Monday, April 30, 2007

Got My Aunt Moved!

Success! In one very long day -- spanning 560 miles and 12 hours, Jackie and I drove to Sweet Home, Oregon to move my aunt "Tod" up here to live closer to us in a residential care facility. The drive was relatively easy -- no traffic tie-ups and no close calls (my gosh, people were behaving on the roads yesterday! No maniacs at all!), but getting Tod to leave behind anything was nigh unto impossible. We only had one KIA Sorento SUV to get stuff into, and knew that even stuffing that to the brim, it would never all fit into the studio apartment she has, but we did stuff it and bring her up. We unloaded everything and placed it all within easy reach on tables or in high boxes, so she can go through it and realize all the stuff she has that she no longer uses, and the amount of space she has in which to store it. I told her, "Go through it and hang and place your absolute favorite things away first, because you will see when you are getting to the limit of the capacity of this room, and then the rest will have to go out, and we'll take it and donate it..."

Jackie and I both have to work all week, but Jackie has Tod all set up for dialysis and doctor appointments, and we'll both stop by today as we can to see how she is progressing. I may have dinner with her tonight at 5:30...

I think she's really happy so far! She is relieved to be up here closer to people who give a rip about her. She said twice on the way up to each of us, "When I got sick a couple months ago, it was awfully scary to be far away and all by myself" and "I don't want to die alone." Universal sentiments, I'm sure! Two reasons WE wanted her closer. It's hard to advocate for someone when they are a state away!

She is quite frail but I was amazed at her ability, with just a little boost, to get herself in and out of the SUV four times. And she walked a lot yesterday, because after we got her settled in (as best we could) she agreed to go to Jackie's for dinner. Now, that's HUGE! You can't usually blast her out of her home, but I think she is really, really glad to be close to relatives again and it not going to let the opportunity pass the way she has for so many years in her life.

Jackie's youngest grandchild Jamie Lee was all over her before and after dinner, and that lit Tod up. Jamie is irrepressibly irresistible -- just an absolute charmer -- and she ran her small almost-three year old hands through the texture of Tod's recently permed curly hair several times, asked to climb into her lap, and traced the folds of skin in her neck with her fingers, just grinning and delighting in her. Older people don't get enough tactile stimulation (do any of us?) so Jamie was "just what the doctor ordered," and I think Tod will be back for more of that!

It's good to have her closer. Phil made her a banner that reads WELCOME HOME, TOD and she will awake to that this morning. I placed four of her favorite pictures on her walls (not too high, not too low, to her exacting specs) and I think she will find her surroundings (except for the many boxes still needing to be unloaded) very much to her liking. She looked tired but very, very happy!

I have to run off to work now, but wanted to remind you why I have been absent from this blog.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Another Good Book to Read....

Here is another book seekers might enjoy -- especially if you are at all skeptical.

"Letters from a Skeptic" by Dr. Gregory A. Boyd and Edward K. Boyd.
I would love to remove all skepticism about the God of the Holy Bible. This book and LEARN THE BIBLE IN 24 HOURS should certainly do that.
For the rest of us, who are convinced -- like Alison, who wants a role to play now that she is fully convinced -- I want to point you to Pastor Meenan's website once again, because if you will go there and then select Audio Lessons and then scroll toward the bottom of the list you will find two named, "Seminar Witness, Part One," and "Seminar Witness, Part Two." Pastor Meenan is not heard in either of these (he is the teacher in all the others!), but he invited two evangelists to speak about how to witness to others. I listened to it last night and it has been revelatory. So many of us think we have to know chapter and verse of the Bible in order to be an effective witness -- and it just isn't true. Some of the greatest evangelists in history -- DL Moody among them -- were and are just simply on fire because of their relationship with God and they can't shut up about it! I feel a lot like them, but my witness is in the written word mostly because that is the gift/passion I was given. But I, too, need to step out more and speak about the Trinity. After listening to "Seminar Witness" one and two, I am girding my loins to do just that. My many testimonies can change lives and lead more people to Christ if I will stop being so "covert" and "insular" about my faith. This blog has started me on the road. (Boy, I wasn't expecting this when I sat down to create this blogsite, but I'm very happy it has turned out this way.)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

....And This From Ali (Senorita Invierno) In Spain...

She has just finished LEARN THE BIBLE IN 24 HOURS (for the first time)
Hello Kris,
I finally got through the book! I would obviously like to read it again with a Bible, but finding such a thing in English is proving to be difficult here. Nonetheless, I have two trips to England over the next two months. There are some books (of the Bible) I'm very keen to read now. Being very honest, I need to take it little by little or I just won't take it in!
I think I understand the basics now. We have liberation through Jesus but that doesn't mean we can do what we like! The prophecies fascinate me. The whole thing fascinates me. I don't have any trouble with the concepts or the spirituality - after all, I came at this already with the full feelings of faith in everything, which I continue to have (amidst earthly fears and doubts!).
I need to continue to trust my intuition - as you say, when God is speaking to me (and I quite agree), to know what to do in life. Above all things I trust that the most. Difficult to explain that to some people though.
One thing I didn't like was how self-centred my reactions were. All the time I was thinking, "What does this mean for me? What am I supposed to do? Give me a role!" But this is something He is doing every day. And the point of Faith is to trust that.So I will.
I still think I'm very much at the beginning of my road. But I have every faith it is the right road. Bit scared for the future of earth dwellers, though!
Also, I'm getting some really good feedback on my blog regarding my writing. Thanks for inspiring me to do it. At first I only told about 2 people it was there! Then I had some positive remarks. Yesterday I finally got up the courage to send an email out to everyone I have an address for. I really am deeply shy when it comes to these things, but I'm determined to 'shine'. I've had some wonderful responses. Feels good.However, if I'm ever to have success as an actor, I will need a publicist! I cannot do it! I couldn't be further out of my comfort zone! I'm so glad I got in touch with you.
Hope you've had a good day. I think I'm going to celebrate the start of the holidays (random Spanish week off - with pay!) with an episode of Star Trek. I've forbidden myself from eating anymore chocolate. Ali
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Yes, it's true. You will want to read LEARN THE BIBLE IN 24 HOURS through once... Get the lay of the land... allow the facts to convince you that the Bible really is the inspired word of God. THEN go through it again, with your favorite version of the Bible in your other hand.
I look at LEARN THE BIBLE literally every day at lunch. Some days I will read just two paragraphs and allow them to sink in. The next day I will read those two paragraphs again and then add a few more, so that little by little, layer by layer, the entire landscape of God's word begins to blossom. The desert containing my questions begins to blossom into knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Passages from the Bible take root in me and if I feel anxiety at any time during the day I "hear" God saying (from between the pages in the Bible) "Do not be anxious about anything..." "I have not given you a spirit of fear..." "Is anything too hard for Me?" Then I know, to the core of my being, that I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me."
Once you realize and accept that the Bible really is an instruction manual and a series of love letters from God, laid out in a story format about what happens when we obey and when we stray... the roadmap to righteousness (right standing with God) begins to appear less daunting...
What does God require? Here it is in a nutshell from the prophet Micah:
"He has showed you what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
Isn't that everyone's fondest desire? To do justly. To love mercy. To walk, humbly, side by side with a Creator of the Universe? Try it once! If you can walk side by side with the Creator of the Universe (and you can!) without feeling humble, go and have your head examined!

Once In a While.....

Once in a while I get an email from a De fan/reader that puts me on Cloud 9. I got one two days ago and have been corresponding with the sender ever since. Her name is Barbara (Bobbie) Bobstein. She and her husband Joel are "Southerners by transplant" (former New Yorkers).

Meet a sweet, sweet lady (with her permission, of course)

Dear Kristine,

It has taken me nearly 8 years to come to the point where I could bring myself to read about the life of DeForest Kelley, who was so dear to me. I chose to read Terry Rioux's biography first, followed by yours. As, I'm sure, with most of your readers, I was moved to tears very often by your touching narrative. Thank you so much for your devotion to a great man and his message. Because his very nature made him stand out from the crowd, I like to say that NO ONE who really knew him could ever say, "I can't see DeForest for de trees!"

