God

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This Is The Stuff News Reports Are Made Of

Published June 22, 2014 by ia84

So, last night (Friday) we had a bit of a gully washer here in Omaha.  I was at work, and as my shift progressed, I noticed the sky getting darker and darker until it was pitch black.  That’s about when the torrential downpour began.  By time time my shift had ended, the rain hadn’t let up, and the basement at my work had flooded.  I didn’t think much about this because it’s prone to flooding, as is our parking lot.  Before I left work, I checked the weather warnings, and all I found was that there was a flash flood warning for a county in Iowa.  Thinking I was safe, I decided to head home.

Now, have you ever seen those new videos where they show people, stranded in their cars, while the roads swell with flood waters?   I’ve always watched those videos kind of judgmentally.  I’m usually wondering what kind of idiot would go out in that weather in the first place.  Now I know, because it turns out I’m that kind of idiot.

Honestly, things weren’t going well from the minute I left work.  Like I said, the parking lot at work was flooded, but I’m so used to that I didn’t think anything of it.  However, when I got out on the road, I noticed that the water seemed to be a little higher than was comforting.  Plus, I kept having water go up the tailpipe and the van would fill with gas fumes.  Which, is apparently a not so good thing, and probably should have been a big sign to me that I was probably in trouble.

And at this point you’re thinking, “You did the smart thing, pulled over, and waited it out.  Right?”

Didn’t I mention before that I’m an idiot?

I did almost pull off at Village Inn near my work.  My thought was that I could just wait out the storm there, but then I began wondering what I would do if the storm didn’t let up anytime soon.  So, I pushed on for home.  Such a huge mistake.

Most of L Street was under some water.  There were actually multiple times that I found that the appearance of a road had completely disappeared.  When I saw cars stranded I went from worried to really scared.  I just began praying, “Jesus, just get me home.  Please just get me home.”  I didn’t make deal any deals with God, or anything like that.  I just asked to get home safely.  As soon as I could, I got off of L, and headed for Q Street, thinking that would be a better option.

Headed down hill on Q Street towards the intersection with 96th Street, I saw something I wasn’t at all prepared for.  The entire intersection was completely underwater.  Cars were stalled, and the rushing water was coming up to the hoods of large pickup trucks.  Fortunately, there was a parking lot on the hill that I could pull in to.  Sitting there, I felt trapped.  I knew I couldn’t go back to L Street, and clearly I couldn’t get through the intersection at the bottom of the hill.  It was late and dark and I was terrified and I was alone.  Because I’m a drama queen, I had a brief moment where my mind seriously darted to the thought of, “What if this is it?  What if I die here?”  I briefly considered contacting those people in my life that are most important and telling them how important they are to me, and how much I love and appreciate them.  Fortunately for them, no one received a phone call from a unnerved, terrified me, because as I sat there I decided to head back and try going a more roundabout way to get home, one that was likely to be less flooded.

Long, long story shorter, I did make it home.  It took me an hour, compared to the normal 15 minutes.  I did not make any embarrassing phone calls, or send any embarrassing texts.  Not that telling people you love them is embarrassing.  However I do believe you shouldn’t have to be wondering if you’re going to die in order to be prompted to let people know you truly care about them.

Also, I’m thankful that my stupidity didn’t actually end up on the news.

Let’s All Sing The Doom Song!

Published May 17, 2014 by ia84

So, last Sunday was Mother’s Day.  As I get older, I find the day is a cornucopia of mixed emotions for me.  On the one hand, I’ve been very blessed to have some incredible ladies in my life.  Mom, aunts, grandmas, friends.  These ladies deserve to be honored and celebrated.

On the other hand, I want to be a mom, and the older I get, the more I understand the sadness childless women feel on Mother’s Day.    Until I was twenty-two, I firmly did not want kids.  Absolutely not.  Kids terrified me, and I didn’t think I’d stand a chance of being a good mom.  However, something started changing in my heart, and the next four years I found myself in the mode of, “I do want kids, maybe not this instant, but I’m thinking I’d like to be a mom.”  Then, my brain moved to the point of, “We live in a psycho world, it’s an absolutely insane idea to want to bring children into this world, but I don’t care.  I want to be a mama.”  It’s true.  I don’t have the vaguest idea of how to be a mom, but women have been moms since the beginning of time; so there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be the worst mother ever.  And yes, I know you don’t have to actually go through pregnancy and labor to have kids and be a mom, but I find myself praying that one of these days I’ll get to go through that experience as well.

