Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's that time again.

It's almost time for Gunter's 3-month scans at the Cancer Center. He'll have a CT scan Monday, November 10, at 10:30 a.m. We'll meet with Dr. D for the results on Thursday, November 13, at 3:30 p.m.

We can't take good reports for granted or assume that this one will have the same result as the last couple have. The likelihood of a recurrence is highest during these first two years, but we can't trust in statistics. Instead, we trust the One who gives and takes away, and who is altogether good, no matter how He chooses to direct our steps. (Job 1:21)

Life can seem so overwhelming when we focus on circumstances, but when we fix our gaze on Him, it's amazing how the scenery changes.

Of course, it's not so hard to trust God when there's nothing else you can do. We have absolutely no control over whether that cancer reappears. It's tougher to focus on Him when we're in the midst of circumstances we (wrongly) feel as though we can control.

That's something I've been realizing lately. Anything I focus on other than God becomes an idol in my life. It's been a while since my relationship with Him has been just that -- me and Him, without me rationing my attention to a bunch of worthwhile pursuits. But it's so romantic how He always calls me back, reminds me to seek Him first. Every part of my life hinges on that.

Ahem, back to Gunter's scans. Please say a prayer for us as we approach scan time again. We'd like to set up permanent residence here in happy remission. Thank you so much!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We're going to appreciate this...

Has anybody ever been to the Red Owl Plantation restaurant in Midland City? Our church gave us a gift certificate for a meal there for Pastor Appreciation Month. They must know eating out is one of our favorite hobbies.

Some of our friends went there for their anniversary (the day they found out they were having twins), and they say the food is great. We Googled it but couldn't find much on it. I almost don't know how to act when that happens. I thought the Internet was supposed to know everything!

Monday, October 27, 2008


The "bedsheet" for our screen actually turned out to be a tablecloth, with may or may not belong to a church member. (Shhhh! Maybe she won't notice.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Gunter Akridge, a.k.a. MacGyver

You can already hear the theme song playing in your head, can't you?
So the other day, Gunter calls me and asks, "Know where I could get some spandex?"

Hm... I'm not sure what my answer should be to a question like that.

Let me back up.

At any given moment, Gunter has these brilliant ideas bouncing around in his head...mostly about what we need at the church in the form of sound equipment, screens, lights, etc. He hardly ever buys anything because that sort of stuff is high as a cat's back expensive, but he does have some great ideas.

One of said great ideas is getting a rear-projection screen in the sanctuary for the choir. (Due to the layout of things, a front-projection screen won't work.) From what I hear, rear-projection screens cost like, $900. So that's pretty much a no-go.

He noticed the church we visited in Destin had a screen for the choir made out of a stretchy material, which turned out to be spandex and lycra. He found those online for about $300.

Setting out to make his own screen and frame, he was on the hunt for spandex. Calls and visits to several local fabric stores were none too fruitful.

The final result? This money-saving MacGyver of a man made a rear-projection screen from some thumbtacks, a BEDSHEET he found upstairs in the church and a borrowed/donated projector. Allow me to calculate the savings:

$900 > free

And there you have it. Gunter Akridge, saving God's money, one bedsheet screen at a time.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cleanting question

(Yes, I typed, "cleanting." Ever seen Diary of a Mad Black Woman?)

Anyway, for you housecleaning pros, I have a question... What is the best way to get a shower curtain liner clean/keep a shower curtain liner clean? I try to spray and wipe it when I clean the shower, but it's just not working for me. My current method is buying a new, cheap one every time it gets embarrassingly nasty.

Any advice, (law-abiding) Martha Stewarts?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Heather at And Now I'm a Grown-Up tagged me, so here goes... I'm supposed to list six things I value and six things I don't value, but I'm changing the number to five because I just like the number five better and because I can't help but expound a little on each. These are in no particular order.

Things I value:
1. True love, the kind that reaches beyond my loveworthiness. I am left speechless every time God reveals a small glimpse to me of the depth of His love, and when I see a glimmer of that love in other people. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, so I'll write more later. My heart beats fast just thinking about it.

2. Time with family. I'm finally coming to grips that so many things I devote my time to don't matter as much as others. I know certain obligations are necessary (such as my job and housework), but their value is often much less than the reward of investing time with special people. I spent Monday evening with my Dear Grandmother (pronounced deer grand-MU-ther), and my heart sure does miss that time with her and with many others. I've got to make time. Got to.

3. Wise counsel. I love that when I'm wrestling with something, a thoughtful talk with one of my trusted advisers brings clarity. I'm often irrational, and I'm so glad when someone brings me back to reality.

