Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's Her Birthday!

Michelle, Michelle, Bo bell, banana fanna fo fell..... "wait, wait! No Michelle, I didn't mean that!"

Ahhh.... those words will forever remain in my memory, with Matt Olsen saying them to Michelle on a FREEZING February day in the early 90's, when we were at a ropes course. He was her "buddy" - encouraging her, and whatnot...

Michelle and I were roommates - and Gayla. And Michelle and I were co-leaders, with John Switzer in Albania in 1992. hmmm... that seems a little odd - a guy and TWO girls leading a team? Long story - but it seemed to fit right in to Albania. And honestly, it was one of the most wonderful months of my life... odd as it seems.

This post is in honor of my friend Michelle's 40th Birthday - which is TODAY. She lives in South Africa, so it's actually the end of her birthday by now (so SORRY, Michelle.)

A favorite memory of Michelle from when we were roommates. It was she, Gayla and I... ahhh yes. And Michelle was part of the break in to the boys' house routine. Because I think it was her fiance, Rich (now husband) who secured the big projector from Teen Mania. Anyhow - she had spent a year in St. Louis as a nanny/teacher for this family, and was back in Tulsa to date Rich and teach 4th grade at Broken Arrow. She and I shared a room, and I remember the first day she had to call in sick. She was BROKEN HEARTED... (as Gayla and I had been years earlier... and certainly were NO LONGER). She was crying, saying, "But, who will TEACH them? What will HAPPEN to my class?" I convinced her that she was not the be all, end all... (hopefully I wasn't too mean?...) And the other teacher story I remember from Michelle's first year, was when she was so upset about the chocolate chip cookies and the math project...

So - back to Albania. Here was the situation: We lived on the third floor of a building. (Which we later found out was actually a condemned building...) The water only worked on the bottom floor - now when I say worked, please don't get excited. It tricked out of four spouts from 4-5 am every day. Well, supposedly every day, but there was an 8 day span when there was nothing. So, we had 5 gallon collapse "Jugs" and 10 gallon big plastic containers. Every day, it would be the job of a group of kids to collect the water for the community for the day. (There were roughly 75 of us). If after all the water was collected it was still running, then we had about 30 buckets, and they would start filling those, and then people could share a bucket to take a shower. Or wash their clothes - but usually not both out of one bucket. Although sometimes.

We took dehydrated food with us, but really only enough for a week, because there was a Colonel Mineau who had arranged for Mike (a 22 year old guy) to go to Turkey and pick up a truck full of MRE's (Army meals ready to eat). That is a whole different story, but he did it... and that's what we ate.

The bathrooms were holes in the ground. Like Thailand. Only water wasn't plentiful. So... we had these large troughs in the bathrooms that we stopped up with plastic. When you brushed your teeth or washed your face, (you did that out of one of the big gallon containers for face, collapsible iodine treated jugs for teeth) you did it over the trough to save the water.

Then we recycled the water to flush the toilets... minty fresh!

We went on Village Trips for a week at a time. Scott (Boss, our Project Director) would pack us up in a bus with MRE's and say, "The bus driver knows some people in some towns... see you Saturday!)... I'm not kidding... We did a drama set to music.

Well, in the drama, there are some really fun character parts, but there are also MIMES. This role is for those for whom acting isn't a thrill. They also are the background of the drama... Palm trees, the boat, rocks... you get the picture. Well, in a fit of generosity and team spirit, Michelle and I decided to be mimes. Well, of course we were going to be mimes right next to each other. So, at one point, when we were the boat, we were the wheel. Together. And we would critique the drama to each other, without moving our lips really... and one day, Garo, the guy who played the Punk Rocker, said,"Could you guys please stop talking during the drama? You're really breaking my concentration,and I'm trying to focus on my part and doing it to the best of my ability to witness best towards the crowds..." "Uh... oops. Sorry, 17 year old Garo, (sweet, Jesus loving boy)

So, on one of our Village Trips, we decided we wanted to sleep "under the stars". So far on that trip we had slept on the stage of a town's Auditorium (With the lights on all night, because we couldn't figure out how to turn them off), in a house with so many flies I thought I was going to pass out, and so... on the top of a mountain with fresh air sounded like a nice option. In order to conserve space with our HUGE team and TINY bus, Michelle and I thought that one sleeping bag for padding and a sheet would be a good idea. Because it was hot in Albania, and there was NO AC...

except on top of a mountain in the fresh air... yes, that's us. So darn cold, we had to zip ourselves in...

