Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Kevin has a bedroom

OK, we're ready - bring on the child! He now has a place to sleep and call his own. We spent last Saturday at yard sales buying a twin bed, bed safety rail, booster seat for eating at the table, stroller, tricycle, and some cool toys and a couple of books. It was my first time experiencing yard sales first-hand and it was really neat because we got everything we were looking for, and then some (but we didn't go overboard.) And we felt good that we were supporting the "reduce, reuse, recycle" principle of lower impact living.

We decided that because Andy's sister and 2 kids are coming to visit next week for two weeks that we might as well move the bedroom furniture around and utilize the new bed. So, we switched around the guest room into the office and the computer into the craft area and Kevin's bed and dresser into what had been the guest room. Yesterday Andy bought a mattress, so we just need a mattress pad to put under the new sheets we bought and - voila! - we'll have a new bedroom.

There's lots of reorganizing and putting away and giving/throwing away of stuff to make the new guest room/craft room into a livable space, but we're working on it.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Hiding Kale

Unlike Forrester, kale should not be found. It is a very strongly flavored leaf vegetable related to cabbage. It is so chock-full of vitamins and minerals, though, (it's a great source of iron and calcium and it doesn't come from a cow!) that it's hard for me not to try to eat it. Last night I found one way to start. I ripped up a big kale leaf into small pieces and added it to a casserole of baked ziti. The cheese and sauce flavor overpowered the kale flavor and voila, I was eating kale and enjoying it! Granted, there wasn't much kale in there, but it was a start. And also, I must note that there are still lots of foods that I pick around the green things in, no matter how small and unflavorful they are. So this was a big step and I was so proud of myself while eating it that I was smiling. Andy didn't understand that, but that's ok. I didn't understand his dancing (read: flailing) around the kitchen while we were making dinner, either.

Another week and a half for further word

I just talked to Traci, our wonderful adoption coordinator at our agency, and it turns out that our lawyer will take all of the children that he has custody of in for medical checks, including measurements, at the beginning of July. So, we can hopefully expect updated info on Kevin in a week and a half or so. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Adoption status update

Frankly, there is no update! We haven't heard from our adoption coordinator since Monday, so something must be up. She's usually extremely prompt and keeps in touch a lot. She said on Monday that she'd be talking with the lawyer on Monday or Tuesday and finding out where our case is (his office? court translation? family court?) and when we can expect new photos of Kevin and his height and weight measurements so that we can send him some clothing. I'm also waiting to get an updated/corrected email address to request verification that our INS papers made it to the embassy since we received our clearance 2 weeks ago. I attempted to send a message yesterday and it was returned as undeliverable.

Two weeks of CSA booty (as in loot)

I never posted last week's CSA offerings, so here they are (although I'm bound to forget something because it was so long ago):

  • Lettuce
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Scallions
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini
  • Hummus

This week's share includes:

  • Cherries
  • Garlic scallion
  • Lettuce
  • Kale (we're all so excited about this... NOT)
  • Swiss chard
  • Potatoes
  • Flowers (decorative, not edible)
  • Multi-whole-grain bread
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini (and a recipe for "Poor Man's Crab Cakes" which uses shredded zucchini - I'm gonna try it)

Monday, June 21, 2004

Saw 2 movies this weekend

Andy's Father's Day celebration consisted of hanging out in front of the TV watching a couple of movies. We rented Mystic River and The Missing. I had no idea what "Mystic River" was about until I read the jacket in the store. It was pretty good, although I missed some of the middle of it to run an errand. Andy caught me up and it all made sense in the end (well, actually I didn't get all of it, but I know all that happened in the story.)

"The Missing" was pretty disturbing, as are all violent movies. I'm surprised I watched as much of it as I did because it didn't have a lot going for it in terms of what I enjoy in a movie. I expect I stuck with it mostly because I was playing around with some new craft tools and supplies while watching. There was one exchange that I've been pondering since watching the movie, so I'll mention it. Tommy Lee Jones's character meets the witch/spirit man who tells him, "You have two dogs inside - one good and one bad." The question is posed as to which one is winning. Jones's character replies, "Whichever one I feed the most."

