Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Happy Halloween and........


First of all Happy Halloween!

Second of all, thanks for all the answers to hashtags.  I truly understand them now! 

Third of all, this was not the post I was originally going to write today.  I was going to tell about the wonderful experience carving pumpkins we had with son and family the other night.

Their pumpkins before the lights went out.  Starting from left to right, DIL's (first time she carved a pumpkin ever), son's (the second one he carved this year, he wanted it simple), son's (first one this year he carved; grandson picked the pattern he wanted him to do. Grandson didn't have much to do with the whole thing other than picking the pattern and then putting the candle in at the end and loving the lighted pumpkins. The pumpkin "guts" got him a little squeamish I think). And then on the right hand side is step granddaughter's.  It is #11.  Supposedly #11 is a character in Stranger Things. A show she likes. She's dressing up as #11 for Halloween. I don't watch the show. I think Debby may be familiar with it all.

All the pumpkins came out great!


How they looked with the lights turned off in the back yard.


So I was going to talk about the fun of pumpkin carving and family time and Halloween treats.

But I'm not.

I'm going to leave you with a cliffhanger.  Imagine its the season finale of your favorite show.

You know they always do leave you with something hanging.

Same case here.

But I promise you won't have to wait a season or two for the opening episode.
Just a few days (Sunday/Monday night I'll post) for the "rest of the story."

Ready? 

Hang on to your seats.

Grab your hankie.

Sure you are prepared for this?

Okay, here it goes.

I got fired today (10/30).

(I'm okay with it. I trust God).

Sunday, October 27, 2019

okay, I need help

Does anyone know what hashtags are? Those # thingies that people put in front of stuff they are highlighting? 

My daughter-in-law tried to explain it to me but I got more confused and honestly I didn't understand too much of what she said.

How do they work? 

Do you use them?

Are  you like me? In the dark? 

Let me know what you know if you know even if someone else has left a comment about what they know.  And if you don't know, still leave a comment that you are just as clueless as I am because I desperately hope I'm not the only one that doesn't know about them.

Thanks!!

(and what prompted my desire to know about them when they have been around for so long? Our church was in its new building today.  They set it up that the various serving teams are color coordinated.  If you are on hospitality, you are wearing blue tee-shirts, tech team gray, children's ministry orange (light orange), teen ministry red, etc.  On all the back of the shirts was the hashtag sign #formoonvalley.  Seeing all the various  shirts at church made me really curious to truly find out what these hashtags are).

(and a followup about my question post, here's what I did. But just a little more background. In addition to providing my supervisor's name/contact information, I also had to write about how I came to have a relationship with Jesus, what my spiritual journey is like now, i.e., praying, reading the Bible, etc., every single place I worked in ministry at a church, what my responsibilities were, who I answered to, why I left, etc. It was like applying for a JOB. Mind you this is a volunteer position and mind you I understand the importance of screening thoroughly for working with children, but really I was more than a little put out.  But I know its a vital ministry and it is usually the one that needs the most volunteers so I "sucked" it up and filled out everything. Maybe I did it a bit snarky (lot). So I turned it in today to the children's ministry and I said to her "this was the most complicated application I've ever filled out" to which she agreed. I said "I may have answered some things being a bit snarky because of it." Another volunteer there said "but we need to make sure our children are taken care of" to reach I answered "I agree but I've been in children's ministry 30 plus years and I've never had this much scrutiny done." I did say I didn't list my supervisor's name. On the form I wrote "I work at home, I have minimal interaction with my supervisor. I prefer not to give out this info."  The children's minister said that was okay.  The jury is still out. Maybe I'll be approved. Maybe not. I have no fear about my background check or my references. My attitude needs a bit of work though).

So, please educate me on hashtags!!! Pretty please??????

