Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Son, the Preacher

While you're praying this week, please remember our son, Stephen. He will be giving one of the "mini-sermons" (ten minutes long) at our Good Friday service. He was so honored to have been asked by one of the pastors, a decision that is team-made, I believe. (Our church is large and consists of four pastors on staff.)

We have sensed for awhile, adn it's been confirmed by a half dozen different people, that Stephen has pastoral giftings, among others. I can hardly write this without tears, because I see the faithfulness of God to me in asking for a 4th-generation evangelist to be in our family when I started having children.

As you well know, anytime you bring someone closer to God, or attempt it yourself, Satan tries to get the upper hand. Please pray that Stephen stays healthy, as Joel was sick today and yesterday. Please pray for clarity of thought and speech. Please pray that Stephen would put on the whole armor of God to stand against the firey darts that would attempt to mess with his mind in a condemning way. Please pray for God's anointing on Stephen as he prepares and delivers. Pray however you want!

And would you please, if you're reading this, leave me a comment? I am tempted to think I' am writing this in a vacuum and that I'm part of a tiny army of prayer warriors. I know it isn't so, but I would love to hear from my fellow soldiers. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I need you! Calling all Artists and Prayer Personnel

If you can envision a very large tomb and a stone on the stage of our church, crafted by diligent hands and some cardboard and paint, or whatever! please call me! I was approached yesterday to either draw or paint or build or whatever I could dream up and do ...basically commissioned by the Lord via one of the pastors (because I teach art) to come up with this by Friday. Yes, this Friday. Good Friday.

I hashed out some ideas, but then reminded him I was hired for my willingness, not my talent. I am better at art appreciation than application, and by God's grace can lead children to produce art. But as for myself? Oy! Before the conversation ended, however, I had said these words:

"I'll either do it or delegate it, but you can cross it off your list as done."


What a dummy I can be. I came home and told Paul about it, and when I said, "I told him you are really more the artist, " he started shaking his head.

"Passover Tuesday night, I'm in Charlotte all day Wednesday, I can't do it."

"But you want to!" I encouraged (for lack of a worse verb).

Please pray and if you have ideas let me know ASAP! I have to teach this afternoon and then go to a seder tongiht. (Believe me, the more I look online for pictures to inspire, the bigger the tomb gets and I think I should just write my epitaph).

If you would like to lift this project right out of my hands, I would kiss you square on the lips, I'm that desperate. I would not be offended in the LEAST, if you said, "Love to do it." Just don't tell me Thursday. Tell me today! I need LOTS of cardboard and whatever else I can make look like
a first-century tomb.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dwell on Yeshua (Jesus) This Evening

I encourage all my brothers and sisters in the Lord to observe Passover in some way this evening at sundown, or tomorrow evening as some will (depending on restraints of rental locations, as my parents must).

Jesus (Yeshua in the Hebrew) appeared as the Angel of God in the Old Testament who passed over the houses of all obedient children of Israel when God commanded them to do so. On the top of the mantel and the sides of the doorpost, if the Angel (Yeshua) saw blood, the family therein was saved from the judgment of death pronounced on Egypt. As the blood dripped from the crown and sides of the door, I can see God weeping for the moment in the future when His Son, the Door of Heaven, would stand in the gap between God and me and declare me righteous and free.

In haste, not even having time to let their bread dough rise, the enslaved Hebrews grabbed what they could carry--and took jewels as their neighbors gave them--and fled behind Moses to the desert, wherein they would be free to worship God without the fear of man (Pharaoh and all his legions).

I am humbled to be counted not only among Israel's children biologically, but also spiritually. I cannot observe Passover without being reminded of the tremendous sacrifice my perfect Lamb made on my behalf. It's mind-boggling to know the utter simplicity of acting on a command that "by blood alone" --Jesus's blood--on my spiritual house, I am saved from the bondage of sin and the fear of certain death.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Read the Exodus account with me and thank God for providing a Lamb for you! And while you're at it, grab a box of matzah and see the stripes across the back of each cracker. Remember that "by His stripes you are healed."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My class is studying China right now, and I'm
having them build a replica of a section of the Great Wall, using shoeboxes, cardboard "walls," and gift cards cut up like cobblestones on top. We will be painting it tomorrow.

