Thursday, September 30, 2010

That Water Thing...

The 30 day, 30 blogger, $30,000 water campaign has ended. They didn't meet the goal of $30,000, however they were able to raise enough money to get clean water to 573 people. There are now 573 people who had no access to clean water who, thanks to this campaign, now do.

That is so cool.

Here are some of the particulars about what the $11,474 that was raised will do:
Click to embiggen


If you're disappointed that you missed the opportunity to donate, don't despair! You can still go to charity: water and make a donation to help give clean water to someone who desperately needs it. This really is a great group and I'm so thankful to the bloggers who participated in this event for bringing them to my attention.

CSN partnership

One of my favorite things about blogging has been all of the unique opportunities for meeting new people that it has provided. One of those unique opportunities has been to partner with CSN Stores. I have worked with them in the past and have recently been asked to work with them in a more regular basis. They have tons of amazing things in their over 200 stores. Things like these remarkably cool console tables, some spectacular carafes, and as we're getting ready to redecorate the kids' rooms, lots of great bedroom sets.

In the coming weeks and months, get ready for some fantastic giveaways and reviews of CSN's numerous products. I'm really excited about this partnership and am looking forward to being able to offer my readers a chance to win some great gifts. In the meantime, you can browse their stores here and let me know what you might be dreaming of winning!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why Netflix Thinks I'm Gay

I love Netflix. We had it a few years ago, cancelled it and recently added it again. And honestly, it is just one of my most favorite conveniences that we have. That I have every episode of Arrested Development right at my fingertips is just incredibly awesome.

I also love Netflix because it does a pretty good job of knowing what movies I like. I probably never would have watched Fight Club, except that Netflix told me that I would really love that one. And now it's one of my favorite movies (and one on the short list of movies that I like better than the book). It's pointed me toward a lot of interesting, funny, and bizarre movies and television shows that I might not have checked out on my own. It seems to know me pretty well.

That said, Netflix totally thinks I'm gay. On the front page, the site will automatically create rows of movies for you, based on your preferences. A row that frequently pops up on my front page is "dramas: gay and lesbian." It always makes Jason laugh when he's at work looking for an episode of The X Files and it's suggesting Buffy.

One thing to know about me is that if you're my close friend, I'm going to want to understand you. So if Tina mentions a particular movie or documentary that she thinks is really helpful to understanding the LGBT experience, I'll probably check it out (and most have been really good). Rich told me that his favorite books of all-time were the Dark Tower series, so I have spent the past few months reading through that. Jason is interested in science, so my next read is Dawkins's latest book (The Greatest Show on Earth). It's why I know more about Mythbusters and Pokemon and the Rainbow Magic fairies than I would ever really care to on my own.

Certainly I think it's important to get to know people by spending time with them and just talking. There's something really special about face time that just can't be beat by any other medium. However, I do think that one can gain a lot of insight into what makes a person tick by investigating some of their "favorites." Favorite movie, favorite book, favorite music -- these usually touch us on a very personal level and I find that taking the time to understand those things can help us better understand the people we love. It may even shape us a bit more than we expected.

Though Netflix is still wrong on this one.

What are ways that you like to connect with friends and family to get to know them better?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Guest Post at GodlySheep

Photo by Ashley R. Good
Last week after possibly one of the most amicable disagreements I've ever experienced on the blog (or because of the blog), I spoke to my friend Brett about a guest post on his blog. He graciously agreed to let me (me!!!) have a post over on his blog (cue maniacal laughter).

Brett's a great, funny guy and I'm glad to count him as a friend in my virtual village. You should definitely subscribe to his blog. Lots of practical advice about pretty much everything, with a healthy dose of humor thrown in. Really low standards for at least one guest post, but otherwise a quality establishment!

Here's his blog. And here's my post. As always, thanks for reading! And thanks to Brett for the chance to write for him and for his friendship!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Musical Monday

This is the last in our one-hit wonder month. I've had a lot of fun with this and will almost certainly revisit sometime in the future. Feel free to suggestions for other "themes" for the future. I've got an idea or two bubbling around (okay, one idea).

