What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Friday: Green living.

11 December 2007

Turns out I am famous!

Wow, Ruth copied my blog into her e-mail. I'll be signing autographs all week.

04 December 2007

Tired

The Christmas tea was last night, and while it was good practise for full-time ministry (and also a pretty convincing story to put in my admission papers for the insane asylum), I am so glad to have it over. I do plan on giving a recap later, but first I have to threaten people with a mention on my blog.

Chad's new toy

So Chad got a voice-recording thing on the computer, with the idea being that instead of sending an e-mail like a normal person, he would speak his replies and send a sound file instead. I politely suggested that some may appreciate that less, but he is confident that everyone we know will soon be delighted to open an e-mail from him. So, you have been warned.

His most recent accomplishment is to record himself saying "I love you, (insert endearing-but-secret nickname here), I love you!" and then play it over and over. So I said, "No, that's not annoying!!" So then he recorded himself saying, "No, that's not annoying." And he sped it up, presumably so he can audition for a part in "The Chipmunks 2." And he slowed down the "I love you" bit, so now they are all going at once and I can hear my bass husband telling me how much he loves me, while my chipmunk husband (I think he'll have to be Alvin) tells me how not-annoying he is.

Also, at least one of them is being played backwards. I'm listening for subliminal messages.

27 November 2007

Walking through the world

So in The Road last week (two weeks ago, I guess), we talked about Paul's trip to Athens, and how he responded to the idolatry there. The suggestion was made that Paul was taken by surprise at what he encountered there, and the question was asked, "Do we let Athens win in our lives?" FWIW, here is my comment on that blog. Any thoughts?

I think Paul knew exactly what he was getting into. Unfortunately, in this day Christians have a tendency to remove ourselves from the world as much as we can instead of focusing on being salt and light where God has placed us. By this I mean, we live in "nice" neighbourhoods, only spend time with other Christians, keep the kids away from questionable influences, etc. Not all these things are bad, but there again, if I'm completely insulated from the world, where is my opportunity to influence it?

It is possible Paul had the same sheltered childhood that I had. Perhaps he only spent time with other Jewish boys who were destined to become Pharisees. I'm sure the early part of his adult life was spent in the company of other "holy" people. But that changed on the road to Damascus. After that, Paul rubbed shoulders with worldy people everywhere he went, spreading salt and light as he went.

(Wow, this is getting long.) After Athens, Paul went to Corinth, which as I understand it, was the immorality capital of the ancient world. Vegas + Amsterdam + a bit more immorality for good measure = Corinth, and that's the mission field that Paul spent 18 months in.

If we step into the world with eyes shut and naivete intact, then we will be taken by surprise, and Athens (or Corinth, or Vegas, or Lubbock) has a much better chance of winning. But if we go out knowing what we are facing, prepared with the Word, and secure that the Lord will direct our steps, then we can take Athens!

You can't expect a new PR every day.

That's what I keep hearing from all the running experts. And sometimes it is hard to believe them, especially since I've had a remarkable eight months as a beginning runner. I started out pacing myself very slowly, not expecting much in the way of results, and thanks to being willing to make haste slowly, I exceed my own expectations. A lot. I was having a new personal record (PR) at least once a week for most of August through October.

The result of a summer of hard work was a series of really good races, starting with a 2-mile in September and culminating in a 12K last week. With any luck, I have another good race in me (4-mile) for next week to finish out the year. Of all the things I've accomplished with running this year, I am most proud of my second 5K finish: 34:43, or an 11:10 pace. I wouldn't have believed that I could do it-- in fact, I'm still in a bit of shock. And with that shock is the nagging annoyance that if only I hadn't looked at the clock, I would have finished even faster-- the surprise of seeing that it had only been 34 minutes made me forget to sprint to the finish.

But now the results have plateaued, partly because of changes in the weather and my own training schedule, partly because I started resting on my laurels, and partly because you can't expect the kind of results I've been seeing to continue. And now I have to adjust to winter training, which brings a different set of challenges.

And I reflect again at how much running is like life. No wonder Paul (the apostle) used so many running metaphors when writing his letters. Some days are glorious and you feel that you could carry on forever. Some days it takes everything in you just to keep going. Some days you wonder why you bother at all. Is following the Lord all it's cracked up to be? Why does it look so easy for other people? And easier still for those who aren't even bothering?

But the benefits outweigh the hardships (not worth comparing, I think Paul says), and that's what keeps us all getting out of bed, putting on the armour of God, and going after it again. Day after day.

Because the Lord doesn't let us rest on our laurels.

24 November 2007

I'm festive, and I can prove it!

So I put up outdoor Christmas decorations for the first time in my life this afternoon. This was a thought I had last year, when putting up the Christmas tree. I saw our four sets of net lights and thought, "What can we do with those?" Then I remembered we had a balcony that we can hang them round. But as this all occurred to me on Christmas Eve, it seemed a tad late for outdoor festivities. Not this year, though! From now until Christmas, I intend to run up our electricity bill every evening! Um...

Anyway, so I've been working on the Christmas tea pretty steadily since yesterday morning, and I think I have the entertainment side pretty well done. Several people have rallied round for the door prizes, and my dear friend Ruth has the advertising well in hand. All that remains now is for me to not say anything really stupid on the night-- which may prove problematic. We'll see. I haven't gotten to emcee anything for a long time, so I'm planning to have a good time with it.

And since I have to be at church at 8:30 tomorrow morning to cover the walls with posters, I should stop being on the computer and start doing something else. More to come...

Snow!

So the weather guy took a lot of time and effort on Tuesday evening to tell us why snow was unlikely this weekend. And then he had to get in front of the camera on Thursday & Friday to talk about how more snow is expected. Yeah, I'm so glad I don't have his job.

Anyway, we have snow, mostly on trees and bushes. We did have to brush it off our car this morning, too.

I am totaly consumed with planning the ladies' Christmas tea. It's going to be fun.

22 November 2007

We won!

Okay, no, we didn't. In fact, I finished with only 4 people behind me (but at least I wasn't last!).

So, I hope you tuned in for a blow-by-blow recap of my 12 K. If not, now would be a good time to stop reading. The race started at 9 AM, and we got there at about 8:59 (my fault). I was still pinning Chad's number on him when the gun went off. (Actually, the guy just said "Go!" The West Texas Running Club doesn't seem to have a start gun.) Anyway, the time-and-temperature boards I saw on our way out varied between 21 and 25 degrees, so it was pretty chilly.

So after such an inglorious start, our first 1/2 mile or so was uneventful, although we did realise at that point that neither of us had eaten breakfast. Oops! I had four shirts on, and the outermost one was a fleece pullover, which I had to take off as soon as I started getting warm (about mile 1). Chad took off to go at his own pace, because otherwise he would have been too cold. I passed the turnaround for the 2-mile race and kept going, muttering to myself, "Well, I'm committed now."

Let's see... at mile 2, two of the three people in front of me stopped to walk, so I told them they couldn't stop because I was using them for my pacesetters. They thought that was funny, but they were behind me for the entire rest of the race. (I stayed pretty close behind the third one of the trio until... but I'll get to that later.) At mile three, I took off my glasses (they were too fogged up to see out of anyway) and my headband. Then I realised that I wouldn't want to put it back on once it was cold, because it was pretty sweaty. So I put it away and got out my other one, which I hung around my arm because I was way too hot to put it around my head right away.

Sometime between miles 4 & 5, I started getting cold again, so I stopped and put on my pullover and put the dry headband on. I ran on to the 5-mile mark, and that's where it started to get hard. I was freezing cold, everything was sore, I was having trouble regulating my breathing, and I was losing ground mentally. So I suppose I hit a wall of sorts. I continued pushing, mostly because I was determined to finish the race. The course went past the start/finish line and onward for about another mile before turning back toward the finish-- and that was the hardest part mentally. But all the runners coming back were very encouraging-- "Good job", "Keep it up" and the like.

So I passed the 10-K mark with a time of 1:16:51, which was a few minutes slower than I wanted, but there was no sprinting to the finish at that point, since I was still over a mile away, and also facing a hill. I had to stop and walk for a couple of minutes, but I started running again at the turnaround (especially since I saw how close the people behind me were). The man was there collecting the "Runners on the Road" signs, but he didn't take the turnaround cone until after we passed (at least, I guess he picked it up then).