Isn't that like all of our lives? We have a good part and a bad part. They live together inside of us and in each moment we choose which one to feed and let out to play. We stew over negative thoughts about other people or judgments of their character and actions to "feed" the bad part of our selves. Then we let the bad guy out to play by lashing out at those around us. Maybe we feed our bad self by driving aggressively in retaliation of someone who cut us off or by glaring at the person in front of us in line at the grocery store because they can't count their money fast enough. Or maybe we feed our good selves by leaving space in front of our car for someone to change lanes or smiling at the cashier who just faced an irate customer. And isn't it interesting that when we feed our bad self we in turn feed other peoples' bad selves and when we feed our good self we feed other peoples' good selves?

What are the cicadas up to these days?

What are the cicadas *up* to isn't necessarily the best question as most of them are now down on the ground, dead. And not just dead, but blown apart dead. I'm sure some of the pieces and parts strewn around the yard are from birds eating them, but I can't imagine that every cicada has parts of it eaten. I think that when they die they dry up to the point that the wind can separate their parts. Either way, they exist mostly in pieces these days, although we still have a few hangers-on making noise in our trees and flying around the yard. The poor guys who are left just can't get a date, I guess. Any female cicadas out there reading this? If so, come to our yard and give these desperate dudes a chance - they just want to pass along some DNA to the next generation.

Oh, and I almost forgot (well, ok, I did forget, but only for a moment) - the first of the annual, "dog-day" cicadas was making noise in our trees yesterday! Yup, one of the green and black guys that comes out every year in groups of 10's per yard rather than 100's or 1000's like the 17-yr ones. The annual cicadas don't usually come out until late in the summer, so I was surprised to hear him.

Finding TeamDandy

Using Sitemeter, I've discovered that a number of visitors find my page by searching Google, Yahoo, and Ask Jeeves for the lyrics to the Pat McGee Band's song "Beautiful Ways," which I mentioned in a previous post. I find that interesting, although I can't describe why. Maybe it's just that obvious.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Intermingled Lives

When we got married, we painted wooden shapes and glued magnets on the back as our wedding favors. On the tables at the reception were glass bowls with floating candles in them, which people got to take home (although we still have a stash of them if anyone wants one who didn't get one :-) At our wedding shower, everyone got to take home a cute birdhouse favor.

When we go to family members' houses or even to friends' houses, we often see the aforementioned favors - magnets on the fridge, vases and birdhouses on shelves. Pieces of our lives - the most special moments, in particular - exist in our loved ones' homes. Now we hear from friends and relatives that the photo of Kevin that we emailed to everyone has been printed on various forms of paper from various types of printers and hung up for all to see. Although I have photos of friends and family on our walls and refrigerator, I am still surprised to hear how many people have hung Kevin's picture in their homes. My cousin put Kevin's picture low on the refrigerator so that her son can get used to seeing him so that they can be friends (well, cousins :-) when he arrives. My in-laws' in-laws have hung up his picture as a reminder to keep him in their prayers.

The idea that we exist in the homes of other people is so huge to me. Maybe it's just because I like to feel included. Maybe it's because we all like to feel included. Maybe it's because this is what Jesus meant when he talked about sharing our lives in community and fellowship. I may not be physically present in my friends' homes on a daily basis, but pieces of me linger there, and I am remembered. I never considered that people who have sent me photos of their children that I've hung on the refrigerator might feel this way. What a blessing it is to experience life entwined within the lives of others as one body.

I am so proud of my dad

Last night we attended a small retirement party given for him by some of his coworkers. He has been in the MD school system for 37 years as a middle-school teacher and principal and recently as a pupil personnel worker. For a few minutes last night, I followed my sister-in-law, Deb, around as she tried to "dig up the dirt" on Dad's school life. It was all in fun, mind you. You know what? Nobody had anything bad to say about Dad! Granted, it was his party and we wouldn't expect any downers in the crowd. However, not only was there nothing bad to say, but there were consistently positive comments. "When I got married last fall, Bob made a big sign for my office door when I returned." "Bob never had a bad day - he is always so happy and encouraging." "Bob leaves me notes about what a good job I did when I had to complete a new task."

What is so cool about all of those comments is that I was not surprised by anything anyone had to say about Dad. Whether it was about his happy and optimistic demeanor or whether it was about him making someone's day by encouraging them to step up to a new level of success or whether it was about his team-building skills through water-gun battle, I was not surprised. I can imagine my dad doing all of those things for all of those people and hundreds more who weren't present. This is because that is who my dad is. He is optimistic and encouraging in his core - it's who he is with his coworkers and it's who he is with his family.

