Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tonight's the night!


God asks Peyton Manning first: "What do you believe?" Peyton thinks long and hard, looks God in the eye, and says, "I believe in hard work, and in staying true to family and friends. I believe ingiving. I was lucky, but I always tried to do right by my fans."God can't help but see the essential goodness of Manning, and offers hima seat to his left.


Then God turns to Tony Romo and says, "What do you believe?" Tony says, "I believe passion, discipline, courage and honor are the fundamentals of life. I, too, have been lucky, but win or lose, I've always tried to be a true sportsman, both on and off the playing fields." God is greatly moved by Tony's sincere eloquence, and he offers him a seat to his right.


Finally, God turns to Brett Favre: "And you, Brett, what do you believe?" Brett replies, "I believe you're in my seat."


******


Tonight the 10-1 Packers take on the 10-1 Cowboys in one of the biggest match ups of the year. Most people assume that the Cowboys are the better team but I'm hoping the Packers play passionately and smoothly and pull it out. I haven't anticipated a non-playoff game this much for quite a while. It has been an amazing season for Favre and the Packers and I hope it continues.


The only bummer is that the game is being shown on the NFL network which is currently a exta $ channel with Comcast. So I'll have to go out tonight to watch it. I do hope it spurs some complaints about the cost of specialty channels and the need to have national sporting events available to the public. In the meantime, Go PACKERS!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ack!

Well, we found out today that Chris' grandfather passed away this morning. It was not a surprise as he had pneumonia among other lung issues (not to mention the demetia and other things too). So it looks like we have to try to get ourselves to North Carolina for a funeral.

The only problem is if the wake and funeral are going to be when they are tenatively scheduled, there is not a single flight out there that can get me their in time and still have my do my Sunday morning church things.

If I could find subs for the church things it would be tons easier but we are supposed to play bells at two services on Sunday. Not only is it a really hard piece that we've been working on for three months (along with other things) but there are not subs and I am the bass bell person. Which means if I am gone you lose all the chord roots and things. Ugh.

I'm not sure what we'll be doing but I imagine it will be crazy. I should know more when the funeral is definate. In the meantime, if you can pray for the family, and Chris' mother in particular that would be good. As with all families, there are some confusing relationships and interesting dynamics that may come into play during this stress, and I know that it is especially hard on her. Thanks.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Black Friday

I was at the mall on Friday - Black Friday - and was wrapping gifts. Here are some of the things I noticed.

1. Crate and Barrel did not open until 10am!
2. People do not want to pay to wrap gifts even if it is for a good cause.
3. People were NOT in a holiday mood but kinda cranky.
4. Most people were shopping for themselves.
5. Macy's has Frango mint body wash.
6. Not nearly as much was on sale as the ads lead you to believe.
7. The line for Santa was tiny.

and finally,

8. If you look down and don't make eye contact it is somehow not rude to ignore someone.

That is all.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blank stares.

I was reminded this week how much I hate public speaking. Or rather, I don't hate it, but I do get annoyed with the average audience or congregation. I gave a temple talk in worship this weekend at all four services. I also played my trumpet for three of them. I thought my temple talk was pretty good, all things considered. I talked about how important supporting the children in the congregation is and if we don't the church will die. It was clear and too the point. There were funny lines and a personal connection and it was short and sweet. And I got blank stares. I don't think it was a higher percentage than say the pastors get during their sermons but it is so hard to tell how things are received when you look at blank faces. I got a few nice comments about it after the services so I trust that I must have said something worthwhile.

On the other side of things, I got scores of compliments about my trumpet playing which is funny because I consider it sort of normal for me. In my head the temple talk was a much bigger deal, but to the congregation it seems like the trumpet made more of an impact. I did do a pretty cool arrangement of "Fairest Lord Jesus" though. It made me ready to go to St. Olaf Christmas Fest next week and hear its other hymn incarnation - Beautiful Savior.

Still my trumpet playing may have helped the message of my temple talk since my basic point was, we all can be difficult children who don't appreciate church, but it is the people from our family and church who influence our faith that keeps us invloved (or brings us back) as adults. I did have an example about playing trumpet when I was young and our organist who would transpose music by hand so I could play, so perhaps it added to the connection. I hope so. I don't get the chance to address the congregation in its entirety too often and I was glad for the opportunity. So often adults are only focused on what the children are doing wrong (talking, running, goofing off), and many of the parents are only focused on the upbringing of their own child first and foremost (which is appropriate but often done without regard for the other children and families in the church).

Anyway, I hope that the blank stares were simply the congregations way of listening and not disdain or annoyance at what I was saying. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks

I'm in a bad mood. I'm tired and sick of it getting dark so early already (its going to be a Looong winter). My office is cold and I have to stay and go to church tonight where I have so many different things going on that I feel like a one-woman show, even though I am only one small gear in this whole church machine. I'm working hard to not get the cold that I feel growing in my head and am dreading spending 12 hours at the mall wrapping gifts on Black Friday to earn money for our Argentina mission trip.

