Friday, March 30, 2007

Today's Mailbox

Posted: 30 Mar 2007 08:19 AM CDT

A word from [Gunnery]Sergeant Krueger, USMC, to Speaker Pelosi:

How can you even think of pushing forward legislation to set a withdrawal date for US forces from Iraq? Do you know how much you embolden the insurgency here in Iraq? YOU ARE JEOPARDIZING THE LIVES OF US SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN WITH YOUR ACTIONS. You and your fellow Democrats are causing the Al Qaeda supported insurgency to use more catastrophic attacks against us and Iraqi forces. You will see more SVBIED’s with chlorine gas, more VBIED’s against civilians and security forces every time you and other Democrats open your mouths. You will have to live with yourself and try to sleep at night knowing all the defeatist propaganda you have spewed forth is nothing more than ammunition for Islamic extremist groups around the world and more US deaths. The unsuspecting people who support you know nothing of what goes on over here; you fill their heads with nonsense and talk of pullout to appease them. The only thing that will happen is the establishment of an extremist Islamic state where sharia law is the law of the land and no one is safe.

Sunni Moslems here are coming to our side and joining forces with the government to defeat Al Qaeda(AQI) here in Iraq, but they need our help and they need us to stay. I have spent the last 7 months(3rd tour) in Iraq. I have watched Iraqi citizens pick up weapons and form militias in areas to join forces with Iraqi police/Army. Common citizens who fight and die because we are standing next to them. Not cutting and running or talking of withdrawal. This started after the surge forces the President sent here arrived. We have lost Marines also and it hurts more than you will ever know but we have made a commitment to these people. And I for one will not abandon them and I have of a platoon of Marines who feel the same. I have no control over what happened in 2003 and why we invaded Iraq. That is another discussion, but we are here and they need our help to rid their country of these terrorists. Yes eventually we will leave but we need to do a phased withdrawal without a timeline. At least without a timeline that is published for the world to know. The citizens of Iraq need to see some solidarity in our government, Democrats and Republicans coming together and supporting our President in this war. There is a middle ground here for both parties, you all need to come together and work towards a solution. What we don’t need is more theatrics and clashes between the parties. AQI loves to see that it causes them to do more attacks and continue with the murder and intimidation campaign against Iraqi citizens.

Someone needs to step forward and bring the two parties together. Meet and talk about what you all can do and come to an agreement on the war. Like I said before we need a unified front to present to the world on the Iraq war. The Iraqi people need a morale boost, they need to see we are behind them and we will support them and not cut and run. The insurgency needs to see our resolve is strong and we will endure and defeat them. Extremist Islamist terror groups use our perceived weakness against us. They misunderstand our kindness for weakness. Weakness shown to the world brings more recruits to their cause; it causes more civilian deaths and violence.

Please I implore you to not push this agenda. I have watched you on television and you seem to be using this as a steppingstone to further your political career. STOP!!! More is at stake here. Our countries word is on the line, my word to many Iraqi citizens is on the line. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines lives are at stake. We know the risks and we face them daily. Don’t make our mission more difficult.

Gunnery Sgt. Stephen F. KruegerPlatoon Sgt 3rd Recon Bn

Thursday, March 29, 2007

5 on a Scale of 1 to 10

Today is a "5." No real reason (except maybe good ol' hormones), but it just is.

It's amazing how things can change over the course of a couple of days! Perspective has a lot to do with it - how you choose to look at the world, as if you're looking out a window. Today, I feel as if I'm looking out at the world from a "garden" apartment window. The glass is a little grimy, and I see shoes walking past on their way to someplace else.

Elijah is one of my back-pocket heroes. I say "back-pocket" because the memory is always in the back pocket of my brain in case I need to refer to it.

I Kings 18 tells of one of the coolest events in the Old Testament, in my opinion. Israel hasn't had rain for a long time. In a duel with the prophets of Baal, Elijah challenges Israel to make a decision: Jehovah or Baal. He sets up two altars - each complete with sacrifice and wood - and he says, whichever god sets the sacrifice on fire is the true God. Now, Baal was the god of fire, so that seemed like a good idea to the other prophets. He lets the prophets of Baal choose their bull and go first, but neither of them gets to light any fire. (Understand that there has been a drought - that's important later in the story).

