The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. I wrapped things up at my job last Friday - literally down the wire! Every day they were giving me something new to take care of...some of it a little ridiculous, I might add...and I was also trying to get things organized and sorted out nicely for whomever they hire to replace me. So that was a little stressful!
In the midst of it, my friend Kim got very sick and ended up in the hospital for most of the week. They are still unsure whether it was a terrible migraine or viral meningitis. Why they are not sure, I don't know...but they are not. She came home last Friday, thankfully, but was still not feeling well. Even now she's not 100% but she is improving.
Last Sunday, Michelle & I went to the Nascar race at Dover. The traffic is so horrendous! They close the exit that takes you directly to the track - you have to pass it and it takes another HOUR (no, I am not exaggerating) to get to the track. The race was great - we had a lot of fun and the forecasted thunderstorms held off until right as the race ended. We had a scary moment when the announcers started saying to move "quickly and smoothly out of the stands; the storm is fast approaching". Metal stands, thunderstorms... not a good combination! But we made it out safely and only got partially drenched in the downpour. Then we sat for THREE HOURS trying go get out of the parking lot! It took us five hours total to get home...and the track is only about 2 hours away. Maddening!!
Monday I spent the day with Mom. Her birthday was earlier in the month and we went out to Lancaster for the day. It was a lot of fun. And as usual, we spent WAY too much money. But it was a good day.
Wednesday, I started my new job. So far, so good! It's a very small office and everyone seems very nice. I have done a great deal of reading to become familiar with the project that is going to be mine. I'm still very nervous because it's a different job than I've ever had - has some of the same elements as my past work but not entirely. So there will be a learning curve but I'm hoping to catch on fast.
Today I had a pastoral management team meeting for several hours this morning and am now trying desperately to get some things done before heading out for an all-day youth outreach. It's already going on but I needed to get some things done at home and also needed to start my new Children's Ministry course (Intro to Christian Ed...you'd think I would have taken that BEFORE Pastoring Children but I have to be a rebel sometimes!) I just finished the first unit. I'm hoping to do a unit a week and stay on track this time. I was SO far behind with the previous class it was ridiculous. I just have to factor in time each week and focus.
Well, tata for now...gotta dash!
I am an avid reader. By avid, I mean that I would rather sit and read than do anything else in the world. Seriously. When I am overwhelmed or extremely busy, I actually feel like I am having reader's withdrawl. I go through periods where I have little time to read and others where I read constantly. About two weeks ago, I picked up the new Anne Lamott book, Plan B, and also Women of Faith's novel of the year, Reconstructing Natalie. I think I read them both in a total of four days...during the work week.
Now this isn't to say that it's always like that. I've been busy this week and have been reading a little bit of Sheila Walsh's new book, I'm Not Wonder Woman, each night. I'm nearing the end but haven't gotten there quite yet.
Callapidder Days has started a fall reading challenge...so I am taking this opportunity to commit to a few books I've been wanting to read but haven't had time.
I'm doing Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself and also Kay Arthur's Living Victoriously in Difficult Times.
Gift from the Sea - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I'm Not Wonder Woman - Sheila Walsh
Making Life Work - Bill Hybels
God at Your Wits End - Marilyn Meberg
Cure for the Common Life - Max Lucado
Shepherding a Child's Heart - Tedd Tripp
Unlikely Angel - Ashley Smith
Total Money Makeover - Dave Ramsey
Inside My Heart - Robin McGraw
The Witness - Dee Henderson
Family - Karen Kingsbury
Divine - Karen Kingsbury
Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers
These last two I added because so many others had them on their lists & sang their praises.
Looking forward to it all! There's a lot on this list - I'd better get reading!
Labels: Fall into Reading Challenge '06
Believe it or not, I finished the final unit, the book content quiz, service verification and final exam tonight! Now I just need to interview the two children's pastors and submit them and I am all finished!!
I went to Kent & Cindy's home group on Tuesday night and they are planning to do a Kay Arthur 40 minute study for a few weeks. I think I'll join them - I missed seeing them on a weekly basis and boy, did we laugh ourselves silly on Tuesday night. It was a lot of fun.
Wednesday was youth and we got together with another group we hope to do some activities with in the future. It was interesting...and in some ways it really made me appreciate our kids! But I'm looking forward to getting together with them again and trying some new things. They have a full time youth pastor, so there are definitely some benefits there - and hopefully, they'll be blessed by us, too!
