Wednesday, April 27, 2005

What's New

Wow! It’s been awhile since I wrote anything. I hate to go so long without updating. Things have just been crazy with work right now and other responsibilities I have on my plate. Or maybe I should say plates since I seem to have more than I can fit on one plate.

Our direct to plate process is a nightmare for our department. We haven’t lost jobs, we’ve just taken on new ones. Someone in my department is going to lose it big time soon. I’m thinking about starting a game to pick who will be the first. It probably wont be the ones who are voicing their concern about things. It will be someone who is quietly struggling and seems to be doing okay. That’s usually the way it is. I spent THREE HOURS on monster.com yesterday. Like I had that kind of time to waste! I found some cool jobs for my mom. She shot them down, though. She has exacting standards. We are a lot alike.

I’ve been enjoying getting my next Sunday School class ready. The Worn-Out Woman is a great book and I think women are going to get a great deal out of the class. I know I am benefitting from all it says in many ways.

I’m going to be painting my bedroom. It’s times like this I wish I was married. 99% of the time I am very happy to be single but about 1% of the time it’s a real bummer. And it’s not at all for the reasons most might assume. It’s when I hear a funny noise from under the hood of my car, or when groundhogs overtake my back yard and cause our basement to fill up with water, it’s when I have to paint and move furniture or when I have to pick up a shelving unit and try to cram it into my car all by myself. That’s when it just sucks to be single.

So I will be painting my bedroom myself and as a result will have to do it in stages since I do not have the time to paint it all in a weekend. I don’t have a free weekend until August as near as I can tell. My goal for this week is to get my closet cleaned out and sort through all the books that are in there. Many of them will go to the used book store or to the Flourish Library. Then I can organize that and move my bookshelf into the closet. With my next paycheck I’ll buy the paint and get started on the are that will be clear once the bookshelves are gone from the wall.

The next step will be figuring out how to move my other set of bookshelves out of the room and into another room. They are floor to ceiling shelves and I think maybe they are connected to my wall in some way. Then I’m sure I’ll need to get a book out of the library and figure out how to patch the plaster on my wall. Doesn’t this sound like fun?

To be honest, I’m excited about having my room redone because it really needs it, but I’m not at all excited about the process of it. But I am keeping in mind how nice it will be to have fresh paint in a calm, cool color that lightens the room up a bit. I’m painting it a dusty blue color and have a new white coverlet for my bed. I’m buying all new sheets too, as high a thread count as I can afford. I wear shoes from payless, buy the cheapest clothes I can find and use the library unless I couldn’t possibly live without a book, but I don’t go cheap on sheets. I like the good ones. I think it’s because it reminds me of staying with my grandmother Fair when I was a kid. She always had these incredibly soft, heavy sheets that were probably 25 years old and they felt amazing when I climbed into bed. I actually had some of her sheets for several years until they started tearing from being so old. I kept the pillowcases, although I don’t use them anymore. It’s funny the things you remember…

Sunday, April 17, 2005

A Verse for Today

“Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace.” - 2 Corinthians 4:17 (The Message)

I read the above verse tonight and decided this verse really applies to me right now. While things at work are taking so much of my emotional and physical energy, and the stress level is at an all-time high for me there, God is providing His grace moment by moment. What more do I really need?

Victory

I Will Bring the Victory

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through out Lord Jesus Christ. I Cor. 15:57

O My Child, have I ever failed you? Have I ever turned My back on you, or forsaken you? Have I not been your refuge and your strong defense?
I have protected you and kept you in sickness and in health. Yes, I am with you to help you now. Fear not. My purposes will be fulfilled in spite of your weakness, if in your need you rely on My strength.
My will shall be done regardless of the flaws in your life, if you count on the power of My righteousness. I do not work only in cases where there are no obstacles; but I glory in overruling the prevailing circumstances, and I take pleasure in bringing victories in those places where no victory is anywhere in sight.
Count on My coming. Know that whenever faith brings Me on the scene, everything is changed. Darkness is turned to light. Grief is turned to joy. Sickness to health. Poverty to My sufficient supply. Doubt to faith. Anxiety to trust.
No negative force can occupy the same place as My Psirit. When My Spirit comes in, all these things must go. Yes, they shall go!
Ask for the victory. I will come and bring it. Don’t look for the victory - look for Me, and you will see the victory that I will bring with Me. After I have come, you shall behold the miracles I will do.