Remember the water situation? So, in the mountain areas they have pipes coming out of the side of the mountain, streaming fresh water - really amazingly cold fresh water. After two months of iodine water... we LOVED this water. So, one day we saw one and we just said, "OK! Everyboy wash your hair and brush your teeth." I'm still wondering where we got the shampoo. Michelle, we must've borrowed from someone, huh? I can't imagine either one of us bringing something like shampoo in our backpack. (Oh -we shared a backpack for a week -considering we literally wore our costume the ENTIRE week - yes - for drama and sleeping - there are no showers, so does it really matter? we didn't need much space).


Medical Clinic - yes, that's Garo - the sweet Jesus loving boy who somehow tolerated us...

So the "upside" to wearing your costume for a week straight AND not having showers, is that ANYTIME or ANYWHERE there is fresh water (or semi-fresh)... you just go for it.

Communism had fallen in Albania in February of 1992, and we arrived in June. So, free enterprise and capitalism were amazing concepts that had actually been there 45 years earlier. So, the very oldest of people remembered it. Most didn't. But - they grew watermelons... lots and lots of watermelons. And, so we would stop on the side of the road, and buy enough for everyone to share one with a buddy.

Slice that thing open with your MRE spoon, and you are good to go.

There was one hotel in Albania, where we would go on a Free Day to order coffee and write postcards and feel "human"... (and I believe that is a shepherd or goatherd, as the case may be... you know I'm totally not kidding, right?)

Probably about ten American dollars...

I love this picture of Michelle, because it was and is still so her heart: To love children and share the love of Jesus with them.

Enver Hoxha - the former Communist Dicatator of Albania.

We did have a few days between months to have a mini-vacation. The 20+ of us went to Corfu - an island off of Greece. KUDOS to Cara Boss for doing that! So, we rented mopeds to tool around the island. For some reason, ours stopped working. On the other side of the island. Chris Abeyta saw us, and in an effort to "help" us, he flagged down a white van with a MASSIVE Greek man in it, and got us safely stowed away with our moped to go back to town. And then took off on HIS moped and waved us good-bye. As we rode to town by OURSELVES with a large Greek man... in a white van...

Oh yeah - Chris made sure to get a picture of us...

Considering our water supply situation, to put this kind of hair spray in your hair to entertain the teens (and it tells you how easily we were entertained that whatever we were doing here was considered hilarious), must mean we LOVED them... We probably just brushed through the entire tangled mess... (from left to right: Michelle, Jon, Sohailah, Amy, Chris, Kristin)

Now, I know this wasn't the BEST part of the trip (although it probably felt like it at the time...) but. for some reason, we had a three day lay-over in NYC (or Queens, as it were). We commandeered a city bus (what else can you call it when there are 75 of us, right?) and went into the City.

We are feeling fresh and sassy... (and strikingly 90's with our big hair back) and yes, VERY Chris's Angels.

The sad thing is I can't find any pictures of us where we look pretty and clean - and I was her Maid of Honor, so I know nice pictures of us exist. This time, however, was what brought us together, bonded us and created a foundation for the very dear friendship I have with her. Michelle, it's been so long since I've seen you, but I love you so much! You are a compassionate, intelligent, gentle and strong woman. Happy HAPPY Birthday!

Friday, October 29, 2010

PIcs from the Past

Mitch looks happy, doesn't he? (click on the pic - he'll get bigger)

We were clean and happy... back from a million countries after two months with 100+ teen-agers, and happy to see each other in Miami.

from left to right.... Shana Hughes, Amy Yorke Vu, Cristine Phillips Arnold, Mitchell, Kathy Werner Law, Michelle Baumruk Franzen, Marina Giardetti Walker

And Terry, Frank and Mitch on the beach in Destin. Not to sunny and warm looking, is it? Oh yes. Don't forget KAREN back there... lurking...yes. of COURSE on purpose...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gayla Gayla!

