Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Cafe Girl and A Bottle of Shampoo

In college I was a "cafe girl." I worked there from my second semester in college until I graduated. I did it all. At one point or another, I opened in the morning, ran the food lines, washed trays, scrubbed pots and pans, and then I hit the glory spot. I was the "Cook's Assistant." Some nights I would have to make hundreds of pancakes and grill hundreds of hamburgers, fry chicken strips and fries (I fry the best fries), but other nights, it was a breeze.

I have been taught from the time I was young that I take what I earn and I give a part to God. I had been taught that when you give, God gives back. And, while we don't just give to get, He would take care of us. The thing is, God always had taken care of me, I had my mom and dad across from me, in the same house! But now, I was in college. On my own. Many, many many hours from home. And, I was running out of things I needed to survive on a daily basis. I'm not even referring to things even like hairspray or a new sweater, but real things of necessity, like you know, soap and shampoo. I was in a panic.

The time came though that I was going to be asking for help. That night I called home and said, "I'm beginning to smell." (Not really, I wasn't that bad yet.)
"Oh Steph." That's what my mom said. But I knew they'd help.

This is where the best part of the story comes in to play. My friend's parents were in town. They had driven in on Sunday and I was going to be meeting them Monday night. I'd like to re-emphasize, they left Indiana on Sunday morning, a whole twelve hours before I called home.

Monday I met up with the family, and they told me they had some things for me from my family. When I met them at their van they pulled out a big grocery bag- the brown paper kind- and what would you expect to be in it. Shampoo. Hairspray. Conditioner. Soap. Everything I was running out of. Everything I needed.

When I think about this now, I am reminded that the God then, is still the same today. Some of you might say God had nothing to do with it, it was my parents, but oh He did. My mom and dad had no idea I was struggling at that moment, but God knew all along. Some might say it's coincidence, but I believe that a lot more than coincidence happened that day. It was not fate or chance. It did not just happen by chance that I received just what I needed at the exact time I needed it.

Matthew 6:33, 34

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Just Call Me REE

Bear with me as I tell you a story.

I have a friend who seemed to have the need for a new middle name. I started calling her Lou. It seemed appropriate given her first name. Along the way she decided that I needed a new name too. So, she took my middle name (Rene'e) and started calling me Ree. Six years later, here we are still Lou and Ree.

Not too long ago I started wondering if "Ree" meant anything. Surely, it wasn't a real name. Surely, it meant something, had some type of a definition. I decided to do what any normal, reasonable, grown up person would do- I Google'd the name, my name.

I must admit that I was very pleased when I found this. I must ALSO admit that I was a little surprised as well. Who knew that Ree would mean exactly what it did. I have on many occassion been called, "a little goofy," "weird," "strange," etc, but "Rare Earth Element?" Rare implies something new that I never thought of before. Rare implies that I am Unique. Unique implies that I am Exceptional. Matchless. Irreplaceable. And since I live on the earth and made it through elementary school- this fits. Ahhhh... I like that. Yes, I like being Ree.

Aren't we all a little in need of knowing we are like Lutetium? (This one sounded very cool, plus who doesn't like Paris?)

It has of course, taken me quite a while to accept that My Lou isn't the first one to give me the name Ree. By now if you read this blog at all you know that I am talking about God. God, whom I have known all my life, has been speaking to me in different ways over the last few months. Ways that I never let Him before. In saying that, I am saying that He has shown me how with a PURPOSE he made me. He knew my name before my parents knew I was on my way. He knew the laugh that He would give me. He knew that I would have a strange sense of humor and that I would find my own jokes hilarious even when everyone else would look at my with strange expressions. He knew and He made me this way on purpose.

And you know what, I'm a fan of whatever He has in mind for me. I don't quite know all of the plans yet, but I'm a fan.

It's me, just me.
You can call me Ree.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I am currently sitting at my desk at work, on lunch, hunched down low and hoping that no will come looking for me. I'm crunching on my nachos from the downstairs cafe, pretending that they are from Salsaritas. I'm remembering my relaxing weekend, and looking forward to (already) the weekend that lies ahead. I am, in effect, hiding. Hiding from co-workers (I was, however, just found, multiple times actually.) Hiding from reality of my lunch. Hiding, however ineffectively, from the start of a new work week. I hide quite a bit. Hide and wish away today and hope for tomorrow which won't come nearly fast enough. And, at the end of the day, I'll go home to my quiet place, where I find peace and quiet and alone-ness.

I also hide my heart. The dark part. The parts that people would cause people to shutter if they saw first hand. The side that threatens to overtake me on a daily basis. Yesterday, the pastor at my church talked about this very situation. He said, "Look at your neighbor, and tell them your worst "sin"." There were many people who started talking immediately before he yelled, "Kidding! Don't do it!" I myself sat there without saying anything, not because I have no sins but because I was trying to think of what would be the worst. The piece of candy that I found on the floor of the store when I was three? (Yeah, I ate it.) My attitude? Maybe. The way I've treated people. Perhaps? But, I think most of all, my worst sin is a combination of all that is laying hidden in my heart so that no one can see it- hypocrisy. "Oh, but you are so sweet!" And, I have had people say that, but they don't see me as I roll my eyes and make a face at something that someone did. Or, they don't know the attitude that I've had, the impatient, rude attitude when someone "bothers" me, or makes me wait when I am in a hurry. I am---hiding. And yet, try as I might, there is someone who still sees me as I am crouching in my "hide-n-seek" position.