The last one is another sentimental favorite of mine. I had a chance to see Bobby McFerrin perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra when I was in college and it was absolutely stunning. He performed a stunning version of the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria. He sang the Bach prelude and the principal cellist performed the Gounod Ave Maria. It was one of the most beautiful performances I've ever heard.

But of course, that is not the song for which he is most famous. Instead, his primary source of recognition out in the world is for today's song. In 1988, he graced us with a song that is simultaneously horrible and fantastic. The first a cappella song to reach number 1 on the Billboard 100, Don't Worry, Be Happy seems to be one of those songs that everyone has heard at some point.

Personally, I think it's incredibly fun and I love to dance around my living room singing it. Which I'm going to go do right now. Have a great day!


Here's a little song I wrote 

You might want to sing it note for note 

Don't worry be happy 

In every life we have some trouble 

When you worry you make it double 

Don't worry, be happy...... 



Ain't got no place to lay your head 

Somebody came and took your bed 

Don't worry, be happy 

The land lord say your rent is late 

He may have to litigate 

Don't worry, be happy 

Look at me I am happy 

Don't worry, be happy 

Here I give you my phone number 

When you worry call me 

I make you happy 

Don't worry, be happy


Ain't got no cash, ain't got no style 

Ain't got not girl to make you smile 

But don't worry be happy 

Cause when you worry 

Your face will frown 

And that will bring everybody down 

So don't worry, be happy (now)..... 



There is this little song I wrote 

I hope you learn it note for note 

Like good little children 

Don't worry, be happy 

Listen to what I say 

In your life expect some trouble 

But when you worry 

You make it double 

Don't worry, be happy...... 

Don't worry don't do it, be happy 

Put a smile on your face 

Don't bring everybody down like this 

Don't worry, it will soon past 

Whatever it is 

Don't worry, be happy 


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stuff I've Been Reading

Links to some of the things that I've been reading through the week. Please click on through and enjoy the bloggy goodness!
  • Ron Edmondson wrote a really nice piece about how to show your appreciation to bloggers that you like. As someone who has been doing this a while, I completely agree with everything on the list. 
  • Kristen Tennant wrote a great article about the virtual village. She didn't call it that, but we know that's what it really is.
  • Sarah Askins wrote a funny/poignant post about zombies and spam and blogging. It makes sense when you read it.
  • Callie Dean wrote a guest post at Stuff Christians Like about Christian Water Parks that made me laugh harder than I have in a while. Seriously brilliant stuff.
  • Elizabeth Esther posted a great list of rules for Biblical Tweeting
  • The Washington Post had a pretty thorough story about the stinkbug infestation that many people are experiencing. Nuisance to me, serious problem to a number of farmers. Hours of entertainment for my dogs.
  • Judge Ronald B. Leighton's memorandum opinion on the Witt v. US Air Force case is really something. It gets really good at about page 11. 
There are just a few days left in the 30 bloggers, 30 days, $30,000 water campaign. Please consider making a donation, even a small one, to this amazing cause. Remember 100% of your money goes directly to help fund a water project. That is really, really amazing. Thanks.

What have you read/written/watched/listened to this week that moved you? Please link up to your own site so I can check it out! Thanks!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Coming October 1 to BLOGLAND...





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Additionally, the brand just launched the Take Me Away! Moments Contest, an online YouTube video contest, where the Grand Prize winner will receive an experience worth $1,000 specifically designed to meet their personal Take Me Away! needs.   The grand prize will be announced in January 2011, and can be anything from a spa trip for a stressed out college grad to a personal shopper for the fashionably challenged.  To enter, go to: http://www.takemeaway.com/contest








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Sappy Saturday

Honestly, I know next to nothing about the immigration debate. I've never lived in a state where it's an issue. I have a tremendously ethnically homogeneous community of friends. I have never worked hard labor. I will fully admit to my liking of the following video is based wholly on an emotional response, not one that I have studied out (though it has caused me to look at the issue some more in the past day than I probably ever have before).

If you don't want to watch all 10 minutes, please at least watch the last minute. Colbert almost never breaks character on film, yet he does here. And it is really powerful.