My dad is outnumbered in our family - although he shares in the 4:1 ratio of college math majors, he is on the low end of the ratio when it comes to "People persons" vs. "Task persons." I'm not a people person, so to hear how great of one he is from people who are with him every day at work, was a really neat experience. I know that he's supportive of his family - he makes up games for us to play when we get together, he calls me at work a couple of times a year just to say "Hi," he always asks how our lives are going (and he really wants to know), etc. But to be convinced that he is a light not only to his family members but also to everyone whose life he touches is a really cool thing.

Yeah... I'm so proud of my dad.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Three years ago today

Happy Anniversary to us! Today marks the 3rd anniversary of our wedding, which was oh so fun and exciting. I told my mom in an email this morning that it sometimes feels like we've been married forever and it sometimes feels like we just got married yesterday. I suppose that feeling happens whether you've been married 3 years or 30 years. Thanks to Andy for being such a great husband.

HeadCheese's official welcome

Not that both of you who read my blog would necessarily notice, but there's a new addition to my BlogRoll... Welcome HeadCheese!

HeadCheese and I go way back. Well, not that far, I suppose. It was maybe 1998? that we met. We met in an online chat area at the Specialized Bikes website. In 1999 (I think) Andy and I flew to Dallas to meet HeadCheese and another chat friend, OTB (Over The Bars.) We rode in a charity event in searing heat, had a barbecue, and then took a mountain bike ride (also in the searing heat.) It was a tiring weekend, but HC's and his wife's hospitality shone through and we had a fun time. For the past few years we've been out of touch, so it's nice to be back-in-touch and what better way to be there than through blogging?

Site updates

Blogger recently added a bunch of new capabilities and I've incorporated some of them into my blog site. So, if you read this through a feed that shows you all new and updated posts, I apologize that I had to recreate my entire blog.

Monday, June 14, 2004

I'm a Migraineur

Have you heard that word before - migraineur? It's the fancy word for a person who suffers from migraine. Actually, would I be called a "migraineuse?"

Migraine is a condition characterized partly by headaches. When we refer to "migraines," we are usually referring specifically to "migraine headaches." Some people have migraine (the condition) without ever having a headache.

There are three clinical types of migraine headaches (besides the basilar arterial type, which are far more serious than the usual brands.) Common migraines occur with no warning. Classic migraines are preceded by an "aura" (visual disturbances). Complicated migraines occur with other neurologic symptoms such as difficulties with movement or speech.

I have complicated migraines. Not every migraine that I have comes with other neurologic symptoms, but some of them do. Imitrex, the popular migraine medication that you've seen advertised on TV, is not indicated for use on complicated migraines as it can cause vascular episodes such as stroke. All of my migraines do start with an aura, although sometimes I'm asleep when that occurs and I then miss the aura and my chance to take medication. The medication I take is none other than over-the-counter Aleve (Naproxen sodium)... although I take it in a non-over-the-counter dosage. That was recommended by my neurologist and I have to say that of all the medications I've tried for my migraines (prophylactic as well as abortive), naproxen is the only one that has helped at all. It only helps when I take it during the aura with enough time left before the pain starts. Once the pain has started, no medication I've tried, including Aleve, does anything to help my symptoms.

For further information on migraine, check out the following links:

One interesting note about my migraines is that when I'm on the way "out" of a migraine, I become creative. I'm never wildly creative like an artist, but my thoughts and ideas are more creative than usual after the peak of a migraine. I find that my writing and craft projects are noticeably different at those times. I expect that the differences are only noticeable to me, but it's an interesting phenomenon, nonetheless.

Friday, June 11, 2004

What could possibly go wrong?

During our Wednesday community group meeting (bible study/home group/small group), Andy expressed our high level of excitement about Kevin which is tinged with hesitance due to the possibility of something going wrong. One of our friends asked what could go wrong to make them say that we can't adopt Kevin? That was a good question.

