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Looking For a Clue

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About this blog

Musings, Thoughts, and Ponderings of various sorts.  

Entries in this blog


I Love Her, I Hate her

Don't get me wrong.  I actually do love my sister.  Except when I do not.  And she has made it really really hard to love her in the last (doing the math here)  3.5 years.  (no really last 'contact' was June 2014 in a cryptic 'stand down, I'm alive' Facebook post - oh and this was in the period when I was getting Mom diagnosed with dementia and dealing with drive-offs and actually needed to talk to her).  

And yesterday was her birthday.  And Facebook likes to remind me of this because her birthdays are turned on (for the record, mine is not because I don't always react well to 'everybody' screaming happy birthday at me for days) - even though her last post was June 2014.  

I assume she is alive.  That assumption is based on statements I receive (no, really) regarding her storage unit when the payments are late.  My means of communicating with her is via facebook messages that indicate no receipt but trust me they are getting through somehow (I care not how) because a few months ago the storage unit threatened to sell her stuff and I communicated that to her and for a month or so no notice.  In the mail today - yup, another notice about late payment.  So I just sent another message and the lovely I miss you pangs have reverted back instantaneously to I hate you.  

My suspicion based on a limited about of internet research/stalking is that she's having financial issues and hiding from creditors (because that is always a great way to deal with issues).  And I cannot help her if she doesn't want to be helped (as indicated by her hiding from everyone).  

I did not wish her a public happy birthday yesterday because in the past that has resulted in friends of hers, some dating back to high school coming out of the woodwork and then I have to go through this whole weird explanation of I have zero clue what is going on or where she is.  Which always feels so sad and stupid.  I'll also admit to not attending certain family functions (mainly on the paternal side) because my uncle is going to ask about her and really I want him to leave it (and about half dozen other subjects) alone but he won't.  (and really dude, you are my father's brother and you know how he was so whey the hell are you of all people expecting me to know or figure out or get through to my sister who is acting the same way he did)??

The positive news of the morning from the same batch of mail is that the Recovering State of Brownbacistan has renewed Mom's Medicaid for another year.  


Random Musings about Faith and Flags


So yesterday in church the beginnings of a blog post began to circulate in my mind.  And then yesterday evening after a day of my facebook feed blowing up due to taking a knee vs not taking a knee blah blah blah blah blah another topic started swirling in my head and so we have a combined topical blog post.  Bear with me while I do a bit of rambling here.

By the way, yes, I find that often when I go to church writing related ideas start to circulate in my head.  Yesterday, I got off to a grumpy start and found myself out of sorts on the way to church.  I honestly wasn't into going by the time I got there but mentally wanted to check that box for the week.  Sometimes God will communicate to me when I'm there through thoughts (like say ideas that spark with writing) or I really feel the music.  And this week.  nothing.  I sat there annoyed because the light was too bright in the sanctuary.  I was annoyed because, as a confessed, confirmed, promptness freak the fact that we are 2+ songs into worship and you are just now strolling into the church with your tankard of coffee and a donut or bagel grabbed off the table in the hall.  And then the sermon didn't speak to me.  In fact, the sermon (series on the beatitudes) at one point left me scowling at the pastor.  Because apparently, it did not occur to him that not everyone in the sanctuary would know what was talked about at the weekend MEN's conference.  Yeah, Dude, not everyone has a man in the family.  Thanks for that.  So I was left wondering if it was time to look elsewhere in town for a place to worship.  This is actually why I drag my feet about joining in now.  I find that it takes me a while to determine exactly what they are about.  

Next Sunday is a day that I need to do some work from home for quarter end closing.  If I don't the first workday is a pain.  So I'm contemplating skipping church.  Or hey, maybe check that other church in town out.  The one that announced recently that it had voted to become a sanctuary church for immigrants.  We'll see but I was left rather annoyed and I find now that I'm left pondering why I think I need to check a box for attend worship services.  


Then there was the whole Flag/take a knee kerfuffle.  I only this morning went public on Facebook with my opinion (of sorts) and that was to share a meme).


I was actually happy to see this since I heard this on a news program last night.  Sharing here so that those who read and 'appreciate' this will have a copy.  

The first time I consciously remember hearing the phrase 'take a knee' was in reference to a small group leader in our children's ministry having his group of 6th grade boys 'take a knee' together and pray.  It was something his high school football team did.  He attended (a generation later) the same high school in the same small town that I had gone to my senior year (we moved, long story I'll spare you).  Small town America.  So imagine my shock at why it is disrespectful to 'take a knee.'  

There was also this profound (to me) photo from the Kansas City Star yesterday.  Between the player praying on both knees and the player taking a knee with his hand over his heart I see a whole lot of disrespect there, don't you?  Spoilering this one due to the size.  So in the meantime I'll be unfollowing and hiding crap on social media as people outrage over stuff they don't understand (again).  








So occasionally I go through these mental zones where I feel like I should watch less TV.  Usually when I'm feeling guilty for not working on my writing.  And lately in my effort to watch less TV I find that I browse YouTube.  Thanks to Hernameisbuffy I've found a whole plethora of British history sorts of shows.  My latest find is Restoration Home.




