Thursday, April 30, 2009

I worked all night last night and all day today, so I am rather bleary-eyed.

The DVD was not at all what I would have shared, but it was received quite well. Much talking and congratulations and the sort. The concept is not all that bad, but the execution is far, far from professional. Windows Movie Maker is a very frustrating program that does less than I desired.

In the middle of the day, I had to drive 80 miles to fetch the food for the event. Along the way, I came very close to falling asleep behind the wheel. I do not have my regular phone buddy anymore, so I recited verses and counted the number of green cars I saw (17). One the way back, it was all I could do not to pull over and dive into the barbecue in the back the tantilizing smell was so great. It did not help that I went nearly a whole day without eating because I jumped out of bed after sleeping just 3 hours and raced off to work more.

While others where mingling just minutes before the presentation, I was hastily making final changes to the DVD. That's what kind of day it was.

The PowerPoint slide show was really quite good, if I might brag. I created all the slides in InDesign and exported them as JPEGS. Of course, that meant that the file size is nearly 50 Megs. When I have an opportunity to catch my breath, I shall save all the JPEGS to web view using PhotoShop which should drop the file size immensely.

Finally, my other idea for the night was rather popular as well. I took our display panel and covered it with old photographs and news articles, some of them dating back to 1975, when our first project was under development. I just pinned them up with paperclips, as if it were a bulletin board in someone's office. Folks were huddled around it for much of the mingling time. I was trying to emphasize the longevity of our organization and believe the point was made.

Still, I am rather tuckered out after a month of racing toward a deadline. Four times I ended up working all night long. Many a work week exceeded 50 hours. Much juggling of complex and time-consuming tasks.

Kashi and the birdies hardly recognize me!

I think I shall leave all the stuff in the car and just crawl into bed now.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This day has been so long and yet I have more work to do. Feeling rather desparate about how I am to finish, I called Pastor D. Funny, none of our conversations lead where I expect them to, but they continue to give me glimpses into the grace of God.

Tonight's revelation: I am laying down my life for my boss.

That's quite a different perspective that what I have had, struggling with how I feel as if the time I have left with my faculties primarily intact is being wasted.

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." John 15:13

Pastor D explained that laying one's life down does not necessarily mean to die. Each time I set aside my own work and further hers, I am laying down my life. Each time I swallow my hurt at her criticism and respond in kindness, I am laying down my life. Each time I Google something, fetch her lunch, hole punch papers, or type up text for her, I am laying down my life.

What a shift! Truly the conversation sobered me and yet brought such freedom to my heart. I am not a failure professionally, I am actually a success in that I am laying down my life again and again and again. And in doing so I have to opportunity to learning more of God's grace and what it means to be truly humble. Wow. With such a perspective, to gripe about my frustrations at work now seems cheap.

I can hope that with this gift of such insight I might find greater peace with my working situation and bring greater glory to God at the office.

For now, I have many, many hours to go before I can sleep. The movie is not yet finished and the slide show needs a few more tweaks.

Still, I am rejuvenated by such a concept and am thankful for Pastor D and how he patiently shares the Word of God with me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

There was a bit of a Twilight Zone in my abode this evening. How so, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

For the past few days, I have been pantry eating. You know, where you make do with what you have. Lunch today, was half of a can of Trader Joe's stew that has been a long-time tenant in my basement stock of food. When I came home from work, I decided to try and do something different with the slightly wrinkled baby red potatoes that have been in the refrigerator ever since my aborted trip to the cabin.

After layering the bottom of the pan with olive oil, I minced garlic while the olive oil was heating. When it was quite hot, I allowed the garlic to sizzle and added salt and pepper to the olive oil. While the garlic was browning, I sliced the baby red potatoes into round slices just under a 1/4 inch thick. I tossed the potatoes into the pan and spread them out flat and then drizzled them with Balsamic glaze. Once the potatoes had been sauteing for a while, I doused them with sweet white wine and let them cook for a total of about 20 minutes total.

The result? Oh, my, the most perfect potatoes I have ever prepared. They were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Melt in your mouth delicious! I wonder if the fact that they were old contributed to the perfect consistency.

