Monday, May 26, 2008


Today was birthday #39 for me. Yikes! A year from now, I will be hitting 40, God willing. Scary thought.

Today was a really good day. Paul and Pam went to visit his family for a few hours, then we all were together for a late lunch at 3. Dad grilled sausage links, pork, hamburgers, and hotdogs. Added to that, we had baked beans, 2 kinds of pasta salad, and more. We ate outside, though rain was threatening all day. After we ate, we had 2 birthday cakes - Allie's birthday is tomorrow, and she had a marble cake with chocolate ice cream. My cake was a DQ ice cream cake, very good!

Later, we opened the presents. Allie's from me, my parents, and Vicki and Steve, Benjy and Katie's from me, since I won't be here in early June for their birthdays, and of course, mine! I walked away with 2 new shirts, sunglasses, cologne, the newest Ted Dekker book (which I just finished reading a few minutes ago), a photo album, car air fresheners, socks, and razor blades. I think that is it. The funniest card was from Paul and Pam - they have had it close to a year, holding onto it for my birthday. It has a bunch of monks in line to eat. There is a big sign saying "Special Today: Beans". Under the picture, it said: "on some days, the vow of silence was harder to keep", inside - "Hope your birthday is a gas!" Their present for me was also in a Bart Simpson gift bag. I thoroughly detest the Simpsons, and especially Bart, so Pam takes enjoyment in often giving me Bart stuff she finds cheap. :-)

We ended up going to the lake at 5. Dad took his boat, and while the kids took turns riding in it with Paul, the others fished and played on the swings and slide. The Don Quales family, and another family from church went zooming by on a pontoon boat. We also got talking to an old college mate of Vicki and mine who I haven't seen in many years, so that was cool.

Afterwards, we came home and ate more, then Vicki and Steve headed home with the kids, and I settled down to reading "Adam", the Ted Dekker book.

Mom and Dad are planning on my getting a storage facility for most of my stuff, and staying here til I get a job and place to live. Since I will be on the sofa bed in the basement, hope that doesn't take long! I do have some worries, that my Christian friends who read this can pray with me about. The job and living situation, of course, but also the move back itself. I will most likely be driving back by myself, pulling my car. I cannot back up anything with a trailer on at all, and am already worried about getting the truck and trailer into the apartment drive and parked, not to mention my driving 400 miles by myself. I am sure I am doing the right thing by moving back, and this trip has helped strengthen that, but the future is kind of scary right now. I'm not even sure I can afford to live by myself. Hopefully, God will work it all out.

I will be heading back to Indiana tomorrow, and dread getting back to work. It has sure been a refreshing and fun time here, and now the real world has to come back. Although I am hoping to get with my Hoosier friends and beat a couple of them in Rook! Here is hoping and praying for a safe trip back.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Week-end of wonderful chaos

Friday night ended on a lovely note. Long story, but the short version: 2 computers, 1 isp number, much working on computers by me and a young guy from our church here, bad modem, now internet on one computer via a broadband connection.

The s (nieces) also arrived Friday evening, noisy and excited to be at Grammy's and to see me. They spent most of the evening playing on the computer when they weren't being worked on.
Saturday, I got up and had french toast and sausage - a breakfast the s order any Saturday they are here. I played outside with the s most of the day, and also learned to play Hearts on the computer - pretty fun. Katie, the youngest, tried to jump the small creek, and didn't quite make it, and got one foot in. That, and an incident today is causing some thought on my parents' part of putting a pipe in and covering the creek up.

Later, Mom, Dad, and I went up to the pizza buffet and enjoyed it immensely ( I know, diet time is coming!) From there, I headed up to Kimmy and Kevin's house. We chatted, ate some snacks and pie, and played a game they got me for my birthday. I didn't stay late, as she had a lot of cooking to do for the next day, but I was glad to see them and spend some time with them - it had been too long. :-)

Sunday, today: Went to church, and had lots of people glad to see me, which was cool. Came home and had my "birthday dinner": fried chicken, mashed potatoes and noodles, corn, rolls, and a salad, followed up by strawberry pie. Delicious!

Dad had settled in for his Sunday nap, Mom was on this computer emailing her cousin, and I was on the other computer playing hearts, when the quiet Sunday afternoon was ended by a pounding on the door. I opened it to find my 3 nephews - Paul and Pam changed their plans, and sneaked in early, arriving around 3:45, instead of tonight after church. We spent most of the rest of the afternoon on the front porch, well the rest of the s did. I spent it chasing Nathan, the youngest, all over the yard keeping him out of the creek and off the road. Josiah just had to jump the creek, so Benjy tried it, and didn't make it. That required a change of pants and shoes. :-) I think the creek's days are numbered...........