I constantly try to do the "De-thing" and hope that, when it is my turn, I can bow out of this life with even a fraction of the grace and heart that De showed all through his life.

Though I have come to learn his story rather late after his passing, because of you I shall not forget it. Hopefully, I will get to hear you speak in person, one day. In all of my 62 years, I have never written this kind of letter to anyone (sadly, not even to De) but it is most befitting that I start with YOU - as I will now carry you always in my thoughts. AND, should you ever find yourself near Charlotte, NC, please know that there is a warm hug, a welcome home and Southern Hospitality awaiting you here (and THIS - coming from recently transplanted New Yorkers!!!)

Meanwhile, you are wished continued success and I respect you as a very special person with very special memories!
Barbara Bobstein

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I wrote her back right away, of course. How could I not? Her email made my day, my week, my month! When I did that, I got this response from her (entitled "shock and awe" :) )

Dear Kristine,

You have, seated here before you (though merely in words), one very astonished lady! I am told I have a good imagination but I could have never fabricated a scenario (you may have a bit of deja vu, here) where my small email could have encouraged such an immediate and enthusiastic response! I only saw my letter as a droplet in a rising river of congratulatory messages to you. I likened your e-address to a gateway by which you could receive input from your readers as well as warm support. I NEVER thought the gateway was on a two-way street!!!

To sit down at my computer and see your answer only just HOURS after I had written, really shook me up! I couldn't fathom how, with all your work, writing and commitments pulling you in 87 different ways, that you had time to stop and make time for ME! For you to express that my comments were meaningful and to ask me to "stay in touch" was certainly beyond anything I expected ... and then I realized - THAT WAS YOU! That was the Kris Smith that GOT to me throughout your book - and now to me, personally. STAY IN TOUCH, you say - well, that is something I have always done in life with folks I care about ... and I will definitely do that, since you have asked. In an opposing mini-echo of your OWN experiences, I do NOT have anyone around to chastise me about "driving you crazy with incessant letters and leave the poor girl alone"!!!

My husband, Joel, I'm sure in some ways, doesn't know what to make of this. I know he was puzzled when I just "dropped off the radar" 11 days ago to read both the Rioux book and yours. He did not see me crying in the bathroom after each one. He has, though, helped me weave my way through the procedures at so I could paste and edit my "review" - an honor to be asked and a pleasure to do that for you!

Two last things - Firstly, learning of your dear Deaken and other pets and how you have noticed that other De Fans are also animal lovers, certainly holds true in our case. We have always had birds of one sort or another. (Incidentally, "eons ago" as a Girl Scout co-leader on Long Island, we took our troup to tour the North Shore Animal League facility - awesome!) We now have 2 talking birds; a 25 year old Yellow Naped Amazon named Duffy and a 4 year old caique (pr. ky-eek) called Jasper. Jasper is a small parrot who, opposite from laid-back Duffy, is lively and considers himself the "house goodwill ambassador"! He is always ready to step up on a guest's finger and flash a brilliant smile ... anthropomorphically speaking! Duffy, by the way, is the root of our email-address. Since birds are known to have evolved from the dinosaurs, then, surely, Duffy's ancient ancestor must have been ... yup ... a "duffasaurus"!

And lastly, I must tell you that, in writing my first email, I signed myself very formally by my name Barbara - but, really, everyone has always called me Bobbie. In fact, when I first met Joel, just before entering college, I said to myself, "NO WAY am I going to get serious about THIS guy - if we married, my name would be Bobbie Bobstein! Uy Vey! DUH ... famous last words! And now, nearly 42 years later, the comic strip "Adventures of Bobbie Bobstein" still continues!

So thanks, Kris (for reading all this!), for your kind and encouraging words and the info to look up. Hope you like the Amazon review in its edited form. Indeed, Joel & I will both be keeping an eye out for the possibility of you being within "a stone's throw" from our doorstep. Till next time ...
Bobbie Bobstein

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Have I not proclaimed time and time again that De has the best fans in the world? It is the rarest of DE fans that rub people the wrong way. Good people resonate to good people!

I am blessed to be able to "inherit" the people who loved De and who continue to reflect his love outward to everyone else they meet.

De would be proud!

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Go To This URL and Indulge!

Let Pastor Alan Meenan open the Word of God to you in a wonderful way!

Contribute to The Word Is Out and help him spread the gospel across the globe in the way it is supposed to be shared...

I support this ministry and pray that you will, too!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wocka Brain..

I just had to look at a calendar to figure out if today was Monday or Tuesday! I've known today's date all along but suddenly got to fretting, "Did I work yesterday or was yesterday Sunday?" Ever have days like that?

I remember one time (this kind of time warp doesn't happen often -- that's why I remember every incident distinctly!) I tidied up my desk at Warner Bros., said goodnight to my co-workers and headed out to the car. It was a pure mystery to me why there weren't other folks walking out to their cars as well...

I got to the car (up two flights in an elevator) still sorta wondering why no one else was coming out... "Perhaps they're all working late on Y2K (year 2000) issues," I guessed, since I was in the computer department at Warners.

I got into my car and looked at my watch -- and it was 4:10, not 5:10. Blush...

Got back out of the car, walked sheepishly back into the office and said to my co-workers, "It's only 4 o'clock. Why didn't you stop me when I said goodnight and headed out the door? Dont'cha love me anymore?" They laughed and said, "We figured you had a dental appointment or something. You usually know what you're doing..."

Indeed I do. Usually. But not always. It behooves you to treat me like a semi-addlepated friend from time to time. So inquire if I am about to do something that doesn't seem to jive with the proper time, or day, or reality, okay?

If I start to cross the street without looking both ways, grab me!

If I reach out to pet a crocodile, grab me!

If I put my shirt on backwards, tell me.

You know, the obviously dumb stuff -- tell me! I might be otherwise occupied mentally (that's my alibi anyway and I'm sticking with it) and need re-directing!

I would appreciate it!

I've been enjoying Senorita Invierno's blogs... I'd send her some chocolate and a T-shirt, but she thinks they will get lost en route. I'll bet the fact that I mention CHOCOLATE will elicit an address from her, though, and the response, "Keep the t-shirt till I get to Vegas, but send me the chocolate!" Would it melt enroute? Hmmmm.... Maybe M & Ms would make it...

I will noodle this some more.

In the meantime, have a lovely night. I'm stymied -- have nothing else to say tonight...

Monday, April 23, 2007

You Won't Believe This! More Medical Malarkey!

Remember this line: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore?"

That's me, in a nutshell.

I have just written an official letter of protest. The facility and doctors' names have been deleted to protect the guilty (and to keep from being sued)...

Medical Facility
City WA
To Whom This Should Concern (including Dr. _________ especially),

I am writing this letter to document an unbelievable, incredible story of multiple incompetencies at your place of business. I do it not to annoy you; it will be instructional if you drop all pretence to being “on top of things” and “atop your game” and learn from it. Here we go!

I was instructed to get lab work at the ________ lab on Thursday, March 8th, 2007 for Dr. ______. I arrived March 8th to find that there were no orders from either Dr Specialist or from (my PCP primary care physician), which had been faxed on March 1st from Dr Specialist's office (later verified to me by them). So I was asked to come back the next morning, with their apologies. I told them at that time that I was also due for a TSH level check, CBC, and for a check on my potassium and calcium levels and on anything else Dr. PCP) might want to have done at the same time. They said they would check with her as well and do it all at the same time the next day.

I called BOTH offices that day when I got back to work at my new job and complained to both offices, documenting that I had taken time off from a brand new job and driven in for scheduled blood work and that there were no orders for me after I got there. I received an apology from both and an assurance from my PCP's assistant/receptionist; “I will get right on it and get the orders in from both Doctors. Come in tomorrow. You will be taken care of.” Then I was told by this same person, "Oh, you have standing orders for Dr. PCP; they should have seen those and taken that blood work for you.” I told them they hadn’t. I explained to her, “The lab told me they had NO orders for blood work for me.”

