Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What the ...?

One word to sum up my life lately: BUSY. Work has been insanely busy, with getting all my books and paperwork in order for an audit and corporate tax filing and also taking on HR duties to hire more employees since our company suddenly got slammed with business. Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment right in the middle of my work day (more about that later), and last night we attended small group.

So while the Northeast is buried under a pile of snow, we’re having a heat wave here in Central Florida. Whatever little bit of “winter” we had has disappeared. It’s been in the 80s for the past couple of days and muggy. Ick. We succumbed last night to turning on the air in the house and felt much better.

Yesterday was the first time since we moved that I’ve needed to see a doctor, besides my Ob/Gyn. For the past two weeks, I’ve been having symptoms that made me suspect I have another UTI (urinary tract infection). I’ve had them on and off for the past ten years, with varying degrees of severity. Anyway, my appointment was at 12pm with Dr. Grover. If you’re imagining a lovable fuzzy, blue muppet think again. It was a small petite, youngish looking Indian woman who made me wait half an hour to see her. Gripe: why do doctors always make you wait forever and waste your time??

Okay, so she finally comes into the examination room and I explain my symptoms to her. Upon hearing that I have tenderness and pressure in my back, she asks if my job involves sitting at a computer for most of the day. I said yes. She does a half-hearted examination of my back, asking me where I feel the pain. Then she orders a urinalysis and a pregnancy test. The results come back: negative on the pregnancy, positive on the UTI. I have to say, I was slightly disappointed that the pregnancy test was negative. But it’s not like we were trying or anything, and I really didn’t think it would be positive considering I started my period on the 15th.

So, I am prescribed some antibiotics and medication for the back pain. Huh? The antibiotics I get, but any back pain I’ve ever experienced has always coincided with a UTI. The pressure I feel there comes from my kidneys, I was told the first time I was diagnosed with this wonderful infection. I give my paperwork to the receptionist who schedules me for a follow-up appointment in two weeks and for lab work. They want to draw my blood and check my cholesterol, which seems a little excessive but whatever. It means taking more time off from work, which I’m not crazy about and I know my boss won’t be thrilled either. I feel like they just cranked me through their patient factory. Once again, I’m underwhelmed by the medical profession.

I went straight from the doctor’s office to Walmart to have my prescriptions filled and indulged in a McDonald’s value meal at the food court while I waited. I finally made it back to work around 2:30. The silver lining to all of this is that at my appointment I discovered I am at my ideal weight. Yay! So that was awesome. And my prescriptions only cost me a whopping $4, thanks to our insurance.

Things at church are still… Frustrating. Discouraging. Unsettling. I feel like we’re on a sinking ship. Morale amongst staff is at an all-time low and the interim pastor just doesn’t seem to grasp the enormity of the problems that have surfaced in recent months. We’re not really sure what he’s doing. He’s just sort of there. Gregg said that while staff is running around all over campus, feeling overwhelmed, he’s walking the halls shaking people’s hands like a politician. He actually told Gregg that email has destroyed society’s communication because nobody writes letters anymore. Um yeah, that’s a great boost for the tech ministry.

We’re both so disappointed with the session’s choice to appoint him as interim pastor. There are some real deep-seated issues going on here that are much bigger than just the whole youth pastor firing drama. And they’re not going to be fixed with a band-aid.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #11 Final Edition

This is the final edition of Thursday Thirteen because for reasons I’m still not fully aware of, hostess Leanne has decided to retire it. I’ve enjoyed participating in this fun meme on and off since the end of November, and I will be sad to see it go. So… here is my last official T13!

13 Goals for the Future (not neccessarily in this order)

1. Make beautiful babies with my husband.
2. Be completely debt free!
3. Get back involved with a pregnancy resources ministry.
4. Take a tour of Europe, especially Italy. I’ve longed to go back there since my high school Italian class trip 11 years ago.
5. Raise my children with a heart for God and teach them His ways.
6. Minister to women younger than me in our church.
7. Work on having a better relationship with my mother.
8. Learn how to sew and knit. It’s about time I put that sewing machine to use!
9. Become a better cook.
10. Learn how to manage my time more effectively so chores and tasks don’t get overwhelming (i.e. take better care of my house).
11. Continue to be a good helpmate to my husband.
12. Lead a women’s Bible study.
13. Have a better understanding of God’s Word and develop a closer walk with Him.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Taking A Look Back

It was one year ago today that we moved into our house. We spent the day meeting with the seller who gave us the keys, trekking in stuff that we had driven down from NJ with and going to Walmart to buy necessary items. Our first dinner was provided by a wonderful young couple who had us over to their apartment and made us feel extremely welcome. That night we slept on an air mattress in the guest room, since the truck with all of our furniture wasn't due to arrive in Florida until a few days later. We didn't officially take ownership until April 7. The seller was gracious enough to let us move in and pay him rent for five weeks before the mortgage was finalized.

