Sunday, June 29, 2008

serve the Lord with gladness

I had two opportunities for service today. One I was glad about; one I wasn't.

Val and I taught the 1st & 2nd (and 3rd?) grade Sunday School class this morning. Several of my Sparkies are in that class; I miss Sparks more than I'd though possible. I'm really looking forward to starting up again in September. Anyway, class went pretty well, despite the fact that our 5-minute craft stretched into 35! I'd be happy to sub in that class again. I've decided that 5, 6, 7, and 8-year-olds are my favorite.

Our missions team had a breakfast fundraiser this morning. (I don't think I've mentioned our mission trip on this blog before. I'm going to Florida for 10 days in July with others from my church. We're helping at a sports camp/VBS in the Tampa area.) When I got to church (at 8 a.m. . . so I was predisposed to being grumpy), I learned that our team would be doing the afternoon services at the three nursing homes in town. This is the service I wasn't so glad about. Normally, I wouldn't mind being a part of the services (although I wouldn't be inclined to volunteer to help with them), but I didn't appreciate that it was sprung on me at the last minute. I was planning a nap for the afternoon! (I understood why I didn't know about it earlier, but I still wasn't happy.) Needless to say, I didn't have the greatest attitude as we arrived at the first home. I was there, but I certainly wasn't serving the Lord! Then we went to the second place. As I looked around at the residents entering the room, I saw how happy they were to have us. They smiled; they waved; they sang along with the hymns. Then we went around to greet them. As I shook their hands and thanked them for coming, I realized how important it was to them that we were there. And I had to repent of my rotten attitude. Right now, I'm exhausted. I'm surprised at how tiring it is to stand up and sing for an hour, even when it's broken into segments. By the last song, my voice was cracking! I'm glad that we went . . . and I'm glad God got through to me so I could enjoy serving Him!

Friday, June 27, 2008

home again!

Mom was released from the hospital today! She's tired and in pain, but she's home! And you should see my parents' house--it looks like a flower shop :-)

no air

I did call my landlord yesterday morning, but he didn't answer his phone and he apparently doesn't have voicemail. Fortunately, my uncle (hereafter known as UE) is the guy he would have called to fix my air, so when UE called me about something else, I told him about the air situation. UE is a very busy man--especially when it gets hot outside and everyone realizes they need their air fixed--so I didn't expect to see him right away. But at 10 p.m., my doorbell rang, and it was UE! Turns out I need a new compressor. He got one today but hasn't had time to put it in yet. I'm just so happy to know that my air will be fixed soon! (And, thankfully, the last two days have been cooler.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

summer has arrived

After weeks of wonderfully cool weather, summer has hit. It's 78 degrees at 11:30 p.m., and I feel like I'm slowly cooking in my apartment. Why? Because my air conditioner has decided not to work! When I left for work this morning, closing my windows didn't even cross my mind. When I stepped into my hot and sticky apartment at 8:30 p.m., I was really regretting that. I guess it's time to break down and turn on the air. I totally pride myself on low electric bills, so it pains me to turn on my heat or air. But I knew I'd be a much happier camper in a cool apartment, so I closed the windows and flipped on the air. I set it at 78--I didn't want to be too extravagant (and yes, that's my father in me!). The thermostat read 82. Forty-five minutes later, the thermostat still read 82. Not again!!! Last summer, my air broke down during the worst heat wave of the summer. Now, this won't be the worst heat wave of the summer, but it is the first heat wave of the summer, and it would be really nice to have working air. I'll have to call my landlord in the morning.

the bionic woman

My mom had her left knee replaced yesterday. She's needed it done for a long time, and the right one will need to be replaced, also. Dad and Steph were at the hospital for the surgery, and Val and I drove up after work. Mom's doing really well. They started physical therapy this morning, and at noon she was dressed and sitting in her chair. They're shooting for Friday as a dismissal date . . . and then she'll be out of commission for another 6 weeks or so. I'm already missing her at work!

Monday, June 23, 2008

decaffeinating becky

I'm trying to decaffeinate myself per my doctor's orders. Fortunately, she understands that Becky without caffeine is not a pretty picture, and she told me to allow myself a little caffeine. I'm trying to go with one caffeinated beverage per day. Today, I made it to 12:15 before I cracked open a Diet Dr. Pepper.

I love coffee, but I don't usually drink it for the caffeine--I prefer to get my caffeine from pop. I think maybe I'm equally addicted to caffeine and fizz. Anyway, I thought I could just make the switch to decaf. But now I've been hearing some scary things about decaf. What's a girl to do?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

RIP, beloved tree--part 2

I took yesterday off but had to run out to the office in the afternoon. Here's what I saw:

That's my dad, taking out the tree. Sad day.

learning to lean

Learning to lean
Learning to lean
I'm learning to lean on Jesus
Finding more power
Than I'd ever dreamed
I'm learning to lean on Jesus

I've experienced lots of ups and downs in this past week, and the only thing that's gotten me through is clinging to Jesus. I've been absolutely terrified about a health concern. I had an appointment with my doctor this afternoon, and it turns out I'm fine . . . well, I will be if I can stop drinking so much caffeine!

