Saturday, October 27, 2007
Our daughter, Rebecca, is the second best flute player in Lewisville (Texas) Independent School District. Wish her luck...regional's are next week! She will be playing in the district band...another musician in the family!
Her friend, Akietha, made district band too! Congratulations to both girls!
Friday, October 26, 2007
Some of what I am experiencing creates the feeling of being way on top of that first great big climb of the best roller coasters...you know the ones....you start out slow, the coaster is clicking away as you climb to the top of a huge mountain. The anticipation is great while you climb, seeing nothing but the top where you are headed. Once at the top, there is usually a few seconds where you have time to take in the view. When I do this, I get a thrill. I love to look all around! I feel big and tall and excited! I feel this way about the cruise that I am getting ready to take. I feel this way about my marriage. I feel this way about the new friendships that I am making and expect to make. I feel this way about Adam's upcoming graduation, his new girlfriend, and excitement over what is ahead for him. There is a certain anticipation about what is to come...the flying ride down the mountain...fast and invigorating, knowing that the ride is just beginning and there are a lot of unexpected tosses and turns along the way.
But some of what I am experiencing are the parts of the coaster that are low. I can't see anything but the tracks all around me...the places I have been, the places I want to go. Some of these places are in tunnels, dark and lonely tunnels. I can't see. It is scary. I feel this way about some friendships that have changed and the future of these relationships. I feel this way about wondering if my mom will ever walk. Sometimes, I even feel this way about some of the situations that have me on the top of this ride.
When I think about this and start to feel discouraged, I remember that I choose to go on these roller coasters. I have paid big money to go places and ride these things and even been known to ride then go right back in line to ride again. One time, I did that 4 times in a row - on purpose!
So, roller coaster emotions are not so bad. What I want to remember as I ride this ride are the fun parts. The scary parts only last a minute and they always contribute to the overall joy of the ride. I learn to be brave. I learn to hold on (to God). I learn to trust. I learn to have fun!
Aren't roller coasters fun? Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee.......
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
What made it even more interesting was the host of the Open House was a woman I went to Middle School and High School with. Also attending this Open House was her sister who had been one of my best friends in junior high! Keep in mind that I have not stayed in touch with either of these ladies until recently so we are coming up on 30 years since we laid eyes on one another. I asked my new friend, Ashley, along not only for something fun to do, but now you can see, for a little support. What if I didn't get along with these old friends of mine? What if I meet them again and can't wait to get out of there? I needed a back up plan, and if I had a friend with me, then I could make a quick escape!
So, I picked up Ashley, grabbed some Mexican food for dinner (like a good Texan) and drove out to the planned event. When we got there, I looked right into the face of my friend, Erin...who looked just like she did in 8th grade...only older! It was crazy! And the same with her sister, Kate! We had such a good time and I am so glad that I went. I can't thank my "new" friend, Ashley, enough....she was a trooper! Hanging out while the three of us reminisced. (never mind the impromptu drive to the airport and back...that is a whole different story!)
As I stared into the faces of these two, grown, successful women, I could see the faces of my childhood friends. It was amazing. It was cool. As we said our good byes and decided to keep in touch, I felt like I had accomplished something important. I can't describe exactly what I felt, but I shared with Ashley that I felt like I had history. I liked seeing who they had become and I liked them....still. I was comfortable with who I had become, and I liked me. And I like knowing that I know someone who has known me for over 30 years. There is something good about that.
Old friends, new friends, and old friends who have become new friends. Life is good.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
In recent months, meeting new people has been a major priority in my life. After relocating to Texas, my desire has been to build a network of friends here. This has allowed me opportunity to evaluate friends that I have held dear in the past, what made them a good friend, and even if they really are good friends. I have tried to take what I have learned from my conclusions and look for people who are good friends, healthy friends, and people who I think will be good for me and me for them.
