Monday, July 30, 2012

My TV family

Just for fun, I thought I would let you know about some of my favorite TV characters.  These are not necessarily my favorite TV show, just characters that I really love.

Paternal Grandpa - Sheriff Andy Taylor (The Andy Griffith Show)

Any problem I have, I can go ask him and he'll have an answer.  He won't freak out about it.  Why grandpa?  He seems too old to be a dad.  Probably not a good answer, but there you have it.

Maternal Grandma - Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote)

I would get free books.  I could probably convince her to take me on her trips around the world.  I would get to hear amazing stories about crimes she solved.  Even when she solved a crime, she cared about the criminal.  They were portrayed sympathetically.  And I would get to visit her in Cabot Cove, Maine!  Best trip to Grandma's ever!

Protective Dad - Lennie Briscoe (Law and Order)

He is law enforcement just like his dad.  He works for truth and justice.  We'll subtract the alcoholism.  And he just sounded cool when he talked.  So while you are getting lectures, you can think it sounds cool at least.

Super-Involved Mom - Marie Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond)

She fixes amazing Italian food and would clean my house.  If my dad is a cop, she might worry a little less.  I don't think she would say so much negative stuff to me because I'm her kid.

Crazy Funny Older Brother - Rob Petrie (The Dick Van Dyke Show)

He is a comedian.  He has great stories.  He is funny and doesn't have a problem laughing at himself.  Isn't that what you would want in an older brother?

Sister - Abby Sciutto (NCIS)

She cares A LOT!  She is SUPER smart and is totally herself all the time.  She would be supportive when you need it and let you know where you are going wrong.  Even when she's telling you that you're wrong, she'll be loving on you.  And maybe I could go bowling with her and the nuns.  : )

Secret Crush - Marty Deeks (NCIS: LA)

He's cute.  He surfs.  He makes silly jokes and can protect me.  Good, right?

All photos courtesy of IMDB

Who is in your TV family?  What do you think of my TV family? 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Good Stuff Saturday 7-28

Reading this week is a little lighter, which is not a bad thing because the last couple weeks have been huge with links.

Some amazing articles and a few miracles

This is my blog - It's not goodbye if I say it from here - While brings me to my point (finally).  

This is friendship.  
Do you think that happens every day?

When thinking of what I would say to my friends, now that it's safe because I'm already gone, there is a passage that has come to mind, over and over.

Matthew 25:35-36
The Church of No People - Best of my Blog: You don't need my tolerance 
I love you.  I think you’re made in God’s image.
But I won’t always praise, validate, affirm, or celebrate you.  Please affirm my right to make that choice.  Stop accusing me of being intolerant, just because I disagree with you.
Beta Christian - The Wisdom of the Fool is the Beginning of Stupidity  - I took all this “wisdom” to the mechanic and I was trying to educate him. I told him how he should look carefully for the flush plug, how he had to prevent air going into the hoses and what type of liquid he should use.
The 25 year auto-mechanic veteran looks at me, walks me to the waiting area, sits me down and says, “right now, your car is mine!”
The Jackson's Journey - The Rains came down and the Floods went up  - As you can see, all the carpet had to be ripped up downstairs and all our belongings (except for the heavy furniture) had to be hauled upstairs. (Which means boxes/random items in almost every room). They also had to cut out areas of wet sheetrock, remove all the baseboards, and now we're waiting for them to dig around the foundation to fix the drainage issues (that caused the leaking/flooding) before they can replace/fix anything inside. Oh yeah - we also have de-humidifiers and fans running nonstop to deal with the additional moisture! Needless to say our home is chaotic right now - which is tough when you live/eat/sleep AND work from home full time! 

This Time Around - A Musical Interlude Courtesy of The Piano Guys  - In the below video, The Piano Guys combined elements from The Bourne Identity soundtrack with a concerto Antonio Vivaldi wrote for the cello. The resulting piece is full of movement, and has a real beauty to it as well. It’s also, as I have found, a great song to have on my running playlist. I hope you enjoy it as well!

Stuff Christians Like - I wish every church said what this church says in their bulletin - We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.

