Saturday, March 30, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 3-30

A little bit of sick and a little bit of sleeping in means it is getting late and I haven't gotten this out yet. Now Ben is begging for Angry Birds on the computer. So I"m going to play a game with my kid.

Photos - Such a good reminder of why I sponsor children through Compassion - I need to remember to rest more often and not feel guilty about it. - Any writers will want to see this and USE it! - This spoke to me as my husband and I have been talking about our student ministry. - Change isn't easy and things will get uncomfortable, but that's okay.

Why these people write - - I hear this! I miss seeing this and kinda miss being a part of it. - So Judy was on here already, but she said more good stuff. She is so good about reminding me what it is really all about. - Jesus didn't clip coupons or cut corners. He did it the hard way because he loves us enough to do it the right way even it was hard. - More Judy! Speaking to my stomach and buying habits. A real story and real advice on how to avoid temptation. - Deep truth from Ashley. "But it wasn't that bad, I know it was worse for someone else." A lie from so many different places with so many different consequences. These words have stuck with me this week. - I am so in love with Pope Francis I. He is changing the world and making me proud to be a Christian. - This one was so hard to read and so much at the core of my fears of mothering a boy. Be aware this is in response to the Steubenville trials. - Oooh. This one stepped on my toes. And it is one I'm saving to read over and over again as a reminder of what every leader needs to face about themselves. - More mother of boys stuff that I worry/ think about. - This man writes from the heart and is so gentle about it. It is a constant reminder of who I want to be. - Some good goal setting thoughts. - Christians and fiction! I could read about this all day long.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Story God Told Me To Tell

The Facebook group that I am a part of, Writers Unite, had a challenge to write about your faith affects your art this week. So I thought I would join in.
"Story Road" Photo Credit: umjanedoan

Finding a way to fit my faith into my art has been a struggle for me for as long as I have had both faith and my art.

I worry that my writing will not reflect God.
I worry about putting God in there artificially thereby making Him artificial and the story weaker.
I worry that writing about him will just make people tell me how wrong my theology is.

I have written more than once about this struggle here and here. Looking back at those posts, I talked about the need for good romance. I talked about my passion for mystery. And I have stated to several people recently that I want to write fantasy. So I don't even know what kind of a story that leaves me with. Maybe it leaves me with several. So far it has left me with none, not one story finished. And worse than not finished, I don't even care to finish. I have yet to find a character that I fall in love with. I don't care enough to go back to the character to finish the story let alone edit and submit it for critique.

So I tried to give up.

Then Sunday in church, I had inspiration from God. And I wrote this during the pastor's sermon. (Sorry, Pastor Scott!). When he called for people to go to the front, I was thinking, 'I don't need to go. I didn't even pay attention today.' Then God told me to go up front because he wanted me to write fantasy, something for which I feel uber-underqualified and of which I am terrified. He suggested a few other ideas as well. He wanted me to commit to writing because He wants me to do that. (Oh crap, I just said that out loud.) 

I don't want to commit to that. I don't want to try to find a character that I love enough to follow through to the end of a story and then edit said story and then send it off for critique and more editing. However, I do want to do God's will. So it seems that even though I don't know how to put God in my writing or what kind of writing I even want to do, He has put himself in my writing and He has a story for me to tell.

Lord, help me tell it well.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dangerous Work

I knew taking the job leading this company in a war torn country not yet settled was dangerous. I had been robbed & threatened, but the Lord had kept my home safe until that day.


They must have entered the house silently for they were upon us before we could defend ourselves. Not knowing what else to do I shouted, "Lord, I call your warriors to defend us now." Suddenly the room was filled with half a dozen beings. The 10 foot ceilings were just tall enough to contain their height. The impossibly tall men-like creatures were wrapped in armor reminding me of Roman centurion costumes I had seen. These however glowed with a bronze light. Their spears seemed to vibrate with the energy coming from them.

The mercenaries that had been set upon us stood with jaws gaping and arms laying as dead men at their sides. Their weapons barely held up with the slight tension left in their fingers. The leader gathered himself and with a voice that can only be termed stupid courage said, "Boys these will go down with a bullet just like any other. Raise your weapons."

As they did so a noise that I assumed to be a voice emanated from on of the beings, "Do not be fool hardy. Save yourselves from this fate that will end in death. I see your hearts quaking within you. Do not follow this path. Choose another."

A second voice emanated from the opposite side. The steel in the voice was nearly palpable, "Turn and leave this place. Save your life to the benefit of your eternal soul."

