Friday, April 28, 2006

Here's Looking at Me!

I got new glasses recently. Since it had been six years since my last eye exam, I felt justified in getting new glasses, especially since my prescription did change, albeit ever so slightly. But mostly it was a vanity thing. I was tired of my big round specs and wanted a pair of smaller, more fashionable frames. My husband sat patiently watching while I tried on pair after pair. "How are these?" I'd ask, to which he'd reply, "They look good, but I really like your old ones." Finally I selected the perfect pair and was promised they'd be in within a week.

When I got them, immediately on the way home, I noticed a big difference. Whereas before I could look out through my big round frames and see the world clearly, now my view is hindered by the edge of the frame. I have to admit, I'm having a really hard time getting used to them.

What happened? Why did they seem so perfect in the store, and so awful once I started wearing them throughout the day? This morning it occurred to me (as I stared once more at myself in the mirror) what had happened. When I tried them on, I was about a foot or two from the mirror. And I was only looking at ME! All I cared about was how they looked on my face. Once I got out in the real world, suddenly the world (which the glasses are intended to enhance) looked different.

Time and perspective change everything. One day I can be in the bluest of moods, even to the point of arguing with God as I listen to a worship song. A few days later, I'm once again singing the same song, basking in the truths it affirms about God. Usually the situation hasn't changed a bit, only the way I look at it. The solution to less blurry days: disiplining myself to daily put on the specs of God's word and allow him to correct my vision.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


About six years ago, I tried Weight Watchers. I actually achieved my goal, but I did it the hard way. I joined online and for the most part, kept my efforts very private. Sad to say, six years later, I've found myself in need of pushing the reset button and so I've joined again. Only this time, I decided to attend the weekly meetings. Yes, that involves going to a meeting with real live people - NOT my favorite thing! I also announced to several friends that I've joined again. Amazingly, it seems much easier this time. I still need to exercise and watch what I eat. But now a friend instant messages me at work and we'll encourage each other. She gives me  good tip and I'll share some healthy snacks with her. My other friends have been very considerate in not tempting me with food I shouldn't eat. I do believe the support makes all the difference.

Likewise, when I began my current customer service job several years ago, I was literally too afraid to ask questions. Determined to learn on my own, I made many mistakes. A few weeks ago, I gained some new responsibilities (okay, that's the positive version of "I got more work dumped on me"!) Knowing my past history of ignorance, I asked a friend to sit with me and go over things in detail. I feel so much more confident now as I do these new orders.

Recently, a friend assured me I can always talk to her or ask her to pray about things.  I think that's the problem - I like to be the pray-er, not the prayee, the helper rather than the helped.  But mostly because to do otherwise forces me to reveal my own weaknesses.  She gently reminded me of the Sunday sermon in which our pastor stressed the importance of being connected to others. He said we're not meant to live the Christian life alone. In fact, he said, it's one of the ways we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit in our lives. As I thought about my experience with Weight Watchers and my job, I realized how true this is. As much as I don't like to "need" anything from anyone else, that need was placed there by God to keep me humble and dependent on Him.  Ignoring that innate need results in nothing less than pride.
So here's to the family of God and getting connected!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Yesterday my sister and I were shopping at Barnes & Noble when we noticed a commotion stirring outside. It seems that someone had carelessly tossed a cigarette butt out of a car window, igniting a bush in the parking lot on fire. When I realized it was dangerously close to my car, I ran to move it. When I came back in, my sister said, "Wow, a real burning bush!"

The incident reminded me of some thoughts I had while reading through Exodus a while back. I shook my head in disbelief as I read all the excuses he made when God spoke to him from the burning bush, then I realized Moses and I have much in common.

First, Moses reveals his own identity crisis. “Who am I, that I should go before Pharaoh and lead the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” Was he not taught, at the knee of his mother, of the patriarchs, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Surely, he must have known he was one of God’s chosen people.

God reply was simple, “I will be with you." He didn't even bother to assure Moses of his personal worthiness. In essence, I think God was saying, "Moses, it's all about me."

Next Moses says, “But God, what if the people don’t believe me?” Hmm, perhaps he had embarrassing recollections of the Hebrews’ reaction to him slaying the Egyptian and hiding his body in the sand.

Rather than arm Moses with a well-rehearsed speech arguing His existence, God proceeds to show Moses a glimpse of His mighty power such as the children of Israel had never before seen. Moses’ staff becomes a snake and his hand becomes leprous. Blessed are those who, not seeing, believe. But God knew the Hebrew children would need to see this powerful God in action.

Once more, Moses confesses his feelings of inadequacy. “God, I never have been eloquent. Speaking always makes me nervous, Lord. I’m still nervous just standing here talking to you now. I’m not anymore equipped to speak to those people than I was before I bumped into that burning bush a few minutes ago.”

Once more, God patiently reminds Moses that the One who gave him a voice will teach him what to say.

In each of Moses' excuses, I find my own voice, whining to God. And in each of God's responses, I find renewed encouragement to do that which He has set before me. Sometimes I get so impatient with myself, especially where writing is concerned. But seeing how Moses spent eighty years of his life preparing for the task God had for him, I guess I ought to be patient too. After all, I know it's not about me anyways!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Blind Spots and An Apology!

It's so embarassing when you're riding down the highway, mentally a million miles away. You think you're clear to change lanes when suddenly you're being honked at and all sorts of hand signs are being made in your direction! What happened? Most likely, a blind spot obscured your vision of the other person's car.