Mustard Seed - Warfare Wednesday: Loneliness and Depression  - He tells this lie when we are facing something big in our lives.  “Nobody knows what it’s like to you.  Nobody has gone through the same things you have.”  Sometimes he uses our shame to tell the lie.  “Don’t let anybody know you’re broke, they’ll think of you as less of a person.  Don’t let anybody know that you gamble, or sometimes look at pornography, they hate you and look down on you.”  For a lie to be really convincing there has got to be some truth in it, and we all know people who look down on others.  I have done it myself.  

Compassion - Let the Child Sponshorship Journey Begin - First of all, I’m a mom now. The idea of any child hurting absolutely destroys me.
And while I may sometimes make my children feel as if the world revolves around them, I would be doing them a great disservice if I didn’t teach them that the very opposite is in fact true: that they are simply one star in a great big universe. For the galaxy to glow, we each must be present and fully ignited.
While each of us is unique and worthy in the eyes of God, we all shine brighter when we work together.

Courtesy of Compassion International:

Jennifer Luitwieler - The Flavors of God; the Need for Uniqueness in Community  - Community shouldn’t be about a group of people trying to blend in and be the same. Rather it’s about a collection of individuals who show God to the world more completely together than apart.
I’ve noticed something lately that breaks my heart a little. When I see people, myself included, witness each other’s beautiful gifts we respond not with appreciation but with self-degradation.
We don’t appreciate what we see as gifts from God, instead we see a reason to put ourselves down.

WorldVision - Lopez Lomong: From Sudanese "Lost Boy" to US Olympian  - It feels like I am a million miles away from where I might have been, had God not interrupted my life from the course it was taking. I’ve gone from being a “Lost Boy” of Sudan to a proud U.S. citizen who is loved and cared for by so many people in this country — no longer “lost!”
At the age of 6, I was kidnapped with other children from my Sudanese village church to serve as a child soldier. My subsequent escape and journey to Kenya ushered in a decade as an undocumented orphan in a Kenyan refugee camp.

celtic straits - A Miracle Inside the Aurora Shooting: One Victim's Story  - Finally, one of the surgeons comes in to check on Petra. He has had some sleep, and looks more like a movie star this time. As Petra sleeps, he retells the story of the surgery, and we ask questions.  The doctor reads the perfect script, as if he is on Hallmark Hall of Fame. He fills us in on the miracle. Honestly, he doesn’t call it that, he just uses words like “happily” and “wonderfully” and “in a very fortunate way” and “luckily” and “we were really surprised by that.”  Kim and I know a miracle when we see it.

my heart belongs to Jesus ... citizen of the world - Why I love the Khmer Language  - But the thing I love most about Khmer is the simplicity of how words are formed in Khmer. Usually, words are made up of two or three smaller words which are actually more of a description, but put them all together and you have a word!

I would like to take the time to share some of my favorites. These are my favorites, some because they are funny, and some because I think they are ingenious combination descriptions, and still others because of the way they sound when you put all the little words together. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

An apology to the men

I had something totally different planned for today, but as Friday approached, I couldn't get this idea out of my head.  So the funny one will be Monday.  Today it is a bit serious and I wish I could do more.

Angry Young Man Photo Credit:  Tobyotter

In the last few days, I have been reminded of several good guys that I know.  What is my definition of good guys?  A guy who knows his faults and is genuinely trying to work on them.  Maybe that is a bad definition, but for today that is my definition.  These good guys have been fighting to keep their masculinity in spite of the societal pressures to give it up.  They are fighting for a healthy relationship with the world while they are maintaining their masculinity.  These aren't easy fights in today's world.  In fact, they are awfully darn hard.  But God did not make them to fight this battle alone.  God made a helper for them in this fight.  Do you know who it is?


Women were made to be their helpers.  Women were not made to run the relationship the way they see fit.  These good men that I am thinking of have not had helpers.  They have had women who are more interested in their own agenda than women who are interested in the agenda of a couple.  These good men have tried to make these women happy and keep the relationship together.  Did the women respond to these good men who are trying to fix themselves and their relationship?  No.  In many cases, they just found another man.  

So to the good men out there who are trying to make themselves a better person and have no help in the 
process, I apologize.  I apologize for hurt these games have caused you because the truth is it isn't a game.  You deserve better.  I see you want to be a good husband and you don't have anyone to help you with that. I get it and God does too.  God really does have a plan.  Hold on and a good one will come.

To the women out there playing these games, games won't make you happy.  Jumping from one guy to another or from one spending spree to another or from one job to another won't make you happy.  Discover who you were meant to be in God.  Discover your femininity in God.  Then you will be happy.