Tonight was the school's Baccalaureate, so we went for that. My friend Ken was the speaker, and he did excellent. We came back here with the addition of 3 s - my nieces are spending the night also, and it has been chaos til now - the kids don't get to see each other very often, so when they are together, they are loud, and all running all over, but it has been great to see them all. Nathan has made up to me pretty good, not having seen me much in his short 17 months.

The house is now quiet, everyone having gone to bed. I will most likely play one more game of Hearts with Ben, Josh, and Pauline, my evil computer opponents, then will go to bed for my last time as a 38-year-old. On waking, I will be 39. Yikes!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Home, safe

I made it safely, and without incident, back to Ohio, making it in about 9:45pm. This trip home was much better than the last, which was when my Neon died on the interstate on a winter night.

I stopped to get a little gas in New Philadelphia, OH, and it has been so long since I had a Sheetz sub, I broke down and got a 6-inch. For those who have never had one, you are missing out. The fun part is the ordering: you order on a touch screen, picking out what kind of sandwich, then the ingredients. You hit submit, go pay, and it prints out in the back for them to make it. Very tasty too, might I add. :-)

True to form, my mom had something to eat, so even though I had eaten a sub 1 1/2 hours before, I had 2 sloppy joes before calling it a night. To my amazement, my dad has gone techie, and hooked up a second computer, and ran a cable to a router so 2 computers are hooked up to the internet here. I was surprised. :-)

This morning, I ran into Dutch House, where I used to work in the bakery, and visited with a few former co-workers who seemed happy to see me. They want me to come back, but I am hoping for other work. Mom and Dad met me, and we went on to Boardman to do some shopping, which started out with a delicious breakfast of sausage links, eggs, pancakes, and hashbrowns at IHOP.

I saw the neatest thing there at Home Depot. Mom and Dad were trading in their empty gas tank for the grill, and they have a cool system at HD: you pay inside and get a slip with a bar code. You go outside, and there are tanks in cages. After you swipe your barcode on the machine beside the cages, the door on an empty one will swing open. After you put your empty tank in, another door will open, allowing you to get a full tank. Unfortunately, I put the tank in the car, and did not realize it was empty also, so Mom and Dad are heading back to Boardman to exchange it - a 35 minute trip or so.

For part of Katie and Allie's birthday presents, I bought them denim bags at Hobby Lobby, and ironed on their first initial in red. Looks pretty cool, and I did a good job, if I must say so myself - it did help that the letters are adhesive, so they don't move while ironing. The 3 s are spending the night here tonight, as they often do on Fridays, since their parents both usually end up working Saturdays. They may also spend the night Sunday as their mom has to work til 1 on Monday, and their dad is planing an early morning fishing trip with my dad. We may have a full house Sunday night, as Paul and Pam and the 3 boys are driving in after church and spending the night also.

Since it was kind of my fault that Mom and Dad had to run back to Home Depot, I decided to start mowing so Dad won't have to do as much when they get back. Unfortunately, after mowing the front yard, the belt broke for the mowing deck, something that happens fairly often, I found out from talking to Mom on the phone - a relief to me, as I was afraid it was my fault. :-)

I am hoping to get with my friends Kevin and Kimmy while I am here. She emailed me asking how long I was here, and if I would be able to get together with them, and I pointed out my schedule is more open than their's. :-)

Well, will post more later.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another Rook Night, and a New Money-making Idea

Yesterday was a Monday of Mondays. The truck was very late - 2:00, as opposed to 8:00am. By the time it was unloaded and I got started on my freight, it was 4:00. I was scheduled til 6, so that didn't leave me much time to get anything done. I think they would have liked everyone to stay til close, but I had plans to go beat some people in Rook, so I was out of there at 6.

