December 21, 2010

upon watching the lunar eclipse...

Tonight was one of those once in a lifetime events--a total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice. I almost forgot to go out, but thanks to Facebook, I remembered in time. I was able to catch the last minutes before the moon slipped entirely into earth's shadow. The poet in me had this reaction: the moon is no longer a glowing orb, but a pearl hanging amid a sea of diamonds.

And then the shadow overtook the moon, and I was amazed at the transformation. What normally appears as a flat disk in the sky suddenly was a planet--a ball, round and small, hovering in the atmosphere, as if I could reach out and pluck it down. And I thought how often the sky appears as a two-dimensional blanket covering our three-dimensional world. But it is not--no! Outside our own little ball the universe is full of moons and suns and planets in three-dimensional glory. Solid and tangible (and sometimes not so solid, like Jupiter, and yet so real). How often do we forget this?

But that's not the end of the eclipse (though it is the point where most people retreat inside, seeking warmth and bed). The moon was still in shadow, but it would emerge. So I stayed, watching, waiting for light to return. And as the light returned to touch the moon's surface, I was reminded that the moon itself produces no light; all the light of the moon is really reflected sunlight. Oh how like the moon we should be!

I know I'm cold and stony--made up of dust. But God, creator of the universe, is the sun, with enough power and light to illuminate even my dark soul. And though sometimes a shadow will step between me and God, the shadow will not remain. When the shadow passes, when I am turned and danced away from it again, God's light will touch me once more, allowing me to shine His light down to those who are in darkness.

See--sometimes it's worth staying up late!

November 6, 2010

saturday snapshot...

Proof that sometimes we get snow before the leaves fall off (taken in 2007).

And a second offering, since I missed last week :P A cute frog hanging out in a pond in WY (at Steve's dad's best friend).

October 23, 2010

saturday snapshot...

Meetings at Panera are wonderful, especially when a Kendra is there!

October 16, 2010

saturday snapshot...

My friend, Kendra, has awesome shoes...

October 14, 2010

wild new adventure...

Well, this post is a bit overdue, but I've been working two jobs, so forgive me.

Yes, two jobs (soon to be one again)! On September 27th I signed up to be an independent consultant with Arbonne. This opportunity is a complete answer to prayer. Let me explain.

Back at the start of August, I was starting to get antsy with my current job situation. I realized that since becoming sales lead in April of last year, I had hardly been to church , that I'd hardly had any weekends off, and I was so tired all the time--tired enough that I no longer had time to write! I felt that God was prompting me to find a job that would allow me to not work weekends. I prayed, and I told God I would do everything I could (put out applications) if he would open up the right job.

So I started applying--and I wasn't being picky. I kept sending in my application to anything that I was remotely qualified for. And I got nothing. Not a single bite. Then, things at the store got bad. Our co-manager got promoted to another store, and despite being next in line for her job (which would include benefits), the job wasn't offered, not even mentioned for me. Part of me was glad because being co-manager would have meant more hours, less weekends, and more of all the retail. Tensions are the store were high, and I was ready to be out.

I had made the decision to start attending church no matter how tired I was, so I was there the morning our pastor asked who might be making a big decision, a tough decision, soon. I raised my hand. I was praying for a big change. When Thomas prayed for us all, part of the prayer was that we would all look for creative, out of the box answers to our prayers.

Two days later, my friend, Shelly, called and invited me out to lunch. i love spending time with Shelly, so I was happy to join her. A little voice in my mind said, "she's probably going to talk to you about Arbonne," while another voice said, "oh, I hope she doesn't." I knew Shelly had been selling Arbonne for a month, and that she was enjoying it. But I didn't want anything to do with it.

So I went to lunch, and sure enough, Shelly brought up Arbonne. Part of me wanted to tune out, but Shelly wasn't pushing the business, she was talking about what she saw in my life: that I was losing time for writing, for CleanPlace, and that I was unhappy, unappreciated, and in need of a change. And another voice in my heart said, "you need to pay attention."

Well, God worked on me, and shortly I was sure that I was supposed to sell Arbonne. I'm thrilled to join Shelly's team, thrilled to be working with women who cheer and support me. Thrilled to be working with products that are good for you, for a company who wants me to do well.

And the best thing is, I do love the products. It's so easy to sell what you love. And I love telling people about Arbonne--and I love thanking God for this opportunity!

October 9, 2010

saturday snapshots...

A blanket that I crocheted for the new baby boy one of my dad's co-workers for boy, yay!

