Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Some Days...

You're just too exhausted to come up with a blog post.

Check back next week. :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Three Resources You Have

So I've been getting a lot of wrong number calls lately, some people think my phone number belongs to a guy named Daniel.  Unclear if Daniel deliberately gave a wrong number to avoid detection, or wasn't really paying attention when he was filling out a form for more information on continuing education.

But these calls have been fairly consistent for the past week, no matter how many times I tell them that there is no Daniel at this number.  If I was a meaner person, I would start deliberately messing with them, "Can I ask who's calling?  Can you tell me why you keep calling me even though I've told you three times there is no Daniel at this number?  When you say Daniel, do you mean Damien?  Is Daniel a code word?  ARE YOU REALLY TRYING TO REACH THE DEVIL?  HE'S NOT HERE!  HE DOESN'T USE PHONES!

And so it was that I was slightly freer than normal this morning when the call came through (from a number I can't call back, of course.)  But this time, it wasn't someone calling for Daniel.  Or even for me.  It was a pre-recording, and it was a woman's voice saying this:

"Never forget the three resources you have: Power,  Prayer,  Forgive."

Oooooooh, there's so many questions I wanna ask now!!!

- Who made the recording?

- How do they choose the numbers to call?

- What is their purpose? Why just hang up after saying the one sentence?  Suppose I don't know how to use the three resources I have?!  Suppose I need guidance?!  You didn't even mention reading my Bible every day!  How do I exploit the three resources I have?

- HEY!  What if this call was meant for Daniel?!  Daniel just totally missed out on a very important call because he wasn't paying attention when he filled out some form!  Now he'll never know he's got three resources of Power, Prayer and Forgive!  And that doesn't even make sense from a language perspective!  Two are nouns and one is a verb!

Man, just when you REALLY wanna talk to some cold caller.  Oh well.  It was at least a giggle.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Maybe We All Need Leashes

So I've been dogsitting two little moppets this week.  And they are adorable and fluffy and all sorts of fun, as well as sporting all sorts of fur.  The fur has been flying fast and furious around here.

And I walk them early in the morning, once around the block, just so they can feel like they've got a handle on things in the neighborhood.  And because they're mutts and have a bit of the stubborn streak about them, it turns out we have different ideas about which way to go.

I prefer the forward route, the one that gets us home the quickest.  They prefer the Stop And Sniff Everything, Hey Wait There's Some Kind Of Something Over There That Must Be Investigated Right NOW route.  So there's a lot of this going on.

Sometimes I think it must be easy to be a dog. You have everything provided for you (though eating kibble day after day after day probably gets old.) Someone else is making about 70 to 80 percent of the Big Important Decisions for you (When do you get food?  When do you get to go outside? When do you get a tummy rub?) Yes, you are on a leash, but at least there's someone on the other end of the leash, a lovely person like myself.  And that person will lead you, so you always know where you're going.  Even if you don't initially want to go that route, the person holding your leash knows what's best, and why that is the best way to go.

But what about people and God?  We're not on a leash, thanks to the whole free will thing. So if we're lunging off in a possibly Not Good direction, we don't have a leash to stop us.

A Happy Chipper Christian might do the dog pull thing - God, I REALLY wanna go over there and check that thing out.  But I wanna huddle with you, first.  Do you want me to do that?  Do you want me to have this job?  Do you want me to date ANYONE? Do you want me to sell a script?  Do you want me to move to a bigger place?  WHY NOT!?  WHY DON'T YOU WANT FOR ME WHAT I WANT FOR ME!  LUNGE!  LUNGE!  LUNGE TOWARDS THE THING I CANNOT HAVE!

If there's no leash to stop us, and if we want it bad enough, we'll dive for it, sure we will.  But then the elusive Squirrel As Metaphor For Thing You Want scampers up a tree and you are quite put out, and you come trotting back to God God, can you please get that squirrel for me?  Because I really really want it.  Why don't you want it for me?

I'm a big fan of free will, but sometimes, I think we all could use the leash at times.  It would certainly save a lot of time. Says me.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

What Happens If I Forget To Pray For My Prayer Group

So I have a monthly prayer group, where we meet once a month to collectively give thanks to God, praise Him for what He's doing in our lives (even if it doesn't look like He's doing anything), and talk about what we need prayer for.  It can sometimes take the form of venting.  It can sometimes take the form of whining.  I'm the one that usually takes the form of bitching, though I've been pretty good lately.

I always make sure I write the requests done in my little notebook, though now I'm in a new group where the leader is emailing the prayer requests to us the day after the meeting.

The idea is that we're all supposed to be praying for each other through the month, until we meet up again.  And I guess the knowledge that other people are praying for us should encourage and/or inspire us to live boldly, or endure greatly, or go forth strongly, or some such thing.

And I have no problem praying for them when we meet.  And I'm reasonably okay at praying for them in the week following.

But then.  The week after.  The next week.  The last week. 


I am a bad bad person.  I forget to pray for my monthly prayer group!

