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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Just When I Thought it was Safe

Remember the Jaws 2 movie? Teasers went ... (with appropriate drumming/sawing sounds in the background)... Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

Just when I thought I had a handle on the tears that came with Timmy's passing and memorial, I broke down again. Of my own doing this time. I thought I'd set all the photos I took during the trip to a particularly meaningful song to me: Jamie Slocum's "Dependence." I've grown to love that song. So, if you can handle the download time - and the meaningless shots of a shattered iPhone at the end - please settle back and listen to the words of this song as you see what we saw in southern CA. WARNING: some photos may be unsettling.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Decaf Wars

Starbucks no longer has decaf in the afternoon. True or False?
Caribou is giving away decaf tomorrow afternoon. True or False?

Those are the business news reports, but look a little deeper and you'll see a lot of hype.

You get people totally unnerved that Starbucks could quit serving decaf at the very time that people presumably switch over to decaf. NOW the truth: Starbucks will be serving decaf ON DEMAND! In other words, they will brew a pot of decaf when someone wants it, not letting a pot sit there without being consumed. I say that's responsible. I say that's FRESH COFFEE!!

Caribou has twisted the news, of course, and says they will give their customers anything, anytime, etc etc. So tomorrow afternoon, you can get a free 12 ounce cup of decaf. I say - grab the free coffee, but don't buy anything from them.

I've been on a Caribou boycott for several years now. Reason? They are owned by an Islamic bank. This is no email joke or hoax. Check it out for yourself.

Personally, I won't take my money to a place that may very well support more than a decaf war.

What Not to Pray For...

I hear it all the time..."And, Lord, please give me (them) patience..."

Eeek! Do you know what that means? How does one attain or obtain patience? By trial! So is it okay to pray for something to happen fast so I don't have to pray for patience?

Lord, you know what it is I'm praying for, and patience isn't it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And a one, and a two, and a sticky finger day

Let's see if this works. I wanted to upload an audio file for Jill Savage, so she can hear the Moody Radio spot for her new book, REAL MOMS, REAL JESUS. However, I think I have to upload a movie instead. So, you are stuck with a slideshow of sticky fingers set to the 60 second spot. When it was recorded, a word was left out. Hopefully it is not too noticeable. Let me know if you figure it out. :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Change, change, change

Some of us love change, and some of us love stability, and some of us realize that balance is the key. Here is that test to check your stress level. I have a reason for putting it here, of course. You won't be able to get your score unless you actually take the test on their website. Or you can add them up yourself.

Stress Test
Find your stress level by checking the events you have experienced in your life in the last year.
Check any event that applies to you then click on "Calculate My Total Stress Units" to get your score.

Question 1 of 8
Your Finances
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan (30)
Mortgage or loan less than $10,000 (18)
Mortgage more than $10,000 (31)
Change in financial state (38)

Question 2 of 8
Your Living Conditions
Change in living conditions (25)
Change in residence (20)
Change in recreation (19)
Change in church activities (19)
Change in sleeping habits (16)
Change in eating habits (15)

Question 3 of 8
Your Family and Personal Life
Death of a Spouse (100)
Death of a Close Family Member (63)
Divorce (73)
Marital Separation (65)
Marriage (50)
Marital Reconciliation (45)
Retirement (45)
Pregnancy (40)
Gain of new family member (39)
Death of close friend (37)
Son or daughter leaving home (29)
Trouble with in-laws (29)
Outstanding personal achievement (28)
Change in number of arguments with spouse (35)
Wife begins or stops work (26)
Revision of personal habits (24)
Change in number of family members (15)

Question 4 of 8
You and the Law
Jail term (63)
Minor violations of the law (11)

Question 5 of 8
Your Work
Fired from work (47)
Business readjustment (39)
Change to different line of work (36)
Change in responsibilities at work (29)
Change in work hours or conditions (20)
Trouble with boss (23)

Question 6 of 8
Vacation (13)
Christmas (12)

Question 7 of 8
Your Education
Begin or end school (26)
Change in schools (20)

Question 8 of 8
Your Health
Personal injury or illness (44)
Change in health of family member (39)
Sex difficulties (63)

I was messaging with Lara yesterday and realized (I guess it just came back to mind, because I always knew it) just how many major stressors they've had in the last month or so. But here's the trump card: Jesus. That may sound trite, but along with Jesus comes His assurance of eternity, His body of believers, and His sufficiency.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One score and seven years ago...

