"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's Been a Long Summer

One big, glaring flaw in my personality has begun to rise to the surface more frequently than I would like to admit. Maybe it's not really part of my personality, per se....I guess it would be better characterized as my "flesh," my human sin nature. And on many occasions at work recently, following quick, unforeseen outbursts of my wicked, short temper, I have had to stop, pause, and repent.

The pressure at work has not lessened any. It has simply become more manageable as we have fallen into a routine and begun to accept that insanely busy days are the "new normal" for our office. I am a reasonable person. I ask intelligent questions. I do my job to the best of my ability. I can deal with crabby customers and make the difficult phone calls that nobody else wants to make. But it has been a long summer. And every now and then, my niceties buckle. Aggression takes over. And I, ever so sweetly, tell the snippy City of Wheat Ridge employee that her customer service skills essentially suck. Or when the City of Lakewood threatens to take legal action against our company because we didn't know we had to pull a siding permit in addition to our roofing permit, I argue with the guy and stand up in my company's defense until he backs down and admits that he is overreacting. When our subcontractor comes to pick up his Friday check, I make him wait by the front desk. For an hour. Because he still hasn't gotten the repairs completed that I asked him to do a week ago. I am becoming bolder. I'm becoming more confrontational. It's necessary, but I'm not sure I like it.

I just want people to know that I'm not an idiot. I don't like being told by co-workers that my desk is a mess; I don't like being told by customers that I do a poor job of invoicing. Defensiveness builds within me. I want to know how they would do if they were in my position. I want to know if they could do any better. I want to stop being judged. I am human, but I am smart. I am operating via God's grace. And I am literally doing the very best that I can, short of eating, sleeping, and breathing roofs.

Another struggle is workplace ethics. One of our employees broke his leg a few weeks ago. He was wrestling a friend while drunk... Yeah, really classy. But I have been instructed by him to tell people that he fell off a ladder (apparently because it sounds more professional). So anyway, this sweet-as-apple-pie direct mail girl named Amy calls me once a week just to see how Brandon is holding up.

"Oh, bless his heart! How did he break his leg?" she asks, in her sweet southern accent.

"He, um, fell off a ladder," I lie.

"No kidding! Oh, those ladders are soooo dangerous! My father-in-law fell off a ladder and broke his neck!" She goes on to tell me the details of his injury and how it's a miracle that he has returned to normal life. Then, "So was he going up or going down? How far did he fall?"

I am in so deep. There's no turning back now. I have to keep up my end of the lie. I've lied about this situation so much, at his request, that I have begun to picture him falling off the ladder; I have literally constructed the situation in my imagination. But I know it's wrong. I am still mulling over this one and whether or not I should come clean with her...


I found out this week that Rick, my boss when we lived in Montana, finally lost his fight with cancer. It made me so, so sad. I shared an office with him when he found out he had cancer and began chemo treatments six years ago. I watched him get so worn down, and I helped to lighten his workload back then. But I never actually thought he'd die. I was a brand-new working mom, dealing with all those emotions, and he used to talk my ear off with all his advice on parenting, marriage, and life itself. And I listened. I learned from him, and I still think about his advice from time to time. He was just the neatest guy.


It's hard to believe that October is almost over. We had Ryley's first-quarter parent/teacher conference and were told that "Ryley brings a lot of spunk to the classroom." Yes, well. She brings a lot of spunk to her life. :-)

The other day, I opened up an Internet window with my blog so that I could catch up on the posts of family and friends, via the links over to the left. Ryley walked into the office and started reading aloud my previous post about the funny things she says.

"Oh, no!" she said. "Why did you put that on there? I'm angry with you. Now people can know all about my life!"

All about it indeed.... ;-)

Ryan fell asleep in the office chair, so Ryley decided to make him a little more comfy:

Trip to the nursery to pick out our pumpkins:

This is Ryley's reaction to getting pumpkin goo unexpectedly on her hand:

The tears were so many that we almost had to stop. She eventually got over it, but kept running to the sink to wash her hands every two minutes.

She enjoys a cookie while Daddy carves...

The finished product!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ryley Stories and Other Exciting Things

Ryley loves going to church. We are particularly impressed with our church's children's pastor, who really knows how to interpret the Word of God and make it relatable to kids. Last Sunday, the church was having a special evening "event" for the whole family. I don't usually like to make the 20-mile trek back to church for evening services, and since Ryan had to work that night, I was hoping that Ryley wouldn't ask to go.

