Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A funny thing happened at the gym...

I saw a guy trip on a treadmill because he was texting. That is all. It was really funny. Don't text and walk, people. It isn't worth it. Your life (or at least your pride) could be at stake.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Feeling like a failure

I've known for a long time that I have the unfortunate habit of placing my value and self-worth in what I do, and how well I do it. But that came to a head this morning. I have been working hard on a Christmas e-card project for MCH. On Friday, I spent much of the day trying to iron out the last-minute kinks so I could send it out to our staff and have the weekend to check for major upload problems.

The plan was that it would be sent out to our donors and alumni today. However, at about 9:30 I was called in by my boss. Apparently one of the changes he had suggested to the text didn't make it through to the final copy. Instead of saying that we had established "an agreement" with another residential care facility, it said we had established "a partnership." These are very different legal terms with very different implications. Sending out the card with "partnership" implies a lot of relationship that doesn't exist. So as a result we have tabled the card and will not be sending it out.

My boss assured me that Christmas wouldn't end just because we didn't have an e-card, but I still feel like my mistake has cost us a lot of money and waste. I just wanted this project to go well and not have any big snags. It is very disappointing to work so hard on something and see a mistake that you failed to catch. There is no one I can blame but myself and that makes it really hard to forgive myself.

So now I am sitting here at work and beating myself up for my stupid mistake. It just makes me feel like a failure. I know that I need to forgive myself. I just can't stop being mad at my mistake. I want to do a good job at work, but I also know I can't expect to be perfect. It would just be nice to know that other people make similar mistakes. Right now I feel like the only dummy in the joint.

Calling all perfectionists: Any suggestions?

My boss just came in and reassured me. He caught me with tears in my eyes. Darn these emotions!!!

The only problem is reassuring myself.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

She's Gone

My grandma Petersen died today.

It is pretty hard to even describe what I feel right now. Let's just say that when I found out I was on my way to speak at two churches and I had two teenagers with me in the car. It made the whole experience a bit surreal. I still don't think it has really hit me. I'll get back to you when it does. For now it just stinks.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

No Regrets

I don't remember where I read this, but it came to my mind again today. When asked about the greatest trial in her life an elderly woman answered, "the worst trial was the one that never came." She was, of course, suggesting that her greatest trial was worrying over trials that never came. The negativity of the "what-ifs" ruined the many days of blessing that God was trying to give.

I know that recently I have been captivated. I'm ashamed to admit that it has not been by God or holy things, but by fear and worry. It seems I go from one worry to another. Anxiety is my constant bitter friend. I have been working at releasing this to God, but it is amazing the grip that this foolishness has on my life. In the moments of pleasure - moments without worry - I find myself suddenly feeling like something is missing and I get nervous. But the only thing missing is the worry! And that is supposed to be missing!

A few years ago, after completing my application to Baylor, I was asked to take the StrengthsFinder. One of my strengths on this test is that I am strategic. Even when I first took the test I agreed that I could see that strength in my life. But as I joined the staff at Baylor and learned more about the StrengthsFinder system, I was amazed.

Chip Anderson, the mastermind behind the test, often talked about how each strength also had a shadow side. For those with "strategic" minds the shadow side is that we often fall into worry and obsession over the "what if" questions. Knowing this gave me insight into why I am the way I am. It would be easy to wish that I were just not a strategic "what ifer," but I know that God created me with a mind that asks these questions. And many times asking what if questions helps me to think through things I am doing and anticipate issues before they become full-blown problems.

It is in the perversion of my strength that I find my greatest weakness. And I don't think that this is a new concept. In fact, David, the great emotional and passionate leader, was often lead into problems and sin because of that very same emotion and passion.

I don't want to reach the end of my life and regret worrying over trials that never came. So, for now, I am trying to learn what it means to live life in balance - keeping my strategic mind in check! While it seems like a full-time job at times, I know that I have a great God cheering me on and holding me up.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lessons from the Home

One of my assignments at work today was to retrieve articles about the canning the Methodist Children’s Home did in the 1930s and 1940s. Apparently, in 1934 the Home purchased several thousand empty Ball canning jars. They gave these jars to United Methodist congregants across Texas and asked them to fill the jars and return them to the Home to feed the children.

While I did not find any articles about the Ball canning drive, I did find inspiration while looking through old Sunshine Monthly magazines in the Home’s archives. It was truly inspirational to see God’s faithfulness to the Home through the years—years that included economic depression, war and more than a few “lean” Christmases. I found this quote from David Swing in the December 1941 issue of Sunshine Monthly. I think it is a good reminder to remember the true source of contentment during the holidays.

