Thursday, April 30, 2009

Honey, I Want To Have Children

I was especially anxious for Roy to get home tonight. Of course I wanted to talk through the day's events and happenings, oh yes that even includes boring work stories from him. More than hearing about each other's day, which mine was particularly good, I wanted to talk to him about having children. Please move hand to jaw and shut it if you are in shock. Many may want to remind me I no longer have the equipment and we are well past the age of childbearing.

I've been reading Melissa's posts on the LPM Blog. Her words and descriptions of the extreme poverty in India have been heart rending, thought provoking, and convicting. Melissa's writing style is not the type that compels "emotional" tears. It is heart felt and factual moving many of us to tears because of the truth revealed. Crying over the sadness, over the great need, unthinkable poverty and the joy of children's lives being changed by the love of Jesus and $32.00 American dollars a month. I've thought in reading her posts and other Compassion Bloggers, loaves and fishes multiplied by our Savior. Roy and I already support another worth while and full on ministry in India, Charasia. Ralph Borde and his team have an excellent ministry to orphans, Bible school for those called to ministry and church planting. Roy's and my new decision to have some children will not lessen nor negate our support for Charasia.

So, we talked about making room in our lives to support some children in India. We are now praying about how many kiddos to support. Roy's Catholic background and my early young life's desire to have lots of kids will play a huge part in our decision. We are going to do this the old fashioned way, one at a time, but maybe multiples are in the future for us since we've dealt with infertility issues all our married lives.

I am not going to compute for you how many lattes or movies or dinners this would be and how little $32 is out of a budget. I am not going to write some emotion at the moment plea. Those are the kind of examples that cause us to make emotional, "everybody is doing this" decisions. Being in church just about all my life, I know I've made a bunch of stupid decisions based on the emotion of the moment and didn't finish out with joy and thanksgiving. If we aren't serious about the commitment, it is taking the Lord's Name in vain. Now many of you may think that last statement is kind of strong, but if you've read Monablog for very long, you know I think that praying out loud to get people's attention for them to quiet down, is taking the Lord's Name in vain. So this is how my train of thought goes with that.

This is not an emotion of the moment for us. We are finally at the age where we think we might just be responsible enough to have children. Hope they have Roy's brain and my athletic ability. :)

Oh, about my fun day, I had lunch with Erin Hollister today at The Nord. Her first time to the Bistro, so it is my joy to introduce her to a place I love. I also got to introduce her to Amanda and we both were introduced to Miss Annabeth as we ran into them at The Nord. Annabeth is beautiful in pictures, but those pale in comparison to in person. She is a beautiful baby. I was able to get a workout in and joy, joy, joy, I went to two bookstores today complete with gift cards to use. Use I did and even purchased some state maps to North Carolina and Tennessee. We are getting so excited about our trip. Well, I am more excited than Roy right now. He is trying to get things wrapped up at the office, but this time next week, he'll be getting into full vacation mode.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday Catch Up or Catsup or Ketchup

Yesterday, while there was a little bit of sunshine, I ran over to the Play Grocery Store and picked up a few things. I had decided to make Taco Soup for dinner and needed some cornbread to go along with the soup. There was only one pan left and I was happy to snatch it up even though it is not jalapeno. I cross Buffalo Bayou on my way there and the water is nearly to the top of the bayou. This morning I went back to the Play Grocery Store because I needed to get my license renewal thing done and while crossing over the bridge, it didn't even look like the level of water had gone down. Wow, there is a lot of standing water around the city and this wasn't even a tropical system that dumped all the rain.

This afternoon I am feeling much better about my to do list. I have crossed off several things that are important for our trip or items needing attention so that we can go on our trip. I have rearranged appointments, made a reservation at a motel in Chattanooga, got my license deal, Buddy signed up for camp, and picked up shirts for Roy at the cleaners. After working out today, I also ran to Barnes and Noble, Memorial Bakery and Target. I gave up cookies from Memorial Bakery for Lent and I bought a few for us today. I've had one and oh how I have missed the buttery, icing goodness that is called cookie. Probably all the riding I did and machines = the calories of that one cookie. It was worth it. Then to Target...Target how I love thee, let me count the ways.

We are adding a drive by to Nashville on our trip. My brother and family live there and I hadn't contacted them to see if they would even be around, but Face Book to the rescue. Doug saw what I wrote on my status update and responded. I am really excited to get to see the fam. That means we will also be able to make a swing by my favorite bookstore in all of Mississippi, Square Books in Oxford. Actually the night we are in Nashville, the author of the Cracker Queen will be at Davis Kidd in Nashville, but as much as I would like to see her in person, I would rather spend time with the fam. Also, we will retrace the way Dena and I took back in 2002 from Oxford to Nashville. What I am most importantly interested in seeing is, Corinth Mississippi. We stopped at an Exxon station there that had the most unusual bathroom situation. I want to see if it is still the same or if we hit it under construction or something. I think I am taking the lap top on the road, so I hope to be blogging and posting pictures along the way. We use a Sprint wireless card in our lap top and hopefully we will have coverage along the way.

Well, that is it for now.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Peace in the Storm, Calm in the Home, and I'm Tired of Watching Coverage

On a dark and stormy night... Well, that is what we had in Houston last night. Roy had let me know early on in the day it would be a late night for him, so I took advantage of that and put off doing everything that needed to be done until around 5:00 pm. Neither one of us had done much cleaning around here over the weekend, so I began in earnest to start those chores with my eye on the weather because all the rain that seemed to be someone elses problem in the West was moving in toward Houston. Knowing Roy wouldn't be home for dinner, I microwaved my Play Grocery Store chicken pot pie and had an early dinner. Good thing because after eating, I got out the vacuum cleaner. The rain which had been steady started coming down in sheets. In the distance was the rumble of thunder and the things to come. We lost our electricity early on in the storm when it didn't even seem to be that bad. OK, where are the flashlights? Where are batteries? Good thing my handy dandy Mustang Engineering LCD flashlight was in my purse, because it was a tremendous help. I removed a small battery operated fan and radio from our semi put together hurricane box. Roy was staying put downtown until the worst of it blew over. Buddy and I huddled together on the couch listening to Focus on the Family and counting one Mississippi, two Mississippi in between the lightning and thunder. There weren't too many two Mississippi's counted last night. That lightning seemed all too close. It was entertaining to have Facebook updates and found it encouraging that I wasn't the only friend sitting in the dark, reminiscing on recent Ike moments.

