Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Details, Details

Details, details, schmetails.

Some would say I’m super detail oriented. Others would say I’m not detailed enough. Depends on whether I’m hanging with my artist peeps or my nerd peeps.

I’m a combination of both.

I don’t care too much what y’all think. I’ll just keep trying to use my powers for good not evil.

Over the last couple of weeks I inadvertently ended up with more details on my plate than I was really happy about. Much of it was food prep related, so I just pushed through. I am the hostess with the mostest, but I get cranky when I’m overtired. Between heat and humidity, busy grocery stores, weird technology gremlins, and ragweed with a vengeance …

Yeah, I want to whine a little about it.

On a routine basis, just give me a few veggies, EVOO, a skillet, and get out of my way. Oh, and a good knife. But then sometimes multiple occasions crop up all at once. All good occasions. But yeah.

I like the aesthetic.
On Sunday, from stage lights to ninety plus degree outdoor family potluck … I couldn’t remember a time before I was sweating profusely. Dehydration was probably imminent. As tempting as the thought of air conditioning and a nap were …

“You know, if we leave now, we could put food away, grab our bathing suits, and jump in the pool.”

The pool was almost not cold enough. When it started raining, no one made any effort to move.

The cattle didn’t move much either. Btw he's been gone for years, but I still refer to this as Uncle Frank's field.

I am getting a chance to catch up on sleep and self-care in general this week. Aaahhh.

Whilst working the Sudoku from the Sunday paper, I noted in the Hobby Lobby ad that art supplies were on sale this week. Namely oil paint (the brand I had been scoping out already), easels, and canvases. Sweet. I’ve had a project in mind for a while. I was totally waiting for a sale, as opposed to making multiple trips with the “40% off one regular item” coupon.

You didn’t know I paint? Don’t get too excited. I did one oil painting as a teenager, from a kit gifted to me by my great grandma. I think it was something sitting around she decided she wasn’t going to use. No, it was not paint by number. The finished product is in a box somewhere in my storage unit. A still life involving fruit, including a pomegranate … and at that point in my life I’m pretty sure I had never laid eyes on a real life pomegranate.

And of course you already knew I like Sudoku.

Because math.

And patterns.

And logic.


As I ventured into Hobby Lobby, I felt like I was taking a fashion risk with my attire that day. I texted a pic to a few friends asking for the over/under on obnoxious stares and questions. I have a talent for attracting attention without really trying, so this is nothing new but we might as well make it fun.

I must have found my people in the art supplies section, because one stare (that I noticed) and absolutely zero questions in the entire store. And I spent a lot of time in the art supplies section. Hmmm. How very refreshing.

Oh she must be an artist …

Yes and.

Sometimes my detailed nerd skills are best used when paired with someone on the artist end of the spectrum. I often hesitate to unleash the details and the numbers on friends whose feet are firmly planted in the “creative type” camp, because I know I’m going to BLIND THEM WITH SCIENCE. But I do it anyway if we’re working on a project where it matters. It’s why I’m there. Spreadsheets and databases and math? Do not be alarmed. I’ve got it under control.

I was working on a project the other day. Well it wasn’t really much work. When I’m in full on database mode, I’m going to shut the door and not come out for maybe several hours. But when throwing something together slightly less data-y, mostly it’s just the wheels turning in my mind as I go about my day. A text here and there. A google search or two.

We got to the “pray and think about it for a few days” point. (Yes. Thank you.) All the details in the world aren’t The Thing for deciding this one. Text conversations that veer off into left field to the point I’m not completely sure whether we’re conversing or writing a song … well they may not be The Thing either. But they’re amusing at least.

Details, details, schmetails. Deliberate time in the creative space, reading, and one night this week of sleeping ... like ... Rip ... Van ... Winkle (finally) are helping me rest up from a little too much detail. Or too much of the wrong kind of detail.

I heard someone say once … speaking about Satan tempting Jesus in the desert …  

“Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it.”

Keep looking up.

For more Details see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hot Spots

Not sure what my writing partner in crime was going for when she named the theme o’ the week, but fire and brimstone comes to mind.

Just today it’s apparent the ruler of Hades is going after some stuff and some people big time. It’s been that way for a few days. Or, you know, since the big fall.

Speaking of partners in crime, I am blessed with many of them these days. I must do a lot of crime. You’re all beautiful people. And many seem to be under attack by the purveyor of all things evil and en fuego. From the subtle … to the “well that’s kind of weird” … to the “ugh” … to the “Really? Really??? Really, you have got to be kidding me.”

