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Not so interesting thoughts

So Livejournal asked me if I wanted to restore my draft. I was curious what forgotten, earth shattering revelations I had drafted last time I was on here, so I said yes ... and it flipped the screen to ... another blank entry. Apparently, my last partial thoughts on here weren't very interesting. Either that or, if those actually were my most interesting thoughts, it would kind of explain my MIA status on here.

If you want a sign that I'm tired, this is one of the indicators you should watch for - me behind the wheel, waiting patiently at a stop sign for it to turn green. Every now and then I catch myself doing that. Thankfully, the most recent occurance of it was with no one behind me. That situation gets a little embarrassing ... and honky. I think this particular episode was due to the earlier commute that I've been attempting. We've moved buildings and the new location has less prime handicap spots, so I've been trying to get in earlier to steal a closer slot. However, this is ending up as a weird temporal arms race between the gimps of the building ... an arms race which I'm losing. I think I'm throwing in the towel at this point ... my lazy nature (and the possible stop-sign horn-honking) has convinced me that it's not worth the proximity anymore.

So how's life going for all you LJ'ers who are actually still willing to wait around for one of my rare posts? I'm sorry I couldn't actually reward your loyalty with something more interesting, but I've been nudged to post something, so hopefully I can at least provide a bit of entertainment for all you loyal masochists. How am I doing so far?

My roof leak is back. This will be the third company I've brought in to look at it. They're going to replace the whole section, laying down a barrier sheet which will have a lifetime guarantee. It's going to be a little ouchy in the finances, but it needs to be done. The bank won't allow me to refinance before this leak (and the ceiling) gets fixed. It's a bit ironic, since the whole point of refinancing was to save up cash for renovations that I want to do. Houses seem to be a little bit of a money pit, although I guess it's still cheaper in the long run than renting. And really, I like being in a detached house with no housing association I'm beholden to. There's a lot more freedom in this setup.

I've been thinking about getting a dog. I'll need a fence though and I'm kind of concerned about what will happen with the dog during the day since there would be nobody home and we tend to work longer hours. Thoughts? Good idea or no? And what kind of mutt should I get? I don't really like small dogs, but a big one at this point would just knock me over I think ... unless I get an older, more docile one.


Mythical Me with a Mythical Posting

So I saw on my LJ Home page this message:

  roadsquish, your current position in the Top Journals is: 153,675

That actually doesn't seem very low for what I imagine the size of the userbase is for LJ. However, I can't for the life of me fathom how anyone could rank lower than me .... unless the accounts below me belong to dead people ... or large rocks. That's pretty much the only way those accounts could have less sporadic postings on here than mine.

So it's been awhile. I see I've missed a few things. Took a little bit of reading to catch up, but not too much. I think most of the people that friended me have either dropped me or no longer post themselves. If they no longer post - well, I have no right to say anything about that. And I don't blame them really if they unfriended me. I haven't been a very good LJ friend. I keep saying I'll try to do better, but I think at this point, we both know that you'll just have to accept my friendship for what it is since the "better" part isn't really happening.

So what's been going on in my life? Well, the house designs are still in progress. Structure has pretty much been laid out on paper and we're down to choosing the more detailed stuff. I had 15-20 contractors walking through my house on a Wednesday last month. The architect was getting bids for all the work. I'll be relieved once this renovation is completed.

I've discovered a ground hog has burrowed extensively around my property near my house and it seems, it's not good to have them near the foundation (where they like to dig as it provides more support for their burrows). I'm borrowing a trap from a friend and hopefully, we'll get it off my property. They're apparently hard to trap though as they're wary of such things. I don't want to resort to poison though as my property is unfenced and there are lots of other-people's pets around.

My mother will have her last chemo session this week. The results have been very good so far though, so we're not anticipating any setbacks. I know other families who've had more aggressive/lethal cancer and I'm very thankful that her lymphoma was of a type that responds well to chemo. I'm sure she'll be happy once it's over and she can recover her strength .... and hair.