Sunday, October 20, 2019

my gosh, I just realized something

And lastly, but not least, is #3 in my polling of you on what blog entries you wanted to read.  Immigration came in a distant 3rd to jury duty and homelessness and birthday parties.  Below is the blog entry Immigration and wraps up the 3 part series of voting for your favorite blog entry.  Thanks again all for voting. 

I am the daughter of an immigrant.  I was doing a survey about my feelings toward immigration (which I will share here in a minute) but then it suddenly dawned on me.  My father was an immigrant, therefore, I'm a daughter of an immigrant.

My father, as many of you know, was born in Poland and was in the Polish Army at the time of WW2.  He and his fellow members of the Army were captured by the Germans and put into a work camp for the majority of the war.  When the war ended, he was freed by the Americans.  He knew 3 languages, Polish, German and English, so he was valuable to the American soldiers and interpreted a lot for them.

He immigrated to the United States in 1948. For him to come over, he had to have a sponsor who would guarantee that he would help find my dad a job, place to live, and help him see what it took to become a naturalized citizen.  One of my dad's uncles had immigrated to the United States years before, so my dad wrote him and asked if he would sponsor him.  My dad's uncle and wife agreed.  They had turned down a request from another relative of the family because it involved a family of five, rather than just my dad, and the uncle did not feel he would be able to guarantee these conditions for them because of the size of the family, etc. That was his decision to make, I can't comment on it either way.

So my dad comes over and does what he needs to do.  Gets a job.  Lives with his uncle for a bit and I think he got a place of his own.  Met my mom, they got married in 1953 and my sister was born in 1954, my brother 1956, me 1957 and then my dad died in 1959.  He did become a naturalized citizen.  I think he had to wait 5 years after he started the paperwork in order to become one.  He paid taxes.  He paid into Social Security.  He obeyed the law.

He came over from a pretty war torn area and he was a victim of war, being held in that work camp and I'm sure the conditions were not great with minimal needs of what all needed to survive.  I think he picked up a lung condition there that would eventually lead to his early death at the age of 39.  

Now my feelings about immigration.  I welcome ALL that come to the United States legally and legitimately.  The United States is diverse and its wonderful to learn stuff about other cultures.  We went to the Polish festival this past year but we also went to an Italian one and some others and enjoyed them all.  Love all types of ethic foods.  So I'll end with this.  Come to our country, but please come legally.  

Oops, just one other thing.  And learn the English language please.  I can't tell you how many times I've typed a report and they'll say something to the effect that the history was taken with the help of an interpreter.  Now in all fairness, my mom's parents who came from Poland did not learn to speak much English.  I am sure my mom said something about it to us but I don't remember why they didn't and everyone has passed on with aunts and uncles and my mom so I can't ask anyone other than if my brother and sister remember.  I know at the time people tended to stick to their "own kind." There was the Polish church, the Polish school, the Polish stores, etc. You get the idea.  My mom didn't learn how to speak English until she started kindergarten so her native language (the one spoken at home) is Polish.

Please share your thoughts of immigration.  As I know you respect mine, I will respect yours.  

Took me 61 years to put it all together, but I am the daughter of an immigrant.  And I am thankful that I am his daughter, though I don't remember him.  I'm thankful he legitimately came here and became a citizen.  I'm proud of the fact I'm 1st generation American on my dad's side and 2nd generation American on my mom's side.  But I am an American and I love this country of ours.  I'm so thankful for the freedoms we have here. 

(and like I said at the first of my 3 blog posts about jury duty, I said at the end I would say which one was my favorite to write.  Chris and Whispers was my favorite.  I truly was blessed to help them and humbled to be given the opportunity to provide such a basic need for them.  Immigration was my second favorite followed by jury duty, LOL, which won.  Again, thanks for voting and this was fun to do!)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Question

I know I still have to post my final post on the results of my voting titled "immigration" and I know I said I would post it Sunday. But Sunday got away from me and Mondays are crazy around here too.  And in the meanwhile, something came up that I want your honest opinions about.  

