Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Today he came strolling in and said, “Adela and some guy are out in the hallway trying to catch a squirrel.”
I gave him a look that I hoped would communicate: You are the maintenance man and in any other world it would be your job to be chasing the squirrel, not spreading the news.
But I love Richard. So I got up and said, “Ooh. Let’s go watch.”
Well, I get out there and there is a squirrel running at me along the wall of the hallway, my co-worker chasing it, holding out her coat like she’s going to throw it on the little guy, and a dorky white man standing by the wall like he’s ready to pounce. They both scream at me, “Don’t let him get by you!”
Um, hello. Squirrels bite. I was NOT going to take on that rabbid fuzzy headed ball of cuteness with my bare hands. So, I let him get by me and watched him try to scale a wall before sliding back down.
“Please tell me you guys have a plan besides 4 hands and a coat.”
So I walked over to the front desk and said to our other front desk girl, “Um, can I please have your recycling box?”
By this point the little guy was headed back down the same hallway the other way. He managed to get himself snuggled in behind a table that was leaned up against the wall. We all had different ideas for nabbing him and weren’t communicating them very well. I kept trying to explain to the other two that if they would calm down and let me get him under the box I would take care of it. But instead Miss Thang in her high heels and Mr. Crazy White Man kept bopping around sending the squirrel into a wall climbing frenzy.
Finally he crouched down in a corner and I said, “Everybody stop! You, Mr. Crazy White Man (I didn’t really call him that), open that door and hold it open.”
I went and calmly put the box down over the little squirrel and started dragging the box along the floor, dragging the squirrel with me under the box. Thankfully he was fairly compliant. By the time I got to the door, the other two had blocked it off fairly well so he wouldn’t go backwards. No problems now. Just lift up the box and he would go running out, down the stairs to the right and off into his happy place of freedom.
Well…sort of. Instead I lifted up the box and he took off running at turbo speed straight out in front of him and did a Superman leap off the balcony, landing on the ground 15 feet below.
I was horrified and the crazy white man assured me that the little sucker took off running as soon as his feet hit the ground. I chose to trust him.
These things don’t happen to normal people…
Thursday, January 20, 2011
One of the other amazing parts though was that their house backs right up to the Barton Creek Greenbelt, an amazing 7 mile trail in Austin. Getting to walk out the back door every day with their dog Molly and hop onto the trail was such a luxury. Every day as I watched Molly run up ahead on the trail in front of us, I could never help but think the whole way. Just think. Think on
And in that short week, God revealed Himself in some amazing ways that I decided to share. So, for the next few days (uh...days...over an extended period of time I'm sure...) I will be writing a series called, "The Path of the Righteous."
Until next time...
P.S. Don't forget to switch over to www.jencorzine.wordpress.com. I'll probably stop posting on here next week! And for those of you who have been reading for years and years, I love you for staying with me through all the switches. I'll try to make this the last one!
Friday, January 14, 2011
In my chronological reading of the Bible I am just about to finish Judges. Before you become insanely impressed at how fast I am flying through it, you should know that I actually started this plan mid-last year. When I wrote that one of my goals for this year was to be into the New Testament by 2012, I had already started Joshua.
There, the jig is up. I have confessed. Moving on.
Like I was saying, I am just about to finish Judges and all I have to say from Judges is…whoa. Just whoa. The Israelites. I mean, COME ON. If you’re ever feeling like a failure, like you just can’t get it right, take a walk through Judges and you’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself. Just over again they were turning their backs on the Lord, refusing to trust in Him, in who He had proven Himself to be so many times in their lives. Oh wait…that sounds kind of familiar. Nevermind.
But He did something really cool with one of the guys that was willing to listen. God raised up this guy Gideon to be a judge, despite the fact that Gideon had an extremely hesitant and sometimes weak faith. God asked Gideon to lead a group of men to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites saying, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”
Gideon struggled and begged God for signs that He would be true to His word, signs that He graciously provided. On the morning when Midian was to be defeated, Gideon rose and took his army with him, about 32,000 men.
But the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’” And with that God helped Gideon strip his army down to 300 men.
Did they defeat the Midianites with a meager 300 men? Of course they did. How did they do it? By going to the outskirts of the Midian camps and blowing trumpets and smashing pitchers, causing such a commotion that it confused the Midianites and basically set their men against each other until they had defeated themselves. It’s actually a pretty funny situation…well, in my head. I have a feeling that the Midianites weren’t by any means laughing.
