Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Y'all. It is 11:30pm, and I only know that because I just looked at the clock. I am in MESMERIZED mode.

It's paper writing time at school, which can be overwhelming just to jump into. After weeks and many, many pitchings of paper topics, I finally landed on writing about 2 women who received many visions of God back in 14th century England. I came to this because a mentor told me that considering some things I am working out with God, a next step for growth might come from reading the mystics.

A few days ago, I finished reading the book dictated by Margery Kempe. I have to say, I'm not exactly sure if she was the best fit for me. She does have plenty of valid experiences, and I did glean several things from her-- mostly for the paper. But in terms of personal application, I found myself laughing (sorry, Marge) at her, and for good reason! [Warning: this is an unfair splice from the readings. Most of it is serious, but I couldn't help sharing this with you.] So Margery convinces her husband to live a chaste life after giving him 14 children. (Whew!) Six months into the deal, he poses this hypothetical situation. The following is fairly verbatim... "Husband: Margery, say there were to be a guy with a sword to my neck, threatening to decapitate me unless you sleep with me. Would you do it? Margery: Regretfully, I could not! I could not bear the uncleanness." Living with a man who loves "would you rather" scenarios, this one had us cracking up!

But today I began Julian of Norwich. I love her already, and I am only a few pages in. She is very thoughtful. It was 20 years between the time she received her visions and this recording of them with her theological insight. I've shared some tidbits on Facebook with you, but I have to share this prayer of hers with you.

"God of goodness, give me yourself, for you are enough for me. I can ask for nothing less that is completely to your honor, and if I do ask anything less, I shall always be in want. Only in you I have all."

This is perhaps my favorite so far, which I shared on FB:

"God wills to be known, and it pleases him that we rest in him, because nothing less than he can satisfy us."

I can't say I am excited to write the paper, but I am certainly enjoying the research. I hope this blesses you today!

Amazon Deals!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I have a very thoughtful piece about Christmas in mind to write. In the meantime...

My favorite magazine is on sale-- 1 year, only $5!!!!! If you need a present for your momma, this is it! Real Simple. 1 Year. Only $5.


autumn has arrived!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have lots in my head about the Gospel of John and accountability, so instead of thinking on them (which I should have), I edited a bunch of photographs from recently. I hope you'll enjoy. For the full album, you can click the link on the right hand side of the screen. Here are some of my favorites:

2 recent lessons

Monday, October 26, 2009

I've learned 2 great things through my classes that are certainly not going to leave me any time soon:

1. From Greek, I learned that the word for hope is ελπις. An accurate definition of hope in the Greek is the "confident anticipation of what we know will surely come to pass." In this season, I am reminded of friends who are living in the sureness of their hopes, with confident anticipation that the God given hope of their future will surely come to pass. I pray for you reading this that you will lean with a confident anticipation on what you know will surely come to pass because God is faithful to his promises.

2. I learned a great lesson on marriage during an impromptu rabbit trail sermon/lesson. Our professor mentioned that we practice divorce whenever we leave the room during an argument. I have heard it often said that we dangerously practice marriage when we stay overnight with the person we're dating. It's dangerous because there is not yet the level of commitment to Christ and to your relationship when you practice the covenant of marriage before it is made. However, I had never heard of practicing divorce. The fact is, when you leave a room when you're mad, next time you will likely leave the house. The not-so-subliminal message that you're sending is: I am better off getting through this argument without you. You could see where this would lead to an actual separation. With a sad number of people around us contemplating divorce, I am reminded of the work involved in doing marriage. I would beseech you as a friend to live in your marriage this week, and even when you're arguing, practice being together.

october thoughts

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

prepare for a feast of randomness...1. Larry-- thank you for celebrating our anniversary in the most perfect way. I will never forget today. It couldn't have been more thoughtful-- my kinda flowers and pizza on the beach included.

2. I wish I had learned earlier just how much there was to learn from the early Christians about how to live life today. Exhibit A, coming from Ignatius circa 100 AD: "For the work we have to do is no affair of persuasive speaking; Christianity lies in achieving greatness in the face of a world's hatred" (Ignatius to the Romans, 3). Had I had his arguments against gnosticism (the 100AD version of New Age thought) I could have combated Baron Baptiste in my yoga class much more persuasively and with better vocabulary.

3. Did you know that God proclaimed, as in spoke, his glory to Moses rather than showing it to Him visibly? You probably know the story in Exodus 33-34 when Moses says "now, show me your glory," and God hides Moses in the cleft of the rock as he passes by him? Well Exodus 34 says as he passes by the Lord proclaims to Moses who He is! Now, John 1:14, we have seen the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ, for (paraphrase 1:18) until Jesus, no one could look upon God and live! We have seen his glory!

4. The Lone Gull in Gloucester (pronounce Glo-stah) has an amazing caramel latte.

5. I know I haven't been posting, but if you want to see (with your eyes rather than have it proclaimed to you) what we've been doing over the past 2 months, click on the photo stream on the right to see our recent pics in Picasa.

lighthearted... peace prize

I hope you have a sense of humor as you read this. Slowpoke, a political cartoon website, posted this cartoon about why Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. I laughed :)

makeup must-haves!

Monday, October 12, 2009

No one knows the deals at Sephora like my sister. She's worked there for several years and has awesome advice uniquely for each person that walks in the store. She's started a blog just to let you know what items are currently on sale there and which new items you should give a try! I highly recommend it if the idea of walking into a store like Sephora and picking out the ONE mascara for you feels like a daunting task. Check her out here! (http://sephorabydanni.blogspot.com/)

Just a few things she's clued me into that would have done me well to know earlier:
1. Nanette Lepore perfume
2. Tarte foundation (it's my sunscreen, moisturizer, foundation and powder all in one!)
4. The power of good brushes in helping you apply eye shadow.

I hope you'll check out her advice!

new places, new things

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rather than post one gynormous post about all the new things happening in life in Boston, I think I'll take it in segments over the next few days. I'm excited to introduce you to life up here! It's not as different from being down south as I expected.

One of the new things is a group of college women I'm excited about getting to know better. We're walking through the book Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline, written by Lauren F. Winner as a way of thinking about Christian disciplines in light of Judaic traditions. I want to share a few introductory quotes with you:

"Spiritual practices don't justify us. They don't save us. Rather, they refine our Christianity" (Winner, xii).

"Practicing the spiritual disciplines does not make us Christians. Instead, the practicing teaches us what it means to live as Christians" (Winner, xii-xiii).

