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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

More smiles and more faces

The bird flu has for your lives!

Sleeping in the bathtub...well, kinda. Parker sleeps with his eyes open I guess.

Bedtime: a very eventful time in the day brushing teeth, reading books, combing hair, and sometimes much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Aaww, Dad...not now! What will the chicks think?

This is a fun picture that was emailed to me by my parents via a cousin in the family. This is Sarah Pauline Simmons (my grandmother). This is who our Sarah is named after. Just thought that would be cool to post a glamour shot of Sarah's namesake.

Speaking of smiles on my face

What's more fun than Christmas boots and a big freakin' puddle? Not much.

Howdy, partner. Sheriff Paker's the name.

Big sister and little brother living in peace and harmony - so sweet!

I so dig it when my kids read their books. In the grand scheme of things they do read a lot...very cool

Batman and Robin, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Chico and the Man. Feel free to leave a comment stating what dynamic duo you think describes Parker and his daddy.

Potential new frontiers

We'll the days of delivering mail are more being locked out, stressed out, and written up for reasons God only knows. But with the passing of the USPS (which I am truly thankful for the experience, the work, and the people that I met - y'all rock!), comes the dawning of a new age, well, potienal new age: Costco and/or substitute teaching at Noblesville High School.

I had my interview with Noblesville High School today and it went very well. So barring any unforseen setbacks, I could be working there ASAP. But if all goes well in my interview tomorrow at Costco, I may not have to or be able to teach at the high school level. (It is still so wierd for me to be writing about real, everyday jobs and not some ministry position somewhere. Funky.) I am excited, albeit a little scared, about the Costco opportunity. I'd be working in their marketing department, hitting the streets, and marketing/selling Costco's mission, vision, values, and product to great NW Indy. Wow...overall this really is a better fit than the Post Office because of my ability to relate and connect with people and paint a picture of how Costco could work for them or their business. But we will see...I've gotta get hired first!

So for my family, friends, and strangers out there reading this, there is a quick update on where things are at on the job front. I still continue to put my feelers out there for ministry/church ministry positions, but to be honest, I look at them and wonder to myself, "Do I have what it takes?" I really do lack some serious confidence in myself and, to be honest, the Lord as it relates to serving and leading in a ministry context (even though I keep thinking that it is all I have known and worked for for the past 17 years)...hhhmmmm....We'll keep crossing those bridges as we get to them.

Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers, emails, and phone calls. They bring much needed smiles to my face (and we all know how much my face needs help!).

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On the anvil

I found this thought provoking. It's the introduction to Max Lucado's Book On the Anvil.

"In the shop of the blacksmith, there are three types of tools. There are tools on the junk pile:
They sit in the cobwebbed corner, useless to their master, oblivious to their calling.

There are tools on the anvil:
melted down,
molten hot,
They lie on the anvil, being shaped by their master, accepting their calling.

There are tools of usefulness:
They lie ready in the blacksmith's toolchest, available to their master, fulfilling their calling.

Some people lie useless:
lives broken,
talents wasting,
fires quenched,
dreams dashed.
They are tossed in with the scrap iron, in desperate need of repair, with no notion of purpose.

Others lie on the anvil:
hearts open,
hungry to change,
wounds healing,
vision clearing.
They welcome the painful pounding of the blacksmith's hammer, longing to be rebuilt, begging to be called.

Others lie in the Master's hands:
They respond to their Master's forearm, demanding nothing, surrendering all.

We are all somewhere in the blacksmith's shop. We are either on the scrap pile, on the anvil, in the Master's hands, or in the toolchest. (Some of us have been in all three.)"

As for me, I'm not totally sure where I am in that picture and process. If I sit on the fence (which is an honest place), I might say I have pieces of me in all those places. If I get off the fence (which is a more difficult place), I'm somewhere between the scrap pile and the anvil, but I think definitely making my way to the pounding, molding, and changing that happens on the anvil.

Every spot is difficult in its own right, but it's obvious by experience that some of those places are much more difficult than others. There is no doubt over the last few months I have felt very much on the scrap pile: good for nothing, good for nobody. That's a rotten place to be and those are awful things to feel, but it's honest and true when you are in that "present" state of mind. But over time, with much grace, and in Christ's unfailing love you begin to move and heal...getting a sense that God in His own mystical and mysterious way is up to something.

