K.I.S.S.--Keep It Simple, Stupid

A woman's walk through marriage, parenthood, servanthood and the family of God.





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Thursday, October 31, 2002

 
Why do people choose to open up to me and share their most difficult trials? I'm not talking about the everyday stuff of people's lives, but rather those dark places each of us has somewhere in our histories, though some are so much worse than others. It is so hard to listen to all that hurt, but even worse to feel you have nothing to offer to ease their pain. Today, for instance, a relative shared with me that she was molested throughout her childhood and teenage years by the very people she should have been able to depend on to love and protect her.....her parents and later a brother-in-law. I was already aware of this sad situation because she was not the only person that was victimized and some of the others have also shared with me in the past. I listened to her and let her talking go where it went, but what could I say? Nothing in my experience prepares me to know how to respond. So, I just listened and when I could I shared what I know about God and the comfort He offers. She has some issues to work out with God as well. She knows the truth in her head, but it is hard to know it in her heart when she is in such pain and turmoil. This is the first time she talked to anyone other than her counselor, so I pray that it helped to even have someone listen.

posted by Stacy at 10:36 PM

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

 
Even though it's still October, could we give a nod to Guns 'n' Roses and talk about the cold November rain? The trees are just beginning to come into the full glory of autumn color around here, but for the last several days it's been raining and cold and gray. Stark in the way only late fall can be, though I usually associate this weather a little more closely with Thanksgiving. It has me wanting to curl up and snooze by the fire.

What I'm Reading: Just finished a book called "The Tender Vine." It turned out to be the third book in a series I haven't read any other books in, but it was easy enough to follow and had some very good insights on marriage that I appreciated. Now I'm working on "The Jerusalem Stones." Book five in the Zion Legacy series by Bodie and Brock Thoene. No, I haven't read the other four books. I do this a lot. See a book that interests me, have it turn out to be in the middle of a series, then go back and read the other books. I'm not far enough into "The Jerusalem Stones" to have an opinion yet.

What I'm Listening to Today: Okay.....this is my number one guilty pleasure, so keep it quiet. I just got a live double CD collection of John Denver's Greatest Hits. I have a lot of his old albums, but they're not very useful these days. I've been wanting the CD's for a long time. I tried dropping all kinds of hints around my birthdays and Christmases, but no one bit, so I just went and ordered them myself a couple of weeks ago. I know the guy was kind of a messed up, new age whacko but the music reaches something way down in me. I completely associate it with the 70's when my family lived in on a wildlife preserve. It was such an awesome time....like living in a nature documentary. It was a scientific community that lived on the preserve, graduate students came from all over the country to do their masters work and we had a staff biologist. My dad was the manager and I had pretty much free reign of the place. I learned so much. Anyway, John Denver just embodies that time and listening to his music is kind of like "going home" again.

I need to shake out of this lazy mood and prepare my lesson for tonight's Bible study.

posted by Stacy at 1:19 PM

Monday, October 28, 2002

 
Stupid, stupid blog. My whole entry from last night is missing. So.....here I go again.

Friday night was trick or treat night in the township. Lovely night for it, too. Heavy rain, windy and cold. Most people we met at the beginning gave up with plans to finish on Saturday. I stuck it out with Megan and her friend since I wouldn't be home Saturday night. With no competition the girls got a TON of candy (wonderful) and they had fun. I admit it felt sooooo good to get home and park my dupa in front of the fire with some hot chocolate. Mmmm-mmm.

The men folk (that'd be Tim and Matt) went hunting Saturday morning for grouse and squirrel. No luck. Poor Matt has never gotten anything. I hope he soon gets lucky. They are going out again next Saturday in a new area. Matt tells me they will be trying to bag our Thanksgiving turkey. Uh....probably a good thing that there's a Butterball in the freezer.

Saturday evening we took a bus load of teens to an event called Hell Stop. It's a pretty intense anti-drinking and driving presentation, but they also take you through what happens after death.....judgement throne of God, hell....you get the idea. Then the gospel is presented and to leave each person has to choose one of three doors: heaven, which takes you out; hell, which will also take you out; or a question mark that takes you to counselors. We had one girl make a decision that I know of, but we had the kids fill out cards. Pastor Matt and I are going to look those over this afternoon and see if there is anyone else or anyone that wants to talk.

The church hosted the regional Bible quiz meet Sunday afternoon....which means, I hosted the regional Bible quiz meet. I guess I should get used to it as I am the new quizzing coordinator. We tried for months to get someone to take over the program, but no one stepped up. I am unwilling to let the program die, so have taken it on for now. Maybe someone will come along later, or maybe I will find that I like it. Anyway, the quizzing went well and everyone seemed okay with the location so I think my first official act is going to be moving it permanently. It will make it easier on me.

We had a man come in and lead us in praise and worship during youth group. The teens love that....especially since Joe learned the happy song for them. They were really wound up and just abounding in energy. Isn't that always the way when the leaders are dragging and just want to lie down in a corner and pull a Rip van Winkle? It was pretty fun anyway.