Just that morning I had been reading An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor while riding the recumbent bike. I had just finished the chapter on The Practice of Saying No. I almost skipped that chapter because I don't have a problem in saying no. Only this chapter was about finding sabbath in your week, in a day, or in a moment. She closed out the chapter by saying, "When you live in God, your day begins when you lose yourself long enough for God to find you, and when God finds you, to lose yourself again in praise." I liked that quote. Then I began chapter 9, The Practice of Carrying Water, Physical Labor. She begins the chapter sharing about her first ice storm in rural Georgia and how different loosing power in the country is different from in the city. For one thing, it takes the power a lot longer to be restored and she and her husband were responsible to keeping chickens, horses and dogs alive...without power. By the third day she decided to make a power outage a great spiritual practice. Now "the power of God" and "light of Christ" took on a whole other meaning. The circumstances made them live like most people live in this world, preoccupied with survival. Darkness and cold exposed their helplessness and total dependence on God. No computer, no doing laundry, no watching a movie, no hot water to even take a bath. On the afternoon of day 4, the power returned and the joyous reception of this news broke into spiritual significance... She said there should be a service in the prayer book for such occasions as these.

O God of the burning bush, we praise you for the return of heat and light.

O God of streams in the wilderness, we thank you for the gift of flowing water.

We never lost water last night, but a friend of mine did. The water pump for her complex is located in the underground garage and was flooded out and no water until this morning.

Last night I did what Barbara Brown Taylor suggested the next time the power goes out. (Little did I know I would get to practice this so soon) Her suggestion, be still, listen to the rain and wind, ask God to speak in the noise of His creation and in the silence of anything man made. It was an awesome time. Even though my phone would beep with each incoming update, I knew who to pray for in the storm. My practice in the past has been to pace, complain, vent and offer Roy suggestions of who to call to get the power back on quickly or find out how many in our area are without power. Yea, he loves that she said sarcastically. The solitude in the storm was a good spiritual practice, God spoke and I listened. There was peace in our home, even Buddy calmed down and went to sleep. The book went hand in hand with Sunday's message.

All the rain altered or maybe I should say altared my plans for today. Couldn't get to a funeral this morning and no reason to rush around today trying to get stuff done. I would have liked to to have gone to the service, one of my tennis friend's husband died on Friday playing tennis on center court at ROCC. It is the way he would want to go or his other choice would have been in the work of serving others... he knows Jesus. Guess, he would have died serving either way and he really knows Jesus now. It's been a good day to stay home, cook dinner, and resume cleaning. It's been a good day to sleep in, read just a bit, and listen in my prayers. The time beneficial to remembering and laughing at the thought of Mildred and Gertrude at Tallowood Sunday night. We had a blast being a part of the program and when someone says to me afterwards, you have a gift, I like to ponder and remember how God has used life and circumstances to give me such a gift and of course those thoughts conclude with thankful and grateful praise to God. Hadn't had the chance to do that and now I have.

Roy got home safely last night and I barely could ask him to let the water subside to get to the office this morning. He had a journey and an adventure, but he got there. The person he was interviewing for a job opening was there for the 9:00 appointment, his newest hires first day and she was there, and he's going to talk with HR about the one who came in against such odds this morning. He is happy a happy camper.

Speaking of happy camper, I got Buddy registered for camp yesterday. That is what we call it when we go on vacation and have to board pets. I don't think I can be the one to drop her off. We have never left her at a pet Bed and Bath Inn before and she is such a people cat and in particular follows me around. Say a prayer for Buddy. I don't want her to die of a broken heart before I get back. Wait a minute, I am talking about a cat. Cats can take us or leave us. Well, I would like to think she is going to miss me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ready for My Close Up

Oh back in the day as a young tween, although back in the day we were known as pre-teens, I could not possibly wait to shave my legs. Stupid me, I couldn't wait to get my, oh how shall I say this delicately, that special time of the month. After just one time of that mess I wanted to go back to how I was before but now I have digressed. Anyway, when I was finally given permission to shave my legs, my mom suggested I used Nair beforehand. Then use an electric razor for the time being until I got the hang of things, then use a blade. Get the hang of shaving???? Anyway, I used Nair. Back then it was a smelly, horrible, chemical mess and I think it was my mom's way of putting off the inevitable of me growing up and doing oh so grown up things. But, I persevered and used Nair for several more applications before progressing onto the electric razor.

Why am I telling you this, because I used a Nair product yesterday for the first time since I was 12 or 13 years old. Some of you regular readers of the Monablog remember my legs took a Nazarite vow for the winter and NO I have not gone this far into spring and just now terminating the vow. But I am going to have a spray tan applied to me in May and wanted to do a few test runs beforehand. For a spray tan you exfoliate and get rid of your unwanted hair before the application. So while in Target the other day, I looked at the various Nair products available. I was going to do the shower one, but the directions for hanging up the sponge applicator overwhelmed me and I just went with the regular application kind. There is still the distinct chemical smell but now it is diminished somewhat by a floral fragrance. How much would you pay for a hair remover, exfloliator and moisturizer??? I forget, but I got all three things in that little tube. The instructions are to apply, not rub in, let it set for 3-10 minutes, use a wash cloth to remove, and then shower to rinse off. So yesterday, I returned to those days of yes ter years and Naired. I am pleasantly pleased with the results, although my legs burned a little afterwards. Some lotion helped that situation.

I can remember when I looked at catalogs and saw all the helpful devices for those who were older. You know the stuff, magnified half glasses to apply make up, devices to help you open jars, brushes to apply lotion on your back...junk like that. Who in the world would even think about using such things? Well, to be honest now, me. So buying the Nair was my first foray into the AARP product line. I did the Nair cause I'm too blind to see to shave without my glasses. So many times my legs look like some kind of crop rotation is taking place. A row of smooth skin next to a row of knee high by the 4th of July leg hair, next to another row of smooth skin.

So I am ready for my spray tan Mr. Demille***. Well, I have a few weeks but I will be oh so ready.

