Monday, June 30, 2014

Hits and Misses (June 22-28)

Here we go again with another look back at the week that was.


  • This week, I introduced Mom to online shopping. As we talked about the physical demands of weekly shopping trips, it came to light that the household items were the things she hated. They're so heavy that she doesn't buy large sizes, and their cost isn't great in the smaller sizes. I convinced her to let me order them from this week to see if that might make things a little easier and more cost efficient. While it's been annoying that the 5-item order has been shipped in 3 separate packages (and we're still waiting on the last one), it has been much easier. I think it will be the wave of the future here in the Geriatric Ward.
  • Along the same lines, Mom and I have agreed to try working with coupons for a few weeks to see if we can save some money. I've been shocked to find that the process of clipping coupons is actually rather relaxing in the midst of a full day. It doesn't take too much time and once you establish a process for organizing the coupons, things flow rather simply. We'll keep an eye on our savings in the next few weeks and I'll let you know how things go.
  • Big Brother premiered this week!!! My summer is complete now! I really like the cast of season 16 and the twists are out of this world. I'm ready to watch the next episode NOW!
  • Dad went back for another visit to the ENT on Monday. We're still waiting on test results and that's rather frustrating. I got a call early Friday morning from the doctor's office asking for Dad's contact number. I gave the information, but when I spoke to Dad that afternoon he still had not heard anything and there were no missed calls on his phone. I called the nurse that afternoon, but it appears everyone had already closed up shop for the weekend. I'm really hoping to have answers from this scan before we head to the sleep center this morning.
  • As much as I hated to, I had to decline the job offer from OPSU this week. It was simply a matter of money. The salary was way too low for the job described. More importantly, I couldn't say with any degree of certainty that I could have survived on this incredibly low income. (You can read more about the job offer and my decision process in an upcoming post here.)
  • Since I turned down the job, I had to resume prepping for the fall semester. There are some things ahead that I'm not looking forward to and was hoping to avoid by taking a new job. Oh well, I guess that's the way it goes sometimes. I'm trying to break things apart and do a little each day so the things I hate are a bit more manageable.
And there you have it. Here's hoping for an incredible week ahead.

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Horrible Church Camp Experience

Camping season is here. Many kids are attending camps of all types this summer. While growing up, I attended church camp outside of Mountain View, Arkansas. I enjoyed meeting up with friends from around the state each year despite the oppressive heat and the high population of critters. As I grew, the negative aspects of camp quickly outweighed the joy I might experience.

When I accepted a position in children's ministry many years later, I decided it was time to give summer camp another shot. I had long recognized the positive influence the camping ministry could have on the life of a child. I simply hoped that my perspective would be different as a member of the staff.

I agreed to direct music for a pre-teen camp in Tennessee. Little direction was provided, so I set out to work and put together the best plan I could. When I arrived at the campgrounds, I was informed that I would also be serving as a cabin leader. I hadn't prepared for this massive responsibility at all, but I wanted to be a team player and agreed to help out.

As the week progressed, I found myself constantly trying to wrangle all of these 12-year-old boys. When I went to the director for help, I was told that I had been assigned all of the campers no one else wanted to deal with. In addition to campers with special needs and medical conditions, I learned that several of the boys in my care dealt with severe anger issues. While these facts were known by camp staff, no one thought it advisable to inform the adult who was directly responsible for their care. When one of the campers had to be rushed to the ER because he had broken the hand he smashed into a concrete wall, I was suddenly accused of neglecting my responsibilities as a cabin leader. (Did anyone notice that I was also trying to direct the music for this camp? Too many hats for one head!) I was insulted and furious. In that moment, I knew that I would never participate in a summer camp again.

So, I'll encourage kids to go to camp. I'll help transport them there and supply financial assistance if needed. I'll just have to think long and hard before ever returning to camp as a staffer. That one horrible, nightmarish week was enough to make me skittish for the rest of my life!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Revisiting Past Mistakes

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and do something all over again? Maybe you've learned from past mistakes and would like a chance to get it right. I know that I have made lots of errors in life. Sometimes I find myself wishing I could simply yell, "Do over!" and get another shot at things.

