me.

After the service, it was a journey to the third floor. Luckily I have friends in high places cause when the Coke machine said it was out of Diet Coke, I went to Linda Sproule knowing there are at least two more cold ones left when that happens. Peggy came out of class looking for me. She thought I must have had an episode on the way to class. We came in right at small group prayer time, of which I have no clue what we were small group praying about.

We went out to lunch with the Bain's after church. I came home and downloaded some of Dena's pictures from the trip and then took a big ol' nap.

Still feel a bit dizzy but I feel much better than I did this morning. Must have been some wild toxins to get of today.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Taking my Thoughts North

All week my thoughts have turned north to Alaska. Thinking and rethinking what I was doing at that time and on a particular day. This time last Saturday, we had just about landed in Denver. It was a flight on the descent which airplane shaking side to side turbulence took place. After the morning rush of getting to the Seattle airport and experiencing delays and lectures in the security line, we were happy to have some down time. We were only one gate away from the gate in which we deplaned.

In the world of the usual, I am so glad that the Lord set our meeting in Alaska. Instead of the usual meeting place of my big blue chair, He arranged the backdrop of our meeting to be filled with His creation. Talk about presentation! I really never gave presentation much thought until I went to work for Jason. Jason, along with my friend Dani, certainly sharpened my sense of presentation. Whether it be simple or elaborate, it is a chance for others to buy into what we are presenting or engaging their interest instead of setting things up for the same old same old. Jason thinks through our Ministries Staff meetings like that. We change rooms or room set ups just to keep it different. We know what is expected of us by most meeting set ups...and we respond in kind to the set up whether it be lecture style seating, around tables, long rows or sections with lost of aisles, we act the usual. But what an opportunity to surprise in the mundane. We have choices and tools and our actions on setting is under utilized.

God uses the everyday and the spectacular to set a meeting with us. I have written before that John 21 has so much meaning to my life in the past 6 or 7 years. There are times when I read that chapter weekly. Even on that Sunday morning at sea, we had church in the piano bar. Unfortunately, the man who spoke was a wee bit on the dry side and what was to be a 10 minute or so talk, turned into a 40 minute diatribe that began in Genesis and ended in Revelation. I looked around the bar, I mean room, as he spoke. People were interested in anything and everything other than what he was saying. I perked up when he made a brief reference to John 21. I have no clue what he said, but I knew it was "code" from the Lord to pay attention to Him and to the week ahead.

The disciples are in Galilee, the beginning for them with Jesus, and now 7 have returned again...others scattered, to the place where they thought was the ending. After 3 exciting years, it was theirs to return to the former occupation of fishing, so they thought. Confused in their thoughts and empty their nets in what was once a very comfortable place for them. Not one fish all night long. I wondered if they accused and argued among themselves as they returned to what they conceived as their place and calling in life, fishermen. They sit in the dark.

Till morning. They hear a voice call out to them, "have you any fish?" Then the voice instructs, throw the net to the other side. I can only think they muttered under their breath sarcastically, throw your net to the other side...thanks stranger, duh, I would never think of that...

John then says, "It is the Lord!" Peter jumps into the water. The other 6 frantically pulling in the net full of fish and get on task to bring the boat back into the shore. What commotion! What excitement! What looked to be failure and dismal pickings has changed into breakfast with the Savior. He has the fire going, some fish frying and bread for the taking. I wonder why no one calls this the last breakfast? Jesus says come....come have some breakfast. Was He teaching them that it is the most important meal of the day? No, there are so many reasons to write why He invited them to sit and eat, but what the Lord impressed on me last week was John's shout of "It's the Lord!" Breakfast setting was presentation for Peter to receive his reinstatement by the Lord. Charcol fire...charcol fire when Peter denied Him. Fish and bread...the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the fish of Peter's former occupation, and bread, remembrance of the last supper. Now that is some supernatural presentation! What a way to get Peter's attention for the meeting.

I need to be aware of "It is the Lord moments." In the daily routine, in the mundane of a job, at the grocery store, with the neighbors, at home, on the phone, eating dinner, breakfast at Buffalo heart needs to be on point to see and then fully experience, It is the Lord. This happening moment is a part of the BIG story God is writing and this part is a subplot to the BIG scene.

Somehow my massage appointment got taken off the calendar at the SPA. To tell you I was disappointed would be an understatement. Christine had not called me back with an explanation and I was a tad miffed. On top of the missing appointment, Charles has quit. My brows are growing rampant and unfettered. None of this news had me jumping for joy...but then this morning Christine calls apologizing, etc... I was over the disappointment and was able to truthfully tell her, it's alright. As our conversation lengthened, I saw... It is the Lord! The reschedule and conversation with it was an opportunity once again to share Christ with Christine and my actions or tone of voice, did not distract from the message of abundant life in Jesus.