*** For those of you too young to know this, there is a famous line from the movie Sunset Blvd. Norma Desmond's last line of the movie is, I'm ready for my close up Mr. Demille. Good movie, rent it to see why she is saying such a thing past her movie making prime.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nostalgia, Trips and Books

Nancy's Monablog is nearly 500 posts and April is my 2 year anniversary of blogging. Sitting here composing thoughts, observations, silliness and randomness has been a delight and joy. Reading and writing, two of my very favorite things. It has been good to write about the fun and dumb things going on in life, since my journal is usually filled with prayers, concerns and gosh darn it...stuff that makes me miffed or should I dare say it, mad. In the years to come I don't want people reading my journals, if they don't get destroyed, thinking I was a negative and depressed person, doubting so much, yet rejoicing hard and with great energy over the works of God going on in and around my life. So, whoever is reading my journal may think I was bi-polar and never know the fun, goofy and dorky side of me. Aren't y'all glad you get those things in the Monablog. Ha ha hee hee.

We are a little bit excited here around the homestead. Roy and I are actually going on a vacation in May. It has been a looooonnnnnnggggggg time since we've taken a trip together that was not related to a business concern or conference. Even with Roy being a plan man, this whole trip just blew up into reality on Sunday. I was telling Roy I had received an advertising piece from the Inn on the Biltmore Estate offering 3 nights for the price of 2. Roy said, well, go book it and here are the dates I cannot go. I checked the availability contrasted to Roy's schedule and we found ourselves booked at the Inn. So happy there was room in the inn for us. Heck, the stables there wouldn't be a bad stay now that I think about it. Glad for the room complete with separate bath and shower. We are going to drive and take our time getting to Asheville. We are going to spend some time in Chattanooga, home of the Moon Pie, Peggy's and my Bataan death march experience, and many happy memories for me at least of the Nationals when I played softball. Roy has never been there, so a must see will have to be "See Rock City" and Lookout Mountain, along with various war between the states battle fields. Our return trip hasn't been planned as such, but it looks like we might try to go one night in Nashville to see the fam, a trip to Square Books in Oxford, and a quick visit to see Roy's mom in Shreveport.

Tuesday was a fun, laugh filled day. I met Lisa P at Mimi's in Pearland for waffles. Yum! We got there around 11:00 and stayed till 2:30. Time really does fly when having fun. We were seated at a back booth and I assume we looked like we might be full of fun and laughter which might disturb others dining. Good choice. Oh my goodness, we talked of all things, but the laughter and the descriptions of situations made us weak. Good thing we had protein with our waffles.

Tuesday evening I met Dena for dinner at Escalente's. Their table side guacamole cannot be beat. Loved getting caught up with Dena and of course there was laughter involved with dinner.

Yesterday, Central Market called me from afar...thanks Marty for reminding me of that. I went after working out. I think I must have carbo loading on my mind when I go there cause I come out to the car with muffins, cookies and bread almost always. Bought a couple of their take home dinners. We had chicken pot pie last night and tonight baked ziti with sausage and peppers. I'll have to eat around the sausage but that is a small sacrifice to have one of Roy's favorite dishes tonight.

I started reading a new book, The Cracker Queen. It's a memoir of a tough childhood but it's not depressing in how the author decided to make correct choices. I am going to do a complete post on the book later, but it's good. I am also interested in a book about 11 friends from Ames, Iowa now in their 40's. They are life long friends scatter throughout the nation who have remained close through the years and seen each other though happy and sad times. It is written by the man who helped with The Last Lecture. I love books on friends and friendship. Friendship is created by God, see Abraham, Moses, David, and Jonathan...AND Jesus...He has called us friends. I don't know if this Iowa book on friends are God based friendships, but it might be an interesting read.

Well, that's it, for now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If You Had Chairs for Sunday Bible Study, Thank an Admin

With the Minister's Wives Conference a few weeks ago and this posted on LPM Blog and this recap on Gran Jan's Joy blog, it got me to thinking about another group of women who work behind the scenes, aren't allowed too much of an opinion and who faithfully labor and minister with little or no encouragement or thanks. The group of women I am writing about are the Administrative Assistants and Ministry Assistants at your church. The ministers they work for can hardly function without them, yet sometimes there is some degree of an undercurrent of disdain toward them working outside of the home. This sentiment is borne whether you be an admin or a woman in charge of a ministry. Most of the division ministers at church do not have wives in the work place.

The admins I worked with in the Education ministry are the best. They are the most committed, loving, loyal and hard working women I have ever met. They helped each other with big assignments and dropped everything for a moment of prayer when life was in dire straights. They rejoice when it is time to rejoice and weep when it is time to weep. They handle last minute assignments from the directors and ministers they work for with grace, even while knowing the last minute assignment didn't have to be so last minute. Admins at church deal with angry, crabby, complaining, entitled feeling, lay people every day. I cringe when I think of Bible study leaders, directors and Sunday School workers who have come into the ED suite and lambasted the poor admin over coffee not being delivered or a pencil out of place. It is still difficult for me to look at people on Sundays being all holy and devout when I've seen them fuss, nearly cuss, and throw babyish fits over some minuet matter during the week at people who are juggling 100 plates. Admins "translate" and make things better for the director or minister that seems to run roughshod over people's feelings not maliciously but sometimes in the midst of multi tasking, the lay person's "most important item" is number 10 or 3o for the director or minister.

If you have chairs in your Sunday Bible Study class, thank an admin. If an event has turned out really well for you or your class, thank an admin. If you have questions and they are answered, thank an admin. A video in the Worship Center, the Worship Guides, erasers, markers and chalk in your classroom, the Worship Center reserved for Sunday Worship, your team or event in the Welcome Center, the banners hanging around the church, and everything else that goes on at church most probably was requested and watched over by an admin, thank them.

Admins at church do a whole lot of ministry and are not extended the perks of ministry. You know the meetings at Starbucks, having an extended ministry lunch with some of your best friends, taking a sabbatical day now and then, leaving early cause the day has been too hard or coming in late cause the traffic is so bad.

