No Regrets

Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die,
for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
Revelation 3:2

When I read through the Bible, I always find verses that echo what I’m thinking, how I’m feeling, what I need at the moment. This verse, Revelation 3:2, kinda freaks me out, because it reflects a deep feeling I’ve had in recent months that I haven’t been able to put into words, and at the same time helps me answer a question we had last week in our small group Bible study.

We’re doing a study based on Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love. The study guide asked, “If today was the day you died, what would you regret, and why?” Revelation 3:2 answers that question for me in three ways.

Wake up!”

Regret #1 – To find I wasn’t paying attention, and that life could have been so much better if I had been.

Have you ever started to tell someone something, and they assume they know what you’re going to say so they jump in with their opinion, and it’s not at all what you were talking about? I think God’s plan for our individual lives might be like that. He starts talking and we’re all, “Okay God. I see where you’re going. I’ll take it from here.” Maybe He’s trying to tell us to stop and listen, because that’s not what He was going to say, and He has a better way.

Life is so busy. When we’re not doing, we’re thinking about what we have to do, or entertaining ourselves to escape thinking about it. But in all that running and avoiding, are we even paying attention to life, or the fact that it’s short? I don’t think so. I feel like I’m missing what God has for me, because I’m concentrating on all the things I think I should be doing. But what if that’s not what He wants me for me? He says, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) Do you feel like your yoke is easy or your burden light? I think I’m doing it wrong and it’s time to “Wake up!” and find out what His plan for my life is and what I can do to follow that plan better. Stop running and avoiding, and pay attention. Continue reading

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside…

It’s cold.

Well, not up-north-where-I’m-from-in-Michigan-and-Ohio cold, but definitely we’re-used-to-90s-here-in-Texas cold.

I’ve been in Texas since 1981, and somewhere along the way, I became a cold weather wimp. We went for a visit at Christmas time in 1989. It was snowy and beautiful, but the wind was fierce and stabbing. I just wanted to be inside with a couple dozen blankets and a heating pad. So it didn’t take long for my body to decide it prefers 90+ degree days to -20 degree days.

But don’t you just love this time of year? We get to wear our jeans, funky boots, warm fuzzy sweaters, fun sparkly scarves, and jackets and coats that cover a multitude of desserts.

And the best part of all, it’s cuddle-up weather! Time to wear our “home pants” (aka flannel pajama bottoms) as long into the afternoon as our day’s activities will allow. Soft, fluffy slippers just beg to be left on as well. And hoodies! Oh the comfort of hoodies! Grab a mug of your favorite hot beverage topped with whipped cream and possibly even sprinkles. Find a cozy spot to curl up in with your favorite blanket, and spend a couple hours with the pastime of your choice, be it with your laptop, TV remote, or for your traditional types, a good old fashioned book. Add the mesmerizing glow of a fire and a loved one to cuddle up next to you, and I dare say, you are as close to bliss as you will ever be on this earth.

Another thing that adds to the yumminess of this time of year is the aroma. Besides the baking smells, for this surely is the time to bake, there are the candles. The candle companies have special scents all year round, but none of them even come close to the candles of autumn and Christmas! The woodsy, spicy, pumpkinny, tobacco-y, harvest smells of autumn candles lure my mind to a cabin somewhere in the woods, full of homey touches like rough-hewn wooden furniture, and overstuffed chairs and quilts in reds, oranges, browns, and greens. Outside the golden glow of sunset and the sound of birds chirping “goodnight” as they settle into their nests for the evening. And oh! The Christmas scents of cedar, red berries, fresh baked cookies and apple pies, peppermint, pine, balsam, and cinnamon! Reminds me of being a child, and carefree days at home with family all around.

So yes, I love it when it’s cold outside, as long as I’m warm inside. And right now it’s cold…sort of…well, it gets down into the mid 40’s at night…sometimes…

Alright. It’s 72 degrees outside my house as I’m writing this, but here in Texas, 72 is on the chilly side…kinda…to us. But Thanksgiving is this week, and if the weatherman won’t cooperate, I’ll pretend it’s cold enough for hot chocolate, warm pumpkin pie, and sweaters.