I know that some have criticized bringing a comedian/satirist in to speak in front of Congress. I can understand that, as it does seem to demean the process (not that it needs much help at this point). However, his appearance has people talking about more than just "illegal immigration" and focuses more keenly on migrant workers. He has helped to humanize a group that is usually just considered in terms of their citizenship status.

I'm posting this as a Sappy Saturday because he made me tear up at the end. And because I don't think of "law-breakers" as my brothers and sisters nearly often enough. So this was a little kick in the pants for me.

Anyway, have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by!



Do you have any thoughts about immigration reform? Do you have any resources that I should read?

Friday, September 24, 2010

All About You!

Photo by Horia Varlan
I've been sick this week with a stupid cold. Last night was the premier of the last season (please?) of The Office and 30 Rock. And I used up all of my good writing (I hope) on a couple of other things (some monologues for my sister Megan and a super secret guest post that will go up next week). With that being the case, I'm thinking it's time for another post about you! So here we go:
  1. Are you a morning or night person?
  2. What television show would you bring back if you could?
  3. What's in the trunk of your car?
  4. Would you rather be really hot or really cold?
  5. What's your favorite breakfast?
  6. Hug or a handshake?
  7. Name something you're thankful for.
Looking forward to seeing what you've got to say. My response in the first comment (unless someone types faster than me!).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Support the Troops?


Seriously, enough already. I would like think we could be as forward thinking as Russia and Albania.

This isn't left or right. This is basic human dignity stuff here. Someone who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country should be able to keep a picture of his or her loved ones, including a same sex partner. They shouldn't have to lie about who they are or who they love. They shouldn't fear losing their job because of bigotry and discrimination.

Those who support this law do NOT support the more than 13500 troops who have been discharged under it for the sole reason that they love someone of the same sex. 

For information on how to take action to repeal this unjust law, check out the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. They have tons of great information there and ways you can become involved.

Discrimination is not okay. It's not Christian, it's not American. 

Enough already.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Oneness

Last Sunday my church had a big rally for all of the volunteers. It was a really great night. Tons of fantastic food (they served a salmon dip that was absolutely spectacular and I wish I had a recipe!), some amazing music, and a great opportunity to catch up with some of the others who serve at CRC.

While we were all gathered, one of the pastors took time to share some of the vision of the church and to pass on the stories of those who have impacted by what is going on our church. These are always an encouragement to folks to know that what we do on a given weekend matters to other people.

The primary theme of the event was "Making 1 Great Impact." And the main bullet point that Bill drove home was, "The impact we make for Christ is directly related to the oneness we experience with one another."

I absolutely love that. And I totally agree with it.

But (you knew that was coming, right?).

I don't know that we always apply it as broadly as we should.

I totally agree that within a given church there needs to be oneness for grow and thrive. The more united in purpose a church is, the more the people can get behind it and support it.

I think it matters to the Church at large as well. For better or for worse, I have been a part of a number of Christian faith traditions in my 36 years. I really love that, because it has given me a broad appreciation for what different churches have to offer to the community of faith.

However, there has been some frustration along the way as well, because there seems to be this underlying competition going on within the Church. I don't know that I've ever been to a church where "other" churches aren't mentioned, frequently in negative terms. Too traditional. Too modern. Too liberal. Too legalistic. Too exuberant. Too dead. Too big. Too small. And what it seems to boil down to is too different from what makes me comfortable.

But, as my friend Matt Appling in his 8th Letter stated, "we are not in competition with one another."

I recognize that oneness across denominations and even just with other churches is difficult. I know that there are some genuine areas of disagreement that people have over biblical interpretation and in style or application. And that's okay. I do, however, think that we could at least start by dispensing with the negative painting of other churches in our own church. Maybe the next time we're considering saying something negative about a neighboring church, we can choose to highlight something positive that is going on in their community. Maybe the next time we want to bring up an area where a church is failing, we can instead bring up an area where that church is succeeding. Maybe instead of looking where our church outshines another church, we can see what we might be able to learn from them.

There is nothing wrong with differences in the Church. Paul is pretty clear that we don't all have the same function in the Body of Christ and that if we were, it wouldn't be attractive or effective. However, there are numerous passages that speak to unity and oneness within the Church and I think that we would do well to look at those. And in doing that, I think we genuinely can have a greater impact on our world.