The stupid courage spoke again, "Turn and I will shoot you where you stand."

I could see the doubt crossing the faces of the men caught in the middle of this impossible stand off. Then my eyes began to see something else. I saw the darkness gathering at their feet and growing up around their legs like vines. I felt the wisps of hatred and violence slipping through the lines of God's warriors. My heart shuddered within me, but a voice whispered to me, "Speak to it. Demand it to leave. Call Jesus into this place and Satan must flee. This is the power you have."

I let out a shaky breath I didn't know I was holding. The darkness grew and began to cover their chest. I knew my time to speak was growing thing. I opened my mouth to speak and the darkness reached out to me. Six spears pinned the darkness before I saw them move. My voice came out softly at first, but grew strong with sure usage. "Jesus, I ask you to enter this place. Repel the darkness growing on these men. Bring your light here so that no darkness is left. Lord Jesus come."

As I closed my mouth, I saw the darkness tremble under the point of the spear. I saw a light coming from the spears and cracking the darkness. The light gained strength as my faith grew in the ability of these beings and my Savior. The darkness shattered with a deafening silence. The pieces fell to the ground as the light streamed down from the ceiling. The absence of sound made the filling of light more tangible. The mercenaries were trapped in a war of their disbelief and their eyes. I could see the darkness flee as the light fell over a few. I could see the darkness cling to those where the light was slowly dripping.

I opened my mouth again not sure of what would come out, "Lord Jesus fill their heart with your light, your love, and your life. Don't let them walk out of here with this darkness clinging to them."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 3-23

It is 2:22 AM. I will not be going to bed anytime soon. I also will not be fixing up this link list anytime soon, so here it is until I get around to fixing it.

It is now 11:30AM. And I feel together enough to do this the right way. Lock-ins are rough on adults

National Geographic Photo a Day - Brandywine River, Delaware
National Geographic Photo a Day - Kyrgyz Yurt, Afghanistan
Pictures of Poverty - Whew! Life is Exhausting. Uganda

Changing the World
Prodigal Magazine - Do You Have a Playstation? - His country has been bleeding for centuries. Various militias and governments have come and gone, but there has been one constant: war. When civil war isn’t tearing the country apart, war often spills over the border from neighboring countries. The result is an utter devastation and deprivation of the human spirit.
The DRC’s wounds were opened even wider on October 26, 2000, when the PlayStation 2 was officially launched in the United States. The DRC has the misfortune of possessing some of the richest coltan deposits in the world, a mineral used in the manufacture of the PlayStation 2 and many other consumer electronics.
The unparalleled success of the PlayStation 2 led to a flurry of market speculation that drove the value of coltan up to over ten times what it was worth only months before.

International Justice Mission - IJM Kolkata: Landmark Convictions Against Five Notorious Traffickers  - Today, five men were convicted of sex trafficking crimes in two cases in Kolkata. One of the men, a notorious trafficker named Nakul Bera, was also found guilty of rape. It was the first time this particular court gave a conviction for both trafficking and rape in the same case.

Katie Axelson - I Want This One - When most children should be confident their daddy is the best jungle gym ever made, Stephanie had never known a daddy. She had no mommy. She had nothing but the harsh words thrown at her about her race.

Compassion - A Cup of Cold Water - Facts about water on World Water Day and what you can do about it.

Something to Teach You and Make You Think Harder 

Katie Hawkins: Missionary to Albania - From the Missionary - So when I see responsive obedience, that’s where my mind goes too. You evaluate your situation and react accordingly to what you see and what you already know and have learned. To me, it means becoming more obedient as you learn and grow. Hopefully becoming more obedient (and displaying that obedience most effectively).

Campfire Cowboy Ministries - Wormed in a Squeeze Chute  - How many times have you met someone who had a quirk or two about them that just annoyed the crap out of you?  How many people do you come across on a daily basis who have traits that annoy the crap out of you?  How many times have you been around someone and as soon as they were gone said or thought something like, “I don’t know why they act like that.”  Or, “The way they act or responded is ridiculous.”
Just like a horse that was run thru a squeeze chute to be wormed as a colt, people have things in their past that we can’t even imagine.  Sometimes those things cause them to be man hating and/or fearing people.  Sometimes it causes alcohol or drug abuse, or any number of negative and lingering effects on their lives.  But sometimes those people have not let the trauma of their past dictate the rest of their life.  

