Thursday, September 28, 2006

New Postage Stamp

I just received this in an email:

"MUSLIM CHRISTMAS STAMP How ironic is this??!! They don't even believe in Christ and they're getting their own Christmas stamp-- but don't dream of posting the Ten Commandments on federal property?!!

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of PanAm Flight 103!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the military barracks in Saudi Arabia!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the American Embassies in Africa!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the USS COLE!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM attack on 9/11/2001!
REMEMBER all the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those vicious MUSLIM attacks!

Now the United States Postal Service REMEMBERS and HONORS the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a commemorative first class holiday postage stamp. REMEMBER to adamantly and vocally BOYCOTT this stamp when purchasing your stamps at the post office. To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS who died at the hands of those whom this stamp honors."

You could choose to look at this a few different ways...
1) America is just plain dumb enough to celebrate and honor their attackers (who hate us by the way)
2) The American people are so ignorant that no one will know what the stamp represents ("Oh! That's a pretty design! Let's get that for our Christmas cards this year!")
3) America has suddenly transformed into a radically Christianized country and we are merely "loving our enemies as ourselves."

What do you think? Any other ways to look at this?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What the hell???

There are times in life that are just too overwhelming and you are not completely sure you can get through it. But at the same time, you ponder "What if I can't get through it? How does that play out? If I can't get through it, what exactly does that mean?" After searching the options of "not getting through it" most of the time people just flea to their bedroom and fall into as deep a sleep as possible, for as long as possible. You live in a whole new world when you are asleep. All the unsolvable problems following you around go away for awhile. When you are asleep, you are free to laugh, free to love, free to kiss, free to eat as much junk food as you want. You can attain the beauty you can never attain in the waking world (or sometimes your're just naked-- those are scary dreams!). Sometimes you are a hero. Sometimes you are pregnant. Whatever your desires, you can acheive them while asleep.
But sleep is temporary. When you awake, you are met by the unsolvable, overwhelming world you left only moments before. So this option of sleep is not a healer, merely some temporary pain relief-- like tylenol.
In times such as these, I always find myself asking, not in an accusing way, but merely curiously, "Why would God let this happen to us today?" Then I go through all the reasons why we did not deserve such troubles. Today these same thought poured through my head as I sat by the side of 694 in my newly repaired, but now dead, car. My diligent husband, and his friend, spent hours and weeks fixing this car for me. We lived like paupers for weeks and weeks, unable to even buy bread, milk or butter because the car repairs were so costly. And now, only my second day driving my brand new car, it died along the highway. My amazing husband came to rescue me. As for the car... I'd like to drive it off a cliff and laugh as I watch is fall.
But today as I sat in my dead car, a new thought came to me.
"When is the last time you actually RELIED on God?" I tend, as most people, to get things done myself. When I hit a titanium wall (screw bricks, I can push my way through those, I am stubborn) it is only then that I realize I have a Friend willing to help me even in the small stuff and usually I only "use" him to get me through the big stuff. I am such a loser. If I treated any of you that way, would you want to be my friend? Well, I wouldn't be yours if you did that to me.

I know that God did not make my car die. He knew it would happen, but he also knew it would be a great chance for me to turn to Him for help, rather then just get mad, overwhelmed and go to bed. (Which is where I am now.)
So I will work on it. I cannot say that I am so good that I had this revelation and then took action. I am still human, and it is extremely difficult to submit and to let go. I am trying to trust God with all my heart, but I know I am a work in progress. So if any of you have a moment today, say a little prayer for me.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Saga of my DMV Visit

In recent news...
Yesterday I went to obtain my new driver's license. I remembered that it was the big day yesterday (because the DMV testing area is only open on Wednesdays during very limited hours) on my way to work. The thought suddenly struck me that I would be getting a new picture taken-- one that I would be stuck with for the next several years. I quickly checked my outfit to make sure it was worthy of being on my license. Not so much. I was wearing a hot pink t-shirt, which I am positive I would look back on and realize how much fashion sense I lacked "in my younger years." So I decided I would wear my fashionable jean-jacket, with a faux white fleece collar, which I just happened to have with me.