I'm down to 1 car again. I gave the Camry to my sister to trade in for a new one. She moved to Colorado for a teaching job and has been borrowing the Camry since I wasn't actually using it anyway. In case you're wondering why she didn't just keep the Camry, it's the sports edition and isn't the best in terms of fuel economy. She got $5500 for it which I was pleasantly surprised at. I figured it was going to be more around $3000.

Let's see, what else .... I learned how to make Baklava. It's one of those deserts that makes you look (and feel) like a gourmet chef, but ends up being surprisingly easy. It's just a little time consuming. Very tasty though. I've actually made it twice now (for two dinners I was hosting). Oh, there's this no-processed-ingredient pancake recipe I want to try, although I want to see if it works for waffles instead. It's just two ingredients and neither of them is flour. You take 1 banana and two eggs and mix them (making sure to mash the banana). That's it. I know, sounds wonderfully simple right? We'll see how it turns out.

Nothing earth-shattering in this posting, but I think that's all I have for now.

Learning How

Just thought I'd drop this on my journal for anyone interested in how Ning is doing. She's the girl I posted about / asked prayers for, who had the severe stroke related to an AVM. You can read about her progress and observations on http://blog.annninglearninghow.com/  Drop her an encouraging note, she'll appreciate it.

One Way Grief

I was having this conversation with a friend about love and marriage and we ended up on the fear of being hurt. I presented this quote by Orson Scott Card in his Sci-Fi book Shadow of the Giant:

"Life is full of grief, to exactly the degree we allow ourselves to love other people"

and she went on to agree with it saying that it's a beautiful, safe place when you can be completely vulnerable to another person but that there's a huge potential for hurt.

I agreed except I added the proviso that it would feel safe only as long as the person was trustworthy. And then it occurred to me how astonishing our relationship with God was when viewed in this light ... that the relationship was pretty much one way in the huge hurt potential. Yet God still wants that relationship with us even though all of the pain will only ever be on His side.

I think the takeaway from all of this is that, if He's willing to endure such one way grief for the sake of love, then I guess we all should probably be willing to make room for it too ... because we are made in His image.


losses, regrets addendum

One more thought that occurred to me from my last posting:

If, after trying to make my losses meaningful, I found that my gifts were being treated thoughtlessly or negligently or with disrespect, how much more painful would that make the losing? Such a thought occurred to me because of how I sometimes treat God's sacrifice.

A humbling thought for me.


Loss, Regrets, and the meaning of them

So with some alterations, I managed to knock off about 50 grand on the house renovation ... it's still expensive, but I think I have to move forward with it at this point. It's just time. And it's time to go get measured for a wheelchair as well ... and get a van for that. Life is so much different than what I had envisioned when I was young ... and I'm sure it will continue to defy me in that regard as I move forward .... regrets raising its head I guess.

And some related ideas on this ....

I recently had some thoughts connecting some previous concepts I had recorded on here. It concerns letting go, but the recent Christmas Holiday connected it to the idea that giving is losing.

The original thought was that when you give during the Christmas Holidays, you're actually losing something ... and that the meaning of Christmas Giving is so much more significant when applied to God the Father's gift of His Son. It's a marvelous thought about the worth He raised us to.

I started thinking about how there were no regrets over this act and the reasons why this would be. It all connects back to the fact that it was a conscious decision and that the loss had a purpose. I've thought about what to do with all the things I won't be able to use anymore and most of it centered around selling the items. But maybe that isn't the right approach. I think it would be more meaningful ... and maybe less painful ... to give them to people I cherish that I know will value them. And it might just ease the regrets that I sometimes feel.


What We Hold

What we hold, we believe to be ours ... strongly ours. I think that's why we are so devastated when we're robbed .. or don't receive something that we've sweated and bled for and think we deserve. But if I've learned anything, it's this: What we hold, we hold loosely and tenuously, no matter how tightly we grip it. And that includes everything from our house, our friends and family, all the way through to our health. All the things that we believe we're entitled to once we've held it, or think we're going to hold it, will be demanded back from us eventually. And the only way to lessen the pain when stripped of it, is to always cradle it gently with an open hand. The beauty of the open hand though is that it's always ready to receive a new blessing ... a blessing which the clenched fist can only swing wildly at.