I am keeping my eyes peeled and my heart ready for "It is the Lord"moments. I'm also keeping my appetite sharp cause a lot of times food or breakfast is involved in "It is the Lord" sightings. I hope you are too.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Psalm 104

The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly. Psalm 104:16
From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. Psalm 104:13

He made the moon to mark the seasons, the sun knows its time for setting. Psalm 104:19

You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; they give drink to every beast of the field. Psalm 104:10-11 (the bear we saw in Sitka)
Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. Psalm 104:12

Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both great and small. There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it. (or another translation says you formed to play with) These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. Psalm 104:25-28

Bless the Lord oh my soul! Oh LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind. Psalm 104 1-3

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Leading Man

I feel like I have been somewhat remiss by not mentioning Roy as part of the story of being able to take the Alaskan Adventure. When the possibility of going on the trip came up, Roy was so supportive and all for me getting to take a fun trip. He has expressed throughout the years of not being interested in a cruise. Since coming home with fun stories of the cruise and the fact he could have ice cream 24/7, he is beginning to change his mind about cruising.

While I was gone he had the tires on my car rotated, had the oil changed, cleaned the house, did the grocery shopping and played with Buddy. Hmm...maybe I should be gone more often.

Right before he took me over to Dena's to meet the town car service, he told me to go and have fun, not think about work, and not to worry over results of his tests. He made me promise him and I can tell you I was true to the promise.

Anyway, I needed to do a quick brag on the hubs. He is the best!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Alaskan Adventure

Thought I would post a few pictures this evening of Dena and me on our trip. We had a blast! Our traveling styles are very compatible. A lot of laughs, great conversation, ice cream and pizza, prayers, encouragement and praise to our Savior Jesus. Dena even was the guest blogger on the trip.

I am trying to post pictures sort of thematically. So tonight's theme...friendship with one another and friendship with our Lord. A cord of three strands....

On the ship.
At Hubbard Glacier.
At the Raptor center.
Posing for the blogger picture.
Dena and friend.
Sunday morning service, it was the best!
Dena, Dena's sister Janet and me.
Reading and enjoying hot tea in the Explorer Lounge. The most comfortable chairs for dozing off as well.
Formal dinner on Sunday night.
Hubbard Glacier.

How Lovely

It was an unusual circumstance; I had the whole row of seats to myself in an airplane. That doesn’t happen too much anymore and I took advantage of the extra leg room. I scooted over to the window seat and the topography below showed signs of foothills stretching into mountains. I did what any flat land-er likes to do, take pictures of hills, valleys, lakes and mountains. Mesmerized by mountain hiking trails outlined in snow and the clarity of viewing from above the direction of the trails caused me to pause and reflect. I paused to remember some years back hiking in the Olympic Mountains. It seemed to be one switchback after another and I began to doubt I would ever find a level and long path in those mountains. The climb steep and the terrain tougher and after a day of methodically lifting my left foot then my right hour upon hour, we came to level ground or as the Bible puts it a spacious place. Almost giddy with the excitement from the lack of steep, craggy climbing, I was reckless in my traversing the trails. When I should be careful along the narrow paths with rock to the left and open air and deep drop to the right, I ambled along as if I had 6 feet on either side of me. My palms are breaking out in a sweat even now as I type this.

Now I’m reflecting on perspective. In my limited view of hiking in the mountains I could not see any end to the climb. The cessation of pain didn’t seem to be imminent. Sitting in that airplane snapping pictures left and right, remembering verses of God showing us the path of life, having my heart set on pilgrimage, knowing His presence and seeing the “whole picture” assured me once again that God does know my path. He has set up the ancient markers for me to follow. He knows where He has me and He sees the way to go.

I feel like I cannot write about my trip without letting you know the internal things that are working around in me. The time away from work, family, worries, to do’s, and the like, distance me from the attention of daily life. Oh that it could be to have Matt the cabin boy taking instruction and direction from me, taking care of details. Could it be to have breakfast served every morning and even before breakfast have hot coffee and orange juice awaiting me after getting out of the shower? Come to think of it, lunch and dinner details taken care as well? Life isn’t happening that way for me and it doesn’t look like it will be a part of the Mon household anytime soon. Spiritual matters are no different. The details and working out of my salvation is between the Lord and me, not to bring about mere change, but transformation. Transformation of God’s working in my overwhelming, over scheduled, over indulged, over confident, over drawn, over extended, over itemized, over weight, over processed and over there life.

Adam Mason of our counseling staff said at staff retreat, "Change is based on pain.
Transformation is based on vision."

