Monday, March 31, 2008

I've Surely Lost My Mind!

I felt saddened back in November when I discovered the whole NaBloPoMo thing.  Being a newbie blogger I had no idea about such things, and I was too late to jump onto that fast-moving train.  I just found out the other day, though, that NaBloPoMo can go on year round.  Go figure.

I've weighed this heavily in my mind for mere minutes because that's just how I do things.  I cannot believe what I am about to do, especially seeing how I've already blown my photo journaling through the year thing, but I am going to attempt doing the NaBloPoMo for the month of April.  It could be that I am more faithful at writing than I am at capturing a photo-op.  It could be.  Maybe?

Wanna place bets on how many days I actually post because I'd have to post something EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. IN. APRIL?  Can you imagine?  Me?  A post every day for 30 days?  Well, at least they provide you with a theme.  April's theme is letters.  They don't require you to post on the theme.  It's more of a way to get you thinking outside the box.  Man, do I need that!  I don't intend to post in a letter format every day, but we'll see how this thing goes.

Guess I'll be seeing you tomorrow on April 1st.

3/31/08 - Secretarial Woes

When you're a church secretary you never know what you're going to encounter when you walk into your office on Monday morning.  There have been many days when I wished I had taken a camera to work, just so I could show somebody the mess left behind on my desk.  It's not uncommon to find sermon tapes, a phone book, money envelopes, the phone turned around, a set of keys, a library book, an earring, and somebody's glasses lying in the middle of my blotter for me to sort through for the first five minutes before I can even sit down and drink my Tall Nonfat Raspberry Mocha check messages.  That's not to say that some of those things aren't legitimate items that should be left on my desk.  It's just not my favorite thing to face directly on a Monday morning.  I would just as soon find at least the phone book put away, the telephone put back where it belongs, and the library book in, say, the library.

With all that said, today was a typical Monday morning with plenty of paraphernalia to greet me.  And then came the ultimate woe.  I must say that something has been frustrating me for days, if not a week, but it was just sitting in the back of my mind, not really surfacing.  I don't even think I realized there was a problem, until it got serious today.  I mean, nitty-gritty serious.  I've been unable to easily grab paperclips out of my little magnetic dispenser.  I have to tip it, shake it, tip it again...until a paper clip is finally released and drops out.  It was one of those nagging things that I couldn't quite put my finger on until today.  I needed a paperclip to...ya know...clip some papers, and all the shaking and tipping and smacking the dispenser against the desk would not release a paperclip.  I popped the top off to investigate further, and look at what I found.

3/31/08 - Secretarial Woes

Someone had taken over 60 paperclips and linked them together, some even double- or triple-linked.  My first thought was How precious!  Yeah. Right.  It was more along the lines of Alright, people!  Don't mess with me!  My second thought was, I am sooooo blogging about this!!!  And then proceeded to unhook every stinkin' paperclip for the next 10 minutes.

Now who would've done such a thing?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Banana Update

I know you all must be dying to know how my bananas have been faring.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go read this post about my quest to preserve bananas long enough to be able to eat the whole bunch without them going brown and mushy.

Last Friday I bought a bunch of 5 bananas.  I set them on the counter until they had ripened to where the green was gone, and then I put the whole bunch into a plastic bag (I use Hefty One Zip) on the counter.  And I watched.  And observed.  For 7 days.  Yep, that's right.  7 DAYS OF FRESH BANANAS!  Today I ate the very last one, and it was just beginning to get mushy.  The peel was not all brown and speckled, though. 

My theory now is that it's the moisture inside the bag that keeps them well.  You could see the moisture beads inside and on the peel.  Very interesting.  You all should try it, just to see what I'm talking about.

By the way, I cannot take credit for the Ziploc idea.  That comes from my friend Karen in PA.  I'm just passing along the tip.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What Am I Striving For?

This post comes directly on the heels of a night at church for our Missions Conference. I sat and listened to a man who works for a mission agency that ministers to pastors in Eastern Europe (Slavic nations). He told us about the persecution that continues to go on today. Christians being put in jail, interrogated, beaten...some killed...because Christians are viewed as a threat to their government.

I know what you're thinking. We need to pray that their persecution will end. Do you know that the Christian leaders in such countries question why Americans would pray for persecution to stop? They actually find the idea absurd because persecution is the only thing that has strengthened the church and has caused it to flourish, just as it did in the 1st century of the Church. What they ask to be prayed for is that God's grace would help them to endure such trials, not that they would end.

