Sunday, December 18, 2011
There is such a spirit of hope and giving this time of year as we prepare for Christmas. There are Secret Santa's, Angel trees, and other activities that show there are those who still remember it is better to give than receive. There is also a hope that as this year ends the coming year will bring new opportunities and fresh starts.
And then most important of all, the reason for this season: the Savior who gave the ultimate sacrifice and gives us all a fresh start and a new opportunity for closeness to God. I love Christmas. It is my favorite holiday.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
I arrived at the airport with hopes of smooth travel. Red bars encasing flight cancellation notices filled the departure screen. But thankfully none were my flight. It was the usual problem destination, which I had managed to avoid this time. Instead, both my flights were on time. For the first time in a long time, I had an uneventful trip. And I am thankful.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
It was a crazy day and with things not arriving until the last minute I didn't think we would make it. But we did, and the last box was packed and sealed and left for UPS to pick up. It should arrive tomorrow morning in time for everything to be set up for our meeting. I hate the stress of last minute rushes. But I am thankful that this one ended well.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I struggle every year with what to get my Mom for Christmas. What do you get someone who has everything they need? But this year I found the coolest gift. It's something she wouldn't expect and definitely doesn't need (which is the way she likes it for gifts). But it's something she'll find she'll use often and have a ton of fun with. It was featured on Good Morning America as one of the new cool gadgets out this year.
Thank you Good Morning America for giving me a gift idea I wouldn't have thought of, because I didn't know it existed.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
I just finished watching the Presidential debates. Though I found it interesting, what struck me more were the freedoms the candidates represented. There was a woman on the stage. There was a time when a woman could not run for the presidential office or was even allowed to vote for any of the men seeking the position. This same woman mentioned a candidate who had been in the race who was an African-American. He represented a people who had even fewer rights at one time in the history of the U.S. There were men on the stage who had started their lives in poverty. Because of the freedoms and opportunities available to them they had worked their way into positions of authority. They had also attained the means to care for their families beyond what their parents had had.
I so hope that if one of these candidates wins they remember the freedoms that allowed them to have that position. I hope they protect those freedoms and restore any we have lost. I am thankful for the freedoms I have in my country and am hopeful our next president shares this thankfulness.
Friday, December 9, 2011
We had our first December snow. It was just about 4 or 5 inches. But that's enough to be a nuisance and delay me getting to work. Thankfully the roads were clear, but there is the morning ritual of cleaning the snow and ice off the car that needed to be performed before even beginning the drive. I bundled up in warm clothes: hat, scarf, mittens, down coat, heavy boots, and trudged outside. To my delight I was greeted with a car that had been brushed free of the fallen snow. I had my neighbor to thank for it. After cleaning off his wife's car he had generously done mine as well. Thank you neighbor.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The semester is almost over, just two tasks left to do. But my major project is complete. Though I enjoyed what I learned this term, I am more than ready for the end. Ready to catch up on sleep, have time to hang out with a friend, visit my family for the holidays. Ready to have evenings with no deadlines, chapters to read or any other obligations. I am ready for a break. I look forward to the time to relax, recharge and prepare for the next semester.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
As I look back at the pictures from my most recent trip I am reminded of the beauty and diversity of God's creation. He is the Master Artist. His brush painted the beautiful blue sky, emerald ocean and glistening sands of the beach I explored. And this is just one of the many paintings in his studio called earth. In other places there are lush green forests, majestic red mountains, vast icy drifts. There are a many and various creatures that crawl, swim, climb and walk within his masterpieces. His creation also includes the varied races, shapes and sizes of the people that occupy and admire his work. His creations are diverse and oh so beautiful.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Pies, Turkey, Roasted Vegetables, Dressing, the list goes on. As I think back to last week and Thanksgiving I remember the food was good. But what I am most thankful for is the company I had the meal with. I enjoyed my time with family as we reconnected over a good meal and the sharing of our lives.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Airport food! It can be good if you are in a large airport. But these small ones don't always have the best choices. I studied the menu of oil-laden fried foods that filled it and I was stuck on what to eat. I finally landed on a fried choice that brought back memories, of course, not in the way it was being served at the airport. But in another context it would be comfort food. Considering my plane was delayed several times, comfort is what I needed. So I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich, wishing it came with the creamy tomato soup my Mother always served with it when I was a child. It didn't. But each cheesy bite still helped me reminisce and find comfort.
Friday, November 25, 2011
It is always nice to see family. And this trip was spent with family I don't get to see often. It was so much fun to share time together. We toured the museum, walked the beach, and had lunch at a cool restaurant that looked like the cross between a 1950's diner and trailer. The food was good but the company was even better. We laughed and laughed. It was just what I needed before heading back to the chaos that is my life tomorrow.