And, while I usually pep talk myself that should a miracle happen and God gives me a little rugrat, there are some days, like today, where I worry I’ll emotionally scar the future rugrat for life.

I’m an internalizer.  When something upsets me, I lock it inside, and let it fester.  It’s a totally “healthy” way to deal with things.  Unfortunately, when things fester, they tend to eventually explode.  Like I did.  Tonight.  The situation isn’t really that important.  Yes, something needed to be done.  Yes, I was just as good a candidate to deal with it as anyone.  However, I handled it wrong.  I fully accept the responsibility for handling it wrong.  I’m still not sure how I should have handled it, but I definitely should not have done so in anger.

Later, after I started to calm down, I got really sad.  Here I am, wanting to be a mom, and when a mothering situation came along I totally screwed up.  I found myself berating myself for asking God to let me have a go at being a mom when I struggle so much to handle even basic confrontation situations.  (As you can tell, I’m clearly emotionally mature.)  In the midst of this inner fight/pity party, I suddenly had the first verse of What a Friend We Have In Jesus pop into my head.

“What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

Joseph M. Scriven

I’m not trying to get all preachy here.  In fact, I’m not one hundred percent sure why I feel compelled to share this sad little tale of my lack of emotional maturity.  I do know, though, that the more I thought about those words, the calmer I got.  It also occurred to me that I talk a good line about loving Jesus and believing in God, but I rarely take anything to Him because I don’t want to bother Him with my measly little problems.  After the disaster of today, though, it occurs to me that I really do need His help.  As long as I try to handle things without help, doom is inevitable.

I’m Gonna Be 16 For A Minute

Published February 25, 2014 by ia84

Tonight, after work, I got to go have pie…with my boyfriend!  And he even realizes that I refer to him as that.  Which makes it totally more awesome, and makes me sound like a teenager.  And I’m okay with all of that.

I’m 29 and I have a boyfriend. My first boyfriend.  I’ve never actually been in an official relationship before, so this is all really new to me.  Which explains the fact that apparently I’ve been smiling a lot and giggling about the dumbest stuff on a pretty regular basis.  I’ve never actually gotten to use the words “boyfriend” “girlfriend” in any relation to my personage before.  It’s new, and really kind of wonderful.

You know what I’m really enjoying?  The communication.  There are no games.  He knows that I had a freak-out moment last Thursday, and that didn’t freak him out.  (Which is good.)  He doesn’t talk down to me, and he listens to me.  Even to my disgusting work stories.

About that freak-out last Thursday.  I have a fear of being happy, and I tend to sabotage any possibilities of happiness.  Yeah, it’s as messed up as it sounds.  I fear that if I am happy, it will all go away immediately, and I’ll be left devastated.  I’ve had plenty of experiences to back up this fear.  Which makes it really hard to get beyond.  Last Thursday, I found my brain playing the game of “Yeah, you’re happy now, but just wait, it’s all going to be gone so very, very soon.”   I ended up talking this out via text with my “sister” (she’s my sister, just not by blood).  I related to her my fear that I was going to sabotage this.  As I was venting out my feelings a thought occurred to me.  Is God still God, still in control, and still good, if I do get hurt again?  I thought on this for a long while, and finally acknowledged that the answer is “yes”.  This led to the thought, “I am the daughter of the most high King, and He wants good things for me.”  All the leading I’ve received from Him leads me to believe that this relationship really is of Him and really is a good thing.  Ever since I acknowledged to myself that I really do believe that God wants good things for me, I’ve had complete peace about this relationship.  And I’m not even worrying that much that I might do something to ruin it.

So, I’m going to enjoy getting to say that I’m a girlfriend (even though, I really have no idea how one goes about being a girlfriend), and I’m going to do my best to live in the present.  Enjoy the time I get to spend with this man, and be patient.  God’s timing is perfect, and I’m going to enjoy being happy and at peace.

This Is It!

Published April 28, 2013 by ia84

Deep breaths.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

It’s going to be okay.  Honest.

12 hours from now, it will all be over.  This performance that we’ve been working towards since January will be presented in the morning. Normally, I’m a little nervous, but this time I’m having a full on Tangled moment.