Back to my usual goddess-y duties today, which means I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry.

posted by Stacy at 11:52 AM

Friday, October 25, 2002

 
Be afraid. Be very afraid. I got to drive a school bus yesterday. Me. I was in control of a huge mobile hunk of steel.....granted it was only to make circles around the parking lot, practicing stops for kids and railroad crossings, but it was great (imagine Tim Allen's man grunts here in appreciation of powerful machinery). Actually, I am amazed at how much there is to learn before you can get on the road in a bus. Those of you with kids should feel very secure every time you put your kids on a bus. Statistics show they are safer on a bus than riding with you. If something were to happen, a bus is made to withstand things your personal vehicle can't even come close to. And if the instructors do their job and the driver is serious.....you will have a driver that is better equipped to drive and handle any situation better than any other driver....even truckers. Part of the test is the same, but school bus drivers have to know more than any other driver on the road. Sitting there in class it tends to be a little intimidating, but I can do it. I WANT to do it. Next time you put your kid on the bus, show the driver a little appreciation. There is so much more to it than you or I ever imagined.

Super mom, I am not, but I have my moments. Megan and I ran up to Kmart last night to look at costumes. Ugh. Nothing but baby stuff, Barbie stuff and stuff there was no way I'd let her wear (surprizingly few ghoulish outfits...lots of military, police, firemen, etc.). We ended up getting a pair of blanket sleepers, a baby blanket and fuzzy slippers (those will be great in the rain that's coming) and a pacifier. Meg's happy and it didn't break the bank so I'm happy.

Tim went to the Gideon dinner last night (I skipped all three things I could have gone to and stayed home for the first time all week). He was given some kind of job. I can't remember the actual title, but he is in charge of making sure they have testaments to distribute and maybe of setting up places and times to distribute? I can't remember. He is really nervous about it. Organization is not his strong point, but he'll do ok. I'll help him and I think he said there is a man that is willing to help him. I guess it's a fairly big job. Just what we need, but I know how he feels about saying no. I'm just getting better at that myself and the couple from the church that got us involved with Gideons put a bit of pressure on us about things and make it very hard to say no.

Well......time to head to bus school.

posted by Stacy at 8:59 AM

Thursday, October 24, 2002

 
Need more hours in the day. No. Maybe just in the night. I NEED MORE SLEEP!

My training classes are going well enough, though I nearly fell asleep yesterday.....hopefully that's understandable in light of the fact that the instructor talked about AIR BRAKES for five hours. I hope that practical experience increases my understanding, because all five hours of lecturing did was confuse me.

The trip to Hell Stop is coming together. Still some seats on the bus. I emailed a couple of youth pastors yesterday to see if they have anyone that would like to go. Nothing back yet.

Still getting registrations for Sunday's quiz-off even though they were due this past Sunday. I'm just glad people are coming, but it makes it tough for Pastor Matt to get the quiz schedule done. We're having trouble getting quiz masters. I have to make some calls this afternoon when I get home and see if I can find anyone. I'm glad we have someone to take on quiz coordinator (I think). I don't want to do this all the time. I don't have time to do this all the time.

Trick-or-Treat is this Friday night and I don't even have a costume for Megan yet. She's changed her mind so much and then with this week's schedule I haven't been able to get to the store. Looks like we'll be running to Kmart after school on Friday. Good grief.

Got an email from someone at the church we visited last weekend. Their follow up went fairly well. He said that everyone shared what the weekend had done for them and that our team had obviously encouraged them. I am so glad it did something for them. We are sharing with our church this Sunday. I don't want to forget about them. It's my hope to take our youth up to help them with outreach. They don't have any teens in the church and I thought maybe it would do them good to experience some of that "vitality" and the youth would get the chance to do something good....maybe pass out fliers door to door or something?

Haven't been reading this week....unless you count the PA School Bus Driver's Manual. Stimulating stuff.

posted by Stacy at 6:15 AM

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

 
I really do need to learn how to link, but until I do..... Copy and paste www.jugglernaut.blogspot.com and check out Band Name of the Day. A most amusing site and yet it is often quite deep under the surface. Yesterday's post about Space Seeds is an excellent example.

posted by Stacy at 8:46 AM

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

 
Just got home from my first day in the classroom. It was just kind of a general overview....nothing exceptionally helpful. Basically they told us to read the manual and how many questions to expect from each section. The guy teaching is really nice and funny, so it isn't too bad other than him having a terrible potty mouth. I was surprised to hear him use the f-word several times in a professional setting and with mixed company. It isn't like he's a kid. He's nearly 50. He was in the Navy for a long time, though, so maybe that explains it. I was kind of sorry to see, too, that one of the ladies in the class has basically no use for kids. I never heard her say anything good about them. What on earth does she want to be a bus driver for?