I am thankful for those rays of sunshine during the gray periods of life.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
My day started with a delay and it continued to snowball. Each new delay caused the possibility of another missed connection. So after a few delays and re-bookings I finally made it to my destination almost 6 hours after the originally scheduled time. Tired and hungry, but relieved to see my family and my baggage at the airport.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I am looking forward to visiting family I haven't seen in over 4 years. It will be good to catch up and it will be nice to be down South again.
Friday, November 18, 2011
It is interesting to me how God used dreams in the Old Testament to raise someone to a high level. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream and he was appointed to oversee the kingdom. Daniel interpreted the king's dream and he was also appointed to oversee part of the kingdom. Both men stepped out in faith when giving the interpretations of the dreams.
Daniel faced death but believed God would give him the interpretation and delivered it to the king. Even if Daniel believed he had heard the message from God. He had no assurance except his faith that the king would favorably receive it. God came through, but also Daniel had to take that step out in faith to receive God's blessing. His life was not only spared but he and his friends promoted to high places.
Chapter 2 reveals so much about our God: his creativity, his love for his people, his provision for his people, his power over even the unbelieving. And so much more... God is an awesome God who desires us to walk in faith and he will walk with us along that journey.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
We recently began our study in the book of Daniel. I am thankful that his story was included in God's word. I have often heard of the story of Daniel in the lion's den or fiery furnace, but not as much on the 1st book. In our study it is encouraging to see how Daniel kept his principles in something as simple as the food he would eat. It is an area that would be so easy to compromise on, but he didn't.
And as a result, God honored that commitment. Daniel was stronger than those who went along with that present culture. He also had favor even from those who did not serve his God and were in high places. Daniel shows how God rewards obedience. And God is pleased when we honor him.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
My first flight out departed without a problem. However, my connecting one was delayed. As I sat there waiting for an update to the departing time I thought back to those times I had watched delayed flights become cancelled flights. And then there is the luggage. You never know if you get rebooked if it will follow.
But thankfully, the delay was not too long. The flight made it out. And my luggage was on the carousel when I arrived home.
Monday, November 14, 2011
I have a handful of favorite airports to go through, for various reasons. Charlotte airport has courteous and friendly staff. Detroit's airport has restaurant row, which offers a lot of great choices. And there are other airports on that list as well. But this trip we went through Atlanta. It is a busy airport and not one to go through during the rainy season. But in the winter it is one of my favorites. If I have to get stuck somewhere during the winter, Atlanta is one of the best places. You can easily catch the train from the airport and find your way to shopping, restaurants, an art museum and many other activities without dealing with extremely cold weather.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Jobs I have had in the past required their employees to share hotel rooms when traveling. That can cause so many challenges, which may be future posts. But I can thankfully say this job gives each person a private room. I am thankful for so many reasons. But on this trip I had homework like usual. At the end of the day when work was done it was so nice to be able to go back to my room alone and focus. Though I was away from home I was still able to meet some of my personal obligations.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I travel sometimes more than I'd like to. My air travel has exposed me to a variety of experiences: from the perfect flight, to the delayed, and the all time favorite is the cancelled flight that occurs with your connection. But I am happy to say my most recent trip away from home went well. I experienced some on time flights.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
I haven't posted for awhile. I have been out of town on business. So for the next few days or so I will post what I have been thankful for during my time away. But first, my trip went well and I am thankful for that. But I am more thankful now to be home. And my nice comfy chair is calling me.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
It was nice to see a sunny weekend after a snowy one the week before. There were a few remnants of the icy stuff here and there, but it hadn't lasted long enough to send the grass into its dormant state. So it was a strange sight to see the random patches of white stuff amongst the green grass. It was that strange reminder that winter is well on its way. But in the meantime we had a beautiful day to enjoy before the cold sends us into hibernation. The wind had a slight chill but the shine of the sun and my constant motion warmed me as I walked through the neighborhood.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Despite obstacles, lack of resources, changes in direction, etc. it all worked out in the end. The project at work was completed and shipped on time. The school project was completed and uploaded early. I am thankful for how God works things out. It was a bumpy ride that ended smoothly.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