I KNOW THIS IS A DAY EARLY! But - I want to make sure she is FULLY CELEBRATED!

Happy Birthday, Friend! I always LOVED how you celebrated yourself - not in a selfish or egotistical way at all... in a way that was probably so much more healthy than you had any idea it was - and regardless of what was going on inside your heart, you were such a lover of life and joy and what was good. You were one of my very favorite roommates, ever. How blessed I was to get to have that special time with you in my life.

Gayla and I met in college - at some RA event. (I think?) That doesn't actually seem right, but it's the first picture of her in my head. I have NO IDEA how we decided to become roommates. I was living with a family, at the time, and I couldn't even tell you where she was living. We both went to Open Bible, and were teaching elementary school. Me in Sapulpa, Gayla in the North Side. Anderson Elementary. And I remember how she got her job. She started calling schools... she is just great, like that.

When I think of Gayla and our time together, I just have to smile. We were ridiculous. In all the best ways. In the ways most people only dream of, we lived. We laughed, we cried, we mocked... we watched the Tick. We went to DC Talk WITH Backstage passes... I know, you ARE jealous. How I wish I had a picture of the DC Talk shrine - coupled with the Art Monk life size cut out that we decorated with Christmas lights and a scarf, during the Holiday season.

We're not sure what we ate. We remember buying a ten pound bad of runts. I remember spaghetti. I remember making enchiladas. We also liked pretzels, frosted mini-wheat cereal, and otter pops... I seriously don't remember much else.

We went on a mission trip together to Thailand. In 1994. (That's her in the front dressed as a Hindu - in hindsight, that was probably a decent costume to wear -light and airy). She spent the first month in Atlanta, and then came on over, and THEN the fun began. Can you imagine being with one of your very closest friends in Thailand for a month? It was REALLY, REALLY grand.

We cleaned up real well. And had probably two outfits, that were appropriate for public viewing.

There was the time that Mandy had to go to the bathroom AFTER they got on the bus. Now, Gayla had already TOLD them to go, because EVERY bus ride in Bangkok was a minimum of two hours. Well, Mandy was a teen-ager, and had to go. So, Gayla had all the boys move up to the front of the bus (did I neglect to mention that this was public transport...?) And the some of the costumes for this particular drama had a cape-like part, so she had the girls circle around Mandy, and hold the capes up, and all I know is, it's a good thing Mandy's water bottle had a large opening to drink from. Next stop, it went into the trash and all was well...

Then there was the Village trip and the dooky... And seriously, only GAYLA can be so angry that she can talk about a dooky with high school boys and not have ONE of them start laughing. It actually motivated one group to go into the bathroom and cut it up into flushable pieces. Hey - third world country - ya gotta do what ya gotta do...

Exploring Bangkok together on our "free days" was fun. And fortunately we LIKED or co-leaders - Chris Abeyta and Anthony Kirlew.

This was inside one of the temples.

You KNOW she was dying to touch one of these monks, right? Would've destroyed their karma for MONTHS...

We loved the Hard Rock Cafe there - after two months in a foreign country - a little bit of America goes a LONG way. We probably WEREN'T (?) supposed to be up there... we were just pretending anyway...

On one Free Day in Bangkok, we decided to take the whole county (the teams we had with us) to Siam Park - it was this really big, really great (our standards may have been a bit low - Third World Country and all - I think you start forgetting what would NORMALLY be acceptable, and just start saying - "Sure, jump off that - safety belts are highly overrated, anyways).

Well, one of our contacts, Tum (pronounced TDoom), was so much fun, and he decided to be the photographer for the day for us. Which was fine by us. The other leader was a gal named Elaine, whom I also liked and was also fun, but it's not her birthday.

Oh! There he is! We were actually sleeping, and never knew about this picture until we got the book he made for us.

This is perhaps one of my favorite pictures ever. It was there at the Park. It's just kinda "us". I love it. Even though we are make-up-less and everything.

