Thursday, May 26, 2005

Loyalties and just desserts

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis week, my boss has been unjustly attacked and given a no-confidence letter by members of the unionized segment of the employees.

On Tuesday her picture was on the front page of the newspaper among unfounded and groundless accusations by these upstanding members of our organization. Today there was a meeting about this issue attended by all sorts of people: those of us on her staff who are by her side suffering with her; her bosses who are trying to find a politically nice way of getting out of this mess that the union created; the union members themselves, salivating at the hope of a fresh kill so they can swoop in and tear her apart; and the media to record the slaughter for posterity.

Today, I truly felt what it's like when the scriptures say to weep with those who weep. How painful it has been to watch my boss and friend go through this mess. There were times in today's meeting I wanted to reach back and knock a few teeth out of the heads of those leading this nonsense. I also wanted to put some of my old reporter skills to good use and dig some dirt on these clowns. There is some that could come in quite handy right now.

But, while I was sitting in the meeting, I believe God spoke to me about revenge and trust. He reminded me about David, who asked why those who are evil seem to be successful, while those trusting in God get kicked to the curb. The same frustrating thing happens today. So, all I can do is trust that truth will prevail here and those who unjustly did this deed will pay. Perhaps it won't be the way I want, but there will be a day when all will come to light. That's a hard pill to swallow but it's the only way to go.

Then again, I could join the mob and call in some boys named Guido "The Face" Faduchi or Tony "Nails" Sarduchi and let them do some business. Would be nice.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

And The Winner Is......

Image hosted by Photobucket.comMe!!! Well, actually, it's both Bill and I because our littlest one is healthy, growing, and getting ready to meet the world in less than 5 months! But we had a little bet - minus wagers - about what the gender of this fantastic baby human is. Bill thought this whole time that he was "cursed" with girls, like another family we know. Neither of us would have minded that at all since we have pink bedding, pretty dresses, and froo froo galore. I, on the other hand, had an instinct that we were having a baby boy because I thought that with my "luck" (though I don't really believe in luck) blended with Murphy's Law (we had the pink bedding, the pretty dresses, and froo froo galore) and gender econmics (three females to one male, unless you include our cat Othello) we would likely have a boy. And now we know!

When the radiologist (Jennifer) was moving the wand around she commented several times that our baby was a "wiggly one". I've known that to be true from the first frog-like squirming I could feel. In fact, Bill has felt baby move often, lately, and the movements have been getting increasingly stronger and more frequent. It's been fun to put my hand over my tummy and just know that our baby is healthy and strong. When Jennifer said, "Do you want to know what you're having?" I was probably the more emphatic of the two of us when I said, "Yes, please!" So she moved the wand into position and said, "It looks like you're having a boy."

I squealed, of course, and sent Bill a triumphant "Ha ha!" grin but then it suddenly hit me: I don't know how to raise a boy. Pink is my favorite color. I was the family girly girl with ruffled shirts, pink nail polish, and wearing low-heeled pumps with jeans. I have a picture of myself in a pink sweater over an ivory camisole, deep blue pleated denim jeans, and dangly mother-of-pearl and filgree earrings. Did I mention my favorite color is pink?

I know how to sing, play piano, and figureskate; paint, draw, and write; decorate, cook, and bake. I never did master any athletic skills like softball, soccer, or spitting. There are no trucks in a sandbox in our backyard. There isn't a vast collection of baseball bats, mits, jerseys, or helmets in our garage. When does one buy a jock-strap for a son and for what purpose? I don't know how to do this!

But I will learn how to be a mother to our son. I will be more empathetic towards Bill and his efforts in being a father to our daughters since this must be how he felt. And I will let myself get coached by other seasoned moms of boys like my pastor's wife, church friends, and family members. And I'll ask God often how He raised His Son. And I think I'll get it figured out.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Rescue Me

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOn Wednesday our family was driving to our church for Bible Study when something happened that would result in this blog. It was a slightly warm day so Bill’s window was rolled down since our air conditioning doesn’t work that well. I could smell the musky breeze from the river mingled with the vehicle fumes of other drivers and Bill and I were engaged in a deep discussion about politics or sandwich meat or something like that. As we talked I was gazing out his window watching the scene roll past us when a lone pedestrian caught my eye. She was probably in her mid-twenties and was wearing a nice red jacket, jeans, and glasses. Her head was down but I could tell she was talking on her cell phone and wasn’t really paying attention to anything around her. This fact became painfully apparent when she connected with a street sign. I knew she’d connected, not just by her startled gestures but because her glasses made a rather loud clang against the metal post that could be heard above our van’s humming engine. I cringed because I saw it happen and I couldn’t do anything about it.

