Friday, November 23, 2012

Pulled in All Directions

Be careful in your choices, my child. You have not yet learned that everything you own, actually owns you. ~me

I do not know why I am sitting and writing out my feelings right now, instead of getting things under least one or two. I mean, I have plenty of things to do like Christmas baking, cards, and shopping in addition to paying bills.

I missed a deadline for a book review, so I was told. That should be a higher priority than this is and I have an article due in a week that I have not started either.

I could go out and shop for the Black Friday specials, but my heart is not into it, but at least my van is working now. Oh, you may not have heard about the last fortnight. Well, it might explain why I am in the state of mind--or mindlessness--in which I am currently.

Well, it began kind of like this...

Saturday, November 10th
The church board meeting was a bit rough for me. I have been introducing too many new songs it seems, beautiful songs that have been popular and some have been out for over ten years, but apparently most of our board members do not listen to contemporary Christian radio. It was mentioned that more hymns would be nice.

I would love to incorporate more hymns, but there are three difficulties I have with them. One is that our selection is very limited and most of the songs are very short. Two, I do not have a band or even a pianist to bridge between songs and pull them together, so the hymns are like an abrupt difference and feel halting. Three, except for one family in their thirties, we have a 50 year old and older congregation of churched most of their lives and every church leader agrees that style of music is what determines the age of the congregation so hymns would fit for what we have now. However, I feel led to use more contemporary music for in just eight more years we will be a sixty and over congregation of churched with no new younger families joining and nothing for reaching the unchurched.

Sometimes the service is more contemporary, sometimes a bit more traditional, and sometimes the mix is balanced, but I spend a great deal of time listening to music and talking with God about each service, so I believe I was doing what pleased my Lord. I did appreciate the suggestion by another member to consider getting CDs for our hymnals, although I found them to be quite costly, but I passed on the information on later that day.

Sunday, November 11th
This was the first service after the election and also Veteran's Day. I had my songs already picked, but on Sunday morning I woke up and changed two of them. I was not sure it was my Lord's leading or just my reaction to the board meeting and the election, but I prayed that it would please my Lord. I also would read a poem called "The Ordinary Soldier" and talked briefly about placing our trust in God's kingdom rather than man's government and about being in service to our Lord as our military is in service to our country. God is so good! The guest pastor even mentioned how he had not spoken to anyone about his subject and how all this went perfectly with his message. I am amazed every Sunday how this has been happening, when we have such a variety of guest speakers and we all just trust God's leading! Wow!

My husband decided to give me my Christmas gift early, so right after church, he drove towards Atlanta instead of home. It was not a welcomed surprise for the Princess, who had plans for her afternoon apparently, but she tolerated it better after we talked about eating at Fuddrukers, a hamburger place she really likes. Then we went to Micro Center, my husband's favorite tech store. What I wanted for Christmas was simply an e-reader but he had it in mind to buy the laptop he had picked out for me, since the new responsibilities with church music and videos were overloading my six year old laptop, which was maxed out. I mean there are USB Flash Drives that have as much space available now! The one he had eyed online was a refurb for $100 less--my husband has become quite the spendthrift these last few years! So I am now the owner of a wide-screen, HD quality, great stereo speakers (for a laptop), Windows 7 laptop with a battery that last for hours!

As exciting as that is, changing over to a new computer has its hassles and I have had quite a few. I was really deflated when I realized that the battery was not charging at all. Googling, I found this was a common problem with Windows 7, but this is why I do not do brand new operating systems...I like it better when they have worked out all the bugs of a system, about a year or two old. Finally, after a couple of days and all the Windows updates, including one for the Bios, my battery was charging and all was right with my little cyber world. I still have few programs to load, but I now have a hard drive that is over ten times the space I had before. SO MUCH SPACE! Did you hear that virtual echo?

Tuesday, November 13th
I received an email on Monday evening, as all the board members did, that gave information about two CDs with hymns and one with Christmas music that we have at the church, which was in response to a report I had given at the board meeting on the prior Saturday. I appreciated the interest in the praise and worship, but the only one CD we have devoted to traditional "Christmas Hymns," as it is called, reads that it has 25 songs. Unfortunately, only 14 are actually for church service use as the rest are nice carols, like "Silver Bells" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." You get the picture. Also, each song ranges in play time from around three minutes to just one minute. Since I have listened to every song on every CD, I had additional information. For instance, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" has verse one and five for one minute of play time--the night was very short! Since the two hymns CDs are produced by the same company, they are similar. "Amazing Grace" has verse one, three, and seven only. Knowing that they would not have this information, on Tuesday I took the time to write out a sampling of the songs so that all the board members would have more detailed, factual information.

