Archive for the 'PSR' Category

Why I’ve felt like a 1990’s gymnast

I took a selfie, but it didn’t show up – which is actually good! – so I will use words to describe the situation.

I am play a significant role in three entities: our family (a.k.a. “Team Roberts”), our ministry (“Take the Challenge”), and our family business (“Roberts Vacation Rentals”). I like to send Christmas cards, and although our family mailing list has expanded and contracted through the years, it currently sits at 187. That’s a lot of Christmas cards to sign. I do that signing, and one year I made the mistake of doing it while Scott was around. When he saw me prepping Christmas cards, he asked if I had any extras (DUH, I’m a beaver; what kind of a silly question was that?) and said he’d like to send some to our TTC ministry partners. Hmm…  And maybe it would be good to send some to our RVR guests. Hmm… again. So I asked me to give me names and addresses, and that ended up involving way more than my extras, so we had to real quick go buy some – at the peak of the Christmas card season; not a good idea – and the whole project became a massive pain, but we got it done.

Then last year, I asked him earlier in the fall about it, and yes, he wanted to send them to both of those additional entities and it ended up being about 200 each, which added to our family ones came to nearly 600 Christmas cards to sign, stuff, lick, label, and post, along with everything else in life.

But I’m nothing if not creative. HA! So in January of 2018, I asked Scott if he wanted to send TTC cards in 2018. “Yes.” And what about RVR cards in 2018? “Yes.” And how many? “200 of each.” So in the first week of January on the deep discount, I ordered 200 cards for our family, 200 different cards for TTC, and 200 yet again different cards for RVR. Gotta’ keep up with which is for what, you know. And each entity got them for half price and when they came I labeled the boxes so I’d know what I had for what. AND I decided that I wasn’t about to wait till mid-November to star dealing with 600 Christmas cards! No way. I would begin signing them little by little in the summer. Brilliant, huh?

Well, summer was busy. Andrew graduated. We went to Waxhaw. We all went to Yellowstone. Jessica and Matthias came to visit and then went back to Hong Kong. Scott went to Ghana. Andrew moved to MSU in Springfield. And I handled lots of responsibilities and breathed, but didn’t start signing Christmas cards. I did, however, print return address labels for all three entities in August…

Then just today, I bartered with Scott on a project and got from him the wording he wanted in the RVR cards. And I decided maybe I’d sign maybe 18 per day (they’re in boxes of 18), you know, do it little by little, so it wouldn’t be so overwhelming. I pulled them out and opened the first box of 18. They’re really pretty and they have gold glitter around the edges. I repeat, they have gold glitter around the edges. By the time I had written, “Merry Christmas from Roberts Vacation Rentals!” on just four cards, there was glitter all over my desk and keyboard. Sheesh. It was pretty, but this was going to be a messy project. If I did a box a day, I’d be re-cleaning up a LOT of glitter 11 or 12 times!

Scott was gone to town, so I just ducked my head and plowed forward. Two hours and 35 minutes later, I finished. 198 RVR cards are signed and ready to be stuffed, licked, labeled, and posted. WHEW! But when I met Scott at the door he LAUGHED at me! Turns out my face, my hair, and my shirt were very sparkly. This glitter is teeny tiny, like powder, and it was a bear to get off my face. I tried to brush it off with a dry wash cloth. No go. I looked like those little gymnasts a few Olympics ago (well, probably more than a few) when glittery faces were all the rage for little girls. That’s when I should have taken the selfie, but I didn’t think of it. Instead, I wet the wash cloth and scrubbed for all I was worth. It’s mostly gone now, but there are still errant flecks of gold on my face.

And just for clarification, I won’t be taking a tumbling run any time soon; I only feel like a 1990’s gymnast from my neck up.

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“I’d rather do it myself!”

This is definitely true for me much most of the time, but more and and more I find myself feeling varying degrees of resentful that now I HAVE to do “it” myself, and wistful about the days when I didn’t.

The following seem to be normal parts of life now, Although some of the following are now just normal parts of life, they weren’t always!

~ Pumping our own gas – Before about 1970, service station attendants did this; now I live next door to a gas station that is so self-serve that it employs no humans at all!

~ Using an ATM to get cash from a bank  – Although our bank does still employ tellers… for now.

~ Self-checking our groceries – I simply refuse to do this if I have more than a handful of items.

~ Assembling a brand-new electric floor fan or a patio side table – Should it really be possible to buy either of those in a flat box?!?

~ Printing our own postage – I generally refrain from this because I like stamps.

~ Entering our own information into some/any company’s database – We do this nearly every day, so often that I’m pretty sure I’m not even aware that I’m doing someone else’s job.

But every now and then I get some truly excellent, old-timey customer service from a real-live human person, and it does make me smile.

(With apologies to Julie Andrews): “These are[n’t] a few of my favorite things.”