I remembered a similar thing occuring at the University where I was studying for my education degree. *I don’t HAVE an education degree but I digress* Anyway, I was walking quickly to my class which I was already late for when I saw a faculty member walk out of the bathroom and head down the hallway. She had a length of toilet paper trailing behind her – from her waistband – and I was too far away to discreetly address the problem without causing any embarrassment.

During my years as a pianist for a music ministry group we had little money for coordinating ensembles. One of the vocalists bought several yards of cheap fabric and sewed outfits for the four women in the group. Mine was a short sleeved blouse with a creamy background and autumn tones and an orange skirt. I had learned by that time that I shouldn’t care if I looked like a frosted pumpkin because it didn’t matter what we wore as long as we were doing what God had called us to do. However, I hadn’t accounted for the length of the skirt while I was seated at the electric piano and after one of the services the pastor walked up to our drummer and informed him that my skirt allowed an ample view north of my knees. I was mortified and the situation was quickly amended with a thick covering for the front of the piano before the next service.

Yesterday, Bill traveled by boat to the San Juan Islands for a men’s retreat. Unbeknownst to both of us he gets motion-sick on boats and this was his first discovery of this fact. He spent the majority of the travel time laying down in one of the cabins trying to settle his stomach. While I was on the phone with him I wished so much that I could have been there to offer him water, crackers, Dramamine, or my company, but he was out of my reach.

Sometimes things happen to other people that we just can’t prevent or warn them about, even though we have every desire to. It can be anything from a minor embarrassment to a major blunder but sometimes we are just not near enough to help. So, what are we to do? Perhaps just to be available to pull someone back to their feet so they can start all over again.

And blog about it later.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

To Be Announced...

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis morning we all got up, showered, dressed, grabbed some apples and bananas and headed over to our midwife's office. The office is about 20 minutes away and we arrived just a little early to discover that she would be arriving late. No matter, though, because we know her personality and have enjoyed working with her since Murron was still in utero. When she walked in we hugged and chatted about driving distances and such then we got to work at discussing this pregnancy. We discussed a seminar that she has to attend about two weeks after the due date. I have no such appointments because, knowing when this baby is due to arrive, I'm keeping my calendar clear. After all was said and done we scheduled an ultrasound for Monday, which brings me to the subject for this blog.

Announcements. We announced this baby's due date to our family and friends with blissful excitement. Some we told in person, others we called on the phone, and the rest we e-mailed with the news. And after several acknowledgements and congratulations, the most frequent comments have been about how much I'm showing, how I'm feeling, and general prenatal queries. After the first trimester I announced that I had resumed my love of food and I joyfully celebrated with pork roast, mashed potatoes, thick gravy, vegetables, and tall glasses of cold milk. Again the comments were happy and sincere. Since then there has been nothing really new to add. But there will be on Monday, we hope. That's when we plan on finding out the gender of this child so we can give him/her a name when we talk to each other about "baby."

Just this last Sunday a young couple in our church announced their engagement and I was joyful when I spoke to the affianced. Now we are waiting until they announce the actual date of their wedding. That is yet to be announced. It makes me think about the long awaited return of Jesus and how easy it is to just get on with our lives, until the next announcement is given, "He is now come!" I am certain it could happen any day so I'm keeping my calendar open and free.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Manna From Heaven

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIt was already the middle of the morning before I noticed it. Something outside of our dining room window caught my eye and I looked out into our sunny yard. Like huge snowflakes I watched the bits of tree pollen float softly and lazily in the air before resigning to gravity and landing on the grass. Tufts of pollen were clinging to the green blades while more continued to fall with every breeze. I felt like going outside and letting it fall on my head and clothes just to imagine for a moment how the Israelites felt when they saw God’s provision for their needs.

The sight of the pollen drifting to the ground brought me so many years back to the farm where I grew up with my 14 other siblings. My younger sister was closest to me so we would often play together when there weren’t any chores to be done. We had some favorite play areas like the rock pile, behind the garage, or beside our slough. It was on late spring days when we would walk around the farm yard and gather the pollen that had fallen to the ground or clung to the wild rosebushes. Some days it was wool for making yarn but that was always short-lived since the fibers never stuck together like they should have. Other days it was manna from Heaven sent down to be our daily provision.

It wasn’t a great stretch of my imagination to think that God could provide for our family in this way. Being farmers we often saw manna in the big black garbage bags full of handed down clothing or the dozens of whitefish that the nearby reservation Indians would bring to us in exchange for fuel. It was God’s way of reassuring us that He was looking after us.

