Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Seven Faces of The Smiley :)

Along with computers, email, instant messaging, etc., has come a wide range of typographical miscommunication. Lacking facial expression, tone of voice, and inflection the reader of an email can often become quite confused as to writer's true intent. Add in to the mix our generation's love of sarcasm and we are pretty much doomed to be misunderstood.

Enter our hero, The Smiley :)

I don't know what the origin of the The Smiley is, but some wise person came up with this lifesaver. The Smiley is useful in almost any situation:

The Five Faces of The Smiley:

The Hope My Smiley Brightens Your Day Smiley - title says it all :-)

The Just a Joke Smiley - used to let the reader know that the writer is just kidding. Almost a must in situations using sarcasm. ;)

The Over Used Smiley - this is an interesting Smiley :) because it's used for no particular purpose and is sprinkled :) throughout the emails of Glass Half-Full People :)

The Girl's Only Smiley - for the most part only used by girls and suggests the same as any of the fellow listed Smileys, but with an added bit of cuteness. As cuteness is rarely a quality desired by guys, this explains the almost absent male use of this variety. :o)

The Full Grin Smiley - the happiest of all Smileys and should only be used in cases of extreme intent to express happiness :-D

The Conflict Resolution Smiley - used in hopes of diluting the negative nature of correspondence that will most likely not be well-received. Conflict Avoiders, such as the writer of this blog, make avid use of The Conflict Resolution Smiley. Someone not cleaning up the microwave after use at work? What to do? Send the email request encased in Conflict Resolution Smileys. ":) Would you so kindly clean up the splattered Lean Cuisine that is all over the microwave? We would all really appreciate it. Have a great day! :) :) :)". All better. Thank you Conflict Resolution Smiley.

The Signature Smiley - see Smiley below

The Evolution of a Smiley has over the years added winks, full grins, noses, etc. and has become an indoctrinated part of our daily type. Thankfully, in the absence of face-to-face and verbal conversation, a Smiley can covers a multitude of email sins.

Jenny :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Song for Thought

I first heard Downhere's How Many Kings during the holiday season and it has stuck with me since that point. For me, the fact that our Savior has done something personal for me leaves me awestruck. Again, the God of the Universe has done something and everything for me - that is humbling. I challenge you to really meditate on the chorus of this song. What a gift we have been given!

How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a things to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!
Philippians 2:5-11

Truly, how many kings?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ethiopian Gringos

Friday night Joey and I did something that was totally out of character ,thanks to our more adventurous friends, Bonnie and Russ. We went out to dinner...Ethiopian style. And before anyone makes any Ethiopian jokes, yes, we were full at the end of the meal.

For the most part, Joey and I eat at places whose ethnic food goes no further beyond what a Chili's might serve and consider ethnic. This being Mexican, Italian, Chinese, and "American". Every once and a while we'll branch out, but we always go back to the basics. For me, I think this is in part due to growing up in a small Texas town where you had your choices of Mexican, Fried fish, Mexican, Barbecue, and oh right, Mexican. And not until in the spirit of wild and crazy college life, did I have my first taste of Chinese food at the Imperial Garden in College Station. Some kids tried alcohol and drugs in college...I tried Chinese food. :)

Anyways, back to the Ethiopian Experience, Joey and I were the first to arrive. Instead of smelling food upon walking through the door we smelled incense. Strong incense. At that point, we knew we were totally out of our element. I'm not sure what I expected, but the place was decidedly Ethiopian. And to make sure that everyone else knew that we were out of our element, Joey called over the waitress and asked her what the "house special" was or something like that. I don't know what the equivalent word for "gringo" is in Ethiopian, but we were officially it.

Thank goodness for Bonnie and Russ! They were quite experienced and steered us clear of such apparently perilous dishes such as the Kitfo or the house specialty. Everything came out on one large platter and you used bread for silverware. I should make a note that this bread was unlike any bread I have ever eaten. It was more like a spongy crepe. The tray of bread looked like folded napkins. You would just tear off a piece of the bread and use it to scoop up the meat and/or vegetables. I'm sure Bonnie and Russ got a kick out of how huge our eyes were. We had a blast! It was quite interesting. So interesting that I thought I should write about it for memory's sake. And we of course finished everything up with a trip to Coldstone which was right in our element!