To the women who are not playing games, thank you!  Thank you for being honest and genuine.  Thank you for positively contributing to what femininity should be.  Thank you for searching for your femininity in places besides popular society.  Thank you for realizing that you have work to do on yourself as well.  If you fall into this category and find yourself single, I give you the same advice.  God really does have a plan.  Hold on and a good one will come.  (And I know a few good men if you are interested.  Joking, maybe.)  

For the women who have been on the receiving end of bad guys, I'm sorry.  You deserve better as well.  Seek God and I promise He has a plan for you.

For the bad guys out there, seek God!  Discover your masculinity in Him.  Masculinity is neither as frail or as harsh as this culture portrays.  Let God show you who you are to be because he has better for you than you know right now.

Thanks for listening to my heart today.  I hope I wasn't too harsh.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'd like to thank the academy

I had planned on another post in Saying it loud..., but it just didn't seem to fit.  So when I found out I won an award from Anne at Writer's Space, it seemed like a good thing to talk about today.

Also, I would love ideas about a new series!

  The Kreativ Blogger Award comes with 7 random facts about me and 7 bloggers to share it with. 

  The  Liebster Award asks that I post 11 facts about myself, answer the 11 questions she posted, make another set of 11 questions for bloggers I will pass the award to and tell them that I tagged them.

I am always amazed that people read my blog, so to win an award is humbling to say the least.  I hope you enjoy learning a little more about me.

11 Facts about me:  (I tried to put new stuff that you may not know about me on here.)

1. I don't want my hair cut shorter than ponytail length.  I don't think it looks good on me, but more importantly I can't put it up before bed or on a bad hair day.

2. When I fix rice, I put cheese and soy sauce in it and mix it up.  Yum!

3. We have a fork that has a little top on it that comes off.  When I eat with it, I always play with the top.

4. I have an idea for a story to tell, but I don't know how long it will be.  Maybe I can try NaNoWriMo this year because I am not ready to write it yet.

5.  I am a home body.  I prefer to hang out at home rather go to a concert or a movie or the shopping, etc.

6. I am the worst vegetable eater that you have ever met.  I don't really many of them and only eat when I have to.  Thankfully Drew eats them well, so he makes me eat them too.

7.  I don't like peppers or melons.  Jalapenos are okay. They are the only pepper that I kinda like.  There aren't any melons.

8.  I am trying to only drink fair trade coffee.  It is hard, but I'm getting there.

9. I love the red clay soil in North Carolina.  I didn't believe it was real the first time I saw it.

10.  I love puzzle type computer games, like Tetris, Angry Birds, bubble shooter type, etc.  Those are way better than Farmville or MLB 12.  Also card games and board games are awesome!  Drew doesn't think so.  Therefore if you do and you would come play with me regularly, I would consider paying you.

11. The most enjoyable movies or books for me are ones that aren't super popular, so I feel like I have discovered them.

So my questions to answer:

1. What gives you a lot of energy during the day?  Some quiet time by myself, especially first thing in the morning.  As I have started to do this in the mornings, I can see a difference in how I spend the day.   
2. What place would you visit if money or time was not a problem?  This might be a lame answer, but Europe.  The whole thing.  The Irish and English countryside, Barcelona, the lavender fields of France, the German/Swiss Alps, Rome, the Greek Archipelago, the Hagia Sophia in Turkey, Katie and Nicole in Albania, Transylvania, Vienna, Prague, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Oulu, and fijords in Norway.  
3. What is your most embarrassing moment?  In recent memory, when I forgot money in my car for the groceries
4. What do you consider your most prized possession?  The mantle clock that my great grandparents got as a gift at their wedding.  It reminds me of so many special times at their house and inspires me to be half of the person they are.
5. What is your worst pet peeve?  Crowds.  More specifically crowds that aren't moving anywhere when I am trying to.  
6. What is the ONE thing you CANNOT leave the house without? Um..clothes.  I have left the house without my phone, without my purse, without my license and other card, and I walk outside without shoes.  So I'm going with clothes.
7. Do you have a daily mantra or life philosophy? What is it?  I suppose my life philosophy is to "Leave things better than you found them."  
8. What is your favorite time of the year? Why?  Fall!  The fall festivals, the changing leaves, bonfires, Friday night football, hockey season beginning, my birthday, perfect jeans weather.  It doesn't get any better!
9. Do you have a guilty pleasure?  I watch WWE with my husband and I like it.  They have crazy story lines, but you can see what works and what doesn't.  You can see how they set up the stories to make the matches more exciting.  And it is pretty impressive that they can do all of that high flying stuff and not get hurt.
10. What do you prefer - flowers or chocolates (for women), tools or gadgets (for men)? Oh.  That's hard.  Flowers, so I can display them, but I hate throwing them out when they die.  It is sad.  Chocolates if I can keep it around for awhile and eat it a little at a time.
11. Which book would you pick up at the book store - self-help, romantic novel, sci-fi, poetry, business?  Self-help if it is an author that I trust.  Romantic if it isn't trashy.  Sci-fi if it isn't too weird.  Poetry if it isn't too abstract.  Business- no.  So, my final answer is...poetry.    