Well today I am the victim of two blind spots. For one, my friend asked why her comments were not appearing on my blog. Oops - for some reason, I had comment moderation enabled, and so comments were piling up unbeknownst to me. Lucky for me, this is not a high-traffic blog :) so I was able to quickly approve all 15 comments and disable the moderation.

My other blind spot came in the way of my printer dilemna. I was so frustrated over not being able to print on my own printer! I guess I forgot to look up - in prayer (which I finally did) and literally. The top of the writing armoire now proudly sports a Lexmark Z65 in perfect working condition (the printer was given to me) and will be put to good use in no time. So I have to stand on a chair to load paper . . . who cares! I'm just thrilled to finally have an almost complete office space all to myself. (Just need to hook up a keyboard so I don't end up with carpal tunnel.)

So to those of you who assumed I was ignoring your comments and neglecting to visit your blogs, my humble apologies. And to those of you who may be facing an impossible dilemna: look up!

The Beauty of One

I'm leaving tomorrow night to go away with my sis for a few days. I'm thrilled - three whole days to just relax and hang with my sister. We're really looking forward to some uninterrupted time to catch up on each other's lives.

But this morning it hit me - I already miss my husband. This is four days and three nights we'll be apart . . . the longest since we've been married! There's a funny little ache in my heart that surprised me this morning. But then I smiled as I realized this is exactly the way it should be. It's the beauty of oneness that we increasingly share.

As I look back to the early days of our marriage, I remember the silly things we fought over. He, being the anti-botulism guy that he is, likes the dishpan completely emptied and cleaned out before we went to bed. I grew up "saving dishwater," for we never knew when the cistern would run dry. A dishpan full of dishwater was expected to last us at least a day, topped off with boiling water from the teakettle. (Our plates were practically wiped clean before they ever hit the dishpan, so this is not as gross as it sounds). Nevertheless, my husband did not appreciate or see a need for such frugality (and in this case, it was more of a lazy habit)! To his credit, he never once demanded that I clean the dishpan. Instead he would go through his noisy little ritual each night, banging the sink strainer into the garbage can and rinsing the dishpan and sink. You'd think I'd be grateful but, no, instead I'd let myself get all offended. I can't tell you how many nights I went to bed in a tizzy over such little things.

Fast-forward nine years. Most nights, I actually remember to empty the dishpan, clean the strainer and even scrub the sink to a shiny perfection. It really is nice to get up to a clean sink and empty dishpan! Occasionally, I'll hear that familiar banging and clanging, and I just smile. I’m not offended and I don't take it as a hit on my housekeeping skills. I know it's my husband's way of saying he doesn't expect me to do everything.

I could give many more examples but this is the picture: it's the beauty of becoming one as God intended. When my husband hurts, I hurt. When I'm sad, he's sad. We rejoice in each other's joys and victories. Our hearts are knit together more and more each day. We're by no means near where we should be but we're moving in the right direction, becoming one.

I love this gift called marriage that God has bestowed upon us. In it, I see God's great intention for us, his bride, to become one with Christ. He longs for me to spend time in his word, getting to know the mind of Christ. And that's my desire as well. It's the beauty of one.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Foiled Again!

So now I have my laptop and I've been busy working on several projects. Now I need some hard copies printed. Someone gave me a printer for which I just bought cartridges today. When I attempted to install them, I realized that the printer does not fit in the space made for it on my desk. Sounds like a silly problem but my "desk" is one of those little computer armoires and no room is no room. (If you've seen my house, you'd understand!)

So now . . . do I switch printers with my husband? Nope, because his printer has a parallel cable and my laptop has no parallel port (old technology, I guess). Or do I just copy things to disk, take them upstairs and print them there? Hmm, that's possible I guess but that negates the whole point of me using OpenOffice - a free word processing program. Do I go get my own little printer for down here (I'm sure I can get one for about $50)? Or do we spring for a new all-in-one networked printer for upstairs? Emma dilemna, as we like to say at work!

Ugh, I'm so aggravated right now and yet I'm feeling like I'm succumbing to the Never-Satisfied Syndrome! I keep telling myself, it's okay - if I really expect to make a go of this writing business, a few expenses are to be expected.

Oh well, I'm glad I have this blog to vent my frustrations. If you were hoping to read a spiritually uplifting entry today, hop over to my sister's recent post. She puts me to shame today!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I wonder how the bear feels when he comes out of his winter hibernation. Does he have the luxury of slowly waking and taking in the world around him, or is he thrust into a flurry of activity needed for day-to-day survival? Does he have the freedom to amble lazily through the budding forest, or is he forced by hunger to begin immediately foraging for food?

I love spring. I love waking up to sunshine and driving home at night while daylight lingers. I love the smells and sights of spring - the fragrant lilacs , the budding trees and daffodils. I love trying to be the first to spot a robin, and I enjoy welcoming the chickadees and finches back to my bird feeders.

BUT - I hate the rush that comes with spring! I feel like someone has rudely jostled me awake from my cozy rest, and has thrust a huge to-do list upon me! NOT that anyone has done that at all, mind you. It's just that when spring finally rolls around, it seems there's so much to do all of the sudden. I need some time to decompress a bit first!

Well, it's freezing here in Pittsburgh today anyways so I'm going to mentally curl up and catch a few more winks before the busyness hits. If I'm lucky, we'll have one more fire in our woodstove this weekend . . . one more evening spent in the gameroom just relaxing.