Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Not Like the Other Guys

From the first time we met when we were still in high school, it was obvious that Gifted & Talented was not like the other guys. Even in high school when many boys were into self promotion, he had a gentle and humble spirit. Us girls, and there were several of us, had to chase him because he didn't see himself as the great catch he was.

G&T has never tried to "get ahead." He just wants to create a comfortable life for himself and his family. Whether at work, doing a home project, or preparing with the worship band, his goal is always to do a job well. His introverted personality keeps him from ever seeking glory or even recognition. He is the very definition of the word "steadfast."

These past few days have been hard for him. He doesn't see just how wonderful and valuable he is. Now, in his job search, he must promote himself in a way that is contrary to his natural personality. For those of you up close friends and those of you who are blogfriends, please keep him in your prayers. Pray that he will be infused with confidence that comes only from the Holy Spirit, and that the right personnel officer will recognize and appreciate the gifts he has to offer.

God of Love, Thank you for the wonderful man you have created in Gifted & Talented. Thank you for the many blessings he brings to my life. Please Lord, fill him today with a spirit of peace, courage, and confidence. Amen.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Revisioning the Future

First I want to thank all of our friends, both blogfriends and up-close friends, for the care and support you have given us over the past week. We have been well and truely loved.

This week I read Genesis 32-33, the story of Jacob preparing to meet Esau when he returns from Laban's camp. In the story Jacob busily arranges his family and property in such a way as to preserve that which is most precious to him. He is preparing for a violent confrontation and expecting losses. The footnote in my New Interpreter's Study Bible, says "Jacob can only imagine a violent end to his conflict with Esau." This is exactly how I have felt and reacted to the news of G&T's layoff. I've been getting all our financial resources in a row, and seeing what can be sacrificed first with the least pain. I could only imagine a difficult outcome that includes a huge sense of loss.

In my CPE work, we are using an assessment tool that looks at the patient's spiritual and emotional needs. One of the check boxes says "Revisioning the Future." I see now that is exactly what our family needs. We need to take time to articulate our values and evaluate our lifestyle in light of those values. I can see we need a 4th party, someone neutral, to help us talk and think and work our way through this. There are several options out there, we just need to find the one that fits best.

So, I ask for your continued prayers specifically that we can find the person or persons we need to help us revision our future and that we will be faithful to our beliefs and values. Thanks again for stopping by and for your prayers.

Lord God, guide our thoughts, our words, and our decisions in these next few days and weeks. Keep us on the path you would have us take. Amen.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Five: Giving Thanks

Songbird at RevGalBlogPals writes: It's that time of year. In the U.S., college students will be on their way home, traffic on the highways will be at its highest point, cooking and baking will ensue. But before the gorging and napping begins, let's take a moment to give thanks. Please tell us five things or people for which you are thankful this year.

This is an important meme for me. As mentioned in yesterday's post, we are facing a difficulty. Gifted & Talented was laid off from his job yesterday. We are still in shock and trying hard to have faith that God is with us in this and trying hard not to panic. Still, we have many things to be thankful for. I don't think it is an accident that three people who were so hungry they would eat tuna before 10 am asked me for food today. I haven't had these kind of requests in the last couple of weeks. I was reminded of my abundance as I gave them tuna kits and applesauce.

1. Gifted & Talented and manBoy - I'm blessed in soooooo many ways.

2. Dogblogger's Typist and The Alpha - For all the love they give us and especially for taking us to dinner when we were so blue

3. Our extended families; parents, sisters, seven nieces, and one nephew.

4. Neighbors and church friends - the village that supports us as we raise manBoy.

5. Health.

I should list a hundred, but these are the five that come to mind right now.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Walking the Walk

Our family is being asked to walk the faith we've been proclaiming. Our health is fine. More details later. Your prayers are coveted.

O Lord, I have prayed for you to make your presence known to so many patients in the past few weeks. Make it known to us now. Amen.

Friday, November 10, 2006

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five - The Colors of Life

Those of us who are in the United States have just been through quite a topsy-turvy election. During the campaign we heard a fair amount about red states and blue states, when in fact most of us live in some shade of purple. And so... a lighter look at those confounding colors:

1. Favorite red food: Shrimp Creole that my mamma taught me how to make. One of the very few dishes I can cook that isn't from a box or can.

2. Tell us about the bluest body of water you've ever seen in person. At the beach of Hotel Maroma between Cancun and Cozumel where we celebrated our 20th anniversary. This was of course before seminary when we could afford such luxuries.

