17 December 2008

Words to live buy

These are a few images keeping me company this week.

As we walk through advent, keeping our eyes open for the Savior,
we are bombarded with images and messages
telling us we need other things to save us.
Or that things alone are something that people need.
We fill holes with possessions.
And so, these phrases are messages
from an unlikely source--chocolate.
Yet they ring the truth of things we know from sacred scriptures.
The greatest of these is love, for instance,
points us toward perfect love,
not the love of possessions,
or a possessive kind of love.

Being present to one another,
instead of racing around to purchase presents,
may be a greater gift than we realize.

Offering joy and peace through a smile
may be the best thing to pass along as you walk
through a crowd of people in a shopping area.

See what you think about what they are declaring.

15 December 2008

Wonder if this blogger will ever post again

And with that, she does.

It's my last week of school for this year!!!
It's been the toughest (and best) class of my spiritual formation graduate program.
IF I finish this week :), I will have one year left. Wow.
The journey with my online cohort has been fantastic.

But, it's Advent. A time of waiting.

So, I'm waiting.
Waiting to post.

I have many ideas brewing in my very head, clamoring for blog space. (Okay, so they're not that human. Not at all human, really.)

But after this week's synthesis paper, likely.
Please stay tuned.

Blessings on your advent journey.
May you find the presence of the Savior as you seek after Him.

05 December 2008

morning delights

I can't really offer the full view

but it is a glorious

snow laden
tree hugging

winter wonderland

All that, AND
as Jordan and I were walking back to my house,
we noticed a car, with lights on,
in the middle of the street.
Would you believe, the owner had opened his garage
to warm up the car
and it slipped out of the garage,
down the driveway,
and landed,
across the street below?

sadly, my camera battery was dead so no photo.
you'll have to take my word for it.

02 December 2008


Brewing a post in my mind happens frequently.
And this one, well, it has been stirring about, popping to the surface, disappearing, and emerging again, for days.

Yesterday marked a two year anniversary. Two years ago yesterday, I returned from the Thanksgiving day holiday and showed up at the office to work. I'll never forget it because oddly, my laptop was gone. I always took my laptop with me on jaunts out of the office, but in this case, because in August of that year I had purchased my own laptop, and because the Thanksgiving holiday trip to Fargo was NOT work related, I left my work laptop in my office. And so it was missing.
Strange that.

I was reflecting on it this morning, with my friend and former coworker. It was determined that the computer was stolen. Yet, nothing else was missing. But well, it really didn't matter due to the other events of the day.

Later that day our executive director called me into his office.
My team was aware of these meetings, somewhat. We were expecting to be repositioned, possibly (likely) having to relocate.
We knew our team was being disbanded.
We knew our team leader was offered a different position and that his current position was being eliminated.
So, it was with much surprise that I walked out of the ed's office having just been informed that no, I was not being positioned on a different team, having to relocate. I was told that my services were no longer needed.

For anyone who may have experienced this moment of being "let go" "fired" "downsized" or whatever the descriptor, you know it is a surreal moment. But here I am, looking back, two years later.

I am glad.
The way it happened sucked (please forgive my language).
It could have been handled differently.

I am more thankful for life and experiences now than while I worked there.
My life has more life now than when I worked there.
I feel more free to be and to live and to journey with Jesus and with others.
My view of work has changed dramatically.
I would NOT have had opportunity to date and share my life with B if I were still working that frantic pace.
My life including attending school full time would have worn me out. Completely.
Just to name a few things.

I am not saying the ends justify the means. But, I feel rescued and restored.
It is good to be elsewhere, free.

Thank you Lord, for vision beyond what I can imagine! You know what you are doing. Bless you!

26 November 2008


Monday morning's commute to work was the first in snowy conditions for the season. At one point, just as I passed a large truck, I came to a changing-to-red traffic signal. As I braked, I realized I couldn't stop. And that is when I noticed the driver stopped at the light.
As I continued through the very red light, he simply waited. He did not inch forward into the intersection. Thankfully, he was aware that I was unable to stop and he waited to go forward.

