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i am the shoe, and God is me?

I live in a city. People here love owning dogs, myself included. We also have small yards in which they do their bidding business. It's not like they can just run around on the farm and find a spot in the yonder wood. This afternoon I came home to let the dog out and ran up the back steps to find a ball. It has rained a good bit this week and is sort of warm and damp on the ground. The exact melting point of, you know, doo doo. I never looked down until it was too late. Eeeeeeeeccckkk!

So, why the post? As I was wiping the bottom of my shoe, which happened to be a Dansko with tons and tons of tiny little cracks and deep crevices, it just seemed to get worse! 6 Clorox wipes later, no change, just a really foul smell. I was wondering if this is somewhat of the way the remnants of my sinful nature seem to God?  Ever so slowly, with what seems like little progress along the way and plenty of nastiness that comes with it, he is working to remove sin and ungodly desires from my life, to change the thoughts and motives of my heart and working to make me more like himself. This morning I was reading a chapter in an amazing book by Paul Tripp & Tim Lane called, "How People Change". The truth that we generally minimize our own sinfulness and maximize everyone else's has a sting to it. My knee jerk response of, "not true", proves the point even more. "Self-righteousness is our own personal defense attorney. We wrap our robes of self-righteousness around us and rise to our own defense." Only when I accept and believe and see my true smelling state, does the gospel become good news for me. The grace, reconciliation, mercy, power, restoration, forgiveness, patience and hope of the gospel are for me.

The culprit


a third grader's career advice

This is a real list, written for me by one of my 3rd grade friends from church. Probably a genius in the making.

 I gave him a glossary of careers that someone let me borrow, and asked him if he could come up with any that weren't in the book for me to consider. I told him I'd give him $5 if he could think of something. Looks like my tab is running up. I actually did need a dictionary for a few also. Among my favorites...Tinker, Cheese Porter, Gondolier and Plough Boy.


the job search monologues

I've been hitting the job search, career path, next opportunity trail... or whatever you want to call it, for about 9 months now. And really, have been trying to make a career transition for 2 1/2 years! I prefer to call it a confusing web of advice, opinions, unsolicited thoughts, stupid comments and the occasional nugget of soundness. Actually, I wouldn't really know if it the nuggets are sound advice either, those just haven't been contradicted yet. Since my journey has begun, here are a few things I've learned, starting with career counselors: " you really just want to get married right, isn't that why you don't know what you want to do? If that's the case why don't you put on a bikini and go to the (insert large church with thousands of singles) beach retreat?" Problem solved. I also had someone tell me that my resume needed work, so 40 hours later of having another professional help me, a second career counselor told me it was "too good", and "too entrepreneurial" and that no company would hire me because they'd be afraid I'd leave to start my own business. Problem. Last recruiter told me it needed a good bit of work and about $3,000.

Next we have the "elevator speech", you know, the 30 seconds or less description of yourself and what you are looking for which you offer at weekly round table groups to people who seem as enthusiastic about being there as watching paint dry. I've been told to summarize my accomplishments, I've been told to tell them nothing about myself and only what I can do for them. I've watched You Tube videos of people delivering their versions of a perfect speech and right before they get to the meat, it cuts off and they ask you for 4 payments of $299.99!

I'll admit, my elevator speech needs work, I know that. I don't know what I'm looking for and therefore it usually comes out something like, " Hi, I'm Hannah, I've been in sales for 7 years and before that I lived overseas and worked for a non-profit organization and'm not really sure what is next for me but I'm...well... happy to, er be here? (nervous laugh)"

Now insert here the day last week when I expected the watching paint dry people and a skinny as a rail, sharp featured table leader (who was an excellent time keeper) to be nice. She kept us all to exactly 4 minutes and when I wrapped up she said, "That was horrible! That was the worst thing I've ever heard! A prospective employer is going to chew you up and spit you out! And what does it mean to be a "people-person" anyway? That means nothing, we all work with people unless we're meter readers. You're an absolute mess."  And then she went on to the next person. I tried to keep it together and glance around to see what the other 7 women were doing with their faces. I saw a few awkward glances and pity-filled smiles and just tried to keep it together. When it was all over, I went straight to the bathroom and cried. I'm pretty sure it was because she was right. I still have no idea what I'm going to do, or what I really want to do and no one can really help me until I figure that out. I'm waiting for a clue to fall from the sky. Is that bad? Next, a sweet, sweet woman who had been the leader of my group the week before, walked into the bathroom, almost on cue. She told me to come to her break out group, which was Telecommunications, even though I had no experience or interest in the industry. With bulging eyes and a pink trench coat on I followed her to a conference table full of  45-60 year old, mostly white men, all C level executive types, looking to do some serious elevator speeches (uh oh) and some serious networking. They all had Venti Starbucks and tiny smart phones up on the table in front of them and looked like vultures waiting to swoop in on any morsel of a lead thrown out--their time was not to be wasted. I sat in fear and silence as they went around the table and discussed their successes from the previous week, their plans for next week, how many appointments they'd had...and then out of Ms. Barbara's mouth came (in a jovial airport attendant from Planes, Trains and Automobile's voice), "hi fellas, we have a guest today...the morning session was pretty rough on her so let's be nice" could hear the eyes rolling and the mental comments, "isn't there a Gap or something where you could work...?" I had no choice but to deliver my failed morning speech.

All in all, it wasn't horrible, but it wasn't good either. The men actually ended up being a bit more compassionate than the women. It was a tough week but I had a good friend remind me that the definition of anxiety is really just imagining a future without God...and that was a convicting and also hopeful reminder. I do imagine my future without God often and yet because I belong to him, that is never going to be! Praise God for that and in that hope of finding him in the future is where I am placing my trust for today.


interior design: test your skills

My friend Kellie (who lives in Asia--where decorating is an entirely different animal) sent me two photos and some questions about a new mirror that she received for Christmas. Which way to hang it? At what height? Any other thoughts related to this design dilemma? I answered but let's test your skills and then I'll tell you what I said.