31 August 2004

My mind is so overloaded with thoughts and emotions. My list of things to do keeps getting longer. I must need a vacation, right? Problem is that I’ve had some time off and it hasn’t solved my problem. Today, I’ve made dumb errors. One is that I left the keys in the ignition of my work pickup overnight. And more than that, the windows were down and some expensive equipment was inside. This afternoon I printed out some address labels but had misspelled “Clayton”. Not much after that, I made some copies of a document and thought it didn’t appear to be right. When I got to the counter to explain things to the landowner, I had blank copies. Yeah, I just need to stop and think a bit.

So, we’re in our new office building at work. Its nice – has good and bad about it. I like being in a new building with some decent furniture and constant temperature (even if I am a bit cold). But its so open and sound carries too well. We car hear everything going on near us. I don’t want to hear everyone else’s conversations and I don’t want them to hear mine :)

We start our first week of AWANA on Wednesday night. Please think of us and we “lead” the JV group in our home another year. I’m sure it will be a challenge for all of us to get used to. In the mean time, off to work I go to finish cleaning the JV room (aka basement).

30 August 2004


29 August 2004

A powerful senator dies after a prolonged illness. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to Heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the guy. "Well, I'd like to but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in Hell and one in Heaven. Then you can choose where tospend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the senator.

"I'm sorry but we have our rules."

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a club and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him, everyone is very happy and in evening attire. They run to greet him, hug him, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster and caviar.

Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a big hug and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on Heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's time to visit Heaven."

So 24 hours pass with the head of state joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

"Well then, you've spent a day in Hell and another in Heaven. Now choose your eternity."

He reflects for a minute, then the senator answers, "Well, I would never have said it, I mean Heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in Hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he is in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags. The Devil comes over to him and lays his arm on his neck. "I don'tunderstand, "stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and club and we ate lobster and caviar and danced and had a great time. Now all there is, a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.

The Devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning..Today you voted for us!"
The Two Wolves
An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me... it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. " One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self -pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. " The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness , benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. " This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too." The children thought about it for a minute and then one child asked "Which wolf will win, grandfather?" The old Cherokee simply replied... "The one you feed."

26 August 2004

I love our older generation. They have so much to offer us, so much to teach. They’re often times a living history and what fun they can be when they make themselves an open book. Grandparents are especially wonderful. They tie us to our family heritage, they love us and often times spoil us. Often times as they age, they vocalize their opinions a little more and though it’s out of love, the tact isn’t there. Its something we experience most visits to Ryan’s grandparents. They are wonderful people and we absolutely love to visit them except for one thing – the tact issue. The time we get to spend with them, sharing of family history, the fresh baked pie, the goodies they send home with us are often spoiled before we ever leave.
This past week we spent three nights with G&G B. They opened their home so that we could putt around. We got in late Thursday night and went to bed. Friday we spent the day at the fair and then had supper with some friends in Des Moines. Saturday morning we had a little more time in Prairie City. It was that morning that the hurtful words came pouring out. This also happened last time we were down. At that time, Grandpa was in the hospital and I confronted Grandma about the issue. I think I was clear in letting her know that it was inappropriate, hurtful and shouldn’t continue. Anyway, this time was Grandpa. Although he says things from a big and loving heart, it comes out wrong. I didn’t know it happened until later that afternoon and was quite upset that I wasn’t there to intercede. So Saturday we went on with our day and Ryan was adamant on not going back to PC until later that night. We came home and went to bed again. Sunday morning I was on guard and pretty much waiting for something to be said. I really tried to be so irritated about it but wasn’t succeeding. We worshipped at church – the message was wonderful and then went back for lunch. It was quite fun, Grandma B and I walked around the garden as she showed me the different things she had planted. But still, I was waiting to defend my Ryan. It’s so interesting that they make comments about Ryan’s weight but in the next sentence tell him to eat more pancakes and eat the rest of the bacon. Anyway, we sat down for lunch and they questioned why Ryan wasn’t eating more. I think I was so frustrated at this point that I just wanted to address this issue before anything more hurtful was said. But I didn’t. And so, Ryan and I eventually left to drive back home. Unfortunately, when people say hurtful things and his self esteem drops even more, I’m the one who gets to deal with it and TRY to build it back up.
So, next time I begin to open my mouth (even in a loving way), I hope that I can think back to these sorts of incidences. And when I wonder why Ryan takes everything I say as negative, I hope that God reminds me to love him even more and speak words that build and encourage. I think that I speak the truth in love and it doesn’t mean it’s accepted as such. So, I hope I choose my words very carefully.