But I keep going back to what’s before that. “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful.”
When I first read that, I read it once. And then I read it again. And again. God was first of all setting up His promise. He would deliver Midian into the hands of the Israelites. That was not in question.
But He was not willing to do it in such a way that the Israelites could claim that they, in their own strength, had won this battle.
I couldn’t help but think about the fact that so many hours of our days revolve around accomplishment that comes from our own strength. We are completely trained to live in such a way that gives God no room to work. We overstaff just in case someone calls in sick. We overbuy just in case more people show up. We overwork just in case we get sick tomorrow. We have plan A’s and B’s just in case something doesn’t go as expected. We leave early just in case there’s traffic. We plan, prepare and compensate.
And after all of this, I would venture to say that the vast majority of us feel overwhelmed and tired and anxious because we still don’t feel prepared or like we’ve done enough.
We run ourselves ragged at the expense of not only our physical, emotional and spiritual health, but most importantly at the expense of the glory of our Lord and Creator. We have left no room for Him because we are seeking glory only for ourselves.
God knows His plans. And His plans will be accomplished. But don’t wear yourself out trying to accomplish what He has already promised will happen. Leave opportunities in your life for people to say, “I don’t know how that happened.”
Glory (His, not yours) is found when you say, “Because of God alone.”
I work part time for my church doing children’s ministry every Sunday morning. And nearly every morning we have volunteers who have sick kids or unexpected travel or simply forget they’re scheduled to serve. It happens almost every Sunday. But I have been tremendously blessed to work with someone who does not over plan but simply says, “God will take care of it.”
And every Sunday He does. He either brings less kids or more people.
A couple of Sundays ago we were really in a pinch, right up until the last second. We were short about 4 people. All the volunteers gathered to pray, as we do every Sunday, at 9:30. We prayed aloud together for the usual things adults pray for…that God would show up, that He would speak to the kids, that He would use us for His glory, that all the children would feel loved…
And then Zachary, a 6th grader who had come in that morning wanting to serve, piped into the prayer.
“God, uh, we need help. You know we do. We don’t have enough people. And, uh, You knew this was going to happen. So God please help us. Please send people.”
And God did send people. As people filtered in that morning for church a few of them stopped by and said, “Hey, any chance you guys need help back there today?”
Because of the precious and courageous prayer of an 11 year old boy, and because we had saved room in our hallways for God’s presence, He showed up. And we walked away that Sunday knowing that children’s ministry happened because of God and God alone. Because He wanted it to happen. And He promised it would be okay. And He made good on His promise.
He. will. not. fail.
So give the Man some room.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I'll keep posting here for a week or so until everyone gets situated. :) Love you all!
And for those of you who are wondering, his real mama is beginning to question whether or not she Kity Kitty might actually be a he Tyler. I’ll spare you anything graphic, but there is some physical evidence that I pointed out to her and she said something along the lines of, “Ohhhhh…yeah. That might be what those are.”
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Less than 48 hours gluten free and I already feel 100 times better. Truly and seriously. I didn’t think it could happen. I was hoping it wouldn’t to be honest. Seriously? No bread, no real pasta, no pancakesbagelsmuffinscookiescakes, no real PIZZA CRUST!? Heaven help me I’m just now having a reality check about what this is likely to mean for me, and I was going to have to really feel like a whole new person for me to sign up for this. But I have to admit…right now, I feel like a whole new person. Oh dear.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Here's the thing, Ty has been around for quite awhile now. But I suppose it's much like having a boyfriend. You don't really want to introduce him to the family until you're sure he's going to be around for a bit. Otherwise everyone gets all attached and then we he leaves you're heartbroken and the family is heartbroken and the drama escalates and it's just a mess.
While it sounds like I've ever experienced that, I haven't. Truly. But I imagine that's kind of what it would be like.
But Ty here, well he has become a regular in the cast of characters of my life and I feel it's important to share him with you all.
Tyler came into my life back around June while I was directing Seussical. I had gotten home REALLY late one night from work and was so ready to pass out. I literally had been nervous about making the 5 minute drive home. When I got out of my car I heard a little "meow meow" but for the life of me could not figure out where it was coming from. I went into our apartment complex's laundry room and saw a poster for a lost tabby cat. Thinking that maybe the little meow meow would match the poster I went back out on a hunt for the little(HUGE)fella. As I started calling, "Come here kitty," little mister appeared out from under the car next to me and sure enough looked exactly like the cat on the poster. He was SO sweet so I assumed I'd just take him up to my apartment, call the number on the poster, mom would come get him and I'd move on with life.
