Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Weird Ways to Die

While slightly morbid, I found this site fascinating - 30 Strangest Deaths in History

Plus - it's proof that I have a dangerous job. Someone has actually been killed by a bookcase! Does anyone else think it's odd that her mother didn't find her for 11 days?

Death by Bookcase
Mariesa Weber was reported missing by her family for nearly two weeks before they found her in her bedroom, wedged behind a bookcase.
"I’m sleeping in the same house as her for 11 days, looking for her," her mother, Connie Weber, told the St. Petersburg Times. "And she’s right in the bedroom."
Both Weber and her sister had previously adjusted the television plug by standing on a bureau next to the shelf and leaning over the top. Her family believes Weber, who was 5-foot-3 and barely 100 pounds, may have fallen headfirst into the space.

Suitcase Life - Part 2

The thing about a suitcase life is that you get pretty dependent on your suitcase – and it can seem like all the world is wrong if it goes missing. Well, it went missing last week. There I was, in Orlando, Florida with my shorts, t-shirts and bathing suit (and yes, clothes for my meetings the next morning) in my suitcase lost somewhere in the US Airlines system. I had been looking forward to some great sunny weather and the potential for a couple hours by the pool. Instead, I was standing at the baggage carousel, grabbing fast food, and making a run to Target for deodorant and something to wear in the morning.

It was really lost too – no one seemed to know where it was. You see, between a cancelled flight and being rerouted, the suitcase got lost somewhere in Toronto, Philadelphia or Pittsburg and it had seemingly vanished.

Now, this sometimes happens, and you get your bag in a few hours. Not a big deal. However, my bag didn’t reappear until 3:30 AM two days later, and only 3 ½ hours before I was leaving Florida.

I also had a car rental nightmare, cancelled / delayed flights, 3 ½ hours on hold with US Airways, and a crumbling living room wall at home that was supposed to be having repairs but wasn’t.

I had a really frustrating travel week, but I ended up with new clothes and new shoes, which is a bit of a comfort. It made me realize though, how when you live out of a suitcase, the suitcase is pretty important. It’s kind of like your house goes missing!
This leaves me wondering, what is my ‘suitcase’ when I’m at home? What part of my life has to be intact and where I can control it so that I feel like life is okay? Also, what is complaining and what is simple fact-stating (why in the world did I give up complaining for Lent?)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Suitcase Life

A shrinking world has its drawbacks. I travel a lot – and generally enjoy it, but sometimes it gets to be too much. Not as much as some people (George?) but more than most people who are not sales reps or drifters. While yes, it is interesting, and keeps my job always changing (which I need), it definitely has its drawbacks.

There are the pros: interesting foods at new restaurants, Starbucks along the way (I think that travel has contributed to my caffeine addiction), seeing different people and different places, gathering information (I love collecting information – geek factor), making friends in other places, shopping in the US regularly, expanding my world.

Cons: sleeping in numerous beds that who knows how many people have slept in, breathing in gallon after gallon of recirculated airplane air, seeing new places only through the windows of the airplane / cab / hotel / conference room / hotel / cab / airplane), very long days of taking in new information and new people (which can be exhausting), being hit on by creeps, always living in a state of transition, the mad race before I leave (did I take out the garbage? Water the plants? Cancel the paper? Make arrangements for small group? Clean out the fridge?).

Looking at my schedule over the next couple months, I’m a little overwhelmed. I’m excited about the opportunities (a conference in Florida next week, Ottawa, Nashville & a week long conference in Toronto in April) but they mean that I’m away from my regular life and the love of my life. I miss Dan while I’m away. I miss my small group while I’m away. I miss my dad’s phone calls. I miss my bed. I miss my friends. I miss my church. I sometimes even miss my Tony Little Gazelle elliptical trainer. Right now I don’t miss my apartment, but I used to!

However, I’m excited about my trip to BC in May. Historymaker is honestly my favourite conference, hands down. Darcy and Leanne are fabulous hosts and friends. Hopefully Paul and Wanda will be there. My friend Erin will be there from Colorado. I love seeing kids not only entertained, but discipled and challenged. Plus, I get to see my family and Dan will be joining me. Now the countdown begins – two months to go and counting!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Troubles = Paycheque

I am going to steal from Michael Hyatt's blog this morning, because it included a quote I loved from Max Lucado’s soon-to-be-released book, Every Day Deserves a Chance.

