Saturday, July 16, 2016

We Are the Crazy People Who Pray.

We are the crazy people who pray. We pray to a God who knows our names.

We are the crazy people who pray. We pray to the Creator who knows all things.

We are the crazy people who pray not to a distant and fearful lord, but One who has entered into our grief.

We are the crazy people who pray, not with tongues and signs and miracles, but with humble hearts and contrite spirits.

We are the crazy people who pray for our families, communities, our world.

We are the crazy people who pray that we might love our neighbors in word, deed, and truth.

We are the crazy people who pray against fears and anxieties, for we know it is only in the Lord we can dwell in safety.

We are the crazy people who pray for our enemies as ourselves.

We are the crazy people who pray that we might decrease so Christ may increase.

We are the crazy people who pray for love in a world of hate.

We are the crazy people who pray to a God that knows and loves us.

We are the crazy people who pray, petition, and call upon the Spirit to move.

We are the crazy people who pray for a kingdom coming ruled by a humble man seated on a donkey.

We are the crazy people who pray for justice to roll down like a river, and righteousness like a never-ending stream.

We are the crazy people who pray not for our wills, O Lord, but Thine, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

God's Law and the Pomegranate

My mama sent me a care package this past week, full of fruit from trees that my dad had cared and tended to.  My parents have a suburban farm of sorts on their half acre in OrangeVale, CA, where they purposefully choose to grow produce that they can't get in the store.  Baby Crawford peaches, Champagne grapes, Stars & Moon watermelons (2 40-pounders this summer off of that one!), Meyer lemons so big you would think they were an orange.  

On Wright Farm, it's the last bit of the autumn harvest.  Some apples are coming ripe, as are the pomegranates and persimmons.  The latter two is what I received this week. 

Aren't they beautiful?

Saturday morning, I spent about forty minutes de-seeding the two larger pomegranates.  Utah Giants (although my mom called them "Utah Mediums" due to the drought).  With Patty Griffin keeping me company on the stereo, I dug and picked and tried not to mar the jewel-like seeds that burst so easily.

As I did so, I was reminded of my trip in college to the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.  I was taking a class on Jewish Literature, and our professor, a tiny Jewish lady named Ann, decided that we needed to go on a field trip.  The museum had just opened up, and had a "sound experience" room dealing the story of Genesis.  We had read the Creation account as part of our literature, so she wanted us to experience an artistic form of it as well.  But that is a story for another day.

As I was wandering through the gift shop, I kept seeing small bronze pomegranates.  Being of a naturally curious personality, I asked one of the employees what they represented.  She told me that according to one Jewish legend, a pomegranate was said to hold 613 seeds, which is the same number as laws in the Old Testament.  It is a symbol of beauty and abundance, traditionally eaten to break the fast during Yom Kippur.  Among many other things, the pomegranate serves as a reminder of God's laws and the love for his people.

As I took the knife to the fruit, red juice ran out from the seeds that I had crushed.  It stained my hands, the counter top, my apron.

As I extracted the seeds from the membrane, my movements had to be thoughtful and precise.

As I put the seeds in the bowl, I had to pick out the small pieces of pith that had hitched a ride on the seed--even to get the tiniest bit in your mouth creates a bitter experience that ruins the goodness of the fruit.

Is this not how we should understand God's laws and love for us?

Seeds needed to be crushed.  Much like Christ on the cross.

Seeds needed to be dug out of captivity--much like our souls.

And the pith needed to be kept separate from the seeds, just as legalism and poor theology needs to be kept from the truth of His word.

Seeding pomegranates takes time.  The juice stains whatever it touches.  Seeds burst in the mouth as they are crushed.

Understanding God's laws and love for us takes time.  This understanding should leave a mark on our hearts and be evident of God's love in our lives.  Let us go forth and know this type of love.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Today I walked out my door and felt something strange in the air.  Fall.  And happiness leapt inside of me because it meant one thing:  the end of summer.  Not that this summer was bad in any way.  

