Thursday, October 30, 2008

His Eye is on My Contact

I've worn contacts for more than 16 years. Never in that time have I ever lost a contact...until about a month ago. I wear gas permeable contact lenses...translation: hard contact lenses. With their light green tint and hard surface, it's difficult to lose them easily even if they pop out. But one fateful night it happened.

It was about a week before my departure for a business trip and I was conducting my nightly routine in the bathroom, which includes the removal and cleaning of my contacts. As I popped out the left contact, it felt as though it was still stuck in my eye. I scurried over to better lighting to see if I could see it in my eye. Not there. Great. Now I've trampled through the house and it's probably lost forever. I shook out my clothes, shook out my rugs, and searched in every nook and cranny as I retraced my steps. Nothing. Sigh.

The next morning in a panic, I called my doctor's office to order a new lens. I was leaving in a week and didn't want to head out of town a cyclops. Sure, I have my glasses, but they aren't optimal for an active life on the go. The nurse assured me I'd have the replacement lens by Friday and so I survived that week with glasses, or one contact. I can function somewhat without my contacts, but only in familiar locations. When I picked up the contact, the nurse said, "Oh I bet you find it when you go home." No way, lady. Not only had it been four days since the escape, but the vacuum had been run since then, surely sucking up the contact remains, if there were any.

I was content and careful now that I was running with both eyes again and in the planning mode for my trip the next week. No time for any other mishaps. On Saturday I had lots of errands to run and laundry to do before my departure. After a busy day on the go, I collapsed in the recliner in my bedroom that night to watch some television before bed. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a shiny object in the carpet right by my bed. Could it be? Surely not. I carefully bent down to pick it up, figuring certainly it was a piece of discardable plastic when lo and behold, my missing contact! After walking over that part of the carpet multiple times since Monday night, this siting of my contact can only be explained by the contact clinging to my clothes as I separated them to do laundry and the lens falling visible on the ground. Or was it something else?

The days leading up to my trip were filled with lots of busyness - preparing presentations at work, taking care of the things in my personal life I'd be away from for the week - causing me to worry and fret. Sure, that contact probably clung to some clothing in my hamper, but I truly believe God had His Eye on that contact. For when I saw that preserved and intact contact shining up at me it was as if God was audibly saying, "If I can protect a silly little contact for almost a week and bring it back to you, can't you trust me with your life?" I can't explain the joy and peace I felt at that moment over the contact discovery. But it was more than a discovery, it was a true revelation of God's Protection and Provision in my life.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" - Matthew 6:25-26

It's amazing how clearly I saw God's Hand on my life when that which helps me to see was lying on the ground.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Table Topics - Birth Order

I'm an only child. For those of you gasping at the horrid thought of that, it truly isn't that bad. Although I'll admit to being spoiled, it wasn't to the stage of rotten-ness. For all the good there is of being an only child there is the bad, but as Popeye would say, "I Yam What I Yam" and proud of it.

I've had lots of discussions lately with various friends and co-workers where this issue has come up. Usually it starts at someone looking at me wide-eyed in disbelief that I survived the horrible world as an only child. Some others are parents of children who confess to other mothers in my presence, "Oh don't let your child be an only" as if it was some sort of ailment. I developed quite well socially, thank you. And, if the worst thing your child encounters is being "a lonely only" then count your blessings. I've even had mothers of only children want to hug me in support of their situation that there is hope for their only children. I heard about an interesting conversation amongst a department at my workplace where the predominant element is only children or mothers of only children. We have a lot of only children that work at my company for the number of employees we have. We only children like to say that is probably because the most creative and intelligent in the world lived life as an only child. But, we're probably biased.

There are positives and negatives with every birth order. First born children are known for their strong-wills and leadership qualities. Middle born children, bless their hearts, are almost on the level with with us only children in reported dysfunction. And, those precious final born children, the babies of the brood, seem to have their issues too. As a fan of Jon & Kate Plus 8, I've noticed their use of birth order with the sextuplets when heading to the doctor or other activities where everyone has to have a turn. Poor Joel is the final born and struggles with being last all the much so Kate has decided to implement reverse birth order.

