Monday, August 31, 2009

Time to spare.

Birthday approaches. Time for a Big Girl Watch?
Can a petite girl do an oversized watch?
I went overboard today. Rooms, rooms galore!

Mm, so good!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stop the presses.

INCREDIBLY POWERFUL ARTICLE in this week's New York Times:

The Women's Crusade: Saving the World's Women

Did you know that more women are missing from the world right now simply due to their gender than all the men killed in all the wars of the entire 20th century?

That assertion is based on the fact that while every country should have an even population of men and women, many have striking gender imbalances. China and India, for example, have 107 and 108 men for every woman respectively. There are almost a hundred million women "missing", more than the deaths from all 20th century wars. That comes from practices of aborting female unborn children, killing female infants just after birth, denying health care to little girls when money is too tight to provide care to all one's children, and high rates of death in childbirth.

A shocking paragraph:

And why does everyone benefit when women enter the work force and bring home
regular pay checks? One reason involves the dirty little secret of global
poverty: some of the most wretched suffering is caused not just by low incomes
but also by unwise spending by the poor — especially by men.

Our interviews and perusal of the data available suggest that the poorest
families in the world spend approximately 10 times as much (20 percent of their
incomes on average) on a combination of alcohol, prostitution, candy, sugary
drinks and lavish feasts as they do on educating their children (2 percent). If
poor families spent only as much on educating their children as they do on beer
and prostitutes, there would be a breakthrough in the prospects of poor
countries. Girls, since they are the ones kept home from school now, would be
the biggest beneficiaries.

Moreover, one way to reallocate family expenditures in this way is to put
more money in the hands of women. A series of studies has found that when women
hold assets or gain incomes, family money is more likely to be spent on
nutrition, medicine and housing, and consequently children are healthier.

Whoa! Another interesting section explores the correlation between the most repressive societies toward women and societies with high terrorism rates. Countries that marginalize women are more likely to be hotbeds for terrorism- so repression of girls is a national security issue!

Read this article, yall.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

F Peace U and Geez

As my friend Steph once said, "I hate money." Dealing with newlywed finances can be a major source of conflict for lots of reasons. However.

Ben and I took Financial Peace University last spring, and it has, by FAR, been the best thing we've done for our marriage. Better than any marriage book, seminar, or class.
Financial Peace University is a class on money. There are 13 lessons on everything from retirement to insurance to financial communication to real estate. We did the DVD version where you watch a one-hour lesson once a week for 13 weeks. My parents are bankers and financial planners so I thought I was very financially literate, but I would honestly say that probably 30% of what Dave Ramsey taught was new to me.

Check out these free Dave Ramsey budgeting forms (we use the "monthly cash flow planner"). Today I printed a new budget form and we'll have our little two-person "budget committee meeting" to make our plan for September. It takes less than 30 minutes and has made a huge difference- we have not had one single "money fight" since last February.

It may sound really yucky, technical, or boring to fill out detailed budgets, but you know what's REALLY yucky? Debt and money stress ruining your marriage and keeping you from your dreams. So do it!
Incredibly interesting thoughts from Geez today (see link in right hand column):
If I were to use blatantly racist language in a Geez article, my inbox would probably fill with protest from progressives. But if I use blatantly racist electricity – that is, electricity from hydroelectric dams that harm indigenous people – to power my computer, I can pretty much be assured the progressiveness police will not pay heed. The social sanction against racist language is much harsher than that for racist consumption. (And I would argue that much of our consumption involves exploitation of minority ethnic groups.)

I see a tendency within the progressive-minded subculture to scrutinize only a very particular set of behaviours. These tend to be the behaviours, such as language, that are easiest to change without infringing on our most cherished entitlements – primarily the entitlement to our comfy, middle-class lives.

The same principle applies to other easy progressive behaviours. It’s easier to switch to fair trade coffee than to give up addiction to foods from an ocean away. It’s easier to become pro-queer than to become poor, that is, to quit the over-consumptive middle class. In short, the code of progressive behaviour tends to dodge the tough stuff.

It is, of course, possible to do both the easy and tough stuff. But I worry that PC can be to equality what recycling is to environmentalism – it makes us feel like we’ve done our part even though we never get near the crux of the matter. I worry that too often it’s about us trying to make ourselves appear and feel sophisticated within our subculture, thereby creating a veneer of enlightenment that masks real issues.

But that all sounds harsher and more categorical than I mean it to. I get too impatient with process when big tasks await. Ample room must be left for exceptions, counter-arguments and, most of all, the grace we need to face a terribly incorrect world.

Will Braun is editor of Geez. He is white, male, educated, relatively slim, hetero, healthy and more middle class than he’d like to admit.
More from Geez:
In reality, we so-called world changers need to come to terms with the fact that neither we, nor any world leader, rebel leader, scientist or rock star will be able to solve climate change, Make Poverty History, or put an end to war, gender violence, racism or oppression.
If our motivation in working for change is the hope that ultimate success will be ours, we’re misguided.
Despite the temptation to invest our hopes in new people, movements and campaigns, the reality is that the top of the mountain is nowhere in sight. If working for change is dependent on achieving change, then we might as well give up now.
But lest we despair, we may find something more compelling in our post-hope hero, Sisyphus. To be post-hope is to embrace love and duty despite all evidence around us. And to embrace our duty is to find motivation not in the hope of mountaintop success, but in love. We are called to struggle, not achieve ultimate success. The rock will not reach the top, but we must work and love anyway. And in that work, and in that love, we must imagine ourselves happy. – Dan Leonard, Geez board member
The sign of a healthy society is when we have the mystics, who enable us to imagine a world outside of ourselves, and the satirists who keep us honest with our feet on the ground. – Becky Garrison, Christian satirist

Monday, August 24, 2009

I fought the law and the law won.