What is something that your church does well? What is something that another church in your neighborhood does well?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Musical Monday

Today's one-hit wonder was inspired by our family night out.

When we were at dinner, the music mix was all 80's and 90's music. Always a good time for someone my age.

So Jason and I are sitting there, humming along to the tunes and on pops "Two of Hearts." And our minds went completely blank on who sang it. This song was a massive hit back in the mid-eighties, and we just could not come up with the name. We thought about some of the usual suspects (Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, etc.), but I was pretty sure that it was someone a bit more obscure than any of them.

When we got home, we pulled it up on the internets and remembered that it was Stacey Q. We both felt like with the extreme success of this song, surely she had something else that we would know, but it doesn't appear that she did.

Anyway, here's to roller rink skate parties in the 80's. Two of Hearts by Stacey Q.

I never said i wasn't gonna tell nobody
no baby
But desperate lover, I can't keep it to myself
oh no
When we're together it's like hot coals in a fire
oh baby
My body's burning so come on heat my desire
come on come on

Two of hearts
Two hearts that beat as one
Two of hearts
I need you, I need you
Two of hearts
Two hearts that beat as one
Two of hearts
come on, come on

People get jealous cuz we always stay together
yeah baby
I guess they really want a love like yours and mine
together forever
I never thought that I could ever be this happy
yeah baby
My prayers were answered, boy you came in the nick of time
ohhh

I got this feeling that you're going to stay
I never knew that it could happen this way
Before I met you I was falling apart
But now at last I really know we're made of


(chorus)

I never said I wasn't gonna tell nobody
no baby
But desperate lover, I can't keep it to myself
oh no
When we're together it's like hot coals in a fire
oh baby
My body's burning so come on heat my desire
ohhh

I got this feeling that you're going to stay
I never knew that it could happen this way
Before I met you I was falling apart
But now at last I really know we're made of

(chorus)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stuff I've Been Reading

Links to some of the stuff that I've been reading over the course of the week. Click on through and enjoy the goodness!
  • Phil Plait wrote one of the best 9/11 posts ever. I hope he reposts it every year from now on.
  • Leonard Pitts wrote a spectacular article about extremism and how reasonable debate is losing to ridiculous extremism from all sides.
  • Kristen wrote a lovely post about being kind, even when we don't feel like it.
  • Nakedpastor drew a stunning cartoon. I LOVE the dual perspective on this one.
  • Jamie Wright had a birthday. You should stop by and make her feel better, since I revealed to her that even though she is younger than me, she writes much, much older than I do. Plus, she's super awesome and you should be reading her blog.
  • Shawn Smucker is quickly becoming one of my very favorite bloggers. He wrote a fantastic piece about the power of kindness
  • Rachel Held Evans hosted the 8th Letter Synchroblog over at her site. I really enjoyed all of them, but don't miss the posts by Matt Appling, Elle Pyke and Liz Dyer
Also, please don't forget about the 30 bloggers, 30 days, $30,000 water campaign. They're not quite a third of the way to their goal and the month is running out. Scrounge around the cushions, wrap up some loose change, skip a dinner out, ditch pop for a week -- whatever you can to find a little cash to donate. Every dollar counts.

What have you read/written/watched/listened to this week that has moved you? Feel free to link to your own blog!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sappy Saturday

My family reminds me all of the time how I love having them around.

Last night we had a long-awaited family night. Turned off the cell phones and the computers and just hung out for a while. I'm not someone who tends to get really worked up about most things, but when it's an event that I've been looking forward to for a long time, I tend to get wound pretty tight for those moments. I'm just terrified that they are not going to go well, so I'll get it in my brain that THEY MUST GO WELL.

The kids had a short day of school, so my first task was to keep everyone mellow during the few hours between getting home and heading out to dinner. I expected this to be a major task, but incredibly, the kids all got together and started working on an osmosis project out in the kitchen. Faith was the originator of the experiment, but they all participated. They put water and food coloring into coffee mugs, grabbed different types of paper products (coffee filter, toilet paper, paper towel and a different kind of napkin), put them in the water and watched to see which one soaked up the water and color fastest. It wasn't a fully scientific test, as the water levels weren't the same in all of the mugs and nothing was timed very exactly, but completely separate from me they decided to do this. For like an hour.