Not an easy lesson to learn though. It's taken a lifetime to even realize this ... and a lot of pain. And despite knowing it, I'm having difficulty letting go of all those things that I love. Such is human nature I guess.


Her name is Ning

I have a good friend ... a sweet sweet girl .... who just had a massive stroke. Doctors think it was an unknown congenital defect since she's only 30 and in great health otherwise. They also say the first 72 hours are the most critical ... and it's down to around 24. If she doesn't wake up during this time, there's a chance she may never wake up. Everyone is in shock over this ... and praying. I've been thinking about it all day ... and can't shake the feeling of sadness over it. If you think about her during the day, please pray. Her name is Ning.

Too Tired to come up with a title

It's 4:48 AM on a thursday ... and I'm awake. This isn't really new for me. I find myself falling asleep on the couch right around 10-12 ish, then waking up at 3 or 4 ... only to go to bed or browse for a bit. I'm sure there's some statistic somewhere that says I'm going to die early from this habit, but it is what it is. However, it does make waking up for work more difficult.

I have nothing earth-shattering to report, so this posting is really just more of an update ... because I'm so sure that my life is so interesting that I need to record the little things for posterity's sake. No, that isn't even a grand illusion ... as it's neither grand nor really an illusion. Hey, if you can't be funny, be sarcastic and pretend it's humor. You can sometimes fool some people that way. 

I thought I was going to get someone fired this week. I had to send some test data out to a third-party vendor for a product we use ... and it contained a test case with obscenity in it. I only caught it afterwards, but I was worried that if the company complained, it was going to come back to me. People have been fired at my work over obscenity, so I needed to make sure my manager knew that it was from the tester data .... not from me. The data team traced it back to data submitted in 2003 which was too old to trace back to an actual submitter. Nobody was fired.
I feel like I'm drifting ... and being haphazard with things that should be more important to me ... things like cleaning ... sleeping ... bill paying ... eating. You could probably plug nearly anything in there and it would hold true. It probably has something to do with my overall tiredness. And that's not something easily correctable right now.
We're celebrating my mom's birthday this sunday and the brothers are in charge of getting a cake. I don't really know what my mom likes ... she's always been non-committal about such things. My aunt suggested something with chocolate, but then Karen wouldn't be able to eat it. Chocolate is a trigger for her migraines. I'm thinking that if nothing comes to mind, I'll go with something I like ... like Angel Food cake. Any suggestions?
5:13  ... I really should try to get some more sleep. I've read a few friends' postings, but I guess I won't be able to get to all of them tonight. I'm sorry if this offends people, but this journal has never really been about socializing for me. If you're one of those that are offended, I beg for your forgiveness as I head to bed. It's not you, it's me..

Keeping the Faith

"Faith is trusting God."

This used to be enough for me ... but that was in a different life. Now I find myself thinking "how shallow" when I hear it or read it. It just seems incomplete ... like a cliche thrown out whenever someone asks for the meaning of the word faith. It's not enough for me anymore. It's  .... unsatisfying I guess ... doesn't fill my belly during those long moments alone. What am I trusting from God? Why should I trust Him? What has He said that I should trust? I find myself wondering what the rest of the sentence is ... and wishing that someone would complete it. Since that's not happening,  I spent some time thinking about it and came up with my own description.

When the miracles dry up and the promises are nowhere in sight and hope is something long remembered ... faith is trusting in the nugget of purpose behind all of those things that can't be seen. It is holding on to what was said in blood and sweat and agony on a little hill long ago. It's clinging to the words "I love you" expressed in that one moment ... and all the implications behind those words.

This is the faith that I am holding on to. It's the only description that works for me now.

I have other thoughts to post, but those will probably come later in a private posting.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
- Hebrews 11:1 -