Friday, June 28, 2013

What's Going On... June Edition

What I'm reading...

Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life by Joseph Barnett and Jane Congdon

A Curse As Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

What I just finished reading....

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Golden Crystal by Nick Thacker

Reviews are coming for both of these soon on my story site.

What I'm pinning....

I'm pinning a little bit of everything, but the one that I'm the most excited about is this one about washing your pillows and making them white again.

What I'm Etsy dreaming for...

Moose silhouette t-shirt
Moose Shirt
Irish Soap - Dublin Mint  - celebrate all things Irish- handmade natural soap
 All things mint, like this soap.  Although I prefer this shop for soap.
Initial Necklace . Hand Embroidery on Fabric. MADE TO ORDER Personalized Jewelry by Merriweather Council on Etsy.
These beautiful necklaces
And this shop with amazing paintings all about the ocean. Gorgeous!!

What I'm playing...

Hill Climb Racing on my phone because Ben wants everything unlocked.
  Photo Credit: iTunes

Also I can't stay away from Facebook Games. I've been rather addicted to Bake Shop Drop and Candy Crush. However, I only play a life or two a day. So I'm not spending too much time on it.

Accomplishments for the week...

I finished reading The Golden Crystal. I had agreed to review 3 long books and freaked myself out about my timeline. Thankfully, I have until the end of July to finish them all. However for The Golden Crystal I was cutting it close.

Ben had been working to earn a Plush Toodee doll from Yo Gabba Gabba. We went to Toys R' Us to look. We found one, but she talked. So Drew removed the talking part and I sewed her back up. So far the sewing has stayed. 

We made it to Illinois to visit my parents! And as such, there probably won't be a post on Monday.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sustainability at home

If you know much about fair trade, you have heard about sustainability. It is the idea that we can't simply give money to those in poverty. We need to provide them with a way to make money consistently in order to release them from poverty. Some of my favorite web companies do that.  FashionABLE, Freeset, and Imagine Goods are a few examples off the top of my head. I love being able to support and highlight these companies that are providing skills and jobs for these people. Those are things that will have the world.

So sustainability is a bit of a buzz word, but it is an important one. 

At our church we have a food pantry and we have served many people. However most often the feeling we are left with is that we haven't done enough. We hurt for these people that have lost their job and fallen on hard times. They just don't have enough money to go around and can't find outlet for their skills, at least not one that pays. 

While we were praying about one of these families at Bible study on Sunday night, God dropped a thought in my head. What if we created sustainability here at home? What if we had a place where people could come and use their skills to earn money? What if we had a place where those with skills could teach those who didn't have skills? 

We know we need more jobs here in the US and there has been all kinds of money spent researching and creating new jobs. What if our focus has been too big? What if the churches in these neighborhoods could open their doors and use their funds to create some kind of school/business where these people can make things and sell them? 

And maybe the scariest question that has come to me, what if God wants me to do something about it?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Can't We All Just Get Along?

All this yelling and fighting about male and female biology and rights just depresses me. I see both sides, but lean toward one of them. However, I think that those yelling on both sides go too far. I have a wonderful husband and a very special son. I have girl friends that are amazing and they have amazing daughters. I have guy friends who are awesome and friend's sons who are awesome. I hate that any of them are seen as less because they are one particular sex. I get really depressed thinking about having to explain to any of these amazing children that some people think they aren't cool because he is a boy and she is a girl. Can you really imagine sitting down with a 4 year old some of these arguments that are being screamed at the other side?

"I'm sorry you had to hear those words. They don't really know you, so they aren't talking about you. Well yes they do know other boys and girls. I don't know which ones they are talking about. Maybe they aren't talking about any of them. I don't know who they are talking about. Maybe they are talking about the really bad ones. I don't know why they are talking so much about the bad ones because most of the boys and girls I know are good. Yes honey that means you are a good one and so is your friend. So just ignore what they are saying because it isn't about you or your friends or Mommy and Daddy's friends."

What an awful conversation! Why can't we look at people as individuals and judge their worth as individuals instead of as a group they may look like they are a part of? And can we please stop yelling and insinuating that the other side is stupid and completely wrong?

Can't we all just get along?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 6-22

Can you believe this was done on Excel?

These photos are so cool! I can just sit and stare at them. And then there is this one from Patagonia.