This is an eye opening, heart rendering quote that has stuck with me since I heard it. Change isn’t enough! Transformation is where it’s at. Romans 12:1-2.
Just thought I would share what I am thinking upon and meditating on. The Lord has been so faithful to speak in my spirit about these things. Verses that I have known for years are popping up with new life in me. All is tied to my thoughts on wanna be-ism. And not wanna be lifeless, without wisdom and used up. I want to be like Jesus. There is a song I love, "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light." And the refrain to the about is I want to be like Jesus. More to well as more pictures. Thank you for indulging me with reading these ramblings.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Random Pictures from the Trip

The above is an eagle at the raptor center in Sitka. After viewing a video on all the work they do, an American Bald Eagle was brought in by its handler. I cannot tell you how awesome that moment was. The eagle had been injured and would not survive out in the wild. The intense eyes of the bird were hypnotizing. Dena took some great pictures of this and when I get some copies, I will post them to the blog.
To the right in the tree is an eagle nest.
Here is the nest with the mom or dad minding it.
An otter having fun in the water.
A raft of otters having fun in the waters.
Part of the whale that I could only get pictures of.
My best pictures were of the splash after it had gone under water.
The sun going down in Juneau.
Hubbard Glacier.

Seattle on Saturday evening.
I think Juneau...who knows?
Seals in Juneau.
View from Mt. Roberts of our ship in harbor in Juneau.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Back Home in Houston

Back home from an Alaskan Adventure. The trip was fabulous! I was thinking last night how much anticipated this trip has been and after returning home there isn't a let down that it could have been more or better. It was the best! I will try in the coming days to write about the week. The above is one of my favorite pictures. We decided on the first night the scenery was too beautiful to close the curtains at night. Really, only whales and distant cruise ships could see in. I woke up to see the moon and a passing cruise ship in the far distance. I woke up Dena cause I knew she would not want to sleep through this. I think we took pictures every night. When we were in Alaska, there never really was a dark night. The sun didn't set until 10:15 and sunrise around 4:00 am.
We had sunny days in Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, Ketchican, and Victoria. Only in Sitka did we have a misty, overcast day.
I will tell you we had quite the adventure getting to the ship. The day began for me at 3:00 am. Roy took me to Dena's around 4:30 am. We decided to use a town car service to take us and then pick us up at the airport. Our pick up was scheduled for 4:45 and it was getting close to 5:00. I gave him a call. He was waiting for us at the wrong address, but he was quick to find us and get us to the airport. The flight was uneventful and everything going smoothly until we got to Sacramento to find out our flight to Seattle was going to be late. Finally the flight arrived and the crew on this Southwest flight was a fun and engaging crew. They sang to us and helped keep up entertained so as not to worry about missing the ship. In fact they radioed ahead to the Seattle airport that our luggage needed to be unloaded immediately and they were true to their word. We picked up our luggage and were on the bus in 10 minutes. I was the last person on the ship that day. For weeks before the trip I had been praying, asking God for His favor. Sitting there in the Sacramento airport Dena and I continued to pray for God's favor. He is so good and surrounded us with favor as a shield. Psalm 5:12 This was the beginning of a week filled with God Stops, Moments and Delight. Each time we heard the phrase that sounded something like, wow, we have never seen anything like this before or how unusual a site was, Dena and I just looked at one another and smiled.
Last night as our plane began making its descent into Houston, the pilot announced that the airport had been closed and he thought we would be circling for awhile. Then he said, it has now reopened. We arrived and saw a double rainbow...I looked at Dena and smiled. What a welcome home from the Lord.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Seattle By Morning

One last glimpse of Seattle before boarding our plan and beginning the return trip to heat and humidity...But I will probably be at least 5 pounds heavier...and have wonderful pictures to bore everyone with when I get home.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It is Almost Time to Come Back to Houston

I cannot tell y'all how wonderful and much needed this trip has been. The first few days, well after our hectic and last minute check in, were so relaxing and easy. Now it seems like time has gone by so quickly. In a moment I will need to pack and figure out how I am going to get stuff home. What made me think I wouldn't really buy anything?

God is a big God. He has been showing off for us. We have seen so many sights that the naturalists and guides are astounded at what we have observed. I will tell you more about that later when I have the pictures to put with the blog. I have heard Him speak so clearly to me and I figure He is always speaking this way to me, but the distractions of everyday make me a little deaf and not as attentive to His voice.

Tonight we go to Victoria. We are going through Buchcart Gardens.

It was a beautiful day in Ketchacan yesterday. The trolley was wonderful and the shopping the best!

Dena and I have had a great time. We have a compatible traveling style. We have had some awe inspiring moments, lots of laughs, good conversation and great meals.

We get back into town tomorrow night. I can't wait to share. I have missed you all so much and I know I will have to get caught up with every one's blogs.

Thanks for commenting. If you think about it and want to encourage a sister. Let Dena know how happy you were she blogged. Maybe this will help her begin her own and start commenting on ours.