It's hard to believe it's been one whole year since then. It really flew by, with us having to make some adjustments here and there. Me finding a job. Deciding which colors to paint the house. Making new friends. Finding our way around a new city. Being 1,000 miles away from family. Grappling with the many changes that happened to our church within such a small amount of time.

Yes, this year has been quite different but also amazing. When we moved, I didn't fully appreciate the things we were giving up or that I would miss- like my job at the pregnancy center or being so close to both of our families. But we knew we had to let some things go in order to have a better quality of life, and so Gregg could fulfill his calling. In that time though, we've found our way and taken up root here. And it's been very exciting and rewarding.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." How great is our God!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chicken Soup for the Soul

This weekend went by too quickly, as always. Gregg worked all day Friday for Panavid and came home at 6. He said how glad he was that the week was over and how much he does not miss free lancing- moving heaving equipment, the crazy hours, traveling. Yeah, I don’t miss that life either. Since I had no idea what time he would be home that night, I hadn’t started dinner when he arrived. I just threw some chicken tenders and fries in the oven and called it done, promising I’d actually make a real meal the next day.

Saturday we put the bill for Gregg’s week of work in the mail and spent a few hours at the mall window shopping. When we got home, I made my mother’s recipe for chicken soup which takes about four hours to make. It turned out really yummy. It’s been in the fifties here the past week, so I though it would be great to have a hot, hearty meal to eat that night. We left clean up for the next day and went to watch the last episode of The Apprentice online.

Sunday morning I went to my Breaking Free class and attended church right after. Our new interim pastor started his series on Romans which, unfortunately, I found difficult to follow. He was also hard to hear since he mumbles, and his wireless mic made him sound bassy. That afternoon, we went home & heated up some leftover soup for lunch. Gregg turned on the Nascar race and I took a nap on the couch. I was just waking up around 4:30 when he left to go back to church for the Missions Week kick-off. While he was gone, I did laundry and watched tv, and when he came home we had more leftovers for dinner.

Pretty standard weekend for us, just spending time together. We had the chance to talk more concerning stuff going on with the church that we’ve been unsettled about. On Thursday, Gregg met with Jonathan, who in addition to being the Young Adults Pastor is also now fulfilling a lot of duties of both youth pastor and senior pastor, and with Ron, the church administrator. He discussed his growing concerns about the place of the tech ministry, and they both expressed their desire to do whatever they could to help improve the situation. Ron said that he realizes there is no real, cohesive vision amongst staff members and that has led to everyone kind of going off in their own direction. He hopes that when Pastor Dan’s replacement comes on board, he will bring a lot of the vision and stability that our church desperately needs.

He also said that he had a similar conversation with the youth pastor in the months leading up to his termination. The former youth pastor has a lot of vision for the future, like fifty years down the road, and the church is content with maintaining things. They were at an impasse, and Ron told him he saw that he had hit a wall and could now either try to force change, continue to nudge it along, or just accept things the way they are. He chose to force change, and became insubordinate to church leadership. While I certainly don’t agree with the way he handled things, I can now appreciate the position he found himself in. What do you do when you’re going against the grain?

Gregg really appreciated Ron & Jonathan talking with him and hearing him out. Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes here. The church is in a very fragile state, and we’re in survival mode right now which makes maintaining appealing, even necessary. They aren’t interested in introducing even more change, understandably so. And staff hasn’t been working well together because of all the recent upheaval, people taking on more than their fair share of the workload to fill in the gaps for those who have left and whatnot. The ministries within the church aren’t jelling, either. This has made Gregg’s ability to do his job increasingly difficult.

In our conversations together, we both wondered if the new senior pastor they hire will really bring together everything that is needed in order for the church to move forward, or if we will continue to stay in this holding pattern of maintaining what is already here. It’ll be interesting to see what God does with CPC over the next few months.

