Mar 23, 2011

Oops, look what I found!


This North Face Deuces Triclimate Jacket for Women is adaptable to changing weather conditions, features both the waterproof, breathable, two-layer HyVent® fully taped shell and the Heatseeker™ insulated liner of that is bluesign® approved which can be worn alone, or they can be combined for insulated weather protection on wintry days. The jacket also has handwarmer zip pockets, napoleon PU zip pocket, internal media security pocket, internal goggle pocket, snap-back powderskirt with gripper elastic, and pant-a-locks. The jacket retails for $198-$300. I found it for $46.77.
What to do? What to do? Buy now!!
I did. I bought it. Why? I need (actual need) a waterproof shell for skiing. The shell I have left me soaking wet during our last snow excursion. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Mar 20, 2011

Playtime in the Great Room


Our old church has a large seating area and coffee shop located in the church lobby. It is a great place to mingle on a Sunday morning either before heading into a service or on the way out. While we were attending FCC, we regularly met up with friends in the Great Room, enjoyed some coffee and/or snacks, and let the kids play with their friends. When I was back at FCC two weeks ago, it was the same routine. We filed out of the service, parents found their kids and we all convened at a table in the Great Room to chat. While the adults were quietly engaging in conversation, the kids were running wild and participating in a nice giant dog-pile. They were loud and slightly obnoxious but seeing them all together again was so sweet.
Although a year has passed the boys saw their VA friends, and almost 2 years since we lived in Virginia, time has not broken down the bond that these kids have. They love each other, and for at least a moment, while they all rolled around the floor in the Great Room threatening to cause innocent bystanders to spill their coffee, everything in their world was just right.

Mar 18, 2011

Freestyle or Repetition?

A few weeks ago I attended a Sunday service at our old church in Fairfax, Virginia. It was great to be back. It was great to know people and to be known. It was great to sit in the same row with my dear friends the Super-Swany and Matti and it was really a special treat to gather in the coffee shop after church and enjoy coffee and bagels with friends while the kids ran around wildly. The senior pastor, Rod, shared a message that really spoke to my heart and one aspect of his message got me thinking about something else entirely, prayer. Rod shared that a friend of his has prayed John Wesley's Covenant Prayer every day for the past 30 years. It is a great prayer:
"I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen."

I come from a line of freestyle prayers. Aside from occasional recitation of the Lord's Prayer or the 23rd Psalm, each prayer of mine is an original. However, after 34 years of just praying what my soul was feeling, I found myself very interested in memorizing this prayer, teaching it to the boys, and making it a part of our day.

I did some reading on how to pray and there are a lot of opinions out there. According to the Bible, Matthew 5-13 Jesus says this:
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one"

Some people say Jesus gave the disciples a guide for prayer when he offered The Lord's Prayer, others say he really wanted them to say those exact words. The Bible says not to pray with vain repetition, meaning that longer prayers that are not heartfelt don't really do you any good. The Bible also says pray continually - that means all the time and about everything.
Lord's Prayer? Freestyle? Not too much? Continuously?...ahhh! What do you want from me?

I think the answer is found in the genuine, compassionate, character of Christ. There were times in Christ's ministry that he went freestyle. He was walking along a path and someone caught his attention and he just went with it, style of prayer, conversations or who he ate dinner with seemed to be really off the cuff. Other times he held to the rituals of Jewish society and participated in religious customs including going to the Synagogue on Sabbath and reading from the pre-selected scrolls.

I think God just wants us to pray, heartfelt prayers to Him. Maybe sometimes that means reciting something that you truly desire in your heart, maybe it means just opening up the floodgates and letting your thoughts go.

As God is our Heavenly Father, I try to relate my parental experiences with my boys to God's relationship with us. I expect the boys to respond to me with the memorized, practiced, and enforced "yes mom" when I ask them to do something, but when I ask them how their day was or how they feel about something I want to hear their heart. I want them to accept without question what I tell them to do, but I also want to hear their honest opinion on the matter. The respectful obedience of "yes mom" AND the freestyle expressions of love, concern or mindless chatter are ALL music to my ears. I think God appreciates both as well.

Psalm 141 says "may my prayers be set forth to you like incense". Maybe the incense is a time tested recipe or maybe it is a bunch of scents thrown together and set over the fire. Either way I think God enjoys the sweet scent of those who desire to know and honor him. I'm thinking that before my feet hit the floor in the morning I will jump start my day with John Wesley's prayer - reminding myself and recommitting to God that my life is in His hands.

Mar 13, 2011

Wikileakable

I am going to leak a very valuable fashion secret to you.
Saturday Pants, Comfy Pants, Lounge Wear, Receiving Wear, Stretchy Pants, call them what you want they are a go-to wardrobe option on a lazy day. But how do you feel comfy and lazy without necessarily looking it?
One way is to throw an athletic twist to your look - in other words make it look like you are actually the opposite of lazy, you are heading to the gym! It works well in the morning, but after about 10am if you don't look like you just came back from the gym, the whole illusion of comfy pants being work-out pants is gone and the truth is revealed. Not only do you blow your cover for the day, but you start to cast doubt on the look entirely. Even if you are going to the gym, it might be assumed that you are just having a lazy day.
My solution is the leggings/skirt combo. Leggings are basically the skinny jean of comfy pants. They meet all the requirements for comfy pants, elastic waist, stretchy legs and soft cotton, but don't have the baggy sloppiness. While some people have the body to sport leggings with a longer shirt, I do not, therefore I pull a cute skirt on over the leggings and voila! style and comfort.