Blessings and Love to my friends! Keep us in your prayers.

Victoria, Victoria

We hit the city around 6:00 pm and only have to 10:00 to see everything. Tonight we will have to have all our luggage ready to roll except for our carry on. Then an early departure and flights home.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ketchikan if You Can

This will be a short port of call for us. I opted out of the Fjord viewing cause that baby starts the minute we dock. I chose the horse drawn trolley around the city at 9:30 am which leaves me ample shopping time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

If it is Wednesday, it Must Be Sitka

I think today we go to a Sea Otter and Raptor thing. I'll take pictures.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger

Tonight is a special treat. I have a guest blogger...first time blogger many time lurker. So enjoy her comments about this fabulous trip. We are killing a little time between dinner and the show.

Hello, blog-reading friends. I'm so nervous - this is my first blog (I just typed bog, which I am bogged down about what to say). Just call me a 'lurker'. I enjoy lurking on a few blogs. Today was the day we cruised at Hubbard Glacier, which is the only glacier in North America that is advancing rather than retreating. For me, I've never really paid much attention to glaciers, other than to think they are a force of nature. We sailed close enough to see the "calving", when chunks fall off, and the 'thunder' which is the noise it makes. I'll pay more attention to glaciers now, since I see one about every 50 years (that is nothing to a glacier). Glaciers make you feel really small and really young. While at the glacier, we had heard that you might see wildlife such as seals and maybe even whales. But, none were spotted. Although, I did make a special request of God while watching through the binoculars to show me a special animal treat. And, all of a sudden I spot a moose grazing along the shoreline. Could not see the moose with the naked eye, only with binoculars, and I know I'm the only one who saw him (or her) because nobody else said anything. I kept it a secret all to myself, because I knew it was a private showing just for me from God. This type of thing has been happening to Nancy and me for the past two days.

OK, we are getting ready for the after-dinner show, and afterwards the Superstar of the Oosterdam (like American Idol). My brother-in-law made the top ten and tonight the top ten sing again and the field narrows to five. As he said to someone "did you hear all the singers trying out? It's not that big a deal". Anyway, it's a fun thing for us to be so close to someone so famous. :)

Well, I better go and thank you for listening to guest blogger. It's been fun.

Wow, for someone to be nervous about what to write...she did a great job.! Talk about God doing something special. You may never get to read another post by guest blogger again. I am glad I was here in person to see this with my very own eyes.

Tomorrow we are in Sitka. It is a tender port. No that doesn't mean the people are really gentle, it means you get to take a boat into the shore.

We will post again real soon!!!

Howdy from Hubbard Glacier

Wow, this is a trip of a lifetime. I have so many stories to share and pictures...let's just say this is Tuesday and I already have way too many pictures.

Our trip here was full of adventure as the plane from Sacramento to Seattle was delayed over an hour. Holland America held the boat but we were running and praying for favor in doing so. Dena came up with a great phrase, "it is what it is." We are learning that really, we have no control over very much. I was officially the last person to board the Oosterdam.

We have seen wonderful things and God's hand is so evident. The past two weeks have been nothing but rain, but yesterday in Juneau we got one of the 44 days of sunlight they get each years. We went whale watching and had a spectacular view. We saw whales, sea lions, eagles and Dall porpoises. I will share more when I get home when Internet usage is much more affordable.

We should be pulling into the Hubbard Glacier bay in about 30 minutes. Tomorrow is Sitka. On Sunday we had beautiful sailing. The ship is fun and there are neat things to explore. I am so relaxed and thank God for His goodness to me.

Well, I just wanted to check in. Continue to pray for us. I am having the time of my life. I mean sitting at the Mendenhal glacier yesterday I was able to call Roy and tell him I love him, miss him and that I was calling from a glacier.

Be prepared for long posts coming up in the coming weeks.

Tuesday- Cruising Hubbard

We'll be cruising around Hubbard and Yakutat Bay today.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Of course I am doing this before the trip, but I wanted you to know where I am today. We have a full day in Juneau. I just looked up sunrise and sunset times...and the sun rises around 4:00 am and sunset is at 10:06 PM.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Destination Seattle- The Beginning of a Great Trip and Store

We leave this morning at dark thirty for Seattle where we will catch our ship for the Alaska Inside Passage. There will not be time for me to make a pilgrimage to the Seattle Nordstrom, but just being in the city where my favorite store had its beginnings will be enough.

I have posted some pictures for each day of the cruise on monablog and I plan to get on my blog and do some updating while on the trip.

To celebrate vacation and Nordstrom, I am doing another give away. While I am gone this week if you post a welcome home comment, I will put your name in the drawing for the Nordy Gift Card. This time I will be giving away a $50.00, $25.00, $15.00 and $10.00 gift cards. I will do the drawing on June 27.

