Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Separate Entities

What do you mean “Separate Entities”?

Like looking at this problem as its own thing. As its own separate entity.

Oh okay cool.

Compartmentalizing. That’s what I call it.

Also you are not your sin.

I don’t know if I always referred to it as compartmentalizing, but I have compartmentalized for a long, long time. I’m doing it now, in fact. There are some serious flaming arrows of Satan flying around here, but given that I can’t do a whole lot about them except pray … I’ll pray and get a little work done.

Pray without ceasing.

Compartmentalize. Compartmentalization. Say it five times fast.

One of my favorite people, Ryan Blair, has a book coming out next week. So does my dear sister, Jenny Simmons. Ryan talks about compartmentalizing quite a bit. It’s how you get stuff done and live your life at the same time. And since we are people who

get …

stuff …

done …

compartmentalize and prioritize.

I turned down joining various launch teams (so that paragraph above is a little book launch love I’m sending out instead) because, seriously, everything happens in early October. Including this little thing called Ragamuffin Camp, which means I have stuff to get done.

And I have a concert to promote and coordinate the night before.

Hello, I’m Julie, your cruise director. And I love what I do. And I compartmentalize.

Sometimes ten minutes here and ten minutes there, but I compartmentalize.

Oh hey, numbers are moving. Time to shut everything else out. And in case you didn’t know, the nursery is in the lobby.

In today’s smart phone addicted, short attention span world it’s a wonder we get anything done.

Oh hey, I could do that and I’d like to do that, but these two things over here are higher priority. Shutting you off and maybe I’ll get back to it today, and if I don’t then probably someone else has picked it up because it’s not all about me.

Thank goodness.

And if it doesn’t get done at all, hopefully it wasn’t that high priority.

Sometimes I have to compartmentalize and prioritize self-care. Because it’s that important. The whole secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others thing.

Don’t you read C.S. Lewis while getting a pedi?

Coffee in a calm environment = self-care = venti iced green tea.

Cooking is often therapeutic for me.

Broccoli cheddar soup. Heaven in a stock pot. Could someone just cook me some now? ‘Cause I’ve had a long, weird day.
Mexican Italian fusion. Yes, it’s a thing, because I say so.
The start of all good recipes. Onions and EVOO in a skillet.

Family time ... also important.

Sorry, I’m busy comparing ink with Superman.

Sometimes, especially when the arrows go from smoldering to flaming, we just have to call in the prayer partners for help.

Prayer is always a good strategy.

Squawking like the Aflac duck? Not sure about that strategy.

And today’s strategy? Lots of prayer. Breathing. More prayer. Show tunes. And an executive decision to finish the final edit of this later … and … and … it was going to be to walk next door and thank God and Anselmo for Mexican food … but … given the weather had turned into hope-you-started-building-an-ark-a-while-back conditions …

Home for warmer clothes and my own cooking before class it was. Sautéed onion, tomato, and avocado on leftover mashed potatoes, topped with cheddar. I don’t know what style of cooking you call that, so we’ll just call it Jenn’s awesomness.

Tomorrow is another day.

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the daisies. 
Keep looking up. 

For more Separate Entities … see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at life4inga.blogspot.comNote that after this post we will be on hiatus until possibly as long as November as we retreat to the wilderness.

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
~ Luke 5:16 (NASB)

The sun will come out tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
There'll be sun

Just thinkin' about tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow
'til there's none

When I'm stuck with a day that's grey and lonely
I just stick up my chin and grin and say, oh

The sun will come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on
'til tomorrow, come what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow
You're always a day away!

When I'm stuck with a day that's grey and lonely
I just stick up my chin and grin and say oh

The sun will come out tomorrow
So you got to hang on 'til tomorrow, come what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow
You're always a day away

Tomorrow, tomorrow I love ya tomorrow
You're always a day away ...

~ “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie”

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Under Pressure

Do-do-do-do-do-do-do. Do-do-do-do-do-do-do.

I’m under pressure to get this written and cross several things off my to do list.

We also know what I need to fire up on one of my portable musical devices. I haven’t even gotten that far yet. Busyness has ensued the last couple of days.

In a good way.

And I love it.

As much as I’d love to dive into creativity land for hours today … um … I had homework I just finished. Wednesday night class for a few weeks. It’s not a huge amount of reading, but as much as I’m used to breezing through books and articles and blog posts … this is in workbook format. The page is really wide. I feel like I’m shifting my eyes back and forth, back and forth.

First world problems. I’m being weird about this, right?
Mexican food will make it all better. If I hurry up and finish this, I might have time before class.

Chain food, but these were decent. Consumed on Taco Tuesday. Mexican two days in a row? Duh.

I have been productive this week. I’ve accomplished some promo work, some planning work, some customer service work, some editing work, some hello-I’m-Julie-your-cruise-director work. And I visited the BMV to update my address, get a new license with said address (which isn’t actually required as long as the database is up to date, but I’d rather not explain Ohio law to random people who don’t know … and the pic is oh-so-much improved … that alone was worth the cost), and change my voter registration. Fast and efficient on a Wednesday afternoon not at the end of the month. Plus I had a lovely conversation with the BMV employee who wanted me to give him piano lessons, but I’m so not prepared for that right now and referred him to a friend.




Oh I should have popped my head in the sanctuary tonight to see if the pressure differential had changed & these came down. You know, child, when you don’t want them tied to your belt loop, balloons might fly away …

There’s the pressure of being blessedly busy, the pressure of being not-so-blessedly busy, and then there’s the pressure others try to put on us. In the name of helping. In the name of major assumptions.

Never assume. But we all do anyway.

