Sunday, September 27, 2009

Why the Love Fest with Jimmy John's?

I truly in my heart despise Jimmy John's. I know I am the ONLY single, solitary person in the entire western world that feels this way – since everyone I know LOVES this place. But I really am baffled as to why. WHY? Gourmet sandwiches are so 2008.

My husband, of course, LOVES Jimmy John's, and I think if he hadn’t married me – he would have married Jimmy John. In my mind – nothing in my life has been more overrated with such cult-like followers than JJ. For my husband, it’s gotten to the point where if he knows he’s going to be eating without me, for any reason whatsoever, he immediately makes a beeline for JJ.

So today, some family friends suggested we go there (poor Karl was out of town), and they are the kind of friends who are so remarkable in every way that I couldn’t bear to have them thinking they are unfortunate enough to know the only person in the whole world who doesn’t like Jimmy John's.

So we went.

I thought – I’m sure I’m overreacting – I haven’t given it a CHANCE. Ha!

I am there with my two children and say to the pleasant looking cashier - “Well, to start. I’ll just get a kids meal.”

Nope, no kids meal. They suggest a “slim” – which is apparently what most kids get – just the bread with meat and cheese.

I try to order The Number 4 (the slim with turkey and cheese) – and they say “No – it’s not The Number 4. Just The 4.”

“Ok, Ok, my mistake. Just The 4 then.” I say (clearly I’m trying to pull a fast one). They smile.

“With mayo. “ They stop smiling.

You can’t have The 4 with mayo. Obviously that wouldn’t be slim any more. God forbid you bulk up a slim sandwich with mayo. So they direct me to The Number 4.

It’s been a slow start, but now I’ve successfully managed to order The Number 4.

“Can I make that the meal deal?” – I ask, with some hesitancy. I don’t want to expect too much.

“Um…do you mean the Combo?”

“Oh, yes…yes…the Combo.” (they really should change that to “Meal Deal” I’m thinking).

“Sure – do you want the pickle OR the cookie OR the chips?”



“Well…I want all three” (I’m quickly failing to see where the combo part is coming into play). They smile.

“And can I have milk?” They stop smiling.

“No, we don’t have milk.”

I was reaching for the stars here.

At this point my father pipes in from behind me and asks if they have coffee – No, no coffee. You too, dad, want to have it all.

“OK – well – can you warm up the baby food for me?” Most places do this.

“No, no way to do that.”

“Alright – well just add a drink then.”

“That will be $12.45.”

Wow - $12.45 for my combo (very appropriately not named a Meal Deal) and extra drink. It must have been the pickle AND the cookie that pushed it over the edge.

Finally I sit down with my sandwich, prepared to share it with my 3 year old. It’s not divided. Now I need a knife to cut it.

“No ma’am – we don’t have knives.”

Of course.

“We can cut if for you.”

How very helpful.

So again – I pose the question. WHY the love-fest with Jimmy John's?

High point about South Africa. NO Jimmy John's.

Fear Itself - The Results: Part I

Let's talk about YOU!

I recieved about 30 surveys from women sharing their deepest, darkest fears. All told, I would say you are a pretty brave lot. Here are the results from some of the questions.

Note: I spoke at the retreat last weekend and it was great. I thought the other women who shared had some very insightful points. More on that later....


What are some “brave” things you have done over the course of your lifetime?

- Drove through Chicago in rush myself.
- Apparently riding horses is brave! that has been my sport of choice since I was 10. I love it!
- Started CPR on a dying man 9.
- Jumped off a (40 ft) bridge into a lake.
- Gave media interviews about controversial political issues and allowed my name to be quoted.
- Spoke in front of large audiences of college students.
- Moved to NYC when I was 9 months pregnant with my 2nd child
- Decided to become a parent.
- Became my mom's conservator/guardian in my 20's when she could no longer care for herself due to the ravages of multiple sclerosis.
- Navigated through the world of special needs when my fourth child was born.
- Got counseling in my mid 20's when my parents divorced and being able to put aside my pride to admit that I needed help coping.
- Went to a refugee camp in Africa.
- Buying a house I wasn't sure we could afford.
- Deciding to have babies...and go through pregnancy and labor.
- Found my bio logical father and brothers and sisters.
- Got divorced and raise my son as a single mother (while dad playing Disneyland)
- Became a piolot - flying and successfully landing a plane.
- Getting my Masters degree.
- Started my own business.
- Moved to Vegas alone with less than $200.00 and only one suitcase containing everything I own.
- Went away to college.
- Parasailing.
- Confronting my boss about an affair I learned he was secretly having.
- I got married, had children and stayed married (this is not a joke!)
- White water rafting
- Confronted a pastor about not buying a car.
- Backpacked in bear country in Alaska.
- Moved several times to new states where I knew no one but my husband.
- SCUBA diving
- Mission trips to Kenya, Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama
- Quit job to embrace my calling to stay home and home school my children.
- Mothered a terminally ill child whom I loved as my own.
- Took fifteen 13 year old girls on a 2 week trip across the country (11 of which had their period at some point on the trip) maybe this was more NUTS than brave though.
- Being honest and open with others
- Fighting cancer with my best friend and then letting her go / helping raise my best friend's precious daugher sans best friend
- Keep attempting to do the right thing-regardless