Mar 12, 2011

Peeing in the Dark

Tonight I seriously contemplated keeping the lights off in the bathroom so that Psycho Santa didn't notice that I was using the toilet at 1am. Psycho Santa, true to the Christmas classic, "knows when I am sleeping and he knows when I'm awake" and not only does he know, he comments on it.
His knowledge of my sleep habits would be fine if I were a participant in a sleep study and needed someone to keep track of what time I go to bed at night, however, I'm not and yet he is. His odd knowledge of my sleep habits would also be a little more acceptable if he didn't feel the need to talk about it.
A few weeks ago P.S. said "were you up late last night? I noticed the bathroom light on when I walked the dogs at midnight."
Last Friday he told my friend who lives on the other side of the neighborhood, that he noticed I was up past midnight and yet still got up early the next morning.
And finally, this morning he asked me how in the world I was able to stay up until midnight after such a long day of travel yesterday.
That my friends is my neighbor, Psycho Santa - at least for the next two months until he moves to Kansas. Watch out Kansas here he comes!

Mar 11, 2011

Alien: non-citizen inhabitant.

1 Peter 2:11 refers to Christians as "aliens and strangers" in the world. He is talking about living in the world but not adopting worldly ideals. My alien status is a little more literal. I have no State residency. I am an alien...everywhere.
I have a driver's license that is about to expire and I have no clue how to get a new one.
Here are the facts:
CA: Though I could easily claim California residency since my parents are listed as my US address and although we don't live there, Matt's official 'Home of Record' is California. Matt's status with the Golden State would grant me some sort of waiver with a copy of his orders and pay information showing him as a CA resident. However, I have not had a driver's license in California in over 14 years. Something tells me they won't just give me one if I mail in a completed application and an ugly photo.
WA and HI: Had licenses in these States that have expired.
AL and TN: Never was licensed in these States. Nobody can officially link me to these Southern States.
VA: Current license from VA will expire on my birthday. VA has a military clause that will allow me to get an extension on my current license if I can verify that Matt is a resident there and we are out of State due to military orders. I can also get an extension if I claim I still live there and provide a bill proving my current VA address. Both are problems. Matt is not and never was a VA resident and I am not in the habit of paying bills for things I don't use in a State I don't reside in.
Germany: I have a US Army Europe license that is only valid in conjunction with a Stateside license. Or should I say "valid" Stateside license.

Clearly I have two choices here: one, sort out some red-tape issues with the Commonwealth of Virginia or two, and I think the most logical choice, fly back to California to get a license there. I'm working on my presentation to sell this idea to Matt. I have about 6 months to work out these little details.

Mar 10, 2011

Confessions

Boots: bought some rain boots to replace my current rain boots that actually take on water. Can't really even call them "rain boots" because due to their inability to keep my feet dry, they are actually the last pair I would grab in the rain or when our basement floods. They were $13, cute, and in my size. Couldn't pass them up. Vow broken.
Travel: I flew Space-A to the States last Friday. I only went at far as Baltimore, I only told 3 people that I was coming to visit, and I don't really feel guilty about it. I would have loved to fly all the way out to the West coast but it just isn't technically very possible via Space-A for me in my current travel status. With only 5 days to spend in the States I knew that I wouldn't get any quality time in with anyone if I tried to visit everyone so I stayed with my friend Rachael and loved every minute of it (minus the last morning when her two boys and my two boys got sick - didn't love the vomit.) The boys and I did go to our old church, have dinner with our former small group, and had lunch with Mary and her family. I have a few more friends in the area and (wait for it) family in the area as well that I didn't get to see. Sorry people, much love, but not much time.
Blogging: jumped to the back burner and I can't really place why. I think there was a good reason but I'm not sure what it was.
Bacon: when cut up, placed in the fridge in a ziplock bag and left for 2 weeks turns into something indescribably gross. Which is why I always say "eat your bacon".
Binging: on the afore mentioned trip to the States I consumed food from: Red Robin, Wendy's, Chick-fil-A, Bonefish, KFC, Duncan Donuts (twice), Starbucks (twice), Panera, and Costco samples along with delicious foods that I can't get here like flat pretzels, and Tilamook cheese.
Tired: I am so tired I can't think straight. Woke up at 7am Eastern on Wednesday and aside from an hour nap here and there I am still up at 4pm Eastern on Thursday. If I had any brain function left I would add that up, but all I know is that it is a long time and I'm exhausted. I also know that when I am this tired, operating heavy machinery like a car or washing machine may be a bad idea.