Tuesday, September 30, 2008

47 CANDLES from Kristy

On September 22 my blog post announced that it was 47 days until my 47th birthday. 

In the blog I requested or suggested a few things so that everyone could be involved in my celebrating -- or at least everyone who wants to be involved. (Yes, I'm throwing myself a party in cyberspace. And yes, it has come to this. Really, you shouldn't be surprised.)

So far 18 people have commented on that blog post -- 29 more and we'll reach my goal of 47. If you've not posted yet, there is still time. 

One of the other suggestions involved people finding things that represented or that illustrate the number 47 (a favorite numeral). The first photos arrived today and I have to share them. It is a series of two images. I put the first on at the beginning of this blog and will put the second one at the bottom. THANK you to Kristy for sending these. Kristy blogs on occasion -- no simple task for a woman with 5 kids in the house -- and I always enjoy her insights and amusements. Lipstick, Bandaids and Wet Wipe Baths

For more detail on the whole "47" extravaganza, read 47 Days to my 47th Birthday for yourself. Come on... everybody's doing it.  :) 

2008 INDIANA: A stroll, a walk, a hike...

When women who generally live in the city or suburbs gather for things like retreats at state park inns, some of them get the urge to spend time in nature and not just in the lobby or in the pool. Why, however, do we insist on calling our ventures into well-behaved nature a "hike?" And how is it that we spend most of our lives NOT reading maps at all, but then all become expert map readers in places where the landmarks are not street signs and buildings, but trees and rocks and lakes and an occasional foot bridge?  

A few in the group who nearly accidentally gathered on Saturday afternoon for a hike (on Trail 5) were intent (and capable in every sense of having capacity -- including the right shoes and the right legs) of hiking.  Most were really out for a walk and were quite content to find a stone or mulch covered path through the woods with occasional logs over which to step and rocks to maneuver. 

I, for one, was there for a stroll.

Don't get me wrong -- I would have been fine with a walk and, in theory, I'm a fan of the hike as well. What's the difference (besides equipment) between these things?  Pace, for one. But that's on the surface. Under pace is the reason for that pace. Granted, the difference between hiking and walking as it relates to pace could be measured in ones ability to go faster.  We all know that Debi was going as slow as she could imagine going on a trail, for instance. (And for those who wonder, I was not  pointing the way in this photo, I was commanding traffic to stop interrupting our group photo.  I was feeling the power of the big stick momentarily. It didn't last.)

The essential difference between walking and strolling is not really pace -- though it can be somewhat measured by pace. It is intent.  We walk with the intent of getting from one place to the other and, if we are want to do so, we can enjoy the sights along the way. 

We stroll with the intent of seeing the sights along the way and have to move from here to there to do that, so we make our way along the path.  For me personally, Saturday's "hike" was more about the sights along the way. I loved seeing the trees that showed evidence of the presence of beavers in the area. I was very happy to find and claim "my" rock and "my" stick -- and to give them all back at the end of the venture. (Well, I would have liked to bring the rock home, but that was against everyone's regulations.)

Perspective and pace. Those two things make quite a bit of difference, and in more than just the act of wandering through the woods.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nicole Nordeman: BRAVE

God has consistently used music to move me. It usually starts in my heart and moves to my soul and mind, and eventually to my strength (that is, action). I have a list of songs that I can point to and say "ah...that's the one that God use to..." and the story begins.

A few years ago I was privlidged to hear Nicole Nordeman at Willow Creek (Arts Conference in 2005) where they gave her time and space to do more than a mini-concert. This song was new to me then and it knocked the socks of complacency right off my feet. This was a message my fearful heart needed to hear in ways I'd never needed before.

Now, 3+ years later, I needed to hear it again. This morning it is one of the songs that played on my iPod as I walked (in the gentle rain) through my neighborhood. God knew that I needed to be reminded that I have been released from the fear and sin and darkness that keeps me from stepping out of the boat whenever God's voice nudges me to it. He knew that the shadows of those things were creeping in through cracks around the edges and I can too easily focus on the darkness that was or could be rather than the Light who IS.

Here are the lyrics, in case you, too need a reminder.