What are your "Ultimate Fears?"
- The torture thing does it for me too.
- Having my child kidnapped and never knowing what happened.
- Not completing my goals.
- Not being patient with my children.
- My husband dying
- My kids dying
- Cancer or some other life altering disease that would rob me of my ability to be a wife and mom and stay independent.
- My kids being abducted and abused.
- Being homeless.
- Fire
- Car accidents
- Being destitute in any stage of life
- Drowning/not being able to breathe
- Failure. I haven't fallen down very often in life and so as the risks get bigger, the chances of failure are greater and are more public
- Being buried alive
- Failing at business
- Farting really loud in Yoga class and having no one around me to blame it on.
- Losing my teeth in a car accident
- Having someone throw hydrochloric acid in my face while I'm shopping for groceries
- Leaving my children motherless
- My husband dying a leaving me a single parent.
- Someone breaking into our house
- Something bad happening to my name it: injury, kidnapping, abuse, being bullied, not drinking enough milk, etc...
- Not having as much influence on my kids as the culture does. I fear them becoming self-centered, materialistic, shallow, and enamored with the world over Jesus.
- Missing God's purposes for my life because I let myself be too busy to hear His voice.
- That I will miss hearing God.
- With my mother having Alzheimer’s that I will develop it. And at times I might get a sensation in the head and then fear tries to enter in.
- Car accident.
- Not having enough money.
- Not having enough faith.
- Disappointing God.
- Outliving my body and my mind. (My grandmother lived to be 103 yrs. old.)
- Cancer recur.
- Being "alone"....not for a day or a week-end....but ALL the in elderly people.
- Not having enough money to live.
- Being paralyzed.
- Being terminally ill.
- Being confined to a wheelchair
- The unknowns of the future
- Destitution--although i have faced this and come through it so i need to get rid of that one no big deal:)
- Being fat
- Being unable to do adventurous things with my kids when they are adults

What are your "General Fears?"
- Not saving enough money for retirement.
- Home invasion (this is a fairly new one for me)
- I get laid off and we have no health insurance.
- Not having a good relationship with my kids when they are adults.
- Not making wise decisions.
- Not being healthy.
- Losing my friends
- Financial ruin - declaring bankruptcy.
- Mice.
- Looking back and regretting that I didn't do something, missed opportunities.
- Thunderstorms, lightening
- Doing speaking engagements
- Confronting our children when they are not following the Lord
- Parents in general don't parent anymore and we'll end up with generations of ill-mannered, selfish, entitlement-driven people who will ruin our country
- Stability at work/economy
- Health of my parents
- I struggle with a fear of abandonment since childhood. Also fear of man.
- Snakes
- My daughter losing the rest of her hearing and my husband and I not being fluent in Signed Exact English.
- Being a victim of a crime
- Failure
- Closed in places
- Heights
- Getting pulled over and having a warrant out for my arrest
- Someone who knows me will see me with my hair wet. I have very fine, thin hair and I look like a drown rat when my hair is wet.
- I don't spend enough 1:1 time with each of my children.
- I will grow old and will not have done everything I hope to do in life.
- Bees/wasps/ irrationally strong fear that I try to hide from the kids, but I'm usually less than successful.
- Finances...feeling like we're not saving enough for the future, both our retirement and the kids' college.
- Water...I never passed beginners in swimming lessons
- Kids or husband being in a car crash
- Water leaking into the basement
- My kids being harassed by peers
- Not being good enough, smart enough, patient enough etc.
- Being lost and lonely when my kids leave the nest
- Dying some kind of horrible death...i.e. a dreadful car accident.
- Not being a good enough wife/mom/daughter/sister/grandmother/mom-in-law/daughter-in-law, etc.
- Not being loving and compassionate enough. Growing old and bitter and grumpy because I didn't let God help me handle the challenges in my life in a positive way.
- Leaving a country that is so much less than the one I was born int
- Unexpected change not of my own choosing
- Living in a country w/out freedom
- Doing something incompetent at work
- Cancer
- Alzheimer’s
- Fear my life won't have meaning at a certain point....the way many of the elderly feel
- Drowning in an airplane disaster that happens over the sea
- Snakes
- Not educating my children the way God intended
- Being a widow
- Fnancial stupidity
- Losing my job
- My husband losing his job
- Having enough money for retirement
- Are my kids going to grow up and be upstanding citizens who choose to do the right things
- Not being healthy in my old age
- Something awful happening to my children.
- Not having enough money for retirement
- Losing my health, physically and mentally