No crime occurred here that I’m aware of. Other than the crime of leaving a piano at the curb for two plus weeks.

Minor annoyances are one thing. You know, like getting caught behind a twenty miles per hour farm vehicle in the midst of the urban jungle. At the very least suburban.

Sorry for the blur. Best I could do at the time. Note the whirligig bright yellow sun thingies. So at least there was some visual interest at 20 mph.

Some would say the flaming arrows arrive just about the time you start to get it together, or just about the time you start to do good works. A crisis of circumstance, a crisis of confidence, crisis schmisis. I don’t know, is any of that scriptural? There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence anyway.

To paraphrase a line from the movie Ragamuffin, or maybe quote it directly, but I don’t have time to look it up and make sure I got it right …

It’s going to be okay.

It is. Satan already lost. And since he gets to run wild in these parts he’s having a big ol’ party and destroying whatever he can. Smashing guitars, trashing hotel rooms, destroying lives, and discouraging whoever and wherever he can.

“You must be powerful to be attacked like that.”

I don’t know.

“You must have great faith to be attacked like that.”

I don’t know.

Some days I can’t wait to get out of the starting blocks and some days I just want a soft place to land.

Some days the eleven-year-old just wants to play with the sermon notes and roll them up into a scroll (or spitball launching device?) instead of noting the cool map of the cities of refuge. Cities of Refuge … latest nomination for future band names.

Cities of refuge. Or sanctuary (come on, say it like Quasimodo) cities. :-)

But then you catch a glimpse of that one moment of paying attention. Actually paying attention. There is hope.

Pretending to be at the beach while enjoying air conditioned comfort. It’s all parking lot out there. No soft place to land. Just hot spots. Massive asphalt hot spots.

There is hope. Well maybe, maybe not. If any of you actually purchase this, um, gem, I may have to remove you from my list of partners in crime.

Ahoy, matey.

While it may be a viable option for those with allergies who still aspire to own seventy-two cats … no. Just no.


Don’t do it.

So the plan is to keep plodding forward. Sharpen up my own flaming arrows. Throw around some mustard seeds. And, I don’t know, maybe set something on fire.

Jenn ... warrior princess.

Keep looking up. Even if it’s foggy.

For more Hot Spots see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Stormy Skies

With a few notable exceptions it’s been a dry, hot summer. I think we may have made up the rainfall deficit in the last week.

So many downpours. So much thunder.

Thunder punctuated the communion meditation Sunday. .A little “hey, listen to this dude” perhaps. It rumbled again during one of the baptisms.

No Sunday pool day.

Not sheltering from the storm. Just waiting for the “let’s pray”.

Fair warning … this week’s post will be about as scattered as the all electrons in the yard when lightning struck pretty much directly outside my window whatever day it was circa 4:30am.

Yeah, Jenn, but at least the rain washes pollen out of the air.

True. Have I mentioned I’m also allergic to mold? Kinda dying over here. My contacts so need to come out.


Sirens went off, but it was just the normal Wednesday noon test. I always thought the best time for a nuclear bomb attack would be Wednesday noon. Everyone would think it was just a test.

I was in a dining establishment the other day, trying to achieve some Zen over salad and a good book, really just wanting to mind my own business but of course having to field intrusive questions because attracting attention is my specialty … when a familiar song came on. It took me a few seconds … i.e. I couldn’t name that tune in one note … Hal Ketchum. Sure Love. Nineties country. Hey, I lived in the south at the time. It’s what you do.

I busted open a moving box of CDs tonight, looking for my Mitch McVicker’s The Grey. Sure enough, I found some Hal in there, too.

I would count the steps from here to heaven
Every heartache I was given
Tip my hat and walk through fire
To find sure love

I would chase old ghosts and watch them scatter
Drop old dreams and watch them shatter
Lose myself and all I own
To find sure love

Yes, I am listening to it now.

On a complete random side note, I’m on a roll of speaking great band names into existence this week. Thus far we have …

Morbid Pollyanna
Sarcastic Annie
Hot Pink Scrutiny

A few weeks ago I did run across the list of suggestions for what became known as Uncle Bo’s Band. That was a semi-last minute inspiration since we hadn’t really decided yet and it was go time. I’d publish the list of names, but, well … you’d judge me. And my friends. And Bo. Only a few of the suggestions were anything close to serious. I also currently can’t recall exactly where I tucked that piece of paper.