I ran down to the 7-mile mark, and I heard footsteps catching up with me, so I had sped up without realising it. The man caught up to me right at the 7-mile point, where he stopped running. I was about to stop, too, because that little bit took it out of me, but he said, "Good job! Keep going!" so I kept going, reminding myself that I wasn't going to stop with only 1/2 mile to go. I picked up the pace just a little bit, round the corner, passed under the overpass and into the parking lot where the finish line was. The had already started the awards ceremony (as good a clue as any that I wasn't getting one), but I sprinted past them and across the line. My time was 1:32:??. Yeah, I didn't see the seconds. So I was outside my goal time by a couple of minutes, but hey, we ran a 12 K, so I can't complain too much.

Oh, and just as I came across the finish line, a snowflake fell. I was just so happy to be done; I had been looking forward to that moment all week! :)

We stood around for the awards before leaving, and by the time we got into the car, I was freezing. So it was nice to get home, shower and warm up before dashing off to Charlie & Toni's for our Thanksgiving lunch.

21 November 2007

Sleep is for...

Well, me, most of the time.

Everyone at work assures me that they will be thinking of us tomorrow morning while lying in their warm beds. I say, warm beds are for... um... people with sense!

So we got nice new T-shirts for the race. They're brown, with a cute running turkey on the front. I am really looking forward to wearing mine to work on Monday.

So... Thanksgiving! Our plan, after running the race, is to do nothing. This "nothing" will be hampered by the absence of anything worth watching on TV, but I'm sure we'll think of something. I mean, nothing.

Hey, go here to see webcams of Glasgow's George Square decorated for Christmas. It is best viewed when it is dark in Glasgow.

20 November 2007

I love cold!

That's what I keep telling myself, anyhow.

The weather forecast for race time Thursday morning is 29 degrees with 9 mph winds, and a "feels like" of 21. Therefore...

I love cold!

18 November 2007

So Chad and I went running (this is turning into a running blog, isn't it?) in a new place last night.

Well, a new place for me. He used to do his long runs there when he was involved with Team in Training, but I had never run out there. However, we are running a 12K (7.45 miles) on Thursday and I wanted to run the course for practise before running it for real.

Problem #1: Hills. I haven't run on hills since I lived in Scotland. They really took it out of me, so that we ended up walking the last mile or so.

Problem #2: Dark. We went over there later than we intended, so it was dark before we were halfway done, and we were not in the, um, best of places. But it is amazing what a prayer for protection can do.

So, I am now confident that I can at least start the race, even if I don't manage to finish it. Stay tuned...

17 November 2007

This may be the coolest thing I've ever owned

So I'm blogging from my brand-new laptop. Yes, that's right, she-who-hates-expensive-things has an expensive new toy.

But in my own defence, we did buy it on clearance. Denyce commented on Brandon's blog that Office Depot were having an unadvertised clearance, so we skadoodled ourselves over there last night and found that the older models are not so bad. In fact, I'm pretty happy with the quality of my nice new Gateway.

And, of course, we wouldn't have gotten it if we weren't going to need it later. This is going to be my transcription and otherwise-using-in-Scotland computer. And I'm pretty excited about it.

10 November 2007

As long as you keep your marathon out of the cornfield.

So this morning the West Texas Running Club held a half marathon. I personally am not into the half marathon thing. So we volunteered instead, handing out water, Gatorade, and goo (PowerBar gels) to tired runners. I have to say I'm not keen on trying this particular distance any time soon. But, hey, we got free bananas and bagels.

Also today, we went to the corn maize with some people from my work. Last year when we went, we wandered around in the dark for a long time before finding our way out. This time, Chad decided to follow the map, which meant we breezed through the maze in no time at all. While fun in in its own right, the trip through did lack the "Where are we now?" quality that just bumbling about brings to the trip.

Oh, and the hometown college football team lost. Again. Heh heh heh.

09 November 2007

I do still exist!

Yeah, time to catch up. And, you know, blog about all the things I've been thinking about for the past three weeks. Here's the gist, for those who don't have time to read it all:

I've been tagged.

I like working out, but not at a fitness centre.

TV bad, real life good.

We stopped teaching Sunday school. For now.

I've been tagged!

Here are the rules. 1)Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. (2) People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. (4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I hate, hate, hate the word "butt". Really. I much prefer "bum", "bottom", "backside", "rear"... you get the picture. I'm pretty sure said hatred dates back to the time when I heard my sweet little sister use the word "butt" many years ago, and I was horrified, not only because I was pretty sure she learned it from our brother and I, but also because she said it in such an ugly tone of voice. A tone that said, "Yeah, I know this is a naughty word, and I'm saying it anyway!" So I hate that word now.

2. I love people! I love being around people. I love having long conversations that flit between the deep and profound and the shallow and silly, and back again. I love spending time with people who also love spending time with people. Unfortunately, I am not so good at expressing my love for people.

3. I love the word "brilliant." In fact, I'm known for loving the word brilliant. People at work, when talking to me, will try to work the word "brilliant" into the conversation because they know I will be delighted.

4. I hate driving. Traffic is lousy, petrol is expensive, and there is that minor detail that I'm sitting inside a fast-moving box of metal. Plus, so is everyone else, and some of them are none to careful about what their box of metal does. I so frequently think, "Man, I wish I had my bike," while in my car. Which leads me to...

5. I love my bike! I would much, much rather cycle than drive. I don't understand people who think it's weird that I cycle. I think it's weird that they don't! What better way to start my day than out in the fresh air, getting exercise and time to myself, all while heading to work. Why would I trade that in for the aforementioned box of metal?

6. There's a phrase used in every segment of every Bible bowl sketch at South Plains, and that phrase is, "That reminds me of something in (fill in the blank with current book)." I love that phrase. As with most things in my life, I started out by making fun of it, and now I can't stop using it. For everything. "That reminds me of something in Lord of the Rings." "That reminds me of an episode of Friends." "That reminds me of what Tim used to say." (Tim tagged me, I had to fit him in somewhere!) And, quite frequently, "That reminds me of something in the Bible!" (Bizarrely enough, I tend to use that one when I'm annoyed at something. Or someone.)

7. I have brilliant ideas for a blog post, or an encouraging note to send someone, or an intelligent point to bring up at our next small group, only while out walking during my lunch break. At a time when I am far away from a computer, or even pen and paper, I have my best ideas. And by the time I get to a place where I can record them for postertity, they are gone forever.

8. I fail to see the reason why anyone who has a blog needs to be tagged. Seriously, isn't that what a blog is for anyway? I put eight things about myself in every post-- and so does everyone else. Anyway. I don't follow directions well (oops, slipped in a ninth one), so I refuse to tag anyone.

I doesn't work, so much.

So we got one of those 7-day passes to the local fitness centre, otherwise known as Bodyworks. It took a lot of standing firm to persuade the nice young man who showed us around that we really only planned on working out for 7 days, and did not wish to purchase one of his unbelievably expensive gym memberships.

Anyway, so we had our first experience of a spider climber (Chad's conclusion: "I am not a spider! But I could be a monkey." Followed by some discussion of whether or not he is a spider monkey.). Also, I got to go swimming for the first time in a couple of years. And climb a rock wall (still no good at that).

However, seven days of running on a treadmill did fill me with gratitude for the neighbourhood I have to run in. Keep your fancy gym equipment, I'd rather have a stretch of tarmac any day. Or asphalt. Or pavement. I'm not that fussy. And I don't run far or fast enough to worry about the injuries that come from running on a hard surface.

At least, not yet.

TV comes from a very hot place

I used to not watch TV. When I was a teenager, the television was for: 1. Watching basketball. 2. Keeping my family occupied while I did more important things.

Alas, my downfall came when we moved into a flat with free cable. I resisted for the first year, but at some point I became addicted. Now I use it for the same kind of mindless entertainment everyone else does-- even when there is nothing on.

Anyway, so I started watching the CSIs when we went to Scotland last fall, and managed to get hooked on these police procederal dramas. But my new current favourite is Life, followed by NCIS. But really, I should just lose the TV.

Also, if you're not watching Life, you should start.

Journey(land)'s End

So we finished being journeymen a couple of weeks ago. I think I mentioned before that we had never taught a group this young before, and they brought us no end of delight (and some degree of torn-out hair) for eight weeks. So now I have for you, things I never thought I'd say in Sunday school.

*Bibles are not for throwing.
*If you're going to call him an idiot, you'll have to wait until you get home.
*Your puppets are NOT kissing in this show!
*Yes, boys wore dresses in the Bible (said at a moment of frustration).
and my personal favourite:
*No, you may not do the chicken dance in Bible class.

I know, I know, I'm such a killjoy.

And some of the best things I heard:

Mrs. Wilcox, why do you talk so funny?
This clay smells ridiculous! (I have no idea what that meant.)
Where's Mr. Wilcox? He's the fun one! (I hear that EVERY time we teach Sunday school.)
Can I stand on my head?
Do we have 14 people here?
He's a not-so-smart guy. (This, presumably, is the child who is not allowed to say "stupid.")
No, he's a stupid guy! (This one is, I guess.)

