Monday, September 15, 2008

Mowing Lawns

God calls some to preach and others to mow the lawn. This is something I’ve always believed. Some people are meant to eloquently lead others to Christ and the rest of us clean the kitchen after the potluck. For the past several years PK and I have quite literally been lawn mowers for Jesus. We liked it. It’s something we were comfortable with and we could feel good about putting some sweat equity into our spiritual lives. Afterall, it was the right thing to do.

Ever since I was a kid in squirming around the pews on Sunday morning, pastors seemed larger than life - too perfect to be normal people. In fact, I used to imagine that I could see little angel wings poking out from under their sport jackets. If pastors were angels in disguise, then missionaries were the saints sent from heaven to win the world for Christ. These people traveled to scary places filled with heathens and oppressors to teach and preach. They gave up their homes, money and freedom to show others what God has to offer. We revered them and held them to a nearly impossible standard of perfection. How lucky we were to be in the presence of these great Christians once a year on Missions Day! They were not lawn mowers. No, they had real gifts and they were called to use them.

This year, PK, CT and I have started attending a new church. We really felt we needed to find a more active church with a youth group for CT's sake. While CT has really enjoyed the new group and is making new friends, it’s really PK and I that have been blessed so far. Already PK is teaching Sunday school to first graders and I’m looking forward to an upcoming couples’ class. We’re not mowing the lawn yet, but we’re starting to get involved a little more…doing the right thing. Still, when Missions Sunday rolled around last month, I wasn’t quite prepared for what God had to teach me. Throughout the service, speakers talked about these great works being done by ordinary people…people from our church…people we knew…people just doing the right thing. That’s when it hit me. Missionaries are lawn mowers. They’re not super-heroes or saints. They’re not just preachers and teachers. They build and repair. They cook and clean. They feed and clothe. They teach Sunday school and attend classes. They mow lawns.

Through our new church, we’ve been given the opportunity to travel to Honduras with the World Gospel Mission in February. During this two week mission, we’ll be working at Escuela El Sembrador. This boarding school for underprivileged boys offers academic and vocational training in a gospel context. The school is really making a difference in the lives of boys and their families in this poverty-stricken part of the world. Our family has always put a heavy emphasis on education and constant learning. We are so blessed that CT has been taught and accepted the gospel and that he will have the education he needs to succeed in his life. So, we feel very strongly that we’ve been called to work at this amazing, far-away place that helps other parents who have not been able to provide these same opportunities for their children.

You may have heard how the recent food shortage has affected Central American countries like Honduras. This project is even more critical in this environment because it not only offers education opportunities, but meets the basic needs of the youth served by the school. We will be part of a work team that will provide labor and support to the school and we’ll take part in improvement and maintenance projects, as needed. What an adventure for a couple of lawn mowers! To learn more about Escuela El Sembrador, visit their website at We were particularly moved by the student biographies on the site. We really feel like we can make a difference in the lives of these kids.

Before deciding to embark at this journey, PK and I spent a lot of time talking and praying about it. At first we had a hard time getting past the details, particularly the money we would need in order to fund the trip. Then, PK reminded me of a trip we took last summer. We went tubing on a lazy river in southern Minnesota. For those of you who know me at all, you’ll know that I’m not exactly the laid back, relaxed kind of person. I spent the first part of the trip struggling against the current that kept thrusting me toward the bank where I would wrestle low-hanging branches and eventually get stuck in the shallow mud. More than once I fell out of my tube and fought to keep it from floating down the river without me. I just could not relax and let the river take me. PK was also being caught up in brambles, hitting large rocks and spending a lot of time in the weeds. But there was a difference. He was actually having fun. I was whiney and exhausted from my battle with nature and I could not understand how he could stay so calm and relaxed. At one point, I looked up from my combat with a large tree root close to shore to see PK blissfully rowing down the river with a wooden paddle he’d found in the bushes. He smiled and held up the paddle “God provides!” he yelled back to me. While I was fuming at his good luck at the time, he did teach me a valuable lesson that is coming in useful today. God does provide to those of us who take the time to slow down and give Him control.

In order to make this trip happen, PK and I will need to raise about $5,000. It’s not going to be easy. But I’m going to trust that if this work is what God has planned for us, the funding will come. Please pray that I can continue to let God lead and that He will provide all that is needed. If you would like to contribute to our mission, click here to donate online. Contributions are tax-deductible, so please include your complete mailing address so we can send you a receipt. In addition, PK and I would like our friends and family to commit to praying for us before and during our trip to Honduras. In particular, pray that we will do God’s work well and that He will deliver us safely home. Also, pray for CT while we’re so far away from him. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful network of family and friends. Thank you in advance for your prayer and support.

