Monday, March 31, 2008

I Feel Better


Does anybody know how I feel?
Sometimes I'm numb, sometimes I'm overcome
Does anybody care what's going on?
Do I have to wear my scars like a bandage on my arm
For you to see me, I need release

Do I have to scream for you to hear me?
Do I have to bleed for you to see me?
Cause I grieve, you're not listening to me
Do I need to scream?

Has anybody seen what's been done?
Where was my defense? No one heard my protest
The eyes of God were watching me
It's time to make my peace, let go and be released
So I can breathe again
I'm on my knees

I've been marked, set apart
But I'm cut so deep and afraid of the dark
One drop of blood from the hole in Your hand
Is enough to heal me and make me stand

'Cause I'm clean, He is listening to me

I don't have to scream for Him to hear me
I don't have to bleed for Him to see me
'Cause I'm clean, He is listening to me
I don't have to scream
I don't have to bleed
'Cause I'm clean, He is listening
And I don't have to scream


Sunday, March 30, 2008

I am not a religious fraud, but I'm surely being tested right up to my breaking point.

So, a few weeks ago I mentioned briefly that I wondered if I was a fraud, when it came to my religion, but didn't speak further to the issue.

Basically, I was sitting in church singing the songs, but I wasn't feeling it. I was just sitting there bummed, thinking about how in 20 years we'd move and I'd get to go to a new church. And thinking about how sometimes I think that I'm just looking at religion as insurance. The whole "If I'm wrong, I've still led a life I can be proud of. If you're wrong, well, hell is sure going to be hot." That might be an ok place to start, with the right audience. But it's no way to live a life.

And as I pondered that, a week went by. And then it was Easter. And the church was alive. I could not help but greet people. It was so not me. And it felt so good. I wished that every Sunday could be Easter. I had some of my normal thoughts about another great church sin: The bait-and-switch. Do it up big on Christmas and Easter, knowing there will be C&E Christians in attendance. You're hoping to entice them and get them to come back. The sad reality is that the following week you're back to the same ol', same ol'. The magic is gone, the specialness of Easter is a faded memory and too many churches don't capture the excitement of Jesus' gift on a week-to-week basis, and that's just sad. Anyhow, beyond that, I realized that I could do my part. If I felt that good greeting people, why shouldn't I do it each week? So I decided I would.

I also listen to the Saddleback podcasts each morning during my drive in. I highly recommend them. 10-15 minutes, usually a single chapter or part of a chapter from the Bible. Very plain English, very insightful. Even if you're just approaching it from a scientific perspective, this is really good at helping to understand what was intended by what was written, putting it into historical perspective and showing the parallels from other parts of the Bible and how it all works together. Search for "Saddleback" under podcasts on iTunes.

Well, he was talking about a chapter in John and says that at some point in your faith, you no longer need proof, you just know in your being that Jesus was God. And he was right, I do know that. I've seen enough in my own life to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this world is bigger than the 30-odd years I've lived here and that I'm not just a meatbag here for a few decades and then gone, that there is a purpose bigger than me, that I am part of a grander plan and that life doesn't end when my time on earth does.

I also had spoken to Lori about my feelings and she suggested that maybe I was just going through a low point, a valley. And she was right, too. Two and a half years ago when we committed to the move, we felt like we were running right alongside God. On an almost day, if not weekly basis, things were falling into place. Everything affirmed and confirmed on decision. It was awesome, exhilarating, a real good high.

And then we moved, things were great, but money was getting tight and the mother-in-law had taken up a permanent position on our couch preventing it from floating away should gravity ever be removed from our living room, and work was challenging. To be sure, after an early miscarriage almost a year ago, we were now trucking along to the final trimester of a really healthy pregnancy. But the excitement, the spark, the absolute confirmation that I was doing the right thing was gone.

And so I felt that maybe I wasn't really having a crisis of faith, my faith was fine and intact. But it was more like "What's going on, Jesus? I feel I've been hung out to dry." I/we had been praying regularly that God's will for the current point and time in our life would be revealed, and that we would have the courage to move without hesitation on whatever was asked of us. That used to be a scary thing to even consider praying, but it have become a regular staple of our prayers. We were open to whatever. The last time we had prayed it, committed to it, it was so illuminating, that we/I wanted that back. I wanted to be running alongside God. I know if I go back and look at some of the blog posts from that time, to some degree I have selective memory, but to chart it out, a lot of amazing things fell into place and even the setbacks were overcome just about as quickly as they presented themselves. We really didn't break stride, took a huge leap of faith and landed so amazingly well that we were ready for the next leap.

