Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Best buy of the month:

A Banana Hanger.

I got this one for a few bucks. It's not fancy fancy but bananas do look neat suspended in the air. And they are lasting WAY longer this way!

And why don't I eat like this more often...

With a little Brianna's poppy seed dressing... delicious!

Monday, November 24, 2008

a bulwark never failing.

At church yesterday I was reminded of a few lists I've read before : Top Ten Worst Worship Songs or Top Five Ways to Write a Bad Worship Song. They always include a category for "God is my boyfriend" songs... songs in which you could replace the word "God" with your boyfriends name and it would become a love song to your significant other.

When the lyrics flashed on the screen yesterday I seriously thought we were singing a parody of The Classics IV 1969 Hit "Everyday with you Girl (Is Sweeter Than the Day Before)".

After all it goes:

Everyday with you girl
is sweeter than the day before

As opposed to:

Everyday with you Lord
Is sweeter than the day before

As soon at the worship team belted out the melody I realized I was wrong, but it was just as hippy-yappy as it's predecessor.

And please humor me while I get a little... picky... Yes, as we grow in relationship with the Lord we become more like Him, we grow in his wisdom and peace. We become sold out to Him. He puts a new song in our heart and it is a joy to sing it. But Christ let us know that "In this world you will have trouble" that "If they hate me they will hate you". If you don't have any opposition in your life: either earthly or spiritually it may be a sign that you aren't where you should be with the Lord. I am NOT saying that there won't be times of blessing and peace and the Lord gives that to some people more than others. And if I weren't being picky enough..in said "worship" song the lyric is:

Every morning I will worship
Every evening I’ll adore
Cause everyday with you is sweeter, sweeter than the day before

Note "cause". So My worship and adoration is contingent upon the quality and "sweetness" of my day? What if I had a sour day?

And one last thing.. promise. Worship is supposed to be about God. Not about us. We are nothing when compared to God. When worshiping Him it is almost like puke to even mention ourselves in any capacity... because we are so completely nothing compared to him. Even to say we are nothing is mentioning us... leave us out! Praise is a little different... it's reveling in who he is and what he has done. There is a window there were I think mentioning ourselves is acceptable. But a lot of songs take it too far and all it is is "me me me.. my love... what I do for God."

All that to say... fru-fru worship songs are just so distracting to me. And then it gets to the point where it makes me question the person picking out these songs and if that's really where they are spiritually (picking out limp worship songs you can clap to) and yet they're allowed to be put in a place of leading a whole congregation in worship and then I start this whole judgment thing which may or may not be healthy.

But what happened to strong songs like

"Oh for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemers praise"


"A Mighty Fortress is our God"

And I didn't mean to just pick old hymns.. I'm sure there are good "newer" songs out there. Once you get past the the flashy "how can I make this sound catchy enough to be a single for my next worship album" ones.

I digress.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The power of a song.

I was putting more of my cds onto my ipod the other day and I ran across a cd I hadn't listen to in a few years. I realized that it is close to Thanksgiving and all these memories and feelings came rushing back.

I had a feeling that something was wrong that morning. My little cubical floating the middle of a vast cubical sea-- I was answering phone calls about 401K plans like every day for the past few months in the big office-- a resurrected Menards building. But I was alone. The cubes were set up in groups of four.. so that when hard at work four people's backs faced each other although we'd find any reason to turn around a socialize when the boss stepped away and the queue wasn't full. The rest of my team was on the other side of my cube. In my four-some two desks were always empty and Brian P. sat across the isle from me. He was in his upper thirties/ younger forties. Unlike most men in the office his walls were covered with pictures of his wife and two young boys. He was the nicest guy and a Christian-- in life not just sundays at 10:00. I didn't get to know him too well.