I am NOT that driver.
Traffic signals hinder my progress (at least, red ones do) thus if I'm not racing through them, I'm strategically attempting to hit them without stopping, or, if stopped, I'm subconsciously getting ready to race any other driver out of the "blocks" to get going down the street. And this is characteristic of me whether or NOT I'm late. I drive in racing mode and often grumble if someone else (heaven forbid) causes me delay.
It is pathetic.
That awareness and the patience of the other driver equaled mercy for me.

In my current class, we are reminded that over 2000 verses in scripture point toward God's preference for the poor. God, the King of awareness, draws near to the broken hearted, and is completely in tune with the needs and struggles of the poor, the widowed, the orphaned, the oppressed.

Am I?

I can't help but consider my awareness for this treasured part of God's heart in the season of Thanksgiving and Advent.
I grumble about a driver who might delay my progress.
In Deuteronomy, God "grumbles" about our lack of awareness to the things He cares about deeply.
Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God's, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.

I am thankful for many many things. God gives abundance.
But He desires abundance for all.

Lord, have mercy. Open our hearts to your heart.

21 November 2008


You may have noticed, I've been absent.
Quiet, really.

The past two Monday mornings, on the way to work, I've received phone calls from close friends who have lost a family member to death.
It makes me nervous for this coming Monday.

More than that, though, really, it makes me consider life.
So much of what we know as pleasure and beauty may not compare to what is to come.
I don't know.
I do know, that when these losses occurred, when these "healthy" people were unexpectedly snatched from this life, without warning or foreknowledge, parts of their world, and unconsciously, parts of our world, stopped.
Life ceased.

Words cannot ease these losses.
Even the comfort of knowing these two lives were people in close and intimate connection with Jesus Christ does not ease the loss.

In fact, knowledge, reason, logic, these don't really fit with loss.
Loss like this creeps it's way into life uninvited. Yet, it is a frequent visitor.
Emotion also plays into this time. Sometimes vast amounts of it. Sometimes not even a drop, yet it lingers below the surface. Regardless, we are left to process and grieve. We are faced with memories, joys, sometimes even regret.
And ultimately, we are left to the Creator and Giver of life.
Why, how, when, where? These question linger.

But, we do know Who. We know God knows. We know God cares. We know God hears.
It doesn't minimize the loss.
But it provides a space. The presence of the Lord is real.
And God draws near to the brokenhearted.

As a community, we also face thoughts and articulation about death.
In my current class on social justice, we've been identifying how much is "not right" with the world. It is a broken place. Countless, unknown people to you and I die without even a second glance because of disease, evil, neglect, abuse, etc.

And so, I find additional comfort knowing that these friends who passed from this life were known. They loved and were loved. They knew and were known.

So many other things remain a mystery. But God is still love.
Today, that may be all I know.

15 November 2008

add a word, write a story

I'm not sure where this started, but I sometimes play a game with people in a car where you write/tell a story by every person taking turns and adding a word (Was that from you, Mom?). I'm on a road trip visiting B's family and we wrote this story yesterday.

he exclaimed,
or help

a broken
if they

The End.

06 November 2008

in the category of silly moments

The other day at work I quickly walked outside to post a package in a UPS dropbox to be certain it shipped that night. It's a great thing because UPS picks up by 6 pm and the drop box tells you (or me, rather) whether or not the shipment has been picked up or not. I love that.

It was week one of my spiritual justice class. I was actually thinking and praying as I walked, inviting God to make me more aware of these issues on his heart and in my life.
I say all of that in a vain attempt to excuse what happens next.
See, our UPS box stands next to our USPS box.

And, if you had not already guessed, in my serious social justice contemplation, I sadly dropped the prepared and labeled UPS package into the USPS box. I can't even tell you how badly I wanted a "go go gadget arm" to slip into the narrow USPS opening and drag out my package. Oh it was a desperate moment. I confess, not sans a swear word either. Social justice issues and talking with God were no longer my concentration, obviously.
For days I kept checking our mailbox at work, thinking the nice postal person would return the UPS package with a helpful, "cannnot send without proper postage" or something, stamp.

It was worse than waiting for a bathroom stall to open up when you really really REALLY have to go. (I know. THAT bad.)

Here it is, nearly two weeks later.
My coworkers and I are taking a coffee break in the gorgeous sunshine Tuesday afternoon.
And we see him.

The USPS carrier, picking up the mail from the aforementioned USPS box.
So I ran (not kidding), ran, like a groupie to the band, to talk to the mail carrier.
I mentioned my plight.