I came home, changed clothes, then Steven and I headed for Bedford. After a stop at Arby's, we went on to Cindy's house. They and Kristin were getting ready to eat a diet supper - Curve's approved. I kept doing my part by offering them some of my curly fries, but they didn't give in and ate their diet food, which came to a screeching halt afterwards. They said it was time for dessert, and I wondered what disgusting flavorless diet dessert they were going to come up with. I was very surprised when they brought in a birthday cake that said "Happy Birthday Mark", sang to me, and gave me a rude card :-) It was a very nice thing to do, and the cake was very good, as was the ice cream that was brought out. :-)

We finally got down to the important business of the evening: Rook. We ended up playing 4 games with the four of us, and we beat 2 out of 4, and Cindy and Steven lost 2 out of 4......but that didn't change anything in the running tally of total games won, so Kristin and I are still in the lead. We did play one game of "5-man Rook" when Cindy's brother David, stopped in to play. That was fun, and he was hilarious to play Rook with. He further toppled the wrong image I had of him when I first met him - he is a doctor, and I figured he was a serious, sophisticated type, and how wrong I have been about that :-) I sure had a fun evening, and am glad I was able to escape Hobby Lobby. :-)

A new money-making idea if you have a relative die on you. It has become the "in thing" to do with famous Southern Gospel singers, to stream live video of the funeral on the Internet. Well, that has changed. Dottie Rambo, whose singing I never got into, but man, could she write songs - died Mother's Day week-end. The family did not have live streaming of her funeral, citing the intimate nature of the service. But wait! The family has announced that there will be a special keepsake video available at a later time. Hmmm. Guess the privacy won't matter later........

I am scheduled 9-4 on Thursday, then God-willing, will head for Ohio, returning on Tuesday. I will get to see my nieces most likely most of the days I am there, especially if my mom has to watch them Friday night and Saturday, which I am hoping. Paul and Pam will be there for Monday and Tuesday, as they have to be at their church for Sunday services. I can't wait to see the kids.

An answer to prayer: I have had a hard time getting money aside for the move, but my mom did get some money from a life insurance policy, and true to her nature, are giving all 3 of us kids some. It isn't a lot, but let's just say my move is covered now. I may even go buy one of those Ipod adapters that will allow me to play my Ipod in the car, something I miss with my new car.

Thanks again to Cindy, Steven, and Kristin for the cake, card, and a fun-filled evening. I will really miss you guys when I move.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Kirk Cameron, John Wayne, and Strawberry Pie

I just finished reading the autobiography of Kirk Cameron. I never saw Growing Pains, the show that made him famous, but did see the Left Behind movies a few years back that he starred in. He has always impressed me for some reason, and I came away from reading the book even more so.

He is very picky about the movies he appears in, and will not kiss any woman other than his wife in a movie. His newest coming out this year called for a kiss between he and the character playing his wife in the movie, so they used his real wife for the kiss. He seems so totally different from the other so-called Christians in Hollywood. Yet, you look up his page on the Internet movie database (imdb), and on the message boards, they crucify him constantly. Makes me think Mr Cameron may actually have the goods. If the world is cheering us on and idolizing us, we cannot be living the Christian life that God wants us to live. Christianity isn't popular, and getting even less so as the days go by.

If we live as Christ commands us to, we aren't going to be popular with the world, and even with a lot of Christians. Anymore, you can find churches that allow anything - homosexuality, racism, and more. Yet, we who stand against these things are put down and condemned for it.

There is a song that Phillips, Craig, and Dean recorded a few years ago, and more recently has been recorded by the Booth Brothers (who do tremendously better!) - Crucified With Christ. That song has been on my mind almost daily since the Booth Brothers' concert. No one wants to talk about it anymore, and it isn't something even we Christians want to talk about. What does it mean? Its kind of a scary thought - a crucified person has no control anymore - he is in total control of whoever put him on that cross. And once death comes from the crucifixion, he has no desires, plans, nothing at all. To be crucified with Christ means that for us: we have to turn over our desires, plans, all we are and have to Christ.

Another song has been on my mind lately: Jesus and John Wayne. It is on the new Gaither Vocal Band CD, and in my opinion, the song is stupid, and un-Biblical. The gist of the song is that the singer is most days somewhere between Jesus and John Wayne. That's a long way from being crucified with Christ.

Most days, I feel like I am still a little child spiritually. I struggle trusting God, and Satan knows my weaknesses so much - the things that will "light my fuse", the things he brings up from the past: things I did, things people did to me. But I have to aim to be alot closer to God than to John Wayne if I want to make it.

I am going to do something I never did before: make a strawberry pie. :-) I did cheat a bit and bought a frozen pie crust - I didn't feel up to making it from scratch, though I did it all the time when I worked in the bakery, but what would I do with the hundreds of pie shells that would be the result?!

The hardest part was finding the corn starch. I looked and looked in the flour aisle, with no luck. It took 2 employees to find it for me, so I didn't feel so badly about my finding skills :-).