I found out recently that a couple of my closest friends are expecting - Tracy and Chad, their first, and Ashley and Kyle, their third in three years (God definitely wants them to reproduce!). Immediately some people asked Tracy how many more they would have. In true Tracy fashion, that conversation is not for public consumption, but I have to say that even though I've not had children, I'd not be quick to answer that question either in the midst of my first pregnancy. Although Ashley was a bit overwhelmed at first at the thought of baby three, she quickly recovered given she's been through this twice already; what's one more? But, it did cause her to say that she'd want a fourth eventually so sweet Jane wouldn't be the middle child.

That brings us to today's Table Topic:

Do you think birth order matters? Did your birth order make a difference in your life choices?

No matter whether you are one or one of ten, I'm thankful for every life that is born. My parents tried for almost 20 years to have a child and I'm so glad they never gave up.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

San Francisco Treat

My recent trip to San Francisco was just fabulous. In the midst of political news and economic woes, it was nice to get away from the routine and daily grind of the office. I feel very blessed to have a job I love and work with people I love. It makes work, even with the stresses, loads of fun.

I'll try to recap the trip with the highlights without boring my faithful readers with every gory detail. My flight out to the West Coast was smooth and without delays. Delta is a great airline. Their customer service seems to have improved over the years. There is something special about a little pampering when you are traveling. Speaking of "Smooth," on my flight from Atlanta to San Francisco, I sat next to Carlos Santana's cousin. That's the closest brush to fame I had the whole trip. He lives in Santa Cruz and is a mountaineering guide that takes folks on bear hunts. I asked him if he was involved in music at all and he said, "I have a guitar, but it's still in the case." Guess not.

We stayed at the Sir Frances Drake Hotel, a historic hotel that opened its doors in 1928. It is located right next to Union Square in the heart of the city. The hotel definitely looks like it's been around for 80 years, but they've done a good job keeping it in working order, complete with the costumed doorman. The highlight of the hotel for me? Free Aveda products in the bathroom.

A lot of our trip was spent in meetings at the hotel where we could hear the "ding ding" of the trolley cars every few minutes from the street below. Once our day was complete, most of us either spent the night on the town (not me) or in our hotel room catching up on the work we needed to do (that was me). But, my trip was far from devoid of fun...

On Wednesday, we ended our meeting early to head to Fisherman's Wharf and a cruise on the bay. As we headed to Pier 39, Captian Erik walked up to greet us with a McDonald's bag in one hand and looking like surfer dude Matthew McConaughy. Not really what we expected. But he and the first mate, Heffee (pronounded "Heff-ay") made our trip memorable. It was a beautiful day as we sailed our 41-foot Privateer down the bay, past Alcatraz, past Angel Island, Sausalito, Belevedere, and on to Tiburon where we docked for dinner at Sam's. (Check out the "Sam Cam.") The cruise back was during sunset and the picture above was shot by one of our team members as we cruised past the Golden Gate Bridge. You can see more pictures here. A lot of the sales folks on the cruise do this sort of thing all the time, or live in Northern California. But for me and my team, we all commented multiple times, "Do you realize we are sailing in the San Francisco Bay?" The privilege of doing that made us grateful and thankful. We definitely didn't take this for granted. If you ever want to cruise the Bay, check out Captain Erik's company; they take good care of you.

The final night I was there, we were on our own, and I had a craving to see the ocean. Although the city is hopping 24/7, my love of California is the ocean views. One of my co-worker's Mom came for the trip so they could stay the weekend and the three of us girls had a wonderful dinner at Cliff House Bistro. It was foggy when we got there, so a bit tough to see the ocean, but by the end of dinner, the fog had lifted and I got my ocean fix. Add in a great dinner with two sweet people and a nice debriefing of the week over scrumptious seafood and I was one happy southern belle stuck in this very foriegn land.

There are more OCD tendencies causing me to buy a cell phone charger at the Atlanta airport and almost missing my plane...dinner near the Bay Bridge at Pier 1 at The Slanted humble thankfulness for some great compliments from a respected co-worker...our joke of who we'd save first if the sailboat sank...our jubilant response at the Cincinnati airport to see a Chick-Fil-A and a McDonalds! I'm still a Kentucky girl at heart.

One of my employees experienced his first sales meeting during this boondoggle. I failed to tell him in advance that we all greet each other with hugs and affections much like a family. To a lot of people that may be a surprise, but to us, it's just another day on the job. Yep, I dig my job....totally.