I have noticed how many people, women, especially, will talk on and on about themselves and never ask a question about the life of the person they are talking to. It amazes me. Do they really care more about telling that other person all about them? Is that how they get to know others? I guess it doesn't occur to these type of people that to get to know someone, you should find out about them, not tell them about you. (exclusively) It should be a conversation that goes both ways, shouldn't it? These people really turn me off.
There are a few of my new friends who I have talked to quite a bit in the last few months, some of them about things that are important to me. I rejoice when I hear back from these friends with questions like, "How was your retreat?" "How do you feel about Adam's girlfriend coming to visit?", and last night, "How are YOU in all this?" I cannot express my gratitude for people who care about others. I pray that I am as interested and attentive to the things in thier lives. I try to follow up with things that they have shared with me....test results, job interviews, illnesses, family situations, and even hair appointments.
In my quest for healthy relationships, caring is a major priority in my list of characteristics for friends. I have done a little house cleaning as I have discovered that I have wasted some time in past relationships with people who can't see past themselves. (I am NOT talking about you, Ru...you are not like this) I have tried to figure out why these people have been attractive to me in the past. Maybe because I have taken this behaviour as openness. It might be, but if it is not reciprocal, then it is pride.
So, I have a new pet peeve. Well, I guess a new criteria. The friends that I am making with this in mind are a step above the average friend. They are warm and caring and fun and Christ-like. How blessed I am to have people like this in my life.
Romans 12:15, God tells us to, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."
It is impossible to do this if you don't pay attention to the interests and needs of others. Amen!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Here are the random things going through my head.
It is cold. I am not used to feeling cold. It makes my throat hurt. Well, that might be because after I got my flu shot, I thought I was going to die. I ended up with the pseudo-flu. That was a bummer. Maybe that's why my throat hurts. But I still don't like being cold. I guess I should be glad I am in Texas, where cold is not REALLY cold, like Minnesota. I lived there once. I think if one were to go "#1"outside in Minnesota, it would freeze!
Thinking of being cold makes me think I want to be warm. And warm I hope to be in less than two weeks when I go on a 7 day cruise in the Western Caribbean. Woo hoo! Grand Cayman's, Jamaica, and Cozumel...here I come!!!!
My son, Aaron's, girlfriend is getting a puppy on Friday. She is a Yorkie and her name is Minnie. I feel like I am getting a grandpuppy! I can't wait to see her, to hold her and to love on her. She will get to come over with Amy and hang out. Amy has agreed to take care of Minnie's piddles. See....just like a grandpuppy!
I ordered Adam's graduation announcements. He ordered his cap and gown. I think he might really graduate this December! It seems surreal. I can't wait. I don't know what is more exciting, having him graduate for his own achievement, or getting the raise in our income from all those years of tuition and housing costs that we paid for! What am I thinking...we still have Aaron in college?! But one down...two to go! Hooray.
And other news from Va Tech, Adam's girlfriend will be traveling home with us after graduation and spending Christmas with us. Wow! Is this the "take the girlfriend home to meet the family" thing? It looks like it is happening!
Rebecca and her boyfriend broke up. It was short lived. They like being friends better. I must say, I am glad about this. She is handling it very well.
My friend, Janie, that I sat next to at work...she had to move to a different department this week. I still see her, but she is not my next desk neighbor anymore. We still walk 30 minutes every day and eat lunch together though.
I had a dream that I visited my old church and nobody knew me. It was funny because they were meeting in a garage. I was sitting in an old pickup truck during the service. Whoever was in the driver's seat, backed us out of the garage and pulled back in again. When they pulled back in, they almost ran over an old lady. What is that all about??
Relationships are hard. I am looking forward to my vacation with my mom because it is an emotional break. She is the easiest person for me to be around because I can really, truly be myself. I am worn out emotionally in lots of ways. I need to find ways and relationships that revive and refresh. And not that everyone exhausts me, but I exhaust myself. My expectations are high and sometimes irrational. I wonder how I got this way? Am I a perfectionist? Controlling? Manipulative? Crazy? I just need to rest in the arms of my God, and be around my mom. sigh.