After getting to work, I spent several minutes in front of the mirror pulling at my hair trying to decide up? or down? up? or down? (I literally put it up, studied it, then put it down, studied it, and so on.) Finally I achieved a satisfactory look, though it was not what I would have chosen if I had been thinking ahead. But nonetheless, satisfactory.

I waited all morning, and through lunchtime, until finally the big moment arrived when I could pack up the babe in the car, and head to the DMV (as they are only open from 12:30-3:45). The drive was a pleasant one, characterized by several quick glances into the mirror to make sure my face had not developed a scar or uncontrollable acne in the past fifteen minutes.
But I arrived in the same condition I left in, much to my relief. I happily walked into the building and got in line to take my knowledge test. After waiting a few minutes, I noticed a sign outside the door that proclaimed I needed another "primary source of identification in addition to my out-of-state license." Oh no! I paniced. Wait! I have my social security card. No problem. I will just wait in line, and surely she will take that. Calm down.

My turn came, and I presented her with my old license, and said in a challenging tone,
"I just saw that sign that says I need another form of ID. Will you take a social security card?" There was a message in my voice that just dared her to defy me. But she just chewed casually on her gum, and without skipping a beat, she said "Birth certificate or marriage license."
My eyes grew big and I quickly shot back "Can't I use my social security card?"
"Nope. Birth certificate or marriage license."

Well, since I don't normally carry these documents with me everywhere I go, I gave her one of those "dagger-in-my-eye" looks and turned around to storm out the door. I prepared myself so carefully for this moment. I drove all the way here for this. And most of all, I WAS EXCITED, and now she ruined it!
As I was turning to leave, she explained in a very calm voice that I could still take my knowledge test, but that I would have to bring back the correct documents before they would release my license to me.

This is the point where I felt like a fool. I was making such a big deal and being so mean (even more so in my mind) toward this lady, and the whole time she was not, in fact, planning to ruin my fun. I sheepishly took the test she handed to me and sat down.

Don't worry. I passed. But now I have to wait until next Wednesday, between 12:30-3:45 to go back and get my new license. This time I will be prepared for my picture.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Park Rangers

So we went camping this weekend in my sweet home town. We got all the gear packed up in the back of our tiny Ford and headed off for a weekend of campfires and s'mores! We met some good friends of ours, Abby and Ben, and set up our temporary homestead.

If any of you have even been camping, you know that the rangers, well, don't have anything to do but sneak up on people and scare the living daylights out of as many as possible. I really wouldn't be surprised if they make a game out of it and go back to their post, pick up their dry-erase marker, and tally how many "scares" they just acheived.
Here is our story...

We got to the campsite at about 8pm, and quickly got everything in place. While I was blowing up our air mattress, we realized that Ben had grabbed the wrong mattress for Abby and him. As we unfolded it, we found a twin size air mattress that had holes in it. (Not too useful, folks.) We stoked up a blazing fire and had a delicious meal of potatoes and steak. Abby and I settled down into our camp chairs to enjoy the warmth of the fire, while Ben and Jared drove home to retrieve a bigger air mattress. Well obviously Abby and I got to talking and laughing and catching up. After we had covered all the basics, like who is dating who, and who dumped who, and who likes who, and who looks good in that outfit or this haircut, we moved on to more insightful topics. It went like this...(edited for length purpose, the conversation lasted at least 5 minutes)