Prodigal Magazine - I'm Learning to Like My Anger  - I expected a volatile yet removed deity, but instead I read about a God capable of being deeply engaged with a group of people. Someone who is angry and destructive all the time doesn’t have the capacity to also be truly vulnerable in intimate relationship.
I realized that God gets upset at the same things that make all the muscles in my back clench around my spine: manipulative authority figures, dishonesty, greed running rampant, injustice, spiritual abuse, and using power to take instead of practicing love. I actually liked God a little more when I realized we get mad over the same type of abusive behavior patterns.

Prodigal Magazine - What Are You Made Of - Jesus called it the narrow road.
It might be easier to coast along and not hit any bumps on that smooth, wide road. But that’s the way out, not the way through. That’s the path of least resistance, and it’s no coincidence that it’s also the path with the least to gain. Just like Bilbo Baggins, we have a choice. We can stay safe in our little hobbit holes, or we can go out that door and face a dragon. - Don't Be A Man After God's Own Heart  - Think about it:
- David only repented after being confronted. In other words, after he got caught!
- David was not quick to repent. The child was born so there was at least 9 months between sin and repentance.
Neither of these are models I would teach my children. 
And a Few Aha! Moments - Family First  - The pressure to perform at our jobs is immense. Society does promotes family values in words, but criticizes when the value is actually applied. President Obama of the United States does not engage in many activities in the evening so he can spend time with his daughters. Because of this, critics label him anti-social or judge him or a lack of engagement with politicians.

You can disagree with Obama is whatever you like, but he is an example in his family life. He is faithful to his spouse and spends quality time with his daughters. We have so few examples of this we should note it when seen.

The Grocery Run - Know Thyself  - I would love to believe that I am some energetic, wide eyed, beauty that gets everything done, all the while sustaining the people in my life. Reality strikes and I’m worn, tattered, and perplexed why it takes three reminders for my kids to get their socks on. I need help, and I need some sleep.
Accepting busyness is not the answer. Being aware of the unnecessaries will help. What can I give up today? What needs my undivided attention? Is it playing with my kids (when was the last time that made it on the list?) or securing some quiet time for my heart? Should I make one goal (fold the laundry) and be open what life has to give? What can I let go of? There will always be essentials (dishes, making the bed), but what about distractors (Facebook; twitter, etc).  Can I say no to those for one day?

The Ramblings of Denise Dilley - Where Is Home?  - Sometimes home is sitting quietly in pj's on a Saturday morning sipping coffee - ahem - Mt. Dew and reading a good book. A book that speaks of dreams, of a place where people come first. Where "love is about seeking the best for a person, even at expense to ourselves and even when it is hard in the moment." A place where animals matter, art is appreciated, and stories - real or fiction - are shared and honored and lived.

I'd Laugh, But This All Happened To Me -  Remembering Black Thursday  - You see, it doesn't matter how much you love each other or love Jesus, a week of someone never picking up their dirty underwear, leaving wet swim suits on your bed or not flushing the toilet can start to wear on you.  The anger inside you starts to build, but you hold it in.  Then, suddenly (and usually completely unexpected by the person in question) you lose it.  You throw the wet suit at them; their dirty underwear ends up in the ocean; or you just start screaming.  On our trips, we could usually predict about when these things would happen.  We called it Black Thursday.

Extra Goodness for Other Interests

Jeff Goins, Writer - Is Your Writing Timeless?  - But we could argue issues all day long, and even if we came to some kind of compromise about the most moral way to conduct ourselves or who should be president, tomorrow we’d start over. The next day, we’d wake up and have something else to argue about.
And in 10 years, we’d hardly recognize what we were talking about in the first place. All the while struggling through Old English to find out how Beowulf bares the same humanity as Holden Caulfield.

The Daily Gallen - Set Sail for New Beginnings  - Harbor Shores is a spoof of teen dramas that fill the broadcast schedules of networks such as the CW or ABC Family - but with a twist. Rather than full-fledged episodes, Harbor Shores tells its story through the overly melodramatic recaps that play before the episodes.
If you’ve seen any teen drama, you know what we’re talking about: “Previously on…”
More specifically, Harbor Shores tells the story of April Showers, whose family has just moved to the idyllic town on the shore. April attracts the attention of popular lacrosse player Tyler Swift and lovable outsider Paul Oppenheimer.

National Geographic: Phenomena: Laelaps - Reinventing the Mammoth  - During his session, George Church confidently stated that enough of the mammoth genome is now known that biologists could sufficiently alter living elephants into mammoth hybrids capable of living in the Arctic. That’s easy enough to say offhand, but later the same day Beth Shapiro laid out how little we actually know about mammoth genetics and the hurdles involved in using DNA scraps to reinvent a mammoth.