Giddy with my success, I decided to take a stab at boiling some eggs. My desire for deviled eggs outweighing the certainty that I would have egg disaster once more. 10 eggs went into the pot, 3 into the sink (they were cracked). 10 eggs came out of the pot. 9 peeled perfectly. 1 just slightly marred. Flush with triumph, I promptly prepared 5 of the eggs, eating half and setting aside half for lunch at work tomorrow.

Can you believe it? I cooked and had not one, but two true successes!

Now, I should admit that when turning on the stove, I twisted the dial straight past light and on to medium. When I realized what I did, I twisted it back without thinking. Whoosh! I now have no hair on my right arm.

But, really, what does a bit of singed hair matter when my palette was so completely sated this evening?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Last year, Fairfax County actually increased the value of my property even though the neighborhood values have plummeted. [Houses are selling at half the value they did two years ago.] By the time I figured out how to protest and ask for a reevaluation, it was past the time that I could do so.

My mortgage was increased.

This year, my tax value was lowered by $70,000. So, for sure I thought that my mortgage rate would at least drop back down to what it was the year before last. However, Fairfax County announced its tax rates for 2009 and they are MUCH HIGHER than last year.

My mortgage is increasing it has EVERY SINGLE YEAR due to taxes.

Fairfax County is the GREEDIEST county on the planet!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

So, here I am, with a finished draft of both the DVD and the Slide Show. I have a working draft of the program. I've completed and printed the name badges. And now need to apply the edits to the DVD and Slide Show, finish the program, and create a Scrap Book Display of old photos and articles. No problem, eh?

I worked 11 hours yesterday and 8.5 hours today. Where did the weekend go?

I did try to mow, but my lawn mower decided to break after just a quarter of the job being completed. I finished with my weed-whacker (I guess it is a good thing I have so much dead yard) and am just so completely discouraged that the lawnmower broke. The first one lasted 5 years. This one a mere two.

I could try and get it repaired, but the cost of doing so would almost certainly exceed replacing the darned thing.

Oh how I wish I had a male in my life who was willing to tinker on things for me!

Truly, I am very, very discouraged to have to shell out funds for a new lawnmower... But my arms are still trembling so much from holding the weed-whacker that I cannot even hold a glass to drink my Gatorade. I do not believe I should use that method again.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

I am a horrible Doggy Momma.

For several months now, I have been putting milk in Kashi's dinner. A nice treat, eh?

Well, I am so exhausted that I did not pay careful attention whilst preparing his meal last night. A short while after consuming it, he began throwing up. After the third time, I started to panic. After the fifth time, I was ready to scoop him up and take him to the (very expensive) emergency animal clinic.

I was cleaning up the sixth mess when I finally noticed the fetid odor wafting toward my face as I bent over to scrub the rug. The smell bothered me, not for how foul it was, but for the fact that the times he has regurgitated his food because he ate too fast it did not smell.

Suddenly realizing what had happened, I jumped up and raced over to the refrigerator. After popping off the top of the milk container, I took a big whiff...and coughed and sputtered. It was rather spoiled. I couldn't believe I failed to notice that when I prepared his food.

Kashi was sick to his stomach a total of eleven times. As the night wore on, what he deposited on the carpet grew smaller, but my poor puppydog was just plain miserable.

It was about four in the morning before I was certain he had expelled all the offending matter within him.

Getting out of bed for work was quite difficult this morning, but I was most glad to be awakened by the crunching of Kashi enjoying a post-dawn snack.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I am working on the DVD.

Again, Spielberg should NOT be worried about his job.

This week has already proven to be crazy busy, and I foresee only being more so until after the event on the 30th and the newsletter mailing. Perhaps then, the third week in May, things might become more manageable.

I guess it is good I have little else in my life save for my pets.

Last night--really early this morning--I found myself putting together a new bird cage for Fancy, Smokey, and Madeleine.

One of the four plastic protrusions that hold the bottom of the cage to the top broke off a while ago. I think when I was carting it back and forth. Once the weight of seed shells and such gets to be too much, the bottom falls off. The birds fly across the room. Kashi started barking. And I have a colossal mess to clean up. I have tried to stay ahead of the weight problem, but I don't do a perfect job of monitoring.