Citing management consultant Robert Updegraff, Max writes,
You ought to be glad for the troubles on your job because they provide about
half your income. If it were not for the things that go wrong, the difficult
people with whom you deal, and the problems of your working day, someone could
be found to handle your job for half of what you are being paid. So start
looking for more troubles. Learn to handle them cheerfully and with good
judgment, as opportunities rather than irritations, and you will find yourself
getting ahead at a surprising rate. For there are plenty of big jobs waiting for
people who are not afraid of troubles., my frustrations mean I have a paycheque, I guess. I like being paid - and really, I love my job - but there are those frustrations. This might help me with my pledge to not complain for Lent. Speaking of which - how are you doing with your Lenten fast?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Free Coffee Makes a Good Day a GREAT Day

My coworker Michelle found a link this morning reminding us that today is Starbucks free coffee break day. If you know me at all, you'll know that this made my good day a great day. We buzzed over there for well, a 'buzz', at 10:03. It was a good thing. No line ups, just free coffee. Since I saved a dollar fifty, I even splurged on a new coffee mug so that Dan and I each have nice travel mugs for Sunday morning church caffeine.

So, here's the info so that you can enjoy a free coffee today between 10:00 and noon (wherever you are in Canada or even worldwide). Poor Paul the Starbucks barista - he'll be swamped this morning in Downtown Vancouver, I imagine.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fun Book Review

I finished a bit of light reading while enjoying some sunshine over the weekend - Miss Invisible. Laura Jensen Walker’s Reconstructing Natalie, Dreaming in Black & White, and Dreaming in Technicolor have been a few of my favourite chick-lit books. I was thrilled to hear that a new book was coming out from her!

Miss Invisible was fun, and although it didn't have the same 'oomph' as the previous titles it was still a fun, clean, witty read. Centered on a cake-decorator character who feels like she is invisible to the world around her, Jensen-Walker included descriptions of cakes and meals that made my mouth water (I want to try the Danish-layer-cake – can this be offered on the author's website?) and other characters who you either love or hate.

I would recommend this to any ‘chick’ looking for a good weekend read. However, I’d really recommend that you definitely pick up Reconstructing Natalie – Jensen-Walker’s courageous story of a young woman battling breast cancer. It literally made me laugh and cry, and consider my own mortality!
Now i'm reading something slightly more heavy - Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. It's good so far, but probably not good to read right before bed, since i'm not making too much progress before my eyes simply can't stand to be propped open any longer. Also, after talking to Darcy yesterday, I want to read Forgotten Ways. So many books, so little time.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Good Food vs. Something to Eat

Funny enough, after my post yesterday, today my lunch is back to 'something to eat' rather than the good food of Saturday evening. Sigh.

My lunch today consisted of things that would make my father slap his forehead and say 'yeesh', while he fell back heavily onto his recliner (seriously, he would).
- 3 rice cakes
- 1 Odwalla super-protein meal replacement bar
- 7 almonds
- water

Sort of a 'prison-chic' menu I guess. Now, I actually like the convenience of meal bars - and don't mind the taste of them one bit. I've tried enough of them to know which ones to avoid. However, when there are so many good food choices out there, why did I eat this?
1. They were in my drawer at work
2. I didn't want to expend any more energy than possible this morning making a lunch (this daylight savings thing is killing me - and it's only day 2)
3. I don't want to eat unhealthy fast food, and i'm willing to settle for just something to scrounge up at my desk.

I know that there's a spiritual parallel here... and - ugh - I see it. Rather than 'going for the good stuff' I often simply scrounge up whatever passes for nourishment. I'll settle for CS Lewis' mudpies when there is something so much more satisfying to all my senses readily available. Am I motivated to do anything about this though, or is it simply part of the human experience this side of paradise?

So, what do you do when you don't have the luxury of time to prepare something interesting?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Good Food

I laughed when reading Darcy and Leanne's post about North Americans not appreciating good food. I definitely appreciate good quality, flavourful food. I wonder if perhaps many people are simply not adventurous enough to try different things, and end up eating the same sort of fast-food diet?

Last night we tried a new Thai restaurant in Cambridge (yummy spring rolls - and something called "Kiss Me Beef"), and then tried a new cafe / restaurant for dessert. Both places had fabulous atmosphere, fun decor, great food, and an interesting menu (and we were with fun friends, which made for an excellent night). The cafe actually reminded Dan and I of Victoria... (sigh) We tried these places, both out of town for us, because we had an Entertainment coupon book. Now, you might laugh at us using the coupons, but we've tried a number of things simply because we had this book! Sure, we had a couple of bad experiences with the coupon book - one very odd 'Mexican / Indian' combo restaurant (odd - very odd) and one with the worst Chinese food either of us had ever eaten (grease literally oozed out of Dan's eggroll). However, we've had some great things too - and this weekend, we've enjoyed the best of the coupon book.

So there you go - a little tip for those who are caught in the North American trap of crappy food. Plus, I love marketing that works.


For Paul & Wanda... is this the new kind of normal? Country music boy bands? :) I knew I was in trouble admitting to my 'random songs'.
Who says what is normal anyhow? Yesterday, walking through the mall we heard "She's Got the Look" by Roxette. That used to be normal - I still know all the words!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What is Normal?