Stormy skies.

I can’t keep track of the changing skies. It’s beautiful and colorful and ominous and overwhelming and sometimes all of the above depending on which way you turn.

As much as the enemy continues to attack with distractions, he seems to be attacking the last few days with mass apathy. Over dinner a friend mentioned how right we all were about the attacks ramping up just about the time you start getting it together. Right after a mountaintop experience or even just an epiphany or a word from the holy spirit. Sometimes he wreaks havoc with a crisis, and sometimes it seems we’re all walking in our own private Twilight Zones.

Maybe we just have too much Olympics on the brain.

Maybe I’ll pop the contacts out, pop some Benadryl, and plop myself in front of the tv. And let God work on the message and strategery for now.

Tomorrow is another day after all.

Striped skies. 

Keep looking up.

For more Joy in the Journey see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

has anyone noticed?
i have fallen down
i’ve been here so long it’s
like my home, it’s like all I’ve ever known
i’ve heard you’re a refuge
so be my hiding place
till these mountains are moved
and these clouds are taken away

i know you’re flying high
but you’re still coming to save me
you dive inside of my life
you just rush in to rescue
my heart, it’s so scarred it’s hardly beating
you’re my hope beyond all I’m feeling
so break through my
stormy skies

has anyone noticed?
i have come up lame
with nothing to lean on
and nothing to say
just one thing I’ll pray
just one thing I’ll pray
just one thing I’ll pray

~ Mitch McVicker’s “Stormy Skies”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Joy in the Journey

“I’ve got dibs on the Fogelberg song.”

“There’s a song?”

“Oh wait, it’s Michael Card, not Fogelberg. I still have dibs.”

“Still don’t know it.”

As much as the word “journey” often makes me cringe from the clicheness, I still use it. We all have one. We’re all on one. And while “it’s not all about you”, finding the joy and joyousness along the way is essential to maintaining hope and sanity. 

Close enough to sanity.

Don’t stop believing. Just sayin’.

Satan has been creative in the distractions he throws my way lately. I’m on this little journey I expected to be a temporary annoyance. It’s one of those things I’ve put off for a while but really need to take care of. I can handle anything for a couple weeks, right? We’re in week four of waaaayyyy too many hours a day of my hands being tied. Almost literally, coincidentally.

“It’s like a full time job, isn’t it,” my partner in this crime – I mean journey – said yesterday.

I’m not sure how many more weeks this is going to last.

I’m not sure it’s helping.

I think it’s trying to teach me patience and empathy, so there’s that.

I’m trying not to miss the joy.

Although today I’m one more question-from-a-stranger away from losing it. Follow-up-questions-and-comments-from-a-stranger might completely put me over the edge.

I’m trying not to miss the joy.

Joyous pictures in the sky over the parking lot.

I get to journey into the city and explore different haunts than usual at least. I like the road. I like exploring.

This dude needs some joy.

I rarely understand God’s plan and timing. Occasionally in retrospect it’s all crystal clear. Occasionally in the moment it’s crystal clear I’m supposed to be there. In rare moments the glimpse I see of the path ahead turns out to be how it actually all goes down.

I try to stay tuned in … but those distractions. Yeah. Hmmm.

Good distraction or bad distraction …

Finding beauty in chaos … taking notice of what God has thrown in front of you … that’s all good.

Some would say these weeds need whacked. Whatever.

Getting bogged down by tedium … I’m not sure. It could be God holding me back until the appointed time … or trying to point me elsewhere. Or could be just a @#%!$*+ distraction from Hades.

Go this way. Oh wait, you can’t yet, go this other way. Oh wait, go this other way, except your hands are tied. Good luck with that. What’s left now? You could do this … surprise, it’s going to take all day.

I. Need. To. Accomplish. Something.

Maybe want not need.


When the universe is not cooperating, I suppose you just look to the God of the universe for help on that one.

I am super excited about some plans that are coming together. I have no idea what I’m doing. Thereby further contributing to me being on edge. The answers will come. The help will come. The journey thus far has been a little weird. Not sure why I would expect the rest to be any different.

I’ll just keep seeking joy in the journey. Preferably more often than not.

Finding some joy with Matt Damon / Jason Bourne. True confessions time … action movies sometimes give me motion sickness. Had to avert my eyes during the final chase scene.

Keep looking up.