So today we were singing a song that seems to be a favorite at this church:
Jesus, Jesus, How I trust you
How I've proved you o'er and o'er,
Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus
O' for grace to trust You more
And it hit me again... do I trust Jesus?

On the whole of it, yes. But honestly, it all comes down to the fact that my mother-in-law is still in our house and it is casting a pall over everything. Lori is not happy, I'm certainly not happy and I think that Rachel is picking up on that and it's leading to more disciplinary problems, on top of that caused by having a permissive grandma to allow her to do what we would not. Her very presence is also costing us money we don't have, on top of robbing us of the last opportunity we have to be a family of three before Ben's arrival, not to mention the inability to get Ben's room ready. Or all of the "quirks" which on an almost daily basis make me want to scream at her "GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT."

At one time, we believed that maybe her presence was designed to teach us patience. But it has gone beyond that. At this point, it's actually deteriorating our ability to express patience, and it's starting to creep into how we treat her, how to react to Rachel and it might even, ever so subtlety be affecting how we treat each other.

But we're stuck. She has no job, no money, no other place to live. She's working a temp job, but she doesn't seem to be all that compelled to give up the free ride, the free cable and the room (and bathroom) I've given up ever having a chance to use. And I'm absolutely scared that if we try to even do anything to move the process along that she's going to conveniently fall (she's constantly hurting herself or in pain, broke her foot the last two times she's been to visit Lori's brother's family and has been complaining about our front steps, trying to make us let her have one of our spots in the garage again.)

This is about God answering our prayers, nay our desperate pleas for release with a "no" or a "not yet." I don't think He's ignoring us, but it's getting so utterly frustrating. At this point, I wouldn't mind it if she won the lottery, or if she got the house and we moved to an apartment. Anything to get some space between us.

I know that in some ways, this feels callous. I know in some cultures the families, for generations, all live together in a single room hut and here we are unable to have three adults and a 3-year-old (and some cats) coexisting in 1,800 square feet. But I'm really not out of line. She's been here for 9 months reading library books, eating our food (from the pantry, while turning her nose up at Lori's cooking), eating junk food (and leaving the half-eaten boxes in the fridge until we throw them out, all the while we cannot afford to eat out), leaving lights on, complaining about everything, not looking for work, watching COPS, America's Most Wanted and Mama's Family with the volume turned up loud and undermining our authority for nine months. I am not being callous.

This is killing me.

Multimedia message

Like decaf coffee or non-alcoholic beer or something.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Getting Caught Up

I have managed to get myself behind in many things in my life. I am slowly getting caught up. I'd like to blame it on my trip, but I was sliding before I left but I do believe it's taken half a month just to get mostly caught up.

So... let's see... the year is now 15.84% completed.

We recently visited Vancouver. The trip went really well and we're hoping to make a few more trips this year. During the same trip we also visited Longview. While in Vancouver we ate at a restaurant called Who-Songs and Larry's. So check, check and check again.

We are behind on talking to Lori's family, too.

I have not lost any weight. I am behind on assessments and ahead on books and legitimate posts (yay me!) I still hate flossing, but I've been really consistent. It will be a miracle, however, if I can get caught up with getting to bed by 11. I may eventually have to cross that goal off.

As for my exercise, I am behind on walking - but I will get caught up on that when the weather improves. I am also behind on jumping jacks, which is a surprise. I'll get that caught up soon. I am ahead on pushups and situps. Makes me wonder if the goal was set too low. (post moved from The Year was 2008)

Crappy Dad

I didn't even say good morning to my daughter this morning. I feel really crappy about that. Lori's mom once again managed to wake up Rachel as she often does with her making-too-much-noise in the mornings as she always does. And, Rachel, as always, went right to her. She knows that if she comes to us, we're more likely to tell her it's too early and that she needs to go back to bed. But grandma will sit with her and talk and get her snacks and stuff. So I was really mad at Lori's mom (she also woke up Lori this morning) and didn't want to speak to her, so I breezed through as quickly as possible to get out the door. But in the process, also completely failed to recognize Rachel's presence. And I feel just awful about that. Fortunately, I'll at least get to see Lori and Rachel for lunch today.

But Lori's mom has got to leave. I am at the breaking point again. I'm going to try to shove it down deep inside me and be back to my polite and accepting self by the time I get home tonight, and I think I have a good shot at it, but more and more lately the voice inside my head is shouting "GETOUTGETOUTGETOUGETOUT"

Pray for me. Pray for her. Pray for all of us.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rain Outside

Ok, so today I get this email... "It's Lisa's last day and she's brought goodies and they're in the conference room." I just deleted the email and didn't go to the conference room. After lunch, though, curiosity got the best of me and I did look in the conference room. There was no goodies. Just a narrow pink box with some oversized doughnuts. Pass.