It’s important for us all to use the gifts we’ve been given to make the world just a little bit better. Some are called to preach and others to mow the lawn. PK and I are still lawn mowers. God has just called us to move our operation south for the winter this year.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Couch Potato

I have taken the title of couch potato to a new high (or low, depening on how you see it). Last night I dreamed that I was watching t.v. Then, I dreamed up an entire movie for my dream-self to watch.

I wonder what it will take to convince my dream-self to spend a couple of hours of on the dream-treadmill?

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

KellyFaith's Culinary Exploration

Recently, a co-worker of mine insisted on taking me out to lunch to thank me for my contributions to a project we had toiled over for several months. Normally, I would jump at the chance for free food in exchange for just doing my job, but in this case, I was a little hesitant. I’ll explain.

First of all, this co-worker and I have very little in common. Secondly, she has the insatiable need to thank those around her for every little thing. I mean I didn’t even realize that I was being micro-managed by a perfectionist with no idea of how to accomplish the end goal for several weeks. I was too busy basking in the constant appreciation that she lavishes on all of us that do her bidding. This project was a completely, mismanaged disaster, but nobody cared because at least we all got a little recognition for our efforts. Most of these personality quirks I attribute to her Chinese heritage. For instance, she never passes through a door of anyone who could possibly be her elder or might have a title higher than her own. She never accepts praise for work and always gives credit to the “team” or her direct supervisor, even when they did nothing to affect the outcome. So as you can see, we truly had nothing in common.

However, one day we had what she seems to think of as a bonding moment. I mentioned that CT was going out of town to visit relatives for the week. Coincidentally, her teenage son was also leaving to visit relatives and the Olympics in China. Ta-da! We were instant pals…at least in her mind. Since we were now BFFs, a simple “thanks for not strangling me when I unintentionally sabotaged every aspect of this project” would not do. Now, we had to go to lunch together…and not just any lunch….a special lunch.

She proposed it to me in a hallway encounter. “Now that our project is done, I will take you to eat duck feet.” Huh? Yep, that’s what she said…over and over. My boss nearly teared up with laughter when she heard this. I mean, you can’t say "no" to someone trying to reward you for all your work, and it would definitely insult her. I tried the typical “Yeah, we’ll have to dot hat sometime” approach. But it did not work. No, we must go on Saturday (apparently, they do not serve duck feet on weekdays). So, not only did I have to go eat duck feet, but I couldn’t even do it over my lunch break. Oh, I tried the “I’m busy on Saturday” line, but it failed miserably as well. “You told me your son was out of town and your husband is busy.” (Scary, stalker behavior, right?) I even tried suggesting egg rolls on Tuesday instead. But soon I was resigned to the fact that I would have to eventually eat one of poor Daffy’s extremities in order to appease her. My only hope now was that it would not look like an actual webbed foot, that it would be deep-fried and that it would be drenched in some sort of delicious sauce…preferably chocolate.

I will say that the lunch was an experience. Once we sat down, we were immediately surrounded by waiters with silver dishes. There were bowls of strange soups, trays of pastries and shallow dishes of wontons filled with every kind of meat or vegetable imaginable. Each waiter would show us their wares and then eagerly await a nod of acceptance before putting the dish on our table. In the rare event that no one at the table was tempted by a certain dish, the waiter skulked away insulted by our obvious ignorance of fine foods.

The week prior to our highly anticipated feast, I fretted…not about duck feet or the poor mallards were out there hobbling on little crutches. No, I was much more concerned about what my co-worker and I were going to talk about during the meal. We have barely spoken a few words and I didn’t really feel like we had much in common. It turns out I had nothing to worry about. The constant attention from our servers and the table discussions regarding the finer points of preparing squid kept us busy without having to share any personal chitchat. I was relieved.

Finally, my host spotted her favorite dish from across the room. She stood up excitedly and waved her arms wildly. As the waiter made his way across the room she got more and more animated until the entire restaurant was staring our direction. Finally, he plopped down a shallow dish containing the celebrated delicacy. My culinary destiny was delicately displayed over a bed of strange closeslaw. My hostess scooped up a leg with her chopsticks and stuck the whole foot in her mouth. “Don’t eat the knees” was her ominous warning. The feet were not fried, but boiled. The webbed toes remained intact and flopped around at the end of noodley legs. I closed my eyes, put a smile on my face and literally stuck my foot in my mouth.