We did "relationship" skits during one of our Sunday morning Worship/Church services. Our desire was to encourage our teens to not get caught up in high school dating drama, which could so derail their lives and dreams for the future. As happened here, when Gayla came back from college to marry her high school sweetheart, who really just wanted to watch the "Championship Game" and have her bring him his "beer and his chicken pot pie"...

We went camping with Matt Cooperrider, Jeff Portman, Dennis Leach (aka House Boy), and Krista Portman. I WISH I knew where it was - we were just along for the ride. It was so much fun. We just parked and hiked up into some area where there were no lights, no bathrooms... and of course, we wake up to Jeff making breakfast.

Again, Gayla, what DID we eat? And Gayla was asking me a while ago if we ever cleaned? We don't remember. But, we had people over, so it must have been somewhat clean, as both of us have mothers who ingrained cleanliness into us. AND Marina walked straight into our storm door one time when we were having a party. No, she was not drunk. We never even had alcohol in our place.

But. We did engage in criminal activity. We would break into the boys' house, next door, to watch the Godfather. They had this HUGE projector thing - and we could just climb through the bedroom window and watch it.

We once watched all three Godfather movies in a row. "Fredo, he's no good for the family."

We called Dennis House Boy, because he lived at our house for awhile. We fixed him a pallet under the stairs (inside) and he would sleep there. He had a place to live, but I think that place had ferrets. We didn't. He was very useful for climbing on chairs and putting lights up.

And we had this really fun "Seventies Murder Mystery" Party. Who are we kidding? We just wanted an excuse to dress up funky and invite some friends over. I think the murder mystery game was really lame - if we even finished it. Gayla KEPT that fake piece of white paper cigarette around for WEEKS - she put lipstick on the end, and would walk around the house, pretending it was real... just for effect....

Back from Indonesia and me back from Europe. Dear Friend, I love you and cherish my memories of you. Happy Birthday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Regarding Adoption

My class is drawing to a close. It has been a long, but very, VERY fruitful 13 weeks, thus far. Graduation is on Friday - which means, yes, I get to kiss Cowboy (FINALLY!) And of course, it means so much more than that.

There is a list of things I have to have for Graduation. Things that we've known about since the first day, and have been given the tools to find, create, arrive at (yes, I know - bad grammar).

Purity ring: Check
Dress: Check
Life purpose: Check
Life Scripture: Check
Name meaning: Check

Saturday we had a day long retreat about Soul Ties. I think I've mentioned them before, but they are essentially an emotional/physical/soulish connection to someone else. They can be good, but the ones we have been dealing with are the "bad guys" - the ones that connect you to someone LONG after the relationship/situation is over. You always lose something in the deal - whether it be purity, innocence, hope, trust, whatever. The good news: God is in the restoration business.

So, on this particular day, we were finally completely dealing with these. And other things. Vows and judgments. Strong men. It was good. Very good. There were some people there to pray for us, and as one who believes that spiritual gifts are in operation in the world today, I believe in that, and had things spoken over me that were amazing, and could only have been from God. For example, one woman said, "God sees you as His Hand Maiden." Well, she doesn't know me, has never met me. This may sound like a very BASIC thing to say to anyone - but, this morning, as I was reviewing my Name Meaning that I wrote out two weeks ago, I realized that the end of it says, "I am His Hand Maiden." Now see, I don't think that's a coincidence.

But - that's not even what this post is about. At the very beginning of the day, we watched this little video clip, and this gal was talking about how she asked God "What did you have in mind when You created me" and "How much do you love me" And I was thinking, "Huh. Good for you. Nice questions." And then they started playing some Worship songs, and I was thinking, "I don't know these songs, and there are no words for me to look at" and all of a sudden I saw this picture.

It was of a young girl - 16-20, and she had dark hair like I used to, but she was fairer than me, and I felt like God said, "That's your Birth Mom." And she was having a baby. (You know I'm adopted, right?) And then I felt like God said,

"I am the one who connected the egg and the sperm inside of her. I HAD to, because you had to have the exact DNA you have, because it was the only way to make you the way you needed to be. And your mom and dad needed you to be exactly who you are, because they needed YOU as their little girl. And they had to have a little girl. And she had to have YOUR smile, YOUR laughter, YOUR sunshine, YOUR inquisitive nature, YOUR love for learning. She had to be you."