For more Joy in the Journey see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

I’ve been burying a mountain
I’ve been running uphill
I’ve been pushing up a big wave
That I’m carrying still
I can see over the mountain
And I know that it’s real
There’s a river made of roses
Just up over this hill

~ NEEDTOBREATHE’s “Mountain, Pt. 1”

But what about Pt. 2? Where is Pt. 2???

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

So Yeah, About That

It’s been another week of discombobulatedness.

That theme I was brewing last week? Still brewing. Not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes very little goes according to plan.

Friday I was being all efficient, or so I thought. Errand 1 … check. Errand 2 … a bust. Item 3 …

Item 3 …

Anyone … anyone …

Bueller … Bueller …

I’ve been nailed by this phenomenon before, but I didn’t have time for it this particular day. For a couple months now there have been signs on either end of New Albany warning of nightly lane closures from 6pm to 6am. Fine. So when one is trying to make it to an appointment in the campus area at 10am … should be smooth sailing, right? Scoot into town right after rush hour. Easy peasy, right?


You assumed! Never assume!

The construction gods were not smiling upon me, and the freeway was down to one lane inbound, thereby turning the road into more of a parking lot than something where forward progress is actually made.


I had Nigel the GPS fired up for the sole purpose of predicting my arrival time. Eventually I had to admit that not even the hot British voice emanating from my phone could work the space-time continuum in my favor. I called from the parking lot, I mean freeway, and let them know I wouldn’t be there.

Planned item 4 for the day was meeting up with my sister for a movie later that morning. Whilst I contended with the Giant Parking Lot of New Albany she checked alternatives on her phone. We could hit Easton instead of campus if the movie times worked.

But they didn’t.

I was headed toward Easton by then – instead of taking the usual northern route – so okay, I’ll head in 670 and drink coffee and read next door until movie time.

Is it just me, or does the sign seem to indicate Theatres 2-5 are in the men’s room???

Fast forward to the end of the movie, which we thoroughly enjoyed. There weren’t a ton of people in the theater – it was an 11:40am weekday show. The credits were just starting to roll, and of course we were staying for the credits because often there’s bonus footage afterward. And I want to see the credits. And I like having a minute to contemplate what I’ve just experienced. It’s what you do.

A couple of older ladies entered the theater, presumably for the next showing. They were completely oblivious to the fact that people were still watching the movie. Oh the confusion. And the lack of silence.


“Completely oblivious” is not an exaggeration. They could have shut up and waited at the door. They could have sat quietly in nearby empty seats. One can always move to a better seat after the lights are up.

But no.

Out of maybe four or five partly occupied rows out of what, maybe twenty in the entire house … they chose ours. We assumed (oh never assume) they would sit at the end and stop the ruckus.

But no.

Oy vey, they climbed past my sister and then me. “We’re still watching the movie,” may have been uttered, but I’m not sure our seasoned citizens had their hearing aids turned up sufficiently.

At this point I assumed (oh here we go again) they’d choose seats a couple down from me.

But no.

This lady would have squished my purse with her behind had I not snatched up my bag at the last second.


My personal space had been invaded. My olfactory senses were being hit with the smell of a large popcorn almost in my face. And … wait for it … germophobia won’t stop us from practically sitting on strangers in dark movie theaters (okay, that sounds really bad, sorry), but it will make us bust out the hand sanitizer.

Popcorn and hand sanitizer. Anyone hungry for lunch?


They never did stop talking.

Creeper shot of the Golden Girls Gang.



The rest of the afternoon went reasonably according to plan. Refreshing.

After inhaling a popcorn/hand sanitizer combo, you know what’s refreshing? Something with the word “chunks” in the name.

Don’t get too comfortable, though. The plan only held for a couple of hours.


Only minor annoyances ensued. Like a five minute errand taking more like thirty-five thanks to what was lined up in front of me. But then while standing in line I discovered my spirit animal is now available as a plush toy.

Somebody buy me one of these.

I’ve become accustomed to things not going according to plan. My plan anyway. I dodge and I weave and I adjust and I change. And at some point I don’t even remember what the plan was. Or whether it mattered.

I was struck the other day by Brennan Manning’s paraphrase of Colossians 3:11:

There is only Christ: he is everything.

And then this C.S. Lewis quote spoken in a eulogy last night …

“But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends "You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them. They are, like all beauties, derived from Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing. At this feast it is He who has spread the board and it is He who has chosen the guests. It is He, we may dare to hope, who sometimes does, and always should, preside. Let us not reckon without our Host.”

There is only Christ: he is everything.

Keep looking up.

For more So Yeah, About That thoughts see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at