Well, have to run and get Megan off the bus and then fly out to the school to pick Matt up from drivers' ed.

posted by Stacy at 3:36 PM

 
I start training to drive school buses today. Five hours in the classroom to start.

posted by Stacy at 6:15 AM

Monday, October 21, 2002

 
The meeting tonight was definitely a God thing. The regional director sat in to moderate, but he didn't have to do much. The person I was dreading having to face came in with a humble and repentant attitude......guess all the prayer I've asked everyone for really worked. :o) Anyway, all the issues were layed on the table and discussed, apologies were made where needed and relationships were restored all the way around the table. There was no doubt God was working the crowd...none at all. So, thanks to everyone that prayed. I feel better than I've felt in months. It's like something dark and heavy that's been weighing down my spirit is gone and I am free. It is incredible!

posted by Stacy at 9:39 PM

 
Tonight I have to deal with a long waited for and much dreaded meeting. Certain things have come to light today and I am afraid that what I hoped would be an unpleasant, but contained situation will more likely be a 3-ring circus. Keep Tim and I as well as the others involved in prayer, that we can all remain calm and that God will grant us the wisdom to operate in His will. We are going to need it.

posted by Stacy at 11:40 AM

Sunday, October 20, 2002

 
We're back from the Celebration of Fellowship in Christ (CFC) weekend at the Hollidaysburg church. It was such an incredible time. At one time the Hollidaysburg church was thriving, but in the last 10 years they had a pastor retire and floundered around with interim pastors for a couple of years, then hired what they thought was a former school teacher who was a dynamic personality and brought the church together and had things going well. They discovered the hard way that the man had only taken a year's sabbatical from teaching when he announced in church on Sunday that it was his last day and he and his wife moved the next day. The congregation was reeling. They had thought everything was going very well and were excited about the future. There was no clue. They went without a pastor for a couple of years again and two years ago hired a very nice man, but not a dynamic enough personality to turn things around. He is also hindered by health problems....his own and his wife's. Now the church averages 15 for Sunday School (not counting the nursery) and on a good week, 40 for worship. They admitted to having reservations about this weekend and wondered what good it would do, but they welcomed us in like family and bared their souls. Their hearts are breaking as they feel they are watching the death of their church. It seems we did precious little but listen to them (along with leading several small group sessions and sharing testimonies), but somehow God was able to use us to say something that reached these good people and they thanked us profusely and gave us gifts to remember our visit (Cat's Meow figures of the church) and said we gave them hope. As usual, I feel like I have come away with more than I left behind. The courage and faith of this little band of saints did so much for my heart. We learned to love them so in such a short time and knowing now how close they are many of us plan to visit and I made a few contacts with whom I will be sharing information about outreach, youth and missions (at their request). I can't tell how much this affected me. All I can do is praise and thank God for allowing me to be a part of it.

At home, reality comes crashing in. Within 5 minutes of arriving I learned that there may or may not be a snake loose in my house. The discrepancy is because my darling baby boy's story changes every time he tells it. Bottom line is that he is in just a "wee, little bit of trouble" for bringing a snake in the house to begin with when he knows that I am absolutely phobic about snakes and he has actually been FORBIDDEN to ever bring a snake in the house (my fear is so bad that we do actually have that rule in place). I am also not happy with the science teacher that gave it to him on Friday. WHAT ON EARTH WAS SHE THINKING???? What responsible teacher would send any animal home with a child (let alone a snake) without knowing if it was okay? This woman and I are going to have an interesting chat when the parent teacher conferences roll around.

On a brighter note, Mom and John took the kids up to Elk County yesterday to see if they could catch a glimpse of the wild herd. They saw eight, I guess, with the very first one being a huge bull standing in someone's yard and they were able to see it up close.

posted by Stacy at 5:25 PM

Friday, October 18, 2002

 
It is cold this morning....right around 30 degrees. We finally got a killing frost. I nearly killed myself taking the dog out this morning when my foot hit the deck and kept on going. It is just beginning to get light out so I haven't yet been able to look toward the ridges to see if the tops are white. Yes, snow was a possibility up there last night.

Finished "The Remnant" this morning. Grrrr. They always end in what I consider the worst places. This time it is in the sixth year of the tribulation with just one more to go. The angel has poured out the fifth (?) bowl and the world is void of any light. Nothing that produces light works. The Christians can see, but in sepia tones. Those that chose the mark of the beast not only can't see, but they are afflicted with a terrible pain and either killing themselves or begging others to do it for them. The lone Christian in Carpathia's palace has decided this is the time for him to finally make his escape and plans to call the Tribulation Force to make arrangements. That's where it ends. Grrrrrr. I am wondering if this is when some of the Trib Force will die. The angel, Christopher, told one of the women in this book that not all of the members would live to see Christ's return. I admit it. I absolutely HATE it when a book leaves the ending a question mark. It drives me totally bonkers. I like nice, neat, tidy endings that wrap everything up.