Isn't that a "wow" moment, to know that's how the persecuted Church would want me to pray? I cannot fathom all that they experience. In fact, I fear that I could never remain steadfast if standing in their place.

It makes me feel shame for what I am. How could I even stand shoulder to shoulder with one of those precious Believers, seeing where there faith took them and knowing my greatest trials these days revolve around whether or not I will stick to my diet or feeling sorry for myself because so-and-so hurt my feelings and making a choice to forgive them. I have been very mindful of a verse that my father preached on recently.

You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. Hebrews 12:4 (NKJV)

As Jesus was praying in Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, He agonized so greatly over having to take the sin of the world upon Himself, that He sweat drops of blood. That is true agony. He hates sin that much. The eyes that cannot even look upon sin took all of its shame and wretchedness fully upon Himself. And Hebrews says we have not yet resisted sin to the point of sweating blood out of hatred for our sin. No, I'm very comfortable with my sin and find it's too hard to fight the battle and just give in. God's grace covers it anyway. Right? Wrong thinking. God calls us to holiness. He calls us to deny ourselves. He calls us to be living sacrifices. To strive against sin.

I fear I'll never grow too uncomfortable with my sin because of my culture. I'm surrounded by sensuality, and I'm sickened. As I came home, put on my comfy jammies and grabbed a snack, I decided to just flip on the TV for a few moments before I came to my computer. I only had to watch for 3 minutes, and my eyes and mind were assaulted by the wickedness and lies of our the American culture we are bombarded with constantly. First came a cell phone commercial with some hotshot lady in a (too)short skirt showing me how her life is so free and perfect because she's got just the right phone for all her needs. And I thought about the persecuted Christians on the other side of the globe, who are running for their lives, who have no home because their government would like to snuff them out. But the worst came with a commercial for one of the top-rated TV programs "Desperate-ly Wicked Housewives", in which a woman seductively stood there in her lingerie, among other suggestive clips. This was only a COMMERCIAL. This is the world I live in. Evil. Lustful. Materialistic. Sort of like a dog returning to its vomit. America loves her sin, and Christians wallow in it with her because they love it, too. Why aren't we different?

I want to be different. I want to strive against sin. I may not be facing persecution for my faith tomorrow, but I can deny myself and strive against sin.

Happy Thoughts

I've really been struggling to come up with any interesting things to share here in the last couple weeks.  My little photo journaling project has pretty much fizzled, which is a disappointment.  Not that I'll stop taking pictures, but I just can't find a photo-op every single day.

I was kind of thinking I need to focus on some positives to just keep me going.  So I'm making a list of things in my life right now that bring on happy thoughts.

  • Knowing God is sovereign and in control of every single detail of my life
  • Sara Groves' music
  • My dog
  • Being successful to remain within the boundaries of my First Place diet
  • Singing with Judy
  • Sugar-Free Oreos
  • Oranges
  • Discovering bananas will stay fresh for a week when you put them in a ziploc bag  :)
  • Sunshine
  • Knowing spring is coming to stay any day now

That's my list for the moment.  Feel free to share any of your happy thoughts in the comments below.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Dixie gorgeous

I can't get enough pictures of my Dixie dog.  Isn't she a beauty?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Can Anything Top a Donut?

After struggling for over a month with my First Place commitments, I finally decided to get with the program last Sunday.  Sometimes all it takes it one little conversation to kick your butt.  Ya know?   Like when someone nicknames you "Donut Girl".  {ahem}  Or when the other girls in the program are looking around to see how much visible weight everyone has lost, and you look the same as you did before Thanksgiving. {cough}

Okay, so I got back "with it".  I wrote down my food servings faithfully, and I overcame some serious temptations.  It resulted in a weight loss Saturday, so I felt a celebration coming on.  What's a girl to do to celebrate?  Girl Scout cookies?  NO.  A lovely chocolate-covered yeast donut?  NO.  (gotta lose that Donut Girl moniker)  A steak burger, fries, and large milkshake?  NO. NO. NO.  None of those were options.

So after I went for a much needed visit to the chiropractor, I stopped at Walmart on my way back to town.  I thought a new pair of jeans were in order, since I had one pair that was dying a very painful death.  In a smaller size, of course.

I found these...


Lee Riders Bootcut Mid-Rise Stretch Jeans.  And they are FABULOUS.  In a size smaller than my old ones.  They definitely beat a donut any day.

