Barbara's Random Thoughts

Friday, July 30, 2004

It's that time again.

I'm fighting the urge to take a nap. It's Friday afternoon, and almost everyone else is on summer hours. I have a contract addendum to prepare, but the office is pretty much empty, and I just want to sleep. Instead, I offer you:

20 questions to being a better person

Your score as a human being is 84.1.

You are close to ideal. So close, and yet so far. Amusing, really, to watch someone squirm so close to the vaunted ranks of perfection and still remain so very, very ordinary. It is all one can do to keep one's ingratiating smile from polluting one's perfect face.

Actually, one recommends you take the quiz again and lie a little.

Because I'm such a good person, I'm going to go prepare that addendum now. Whee.
| posted by Barbara | 11:08 PM |

One of those days...

When I have plenty to do, but no desire to do it.  And so, for your reading enjoyment, I offer you:

20 Questions to a Better Personality

My results:
Wackiness: 52/100
Rationality: 72/100
Constructiveness: 50/100
Leadership: 22/100
You are an SRDF--Sober Rational Destructive Follower. This makes you a font of knowledge. You are cool, analytical, intelligent and completely unfunny. Sometimes you slice through conversation with a cutting observation that causes silence and sidelong glances. You make a strong and lasting impression on everyone you meet, the quality of which depends more on their personality than yours.
You may feel persecuted, as you can become a target for fun. Still, you are focused enough on your work and secure enough in your abilities not to worry overly.
You are productive and invaluable to those you work for. You are loyal, steadfast, and conscientious. Your grooming is impeccable. You are in good shape. 
You are kind of a tool, but you get things done. You are probably a week away from snapping.
Addendum, 2004/07/19: this fits me 99%, there is a slight inaccuracy however. We are not necessarily completely unfunny. If we have a sense of humor (I do) it surfaces on the occasion with well-timed, completely dry, very sarcastic, wit. - Chase

I wholeheartedly concur with the addendum.  I am not completely unfunny.  I got complimented on my sense of humor just last week, thankyouverymuch.  I'm definitely not in good shape, and I think I'm probably far less than a week away from snapping.  =)

Another note: Since I'm right at 50/100 on the Constructive scale, the following is likely also accurate:

You are an SRCF--Sober Rational Constructive Follower. This makes you a White House staffer. You are a tremendous asset to any employer, cool under pressure, productive, and a great communicator. You feel the need to right wrongs, take up slack, mediate disputes and keep the peace. This comes from a secret fear that business can't go on without you--or worse, that it can. If you have a weakness, it is your inability to say "no." While your peers respect you, they find it difficult to resist taking advantage of your positive attitude and eagerness to take on work. You depend on a good manager to keep you from sinking under the weight and burning out.

| posted by Barbara | 12:31 AM |

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I'm home!

I know you all missed me terribly.

It was a great trip, and there's so much to tell. But I know I will be FAR too long-winded if I try to give an overview of everything. So, here are my favorite and most memorable parts of the trip:

Ok, now my list is just degenerating into inside jokes...

It was really sad to say goodbye to everyone--to my Welsh friends at the coach station in Cardiff, to the mission team at the hotel in London, and then to Heather at Heathrow. It was weird to travel home alone!

I came back to find a ton of changes at work--two co-workers have gotten promotions, and another quit while I was gone. Changes at home, too--I'm moving to Palo Alto on Saturday, and I am now immersed in the craziness of final packing and cleaning. I can't wait to be done with the move so I can unpack and know where everything is again.

And I'm still thinking longingly of Wales and wishing I was there instead of sitting here at my desk catching up on the last two weeks of work. Sigh.

One of the songs we did with the kids at the Holiday Bible Club keeps coming back to me, and it really sums up my feelings about the trip.