That morning he didn't show up. If it would have been Jim no one would have thought anything-- he was always late. But Brian was always on time or called well before the office opened to apologize for being sick. The first few hours I tried to pass it off. But close to noon I watched my stocky young boss walk by frazzled. I watched him the best I could--trying to pick up any cues to denounce what I knew in my heart was true. The minutes went by as hours. I tried to answer the phone the best I could... giving people the answers they needed as fast as I could to get them off the phone. A good half hour later my boss called us into a conference room. We gave each other solemn looks as we slowly made our way into the room... buying seconds before having to face whatever reality our boss was harboring. With the exception of my boss who stood, we sat around the large table which dominated the small room. I was the only girl on my team at that time. I don't remember Eric's exact words but he somehow conveyed that he had gotten a call from Brian's wife a few minutes prior. Brian had been in a car accident on the way to work and had died. The room was dead silent. My boss just turned and stared at the wall.. looking for some sort of answer in the gray paint. I hadn't been around death too much.. a grandparent and an uncle I didn't really know. But not a guy I sat two feet away from nine hours a day five days a week. The Holy Spirit was yelling at me so loudly to pray that I don't even know what the rest of the team was doing. I fought for a minute.. I knew the rest of my team wasn't saved.. what would they think!.. maybe my boss wouldn't let me.. this was america.. you couldn't PRAY at work!... maybe I would say something to offend someone! Maybe the words I used would turn someone to Christ. I had no choice but to move with the Spirit.. sometimes the Spirit flows so quickly that you can do nothing but hang on and listen as the words pour out of your mouth. I felt shaky and and cold and tingly as I asked. My boss said yes. Everyone bowed--trying to be proper. I prayed to God thanking Him for salvation and that Brian was saved and that at that very moment he was there in the presence of God... no longer having to take calls. I thanked the Lord that He was real and that Heaven was real. I prayed for his family and his young sons. Somewhere in there my boss started to sob. I ended. He thanked me. We walked back to our desks and were supposed to finish the day like nothing happened.

The next morning driving to work Sarah Kelly's Matter Of Time came on the local Christian Radio Station. I started to weep and weep. The realness of eternity was never so tested in my heart as when I listened to the words and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Brian P. was standing there in the Glory of the Lord. That it wasn't something that you just talked about.. but that it was so physical and happening at that moment. I remember the clouds and the bright sun rising into my eyes. To this day can barely listen to that song without emotionally going back to that three minutes in the car and getting tears down my cheeks... happy tears... sad tears... You're SO real God tears...

His funeral was Thanksgiving weekend. I wasn't going to go.. but I left in the middle of the night the day after Thanksgiving and drove the four hours through a blizzard to get there. I knew it was something I had to do.

I worked there for a ten more months. At my exit interview... as we were leaving... my boss thanked me for the prayer I said that day with the group. I tried to brush it off-- not being able to take any sort of compliment or thanks comfortably... "It was no big deal." He looked at me... completely serious and needing me to know that he meant it-- "Yes it was a big deal. Thank you for doing it."

I choose to trust You
Even through the fire
Even when my eyes can't see
I know You're right beside me
I will always praise You Lord
No matter what may come
You are always faithful to me

So I will dream
And I'll believe
That what You've promised
Soon I will see
Soon I will see

It's just a matter of time
Till I see Your face
Till I dance in Your presence
And sing out Your praise
It's just a matter of time
Till I hear You say
Well done

Monday, November 17, 2008

times they are a changin'

Since my parents got married they have been having thanksgiving with her brother and wife. My mom talked to him today and they are not going to be coming anymore. My grandmother was put into a nursing home several months ago after managing to fall and break her hip twice in a months time. So she won't be coming. My sister is going to her husbands this year. So it'll just be us and my parents.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

my first kiss.

His name was Philip Goodew. His hair was bleach blond and he was skinny... like most first graders. I don't think I found him cute. I don't know if "cute" mattered at six. He was a friend and since our last names shared the same first letters we were always put next to each other in school. (I think we must have been in kindergarten together too because I remember for halloween 1985 he was a monkey and the zipper got stuck so he ended up peeing his pants... or monkey suit as it were... while Mrs. Wolfgram was reading us a story.)

He was riding his bike past my house one day and I flagged him down. We swang on the homemade swing my dad had made that hooked onto a beam in the garage. We then went to the backyard and picked the small flowers that grew in the grass. Looking back maybe they were probably weeds... but when you don't mind which plants grow in your grass then a flower is a flower. With all the gumption in the world I leaned over and gave him a peak on the lips. He didn't have a reaction so I assumed it was okay and I leaned in and gave him one more tiny sterile kiss.

For a week we sat next to eachother at lunch. He gave me a big plastic ring that he probably stole from his little sister. We played together on the playground... standing together making up crazy stories they whole recess time.

He moved away sometime later. And I wonder if asked about his first kiss if he remembers the little six year old with a straight red hair kissing him behind the garage or if that's something only girls remember.

I was reminded of this story only because some of my friends now have first graders and before I know it I too will have a first grader... who I will make note to keep out of the backyards of little girls unattended.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Date Night

I have a date with my son tonight. The only way I got him to go up to his room to take a nap is to tell him about all the fun we are going to have going to see a movie IF he takes a nap. As I was rocking him he was almost asleep and all-of-a-sudden he looks up at me and says "We get popcorn and juice boxes!" The simple things in life are the best.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I had planned the trip to the grocery store all day... right after the baby wakes up we'll go. The baby decided to sleep longer than usual. I should have known the way my toddler screamed as he was torn away from Ruff Ruffman that this was NOT going to be an easy trip, but what can you do when you couldn't even serve a peanut butter sandwich to your family for supper let alone the sinful dip you pledged to bring to a get-together that night.

