Thursday, May 31, 2012

An open letter to my teens

write me a letter...  Photo Credit: Linda Cronin

Dear teens,

You are probably rolling your eyes right about now because this is weird, but keep reading.  I see you guys at least 3 times a week and sometimes I check up on you via Facebook.  You probably think that is stalking, but I like to know what is going through your head every so often.  Besides when you don't talk about it and you put it on Facebook, it is kind of out there for the world to see and leave me no other option.  Why would I want to do this?

Because I care about you!  I care about the stuff that makes you mad.  I care about the stuff that makes you cry, or want to cry.  I care about the stuff that makes you laugh.  More than all of that I care about the stuff that makes you feel like less of a person and the stuff that makes you feel like more of a person.

Life happens.  People say stuff (or don't).  Homework is hard.  Teachers are mean.  Friends don't act friendly.  Enemies win sometimes.  Then you forget that you are important.

You think about how big this world is and how many things are against you.  Then you forget the people that are for you.  Namely Drew, me, and GOD!

You have been in church your whole life and see the broken humanity in people.  You wonder how God could be with those people.  You think that if this is God you don't want it.  Then you forget about the love and grace and mercy at the center of God's character.

You close yourself off thinking that no one can see what is going on deep inside.  But we do see it.  We see the doubt.  We see the pain.  We see the fear.  We see the self-loathing.  You can't hide it behind your well placed barbs and false faces of contempt.  You can't hide it behind your laugh and your self styled apathy.  We see through that because we have been there.  We have felt the doubt, the pain, the fear, and the self-loathing.  We have hidden behind our talent.  We have hidden behind our silence.  We have hidden behind our words.

Not Ready
The unwanted
The unclaimed
Lost in a dark wood
No one caring
No one foreseeing
Wanting to be rescued
But wanting to stay
Not ready for the world
The world not ready for her.

Andrea Farmer 1994

We know that our hiding didn't fix anything.  We know that only letting God in fixed things.  And we want you to know.

We want you to know that...

You are LOVED!
You are SEEN!

Your doubt doesn't diminish you.
Your pain doesn't trap you.
Your fear doesn't define you.
Your self-loathing doesn't determine your trajectory.

You are more than just your success.
You are more than just your talents.
You are more than just your looks.
You are more than just your vision.

Keep believing in who God is making you.  Trust Him more because he loves you enough to die for you.

In the love of Jesus,

Creative Commons License
Not Ready by Andrea Ward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Saying it loud...I am a writer

This is week 2 of a new series.  I will let you know a little more about me in a series of succinct easy to read and access posts.  There are some things about me that I have heard regularly or wanted to say, but didn't have the guts to say.  Now, I'm going to say all of that stuff.  Hang on for the ride!

Week1 - I'm a straight edge hippie _________________________________________________________________________________

With inspiration from Michelle and a few pages written today, I am going to say it out loud.  I am a writer.

writing in the journal  Photo Credit: {ErinKphoto}

No, I don't have any stories or books published.  However, I push the publish button 5 times a week and I won a couple local awards as a kid for my stories.

No, I have never made money with any of my writing.  However if making money with art is the point, I'm not sure it will be good art.  See Salvador Dali's later work.

I'm not sure what other questions you might want to ask me or to throw at me to try to question me or convince me otherwise.  Maybe you aren't questioning or convincing me of anything.  Maybe it is just me questioning and convincing myself otherwise.  Either way, I have never said those words out loud or in print for others to see until a couple weeks ago.  I said it there and I meant to sit down and write.  I meant to start writing for the love of it.  I meant to start finding my voice.  I meant to start writing with a goal of shipping eventually.  I meant to do all that, but I didn't do it.  Life got in the way and then something miraculous happened.  I was forced to stop doing all of this other stuff (by testing) and do nothing.  The space of nothing did something amazing.  It gave me time to start creating stories and characters.  I started spinning stories without and end in mind.  I just created for the sake of creating.  Today I wrote 4 pages with characters, settings, and a plot that excites me.  I am still writing it in my head and here I am announcing it for the world.

I am not ashamed that fictional people traipse through my head.
I am not ashamed that I grab slips of paper to jot down sentences.
I am not ashamed that I am a writer.

Today I am a writer.
Tomorrow I will be a writer.
The day after that and the day after that I will be a writer.

If I get published, I will be a writer.
If I don't get published, I will be a writer.
If I make money for writing, I will be a writer.
If I don't make money I will be a writer.

It is not something that I earn.
It is something I am.
It is a part of how I function.