Thursday, November 15th
Thursday I started out with my usual errands wrapped around the Princess' piano lesson. I have noticed something going on with the van for the last few months, but whenever my husband drove it, the problem did not happen. Well, it really happened when I put the van in reverse to straighten it out in a parking space. The Princes thought we had hit something. "No, I pretty sure that was the transmission," I said as I tried to act as if it was just one of those little bumps in the road of life. Although it slipped, it did catch in gear and we got out of the parking space. Going forward did not seem to be the problem so I went on the rest of my errands being sure I would not have to go in reverse, but I forgot when we stopped in at a store near home. I got out of the parking space and parked where there would be no cars around the rest of the evening in case we needed to have it towed for now I was having a bit of a problem starting to going forward too. I called my husband who was on his way home but nearly two hours away. My daughter and I shopped and went to eat at a restaurant while he drove home to let out the dog, feed the pets, and clear out his work van full of parts to make room for us and the groceries. He drove my Dragon Heart to the garage and we followed in his Pegasus.

During all this my child lost her tween whine about what we could not do and just went with what we could do without a complaint. Apparently, I am better with crisis management than I think I am and it has been rubbing off on her.

Friday, November 16th
There are times I do not like being right. This would be one of them. This is the second transmission we have replaced in less than six months. Pegasus had to have a new one when she encountered rubber coming off a semi in July. Fortunately, Dragon Heart's transmission would not be as costly and although a setback, we are still free of credit card debt. So, we were told we should have the van back Tuesday evening. I began preparing foods for the church dinner on Sunday.

Sunday, November 18th
Although we have absolutely no traditional Thanksgiving hymns on any of our church CDs, I did find a medley video we could use. I asked for what we were thankful and everyone said the things that I expected home, family, health--basically all the things that make life comfortable and can be taken away. God had reminded me before the service that all the things for which we are typically thankful are things that we will not have to be concerned about in heaven so I passed on that little message.

The Princess had invited a friend to service with us as we were having Thanksgiving dinner at the church and I am glad she was there as the other family with a child could not make it. Although we usually do not leave until 9:00 AM, her parents dropped her off early at 8:00 AM as they were leaving for their church; they are heavily involved with the children's ministry there. I made a pumpkin pie, an apple pie, and brought a store bought peach pie, along with three kinds of homemade sourdough rolls and my Holiday Red Cabbage Coleslaw for which a few people ask; one of the church members loves it and calls "purple stuff." (I try to make extra so he will have plenty to take home.) After the dinner, we hung the greens for Christmas.

That evening I had scheduled for us to have pictures taken...I have not done this for years because it is a zoo during the holidays! We arrived about ten minutes late and were told there were four families before us so maybe thirty minutes wait. Thirty minutes later we were told there were four families before us so maybe thirty minutes wait. No kidding! Well, there was a book store near and so we went there. Pictures were taken and we waited another thirty minutes or more to view and choose.  We went just a bit over the budget amount...just a bit. Then we could wait another thirty minutes for them to be processed or pick them up later. The Princess was sure she would feint for lack of food so we opted for the later pick up.

Monday, November 19th
I was in crash mode. It became obvious as I wrestled with migrating email files that just was not working for me, mostly because I was just too burned out to think it through. Good news came in the late afternoon: Dragon Heart was ready for us with a new transmission. My husband also stopped to get the pictures.

Tuesday, November 20th
We paid the garage and picked up Dragon Heart, then I went back home to mess with the new computer and my husband on to work. I was so very glad I had the van later on!