It was just miserably busy.  

July:  My parents and sis Kate visited.  Wonderful.  Kate stayed a bit extra.  Extra wonderful. We finally found an apartment in our a) budget b) neighborhood and c) close to light rail and d) aesthetic (that last one wasn't quite as necessary as the first item, but definitely a perk).  We decided to be absolutely insane and move into it in two weeks.  With me still finishing my summer class.  That I hadn't even started tinkering with my final curriculum project.  Or even having inspiration for it.

August:  We finally are free of our old apartment.  Praise Jesus for a roach-free environment (Amen, people, and hallelujer).  We have squashed the final vermin and have commenced sticking our tongues out at  our former place of residence as we pass by.  Or do other things with certain fingers that would probably make my dad laugh and make my mother middle-name me.  We moved, unpacked the majority of our stuff in three days, and spend the next week in California with my family.  We came back, continued unpacking and taking too many trips to dump stuff at the thrift store, and started school again.

September started Justin's internship as a student chaplain at one of the local hospitals.  I can't begin to tell you how great this has been for him.  But we'll talk about that in person over a latte or a glass of wine.  Because that's how we do things in the Sear household.

September was also the beginning of me recognizing my discontent.

Specifically, with our bank accounts.  I pride myself on being a good manager of our funds and being able to survive and be mostly happy on little.  I know h how all of our money goes in and out of our accounts.  How to cut down on bills.  How to effectively shop and how to make sure that little goes to waste.  But for whatever reason, all these things seemed insufficient for me the past few weeks.

Before the end of the summer madness ensued, Justin and I sat down with my boss to talk finances because I was eligible to start contributing to the 401(k) plan.  He started out by saying that nobody ever thinks they have enough money.  Even Bill and Melinda Gates (because malaria is still a problem.  They haven't cured malaria yet.  And when they do, they will just go ahead and move onto solving the problem of AIDS or world hunger or  dying bees).  He warned us that as we continue to move on in our lives and plan for the future, we will probably have similar feelings.  "And that's okay!" he says.

As he was sitting straight across from me, I thought, I will never think like that.  What we have now is just enough!

Oh, let me tell you how even the mighty have fallen.

Let's look at the price of flights back to Sacramento for Christmas.  Whelp, there goes approximately half our savings.  [Enter Discontent.]

Let's look at wanting more vacation days to be able to spend time with family for the holidays and being able to go out of town for a few days by ourselves.  [Discontent takes over my calendar.]

Let's look at our dinner menus and think about how long it has been since we've had red meat because chicken is so much cheaper.  [Discontent waltzes across my kitchen counter.]

Let's look at feeling guilty about spending thirty dollars on a pair of new shoes for work that were necessary because the old ones were getting ratty and worn.  [Discontent is worn on my feet.]

Let's look at how I asked Justin if he thought we had enough money, and then after a hefty discussion, I still cried about it.  [Discontent! My old friend--come and stay a while.]

WHEN did my heart become so discontent?  And over silly things like beef and shoes?  WHEN did I decide that what the Lord has provided isn't enough?

[Enter Jesus. And our dear friend Trevor.]

We went over to Trevor's house last Friday because his wife was out at a birthday party and we hadn't seen him (or them in general) for a while.  He was the pastor who married us.  We like him because he always asks good questions like, "So, what's hard about being married right now?  You guys doing okay?"  

We spill.  I tell him how it's a strange thing for me feeling like I can't buy a weekend ticket to visit a friend across the country once or twice a year.  It's strange for me to have to budget my vacation time to see my family instead of being able to drive two hours and spending the weekend in the house I grew up in.  It's hard feeling the well-intended pressure of people encouraging us to start saving for a down payment on a house.  

Trevor listens.  He hears.  He encourages us that we are in a season.  And that's what it is.  A season.  A season to be newlyweds and in graduate school with very little expendable money.  A season to look to the Lord, not our bank accounts, for provision.