The Baal prophets dance around, cutting themselves with knives, calling on their god Baal to prove he is the true god by setting fire to their altar. Elijah taunts them, asking "where is your god? Yell louder - maybe he's on a trip. Maybe he's sleeping and has to be wakened." All day this goes on - from morning to afternoon.

Then after the Baal prophets have worn themselves out, Elijah calls the people closer. He repairs the altar of the Lord that had been torn down and sets up 12 stones. He digs a trench around the altar large enough to hold about 14 quarts (or 3 and a half gallons dry measure). He arranges the wood, cuts up the bull, puts it on the altar, and then calls for water. Four jars of water. He has the people empty the water onto the sacrifice, go back and get more water and do it again and again, until the altar is saturated with water and the water is running over the sides and filling the trench.

Then, when it was time for the evening offering, Elijah prayed, "O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are the true God and that you are winning back their allegiance." That was it. No dancing, no cutting, no flailing around. Just Elijah's prayer and his faith.

The Bible says, "Then fire from the Lord fell from the sky. It consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, and the dirt, and licked up the water in the trench." I Kings 18:38. The people fell on their faces and declared, "The Lord is the true God! The Lord is the true God!" Elijah told the people to seize the prophets of Baal, and they took them down to the Kishon Valley and executed them. Elijah went back to the king and told him to prepare for rain. Elijah prayed and the rain came, and Elijah ran ahead of the king's chariot back to the city.

Now that the prophets of Baal had been killed, Elijah got worried for his life, and he ran to the desert in despair. He'd just experience that great victory - a wonderful demonstration of God's power and authority - and he ran away. This is the part that always encourages me: when he ran into the desert, he cried out to God to take his life, and then he slept. The Bible says that the angel of the Lord woke him and told him to eat and drink. He woke up, he saw that there was food, he ate and drank, and he went back to sleep. After he'd slept some more, the angel of the Lord came again and woke him up, telling him to eat or he wouldn't have the strength for his journey. He ate and drank and went further into the wilderness - 40 days and nights - to Mount Horeb, described as the "mountain of God."

That's the cool part. A) Even after all of the triumph and the assurance that he was on the same team as the Lord, Elijah still felt discouraged, even depressed. B) The Lord didn't leave him - even though his feelings weren't in line with his experience. And during that time, God didn't tell him to snap out of it or get treatment. C) The Lord sent someone to take care of his physical needs - food, sleep, water. D) When Elijah got to Mt. Horeb, God didn't chastise him. God showed Elijah devasting wind, landslides, earthquake, fire - but the Lord was not in any of those things. God spoke to Elijah in stillness following the upheaval - and listened and encouraged him, telling him he was not alone.

I'm glad that the same unchangeable God who cared enough about Elijah to send His angel to take care of Elijah's needs to prepare him for what was ahead of him is in charge of things in my life today. Today may be a 5 but maybe that's a sign that I need to sleep, take care of physical things and prepare for the next steps.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Had to be done

Thanks to Jules, and her link to a blog entry she found elsewhere and linked to, I found myself searching for something vaguely familiar, thinking it had to be someplace in the Psalms. In light of all of the general junk floating around in my head lately, this just had to be said. And who better to say it than David, a man after God's own heart! (The text is copied from NETBible at - the breaks are mine, and I broke it up based on what I thought kept thoughts together, to try to make it read a little easier.)

Psalm 66:1-20

1. Shout out praise to God, all the earth!
2. Sing praises about the majesty of his reputation!
Give him the honor he deserves!

3. Say to God:
“How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great power your enemies cower in fear before you.
4. All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you!
They sing praises to your name!” (Selah)

5. Come and witness God’s exploits!
His acts on behalf of people are awesome!
6. He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
Let us rejoice in him there!