Searching for pictures, I came across this waterpark ride. Oh. My. Goodness. What I wouldn't give for tickets to this place. I could spend all day at a waterpark. Doesn't it look cool? Wow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Please Remember Melodye in Your Prayers

Amanda is one of my young friends, in her late 20's, whose mother I met at a wedding.
Melody Joy is her name, and she has suffered horribly with MS. She has recently had some very difficult days, post-op.

Melodye, I read your blog today and want you to know I am praying for you. I think of you more often than you know. Thank you for your example to choose joy. I appreciate your candor, too. Most of all, I am strengthened by the same God and Father of us all, to whom you continually point as your Source of All Comfort.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My One Thing

I'm usually an overpacker, thinking of all the what-ifs, but am determined to be a minimalist this time.

By God's loving design, I get to go on a ladies' retreat this weekend. My mindset is to
pack like I'll only be there for two days and nights. Because that's the truth.

Oh, but, but! I need my blow-dryer with diffuser, my gel, my spray, my clips.
Oh, but, but! I need three different shades of lip gloss, one per day or mood. And mascara to wake up my lashes, and foundation to cover the ever-increasing number of blotches.

Oh, but, but! I need long sleeves and short sleeves and light pants and dark pants and ankle socks and tennis shoes and sandals.
Oh, but! but! I need a video camera and my digital camera, and wish I had a phone with a camera.

Oh, but, but! I need my Bible, some pens, my thankfulness journal, my regular journal, and some note cards to encourage other women, and maybe some stamps in case I actually get a mind to send snail mail.

Oh, but, but! I should take extra towels, big purple ones and some nice lotion, and air freshener and a candle or two...

Okay, I am no longer thinking like a missionary packer. My list of "needs" is nothing more than a list of wants.

I need God to meet me. That's the one thing I need, no matter what. I want to know that I need Him. Not intellectually; that's a given. I want my soul to be convinced.

The theme of the retreat is "One Thing" and I can't help but think of Rich Mullins who wrote,

Everybody I know says they need just one thing
And what they really mean is that they
need just one thing more
And everybody seems to think
They've got it coming
Well I know that I don't deserve You
Still I want to love and serve You
More and more
You're my one thing

Save me from those things
That might distract me
Please take them away and purify my heart
I don't want to lose the eternal for
The things that are passing
'Cause what will I have when the world is gone
If it isn't for the love that goes on and on with

My one thing, You're my one thing
And the pure in heart shall see God
You're my one thing
You're my one thing
And the pure in heart shall see God

Who have I in Heaven but You Jesus
And what better could I hope
To find down here on earth
I could cross the most distant reaches
Of this world, but I'd just be wasting my time
'Cause I'm certain already, I'm sure
I'd find You're


Every night and every day
You hold on tight
Or you drift away
And you're left to live
With the choices you make
Oh Lord please give me the strength
To watch and work and love and sing and pray

'Cause who have I in Heaven but You Jesus?
And what better could I hope
To find down here on earth?
Well I could cross the most distant reaches
Of this world, but I'd just be wasting my time
'Cause I'm certain already I'm sure I'd find

You're my one thing (one thing)
You're my one thing (one thing)
And the pure in heart shall see God

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook. 3.23.10

Borrowing again from this site, A Simple Woman's Daybook, because I'm not clear-headed today.

Outside my, grey day in the high 50s

I am thinking...of how much I have to do before tomorrow to prepare for a professional massage at home. Paul's cousin is a massage therapist who is giving me the family discount. I have only ever gotten a professional massage for my birthday, but I'm having a lot of trouble with my spine, and my chiropractor doesn't take our new insurance. To say I can hardly wait for this is the understatement of the year.

I am thankful for... the opportunity to get away on retreat with the ladies from my church this coming weekend. It's been four years since the last one.

I am wearing...a lime V-neck tee with a plum 3/4-length sleeve top which is too low-cut to wear alone; black jeans; ginormous white daisy earrings. I am also wearing happy coral toenail polish.

I am remembering...very little these days. It's scary.

I am going... to bathe my stinky dog, clean out the hummingbird feeder, and
write an ode to the deceased hermit crab. Or maybe not.

I am currently reading...Same Kind of Different as Me.

I am hoping... someone brings me flowers

On my mind... romance...

