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

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


E-Mail Me Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com The WeatherPixie

Friday, January 31, 2003

YES!! I did it. I finally got to drive a bus today. Three buses, actually...a mini bus, a snub-nose and a regular. When I first got there and found out I was going out on the road rather than practicing in the parking lot, I was pretty nervous. Especially when I found out I would have to be driving through the nearby town.....which is old with narrow, crowded streets. But guess what? It was totally awesome taking those behemoths out on the road! I love being in control of one and I did pretty darn good for my first time out. I made every wicked turn the instructor threw at me with out clipping any curbs, trees, signs, lamp posts or cars and I didn't have to back up and keep trying either. I even backed the buses into their bays in the parking garage (that's a bloodpressure raising experience). If the weather holds, the instructor feels I'll be ready for my driving test next Thursday or Friday. He couldn't believe how calm I was. Apparently, a lot of the women scream and jump all over the place. If you know me, then you know that isn't me.

posted by Stacy at 3:10 PM

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Ever have one of those days when, for no particular reason, it is simply great to be alive? I'm in the middle of one. No reason for it at all, but the joy of living is just humming through me today.

Nothing for it, but....Carpe diem!

posted by Stacy at 1:50 PM

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Man, this flu is a nasty strain. Matt has had it. I've had it and am only just now beginning to feel anything close to human again. Megan woke up with it in the night (ugh) and the jury is still out on Tim. What fun we are having in the Artis household these days.

Driver training is put off for a second day.

posted by Stacy at 6:05 AM

Sunday, January 26, 2003

BLECH! I have the flu. Starting to get over it, but still pretty wiped out. I'm bummed though, that I will be missing the youth group Super Bowl party this year. It is always a great time with the teens and their families.

posted by Stacy at 11:10 AM

Friday, January 24, 2003

Personal ABC's

A - Age: 38

B - Best Quality: diplomacy

C - Choice Of Desert: fresh fruit

D - Day: Easter Sunday

E - Expression: "I don't think so, Skippy."

F - Favorite Food: Chinese greenbeans w/ chicken

G - Greatest Accomplishment: Learning to take it one day at a time and being content with what that day holds.

H - Happiest Day of Your Life: wedding day

I - Internal conflicts: not really wanting to fix my stinky relationship with my mom...and knowing it's wrong.

J - Job: school bus driver (paid)/youth director (volunteer)

K - Kool-Aid Flavor: grape

L - Love: Jesus/my family

M - Most Valued Thing I Own: Books.

N - Number: 9

O - Outfit You Love: flannel pj's and robe

P - Pizza Toppings: sausage, mushrooms and green peppers

Q - Question you want to ask: Will we ever get ahead?

R - Reading: Plum Island by Nelson DeMille

S - Sport To Watch: football

T - Television Show: Everwood and Trading Spaces

U - Under Construction: my health

V - Volcanoes-cool or scary: COOL, but probably scary if I lived near one.

W - Winter: At this point I've had enough.

X - X-rays: dental x-rays and some chest x-rays over the years

Y - Yesterday's best meal: how sad....it was left over spaghetti

Z - Zodiac Sign: Leo

posted by Stacy at 12:28 PM

I got a call from Ray, the driver trainer at the bus company, this morning. Monday morning, 9:30, I will get behind the wheel of a bus to begin my training. I will get an hour each on Monday in a mini bus, a medium sized bus and one of the very long ones. This is gonna be so cool.

posted by Stacy at 9:18 AM

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! I passed all four tests for my CDL permit! On the first try. I'm a card-carrying learner. Kind of a scary thought, huh? A big yellow school bus with STUDENT DRIVER written on it.

posted by Stacy at 2:20 PM

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

I'm planning to go take all the tests (there are 4) to get my CDL license tomorrow. I don't know if I'm ready, but I really need to get moving on this. The bus company is calling me and putting the pressure on to do it, so they must need drivers pretty bad. Maybe that's a good sign...maybe I'll get to jump right into a route rather than be a trip driver.