Random. What is it that my son calls this? Brain Dumping.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I never gave much thought to it after that. When I read across the scripture that she adorned, I simply read over it. It was a Psalm that she selected and one that I read, but had not zoned in on with the exception of the very last verse. This final verse in this Psalm has been my prayer many, many times. In fact the first date beside the final verse is October 1996 with the note, "Help me always do this."
Recently, however, I noticed that the "smile" of my face framed the passage almost perfectly. I thought I should read it again, this time with the idea that God might have helped my young child select this particular chapter. When I read it, tears welled up in my eyes. I was filled with joy! This verse expresses my heart, it was my prayer, it is all I believe about God, and I never paid close attention. I thanked Him for the drawing of my 3 year old. I thanked Him for selecting the page she would write on. I read this passage almost every day now, and I never am disappointed. His word speaks to my heart, gives me hope, teaches me and challenges me every time I read it. His love is given to me in the reading of this Psalm.
Psalm 19 NIV
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I opted to go ahead and take my chances, turn in my juror documentation instead of requesting the one "free" skip that I am allowed in the state of Texas. I filled out all the personal questions and sent my paperwork to the court, hoping that my chances of being selected were small.
The day that I had to report, I was shocked! There were 294 of us crammed into one room. We were informed that 3 panels would be selected that day and there would be 123 of us going to the next selection process. As fate would have it, the juror selection software malfunctioned. They actually had to put all of our names in a box lid and draw our names the old fashioned way...out of a hat so to speak. It did bring humor to the situation.
Panel number 1 - I escaped. Panel number 2 - I escaped. Panel number 3 - "Elizabeth Russell". I was forced to respond appropriately, "Here". I had been selected. Court is adjourned. Be back at 1:30, report to your assigned bailiff.
I reported to the courtroom at 1:30, seated in my assigned seat to answer questions asked of me and the other panel members by the attorneys. The case was a personal injury case involving an motor vehicle accident. I was asked if I had been involved in anything similar. My answer was "yes". I thought I would be dismissed. The prospective jurors were asked to wait in the hallway for jury selection. All 36 of us filed into the hallway. We waited and waited. Certain people were called to talk to the judge and the attorneys privately. We waited some more. My name was called. I had to speak before the judge. I was questioned again about my car accident and my mother's accident. I thought for sure I would be dismissed. Back into the hallway I went. An hour and 10 minutes later, we were called back into the court room to hear the 12 jurors names that would serve. My name was the 6th name called. I took my position in the jury box. I raised my right hand, again, and went under oath. I was to report back to court the next morning at 8:45 a.m.
The following day, 12 jurors and 1 bailiff gathered in the deliberation room prior to court. We spent a good deal of time together. We got to know one another, where we lived, how we spent our time, and how we felt about being on the jury. I found myself talking to two women quite a bit. I mentioned to one of them how much I liked the judge, how professional yet friendly she seemed and that she just had something about her that was admirable. She agreed. There was something very appealing about this judge....her countenance, her attitude, something about her was special. I told the bailiff that I really admired our judge. Was she as nice as she seemed? He said yes. She was great and he loved working in her courtroom.
We, the jurors, sat in our courtroom. We heard the case. We maintained our secrecy. We did not discuss the case. We even went to lunch together and shared about our lives, but not the case. All of a sudden this inconvenience of jury duty had become serious business. We admired the judge. We were part of the American justice system. And we could see the importance of what we were doing.
We listened. We paid attention. We watched and evaluated. Some of us prayed. Closing arguments took place and we were dismissed to decide the fate of the people who sat before us.
In the deliberation room, we had rules. The bailiff took all cell phones and all pagers. We were not allowed to leave the room. We could not speak if one of us was not present...the only place we could be is in the small restroom provided to us in the deliberation room. We all went around the table, one by one, giving our opinion and why. We deliberated for a few minutes. We reviewed medical records and police reports...even a social security disability application. We voted. We decided the defendant was not guilty. And it felt good.
