Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Reinventing again

I'm so glad that blogger doesn't automatically delete your account after a few years. It's been quite a while since I logged in, but this seems to be a good fallback location to discuss and think through things.

Life with 4 kids has gotten hectic. With all the extra activities, the days spent with Travian and the Wild team seem to be a bygone era of too much free time. Now with all the changes in our lives, we as a family need to pare down and make things more efficient so we have the time to do the things would like to add to our schedule.

I was thinking about this over the weekend while at the Stronghold Renaissance Fair. I think one of the best place to start is with the wisdom words that I've collected and that I sell at my craft booth. One phrase in particular struck me, "the wise do at first, what the fool does at last." I think it would be wise for me to try to take some of these quotes to heart. Not as some giant campaign, but by taking one idea per week and trying to make it a change that we incorporate into the rhythm of our family.

So for this week, my goal is to take a look at the things that I put off, and take hold of them and do them first. We'll see how this goes!

Ugh, starting with dishes and laundry!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ending another server

Its endgame time in Travian yet again - and Im looking forward to a minimum of several months off. Was reading back here today, wanting to show a friend a picture of the bedroom mural as I was describing what the new mural project was going to look like. I ran across some of my posts on leadership.

After leading teams for roughly the last 4 years, its almost hard to imagine and identify with how constrained I felt about leadership. We have excelled in the international servers on Travian, one of the largest browser games in existence. And its been hellaciously hard work. Incredible dedication from people that love the team and pull together to get done what we do. Its taken a teeth grinding obsession with organization and incredibly gifted partners in leadership. I love Wild. With our second server win almost completed, I can proudly say Wild is a unique and incredible experience.

It also boggles my mind that it took an internet game and the anonymity of a keyboard interface to get me past gender labels and naysayers. I CAN LEAD.

Thank you God.

Mama Bear of The Wild
Meta Leader

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Long time no posts...in fact, just about since I started my Travian obsession.

I'm taking a few.months off from it and trying to reorganize and trim down life. It's been supposed to be a time of rest these last few years, but its felt like life ramped up the intensity instead. Four kids are just a handfull no matter how you cut it. Hopefully.mobile access will bring me back to blogging.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Revising my life...

I go through this thing every time my life goes through major change. I try to reinvent myself.

Sometimes it works. Sometimes I just fall back to the same patterns of behavior I was trying to banish. Sometimes it has unexpected benefits.

My current reworking is trying to reforge my anger button. Yes, I use forge deliberately because it's a hot topic. And it definitely takes pressure to bring it to a workable state. Often a few blows to my ego are needed as well - so forge is a very appropriate wording...

Last December I started training to drive school buses. Ironically enough, I had always felt as a student that busing was for those who couldn't do 'real' work. Hah - I bet God is having a good laugh at me now! The training wasn't too bad, the job seemed easy enough and the big plus - I can bring my kids.

I wasn't 'on the bench' more than a few days when I was given a route I would be taking over. A driver was getting a full time office job and leaving the busing world. I spent the next two weeks driving with her and learning her students and her route.

And listening to her yell. 'Sit down' 'Shut up' 'Quiet down' 'Knock it off' 'Do you want a write up?' 'That's it, I'm writing you up!' Not that she ever did...

It was a flashback to childhood, to my Dad yelling. It seemed like he lived in his own world - and whatever infringed on that world triggered the anger button. My shoulders are tensing and my heartbeat accelerating just thinking about it.

Did I mention, this route had a reputation as the worst route in the system? The students acted up and out for every sub that came through. Not that it wasn't their usual behavior for the driver anyway...

It cemented my desire to be different. To live out Christ the bus driver to the best of my ability. 'Please' 'Thank you' became my beginning and end. 'Good morning' 'good afternoon' 'have a good day' 'see you later' 'be careful' 'enjoy the sunshine' and anything else I could think of to care for my students as people. Not peons. Not subordinates. Not scum of the earth...

Let's face it. Public servants like cops, firemen, crossing guards, sales people in stores, the check out clerk - anyone who has to deal with people as part of their job seems to be low on the job hierarchy. Apparently, the people who keep everyone else's lives running smoothly aren't the important ones. But, I am making a bigger difference here than I have made at any of my important office jobs.

I have 110 - 120 students that I transport each day to school. I am the first school representative to greet them and the last to see them each day. I know each of their names because for the first two weeks I practiced every time I saw them. (The last bus driver didn't know all their names) Now, I greet them by name with a smile each morning and kindness. I don't yell at them - mostly. I do ask them nicely with a please and thank you. And if the phase of the moon - alignment of the planets - the itch hits - for whatever reason they're having trouble behaving safely, I pull over, cross my arms and wait. They're big kids, they know what's wrong and they know how to fix it. Besides, they all just really want to get home...

Which is not to say that it's been a bed of roses by any stretch. I've been threatened (the 'Mom look' ended that one), a kid got beat on in the back of the bus while we were loading (can't see through people), I can't even find appropriate words to describe too much of the nonsense. Mostly, it's just kids pushing the limits as far as they can. And weirdly, I'd label them all good kids - with normal problems - they aren't 'the worst' anymore. And oddly enough, I love them.