October 2, 2010

saturday snapshots...

Laundry day in Africa...

September 25, 2010

saturday snapshot...

In April, Dara took me to Denver for my birthday. We got room service, and funny, they put an "S" on the plate :P

September 19, 2010

common courtesy...

I was driving down Uintah today and was at a stop light right before the road goes from two lanes down to one. I noticed the young man in the right lane, next to me, waving and saying something. So I rolled the window down, not sure what to expect.

He said, "May I merge ahead of you across the intersection?"

So polite, so courteous, I hardly knew how to respond. Of course I said sure.

When the light turned green, he accelerated a bit ahead of me and then merged over once we were through the intersection. He waved.

A few blocks later, as I went to turn, he waved back again, just to say goodbye, I guess.

And that simple act of courtesy totally made my week.

My challenge to you this week is this: How can we be polite to our fellow humans this week? Tell me where in the comments what you are going to do!

September 18, 2010

saturday snapshot...

Another shot taken at Mueller, last spring.

September 15, 2010

gathering pebbles...

I knew Jody in high school. She's doing amazing things to help change the world. I'm going to buy some vitamins--will you?

Check out her blog for more info!

September 11, 2010

saturday snapshot

This was some really cool moss we came across in Mueller State Park on our six mile hike. The sunlight was undulating over it and making it look like it was flowing...loved it!

September 9, 2010

a little thing called trust…

I’ve never really been one to trust easily, it just doesn’t come naturally to me. And this translates into my spiritual life and relationship with God. And this makes for some interesting conundrums.

See, I want to trust God, and in my head, the thinking part of me, I do. If I were all brain I’d be all set in this area. But I’m not. I’m at least part heart. And my heart doesn’t listen to logic, it doesn’t listen to much of anything, to be honest. It just reacts and yearns and generally makes trouble for me. And when I come to those points in my life where the only thing I have left is trusting God, well, let’s just say that’s when I want to just crawl in a hole and never come out.

Before you all freak out, let me just say that yes, God has never hung me out to dry. He has seen that I’m provided for, cared for, and has not struck me dead.

And yet I come to points like the one I’m at currently, a point where I am trying to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, trying to have a willing spirit, being ready to leap off the cliff when the Holy Ghost says “jump”, and I feel like my trust is run over by a Mack truck (yes, possibly one driven my Mickey Mouse, but that’s another song).

The trouble being that in times like these, being a non-truster, I could use a little help, a bone, if you will. But I never seem to get one. Call me silly, but if I were teaching someone to trust, I’d use baby steps. A small trust is answered, and another, and another. Instead, I feel like I try to trust big and get…nothing.

Maybe I dream too big—that I will trust God and He’ll send me a miracle. And far be it from me to disallow such a thing. I thought we couldn’t dream too big for God, and yet I haven’t had a single dream of my life come true. And I try to keep my eyes open for answers in smaller, more subtle ways…and yet, too often I find nothing. Feels a lot like a hot, dry dessert in the middle of day and my water bottle has been empty since dawn.

I should also point out I have a lot of trouble trusting people—I could list for days the times when people broke trust with me: promised jobs, promised friendship, promised anything.

The difference is that once a person breaks my trust, it’s gone. It’s super difficult to get it back (it can be done, but we are talking decades to restore…and that’s come down from never). And since I am at least part mind, and that mind knows that God is good and that He has reason that I can’t begin to fathom, I keep trusting Him, even when I’m afraid it will turn out just like the last five hundred times when things never went forward, never resolved, never got better.

These are the times that I think Moses had it easy—God spoke to him with a loud, clear voice, He sent fire and miracles. I wish sometimes that God would deal with me the same way, because honestly, I could use a strong voice about now, a burning bush to set me straight, to show me the path and just tell me that I haven’t screwed things up so badly in life that it can’t be turned around. Yep, that would be nice.

Guess it’s good that when it comes to God I seem to be a hopeless truster…always willing to try again…

September 4, 2010

saturday snapshot...

Light and it!

And yes, a "real" post is coming soon--as soon as I have the time to type it up, which may take a few days. I have a full schedule for the weekend.

August 28, 2010

saturday snapshots...

The view on our hike at Bear Trap Ranch during Moot 2010!

August 21, 2010

saturday snapshot

My mountain...need I say more?

August 14, 2010

saturday snapshot

Royal goblets for the Knights and Fair Ladies party that Will and Kayla threw for their birthdays last year.