19 August 2004

This is my newest photo. Mom took it when we were shopping for wedding flowers in February of 2003. I love it because it wasn't staged. Umm, I like Ryan! Posted by Hello
Yay, its Friday - sorta!
Its after noon on Thursday but it so feels like Friday to me. I'll be heading home shortly to finish up my beerock's that I started making last night. Check out the recipe online - I use hamburger meat instead of roast. I can just taste them! Then when Ryan comes home, we'll head down to Prairie City. Tomorrow will be a full day of the 150th Iowa State Fair. It will be fun to see all the exhibits, eat good food and hang out with Ryan. I'm eager to see the Butter Cow. Every year a lady makes cow sculpture out of butter. I remember seeing it my first summer in Iowa. Saturday we plan to hang out with some local friends - a highschool buddy of Ryan's who just moved back and my friend, Mike Crouse, who was in Iraq/Afghanistan for a year and a half and got back recently. Sunday we'll do the family thing - have lunch with Ryan's grandparents after church. So, it should be a nice but busy weekend. Hope my feet can handle all the walking, I'm sure they'll be sore. May you enjoy your Friday - whenever it is!

13 August 2004

Okay, so I seriously haven't written back to people. I feel like I'm always saying that but seriously its crazier than usual here. Lots going on at work - my desk keeps piling up. Been trying to spend my summer hours outside and hanging out with those that I need to get to know better. Also had a good friend in a car accident last week where he walked away and his best friend died. That's been difficult around here but praise God that He's in control. Josh the day before had been witnessing to a new employee and told him "...if I die tomorrow, I know I'll go to heaven..." And the next day he died. What a witness to that guy! So, trying to keep my head out of water. I've slept in my bed but haven't been home for 2 weeks basically. Its wild. Then I'm gone at meetings lots which makes work even more hectic. I'm loving it though. Life is so good. I've really been challenged lately about my personal walk. Wanted Ryan to lead me so I completely used his lack of leadership as an excuse. Sure, I was reading the Word most everyday with Ryan and doing some study but I wasn't fellowshipping with teh Lord like I needed. So, my week has been started on teh right foot every morning and its so nice, so nice! I lay in bed awake and pray that I'll have the prompting to get up and read - duh, that is the prompting!!!! I've been at it this week - stretching out my sore muscles and having quiet time. Oh, I've missed that. So, pray with me that I keep my lazy butt working at it - God is so deserving and I'm such a slacker!

12 August 2004

Finally the time came when we headed off on our camping adventure. Both of us enjoy camping and have talked about it numerous times – we even registered for camping items for the wedding. But we just never actually camped together until last weekend.