Some of the disciplines I've most enjoyed being in my life are gleaned from Richard Foster's A Celebration of Discipline. I've found so much life and joy in prayer, meditation, fasting, and prayer. As I begin studying and working on these Judaic disciplines, I'm curious:

What spiritual disciplines do you most enjoy? Which would you most like to incorporate into your everyday life?

hasta luego, chattanooga

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We are mid-trip, making our way through the chilly northeast. It's already cold! I was wearing my wool coat even tonight. We've been able to share quality time with our parents while in Chattanooga, my dad who's helping us make our way north, Larry's Aunt and Uncle in Virginia, and now with his siblings in PA. Tomorrow we're Boston bound!

It's been so uneventful that I have very few musings for you. However, the car with the We'll Miss U Michael Jackson! painted on the back window shouldn't be forgotten. The plumber's crack of the mover unfortunately cannot be forgotten. And we had a nice jaunt dodging semis as we walked along the road to have lunch alongside the river across from Harper's Ferry.

I would appreciate your prayers as we travel alongside the more, ahem, aggressive drivers of the northeast. We hope to be settling in tomorrow night!

announcement! we're moving!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's official. We are Boston Bound!

There's so much wrapped into this move that it's difficult to begin posting about it. I've been writing less because I wasn't ready to announce, but I wasn't sure what else to talk about! So there you are. On August 31, 2009, we will be waving our final good-byes to our beloved city.

Just one serious thought I would like to share on the matter-- Larry has been teaching on Revelation this summer. Throughout our discussions and study, the topic of eternity has been on the forefront of our minds. The floodgates of emotion broke loose Monday night after I left a group of women I deeply love. I recognized, the more I thought about it, that in the moments of prayer we shared, the Lord was sealing those friendships for eternity. Temporally, we won't be together every Thursday night. However, because the foundation of our friendship is in Christ, we have all eternity to be together. This is resonating in me-- not as a cliche, but as a deep truth and beautiful hope. I am still in the process of being so sad about the friends we are leaving, but I am thankful for their foundations and for what is to come, both in Boston and in the life hereafter!

On a lighter note, I would love your recommendations for Boston!! And we would love to keep in touch with you if you'd like. We send out a newsletter email periodically. Please email me at meganhackman(at)gmail.com if you would like to receive those. And if you're already up north, we can't wait to see you!!!

PS Just realized I haven't said why we are moving-- Larry and I are both enrolling at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. The whys and hows of that we will save for another day!

a response to setting goals

Friday, July 10, 2009

I know the summer isn't over yet, but both of my goals have already gone bust-- in that, they didn't work out the way I thought they would. They may have just turned out better.

For weeks in my head I have been writing a post about my 40 day yoga transformation experience. It's taken all kinds of different forms. First, I was going to write an angry post about how the yoga book we read alongside the challenge blatantly plagiarized Scripture by lifting chunks of it out of context and using it for the means of making yoga a religion that Christians should buy into. i.e. The first law of yoga according to Baron Baptiste is "Be Still and Know." But it's missing "That I am God!" Instead, we are to be still and know our inner selves. How hopeless! There is no stillness when I look inside my fleshly self. Instead, there is confusion, frustration, failure to follow through, sin, and total insufficiency. But, when I am still and know that God is who He says He is (I AM that I AM) then I can see myself in the form he made me to be-- spiritual and growing, beautiful and clothed in Christ's righteousness rather than being judged on my own merit. You can tell that I'm obviously passionate about this. But, a whole blog of that (there are 12 laws in which I would love to point out the truth behind the Scripture) might have just done you (and me) in.

I'd rather talk about what yoga has given me. As you may remember, I was going for this side-crow pose in addition to many, many things: self-discipline, peace, strength, losing a few pounds, and opportunities to share about the Lord. Think I was asking too much from a 40 day transformation experience? You would be right.

I hit a brick wall about it last week-- well, more like a deep, depressing valley. I have not been extremely self-disciplined. I have not found peace. I know I'm stronger because I can get into the poses, but I can't see that toning in my body. I have not lost a single pound. And. I have not had opportunities to share my faith.

Praise God, He is not through with me. I've been reading through the study No Other (g)ods. Kelly Minter describes her surprise at seeing an old Egyptian idol-- a skinny cat that holds the wisdom of life in its hands. How could people bow down to a gold skinny cat and expect to find wisdom of life?! Oh Megs. I have been doing just that. I have been bowing down to yoga, expecting to find all of these things. They do not come from a practice. They come from intimacy with Christ. I have sought these gifts from the Lord more than the Lord himself, and I have sought them on my own terms expecting my own will power to bring them into my life. Why did I put my hope in something that cannot, absolutely positively cannot offer what I need? How different would it be if I would seek first God, his kingdom and his righteousness and then all else will be given to me. Because all else will be incomparable and unimportant in light of knowing Christ. Such a simple lesson, and yet it's never hit me before.

As a side note, the homemade bread thing didn't work out either. But that goal's unimportant. I have plenty of family, Hackmans and Podawiltzs, that make some mean homemade bread. I'll just be a mooch :) And there is freedom in that as well.

shout out to all my siestas

Friday, June 19, 2009

Can I get an AMEN! from my Siestas out there?!

I have to share a praise report today. A friend of mine is in college ministry in CA. She was hoping to do the study by Beth Moore called A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place. I recommend this study so much-- it completely changed how I view Scripture. I was able to see for the first time that the Bible is one phenomenal, perfectly planned story of redemption that began before Creation, had a big moment in the garden of Eden, climaxed at the cross, and is looking forward to its fulfillment of complete reconciliation at the end of times. So my friend was wanting to walk through this study with her college students, but the videos are very expensive, especially for a college ministry with limited resources.

So get this-- the amazing women who follow Beth Moore's blog set up a scholarship fund last year for those who are financially unable to spring for videos or conferences or the like. The wonderful ladies at Living Proof Ministries are able, through this fund, to provide my friend with the videos for next year.

So when we ask for big miracles from God, let's remember how creatively he takes care to provide for us in every moment of our lives. My verse this past month was Philippians 4:19-- "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." He is so faithful and so good. Let us never doubt.

Three Cups of Tea

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I have been ever so slowly working my way through the books that have been on the right hand side of this page for an embarrassingly extended period of... ehem... months. I finally made it to the finale of Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson this week. It is an eye and a heart opener. (not unlike many yoga poses I'm learning are hip openers-- ow!)

The conditions of the Middle Eastern countries are something I am grappling with from as many angles as I can get a hold of. Iran's recent elections, Afghanistan's literature, Turkey's cultural developments-- all have captivated my interest. Why? Why is a great question. Um..(I am really thinking hard about this here)... well there's a lot of reasons. This may sound corny, but I hope it doesn't. I feel an overwhelming love for those who are lost spiritually, for the suffering and hunger and displacement of those in the region, and a supernatural need to pray for Jesus to be known there.