A few days ago, I received a call from a friend who has accepted a position as worship minister. Since I served in that capacity for 14 years, my friend called to ask for advice and suggestions. We talked about everything from song selection to rehearsal scheduling. As I continued to reflect on my time in ministry, I was reminded of the many mistakes I had made over the years. Most of my mistakes were not related to music; my failures came in handling people and criticism. I really wish I could go back and do some things differently. I would be much more quick to admit when I had been offended. I would stand up to confrontational people in a loving spirit rather than helplessly withering under their viciously abusive attacks. I would be more patient with those who expressed preferences and opinions about music, worship, and life that were different from mine. I would find a mentor with whom I could freely share my hurts, questions, concerns, and frustrations. I wonder if I had learned these lessons earlier in my ministry and handled some things differently if I would still be actively involved in music ministry today.

Alas, none of us can turn the clock back and take a second stab at past mistakes. The only thing we can do is admit our failures to the One who sees all, ask for forgiveness when necessary, and move forward. It's all part of the process that is spiritual growth. Facing our mistakes is never something we enjoy, but we are certainly made better when we come to terms with our failures. It's only in admitting our errors that we learn how to become better people, ministers, and Christians. For now, I'll continue to look in the proverbial mirror and carefully examine what I find there.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hits and Misses (June 15-21)

Here's another look at the week that was.


  • Father's Day was a great day in the Geriatric Ward. There was lots of laughter and joy around the table as we celebrated Dad. We're thankful to still have him with us and treasure the times we all get to be together.
  • My sister and her oldest daughter headed to Youth Camp in Mountain View, Arkansas this week. That meant that the youngest grandchild joined the crazies in Crawfordsville. It really was a lot of fun having Sara around. We got to go shoe shopping as well as an "interesting" trip to the store for Pop. We were just happy to get to add ice cream to the shopping list! It's been a joy to see what a difference a few years have made and how Sara's growing up into a responsible young woman.
  • I was without use of my piano for several days this week (more on that below), but the great people at First Baptist Marion, where I've been attending church for a while, allowed me to spend a few hours in the sanctuary getting some practice done. It was great to rehearse in a different space on a different instrument. It was a little funny playing Chopin, Clementi, and Bach while the sanctuary was being vacuumed, but I have done stranger things over the years.
  • After Mom and I went to church and lunch on Sunday, we still got home early enough that I could get some practicing in before everyone arrived in Crawfordsville for Father's Day. While practicing, I went to do a black key glissando with my right hand when something didn't feel quite right. I looked down and realized that one of the black keys was sliding along with my hand.  Not a happy thing when I really need to get some practicing done.
  • I called the music store on Monday morning to arrange for a technician to come do the repair. When 24 hours had passed and I still hadn't heard from Amro, I started searching the Internet for the technician's contact information. That was harder to find than you might expect. I know his first name, but never remember his last! When I finally found it, I called him directly and got set up for a visit on Thursday.  Imagine my surprise when Amro FINALLY decided to respond to my message late Wednesday afternoon. It's probably a good thing that I was in the supermarket at the time or I would have probably said a few more things in a not so gentle way about the poor customer service they have displayed recently.
  • Since I wasn't able to practice, I took the time to finally sit down and watch Gravity. I've had the rental for a while now, but just never got around to putting the DVD in. I was underwhelmed and glad that I had waited for the rental. I suppose the visual images were good, but I really didn't think the film lived up to the all the hype it had received.
  • Now that summer school is nearing its halfway point, I am really starting to feel the effects of only teaching 2 hours each week. The days at home are long. I'm not bored (yet), but it seems as though each day drags on and on. At least I'm getting some things accomplished though.
There you have it.  Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Road Trip Lessons

I've always enjoyed taking road trips. It's a great way to see the country and provides plenty of opportunities to be quiet with your thoughts. Inevitably, a road trip will always teach you things you didn't know about your world and yourself.