Isn't it amazing what this guy did on his birthday and now American Expresss is talking about it.

Another funny collection from Kevin Haggerty. Are you checking his Friday Funhouse every week? If not, why not? You should!

Evidently I'm having a love affair this week with Russian water. Check this out and this one too.

And then I loved this article about drinking water.

I heard this news from IJM and this news from archeology and I loved them both.

I loved this article. I have tried to say this multiple times, but she does a much better job.

I also loved this article because all too often we are going for the style points.

And I don't you know if you have checked out Overcome the Lie yet. If not, you should at least read this one and this one.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sports Loyalties

'Cardinals vendor' photo (c) 2003, bk1bennett - license:

Sports are an interesting phenomena. A person following a team can feel like they were a part of the team and somehow their cheering could have positively affected the outcome of the game. I've been there. I know.

I remember leaving a 'lucky sock' in front of the TV as a kid to help the team I was cheering for win a playoff game. (Full Disclosure: I think it may have been the Braves in the World Series one year. Not totally sure.) I'm pretty sure it didn't help and they lost.

As I grew up, I wondered what it would be like when I was married. Who would they cheer for? How would we raise children if we cheered for different people?

So now that I am married with a child, I'm still trying to figure out those answers. A few months ago I told you guys about what we had picked family teams and then changed that idea.

At the time, Ben was talking about the Mets more than the Cardinals and that really bugged me. Drew was going to try to compromise, except that wasn't going to work exactly. We have however tried a couple more times to do the family team thing.

Well now that we are in baseball season and in some ways it has made things more complicated. We have gone to several minor league games with our local team. Ben is hooked! He loves the game and the atmosphere. He talks about the players, Joey Gallo and Jordan Akins. (except he calls him Jordaba Akins. Not sure where that came from.) We have several pieces of Crawdads memorabilia around the house. Drew and I are pretty stoked. We so love the game of baseball and now Ben does too!  However, it has made the whole 'who to cheer for' conversation more difficult. Mostly Ben says he is a Crawdads, Cardinals, and 'ankees fan. However, there are times that he says, "Me and Daddy are Mets fans."

The other day, I was watching a Yankees/Dodgers game. Ichiro (Yankees player) caught a ball at the wall taking a home run away from Puig (Dodgers player). My reaction was 'darn it.' Then I remembered that I was supposed to be cheering for the Yankees. I can cheer for them against an American League team. But the National League will always have my heart. So I'm not good at cheering for one of our 'family teams.'

That started another discussion between Drew and I about who to encourage Ben to cheer for. My defense has always been, "I'm helping him with your teams." As we were going into Wal-Mart, Drew says, "He could cheer for the Blues and the Rams." My response, "I'm still not letting him have the Mets." Drew genuinely says, "I wasn't even thinking of that."

I went to get my medicine. Drew and Ben went to look at the toys and pick up some batteries. I felt lousy. Drew was giving up his 'right' to draw Ben towards those teams. He was okay if Ben chose the St. Louis teams and I was still stubbornly holding on to my teams. It didn't seem fair.

So I have said again that as long as the Cardinals are a part of his sports panorama, I will be satisfied. As I said before, each of these teams mean something to us as people and are part of the story of our family. I can't deny that. I can't force my way into this family because it isn't just about me. So here we are again trying to cheer for the teams we love and hoping some of it rubs off on our son.

Parenting is hard.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How I am going to simplify

On Monday, I wrote about wanting to simplify my life. And that's nice to talk about, but I thought it would be useful to tell you what my family and I have done and what I am planning on doing.

What we have already done:

1. We have added a dinner of baked potato and salad to our dinner rotation.
2. When I am baking I am conscious of what I am using. Real sugar, real eggs, and unbleached flour.
3. I have started to grate my own cheese because it's healthier.
4. I have been buying soap from my friend because I know she is making it healthy.
5. Other body beauty items that are homemade or from healthy companies or homemade from friends.
6. We are paying attention to what we are buying. We look for items with less ingredients.
7. I am working very hard to say good morning/afternoon/etc. when I go in a place. I am trying to remember to ask how are you and listen more often.
8. We have gone to several Hickory Crawdads games and had a wonderful time.
9. I am genuinely happy for the people vacationing instead of being jealous.
10. We are using the little pool at Nana's house about every day.

