Thursday, December 30, 2004

A New Year Approaches

So many are making their New Year's resolutions and thinking about how much better 2005 will be than 2004. I, too, have high aspirations for what the new year will bring, but, as my last post implies, I am also subject to hearing my husband voice his skepticism.

Don't get him wrong; he has high aspirations for the new year, as well. Goals such as attaining his associate's and possibly his bachelor's degrees both in the same year! Getting a new FULL-TIME job, moving us out of this crappy 400-square-foot apartment and into at least one that's 900 sq. ft., etc.

I, too, would like to move into full-time at The Wichita Eagle and move into a new apartment. I'd also like to get rid of our current couch, get a new bed and use our futon as a couch instead of our regular bed. Ron likes it, but it's just too hard for me.

We've also thought about starting a family, but if it doesn't happen in 2005, it's no big deal. We've got other things to take care of first before we're ready to think about a baby. God has His timing, too.

And in other news, my parents get a new house in the new year. They closed on a beautiful big house (in my opinion, of course) today and get to start moving into it! They've been building it for a while now, and have done a lot of their own work. And it's paid off. A big congratulations to them!

May God bless us all with a better 2005 than we can imagine right now. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

"Listen to your husband"

This is what my husband tells me frequently when he thinks he knows more than I do or better than I do and I want to do things my own way. Well, sometimes he's right. And I really hate to admit that.

Ron reminds me that a good journalist always verifies her information with more than one source, and the previous post was made without doing so. For that, I apologize. My readers deserve to get the whole truth presented in an honest manner, and I was at fault for not doing so.

It turns out that there was more information that I didn't know about, some of which is still to be learned, and I should have waited to post anything until I had more information. I was going off of one source, one which often is unreliable when it comes to embellishment and overexaggeration. Most things in the post were true, because they came from a reliable source, but others were from the souce that is often flawed.

Something my husband doesn't understand about me is how I can get so worked up about things. But the reason I get worked up, especially about something involving care of an individual, is because I'm a nurturer. The thought of abuse or neglect of someone who's been entrusted to someone else makes my heart beat quickly with anger and anxiety. I care way too much, I guess.

From now on (and this is my promise to all of you), I will verify my sources or make sure that the sources I do have are reliable. And, yes, Ron, I will listen to you more often. (He's laughing.)

Friday, December 24, 2004

From the serious to the seriously disturbed...

Our good friend Dan (Random Thoughts of a Confessional Lutheran, a.k.a. the Rock Guy) gave Ron and me a copy of "The Dysfunctional Family Christmas Songbook" for Christmas. By the way, Dan, we both like and appreciate it!

I'd like to quote a song from it, just for Christmas kicks. So, here we go:
"Come Meet the Family" to the tune of "O Come All Ye Faithful"

O come meet the family,
Bad breeding triumphant;
O come meet the family dysfunctional.
Come and behold them
As they brag and fight and whine.

For it's a celebration
Of Christmas aggravation
And if you're no relation,
Just thank the Lord.

Come meet the drinkers,
Kleptos, kooks and stinkers.
Come meet the tattooed chick
And horny dog.
Don't miss the in-laws
Even though they'll make you puke.

For it's a celebration
Of Christmas aggravation
And if you're no relation,
Just thank the Lord.

Sing as you meet them,
Sing in exultation
Sing as you gather with
Your own nutty kin.
Look at your family:
They could be a whole lot worse.

For it's a celebration
Of Christmas aggravation
And if you're no relation,
Just thank the Lord.

Or, how about this one to the tune of "Jingle Bells":

"Grandpa's Drunk"

Lying in the snow
With his bourbon at his side
Grandpa's moving slow,
Mouth hung open wide.

Eyes like soft boiled eggs
Searching for his drink.
He cannot move his legs and things
Are getting bad, I think.

Oh, Grandpa fell, Grandpa fell,
Grandpa fell down drunk.
Oh, how bad it is to see him freeze into a chunk.
Oh, Grandpa fell, Grandpa fell,
Grandpa fell down drunk.
Oh, how bad it is to see him freeze into a chunk.

Grandma limps around,
Lookin' mighty miffed,
Spies an icy mound,
It's Grandpa or a drift.

Runs out in her robe
To give him a fat lip.
When she tries to roll him home,
She falls and breaks her hip.