One thing I learned, through all the ranging emotions--it's not important that I'm OK. Whether I spend 26 years or 96 years on this earth, what's important is that I spend my time glorifying my Savior.

In this past week, I have felt closer to the Lord than I have in a long time. Why? Because everything in my life wasn't "OK." I really needed Him. But don't I need Him always? Some of my priorities have been totally out of whack, and I intend to make some changes. I pray that I don't ever forget just how much I need Jesus!

Monday, June 16, 2008

a week in whitewater

I’ve just returned from a week in Kansas. I anticipated a very relaxing week, and parts of the week were great. But other parts? Terrifying!

I arrived at my grandma's house on Sunday night and hooked up the digital converter box I'd picked up at Wal-Mart. The house is close to Wichita, so I figured I'd pick up lots of channels. Not so. I got the NBC, ABC, FOX, and CW stations. The next morning, I also got the CBS channels (one regular and one weather) and MyNetworkTV, but very rarely could I get all the stations at once. With the digital signal, "fuzzy" stations don't come in--you either get it well or not at all. I'm thinking my parents, who don't live that close to any stations, are in trouble.

Grandma lives in a nursing home near her farm. She hasn't really felt like getting out much lately, so I hoped that I'd be able to convince her to go out some. She seemed really good on Monday, but she didn't want to go anywhere. I mentioned that I'd like to get some ice cream at Braum's, and I thought we could go on Tuesday. Then I called her Tuesday morning. She said she wasn't feeling well . . . and each morning for the rest of my trip was the same. On Thursday, we talked about going out for lunch on Friday. She actually sounded excited about it. Then Friday morning rolled around. I called her at 10, and she wondered if I would get there soon. I took this as a good sign. When I arrived, we kept talking about where we could go for lunch. But when it was actually time for lunch, she decided we should eat at the home. Can we say disgusting? We had chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, green beans, and yellow cake. The nuggets were edible but not good; the mac & cheese was mushy and fakey (and not in a good Kraft Mac-N-Cheese way—for some reason, I love that stuff!); the cake itself was fine, but the frosting tasted like Lemon Pledge; the green beans were the best part of the meal, and I generally wouldn’t choose to eat a green bean unless forced! (I should note that I used to work in dietary at this nursing home; I remember serving really good meals—perhaps this was just an off day!)

Now for the relaxing part of the week. I made a trip to Wichita to go to Borders (where I picked up the Singin’ In The Rain soundtrack and a tobyMac cd with a gift certificate) and meet up with a cousin. Once a year or so, she goes through her family’s closets and gives us a bunch of hand-me-downs. Pretty much all the Rittas have access to this stuff. None of the clothes work for me, but we do have the same size feet, and she buys some really cool shoes :-) I also made cookies and bread, played the piano, cross stitched, drank lots of coffee with Tiramisu CoffeeMate, and watched tons of What I Like About You. I brought lots of movies and a season of Lost, and What I Like About You is the only thing I watched. I started with season two, and it was like I just couldn’t stop! Season two? Check. Season three? Check. Season four? Check. Pathetic, I know! (For all you Full House fans—Scott Weinger, who played Steve, has a bit part in season four. Sadly, he has not aged well!) I taped the episodes a couple summers ago, just as the WB and UPN were about to form the CW. Remember the annoying CW song? If you don’t, count yourself lucky. “Get ready, ‘cause here we come!”

Besides relaxing, I also dealt with some fears—one that I knew about, and one that I didn’t. I’ve never been afraid of being alone at night before, but being out here by myself at night kind of freaked me out. No matter what time it was, I was OK if I was up doing something. But the second I’d try going to sleep, I’d hear noises and picture ways that a prowler might break in. Then I’d plot out ways to escape if someone did break in. It was pretty much terrible. Plus, I had to deal with that other fear . . .

SPIDERS! I’m so glad I never watched Arachnophobia. I saw about five minutes of it once, and that was enough to give me a nightmare. Last week, I was living that nightmare. Grandma’s house has had a spider problem for as long as I can remember. I can’t remember the problem being this bad, though. In the first 24 hours, I killed 3 spiders. It was all downhill from there. I think I’m becoming a little obsessed with this blog: I took pics of almost all the spiders so I could post them and you all could know how brave I am to have resided in the same house with them and, in most cases, killed them. The first spider was on the wall by the grandfather clock. I tried to kill it, but when I whacked at it, it jumped behind the clock. I think I hit it, but I don’t think it died. Then, I went back to the bedroom I was staying in, flipped on the light, and looked directly at the spider’s twin brother! This one, I did kill. And I switched rooms. The next spider (spider #2 in the slide show) was literally inches away from my foot. I glanced down from my cross-stitching, and there it was! (For reference, the little squares are 1-½ inches, and the big squares are 3 inches.) Then the last one. This was the creepiest one. On Friday, I vacuumed the entire house to get rid of all the bug carcasses. I started in the basement, which we’ve long considered “no man’s land” as the spider problem has always been worst down there. I opened the closet in the bedroom and saw this “little” guy. Now here’s where my sanity left me—I actually hollered, “STAY RIGHT THERE!” and sprinted upstairs to get my camera. You know what? The spider listened. But after I took the picture, I wasn’t sure what to do—what if I tried to hit it, missed, and it escaped? Fortunately, there was some spider spray in the basement, so I sprayed the living daylights out of the sucker! I also encountered two other nasty bugs—one was large, red, and cricketlike, and the other was gray and looked like a spider with cricket legs. Ewwwww!!! I also killed several wasps and little, black, fuzzy spiders outside. I am SOOOOOOOOOO thankful my apartment doesn’t have a spider problem!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