I am a writer.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Finding my Story: Dad

Family Group  Photo Credit:  anyjazz65

So you probably thought this series was over when I posted this.  I talked about my parentsmy grandparentsmy great-grandparentssome other family members,  the younger onesthe girls and the  in laws.  I brought them all together to summarize who I am finding myself to be.  It was a beautiful wrap up to a beautiful series that told you all about me and told all the family in my life how much they mean to me.  It touched hearts.  It was magical.  (That might be an over exaggeration.)  Then a week or so ago, God impressed upon me that I had more stories to tell.  Yesterday he impressed that upon me again, so here I am to tell a few more stories about my family and I.

My dad and I are so much alike!  We are both head strong and opinionated, although I think we are mellowing out in our age.  We are type A personalities that want things organized.  My mother and brother are more laid back and take things as they come.  I guess that is something that has made our family work so well all these years.  My dad and I make decisions quickly, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not.  We are sure of who we are and reticent to let new people into our world.  We are both good at math, but have difficulty explaining what we did.

My dad is MUCH better at chatting with new people and making small talk.  He is also incredibly smart, but not just in an academic way.  He's smart in a useful way, like he helped wallpaper the kitchen in a house we owned once.  He has remodeled most of the houses in which he has lived.  He has made them bright and spacious and stylish.  He is also an amazing chef!  I don't think I could put up drywall or make spaghetti from scratch, so we aren't exactly alike.  : )

It has taken me years to realize how alike we are and treat him with the understanding that I have about myself.  He didn't have an easy time with me, especially as a teenager, but I've been coming around and we have a better relationship than ever before.  Sorry for all the hassle dad!  I appreciate your hard work and not giving up on me.  I love you!

And one more story before we go.  I have always had strange tastes, but my parents just went along with it. Somewhere in my teenage years, I loved raw pizza dough with some of the ingredients mixed in with it.  Every time dad fixed homemade pizza, he would bring me a little extra dough and black olives.  (Black olives are my favorite pizza topping and one of my favorite foods.)  Yes I know you are all grossed out now and thinking I'm a crazy woman.  There is probably some truth to that.  My dad would often shake his head and chuckle at my eating preferences, but he would get me what I wanted because he loved me.  Pizza dough and black olives still make me think of my dad and how much he loves me.  I hope that I can leave such impressions of love on my child/children.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Good Stuff Saturday 5-26


Pictures of Poverty - Starting off a new day and a new week in Honduras

Pictures of Poverty - There's no better way to start the day.  Coffee can't hold a candle to this.  Haiti 

The Rantings of a Dad - Pictures

Discipulus - What do you do for a living - For most, it has an answer that doesn’t align with what we are passionate about. What we do for a living, our vocation, often does little to define who we are as a person and sometimes who we are in Christ.
But, it shouldn’t be that way.
Compassion - Stop blaming and take charge - We can’t blame our circumstances, our husband or wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, boss, employees, pastors or government. We shouldn’t even blame the devil. Our sin is our own fault and our attitudes are the cause.
The world system may contribute to our challenges. Our enemies can create lots of problems for us. The environment we live in may be full of negativity. Our families and our past may be a liability to us.

Courtesy of Compassion International:

The Esau Project - Storms rolling in - It’s kind of like that with the storms in our life, isn’t it?  Sometimes, like tonight, we know the storms are coming.  All we can do is sit and wait.  Sometimes they’re long and drawn out.  We can’t really do anything to avoid them.  And sometimes they hurt.
But we need the storms.
Mustard Seed - Temptation Tuesday: Temptation of Christ  - In summation. Don’t get discouraged when you are tempted by Satan, he did it to the best of us. Handle it the way Christ did. Read your bible and tell Satan to get away from you. And remember what happened after Christ was tempted, "11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” I take great comfort in that verse.

A Deeper Story - On what I think it means to be pro-life - i’m realizing there’s a lot of things we promote as Christians that i don’t agree with. like pews. why are they so hard? shouldn’t church be the most comfortable, welcoming, beautiful place, kind of like a gigantic living room?

The Arizona Russums - Ways to fancy up your coffee - My sweet roommates pitched in and bought me my espresso machine, and now I make myself a delicious espresso beverage every single morning {sometimes iced, sometimes hot}. Today I thought I would share with you some of the fun ways I change up my coffee each day. So if you are looking to fancy up your caffeine from the comfort of your own home, here are three of my favorite ways to fix my coffee…

The Isle of Man - Guest Post: The Golden Age of Videogames - I know I risk sounding like the old codger here who "gamed uphill both ways barefoot in 5 feet of snow," but I still think simple, linear games on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) were superior. You had a clear purpose (that generally involved running from left to right) and limited attempts to accomplish that purpose. The message that the games were sending was clear. Either adapt and improve, or die trying. No fluff, just your skill, two buttons and a D-pad. Which brings me to my next point...

