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3 Job Whine

I believe I mentioned in my VFD post that I am currently working three jobs at the moment. Moment, being of course, a euphemistic term for the past two weeks—and one future week—of my life.

It’s driving me insane.

I am getting sick at the moment (can colds spread over the phone? Or via the web? jk) and I know it is because I have not managed to get more than about five hours of sleep any night this week. My parents are shaking their heads at this, I just know it. Yes, it’s my own fault. Yes, I could go to bed earlier.

[Actually, it’s a lot harder than you’d think. Night Owlish-ness was already a habit before my college days…and I still have not been able to shed it.]

So basically I’m just dragging myself from one place to the next, with hardly a break in between. Which sucks, which is why I’m whining about it. Thursday I actually worked at all three places for a few hours…and I don’t think I was really focused on any of them. Shame on me.

I’m not the greatest multi-tasker to begin with; I don’t like having my attention divided too much. I’m so tired and I just want to get back into a normal routine. I’m on day-off withdrawal; I used to only work three days a week, this past year when I was working only for the dentist. I will miss that part of it. *sniff*

Okay, enough of my pity-party. The good news is, I ended up having the night off tonight, and tomorrow I don’t work (thought I do have
CW, hope I don’t lose my voice). Even better, I have the house to myself. I thought it would be a little depressing being home alone while the rest of my family is downtown listening to John Perkins, but after this week’s craziness, the peace is nice. I caught up on this week’s Veronica Mars and Everwood and What Not to Wear (guilty pleasures all!) that I was too busy (!!!) to watch at their regularly scheduled time. And in a bit I’ll work on a short story idea. If I get it finished soon, I may submit to my devArt site. (Of course, I won’t, b/c I’m a perfectionist and I am terrible at short stories. I’ll get maybe another page and give up before heading to someplace random, like Homestarrunner.com.)

You probably won’t hear from me again until my life begins to normalize (Normal? What’s that? And since when is that even an option?). Later.


Victorious Female Delighted

So…what a week!
I started a NEW job this week…which means until the end of October, I am technically working three jobs. Which might explain why I have been lax of late in blogging…*sigh*…sorry.

The new job is an office position in the Administration Office for Pregnancy Care Centers. Ironically, it is located in a wing of the
church that my dad also happens to work in. So that’s cool. I am happy to announce to those of you who have been following the “Retirement Saga” that I have given my notice to my bosses at the dentist’s office, and it went well. So as of the beginning of November…I’m done.

Now…for those of you who smiled at the title of my blog…yes, I was referring to the Lemony Snicket books, A Series of Unfortunate Events. I was ecstatic to find Book the Twelfth, The Penultimate Peril, at Wal-Mart the very day it came out. I finished it the other day; it was as good and bad as usual. Good, because Mr. “Snicket” (aka Daniel Handler) has a very funny way of writing. And bad, because terrible things really do happen to the Baudelaire orphans. But at least Lemony always warns us ahead of time. The next book will be the last one, and if I do not get a few answers (specifically as to why Mr. Snicket has dedicated his life to researching the events of the Baudelaires) I will be sorely disappointed.

And for those of you who don’t know anything about the books, VFD stands for the name of a secret organization in the stories…but it also stands for just about everything else and is used as a form of code. So I was signaling other volunteers by titling my post the way I did.

Also, I finally sent off my stuff to Red Lead…I will keep you updated as I hear from them to know when production will begin on the printing of “Found Phoebe.” It may take several months before it is available to purchase (and even then it may be pricey). Hopefully everything will go smoothly, and God will use this opportunity to open other doors, and let others read my work. (You can pray about that.)

I have realized recently that this is something I very much want to do with my life—
write stories that touch people’s hearts and minds and waken them up to the truth about reality—and I am growing more passionate about it daily. I know is something that is in me to do…I just can’t see exactly where it is going to take me yet.

But when could anyone see the end of his or her own story? 


It Takes More

(Disclaimer: This is destined, I am sure, to be only the first of many posts on this subject. You are free to agree or disagree and post your comments, but please be courteous.)

Tonight I watched the movie “Kingdom of Heaven,” which deals with the crusades. I was curious to see what side of it they would represent. Instead of going too much into what I really thought of the movie, I’d rather talk about something that sort of struck me as I watched, something that tied in with another topic I’ve been wanting to post about anyway.

