Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Now they've gone too far

I work about 5 hours a week as the Menninger Bible Coordinator for the YWCA. Mrs. Menninger wrote a four year through the Bible course over one hundred years ago and at her death the family bequeathed all of her materials to our local YWCA since she had held classes there for many years. So I am in charge of distributing those materials to groups and individuals interested in going through the course. I keep the records and handle the finances. Today I was in my office there and I caught up on my email. This message appeared in my in box

As we move towards fully living out our mission I hope we will be mindful of the exclusivity of messages about a particular God, Jesus, Christianity, praying, congregations, Sunday worship....etc. in our workplace. Understanding that many of our staff, members, and co-workers around the world, have different values and beliefs, and working hard to be an inclusive organization means it is not appropriate to discuss/articulate our own personal religious or spiritual beliefs in the workplace as it makes others feel uncomfortable, disrespect, or marginalized. Over the past 100 plus years we have become a global organization and our foremothers who started the Young Women's Christian Association, would recognize the legal and ethical reasons we now separate "church and state/workplace". --LH

It had been sent in response to the following email

YWCASubject: RE:
I worked for a small local congregation where we modified the song slightlyÂ…

Red and Yellow, Brown, Black and White Â….

It fits the melody very nicely. There was a sizeable Mexican & Mexican-American representation. The little guys in my Sunday school class thought it was a pretty cool revision. It made me think having grown up singing the original version.

We can so easily make someone feel overlooked even with the best intensions in mind. I am thankful for grace (capacity to accommodate and/or forgive people). I know I need to both give and receive it daily.



I have long endured subtle religious bias from this liberal organization. Frequently, they send emails out and have programs encouraging us to contact political leaders on causes that I feel are in conflict with my values, for example, they wanted us all to contact state legislators to urge them not to enact legislation that would mandate abstinence education because they believe birth control and pro-choice are the way to go. I am left wondering what Mrs. Menninger would say today of this organization. We are bound to this group because of how the bequest was made. I write the checks but they have to sign them and have oversight of us. The email senoriginallyly didn't seem all that religious in nature. Have we proceeded so far that to even mention that we are affiliated with a church or are a Christian is offensive. I bet not. The response email was written by the woman who runs the batterewoman'sns program at the YWCA. Her father is the district attorney and she was appointed to sit on the city council for a while to fill vacancycy but she was not elected to the seat when she ran for it later. She lost mainly because she endorsed a proposal to make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal. This would have applied to all jobs, housing attitudes etc. I think it was mostly a reaction to the Phelps family and the public was overwhelmingly against it. I am not sure how to respond to these emails, or even if there is a response. I want to be salt but I also don't want to offend. I fall back on the verse in Romans that says we are more than conquerors. At timelikeke these when it seems that the anti-Christian movement is gaining ground, I can take comfort from the knowledge that we rest on the side of victory. We may lose an earthly battle but the Lord has won the eternal war.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Everything I Needed to Know I learned From Sports

I read Agapepress.org 's daily email news. It is from the American Family Association in Mississippi and relates the news that is sometimes quickly passed over by the networks because it has religious significance. One of their columnists writes about sports. Not sports news just character lessons from sports. I think his regular job is at a paper in Mississippi on the sports section. As I read the column http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/5/192006bl.asp I was reminded that good sportsmanship is good living all the way around. Communication, attitude, teamwork, selflessness, endurance, perserverance, giving it your all are all Godly ways to live. The apostle Paul likens the Christian walk to a race and that is apt but I think team sports are just as effective an analogy. We live on a planet where we have to live with people. It is human nature to want the glory for ourselves, it is a poor athlete who hogs the glory from his team. Not one person on the superbowl teams could have one the game by himself. Even the game winning player has several hundred people to credit...parents, teammates, competition, coaches, wives, siblings, etc. It's been said behind every good man is a good woman and I believe behind every good person is a host of good people. As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another and without people to challenge us in practice, or anyplace we cannot improve. The article talks about the disrespect that Barry Bonds shows for the game and his team by not even attempting to run out the pop up and I cheered. The Christian life is like that. If we choose not to fight against the evil in our world and the apathy in our hearts, churches and communities we are doing a great disservice to the Lord and to ourselves, families and congregations. Everytime I read Brad Locke's column I am struck by how right on the mark he is. Sports are fun and relaxing but we also can learn from them. Or we should apply our faith to our sports. Play with everything you've got to bring the glory to God.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Phone Rang