Monday, March 24, 2008

3/23/08 - The Other Woman

3/23/08 - The Other Woman
Originally uploaded by

I have been informed by my niece that she is going to marry Rich. She insisted on sitting next to him, NOT ME, at Easter dinner yesterday.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Reading Thing 2008

I'm not sure you know this about me, but I love books. Not just the words and information written within their pages, but also the feel of the covers and the smell of the pages. I'm just sort of quirky that way. I would tell you that I love reading, yet it is a discipline and I often start a book only to set it aside somewhere around chapter 3.

I used to read fiction voraciously and loved a trip to the library. I could spend an hour perusing shelves and come home with 7 books that looked interesting, only to read maybe two of them because they turned out to be duds or I just couldn't read fast enough. I admit I do judge a book by its cover.

A few years ago I left fiction behind and started hitting the non-fiction because I saw a need to learn biblical principles. I find that I am much more apt to focus spiritually, if I have a book that keeps reminding me of spiritual truths and helps me chew on them for weeks. Yet I still struggle to stick with this as well, because it really is a discipline to set aside other distractions and sit down to read a chapter.

Being the goal oriented girl that I am, I thought it would motivate me to read more by taking part in the Spring Reading Thing 2008 that is hosted at Callapidder Days, beginning on this first day of spring. It's as simple as making a reading list of books that I would like to read by the end of spring. So here is my reading list:

  • War of Words by Paul David Tripp (non-fiction) - in progress

  • God Is The Gospel by John Piper (non-fiction) - in progress

  • What Jesus Demands of the World by John Piper (non-fiction)

  • Vienna Prelude: Zion Covenant #1 by Brock & Bodie Thoene (fiction) - in progress

  • Prague Counterpoint: Zion Covenant #2 by Brock & Bodie Thoene (fiction)

  • Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser (fiction)

  • Summer of the Midnight Sun: Alaskan Quest #1 by Tracie Peterson (fiction)
Alright. Let's see how far I get on this list.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Lively Rendition

I just can't believe I haven't touched my blog in days. Part of that is due to lack of time and working on other things. So just as a way to perpetuate some activity here, I'm going to be lazy and present a video for your viewing pleasure.

Here is a group that is, in my opinion, the BEST bluegrass has to offer. Check out The Isaacs singing He Ain't Never Done Me Nothin But Good. It is my all-time favorite song. EVER.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Who's That Girl?

3/14/08 - Glasses
Originally uploaded by

Right now what you're looking at is a love-hate relationship. I got new glasses this week, and after wearing them for one day I decided I.HATE.THEM. I am not kidding when I say I had a meltdown, an identity crisis. I believe part of the problem is that I have had the others for at least 3 years, if not longer, and glasses sort of define a person's personality.

When I looked in the mirror, the person looking back just didn't look familiar to me. She seemed very formal, uninteresting, even OLD if I dare say it, with her gold rims and powder pink arms. The other girl in the cool, metallic brown frames used to be fun and sporty (or at least had learned how to be). I don't know who this girl is. People get impressions about you from the way you look. What would they think about me?

I have begged friends and family to tell me they hated them, and no one would assent. No, they were all overly accepting and even flattering over the new look. All I needed was one bad critic, and I was running back to Walmart to return them for a full refund. But no one would give me the satisfaction.

So here we are. Me and my new glasses. We're slowly becoming used to each other, although there are still adjustment issues that must be addressed. I think we're gonna make it, though.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

3/13/08 - Perfect Day

3/13/08 - Perfect Day, originally uploaded by discoveringliz.

What is that big, bright thing up in the sky?'s the SUN!

It has been such a gorgeous day! Nothing but blue skies and sunshine. What a boost to my spirits. Spring is surely on its way.

My thoughts have turned to running again, playing tennis, golfing, long walks, and just being outdoors to breathe fresh air. Warm weather can't come soon enough for me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

3/10/08 - Sick(ening)

3/10/08 - Sick
Originally uploaded by

This is what I was looking at this morning after my weekend of illness. It's what happens when a wife gets a stomach bug for three days and her husband gets a chest cold at the same time. It looks like the clothes hamper threw up, and there's only two of us.

Apparently I am currently wearing a dirty t-shirt and went out in public wearing it. At least it was under my coat. I assumed the husband had been busy helping with laundry this afternoon while I was taking a 3-hour snooze and that the two baskets in the room were clean. So I grabbed a t-shirt out of one of them. Later I found out there was one clean basket and one dirty, and I had not chosen wisely.