Back to the book-- Greg Mortenson is a mountaineer that found himself lost on his way back from hiking K2 in Pakistan and landed among the Balti tribe. He promised them help when he returned to the States and bought them the materials so they could build themselves a school. That was the first. Now his organization, the Central Asia Institute (CAI), is around the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, providing education to those who otherwise would find it inaccessible, especially girls. The book provides many dialogues about the power of education, its political and health care influences on entire nations of the underprivileged. He especially discusses how the schools are able to combat the powerful madrassas in the region that are churning out young jihadis. I encourage you to read this and grow in love with the region as I have. I believe that we have the opportunity through prayer to be a part in seeing the Kingdom come to these unreached areas.

Here are a few pictures from CAI's website of the students in the schools there. I ask that you would take the time to ponder a few things as you look at them:

1. Do the children of Afghanistan and Pakistan look, in terms of appearance, as you would expect them to?
2. Can you tell the age of the children? Do they appear similar to your own?
3. Please pray for them as you look at their faces-- that God would call them to himself, that they would grow in knowledge and understanding, and that they would be instruments of peace in their nation.

God's peace.

setting goals

Monday, June 1, 2009

Can I get an Amen! from those who are crazy overwhelmed with summer?  Isn't this supposed to be restful!  Hallelujah it is.  And yet it is not.

2 things that have been filling up my time:
1. A pitiful attempt at making some homemade bread
2. A new goal: 40 day yoga transformation project

I will get there!  I will make bread without a. forgetting to put the sugar in the water for the yeast b. burning the yeast with the coffee c. making bread that resembles more brownies than sourdough.  I will also be able to do the hurdler (a crazy yoga pose where you're squatted low, supported only by your hands and your core strength with your legs out to either side stacked on top of each other.  Sound crazy, it is!)!  

Watch out, world.  This overwhelmed girl's going to tackle the impossible schedule AND 2 ridiculous goals.  Are you with me?  What are your goals for the summer?

National Day of Prayer

Friday, May 8, 2009

This is an excerpt (the less politically laced excerpt) from the Os Hillman daily work devotional I receive via email:

"The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here'" (Zech 3:6-7).

On September 17th, 1796, George Washington said, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." In His Prayer At Valley Forge, he entreated God: "Almighty and eternal Lord God, the great Creator of heaven and earth, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; look down from heaven in pity and compassion upon me Thy servant, who humbly prostrates myself before Thee."

This is not another political email.  As Derek Webb sings, "My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country or a man, a democracy or blood.  It's to a king and a kingdom."  Please join with me in praying that God's will will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.  I pray that his kingdom will come quickly in its fullness.  And in the meantime, I pray that we will have a flag, a country, a President, a government and families that stand for the Lord that walk in his ways, that know his grace and will govern over us with a spirit of humility before the Almighty and eternal Lord God.

MUST must must read

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Piggy backing off my last post, you simply MUST READ this one.  Melissa (formerly Moore) in Calcutta, India.

N.T. Wright offered a much more eloquent answer to my issues in my post from the other day.

“The cry for justice in the world, then, must be taken up and amplified by the Christian church, as the proper response to the voice of the living God.  The gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the Spirit indicate that there are ways forward…Christians should be energetic in advocating and pursuing that justice for which all human beings long and which burst upon the world, in a fresh and unexpected way, through Jesus.” (N.T. Wright, Simply Christian, 228)

Slumdog & India

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I have been overwhelmed, once again, but the plight of an entire nation of people.  Once again I find myself with the saints saying, How long O Lord??  How much longer will you withhold your justice?

(caveat) I think I'm going to work backwards on this one, so starting with where I am now and then backing up to where this whole thing started.  Please be patient with me-- I am a work in progress and so is this thought process.

Most recently, India has been on my mind because one of Beth Moore's daughters, Melissa, is in India with Compassion International.  For her story, click on the "melissa in india" blog link on the left.  Were it not for the droning of the florescents in my cube to keep me aware of where I am, I would have wept at her pictures.  The last one is almost too much for me.

There have been many conversations between Melissa and the movie, but the recent interest in India was kicked off with Slumdog Millionaire.  I recognize that I am one to be very emotionally wrapped up in a movie.  I jump at the slightest provocation and rarely watch a moving movie without dreaming about it later that night.  But this one was something else altogether.  I was on my feet for a good chunk of the movie, unable to bear even being in the same room when Latika is abused (granted, it is implied but OH MY the implication was enough), when the poor child's eyes are blinded by a cruel, greedy man, or when Jamal was tortured.  This was a month ago and I still know their names.  I was told this weekend, "but it has a happy ending!"  I can't help but recognize that for so many Indian children, there is not the hope of the million dollars.  

This led me to a frantic, soul crushing discussion with Larry and a close friend.  What hope at all can I offer the children of India?  Do I truly believe that the name of Jesus is hope enough when I cannot change even their hunger?  I am frustrated with myself for even having that question.  But a that close friend pointed out to me that the justice and provision I have pictured for these impoverished children is not God's justice- it is not nearly as perfect and it is focused on the circumstances of this world.  God's justice, however, is perfect.  Beth Moore talked about how God's justice is balanced with his love.  I cannot extract or separate God's perfect justice from His perfect love.

So I have been meditating on John 16:33
I have said these things to you (about Jesus going back into heaven) that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation.  But take heart, I have overcome the world.

I do believe, and for the sake of those who are truly suffering in this world, I must believe that Jesus has already overcome the world.  They will receive justice and every blessing from the Father.  He sees them and knows them each by name.

India began to be written on my heart back in high school, when a friend sought to go to India for the summer.  She must have already known that the hope offered in the name of Jesus and his redeeming work on the cross was and is sufficient for the poor in India.  That same assurance has been preached to me again and again through the powerful witness of those who have seen God's grace bring life in India: when she returned to India, and then another friend from high school went to spread the good news, and then a couple with 10/40 Connections spoke of the movement of God there, then when a friend asked me to pray for her burden for India, then when our church began sponsoring an orphanage there that takes girls off the streets and out of prostitution and gives them a home, and now with Melissa.  If you would courageously considering opening your heart to prayer for the nations, I believe that you will find as I have that the name of Jesus IS the power and grace, the love and justice, and the profound hope for all who are lost and all who are suffering.  May it be so.

warning: this will be your favorite recipe ever

Monday, April 13, 2009

Our friend Sara introduced me to the most divine bread I have ever had in my life.  Now, if you know me, you know I love... yes, I love bread. 