Thank you, Bonnie and Russ for making Joey and I expand our Culinary Horizons!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Death By Girl Scout Cookie

If you ever would like to bribe me, please do so with Caramel Delights and Thin Mints. That would work beautifully. I shouldn't have let you let you in on my weakness, but then again I would be so happy if someone indulged it. I have said before, I would not be surprised if the streets of heaven were paved with Caramel Delights. I mean seriously, the Keebler Elves have nothing on the Girl Scouts. And of course, like Christmas and Peppermint Mochas, they are available only for a season. I'm waiting for a generic brand of Girl Scout Cookies to come out on the market that way I can get them all year around. Just waiting on the patent to run out...

In all seriousness, there is a reason why Peppermint Mochas and Thin Mints are only around for a while. We would all be fat. The scout delivered 4 boxes on Saturday and as of two minutes ago, they're gone. I for one, have already eaten my weight in Caramel Delights TODAY. It is quite possible that sometime around midnight Joey might roll over in bed and find that he does not have a wife, but rather a large Thin Mint lying next to him. It is so nice to know that my entire workout at the gym was dedicated to working off a sleeve of Thin Mints.

Ok, on second thought, I probably was unable to work off but half the sleeve. That means the rest is just excess. I might as well have taped a few Thin Mints to my butt, because that is where it's going. That's it. I am not allowed anymore Girl Scout Cookies. Unless of course you bribe me and then I might just have to reconsider.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


It's so nice to finally be at home and here for the night! Joey and I just got back from working out, dinner's in the oven, and Bo is about to get the ultimate scrub down. He doesn't know it yet, but a bath is on its way after dinner. He's not so bad at the bathing part as he is at the drying half of the process. He becomes the Bomaniac when the hair dryer comes on. He runs around the bathroom to escape and when he feels the first wave of air touch his fur he goes into psycho mode. It's hard to tell whether he looks as if he has just taken poison with all his writhing around or whether he is breakdancing, by this I'm referring to the spin moves. Toward the end he usually balls himself in a corner and gives in, but it is not without a valiant fight. I'll give it him, he's quite a showman. Maybe we should have brought Bo and Gus inside last night to watch the National Dog Show that was on TV. Maybe if they saw other dogs so well-behaved and sporting the clean/groomed look, they would take their grooming a little more seriously. Does peer pressure apply to dogs?

Let the breakdancing begin!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Coffee with Darwin

Sunday afternoon I was supposed to have lunch with a friend. Things didn't quite work out as planned and it turned out I needed to kill time before we met. Since Starbucks was across the street from our meeting place, I decided to hang out there while I was waiting. Now usually, I am always prepared for a little down time, meaning I always have something in the wings like work, books, etc. to "make use" of the time as if having unpurposeful time is a crime. That day, however, I left my Emergency Time Consumer Kit, aka my Beatles bookbag, at home. So no books. No iPod. No work. So what does an avid reader do with time on her hands and no books to read? Read people of course! And I don't mean the magazine.

My company consisted of a lady entertaining two small children and a distinguished looking man absorbed in his laptop which was covered with I Love the Rockets and Colorado University stickers. Darwin, name aptly changed, sat across from me a few minutes later. He became engrossed in his book. I had out my Bible and the sermon notes I had just taken from church service. I got up to get a straw and when I came back I noticed that the title of his book said GOD, in bold letters. I don't know what made me do it, but I asked "Good book?" He said "Oh yeah, GREAT book! It's about how physics totally disproves the existence of God." Uh oh. What had I gotten myself into? If I would have looked a little further I would have noticed that right under "GOD" it said "The Failed Hypothesis". What to do now? Pray that God would just give me the words to say. Oh and a few prayers in hopes that I was not speaking with a nuclear physicist or something that would totally blow me out of the water in intellect. Thus the conversation began...

Me: My husband loves to read books on the topic of God and science, but he's on the other end of the spectrum. We believe that science reveals God's beauty and that it is further proof in a Creator. Can I get the title of the book? He's always looking for books on the subject...

Darwin: Oh sure. I'm an atheist. I don't believe that science and God can go hand in hand at all.