This is Administrative Professional Week and it would be awesome and an amazing, amazing thing if you would email or call and express your appreciation for all the hard work they do. It would make their day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

On a Bicycle Built for One

Roy took our bikes to the bike shop several weeks ago for new tires and annual maintenance. We've tried several times to get out and ride but our schedules didn't work or it was too windy and here recently too rainy. So on this beautiful sunny afternoon, we pulled our bikes out of the den, remember we live in a condo, and hit the street. But we had a few incidents before we even got out the driveway. My front tire seemed to be a little low on air but Roy kept telling me it was OK. So we start out and he says, you know, I do think that front tire of yours is a little low, so back to our cars where I waited while he went upstairs and got the air pump. Actually, before that, I couldn't remember how to get on my bike. When I used to do a lot of riding, my knees and eyesight were in much better shape. And when we bought my bike, it was better to buy a boys bike because they were made stronger. Finally, after giving a little show to all the neighbors outdoors enjoying their beautiful day, I got my leg up and over to get on the bike. While Roy was getting the air pump, I decided to lower my seat since I am not as tall as I used to be. We had to stop cause it was killing my knee and readjust to the original seat height.

I used to ride my bike all the time and in all kinds of terrain. Cynthia Crain and I used to take our bikes out to Brazos Bend State Park and ride with the alligators. In fact, she once tried to ride her bike on the wooden rails of a bridge out there. Believe me cause I have pictures to prove it. I also took that bike with me to Crested Butte and rode all over the mountain trails. In fact I have several memorable scars from being thrown from my bike and scraped my legs and arms halfway down the mountain. Once I had finally made it down the mountain, I hit a little bump coming into the ski village, skidded on the concrete and came to a full and complete stop in front of a store. I laid there all bloody and bruised and a bit dazed by the trama. A lady walked up to me and I thought she had come to help me. She stood over me and said, if I were you I would take up a new sport. I used to know how to look out for holes and tight spaces by not looking directly at those holes and tight spaces, apparently you never forget how to ride a bike, but other fine details are lost. Roy and I rode down Memorial and through neighborhoods and many seeing us probably thought we needed training wheels cause we were both a little shaky. We rode over by Mrs. Baker's where neighborhood security is policed by men in Explorers and on bikes. They gave us the look and guess we didn't look like we were casing any homes. There is a little side street that goes off the main one. Once long ago I rode my bike down that way to the dead end and the occupants of the mansion released the hounds on me to leave the little public street.

I thought since I have been doing all this biking at the club that this would be such a piece of cake. Ha, I forgot about wind resistance, uneven payment and even though I have bought a bike seat for ladies, covered with a gel seat cover, it was way more uncomfortable than my recumbent bike seat. We rode through mud, water, pine needles, and grass that was all on the sidewalks. We didn't wear our helmets or we would have ridden on Memorial. After a while Roy had ridden all he cared to ride. Since I didn't trust myself out on my own, I came on in with him.

Today after church, the weather was so gorgeous, that we put the top down on Mustang Sally and went to Fu's. After lunch, we put the top down again and took the scenic way home. At lunch we had been talking about the flying lizard and laughing about that whole incident. Seems he has Jerrell lined up to take care of all my lizard needs for $25.00 bucks a lizard landing. So here we are on the way home and Roy is telling me about his lesson he taught as he subbed in Sunday School this morning, when I feel this little skittering on my wrist...very lizard like feeling. I looked at my arm and it was Roy scaring me. Mission accomplished...I screamed cause really what are the chances for another flying lizard! That Roy.

Yesterday, it was enjoyable to stay in and take in the rainy day. I got some things off my task list and had a great reading and much welcomed nap time in the afternoon. Roy braved the elements and picked up a pizza from Collina's for us.

Looking forward to the week and I am coming up on my 500th post. The pressure.... is on to write something wonderful and witty for it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

On a Bleak Mid April Day

It's gonna rain, sometime soon, I think. It has been a dark overcast day and I am finally home to enjoy it. So come on rain.

Something has to give on these anxiety attacks. Blood pressure and heart good but these attacks mimic heart issues. Sometimes they come at the most inappropriate moments. Since I have responded so well to my meds and one of the pills I take may cause these attacks as a side effect, they are not changing my dosage but the time I take the one particular pill that may be causing the problems. Hope it helps because these attacks are driving me bonkers.

When working out, I'm not a big fan of moaning and groaning and grunts. OK, I'm not a fan when they are really loud. While riding the recumbent bike you get all kinds of people next to you. I am there for a good 30-45 minutes, so I get to see a great parade. Two people in particular get my attention only I don't act like they have my attention. One is a woman who rides and lets out an exasperated hmmmmm or breath from time to time. She looks around for eye contact so she can comment on her workout. Me, eyes straight ahead and usually I have a podcast or great music on my iPod that helps me not look. She'll start back riding again and do the exasperated sound again looking to see if anyone is going to notice. Strange and odd. The other day I was next to a man who was biking one of the programs on the bike that show scenery and elevation. He put the wheezer lady to shame with his grunts and groans. But, he rode with his arms up straight a lot of the time, so I liked that. He could have some rockin music or Curtis Jones on his iPod. Still the yelling and grunting are a bit un-nerving especially if I am reading and have instrumental music playing.

OK this is so random, but I have been listening to KSBJ and have caught How Great is Our God several times. So as much as I love the song, except for the sing with me part cause I already am, it can sound like instead of How Great is our sounds like he is saying How Gray is our Guy. Really and it sounds that way even in choir form cause I have heard it a time or two on KHCB. Next time you hear it see if I'm not imagining something.

So this wedding in May that I got a new dress for and now I think I am going to do a spray tan the day before. Stacey does them at Lifetime Fitness for $50.00. That is the set price for any amount of tan, so I am going to go all Peter and get not just my feet but all of my sprayed. She can even make definition on your arms to look so Michelle Obama. Kind of think this whole spray tan thing is quite exciting. Don't think it will be anything I will do on a monthly or weekly basis, but I think it is interesting.

Well, that is all my randomness, well for now at least. I am getting ready to go back to the book I wrote about yesterday. Very interesting and thought provoking. I don't agree with everything she's written in it. Loved going back and reading the story of Jacob again. I loved that at the end of a chapter when it refereed to Esau taking two wives and then the Bible says, these marriages caused Rachel and Jacob much grief. Gotta love the Word, so real.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

While I Have this Opportunity....