So we were off.

I won't bore you with an isle by isle recap. But I will tell you that the if-you're-good-you'll-get-a-cookie-before-we-go cookie was never obtained. And for me to with-hold that, especially knowing the even bigger tantrum that would ensue... why I don't think it's ever been done. But for the most part I am keeping my cool. The bread is smashed with a hole in the bag. The bananas look like they've aged six days in the last 45 minutes and the plastic "bag" they are in would no longer considered a bag in most third world countries . I don't think there's one potato chip still in original size in the bag. One of the cokes in the six pack has been pulled off. A can of artichoke hearts dented. As I checkout EVERYONE is aware of our presence.. even the guy in the back room running the forklift listening to his ipod can hear is blood-curdling screams for a sucker. As we leave I have the baby in her huge slippery snowsuit bobbing under on arm.. I'm not even sure if she's right side up at this point and my toddler decides he doesn't want to leave so I am literally dragging him by the arm.. oops.. by the sleeve.. ohhh.. by the hood.. he's running towards the store and I'm dragging him the opposite direction trying to get out of the middle of the road. Literally dragging him. I some how make it to the car. I tell him to wait by the car. No luck. He's off. I try again. Same outcome. Now he thinks he wants to sit in the middle of the parking lot. I drag him to the baby-side door.. try to fish the keys out of my pocket.. baby is slipping and her 23-odd pounds feel like 60. I have no choice but to hold my toddler against the car with my leg.. he escapes.. runs in front of a car pulling out.. I scream bloodymurder for his life. Grab him again.. place him in the same leg-up hold. I can only imagine what the world is thinking. And because I'm always afraid of being perceived as "that" mom it's always in the front of my mind. White trash just wouldn't match my purse. But just as I finally reach the keys in my pocket... dangling 11month old in her puffy armour... screaming toddler pinned against the car... my body contorted in a position last seen on a Cirque du Soleil dancer... a van pulls up, window rolls down and the lady calls to me "I just wanted to tell you that I think you are just a wonderful mom" She pauses to seemingly hold back tears "It really touches me." I just smile and throw up my one free arm and she drives away. I don't know what she saw... or more so the things she would have had to have missed in order to make that comment. But it gave me the strength to pick up my toddler and just hold him and rock him and whisper it was "all right" for a minute in the middle of the parking lot to settle him down instead of just throwing him in the car. Because that just might be what a "wonderful mom" would do.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Almost important enough.

I lost my phone two weeks ago. I've conceded --it is gone forever and I need to take a trip to my local cellphone retailer to pick out a shiny new phone sans all of the important numbers I've collected over the last twenty or so months and all of the priceless dark fuzzy pictures. Atleast at this point I HOPE it's gone forever and that I don't find it in some car crevice as I'm driving home from said cellphone retailer.

Ben was telling me that his work may have discounts on things like blackberries. A blackberry! Wow.. My mind has never ventured to that side of celebrity texting devices. I wonder if the blackberry has a nice electronic calander so that I can pull it out at any time and make plans and I would know right away if those plans conflict with early plans made. No more guessing. No more emailing people back to reschedule. How my life would be so much simplier! I would have to research--visit numerous websites and sort through countless user reviews and make sure I was getting the best one! This was not a move to be taken lightly afterall! And then compare that with other simular devices on the market. Know just the right questions to ask the cell phone man. What if I lost this one! Loose a blackberry! That sounded like an emergancy! -- "Gather a search party--sixty men in their prime, peak physical condition and a pack of government trained search and rescue dogs-- a blackberry was lost! We will not sleep until we find it!" My self-worth would surely go up... for my life was so important that I needed a blackberry to keep track of it all and to keep abreast of the latest.. everything! I could suddenly feel that this day may be one of those rare turning-point-in-life days second only to the day, sophomore year in college, that I went to the local mall and picked out my first half pound phone only cell phone. I had been the first in my family to do it--simular to those who are the first in their family to graduate highschool. Yes. Even with a discount a blackberry may be a little expensive, but think of all I would be gaining. It would be worth a week of ramin and pb&j. The thought of being so technically advanced.. definetly worth it.

And then it hit me--I could just choose one of the "free" phones and start carrying my four-dollar-two-year-pocket-calendar. Nevermind.