A Change of Pace

I need a change of pace.  I want to keep this blog, but possibly reinvent it to be primarily discussions on religion, theology, and the church.  I have a new one, where I will probably begin discussions of a random assorment of things.  I have no idea if anyone out there even still reads this one anyway, but if you’re still with me out there, my new blog is www.conprag.blogspot.com.  Hope you are all well!  I hope to have something for you very soon!

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What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name still smells as sweet!

I think this year has the potential to end up as the most eventful year of my life.  So far in these first two weeks of marriage, we have gone on our first vacation together, eaten dinner at home as a married couple for the first time, gone grocery shopping and purchased groceries together on the same credit card for the first time, and experienced many other firsts that I will leave up to the readers imagination.  Soon enough we will be welcoming our first “child” into our home (an animal child…please note) and hopefully before the end of this first year of marriage we will have purchased our first home together. 

And today, I legally became Courtney Hodges.  So far, of all the changes that are happening, this has been the hardest for me to accept.  Not because it’s hard for me to leave my parents family to start my own…definitely not that.  I love the idea that I am now “Mrs. Craig Hodges.”  That title reminds me that “I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine” every time I hear it.  I think it has something to do with this: Mother bought me a shirt when I was in 5th grade that is all too appropriate for me.  It said, “Being different is good.”  I’m weird…I’m quirky…I’m original.  My new last name is not and that’s hard for me to swallow. 

I’ve been called Cbuss for a very long time now and quite often.  So much so that Word just accepted Cbuss as a word and didn’t underline it in red…and I’ve never programmed it to be part of the dictionary.  It just recognizes it because it’s been typed so many times over the past month I’ve had my new laptop.  And even though I’m fairly certain most of my close friends will continue to call me Cbuss out of habit…I know that anywhere we go, and any new friends that we make, from now on, I will be just Courtney.  And I have always hated my first name.

And in a way I feel as though I’m loosing my identity.  At church, I will now always have to specify my first name.  Craig’s parents attend Elmwood, along with another family that has the last name Hodges.  This was never an issue with the name Buss.  And the absolute worst to me is when I get referred to as “Bill and Amy’s son’s wife.”  It ticks me off.  I can be Craig’s wife…I’m ok with that.  But we are our own family and we need to have our own identities.  I have a completely different personality, I hold different ideals, and I have a different way of perceiving the world than his parents.  And while I love them to death and could not ask for much better in-laws, I don’t necessarily want to be known as their middle son’s wife.  I just want us to be Craig and Courtney.  Two people that have their own covenant with God.  (In case you haven’t guessed yet, I’m pretty hard core about the whole “leave and cleave” component of marriage.)

It’s just that I’ve lived now for 6 years away from my parents home, attending other churches that they weren’t at, and being my own person, finding my own niches at whatever congregation I was attending.  But now that I carry a new last name, I feel as though I’m being held up to being a “Hodges” –whatever that means.  I’m just going to really miss being Cbuss, that’s all.  (This is the part where I turn into a pillar of salt…)

And yes, I know that you are all sitting there thinking, “your identity should be in Christ alone.”  And it is.  But the certain spiritual gifts that I have, the talents, the abilities, and the weaknesses I have in Christ, I want to be used and considered in mine and Craig’s service.  I don’t want to feel that I am expected to share certain traits with my new family members just because we share a last name. 

And now, I also feel as though I must rename my beloved blog.  I am opening the floor to ideas and suggestions.  I could go back to the livejournal days with the “callmebarbara” title.  (I’ve always wanted to be name Barbara, after Barbara Bush the first lady.)  But I think I need something new.  Let me know what you come up with.

La Grippe, Le Grippe, La Post Nasal Drip.

I have suddenly developed a raging cold which shows no signs of letting up.  And as result, I’ve had Adelaide’s Lament from Guys and Dolls stuck in my head all morning.  Not that it’s completely appropriate for my situation, but it definitely is just a little…

It says here:
The average unmarried female
Basically insecure
Due to some long frustration may react
With psychosomatic symptoms
Difficult to endure
Affecting the upper resperatory tract.

In other words, just from waiting around for that plain little band of gold
A person can develop a cold.

You can spray her wherever you figure there’s streptococci lurk
You can give her a shot for whatever’s she’s got, but it just won’t work
If she’s tired of getting the fish eye from the hotel clerk
A person can develop a cold.