7. He rules by his power forever;
he watches the nations.
Stubborn rebels should not exalt themselves. (Selah)

8. Praise our God, you nations!
Loudly proclaim his praise!
9. He preserves our lives
and does not allow our feet to slip.

10. For you, O God, tested us;
you purified us like refined silver.
11. You led us into a trap;
you caused us to suffer.
12. You allowed men to ride over our heads;
we passed through fire and water,
but you brought us out into a wide open place.

13. I will enter your temple with burnt sacrifices;
I will fulfill the vows I made to you,
14. which my lips uttered
and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble.

15. I will offer up to you fattened animals as burnt sacrifices,
along with the smell of sacrificial rams.
I will offer cattle and goats. (Selah)

16. Come! Listen, all you who are loyal to God!
I will declare what he has done for me.
17. I cried out to him for help
and praised him with my tongue.

18. If I had harbored sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19. However, God heard;
he listened to my prayer.

20. God deserves praise,
for he did not reject my prayer
or abandon his love for me!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Big Steps

(Deep breath).

Well, I did it. I spoke with the pastor this morning about becoming a member of the church I started attending about 6-8 weeks ago.

In a way, it was kind of cool - this is the first time I've just stayed after church instead of going home right away, so I met people. Lots of people. That in itself was kind of .... hard. Right away, I felt a wave of expectations rushing toward me, and I didn't expect it to feel like that so fast. It helps to take a deep breath and remember that probably 90% of that feeling is just me - it isn't other people - but I've been away from this environment for a long time.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but the pastor and his wife (and, apparently, her sister) attended the same college I did - the pastor graduated a couple of years ahead of me, his wife maybe about the same time as my sister, and her sister a couple of years later, so that was kind of cool. When he gave me a copy of the church constitution, he showed me a caricature someone had done of him, the dean and the chancellor of the college during his campaign for student body president that was really cool (he didn't win, but it was a great poster). I looked in my yearbook from my senior year, and I found his wife's sister in one of the dorm photos - I don't think I knew either of them, but it was still kind of fun to look.

Anyway, the next step is that one of the deacons will call me, and then there will be a meeting with this deacon and his wife (I think-the pastor said "deaconess" but I may have assumed it was this man's wife and not someone else) on a Sunday morning, and then the next step after that is that I will give my testimony - the pastor was kind enough to say that they didn't usually have people do that on Sunday morning, but on Wednesday night (fewer people).

I've already typed (!) what I want to say, because I've been in services where people go on and on, and while you appreciate their enthusiasm and their heart for the Lord, you wish they would find a stopping point SOME time before midnight. (See? That's me being critical again....)

I'm not going to read it, but I am planning to "prepare" to say what I've written so that I don't cry. Don't ask me why, but I tend to cry when I talk about things that are very important to me - I've been like this since childhood. Since I don't want to be that woman who cries all the time, I need to have time to think and breathe and prepare.

This is a lot bigger step than I thought it would be. I could have gone along for months just visiting without doing any of this formal stuff, but I guess I wouldn't have felt as if I really belonged if I did that. Sort of like living together without being married: you're there, but there is no formal commitment - technically, you can leave any time you want. I've never thought that was such a great arrangement in any context.

Now, I just have to watch out for honeymoon syndrome - expecting everyone and everything to be perfect. No church is, and the minute I start going, they wouldn't be anymore!! :) These are people - just ordinary people like me - and they are going to make mistakes and be imperfect just like I will.

"Always be kind, because everyone you meet faces a battle. We all need to be cared for, especially when we do not deserve it."

I should have this tattooed on my forehead backwards, so that I'd see it every time I looked in the mirror.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Squirrel - 1; Me - 0

After retriving my dog from the kennel on Sunday, in the throes of guilt, I decided to take him for a nice walk in the park. It was a beautiful day, and we could easily get in a good hour's walk before dinner, so I thought, why not? Plus, the kennel people said that he'd been very good for his bath that morning, and I figured he needed a reward.

The walk went as scheduled - there was gorgeousness everywhere (albeit VERY early spring gorgeousness - no green things, but beautiful sun), and the park was alive with ducks and geese and squirrels and whatnot.