Naomi: "I think it is so weird when women refer to their period as being 'on the rags.'"
Abby: "I know! Some of the women at my church say that all the time, but that is because they actually use rags. All I can think of is a big white diaper with clothespins!
Naomi: "Ugh! Can you imagine wearing a diaper? That would be so awful and bulky!"
Abby: "No wonder they all wear jumpers! A diaper wouldn't fit under normal clothing!"
Naomi: "[laughter] I can't believe they wear a whole diaper!"
[Enter fat, bearded park Ranger.]
After throwing out that last comment in an excited voice, I turned my head slightly and saw, mid-laugh, that a park ranger was standing about 5 feet away, with a junior ranger cowering behind him. Now I will tell you the laughter died pretty fast. It was at this point that he decided to click on his flashlight to "warn" us of his approach. Good plan there Stan. We have absolutely now clue how long he and his cowering junior ranger (who actually looked like he belonged on a California beach with his spiky brown hair and dark tan skin-- very out of place) had been standing there. In any case, I am pretty sure they learned a little more about how women use rags.
After they left, Abby and I tried to figure out how they were so stealthy in their approach and how long, in fact, they had been standing there listening to our less then kosher conversation!

I think they just wanted to learn about the technique of rag wearing, because they really didn't have much to say once we noticed their presence. They informed us that is was now quiet hours. I can honestly say that we were being so quiet that you would have to be standing 5 feet away to hear what we were saying. Maybe they just wanted to take the opportunity to check out some cute girls, because as they turned to leave, the fat ranger turned and asked,
"Is it just you two girls here tonight?"
Abby quickly and emphatically replied "No! Our husbands are coming back any minute!"
At that ranger mumbled "Oh" and they turned and walked away into the darkness.

Blasted park rangers. Go eat a doughnut.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Well no birds this morning-- I think I was awake before even the early birds. I will have to put away my harmonica for now, the only instrument I have with which to frighten away my feathered enemies.
(Just so you all don't mistake me for a loser, like Taylor Hicks, I don't really have a harmonica.)

On to new things...
I have recently regained my interest in jewelry-making. This is a hobby I started last spring, and really enjoyed it. But once we started getting serious about moving, the jewelry hobby had to be put on hold, because it is a semi-expensive hobby. But yesterday I pulled out the paper-bag full of beads and string, and got to work. It is a really fun hobby that lets all of your creative juices run wild, and you can really turn out a beautiful piece of work with very little effort. Hopefully I will be able to expand upon my collection as time goes on, and money becomes more abundant!

As long as I am talking about hobbies, I will take a moment to express how excited I am to be going on a quilting retreat this fall! I already have a pattern for my quilt, thanks to Erin! I find myself perusing the fabric section every time we stop at Wal-Mart. I am afraid I haven't got an eye yet for what king of fabric will look good in the grand scheme of a quilt. I have always had trouble picturing anything with my "mind's eye." Speaking of which, do you believe that is a male/female thing? I have heard that men think better in pictures, and women think better in words. Is that true? Could that possibly explain my lack of ability to picture how something will look before actually seeing it that way?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In the Morning Light

Today, I had a fabulous chance to soak up the morning hours... in bed... asleep. In other words, this morning I had the chance to SLEEP IN. However, at the time of the morning when the sun just starts to peek up over the distant horizon and flood the sky with the radiant morning light; when all the world is peaceful and hushed; when everything just seems so blissful...
a frickin' PLATOON OF PSYCHOTIC BIRDS LANDED DIRECTLY OUTSIDE MY WINDOW. It sounded like I had been transported to an aviary full of demented, deranged, crack-brained birds. These birds were so loud and so hysterical in their chirping, that I am fairly sure that if I had poked my little finger out the window at them, it would never come back in again! Thoughts rushed intstantly into my head of strangulation and BB guns. (I seem to be a little irrational in the morning, before my brain wakes up fully.) Those ideas dismissed (not because of their absurdity, but rather because I could not find an EASY way of making either work), I stormed out of bed like a grumpy little 6-year-old, complete with a pout on my face, and slammed the window shut.

There! I showed those birds who is boss around here! Way to go, Naomi!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Power of Worship

I am feeling a little on the down side today... a little thoughtful, a little weary, a little discouraged. There is nothing in particular that I can pinpoint these feelings on, it is just one of those times where everything seems to come at you a little askew.