Thoughts on Life, God, and Ministry - Leadership- A means or an end?  - We have made leadership a goal, not a tool.  So many people are seeking to influence as many people as we possibly can and amass lots of “followers” on our blogs and social media outlets so that one day these people will want to buy our book.  Why?  So we can have influence.  To me, this is very self-focused.

Katie Hawkins: missionary to Albania - May: The month of birthdays - But this is just another example of how Albanians take pride in the smallest of details and are so willing to give of themselves. If I would have messed up on the cake, I would have just left it or tried to cover it up. I’m pretty sure I will never spend more than 3 hours decorating a cake. I would rather just go without a cake.

Jaime: The very worst missionary - Five years; a farewell  - Five years of heartbreaking failure, overwhelming sadness, silly mistakes and the kind of sweet, holy Redemption that can only wash over you when you're lying flat on your face on the living room floor at three o'clock in the morning,wondering what in the hell you're doing.

Truly, we have lived five of the most Grace-filled years you can imagine, finding that our God is utterly present with us – always – and that without Him we are aimless.

Stuff Christians Like - Loving the unlovable - I was a mess in college. There’s no need to dress it up with stories or adjectives. I was a mess. And in the midst of that, a guy named Dave Waller reached out to me. With no agenda, and at no benefit to him, he was kind to me. Time and time again as a student minister, he reached out to me at Samford University. And then I disappeared back to Boston and never saw him again.

A Deeper Story - My books and I and the silence of God - Last September, I was sitting on a couch one day when I felt as if Jesus sat beside me, told me it was going to be about trust with me, and then He packed up His things and went silent. Silent for about seven months. In the interim space between His silence and my learning to hear again, I made a few interesting choices. One of those choices was to burry myself in books. - God uses ordinary people - They were ordinary jars of clay. According to God, this qualified them. By Paul’s definition, a true minister spoke not from his success but from the Spirit inside. 
This illustration represents what he wanted to occur in the mindset of Corinthian believers. He desired them to know they qualified as ministers, even without all the outward things society told them were necessary.
Red Letter Believers - Can we ever trust again? - And before you knew it, every authority figure was looked at askance, as if anything they said was a lie. Suddenly, liars were everywhere – or so it seemed. Prominent church leaders, politicians and journalists have all fallen from their precarious perches. Companies crumbled and took their shareholders and pensioners savings down with them.

Can we ever trust again? 
I'd laugh, but this all happened to me - Wake up Rastus - Then he gave the boss his answer- "I'd wake up Rastus."  The boss was dumbfounded.  "What possible good could that do!  Why would you wake up Rastus?"  Sam smiled at the man, laughed and then replied, "Because he ain't NEVER seen a wreck like this!"

Compassion - Living close to the line - Or arriving as late as we can to meetings? Or sinning as much in the “so-small-it’s-irrelevant” space as we dare? It’s like we give ourselves a “sin inbox.”
We let so much sin in until we reach the “limit.” Then our conscience nags us to repent, we confess just enough big “MB” sins to give us breathing space and quiet our conscience, rather than investing those 15 minutes to confess all our sin and clear our conscience completely.

Courtesy of Compassion International:

Shawn Smucker - The drive to Yellowstone, Final Part: Getting off the mountain  - The bus ground to a stop among the loose stones of the runaway truck ramp. My hands shook as I took them away from the steering wheel and placed them in my lap. My legs trembled as they let off the brake, and the burning smell of those brakes caught up to us, enveloped us, reminded us of how bad it might have been.
I looked back at Maile. Her eyes seemed stuck open, unblinking.
“That could have been really, really bad,” she said, her voice wavering.
I swallowed. Nodded.
The Rantings of a Dad - Taste in music - Recently, while watching Yo Gabba Gabba! my daughter discovered a band. At the age of two, she has a favorite band. 

I think at the age of two, my favorite song was "Walking Talking Catfish" - which no amount of google searching has been able to find but I swear to you that song existed and was awesome. So if anyone has that on cd I would love a copy... just saying... for Evie, not for me. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Picture Day

I tried cooking again.  I made hashbrown casserole.  It was good.  So maybe anyone can cook!

I did not make these.  A Colombian student's mother made them.  They were awesome and now I want a Colombian mother!

I did make this gravy.  It was HOMEMADE.  No package.  It was pretty good.



We went to feed the ducks.  Ben loved watching the ducks eat and swim, but he did not really love them coming up to him.  The last photo is him watching a soccer game.  The kid loves soccer.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Live 58: Hope International

This month on the Live 58 Tour we stop in Rawanda.  Remember we have stopped in the Dominican Republic with trees and Haiti with water.  We are in Rawanda with HOPE International.  HOPE International is a microfinance organization that helps people through "the provision of loans, savings services, basic business training, mentoring, and discipleship."