As we headed back toward the car, we had to cross a bridge that goes over the Clinton River. Ducks gather around the bridge because people feed them, which is fine. On the car-side of the bridge, I saw a squirrel, and I thought, "I should let him chase one - he hasn't seen any since we started the walk, and we're going to go home and make an early night of it..... Why not?"

Why not, indeed. Because I wasn't going to let go of the leash (so that if he decided to chase ducks instead of squirrels, I wouldn't have to go into the river after him), I ran with him. As we rounded the corner of our (maybe!) 25-foot dash, my foot landed right on the side of a small indentation in the ground, causing my ankle to twist sharply in a direction ankles are not supposed to turn.

I dropped the leash, executed a somewhat less than graceful shoulder roll, and ended up flat on my back looking up at the sky with a very sore ankle. (Puppy-boy did NOT go into the river, but he also did not stop chasing the squirrel to find out if I was OK - ungrateful little rascal).

A kind soul got the end of the leash (that I finally dropped), and brought my dog back to me. I got up and started walking around on the ankle, trying to see if I could walk (for one thing) and to walk off the soreness right away. Plus, I wanted to go home - not because I was humiliated (although I should have been - what right-minded 43-year old chases a squirrel with her dog?), but because I wanted to check out the ankle and see if I needed anything more than RICE.*

I stopped at the drug store on the way home and bought an ACE wrap, an ACE ankle brace, and some Epsom salt. When I got home, I pulled the ACE wrap out of the box and wrapped the ankle, took Aleve, pulled some lima beans and rye flour out of the freezer (they were frozen and pliable - it works, trust me) and propped my foot on the bag of flour with the bag of frozen lima beans over the top of it.

Epilogue: Sprained ankles swell, hurt, and eventually turn purple, but they aren't fatal. They also aren't that great for sympathy, particularly when the mechanism of acquisition is such blatant stupidity. As my late grandmother used to say, "Too soon old, too late smart." :)

[*R = Rest, I = Ice, C = Compression, and E = Elevation. RICE.]

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Well, don't I feel silly! All of my emotional investment in this weekend's plans and my flight got cancelled! Not just the one I was supposed to be on last night, but all of them until at least Sunday evening!! :) (Sigh!)

Next time, and I hope there will be a next time, I'm going to try to get out earlier. I left work early in the afternoon this time, but next time, I'll just take the earliest flight I can get and take the day off.

Oh well.

Puppy-boy is at the kennel anyway. I'm a bad mama. I figured, he's probably having fun today playing with other dogs and getting a much-needed bath, so I will take advantage of the babysitter services and get the work done at work and at home that I can't always focus on because my attention is split between what he's doing and whether he needs a walk or if he is lonesome. I'll pick him up as scheduled tomorrow afternoon, and between now and then, I can stay at the office the rest of the day, go home and vacuum (he hates the vacuum and tries to bite it, so it's better to vacuum when he isn't home), and then stay up until whenever cleaning the basement.

Whoopie. :)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Eagles Up

Earlier, I wrote about the upcoming Gathering of Eagles event scheduled for Washington, D.C., tomorrow. I've checked in online, my sister is going to meet me at the airport (instead of at her office, which is across from one of the Metro stations), and we're getting ready to join the Eagles in their answer to the anti-war protests planned for the same day.

Here is the latest from the Eagles' website:

"Our time has come. Remember, even now you represent the greatest fighting force in the world, just as you did 10, 20, or 40 years ago. Act with integrity, and honor those we come to defend.

See you on the front lines.


I can't help but think that we have been engaged in a war of a different type for a long time. It's not a war measured in body counts or territory, but in hearts, minds, opinions and beliefs about what is and is not true. It's a war of ideology.

Today's world rejects the idea of absolute truth - everything depends on "perspective." I remember hearing once that "perception is fact" - how ridiculous!