It isn't me evangelizing the world for Christ. My mission field isn't Mongolia like I dreamed. It's loving the world for Christ in Country Hills, Raintree, on Candleberry Court, along Kingsmill. It's driving a big yellow bus as the kids in the back sing 'If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.' Yeah, that was Friday and I was a bit weirded out - even if it was in a good way.

Will I keep doing this? I don't know. But it's shaping me in ways I never knew I needed. It isn't always easier to be patient with my kids - but I am learning ways to shape behavior that aren't on the punish/reward spectrum. I am trying to operate outside the power structure - to not get my way because I am the authority figure. More often than not, I am receiving cooperation and not because I threaten retribution. Is the Kingdom coming to hand on a bus? Maybe it's a little closer...

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kicking butt musings...

So, instead of a good KIYAAA! to a body part, do I fight with words? Have I graduated from preschool..."Corwin stop hitting your sister!"..."But she said..."..."Don't care what she said, you need to say not hit!" To elementary? Snide remarks, disparaging comments, rants when the world is not as it should be...Blame you, blame whomever, don't blame me....

I'm school bus driving at the moment - a job that introduces you to new levels of human (using that loosely) interaction. Lately I've been blessed with a monitor - an extra adult to sit in back and make sure there are no permanent injuries. You think I'm joking - 4th to 6th grade is rough. We compared notes today on what was causing our problems in the back and it was an eye opening revelation.

The kids I thought were okay? Not. The not so great kids - well, at least I was acurate there.

The rest? let's just say: phase of the moon, alignment of the planets, etc.

But in the conversation, I had to ask myself, am I any different? When I complain, wail and rant about how it doesn't get better... Really? When will I grow up...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More musing...

This morning (oh so long ago after a preschool b-day party) at church, Mike asked how we have changed since the church plant began several years ago. I answered "permission" I feel like I have found permission to be who I am. The pieces that are slowly awakening again include: my martial arts, my creativity and art, my drive to do fun/odd things.

THus far, creativity is winning out the most - with The Embellished Life continuing onwards, it's given me an outlet for the ideas that are constantly rumbling forth. Current project as a case in point, I'm learning how to make jewelery. No not string some beads. Realllly, design in wax, make molds and pour molten metal **very carefully** How cool is that?? or really, how HOT!

Can I have permission to value the call to fight? Is non-violence the only answer? Does God call some of us to kick butt? Does aggression play into Satan's hand? Hmm...I think I need to chew on this one....


Thursday, April 17, 2008


So I've been sitting here thinking about how short a time we've had with Jenand how little time is left...

I haven't had time to blog much this spring or last fall or last summer...Okay, yes, true confession time - I got out of the habit. With so many important-to-me-people leaving this summer (almost our whole church is moving away over the course of 3 months) it's very much time to re-acquire the habit.

So today, comments on change. Starting with how much I've changed. When we started this church planting effort, I was struggling with what I felt God asking me to be - and how little room for me to be that in the churches I had been part of. While I'm sure I'll struggle again with it - and the institutional bias that I struggled against before - I'm also sure that I have had a clear space to explore what it could be and what it may not be. Church planting is opportunity more than anything I've ever experienced to intensely imagine and examine what the church is and who we are as the "church" embodied.

In such a small group, it's easier to see how each of our individual influences affect how the church operates. My view of how a church works has shifted. Before, I was a "volunteer and get it done" person before and saw influence being exerted in the group dynamic of a church's "works." I was frustrated by the 80/20 statistic. Now I see limitations of the group dynamic - how church structures can limit our ability to accomplish small tasks at the same time they facilitate us accomplishing larger projects together. I can see a spectrum of responsibility - from our purpose of individually being responsible for what God is calling us to - to our cooperation as a group to do things that take on larger issues than we can handle alone.

Although we were excited as whole to take on this church planting effort and did not suffer from lack of ideas, we definately suffered from lack of energy to accomplish all we conceived. Part of the problem definately revolved around community - trying to acheive it. With so many of our members commuting long distances, trying to live out our local influence was difficult - first, in the sense that our individual circles of influence didn't overlap in our day to day lives. On the other side of the coin however, our seed is scattered widely and has touched more lives than otherwise. Secondly, with time spent commuting, the time we spend on projects and events is lengthened - it takes more to do less and this has led to more exhaustion for those who've had to commute. Do these problems make it any less worth doing? My answer, of course, is no! But it's definately influenced the culture of our church and what we focus on...

I'm still thinking some of these ideas through and this small ramble is more a matter of me trying to solidify some of the vague musing...so anyone else vaguely musing about how this has worked and looks is more than welcom to ramble with me...

One more vague suspicion I want to verbalized - can we recognized God's inspiration of ideas and purposes by testing them like the test of the prophets in the OT - does it come to pass? Does God inspire us with ideas and then give us the energy to accomplish the purpose despite obstacles? Some of the ideas for projects we discussed were great ideas - but didn't come to fruition despite how worthy the project might have been - were they just meant to be discussed and influence our paradigms? Can we forgive ourselves for that which we do not accomplish by purposing ourselves towards the things we have the motivation to accomplish?

I read this and I think I need to practice posting - I'm half incoherent. Frustrating but I'll post it anyway for the discipline of posting.