Monday, March 31, 2008

The Junior College Bully

I first realized my passion for the written word during my second year at San Jacinto College. It must have been passion, either that or stupidity. I’ve since learned that taking American Literature twice because you liked it so much the year before at North Harris County College is borderline insane.
Being my second time to take Am Lit It stands to reason why I did so well in the subject. I particularly loved the short story, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Research on the story revealed hidden symbolism that I found extremely intriguing. Deciding to share my brilliant findings with my professor and classmates at San Jac was not appreciated—especially by one fellow student.

This charming young woman, fresh out of high school decided I was a threat to her grade curve, and decided to bully me. I know…I’m embarrassed for me too. My books and papers were purposely knocked off my desk, I was tripped going to my seat—this girl hated me. I was eventually forced to drop the class. Ha, ha, Miss bully, I didn’t need the credit anyway!

I’m telling this embarrassing story because it came to mind while reading one of my favorite Bible stories from the book of Genesis this morning. Joseph, the favored son of Jacob was guilty of the same thing I did. He shot off his mouth in front of people who had the ability to make his life miserable. Telling about his dream where first his brothers, then his whole family bowed down before him, caused extreme resentment among the brothers. Thank God the junior college bully didn’t throw me in a well or sell me into slavery. (Although I think she would have if she could.)

As believers, we will all eventually face being hated or rejected because of our beliefs. The question is how we, as children of God, approach these situations. My advice, don’t “drop out” like I did in junior college. Look at these times as an opportunity to practice your faith. God is either using the situation to teach that person something, or, you never know, He might just be using it to strengthen your faith.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He Knows My Name

Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"

"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). John 20:10-16

It struck me as strange that Mary didn’t recognize Jesus when she met Him face to face, at the tomb. Why didn’t she know who He was? This same Man that befriended her, that cast demons from her—that loved her, wasn’t even recognized by her. He even asked her a question and she still didn’t know who He was…
Then Jesus said something very important…Mary. That’s all He had to say, and immediately she knew who called her by name.
Even today people don’t recognize the Christ. Still, He continues calling people to Himself. Listen closely, He knows your name.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

First Place...Success!

This past Sunday marked the end of my first ever “First Place” Bible study. The class began on January 6, 2008 and went ten straight weeks. I’m proud to announce a sixteen and a half pound weight loss. God revealed a couple of things to me during this Bible study I’d never realized before. You see, for most of my adult life, I convinced myself that if I had a beautiful, thin body, I would probably be tempted to do things that a little fat girl would never think of doing. God showed me that these thoughts came directly from Satan. Another thing I realized in the study is that I had been trying to lose weight to please three very wrong people…me, myself and I! The main reason anyone should lose weight is to give God a healthier temple in which he can dwell—period.

I didn’t make any major diet changes; suffering with Crohns Disease, that’s almost impossible. Having to avoid most common diet foods such as salad, raw vegetables and citrus, I have to make changes where I can. So here they are…

Annette’s top five diet tips:
NUMBER 5 - 100 calorie packs
They have everything from Doritos to hostess snack cakes in 100 cal. packs. They’re awesome!
NUMBER 4 - Pringles Low Fat Potato Chips instead of original Lays
I don’t eat the fat free Olestra type…remember, bowel disease (that would be suicide)
NUMBER 3 - Hidden Valley Fat Free Ranch
It’s great for the occasional salad, but most of all it’s great for dipping pizza crust and low fat Pringles, and pretty much anything else
NUMBER 2 - Cut down
You really don’t need to eat half of a pizza at one sitting, save some for lunch tomorrow
NUMBER 1 - Give God First Place
When we give God first place in our lives, everything else seems to fall into place

May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4

Friday, March 7, 2008

Three Nights At The Brown Palace

A light dusting of snow covered the antiquated downtown Denver building. I was happy to be free from the confines of the cheap strawberry scented vehicle. We were approached by a tall man wearing a doorman’s costume reminiscent of the 1920’s. Gold cording embellished his shoulders, brass buttons ran the length of his long coat; the ensemble completed by a stunning black top hat. “Good evening sir, madam, and welcome to The Brown Palace.” (Insert long low organ chord here.) Desperate for a nice bed, we hurried to check in. A prim young man offered a slanted glance and directed us to the elevators. There before us stood wooden inlaid elevator doors encrusted with a pair of winged dragons. To exit the elevator was to enter…da, da, daaaaa…The Overlook Hotel! (FYI, that’s the hotel from the movie, ‘The Shining’).

