Thursday, July 30, 2009
In other news. Did you know that if you are a man in Gaza, you can beat your 27-year-old daughter, who has five small children of her own, to death with a metal chain in public, and that's ok if you hear her on the phone with a man who isn't her husband?
Or, much closer to home...
Tanning in sunbeds has been declared to be as cancer-causing as cigarettes and asbestos.
I must confess, I went before prom, and before my wedding.... yikes.
Really guys, I'm done forever.
Today's fun activity: shopping for baby clothes, accessories, and other accouterments.
My boss is going to Ethiopia next week, and he's taking several suitcases full of aid (around here we call them "bum bags") to the school in Bantu as well as our baby home (where all the children are adoptable and waiting for forever families!). So guess who gets to shop for, and pack, all that baby aid? Yours truly. An amazing assignment.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
But man, I'm telling you.
Libraries are so hot right now. The library is the place.to.BE. The ultimate Recessionista tool.
Did you know, fellow Dallas citizens (far-flung dear friends, I'm sure its not so different where you are either), that you can walk into any branch, get a card for free in about 45 seconds, and instantly start getting every magazine, book, CD, or DVD that strikes your fancy for absolutely free?
Or, that you can go online, type in the phone number associated with your library card, and request that any magazine, book, CD, or DVD you can think of be sent to the branch nearest to your home? They'll call you when it arrives and you just flounce in and pick it up- gratis.
In theory, I knew this happened already. But in practice, this revolutionizes my life.
Remember how I was interested in Crazy Love yesterday? It's retailing for $11 on Amazon. In the grocery store yesterday, I was inches away from buying the August issues of Vogue and Martha Stewart Living, which retail for about $6 or $7 each. I've also been thinking about buying the DVD of Mad Men, Season 2 (in anticipation of the Season 3 premier next week!), which sells for $25.
Instead, I went to the library and all four things were freezy. Can you imagine how much money we spent in a year on things that are available for free?
For example, did you know at http://books.google.com/ you can get hundreds of titles for free, in PDF form? Especially those of you still in school, most classics are online for free- they have 4,690 copies of The Scarlett Letter.
(Incidentally, read this fascinating article from Vogue about 34-year-old fashionista/top Google Executive Marissa Mayer).
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Q: Your church focuses an unusual amount of its resources on giving: to the
poor, to the needy, to the outcast. Is this one of your church’s responses to
God’s “crazy love”?
A: Absolutely. If one hundred people represented the world’s population, fifty-three of
those would live on less than $2 a day. Do you realize that if you make $4000 a
month, you automatically make one hundred times the average person on this
Which is more messed up—that we have so much compared to everyone else, or that
we don’t think we are rich? That on any given day we might flippantly call ourselves
“broke” or “poor”? We are neither of those things.
We are rich. Filthy rich.
I still dwell here, among the stacks of enviro-unfriendly printed reports. My happy yellow lamp and happy yellow cup and happy yellow mini legal pad greet me each morning, and I've even managed to kick to five-plus-Jolly Ranchers-per-day-from-the-candy-bowl habit.
Very early in my work life, I made two lists: Things To Do in the Spring, and Things to Do in Life. Accomplished items are in bold.
Things to Do in the Spring:
Things to Do in Life:
tea parties (does it count if I drink Honey Lemon Green every morning, but its by myself?)
live green (can't decide. I recycle?)
Mixed success. Still early in the game.
My dear friend Laura sent me two quotes from Crazy Love, a book that is rocking her world.
"Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers."
"Lukewarm people do not live by faith. Their lives are structured so they never have to."
Oooohhhh dear. Looks like this intriguing read had just lept to the top of my next-buy list.
Here's to another year! Thank you, Lord, for my job.
Friday, July 24, 2009
No, no, I can't wait, I will be there at eight, when they unlock the doooooor!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
- Lilla Watson, Aboriginal elder, educator, and activist
Or Grecian, goddess-y flowing gowns....
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
“If we believe the Gospel, doesn’t it seem a bit contradictory to….”
1. Adopt a pious and pretty obviously phony kind of overly serious demeanor? As if there were something wrong with smiling and having normal conversation? What is this “we’re acting like the Puritans in The Crucible” routine? No one is getting any points for that kind of act. Quit it.