Mike Matheny - Calling Pitches  -I had a question from one of our media people about one of our young catchers. I was taken aback when they asked me if I had been calling the pitches for him in the game. I laughed and then I realized that they were serious. It really shouldn't have been a surprise to me as an overwhelming percentage of youth coaches have decided to call the game for their young catchers. I believe this to be a mistake.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Doubt Photo Credit: Beshef

Quite obviously I have not been posting much on here. And if you follow me on Twitter, you might notice me a little quieter on there as well. 2013 has been rough to us so far. Cancer, migraines, and bills have beaten us up. However through it all, we have come together closer as a family. And for that I am eternally grateful. I promise that I am.

But maybe because of this or in spite of this, I have become overrun with doubts the last few weeks. I'm second guessing everything I'm doing. In the last few months, I've started selling Scentsy. Things have been going well and I've exceeded my initial goals. Yet this week I have felt a creeping sense of impending doom. I feel like the contacts I've made will suddenly blow away and I will fail. My full time job is as a teacher. Yet these last two weeks, I doubt everything I do. I worry that I'm too easy on the students. I worry that I'm too hard on them. I worry that I will be able to teach them anything useful. I worry that I will contribute to the stress and negativity floating around.

I have been very tired recently and not working out. I've been drinking more sodas and less water. I've not been eating well or regularly. All my plans of being healthy and losing weight are evaporating. The plans of being reasonable and going slowly are slipping out of my already tenuous grip. They were being moved out by thoughts of bigger losses quicker. And now those are being pushed aside by fears of no change and not reaching the goal that I set.

I am also a writer and I've been stressing about this blog post today because I feel like my words are too simple. I feel my words are disconnected and useless. I had set March as the month to finish my NaNo novel. I have a general outline of how to get to the end, but I have found that I don't care. It is so difficult for me to fall in love enough with a character to see them through until the end. So I'm not going to finish it this month. Once again I have a fiction project at which I have failed. I would really love to write a fantasy story, but those are supposed to be big complicated things like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. I can't do all that.

I'm doubting that I really am a writer. I'm doubting that I'm a storyteller. And if I'm not a storyteller, then why the heck did I get a tattoo? Is that now useless? Isn't it supposed to represent who I am? Was it a mistake to step out and claim this is who I am?

Then I listened to a team call with Scentsy and remember that I don't always see where this is leading. I see all my students progressing in their various assignments and realize I must be doing something right. I chatted with a girl from youth group about women and our weight. I gave her words and started to believe them myself. I participated in the #writestuff chat last night and they are there to encourage me to find what works for me.

So even thought the doubts are still attacking me, I'm going to cling to these voices of encouragement that I have heard. I will follow where God leads me and not look at other roads that are not mine to take. I will trust his plan for my life and not my own.

"Better Together" Photo Credit: taberandrew

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 3-16

Photos, a video, a list, and a prayer

Super Amazing Pictures of libraries on a Polish website 

National Geographic Photo of the Day - Methane Bubbles, Alaska 

The Story Project - Video Blog: You're a Daughter 

Aerogramme Writers' Studio - Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling 

I'd Laugh, But It All Happened To Me - The Prayer of Saint Francis 

Stuff Worth Reading - Overcoming Obstacles  - We have allowed the culture of ease and comfort to determine the will of God for us.In this same way we have caved to the pressure from culture which tells us we must become spiritual superheroes. This same culture influences our view on endurance.
Will we pioneer any new things that can stand the test of time and difficulties?
The Ramblings of Denise Dilley - Motivational Monday  - After thinking about it today, here's my conclusion. If you want motivation, you have to create it.Motivation is similar to turning a manic Monday into a beautiful one. You have to choose it. It doesn't just appear out of thin air. Motivation is simply a choice.

The Daily Gallen - Daylight Saving Time Makes No Sense  - Arizona is permanently on Mountain Standard Time, we never spring forward to Mountain Daylight Time. Despite our lack of participation in the foolhardy practice, we are still affected by it. Because we don’t abide by DST, essentially we are on Pacific Daylight Time through the summers, meaning our clock hands point at the same numbers as those in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Idaho.
Every time I try to wrap my head around the asinine practice of daylight saving time I end up curled up in a fetal position and drooling on the floor. It makes zero sense to me.

This Time Around - In Search of Balance  - For as a blogger in particular, the temptation can arise to share every mistake, every struggle in an attempt to be “real” and “transparent”. But there are some things better left unsaid and kept off the Internet. Relationships and privacy should not be sacrificed for page views or building a platform. But one doesn’t want to go too far the other way, either, and present a heavily edited version of “you” where you have nothing but questions with answers and life neatly sorted into a five-step plan.