What are your "Every Day Fears?"
- The furnace will go out before we have enough money to replace it.
- My child will not drink enough milk and will consequently be malnourished.
- My child learning her ABC's and numbers by the time she should know them.
- Getting the right home school material.
- That I'm wasting time.
- That my children will have their tantrums at inconvenient locations and times.
- That I won't get everything done I would like to.
- That I won't be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
- Making a mistake and not looking perfect or put together.
- Not making enough money to get us through the next year.
- Car accidents
- Sicknesses
- Bills
- Somebody making fun of my deaf daughter
- Forgetting to pick up my child from school
- Safety of family and friends
- Gaining weight
- Running into my ex boyfriend on the elevator
- Hurting someone's feelings
- I won't get my credit card bills paid on time
- The phone will ring and that long list of to do's won't get done.
- I'll say the wrong thing
- Getting lost.
- Having dinner guests and the food turning out really awful.
- Mental lapses. What is this survey, and why am I taking it?? :-)
- Kids getting hurt (physically, emotionally or spiritually)(especially by others)
- Am I raising my kids right
- Getting old
- Watching my parents get old

What things have you done to overcome your fears?

- Quoted Bible scripture to myself.

- We have a pet snake and I was deathly afraid of them but I forced myself to adjust and acclimate to it. I slowly got near it then touched it then eventually held it for short periods. I now can hold it for a long time and am no longer afraid.

- Confiding in my husband

- Confiding in trusted friends

- Tried to approach things logically. what's the worst that could happen? what would my response be if that did happen? take preventative measures when appropriate. for example: in marriage, work at communicating regularly, set dates, discuss expectations prior to events, etc. all this helps keep the relationship on track.

- Keep moving forward - the risks and challenges get bigger and I know that I can get stuck if I let fear consume me. So I prioritize an action plan and move forward.

- I am very selective who I leave my children with - you can say I am as proactive as I can be.

- Pray

- I only go to yoga if there is someone next to me that looks like they fart a lot

- I take the stairs so I don't run into my ex boyfriend
- I wear protective head gear whilst driving

- Read books-knowledge to me is power.

- Counseling: to learn to let some of my fears go because they are out of my control.

- I came to realize that fear controlled me and that life is for living. I allowed fears real and imaginary to steal from me. But it was also something that God used to show himself to me and to learn to trust him.

- Confessed my fears to others and asked for prayer

- Positive self talk.

- Buried my head in the sand and tried not to think about it (not productive but helps me sleep at night)

- Stick with things that challenge me.

- Try to keep learning so I'll reach a level of excellence in my job that will give me more confidence.

- Pray

- Think about other things

What is one thing you would do if you were a little bit braver?

- Go back to school.
- Bungee jump
- Run for public office.
- I can't think of a thing. I'm pretty adventurous and will try just about anything.
- go Para sailing
- Go back to college get a degree in teaching
- Leave everything here and go live in Sudan
- Scuba dive (i know, it sounds stupid; but when you are a poor swimmer and petrified of not being able to breathe, i guess this activity is right up there!)
- I would step out and do what I think I hear God telling me to do even when it sounds ridiculous because it usually ends up being right, and I regret it later, but at the time I'm not brave enough to stick my neck out and trust that what I think I'm hearing from God is really Him. It's the whole fear of man thing.
- Streak naked across the football field during super bowl
- I would speak at a National Special Education Conference.
- Skydiving or scuba diving.
- Speak up more often as He leads.
- Learn Spanish so I could speak it fluently
- Jumping out of an airplane looks kind of like fun.
- Jump out of an airplane
- This is difficult for me to answer. I would like more boldness in areas... but I don't know about bravery. In fact, when I think of that word, the connotation to me is that I'm doing the work rather than Him. Less of me "trying to be brave" and the freedom that comes with complete submission of my life to Him.
- Do more socially, I tend to be a little socially awkward
- Be friends with my mom

See what I mean? You all were great!

