Friday, March 30, 2012

Five Minutes: Gift

Each week Gypsy Mama chooses a word to write about for five minutes. No editing, stream of consciousness. Today's word is: Gift.

Ready. Set. Write.

Of all of the love languages, gifts isn't at the top of my list. Oh, don't get me wrong, I love getting gifts, but my idea of those are different than most. You see, I'm a practical kind of girl and a gift card to Amazon, Starbucks or Qdoba makes me one happy camper.

This past Christmas I received some of the coolest gifts. The Roederers gave me a Keurig coffee maker! It left me speechless (which is a tough thing to do). But for this coffee lover, having the ability to make myself a cup at a time is glorious. Then, my friend, Christie took me to see the Broadway production of Mary Poppins for Christmas. The production just came to town two weeks ago, so the gift was later in coming but oh, so much fun! I love the theater and would take a gift like that any day. Then, to make the Keurig even better, my friend, John, sent tons of K-Cups as a Christmas gift. I may not have to buy coffee for months!

Gifts that are practical are just as sweet as elaborate expensive gifts to me. Gifts of spending quality time with my friends mean even more. I am longing to spend time with friends I haven't spent time with in weeks....and some for months. It aches my heart. Being with my friends is the most wonderful gift.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chim, Chim, Cheree and Hoop-De-Do

As I'm oft to do, I'm filling a blog post with my random thoughts and happenings over the past few weeks...

I saw Mary Poppins, the Broadway production, at the Kentucky Center for the Arts a couple of weekends ago, thanks to my good friend and NOK (Next of Kin), Christie. Knowing my love for the theater, she gave me this outing for Christmas and it was the perfect gift for me. Lest you think it's just for kids, oh no. The performance is quite a spectacle. My favorite part was the chimney sweep dance to "Step in Time." One of the chimney sweeps literally walked up the wall and upside down on the ceiling. The biggest win of the night was no traffic hassles and great parking given the UK Wildcats were playing two blocks away in the NCAA Tournament. We even scored parking for $6 instead of $20 because we didn't pre-pay and left long after the last game ended at the YUM Center. God loves me, this I know.

Speaking of the NCAA Tournament games, it's like Derby week here in Louisville as the is about to be played Saturday evening. The Final Four match up of the Louisville Cardinals....surprised to be in the Final Four...and the Kentucky Wildcats...who was the #1 seed in the tournament overall. To explain the magnitude of this game would take hours, but you have the former UK coach (Pitino) going up against the top-seeded Wildcats with an underdog team for bragging rights in the State until the next Final Four match up or until Jesus comes, whichever comes first. Literally, this game is like the greatest 40 minutes in sports for 2012, if not the century. Thankfully, I like both teams and will be happy that one of them will get to the championship game. Most people think I'm nuts for not standing firm in the blue or red, but I've always loved purple best.

Speaking of God loves me, this I know, we had our annual women's conference last weekend at my church. Heather Moore, a former member and friend, spoke during the weekend on some very pointed topics that were so needed. I'll be is going at a fast pace and I needed a shot of some good spiritual nourishment and it was right on time. One of the ladies in my Bible study I lead said last night "we need to do that every weekend!" Yes, that would be amazing but it would also kill our conference team. We love them and don't want that to happen.

Speaking of killing, I've started The Hunger Games. I caved under the pressure after hearing great things about it and decided that for $5 on my Kindle, it was worth it. I have gotten through the first chapter and anxious to read more if I can just find some time to do so. Life is just so busy that I need a good few hours to curl up in my recliner, but the odds have not been in my favor.

Speaking of crazy, my job is crazy busy and I'm seeking 3 new hires for my team. I had one person on board who never showed up - but that's another blog post for another day. With all the craziness, we laugh a lot. Wait, a ton. I've always said my office is a dead ringer for The Office and it just keeps proving that theory more and more. Some of the humor is lost on those of you outside our walls, but some is worthy of sharing and just flat hilarious. The latest humor happened this week. We all receive an email about a new service starting this Wednesday called "Waiter on Wheels." You log on to our corporate site for the 'virtual cafeteria' and you can order your lunch to be delivered. You have to pay for it, of course, but it provides the perk of delivery and probably discounted food given it's a corporate plan. All excited about the food perk, I log on the site and start to see the bevy of restaurant choices when I realize that the service isn't available in our area. It's only available for the corporate office in northern California. I emailed our admin at corporate to inquire if maybe the service was expanding. She replied that we weren't supposed to get the email and they are working on perks like this for the remote offices. Well, that's a fail. Thank goodness we still have free soft drinks.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Five Minutes: Brave

Each week Gypsy Mama chooses a word to write about for five minutes. No editing, stream of consciousness. Today's word is: Brave.