What we are planning on doing

1. I plan to check sales in paper for meat to make roasts and actually make roasts sometimes.
2. I will buy dandruff shampoo from a friend who sells Arbonne. When I get that, I should have all the basics from healthy companies.
3. We will plan meals for 3 days at a time in order to be sure we are making healthy meals and not doing so much box eating.
4. I am going to look for ways to engage in conversation with people of whom I normally don't talk.
5. By the end of summer, I'm going to bake a loaf of bread that is totally from scratch.

So as you can see there are things I/we are already doing. And with a few tweaks, we will be closer to simple.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Simple Life

'Live Simple' photo (c) 2008, Katie Brady - license:

Over the last several months I am coming to realize something that has been hiding in my heart. 

I want simplicity.

I know that I am on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Interesante (Spanish Pintrest sort of), Vine, and Blogger. I am on the tech team at my school. And from what most people say all that technology just makes things more complicated. So how can I be connected to everything and still have simplicity?

I'm not totally sure. At first, I thought making things simple meant disconnecting. I tried that and a little bit of disconnecting did help. However, completely disconnecting would mean that I would miss things like my friend's new shop. So completely disconnecting isn't the answer. Finding a balance is part of the answer and I'm pretty sure I'm getting there.

However, that is not the entirety of the answer. I want simplicity in eating and taking care of myself and my family. I want simplicity in the way my family finds fun. I want simplicity in my relationships with others and God.

To me, simplicity means health.
To me, simplicity means love.
To me, simplicity means God.

I want to change the way I eat. I want to change the beauty products in my house. I want simple ingredients that are healthy and without too much processing. I want to change the way I have fun. I want to see what is around me and have fun. I don't want to always be looking for the next vacation or the next big trip for fun. I want to have fun eating watermelon in the back yard or relaxing in the blow up pool. I want to change the way I relate to people. I just want to love them. I don't want it to be "I love them when..." or "Will they love me if...?" I just want to love on people.

This is such a big change. We have made our lives so complicated in all of these areas that simplifying them is actually a very hard thing to accomplish. It is rather intimidating to think of overhauling my eating habits and my beauty regimine and my definition of fun and my interpersonal habits.

I think I'll take it one step at time, like buying soap from my friend instead of the store. I'm going to try to plan meals more, so there is less box eating because it is simple. I'm going to enjoy the places I am now instead of wishing I was somewhere else. I'm going to listen to what people say and respond to them instead of worrying all the time about saying the exact right thing all the time.

I'm going to simplify things for my health, for love, and for God. Is anyone with me?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 6-14

Pictures and Videos

This photo from Sweeden and this one from Scotland speak to the size of humanity.
This one screams New Orleans

I am always fascinated by pictures of water. Iceland and Brazil
The Hagia Sofia has always fascinated me too!

Can you find the owl?
Can you count the penguins?

I just discovered this Tumblr and I think it is fabulous. This picture might be the best one.

And I think this is a fabulous idea to help us pray for other countries. And this is so enlightening as well.

Exciting Stuff

I will be buying this and this very soon!

Jaime and Boy Dads had me thinking the same thing from two different perspectives and they are both so important.

I am excited about this anti litter campaign and these sustainable products

This explains so much!

Other Stuff

Micheal Perkins always reminds me of deep truth. Sometimes I need to stop and be weak.

I get so frustrated when the latest 'hot topic' gets in the way of what America is supposed to be about like this.

I can always count on Michelle and Julie to remind me of the way things should be with me.

And Jason puts into great words something I have been working on in my life for awhile.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Environmental Crimes Division: Part 3

Environmental Crimes Division: Part 1
Environmental Crimes Division: Part 2

After a long and largely sleepless night, Thrace had a file of information ready for the captain. When he entered the office, she was following him with the information.

"After much research, I have discovered quite a bit of information. First as I was looking for people who had access to Tae or its artifacts. Of course there are the scientists and high level politicians. However, I found a surprising group with access to Tae, garbage collectors."

The captain stopped fixing his coffee and turned to look at her. "Garbage collectors? How did that happen?"

"Fifteen years ago there was a movement to rescue items from Tae. As such they sent in garbage collectors to collect artifacts, elements, and other items from Tae to be used here. The plan was to live on the Space Fort for three months. They would take a ship to various parts of Tae to search for items. They would bring them back and clean them as much as possible. After three months they were to come back and further clean the items and turn them over to the Department of Science. However after three months the mission was considered so successful that they were assigned to the Space Fort for three more months."