From Come Away My Beloved by Francs J. Roberts

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Crazy Week

Well, I am past the halfway point of one of the most stressfull weeks I’ve had all year at my job - and that’s saying something. Things are running smoothly and will be much better as we settle in to the new process. Tonight was my first night of classified sending direct to plate and it went very smoothly, although it took me a bit longer since it was new to me.

We are one of only twenty-some newspapers in the United States that are printing Direct-to-Plate with a complete PDF workflow. It has been quite a different process, but is turning out to be much better than I imaged it could. Now I just have to get my stuff together for Adtracker coming in less than two months. I’m liable to need some therapy by the time this is all done…

As much as I hate parts of my job and the stress is causes me, God is really using it to teach me some valuable lessons. In fact, I heard something today which gave me a somewhat different perspective on all that’s been going on with my job. While I am still praying that God will provide a job with less hours and less stress I have decided that while I’m there I want to be open to all God can do through these situations. I do believe that everything happens for a reason and if He hasn’t removed me from this job, He wants me there because it’s His plan for my life right now.

This coming Monday will be my Ten Year anniversary at my job. It’s hard to believe that time has moved so quickly. I feel old when I think about it. Ten years is a long time to work the same position in today’s world. Now I’m starting to get enough vacation time and seniority that it’s hard to think about giving all that up sometimes.

I wonder sometimes what I’d like to do if I left me job. The dream jobs I have thought of that I would love to do, but may never come true are:

Apple-Certified Mac Instructor (I love my iMac so much I want to share the joy with the world)

Computer Software Instructor (It’s hands-down my favorite part of my job right now.)

Speaker (to women, motivational and inspirational speaker)

Writer (I’m working on that one, although slowly)

Life Coach (I love the idea of helping people figure out where to go from here and what to do with their lives)

Professional Organizer (This is a hobby from a long way back. I think I deliberately let things get messed up so that I can organize them again.)

Rubber Stamping Teacher (If I could make a living at this, I’d give it a try. I’m not as much into it as I used to be, but that’s more because I have little time for hobbies anymore)

Book Reviewer (or music or movies. I’d love to work at a magazine and write reviews. Imagine getting paid to read books or watch movies -or TV - or listen to CD’s. How cool!)

Many of the above are out of the question. While they sound like fun, I’m not sure how much I’d want to do them day after day after day. But, there’s a few of these that might work well together and who knows what God might have in store?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Welcome, Friends

Welcome to my new blog home. I hope you like it.

My subscription at Xanga was up for renewal in about a month and I’ve been a bit unhappy with a few things about my blog there. So I’ve been shopping around and asking some friends what they thought and I have now found a new home.

Setting up this blog was MUCH easier than my Xanga account and there is less junk along the sides I don’t want, and more features I do want. I plan on adding some things to the sidebar at a later time once I get familier with all the options and settings.

I did take a few moments and drag over my archvies, so all my old posts are there. With this new home for my blog, I have the ability to give my entries categories, so you can look for topics I frequently blog about AND there is a search bar, so you can look something up if you need to.

In addition, I can add cool websites to my sidebar, so I’ll add more as I get to it. I’m too busy right now to do very much with it. I just wanted to get my archives over before I lost them.

Look around, leave me a comment, and check back again for more entries coming soon like my reivew of the first Harry Potter book, my theories on a few TV show mysteries and a few thoughts on some new music.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

My Day in the Big Apple

We had a great time in New York City yesterday. I’m ready to go back!

My Mom, my sister-in-law, Michelle, and I arrived at the Alley Shops in Pikesville around 6:40am to meet our bus from the Hunt Valley Motor Coach. They arrived on time, we got on the bus and headed to the Big Apple.