2. Always point out the sins of your favorite target groups like gays or political liberals or Hollywood? Their sins are no more offensive than yours, and Jesus hasn’t asked you to make sure everyone knows how really offended you are. Plus, it’s not a witness to be offended and angry. It just increases the reputation Christians have as being on emotional egg shells when it comes to someone doing something they think is wrong.
3. Not have your beliefs about church challenged at all? Ever? For any reason? When you put the Gospel all out there on the table, and you consider what it means, how can it not challenge the idea that most of what we are to do is go to church programs or make your pastor into a celebrity? I’m not saying the Gospel deconstructs the church, but if the Gospel hasn’t knocked a few holes in your assumptions about the church, something isn’t tickin’ or kickin’ Check out your Gospel please.
4. Hold on to all of your money and possessions exactly like the non-Christians next door? Money and possessions are a pretty predictable sign of where your real treasure is, according to one well known authority.
5. Not be able to explain the Gospel in any kind of coherent manner, or even to lay out the basics of the Gospel in a talk, lesson, conversation or (God help us) sermon? I don’t get it. Why are we telling people they are saved by “asking Jesus into their heart?” Why are we saying that if we progress towards “goodness,” we will be saved by Christ? How can we be this confused about something this basic? How can we constantly talk to people about morals and behavior, then say we were talking about the Gospel?
6. Be more concerned about the culture war, the environment or politics than about missions in the 10/40 window or resourcing the church in Asia and Africa? After all, they are only Africans. Right? Jesus was an American white guy apparently.
7. Still harbor the idea that most Christians are probably in your denomination, and while they may exist elsewhere, it’s kind of a miracle, because your church is really the only church that God actually uses in a serious way? The church is God’s people seen from God’s perspective. Your camp is part of it, but if you are telling yourself that God sees your church as THE church and other churches as something else, Heaven is going to be a real downer for you.
8. Not really care what’s in the song lyrics you use in worship? Doesn’t it seem odd to sing man-centered songs with almost no mention of the Gospel and not even notice that our affections aren’t being directed toward Christ at all? I like a tune and a fun chorus. I like to see people involved emotionally, but the New Testament has entire hymns explaining the incarnation and none about “the secret place.” I’m just sayin…
9. Be so sure we know exactly how God is applying the Gospel through the Holy Spirit in the lives of other people? Wouldn’t it follow that if God provided everything for our salvation, he isn’t turning over the application of the Gospel to us and our comfort zones, but is applying the Gospel in the world according to a plan that may be just as surprising from our point of view?
10. To not be absolutely staggered with wonder, humility and awe? If you believe it, it’s amazing. If you kinda believe it, you’re a little amazed. If you don’t believe it, you’re bored.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
- Henri Nouwen
I've been meaning to read some Henri Nouwen for over a year now, ever since I went to a funeral for a friend's father whose life had been changed by Nouwen's writings.
Speaking of funerals, this afternoon I'll attend my third in two weeks.
The circle of life continues... weddings, weddings, everywhere, and not a sec to think.
Three pregnancies and one engagement announced this month in my various worlds of friends, and three funerals. Two of the funerals were for people in their 20's killed by automobiles, the third for a man who served in ministry for many decades.
I felt a moment of shock and realization when I was reflecting upon the fact that several deaths has occurred in the families of people I love this month: this must be a sliver of what its like to live among the communities of the poor, the refugees, the war-torn.
Three families I love are facing death this month, and I am indignant and shocked. Then I realize- in many tribes and towns, three deaths every month or week or even every DAY is the norm, because of attacks, or hunger, or disease.
I think about what's stressing me out today, and it pales in comparison to many others' griefs.
Like my friend Katie P likes to say, I'm the luckiest girl in the whole school.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
When I was in high school this band, Addison Road, led worship at my church for a few years. I am so proud of them. I love the lead singer Jenny's fantastic blog about new mommyhood, faith, and all other manner of daily life.
Everything rides on hope now.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Some people invest all their energy in pursuit of money, success, possessions, or a career. If these idols are taken away, only an empty shell is left.