Come and see what God has done,
All the wonders under the sun
Come and see what God can do,
He’s alive in me and you

This trip was a time of stretching for me in many ways--I was doing more leading than I had done in the past. When I'm leading, I so often get caught up in the details of getting everything to work just right. But God is good at sending me reminders--and it's amazing to see what God can do when I take the time to pay attention.

| posted by Barbara | 10:02 PM |

Friday, July 16, 2004

On my way

Well, I will be in an hour anyway.  I'm leaving work at 4:30 to head to the airport, and then I'm off to Wales!  I'll be reachable by email if anybody wants to harass me while I'm gone.  Don't know if I'll have a chance to blog, but I will email some updates as I get a chance.
Following are some thoughts I pulled together for an email that most of you probably already received.  Figured I'd post them here anyway--seems a good way to leave off here before I go. 
He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
-Acts 17:26-27
God has brought these verses to my attention many times over the past few years, and this passage is especially meaningful when I consider missions.  It is amazing to me to consider that God has determined the time and place where each one of us will live.  God places people where he does, when he does, for a reason—and that reason is so that people will seek Him.  
I leave today for a mission trip to work with children and youth in Porthcawl, Wales.  I know that God has a purpose for the young people we will meet on this trip.  These kids come from largely unchurched homes, and live in a community that for the most part sees Christianity as irrelevant.  And yet, God has placed them where they are for a reason, and God will orchestrate events so that He will be found by all who seek Him.  I am excited for this trip and all that God will do through this time of ministry.  I know God has a purpose for our team and our time in Porthcawl and I look forward to seeing all that He has in store!
| posted by Barbara | 12:26 AM |

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Yeah, that's about right.

My life is rated PG.
What is your life rated?
| posted by Barbara | 6:16 PM |


I leave for Wales in just over 3 days. Can't wait.

I'm SO not getting any work done. At least nobody's playing the email game with me this week. (Ahem--Julie Farmer!!)
| posted by Barbara | 12:15 AM |


Note: when playing mini golf with friends, and it is sunny out, it is not such a good idea to wear your long hair in two braids. Cute, but not a good idea. Ouch. My neck, it is purple.
| posted by Barbara | 12:12 AM |

Friday, July 09, 2004

Sixpence House

Over the weekend, I read Sixpence House by Paul Collins. It's sort of a memoir-ish account of Collins' move from San Francisco, California to Hay-on-Wye, the famous "Town of Books" in Wales. I visited Hay-on-Wye in 2000, and found the place delightful. I have fond memories of browsing for books in the shadow of Hay Castle.

The book was great fun. Collins incorporates references to obscure books throughout his narrative, as well as observations on life in Britain. A favorite passage involves a meditation on water pressure in British showers. It will be quoted as soon as I can locate the book...currently it is somewhere in my future home in Palo Alto, packed in one of a myriad of book-filled boxes.

But for the time being, here is another of my favorite passages, helpfully quoted by one of the reviewers on

If a book cover has raised lettering, metallic lettering, or raised metallic lettering, then it is telling the reader: 'Hello. I am an easy-to-read work on espionage, romance, a celebrity, and/or murder.' To readers who do not care for such things, this lettering tells them: 'Hello. I am crap.'

You may be interested to note that Sixpence House has no raised lettering, metallic lettering, or raised metallic lettering on its cover.
| posted by Barbara | 2:04 AM |

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I'm a good citizen

Could you pass the U.S. Citizenship Test?

I got 10 out of 11. Pesky amendments to the Constitution.

| posted by Barbara | 10:11 PM |

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Un-Patriot

I remember seeing The Patriot in theaters when it first came out, and I was really annoyed at the way it irresponsibly demonized the British. I still am annoyed by its portrayal of British soldiers locking an entire village of "traitors" in a church and then burning the church down. It sounds vaguely historically familiar because it did happen. Except it was WWII, with Nazis locking Jews in a synagogue. Historical revisionism, anyone? The Patriot was an exciting, entertaining movie, but I still walked away from it with an overall feeling of how pointless war is. And of how movie-makers will wildly elaborate on the truth just to give you a good show.

I watched it again on TV this weekend, and this time, there were other things that bothered me. I came away from it with what felt like a very un-patriotic reaction--especially on the Independence Day weekend.