Brave (Nicole Nordeman, Jay Joyce)

The gate is wide
The road is paved in moderation
The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in
Welcome to the middle ground

You're safe and sound and
Until now it's where I've been
'Cause it's been fear that ties me down to everything
But it's been love, Your love, that cuts the strings

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
Brave, brave

I am small
And I speak when I'm spoken to
But I am willing to risk it all
I say Your name
Just Your name and I'm ready to jump
Even ready to fall...

Why did I take this vow of compromise?
Why did I try to keep it all inside?

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
Brave, brave

I've never known a fire that didn't begin with a flame
Every storm will start with just a drop of rain
But if you believe in me
That changes everything
So long, I'm gone

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
I wanna be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
Brave, brave

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Shack

This weekend I read The Shack...finally. I generally don't like to read the books that "everyone is reading." Stubborn, I guess. I'm sure I've missed some good books because of this -- but I've also avoided some awful ones.

So, I've heard a lot about this novel. Some of it was just plain inaccurate. Some of what I heard confuses me now that I've read the book.

I find it fascinating that I know dozens of people who have read it and NONE of them gave anything away that "ruined" the read for me. That is so very uncommon. People are always ruining books and movies by their careless talk, especially when they've been impacted as so many seem to have been by this book.

I'm not going to talk about the details of this story either.

I found it a simple, wonderful, difficult, blessed, delicious, complicated journey. I look forward to reading it again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

2008 INDIANA: Sarah made me do it...

I admit it. I made Jennifer pull the mini van into the VFW parking lot (and the mini van following us back to the Inn from lunch followed us into the lot) so I could get this photo.  We were supposed to be headed back to complete prep for the retreat -- we were on a schedule -- but I just had to play with the big gun.

I think I have been inspired by Sarah Palin who, according to Time magazine, is the most macho candidate we've had in the presidential race for a couple of decades. (Interesting article, really.)  I'm hoping she'll see this blog and invite me to a role on her team if she gets the gig in Washington. Won't she need someone to do PowerPoint for her?

And then there is the fact that Lori Borgman blogged about Supersarah the week before and was, even as I was causing all of this confusion, heading to Spring Mill Inn herself to be our retreat speaker. 

Yeah, I was wound up. 

(Here I am with my retreat roomie Cheryl in shocking aqua tops on either side of Lori.  I'm enjoying calling a syndicated columnist by her first name and I'll admit it. Besides, she is intelligent and funny, she knows Jesus and unpacked his Word in ways that made my brain and  my heart so very happy. )

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THANKS to the 13 of you who have posted comments on my 47 Days til my 47th Birthday blog. Now...who will be next?

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I know. I have a short attention span, too. But really...pour some coffee and listen to the whole thing.

I am reminded of a "talk" I heard when I was in junior high by Dr. Smith from Bethel -- where he showed how science reveals the truth of God in ways we miss too easily (especially when we run from science like it's somehow the enemy of faith). Don't run from this, even if you are intimidated by molecular biology like I can be. You don't need a PhD to understand this.

(Thanks, Wendie, for passing on this link.)

2008 INDIANA: Post Vacation Posting #1

I've been on vacation. I flew to Indianapolis and spent 6 days wallowing in the goodness of God's blessing in my life -- there really is no better way to describe this past week.

While I was gone (and I know that one is not physically "gone" from blogging so much as disconnected from it -- but I was that too), my blog "auto posted" my 47 days until my 47th birthday blog, but I generally ignored Hubbard's Cupboard.  

I did post photos directly to my Facebook wall from my iPhone (convenient and amusing to me), so some of you have had glimpses of my adventures. Now I'll bring some of the stories here.  That should keep a few of you coming back for a while because you were IN those adventures with me and you'll want to be able to give your side of the story, perhaps.

This photo was taken on the rock I claimed as my own which we found on Trail 5 in Spring Mill State Park.  According to Debi, we hiked as slowly as she could imagine going. I thought our pace was fine. (Debi is training for a marathon. I was adjusting to not being in an meeting and tethered to a laptop.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

47 days until my 47th birthday

As a high school teacher, I found it beneficial (not what you're thinking...exactly) to announce my birthday beginning a few weeks prior. I usually started with "one month from today" announcements.