That was fun.  Now I'm going to pass the fun along to the following people:

1. Drew ( because he hasn't blogged in a long time.)
2. Jeff (because he hates these pass along question things.)
3. Amanda (because she needs the practice)
4.  Jennifer (because she is a pretty amazing blogger and totally deserves an award.)
5.  Jeremy (because I really do think he is a super creative blogger because I wouldn't think to blog about the stuff that he blogs about.)
6.  Carl (because he is always ready with an ear or a prayer or whatever he can help you with.)
7.  Michelle  (because she writes super amazing stories.)
8.  Kim  (because she writes super amazing posts about her life and God.)
9.  Julie (even though she's on vacation, she is one of the hardest working bloggers I know.)
10. Judy (because she always says things to challenge me.)
11. Katie and Nicole (I know that's 2, but they work together in Albania and I love hearing about it.)

The questions I am giving:

1.  What soap is in your shower right now?
2.  What is something you read every day?
3.  What is one thing you are avoiding doing right now?
4.  Realistically, what is your goal for the last half of 2012?
5.  Of all the bedrooms you have had in your life, which one was your favorite and why?
6.  If you could buy one piece of expensive fine art, what would it be?
7.  What do you think of the 2 guys in the Sonic commercials?
8.  How many blogs do you read regularly?
9.  What is your favorite team?  (Athletic, literary, fantasy, whatever)
10. What do you feel the most awkward doing?
11.  Who controls the TV remote in your house?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Money issues and trying to be radical

The Esau Project

I have been generously invited to guest post at Julie's place, The Esau Project, while she is on vacation.  A couple weeks ago I had a very moving and challenging experience at church.  Head on over there and find out how God broke my heart over money.  I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but I know what I have felt and been challenged on these last couple weeks.  It is worth it, so go read it!

AND an update on My Radical Experiment.

1.  I did read 5 pages a day and I read the whole Bible in a year.  I loved it!

2.  I did NOT pray for the whole world.  I am going to start that one again.  A small part is because turning the computer on every morning was a pain.  I didn't want to that early.  A larger part is because it was hard! It is hard to see all of the huge issues that so many countries in the world face.  It is hard to simply say a few words and expect God to work.  I know that's what praying is, but my heart and faith weren't ready for this one.  I think I might be ready now.  So here we go.

3.  We have gotten much better about using our money.  We have some work left to do, but we are so much better than when this originally posted.

4.  I have spent some time in another context.  I have become a teacher/leader in the school and in the district.  I NEVER wanted to do this, but God put me here in a new context.  I didn't see that one coming, but it is something that is forcing me outside of my comfort zone and into something I have to work hard to do the right way.

5.  God has grown our ministry.  And yeah I just said that.  My husband is the youth pastor at our church.  The youth group is growing in numbers and spiritually.  It is our ministry and we are pouring our hearts into it.  

I have grown so much in the last year since this was posted.  Part of it was the above things I mentioned and part of it is you guys here who push me show up and say something that matters.  I am in no way perfect, but I feel more comfortable with where I am and where I am going than I ever have in my life.  I

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Good Stuff Saturday 7-21

So much goodness today!

Videos, Poetry, and Photos

The Handwritten - We treat them like lepers

Articles that I thought you needed to read

WorldVision - Lopez Lomong's childhood story of terror  WARNING: This one will stick with you!