And he smiled. "I caught it," he said, as I breathed again for the first time in two weeks. "I placed it in the UPS box."

Now, seriously, he is my favorite person of the week. What a fabulous individual. It was all I could do to not hug him.
We have a great mail carrier AND system.
Despite my moments of distraction.

04 November 2008

No matter what happens today

10 Predictions No Matter Who Wins the Election

1. The Bible will still be the indisputable word of God.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.

Isn't it great to know who is really in control ?!!
The will of God will never take you
where the Grace of God will not protect you.

This is sent from my Mom (thank you!).
It's a good reminder to me that Jesus is the Savior. Of the world!

31 October 2008

Suck no more

You know how certain words are somewhat off limits?
Well, suck is one of those words.

Here is an acceptable use: My vacuum sucks!

Unfortunately, that is not currently true.
My vacuum no longer sucks so I had to take it in for service.
Of all the cleaning jobs, I love vacuuming.

When we were kids, particularly on days off, but also on weekends,
(as my sisters could testify to) we always had jobs to do.
If choices were on offer, vacuuming and ironing were the jobs I picked.
Dusting is a chore I still avoid. Dusters don't seem to breakdown like vacuums do. Bummer that!

27 October 2008

to vote or not to vote

Recently a friend's seven year old asked me who I wanted to be president. Interesting question. I considered the reality that I will vote for someone, but there are many days I'm not sure either candidate is who I want leading our country.

In hanging out with some friends recently, a couple of them said they were so undecided about who to vote for that they were considering not voting.
The statement horrified me.
"You must vote," I insisted.
"Women previously did not have the right to vote," I argued,
"they fought for that right."
As if voting now fulfills the fight for the privilege of voting.

Still, I couldn't let it go.
"Just chose something," I pleaded...

But the question lingered. If you do not feel supportive of or drawn toward either candidate, do you vote? Does not voting symbolize something? Do you chose a certain issue and make that your basis for voting? Do you have a responsibility to vote? What is communicated if you remain silent?

Any responses out there?

20 October 2008

this is where i live

and these?

these are some of the endearing (tee hee!)
creatures that sometimes await me
literally outside my window.

(and at this particular moment
outside my car window.)

Did I mention I live in the city?
Because, really, I do. And by city,
I mean not remotely in the country.

But I'm not complaining.

I never get tired of this view.

18 October 2008

I really don't know it all! (as if that's news to anyone)

It really surprised me. On my way to work this morning,
as I neared the entrance to Calvin College,
where there are a series of traffic lights lumped together,
while I was dutifully waiting at a red light,
a car blew by me, and "ran" the red light.

Of course I noticed the car. I have this ridiculous competitive streak in me that tends to want to "beat" others out of a stop. It's as silly as it is innate. The other reason I noticed the car, aside from their blatant disregard of the traffic signal, was that it had a Washington state license plate. Ah. Rebel Calvin student, I determined.

Or likely not. The car's driver was a rather seasoned older lady who DID stop at the next red light giving me the chance to glance, or as the case was, completely, without inhibition or manners, stare at her. Not such a young irresponsible college student.

It's good to be surprised on your way to work on a Saturday morning.

17 October 2008

while driving

Fall color explodes all over Michigan.

Such could be the daily news headline this week.
It is glorious.
The sight of it truly catches my breath.
It was so overpowering,
it was all I could do to keep driving
while I passed some of the spectacular sights.

Color. Here. Over. The. Top.

But, along with that splendor,
I was on the way to lunch
to celebrate my friend Denise for her birthday
(I'm sitting next to her in the photo here).
And that was fun, too.

Sigh. I miss working with her!
Happy Birthday, lady.

16 October 2008


Is there any truth?
Yes. But we might not find it in our political system. Forgive my lack of enthusiasm, but I am weary, and at times I am fearful regardless of who is elected.

Personally, I'm advocating the strategy of pray pray pray. Pray for God's agenda to rule the hearts of ALL who serve in political office. This isn't a new strategy, of course, reference our friend Daniel. He certainly pursued faithful, fervent prayer in spite of a leader who did not profess faith in Yaweh. And we read of amazing outcomes.