We leave this afternoon for a weekend at another church. A team from our church (they are calling us the magnificent seven) is going to hopefully, give the other church a bit of a spiritual jumpstart. We do a lot of fellowshipping, but also lead small group times, share our testimonies and take over their Sunday School and worship service. I think it's going to be a good experience for everyone and I'd say it would jumpstart our team, but the team that is going is made up of our core ministry people who are very much on fire already. We will be blessed in some way,though, I am sure.

As predicted, Tim was not enthusiastic about us hosting his family on Christmas Eve day. The first thing he wanted to know was if it would interfere with us getting together with our friends from church. It won't, so he's going along with it. If it had, I think he would have said no.

Well, I've got tons to do to get ready to go so I really need to get off this time sucking computer and do it. Hope you all have a fun and safe weekend, wherever it takes you!

posted by Stacy at 7:48 AM

Thursday, October 17, 2002

 
Got the invitation to my 20-year high school reunion. Not gonna happen. I haven't been to one yet. Why start now. Seriously, I have no desire to see these people. I know everyone says their class was full of snobs, but mine was a class so divided by labels that no one got along. Fights between jocks and heads or heads and farmers or jocks and techies or hotdogs and farmers were the norm. We were a class that began in the 70's and finished in the 80's. A more materialistic, self-centered generation I have yet to see. And no, I wasn't some geeky person with no friends that doesn't want to relive those humiliating years. I had a pretty good time back in the day and I had a lot of friends....actually some in each social group. But I've changed a lot since then and I have no desire to revisit those times. Besides, I run into a lot of these people around town and guess what? On the whole, we're still a materialistic, self-centered crowd. Who needs that?

It's raining again. Yea.

Tim's sisters stopped by to borrow a foam wedge that my dad used when he had cancer. Carol is on oxygen and it is hard for her to breath if she is lying flat. Happy to lend it to her even though the family usually treats us rather poorly. I got a shock to my heart during the visit. I was asked to host the family gathering on Christmas Eve afternoon. Wow. I would feel "honored" if I didn't know that it translated to "none of us want to go to all the effort." They know that I will put on a more elaborate meal than any of them. None of them bake or would think to buy any of the little treats (candies, nuts, pickles, cheese, etc) that make Christmas get togethers what they are. It will mean a lot of work for me to do that, go to church, get together with our church friends after services and then get up and put on dinner for my family, but I didn't want to say no. They so seldom include us in anything. Tim will probably tell me I should have said no to them and that he doesn't care, but I know he does somewhere inside.

Still reading "The Remnant." Almost there.

posted by Stacy at 4:03 PM

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

 
Be amazed, be very amazed. I've been reading "The Remnant" since Sunday afternoon and I'm only a little more than halfway through it. I haven't even taken advantage of today being a rainy day to hole up and spend the whole day lost in the book. Aren't you proud?

posted by Stacy at 2:02 PM

 
I hate to feel like I'm finished before I even start, but sheesh! Tim just explained the church's financial situation to me. It is worse than I thought.

The treasurer based our income for next year's budget on what we currently have coming in every month. It works out to be about $134, 000. When you start doing the math....before we do anything else, it will cost the church about $101, 000 for our pastors. By the time you figure in our giving to the conference, paying the secretary and janitor, and day to day operating costs we are already seriously in the hole. There is not a penny to be had for ministry. The "wild card" in all of this is, of course, God. I have the hope that as we make efforts to correct a horrible situation, we find ourselves once again in His will and that pleased with us, He will bless us. Turning the church around will definitely be a God thing.

posted by Stacy at 5:59 AM

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

 
Ask and ye shall receive.

I had my weekly meeting with the associate pastor this morning and interestingly enough, the thing he most wanted to talk about is a new idea he has. He has already discussed this with the sr. pastor so has the go-ahead to begin forming a commission whose sole purpose is outreach. Tim and I are to be included along with a handful of others he sees as not only being willing to work, but also being able to dream.....those as he put it "who have been able to hold on to their faith and vision" while all about us are losing theirs. The first meeting is to be in November. I am so stinking excited!! Another who is to be a member of this commission stopped by and as we all sat talking about it and idea was born.....

The first outreach project the commission takes on, should be one of internal outreach. In other words, we should reach out to our own congregation with Christ's love to restore them and reignite their fire, because if the church is not on firm ground then we can't possibly go out and be effective ministers to anyone else.

YES! YES! YES! I thank you, Lord and praise you for putting together people who are like minded and wanting and willing to follow you and I thank you most humbly for allowing me to be a part of that.

posted by Stacy at 1:17 PM

 
I was reading our denomination's quarterly newspaper this morning and the lead article was by a pastor (Brian Miller) whose blog I regularly check in on. The article was titled "How Much Do We Love the Church?" Mostly he was talking about the use of tithe money. Do we do with it what Jesus would do with it? Around the middle of the article, Brian says Jesus loves His Church--more than most of us do. To make his point, he tells how most people in the area where he lives (Mid-west) believe in God and can tell you exactly who Jesus is and why He came to earth. They will also tell you they believe that to be true. So that being the case, why aren't they coming to church? Brians says when he asks them, they tell him it's because Sunday is their only day off, or they are out of the habit. He asked one man, "Why don't you like church?" The man replied, "Oh, I like church." To which Brian responded, "Seriously, if you liked church, you would go." The man considered this and admitted Brian was right. He didn't like church. Talk about things that make you go "hmmmm."