Right before we were heading out, one of the dogs got out and decided to take a jog around the neighborhood. He hasn't made a break for it in months, so I totally over-reacted to his escape ten minutes before we were leaving. Deborah helped me run after him and we were able to get him back home right away so we weren't too late to meet Jason up in Morgantown.

The kids had asked to go to Cici's Pizza for dinner and since it had been a long time since we'd been there, we obliged them (plus, their dessert pizza = delicious!). The boys cracked me up, as both James and Christopher probably put away ten pieces of pizza plus whatever desserts they got. It had Jason and I absolutely howling watching these two little guys running back and forth to the buffet.

We came home (after everyone argued about who got to ride in the car with Daddy -- the girls won) and played a game of Apples to Apples Jr. that Megan lent to me (and that I totally need to buy). The game was really fun, but my favorite moment was when the word that we were trying to match was "tame." Christopher was having a hard time placing that word and James said, "You know! The opposite of our family!" While I would say that quiet is the opposite of our family (I hope we're not completely wild and uncivilized!), it still made me laugh.

We then sat down together and watched The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything from Veggie Tales. I had completely missed this movie when it came out and it was very funny. Gotta' love the folks over at Big Idea. Very creative and very fun (though I personally liked the music better from Jonah). Watching the kids clamor over Jason to sit with him just made me happy. Even our 12 year old wanted to give Dad a big hug when she was heading to bed.

Yes, this was just a few hours. Yes, there were some little squabbles along the way. Yes, we will probably have moments later where we ignore one another, are mean to one another, and act like the wild people we are. The kids will grow up and have interests that are different from us and one another. But even then, I am incredibly thankful that I have moments like last night. Time laughing with one another. Time exploring how the world works. Time encouraging someone who wasn't having a very successful time in the game and cheering when she won a round. Time fighting not about a thing, but about who gets to be with a parent. Time curled up together, loving one another. Time as a family.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Some Updates

Yeah, I know that I just changed the look of my blog not THAT long ago, but I've got some exciting new things getting ready to happen at the blog and I wanted to get her all fancied up before they take place. So enjoy the hopefully-easier-to-read look!

And I just wanted to thank everyone who has stopped by and commented this week (both here and on Twitter and Facebook). The thoughtfulness, courage and humor that you inject into the conversation is a massive blessing to me. I've talked about the Virtual Village before and how important it is to me, and this week proved to me again the truth of that statement. It's cheesy, but you're a treasure!

Now I'm going to go get ready for a rare family night. Have a lovely afternoon and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Depths

It's back.

I freaking hate depression so much.

But there's no denying what's been going on. The unexplained sobbing at random times. The exhaustion even when I'm sleeping and the inability to sleep even when I'm tired. The lethargic "blah" feeling that's keeping me from doing some of the basic stuff that needs to be done around the house.

Have I mentioned that I HATE depression?

This bout is weird because there's not something that I can point to and say, "That's what's causing it." In the past there have been reasons. Pregnancy did a number on me and even though I loved being pregnant, every time I suffered some level of depression. My last go-round was related to an awful, heart-rending church situation. Jason's ridiculous work and school schedule is no doubt a contributing factor this time. We truly have almost no time together right now and that takes a toll on both of us. But really, otherwise things are pretty good around here. I'm feeling more connected at church. I've got some incredibly supportive friends (both on-line and "real"). Things with Under Shelter are going well. The kids are having a pretty good year in school. I'm even happy with my writing most days (MOST days).

And yet...

Last night I tweeted that depression was "clawing at my brain." That probably sounds a bit melodramatic, but honestly, that's about how it feels. Depression is a monster. For me, it sits around, not really doing much a lot of the time. It's quiet. And then something awakens it. And it starts grabbing hold of my brain. Unfortunately, a lot of the time I don't notice it right away. I'll start feeling bad and be a bit more emotionally unstable. But actually understanding that I'm depressed? That usually takes a while. And even when I see it, it can be very difficult to say, out loud, "I'm depressed. I need help."

