Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sole memories

I own one pair of cowboy boots.

They aren’t the razzle-dazzle, city-fied country boots either. Granted, they’re not true down-and-dirty boots – they’re somewhere between the two extremes. They’re brown, a little loose, and, when I pulled them from my closet this morning, a little dusty.

I’ve heard that smell can be the most powerful memory tool, but sight’s pretty good, too. As I put on these two-year-old boots, a dim memory – not really a memory, but the memory of a picture of myself as a two-year-old – came into view. I was in nothin’ but a diaper – you know, those pictures that your Mom takes that will embarrass you later in life. But I was standing in my daddy’s boots.

The boots came up past my knees; who knows how I even got them on my tiny (at that time) feet. But they were the real deal, cowboy boots that he wore to work each day.

I vividly remember a brown set that he had that were always covered in dust, probably a hazard of the workplace. And, once I purchased my own, for sentimental as well as fashion reasons, I wondered how in the world my dad could work in boots all day long. They are not the best comfort shoes. They have hard soles, pointy toes, and they often stick to your legs, which is not good for those of us who are claustrophobic. Wouldn’t a pair of rubber-soled, flexible tennis shoes be better?

As I walked to class this morning in my boots, I felt calluses coming up on my feet. I remembered my dad walking in his boots. And then I remembered what he wore now on his feet:

Flexible, comfortable, fairly expensive Rockports.

The man has learned. And I think I’m wearing some tennis shoes tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SOAP No. 9: Looking for a leader

Scripture: As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will be swept away. – 1 Samuel 12:23-25

Observation: The people had asked for a king, and God had given them one – Saul. However, Samuel told the people they had sinned in asking for a king to rule over them instead of God, but there was hope if they and their king followed God.

Application: I’ve heard on more than one occasion 1 Samuel 8:6-9 mentioned in reference to the upcoming election. Those verses read: “But when they said, ‘Give us a king to lead us,’ this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.’”

In other words, the people who I've heard this from believe the country is now pleading for a “rock star” president, one who will incite change and who is the opposite of the current president. I’m not sure on my take on that, but if you do feel as if history is repeating itself, I think 1 Samuel 12:23-25 should also be taken into consideration. Why? Because there is HOPE.

We should pray for whoever is elected president on Nov. 4. It doesn’t matter if we voted for him or whether we like his policies. Either man will need our prayer. Our nation will need our prayer.

Barack Obama and John McCain both know what is wrong and right. Both men have had the opportunities to learn God’s word. Yet both men could lead us into an immoral abyss.

I strongly believe what my pastor said a few months ago in church: If America is going to change for the better, Christians will have to ignite that change. We have to pray. We have to witness. We have to stand up for what is right.

First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.
-- (attributed to) The Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

Prayer: God, now more than ever we need to be bold. We need to be prayer warriors. Our country is in need of a Godly leader who trusts You and believes in You. I pray for salvation for those who are lost, and I pray those who do know You grow closer to You. Our world needs You.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I’m probably a little too self-satisfied about this…

As you know, I went on a conference to Ohio at the beginning of the month. My university said they would pay for my trip – fabulous. Now, of course, I paid for Superman’s plane ticket, but, as I am representing the university by presenting my research, they (are supposed to) pay for my things – airfare, hotel, gas, etc.

I tried to save the university money. I really did. I booked a cheap flight two hours away instead of the airport 30 minutes away. I stayed with some friends instead of booked a hotel room. We rode in their car instead of rented a car. I just really cared about getting the money from that plane ticket back.

Now, imagine my surprise when I come back, have all my paperwork filled out, and then get an e-mail from a lady in personnel who informs me that – oh, wait, the university cannot pay for my airfare.


The first go-round we had with this was when I turned in my receipt for my airfare. Personnel Lady, who had a bird-like voice and one of those “I’m-going-to-act-like-I’m-helping-you-but-I'm-really-not-going-to-help” attitudes, looked at it and said, “Oh, I’ve never seen a receipt look like this before.”

