Friday Finale

I-Run-To-Burn-Off-The-Crazy

It’s Friday.  And what a week it’s been.

This week had a theme:  Learn something new every day!

Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with the Department of Revenue, as they had questions about a form I submitted.  Over and over.  Good times. I learned a lot, though. Thank God for the people who notice your mistakes before months go by, eh?

I sold a garbage truck to the county. I learned something here, too. Who knew grabber arms were a separate asset?  Not this gal. Is it bad that this is one of my favorite parts of the job?

I attended a conference on Enterprise Content Management.  We got candy, Band-Aids, plastic compasses and barf bags.  That’s a story unto itself.

I’m working the half marathon training plan. I did 30 minutes of kettlebells today. Can’t emphasize enough the importance of cross-training. I kinda wish the plan had more running in it.  But I’m only in the first week, so that should tell me something.

Ruby’s friend from down the street carved her a walking stick.

“I’m gonna keep it by my bed, Mom,” she told me.

“Why?” I asked, envisioning early morning accidental impaling.

“Well,” she told me, eyes wide, “I’m real tired in the morning. I can barely get out of bed.  I need something to help me.” She bent over, shuffling along like a living fossil.

You heard it here first, folks.  After age 9 it’s all downhill.

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Olive Tree

But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
    I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.
I will praise you forever, O God,
    for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
    in the presence of your faithful people.Psalm 52:8-9

Photo courtesy of wisegeek.com

    Photo courtesy of wisegeek.com

I attended a conference this weekend up in Bellingham. A good friend of mine invited me, and we drove up together.

It’s been a long time since I saw people truly hungry and abandoned to the presence of God. They had no shame as they danced, basking in the love of Christ. It was amazing. The conference itself was called the School of Prophets. Nobody asked you if you were prophetic. If you attended the class, you simply were. If not, you’d better figure it out right quick, because we did exercises giving each other words from God on the fly. I’m sure it sounds kind of crazy, but it was glorious. I learned to hear God for myself. I might get a glimpse of a picture or see a word – even hear a word – and I had to go with it. Our instructor said we were in a gymnasium. We were practicing, getting stronger. Anything we spoke that wasn’t life, which is the essence of the prophetic, would be dead and simply fall away.

Here’s an example. We formed two lines, one with backs to the wall. That line stood stationary, while the line facing us rotated. Every couple of minutes, the person in front of the stationary line would move down. Each of us would give a word to the person across from us. Eek!

I landed in the stationary line at first. Across from me stood a lovely girl with short dark hair and sea-blue eyes. We had no time to prepare, truly. I smiled. She smiled. We introduced ourselves.

I closed my eyes. Then I saw a bubble.

Great, God, I thought. She’s going to punch me in the throat for this ridiculous word.

“I see a bubble…” I started and I went on to talk to her about having a fun personality and how much we all need more of that.

She giggled.

“My nickname is Bubbles,” she told me.

My turn to laugh. The Lord knew her, even if I didn’t. God, I’m in.

See, in the end it isn’t about us, our super-spirituality or awesome knowledge of the Bible. It’s the Lord wanting to speak to His children. His thoughts outnumber the grains of sand. Guess what? Thousands of those thoughts are about you. He thinks about you all the time. All of them reflect His love for you. Guess what else? He loves us. All the time. He doesn’t love you more or treat you differently if you pastor or if you drive a bus. His love won’t diminish if you cheat on your spouse. He won’t abandon you when you gossip.

If you want a specific answer from God, you might get it. Or you might not. The thing He wants to communicate most is that He loves you. Period. He probably won’t deliver you out of your circumstances. But He will deliver you *in* the circumstances so that your heart changes.  His love changes everything.

Sharpen the Ax

JACK NICHOLSONSo, I’m all noted out and conferenced out.  The Friday after the Microsoft conference, I had an all-day Washington Public Records Officials conference.  You know you wished you were there, with lawyers debating public records, case law and the unfortunate results of public servants using personal devices to conduct government business.

No?  Really?

Well, take a gander at this baby!

IMG_20150425_081449_825Nothing says government training like a 250-page manual.  I did learn a few things, like the importance of logging every step of fulfilling a public records request and how to implement a company-wide email capturing program. Useful information which I couldn’t discover on my own.  Which puts me in mind of pastor’s sermon this morning out of Ecclesiastes 10.  Our pastor has done a great job of making this rather dismal and sometimes caustic book come alive.  I’m thinking on verse 10 today.

Using a dull ax requires great strength,
    so sharpen the blade.
That’s the value of wisdom;
    it helps you succeed.

It takes more energy to “do life” if you don’t think things through.  You’re constantly backtracking to fix your mistakes.  If you don’t practice, you won’t improve at any sport, musical instrument or skill.  Plan.  Get organized.  Sharpen the axe.  I know it sounds ominous, and some of you (me included) probably thought about the scene from “The Shining” (see photo).  But getting training enables you to do more with what you have.  You have more tools at your disposal, more problem-solving skills and a lot more hope for a good outcome.

You don’t have all the answers in this life, and neither do I.  I’m going to keep garnering wisdom wherever I can.  Even if it involves wrestling a 250-page tome.