"Six months at the Space Fort? I have never heard of anyone being assigned there that long. Three months is longer than most terms up there. What happened to them when they came home?"

"There was only one crew of 7 men. James Ardan, Bruno Blanda, Micheal Cyra, Nolan Gildava, Robert Lagash, George Motya, and Felix Sulci. They all made it back, but since then they have had very different lives. Bruno Blanda was from North Region and returned there. However within 5 years he was dead of an unknown disease. Micheal Cyra was from West Region. For the last 7 years, he has been in a home for the mentally unstable. George Motya was from Central Region. He came back and settled in North Region. He has also been dead from an unknown disease for the past 9 years. Felix Sulci was from South Region and settled back there. He has also been in a home for the mentally unstable for almost 10 years. Nolan Gildava was from the East Region and has settled back there. He has been living happily with his family since his return. James Ardan and Robert Lagash have lived in various regions and had various jobs. They haven't kept a job or a home for longer than 6 months since their return. Neither one of them have any family living. In fact for over two years now, they have not been heard from. I have been able to find no recorded evidence of them for the last two years."

"Is there reason to believe they are dead?"

"No sir. There were no hospital reports of them and their physical reports all say they are healthy with no disease or ailment known."

"So we need to find them."

"Yes sir. And I have an idea about that as well. Upon researching the groups who may be claiming that this yellow moss caused the destruction of Tae. I found one scientific article from 40 years ago written by Dr. Bartholomew Tharros claiming to have found evidence that what he termed Yellow Death Moss contributed to the flammability, poor air quality, and even famine that caused the evacuation of Tae. He never directly came out to say what was the evidence or where he got it. I didn't find any response to it or anyone that seemed to think he was correct in his assumptions. In fact there was no mention of it until about the time of the garbage collection project. They were not connected in anyway that I could find other than the timing. Then about 10 years ago a group was created called Yellow Fever. Their membership rolls are unavailable. Their meeting times and places are secret. The induction requirements are unknown. The only thing that we know is a few public statements made by Gerard Divici who claims to be their voice and nothing more."

"What has he said?"

"He hasn't said anything recently. The most recent statements I could find were from 3 years ago. At that time he claimed that this Yellow Death Moss was not only the destruction of Tae, but would also be the destruction of Geala. I have the full article as well as the other information I have found in this file." She said handing him the folder she had been carrying.

"Good work. I think the next step would be..."

"For me to sleep. I mean the interruption in the most respectful way possible. However in order to get all this information, I have not been home since about this time yesterday. So in order for me to function at my best, I need to go home and sleep for several hours. I'll be back after lunch ready to work."

Captain Jorns glared at her for a few seconds and then relented. He nodded his head and she was free to go. She went up to the roof and took off for home and her very comfortable bed.

This week I am a writer

written in slumber Photo Credit: matryosha

Well technically, I am a writer more than just this week. However, this week I have really been living it out because I have been writing quite a bit. And I have more writing planned for today.

I have been writing a story about a blue flying detective, Sgt. Fiana Thrace of the Environmental Crimes Division, who is trying to find a very clever arsonist. Yesterday the story took an unusual turn when her clues led her to their species previous planet. Now what is she going to do?

So for today, I think you should head over to my other blog and read about Sgt. Fiana Thrace.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

And if you feel so inclined, I would be forever grateful if you left me a thought or two on the story either here or on the other blog.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Environmental Crimes Division: Part 2

Environmental Crimes Division: Part 1

As the sun rose high in the pale green sky, Sgt. Thrace awoke from her deep and restful summer. She slowly gathered herself and prepared to meet the day. She checked her phone and had a message from Jonathan.

Fi - I've got some results from the samples you dropped off yesterday. Stop by in the morning and we'll talk. I think we're on to something here.

She strapped on her weapon and her evidence tote. She locked the door and took off from her balcony. The morning was beautiful and calm. It was a good day for flying. She landed on the roof of the The Lab and headed down to Jonathan's office. As she walked in, he stood up from his desk and embraced her heartily.

"You have gotten some sleep. Splotchy isn't a good look for you."

"Thanks bro." She said rolling her eyes at her brother. "Now on to more important things. You said you found something for me."