Mom was home from Germany.
I was lying in bed, minding my own business.
It was 1:15 AM.
I turned over...
"We've gotta go!"
I don't remember whether it was snowy outside in Grass Valley that night. Might have been.
But we hopped in the car, complete with bag, and making sure Mom had Marshall and Adam in her routine for the morning.
At 3:16 AM, no thanks to the ER doctor, Miss Ingrid Christine Elfstrand was born.
I cried.
I had such a good relationship with my mom that I wanted that same thing with a daughter. And here she was.
Ten pounds, 2 ounces, and my doctor got there just in time to catch her.
I'm happy to say that God has been gracious over the last 27 years. Some big downs, but the ups have been better.
And now she's a mommy to girls and understands that special bond.
There is that old adage: A son is a son 'til he gets him a wife...a daughter's a daughter the rest of her life.
Happy Birthday, Daughter of Me. And your name means... Daughter of the King - of Christ.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'll Meet You There!

God has been so gracious throughout this time of human grief. Some of the "timing" issues that the Lord has brought to mind are:

  • Marshall's unemployment as of December 15 meant that he was able to spend the last month of Timmy's life with him.
  • Marshall's employment search elsewhere means that if Timmy had passed away later, the family and friends surrounding Marshall, Lara, and Timmy would not have been there.
  • Friends visited from out of town the day before Timmy's death, causing Marshall and Lara to stay home (they had planned to be at Disney all day)
  • Both nurse friends were available for insight and encouragement
  • Timmy was at home in his mama's arms, with his daddy holding his mama - and the FATHER holds them all

Some encouraging thoughts brought up at the memorial service and brought to mind this morning:

  • The arms that Timmy could not lift are now being raised in praise to the Almighty God.
  • The legs that didn't serve Timmy here are now kneeling before His maker.
  • Great Grandpa Nelson is meeting Timmy around the Throne of God!
  • Great Grandpa Nelson can see him!
  • All tears have been wiped away.
  • And in an instant any one of us are there with them. If we are called children of God.
Prayer requests:

  • For Marshall's interview on Thursday - wisdom, insight, and fulfillment of purpose.
  • That the praises would be brought to mind when tempted to despair.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Please Hold

As in "wait." Soon we will have information about a memorial fund for Timmy. Right now, the info I do have is that the memorial service is open to whoever wishes to support Marshall and Lara. It will be held at 1 PM on Saturday at Trinity Church in Redlands, California.

Please pray that we will all be held in the strong arms of Jesus as we celebrate the fact that Timmy is already there.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Safe at Home

August 11, 2007 to January 10, 2009

Sent to friends and family at 6:40 PM Central Standard time:

I just got off the phone with Marshall. The paramedics are still at their house, and their pastor and wife - Gary and Elizabeth Inrig - are also there.

Timothy Joseph Elfstrand, one day short of 17 months old, received his new body this afternoon. He is safely in the arms of Jesus. Lara said he was doing well yesterday, but was sleeping more and more, and struggling to breathe today. He fell asleep. Praise God for the peaceful passing. Both Marshall and Lara held him for quite some time, telling him they loved him.

Please pray for all the details that go along with death, that Marshall and Lara really weren't yet prepared to deal with. Pray for the peace that passes all understanding - that certainly holds true for me!

This has been a very hard (understatement) month for them, with Marshall losing his job, but ultimately losing their child. Also pray that if it is God's will, He will bless them with children again.

In tears and prayers -

PS for the blog - We do not mourn like those who have no hope. Eternity is real. And we will really see Timmy again. But the ache will last a long time on this side of heaven.

