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

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.


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!

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.