It was a beautiful morning in sunny San Diego and there was an open table on the patio of Con Pane.  I was ready for a full cup of coffee and a taste of something sweet.  Pane Cioccolata called to us.  We ordered an entire loaf, still warm from the oven.  The chocolate stayed perfectly smooth with the aid of the morning sunlight.

Sound like a love story?  It is.  I invite you into your own tale: a similar recipe.

Silly, I know.  Do you have a love affair with a certain food?  Would you mind sharing the recipe?

Camera Aperture

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I can always rely on Holly to have something entertaining to do in the middle of the work day. Today we went on a photo adventure, and I learned about something I wish I'd learned about a long time ago!

If you are using a slightly fancy digital camera, you should have an "A" setting. This is for Aperture. Try playing with it! You can adjust it low (un-intuitively this means a big number). Low would be like 16 or so. This is going to make your pictures very very detailed. It gives the camera a long "depth of field" so that a lot of your background is in focus. I really like taking photos with a high (un-intuitively this means a low number) aperture. On my camera that's about 4.5. The bigger the lense, the higher the aperture can be. This will make only one object super in focus and everything else blurred.

Everything in focus = high number, low aperture
Just one object in focus, everything else blurred = low number, high aperture

Those 2 scenarios play out like this:

Mom and I are in focus, the fountain's in focus, the people to our left are in focus, and even the tulips are mostly in focus.
Here only one dogwood flower is really in focus, causing your eye to be drawn just to that one blossom.

I'd love to hear any of your photography hints!

New Layout Addition

Monday, April 6, 2009

I wanted to call a bit of attention to the left side bar on the blog.  I realized I've been recommending a few individual blog postings lately, but I'm going to begin storing them here.  I've started off with just 3.  Be sure to check out the question I asked of Kitchn- my favorite cooking blog- on the left.  I asked them recently about how to downsize a kitchen to fit in a much smaller space.  Check it out!

Amazing Timing

Friday, April 3, 2009

Beth Moore's challenge to Scripture memorization came at just the right point in my life.  The verses I've been working on read like a journal of the last 3 months of my life.  Each one that I committed to my heart because God told me to had an Immediate effect.  Let's take a few for instances:

Deut 8:2-3 You shall remember the whole (long)  way I have led you these 40 years through the wilderness... I have humbled you and let you hunger that I might feed you with manna that you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that you might know that man does not live by bread alone but by the very word that comes from the Lord. (ESV)

This verse spoke to me because, for those of you who followed our possible move to Spain last year, I've been feeling like we're in the long way to getting to where we're going.  I did not realize that we were about to enter possibly a time of hunger.  I started memorizing this verse 24 hours before Larry found out that his work situation had changed.  We've been blessed with work opportunities in the meantime and are still being fed with manna that we have not known nor have our parents known.  We're living more and more securely on God's word for sure.  It was amazing the joy that this verse caused me to receive Larry's news with.  I knew immediately that the Lord would be providing manna for us.  It is not in my human nature to receive such unknowing well, but the Lord had already provided for me with hope in this verse.

Move onto the next one.  We have been claiming the promise of Proverbs 19:21 over our lives.  I went to Beth's site with a completely different verse in mind, but the first posting was this verse by someone else who's participating in the challenge.  I can see so much hope in this verse: for those who are always making plans, but rarely see them come to fruition; for those who like to plan but are discouraged from doing so by those who glorify the gypsy life; for those who do not yet know what direction God is leading them in.  Hear these words and receive the full satisfaction God provides in this manna:

Many are the plans in a man heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. (NIV) (or check out the NASB)

One of my core group girls had the greatest image of this: our plans are like seeds that we spread over the ground.  Some will grow, and we will know them to be in the Lord's purpose as they grow firmly.  Sometimes we will not see a plant grow from any of the seeds that we plant, but we may see the most beautiful flower grow out of the same land.  This is the Lord's purpose amongst our planning.  Be encouraged that he has good plans for you!  With a hope and with a future.

The current verse is Psalm 37:23-24.  I pray that I can claim this assurance, that God will make our steps secure and catch us when we stumble on this next path of ours.

A man's steps are established by the Lord, and He takes pleasure in his way.  Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord holds his hand. (HCSB)

I would love to hear what Scripture God has or is speaking to you.  I would encourage you to memorize this.  Not for the sake of the memorization exercise, but that it might be written on our hearts and brought to mind when we need it.  Blessings on your time with the Word.

Groceries & Saving Money

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Playing a silly game of The Price Is Right with baked goods at a wedding shower this weekend, I realized that I really do pay a lot of attention to the dollars and cents of grocery items I purchase. I thought in this economic time, I might share a bit of my border-line obsessive-compulsive, Type-A, obnoxiously organized, weekly grocery shopping ritual. Perhaps it will serve to give ideas about how to conserve when grocery shopping or, at the very least, amuse you in how ridiculous my procedure is. So, for better or worse and those in between, here's the ritual.

1. Planning at least 1 week in advance, I write down days and meals in a row like:
M L (Monday Lunch)
D (Tuesday Dinner)

2. Thinking through any items that I might have in my fridge/freezer and favorite recipes, and I fill in the meals accordingly. I usually have notes about things like-- potluck breakfast at work.

3. I go through my most recent copies of Real Simple, Cooking Light, or my favorite- MyRecipes.com to fill in the gaps. Sticking to one culture of cooking keeps your ingredient list down-- like Mexican, Oriental, Italian, etc. Make 1 batch of meat sauce that'll get you through the week or stretch 1 can of black beans over a couple days. No wasted food!

4. As I write down recipes, I'm writing down what ingredients I know I need, listed by aisles at the local grocery store to make shopping a bit easier.

What I end up with is this (this week is boring b/c we're working off a bunch of bulk from our Costco and Trader Joe's trips in Nashville last weekend-- whoohoo!)

M L chicken caesar salad and hummus (leftovers from Sunday D)
D chicken ravioli & salad

T L leftovers (or lunch at the House) only $2!
D chicken parmesan pasta

W L chicken parmesan pasta
D tilapia, wild rice, green beans (frozen, Trader Joe's)

T L frozen mini tacos (Trader Joe's strikes again)

You get the idea. Doing it this way, we only spent $20 on groceries for the week granted we did have chicken, fish and tacos in the freezer. But on a weekly basis we spend around $75 for 2 of us. I hope that helps!

I would love to know your top grocery money saving tip!!