It’s at times like these that I am so encouraged by the songs I hear on Christian radio. I just let the lyrics soak in and remind me that we are never alone.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #10

In addition to all those sappy love songs I listed last week, my favorite music also happens to be contemporary Christian and worship songs. Over the last nine years of my walk with Christ, they have inspired me and lifted my spirits during some pretty difficult seasons. They are God’s spoken word revealed through melodies, conveying deep thoughts and longings which I find difficult to put into words. They minister to my soul and point me back toward God when I’m lost in my own sorrows and struggles.

I have many of my favorites loaded onto my MP3 player, and whenever I listen to it each song takes me on a journey through different points in my faith. Times when I fully needed to depend on the Lord for every step I took, times of great growth. They are lyrical reminders of what God has brought me through and what He has done for me.

13 Inspiring & Uplifting Songs

1. “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns
2. “I Am” by Mark Schultz
3. “Hiding Place” by Steven Curtis Chapman
4. “How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin
5. “God Will Make A Way” by Kathy Troccoli
6. “In Christ Alone” by Brian Litrell
7. “To Know You” by Nichole Nordeman
8. “Worthy of My Praise” by Selah
9. “He Will Carry Me” by Mark Schultz
10. “Jesus, Be the Center”
11. “Walk By Faith” by Jeremy Camp
12. “Better Is One Day” (Passion Worship cd)
13. “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yesterday, we received a Valentine's Day care package in the mail from my mother-in-law. The contents included the usual V-Day sweets- candy hearts, lollipops and chocolate- besides a cd of pictures taken from when Gregg's family was here visiting in December. There were also treats in there for Tess, along with a brand new chew toy which she immediately started playing with. Nearly every time a holiday rolls around, we get spoiled by my MIL, whose love language we've concluded is definitely gift-giving.

Neither Gregg or I are really into Valentine's Day. In fact, Gregg makes a big deal of saying every year how much he is NOT into this holiday. But the first year we were married, he bought me a dozen red roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates. The second year, he got me (count them) 40 roses of all different shades which he adorned our bedroom with. Last year was much simpler because we were in the process of moving, so he just got me a mushy card and picked up some cupcakes with pink icing at the grocery store. We enjoyed a "romantic" dinner that evening on a blanket in our near-empty living room, using a cardboard box for a table. Not into Valentine's Day, eh?

Last night it was good to stay home for once and relax together. We watched American Idol and House, two of of our favorite programs. We talked more over dinner about the issues he's been having lately working for the church. It was nice to connect. I'm looking forward to more of the same tonight. :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Another Week, Another Dollar

Back to another week in full swing. Gregg has been pretty tired these past few days, for good reason. Staying up late on Friday and Saturday, then working almost non-stop all day Sunday and Monday. He was asked to work for Panavid again on Thursday morning, in addition to this Friday. More money for us, less sleep for Gregg.

Sunday I was feeling lonely without him around, so I helped myself to a heaping portion of blogging therapy and listened to my favorite feel-good songs on my MP3 player. Tess kept jumping up on the couch to look out the window and see if Gregg's truck was pulling into the driveway. Apparently she missed him too. After getting offline, I made myself some dinner and watched Reba & Seventh Heaven. I did have grandiose plans of getting a little house cleaning done, but um... that didn't happen. Oh well. I enjoyed my day of rest and relaxation. Gregg came home at 1:30 in the morning, waking up the dog, which scared me half to death b/c she started barking like crazy and I was in the middle of a dream. It's good to know she'll protect us if someone ever breaks into our house!

My heart is still heavy over what we discussed on Saturday night. We haven't had much time to talk about it again since then, but I've been bringing it the Lord in prayer and it's reminded me of how much I need Him. We aren't in control of our own lives. He's the one who directs our steps and guides our path. It really comforts me to know this.

We're going to take a night off from Bible study/small group tonight because we've just done so much running back and forth lately. We need to make some time for us.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Trusting In The Lord

We've had an interesting and relaxing weekend so far. Friday night was the Valentine's Comedy Dessert at church, and since Gregg had to run audio & power point for the event, I met up with him there after work and sat with him in the sound loft. The comedian was entertaining and funny, though I thought some of his presentation didn't flow right. During intermission, I snagged a couple pieces of the yummy cheesecake they were serving and brought them upstairs for the two of us. Mmmm, Cheesecake Factory.