My most recent road trip took me to Guymon, Oklahoma. Guymon is a small town in the Oklahoma Panhandle, not far from the Kansas border. As I was driving in, I learned that this area of the Midwest is quite beautiful and sparsely populated. The rolling hills of green were only interrupted by mesa formations (think of New Mexico, just on a smaller scale).  The natural beauty is enhanced by the many ranches featuring cattle, horses, and various other animals. I truly felt like I was returning to the Wild West! While I appreciated the views, I'm not entirely sure I'd want to live here for very long.

I also learned that an Oklahoma thunderstorm is no joke! Once safely at my hotel, I grabbed my keys to get the last few things out of my car. I opened the door and saw sheets of rain with enormous gusts of wind. This storm had popped up with little warning in less than five minutes! I'm thinking this might be a troublesome storm; the hotel staff informed me that this was normal and no reason for concern. Sure enough, the storm passed as quickly as it blew in.

Lastly, I learned that I have a sensitivity to artificial sweetener on this road trip. How did I learn this? Well, that's a story that most of you will find extremely funny. Take my advice now and put your beverage down. You'll thank me later.

Once I made it to Tulsa, I had a bad case of the munchies. I didn't want to gorge myself with chocolate because I still had several hours of driving ahead of me. I opted for a package of Twizzlers. Once I got to the car, I noticed that this bag of red licorice was sugar free. Great! I had made a responsible decision without realizing it.

The miles passed as I chomped on the red ropes. Before I knew what had happened, I had eaten the entire bag. That's when I noticed the warning printed on the back of the product: "Persons with sensitivity to artificial sweetener may experience a laxative effect." Ok, that's not what I wanted to hear, but how bad could it really be? This is candy, after all...right?

Remember what I said about the Panhandle? It's sparsely populated. Nothing around. No gas stations. No porcelain thrones. As the miles passed, a mounting desperation was growing in the pit of my stomach. Just as I am contemplating finding relief on the shoulder of the road, I see a gas station! Hallelujah! At first, I feared I was hallucinating! As it drew closer, I knew relief was coming soon.

Imagine my frustration when I stepped inside only to find the bathrooms were closed for cleaning! Back to my car I (carefully) go.  My foot became heavier than usual as I raced for the hotel some 10 miles away. I have never been so happy to see a hotel lobby with clearly marked signs in all my life.  I was also thankful that I hadn't consumed a lot of food on this road trip (other than the offensive Twizzlers, that is).

I'll spare you the remaining details, but let's just say that the rest of the evening was very "eventful" and raucous! And THAT'S how I learned I have a sensitivity to artificial sweeteners. Now, aren't you glad you didn't read this while you had a drink in your hand?  :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


In the past few months, I've become obsessed with the television series, Brothers and Sisters. This family drama, currently available on Netflix, centers around the highs and lows of the Walker family. At the series' beginning, the patriarch suffered a massive heart attack that sent the family reeling. While dealing with their loss, the adult children of Mr. Walker began to learn of the secret life their father led. The rest of the series thus far has explored the devastating effects of these secrets.

It seems that secrets are highly prevalent in our society. Because they are so common, we sometimes fail to acknowledge just how destructive they can be. By their very nature, secrets are truth withheld. They are intended to keep another from grasping the entire picture. I'm not talking about the secret kept from the honoree at a surprise party. When we look carefully at our big secrets, they are often a lie of omission. We allow others to believe an untruth by not providing them accurate information.

Secrets can quickly tie you up in knots. In order to protect the secret, we find ourselves having to hide more and more. In reality, secrets beget secrets! It's quite possible to get so involved in withholding information that we forget what the secret is . . . and that's when things start to unravel. As secrets unravel, we begin to experience some degree of shame while our reputation and honesty is called into question by those we were keeping the secret from. We find ourselves in a downward spiral as the truth is revealed in its entirety.