Me: Oh really? Why is that? (praying)

Darwin: I just don't see any evidence for it. And believe me, I've looked.

Me: Hmmm...honestly I don't know how I would make it through the day without that faith. I'm curious, what do you live for? (oh my gosh I cannot believe I just said that...why oh why did those words come out of my mouth? Was I trying to make this guy go home and make sure his will was in order? Preparing for him to be offended...still praying and now sweating)

Darwin: I live to be a good person and make a positive impact on the earth. And I think the God of the Old Testament was horrible and I don't want to be anything like him. I believe if Christians actually ever read their Bible they would lose total faith in a God who would do things like that. No good can ever come of religion or of a belief in God. God is just something people came up with to cope. I've read tons of books on the subject from the standpoint of science. (at this point he's becoming quite involved and worked up, obviously passionate. And I'm also sure at this point that he hasn't entirely read the Bible, but maybe just parts)

Me: So you believe that left up to our own devices the world would be a better place?

Darwin: Certainly. 0.05% of the population are atheists and within that population you see the lowest incidence of crime. Why? Because we have ourselves to be held accountable to. You have a God that's there to forgive everything you do, so you just go ahead and do it knowing that you will be forgiven.

Me: How do you measure what is good? Where do you get the standard? (asking Darwin questions seemed the best course of action as he would not let you get a word in edgewise. There was probably a lot more said in these paragraphs, but it was so much to remember)

Darwin: I just try to eliminate human suffering. If I can do that, then I'm a good person.

Me: Do you believe in an afterlife? I mean, do you think you will get a reward for this? Why be a good person? Why bother?

Darwin: No, I don't believe in heaven or hell. I don't know what happens. I try not to think about it. Maybe I'll turn into a tree or a bug or maybe fertilizer. (never answered as to his motivations to be a good person)

Me: What's the biggest reason you don't believe in an afterlife? Most religions do.

Darwin: I just don't think I'm that special. (this to me was very sad, my heart hurt)

This conversation went on for 45 minutes. We talked about everything from heaven and hell, to the purpose of life (which in the long run I don't think he believes he has purpose), to the Bible being infallible. He seemed to not have a clear understanding of the Bible and abused a lot verses by taking them out of context and misquoting. When he would reference verses I would go to them in my Bible and he would say "Well, I'm not sure the exact chapter..." He said it did not matter to him what I believed. Finally, I started wrapping it up, but was struck by one fact...

Me: You seem to have quite a well-versed opinion on God and seem to have read a lot on the subject.

Darwin: Yes, I've read book after book on the topic. I've read science books, religious books, I've talked to Rabbis, and posed questions to Catholic priests. I've done my research.

Me: So, I'm just curious, if you really don't believe there's a God and are perfectly satisfied with life and that answer, why are you reading a book entitled "GOD"? Why bother if you're sold?

Darwin: Pause. A lot of pause. Mumbling. I just like, uh, the uh, going back and forth.

Me: Oh, I see it's the philosophical debate itself, not the question then?

Darwin: That's right. (I'm getting up to leave at this point when he stops me and he's quiet for a moment)

Darwin: I'm envious of people that can believe. I think it's good. I would believe if I could.

Wow. After 45 minutes of all this and it's finally out. We got up to leave. Darwin challenged me to go to a certain website to look at certain places in Scripture that he believes are frought with error. I agree, on one condition. If I have homework, he's going to have an assignment too. I challenged him to really read through the New Testament. To read about the Jesus he was quoting and see if it added up to a God incapable of love. He promised he would. He walked with me to the door and said that he had a wonderful talking with me. He said he was going home and would talk with his wife about our conversation. He said that if he saw me again at the Starbucks he would have read his assignment and would come up and talk with me about it. And he told me to enjoy the day. He was one of the nicest people I have met.

In our conversation, we talked little about anything personal. I found out he was originally from New York and had moved to Texas at the age of 23 to play in a country band. His parents were atheists and when he tried to be friends with Christian kids they pushed him away because of his lack of faith. Their parents would not allow their children to come near him. I could see the hurt in his eyes. He was an outcast as a child. What if a loving Christian parent would have befriended Darwin at a young age? If a Christian parent would have invited him over and believed that they would have had an impact on him rather than the assumed reverse? What if someone would have given him hope? Somewhere along the way, he's received the message that Christians are to condemn, not to love. He's right in asking the question. Why are atheists giving more to charities than Christians? Why aren't we always the first ones to step up? Why do atheists have to fill our gaps in the way of giving? I was deeply convicted. Where did we lose sight?