Yesterday I met Peggy, Jenny,Becky and Laurie for lunch at The Nord. What a great time. Of course fun lunches with friends also include too much laughter, just some chat, and then serious issues that we know could be solved it only someone would ask the five us of for our thoughts and decisions. Of course all good things have to come to an end, so the end of lunch blended into the beginning of shopping. I picked up my dress for the wedding in May with the hem let out to be as long as possible. I had actually been at The Galleria since that morning running errands for me and doing one for my mom.

Something I have learned about me and working out, if I don't dress for it, I don't go. Forget this taking workout clothes to change into or going home to change. So after lunch and shopping I was off to the club to workout. It being later than my usual time I learned the timing of late afternoon after school moms and dads and those coming in to workout after a day at the job. I like my usual time. Roy thought he would be home later than early, but that changed at the last minute. We went out for dinner at Fu's.

Today was Spa day and it was wonderful. I got a massage and a pedicure. Feeling so relaxed, I headed over to Central Market to pick up a few dinners for the days ahead. I only have the mojo to cook about once every two weeks.

I am reading a wonderful book, An Altar in the World, by Barbara Brown Taylor. Her book Leaving Church is on my top ten of favorite reads. This book I am reading now is finding the sacred in the little things in our lives. Seems like a recurring theme I love. She uses the story of Jacob's dream of angels ascending and descending. When he awakes he is in the same place where he went to sleep, nothing around him has changed, but everything in him has. I love this quote and it is going to be a long one, but it is very thought provoking and I leave you with it for your own contemplation.

"Still, some of us were not satisfied with our weekly or biweekly encounters with God (in a church, oops I didn't set the scene well...continue reading please). We wanted more than set worship services or church work could offer us. We wanted more than planning scavenger hunts for the youth group, more than polishing silver with the altar guild, more than serving on the outreach committee or rehearsing anthems with the choir. We wanted More. We wanted a deeper sense of purpose. We wanted a stronger sense of God's presence. We wanted more reliable ways both to seek and to stay in that presence-not for an hour on Sunday morning or Wednesday afternoon, but for as much time as we could stand.

And yet the only way most of us knew to get that was to spend more time in church. So we volunteered more, dreamed up more programs, invited more people to more classes where we could read more books. The minute we walked back out to our cars, many of us could feel the same old gnawing inside. Once we left church, we were not sure what to do anymore. We knew some things we could do to feel close to God inside the church, but after we stepped into the parking lot, we lost that intimacy. The boundaries were not so clear out there. Community wasn't so easy to find. The only More out there was more of the same. That, at least is how it looked to those of us who had forgotten that the whole world is the House of God."

OK, I said I wasn't going to make comment, but somehow I must. Since retiring from church work, I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to come to church. Sunday has returned to what it should be and not another day of work. I am so happy not make phone calls or send emails to the same people asking them to volunteer when I know how very tired they are of always being the ones at church doing the volunteer work. I especially felt guilty calling men because if they are like my husband, they don't work 37-40 hour work weeks, most aren't able to leave at will to watch little Foo Foo's ballet recital or little Buddy's t ball game so I know home time is a premium. I am happy not to hawk another "conference" that is a Must
! I can give you the Monarch Notes of church sponsored conferences, Spend wisely,have more sex, get out of debt, have more sex save, and have more sex. There it is in a nutshell. Oh the have more sex is just for those of us who are married. :) I have saved you thousands of dollars over the next few years. Hmmm...maybe I should start a conference on this.

What I am asking you to think about is this, God. See Him in your everyday life. Be like Moses, get off track, investigate and hear God speak to you. Have reverence for holding babies, hugging friends, sitting close to your husband while watching TV, notice the ants in the yard, observe the birds, look at flowers and trees, gaze into the sky and see God. Speak to Him in your words but talk to Him with His Word, the sacred will sprout roots about you. There is nothing routine about God, He is consistent, never routine. Don't think that volunteering for every job that comes your way in church is the only way to find God. Serve and volunteer passionately with what God has given you to give.

Of course you know I have much more to write on this but it will have to wait. Buddy has been sitting here by me and she is ready for some play time. Can't miss an opportunity like that.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Chance Encounter

It was a chance encounter this morning. Such a beautiful day to have the top down on Mustang Sally. I had just been to Tanglewood Gifts to mail our tax return, then to the cleaners, and a return trip back home. I was home just long enough to pick up something and back on the road, still with the top down. Driving down Memorial singing with 92.1 when something fell from the sky and hit my arm. It was a lizard, a chameleon, basically when you get down to it, a reptile. Well it is in my book. I screamed bloody murder and flipped my arm to get the creature off of me and out my car. He landed on the passenger side door and looked as if he would be moving underneath the dash board of the car. I screamed again and I think I was driving, I'm not too sure. All I know is this, the Bible believing, Word speaking, verse claiming side of me came out in full force. If speaking in tongues would have helped, I would have. I HATE these creatures. So I am watching that lizard and speaking over it. Oh such things like, In Jesus Name I command you to stay on that door, no moving! You do not exist or move or have your being at all in this car. God gave man dominion over the earth and since there ain't no man in this car I am speaking dominion over you and you cannot move in Jesus Name! That lizard stuck to that door.I pulled into the North parking lot at church where I was picking up Cassi for lunch. As she came near the door I asked if she was afraid of lizards. She said no and I said get that thing out. Well, by this time I am out of the car doing the little nervous dance when my hero Jerrell Altic comes by my car. We told him the happenings and came over to my car and flipped that pestilence off my door and into the shrubbery. Thank yous abounded from me and Cassi. Cassi and I had lunch at the Ashland House and we sat outside with me nearest the shrubbery. There were some anxious thoughts going on in me like what if that stupid lizard has sent messages to his friends and family and those lizards surround us at our table. Those anxious thoughts left rather quickly though. We sat down for a great visit and great food. I went all Southern and got the veggie plate which had collard greens, corn, sliced tomatoes, black beans and fried asparagus. Yum, yum... and there was room for coconut cake with an orange filling. I went back in the church with Cassi to see Melinda Scurlock. She's tempting me to work in VBS for registration and the snack room by offering me a t-shirt. Girl knows the way to my heart, only thing, the t-shirt is burnt orange. I am worried that I might have to wear a hair net to work with the snacks. I don't know if I am up to that. I don't look good in black net on my head.