Wall Street Journal - 'Go and Repair My House', Heard the Saint of Assisi  - He loves the poor and not in an abstract way. He gave the cardinal's palace in Buenos Aires to a missionary order with no money. He lives in an apartment, cooks his own food, rides the bus. He rejects pomposity. He does not feel superior. He is a fellow soul. He had booked a flight back to Argentina when the conclave ended.

But these two traits—his embrace of the church's doctrines and his characterological tenderness toward the poor—are very powerful together, and can create a powerful fusion. He could bridge the gap or close some of the distance between social justice Catholics and traditional, doctrinal Catholics. That would be a relief.

This Time Around - Some Thoughts on Friendship  - I had been struggling lately (and not for the first time) with friendships, wondering why some friends are now more acquaintances, how people keep lifelong friends, and why some friendships didn’t progress in the way I had hoped. Even after 41 years on this spinning sphere, friendships are not one of my strong suits. It feels weird and a bit sad to say that, but it’s true. I’ve made a lot of mistakes.

She is Fierce - Who Says a 6 Year Old Caravan Isn't Luxary  - "Are you talking about the little girl in the purple tank top?".  (I resisted the urge, at this point, to say things like 'the one NOT disturbingly dressed in hotpants and a completely functionless sportsbra like most of the others'.  Because that was not the point, that was only my judgement.)

And when they said yes, I simply followed up with this.

"She's actually 7.  And I believe in the same grade as your little girl."
101 Books - Study Says Creative People Are a Little Crazy  -It’s a trade off to some degree, says the lead researcher, as some of the qualities of these mental illnesses can actually have a beneficial effect. For instance, “the restrictive and intense interests of someone with autism and the manic drive of a person with bipolar disorder might provide the necessary focus and determination for genius and creativity. Similarly, the disordered thoughts associated with schizophrenia might spark the all-important originality element of a masterpiece.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This One Time at a Technology Conference

...I locked my keys in the car, drove on the interstate to go just up the block, sat at the captain's table, presented a session about blogging, and got a temporary tattoo of Edmodo.

Parking Garage Photo Credit: Joe Shlabotnik

Among other talents that I have, I am really good at locking my keys in the car. I'm pretty sure I've done it 7 times now. It might be 8 though. This most recent time was rather inconvenient. We arrived at the convention center with about half an hour of registration left. We pulled into the parking garage and I tried to keep from hyperventilating because I had just driven in a city in morning traffic. I haven't ever done that before. I found the first spot I could and we got out of the car. My current car doesn't have automatic locks, so I had asked my other two companions to make sure and lock the car. They did so and we headed to registration. I realized I still had the parking garage ticket in my hand and turned around to put it in the car. A few steps toward the car and I had a sinking feeling. And yes I was right. I had locked my keys in the car with the car STILL RUNNING! I was so stressed about the driving that I literally just got out of the car and locked it up. (It looked sorta like the photo above.)

I started freaking out some more, but thankfully my colleague, Amanda, was thinking better. She went to the lady who takes the money and asked for help. That lady knew a guy to call. So we waited. 20 minutes later we were still waiting. We had checked in to the conference and returned to the car. Now were were starting to miss the first session. So Amanda called the Highway Patrol hotline. She got fussed at because she was supposed to call 911, so there would be a local number from which to gather information. We got the non emergency number. Called it and tried to describe where we were at. The cops were on their way. 30 minutes later we were still waiting. I called a tow company and waited for the call from their technician. The police showed up after going to the wrong parking garage a time or two. The very nice police man recommended that I get a hide a key thing. As he was working the tow truck technician called. I cancelled the order. Then I called the main office to cancel the order and we went inside. Where practically my whole group knew the story. Thankfully after 7 times I'm getting good at laughing at myself.

Speaking of laughing at myself, Amanda brought her GPS and I was totally dependent on it to get anywhere because of the whole 'being paranoid about driving in a city.' So on Wednesday night when we needed food, we consulted the GPS. We decided on Mexican and picked the address. We pulled out of the parking lot and turned right because that was the only way we could turn. We got on the interstate, got off at the next exit, drove down a road, turned right, drove down another road, and turned right again. Then we arrived at the Mexican restaurant that was across the parking lot from our hotel. We could have walked!