4. Laughter, the sincere, honest kind. Life can be so funny, no matter the situation.

5. Meaningful experiences. I know this is about as broad as I could get, but this could include meeting someone new, fond memories from childhood or doing something well.

Things I don't value:
1. Excessive complaining. Of course, I whine sometimes, and I like when people feel free to vent to me. But there is something good about everything and everyone. I couldn't imagine hating everything about life and wallowing in pity 24/7.

2. Insincerity. I'm fairly naive, so if someone doesn't like something I've done, I would really rather know it up front. It bothers me when I'm not sure where I stand with someone. Sometimes I wish I were a mindreader!

3. Depression. I hate when people are down (I'm talking an extended period of time and can't shake it sort of down). I don't like the fact that sometimes there is nothing I can say or do to pull them out of that rut.

4. Being lost, as in on the road. I get that way from time to time, and it makes me especially nervous when I'm headed somewhere I have to be at a certain time.

5. That pesky afternoon slump. Some days, it's not bad at all, but then other days... It's that hour or two in the afternoon when my brain won't work and my body is ready to shut down. Then comes the second wind, and everything is much better.

So there's my list. I won't tag anyone, but if you'd like to participate, consider yourself tagged!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shoo, flu!

Got my flu shot today. I can’t believe it’s been a year already!

Gunter was taking chemo at this time last year, so germs were a big concern for me…not so much for him, but I was a germaphobe, and I knew it. I could be mean about it.

I remember, someone brought her sick baby to work one day, and I almost had a panic attack. I could have given a piece of my mind to a couple of women who never washed their hands on the way out of the bathroom, their next stop the company breakroom. I kept Lysol, Clorox and Germex in business.

Funny, last year was my first time to ever get the flu shot and my first time to ever get the flu. Gunter and I both had it, though our cases were mild. Apparently, we got the strand not covered by the flu shot.

I went to the doctor the same day I started feeling bad and filled two prescriptions for Tamiflu by that afternoon. We sick folks were in good company. One pharmacy in our town ran completely out, and the wait at Wal-Mart was 3 hours long.

Now that chemo is over, germs just don’t scare me like they used to. No big deal. But I got another flu shot because I know that somewhere, someone with an at-risk loved one is nervous about flu season.

From someone who’s been there, please be considerate this flu season. I’m not insisting that everyone should get vaccinated, but if you get sick, do all you can to prevent your germs from spreading. A little sneeze here and there might not mean a lot to most of us, but it means an awful lot to others…maybe even the person in the very next cubicle.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Destin-y's child

I had the most wonderful weekend in Destin! Just to let you know how good it was, it all started out with a massage at Serenity by the Sea (sponsored by one of my company’s vendors), and it just got better from there. My conference was even kind of fun, the highlight being our free night. Chick flicks aren’t my favorite, but they can be an awful lot of fun with the right crowd…and those girls from work are a fun bunch.

Gunter finally has a break between seminary classes this week, perfect timing to get away for a weekend – no work, no schedule, no unpacking, no roaches. We ate out, we shopped, we napped, we laughed. We didn’t actually set foot on the beach, but we did look at it from The Back Porch (see the view above, which is not my picture). It was a little too cloudy, windy and October for me to be in a sit-in-the-sand mood, and I was simply too lazy to get out there.

I almost dreaded coming home because I knew lots of cardboard boxes and household chaos were waiting for me, but I was glad to only find two dead roaches upon our arrival. No signs or mice or live roaches. Just like their little creepy legs, things are looking up.

Gunter also finished putting a pantry together for me last night, so now we’ll have a place to keep our food besides a cardboard box. I like that idea because access to food is very important.

So I didn’t want to make you jealous of my pantry or my beach trip, but there’s your weekend update. Hope yours was wonderful, too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Critter update

The exterminator has already paid us a visit. I feel much better. I'd rather find roaches lying on the floor than flying at my face.

Close encounters of the worst kind

The plot thickens.

I seriously considered not writing about this because:
1. I don't want to seem ungrateful to be living where I am, and
2. I don't want to gross you out more than I have.

So please know that neither is my intention.

I thought I'd be writing today to celebrate mousetrap victories, but no such luck. Gunter did set some traps yesterday, but no dead rodents yet, unless you count the one under the bathroom wall.

Gunter posed the question last night as we were on our way to bed if mice were really what we were dealing with or roaches. What happened a few minutes later persuaded me to believe it’s both. I think they’re in cahoots.