Channeling my inner Audrey Hepburn … “Thank you.”

“Thank you.”

“Thank you.”

I’m grateful for friends who get it.

And I’m kind of surprised sometimes by people … believers in Christ even … faithful church attenders … who cause me to facepalm. Well not in front of them. That would be rude and very much not loving your neighbor.

“Yeah!” the Facebook shriekers said, “Those people are horrible! And wrong! And anyone who agrees with them is vile!”

Get off my newsfeed. All y’all haters and people who don’t think they’re haters but sure quack like a duck.

Get off of my cloud.

Get off of my lawn. Bahaha!

Do you trust God or not trust God? That is the question.

I don’t recall the scripture where he says to panic.

Remain calm. Trust me. Trust Him.

There’s some pressure going down at the old car dealership at the mall today.

Keep looking up.

For more Under Pressure … see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you, no man ask for
Under pressure that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets

It's the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming, "Let me out!"
Tomorrow gets me higher
Pressure on people - people on streets

Chippin' around, kick my brains 'round the floor
These are the days - it never rains but it pours
People on streets - people on streets

It's the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming, "Let me out!"
Tomorrow gets me higher, higher, higher...
Pressure on people - people on streets

Turned away from it all like a blind man
Sat on a fence but it don't work
Keep coming up with love but it's so slashed and torn
Why, why, why?


Insanity laughs under pressure we're cracking
Can't we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can't we give love that one more chance?
Why can't we give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love?..

'Cause love's such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure
Under pressure

~ Queen / David Bowie’s “Under Pressure”

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pivotal Moments

What moments do you consider pivotal? Significant?

Births? Deaths? Marriages? Moves? Job changes? In less than a week there have been three deaths, one wedding, and one birth all within my church family. Some expected. Some expected not quite yet.

People have been breaking out into Elton John’s “Circle of Life” from The Lion King.

What, you don’t break out into song in the course of your daily life??? Get with the program. Listen to some show tunes.

Some moments aren’t so obviously pivotal until you’ve traveled down the road a piece.

Like that time I was having a bad day and asked for one of the severance packages being handed out. My wish wasn’t granted for another year “because I was too awesome”. Okay, thanks?

Good things happened, though. Over lunch with my former coworkers a year or two later I was asked if – like everyone else who had moved on – leaving was the best decision I ever made.

Yeah, it was. But I had no idea what I was doing at the time.

Pivotal moment … separating the children at the lunch table … one on the left …

… and one on the right. Maybe just a genius moment. 

That’s fairly typical of some of my more pivotal moments … I had no idea what I was doing at the time. Modern conventional thinking says you shouldn’t admit that you have no idea what you’re doing.


God knows.

Almost three years ago I went to see a movie I’d been talking up to all my friends. About a musician I liked. You wouldn’t think going to see a movie was pivotal. A fun MLK day excursion for entertainment with sister and a friend, lunch with the boy, and cream puffs in German Village. No big deal. Come to think of it, one of the gentlemen from the church hosting the screening introduced himself and asked what church we were from. “Oh, I was just there,” he said. That would be for a funeral. I was there, too.

But God. He was just getting started.

A few months later the movie peeps announced retreats they were holding that fall. I signed up and I showed up. I could use a vacay. A retreat. A respite. The mountains of Pennsylvania sound lovely in October.

But God.


Fast forward a few months. I somehow turned into a Mitch McVicker groupie. I met Mitch at the fall retreat. 2015 included a concert (the same day as a wedding, maybe not so coincidentally) … a concert hosted by my church … and a concert requiring a road trip back to sacred ground in Pennsylvania.

And I somehow turned into a production assistant, promoter / booking agent, occasional public speaker, and whatever miscellaneous roles are required at a film company. Now a nonprofit film company. A nonprofit film company that, as I like to tell those who would receive the message well, “thus far makes PG13 Christian movies”. That got attention over dinner the other night.

Pivotal moment ... I chose the veggie delight on the basis of “very tasty sauce” and also …
… ugh, ewww, ick …“thick yellow sauce” does not sound good.

The fortune was life-changing, however. 

Okay, I’m predicting the next movie will be PG. And we’re about more than just the feature films, although the ministry kind of grew out of the feature films. (But God.) You can read more about the mission here.

Many more months down the road … my head is spinning a bit. I’m prepping for another Mitch concert. (I need roadies! Get with me.) I’m prepping for Ragamuffin Camp, which may involve a little more than just packing my bag. And I’m brainstorming, praying, and researching nonprofit fundraising and development, biblical models of those, and yeah, I’m learning. Totally by the grace of God I’ve networked into some great resources.

Oh! And that movie I helped make – Brennan – just came out on DVD!

Nothing much going on here.

I’m sure more pivotal moments are right around the corner. Maybe I won’t be so surprised by them this time.

But God.

Moon over Kaiser.

Keep looking up.

For more Pivotal Moments … see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

The life you chose
There's never a list for it
Of cons and pros
You find what you love
And you commit

And you're looking so far down
The road so well
That you could forget your crown
Isn't just somewhere else

You get bumped and bruised
And worse
For choosing the road
Less traveled
You know the reward is rich
If you persist through
The darkest battles
Open your eyes
Your prize is right
Before you somehow
Whatever you do
Just don't miss now

You're on a bus
Don't notice the miles
And months fly by
To the rest of us
You're living
The highest kind of life

I know the price you pay
Is costlier than it seems
But it's worth another day
The end justifies the means

All that you're working for
Could blind you to
The treasures all around you
So don't miss these
Moments, please
The joy before
The crown you seek

~ Downhere’sDon’t Miss Now