Honestly, they didn’t have much taste at all…kind of like pasta. OK, I’m not an expert in duck anatomy, but aren’t there supposed to be bones or at least cartilage in the metatarsals? I think I might not have minded all that much had they not actually looked like duck feet at the end of a pair of chopsticks. I could only choke down one morsel. Luckily, my co-worker was too busy sucking down the rest of the platter, she didn’t seem to notice my hesitancy. For something with no taste at all, it stuck with me a really long time. For the rest of the day a faint queasiness descended upon me and I was unable to get the dull taste of duck feet out of my mouth.

I’m not the most cultured person and I didn’t think I was really going to fit into the corporate marketing organization. But I think I am now officially a professional businesswoman. I mean how many Americans can say that they are open-minded enough to voluntarily eat duck feet all in the name of workplace etiquette?

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Today's Favorite Quote

"While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us."
-Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My brand new niece!

It's so hard to think of my little brother as a father. But as of last week, he's a proud daddy. She was born on July 17 and weighed 7 lbs. 10.4 oz. She was 19 inches long. For blog purposes, I am naming her CP for Cutie Pie.

I am so proud of LB. He has already done some amazing things in his life and being a daddy will be no exception. I'm really looking forward to seeing CP and her little family grow up together.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Stupid Tuesday

Some of you may not have heard about my theory on Tuesdays, so let me explain. Most people come into the office on Monday needing at least six cups of coffee to make it through the 9:00 meeting. They’re sleepy, whiney, cranky and sometimes even a little hung over. Everyone spends the day on complaining, talking about their weekend and catching up on where they left off on Friday. There’s not time for actual work and therefore no time for debacles, interruptions and idiocy. Tuesday is when everyone finally gets down to the real week’s work…causing more work for everyone else, annoying co-workers, realizing mistakes from the previous week and scheduling pointless meetings. Yes, the real downer is Tuesday, my friends. Tuesday is when the lack of sleep catches up to you. Tuesday is when you realize just how long a week is and much of it you still have to get through. Tuesday is when you realize that maybe you could’ve put up with one more afternoon at Home Depot with a crying baby and a husband who acts like choosing the right faucet tantamount to selecting an ivy league college for your first-born…if only that meant you could have one less day exposed to that seizure-causing, blinking fluorescent light in your small gray cubicle next to the guy who turns his telephone up too loud. Stupid Tuesday. I hate Tuesday. Stupid, stupid Tuesday.

Think I’m exaggerating? Let me give you an example. Below is a summary of this past Tuesday in my life.

4:00 a.m. – CT wakes up with stomach ache. While trying to comfort him, I realized that I have no medicine to help this particular ailment (athlete’s foot and ear infections I’ve got covered). I give him a drink of water and send him back to bed.

5:15 a.m. – I finally drift back to sleep. I dream that I am at a casino and that I’ve won $45,000 on the nickel machines.

6:15 a.m. – The alarm goes off just as I’m holding the giant check.

6:16 a.m. – I remember that I have a 7:00 dentist appointment.

7:10 a.m. – I arrive for the 7:00 dentist appointment….the dentist has not.

7:20 a.m. – The receptionist arrives for my 7:00 dentist appointment and lets me in the building.

7:22 a.m. – The dentist finally arrives and I’m seen right away.

7:27 a.m. – I have the first of nine novacaine shots. That’s right, nine.

8:10 a.m. – Dentist finishes fillings.

8:11 a.m. – I ask to use the restroom as I realize I’ve started my period (luckily only a few moments previously, so I’m not embarrassed)

8:20 a.m. – I pay the $265 bill at the dentist.

8:22 a.m. – I realize I’ve lost my necklace.

8:30 a.m. – I find my necklace in the dental chair. The chain is broken.

8:55 a.m. – I finally arrive at work…just in time for my 9:00 meeting that I haven’t prepared for.

9:02 a.m. – I realize that my mouth is still numb and that drinking water during the meeting was not a good idea. I need a napkin, but settle for my sleeve.

9:30 a.m. – I realize there’s been no time for breakfast and I can’t eat solid foods for 24 hours.

9:32 a.m. – My stomach growls loudly. I am now drooling and making weird noises in my meeting that I am not prepared for.

11:30 a.m. – I still cannot eat solid foods. I settle on a grilled cheese from the cafeteria. This is the high point of my day so far.