As someone who used to watch This Old House (honestly I prefer the Bob Villa era) this is even better.  No, I don't have any grandiose ideas about doing this sort of thing.  I just like watching it and getting another facet of history.  

I'm also on a music video bender having fallen back into Queensryche.  Below is a song from one of my all time favorite albums, Operation Mindcrime (concept album - tells a story

, listen to it in order - it's a thriller/whodunit)





Then there is the footage of a gustnado from Monday night that a storm chaser I follow on Facebook shared 





Oh and Ancestry has a channel on Youtube - you too can learn about how better to use the site and find sorta answers to things like - why doesn't my native american DNA show up in my DNA test (per family lore on my dad's side there should be something somewhere and there was not)





Another of my favorite bands - Linkin Park - released a single (new music!)  




And I'm taking a writing class online through the Sisters In Crime Guppies Chapter on plotting and outlining (from author Simon Wood) and he has video lessons every couple of days - nope, can't share those with you.  I'm not going to risk getting kicked out.  

JRod - who I used to entertain myself with her videos in a snort laughing kind of way is mostly using Facebook  live - whch means she has left me to surf YouTube unattended without her periodic reminders to me there that I'm headed in a rather pagan direction and well (I think I stole the photo below from someone here - ty whoever you were)




An Exercise in Media Deprevation

So I'm working my way through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way.  

Which was going fine until I hit week 4.  Which started for me on Sunday.  Week 4 involves Media Deprivation.  Where the idea is to remove words (I write as a hobby.  I live for words) and all this other stuff to get you, in the end, to play.)  I made it almost 3 full days until I caved and went back to social media.  Oh, I still have the TV off and will likely complete the week there.  I was allowed work related access and you know checking email to make sure that nothing critical like bills came through.  Or something that (as happened) I needed to sign related to my mother's care.  

No, I didn't clean my house.  And I didn't want to.  I'm a slob.  Sue me.  I did do a bit of work on the great rewrite/restructure etc of my novel (the one that won't go away).  But my form of communication is on the interwebs.  I don't want to call someone (I really dislike phones).  And after a day of work, I don't want to be around people and I don't want to 'play.'  Okay, there was a bit of play in there.  I got some coloring done.  I'll post that in the colorists blog.  

So my new mantra is you can pry my media out of my cold, dead hand.  


Things I Can't Relate To

Reading the local news online yesterday I encountered one of those things in life I can't relate to.  

In our fair city, the ebil school board is redrawing lines for a couple of the junior highs to combat overcrowding.  The article I read on said subject quoted a parent whining because of the number of schools their kid has gone to.  Without moving.  

Unhuh.  Let me do the math on my personal history.  We moved between kindergarten and first grade.  Mom divorced dear old dad and we moved between fourth and fifth grades.  Now, the district we moved to?  I went to 3 different schools in 3 years (granted it was with the same group of kids).  We moved between seventh and eighth grades.  The junior high in this new city/district went through ninth grade.  So I went to junior high for 2 years and senior high for 2 years until - guess what.  We moved because Mom decided to get remarried and nevermind uprooting her kids and all that.  So I went to my senior year (and only my senior year) in yet another district.  So pardon me in an age of internet and social media if your child has to change to a new school.  Been there, done that, burned the t-shirt a few times over.  

And my thoughts on this then go to other things I cannot relate to because of my working class, single parent, checked out father upbringing.  

This morning I watched a Goldbergs episode on Hulu as I ate breakfast.  From last season.  Adam wants to go to Space Camp.  Um, Camp, in general, is a difficult concept for me to wrap my mind around and feels, in general, to be very middle to upper middle class.  I didn't run in neighborhoods with kids who went to any camp, ever.  Camp for us was the week of Vacation Bible School.  And that wasn't even a full day.  

And 2016 was an Olympic year and I remember seeing these athletes in sports where I thought, yeah, never ever would have gotten into that sport, it would have required parents who were checked in (thinking specifically of my father).  Or money to be involved.  

My thoughts on the above are probably totally warped by the fact that I don't have children of my own.  


Apocolypse? Okay. Works for me.

So one of 'those things' rolling around in my often warped, twisted brain lately has been the pondering of Trump as a sign of the apocalypse.  I'm coming at this as someone who used to be rather into eschatology (the study of the end times) (blame Jerry Jenkins/Tim Lahaye and the Left Behind series - which I now consider to be drek for the writing alone).  And over the last 17 years or so I've seen A LOT of finger pointing at various political or religious figures (usually Catholic) being the anti-christ.  George W Bush, Barak Obama, & Pope Benedict all made various lists at one point or another for various reasons.  

And then Trump hit.  And he was elected.  I no longer have my finger on that sort of pulse and have no desire to go looking for that sort of nut job logic.  (I have my own nut job brain for that).  And the thought occurred to me in the last few weeks, hmmm what if Trump is the anti-christ and the religious right (or Pharisees as I think of them these days) may have just given us Satan's minion right into the White House.  

Humor me here.  Because among some people he is a popular figure.  Not here at FJ of course.  He's very divisive.  And he's in bed with Russia - which among the eschatology folks is always a big bonus check mark for any potential Antichrist figure due to scriptural interpretation of the book fo Revelation (and other scripture throughout the Bible).  