It was Ryan, me, mom, Ralph and the Brubakers (Kathy, Erin & Matt). Oh and lets not forget the dogs: DJ (our dalmation), Zachery (mom’s teacup poodle) and Lucky (the Brubaker’s dalmation). Thursday I bought lots of food and did some minor preparations. Friday, Ryan came home at noon and began packing. I showed up about 130 and helped out. We had the back of our truck full of food, fishing equipment, firewood, etc. My folks met us at our house, we all headed to Brubakers, stopped for ice and were on our way. We camped up at Gouldsburg which is only a half hour from our house. The park consists of 64 acres at the confluence of the Little Turkey River and Crane Creek. The topography is rolling to hilly with desirable picnicking and a modern camping facility. It was so nice not having to drive hours and hours to get some where. The campground was pretty, set along side the Little Turkey River on one side and next to a soybean field on the other side. It seemed almost weird to me since I work in that type of environment and I live in the country. I could’ve camped at my own house for that matter except I wouldn’t have had all the exciting things that I’m about to share with you :)

There was a “faucet” to get water, only around here, they aren’t faucets. It seems kinda antique-ish to me, but they’re old pump handles. Like at our house, instead of turning the faucet nozzle, you pull up the old handle for water. Gouldsburg had an actual old hand pump where you had to pump it to get water to flow. It was pretty neat and my shoulders and arms really got a good work out. We camped just 2 spaces away from that. At the space in between, a family came in with 3 kids, a kayak and canoe. Their youngest, who was 3, really liked our dalmation and everytime we walked by, the little boy had to run up and pet DJ. Cute little kid. Friday night we fixed hamburgers, grilled some veggies Ralph-style, along with spinach dip for supper. Just after we sat down for our meal, the little boy next to us was out by the truck & trailer and he started crying. Of course everyone jumps up to go help him. His parents, one other camper who was getting water and I all went towards to boy. They got there first and the mom just started freaking out big time. She was screaming that the little boy got it stuck in his eye and just went nuts. The other guy grabbed the boy and saw that he got a hook from the fishing pole under his eyelid. The guy yelled to have someone go back to his campground for needle nose pliers so I hurried back and got mine out of my tackle box. As I brought him the pliers, it looked nasty. I was sure it poked through the eyelid but you couldn’t really tell with the tears and blood. Anway, the guy had to slap the moms hand away because she was trying to tear it out. The sisters (13 and 11) were also freaking out now because of their parents’ reactions. So, I walked off with the little girls. They guy ended up getting the hook out and they headed for the hospital. The family came back later and stopped to share with us the outcome. That little boy had walked along the side of the truck towards the trailer. The pole was in the bed of the truck with the end hanging down while the Dad went to get a different fly for it. It hung at perfect heighth for the little boy to walk past and it caught right under his eyelid. No scratches, no punctures, no nothing. The emergency room gave him antibiotics and sent him home. What grace! The little boy just said that the fishing pole bit him. That was more than enough drama for the weekend.

The rest of the weekend was so relaxing and peaceful. Ryan and I fished for a while Friday afternoon and I was having a great time walking through the stream and piddling around. Brubakers had to leave for a bit to pick up Erin from summer camp and we stayed behind and played dominoes and laid on a blanket on the ground. Sunday we all headed back to town to clean up and go to church. After church we went back to Gouldsburg to eat lunch, play some more dominoes and pack up. It was such a nice camping experience. Chit chatting, sitting by the campfire, s’mores, dominoes and lovely weather. Hmm, I need me another weekend like that!