Noticing's time to change the heavy winter curtains to something lighter for spring and summer

Pondering these words... "I gave you a heavy bottom" (see yesterday's post)

From the kitchen is a horrible smell. At least I think that's where it's coming from. Maybe the garage. I hope I can find it to eliminate it, because it's making my headache worse, and is not exactly contributing to the spa-like setting I'm attempting to create.

Around the house... like I said, is this odor...

One of my favorite things~remembering teachers and good times from high school

From my picture journal... is a shot of "serious Ben" a couple years ago at Myrtle Beach. He seldom lets me shoot him up close, but this day was an exception .

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Good News is, I Have a Heavy Bottom

Not the best of days today. Impulsive me decided on Friday I just couldn't stand my hair anymore, so I called Ruth. She's my friend who started out as a Creative Memories consultant, and everything she touches turns to art. And she knows my hair. It's a lot like hers in texture, curl, weight, and all.

But she lives a good half hour away without traffic, and she only does hair as her schedule allows.

So on Friday, as I was pinning my hair up once again like this pooch, I yanked the phone off the hook and called her, getting all sweet in the voice before she picked up.

"Hey, Ruth, it's Zoanna..." and we exchange niceties about her trip to Cancun and how much better she feels and I segue real quick into, "Well , I always feel better after you cut my hair. Can you do it Monday morning? It's my only day before the ladies' retreat that I could get down to Middle River." She peeks at her calendar and we set the appointment.

I drive there today in the rain--a cold, dreary, grey morning. Bye, bye, weekend lovelies of 77 degrees. I have skipped my quiet time to get my hair done. Not a good thing at all. It gets me all of out of sorts not to take that hour after Joel leaves for school to spend alone without interruptions with the Lord. But at least there will be fellowship with Ruth. It's not like I'm skipping coffee with Jesus and going straight to the bar.

Not only had I skipped out on God in the morning, I had stayed up way too late trying to find on the internet a picture of what I wanted my hair to look like. Kim Basinger's long wavy look was my choice. Not that I think I'm Kim Basinger, but Paul ruled out my first choice: a 1940s bob of Rita Hayworth.
Come on, you don't like her victory rolls?

I told Ruth I was still trying to grow out my hair, so she didn't take much off. Really. Not enough. I could tell she had sprayed it and curled it and made it a nice shape, but I could've measured maybe a third of an ounce of hair actually gone off my head. I came out of the bathroom, having inspected it front and back in the mirror. I liked it, but I wanted it to be noticeably different.

Came out and said, "You really didn't take much off, did you?"

"No," she said. "You want the sides to catch up with the back, so I snipped the ends a little, rolled the long layers under so I gave you a heavier bottom."

"You WHAT?! Oh, Ruth, that's just what I DON'T need! A heavier bottom. My bottom's already heavier than a World War II cannon."

She laughed and back-pedaled with, "You know what I mean,"-- but I gave her more grief.

" I did not drive all the way down here in the pouring rain, miss an exit I've taken a hundred times, panick over early-onset Alzheimer's, turn around in Dundalk, of all places, just to be rewarded with a heavier bottom ! And I suppose you expect to be PAID for it, too?" I rolled my eyes and plunked two nickels on the counter.

I mean two bills.

Got to school two hours later and no one noticed. None of my co-workers, none of my students, not my Joel. That's such a let-down.

But at least I have a heavier bottom.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Oldest Child is 22

On this day, 22 years ago, I became a mother. Like today, daffodils were in bloom, the sun was shining, birds were singing, and I was happy and naive in my new role.

I was thinking back today to special memories of Ben as a boy that painted a picture of the man he has become today .

1. He was always working hard. He loved to help me vacuum, loved order, not a messy kid, but not afraid of mud, either. He had stains to prove it, but he just wasn't a slob. He is still a hard worker, except he doesn't love to help me vacuum. His love for order shows itself in an ordered schedule, a simply kept-up room (not gleaming, but not cluttered). And he chose accounting as a career.

2. He loves to play hard. Growing up, he got into every sport with gusto. Soccer, basketball, skateboarding, snowboarding, lacrosse, football, you name it. The x-rays and ambulance rides prove it. His passion for extreme living recently caused us to ban him from going snowboarding in blizzard conditions. (If we hadn't, the cops would have.) He also recently took a canoe out on the Chesapeake Bay with a friend. Trying to turn it, they capsized. He had to swim back to shore in frigid water in early March. He could barely breathe to talk, it was so cold. I'm glad I didn't know about it until he was home and shoving wet clothes into the washer, smiling and all red in the face like he'd been out for a brisk swim or something.