This past Spring I was thinking about birthdays and eventually got around to mine this year, did the math to be sure, and confirmed that i will, indeed, turn 47 in 2008 as I was born in 1961. Now, for some people the birthdays ending in zero are the significant ones. I may have great memories from my 40th b'day, but it was totally about some friends and a great, gracious surprise and not about turning 40.

Personally, I love the number 47.

Starting back 10+ years ago, a friend noted that I used the number 47 a lot as my exaggeration number. "There were 47 people in line in front of me at the post office today" or "my backpack weighs 47 pounds" or even "I'm going to eat 47 cookies right now." Like that. Once she identified this thing I do, well... I started hearing myself do it. And that was the beginning of what has become a sort of affection for the number 47.

When I went to the Magic Kingdom with some family a couple of years ago, we parked in row 47 and I had to take a picture. I've "been" number 47 at a few different places (like Crispers here in Orlando) where you place an order and they bring it to your table where you display your number so they can identify you. Sometimes I take a picture of that too.

So, for my 47th birthday I have a couple of ridiculous ideas.

First, I'd find it way too amusing if 47 different people posted a comment on this blog. I don't care if the comment simply reads "comment #15" (or whatever one it is) "from mary" (or whatever your name is, of course) "in cleveland" (but where you are). So...I'm counting on a few of you, my friends who are just strangely humored enough to do this and to recruit others to it.

Second, if you see the number 47 somewhere or something that reflects or represents the number 47 even...take a pic with your phone or something and email it to me. Consider it a cheap (but meaningful) birthday card. The new kind of homemade.

Then, if you work in Wycliffe's Orlando office (or live around these parts), I'm going to bake and decorate 47 cupcakes for the first 47 people who come by my office on my birthday (November 7...I should say that rather than making you do the math). They won't be super fancy, but they'll taste good. I suppose that's obnoxiously self-assured that I can even get 47 people to come to my office on any given day -- but for cupcakes, people do odd things.

I wonder what else I might do? 47 is just such a good number.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In case you need some entertainment...

...and you were so desperate that you came here to read my blog and found that I'm just not blogging right now (on vacation and, sorry, having too much fun to blog about it at the moment -- I'll catch up eventually), I thought I'd send you to this rather entertaining CISCO television commercial.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

SNL - Sarah and Hillary

Click on the title above and you'll be whisked away to the NBC website where they've posted the Saturday Night Live intro skit of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton. Oh, the comedy writers are having a great time these days with politicians. It is fun to watch.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You mean there was a plan?

I've mentioned before that I participate in a BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) study in Orlando. We're two weeks into our study of Moses and my head is already spinning. That, in this case, is a very good thing.

Throughout Scripture (and life, if I pay attention) I find evidence of a plan (and therefore a Planner) that is hard to ignore. Possible to ignore, but hard.

One thought that our teaching leader shared last night has been bouncing around all night in my brain. It's about the 400-year long enslavement of Israel in Egypt -- in the years after memories of Joseph and his God had faded from the memories of those in power. God knew that He was preparing a nation (growing it in number from 70 men to millions) to inhabit the land He'd promised to Abraham. He knew that they'd have a long, difficult journey to get them to that place (physically and in all other ways) and they needed to be prepared.

What better to prepare for a long walk in the dessert than years of hard labor (making bricks without straw counts as hard labor) in the great outdoors? This difficult circumstance born out of injustice was used by God to fulfill his promises.

This makes me ask all sorts of questions. Like...what are the things in my own life that I see as irritants, unjust circumstances, sidetracks, or nuisances but which, in reality are exactly the thing I need for whatever is coming next? If I really do believe that God is God -- sovereign, with a plan that is far beyond my imagining, true to His Word and to His character -- then I must be willing for any of the things that come my way to be absolutely necessary for His glory and good.

See, I told you my head is spinning.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ratatouille - Take 1

Today I made my first ratatouille. I went for the not-so-flamboyant version that cooks in a large pot on top of the stove and is scooped into a bowl. I also went for the low-fat, low-sodium version. I figure that those are things you can always add if they are truly missed.