The Church of No People - Real Marriage: The 1950's pre-feminism kind   YES!  This is so exactly what I think, but can't ever put into such great words.  God help us have this!

We do need to go back to “1950s” “pre-feminism” marriage.
And if that’s got you all hot and bothered under your housedress, just keep reading.

A Deeper Story - the difference between men and women - Some more about men and women and all the stuff we women need to learn/remember about men.

but there is more. boys, and men, want to be wanted. no, they want to be needed. they like to be useful and respected and in spite of how the world has emasculated its men, they want to be, as john eldredge says in wild at heartwarriors.

BBC News - Viewpoint: Time to look beyond Mexico's drug violence  It is great to see other people think Mexico isn't so bad.

If Mexico were a stock, now might be the time to buy. The country has been severely under-valued in recent years.
Despite high rates of crime and violence elsewhere in Latin America, the media tend to focus relentlessly on Mexico's drug war.

Shawn Smucker - So I stopped eating   A haunting story of a little girl and food.

We were moving, for the tenth time in seven years, and I’d seen a bad word on the side of the grocery store wall (but had no one to ask about it) and Mum didn’t tell me I was beautiful and I couldn’t go to public school and Dad was never home, so I stopped eating.

Goins, Writer - Art helps us deal with suffering I know this in my head, but I can't seem to apply it to my talents.

Being an artist means to be generous. It means God has given you a gift you need to share with the world. And the world is a messed-up place. It’s hurting and confused.
The world is suffering.
Art helps us make sense of the suffering. Not by spouting off cliches or offering trite platitudes, but by speaking to that inner voice inside each of us that says,

Magnolia Lane - What if??  A new blog I discovered that speaks to exactly where my heart is now.

But as far as money is concerned, I don't have a giving problem, or a greed problem. I have a poverty mindset problem. I have a hard time letting go of what we have because I feel like its all we will get. 

I think very small when it comes to money. I obsess over the numbers, I constantly move numbers around in my head. I base my mood on the bills and if they are paid or not and I definitely worry over things that haven't happened yet. 

Compassion - Three Unexpected Surprises - The third surprise of the day was also waiting there for me. Josue has a daughter of his own now, Benji. What a delightful surprise to meet Benji and to hold her in my arms!
We traveled a bit farther to Josue’s home, where I realized that conditions are not easy for his family.
Although Josue is qualified to repair the local water system, it is only a voluntary position. But he has his education and is a strong Christian.

Courtesy of Compassion International:

Stuff Christians Like - Forgetting how crazy God is about redemption  - This makes the transformation of Saul into Paul so much more amazing.

“Do you ever wonder is Saul of Tarsis would be among them? Maybe they will see a blinding light in the way home.”
Wow, when you think about that, he raises an interesting point.
The protestors seem peaceful compared to Saul (Paul.)
The protestors ask authorities for permits to march. Saul asked authorities for arrest warrants.
They yell hateful slogans. Saul yelled murderous threats.
They give approval to protesting. Saul gave approval to stoning.
They persecute with words. Saul persecuted with death.

Mustard Seed - Marriage Monday: Just Talk - I soo need to remember this

There are 168 hours in a week.  We sleep for about 60 of those.  That leaves 108 hours.  Work takes another 40.  Workday lunches take another 5 and commuting takes another 4.  That leaves us with 59 hours.  On average we spend 41 hours a week on the internet and/or watching TV.  That leaves 18 hours.  And we haven’t even taken out the time for fixing the gutter of that leaky faucet.  Lets just say 5 hours a week for home repair or misc repairs.  That leaves 13 hours a week.  Sounds like a lot of time, that’s leaves less than 2 hours a day.  Well, you gotta eat sometime, and if you eat you gotta go to the bathroom.  Whew!  That’s a busy week.  But wait!  When did you talk to our spouse? 

Grit and Glory - pure & genuine religion - They go in to each community with an end-goal and an exit strategy. They aren’t there to be a crutch or even to provide hand-outs. They build capacity in both people and communities, leaving them self-sustaining and thriving. I really was astounded to see the depth of Food for the Hungry’s work. They have over 430 staff members in Ethiopia alone. Oh—and only two of them are American. Their staff are so loved in the communities where they work. Countless children and families raved to us about their FH social workers.

Shawn Smucker - Sometimes you have to be a little bit crazy  - It was good to hear that other people are crazy too.

