Monday, September 26, 2005

Out of the Mouth of Babes

I’ve been a Christian longer than my friend, Gabrielle (age 19-3/4), has been alive. But when I recently expressed my concerns about my progress on the career ladder taking me further from my dreams, she reminded me “my God is so big”. Though it seems I’m moving further away, my God, the Creator of time and space, the Creator of the universe and all that is in it, controls my steps, including the speed and distance between my desires and their final fulfillment. My mind and imagination are limited; restrained by human reasoning and a mortal body. If I truly believe and trust God and His word, then I will believe that His desires for me far exceed anything I can dream up myself. Thank you my friend, for your encouragement and faith. And then there other words from babes… As I was singing the song “My God is So Big” (body motions, included) with my preschool Sunday School class, 4-1/2 year old Timothy laughed and said “Miss Barb, when you do the strong part, your arms jiggle”. Reminder to myself – wear long sleeves to Sunday School.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ladder Day Saint

Well, it appears I will be taking another step up the career ladder. My boss mentioned to me that he and his boss plan on giving me additional duties and the loftier title that goes along with them. Money, loftier or otherwise, has not been yet been mentioned. I don't really care about a title. Money isn't all that important. I did not seek or expect the promotion but actually, the additional duties will make my current job easier. Many of the process issues my department experiences occur because of a lack of communication and teamwork between my staff and the staff for whom I will assume responsibility. In this new position I believe I can positively effect change for all concerned, and improve the performance of my department(s). It's no secret to those who know me that my career goal is that of wife and mother. At my age, the possibility of mother is shrinking. But I've been holding out hope for a position of wife to open up. I've been wanting to apply for that job a long time, but no one's shown any interest in even interviewing, let alone hiring me. Now, I'm taking a step up a career ladder I don't really want to be on in the first place. And every step up this ladder takes me a step further from the ladder on which I want to be.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thoughts on Work

I've been working full time over half my life. With the exception of one job, I've liked my various positions, but I would hardly call them fullfilling. In my dreams I see myself in many other roles - wife and mother, Animal Shelter owner, Academy Award winning actress, World Famous Rock star...those would be fullfilling. But as I was reading Genesis the other day I noticed something I'd never seen before in all these years (and I've read Genesis more than any other book due to my many attempts to Read the Bible in a Year). Adam worked. Eden, the perfect place - and Adam still had to work. God told him to cultivate the garden. That was Adam's job. So many people (myself included) think of Eden as a place of leisure. Adam and Eve walking around with God, lounging in the tall green grass eating approved fruit, taking lots of naps. But Adam worked. Adam's work became difficult when sin entered the picture. Suddenly work became a hard, sweat-of-the-brow, back-breaking proposition. This places my own job fullfillment (or unfullfillment) in a new light. I won't ever find total fullfillment at any job here on earth, even the position of wife and mother. How could I ever expect it in this fallen world? Sure, some jobs are better than others; some days better than others. But true fullfillment - that's still to come.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