A stupid stinkin' lizard fell on my out of the sky. What the heck??? What are the chances? I know that if I was going any other speed than what I was going that sucker would have fallen into my hair and I would have driven into a tree for sure and all would be grieving my untimely death...yes, she beat 9/11 and a bad heart, but she couldn't overcome a lizard near her gizzard.

That's all I have for now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend

Sometimes the problem with reading Southern books is the fact they make you very hungry. Most of the food described is dishes I'm not going to prepare or we don't have close access to fresh homegrown veggies. Since I have been reading this past week of stories set in long ago times and other stories of the recent past, I decided to make a true Southern meal in my vintage 1970's avocado green crock pot. I am making fresh black eye peas and pecan smoked sausage mixed together with all kinds of flavorings. Tastes pretty good. Made a quick trip to the Play Grocery Store for cornbread. We tried the Central Market cornbread and Play Grocery Store wins that one hands down.

We had a very enjoyable Easter weekend. On Thursday evening we went to Broken for You. It is one of my favorite services at Houston's First Baptist. Dr. Glazer, the speaker for the evening was so good and added quite a bit of laughter to the service. I think it took away some of the somber mood that was hoped for, but it was just like he said, life is mixed with the bitter and the sweet. Friday, I went to the land of Sugar for a haircut. I even got out there early enough to run to Super Target and get some Diet Cokes. After the haircut, I went straight to the club to work out. I did a particularly hard workout. Came home got cleaned up and Roy and I went to Fu's for a late lunch. Wow, I cannot get enough of their Orange Flavored Chicken. The weather was beautiful, so we put the top down and headed over to Border's Books on Kirby. Found a couple of interesting books and then headed over to the West University area of town to drive around. It was a very pleasant evening. On Saturday we worked around here and then went to my parents to help my dad with some computer problems. It took longer than expected so I worked in washing the car and taking a nap while there. Roy and I went to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. We have not been there in months, but I love all their lemon flavored food, so we took the opportunity. Sunday of course, Easter. Roy had prayer time so he went early to pray. Dena picked me up and we went to the 9:10 service. That was an awesome celebratory service of Christ Risen from the grave. Afterwards Dena and I visited with friends in the hallway while Roy finished up his work in the Connection Center. We beat the rain and got to brunch before the downpour and we left when it was just light rain. We knew it was storming but we were enjoying our meals and each other too much to really notice. I think Roy is easily entertained and amused by Dena and me. She dropped us off at home and I hit the bed as quickly as I could for a nap. I slept 3 hours.

Of course I should add some spiritual thoughts but that will have to come later. There are things around here calling my name to take care of and oh one of those things just might be a nap.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maundy Thursday Thoughts

Hi, my name is Nancy.

Hi, Nancy

It has been less than 2 hours since I acted like an idiot.

Please tell me there is some kind of 12 step program to help me. I keep doing idiot like things and nothing seems to be stopping me from myself!

Today I attended a funeral of a fellow classmate of Dayspring, Belinda E. She fought cancer for 24 years and was a total joy and encouragement to be around. Three men from Shell spoke, a neighbor who happens to be a church member and Beth. It is only the second funeral I have ever attended where everything that was said was completely true. There was none of this "funeral speak" to make the person be much better than they were in life. Belinda lived life proactively, with much love and with opinions but they made Belinda, well Belinda. OK, I didn't act like an idiot at the funeral.

Instead of going to the lunch afterwards, I went upstairs to see friends from the ED Suite. Rae and I got to spend some time catching up and compare some health notes. Then I was off to run a couple of errands which included buying stamps at Tanglewood Gifts. First off, the parking lot there has become an every man for himself type place. There doesn't seem to be a slack time ever. So trolling for a parking place is an art. Right off, I pulled in to the parking lot to only come in contact with a lady in a Hummer that wouldn't let me into the lot as she was leaving it. She had people behind her and to her right blocked off. She starts yelling at all of us then realized she just needed to back up a few feet and the congestion would diminish. She yelled at me and like an idiot I looked at her like, what? What's the matter with you. She yelled even more and by this time I was past her and her mess looking for a place. Finally after about 10 minutes of near misses I finally scored a parking place. Went to the Post Office in the store to buy stamps. I know the price of stamps is going up in May so I didn't want to be stuck with stamps without a 1 or 2 cent stamp to make up the cost difference. So the clerk asks why do you want to do that? I explain again. He says tell me one more time what you want. I considered charades but explained again, slowing down my speech and feeling the wrath of those standing behind me in line. After my explanation he says, why don't you buy a forever stamp. Well why didn't he tell me that in the first place, I didn't even know they still had those things. Of course I am writing a check since they don't take plastic and I held everyone up behind me a little longer. Ladies who lunch aren't really known for their patience and their watercress salad hadn't filled them up and they were grouchy. I'm an idiot. I let all that get to me and apologized my way down the line.

During the funeral I had received a call from the condo association that our number connected to the phone box wasn't working and we have two packages in the office. My best moments have not been in that condo office. Happy am I that all who had seen me blow up from time to time over rules and infractions that are enforced hit and miss, meaning they made me follow the rules but not everyone else. I remember one particular time I lost it, cussed out the manager...who I called trailer trash and a trashy woman and I let some of the big no no words out of my mouth. Roy of course just stood there because he figured he was going to have to bail me out of jail and defend me in a court of law. Finally, we came to a compromise we could all agree on. Here's the thing when they won't let a washer and dryer be delivered and it has been a couple of weeks going through the motions of repair/breaking/repair and with clean clothes just in sight, I wasn't going to let them go back to be delivered on another day. It was a Wednesday of this incident because I was asked that night to pray at the end of choir. I declined because I wasn't too sure that I might not let a few cussies slip out in prayer since I had used quite a few that afternoon. Today, it didn't even get close to anything like that, but clearly I am thankful the manager of long ago is long gone. She got fired over her lack of response on trash issues. I'm just saying.....