In other "news," I heard from my doctor today. I have to go in February 11 to fill out all the paper work and have a mini physical. They will tell me when my outpatient surgery is then.

posted by Stacy at 7:47 PM

Thursday, January 16, 2003

You Just Hang On
by Mike Yaconelli

I don't know why volunteers volunteer.

I don't understand why most professional youth workers decide to stay in ministry. Most of you are underpaid, unappreciated, disrespected, mistreated, and abandoned.

Oh, I know there are exceptions. There's a small minority of youth workers who are paid adequately and treated well, but the rest?the majority?are beaten down, burned out, and constantly criticized.

We just finished our three national youth worker conventions, and I was once again made painfully aware of how badly most youth workers are treated by the churches they serve.

All about the Numbers

One youth worker told me his job is now in jeopardy because his senior pastor recently went to a mega-church seminar and decided they're now going to become a mega-church, too. The pastor returned and announced, "You need to get with the program or think about going somewhere else. Your youth group is way too small, so you need to step up to the plate."

Now here's the crazy truth. In the majority of churches, if your youth group numbers run around ten percent of the total congregation, you're normal. Ten thousand in your church? One thousand kids. One hundred in your congregation? Ten kids. It really doesn't matter if you're Ed Schmuck or Doug Fields; ten percent ain't bad.

Sadly, for many churches it's all about numbers, and the youth workers in these churches end up judging their own worth and ministries by how many kids attend their events. Lots of kids? You're doing a great job. Few kids? You're worthless.

But for many youth workers, it isn't the lack of numbers that's killing you, it's the constant criticism that eats at your soul and makes you wonder why you're doing this.

Constant Criticisms

You're bringing in the wrong kids. "You were hired to minister to the children of our church, not to bring in 'riff-raff' from the outside. Those kids could have a negative influence on the good kids we have." Hmmm. I thought the wrong kids were the right kids. I didn't realize youth workers were hired just to baby-sit the church kids so mom and dad could have some time to themselves.

The kids misbehave. They're too loud (so is their music), they don't sit still in church, or they don't even bother to come. They're rude, and they often interrupt or ask disruptive questions. And they dress weird. Can't you talk to them about the way they dress, especially for church?

You have too many programs. Oh, they want you to have lots of options, lots of things for the kids to do, as long as it doesn't interfere with sports, drama, ballet, SATs, college visits, etc. Any time there's a conflict between a church camp and football camp, you're supposed to understand which is more important?and it isn't the church camp. When one youth worker suggested that spending a weekend thinking about God was more important than the regional finals in swimming, she was told she needed to get her priorities straight.

The youth don't respect property. How many times do you get in trouble because of a stain on the carpet, a mark on the wall, trash in the parking lot, or cigarette butts in the Jones Memorial Rose Garden? Or kids sitting on the "holy" furniture, lying on the floor, or leaning against the wall? I'm sorry, but I thought the building was meant to be used. I thought stains, marks, and kids all over the place were good things. I didn't realize that protecting the building was more important than using it.

The kids are dangerous. "Why, I was almost knocked over by a skateboarder. Can't you do something about them?" Yeah, I guess you should tell the skater kids not to come, so the churchy folks will feel more comfortable. Bummer, too, because I thought the fact that skateboarders want to be at our church would be a cause for celebration?not a nuisance to be eliminated.

You make mistakes. Duh. Of course you make mistakes. That's what happens when you follow Jesus with passion. Mistakes are part of success. Mistakes validate your ministry, because it means you're taking risks.

. . . . .

No wonder so many youth workers call it quits after 18 months. No wonder volunteers decide to un-volunteer. What's a wonder is how many youth workers decide to stick it out. You keep going even when your budgets are cut, your salaries lowered, and your integrity questioned. Your lives have been ruined by your callings. What can you do? You just hang on because?well?because Jesus hung on (if you know what I mean).