I remember hearing this description of the difference between truth and belief in the context of whether people who were sincere in their beliefs about life after death would go to heaven, even if they did not accept the Bible's message of salvation:

The sincerity of your beliefs is no match for the truth. You can be sincerely wrong and still be sincere. If you get on a plane to Los Angeles, and you want to go to Philadelphia, do you really think that your sincere belief that the plane is going to Philadelphia will make a difference?

These days, sincerity and personal belief are what it's all about. Mention "right" and "wrong" and people will not understand what you're saying. The meaning of words has been changed for the express purpose of hiding truth. Use words like "truth" and "justice", and people will ask, "whose truth" and "what justice." We are so accustomed to being free to make even stupid choices that we assume that the rest of the world has the same freedoms we take for granted, and we refuse to believe any evidence to the contrary.

Those are the principles we're fighting for in Iraq: Truth. Justice. Freedom. The way in which war is waged now is different from the way in which war was waged in past centuries. Conventions (or rules) of war, like the Geneva Convention, were agreements between nations that allowed for a defined "victory" and a cessation of war when that victory was achieved.

The type of war we're fighting now is like a street brawl - no rules, no referees, and no time-outs. The only way to win is to seek out and destroy those who fight against us, no matter where they are and no matter who they are. The war isn't over unless those who oppose us are annihilated. If you think that is too harsh, look at the book of Joshua.

Joshua 1:6 - Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

Joshua 2:10 - For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.

Joshua 8:25-26 - All who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000--all the people of Ai. For Joshua did not withdraw his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.

Joshua 10:28 - Now Joshua captured Makkedah on that day, and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword; he utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it. He left no survivor. Thus he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho.

Joshua 10:40 - Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded.

Joshua 11:18-23 - Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings. There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.

[All quotes from, NASB version; emphasis added].

There were reasons God commanded the annihilation of all of the people in the land He gave to Israel. These days, however, we're afraid to take such drastic steps. It's too harsh, it's too ugly, it's too permanent for our delicate sensibilities. We're more than willing to pay Hollywood to deliver gruesome, bloody and violent movies to our local theaters and video stores, but we can't handle reality.

Israel did not have rest from war until all of its enemies were destroyed. That is the only win.

If you listen to the people actually engaged in fighting this war, and I use the words "actually engaged" for a reason, you will hear exactly the same thing I'm telling you. The only way to win this war is to take the war to the enemy no matter where they go, seek them out and destroy them whenever and wherever we find them. Only then will we be able to rest. Only then will we have peace.

In a recent speech, Hillary Clinton quoted the late Franklin D. Roosevelt. Conveniently, she omitted this portion of Roosevelt's comments: "The United States can accept no result save victory, final and complete . . . The sources of international brutality, wherever they exist, must be absolutely and finally broken . . . We're going to fight it with everything we got."

On May 13, 1940, in his first speech to the House of Commons after becoming Prime Minister of England, Winston Churchill said, "We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival."

These men knew war. They knew people. They knew their enemy. We have no idea what we're fighting because we choose not to know.

I got a little far afield from where I started this post - I'm going to Washington to support the men and women who are fighting for our country in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and other arenas all over the world.

Before I leave, I'm going to issue a challenge to anyone who reads this post: if you support the principles I've written about today, I challenge you to pray that God will give victory and peace, as He did for Joshua, and I challenge you to talk about the war. Tell other people. Talk about what these principles mean to you. Talk about the war in its real and essential terms - refuse to give any ideological ground to the subtle enemies who would love to see the United States of America continue its crawl toward ineffectuality. Challenge them about why they believe that people who oppose everything we hold dear, who kill innocents for the sake of killing them, and who have publicly and repeatedly vowed that they will not rest until Israel and its allies are eradicated from the earth should be allowed repeated opportunities to carry out their plans.

If for whatever reason you cannot support the war, I challenge you also to pray. Ask God to intervene - ask Him to protect His people Israel and its allies, and ask Him to bring peace. And I challenge you to talk about peace on all sides - not just U.S. withdrawal from the fight that, if you recall, was brought to our shores.