That’s right, hand me a frying pan and I’d totally be Rapunzel right now.

Okay, so the reason for all the nerves is this.  This is the first performance that I’ve been in the director’s chair for.  I’ve directed songs before, but I’ve never been in charge of a full performance.  What we will be presenting in the morning is actually a concept I came up with about 15 years ago.  Up until now, there’s just not been a good time to do it.  Starting in January, our church started working through The Story.  Basically, this book is the Reader’s Digest version of the Bible.  By the end of the year, we will have done a condensed walk through the Bible.  Well, the performance we’re doing, presents different Bible stories (starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation) with a twist.  It fits perfectly with The Story.

I’ve learned so much in putting this performance together.  It’s been kind of overwhelming.  I’ve learned tons about being a leader vs a dictator.  I’ve also learned quite a bit about the young men and women who make up our team.  I’ve found that they’re hard working, fantastic young adults!  I’m so incredibly proud of them.  This is by far the biggest, most intense performance we’ve ever done, and they’ve stepped up to the challenge.

I know that there will probably be moments where a sign gets missed or lip sync is off, but I honestly believe it’s going to be a good, God-honoring performance.  At the end of the day, it’s not about me (which is a tough lesson for someone who’s as selfish as I am), or even about the team.  It’s about presenting the message of the Bible.

So, I’m going to try to get some sleep, and pray that this will be a fun and fantastic performance!

Also, I just have to share what our stage looks like…

This is the view from the front.  There’s actually a whole other side wing that juts out that I couldn’t get in the straight on picture.  Hence the side view.

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To give you a idea of how tall this thing is, the lowest point is about 4 feet tall.  We have to stand on super tall ladders to reach the top when putting this together.

Okay, now I’m going to try to get sleep…

 

The Tail of a Cat

Published February 12, 2013 by ia84

Shortly before I turned 5, my family moved from Denver to a little town in southern Illinois.  We took a long two cats, Gracie and Marshmallow, some gerbils, and some fish.  Not long  after we settled in, the neighbor’s cat came around to visit with her kittens.  She did this everyday for a couple of days.  It was late fall, and the weather was turning cool.  Mom couldn’t stand it, and she started leaving out food.  Pretty soon, the mamma cat stopped coming, and only one little kitten remained.  Somehow mom and I convinced my dad that we needed to take the kitten in.  So, into our lives came a third cat, which in my 5 year old wisdom I named, Andrew George Mittens the Third.  Andrew came about because at the time I was convinced that “Andrew” was simply the greatest boy name in the world.  George was attached because our cat Gracie was named after Gracie Allen, so I thought it was appropriate to name the boy cat after George Burns.  Mittens was because he had little white paws that emerged from his tabby coat.   I didn’t quite comprehend the fact that “the Third” referred to line of descendants.  I just thought it fit since he was the third cat we had at the time.    Anyway, Andrew, George, and the Third rarely got mentioned, and he came to be known as Mittens.

Mittens quickly grew from being a tiny pathetic kitten, into a bit of a behemoth.  He remained this for as long as he was in my life.

The first year I was in 4-H, I decided to spend the year preparing my cat to be judged at the county fair.  Owning him was as close to owning livestock as I was gonna get.  When I took him to the fair, I had to take him up to a panel of judges which included a veterinarian.  Things didn’t exactly go smoothly.  Mittens decided it was a good time to hiss and be generally unsociable.  My mom ended up coming and holding him in place.  The vet was terrified of him.  I think the fact that I wasn’t scared of something she was, is what got me a blue ribbon.

We discovered, one day by chance, that Mittens could be called by the sound of hysterical crying.  We were watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie, and Mittens was nowhere around.  In the episode, Nellie Olson started fake hysterical crying.  Out of nowhere, Mittens lumbered in desperate to check on mom and I.  He was certain something was wrong.  He never failed to come when I was crying.

When I turned 9, I had a really bad case of pneumonia.  It actually hit a few weeks before my 9th birthday, and lasted until the middle of February.  I missed the better part of 3.5 months of 3rd grade.   The night I was at my worst, was the day we had gone to the doctor.  The doctor prescribed me meds, and told my mom that if I got worse, I had to be admitted to the hospital.  That night, mom sat on my bed and pleaded with God.  To say we were poor would be an understatement, and there was no way we could’ve afforded a hospital trip.  All that night mom prayed, and like he had from when I started getting sick, Mittens sat attentively on the foot of my bed.  I did start to slowly get better after that night, and didn’t have to go to the hospital.  Two weeks later when we went to the doctor for a check-up, he was in shock.  He told my mom that he had thoroughly anticipated that I would be in the hospital the night of my last visit.  He also told her that he had expected that I would die in the hospital.