When I was off from work in March, I spent some time researching bird cages and discovered a new system that has a seed guard built into the cage. The theory sounded good. However, I find that I sort of resent having to spend so much money on a bird cage. The best price I found was $119 plus 19.99 shipping. Plain cages are not much better. Many cages are two and three times that price...even nearing $1,000 if you get into the California cages. While the California cages are quite substantial, most bird cages are just thin, lightweight metal and plastic. After all, that protrusion was probably a mere 8th of an inch of plastic.

I tabled the idea because I just don't really need to be spending extra money just now. However, two things happened to change my mind: 1) a second protrusion broke and I had to jury rig a solution that included two ring clasps, which make cleaning the cage that much harder and 2) I spotted the very cage I was Googling at my local Petco for a bargain basement $79.

The cage has been sitting on the floor since Thursday. Kashi barks at it. I trip over it. But I've been too busy to do anything about it. So last night, after another fumbling attempt to work on the DVD, I decided to tackle transferring all the perches and such from the old cage to the new one. This time, I was up until the sun began peeking out because of my own darned fault.

My house is a mess. My laundry is piling up. The only real things I have done outside of work is mow the grass, replace the outlet cover (with a shield) on the GFIC circuit outside, and replace the pump on the fountain. I felt guilty about taking the time to do the last two, but an unfortunate electrical meltdown due to rain coming in the old leaky cover fried the pump and hearing the fountain does bring a bit of peace to my world. I was at Lowe's with my boss, so the only real time was the repairs...which I ended up doing late at night with a flashlight and would not recommend repeating when caulk is involved.

I have only worked and slept and worked more for the past few weeks, but I did want to take care of this only because I was loathe to clean up another mess and hoped, rather fervently, that the seed guard system would make for a cleaner floor. [I very much enjoy having two new birds, but I have despaired a bit at the exponentially greater mess three birds generate over just one.]

Well, as I have alluded, the process took far longer than I even anticipated. I had not realized that I had seven wooden perches, two upper food cups, two cuttle bone holders, three curved ladders, three dangle chews with bells, one plain bell, one fuzzy snuggle, one wooden ladder, two rope perches, one lava beak rub, three bars, and three millet clips. Needless to say, removing them, cleaning them, and then putting them on the new cage was time consuming. I also had to figure out (three unsuccessful attempts before victory) how to shorten the interior chain to compensate for the fact that the new cage sticks out further from the wall due to the seed guard and I was not about to remove the hollow-wall-toggle-bolt-hooks screwed into the ceiling. [In case you are wondering, it required three lengths of chain to be removed.]

I believe it is important to note that the bottom of the cage is secured by no less than 10 latches! One could fail on each side and I believe the bottom would still remain attached to the cage!

The new cage also has a peaked roof, which means that the ladders I put back on top are even higher than they were on the old one. Fancy, Smokey, and Madeleine are most happy about that. They always bicker over who gets the highest perch atop the cage and only sleep on the uppermost perches on the inside the cage. I do have to step on a stool to put the millet up now, but I don't really mind the extra effort.

Why, do you ask?

Well, I know it is far too early to be claiming victory over mess, but I am fairly sure that the advertising about the seed guard system was not bunk. The Victorian record cabinet beneath the cage is still clean after clearing the top off when I hung the new cage. The towel beneath the cage is not yet covered in droppings and food scraps. And the floor from the door to the stairs to the green chair to the coat rack is wonderfully, relatively clean!

I did discover something a bit funny this evening when standing on a stool to hang the Momma-come-home-millet spray that now goes with the Momma-come-home-doggy-bone, being eye-to-eye with the birds. Smokey was trying to make his way across the top of the cage, but kept sliding down the peaked slope! I cracked up laughing watching him. He would slip and slide, climb back up and move over, and slip and slide again. This is a learning curve for the birdies that I had not anticipated!

Still, they seem to enjoy the new home and there are three vertical bars across each side of the roof for them to grasp. I moved the wooden ladder so that it now lies across one side of the roof. That way, they have more substantial vertical grips...and the three curved ladders...and two perches. They'll be fine, eh?


Back to the grindstone...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Oh, my! This week is done!

We did manage to get all three grants in, as well as some strategic planning documentation and an ad (design and submission). So, personally, the utter dearth of sleep was worth it to demonstrate that value-added factor as an employee!