August 7, 2010

saturday snapshots

This is Nick (son of Betsy and Steve)--he really liked the apples at Happy Apple Farm!

July 31, 2010

saturday snapshot

Kalya Joy--oh that look :P

July 30, 2010

gotta love the DMV...

When it comes to a shining example of government inefficiency, the DMV is usually at the top of the list. But they have made some strides in the last few years.

For example, you can now pay your yearly car registration online (at least in Colorado). No line, no waiting, quick and painless. Last year, when I freaked out that my registration was late (because I hadn't seen a card and my sticker said May), I went online and paid in a matter of minutes (turned out I was a month June...go figure). This year when the card showed up (I was expecting it in July this time) I went online to pay.

But last year they only sent me a year sticker, so my car still says 5 even though it should say 7. So I thought I'd send an email asking for a new sticker. Turns out, the "contact us" button only gets you to the suggestions area, not the actual DMV. But they wrote back giving me the phone number. (Don't even get me started on how much I hate phones...)

So Monday afternoon I called and got an answering service. I left a detailed message with my name, my license plate number, and a request to send me a July sticker because I had a May sticker, and if they checked my records, my renewal is now July.

On Tuesday I get this message back: This is Aletha from the DMV. I checked your records and it looks like your date was changed last year because of a late renewal. You now renew in July and you should have a July sticker on your car. Since you already have this, you should be fine. If you have any questions call us back.


First off, I paid early last year. The year before is when they switched me. And I clearly said in my message that I did NOT have a July sticker. And now I had to call them a SECOND time.

I was a bit upset.

But Aletha didn't answer the phone, and the lady who did (thank goodness I did NOT get a machine, or I would have railed!) was very helpful. She pulled up my record, verified that I should have July, complimented me on my good driving (and not getting pulled over for expired tags!), and then apologized for her co-worker's incompetence.

And she got a tag put in the mail, hand-addressed envelope and all.

She's my hero.

July 27, 2010

stranger than...

Ever since I was in the third grade (at least that's as far back as I remember in this case) I wanted to be a writer. Mrs. Miller, my third grade teacher, had us write stories that we then put into books complete with wallpaper and tag board covers. I still have that book.

Through the years I've wanted to pursue many things, but the one constant has always been writing. If I had to pick one thing that I was created to do, it's tell stories.

I'm at that point now where I've told a few, both in prose and poetry. I've had some credible figures in the field of writing tell me that I do it well. And I've even finished a few novels. But finishing a novel doesn't get it published. If you took all the finished but unpublished novels in the last five years, I would venture you could cross the good old US of A with them!

Which brings me to now. If this is what I was created to do, if this is the purpose of my life, then I need move forward. It's not enough to tell a story that no one hears--stories must be read, be shared, be told. And to do that, I need to get published.

Getting published is hard. Like hitting a baseball to the moon sort of hard. But there is something that can help make it more like hitting a ball from San Francisco to New York--and that's an agent. So that is my next step: find an agent.

And to be honest, I'd much rather have to find an agent than to have one of my characters show up at my door (like in the wonderful film Stranger Than Fiction). It's not going to be easy to find one, but most easy things aren't worth it in the end.

So, wish me luck! I'm off to find an agent.

July 24, 2010

saturday snapshots

This was taken at the airport in Nambia, 2006.

July 22, 2010

glue and paper...

I've spent much time over the last few months trying to find a way to customize journals for the upcoming CleanPlace Moot. We try to provide a journal every year--usually just a notebook with a sticker on the front or something. But this year I wanted to do something more snazzy.

Turns out that buying customized journals is very expensive...not to mention that the minimum order tends to be 200+. We only have 30-35 members who come to the Moot, and giving out the same thing year after year is not really my style.

Then my friend Holly posted a creative and fun way to make journals on her blog. I thought, "Hey, I can do that!" So I headed to JoAnns for the paper and Walmart for the composition journals (you know the black and white hard cover ones--they are like a quarter each!).

And here's what I made...
I added a "name plate" on the inside of each since I picked paper out special for each member.
And then in the back I put a personal note (my CP name is NarniaPrincess, or Nia).
Each journal ended up costing me somewhere around $0.75 to make! And since I was able to pick out paper designs for each member, each journal is very personalized, even more than ordering preprinted one would have been! Not to mention that they are super easy to make--I am planning on making a few more for myself just because they are so fun. I'm so thankful that Holly stumbled upon this idea, and that she shared it with me. Thanks Holly!