When I arrived the next day I confirmed with the lab attendant that they had orders from both Dr Specialist and Dr PCP. I asked specifically, “TSH, calcium, potassium and a CBC? [for Dr PCP]. Yes, they confirmed.

I sat down and they took about four vials of blood and I brought in a urinalysis (for the second time in two days). I felt confident – with that amount of blood – that they had, indeed, filled both doctors’ orders!

A week or ten days later I called for results and was told that all the tests came back normal except for a slight anomaly in the urinalysis, but nothing to worry about.

This past week I tried to get my prescription filled. My pharmacy called and left a message stating that they couldn’t fill it… the doctor had not authorized it. The next day, Friday, I got a letter from (Medical Facility] stating that I have to come in for more blood work (despite the fact that I was just in there six weeks ago and all came back normal) and see the doctor to discuss the results.

I called this morning to ask what good it is to go for blood work when for darn tootin’ sure it will come back indicating that you need to raise my thyroid medication since I have been OFF them for four days because of the doctor’s/pharmacy’s refusal to get the meds to me? “Oh,” I was told, “we faxed those over….” “Well, my pharmacy told me they would call when the prescription was ready to be picked up after doctor authorization and they have not called.” I was told, “Maybe we faxed it to the wrong pharmacy.” Even if the prescription order had misfired, the pharmacy would have called to tell me the prescription was ready to be picked up, and none of them have. (This afternoon I have another VM from the pharmacy saying the prescription isn’t ready, although it was ready when I drove by to get it before coming home to find the message! The prescription was filled Sunday!)

So, now I have to get back on the meds, take them for a month and then go back in and have blood work done again because – according to the gal I spoke with just this morning, the March 9th blood work request did not include a test for the standing orders TSH levels!

This is actually the SHORT version of this ridiculous saga. You can read the longer version at my blog site (The March 9th entry should give you high blood pressure all by itself!) I did not name names at my website – good thing for you, huh?!

I will be changing doctors as soon as this fiasco has been resolved. Please let me know the name of a well-respected female doctor and facility in the Lakewood area, because driving to Puyallup for the level of care you are providing is patently foolish! I don’t think anyone is conscious (or conscientious) at your facility. How have I reached this conclusion? (Not on my own, surely; I am generally a most forgiving soul!) I reached this conclusion by listening!

While I was waiting in the waiting room on March 8th, I heard additional, similar stories of distress from other clients. Literally every person who came through the door during the half hour I waited to be called in (and then told they didn’t have any orders for me!) had a story of equally incompetent handling by people at your facility! Only about five people came in, but they ALL had stories. It has become clear to me that your waiting room is empty for a reason. You have lost your credibility, I’m sad to say.

I used to refer people to you. Now I am asking you to refer me to a clinic in Lakewood where I will receive proper attention and treatment – and your credibility is on the line here, too. If it isn’t a great recommendation, I will return to carry this protest further and will file an official grievance at the state level.

Kristine M Smith

P.S. I also think that the blood work I get in May and the follow-up doctor appointment should be complimentary and not charged to my insurance (which in May will switch to _______) or me, since the TSH levels were supposed to be done on March 8th/9th and were not done at that time and because I am now being taken away from my new job a third and a fourth time to play catch-up on what should all have been accomplished in March.

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Don't'cha just love it?

Dr McCoy would be appalled and heads would roll if it was HIS Sick Bay being run in this way!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Tragedy and Triumph

I have deliberately avoided watching the televised reports on the aftermath of the shootings at Virginia Tech because of what staying glued to the tube during 9/11 did to me. I want to be able to function in the world without giving powers of darkness a foothold in my life. I have just broken free of self-imposed (or Satan's minions-imposed) fear and will fight hard to keep my eyes focused on "Whatever is good, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, think on these things." (Philippians, The Bible)

However, I have spent about 40 minutes -- perhaps longer -- reading the names and short bios of those who died. I have cried for them all, prayed for their families, prayed for the world... and I have spent ten or fifteen minutes learning more about the gunman, regretting the pain he endured that brought him to this point, and praying for his soul and for the safety of his shocked, innocently shamed, helpless parents and sister and his other relatives.

The tragedy began a long, long time ago and few of the people who noticed something wrong with the young man seem to have done much to try to intervene in a compassionate, helpful manner. His classmates taunted or joked about him; a few offered "bribes" of dollar bills (I presume and hope in a light-hearted manner) to see if they could get a word out of him.

Because he was doing well academically in school, his hard-working, two-income family believed he was doing okay in spite of his handicap of apparent "unresponsiveness". A teacher noticed bizarre and horrifying creative writing efforts and suggested counseling, but could not force the issue...

In retrospect it all looks so predictable, almost scripted as the scene of horror it became.

And then -- in the midst of it all -- I read that a Holocaust survivor who was teaching at Virginia Tech held the door shut with his body, allowing students time to escape from a second-story window as bullets came through the door and the shooter tried to gain entry. This story compounded the tragedy for me to yet a third level. A man who had looked premeditated, deranged extermination in the face as a ten year old and had miraculously survived was gunned down last week in another premeditated, deranged act. Seemingly unafraid of risking his own life, all he could think of was, "Not on my watch, you don't!"

I see this incident as a perfect reflection of the battle in the spiritual realms for our souls. Satan wants to twist people as much as he can so that when someone obviously needs to be rescued from themselves, no image-bearer of God will lift a finger or say, "Let me help."

The isolated person then believes that he is not worthy of help. God reminds him, "Yes, you are!" and the small spark inside that still believes it gets angry because no one is stepping forward to shine some light into the darkness that surrounds him. When the darkness persists and there is still no escape from the pain, the anger twists into an evil desire to "get even" with all the people who should have seen his agony and been there to support him... then, worst of all comes the too-often-repeated niggling notion (Satan-derived) "Maybe I don't deserve help...maybe I am just excess baggage around here... Why was I born into this hell?"

And in steps a Savior, also a Jew, guarding potential victims with His body, shedding His life's blood saying, "Not on my watch, you don't!"

Saturday, April 21, 2007

This is Exceptional!!!! Check it Out!

The following website and articles are exceptional. If you are in a quest to know Jesus more, you can't do much better than this website:

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My sister Jackie, my cousin Tim, my former boss Max Flockerzie (1972-1974) and I got my aunt's stuff moved into the residential care community this afternoon -- well, as much of it as would fit! Some of it will have to be stored because her wishes were bigger than the room in which she'll be living...

It's a bit of a shock to see two people I haven't seen in twenty-five or 33 years (Tim, Max). Max was horrified that I was 56 but said I hadn't changed at all looks-wise. He's either blind or a really good liar! I do color my hair, so I don't look 56... but to ME, my cousin Tim and Max look older -- much, much older -- than they did the last time I saw them. And that's NOT a bad thing --- not all all. It's a SHOCK, because we tend to freeze people in time in our minds. (Can you imagine an 85 year old JFK or Bobby Kennedy, or an ancient Martin Luther King, Jr.?)

Time has changed these men, and time has changed me. Gads, if it hadn't, we may as well have died young, ya know?! Time is for growth, experience, trials, victories, losses and joys... and all of that has an effect on the lines in our faces, the wisdom in our eyes.

As soon as I got home I spotted a voicemail light blinking on my phone. The message was from my aunt, saying she was anxious to get up here and to call her. I did so, right away, to report that her apartment is ready and that we are looking forward to coming to get her next weekend. Alas, the lady who picked up the phone said she is away for dialysis until 8pm or so. I don't know if I'll still be awake at 8pm. It has been a very busy, active day!

I'm going to watch a remastered episode of STAR TREK and hit the hay, I think!

Friday, April 20, 2007

ARGHHHH! I Spaced (the final frontier) Yesterday!

I swear I wasn't being lazy last night. I simply "spaced" on writing a blog yesterday after I got home. I think it's because I was up until 2 a.m. building the CafePress site the night before and worked my fool head off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. afterward. Somehow my brain went off line when I got home here last night and I did nothing except eat, answer emails and look at Ali's blog. Now, HER blog should have reminded me, wouldn't you think? Not a clue at all...