We arrived between 46th and Broadway right at the Marriott Hotel. We were just a few blocks from Times Square so we walked south to Time Square and looked around a bit. Then we walked north to 5th Avenue to do some shopping. We went to Tiffany’s which was nice. Way too expensive for my budget but it was fun to look. The salespeople were very nice. I’m sure they are used to us tourists who are there to visit and not to buy. It was the first time I’d been in an elevator with someone who’s job it was to push the buttons. He even told us what was on each floor as the elevator stopped. While it was cool to me, it seems like a very boring job to have. He probably makes more money than I do, though.

We went to the Disney Store, Baby Gap, Toys’R Us, and a few other stores one our way to seeing the Plaza Hotel. We went to Bergdorf’s. That was a complete and total waste of time. Not only was everything horribly expensive (which I was expecting) but it was all horribly ugly. I guess it was high fashion and some people must love it, but I wouldn’t have bought anything in that store even if I could afford it. Then we went to FAO Schwarz and looked at the toys. We saw some very cool cars for kids that have bike pedals inside to move the car. There was a plane, a fire engine, a police car, sports cars, pick-ups, jeeps, etc. Evan is going to have one of them. Michelle made a custom designed Hot Wheels car for Evan while we were there.

We saw the outside of the Plaza hotel, but didn’t go inside. I wanted to have tea there, but we weren’t dressed well enough to do so and decided we’ll do that one time when we can stay overnight. We did decide we were hungry so we went to lunch at Shelly’s on 57th street between 6th and 7th avenue. Michelle and I had steaks and mom had scallops. We shared bowls of grilled vegetables and onion rings. They brought around fresh baked oatmeal rasin cookies, still on the cookie sheet for us after dinner. I ordered a coke and they brought me a class of coke, plus a mini pitcher full. I wanted to take the pitcher home as a suveniour but I refrained from stealing.

Then we took the subway to 34th street and went to Macy’s to do some shopping. Macy’s was insane. People were everywhere and it was hard to move around. I was purse shopping so that’s where I headed first. I found several I like, but the one I “had to have” was, of course, one of the few not on sale. They had a huge selection of jewelry and I wandered around there looking for earrings. I also went through the cosmetics and walked the perfume gauntlet. It was the scariest thing I think I’ve ever done. All these men and women spraying perfume randomly around and calling out to “true love by Calvin Klein,” “try the new fragrance from Elizabeth Arden,” or “you can smell like Britanny Spears.” I got out of these as quickly as I could, let me tell you. Never, no more. I will buy no cosmetics at Macy’s in New York.

After spending a good while in Macy’s (and not seeing it all, of course) we set out for Times Square again so we could be in the area to meet our bus. We walked around Broadway for awhile and then went to the Marriott hotel near where our bus would pick us up. We went to “the View” lounge on the 48th floor and sat down to pass the last minutes before our bus arrived. We had ginger peach iced teas and the dessert buffet. This lounge spun around (slowly, thank goodness) so that you could see all over the city. We relaxed with our iced teas, and sampled cheesecakes, brownies, carrot cakes, grapes, strawberries, crackers and cheese and other goodies. They also had a chocolate fountain that we dipped strawberries and marshmallows into. It was the perfect end to our day.

We got on the bus tired, but happy and headed for home. As I wrap up our New York trip, here’s just a few more random thoughts.

The Weather - it was sunny and warm, being around 60 degrees. It was a bit windy, but not really noticeable.

The Bus Service - I can really recommend the Hunt Valley Motor Coach. The driver was nice and got us to New York a half hour early as well as home a half hour early. The bus was clean and comfortable and the whole trip went very smoothly. They had a movie for the trip home which made the time fly by, even though the movie wasn’t really that great.

The Shopping - We never made it to Bloomingdales and the only place we shopped at that we could really afford was the toy stores and Macy’s. That was way I went home with only a purse, Michelle went home with only a matchbox car and my mom went home empty handed.

The People - New York people are friendly for the most part. We had great waiters and waitresses as aside from one Macy’s salesclerk (who looked like she was asleep as she rang up my purse) were very patient and comfortable with big crowds as well as friendly. We did have one lady on our bus that was a riot. She must go to New York on this bus quite a bit because she was upset that she had to come home in seat 43 when she usually had seat 18. That was her usual seat, but she had to make a change at the last minute and couldn’t have her seat. She seemed very upset by this and would walk by the seat every few minutes, looking longingly at it and checking to see if it’s occupant was there yet. She was going to move up there if no one came to sit in “her seat” but someone did and she spent the rest of the trip looking quite put out.