Brian made two statements in his article that have really given me pause:
1. "...the Bible is very clear that God wants His people
involved in church. It is our goal to help people
have a vibrant, deep relationship with Jesus, AND
CHURCH IS SUPPOSED TO BE A HELP NOT A
HINDRANCE."

2. "If church really made a difference in people's lives,
you wouldn't be able to keep them out."

Wow. And ouch. The church I attend does not hold up to either of those standards very well. No, it doesn't hold up to those at all. First of all, I feel safe to say that based on the number of long-time members leaving the church and that fact that very few new people enter in to fellowship, we as a church are not making a difference in people's lives. Secondly, for those that do come to the church there is so much of the political game going on....worrying about personal desires and goals rather than God's.....that the atmosphere is clogged with worry, anxiety, fear, anger, loathing, etc. and we are more of a hinderance than a help to the faith of the saints. I have experienced that in my own life more than I care to think about.

What can we do? How can I personally become an instrument to bring about change and revival? How do we mend the heart of an entire church? Is it possible to save this church, or does Satan grip it too tightly? These are questions that need to be addressed and answered by each member of the leadership before anything can change.

posted by Stacy at 7:08 AM

Monday, October 14, 2002

 
Will wonders never cease? My mom had the day off and asked me to go out to lunch with her! That is wonder number one because we do absolutely nothing together these days. I went, admittedly with a sense of dread for what might be forthcoming......Mom is a wee bit bitter and tends to be just a "tad" critical of not only me, but the entire population of the planet. Time spent with her has been excruciating at best these last few years. Wonder number two: Mom was fairly pleasant and we had a nice time having lunch and doing some shopping!! She even bought me presents!!! A CD of fonts and a Christian desktop program. Whoa....it is like who are you and what have you done with my mom? Man, it would be great if she was like this all the time, but I don't have much hope for that at this point in life.

posted by Stacy at 2:43 PM

Saturday, October 12, 2002

 
Looking through the mail that came while I was away. It's an interesting collection of the usual bills and advertisements with a couple of surprises thrown in. There is a wonderful box full of books from Crossings.....which means I won't return to "The Case for Faith" any time soon as I now have "The Remnant" in my hands. There is also a letter from a man that used to go to our church--until he went to prison. He is begging us to be his pen pals, visit his mother and help him get a job when he gets out in two years. I do not have anything against those who serve time. I do think some can be genuinely remorseful and become useful members of society when released. I don't judge en masse. It's a case by case thing. I just don't know about this guy. When he was here he did nothing but take advantage of everyone, set people against each other and LIE!! I have never heard any evidence that he is remorseful. He continues to collect ministry degrees from schools I have never heard of the way some people collect tea cups or stamps. He was a "pastor" before he went in and I personally never saw any evidence of God in his life. I saw someone that knew how to talk the talk...until he got upset and then the cracks showed. Not to toot my own horn but discernment is one of my stronger gifts and I am usually right about things like this even when I stand alone in my opinions. I guess what has me waivering on how to respond or not to respond is the huge, glaring, mistake I made about someone's character recently. If I could be that wrong once, how can I trust what I "know" again? Satan has really rocked my world in recent months. I know it is him. I know the right things in my head.....it's the heart that needs time to heal.

posted by Stacy at 9:55 AM

Friday, October 11, 2002

 
I survived conference sessions! Where's my t-shirt?

Actually, it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd been anticipating.....except in the boredom department. Administration is definitely not something I enjoy or am particularly good at. I did ask to have my name removed from the ballot, so I am not the chair of youth and family ministries any more. Yea! God really worked on me through the speakers, though, and I was awake a lot of last night praying and listening. The outcome? I agreed to remain as the adult advisor to the youth ministry team. I'm nervous about that, but believe it is what God wants me to do. That means I will also have a seat on the commission. It seems I am supposed to be there one way or another. I am just so relieved to no longer be in charge.





posted by Stacy at 9:53 PM

Thursday, October 10, 2002

 
I've got a lot to do today. I leave late this afternoon for a "fun-filled" night and day of business sessions at our church camp. Whoohoo. I would not even go if I didn't hold a position that I have to report on and I'm not running for re-election so next year I'm off the hook. Anyway.........I have to get the house cleaned up, do laundry and get myself packed and prepared so I won't be on line today.

posted by Stacy at 6:37 AM

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

 
Yea! I found the answer and fixed it. :o)

posted by Stacy at 9:49 AM

 
Grrrrr! I just discovered all my posts from September are gone. Why is Blogger doing that?

posted by Stacy at 9:46 AM

 
Looks like it's going to warm up nicely today, but gray. None of yesterday's brilliant blue skies that were so clear and bright that they seemed to bring everything else into sharper focus.

