Saturday, May 31, 2008


I'm not one who is normally prone to addictions, other than chocolate. But I've found a new one. I thought I had been doing okay, but today I found out how much going without makes you want something even more.

I picked up my computer around 1:30, brought it home, and have spent the past 6 hours on it. Some of that time involved uninstalling and reinstalling new antivirus software because my subscription was set to expire. Another part of that time was spent catching up on emails and blogs. And the last part was putting together the budget for June.

After being glued to this little black box for so many hours, I've come to grips with the fact that I am addicted to fast communication and keeping up-to-date on others' lives. This little tool has become so intertwined with my life in the year that I've had it that seldom does a day go by when I don't use it for at least a few minutes to see what friends have posted.

I'm not sure that surfing the internet is always the best use of my time. I had thought that the time away from the computer would have taught me to be a better steward of my time, but thus far, that hasn't been the case. I'm set to spend time on it tomorrow in preparation for my writers' group meeting. After that, maybe I'll try to evaluate whether I'm letting life slip away while staring at the screen or whether I'm actually participating in it more by capturing events and staying connected with others. There seems to be a fine line between the two.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On the Road Again

I returned from my trip on Sunday evening, and now I am headed down to the live music capitol of the world for a seminar. Last night I found out that my computer has been fixed, so I will be able to pick that up when I return on Friday and hopefully get back to normal blogging (i.e., posting at times other than my lunch hour about more than just road trips).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Southbound 35

Tomorrow I get to do one of my favorite things: go on a road trip with my sister. She will fly in from California and then drive me and my dog down to our hometown. We’ll get to have four days together in the middle of year, which is a treat.

Our sister road trips started over ten years ago when we both attended the same university. We got that trip down to a science: we loaded up everything and hit the road by 7 a.m.; I drove and she slept until Llano, where we’d stop for a quick break; then we’d often exchange driving roles/riding roles until Sweetwater, where we’d grab lunch; and then we’d hit the Hub City by 2 p.m.

Those seven uninterrupted hours together through often uninhabited red dirt land were precious times. When we were both awake, we had great talks and even better sing-alongs, assuming we could pick up a radio station. And the drive wasn’t hectic, so we could enjoy the scenery.

Tomorrow’s drive has a bit of I-35 in it, which is my sister’s specialty. After having lived in Boston and now LA, she’s no stranger to intense interstate traffic. If I’m called upon to drive, I’ll take over on the country road route down Highway 77.

If you have a chance, please pray for traveling mercies and good health for all of us as we go celebrate a belated Mother’s Day over the holiday weekend.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I drove up to the big blue building thinking that a quick fix for my computer, which has not wanted to shut down lately, was just inside the doors. Once inside, I was asked to leave my computer overnight to enable "them" to run diagnostics on the hard drive.

I wasn’t prepared for that. To leave my semi-journal with people who don’t know me but who may want to know me. I immediately thought of adding password protection to all my documents, but then I realized that would be like trying to lock my doors to keep the locksmith at bay. I was leaving my computer with computer geeks. Ones whom I’m sure can crack open password-protected documents all day long, if they desire.

So I drove away empty-handed, worrying about what these computer geeks would think of my writings. Worrying about how much of my soul I had poured into documents. Wondering what they would think of me.

A few hours later, I arrived at another big building hoping for a quick fix for my automobile. Just a tune-up. I thought that I might get my Bible study homework done while I waited. However, the desk clerk thought it was the perfect time to share his life story, including the gory details of how his mother was killed by a serial killer many years ago. My desperate glances toward the mechanics did not bring the help I sought. And so I sat politely listening to his awful story. After all, it fit with the day’s theme of vulnerability.

As I later learned, my worrying was all for naught (as usual). My phone call before closing time proved that no one was interested enough to peruse the files on my computer; it was difficult enough to get anyone who knew where my computer actually was or what its status was. And my phone call today revealed that the mother board crashed during the diagnostic test and may have taken my writings with it.

Thankfully, a dead motherboard can be replaced. So can the soul writing. It just may take a while.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Freedom Lost

I finally made time to go see the Ben Stein documentary Expelled. Apparently, it was not on anyone else's to-do list today because I had my own private showing. That's right, one chair was filled during the 12:15 showing, and it was filled by me.

Despite the creepiness of being in a dark movie theatre all by myself, I didn't allow the viewing atmosphere to detract from the film's message: there is only freedom in academia if you are on the "right" side. In other words, you can talk about Darwinism all day long, but if you dare to discuss "intelligent design," your days in academia are numbered.

The heaviness in the movie comes from the projected path that history will take if the Creation story is removed from academia. As the movie depicts, history has already given us a glimpse of that during Hitler's reign when he took Darwin's theories and applied them in an attempt to create his own elite society. As Stein, a Jew, walks through former concentration camps it becomes obvious: There is a new war being waged. One that the media doesn't give fair reporting to, if it even mentions it at all. One that many would like to keep under wraps in hopes that all the "creationists" will be rooted out quietly. I pray that is not the case.