Jonathan focused on business and led her into his lab area. "You brought by two samples yesterday and I've tested them both. The yellow substance you found was fairly easy to identify. It is a type of moss. It is very common and tends to grow in small clusters."

"That doesn't sound like something to be burned away."

"Well, that is debatable. Many believe it is this that caused the destruction of our first planet.  The fault in the theory is that the destruction is so complete on that planet that we have trouble proving what we know to be true. We can't even find concrete evidence of cities and societies. I don't know how anyone could know for sure what caused the devastation. We know that something used to live there, but we don't know who or what. I don't see how we can find evidence of such a small thing."

"So we have a conspiracy theorist. Lovely. What's his angle?"

"Hard to say. He could be torching the places he finds this in a misguided effort to protect our planet. Or he could be torching them as a method of proving their danger. Or he could be torching them in an effort to eliminate them and the conspiracy surrounding them. I can't even guess what side he is on."

"And the gel?"

"I ran almost every test I could. The findings are here he said sliding her a file of information. We did run into 2 problems. First, the test I didn't run requires norol. In order to run that test, your captain will need to formally petition the Director of Testing to use it. You know we have a limited amount of norol left from our escape, so it is only used in extreme cases."

"Is the test needed? What could it reveal?"

"There were 3 separate substances that I could not identify in gel. The test I could not run would reveal if any of the unknown substances were from our first planet. Considering his focus on this moss, it is not unreasonable to believe some of his materials would relate to Tae as well."

"Is there a chance that we can run the test?"

"I have only heard of it being used once and that was 25 years ago on the Killer Candy case. So the chances are small and they get even smaller when you consider the second problem."

"Which is?"

"The sample disintegrated."

Thrace's eyes grew two sizes and face took on a particularly angry shade of purple. "It what?!"

Jonathan held up his hands in a position of surrender. "It isn't my fault. The tiny beads that were in the sample were full of nitrogen. They were a slow release capsule to ensure that any of the gel remaining would disintegrate after a period of time. You were lucky to get that sample. So even if you get permission to run the test, you have to find another sample to test."

Thrace sank to the ground feeling very defeated. She sat there quietly for several minutes. Jonathan knowing his sister very well said nothing and went about other business. After some thinking, she stood and left the room quietly. She walked down the stairs and out into the street. She needed to focus on this latest development and not the air space. Although the offices of the ECD were only a few blocks from The Lab, she took the long away around. An hour later she arrived at her office with a plan. Before she could enact her plan, she was called into the Captain's office.

"Sgt. Thrace, where are we on the Arbor Arsonist case. I heard there was some new evidence found yesterday."

"Yes. I just received the report from Dr. Thrace at The Lab." She continued to tell her superior all of the information that she had received in the last few hours.

"Then it seems we are back at the beginning."

"Not exactly, sir. I have been thinking and planning. I think we have a few new areas to explore. If the unidentified elements of the gel are connected to Tae, then we can eliminate several portions of the population. There are only a handful of people who have access to anything from Tae or the ability to go there and get more. Secondly, we know that he or she is focusing on this specific type of moss. That can help us identify the next possible target for the Arbor Arsonist. And if Dr. Thrace is correct that many believe this is the cause of the destruction of Tae, then we could begin looking at some of these groups who either espouse these ideas or those who seek to destroy these ideas. If we can gather a list of their members, then we can compare that to those who would have access to Tae and narrow down our list of suspects considerably."

Captain Jorns sat looking at her for several seconds. "Good work, Sgt. Thrace. I'll expect a report on this tomorrow."

"Tomorrow sir? I'm not sure I can prepare all of that information that quickly."

"I'm sure you can. I'll expect to see you at this time tomorrow."

"Yes, sir." Thrace said as she quietly exited the room. She went to her desk and began the long work of researching all of these leads.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Happy Wednesday!

Today is Wednesday and I'm supposed to post, except I forgot. But today I did get a haircut.

And I got some coffee for free from a Twitter Trivia thing I did a few weeks ago. Coconut and Fair Trade. Yay!

I hope you have had a good day too!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Environmental Crimes Division

The water was the perfect temperature, hot enough to make her skin purple.  She eased herself into the tub as her stress melted away. Investigating these crimes all day had left Thrace exhausted. This suspect had her flying from one end of the region to the other tracking down leads and crime scenes. Without her permission, her mind drifted back towards today's events.
She had barely walked into the station when the call came in. She was gone again. Flying toward the southern edge of the region to investigate the latest destruction. As she flew toward the crime scene, she saw the news flights as well.