What would happen if we just avoided secrets from the beginning? I think we would find that our lives would be much easier all around. Rather than living in fear that our secret might be exposed, we would have the pleasure of simply existing in a state of openness and honesty. Whatever secret you're holding onto today, I encourage you to simply let it go, deal with the consequences, and move forward in honesty. After all, "the truth shall set you free." (John 8:32)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hits and Misses (June 8-14)

Let's take another look at the week that was.


  • On Tuesday, I accompanied Dad to an appointment with an ENT to discuss his hearing loss. Dr. Long was very informative and verified what we already knew. Since I was in the exam room, I was able to be proactive and begin lining up the next steps in trying to solve the problem. We have several tests coming in the next few weeks, but I'm hoping that we'll have hearing aids by the end of summer.
  • I made a trip to Guymon, Oklahoma this week to check things out and see if I could actually imagine myself living there for a few years. I was pleasantly surprised to find that things were better than I had imagined. Sure, the place stunk and there were cows everywhere you looked. My allergies were going crazy between the blowing dust and rolls of hay. Still, it was nice to know that this town in the middle of nowhere was not ENTIRELY devoid of civilization. Now I have to do some number crunching and determine if the job offer is feasible for me.
  • Black out curtains are a blessing from Heaven! While away, both hotel rooms were extremely dark and I slept soundly and deeply. Since there was no work room just on the other side of my bedroom wall, I slept until nearly 9am (or later) both days and got some much needed rest.
  • As I'm writing this post, I am exhausted because of the long drive that I experienced this week. It took almost 12 hours to reach Guymon on Wednesday. After driving around the town and surrounding areas on Thursday morning, I drove to the OPSU campus to meet with members of the fine arts faculty. By 2:30, I was on the road again in order to make sure I was back in Arkansas for Father's Day.  After waking in Tulsa on Friday morning, I decided to drive over to Eureka Springs for one more night of rest before returning to the chaos of the geriatric ward.
  • When I arrived in Eureka, I learned that Blues Fest was happening this weekend, so there were absolutely no vacancies to be found! So I stopped for a quick lunch and an ice cream cone before hopping back on the road.
  • I left Eureka just 30 minutes before I could have been home if I hadn't taken my detour. Instead, I drove an extra 5 hours. I made the choice, now I'm paying the piper!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Weighing the Possibilities

This summer, the job hunt is at the forefront of my mind. Since earning my degree, I've been piecing together a living through several part-time positions. It's not ideal, but it allows me to continue working in my field. I long for the day that I finally land a full-time position.

Even though I'm desperate for a job, I don't want to make a decision without weighing the pros and cons of the position extensively. Last week, I had a phone interview for a position that pays just over $20,000 annually. The interview went well and I know I'm a contender for the job. (Actually, I was offered the position a few years ago and declined because of "red flags" everywhere.) After the phone call, I continue to have some trepidation.

UPDATE: I received an offer for the position on Friday afternoon, June 6. This post was written earlier that morning and remains in its original form.

During the interview, I was informed that finalists will not be brought to campus. The position will be offered "site unseen." Numerous references have been made to the extreme rural setting. Honestly, all of this talk has sounded more like a warning to me. I'm all for being adventurous, but I don't see myself agreeing to sign a contract and move having never visited the locale before. My immediate question was what are you hiding? I don't think the intention is to deceive, but it certainly feels as though there is more going on here than I am being told!

The other signal in my head is the timing. In 2012, I was offered the job without an interview in late July -- mere weeks before classes started. Now, the job is being interviewed at the very beginning of the season. With lots of other applications out for jobs I would like to obtain, am I really going to verbally accept a position that I have reservations about? Truthfully, I submitted this application with the thought that it would be a back-up plan -- a last resort, of sorts -- if nothing else was offered.