1:00 p.m. – I receive an e-mail from an IT consultant explaining that the reason the website I’ve spent months developing doesn’t work for anyone but me is because the company does not have the appropriate software licenses. Requests for the licenses have been denied. I will have to re-develop site using another software.

1:30 p.m. – I receive an e-mail from a co-worker explaining that the business reply mail that I am preparing to send to customers does not have the correct permit number on it, despite being assured by my boss that she worked on it while I was on vacation and got the numbers directly from corporate.

2:45 p.m. – I’ve just spent an hour working on a complex schedule for a project already in progress.

2:46 p.m. – My computer crashes.

2: 50 p.m. – I realize that I did not save my complex schedule for the project in progress.

2:51 p.m. – I am cursing myself when my boss calls me into her office.

2:52 p.m. – Boss explains that the project for which I’ve just lost the schedule is being “re-considered” and is probably cancelled.

2:53 p.m. – We decide we should probably not tell the team who has been working on the project for two months. Maybe the project will back on?

4:30 p.m. – I finally leave for the day.

Stupid Tuesday!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Knitting Bag Knitted

I finally finished the little knitting bag I've been working on. It's a cute little pattern that leaves the needles in as accent pieces.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Most Embarrassing Moment.....EVER!

I have a firm belief that sharing your embarrassing moments and having the ability to laugh at yourself is a sure way to recover from a mortifying moment in your life. This week I had such a horrendous instance that it has brought me out of my blogging hiatus to tell the tale that will surely make everyone who has ever experienced an awkward moment feel just a little bit consoled in the fact that it could have been worse....much, much worse.

This week I had the pleasure of providing snacks for CT's baseball team. So, I took a little trip to my local Target on my lunch break to pick up some nourishment for the little Cy Youngs. The parking lot and check-out lines are always a nightmare at lunch as everyone is out running a quick errand or two. Still, I decided to brave the crowd and was pretty successful for the most part. My last stop was on the pop aisle (soda or Coke depending on your geographical location). I bent over to pick up a 12-pack of Gatorade from the bottom shelf. As I stood to put it my basket I glanced down to see my skirt....on the floor. It took me a brief second to realize that I was now standing in the center of a very crowded aisle in my underwear. Everyone stopped and stared in disbelief.

The heel of my very cute new sandal had caught on the hem of the skirt as I bent over and managed to tug it down as I stood up. As you can imagine, my hands were full and the shoe was still firmly tangled in the hem of the skirt. It must have taken me an agonizing 2 or 3 seconds to remove the shoe, yank the skirt up and slink off in utter humiliation. It was not a very graceful departure as I had to put down my cargo before replacing my shoe. And as I turned to race down the aisle, I saw a small child sitting in the front of his mother's cart pointing and yelling at the top of his lungs, "Look at that lady's underwear!".

I realize that these days every square inch of a retail store is covered by a security camera. I fully expect the video of my little snafu to be circulating on YouTube as we speak. Oh well, at least I had on my good panties!

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Monday, February 25, 2008

KellyFaith's Latest Adventures in Cartoon Pratfalls

Last week I was struggling with a pulled muscle in my back. The reason I had a pulled muscle is beside the point. Just for the record, though, I believe it stemmed from my phenomenal ping-pong upset versus CT and a couple of his friends. Seriously, I was so good that I made them look like kids playing table tennis in someone's basement.

Anyway, I paid for my victory (sweet as it was) with a backache that kept me hobbling around like an old lady for an entire week. So, I determined that the best cure for my misery besides an entire bottle of Advil was a weekend of nothing...aww, sweet nothing. I stayed in bed most of the day on Saturday, watched t.v., knitted and basically wasted the entire day. It was blissful. And it worked. By Saturday afternoon, my back was feeling much better. A normal person would have been grateful for this small blessing and I was...really, I was. But it seems my body is not in its normal state unless it is in pain. My subconscious somehow conspired with my husband and child to cause me physical harm and return my body to its habitual condition. I'm not suggesting that my family would purposely wish me ill will (at least on most days), but they certainly do enjoy the show!