I had today off from work. I went and got my check and finished up my birthday shopping: Allie, Katie, and Benjy, who I was surprised to find out has his birthday on June 9, not the 3rd or 5th as I thought.

Well, I am off to make my pie. Til next time!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

May Happenings So Far

Well, I haven't posted for a while, and decided I needed to drop one, though not much is going on. :-)

Work has been rough lately. Last week, I spent way too much time on the cash registers and moving counters on Monday and Tuesday to get my freight checked in. I never did get it all quite done, and since I had off Thursday, was not able to work on ordering for this week, so the assistant manager, who used to have my department, did it.

This week hasn't been a whole lot better - too much register, though I did get my freight done. Frustrating thing is, we have about 4 new girls, but they haven't been register-trained yet, so while I am running up front constantly, they are working on non-important things. I could transfer to the Hobby Lobby when I move back to Ohio, but I am too frustrated with the way they run their store to do that. I feel stretched too thin.

I put in a long day Monday - there was an employee meeting at 8:30, so I had to stay through til then instead of leaving at 6. Then he wanted me in early today - 7:30, instead of 9, and then asked me to work later than the scheduled 4, so I lasted til 6, but was too beat to stay longer. I can use the extra cash, but it was an exhausting day. Since he is giving me off the days I want for Memorial Day week-end, I am trying to do him a favor too.

My family's birthday boom gets a start tomorrow with my mom's birthday. She will be.......ok, maybe I had better not put it out there in print. :-) My aunt, her sister - has a birthday on the 11th, then I follow on the 26th, my "middle" niece, Allie, on the 27th - she was due on my birthday, but bypassed it by a day, and will be 10, Benjy, my "middle" nephew, is next on June 3rd - he also was due on my birthday, but bypassed it by 8 days (much to Pam's dismay) - he will be 4. Katie is next, my youngest niece, and she will be 8 on June 5. Josiah will be graduating from Kindergarten in early June also. Not to leave out Mothers' Day, Father's Day, and an anniversary, Vicki and Steve's is the 11th of June. You can see why I forgot to buy one card when I was at the card store stocking up. :-)

My move back to Ohio is drawing closer, and I have mixed emotions on it. I will miss the friends I have made here, especially my Rook-playing friends, and my co-workers. Working at Hobby Lobby can have its trying moments, but I have worked with some people there I have really gotten to like, and gotten along well with.

It will be good to get back to my home church. I have never gotten to the place where I feel at home at church here. I am sure it is partly my fault. I do like the church, the pastor, and the people I have gotten to know, though few very well. It has been nice to sit back and "blend in". At Salem, I wearied of being asked to fill in for so many things. I would rather have had one continuous duty, but instead, I was always being asked to fill in here, do this, speak for this. I do plan on trying to stay in the pew more when I move back. I do have some worried about fitting back into things.

I found out some good news this week while talking to my sister Vicki. According to her, my parents are planning on my living with them until I find a job and place to live, though it was news to me. It has been a big worry on me how I was going to have enough money to move, and enough for rent. More possible good news, there is a possibility of some cash coming my way, which will take care of moving expenses.

Along the lines of good news, I had totally forgotten I already bought something for my two upcoming nieces' birthdays and had it at Mom and Dad's - last summer, Hobby Lobby was clearancing out furniture - it went 50%, then 66, then 80, then 90. At that point, we discovered several trunks that should have been discounted, so they went straight to 90%. I grabbed up a few - I get 15% off in addition to the clearance or sale price. I gave one to my niece Stephanie on her birthday in October, and kept 2 slightly smaller ones for the other 2 girls, and promptly forgot about them. So that is 2 less birthday gifts I have to buy.

I have been listening a lot to Steve Green's new CD. He bores me with most of his songs, though I like some, but this CD is really good. It is a worship CD, and totally different from his usual. I am branching out from Southern Gospel here and there. :-)

If this money thing does come through, it will be an answer to prayer. I have been telling God I need a miracle with this moving expenses deal, and if all goes well, I just may get my miracle. If so, I am going to have to remember that next time I struggle trusting Him.

I do feel it is His will that I move back. I felt that same way about moving here. I am not sure why after 2 short years here, I feel the pull back, although I have an idea why. He has taught me some things while living here, that I would not have learned had I not moved away from everything and everybody. It has made me appreciate my family and friends more, and more lessons.

Well, it is getting late, so I had better close and get ready to hit the hay.