the land of oz

Late tomorrow afternoon, I'll be heading off for a week in Kansas. I've really been looking forward to this ever since I decided to do it a few weeks ago. I'm planning to spend lots of time with my grandma, and I hope I can be a real encouragement to her while I'm there. I won't have any internet access, so I'll be commencing radio silence. Have a wonderful week--I'm sure I will!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

it rained and it poured for 40 daysies daysies

This is my kitchen table as of 10:30 p.m. Why? Because we had more storms. I was planning to have my family over for supper. I made baked chicken, fried potatoes, chocolate-peanut butter brownies, and iced tea. It started raining while I was cooking, but I didn't think much of it--just closed my windows, turned off my computer (I'm paranoid about it getting zapped!), and kept at supper. Just before 6:00, which is when my fam was supposed to arrive, my mom called to say we were under a tornado warning. Since I'm in a 2nd floor apartment, she wanted us to have supper at their house. So she and Steph drove over in the downpour, we packed up everything, and headed back to their house. Nothing happened except lots of rain--and we're currently (again!) in a flood warning. I have a terrible memory when it comes to these things, but it sure seems like we're having more rain and more storms than usual!

my plants, 9 days later

See for yourself; I am death to plants.

My dad is good with geraniums; perhaps he can revive mine. As for the impatiens, well, I should see if Aunty M's offer to take them off my hands is still good.

things to enjoy on a random wednesday off

  • sleeping until I naturally woke up (9:45 a.m.)
  • Dr. Quinn season 2, disk 1, which arrived from Netflix this morning
  • helping Steph figure out her new iPod
  • planning a meal for my family
  • not having to shower, put on makeup, or do my hair
  • a new peanut butter brownie recipe
  • a clean kitchen (the cleaning part wasn't enjoyable, but the result is!)

Monday, June 2, 2008

adventures with stephanie

My parents and Val went to Kansas for the weekend, so Steph stayed with me. Most of the weekend was rather uneventful, yet quite relaxing. Then Sunday evening arrived. Let me back up, though.

Saturday, we had a wedding to go to. It was actually a "blessing of the marriage" ceremony, as the couple has been married for a year and a half. So we got all dressed up and ready to go . . .

. . . then, halfway to Grand Island, we decided we really didn't want to go. Neither Steph nor I was very close to the bride (and I know the groom only as my substitute UPS man), so we ditched the wedding and went shopping! I've never been that dressed up just for shopping before, but it was actually kind of fun. We hit Walmart, Shopko (fan sale!), Skagway and SuperSaver (grocery stores), and Hobby Lobby (for a cross stitch project I'm working on), and ended with dinner at Fazoli's, where the guy at the counter was jealous of my Barnes & Noble credit card. We were sad that Fazoli's has gotten rid of their breadstick guy ("Hot and fresh, enjoy!"), and now you have to ask for more breadsticks at the counter.

I had lunch at "The Queen" (Dairy Queen) with my grandma and uncle after church, did laundry, put a roast in the crock pot for supper, and hung out with Steph for a while. Then, at 7 p.m., I got the call. Mom, Dad, and Val were in Belleville, Kansas, and they needed us to rescue them. After picking up the donut out of their other Buick (yes, they own two old blue Buicks), we headed off. In York, we drove through McDonald's--Mom called before we'd had a chance to eat.

Ten minutes later (10 minutes in a drive thru???), we were on our way again, singing to old school dcTalk at the top of our lungs. A few minutes later, Val called: "We just wanted you to know that a trucker stopped to pick us up. He attached the car to the hitch, and we're all in the cab with him. He's turning at Hebron, so he'll drop us off at the gas station." Steph and I got a great laugh at this, picturing Mom, Dad, and Val squeezed into the cab with the trucker. We were pretty sure that Mom wasn't enjoying herself!

When we arrived at Hebron, Val started to tell us of their adventure. Then she stopped, started doing what can only be described as a happy dance, and squealed, "I got you! I got you good! There is no trucker! A-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!" Steph wasn't amused.

Dad put the donut on (that car's donut was already on the car!), and we caravaned home. In the rain. Because why would we have a day with no rain?