We didn't get home until almost 11, and Gregg had been at the church for over twelve hours by that point so he was pretty tired. It's no wonder that we slept in until 9 o'clock the next morning. We reluctantly got up and my husband made us breakfast. It was another beautiful day, so we got ready to get out the door and take advantage of it. We stopped for a while at the Farmer's and Flea Market which they have once a month at the Municipal Building, then wandered across the parking lot to the new Ace Hardware. They were having their grand opening this weekend, so it was jam packed with customers. Gregg was interested in what they had, so we took a look but didn't buy anything since the line was literally "up my butt and around the corner".

After leaving there, we tried the American Pie pizza place that recently opened up for lunch. The food was pretty good, but the atmosphere made me feel like I was in a club. They had music videos blaring from three different plasma tv's so it was really distracting. From there, we went to Walmart so I could get my bc prescription refilled and get Tess a new dog bone. They didn't have the right kind of bone, so we went to another Walmart and they didn't have it either. We decided Petsmart might have it so we came home and put Doggie in the car for a little ride. She was very popular at the pet store. Everyone thought she was so pretty and sweet (ha!) and wanted to pet her. But, she really is getting a lot better. We've actually been able to leave her home alone all week without locking her in the kitchen. She hasn't chewed on anything she isn't supposed to, and I'm really impressed and also quite relieved.

Well, Petsmart didn't have what we were looking for either so on the way home we stopped at yet another Walmart and they finally had it. It seems crazy to run all over town searching for this one doggie bone, but it's the only toy that actually lasts more than a month with the way that she chews. Mission accomplished, we headed home and heated up the last of the lasagna I made last week. Then we just relaxed on the couch and watched this past week's episode of Prison Break online, since Gregg wasn't able to see it because he had to work.

So, right now he is in Orlando setting up for the J&J stockholder's meeting. He left right after church and won't be home until after midnight. I miss him, but it's nice relaxing here at home and also good to have some extra money. This past week has admittedly been hard on both of us regarding his job at the church. He worked well over 40 hours again, putting in three nights. I felt like I hardly saw him. There's just so much that has to be done that only he can do, and whenever there's some event going on either at the church or the school, he's the one they expect to be there because they bascially don't trust the volunteers to do a good enough job. I see it taking a toll on him. He's also frustrated that our church doesn't seem to be moving forward technically and that as a whole, they don't really value the Sound & Vision ministry. The interim pastor they've just hired barely knows how to turn on a computer.

Last night before we went to bed, we had a long talk about this and about all the stuff that's happened since Pastor Dan's resignation. We also talked a lot about God's will and calling on our lives. Gregg feels bad that he can't flourish where he's been planted. Every advancement he's made there since he was hired has pretty much been met with resistance. The hiring of this new pastor only seems like a giant step backward in the progression he would like to see take place. It's hard. We're both praying for God's direction and leaving the matter in His hands. We're trusting Him for what's best.

Oh, I almost forgot. I have some really good news: we got our taxes done and will be getting back all of our money from the government! God is so faithful to us.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #9

Okay, I’ll admit it. I like sappy, romantic love songs. That’s probably why I listen to a lot of Lite FM, which my husband teases me about. My favorite radio program is “Love Songs with Delilah”. I know, I know- so cheesy. I guess I’m just a “hopeless” romantic.

So with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought I’d list some of my favorite romantic tunes. Some are personal to me and Gregg; others I just like listening to.

13 Sappy and Romantic Songs

1. “Melt” by Rascal Flatts
2. “From This Moment” by Shania Twain. We chose this for our first dance together as husband and wife. Whenever I hear it, I think of Gregg.
3. “Love of My Life” by Michael W. Smith
4. “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross
5. “Taking You Home” by Don Henley
6. “I’ll Still Be Loving You” by Restless Heart
7. “You Always Be Beautiful (In My Eyes)” by ?
8. “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman. One of our friends sung this song at our wedding as we lit the unity candle, and I think it’s just a beautiful lyrical statement of commitment and faithfulness.
9. “When God Made You He Must Have Been Thinking About Me” by Newsong and Natalie Grant
10. “You Mean the World To Me” by Toni Braxton
11. “I Could Not Ask For More” by Edwin McCain
12. “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You” by James Taylor
13. “It’s Your Love” By Faith Hill and Tim McGraw

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Life In General

Nothing that earth-shattering going on lately. This past weekend we didn’t really do much of anything. Friday night we started our grocery shopping at Sam’s Club and grabbed some dinner there. Saturday we went out to Walmart to get the rest of the items on our list. It was cold and rainy, so when we got back Gregg threw a pine log on the fire to warm the house up. I love that we have a fireplace! It’s not a big selling feature for homes down here in Florida, but we have found ourselves using it a number of times since Thanksgiving. It really cozies up the living room. I decided to make lasagna that night because the dreary weather made me want to bake something warm and comforting. Gregg really appreciated a home cooked meal too, after almost a week straight of quick- thrown together dinners.