But...That is not the spirit of the week and in an effort to get out of it I'm now going to list many of the things I'm thankful for, and I'm thankful that my list couldn't even cover all the blessings I have in my life. So...in spite of the afformentioned grouchiness...

I give Thanks because...

1. I have a loving, supportive, funny and tolerant husband.
2. I have amazing parents, and ILs and siblings and a whole crazy cast of extended family. These are people I really enjoy seeing and spending time with.
3. I have a host of friends to do things with. These are people who I can ask dumb questions too, or show my extremely geeky side, or just hang out.
4. I have shelves and shelves of books, and a whole world of libraries as my desposal feeding my book habit.
5. I know how to make music well enough that I can enjoy it, even if I'm not the world's greatest.
6. I have a place to live, food to eat, and a good job...more than a lot worldwide can say.
7. I don't smoke, hardly drink and am mostly healthy.
8. I have freedom (at least for now) to say that George W. and the government have royally f*cked things up and I won't be thrown in jail for saying so (at least for now).
9. I've been to several different countries and experienced different cultures that help me look at my own a bit more objectively.
10. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. ~ Ephesians 2:8

Thursday, November 15, 2007

When even normal days seem busy.

Are you afraid blogland? I know that I'm starting to be. The holidays have been sneaking up on me, much like the cold weather, and today I blinked and realized that they are almost upon us. And don't get me wrong. I love the holidays, when they arrive. I love to see my family and relax. I love to give gifts and receiving them isn't too bad either. This year I'll get to go home to WI for Christmas meaning I'll get to see my sister and her husband and some extended family that I haven't seen in far too long. And I hope to connect with some friends back home too. Once we get to the holidays Chris is on break from school and is able to relax more than usual. There is cards and cookie decorating and beautiful church services and family and food and fabulous fun too spare.

But there is just so much *crap* between then and now. And my week this week is a perfect example of it. I did not have a busy week on paper but now it is Thursday evening and I'm wondering where all the time went. During the preparation for the holidays even the non-busy days become frantic and I don't like it.

Take a look at the random busy stress-inducing things that happened this week that were not on my calendar:

* Our custodian's mom died leaving all the church building things in disarray this week and which now means I have to come into the office tomorrow on my day off and move my entire preschool SS classrooms so that they can have the confirmation banquet this weekend. I feel awful that my coworker's mom died but it doesn't help matters to have your Sr. Pastor inform you of something that you need to do before things can go on and that there is no one available to help me. Grr.

* My friend delivered her baby 10 weeks early. While I'm sure this is a bigger event on her "not planning to do this but here it is anyway" calendar much of yesterday was spent having trouble concentrating waiting for news.

* Yesterday at 4:30 my apartment office called to inform me that they are retiling my bathroom starting tomorrow morning and I needed to move everything out of it by then. Oh, and it will take 3 or 4 days to finish. Yeah, thanks for the notice...glad I work Wed nights and that I new about it a day ahead of time.

* And about said bathroom - they are doing the one that doesn't actually need the most work. Which I find very confusing. At least we have two so we won't be without a bathroom, thank goodness!

* Oh, and Tuesday I spent a lot of time dealing with a flat tire. I had to get the temporary tire on and then I was really late to staff meeting because of it (like a hour). Then I had to go get it patched and fixed over my lunch hour. Luckily it was just a nail in the tire and could be patched and put back on. I don't want to go replacing stuff on my new car just yet.

Now none of these things are holiday related. They are everyday events that happened in one week, but they remind me of how the holidays can get. Even on days when you aren't busy it becomes difficult to slow down since there is so much to-do and so much that just comes up.

And I know that life is going to get even more busy soon. The day after Thanksgiving I'm wrapping gifts at Southdale to raise money for my Argentina trip. And this is after swearing I would not return to Southdale on Black Friday ever, my work days at Marshall Fields still haunt me. But I'm going to eat my words and hopefully make some money.

There is the children's Christmas program, a bunch of extra gift wrapping nights, a cookie baking church event, Sunday School, Wednesday nights, a big church talk to give to the confirmation and kids (45 min worth, ugh), a temple talk, christmas shopping, cleaning, and prepping for Jan so I can leave over Christmas.

I know it is coming and I'm feeling daunted. I want so much to skip directly from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. Nice meals, good friends and family, church services and the whole hearth and home thing.

It will happen and I'll get there and feel all the more grateful when I arrive but it is going to be a crazy 6 weeks! Good luck. If I'm going to need it, I know you will too!