3. He doesn't take things at face value. He thinks about things from various angles. When he was about five he asked, "Mom, if there is no sin in heaven, but Satan got kicked out of heaven for pride, then didn't he have pride in heaven?" I had a mini-theologian on my hands. Right now he is examining his beliefs and where he fits in. He's not willing to just accept what we, his parents, believe. At first I balked at that, but I realize CS Lewis was right: "An unexamined life is not worth living." (I think that's Lewis and I think that's the quote. Please correct me if not.)

I could say more, but those are three that stand out in my mind. I love my son. I am so thankful God gave him the characteristics of one who lives life to the fullest.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Eight Things You Might Not Know About Me

Not that I've won an award lately and been asked to include oddities about myself in my acceptance speech, but I was tooling around some blogs and found inspiration. I hope these senseless tidbits keep you glued right here.

1. I have a big bump on the inside of the top knuckle of my middle finger on the right hand. I would like to think it's full of wisdom, like the grey streaks now evident in my otherwise brunette hair. But I think it's just from squeezing the heck out of pens when I write.

2. Speaking of hair, I think mine reaches a stage where it grows outward, not downward, preferring horizontal lengthening. Locks of latitude. They take their cues from my body, I suppose, which hasn't read any of the "up not out growth " memos I've sent it since seventh grade.

3. I love all things Titanic (except my hips). I've been fascinated with the lives of the rich and famous who sailed the Unsinkable Molly Brown, and cry every time I hear "Nearer, my God, to Thee."

4. Speaking of crying, it happens almost every time I pray in public about anything that touches my heart.

5. I hardly ever wear something that has a pattern for a print. In a scarf , maybe, but I can only think of one thing in my wardrobe that isn't a solid print. Just please don't call me a solid girl. (See part B of number 2, above.)

6. Speaking of number two, when I was potty training (that is, being potty trained) I would call a "b.m." a blum (which rhymes with "plum"). My parents told everybody how cute that was. I wonder what else they told them about my personal life.

7. I can't sleep with my bedroom door open even a crack, nor can I fall asleep with any lights on, and I can't stand to hear music playing if I'm trying to sleep. What's more, I have to have a sheet between me and the next type of cover, whatever that might be.

8. Speaking of cover, I once tried to make a canary yellow jumper for Home Ec class, but after getting the B that I didn't deserve (the grade being padded with copious pity points) I cut it up and made book covers. I liked to think that my brain was as bright as my books. The experience forever soured me on the notion of making my own clothes. I have hated jumpers ever since. And the color yellow. But I don't mind pity.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mama's Hands and the Shamrock Pin

A repost

With the name Donnell in my Scotch-Irish roots from my mother's side of the family,
Saint Patrick's Day was fun for my mom. In her neatly arranged jewelry box of tiny treasures were three shiny green Shamrock pins. Each year on March 17th, she would
carefully pull them out. First Rachel got her pin, then me, then Andrea. (My baby sister Jill wasn't born till I was 14, and so wasn't part of this ceremony of sorts with us. ) Mama would smile and say, "You have to wear a little green or you might get pinched."

Getting pinched was not something I liked. Some people might, but I have always had flashbacks of having my cheeks pinched by a Persian immigrant when I was three. It was his way of greeting me. Not fun. I would rather have had a lollipop.

The shamrock pin would surely thwart anyone's evil intentions in school. It was a given. Wearing green was a safeguard, and even if I weren't wearing noticeably green clothes, I kept that lapel shamrock in plain sight all day.

I think the best part of wearing it, though, was having it put on. My mom's soft, beautiful hands close to my heart (literally) comforted me before I left for school. I knew she would never let the pin stick me; she would take the pain herself if necessary. She took seriously my fear of being pinched. Having been severely pinched many times by the monster toes of her older brothers, she didn't laugh at my pinch-phobia. She protected me, and added a little fun to the mix. Wearing a shamrock was fun protection against being pinched by any mean boy or obnoxious girl.