I'm in awe of youth workers, and I think Jesus is, too. I just wish the Church felt the same.

posted by Stacy at 9:55 PM

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Monday night was the first meeting of the newly formed and long waited for outreach committee and it was great! Yes, I just described a meeting as great. It was incredible to sit there with 14 like-minded individuals who had positive attitudes and a single-minded desire to do what Christ commanded. No politics, no griping, not a single personal agenda in site, just pure planning for ministry.....with very little mention of money (or lack of money). I am so excited!! We already have several outreach activities on the calendar: a spaghetti dinner; a community-wide wildgame event; a car show w/ flea market, music and food; a block party; and a summer movie series. I already spent a big chuck of yesterday out canvassing sporting goods stores asking them to hang posters for the wildgame event and for donations for the door prizes. I got a very good response. This is so awesome. It seems like I've been waiting my whole Christian life to see this kind of attitude in my church.....now if we can just manage to become "contageous" Christians within the congregation and among those we reach out to....whoohoo! It would be incredible.

posted by Stacy at 7:14 AM

Stupid blogger. Yesterday's post is completely missing in action. I'll try to capture the jist of it again.

posted by Stacy at 6:07 AM

Monday, January 13, 2003

What a stinky day. It's super cold and windy, Matt's home sick, I'm tired and I just haven't been productive. Blah!

posted by Stacy at 2:44 PM

Thursday, January 09, 2003

We had a meeting with the student leaders last night after Bible study. We set our calendar for the next few months, but we also did a spiritual gifts test with them. It wasn't the most indepth one I've ever seen, but it was good for the teens. Most of them didn't feel they had a clue what their gifts might be coming in, but once they did the test they realized that for the most part they did know they had at least some of the gifts. They seemed to appreciate having Pastor Matt and I (as well as each other) affirm their gifts. I think we may see them stepping out a bit more now. I found it interesting that my gifts now are very different from the last time I took one of these tests about five or six years ago. At that time I was still pretty new in my faith and I had just started to get my feet wet in youth ministry. I hated being up front, didn't like to or want to teach and pretty much prefered to be the invisible, helping side-kick. In fact, I am reminded often that my words were "I won't teach. Don't ask me." All these years later and I find that I've taught Sunday school, Wednesday Bible study, Sunday night youth group, directed VBS, served as the regional chair of youth and family life, lead the regional youth ministry team, led an ACTS team to the Southwest and a bunch of other stuff I'd never have believed I'd do. That said, back then my strongest gifts were hospitality and service. Now they are encouragement, teaching and leadership. In sharing that with the kids, it gave us a great opportunity to talk to them about how God doesn't always call the equipped, but he does always equip the called. Pretty cool to be able to see that at work so clearly in my own life.

posted by Stacy at 11:59 AM

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

I really need to get back into the habit of preparing lessons for the teens. We haven't had a regular Sunday night or Wednesday night lesson in over a month because of all the holiday activity. It seems weird somehow, still doing this when the guy that got me started working with youth and taught me a lot of what I know, has stepped out of ministry...at least for now. I never would have put my money on me to be that one that was still around.

posted by Stacy at 11:45 AM

Monday, January 06, 2003

Snow again! Not much, really, but enough to get the kids a 2-hour delay this morning. It's still coming down, but isn't amounting to anything now. I'd guess we got about 4 inches and it's just warm enough that it's beginning to melt from the ground up so there's an inch deep layer of slushy stuff under the snow. Weighs a ton! I ought to know. I spent an hour digging out Mom's driveway, her deck, our deck and all the sidewalk in between.

I'm anxiously awaiting Megan's arrival this afternoon. It was her first day on the higher dose of ritalin and I sent a rather long, not too happy letter to her teacher about wanting more help for her (I may even have mentioned the dreaded child advocate). I can't wait to see what she has to say in response. Oh well, the gloves are off. I'm tired of getting the run around and being made to feel like I'm failing my kid just so the school/teachers don't have to provide all the help my kid needs. I know the help is out there and I know the school is legally obligated to supply it, so doggone it.....they're going to!

posted by Stacy at 3:07 PM

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Hmmm....here's something to add to your list of incredibly stupid items. Incense that smells like pot. When Matt heard me telling his dad about his sister smelling of it, he introduced this as a possibility. Apparently the Spencer's store at the mall sells this. I must be getting old. In my day people burned incense to cover the smell of pot, now they burn it to get the smell??? I guess that it might be a possibility, but I have my doubts. Megan will not be staying there again unless I can confirm the incense theory.