Gads, Ali is one heckuva writer -- and she's just a puppy (half my age). Maybe I oughta throw in the towel...

Nah! What would I do with my free time if I stopped writing? Perish the thought!

I write all day long at work. Wouldn't you think I would come home and dread writing some more? Nope! The day job has liberated me from any lingering suspicions that I "don't measure up" as a writer, and that makes me want to do more of it. I have always loved writing -- I've just kept most of it to myself (light under the bushel thing). Not any more!

Tomorrow Jackie, my cousin Tim and I are going to furnish and decorate my Aunt's new abode after Tim gets up here from Oregon and brings up what she wants in it. Then next week sometime either Jackie and Tim or Jackie and I are going to buzz down to Oregon and fetch our aunt and bring her up. If it's during the week, Tim and Jackie will go, because I can't get away. If it's the weekend, Jackie and I will go. It'll be a whirlwind, one day, 11 hour round trip journey because my aunt needs dialysis every other day and she can't travel on days she has dialysis because it wears her out. Remember, she'll be 94 in just a little over a month... Gads! I guess we'd better plan a little surprise party for her...

Remember when I went to the doctor for bloodwork and a urine test less than two months ago? Everything came back normal.

Well.... My primary care physician just refused to refill my thyroid prescription because they want me to get bloodwork and come in for a sit down discussion of it before they give me the prescription again. This is extortion and an abuse of health insurance and I am going to pitch a bitch. I already left a terse voicemail asking them to give me a call and explain what the h--- is going on in their accounting/database department. I don't have to give blood more than three times a year, IF THAT. I think they make their money on tests these days. That's the only explanation I can think of. It's utterly ridiculous. I'm thinking of giving up health care visits altogether if they can't even get their records straight. What good is it except as a cash cow for medical establishments?

Few things tick me off more than this type of thing. I have no patience for it. It's a travesty and it's why health care costs are so exorbitant and rising all the time. It's enough to give me high blood pressure. (Luckily, this is just a figure of speech. I have perfect or slightly low blood pressure and very low levels of cholesterol.)

Enough on THAT TOPIC, thank you very much!!!

And that's about it for tonight. I will go get some faux beer (Sharp's or O'Doul's) and drown my sorrows and boost my electrolytes...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The World Will Conspire to Keep You From Your Dreams -- Don't Negotiate with It!

This blog is to encourage the discouraged one in Spain.

She was on cloud 9 having made a decision to follow a dream and then had the misfortune of hearing from loved ones that she's losing her mind; being profligate, whatever...

I'm not sure what she was told (from reading her blog) but it was enough to bring her to her knees emotionally (a great position from which to pray, by the way)...

I heard a similar story from loved ones my entire life. It was when I stopped living others people's lives, wishes and desires with my body that I was finally free enough to live my own, and it has been wonderful.

Families are great. Love them. Respect them. Rescue them when they need it. But do not under any circumstances listen to them when they are telling you that your dreams/plans/goals don't make sense. If they resonate within you (and do no harm to others), that's all that matters!

(Question: Do your family's lives make sense to you? Could you live any of their lives and be as happy as they are living them? Are you even sure they are happy living their lives? I hope they are! Lives should be lived and loved!)

Especially if you're a Creative do not listen to non-Creatives, because your sensitivity as a Creative can cause you to hurt yourself in order to keep from hurting others. This is touching, but painful and counter-productive!

Your life is for YOU to live. You won't always make the best decisions, but in most instances even the bad decisions you do make will end up enriching you in some way. The common quote is, "Falling in a cow pie and coming out smelling like a rose." God wants you to reach, the seek, to find, to experience, to have the faith of one who quests, because what you seek, find and experience will cause others to cast off their fears and decide to throw caution to the wind and experience pure joy and delight a time or two, the way you have because you dared to reach for the brass ring.

You can't claim you have faith until you have relied totally on God to provide for you. I was at that point just this past December. My entire family was freaking (quietly), making suggestions... telling me I had to "get real" and apply for food stamps because I was unemployed and had been underemployed for three years and was living on fumes financially. But the impression I kept getting from God was, "Do you trust Me? How much?" And I could actually reply, "Yes! TOTALLY!"

I think it was this trust that landed me this wonderful job at On-Hold Concepts. If I had panicked or freaked or elected to live out someone else's destiny for me ("Get a job -- ANY job!") I would have not been available the day the office manager at On-Hold called me to say, "Are you still available?"

Yes, the earthbound, mortal me kept trying to panic... but each time she did, I told her, "No, YOU DON'T! I have listened to you long enough! You're always stopping me. I'm sick of it! I'm walking with the God of the Universe and He hasn't told me to throw in the towel yet on my goals, so don't even go there with me!"

It's easy to be swayed by loved ones' fears. They love you. They worry for you. They worry ABOUT you. But you just have to stay true to your passion, stay connected to your joy.

It isn't about survival. It's about living all the days of your life!

You go, girl!

And that goes for all the rest of you who dream, and make plans and have "concerned others" clucking over those plans.

Your life matters to the extent you become the person God created you to be.

When you get to heaven, God won't ask if you pleased or satified everybody you loved. What He will ask you to decide for yourself is, "Did you become YOU?" If you can stand there and honestly say, "Yes, I did and in doing so I started looking, feeling and acting a lot like You!" He will smile and say, "Well done, my beloved!"

Love wants you to win and He can make it happen -- against all odds.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Alison Reads "Learn the Bible" and Ponders....

Email exchange between Alison and yours truly (with Ali's permission, of course):

From Ali:

A dream, a thank you and a question (well, several)

I woke up this morning (I didn't get to sleep til 5am or something because I was so excited after speaking to you) and I'd had a dream. A few actually. But the resounding image I have, was getting on a small riverboat which was like a horse and carriage without horses. De was driving the boat and it was sailing down this little river into a sunset. He put his arm around me and I leaned into him and felt very safe (as with an uncle) and we continued along peacefully into the night. Then I woke up. What do you make of that?!

Thanks for the mention in the blog. We'll go to town on the peppermint tea and have a wild weekend! I've been walking on sunshine all day because it just feels so right. The tentative chain of coincidences leading me to this could only be divinely inspired.

I have to ask you for help with the book (Bible in 24 hours). My main block with the Bible has been that I was brought up to be very tolerant and I just can't cope with the idea that condoning homosexuality is wrong. I can't reconcile that. I have so many dear friends in loving, long-term relationships (which are in quite a few cases better models than those of my heterosexual friends). This is a big problem for me and I'm almost in tears about it. I desperately want to be at peace with what I'm reading but that has upset me, and also the idea that God would command That Shalt Not Murder and then support the slaughter of thousands just perplexes me. Am I taking things too literally? Should I just press on?

It's hard but I feel great sorrow at the idea of God being so angry or unforgiving and I find it hard to believe that He would be. But the Bible has documented instances where He has been. This is frightening me a lot! I don't need an angry 'parent' to knock me down. Can you help me with this? Am I missing something? Am I allowing fear to get in the way of faith? But if the Bible is to be taken to heart then you can't pick and choose the passages that suit you, surely?

I'm firing all this at you because I know your faith is great enough to guide me - I'm sure you won't be affronted by anything I'm saying. It all comes from wanting to learn and grow and get closer to God, but what I'm reading is frightening me because I feel I'm falling short and always will. I'm sure this is valid for your blog but I'd appreciate it if you could answer privately until I'm sure I'm not evil and headed for damnation for loving my friends!

Argh. Sorry. I don't mean to be a burden but I'm actually stunned by the emotional reaction I've had to what I've read so far. Even though I'm upset (no need for being upset to be a bad thing), I think it's all good and going in the right direction and I'm desperate to keep reading - but I have to work tomorrow. So inconvenient!


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Dear Ali

What a great dream! I think De is giving you his blessing to be his "niece," acknowledging you as part of the family. That's my take on it, anyway...