A time for me to learn contentedness.  

And that is what I am fighting for every day.  A heart that is content.  To want the things that I have right now.  To keep trusting Jesus--His grace and provision in our lives.  

Give us neither poverty nor riches, but hearts that are content.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We are #Blessed

This past weekend, my parents made a stop on their road trip to see Justin and me.  My sister Kate, recently (~3 months) home from the Peace Corps, decided to come along for the ride.  We had dinner with Justin's parents, went to the Denver Botanic Gardens to see the Chihully exhibit, and then out to the Denver Zoo to try to see some of the Zoo Babies that were born this spring.  Sadly, they evaded us.

But here is a photo of the Chihully just to make us feel better. 

It was a joy to have my parents here.  Kate actually ended up staying a few more days, a special treat that provided time for her to spend with both Justin and me.  I repeat:  a treat.

One of the nights, I checked my phone for my Instagram account.  An acquaintance from college recently just got married, and posted a photo of their ceremony site.  #Blessed was one of the hashtags.  Oh yeah, I think.  Being married is SUCH a blessing.  

This triggered a memory from earlier in the weekend--Kate and I had been talking about how a pet peeve of ours is when Christians use the term blessed for something trivial.  Or just simply overuse it.  So, out of curiosity and a mild sense of wanting to judge strangers, I opened Pandora's box on Blessedness.  

I tell you, people.  Hilarity ensued.  Check for yourself (and sorry if you are one of the people we judged/probably are still judging.  We recognize our own pretentiousness in this as well).  We poked fun at people for about an hour.  Among the 24+ million photos tagged Blessed, most of them fall into general categories:

  • Selfies - one in particular had a comment that stated something along the lines of "Just when you think it just can't get any sexier, it does." #blessed
  • Gym Selfies - an oiled up (and fairly attractive) man in a bro tank showing off his shiny triceps. #blessed
  • A plate of protein brownies - comments explained that this particular gal went on for a long run and her sister had made her protein brownies.  #blessed.
  • Children - these included ultrasounds and actual, real - life children.
  • Flowers - I assumed they were from lovers.
  • A pair of boobs (covered, but still very buxom), with a small pit bull in the background - I kid you not.  Her "selfie" was mainly her breasts covered by a skimpy sports bra, a small pit bull kind of in the background, and maybe an inch of her chin.  #blessed.
And the one to top all other #blessed tags...

A girl posing next to a brand-new black Maserati.  I repeat, A MASERATI.  The comment to go along with the photo?  "Thanks, Mom & Dad!" #blessed.

I just can't.  (You can lease a Maserati  if you so desire.  To the tune of a normal person's mortgage or $1,399/mo).  

It appears that blessings on Insagram typically add up to being attractive, having a lover, food, babies, and receiving obnoxiously expensive gifts from parents.  These also can be summed up as #hot, #dateable, #foodie, #ihavecutebabies (duh), and #richandorspoiled.

Perhaps it's not the issue that we actually do our blessings, but rather that of what we count as our blessings. 

 I believe that indeed, God blesses us.  It is a biblical and sound belief.  Strangely, the first recording of God's blessing in the Bible is not upon a human.  Moses writes in Genesis 1:22, "God blessed them [fish of the sea and birds of the air] and said, 'Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth'."  Then, he blesses the animals of the land, followed by rest on the seventh day. It is after all this that He chooses to bless the man and woman to also be fruitful and multiply.  

Wealth can be a blessing (the examples of Solomon, Job, and Joseph come to mind).  Children are a blessing (Psalm 127).  Long life is a blessing (Deut. 5).  A good wife is a blessing (Proverbs 18).  But many times in the Scriptures, blessings come from an obedience to God's covenants and Word (Zechariah 3, Exodus 16,).  Luke 11:28 explicitly records Jesus saying, "Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it."  James writes that trials and perseverance are blessings (James 1).  