It’s the Age-Old Question, Mac or PC?

MacBook Pro or Toshiba P840?

I need a new computer. I’ve had my Toshiba Satellite A100 since August of 2006. I “built” it myself on ToshibaDirect.com complete with a Sunset Copper lid. We have been very happy together for the past six years. And while it’s still a good computer, it’s time for a new one. It is getting slow and giving me messages that it can’t quite keep up with my demands anymore. The hard drive is small, and I need some room to stretch out without having to run get my back up drive all the time. And it is heavy and hot, and the batter has long been dead. I’m getting a little tired of having to untangle my legs from the cord when I want to get up.

As much as I love my little cooper baby, it’s time for a new laptop.

Back in 1992, when we got our first personal computer, after much experimenting with both Macs and PCs, we decided that Mac was a million times easier for us to use. Especially since our boys were five and two years old at the time. Our youngestcould climb up into the desk chair, turn on the Mac Performa 400, and with a couple of clicks he was playing Playhouse with ease. It’s amazing to me that today I have more computing power and storage space in my cell phone than that computer had with its 4 MB of RAM and 80 MB hard drive. I remember having to drive across Houston to the one place that sold Apple software, because programs were few and hard to find. But difficulties aside, we were a Mac family and proud of it.

During the homeschooling years, I fell in love with a curriculum called Switched-On Schoolhouse. It was only available PC and not for Macs. I tried installing Windows on our old Mac, but it just slowed the entire computer down. So we got a Compaq desktop and discovered the joys of being a PC family. A whole world of available and more affordable software opened up to us. We were hooked. We became a PC family.

As the times progressed and we found we each needed our own personal personal computer, we stuck with Windows based laptops. Trying to fill the computing needs of four people, we didn’t even give the more expensive Apple computers a second glance.

And then our youngest became a computer science major. And now half of us are back to Apple laptops.

The CS major knows a little more about computers than we do as consumers. He tells us how much better Macs are and why. And I know he’s right because I’ve read all the same arguments on smart people’s websites, and because he’s an intelligent kid who dives deep into any subject he’s interested in and learns it well. And he is an incredible at comparative shopping (it’s a family trait, on his dad’s side). So when his dad asked him for advice, it’s no wonder the man came home with a MacBook Pro.

So now it’s my turn to be a comparative shopper, and I’ve been studying and reading articles and listening to advice. It’s hard not to just follow that pied piper son of mine and buy the MacBook Pro, but I’ve got a few problems with it. The largest of which is price.

I’ve been putting money away since December in anticipation of this purchase. I’ve got a nice chunk of change saved, enough for either a Mac or a PC. But that doesn’t mean I need to spend it all. The MacBook Pro I want is $1299 to $1499, depending on which model I go with. The Toshiba P840 is $829. These prices are after I customize them with the upgrades I want in RAM, hard drive space, etc. That’s a difference of anywhere from $470 to $670. I could almost buy two Toshibas for the price of the Mac!

There’s also the difference in speakers. My husband has the same MacBook Pro that I would get if I got the less expensive of the two. I tested it against my Toshiba’s Harman/Kardon speakers, and there was no comparison. The H/K speakers blew the Mac speakers away. I don’t often need to fill a room with the music coming from my computer, but when I do, I want to have great sound.

Then there’s the fact that the Mac doesn’t have two of the ports I use. My son assures me I can buy adapters. I checked them at Best Buy. They run about $25 each. Even more money.

When I have to replace something, like a computer, I love to get something new and different, not just the same thing updated. So the idea of getting a MacBook excites me! So much to explore! And I think I could work with my photos more efficiently, even just using the software that comes with it.