About homosexuality... It is no worse than adultery, gossip, lying or any other sin (missing of the mark). It is called an "abomination" in the Bible (and earthbound preachers love to rail against it because it's probably the only sin that only 10% of the congregation is involved in) because it is part and parcel of the "fall from grace" that happened in the Garden of Eden. God loves homosexuals as much as he loves the rest of us who "miss the mark" whether by design or by ignorance (not knowing any better). Homosexual and transgender Christians are as deeply loved by God as we all are -- not because of what they practice, but because all of us are made in God's image and he treasures us the way a good, sane parent would continue to love a child who acknowledged that he or she is homosexual. (Not all parents are forgiving , though, so some kids and adults will always hide their sexual orientation if it doesn't fit the mode of "normalcy.")

I think if you will talk to homosexuals you know and who trust you with tough questions, you will find that they themselves consider what they are to be "off the mark" from what they would normally have chosen. Not too many people decide, "Hey, I want to be a homosexual when I grow up!" It's a genetic or emotional or hormonal or some type of "wiring" thing that goes awry. Most homosexuals feel a sense of deep shame and sadness that they can't be "normal" like everyone else. That in itself is a clue: Homosexuality is not the way God designed humans to be, or animals. That said, ten percent of mammals of all species ARE homosexual -- it is what it is, as a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden.

Is anyone "guilty" who is homosexual? If they CHOSE it (got hurt by a heterosexual relationship and turned to it for sexual gratification because they no longer trust the opposite sex), it is not homosexuality -- it is opportunistic fornication, and fornication to satisfy lust or horni-ness is using someone else out of self-preoccupation rather than love. It's a violation. God despises people who use others to satisfy their own "lusts." Using people as objects is ungodly.

With the New Testament, we are living in days of Grace. Jesus has died for every sin we have committed or ever will commit, if we believe that He did what He said He came here to do, and indeed did do.

There is no sex in heaven -- heteros and homos will have no urge in heaven that would violate the rules of heaven.

I have many friends who are homosexual and I do not look down on them. I feel sadness for them, because I know most of them have not "chosen" their homosexuality any more than the rest "choose" heterosexuality. I feel sorry for them because they are considered "other" by most of the world, and that has to hurt. The fact that they usually have wonderful long-term relationships should surprise no one -- they will gather with those who accept them as they are, just as we all do!

About the murder thing.... Did you notice that the people God said should be wiped out were the "giants" (mixed marriages between fallen angels -- Nephilim, Satan's com padres -- and sons of men), minuscule tribes in the land (population-wise)? By ordering their annihilation via the Jewish nation, He was fighting Satan's progeny before they had a chance to spread like a cancer across the world, while containment was still possible. Had the Israelites actually done what God required (instead of taking over the land and intermarrying with them), there would be no mixed breed (angel-spawned) Arabs today and we would have much less of that region's tension which we now live with! God's plans are ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS to our benefit. We can disagree with them, fight them, decide to ignore them or even to hate His modus operandi (and many Christians do!) but God is never wrong. He is always doing what he does, and allowing what he allows, for our refining and betterment. He loves us and like any good father he will condone killing in order to protect his threatened children and to optimize their destiny.

Satan has used "Jew haters" all these years -- first to try and wipe out the genetic line to Jesus, the Messiah (and prevent him from doing what he came here to do; which they came to within ONE PERSON of doing numerous times before Jesus was born), and nowadays to see if they can wipe out the Jews so Jesus will not come back again for his "remnant" -- those Jews who are still turning to Him as their Messiah even 2000 years later (my pastor is one of them; he came to Jesus in 1977 after a lifetime of being an observant Jew).

The spiritual war in the heavens is going on like this all the time. When we give our lives to Jesus, the cloak of protection is thrown across our shoulders and NOTHING WE DO OR FAIL TO DO can keep us from His love, protection and ultimate salvation.

No one is perfect. That's why he had to come and show what a perfect man does who is in complete obedience to his Father (our Father God). That's why only HE could die as the perfect sacrifice, because only a perfect Man (the Second Adam) can blot out the transgression of the first Adam and restore the one-on-one relationship between Creator and His Created.

This is it in a nutshell. You are free to continue to love and to support and to pray for your homosexual friends. I hope they will come to Christ realizing how much he loves them and realizing that He died for anything they may think (or be told) they are doing "wrong" by society.

God is love and it would be quite a stretch of my understanding to find him in any way opposed to love. What's He's against is people using people (fornication), whether gay or straight. Those homosexuals spotlighted in the Bible were just out to fornicate, not to create lasting bonds. They were just out to satisfy their flesh. I don't know of a single committed homosexual relationship where sex is the chief objective. Love, friendship and mutual support are. Sadly, I know too many heterosexual relationships where sex is all there is between two people; casual linkage, entertainment, getting kicks. Talk about tragic and ungodly -- there you have it!

It's a bit of a shame that homosexuals cannot marry and thereby be considered no longer fornicators. The domestic partner title takes away the "fornicator" label because it establishes that they are in a committed relationship.

However, I don't support passing laws to allow homosexual marriages. I do support domestic partnerships. (And I may well be in the minority in Christian circles. I don't really know.) Marriage was ordained by God as a covenant between a man and a woman. Marriage was established to produce progeny -- children. So I do support a ban on calling homosexual unions marriages and you are free, free, free to hold the opposing opinion. Lots of Christians do!

Bottom line is: I know God is trying to establish heaven on earth through his children, and to the extent that we don't keep it "set apart and pure" enough for Him to come down and commune with us, I am against it. I want to commune with God more than I want to commune with anyone else...

Does that clarify anything? I hope so? I'm not the world's best explainer. And none of us will ever "get" God completely -- His plans, His strategies -- until we are in heaven with Him and are transformed to His exact likeness. I think there will be former homosexuals and adulterers in heaven -- murderers, too! He will redeem many of them because they came to love him and his unique grace and forgiveness on earth and repented... (They doesn't mean they never sinned again... the sin in our lives has a life of its own.. you'll learn about this in the New Testament readings! Keep going! You are going to fall in love with Your Creator!)


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Hi, Kris,

OK. So I guess that makes us cousins now!

Thank you so much for this. I was waiting up because I knew you would reply and I knew it would help. What you've said about homosexuals was pretty much what other Christians I have asked have said too - that we all fall short of the mark and it's not just one group. I fully support objection to fornication. It's a horrible thing. I thought I was completely abnormal all these years for having no interest or ability to have casual sex because it appears to be considered the norm. I'm just relieved I've stayed true to myself and that the rule I've made for myself (true love or nothing) is something that feels more and more right as time moves on. I want to protect my younger relatives, though - what's being accepted as the norm really upsets and angers me.

About the wiping the people out thing - I was beginning to realise that those were the Nephilum. I think I'm tired and was getting confused. I will carry on reading. I know in my heart that my God is there. That's the main thing!

The marriage thing - I don't know enough about it but I can see what you mean. If marriage means man and woman for procreation then it's hardly apt. But then again what's in a name. I just want everyone to be safe and happy and I swear if it would make a difference I'd die for it right now!

Arabs then... are you saying they're not supposed to be here? (We don't have to get into this now - I'm sufficiently reassured for one evening)

Thanks, Cousin Kris! I should imagine De would be a lovely uncle and hopefully not send me to my room too often!


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Since God sees the beginning and the ending of our saga as a species and planet all at once, I'm sure he knew the Israelis would not drive the Nephilum out... All the stuff we (or Israel) don't do that we should (Ten Commandments) were simply the laws God gave us to keep us safe and ethical with each other. He knew from the outset that we would be unable to keep them ... the laws were placed there to let us know where we go wrong and where we step away from what God would have us do to stay true to him and to each other. He KNEW we couldn't keep them. The Law was his way to say "You will need Me, and Jesus and the Holy Spirit to get you into heaven because you are incapable of measuring up on your own. You twist my rules and get twisted in the process... and I cannot live with wicked (this means "twisted") people because you no longer reflect me, you are not honoring your station as my image-bearer.

You see, if there were ANY WAY we would be able to measure up on our own, Jesus would not have had to make a personal appearance and do what he did to rescue us.

With the Ten Commandments, God was saying "This stove is hot... don't touch it!" when he gave the commandments, the Thous shalt nots... Of course being dumb kids, we all have to touch the stove in order to learn "Daddy was right and had my best interests at heart."