I've been following the articles of Judy Lash Balint, an American Jew living in Jerusalem for a couple of months now (www.jerusalemdiaries.com). She portrays the everyday human side of what it's like to be a Jew living in Jerusalem these days. Her most current article tells about getting her gas mask updated. Can you imagine having to deal with such things in the normal course of your day? It seems so strange and so far away, but in the wake of 9/11, is it really? Terrorism became very real for this country in one dark moment and it is continuing to make its presence felt. In the past the U.S. has been relatively safe because of its power and relative geographical isolation from the rest of the world, but there are many who no longer fear us and thanks to technology the world is a much smaller place than it used to be. Couple those factors with so much hatred of the U.S. and all that it stands for and you have to ask...are the horrific scenes we see broadcast from the Middle East really so removed from our lives?

The news this morning was all about a note left behind by the Maryland sniper. "Dear Policeman, I am God." I've been trying to imagine what could be going on in the mind of such a person. I can understand the God reference....he is judging, picking and choosing who will die and who will live....but the "why" I just can't fathom. Has this person been so hurt and warped by society that this is the only way to get back and feel strong? Is it mental illness? Is it plain old evil for evil's sake? He's opened the door to some kind of communication, though. He is playing a game....as in, I'm so smart I can "talk" to you and you still can't catch me, but the more he communicates the more he reveals about himself and the more he reveals the more the authorities can narrow it down until they find him. It was interesting this morning to listen to them explain ballistic testing and other things. It is the exact same stuff I'm reading about in the Patricia Cornwell book, but she goes into a lot more detail.

Well, enough pondering on the ugliness of the world. I need to prepare tonight's lesson and I have a lot to do around the house, too.

posted by Stacy at 9:26 AM

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

 
A milestone reached. Baby boy is staying after school for his first drivers' ed lesson. Man, where has the time gone?

Wish I could say that I've done something profound or even energetic with my life today, but I can't. For some reason I am an unmotivated lump and have spent most of the day so far engrossed in a gory Patricia Cornwell mystery. If you've not read her stuff, she really is gory. The main character in her books is Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Virginia.....a forensic pathologist....so, gory it is, but it isn't gratuitous and is handled fairly sensitively. Interestingly, there are undertones in this one dealing with the character's (Catholic) faith in God to sort of protect her mind from the evil she encounters. When I finish it, I have got to get back to "The Case for Faith."

posted by Stacy at 3:12 PM

Monday, October 07, 2002

 
I went into my meeting this morning planning to discuss the whole title thing with the associate pastor. I wasn't really mad or upset, but rather uncomfortable with having a title and not doing anything to justify it. I was going to ask to at least have it taken out of the bulletins. Imagine my surprise when he began by telling me that he was going to be giving me back more of Sunday nights as he's found he getting a little over extended. Quite a shock.

posted by Stacy at 1:46 PM

 
Ok, this is beginning to get a little weird. I have never complained to a living soul that I feel I'm being pushed out of working with the youth at church. I've admitted on here and maybe to one person (who certainly isn't a member of my church) that I've had a mild struggle with giving up "control" of the youth program, but I've certainly never ever told ANYONE in the church that I feel pushed out. And yet I've had several people ask me about that. Another one just last night. As they've noticed me not doing things that I'd normally do, they call to see if I'm not doing them by choice. The answer is yes to some and no to others. I was told I needed to give up one thing and I chose teaching Sunday School. I was ready to give that up. However, I did not want to give up helping with Bible quizzing and I really didn't want to go back to having no part in youth group except leading games. It was stated over and over that the new associate pastor would not be a youth pastor but would be an advisor to me and limit his participation. Well.....the longer he is here, the more he has taken over. I have not said anything to anyone, but Tim, that I feel it is ridiculous that they still list my name in the bulletins with the title of youth director. I am directing nothing. Apparently this is becoming obvious to others and they are concerned that it will drive Tim and I from the church. It isn't going to do that, but I do wish that if they feel I'm not doing a good enough job and shouldn't be in charge of anything that they'd just be honest and talk to me about it instead of slowly easing me out of everything.

posted by Stacy at 6:18 AM

Sunday, October 06, 2002

 
Just finished watching "Lord of the Rings." Yes, I think I am officially the last person on Earth to see it, but better late than never I suppose and though I am loathe to admit it....I LOVED IT!!! Now I can join with the rest of humanity and impatiently wait for part two. At least my wait is shorter than most.