  1. Kevin's birthmother could reclaim her parental rights. I don't know the legality of how/when she is able to do this except that I know she may not once our adoption of Kevin is final in the Guatemalan courts.
  2. A local (Guatemalan) family could choose to adopt Kevin. A local adoption has precendence over an international adoption. Again, this is only valid until our adoption is final in the Guatemalan courts.
  3. Our paperwork could be denied by the Family Court or the PGN in Guatemala. There are various reasons why adoption cases are denied, but that is rare. More often, a case is kicked out of the courts because the paperwork is somehow not complete or correct (according to whichever particular judge or secretary is looking at it) and then the adoptive family makes corrections and additions and their case is reinstated. This causes a slow down far more often than a complete halt.
  4. Guatemalan or U.S. laws could change. Both Guatemalan and U.S. laws affect all of the paperwork that we have done and all of the processes that are still to be done. A change in law could slow down or even completely halt the process. For instance, last year Guatemala ratified the Hague Adoption Treaty (proponents of which want to move adoptions into the state's hands rather than the private sector) and all adoption proceedings ground to a halt while the new laws were being worked out. Those people who already had referrals (as we now do) had to wait an indefinite period of time, after which their paperwork would no longer be valid. However, Guatemala's Constitutional Court ruled that the treaty had not been implemented properly and adoption proceedings were restarted via previous methods. There are various changes both in the U.S. and Guatemalan governments that could affect the rest of our process, from the paperwork and court case to visa and traveling issues.

I do want to point out the last sentence of the first two items above. Once our adoption is finalized in the Guatemalan court, Kevin is legally our child according to Guatemalan and United States law. Therefore, Kevin cannot be "taken away" from us after that point (unless Maryland finds us to be abusive or neglectful parents as they could with any parents).

With each step of our case, we will be closer to certainty that this will work out. The first step is Family Court. Once our case leaves that it moves into the PGN (Secretary General's office) where a DNA test will match Kevin with his birthmother to make sure that someone else didn't place Kevin for adoption without his birthmother's consent. Once that match test comes back positive and our case moves out of the PGN, we will feel far more secure. It is then that we will likely feel "safe enough" to send a small photo album and a letter to Kevin to introduce ourselves.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Our dossier is Guatemala-bound

Unbelievably, our dossier is on its way to Guatemala! That is unbelievable because I paid for it to be shipped via FedEx to our agency by this afternoon. Strangely, it arrived yesterday at 1:00 pm and they were able to start it on its journey to the lawyer in Guatemala before it was even due to arrive in Georgia. Amazing!

We also received our INS clearance yesterday. The full title is "Notice of Favorable Disposition Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition." This comes as a result of us filing our I-600A (which is a petition to file a petition) and getting our third set of fingerprints taken and cleared. Our lawyer wouldn't be able to request the DNA match test in the PGN (which is the step after family court) if we didn't have this clearance, so we're excited that it is done. Now, there's nothing left for us to do, paperwork-wise, to make this happen! We'll just sit around twiddling our thumbs until we get the call to travel. Just kidding! We've got lots of prayers to say, people to notify, a bedroom to paint and furnish, etc. We'll be plenty busy, especially if our paperwork continues to move along at the fairly quick pace that it's been going so far.

This week's CSA goodies

I have to say that I'm far more excited about this week's CSA offerings than I was about last week's. Here's what we picked up yesterday:

  • Broccoli
  • Chard (beet tops)
  • Kale
  • Herb plants (basil, thyme, lemon stuff)
  • Lettuce
  • Yellow squash
  • Turnips
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Strawberries (that's what I'm talkin' about)
  • Honey wheat bread
  • Cookbook

We've eaten the DELICIOUS strawberries (yes, I meant to yell that) and the sugar snap peas (sauteed in the shell). Andy loved the peas; I ate a few and tolerated them. I've never eaten pea shells before, only the peas themselves.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Various goings-on

The raspberries in our garden are ripening. We harvested our first 20 berries yesterday. I also pulled weeds in the garden and some of the flower beds. It was the first day I've done any yard work in awhile because of the cicadas. They are still around, but not flying all over like they were. The ones that are still alive are loud but they stay mainly up in the trees.

I also played ultimate frisbee yesterday. It was way hot, but at least the cicadas weren't as much of a problem. I did have 2 run into me, but my reaction wasn't quite as bad as usual. There were also thousands of japanese beetles, but because of the cicadas, I couldn't worry about them. I could only concentrate on one bug species at a time!

We put up some of the new molding/trim in our dining room. The walls are light green and the trim is white. We also bought a big mirror whose frame Andy spray-painted white. We haven't decided for certain on a light fixture yet. We haven't found the perfect one - and we probably never will since what we really want can't be found for the price we want to pay. But I know we'll find something good enough.

Our agency's lawyer in Guatemala who has guardianship of Kevin was tearful when he heard that Kevin has a new family. That makes me feel good to know that he cares about the kids so much.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Comments on Sappy Parent Feelings post

Because I'm cheap (and my bank account is shrinking at the speed of light), a friend of mine couldn't post his whole comment in my limited comments section so he emailed the following to me (I'm quoting with permission):

"Sappy?" Hmmmm... I'm not sure I like the term, but I certainly know personally the meaning behind it. I suppose I must be a full-bore, no-holds-barred sap, as a result of my fatherhood.