I love my wedding photos, with all my heart.
Dear friends,
My least favorite thing in the entire universe might be traffic tickets.
In the interest of protecting your pocketbooks, I bring you...

New traffic laws in Texas.

1. Teen Drivers: Effective September 1, 2009, the laws for teenage drivers are getting tougher. Drivers younger than 18 are banned from using cell phones while driving (dialing, talking, texting).

2. Driving in a School Zone: Effective September 1, 2009, the use of a wireless device within a school zone is prohibited (except while the vehicle is stopped or with a hands-free device). The fine is up to $200. Note: Cities must post a sign at each school zone (For you Dallas Dwellers, the signs are already up in Highland Park).

3. Seat Belts: Effective September 1, 2009, all occupants of a vehicle, no matter their age, front and back seat, must wear seatbelts.
And second of all, thank you to Aubrey at Made You Blush for giving me a blog award! She writes a wonderful fashion blog and is so kind to think of me. Thanks!

Thirdly, I have discovered a very essential piece of life wisdom today.

For all of you who stress out when you wake up to discover an unfortunate breakout, a terrible hair day, or other issues that you feel everyone is noticing, fear not!

......because today I discovered you can cut eight inches off your hair and almost nobody will even notice. It's comforting, really.

I should have learned this lesson when it comes to weddings. You may lay awake at night worrying whether the shade of red in the church carpet will clash with the red in the bridesmaids' dresses, but the truth is...

... just a few short months (or even weeks!) after your wedding, even your best friends won't be able to remember what song you walked down the aisle to, or what color the bouquets were.

It's comforting, really.
Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.
- Mohandas Gandhi
What does this mean in my life? What people, or systems, must I stop cooperating with?
Oh, hey, and ps: Did you know Mexico quietly legalized drugs this week? Marijuana, heroin, LSD, and cocain in small amounts "for personal use" are now legal. This is meant to free up the justice system so they can go after the "big fish", but what will it mean for addiction, for the health care system, for families?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Black walls.

I love black walls. I think they make a room feel glamorous, sophisticated, comforting, and restful. Black walls are for serious rooms- serious working, serious sleeping. Not for distraction-intense rooms, but rooms for focusing.
This afternoon I had coffee with my 1st grade best friend who moved away when we were little. What a delight it was to re-connect and bond over her passion for the Lord and her incredible experiences serving as an intern with Buckner this past summer in Peru.
This Weekend: A List

1. Attend Cork Hunters launch event (very cool new website founded by my husband's close friend. Like a Pandora for wine. Will discuss more soon.)
2. Go to bed early. Already pushing the limits on this one.....
3. Get a haircut. It's been 6+ months. Probably my last one at the FancyShamcySalon. I just can't justify the expense.
4. Go to Leasha's wedding.
5. Catch up with Laura.
6. Take advantage of Texas Tax Free Weekend.
7. See Mamma Mia at Dallas Summer Musicals with my Mamma.

PS. Mountains Beyond Mountains is incredible. Almost done. Read it, stat.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wisdom and Rooms

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
be wise enough to desist.
- Proverbs 23:4
“Carve your name on hearts, not on marble”—Charles Spurgeon
I think that I have never lost the intuition
that community life could be a sign
that God is love, and love alone.
- Brother Roger, Swiss theologian and
founder of Taizé, an ecumenical monastic community in France
The God of life summons us to life; more, to be lifegivers,
especially toward those who lie under the heel of the powers.

- Daniel Berrigan, Jesuit priest, poet, and peace activistThank you, Design Sponge, for this green alternative to Clorox:
Homemade, Dollar-Saving, Fragrance-Uplifting, All-Purpose Spray

The Goods:
-1 empty 32 oz. spray bottle-3/4 c. Distilled White Vinegar
-1 c. Hydrogen Peroxide-1 1/2 tsp. Castille Soap (Such as Dr. Bronner )
-30 drops Tea Tree Oil
-30 drops Essential Oil of choice (some of my favorite choices include lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, lemon verbena, spearmint, clove, cinnamon, anise, sage, grapefruit, lemon, and lime; experiment with one or a combo and see what scent makes you want to get lean and clean!)

The Deal:
-Place all ingredients into the spray bottle using a funnel or measuring cup with a spout.
-Add water until contents reach top of bottle.
-Shake vigorously and use with abandon!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Heck, why not, one more! Jill and Kels

My brother is dating a straight-up celebrity.

This is my favorite song they sing:)

I wanna watch sunrise, with my love by my side.
I wanna rise and I wanna fall.
I wanna be a songbird.

While we're at it, Kari Jobe.

Listened to this in the car with best friends at Plu's wedding. Changed my life. Try to focus on the song, not the visuals of this worship conference.

So good.

Anderson Everson.

Congress Park, Denver.
Merry Maids.
Brit and gents.
Rain stopped in time to throw the football.
This weekend, in Colorado, my dear Anderson became an Everson.
It was an emo musician field day. Literally.
Am I a rock and roll photographer?
My color editor had a field day, too.
Sic em Bears.
Well-wishes before the Bachelorette.
Up, up, and away went prayers for B.
Metaphor for her happiness.
Summer ending.


We walked down the aisle to this song at Brittany's wedding.

My favorite song of her reception:

Above, on Letterman. Below, in a rad Discovery Channel commercial:
[I]'ll take the hand of those who don't know the way, who can't see where they are going. I'll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I'll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don't fall into the ditch. These are the things I'll be doing for them - sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute". (Isaiah 42:16, MSG)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Last week: A Photo Essay

Last week was one heck of a week. The evidence:

Weekend at the lake
Nathan's 80's birthday party

Time spent sorting bazillions of school supplies, many donated by my very generous small group
I'm the luckiest girl in the whoooole school.