Monday, February 14, 2011

Quote of the day....

Later today, I will be meeting with a woman's faith group here at work. We're going to be discussing books today and are supposed to bring a copy of our most favorite book. My favorite book is "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young. Of course, I left my copy at home. It's a Monday, and I forgot! LOL! So I was online looking at quotes from the book, so that I could at least have something to participate with. That's when I found this quote:
"Oh child," spoke Papa tenderly. "Don't ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak."
Reading this gave me a big jolt. On Sunday, during mass, I listened to the readings and to the Gospel... and the Homily. I didn't zone out, I was fully engaged.... and as I heard the words, they went directly to my heart, and I knew that they were what I needed to hear at that very moment. Because I was upset and angry... with some loved ones who I was judging... not my job, I know. I had been so angry... I knew I was wrong to be so... and then, as I heard the Gospel, and the Homily... my tears began to fall. I couldn't seem to stop them, and I didn't really want to. I prayed silently that I was so so sorry.. my heart was filled with sorrow and remorse. And as I heard the words, about the power of forgiveness... my strong sense of guilt and remorse seemed to fade. It was a moment of true Grace. I was sorry, and God knew that I was sorry. And so I well understand and believe these words:
"Oh child," spoke Papa tenderly. "Don't ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak."

Peace replaced my sorrow. And I felt a sense of joy... because my heart had spoken, and God heard me.... and connecting like that is so incredible and amazing.

The Shack is an incredible book. I can't believe that I have never blogged about it before. Of all the books I've read in my entire life time, this book has affected me in the most profound way. Initially I was reluctant to read it. It took me way outside the box.... and I just thought it sounded too weird. So I put it back on the shelf. Somehow, I kept being drawn to it. I didn't want to read it... I didn't want to read of the heart breaking tragedy.... because remember, I "don't do sad".

One day I was in the bookstore, and was compelled to pick it up. And I looked at it for several days, before I finally started to read it. And I would never be the same again. The story has profound beauty, and and is the story of the blessed trinity.. of the good news... and of hope. It taught my heart about the Blessed Trinity. It made me "get it" and understand how very much God loves all His children. It's the ultimate love story!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm in the mood to prattle....

The day dawned, and it is good to be alive. I was snuggled warmly under my mound of blankets when the 2nd snooze rang... it was time.. time to get up and get going. I knew it would be cold... we were supposed to get down to Zero over night. The weatherman confirmed that it was "indeed" cold... -2 to be exact. And if you pay attention to windchill factors, it was somewhere between -10 and -14 depending on the wind. I have no clue what the windchill was at our house.. all I do know is that it was cold- cold Cold COLD! It is a comfort to know that in just a few days, our temperatures will rise into the 40's! A heatwave, to be sure!

Russell and I had planned to drive separately, because I have a concert to go to tonight, and I need to leave work early. He left first, to go to an early appointment. Of course, this was after cleaning off my frozen car, which has been parked since before the great ice storm of 2011. He is such a good guy... he is a blessing. The sun was shining... another blessing, most definitely! After getting the dogs settled, myself ready, out into the frigid world I marched.

And, of course, I noticed some things.

First, our bird feeders are experienced a great deal of activity, which gives me great joy to watch. Our feeders have been visited by White Breasted Nuthatches, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Cardinals, House Finches, House sparrows, a myriad of woodpeckers and Carolina wrens. All of this reminds me that I need to start my bird list for 2011.

Second, as I was driving through the "new neighborhood" I saw several deer on top of a hill. It looked as though they were sunbathing, and perhaps they were. It was such an awesome sight to behold, and I frantically fished my camera from my purse to capture it. I pushed the button to put down the window, but nothing happened. It was frozen, so my plans were foiled. I was running late, and in all honesty, it was simply too cold to stop and get out of the car. Of course, as I look back, I'm kicking myself.

The third thing I noticed as I drove in was that my car was surrounded by swirling snow. What a sight that must have been. All the snow that has been sitting on my "parked car" for the past couple of weeks took flight and I was in cased in my own personal squall. LOL It tickled me... I felt like Pigpen from "Charlie Brown"!