Jesus flips our concepts of blessing upside down when He preaches the first portion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5).  Blessed are the poor in spirit.  Mourners.  The meek.  Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  The merciful.  The pure in heart.  Peacemakers.  Those who are persecuted because of righteousness.  

I don't want to be poor in spirit.  I don't want to mourn.  I can handle being meek (sometimes).  Hungering for righteousness?  Most times I honesty would rather snack on it.  You get the picture.

What ultimately counts us as blessed is that we have the Lord.  That we recognize Jesus as who He said He is, that we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.  We are most blessed because of these things, not because God chooses to give material blessings.  We are blessed because we know the One who Blesses.  Even if a dearly loved one dies.  If we find out we have to live with a chronic disease.  If we lose our house.  If we have to say no to the finer things in life because we choose to follow His commands and love the poor.  If we take a lower paying job to spend more time with our families. Even if we become one of the "leaset of these."  We are blessed because we love Him.

Let's not trivialize true blessings.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Off-Topic Classes and Traditional Marriage Vows

My graduate class gets sidetracked fairly often on various subjects.  Our professor emigrated from China to get his Ph.D., we have two female students from Saudi Arabia, one student whose family emigrated from Russia, and another from Vietnam.  The rest of the class is just normal home-grown kids.  One of the recent tangents we went off on was that of dating and marriage in various cultures. Our professor stated that he knew his wife for years before getting married to her.  We learned (according to our Vietnamese classmate) that the average marrying age for a young woman in Korea is between 27-30, and that typically, they date for about 7 years before tying the knot.

A few students spoke up about how they think the divorce rate is so high because people are now getting married in their 20's (heaven forbid) after barely knowing their spouse for a year (that makes it the second strike for me).  As many of my classmates thought something like this was crazy, I decided to stay silent and not open  a porthole into my life.

Part of me regrets not doing that.

In a recent post on Christianity Today's Hermenutics blog, Catherine Parks wrote a glorious piece titled, "What Happened to Wedding Vows?"  As she reviews the traditional vows and compares them to the current trending ones (she uses the example of  once hearing "I will always peel your clementines for you,"), she finds them hollow and out of place.  I'll always peel your clementines?  How gracious. Thank you sosososoooooo much.

Is it possible really, to bind yourself to someone for richer or poorer, for sickness or health?  God forbid that something terrible happen to Justin, but I do believe that if something did happen, I would walk through that with him.    Not by my own will, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Catherine makes a seemingly obvious statement, but I think it has been overlooked by too many people:

"We learn how to make and keep vows by looking at God."

What I chose to avoid was a conflict with my classmates.  I wanted the easy way out, not having to bring God into the situation.  Certainly the new trend of marriage vows isn't a cause of the divorce rate, it's simply that we foolish humans only want the richer and health parts of the vows, not the we-aren't-sure-if-we'll-make-rent-or-eat-next-week or the slow walk hand in hand with cancer and loss.  I know I don't want those.  Nothing in me desires those things.

But at the same time, what I want more than anything in my marriage, is faithfulness.  Justin and I chose to say traditional vows because they exemplify faithfulness--a promise we plan to hold on to until one or the other returns to Jesus.  It is one that our parents have said, our grandparents have said, so on and so forth.  We layered our promise upon the promises of our families before us.  And even before that, it was a promise of a good God to His wickedly rebellious people.  He is faithful, and that is the standard that we choose to compare our marriage to. do I explain that to a class that was already off-topic?

(Photo Credit:  Benjamin Haley of Avocado Images)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hot Mess Thursday, and a Shout-Out to My Husband

**Author's Note:  This post is originally an email sent to her sister in the Peace Corps, Jamaica.

Hello, and thank you for tuning into this week's edition of Hot Mess Thursday.

The day started off with a bit of a slow start.  Tamsen hit the snooze button three times, resulting a get-out-of-bed time of 6:18 AM; which was not necessarily [good] due to the 3.5 inches of beautiful, powdery snow that had fallen overnight.