So I say Bon Voyage and you say Welcome Home and we'll both say, Nordstrom's, we love that store!

See you soon!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bon Voyage

The offiicial count down began last night around 4:30 when I left the office. Officially, it is vacation time. Dena and I have been checking in with one another over packing, trip tips from those who have done this very same cruise and whatever else that pertains to the trip.

Another huge step this morning, printing out boarding passes. That is always a huge hurdle to me and the journey becomes official in my mind. I have settled in on what I am packing and just have a few odds and ends to take care of today.

Vacation Bible School is this week. The halls are filled with children and their infectious laughter. I have been taking home a friend's niece afterwards and I have totally enjoyed doing that. The songs this year are some of the best and in fact would love to have a couple of them on my iPod.

I will be posting from Alaska from time to time. But come on back to Monablog beginning tomorrow for a few give a ways and surprises.

If I don't get a chance to blog again let me say thanks for praying. I will keep y'all updated. As Bugs Bunny says...Bon Voyage...but he says it like Bon Voy ah geee.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Discontinuation of Wanna Be-ism

This has been a week of interesting conversations around the office. I've been able to find myself away from my desk and into the offices of those whose words and lives I pay attention to. It is wonderful to pull away from the routine and talk about what God is doing in our lives, in our families and in our church.

Also, thank you for your comments about the post "Don't want to be a Wanna Be." Both on the blog and in person. God is speaking this so loudly right now to me. Sometimes it seems we only have two speeds in which to journey and process, big talk, little action or the path of little faith and big falling apart. Neither response it good. There is more to walking with God and becoming more like Jesus in our hearts and in our outward lives.

In my experiences, not wanting to be a wanna be and women's ministry goes hand in hand. I don't fit the mold when it comes to traditional women's ministry. Since Roy and I were not able to have children, there wasn't exactly much for me in week day study at the church that wasn't geared toward moms. Then someone had the foresight to have study for those of us who were dealing with issues of infertility, but I didn't fit in that group either. Most of the time the study was just a sit and cry time only done under the guise of prayer. Actually it seemed more like a chance to act out and whine about how our lives weren't turning out the way we had told God they should. I was fortunate to have a wonderful mentor and because of her wise counsel and relationship with the Lord, and her investment into our lives, the reality was I was sad for about 10 minutes one Christmas that we weren't able to have children. I was very happy when Beth began teaching Bible study in the chapel because the studies spoke to our spirit and our desire to be wrapped up in the Word. Those studies were unlike anything I had ever experienced.

Years ago we had a women's retreat once a year. Usually in a hotel. The first night we had to dress was more like show and tell...there would be a fashion show...maybe a fluff speaker and the rest of the night and all day Saturday we got to actually be ourselves. There were break out sessions, but not one of these retreats brings back anything of depth for me. I hated them and only attended two in those years. It was then I began to realize I didn't have the vocabulary for traditional women's ministry: sweet, precious, fluff, darling, treasure, cherish, nice,grieve and saddens. Don't get me wrong I love those words, but not all in the same sentence.

Peggy and I have hit on something as we do Mildred and Gertrude, in actuality many women don't feel like they fit in women's ministry and that card carrying membership seems only open to certain women who fit the criteria. It has been an eye opening experience as we make women laugh over our attempts and foibles in trying to be a part of the group. Our favorite to perform is with the theme of Spring Thing a Salad Fling...finally something for the athletic woman. We think that we get to throw our salads for distance instead of demurely sitting there eating two spinach leaves and then declare we are so full we could pop. We use everything from thong panties to water balloon launchers to get ready to fling the salads for distance.

I've mentioned this before but if there is going to be a speaker on food issues, it will always be a cute anorexic woman...not someone like me who is not unlike Tracy Turnblat (Hairspray) and is a full figured gal. I had a woman ask me one of those questions that are supposed to get me to see the errors of my ways and guilt me into weight loss. She talked about looking for clothes and what an ordeal to find something for her skinny, tini tiny frame. Then she looked at me and asked do you fit into clothes from The Gap? I went totally wanna be and said yes, but I wanted to respond, no I shop at their plus size shop, Chasm.

It doesn't seem that prevalent now, but at one time it was all about impressing our sisters in Christ how we had it all together, had the most wonderful and perfect husband and that our families were serving the Lord together. And might I add without one complaint. Back in the day we showed off our new cars, diamonds and huge homes. And those huge homes are for ministry of course, but it seemed we always had plans when someone needed us to host an event. We were women who shared that God was speaking to our hearts and mainly through the minor prophets. We are so spiritual, we are past getting a blessing from the Gospels. It was rough back then and I think that is why I am such a maverick today. Don't try to fit me into a preconceived box of how I should be.