Well, really and truly, this week is not done in that I have four tasks I would like completed before next week starts. They are all things I can do in my pajamas, watching NASCAR or something. Although, actually, for all I say that I enjoy watching the crashes, I usually find myself sleeping through the middle part of the race. Perhaps if I were to tape NASCAR and replay it at night, I would find it easier to fall asleep.

I have far, far too many things on my mind of late. The time it takes for me to drop off after closing my eyes has grown to oft nearly two hours. That is rather disconcerting to say the least. Although, the battle to quiet my mind has afforded me quite an opportunity to pray about those things, those I love, and the concerns I have for this world, for our future as a human race.

On the Sci-Fi shows I enjoy watching--those that always seem to have some examination of the human condition--many times there is an ancient or older race who looks upon humans as children, hardly fit to be about in the universe, not ready for the things in which they are engaged.

On many fronts, I would completely agree. We may think that we are beyond the or the cruelty of the Holocaust, but truly we are not. We kill children and leave them in suitcases. We see disaster as a prime opportunity to bilk everyone from the government on down to the victims who have lost everything. Not only adults, not even teenagers, but even children maim, rape, and murder. We lie. We cheat. We steal. We call it doing business. And we harbor our hurts and our anger as if they are precious commodities, flinging them at others as if it is our inalienable right, telling them how they should be, how they have wronged us, rather than walking in forgiveness. We label people as their mistakes, their failures, their shortcomings. We see them as not being who we think they should be instead of accepting them for who they are. We walk in judgment, rather than love. We fail to see the truth of our world because we prefer the cheap veneer. And we are unwilling to sacrifice a moment of pleasure or ease to preserve the gift of our planet.

Alas, such a tirade is that. Is is because I am tired from lack of sleep or is it because I am tired from the stories of murder and destruction and corruption that are utterly ubiquitous these days?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My dear friend T was threatened at her job.

A student announced his intentions to bring his father's gun to school and blow her face off. He has been increasingly violent of late and sexually aggressive with his classmates. She and her teaching aids have all taken to walking on eggshells around him to minimize his outbursts.

He is 5 years old.

He is 5 years old and she is afraid of him and it hurts her heart.

I would be afraid. I would be afraid of him and what he could do and what his parents might do. They do not wash him or send good food for his lunches. They were angry about having to collect him from school after the threat. Retaliation is a very real danger here.

Yet, I am more afraid because her supervisor dismissed the threat and enjoined her to try to be a bright spot in the child's life. The social worker excused his behavior because he comes from a bad home.

A five-year-old who is sexually aggressive to children and adults is a 5-year-old who is being sexually abused himself. The filth and famine are abusive as well. The violence has been noted in his chart. Yet, the whole attitude is "what can we do?"

I ache for T because of her anguish. I worry for her safety. I am angry for the child because he is need of help in so very many ways, but what he receives are absent parents and empty platitudes. I worry for his safety.

Yet, even more, I fear for our society, a society who could look on something so wrong and simply shake its head. Children should be valued if for nothing else save for the fact that they are our future. They are the ones who will be running our country when we are no longer capable of doing so.

Yes, children are resilient. If that were not so, this poor little boy would not have survived his life thus far. However, such neglect only sets him up for failure, but also limits him to a life of violence and neglect. How can he thrive in such soil?

He is but one small step away from doing something that cannot be excused away. He is already terrorizing his female classmates and his teachers. At 5. What will he be doing at 10? 15? 25?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I am at 40 hours for the week and am not even close to being done for the day. SIGH. Still, things are being crossed off my list!

I stole a few minutes to watch this clip that I heard about and then ended up watching it four more times with tears streaming down my face. All the cliches apply: don't judge a book by its cover; beauty is on the inside; it's never too late to dream...

Susan Boyle cared for her mother until she died at 91. She's had challenges and disappointments, and like so many people, is currently unemployed. Yet she dared to try to be something she's longed to be.

Watch this and be inspired!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It has been a crazy two days.

I am stealing some time from work, even at this hour, but I wanted to write about what happened this evening.

I worked until 5 AM this morning, slept until 2:00, went to work at 3:00, and just arrived home a while ago to finish up in my pajamas. I am a bit bleary-eyed and yet have to persevere because there is a prodigious amount of work that must be completed by April 30th.