“Let us learn to be content with what we have, let us get rid of false estimates, set up all the higher ideals—a quiet home; vines of our own planting; a few books full of the inspiration of a genius; a few friends worthy of being loved and able to love us in return; a hundred innocent pleasures that bring no pain or remorse; a devotion to the right that will never swerve; a simple religion empty of all bigotry, full of trust and hope and love—and to such philosophy this world will give up all the empty joy it has.”

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not an everyday occurance

Yesterday (or was it Tuesday?) we got a text message from our Kenya. It was pretty cool. At first we were really confused by the long number on the text message, but then we figured it out.

Fred, our friend, was been communicating with us because we are going to be sponsoring one of his kids and paying for their high school. That is, if they pass their grade 8 tests! Good luck Esther and Peter! We are hoping to find people to join with us to help pay for the other child. If you are interested let me know.

Fred is a great man. He and his wife Salome took over the care of his two brothers' children and now cares for his own children and his nieces and nephews. Fred is an amazing man of God.

Here is a portion of an email he sent us last year. I included my own notes in brackets.

"Now what is worryng me is how they will get their high school education. the fees is ksh 24800 per year [$313.15 for the year of school] without the stationeries and uniforms [those run about another $200, but only need to be purchased once]. The rest are still in primary level so their school fees is mainly needed in 2009 for three of them That Esther, Dennis and Moses who are doing tyheir grade 9 in 2009 and with salary of 9000 kenya shillings per month [$113.78] you cannot feed , cloth them and be able to save for them for education. I remained alone in the family with my small sister who has 3 children and her husband too doesn't have a job after all our parents also died due to old age. My father died in 1994 and my mother 2004 leaving us alone. God willing the group from Baylor University will be coming to Kenya by May this year, my request isthat please see how you can help me even if it means looking for some clothings for them or any way you see can help [they couldn't go because of the conflict after Kenya's elections].

Thanks and may our ALMIGHTY GOD give you wisdom and strength so you get sponsors for this family

Looking forward to hear from you,


This is not intended to guilt anyone. TRULY! I just wanted you to be aware of an opportunity to immensely bless a great brother in Christ. The work that Fred does serving missions groups by working in the Gracia guest house is a very necessary and honorable work.

Let me know if you want more information, or if you would like to offer to help Fred.

Here is a picture of one of the kids we met. Isn't she a doll?!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Straight-edge against Walmart

Wow. I just made myself laugh with that title. When I was a teenager I used to refer to myself as "straight-edge" because I was a punk wannabe who "didn't drink or do drugs." In all reality, I was an awkward kid with punk-rock friends who were in a lame punk band. Sorry if any of you guys are reading this. You know I love you! :)

Basically, straight-edge kids were the kids that were too cool to do foreign substances. I guess you could call them the tee-totalers of the late 20th century. If your still confused click on the straight-edge link to learn more. :)

Now that my "back in the day" lesson is over, I will get on to my topic of choice. Why I am "straight-edge" against Walmart.

Don't get me wrong. I used to LOVE Walmart. Really. It was pretty much my favorite place to go in college because, like me, it came alive at night! But in the past few months I have been experiencing some frustrations with the corporate giant.

First, I started noticing that there were ALWAYS long lines to check out. It didn't matter if it was 1:00 on a Thursday afternoon in April, it was busy. Then I started noticing how hard it was to get assistance. When we bought Marc's bike it took an hour to get the "right" associate to come and unlock the bikes so he could take it for a spin. Not only that, but we had to walk to three departments to try to find this "magical associate."

That being said, you are probably thinking, "Carrie, you just sound peeved, are you sure you want to advocate "boycotting" Walmart just because of a few annoyances?" I would respond, "Friend, you know that I love a good deal, but it just isn't worth it. And this is about more than long lines and bike locks."

And it is. Because as I started getting annoyed I also decided to get informed. I recently watched a documentary on Walmart with my dear husband. While it wasn't the best movie, it opened our eyes to the more sinister side of the big blue store.

If you're interested, you can go to this website for some facts about the company. Or do your own research. I know that for me, the big kicker was the way they treated their overseas workers. I have a real heart for factory abuse overseas. This problem is detailed in the DVD we watched. I know the DVD is available on NetFlix. And there is a great article from November, 2008 on this site.

I'm not trying to convince you to boycott Walmart. Honestly, I understand that with the current economic situation it is hard to boycott "Everyday Low Prices." But Marc and I have found that the last few months without the largest private employer in the world have been quite peaceful, and not too expensive either.

Sorry if this seemed political, because it isn't about politics at all-it is about people. And I wanted to stop putting my money in the hands of a company that doesn't seem to hold people as their number one value.
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