So I just pulled up Huffington Post on the interwebs (yes, I should be working, I'm not).  and I find THIS:


I may have snort laughed.  It might be a good thing that food or liquid was not in my mouth when I saw the article.  There's a video that I'm going to have to go back and watch later when I am not at work.  I'm giving the link only because the article is long.  Bottom line, Bannon thinks that the end is near and is out to save us from the evil Muslims.  I of course and looking at the whole thing thinking that he's in bed with the devils own and handing the keys to the country over to Satan.  But that's me.  


Wisdom Justice & Love

"I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice.
A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love." - (Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence by Rev. Martin Luther King - 4 April 1967)

Linkin Park used the above verbiage in a clip that is an intro to their song Iridescent.  Although he spoke this in 1967, when I first heard it because of LP, I heard a truth that still echoes today.  Which often makes me sad.  




Yesterday in a discussion here at FJ, I linked to something by Pastor Joe Schimmel.  I know I've talked about him before regarding a different movie.  Someone at that time suggested a thread.  I thought I'd blog about things first.  Depending on reactions, I might start a thread.  If you enjoy fundie rabbit holes of the angry, judgemental pastor variety - take the rescue ferrets and head on in.

I not only listened to this guy - I went back and listened to his podcast history. (Podcast/radio here:  http://www.goodfightradio.org/ )   He is very focused on 'gay agendas.'  Very focused on satanic worship, demons, and can trace all sorts of new age stuff in his warped mind to Aleister Crowley.  But I let him get in my head.  I was trying to be the good Christian.  I was, admittedly, on a path to fundie light.  A few years ago I tossed 'religion' to the side.  I've elevated past narrow-minded, legalistic thinking.  

Joe is very big into seeing the "Gay Agenda" everywhere. (a sample of his entries on homosexuality:  http://cupofjoe.goodfight.org/tag/homosexuality/ )  And Satan.  And demons.  ( sample of his bits about the occult and such:  http://cupofjoe.goodfight.org/category/cults-occult/  )  He has videos out there about 'They Sold Their Souls to Rock and Roll.'  and "Hollywood's War on God."  http://cupofjoe.goodfight.org/video/ (more videos at the link)

This morning I went looking for a quote from him about Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight books.  And yup - I found what I was looking f



Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight, states, “Bella and Edward [the vampire] were, quite literally, voices in my head. They simply wouldn’t shut up. I’d stay up as late as I could stand trying to get all the stuff in my mind typed out, and then crawl, exhausted, into bed… only to have another conversation start in my head.” (Source: www.stepheniemeyer.com)

Those who desire to remain true to Christ must be ever vigilant to discern the tactics of the devil, lest they succumb to devilish doctrines taught by seducing spirits. While Satan appears to reward few of his servants well (albeit, temporarily)… Stephenie Meyer went from never having written a single book to becoming a renown author. J. K. Rowling went from rags to riches, from collecting welfare stamps to becoming the “richest woman in the world”… Jesus warned,

e/influence (one I have happily thrown off) was his discussing authors - fiction authors - who 'channel' and 'hear voices.'  Yes, channeling is a word I have used in the past when working with a character.  I write fiction as a hobby.  I lack words to describe my relationship with first person point of view characters in particular in talking to non-writing types of people.  


Sorry - had to enter to be able to do what I wanted to there.

Joe has his material spread across a few websites.  Don't miss this one https://www.goodfight.org/  He has videos on this one discussing Hollywood Movies.  Click on the "theater" button to explore that one.  



Sorry, I Have Plans

It is my busy season at work.  Said busy season is not over until late January (when the auditors have vacated the premises) or early to Mid-February (when the bosses have gotten back from round 2 of budget load).  It happens to coincide with 'the holidays.'   Also with winter and therefore shorter (darker) days.  All of which feeds my stress level.  And the stress feeds the depression at times.  

I'm an introvert.  And frankly, I feed people draining.  I may like you, I just want to like you from a distance.  I don't want to go to lunch (especially a group lunch) or dinner (especially if it is work related and after work hours).  After a long day at work and fighting my way home on a 35-minute drive (that took 2 hours last Friday thanks to ice) I really just want to watch TV, cuddle with the cat and catch up on the interwebs.  And when I squeeze in half a day of vacation to use it up I really don't want to spend that time with people I work with.  

So this morning I open my email at work and have an email saying lunch on Thursday. (long winded email babbling about a party back on Dec 10 that he couldn't host because work on his house and then wanting to do it in January but the work won't be done )  Great.  Thanks.  I have half a day of vacation then.  We're off on holiday on Friday.  And I don't want to eat lunch with you people.  I need to be away from you people.  And my mind is going through the logistics of lunch in the city (30 minutes away), time for lunch and then what - a 30-minute drive back to work?  Only for half the folks to drive back to the city at the end of the day.  Sure.  No, I see this coming.  He's going to let them off early.  He stopped doing this ages ago.  But my guess is he feels guilty.  Due to centralization they cut heads in our department this year.  

I refuse to be guilted or obligated.  I am not having lunch with these people.  Free food is not worth the stress of not having My Time.   I need My Time.   So my response is that I would be unable to make it because I was taking half a day of vacation that day and had plans.   My plans might involve bra shopping (I've lost weight the one I'm wearing doesn't fit right, I hate the mall and this is one of those shopping tasks that need to be done in person).  It might involve going home and cleaning.  It might involve reading or binge watching something or a nap.    But it is my time and my plans.  

