Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thoughts and Words

I am not superstitious.  But when I woke up to a snowstorm today, I cut down the snowflake ornaments I still had hanging from the light fixture above my dining room table.  Cut them with a mighty snip.  On my way to take my daughter to school there were several cars off the road and I felt my own giant vehicle slip under me more than once, causing me to think lots of less-than-holy words. 

Last week, when I locked my keys in my car (or so I thought, I actually left them in the ice arena, on the desk, but didn't realize that until we waited outside for 45 minutes for my husband to bring the extra set from home) I said a lot of not nice words right out loud.  Lots of words, lots of times.

Here is my point: sometimes I say bad things and sometimes I think bad things.

Have I mentioned the verse I have by the door that the girls and I recite every time we leave the house?  It's Psalm 19:14. "May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord, my Rock and Redeemer."  Yeah.  I know.  But I'm trying!  I swear.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Basketball and Derbies and Justice, Oh My!

Happy Monday!  What an exciting weekend!  Exciting enough to merit a countdown!  Here are my top three thrilling(ish) moments of the weekend.

1. Michigan State is not disappointing!  Our team is a favorite to win this NCAA thing and they are well on their way!  Go green, go white!  Goooo cute apparel that I love to sport!

2. We went to our first roller derby!  It was fun and funny!  Why don't all athletes use punny names?  Adrien Payne In Your Neck.  Sydney Cross-Checkby.  Jerry Rice You to the End-Zone.  Seriously.  We fans should insist on this.  Anyway, the derby was fun, but I'm sticking to basketball these days because I understand the scoring in that game.

3. Our church hosted a guest speaker from IJM (International Justice Mission), and I had the honor of going to lunch with him afterward.  As I've mentioned, our church formed a Justice Team after a different speaker came last year (also from IJM).  After hearing him, we simply could not continue as though we hadn't heard the stories and the statistics.  We've been meeting for a year now, and are as determined as ever.  This year Seth Wispelwey came to speak- he works in IJM's Government Relations and Advocacy department.  The timing was perfect- Seth was able to provide us with some information about how we may want to organize our team, how to utilize our congregation's strengths, ways to support IJM, and how to be active locally.  He provided tons of resources, and all the templates a justice team could ever want.  Having the chance to pick Seth's brain was the most exciting part of my weekend.

If you are interested in justice- internationally or domestically, check out the resources available on IJM's website.  Another great organization that is fighting human trafficking is Polaris Project.  And if you suspect a human trafficking case (or would like to find out about volunteer opportunities) call this number: 1-888-373-7888.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Book Good Enough to Eat

I don't know about your household, but over here, we are very motivated by food.  So you can imagine my delight when my girls received this book as a gift:

It's adorable.  Rosenthal gives sugar sweet lessons on good character using what else?  Cookies!  It inspired my girls to ask questions every parent wants to hear.  Like, "What does 'cooperate' mean?" and "How can we be respectful?" and "Can we make cookies?" (Um, always!  With extra chips, my girls.)  Happily, my kids are still too young for any "Bite me" jokes.  Sadly, they didn't get it when I told them they were a little kooky.  (Kooky.  Cookie.  Get it?)

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Lesson In Hospitality

Next year my Little Middle is going to be in kindergarten if you can flipping believe it.  So, last Friday we went to her school-to-be to sit in on a current kindergarten class.  We were both just a little nervous, no doubt about it, but you guys?  I was completely schooled.  These tiny five year olds put me to hospitality shame. 

Now, I love having people to my house.  I want you to feel comfortable here!  I do.  Which is why it isn't ever totally clean.  I am going for a lived-in, homey feel (is what I tell myself).  I am happy to offer you a beverage (unless it's my last Diet Coke, but I assure you, our water is crisp and refreshing!) Really.  I am happy to open my home to friends.  Even friends of friends!  But these kindergarteners?  Were over the top hospitable.  Is hospitality part of some standardized test I don't know about or are kids just kinder these days? 

Here are some instances:
  • Immediately as we sat down after the teacher introduced us, a little girl came up to Adrienne and wordlessly gave her a gentle hug, then floated like a little angel back to her seat.
  • The teacher gave Adrienne the same worksheet the rest of the class was working on, and as she carefully did her work, no less than three dear little boys walked past and looked over her shoulder and whispered, "You're doing good!" "Hey, good job!" "You're good at that!"  (I mean, she was doing fine, but not unusually so- let me just be honest.)  Multiple kids also checked in with her to make sure she had a gluestick, scissors, pencils, etc.  All the tools she needed to excel in her first hour of kindergarten.
  • When the kids were practicing telling time, a little girl raised her hand and said, "We should give Adrienne a turn!"  Generous, because ALL the kids were begging for a turn to move the hands on this big clock and the teacher had explained only three kids would get a turn.
  • Finally, at the end of the day, the teacher picked a little guy to pray.  He began, "Thank you for our guests and that Adrienne is going to be in this class next year." Then he said some other adorable things, that I didn't hear because I was concentrating on not crying.
I know kids can be cruel, and we hear a lot about bullying these days, so when kids are being amazing and welcoming a complete outsider into their little worlds, I just can't leave it unmentioned.  Something tells me the next generation of kids may even offer up the last of their Diet Cokes someday.  Tell me that doesn't just warm your heart.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I Always Did Love Green