We filed back into the courtroom, to the bailiff's booming voice, "All rise for the jury." Had we reached a verdict? "Yes, your honor. We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty." Justice.
Back in the deliberation room we, the jury, meet the winning attorney. We also meet the judge. The beautiful, peaceful, "something about her", judge. She shook our hands. She speaks to us and thanks us. She answers questions about the case that we could not ask during the trial. I am awestruck by her. She is classy. She is intelligent. She is warm. I will vote for her. :)
One of the women on the jury that I befriended asks me to meet her outside if I have time. She has something she would like to tell me. I exit the deliberation room, leaving she and the judge to a private conversation. Then my new friend joins me outside. After speaking to the defendant and his family, we walk to a private area of the parking lot. She tells me that she knows the judge. She knows possibly why I sense something amazing about this woman. My new friend had a cousin who was in an accident. It was a small aircraft accident. There were four people on this plane, one of them was "our" judge. She was in the back seat, behind an almost 18 year old female passenger. The aircraft was in trouble and they knew it. The judge placed her hand on the the shoulder of the young woman in front of her and began to pray the Lord's prayer. The plane went down in a cold lake on a rainy day. Three passengers died. The judge did not. She swam, for 16 hours, she swam. She found a crab trap and hung on. Then she swam some more to another crab trap and hung on. She heard helicopters, but they could not see her. She swam again to yet another crab trap. Finally, the helicopters saw her after nearly 24 hours, she was rescued. Her first and only words to her rescuer, "Am I alive?" She woke up in a hospital days later. A survivor. This was nine years ago.
She now presides over a court room. Her presence is inspiring. Her character shows in her face and not a face of bitterness and pain, but of love and understanding, mercy and grace. I was drawn to her from the minute I met her. Now I know why. Wow.
My day as a juror...
A day that many people dread as inconvenience, myself included, in the past. No longer will I feel that way. My day as juror was one of the most amazing experiences, a day I will always remember. Justice. Grace. Strength. And so inspiring.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Well, it is official...Adam now has a girlfriend! He has been interested in this young lady for several weeks now, but this past week they have agreed to use the titles "boyfriend" and "girlfriend"! He has spent most of his college days as a single man, mostly because his degree program is so demanding that he had little time for romance! Also, he never really found anyone that was interesting to him. But, that changed when he met Thien. How exciting!
They are spending a good amount of time together. They are cooking with one another...I think she might be a little better at it than he is. :) And one of the best things is -she can make sushi...one of Adam's all time favorites! Along with spring rolls and dumplings. (Asian cuisine is one of his very, very favorites, so he is very excited about the food!)
Now, all three of my kids are romantically involved! Is this the fun part of parenting? Or the hard part? I am not sure yet!
Romance though...it is sure fun....and it is in the air!
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Now that we are older, our kids are older, our friends have changed...several times over, I still have high expectations of wanting to do something fun on Friday. I am so convinced that Friday is a holiday of sorts, that I have arranged my work schedule to allow me most Friday's off of work. If nothing special happens on a Friday, than I struggle with feeling let down and depressed at the passing of Friday with nothing to commemorate the day. Friday...it is the entry gate to the weekend...it time for celebrating the end of the work week!
Yesterday was Friday. I took my normal Friday off. Fred was out of town on this particular Friday. Often times he and I will do our "dates" on Friday afternoons before the Friday night crowds come out. Neither of us particularly like dining out on Friday nights because in our old age, we have found that the crowds, the waiting, and the noise are not so much fun anymore. I would rather eat something simple at home and watch a movie.