Cube Favorites

Monday, March 23, 2009

Since I'm on a blog-recommending streak, I thought I'd introduce you to my top 7 Cubicle Life Enhancement sites.  Looking for an, "oh wow!" or "that's what I've been needing!" or "haha" or "well, I'll be" added to your day?  Stuck in a cubicle?  These just might make your day.

  1. Add Gmail Shortcuts to your Outlook email, c/o Lifehacker.
  2. Spend much time typing up other people's pre-printed forms?  Again, c/o Lifehacker, this download will enable you to convert scanned images or PDF's to functioning documents.
  3. Dream of another place you'd rather be.  My favorite- Barcelona.  A do/don't guide to Barcelona c/o NotesfromSpain.
  4. If only your supervisor would approve... redesign your cube space in your mind. c/o Wired
  5. Use Amazon's Wish List feature to create a birthday list for anybody to see what you'd like on any website!  Amazon will host the list.  I suggest adding lots from etsy to your list!
  6. Another c/o Lifehacker: Top 10 Outlook Boosters.  The xobni makes my life a lot easier!
  7. See how much exercise you get from walking from your cube across the office with Google's Maps.  When you click "Get Directions" change the drop down from "by car" to "walking."  Zoom in on your office address and create a starting point at your cube and a destination point at the other end of the office.  Now stop emailing and start working on getting swimsuit ready! (this is not my office, just an example)

    View Larger Map
Any suggestions you'd like to make?

$40 Eating out in a week-- Keeping it Local

For those of you local to Chattanooga, I suggest checking out the only local blog I know of covering specifically Chatty events, local news and politics* in Chattanooga, Chattari.  They hosted a very amusing and interesting challenge inspired by Rachael Ray's $40 days.  They took it one step further and spent $40 in one Monday-Friday period, eating out every meal.  They've self-defined a day's worth of meals as 1 caffeinated beverage, lunch, dinner and a cocktail.  Check it out!  They may have discovered a new favorite location for a cheap meal!

*in the spirit of full disclosure, they're quite bias

A Piece from a Pod

Thursday, March 19, 2009

For those of you who didn't know me before 3 years ago, let me introduce you to my maiden name:

P as in Paul
D as in dog
T as in table
Z as in zebra

All Podawiltz's spell it exactly this way.  I'm not sad to have left this one behind (sorry, Dad). Plenty of debatably clever things have come as a result of this name: most popular, my name,Poddy; most cheesy, my dad's riddles-- say it, "Podawiltz, like a Pod on Stilts."  I have heard that more times than I can count.  Now my sister has taken up the torch with a brilliantly clever blog title: A Piece from a Pod.  She's a very inspired and creative writer.  Her first piece is about which came first: the chicken or the egg, from which she concludes that the correct question is "the chicken or the eggs" and why chickens are dumb.  Enjoy.

Mr. Manhattan v. God, Cell Phone Carriers

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I wanted to introduce you all to some quality blogging. Larry's taken up blogging, and can be viewed here: trichoplax.blogspot.com.  

I would never have made it through the movie, but he has some very interesting things to say about Watchmen and the main character (the blue guy) in comparison with God. 

Also, hear him rant a bit about cell phone carriers with statistics to back him up.  He has some really great and inventive things to say (like why his blog is named trichoplax).  I hope you'll visit and enjoy.

Spreading Joy

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I *may* have cried.  But it's SO fun!!  Enjoy a happy for the day.

Independent Women

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Caveat: I do not pretend to think that by writing about this I am some sort of expert or have considered the sociological influences of this matter from multiple angles. This is not meant to be eloquent but just a gut reaction.

BBC today featured today a story about an exclusively female hotel that has just opened in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is a hotel run by women, for women with female IT personnel, housekeeping, front staff and bellhops.

Gut reaction: Great!
That's so great to provide women with a place where they can relax, not have to wear the full abaya, and feel safe from the perusal of men.

Following reaction: Feminist
Why should a woman have to feel threatened by the perusal of men because they're not completely covered head to toe in stifling black fabric?

Final reaction: Sadness
This is just not how Jesus intended it. My friend Jason spoke very thoughtfully last night to what changed after Creation that set man and God apart. Creation was very good when God was walking with man and woman in the cool of the garden. Man worked and tended to the garden and the woman helped the man. When we ate from the tree of good and evil, it wasn't that the fruit in itself contained the knowledge of good and evil and that is what separated us from God...

Woman and man ate the fruit in direct opposition to the will of God which had man's good in mind (Gen 2:17- in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die). When we went in the opposite direction of God's will, our eyes were open to a new measure of whether what Adam and Eve were doing was very good and in God's will or not. This new measure is the measure of good and evil. Where did they fall in the spectrum? Well Adam believed himself more good than Eve, and Eve saw herself more good than the serpent. From that point forward, we've been judging ourselves and the healthiness of our lives against the good-ness of others' lives.

This situation brings that contrast into a startling light. Extreme Islamic cultures continue to be the Adam, blaming the Eve for their failings. This sends women under covers, hiding in hotels where they can be safe, dangerously submitting to paths they've been ordered to follow. One of the Saudi IT specialists said, "It's not easy to work in a company, male and female together, so I feel really lucky." This is just not the natural order of things! God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone and made Eve. Not good to be alone! We are meant to be complementary, men and women and to work together.

Jesus, reconcile our world to you, your will, and your order.

First Album

Monday, March 2, 2009

Random for a Monday, but fun. I hope to see yours!


To Do This 1 - Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random”or click http://en.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FSpecial%3ARandomThe first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations"or click www.quotationspage.com%2Frandom.php3The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click http://www.flickr.com%2Fexplore%2Finteresting%2F7daysThird picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop (I used picasa) or similar to put it all together.

Dream Destination #1

Friday, February 27, 2009

Before DH and I tied the knot, we made a list of dream locations that we wanted to visit before, Lord willing, we formed a family. We've been rapidly crossing those off the list, with another one getting checked off next month. For that reason, I feel the need to add to the list! I hope this becomes a fun series where you all feel inspired to travel!

The first stop I'm borrowing from Design*Sponge......

The Resort at Paw's Up in Montana

This, friends, is a tent. Yeah right! A glamour tent-- they call them. If you look at their website, you'll see that there's the opportunity to horseback in 12 miles right along the river and stay in tents. There's 4 of them. Who wants to go with me!?

Baby Drama

There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about babies.

Single mommas with lots of babies.
Older women with new babies.
IVR babies.
Adopting babies.