It is in these times that I begin to grasp the power of worship. I was cleaning today at a friend's house and I flipped on the radio. Finding nothing interesting to listen to, I perused the CDs laying nearby. I found one that contained many of the worship songs I knew from church. I put it in and turned it up LOUD, as no one was in the house but me. As the song took off, I found myself singing along at the top of my lungs, and tears sprang to my eyes. I stopped cleaning and just let the music surround me. I wept and sang and drowned myself in the moment (and glanced out the window to make sure my weeping fit would not be discovered by the family coming home.) But in that moment, with my eyes all smeary and wet, I realized how much one little worship song can feed you spiritually, and how desperately I need to be fed.

We recently changed churches and I have begun to realize that this new church is not giving me as much spiritual food as I need. The worship time in a service is vital to me. When the songs are so simplistic and do not express what is in your heart, it is hard to feel like you were engaged. I have often times come away feeling that we just barely scratched the surface-- a surface that I have already barely scratched before. I am ready to move forward, to dive in deeper, to LEARN knew and wonderful things, and to be completely infatuated with God.

I am really excited about what God has waiting for me. I think the near future holds a lot of growing and learning and stretching. That is my prayer. That is my desire.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Do You Understand my Blog Name Now?

You see I am not much of a big talker. I am really a great listener though. I have been told numerous times that I am a difficult person to talk to. Let me tell you right now, I am sorry! I am a work in progress, and if you don't want to wait around to assisst in this change, check back in about 6 months or so and check out my progression. Otherwise, thanks to all my loyal friends who are willing to stick around and cure me from this ailment.
So I have concluded that either I must have extremely low brain activity, or I am just wired in such a way that when I want to talk the most (i.e. when I am with friends), I have nothing to say.

But I can't believe that my brain activity is that low, because thoughts are constantly racing through my head. I guess I just don't think most of them are important enough to say out loud. They consist of thoughts like "that dog is smelly" or "wow, it's bright out." You know, stupid unimportant thoughts that if allowed to constantly leak out of my mouth, would make me into a "blabber" rather than a "listener." Honestly, which one is better, people? A person who talks too much, or too little? I'll tell you what's better-- a happy medium. (i'm screwed)

I think I am getting better at this though. I have to a certain extent ignored my own rule and simply stated whatever is on my mind. To my surprise, most of the time this does not end in disaster. Half the time people don't closely listen to what you say anyways, so you can really get away with saying a lot of meaningless crap and they love you all the more for it. The other half of the time, the thoughts that escape my mouth are so stupid that the're funny.

Just want ya'll to know that if you ever catch me in a "quiet mood" (ya'll are probably laughing right now saying "don't you mean if we ever catch you in a talking mood?"), give me a break, I'm trying.

Interview with Rick Warren

Here is an interview I came across by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, author of "A Purpose Driven Life." He tackles the question "What is the purpose of life?" I thought his answers were very insightful and right-on! Check it out.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lethargy, meet your match

Do ya'll have any days where you just feel like crap? There are a million things to do, some of which you really wouldn't mind doing. But on a day like this, you just don't have the energy or motivation to do anything. This is one of those days for me. I feel lethargic and sluggish. I really hate this mood, but I am not sure I have the motivation to pull myself out of it. I know there is a way to overcome the cloud of inactivity, but it usually involves gritting your teeth and throwing yourself into some form of activity, whether it be going on a walk, doing laundry or getting out of the house. Well here is my current line of thought... "I am far too tired to go on a walk, besides which the sun is scorching right now. I vaccuumed the floor first thing after I got up this morning. And finally, I am stuck at home with no means of transportation. Even if there was another option, I am pretty sure I would find another excuse to get out if it."

All of this is floating through my head while at the same time I hate being lethargic and I would love to get out and do something with my time. It is a beautiful day and I know I am wasting it away walking aimlessly around the house. I have become an official time-waster. A name I am not too proud of earning, but I have nontheless earned it in full.

Tomorrow is a new day, and more importantly,Wednesday, which is the day I start working again. I hope to leave this new name in a cloud of dust behind me. No more wasting time when you've got a baby to look after. She will keep me busy for sure. Never a dull moment. :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

O Little Town of Hugo

So obviously everyone already knows they are beautiful and this is an issue that only I struggle with.