Jen, you know what they say about assuming.
I called the number and no one answered. I left a message saying that I was pretty sure I'd found their cat and could they please come get him tonight. Well about an hour later my phone had still not rung and I was realizing that my furry friend was going to need some food and litter. So, despite some massive sleep deprivation and general lethargy I got myself pulled back together at 11:30 p.m. and headed to the nearest grocery store. As I stood in line holding a litterbox, a bag of cheap litter, a box of cheap cat food and a stuffed mouse, I noticed the girl at the cash register kept looking at me. When I finally got up to the register she started laughing. I wanted to smack her into next Tuesday but I guess instead I just gave a really pitiful questioning look because she said, "I'm sorry...you just look so so sleepy." Yeah. I was.
I went home and a few minutes later my phone rang. It was the number from the poster. The girl said she would be right over to pick him up. (Yes right after I bought $15 worth of supplies for his fuzzy butt.) When she got to my apartment, two friends in tow, she said, "Oh no. I don't think that's him."
I was like, "Are you sure? It looks just like the picture."
"Yeah he does look a lot like my cat but I really don't think that's him. I'm sure I would know if it was him."
She left...without the cat.
And with that, I had inherited a new friend. One of my favorite parts about him was that he was missing one of his fangs. I guess because of that he didn't know what to do with the one that remained so it usually just hung out of his mouth and over his bottom lip.
For about a week I was totally unwilling to get attached to him, but after about 5 days, it was time to realize this was my new kitty. He seemed to so enjoy being at my apartment. He was completely content there. He was totally snuggly and I adored him. And at that time things for me were just hard. Life was hard. I was struggling. And every night I came home to this sweet little guy who started purring as soon as I walked in the door. I even had a dear friend working for me at camp who took her lunch break to take him to a vet she was familiar with and have him checked out.
Right about the day I told him, "Okay buddy. I guess you're mine. I don't know how I'm going to afford it, but somehow I'll make sure I take care of you," my phone rang with an unknown number. I answered and a girl on the other end of the line said, "Hey, I think you found my cat?"
At first I was very hopeful that this one wasn't hers. She kept referring to the cat as a girl named Kitty Kitty and as far as I could tell, this one was clearly a boy. But when she said, "My cat is missing a front fang," I didn't have any choice but to acknowledge it was hers. She came and got him/her that night and thanked me profusely for taking such good care of him/her. She told me that he/she was an indoor and outdoor cat but she had just moved here and he/she had escaped from her apartment before she was confident he knew his way around. I was totally brokenhearted when she walked away with Tyler but I told her to please let me know if she ever needed someone to take care of "her."
Before too long, Ty started appearing at my door. He'd bust in unexpectedly as I was leaving for work in the morning or would cry outside at 3 a.m. I quickly figured out that I needed to just keep the food and litterbox out and available because he wasn't giving up. His owner, Aiden, and I developed a neighborly friendship based on our mutual love of my little furry friend. I would call her anytime he was hanging out just to let her know where he was. Most days she would just let me keep him there until he started acting like he was ready to go out and be a wild jungle cat again. I began to feel like I was sharing custody of a child, but I couldn't help but smile every time he showed up.
I started realizing that he had an uncanny ability of showing up on the worst days. The days when I was tired or sad or generally heavy-hearted, he was always there. That's when he started being furry Jesus. Jesus has spoken to me through lizards and birds; He can certainly come to me in kitties.
So that's Tyler. Aiden calls when she's headed out of town and I get to let him come have vacations with me. And then plenty of other days he just shows up when he needs a little Jen lovin'. Like today, at 5 a.m. His habits of getting my attention have grown from simply crying at the door to scratching the door and tapping on the window and smushing his little face up against it. (The first time he did that and I turned around and saw little eyes peering in it scared the snot out of me.)
Sometimes when I go out of town I worry about him. I'm always afraid that if he comes to my door too many times and I don't answer he'll give up on me. But he never does. When I'm not home he goes and hangs out at my neighbor's. My neighbor friend smokes, legal and not so legal substances, but that's beside the point. So sometimes Ty comes back to me smelling like a little cigarette but we always get him tidied back up and snuggle ready. But he never does forget. Never stops coming to find me just because I'm temporarily unavailable. And I love that about him.
