Monday, August 31, 2009

Let's make a deal

I was buying some Stargazer Lilies recently at Trader Joe’s when the clerk asked me how much they were. I couldn’t recall the exact price, so I replied, “I’ll give you $7.49.” He said, “sounds ok to me.”

Which reminded me of not long ago when I walked into a boutique and saw the cutest bright pink and orange plaid shoulder bag. The clerk could tell I was enthralled by its vibrancy, so she shouted the price from across the shop. I checked the tag to confirm her holler, and replied, “I’ll give you ten.” Shrugging her shoulders, she said, apathetically, “eh, ok.”

As I trimmed my flowers and pondered my newly honed bartering skills, it got me thinking about how I sometimes try to barter with God in my prayers.

“Ok, let's make a deal, God. You bless me with _____ and I’ll do _____ for you. Deal?” Or my most recent, “Seriously, God, just bring our Young Life team some more female leaders and I’ll quit picking fights with liberals over health care reform. How 'bout it?”

Sometimes I think a barter system with God would be awfully convenient… but time and time again I am realizing what I think is best for me is not at all – not nearly at all – what God knows is best, and that his free gifts to me are worth so much more than any deal I could cut him!

How lame would life be if there were no surprises – if everything we asked for was granted – and we never had the chance to be blown away by God’s hand providing gifts of blessing beyond our wildest dreams?

Free market bartering is great for our wallets and economy, but does not belong in our prayers, which is good news because I know I can’t dream up half the deal God wants to give me. Friendship with God, who is the provider of all things good, comes only through the cost off the precious blood of Jesus, and no barter of mine comes close to matching that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mat Kearney Mondays

I hereby institute Mat Kearney Mondays! Only I'm starting on Tuesday because I just came up with the idea but don't want wait until next week. Mat Kearney is hands-down my favorite artist of all time, mostly because his smooth melodic rapping and lyrical genius couples to produce some quality music, but I also love how he gives praise in his music and the secular masses obliviously adore his work anyway.

I've seen Mat in concert a few times, and it always makes me smile to see the variety of his fans - some, with hands open and eyes closed, are obviously sharing in the praise and worship of his music, while others just like his sweet beats. So with that, each week I'll be introducing you to some of my favorite lyrics from my second favorite lyricist (second only to Eminem, of course).

This week's selection, from his hit song Closer to Love on his newest album, City of Black and White, is a beautiful reminder that whatever shock-and-awe events we might be asked to endure or suffer through, the pain is only temporary and in that suffering the Lord pulls us closer to his true, lasting, perfect love and peace.

She got the call today
One out of the gray
And when the smoke cleared
It took her breath away
She said she didn't believe
It could happen to me
I guess we're all one phone call from our knees
We're gonna get there soon

Oh, it's your light
Oh, it's your way
Pull me out of the dark
Just to show me the way
Cryin' out now
From so far away...
Pull me closer to love
Closer to love

'Cause you are all that I've waited for
All of my life
You pull me closer to love
Closer to love

Friday, August 21, 2009

a VERY small world after all

After discussing my most recent I'm-a-jaded-jerk episode with my best guy friend, whom I'll call Chief of Staff, he said, kind of in jest, "Don't feel too bad. I'm sure he'll find you online."

As most readers know, for better or worse I've played around on for about three years now. Lately I've not been very active on it, a. because I've exchanged legit contact info with anyone I'm actually interested in, and b. because I'm a jaded jerk. That being said, I do sign on when I get a message or something.

So here's where it gets interesting... Two days after rejecting David from Irish Fest (see previous blog entry for complete story), I received a message from a David who, like 44.4% of the male population, is about 6-feet tall with brown hair.

Although the evidence wasn't totally convincing, I just had to ask... "Were you at Irish Fest? Maybe, oh ya know, at the bagpipes around noon on Sunday?"

I literally laughed out loud when the response quickly came (edited for grammar's-sake): "Was that you?! Hi, Annie! I should have told you I was on Catholic Match. I was wondering if I would meet any of the women in Milwaukee from Catholic Match out in the city and now I guess I did. For some reason I did not recognize you though. Are you going to go out with me now? God bless you, Dave"

So there you have it... proof positive that we do live in a very, very small world after all. And, that God is gracious even to Jaded Jerks like me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I am a jaded jerk.

I was being my Irish Princess self sitting at Irish Fest today enjoying some acquired-but-delightful music from the bagpipe and drum corps, when all of a sudden a shy but cute young man approaches with the absolute best pick-up line I’ve ever heard. Shaking my hand, he says, “Hi, I’m David. I just came from Mass in the Amphitheater. Did you?”