I got to work, went the long way, for some unknown reason.. wasn't really paying attention, which I probably shouldn't admit! My driving was not impaired, but I was just used to going one way, and ended up having to backtrack. And as it turns out, I'm not the only daffy Milliron today. As I walked from the B lot, I saw Russell's truck pull in. It turns out that his appointment is next week.. and not this week!

So I hurried on to my warm office. I logged in, read my email, and checked Facebook. In my email, I came across this awesome quote:

"God is not disgusted by your uncleanliness. You are the one who is so ashamed of your dirt, and you are the one whom He embraces with His love saying, 'Do not worry, I love you just as you are and I will purify you with great tenderness.'" -S.C. Biela “Behold I Stand at the Door and Knock” pg 16

I felt incredibly uplifted by this. It's so easy to get caught up in feelings of guilt and sorry. It's so easy to beat ourselves up over things and to fill unworthy... forgetting of course that we are Children of God... Children who are loved and adored.... and this quote.... well it's breathtaking.

While on Facebook, quite by accident, I stumbled across a post from a high school friend. I learned the very sad news that another of our high school friends lost his son several days ago. and this was also breathtaking... but breath-taking in the saddest of ways. My heart filled with sorrow for my friend and his loved ones. Details are sketchy but they don't really matter. A young life is over... and from all I could see, he was loved and adored by friends and family alike... people who are all struggling in their sorrow to comprehend what has happened.

After reading my friends page for a while, I went back to mine... only to find a post from a relative that they have a new great-grand child. Death followed by new life. I was struck by how the cycle continues... and I thank God, that I am a child of God... because on days like this, when there is so much to ponder, to consider... so much to mourn for, so much to be joyful for.... none of it is possible without Him...

Friday, February 04, 2011

I will never hear the end of this one....

This is This is a tale of my lost cell phone, a Good Samaritan and my husband, who once again, came to my rescue! I posted this on Facebook yesterday:
Russell just called.... from Marycrest... wanted to know if I could see him from my window. I asked what he was doing up there. I came to get your cell phone... someone called me from it saying that they had found it. Ugh. So THANK YOU, to the nice student who took the time to figure out who it belongs to.
And so it goes. I knew that I had my cell with me yesterday on the way to work, because I had left it in the truck. I checked it to see if it even had any power left and was surprised that it did.... even though it was down to one bar... hanging on by a thread. As I was climbing out of the truck, I glanced around, wondering where I had put it.

This happens all the time, I'm never consistent where I put it. I have a pocket in my purse, designated for the phone. And it's there 75% of the time. But when I start carrying it around in a pocket I always absentmindedly put it down somewhere, and then have problems finding it later.

Enter the Good Samaritan: this time, a student here at UD. He found my phone, picked it up and kept it safe, until he could find who it belonged to. He tracked it down by calling Russell on my phone... and that is when Russell trekked up to Marycrest to retrieve it. Russell offered the young man a reward, but the young man refused to accept it. A good soul to be sure. And this is the true spirit of UD.... a true community of very nice people.
I don't really mind that I will have to endure the teasing from Russell. I have no ground to stand on, and I do, need to pay more attention to where I put that blasted phone! LOL!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Weathering the storm...

It started on Sunday... the reports of impending doom... of the wrath of old man winter. We were going to get nailed. Ice this time, not snow. Ice scares me to death. I don't want 2 feet of snow, but if I could choose, I might be tempted to pick that much snow over ice. Initial reports were that we were going to get hit with the "first wave" late Monday evening.... Freezing rain and ice they said... but then it would be followed with the "second wave" which reports foretold of high Winds, more ice, and snow.

Please please please..... say it ain't so! I spent quite a bit of time, channel hopping from one newscast to another, and surfing around the internet's variety of weather sites. They were all comparable. Ugh. Adjectives like Catastrophic, Epic, Horrific were used. And the more I watched, the more anxious I was. And unfortunately, they were right on. I felt angry and frustrated... but it's not their fault. After all, it's their job to report the news, to inform.. so that we can prepare for the worst. And unlike a freak storm or a tornado, we did have time to prepare. Stores were jam packed all weekend and into Monday night.

And then it began.