She gets out of bed and heads into the kitchen, deciding to make a quicker cup of tea instead of the normal cup of coffee.  This turns out to be a small disaster later, as she probably could have used the caffeine.

Justin kindly offers to sweep the snow off of her car before she leaves for work, and as he is doing so, she has a fleeting thought that she should ask him to take his car for the day, since it handles better in the snow.  Nope, you've got this, she thinks.  Sherman will be fine.

She was wrong.  Oh, so very wrong.

The drive out of the parking lot was fine.  She took the first exit instead of the second, because there is immediate hill to drive.  But, Tamsen was a fool and forgot about the hill that she would need to drive up after she took the flatter driveway.

Tires spin.  Snow flies.  Roads are unplowed.  Navigating roads with a real-wheel drive is torturous.  Tamsen presses the gas pedal down, but to no avail.  The engine is revving, but the tires don't move.  People behind her get annoyed.  One rude man even dares to honk at her, not noting her distress.  She tries to pull to the side of the road in front of her apartment complex, only to have her tires spin even more.

She's halfway there, and not going any further.  She's not blocking traffic anymore, but the cars that pass by her seem confused.  She calls Justin and tells him of her peril.  He jumps to the rescue, guides her driving, and gives Sherman a great big push that carries her over the hill.  Victory!

Until we reach the stoplight.  A left turn ahead. More unplowed roads await her.  Anxiety rises.  Shoulders tense.  Tamsen goes in for the turn, slowly and mindfully, only to have a small fishtail after she pulls out of the turn.  Okay Tamsen, you can do this, she says to herself.  But she knows that she's going crazy.

A second stoplight is approaching, and the light turns yellow.  She stops, and when the light turns green again, she carefully applies the gas, just like Justin instructed (and experience has taught her).  Another fishtail.  This one breaks her, and tears begin to fall.

Justin calls to congratulate her on making it up the hill, only to hear tears through the phone.  What's wrong?! he asks.  She cries her unwillingness to drive in such conditions.  Even major roads have not been plowed, not just the one their apartment is on.

For a second time, Justin jumps to the rescue.  Pull over somewhere, and I'll bring you my car.  You can drive that to work.  You know it handles so much better in the snow. 


She pulls into the snowy parking lot of Taco Bell on Broadway & Powers. Justin arrives, gives her a strong hug and a set of car keys.  Remember your parking pass for your building! he says.  Yes, yes, yes.

She makes it slowly to work, driving in third gear the whole way.  Slow, but safe. 

She'll take light rail tomorrow.

In an up-close and personal interview with Tamsen later that morning, she confessed to us here at Hot Mess Thursday, "I was thinking about how much I just wanted to dump Sherman on the side of the road somewhere.  Never again will I judge the owner of an abandoned car.  Amen."


Amen indeed, sister.  And Praise Jesus for a wonderful husband who has the day off.  And be thankful that your car is front wheel drive (I checked for you, you're welcome).

Love, Tamsen

PS--and I'm totally posting this story to my blog.  Because it's kind of pathetically funny and transparent.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Options for All Godly People, Single or Married Alike

I don't normally pick fights with one of the country's leading pastors, but I will today.

A few weeks ago, a girl I know from college posted a link to an article written by Mark Driscoll on her Facebook:  6 Options for Godly Single Women Wanting to Marry.  Driscoll was inspired to write the piece after he spoke with a single woman at an event where he was teaching.  He goes on to write that he thinks about this issue often, as he has daughters and also wants to care for the women of his church.  Great intentions.  He is the first to state that he is by no means an expert on these issues, and for that I (and others I suppose) am thankful for.

Driscoll's six reasons are as follows:

  • Sin.  (Party, sleep around, cohabiting with a boyfriend, etc.).
  • Surrender.  (Wallow in self-pity, give up on ever getting married, and become the cat lady you were destined to be).
  • Settle.  (Similar to the sin option, but more like marrying/dating someone who doesn't love Jesus).
  • Suffer.  (A direct quote from this paragraph:  "You can let your singleness be a club for Satan to beat you with over, and over, and over, and over...").
  • Strive.  (The boy-crazed adolescent in a grown-up woman's body.  The she-wolf in the closet).
  • Solace.  (A glimmer of hope).