My favorite sentiment on the concept (and unfortunately I can't remember the source) is that "the birth of your child is like a sweet, blessed wound that never heals." I thought it was an odd statement, until the birth of P, and suddenly I found that part that prided myself on my ability to remain aloof and emotionally disconnected from perceived suffering cut away - leaving a gaping, ragged hole in my heart that now ached at every hint of suffering and fluttered with every hopeful moment. Where before I could turn away and remain unattached, I now see my children's faces on the suffering. Other's people's joyful moments also tickle at the scar that never heals and never hardens. I'm a better person for having God cut away that hardened tissue of my heart, and that's why the wound is truly a blessed one.

I just wish I could go back to the days when I didn't cry at the movies, dangit! ;-)

With (sappy) love and just of hint of a watery eye,


Sunday, June 06, 2004

Sappy Parent Feelings

I've read and heard that parenthood makes people sappy. I've even watched that happen to friends of mine. But I didn't expect it to happen to me even before meeting our son. Alas, it's happened - I picture myself telling our news to a very supportive friend and I cry thinking about her reaction; I see little kids at the Home Depot Kids Workshop wearing their orange aprons and banging the heck out of some wood and I tear up thinking about doing that soon with our son. The list goes on and it's only been 3 days since we made our decision. That doesn't bode well for my "I hate to cry" stance.

This morning in church, Andy and I lit a candle together. I can't say what Andy's thoughts were on it, but I did it to be a physical representation of the light of Kevin's soul that we hope to fuel as he grows up. When I sat back down, I prayed so earnestly that he can know God's love right where he is right now. The feeling inside was incredibly strong - rarely are my prayers that heart-felt. Then I had a "vision" of Kevin in his current home and I came up behind him and put my arms around him and squeezed without mercy while kissing the top of his head. I even felt that in my vision. I didn't open my eyes during the next few worship songs that were playing because I didn't want to let go of the moment. Needless to say, I cried.

All of this happened after spending last night dreaming of being in different modes of transporation (mostly cars but also one boat) that went over cliffs and crashed at the bottom. I woke up wondering whether the copy of our referral acceptance letter that we had notarized the night before was some big mistake - that I had just sent my life over a cliff and was about to crash at the bottom! After thinking it over for a few minutes, I realized that the focus of my dream(s) shouldn't be that I crashed, but that I kept getting in other cars with other drivers. I told this to a friend at church this morning and he said, "So... God's trying to tell you that you never learn from your mistakes?" I suppose that's possible, but I don't think that's what it was about. I was being shown that even when it feels like I've made a huge mistake in my life, I can try again. And I know I will have more than my share of these moments as a parent. And really, isn't parenting very much like sending yourself over a cliff and being 100% vulnerable? Yup, my tear ducts are about to get a good rinsing.

Friday, June 04, 2004

It's a Boy!

Although we already had our hearts and minds on this particular little guy for awhile now, we made our official decision to make it official that we're pursuing adoption of a 2-yr old boy named Kevin! You might think that's a lot of "officials" in one sentence, but that only means you haven't dealt with adoption paperwork before ;-)

I can't post any further details about him, especially not until the adoption is final (which will be in a couple of months.) The adoption will become final in Guatemala at which point he will legally be our son even before we travel to bring him home. The purpose of the trip to pick him up is, well, to pick him up (duh), but also to complete INS paperwork at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala to bring him into the U.S. legally.

We expect it to be 3-4 months before we get the call that the adoption is final and it's time for us to travel. We will be given updates along the way as our file gets moved through the courts. There is always a chance (until the final judge's decision) that this will not work out for some reason, but it's unlikely we'll have any problems that large. But, it's always possible, so we're keeping that in the back of our minds and warning others to do the same - just in case it does happen.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Our first CSA goodies

Yesterday was the first scheduled pick-up of farm products from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). We are sharing a share of the Howard County Growers CSA with our friends, the Sitnicks. Kirsten picked up this week's cooler of goodies and in it are the following:

  • Arugula
  • Bok Choy
  • Spinach
  • Squash Blossoms (yes, the flowers)
  • Marjoram
  • Basil plant (in soil)
  • Raisin Bread
  • Cherry Jelly
  • Garlic Scapes (the top of the garlic plant, not the cloves)
  • Another unidentifed green
  • Asparagus

We have a LOT of greens to eat over the next week! I don't know how long they'll all last, but it's going to be tough for Andy and me. I'm just learning to eat lettuce, so these items are quite the taste-bud-stretchers for me. Andy can eat a lot of vegetables, but not the same kind over and over. We'll see how it goes! I've got lots of meal planning to do.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Talking about our child's history

Now that we're learning about children who could become ours, it's a good time to mention our policy on disclosing information about our child's history.