In the movie, as in history, of course, you have two armies fighting each other for the same reason: the claim of the Holy Land, and for “God.” While some might argue that the Christian God and the god of Islam are the same, I am not one of those people. But on the side of the “Christians” (and while some Christians were actually portrayed with some integrity, the majority, as usual, were not) there were many who believed that marching on the Saracens under the Cross was God’s will and meant they could not fail. To say otherwise was blasphemy.

It takes more than a Cross to make a Christian.

It takes more than a symbol to make worthy a cause.

It takes more than singing the right songs, reading the bible, staying away from R-rated movies, joining bible studies, going to church every Sunday, not cussing, reading every Max Lucado* book that comes out (but never, ever reading any Harry Potter book!), volunteering, not smoking or drinking, or any other list of “do”s and “don’t”s you can think of.

I’m not sure when exactly I realized this, but it has made a big difference to me. To be a Christian of course involves personal sacrifice, giving up comfort, serving others, and doing the right thing. But we have made those things the standard of Christianity, not the fruit. These things develop naturally out of a relationship with God, not the other way around. Following a list of Do’s and Don’t’s doesn’t necessarily make you closer to God. Just ask the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.

Truthfully, it bothers me that much of Christianity has been reduced to following this list. One of the things that ought to set us apart from every other religion in the world is that we don’t have to work for our salvation. We were given it as a gift, and it is out of gratitude that we serve God. It is out of his overflow of love into our hearts that we help the needy. It is out of respect for Him that we eliminate things in our lives which are not pleasing—and this doesn’t look the same for everyone!!!

Some people he calls at times to give up TV. Others he calls to write for or act in shows on TV which Christians may not even watch because it offends them. Because being a Christian literally means being a follower of Christ, we have to look at it as a journey. We often call our spiritual life our “walk” but then live as though it is a regimen. We all know deep down the cliché, “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.” But we don’t really live like that because it is hard. It is risky.

I know I’m generalizing. And I keep saying “we.” I’m just reflecting on what I’ve seen so far in my life. It takes more than staying in line to make us like Christ. And it takes more than a bunch of people showing up on Sunday to make a Church.

But more on that later. 

*I actually enjoy many of Mr. Lucado's writings, and did not intend to offend anyone by suggesting he is not a thoughtful writer. I do, however, take issue with his uber-popularity among Christians.


Rainbow Garden

There’s this little Chinese Food place that my family and I go to when we get the craving. It’s not far from us, and it’s so much better than the big buffet-style places. As you can probably guess, it’s called Rainbow Garden. Their food is good, and they are very nice.

In fact, the lady who works there now knows my order without me having to say a word; I always get the
almond chicken. It’s so good. She also knows my mom (shrimp with garlic sauce).

My mom and I stopped by there for dinner tonight after
Community Worship and before we went grocery shopping—you know how dangerous it is to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach!—and we decided to eat in.

It’s a fairly small place, with about four tables, enough room to seat maybe 16 people. The woman who runs the place has a son who is almost always there, usually watching cartoons on video on a little TV. One time he was watching old
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons and I wanted to laugh because it was such a blast from the past. Another time he was watching Star Wars (IV, A New Hope) and he had never seen it before.

So this kid sits at the table next to my mother and I as we’re eating. He’s not watching TV this time; he’s playing with
play dough. And since we were in such close proximity, he struck up a conversation with us.

Benson’s—that’s his name—favorite game is “guess.” Remember those days? He said he was in first grade and then wanted us to guess how old he was (8, he just had a birthday). Then he asked how old we were. <grinning mischievously> I told him to guess.

“Give me a hint,” he said. So I told him it started with a 2. “Twenty-something,” he murmured. “Stand up,” he said next. So I did, wondering how that was going to help him. After a couple minutes of looking at me rather intently and muttering to himself, he said, “twenty-six.”

I was shocked. That is my age. Kids never guess that, not right away. In fact I had a whole class full of kids trying to guess my age last night. Some were wayyy off. Surprised, I asked him how he knew, and he told me, “I counted.” I have no idea what he meant, and couldn’t bring myself to ask. Sometimes those explanations are best left unsaid.

Nonetheless, it was an encounter that left both my mother and I chuckling. I find kids
hilarious most of the time anyway; you just never know what they are going to say. Before we left, Benson asked us when we were coming back. And you know, I’m tempted to go by there again this week just to chat with him! “You can pick a day when you get home,” he told us helpfully.