For anyone who has reservations about seeing a film if it is labeled a "documentary," please don't equate that with "boring." This film is anything but boring. Stein intersperses movie clips throughout to add humor. And his interviews with staunch atheists who support Darwinism are laughable. They, relying on all their scientific theories, have no explanation for how life on this earth started, and their quick comeback is that "no one else knows how it started either."

I'm not sure what action I can take to make some noise for this cause. But I'll start by highly recommending this movie in hopes that the word will get out and that the Truth will be taught.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bowing Our Words

I'll be posting on our writers' group blog tomorrow under this title. So stop on over there and have a read.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Today, I became vested at my job! Happy 5 years to me! And in true government fashion, I had to bake my own treats and take them to work for the celebration because there's no room in the budget for such frivolity. Despite the "bring-your-own-cake" policy, the benefits are pretty good. And thus, I'm now vested.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Getting a Hand from God

All week, the weather forecasters said that we'd have great weather over the weekend, and they were right. I took advantage of the beautiful weather today by going to a local nursery and purchasing some vinca planters and a couple of bushes, along with soil and mulch, and headed home to do the dirty work. I suited up in my most unattractive long-sleeve t-shirt and workout pants and slathered on sunscreen before setting to work.

I removed some old topsoil with roots from past flowers and then began attempting to dig the two holes for the bushes. Only then did I remember that the last time I planted bushes, I had the help of a strong friend. Today, it was just me, and I quickly fell into conversation with God about how my "womanpower" wasn't going to be enough since my house was apparently built on a caliche pit. I knew that if I called in some "manpower," it was going to cost me. After all, landscaping isn't cheap hourly labor.

So, I took a break for a bit. I went back to the flower bed that now had new soil, planted the 18 vinca pots, watered them, put out new mulch, and watered it some more. Voila!

Then, I brought two houseplants outside and repotted them.

Finished with all my other planting, I returned to the dreaded hole digging. After I used the shovel to make the holes about 4 inches deep, which took lots of strength and sweat equity, I decided to use a hand-held spade to do the rest of the work. I had plenty of time to tell God how hard digging is and how thankful I am that I don't have to do it for my full-time occupation. Eventually, I created this (trust me, it is deeper and harder than it looks):

I got the bushes into their new homes (or holes) and was putting some new dirt around them and thanking God that I was almost done when I heard, "Ma'am. Ma'am." I turned around and saw that a man had parked his car in front of my house and was now approaching me.

He thrust out his hand while simultaneously telling me that his name is Karl and the name of the street he lives on, which is apparently nearby. He forced me to shake his hand with my dirty, splintery garden glove. He said that he needed $5 for gas to get to his wife who is in the hospital. He asked if he could finish the planting. I informed him that I was done. He saw the bag of mulch and asked if he could put that out in return for money. I told him that I could do that. He next asked if he could mow my yard, and I answered that he could not. He finally asked if there was anything he could do around my house for money, and I politely told him that I didn't need anything done but that maybe one of the neighbors could use his help. At that, he promptly returned to his car and sped away.

It was that last little action that creeped me out. If he needed gas money so badly, why was he burning up what little gas he had by flooring it as he sped away from my house? I immediately got the "huz," packed up my gardening tools, and came inside.

Thoughts began to race through my head about what he really wanted. Was he trying to get me to come inside my house so that he could attempt to follow me in? Was he high on drugs and needed money for more because the fix was about to wear off? Would he come back?

After talking with a friend and praying about the situation, I didn't immediately have relief. But eventually, I started to sense that I was supposed to endure and see all those events not with fearful eyes, but with grateful eyes. Eyes that recognize that there was a hedge of Protection around me. One that neither ADT nor the neighborhood watch group provided.

I don't think I would have been practicing gratefulness in response to such a situation had I not just read (the night before) a section about it. In the book Satisfy My Thirsty Soul, which my small group continues to work through, Linda Dillow retold a diary entry from Matthew Henry who does Bible commentary. After being robbed, Henry wrote the following: "Let me be thankful. First, because I was never robbed before. Second, because although they took my wallet, they did not take my life. Third, because although they took my all, it was not worth much. Fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed."

In that same vein, I am thankful that all of the work was done when the man arrived so that there wasn't anything for him to do. I am thankful that he did not try to harm me. I am thankful that I was calm throughout the whole conversation and that I didn't give off any indications that I was insecure. I am thankful that it was he, and not I, who was asking for $5.

I also think that today's encounter was just a glimpse of what God does multiple times for me every day. I'm convinced that God provides me with so much protection on a daily basis, but I seldom see it. Not that I'm complaining about not being privy to all those almost-encounters that He saved me from. But today's up-close-and-personal encounter should last me for quite a while.