I've also told my supervisor that if he lets people off early then technically my supervisor owes me time.  Granted this time of year that is likely not to happen but I may have enjoyed being demanding for a moment.  

And I've decided that I am worth a lot of things that I've denied myself.  Including my own plans and My Time.  


Being Okay Enough to Decorate

So this year I feel 'okay' with Christmas.  Not great.  But okay.  I'll take okay.  The previous 2-3 years were hard.  And, yes, mom and dementia and being burned out from stress had a lot to do with the last 2 years but the year before those (circa 2013) I wasn't okay with Christmas and I had no clue what was coming at me related to my mom. 

Among the things I kept from my mom's was certain Christmas decorations.  The tree, the ornaments I left all of those.  The items I kept were made by my maternal grandmother between say the mid 1970's and maybe 1990.  Every year she gave each of her kids the same ceramic piece at Christmas - so each family had one.  Then each of the grandkids (specifically grand daughters because of the 14 of us, only 3 were boys) got same/similar ceramic pieces as well. 

Due to my crazy aunt dispersing things after my grandmother died in 1995 and her own moving much later I wound up with a couple of pieces that were duplicates/extras.  As a result I have 2 sets of 2 different angels. 

I'm using the space on top of my kitchen cabinets to display some of these pieces year round now.  The Spook does not go up there and I therefore consider it to be a fairly safe place for breakables.  It also keeps me from being a bit too clumsy around things as well. 



In the above photo the angels at either end, I have learned as an adult, were referred to by my  (Northern) Baptist Church attending Grandmother as 'dammed angels.'  The bowls in the angels hands were hard to clean (in green ware state).  So some have no bowl, some have one and some have 2.  And yes, I know, I'm dealing with Grandma's trademark antique white with gold accents ceramic work against an ecru wall and almond appliances/cabinets with pickled wood.  Welcome to the world of apartments where everything is some form of beige. 



This is the cabinet over my fridge.  Grandma did the gold Mary/Joseph piece.  Which has been broken and Mom (sigh) taped the ear back on the donkey.  The angel to the right a neighbor gave my mom say 10 years ago (by the way, I like the coloring on it better - don't tell my grandmother) and the other angel is a tree topper of mine living up there for visual balance.




Here we have a card one of my cousins gave me eons ago that I never put away (unless moving), a wooden candle holder that I redid (it had been my mom's from my childhood) with a red candle on it and a few more of Grandma's/Mom's ceramic piece.  I pulled the worn ribbon and plastic holly off of the ornament this year, added garland (gold) of my choosing and tied a new ribbon to it.  And, thank you Menards, I found LED tea lights so that is one of them inside the ornament lit (and I don't have to worry about forgetting it). 



My tree.  I love this tree.  A coworker gave it to me in 2010 or 2011.  It is simply a wood square base, a square wood upriht and a wood star on top with lighted fake greenery around it.  I added the ribbon (yes it matches the ribbon on the ceramic ornament).  It takes me 5 minutes to pull out of a closet and put out.  5 minutes to put away.  I also don't worry about the cat climbing it and I don't have to rearrange furniture.  (yes, those are presents to myself that I will open later)



Finally we have a bit that I've picked up from my mom.  The annual festooning of ordinary house (or office) plants with fake poinsettias. 


Thank You For Your Suggestion

So yesterday I saw a meme on Facebook that made me go hmm.  It triggered - or rather confirmed a direction for my writing.  My writing has been on hold for a while.  For many reasons that I'm going to spare you here.  Because that is not the point of this entry.  


Although the start over in the meme is what I'll probably do with the project that won't go away.  That I tried to set aside and, yes, is again nagging at me.  

And when I shared, I did put a line or two about my writing when I shared the post.  Some friends hit like.  I appreciate that.  Then there is that one friend.  The one trying to be, shall we say, overly helpful.  She hit like but she also replied that she had gone to a local library and heard a mystery writer talk and had I read her books.  I did the virtual version of smile and nod.  Or in this case, replied that I had just finished (no, really, yesterday) a book by this author.  Did not say that I found the novel adequate but lacking (the concept was good, wanted to smack the protagonist and I just can't love a book where I dislike the protagonist unless you are, say, Patricia Highsmith and we are talking Ripley).  So thanks for your... what do I call that?  Support?  Although that is not support.  I know you think it is.  Because for me it was a books suggestion from someone who knows I like mystery and suspense but doesn't really 'get' what I really read and enjoy in a book (and I can be very very nit-picky)

And while I'm on a ramble about suggestions, can we talk about reading suggestions.  You've seen them around the net.  Books to read if you loved "Gone Girl" for instance.  This is not helpful to me.  What I need is suggestions for books to read if I read "Gone Girl" wanted to love "Gone Girl" and found the whole experience a load of hooey and I should have gone with my initial gut reaction and skipped it but didn't because I wanted to see what the big deal was (after the movie came out).  And, okay, I may have read it to check out the whole unreliable narrator aspect.  