Briefly, after a 5 year absence from volunteering at church for a variety of reasons, moving from San Diego to Prescott then to Phoenix, taking care of grandson a lot in his early years due to his parents' erratic work schedules, getting settled into a new house, working full time, taking a bit to find a church we were truly comfortable with, I decided recently it was time to start volunteering again especially since our church's new building is scheduled to open with a soft opening this Sunday, an official grand opening next month.

I usually volunteer in children's ministry, specifically these days the nursery. Who can resist holding a baby? I have done older children's ministry with teaching and crafts, etc., but I do prefer just holding and playing with the young ones. I've also done hospitality and that was fun, but right now I just want to hold babies.  And there is a need to do so, so that's what I signed up to volunteer for.

Like most churches (and all churches should do), this church screens their volunteers working in children's ministry.  I'm okay with that.  Most run a background check.  I've been fingerprinted at a couple.  I've had to provide references, fill out an application form.  

All okay with it.  No problem.  I've never failed a background check and don't think I'll fail this one.  I'm okay with an application form and okay with references.

Here's what I'm having a problem with.  

This particular application form wants in addition to the above the name of my employer, my supervisor's name and phone number.  In ALL the other churches I've worked in children's ministry, I have NEVER had to provide this info.  And I have worked in a good number of other children's ministries.  

I do not want to give out this information. I like to keep home life and work life separate.  I don't think there's any info my supervisor is going to be able to give regarding my character because she's only talked to me over the phone and I don't think she could pick me out of a group of people because she has never seen a picture of me.  

She has no idea how good I would be around children.  I type medical reports.  

So why in the first place would the church want my work history and why is it so important to have my supervisor's name and number? (By the way it is a generic form so any children's ministry volunteer would get the same form). 

I get the references because I saw the reference form they send to the people I'll list as references and it specifically asks on the form "how does the applicant interact with children?"  "Do you think this applicant is a good match to working with children?" and so on. 

My husband just says I should put N/A as the answer to the question (not applicable) but it is applicable because I am working and I do have a supervisor and a supervisor's phone number.

And I'm curious why they want this info so my natural response is to question why and if it is mandatory that I provide the name/phone number then I'll get out of children's ministry and do greeter instead (no background check required, no reference checks, no extensive application form).

What are your feelings? Would you want to provide such info for such a thing like this? Any thoughts why they would want this info?

Thanks! 

(and I promise soon the immigration post will posted). 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Chris and Whispers

Thank you all for voting! That was fun! This came in as #2; jury duty first as you already read, and immigration third (really the immigration post is a good one). I'll be sharing the immigration one on Sunday  And without further ado, I present what I labeled in voting as Homelessness and Birthday Parties.

A few weeks ago we had a 35th birthday party for DIL.  Her birthday fell on a Saturday so it seemed "logical" to throw her a party.  Son works weekends so we knew he wouldn't be able to take her out and "pamper" her on her special day (he later took her out for dinner the following Monday when he was off).

We have a pool and we have space to hold a party so I said a number for her to invite that I thought was reasonable that we could accommodate.  As things were, she invited that number but by the evening of the party this person and that person canceled so we were down to a very manageable number of about 15 people.

We kept it simple.  Pizza and a Caesar salad. My step granddaughter loves the Caesar salad I make (its not complicated; its romaine lettuce, Caesar salad dressing, shredded Parmesan cheese and croutons for those who want croutons). We even call the salad by her name since she loves it so much.  And then of course cake and ice cream for dessert.  I didn't want to "fight" with trying to scoop ice cream so we got those little individual cups of ice cream, chocolate or vanilla flavor.  We provided water and iced tea, people could bring whatever else they wanted to drink.

I took off that Saturday from work to prepare for the party.  We were pretty organized so there were things to do but not a lot and we paced ourselves so we would not tire ourselves out.

Lunchtime came around and we decided to go out and get something to eat, something with protein so that we would be armed and ready for the party.