Thursday, I started a Beth Moore study at another church. I'm really excited about it. I was interested in Beth Moore's Daniel study when I read Pezmama's blog about starting it recently at her church. Our church is still relatively small and we don't offer a women's Bible study in the evening so I started searching high and low for Daniel locally. I am not sure how I even came to the site of the church that was offering it (well, OF COURSE, I DO know...nothing is by accident in this life!) and I was so excited. I emailed them and the pastor emailed me back within two hours and said someone would contact me the next day. They called me at 8:30! But I was disappointed to learn that Daniel was only being offered for the daytime ladies group. But Beth's study, Living Beyond Yourself, about the fruit of the spirit was being offered in the evening. After a momentary fuss, I decided to sign up for that as well. I talked to my mom about it, including the part about not knowing how I even came to find this church's website...and she told me that my Grammy had gone there years ago! Anyway, I went on Thursday night and really enjoyed it. I think the study will be great and the women were very welcoming and kind.
Friday it was off to Women of Faith with a few of the gals. It was a great night. Avalon & Nicole C. Mullen played - I absolutely love her! Sandi Patty also sang and totally blew us away. What a wonderful voice! And I just love the Women of Faith ladies. Patsy Clairmont gets me giggling every time and Sheila Walsh just touches my heart. It is simply a miracle that they have made it through all they have been through and through the grace of God alone are able to travel all over the country and minister to women.
Saturday brought us back down for the conclusion of the conference. Robin McGraw was there and her testimony was great. She spoke about how we, as women, put everyone's needs before our own and how that will ultimately hurt our loved ones more than help them. Her talk was really very convicting to me. I'm looking forward to reading her new book. At the end, Dr. Phil came out to walk her off the stage - the whole stadium went WILD. It was mayhem! He spoke about how important their faith is and always has been and how they understand that their platform is an excellent opportunity to share that. They just taped a show with the Women of Faith ladies and it will air on October 3rd!!!
Last night we got together with our preteen class to make bags & purses. I can't sew to save my life...almost flunked Home Ec - seriously! But I had nice fabric and Kym was kind enough to guide me and sew it all up. Now I have a nice tote for all my church stuff. And the girls made some really cute purses and bags. I was VERY impressed!
Today I taught a lesson about birthdays. I searched all over but couldn't find one so I wrote my own. The children were very responsive and interested. We talked a lot about how much God loves us and how he has known us always. I talked to them about how important they are to God and how he made them all different and gave them different interests and gifts. And then I told them that instead of celebrating a birthday each week or month as they came along, we would choose one day a year and celebrate all our birthdays together! They loved it. We sang "happy birthday to ME" and had cake and just had a great time. It was a really nice day.
I was feeling under the weather when I came home so I ate quickly and laid down for while. Now I am doing my normal Sunday evening scramble. : )
I got to the office and started to settle in, booting up the computer and getting ready for my day to start. I had signed up to receive CNN breaking news reports via email and it wasn’t long after getting in that I got the first – that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. Like so many, I assumed it was a small plane and clicked in to CNN. The page wouldn’t display. I tried FoxNews…same thing. I got up and went into our IT Director’s office and said that something was wrong with our internet connection – I couldn’t connect to CNN. He said he’d check it and I went back to my office.
I can’t remember exactly the next thing that happened. I remember him coming in and saying that the internet was fine. He mentioned that a plane had hit the World Trade Center and I think we talked about that for another moment, how odd that that could happen.
Then another breaking news email came through, staying that it was not a small plane but instead a commercial airliner that had hit the tower. Thinking back now, I still feel like the world stopped there for just a moment.
And then the next plane hit.
I was absolutely terrified. I couldn’t even begin to grasp the magnitude of what was happening, just an hour and a half away from us. I picked up the phone and dialed my mom but got a recording that the call could not go through because of the lines being busy. I know I tried several times and finally must have gotten through but the exact sequence escapes me. I know I called friends to make sure they were safe and to just have someone to share the absolute stun I was feeling. I think I called Nancy specifically to make sure that her husband wasn’t in New York City for work that day. He was safe and I was relieved. I know I talked to Lisa & Mike as well and we sat on the phone in silence for a while in complete and utter disbelief. I know someone called me too (and maybe it was Lisa, I cannot recall) to make sure I was not in New York for work that day. I thank God today that I was not.
Coworkers came in and out of my office and we all didn’t know what to do. By this time some of us were listening to the local news radio station. I made a point to go and talk to my friend Lisa, who was a Christian. I was still very new in the faith at that time but I knew I needed to pray and keep praying. Lisa was my touchstone that day, for that very reason. I knew that she understood and that she was praying too.