They say there aren’t as many programs out there for Mac as there are for PC, but other than updating Microsoft Office and Outlook, I don’t remember the last time I needed to buy a program for my computer. Even so, I love that you can buy programs for the Mac at the Apple App Store like you can for the iPhone and iPad. There’s some fun and useful programs on there. Toshiba has its own App Store. I looked into it. You don’t so much buy their apps as you rent them, or actually pay for a subscription. And you don’t download them onto your computer; they run out of the Cloud. Their apps are more expensive, and they don’t have near as many of them. I guess that kind of flies in the face of the old argument about not having as much software for Macs, doesn’t it?

I think I’d probably be happy with either computer. They each have their good and not so good points. I just need to pray about it some more, and figure out which one will make me more than happier. (Excuse the pun. It was just right there. I had to say it.)

 

A New Place to Call Home

Welcome to my new home on the web! Isn’t it nice? It’s roomier, in a better neighborhood, and I got to pick out my own address. And there’s more room to grow.

I started this blog on Tumblr, just to get it going in a familiar place. I wanted to make sure I was really going to do this before I made any kind of monetary investment, or learned a new format. I’m enjoying it quite a bit, so I thought it was time to change to something I can personalize a little more.

I love the design of this skin, so colorful, so retro! I’m all about retro. I love the colors and patterns of the 1950’s-70’s. When I went looking for a design, I was really looking for something a little cleaner, more open. So you might come here one day and find a new design and another the next day. Let’s just say I’m in the dressing room phase, trying on different outfits, looking for the one that suites me best.

I still have some moving in to do, like filling out the “About” page and starting a blog roll with links to those I read. But there’s time for that.

Another reason I changed to WordPress is that many readers were having a hard time leaving comments on the Tumblr blog. This should be easier. Just go to the bottom of the post and click “Leave a comment.” Try it! Leave lots of comments! Blogging’s more fun when you add your two cents.

So here we are. Remember the new address: MoreThanHappier.com!

Consuming Fires and Their Place in Our Lives

(Breaking Good? Part 2)

Anyway, what I really wanted to say when I got lost in telling you about bonding with our kids over Breaking Bad was how things stick with us and sometimes consume us.

It has become our habit to watch Breaking Bad on Sunday afternoons. We usually watch three to five episodes, two and a half to four hours at a time.

The first time we did this was a couple of Sundays ago. After watching five episodes of Breaking Bad we couldn’t stop talking about it. For two or three days, and in my dreams, that’s all I could think about. “I’ll bet they’ll…” “Oh, I get why they…” “That pink bear was all over the place. I wonder if it means anything.” “What would I do…” And on and on and on.

Then a thought occurred to me. How can we make church do that? How can we make people think about God constantly, and be that preoccupied with questions and a need for Him? What could the church do differently that would make believers and nonbelievers alike run home after service and Google parts of what they just heard to learn more, to have after-church lunches that last hours because the participants are so lost in discussion, every Sunday?

Or not even church. Our small group time, or just our study time, our alone time with God. Anything!

I want to spend three to five hours, one day a week, with God, learning about Him. I want to give Him my full, focused, undistracted, uninterrupted attention. I want that time to be so deep and involving that it’s all I can think about for days. I want it to make me questions and search my mind and my heart and His word and the internet for answers. I want to talk to others about it and have them be on the same page as I am, and as blown away by His awesomeness as I am!

But it seems a lot harder than doing the same thing with Breaking Bad.

Why? Why is it so easy to get so involved with a TV show that is about a guy in a situation I will never, ever be in, doing things I will never, ever do? Shouldn’t it be easier to get deeply involved with a God who knows me personally? With His book that is a love letter written to me and has the answer to every situation I will ever be in?

Maybe it’s because I grew up knowing and loving God. Being a Christian is not new to me. It’s not some shiny Christmas package I’ve just discovered in the back of Mom’s closet that drives me wild with curiosity, which is kinda how I feel about this show. I’m used to Christianity. It’s always been a part of who I am.