Can't remember the others. Maybe next time.

22 October 2007

A 5K on a Hill...

This is another one of those times when I have too many things in my head, and not enough time to empty them all into my blog. :)

So on Saturday we ran a 5K, this one involving hills. That was something new for me.

18 October 2007

Did it!!

I just ran 6 miles without stopping for the first time. So now I'm feeling triumphant, tired, and confident that I could run a 10K if I wanted to.

Also, I have that strange "breathed in too much cold air" feeling in my lungs. I may have to start running indoors. Where, I don't know.

16 October 2007

It is pretty neat.

So I was talking to a friend yesterday, and the conversation turned to cycling and walking-- both of which I do with alarming regularity. She said, "You have such a neat life."

And she's right! I do. I live near enough to my work to ride my bike. I can go for a walk in a park every day at my lunch break. We walk to the supermarket. Most of the stores I like to go to (Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc.) are within cycling distance. And so is the church, as a matter of fact.

But it's more that that. We are quite blessed with friends. We both have good jobs. We manage to be content with what we have. So, yeah, we have a neat life.

14 October 2007

Missed my 200th post.

This is # 202. I think.

So about an hour before we had to leave for house group, I remembered that Rebecca was bringing food, so I phoned her to offer to bring some cookies. (Casseroles and dessert are all I am good for when it comes to food.) Then I asked Chad what he wanted, thinking no-bakes or something. Well, he wanted chocolate chip cookie bars.

Which brings me to the point of this whole exercise... Why, oh why, do cakes, brownies and so on require you to grease and flour the pan?

13 October 2007

Ooh, look! It's new!

So Sparquay made some comments about contentment and wanting new stuff the other day.

Which, of course, set me thinking. I think I have the opposite struggle than a lot of other people. Our culture lends itself to wanting more and striving after stuff that is newer, faster, better, shinier, etc. I am (gratefully) pretty much free of that kind of want. I mean, I like new stuff, but growing up in a low-income home has taught me the difference between needs and wants. If I need something, then that is a priority. If I want something, well, that's different. How much does it cost? What will I use it for? Will I really use it? Will it fit in my house? Do I really like it enough to spend my money on it? And so on. And after all that, if it is still something I want, then I have to save up to buy it. That's just the way things work in my life.

Unfortunately, this opens me up to a different temptation: smugness. I struggle with being proud of my budget-keeping ability. I sneer at your iPod Nano, because I bought the much more sensible iPod Shuffle. My car is 10 years old and makes funny noises, and half the time I walk or cycle anyway, so don't bother me with your shiny late-model whatever. No, I don't want to go out to eat, thank you; we eat at home.

Paul said godliness with contentment is great gain. What is arrogance with contentment, then?

12 October 2007

It's all shiny

I spent an hour or so crawling around on my living room floor last night, making a poster for the ladies' brunch tomorrow. And now, we have bonus glitter in our living room carpet. Also in the car, and also on the church floor, because glitter likes to spread itself around.

And I had to dig out our Christmas tree and some decorations, since we are advertising for the Christmas tea. Ruth volunteered to make the flyers and the bookmarks for the prayer group, which is a good thing, because instead of boring paper with boring words printed on, we are handing out nice, decorative flyers and pretty bookmarks that people might actually want to look at.

Our table doesn't have any candy, though. We are relying on our charming personalities to draw people to us.

Fed Ex

So I had to send 25 tubes of medication to a patient today, and the biggest struggle was finding a box the correct size.

Boxes 1 & 2 were too large. Box 3 was too small. I dumped everything back out of box 3, then decided to give it another go. On the second try I managed to get it all into box 3, but then I decided that box 3 was too flimsy (to call that material cardstock would be generous). So I broke box 2 back down, and carried box 3 and the contents back to my desk. Then I went to look for a padded envelope. I found one, but it was one of those specialty envelopes that is only for express shipments. So I went back to box 2, put it back together, and then found some crumpled paper to stick on top. And to think I was afraid I wouldn't have anything to do this afternoon.

11 October 2007

Me? Wrong?

So after writing a long post a few days ago about why I don't think God intended me to spend all my prayer time on people who are sick or travelling, I spent most of my prayer time today on people who are sick or travelling. (And at least one who is probably sick of travelling.)

Funny how often I have to eat my words. Funny how often I prove myself wrong, just by living a few more days. Funny how God sometimes allows me enough proverbial rope to proverbially hang myself.

Jerrod Shelton has become a minor celebrity around here. He is in surgery as I type, a surgery which started at noon and will continue until at least midnight. I prayed for all sorts of surgical things for him today.

The Lubbock Christian School football team (and the band, and some sponsors (I hope), and some fans) is going to be playing near Dallas tomorrow evening. They'll leave Lubbock after chapel tomorrow morning, and won't be back until 3 or 4 am on Saturday. There are a lot of people I care about who will be travelling a long way tomorrow. So I gave them a lot of my prayer time this afternoon.

People matter to God. So I bring before him the people who matter to me. Even if all they have going on right now is a football game.

"Never" is a long time.

So we were around some of the aim students last week when Alex was in town, and in the course of the hour or so Chad heard one of them say, "I would love to go to Scotland, so God will never send me there."

How sad. I wonder what sort of experiences this person has had, to make him (or her; I'll just stick with him because I don't know) think that God's purpose is to deny him the things that he wants. We do, of course, often want things that aren't good for us, and God naturally keeps those things away if we are following his will. But to think God would say "No," only because you want it? Is that how this student's parents treat him?

I have wondered from time to time, these past few weeks, whether God really wants to use us in Scotland. Is it because we like Scotland so much that we've convinced ourselves of this? But then I remember that God gave me my desires in the first place; he created me with likes and dislikes; he knows me better than I know me. And besides that, there are very few people who move somewhere new, for any reason, without some degree of liking the place they are going. Certainly that is as true for missionaries as it is of MBAs.

Plus, I don't believe that God is some sort of bizarro Santa Claus, who finds out what I like and then sends me the opposite. I believe he has called me to serve him, and that he will use me wherever I am.

Even if it is my favourite place on earth.

09 October 2007

Wow, it is October.

So this morning, I went to a long-sleeved shirt and jeans while cycling to work. Forgot the gloves, though; a mistake I won't be making tomorrow.

But I do still have to cart my closet around with me, because it is too hot at 5 for my cool-morning gear. So I have three entire outfits with me at work now. But, I do have some consolation in the fact that soon it will be too cold for shorts and t-shirts at any time of day.

And once again, all intelligent thoughts have deserted me. Maybe tomorrow.

08 October 2007

Praying for You

That's a phrase I use a lot. Mostly because I have become lazy in my speech, and tend to leave off unnecessary pronouns like "I".

So last night in house group, we read Paul's prayer for the Ephesians and the comment was made that we do not pray for others in the same way that Paul did. He prayed for the eyes of their hearts to be enlightened, for them to have a spirit of wisdom, for them to understand the power of God. I'm afraid that most of the prayers that we hear these days hang around in the health and safety end of the pool.

However, I had thought (perhaps naively) that this phenomenon was limited to public prayers, and had just supposed that every one's private prayers are kind of like mine-- at a different point on the maturity scale, sure, but still similar in types of things we pray for. I've been praying for deeper relationships between the brethren at South Plains. I've prayed that we stop being satisfied with a whitewashed version of normal American life, and seek for lives following Christ more closely every day. I pray that we stop being afraid to be different from the world. I usually don't pray for people who are travelling, because I usually can't remember who is travelling. And unless it is either a serious illness or it is someone close to me, I generally can't remember to pray for those who are sick, either.

I don't think that God intended us to discuss the travel plans and sniffles of everyone we know when he gave us this gift of prayer. At least, not exclusively. I want to talk to God about things that actually matter to me. And as I grow in my walk with Christ, I want to talk to him about things that matter to him.

This is how time goes by...

So I've spent the past 2 1/2 hours reading up on all the blogs I've been neglecting lately. What a ridiculous amount of time to spend on the internet. And yet, it has been brilliant to "catch up" with people who I haven't seen in real life for a very long time. Even the most recent real-life encounter has been a few months ago now, when I saw Angie, Lisa, Sarah, Denyce, and Kristi all in one go. (And some other people, too, but I haven't seen their blogs.)

However, I still refuse to join Facebook.

06 October 2007

Red Raider Road Race

Today we ran the first of our three October 5Ks, and our second West Texas Running Club race.