Had fun in Lacaster Co. yesterday. It was good to see old friends and just to get away in general. The shopping was good, too, and I came home with quite a bit......and still managed to spend way less than I had allotted. Vicki would be the only blight on the day. Since she and I had been the original ones talking about the trip, I didn't think it would be very nice to uninvite her when another friend wanted to go too. Vicki has a heart of gold and means well, but she is, uh.....a little rough around the edges. Since she has been going to church and I have been talking to her about things her language and behavior have improved a lot. She also tends to be a non-stop talker at times, but that has also improved some over the years. So, I was hoping that on the trip she'd behave herself and not ramble on endlessly. No such luck. She talked without a break all the way down, though she did manage to watch her language and the content of her stories. Coming home was something else. Not only did she talk non-stop, she seemed to get louder and louder and more and more at ease with swearing. Her manner was almost maniacal. It was kinda weird. I don't know if it has anything to do with her depression and anxiety attacks, but wow! I couldn't not wait to get out of the car and away from her, so I can only imagine how my other friend was feeling. I know I can't really apologize for someone else's behavior, but I feel like I need to say something to my friend about Vicki.

Tim took on a side job for the water company where he is building and went to do it yesterday. Anything and everything that could go wrong went wrong and since it has to be finished for tomorrow he had to work today. :oP That left me without a vehicle and since I wasn't feeling that great this morning anyway, the kids and I were complete heathens and stayed home from church. When it's time for youth group, I will have to round up a ride or see if I can borrow my mom's car. I sure hope Tim's promotion happens soon and he gets a company truck for work so I can have the black beast to use.

posted by Stacy at 2:38 PM

Friday, October 04, 2002

 
Doing laundry, running the sweeper, scrubbing toilets and in general, living the life of a goddess. At least there is sweet reward for today's toil. Tomorrow I get to hit the road with the girls and head for Lancaster Co. Woohoo! We're going to meet up with another friend that lives there and spend the day hitting all our favorite shopping spots. A four hour drive there and four back makes for a long day....especially when I'll be doing all the driving....but it is sooooo worth it for the escape.

posted by Stacy at 11:57 AM

 
Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up,
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstacy
Give all you have been, or could be.

Sara Teasdale



posted by Stacy at 5:57 AM

Thursday, October 03, 2002

 
Survived the ride-along on the school bus. Actually, those kids were pretty mild compared to times I've had with Christian kids. On the high school run I got to sit with a sweet girl who really ate up the attention I gave her. Mark says he's been working on her for a couple of years, that she used to be a real problem kid. Sat with a cute little guy on the elementary run and talked about Sponge Bob (I knew watching cartoons would pay off some day). Anyway, Mark wanted to know if he'd scared me away. Not a chance. The kids were great and I'm looking forward to getting on a bus with them. If I was going to have qualms about anything, it would be the other drivers. They were really friendly, but some of them were really crude. Ah well.....just another opportunity to witness.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
"Measure life not by its disappointments but its possibilities."


posted by Stacy at 7:27 PM

 
Standing at the bus stop this morning I had the chance to contemplate another mom's navel. I've known this other mom all my life and she is just 10 days older than me, but beyond age, location and our kids being friends, we have absolutely nothing common. She is skinny. Not healthy, trim thin.....stick straight, count-my-bones thin. She always has been. In jr. and sr. high she was one of those prissy girls who never got dirty or messed up her hair (honestly, the girl moved in slow motion so she didn't make a hair-mussing breeze) and she ALWAYS had the coolest clothes. She wasn't very nice and most of us hated her (probably some jealousy there because the guys didn't hate her) but at the same time she was the ridiculously impossible standard we all measured ourselves against. She wasn't smart. She wasn't particularly interesting (the self-absorbed usually aren't). I've already said she wasn't nice. Basically, she looked good with her blue eyes, pale blonde hair and perpetual tan. She was a cheerleader, dated jocks and went to all the right parties. The stuff teenage dreams of perfection are made of. Geez, I hated her. So, now that you have the background, let me get back to contemplating her navel. She arrived at the bus stop this morning in a tiny little sports bra and the kind of denim shorts that have the high-waisted button fly that you undo a few of the buttons on and fold the waist down so the world can admire your bellybutton. It was at this point that I realized with a bit of surprize that she'd gotten her bellybutton pierced (she parades around all summer in the tiniest of bikinis so I am familiar with the sight of her navel). Hmmm. She is skinny, but it is a metabolic thing. She doesn't have to diet or exercise to get that way (I think I still hate her). She's nearly 40 and she hasn't ever exercised outside of gym class and it's been 20 years since she's seen a gym. Skinny yes, but also incredibly flabby. There is no muscle tone at all. That little diamond stud looked awful hanging around in all that mush. So, I'm seeing this new decoration, adding the still perpetual tan (and yes, her skin is beginning to look like old leather), the recent seperation and impending divorce, the new boyfriend and the glamorous job as a travel agent for a resort in the Bahamas that requires her to travel there every few weeks (she has the nerve to complain to me about having to go) and I'm thinking men don't have the market cornered on midlife crises. It must be tough to face getting old when the only thing you've every really done is be pretty.

I went to the drivers' training center and picked up drivers manuals for Tim and I. The school bus operator one for me, of course, and the normal CDL one for him. He has to get one for work. It was quick...in and out. No lines and the books were displayed right inside the door. Yea. Not so yea....the manual for school bus drivers is like an inch thick. Ugh.