"The shame and guilt and pain and disconnect that your Birth Mom felt was NOT attached to you. It had NOTHING to do with you. I was there in that room. I was her coach, and I was the one who caught you. I held you first, and I gave you to your parents. It just LOOKED like a Social Worker, but it was Me."

Now - you should know that one of the primary reasons I went on that Road Trip in July was to go to Bismarck, ND and go to the State Capitol to see what I could find out about my Birth parents. And I have completed and paid for the "Non-Identifying Information" request, to see what can be found out.

Please understand - this is not because I am, or ever HAVE been unhappy to be adopted. Indeed, I have always felt incredibly loved and wanted. I remember telling friends, when I was 7 or 8, that I was sorry that they were just HAD and not adopted, because I was picked. But, nevertheless, if the story is available for me to know this side of Heaven, I'd like to know.

And about three weeks ago, the gal who created this class came to our class and prayed for us. And when she was praying, one of the things she felt like the Lord was saying to her about me was, "Sohailah, you are one who wants answers. You LOVE answers. If you thought there was an answer for you at the North Pole, you would get on a flight, and live in an igloo to find the answer. But some answers are not to be found on this side of the curtain."

And that actually gave me peace.

But this weekend's experience was even more so.

Some of you may not be "into" this, or may be highly skeptical. That's okay. I didn't make it up. I wouldn't know how to, nor would I believe it if I did. If you know ME at all, you know I am not an emotional experience seeker. I am rational, yet working on trusting God. In greater ways. He is God, and I am not.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cowboy Tales Vol. 1

Cowboy came BACK for the weekend! Can you believe I saw him more days of the week than I DIDN'T see him? feeling very spoiled.

And then when he got here Friday night, he grilled the burgers. What. A. Guy.

Saturday morning we went running - 8 miles. The Tulsa Run (9.3) is October 30th, and I needed to get my long run in, and Cowboy, being the man that he is, went with me. And this being the THIRD time he's run in... let's see... 4 weeks... well, he didn't quite make the whole eight miles, but I had to walk for a bit, too... (what was I thinking, not taking the hydration thing seriously, the night before?)

(This is a really boring post, isn't it?)

But this was a really sweet movie. Not the BEST acting, but precious. It was my second time to see it, and I STILL cried - what did Cowboy do? Did he act uncomfortable, or make a wise crack? nope. We was just nice and sweet and passed me something to wipe my eyes with.

I taught him how to play Speed. He's not very good... it's about time I win at something with him.

And then we were off to Darlene's for a night of fun and games. And Cowboy was a true champ. The only man in the face of four women... and not a one of them quiet - well, me. I'm quiet. Comparatively. Yes, that's what I'm saying. And three 11 year olds.

(From left to right):Linda was my realtor and did so much more than help me find a home. She TAUGHT me how to look for a home. And my home is absolutely perfect for me. One NEVER knows what is going to come out of Linda's mouth, but it's always guaranteed to invite conversation.
Darlene is Kelly's mom - she is the one who told me to "Go back and talk to him, Girl!" Can I please look like her at 68? She has become a very dear friend to me over the last few years.
Kelly became my friend during a time of incredible personal struggle in my life, back in 2005. I can only hope to be the kind of friend to her she has always been to me.

Linda and Chloe - Chloe has such a heart to do what is right - I love this little one.

We played Take Two (similar to Scrabble? Kind of?) and Texas Hold 'em. Of COURSE he had to be the dealer the entire time. But, when he tried to set the cards up the way it's supposed to be... there would be NONE OF THAT. Because it's not how Donnie set them up the ONE OTHER TIME we played... (can we talk about the fact that Donnie only set them up that way, because of where he was sitting and teaching us how to play?)

Church Sunday, and the weekend was over much too quickly. But, man was it good.