Regardless of your position on the war, I challenge everyone to listen - really listen - to the what is broadcast by people opposing the war - whether it's on the radio, TV, or the Internet, or in the written news outlets. Listen to their words carefully. Most of what you hear in national and international media is said by people who are professional wordsmiths - people who make their living using language to create an intended result.

Eagles up.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


It's amazing what you find when you're cleaning things out. I was going through some old emails, trying to diminish the amount of space I was using on the webmail server, and I found a column I'd saved from the Our Daily Bread website back in October of 2003.

In "Been Thinking," Matt DeHaan wrote this about trust:

"Sometimes it helps to break the journey down into small steps. Jesus encouraged us not to worry about tomorrow since today has enough of its own problems (Matthew 6:34). In the weakness of turbulent and unsteady emotions we may need to settle for short steps, the wisdom of the moment (James 1:6), and the present reassurance of the one who says, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you' (Hebrews 13:5)."

It was helpful then, and it's helpful now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Cat's Dead

There's a story - maybe it's a scene from a movie, maybe it's just an email joke making the rounds, but it goes something like this:

This guy decides to leave his cat with his best friend who would come over to the house and live with his mom while he's away. He told his friend, "Just feed the cat three meals a day, and take good care of him." The next day, he phoned his friend and asked, "How are things?" "Everything's fine - your mom is fine, the cat is fine, everything is fine."

The next day, he calls, asking the same questions: "How are things?" "Things are fine." "How's Mom?" "Mom's fine." "How's the cat?" "The cat's DEAD." "WHAT?!? How could you let it die?" "Well, I'm sorry, but I couldn't do anything, I didn't see it. But what I think happened was that the cat was on the roof, fell off, and broke his leg. Then, he hobbled out into the road, and got run over."

The first guy said, "Well, couldn't you have tried to break it to me over time? You could have said it bit by bit. For example, you could have first said 'The cat's on the roof', then the next day said 'The cat fell off the roof, and broke its leg,' you know?" "Yeah, yeah, I get it. See you later." "OK. Bye." He hung up. The next day, he called again. "How are things?" "Things are fine." "How's Mom?" "Um, Mom's on the roof."

Well, the cat's dead - except it isn't a cat - it's someone I used to think was pretty special. And he's not dead; he just has a wedding date set for June 16. Obviously, things didn't turn out as I'd hoped, but I thought that giving it time would make a difference. It made a difference for him - he's getting married in June to a 35-year-old divorcee with 2 kids. His mom was kind enough to give me a "the cat's on the roof" at Christmas - their family newsletter mentioned the engagement (although this is the fourth or more time he's been engaged), so it wasn't a complete shock, but it's still hard.

It helped that I had read this from This Fish, but as comforting as Heather's blog entry was, it didn't quite fit. So, I went looking further and found these excerpts from Corrie Ten Boom's book, "The Hiding Place" that were just what I needed:

(On the prospect of her father's death): "I burst into tears, 'I need you!' I sobbed. 'You can't die! You can't!' 'Corrie,' he began gently. 'When you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?' 'Why, just before we get on the train.' 'Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we're going to need things, too. Don't run out ahead of him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need – just in time.'”

And then this:

"How long I lay on my bed sobbing for the one love of my life I do not know. I was afraid of what father would say. Afraid he would say, “There'll be someone else soon,” and that forever afterwards this untruth would lie between us. 'Corrie,' he began instead, 'do you know what hurts so very much? It's love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill the love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or, Corrie, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel. God loves Karel, even more than you do, and if you ask Him, He will give you His love for this man, a love nothing can prevent, nothing destroy. Whenever we cannot love in the old human way, God can give us the perfect way.'"

It is amazing how God's grace is available for those unexpected (by us) events - those bumps in the road that could derail us from our course. A couple of times in the past, I've been the recipient of that grace - both times, it was completely unexpected, but it was there just the same. This time has been another one - and I am grateful to God for the foundation He's laid in my heart and in my life to prepare me for this just now.