My brow creased with concern. “But the information’s there, right?” I asked worriedly. “I mean, it shows that I went through the correct travel agency.”

“Oh, I see the name, but…this receipt doesn’t look like ANYTHING I’ve EVER seen before,” PL replied, looking at me suspiciously – as if I were smart enough to forge such a document (which, let’s admit – I’m soooo not).

“But…it says ABC Travel Agency on it,” I repeated, TOTALLY confused and a little apprehensive. I really needed to get reimbursed for that airplane ticket.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “I’ll see what I can do. Do you have a credit card statement showing that you paid for it?”

I gave her everything I had – credit card statements, receipts, airline tickets – the whole nine yards. And what do I get?

“I’ll see if this will work,” PL replied dubiously. “When is the credit card bill due?”

I glanced warily at her. I had started on my paperwork THEVERYMOMENT I had returned.

“It was due on the 10th,” I replied, a little agitated. It was now the 21st.

The next day, PL came to my office and said, while batting her eyes in mock shyness, “Oh, um, I’m afraid I have some bad news. Here, you read it.” And she handed me an e-mail with the “bad news.”

Oh, yes. Because that’s TOTALLY professional.

Turns out – and this is why I hate red tape and paperwork – that on my first conference, I booked with the NATIONAL university travel agency instead of the STATE agency. The state agency is with the national agency. In my opinion, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal – except that the university didn’t want to pay me.

I’m sure most of you are like me and Superman: we try to save money, we don’t live extravagantly, and, basically, we try to live within our means. Paying for a plane ticket is a big deal to us. We just don’t have a couple hundred dollars lying around for funsies.

I looked back up at PL. “Yes?” I asked, TRYING to stay polite, though already having gone through several rounds with her on this deal. “So?”

She frowned. “Well, I can’t pay you.”

My temper rose. “Why?” I asked, keeping my voice even but trying to let her know that I was not going to back down easy.

“You didn’t go through the right agency.”

“I DID go through the right agency. It was just a different branch,” I replied. “I can’t afford this ticket. This was my first conference, and I tried to do everything perfect. If I had realized that University wasn’t going to pay for my airfare or that it was going to be this hassle, I wouldn’t have gone.”

(Which is TOTALLY true, by the way.)

She jerked the printed e-mail out of my hand. “I’ll talk with Other Personnel Lady and see what I can do,” she snapped and rushed out of my office.

I got an e-mail two hours later telling me I needed to write a memo to some state personnel guy. Oh, and I was required to put the EXACT amounts of what I was requesting. (Since I booked my ticket and Superman’s together, the booking fees and whatnot were combined.)

I sent a page e-mail to State Personnel Guy, explaining my situation and how I had not realized I apparently did not go through the right channels (again, does it really MATTER?). I wrote how this was my first conference and how I had tried to save the university some money. And then, at the end, I wrote that I did not care about the $10 booking fee or the $20 insurance fee. I just wanted the basic airfare cost reimbursed.

Personnel Lady e-mailed me that afternoon:

“Just letting you know that the State Travel Office approved your airfare. They said they won't do it again so next time call State Office. I'll do your reimbursement for your trip now.”

Time for celebrations, right? Right! However, I did not realize how AMAZING the celebrations would be…

I got the check Friday. I did not account for the gas, food, and conference fees. My reimbursement check was for almost three times what I asked for in airfare.

Yes, say it with me:

WOO HOO!!!! =D

Friday, October 24, 2008

SOAP No. 8: Change – but for better morality

Scripture: “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.” – 1 Samuel 10:6-7

Observation: Saul was telling Samuel that he would soon be king.

Application: I really want to focus on the last part of verse 6 and verse 7 because, frankly, I feel like I need to remember this.

Samuel told Saul, “You will be changed into a different person.” We’ve all seen how people change, whether for good or for bad. Change is a natural part of our characteristics; we experience, we learn, we grow. Each day brings about new opportunities or new challenges we have to face that, depending on our attitudes and our actions, we either grow or wither.