When we heard that a third plane had hit the Pentagon, I think many of us began to panic. Our CEO, COO and Office Manager, as well as other staff, had been in DC the day before for a Board meeting and were scheduled to be on Amtrak on their way out precisely at that time. Were they ok? What would happen next? Would the trains be targeted? We didn’t know but thankfully were able to get in touch with one of them. She said they were fine, worried, but fine, and that the train had temporarily stopped. I don’t remember how long it stopped but we heard they were on their way home and we were thankful.
At the time, we shared a building with people from the local cancer center. My friend Jean knew them and they told us we could come over and watch their tv. We walked in to a small room where many people were gathered, murmuring to one an other in disbelief. It was then, almost immediately, that the first tower fell before our eyes. It was absolutely unbelieveable and literally gut-wrenching. I truly did not grasp what was happening as they began to replay it over and over. Tears welled in my eyes as I prayed for the souls who were lost.
I didn’t want to see anymore and remember sitting again, alone in my office. Our CEO arrived then. It turned out he had taken an earlier train out of DC and had stopped home when it all happened. He had a friend who worked in the World Trade Center or nearby, I cannot recall correctly, and had tried to reach him to no avail. He was visibily shaken and upset – and I had never seen him this way before or ever again. He came to each of our offices and told us he wanted us to go home, and be with our families.
I made a few more calls – I think to Lisa and my mom – and got in my car. But I was afraid. We live about 45 minutes from a major metropolitan area on the East Coast and they were shutting everything down. There seemed to be a real possibility that we were a target as well.
The roads were eerily empty as I drove home and that too made me afraid. I remember coming home and immediately turning on CNN and calling my mom and Lisa again. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if I should go somewhere else. I couldn’t stop crying and I was afraid of being alone. Lisa told me I could come to their house but honestly, I was also afraid to get back in the car on the empty highway. I talked to my mom again and we agreed that it wasn’t sensible either for me to drive up to their house. We simply did not know what was going on.
We were at war.
And we did not know with whom.
Or what the next target would be.
The next days passed in a blur. I know I went to work and we all went through the motions of what we had to do, still knowing that the magnitude of this attack would weigh heavy on us for days, months, maybe even years to come.
I remember driving up to Mike & Lisa’s to help them get some things done at the new house they were moving into. I drove base the local naval air station and started to cry when I saw the cement barricades all around and the servicemen with their machine guns at the front gate. We’re used to military aircraft here but the increase in flights of all types was apparent. I watched them do maneuvers as I drove up the highway, and wondered how soon our men & women would be going to war.
My friend Jessica was to be married in Milwaukee on September 22nd. She and her fiancé both worked for an airline and had decided to move forward with the wedding. She and I talked about how I was going to get there – though I had tickets on their airline – and finally decided that flying was the best option. My dad assured me that I would be safe – probably safer than another other time I’d flown in my life.
I steeled myself to be brave, driving down to the airport. I held my head up as I walked through the terminal. But when I saw the National Guardsmen with their machine guns armed and ready throughout, I almost could not bear it. How could this be?
The airport was literally deserted and my flight was probably about a quarter full. I stared each person in the face as I walked by them to board and wondered which one was the air marshal. If there was one aboard, I couldn’t tell.
The flight was somber and quiet. I was always happy to land safely, but never as much as on this day.
I wasn’t sure how I would handle this day, all the rememberance coverage on television and radio…and thought perhaps I’d not listen, not watch. But that is not me and as I listened to people on my local Christian station this morning talk about where they were, all the emotions came flooding back. I think I cried the whole ride into work today.
I cried for those who were lost, for that deep empathy I felt for the people who’s stories I have heard, and most all, for the loss of that feeling of safety and security I once had in our nation.
It shall be no more.
Name 3 things that you are wearing today.
Tan tshirt, pj pants with clouds & stars and my Old Navy sweatshirt.
Who was the last person you hugged?
Kendra, Maria & Casey...all at once when I was heading out from youth group. Group hug!
What do you like to order from your favorite fast food place?
Hmmm. I have many favorites. I'll go with Wendy's - spicy chicken sandwich and biggie fries.
What time of day do you usually feel most energized?
Um, there is no time of day I feel energized!
Using the letters in your first name, write a sentence. (Example: Sweet unusual spaniels are nice.)
Take rests in cafes, ignoring all.
Labels: Friday Feast
1. She puts up with me, even when I am crabby & difficult to be around
2. She spends hours on the phone with me, talking about life & world events & who knows what else
3. We like to watch tv together...over the phone
4. She likes Nascar, football & dog shows
5. She loves teddy bears - my old room has been converted into the "Bear Room" . Here they all are on housecleaning day.
6. She loves animals as much as I do and takes care of hers like they were her kids, just like I do. She's got three dogs and I have three cats...