TGIF

Get your own theme song!

Warning:  my thoughts are all over the map today.  Now you know.

The notes are all done, and so am I.  I am bone weary.  Emailed them out last night.  Whew!

At least I didn’t get sweaty doing them, or incur a broken nose.  Kept all my teeth, too.

It didn’t help matters that we did the kettlebell challenge today.  I almost bailed on class.  Sacrilegious!  I know.  But when you feel like your right shoulder is affixed to your ear, you start to second-guess your regular activities.  As it is, my legs are finally awake.  Four day of sitting on your keister, then suddenly jolted into 100 lunges will do that for you.

It’s a cold, damp fall day.  The cats snooze in different places.  Zac is helping my dad with some work at the church.  Jonathon is at still his job.

I am alone.

Yes.  Amazing!  I’m never alone now.  Zac is like my taller, blue-eyed shadow.  Well, not really, since he rarely follows me around except to ask for stuff like money and ravioli.  Not necessarily in that order.

I’m learning to pace myself.  Life is a race.  Sometimes it’s slow and steady.  Predictable events occur on a regular basis.  Sometimes, like going to the Microsoft conference, everything is intensified.  You need to be in sprint mode.  It’s only for a short time, so you take care of yourself while you’re in it.  You eat well, exercise, get as much sleep as you can.  You enjoy the energetic part of  the journey. You see the turnaround while in the curve and kick to the finish.

Now, I’m back home.  I’ve got a full weekend ahead. Birthday parties, time with family, church.   I need to get refreshed so I don’t bite anyone’s head off.  Today is our now infamous pizza-and-movie night.  Friday.  Ahhh…that’s the ticket!

I want to be able to say this scripture (below) when I die.  For now, I’ll have to settle for completing tasks in an incremental fashion, doing the best I can.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.  – 2 Timothy 4:7

Goldilocks

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The conference is all done.  Going to a conference at the Bellevue Hyatt is like hanging out in a huge gold box.  Everything is gold.  The walls and carpet, the tablecloths and chairs.  All the rooms are named after trees.

When I got to my room, the PAC host was there.  I greeted him then set up my computer.  A hotel employee came by to see if the room was okay for us.  The host said fine.  I stopped her for a minute.

“Uh, this is a weird question,” I hedged.  Dare I even ask?

“Do you have any chairs that are a little taller?”

My shoulders and back ache mightily after hours of sitting and typing.  I’m a bit too short for the tables.

She looked thoughtful.

“Well, let me see…I don’t think so.  I could get you a pillow?”

No.  Geez.  How about a phone book.  Maybe a booster seat?  Thanks so much!  Hi, everyone, I’m a midget.  And I’m seven years old!

I took a deep breath.

“Thanks anyway.”

She left, telling me she’d keep hers eyes open.  I can just imagine her coming back with two other chairs.  How about this one?  Too tall.  Or this one?  Too short.  Where is the just-right one?!

Okay.

Here’s hoping what happens at the PAC stays at the PAC.

Sunny Seattle

Jonathon and I are in Seattle today and tomorrow so I can cover the latest Microsoft conference.  Not too bad, considering the weather looks like this

fall-afternoon-in-seattle

We are privileged to get away for a couple of days, even if it’s mostly for working.  I won’t be blogging much over this week.  I will be transcribing the thoughts of the partners at the conference. Their thoughts will become my thoughts.  Kind of like a Vulcan mind meld but with much more coffee.

I will be back soon, I promise!

Wednesday Widget

Yesterday I attended a CDBG Home Conference in Seattle, which is why I didn’t get a chance to blog.  The grantee from the city attended with me.  We drove and drove and drove…traffic was atrocious.  It didn’t matter which way we tried.  We ramped up to the 5th floor of a parking garage.  We marched to the building and started peeling off our personal items for the security checkpoint.

“You’re looking for 909?  It’s across the street.”

Argh!

The room itself was at the end of a long, rabbit-tunnel like white hallway.  No markings.  Just an open door with people sitting at tables, listening to someone talk about a PowerPoint presentation.  Finally!

We learned all about getting a grant, bidding out a project, all the way up to managing payroll.   I also learned a new word from the presenter.

“You’re gonna want to get that figured out in the beginning of the project.  You don’t want major blunderage.”

I swear I saw George Washington (depicted on the flag in the room) roll his eyes.

Huzzah!  Good clean fun for everyone. Glad I had my iced coffee.  My cohort in crime and I did learn a few things.  It was worth going.

Seattle was beautiful yesterday.  The sun shone.  A light breeze blew.  The people smiled and laughed.  Some crazy folks ran downtown Seattle’s evil, evil hills. Amen.

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Moving on…If you can guess what this is (above) – only two people know, and they’re excluded – I will give you a sticker.  A sticker of my choosing.

You want a hint?  Okay, okay.  It’s not a vegetable or a mineral.

Does anyone care if Rachel Bilson’s neck tattoos are real?  Anyone?  Me neither.  And who is she, anyway?

Sorry about the disjointed thoughts today.  Call it a CDBG hangover.

What would George Washington say?