I did not drink any water today. By the time I remembered, it was 10 minutes to 4, so I grabbed a second cup of coffee instead.

I did four laps at lunch and one more after work. I did 100 jumping jacks and 50 situps and 50 pushups. May not sound like much, but it's more than what I've been doing usually. I also did an hour on the exercise bike.

I did not get into the last box of Girl Scout Cookies (I will probably take them to work and dump them in Mike's candy jar) and I didn't even eat any of the semi-healthier wafer cookies. I just said no. Yay, me.

I don't feel any better and I'm craving all kinds of stuff and I'm still bitter at my health assessment, but maybe that's the reality required to kick my butt and make me do better. (post moved from The Year was 2008)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring in the Northwest

This is where it gets good. We've been back for just over two years now. Saturday was a spectacular day with excellent weather for a drive up to Bellevue and back. Friday was a day off and I got a lot chores done around the house. So much so that I was able to spend time in the front yard attacking the moss and pulling weeds and in the backyard attacking the grass, and excavating more of my eventual 'rain lodge.'. It's gonna be cool... A semi-protected area under the deck where I'll be able to sit and meditate or read during the awesome spring rains we'll see. Yesterday would have been a great opportunity to do that, it was pouring like crazy during the drive to my parents' for a wonderful Easter dinner with family. One at which I again forgot to get photos everyone. Oh well. Next time.

It's a start...

Ok, what haven't I done today? I did not have any candy from Mike's candy bin. Yay me. I also have not yet done any pushups, situps or jumping jacks.

But, I have walked a mile and am in progress on another 2/3 before heading home. I also drank a bunch of water. We'll see how well I can sustain and/or improve.

Like, I said, it's a start... (post moved from The Year was 2008)

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I have not written about my addiction (sorry, it's just to sugar-laced goodies) or my feelings of being a religious fraud, but I've been super-busy. The only reason I'm even getting this post in is that at the last minute I grabbed the laptop before heading to bed to check something out.

Today there was a really good vibe at church. It made me wish that every Sunday was Easter. And then I wondered "why can't it be?" Sure, I get the part about going to an extra effort on Easter because it's a super-important day in a Christian's life, but on the other hand, if you go to special efforts on Easter, and you know that there are some people who will come on Easter and you won't see them again until Christmas, but you want them to keep coming back, so you put on a good show... well, then that's just a let-down next week when you don't put on the same good show and you go back to your regular show. So, I don't have the answer to that because I don't run my own church. (I would be interested to try that, but I would probably offend a lot of people trying to go that route... don't worry, I wouldn't be the preacher/teacher.) But I guess I could try to bring my A game each week no matter how I felt. Maybe it's the least I could do.


It's been a whole stupid month since I've posted. This is to the detriment of so many of my goals.

Worst, I weigh as much as I did when I started this. Our health plan gives us a $360 discount each year if we agree to a basic medical examination and (where required) show an improvement the next year. I was not required to show improvement last year because they said I was healthy. However, this year, not so good news. I have gained 17 pounds since last April. The weather has been overall more crummy this year, work has been busier and I've been less motivated. I've not had a blizzard (not counting the blizzard birthday cake) in a long, long time (can't remember exactly when. Ditto ice cream in general... maybe the beginning of February?). I've gone to Starbucks less often. I could list the other stuff I've done, but big freaking deal. 17 pounds don't lie.

As a result, I'm in a little trouble with my medical results for weight, body mass index and good cholesterol. I've sent the dietary recommendations to Lori, but she's really not in a position to plan both a low-carb gestational diabetes diet and a cholesterol-adjusting diet at the same time, so I'll only be able to pursue that track where it aligns with what she's already having to do for herself.

I could also stand to drink more water. Only I can't stand water, except when I've been running, which I also can't stand. Lori says there's no calorie flavoring you can now pour into water to make it edible. Need to look into this.

Ok, tomorrow I am taking the last of the girl scout cookies to work. This week... I will not eat any candy. I will not eat any cookies. I will not eat any doughnuts. I will not eat any pastries. I will not have Starbucks. I will not go out to eat. I will not eat any cake.

I'm really bitter and I hate this but I guess I hate the alternative more.