I am ready to admit that there are a number of specific things I just don’t like. Here are a few that come to mind.

~ Lettuce on anything other than a salad. Please leave it off my burgers and sandwiches.

~ Losing things; even things of no monetary or sentimental value.

~ Canoes. Give me a kayak any day of the week. In a canoe I am powerless, but in a kayak I am free!

~ Clutter – on my desk, in my closet, on the kitchen counter, on the dining room table; really anywhere that affects me personally.

~ Teriyaki anything.

~ Having to do things at the last minute. And it’s probably worth noting that my minutes are incredibly long.  = )

~ Carrots. I’ll eat them when necessary, but I don’t like them.

~ Re-doing work.

~ Doing other people’s work.

~ Calling customer service and getting stuck in an endless automated phone system loop and finding it impossible to access ANY human, much less a native English-speaking human.

~ Hot drinks.

~ Red grapes.

~ Senator Claire McCaskill.

Drop-out… and am I being an ostrich?

The past few days, I’ve had the TV on more than we usually do. I’ve watched a bit of Jeopardy while ironing, sorting mail, and working in the kitchen. I’ve watched some mindless HGTV stuff when I really should be doing something else but I’m feeling too lazy to tackle it, and I’ve watched two local and one national newscasts, mainly because I never do and I thought it might be good to at least see what much of the U.S. sees on their evening news.

It’s a good thing I love to learn because the latter has been an educational experience, and I’m pleased to report that I am now dropping that class. (This is only the second “class” I’ve ever dropped. I dropped a poetry class during my freshman year of college because the professor made everything – and I do mean everything – sexual.]

Thankfully, I am not depressed, but I’m sure that I would be if I watched the evening news on any kind of a regular basis. However, although I don’t watch the evening news, I’m not totally uninformed. I have become a podcast junkie. (For the uninitiated, a podcast is a radio show that you can listen to whenever you want. And I want quite often.)

In this season of my life, my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being all require me to be fairly disciplined first thing in the morning. Meaning that once I’m up and moving, I do about 22 minutes of exercises and stretches, followed by about 45 minutes of walking. While I’m walking, I review memory verses and pray, but during my stretches, I listen to The World and Everything In It, a conservative Christian news podcast from WORLD News Group. To balance that out, after my shower, while I’m getting dressed, I listen to Up First, a liberal secular news podcast from NPR.  And then throughout the day, when I’m cooking or cleaning or hanging laundry or driving, I listen to other podcasts. Some of my current favorites are The Lazy Genius, Focus on the Family, Planet Money, Clutter Free Academy, and A Prairie Home Companion.

But back to the news… Since I listen a lot but don’t watch much, I don’t recognize the people who are in the news. For example, I know Pastor Brunson’s been under house arrest in Turkey, but until I watched the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt tonight, I didn’t know what Brunson looked like. I’d never seen a photo of Robert Mueller either. Anyway, one of the most frustrating things about the evening news on TV is that since I was watching it live, I couldn’t forward through the commercials, and were are a LOT of commercials! Not only that, but the same ones run over and over and over, and they all seem to be either political ads (and could we PLEASE say something – anything! – positive about ourselves instead of so very many negative things about our opponents?) or prescription ads. I think tonight I may have finally figured out the prescription ad thing. They are all for meds to treat COPD or cancer or diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis; diseases that mainly affect older people. I guess the networks have figured out that young people don’t watch TV newscasts any more. They get their news online. So the commercials in a TV newscast are all geared to old people, and old people have health problems. Hence those ads. But I must say that even if I did have COPD or cancer or diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, I don’t think I would ask my doctor to prescribe a med that causes severe and possibly life-threatening diarrhea, shortness of breath, internal bleeding, nausea, headache, blurred vision, depression and suicidal thoughts, joint pain and/or bone loss. Sweet Georgia Peaches!!!

And content-wise, while I do realize that we need to know what’s going on in the world, and I know that bad news sells, personally I just can’t deal well with a father murdering his pregnant wife and two preschool daughters, a teenage girl pushing her friend off a 60-foot bridge into a river, a man who had already shot at a deputy in June murdering a woman in August, a horrible vehicle accident, a body found in a parked car in a shopping center parking lot, and a man burning down his stepdaughter’s home. All in less than 30 minutes! I clearly don’t have what it takes to process that much violence and tragedy that quickly, and I’m not willing to try to develop it.

I’ll just stick to my The World and Everything In It and Up First podcasts, and I’ll take my news – at least my national and international news –  on my own terms, heard and not seen. Local news? I’m not sure what to do about that. If anyone has some good ideas, please send them my way!

Prayer alarm

It’s a good thing people have prayer requests.

We all garage our cell phones on chargers in the kitchen, theoretically at 9:00 PM. Last night I was working at my desk after our dinner with Josiah at Hook and Ladder Pizza Company, and when I looked up, it was 9:50 (my bedtime) and my phone was still up with me on my desk. I didn’t want to bother taking it down, so I took it into our room and plugged it in there.