Grr. I wish the wish the no fly law had passed. She thought to herself. You know you are about the only one who is affected by them. It would be a little excessive to have a law just for yourself. The other side of her reasoned.

She flew very far left and then to south. She came upon the scene from the south instead of the north. She flew directly over the destruction before finding a place to land. She saw the acre of land burned black. From the previous crime scenes, she knew it was exactly one acre, no more no less. She also knew she should be flying through smoke as the forest should be smoldering. As was becoming normal in this case, there was no smoke.

Her mind was already reviewing the known facts of the case and adding what she had seen of this crime scene. As she approached the news flight, she dipped down low flew between the trees that were still standing. She arrived at the crime scene unseen by the news flight. She approached the officer on duty.

"Sergeant Fiana Thrace, Enviornmental Crimes Division."

"Sergeant Thrace, thank you for coming so quickly. You saw that we have the hallmarks of The Arbor Arsonist."

"Are there any new pieces of evidence?"

"Yes, ma'am. In a particularly thick clump of trees, we found a gel like substance. We bottled it, but otherwise haven't touched it for fear of contaminating evidence."

"Good work officer. I'll want to see the area later, but for now where is the bottle."

The seasoned officer handed her the bottle. She took it and examined it with the precaution she would an antique shovel. This could explode or disintegrate and be rendered useless. She noted it was colored orange and bore little weight. She strapped it into her evidence tote.

Mental note: Thank Jonathan again for creating this. I couldn't have gotten the promotion without this. She thought as she engaged her protection armor and followed the officer to the crime scene. She walked the perimeter and measured the destruction. It was as she figured, exactly one acre. She indicated she was ready to enter the destruction. She again followed the officer. This time they arrived at the site where the gel was found. She took photos and attempted to measure the unharmed portion as well as the thickness of the foliage on the forest floor. As she was taking measurements she noticed a yellow substance poking out from underneath the remnants of the gel. She grabbed a scalpel from the tools on her armor. She scraped what she could of the uncontaminated yellow substance. Without the use of all of her senses, she had no inkling what this could be. She strapped that into her evidence tote as well. After a bit more looking, she left the crime scene. At a safe distance away, she cleansed and disengaged her protective armor.

"Thank you for your help officer. I'll leave the rest to the technicians who should be here shortly. I will be heading back to The Lab to get these things tested. Good work today. This just might be the break through we need."

"I'm happy to be of assistance and if I may say so, it is my pleasure to serve your case in any way I can. You have been a revolutionary force in this division. Thank you."

She blushed a deep navy color and mentally cursed herself for it. Her words were simple though. "All in a days work."

Now soaking in her tub hours later, that term a day's work had a physical pain to go with it. She had dropped off the materials off at The Lab with Jonathan. She would check on that in the morning. Between now and then, she was going to try to rest.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Searching for Higher Ways: One Word Update

You may have noticed that I didn't post anything on Friday or Saturday. We had a family wedding to attend, so I didn't have time to post. The good news is that I have several thoughts running through my head and you will get a proper post today.

 Photo Credit: Pintrest

For the last several weeks, I have heard sermons and lessons that keep reminding me of the same thing. Earthly thinking vs. Eternal thinking.

I re-blogged an old post last week that God's thoughts are not my thoughts. I have twice heard about the Israelite nation at the time of Jesus that expected an earthly kingdom. They genuinely thought that the Messiah would bring a kingdom here on Earth to make them happy. They didn't know that there is an eternal kingdom that the Messiah made available to them. They had an earthly focus to the extent that they didn't see the possibilities that God had in mind. They didn't see that you and I would be sitting here today reading this on the computer talking about what they did and learned for the Kingdom. They didn't see that the struggle of this life isn't the end, but that it is just the beginning.

The Kingdom of Heaven is not of this Earth. It is something eternal. It is something to last longer than time. It is inside a person because our bodies of from this Earth, but our spirit is God-breathed.

So for me today this means that my need for sleep for 'my health' is not as important as the health of my spirit and my soul. So I need to get up earlier and spend quiet time with God studying his Word. I don't need to worry about running when I get up or reading the blogs I follow or pulling weeds. I need to spend quiet time with God first and foremost. After I do that, then I can do some of those other things.