And the newest-- a young, married, vocationally successful woman having a baby.
Why is this making news? Because people are upset about this, too! Why do you ask? I am asking the same question. Candace Parker is 22, happily married and successful in the WNBA. At first I was like-- oh, she's my age! Then I realized I'm not 22 anymore. Though I think in my mind I always will be. Back on topic-- here's what the article said: "Parker's view of motherhood as "a blessing" that will "make me a fuller, happier person" is not as unusual as the media hoopla over her pregnancy suggests."

Do you ever feel like sometimes quotes are used sarcastically... like Parker view having a baby as "a blessing" with a roll of an eye and a purse of the lips. It IS a blessing! And this means of beginning a family shouldn't be unusual, though apparently the media is making it out to be. She's being condemned for letting down her team, not enjoying her 20's, etc. The world is never going to condone blessing. Though I may not be ready for a child, I do recognize each one as a gift from God.

I enjoyed this weekend being surround by so many "blessings." Little Jack, Baby Faith, Baby Charlie (picture below). Take a bit of inspiration from Tom Prestigiacomo on Memphis radio who always said, "Go home and hug your babies." And let's spend more time loving babies than judging the methods by which they come into the world.

ESV Giveaway

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I have heard wonderful things about the new ESV Study Bible. Not the least of which is the amazing scholarship that went into writing the new commentary completed by many Gordon Conwell professors. Tim Challies' friend is giving away one of these! Click here to find out how to win one of your own.

In general, Tim has wonderful insight on Scripture and an amusing hodge podge called "A La Carte" of things written in the blogosphere. You can check out his blog through Blogs I'm Following on my home page.

Happy Studying!

Yummy, Cheap Food!

Monday, February 23, 2009

This is going to sound like a marketing piece. I can't help it.

I love Trader Joe's.

Why do they not have places like this in Chattanooga?? Probably because they would put GreenLife out of business ($5 for a bag of rice??). I think my sister-in-law thought I was nuts, but we made a side trip home from Cincinnati to stop at Trader Joe's. We were traveling and didn't bring a cooler-- like I do when we go to Nashville and raid Costco-- so it was snacks and dried food only.

For $50 I picked up:
Organic, homemade spinach linguine
1 ever-so-delicious jar of organic, 4 cheese tomato sauce
1 bag dried tortellini
1 bag shelled pistachio nuts
1 bag dark chocolate covered pretzels
1 bag sweet potato chips (SO good!)
1 bag white popcorn
1 L water
6 bottles of wine.

What?! How did I do that? Their prices are ridiculous. $1.50 for that pasta, $2 for the sauce, etc. I couldn't believe it. Here's what their website says about their low prices:

"We buy direct from the producer whenever possible. We strip away all the fancy stuff and focus on the important things like natural ingredients and inspiring flavors. We run a pretty lean ship, too - you won’t find any corporate jets or fancy offices around here. Heck, our CEO doesn’t even have a secretary!"

Novel idea. Nashville, watch out! I'm bringing a double cooler for Costco and Trader Joe's next time!! I can't wait to try the green chili chicken burritos!

Discovering Yourself

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm a sucker for personality profiles. This one (again) hit me dead on. Give it a shot if you have some time!


Powerful Words

There is a lot of power in words.

There are a lot of words that have stuck with me-- the strongest of which are words of encouragement and words of reprimand (Mom-- remember when I ran up the phone bill in high school because I didn't realize how much it cost to talk to a boy in Spain everyday? haha).

Scripture tells us this, too.

A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:23-24

For my own sake I should probably type the entirity of James 3, but for your sake I'll just type the summation:

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things out not be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
James 3:10-11

I am guilty in multiple cases over the last 24 hours of having both salt and fresh water coming out of my mouth. I hope to engrave these Scriptures on my spirit for the next time I'm in a Wal-Mart line, spending time with more "difficult" people, in the breakroom with co-workers and loving those around me. It's true and illogical that my mouth would produce both cursing and blessing.

Photoshop Fun

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I finally had the time (and more importantly, the patience) to attempt the "tutorial" this blog featured. Actually, this tutorial was really no help at all, and it is only by the patience of my man that this photo came to fruition.
Here's the step-by-step to achieve it if you'd like to attempt. First use your regular software to make 2 copies of the photo, one in black and white, one in sepia.

Open up the 2 copies in photoshop. (if you're on a mac) While on the sepia picture, use the rectangle tool to select the entire picture. Click apple-c to copy the sepia. Apple-v to paste it onto the black & white copy. This will make it a new layer. Alter to opacity (on the far right menu above the thumbnails of the layers) to 50%. This will minimize the color of the sepia. The finished project is above! I think this is the perfect blend of the black & white and the sepia. Enjoy playing with your own!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In that same vein (as the Bolivia-awareness blog), today I read yet another article about female suicide bombers in Iraq. This is my reaction:

sad, very very sad

No, I did not use a thesaurus. So you got my unfiltered, gut reactions. I began to think about a year ago that these women are forced into becoming suicide bombers, rather than choosing that path themselves. After all, there isn't even a fabled heaven of virgins awaiting a female martyr in Islam. After reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini I began to get a picture of the horrors of life as a female in a radical Islamist nation (Afghanistan in this book). An unethical, immoral, unfathomable responsibility is placed on the woman for the ludeness and violence of a man. Raped? Your fault! You allured the man and forced him to take you. Abused by your husband? Your fault! You're antagonistic and rebellious!

Now I would never consider myself a feminist, but I am absolutely appalled by the news confirming my most awful nightmares about the plight of the female. There is a woman (and thus I assume women) manipulating this sense of responsibility on the Muslim female. A woman! A mother of 6 is the one doing this! According to now 2 articles I have read (the first above), a woman has admitted to recruiting 80 female bombers, 23 who went through with committing suicide. She's not only preying on their helplessness by claiming to offer them liberation from their domestic lives, as I had suspected. Worse. She is actually orchestrating them being raped so that she can offer them restoration of their dignity by blowing themselves up. ........ !!!!!!!!

I usually try to keep it light here, but seriously. Please be aware. I have no idea how else to help the situation. If you are of the Muslim faith and are reading this, I don't know what to say. I suppose I would feel this way if I had read about the atrocities performed by soldiers in the Crusades. I like to think I would have stood up then. I can't believe this is all happening in the name of a faith and would especially upset if it were being done in the name of the faith I held. I'm rambling because I'm upset.

So the last thought I have is the words we were singing last night,

"God above all the world in motion. God above all my hopes and fears. I don't care what the world throws at me now. It's gonna be all right! Cause I know my God saves the day and I know his word never fails and I know my God made a way for me.

Salvation is here."