Arabs? Should they be here? Be aware... The Arabs who are here now, well intermixed as they are with Nephilum from eons ago, feel as innocent of their sinful beginnings as we feel we are innocent of Adam's and Eve's sins, but we all continue to live with the aftermath of our patriarchs sins and always will until we are gathered back to the Father. The planet has been denigrated by human sin on all sides and in every direction. This is hardly the time to start pointing fingers! Just look around at the pollution, global warming, etc -- all the ways we have violated God's command to have dominion (as opposed to domination) over every living thing. We have squandered and pillaged and raped the charge He gave to us. It's utterly appalling. Earth was created perfect to support us without effort. When Adam and Eve fell, God's consequences had to be placed into effect or they (we) never would have realized we had done anything wrong. Like a good Father, He was letting us know, "Sin is a pernicious, cancerous thing. It causes death of spirits, people, plant life, animal life... It creates havoc in the natural world." Sin is not something we can shrug off as unimportant or petty.

God did say he would make of Ishmael's offspring a great nation, too (by great he meant large), but that they would forever cause the descendants of Isaac (Abraham's son by his wife Sarah) trouble, strife, war and grief. (Isaac and Ishmael were half-brothers. Isaac was the son of promise -- God opened Sarah's barren womb when she was 90 and Isaac was 100 and gave them Isaac as the first offspring in line in the nation of Israel; Ishmael was the product of an arranged impregnation of a slave of Sarah's because she was barren and she never thought Abraham would have a child if she didn't arrange this -- she wasn't willing or believing in God's promise of a son for them, or else thought she was helping God along by making this arrangement. It was a fiasco from the beginning, from Ishmael's birth. We are still living with the aftermath of Sarah and Abraham taking taking matters into their own hands and not waiting on God for the promised son.)

Arabs are here. Jews are here. Christians are here. It is what it is. Human free will allowed it and all of the carnage that has resulted because of it. We will suffer the consequences of anything we allow -- whether it's good, bad, or somewhere in between. God doesn't have to bail us out of bad decisions we make -- but he's willing, if we deliver up our earnest hearts and wills to Him, realizing he has our best interests always at heart and knows our end.

He knows what decision you are going to make regarding Him. He knew while you were in your mother's womb. Nothing you decide will surprise him. It may surprise YOU, but it will not surprise him.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Yes, It's True! Senorita Invierno is Coming to Vegas!

Alison Winter (Senorita Invierno and I spent probably a good hour on the phone yesterday, talking between Spain and Washington State. She's serious as a heart attack about flying over! I'm excited. She's excited. She might even decide to share her many sesos with colleges in the U.S., if she can find one around here who wants what she can do...

It'll be good for two "starving artists" to meet each other. When we were chatting yesterday it seemed like we were hitting on all cylinders. If she were to take the DISC Personality Profile test, I'll just bet we're both high IDS's.

Now I'm looking forward to the convention instead of semi-dreading it (only because of nerves, see previous blog). I will be re-connecting with Margot Worthington from Colorado and Angie Solomon from Texas at this convention, too -- and who knows how many other terrific people I have met over the years... If we get any sleep at all over the weekend, it will be a miracle! I may arrive back at work on Monday with a feeling of jet lag!

I know the first convention I ever attended with a "gang" was like that -- Los Angeles, 1988. We slept so little (and remember I am a teetotaler and don't do drugs, sex or rock n roll) that when I got home and back to work the following day, I was unable to understand the sentences that people were speaking to me! It was just the most bizarre experience ever! And I was prominently displayed at work as an office manager for a continuing education school for real estate, insurance and securities agents! Someone would say something, I would see their lips moving and hear sounds, but my "communications connection" was burned out and wasn't translating the sounds into words! I had to keep saying, "I'm so sorry. Would you repeat that, please?" And they would, and I still wouldn't get it! Embarrassing!

I will certainly work very hard to avoid that at this convention! I need to retain my job! (I retained that one, too, but probably just because the agents didn't squeal on me to the boss in Seattle and there was no one else around to question my temporary loopiness . It was a one-person office. Now the truth can be told!)

This morning our Bible study segues from the life of Christ to the Tabernacle in the Old Testament. Pastor Braaten is going to show how all of the elements in the Tabernacle foreshadow Christ. I have had a smattering of this information in the past, and it gave me chills then, so I know when Pastor Braaten explains it in his unique, inimitable way I will probably puddle up. It always amazes me to peel back the layers of the Bible and find the nuggets God has placed there for us to discover and applaud over!

Alison did tell me she is really enjoying LEARN THE BIBLE IN 24 HOURS by Chuck Missler. She thanked me for pointing her to it. (All the rest of our conversation was squeals of shared delight and the discovery that we are, indeed, "thick as thieves" where so many similarities exist. I sometimes think only an artist can really understand another artist. We are a weird bunch!) I hope the rest of you will take that as encouragement and order the book, too. (And come to Vegas, if you can!) You'll want to buy the Missler book because you will want to highlight so much of it and go back and read it again to refresh your mind about all the great stuff in it. I had a whee of a time doing that last weekend, and plan to do it again this week sometime, because I didn't get all the way through it last weekend... ran out of time.

In the next couple of weeks, Jackie and I will probably be using one weekend to drive to Oregon and get our aunt, who is doing well now and wants to move closer to family while she does feel good. We have found her a wonderful residential care home just a mile from my condo and across the street from the dialysis she needs. So I will miss a couple days' worth of blogging then. I'm telling you this in advance so you don't think I've died on you when it happens! I will just be temporarily out of reach of my computer...

Must leave for church now. After that I will be enjoying a lunch with a shirt-tail relative, Quentin Rinehart. He just got back from 10 days in Hollywood and is filled with stories to share. I can't wait! He is one of the most clever people (with a word) I have ever met or known. Spending time with him is always a highlight of my day!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Adventure Begins!!! Duplex Hunting, TREK Convention Jitters

My sister Jackie and I are beginning our search for the "perfect duplex" this morning. When/if we find it, she will live in one half and I will live in the other. We want it to be all on one level, ideally, since in a couple decades we'll be pushing ... 75 ... and don't want to be climbing stairs and risking life and limb.

It's always exciting to start looking. We're fresh and eager. If we find something right away it would be great, because I remember looking for houses for months and it got to be a drag... it was a big, dark looming cloud; I'd have to "drop everything" when one was spotted and I needed to "take a look."

When you're working, home-hunting can eat up a good portion of one's "free time" -- and I need free time to recover, write this blog, eat, get groceries, go to church, read my Bible, pet my kitties, ride my bike or walk... and sleep! But the prospect of finding a duplex, then selling this condo (a little more work, but worth it) and living next door to "where the action is" (my sis and her often-visiting grandkids, my grandnieces) is alluring. I love my family!

When you're single, you get your "family high" off relatives' nuclear families. I never wanted kids (good thing, or I might be sad now, not having ever married and produced any; instead I raised every kind of critter you can imagine, including an African serval, a skunk, an orphaned raccoon, hawks, and two fawns orphaned by the eruption if Mt. ST. Helens in 1980) but I love kids and sons and daughters I can borrow and send back home at the end of the day! Jackie's son Phil and daughter in law Wendy and their kids (Casey and Jamie) and Dawn and her kids (Lizzie and Isabella) are a part of my heart in a very big way! IF you know them, you know why! If you don't... if you met them, you would know why! It's sufficient to say that even if they weren't related to me, I would adore them!

So this morning Jackie and I go look at two -- possibly three -- duplexes. There's one I've seen that Jackie hasn't yet that looks PERFECT to me if it's in good shape. From the outside, it looks fine and has a new (two-year-old) roof. It has a privacy fence all around (great for kids, cats and dogs), a two-car garage and two covered parking spots, an RV pad, some outbuildings, a pool and jacuzzi... and it's well within our budget because I have a lot of equity in this condo. Jackie has her eye on one that I haven't seen yet. It would stretch our budget unless the sellers are willing to come down substantially. The one I know of has been on the market at least three months -- probably closer to six -- so the seller might even consider a reduction in the price... or not! (That may be why it hasn't sold!) Anyway, we're looking forward to starting our duplex-hunting adventure...

