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I’ve been co-teaching a class of 4th graders in our church’s version of GA’s since last fall. I fear I may be getting older than I would like to admit because teaching in a small room filled with ten very active 9 year olds really wears me out some Wednesday nights. Last night the visiting missionary spoke about working with the Mayan people on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. Not only did she keep the children’s interest engaged, but she gave me some great ideas for teaching the Karen refugee kids we have been working with on Sunday afternoons.

The ministry to the Karen people has been going pretty well. We are in a transition period where we are going to move away from the house church model because most of the people have been attending at a nearby church in an established church building. Interesting to find a group of people from halfway around the world that culturally are more inclined to think of church as something done in a church building just as the typical American viewpoint has been. We still hope to work with the children some on Sunday mornings at the church they are attending, but are not sure what that will look like yet.

We are also hoping to develop some ideas for items that can be made by the people for sale to support themselves here. Having been isolated in refugee camps for, some for over 20 years, it is difficult for some to find employment, not having what we call an education in the formal sense of the term. We have received a small donation that has been given to support the Karen and a church start, and we are praying about the best way to allocate those funds.

Exciting but uncertain times in ministry. I began reading “Radical” by David Platt this week, and am in the middle of Chapter 4. I have begun to ask myself what I am trying to do in my own power instead of relying on God’s power related to my ministry efforts … exhaustion on GA nights or uncertainty on the best way to help the refugees. More prayer and less hashing it out in my brain, is probably a good plan.

Just spent the last two days at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting. For those who might not know, the “State Bar” is the organization for attorneys … not a place to get beer. So anyway, a lot of the sessions were about the effect of social media on the law. Got to thinking about a couple years back and all of my Baptist blogging. I’d stopped writing not out of a lack of interest in blogging, but rather the focus on planning a wedding somehow pushed the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting  to the back burner. (yeah, I know, crazy huh?)

So I was thinking back to the good ‘ol days of Baptist blogging, or sometimes the cutthroat nature of the creature in general, and realized I had sufficient training to be a blogging lawyer as well. Not a whole lot different really. The key focus of social media as a law blogger is to add value and not drivel. Well that can sometimes be a subjective matter, but I will do my best to fall on the value side of the spectrum.

However, I also understand that the few readers I do currently have who stuck around waiting for me to get back to blogging are not necessarily interested in legal things. (I’m not saying they are interested in illegal things either … but you never know).

So I’m going to try my hand at two blogs again. I think at one point I tried to run four which was just plain silly. But I think two is manageable. However, considering the fact I am married, I doubt I will get daily posts on each at all times.  With this blog I’m planning to focus on more general matters  and not the legal ones. Therefore family and friends that like more writing from me just about life and my interests can stick around here. Those who want to follow my attempt at a law blog, should also read Wise Counsel. Yes, the title is more of an aspiration than a promise. But it never hurts to strive for excellence.

No Compromise

Puff’s Tissues and Cheerios. Some items just have to be purchased in their name brand, with no compromise. Well actually, now it is just Puff’s tissues, as I have finally found a suitable (though not perfect) substitute for Cheerios at Aldi.

Which brings me to the main point of this post … grocery shopping. I grew up shopping at King Sooper (so named in Colorado) or as it is named in Texas – Kroger. Sure there were times in my childhood when food came from other sources … local store in the middle of nowhere Colorado. The years when government surplus was handed out and we ate government cheese (I don’t know if we ate other food distributed by the government, but I remember the government cheese … huge blocks of it). And the time when my mom was running a day care facility and we had Schwan’s delivery. But by and large I remember Kroger. And thus as an adult that was where I shopped.

My mom was good at coupon-clipping. I try to be, but I always forget to have my coupons on hand when I am shopping. And price comparisons of a variety of stores didn’t fit my lifestyle of last minute shopping when I realized I was almost out of grocerties. So I just happily when to Kroger.

Then I got married. My husband was used to going to where the best prices were and had determined that Kroger wasn’t the best price. What was a girl to do? Well, we shopped at Albertson’s on occasion, but really Wal-mart became the store, I wouldn’t say “of choice” as no one near where I live willingly ventures into the Wal-mart, but I guess I would say “of default”.