It's time to play "Where Are They Now?"  Here is Tommy, the Green Power Ranger, back in the Power Ranger glory days:

Go, go Power Ranger! (I don't know what the real catchphrase was.)
I was more of a Ninja Turtle girl myself (I heart Michelangelo!), so I would NOT know the answer to where Tommy is now (and like you, would be really confused about why anybody would be asking me about him).  I still wouldn't know what Tommy is up to these days if my brother hadn't sent me this picture the other day:

Tommy?  You're so much less... green!
Look at him now!  He is an MMA fighter!  (That stands for Mixed Martial Arts.  I had to ask.)  His tattoo reads, "Jesus Didn't Tap."  I had to ask about that too.  I mean duh.  You can't tap in sandals.  There was a bunch of conversation and laughing at me, but once I got it, I loved it.  Jesus didn't pass the buck.  He didn't have a person to bail him out.  Jesus was our whipping boy.  In fact, not only did Jesus take the fall for us on the cross, every day He is waiting for our taps.  When we are weighed down with confusion, fatigue, loneliness, grief, guilt, when life is simply too heavy to bear, we need only tap for Jesus.  TKO every time.

I have new respect for Jason David Frank (fka the Green Power Ranger).  He gets it, and is letting the MMA world know it.  And you know what?  More Power to him.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lentertaining Social Media

We are a few days in to Lent now.  Ash Wednesday was well-publicized this year, thanks to social media.  My girlfriend brought this Wall Street Journal article to my attention: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304732804579421643478528628

I understand some people feel like tweeting one's own ashy forehead is flip, but I don't agree.  If people want to go to a church service on Ash Wednesday just so later they can put up a selfie?  I'm okay with that!  I'm certainly not going to lash out at them!  In fact I took my own selfie on Wednesday.  It wasn't exactly for social media, but in large part to note how swollen my jaw was after I fell and slammed my face onto a ledge. (You might say, I crashed before I ashed.)  Was it in front of bleachers full of people?  Yes, actually.  I wish I had given up public humiliation for Lent.

Frankly, I think Ash Wednesday selfies are an awesome way for non-believers to see how many people from how many walks of life are honoring God by kicking off Lent by visiting His house for some worship.   I say next year we blow up some Twitter feeds and abuse that #ashtag.  "Like" some ashy Instagram pics.  Facebook our ashes.

I pray Jesus is trending.  Not just during Lent, but year round.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chubby Tuesday

Fat Tuesday sounds so rude!  I'd like to make a motion that we politely change "Fat" Tuesday to Plump Tuesday?  Curvy Tuesday?  Water Weight Tuesday?  Whatever we call it, today is the eve of the Lenten season. 

It's only been the last couple years that Lent has meant anything to me.  Truth be told, I mostly thought Lent was a Catholic thing that had something to do with McDonalds putting the Fish Fillet back on the menu.  I'd give up pop or chocolate so I could appropriately agonize with my Catholic friends suffering through their forty days of living without.  Then, I moved away from my very Catholic hometown and Lent followed!  It turns out Lent is for everyone!

And "everyone" is making a move.  More and more I get the feeling from believers that they (we!) want Lent to mean something.  We want to glorify God during Lent.  And I'm here to tell you that when I give up pop?  I un-glorify God.  Same thing when I give up chocolate.  I become a person who de-honors Him through my extreme crabbiness.  I know my Savior, and He and I have an understanding now about caffeine and dessert. 

Many people are finding happier alternatives these days: spending more time with their faces in the Bible for instance, increasing their charitable giving for these weeks, doing random acts of kindness.  I love it.  Of course, there is a lot to be said for giving up something that is prohibiting you from growing in your relationship with Christ.  So this year I'm going to intentionally move something out of my life to make more room for Jesus.  And that something?  Is not carbonated.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Which Biblical Heroine Are You?

I have fought off the temptation.  Day after day.  Friend after friend.  And today I caved.  I took a Buzzfeed quiz.  A Facebook friend posted, "Which Biblical Heroine Are You?" and come on.  How could I not?  I clicked on that link faster than you can say RuthNaomiEsther.  I answered as very honestly as I could (Although there were a couple toss-ups.  I like to knit while watching TV to relax!)  My results?

Drum roll please....

Mary, Mother of Jesus.

That is very generous.  The description was even more generous.  My husband and I read it together and laughed at how completely un-me it was.  For instance, "You're always there to nudge someone in the right direction..." "'Nudge!'" we joked, "maybe shove!"  Another great phrase was, "Quiet and caring..."  Quiet?!  It actually causes me physical pain not to type entire posts in Caps Lock, so do I love being LOUD!!!  Ask my brother who frantically turns his volume down before he'll take a call from me. 

Inaccurate as it may be, I'm certainly not re-taking the quiz.  I don't want to wind up with Eve and suddenly be responsible for the downfall of all mankind. (Uh, no offense if you got Eve!  I'm sure she was lovely.)  Are you dying for the link now?  Have at it.  Which biblical heroine are YOU???


Edit: Oh dear.  I just saw a related quiz: "Which One of Jesus' Disciples Are You?"  I think it's safe to say the rest of the evening will be a wash.  I'll be taking quizzes if anyone needs me.