It says here:
The female remaining single
Just in the legal sense
Shows a neurotic tendancy, see note: (looks at note
Chronic organic symptoms
Toxic or hypertense
Involving the eye, the ear, the nose, and throat.

In other words, just from worrying if the wedding is on or off
A person can develop a cough.

You can feed her all day with the vitamin A and the bromofizz
But the medicine never gets anywhere near where the trouble is.
If she’s getting a kind of name for herself, and the name ain’t his
A person can develop a cough.

And furthur more, just from stalling, and stalling,
And stalling the wedding trip
A person can develop la grippe.

When they get on that train to Niagara
And she can hear church bells chime
The compartment is air conditioned
And the mood sublime
Then they get off at Saratoga for the fourteenth time!
A person can develop la grippe,
La grippe.
La post nasal drip.
With the wheezes
And the sneezes
And a sinus that’s really a pip!

From a lack of community property
And a feeling she’s getting to old
A person can develop a bad, bad cold!

Everyone, everywhere.

I’ve been really serious on this blog for a long time. And that’s ok. But I think I need to just go back to the days of talking about completely random stuff every once in awhile. Here goes. I’m getting married in 9 days. I feel like someone is sitting on my chest, smothering me to death. Luckily that person in my imagination is not personified as Craig. It’s an old man with gray hair and long blueish colored fingers. I’m not sure who he is, but he needs to chillax. My feet aren’t cold or anything; in fact, here in my very warm office they are quite toasty. But I think I’m more overwhelmed at the idea that this is the biggest party I will probably ever get to throw. And I like throwing parties and playing hostess, so this is kind of a big deal. Not like Ron Burgundy big deal, but just a little big deal.

I have this eyebrow lash that is sticking straight out and I just want to pluck the heck out of it. But I can’t because it’s in a pivotal part of my eyebrow and if I do I will look like my eyes are off center in my wedding pictures. And I don’t want that (because I feel that I have a very symmetrical face and I take pride in that). But I really want to pluck it. I really, really do. I have to be patient and let it grow out so that it will nicely conform to the rest of the lashes. Plucking it originally is what got me into this mess. Patience will get me out of it.

Speaking of my very warm office…I don’t understand why offices with windows are so coveted in the workplace. I hate mine. It does nothing but allow cold air to permeate my office in the mornings and then in the afternoons the sun shines so bright against it that my office is probably around 80 degrees. And I know, all of you problem solvers out there are thinking, “but all you need to do is…” Believe me, I know my options. But when the girl with the cubicle walks in and comments about how lucky I am to have an office with a window I would have nothing to make her feel better about having a cubicle if I fixed my problem.

I love airports. I absolutely love them. I don’t know why I didn’t ever go to the Louisville airport and just sit and hang out and watch people when I lived there. Sitting and watching people push and shove to be the first person in line to board the plane is probably my favorite. It’s seriously like, “Do you think you’re going to get to your destination any faster this way?” I love it.

So, when I get nervous I tend to loose my appetite. And as you can imagine, I’ve had a lot of loss of appetite over the past couple of weeks. But then I’ll have a day where I’m able to completely block the wedding out of my head and then I’m starving. For instance, Tuesday I was on the road (well, more in the air) and when I got to PA I went to lunch with one of our salesmen, Tom. I ordered the eggplant parmesan and I’m pretty sure he was afraid I was going to eat him too. I devoured it in all it’s greasy, carbolicious goodness. Then I sat through the supply demand meeting for like 3 hours hoping that I wouldn’t throw up. Nice. Nothing like binging and not purging to do a body good.

Then this morning I woke up craving some BDubs wings and buffalo chips with cheese. I got to work and looked in Corns’ office and realized he was out for some medical stuff today, so I immediately called the Jackal (a work friend of mine, Carlos) and left him a message at 8:30 this morning begging him to go to lunch with me at BDubs so I didn’t have to binge alone and look like a looser.

We went and saw Children of Eden this past weekend. It was delightful. I had seen the show before and it was painful. This cast did a much better job. I knew Stephen Schwartz wrote the play and I also knew he wrote Wicked (which I love) but then I found out he also wrote Godspell another one of my favorites. Someone give the boy a cookie!