My boss and I went to work at a restaurant so that we could eat and get away from the interruptions at the office. What we encountered there was worse.

This family came in after we had been working for about an hour--a man, a woman in a wheelchair, and a young girl, who was perhaps 9 or 10.

Something was said as they came in and the girl started crying. The man grabbed her by the arm and dangled her off the ground, yelling at her to stop crying. He then shoved her into a booth and continued to berate her and threaten her until she managed to stop crying.

For the next half hour, he was an utter brute to her and her mother. He called the woman ignorant and stupid and useless. He called the girl ugly and bucktooth and stupid and useless as well. Non-stop was his filth littered across their hearts during the whole meal.

My boss and I found it difficult to work and we whispered about what we could do. I confess, I was afraid to step in because of worry about retaliation. However, no one ever stepped in for me as a child. I couldn't let the moment pass.

After walking outside, I called the police, who managed to arrive just as the family was leaving. But the outcome was not near what I had hoped for.

The police asked the woman if she was okay, offered her help, and then lectured the man. That was it. While a report will be filed, I am fairly sure nothing more will be done. After all, the policeman told me that sometimes people don't understand discipline.

While I am worried that the man might have punished the woman and the girl once they went home, I am glad that they know that others found his behavior unacceptable. It was disheartening to know the mother was willing to lie to the police about how the man was treating her daughter.

He did not help the woman in or out of the door or in or out of the booth. He just stood and watched her struggle. The girl stood aside and watched as well, but it was clear she was afraid of what would happen should she assist her mother.

It turns out that a social worker in the booth next to me, who had arrived on the scene later, was increasingly uncomfortable as well. She did not see the physical violence, but the bullying and berating was making her extremely uncomfortable and she was on the verge of calling for help when I did.

She, too, was disappointed that such a cursory attempt was made to help the child.

What a life that little girl must be living. If that was the kind of attention she receives in public, what horrors must she face in private?

Will you pray for her this day?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy B-Day W!

Tonight's service was a vigil. The focus was on the life of God before the death of His son, the live displayed in the Old Testament to the New.

We read, in entirety, the seven passages below. This was a refreshing change from services I encounter most these days where scripture is almost an afterthought, a brief reading at the beginning, a few mentions in the sermon. This was a great opportunity to reflect upon what God has done for us from the beginning of time.

First Reading: The Creation (Genesis 1:1~2:2)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

Second Reading: The Flood (Genesis 7:1-5; 8:6-18; and 9:8-13)

Then the LORD said to Noah, "Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time. "You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female; also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth. "For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made." Noah did according to all that the LORD had commanded him.

In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights.

On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark, they and every beast after its kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, all sorts of birds. So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life. Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the LORD closed it behind him. Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth. The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water.

Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land; but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself. So he waited yet another seven days; and again he sent out the dove from the ark. The dove came to him toward evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth. Then he waited yet another seven days, and sent out the dove; but she did not return to him again.

Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. Then God spoke to Noah, saying, "Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons' wives with you. "Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth." So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him.

Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, "Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth." God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.”

Third Reading: The Testing of Abraham (Genesis 22:1-18)

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you." Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." And he said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." So the two of them walked on together.

Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am. "He said, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, "In the mount of the LORD it will be provided. "Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, "By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

Fourth Reading: Israel's Deliverance at the Read Sea (Exodus 14:10~15:1)

As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, "Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? "Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."

But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. (The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent."

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. "As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land. "As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. "Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen. "The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea. At the morning watch, the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from Israel, for the LORD is fighting for them against the Egyptians."

Then the LORD said to Moses, " Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen." So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh's entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained. But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses.

Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said,
I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted;
The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.

Fifth Reading: Salvation Offered Freely to All (Isaiah 55:1-11)

"Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost.
"Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in abundance.
"Incline your ear and come to Me
Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
According to the faithful mercies shown to David.
"Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
A leader and commander for the peoples.
"Behold, you will call a nation you do not know,
And a nation which knows you not will run to you,
Because of the LORD your God, even the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you."
Seek the LORD while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the LORD,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Sixth Reading: Jonah Preaches to Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-10)

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you." So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days' walk. Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, "In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. "But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. "Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish."