And that is where I am at right now. That messy and ambiguous place of gaining clarity, living in some confusion, but all the while still trusting God with the only thing that matters: faith. Faith that though He is not safe, He is good. He is just. He is love. But I am a work in progress (always have been, always will be) and so keeping following Jesus because He's the only thing that makes some sense out of and makes straight this funky, crooked path on which I am traveling.

So let me ask...where are you in the blacksmith's shop? I pray for you honesty and grace as you answer that question, live in that reality, and travel on your journey.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Songs I Love to Sing

Come to the river
Play in the water
And drink of forever
And be free

There’s a rest for the weary
And relief for the hurting
So come to river and be healed

How beautiful the water’s blue
As you let them rush over you
Say goodbye to everything
That silenced the songs you loved to sing
In the River
Come to the River, the River of peace

Come to this river
And join in the laughter
And dream of whatever, whatever makes you smile
Won’t you come stay awhile

How beautiful the water’s blue
As you let them rush over you
Say goodbye to everything
That silenced the songs you loved to sing
In the River, Come to the River…

How beautiful the water’s blue
As you let them rush over you
Say goodbye to everything
That silenced the songs you loved to sing
In the River, Come to the River of Peace

The River by Ronnie Freeman

I'm thirsty. Are you? Because of the intesity of this season of my life - the pressure of securing a job, the stress of performing that job, and the fatigue of coming home after a day at the job - I didn't know I was really thirsty. I knew something was amiss, but I didn't know what. Depression? Loneliness? Fatigue? Sadness? Meaning? Who knew, I surely didn't.

But as I've worked the "docks" along the riverside, I've started hearing the voice of the river - ever so slightly - and it's calling to come enjoy. To enjoy the deeper, more mystical side of it's feel and flow. To experience the power found when I "go with the flow". To receive it's healing and refreshing touch as get in one toe at a time or "canonball" style. To know it's depth of love and grace as it revives in my soul the songs I love to sing.

I feel like it's been awhile since I have been able to sing of beauty and meaning. To be honest, I'm a little scared...ok...more than a little, a lot. But I really do want to sing again with every ounce of breath that God has given to me. And that time will come. I will find my voice again. I will find my song.

So for now (and for as long as I have this side of heaven), I'll be content to hum - hum for the lives of my wife and kids, hum for my family, and home for my friends and spiritual family that I live in community with each and every day. The song will come, I don't see it or hear it yet, but it will come. Just keep humming, just keep humming, humming, humming, humming...

"For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you suround them with your favor as with a shield." Psalm 5:12
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:1-3

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Night Shift

So I'm working at the Post Office, right? Right. I've been employed there since December 12, but most of that (up until about two weeks ago) had been lecture/classroom style training. You know, policy, procedure, sanctity of the mail and all that jazz. Well, I finally get to my AO (Area Office) in which I will be working. I'm the permanent sub for a very sweet girl on a MONSTER route: 490 mail stops, lots of bills and tons of junk mail. It's one of the biggest and "baddest" where I work.

So they have me doing on the job training. I'm jamming. I'm learning. I'm working my butt off...then comes the Christmas weekend with my first day by myself coming right on its heels. So Tuesday's start time is 6:30am. No big deal...early to start, earlier to finish, right? Wrong. I sort most of the mail for almost 8 hours (most are done in 3-5 hours). I still have to take some unsorted mail to the street. Then I pack my truck and I'm off to deliver the mail. Needless to say it takes me almost 6+ hours to deliver it (normally takes 3.5 give or take 15 minutes)! I had to deliver my last 4 neighborhoods in the was nuts! One man even came out and gave me some cake his wife had made b/c he felt so bad for me...that was very kind. I was very appreciative even though I never had time to eat it. I love irony.