Because his ways are higher than mine and I need to be seeking his ways before I seek my own. Ultimately, my ways are limited to this Earth and his ways are eternal. So I need to defer to him. And I need to actually do it and not just talk about it. I need to live out my One Word: Hear. I need to be hearing God.

Today I did that. I got a tiny bit of insight. I need to continue that tomorrow and the next day and the day after and so on and so forth.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

News for the week

This has been a crazy week! Unfortunately for you that means I have not had time to sit and process things enough to create a good post. However, I do have news about life stuff to share. So I'm just going to list my news.

1. I now have an Instagram, but I had to reformat my name because someone else has a similar one. I was sad. I found out who it was and they had some not nice photos, so I was even more sad. I wish I could buy the name! I also have a Vine account and got my regular username. : )

2. I made a peanut sauce for my dinner last night. It had too much salt and I didn't eat until like 9:45. So that wasn't great. It was dinner and eating was necessary. Next time I really needed to follow the recipe closer! And who knew peanut butter and soy sauce were so yummy together?

3. I wasn't able to get an iPhone 4 because it wasn't free. I was kinda upset about that and rather frustrated that the reviews for all the phones were bad. I talked to a friend who had a Kyocera Hydro and liked it. So I decided to go with the phone that was similar to that. I got a Kyocera Rise and I'm liking it pretty good after the first day. There is a smidge of a learning curve because it is a new phone, but no real issues with it.

4. I had to take Abbey to the vet because she's been limping for a few days. It turns out she has a torn ACL and will need surgery. That is pretty distressing. The surgery won't be cheap. However, if we don't do this she will develop severe arthritis in her hind leg. We can't let that happen, so we will be calling to schedule surgery in the next couple days. We have a plan of how to pay for it and thankfully it has happened in the summer, so I can be around more to watch her as she recovers.

5. I heard of this super awesome idea to post a picture and tell about it before and after. It was supposed to happen on Tuesday, but I missed that obviously. So I was going to do it today. Now I can't find a picture that has a story that I remember or that seems to be worth telling. So hold on for next Tuesday or Wednesday and see if I come up with something.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Ceramic Horse (Repost)

I was reminded of this post at my Bible Study last night. It is one that has stuck with me over the years and I can't quite get it out of my head. I'm still not sure that God has revealed the full meaning this to me yet. So I'm putting it out here again and maybe I can learn a little more this time.

March 17, 2011

I had 75% of this post done last night while I was waiting for Ben to cry himself to sleep. He got really upset so I went to check on him. He found a little ceramic rocking horse Christmas ornament. This ornament had a hole that the bottom, like some ornaments do. He was convinced it was broken and should be fixed. I could not convince him otherwise, so eventually I just hid the ceramic horse in my pocket. He was more upset and so we looked at his stuffed animals, talked to them, and then settled into bed. Read through my thoughts from last night and see how this story is connected.

"I need to be more like God and not try to make God more like me." I heard this idea 3 times today from 3 different sources. I'm not sure exactly what I should be learning from this, but since I heard it 3 times, I thought it important enough to blog about.

I 'heard' this first this morning when I was going through my Bible Study homework. In Me, Myself, and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild, she mentions Isaiah 55:9. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." From my notes this morning, "You don't have to and can't live up to God! He accepts your broken parts!" There is no way for me to live up to God. He is higher than me. I can't change that and I don't have to be ashamed by that.

The second time was in Stuff Christians Like this morning. He actually quoted the same verse. He spoke about wanting God to do things like he would. Wishing God would give him choices he is comfortable with and has gotten used to using. (BTW, I am doing a really bad job of summarizing this. Go read it for yourself, so what I'm saying makes sense.) Once again, I 'hear' God isn't like me. Don't try to make him like me. Let him do his job. You just sit back and let him.

The third time I heard it was at church tonight. Drew said it in his lesson about renewing your mind, Romans 12:2. Renewing your mind isn't something that is only for the recent converts. It is for all of us to continually renew our minds and be less like this world. We should not make God more like us, but make us more like God.

So back to the ceramic horse, how often are we like Ben convinced that we know the way something is supposed to look, the way it is supposed to work, etc? We know best and why isn't everyone listening to us!! Don't we sound like a two year old demanding our way? We yell at God and huff at the world because it isn't working like we 'know' it should. God tries to reason with us and maybe sometimes it works. We realize that we need to let him do his job because he is higher and we shouldn't make Him more like us.