By the way, the friend above babbled to me in person about "Girl on the Train" and said, paraphrasing, I had a hard time getting into it but then I did and I figured it out way before the end.  This, by the way, was a glowing recommendation.  No, really, because it confirmed my suspicions (see all comparisons I had read to Gone Girl) about my not reading the book.  I don't want to figure it out long before the ending.  


Wait - who wrote the dialogue in that movie?

So I'm binge watching season 2 (so far) of Blindspot.  Yes, I have a TV addiction.  No, I'm not going to reform.  While watching an episode this morning before my weekly trip to my weight watchers cult meeting an episode dropped in the tidbit that Joss Whedon wrote 'the good parts' of the movie Speed. 

Say what?

Now Speed is a movie I've seen eleventy times.  I've used it for 20+ years to study plot structure.  And Joss Whedon is not who got the credit (Graham Yost did). 

So I took to google and found an interview at Huffington Post about this with Whedon.    I think I'm going to have to watch Speed again. 



Mental vs Actual Conversation

I just had one of those conversations where on my mental end it is far more amusing than what actually happened.  I do this.  I self-censor a lot.  

I go into my boss's office to tell him - yes I'm going to Food Pusher's birthday lunch (her name as I reference it online for purposes such as whining/blogging etc).  Yell when it is time to go (I am currently located on the opposite side of our office from him, something that should change in the near future).  

He starts to talk to me then realizes that he has cake in his mouth that he is chewing and starts.

Me mentally:  yes, chew first talk later because I would hate for workplace violence to occur because my inner Elise (one of my grandmothers) to come out over horrible table manners.  

He chokes his bite of cake down and then tells me that he has changed his vacation time planned for Christmas weekend.  (I had asked him more or less to get his act together and schedule his remaining vacay time so I could figure out when I am taking my remaining 1.5 days).  He was going to take off the 27th.  But now 'they' (wife) have decided to travel that weekend (to visit her family elsewhere).  But he doesn't mean that weekend because he is taking the 28th and 29th.  (we have the 30th off as an alleged holiday - we'll see how that week actually turns out).  

Me actually:  okay

Me mentally:  Great, great because you learned absolutely NOTHING from your deciding to take off Oct 31 and giving yourself too much work to do on workday 1 of October close (on Nov 1) because you were gone at the end of the month.  And this is year end and how much work are you going to have because auditors and year end processes and and and.  

He keeps shoving cake in his mouth.  

Me mentally:  the cake looks dry (I am coming up with excuses/reasons to stay away from the stupid cake - we'll get to the cake in a bit).  

Me actually:  You know that means that you'll only be there one day that week (we have the 26th as a holiday too).  

Him:  I know (yes, shoveling cake still)

Me actually:  Okay but I'm throwing you under the bus to anyone who needs you that week.  (with a reminder about auditors).  

Him:  okay.

Me Mentally:  And you will be in a tizzy on the first workday because you are gone these 2 days and I won't say it out loud but I will SO be thinking - I knew it.  

he shovels the last large bit of his cake in his mouth, chews maybe 3 times and swallows.  

Him:  That was good.

Me mentally:  I would hope so since you ate that piece in maybe 4 bites as if on a Steve Maxwell fast and you're just eating for the first time since.  

I got up and left at that point.  

As for the cake - it was for Food Pusher's birthday.  Food Pusher had gastric surgery a year ago.  She's done well with weight loss.  But Food Pusher works in another department now because of outsourcing.  Only she still keeps her food on our floor (because apparently, they are heathens downstairs with a nasty microwave and fridge but I think it is an excuse to visit people up here as well).  So someone (who has a last day at the end of the month due to the same outsourcing) brought cake in.  Only I seem to recall that she can't really eat cake because of dietary restrictions from the gastric surgery (sugar and such) so the cake isn't for her as much as everyone else.  Me, I don't want the cake (nor did I want the 3 day old Krusty Kremes someone brought in).  (I call her Food Pusher because she is one of the two - the other being the person who brought the cake today) who keep organizing the stupid food days in this department.  And the food she brings is often unhealthy even after her gastric surgery - it is okay for everyone else to eat it just not her).  





Eat your hear out DPIAT.  Loads of cellos (and evil guitars) in this.  Steve Vai and Apocalyptica performing Kashmir in Moscow with 30 cellos and 50 guitars .  (see what I find thanks to Jill Rodriques going to Facebook Live?)  I follow Apo on social media so I knew they did this, YouTube finally got around to suggestion the video to me toniht. 






When Someone Calls You a Workhorse

So on Monday a coworker (the one who moved to a corporate project assignment but is still located in Hooterville) asked me to go to a working lunch.  Yes, the mental drawbridge went up even though I accepted because she is heading the transfer of power knowledge transfer of accounts payable being outsourced (to India, a lovely country but on the opposite side of the world presenting logistical issues).  And last month end (really quarter end - which meant I had more to do) which was their first month end handling things went very badly (it went only slightly better this time - we'll get to that in a bit). 

So in the midst of chit chat, telling me what would happened with the accounts payable accrual file this month (translation - attempting to keep me from losing my crap again and wanting her head on a pike) she tells me that she mentioned me to her boss.  You know, a corporate rare air type.  I'm never sure how I feel about attention or mentions like this.   it's good they know your name but it can work both ways if they are looking for a scape goat.  Coworker tells me that she said I was a 'workhorse.'  I smiled and nodded.  (This is not a good thing people, if I smile and nod you I have put up a mental shield and am humoring you to keep peace). 