It has been almost 3 years since I was in Cochabamba, Bolivia but the faces of the people have stuck with me. I don't pretend to understand the deep complexities of the political situation- an openly socialist, proudly indigenous President bringing his agendas into an arena where the indigenous have largely been forgotten throughout the history of his nation and forcing it onto another portion of the population that would prefer things stay as is. Sometimes I think, for me, having the awareness of the plight of the individual on both sides of the spectrum is perhaps more important than having a highly developed political opinion. I hope you have the time to look at these stunning photographs as recorded by The Big Picture and be inspired to awareness of the world at large.

Honest Scrap

Thanks Amy!
Here's how it goes:
#1: Choose a 7 spectacular blogs that you can't live without and pass this on to them.
#2: Post the "chosen ones" on your blog in link form.
#3: List 10 honest things about yourself.
#1 I can only think of 1 place where I order the same thing every time I go: Rembrandt's, Caprese panini. Everywhere else, I never order the same thing.
#2 I secretly miss having a pet. Not that I'm desperate to have our cat back, but I miss having an animal in the house.
#3 I really love Jesus
#4 I can't eat Snickers because of an unfortunate meeting between the stomach flu and Halloween when I was in middle school
#5 I know they're financially such a waste, but I love fresh flowers
#6 Planting a garden and watching it grow tops the list of fulfilling achievements for me
#7 I can't leave anything unfinished, especially puzzles (see my current reading list)
#8 I'm terrified of skiing due to an unfortunate first-attempt but I pretend like I'm not because I really want to like skiing!
#9 30 Rock is dominating my evenings these days
#10 My hair is no longer naturally this color
I raise my glass to:


Friday, January 30, 2009



There is a opossum carcass under my front porch. Right. by. the. kitchen. You have NO idea the smell that can come from this thing. I mean, seriously. It's my fault that it lasted this long, really. I thought a cat that Larry and I were befriending was making his mark. Until Larry relocated the kitty and the temperature turned from 20 to 60 degrees. No words to describe this.

Why in the WORLD would I torture you with this image?


Last night we were studying about Jonah and brought up that 4 times the NASB says that God "appointed" different items of nature into Jonah's life. First, the whale was appointed to swallow him in the first chapter. Then in the 4th while Jonah's having his middle school revenge pity party moment, God appoints a plant to shade him, a worm to eat the plant and a scorching wind and sun upon Jonah. The question we were asking was, have we ever experienced this type of God's appointment in our lives? I couldn't help but think of that opossum and what divine lesson it's supposed to be bringing. It may not be bringing one at all, it may just have found our porch cool and supportive in his last moments. Just like the whale just may have been hungry.

Who knows! But it's definitely made me think about what items I should have seen (or smelled) in an early-detection-system kind of way. I knew the smell was there, but I assumed it was my responsibility and didn't consider it further. Are there warning signs cropping up that are being ignored? Be warned. The smell is horrific a week later! Are there things we are letting rot that we really need to dig up and throw out? Friends in relationships: I can't help but think of how many times we could be detecting things early, braving through the digging and throwing out process, and tackling them head-on before they really start permeating other places in our marriage. The process isn't pretty, but it's surely not going to get any prettier in the meantime. I make a short appeal to consider this.

The message of the appointments is the same message Daniel shared at the House this week, the conclusion of the prodigal son. It is an invitation. We don't know how Jonah responded to the appointments, but we do know the options Jonah was given. God continued to appoint for Jonah means of showing Himself, means of preserving Jonah and showing evidence of his grace in order that Jonah could choose whether or not to enter into the celebration of the salvation of Ninevah. The prodigal son had the same invitation-- the Father pursues both the younger AND the older son to invite them into the celebration of the lost son. Yours is the same.'

Still surprised how I went from a opossum carcass to salvation? Me, too. ;)

Home Remedies

Have any great home remedy secrets?

Today at the office there is a HORRIFIC PLAGUE of stomach virus (Love you Holly! I hope you feel better!). Anybody see 30 Rock 2 weeks ago? Picture that-- the slow motion, sick face, zombie people part. Side subject: which plan has a lower risk of exposure? Using a contaminated bathroom, approx. 20 paces from the cubicle or walking a good 400 paces through the building to an as-yet-uncontaminated bathroom?

Back on topic: Luckily one of the girls I work with offered a cure-- red grape juice. I jetted out just after our 11:00 with gallons of RGJ for all. Turns out, Mom says that it helps her arthritis, too!

So then I started thinking about all the other home remedies I'm missing out on... Here's a few I think you should know and stock in your pantry:

My sister introduced this to me, and the pain of cold season has been remarkably less painful since its discovery. Take her suggestion-- make a huge pot of it in the morning and drink on it all day. There is something about how it coats and cuts through your throat at the same time. The last sip is so naturally sweet that no sugar's needed! Free samples of other Yogi tea available here.

  • Local Honey

Despite the bee sting from my first harvesting experience, I still believe in honey and have not suffered from allergies at all after introducing local honey into my diet.

I realize that this sounds too good to be true and the likelihood of something green with seaweed in it actually tasting good is marginal, but this juice really does taste good! If you have anything coming on-- cold, tiredness, depression, anxiety (well, maybe not) drink yourself a couple glasses of this in a couple days and you truly will be feeling better. DH is dead on with this one.

My roommate from my sophomore year in college grew up in S. Africa and got me set on this when my stomach just doesn't feel quite right. It's great for an post-dinner sip after a meal heavy on acid or meat. According to wiki, it's also beneficial dermatologically (I made up that word) and for allergies!

  • Is there anything else I should add to my list? I hate to get sick and I hate taking medicine almost more!!

New Look!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

If you're reading this in a subscription form of some sort, please consider coming to look at the blog! It has a new look-- much more simple. Much more me. If this blog were a painting it would fit in any room of my house :) But it's not. And Larry's thankful.

Bad Movie

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

If $9.25 weren't punishment enough for going to the movies, it's especially excruciating when you pay for a movie you wish, I mean really wish, you hadn't seen. This weekend was like that for me. I suggest not going to see Revolutionary Road. It's the depression of Atonement without the amazing soundtrack coupled with the lack of redemption of... oh I don't know because no movie has ever ended without any and I mean any positive spin at ALL quite like this movie.

Be warned.