I've found myself not being really social and too hung up on my workout time which I schedule around the lunch hour. Either I need to go earlier or later in the afternoon and later in the afternoon is winning out because it isn't crowded with young buff good looking things. It is mainly a middle to older age group and we are very encouraging to one another. I had lunch with Cynthia yesterday. We've been trying to schedule this for several months. Had a great lunch at Ashland House and got caught up. Over the years Cynthia and I have had adventures that include fish heads with maggots, trying to ride our bikes on the wooden rail of a bridge, cutting down a tree in her beach neighbors yard so there would be a better view of the gulf, and biking in and all around the Houston area. Oh, we had a few "perverts" sit near us in movie theatres that caused us some concern. None of that happened yesterday, it was a nice uneventful lunch.

Last night I went with Dena to the Nord for dinner. At lunch I tried to be good by ordering a veggie sandwich only then to order apricot pie for dessert. The Nord had Kobe steak, carrots, asparagus's, mashed potatoes which we subbed bistro fries, all for $15.95. It was good and I was only going to order salad. That thought went right out the window. Dena was planning on being good too but dang it, Kobe beef and veggies...bistro fries, we could not resist.

Tonight is one of my favorite services at First, Broken for You. Even when I was very involved with the planning of that service, it still was one of my favorites.

I was reading the LPM blog where Melissa wrote about Palm Sunday. I was remembering being one of those palm waving choir members. Waving the palm in my choir robe didn't bother me, it was one year when they cast me in Pageant in the triumphal entry scene and I had to run down the aisles toward Jesus yelling Hosanna, Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord, it is the Lord, and Jesus is coming. I was never a good biblical actor in all those years of Pageant. We were to think of a Bible character and act out of that. The only Bible character I had ever identified with was the Fatted Calf and making cow noises to announce Jesus just didn't seem to be the thing to do. A couple of times during performances I forgot to do biblical palm waving and was yelling stuff like, whoo hoo Jesus! All Right, He is here now. You know not very King James English renditions. One night in our pre performance meeting, it was asked that who ever was yelling out modern idioms please stop. Right then and there I took myself out of the second half of Pageant except for Bethlehem. I didn't have it in me. I always felt like an idiot because I would think even back in the day with Jesus did everyone run, didn't some stand back and watch? That would be my Bible character...just like the fatted calf.

This is much too long to go on about how I can be an idiot but I got on a roll. Maundy Thursday everyone.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Celebrate Good Times Come On!

So far weather wise April has been an odd month. Houston is experiencing rather cool temps that are usually gone by March. It hasn't been too bad switching between warm and cool but then I'm not working. If I had to be in an office, the weather would really bother me. It is refreshing to get out and about in the day and just take it all in.

Already this morning I have been to Central Market where I became an official Foodie, My Fit Foods where I didn't get any oh my looks thankfully, and Starbucks for a Grande Skinny Cinnamon Dolce. Even at 10:30 in the morning it was difficult to find parking places. Happily, I skipped Crave Cupcakes and didn't buy any of the Easter cuties they are making and I skipped the vanilla scones in Starbucks. It has already been a productive day. In just a bit I am off to workout. Today will be just cardio with a few light weights. I went over 10 minutes on the elliptical machine yesterday. That my friends is a huge victory to celebrate.

We don't celebrate enough. We should stop in a moment that needs to be celebrated and take in everything. Too often we just check something off the list and move on to the next thing. Offices should celebrate more and it doesn't have to be some big expensive thing. Just taking the moment to remember all it took to get to this point both the difficult and the funny is enough. I celebrate the feat whenever I take the stairs because it wasn't that, ago this wasn't a journey I could navigate. And if I climb a little faster than usual, my celebration is a spring in my step as I continue along. On Sunday I was climbing some stairs and unfortunately I am not at the point where I can go up them with my head held high. I have to watch each and every step because I am still a little unsure. Upon reaching the top there was a friend who had been watching me and she said, boy, you sure don't look up, you have to watch every step, too bad, wow what a struggle and you know those words stuck with me all day even though several stopped me in the hall and remarked on my faster gate and lively step. It took till the evening, but then I celebrated by doing the steps here at the condo and did a little happy dance at the top of the stairs.

I've noticed there are a lot of feasts and things to be celebrated in the Bible and we all have a tendency to forget that.

Yesterday it was kind of exciting going to workout. There had been a police chase with guns shot at I-10 and the Frontage Road by the Beltway. It was the aftermath of the excitement but I saw the car and the cops standing around or investigating. The traffic wasn't great, but there were news helicopters hovering and wreckers everywhere. I watched the 5:00 news to see the happenings.

OK, off to workout.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Godly Influences

There are doves that have built a nest close to our bedroom windows. Most mornings I wake up to their cooing. That takes me back to my summers I spent with my grandmother out in the country. My prayer time began this morning and soon it has meshed with memories of those summers long gone. I thought of the quilts and pillows I would cart out to the side yard and soon it was quilts covered in books and notebooks. Summer lunches eaten outside on those quilts were especially nice. Of course I realized at some point that I needed to make the return to prayer. It was easy, because I thanked God for those wonderful summers when I had my grandmother all to myself. I thanked God for her life and how she lived out God's love. She was an early riser and I would wake up early too but stay in bed. She'd be in her squeaky rocking chair by the windows praying out loud after she read her Bible. I felt so fortunate to be able to hear her prayers and know her close relationship to the Lord. I don't know if she knew I was eavesdropping or not but those morning prayer times of hers have had such a godly affect in my life.

Yesterday in Sunday School four of us who have been long time friends at First Baptist sat together at one table. We had some good laughs before, during and after class. Each one of these friends have been God sent through the years and I love the love and laughter that accompanies our haphazard meetings and time together. I am so thankful for long time, there on the journey friends.

After church Dena met Roy and me for lunch. We chatted about so many topics and sprinkled in between serious subjects ( Roy and Dena help provide for the serious) there was much laughter. We all provided for that genre. I am thankful for a compassionate and strong believer husband, Roy. I am thankful for a friend like Dena who is both awesome at being a teacher and a great friend. Well she was a great friend long before she was teaching but her life lived out in the workplace empowered by the Lord taught me a lot even if she wasn't standing behind a podium.