It's been crazy at work with short deadlines and changing demands. But thankfully, we are near the end of the first stage in the process and on schedule.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I am so looking forward to spending time with two friends I haven't seen in over 5 years. I'll be in town on business, but will be able to squeeze in a quick visit over a late dinner or cup of coffee. Our time together won't be long, but it will be meaningful. It will be nice to see their smiling faces and catch up on each other's lives.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Though the death of dreams and hopes brings sadness, there is a joy in knowing that after each end God can bring a new beginning. I am learning to let go of those things that have died long ago and have become corpses I have carried, and allowed to hinder me. I am learning to quit looking back. I'm not headed in that direction. Instead, I need to grieve the losses and move on. And only then can I partake in the birth of new dreams and new hopes and new beginnings.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Thankfully, the scene above was not what I saw on Monday morning. Yes there are still piles of thick snow on the grass left over from the 7 inches that fell by the end of the weekend. But the roads are clear and the forecast is for a warmer week. I am thankful that this morning was not a scary, snow-covered, slippery commute. And with the warmer weather on the way there is improvement on the horizon. We get to enjoy a bit of a break before winter truly sets in.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
They are predicting 7 inches of snow. So groceries were bought and errands ran the night before. Now I stay inside and wait it out. I am so glad I don't have to brave the roads during our first accumulating snow. It seems the drivers forget how to navigate the roads in winter weather during the short warm season. So tomorrow I will dig the car out and hopefully the roads will be plowed.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Each gray follicle represent years of experience and wisdom gained. Each white hair reveals the struggles and pains that have birthed new strength and the joy of overcoming. Through the gray and white hair that has replaced the dark crown of my youth I am reminded of the years behind me. I am thankful for those years and the ones remaining. The years past have caused me not to wear the grays in shame anymore, but in the pride of what they represent. But I have to admit, vanity does occasionally draw me to the bottle of color. Not enough time has past for the full splendor of my wisdom to be displayed.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Nature uses a warm colorful palette this time of year. The leaves are adorned in bright yellows, oranges and reds. It makes one last statement of grandeur before becoming dormant and gray, when winter takes hold. I enjoy that last exhibition before the beauty of nature sleeps.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I don’t have one everyday, so when I do it's a special treat. It’s the dessert to a lunch out. It's an indulgence to soothe the stress of a crazy day. It's an event to frame a get-together around. When I travel it's my familiar in an unfamiliar place. My favorite is the pumpkin spice latte. It’s only available during a specific season… and I look forward to it every year.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
I had an interesting dream the other night. As I was driving the road became treacherous with unexpected drop offs. I stopped, caught in the dilemma of how to proceed. And then I woke up. Immediately the images of the dream were replaced with a word picture I had heard some time ago. Standing at cliff's edge I focused on the chasm between where I stood and where I was headed. The chasm was a deep black hole filled with frustrations, disappointments, and anger. As I focused on the black hole I wondered how I would cross over it to get to the other side.
Then the word came to me. If you focus on the hole you will end up in the hole. Whatever you focus on there you will land. Focus on the other side. Focus on where you are going.
Friday, October 21, 2011
I am so not ready to buy new computer equipment. Nor can I afford the down time from a computer sitting in a repair shop. My heart practically stopped when the disc stuck, and no amount of button pushing would cause it to release. All I could think of was the loss of the ability to access information from all my DVD's or burn information to new discs.
But then a quick Google search saved the day. I found the answer that released it without damage to the CD/DVD drive. All is well and I won't use that disc again. My computer doesn't seem to like it.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I find myself in an uncomfortable position. The constant loss of co-workers has caused me to be in a position of working with leadership that is inexperienced and ill-equipped for the task. Unfortunately our guide doesn't know where to lead us, so depending on his lack of vision has parts of our project drifting to and fro without any real direction.
Thankfully, there are those of us who have been down this path before, several times and for several years. Though we won't be able to save the whole project, we can direct the part we have control over. Thus we can ensure a portion of the task will be accomplished.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I would not be the person I have attained thus far, if not for Him. These days I am constantly aware of my shortcomings and so very thankful that He gives me the strength to not walk in them constantly. In Him, I live and breathe. In Him, I am able to be a better person. I am woefully afraid of what I would be without Him. When I find my feet in the fire of a trying time, all the darkness rises and the need for His light becomes so utterly apparent.
Thank you Jesus, that I am yours.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
The class I have this semester has really been challenging. I have enjoyed learning so many new theories and technologies and educational techniques. But it's all so new to me and applying what I am learning has been difficult. There is so much information to process.
I have a major project I am working on that is due in a few weeks and we had a free week to work on it, without additional homework. But I was stumped. I was just so overwhelmed and unable to figure out how to even start, and so I just froze. I couldn't move forward and stressed about it the whole week.
But then a breakthrough.
