Thursday, July 19, 2007

What's in a Word?

Pronunciation: 'min-y&n
Function: noun
1 : a servile dependent, follower, or underling
2 : one highly favored : IDOL
3 : a subordinate or petty official

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks pondering the word “minion”. It is not a word that one generally uses in everyday language; however, circumstances beyond my control have made this word appropriate.

Minions come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They range from powerful dictators (i.e. Hitler) to cartoon characters. I like to think positively for the most part… so I’d rather focus on cartoon/fictional minions.

Take Dr. Evil for instance. Here is a man whose neglected childhood led him to a life of debauchery and wastelessness… only finding his purpose by attempting to bribe the United States for one million dollars and stealing Austin Powers’ mojo. The minions who are in my circumstances right now are essentially following the Dr.-Evil-Plan-to-hold-hostage-that-which- we-hold-dear by holding clandestine meetings and attempting to overthrow the church. Darn those minions! Whatever will we do? Oh wait… we are not minions. We follow a higher calling. Not to worry.

Probably my favorite minion is The Brain. He is cute, cuddly and easily likeable. He is sarcastic and has a quick wit, which is probably why I like him so much. He has a faithful (and therefore blinded by the charisma of The Brain) sidekick who lives to do nothing more than follow along in his happy minion-ess ways. The Brain has a plan. The Brain intends to take over the world. The Brain is pondering what I am pondering… how to rid the church of other less-than-effective minions. Hmmm… I suppose I could call upon Acme Company for a guidebook (or a life-sized rubber band with which to catapult the minions from my presence… but Acme’s equipment has failed the Road Runner in the past, so I may need to rethink that course of action).

I think Webster’s definition is telling in and of the minions themselves. Minions are not the brightest bulbs in the box… they are followers. Their bread don’t rise… their dogs don’t bark… their elevators don’t reach the top floor. They have the ability (and some have the desire) to be weak-willed subjects of a charismatic leader. But a leader of minions is… well… still just a minion, isn’t he?

Petty. Underling. Idol. I think these terms apply to minions in general. They are full of self-righteousness that is cloaked in deception. This is a strong statement for me to make as I am not a perfect human and I have had occasion to fall into deception as well. There will be some who tell me that I am following along my church leader blindly... that I am a fool. I take issue with that. Instead, I am simply submitting to the authority the Lord has placed over me… and TRUSTING that authority (i.e. an omnipotent God who can see to His work without my dirty hands getting in the mix, thankyouverymuch) to do His work in His church. I know who has authority in my church body… and as importantly… I. Know. Who. Does. NOT.

Here’s a warning though… I think that when the minions attempt to attack the church… they had best be prepared. There is only one authority in the church and no minions will prevail against Him… no matter how many specially called meetings they attend nor how many signatures they get on a piece of paper.

Underlings. I like that word. I may start using it now.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I have apparently been TAGGED...

Mary tagged me to compile a list of 8 random things about myself. So, here you have it:

The rules:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

8 Random Facts about me

1. The very first concert I attended was an Elvis Presley concert. That’s right. The King of Rock and Roll (though I am told Chuck Berry takes issue with that statement) I saw Elvis just as he was beginning to put some weight on… but our seats were far enough away that I couldn’t really tell. I was a young girl… probably around 11 or 12 years old and I thought Elvis was THE MAN!!! I was old enough to think he was a hottie… while still being young enough to ask my parents why women were throwing their underwear onstage at him. I was appalled, I tell you… appalled! Why would anyone want to give up her perfectly nice cotton underwear (which had, no doubt, the day of the week embroidered in them) to a singer? I figured out what those women were doing as I got older, but I can honestly say that no musical artist has ever found himself in possession of my panties… or any other part of my lingerie.

2. My father insisted on a few things before I could get my driver’s license. First, I had to learn to drive a manual transmission (stick) before I could climb behind the wheel of a car with automatic transmission. I did pretty well my first time out. I was driving through our yard in my Dad’s 196? VW Bug. There was no power steering at the time. I was making my third pass when Dad started telling me to park the car and end my drive. I swung a little wide and was headed straight for one of the bushes in our yard. In my panic, I forgot which pedal was the brake and which was the clutch. I remembered just about halfway over the bush, when I came to a complete stop. My mother was not happy with me, as it was a newly planted bush that she had hoped would flower soon. I don’t remember if it ever did or not. The second thing I had to learn was how to change a flat and check the fluids. I am happy to admit that I can do those things… and am very grateful that there exists AAA so that I don’t have to.