Mittens lived with us, and saw me almost all the way through my teenage years.  He was fat, and precious, and crabby, and wonderful.

When I was a freshman in college, I was living several hundred miles away from home, and things at home took a bad turn.  My parents moved, and they couldn’t take Mittens with them.  So, he went to live with a neighbor.  He was really old at that point, and not in the greatest health.  I never got to say good-bye, but I think (or at least I hope) that he somehow knew that we loved him and didn’t leave him willingly.

I’m sure he’s gone on to kitty heaven by now, but I hope he knows how marvelous and how precious and how important he was in my life.

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Pillow Talk

Published January 24, 2013 by ia84

My bed is cold.  Every.  Single.  Night.  My bed is lonely.  Every.  Single.  Night.  I’m surrounded by pillows, but you know what the problem with pillows is?  Pillows never ask you how your day was.  Pillows just lay there in various forms of flatness, and are silent.  In fact, if my pillows start talking, I’m pretty sure I have bigger problems than just having a cold, lonely bed.  My point is, on some levels being in my late 20’s and single truly has it’s downsides.

Now, don’t misunderstand me, I greatly enjoy some parts of being single.  I love that if I want to go hang with friends, I have no worries about if I have plans already, or if my friends will accept my boyfriend into our group.  I love that I can be pretty selfish when it comes to my money.  If I want to buy a book or movie or video game (although, I’m pretty sure most guys don’t care if their girls buy video games) and I have the money, it’s no big deal.

Overall, though, as the years pass and I remain single it tends to get more wearing.  I just want someone to share in this adventure of life with.

To this end I was having a conversation with two really close friends a few weeks ago, and one friend asked me if I had a list of what I was looking for.  I had a mental list, but afterwards, I realized that I’ve never written down that list before.  Then earlier this week, as I was praying that God would bring that special someone into a friend’s life, I realized that I’ve never actually prayed that God would bring someone into my life.  So, I immediately texted one of my 3 very bestest friends and asked her if she would pray with me about this.  I really don’t believe I was created to be alone.  I believe that I am alone right now, because there are lessons I am in the process of learning.  However, the desire to be married has yet to be removed (and crazy as it sounds, I’ve prayed it would be), so I’m changing up how I pray.  I rarely ask for help from anyone (even God), which is pretty wrong.  It’s not that I’m too proud, I’m kind of backwards. I don’t want to bug people or God with my needs or wants, because I feel they’re so paltry compared to people with real needs.

Anyway, since I’m not desiring my pillows to develop voices, and I’m not wanting to be known to my “niece” as the crazy cat lady, here’s my list of what I’m looking for:

1.  Not just a fan, but completely on fire for Jesus.

2.  Loves pets; sans bugs, snakes, and spiders.

3.  I don’t care if he’s a sports fan, but he needs to be okay with the fact that I am not, nor will I probably ever be a sports fan.  Also, if I do watch sports, I rarely cheer wildly.  However, I totally love the Olympics, and he will have no problem getting me to sit and watch those games.

4.  Enjoys musicals.

5.  Loves movies.  Going to the movies is something I really love doing, and I would hope that I’d be able to be with someone who not only enjoys the whole going to the theater experience, but is willing to make entertaining comments throughout.

6.  Loves British t.v. shows, especially all things “Who.”  I have always had a soft spot for things produced by the BBC.  Generally, they’re quite a bit better than most things on American television.

7.  Loves books.  Hmmm…maybe this should be a bit higher on my list.  Yeah, it probably belongs up there as number 3.

8.  Family relationships should be important.  I’m pretty much it when it comes to parent care on my side of the family, so he’s going to have to be okay with this, and willing to help me.  Also, it’s super important to me, despite my age, that he ask for my father’s permission to date/court/marry me.

9.  Wants to travel, visit museums, go to the zoo, see the world, and take pictures of all of it.  I admit I’m not a great photographer, but I really love to take pictures.  I want to be with someone who enjoys travel and photography as much as I do.