People DO change. But it’s so much harder for someone to make a good change because, really, who believes that the person actually is making a true change? However, if you’re a “good” person who makes a bad decision, you’re labeled for practically the rest of your life. It’s really a double standard when you look at it.

So I’m going to try – REALLY try – to give those “bad” (sorry for such horrible generalizations; I really should have more coffee) people a better chance than what I have been giving them before. And for the people who slip – I know I would hate if someone judged me by one of my numerous failings.

(And, as a side note, I’d rather not judge or be judged at all because God is the Judge, but we are all human and fallible, and I suppose I’ll be fighting that battle – on both sides – my entire life.)

Oh, and while we’re talking about “change,” I’ll go ahead and digress a bit further and say that just saying “We’re going to make a change” is NOT change. Oh, but if you say “We’re going to make a change” and want to stomp on the face of our morals, values, and ethics in our country – I think that’s change that’s not worth having.

Okay. Off my political rant now.

Okay, on to Verse 7 – “Do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.” When I read over this verse, I loved it. I am a workaholic. I know it. I have days when I get really lazy, but I’m very happy when I’ve had a full, busy day of work. I feel like I’ve accomplished something. And doing something in God’s will, with God by my side…that’s just such a beautiful mental image to me – that I’m doing something that pleases Him.

Prayer: You know the challenges I face, Lord, but even more, You know the trials that others face and the problems they encounter on a daily basis. Help me see others with Your eyes and Your mercy and grace and remember that I, too, have so many faults. Let me do Your work and glorify You in all that I do, Lord. I do want to please You. Thank you for my wonderful family and friends – I couldn’t ask for more Godly people by my side.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Puppy Pumpkin Portraits

Misti and I have a bit too much fun when it comes to dressing up our puppies. As you know, I have Superdog (aka The Voo, Vicki), and she has Sophie (Chihuahua) and Sammi (Chorkie -- Chi/Yorkie mix). Sophie and Vicki spent pratically the first year of their lives together, as Misti would bring Sophie over during the day while we worked, and the two would play together. They're soooo BFFs. ;)

Anyway, last Halloween we started the let's-dress-up-our-dogs-and-take-pictures-of-them-for-Halloween tradition. Here's what came of it:

Vicki is Superdog, Sophie is the football player, and Sammi is Dogzilla.

This year we tried the same. Here are the results:

Vicki as a ladybug

Sammi and Vicki escaping from the pumpkin patch

Vicki has excellent vertical leap

Vicki and Sammi acting all sweet for treats

Vicki explores

Sophie, Vicki, and Sammi

Not a willing pose

"Take that hat off of me!"


Sammi's heading out!

Monday, October 20, 2008

SOAP No. 7: The truth ain’t pretty

Scripture: And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, "If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines."
When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, "We have sinned against the Lord." And Samuel was leader of Israel at Mizpah.
-- 1 Samuel 7:3, 6

Observation: The ark of the Lord had been taken to Kiriath Jearim after being in Philistine territory, and even twenty years later, the people of Israel were seeking God.

Application: I think we’ve all heard sermons like this before, ones that state that we need to cast away our idols and focus wholly on God. But…when you look at America today, especially with the upcoming election, how can you not see how bad our country has gone morally?

Our pastor spoke yesterday of how his heart aches for our community. Our church is very large (I think the largest in our city, actually), yet we only baptized twelve people last year. And he’s right in what he spoke on Sunday: we (I say “we” like there’s a rat in my pocket, ha) need to be more involved, need to take risks, need to speak out and invite people to visit. If this nation is going to change, it will have to be the Christians that come forward and speak out…but I’m afraid we’ve become too comfortable in our circles to venture out into the unknown (there I go using the “we” again).

Our pastor gave a quote in his sermon, one he found, but I can’t remember who said it: “If you want to see how popular you are as a preacher, see how many people come on Sunday night. If you want to see how popular God is, see how many people come on Wednesday nights.”