Sunday morning, I woke up feeling kind of crappy. My head hurt and I felt nauseous so after Gregg left for church around 6:30, I went back to sleep until 9. Tess came and slept by my side. When I finally pulled myself out of bed, I had to quick take a shower and eat breakfast so I could get to church on time. I walked into the sanctuary just as the announcements were being read. Before the close of service the chairman of the board of elders announced our new interim pastor, who will fill in for the next six months while they look for Pastor Dan’s permanent replacement. He’s retired from another PCA somewhere in Central Florida, which has a lot of similarities to Covenant. This should hopefully give our church some more stability in light of recent events.

When Gregg and I got home, we heated up some lasagna for lunch and then he took a nap on the couch while I checked and wrote email. We tried to watch the Superbowl, but CBS wasn’t coming in very well on our tv, so we ended up watching some really terrible movie from the nineties since there was nothing else on and fell asleep in the middle of it! We woke up at 11:50 and dragged ourselves off to bed.

So, that was our very exciting weekend. I know you all must be jealous. But seriously, sometimes it is nice to just be at home and do nothing after you’ve been running around all week. In other news, Gregg was asked yesterday to do a job in Orlando for the company who sent him to Miami last February. They need an A/V tech at a Johnson & Johnson stockholder’s meeting or something for two days next week, and he said he’d be willing to do it. So there’s an extra $500 this month- cha ching! What a blessing.

Tonight we’re having “game night” at Small Group and it’s my turn to bring a dessert, which I have to quick whoop up as soon as I get home. It looks like another rushed, re-heated dinner kind of night.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #8

Wow, February already. When I was younger, it was exceedingly difficult for me to spell this word. I’m sure I added “berry” onto the end on more than one occasion.

This month last year involved a lot of change for us. We were arranging for a moving truck, nailing down the details about buying a house and spending time with people we wouldn’t see for a long while. I began tying up all the loose ends at my job to make it a smooth transition for the person who would take my place. In the middle of all this, Gregg left for Miami on a week-long job for a previous employer. It could have been seen as the worst timing possible, but it promised to bring in a lot of money which we needed for the move and on his way down, he was able to meet with our realtor and check out the house we were buying.

This left me to continue the arduous process of packing up all of our earthly belongings. I sifted through years worth of stuff buried in closets and stuffed under the bed, and decided what came with us and what got chucked. Our living room gradually got filled with box upon box until there was no more space and the other rooms were equally as full, littered with all kinds of junk awaiting their designated carton.

The day before we loaded the moving truck, we got 2 feet of snow, a record snowfall for New York & New Jersey. It was quite the send off. That was also the day Gregg arrived back home. I worked through that Wednesday and the next day we cleaned the apartment like we had never cleaned before. That night we had our “last supper” with Gregg’s family. The next morning bright and early, we woke up, crammed the last of our things in the back of both cars and headed out, leaving behind everything we had known for the past 25 years.

As the anniversary of the “big move” approaches, I look back fondly on that time in which many life changes took place. It was the best decision we could have made. So without further ado, here's my

13 Things I Like About Living in Florida

1. The warm weather year ‘round. No more bitterly cold winters for me!
2. No state income tax. Thanks to tourist attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios, I get to keep more of my paycheck.
3. Super Walmart. Where else can you buy groceries, have the oil in your car changed, get a haircut and refill a prescription all at the same place? It makes life so much easier to do one-stop shopping.
4. Our close proximity to Disney World. We’re only an hour away from the greatest place on earth.
5. Affordable housing. When we left NJ the most affordable, half-way decent home was priced at $350,000. We bought ours here-fully renovated inside and out- for $169,000.
6. The particular city that we live in, which is a fairly new community. It’s very active and growing, and there’s always something to do.
7. The beach is a mere twenty minute drive from our house.
8. Lower cost of living.
9. We can actually see the stars at night. And my, how they're pretty.
10. Simpler lifestyle. People are more laid back here than they are up North.
11. All the moisture in the air, believe it or not. Not so great for my hair, but it keeps my skin from drying out like it did every fall and winter growing up.
12. The bright sunshine. They don't call it the Sunshine State for nothing!
13. It’s not New Jersey.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!