HOPE International | Christian Microfinance Network

We in America don't realize how lucky we are to be taught so much about finance and to have access to banking.  In many countries in the world people people don't have access to a good education.  Duh right!  We know that, but we don't actually understand the realities of that.  This company deals with the realities of that.  Many people in these countries don't know basics of business and finance. Without that, they don't have access to or know what to do with loans in order to create a general store or a sewing business or another business. Without loans, businesses don't begin and people don't move forward.  Americans know that business and loans are vital to capitalism and becoming whatever you want to be.   That's what we all want right?  Except now you are thinking of all the negative aspects of capitalism and you aren't so sure.

Well HOPE International has an answer.  Microfinance AND discipleship!  They teach these people about banking AND God!  How cool is that?  In case you don't know, microfinance is giving a small loan (e.g. $100) to a person to start a business. HOPE International gives the loans, teaches them about investing I their business, and how to follow God through their business.  They teach them about savings and in some cases provide health care and literacy initiatives.  As this is a loan, they get repaid.  For the skeptic out there, they get repaid 95% of the time.  I could go on an on about how they empower women and share God  

How do they do this?  You!  Get involved by donating money, spreading the word about the company, and get educated about how microfinance.  Just a small amount of money and a little education can change a life, a family, a town, and a country.  You can make that change happen!  Go change the world!   

In case you need more proof, look at the infographic below.
Photo Credit: HOPE International

Now, go and get involved.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Saying it loud...I'm a straight edge hippie

This week I start a new series.  I will let you know a little more about me in a series of succinct easy to read and access posts.  There are some things about me that I have heard regularly or wanted to say, but didn't have the guts to say.  Now, I'm going to say all of that stuff.  Hang on for the ride!


In case you don't know what those words mean, I have defined them for you.

The One And Only Hippie Memorial (Arcola, IL)Photo Credit: MrSchuReads

Hippie - They possess a core belief set revolving around the values of peace and love as being essential in an increasingly globalized society, and they are oftentimes associated with non-violent anti-governmental groups. (Via Urban Dictionary)

Of course the definition of hippie is something that varies depending on the website you check, but the definition of hippie that applies to me is the one above.  Well maybe not anti-government, but the rest I agree with.  I'm not saying that I'm a pacifist or that I am against the military and those that serve.  I actually think they are pretty important to having peace.  We live in a fallen world and if we want 'peace and love, man' it takes hard work and sometimes we have to fight for it as a nation.  As individuals, we need to give up the right to be right.  We need to give up a little of our comforts in order to live lives of peace and love.  We need to be conscious of others in far flung places around the globe and how we can affect the peace and love in their lives with our decisions.  I would like to see world peace and I do want to learn to love everyone.  I want to leave the Earth better than I found it ecologically AND in the lives of people.  I believe that peace and love can change the world.

Side note: I also like paisley patterns, hair without lots of doing, and no make-up.

I'm not sure if it is my penchant for paisley, my preference for the natural look, or my belief in peace and love, but I have been called a hippie by various people throughout my life.  Not to make fun of me, but just a comment on my counter culture tendencies.  However, those comments have never totally sat well with me.  That brings us to straight edge.  

straight edge // hardcore   Photo Credit: nasty days

Straight edge -  a lifetime commitment never to drink, smoke, or do drugs. some people include abstainence from promiscuous sex. others abstain from caffeine. started in the hardcore/punk scene of the early 1980's in Washington DC. (Via Urban Dictionary)

Among other things hippies are known for some less healthy choices shall we say.  So I can't say that I am totally a hippie.   In fact, I am very ANTI those things about hippies.  My belief in living a clean lifestyle is very much a part of who I am.  Until the last few months, I didn't have a name for it.  Thanks to professional wrestling, I do have a name for it.  Yes, you read that right.  

Side note: Drew has started watching professional wrestling again recently and I have watched it with him because I like to spend time with my husband and I like a good story.  They have good stories that are often over dramatized, but I prefer that to fake reality.

There is a professional wrestler named CM Punk.  He wears an x on his wrist tape and Drew explained the significance of the x.  It is a symbol for those committed to a straight edge lifestyle.  I have long believed that there are better things for me to be doing than getting drunk or high.  Now due to the medicine that I take even half a drink will put me there.  In fact, discovering this was the closest I have ever been to drunk.  I have long held the belief that the long term consequences, liver failure, lung cancer, etc., outweigh the temporary fun that might be had.  I have long held the belief that by committing to one person my life will be happier in the end.  I am also coming to the belief that I need to be careful about caffeine.  I wouldn't go so far as to say abstain, but I am cognizant of how much I have and the effect thereof.  I believe abstinence from these things will make me a better person.