For once I am not packing for my trip as a wanna be. I am packing for how I want to be...comfortable. The pressure is off. So what is thousands of people who I probably won't see again, see me in the same outfit a couple of times? That is a huge work of God in my clothes loving heart.

I am taking the book Buck Naked Faith on the trip. Going to re-read it because I am on a different part of the journey than when I read it the first time.

I think the theme of don't be a spiritual wanna be is going to run deep in me for some time. I will probably post on the matter a few more times.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Don't Want to be Known as a Wanna Be

I had sushi for lunch today and then ran over to talk iPods and new phone accessories with my tech guy.

Doesn't that sound like I am so urbane and hip? I did do that at lunch today only my sushi was faux sushi-California roll and it was from the Kroger. My tech guy? The guy working at Radio Shack today helped me with an iPod accessory. I also tried to buy a phone charger for my car, but he didn't have the one I need.

It is so easy to make our lives sound so exciting. We tell the truth, but not the whole truth. We leave out important elements. Mainly we do this kind of stuff when we are working so hard at our own PR and appearance of a hip life, but in reality we are just wanna be's.

When I played tennis, I was a wanna be. Now my game and skill as a tennis player spoke for themselves. It was the off the court spin. I mean really who was I kidding? Most of these women had millions of dollars at their disposal. My discretionary income was about $50 bucks a week. That might have been on a good week. I could make our weekends sound so exciting. The places we went and I remember one kicker, Piney Point turns into Fondren past Westheimer. We lived in the Fondren area, not the best place to live, full of crime. But I would say when asked where I lived...oh just down the street aways from you...if they lived off of Piney Point. Or I live just a few miles from the U wasn't the miles, it was location, location, location.

Wanna be's want to know the scoop. They have an insatiable desire to be in the "know" before everyone else. They want to be at all the right parties, want to be included in all the right church meetings, and they want to know all the "right" people in the church. Then wanna be's want you to know they know the scoop, but they have to be very careful in revealing the in the know. Instead of saying John and Mary are having financial problems, those problems are affecting their marriage, so John may have to decline the upcoming deacon nomination. This how they get around it, "someone who has the same name as the Beloved Disciple and his wife's name is the same as our Lord and Savior's mother...are having problems. " If you are John and Mary, those clues aren't exactly going to hide your identity...but that is how wanna be's work.

In my heart and spirit I hear the Lord speaking loud and clear to me, don't be a spiritual wanna be. Be the real thing. Let His life and His strength do the declaring not my flesh crying out wanna be, wanna be. We all see wanna be happening in and around us. We know the words to speak, the right voice inflection, and on a good day we can throw in a Bible verse where we actually know the location.

I keep thinking of Ezra 8:22. Ezra knew he had declared what God can do to the King, he knew he could not go and ask for soldiers for protection. I have been thinking about this for the past few months.

My thing can be standing and declaring I trust in the Lord, He is my strength and song, He is near to the broken hearted and those crushed in spirit. But in my mind I might be thinking, I always have to be the strong one, everyone depends on me, when can I be the one who gets to cry about everything and have others come to my rescue and maybe if I am lucky work a casserole out of it? I am just being a wanna be.

Many have lived their entire Christian life on the two roads. Spiritual in declaring, wanna be in application. We all know people who play this game so well. Their cry is for ministry and God's will, only they don't really want to do the hard work that could be involved. They just want to talk about it...
With that all said, I am writing from the bottom of my heart, I want to live an authentic life and uplift the Name above all Names. I don't want to go to the land of "What If" and negate the power of our Risen Savior Jesus. I am watching Roy walk authentically with his faith rooted and grounded in the Word of God. For lack of a better phrase, he is walking the walk. His talk and walk line up with God's Word.
Last week he got some of the results from the tests he has been going through. This Friday morning he will be having more tests which will include bone scan, some x-rays and possibly a bone marrow test. Then he and I will have a consultation with the Dr on July 1st. The DR says it could be something or it could be nothing. If it is something, it has been found very early and the opportunity for quick action will be promising.
Our prayer is for it to be nothing. I am reading Psalm 103 every day and using those words to pray for Roy. I want to be as real as I can be...I don't want to be just saying the right thing and then falling apart at home. Sometimes it is tempting, but I like the verse that our Pastor had us repeat and memorize yesterday morning, Exodus 14:14. "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest." Amplified Bible Our sermon notes said the rhythm of stillness and movement brings provision. Because in verse 15 God tells Moses to tell the people to go forward.
I write and tell you all this not to be living in the dark. I write and speak of my weakness and the temptation to run to the end of our transition instead of staying in the moment we are living and walking in. I don't want to be a wanna be!!!!! I am asking y'all, if you would like to, to join in agreement and believe God that this is nothing. I am not asking you all to pray and then I sit back while God's people call on the Lord for Roy. No, we are doing the hard prayer work and trust God with the results.
Well, Roy just called and he is taking me out to dinner tonight. Oh we will probably have mixed green salad and maybe some pasta at a little place just down the street. People know about the place, but sometimes it is hard to get to. They know us there and we'll probably be given some complimentary dessert. Complimentary is cuisine talk for free....
Uh, we are going to Roy's favorite...Sweet Tomatoes...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Astro Game with the Girls

Lisa C called me this week and asked if I would like to have a girls nite out at the ballgame Saturday night. Sure! So we met up at CJ's and proceeded to eat dinner at Bells and Whistles. It is right by the ballpark and the food is really good. For those of you who don't know, CJ's seats are right behind the Astro's dugout, first row.