Could we talk to God as much about our leaders as we talk or complain to each other about the candidates? Could we pray for their hearts to turn to God's heart? Could we engage in Christ-like living so that we care for the poor, the orphan and the alien among us? Could we adjust our personal spending habits to say with integrity to our government that spending beyond our means is not what we support? These are only a few areas. Those are huge challenges for me personally. But these ideas feels more hopeful than other things on offer. This is not a popular or politically correct comment, but Jesus still is the only hope. Of this I'm certain.

If you're interested in some of the things discussed last night, I browsed to "hear" what was being said about the latest debate and the following was posted:

FactChecking Debate No. 3
October 16, 2008
Sorting out fact and fiction in the presidential candidates' final debate.
Spin and hype were apparent, once again, at the third and final debate between McCain and Obama:

* McCain claimed the liberal group ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history ... maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” In fact, a Republican prosecutor said of the first and biggest ACORN fraud case: “[T]his scheme was not intended to permit illegal voting.” He said $8-an-hour workers turned in made-up voter registration forms rather than doing what ACORN paid them to do.

* McCain said “Joe the plumber” faced “much higher taxes” under Obama’s tax plan and would pay a fine under Obama’s health care plan if he failed to provide coverage for his workers. But Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher would pay higher taxes only if the business he says he wants to buy puts his income over $200,000 a year, and his small business would be exempt from Obama’s requirement to provide coverage for workers.

Update Oct. 16: ABC News reported the morning after the debate that Wurzelbacher admitted to a reporter that he won't actually make enough from his new plumbing business to pay Obama's higher tax rates. ABC said his admission "would seem to indicate that he would be eligible for an Obama tax cut."

* Obama repeated a dubious claim that his health care plan will cut the average family’s premiums by $2,500 a year. Experts have found that figure to be overly optimistic.

* McCain claimed that Obama’s real “object” is a government-run, single-payer health insurance system like those in Canada or England. The McCain campaign points to a quote from five years ago, when Obama told a labor gathering that he was “a proponent of a single-payer health care program.” But Obama has since qualified his enthusiasm for Canadian-style health care, and his current proposal is nothing like that.

* Obama incorrectly claimed all of McCain’s ads had been “negative.” That was true for one recent week, but not over the entire campaign. And at times Obama has run a higher percentage of attack ads than McCain.

* McCain described Colombia as the "largest agricultural importer of our products." Actually, Canada imports the most U.S. farm products, and Colombia is far down the list.

* Obama strained to portray himself as willing to break ranks with fellow Democrats. His prime example was his vote for a bill that was supported by 18 Democrats and opposed by 26. Congressional Quarterly rates him as voting with his party 97 percent of the time since becoming a U.S. senator.

As I said, Jesus is the hope of the world. I am still hopeful in (and praying for) His love changing everyone and everything.

14 October 2008

funfact friday tuesday edition

It occurred to me that maybe no one else can relate to this. I recently returned a set of silverware to my sister. She has her own place once again so she needed some of the stuff that I was storing, er using. So, I packed up her precious silver (is it, really? silver?) and delivered it to her. And then returned to my house to use my shall we call them eclectic collection of various styles. You would remember this eclectic set as the set you used at college. You know, the hand me down from everyone, very little matches, you don't care if you lose one. Yes. That set.

But here is the funfact, I have favorites. Even while using my sister's matching set, I had a favorite spoon from my collection.
And I use it and reuse it.
Just this morning I used it for my cereal.
And tonight I washed it and reused it to eat yogurt.

It's what I like to eat with.

No, this information will not even begin to solve the economic crisis.

But it distracts me from yet another must write before the deadline paper.
So there you go.

Any other favorite fork, knife or spoon people out there? What about favorite coffee mugs? I know u exist!

Okay. To paper writing I go.

13 October 2008


Have I blogged about the conversation that my coworker and I experienced a few weeks ago at a local coffee joint? Ask me about it sometime.

Today is about a similar moment. We order our coffee. I had a free one that my coworker used, AND I had a coupon for myself. I love that I had coupons. (I never have coupons, well, except expired ones, which then makes me give up on coupons all together.)But forgive me, coupon excitement is NOT the point here.

Anywho, we wanted to enjoy a few moments of this glorious fall day, but there were folks sitting at the one outside table. In my previous story, we sat down at the table anyway, and had an incredible conversation with the others seated there.