She's a Good One, She is!

No way! 
Yes, way!
Well, almost four.
But she has the bug. The Shutter-Bug! 

Ashley has the photography bug like so many in this family do. She keeps asking to use Nana's camera to take pictures. The picture you see was taken by Ashley (age 3 years and - let's see - 10 months) at what she calls the "muffin store," AKA Dominick's grocery store. 

This either proves that anyone with a digital camera can take decent shots, or that she definitely has a career ahead of her! And I'm embarrassed to say that it is every bit as good as those I take. 

Time to take a photography class, Nana.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Mom was right

Mom always said I was a worrier. She was right. There are just way too many things out of my control. Take, for example, the weather. 

Knowing that the last time I ignored the weatherman, I paid for it with a 4 1/2 hour commute (one way), I was determined not to duplicate that mistake. So, when they said driving would be treacherous (which I guess it was this morning and would have taken me 2 hours to get to work), I decided that working from home would be more efficient. Snow in the form of 3-8 inches was to fall in late afternoon, snarling rush hour traffic...using the term "rush" loosely of course.

I'm looking out the window just before dark and nary a flake in sight. I feel like a wimp.

Oh, but that's not all! I got a phone call from my director, who is waiting in Cincinnati to help set up for a conference. The product was (I repeat "was") to have arrived anytime from Monday through Wednesday. Today is Friday. No product. I'm toast. No one left in Distribution, but one. He says he overheard a conversation that the trucking company messed up and will deliver at 8 tonight!!! Yipes! They'd better! Now I have to be anxious over a trucking company not getting product where it belongs because that is my job to be anxious over these things!

Ah, now I feel better just venting. Not...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Truth or Consequences?

That was a TV show from long ago, but here's my assertion: what we used to call "true" now gets relegated to "myth" or downright "fiction." 

Take, for example, that turkey makes you sleepy. Is that true or not? says that it is false. Wait! For years and years, we were told that turkey contains L-tryptophan that in turn causes drowsiness. Now they are saying that it is the overeating that causes drowsiness, not the turkey.

Okay, I'll give you that. And being as I just consumed turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, pomegranate, salad, olives, rolls, apple crisp, and ice cream... I think it's time to close my eyes. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, January 02, 2009

Where, Oh Where, Can that Little Coat be?

I am so upset. Not hopping mad, but that unsettled upset where you just can't get comfortable.

Today seemed like a good day to take off, being between New Year's Day and a Saturday. Good idea! And it also seemed like a good day to take Ashley and Amberleigh to see "The Cheese" - AKA Chuck E Cheese.

Got there. Found a booth. Got our olive pizza (yep, that's the only topping they won't pull off). And then we sallied forth with our 30 tokens. But just before that, I said to Ingrid, "I'll wait here if you want to take the girls." "No, we can all go." "But who will watch the stuff?" "Everyone leaves their stuff in the booth, that's not a problem." 

Being the untrusting soul that I am (I do admit that trust is an issue for me...), I grabbed my purse, and we all left our jackets on the booth benches. Ashley's was lying on top of mine.

The place was unbearably warm, and I wondered if they ever found bodies that had expired from heat exhaustion under the tables or games. 

Around the time we were ready to get the girls home for their nap, we went back to retrieve our coats. Mine was there, but that was all. After a slight elevation of blood pressure, I looked under the table. There was Amberleigh's coat. But Ashley's? Gone. Not under the table, not in the next booth, not on a hook somewhere, not on any other child that we could see in our 20 minute walk around the "amusement" center. Nowhere! 

We left a phone number and description, but someone is either walking around in Ashley's coat, or selling it on e-bay. Pink, the color of her headband. And hearts sewn into it. And a very soft inner lining in the hood. 

I'd like to think it was an innocent mistake, but what "innocent" person takes a coat from someone else's booth?

So, be on the lookout, and let's hope it was someone who was freezing and desperate for a new coat.