I mean, this isn't limited by frequency of meetings!  I regularly forgot to pray for my community groups when I was still attending them, and they were once a week.

(If you are a member of my pryaer groups, I'm really really sorry.  And I'm being this honest in the hopes to shame myself into doing better, and praying for you guys, like, all the time.  I don't blame you if you want to stop praying for me.  I especially don't blame you if you want to put various poxes on me instead.  I totally would.)

It's so WEIRD.  Because it's not as though I don't pray.  And it's not as though I don't pray for other people.  I do, there's usually a group of about four people who I know are going through tough times, people I try to help, and those are the ones I almost always pray for first.

It's just that my monthly prayer group people are not at the foremost of my brain.  Probably because I only see them once a month.

What happens to those prayers that I'm supposed to pray, but forget to?  Do those people not achieve their goals, because I forgot to pray for them to achieve them?

Oh, geeze, Amy, get over yourself right fucking now.

It's not as though I'm buoyed beyond my own strength on some They're Praying For Meeeeee power, either.  I never think about whether people are praying for me, nor am I counting on their prayers to help me do something like move mountains, or whatever.

It's like Christmas.  I'm not nearly as interested in what people are getting me as I am in seeing if they liked what I got them.

Well, apparently you're not interested, because not praying for your monthly prayer group is the equivalent of not getting them ANYTHING for Christmas.  Have a glorious day, you Grinchy bitch.

If I stop and think about what the purpose is behind the prayers, I think it's something along the lines of how you put the needs of others before your own.  Learning to open your heart to the concerns and cares of other people.  Be interested and involved in other peoples' lives.  Looking out for real world opportunities to help them.  If I know people in my prayer group are looking for a new place to live and I happen upon a facebook posting advertising one, then I forward that along to them.

I think ultimately, I'm just gonna have to print the prayer request list out on sparkle paper with fireworks around the edges, and hang it from my wrist.  Maybe then I'll remember.

Prayer groups, please forgive me.  But I totally understand if you don't wanna.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Everyone Needs A Friend Like Nadine When Running Away From Zombies

So I did the the 5K Run For Your Lives race this past weekend.  It was out at the Glen Helen Speedway in San Bernadino so that made it closer, but it also made it dustier.  With no lake or grass nearby, we were literally running in a desert.  Crawling through pipes that had dirt inside them, we're all coughing and hacking and spitting up crap.

They had said ahead of time that a lot of the obstacles were going to require a team effort, so run with a group of people.  The reality was that maybe 1 or 2 of roughly 12 obstacles were things that you couldn't truly do on your own.  You can climb up a hill on your own. You can step through a rope-criss-crossed bridge on your own.  You can crawl through a tent of dry ice and hanging electrical wires on your own.

So all my hopes of Helping Other People Get Through An Obstacle, like I did last year, was pretty much all for naught.  

So basically, I have no blog entry this week.


I ran the race with my friend Nadine.  Last year, we had a group of about 10 - 12 people.  This year, every last one of them bailed, except me and Nadine.  

Fair enough.  You ran a race, you gave it a shot, you don't wanna do it again, totally cool (and to be fair, one of them who declined to run still attended as a supporter, so there you go)

But I've got Nadine, and Nadine's got me.  I would run past the zombies, and wait for Nadine to catch up, and it all seemed to work out pretty well.  At least, until I rolled my ankle. Which I wouldn't have done, because everyone knows you're not supposed to run down a hill PRECISELY because you can roll an ankle.  But one zombie at the bottom of the hill took offense to the people-who-know-better-than-to-run-down-a-hill-and-are-carefully-walking-down, and charged us.  So we had to run downhill, and it was dirt and uneven terrain and there goes my ankle.

But I'm not gonna puss out about it (stupid zombie, stupid stupid).  We were already in the last third of the course, it didn't hurt badly enough to where I couldn't hop, skip, and jump my way through the rest of the course, using Nadine as ballast where I had to.  The one part where I had trouble was swimming through the tank, because I couldn't kick my foot to properly swim, so I ended up clinging to the side and using upper body strength to get through.

But we both survived with one flag left, dirty, muddy, down an ankle and all.  The zombies could not break us.  They could not take... OUR FREEDOM.

When I was showing the pictures of the race to a co-worker of mine, the first thing he said was "Wow, your friend is just smiling through all of it."

Which is true, most of the pictures, you see me concentrating, plotting, checking out the course ahead and what's the best way to get around the upcoming field of zombies, maybe we should wait until there's more people so we can run in a group, there's safety in numbers, la la la. (nope, still not showing any pictures of me)

And Nadine is simply smiling, going through with a big grin on her face. She's running, she's crawling, she's avoiding zombies by screaming, "Mine!  Get away! Get away!  Mine!" All with the biggest smile on her face.

It's not that I'm not having fun.  I'm just not outwardly expressing it.

So here’s to you, Nadine, and your big big cheery smile.  We all need a friend like you.

(all photos taken by S. Boltjes photography. She's very cool.  Go book her now.)