The Mel Gibson character is portrayed as a man of faith. He is shown praying at quite a few points during the movie. He initially objects to the war, advocating peaceful methods of resolving the issues. But then his family is attacked, and he is drawn into the conflict--because it becomes personal. It becomes vengeance; he goes after the evil Brits who threaten his family.

I am always uneasy at the mixture of faith and patriotism. It gets too easily muddled. Yes, our country has a wonderful heritage of faith, but being American does not equal being Christian. I can't stand it when people apply scripture to America that refers to Israel. America is not the new Israel, and Americans are not God's chosen people. But that's another rant for another day.

The elements of faith in the movie got me thinking about a discussion we had in Bible study at Green Hills about Romans 13, and how Christians should respond to the government and its leaders.

In the historical context of Romans 13, Nero was the head of state. It's kinda hard to find a more anti-Christian leader than Nero. Yet Christians were asked to pray for and show respect to their leaders--even when that leader was someone like Nero. We are called to do the same. Whether the leader is Nero, King George, or George W. Bush, Romans 13 advocates submission and obedience to the state. Yes, yes, I know--duty to God always has priority over duty to the state. And submission and obedience do not mean blindly accepting everything you're told with no critical thought. But neither do they mean supporting the overthrow of governmental control because of "taxation without representation." If Paul asks the Romans to demonstrate submission and obedience to Nero, then how in the world is the Revolutionary War justified from a Christian perspective?

So in looking at the Revolutionary War, I can't help but think that anyone who champions it from a Christian perspective is sadly wrong-headed. I just can't reconcile it with Romans 13 and the attitude Christians are called to have toward the government. I guess it really doesn't matter that much, since the Revolutionary War is over and done with. I'm not advocating a return to the British Empire. And I'm still processing these thoughts. But it's unsettling (and kind of amusing) to me that this is what was kicking around in my head over the Fourth of July weekend.
| posted by Barbara | 11:54 PM |

I hurt myself

I have bruises right above both of my hip bones. It's weird--I really don't know how I got bruised there. Unless it's because of all those boxes of books I moved yesterday. Oh, yeah, that might be it.
| posted by Barbara | 11:34 PM |

Catching up

I guess I haven't been blogging much lately. Last week was Harry Potter and nothing else. So, here you go:

Last weekend (as in June 25-27), I went home to visit family. I wanted to see my nieces and Johnny before I go off to Wales. Johnny's so big now! That's what happens with babies over the course of three months, but still!

I also got to spend a little time with Heather (we ditched Sunday School together), and it was fun to say goodbye to her (and other Wales team people) by saying "I'll see you in Wales!" Breakfast with Kristy in Uptown Whittier was great, too.

This past weekend: we got a half-day on Friday, so I caught a matinee of Spider-man 2. It was SO much fun. Saturday, I alternated between packing, reading, and watching the audio commentaries on my Season 2 Alias DVDs. Then Saturday night, I ended up watching The Patriot on TV, thinking it would be a fun Independence Day thing to do. More thoughts on that later, but let's just say that I'm probably not the poster child for patriotism this particular Fourth of July.

On Sunday, I helped out in the Sunday School class I'll be teaching for the summer--3rd through 5th graders. Since it was a holiday weekend, there were only 6 kids, but it was a good group and hopefully things will go well next week. They're using Gospel Light's VBS material as the first half of the summer curriculum—and that's exactly what we're using for the Holiday Bible Club in Wales in a couple weeks. So I am already quite familiar with next week's Sunday School lesson! Handy.

Sunday evening, I went to the YAF barbecue, which was good. After things wrapped up there, some of us headed out to find a spot to watch the fireworks at Shoreline. We ended up watching from a freeway overpass, which was interesting, but fun nonetheless.

Then yesterday I moved a carload of books over to the house in Palo Alto, and stood around in what will be my room, figuring out what will go where. I also went to see The Terminal with Julie F, and it was pretty good. Tom Hanks is great. And now the weekend is over, and it's back to work!
| posted by Barbara | 8:52 PM |