I'm not to the point where I can be happy about it yet, but I think I'm moving in the right direction. All of the "not God's will" reminders are there - I just need to stop and catch my breath.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Best

Somewhat like the "third date," the third visit to my new church was fraught with a little trepidation. I know where to sit so that I'm not sitting where other people usually sit - not a big deal, but polite. I know that many of the songs are in the hymn book and some are just on the screen. I know that their men's choir is really good - not "American Idol" good, but the really good local choir of men's voices where the men sing from their hearts and it just sounds wonderful. I know that there are still some lovely older German people in the congregation - men and women for whom English is still their second language - who know what it's like to be new and alone.

At the same time, it's heartbreaking to be doing this alone - this finding a new church family without the comfort of my parents or grandparents sitting in the pew next to me (or behind me). On one hand, when I didn't have a church of my own, it felt like I was still away at college, or just for whatever reason temporarily separated from my family, and that when we were all back together again, everything would go back to normal. This is a step away from that - a step away from that feeling of belonging and that feeling of normalcy with my family before things fell apart.

On the other hand, this might be the right church for me. It might be the place where I make my own family, as one of the lovely older German ladies said this morning. She came to this country and joined this church alone - and the church became her family.

The thing is, I didn't want to do this alone. This is just one of the many things I didn't want to have to do alone! I didn't want to buy a house alone - I wanted to buy a house with a husband, and I wanted us to grow together and raise a family in that house. I wanted us to find a church and join and become members there and watch our children grow from the nursery to the high school and college groups there.

I wanted to be a part of the couples' group - talking about our children and their needs and struggles and activities as a part of a larger whole. I didn't want to end up in the older singles' group - no matter how euphemistically titled - with no one in my past except the ghosts of unfulfilled hopes and dreams. I don't know how to do this indefinitely. I was OK for a while, but as "a while" gets longer and longer, I feel weak instead of empowered, found wanting instead of wanted, rejected instead of independent, lost instead of in control of my life and my destiny.

I put off finding things that were important to me - hid them and disguised their importance to myself and others - because I thought it was somehow nobler to get an education and a good career, instead of expecting to marry and have a husband take care of me. Instead of acknowledging that I wanted to marry and have a family, I joked about going to college for an education instead of an M.R.S. What I've sown, I now reap.

So, I can stay here whining about the life I didn't choose, and which has its own bumps and detours along the way, or I can give the life I have to God - it is what I have, after all - and let Him do what He wants with it.

"Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten-the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm-My great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will My people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will My people be shamed" (Joel 2:23-27).

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Mid-Afternoon Check-Up

I’m starting to feel a little better on one hand and a little queasier on the other.

Better because the demon-client is being redirected to other people. Queasier because I’m a little apprehensive about how my rejecting this client because they are so evil is going to play with the powers that be. I still stand by my decision - it was interfering with my health (physical and mental), and it had to be done.

I still have to turn the hot water tap off from the basement, unscrew the handle on the thingie under the sink, take the valve out and get 2 more from Home Depot. Then, I can put the whole thing back together, turn the hot water back on and run my dishwasher through its maiden voyage.

I also deleted the shortcut to the Spider Solitaire game today. It was just too freakin’ tempting.

Thursday Thirteen

I know, I know. It's not an "official" Thursday Thirteen, but it's MY blog. I can do what I want. So there. Too.

Thirteen Things I Am Happy About:

1. My dog, who loves me no matter how crabby I am.
2. My new dishwasher (which I haven't used yet because I still haven't changed the valve).
3. My job - which doesn't suck today.
4. That my job doesn't suck today.
5. Friends at work - I have been so very blessed with and by the people I work with.
6. Regular phone calls with my parents
7. AT & T Unlimited Long Distance - which makes number 6 above possible.
8. Sunshine for 2 days in a row. Yes, we started yesterday with 2-4 inches of snow, but the sunshine makes it worthwhile.
9. A roof over my head - there are people who sleep in boxes or in bus shelters or wherever they can find a place to rest.
10. My car - which is a foreign product but is still the best car I've had since my 1985 Omni. I've called both cars "Timex" cars - because they take a licking and keep on ticking.
11. Spring is coming - less than 2 weeks away - so the days are getting longer, so there is more daylight.
12. My doctor who has prescribed stuff for my allergies and sinus infection, so I can breathe and sleep and do things that I couldn't do earlier this year.
13. Clients that are not mean to me.