I guess it’s like eating chocolate cake for the very first time. You would perceive the taste, smell, texture, the lusciousness of each bite of that cake a lot differently than you would if you were someone who had cake after dinner every night. If you are a Christian, you remember what it was like when you first gave your life to Jesus. I was so excited, so turned on, it was all I wanted to talk about for the first few months. Now it still excites me just as much, but I’ve calmed down, learned to live with it.

And there it is. Light bulb!

When I first started writing this, I had no idea where I was going with it. It just bothered me that it’s so easy to get so deeply involved with a TV show or movie or book. We’ll look up things about it on the internet, follow the stars on Twitter, join Facebook groups, try to get others to watch it, anything to get more involved with it. And it’s only meant to be entertainment, not a lifestyle.

Christianity is meant to be a lifestyle.

Our interest and involvement in entertainment can burn bright and hot, but when it does, it burns out quickly. We could not sustain such involvement at such a heat for long. We get excited about things, and they are all we talk about, but sooner or later the excitement of the newness fades. Some are long lasting interests. These we learn to incorporate into our lives. They take their place on the shelf with the rest of our interests. Life goes on, enriched but not dominated by this interest.

In our walk with God, we do have times of deep immersion. I’ve gone on retreats or done Bible studies that totally enveloped me. He was all I wanted to occupy myself with, and it was wonderful. Unfortunately, we can’t live like this on a daily basis. While we may have the desire, we just don’t have the time. There’s an old saying, “If we’re too heavenly minded, we’ll be no earthly good.” If we were too completely absorbed with any one thing, be it God, a TV show, a hobby, or whatever, after a while our friends would start to fade away, and no one except those as obsessed as we are would want to listen to us or even be around us. We’d lose our jobs. Our homes would be an unsanitary mess. It’s just not how our lives were meant to be. Even Jesus took time to just hang out with His friends.

So yes, I think we need to have times where we are completely occupied by our pursuit of God, but He put us here to live a daily life full of a variety of things. It’s okay to look up from the Bible and take in everything around us, and enjoy a little bit of whatever He puts in our path, be it good friends, family, food, music, or even television shows…with relish…as long as we remember to put Him first. We just need to keep ourselves in check and not go overboard with our little obsessions.

No problem there. This is the last season of Breaking Bad. 😉

It’s Kor-REEN not Kor-RIN

Yesterday, Dan Haseltine, lead singer of Jars of Clay, tweeted, “Officially Pronounced:  Hass-el—tyn e (silent e) or Hassell tine.  or Hasselhoff without the hoff but with the tine.  not teen.”

I know how he feels. All my life people have been mispronouncing my name. Even as I sat in the doctor’s office waiting room yesterday reading that tweet, the doctor walked by and said, “Hey Corrine! I’ll be with you in a minute” pronouncing my name incorrectly, as if there were no “e” at the end.

I usually only correct people if I am meeting them for the first time. After that, I don’t want to embarrass them or myself by saying, “Um…we’ve known each other for a while now, and you still can’t seem to get my name right.” It’s usually somebody that I don’t see very often, so what’s the harm if they say my name in that way that sounds like fingernails on the chalkboard…I mean…if they say it incorrectly? It’s better than embarrassing them.

Or is it? Sometimes the people you don’t see very often become people you work with, and then it gets uncomfortable.

We have been going to our church and have known the staff casually for about eight years, but not in any way where they had to use my name much. I guess I wasn’t even really aware that everyone at the church pronounced it wrong. Okay. I was very aware. But heck, how do you correct the entire church staff?

Once a year, our church puts on a concert. I’m in charge of the volunteers and selling tickets. A year and a half ago, we were getting ready to bring in Phil Wickham. I got a message on my phone from our music pastor. It was the first time he had ever called me and gotten my voicemail. His message started with, “Um…I noticed I have been pronouncing your name wrong for years. You should correct me.” We were both embarrassed, but we laughed about it. The fact that it was funny made it easy to spread the story around to others in the church, and thus correct everyone at the same time. Of course, now that I let them pronounce it wrong for so long, it’s even harder for them to remember which is the right way. But they do try, and I love them for that.