Stay tuned for my next blog posting - "Fear Itself - The Results: Part II" - where we'll take a look at your thoughts from the survey on the difference between Fear, Worry and Concern - along with notes from my speech at the retreat.

If you have any thoughts on the survey results above - I'd love to hear from you. Please post a comment now (just click on the COMMENTS link below).

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Can’t Believe I don’t Miss DiVo

Right about now I can imagine that you’re wondering what DiVo is.

Well – it’s like TiVo, but in Omaha we have the option of DVR (Digital Video Recording by Cox). To say you “DVRed” a show has no ring to it. No appeal. No catchiness. Who wants to sit around DVRing things? Apparently people in Nebraska do. This surprises no one. Well, not me. So DiVo is my ghetto version of TiVo.

And now for my shocking confession: there was a point in my very recent past that I was bound and determined to give up… my first born child (well, maybe both of them), go without food (perhaps just the appetizers – anyone who has been to dinner with me knows that I’d rather give up all 4 limbs than skip the appetizer – although I suppose that particular trade off would make eating the appetizer rather cumbersome) or switch from Target to Walmart (a huge sacrifice – I really am a very unbecoming person the moment I walk into a Walmart - the nice person I occasionally think I am makes an immediate dash for the door)– where was I? Yes, determined to give up my most prized and guarded expenditures - before I would give up DiVo.

And can you blame me? The ability to record shows (who wants to watch TV in real time anyway?), pause and rewind (I am always talking in the middle and missing something crucial - you do NOT want to watch television with me under any circumstance), and skip commercials (does anyone still watch those?) – was the best thing EVER.

All of that to say – we realized that since we need to save money for Africa – DiVo had to go.

I wanted to cry.

I wanted to take another job.

I wanted to sell both our cars and walk places. Well, maybe not walk places…that’s going a bit far.

So I put on my big girl pants and unplugged DiVo.

I thought I’d be suffering from post-DiVo depression (sure to be much worse than any case of Post Pardum depression, Miss Kirstie Alley!), but I have to say IT’S NOT THAT BAD.

Before you start picturing me bravely enduring this great sacrifice - right up there with World War II rations - completely reformed and no longer sprawled out in front of the TV watching all manner of educational programs (American Idol, American’s Got Talent, Kings, Coyote Ugly Reality Show, etc.) – know this. We found the loop hole. Yes…there is a loop hole!

THE LOOP HOLE: We discovered that with one special secret cord we could plug our laptop into the TV and watch all our favorite shows on our flat screen TV, but really from our computer (I only mention flat screen to illustrate we’re watching real, live TV – only it’s not real or live). Which meansssssss…we can still watch things NOT in real-time (my favorite shows days or weeks later), pause and endure only 10 second commercials. It’s kinda like my beloved DiVo…but FREE. Thank you $80 savings!

Now I just need a sexy name for it – LapVo? MacVo? Have I always been this nerdy? Probably.

This single realization has greatly enhanced my life (AND we get to keep both our children, vehicles, and crab cake appetizers).

What more could you want? Precious little.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fear Itself

I've compiled a list of my Ultimate Fears.

And while I was at it - I thought I'd go ahead and tally up my "general fears" and "every day fears." Why not be specific, I say?

I am speaking at an upcoming retreat at our church and the topic is fear.

At first I thought - this is great - I'm not an especially fearful person. I have so much great advice to offer! Ha! I often wonder at the fact that I don't know myself better.