He brought the hammer down on us, and I am so grateful to have a pastor who isn’t afraid of offending people to speak God’s word.

Apparently his weekly “column” (that all of our members get) was not well-received by some parishioners. Apparently he had a few angry e-mails regarding it and heard through the grapevine that some of the members were not pleased with him.

And why? Because he said that feels we are too comfortable in our church and do not want to reach out to others.

And, frankly, if our large church only had twelve baptisms, he’s most likely correct.

We (and now I say “we” meaning our nation) need Christians who will stand up and devote themselves fully to God. We need to repent. We need to be delivered from those who stand against us.

And we need to bring the hammer down.

Prayer: God, I want to be more involved, I want to be bolder, and I want to learn more. I want our church to be able to bring more people to know You, and I want our pastor to continue to say what You have laid on his heart. Thank You so much for people like him and his wife, who are strong and devout and have no problem speaking the truth. Please strengthen and guide them and the rest of our church.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

From Rachel

Hey, guys, I saw this on Rachel's post, and this is absolutely amazing. I just wanted to share it with you.

Monday, October 13, 2008


In her weekly blog (yes, it is a class assignment), one of my students wrote about her parents’ divorce and how it affected her. Yes, the divorce occurred when she was a child, but it still has lasting effects. She has a stepfather. She has a stepbrother. Her boyfriend’s brother, a staunch Catholic, despises her (she says) because she is from a broken home.

I know about divorce well, but never really gave it an overly-amount of consideration, as my parents are still together. My husband is a product of a divorce (from five years ago), and, for those of you who know me, you KNOW how GREAT that situation has turned out (Sense the sarcasm). My dad also grew up in a divorced home. He had a really rough start as a teen, but he eloped with my mom when he was 20, and they’ve been married 39 years so far. FYI, their story really is a great one.

Our friend, Will, taught our Sunday school lesson yesterday as our regular teacher was a guest speaker at an area church. He briefly mentioned his parents’ divorce and how it had greatly affected him during his teenage years. “I had this part of my life that was taken away,” he said, speaking of his father leaving the home. “He was gone. Everything was different; nothing was the same.”

I never really thought about it that way. I mean, I always knew that when divorce occurs, one person leaves the home, but I started thinking about one parent leaving the home. Not at the family meals. Not watching TV with everyone else. Not being at family get-togethers...How unnatural.

And I got to thinking of all the family counselors, all the attorneys, and all the doctors who prescribe Prozac and anti-depressants who are in business because of divorces. Because of the children who are affected because of divorce.

My children will know divorce, as Superman’s parents are no longer together. Our Thanksgivings and Christmases will not be spent going between two households, but three. For me, an adult, this really doesn’t bother me. But how will it affect my children?

I never really thought too much of family ties and divorces as a kid. In fact, I had extra “aunts” and “grandmothers” who I considered just as much family as my biological ones (comes from being an only child, I’m sure). I hope our children will be the same.

Honestly, I don’t have a true point to this particular blog other than my reflections. Divorce is everywhere, in the church and out. Bad marriages are everywhere. You see it all the time. You see it on television, in your workplace, with your friends. I have friends who are my age who are divorced and have remarried. My dad used to say after I got engaged that I’d come of the “marrying age.” Have I also now been thrown into the “now-it’s-okay-to-divorce age”?

When the two divorcing parties refuse to reconcile, what are the kids supposed to do? How do we heal our families?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Speaking Up: SOAP No. 6

SCRIPTURE: Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, but Eli called him and said, "Samuel, my son." Samuel answered, "Here I am." "What was it he said to you?" Eli asked. "Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you." – 1 Samuel 3:15-17

OBSERVATION: God had just called Samuel during the middle of the night and told him that He would render judgment on Eli’s family. Samuel did not want to tell Eli what the Lord told him.

APPLICATION: Oh my goodness, does this ever apply to me! I wouldn’t say that I am a peacemaker by any means, but I do not enjoy conflict. I will do pretty much anything to avoid it – but, as Christians, I think it’s unavoidable.