Well, that’s all I have to say today. Just a (hopefully) amusing story. I probably could have blogged about the British guy who came in for coffee (and a “
biscuit”) the other day, but you really don’t want to hear me go all Britophile on here. It’s so sad. But it did reinforce the daydream I have to move to Scotland one day, and continue my search for Mr. Right on a different continent. One that has British accents. *Ahem!* Anyway, that’s all for now. Go and enjoy life with the wonder of a small child…make someone “guess” something today. 


Turkish Delight

“What would you like best to eat?”
“Turkish Delight, please, your majesty,” said Edmund.
The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with a green silk ribbon, which, when opened turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight….Edmund had never tasted anything so delicious….and the more he ate the more he wanted to eat….
At last the Turkish Delight was all finished and Edmund was looking very hard at the empty box and wishing that she would ask him whether he would like some more. Probably the queen knew quite well what he was thinking; for she knew, though Edmund did not, that this was enchanted Turkish Delight and that anyone who had once tasted it would want more and more of it, and would even, if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killed themselves. …
But he still wanted to taste that Turkish Delight again more than he wanted anything else.

Recently, I had the opportunity to try some Turkish Delight. I found some in a store that carries specialty imported foods. I decided that it would not have been my first choice in that situation, and I would much rather have chocolate or cheesecake.

When I was little, my dad would make his version of Turkish Delight for my brother and I. It was based on something his father called “German” Toast (instead of French Toast)—syrup or honey on toast, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Oh, yeah. We were incorrigible little sweet tooths. Real Turkish Delight is a gelatiny confection usually rose or lemon flavored, and sometimes covered in chocolate, powdered sugar or containing nuts. Needless to say, my brother Kyle was quite disappointed with the genuine article and still maintains that it has messed up his childhood memories.

However, there is one form of Turkish Delight that I absolutely love. In fact, I’m completely addicted. I even crave it. It is…a song by David Crowder Band.

Disney and Walden Media just released a “music inspired by” CD for the upcoming Narnia movie. It is a compilation project by today’s top Christian Artists. Which you might not think I’d go for, but I did. Mostly because it’s Narnia…but also in large part because I was intrigued that DCB did a song on Turkish Delight.

I must confess that a good chunk of the CD disappointed me. You might think that a song “inspired by” Narnia might actually be about Narnia. I did. I was wrong. Many of the songs seem to be more about the artist’s perspective of Narnia, and more about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as an allegory than as a story. Which…would be okay…if it was only one or two songs. But several of them don’t seem to be any different than a typical Christian song talking about God and worship. They’re good pieces of music, by my humble standards, but they just don’t seem to have a lot to do with Narnia.

However, there are a few notable exceptions. Nichole Nordeman’s contribution “I Will Believe” is good and has a few really great lines in it; I’m not the biggest tobymac fan but his song “New World” is quite catchy…once you get past the fact that he practically yells “Narnia” in the chorus. My second favorite song on the album is Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Remembering You.” I couldn’t figure out why he sang “I wish you could stay,” instead of I wish I could stay, until I remembered that Aslan does leave the children after they are coronated (hope I didn’t spoil anyone!!). It makes me teary-eyed when I hear it…though not in the same way that Annie Lennox’s “Into the West” from “The Return of the King” did. “Remembering You” is both wistful and joyful, with beautiful lilting Celtic pipes (which I just adore!!)

But my absolute favorite song on the album (and I need it after all those other sappy songs start making me cry) is “Turkish Delight” by the David Crowder Band. It is the only song on the album that is from a character’s point of view dealing directly with an event from the story. A few other songs might be from a character’s point of view, like “Remembering You” might be Lucy or Susan (my vote is Lucy), and Kutlass’ “More than it Seems” sounds like it is Peter speaking.

But as you can see from the excerpt above, the DCB song is the only one taken straight from Lewis’ pages. It is soooo good. From the 70’s inspired melody (read: disco-esque) to the nearly perfect lyrics, it is a song that I have been playing over and over and over. I say “nearly perfect” because he calls it a “bit of pie”— which you now know is completely incorrect. I can forgive that, since he only used it to rhyme with “lie.” But with other lyrics like “what I wouldn’t do…it’s all I want…I gotta get another taste…the more I have, the more I want” it makes not only for a great song about the story, but in so doing illustrated the very nature of temptation and addiction in general. I think Lewis would have been pleased with that.

I know I am. (This morning I had it cranked up and was dancing in the kitchen to it. I kid you not, both of my cats came in and started at me like I was crazy. It was great.) I'm enjoying some Turkish Delight right now.