Tuesday dawned and you could see that everything was frozen. The yard was glazed over, reminiscent of an ice rink rather than a yard. Trees were encased in ice. Russell had learned on Monday that he was officially considered "essential personnel" which means that he had to go in no matter what. We debated on what I would do. I did not want to stay home.... with the potential of losing power and being stranded. I was happy to see that the university was going to open at noon, so I suggested that I just ride in with him, and hang out. And that's what I did.

The drive in, was thankfully uneventful. Russell's truck handled the ice with ease. I conveniently left my office keys at home, and when Russell dropped me off, I was relieved that the cleaning crew was there to let me in. My boss called my cell phone, thinking I was still at home, and suggested that I just stay home. Laughingly, I told her I was already at work. It was not too much longer that the word came down that the University was now closed! Oh well... the day was quiet. There were a handful of people on my floor. Most of the afternoon was relatively quiet weather wise. I compared it to what it must be like to be in a hurricane. We were in the eye of the storm, with the back end headed our way. And as with hurricanes, the back end is the part that packs a wallop.

Since it was Tuesday, we were scheduled to make food pantry deliveries. We got that done, and hurried home. As we gingerly walked the truck to the house, I was un-nerved by the sound of the frozen trees crackling in the wind. And to think that the wind really hadn't ramped up yet made us very uneasy. Russell got the dogs in and out, and once fed we settled in. I had candles and flashlights ready to go. We had the news on.... watching ongoing coverage of the storm of the century. I read my friends posts on Facebook... Indianapolis and Chicago were getting hit really hard.... Ice in Indy and snow in Chicago and surrounding states.

It wasn't too much longer when our phone rang... my Mother in law reporting that she had lost power. This is problematic because she needs electricity for her oxygen. There were a few calls and frantic conversations about "what to do". I found a motel nearby that still had power, and Russell offered to take her there. She was reluctant to leave home, which I can understand. Thankfully a cousin brought over a generator, and hooked her up. She was good to go. In the meantime, I managed to report her outage to DP&L. And as an afterthought, I entered that number into my cell phone- just in case. Our lights flickered once or twice, making very very edgy.

It was almost a relief to go to bed. We still had power, and I tucked in and figured that sleep would be a welcome escape from the winds, that were now howling outside our window. Neither of us slept well that night. Russell was up and down, looking out windows to see if any of the falling ice or tree limbs had hit our house or cars.

As Wednesday dawned, we could see that thankfully, we lost only a couple of branches, and they didn't hit anything. The rain had stopped yet the wind was still ferocious. Things didn't seem as bad. Daylight made things seem less scary. And we still had power, thank God. The University had closed again, so Russell headed off to work with out me. I wasn't thrilled about this, but if we did lose power, I needed to be there to take care of things. What or how I have no clue... but I'm sure we would have figured that out. I fed the dogs and got settled in the den, watching all the news reports about damages and forecasts. I called my mother in law and was happy to learn she had power... it had come back on around 3AM. I called and checked on my sister and Mother... and then when I didn't hear from Russell, I called to check to see if he had made it OK. He had. It was now snowing... I didn't much care about that. We were only supposed to get an inch or so, and after everything else, that didn't seem so bad.

As the day progressed, the howling wind seemed to subside. By nightfall, we were only getting some flurries. The winds had calmed. It was time to begin digging out.

This morning, we woke to the sun. It's bitterly cold out, but the sun makes everything seem so much better. The University was open, and the day has been spent chatting and catching up... comparing notes, and just being relieved. There are many still without power. Neighborhood shelters are available to those in need. They are calling them "warming shelters". There's something about that term that has a sweetness about it.

This storm will be one that we all remember. Over 2500 miles of the United States were affected in one way or another. There are pictures online that are mind boggling. Some people experienced true horror, being stranded on highways that suddenly were shut down because the snow was too deep and fierce to drive in. Downtown Chicago was paralyzed, and people were trapped in their cars and on buses. That I can't even begin to imagine.

Here are some pictures I took around campus on Tuesday, during the lull, when I could still get out and about:

I'm counting my blessings.... in retrospect, now that it's passed, I realize how truly blessed we were.