All of this may be entirely premature. No offer has been made yet. Still, I have to wonder if it's a responsible act to turn down a position I am not certain is a good fit for me when I've been on the hunt for five years. Or is it foolishness to think something better will come alone. At the beginning of this summer without a steady income, I'm feeling desperate; keeping a level head is proving to be challenging. Prayers for wisdom, discernment, and direction are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Only in Arkansas

I have spent most of my life living in Arkansas. For all its natural beauty (though there isn't much in my part of the state), I often refer to it as "the armpit of America."  (I suppose "the fuzzy navel" might be more anatomically correct though.)  As I was driving across the state for a quick getaway, I began to think about some of the things that make Arkansas a unique experience.

  • Only in Arkansas is it considered appropriate to display a red hog everywhere! Household banners flap in the wind, overweight women parade about with a pig plastered across her chest, and every man has owned a Razorback cap at some point.  When my high school class visited former President Reagan in his Los Angeles office, we presented him with a hat in the shape of a Razorback.  (Cue the music now....."black gold, Texas tea.....")  Today, I saw a hog plastered on a toilet seat.  Really?!?!?!
  • Only in Arkansas will you find such eloquently named locales like Greasy Corner, Toad Suck, and Piggett.  Do we really need to ask why the rest of the nation laughs at us?  "Where are you from?"  "Arkansas."  "Really? Little Rock?"  "No, I live in Hog Jaw. It's about 2 hours west of Little Rock."   In case you think I'm making this stuff up, visit Funny Town Names.  Lots of states have them, but Arkansas has more than its fair share of humorous city names.
  • Sooooeeee Pig!!!!!  Enough said.  Only in Arkansas are our institutes of higher learning associated with their accurate imitation of a dying farm animal in heat!
Thankfully, despite the many strange -- dare I say, embarrassing -- things associated with the state, I have found that Arkansas is home to some of the nicest folks you'll find anywhere around. Thankfully the kissin' cousins of lore and the Washington clowns are not a true representation of our people.  (Did you really think I would leave Bill & Hill out of this little Arkansas rant? Not on your life!)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hits and Misses (June 1-7)

Summer is upon us. Here's a look back at the week that was.


  • The week started off with a bang. I had the pleasure of attending worship with my mom since Dad was sick and unable to drive. With all the changes that have occurred in the past year, the thing that I miss most is being in church with my family. When it happens, I treasure it.
  • Summer school got under way this week. I've been teaching every semester for the past 6 years at MSCC and have been wanting to take a break.  I never felt secure in my position to take a summer term off though. This summer, due to low enrollment, music appreciation was cancelled! It's a wonderful feeling to know that I don't have to get moving every morning and prepare to lecture uninterested students.
  • Mom and I have had lots of success this week with new chicken recipes.  Rather than giving you a blow-by-blow account, I'll just link the recipes we enjoyed and let you check them out for yourself. We really liked the white chicken enchiladas, cheesy ranch chicken, chicken Alfredo ravioli bake, loaded baked potato and chicken casserole, and baked Parmesan garlic chicken
  • To end the week, the geriatric patients and I went to Germantown and met my sister for dinner at J. Alexander's! Eating here is always a treat, but not one we get to enjoy too often. As usual, I ordered the French Dip and loved every morsel. I inherited a glass of lemonade from Mom that was amazing. When creme brûlée was mentioned as a dessert option, I couldn't resist. (Thanks, Valdez!) More than the food, the company was very needed. I got to talk to someone under the age of 70 and let her take charge of the parental units for a little while. Phew!