I am so glad we went to New York for the day and am looking forward to returning again in the near future. Next time Michelle wants to go to Chinatown and Little Italy. I’m hungry already…

Friday, April 08, 2005

And the Winner Is...

ME!

I went to the MDDC Press Association’s Awards Luncheon today and picked up my awards. They were both second place, one for Classified Promotional Ad and one for Classified Section. All together we won enough awards to be the Advertising Newspaper of the Year for our division. This is the seventh straight year to my knowledge that we have won. Wow!

The lunch was good. They had salmon and roast beef and some chicken dish, steamed veggies, salad, vegetable soup, garlic mashed potatoes and rolls. There was a large variety of deserts. I had lemon coconut cake and some fresh strawberries.

I am going to New York City tomorrow. I am planning on doing some shopping while I’m there. We don’t really have a plan. I guess we’ll make one up as we go. The bus drops us off in Times Square so that will be where we’ll start anyway.

Tonight I’m having dinner with my brother and his family. We’re going out somewhere but haven’t heard where yet. My nephew is growing up so fast it’s scary. He’s still a cutie and talks a lot, although he says very little! The two words I hear him say the most are cookie and bottle. The child has food on the brain…

I’m off to finish my Sunday School lesson so that I can play all day tomorrow and not feel guilty. I’ll try to blog on Sunday about my fun day in the Big Apple

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Surrender

Surrender. That’s been on my mind quite a bit lately. I feel like God’s been pushing me to go a bit deeper in my faith and give more over to Him. I don’t surrender things very well. God has to pry my fingers off one by one. I am getting better about it, though, although I’m not to the place I need to be.

I’m reading a book right now that is using the approach of surrender very differently than most Christian books I’ve read on the subject. This woman is emphasizing the need for time and patience. Wow. Usually you hear Christians preach that we should just give it over to God and be done with it. I often hear people say that and wonder how many of them did that only to pull it back out of God’s hands later. You see I don’t think making lasting change can happen overnight, for the most part. There are some miraculous stories of people surrendering something to God in an instant and never dealing with the issue again, but I think they are the exception. And I also believe they did that because God empowered them to do so. It was through no great effort on their part, but the grace of God at work because it fit into His plan.

The truth is that it takes time and thought to surrender something to God. Even Jesus himself knew this. In the garden He sweated drops of blood during His time of surrender to the Father’s will. He told His followers in the gospels that they were to “count the cost,” meaning that there would be a price to pay and make sure you are ready to pay it. Instant surrender often means we haven’t really “counted the cost.” We don’t know what that sacrifice might really mean and what might be required of us to surrender that thing to God.

I also like what Nicole Johnson said in her book “Fresh-brewed Life.” She talks about how Christians say we need to die to self and that many people are using that adage to avoid pain. They are dying to things they don’t even really understand. There’s more to it than just giving it over to God. It means a total life-change, a 180 degree reversal of thought and action that goes much deeper than the surface. Surrender to God will mean relying on God to do His part at every moment of every day.

My problem is my life is busy, hectic, almost chaotic at times. I want to live in greater surrender to God, but He doesn’t talk above the noise in my life. He doesn’t shout, He whispers so low I can barely hear Him at times. How do you surrender each moment to God when each moment is filled with so many “to do’s” and very little time “to be.” I’d like to say I can make some changes, but I’ve given up just about everything I have to find time for my ministry. Many fun things I used to enjoy are falling by the wayside and God is stripping my life of anything that stands in His way. Yet hearing His calm voice and making Him more a part of my daily life will require more of me. I have to give more up to get more of Him.

So that’s where I’m at - understanding the value of surrender, the overwhelming need of more of God and the confusion and questions that ask how and when. In a little workbook I’m doing right now it asks me the question today if I’m willing to let God set the pace in my life. Wow! My answer was - as long as He moves fast enough! I guess I need to work on that too…
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