When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

The Seventh Reading: The Fiery Furnace (Daniel 3:1-30)

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent word to assemble the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces were assembled for the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the herald loudly proclaimed: "To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. "But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire." Therefore at that time, when all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

For this reason at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and brought charges against the Jews. They responded and said to Nebuchadnezzar the king: "O king, live forever! "You, O king, have made a decree that every man who hears the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe and all kinds of music, is to fall down and worship the golden image. "But whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. "There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up."

Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? "Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?" Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."

Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He answered by giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. He commanded certain valiant warriors who were in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in order to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire. Then these men were tied up in their trousers, their coats, their caps and their other clothes, and were cast into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. For this reason, because the king's command was urgent and the furnace had been made extremely hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, "Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?" They replied to the king, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!" Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!" Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire. The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king's high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them.

Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king's command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God. "Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap, inasmuch as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way." Then the king caused Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego to prosper in the province of Babylon.

We finished with a service of baptismal remembrance, with a corporate confession of what we renounce and what we believe, a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, and a final reading from the Gospel of Mark, 16:1-8

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. "But go, tell His disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.'" They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


Friday, April 10, 2009

I was talking with a friend this evening about how much she doesn't like to celebrate Easter...really any holiday.

It is not that the celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is not important to her, but really, we ought to be celebrating that each and every day, right?

The big dinner and lots of people is what she eschews. Since her mother's death ten years ago, she is not interested in those family holidays. They are a stark reminder of what she has lost. Grief is a harsh companion at times for her. I don't really blame her and completely understand.

Her husband and his family do not.

Before she married him, she told him how she felt. He said it did not matter, but yet the week leading up to every holiday--seven years into the marriage--is filled with phone calls, emails, and texts about plans. Plans for what she is going to cook, what she wants to do, who is coming. Every holiday. Every year.

Years ago...MANY years ago...I saw a Mork and Mindy episode when Mork was asking Mindy why people were so mean. She replied that it is easier to make fun of that which is different from you than to try to understand it. She said this was particularly so with people. But she told Mork that different was only different, not better or worse.

She could have added that not only do you get made fun of for being different, you also are more likely to spend your life with people trying to make you like what they think you should be--usually more like them. Instead of allowing my friend to spend her holidays in silent reflection, her family forces her to do something she hates or punishes her if she dares to try to abstain from the celebration. How is that love?

It seems as if only in Hollywood or in books is a person allowed to be different and actually accepted--sometimes even celebrated--for who he/she is.

Unfortunately, judgment of difference extends to so very many areas in our society, even church.

Earlier this evening I attended a darkness service, which was a first for me. The service focuses on the suffering of Christ and the last seven things He said. It was filled with scripture reading, hymns, prayers, meditations, and extinguishing of candles. Yes, extinguishing, not lighting. One for each "word" of Christ. As we read and prayed and sang, the lighting in the room was lowered as well. The whole liturgical service was practically drenched in symbolism.

I joke with Pastor D that I need another degree to follow the liturgical services he leads. He always returns with a quip about providing a tutor any time I want. Yet, until I met him, I never realized that it is actually possible to worship through liturgy, that speaking and chanting and praying corporately can have great value in one's faith.

I know someone who would never step foot in Pastor's D's church specifically because of his use of liturgy. I keep thinking of what he would miss.

Now, I am not much drawn to churches that use the speaking of tongues or dance, but I have attended them when the offer arose. I also am very much not interested in churches with bands. Primarily this is because the loud music hurts my ears. Years ago, I spent a whole Degarmo and Key concert in the lobby waiting for the rest of my church group. I couldn't understand a word that was being said and my sternum was vibrating in time with the bass, so I retreated to a quieter place until it was over. This was before MS. Now, I cannot stand to be in a car with the windows down when wind buffets and vibrates. I have a "moon" roof that I cannot open because of how much it disturbs my ears. Yet, physical issues aside, I do know that many worship through rock in a way I do not.

I do wonder if, perhaps, sometimes the rock becomes the focus instead of the words, but who am I to judge that? What I do "judge" is whether or not the bible is the source of knowledge, if Christ is the focus of worship, and if the church is mission-minded and prayer-filled.