There was one other piece of news I wanted to mention, and now I can't think of it... Maybe it'll come to me as I move right along here...

I am starting to have "nightmares" (nerve-mares at night) about the August STAR TREK convention in Las Vegas. This always happens just about four months before every convention where I will be speaking. Public appearances are not native to me! They are better than root canal to contemplate (but not by much) and once I get there, a whole lot of fun! But until I get there.... (I've only done this three times before, remember -- and now Adam says VEGAS!?! That man has more faith in me than God, I think!)

Until I get there... I dream that the books didn't get there (in this case, Creation is taking care of getting the books to the convention), that I have forgotten to prepare a presentation, that I forgot bookmarks and postcards and signing stickers, that I left something in my car and run to the parking lot and get lost and can't find my way back to the convention hotel and I speak in fifteen minutes and have to go to the bathroom in the worst way imaginable... all of these, of course, are convoluted, subliminal ways of telling myself, "What the h--- were you thinking when you said YES to this speaking engagement?!"

What I'm thinking when I say, "Yes," is meeting De's fans individually, hearing their stories, being able to extend De's legacy in ways he would really love and approve of, touching his fans and letting them know "You have good taste in actors and human beings -- he deserves your affection! Now go out and become a De to someone who really needs it (and p.s. everyone really needs it!)!" All of that...

Then as the time gets closer and closer I start to focus on the ACT of presentation. Will I screw it up? Will I look nervous? Will I pee my pants, or worse-- ???

I start focusing on ME and my potential to really disappoint people if I'm not prepared to the teeth. So of course I prepare to the teeth and then the reasons I said yes in the first place get first billing again and I settle down little by little.. right up until about a week before when all my insecurities rise up again and I think, "I used to be sitting in the chairs out there with them, just another fan. That was cool. THIS is INSANE! What do I have to offer....?"

Then I have to remind myself of what someone in the TREK world told me: "You have DE, [dummy]! You have DE to offer! Who else has that? He isn't here to present himself anymore. You are their living link to De. You knew him on a personal level as few others did. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it!"

And once I get there, and past the first two minutes, I forget all about myself and my "responsibility" as a presenter because I'm talking about one of my favorite subjects: DeFOREST KELLEY: Actor, Healer, Friend! And the rest of the weekend is pure joy...

It's just the months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds leading up to placing my foot on the stage that drives me up the wall. The rest is a piece of cake! I get to love on De's fans and get loved by De's fans (or hated... whatever! Haven't run into any of those yet... I'm not sure De had any hateful fans...) The ones who introduce themselves afterward when they stop by the book-signing table are uniformly warm, appreciative and wonderful. Some of them are laughing and crying because they've been touched in both spots -- and that usually gets me going, too. So we can end up soggy and chuckling. Onlookers must think we are on drugs!

Nope, we're just high on remembering De!

The really amazing thing to me is that I have heard from fans in New Zealand, England, Spain, Germany, Australia, Canada and all over the U.S. saying they have never attended a STAR TREK convention before but they are thinking of coming to this one to hear me talk about De! No pressure, right? Aaaackkkkkkkk....

Lord, give me whatever it takes so that I don't disappoint those who come from farthest away!

I would never forgive myself...

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P.S. Just got this email from Alison:

Dear Ms Smith,

I regret to inform you that I just booked a hotel, a flight and a ticket to the Star Trek convention.

No pressure or anything.

This email is redeemable against one hot chocolate somewhere in Vegas.


I even spoke to an American person (Vegas Hilton) on the phone for the first time in my life and I couldn't understand a word she was saying! Haaa!!! She couldn't understand me either! I can't stop laughing!

I thought long and hard and it feels very right so I'm doing it. Depending how things develop I may even stay in the US and try to find teaching work. How exciting.

Anyway, I'll be the mad girl in the queue with a copy of Harvest of Memories and a yellow balloon.


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Gadzooks! This is jumping the gun! But... seeing as how I am not certain which day I'll appear yet (I'm tentatively scheduled for Saturday August 11th)... looks like Alison is going to fly in for the entire convention Thursday through Sunday -- and she may as well, since she's flying in from England or Spain!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wednesday Whees!!!

I truly do not understand where the work week goes. We're over the hump and on the down slope already...

Today at noon I lunched with one of my dearest friends, Vernita Porter. She's the leader of the Women's Ministry at Church For All Nations, where I worship and where I worked for a year and a half assisting Pastor Ken Ecker. That's where and when I met Vernita, because Pastor Ken was the overseer of the Women's Ministry at that time (in addition to being head of the Deaf Church, Adult Christian Education, Water Baptism, and even more -- talk about a multi-tasker!).

Vernita was also at my side, along with my sisters and niece Wendy, when I had abdominal surgery last year to remove a large ovarian cyst that was too large to remove any other way. It was biopsied and found to be benign, but it needed to come out because had it burst, it would have poisoned me.

Much as I love, love, love my sisters (and oh, how I love, love, love my sisters), I needed a Prayer Warrior at my side when I went in for the surgery. (My sisters aren't overtly spiritual;that's putting it mildly. Wendy is very spiritual, but she's a well-behaved, quiet-voiced, charming, amazing Lutheran -- and I resonate best to the "Pentecostal/Charismatic" type of Prayer Warrior -- and Vernita has that going on in a wonderful way!)

Several other pastors from my church stopped by, too, which I wasn't expecting (don't know why I wasn't expecting that, but I wasn't) ... but they too were much too well-behaved (gentlemanly) to fill the bill I was seeking to have filled! I needed Vernita! That's exactly who I needed and so I asked and she said, "Yes!" I will always be grateful for that!

We had a blast as we waited for the technicians to cart me off to surgery, laughing and being utterly silly. I was completely relaxed and unafraid. I knew the Holy Spirit was along for the ride; I could see Him in Vernita's eyes! At one point one of the technicians came over to us to introduce himself and then said, "I don't know what kind of party you have going on over here, but I want to be invited!" We invited him, but he wandered off -- had stuff to prepare...

I sailed through the surgery and its aftermath so well that my surgeon called me his "miracle patient." We all know Who guided the surgeon's hands and the other technicians' skills -- even the surgeon! (he told me so afterward)... (This story has been a testimony in church a time or two; this is the shortest version I've ever told!)

Anyway, Vernita and I had lunch today and I talked her ear off. I know I shut up long enough to ask her how things are going with her after she finished asking how things are going with me...

There is something about this woman that I just love. Many things, actually. She serves the Lord with every waking breath. That's probably what I love best. But in addition to that she's very talented, and has "been through it" in life and has come out at the other end just a glorious, giving, shining reflector of Christ...

She's a lot of fun. She's the one who makes and evaluates plans for the women's Bible Study, retreats, Ladies Nights Out, fundraisers, etc, then her Board discusses which of the options to do on any given year. There is never a dull moment. I have a photo of her I could blackmail her with (this is a joke!), she is such a clown at times... in the best sense of the word!

I can't imagine life without her in it anymore, even though I don't see her all that often. It's just that whenever we do get together, it's as if we haven't missed a beat, as if we just saw each other the day before.

I mostly have "acquaintances" in my life -- family or acquaintances. I'm like a tiger in this way: I'm a loner (for no particular reason -- I'm just not gregarious) but when I do find a stalwart, loving friend, he or she is a "keeper" -- it's for LIFE! I have identified many "keepers" (Cleve Kingston, Barb Hendrickson, Nancy Graf, Val Barrett, Melody Adams, Quentin Rinehart, Bonnie Duehring, Carrie and Robert Denmark, Pastors Ecker, Pastor Meenan, Jeanne Boyle ) -- and some others I more or less "inherited" (thank God and the Kelleys) because we were fans of De's (Margot Worthington, Anne Richardson, Marianne Tyler, Terry Rioux, A.C. Lyles) and when we met, we just knew each other was a "keeper"! And some of my "keepers" I haven't even MET yet in the flesh (Billie Rae in NY, Alison in England/Spain, Claudia and Sabine in Germany, Helen Schofield in New Zealand, the Muncasters in Canada) but I will -- oh, yes, oh, yes, I will!