In a previous post, I mentioned my obsessive need to make lists. Then my friend Gabrielle posted that in the TV show, Babylon Five, there is a recurring them with three questions that need to be answered (A LIST). In a discussion about these themes, someone commented that not only was it important to answer the questions, but the order in which one answered the questions was just as telling (An ORGANIZED LIST). This kind of thinking is right up my alley! I don’t accomplish as much as I should or would like to because I’m in search of the perfect list. Not only do I make a list, I check it twice, thrice, four times, five, etc. Even Santa stops at twice. It’s not enough for me to make the list ( 1. Stop at K-Mart, 2. Stop at WalMart) but I also need to evaluate and reorder the list (Kmart and Wal-Mart are on the same road. Do I stop at K or W first? K is first, but I could stop at W first and then go to K on my way home. But if I stop at W first, then when I stop at K I’ll have to cross over the road and be delayed by traffic. Therefore, the most efficient order will be K first, then W). The most efficient grocery list is one organized by category and in the order in which they appear in the store (1. Produce, 2. Deli, etc) except the frozen foods, which logically should be chosen last so they remain frozen. This obsession of mine is quirky, neurotic, and even somewhat humorous when it remains in the shopping realm. But it doesn’t. I make lists for hopes, goals, needs, wants. I need to: I. Live healthier lifestyle A. eat better B. lose weight C. exercise D. control stress II. Take better care of my house A. Clean 1. Living Room 2. Bedroom 3. Kitchen 4. Dining Room B. Repairs 1. Fix Sunroom window 2. Fix back fence 3. Repair screen III. Spiritual Life A. Pray B. Devotions C. Worship There are hundreds more items and sub-items (Budgeting, Improving family relationships, school…) that are on this list, but you get the picture. I’m a sucker for any magazine headline or book that proclaims – 10 Steps to a More Organized Home, Decorate your Bedroom in a Weekend, 30 Days to a Healthy You. LISTS! They give me LISTS! I don’t even have to think about making up my own! But then the magazines stack up, my house gets cluttered, and eventually they get tossed out – when decluttering appears on my chore list, that is. There was a time in my life when I would have tried to tackle all these at once (“Tomorrow, I will be perfect. It’s possible. I need only follow my list”), but with age comes experience and with experience, wisdom. I now realize that I can’t do them all at once and perfection is not achievable. So I pick one or two items from the list at a time. Or at least I try to. I’m stumped by which one or two items to pick. And like the Babylon Five questions, in which order should I attempt these? If I exercise, that will help control the stress and lose weight, but in order to exercise well, I need to eat better. If I choose prayer first, then that will help with devotions and worship, but if I focus on devotions and Bible reading first, then I’ll know God better and then pray and worship more effectively. But when I’m at a loss as to what/how to pray, the Holy Spirit knows and is able to pick up for me, so maybe devotions and/or worship should be first… Those of you reading this may be smiling. I too see the absurdity of this. But this is also a real problem for me that I’m trying to overcome. But I don’t know if it’s a spiritual, emotional or physical problem (yet another LIST). Or maybe it’s a combination. I feel like my life is one of those multiple-choice questions where the answer can be a, b, c, a and b, a and c, b and c, all of the above, or none of the above. I’m constantly assessing and evaluating items, making permutations and computations with the end result being – I accomplish nothing and wind up disastified with my life and myself. Is it any wonder that I don’t sleep well? And of course, sleeping well is on the Healthy Lifestyle and Dealing with Stress Lists.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Who Let the Dogs IN?

I DID. When I bought my house nine years ago, I envisioned it to be a home where people were always welcome to drop by. I would have an open door policy and guests would regularly grace my dinner table and feel free to utilize the guest room, when needed. While I have had some guests over the years, the ones who appear most often , however, seem to be of the four-legged, furry variety. Not only do they grace my dinner table (under it, not at it) they also regularly drink from my (toilet) bowl. More often, they feel free to use my bedroom (bed and all) instead of my guest room. And like all guests, human or otherwise, they can put their feet up on my couch, if they so desire (and I’ve yet to see one who hasn’t desired so). First there was Coach, who I inherited when his original owners divorced. They split up the kids, she kept the cat and no one wanted the dog. I had him for 10 years. Then there was a cat I fostered who I named Luther (anyone who was a fan of the TV show “Coach” will understand the name). He only stayed a short while, as I was able to find him a permanent home. Coach died in September, 2003 at the age of 15 years. After he was gone, I didn’t really want another pet. Getting another pet too quickly seemed like a rebound romance – destined for failure. But animals kept finding their way to me. Others who have been fostered or babysat by me the past 3 years include: Kia Swanson, Buddy Braymer, Lady Baker, Atticus Otulakowski, and Nutmeg (a stray cat I found one Thanksgiving who I was able to adopt out). About the same time Coach died, two of my neighbors lost their dogs, as well. Last spring, I noticed they had adopted new dogs and it rekindled in me the desire for another dog. I started looking in the classifieds and the various animal shelters and in July, 2004 I found Sasha, a 3-year old Lab/Beagle mix. She was frightened, overweight and out of shape and in need of someone to love and interact with her to bring out her true self. I renamed her Grace because Sasha was just too exotic a name for a gentle, down to earth dog like her. Besides, one-syllable names are easier to yell when the animal misbehaves. In September, 2004 I was asked to foster Sissy, a 9 month old Border Collie/Pit Bull mix. She was extremely frightened and shy, thus the name. In fact, she had to be dragged in to my house the first time because she was so afraid. I didn’t think that was a very kind name so renamed her Dora, as in “the Explorer” (how this name came about is for another post). As she started to come around and begin to trust me, I knew adopting her out would disrupt her too much and destroy the trust she was developing, so I adopted her, as well. While Dora is a sweet dog, I broke my one-syllable name rule, which I regret because I’m often having to call or yell at her. I do love my dogs. And it is a true love. Living alone, it’s nice to come home to someone/thing each night, especially someone/thing happy to see you. My dogs give me a reason to have to get out of bed each morning. It’s good to be wanted and needed. Margaret Mead once said, “One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night.” Grade and Dora rely on me for their care, which is more than just meals and walks, but scratches, pats on the head, a few “Good Girl” comments… They wonder where I’m at when I’m in the bathroom too long. Now don’t think that I’m one of those “dog people” who replace humans with animals. I still have family and close friends with whom I socialize regularly. I don’t demand that people include my dogs when they invite me to a function. I don’t refer to them in human terms. They are not my children. If my dogs and a human being were drowning, I would save the human first regardless of their color, creed or criminal record. My priorities are straight. But I would go back for the dogs. Because that’s what you do for those you love.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ideas for Posts