Not to say that I won’t speak up on my hot topics that I am very passionate about, but most of the time, I feel that I don’t say enough. I feel that I’m not knowledgeable enough to argue with politics or that I’m going to say something wrong or – heaven forbid! – offend someone.

I’ve heard all my life that Christians will offend non-Christians, but it’s really hard to offend a friend. Or it is for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I feel that iron sharpens iron and that, as Christians, we should build each other up and assist each other in trials or temptations. But I’m such a pacifist that sometimes I feel I let things go when they shouldn’t be.

PRAYER: Lord, teach me to speak up better. You know how blunt I can be, but let me be kind – yet blunt – when it comes to things that truly matter. Even if my faith or beliefs offend someone, I should not stay quiet (and You, naturally, know what situation I’m referring to). Teach me to be gentle and kind but a witness for You as well.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Different Opinions: SOAP No. 5

Scripture: Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. So he said to them, "Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the Lord’s people. If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?" His sons, however, did not listen to their father's rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death. – 1 Samuel 2:22-25

Observation: Eli is reprimanding his sons, who (unless I am mistaken, and if I am, someone please correct me) were priests but, unfortunately, who were evil in the sight of the Lord.

Application: I have a very bad habit of trying to get people to see things my way – the correct way, naturally (haha). Some things, though, I know are wrong: abortions (Exodus 21: 22-23), premarital sex (1 Corinthians 6:16-18), homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27), etc. As I look at elections, I choose my candidate usually based on a single issue: does he (or she) support abortion? This is usually the easiest way to go, because usually one candidate supports it and the other doesn’t, and I just cannot fathom voting for someone who openly supports abortion. And, yes, I know there are other very important issues to consider as well, but, really, most of the time, if I determine who is pro-life and who is not, the candidate who is pro-life usually agrees with me on many other issues, too.

This presidential election has gotten everybody in an uproar. I’ve heard everything from Obama is a rock star (which is seen as positive) to Obama is the anti-Christ. And you all know that my “favorite” thing to do is worry, so why wouldn’t I be concerned about this election?

Concern is the key word. I am concerned about the direction our country is headed. I am not worried, though.

But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil. -- Proverbs 1:33


Some people’s minds are just not going to be changed, like Eli’s sons. We cannot see nor fathom God's will or how the future will turn out, but we can pray for them and for our country. However, we cannot make people with different values and opinions think the way we do.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. -- 2 Chronicles 7:14

And, really, that’s all we can hope for.

Prayer: Lord, you know how frustrated I become when I cannot make people see things my way. I just don’t understand how people can read some lines in Your word and not understand how bad our world has become. I can’t understand why people see some atrocities and consider them just a simple “choice.” It goes far beyond that. Please bring our nation closer to You.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Attack of the moths

I have never seen anything like it before in my life.

Last night, Superman and his best bud, Walkerboy, were sadly watching the dismal Saints’ game on television. They had just said good-bye to another friend, who left right before halftime.

I had been in the back room working and came up around the time the friend left and spotted one, two, no – three moths flying around in my dining room.

The door had only been open for a brief moment. I was shocked that three moths had been able to fly in during those few seconds.

Walkerboy and Superman (okay, mainly Walkerboy, haha!) played hero to capture the moths and place them back outside (though Superman was trying to use his astounding abilities with a fly swatter). Then…we realized there were more than three moths.

More than a dozen – and, no, I am NOT exaggerating – had somehow gotten into the dining room and were fluttering around the light.

It was pure hilarity to watch Superman and Walkerboy find and capture all of these flying, jumping moths, but it also was a little unnerving at the massive number that had swooped inside.

I’ve never seen anything like it inside a home before. Walkerboy said he caught at least seven, and I know I cleaned up around seven bodies. It took up all 15 minutes of halftime to catch/kill the moths.

I wish I had taken a picture now. I mean, who could believe that a dozen or so moths would flock to the dining room in mere moments?