I wonder who will be folding?

I thank each of you who expressed get-well wishes for me over the weekend. I think I'm making a comeback.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Still Sick

This is the weirdest virus I've ever had, but as viruses go I'd rather have this than anything else. Since my fever is down today and there's not a lot else to do on a Sunday when you miss church and just don't feel up to much, I decided to watch a movie. I opted for one of my favorites, "Anne of Green Gables". The fever must be getting to me because I teared up when Matthew went to talk Anne into apologizing to Rachel Lynde because he really wanted her to stay and during the hair dye scene when Marilla tells Anne she can stay at Green Gables.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Not Feeling So Well

Hey, guys. I was looking forward to telling you about my lunch date with my sister today with pictures, but about the time I got home this afternoon I started feeling feverish with chills, aches and the feeling that I am quickly fading away.

I don't know what my temp is yet because the dumb thermometer I used is digital, and after it said "OK", then it said, "Lo". It registered 98.8, but I KNOW I feel worse than .2 degrees above normal. I'll have to re-check with the old stand-by.

Rich is gonna head out to the store to find me some Tylenol or something. I just told him to get me one of everything cuz I hate feeling like this.

I'll check in soon.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Little Contemplative...

I've been listening to my new friend, Sara Groves, a Christian artist I recently discovered. I think her music fits well in my life right now with things I'm thinking, feeling, and learning. One of her songs that's where I'm at in this moment is Hello Lord. If you find yourself at the center of making a decision, you might be able to identify with this song. I wish I had a video to share because often the melody helps convey the message, but I couldn't find one. The words will have to do...

Hello Lord, it's me your child. I have a few things on my mind. Right now I'm faced with big decisions, and I'm wondering if you have a minute.

Right now I don't hear so well and I was wondering if you could speak up. I know you tore the veil so I could sit with you in person and hear what you're saying, but right now, I just can't hear you.

I don't doubt your sovereignty, I doubt my own ability to hear what you're saying and to do the right thing,and I desperately want to do the right thing.

Right now I don't hear so well and I was wondering if you could speak up. I know you tore the veil so I could sit with you in person and hear what you're saying,but right now, I just can't hear you.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I think you are telling me to wait, and though patience has never been mine, Lord I will wait to hear from you.

~Sara Groves, "Hello Lord" from Conversations

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

God Is Near

I've been reading again...that War of Words book I've told you about. You'll be happy to know I finished chapter 5 where I've been for the last month. Something author Tripp wrote has really stuck with me, and I have been thinking about it for days.
We, too, forget the presence of a sovereign God and curse our situation and blame the people around us.... The tough neighbor, demanding boss, touchy relative, controlling friend, unthankful child, and the unexpected accident are all tools of sanctification in the hands of our Lord.... I tend to see them as signs that God has forgotten me rather than sure indications that he is near, carefully controlling things for my good. So I fret and complain instead of resting and worshipping. (War of Words, Paul David Tripp, p. 80)

I tend to see them as signs that God has forgotten me rather than sure indications that he is near... That's the part that really struck me, and I've found it to be a comfort as I meditate on it. I want to choose to believe that when I'm being squeezed by a person's harsh word or an unexpected circumstance, God is near. He has created that trial for me in order to change me, and instead of leaving me, He is ever close. He is near.

Then I was reading in Hebrews 12 the other morning and came to verses 5-6 & 11,

My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.... Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

And there I was reminded that discipline and chastening, which are all part of my sanctification, are a demonstration to me that I am His daughter, that I ought not to despise it or become discouraged. It's going to produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness in me. Peaceable fruit.

So the Hebrews passage took me back to Mr. Tripp's statement again. God is near, especially when I'm tested and tried, disciplined and chastened. He wouldn't leave me if He's in the process of changing me because then He wouldn't be sovereign. Rather, He's carefully controlling things for my good. (Tripp)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday ~ Bananas

bananas 2bananas 1


**This post is updated below with my solution to the problem.**

I have got a banana dilemma and a theory. For the "Works-For-Me Wednesday" group I'm posing a question to my readers, and it might be a tough one. I am the only one at my house who eats bananas because Rich won't touch fruit unless it has been juiced or comes in a bottle and called a smoothie. I'd like to eat them just about every day. The problem is if I buy a bunch of 5 bananas, they ripen too quickly before I can ever eat all of them.