posted by Stacy at 11:36 AM

I am soooo not happy. Dear daughter and the friend she spent the night with came in a little while ago to see if I would watch them while the friend's mom took her other child for a haircut and could they, please, go sled riding. No problem.....except that when they walked past me, I got a good whiff of.....marijuana!!! Now I'm pretty sure these girls ages 10 and 7 aren't smoking the stuff, so the question is...is it the older brother, whom I know smokes, or the mom and her new boyfriend. It could be either, I guess. This is the first time it's happened. I'm going to have to talk to Tim when he gets home.

posted by Stacy at 11:06 AM

The snow finally arrived, but not until early last evening. It was enough of a delay that Tim and I were able to use another of our gift cards and go out to lunch since he was unexpectedly home most of the day. It is still coming down this morning, but not hard. We have maybe an inch on the ground. Sometimes it pays to live in a bit of a valley, surrounded by sheltering ridges. I could see white on them yesterday even as it rained here and Mom's boyfriend reported last evening that he had 6 inches of snow at his place. He lives all of about 7 miles away.....most of it uphill.

We did the main grocery shopping for the month last night. $175. Ouch! I keep reminding myself that's for the month and that all I have to do now is buy perishable things like milk and eggs as we run out. For some reason, the experience really has Tim bummed. I will have to remember not to take him again. Both kids were invited to spend the night at the homes of friends so it was a quiet evening. Tim had one of his headaches so went to bed early and my sinuses were bothering me, so I wasn't far behind.

Tim is up and gone already this morning to take care of getting the truck inspected and get our second propane tank filled. I'm imagining that he will spend the rest of the day in his workshop. He is building a very large cupola for work that will have to be hauled when it is finished. That's how he was able to be at home yesterday. We researched patterns on the internet about a week ago and he let me choose the style. He is doing beautiful work and it's going to be lovely. I hope they put a nice weather vane on it. I don't have any plans since our friends were unable to visit so will just putter around here. The kids should be home by noon at the latest.

posted by Stacy at 9:36 AM

Friday, January 03, 2003

Skunked by the weather man again! We woke up to 40 degree weather and rain.....no terrible winter storm in sight. The kids are bummed. They were sure they were getting another day off. I told them last night every mother was praying...and they countered with, so is every kid. Chalk one up for the moms this time. We're not out of the woods yet. If I choose to believe the weather man this time, the temperature is going to start dropping and continue to drop throughout the day and the snow should arrive later this morning, but only dumping half the snow we'd been expecting. If he is right, the timing might be enough to get the kids an early dismissal. We'll see.

posted by Stacy at 7:58 AM

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Poo on this lousy weather we've been having! Yet another winter storm is due to roll through tonight and a long awaited visit by friends has been canceled because of it. And the sun still isn't shining.

posted by Stacy at 2:42 PM

I discovered the FlyLady.net over the holidays. She is the queen of clutter elimination, teaching simple, doable ways to gain control over your stuff and your life. I have been reading her e-mails for a few days now (when you sign up, you get several e-mail "assignments" and encouragements each day) and with the holidays over and the kids returning to school I am ready to take the leap and try Flying.

posted by Stacy at 6:48 AM

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

I'm worried about one of Tim's sisters. She just got past her wedding anniversary and Christmas and is quickly coming up on the first anniversary of her husband's death. She's being treated for depression and has been struggling the last month or so...including a couple of half-hearted suicide attempts. I say half-hearted because both times she used aspirin....not exactly what I'd guess someone who was serious would choose, especially considering the quantities of other more substantial drugs she has in the house for all her other health problems. I'm not sure she isn't getting more serious. In talking to her today she told me she is going to shut herself away from everyone, cancel all her doctor appointments and that she wishes she had died when her husband did. It would have been easier. When I asked if she had any thoughts of harming herself she said, "No, I'd just mess it up." Not exactly encouraging. Please pray.

posted by Stacy at 8:13 PM


Last day of vacation for the kids. We are having the traditional pork dinner at my mom's later. That's it for our big plans.

posted by Stacy at 10:36 AM


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