I live in a sea of new books (just ask my boyfriend who hates clutter), and I love it when God places a timely book in my hands. Last night I finished reading "A New Kind of Normal", the excellent soon-to-be-released book by Carol Kent. This was one of those 'gems' of a book, in that it was a book I had to digest - reading it in bite-sized chunks to try to apply some of it's rich lessons to my heart. I've had experiences that have turned my life upside down, not as public or dramatic as Carol's, but certainly ones that changed what is 'normal' in my day to day circumstances. Most of us have experienced this, I believe. What we don't experience, necessarily, is the perspective change necessary to make our new circumstances a good, new kind of normal. To be honest, the last couple of months in my life have been a new normal - between prolonged health struggles, a crumbling living situation, and multiple friends fighting some very serious battles, life has been anything but routine.

Carol used rich, vibrant quotes from other authors, and Scripture references throughout that resonated with my spirit. I have written out some of those quotes in my journal, and need to revisit them, but one of my favorites is:

"When suffering shatters the carefully kept vase that is our lives, God stoops to pick up the pieces. But He doesn't put them back together as a restoration project patterned after our former selves. Instead, He sifts through the rubble and selects some of the shards as raw material for another project -- a mosaic that tells the story of redemption."
(Ken Gire - The North Face of God)
I know this principle well - He has not patterned me today on who I was yesterday, but who I am in light of His redemption. May I not long for my old normal, but look ahead to His incredible, sometimes painful, always good work in transforming me from glory to glory.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I'm learning some new things - I might not be tech-saavy, but I'm a good researcher, and hey, I can read! Since I've always thought it would be much better if we could subscribe to blogs - have them emailed directly to us when they change, I found a way! Feedblitz provided this solution - I've subscribed to another book business blog I really like this way - and now anyone else who might feel so led (like, maybe my parents) can get updates emailed to them. So, if you're up for it, enter in your email address in the little box on the right, and perhaps even make this available to people who read your blog!

Ah... I feel so empowered. :)

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Soundtrack of My Life (maybe...)

\When reading Paul and Wanda's blog on my lunch break, I took his "Shuffle Challenge". My shuffle might not work so great, but here is what I ended up with. I like ending with "The Long Way Around" because it is so true about me. You can try it too:


1. Open up your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc.)

2. Put it on shuffle

3. Press play

4. For every question below type the song that’s playing

5. When you go to a new question, press the next button

6. No repeat artists…stuff happens (randomly!!)

7. No cheating or doctoring your list to make yourself look cooler than the person you took this from.

The Result
Opening Credits:All Praises to the King - Hillsong

First Day of School:Missing Missouri - Sara Evans

Falling in Love:The Girl in the Other Room - Diana Krall
Breaking up:Jackson - Dave Barnes

Prom:Stand - Rascal Flatts

Life’s Ok:None But Jesus - Hillsong United

Mental Breakdown:On Our Side - Chris Tomlin

Driving:All that Noise - Dave Barnes

Flashback:Gotta Serve Somebody - Nichole Nordeman

Getting Back Together:I Wonder - ABBA

Wedding Scene: The Happy Song - Delirious

Birth of Child:The Christmas Song - Mariah Carey

Final Battle:Shake it Off - Mariah Carey

Death Scene:Not Ready to Make Nice - Dixie Chicks
Funeral Scene:Tremble - Nichole Nordeman

End Credits: The Long Way Around - Dixie Chicks

Friday, March 02, 2007

Breaking Lent little provocation it takes for me to break Lent.

I confess, all it took was a day of travel exhaustion to lead me to complain bitterly on Monday evening. After being yelled at by an Air Canada lounge employee, a delayed (deicing) flight to Nashville, a wait for my luggage, a taxi ride to the hotel, and a round-about shuttle ride to a late-night dinner meeting, I was tired and cranky, and I WANTED to complain. My travel companion / coworker, Tim, worked to keep spirits light by laughing at the ridiculous situation, but you know what? I didn't WANT to laugh. I wanted to gripe and let my frustration be aired. I did NOT want to allow God to show me what He would have me learn in this situation.

Later that evening, and the next day, I realized that the source of my complaining (other than simple weariness) was control. The situation was out of my control - the delays, the detours, the waits, the surprise meetings - I had no control, and wasn't necessarily willing to recognize that although I had no control of the circumstances, God did. I wasn't willing to surrender my grabbing 'me' attitude for Spirit-generated self-control.

So this is what Lent is about, isn't it? Recognizing our own sinful nature and laying down our 'self' so that we recognize God's rule in our life and in our world. Oh... I have so far to go. However, i'm back in the saddle, as it is, and praising God for snow (as it means a snow day for me today!), rather than complaining about winter!

How are you doing on your Lent fast?