After 31 years on the planet I finally figured out a category for my counter culture tendencies.  So I'm saying it loud: I am a straight edge hippie! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

A prayer for today

Lord, let me give enough.
Let me pray enough.
Let me love enough.
Let me believe enough
And let it not be my enough,
But let it be your enough.

Lord, give me strength to follow your plan,
Even when my own sounds better.
Give me wisdom to know
When silence is better than words.
Give me determination to follow through
With what I started no matter how tired I am.

Lord, help me manage my time.
Help me manage my finances.
Help me manage my students.
Help me encourage my colleagues.
Help me encourage my family.
Help me encourage my friends.

Today, I want more of you and less of me.

Creative Commons License
A prayer for today by Andrea Ward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Good Stuff Saturday 5-19

URGENT NEED:  The Jacksons' Journey - An EXCITING UPDATE on our URGENT NEED! - On Sunday I updated you that the need had dropped to $54,000. Well friends - it has been an AMAZING week! Our current total needed is only $24,500!!!

The need was met Sunday at about 10 pm EST.  The kids get their new home that no one can take away.  Thank you for your help!

Pictures and Poetry:
Arch Daily - Underwater Hotel planned for Dubai

The Handwritten - In Red

Pictures of Poverty - A Dynamic Duo

Great reading material:

Shawn Smucker - Our daughters: Corner Pillars or Shapely Wildflowers  - Wow. Corner pillars. That struck me as a particularly strong image, one that reverberated in my mind. In this verse, the sons are portrayed as plants, while the daughters are corner pillars. Which sounds stronger to you in this instance? Which is supporting the weight of a massive structure?
I wondered to myself: Am I giving my daughters the support they need to become, not the pretty little things our culture so often encourages, but the strong “corner pillars” the psalmist envisioned?
Compassion - Time for a Critical Update? - But suppose the warning stated that unless you make the critical update, you would not be able to access the internet, not be able to google, not be able to access Facebook or e-mail. I bet most of us would make the change immediately, and we’d tell anyone we cared about to do the same before it was too late.

Courtesy of Compassion International:

New Ways Forward - Solomon, Empire and Interpretation  - nterestingly, in almost every sermon I’ve heard about Solomon, his sexual exploits and idolatry are condemned while his economic and military aspirations are ignored or even praised.

Discipulus - Life begins on the Molecular Level - In biology, an organism is considered “mature” when it is able to reproduce. Until it is able to reproduce one of it’s own kind, to multiply, it remains immature.

The Esau Project - Mamma's Hands - Our hands tell stories of where we’ve been.  I shudder to think of what my life would have been like if Mom’s hands had been smooth and untarnished.  The lines and scars come from years of work, and play and love.

Stuff Christians Like - Missing Sunday School - Ahh, see that last joke was unnecessary. That was more The Soup and less the SCL. I probably wouldn’t have even made it if you were still around. But you’ve been gone for a while now.
We collectively decided you were old-fashioned. We felt like you were too restrictive, too old-school, the bad kind of old-school, not the good kind, like the neon colors that have zombie-crawled their way back from the 80s and are dominating the planet right now.

Compassion - A Child's Act of Love - He looked at me with his big black eyes, and said, “I know you did not have time for breakfast, so I want to share my breakfast with you.” Nicholas did not think too much of it, but I was so moved by that act of love, my heart was shaken. I hugged him and thanked him.

Courtesy of Compassion International:

Shawn Smucker - The secrets we leave behind (or Crossing the Sierra Nevada)  - Long after the other kids lose interest, he sits there, arms resting on the narrow window will, nose pressed up against the glass, constantly imploring me to take some dirt road or to get closer to the edge of the bridge. Every mountain is a ‘cano (volcano). Every narrow river stream is a waterfall. In other words, he lives in a perpetual state of amazement, enraptured by this journey we so bravely take through a land of volcanoes and waterfalls.

Run with the Big Girls - Details for the 5k - Where: Anywhere you are!  That’s the beauty of a virtual 5K.  You don’t have to come to Fairfield to run.  You don’t have to go to Texas or Kentucky or New Mexico to run.  By the way, those are just a few of the states that will be represented so far with our 5K!  
Side Note: I'm running.  I think you should too.

Mustard Seed - Faithful Friday: What is faith? - Wars are fought over faith.  People are put to death because of their faith and still others commit suicide for theirs.  It must be pretty important.  I know mine is to me.