“You know, to live this life you’re living, make these kinds of decisions, you have to be a little bit crazy,” he said. The worrying thing is, his face showed no sign of amusement.
I nodded and smiled.

The Esau Project - Don't want to miss a thing - I haven't been listening the right way.  I need to work on that.

Saturday was July 14.  It hadn’t rained here since May 6.  It had been so long since I’d heard the noise that I’d forgotten what it sounded like.
I wondered if I was that way with God.  It seems like it’s been a while since I’ve heard Him speak.  Or is He speaking all around me and I’ve just forgotten what to listen for?

Discipulus - The parable of the little life saving station This makes it all seem so obvious.  Not easy, but obvious.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so much so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time, money, and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Sayable - Why I don't tithe This makes SOOO much sense!

I just started giving. 

Last week I was suddenly gripped by a panic, I know I've given a lot this year, but what if I haven't reached the magic ten? What if God is disappointed in how much I've given or how much I haven't given? 

And immediately I was reminded a few things that have been my barometer for giving this year. 

Katie Hawkins: Missionary to Albania - Running partners   I need to run with my running partners more.  How do you keep up?

It’s the same way with Christ. We need a running partner. This may be in the form of mentors, Bible studies, discipleship, or even just fellowship with believers. But we need to have someone who will push us as we push them (even if we don’t feel equipped or ready to help them). Someone who will teach me as I teach them. Someone who will challenge me to run harder after Christ as I challenge them to do the same.

Articles that just stuck with me and I don't know why

Beta Christian - It's going to be a good day - I head out into the world and my ear is ringing. It’s not a normal ringing but more like a buzzing sound. I cup my hand into it and use my palm as a plunger and pull on it. I feel a sting inside the ear. Ugh, just what I needed. If you can’t get rid of the ringing, I might as well drown it with music. I put my Project Red Beats on my ears and open my Spotify app on my iPhone.

A Deeper Story - Moses died today - I’m afraid of Heaven.
I don’t understand people who long for the return of Jesus to escape the world. This is a depraved, evil cosmos, yes, but there is also moonlight and raspberry sage jam, small smiles and summer picnics. Don’t misunderstand me. I long for the return of Christ. What I fear is the after of redemption.

Katie Hawkins: Missionary to Albania - From scratch here means you start with flour, water, butter, milk, eggs, oil, etc. But in the States, many from scratch recipes call for a can of condensed soup or brown sugar or vanilla extract or frozen bread dough/pie or pizza crust. I’ve come to the realization that here, from scratch means from scratch. In the States, from scratch means mainly from scratch.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Banana pudding

On Sunday, Drew gave an amazing object lesson and I just had to tell you guys all about it.  I'll give you the steps and then tell you the lesson.

1.  Get a banana.
2.  Peel the banana.  Don't eat it!
3.  Put the banana back in the peel.  Use duct tape, needles, or safety pins.
4.  It's better if you other people can't see how you fixed it.

World Con, August 2005  Photo Credit:  comicsmudge

Do you think you could do that?  Even if you could put it back together without breaking the banana and all that, do you think other people could tell you put it back together?  Yeah, probably.  Several of our youth put the banana back together with the duct tape.  You can obviously see that and you couldn't use it again that way.  A couple did an amazing job with the needles.  It looked pretty close to normal again, but there were still gaps in the peel.  If you wanted to use it after that, it would take some time to take out all the needles holding it in place.

The lesson: We can't put ourselves back together.  We are all broken bananas.  We can try to put ourselves back together, but other people can still see those broken places that aren't quite fixed.  We can tape ourselves up, but then we are trapped inside the tape and then can't be used again.  We can use bits and pieces to put ourselves back together, but to be used again we have to take out all those bits and pieces.  In the end however we put ourselves back together, other people still see our broken places and they see our faulty attempts to put it back together.  We can't trust ourselves to put us back together.  We have to trust God with that.

However, God doesn't fix our broken bananas.  We don't fix our broken bananas.  God takes our broken bananas and makes banana pudding.  He doesn't put us back together like he did the first time.  He puts us back together his way.  He takes our broken state and adds in some experience, some wise words, and some love.  He mixes all those parts and creates something new, something sweeter.  We couldn't do that ourselves.  We need to trust him with our broken bananas.  We need to let him add in the extras we need.  We need to let him mix it all together.  Then we will be made into something new, something sweeter.