Seeing the manna isn’t always easy, however, and sometimes we have found it where we weren’t looking for it. In the past it has been in odd jobs that an elderly church friend would offer to Bill for cash, banana boxes brimming over with groceries designated for our family without our knowledge, or even a terrible rollover which totaled off our truck but provided the right amount of insurance money to provide for some urgent needs and to buy a van outright. This week, however, we found the manna in a few checkbook register mistakes and more money in the bank than we originally thought.

Today it is raining so I won’t see any pollen sinking down through the air onto our lawn but I have learned from it. But maybe I'll stand out in the rain anyway and let the gentle drops remind me that God will provide for all we need. "Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!” Luke 12:27, 28


Monday, May 16, 2005

What would it look like?

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I am not young anymore.

I feel it in my bones. I started wearing bifocals a couple months ago. My conversations are peppered with an oft repeated"huh?" I take a peek at my IRA at the stock broker's web site and realize just how many earning years I have left.

Yep. I am growing older. Now, you couldn't tell by looking at me. I know I don't come close to looking my 34 years. While teaching CPR at a local high school a couple of weeks ago, some of the students mistook me for the new kid. I am used to it.

What's the key to my youthful appearance? Genes and exercise. That's all I can figure. But the latter sure isn't easy anymore. I am finding that I have to be at the gym nearly twice as long as I used to until just recently. But be there twice as much I shall because I don't want to look my age. I don't think it's really going to take away the age I am feeling on the inside, however. My knees still hurt. My eyesight still is going. The years still are ticking by.

Paul wrote about how earthly exercise brings few rewards and that we should be focusing on a spiritual regimen. Why is it that we will punish our bodies but not sweat a drop in prayer or reading our Bibles?

I think I should start measuring my Christianity by how many times I need to shower in a day. It would be a great day when, coming in from the garage and seeing me soaked head to toe, Glory asks me how long I worked out, and I could reply that the Lord and I had a great conversation. Even then I wouldn't mind getting strange looks by people wondering why I now have gray hair. Imagine Moses' family and friends when they saw him coming off the mountain after meeting with the Lord. That must have been quite the sight.

And I don't think he smelled all that good, either.


Friday, May 13, 2005

COFFEE: My Story

I wrote this during University studies, when I was downing triple-shot espressos just to get through my classes. And I'm brewing a mocca java as I type. I hope you enjoy it!
Image hosted by Photobucket.comMy name is Glory and I am a coffee addict. I must confess that I very much enjoy my drug habit. The truth is, I’ve been a coffee user for as long as I can remember. My father was a coffee pusher and gave me coffee whenever I wanted, without asking for my mother’s consent. I can recall the discreet locations where my father and I would enjoy catching a buzz together: in the garage, out in the field, or even in the machinery shed. By the time I was fifteen I was very open with my coffee habit. I could sit at our breakfast table with my whole family, and drink my coffee in full view. In fact some others in my family had also picked up the habit. It wasn’t a secret anymore.

When I reached adulthood I discovered that there were people just like me. There were even restaurants that served it. For sixty cents a hit I could feed my addiction without having to prepare it myself. I found that classier locations offered much better quality coffee for a higher price. I started to purchase stronger varieties and I was more inclined to associate with people who also drank coffee. On nights when we couldn’t afford to spend money on the prepared coffee we would take turns mixing our own. I was good at blending just the right amount of coffee and water together. The hit would be faster when smaller amounts of water were used, but some of my friends preferred a slower effect, so they would add water. I was out of control but I denied it.

One morning I got up the usual time of day for my first hit. I had two cups before I felt very strong stomach pains. I had gotten used to the hand tremors, loss of appetite, and occasional insomnia. This was very different, though, and knowing my father had at one time experienced similar side effects, I asked him what was happening. That’s when he told me I was addicted and I would be ruining my body if I continued my reckless habit. He insisted that I get help for it, and he said he would be there for me. I thought he was being hypocritical, until I realized that he had been warned, too, so he had become more responsible in his coffee drinking. The choice was mine: I could go on impulsively drinking large amounts of coffee, or I could show some control and get my life straightened out. I decided to take his advice and cut down.

The withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant. I’ve had headaches, muscle pain, nausea, and fatigue. That’s the price I’m paying for over twelve years of coffee use. I am learning to be more responsible and use coffee less frequently. Some of my friends have also learned to control their addictions but some haven’t. Whenever I can I tell them my story. Hopefully they will relate and I will have helped them on the road to recovery. It is a gradual process, but once I was able to admit that I was addicted, I knew I wanted out. I am in control now.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Image hosted by It always surprises me when I hear the words, "You are a good friend." I think it's because I have my bar set pretty high - for myself, that is - and I consistently find myself knocking it down from its lofty perch. My past friendships have always seemed to indicate how pathetically clumsy I am with remembering to do the right things for my friends. But no matter how brutally honest I am with myself about my friendship skills I still lament my lack of long-term friends. I even get a little envious when Bill gets e-mail from friends he's had for nearly 10 years.

So, today, I was wonderfully amazed when my phone rang and I answered to hear Nicole's voice. I met Nicole in 1995 when we were both enrolled in a college for business and technology. I was working through computer programming studies and she was finishing up accounting classes. My life was not in order by any means and I was making some very bad personal decisions that caused me a great deal of guilt and heartbreak. Basically, I was bewildered that I even knew someone who freely called me her friend. I wouldn't have chosen me and I still don't know why she did. But when she told me today that I had been a good friend to her I just had to sigh deeply and thank God for His grace. Somehow He saw to it that her remembrance of me was positive and good, even though I used to feel so much shame for not living rightly during that time. She encouraged me with her words and I was astonished that she had found my friendship to have benefitted her at all in any way. It has made me humbly grateful.

Since those years I have learned at least little more of how I should behave as a friend. It still means being honest and open but it also involves much prayer and encouragement. Jesus demonstrates His friendship to me daily and I can't help but wonder why He chose me. But He did and I know my bar will never be as high as His.

"A man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Crying and weeping

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI would expect that Glory would be emotional all the time considering that she is nearly 20 weeks along with our third child. There are the conflicting emotions that run rampant: feelings of inferiority, worthlessness, elation, despair, utter joy and a myriad of other feelings. Yet, at times, I wonder if I should be the one pregnant.

Tonight I am watching Murron as Glory and Elizabeth are at a ladies church function. I find that the littlest things cause me to pause and be somewhat sad. Sad for what, I don't know. I fixed Murron's dinner (all she wanted was cereal), but then when I sat down next to her with my soup, she wanted what I was eating. So, there we were, dad and daughter eating soup together. Later, after the dishes were done, I sat down next to Murron and put on a Little Bear video. Watching her face light up in anticipation of the scenes that she has viewed 1,000 times made my heart melt. She's gotten to the point that she's memorized the videos, so when she anticipates Duck saying, "Oh, dear," in "Doctor Little Bear," or when she looks at me, points to the TV a split second before Little Bear sees ladybugs on a flower in "Father Bear's Flying Flapjacks," I get a little emotional. Or even when she is looking at our hill with me behind our house and marvels at the trees and the grass when I ask her about them, I want the moment to stop and capture it somehow. That cannot happen, so my only recourse is to write these memories down before they fade into the hustle and bustle of the day's events.

It's comforting, however, that my little girl wants to spend time with me, and that she wants to do what I do. Although not a big worry, I do hope that what she sees in me is something I would be proud of seeing in her. I am reminded that Jesus told His disciples that if they want to see what the Father is doing, all they had to do was look to the Son. Even Paul gives himself as an example to his disciples.

Just so long as the girls don't see me when I get lost in Portland, show my frustration when the phone rings off the hook at work, when another day has passed and I haven't gotten many personal things done, or even when...


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Peace In The Laundry Pile

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIt’s laundry day, but what else is new? We must do laundry every day of the week, often putting the last load of the day into the dryer before collapsing into bed. I would be thrilled to say that my husband never has to lift a finger to do his own laundry because I am just that attentive to his needs but I’m not. I would also like to say that our toddler always has enough clean clothes for the week but she doesn’t. I would really like to say that I’ve been successful in training our 11-year-old to do her own laundry but I haven’t.

I have equality issues that have yet to be resolved in this area. First of all, our 11-year-old thinks it’s a social necessity to change her clothes every time she walks into a different room: one outfit for the kitchen, another for the living room, and so on. So what I typically see in her laundry pile are clean but wrinkled clothes that have been worn about as long as a prima donna costume. I’ve allowed myself a bit more grace when it comes to our toddler, though. She prefers her own skin to anything else and it helps keep ketchup, fruit juice, and chocolate from staining her clothes. She is well trained in taking her shirt off when we eat, now, though we are aware that this habit will have to change before her first dinner out with youth group friends. Bill’s laundry status is a different matter. He works an office job so he needs to have clean dress slacks and shirts for this. He also works out at the gym before coming home so he dumps sweaty t-shirts, shorts, and towels into our laundry pile. Then he changes into clean shorts and t-shirts for our evenings at home. If we have worship practice or church services to attend then he pulls on casual clothes. Comparing all of this to my singular change of clothes per day I hope you can at least sympathize with my dilemma.