Perhaps the people at the table were warned, because by the time we finished ordering they were gone, leaving the table for us. Today, we sat, trying to memorize our school verse. Here it is: May the favor of the Lord rest upon us. Establish the work of our hands for us, yes, establish the work of our hands" (Psalm 90:17).

We'd been squinting and sipping for a few minutes when a gentleman asked, "could I have this chair?" he motioned, as if to take it away from the table.
"Sure, but you can sit here," I laughed, "we're nice."

And so he did.
We kept memorizing.
He made a phone call.
He mentioned it was his sister's birthday.
We commented on his cool Iphone.
He said it was a great phone for his business.
Which led us to talk about his business.
Which led into a conversation about my coworker possibly joining the business.

My coworkers hours were reduced recently, and the opportunity for him to be involved in this business, using a gift he already has, on his "free" time would be ideal. The two jobs could really mesh into a decent income. In addition, this new opportunity could possibly provide moments for Pat to talk about Jesus with people who may not have a personal relationship with Jesus, which is Pat's very favorite thing to do.

I can't really articulate how amazing these moments are.
But there is such a sacred sense that we would really miss out if we didn't occasionally drop in at this coffee shop and sit at this table and talk to strangers.

It's like a portal for encouraging us that God is at work and He invites us to participate. And I would hate to miss out on that.

Now, winter is coming, so I wonder if the portal will move inside???

11 October 2008

B's birthday

Here are a few shots of the birthday boy
walking through a wall of streamers as he
gets surprised by an impromptu party.

Sometimes a person can only wait so long
before melted wax morphs into the frosting. (Perhaps this is what happens when you need too many candles on your cake?) :-)

How do you fake a surprised face like this? It is truly fun to watch someone open a gift when they're not expecting it.

I appreciate that birthdays provide the opportunity
to reflect on the gift of a person,
and to pray God's best for the "new" year.

Happy Birthday Barkley.

09 October 2008

a maize ing

For some unknown perhaps media-influenced reason, I've been fearful of corn mazes.
Who knew? See, I have this memory of friends
jumping out of corn stalks
somehow related to children of the corn. I confess, I didn't watch the movie. So I'm only assuming it's scary. Corn stalks are associated with fear. Whatever. Let's blame it on attending college in Iowa.

This weekend, I enjoyed a fabulous fall experience. Sunny, warm days, brisk, nearly frosty nights,
with leaves changing color almost in the time you turn around.
In some trees the leaves seem to reach consensus or something, as the color starts spreading slowly and then, undeniably, it has bled through the tree, capturing every leaf. Brilliant!

Anyway, when the idea to traipse through a corn maze surfaced,
given my silly fear of such things, I admit I was hesitant.
But it was completely fun.

If the opening photo does any justice, it shows the detail of this particular field.
And they had a satellite photo of it, too, that accurately resembles the barn, et al. I was quite impressed. One of the most impressive things was that they actually create the maze as the corn is growing, as in, they don't just hack through the mature plant. They stake flags and mow it down almost immediately as it grows. (You probably knew that, but for me, new info.)

We wandered through the maze,
answering questions about corn, agriculture, etc.

Most of the answers, I could guess. But some proved a wee bit challenging.
I know you weren't with me, so here's one for you. See how you do.

Is corn a:
a. fruit
b. root
c. stalk
d. stem

Along with all the corn things, it was simply a lovely fall weekend.
The mums,
the pumpkins,
the gourds,
the corn,
it all worked.

Glory explodes in these days. And I'm loving the privilege of breathing it all in.

Thanks for the views, Papa!

04 October 2008

take 2

These were a few of my favorite things...

Co workers and friends...



more food


phone calls (not sure how to picture here),

wall greetings (think facebook logo)
(And yes, I'm being lazy.
It's my birthday--I can if I want to.)

And time with Barkley at his
first visit to IKEA...
among some of the highlights of the day.

And did I mention, I took a vacay day at work?
I highly recommend it as a birthday practice!

what a fun fine day.

03 October 2008

photo journey of a birthday

well...I intended to share these photos...and was so excited...but then, I uploaded a birthday gift, the latest version of Ilife, including I-photo and well, I don't know how to attach photos.