I ran the first couple of miles at my normal pace, then sped up just a bit once we finished the second mile. I thought I was about to die during mile 3, only to be pleasantly surprised when I approached the finish line that the clock was still ticking through minute 34! The combination of surprise and tiredness meant that I forgot to speed up until I was almost at the finish chute, but I still managed a time of 34:43. Chad finished a minute ahead of me.

My goal was the same as last time (37:12), but my super-incredible only-if-its-my-best-day-ever goal was 36:00. So I felt a bit triumphant when I saw my result posted.

Unfortunately, this really sets the bar pretty high for next week. Or low. Whichever way you look at it, I have to run faster next time.

05 October 2007

The Haircut

So, if you haven't seen me in a while, my hair has gotten kind of long:


I wear it up when it is hot.








Combing it out before I went to get it cut.








From this angle, I could well be Amanda. But I'm not. (I think our hair waves in different spots.)










The last long-hair shot.











And this week I decided that doing my hair half-a-dozen times a day was just too much, and it was time to go back to a length that doesn't require taking it all down just because I want to ride my bike, and then up again if I want to do anything else. And while I was at it, I decided a new colour was in order.

So here we have the new hair:


Sticking out in all directions (something new for me)!








Still waves in the same spot...








And I think this is the only one in which the colour is really visible.
I went to bed later than usual the past two nights, got up early yesterday morning, and yet I woke up at a very unheard-of hour this morning. This happens every year about this time; I get into an insomiatic (don't even know if that is a word!) pattern and enjoy a few weeks of long days and short nights. I suppose I should be grateful.

So we're running another 5K tomorrow morning. Should be nice weather for it; I'm pretty excited. My goal is the same as last time, because since the Komen races are for a different purpose than your average road race, they aren't timed very well and I'm not even sure how well-measured the course was. I mean, it probably wasn't US Track & Field certified or anything. Now watch, some Komen organiser will wander on here and leave me an angry comment. :)

04 October 2007

Children + Puppets = Bad Idea

So we had a rough time convincing the children that there would really be no puppets left if they tore up the ones we have. But we got there in the end.

Today is Chad's birthday, and we're celebrating by eating as much junk food as possible. Good thing we have a race this weekend.

I can never remember the interesting things I was going to share once I acutally sit down at the computer. So, I suppose that's it for today.

25 September 2007

I saw a delightful thing today.


The mad geese in the park, who normally chase anything with two legs that comes within sight of them, were being chased. Seriously, they were running for their lives. From a four-year-old girl. Hee hee hee!

24 September 2007

1st and 2nd Grade

You know, I always hear from people that their second grade teacher was really mean. (And I know for a fact that mine was!) And now I know why.

Yes, we are teaching first & second graders this term in Bible class. Technically, we are not actually teaching them; we are "journeymen," meaning we travel from room to room with the children.

I was a little bit panicked about taking on this age group, but I think I have discovered the secret to keeping them reasonably in line: I have to be mean. In the past two weeks, I have taken away one hair clip, one purse, put one child in time out, and separated two pairs of children who can't sit together without talking. This is in addition to continual reminders that we don't lie down in Bible class, the teacher is at the front of the room, and Bibles are not for throwing. (Seriously.)

But it is a lot of fun. And our kids are very cute.

23 September 2007

So much for catching up

I really am determined to keep this blog ahead of Lubbock Daily Photo in terms of number of posts, at least in part because I've had this one for much, much longer!

So yesterday we Raced for the Cure. This was my first 5K (3.1 mile) race, because last year I walked the Race. My first running race since junior high track was two weeks ago, at the West Texas Running Club's Shallowater Stampede, in which we ran the 2 mile.

The entire cross-country team from Shallowater Middle & High schools is required to run the Stampede, so there were a lot of people running (184, to be exact). We chose the 2 mile because our other option was the 10K (6.2 miles) and we haven't had a decent long run in a while, so we thought that might be sucicidal.

Anyway! These young and energetic teenagers started off very fast, and like a dummy, I did the same thing. So my first 1/4 mile was fantastic, only to be followed by 1 1/2 very unpleasant miles. On the last 1/4 mile I sped up, as you do, mostly out of a desire to be done with this race. There was a high school girl who I had been leapfrogging with for most of the race, but she reached much deeper than I on that last stretch and really took off, beating me by 13 seconds. Some of the aforementioned young and energetic crowd were fully recovered from their race and were standing at the side cheering, and one middle-school boy shouted by way of encouragement, "Go on! Catch her!" I started laughing because there was nothing else I could do at that point, so he shouted after me, "You're supposed to sprint at the end!" I had no breath left to shout back, "Hey, kiddo, I am sprinting!"

I finished in 21:33 (a 10:47 pace), coming in 109th out of 118 runners, and just under a minute behind Chad, who finished in 20:39. He probably would have finished better, but he lost his head even more than I did at the beginning, and had to stop and walk before falling back to run with me for a while. He finished fourth in his age group, and I finished fifth in mine.

So that was the Shallowater Stampede. Fast-forward two weeks to the Race for the Cure, in which my goals were: 1. Don't be so stupid at the beginning; and 2. Finish in 37:12 (a 12-minute per mile pace). So I went out easily at the beginning, a bit faster than I would just running by myself, but not trying to keep up with the faster runners ahead of me. The course was a 1.55-mile loop, so on the first lap I didn't stop at any of the water stations. The second lap around, the first water station was out of water, and so was the second one, so I had to wait a lot longer than I would have liked to get water. But once I did, I definately got my second wind, so I was able to dodge around all those who had stopped to walk, speed up on the final straight, and sprint to finish in 36:36. (Which, for those not counting, was 36 seconds faster than my goal). So it was a good day for me.

Well, I'm sure I've lost everyone completely with such a long description. Stay tuned; our next 5K is in two weeks!

15 September 2007

Pueblo

So, we went to Pueblo a couple of weeks ago to see Phill & Keely. Turns out that Pueblo is a nice little town. Actually, it's not even that little. ( I have no idea if the pictures will stay where I put them, or if the captions will match up with the pictures, so this may be a bit of an adventure to read.) Shae came with us, since she had not been up to see them all summer. I felt bad for her, because we are two of the most boring people on the planet, and also because the back seat of our car is kind of loud. (It is a standard, after all.) However, she is quite the resourseful young lady, and like every other teenager I know, she has a phone with which to text people. So we didn't quite bore her to death.

Anyway! Phill & Keely live near a park, which we wandered around in a bit. And there is a riverwalk through the middle (I guess it's the middle) of town. I'm going strictly from memory here, but I'm pretty sure Keely said that Texas once stretched as far as the Colorado River (next to which is the aforementioned riverwalk), and Phill was quick to point out that he was born on the non-Texas side. However, as soon as he went home from the hospital, he was back on the Texas side.

On Saturday we went to Colorado Springs, much to the delight of my sister, since that is the home of Cheyenne Mountain and, therefore, Stargate Command. And here is the photo I promised her:

It was taken from some distance away, obviously, but there it is. I did not, however, run into Daniel Jackson while I was out. (Which is hardly surprising, since the series is filmed in Canada, and Michael Shanks is, in fact, Canadian.) Sorry, Neesee. Also it turns out that Carter was wrong; not only is there a zoo in Colorado Springs, but it is on top of Cheyenne Mountain itself! Carter must have been under the influence of something. Or perhaps she just didn't want to go to the zoo.

So we actually went to Colorado Springs to see the Garden of the Gods, which is very nice. It is so nice that there was a (presumably) newly-married couple getting pictures taken there. We were walking along the road, and decided to try one of trails through the park instead. We got to this point:
And there was no further trail to follow, because we had chosen a loop that would take us right back to where we started, but there was a nice view from here.





(Also, those dark clouds in the corner? Not friendly.)
So Chad and Phill decided to find us a way down. And they did a good job of not getting us all killed. :) Poor Shae was wearing flip-flops, though, which are not the most comfortable shoes for scrambling over rocks in. And my husband is well acquainted with my lack of grace and coordination, so he was a tad too concerned with getting me off the rocks. However, we made it down with nary a sprain or break among us. (Not even a bruise, even, that I know of.)

When we got to the bottom, we found this sign:
Oops.







So, once safe from serious injury and fatality, we went to the visitor centre across the road from the park, where we ran into some friends from church! They had decided spur-of-the-moment to go up to Colorado for the weekend, and stopped at the visitor centre at the same time we did.

After all that climbing and visiting (and a stop off at some shops) we headed off to another park to see a balloon festival. However, those dark clouds we saw precluded any taking off, hovering, or glowing that the pilots might have done, so we had to content ourselves with "Candles in the Park."