Speaking of buses. I'm going to ride along on one of the busses this afternoon....just to get a taste of it. It's something they like everyone to do.

In the meantime, I think I might take a nap. I didn't sleep very well last night and woke up with that fuzzy, stuffy, sinusy, sleepy feeling and the gray promise of rain in the air is not helping at all. It'd be awful if I fell asleep on the bus, which is what I tend to do when I'm a passenger in a vehicle rather than the driver. Guess it beats barfing, but today is not the day to do it.

posted by Stacy at 10:22 AM

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

 
Had some really interesting discussion time with the youth tonight. Some about the article on the "Earth Charter," which they found disturbing to say the least, and some on the subject of rapture. Now that was cool and maybe a bit eye opening for me as well as them. We talked about how we as Christians have this idea that the rapture is kind of going to be like......poof! you're in heaven and you missed it all. We ended up digging around in 1 Thessalonians and found a much different picture of the "rapture." It sounds more like it's going to be noisy and wild and chaotic. Where did we get the "poof theory?" Anyway, it came around to how we can't live in fear of what it's going to be like or when it's going to be and that we just have to live each day in preparation. Most of this comes from the kids, themselves. I just direct things a little by asking questions to make them think or now and then answering a question. It is so great to work with kids of this caliber.

It is getting late and the rest of the family has gone off to bed, so I'd better shut down and head to the land of Nod myself. Pleasant dreams.

posted by Stacy at 10:24 PM

 
Yes, I changed the name of my blog. I hated the other one, but couldn't think of anything different at the time.

Just finished reading an article about the UN's "Earth Charter." That's enough to make you sick on it's own, but wait, there's more. This "charter" is housed in the "Ark of Hope," a blasphemous imitation of the Christian Ark of the Covenant. I went to the web site for this "Ark of Hope" and was appalled. The accompanying article is so.....so......so....I don't even have words for how stupid sounding it is. What's scary is that people are buying into this crap. I mean, they claim the carrying poles for the ark are made of unicorn horns? Come on! If there was ever any doubt that Satan is the great deceiver...... You can check it out yourself at www.ark-of-hope.org (sorry, I don't know how to link so copy and paste).

I've got to get busy and make an attempt at being domestic. Since it is Matt's birthday and I need treats for the Bible study tonight, I think I'll make cupcakes and stick candles in them. The kids can sing to him.



posted by Stacy at 2:00 PM

 
Today's the day....my baby boy turns 16! How can I be old enough for that?? Not much in the way of celebrating. I know he had hoped to go after school to take the test for his learner's permit, but instead he gets to start volleyball.

Loads to do today and it is so stinking HOT! There is something wrong with the central air. We think maybe some duct work came apart because everything else seems okay...just not getting any air out of the vents. We noticed the problem Monday just as we were leaving for Pittsburgh and Tim hasn't had time to crawl under the house and check on it.

Megan has a field trip today. No biggie, just the local fort, but she is excited and looking forward to it. Yea! Such a big thing when she is excited about anything concerning school. I can't imagine how they will manage the spring field trip. They are actually going to take the entire 5th grade to Mount Vernon! You could not pay me to take that many 10-11 year olds out of state. Do you realize how long the bus trip will be? Ugh.

I did a bunch of work in the yard yesterday....planting mums, cutting stuff back, pulling weeds and clearing flower beds for winter. Matt mowed the grass. It still needs to be trimmed but Tim is the only one that can handle the monster weed whacker he got. Maybe tonight if the rain holds off.

Nothing else happening that's worth mentioning so that's it for now.

posted by Stacy at 6:56 AM

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

 
Yep, I know where my opinions stand. Matt came home from shopping with a bike. Not that I had any delusions about my opinion, but if I had...



posted by Stacy at 7:28 PM

 
Yea! I'm just about back to my happy place. I've done a lot more thinking and praying about things and I'm feeling really peaceful with my decision not to run for reelection. As to the "thorn-in-my-side," I've been thinking about that, too. Excuse me for this, but.....SCREW HIM AND ALL THE BUREAUCRATS HE RODE IN ON!!! Ever hear the saying that living well is the best revenge? I'm not exactly looking for revenge, but if I sit around making myself sick over it then I'm letting him win and I don't like to lose. I'm going to get on with my life, give my family, my new job and the youth group my best and not even think about him. I've done enough of that already. When the meeting time comes, I'm going in calm and composed and I know what I want to say and how I want to say it. So for today, tomorrow and the long haul......carpe diem!

Matt is now the proud owner of a set of drum cases. It took an excruciating 4 hours out of all of our lives to drive down there and back last night because of the heavy traffic and road construction. He wasn't sure of the sizes once we got there, but made a guess that turned out to be right. I'd have had to kill him if we had to go back and exchange them. Grandma is taking him shopping for his birthday tonight. I guess it is up to him whether he comes home with the new bike he wants or with his wardrobe seriously beefed up. I don't get a vote, but if I did it would be for the clothes. Easier on my budget.



posted by Stacy at 9:14 AM

 

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