He can see my heart, and the black that is there. And, as of late, I've wanted to have a painting done over the black and have it covered the purest shade of white. But I can't hold the paintbrush. In the past, when I've tried to paint over the stain, I've managed to cause streaks, and instead of a pearly white, I have a gray mess. The paintbrush has to be relinquished to someone else, who has the ability to not cover up, but make white from the inside out.

And so I sit in the secret place, in quiet, and I'm asking God to look at this heart of mine and too make me new. To make the appearance of the outside the truth on the inside, and not the other way around.

He is the only one who can make me new.

And, I think I plan on playing on the real hide-n-seek going forward. Who wants to join?

Psalm 51:7
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Matthew 23:27

...You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.

Isaiah 1:18
Come now, let us reason together...though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thinking again

  • Tonight I just used one of those giant Ziploc bag things that you suck the air out with a vacuum cleaner. This has gotta be one of the best inventions. I wanna put everything in a bag so I can use this.
    I'm gonna shove the bag of clothes under my bed now.
  • I almost fell down my stairs. Yes, it happens almost every day. My carpet is slickery on my stairs. I think I should buy one of those electric chair things that you attach to a staircase bannister. Then I could ride up on my chair without worrying about falling off.
  • I only have 2 more papers and one test (which I take on Saturday). After that I am going to take just a month off and I am back to work. I also will not take more than 12 hours a term. This might be for everyone else's sanity more than my own. For those of you who have been supportive, encouraging and given me the kick I need, Thanks.
  • I've packed my coats away. (They're in the bag that I'm shoving under my bed.) I am doing this in demonstration of good faith that warm weather is coming. If you happen to see me wearing 5 sweatshirts and 5 pairs of socks, you'll know why.
I leave you with this quote: (From a bumper sticker)
"Save the Earth, it's the only planet with chocolate."
That's a good word right there.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday- Encouraged by Jenilee

My friend Jenilee has been posting about "Tackle it ---day" and I decided today was the day!
I have always found "under the sink" to be scary. It doesn't matter where it is, kitchen, bathroom, my house, your house, "under the sink" is a freaky place. All that being said, the cabinet under my kitchen sink has been a catch all for who knows what. I haven't wanted to spend too much time down there. Today, however, I was inspired. Within 5 minutes I found extra trash bags, and household cleaner- all ready to be used! Not only that, but some rather old and unwanted items found there way OUT THE DOOR!

Five minutes and the scariness is gone!
Under the sink, not so scary now!
Thanks for the motivation Jen!!!

Clean sink (bathroom)

New cleaners (new found anyways!)

Trash- not the shoes of course!

Happy Face!!

Sunday, March 08, 2009


This last week I had a week off work to vacation. You may all now be leaning forward to find out the exciting details of my fascinating week.

What did my week look like:
*Bought a desk*Drove to Indiana*Saw family*Slept*Saw friends at wedding shower (Yay for Tina!)*Visiting old memories*Essenhaus with friends from high school*Family times*Sleeping*Cooking*Talking*Sleeping*Breakfast at Angelos (With Tina!)*Driving to Chicago*Sleeping*Homework*Cleaning*Homework*Sleeping*Homework*Cleaning*Babysitting (fun kiddo love)*Picking up desk (Thanks friends!)*Cleaning*Homework*Cleaning*Chilis*Homework*Cleaning*Basketball game (Way to go Hayley and Nick!)*Cookies and hamburgers*Cleaning*Homework*Lunch with Tracy*Movie*Homework*
And now sleep, and then back to work!

It was in fact a week that I have been needing for quite a while!

Other things to note:
  • I have been working on finishing all my general ed classes. This past week I wrapped up my math class assignments. This next week I'll be finishing my social science class with an assessment next Saturday. I'm going to do my best to not moan about failing, although there is always that possibility. Next up I will be starting the Master's classes. After a quick break of course.
  • I love my new desk. The adventure really was in getting it up into my room. The spiral stairs are not conducive to moving furniture. That means, it goes over the balcony! The scariest part was getting the old one out. Not like I really did a whole lot, but I tried to be supportive and encouraging. I did hold onto a piece of the desk as it rested precariously on the side of the balcony.
  • Where does dust come from? I mean I know, but seriously how does it accumulate so quickly? If only dusting once could mean dusting forever.
  • Nancy Drew- oldies but goodies. I still love her. And when I grow up I have plans to be just like her. I've said it before, but she's smart and savvy and yet, stylish.
  • The Thirteenth Tale- One of the most amazing books I have ever in my life read. I will be buying it.
  • 1:30 am. Perfect time for paper writing!
If only every week was vacation!