So that was our Saturday. On Sunday after church, we joined Phill's family at his parents' cabin in the mountains. And Chad got to shoot things.










Then, we went round to Bishop's Castle. I'll just let the signs speak for themselves:









Seriously, enlarge the second picture and read the sign. It's worth it. And a couple of shots of the castle itself:












On Monday we made our way home, but we took a wrong turn in New Mexico and added an hour to our trip. Oops. I felt sorry for Shae, but she assured us she is well accustomed to her brother-in-law's rather unusual sense of direction, so the detour was not a problem. Also, it turns out she goes to bed later than we do, anyway! So we weren't keeping her up.

11 September 2007

I have so many things to blog about from the past few weeks, I get discouraged just thinking about it! I don't even remember what I wrote about last. Sheesh.

So, to recap (briefly): We went to Colorado over Labour Day weekend, ran in our first West Texas Running Club race last Saturday, saw A Midsummer Night's Dream (also on Saturday), and started a new term of teaching Sunday School on Sunday. Except we aren't actually teaching.

So I will come back and cover all those later.

28 August 2007

Bourne Again

Yep, we saw the third Bourne movie Saturday. I really liked it-- almost as much as I liked the first one. I don't think I liked #2 as much, and I'm basing this belief on the fact that I don't really remember it.

So here's my chief complaint about Ultimatum: the entire darned movie was filmed with jiggly cam. I had motion sickness by halfway through the film. I thought about going out into the lobby for some water and non-moving scenery, but I didn't want to miss anything! It took an hour of lying down once I got home to convince my body that we weren't really going anywhere.

Good thing I never saw The Blair Witch Project. The previews for that movie alone were enough to make me ill.

23 August 2007

Did you notice the Bejing Olympics are less than a year away?

That has nothing to do with my post. I just wondered if anyone else noticed.

So, Chad and I braved sales tax holiday last weekend to get new stuff. For me, that was a couple pairs of running shoes and a swimsuit. For Chad, it was a lot more complex; people don't give him their old clothes, for some reason, so he has a lot less than me. (I'm not kidding-- I haven't bought new jeans since I was an aim student.)

So he had to have jeans. And shorts. And running shoes. (And I am now praying that the Lord sends us sons who will be short, with small feet, after seeing the prices on men's shoes.) And a shirt. But the upside is, now our friends at church will be spared seeing him in the same awful outfit he was wearing every week. :)

And the crowds weren't too bad, since we went out in the morning. It was actually a pretty fun day, although we were exhausted by the time we gave it up and came home.

17 August 2007

Don't Be Alarmed

So the fire alarm went off at work today, so we all jumped up and... No, wait. We didn't jump up. We didn't even move. We all sat there, not bothering to get patients out of the building or anything, until someone came round to tell us that a patient had hit the fire alarm by mistake.

Afterwards the doctor (not Doctor Who) came round to say that in the future, we should really always act as though there is a fire when the alarm goes off.

16 August 2007

And finally

One perusing my blog might think that I am quite verbose today, since this is my fourth post! And I would agree, except that I think I am verbose every day. :)

This is more in the nature of my final thought. With school already started for some, and imminent for others, this is the time of year when the thoughts of many turn to new beginnings. Being currently free from the encumbrance of educational calendars, I tend to think about new beginnings once every few weeks, but I have found myself caught up in the prevailing thought patterns lately.

We are drawing nearer to autumn, and everyone knows that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year follow with alarming rapidity. This year has less than 4 1/2 months left.

So my question is, How can I finish 2007 well? What can I do with my 4 1/2 months to make this a good year?

I will answer those questions. Soon.

Serving

So thanks to Charlie's hard work and dedication, I am able to read the lessons given by the five men who preach in Castlemilk. The place I would be calling home, if not for immigration laws.

So I was reading along a couple of weeks ago and thinking to myself that these gentlemen, even in secondhand written-down form, are still quite distinctive. I think anyone who has heard them could pinpoint which lesson was whose even without Charlie very helpfully telling us. And no sooner did the thought occur to me than I read the first paragraph of Mark's lesson and thought, Oh, yes, definately Mark. :)

The lesson was on serving, but I don't want to blantly plagarise what he said. So instead I'll plagarise James: what good is it to claim to follow Jesus, turn up on a Sunday morning looking well-pressed, wearing one's Sunday smile and all, saying all the nice Sunday words, but never act on that claim otherwise? It's very easy, at 11:00 AM every Sunday, to love one another. How easy is it come 12:01 PM when Sister Slowpoke and Brother Boring want to talk for an hour about this ache or that pain? Or even more so, when said brother and sister ask if you can come with them to move large and heavy things around their house?

In a large congregation such as the one we attend, the opportunities to serve are limitless. However, finding them can be a challenge. I'm not kidding. I spent the first 21 years of my life in small congregations, where everyone knew within 10 minutes if someone had a need. At South Plains, I consider myself lucky if I hear about something early enough to still send a card, because usually the time for physically being there is past.

So, what can I do? This one, fortunately, has a simple solution; keep my eyes and ears open. The opportunities will come if I am looking for them. But if I'm not looking, I may as well stock up on cards and stamps. I'll be needing them.

Friends

The other day Chad and I were talking about friends, and I told him that I don't know how to be a friend. I don't. I've had about 4 friends in my life. I have plenty of pals (for whom I am very grateful), and dozens of acquaintances, but very few friends.



So I shared this at prayer group this morning, to the agreement of the other woman there. Why, we wondered, is it so hard to be a friend? It's our culture, it's our society, it's our time... yada yada yada. Not that those things are in any way untrue, but they are also excuses. What is stopping me from being a friend?

I have my suspicions. If I work it out, I will let you know.

Found

I just finished re-reading Finding Peggy. I couldn't possibly tell you how many times I've read it now. This much I can say for certain: When I bought it from the charity shop, it was like new; now the binding is worn, the corners are curled and the pages in the middle have started falling out.

So the book is a memoir of sorts of Meg's young life in Glasgow. The fact that it was about Glasgow is what interested me in it in the first place, and it has really filled some gaps for me in terms of the culture and life in that city. I wish everyone I know (every Glaswegian, that is) would write a book like it.

Anyway, Meg's favourite aunt (Peggy of the title) died when Meg was 11, very suddenly and tragically. Her childhood and life as she knew it were brought to an abrupt end. The story of how she managed to carry on is an amazing, albeit sad, one. The eventual facing of Peggy's death and Meg's making peace with her past is so very well worth reading.

So I googled Meg Henderson, just to see what I could find. Turns out she's quite a prolific writer; but I already knew that. I think I may try to see what else of hers I can get my hands on.

14 August 2007

4 miles!

So we ran 4 miles without stopping today, which is a first for me. (Normally we take one-minute walk breaks at what are becoming increasingly wider intervals; this week, it's every 10 minutes.) We have less than four weeks until our 10K, and if I could get up to running 6 miles without stopping before then, I would be delighted. But I am willing to take walk breaks in the race, if need be.

11 August 2007

Manual Labour

Yeah, I did some of that today. Not as much as Chad, though.

A group of about a dozen from church, plus a few others, went to help a woman get her house into order for the home insurance people, who threatened to cancel her policy if she didn't fix a couple of things. Apparently what we did was about a $6000 job if she had to hire someone, so as I told our fearless leader, "It's a good thing she has us!"

Unfortunately, I did not get to use any power tools. But I did get to drive the lawnmower.

10 August 2007

The long way round

Okay, we didn't really take the long way round, but an 18-hour drive is going to feel like the long way round no matter what.

I would love to extoll my newly-deceased grandfather's virtues, or regale you with tales of his very lovely funeral service-- but I'm afraid I'm not able to do so at this time. Suffice to say, he was a great man and will be missed by many.

Also, all that great stuff I was going to share about Harry Potter will have to wait for another time.

So instead I am going to warn you about the shortage of McDonald's restaurants. There are signs as you leave various states telling motorists, "Last McDonalds until (insert next state here)." I'm afraid I'm a bit concerned about this now; I can only conclude that state lines are woefully short on fast food. Should we start a petition?

02 August 2007

Saying Goodbye

My grandpa died early this morning. We'll be headed to Indiana for the funeral soon. Prayers for a safe journey would be appreciated.

30 July 2007

Harry Potter: Were you right?

Yeah. If you haven't read The Deathly Hallows yet, stop reading this. Now. You might consider reading the book instead.

Okay, so this is not going to be a review because, seriously, every book reviewer around the world has already done it. Better that I. And they got paid to do it.

Instead, I am going to list, as best as I can, what I got right and wrong (and somewhere in between) in the final book.