Thanks, Mama. I am wearing a lot of green today. I happen to have donned a long-sleeved avocado green shirt of Paul's that has an American Red Cross logo on it and the slogan, "It's Hip to Give." Thanks for giving me an appreciation of my Irish heritage in a small, fun way, but more importantly, for showing me many kindnesses with your hands. I'll never forget the way you pinned a shiny shamrock to my shirt every March 17th to protect me from my then-worst fear. Top o' the mornin' to ya!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Waaa. He Said, "Naaa."

All good things must come to an end, they say. I think we've come to the end of the Tooth Fairy fantasy. Actually, I think it was on the verge of collapse when Joel lost a tooth a few months ago, when the dollar he found under his pillow bore a striking resemblance to the old wadded up greenback he saw on his daddy's dresser the night before.

So about a week ago, Joel's next tooth was giving him fits to the point he asked me to pull it so he could finish his cereal. It slid right out with a napkin (which I find utterly disgusting, blood or no blood, just the thought of pulling bone from another human's flesh--ick!) Anyway, I pulled it and said,

"Joel, do you want to rinse this tooth off and stick it under your pillow tonight for the Tooth Fairy?"

Apparently I am the only dummy left playing this game. He cocked his head sideways, smirked, furrowed his brow, and replied,

"Naaa. I'll just ask Dad for a dollar."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gratitude List, March 8-14, 2010

Seven times five equals 35. Here are the 35 things I've jotted down this past week that I'm grateful for. I assure you there are plenty that didn't make the list.

  1. renewed perspective on servanthood
  2. God's protection on Ben when his canoe capsized in the Chesapeake Bay and he had
    to swim back to shore.
  3. finding free copies of Architectural Digest to send my sister, Rachel
  4. my loyal dog
  5. morning sun
  6. getting much accomplished
  7. smooth painting class
  8. chance to host a social (which got nixed, but still)
  9. meditating on 12 truths from Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free
  10. surviving on a poor night's sleep
  11. infectious excitement in class
  12. homemade salsa
  13. Joel's forgiveness when I broke his Lego creation that took hours to build
  14. a caring boss
  15. wisdom from scripture
  16. Paul's kisses
  17. seeing the Smith kids' "Tooty Ta" video
  18. email saying "I'm praying for you"
  19. wise, kind pastors
  20. grace to prepare for BizTown, having lost 10 class periods
  21. Safely driving in rain to and from Owings Mills
  22. flexibility
  23. excitement in the air at Biz Town
  24. students working so hard
  25. earning the award of Top Business there
  26. sleep
  27. signs of spring (robins and yellow crocuses)
  28. "down time" shopping alone
  29. Sarah's chicken crescent roll-ups
  30. playing Battleship with Joel and seeing him win by one move
  31. "Draw Near" time at church last night
  32. being prayed for
  33. Linda S's successful lung transplant
  34. surprise flight $$ for Steve to go to Together for the Gospel convention in Louisville
  35. God's kindness to give us hope

Saturday, March 13, 2010

When Morning Gilds the Sky

When morning gilds the sky,
my heart, awaking, cries
"May Jesus Christ be praised!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Impromptu Piano Duet

I couldn't get the link to work, but copy and paste this URL. This elderly couple walks into a Mayo clinic for a check-up, find a piano, and play a fun, spirited duet. The middle gets pretty funny. The piano is not the only thing they can't keep their hands off!

They've been married 62 years and the man is 90.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Time Audit

I am convinced I need to do a time audit for at least a week and see how many hours I invest, spend, and waste on various activities. I'm sure I'd be shocked to see the amount of precious time I waste on the computer.

Facebook. Some days I think I should never have let myself sign up. It's like a swampland for the clock. I sign on, glance at the time, see "10:16" and say, "Okay, Zo, you've got 14 minutes and then it's time to ____________" (clean, do laundry, put dishes away, plan for school, etc). Next time I look at the clock it's 10:28 and I say, "K, two minutes." Next time, it's 10:43 and I'm feeling guilty, numb, and unproductive. But I stay on another 17 minutes...or so.

Blogging. This is not as bad as it used to be for me. Probably because I discovered Facebook.

Email. I write, then sometimes scroll around waiting for an answer. Then I reply. It's only polite, right?

It's got to stop. It's got a hold on me. It's a slavemaster. Ball and chain. Call it what you will. I am sucked into the abyss by the familiar hum and drone of the computer. How many times have I tried to quit?