Before we went to our seats we went to the bathroom. I was puzzled by the proper etiquette whether one should flush during the Star Spangled Banner. I decided it was more important to relinquish the stall than be patriotic. I did make it out of the bathroom just in time to stand behind Lisa, who was belting it out, singing the alto part, so I began to attempt to sing only off key right in her ear. She was very polite and moved to one side not to be near the terrible singer. It's OK, I just moved on with her. She turned to see who was the bad singer and we nearly dropped over laughing so hard. That was really fun. She was polite and a model Christian during the whole ordeal.

Cutie Brad is behind the plate again. It was a special thrill to be so up close and personal watching him come into the dugout. Did I mention how how handsome he is?
I think it is funny that the criminal court building in Houston looms over Minute Maid Park. Maybe it is to make you think twice before using performance enhancing drugs to keep on playing ball into your 60's or 70's. Or maybe it is there to remind Uncle Drayton what a crime it is to be charging those kinds of prices for food and drink. Although the cupcakes there are worth every penny.
By the third inning everyone had started amusing themselves the best way they could. CJ and Deborah began texting like mad women. I took a ton of pictures and Lisa kept us all entertained with stories. We were in the midst of a story when a foul ball whizzed over our heads barely missing us. I think if I thought of it, I could have put my hand up and caught the ball...well, I would not have caught it, I would have slowed it down and broke a couple of fingers.
Things stated looking up and the Astro's scored a couple of times. I made the scan tron big screen in the stadium. I made the cranium cam. It is where they first show you normal than make your head really large. It was a hoot to see my hair really spiked up. How I wear my hair now I call the look "prayer hair." Looks blown back by the wind of the Spirit. I was laughing so hard, I didn't take a picture of the big screen. Several years ago when I was at the ballpark with Peggy, we were on the screen for the longest time. We had no clue, we were in conversation and not noticing anything going on around us. Finally a guy behind us said, hey y'all have been on the screen forever. Well, that was nice to know. And we went right on talking.
Here is Lance Berkman going into the dugout.
This is Hunter Pence warming up on deck.
The following picture is my all time favorite of the night. I was taking a picture of the texing when Lisa leaned in and made this face.
So I am going to use the caption that I told her I would....
That Joe C. He is one lucky man waking up to this look every morning.
Thanks girls, I had a great time even though the Astro's lost.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hmmmm...Strange Adventures

  • Went to the Kroger this morning and on the average I run into 2-3 HFBC people. Next time I need some fellowship, I am going to hang out at the Kroger.

  • Also while at the Kroger, I was putting groceries in the trunk and then did the good citizen thing and placed the basket in one of the basket receptacles. When I came back to my car, a little old man was sitting behind the wheel. When he saw me, he realized his mistake and sheepishly began to apologize. His car was one aisle over and he walked toward this junky blue car... What??? How could he confuse Mustang Sally with that?

  • Yesterday I had to run to the bank because my new ATM card wouldn't work. They realized what the problem was, fixed it, had me enter a new pin and I was on my way. As I was driving away I realized they never once asked me for any ID. He didn't know me and I go inside the bank about once a year if that...this has me just a tad worried and makes me think I should make a call to the bank.
  • I wrote the above on Friday and now it is Saturday evening. I just got home from an Astro's baseball game. I will be blogging about that soon and I have some fun pictures to post. It was not a strange adventure...but it was a fun evening with Lisa C, CJ, and Deborah T. Great seats but the Astro's lost.
  • I started using a new shampoo today. I like it. I bought the smallest size to try it out. Of course I cannot remember the name of it.

I have met so many wonderful people blogging. I am so thankful for y'all. Thanks for reading the blog. It is a joy and brings energy and delight to my life.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Little =Lots

Love the mornings when one can ease into the day. Today is such a day. Although I have things that need to be taken care of, errands to run, and a packing agenda, it is important to my health and well being to start the day in a slow kind of way. I have even had an Internet quiet time and it doesn't take the place of my regular one.