The Jesus Mommy - Keep Growing - I sat this because I think they need it. I never chide them for being insecure, immature, or unfocused. I wouldn’t accuse them of not being a sunflower, simply because I haven’t seen the blossom yet. From seedlings to sapling to stalk, they have always been sunflowers. I am merely a witness to the process.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I saw this on a blog a few months ago and thought it was clever.  Her list was way better than mine.  Probably because she actually knows what adverbs are.  I had to look mine up, but here's my list of adverbs.  Some are mundane, some are interesting, and some are gross.

Dictionary  Photo Credit: greeblie

I usually leave the caption on Pinterest.

I seldom pull the covers over my head when I'm falling asleep, but when I do I feel like a cozy little kid again.

I always identify with the outsider.

I rarely fold clothes right out of the dryer.

I never iron.  And now you are wondering how I ever have neat looking clothes.  I don't really know the answer to that one myself.

I often pull weeds in my work clothes

I always fill my drinks up to the top of the cup.

I eagerly check my Google Reader in the morning.  I love reading blogs!

I carefully mix sugar and creamer into my coffee in the morning.  I have to get just the right mixture.

I quietly get ready in the morning to not disturb my boys in the morning.

Tomorrow I'm excited for our Malt Shop Memories youth fundraiser.

Yesterday we went to Cici's Pizza for dinner, even though Drew doesn't really like it.  I got their macaroni and cheese pizza and loved it.  Thanks honey!

I purposely ignore the stuff my students say sometimes.  You have to pick your battles.

I just decided to run my first 5k.  You could join me!

I sometimes forget to flush the toilet because I'm getting in the shower.

I recently started adding photos to my blog posts and it is so much fun!

I loudly remind students of rules they frequently break.

I accidentally run into stuff a lot.  I have never been known for my grace.

I intentionally read 5 pages in my Bible every day.  Or sometimes 15 pages because I missed a day or two.

I patiently wait at red lights because I'm really enjoying my book on tape to which I'm listening.

I easily forget to water plants and weed the flower beds.  Example: I got a plant for Mother's Day and it was drooping like it was dead by Wednesday.  I moved it out of the sun and watered it some.  This morning half of it was risen form the dead.  So maybe I haven't killed it yet.

I recently realized how amazing non-fiction books are.  I used to avoid them like the plague.  Now I'm reading a few of them.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Anyone can cook

Photo Credit: Disney/Pixar

I own no rights to this photo.
This is a picture that can be used as wallpaper, so I'm hoping it's fine that I'm using it here too.  

I think I have talked before about my lack of cooking skills.  I am the 3rd of 4 generations of women who don't cook.  My grandmother didn't cook any more than she had to and the same holds true for my aunt.  My mom doesn't cook.  My cousin and her daughter don't cook and I don't cook.  We have all married men that cook, outside of my cousin's daughter because she is only 17 or so.  Normally my not cooking isn't a problem because Drew loves to cook.  However with him in school my not cooking is becoming more difficult, so I had to do something about it.  A few months ago, I found several recipes for the crock pot.  Tuesday I printed them out.  Drew picked one, I went to the store and got the ingredients, and Wednesday morning I got up and was ready to cook.  I pulled out the recipe to see what I needed to do and discovered that we must have picked the hardest recipe.  This one called for the ribs to be boiled, then grilled, and THEN put in the slow cooker.  I didn't have time for that before work.  So like any techy person, I googled a simple recipe.  I found one that required salt, pepper, barbecue sauce, pork, and onions.  That was it!

I didn't have onions, so I skipped that.  On to the next step, rub the meat with salt and pepper.  It didn't say how much and I've never done it before.  I guessed and then I thought it wasn't enough, so I put on some more.  Then I put on the barbecue sauce, turned on low, and left for work.  I was pretty excited thinking about the yummy ribs that would be waiting on me.  I was excited thinking about how nice it would be to have an easy meal.  I dreamed about how yummy it was going to smell.  I was all prepared to pat myself on the back.  Then I got home.

I walked in the house and it didn't smell yummy.  It didn't smell like a whole lot, so I walked closer to the slow cooker.  It smelled like something, burnt barbecue sauce.  I didn't turn it off and I didn't try to add anything to it.  It didn't smell strongly like that.  Maybe it was just the sides of the slow cooker that were burning, not the actual ribs.  The time came for it to be done, I turned off the slow cooker, and stirred the ribs.  It didn't taste awful, so maybe it was okay.  I had Drew tasted it and he said it was edible, but tasted like pot roast not barbecue ribs.  I tried it again and decided to add something to it, brown sugar.  I added a little and then some more and then lots more.  It seemed to make it slightly better and less bitter.  It helped neutralize all the salty flavor in it.  I put some on a plate with some potato chips and ate.  Or I tried to eat.  It wasn't good, so I added more brown sugar to my plate.  I tried to mix the potato chips in with it.  Basically, anything I could to get it down.  Drew had some and gave some to Abbey.  I tossed the rest of it out and felt really bad about the whole thing.  I was trying to help him out and make his life easier, but I just managed to gross us out.