Also, thanks to a friend/blogger, I instituted "Chocolate Bar Thursdays" at work for my secretary and her pod-mate (who are also my friends), and it makes me happy and it makes them happy, and it's just been fun to do. So, that's fourteen, but as I said: it's my blog, so I can do what I want. :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Moody Blues

Not really sure what this is. Started this morning just fine - woke up (albeit late), went to work, was very productive. Got a fish sandwich for lunch at Wendy's directly because of the stupid fish commercial on my way home to take my little puppy-boy outside for a walk to enjoy the sunshine before it snows (AGAIN with the snow!! Enough already!). Came back to work, and PFFLBBTTT! Nothing. No ambition, no motivation, no ganas, nothing. If it weren't for the fact that I have no money other than what I make at my job, I would go home in a New-York-minute (which is just as long as a regular minute, but it has attitude).

I just don't want to do this anymore - but I can't think of anything else I want to do, either. Wait - yes, I can: Soak in a jacuzzi tub; get a massage, spa pedicure and manicure; sleep; vacuum all of the floors in my condo without my dog trying to bite the beater brush; lay on a beach someplace warm and have a nice breeze blowing just enough to keep me from passing out from heat exhaustion, as long as there are fences on either side and as long as there are no sharks or other sea critters to eat my dog. Yep. I'd rather do those things than this.

Monday, March 5, 2007

My Week In Review

They installed my dishwasher on Saturday. :) It looks wonderful compared to the other one, but I haven’t used it yet because the valve for the hot water connection is still leaking a bit and I don’t want to blow a valve and have water everywhere. Turns out, the one that had been in there before (for apparently decades) was a portable! Yep. They took the top off an old portable dishwasher and ... jury-rigged it as a built-in. That certainly explains the fake oak panel on the front!! Because it wasn't intended to be a built-in dishwasher, it took the installation guys an hour to do what would otherwise have been a 15-20 minute job. (Sigh!)

I’m going to check the valve again at noon. If it’s still leaking, I’m going to go down in the basement and turn off the hot water and then take the valve apart and get 2 new valves – one for the one I know I need to replace and one for the other one. Then, I can replace the valve, check it to make sure it doesn’t leak, and then run the dishwasher. The guys who installed it tested it, so it should be fine, but I will feel more comfortable using it if I have a new valve that doesn’t leak.

Of course, once I got the new dishwasher in, the hardware on the cabinets didn’t look right. The new dishwasher has a stainless steel-looking front panel, which totally clashed with the 1970s country oak look, so I went to Home Depot and bought a new brushed pewter looking one and tried it out. It looked very nice with the new dishwasher, so I replaced all 24 handles (at $4/each, that was about $98). Now that the handles are in, the cupboards don’t look too bad. I probably will still strip them and stain them a cherry color, but they look OK for now.

Frankly, everything looks OK. I will need to replace my refrigerator in the next year or so, but I’m hoping I can hold off on that until next year. The refrigerator is about 18 years old, and it's making those noises. I had to disconnect the ice maker because it was leaking all over the floor, but that wasn't a big deal because I never used the ice anyway. Once I replace the refrigerator, I will probably replace the stove, since if I don't, it's going to feel left out anyway. The floor will be replaced eventually, too, once I decide what I want to replace it with. Then, of course, the walls will need to be painted - and then the light fixtures....... All because of a dishwasher.

Right now, however, the only problem is the water coming down into the window well. I think it’s leaking into the basement, which makes me so mad. When they redid the sump pump overflow thing, they directed the overflow right back toward the foundation – which was SO galactically stupid! – and the water had no place to go but right down into the window well (and thus right into my basement).

Once that matter gets resolved, I will have no choice but to fold laundry and put it away. Euwww. That’s going to require alcohol, I think.