This is what I get to say about my birthday,
it was great.
I loved it.

I have some photos to prove it.
Maybe tomorrow.

This is one of the most lame posts I've offered. But i'll make it up. I promise.

01 October 2008

My Dad

I've told people for years that I was my Dad's 40th birthday gift. (Technically, I was a day late, which may say things about my life, but hey, still, I was so close.)

I called him just after midnight last night to be the first to wish him a Happy Day. And what is so cute and endearing about my Dad, is that he was reading the card I had sent him and wanted to explain something. (And I mention this for two reasons. This is one.) He commented that reading all those nice things on the card made him sound like he was a perfect Dad. And he assured me he was not perfect. He had made mistakes like anyone.

I quickly mentioned that birthdays are NOT the time to list one's imperfections. (Clearly, I don't want him to mention my imperfections tomorrow!)

Dallas Willard said that
the more you get to know someone in Christ,
the more you love them,
because you see them as Christ intends for them to be
And for the most part, that is the way my Dad loves. He greets people with warmth, generosity and humor as if they are his long lost friend, regardless of age or circumstance. I like that about my Daddy. And yet, he knows he is not perfect. That is true for us all. But we are loveable. And we are loved.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I'm so grateful for another year to celebrate you!!

Pix credit: top--Carmen, in Galena 0608
bottom--Hildred, on the Olympic Penisula (is anywhere more beautiful??)0208

29 September 2008

The girls--birthday shout out to my nieces

Today is my nieces' birthday. I love saying that. It is pretty unusual. Often people will respond, "both of them have a birthday today? Are they twins?"
And I shake my head and say that they were born three years apart. Georgia Grace was a unexpected "gift" for Katrina Joanne on Kate's third birthday.

I wish you could get to know them in this simple post. They are beautiful girls. Kate turns 10, Georgia 7. And they are growing up into such lovely young ladies.
If only you could sense what happens in Kate when I've sat next to her in her room at bedtime and prayed with her. There is something so spiritually sensitive within her. And you may recall her trip to Chicago to receive her surprise American Girl doll. She doesn't demand a toy at every turn. She is developing a lovely sweet spirit.

And then there is Georgia who even at an early age could tell jokes and make a person laugh. Her strong will may have caused more grey hair in my sister, but since starting school it seems, Georgia has come into her own. She is also a delightful young girl. When Kate brought back something for her from the American Girl doll store, Georgia said, "This is for me?" with so little expectation and complete gratitude.

It is a gift to celebrate them. It is a gift to experience (even from a far) how God continues to nurture and develop their hearts, souls and spirits.

Happy Birthday dear Katrina!
Happy Birthday beloved Georgia!

27 September 2008


Please know that in the category of important things, this post subject would not qualify for the top ten. But, it's on my mind thus, you're stuck with it.

Here's what went down. A person in my spiritual formation program, a few semesters behind me, posted a comment in her facebook status about her current class. I replied to her post.
And then she responded to me:
Hi Diana! Which class are you in now? And...is that a grandchild in your picture?????
The picture is of my friend's baby. He is adorable. And if I did the math, if I had a child at 18ish and my child had a child at 18ish, mathematically speaking, I could have a grandchild. But..well, listen in on my response:

I'm in Spirituality and Leadership. It is also a class to look forward to! And um, no, not a grandchild. I'm not yet a parent. :-)

This comes ironically after my friend, the very mother of the baby I'm holding, blogged about her experience when someone thought she was the grandma of the same child.

I confess, I'm not too stressed out about age. I turn 39 this very week and I'm grateful for another birthday. I love life. I am delighted for the opportunity to love God and love others for another year.

But, this whole thinking I'm a grandma thing, it's kinda bugged me. Given that the mother of this child is six years younger than me, and SHE was confused as a grandma doesn't console me. Goodness, at least she is a parent, even though she looks and acts nothing like a grandparent.

To complete the comments, here is the response to me:
Oops - sorry! I hope I didn't offend you girlfriend! I AM a grandma - so I just made an assumption...we grandmas get younger all the time! :-)

She wrote that a day or so ago. And since i'm clearly NOT over it, it's no surprise to say I was offended. I was whining about it to Barkley, and he said, "perhaps your blond hair in the photo looked grey?"
To which I quickly quipped, "but, I don't have wrinkles by my eyes, or lines by my mouth." Yes, clearly, this isn't sitting well. But why? I hear grandparenting is a fabulous time of life. Some people comment that they wish they'd become grandparents sooner. Most people really really really like their grandmas (I'm one of them).