RIGHT:

1. I knew a Weasley would die. I was a bit surprised that it was Fred, actually; I thought J.K. was going to pile on the agony and take Ron or Ginny away from us.


2. I knew there was no way Harry was getting all the way through the book with Ron and Hermione; this is why I thought we might lose Ron, actually. Instead, he just acted like a prat. (Or, as Hermione put it, a complete arse. Hey, she said it, not me.)

3. I knew Percy would come round. That was a great scene, and one reason I wish J.K. had given us a few more chapters. How much does it suck to be Percy, when Fred is the first one to offer forgiveness and then is dead a couple of hours later? Good thing you came back when you did, nimrod.

4. I knew Dumbledore was really dead. I was not convinced by all the speculation and "evidence" that he was still alive.

5. I knew that Professor McGonagall totally rocked. I mean, she was amazing. When I grow up, I want to be like her. (Pity she and Dumbledore never married, really.)

6. I knew that J.K. wouldn't kill Harry and leave Voldemort alive. Which leads us too...


WRONG:

1. I thought Harry and Voldemort would both be dead in the end. I was informed on Sunday what a silly conclusion that was, because of the prophecy. But, hey, even Dumbledore said not to put too much stock in the prophecy.

2. I thought the dynamic trio might reconsider their decision to drop out of Hogwarts. (Of course, they didn't plan on living through the search for the Horcruxes, so I suppose exam results didn't matter.)

3. I thought that, had they gone back, Hermione and Ron would be Head Girl and Boy. (I even made myself a head girl badge at the Barnes & Noble release party, I was so sure.)

4. I thought Neville would be killed. (See "half-and-half" for more on Neville.)

5. I never thought Tonks or Mad-Eye would be killed. (Lupin I wasn't sure about.)

6. I certainly didn't expect Kreacher to come round. (Kreacher totally rocked, by the way. Too bad for Sirius that he didn't realise what a bit of kindness would do for him.)

7. I didn't think Molly Weasley would be the one to kill Bellatrix, although it made perfect sense when I read it. I really didn't expect her to start swearing at her, though.

8. The Malfoys were the last people I expected to see sense. And while they didn't see a lot of it, at least they were on their way. Actually I think Narcissa just kept up appearances because she didn't want Draco to be killed; otherwise, I think she would have just left the Death Eaters and not have fought back when they killed her.

9. I didn't expect the book to be so darned short.

10. I didn't expect Snape to be killed. At least not by Voldemort. And so we go to...

HALF-AND-HALF:

1. Snape. I thought he was playing both sides, so he would be on the winning team no matter what. So I count myself as half right on that one, since he was entirely a good guy. Turns out Dumbledore put a lot more trust in him than we realised (although my respect for Snape went up by bounds at the end of Goblet of Fire, only to crash back down again in Order of the Phoenix.) And hasn't it been hinted at before that he was in love with Lily? That didn't surprise me at all.

2. Neville. I thought he would go down in a blaze of glory, probably face-to-face with Voldemort. He did all those things except the "go down" bit. Perhaps all he needed was for Harry and Ron to get out of his way all these years so he could prove himself a true Gryffindor, which he certainly did. And him being named Herbology professor was no suprise at all. (Do you suppose he was also Head of House? He absolutely earned it.)


WHAT I STILL WANT TO KNOW:

1. What did they do to Umbridge? If I had it my way, she would have her wand snapped and be sent to live as a Muggle. After all, technically all she did was obey orders: however, she showed entirely too much delight in the suffering of others the whole time we knew her. I bet she was the most-hated character in the series, even more than Snape or Malfoy. (Or Voldemort, who was really just a scary name for most of the time.) Don't send her to Azkaban, I say; send her out in the world without a wand. Put the Trace on her, even. Make sure she has no reason to feel superior to anyone again.

2. Will Percy ever be Minister for Magic? The fact that he was talking about broomstick regulations makes me think he carried on at the ministry, and why not? Pertsnickity people with sense are the ones most suited to government, anyway.

3. Did George carry on with Weasley's Wizard Wheezes? I can't imagine him doing anything else, of course.

4. What are Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione doing besides reproducing? Surely at least one of them has a job.

5. Where do Harry & Ginny live? Did they go back to Grimmald Place (presumably with Kreacher)? Did they go back to Godric's Hollow? Did they build their own four-storey, magical house in Ottery St. Catchpole? Or really decide to pay back the Dursleys for 16 years of torment, and find a nice house in Privet Drive? Hee-- I think that's what I'd choose.

6. Luna? Seamus? Dean? Other members of Dumbledore's Army? What are they up to, nineteen years later?

7. Was it really a Crumple-horned Snorkack horn? Or an Erumpet horn? Or are they the same thing?

8. Was Hagrid having a mind lapse when he said James and Lily were Head Boy and Girl at Hogwarts? We know now James was never a prefect.

9. And finally... How long do half-giants live, anyway? Not that I'm at all sad to hear that Hagrid is still at Hogwarts.


I have enough Harry-related speculation to fill another blog post, so I'll save it for later.

29 July 2007

Oh, Harry, what will we do without you?

So I've been a bit absorbed over the past couple of weeks (as you may have guessed if you had a look at my "Reading:" list), because two weeks ago, I suddenly realised that I had only one week left until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released and I hadn't started re-reading anything. This has been my tradition, for the past three books, to re-read from the beginning in preparation for the new one. So I started with The Philosopher's Stone on Tuesday evening almost two weeks ago, and finished The Half-Blood Prince this past Thursday. (And if anyone is keeping score, I read almost the entirely of Order of the Phoenix on Sunday afternoon.)

Now I could do this without driving myself crazy because I order the British version, from the UK Amazon, so I didn't actually get my book until Wednesday. It stayed in its box until I was ready to open it Friday evening, and even then I put off actually starting it for a few minutes (to get a cup of tea and all that). I felt the same way I felt about The Return of the King: while it was exciting and I couldn't wait to get into it, there was a certain sadness in knowing this was the last one.

No more new Harry books to look forward to. No more release parties. Although we do have the joy of anticipating two more movies. Personally, I can't wait to see The Deathly Hallows on the big screen. But I'm sure that moment, too, will be filled with sadness.

But at least I'll be able to tell the Weasley twins apart in the final movie.

19 July 2007

Finished!


My latest crocheted creation, which is now on its was to California.
And my faithful wee bear, who is still in my living room where he belongs.

12 July 2007

Last night

I've skipped Wednesday evening services at church for the past few weeks because... insert your own reason here. It will probably be as valid as any other excuse I can come up with.

But last night Chad was committed to set up for VBS, so I went to church and went on to class by myself. And I am SO glad that I did. It was amazing.

So I came on here to tell my faithful blog readers, I thank God for you. And not just because you read my blog. :)

09 July 2007

Monday, Monday

I'm working on a baby blanket that will NEVER be finished, and I'm a bit disgruntled because I'm not watching the Tour.

So let's talk about something else. For everyone who didn't like Pirates 3, well, that's sad for you. I did not find it to be a disappointment; I did quite enjoy it. And like Pirates 2, I didn't notice how much time had gone by because I was drawn into the story. I'd heard the battle sequences were too long, but I thought it was perfect. So there you go. Also I'd heard that it wasn't worth staying for the post-credits scene (from a friend our age), as well as hearing that I MUST stay for the post-credits scene (from two teenage girls). We stayed, just because we would have driven ourselves mental wondering what happened had we not done. And all I have to say is: Meh. And also, that must have been a pretty good day.

So here's hoping the rain will stop before tomorrow morning, because I'm really sad when I don't get to cycle to work.

08 July 2007

Huzzah!

I don't even know how you spell "huzzah". That may or may not be right.

Anyway, so Roger Federer won his fifth Wimbledon title in a row today, and as a result I am in a particularly celebratory mood. Anyone up for confetti? Balloons? Perhaps some party favours?

It was a brilliant match between Federer and Nadal, and I was so glad I got to see it. Now if only I could watch the Tour de France, my sporting joy would be complete.

07 July 2007

Little bit of everything

A few weeks ago, I had this conversation with the 9-year-old daugher of some friends:

I: (putting on mini-messenger bag)
Aspen: Why do you take that everywhere?
I: (stared at her feeling confused, and hoping she would clarify)
Aspen: Is it your purse?
I: Yes! (happy that she clarified and all is now clear)
Aspen: It doesn't look like a purse.
I: Thank you.
Aspen: (now is the one confused)

It's not her fault, all the other women in her life are extremely girly, and here she is faced with a grown-up who is not only not girly, but also not like anyone else she knows. Poor girl.
*******************************************************************************


So I got a new seat for my bike, one with a blinking light in back so drivers can see me from both directions. (I already had a headlight). But first, let's have a moment of silence for the old seat.