--To make, you need four sheets of 12X12 paper--two for outside, two for inside--cut the outside papers to 12 high and 8 inches wide. For the inside cut them down to 8 1/2 high and 6 1/2 wide. I like to round the corners on the inside. Glue the outside papers onto the book (right up to the black edger on the composition book, that's what makes them look so neat and edged!). When dry, fold in the corners first and glue down (this is going to help square off the corners). When those are dry, fold in the top and bottom and side. To make things really neat, take some of the cut off paper from the cover and paste a 1 1/2 stripe of it on the inside fold, right next to the pages--this makes it look really awesome! Once that's all dry, glue in your inside cover. Add any embellishments you might want!

when strings cross...

Life is made up of strings. I know, you thought the substance of the universe was slightly more substantial and a little less annoying, but hey. Some strings never touch other strings while others get tangled. If you are really lucky you might even get a tapestry out of the deal!

Recently I was reading two very different things (Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury and essays by C.S. Lewis) when strings tangled in a lovely dance.

In Fahrenheit 451, first published in 1953, Bradbury talks about how television (essentially) took over free thought. People got sucked into scripts that said nothing, with "family" that they had never met.

Then came Lewis, in his essay published in 1947, "On Stories", he talks about a movie version of King Solomon's Mines, and how the movie changed the ending and thus, for Lewis, ruined the whole story. His rant against the silver screen was rather moving, even for a movie buff like myself!

I found it very intriguing that both writers picked up on the idea that movies might numb the mind to thought and fiction alike. Even more so because in a way movies HAVE changed the way stories are told, and yet, the publishing industry is still going strong. Thankfully we have not gone in the direction of Bradbury's world, but I have to agree with Lewis that in a movie made from a book, we sometimes lose what made the story so moving and beautiful in the first place.

For those who knew me when the Lord of the Rings movies came out, you'll know that I, like Lewis, can get a bit upset when a director "ruins" the story. I love story, and as an author, I value the integrity of story. But as a director and actor, I can also understand how some things work better visually than others. I am constantly torn between the two sides--and you all thought I just didn't sleep because I drink too much Mt. Dew!

I'm glad that I can still read freely, even more so that I can think about what I read and find the strings that shimmer through various thoughts and tangle. I just wanted to share these intersecting strings with you all, because maybe at least one of you will find it interesting.

Now go read a book!

(Lewis' "On Stories" can be found in the book Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories, one that I highly recommend to anyone who has a love of story, and especially writers.)

July 17, 2010

saturday snapshot

This is my friend, Miss Pottenger. She has a picture of me taking this picture :P

July 11, 2010

saturday snapshot (only a day late!)

So, I apparently didn't set these up for July :P This was taken in Denver when Dara and I went up to celebrate our 32nd birthdays.

July 1, 2010

taking the punishment...

After 32 some odd years upon this planet I have come to realize that I will never like "working out." Over the years I've been told that it's something I would learn to love, that the more you do it the more you crave it. While that might be true for some people, it's not true for me.

Even in grade school I hate gym class (though I did like gymnastics, mostly the flying through the air part, not the attempting to climb the rope to the roof, which I could never do). Track and Field day was the worst day of the year. Sure I could run and jump, but I didn't really like it. Combine that with the fact it was always outside and always near summer (translate--hot outside), and you get a very ill and upset child.

In junior high I was a cheerleader, which I liked, but mostly because I got to cheer and lead--and we never had to run. Running was evil. About this time I developed asthma of the sort that inhalers don't help. Now I had a reason to hate running beyond the not liking it. I played basketball, but again, it wasn't the athletic part I enjoyed, it was the being on a team and the strategy. I do love strategy.

After college pounds settled on, I decided to try and do something, so I joined Curves. While the Curves workout is a good one, I found that I just didn't like going. I didn't like the feeling I got while working out (lightheaded, sick to my stomach, just plain icky). I did like the results, but even that wasn't enough to keep me going on a regular basis.

And here I am again. I got to that point about a month ago where I realized that I was never going to work out at home without some serious accountability, and since my house is too small for two people to work out together (and my BFF's apartment even smaller), I was going to have to go to option B--join a gym. I got a great price on membership to 24Hour Fitness and I've been going 3-4 times a week for three weeks.

And I still don't like working out.

It comes down to this: sweat is gross, having sweat trickling off my face is gross, feeling like I might pass out or throw up is gross. I would much rather be at home or in a park reading a book, better yet, writing a book. I'd rather be watching a movie while knitting a scarf. I'd rather be having deep conversations with friends. I'd even rather get a crown put on my teeth--that tells you how very seriously I don't like working out.