What if we don't? Will God take that thing away from us because it is causing us too much strife? Will he get our mind off of it with something else, so we can settle down and rest? I'm not sure what the answers are, but I think the answer could be yes. Are you holding on to a ceramic horse? What might God be able to do if you let it go?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 6-1


National Geographic Photo of the Day - Aurora Borealis, Sweeden

National Geographic Photo of the Day - Baseball, Cuba

National Geographic Photo of the Day - Madagascar Day Gecko, Maui

Stuff I Think Could Help You Learn

Red Letter Believers - Growing up is easy on them, hard on us - A Parent's Reflection

While he was counting down the days until he left home, I still felt a sad certainty of resignation. For 18 solid years, we had prepared for this moment. When a bird nudge was now well on his way to becoming a man-boy. Growing up is exciting for our kids, but oh so difficult for parents.
I put off going into his room for a few days. When I finally walked in, it seemed like it was void of oxygen. Then I looked around and laughed. There was a cereal bowl in the corner of the room. A single sock hung over the chair like a flag of surrender. A tattered Michael Jordan poster hung on the wall. And there was my missing Phillips Screwdriver. - In an Elevator with Desmond Tutu 

Meeting Bishop Tutu was more than meeting a world changer.
His service not only changed a nation, it has forever changed my family.
I hope in those brief moments in the elevator he was able to glimpse his legacy. I hope he saw a picture of what he fought to accomplish in our family. Here are two brothers. One black and one white. This was not possible under apartheid.  

Life As Experienced- Did Christians kill Tim Tebow's career 

One would wonder how a quarterback with a playoff win, several miraculous comebacks, still a long career ahead of him, and a humble personality wouldn’t get picked up immediately.  Well, several coaches have made it clear that it’s not Tebow that’s the problem.  It’s us.

Teams are staying away from Tim Tebow because of the Christians he brings along as baggage.

The Isle of Man - Stop Running Away From People Who Aren't Like You 

God is NEVER going to stop sending you that kind of person until you learn the lesson He has for you. That’s not from scripture (to my knowledge, anyway), it’s just from life experience.
There must be something God wants to teach you from those difficult people, or else you wouldn’t keep finding yourself in these similar positions.
Until you submit to this, you will keep finding this person as your boss. She will show up in your church small group. Your sibling will marry someone just like that, and you’ll find yourself at the dinner table with them on every major holiday and sometimes on Sunday.

Cultural Savage - When It's Not Enough 

Days like Monday though, they are a whole other beast. Days like Monday claw at my skin and bones, leaving me laying on the floor in a hoodie and pajama pants, head covered, eyes closed, wanting to sleep and never wake up. Depression like that leaves me with hours of nothing, trapped in my own head and the ropes of sorrow and despair tightening around my wrists, looping into a noose around my neck. On days like this, my medication isn’t enough.
Neither is Jesus.
I know that’s not what I’m suppose to say. I’m suppose to talk about how Jesus is there for me in my darkest times, how he brings me hope and peace, how I can survive this depression because of him. But today, if i was to say that I would be lying.

The Isle of Man - Only YOU Can Motivate YOU

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there is no worth to motivational books or blogs or podcasts or posters that show where God carried you on a beach.
Those are all great.
But the key isn’t any of that. And it isn’t really a secret either.
The key ingredient is YOU. That’s wisdom I received from a wise person named Po (aka: “Kung Fu Panda”).
Are you following what I’m saying? I’m not overweight because I haven’t found the fad diet that works for me. It’s because I simply refuse to exercise daily and eat a little bit smarter. I’m stubborn, so I stay fat.

Maile - Hungry For God Knows What 

So here I sat on the toilet seat in a hotel room somewhere south of Kansas City, MO, and I was starving.
But not for double cheeseburger with fries.
My spirit sat inside me weak and panting, shivering from nutritional depletion and jittery with the worry of where to look for it next. I’d seen the franticness in myself increasing in the past couple of days: I got extra annoyed with my children’s missteps and became more concerned with my timeline than our time together; my mind began to obsess about exercising and food (always a red flag for me); and my self-talk had gotten downright cruel, constantly rehearsing everything at which I miserably failed.