Another dinner adventure was Thursday night at PF Chang's. We had a reservation for like 18 at 7:30. We had to be prompt because this was their most requested table. We felt special! With a little discussion we discovered that this most requested table, the captains table, was in the kitchen. Seriously! Behind the bar and in front of the kitchen is two tables with one long bench to connect the two and chairs on the other side. Being 'just a waiter' is nothing to sneeze at. It is a difficult job and man those people were good.

There's no good transition to the last two minor stories. At the actual conference itself, I learned some awesome stuff and got to create some stuff to use at school. I also co-presented a session about blogging. I pretty much thought I was crazy and totally not the right person to give advice. However, we did. The session went well and people told us thank you for a few things we presented. It wasn't the biggest session, but I'm glad it wasn't. Another thing that they had at the conference were vendors. One of them was a company called Edmodo. They had temporary tattoos and someone had the idea that all the women should have a tattoo. So we all got a tattoo of Edmodo and took a photo in the hallway of the hotel. I don't have that photo, but we did laugh a whole lot.

So I went to a technology conference and locked my keys in the car, drove on the interstate to go up the block, sat the captain's table, presented about blogging, and got a tattoo.

Have you locked your keys in the car? Has anyone beat my record?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 3-9

I Waste So Much Time- If Disney Acquired Hogwarts

College Humor - 8 New and Necessary Punctuation Marks 

The Cool Hunter -Amazing Places to Experience Around the Globe 

Pictures of Poverty- When A Woman is Given an Option to Change...


This Time Around- Chasms - This one reminds me of Spanish ultraĆ­smo. I love it!!

You will enjoy reading these

Lily and Light- After You: Submitting to Our Children - it was all about me and what i wanted.  even now with Eli here i fail to remember that:

God didn't give me a son. He entrusted me with one of His.

Prodigal Magazine- What I Should Have Said -

My best friend is one of the 80% and I am one of the 20% —

But we sat in the same youth group and heard the same purity talks. Why did we choose so differently? What were the things we believed or didn’t believe about sex that led to our decisions? How do we feel about those choices now?
It occurs to me as we talk that this conversation with my best friend should have happened ten years ago.

Campfire Cowboy Ministries- A Mad Bumblebee on Crack - Sometimes in life we allow ourselves to get so focused on what we want that we quit paying attention to everything else going on around us.  Our faith, marriage, children, careers, etc., are neglected until “WHAM!” we get knocked on our butt ‘cause we weren’t paying attention.  The bible promises that if we’ll pay attention to God and take care of what’s really important we’ll always be named top hand.  If we don’t, “WHAM!” 

Little Stones, Little Stars - Buy the Dress - Dangerous agreements we make when we refuse to wonder if more could happen in our lives. Dreaming halts, we accept the mundane because we’re dressed for it, and, our hearts wither to match what’s required.
Heaven help us.
These agreements limit us. They blind us from the truth, that not only is there more, but that we are more. Our lives were created for a glory unmatched by anything in the human realm. And, oh, how we long for it, we want to believe it, but when we look around ourselves, we just don’t feel what we long to live out.

Little Stones, Little Stars - Four Squares at a Time  - It took two months until the last square was removed. But, every day, I felt satisfaction that I had done something, even though it was small. Each day was a step forward to beauty. Some days, I wanted to do more, other days I wanted to skip the process entirely. On those days, I would repeat to myself over and over again, Four squares, it’s just four squares. It’s so easy. I can do this.

Drip Jesus - On Being A Judas - 

Many of us have become proficient at being a Judas.

We’ve traded our relationship with Jesus by placing a higher priority on our families than Him.
We’ve traded our relationship with Jesus by placing a higher priority on our friends than Him.
We’ve traded our relationship with Jesus by placing a higher priority on our jobs than Him.
We’ve traded our relationship with Jesus by placing a higher priority on our reputations than Him.

Love, Laundry, Family, and Faith - You are Not Ordinary - We aren’t special because of the external things that have gone well for us. We aren’t ordinary because we live regular lives. We are all special (and we are) because we are made in the image of God, called by Him to wholeness and a true identity in Christ. We are most fully released to be most true selves when we internalize our status as thoroughly adored by the Creator who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Matador Network - 20 Obsolete English Words that Should Make a Comeback - DURING MY UNDERGRADUATE studies as a Linguistics major, one of the things that struck me most is the amazing fluidity of language. New words are created; older words go out of style. Words can change meaning over time, vowel sounds shift, consonants are lost or added and one word becomes another. Living languages refuse to be static.
The following words have sadly disappeared from modern English, but it’s easy to see how they could be incorporated into everyday conversation.