Finally the mail is all delivered to its rightful home, the mailbox. As I'm driving, I can't believe it's so late. I look at my watch and think to myself that Sarah and Parker are already in bed and can't help but laugh. Wow! Eight o'clock...what a day. I make it to the Post Office to see every mail truck back in its proper place. But I also notice there aren't any other cars in the lot either...weird because, by protocol, my manager is supposed to wait for the last rural mail carrier to arrive back to the post. I really don't think anything of it because someone has to be there, right? Wrong, again. I go to the door for that we rural carriers use and they are locked tight. So I walk around to the doors the city carriers use and they, too, are locked down tighter than Ft. Knox. Nobody is home. "This can't be happening," I think to myself. I've got mail and packages that are in the truck needing to go out in the mail that day. I've got keys, a gas card, and scanning devices that all need to be turned back in so as not to be thought stealing. So I go back to my truck and lock all this stuff in - given that it's the most secure place I know of at the moment. I decide to come back early in the morning to get things squared away and settled up. As I pull out of the parking lot in my own car, I come to main gate which is now closed and locked! I'm going to be here all night! Now that's just sad. But as I get closer to the gate, I notice a car about to pull away so I flicker my lights. The car stops, backs up and someone gets out. It's the finance supervisor and she ask, "Who are you?" I say, "I'm the mail carrier from rural route 20 and I'd like to go home." Needless to say neither of us was very happy. We had to stay around for a bit to get the mail sorted out and finally pulled away from the post office at 9:00pm.

It was a memorable first day delivering mail by that I will never forget. Now here's the scary part...a week later is the same kind of holiday weekend because of New Year's Day. So the following Tuesday was almost an exact carbon copy of the week before except that they waited for me this time. Yippee!

Welcome to the USPS. Enjoy the hike in stamp prices.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Day After Part 2

The Day After

The day after Christmas was when the whole Voet clan desended upon Mom and Dad's (except Joe and Petra...we missed you guys!). I loved watching Sarah and Parker play and have fun with the rest of their cousins. The big ones did so well with my little ones. Dad made a boat load of snackes, laid out sandwich stuff, and chilled IBC root beer galore. This day was a blur, but was capped of with gift exchanges and a quasi white elephant gift exchange that was fun and bit out of the norm for the fam.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas!

And that is what we left in on Christmas day here in Indy. I had to work Christmas morning for the Post Office being one of Santa's helpers delivering last minute presents because of the reign deer jackkniffing somewhere around Nova Scotia.

But once we left Indy and got to Cincy, this was the official start of the Voet family holiday fun...Christmas day with Jim, Dan/Louann, Mom, Dad, and of course Kelly, Sarah, Parker, and me. We had a great dinner (nice job, Mom!) and fun watching some football and movies. Here are some highlights:

It's begining to look a lot like Christmas...

...when you go see Santa Claus! Santa's little photo hut is set up in the town square where we live. We had a great time waiting in line with other families and playing on the court house steps.

What was cool about this year was that Sarah was totally into it. Last year...not so much. But she was way into hopping on Santa's lap and sharing with him what was on her wish list: a dolly, Barbie, and an X-Box 360 for Daddy (all of which she got expect for the X-Box...she got totally gipped!).

Parker, on the other hand, wasn't into the whole snuggle-with-a-large-man-in-a-smelly-red- suit-and-share-with-him-your-Christmas-feelings thing. So he decided to live vicariously through his big sister and stay in Momma's arms. We had a great time and we'll see Santa next year - same Bat time, same Bat channel.

There really is something to be said about the magic of Christmas and how it brings out the kids in all of us. The best part of the night for me was playing and running around with Parker and watching Sarah grow more and more excited as she moved closer to the little red house.

It lead me to think about what Mary and Joseph's real feeling were as they rode to Bethleham waiting the birth of first Child, Jesus. Fear? Wonder? Excitement? Fatigue? All of the above? Who knows, I'm just thankful that Jesus came and made "home" with us.

The Three Wise Families

We were surprised by some great great friends - the Thompsons, Byers, and a Mendoza - the week before Christmas. The sang Christmas caroles for us. We spent some sweet time together laughing, catching up and watching the kids open up some sweet presents they brought over. Talk about what Christmas is all about...God knew that was the kind of encouragement that we needed. All I can say is, "Wow!" Here are some pics to tell the story...

Christmas comes early

Here are a few pics of the weekend before Christmas that we spent with my parents who made the massive drive from Dayton...

Here's a good picture of Mom in a scarf we got her for Christmas. Scarves are all the rage you know!

Three generations of Rings men: Grandad played by RW, Daddy played by me, and grandson/son played by PK.

Our crazed smile girl, Sarah, is so excited b/c of a new fun Doodle pad...very hip!

Parker loves to say, "Cheeeeeezzzzeeeeeee," while he hold his two new Thomas the Tank trains. Thanks, Mimi!

Our sweet family sitting under our pretty tree. That is one good looking family if I do say so myself! Thanks, Mom and Dad, for a great weekend! It was very special and lots of fun. Thanks for showering us with love and presents Y'all are the best!

The Hunger Site

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