Congrats to the great cook and most helpful wife ever!  Or not.  Not only did I feel yucky form having eaten yucky food, but I also felt yucky from being a massive failure.  Drew tried to make me feel better, but I was on a self depreciating sarcastic roll and didn't let his loving comments climb over my wall of self depreciation.    We went to church and I had a Mother's Day present from my Prayer Sister.  It was a super cute purse and that made stop thinking about how bad I felt.  We had a visitor in youth group and two in the younger kids.  I directed them where to go and got them settled.  That made me fell a little better.  Drew started a new thing, Happies and Crappies, that I inspired.  That made me feel a little better.  We have some pretty awesome youth that got me laughing and of course that made me feel a little better.  Then about half way through Drew's lesson about the Temptation of Christ, I realized something.  I had somehow wrapped my worth as a wife, mother, human around a slow cooker.  And that is stupid!
 Photo Credit: citrus.sunshine
        Am I wrapping my worth around a CROCKPOT! (In case you can't read it)                        This is me!

Final thoughts: Sometimes traditions are based on facts.  The women in my family don't cook for good reason!

Moral: I am more than the product of my slow cooker.

Better post today? 2 photos and 3 links.  I think so

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Progress bar  Photo Credit: Marcin Wichary

I have a new series planned for Wednesdays and I even decided what my first post will be.  I have written a little bit of it down and a lot of it in my head.  However, I still have to get dinner in the slow cooker for tonight and hopefully read my Bible.  I need to get to school early to get testing materials and hopefully have some time to read the blogs I follow.  When testing starts I will be out of communication with the rest of the world until it is done.

Yesterday that was about 4 hours.  Then I had students for every minute after that until the end of the day.  Yesterday was also the chorus concert.  Ben and I attended and loved it!  We got home and it was time for him to go to bed.  I fell asleep too, so I didn't get the post written yesterday either.

So, my new series will not start today.  Sorry!

I'm also sorry for the lame post today.  Tomorrow will be better.  I promise.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Spiritualist movement

Running late and feeling a little overwhelmed today, so this is just going to be a few quick thoughts that I had.  It is raining this morning and massive peal of thunder just ripped through the sky.  So somehow my few random thoughts on the Spiritualist movement seem appropriate for this morning.

Seances De Thaumaturcie Humoristique  Photo Credit: Double--M

A few months ago, I found out that America created the Spiritualist movement.  In case you have never heard of it or forgot that you heard of it, this is what Wikipedia has to say.

Spiritualism is a belief system or religion, postulating the belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. Anyone may receive spirit messages, but formal communication sessions (séances) are held by "mediums", who can then provide information about the afterlife.[1]
Spiritualism developed and reached its peak growth in membership from the 1840s to the 1920s, especially in English-language countries.[2][3] By 1897, it was said to have more than eight million followers in the United States and Europe,[4] mostly drawn from the middle and upper classes, while the corresponding movement in continental Europe and Latin America is known as Spiritism.

So what I was wondering is what about America made us create this movement?  America tends to be very cerebral and scientific.  Americans tend to be hard working and more interested in what is going on around town than in a spirit world, if such a thing exists.  So how did we come to create the Spiritualist movement?  I wonder if our years of denial and refusal to discuss a spiritual aspect to life and this world caused us to create this movement.  Maybe our denial for years erupted in a brightly burning flame known as the Spiritualist movement.  In burning so bright, it consumed all the oxygen that created it and died quickly.    

Back in its heyday everyone who was anyone was a Spiritualist and communicating with the dead.  There were some frauds and some were genuinely seeking communication with the dead.  Then the movement died out mostly due to the fraudulent people just in it to make a buck.  Then America got into a space race and an effort to keep up with other countries in science and math, so once again the discussion and experience of a spirit world was shoved off to the side.  We created it and then abandoned it.  I wonder if we would have created it at all if our national rhetoric had included leprechauns or other such creatures of fantasy as you find in other places on the globe.

Any ideas of your own?  Why did we create this movement?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Good Stuff Saturday 5-12

Pictures, Poetry and Video

The Handwritten - On hearing

Color Lines - Four African men school you on Hollywood Stereotypes

Buzz Feed - 10 Beautiful places in the world that actually exist

Posts you should read
My heart belongs to Jesus...citizen of the world - A day in the life   As we tried turning onto your street, we hit the steep ledge of the sidewalk because we couldn't see where it ended and the road began! The moto jolted forward and fell and my friend went tumbling after! Now I was really laughing!