UPDATE:

My friend had her baby yesterday via emergency c-section. Her blood pressure stabilized after the c-section and she is doing well. The baby girl, Sadie Ilene, is 1 lb 9 oz. The doctors said that she should have been closer to 3 lbs at this stage so it seems clear that mom and baby were not working well together and she is probably best outside the womb even if it is 10 weeks early. Sadie is on a ventilator but has been off of it at times and has done ok. It sounds like things are optimistic but please keep the family in your prayers as she keeps growing. So far things are looking good though.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Prayers Please

I just found out that my friend Jana was airlifted to Abbot for an emergency C-section. She was admitted earlier to another hospital with high blood pressure and they found protein in her blood. While I don't know her exact due date she wasn't due til January and I think the end of it. So it is really too early to want to have the baby. Any thoughts and prayers that you can spare for her, her husband Dan and the baby are much appreciated!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Church Lady in Training.

I should face the reality that just as I am turning into my mother (not such a terrible thing all things considered), I am also turning into a church lady.

The evidence...

1. I start to grumble when things are not put away properly and have desires to send emails to staff members reminding them that if they borrow things to put them back where they found it.

2. I can relate instinctively to the 60+ church lady crowd as well as to the Sunday School children, and possibly better than my ability to relate to some of my church parents.

3. I was invited by the church ladies to sub for bunko today and did so easily. I'm now on their permant sub list.

There are worse fates than that of church lady, but I hope they don't start putting me on the kitchen crew for funerals just yet.

On the other hand - I could be just a grown grand-daughter type that they all humor. Yeah, that must be it. Right?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Small Victories

Last night I dragged my sorry ass back to the gym for the first time in I-don't-want-to-know. It was hard and really kinda sucked but I'm glad that I went. Now I just need to go back a second time. And a third. etc. But I'm going to celebrate the fact that I went anyway!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cute or just plain scary...

You know when you get are very close to someone you start thinking like them, finishing their sentences and what not. But this is ridiculous...

The Scene: Last night just as I got home from work.

Liz: Man, I was getting some serious pizza vibes coming home and they kept getting stronger as I walked down the hall.

Chris: I already wrote the check it is on its way.

Liz: So were you sending pizza vibes or was I?

Chris: *shrugs*

So apparently we are either psychically linked or there are subliminal messages in Pizza Hut commercials. Take your pick!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Trunk or Treat

Each year our church has a family event on the Sunday afternoon before Halloween. Church members bring their cars and decorate their trunks and then the kids from the church and the neighborhood come and trick or treat from trunk to trunk. It is always a good time and the kids love it.

This year was our best year yet. We had 30 trunks there and had our first ever Ballot for the best trunk. The prize was "the Golden Troll" travelling trophy which I created this year. It was a fun day at work making a random and bizarre trophy and calling it my job!

We had a huge number of kids (I almost ran out of candy) and had campfire going with S'mores and Hot chocolate too. We even had a policeman come and hand out stickers and talk to the kids. They got to climb in and out of his police car. We heard from the policeman the day after that it really made his day, particularly since he'd had 3 suicide calls that morning to respond too. It was nice to provide a bright spot for him.

Anyway, I am posting some pictures late from it. I didn't post any of the kids since they aren't my kids but below is my trunk and some pictures from the winners of the trunk contest. The winners decorated their trunk and area as the pumpkin patch from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. They came as Charlie Brown, Linus and Sally.

My car (here is a partial glimpse of my new car that I got in August too) came dressed as a monster. I think it came out quite well myself, even though this isn't the best picture of it. Its tongue was much longer and that gives it a better effect. Still it was fun, you can just barely see the rat in its teeth!

My Trunk - My Monster

I'll do it this time...


I just know it...


Here I go...


Good Grief!

Charlie Brown, You Blockhead!

The Winners of the Trunk or Treat Golden Troll - Charlie Brown, Linus and Sally. Too bad that you can't see the golden troll's little golden loincloth! (Oh an Charlie Brown's hair had rubbed off by this point!)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Own Meme

I'm in the mood for one but I didn't find one I liked. So I am making one up. Please play along if you'd like, either on your blog or in the comments. I hope you all had a happy Thursday.

1. Name one place you'd like to be right now.
I would love to be on a dock by a lake in the Northwoods with the stars out. At those times the world feels alive with hope and you can almost here the song of creation continuing. They are moments to just be.

2. Name two things you really ought to know but that you keep forgetting.
1. Never, ever, go to the grocery store when you are hungry or right before dinner. It is bad! Tonight I had no willpower but needed to go to the store sooo desperately (We had nothing at home).

2. My grandparents birthdays. I know *sort of* when they are but I keep forgetting. Oops.

3. Name three things you would like to change about yourself.
1. My food and exercise habits are not very good and I would love to fix those.
2. Ditto on my ability to keep a clean and organized house.
3. I'd also like to change my propensity to worry.

4. Name four things you would never change about yourself.
1. My ability to love deeply and loyally.
2. My geekiness.
3. My love of learning and finding out new things.
4. My ability to listen and care for others.

5. Name five people who make you smile inside and out.
1. Chris - my hubby.
2. Mom and Dad
3. Kristin - my sister (and Hans and Emily - my BIL and SIL)
4. Tiffany - my oldest friend in the world.
5. Babies - almost all of them - including those of my friends and those at church and hopefully (in the future) my own.

Play along if you want. It's fun!