A prayer was answered and I switched gears. I had a new idea for my project. It is one that I think I can work through. I still need to stay prayerful, because now I have lost a week. I so wish I had come to this conclusion a month ago, or at least a few days ago. But I am thankful that I am no longer frozen in a state of overwhelmed and am now able to move forward. I guess I'll be spending the weekend in PJ's while I work on catching up.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
After a stressful day there is nothing like a good workout. A weightlifting routine interspersed with intervals of cardio sweats the stress out. And I am thankful for the calm that follows.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I don’t send many cards these days. It has just become less convenient than so many other alternatives: email, Facebook, a text, a phone call. But there are those occasions when a card is what's needed. At that time, I head to my local Hallmark store. There I know I will find the right card with the perfect message. I can always count on them to put to words what I am feeling and wrap it in a pretty picture, or humorous illustration.
I sometimes wish life wasn't so busy and I had the time to send cards at all occasions, to write a personal note in each one, and mail on schedule to arrive on that special day. I wish so many others also weren't so busy. I sometimes fear with the pace of our lives and the demands on our time there are those personal rituals, like sending cards and writing letters, that are slowly becoming rare.
We should all take the time on occasion to slow down for moment and reconnect with friends and family, with a timeless and personal communication tool. It is one that the receiver knows was lovingly chosen by you, and personally touched with your signature or an intimate message. Let's sometimes send a card.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Don't you hate when you buy something from an infomercial and get charged for the extras you didn't order, but they kept trying to sell you. You know you said no, but the charge still appears. And then you have to make the dreaded call. The one where you dispute the purchase you never agreed to. It's usually not met by a friendly customer rep on the other end.
But this time was different. The frustration of learning I had been charged twice for something I never bought had crept into the tone of my voice. But the person on the other end of the line met me with a calm reassurance that he would take care of the problem. And an apologetic tone filled with promises of recompense. So many times we complain about bad customer service, that I have to give recognition for when it's good. I am thankful for those in customer service who are able to take bad situations and bring them to friendly resolutions.
Monday, October 10, 2011
The bible study I regularly attended ended last year. And the free time that opened up from the ending of that event was quickly lost to other obligations. But as months passed the desire to dig into the Word grew. It was temporarily fulfilled with a lunch hour Bible Study at work. But then that ended when my study partner moved on to another job. This left a hole that would soon be filled in a surprising way.
A friend from a former job connected me with another friend. We held our first Skype Bible Study about 3 weeks ago. It was like the distance between us didn't exist. Our discussion of the Word and God flowed across our internet connections as if we sat in the same room. We have a standing appointment. And I look forward to it every week.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
I finally got my family to use Skype today. It is a wonderful means of communication when we are away from each other. It is so much more real than the phone. Our conversation was short but meaningful. We could see each other. And that bridged so many miles. I look forward to the next time we connect.
Friday, October 7, 2011
I love surprise packages from home. This one is a birthday gift. It arrived at work today and sat on my desk calling me to open it. But I knew I had to wait until I arrived home. I took it out to the car and packed it away, distancing myself from the temptation I didn't have the luxury of time to indulge. But I also reveled in the anticipation of the surprise that awaits me.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
I was greeted by a myriad of birthday wishes today: the verbal "Happy Birthday's" at work, the phone calls and the Facebook postings. It was nice to have my day acknowledged by friends and family. Another year passed and a new one beginning. I am thankful for the many people who share in the celebration and share in making each year of my life a memorable one.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
You ever have one of those days when you just need to vent. You don't want a solution, because in reality the real solution is not attainable at that moment. So you just need to release. You just need someone to listen who won't try to fix what can't be fixed, who won't minimize what you are feeling. Someone who won't judge or take personal the rant you are on. Someone who will just listen. Who will give empathy. Someone who will let you release the burden you are carrying. I have some of those someones, and I am thankful for them.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
I took an alternate route to work this morning to avoid the highway construction that had delayed me yesterday. But to my surprise, even on this route I was faced with merging onto a highway that had become a parking lot. I continued down the on-ramp following the other cars hoping for an opening. My frustration grew as I missed one and saw the end coming. But then an opportunity appeared. A truck driver motioned for me to squeeze in. Relief set in as I settled into the spot he had created. I waved a signal of gratitude and braced myself for the long ride to work and what I would face as I arrived late. But I was a little less stressed because of the kind gesture I had just received.
Monday, October 3, 2011
It's been getting cold for awhile and yet no heat in my apartment. My portable heater worked for a bit but only one room at a time, leaving the rest of the apartment filled with a chill. But finally today, after weeks of cold temperatures they turned the heat on. Now I have a nice toasty warm apartment throughout. I am ready to face the winter. Well…….not really.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
They have been such a joy to watch grow up. And it has been a privilege to have the opportunity to add something to their lives. Their youth, their hope, their big plans are a reminder that life does hold promise. I look forward to seeing what course they choose to pursue.