3. It's movie rental time: Blue Planet, The Color Purple, or Crimson Tide? The Color Purple, haven't seen the other two.

4. What has you seeing red these days? Disregard for human dignity.
Oh, also stupidity. Actual t-shirt saying seen in elevator at hospital: "Stupidity is not a crime, so you are free to go."

5. What or who picks you up when you're feeling blue? I had a really blue day a couple of weeks ago. I let myself feel it without trying to get "up" too quickly. This is big progress for me! A day in my comfy chair with a novel, telling the story to a friend, and hugs from manBoy and Gifted & Talented helped me be renewed enough to face the world again.

The Myth of Making a Difference

In CPE, we are being asked to examine the myths or stories of our lives that influence our ministry. We are using Recalling Our Own Stories by Edward P. Wimberly.

Here are some of my thoughts so far: When I began working with children with disabilities (at age 11), I found a place where I could be happy. What I did was good enough. It not only pleased the adults, I felt I was truly helping the kids. I was capable. I was accepted. I was making a difference in someone’s life. I carried this same set of themes into my teaching career.
Now in ministry, I still want to be accepted for being capable and for making a difference in the church and in people’s lives.

Just I was writing these thoughts this week, I came across Job 29:1-5, 11-17.

Job 29:1 Job again took up his discourse and said: "Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me; when his lamp shone over my head, and by his light I walked through darkness; when I was in my prime, when the friendship of God was upon my tent; when the Almighty was still with me, when my children were around me;

11 When the ear heard, it commended me, and when the eye saw, it approved; because I delivered the poor who cried, and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the wretched came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I championed the cause of the stranger. I broke the fangs of the unrighteous, and made them drop their prey from their teeth.

Job is mourning the days when he believed God was with him and he was respected for his good deeds. Job however is wrong in two assumptions. First he believes that God is no longer with him, watching over him. Second he believes that the loss of his prosperity has taken his ability to do good for others. He sits on his ash heap lamenting rather than continuing to speak out for the rights of the down trodden. (Okay, admittedly the whole skin disease thing was a deterent to interacting with people.)

Lesson 1: Neither Job's nor my value before God has to do with the good things we do or things we give for other people.
Lesson 2: Showing kindness to other people isn't limited to those with material possessions.

God of love, show us how to love in all circumstances. Not because it will help us be glorified or loved but because you first loved us. Amen.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

manBoy Tryouts Update

All City Band - yes :-)
Basketball Team - no :-(
All Region Band - yes :-)
Grades up enough to stay in National Junior Honor Society -better than required!

Pain of missing out on basketball soothed by purchase of new shoes which he needed. New shoes are running shoes for cross country which starts in a few weeks instead of basketball shoes as originally planned. We talked about where he had spent his time and energy in the last few weeks (studying and practicing trombone). It is humanly impossible to invest enough preparation time to be great at everything. Hard lessons, but best learned young.

Best moment of the week: Drinking hot chocolate and eating cinnamon rolls with manBoy before bed one night. He wanted us to read the Upper Room devotionals we had missed in the Sept./Oct. issue.

God of love, thank you for the blessing of this wonderful young man. Keep watch over him as he grows and ventures into the world. Guide us as we seek to guide him. Amen.

On-Call Update

Last weekend: 13 hours overnight, 4 deaths, 6 Level I Truama calls. Very holy moments involving infant baptism in the delivery room. Physical and emotional exhaustion made worth it by knowing I made (or rather God used me to make) a difference in someone's life.

Last night: 8 hours, finished by 11 pm, no deaths, no Level I Traumas, no especially holy moments, no sense of having made a difference.


Edited after reflecting for evaluation:

I did make a difference Friday night. In one of my visits, I told jokes and funny stories to a woman who was down because she was missing her nephew's wedding. She didn't want to get into a deep emotional discussion, she just needed to be distracted for a bit from her situation.

Loving God, Thank you for the gift of humor, and for my ability to remember and tell jokes and stories. Please remind me that you can and will use all my gifts in ministry when I let you. Amen.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All Saints Day

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8

Many persons joined the "cloud of witnesses" yesterday. One of them was far from her family in more ways than one. Still, she blessed those of us who cared for her in her last days. She fought many "good fights" in her life and even in this last one, she knew what was coming and lived victoriously until the end.

I can't explain here how her life touched mine 30 years ago without either of us knowing it, but it did. Her actions greatly influenced my first career as a special education teacher. She touched me again these last few weeks as I begin a new career. I believe she will again have a great influence on me.

God of love, thank you for the life of this brave woman and for the lives she changed. Amen.