09 August 2004

Wow, it truly does seem like time is flying. I’ve claimed that I was crazy busy in college and things have since slowed down. But more recently, I’m beginning to wonder if that continues to be true. Another whirlwind week has gone by and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down as of yet.
Last Tuesday was a full day at work with lots of things to accomplish. I began my day with a phone call to the chiropractor to have him adjust my jaw back into place. The receptionist, Peggy, scheduled me for 4:20. Not exactly what I was looking for but at least she could get me in. So, anyway, I work a full day with my jaw out of place which causes a nasty headache which then causes my eyes to be blurry. But hey, that’s life. I catch up with Dr. Ferguson who does his work and chit chats with me. So, I left the chiropractor office at 4:45pm for a 3 hour drive to Des Moines. The sky was darker than usual and rain was coming but I was sure that I’d make it during daylight hours. Thirty minutes down the road and listening to the radio, I hear of thunderstorms and tornado watches. I called Ryan and he agreed to keep me updated as the news came on the TV. A few minutes later mom called to tell me about it. She started naming the counties that I would be traveling through and they all had severe T-storms and tornado watches. I couldn’t even take the long route to get away from the storms. Since I was on my way, I decided that if it was still really bad in Waterloo (80 miles from my office) that I would consider staying the night there. I continued down the road and the sky darkened and quickly turned black. It was now raining pretty hard and the wind was blowing and it looked as if it was the middle of the night. Just before I got into Waterloo, I could no longer see the road in front of me because of the rain. Stopping on the highway is not a good idea so I continued to travel at a slow speed until I could stop. As I came to the I-380 interchange, I saw a line of cars that stopped. So, I pulled into the middle of the pack. Even though it continued to pour down, people were leaving. Knowing that the exit for Waterloo was just a ¼ mile up and the mall is right down the road from that, I got back on the road. Got into town, headed to the mall to assure that I was in a “safe place” should a tornado come and “waited” for the storm to pass. While I waited, I went on a mini shopping spree to Victoria’s Secret, Old Navy and a few other places. I got back on the road about an hour later after the brunt of the storm had passed.
I was scheduled for an 8am meeting in Des Moines the next morning and planned on staying with Ryan’s grandparents about a half hour east of DM. I went the Des Moines route with plans to have supper with some friends before staying the night in Prairie City. Here it was 7:15pm and I was still 2 hours from DM. Plans for supper were out the window by now, I just need to get to PC and go to sleep. Since I was heading towards DM instead of PC, I had to take an unfamiliar route to skip DM and get to PC. It had already been a long day, I still had a headache, the weather was bad, I didn’t get to see Mike and Naphtali and I didn’t know this road I had to take. Praise the Lord for just enough light for the road I’m on! Since I continued to drive through tornado watch and thunderstorm areas, the lightening portion of the storm was just amazing. Not only was it gorgeous to see off in the distance but the bolts of lightening lit up the sky almost continuously. The lightening provided just enough for me to see the road I was traveling. It was such a blessing. It really did calm my heart about driving on this unfamiliar road because I wasn’t totally in the “dark”. I arrived at G&G B’s about 9:15pm and visited a little while before heading off to bed.

Me and Mom from 1988 in El Paso, Texas Posted by Hello

The Buitenwerf Family Posted by Hello

07 August 2004

Okay, for my friends who don't get it... the pharmacist that the kid talked to ended up being the girl's dad. YEAH, that's why he said his prayers for so long!

I've been out of the office for several days. Spent some time in Des Moines for the State Civil Rights Advisory Committee (CRAC) and then some time at an Area District Conservationist meeting. Now, I'm back home but I've got lotsa stuff on my desk to deal with before I leave at noon today to go camping :)

03 August 2004

First Time
A girl asks her boyfriend to come over Friday night and have dinner with her parents. Since this is such a big event, the girl announces to her boyfriend that after dinner, she would like to go out and make love for the first time.
Well, the boy is ecstatic, but he has never had sex before, so he takes a trip to the pharmacist to get some condoms. The pharmacist helps the boy for about an hour. He tells the boy everything there is to know about condoms and sex.
At the register, the pharmacist asks the boy how many condoms he'd like to buy, a 3-pack, 10-pack, or family pack. The boy insists on the family pack because he thinks he will be rather busy, it being his first time and all.
That night, the boy shows up at the girl's parent's house and meets his girlfriend at the door. "Oh, I'm so excited for you to meet my parents, come on in!" The boy goes inside and is taken to the dinner table where the girl's parents are seated. The boy quickly offers to say grace and bows his head.
A minute passes, and the boy is still deep in prayer, with his head down. 10 minutes pass, and still no movement from the boy.
Finally, after 20 minutes with his head down, the girlfriend leans over and whispers to the boyfriend, "I had no idea you were this religious."