Ready. Set. Write.

If I play word association, when I say brave, I respond with "soldier." If it's the Sunday School version of word association, I respond with "David" as in David and Goliath. These are my first thoughts when I hear brave.

But truly, people that I see as brave are not always the warriors, or young boys with smooth stones and a slingshot. They are people who face the troubles of life boldly and with bravery...and with the strength of Christ. Just to name a few....

Jenna...a sweet 30-something Mom of 3 battling pancreatic cancer and through the trauma and sickness of treatments continues to face the situation with hope and a praise to her God. The McLean family...their 3-year old son Nathan was diagnosed with neuroblastoma a few years back and walked a journey no parents would ever want to walk. He has been cancer free for quite a while and growing into a miracle of a boy. I could go on...a father who is left with his 3 children while his wife moves on deciding she doesn't want to be married anymore....a man suffering from financial distress because of a tough divorce from a woman who turned from following God. On and on I could go. Stories of bravery. On the battlefield of life.

This my friends, is what bravery truly is.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Eleven Things - Part Two

As promised, I'm doing part two of Katrina's blog post challenge. My first one was over a month ago, so I'm a bit slow, but hey, Katrina hasn't posted since, so I don't feel so bad. I've amended the rules a bit since I have a rebel streak. So here are the second half of the eleven questions. I suppose I should rename this 22 Things, but I digress. If you are looking for some fun content to fill your blog, feel free to take on the challenge yourself...

1. If you won a gift certificate good for a year’s service from either a maid or a private chef, which one would you choose?
I would probably choose the private chef. The main reason being I'd have a year of healthy cooking 24/7, which would probably help in my constant pursuit of losing weight. Plus, I could have dinner parties that looked professional.

2. Name something you’ve done that was totally out of character for you.
Hmm, some things I prefer not to publicize in a blog post. But, I aspire to do a lot of things most people would think are out of character for me -- get a henna tattoo -- do karaoke -- take a road trip and have no reservations anywhere and just stay where I can (those who know my planner side, know this is quite out of character for me). I'd like to say that I'll do one or more of those this year.

3. Imagine we discovered a life-sustaining planet and a way to get there in a five year space journey. If invited to go, would you be willing to leave behind your life on Earth to explore a new world? (Your family can go with you, of course.)
Eh, depends on what I know about this "new world." My life is pretty adventurous now so I'm far from lacking for excitement. This begs for those people that always think the grass is always greener on the other side. I land on the side of the fence that figures no matter how bad things may seem on some days, it could always be worse. This "new world" may be full of brain-sucking zombies.

4. If someone gave you $500 on the condition that you somehow use it to help someone in need, how would you spend it?
I'd give it to the Henryville, IN, tornado relief fund. A couple of weeks ago, this town just 20 minutes north of me was destroyed in seconds. I'm reminded every time I see the news that it could have been me.

5. What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
No question. Unforgiven. When it won for best picture, some of my guy friends called me and my friend, Christie, to come out on a Friday night after a long week at work to see the movie at 10pm. All I remember was very little dialogue, cowboys sitting around a fire, and riding horses around a rock. And, I remember sleeping really well in the comfy theater chairs. The best part of that night was the trip to Steak and Shake afterwards.

6. If you lost your U.S. citizenship and had to relocate permanently to another country, where would you go? Why?
I'm proud to be an American, so that is really sad. I would move to whatever country had the best health care. As much as we complain about our health care system here, we have it better than most countries. Can I move to Hawaii?

7. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I have so to choose. My first thought when hearing "guilty pleasure" is the food category. Starbucks Venti White Mocha is a major guilty pleasure of mine. If I could drink one every day without ingesting the calories, I would. If I had to construct the perfect guilty pleasure day, it would involve a refreshing shower and then donning my sweat shirt, sweat pants and flip flops. A day of reading, watching movies and napping, along with a few crochet stitches in between. Oh, and of course a Starbucks White Mocha and Qdoba.

8. Who would win in a street fight between the Black Eyed Peas and the Fugees?
Foster the People would rush the fight and win.

9. If you could go back in time and change just ONE decision that you’ve made, what would it be? (I’m not talking about mistakes, but about a time you had to choose between two or more paths.)
Tough one. I seem to always look back and see how even those choices turn out for my good. But, if I had to choose, I'd not have worked as an insurance agent for a year. It gave me some good sales experience in a different industry, which I see as a benefit now, but it wasn't a job I loved at all.

10. What superpower would you like to have?
I would want to be able to fly so I could go visit friends free of charge anywhere in the world. As a secondary power, I'd love the power of healing. Not just for myself, but for others too. That had to be the best part of Jesus' ministry...being able to heal those - not just spiritually - but physically too. I would love to see the smile on His Face when someone who was blind could then see. Wow, just wow.

11. Do you have a weird body quirk? What is it?
I can't burp. Ok, I can if I down carbonated beverages quickly. But I can't "burp on command" as most humans can do. And even when I do burp, it's quite minor and unnoticeable most of the time. Of late, I've had an eye nerve twitch - everyone gets those, but it's gone now. Yesterday I had a nerve twitch in my left forefinger and thumb that was starting to be quite annoying. I believe I slept that off because it's gone now.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Five Minutes: Empty

Each week Gypsy Mama chooses a word to write about for five minutes. No editing, stream of consciousness. Today's word is: Empty.

Ready. Set. Write.

It's a Friday. And I'm empty. Three of the five days this week I've worked until almost 9pm. The one day I didn't I left from work and went straight to church to teach a class. But oh what wonderful refueling I had by diving into the Word with precious ladies to learn what God had taught us this week about having a deep faith in His Plan for our lives.

But now it's Friday and I'm so ready for the weekend. I won't be at work late tonight because I have a special date with one of my comfort friends, Beth. We've not had solitude together to share our lives since long before the holidays. We grab quick catch up times when she's carting her kids to their next ballgame, or as I serve in Preschool ministry on Sunday mornings at my church. But two weeks ago we put this on our calendar, she got babysitters and we're going to have a very long overdue time of catching up on our lives. Oh how I love sweet friends like her.

When the day is done, my tank will be full to overflowing yet again. And I'll have a relaxing weekend doing much needed chores around the house and hopefully spending some time with my precious Dad. Come Sunday, I'll be back at church for another spiritual refueling to get me through the already busy week ahead. I am more than thankful that this kind of fueling doesn't go up in price every week and that the grace and mercy that fills me is free of charge - paid by the death and resurrection of my Savior.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Five Minutes: Ache

Each week Gypsy Mama chooses a word to write about for five minutes. No editing, stream of consciousness. Today's word is: Ache.

Ready. Set. Write.

In 2006, I wrote a blog post with the very title, Ache. Although my verbatim brain skills help me remember obscurities like that, when I saw the Five Minute Friday Challenge word, that blog post first came to mind. I live with a chronic illness...RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). I'm blessed that modern medicine has provided amazing drug therapies to help slow the progression of the disease to allow me a functional life. But, it doesn't come without a life of chronic pain...or ache. Every day I have pain, but because it is so constant, there are days, when it's not as top of mind. I know to the common Joe that sounds ludicrous.

I'm also single (and was back in 2006...that hasn't changed either) and am asked many days, "Do you want to get married?" Hmm, does a squirrel chase up a tree for a nut? Of course I do. But I can't let that desire debilitate me living for today. Like my RA, I manage that ache too. Knowing that God has my life completely secured in the palm of His Hand, I know that the path He has set before me...whether it involves a walk down the altar or not...I must trust Him. The physical aches are manageable....the "heart"aches are manageable with God's Grace...and I pray that I maintain a spiritual ache to be closer and closer to my Savior.