But alas... "Mommy! Tonight is a special church service about harvest, and we are supposed to go dressed like 'the country'!" I don't ever want to turn down my child when it comes to learning more about the Lord. And since her closet is surprisingly void of "country" items, I dug into my own closet to find a Gap shirt I wore circa 1996 (on Ryan's and my first date).

Next up: the kids' Christmas program with weekly rehearsals on Wednesday nights! I am appreciating more and more the sacrifice my parents made so that I could participate in all these things when I was little. :-)


Yesterday, it was about 17 degrees outside, so Ryley and I didn't leave the house all day. It was a great day for Ryleyisms:

1. There was some situation where Ryley ended up announcing that 12 is her favorite number.

Me: "Why is 12 your favorite number?"

Ryley: "Because I love clocks. And 12 is the end of clocks."

2. While we were eating dinner, Ryley started going off on the show that she had seen on TV earlier.

Ryley: "I hate the show 'Jungle Junction.' It's all about animals with wheels, and it's for little kids. I don't think I should be allowed to watch it."

Me: "Ok, you're not allowed to watch it."

Ryley: (grinning with relief) "Thanks, Mom!"

3. Later in the evening Ryley was talking to my parents on the phone. They were talking about favorite foods.

Ryley: "No, I don't like hamburgers or chicken. I'm a vegetarian!" (not sure where she got that word! And she said it as if that was an accepted "out" to not having to eat meat in our family, which it's absolutely not)

Mammaw and Pappaw: "What about bacon?"

Ryley: "Oh, I LOVE bacon!"

Nice. A vegetarian whose only meat is pork.

4. Ryley really was well-behaved all day long, so we finished the day with hot chocolate and board games in the family room. When Ryan got home and Ryley was getting ready for bed, I said, "Ryley, you were such a good girl today -- so happy and cheerful, and I would love it if we had another day like this tomorrow. Thank you for being a good girl today."

Ryley: (looking hopefully over at her Daddy whose attention was momentarily focused on the football game) "I'm sure Daddy would like to hear that..."


I have been meeting my lovely friend Danielle for lunch on Fridays. She and I work five minutes from each other, so it works out, and it's wonderful because conversation has always come so easily for the two of us. It's something for each of us to look forward to throughout the busy week. There's something so nice, too, about grabbing my purse and heading out of the office, yelling a casual "Meeting a friend for lunch; will be back in an hour" over my shoulder. :-) Yes, I do have friends!! I do have a life outside of the office. I am so thankful for Danielle's friendship.


Can I share with you the relief I feel that yesterday, after five more hours of work, all my editing for the fourth issue of SHINE Magazine is complete? There will still be two more meetings to go over the proofreaders' suggested revisions, but all 28 articles have been read, revised, re-read, re-revised, and read again. I have literally found all the mistakes that I am going to find, and it's time for some fresh eyes to take a look. These articles are so powerful and anointed, and I am confident that they are going to be an encouragement and blessing to so many women! The magazine will be released during the third week of November.


Lastly, the most exciting news of the week can be found on my sister-in-law Alyson's site.

We are absolutely thrilled! Justin and Aly have been through so much, with three miscarriages and the loss of precious baby Jonathan. They're not quite out of the woods, yet, so please pray with us that everything will continue and progress normally and healthily. And in nine months, I will be an aunt! Yay!

Thank You, Jesus. :-)

Friday, October 2, 2009


Last weekend we took a whirlwind trip to Nebraska to wish my grandma a happy 80th birthday! What made it even more fun was that we decided not to tell her we were coming...

We just walked right up to her while she was eating lunch at Arby's. I love this picture. Ryley and Honey are such great buddies. :-)

We chatted, played board games, and had a great time! Unfortunately, we were only able to stay for about 18 hours before we had to turn around and head home so Ryan could get to work on Sunday.

But we were so glad we went!! Eighty years!!!


In other news, Ryley finally lost her top front tooth. This stubborn little bugger was the cause of more stress than just about anything recently. It was loose enough to cause pain, so she didn't ever want to eat, which, in turn, made her cranky. But it was stubborn enough that it wouldn't budge! Anyhow, we finally got it out, and sure, call us biased, but we think she looks absolutely adorable:

Silly girl. :-)