But I'm telling you, faithful reader, I'm depressed.

And really, even just that admission makes the monster's claws slip a little.

If you've experienced depression before or are going through it now or know someone who is going through depression, one of the very best books I've read is Matt Rogers's book Losing God: Clinging to Faith Through Doubt and Depression. It is the most honest look at depression that I've ever seen and it can help navigate or understand it better than any book I've read. Also, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact someone who will listen to you. The USA National Suicide Hotline phone number is 1-800-273-8255. For a list of international phone numbers, check this link. And know that you are NOT ALONE.


Have you experienced depression? How would you describe it? How have you addressed it in your life or how have you helped a friend or family member address it?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It All Comes Down to This

Last Friday night, Jason and I went to visit RichMisty. We're all incredibly busy people (okay, well, THEY are all incredibly busy people -- me, not so much), so actually setting aside a few hours to hang out as grown-ups was really something special. We ate some incredible food that our friends prepared and played Beyond Balderdash. We laughed, talked, laughed, ate, drank, and laughed.

When we finished up the board game, we decided to flip on the end of the WVU vs. Marshall game. When we turned it on, there were about six minutes left and Marshall was leading 21 to 6. With just over 3 minutes left, after WVU had scored a touchdown, Marshall's drive stalled out and they had to decide whether to go for it on fourth down, or go ahead and punt. One of the commentators said, "It all comes down to this play."

I thought it was pretty early in the game to bust out that phrase. Three minutes is a long time in football, particularly for two teams that have a lot tied up in the outcome of the game.

The game continued, went into overtime, and eventually WVU was victorious. It was a really exciting game (far more than it should have been) and we had a great time cheering on the Mountaineers.

But really, I couldn't stop thinking about the "it all comes down to this" moment. Much to the consternation of those with whom I was watching the game, I kept waiting for the announcers to say it again, but they never did. Which struck me as strange, considering how many opportunities in the following minutes there were for "all comes down to this" moments.

Later I got to thinking about the game and that comment in particular. And I started thinking about plays that it truly "all comes down to" in football. Almost none, really. A field goal when you're down by two. A hail-Mary pass with no time on the clock. That's about it. Definitely NOT something when there are three minutes left in regulation play.

Then I started thinking about the areas in my life where something has felt like an "it all comes down to this" minute. Can I boil down my life to a single moment? To a single decision?

I don't think so.

I don't want to say that moments are all inconsequential. Deciding to get married was huge. Career decisions have made a difference. Having children changed things massively. But has my life all come down to any of those things?

It's so easy to look at decisions we've made, especially bad ones, and think that we can't, or worse, shouldn't recover from them. We choose not to forgive ourselves. We choose not to move on. We choose not to see the good we've done. Instead, we focus on that one action, that one decision, that one moment and we linger there. We tell ourselves that the game is over, that there is no recovery.

My friend, are you reading this?

Then it has not all come down to anything for you.

You have time.

You can still learn. You can still create. You can still mend. You can still laugh. You can still heal. You can still love.

You're still alive. So you can still live.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Musical Monday

Time for another in our series of one-hit wonders!

Today's selection is a suggestion from reader and bff Rich. It was one that was floating around in the back of my brain when I was thinking of songs for this month and he reminded me to make it a part of the set.

This is Blue by Eiffel 65. As is the case for most one-hit wonders, there's nothing profound about this song, it's just got a massively strong hook and makes you want to dance. But really, on a Monday morning, what more do you need? An opportunity to shake your groove thing for four minutes doesn't seem like the worst thing in the world. Have a great day!

Yo listen up here's a story
About a little guy that lives in a blue world
And all day and all night and everything he sees
Is just blue like him inside and outside
Blue his house with a blue little window
And a blue corvette
And everything is blue for him and hisself
And everybody around
Cos he ain't got nobody to listen to

I'm blue da ba dee da ba die...

I have a blue house with a blue window.
Blue is the colour of all that I wear.
Blue are the streets and all the trees are too.
I have a girlfriend and she is so blue.
Blue are the people here that walk around,
Blue like my corvette, it's standing outside.
Blue are the words I say and what I think.
Blue are the feelings that live inside me.