But, then again, I have spent so little time in church over the past few years. I have been going to bible study, sometimes twice a week, but not church. I am tired and hurt more in the mornings. By the weekends, I just want to fill up on enough rest to make it through the week. I know not really finding a church home since I moved here plays a large part in my dearth of attendances, but were I less tired, I would probably be dragging myself to Pastor D's church on Sundays.

I am not a Lutheran. I do not really understand closed communion. I stumble and fumble and bumble through set liturgy. Yet I crave and savor the worship that takes place within the walls of his it in a building or in someone's house or even in a laundry mat.

Of course, it should be noted that this diatribe on celebrating difference comes from someone who decidedly does not fit any definition of normal. I would just challenge you to consider your response next time you encounter a family member, friend, or stranger who does not fit into the mold you created for them...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I thought I should admit that I got an answer from the physical therapy. It just wasn't one I wanted.

After far too many of the torture sessions, I stopped going once the original therapist I was seeing left for another clinic. I was planning to try another therapist, but then all the bills were rejected by the insurance company. I was overwhelmed by the total sum wanted by the clinic and the rounds of phone calls with the insurance company. It admitted that I did indeed go to a clinic that was on a list of authorized facilities, but still the bills were not resolved...nor have them been to date.

I stopped primarily because I am absolutely convinced that traction was the worst option for me. It made my back far worse and the time I spent in the machine was so painful I could barely keep from crying out. I have a very high threshold for pain. Trust me, it was bad.

MS pain is varied and oft strange. For example, one type of pain is called girth pain. It is a pressure pain, as if a band is being squeezed about the part of you that is hurting. If you don't understand the pain, I just don't think you can treat it properly.

But I must acknowledge that it was the therapist who discovered that my abdominal muscles were absolutely "quiet." That is to say they just were not working, affecting my back and my legs.

Although I quit the therapy, I did not cease the abdominal exercises the therapist laid out for me save for the week in March when I was off from work and ended up sleeping round the clock much of the time. She even taught me some exercises I can do in bed.

I hate them. They hurt. I already hurt every day. Why in the world would I continue something that hurts as well?

I do because she was right in that if my abdominal muscles could work even some better, my back would be better. I can sit longer without pain. I can stand longer without pain. I still grow tired equally quickly, but the pain in my lower back does not.

Exercising is horrible because of the muscular weakness. I start trembling immediately. I go to failure after just a few repetitions. Breathing becomes difficult. I get dizzy with all that movement. Exercising my stomach muscles makes my back seize up in excruciating pain after a while. Strange, the latter. But I can sit and stand longer without pain. I can and that is enough to keep me trying....

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Fancy is making progress, but it sometimes feels like she takes one step backward for every two forward.

She is grumpy and clingy and not very happy. She eats constantly, but is still underweight. Her feathers are growing in, but that is part of the problem. Metabolically, that is. Birds regularly molt, but not nearly a whole wing all at once.

I wonder if it is like teething because her wing seems to be hurting her again. We started back the pain medication, but getting it down her beak is rather stressful to Fancy. She just doesn't seem to understand I am trying to help her.

The silly bird has also not gotten it through her thick head that she can no longer fly. So, she regularly falls off the cage. I have added to the pile of blankets, towels, and coats because Fancy invariably landed in a place that had a thin covering. Twice she has bled again, but I hope we are past that now that sufficient padding is in place.

Nearly three weeks have passed and yet we have such a long way to go before she is healthy. I keep trying to figure out how long I have had her. At least six years, but I think eight. In any case, it has been a long while her being my good companion. I don't want to lose her.

NOTE: Kashi believes the piles of cloth are for him and has taken great pleasure in making beds beneath the cage. He makes them. I unmake them. He makes them again. A tenacious dog he is!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

For someone who is extremely sensitive to heat, I apparently cannot tolerate cold either. Well, let me rephrase that. I cannot tolerate cold in my house when it is also cold outside.

We have had roller coaster weather of late. Near freezing. Near sweltering. Near freezing.

What I have discovered is that if it 68 in my house and it is cold outside, I grow so chilled that my hands and feet and nose turn icy cold and I shiver deep within. Just about anyone who knows me would be in disbelief if they walked into my house right now. The thermostat is set at 78, and I wouldn't mind a few more degrees of heat. I am trying to restrain myself.