Ever since my mother called me at 2 am to tell me my father had died of a sudden heart attack , I have an entirely reasonable trepidation when the phone rings at odd times. This doesn't just mean late at night or early in the morning although that is when I am freaked the most. Whenever my mother-in-law calls during the day it sends streaks of unease through my stomach. Usually it is unwarranted but the call we received a week ago justified the queasy feeling. Her sister had been rushed to the hospital and they had discovered that her cancer treatments hadn't prevented the growth of a tumor which was cutting off the supply of blood returning to the heart. She was taken off life support about 24 hours later and died 17 minutes after that.

I had been expecting it about Shan's grandfather, I don't know how many times we've been told that he is a short timer. Last summer when his thyroid had shut down and he had cancer they were beginning radiation for, the word was, he probably wouldn't make it to Thanksgiving. I am not sure if that was a pronouncement from the doctor or if the family is making guesses. Since he is still here I would bet it was the latter.

Don't we all dread that phone call? Come to think of it, most calls after 10-10:30 and before 7 am are usually bad news. In college it meant that my alcoholic roommate was drunk and needed a ride. Of course that was after she temporarily lost her driver's license for driving drunk. She still drove to the bars but she called me for a ride home. Since I don't drink and my boyfriend lived 3 hours away she figured I'd be home and sober. I was, usually in bed so I could get up for church.

More recently we get early calls from people who read the newspaper early and want to buy whichever item we've got listed. Since our paper will let you place a free ad for items less than $75 it is better than a garage sale. I am usually sleeping at 6 am but people forget the niceties when there is a deal on something. Right now I need to list the old microwave, ( finally the new one is here and installed), a headboard from my grandmother's house, and a patio set since I got a new one for Mother's day. Better get ready for the early phone calls.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bear is Back

Yesterday at naptime we couldn't find Je's bear. I looked high and low and it was nowhere to be found. I didn't want to delay nap to keep searching the girls rooms so I gave her a doll and told her to try to sleep. When Shan got home he said he hadn't found it last night when he'd looked either. I started to panic. Seriously. I couldn't imagine where he was and I kept picturing the "lovey fight" in the backseat of the car with open windows and bear sailing out of the car on 21st Street and me not noticing. It had been over 24 hours since that happened and I figured that if we lost bear then it might not be found. I really couldn't believe that Bear could have gone out the window and Je or Jo wouldn't have screamed but I had just yelled at them to stop that because I was afraid it might happen. We got home from Mom and Brother-in-Law's birthday dinner and I resumed my search for Bear. I had a knot in my stomach just like when my engagement ring slipped off my finger on a frigid day when my hands shrunk last winter. I picked up the sleeping bag in Je room for the third time and shook it hard. Out dropped Bear. All is well with our world. Je and I did a happy dance. Losing Bear would have been worse than the ring. The ring was covered by insurance and was replaced. (The new one is better than the old one, even Shan thinks so because the old one was a marquis cut that had a pointy end which scratched him). I asked Je what we should do now and she thought we should tell God thank you since He helped us find Bear. We did and she went to sleep really fast. I did too, over and over again b/c I could then sleep better.