The only way to protect yourself against such loss is to invest your life in the living God, whom you can never lose. I have found that it is very easy for idols to slip into my life, and I often find myself obsessing on things with no lasting value. Daily time with Jesus is the only solution.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
My sorority sister Hunter lost her big brother day before yesterday. Driving a motorcycle, going the speed limit, wearing a helmet, but hit a curb and flew into a tree. Died instantly. Family devastated.
Lamentations 3:28-33 "When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: wait for hope to appear. The "worst" is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won't ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way."
Monday, July 13, 2009
5 days of camp (check out the photos)
1 day it took me to completely lose my voice
16 5th grade girls
1,200 kids at Mt. Lebanon
Dozens of eternal decisions made
7 letters in B-O-N-K-E-R-S
6 years I've been waiting to climb the Alpine Tower (and finally did!)
1 major run-in with camp staff
1 game of Ruckus dominated
3 Theme Nights, 1 Big Show
1 pillow fight
Nonstop asthma attacks, scrapes, trips to Lost & Found, requests to ride the golf cart, and overheating
Approx 12,398,572 Freeze Pops consumed
I was home from camp just a few hours when B and I jumped in the car again and headed to Mineola for a leadership retreat with Fellowship Metro. I was exhausted, sunburned and voice-less. We had two great sessions of vision casting the future of Fellowship Metro, the Sunday at 6 pm service for young people at Fellowship.
We spent several hours in the sun playing volleyball and then several more playing a midnight, pitch-black game of Capture the Flag in the woods. I am so sore!
The next morning B jumped up for early-morning fishing on the lake, then we raced back to Dallas to meet the Voice Council at Wynnewood, a Buckner South Dallas ministry at an apartment complex where the average annual income per family is $2,950. We played water balloon games, worshipped, and served pizza and watermelon before having a tour of the ministries there.
Then we raced back north to split up for the evening: I headed to Richardson for the Camp Reflection Service and counselor dinner (and Camp Video unveiling), while Ben went to Fellowship to speak about our trip to Honduras with Buckner last month.
Then we raced home to prepare for work tomorrow after ten days away. Ben's promotion officially goes into effect today, and I am playing intense catch-up as we prepare to plan for the end of the year (here already?!).
My mom doesn't have cancer (bone scan and blood test negative!), my grandmother decided to sell her house, and I miss Sweet a lot. Life never stops.
I've had songs on my mind.
Ingrid Michaelson's "You and I" was the theme song of Katie and Ross' wedding last weekend. Make sure to listen all the way to the end- that's the best part.
One of Ben's best friends made him a hip hop CD, and this song is haunting me. Warning: contains highly objectionable words, including derogatory language toward women. However, if you can get over it, it's the most honest rap song I've ever heard.
It's the cry of our 20's:
I. just. wanna. be. successful.
Sigh. Smile. A good week.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
One best friend has a heartbreaking breakup to a guy she thought she might marry. Another friend's parents force her to call off her wedding 3 weeks before the big day.
Black mold in my parents' house. A scary result from a medical scan. Another friend at the Mayo Clinic while her mom has brain surgery. Major police incident as my neighbor beat up his wife.
Friend spends the night in jail. Camp, once again, souls are changed for eternity. Iran in shambles, Honduran coup (involving people at whose houses I was eating two weeks ago!).
Husband gets a promotion. We look at houses. Not sure what we want to be when we grow up.
A sorority sister dies in a car accident. Parent up for promotion. More medical tests, looking for cancer. My 5 year anniversary with the man I'll love forever. Two dear friends announce pregnancies. Three other friends buy houses, move in, talk renovations.
A friend's baby diagnosed with heart defect that will take his tiny life. Good results on mom's scan. Grieving loss, celebrating new marriages and new life.It's the time, it's the season. Big life going on, every day, all around.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
How much mortgage can you afford? I ripped this tip out of Money magazine:
Multiply 25% of your monthly income by 186.28
Then, to find out how much down payment is needed to qualify for that mortgage, multiply the result above by 0.25
Now we're talking.
A recent home-buying friend recommended two sites for house shoppers:
I'm particularly fond of Ebby's polygon mapping system.