We really don’t like Wal-mart though. I think they have built on the reputation of having the lowest prices, and then don’t actually have the lowest prices anymore. They are just another store on the map. So I was left with the old hassle of finding the time to comparison shop the advertisements. Until now ….

In the past week or two, I have quickly become a fan of Aldi. How can you not be a fan of somewhere that has a dozen eggs for 75 cents and a gallon of milk for $1.69. Oh sure, Aldi is definitely unique, you have to have a quarter to access the shopping carts, they only take cash or debit cards, and you bring your own bags and stock your own groceries. They also carry their own brands of most products. So, we are back to the Cheerios question. I have never found anywhere that makes a decent substitute for toasted O’s until now. Aldi’s brand is edible, not soggy styrofoam. Not quite the same as Cheerios, but for the price savings, worth the compromise.

However, I have not determined to give up my name brand preference for Puff’s tissues as yet. Haven’t tried Aldi’s brand on that. We shall see if I do …

How do you approach grocery shopping? Are you a loyal shopper like I am, finding one store and sticking with it? Or do you scour the ads each week and drive to five different places to get the best deals of the week? What products are you willing to compromise for an off brand, and which do you demand must be “the product” in original form?

Doors

Is it just me, or do you shut all the doors before you go to bed too. Is it something lingering from childhood? Some fear that there really are monsters in the closet? Is it just an evening ritual of shutting up the house for the night? Perhaps a little of everything.

At any rate, the doors are safely shut and I am tucked into bed … so goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.

The Commute

I spend about 7 1/2 hours on the road each week. Probably not a lot compared to some people, but still … it is a lot. About a half hour drive to work from Fort Worth to Grapevine each way. Another fifteen minute drive from east Fort Worth to south Fort Worth for church. And a twenty minute drive from east Fort Worth to far south Fort Worth to work with the Karen refugees on Saturdays. That adds up to a bunch of commuting.

I have a standard driving pattern that I know gets me from point A to point B fastest, and then when I get bored, I might change the route up a little to and from work. It is interesting how on a commute one develops an affinity with the landscape and surroundings. Not only do I have a home space and a work space, but I also have a drive space.

There are many curiosities in my drive space. The fancy house back in the country that would look ritzy except for the goats and llamas occasionally on the front lawn. The River Bottom Pub which would not get noticed except that it is a good landmark for giving people directions. The school zones I have to drive through and remember not to be on my phone while doing so (three of them). But most of all, one notices the changes …

Like, the italian restaurant (well it is now), that used to be three other things in the last 12 years. And the road work on Trinity Blvd. We used to have to wait for the train, now the road goes over it. That improved the road but also increased the traffic. My back way to work through “the bottoms” of the Trinity River basin is no longer the back way for a lot of people. With all these changes came dead man’s hill. Okay, I never actually saw a dead man there, but a sufficient name for the number of wrecks increasingly happening at that juncture.

You see, the road was widened, and housing developments built, but no traffic signals existed, only stop signs on the side roads. So if you wanted to turn onto Raider Drive, you had to take your life into your own hands because you couldn’t see the traffic speeding up the hill toward you where you were about to turn.

But something new arrived in my drive space the other day. A working brand spanking-new traffic signal at Trinity Blvd and Raider Drive. Wise money spent by the City of Fort Worth. What a relief to wait for the green arrow and just turn left when it was my turn. A minor detail in the world. No one will remember the May of 2010 when that traffic signal went in … except some day if I have kids and drive past that turn and say … I remember when this was just an old country road crossing the railroad track and that house over there had llamas in the front yard.

Don’t just ignore your commute through your drive space, it is history developing around you. You were there for it, you are a part of it. Without you, the road would have no purpose. Be observant and you just might develop an affinity for your drive space too.

Back in Action

I decided to make an attempt to get back into blog world. Mainly because I want to start doing book reviews and possibly receive free books from publishers to review. But lets not get ahead of ourselves… first, I need to gain some readership once again.

We shall see how it goes.

In other news, I upgraded my phone today from the Samsung M300 to the LG Lotus Elite in red. I like the external touchscreen on this flip phone. A very nice feature.

Well, if you happen to stop by, please leave a comment to let me know you are reading. Otherwise, this is just me talking to myself, and that is just plain weird.

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