Lisa was singing at Second yesterday with their praise team. I wrote on Facebook how much I wish she was singing with the praise team at First. The way God uses her is blessing upon blessing. Her heart and life for Him comes through every song she sings and ministers with. In some of the darkest days of my life, Lisa would call me and sing to me. God so used that to heal my broken spirit and broken down on the mend body. She is one of God's new mercies of every morning. I am so thankful for her and grateful to God that He has woven our lives together.

Roy and I walked yesterday evening but not together. He can go a farther distance than I can. I was content to walk our parking lot several times while listening to Mark Batterson. His sermons make the time fly by so quickly. He or Beth Moore usually accompany me on my bike riding at the gym. I've been listening to Daniel again by Beth... I was there at the taping even and it's been like I never heard this before... I love how God's Word is alive!

I really have nothing earth shattering to write and mainly this post is for me to remember how thankful I am to the Lord to have had such godly influences in my life.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lerve Me Some Saturday

Even not working, still love a Saturday. Especially today, Roy didn't go into the office and we are celebrating my mom's 80th birthday this evening. It is a beautiful spring day here in Houston and when I ran errands this morning, you better believe the top was down on Mustang Sally.

After several horrible weddings that we had to attend because these people getting married were Roy's co-workers, I vowed to him I would never attend another work related wedding. You would not believe some of the weddings and don't even get me started on the receptions. Well, I am having to break my vow because Roy's boss has a daughter getting married. We haven't sent in the RSVP but I've been teasing Roy that he could go and I'd stay home with Buddy. Besides I don't have a thing to wear to a wedding, so Roy said buy something. You know that just had to bless me all over. This morning while I ran to The Galleria to pick up my mom's gift, I just happened to stop in at the Nord. And I found a dress, well actually 2 dresses. One is being shipped and the other is in alterations. I need the hem to be lengthened as much as possible. It is really cute, brown, pink, and eggshell colors. The one being shipped was the back up dress and I will take it back...maybe, it's awfully cute. And I went in the Adidas store this morning in my workout capris that I purchased last week. I didn't do it so much for them as something for me to do. Loved Laura's comment on what petite really is all about. She is so right.

Does anyone know of any exercise or workouts that is just for shaping up the knees? Mine are so ugly from so many surgeries and wear and tear. Yesterday, before going to the gym, Dena called from Panera's and I went and met her for mid morning snack of bagel and coffee. We were in a dilemma, does one pray over a mid morning snack? We did to be on the safe side. Once at the gym I did the mystery machine that I didn't quite know how to do, but since watching a few workout on it, I was brave. Oh, the ladies I wrote about the other day....they were there finishing up with lunch so I didn't have to get bugged or not bugged at their workouts. Each week I add new things to my workout and I am really enjoying the time. Maybe I will be brave and go to a class soon.

Last night Roy and I went to see Rice play Tulane at Reckling field. Lots of fun and it turned out to be pretty cool after the sun went down. We left around the 6th inning confident Rice would win and they did. While we were standing in line a Rice alumnus asked if we wanted tickets, so we got in free. Now this was totally a cute thing and only at Rice would you see this. They had a elementary school ensemble sing the Star Spangled Banner and between the third and fourth inning about 9 violinists played God Bless America. That is pretty classy. On our way home we stopped at Central Market and picked up a few more things. At first Roy wasn't too thrilled about that, but once we got in to the store, I was the one wanting to leave after awhile.

We just finished cleaning around the house. The work goes much faster when the two of us work together. We are going on round 3 of going through books and getting them boxed up for Half Price Books. Roy is going through t shirts and shorts and getting a bunch ready to take to Goodwill. We've been working through our junk for the past few months and it looks like we have barely made a dent, so there will be round 2 for that.

Peggy is a Mops for the 6th time. Keely was born yesterday at 2:53 pm. Jaime had to have 2 transfusions and is on the mend, but it was rough there for awhile. For a Bain baby she is pretty big, 8lbs 9 oz. Most babies in their fam come in as a 5 or 6 pounder. Must be from the daddy's side of the family. Peggy is excited and taking tons of pictures.

Well, it's about time to get ready for my mom's celebration. Hopefully we can keep the conversation running and won't get too bogged down in all the 3 D drama that comes with Dad.

Oh the book Finding Salvation at the Dairy Queen was a great read. The story ended much too soon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Looking at Things Differently

Last week I decided while in The Galleria I would go to the Adidas store in the mall. I've had good luck in finding Adidas workout capris at Academy, Adidas outlet and Costco. So I took a deep breath and stepped over the line into fitville. The look of the clerks are the same looks I get whenever I go into a petite only store. That incredulous look of hey fatty, fatty or tallie tallie you are in the totally wrong store. The Adidas clerk even asked if I was in the wrong store or was I looking for a gift? No, I told her I was looking for me, I have lost 70 pounds and need workout clothes. Well, at that moment, there was a world of acceptance. Wow, how did you do that etc? I get the same kind of reception at the My Fit Foods Store and gee they are in the business, well for a matter of fact so is Adidas, of helping people get fit. Only it seems they only want to help the extra smalls of the world because they look the best and are good for their logo branding. My feelings aren't hurt because I have dealt with this kind of thing all my life. Even when I weighed 120 pounds and 6 feet tall.

Seems I am no better than Adidas or My Fit Food because at the club today I had all kinds of workout prejudice going on. There are two older ladies that come in from time to time and probably now that I think about it, we are all around the same age. One lady is skinny and wears inappropriate workout clothes and hits on the young guys on the treadmills and at her age she could be their mother. Her friend is more subdued but I wonder why she even comes to workout. She rides the recumbent bike but stops every few minutes and reads. She also works out on the machines if that is what you'd call it. See, here I am being all My Fit Foods about her...she is hogging the ab machine and for gosh sake, she's not even doing it right. See what I'm talking about?

We do this to others in the spiritual or church world as well. We have no clue how little or how far they are in their walk with the Lord. We start all this well gee....
I am the worst in doing this.

I almost went over to help the lady on the hamstring machine, but unfortunately it is a machine I'm not too good at, so I would be of no help. Probably some of the personal trainers look at me when I am on the elliptical machine and think she doesn't stay on that thing long enough to do any good. Not now, but I am working up to a longer time. Guess all I am saying is we need to look at people and things with different eyes and hearts. But if you see me using the stretching machine, please come over and give instruction. I know I am not doing the thing right.