10.  Be okay with the kid thing.

Let me explain number 10.  (And yes, I’ve kind of talked about this before, and yes, it may be slightly graphic and uncomfortable to read.)

Last fall, when everything went really south, health-wise, I found myself sitting, facing a doctor who was trying to figure out how to deliver unpleasant news.  She had to tell me that it was highly unlikely that I would ever be able to have children.  To this day, I don’t envy doctors who have to tell women this.  Fortunately, for her, I didn’t go into hysterics or any of that sort of reaction.  In fact, I pretty much had already guessed.  I’d known for a long time that certain parts didn’t work right.  Parts that are required to carry a baby through a pregnancy.  Her telling me, just confirmed what I already suspected.  Now, I’ve never been wild about having kids, but I certainly thought having one might not be too bad.  I’m okay (mostly, but believe me there have been some intense discussions with mom and with God regarding the fact that there are 15 year old’s who sleep with everything and get knocked up, and yet I try to be a good kid, and not only do I have this whole nightmare weight situation, but I also have a body that doesn’t understand the basics of how to work right) with all of this, but recently I’ve found myself wondering if this will be a huge check-mark against me for guys.  It seems that a lot of guys, even good guys, are obsessed with the idea of producing babies.  I guess they need to know that their sperm can swim in order to feel like a “real” man.  I figure that if I there’s someone out there who can love me, knowing that I can’t have babies (unless a miracle takes place), then they truly love me, and don’t just view me as breeding stock.

11. Doesn’t take himself too seriously, or say mean-spirited things, thinking he’s being funny.

12.   Loves, respects, and treats me as a partner, not just someone who’s supposed to clean and cook.  In return, I guarantee that I will love, respect, honor, and be loyal.  I’m looking for a best friend.

And there you have it.  I know that we can’t always have what we want, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to be specific.

Little Miracles

Published August 12, 2012 by ia84

Let me start this by saying that I’m not looking to get into any sort of religious or theological debate.  The point of this blog is to share what’s going on in my life, random thoughts I’m having, and things I’m entertained by.  I am a Christian, and so this post is about that.

These last few weeks since my Grampa died have been kind of hard.  Half of me has been questioning whether or not I’m really doing the right thing going back to ND to school.  500 miles is an expensive bit of a trip, and I can’t get home very quickly in case of family emergency.  The other half has been feeling that I finally see clearly what it is I’m supposed to do with my life.  The last three weeks I’ve been feeling really discouraged, and even kind of terrified of what this school year is going to entail.  I’m finally, FINALLY committing to a major, and for the first time I’m really starting to obsess over how I’m going to succeed.  I’ve not felt this way in ten years, it’s kind of refreshing.  Something else I’ve been discouraged about is the price of gas.  While it’s not in the $4/gallon range yet, it’s steadily creeping that direction.  I’ve been saving most of this summer, but I’ve really been feeling consumed with worry about whether or not I was going to have enough saved to have a cushion in case gas prices suddenly shoots up even higher.  I’ve had a specific amount I’ve had in my head, but I wasn’t really praying about it.  I realized late last week that while I’ll probably have almost enough, I’ll really be on the line of having enough, and there’s no way I’m going to be able to make enough to achieve what I’d like to have.  (I should note here, that I wasn’t able to actually get a legit summer job, so I’ve been doing some online data work that pays pennies, and while I did have one pet sitting job, the one I do every summer never materialized.  So, it’s been a challenge.)  Even though I’ve been fraught with worry, I’ve not mentioned it to anyone.  I’m not good at asking for help, or admitting that I may need it.  Especially, when I know how tough times are for everyone.

This morning, at the end of church service, there was a time of prayer for all the students and teachers heading back to school.  I was stubborn, and didn’t go up.  To my surprise, one of the ladies came over and prayed for me.  When prayer time was over, she told me that for the last three weeks I’d really been on her mind, that she sensed I was really discouraged, and she’d been praying for that to lift, and for me to be encouraged.  Then, she handed me a check and told me it was a little bit to help me out.  Later, after church, I looked at the check, and about fell over.  It was exactly, to the cent, what I’ve been needing.  It really was a gift.  I feel so blessed, and less terrified and discouraged.

So, here’s to committing and succeeding.  I’m going back to ND.