And this is the mailbox that Cowboy fixed from TWO visits ago..
What it looked like (it would be GREAT for a little person - maybe that's why the postman kept delivering my mail...):

How he made it look (there is no bungee cord on it now, because he fixed that, too):o

See all those bags? Full of branches and leaves - 14 bags - from the over two hours he spent "trimming" my trees - he just said he'd take that back home with him and take care of it...

And this.... this was my bountiful harvest... (the keys are there for correct size perspective). I believe I will stick to herbs, flowers, tomatoes and peppers...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Turn, Your Turn

I've been tagged by Susan of Penless Writer. I'm to answer the following 8 questions made up by Susan, make up 8 questions of my own, and then tag 8 of you to answer my questions.

Sooooo, ready......... set .......... let's GO!!

#1. If money were no object what would you like to do that you've never been able to do or have always wanted to do?
Sail around the world for a year with my husband, stopping at ports whenever we felt like it.

#2. If you could have "do overs" what is the 1 thing you would never do again? And why? Really, nothing. And the very private one thing, I would only tell Cowboy.

#3. If you could have "do overs" what is the 1 thing you would want to be absolutely, positively sure you did again? And why? Live this exact same life that I’ve lived up until now, because every part of it (even the mistakes and the waiting and the wondering) has made me who I am today, and I really like who I am.

#4 What is your worst fear? I’m working on not having one, but up until not that long ago, it was that I would fail. OR that whatever went wrong was my fault. I have lived under a ridiculous lie that I am responsible for other people’s happiness, and therefore, unhappiness, and that “things” (you pick ‘em) depend on me being perfect.

#5. What is your greatest joy? My family, friends and new relationship. (And I must say, being with Cowboy has heightened my sense of gratefulness for my very rich circle of family and friends.) They, all of them (you!) are truly at the very top of any list in life. They all excel at everything they do – whether it be in a profession, living life or loving those around them, they are passionate about life. They LOVE me, they encourage me, they bless me. They help me relax, rest, enjoy life and give myself a break from the enormous pressure that I, alone, can tend to put on myself. I am rich beyond belief, and it IS my greatest joy.

#6. What is your life verse, or if you don't have one, your favorite Bible verse? Life verse: Philippians 2:14- 16 "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

#7. What church do you attend? And why?
First United Methodist Church in downtown Tulsa. I originally went because my friend Kendra invited me. I stayed because, although I am comfortable in every kind of spiritual setting, from extremely charismatic to Catholic, I love the balance and blend at FUMC. Our pastor is honest and real and wise. My Sunday School class brings community into the mix, and the building is breathtaking. Built at a time when building a church was a man’s life work, and a way for him to honor God.

#8. If you knew you only have 1 year to live, what is the first thing you would do?
I’d start writing letters and making video recordings for my family and friends – remembering stories, sharing my heart, and encouraging them. If at that time I had children, I would try to preserve some thoughts for them about the future, for future times. I would make sure my husband knew he was released to find love again. I would travel to Ireland, Scotland, Fiji and Iran.

My 8 questions for you:
1) What is your favorite thing to do when you have “down time” and why?
2) If you could “change jobs” right now, and it would have absolutely no bearing on anything financially or relationally in your life, what would you do?
3) Do you play an instrument or sing? If so, what? If not, why not?
4) What was your favorite extra-curricular activity in high school?
5) What is the one belief in your head that you KNOW is a lie, but still have to battle?
6) Favorite type of food and why? And a memory of eating that food – with whom, where, when, etc.
7) Cats or dogs? Why?
8) If you had a plane ticket to anywhere in the world to go to RIGHT NOW, where would you want it to be to?