High Fructose Corn Syrup and the FDA

I feel like a conspiracist this morning. Did anyone see this article today on the Huffington Post? I'm sure it will break out mainstream today. The FDA has known about mercury being in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) since 2005!!! We're not talking small quantities here. In 2 different studies, 30% and 50% of HFCS samples contained mercury! What's the big deal? Mercury is a hard metal that has profound effects on your health, especially your mental health and heart disease. Looking for a clue as to why the youngest generations have severe attention deficit problems? Here's your culprit. How could the FDA allow us to consume mercury in just about everything (processed, that is) for the last 4 years? Sorry, here's the conspiracy theory, $$. So sad. I hope I'm not dead on with this, but I guarantee you I'll be reading labels today at the grocery store! And I'm going to be hard pressed to find a Cheez-It replacement without the HFCS. Be informed.

Update: DH dug up another article on a science website which states the same thing.

Cleaning House

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Does cleaning your house ever seem intimidating?

Two weeks ago was like this for me-- I distinctly remember running the dishwasher on Wednesday but by Sunday not a single dish had been put away. For those of you who know how much I like to cook, you can imagine what that did for my counters. And you KNOW if I let my kitchen get like that, then you know there were 15 loads of laundry (not exaggerating), board games out, dead flowers in vases, floor hadn't swept since ridiculously long ago, dust you can write in, etc. I know-- really makes you want to come visit, right?

Does really diving into a life of prayer ever seem intimidating?
Intimidating may not be the right word. Perhaps overwhelming.

Here's the connection-- that weekend I didn't feel like making a move to clean anything because even emptying the dishwasher would lead me down a path that trapped me in my house for several hours in a fury of cleaning. Better to declare 24 hours of no kitchen duties and wait until later. Have you ever felt like that with prayer? That if you really wanted to take to the Lord everything on your mind you would need 10 hours? Better just to take a nap? I feel you.

I often feel the need to take things to the Lord like, one-sie, two-sie. You know-- yes Jesus I remember so-and-so! Thanks for reminding me-- they need your love right now or your favor or favor with men, your encouragement, healing etc. That is satisfying and full of trust and faith. Just like cleaning up the stack of paperwork that needs immediate attention leads to a sense of satisfaction and one loose end tied up. But I've been feeling the need for a deep clean.

It's been rare, but I've had the occasion when I get into a good rhythm with my house and the laundry basket never seems crazy overflowing because I've (or my amazing DH has) been keeping up with it, the dishes get put away right after I've done them, and the blanket stays folded on the back of the couch. Then when Saturday comes-- watch out!-- maybe the floor will get mopped! Maybe the closet will get cleaned out and salvaged for good will! Well I'll tell you what, I am craving a prayer life where the immediate needs are tucked away in the Lord's hands daily, the worries of the week have been put away regularly at the throne of Christ and when I do have the extra moment to spend-- really spend-- in prayer, we can work on praying through the real scrubs my life and my character need. I also want time where I can be still with the Lord and not feel like I'm catching up on a week's worth of need and thanks. I believe that this is the type of relationship God wants to have with us, too.

Any tips for keeping up with a growing list of prayer requests?

Proud to be an American

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today I am truly proud to be an American.

I am proud of our peaceful way of transferring power.
I am proud to have been able to vote.
I am proud to have Scripture spoken and God's named revered at a political gathering.

I am honored to pray for our President, his decisions and his family.

I humbly pray that he will change his mind on a myriad of issues, but I can see that he has an amazing ability to inspire, challenge, and bring hope. That makes me proud.

And P.S. You had to love the rhyme at the end of Rev. Lowery's benediction.

May God truly bless America. Bring peace. Give our leaders wisdom, knowledge and a fear of the Lord. We need your spirit to guide.

Written better than I possibly could.

Great Quotes

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"My journey was much like a romance, an epic battle of the heart, and I think a lot of girls can relate to that."

Would you describe your walk with Jesus in this way? These are the words of one of my favorite college girls as she describes Jesus' pursuit of her. An epic battle of the heart. A romance. I pray that all of the women in my life know that Jesus cares for them in this way.

One of the most remarkable Bible studies I have ever done is the story of Hosea. What a beautiful and heart wrenching picture, that Jesus would allow us to be stripped and lost in a wildernesss. For it is there (and perhaps only there because of our strong will), that we will be hedged in to be protected. Then there we will be clothed and given flowers, that we might return singing and rejoicing in our newfound love.

I pray today you will experience your life with the Lord as though torn from the pages of a beautiful romance novel not skipping over the chapters of the epic battle your Savior has conquered just for you.

Grace is given to you and love in extravagant abundance.


Monday, January 5, 2009

If you've been around me in the last week, you know that I have been preoccupied quite a bit with the political/spiritual/humanitarian/historical/Biblical situation currently unfolding in the Middle East. Let's break that down (in no particular order of importance).

Biblical- DH and I have had a friendly banter going back and forth on the role of Israel in the end times. Both of us agree that Israel will play a significant role, but we've taken positions for the purpose of research as to whether Israel is literally representative of the bloodline of the Jewish people or whether it is inclusive of all who claim inheritance with Abraham (Romans 9:8). While I lean heavily toward a Christian-inclusive interpretation of Romans 9:8, it is difficult for me to leave behind my Zionistic leanings, especially when we have seen such Old Testament-like happenings in modern day events with the Jewish people.

Political- Why is this happening?? I'm so conflicted, that I can't even formulate my various lines of thought on paper. I will echo a quote from President-Elect Obama lifted from the BBC article linked below: [Obama] has also spoken about the problem of negotiating with Hamas when it is "not representative of a nation state, does not recognise [Israel's] right to exist, has consistently used terror as a weapon and is deeply influenced by other countries." You would be correct if you read this and see that I am siding with the state of Israel. Yet, I see that there are a significant number of Palestinians helplessly caught in the crossfire. They are not only suffering from the recent military encounters, but also from months, and possibly years, of trade restrictions, embargos and displacement injustices at the hands of the Israelis. But that is a separate battle to fight. I'm talking right now about the extreme Hamas militants. Which leads me to...

Spiritual- Why is it that a belief system bonds people together in such a way that leads to hate, suicide, sending daughters and wives to be suicide bombers, abuse and a cry for the extermination of a people of another belief system? I am not naive. I realize that modern day Islam is not isolated in being the only belief system to drive people to this behavior. It still is astounding and horrifying to me the way the unity in this area of the world leads to destruction.

Humanitarian- I am just saddened. I don't know what else to say. So many people in so much pain. No sides taken here.

Historical- and cheating, Biblical too. Scripture has warned us since Genesis that there will always be persecution against the followers of God. Lord, come quickly and end this historical cycle of abuses and war.

See here for more on Obama's current state of silence over the Middle East.

See here for more on the current state on the ground via cnn.

See here for up-to-date news with some of the most interesting, least biased and least reported events on the ground.

Share your thoughts if you'd like.