Funny that a person who panics when the thermostat reaches 72 in fear of the shakes, weakness, and cognitive dysfunction that will surely follow should the temperature raise any higher is actually ROASTING herself in the house these days.

Now, when it was sweltering outside yesterday, it was all I could do not to switch on the air-conditioning. I was trying to avoid doing so for the cold front that was due back here starting today. Seriously, we a have freeze warning tonight. What temperature did my thermostat read that gave rise to that cooling impetus? 72 degrees!

So, 72 in cold weather is too cold and 72 in warm weather is too warm...

Do you think my own internal thermostat is broken?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sugarland won ACM's Duo of the Year award Woo Hoo! And, of course, they had the best performance of the evening.

Jeff Gordon snapped his rather long losing streak in the Texas NASCAR race.

Fancy has 18 feathers (that I can count) growing in on her injured wing.

Kashi has stopped chewing on his foot.

I prepared a new dish, chicken stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese and sauted with herbs de Provence, with roasted yukon potatoes on the side.

A day of good things...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

My brother rejected the joint ownership agreement I sent him to resolve the matter of the house that I sent him a month ago. I threw-up reading his email. I guess because I know it means that my only recourse is to file a lawsuit at the sale, if I can get him to agree to an offer. My own stupidity at not realizing what having him and my father on the title really meant is growing daily. I wish I were uncaring enough to just walk away from the house. There is no equity in it right now, but I know that eventually the market here will recover. I also know that I am the one who would be ultimately punished for such an action since the bank would go after me and my credit would take the hit. I cannot even begin to write, to say, how incredibly foolish and ashamed I feel over this whole matter.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Yesterday morning, we had a birthday celebration at work first thing in the morning. The announcement said it would be a breakfast, so I skipped mine and came to work rather hungry.

The options were yogurt with ingredients I am allergic to, donuts, and cake. I had two donuts, a bit of icing from a friend's plate, and a Dr. Pepper.

I have ignored the whole diabetes question because 1) I don't wish to even think about the possibility and 2) my doctor left the country without ever really following up on the matter. However, I think, perhaps, that was not the best course of action.

I felt so horrible from the morning sugar fest that I couldn't think straight. My boss plied me with protein and lots of water until I felt better and made sure I got home safely. I ate vegetables and protein and salad for dinner last night and downed more water. I still feel strange today.

For example, I had milk and low-fat yogurt for breakfast and a burrito and water for lunch and then felt as if I had not eaten just two hours later. I was trembling and weak and hollow.

I ate chicken and salad tonight for dinner tonight and am hoping if I avoid sugar for a short while longer (I greatly miss Dr. Pepper) and keep focusing on protein and salads and vegetables, then I can past whatever I triggered by my sugar fest.

It is with great sadness that I feel as if Krispy Kreme should never again be part of my diet!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I had a remembering victory today:

I have been working on a shopping list since I returned home from the cabin. To help me remember what I need, I placed a sticky note on the bathroom mirror and put a pencil in one of the toothbrush slots. As I get ready in the mornings for work or prepare for bed at night, I added items that I need.

As Cousin D put it, I was not even a couch potato last week. I was a spud. So, I had no desire to get dressed enough to venture outside to the store. Hence, the intense commitment to creating the list.

Of course, the value in a carefully crafted list is actually taking the list to the store with you. I forgot it. However, I managed to purchase all but two items that I had written down. In addition to that cognitive feat, I actually managed to remember to get a food cover for the microwave!

When Bettina was here over New Year's Eve, a few things were broken/ruined. That was one of them. [Note: It is not a healthy practice (pun intended) to cook microwave popcorn on top of plastic.] I have very much needed that cover many a time since then, but could not remember to purchase one the 1,001 times I have been in Target since the beginning of the year.

Today, one found its way into my shopping cart and came home to reside in my microwave and I didn't even have to chant "microwave food cover, microwave food cover" the whole time I was in the store.

A genuine victory!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bettina's husband's step-father passed away yesterday. I cannot fathom how his mother is doing, having watched his battle with breathing for a long time now. I imagine that it is difficult, having been brave enough to love and trust again after being divorced, to lose her spouse, when they still had a so very much living to do.

My thoughts and prays are with you and your mother, G. May God's grace and peace sustain you both.