World Vision - Hungerfree: 10 surprising facts about hunger - Some 1 million babies’ lives could be saved if all mothers were encouraged and supported to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life. (World VisionChild Health Now report)

The Jesus Mommy - Working with Blessings - God, these are my blessings. At this point, I can’t figure out how this is all going to work out, but these are the blessings that I have on my hands. Please show me how I can work with them. 

A Deeper Story - Have Mercy on Us - “A teacher was arrested for molesting a little girl at the school around the corner.”
The school she was going to send her own daughter to in 6 months.
Grit and Glory - Embracing Uncertainty - I am learning to live in the tension of uncertainty.
To simply embrace it, rather than fight it. Because contending with it doesn’t get me anywhere. It doesn’t yield answers or bring clarity or cause lightbulb moments of understanding.
Because honestly, more often than not, there aren’t really answers to be found or resolution to be sought.

Discipulus - Thanksgiving: The Disciple's secret weapon A heart that is thankful will never take God for granted and becomes contagious revealing the power and grace of His God. It’s hard to see God in the life of a person who complaints often.

I'd Laugh...But this all happened to me - Signs - There are people who have always enjoyed posting those kinds of signs in the church.  They have imposed dress codes.  They have chosen musical styles that are foreign to young people, a sign that says "Not Welcome."  They have suggested, or in some cases demanded, that you have your act together before you are welcome at church. 

Compassion - We have room - I’m notorious for trying everything and if I’m not good at it right away, I give it up. Likewise with causes. I’m an emotional appeal kind of girl.
Tell me statistics of there being more people currently enslaved than the entire trans-atlantic slave trade combined and I’ll advocate on behalf of anti-slavery movements until I’m blue in the face.

Courtesy of Compassion International:

Compassion - Some time later the brook dried up - Have you ever had a brook dry up on you?
It happens when God’s provision stops coming from a particular direction. He was supplying your needs in one way, but then He stopped.

Courtesy of Compassion International:

Red Letter Believers - I should have seen it coming - Ignorance isn't bliss. It might even be tragic.

Plant with Purpose - Eyes not to see - Ex nihilo, it was out of nothing that God spoke the world into existence and continued on to the pinnacle of creation, you and I.  If we are made in His likeness, then we are made to create as well. 

Shawn Smucker - The redwoods asked me what if your today must die  - A huge grove of six or seven Redwood trees gathered, each one three to five feet in diameter. They had grown in an almost perfect ring. In their midst stood the charred remains of an old Redwood. Before some ancient fire it had reached up higher than a fifteen-story building. Now it was barely fifteen feet tall. The outside of it was black, the hollow inside crumbling.

A Deeper Story - I can't see you - “I think they don’t have the same sort of boundaries in Ghana as we have here,” I hollered after him, my voice cracking with frustration. “I don’t think they’re as private. Like they do everything in community.”

The View from here - Look!  No hands - Now think about what your life would be like if one day you lost both of those extremities, all at once.  One moment you're using them to peel potatoes or perform neurosurgery (probably not a lot of neurosurgeons reading my blog) and then in a flash, literally, they're gone.

That's what happened to my friend Leo a few years ago when he was working.  

No Superheroes - Grace is - I have spent the last week teaching on grace at Youth With A Mission's campus in Muizenberg, South Africa. I speak about grace often on this blog, but I realized I have never done a post on the essentials of grace.
So here it is. A Collections of the haves and have nots when it comes to grace.  

Featuring a new-to-me blog and a FREE ebook:

Why you should follow The Isle of Man

1. He has amazing Friday Funhouse post where he tells you about cool posts and what not, like the 10 places that exist from above.

2. He tells you about crazy things he's done, like when he and his brother wanted to make booby traps.

3.  He talks about serious stuff, like Junior Seau's death, and tells you how that relates to your life.

4.  When you subscribe to his email list, you get his ebook An Idiot's Guide to the Galaxy for FREE!  That is huge because it is a hilarious book of satire that ends with an amazing lesson.  (Side note: I can not write satire to save my life, so I amazed by the people who can like Kevin Haggerty)  In case you don't believe me, read these excerpts.

"Lasso down that conversation like a baby goat in a redneck carnival game."
"I recommend fish or garlic knots.  If you can mix them together, you're basically playing the game with cheat codes,"
"You were just helping out the usher who would have had to step in and enforce martial movie law."

See I told you it was funny.  Now go to his blog, subscribe by email, and enjoy the free book.