This morning, my alarm went off as usual at 5:55, and as usual, I got up, turned it off, and got back in bed to lie there for a few more minutes before starting my day; few being a number between five and ten.

Suddenly my phone dinged with a text message, and I looked at the clock. 7:18!!! I leapt out of bed, looked at my phone, saw that it was a prayer request, prayed, and began hastening through an abbreviated version of my morning routine. Between Bible reading, stretching, walking and praying, harvesting, watering, showering, applying my face, lotioning, dressing, fixing my hair, and occasionally grabbing something to eat or drink, the full version takes about 2.75 hours, but as I needed to leave the house promptly at 9 AM, several things would obviously have to be omitted.

I did the essentials in high speed, but had my friend not texted me her prayer request, I suppose I might have slept all the way through church!

If discipline were easy, I’d already have done it

I am trying hard to develop a habit of being in bed by 10:00 PM. Do you have any idea how hard that is to do?

I get to about 9:15 PM and think of several little tasks that I really need to finish. I start Task A, get partway into it, get side-tracked, start semi-related Task B, accomplish not very much on it, and then suddenly remember Task C that absolutely HAD to get done today. By then it’s 9:55, and I think, “It will only take a me a few minutes to finish C, and then I can probably get B done, and A will have to keep till tomorrow, but I can surely get in bed by 10:30.” What a joke!  C takes longer than I think, B requires information I don’t have and can’t get at 10:30 PM, and I’ve totally forgotten that A even exists. And sometime around 11:30 or 11:45, I finally go to start my bedtime routine – which I wish were like Scott’s (decide to go to bed, get into bed, read a few minutes, and fall asleep; total time 10 minutes), but which unfortunately involves things like deciding to go to bed, taking an evening med, writing a blog post(!!!), setting out tomorrow’s morning meds, brushing and flossing my teeth, reading a magazine in the bathroom, asking Scott (who’s only awake enough to grunt) a question, setting the alarm, remembering and dealing with something at my desk, blessing Andrew, etc., etc., etc., finally getting into bed, reading for a while, and eventually falling asleep; total time 42 minutes.

It is now 9:37 PM, and I am going to go start that process. If I stay focused and do it all fast, I’ll at least be horizontal by 10:05 PM. Sigh.

Ready, set, GO to bed!

Officially motivated

We helped a family move today. Well, we really just helped load and unload a small trailer-full of boxes. They closed on their new house (they’re moving to Walnut Shade!) yesterday and started painting and transporting boxes, in preparation for the full move of furniture and everything else in the coming days.

This family has a heckuva lot of stuff, and that made me think about our my stuff. I have a lot of stuff, too, but a good portion of my stuff is either:

a) seldom or never used

b) poorly or not at all organized

c) no longer meaningful to me

d) redundant and/or unnecessary

I think it’s hard for me to accept the fact that lots of things have seasons, and that they don’t last (or even should last) forever; things like stuff, of course, but also preferences, desires, plans, and even relationships. I seem to live in the camp where everything (stuff, preferences, desires, plans and relationships) must be maintained FOREVER. I’m not sure why that is, and I’m not sure how to move out of that camp, but I do know that I tend to be the world’s worst at hanging onto stuff that I don’t need, want, or even like, and for some very impressive (ha!) reasons like these:

a) _____ gave it to me, so I ought to keep it, because getting rid of it would mean I don’t care about _____’s feelings.

b) I may need it someday, and if I throw it out now and then later have to buy it again, that would be wasteful, or we might not have the money, or (and this really is the main one) it may no longer be available. Ugh..

c) Although it’s not meaningful to me, it may mean something to ______, so I should keep it at least until I can find out if _____ cares about it.

d) It doesn’t fit or look good on me and I never wear it, but we did spend money on it, so I should keep it.

e) Even though it doesn’t mean anything to me, it should!  I should care about it, so I should keep it.

But after seeing my friend’s house crammed FULL of stuff that I can’t imagine her family ever actually using, it occurred to my lightning fast mind that I really must start going through my stuff and getting rid of things that, well, simply need to be gotten rid of. Moreover, I’m getting the sense that this doesn’t apply only to blouses and papers and (gasp!) books and houseplants and leftover dishes. I suspect it also applies to weightier matters like time commitments and expectations (particularly those I place on myself) and maybe even some relationships. . .

Hebrews 12:2 does encourage command us to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and to run with endurance the race that is set before us. Maybe I could run (move, live) more effectively if I got rid of some of those sweaters I bought but never wear. Or some of those kitchen gadgets I have to keep moving to get to the few I actually use all the time. Or some of those performance assumptions that drag me down but have no basis in truth. . .

Wow. This is getting pretty heavy. I think I will lighten up and go wash some dishes.  = )


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