Many things went through my head about workhorse.  But thanks to google I found a few images to aide here: 










I'm going to guess that you get my drift.  I suspect she meant it as a compliment but to me it means that I just plod along doing the job and not necessarily open to change and not efficiently or working smart.  Not really the image I would like put out there about me. 

As mentioned above the accrual process went poorly - again.  To the point that I lost it, walked into one of my boss's office (the other was there) and declared "I can't do this."  and "I am this close to walking out the door, getting in my car and not coming back."  We made it through it but not without me feeling undervalued, overwhelmed, taken for granted and that it was time for me to consider looking elsewhere.

It is not just this issue.  It is a series of things.  Almost all of it out of control of my 2 immediate bosses.  HQ is going in a weird direction where it is perfectly acceptable for controllers and cost accountants to spin their wheels during month end doing things that AP clerks (who were good at their jobs) used to do.  Because headcount reduction and save money.  An environment where hey, let's move things to a central group (and off my desk) while leaving me with 5 months or so too much discretionary time  (not enough work to do - something I fault my immediate supervisor for and as much as I like him, he really doesn't get that I need more to do even after i have told him multiple times).  And in 2015 I watched them outsource all of our IT.  This year is was parables and part of receivables.  What s next? 

In talking to the controller (my immediate supervisor's boss and the guy who hired me), I have learned that almost everyone of our controllers but one (who can't afford to leave) is disgruntled and wants to bolt.  Misery apparently loves company so I don't feel alone.  But I am considering options.  My niche of the accounting world gets active recruiting wise after Jan 1.  So I do have time to think and update the resume/linked in profile and renew contacts with recruiters I've worked with in the past.  I don't want to look for a job.  But after being downsized 3 times in my past, I'd rather leave before being shoved out the door.  Besides, I have nothing to lose and can consider jobs back where I sued to live. 


Secrets of the Castle

I'm going to blame @HerNameIsBuffy for this.  Last year around Christmas she shared a link about Tudor Christmas on YouTube.  And I watched.  I enjoyed.  And discovered all sorts of documentaries on YouTube.  And since Jill Rodriques has now discovered Facebook Live, the Rodriqguii videos seem to have dried up so my YouTube forays have landed me into Secrets of the Castle.  Ruth, Peter and Tom (the same folks from Tudor Christmas Farm) are visiting a working model 13th century castle building experiment in Burgundy France. 

And I'll stay in 21st century USA with carpets instead of reeds on the floor and a 'fireplace' in the middle of the room. 



Leoti Supercell (By Stephen Locke)

Politics aside, I often miss my home state of Kansas.  (I now live in the middle of a neighboring state - no, it's not quite the same).

I stumbled 5 (or more) years ago into a photographer/storm chaser via author Nancy Pickard.  He shared this on facebook this weekend. 



With two computers working simultaneously, a week of eighteen hour days was required to render this footage comprised of 9 sequences and over 7,000 still frames. Please share this movie worldwide so everyone understands why I live in Kansas.




Another Bright Lights Mally Newsletter

There's a thread on this but I believe it's been achieved

and I've decided that I would rather blog these instead.  

link to the thread.

In short - I used to co-teach Bright Lights.  A program for girls written by Sarah Mally.  I've had to listen to records with both Grace and Sarah Mally speaking.  And I'm perpetually on their email list.  

I've gone back to church recently and discovered that Bright Lights has died out.  The person I cotaught with who championed it let it die when interest waned and her own daughter graduated from high school.  I am severely glad.  


I'm going to put this behind the spoiler because it typically comes over with the graphics when I copy from my email.  But don't miss "The Wood Story" from Papa Mally.  And Oh dear, they did 'outreach' at an NEA conference.  I bet that was interesting.  There is also an upcoming events section - they're going to be in Pheoenix at the end of the week.  



Dear Friends,
Greetings from the Mally family and Bright Lights staff. 
The Wood Story (By Harold Mally)
When I was 11 or 12 years old I wanted something.  I discovered that my grandfather had some wood stored under his porch, and I wanted it.  By wood, I mean lumber.  He had a big stack of some nice lumber under his porch that he was saving for future use, and I really wanted to have some of it.  I wasn’t thinking of stealing it of course.  I just wanted it, and I was hoping my parents would ask him if I could have some. 
My intent for this lumber was that I wanted to build a fort, or maybe it would be better called a hideout.  Well, I was at a stage in life when I was interested in such things and big enough to think I could build it.  I really had my heart set on this idea—but—I didn’t have any materials.  We had some tools at our house.  I knew how to use a saw and a hammer.  But I didn’t have any lumber.
There was a problem though regarding my interest in my grandpa’s wood.  I don’t remember the precise obstacles, but my parents weren’t very cooperative.  Either they didn’t want to ask for it, or they didn’t want to go through the effort of bringing it home, or they didn’t think I needed it, or something like that.  Anyway, I was unhappy.  Actually, I was more than that.  I was irritated, upset, crabby, pouting, sad and grumpy. 
So one day we drove to my grandpa’s house, and I stayed in the car because I was unhappy about the whole matter.  And then something happened that changed everything instantly.  I went from being unhappy to happy; from being grumpy to being joyful.  It all changed in a flash.  The miracle that brought about the change was quite surprising to me.  It was a thought.  I don’t remember if I prayed or not, but the Lord brought to mind a new thought.  It was this:  “If the Lord gives me the lumber, it’s mine, and if He doesn’t give it to me, it’s not.  And if He doesn’t give it to me, He must not want me to have it for some reason.”  This simple thought made me content.  I was satisfied to be content with whatever the Lord arranged.
This may seem like a very insignificant story, but the fact is that it affected me enough that I remember it after all these years.  I never did get the lumber, but I was content with that.  It never bothered me again.  There is another end to the story though.  Years later I learned that the lumber was Oak. At 11 or 12 years old, with a hand saw and hammer and such hard wood, I wouldn’t have gotten too far with my project. :-)  
“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” – John 3:27