Like moths to a flame…I suppose.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Kids say...

I teach Mission Friends to kindergarteners on Wednesday nights. I really enjoy it, even though I usually am rushed and feel like I’m not quite as awesome as the other Mission Friends teachers. The kids are so cute, though, and I love what they say.

Like *Cara, last year, who, after I passed out her reading sheet for her parents to read to her, said, “My mommy always throws away what I bring home from church.”

Mommy would not be pleased if she knew what dear little Cara said.
Or when *Tom said, “My mommy told me that if I behave in Mission Friends, I can get a McDonalds’ toy with dinner tonight!”

Oh, the lies we tell children – and they work, too!

My favorite, so far, happened last night, though. We were sitting in a semi-circle, and I said, “We’re going to pray now. I’ll go around the circle, and if you want to pray, you can.”

I asked *Ashlyn if she wanted to pray, and she shook her head. I turned to Tom. “Tom, do you want to pray?”

“Yes, I want to pray,” he said eagerly.

We bowed our heads. I waited. No one spoke.

“Tom,” I whispered, opening my eyes slightly, “you can pray now.”

“I want to pray with you,” he replied earnestly.

I was, naturally, confused. “This is your prayer,” I encouraged. “I don’t know what you’re going to pray, so you can pray on your own.”

“No,” he said, apparently not understanding. “I pray with you.”

“This is your prayer,” I repeated. “You can say whatever you want to God.”

Suddenly, his eyes grew wide, and he smiled. “Oh!” he exclaimed. “I get it now! That’s the difference between boys and girls!”

Open-mouthed, I stared at him. We obviously were not on the same page, but I had a feeling we weren’t even in the same book anymore.

He grinned at me. “I got it,” he assured me.

I blinked, oblivious.

“*Mary,” I said, trying to hold back the laughter, “do you want to pray?”

I had no idea – and still have no idea – what he was talking about. I’m wondering, though, if he was in an entirely different library.

**NOTE: I changed the kids’ names because, frankly, I’m not sure how their parents would feel about me blogging about them using their real names.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Flying on a jet plane…

I wish I could think of something craftier or smarter to write about, but, really, right now the only thing in my mind is the upcoming conference I’m planning to attend. I have to present a paper.

I say “have to” because when I submitted the paper five months ago, I’ll admit, I didn’t think it would get accepted. I mainly decided to do it because a friend lives up in Ohio (where the conference is taking place), and I thought, “Hey, if I get accepted, I get to see her!”

And then it did get accepted. And now I have to present this paper. I will have to discuss this scholarly paper in front of what I consider “real” scholars. It’s hard to imagine myself as a scholar or researcher, even though I did work hard on the paper, and it is (in my opinion) well-written. I’m nervous, but I keep telling myself that at noon this Saturday, it will all be over.

But it’s a looooonnnngggg time ‘til Saturday.

I’m also nervous about flying. What am I worried about? Missing the plane. That’s right. Not so scared of terrorists or plane crashes or anything like that. I’m scared of missing the plane (and having my stuff jacked – they threw away my super nice shampoo last time I flew. Learned my lesson there: ANYTHING liquidy goes in the big suitcase, not in the carry-on.).

I have a whole list of other “things-that-could-but-never-would-happen.” I’d tell you, but you’d think I was crazy, and I would have to agree.

In reality, when I push my fears aside and take a REAL look at things, I know everything’s going to be fine. We’re not going to miss the plane. My stuff (hopefully) will all arrive in Ohio in prime condition. Someone will be there to pick us up. We will make it to the conference on time. My name will be on the list when I get to the conference. I will present my paper just fine, and if someone asks me a question I don’t know, all I have to say is, “That’s a very good question. I’ll have to check into that.” We will not miss our flight home.

But you know what? I’m really excited about going to Ohio.

But, as I just sat up straight in my chair, I noticed a cricket in my office doorway…Have I mentioned I’m deathly fearful (it’s a long story – maybe the next blog) of crickets?

Oh, boy...