I wanted a salad from Wendy's so we headed over there.  Wendy's was PACKED.  A team of boys, about 12 in number, were standing in line to take their orders and there was not many places to sit so we decided to go down the road to Burger King.

We parked at Burger King and walked into the restaurant.  Right in front of the restaurant were 2 obviously homeless men.  I was about to walk past them, but I felt God was telling me to to ask them if they needed something to eat so I said "can I buy you guys a meal?" They both said "yes" so I asked if they wanted me to just buy them something or if they wanted to come in themselves to order.  One was smoking a cigarette, the other said he would come in and order for him and his friend.

So we went inside the restaurant.  

As we were waiting to order, I turned to the homeless guy and extended my hand and said "I'm Betty" and then introduced him to my husband standing by him.  He said his name was "Chris."  Now usually I'm not really bold about this, but I believe God literally put these words into my mouth.  I said "Since I believe in God and I believe in Jesus, I believe we were meant to buy you and your friend a meal today."  I went on to say how we were at Wendy's up the street and how busy it was and we decided to come here.  Again, I truly believe God intervened for us to come and get them a meal.  Chris said "I wasn't really sure where I wanted to hang out, but I came up here so I think I was directed here too."  He ordered their meals and decided they would eat inside.  In the  meantime I had asked him what his friend's name was.  He said he didn't know his real name but he went by "Whispers" because he had some type of injury to his voice box, maybe in the military, he wasn't sure, but he could barely talk above a whisper.  Chris got the cups for their drinks and was going to find out what Whispers wanted to drink.  We paid for the food.  

I had invited Chris and Whispers to sit with us, but they chose a booth by themselves.  When the food came, hubby divided up what their order was and our order and took their order to their booth where they were sitting.  In the meantime, I had gone over and introduced myself to Whispers while we were all waiting for food.

Little interlude here.  I have bought food for homeless people before and I have found that they never "abuse" it.  When I tell them to get whatever they want, they never go for the most expensive thing on the menu and I have found they usually only eat half of what they get.  I am sure to save the rest for a later meal.  This proved true too with what Chris ordered.  He got the same meal for him and Whispers and it was not the most expensive on the menu.

We ate and as we were eating, hubby said he wanted to see if Burger King sold bottle water because he wanted to get some for them. So as we finished, he went to the counter and found that they did, so he purchased 2 bottles for them and gave them to them as they were packing up their stuff.

A few weeks before we had been at a restaurant and an elderly lady had come in asking for a water cup . It is not specifically a law here, but it is pretty much accepted by restaurants/fast food places that they will provide water cups to anyone who asks for one especially in the heat of the valley.  I could tell she was homeless but I think she was homeless but had a shelter to go to at night.  There are those shelters where you can stay at night but you have to be gone during the day.  After she left the restaurant, I went out to her.  I really didn't know what to say, but again I am sure God directed me what to say.  I said "ma'am, do you need a meal."  She looked at me and she said "yes I do."  So I had her come in and she ordered a meal and we paid for it.  Again, it was not the most expensive item on the menu and again she only ate half of it.

Afterward with the lady I had regretted that I hadn't prayed for her.  So remembering that, I knew I had to see if Chris and Whispers wanted me to pray for them.  So as we were ready to go and they were ready to go, I asked Chris if I could say a prayer for them.  He was okay with it.  Whispers was still gathering his things together and when he was ready, I asked him.  He said "yes" readily.  I put out my hands and touched both of their shoulders and just said a short prayer asking Jesus to watch over them and to meet their needs.  

We said goodbye.  They thanked us profusely.  I drive by the Burger King and look for them here and there but I'm not sure I'll see them again.

I'm glad I listened to God's prompting to provide a meal for Chris and Whispers and to be able to pray for them.  I'm glad I didn't walk by them which was my first response like I've done so many times before with others.  I'm glad Wendy's was busy.  I was glad to be the hands and feet of Jesus reaching out to the least, the lost, the last.  