These 8 people are tagged (in alphabetical order):
1) Aisha
2) Anita
3) Beth (of Hazel and Blue)
4) Corinne
5) Gayla
6) Ginger
7) Heidi Jo
8) Karen

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Week Eleven

about this class I'm taking. I refer to it as Purpose and Destiny, but in all honesty, it's called "In Search of Purpose en route to Destiny." It used to be called "Purity with a Purpose." And that's what I think it really is, but I think Chene' thought married people wouldn't take it, or only "HARD-CORE" people would take it. (Not sure what I mean by that, but the crazy thing is, I know YOU know what I'm trying to say)

It has been so much more revealing than I ever thought. I LOVE this. So many things that are in my face. A.very.clear.mirror. And the timing of God continues to surprise me. (Which I know is ridiculous, since He is God and all). But, still. And I LOVE the way He seems to always come in through the back door in my life, and then voila! He's right there in the foyer, ringing the dinner bell.

For example, I signed up for the class to deal with leftover M residue. And I said No to tours, so that I could keep the 14 week commitment, so that I could graduate. And I knew this would be tricky, financially. And I still have to do some deep breathing, occasionally, but it's only because I'm a freak, not because I have any financial worries (although the deep breathing is because I get FREAKED OUT about not having money, although I do...I know, I know, it is not fair to anyone to take them down the path of my crazy mind. Sorry!)

The LAST thing I expected was to meet Cowboy in the middle of Week Three. And only God could have orchestrated it. Remember how I applied for THREE teaching jobs? Two in Broken Arrow, for which I assumed I was a total shoe-in - heck, they love me in BA, and have asked me over the past three years to come back. And I didn't even get an interview. And then one in Owasso, where a friend of mine teaches, and the VERY DAY I asked her about the job she was going in to meet with the principal, and I sent her my resume, and blah, blah Ginger, the position was filled a few days earlier. And I wasn't upset, because I am absolutely convinced that God knows what He is doing, and if He wanted me to teach, I would be teaching. (Although, you KNOW you are living on the down side of middle class when you start salivating at all the money you would be making if you were a teacher...)

And then, August 10th - I met Cowboy. At a reception I volunteered to help with through the company I was temping for. And where would I have NOT been had I received a teaching position? And God certainly doesn't have to show His hand like that, but He's so amazing to do so. I don't know where it will lead, but it is really, really fun for right now.

And that kissing commitment that I made. Seriously - I gave up chocolate, wine GILMORE GIRLS, and "Oh yeah, Lord, I won't kiss a guy until the class is over, either." (Kind of like the serpent being told by God that he had to CRAWL on his belly for the rest of his life... I hadn't kissed a guy for over a year - Gilmore Girls was a bigger sacrifice...)

So - what are your God Sightings, these days?

Friday, October 8, 2010

In Your Opinion

Looks good there, doesn't it?

But, I don't drink milk. Blech. A tall glass of the white stuff makes my stomach turn. But, I buy it in the half gallon, because it's one of those things I don't want to NOT have, if I'm cooking...

So - here's where I welcome your opinion...

what if I just buy dry milk and then make it up for recipes? Is there a significant taste difference? Is that faulty thinking? Come on, milk drinkers, come on chefs and bakers... lay it on me!

Do I keep pouring $2.17 down the drain, or do I buy dry?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

His name is Cowboy

And he is wonderful. I wonder how he feels about me telling "my world" that I think he's wonderful (but I DO have permission). I wouldn't call him shy, but he certainly doesn't announce himself to the world. He doesn't have to - meet him once, and he makes an impression. A good one. That lasts.

He didn't "have me at hello", because I saw him before he saw me, and I'm pretty sure I blushed just looking at him. I think he took my breath away. I know he does now. There's just something about him. This easy grace. This relaxed aura (SUCH a cheesy word, but a better description eludes me, at the moment)

He lives in Oklahoma City. At this point, it's probably good that he lives almost two hours away, because when I'm with him, conversation eludes me. (I know, you need a minute to recover from the previous statement). And our conversations are so wonderful, because he's SMART and ARTICULATE and ... yes, it's true... he has GREAT GRAMMAR! (come on now, you know what that does to me...)

He knows I'm taking this "Purpose and Destiny" course, and although he may secretly think it's a little crazy, he has been very supportive of all my decisions about the course (like no kissing until after Graduation) - I am SO thankful I made that decision before I met him, or I never would have been able to make it. And honestly, for me, it's fun to have the anticipation of that first kiss. (TMI, Cowboy? They all know, anyway...) Delayed gratification isn't something we really have a lot of in our country/culture, so I'm enjoying it (again - easier with him living almost two hours away).

