Friday, December 21, 2012

Moving Thoughts Friday--Inspired to Hope

Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. 
The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

What reminds you to hope?

*photos by stock.XCHNG
**I’ll be posting regularly again starting January 2nd. MERRY CHRISTMAS & Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Not As It Will Be

On Friday night, my youngest asked if she could sleep on the floor next to my bed. She was fighting the flu her older sister had passed down. I fluffed up down comforters and soft, thick blankets, layering her bedding. I piled pillows high so her cough wouldn’t bother her throat too much.  I checked to make sure she was surrounded by tissues, a water bottle, and her favorite stuffed animals. We prayed. Then I asked what book she wanted me to read.

Her older sister had thought of her and had taken out a book from the school library earlier that day.

This is the book my kindergartener asked me to read.

Enter the moment.

Though my eyes sting, I open the colorful pages and begin to read, my voice quivery, my heart a ragged, suffering thing inside my chest.

“Here comes Pete strolling down the street, rocking red shoes on his four furry feet. Pete is going to school, and he sings this song…”

Sandy Hook. 20 children dead. 6 adults. My home state. Another school shooting branding permanent images in my brain, my soul. 
The crushing losses.

Pages later my voice catches but I continue to read.

“Pete has never been to the library before! Does Pete worry? Goodness, no! He finds his favorite book and sings his song…”

I kiss my daughter’s feverish head. She knows little, next to nothing about what media networks will be highlighting for weeks.

Then I get to this…

“Pete and his friends are playing outside on a green, grassy field with swings and tall slides. Where is Pete? The playground! Kids are running in every direction! Does Pete worry? Goodness, no!”

I sniffle and hold the flood of emotions I’m feeling at bay concerned I’ve already let her see me cry enough for one day.

I make it through to the end of the book.

“When school is done, Pete rides the bus home.”

I’m slammed with the memory of rushing earlier in the day to embrace my older two girls as they bounded off the bus.

“Pete’s mom asks him, ‘What did you do at school today?’ And Pete says… ‘I was rocking in my school shoes…And I will do it again tomorrow! Because it’s all good!’”

My resolve crumbles into a thousand pieces because it so isn’t all good. This world is nothing as it will be.

I tuck the covers up to my daughter’s neck, then I collapse over her wishing I could be a barrier, shielding her from everything out there. We’d already encountered a glimpse of how unsafe this world can be in another form earlier in the year. Now this…

I want her to rock in her school shoes.

I crave heaven.

I turn off the light and thank God for Christmas.

I thank God hope came to earth as a baby. And still lives today.

*My email has been down for days. I apologize if you’ve been trying to reach me and you haven’t heard back. The system seems like it’s almost fully restored.
**I will be posting this Friday.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Seeing the Tangle or the Weave?

One of the book clubs I’m involved in recently discussed Jonathan Odell’s The Healing. There were many scenes that struck me in the novel, but one stood out above the rest.

There’s an instance when a girl arrives at a stable to find a woman (Polly Shine) who’s been mentoring her in midwifery and the art of healing. The girl, Granada (with the birth name of Yewande) is wrought with guilt for having set the wheels in motion for this woman to be chained, her life now at risk.

Polly has taken it upon herself to instill cultural values and rich character-building messages in Granada. While struggling to breathe, Polly reminds Granada her mother in Africa was a weaver.

As I read I wondered where she might take this reminder, as it had become clear Polly always takes pieces of information somewhere.

Here’s where she took it…

“When Polly began again, her words were too low to be heard. Granada leaned in closer.

'She told me the secret…what made them so fine, mother after daughter after granddaughter, all the way down the line.’

'What was it, Polly?’

‘She say, the difference in weavers is, some see the tangle and others see the weave. The ones that can’t take their eyes off the tangle, they never rise above it.’

‘Yes, ma’am,’ Granada said, knowing this was important, trying to understand.

‘Granada, this here…what happened to me, to you, to Rubina…ain’t nothing but a tangle. It’s the weave you got to remember, Granada. It’s bigger than you and me. It went on before you and me got here. It’ll go on after you and me leave this place and go to wherever it is Rubina is waiting. Just a tangle, Granada.’

Her whisper became so small, the girl had to put an ear to Polly’s mouth. Granada felt the parched lips brush against skin.

‘Yewande, lift your eyes and see!’”

After reading this I decided I always want to be one who sees the weave. There are so many tangles for all of us at any given second in time. But we have the option of lifting our eyes to see.