And I just know though I couldn't tell you how and why, but i just know God heard that prayer of mine and every single need of Chris' and Whispers' will be met.  Because that is how my God works.

I am careful when I am out and about.  I do have a certain compassion for the homeless.  I heard it said one time so many people are one pay check away from being homeless.  The homeless I have encountered have for the most part been very respectful and aware of their situation they are in.  The majority I have encountered just want to kind of blend in, almost be invisible.  

It is good for me to provide a meal for those who might need it, but it is also good to get those people into programs that they can empower themselves and get off the streets.  That is why in almost every city we have lived in, I always give a monthly donation to rescue missions with programs that get people off the streets, sober, and give them opportunities to be productive citizens.  

I am incredibly blessed and I am glad I am able through God to be able to bless others. And I saw someone else equally blessed "paying it forward" for someone. I was at the store the other day and there was a young lady with a baby checking out. Between her and me was an "older" lady. The young lady was asking the cashier the cost of something. The cashier told her how much it was. The young lady said "okay, I'll take it" but as she said it the lady in front of me said "don't worry about it, I'll take care of it. I'll pay for it." The cashier said "this or her whole order?" The lady said "her whole order." I can't tell you the look of relief that came over that young lady. It was so palpably visible I could have reached out and touched it. She relaxed immensely, she smiled broadly and she just simply said "thank you." (I think she was overwhelmed). After she left I said to the lady in front of me "that was so beautiful for you to do." She said to me "I'm blessed" to which I agreed because I'm blessed. She said "I'm blessed by the Best" to which I also agreed. It just warmed my heart that there are people out there that are still incredibly kind and still reaching out to people and helping them. 

And on this note, after my post about being a chemo angel, Liz, who is a talented knitter/crocheter and a substitute teacher (and after her stories of being in the classroom I know for sure I was never meant to be a teacher) offered to knit something for my person I am angeling.  She made a wonderful hat for her which I'm sure is well appreciated as she lives in a northern state.  Thanks Liz! And several others in their comments wrote they were interested in angeling and a few signed up (Bijoux and Danielle) (if I forgot anyone else, I'm sorry!) Kindness and love always win and it was a blessing from Liz and Bijoux and Danielle will be blessed in their angeling efforts.

And as for the party, it was an incredible success.  I am not sure how I came to my figuring, but I thought with all the original people coming that we needed 9 pizzas.  Why I came up with that number (I averaged  4 pieces per person) I was way off.  We had SO much pizza left! So I sent it home with DIL as most of the people were going to  her home afterward to continue partying.  I'm a meanie, but I didn't want people hanging around until all hours of the night, so I said I was kicking everyone out at 10 p.m. (Party started at  6 p.m.).  Everyone was okay with it and everyone was very responsible in what they drank (both at my place and at DIL's and son's place).  DIL's best friend here had brought the candles for the cake. She got the candles that don't blow out. They re-light after you blow them out.  We had a great time watching her trying to blow them all out.  It was sooooo fun to see the wee one singing happy birthday to his mom and then his amazement when the candles wouldn't stop lighting.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  If I had a picture of him taking it all in, it would have been worth more than a thousand words.

After son got off from work, he was able to join the party at their place and help in celebrating DIL's birthday.  

Now the next birthday in our family is mine but I'm not celebrating it......

Do you like to celebrate your birthday?

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

how could this happen?

Thanks all who voted! Jury duty won! I was surprised! It had 11 votes to homelessness and birthday parties with 9 votes and immigration with  4 votes.  I'll be sharing all three in the order of their voting. Immigration really is an "okay" story. At the end of the series of 3, I'll tell you which is my favorite one to have written.  I'll post this one Tuesday night, the homelessness and birthday party one on Thursday, and immigration next Sunday evening.

