Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Lesson in Life

Today I got schooled by God...not always a good thing. Let me begin back at this morning...

I woke up early because I had to go to the doctor to get blood drawn. My Sleep Cycle app confirmed my fears, I'd slept like crap last night.
Yep, quality at 45%. Sounds about right.
I got ready and left the house only 15 minutes later than I wanted. A quick stop at the doctor's and I was off to put gas in my car and then run by Wal-Mart and pick up some thank you notes I'd ordered.

I arrive at Wal-Mart at about 9:15 and head back to the photo center. The nice associate looks for my cards in the stack and can't find them. She apologizes and looks in a few more places. No cards. She goes to check the computer but the system is off line and she can't look up my order. I'm getting a little hacked because this isn't the first time this has happened (they've lost my order before). I thank the girl for her help and sulk out of the store.

The longer I think about this the more upset I get. So, I take to social media and blast Wal-Mart via Twitter. I correspond with two customer service people via Wal-Mart's Twitter feed and they send me an email address to contact them at. I jump on my computer tonight prepared to write a nice little snarky letter. As I'm typing my email I'm looking at the email that Wal-Mart sent with my confirmation. And then I see it: the address to the store. Instead of saying Centerville (where I stopped today and where I usually shop) it says Snellville. I hit the link and, sure enough, it takes me a map of the Wal-Mart across town from the one where I went this morning. I had gone to the wrong store.

I know when to admit that I'm wrong. I ate crow and posted a lame apology on Twitter. Whatever the customer service team at Wal-Mart has to say about me is totally justified. I was out of line. I spoke without thinking. I let my emotions run unchecked. It was wrong. And that was when the lesson hit me...I need to learn to check and double check before I get angry because, if I don't, my anger may not be justified. If Wal-Mart had really lost my order then I might have a reason to get upset. But when I'm an idiot and don't look at the store where I'm sending my order and then go to the wrong store for pick up, then my anger isn't justified and I have no one to blame but myself.

Also, I need better/more sleep so that I'm not so quick to grouch. But that's a secondary lesson.

If I end up on some Buzzfeed article next week I can't say I didn't deserve it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Saying Good-Bye

Dear friends,

It is with a very heavy heart that I have to tell you that last Wednesday I had to make the extremely difficult and gut wrenching decision to have my sweet kitty, Penelope, put to sleep.
One of my all time favorite pictures of Penelope
Penelope's health issues began last spring when she had a benign lump removed from the inside of her mouth. Unfortunately, before we caught it she had stopped eating and begun to lose weight.
Penelope, the early years...definitely not being defiant.
Penelope enjoyed being in the thick of things...and chewing paper.
She also liked to get into stuff she knew she wasn't supposed to be in.
Things got worse over the summer when Penelope developed an abscessed tooth. Again, we had trouble figuring out for the longest time what was going on (remember the visit to the specialist?) and she had lost more weight.
She was always very "helpful."
And willing to lend a hand.
She didn't quite bounce back from the abscessed tooth removal like I'd hoped. She went on a semi-liquid diet and then a liquid diet. There were multiple rounds of pain meds and antibiotics. Despite my best efforts she continued to lose weight and eating and drinking became more of a struggle as she was obviously still in discomfort. On top of all that, she was getting weaker and weaker.
Penelope loved vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. I hope she ate a big bowl when she got to Heaven.
After a hair cut.
Deciding to say good-bye to Penelope was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I was truly blessed to have an amazing vet and vet tech who came out to the house so that Penelope was in my lap, on her favorite blanket, holding her Mr. Lobster toy when she passed.
The heartache I have felt over the past week has been crushing at times. Penelope was my constant companion, my best and most loyal friend, my bougie partner in crime, and my baby. She was with me through some of my highest highs and my lowest lows. I will miss her taking up more than her fair share of the bed, trying to get a taste of everything that I'm eating, snuggling each night, and crying loudly for attention.
See what I mean about the bed thing...
Does this face not demand your attention?
The hole she left in my heart will never be filled. No one, animal or human, will ever take her place. One day, though, I hope the edges around the hole will be a little less jagged. The tears a little slower to come. The smiles when thinking about her more frequent.

In Revelation 21 it talks about the New Heaven and New Earth. It talks about how God will wipe every tear from every eye and there will be no more mourning. And then God speaks from the throne and says, "Behold, I am making all things new." (Revelation 21:5, emphasis added). I truly believe this means everything: people, animals, trees, the oceans, the land...everything. I believe that Penelope is waiting for me in Heaven and that she has been made new. And I know I will see her again...just not yet.

Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you...
I love you so - 'twas Heaven here with you.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year

I truly love days where you are forced to just rest and be still. Today, most shops are closed (or should be), there is no work to rush off to, no obligations to attend to. I'm thankful for this kind of day. They are so very few and far between. I was looking back at what I was doing this time last year and, in some ways, I was much less "busy" then than I am now. I feel a real weight of responsibilities at work that never seem to end and I feel a constant "push" at my back that reminds me the job is never finished. Strangely though, I'm nowhere near as anxious or stressed as I would have been this time last year with this much responsibility hanging over my head. God, in his sovereignty, taught me how to rest in Him and cast off my anxiety in anticipation of this moment. He taught me to sense when work was starting to overwhelm me and to step back and assess rather than get caught up in the moment and be swept away by fear and doubt. While I certainly wish most days that I had another 24 hours to accomplish all that needs to be done, I just do what I can and move on. I'm learning to look at a job and think, "How can this be done more efficiently? Who needs to be trained to help with this task? How can I train them in the way that is most beneficial to me and to them?" I know that learning to think this way is going to serve me well in the future. I look at systems and I see the brokenness. But it's not enough for me to recognize that they system is broken, God has placed a desire in my heart to fix the system and heal the people affected. Through this healing process God's power and goodness are revealed. I only pray that God continues to give me wisdom and guidance because I'm definitely the least qualified for the job!

I praise God that today is a day when I can feel the "push" ease a little. Where I can see that things may never get easier and the burden may never get lighter but that I am getting stronger. I'm so grateful for a moment to rest and be away from the responsibilities, even just for a minute. I pray that God will continue to provide these days throughout this year at just the time I need them.