Because our child's history (I will use the word "his" since we will most likely adopt a son, although we don't know that for sure) will be his history and not ours, we are going to let him determine what is publicized, when, and how. It will not be up to us to disclose our child's personal history to anyone but him. At the point that the child decides to disclose his information to family and friends, then it will be on his terms.

Those of you who know our travel plans and see pictures of the foster family or orphanage where we pick up our child will know whether he was in foster care or an orphanage. However, we will refrain from answering such questions as "How long was he in an orphanage?" and "Why did his mother make an adoption plan for him?"

This is the widely accepted stance on childrens' histories because there is a high possibility for inaccurate information to be spread around. Suppose, for instance, that we tell Andy's brother about our son's history within earshot of his son. His son is not old enough to process all that is being discussed and may pass along to his brother or to our son, even, that our son's mother did not want him or took drugs or whatever. First of all, it's not appropriate for our son to hear about his own history from someone else if we have not found the appropriate time to disclose everything to him. Second, the incorrect history or tactless way of describing it could be passed along to numerous people without our son's approval for the information to be publicized.

So, although we don't intend to be rude or keep secrets, there is one thing we will keep secret and that is our child's history. We will tell him age-approriate information as time goes on and then allow him to discuss with his family and friends those details which he wishes to share.

Adoption Status

Still no word on our legalized documents from the Embassy in DC, but that's to be expected. However, we've made the decision to pursue adopting a toddler over adopting an infant if that will work out. There are 2 little boys on our agency's waiting list and we received some information on the older boy. The younger boy didn't have information in the agency's database, but our coordinator is researching what further info she can get on both of the boys. We'll receive that as soon as the agency receives it from the lawyer in Guatemala. Another family has inquired about the older boy, so he may be a moot point from our perspective. We'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Preparations, training, and other actions requiring discipline

The reason that my previous post matters is not just in the case of home improvement. It's certainly an issue with my spiritual life as well. I've often heard the journey of spirituality likened to preparation for a race. You can try really hard to run a double-marathon, but the trying itself will get you nowhere. You have to train for it. Training is very different than trying. And I'm not a trainer. I don't have the discipline to stick with things that don't show immediate results. Is that immaturity? Probably so. But even in times of great growth in my life, I've not been happy or even tolerant of training and preparation. The spiritual disciplines have never provided me with enough fuel to go farther in the race. I'm sure that they would if I trained myself with them, but everytime I try to do that, I fail. It doesn't last. So I wonder... what would get me to train for something? What would be worth it to me to prepare for?

In Devotional Classics this week, our group is reading excerpts from Jonathan Edwards (I can't recall the book the writings are from). He states, ""no one is ever changed either by doctrine, by hearing the word, or by the preaching or teaching of another unless the affections are moved by these things."
The affections to which he refers are those things which touch our desires - fear, anger, thirst, etc. One of the reflection questions is, "Describe a time when you were suddenly moved by a doctrine, or a bible verse,
or a sermon and were subsequently changed." Obviously, the follow-up to that would be, "What affection caused your change?" Hence, my questions of "What would get me to train for something? What would be worth it to me to prepare for?" are answered by this. But now I need to consider which affections most move me to change. I don't have that answer yet.

The preparations are the most important part, but I hate 'em

This weekend we got ourselves into some home improvement craziness. Ever notice how improving your home always requires a lot of removing and destruction? And then after the destruction comes the really annoying preparations - sanding, patching, leveling, vacuuming, priming, scraping, measuring, etc. I hate that stuff. I was sanding some paneling in the dining room so that I could put primer on it, and it was grueling work. OK, not really grueling, but so terribly annoying. I told Andy (who was ripping up kitchen tiles) that I hate sanding. I hate prep work. I just want to roll the paint on! Andy's reply was, "The preparations are the most important part." I'm glad that I have him to keep me in line and to do the prep work - he enjoys it, or at least he looks like he does.