Read more at 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Professionals don't need my help

Project 365 #157: 060609 Don't Rain On My Parade  Photo Credit: comedy_nose

Standing outside of the dugout in the cold rain with all 200+ 8th graders was not fun. A surprise fire drill? No. We never plan on having a fire drill during lunch and avoid the rain as much as possible. Yet here we were. This could be considered the story, but it isn't. The story is how we got there. Tuesday at around 12:40 I was in the cafeteria directing traffic as usual when the fire alarm went off. The students immediately turned their volume up. I stood there not sure what to do. However, I am blessed to work with some amazing people. Our football coach had his whistle on him. He blew the whistle and directed the girls down the hall to the gym and out of the building. He directed the boys out the back door of the cafeteria. In only a couple minutes, all 200+ students were out of the building and lined up.

His heroics didn't stop there! The students were getting rained on and it was cold. The solution? The softball and baseball dugouts. Once again, he blew his whistle and directed the students. I and several other teachers followed his lead. The girls all fit snugly into one dugout. The boys needed more space and fit into two others. The students were now keeping warm and dry while we waited on what to do next.

So while I was standing outside of the dugout getting wet and attempting to maintain quiet with the other female teachers, I was thinking about how lucky I was to work with a man who could 200+ students to safety and relative comfort in minutes. Wow! He's a professional and doesn't need my help.

(BTW, there was some slight problem with the ventilation with the dishwasher. No real fire or anything.)

As if that isn't enough goodness going on at work, there is more! An hour or so later, I was preparing to go to my doctors appointment and giving last minute instructions to the students I was leaving behind. Another teacher was standing in the back of the room listening. The students headed to the computer lab and she followed. I got the last of my stuff and headed out. I was going to stop by the computer lab for one last review of the instructions. As I approached the room, I heard her repeating the instructions I had given in a much more measured and organized way than I did. (She's awesome at the organization thing. I'm not, but my students are patient with me.)

I turned around and walked the other way. She was paying attention and getting them going. She's a professional and doesn't need my help.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Professionally Single, Part 3

"Are you an aspiring writer?"

"It's not in my plan. Of course if you ask most others in my life, I don't have much of a plan."

"Why is that?" Noelle asked becoming genuinely curious about this man.

"I'm 27 and have yet to settle into one job. I have one college degree, but I'm currently pursuing another one. I have tried the normal route of college and a steady job that leads you 'somewhere in the company.' I hated it, so I'm going back to art school. I have no clue where that will lead me, but I love my life."

Noelle smiled. "It's amazing how life blossoms when we move into the roles that were made for us."

"More wonderful words from the most eloquent single girl in the city. You have managed to give me words and validation that I haven't found previously. Normally conversations with family and old friends goes as such:

'Are you married?'
'Oh. A girlfriend then?'
'Well you are with the ladies, right?'
'Not like that.'
'Do you have a boyfriend?'
'No. I'm just single.'"

Noelle giggled knowing those conversations all too well.

"So anyway, you've given me much better words than that."

"Thanks. It's good to know that my words are making a difference for my readers. Some days I am convinced that the only people reading my column are the voyeurs."

"Oh there are probably plenty of those. I have plenty of voyeurs in my own life. I suppose all single people do. People seem to think that if you are single they should get to know everything about your life. You however are doing all of us singles a favor because we have an advocate for us. What made you decide to speak out about this?"

"I was tired of those conversations. I was looking for some reason to make it 'okay' that I was single. You know like people would stop bothering me if I was supposed to be single. When I began writing, I found that I have many opinions about singleness and society. The more I wrote, the more people responded. I went from a lowly ad saleswoman to a staff writer that is talking to a fan of her writing. There are benefits to being professionally single."

Their conversation flowed on pleasantly as it is apt to do amongst people of similar temperament and station in life. Noelle felt appreciated as a single woman. She was thankful that her singleness mattered.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 3-2

Photos and Poetry

This Time Around - When the Words Won't Come 

National Geographic Photo of the Day - Jaguar, Ecuador 

National Geographic Photo of the Day - Traditional Home, Libya

Inspiring Words for You and Me
The Esau Project - Don't Tell Me You're Not Strong  - Don’t think that because you’re crying and I’m not that I am stronger than you.  She said it best: Sometimes we need to be the friend to cry with, and sometimes we need to be the friend to cry on.  Don’t believe for a minute that your tears are a sign of weakness.  Don’t believe that the lack of tears is a sign of strength. 