Followed by six reactions:

  • Sin.  Wow.  I wasn't aware that sinning was only reserved for single women.  People in godly marriages, godly relationships, and godly singleness all sin, and a single person sinning is no different in God's eyes than a husband or wife sinning.  I am married to a wonderful man, and we both do our best to keep our focus on Jesus.  But I'm still mean to my husband sometimes. I am still selfish and want my own way.  I still have a desire for control instead of equality.  I am sorry to report that this option does not disappear once you are married.
  • Surrender.  What a depressing choice.  No thank you, please.
  • Settle.  Settling in the sense that Driscoll describes it would be considered sin, no?  
  • Suffer.  Another depressing choice.  Another thing that isn't reserved for single women.  Single men can also choose to suffer in their singleness.  As can wives and husbands choose to suffer in marriage.
  • Strive.  In this sense, also known as idolatry.  We can strive after the perfect potential spouse, yes.  We can also strive after money.  The perfect job.  The perfect house.  Perfectionism itself.  All idols.  All things that a lot of people do.  Still sin.
  • Solace.  Driscoll writes, "You can take comfort in God's love for you and that Jesus is the Man in your life who sympathizes with your singleness."  Well, that sounds a lot like making Jesus your temporary boyfriend.  Which is no good (Christianity Today has a great blog post about that, which you can read here).  
I would like to offer some alternatives for all single people.  These options are even available for the married folk, too.  

Options for All Godly People, Single or Married Alike
  • Learn to recognize our sin and repent.  As we have discovered that sinning is a consistent pattern for all people, we need to first and foremost seek after Jesus.  His words to us are to repent of our sins, to go and sin no more (Matthew 4:17, John 8:11).    If we are to be in right communion with Him, we must take this up.
  • Find a good counselor.  Marriage won't solve any problems.  I had a coworker who used to say, "You take you with you wherever you go."  Yes.  We take ourselves, our talents, our attitudes, our issues, and our baggage wherever we go.  The best time to start working on personal issues is always today, and a counselor who helps you with these things is always a good investment.
  • Volunteer and serve.  I have a friend who moved to Denver right around the same time I did.  She has made it a priority to serve the community.  Over the summer, she took a job before starting grad school that would allow her to have every Friday off of work so that she could use it to volunteer with a  day camp for at-risk youth.  What a great example of someone who loves her neighbor as herself. 
  • Stay in community.  This is self-explanatory.  Community is good.  Doing life together is good.  It's a hallmark of Acts 2, and a way to serve others and follow Jesus.  
  • Perfect the art (and spiritual gift) of hospitality.  This may seem a little strange, but having an open home is a way to serve the Lord (Romans 12:13).  Creating an environment that is peaceful, welcoming, and nurturing is not always an easy task.  It's hard work to clean and de-clutter your home to have guests.  It's also hard work to clean up after you have guests.  But it is a rewarding one.
  • Follow Jesus.  As my husband Justin says, "Joy is not dependent on circumstances."  Joy is dependent on Jesus, not on a marital status.  Joy is looking past circumstance and finding our deepest longing and our most valuable treasure in who Jesus is and what He has done for us.  

"Don't look at yourself!  Take your temperature when you are sick.  Otherwise look at God and others.  They're much more interesting."  - Peter Kreeft

On a lighter note, this  may (or may not) be a more helpful article on talking to single people.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Today's Email to My Sister in the Peace Corps

I sent my sister Kate a very silly email yesterday titled, "Today at Lunch, I Successfully Flung a Garbanzo Bean" (Which is true, by the way).

She responded this morning with this:

Please keep sending me these types of emails!  