I just love my little furry boyfriend.
For those of you who have known me for awhile, you know that for quite some time (i.e. YEARS) I have been dealing with some seemingly undiagnosable stomach issues. I will spare you any descriptions of the symptoms I'm having. But know that they can be unpleasant. I've been to many doctors and gone through many tests and a diagnosis seems to be quite out of reach.
The interesting thing is that overall the doctors I have been to don't get too worked up about it. I don't blame them. Whatever it is, it's clearly not killing me. I on the other hand am pretty much tired of it. Stomach issues always hit at the most inopportune moments. Well, really when is it an opportune moment to have gas. Sorry...I meant to spare you the details but I just had to throw that out there. The gas isn't even as much of an issue for me as just the general pain and nauseous feelings at some point every day.
I'm over it, to say the least. And when my tummy doctor told me last year the next step was going to be a colonoscopy, I took matters into my own hands. I wasn't playing around anymore. People kept telling me that the procedure itself was not a big deal and I get that. Truly. The hiney probe really made no difference to me because I was going to be down for the count during that. The 48 hour cleansing process beforehand? No thank you. You can keep your colonoscopy.
My doc told me she really didn't think it was a food allergy related issue but I had a nagging feeling I needed to check the possibility and to be honest, I didn't feel like I was given a good reason about why she felt confident ruling it out.
So, I cancelled the colonoscopy and made an appointment instead with an allergist. He was/is a bit weird. Can't lie. Apparently that's common to allergy doctors. Whatever. Man knows what he's doing.
After an initial appointment I was scheduled for an allergy test. I had been suspecting that I was maybe allergic to chocolate and already knew I was allergic to cats. So I figured I'd walk out with a positive reaction to the cocoa bean and a precscription for eye drops.
For those of you who don't know how allergy tests are done, let me give you a quick run down. They had me lay on my stomach and then wrote the numbers 1-45 all down my back. They test for inhalants first (trees, grasses, mold) and see which ones you react to. If you react to any of those on your back you are "severely allergic." For those that you don't react to on your back, they do a shot in your arm to see if you are "mildly allergic."
After giving you little scratches on your back of each inhalant, they wait 15 minutes and then if you have any reaction, they measure the size of the welt.
Well, my friends, after 60 seconds the girl who was administering my test said, "Oh my God. Uh...you're definitely allergic."
"Really? To what?"
I had a positive, severe reaction to 30 of the inhalants she tested me for. The few that were leftover, she tested by giving me a shot on my arm. I was "mildly allergic" to five of those. If you'd like a comprehensive list...
trees: mountain cedar~e. red cedar~pinchot juniper~live oak~american elm~fall elm~pecan~cottonwood~arizona ash~grasses: bermuda grass~johnson grass~perennial rye~weeds: short ragweed~giant ragweed~western ragweed~true marsh~careless weed~redroot pigweed~lambs quarter~common cocklebur~misc: orris root~pyrethrum~ molds: cladosporium~helminthosporium~epicoccum~fusarium~pullularia pullulans~spodylocladium atrovirens~environmentals: cockroach~mite farinae~mite pteronyssinus~cat hair~cat pelt~dog dander
I knew I had my suspicions about those dang pullularia pullulans and I'm glad to know to stay away from those cursed helminthosporiums. (Insert massive eye roll here).
Obviously, I have no idea what any of this meant other than that I was clearly allergic to God's creation.
After amazing everyone with my superhuman allergic powers on the inhalants, we moved onto the good stuff. I was convinced I was going to get my answer for all these years of stomach sadness.
Again, I was numbered down the back, this time 1-51 and she had to be a bit more uh, creative, in finding spots where I was not still welted up from the previous test.
Sure enough after administering all of them the girl said, "Wow."
"Am I allergic to chocolate?"
"I knew it!"
Now here's the thing about food allergy tests. There is only a 50% chance that a positive reaction is accurate. So all of the things I had a positive reaction to, I may be allergic to...and I may not. If you'd like a comprehensive list of my positive food reactions...
almond~string beans~cerevisiae~cabbage~celery~chicken~chocolate (BINGO)~barley~egg yolks~egg white~garlic~hops~oat~pea~peanut~pecan~potato~rice~onion~soy~tomato~wheat~ cottonseed~flaxseed~acacia gum~tragacanth~sesame seed~catfish
After discovering all of these reactions this girl pumped me with some medication (just so I didn't go into anaphylactic shock right there on their table) and said, "Well girl, I gotta tell ya, you are impressively allergic."