Even so, I'd rather not be thought as one.
Gentle reader (tee hee, who says that?), here's an opportunity to input should you care to respond:
should I tell her I was offended?
or is it time to let this whole thing go?
Any thoughts out there?

25 September 2008

cyber wave

In gmail's chat and facebook's chat features, when a person is online (if they enable chat) they show up as a green dot. So the other day, I saw the green dot of my classmate from Tanzania.

As I tried figure out what time it was in her world, I sent her a chat saying, "I see you. I don't want to bother you if you're doing homework. Consider this a cyber wave or something."

She responded, "come sit by me for awhile."

I loved it.
The invitation to sit with her and be present.


19 September 2008

funfact friday

A couple of my bloggin friends inspired me with their reoccurring features...like Confession Tuesdays and
Netherlands Neusdays
and Interview Tuesdays (ha, just realized they're all on Tuesdays). I'm not going to copy them completely, because I can't commit to such regularity. But occasionally I tho't I might offer tasty or otherwise tedious tidbits of well, perhaps pure silliness or random information.

Today I offer this:
Jordan and I walk nearly every weekday morning. We see wildlife (today as an example, four adult deer, three fawns, and several, maybe ten wild turkeys) and sunrises and fog, besides people and all weather related sights. Today I noted again that when I walk on sidewalks, especially, I subconsciously avoid cracks.

The whole, "step on a crack, break your Mother's back" rhyme, well, it is ingrained in me to not step on them. I change my stride, I pull up or lengthen it all to strain beyond or step short of the sidewalk crack. In fact, I try to make myself NOT pay attention to it, and the very next stretch of sidewalk I realized I was doing it all over again. It's the little bit of OCD in all of us perhaps. Or, at least, in me.

Does anyone else do this? or anything like it? I'm hoping someone can identify with me.

Pic credit: Hildred, 0907.

16 September 2008

seasons and gifts

If you've been "a regular" here for awhile, you know I discuss much of my life on this blog. I don't usually hold back. You may also know I've been dating this great guy, Barkley, and I don't talk about him a lot.

I remember returning to Seattle during my college years and sensing that saying "no," when I answered the "do you have a boyfriend" question was somehow the wrong answer as well as the abrupt end to the questioner's interest in my life and experiences. That may seem a bit harsh, but it was often my experience. As if my love life or potential partner was the only thing of interest to talk about. I often felt disgusted imagining that my worth was measured based on whether or not I was "linked" to another person romantically.

People don't intend this, of course. Our culture is in love with love, or at least overly interested in romance. (Have you noted all the "reality" tv shows about love, romance, & dating, for starters?) People want to hear stories of dating and romance. Especially if they are happily married, they want that for other people as well. But somehow, the conversation communicates that value exists if you are married, engaged, or otherwise dating.

(You may appreciate that at this very moment, my Itunes playlist landed on Barlow Girl's song, Average girl, with the lyrics, "no more dating, I'm just waiting...")

And I'll own that I am sensitive to this area. When I was giving leadership to small groups in a church setting, someone asked me why I didn't lead a group for singles. My response communicated that I wanted to know people from all aspects of life. I needed married people, families, singles, old, young, divorced, dating, etc. in my circle of community. They pondered what I would have in common with married people, and families. Perhaps overlooking the fact that I was born into a family and had married friends. But I digress.

It is a great honor to be single. This is not just a single girl trying to talk herself into contentment. I mean that the opportunities one has as a single person are great. Although all the responsibility is on one's shoulder as a single person, the freedoms are on offer as well. It is something I consider as a complete God gift, this single life. It is rich with community and opportunity and diversity. As much as marriage provides definition, singleness shapes and defines me.
Which brings me back to Barkley...although, be assured, this is no announcement. But some people wonder why I don't post about him more. I don't in part because he is more private than I am. As open as I might be about "my" life and adventures, it does not give me the right to be as open about "his" life and adventures, even if some of those adventures include me.