Love, Laundry, Family, and Faith - Finding a Way Through Discouragement  - A virtual friend of mine (virtual meaning online, not someone who is almost my friend) mentioned this week that he was feeling discouraged. My initial desire was to cheer him up, but then I got scared that his discouragement might be contagious, that if I tried to say anything to shed some positivity on him that the blue shadow of his mood might transfer to me. I also worried that because I don’t know his specific situation, my attempts at encouragement might be misplaced and come across as trite.

Drip Jesus- Less is More  - By eliminating some of things that don’t add value or at least cutting down the time we spend doing them, we give ourselves room. .... And when we start to give ourselves room, I believe that the quality of the lives that we are living will greatly increase.

The Story Project - How Antidepressants Made My Emotions the Enemy  - It was like for so long I had this idea that I was caged into my emotions as if I had no authority over them. It was this belief system that put my emotions in charge, like if I woke up tomorrow, and they decided to be sad, I was victim to that. I was stuck in that. It was as if I had no choice in it, as if my emotions were a perpetrator and I was the target. And do you know what it did for me? 

Life As Experienced - The God of Galactic Peace and Pet Turtles  - One child requested prayer for galactic peace, and a moment later another child (presumably Hannah) asked prayer for her turtle.  I love the heart behind both of those requests.
It’s like the first child knows God’s incredible power, and wants the galaxy to be at peace (he may or may not have watched too much Star Wars).  The second one knows God’s incredible love, and know He cares about the details of her life.  Often I forget about one of those things, and my prayer life changes.

Stories That Made Me Think

Red Letter Believers - Last Day on the Farm  - 1936 was a tough year to be a North Dakota farmer. They endured the most severe heat wave in modern history, killing some 5,000 people nationwide and causing wide spread crop failure. And it came on the heels of a terrible winter, one of the coldest on record. It was the the hottest segment of the famous Dust Bowl. No rain. Endless heat. Crops withering. Animals dying.  - 

See more at:

Exposed. : a city on a hill can not be hidden - Beoung Trabeck  - While the conditions of this place are rancid to the senses, the people of Beoung Trabaek are absolutely beautiful. Little things give the soft impression of life and hope- small plants potted in plastic bottles; the woman whose daughter is always showered and wearing a clean shirt; the children, most of them with pearly white smiles whose faces are filled with life and joy; a neatly swept house and a welcoming smile as we approach.

The Ramblings of Denise Dilley - Maybe Maddie: A Guest Post by Kirsten LeBlanc  - My heart did not swell that first moment. I felt the amazement of a new life but my heart was numb. I felt blank. Wasn't this supposed to be that moment when a mother feels overwhelming love for her child? As I examined the small fingers and toes, I wondered when or if the moment would come. Why was my heart not filling up with the sweetness and innocence of a very first meeting? She was God's perfection personified. 

Prayer Requests

The Life of a Christ Follower in Albania - Budapest, Birthday, and Biopsy  - The doctors have determined that I have Erythema Multiforme which is caused by an infection.  There are several possible causes of this infection. To help narrow in on the cause the doctor ordered a skin biopsy. This ended up being a large and deep slice of skin from my big toe requiring three stitches. This took place on my birthday. Happy birthday to me!

I'd Laugh, But It All Happened to Me - Nothing, but Prayer  - I have nothing cute or creative to say today.  Dear friends in North Carolina- a couple that had an immense impact on my life and my ministry- lost their 12 year old granddaughter in a crash last night. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

How do you eat yours?

It is that time of year again folks.

No, not March Madness.

No, not Lent.

It is Girl Scout cookie time.

Day 11. Makes me happy. Photo Credit: Elizabeth_K

We got our cookies a few weeks ago and we've been eating them slowly. My husband has actually not eaten any yet because he is saving them for me. Isn't that sweet?

Anyway, I've eaten a couple thin mints at a time every other day or so. The other day I was near the end of the package and I thought I would just eat a couple extra. Ben spied me eating them and wanted one. As he was eating his, I noticed something.

Everyone eats Thin Mints differently.

I eat mine with smallish bites because I want to savor them. I eat them somewhat slowly because I want to enjoy them. You only get them once a year after all.

When Ben ate them, he put the whole thing in his mouth and let it melt in his mouth. I tried to get him to take little bites, but he just put the second one in mouth and laughed. He had his way to do and I wasn't going to convince him otherwise.

My mom has a special ritual as well. She puts hers in the freezer. She loves her Thin Mints cold. I have to admit that they are pretty good. Personally, I don't want to wait for them to be cold.  However when I show restraint and put them in the freezer. I like them that way too.

What about you? How do you eat them?