What makes it difficult for you to take your eyes off life’s tangles? What helps you remember the weave?

*Congrats to Jaime W. for winning Emily Wierenga’s book , Chasing Silhouettes & to Amy S. for winning a humongous Trader Joe’s chocolate bar (Amy, please send me your mailing address)!
**Trying a new blogging schedule through the New Year. I’ll just be posting on Mondays.
***photos by stock.XCHNG

Friday, December 7, 2012

Moving Thoughts Friday

Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.

‘Tis the season for being stilled.

What stills you?

*photos by stock.XCHNG

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Your Game to Health (+ Win Chocolate)

I was talking on the phone with a friend the other day about how if I can’t see it I’m not apt to be tempted by it. It being chocolate, cookies, and anything that makes up a picnic ant’s sugar-filled dream. I told her how I can usually just stick to one because I’m all disciplined like that. Then as soon as I got off the phone I lifted the tinfoil and peered down at the killer chocolate chip cookies I’d made. I blocked out the words I’d just professed and quickly consumed not one but two cookies.


It’s for this reason I’m offering a little game today. We all want to strive for good health, especially this time of year. So read questions 1-8 and guess away (then review the answers in small print at the bottom of this post. Wish I could write them upside down to make the game that much more authentic).

  1. Of the two which is considered a super food on Dr. Oz’s website because it “boasts more antioxidants than blueberries”: sweet potatoes or lettuce?
  2. Which is the only one not mentioned in the article, “Finger Foods Under 80 Calories”: pink raspberry champagne, 2 Teriyaki shrimp skewers with pineapple, a granola bar, or 8 pitted green olives?  
  3. At you can look up 20 anti-aging foods. Which of these is not included in this list: pistachios, Greek yogurt, coffee, corn, pretzels, spinach, or dark chocolate? 
  4. According to this CBS news report, what is the healthiest fruit juice? Pineapple? Pear? Pomegranate? 
  5. Which dried fruit is the healthiest for you? 
  6. Shape magazine crafted a list of the five healthiest nuts. Which of these I’ve listed is not on it: pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts? 
  7. The time to run website provides 10 of the worst foods. All of these are on their list but one. Which isn’t considered one of the top ten worst foods according to time to run? Raw oysters, avocados, olestra, alcohol, or soda? 
  8. The scientific name for this food is wolf peach, what is it?  

Oh yes, there will be a prize for whoever guesses the most questions correctly (no cheating by visiting links before you guess or getting your answers from the small font…I’m trusting you on this). I will send the winner a massive Trader Joe’s almond chocolate bar. ;-)

Bonus question: What’s the goofy acronym the first letters of answers 1-8 spell?

What are you doing to be healthy this holiday season?

*photo by stock.XCHNG

1. sweet potatoes 2. a granola bar 3. pretzels 4. pomegranate 5. yes, grandma, it is prunes 6. pecans 7. avocados 
8. tomatoes

Monday, December 3, 2012

What if I Didn’t Know God

I know sometimes it’s a landmine to ask what if questions. But today I’m not walking through this landmine field alone. I’m bringing you with me. In fact, for some, I might be leading you directly into an explosive zone.

What if I didn’t know God?

Would you see me as a project, someone to “witness” to, or would you avoid my blog because you wouldn’t want to associate with me?

Would you care?

How we treat others speaks volumes about the state of our heart. Remember the Pharisee in the Bible who prayed he was so thankful he wasn’t like the other people?

I’m like the other people.

There it is. It’s out there.

Yes, I have a super bloated conscience and yes, my life is not as it would be.

But I’m still here on earth. I still screw up habitually. Swap out the sin, slap a new label on me—any way you cut it I’m a mess.

And the only reason anyone might see a hint of goodness in me is because of God. Sound extreme? Perhaps, but I’m okay with that. 

Because I know where I was. I know where I am.

And instead of judging me, I’d really appreciate your love instead.

Next time you try to figure out “where someone is at with their faith” think about this. Turn the microscope from peering out to looking inward.

No one wants to be a project, most don’t understand what being “witnessed to” means, and I can’t think of a single person who likes to be avoided.

But I guarantee whether they’re brusque or shy they want to feel loved.

Instead of asking how I can help save their soul might we all be wiser to ask how I can get to know them better, how I can better connect with them…how can I love them as I have been loved?

What if I didn’t know God?
*photo by stock.XCHNG

Taking Time

college applications                 homecoming                            flag football                basketball             SATs   ...