Friday, November 26, 2010

7 Questions Meme

I'm bored at work on the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone's out shopping, and no one needs the services of the Bank... therefore, much internet time ensues. I stumbled across this over at Mrs. G's blog and thought it would fill some time!

1. Do you prefer Thanksgiving or Christmas? I love, love, LOVE Christmas and Advent leading up to it. Thanksgiving is an insane holiday in my world where we're expected to see EVERYONE all across the state. Christmas day is ours and ours alone -- telephones get turned off before we head out to evening service and aren't turned back on again until AT LEAST afternoon. It's a peaceful, worshipful time for just me and Hubby (and next year, Baby!)

2. If you had to choose between your computer and your television, which one would you get rid of? Easily TV. In fact, we practically already have. When we moved in October the TV got put in the garage (along with nearly everything else) while we redid the house. It's still out there and I haven't missed it at all.

3. Which book heroine do you think is the most like you? Jo March! Especially when I was younger. I have firm opinions and it's taken me a long time to learn how to express them at the right times, to the right people, using the right words. If I'm not careful, I definately speak before my brain can catch up!

4. What is your ancestry? As far as I know, I have a fair bit of Swedish in my blood. That would explain the tall blondeness. However, I do know my dad's been able to trace the Scottish line of our family back to their immigration papers in the early 1800s. My maiden name (Lawhead) is a mispelling from "loch" or lake.

5. What's your favorite flavor of Pringles? Original, for sure! Although the low-fat are prett

6. Are you old-fashioned? Only in certain things. I have great respect for the past, but love elements of now, too.

7. Do you prefer shopping online or in stores? It depends on what I'm shopping for. I buy clothes online because that's where I can find them, but htere's nothing like flipping through books at Barnes & Noble on a rainy Saturday.

I tag everybody! Here's the questions I want YOU to answer! Some are from above, some are new :) Copy them to your blog and answer each. If you answer please let me know so that I can read what you've written!

1. What's your favorite Christmas song or hymn, and why?
2. Which book heroine do you think is most like you?
3. What's for Christmas dinner -- turkey, ham, pasta, or something else entirely?
4. What's one piece of parenting advice you wish you had BEFORE the baby was born? If you're not a parent yet, what part of parenting are you most curious about?
5. What is your guilty-pleasure food?
6. Santa: Yes or No?
7. What is your most favorite part of the holiday season?

Have fun!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I received a fascinating email first thing this morning from the president of my alma matter. Although I am not Catholic, I am a proud graduate of a local Catholic university. I wanted to share this with you because it provided some fascinating food for thought.

Here's the situation:

The director of the Teacher's Education Program is a lesbian. It wasn't a surprise; she was director before Benedictine took over the local college (although the local college was Catholic as well -- Ursuline in fact). The university has a policy similar to the military's don't-ask-don't-tell: she was expected to endorse 1) General teaching best practices and 2) Catholic worldview while at work.

The dilemma arose when she and her partner went to Iowa over the summer and get married. Then, they came home and put a wedding announcement in several of the local papers. In the announcement, she stated her place of employment -- this Catholic university -- by name. As a result, this woman lost her job at the university, not for her sexual orientation but for defaming the university's religious reputation and not withholding her employment contract. She is currently procuring a lawyer to sue on discrimination charges.

All I know about the situation is from the newspapers and the President's letter. It appears that both parties did some things incorrectly; I don't want to discuss that. I also don't want to discuss whether homosexuality is right or wrong. What I do want to present to you is a few quotes from the President's letter about the concept of discrimination.

The following quotes are from the President's letter (link to the whole):

When an individual steps outside this teaching (about traditional marriage) and publicly announces that he/she is living a lifestyle in total opposition to what the Catholic Church and one of its universities hold dear, that decision represents a lifestyle choice that he/she is free to make. But if the person holds a position that represents the Catholic Church, there is conflict… For instance, if you wanted to be an officer of an environmental group that premised its mission on the reality of global warming, you would expect that your fellow members would hold you to advocating that doctrine and not give speeches claiming that the phenomenon is a chimera. If you came to believe differently, the responsible thing would be to leave the organization.

[When interviewing] I make a simple statement to the candidate, something to the effect: “XYZ is a Catholic and Benedictine university with a set of beliefs and traditions. No matter your religious background or affiliation, you are expected to respect and honor this tradition and set of beliefs. Can you accept that?”

If a person does not ascribe to the belief system held by the Church, a Catholic institution may not the be appropriate place for that individual to work. The blessing of America provides a patchwork of many kinds of institutions of higher learning. Where one’s belief system may put them outside the orbit of one institution, there is surely another to find a better fit.

So, what do you think? Did she face discrimination when she was fired? Or is it something else? Is the fault with her, either by misunderstanding or willfully breaking the assumptions of her employment? What are the rights of private -- especially private and religious -- institutions when it comes to social causes? What should they be?

PS: This is a complex situation -- just a loving reminder to choose your words carefully and politely! However, I would LOVE to hear views on all sides of this dilemma (Erika, this means you!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

A "Good Old Days" Kind of Day

I got to live the "good old days" today. And well, it wasn't great, but we made it!