So, yesterday, I started the day by taking Rebecca to school. She has flute sectionals on Fridays at 7:00 a.m., so the day started early. I came home and had a nice time of meditation. I saw Aaron off to school. Then I spent two hours cleaning. I cleaned out my computer desk and tidied up my kitchen. I sorted through some paperwork, and mentally took notes of things I needed to take care of. Then I met a friend for a late breakfast. She is also Aaron's girlfriend's mother, but a good friend too. She just returned from a trip with girlfriends so we looked at photos. We had a great time catching up. Then I went to Target. I had a fabulous afternoon at Target, by myself. I purchased all kinds of weird things that I wanted...frames, candy dishes, a Halloween t-shirt, towels, and finally some groceries for the weekend. Then I came home and made tacos. They were so good! After that, my friend brought her 3 year old daughter over. We are babysitting her for the weekend while she and her husband go to her class reunion in Las Vegas. Our whole family watched The Jungle Book. Then I gave the little one a bath, put her to bed and fell into my own, wonderful, comfortable bed next to my husband (who was already asleep) and slept a sound sleep until morning.
Now that is a perfect Friday!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
I just returned home from a new Bible Study class at Fellowship church. It is called This is My Story and it is written by Lisa Whelchel (you might know her as Blair from the Facts of Life TV show). It is cool to have her personal input on a "class" that she developed. (she is a member of my church and she told her "story" tonight.)
Now, I am a little excited and a little skeptical about this study. I am excited to record "my story" in a format that might be interesting to others. I want to leave a legacy of sorts for my children and other family members who might have interest in who I am, where I came from, and how my faith story has affected how I live.
I am a little nervous because I have high expectations for the storybook that I will be putting together. I am also nervous because I am leading a group of women through the small group portion of the class and I am sort of anxious about it. (although it went fine tonight)
The skeptism comes in because I am not a big scrap booker. Many who are in the class are not scrap book gals. But, it is a scrap book of sorts. There is a good portion of journaling...I like to journal in case you haven't noticed. But scrap booking?? I am a bit of a skeptic here.
It will be fun to do the Bible Study, the quiet times with God and think about the way He has worked through out my life, the unique ways that He has created me and blessed me. I look forward to making this scrapbook of God's faithfulness. I will be creating a legacy of faith...my faith in Him. And I am doing it with a couple of my new friends which will be fun. We will get to know each other better, and get to know the other ladies in our group better too.
Keep watch for more to come on my new adventure in scrapbooking my walk with God. Check out Lisa's web site for more information http://www.lisawhelchel.com/my_book.htm or go to Lifeway.com who published her book.
Monday, October 1, 2007
My heart is in my throat! My stomach is turning around and around inside of me. I just dropped my daughter off at the football game. Now, this in itself is not enough to make me feel this way. After all, she has attended football games for the last two years. But, this football game is different! She is on her first date...with her first boyfriend! My emotions are bubbling with anxiety as I type that.
She is on a group date....sort of. Her friend accompanied her (purposefully invited to ease the nervousness.) Her boyfriend also has a friend along. And his family is chaperoning. So, it is an appropriate date for eighth graders...but still, IT IS A DATE!!!!
Rebecca and this young man have been friends since the sixth grade. They talk to each other quite a bit. He has asked her out twice in the past and she declined, mostly because they are such good friends. But, as they have matured (and now that he is taller than she is), the attraction has changed a little bit. And it is safe. They already know they like each other. They are skipping a lot of the awkwardness that would be there if they hadn't been friends for so long!
And I have been an instigator in all this. Rebecca and all of her friends know that I like this guy myself. I think he is cute. So, whenever all the girls are around me, talking about who likes who and such, I will often chime in...."I think Rebecca should go out with Michael." Everyone always agrees.
So, today I came home from work and Rebecca tells me that Tori, her friend down the street has something to tell me. I try to figure it out..."did Tori cut her hair off?", "did she break her arm?", "is my friend's daughter here from Virginia (Tori's sister-in-law)"? What could it possibly be??? All of this is a set-up. Tori wants to see my reaction at the news that it is official, "Rebecca and Michael are going out." I screamed, "Well, FINALLY! It is about time!" They both laughed! Then they told me the whole story, not leaving out one little detail. As we talk, Rebecca is texting Michael to tell him how I reacted.
So, now I wait. The mom...the waiting mom...for my daughter to return from her first date! SIGH! I really don't know what to think. Excuse me...I feel a little ill..................