Archive for October, 2009


Posted: October 31, 2009 in Uncategorized

I always loved Mark 7 until today.

In Mark 7, Jesus fully preaches Isaiah 29 without saying, “Please turn in your Bibles to Isaiah 29.”  Have I ever mentioned how much I love Jesus’ preaching style?  I love His need-to-know method of discipleship, which I think would cause Him to fail most Homiletics courses in  America.  I teach a Homiletics course (Homiletics is the study of sermon delivery; it’s a preaching class) and He would pass my class but only because I’m a total softy when it comes to grades and I would definitely toss Jesus an A even though He lacks a certain systematic approach and His tone is sometimes quite harsh.  Anyway, Jesus preaches Isaiah 29 and says, “Hypocrites and pretenders!  You worship Me with your lips, but your heart is far from Me.” (See? There’s that tone again.)

Now, this is not  a new passage to these people, much like Jeremiah 29:11 is not a new passage to…anyone.  They would know Isaiah 29 and they would be able to quote it themselves and in fact, they probably have a long list of people this verse applies to.  But the new revelation Jesus offers in this moment is:  You’re the people Isaiah was talking to about!  You are the pretenders.  It’s like the big reveal in a whodunnit movie and I often want to clap my hands and say, “Go get ’em, Jesus!”  So, I’ve always loved it.

Until this morning.  Because this morning, I read it through once and something bothered me.  A memory;  vague and undefined, but simmering like a pot on the back of the stove.  I read it again and the memory took shape and called in some friends.  Not just one just one memory, but several.

  • One time recently when right before worship started, someone tapped me on the shoulder and explained to me how much he and his friends hated when women speak at church.
  • One time when someone approached me on the way into a service and told me something that frustrated them about one of my kids.
  • Many times – many, many times – when the music started and I clinched my teeth because, “I am so sick of that song,” or “why are the drums so loud this morning” or “I don’t think that person is ready to be on the worship team yet.”

And while massaging all these toxic thoughts, I also engaged in worship.  I sang the songs.  I did the dance.  I played the part.  But my heart was far from Him – and not just far from worshiping Him, far from loving like Him.  Far from thinking like Him.  Far.

I used to love this verse.  But now I get it.

Really wanting to be real,



Here’s something that rolls me right back to my childhood: Clue Journal at Etsy

Do you even believe this?  It’s a journal/sketch book made out of a Clue game box top from 1963.  That even pre-dates ME!

Here’s the back which I’m showing you only because I used to love the Clue fingerprint!

clue Journal at Etsy Back

Also?  Look at this guy!

Monopoly journal

The Etsy shop Another Work in Progress features these two journals and many others that will whisk you away to days gone by and give you a place to get a little creative yourself.  Be forewarned:  Josiah just bought a brand new game of Monopoly for $5.  This journal is going for $38, so that’s some significant appreciation – but this box top is from 1935 and Joe’s is from…Walmart.  So if you have someone on your list who loved a good board game back in the day, this gift is a great fit.

Happy Friday,


P.S.  Tori comes home this weekend for the first time since she was 11 (okay…maybe it’s the first time since August) and I am a happy, cooking mom (Apple Galettes?  Yes.  Baked Ziti?  Certainly!)

Gifts for the Word Nerd

Posted: October 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

I have an unnatural love for font.  Type.  Words.  Letters.  Love it.  To that end, let me just holler:  wouldja look at these coasters?!

Etsy font coasters

And I also adore these tea lights (just $4 each!):

Etsy tea lights


You won’t find them at Walmart…you’ll find them at Carolina Cottage.

And please go ahead and get yourself a load of this:

scrabble tile necklace 1

It’s a necklace made out of a Scrabble tile!  Now, I’m not gonna lie, I hate playing Scrabble.  But I think this is the cutest thing ever.  Also, it comes in a glass test tube which adds to the mystery of the whole gift.

scrabble tile 2Here’s the back of the lil piece o’ art.  There are lots of whimsical designs to choose from:

scrabble necklaces - multi

But this one is my favorite:

Scrabble Eifel TowerYou can find The Eiffel Tower at the Etsy shop Little Blue Bird Studios for under $10.  That’s very merry!

Happy Shopping,


Do you shop Etsy?  I LOVE Etsy.  Handmade items – MILLIONS of them – by people who possess both creative ideas and the talent to execute them.  Crafty people are an absolute mystery to me.

While I may not be a gifted artisan, but I’m definitely a gifted shopper!  This week I’ll be showing  some of the awesome treasures I’ve found on Etsy:

Scrap Book on Etsy

It’s a scrap book, yes, but not a typical scrap book with pages that turn one after the other after the other (boooooring)…

Scrap Book on Etsy open

Isn’t it cool?  It opens up and has all kinds of places for memories to hide.  The creator calls it “origami with covers”.  So cool!  It’s at a shop called Senzarotture and it’s only $15. If that one doesn’t make your bells jingle, take a look at this orangey beauty:

Scrap Book on Etsy 2

I dare you not to love that beautiful guy!

Okay.  My work here is done.

Tomorrow:  born in the 60’s?  Have I got a deal for you!

Peace though well-priced, handcrafted goods,


Dear Joe

Posted: October 25, 2009 in parenting
Tags: , ,

Dear Joe,

I look at you and see a boy who knows for sure that he is a fast runner, a good leader, a smart thinker.

Josiah 7

At nine, your only kryptonite is math, but somehow your weakness with numbers seems to make everything else more charming. You love to play and love to win, but you love for everyone to win. Victory at the expense of a friend’s self esteem is not an item in your particular bag of tricks, though I think it might make you better at sports if it were.