Young Ladies Summer Ministry Reports
First “Speak Truth in Your Heart” Conference
This conference, held in the Dallas area, was a special time of rejoicing in the Lord for what He was doing. It seemed like the concept of replacing lies with truth really “clicked” for many girls.The need is great for young ladies to be replacing faulty thinking with God’s Word.  

Bright Lights Conferences
The conferences in St Louis were another highlight of the summer. Not only did the Lord provide fantastic hosts in the Whisler family, but He brought together a very godly team of leaders. Several attendees shared with us of the struggle it was to get there, and the enemy opposition they felt, but it was encouraging to see the Lord have the victory that week. Praise God! Thank you to all who were praying.  

Camp Ministry 
Sarah spoke for a week at Story Book Lodge Christian Camp on being strong for the Lord in our youth, and Grace spoke to high school girls at Kansas Bible Camp on witnessing. They both really enjoyed the more personal and intimate settings of these camps. One girl told Grace that she appreciated that the teaching on witnessing was something she could be putting into practice at her school or in her hometown. She said, “Now I realize what I should be doing all the time!”

Summer Evangelism Reports
NEA Outreach 
We were thankful for the opportunity to help Answers in Genesis at the gospel booth at the NEA convention which was held in Washington DC this year. Praise God for good discussions with many skeptics. On our way home, we stopped at the Ark Encounter to volunteer for a few days as it was opening. We had the surprise opportunity to witness to a group of atheists who were protesting the Ark encounter. But we will have to save that report for the next newsletter. :-)  

Witnessing Workshop
We held a Witnessing Workshop in Cedar Rapids on August 5-6 as extra training for those who would be coming to help at the gospel booth at the Iowa State fair the following week. On Saturday we took everyone to Iowa City to practice witnessing, hoping we’d find enough people to witness to, and—praise God—a “Soul Fest” was happening downtown, and the area was packed with people. We all came back for pizza and were thrilled to hear many stories of divine appointments.

Iowa State Fair
The Creation Evangelism Training camp (August 15-19) combined with witnessing at the Iowa State Fair was an amazing time that truly exceeded our expectations. Many who came to the camp commented on how helpful it was to receive training and have the opportunity to put it into practice that very same day. At the gospel booth at the fair (run by Answers in Genesis) about 75,000 gospel tracts were given away and there were hundreds of substantial one-on-one gospel conversations. Witnessing together at the fair provided hours of encouraging times learning from each other, coaching, and sharpening. Each day we were overwhelmed as we shared stories of how we had seen the Lord’s miraculous working and guidance, and rejoiced in what He had done. We are grateful to Tony Ramsek (from Answers in Genesis) for all the excellent evangelism training and coaching he provided, both at the Witnessing Workshop and the camp. We heard much response from attendees by how they were helped by it. You can view his messages here: https://vimeo.com/tramsek

Upcoming Conferences
Speak Truth in Your Heart Conference near Phoenix, Arizona
We are excited to announce a Speak Truth in Your Heart Conference in the Phoenix, Arizona area, October 28-29th. Based on material from Sarah’s new book (not finished yet), this conference challenges girls to identify the lies which are the root issues behind struggles they face. From the beginning, Satan’s strategy has been to use deception. This is why we must be well grounded in the Word of God. Many girls try to change their wrong actions, but never learn to discern the wrong thinking behind the actions. Often struggles in our spiritual lives are intensified because we don’t know the Lord and His Word well enough! As girls replace lies with the truth, they will see how God’s Word will transform each area of their lives as the truth sets them free. The conference addresses topics such as a girl’s emotions, purity, her view of God, and a proper view of herself in light of the truth of Scripture. When a young lady learns to “speak truth TO herself,” she is building her life upon an unshakable foundation that will resist even the most powerful attacks of the enemy. 
Leaders Encouragement Retreats
We are very excited to announce that we have scheduled Bright Lights Leaders' Encouragement Retreats in seven locations around the country this fall and winter! These retreats are for past Bright Lights leaders, current leaders, and for young ladies or moms who are considering starting a group in the future. We pray these will be a time for leaders to get better acquainted, and to be refreshed and inspired.
It will be a time of fellowship with others who have a heart for reaching young ladies and a chance to glean and share wisdom with others who have experience in discipleship ministry.
Retreat will include:
Bible study through the book of Philippians
Group discussions—sharing ideas and discussing challenges
Encouraging videos to watch together
Prayer times and lots of fellowship with likeminded sisters!