So glad I impressed someone.
"So what am I supposed to eat?"
"I don't know. Dirt?"
"But it's full of pollen."
"Oh yeah. Okay, I got nuthin."
The doctor came in and informed me that I was an "excellent candidate" for allergy shots and that he was recommending I start with them at 3 times a week.
"Okay that's fine whatever. What about all these food allergies? Don't you think at least one of them is accurate and is causing my stomach problems?"
"It is a good possibility."
"So what am I supposed to do?"
"Well, normally I tell people to take everything that they're allergic to out of their diet and gradually reintroduce stuff until they find the culprit."
"I'm not sure what to tell you."
(insert my dumb look)
"I'll give you a website to check out and I guess just take out certain groups of food. But you have to take them out for 2-3 weeks at a time to get an accurate idea of whether or not they're affecting you."
"Fantastic. So I'll be allergy testing myself for roughly the next year."
To make a long story longer, I did go to the website and found out that different foods cause different symptoms so a few of the things I had a reaction to I can almost rule out because I'm not experiencing those symptoms. But one of the major stomach issue foods is wheat. I had tested negative for celiac disease so I assumed I was in the clear there. (Whew. What would a life without bread and cake be!?) False. Celiac and wheat allergy are not the same thing. News to me. I may very well be allergic to wheat.
So for the next 2-3 weeks I will be gluten/wheat free. I will be one of those health food aisle lovin', Central Market shoppin' weird Austinites who can't consume wheat flour.
I'll keep you posted on my journey.
For now, let me just say...these things don't happen to normal people.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
That being said, let's move on to the New Year. And yes, I acknowledge I'm four days late.
As a new year rolls in, I've noticed that people tend to fall into one of two camps. They either reflect well on the year behind them. Or they focus on the year ahead.
I've never been much of a looking back person. If something doesn't get journaled about in the moment, it rarely gets recorded at all. There is great value in being able to reflect on the past well, but I just don't have it. At least not when it comes to recent past. I do better with things that are years and years old. Regardless, what I'm trying to say is that I'm not going to reflect on 2010. It was a great year and a hard year and God showed up in some of the biggest ways I've ever seen Him. But now is the time to keep walking on.
2011 has the potential to bring about great big change. Changes that could be amazing and scary and will cause me to rely on God in completely new ways.
It also has the potential to have life continue on the way that it has, not much changing circumstantially, but allowing me to find joy in the quiet stillness of Jesus' arms.
Either way, I'm game. God will decide what tomorrow is going to bring and I have absolutely no idea what it's going to be. No matter what, with Him, it's never anything short of an adventure.
That being said, although I don't make "resolutions" I do think it would be fun to think through some things I would like to see happen just for myself. If they do, they do. If they don't, they don't. Some of them may be completely out of the realm of possibility. And that's okay. Others I may get done today. But I am excited when December 31, 2011 rolls around to see what's been accomplished.
So here's a rough list of things that I want to do, just for myself:
read the whole stack of books that's on the bottom of my bookshelf~pray every day for humility~get my camera fixed~delete 100 emails a day from my inbox until i have less than 300~pay off 3 credit cards~blog at least 3 times a week~take a photoshop class~memorize the history of redemption~make it to the new testament in my chronological bible reading plan~go camping~visit the mountains in north carolina~see the piland family in real life~pray extensively, every day, for at least one person other than myself~give away all clothes that i don't wear regularly~send a letter or package to someone different every month of the year~journal at least 2 times a week~learn how to recreate my blog~go gluten free for 3 weeks to see if a wheat allergy is what is causing my stomach problems~tithe~do my quiet time every morning before work~take a dance class~love the heck out of the people around me, and pay attention to how to love each individual person best~go home to st. louis for a weekend, just because~hang more pictures on my wall~learn how to do one new crafty thing~read the whole chronicles of narnia~spend more time with my middle schoolers and celebrate their last year of middle school well~cook a new recipe every week~go somewhere beautiful and watch the sun rise or set~start walking regularly~invest in a specific community of people at abf~pray frequently for the girls i mentor and develop a bold friendship with them~be more observant of and thankful for the small, easy to miss blessings in my life
That's a start...more likely to come later. Happy New Year friends!