  • It has been a week of sickness in the geriatric ward! Dad started having issues last week with lots of coughing and congestion. When he went to the doctor on Monday, there was no evidence of infection in his lungs (PTL), but the cough was worrisome. He's on a mega round of antibiotics and cough syrup, so he's been in bed much of the week. 
  • On Sunday evening, I started to develop a sore throat with cough as well. I knew it was going to be a busy week, so I headed straight to the doctor. I'm feeling much better, but still on a round of antibiotics to make sure we get all of the infection before it blows up to the level of Dad's illness.
  • Even though I'm excited that my class was cancelled, it also came with the realization that there will be a major hit to my finances this summer. I'm teaching one unit of summer work and I don't have anything else lined up. I'm doing a little online work and checking for other openings, but there doesn't seem to be many openings for the summer. I'm trying to keep my head up, but it's tough when you don't see money coming in.  So....if you know of a summer opening that allows me to teach my class on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning at 5:30, I'm all ears!
  • I have discovered this week that I HATE baked cod. Perhaps it was the seasoning. All I know is that I tasted fish for days after eating about 2 ounces of the stuff...and that was a struggle. I'll continue to take my fish oil supplements and hope that I'll reap some of the benefits of eating fish until I find something I can stand.
  • Dad has an appointment with an ENT on Tuesday. I had to complete the paperwork this week and it nearly killed me. It's so stressful trying to get information from my parents sometimes. The questions stress them out and they get snippy. That stresses me out when they place the burden on me. Let's just suffice it to say that Saturday morning was not a pleasant beginning to my weekend. 
  • There was an unexpected development in my job search this week. It's not that the result was unexpected, just the timing. Now I have some difficult decisions to make. In theory, it seems that the answer would be obvious; when I begin to consider all the implications to my finances and life, there are more questions than answers. Not a fun place to be in for the guy that really likes to have a clear cut path.

Friday, June 6, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with History

I adore reading a great novel. Lately, I've found myself drawn to historical fiction. I enjoy examining how events impacted the lives of the people living through them. It's fascinating to read a story that includes enormous political and military figures in the background. That's the case with my current book, The Winds of War by Herman Wouk.  The details of European events that led to the US involvement in World War II grab my attention while enriching the fictitious saga.

What I don't understand is why I don't share the same passion for family stories.  When my family gets together, it is inevitable that conversation will ultimately turn to the early years of my parents' marriage.  I've heard these stores forever, but I've never made a connection to them. They center around people and places that had little impact on my world. I quickly become bored and zone out.

Why do I do this? I suppose it's because those stories are the stories of my older siblings and not me. Of course, I understand that these stories are part of my family heritage. It's just that these places and people may as well be fairy tale characters.  I suppose that's part of the reason I don't enjoy the re-tellings; in a way, I become alienated with each repetition.  (I know that's not the intention. I'm not upset. Everyone, calm down!)

There are certain stories that do intrigue me. During the 1960s, my family experienced the National racial divide in a personal way.  I perk up when these stories begin because I have something to connect these tales to.  I try to sort out what was happening on the national scene while these events were playing out in Marianna, Arkansas.  I suppose that this is the one time where my family's stories become part of a greater American heritage.  Because this was an uncomfortable time (and probably requires examining issues they would rather ignore), the stories are mentioned briefly before moving on to happier memories.

I'll continue to listen (as though I have any other choice) and hope that a new story eventually comes to light. Maybe...just maybe....that will be the one that makes me understand my connection in the larger American saga.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Eureka Springs Highlights

At the end of last week, I slipped away for a quick trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  I first visited the city a few years ago and enjoyed the relaxed pace and friendly people.  This trip was much shorter but exactly what the doctor ordered.  Two things stood out that I want to tell you about in case you ever find yourself visiting Eureka Springs.

In a tourist town, food can be very expensive.  It can be hard to find a laid back restaurant that has
great food. After talking to a few locals, I found a great diner in Sparky's Roadhouse Cafe.  Conveniently located on the main thoroughfare, Sparky's is a bar and grill that features an amazing burger.  The meat is freshly ground and exceptionally moist. I had the Bistro Burger -- piled high with ham and brie. (The burger is also supposed to have mushrooms; not for this guy, though!)  All I can say is "Wow!"  With a huge side of fries and a soda, the meal was just over $10 and incredibly filling.  I'll definitely visit Sparky's on my next trip to Eureka Springs.