Oh, Grandma fell, Grandma fell,
Grandma fell kerplunk.
Oh How sad it is to see her freeze into a chunk.

Oh, Grandpa fell, Grandpa fell,
Grandpa fell down drunk.
Oh, how sad to see both geezers freeze into a chunk.

Thank you, Dan, for the most splendid parody to Christmas songs. We will enjoy this very much!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

"Prepare the Royal Highway," LW 27

Prepare the royal highway;
The King of kings is near!
Let ev'ry hill and valley
A level road appear!
Then greet the king of glory
Foretold in sacred story:

Oh, blest is he that came
In God the Father's name!

God's people, see him coming:
Your own eternal king!
Palm branches strew before him!
Spread garments! Shout and sing!
God's promise will not fail you!
No more shall doubt assail you!

Oh, blest is he that came
In God the Father's name!

Then fling the gates wide open
To greet your promised king!
Your king, yet ev'ry nation
Its tribute too should bring.
All lands, bow down before him!
All voices, join in singing:

Oh, blest is he that came
In God the Father's name!

His is no earthly kingdom;
It comes from heav'n above.
His rule is peace and freedom
And justice, truth, and love.
So let your praise be sounding
For kindness so abounding:

Oh, blest is he that came
In God the Father's name!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Find a way to give this Christmas

In the spirit of Christmas (so to say), I will be donating my time today to give facials to underprivileged teenage girls. Another lady or two will be doing their hair for them. These are girls who might not get a bath every day, might not have clean hair or faces, or even clean or new clothes. It feels good to give, and it's something that people should do.

Also, later today, I'll be working a phone bank at our local CBS affiliate, KWCH TV, giving winter weather travel information to those who call in. It's part of a partnership deal between The Wichita Eagle, my new employer, and the television station. (Okay, I do have an alterior motive for this: being recognized by and getting to know those who work in the newsroom on the third floor of the paper. Hopefully I can get a job up there soon -- in the next year or two, maybe.)

Whether it's donating your time, old clothes or coats, picking up a gift for an angel tree, or whatever, it's good to give to those in need. I know Ron and I have appreciated all of those who gave to us during my surgeries and unemployment.

It's not that you must give or donate, but that you will be blessed by what you do for others. God gives us blessings so that we can bless others.

How sick can one person be?

A woman tried to pass of an infant as her own, but was apprehended when authorities found that the real mother was dead, a result of strangulation, and her baby was cut out of her uterus.

The baby will be fine, and is with its father now. The woman charged with killing the mother and kidnapping her unborn baby is awaiting sentencing to see whether she'll be given life in prison or the death penalty.

This was a crime that began in a small Kansas town and ended up in Missouri, making this a federal case. Sad.

Read the story from Wichita's ABC affiliate, KAKE TV, here.

Monday, December 13, 2004

A sad state of affairs...

It is not my intention to bring the mood of this blog down, but there are things still looming in the air after the voters' meeting that was held at my church Sunday. I just think it would help me to get some positive feedback from my readers.

I've been to a lot of Lutheran churches in my life. I've been a member at probably ten, and have had very different experiences at each one. (Not to rely on experience), but until Ron and I joined Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, I have never been a part of adult goings-on, probably because I was with my parents at all of the other churches and was not looked at as an adult. Now I am. And as an adult, I participate in the voters' meetings to help our church decide what actions to take. I want to be involved.

Throughout my life, I've probably only missed less than 20 Sunday services. No matter where I was, visiting a strange town or staying in my hometown, I and my family always tried to find a church at which to worship on Sunday mornings. This is something Ron and I make a point of researching before we travel anywhere: Where are we going to worship while we're there? We even e-mail or call the pastors before we leave to make sure we can commune, and give references from our home church. My faith life has been enriched by this.

Even when I was going through the incredibly debilitating foot surgeries from the time I was four until this year, I never wanted to miss church. It has always been THAT important to me.

So, when I find a pastor with whom I really connect, someone I really respect and have learned a lot from, someone as learned as the pastor Ron and I have right now, it pains me a great deal to watch and listen as one person after another gets up to describe him as a monster, something I know for a fact he is not. And if anyone comments on this blog that this is a lie, or that my pastor has been lying to us, you are dead wrong!