3. I had a special relationship with both my grandmothers. Gran (Mom’s side) was a force to be reckoned with for the older generation. I learned this early on as Gran was ALWAYS home base! I knew if I were borderline getting in trouble she would stick up for me. I also knew that if I had already crossed the border and was in danger of a spanking that she would not let her daughter or son-in-law lay a finger on me. I am happy to say that I abused this privilege. I knew that as long as I could get to my Gran before the parents got to me… they would get a tongue-lashing whilst my Gran let me climb on her lap (the good hip side) and she would waggle her finger in their faces and tell them not to bother me anymore. Then… while they were fuming over the outrageousness that was Gran’s supreme authority, she would turn to me and tell me to come to her and let her know if they tried to punish me later in the day… and she would take care of them. My Grandmother (Dad’s side) was quite the opposite, but just as special. She had no problem with discipline (having spent her life as a teacher) and there was more than one time that I had to bring in my own “switch” for the spankings she meted out. But I never once thought she didn’t love me. After Granddaddy died, whenever we would visit, I would sleep in the room with her (twin beds) and she would tell and/or read bedtime stories. As I got older, we read chapters out of the Bible together. I always took a week in the summer and spent at her house, just the two of us. In the afternoons we would take walks around the quiet neighborhood and even down to the Ben Franklin Five & Dime, where I could usually buy a Nancy Drew book. We would come back to the house just as it was getting dark and I would catch lightning bugs and we’d sit under the two apple trees in the backyard. Life was much simpler then.

4. My first job was at Sears. I was 16 and my high school had just announced a trip to London, England for anyone who wanted to go. It was going to be $1,500. I wanted to go. I came home and announced this to my parents and my father laughed at me. $1,500 was a steep amount in the Bell home and the only way I was going was if I got a job and paid for it myself. So… the next day I came home from school, borrowed my mother’s car, drove to Hickory Hollow Mall (now known as Gangsta Central) and put in an application at all three major department stores. Sears called me back for an interview and after taking a test, they hired me. I was soooo excited! I came home and told Dad that I had a job now and I was going to put in for the trip to London. He stared at me like I had grown another head. “What are you talking about? Who said you could get a job?” Duh… you did! He didn’t think I would really do it, but I did and that spring I was jetting off to London, England with about 20 other students. That taught my Dad to be careful of what he challenged me with in the future.

5. I have a passion for horses, though I have never owned one. They are the most beautiful of animals as far as I am concerned. They are proud creatures and they have great charisma. I love them all… though not as fond of the miniatures as the larger breeds. Thoroughbreds are sooo graceful and I cried buckets when Barbaro was put down after a long journey of health issues. And yes… I followed that journey constantly. I took horse-riding lessons when I was in my early 30s and enjoyed it so much. I don’t have the opportunity to ride as much as I would like, but I have a friend with horses and I can visit him whenever I want.

6. As far as I am concerned, the Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I’ll fight that position with those naysayers who think it is just a big hole in the ground. I scoff at them. I stood amazed at the edge of the southern rim. I hiked the southern rim and I could have stayed there for days! Days! There is now a walkway that has a clear bottom that allows you to feel as if you are suspended over the canyon. I want to do that some day. I want to stand amazed again!

7. My parents led me to a saving knowledge of Jesus as my Savior. It was after a Wednesday night prayer meeting. I can be such a literal person and during the service, we sang the hymn “I Love to Tell the Story”. I came to a point of conviction with that song because my mother always told me never to tell “stories” (i.e. lies) and I was rather concerned for the souls of all our congregation as we BLATANTLY went against my mother’s dire warning. So, as we were driving home that night, I confronted both my parents about the sinful desires of the body of Christ who would “LOVE” to tell a “STORY”… a big no-no in our household. My mother gently explained the difference, which led her and my father to be able to share the gospel with me, and that evening I prayed to receive Christ. My parents have blessed me with many material things over the years… but nothing is more precious than this gift.