It's just a matter of time -- and time flies by so fast anymore, that it's bound to be any day, now!

It has taken me a long time to find this "family of my own choosing (friends)," but it has been worth every minute and I look forward to having them as best buds for life!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Nothing New This Day...

I just finished THE FREEDOM WRITERS this evening. I highly recommend it!

That's all, folks! (For tonight... came home with a headache...)

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Freedom Writers -- Get It!

Hi, gang!

I'm in the middle of The Freedom Writers and can't put it down. I will resume this blog tomorrow. In the meantime, go get a copy of this book -- and see the movie. They'll rock your world -- and help you realize how great a difference one person (you!) can make in this world!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Qapla! (Klingon for "Success!")

After celebrating Resurrection Day at church this morning, I changed clothes and went directly to "Mt. Everest" (see yesterday's blog) and walked up it. It took fifteen minutes. If I combined "Mt. Rainier" with it, it would probably take 25 minutes total for that leg of the trek (arduous journey) to work. So I have decided I still won't be biking to work because I would arrive smelling like road kill and looking like a red-faced wild woman.

However! I am not defeated! I have decided to make that my walking place from now on. I have been walking on relatively flat surfaces during my exercise routine and now will take on "Mt. Everest" five days a week, along with a 30 minute flat walk at lunch time.

It felt good. I worked up a "glow" (female for "sweat"). The starting point of the walk is a Fred Meyer store, where I can park the car.

When I got back to Fred Meyer after the journey, I went in to see if they had one of those small "personal trampolines" for exercise and balance. They didn't, but I found two books I want to read, so got them. (EPIC: The Story God is Telling and the Role That Is Yours To Play, by John Eldredge; and The Freedom Writers Diary, by the Freedom Writers and Erin Gruwell, their teacher.)

John Elrdege is an amazing writer. Guys should read his WILD AT HEART and gals should read CAPTIVATING by Stasi and John Eldredge -- then you should switch and read each other's book, if you're married or just wondering where the other gender is coming from, relationships-wise. The books will be a real eye-opener.

I saw FREEDOM WRITERS, the movie, and wanted to get the diaries written by them, so this book was just what the doctor ordered. I look forward to getting into both of them this week. (I read two books simultaneously quite often -- one at lunch time and the other in the evening before I go to sleep.)

I have read so many wonderful books in my life... I have a personal library that's several hundred volumes in size. At some point I have to divest myself of most of them, because they are taking up way too much space (I also have well over 200 volumes of personal journals) but it's hard to think of parting with them.

If there is a particular book you would like to read and haven't yet, let me know what it is. If I own it, I'll mail it to you for the cost of postage. Disclaimer: (I'm not offering books I wrote as giveaways -- just other author's books!!! My books are available via this link Get them straight from the publisher and you will save both time and money (since they are Print On Demand books, you will be eliminating the middleman) and will receive the paperbacks in 7-10 days and the hardbound version of the Kelley book in two weeks.

It's 2:20 in the afternoon and I'm still overly warm from the walk, shopping and sitting here writing this blog. It's time to open a window and allow the breeze to come in.

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I trust your Easter has been and will continue to be the blessing God designed it to be!


Saturday, April 7, 2007

Utter Failure... Well, Not Really! What I Learned Today...

This morning I got up bright and early (well, okay, overcast and early) and pumped up the tires on my hardly-ever-used bike (captured at a garage sale for the ridiculously low price of a hundred bucks; it was originally over $350), strapped the plastic helmet on my noggin, strapped a bottle of raspberry tea to the bottle holder on the bike, and set off... to discover... exactly what I most didn't want to discover. What I discovered during the 35 minute, perhaps two miles roundtrip is: I'm 56... and counting!

My idea, you see, was to determine how long it would take me to get the four miles to work if I rode my bike. I thought I would do that all spring, summer and fall if I could get there in under 35 minutes because -- hey, what a way to get into shape and not have to worry about exercising before and after work except for the eight miles (round trip) of biking.

I was aware, of course, that there are two rather steep hills between my condo and my job, but the first of them is a rather short steep hill, and I supposed I could push the bike up the longer one when I ran out of steam on it. Besides, I told myself with great enthusiasm, I have a ten-speed! I can probably crank those little gadgets up on the sprockets and sail up those hills without breaking a sweat...

Yeah, right...

So off I went. The first part of the journey seemed almost laughably easy. I was thinking, This is a piece of cake. And the entire trip will be just like this -- some of it slightly downhill -- as soon as I get past li'l hill and bigger hill...

Then came li'l hill.

Ahem... What is a little hill to the eye and to an automatic transmission is somewhat more challenging on a bicycle, ten speed or not. But I set about to tackle it, thinking: Look at it this way: on the way home, this will be a downhill part of the trip! With that positive thought in mind, I took it on...

About thirty seconds later I was perhaps a quarter of the way up that li'l hill (having had a good running start because it was the other side of a somewhat large "valley" in the roadway) and wondering what had happened to my breath, and my legs, and why were my glasses beginning to fog up?

I dismounted (it was that or fall off, because by now the bike had stopped proceeding up the slope) and stepped onto the sidewalk and realized that the muscles that had brought me this far up the hill (the ones in front) seemed as weak as a preambulatory child's. Thankfully, these aren't the same muscles we use for walking and pushing a bike.

I started pushing the bike onward, certain that I would be fine as soon as I recovered just a bit and allowed my bike muscles to take a breather.

I pushed the bike upward several hundred yards (maybe it just felt that far -- it certainly doesn't look that far in a car) and came to a part of the sidewalk that seemed do-able again, so I remounted and started along... but this area was slightly tipped toward a higher elevation -- hardly discernible in a car, mind you...

I cranked up the gears to their ultimate in push-me, pull-you power, and still found myself perspiring and struggling. Two bikers, looking very exhilarated, sailed past me going in the other direction -- one on a recumbent bike -- and I thought, "I'd be exhilarated, too, if I were going downhill right now..."

And I realized I could be going downhill right now, if I would just turn myself around and head in the direction they were heading. I placated myself with the encouraging, reassuring, triumphant thought, In an hour you will be, Kris. Get up the big hill and you will have no more troubles on this entire trip.

So I recommitted to the task before me.

That is until I got to Mount Everest...

I recalled that this was the very hill that had become almost impassible during the snow storm two months previously. I had nearly collided with one vehicle on this stretch of roadway because the vehicle lost traction and began to slide sideways and then backwards (the driver had tried creeping up the icy hill instead of giving it the amount of gas necessary to keep it in an upward trajectory on ice, and I had given my vehicle what it needed to crest the summit).

I studied the hill as I approached it, by now again pushing the bike. I looked at my watch. It had taken me twenty minutes already to get perhaps a mile. Pushing the bike up the Himalayas would take another twenty at least. By this calculation, it would take me an hour to get the 4 miles to work every day -- and about twenty to get me back (this is an estimate -- but the road is mostly downhill on the way back except for one li'l hill and one longer... uh, oh... sound familiar?)

I turned the bike and myself around and sailed down that long incline toward home. At the bottom of that incline was, of course, the "somewhat large valley" I had deftly navigated coming in the other direction. But it stood between me and home, so there was no way to avoid it.

I pushed the bike up Mt. Rainier and when I got to the top I was slightly wet from drizzle, more wet underneath from perspiration, and the fog was back on my glasses.

And guess what? I will not be riding my bike to work. I will not be saving gas money. I will not be working off excess pounds daily unless I re-adopt my elliptical or take my two and a half mile walk in the morning or evening...

Because I'm 56 and there are two enormous wonders of the world -- Rainier and Everest -- standing between me and On-Hold Concepts.

I have a whole new respect for people on the bike lanes between here and there, let me tell you. It's no wonder they look the way they do -- like streamlined greyhounds...

I'm delighted to live 10 minutes from work (in a car) and have decided to remain delighted every day on my way up those hills in my Saturn.

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Please stay with Senorita Invierno's blog. It's truly awesome!