There were a number of people who attended the voters' meeting Sunday whom I've never seen in three years of attending every Sunday worship service and every Advent and Lenten service. It was obvious that they held an agenda and that someone told them about the meeting so they could be there to cause dissention.

Let me speak to this honestly: If you go to a church meeting with an agenda to divide the sheep, you work for the wolf, a.k.a., the DEVIL! You have nothing but evil in your heart and you are doing the work of Satan! Examine yourself and pray! If you don't realize this, the devil has already won you over. May God have mercy on you!

Pastors are shepherds called by God to lead his sheep. If the sheep rebel, they fall off the cliffs and die. Sheep cannot lead themselves, people! That's why we call pastors, shepherds, to lead us! We need them! If you attack the shephard, you might as well be what the Bible refers to the devil as: the wolf.

Am I saying that everyone who gets up and lets out an emotional response is possessed? NO! What I am saying is that the devil is working on you and you're giving in. If you go so far as to attend a church meeting for the sole purpose of dividing the sheep, you have become the wolf. You are not welcome in our presence because you cause harm to us; you destroy us!

There was a man who spoke during the discussion period after the business portion of the meeting who said he'd been a member of our church for 28 years. Okay, fine. Where have you been for the last three, because we sure haven't seen you!

Don't go to voters' meetings to cause dissention. That's wrong. It's un-Christian. You become a wolf in sheep's clothing. You are deceitful, an instrument of evil. I pray that you lose your wolf costume for good, before you actually become the wolf, yourself.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Let's Sing!

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
You are 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'. You take
Christmas very seriously. For you, it is a
religious festival, celebrating the birth of
the Saviour, and its current secularisation
really irritates you. You enjoy the period of
Advent leading up to Christmas, and attend any
local carol services you can find, as well as
the more contemplative Advent church services
each Sunday. You may be involved in Christmas
food collections or similar charity work. The
midnight service at your church, with candles
and carols, is one you look forward to all
year, and you also look forward to the family
get together on Christmas Day.

What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Just as a sidenote, I'm going carolling with my church choir (and anyone else from church who wants to join us) this Saturday to our member shut-ins (people who, for some reason or another can't get to church). And I'm dragging my wonderful hubby along with me!!! He doesn't think he's a very good singer, but he can belt out a Christmas carol when he wants to. I've heard him!

If you get a chance to go carolling, you should. It really starts the Advent season off well. Remembering the real reason behind Christmas, instead of the crap about Santa.

Don't get me wrong, I like singing the crazy songs like "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" and others like "Walking in a winter wonderland." But my favorites, those I could sing over and over again, are the traditional ones that are printed in hymn books in church.

Midnight services, singing in the choir, decorating the Christmas tree with chrismons, gazing at a Nativity set... How wonderful!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

What Some Will Pay...

This Sunday will be the second time in a row that customers have requested their wedding announcements be published in color for an extra $100. I can't believe people are willing to pay that much just to have their pictures published in color!

A week ago yesterday, a lady came in to place an announcement for her son and new daughter-in-law's wedding. She had her form filled out and her credit card ready when she arrived. She chose a 3.87 x 7 inch photo size, which publishes for $135 by itself in black and white. She also chose the basic announcement (for $6) plus several add-ons (for $15 each) and slicks (copies of the actual announcement on high-gloss white paper that doesn't yellow). Her total cost was almost $300! And she acted like it was no big deal!

When I started looking at the announcement information and typed it up, I realized why it wasn't a big deal for her to plop down 300 big ones: her husband, her son, her new daughter-in-law and several of the people in the wedding party are in the medical field, most as doctors of some form or another. (By the way, she called today and said she and her family had never received so many compliments! She said it was beautiful and we'd done a very good job. I was so happy!)

A man came in today with his check already made out. He wanted our next-largest size of 3.87 x 4 inches, which usually publishes for $85 in black and white, $185 since he wanted it in color. He and his wife just wanted the basic announcement, though, for six bucks. But they're getting slicks, too, so their total was barely over $200, but still!

Why is it so expensive to run an announcement in color? I'm glad you asked! When we run a page in color, we use four negatives to run on the presses instead of just one: Black, cyan, yellow and maroon (I think).

We're going to try to lower the price for running color photos to just $50 in the new year to encourage people to choose color photos more often, even though it's more work for us. Hey, we could use a revenue boost! We're not a non-profit organization, afterall.