The tallest candle stick ain’t much good without a wick.

I know that you’re probably tired of hearing me talk about this topic, but I’m hoping that if I start here I’ll end up somewhere else.

 

It still really hasn’t hit me that we’re getting married in a month.  Every year, months before, I get so excited about Bible camp.  I get the ache in my stomach and can hardly sleep on the nights I lay in bed and let my mind wander to good old Mitchell, IN.  I really thought getting married would work this way too.  I lay in bed at night and I think about walking down the aisle and looking at the smiling faces of all our friends and family and to reach the end and see a smile on Craig’s face that lights up the room.  (Ok, that or a look of sheer horror 😉 )  I try to think about what it will be like when my dad takes off my blusher and we stand there and listen to what Gilbert has to say about our covenant.  But I just haven’t gotten excited yet.  Really excited.  I feel as though the wedding is still something that’s just not a reality.  I have a groom, I have a dress, I have a reception hall, I have 350 little bottles of bubbles….but I don’t have a reality.  I still have a thousand tiny things to get done between now and April 4th, but I just keep putting them off, because in my mind the wedding is not yet a reality.

 

And there it is…I started there and I’m going to go here…

 

Isn’t that so much like our feeling of Christ?  It’s been 2000+ years now and isn’t that how I feel about Him too?  His reality is just not something that feels real to me most days.  Is He really ever going to come?  I mean, logically I know the answer is yes.  But I don’t think my heart knows that.  Just like the wedding, logically I know that on April 4th I’m going to wake up Courtney Buss and go to bed Courtney Hodges.  But my heart hasn’t figured that out yet, at least not enough to get really excited. 

 

Sometimes I like to let my brain wonder off and imagine that I am a part of the early church.  I bet they were expecting every day for Him to come back.  They must have had such a great sense of urgency about them.  It probably made it easier to give all they had financially to one another and to the poor.  It probably made it easier to give all the spiritual gifts they were given to the advancement of their group.  Because they felt these things were immediate necessities.  I absolutely love the musical Godspell.  The idea of being a Jesus hippie is very appealing to me some days because it feels in the moment.  I spend too much time trying to strategically come up with ways of advancing the kingdom (not that this is altogether bad).  I need to get more excited about the everyday opportunities I have that show me the reality of Jesus first hand.  Why don’t I wake up in the morning excited about the day’s possibilities for kingdom growth and Jesus encounters?  I think my life would be so much more worth while that way.  Wouldn’t it be great to get as excited about encountering Jesus as we do about other fun and important things like Bible Camp and weddings (not to say we don’t encounter Him there as well, but you know what I’m saying…)?  And wouldn’t it be great if we lived life more in a way that Jesus is a reality as opposed to feeling like He’s just a nice thought?  I need to stop procrastinating Jesus.  Afterall, the tallest candle stick ain’t much good without a wick.  (That’s a Godspell quote for those of us that’s aren’t musical theatre savvy. 😉 )

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Has there ever been a time in your life when things are so sunny that you almost feel guilty enjoying it because the world around you seems to be falling apart?

 

Craig and I are getting married in two months.  TWO MONTHS!  I really never thought this day was coming about two years ago.  I was going crazy with anticipation and longing and now it’s so close…this makes me so happy.  I can’t wait to see all the people I haven’t seen in for-stinking-ever that day.  I really want to make it my goal to visit with ALL of our guests at the reception.  I really hate when I go to weddings and feel like I’m not an important guest.  Maybe this is too lofty of a goal, but I’m at least going to try.  And for those of you out there reading this, if I don’t make it to you that day, before you leave please come grab me because I DESPERATELY want to love on you for being there that day…and I want you to know you are IMPORTANT to me. 

 

In addition to getting married, Craig and I both received job offers in the same day!  I was promoted to sales engineer over the underground mining industry and Craig was given a job with Kroger, that he has loved working for as an intern.  And the best news is that even though we have to stay in cold, smelly, not fun Lafayette for at least until December, his job seems to be very ok with transferring him pretty well wherever, so when I do inevitably move he will hopefully get to stay with that company.

 

It’s hard for me to revel in all of this good news however, because when I look around me I see so much anxiety over jobs and the current state of the economy that I feel quite bad for my excitement.  The same week I received my promotion, a handful of people I had just met at one of our customers were laid off.  It’s really pretty sobering.