It all began with PK's simple suggestion that we go look at some open houses in the area. Now, we're not really in the market for a new house, so perhaps this should have tipped me off to my ultimate fate. However, the weather was beautiful and above freezing for once, so I naively accepted the invitation. The first house was a new construction so the lawn was little more old melting snow and giant brown mud puddles. There was no driveway or sidewalk yet, so the owners had graciously built a makeshift walkway of wooden planks to the front door. The house wasn't really all that impressive, so we made polite small talk with the realtor before heading back down the precarious path. The realtor called warning to watch our steps before shutting the door and I cautiously followed CT toward the car. As we neared the street, CT made one last bounding leap to the safety of the cement. In that moment the board on which I was standing slipped from under me causing my step to falter a bit. I managed to regain my composure for a few steps and stumble back onto the board. For a split second, I thought I had avoided catastrophe. I should have known better. I'm not really sure about the rest. It's all a spinning, blurry, muddy mess in my memory. The end I am quite sure of, though. I was laying on my back in the mud staring back toward the house and into the face of the love of my life....who was laughing hysterically.

I did not laugh. I screamed in pain. And then I cried. Contrary to the popular belief, I am not a cartoon character. No, I bruise and bleed and I get really, really dirty. OK, I can almost see the humor in what must have been quite a sight. In fact, I did almost crack a smile later that afternoon as I removed caked mud from the inside of my bra. Had it happened to someone else, I might have found the whole event quite comical. But this is my life, y' big pratfall after another. Those who read this blog often are witness to that fact. I feel a bit like that clown with the giant blue teardrop painted on his face. Oh sure, it's funny enough to squeeze himself into that tiny car with all the smiling clowns. But he's always the one stuck sitting on the gear shift or with one giant shoe stuck in a very uncomfortable position. So, here I am again....not with a giant shoe, but with injuries just the same. My legs are skinned and bloody. My right side is one huge black bruise. My hands and wrists are swollen from the impact with the partially frozen ground. My shoulder hurts and my backache has returned with vigor. Oh well, may be next weekend I'll be able to fully recover....either that or I'll plunge off a cliff in the desert while frantically scribbling "Help!" on a cardboard sign....I never can tell.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Needed a Potholder

Last weekend I spent an entire day knitting a potholder (see photo below). As PK kindly pointed out, I rarely use the oven or stove. It's true that the microwave is my best friend (along with the waitress at Pablo's). So, why spend so much time on a silly potholder? Well, I think after burning my hand last week on frozen pizza, I decided that a potholder may in fact be the greatest invention of all time.

Anyway, I needed a potholder. I think the dryer and/or washer ate all of mine....except for that one that caught fire last time I tried to bake cookies. (RIP, my beloved plaid chicken. You served us well.) Besides one ugly orange, old-lady scarf not worthy of a blog, this is the very first thing I've ever knitted for myself. For that reason alone, I am extremely proud of my little potholder.

Coming soon....washcloth! You never know when the appliances will decide to team up with the socks and declare war on another one of my linens!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today's Favorite Quote

"It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds"

Introducing Uno, the newest member of our family.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Doing My Part

I know it’s been a long time since my last post. You’ll have to forgive my absence. I’ve been busily saving our economy…all by myself. Seriously, those presidential candidates can rant all they want about economic stimulus packages and tax cuts, but I have single-handedly saved us all from recession. And I’ve done it all with my financial support of the facial tissue industry. That’s right, over the past 6-8 weeks, I’ve spent half my annual income purchasing box after box of tissues. Puffs Plus with Lotion, to be exact…but I don’t really play favorites. I’ve made sure my office has doubled its usual order of the Kleenex brand as well. Yes, a few trees have been sacrificed for the cause, but the nation and my little red nose must be soothed.

You may ask where I’ve spent the other half of my annual income. Well, merely buying up the entire local inventory of facial tissue is not enough to stave off the kind of economic downturn we’re looking at these days. No, I had to invest in the pharmaceutical industry as well. We’re talking Pepto-Bismol, Nyquil, countless boxes of Advil Cold & Sinus and many, many rounds of antibiotics. And I’ve done it all for you and your children and your children’s children….so we can leave this country in better shape than we found it, etc., etc. Now stop whining about absence from the blog world and get out there and elect someone who can take this burden from me. No, really, find someone else. I’m done. My immune system has run off with my sinuses to Mexico and they’re sipping margaritas on the beach. Meanwhile, I’m sitting at my desk trying to stay awake and looking less than professional with tissues hanging out my pockets and permanent cough drop breath.

And since I’ve spent an entire year’s revenue keep the country afloat, I am now taking campaign donations. No, I’m not running for president, but I think I am well qualified for Secretary of Rare Virus. Feel free to give as you can and know that your contributions will finance the new sinus infection I feel coming on as we speak.

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