I don't expect to ever enjoy working out--I've stopped believing that lie along with so many others that I've been fed over the years (don't even get me started on the "your prince will come" lie!). But I do it because it's an means to an end, and I do want the end. I want to be healthier, I want to sleep better at night, and I want to like my body a little more than I do right now. So I sweat, even though it's a nasty thing to do, and I work out even though it makes me feel sick.

Just thought you might want to know.

June 26, 2010

saturday snapshots...

Pretty pens in a row...

June 19, 2010

saturday snapshots...

This is Pippin, he was my bird until I went to Africa. I miss him.

June 12, 2010

June 5, 2010

saturday snapshot...

Dad had baby robins last year...

May 31, 2010

it's not as bad as I'd like to think it is...

My laptop is sick, and has been for a few days. According to my brother (who is smart in these areas), it isn't associating an IP address. Looks like he is going to be able to fix it. I'm glad. These last few days have been horrid. And yet, I haven't gone without. No, I've been able to do just about everything I need to do online. How, you ask. Well, I have more than one laptop.

It's sad, really. I have three laptops and a desktop (however, the desktop is so old that it doesn't have wireless, and I don't use it often.). Two of those three laptops do have wireless, and they all turn on, run programs, and let me get things done. So really, I can't complain.

And yet, I find myself sad and irritated and upset that my shinny laptop won't work fully. It's been a long few days as I've constantly had to remind myself that I am not underprivileged in any way, I have nothing to complain about, and that I should just suck it up and get over myself.

Isn't life fun?

The weekend, however, has been bad for my family. My young cousin, Tyler, drowned while at a youth retreat. I hadn't seen him in years, but I was catching up on how life was going with my aunt over the last few months, and I was proud of how he was turning out. His death is a huge shock to us all, and I can't even begin to image how hard it is on his parents and brother. I wish I could go be with them, but I can't get away. Sometimes life sucks for real.

Tyler will be missed by friends and family. I hope he's in heaven now.

May 29, 2010

saturday snapshots...

The Wyoming wilderness, and me in the mirror.

May 22, 2010

saturday snapshot...

The most posh hotel I've ever stayed in--and it was in Joburg, South Africa. Granted, it doesn't look so posh after I messed up the bed and put all my stuff around :P

May 18, 2010

the tax they didn't tell us about...

It's been a long day, and after I left the mall at 9:40 (because the printer decided to be stupid and waste 20 minutes before it finally printed our paperwork), I stopped at Sonic to get a little snack. I ordered a junior burger ($1), and said I had a coupon for a large creamslush for 99 cents. This is all I ordered.

The guy had some trouble understanding which coupon I had. I repeated it three or four times, and he finally said it back correctly, and I confirmed. Then he says, "Your total is $3 at the window."

$3? I figured he got too many burgers, or didn't do the coupon right, but it's easier to talk face-to-face. So I pull up to the window (after waiting behind two other cars), and the guy opens it and says, "That's $3."

"I ordered a $1 jurnior burger and a 99 cent creamslush," I said. "That's only $2 plus tax, which should only be 15 cents at most."

"Yes, you have a $1 burger and a 99 cent slush. The tax must be $1."

At this I have to resist the urge to reach out of my car and smack him on the back of his head, Gibbs-style. "Sir," I said, "the tax rate is not 50%. If there is $1 tax on my order, you are overcharging on tax."

He got a bit flustered and went to find his manager. The manager comes back and say, "Okay, your total is $2.57." I explain, again, that it can't be $2.57 any more than it can be $3. For two items that are only $1.99 before tax, the total will be no more than $2.15.

By now, my burger is getting cold, and my creamslush is melting. The manager starts messing with the register, but he can't seem to get it to accept that the total of my order is only going to be $2.15. Finally, he tells the workerbee to "just take care of it". So I give him $5.15 and ask for $3 back. The worker seems to balk at this, but I'm not leaving without my $3.

So there's my story of the week. Some of the Sonic employees in town are trying to charge 50% tax--that's how they are making money on their $1 menu :P

here we go again...

So, my friend Shelly has decided to become a blogger. I was helping her set her blog up, and she linked to mine. Guess that means I should actually blog from time to time!

So I'll give this another shot. Look for me to be around a bit more often. And maybe you'll hear a funny story or two.