8. I hated my first kiss. Hated it. HATED it. I could not, for the LIFE of me, figure out why soooooo many people were sooooo into kissing. I was a sophomore in high school and the guy I kissed was a junior. (Okay… he was also a dweeb… but he was a junior and I was trying to play my cards right to get a date for Homecoming. After the kiss I learned he was not just a dweeb… but went to a church where dancing was evil and he would not take me to the dance. We broke up the next day) Anyway, the kiss was awful. He was at our house and we were watching TV in the den. Mom had popped popcorn for us (the old fashioned way, because we didn’t have a microwave yet) and the kissing was soooo bad, that I used my hunger for popcorn to keep from having to do it over and over again… which is what my date wanted to do. It was soooo bad that the next guy I dated was ready to kiss me and I tried to talk him out of it. I told him I had tried the kissing thing, but it just was not something I enjoyed or wanted to do again. He promised me that if I let him kiss me, he could change my mind about kissing in general. I was very skeptical, but then he kissed me. He was right.

Kristin, Requelle, John, Kaylie, Katy, Allison, Missy and Mike

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bell Family Vacation - part one!

Yes... I know it has been awhile. So sorry. I did not have internet access whilst I was lounging on the beach. (sigh) I wish I were still there. But alas, my pirate did not locate me and sweep me off my feet to his 85 foot yacht. I did not stand on the bow and wave goodbye to the cruel world of the work force. No. I returned to work like the good girl I am.

The Bell family arrived at various times through the weekend to the beach. I left town on Friday, so I could visit with the Dean family for a few days before hooking up with my blood relatives. My car was LOADED down too! You see... the parental units were taking their van but also had a sister-in-law and teenage niece in tow. This meant six pieces of luggage in their minivan. SIX!!! Apparently Allison is following in Kristin's footsteps and must pack every item of clothing she owns. So I had to drop the back seat of my car to carry my luggage, my parents' luggage, enough snack food to feed the Bell Army and games and prizes galore! (more about that later)

The Mom and Dad left with the Sisinlaw and Niece at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. The baby brother and his brood didn't leave until after lunch on Saturday... because they were not as prepared as I and had to get oil changes, tires rotated, new tire because of a nail, etc. before they could hit the road to fun and frivolity.

Due to circumstances beyond my control (the death of BFF Mary's grandmother) I was a little late getting out of dodge myself... which meant I hit Friday afternoon rush hour in Birmingham. It is not as bad as Nashville traffic... but I was still stuck for over an hour. Not fun. I didn't get to the Dean house before 11:30pm, but the early birds were kind enough to have waited up for me.We had a wonderfully relaxing time there on Saturday. The Deans are in great form... my childrens are all growing so tall and are looking less and less like childrens all the time. But they still like to snuggle on the couch and that is just fine by me!

The newest member of the family... Corban... is quite his own little man. He is well loved (of course) and has many helpers in the house when he has a need. I told C&A that he really has his own style, look, etc., which is amazing since you would think he'd resemble at least ONE of his siblings. Alas... he's just another handsome Dean young'un.

We grilled out by the pool on Saturday and really just lounged about. Watched "Night at the Museum" and got to bed early so as to wake up early for church the next morning. Church at Rocky Bayou is wonderful. A great worship leader (yes, I'm biased there) and a strong pastor. I loved it.

Of course, my worship leader friend asked if I wanted to sing with the choir... told me I would know the songs... and I figured that it would be simple to do, if I rehearsed it once before the service. We did run both of the choir numbers... and I was confident that with the words provided on the big screen at the back of the church, I would do fine.

We march out like good little worship leaders and I look up to see announcements running on the big screen at the back of the auditorium. Carey gets up to start the call to worship and the screen goes black. The production manager that is dormant in me wanted to run up and find out what the problem was. I looked at the other choir members to see if they were as panic-stricken as I. Everyone appeared to be very calm. Everyone but me.

Realization slowly dawned on me... they don't have words to their choir songs on the back of the auditorium. I am about to sing down the rafters by repeating "watermelon, watermelon" for the next three minutes. Thankfully it was not that difficult and I made my way through the call to worship making mental notes to smack my worship leader friend at my earliest convenience for "forgetting" to mention this minor detail.

We had a lovely lunch at the Dean homestead (Amy wins best friend award for grilling a piece of chicken for my lunch, since I am not eating red meat and she had a roast on the table) and at 2:00pm, I received a call from Katy Bell asking me when I was going to arrive at the beach, as they were all anxiously awaiting my appearance.

I said cheerful goodbyes to the Deans and began my trek to PCBeach...

... to be continued...