And without further ado, I present to you my blog on jury duty:

Checked the mail the other day and I got a jury summons.  I'm okay with it.  I wrote about it before when I served on a jury and the experience of it all and the impact it made on the victim's family that I will gladly serve on a jury again.  

I got jury duty here in Phoenix back in 2017.  Its different here than in San Diego.  In San Diego, you call in every evening to see if you are needed in the morning for a week's time.  If your group is not, then you go about your day.  If your group is called in, you report to the courthouse, watch a movie about the importance of being a juror and then wait to see if you are called to go up to a courthouse to see if you'll be selected for a jury.

I got called twice for jury duty while we were the last time in  San Diego.  The first time I was in the juror's waiting room the whole time and didn't get called for a jury.  When it was lunchtime we were all excused who was still waiting.  I read a book during that time.

Second time I got called to go up to the courtroom to see if I would get to be on a jury.  Its interesting with all the questions asked.  Different on how they select a jury if you watch the TV series Bull.  They basically ask a question like "have you any members in your family that are policemen or are lawyers?" If you do then you raise your hand and they go about and ask everyone who is in their family, etc., and then they move to the next question so it is about a all day process to get a jury selected.  There are 50 potential jurors in the room.  We all have a piece of paper with our juror number on it we hold up while answering questions.

I did get picked for that jury. My only regret was that we didn't get to deliberate on it.  The defendant took a plea deal (to avoid the possibility of life in prison) and took 17 years (it was a felony murder charge. He didn't commit the murder but he was with people that did so everyone gets charged in it). Based on the evidence I had heard at the time I would have voted guilty.  After we were excused, the victim's family who was at the courthouse every day, the victim's mom was there with the defense attorney.  She personally thanked us for serving on the jury and gave each of us a hug.  It was then that I "swore" to myself I would never be upset about being called for jury duty.  

So when I got called here  2 years ago in Phoenix I was okay with it except I wasn't fond of driving downtown as I don't like to drive freeways anymore and I could take city streets but they would be busy in the morning rush hour traffic.  I  practiced the route a few times and was confident I could drive it.

And then when I called in to see if I had to report, I didn't.  Here in Arizona you call in the day before your jury duty. If your group is not called, you are excused from jury duty until you are summoned again.  They said you wouldn't be called for at least 18 months and they were right because it has been 27 months since I was last called.

The first time I was called for the superior court.  This time I'm called for the municipal court so it will be traffic violations, DUIs, etc.  

I postponed my date because I have a friend coming in to town a few days later and I wasn't sure if I did get on a jury if it would be over by then. So I postponed it until December 2 (sounds so far away, we will be there before we know it) and I decided I'm going to Uber down and back home.  Its worth the money.  Less stress.  

From what I read, you basically get assigned to a courtroom after you go through orientation.  If you don't get picked for that jury, then you go back and get another courtroom and repeat the process until the end of the day.  So I think that is similar to the Bull TV Series.

But how can it be that I got called twice in the 4 years we've lived in Arizona and hubby has yet to be called?????? It did take him a year to get his Arizona driver's license so perhaps that's why (yes you are supposed to get your license within so many days of being a resident here but he was holding on to the California license because he was selling a house in San Diego and thought it might be better to have a California license).

I'll let you know if I end up on a jury.  I really hope I do.

My employer pays up to 10 days of jury time.  So why not?

(I wrote this originally about 3 weeks ago. In the meantime, LOL, hubby got summoned for jury duty in the superior court but not in the Phoenix courthouse like I did but in the Mesa (another city close by) superior court.  His employer also pays for jury duty so he'll be seeing if his services are needed in about 2-3 weeks. I personally hope he gets selected to be on a jury. It is an interesting experience and a humbling one. You are deciding the "outcome" of someone arrested for a crime with perhaps strong evidence that they are guilty).

(And when I originally wrote this I did mention about a friend coming down to visit. She ended up not coming. Its a long complicated story but she could use a prayer if you are one to pray).