We killed 4 roaches within about 15 minutes. (By “we,” I mean me screaming bloody murder and Gunter actually doing the squashing.) FOUR within 15 minutes – that ought to be some kind of record. Roach #3 was caught climbing over my bare foot, headed up my pants leg.

Did I overreact? If you call being reduced to a whimpering child overreacting, then yes, I guess you could say I overreacted.

Oh, but Gunter is ever so patient and gentle with me. He only hesitated for a moment when I asked him to get up at 5:30 this morning and check the bathroom before I went in there. But even as caring as he is, I doubt the refusing-to-brush-my-teeth-without-him-watching-for-roaches bit will last much longer. Or the waking up several times during the night just to make sure there’s not one on the bed.

Maybe it’s not just an outstanding show of Gunter’s patience. Maybe it’s that he didn’t want me to evacuate the premises at that time of night.

Okay, so I’ve learned my lesson about washing dishes promptly and sweeping every two hours. I’ve heard mice and roaches are common issues for mobile home dwellers. So if any of you out there have fought this battle before, how did you cope? What’s the best way to get rid of these pests, or at least keep your sanity? I’ve heard a few stories…Maybe I should just ask “Mule” Kelley to stake out the place with his BB gun.

Funny, the roach invasion began immediately after we talked about hosting FCA Bible studies in our home on a regular basis. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but could this be an attack to make me want to head for the hills instead of being used by God in the place we sensed He had for us?

I’m headed to Destin for a few days on a work trip, so creepy critters, here’s your last chance to get out. Because when I return, I’ll have “a new attitude,” just like Dear Grandmother says. No more Ms. Nice Guy.

And don’t get greedy. Your gluttony will be your undoing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Home new home

We moved Saturday! Here is the moving card I made (address covered), which I may or may not send out to announce our new address. I just got inspired one day and had to make something, necessary or not. I’ll probably just e-mail it, because if you’ve ever seen anything I’ve printed and tried to cut myself…it’s not pretty.

Back to moving. The helpfulness of loving people never ceases to amaze and humble me. Would you believe that several of our church families gave up their Saturdays to load our junk and unpack it at our new place? AND some of our new neighbors had lunch waiting on us when we got back! I know so many more would have volunteered their time had they known we were moving, but it all sort of happened so fast.

So our first few days have been interesting.

I realized that I have so much more left to do (and buy) that I anticipated, but it will all get done in time. Lots of time.

I suffered from a small stomach bug our first two days there, which got in the way of unpacking and made me want to go home, but I was home.

We also discovered that we are not living alone because we’ve found evidence of some four-legged freeloaders. One of them didn’t fare so well because his remains lie in state somewhere underneath a wall in our bathroom. The other decided to check out our kitchen stuff during the night. How he got on top of our island, I’m not sure, but I am sure he was there.

Bring on the mousetraps! For the first time in my life, I will not put up a fuss about killing small, furry animals. Their cuteness met its end when they pooped on my countertop. (I guess this means no one will want me to bring a dish to Family Night Supper tomorrow.)

All whining aside, my 45-minute drive to work this morning was not bad at all. Travis Cottrell, Rick and Bubba made it go by so fast.

I’m so glad to finally be in Brockton! We’re thankful for God’s provision and pray He uses us (and our abode) always for His glory.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Crossover into new life

I absolutely did not do this ministry justice. I wish I could have shared every story from each changed life. God has even used this ministry to change the lives of many observers, including me.

Opp’s Crossover Ministry guides men away from addiction, toward Christ
By Bethany Akridge
September 25, 2008

In four years, Crossover Ministry in Opp has given 120 men the opportunity for a new life — in more ways than one.

With its headquarters in a former funeral home, Crossover goes beyond most drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs to provide men not only the keys to a new life free from addiction but also a new life in Christ free from sin.

“People don’t have addiction problems. They have sin problems,” said Todd Sasser, Crossover executive director. “If you get rid of the sin problem, the drug and alcohol problems vanish.”

Click here to read the rest of this story.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The view of my den

Home should be a warm, inviting retreat to relax and spend happy times with those you love. (cue hysterical laughter)

This is our den (living room, if you're not from LA), covered with boxes. Some are full, and some will be soon. Notice how close they are to the ceiling. Our dining room is somewhere behind this imposing wall, also littered with boxes. Our hallway and guest bedroom look much the same. I'm really looking forward to making our new crib look like this on Saturday.

And for the record, I am no longer excited about storage buildings. They cost too much, and comparing prices and delivery options among dealers is more of a hassle than ordering them online.