"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that other would do to you, do so to them.

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:27-36 - the words of Jesus Christ

Please say a special prayer for my friend, Darwin.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Absolutely Over The Top Gorgeous Day!

Have you been outside today? It is amazingly beautiful! Forget the Groundhog - beautiful weather is on it's way! It's the kind of weather that makes you thank God for it as soon as you step outside. I think He likes to surprise us with days that just make us sit and admire His creation. It has been a peaceful morning. My husband is still sound asleep. I have done two loads of laundry, played with the dogs, quiet time, and reading. So I'm already satisfied with the day and it's only 9am - that's a great feeling. By the way, Joey doesn't usually sleep in like this at all. We usually try our very best to sleep in, but it never happens. 7:30 is about as good as we get. Why is it that in high school it was torture to get up before 8am? Anyway, Joey wasn't able to fall asleep until 5am. He told me that this morning and I was like "Wuh?". For me this is a foreign concept, not being able to fall asleep, that is. My head hits the pillow and I'm off to dreamland 0 seconds flat. Oh, Sleeping Beauty just woke up. We are going to get our Saturday Starbucks this morning, which is always a treat. On the agenda today is cleaning, working out, Joey's going riding, a little bit of work, painting, picking out paint colors (Yuck! I do not like all the decision making that goes along with this), and simply enjoying the day. My favorite kind of Saturday with lots of room to breathe!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lasic is never in the cards for me...

Today I had an appointment with the eye doctor. I have a fear of eye appointments. Yes, I know that there are many other kinds of doctor's appointments that should rank higher up on the Do Not Like List, but for me this is ranked a very close second. It boils down to one thing: I'm a pansy when it comes to my eyes.

It is a miracle that I wear contacts. Before the necessity of the latter (I had perfect vision until college), if I had an eyelash in my eye, I would cry it out rather than touch my eye. Putting on mascara was seen as a potential hazard. And eyeliner? Woah, talk about hazardous! I was not volunteering to poke out my own eye. Anyone who came within a 5 inch radius of my eyes was asking for trouble. I have been told - by the eye doctor - that I have incredibly strong eye reflexes. This would be why, when I was first fitted for contact lenses, the nurse had to call the doctor in to put the contacts in my eyes as I was not cooperating with her. It was not me, I swear! My lids have a mind of their own and they're just into protecting their main assets. Anyway, I have since become accustomed to wearing contact lenses. I'm practically a pro. Eye drops are still a step overboard. If use is necessary I put a drop or two on the side of my eye and let it roll in.

Today was an overall good experience and I feel that I am slowly overcoming my fears. He did not peform the "Puff Test" which I had been mentally preparing for all day. However, he did call me out on the fact that I had scheduled my appointment at a time when going back to work was a must, thus making dilation impractical of course. I can't say that this was not in my plan. He's making me come back in next week for that one. The only negative thing about today was the part where they ask you to take out your contacts in a side room and then tell you to just find your way to the exam room when you are finished. I found my way to the exam room by feeling the walls and checking for labels in Braille - just kidding - it wasn't that bad, but I was wondering what those in worse shape than Eye do to get back to the room. This was my first time to this doctor's office. For all they knew I could have been legally blind. I may mention next week as a customer service recommendation that a guide to and from the exam room or large-lettered signs would be helpful...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Face Dog

Right now I am typing from the comforts of my couch. Well, it should be comfortable at least. I have left out the fact that Bo is laying on top of me. For some reason he must be as close to my face as possible, making it very hard to type or for that matter move at all. He seems to be oblivious to his inconvenient position, but secretly I wonder if he knows. I would take a picture, but again...I cannot move anything, but my fingers. Obviously, he does not want to be confined to the term "lap dog" and would like to separate himself from those of that less enlightened variety and be known as a "face dog". Joey and I are about to walk the dogs so I must wake the Bo fur stole wrapped around my neck.

By the way, sometimes it's easier to talk about nothings rather than all the somethings going on. :)