Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hard Work And Beauty

Our neighbor grows roses. There are other flowers in his yard too... but his roses simply blow my mind. Every bloom is perfect and I never see them wither. He must maintain them regularly, but I never see him doing so. Maybe he works on them in the night while the rest of us are sleeping. The fruits of his labor are beautiful. I reap the benefits of what must be hard work every time I walk by.

Wouldn't it be great if everything we're just beautiful all the time... and we never had to see backstage where all the messy hard work happens? I think not. It is nice though to have some things perfect every time. For example; I like it when I first check into a hotel and the toilet paper in my room is folded just so. Somehow that little effort makes me feel like I'm the first one EVER to use it. I like not seeing the room get cleaned... but the truth is... somebody had to do it.

If something is nice. Somebody made it that way. I thank God for all the people who make things nice. When I witness things that happen naturally... like the beauty of nature or human kindness I thank God for that too.

It's the pruning back that makes good stuff happen, right? I can say that about nature and plants, about life and especially about me. I want to be more beautiful. So, God, whether you work in broad daylight or while I sleep. I'm yours. Prune away. Make me so beautiful that people wonder how I got that way.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What Do I Do? Part 2

My name is Julie Hoy.

What do I do?

I'm a wife and a mom. I sing. I play guitar. I write. I tell stories. I create. I help where I can. I make good soup. I clean house. I raise my voice sometimes. I've been known to swear on occasion.
I laugh a lot. I cry sometimes. I worry more than I should.
I live with my eyes open and my heart on my sleeve.
I pray.
I trust God.
I have hope.
I dream.
I seek to do as I was born to do.
I encourage others to do the same.
I am a published songwriter, author and public speaker.
My list might grow longer... or perhaps you know me and wish to add something.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Thought It Was Over

I spent the first four days of this week at an incredible writer's conference. I learned so much, met wonderful people and got to hang out with others I already knew. I left the retreat center feeling so affirmed in what I do. I am an author of stories and songs, I am a performer, a public speaker and somewhat of an inspirationalist.

If you read my blog you know I took a summer job at a local cannery to supplement our household budget. This ministry stuff I do just doesn't pay regularly enough. The writer's conference left me so encouraged. I just know my financial viability in ministry is going to increase. Even with that in mind... I knew I had to call the cannery and see if I was to report for work the next night. I was reluctant but knew calling in was the right thing to do. I might of done a cartwheel, if I thought I could, when the woman in the office told me, "No work tomorrow. Things are really slowing down for the summer and in fact we'll call you if there is any more work to be had."

I put away my lunch box and threw out my earplugs. Such a relief. I'm done with that. I fulfilled my promise to God that if I got the job I would work it to the best of my ability. I finished well, I thought, and will be asked back next year, if need be, and I won't have to go through that awful application process again. It's all good news!

Well, the phone rang about an hour ago. About took the breath out of me when the voice on the other end of the line said, "This is Ana at the cannery, any chance you could work the three to twelve shift today?"

I have about a dozen other things I'd rather do. But I will go, lunch in hand and a smile in my heart because I made a promise to God.

Just when you think you've gone as far as you have to. God might ask you to go a little bit further. I'm counting on the fact that there is a reason for me to be at the cannery on THIS night. Maybe it's just for the money. Maybe it's for something more.

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Moses Called... It's About The Eleventh Commandment.

At some point in our lives don't we all lose a wallet?

When I was 19, I left my wallet on the trunk of my car one day after I got gas. Figured out it was missing late that night. The next day I went back to the scene of the incident and found my wallet in the middle of the four lane highway in front of the station. It was empty. Then I noticed my driver's license on the side of the road. Not far from that was my Social Security card. I walked for about half a mile... into a neighborhood... picking up my personals. I got a little uncomfortable thinking I might actually end up at the tosser's home. Almost as quickly as I became concerned... the trail went cold. I was down $50.00 but had everything that meant anything to me back in my possession.

About two weeks ago, on a Friday, my son Alex lost his wallet. He had no idea where it might be. It wasn't till the next day that he realized it was gone. It wasn't until I got an email saying someone was attempting to transfer money from Alex' bank account into their own that I realized we could have a real mess on our hands.

As the drill goes... we cancelled everything and come Monday morning were at the Oregon DMV getting a new license for Alex. The sad part... was the loss of the wallet, a gift from his Grandma.

New license: $28.00
New Wallet: $24.00
Time together: Priceless
The whole thing: A good life lesson and a bummer

Two weeks later, while I was at work, I received a text message from my daughter, Maddie.

It read, "Moses called... He found Alex' wallet."

Yesterday afternoon, Moses came by the house. He had the wallet in hand... and everything was still in it... even Alex' $10.00 in cash. When we tried to offer him a reward he wouldn't take it. What a guy!

Moses came to our house and delivered an eleventh commandment:

XI. Thou shalt do good things and expect nothing in return.

I was thinking...

VIII. Thou shalt not steal.

Made me wonder... who tried to transfer the money?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Turtle Eggs and Greek Yogurt

I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to food. I'll try just about anything. If the texture is crunchy, like grasshoppers for instance, I'm in. If the texture is slimy I'm slightly on the fence. If anything is covered in garlic and butter, no question!

I think my worst food consumption memory is that of eating turtle eggs. You do what you have to do though... when your in a foreign country... and a family of little means is pulling out all the stops because you're in town. You mind your manners and eat what is put in front of you. I would never have eaten an endangered species if it were not such a special treat in their eyes.

After being dipped in boiling water turtle eggs look a lot like ping pong balls with dents in them. The instructions were to tear a hole in the top, squeeze in a little lime, shake a little salt, slurp, and swallow. I can remember the experience vividly. (My gag reflex is kicking in just thinking about it.) The first thing to hit me was the fact that, even though the eggs had been dipped in boiling water, they were not at all cooked on the inside... only slightly warmed. I made it through the first round. I was a little worried when the plate was passed to me for the second and third time. I understood and came to appreciate the sipping of tequila throughout.

A little closer to home... I went to the store for some yogurt and bananas. (I like to make smoothies in the summertime.) All the store had in stock was Greek yogurt. Never tried it, that I know of, and I figured yogurt is yogurt... so why not? I was surprised to find Greek yogurt is very thick. Why is that?! It's a little more like really dense sour cream. Yesterday's smoothie was so thick I could hardly suck it up through my straw! Today's smoothie was much better. Adding more fruit juice did the trick.

As for the turtle eggs... I don't know if I will ever have the pleasure of eating them again, and that's okay with me. On the contrary, I think Greek yogurt would be completely acceptable on a daily basis. I'm so glad I tried it and vow to step out and reach for another food that's foreign to me next time I'm out shopping. Why not? It's cheaper than traveling abroad!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fahrenheit 635

I had the night off from work. Thought I had tomorrow off too. My employer called for me an hour ago. I was out when the call came. I thought seriously about NOT returning it but I promised God I'd work hard if I got the job. I will be there... a little before 3:00PM... lunch in hand and a smile in my heart. At midnight I'll shed my hairnet and earl plugs and head for home. I'll probably be tired from standing but thankful for the opportunity to work and earn a wage... no matter how small.

Keep on... keeping on is what we must do... as a country and as individuals. Large or small... every effort to better ourselves and our way of living is worth making. Hopefully we're getting smarter every day.

On a lighter note... How about that Stock Market?! August 8th, 2011 will probably go down in history. A loss of 635 points is big news to some and even bigger news to others. My husband, Roger, said it very well just before he went to bed:

"Things are not going well in our economy. God knows the mess we're in and how we got here. We need to pray."