Locations and Dates:
Franklin, North Carolina (October 28-29) hosted by Hannah Booth
Hortonville, Wisconsin (September 30-October 1) hosted by Hannah Rocke
Livingston, Montana (October 7-8) hosted by Cheyenne Wolf
Mason City, Iowa (October 29) hosted by Jennifer Huang
St. Louis Park, Minnesota (November 4-5) hosted by Amanda Engelmeyer
Sumas, Washington (January 5-7, 2017) hosted by Anna Kirk
Corona, California (January 20-21) hosted by Amanda Dautrich
More locations may be scheduled soon.
Registration is free. If you are leading a Bright Lights group or are considering starting one, you may want to attend the retreat closest to you.
Online Resource of the Month 
50% off  Bright Lights Leaders Manual Download (reg. $10) and Leaders Training Audio Download (reg. $20)
The Bright Lights Leaders Training material was developed to equip young ladies or mothers who would like to begin a discipleship group for younger girls in their area. Leading a Bright Lights group will give training and experience in the most comprehensive fundamental of ministry: how to “disciple.” This conference gives practical training in discipleship, teaches key principles of ministry, shares insights about how to reach the hearts of younger girls, and includes lots of helpful ideas. 
The great commission is not “go and make converts,” but “go and make disciples!” (Matt. 28:19-20) Unfortunately, many Christians are unsure about how to fulfill this calling. Many have never been discipled themselves, and have never been taught how to disciple others. The pattern we see in Scripture is for older women to teach younger women (Titus 2:3-4). We believe this can and should start by older girls teaching younger girls. When a young lady begins a Bright Lights group or another discipleship ministry, she is usually the one who grows the most as she leads the younger girls by her words and example.
Ages 10-14 are often a turning point for young ladies. Decisions made at that time greatly influence their entire lives. Girls need guidance from the Word of God and vision for ministry. When a godly older girl takes a loving interest in them and encourages them in the Lord, it makes a strong impact on their hearts and lives! This training will help equip and encourage older girls to do this.
The 50% off promo code can be used for the Leaders Manual Download and Audio Download. This offer will be honored on our online store through October 31, 2016. At checkout, use promo code: download2016. 
Prayer Requests

Pray for Bright Leaders to be encouraged and more groups to start as a result of the Leaders Encouragement Retreats.

Pray for the book Sarah is writing on the topic of “Speaking Truth in Your Heart.”

Upcoming Schedule

October 28-29, 2016 – Speak Truth in Your Heart conference (Phoenix, AZ)

February 3-4, 2017 – Speak Truth in Your Heart conference (Camp Berea, Morelia, Mexico)

March 31-April 1, 2017 – APACHE homeschool convention (Peoria, IL)

April 7-8 – Answers for Women Conference (Florence, KY hosted by Answers in Genesis)

June 2-3, 2017 – CHAP homeschool Convention (Lancaster, PA)

God bless you and your families!
The Mally Family and Bright Lights Staff, Nickie Biegler, Bekah Hicks, David Rodgers, Haley Skrnich, Emily Selander, Shelby Rathke, and Hannah Sandersfeld

Tomorrow's Forefathers, Inc.
945 7th Ave
Marion, Iowa 52302




EO's and your man's goldenrod

Oh.  my.  The extended family member that sells Young Living Essential Oils posted this.  That's right, apparently, they're wasting money on viagra and should be using goldenrod.   The hashtags have my jaw on the floor.  




Coloring with Mom

Last Saturday I stopped by for a visit with my mom.  It was a really good visit.  Or as good a visit as one can have when the person you are visiting is no longer the person you knew, has memory issues, mobility issues and the like.  

I finally tried something I had wanted to for some time.  We colored together.  Due to time constraints (mine) we didn't finish the project (and next time I would have us coloring on different pages).  But we did some coloring with my trusty Crayola twistables after working a very large jigsaw puzzle.    The purple, green, & orange  butterflies at the left of the page are my work.  I did the center of the orange/red one.  the other two are all Mom.  




When I got there she said my hands were cold and insisted on warming it up.  That's my right hand (photo taken left handed so I'm amazed it came out so well - this photo was a hit on Facebook among family & friends)



Rally Mantis and Music Loveing Kittens

Okay - I am not a baseball fan.  But the ongoing story of Rally Mantis - a praying mantis rescued from the trash by a KC Royals player in the dugout a week or so ago that is now a good luck charm/mascot of sorts is amusing me.  Rally Mantis is now going on the road with the Royals.  Yay Rally Mantis. 


And yes - I think Praying Mantis are interesting.  To this day I feel bad for not pulling over one day and helping one off my car window.  The poor thing stayed on my window for a 10 minute trip at 65 to 70 mph for most of that trip.  I saw its struggle.  It made me feel awful and I have to live with that memory.


Now to cats.  A Malaysian singer/guitarist was ignored by everyone - but a group of kittens.  Someone recorded this. 


Video in the spoiler box. 





First They Came

Today's landscape has me thinking about one of my favorite poems.  



When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.


First They Came (I could be wrong about the title) - Martin Niemoller.   


I've been aware of this quote for a long time.   It still echoes in my heart.