 

But, I decided to share because something I’m not good at is allowing others to celebrate with me.  I know that one of the functions of the church body is to celebrate with one another just as much as it is meant to mourn with one another.  But sometime I think we spend a little too much time in the mourning and not enough in the celebrating.  So, there you go!  I wish shalom to you all, whether it be in mourning or celebration.

Rules Are Meant to Be Broken

So, I took a brief sabbatical over the holidays, but now I’m back.  I’ll try to write more, but life is just busy right now.  Between wedding planning and trying to figure out where I’m headed at work I just have a lot on my mind and plate these days.

 

Over the course of my 23 years of vast experience in life, I have come to notice three types of outlooks on rules….

1)      The “rules are meant to be broken” mentality,

2)      Rules are put into place for a reason but we must always question those rules to ensure that they are still there for a reason

3)      Rules are rules and we must follow them no matter what.

 

Perhaps I have oversimplified this and of course as with anything different folks have different degrees of how well they match each of these statements.  But for the most part, I feel like these are relatively accurate and fair.

 

I am a rule follower.  I don’t like it when people get up and move about the cabin when the pilot has the “fasten seatbelt” sign on.  I would describe myself as an abnormally obedient child and never understood my peers need to “rebel.”  After all, what did we have to rebel against?  Warm beds and food on the table?  I just never thought it was unreasonable for my parents to have a curfew or rules that I was expected to follow.  God had entrusted them to bring me up in the way that I should go so that when I was old I wouldn’t depart from it.  Why wouldn’t I trust my parents to do as best of a job at that as they could?  And even though at times I hated their quasi over protective and sheltering parenting style, I knew deep down inside that it was better to have parents like that then have parents with no rules at all.  I think I have digressed too much from the topic at hand, let me move on to my point…

 

I have probably taken rule following to a bad extreme in my life.  I think I followed the rules of life so closely at times that I forgot to question what benefit those rules actually had in my life.  So, I became a legalist and this attitude that “perfection just might be achievable after all” spilled over into my walk with the Messiah. 

 

And over the past few years I’ve been trying to overcome this.  But I’m faced with a new temptation…perhaps I can’t exactly describe it as the “rules are meant to be broken” mentality, but its something like it.  I saw a lot of my peers go this way while I was at Lipscomb in particular.  It’s that feeling that if it’s not explicitly stated in the Bible that I can’t do it, then it’s not wrong and I should be allowed to do it without judgment from others.  Or even the attitude that “yeah, well I sinned and no one’s perfect and you can’t hold me accountable because I’m not perfect either.” 

 

But I think the best outlook I can have on what God tells His people is that God cares for me.  He wants the best for me.  And yes, maybe there’s not a line in there saying that I can’t become a chain smoker, but if I look at the heart of the text do I really believe that God would be ok with me doing that to my body?  I think we’re all guilty of taking the Bible and making it a list of rules so that we can either a) get away with what we want to get away with, or b) make a bunch of rules that no one can possibly live up to.  And I for one just don’t want to live that way.

 

 I want to live in a manner that I find favor in God and in man.  Because I really do believe that living a Christ-like life will do both.  No one is going to find blame and fault with someone full of compassion and grace that is constantly seeking to serve others.  And I think if we begin to focus on living a Spirit empowered life as Christ did we might find that there really aren’t that many occasions in life to check the “rule book” for a decision; perhaps the “rule book” will simply become a text full of hope and encouragement toward living a life we’re striving to lead.  By believing my parents wanted me home before 12 AM was just a rule that they made up for their own entertainment is limiting my view of how deeply my parents care for me.  I’m choosing to limit the amount of wisdom I believe they have.  And it’s the same with God.  He has such great and powerful things in store for us as we work in the Kingdom that by limiting God in our life to a guy that makes rules we’re limiting our ability to seek and save the lost.  And I just don’t want to do that anymore.  Is anyone with me?

Ta Da!

Well, it’s the dawning of a new day–I bought my wedding shoes!!