A friend also suggested that sometimes he makes banana bread.  So if you feel like you are going through the fire, he's making banana bread.  You'll get there!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Live 58: International Justice Mission

This month on the Live 58 Tour we are in Uganda.  Remember we have stopped in the Dominican Republic with trees, Haiti with water, and Rawanda with microfinance.  Last month we were in Tanzania with sustainable agriculture.  This month we are learning about property grabbing in Uganda and how International Justice Mission is advocating for the widows.

If you have noticed a trend above, there are SOOO many things we can do to make a difference.  There are real people out there in the world impacted by our decisions.  This is an example.

Did you hear that?  The day of her husband's burial they were already threatening her to leave!  Here in America we hear of a widow and worry about her kids going to college.  In Uganda, they hear of a widow and worry about everything she has being stolen from her.  It is so hard for us to understand that level of corruption and injustice because we are so blessed to live here.  So what can you do?

Pay for her justice.  You can donate to International Justice Mission and they will be her advocates, her lawyer, her social worker, and whatever else she needs to get back on her feet.  Isn't that great to know that with a donation you can make justice happen?  Imagine if every widow had access to these services, then what justice could be accomplished!  We can make this happen.  Do you have a few extra dollars this month?  Give it.  Do you know some people who have extra money?  Tell them.  Do you have a Facebook or Twitter account?  Post it or tweet it.  You can change things because you have a voice.  There are people out there who listen to you.  Tell them.  Give up that dinner out to help widows stay on their land and stay safe.  A little bit from you can make a big difference for them.  Why would you do this?  Because we are Americans and we want justice for all.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Saying it loud...I'm a book snob

This is week 9 of this series.  Next week will be the last week of this series.  I will let you know 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!

Week 2 - I am a writer
Week 3- I read for the words
Week 4- I believe in spirits
Week 5 - I love blogs 
Week 6- I'm an introvert 
Week 7- I'm a sports fan
Week 8- I don't like playgrounds

the contents of my pretentiousnessPhoto Credit: jamelah

Once a friend told me I was too smart to read a book series.  She asked what I thought about it and I told her basically that I was disappointed in the lack of character development because of the excessive action.  this was a very popular book series that I didn't enjoy.  I think I was the first person that told her something negative about the book series.  Her response was that I was too smart to read them.  She meant that honestly and lovingly, which is the exact way I took it.  Her words have stuck with me because they seem to describe me so well.  Another apt description is that I am a book snob.

I can trace my snobbery back to 8th grade when I first started reading Emily Brontë and Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Mrs. Drake, my 8th grade English teacher, encouraged my love of the classics.  She had no doubt about my ability or desire to read them.  She didn't make me feel like a freak.  She made me feel special.  That little bit of encouragement grew into a flaming ball of canonical literature passion that centered very much around the wide variety of words I discovered from them and the places they lead me.  My high school teachers, Ms. Brewer and Mrs. Kinney, did their part to encourage it.  I took a class or two in the English department at Eastern Illinois University, my alma mater.  I had a super awesome assignment with a group where we pantomimed scenes from Frankenstein.  I was Frankenstein.  That might have been my favorite assignment ever in school.  But that is getting off topic.

All of those people and assignments contributed something, but it wasn't until graduate school at University of North Carolina at Charlotte that my book snobbery reached a new level, a level rarely achieved by non-university public.  (I totally made up that statistic, but it sounds true to me.)  This new level of book snobbery is placed on the shoulders of Doctora Culleton.  She taught me about literary theory, where they ask questions like "What is literature?"and "How do you define a text?" She taught me about various schools of thought in literary theory, such as New Criticism, Structuralism, feminism, and reader response criticism to name a few.  She introduced me to people like Stanley Fish, Roland Barthes, and Ferdinand de Saussure among others.  I can't tell you exactly what these theorists said individually, but I can tell you they caused me to read with questions.  Other professors of mine like Dra. Miller and Dra. Godev used the analysis of literature and language in their class to deepen my understanding of reading with questions.  After several classes from each of them I changed the way I read.  I now read not only for the words I discovered the places they took me, but also with the structure and the why in mind.  I now asked questions like, "What should the narrator know?", "Why did the author write it this way?", "Does that change the way I read it?", "If not, why not?", "If it does, then how does it change the way I read it?", and a few others.