It seems that since initally starting my blog, I've come up with more ideas for posts than I have actual posts. It's kind of like that "To Do" list of all the cleaning, organizing, home repairs that I need to do. I spend so much time compiling the list that I don't get any of the tasks completed. BTW, my obsessive list-making is one of my ideas for a future post. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


SWCF - It's in the title of my Blog and it looks like a singles ad, but that was not the intent. It was just an abbreviation of the highlights of who I am. These are not listed in any particular order of importance, however. I'm single, I'm white, I'm Christian, and I'm female. But it still looks like a singles ad, which is the topic of this blog. I don't particularly like dating/matching services - I'm a romantic at heart. And I absolutely DESPISE them in the Christian realm. Why, you ask? Because they take God out of the picture and put it all in the hands of man, psychological tests, or ...gasp...a computer! Often I hear of Christians saying they met via this method and I try to smile, be diplomatic, tactful, etc. When they try to encourage me to take the same route, I politely say although it's ok for them, it's not my style. But honestly, I don't believe it's ok for them, either. One might say that they are trusting God to work through the computer, etc but I don't think that's true. I think it's more like loneliness and desperation driving them to something other than God's methods. I confess that there have been times that I've been lonely and desperate enough to want to know what my romantic future held that I've tempted to call the Psychic Friends Hotline or something like that just to hear an audible voice tell me that there was a soulmate out there for me if I would just be patient. But why pay $3.99/minute when I have a book written by my Creator, my Soulmate, my Bridegroom filled with promises and love letters. And so I wait...but patience is still a problem.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My Apologies to Robert Frost

My friend and I were walking in the woods talking, laughing, sharing our dreams and hopes. We came upon a fork in the path. Each of us was ordained to take different paths, but it was ok because our paths ran parallel for awhile. We could still see each other through the brush and the trees. We could still carry on conversations, although at times it was a little more difficult to hear each other. Sometimes our paths crossed again and sometimes they wound away from each other, but we were still close enough to know the other was nearby. Recently, though, these times are fewer and far between. We don't catch sight of each other very often; we can't hear each other as well. Sometimes our paths are hard travelling which leave us out of breath and unable to speak, anyway. I look ahead at my path and I don't see any twists or turns in her direction anytime soon. I know our paths converge again at heaven's gates. But I wish we could do more than catch a glimpse of each other. It would be nice to find a nice cabin to have a short rest, meaningful conversation and cups of hot tea.

Acts of God - Justice & Mercy

I've read many articles and posts, heard many discussions, listened to many commentaries about God's role in Hurricane Katrina. I agree that it was an act of God - He did create the world, weather and all. What bothers me is when people point out particular sins in New Orleans that provoked God to act. The sins of Bourbon Street are committed on Main Street, USA as well. Instead of blaming Louisiana for what befell them, why not thank God for His mercy in what did not befall the rest of us.

Monday, September 05, 2005


I had last week off from work. I can tell when a vacation was good by how anxious I am to go back to work. I'd say this one ranks a 7 out of 10. I didn't get done all the things I'd planned, but I slept in, read some books, took naps. One of the items on my "To Do" list was to get organized. Maybe not everything, but at least get a start. But I didn't do any of that. I didn't do one organizational activity the entire week. Part of me is relieved I didn't because I just used the time off to relax and regroup. I've only been at this job for 17 months and this is the first week-long vacation I've taken. Other than that, I've had a day or two here and there. It's been a long and stressful 17 months and I needed this time to "veg". My work, my emotions, my physical well-being - all of me was starting to suffer from the stress. I only hope this vacation was enough and my work performance will improve.