Tonight I am off to a Labor Day picnic with family and friends. I am pretty excited. Life can get lonley up here in Hugo. But this little town is really making the push to become a grown-up, big town. We already have 2 signs of progress leading the way into the future: A brand new Festival Foods (with an entire section of the store devoted to gourmet and international cheeses), and a Dunn Brothers Coffee Shop (attatched, of course, to the Festival Foods-- these progress-pushers need to stick together). Of course, Hugo also has all the new town-home development (in which we live), but in order to get the the Festival (which is only about 2 miles down the road) you drive through the booming neighborhood, past the brand new middle school and hit a T in the road. At this point, your car is sitting across from the horse farm and apple orchard and miles of rolling hills. You are now officially in the country. As you drive along this country road, you will pass the typical country farms with their broken-down tractors rusting over and barns with collapsed roofs. Then, just as quickly as you got lost in the rolling hills, you immerge into the most developed part of our little town, and into the parking lot of Festival Foods.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Excerpts from a beautiful book

For those who are interested, here are some excerpts from John Eldredge's book Captivating, as previously discussed in my post Beautiful.

"Beauty is the essence of a woman. We want to be perfectly clear that we mean both a physical beauty and a soulful/spiritual beauty. The one depends upon and flows out of the other. Yes, the world cheapens and prostitutes beauty, making it all about a perfect figure few women can attain. But Christians minimize it too, or overspiritualize it, making it all about 'character.' We must recover the prize of Beauty. The church must take it back. Beauty is too vital to lose." (p. 36)

"Every woman has a beauty to unveil.
Every women.
Because she bears the image of God. She doesn't have to conjure it, go get it from a salon, have plastic surgery or breat implants. No, beauty is an essence that is given to every woman at her creation." (p. 42)

" is God who longs for Romance; it is God who longs to be our ezer [treasure]; it is God who reveals beauty essential to life. You are the image bearer of this God. That is why you long for those things too. There is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperatly needs." (p. 42)

"Finally, most women doubt very much that they have any genuine beauty to unveil. It is, in fact, our deepest doubt. When it comes to the issues surrounding beauty, we vacillate between striving and resignation. New diets, new outfits, new hair color. Work out; work on your life; try this new discipline or that new program for self-improvement. Oh, forget it. Who cares anyway? Put up a shield and get on with life. Hide. Hide in busyness; hide in church activities; hide in depression. There is nothing captivating about me. Certainly not inside me. I'll be lucky to pull it off on the outside." (p. 45)

"Controlling women are 'the sortof women' C.S. Lewis said, 'who live for others. You can tell the others by their hunted expression.'
Controlling women tend to be very well rewarded in this fallen world of ours. We are the ones to receive corporate promotions. We are the ones put in charge of our women's ministries. Can-Do, Bottom-Line, Get-It-Done kinds of women. Women who have never even considered that our Martha Stewart perfectionism might not be a virtue. We have never considered that by living a controlling and domineering life, we are really refusing to trust our God. And it had also never dawned on us that something precious in us is lost. Something the world needs very much from us." (p. 53)

"We need not be ashamed that our hearts ache; that we need and thirst and hungar for much more. All of our hearts ache. All of our hearts are at some level unsatisfied and longing. It is our insatiable need for more that drives us to our God. What we need to see is that all our controlling and our hiding, all our indulging, actually serves to separate us from our hearts. We lose touch with those longings that make us women. And the substitutes never, ever resolve the deeper issue of our souls." (p. 58)

Now reading back over these excerpts, I want to make clear that I DO NOT believe there is anything wrong with being an active woman in the church. I do, however, caution you not to hide, or push aside, or coverup, or ignore your beauty by staying busy. There are certain qualities that God graced women with-- qualities of nurturing and compassion for example-- that are needed in the church. This concept of beauty is important to get ahold of to bring out the genuine qualities God has gifted you with.