The Princess brings in Sharii to me saying that he is not acting like himself and he had something I should see on his neck. One look, one feel, one phone call, and we are rushing to make an appointment in just twenty minutes so we can wait at the vet's for at least thirty minutes in the lobby, and another twenty in the examination room. Sharii has had swollen glands now and then every since we got him as a kitten, but never something like this. Half the width of his neck was the size of this thing. I thought it was an abscess. One stick of a needle and drawing out the fluid confirmed it. The recommendation was lancing, draining, and antibiotics. About a hundred dollars and another thirty minutes later, I had a cat who was happy to see me again and was draining from a much larger incision than I expected. Later that same cat would growl at me ever time I touched him.

I bought him inside with me during the evening and had him lay on my lap. He stopped growling and fell asleep. He would be spending a few days in the garage, which he loves to do but not half a much as Midnight. The squirrels began to take advantage of the missing cats and I hope they clean up the acorns while they have the chance.

Wednesday, November 21th
AT&T our phone and Internet ISP has been sending letters that if we do not take their offer to switch to U-verse that they will not be maintaining the DSL and we could lose service. They offered a new router for free and a reduction in monthly fee. So I spent some time last week trying to understand the costs and services to make a decision. I decided that we would go with U-verse with VOIP and they scheduled it for the morning on the day before Thanksgiving. Now, first I have to explain that while everyone who works for AT&T is so nice and seems quite proficient in their jobs, I have had the worst experiences with the company. Nothing ever goes smoothly or right. We used to have two phone lines, when I had a business. One was in my name and the other was in my husband's. They convinced me to combine the two onto one bill because it would save us money. Well, then both numbers were in my name. We tried to change the names and they disconnected one of the lines and then the other one. After the second time, I just left it. Later I closed the business and dropped one line...and made the mistake of again trying to change the name on the account. Since I decided to just leave it just was the better choice for my sanity.

So, here we are making another change with AT&T. Thankfully, my husband was home in the morning for the installation. Oh, the guy shows up, but we are not in the system so the DSL disconnect cannot happen. He cannot do it because the DSL guys are union. (You really do not want to know what I think of unions and to add to those feelings there is the whole Hostess and baker's union thing going on this week too.) However, we did get switched over and I have the dust from the lines being run through our drop ceiling in the office area in the basement to prove it. I must say that the phone lines are so quiet now. We have more bandwidth, although we did not ever use our limit before even with Netflix. I opted for the faster version so we are not seeing "rebuffering" when watching Netflix and my husband's employer pays for out Internet access. However, we need another router to network with our external hard drive that is supposed to be for backups, but also is being used to store the music and videos that would not fit on my old laptop and right now I cannot access the music.

I received an email telling me that I missed a deadline for the book review blog tour. I really do not understand why this one company has the program set up this way. What is the purpose of everyone posting their reviews during the same week and flooding the online retail customer reviews at the same time, then there are hardly any reviews afterward? No other company for which I do reviews does it this way. I would have dropped this book review program, but they enticed me with an educational book that I thought would be great for the Princess. I am too easily tempted by a book it seems. Look for the review in my next post. (I hope.)

I just realized as I wrote this that I completely forgot to fast! How could I forget to fast on Wednesday. I have been fasting on Wednesdays for four years! This is just another indication that I am just being pulled into too many directions.

Thanksgiving Day, November 22th
It was just the three of us at the meal for my daughter was playing with her friend in the morning. My husband soaked the turkey in brine overnight, as it never is dry that way. We had a simple meal with lots of leftovers. We played Wii Sports (I am extremely good at golf although in real life I dislike the game) and a board game in the evening that had us all in stitches, my husband most of all.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my Lord and all this things about which I will not have to be concerned in heaven when the things of this world pass away.

~ My Lord, thank you for what You have given that I cannot yet see. ~


  1. Whew. I see why you didn't put it in an email.

    Our congregation is mostly over 70. Last week the Lord had me preach on preparing their hearts for change: different sorts of music, healing, laying on of hands, alter calls. John felt it was a really powerful message & was well accepted but from sad experience the divide between the theory & the reality might be hard to bridge.

    Blessings, my friend.

    1. That was not all of it, but that is a much as I felt comfort putting on a public blog. My husband is ready to make a change...I just do not yet feel that calling, but I feel it is coming at the same time.

      Yes, everyone says "Amen" to the talk even while their own fruits of the Spirit seem to be suffering from drought. It makes one wonder which the Lord will use to awaken His church, water or fire...maybe both alternating.

      I think knee pads will be in vogue, spiritually speaking, for the future.


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.