Now that I’ve aired all my dirty laundry I feel a little better in having told somebody about it. But I wonder if I’ve left anyone feeling similarly frustrated with their own laundry issues. I have let you into my world of dirty socks and shirts but I haven’t offered any hope for anyone struggling with their own piles of clothes waiting to be washed, dried, and put neatly away. I have vented my thoughts but I have not opened my door to wisdom or counsel. And the truth is I should be praying over my grubby clothes and linens. It might sound silly to some but I need God for every detail in my life, even my dirty laundry.

“Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6, 7


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Too Much Coffee

Last night Bill and I graciously attended the retirement dinner for the county's Medical Program Director. It was a semi-formal shindig with lots of professionals and notable presenters. There were hors d'ourves, a drink bar, and a $30 plate meal with a rich chocolatey dessert. I saw it as a free date (note the emphasis on free) without the kids. We had a wonderful time and I enjoyed mingling with Bill's coworkers.

My interest in the whole affair started to wane, however, when a few of the presenters took more time with their comments. Just being honest, though, it wasn't the length of their speeches. It was the caffeine. My midwife told me to cut out coffee and caffeine drinks but when Bill brought me a coke with ice from the bar it was so good and refreshing. Then later, during dessert, the coffee carafe was being passed around like the legal stimulant it is and my resolve just withered.

After the effects of the coke and the coffee took effect, I started feeling a little restless and I started passing notes to Bill. Okay, I will be truthful about this as well. We pass notes in church during the service, now and then. It keeps me from blurting out my thoughts and I am less likely to become a distraction by fidgeting or getting up. Basically it prevents me from being obnoxious. So we passed notes during the final speech and it wasn't a problem.

While all of this was going on I watched the kids who had been dragged along to accompany their parents. One girl was playing with her little plastic cup of ice left over from a Roy Rogers drink and crunching noisily on the hard cold chunks. Her brother was splaying himself on their mother's side draping his limbs dangerously close to the half-eaten chocolatey creamy dessert. At another table a very impeccably dressed trio of two girls in dresses and a boy in a suit and tie were waiting for their mother, the Master of Ceremonies, to call the whole thing quits so they could shed their restricting attire and play on their trampoline or some other more age-appropriate activity. At that very moment I wished I could have walked over like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, grabbed their hands and taken them over to a nearby hill and ran through dandelions or played tag. It was not to be, however, and I could only empathize with their bridled energy.

From that moment on I wanted to be at home eating pizza with our kids, watching Lyle the Kindly Viking, and wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt. I would still be reaching for the soda and coffee, though, and not feeling like I needed to pass notes either.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A Hopeful Start

It is May 3rd! When did I fall off the planet and let the months go by so quickly without doing anything remotely productive? Okay, so I only have 2 kids, one on the way, a hard-working husband who's mending our fence in his *cough*spare*cough* time, and I have the usual stay-at-home busy stuff. But really, I've had no excuse.

Yesterday, while I was helping Bill with the fence, demolishing rotten panels and sawing off the posts, I was plotting my gardening strategy. We're going to dig up the turf, haul in some bark dust, settle in some pavers, plant some trees and shrubs, and basically attempt to transform our home Martha Stewart style on a trailer park budget. I can see the fruit of our efforts in my mental viewfinder but I know the work will be strenuous and sweaty. I know it's totally possible, though, because we've actually begun. It's kind of like when the ground has been cleared to begin building the foundation of a new home. We've moved beyond intent into the realm of implementing the intent. Pretty exciting!

It's making me think of how often I've avoided executing my well-considered plans and missed out on knowing how great the possibilities were. If I had been diligent in the things that I know God had placed on my heart to do, I would have known the reward of doing those things. Recently it is spending quiet time with the Lord before the kids wake up. I am blessed with children who know how to sleep in (and blessed with the ability to homeschool as well). Since I determined to reserve that time alone with Him, and have begun it, I have seen that it really is possible to gain the Lord's approval. I know that He is with me throughout my day, and I can even see His hand on the lives of my husband and children. All because I actually applied myself to the thing God had called me to do. Hebrews 11:6 says: "So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him." I am sincerely seeking and I know He will be found.