It's not that it's bad in and of itself. I find here inspiration, comfort, information, laughter, encouragement, and sometimes conviction. On Facebook I find myself liking to be in touch with people and finding out what they're doing, or say what I'm doing or feeling or whatever.

But oh the time I could be stewarding differently. My house would be cleaner, my laundry put away (perhaps? I don't know; I wasn't great about that last step before the internet, so I think it's just laziness). I might read more choice material or make things or write something of real worth. Who knows?

I must track my time. Not that it would be accurate, because in the very doing of an audit, I would choose not to waste so much. The Lord is saying, "I'm trying to teach you to number your days. Days consist of minutes."

When I see the same people on facebook all the time, I think, "She's not being very productive" or "Is she at work doing that, cheating her boss of time?" And then I look at myself and I am a lazy cheater. (We don't have Fb access on our computers at work, thank goodness.)

Cutting back on the computer could be like yanking a bottle from the drunk.

I can't do it on my own. When did this happen, and why? Ai, yai, yai.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How Do You "Break it" When You've Broken it?

So there I was on hands and knees a few minutes ago, about to finish cleaning my baseboards in the foyer and kitchen. I had no sooner gotten to the next-to-the-last section
of the kitchen, feeling all accomplished and proud of myself and lovin' the fresh-clean smell and look of white-white trim...when it happened.

I stood up from the knee cushion to survey the territory. In so doing, I started to rest my forearm on the top shelf of the bookcase.

The shelf, I had forgotten, was missing one small piece: its fourth peg that holds the thing securely.

It's fine for lightweight things on display. Lightweight birthday presents.

Like a completely assembled by Joel-and-Dad, 1300-piece Lego aircraft carrier.

CRRRR--ASH! The "whole entire" thing--ruined! Or at least broken into 432 pieces all over the kitchen floor. Some pieces might even have gone down the heating vent. I can't bear to look.

Oh, dear, oh, dear! How DO you "break it" to your eight-year-old? There's no way I can rebuild it like it was. Not in an hour.

This is one of those times when "I'm sorry, will you please forgive me?" just doesn't seem like enough.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Gratitude List, Feb. 23-March 7, 2010

I'm a little behind. (Better than being a big behind, right?) So here goes. Giving thanks to God that...

-Paul takes Joel to school every day except Thursday, when Sarah does
-Kelly and Cheryl did some of my laundry and Leanne let us use her washer
-laundromat and the rolled quarters on hand that made it pretty easy
-getting expired gifts card in the mail for my art project
-Sarah made dinner on a night I was tired and unmotivated

-Biz Town interviews/nervous students who were cute
-the boy who rolled my towels with excellence after they were clean
-comfy pillow
-a student saying that "Mrs. Zubrowski prays when she doesn't know what to do"
-hearing my Joel count by 3's with ease

-"hard pressed on every side, but not crushed"
-Pastor Arie's timely appearance just when I needed his counsel on the spot
-grace to deliver disappointing news
-grace to accept that news
-Lawrence's readiness to pray for my stressed, traveling hubby

-hot school lunches
-our church is not therapy-centric
-courage for Zach C as he was deployed to Afghanistan
-courage for Zach's family
-opportunity to pray with a despondent friend while she drove

-creative writers in class
-students who get along
-helpful salespeople in a slow economy
-confirmation about a difficult decision
-Sarah's solo trip to BB's at night, of her own volition

-Kelly's granola recipe (best I ever had)
-means to purchase a new washing machine
-freedom from spiritual debt which I've had for 33 years
-freedom from financial debt which I've had for 1 year
-Stephen's hard work at Youth Advance, of his own volition

-joy of using our new washing machine (pictured above)
-Jimmy's message : "sacrifice should sting"
-seeing Sarah refreshed by her friend Hannah
-opportunities for hospitality
-subsequent opportunities to die to self


Monday, March 08, 2010

Buffalo Wild Wings in Bel Air, MD: Just Okay

Having heard a great sermon by Jimmy as an entree on Sunday with a side of "the guys on staff love Buffalo Wild Wings," Paul and I went there with our youngest child for lunch right after church. Yes, we are suckers for word-of-mouth advertising-- and we eat out almost every Sunday. Call it good timing for BWW.