7. She's willing to try new things - usually after some cajoling - like working out, eating better, using email & surfing the web, etc. I'm really proud of her for all of these!
8. She's always supported me, even when she didn't agree with my decisions.
9. She's always been there to listen when some of those decisions didn't QUITE work out as I had planned.
10. She has a great sense of humor. Sometimes she makes me laugh so hard, I cry.
11. She can be very focused when she wants/needs to be. I was very concerned about her when she had her hysterectomy but she bounced back like nobody's business in no time flat. I was totally stunned - and only hope that I will be that way too if I ever need to have major surgery. There were things to be done and she wasn't letting this "little" thing get her down.
12. She loves my friends and always has.
13. She's my mama - even though the circumstances weren't ideal and she was probably very afraid, she had me and loved me for always.
Thanks, Mom! I love you.
Why was I distracted, you may ask?
Because I was trying to get in touch with her all evening and could not!
I knew she was working all day so I waited until I was driving home to give her a call. I got the voicemail. No big deal; left a birthday message and said call me back, etc.
I went right from work to get my hair cut and ended up there forever. I checked my cell on the way out and still no call from Mamacita.
I got home around 8 and called again. Still, the voicemail. Another message.
This is when I release my OCD and start calling every five minutes. Then I thought, maybe there has been an accident on their road - there often is, as it is a busy road with too many trucks and too many curves and too many speeders, and for some reason, most accidents cause their phones to go out.
So I called her cell. It didn't even ring, just went to the voicemail which she does not have setup. I think I tried this three times in between calling the home phone.
Finally, I got online and emailed her, just about the same time I posted last night.
So I call Dad's cell. He answers and says she's fine, their phone is fine, she's just been on it all that time.
My, what a popular Mama I have!
She finally called me around 10 and I finally got to wish her a happy birthday.
Well, Friday I had lunch with a friend and bought some lovely shoes. I never thought of myself as a shoe girl but as of late, I'm finding only certain brands and styles will do.
Friday night I had dinner with Doris & Jim, which was very nice. We've been meaning to do it forever but it's always this or that coming up with me and we never get to it. I'm glad we finally did!
Then the best fun of all.
I did "fall" housecleaning the rest of the weekend. Actually, it cannot properly be categorized as "fall" housecleaning, I suppose, when there's been no "spring" cleaning or frankly much cleaning at all going on in these parts. I moved furniture, I wiped down walls, I even did a window...yes, only one! Chalk that one up to an unfortunate ice tea accident...
Now my body is telling me that fibromyalgia and heavy-duty housecleaning do not mix. Especially in the fall in the northeast, when it is apparently going to just rain right on through until it's cold enough to snow.
I only got the living room, bedroom, hall & bathroom done. I started on the kitchen yesterday and just couldn't go any further - I was plumb tuckered. (I'm pretending the office/spare room doesn't exist for the moment.)
Now, I think I'm going to curl up and watch my latest Netflix delivery - Must Love Dogs. I don't think it is going to be a classic but hey, it's got John Cusack in it. You can't beat that.
What do you like most about where you live?
I like that it is still somewhat rural, although it is growing all the time. I like that it's small enough that you can get to know the people at the grocery store or the hardware store and they know you.
Is there anything strange about where you live?
Hmmm. Nothing too unusual, I suppose. Though I'm sure my friends have some ideas!
What's one of your all-time favorite music albums and why?
This is a tough one because I have many.
Did you have a passion for something as a kid that you still have now? (If not, what is one of your passions now?)
What do you like most about having a blog?
Labels: Meme World
What are some lyrics you have misheard (such as, instead of "Gettin' Jiggy With It" you heard "Kick a chicken with it")?
Actually, it wasn't me that misheard...I believe both of these were young boys in worship service...instead of "Holy, Holy, Holy", it became "Holy, holy, whole wheat" and my absolute favorite, instead of "all things are possible", it was "all things are popsicles"! Love 'em!
What is the worst movie you have ever seen?
I really did not like The English Patient. I'm sure there are a few others but that's the first one that pops into my mind
Using the letters from your favorite number, write a sentence. Example: Tomorrow has really easy experiences.
Fridays I visit eskimos.
What was the most interesting news story you have heard this week?
The one that has stuck with me is the story of the father who killed his next door neighbor aftering hearing the man had possibly molested the man's two year old daughter. It breaks my heart.
Which word(s) would you choose to describe your wardrobe?
Labels: Friday Feast