The padded cover was a couple of years old and, as you can plainly see, well-worn. So that was pretty much my clue that it was time for a new one.

***************************************************************************

In other news, we ran six miles this morning. It's now been about 4 hours, and my body is still angry with me. I hope I recover in time to go running Monday morning.
****************************************************************************

Last night I went to Hastings to pick up a DVD to watch while Chad was at work. I forgot my bike chain, though, so I had to leave the bike sitting outside, available to anyone who might be passing by and needed a new bike. So I stuck it in an out-of-the-way corner in between shops, directly in front of a door that looked like it only opened from the inside. Then I spent the whole time in the shop worrying that I would come out and find that not only had my bike not been stolen, but that I had been ticketed for blocking a fire exit.


Anyway, so I was looking in the TV section, because having the attention span of your average teenager, I prefer four episodes of one of my favourite shows to one long movie. Curiously enough, Hastings has seasons 1 and 3 of The West Wing. That's it. They seem to apply this same odd logic in DVD purchases to just about every other show as well. I do not understand.

So I was poking around, trying to decide between TWW, Smallville, CSI, Doctor Who, and Scrubs, when I saw one DVD with no companions, quietly sitting in alphabetical order: The Muppet Show.


Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner.

02 July 2007

It's not that hard to say.

I have heard so many wacky and weird pronunciations of "Glasgow" in the last three days that yesterday evening, I snapped. I e-mailed our local news networks to explain to them that "Glasgow" does not rhyme with cow. I didn't even bother with the subtleties of the first syllable; it's more like "Glaz" and less like "Glass", but not quite either one. I thought that was best left to an in-person discussion when I get really agitated and start storming the studios. With alliteration, apparently.

Well, I'm on top of the world looking down on creation...

So I had two really good runs last week, 5 miles on Sunday and 3 miles on Tuesday, followed by a fantastic bike ride on Tuesday (2.6 miles each direction). I was feeling wonderful, glad that my muscles seemed to be finally cooperating, my lungs were operational, and my heart was ticking away doing its job.

Then the wheels quite predictably came off the wagon.

I woke up on Wednesday with a smashing backache that precluded me either running or riding my bike. And it only got worse as the day went on, so that by the time I went home after work, it hurt to talk, breathe, eat, lie down, walk, stand, sit, or basically be alive. So I took the sensible course recommended by one of our very kind nurses at the Wound Care Centre: ibuprofen, a hot bath, and a heating pad. And rest for said spasmy muscles.

It all worked beautifully, by Friday I was feeling up to cycling to work again, and I had a good 6-mile run on Saturday. So what I'm trying to say is, if I had just been sensible in the first place instead of trying to "tough it out", I probably would have been feeling better by Thursday.

30 June 2007

Goodnight, June.

My favourite month and it's already over. Now I have to wait 335 days for it to come round again.

No, wait, next year is a leap year. 336 days, then.

I am pleased to report that I spent quite a bit of my month outdoors, mainly on a bicycle or running. So it wasn't totally wasted.

July, here we come!

29 June 2007

I give up

I have tried, since I was about 10 or 11, to be an informed citizen. I listened in on adult conversations. I watched the news. I read the paper. I check the internet. I try to evaluate what I hear and take it with a grain of salt.

Well, no more!! The local news is always depressing, and I am sick of turning on CNN (or whatever) to watch well-educated, well-dressed people shout at each other. I DON'T CARE. There are very, very few instances of any argument in which one side is completely right and the other is completely wrong. I'm not a Republican, I'm not a Democrat, I'm a moderate. And I'm about to become a hermit.

I think in future elections, I will vote using the close-my-eyes-and-point method. Or draw numbers out of a hat. Or vote for the one from whose name I can make the most words. (I don't see Barak Obama doing well in that one.). I can't not vote, though, because my junior high social studies teachers taught me that if I don't vote, I have not right to complain. And I'm not about to give that up.

Besides, I do have this picking-the-loser streak going. And I'm talking, all elections on all levels, not just the president. So I'd be willing to negotiate if anyone has a candidate they'd like me to vote for.

What do they keep in areas 1 through 50?

Seriously. Has anyone ever heard about "Area 24?" I think it's time we start asking questions like that.

In the meantime, here's something else to think about. Hollywood makes senility look so funny. The old people in TV or movies who don't know what's going on prove excellent comic relief. Except, they don't. Being confused isn't funny. Losing your self-identity isn't funny. Not knowing at any given moment either what is happening now, nor what will happen next, is not funny.

Yet another thing Hollywood gets wrong.

24 June 2007

And do you know what time we had to get up?

I read at runnersworld.com a couple of weeks ago that chocolate milk has the same electrolyte-restoring properties as Gatorade. And all I have to say to that is-- Halelujah!

So we ran 5 miles today in 1:05. Not a great time, but for me, it is fantastic. :)

23 June 2007

Everything I Need to Know I Learned on The West Wing


The good people at Euston Station knew what they were doing when they put up this sign.
So I've been gleaning insight into my life by watching Season One of The West Wing. The first insight is: I watch too much TV. But I kept pausing "Let Bartlet be Bartlet" earlier to write down what I was thinking. Perhaps if I can read my notes later, I will share.
I did get this much out of it: Let Jesus be Jesus. In me.

This is why I like Leviticus

Leviticus 3:16-- "All fat is the Lord's."

Now I'm sure someone will come up with an explanation that this verse is really about burnt offerings, but clearly what it means is the fatter I am, the more I belong to God.

Do they make SPF 300?

I slathered myself with a ridiculous amount of sunscreen today, twice, in preparation for a lot of bike riding. Any guesses as to what colour my shoulders are?

Also, I went to Wal-Mart to get a bike seat I've had my eye on... and forgot my debit card. Heehee... they didn't get any of my money today.

Maybe tomorrow, alas!

13 June 2007

I scream, You scream

I was chased by the ice cream man the other day. Sort of.

He came up behind me while I was riding home, and I heard his goofy tune for the next half-mile. I presume he was going up and down streets that I was just passing by. Anyway, he finally went by me. I was glad, because that meant I could hear my iPod again instead of "The Entertainer".

11 June 2007

I loathe Wal-Mart.

My title has nothing to do with the rest of my post, it's just something I feel compelled to express from time to time.

So I went to said object of my loathing this evening in search of some decaf tea bags, and I rode my bike. (Chad had the car; gas prices ridiculous; need more exercise anyway.) Chad phoned me just as I had pulled into the parking lot, so I stopped near a convenient cart corral to answer. After I hung up, I realised what a funny picture that must have been; iPod in one ear, phone in another, riding a bike. In west Texas.

Well, so I'm only partly into the 21st century. :)

09 June 2007

Finally

I have been wanting to post for aaaaages, but life keeps getting in my way. (In fact, I have plenty to do right now, but here we are, me and my iPod. Blogging.) So here is the important stuff, to be expanded upon in subsequent posts. I'll try to keep this one on top. :)

Grandpa: My grandpa gave us all a serious fright last week when the docs said he had acute sepsis and wouldn't last the night. He's still with us, although he has a Staph infection now.

Mobile phones: Yeah, we finally got them. So much for being different.

Denver City: Some kids I've know for a while have graduated.

California: We took a trip to CA to see Chad's family and watch his stepbrother graduate. Congratulations, Alex!

Cline Paden: Cline went to be with the Lord while we were gone, but I was able to go to his funeral when we got back.

Chick-fil-A: The owner of CFA in Lubbock (my former employer), also passed away while we were gone. I missed her funeral and so far haven't managed to talk to anyone at CFA to find out what happened.

Running: Eeek.

Cycling: Not getting any better.

Adoption: Still in the works.

South Plains: Still loving it. Bible bowl banquet, sleepover, new friends, and two summer series that we will probably really get into.

Exodus: Heard something really interesting when listening to it on my iPod one day this week.

There you go! If you want to hear more about any of the above, scroll down and read about it. I've now posted more in one day in June than I did for the entire month of May!

Grandpa

So after I left Indiana, Grandpa improved to the point that he could leave the ICU and in fact leave the hospital altogether and move to a nursing home. That step forward was short-lived.

We came back from CA just in time to get a depressing call from my brother (Billy) that a nursing home nurse found Grandpa having trouble breathing and some other life-threatening stuff. They raced him to the emergency room, where they got him onto life support and a ventilator and other important things. This was Tuesday (29th May). All day Wednesday (including at the funeral, after being asked to turn the cell phones off-- I refused to acquiese to that particular request) I was expecting a phone call to say things had gone one way or another.