So my theory is (because I've thought long and hard about this) the bunch ripens even more quickly as bananas are pulled from the stem. Has anyone noticed this or know it to be a fact? I am not one to pull bananas from a bunch in the produce department, but I know other shoppers do because I've seen one or two lonely bananas lying there. Alone. Helpless. No one choosing them because they look too forlorn, having been separated from their bunch. I believe bananas were meant to travel in their bunch. It's like a buddy system to make their way from the tree to my kitchen counter. But I digress... These are pictures I took of my bunch of 5, which I bought last Thursday. Five days later this is what they look like, and I'm not going to eat them. If you do the math, that means I only got to eat 2.

Anyway, whether or not you pull your bananas off the bunch in the produce department because you want to pick and choose the perfect ones, I want to know how to slow down the ripening process. I want to buy a bunch of 5 bananas and be able to EAT 5 bananas before they turn to mush. Can you help me? What works for you?

**I have taken the suggestion of one of my readers and put my bananas into a zip bag.  It will keep them fresh for a week.  If you want to read another post on this update go here.

3/4/08 - Mailings & More Mailings

3/4/08 - Mailings & More Mailings
Originally uploaded by

When you work in a church office, there are seasons for churchwide mailings - Christmas, Vacation Bible School, Bible conferences and Easter. Of course, when two important events collide in the same month, the workload kicks into double time.

With Easter coming and a missions conference, both within the same month, it's definitely a busy time. We had to put out separate churchwide mailings for both events, plus we had a special mailing for the kids and teens.

I'm very glad that the days of licking envelopes is far behind. These little envelope moistener bottles have to be the best invention for a secretary. I also noticed that the bottle says it's good for sealing up to 1,500 envelopes. I just might use that up by tomorrow. Uh...just kidding about that.

And if you're wondering, "Don't you have a machine that tri-folds all those letters?" Uh's my right and left hands. That's why they pay me the big bucks.

My 10 Favorite Drinks

I thought I'd grab a meme I found today because I just haven't done one of these in weeks, and I know you all miss reading them. So today in participation with the Ten on Tuesday blog, I give you...

My 10 Favorite Drinks (in order):
  1. Tall Non-fat Peppermint Mocha with whip (Starbucks)
  2. Tall Non-fat Raspberry Mocha no whip (Starbucks)
  3. Don Francisco Hawaiian Hazelnut Coffee with hazelnut creamer
  4. Folgers Breakfast Blend coffee with French Vanilla creamer
  5. Sierra Mist Free
  6. Pepsi (I rarely drink it.)
  7. Lemonade
  8. Iced Tea
  9. Nestle Pure Life Raspberry Splash flavored water
  10. Dasani water

Monday, March 03, 2008

3/3/08 - Shall We Gather At The River?

3/3/08 - Shall We Gather At The River?
Originally uploaded by

Being a church secretary I see all sorts of interesting things during office hours. There's a man who lives across the street from the church, who walks his dog every single morning in our parking lot. We have a bus driver who does a turn-around through our parking lot every school day, sometimes giving me a "good morning" wave as we pass when I arrive for work. Such very typical daily happenings.

Once in awhile we have the unexpected, which I guess keeps things exciting. Like the day a baby snake found its way into the foyer, and I had to shoo him out with a broom. {shudder} Or like the day I smelled smoke from the office, only to find a fire had started out back of the parking lot, completely unexplained, and the brush was ablaze. That was our first call to the fire department and something I'd rather not experience again.

Then one day about a month ago, I noticed this scene out back. Geese...everywhere! It looks as if they find our acreage to be a sort of pond to hang out at, a sort of watering hole. They are so curious to me, and I just had to snap a picture today. Unfortunately, this only shows half the gaggle. Isn't that amazing?

The pastor is wondering who's gonna do the clean up come spring, though. Yikes! I don't believe that's in my job description.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Saturday, March 01, 2008

3/1/08 - Friends

3/1/08 - Friends
Originally uploaded by

We had dinner with our friends Mark and Kelli tonight. We rarely spend time with them outside of church functions, so we jumped at their invitation for an evening out.

Mark is my Sunday school teacher and was my first evangelism trainer. He showed me the ropes when it came to sharing the gospel. Kelli is my fellow Awana secretary, and you will sometimes catch us nibbling on Dove bars together when the stress of record keeping becomes too much to bear. We love these people. They're faithful in ministry, they demonstrate true love for each other, and they always encourage my heart.