Our computers were down at work today. You would have thought the Tribulation was already upon us by the chaos that ensued. For those of you that don't know, I'm working as a bank teller. And as you can probably assume, the ENTIRE banking industry is run via the internet nowadays (what isn't?).

I arrived to one of my coworkers (who tends to be a little high-strung anyway) in full fledge panic: "You'll never guess what is wrong today! The computers are down! We have to do everything the old fashioned way!"

Now, I'm pretty comfortable with a calculator and a piece of paper, so I mildly replied, "Really?"

"REALLY! I don't think we'll make it!"

Her panic was unnecessary. And to be honest, although it was certainly not easy, I think our work turned out at least as well if not better than usual because we did have to be so much more careful. It took us longer to process things (since we were doing them by hand), but it was far from a catastrophy. Meticulous care while scribbling notes on literally 4-5 different pieces of paper leads to a balanced drawer at the end of the day. Not so much as an extra penny left our door; nor did we short anyone. And, we got to practice those rusty math skills!

I have a lot of respect for those bankers who came before me, with their dirty fingers and ledger books. And I'm encouraged to realize I DO still know how to do a whole lot more than hit buttons on a calculator (yay mental math). However, I think I'm going to leave the "good old days" behind -- at least at work. Hopefully the computers will be back up tomorrow!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

14 Weeks

I've been withholding from you. I hope you'll forgive me :)

I'm 14 weeks along! Second trimester, whoohoo! I woke up about a week and a half ago, and realized I wasn't already halfway to the bathroom to lose the rest of dinner. Then, I realized I could think again. THEN I went a whole day without taking a nap! (Tho, I did go to bed ridiculously early). It's kind of amazing.

It may not look like much, but that little bump is giving me a world of headache when it comes to getting dressed in the mornings. And I'm pretty sure I still look more like I hit up the Golden Corral buffet than pregnancy. But that's ok :) Soon it'll be undeniable. And since my mom hooked me up with a spare sewing machine (my regular one is looking like it will need some time consuming repairs) I should be able to start solving the clothing issues sooner rather than later.

I love this part of pregnancy. It almost (ALMOST) makes morning sickness worthwhile :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

When your (church) home doesn't feel like home

We're really struggling with something here in Central Illinois. It's been building for a couple months, but it's really come to a head over the past two weeks: Our church has crossed a couple of lines and we're not ok with that. But the biggest question now is, what comes next?

We attend a large (huge? We're over 3,000 members) mainline denominational church led by two exremely faithful men of God. If it were just the pastors, we'd be thrilled and have no concerns. The problem comes from the board, and the way the board is driving the church. (The way our church is structured, the pastors only have so much control. They lead the preaching and the teaching, but other boards and committees deal with everything going on outside the sanctuary.) The biggest concerns are with the direction of the children's and youth programs -- something we've ignored until now, but no longer have that luxury with Blueberry joining us in May. This is the metaphorical "straw that broke the camel's back." We will not be long for this congregation.

This whole thing is tearing me to pieces. It's a constant radio station running in the background of my brain. What do we do? When do we do it? And how on earth do we go about finding another congregation? And overriding many of these other thoughts, how do I both support and submit to my husband as he leads us in this?

We want to stand for truth in the place that we are; we want to honor our membership commitment; we want to honor the relationships we've spent the past 2.5 years building. But we also want authentic worship and the right, Biblical, truth-filled home for us to raise our family in. I don't know where to find that.

So, I have a couple questions for you lovely ladies who are infinately wiser and more experienced in these things than I am: Have you experienced a situation like this? Did it turn out ok in the end? And, how did you learn the balancing act between supporting your husband and being helpful, and submitting to his leadership? I'm really in the dark and would appreciate any insight you've gathered along the way.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I've been struggling with writing inspiration lately. I could tell you all about our new house... but it's in a state of "in-progress" and there's nothing worth showing. I could tell you about projects I've done... except I haven't done any. I could tell you about my pregnancy, but it's uneventful and peaceful so far (well, as much as the 1st trimester can be expected to be!). Work is just work. Politics is too depressing to discuss. My intensive Bible Study on Isaiah is so wonderful, but it takes every minute I can find to just finish it before our Wednesday meetings, much less take extra time to write about it. So, life goes on, and I keep waiting for some brilliant inspiration to hit.

Speaking of my Bible study -- it's wonderful, interdenominational, and global. There's probably one near you. The day classes include a children's program for pre-schoolers; the night classes have a program for school aged kiddos up to 17. We're studying Isaiah this year. There's actually 8 years of curriculum -- last year was the Gospel of John, next year is Acts of the Apostles. Women's groups meet day or evening, mens only meet at night (the assumption is most guys work). AND they're trying to start a new men's class in PEORIA, IL in January 2011. This study has really impacted my life since I joined in February and I can't speak enough on how it pushes you to dig deeper and deeper into the actual word of God -- not some book written by some modern author. Check it out: Bible Study Fellowship