On the flip side, I seem to have grown half an inch taller since last year's exam. (post moved from The Year was 2008)

Friday, March 14, 2008


Rachel had a bad dream. We were so out of it that when she appeared at our door upset, we allowed her to climb into bed with us. Typically, she has a sleeping bag on the floor. It's comfy, but not too comfy, to discourage sleeping in mom and dad's room. I had just gone to bed and had about six hours available to me. She spent the next two hours randomly ruffling my hair, exploring my face with her hands or whispering "I love you." to me. It was sweet and all, but not really working for me. I finally got her sleeping bag and she stayed in it for awhile before going back to her room. Only to later call out until Lori went to see what was up. It would have been legitimate reason to call in sick. Only I had a four hour strategery meeting today at 8 am. I was rushed this morning because I had a meeting at Starbucks at 7:40 this morning on my way in and so didn't read through all 8 new emails that had come in in the last 6 hours and missed the one saying the meeting had been cancelled because everyone was out sick. D'oh.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Funny Photo

From Lori. No caption necessary.

overdue - milestones, fraud, addict, leader

I am way overdue on posting. I think this is one goal for the new year that's gonna crash and burn. One of a few, sadly.

I once again find myself pecking out a post on the tiny keyboard of the Blackberry as I walk back and forth along the path to the lake. It is not nearly as warm as it looks and my fingers are protesting slightly.

I've come to several realizations lately. Waking up this morning, I realized it was the 11th. of the month. I like 11s... We were married on the 11th., our daughter was born on the 11th. and 2 years ago on this particular 11th., we arrived back in the northwest. If you had told me my mother-in-law would still be living with us, I would predict that I would be living at a nearby motel. To be fair, she did leave for awhile.

I also realized today that I cannot see interruptions as interruptions. At this point in my career, it's all about the relationships. I came to this conclusion thinking about the fact that we'll probably have an intern in our group and I'm going to need to make it a priority to spend time with them each day. I'm going to be asked to make an investment in them and done right it will mean more productivity to the group.

I've also come to the conclusion that I might be a fraud when it comes to my faith. Still thinking about that. I'll post more on that later.

I've also come to the realization that I have an addiction. I'll post on that separately. But, the first step is admitting it. That will help me to face it and hopefully fix things.

Realizing this stuff this week has mostly been liberating, even though some are negative and need more thought, at least the fact that I've been able to put words to this means I can start to face what's been looming over me lately as an invisible cloud.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Spring Hopes Eternal

Ah, the feeling of spring. However fleeting. Tomorrow's supposed to be wall-to-wall rain. But for today, it was spectacular. I didn't get out of the house to work until after 6. Started with a run to the gas station for gas for the mower and car. And then back home, mowed both back lawns. The air is now heavy laden with the smell of cut grass. My lawn, however, is sad. It is now bright green, thanks to the 2-3" of soft spongy moss that the grass was growing up out of. The only evidence of grass is that which was pushed under the wheels of the mower and had not yet sprung back up via subsequent passes. I miss the grass of southern California. All you had to do was not water it too much. Obvious, that grass would not thrive here. I also had the chance to pull some weeds and clean the grill while Rachel played on the playset my former boss gave to us. She and her sibling(s) will get a lot of use out of it in the coming years.


There are doughnuts on the table in front of me.

Here's why I'm not having one (or two):

1. I ate a fine breakfast, including coffee before I got here.

2. There will always be more doughnuts.

3. These particular doughnuts are nothing special.

4. Lori can't enjoy them because of her gestational diabetes. By not eating any, I am being supportive.

5. The dougnuts look a little slimy.

6. They look like they came from Safeway. Safeway makes really sub-par doughnuts.

7. Not healthy. Will cause weight gain instead of weight loss.

8. I'd have to exercise more just to get back to this point. (That is, my exercise is more effective by not.)

9. I'm kinda full. I feel a little queasy. The doughnut(s) would make me feel ill.

10. They're all the way at the other side of the room. I'd have to get up, walk over there and reach between people I don't know... Don't want to make a scene.

11. There's probably no good doughnuts (old fashioned, crunchy apple ones, etc.) in the box, they usually go first, it's harder to screw those up.

12. There will always be more doughnuts.

Ok, so I've pretty much convinced myself that I don't want one, but have also made myself a little bit sick.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Let's Go, Petco

This is kinda cool. You're thinking about buying a pet and Petco's encouraging you to go acquire a pet elsewhere. Very smart.

First, you might still buy a pet.

Second, if you don't have a strong loyalty to a particular pet store (I know they have distinctive in-store looks, but I can't remember which is which.) but something like this helps... makes them look like they're putting their love of pets above profits. And it might just work. You love pets, they love pets, maybe this is the best place to buy pet supplies.