But he and I did talk about this blog. And he encouraged me to write more about him as appropriate. And so, as part of something else that is defining and shaping me, I give you, my Barkley. Tee hee. Okay, not really. But, I expect you'll see more of him on these pages. As he becomes more and more part of my heart and life, you may read more of that journey here, too. It is also a rich gift.

15 September 2008


I started this posts days ago, actually, on September 3. I wanted to add this particularly photo but found difficulty scanning it until this weekend. It was taken the last time I was with Grandma, celebrating Easter, 2003.
And so the post began...

Today would have been my Grandma's birthday, a mere 104 years old.
It's strange that she has been gone already five years.
Her life was full of love and vitality, even near the end.
I certainly loved knowing her and being loved by her. I know we all miss her warmth and richness, not to mention her sparkling brown eyes and quick laugh.

I was reminded of her and reminded of this post, actually, as I read homework this weekend. We're reading The Congruent Life by c. Michael Thompson.
He outlines this view,
"In this culture, we have no concept whatsoever
of this interesting concept we call the 'present'...
We are constantly living in the future,
and everything we do is designed to get it here more quickly.
It's as if we are constantly
pulling the fabric of time toward ourselves,
ill-content to let it flow towards us at its own pace,
and thus unable to appreciate,
much less fully enjoy, the richness of the fabric
that might at this moment be in our hands."

As I drove home yesterday reflecting on that reading, I remembered how Grandma used to wonder aloud why she was still living. Her mind was sharp even though, as she quickly acknowledged, her body was failing. But there she was, nearly 100 years old, wondering at times why God held her here.

So I wonder if it was because she learned how to be present? She was such an encouragement to people who worked at the nursing home where she lived. She was a joy to all who visited her, or visited her roommates, for that matter. It was not only her eyes that sparkled. Grandma sparkled. Of course she had her moments, what 98 year old woman wouldn't? But for the most part, Jennie Hubers Van Roekel blessed those who were in her presence. I think because she could offer her presence, be fully present, as it were, to those around her. Sure, she walked the pathway of past moments and experiences, too. But when you sat with her, her focus was you. It was such a gift.

11 September 2008


Dear reader,
There is some language in the following post that is not typical of my blog. (Although, sadly, sometimes typical of my speech. Sorry, Mom.) I could remove certain letters, but you're smarter than that. So, please forgive the vulgarity for this little tale.

It all started when I needed to be at work early today.
(And by early, I mean 9:30, which doesn't seem early to some, but since I work until 8 or 9 p, 9:30 a is definitely early.)

I like to start the work day right (for me) with a glass of water.
You who know me well, know I drink a lot of water.
It is my beverage of choice at most, if not all occasions.

But to do so, or really, for the next person to enjoy water, I needed to replace the water cooler container. (This sounds so altruistic, doesn't it?)
I automatically remove the seal and get ready to flip the jug over into the unit. But somehow, in the flipping, it slips.

Water starts spurting everywhere like an out of control fire hose.
And then the jug drops completely out of my hands.
I see water escaping wildly from both ends and realize in the drop, the bottom of the jug has cracked.

I sputter something in the process, likely, "Shit, Shit. Shit!" to which my co-worker comes running.
He surveys the situation and exclaims, "Crap!"
as I'm muttering, "what do I do?"
He says, "put it in the sink,"
which we both realize is in a locked classroom across the hall.

So he grabs the garbage can and we fling the leaking jug in there.
He begins carrying it across to the aforementioned locked classroom and we notice the garbage can is leaking. (Mind u, it had a bag in it, but, okay, it's leaking.)

I fumble with the keys and finally unlock the classroom.
He dashes toward the sink only to have the "bucket" burst.

Yep, guess we can't afford to have a trash can without a hole in it either.

The redeeming part of the day is that Absopure happened to deliver NEW bottles today. And when I told them the story, they communicated that when a bottle breaks, they refund the bottle. And even more generous, he refunded TWO bottles.

Perhaps it was the four fans spinning overtime to soak up the water that evoked his mercy? Or, they're just a great company.

I know I highly recommend them.
And I highly recommend the laughter that spontaneously bursts forth after an incident like this.
It has amused me, us, and now hopefully you, in random moments all day long.
Probably a chuckle will escape tomorrow, too.
Maybe over the weekend...