 

Last October at the SMBC fall retreat my good friend Gary was giving his talk to everyone and he was discussing the idea that we’re really not promised tomorrow.  And citing me as an example, he told them that I would be looking for wedding shoes very soon for a wedding that may never actually come.  (Not implying here that Craig and I would call the wedding off, but implying that the other Bridegroom would come before Craig did…)

 

And as result, I actually put what I consider to be one of the more fun decisions I’ve made about the wedding off for quite longer than I thought I ever would.  But, I received a Target advertisement recently with a picture of some shoes that I knew would be perfect.  And yesterday I bought them. 

 

Now, I know they’re not the typical wedding shoes…but I’m not the typical bride now am I?  I love them, so please don’t diss.  (At least not to my face.)  And besides, other than a couple of pictures they’ll be hidden most of the day anyway.  Oh, and if you know of a place that carries this color of socks in a size 13 for Craig, I really want his socks to match my shoes.  And if my shoes get uncomfortable I’m throwing either a pair of Crocs on at the reception, or chucks.

 

http://www.target.com/Sigerson-Morrison-Target-Rocksie-Jeweled/dp/B001BB3FZO/qid=1229356219/ref=br_1_1/187-2639620-9567818?ie=UTF8&node=3429561&frombrowse=1&pricerange=&index=tgt-mf-mv&field-browse=3429561&rank=-product%5Fsite%5Flaunch%5Fdate&rh=&page=4

So Tired.

Why is it so hard to find time for a break?  When I was in high school I ran around everywhere; from this practice to that, to school, to church, and out with friends, never ceasing from the running.  But, it was my decision.  I became overwhelmed and tired both emotionally and physically.  And so when I went to college I decided I would try and take it a little easier.

 

But college wasn’t much better.  Not necessarily because I chose to do a lot, but more because studying was what I had to do if I wanted to get through.  And that took a lot of time and a lot of focus. 

 

But now here I am.  I have no real excuse.  I really don’t do that much; granted I do have a wedding I’m planning and I teach Sunday school and go to work everyday, but in the evenings I really don’t do anything much.  I work out with Katie sometimes or we go shopping and have dinner, but that’s really about it.  But I feel like I don’t ever get a break.  I think that’s in part because the weekends are so booked with “stuff.”  Interviews with florists, dress fittings, and the most recent, Thanksgiving.  I was really hoping Thanksgiving would be restful this year; I thought both Craig and I were going to be commitment free at least one of the days of the vacation, but it just turned out that we weren’t.  And so here I am, the Tuesday after, feeling as though I haven’t slept in a week, feeling as though I haven’t had a day off to myself in over a year, and dreading the fact that I will be traveling to Iowa early Wednesday morning to stand in the cold all day Thursday and get home late that night, just in time to go to bed and get up for work the next day.  But what am I supposed to do about all this “stuff?”  If I tell my family that I can’t come to Thanksgiving because I just need a day off from things, then everyone starts to think there’s something wrong with me.  (I guess there is…it’s called exhaustion.)  But really, all I want right now is just one day with Craig, completely alone, a day all to ourselves to relax and remember why we’re getting married in the first place. 

 

Jesus was so good a taking time off.  I wish I was more like him in that arena.  I so look forward to April 5, 2009.  That will be a day of rest.  If the eternity of rest doesn’t come first.

In Honor of Thanksgiving…

Here is what I am thankful for.

What are you thankful for?

God and His love toward His creation.

Craig and His love toward me.

My family and Craig’s family.

The way we were given Christian homes to be raised in.

The opportunity to help serve in God’s kingdom.

Running water and electricity.

The warmth of my home.

The beautiful children I teach at church.

My wonderful job that I love so very much.

Cherry limeaides from Sonic.

My brideslaves and other close girlfriends.

Crab legs.

Living in this country (recently enhanced by a trip to China).

Thanksgiving food and fellowship.

Music.

The up and coming holiday that must not be named yet season of music.

The up and coming holiday that must not be named yet.

Target.

Gearboxes and the large demand for them in the world.

Kit Kat Bars.

Insurance and the ability to afford it.

Gum.

Comfortable beds.

Clean clothes.

Much needed days off from the job that I love.

Scrubs and The Office.

Inside jokes.

Laughter.

Being in love with someone.

Photos to remember people with and the times we had together.

All the babies close friends are having here recently….so exciting!

Getting to travel and see so much of God’s creation.

Cell phones and email to make communicating long distance easier.

And the list goes on and on…