The absolute highlight of my trip was a session at Eureka Massage Center.  I only had one day in town, so I took a chance and emailed
Dominic Fabis to see if he might have an opening the next day.  Dominic's reply came quickly and was very helpful in providing directions.  The facility is a renovated home; the lower level has been transformed into a spacious studio.  After a brief consultation, I was treated to the best massage I have ever experienced.  The use of hot oils, aromatherapy, and deep tissue work relieved tension in muscles that I was not aware of!  Dominic was very sensitive to my comments about pressure while relying on his vast experience to identify the source of problems and address them thoroughly.  Surprisingly, this amazingly relaxing experience lasted for 90 minutes and cost only $65! I pay that regularly for 60 minutes with a much less talented practitioner in one of the spa chains.  If for no other reason than a massage, I'll certainly be planning a return trip to Eureka Springs later this summer!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hits and Misses (June 25-31)

Here's a look at the week that was.....


  • To celebrate the last week of summer break before returning to the classroom, I made a quick trip (only 2 days) to Eureka Springs. I didn't really do much of anything other than stroll around Old Town, eat, and read. But that's exactly the kind of vacation I needed. I'll be telling more about the highlights of the trip in Wednesday's post.
  • It feels great to actually have time to do some reading again. I can't be happy with just a small little novel though.  I'm plowing my way through Herman Wouk's The Winds of War and loving every minute of it.  I'm about 400 pages in and hope to finish this epic book by the end of the week. (We all need a goal of some sort, right?)
  • We discovered a new chicken recipe that we really enjoyed this week:  Rosemary Ranch Chicken. It was incredibly flavorful, super moist, and very easy to prepare. Mix up the marinade, store overnight, and grill for a few minutes. That's it!
  • It was very nice to receive some encouragement as a result of my blog post on my search for a new church home. One was from a dear friend that made me feel great. The other was a simple email from a stranger who had read my post. I sat on the edge of my bed in Eureka Springs as I read her message and was so thankful that God had spoken to me through her words. I think we can all use a reminder sometimes that a simple kind word can do wonders for a hurting heart. I'm very thankful to have been the recipient of the encouragement this week.
  • I've had enough of the rain already! It didn't rain on me all week....just enough unexpected showers to disrupt the day.  I had to shorten my trip to Eureka because of a scheduled work day at the geriatric ward. Of course, the bottom dropped out of the heavens while I was driving home and I had to crawl down the interstate with my hazards flashing.  Needless to say, we didn't get any work done because it was simply too wet.  I'm not bitter....but I could have had another day in the mountains!  Oh well, that just means I have to go back.
  • The check engine light is on in my car again. I won't fuss too much since the poor car has over 220,000 miles now. It is frustrating, though, that another light situation finally got resolved after the mechanic admitted damaging some sensors.  Nothing is quite as unsettling as having a light glowing on the dashboard while I'm still several hours from home....with no real grasp of exactly where I am.  (Hey, I just follow the instructions of the little British woman living inside my GPS!)
  • I've got a summer cold that I'm trying to outrun, but I'm afraid it's starting to catch up with me. Dad has been sick most of the week, but refused to go to the doctor. (Surprise!) I walk in the door, get covered in the germ-ridden air, and now I'm feeling less than great. It's not that bad, I know, but I'm really ready to get well for a while.  This has been a tough few months!
  • We love trying new recipes here in the geriatric ward, but there's nothing fun about recipes that bomb!  All of them came from Pinterest.  Here are the links to the things we won't be making again any time soon:  Baked Parmesan Paprika Chicken and Smoky Paprika Corn on the Cob. (Couldn't find the link for the corn recipe.  I deleted it as soon as I could! I'm beginning to think that it's the paprika that I don't like.)