I may never meet some of you in person, but when you read my tweets and this blog, you should be able to pronounce my name properly in your head. So here is a very short tutorial.

I was named after the French movie star from the 1950’s Corinne Calvet. As my mom sat in her high school typing class typing the name and dreaming of her someday when she would be a wife and mother, she changed the spelling to Corrine, and decided on the pronunciation.

My name, Corrine, is pronounced Kor-REEN . Think of it like the stuff in bleach, chlorine. They end the same, “rine”, which you’d think would be pronounced “ryne” with a long “I” sound instead of a long “e” sound. That’s the way computer voices pronounce it, Ko-RYNE.

Mostly people call me Corinne, which is pronounced Kor-RIN. I know they don’t mean to say it wrong, but that pronunciation just grates on me. I don’t know why. I guess because it’s not my name. I think it sounds harsh that way. I often wonder which I’d prefer if I just came upon the name, and it wasn’t my name.

Click here to hear the difference between how I pronounce my name (the first entry) and how you should not pronounce my name (the second entry). 

I’ll also answer to KREEN or Ker-REEN. Seems like a less-formal version of Kor-REEN. That’s how my family has always said it, so it feels homey. My cousins always sang “Corrina, Corrina” to me, or “Kreen in my coffee, dirt in my toes” while they were teasing me. I don’t know where they got that last one from, but at least they pronounced it correctly.

One of Those Days (or Little Victories)

It’s Monday. Not only is it Monday, it’s one of those Mondays. And they don’t necessarily have to happen on Mondays. It can just be one of those days. I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about, those days when you don’t know where to start, or can’t get started at all.

I know I want to blog, but if I sit down, I may not get up again. I have a whole day ahead of me, so it would be a great time to clean my office. But it’s been a week since I cleaned the upstairs, and it’s time to do that again. If I don’t do it today, I don’t know when I’ll get to it, and then it will take longer because it’ll be dirtier. I also need to make a grocery list for the dinners I plan to make this week; it would be great if I could knock out the shopping, too. There are a few bills I need to pay, and some stuff I need to get ready to mail, and some phone calls to make, and on, and on, and on.

And really, this is most days, isn’t it? But on one of those days like today, my energy level is low, and my brain doesn’t seem to want to do anything but lie on a cerebral couch and eat mental bonbons all day.

For us women, I blame hormones. Those little chemicals dance around our brains and change us from week to week back and forth in varying degrees between super-women who are conquers of all we set out to do, to blobs unable to do much but retain water.

I know your first thought is, “Coffee!” But sadly, caffeine and I have a love/hate relationship. We can get along for a while, and then BAM! It turns on me, collecting in my body and causing anxiety attacks. What kind of friend does that to you!? So I try to stay away. Even when I can take it, it rarely helps me go-go-go. So the drug of choice for the masses is usually a dud for me.

Days like this, I can spend so much of the day trying to decide what to do that there ends up being no time to actually do it. And then I’m depressed that I wasted the day.

I have found that inactivity breeds inactivity, meaning the more you sit around doing nothing, the harder it is to get started. When you don’t know what to do, just do something! Anything! And one thing usually leads to another, and another. Next thing you know, you’re checking things off your to-do list and feeling like a champ!

I didn’t mean to go all Little Mary Sunshine on you. This piece of advice sounds much easier than it is. And it is the kind of thing our moms said to us when we were teenagers. We usually rolled our eyes and huffed at her, maybe throwing in an “Oh, Mo-ther” in that annoyed “You’re so yesterday” tone. But she was right, and if we can just kick ourselves in the butt a little and get one little victory somewhere, it helps to get us going.

That’s what I call anything I accomplish, a victory. It’s a victory over the to-do list and procrastination, and that feels so good!! Once I finish this blog entry, it’s a victory! And that gives me a little rush of excitement, a little adrenaline, and fuels me a little to start towards the next victory.

What about you? What is your secret to getting going when you don’t know where to start, or don’t feel like doing anything at all?