I'm blue da ba dee da ba die...

I have a blue house with a blue window.
Blue is the colour of all that I wear.
Blue are the streets and all the trees are too.
I have a girlfriend and she is so blue.
Blue are the people here that walk around,
Blue like my corvette, it's standing outside.
Blue are the words I say and what I think.
Blue are the feelings that live inside me.

I'm blue da ba dee da ba die...

Inside and outside blue his house 
With the blue little window and a blue corvette 
And everything is blue for him and hisself 
And everybody around cause he aint got 
Nobody to listen to

I'm blue da ba dee da ba die...

I'm blue (if I was green I would die) 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Stuff I've Been Reading

Links to some of the interesting things I've found on the internets this week. Click through and enjoy the goodness!
  • Bryan Allain wrote about a letter that he wrote to himself 3 years ago, mostly just telling himself to get up and DO something. A good reminder when we're tempted to let fear (or laziness) keep us from working.
  • Nicole Wick shared her thoughts on Focus on the Family's stance on the Safe-Schools Improvement Act. This is definitely one to read the comments on -- tons of great dialog there. 
  • Rebecca Ramsey writes a really whimsical piece about the power of our words. Loved this one!
  • Shawn Smucker wrote a fantastic essay about the flagship verse for many evangelical Christians and why it may be the wrong one. Really thought provoking.
  • Dr. Robert Cargill wrote a guest piece on Jason Boyett's blog. This is a long one, but wow. I highly, highly recommend reading it. Some spectacular thoughts.
  • Justin Topp asks what the difference is between something being impossible or incompatible with the Christian faith.
  • Brett Barner celebrated one year of blogging. Stop by and wish him a happy blogiversary!
What did you read/write/listen to/watch this week that moved you? Please share links to your stuff -- I love finding new things to read!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Self-Exam

The three of us got home that morning from our trip to WalMart and the first indication that something was wrong was the nine messages on my answering machine. I clicked through them as I put away the various groceries and toiletries and indicators of my everyday life with my not-quite one year old son in a sling and my three year old daughter contentedly watching Sesame Street.

Message after message asking if I was watching the news. Asking if I had seen what happened. Asking me to call right away.

I remember calling Jason and him telling me that there had been a series of planes that were hijacked and that two had flown into the World Trade Center in New York and one had crashed in Washington. We didn't know anything other than that. He came home for a minute to grab an old television that we had here and we embraced as he we talked about what this meant.

By the time I put the kids down for a nap and put on the news, a fourth plane had crashed in Pennsylvania and the towers had collapsed. I called my best friend to make sure that her husband who worked at the FBI center just south of here was okay. We talked about our kids and what this meant for them. We wondered why. We cried. We prayed.

It's hard for me today, nine years later, to understand hatred that motivates people to this kind of action. Why, when so many find that their religious beliefs call them to love others, that some find that their religious beliefs call for something so completely different. Why beliefs that, for many, increase awareness of the sanctity of life sometimes turn into beliefs that life is expendable. How beliefs that for many increase awareness of our dependence on one another become a wedge that separate us from one another in so stark a manner.

But if I'm really honest with myself, I do it too. No, not to that degree. I can't see a situation where I would intentionally cause the death of thousands of people. But I fear. I disregard. I separate. I even hate. And more often than I'd like to admit, I couch it in terms of my religious beliefs. I'll call it standing up for correct doctrine or confronting sin or any number of Christian phrases that essentially justify my own biases and hatreds.

Today, as I remember that day and the many days since, I want to recommit myself to choose compassion over indifference. To choose understanding over ignorance. To choose unity over division. To choose love over hate.

I invite you to join me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The J-O-B

When we went on our family vacation this year, one of the things we did was to start a scrapbook for my mom with different stories that we all added. One of the stories we each wrote was about our first job. It was really entertaining to listen to everyone read stories about some of the different jobs that we had worked. Lots of laughter there. I wrote about my time working at a local race track, slinging pizza on Friday nights in the summer. Good times, good times.