To start, I quickly and overconfidently ran through my off-the-top-of-my-head list of things I've done that could be considered a little scary:

Here is my list (with associated "my fear scale" 1-10 - 10 being the most scary)

1. Attended a private school with a class of less than 50 for 12 years (k-11) and then switched my senior year to a public school (class of 500), knowing practically no one.
Fear Scale For Me: 4

2. Backpacked around Europe for 2 months (half the time with a friend/ half the time alone)
Fear Scale For Me: 1.5

Trip included
- Bungee jumping off the then highest bungee in the world: Fear Scale For Me: 3
- Ice climbing: Fear Scale For Me: 2
- Para gliding: Fear Scale For Me: 1
- Traveling by train alone all over Europe: Fear Scale For Me: 1-5, depending on the moment (I had read some stories about people cutting out your liver to sell on the black market while you slept in a train compartment – so that would push me closer to 5)

3. Backpacked around Vietnam by myself
Fear Scale For Me: 7 first day/ 1-3 for the other 59 days

4. Traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan 5 months pregnant (with my husband)
Fear Scale For Me: 1.75 (it is a warzone after all)

5. Had a child with Down syndrome and was accosted with all the bad things that could happen (if you ever really want to scare yourself, skip the horror flick and try reading about potential health, developmental or social problems for people with Down syndrome)
Fear Scale For Me: 1-4 (I curtail most concerns by simply refusing to read anything about this - probably not the best way to be prepared, but certainly the easiest way to avoid the fetal position)

So at first I was a little proud of myself - thinking that in some instances throughout my lifetime I've managed to pull off a little fearlessness (probably closer to complete and utter stupidity). However, if I was to be completely honest, with age comes the explicit realization that mortality is but a breath away and inching closer every second.

In the spirit of candor, here is my List of Fears, broken into 3 categories:

1. Ultimate life-long fears
2. General ongoing fears
3. Every day fears

As much as I hate to admit any of this...

1. Ultimate life-long fears
- being tortured (I know, I know - why? why the torture? who knows? but I am very creative with the ways it can be done - it's not so much death that concerns me - but all the pain and suffering preceding). Fear Scale For Me: 11
- looking back on my life at age 80 and realizing I spent my time doing things that just didn't matter at all (a life led with no real purpose) Fear Scale For Me: 9.5
- loosing all my limbs and turning into a stump person (I can clearly visualize my husband pulling me around on skateboard at the grocery store) Fear Scale For Me: 9.75
- entering the Great Depression and never coming out of it (thank you economic downturn - this one includes being completely destitute on the street with no food, scrounging in dumpsters, and rags for clothing - take-away to the under the bridge warming their hands by the fire “ghost of Christmas future” scene in A Christmas Carol). Fear Scale For Me: 10

2. General ongoing fears
- horses (who is brave enough to ride these? Are they crazy? Helloooooo! Christopher Reeves!) Fear Scale For Me: 9
- not saving enough for retirement (boring fear – but oh, so scary) Fear Scale For Me: 9.25
- someone kidnapping my child and holding her in their backyard tent for 20 years (I tailor this according to current news stories) Fear Scale For Me: 11
- producing a very hairy teenager because I have not been vigilant enough with organic dairy products Fear Scale For Me: 8

3. Everyday fears (perhaps this would be better labeled worry – things I actually worry about every single day)
- not being as wise as we should be with our finances Fear Scale For Me: 8
- Jensen getting ran over by a car in the parking lot Fear Scale For Me: 9
- someone abusing my girls when I’m not around (I try to be around a lot without being a “hover mother”) Fear Scale For Me: 11
- not doing enough exercises with Emme and permanently ruining her development Fear Scale For Me: 10

Alright – so there you have it! The List.

So, to help with my research for this retreat – I’d like to request your help. Would you mind giving me some feedback on your fears? You can certainly submit your thoughts anonymously.

Visit to take the “Fear Itself” survey.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Are we crazy?

So what does it mean to leave a great job, amazing friends, an irreplaceable family - to move to South Africa? Perhaps it means that we're out of our minds?

That being a really is tough.

Travel is great - who doesn't love travel? But uprooting your life is an entirely different thing. To rip your two beautiful children away from their adoring go during these economic times and hope to God (literally) that someone will support MOVE to a continent I've never been to?

Before I talk myself out of it...let's review the facts:

1. Since I was young I've felt called to serve overseas (I think my parents regret ever praying that the Lord would call us to the nations)
2. It's taken a long time for this door to open - and it finally seems like everything is coming together to go now
3. Is there a point in waiting? To take our kids out of elementary school or high school? Or wait till we're retired and have health issues? It appears to be now or never.

Am I scared? Who wouldn't be?

But Karl and I feel within the depths of who we are that this is what we are meant to do. He loves the place (Africa has always been on his heart), and I love the approach (partnering with Africans to change the world).

Anyone else want to come? I've heard there are a few mountains and oceans to make it worth your while. Perhaps catch a World Cup game? Tempted to visit us? Visist to join us on our journey.

If not...I'd love to hear where you'd like to move - any where in the world - if you could.