It was simple, simple (I like to clean and cut vegetables and that was the most complicated part) and delicious. I made a large enough pot to have a second meal of it later this week. Yipee.

The fussier versions look gorgeous on the plate or in the casserole dish -- but they can't taste too much better.  And it's not like this looked in any way unappetizing.  

Funny, though...I kind of missed the rat in my kitchen. (Yeah, sorry. But, if I have to explain that, you'll not get it when I do.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Spring Mill Inn

Spring Mill Inn
Originally uploaded by limestone.country
Next weekend I'll be staying at this Inn in southern Indiana -- with about 100 women from Solid Word and Faith Missionary churches in Indianapolis. Am I excited? Oh, way too excited. On a dozen levels, excited. The Women of Solid Faith Retreat is one bit of my L-O-N-G weekend that is filled with some of my favorite things/places WITH SOME OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ramblings: DISTANCE

A hurricane named Ike is hitting the Texas coastline tonight - and is expected to do immeasurable damage (though we will measure it in dollars and lives and acres of land and inches of rain).

In a few minutes I'm headed to my queen sized bed (big bed, but not the "biggest") in my air conditioned house for a good (measured, in part, by how long it takes to get to sleep and how often I wake up before I mean to wake up) night's sleep. Since tomorrow is Saturday, I will un-set my alarm and wake up when I wake up.

Somewhere in the mountains of Colorado, my friend is staring out the window of her room and drinking in the wonder of snow capped mountains. I bet it's sweatshirt weather (one way I measure comfort) at that altitude (high, but not the highest), at least most of the day.

My cousin's oldest two daughters are adjusting to life back in Nebraska after a short-term mission trip that took them to Cambodia. The distance between those two places on the globe is minimal compared to the deeper distances between.

Another friend is in transit between Nairobi and Bankok over the weekend -- more movement between "two worlds" that happens so easily with jets and doppler radar. Is it close or far? The travel will be fast, but only when compared to slow boats and wagon trains.

Oh, and in beautiful southern California, a friend is working with doctors and friends to strategize the best way to respond to melanoma and begins a 12-month process that has side-effects. For all the yuck that is ahead, we are doing a happy dance because lymph nodes are showing clear and that makes a world of difference. Yes, the distance between 'stage 3' and 'stage 4' is greater than the numbers might imply.  (And 12- months of treatment seems like a long time -- but when the news could have been "12-months to live"...yeah. Interesting how our measurement changes with circumstance.)

I've been thinking, I guess, about distance -- how Ike never got closer than hundreds of miles from Orlando, but we felt a bit of his fury as he passed and it was nothing compared to what others are feeling right now. 

Distance between me sitting here and others sitting where they are sitting -- reading email, blogging, updating their Facebook status, or looking for affordable flights. 

How can so great a distance sometimes feel so insignificant and so terrible in the same moment? And how can such a small space between be the difference between light and dark, between yes and no, between life and death?

As I'm winding down from a week full of interesting twists and turns, I find myself thinking around the globe about measuring the distance, the impact, the importance...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom

Lucy Ann was born on September 11, 1929 to Ivan and Melvina. They were young and in love. Lucy grew up poor (certainly by today's standards in the States) but not really too poor. They had food to eat and shelter for protection. Mom and her brothers (Tim and John) received a good education from the public schools in Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

Some of my favorite stories have been those of she and her brothers growing up at what our family has grown up referring to simply as "410." 

I learned a lot from my mom -- many things she intended to teach and other things I "caught" along the way. There is no question in my mind that she and my dad were primary agents of growth and development in my life who God used to mold me into who I'm becoming.

Late in her life she put into words some things that I didn't understand as well then as I am beginning to now -- things about her wishing that there were some things I hadn't learned from  her. This past summer I've been working at making some changes in my own living that don't so much reflect what my mom taught me as they honor what I believe she had wished she had taught me. Among other things, this has meant a number of visits to doctors this summer -- continuing into the Fall.