Cowboy takes care of me. He fixed my mailbox. He MANICURED my yard - I don't know what else to call it - Weed ate (past tense?), edged, mowed...every blade of grass looks perfect. And then he swept every speck of grass off my driveway. And I DARE a weed to show it's face - even in the cracks of my driveway, they are no longer allowed to reside.

There is NOTHING cowboy about him, but he still chuckles when I call him that - which I do, all the time. And I'm not sure why I do, but he lets me, and that's one more thing I like about him.

And... he told me last weekend would be "to die for", and he was absolutely correct.

He is a great adventure, and I am so enjoying the ride.

Friday, October 1, 2010


What in the world?!?

I can only think of that verse when Paul says, "You were running a good race? Who cut in and kept you from obeying the truth?" Well, I could only remember up to "who cut in", so I looked it up, and saw verse 8, also that says, "That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you."

Good words. I have been having a great past few months. Probably more than that, but the past few have been particularly good. Feeling strong, happy, content, peaceful, dealing with anxiety over my "full-time temporary employment status", knowing that God always HAS taken care of me in the past, so why wouldn't He now, etc.

And then yesterday, out of the BLUE, I felt like I got hit by a TRAIN - and I didn't think I put myself on the tracks. And it wasn't one particular thing, really.

But, I DO know what it all boils down to - the same old battle. Fear. I'm not good enough, I need to be careful, I need to make sure I don't mess it up (whatever "it" happens to be = fill in the blank) - and this of course, is really not fear as much as it is pride, right? Pride - I can do it all by myself (whatever "it" is).

Sick. Pathetic. Blech.

So, what do I end up doing? Crying. No, seriously. In Lowes... because I was tired and frustrated and going in to buy a mailbox post.I have a friend who is going to help me install it Saturday, (since it was run OVER two weeks ago... thanks for the "Sorry I knocked over your mailbox"), so I thought I'd go pick one up. There were TWO LOWES GUYS standing not 15 feet from where I was, and they were talking to each other. ANd they saw me, because we made eye contact. These posts are on a shelf 3 feet off the ground. Okay - at 5'2", this doesn't start well for me. So I lean it forward, but it gets caught on the rope they have there (to keep them from falling over?...), and so I have to try to maneuver it under the rope, and when I lean it back, it hits the back shelf and something falls off on the next aisle over (I heard it clatter to the ground) and THEN one of the Lowes guys walks over and says ( oh, SERIOUSLY?!?! he SAYS this to me??!) "What are you breaking?" I was so IRRITATED! I said, "You know, couldn't care less". (GREAT RESPONSE!) And he WATCHES me lift the post and take it off the shelf, and oh yeah, THEN, when I'm HOLDING it, and get it ON the cart, he tries to move it so it will stay on. And I'm thinking, "Yeah - ton of help, aren't ya?" And I say, "Thanks" and walk off and am just so irritated that
1) I didn't go up to one of them and ASK for help in the first place and
2) That I couldn't do it myself and
3) That as I'm walking off I start CRYING... seriously?!?

So, I compose myself and decide that I am going to buy some flowers for my yard - because what girl doesn't like flowers.

I find some great flowers, and am happily standing in line to pay, and this sweet young 22-ish year old boy with his many tattooed arms is checking me out, and he says (in this sweet, kind voice) "Ma'am, we have some plastic over there if you'd like some for your car, so it doesn't get dirt on it." And... I start crying. Because he was nice...


So, I went home, had an irritating phone call with someone who owes me money, and is being very controlling in how he pays it (just enough to say he's paid, but dragging it out so it seems it will NEVER be over), and decide I am not in a position to be worth anything to anyone, so I went to bed at 10. So I could get up at 4:30 to take a friend to the airport.

All that to say, I let someone cut in on my race, and am trying to deal with the pride that I didn't see creep in, and why can't I just be a better person?! Oh - right, that's why I need a Savior. So thankful that He is patient and good and doesn't give me what I deserve.

Today will be better.