I have come to realize something about myself, I love the daily and sacred ordinary of life. The little things bring me much joy. I love to see God's hand in the little surprises of the day. Joy from a phone message yesterday from Lisa P. She actually saw a chicken cross the road. Love it! CourtneyS and I split an egg salad sandwich at lunch. We planned for lunches that are yet to come and shared laughter over our funny stories that are now marvelously woven into our lives. Yesterday I received a note in the mail from Peggy and it made me tear up for a moment. Last night my nieces Megan and Erin called and we laughed till our sides hurt. I also got a pedicure last night and the conversation that Julia and I had was interesting and warm. In the course of talking she finally admitted to me what I knew all along, when she first began working on my toes and feet in 2004, they were in horrible condition. My feet and our friendship has come along way since then. Roy and I went out for ice cream last night and we were trying our best to crack the other one up. What if I didn't have this outlet to share the little things? Just rethinking yesterday has brought smiles to me this morning and gratitude to the Lord. He has blessed me with an awesome hubs and great friends.

In the daily and sacred of ordinary life disappointments will come. It is how we enter into the moment of disappointment that can define the day. Don't let little moments from the failure of expecting something good or having the hope that something may happen tempt you to fall into the frustration of disappointment. If we let the little disappointments begin to stack up, the next thing you know you are discouraged, then depressed and then brokenhearted. The good news is if you are brokenhearted over your life today or any day, Jesus came to heal the broken hearted. Just look at Luke 4:18. Jesus came to mend, restore, and fix the broken heart.

Word, deal with disappointments quickly or they develop and take on a life of their own. We all have set backs and situations...but don't let those little things build up and begin to define you. Don't let disappointments become a defining moment that you really don't want. Think about it, we all know and love people who have let the sadness and disappointments define them. They live out their life feeling guilty and making excuses for any moments of joy or happiness.

Let the little joys of the day build up because those joys built into life, become defining moments of peace, love and victory. In the midst of the storms or even just the breezes of life, joy lived out gives definition of a life lived in Christ Jesus.

Don't get me wrong, I love celebrating the big moments of life but who I am and what makes me run is the daily, creative routine, and the sacredness of ordinary and everyday life. That is what you are going to find here on monablog...a girl who loves the daily and finds her purpose and fulfillment in celebrating the little cause the little becomes a lot.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thoughts and Observations in No Particular Order

Have you noticed lately that almost everything these days is hand wash cold, line dry, and do not twist. Even clothes made out of 100% polyester have these recommended cleaning instructions. When did designers and clothes manufactors get scared of a little warm water or washing something on a gentle cycle in the machine? Who has this kind of time to do all these hand washables? I don't. I throw stuff in the machine and hope for the best. So far my method is working. No matter what product the catch line is, only 10 minutes out of your day. The problem for me is it is usually the 10 minutes at the time of day that I just don't have it to give. Today I noticed for the first time, the bathroom tissue we use is embossed with hearts. Wow, hearts. I wonder why?
Now I loves to have music everywhere in our home, but this is ridiculous!

One of my favorite things is to sit with Jerrell and Becky P at Retreat Staff meetings. For the most part the meetings can be interesting but from time to time they bog down a little with the long talkers. Of the three of us, Becky has the longest attention span. She has taught me so much like, the quadratic equation. Who knew the quadratic equation could be used for daily life. I've been using it and I didn't even know it. She taught us this by using the song... How Great is Our God.

How great is x-y>3a+e, equate with great,how great is the square.

We go from office to office singing this just to encourage and uplift our co-workers. Thank you Becky, I never knew math could be so much fun. I now have more purpose in life, I want to be a math nerd.

I have more things that I have been considering but I need to consider going to sleep now. All things math just takes it out of me. Besides, I have some hand washables to do and I need to clear some space to lay them out flat. I used to just move stuff to make room, but I have written out an equation that should make the task much easier and simplier... I will share it later. I mean if that doesn't make you want to come back to Monablog, I don't know what would.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Let Me Introduce You to a Friend

I am so happy to announce that Laurie Mounce has started blogging. You can find her blog here. If you know Laurie you know you are in for a treat and if you don't know Laurie, let me introduce her to you now.

We first met the Mounces at the Bain's on Easter Sunday a long time ago. Laurie is one of Jenny's best friends. Who is Jenny, why she is Peggy's daughter. In fact Laurie worked for Jason eons before me. Believe me, her shoes are still hard to fill. She is one of the most godly and wise young women I have ever met. I love visiting with her and occasionally we get to grab lunch. If we don't get to do that, I can see her smiling face greeting us at the doors of the church on Sundays. And of course the most fun is when we are all out at the Bain Compound along with Becky and Charlie. I am privileged to call her friend.

She is a young mom with great ideas. So if you have kiddos, you will want to read her blog and see her ideas for the coming summer months.

Laurie, glad you are my friend and I am thrilled that you finally have started a blog. Now, can I interest you in Face Book?