It may sound a bit odd to say this, but all this poking and prodding and peering and processing that doctors and their people in matching outfits do -- this is for you, Mom. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Psalm 50:15

"Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory."

This is God, the Lord, speaking. This statement is within the context of a rather extraordinary declaration to his people who had been faithful in their religious practices (sacrifice is named) but from whom He wanted more. He essentially says that he's tired of their bull (and goat).  

What did he want? True thanks. Complete dependence. 

It makes me wonder how often I keep up with religious practices but miss the important stuff of what God really wants of me. How often is He standing by my side when life gets complicated and I'm not sure what to do next but I ignore him?

Yarn is lovely, but doesn't accomplish much at all on it's own. It if is ever to fulfill its calling, it must submit itself to the mission of the artist -- it must become completely dependent (not on the knitting needles, mind you -- they are merely a tool) on the One who transforms yarn into beautiful and practical things. (And, in that the yarn does not get the glory -- the one who knits does. And that is right.)

God, you are not so much interested in my rituals and religion -- those things, it seems, are for my benefit. You want me. You want me to express my thanks and to BE thankful. You want me to recognize my need for you in all things and to express that too. Help me to know how best to express my love to you, God. What kind of gift do I get the God who created everything?  Sometimes it's hard to believe that you want...me.

Monday, September 08, 2008

2008-10 Board Monitoring Report

One of my more recently acquired responsibilities is to produce our semi-annual Monitoring Report to the Board of Directors. Essentially it is the way (along with an oral presentation by our President) that Wycliffe USA is held accountable for what we say we are going to do and how we say we are going to do it.

(Actually, our Board is a policy driven board -- so they are responsible to give our President a clear and fairly focused set of results to achieve as well as what are called "executive limitations" that draw some parameters around how those results can and can't be achieved. Finally, they confirm our organizational core values, establishing in a formal way  with these three bits just who we are and how we will go about conducting business. So, this Monitoring Report essentially gives the Board a glimpse of our progress toward achieving the results we have been given to achieve.)

While aspects of the work have occupied my thinking and time on and off for the past month or two, this is been my obsession for the past week plus. Thankfully, I have been able to enlist the help of our Project Manager (Erica) to do some of the leg work (a part of the project that I not only don't enjoy doing, but that I'm also not very good at doing well -- and something that she does nearly to perfection) and I've been able to focus on the things I do.

This project does play to some of my strengths (both some natural ones and some learned ones) and I find it personally rewarding to learn all that I do in the process.

If all goes according to plan, this will go to the printer in the morning and we will have it in the mail to the Board Members in their notebooks by September 15.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Not all choices are difficult. Not all of them are a challenge to discern right and wrong... good and evil. Some are. Some are not.

Tonight I made a choice. I started to watch the Women's Final of the US Open Tennis Championship and then chose, instead, to watch the Colts and Bears play football. Now I'm about to choose to turn off the television and just go to bed.

I do like the fact that my television let's me do picture in picture so I can actually "watch" both tennis and football at the same time. This feature came in handy when the Olympic coverage was on more than one channel. I could often avoid commercials -- though some of those were more engaging than some of the sports (sorry...not a fan of weight lifting or boxing personally).

Riveting blogging...I know.

Maybe I'll make a more interesting choice tomorrow and have a better topic out of it.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sarah Palin...oh, this is getting fun, isn't it?!

I don't have time to blather on in my usual style this morning, but I can't keep completely quiet.

As a person who has admittedly never been all that engaged in politics, I'm greatly enjoying this "convention season." As much as I've been fascinated watching Senator Obama over the months since I first heard him speak (via the Internet) after the Iowa caucuses, I'm enthralled with Governor Palin who seems to have appeared magically onto the scene to keep things really, really interesting.

One thing is for certain -- which ever party wins the November elections, we are making history! 2008...it is about time!

Monday, September 01, 2008

September 08 - E.Postcard Update

As always with blogger, if an image is "too small" to see well, you can click on it and the original image will open in the browser window. Now, if the original is as small as the posted version, it won't get bigger -- but often the original (as in the case whenever I do postcards, for example) is significantly larger.