Can do, dear sis.  The following is what I sent her:

Well, on today's edition of Lunchtimes with Tamsen, there isn't anything necessarily funny, but it has some good news in it...

Justin got the job!!

Fo' reals.  Future marriage advice to you is:  don't let your husband work nights.  Unless it's absolutely necessary (in which case, ours was).

And more exciting news--they are paying him almost fifty cents more an hour than what he was told at the interview.  Again,

Today I spent a total of two hours and forty five minutes ON HOLD with the social security office.  And what was it to do?  Oh, just schedule a meeting.  Literally took less than five minutes.  I've decided that they are worse than the DMV.  Not only are they obviously understaffed, but those people are only open from 9AM to 3PM.  Oh, and they take an hour lunch break.  Do these people even work?  This is how I'm feeling about them at the moment:  

Today is also the first real snow of the season.  Not that slushy stuff you guys experienced while you were here for the wedding, but real, fluffy, beautiful, stick-to-the-ground-been-snowing-all-day stuff.  The weather liars (ahem, forecasters) told a wild tale of "winter storm warnings" and "heavy snow overnight" and "blah blah blah."  So I got scared/nervous/lazy about driving in the snow and decided that I was going to ride the light rail to work (AKA going on an adventure!).  My alarm goes off at 5:45 AM, then another off at 6:40 that tells me I need to get my pretty little butt out of the house and to the light rail station for the 7:07 D Line.  Well, what really happened at 6:40 was me putting the leash on Pavlov.  He took a very quick whiz trip outside, and then I started walking to the station.  I ride either the C Line or the D Line up to the Broadway station, then swap to the F Line, which runs right along I-25.  I had fun gloating as we zipped past the super stressed out drivers who were going 12 miles per hour in a 65 zone.  But then they were probably gloating later as they passed me (at said prompt 12 mph) as I walked my cold little self .8 miles to work.  Whatever.  I didn't slide on (or off!) the road.  Priorities, I suppose.

Well, I think that is about all the wittiness I can afford right's 3:11 and I want a snack.  

Love you!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Things I've Learned While Being Engaged

Just a few thoughts:

  • Just after it happens, some people won't even say hi to you.  They just grab for your left hand and stare.  This will become semi-normal.
  • You will get asked more about wedding planning than anything else.
  • "Do you have a date yet?" will become the most annoying question received within the first month of engagement.
  • You probably should learn more about diamonds, because you will get asked about clarity, weight, color, cut grades, etc.  Your fiance presumably did when he went shopping, and "it's pretty and sparkly" won't cut it.
  • Renting linens will amount to highway robbery.  We got quotes as high as $100 an hour.  For tablecloths, people.  It literally is cheaper to buy them.  And you can resell them on Craigslist and possibly get all your money back. 
  • Guest lists need to be attacked first and foremost, just after the budget.  People may try to invite themselves to your nuptials and after party, and this creates a very awkward situation if you didn't plan on having them.  Learn to say no gracefully.
  • You will spend approximately 12 years worth of time the week after getting engaged on the phone talking to anyone you have ever met.  Because they want to know. every. single. little. detail.  Even if they didn't know you were dating someone.
  • If you dated for only a short period of time, you need to come up with some good responses for the "Wow!  That's fast!" remarks.  Yes, yes it was.  Thankyouverymuch.
  • The best advice I got was from my friend Bethany.  She said, "Tamsen, wedding planning will be as stressful as you let it be."  Note taken. (And it is very true.)
  • While registering for gifts, the guy really wants to scan everything with the scanner thing.  It's fun to watch.  
  • People will immediately start asking about when you will pop out babies.
  • On the baby note, you may start researching birth control options like mad, only to find out that there are waaaay more morale issues to it that you originally thought. And hormones can be a little freaky.
  • You may find an exorbitant amount of satisfaction in making spreadsheets.  And color-coding them.
  • It's easy to let planning rule every date night or hangout that you have with your wonderful fiance. It's good to not let this happen, and have a date be a date be a date.  You can plan at another time.
  • Stop looking at Pinterest.  Seriously.  There are way too many ideas out there that will make you go crazy and blow up your budget.
  • It's best to enjoy the process instead of being stressed.  If things get stressful, look at your to-do list and start delegating.  People most likely will enjoy (or even offer) to help out.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Receiving Precisely What I Needed

Sometimes guidance can come to you in the strangest of forms.  Today I received a spiritual butt-kicking from a window decal on a Jeep.  Before you try to commit me to an institution, please let me explain.