BTW if you get a chance check out Evolution of Dance at You Tube. It cracked me up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIeIWkK0t4s

Saturday, May 06, 2006


My microwave is getting old. It is very weak, 625 Watts so it cooks slow and it is black when the rest of the appliances are white. I keep waiting for it to stop working. We bought it used when we moved into this house because the kitchen is spacious but no really good spot on the counter for a microwave. We found a microhood in the paper for $75 because some older gentleman's second wife didn't like the all newish appliances that the first wife had picked out before her death. So with our Christmas money we (finally!!!!) went out and bought a new one. Shan spent the morning installing it after removing the old one. (Not as easy as it sounded, apparently). I put the girls leftover mexican rice in the microwave, pushed the 1 minute button to heat it up and watched as the rice rotated in the new oven. (This is a novelty, the old one didn't rotate.) I opened up the door after the beep and touched the rice. It seemed warmer but not warm enough so I pushed the button for another minute. After that it didn't seem any warmer. We tried some other settings but the rice remained room temperature. ARGHHHHHHHHHH! I called the handy dandy 800 number to get product assistance. After pushing several buttons to get to a live body the guy tells me that he can't diagnois the problem over the phone but he could call an appliance repairman and have them call me to set up a repair, but don't worry it will definitely be covered by the warranty. DARN TOOTIN IT'LL BE COVERED!!!!!!!!!!!! IT'S BRAND NEW!!!!!! I only thought that I was nice to the phone guy but seriously. I do not want to wait until Tuesday to have a repairman come to fix the microwave that should have worked in the first place. With much wheedling, rational arguments made and a phone call to a higher authority, (my mother) I convinced Shan that the microwave had to go back to the store and a new one secured in its place. To be fair, it was Shan's idea to call my mom, he thought that if she thought we should take it back rather than get it repaired then that was probably the right thing . He was just trying to avoid having to take it down and put another one up. He also HATES to return anything to any store. So when he gets back from lawn mowing he will take down the old one, I will go trade it and he will put it up. Lowes is open until 10 so I am willing to be patient as long and I know it is going to happen.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


It finally happened. We're regulars. The wait staff at our favorite Mexican restaurant can predict with great accuracy what we are going to order. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. It has taken a while to get to this level of relationship with a restaurant. It is a commitment. The last time it ended sadly so we are proceeding cautiously. (You think I am joking here but seriously)

When I was in high school a new Mexican restaurant opened in the mall. It was a new location for a place we had frequented before we moved here, not really a chain since there were only like four locations total, 3 there and the one here. We were addicted to chips and salsa. We had to go at least once a week for at least that. Sometimes we had fajitas or quesadillas, more often we would get the super nachos with every thing on the side to construct it ourselves. My father was a really soft touch so we could usually talk him into Annie's Santa Fe. Everytime we had a day off of school we would get Mom to take us for lunch. Every weekend we would want to get salsa to eat at home. During college I would go get take out salsa and chips to take back to school with me and hoped it would last until my next weekend home. We even got quarts of the stuff and bags of chips to serve at our wedding dinner. We were having dinner at Annie's with my Mom when we told her we were expecting our first baby. Are you getting a picture of how much we liked this place? It was a huge deal when it closed. We now had to pick a restaurant to go to when we ate out. Before, if we were eating out no one even needed to ask, that is where we went.

In the years since it closed we have tried several other places to find good salsa and chips. Finally we settled on one. It is pretty good. There is another one with better salsa but it is farther away and the atmosphere is more bar than restaurant so we don't usually go there. The salsa isn't that much different. Having settled into a routine Mom and I go there for lunch with the girls. We order fajita's to share with extra rice, no beans and a side of rice for the girls. We drink diet coke and get water for the girls. Last night when we went there, Shan, Mom, the girls and GiGi the waiter knew what we wanted without our telling him. Shan had to tell him but he doesn't get to go very often since he has to work. We told him we wanted the fajitas and he wrote it down and said, "extra rice, no beans and four plates, and a side of rice?" I just wanted to laugh. It was a "Cheer's" moment.