Seriously, I’ve never been creeped out by a hotel before, but this place pegged out the freak-out-o-meter. Hallways inlaid with spectacular pink and gray granite. Our floor was the only floor that didn’t overlook the grand foyer; instead the hall was lined with a wall of glass bricks. There’s no end to the spine-chilling opulence that is the Brown Palace.

Day One, Monday: Dan is off to work early in the AM. I open my computer to begin writing, get bored immediately and head for the 16th Street Mall. Four hours of walking and shopping produced one plastic encased scorpion necklace for Connor. Did I mention it’s freezing, and I’m severely out of shape? I stayed out until 3:00 to miss the cleaning woman…of course she arrived at the same time I did. Exhausted, I was forced to find refuge elsewhere. I hear piano music playing in the grand foyer; I’ll go check it out. Oh crap, their serving high tea and I’m wearing my “I’m An Alien” t-shirt and my knock-off coach purse. I found a bank of couches off the servant’s entrance and made myself comfortable. I called my daughter who lovingly played a sound byte on her computer for me…it was ‘REDRUM, REDRUM’, another ‘Shining’ moment. I held my room key tight, because I’m quite sure that at least ten of the fifty odd hotel workers that passed by wanted to eject me from The Brown as a vagrant.

Day Two, Tuesday: Dan is off to work early in the AM. Unable to sleep in the night because the 24” tall pillows have caused a terrible neck ache, so I decide to nap. Enter hotel worker one. Knock, knock, “Room service. Here to pick up your breakfast table.” I roll out of bed and grab my bottle of Diet Coke from the table before she wheels it away too. Did I mention they apparently didn’t have vending machines in the eighteen-whatevers, so in keeping with authenticity there are none in The Brown? She informs me, “Ma’am, if you continue sleeping I suggest you put the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign out.” Oh, thanks for that info. After I chained, bolted and ‘signed’ her out, I got some quality writing in; got cleaned up and went out for lunch. But first, I find hotel worker two, inform her I’m leaving, so please clean the room now. Oh, and leave an extra bar of that flesh-extracting soap, because the air is so dry it’s a necessity. Upon returning to the room with my burger and fries I realize I’m not alone. Enter hotel workers three and four, the flower ladies. I guess they didn’t have fake flowers back in the day either, because it’s these two ladies job to replace and water the in-room flowers and plants. While they extract dead leaves from the foliage, I eat my burger and watch the ending of ‘Disturbia’. Not a good idea when you’re staying in The Bates Motel! Deciding to finish my nap from earlier, I crawl into the bed and fall asleep. I dreamed Jack Nicholson axed a hole in my door, stuck his head in and said, “Here’s Johnny!”…another Shining tie-in. Dan comes back from work and we get ready to meet an old friend from Houston for dinner. We met at a place called Maggianos and ate enough Italian food to choke a horse. And then it happened…THE BROWN PALACE REVENGE. I spent the rest of the night and the better part of the next morning puking up enough Italian food to choke a horse. Did I mention I had to catch a plane to Houston at 11:00 AM?

Day three, Wednesday: At least we had a great flight…NOT! I was fine until the pilot decided to surf the plane in. I did, however, make it without losing any bodily fluids.

Honestly, I had a great time away with my hubby. It’s nice to get away and reconnect. But the best part of all is coming home to three loving kids, the wonderful grandparents that stayed with them, and a Weimaraner that won’t let me out of his sight. What’s the moral of this story? If you stay at The Brown Palace, beware of the little boy riding the tricycle around the hallways, (my last Shining reference) and…there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home!