The morning got off just fine, but by 12:30 I had a mini meltdown.  I had my normal morning routine of waking up, walking the dog, reading a Psalm, eating, etc.  As I drove my way to work I judgmentally decided that the overweight early 20's man in the car behind me looked real dumb for smoking a cigarette and keeping his mouth wide open between puffs.  Doesn't his tongue dry out? I thought. Does he really know what he looks like right now?  Nice move, Tamsen.

I get to work.  Things are normal to fine, until just before lunchtime.  A couple who are clients of ours walked in to drop off a check.  They didn't want to bother the boss-man by saying hello to him, so after about a minute of small chat, they left.  My boss comes out of his office (he was in a meeting with another of our co-workers) and asks where they were.  He had heard them from down the hall and wanted to get together with them over lunch.  As they had already stepped out of the office and into the elevator, we had to call them and have them come back up.  He was slightly annoyed at me.  I was being a ninny and was annoyed at him for being annoyed at me.  Again, nice move.

So once they are wrangled back up to talk to him for what I think is going to be 5 minutes, they start making lunch plans.  "But you have the conference call you need to be on at noon," I protested, getting even more annoyed since he had specifically requested to be on this call.  "Call Kelly and have her just do it by herself."  I had another protest:  "But I'm on hold with social security trying to get that conference call you requested!"  "Hang up and call Kelly.  You will be on hold for 10 years with them."  A true statement, but I was still annoyed.

They go on their merry way, and as they walk out the door I think of the delicious sandwiches or pasta that they will be eating, while all I have to eat is a spinach salad with leftover BBQ chicken and avocado.  Poor me.  Can't you just hear the sad violin playing in the background?  Anyway, I go onto getting the check the clients brought ready to deposit.  There is a special form that needs to be filled out, and I am annoyed that I can't find it online.  After I do, I am annoyed that it didn't print they way it needed to.  On my way out the door to the bank, I grab my lunch and lock the door.  I take a quick look at the time (12:17 PM), and then get annoyed again.  My co-worker had forgotten her keys and I absolutely needed to be back from lunch and the bank by 1 PM so I could let her back in.  I was now annoyed at her!

Are you seeing the trend here?

Me, me, me, me, me, me, ME!

Hello, my name is Tamsen Rebecca Wright and I am a selfish little brat. Thankyouverymuch.

As soon as I got in the car, I started to drive and cry simultaneously.  That's right.  I cried.  Threw a fit.  Whatever you want to call it.  I cried because I was so annoyed at everyone I work with and also annoyed at myself for being so annoyed.  While still crying, I pull up behind a Jeep at a stoplight.  And this is what they have as a window decal:

(Photo credit here)

After I looked at it, I realized what a selfish twerp I was being.  It's referencing John the Baptist's words in John 3:30, where JTB tells his disciples that HE (Jesus) must increase, and that he (John) must decrease.  

Oh, sweet Jesus, forgive me.

And now I start crying harder for a different reason; because I realized my own natural inclination to selfishness and the inability to do anything except think of myself.  When I am self-focused, I forget the command to love my neighbor (or boss or co-worker) as myself.  When I am self-focused, I am robbing myself of the opportunity to serve.  When I am self-focused, I forget that Jesus is even there, much less that he should increase.

Lord, let it not be so.  Increase in me so that my natural sinful tendencies may decrease.  Amen and amen.