So now not just any book will do.  I have to have a book with a convincing narrator and good sense of place.  I need to believe the narrator is there and that he/she could know all of this information.  I have read novels and see places that the narrator says things he/she shouldn't know.  It ruins the book for me because I no longer believe in the place the author has created.  It isn't just narrator and the place they put me either.  I need to not see the author at work.  There are novels and some of them very popular novels where I have seen the author at work.  I have seen their overly strong foreshadowing or their ending way before they get there.  I have seen them throw in extra characters and situations to lengthen and complicate a plot.  When I see these things, I am no longer interested in reading the book.  I don't want to see what the author is doing.  I want them to surprise me with the characters and plot twists. 

Incidentally, this also makes it a bit harder for me to write because I don't think I can live up to the standards that I have set in my head for a good novel.  I still write, but maybe that is why I can't seem to finish anything.  I can't get past the critic in myself enough to let the artist in myself stretch her wings.  Okay, I didn't mean to say that out loud.  But it is true and probably needed to be said.  It scares me to so consciously realize that about myself because I have no clue how to fix it.  I also don't think I want to fix it.  I like being a book snob and only reading what I really love.  I don't believe that everything that is published is good literature.  However, that shouldn't stop me from writing.  Yet it does.  Something in me says if I am not producing good literature, then I shouldn't bother trying.  I think I need to stop believing that.  

So, yeah I'm too smart to read that because I'm a book snob.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A few changes and a few search results

change!  Photo Credit: jordi.martorell (Go read the story along with the photo.)

In an effort to continually grow into a better blogger for you guys, God has impressed upon me a few things to change.  Thursday and Friday posts have become blurred to me and therefore have become poorly written and poorly thought out, so I will not be posting on Thursday much.  When I have something really important to say, I will.  If I don't have anything important to say, I won't.  I figure about once a month on Thursdays I will post.  This will help me focus more on being here with stories and some loving, graceful opinions.  I want to make sure what I post on here is good stuff.  I want to make sure it is well written and well thought out.  I sincerely hope that you see a change for the better around here.

Search-Engine-Marketing  Photo Credit: Danard Vincente

And now for something completely different...

A few blogs I read post search keywords.  These are words that people have put into a search engine and brought the searchers to the blog in question.  So I thought I would give you all a few of the interesting ones for me.  Of course people searching for the blog name and/or my name make up several of my keyword results.  However the one that has gotten the most results is:

Edward Scissorhands garden/ trimming bushes/trimming bush/ cutting plants

I have gotten 22 search results from this post.  It has over 102 views!  That's crazy.  I'm excited with 50 views for my posts.  So thanks to all of you who are searching for Edward Scissorhands.  Glad to be of some service.  The photo is no longer on there.  : (  I'll have to find another one because you all thought that was a good post.

Some other interesting keyword results are:

bojangles ad wake me up

Is there one of those?  Maybe I should include it in my next blog about Bojangles.  I know I will be blogging about it again because we/I go there quite a bit.  It is just that amazing.  If you have never had it, then I feel very sorry for you.  You should come visit the south for Bojangles alone.  It would totally be worth it. (So I just found out that I have written about loving Bojangles FOUR times!  Who knew?)

anew start with jesus

I really hope the searcher found an answer to that here.  I never expected that search term to lead someone here.  It is humbling.  Maybe that should be my "learn all about this blog" post.  Thank you for trusting me with that.  I would direct you here to hear about my story.  I would love to answer ANY question you have about Jesus.  Seriously, ask me anything.

my ankle

Have I done that much to my ankle (a brief mention) that you can find me by searching for that?  Wow!  I guess I really am that clumsy.  (I also reposted that blog a couple times.)  I guess just wait until the next installment in what I do to my ankle.

probation officer ignoring me

I'm sorry about that.  The probation officer I interviewed on here would never do that to you I'm sure.  I hope you get it all worked out with your probation officer.  It's probably really frustrating when he's ignoring you.

introverted in a bible study

I'm glad you came here to learn about being an introvert.  It is rather freeing to discover that you are an introvert.  That would be an awesome Bible study to put together.  Things to learn from introversion and things to learn from extroversion.  In the meantime, check this out or probably anything else on this blog.  If you have anything to say about being an introvert, email me with your post.  I would love to feature it.