I must say though, I wish my first job had been at Wendy's. My friend Chuck posted the following video on his Facebook page on Wednesday and it's been running through my brain pretty non-stop since then. How could you not love your job if this was the training material?



Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pour myself a hot drink and get my day started!

What was your first job? Or maybe you can share a general funny work story? 

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Courageous Christians

Yesterday my friend Hemant Mehta (I hope he doesn't mind that I call him a friend -- I know we've never met, but I like to think we'd get along pretty well IRL) twote an interesting fill in the blank:
"It takes real courage for a Christian to _______."

His post compiling these answers went up this morning. It includes things like:

  • It takes real courage to publicly express doubts about your faith and admit that Christianity doesn't have all of the answers it claims to have.
  • It takes real courage to let your children decide for themselves what religion (if any) they want to belong to.
  • It takes real courage to realize that Christians are no more moral than people of other faiths or no faith.
  • It takes real courage to say that an atheist won the debate you just watched.
It's an interesting list. And honestly, I find myself reflected in a lot of it, so it's easy for me to say, "Yup, that's a great list!"

But as a Christian, I think it's lacking.

It misses people like Jason Russell, Laren Poole & Bobby Bailey who founded Invisible Children after they saw children being turned into soldiers in northern Uganda. 

It misses people like Blake Mycoskie who created TOMS, where when you buy a pair of shoes, they provide another pair of shoes to a child who doesn't have any. 

It misses people like Jake Harriman who saw that a way to end terrorism is to end extreme poverty, one community at a time and founded Nuru

These people were inspired by their faith to make changes in the world. They looked at injustice, saw a way to help and did it. And continue to do it every day.

And there are smaller things too. People who work in their local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. People who donate time to visit the elderly in nursing homes. People who take a meal to a family who lost a loved one. People who sit up on the phone all night with a friend who is just feeling sad and just needs to talk. People who live out their faith.

I think that takes some courage as well. Courage against potential failure. Courage against potential illness. Courage against potential rejection.

I'm very lucky to know a number of courageous Christians. 

How would you answer Hemant's question? Who are some of the courageous Christians that you know?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Right to Bully

When I told Jason what I was writing about today, I told him that the main reason I didn't want to write it was because honestly, I just didn't want to sit through watching this 10 minute clip again.



Citizen Link (Focus on the Family's political arm) really has its panties in a wad over the potential amendment to the Safe-Schools Improvement Act (H.R. 2262) wherein language would be included to help schools add bullying prevention programs. Preventing bullying doesn't seem to be all bad, but the proposed amendment includes sexual orientation (either actual or perceived) as part of it and apparently, we should be allowed to call kids names if they're gay or appear to be gay.

Candi Cushman postulates that this bill will allow require schools to teach your Kindergarteners about gay people. That seems to be the one that gets people riled up pretty well. If a Kindergarten student calls another kindergarten student a fag and that kid is reprimanded, then the teacher will have to explain just how gay sex works. Sneaky, sneaky gay agenda (And seriously? We're still saying that? I thought that went out of fashion like, years ago. Get a gay friend to at least stay current with the language, people!).

The above video also plays very heavily into fears that Christianity will be a problem that there will be no protections for people who want to continue to bully gay kids (or kids who SEEM to be gay -- like my son who has been called "gay" before -- though I have to say I'm super proud of him for standing up and saying that there wouldn't be anything wrong with that even if he WAS gay -- booyah!). Of course, Citizen Link doesn't mention anywhere in the video or on the recap on their site that another protected class is "religion." Which means that all of those meany gay kids can't pick on the Christian kids and NO ONE gets to have any bullying fun!

I read over at truetuolerance.org and what I see there is what the bill is about. I know that these folks don't REALLY think that bullying is okay. I know that they don't REALLY believe that we're going to be teaching Kindergarteners about the finer points of gay sex.

So what is the deal here? Is it really a "secret" agenda that gay people think being bullied is a bad thing? Is it bad for children to know, yes, even in Kindergarten, that gay people exist?

All I know is that I hear a lot about loving "the sinners", but I can't see the loving upside of opposing this bill. It just comes across as...bullying.

What do you think about the Safe-Schools Act? If you disagree with it, why? If you support it, why?
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
 
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