Well yes, yes I did, David. He was visibly nervous, but nonetheless proceeded to strike up a conversation with several awkwardly delivered questions. Through his stuttering he found out that a. I’m Irish, b. am a practicing Catholic, and c. am beyond my college years. With a yes to all of his apparent laundry list requirements in his quest for his perfect woman, he bravely muttered, “so, um, y-y-you and me, um, you w-w-want to, um, go out some time?”

Although I’m not sure why, I politely declined. Oh wait, yes I do know why - I am a jaded jerk! I am. I really, really am. He delivered the greatest pick-up line I’ve ever heard. He was tall, cute, and Catholic. While he was certainly no comedian, at least he attempted to me laugh. And although he was super awkward and totally a dork, well, so was every guy I’ve ever dated!

I'll give you one guess at what song came on when I got in my car to leave… Ok I’ll tell you: Desperado. That’s just great.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Big government = failure

Below, please find the full context of President Obama's comparison of the government-run Post Office versus privately-run FedEx and UPS.

CNN - U.S. Cable - 08/11/2009 13:50:31 Obama: "... I recognize, though, you make a legitimate -- you raise a legitimate concern. people say, well, how can a private company compete against the government? and my answer is that if the -- if the insurance -- private insurance companies are providing a good bargain, and if the public option has to be self-sustaining -- meaning, taxpayers aren't subsidizing it, but it has to run on charging premiums and providing good services and a good network of doctors just like any other private insurer would insure i think private insurers should be able to compete. they do it all the time. if you think about it, you know, ups and fedex are doing just fine. they are. it's the post office that's always having problems. so right now you've got private insurers who are out there competing effectively even though a lot of people get their care through medicare or medicaid or the va. there is nothing inevitable about this destroying the private marketplace as long as it is not set up where the government is basically being subsidized by the taxpayers so even if they are not providing a good deal, we keep having to pony out more and more money. i have already said, that can't be the way the public option is set up. it has to be self-sustaining."

A few points to ponder:

1. The Post Office is on track to lose $7 billion this year. How much confidence does that instill in you about a government-run health care plan, which encompasses much, much more money and resources?

2. When you have a letter or package you need delivered on time, do you send FedEx, UPS, or USPS? Who do you trust, the government, or the private company?

3. How "fair" can the competition between government-run organizations like the Post Office, and private companies like FedEx, really be? When the federal laws give government-run organizations an advantage, it discourages private competition, which we all know is good for the market and the consumer.

Obama may have hit something with his spot-on analogy of the Post Office. If he'd only listen to his own logic...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Where have all the cowboys gone?

Friday evening I busted out the back door of my office and headed straight to the golf course for a celebratory it’s-the-weekend! 9-holes. After I paid my greens fees, I turned around to gaze upward into the eyes of a smiling, tall, attractive, gentlemanly-looking twenty-something who had found his way into line right behind me; and thus my planned solo round turned into a party for two.

I was pretty excited; this was clearly my cowboy knight who had searched for me high and wide and had come to sweep me away on his white horse to our castle in the hills with prancing ponies and our own private golf course – yes, I was sure of it!

At first, he was quite the courteous companion. He opened doors; he let me tee off first; he graciously admired my beautiful drive even though his was terrible; he extended great appreciation when I located his shanked tee-shot; after a great recovery shot he told me I was clearly his lucky charm; he even offered me his last beer -- now THAT'S what I call chivalry! I was obviously impressed. Next, he started opening up to me about life as a kid, his hopes and dreams. And then, in mid-sentence about his childhood, the firestorm of F-bombs started dropping like second-chance balls next to a lateral water hazard.

When – I beg for an answer – when did it become acceptable to use such crude and offensive language around strangers? around ladies wearing Nantucket-red golf skirts with ribbons in their hair? in public at all? I jokingly made some comment about his choice of words, to which he responded, “Well, you have no idea how @%*#$<-up my childhood was.” He then proceeded to be quite arrogant, and rode his high horse for the next five holes as if I could never understand the pain he had endured.

Well, sir, maybe I can’t. But regardless, I assure you I don’t care to hear anymore about it if it’s going to be told with language like that!

Maybe he was just verbally expressing his frustration of not being able to keep up with my consistent and stellar 230-yard drives in the fairways. Maybe he really was the sad product of a very dysfunctional childhood. I don’t really know what his deal was, but by hole number four, I knew that cowboy had already ridden himself long gone from my fairy tale.