Jimmy had said they go to the White Marsh location, but since it's farther, we opted for the Bel Air store. We were seated right away, and the house was about half-full, I'd say.

The place smelled great. There are about a dozen TV sets in the joint, mounted high overhead, each with a different channel on, so take your pick. In a matter of seconds, I was able to watch gymnastics, NASCAR, a Kentucky game, and other hoo-ha of the sports variety which I really don't care about. I'd call it a "family sports bar," if I could coin a term.

Paul and I ordered an appetizer of 8 wings, half with the Jimmy-endorsed parmesan-garlic sauce, and half with honey BBQ. They were okay. Not to brag, but I think we've made better at home on Super Bowl Sunday.

We then ordered our meals. He got a Big Daddy Jerk sandwich (beef, pulled pork, lettuce, tomato, and onion ring) on a mammoth bun. Believe it or not, he was full from the appetizer. Yes, a grown man filled up on four wings and three iced teas and a few fries. He brought the burger home and I had to reheat it for my lunch today. Ick.

I ordered the pulled pork sandwich with sweet BBQ sauce. The server brought me the wrong thing--the slammers (3 mini sammies of the pulled pork variety). Not a big deal except that the slammers were a buck more. He apologized and adjusted the price without a problem. The skinny fries were all right. The meat tasted terrible--dry and "pork fatty". I know Emeril says "pork fat rules," but that's because of Emeril's talents!

As for the skinny fries, a few tips were burned, which is one of those "little things" that I would not let out of the kitchen if I were a chef. It's too easy to remedy and too hard to make a good first impression with anything burned.

Joel got the mac 'n cheese. What can I say? It was fair fare. Hard to mess up mac 'n cheese for a kid. He'd probably order it again,though, no matter how average.

The place has electronic trivia games that you can play at the table. Joel logged in and played against 10 people in the restaurant. I took a turn at it, too. Let's just say I am both pop-culture challenged and not quick-fingered. And I got sad when one of the correct answers was "Belgium." (That's where sweet Jessica moved with her family. Sniff. Sniff.)

Paul and I agreed the noise level was comfortable for such a place. Not too loud (the TVs were silent or barely audible) and the din of dinner conversations was a healthy level for me. For the price, we would've preferred to go to Chile's. The whole experience was just okay.
But Jimmy's sermon? Far better than just okay! I will definitely be returning again and again to be "fed" at SGC! As for Buffalo Wild Wings, I'll go again if someone else picks up the tab or hands me a gift card.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

A Difficult Conversation

Not exactly hurting for material, I happened upon a blog called Mama's Losing It, wherein one of the blogger's categories is called Writer's Workshop. Every Sunday night she issues a few new writing prompts. The reader/fellow blogger who is looking for inspiration or to cure a mild to severe case of writer's block (a disease I rarely contract), can choose one and take it away.

I decided on the prompt to write about a difficult conversation.


I seldom remember full conversations. Rather, I remember the gist of many of the ones I've had throughout my life. Once in a while, treasured snippets of advice from souls brave enough to speak them have told me like it is. Here are some difficult words that have been delivered to me, some kindly, some not so kindly, but nonetheless invaluable for my personal growth. In no particular order:

1. Said to me by an experienced mother of three when I was "on the fence" about taking a lethargic, non-focusing baby to the ER at night rather than waiting till the morning. "Trust your God-given, maternal instincts. If you think there's something really wrong with your child, there probably is." There was.

Said to me when I used the arrogant line, "I just know what he's going to say. He's going to say...." a godly, older woman rebuked me lovingly: "You don't know what anybody is going to say. Only God does." She awakened me to a bad habit of playing the Omniscient One in speech.

3. Said to me by close family members at various times: You talk too much. I have tried to be a better listener and less of a talker. Being around overtalkers is draining, and I shudder to think people avoid me like I avoid motor mouths. If you've known me more than three years, please let me know if I'm doing better in zipping the lips and unzipping the ears.

4. Said to me by an ER doctor about a son who took a hard hit to the chest in a football game: "We need to transport him to Shock Trauma. He could develop a pulmonary aneurysm and we aren't equipped here to mess with those."

5. Said to me by one of my children at about age ten: "I hate when you and Dad fight. It makes me afraid you might get a divorce like so many of my friends' parents." Nothing has made me cry more deeply in my life than to realize that my anger has caused my children to feel insecure.