Josiah 3

I love your spark, your joy, your refusal to – almost ever –  get angry or mean. I love that you believe in the goodness of the people around you and you believe in the goodness in you.

But I wonder (and this is where the mom road gets a little rough)…

Josiah 8

…who will be the first to bend your belief system? Someone will do it. Someone will make sure you understand that you aren’t that great or that fast or that kind. Someone will disregard your sparkling storytelling abilities and define your intelligence by your struggle with long division.

A boy who hasn’t been well-loved will want to become a winner by making you a loser. An insecure girl will make herself feel beautiful by convincing you that you are ugly. It will happen and I can’t stop it because our whole planet lies under the sway of the heartache of sin.

Josiah 4

And sometimes – as crazy as it sounds – I am tempted to pave the way for the breaking. Sometimes I feel like I should prepare your heart for the sting of reality. To soften the blow of that moment when you will feel the rush of the wind, only to discover it’s someone passing you by; winning your race. I wrestle with the dueling desires to “build-you-up” and “let-you-down-easy” and so I ask for wisdom.

Josiah 10

Wisdom that keeps me from speaking words that would define or destroy.

Wisdom that helps you find both your breaking and building in arms of Jesus.

Wisdom, to hold you close and launch you freely into a world that isn’t kind, but so deeply needs someone a lot like you.Josiah 5

So I stand in the shadows of your indefatigable optimism and I pray that when the day comes that you discover that there are those who cannot cheer you on, no matter how much they may secretly want to; you will hold tightly to the knowledge that there are those who always will. No matter what.

I love you more than words can say,

Mom (and I think I speak for Dad, Corey & Whit, Tori & Tess as well)

Josiah & Bo


Posted: October 24, 2009 in Uncategorized

finally-my-inspiration-is-revealedSo, I’m sitting here at Barnes and Noble where I’ve run to hide from my laundry and – hopefully – get some writing done.  This is a large and looming hope at this point.   Or maybe it’s a small and elusive hope.  I don’t know, but I know this:  I am short on inspiration.  For the past few weeks, inspiration has been a hiding from me like I hide from dirty clothes.

I have a couple of tricks that sometimes help to fuel the creative process,  but they aren’t working very well right now.   They are:

  1. Movie sound tracks.  Not even kidding.  Swelling music pushes my brain to new levels of creativity.  But the music can’t have words or it distracts me.
  2. Old sermons.  I love to read the sermons from the great  and unsung heroes of the faith.  Even those whose theology parts company with mine usually say something that stirs and challenges my soul to look for more.  More truth, more hope, more….inspiration.
  3. Cooking.  But cooking also uses up inspiration when it’s time to clean the kitchen, so this one is pretty much a wash.
  4. Long drives in my car with no noise.

I guess this post is really more of a question (hence, the punctuation in the title).  What inspires you?  What makes you dream?  What makes your heart leap and gets your pen moving or your mouth singing or your spirit soaring?

Please share.  I need the help!

Lots of  nearly-inspired love,


…and then I promise I’ll stop.  I promise I will return to the land of inspirational Jesus writing and stuff but seriously, this recipe is so, so good that it would be criminal of me to not share.  I would hate for my spotless record to become besmirched (see? I’ve read Jane Austen) by a failure-to-share conviction.

So, here’s the thing: back in the dark ages, before I was married,  I worked in a seedy little company on 82nd Street in Portland.  It was a miserable job working for a miserable little tax-evading man but that’s a story for another time.  One dreary day in that office, a lovely woman came in and she was – you’ll never guess – selling cookbooks door-to-door!  Because back in the 80’s I guess that’s how we did business.  Weird.  Anyway, I was so happy to see someone other than my coworkers that I promptly bought a couple of cookbooks for me and my family. This one made the rounds back in the day, so maybe you’ve seen it:Cookbook

It’s a funny cookbook because it varies between crazy, complicated french cooking and recipes involving Velveeta Cheese and Cream of Mushroom soup.  I can’t figure out the editing process at all, but I’ve found a few winners in it.  I especially love it for basic sauces and soups.  But that’s also not what we’re talking about.  What we’re talking about is fall food and this fun little recipe here:

Pork with Cider

  • 1 & 1/2 pounds lean boneless pork, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (confession: we had bacon for breakfast and I browned the meat in olive oil and bacon fat.  Don’t judge. )
  • 1 & 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Thoroughly dredge pork with flour (which I also seasoned with salt and pepper because I think failure to season meat is also criminal).  Heat bacon fat oil  in beautiful orange dutch oven until hot.  Carefully add pork (it sizzles!)  Cook until browned on all sides.   Remove pork, drain on paper towels.    Drain oil from pan, pour in cider; heat and stir to remove browned bits from pan.  Add carrots, onion, rosemary, bay leaf, salt & pepper and meat to casserole.  Cover.  Bake in 325 oven 2 hours until meat is tender.  Remove bay leaf.  Serve over yummy mashed potatoes.

Now, I have been passing by this recipe for years, viewing it with a sniff of disdain because “pork with cider”?  Who came up with that compelling name?  And it sounds awful.  And I don’t like apple juice.  Anyway, last week I had one of those huge packages of pork chops from Costco and so I cut up three of them and made this little recipe in the new love of my life:Dutch oven

It was truly wonderful.  It makes it’s own delicious sweet/savory gravy and so we served it over mashed potatoes (which my family would honestly eat in sandwiches if it was okay with society).  It was also very easy – though browning cubes of meat is not my favorite part of cooking…it’s always worth it.

So now is when I promise again:  no more fall food.  I will cease and desist.  I will read my Bible more and cooking web sites less.  I will.  I will.  Try.

Happy Eating,