Wednesday evening Billy called to say the docs said Grandpa had acute sepsis and wouldn't last the night. So, another day of jumping whenever the phone rang ensued. Billy finally called me Thursday afternoon to tell me Grandpa was doing better. Now, I'm no doctor, but you do pick up some things working as a billing person in the medical field. One does not usually "get better" from acute sepsis. However, I did spend a lot of time praying for a miracle-- so a miracle is what we got. :)

Friday Grandpa had to have his feeding tube fixed again-- they put a new one in, I think. The time frame they gave us on Thursday was "between 7 and 5". At 3:30 I finally couldn't stand it any longer and called my sister (Denise) who said they had just started the procedure. This was 4:30 Eastern time, so they certainly waited until the very limit of their time frame.

On Saturday the official word was "we think it's pneumonia he has now, we're waiting on blood work." By Monday, we had gotten round to a Staph infection. Since I work in wound care, those are words that strike fear into my heart. Not that I was surprised; I don't think you can spend two months in a hospital and not contract some nice infection. It's kind of like a parting gift.

So Grandpa was transferred to a long-term care hospital in Indianapolis one day this week (I think it was Wednesday), and he has done so well there that is is out of ICU and into regular care. This is the best news I've heard since mid-April, when he was doing so well in rehab they thought they would be able to send him home.

The down side is, he won't be home for a while. The upsides (and there are several) are: he is getting very good care, they have wound care staff on site (which is quite necessary due to his quantity of pressure sores), and getting Grandma out there and back on a daily basis hasn't been too hard, so far. Please pray that he can get well enough to come home!

Joining the rest of you

Yes, we gave in and got cell phones. I've already felt the incessant urge to have it with me every waking moment. Oh, and the sleeping moments, too. Now, this is partly due to the fact that I've had to wait for updates on Grandpa.

Seriously, I have never been one for talking on the phone. I make and receive so few calls we might be as well discontinue our home phone service. And yet, we decided we needed a way to keep in touch with everyone we know wherever we are.

So, we've stepped into the 21st century for real. Yikes.

Denver City Graduation

Since we went to California to see one graduation, we missed several others happening around here. One of those was in Denver City, where some kids I've known for almost eleven years (that sounds soooo long!) graduated. So we went to the graduation party at the church in DC, since we had to miss the ceremony.

I have to say that these are an ambitious bunch of newly-minted adults! Among them are a future doctor, a future pharmacist, a future member of the armed forces (I forget which branch, but I think the air force), and my pal Shannen is going to AIM.

This last one delights me to no end, if for no other reason than she will be in Lubbock for a few months! Shannen is a delightful young woman, and the Lord will surely use her in mighty ways. Her dad said she struggled with the decision, which I totally understand. It's hard to go a different direction than your friends-- especially a direction which may take you halfway around the world.

California

We took another trip to the... I don't know California's nickname, and I'm too lazy to look it up. The Golden State, maybe? Anyway, that's where we went.

Alex, Chad's stepbrother, has graduated from high school. He looked quite grown-up in his cap and gown-- which I suppose is appropriate, since he is quite grown-up now. I was worried that a graduation ceremony with 400 students would last forever, but it wasn't so bad. We arrived at 5 to get seats for a ceremony that started at 7 (seriously!) and I think it was 10 before we left. It may have been even later than that. Honestly, though, the time went by quickly, and we didn't feel like it was dragging on.

Anyway, the trip was very nice, even if it was short. We saw Chad's family, but didn't have time this time around to go see my California relatives. Our plan is to go out again after we have children, so it won't be long before we see them again.

Funerals

Cline Paden passed away a few weeks ago. This was in no way a surprise to anyone; he has been failing for a few months now. His gain is our loss-- he will be missed.

His funeral was long but very nice. Really, as much as he accomplished in life (or rather, as much as the Lord used him to accomplish His work), there was just no way the funeral could be any shorter. In fact, it could have been much longer! He was eulogised by family members, friends, and co-workers. And I came away wishing I could have known him better.

Another funeral took place recently that I missed: my employer at Chick-fil-A died quite suddenly (and very unexpectedly) two weeks ago. We were in California on the day of her funeral, so I missed it, and only heard of her passing when we got back.

Life is short! As trite as it sounds, it is appropriate to live each day as if it were one's last, because we are not guaranteed another moment.

Cycling and Running

Yep, I decided to combine the exercise posts.

So, despite much time spent cycling over the past two years, I really don't feel like I'm getting any better at it. I tell myself at least once a day that it only gets easier if you do it, which is true, but so far I have no proof of that! :) It's still a good way of getting around, that uses no petrol at all. Quite a consideration while the prices continue to escalate.

Running.. ugh. I still hate it. :) I love the feeling I have about 30 minutes afterward, but unfortunately I have to actually go out and do it to get the good feeling. :( This frustration comes partly from doing no running at all for two weeks, then having to pick it up again this week. Also, we had to postpone two runs (Wednesday and today) from morning to evening, which made them all the more miserable. I've certainly learned the merits of getting up at 5:30 to run-- it beats running in 80+-degree weather.

I was working with a woman in her garden today, and we discussed exercise in the course of our conversations. After hearing that I regularly cycle, walk, and run, she said, "You exercise more than anyone I've heard of!" Unfortunately, this time and effort is not paying off in terms of weight loss. I've joined SparkPeople, and online weight-loss site, which I am liking so far. I weigh in on Monday morning; we'll see if we are getting anywhere. (And if you choose to go to SparkPeople, please tell them that cheekysu sent you!)

Adoption

It feels like we aren't getting anywhere, and we didn't really make any strides forward in May. But, one of our goals is to pay off credit card debt (and some medical debt as well!) before we have children placed with us, so in that way we are moving forward. Also, it seems we are going to be moving into a larger house before we get children, so we'd have to have our home study, if nothing else, redone if it were done before we moved. So we'll check into our options and keep you posted.

South Plains

We started two new series last week at church.

In Bible class, we are beginning a study of some of the minor prophets. I haven't yet memorised the list of prophets we are studying, but we are starting with Amos. I haven't studied Amos since I was in Scotland, so this should be a good study. To start off with, the teacher (Matt; Ken has moved on to calmer pastures. Presumably.) read the first two chapters of Amos from the message, which was pretty cool. Oddly enough, it does not read a lot differently than the NAS. I don't know if this is because it is the Old Testament, or because it is prophecy, or if it is just coincidence.

Sunday evenings for the summer are titled, "Holy Conversations." I don't know where exactly we will go with it, but the first week was good-- Matt (same one from Sunday morning) started by talking about everyone being on a spiritual journey. There is a blog that he is keeping about the class-- look for "Holy Conversations" in the sidebar to join the conversation.

The son of a friend of ours is spending his summer in New York/New Jersey doing some musical outreach-- see his blog in the sidebar as well ("Worldwide Witness").

We had our final Bible bowl sleepover last Friday, and the season officially ended with the banquet on Sunday. I really thought that the smaller group we've had the last few years would be a bad thing, but I have totally changed my mind. Smaller group= Better relationships. And now Chad is talking about getting involved next year. He changes his mind about things so frequently, I need a journal just to keep up with him. :) So we'll see what happens. Next year: 1 Samuel!

When I said "New friends", well, they aren't that new. But we are getting to be much better friends with Joe and Kathy, and we thank God for them regularly!

I read in Beau's blog earlier that he and Krissi have placed membership in a church that they are really enjoying. There is just no substitute to a great church family.

Exodus

So the Egyptian army is chasing the Israelites and they are all panicking. As you do, when the most powerful army in the world is after you, and the chances of you defending yourself on your own are worse than your chances of winning the record-setting jackpot in the lottery. So Moses says, "Hey, Lord? Kinda need your help, here." And the Lord answers, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on."

I can only suppose that Moses already had these orders, since God asks him what he thinks he's doing, instead of assuring him that everything was under control. So they move on, and you know the rest of the story.

Now I'm not one to violently drag modern-day application out of a story that happened long before I arrived in the world. But when I heard this, I really started thinking about all the times in my life when I just sit around and wait for divine inspiration to strike (as it were) instead of just doing the things I already know to do. That's a bit like watching my neighbour's house burn down while I stand in my yard, hose in hand, thinking, "I wonder if I should use this?" I want to be someone who acts, not someone who spends my time wringing my hands and asking, "Where are you, God? What should I do?"

Thanks, Moses.

22 May 2007

Let's Start Walking

Coming soon...


Good reason to buy a smaller car...



Another good idea...


Picture of my father...


And, finally...



These have been around, of course, so you may have seen them. But now they're around here. :)

ShareThis

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...