6. Said to me by more than one person in the family: "You need to go on a diet." How true it is. I fell off the Weight Watchers bandwagon several months ago and have regretted my demise. It's sad how, the larger I get, the more invisible and less loved I feel. It's just a feeling, not the truth, but how powerful feelings are!

7. Said to me by an orthopedist after I gave birth to my last child: "You have ruptured all the ligaments in your pelvis. For the next four to six weeks, you will have to stay in bed--lying first on one side for two hours and then on the other for two hours--so that your hips come back together. We don't know know when you'll be able to feel your bladder again, and you will need to use a walker. I hope you have someone to take care of you."

8. Said to me by an obstetrician, twice in three years: "I'm sorry, but there is no heartbeat."

9. Said to me by a daughter who accepted a summer job three hours away: "It's just eight weeks. It's not forever." It only felt like it.

10. Said to me by my best friend on Christmas Day, 1994: "Mom's gone. She passed away this morning."


I don't like to write sad posts. I like humorous ones, but the truth is, comic relief is a welcome thing after hearing so many difficult things. But the difficult things have made me stronger--or weaker--as needed for my life. How about you? Care to write a difficult post? If you'd prefer not to, but want to be prompted to write something
on your blog, pay a visit to Mama Kat.

Friday, March 05, 2010

What I Gave up for Lent

Some people give up chocolate or booze,
Some rise early and don't hit the "snooze."
Some put the brakes on coffee or tea,
while others decide to go sugar-free.

Some gals call a halt to using a razor
Cancel the cable to become a stargazer.
But, I? What did I for Lent sacrifice?
Deodorant, folks. Don't I smell so nice?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

"Eat!" Cried Little Pig

Joel's class recently had to do a book report, but instead of using paper as usual, they were asked to use a tissue box cube. Among other parts of the rubric, the required elements included two actions of the character, a direct quote, and a genre page.

Here is the art Joel came up with for his book.

It just
makes me smile.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Making Decisions Isn't Always as Hard as Announcing Them

Yesterday I had the formidable task of interviewing my seven students for their jobs at Biz Town. There will be one CEO, one CFO, one Sales Manager,
two Food Managers, and two Beverage managers.

Each student was to list his or her first, second, and third choice. I was hoping it would be as easy as plugging everyone into their first choice position.

Not so.

I had four students who wanted to be the Sales Manager.
Two who wanted to be the CFO.
No one who wanted to be the CEO.
One who wanted to be the Beverage Manager.

One who would make a good CEO sees it as an office job, and prefers to be with people. That child needs to see that a CEO is, indeed, a people person with good admin and math skills, but is not strapped to the desk.

Some want to be the chief but not an Indian. I had to tell them, "Everyone will push a broom. Trust me. CEO, CFO, makes no difference. No work is beneath any of us as servants of Christ." They nodded in agreement. When push comes to shove, though, who will push the broom with gladness, as if Christ were about to come into the restaurant for a Coke and some Fritos?

I have to announce my decisions today or tomorrow. (I am tempted to put it off till tomorrow, but I don't think the decision would change.) Deciding took some prayer and evaluation of interviews, work habits, leadership abilities already proven, and a report card, and "hashing it out" with my co-teacher, Cheryl, who is well-qualified to speak of their abilities and potential and who was with us last year at BizTown to see them in action.

Deciding was not hard. Telling the students could be. I hate to disappoint people, but I love to call them to the challenge of accepting God's sovereignty in their young lives.

Yesterday they were nervous about their interview. It was cute. One boy who is normally quite poised and outgoing, had a quivering lip. We asked if he was nervous. He said, "I'm cold." Another had obviously rehearsed his greeting over and over. Walked in, shook hands confidently and said, "Hello, I'm {So and So}, it's a pleasure to meet you." Then he waited, as I had instructed them last week, until he was asked to please have a seat. On one application, the person answered the question: "Who do you admire?" with "Mrs. Zubrowski," and when Cheryl asked why, "Because when she doesn't know what to do, she prays." Aww.

Today I am nervous about announcing the jobs. Will that be cute? Will my lips quiver? Maybe layering up will help? No, I doubt it. I need God's grace to be the gentle messenger . I don't know how best to go about this.

Guess I'll pray.