Monday, December 26, 2011

10 things about ME, ME, ME that everyone needs to know

1. I can't sing. I can sing, just not well. If you ever see me when music is being played and others are singing and I'm moving my lips...that's all I'm doing. Very seldom does any sound come out.

2. I can't do math. Started struggling in 4th grade and never recovered. I could do Algebra for about 5 minutes in high school, but that's it. My brain pretty much completely freezes up with anything number related.

3. I have trouble remembering how old I am. Probably has something to do with the numbers problem and age. The older I get the harder time I have keeping the numbers straight. It's been going on for awhile. I don't mind people knowing how old I am. I just can't remember!

4. I really, really, really hate cherries. Really. So much so that I once spit out cherry ice cream in front of my grandmother. You don't waste food around my grandmother. She had given me a big bowl full thinking it was strawberry.

5. I'm not fond of apples either.

6. I tend to be a tad bit sarcastic. It drives my youngest daughter and other non-sarcastic people crazy.

7. I would love to own a fair-trade shop, but I have no business sense. Probably goes back to that numbers thing.

8. I have a tendency to talk too much or not at all. No happy medium. It makes me socially awkward.

9. I annoy my children like all get out. They'll be the first to tell you.

10. I am useless with other languages. I've had people laugh out loud at my attempts at Chinese. Watched heads shake at my Spanish attempts and my French son just pats me on the head and says "you're so cute" when I butcher a French word. I speak East Texas fairly well, but I mutilate anything proper.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ride Out The Waves

I wrote the following while going through a rough patch a few months ago. At the time I wasn't sure I would be able to ride out the waves.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gifts of Compassion

Several years ago I started becoming overwhelmed with the knowledge of having more than I need and not needing things that I wanted.

And at Christmas time I still get overwhelmed with people running around like chickens with their heads cut off as they look for the perfect things to give, give, give. I want to give, give, give, but do my loved ones really need, need, need? The thought of giving a gift just to be giving a gift leaves me cold. So, at this time of year I struggle. A lot.

Thinking about money being spent for White Elephant Exchanges or just because we're suppose to spend $20 gift exchanges gives me a twitch. I know it all sounds so "humbuggy" but at this stage in my life, that's were I am.

So, I get a little giddy about stuff like this:

I've gotten these types of gifts over the years and I LOVE them! I've suggested these types of gifts to some of my family members when they ask for my Christmas list (I don't like Christmas lists - too gimme gimme gimme) and they stare at me like I have two heads. Even in my crazy family I'm known as one of the crazier ones.

I realize we are not commanded to celebrate Christmas. It's another holiday that we humans developed into the craziness we have today. But, I do know that God's gift of Jesus changed the world. And, with Gifts of Compassion we can change the life of a child.

If you're like me and get overwhelmed with having too much, research and find these types of gift ideas and put them on your Christmas list to handout to your relatives so they can stare at you like you have two heads. It's really not that bad.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Missions In Action

There's a new interactive video series called Missions In Action. I've been poring over their website and I'm really impressed. It's quality work done by quality people. If you're a fan of The Amazing Race you're going to see some familiar faces.

Their mission statement:
Through our award winning storytelling, access to people and places rarely seen, and key sponsors and partners, we plan to educate, inspire, and enable people to make a difference by taking action to help others around the world.
They don't just present a problem or tell a story, they present a way for you to get involved. I like that.

Here's Episode 1: Hope and Survival in the Philippines

Check out their website. Follow them on twitter. "Like" them on Facebook. Get involved. Change a life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Four years ago today

I know exactly what I was doing on this night four years ago.

I sat in a hospital ER waiting room and pretended that I was happy as a clam and everything was hunky dory while my mind was screaming that nothing was okay. A little boy needed me to be that way.

I sat at a kitchen table and listened to a mother-in-law talk about her loved one back in that ER and how everything was going to be okay, because it had to be. And I pretended that I didn't know that it wasn't okay and the loved one wasn't coming home. She needed me to be that way.

There are times I think I see her out of the corner of my eye. Jellybeans always make me think of her. Rabbit figurines and Thomas Kincaid paintings cause the same emotions to stir. Things happen and I want to call.

It's been four years ago today.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I got a letter

I got a letter this week from one of my Compassion kids. It is delightful, as always. Eury is in 2nd grade and is learning about David and Goliath. He understands that David's strength came from God.

He also sent a drawing of his family. I think someone drew it for him and he colored it. The coloring skills and the drawing skills don't quite match up. But, I could be wrong. Maybe he is talented with a pencil and not so much with a crayon.

I didn't pick Eury out of a pile of Compassion packets. He came to me. The center that my first sponsored child was involved with closed. It was very sad, because I had chosen him. He "jumped" off the table at me. I watched him grow through the pictures I received. And then he was gone.

So, Compassion paired me with Eury. We are beginning to get to know each other. He's told me that his family is very well and united. He asks for prayer that God will protect them.

It makes my heart sing to get his and Gabby's letters. If you like your heart to sing, I highly recommend sponsoring a child or two.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Embrace Me

I just finished Embrace Me by Lisa Samson. I'm a BIG Lisa Samson fan. I'm such a big fan that if I ever had the chance to meet her I would be in such awe that I would be speechless. Some of you know that speechless is hard for me.

I think I started crying pretty much nonstop at Chapter Nineteen and it stayed that way until the end of the book. It's not a sad book. I don't do sad. To me sad books are a waste of time.

This sentence from Chapter Three jumped out at me.

"These days, if he approved of me, I know I'd be doing something desperately wrong."
Just as the character's priorities have changed, so have mine. I can so relate to that sentence. There are many people in my life that have a different view of Christianity and The Church than I do. If I did something they approved of I would be scared.

But, as the character, Drew Parrish, grew and changed, I felt God showing me things in my life that he was dealing with in his life. Not on the same levels and exact demons, but still demons none the less. Things that could take over and do a lot of damage to Christ's name. The Christ I am suppose to be representing.

In a lot of ways through this book Lisa was "preaching to the choir" and I thought of the people who just don't get serving Christ in this way, the people that I butt heads with way too often, those who choose to ignore the Red Letters in the Bible. It helped me not think I'm as crazy as some people think I am.

It also deals deeply with pride and forgiveness, things I sometimes feel I will never get a grip on. I could relate to Drew when he talked of things that were too tempting.

So, thanks Lisa for putting it out there. Thanks for writing about what is real.

And, please forgive me for calling you Lisa. I feel as if I know you in a small way, even though, I would be horribly tongue-tied in your presence.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

One Fine Day

I'm so glad no one could see the craziness going on in my closet and bathroom today.

My usual attire is whatever I happen to throw on whenever I get around to it. Today I had a meeting and I actually put some thought into what I was going to wear. Thought I had it all planned out. I don't own a lot of clothes that can be seen out in public, so I do sometimes have to think about what I'm going to cover myself in.

So, when I walked into the closet and pulled the purple blouse off the pole. It was dirty. Why did I hang up a dirty blouse? I have no idea. Who knows? I was probably asleep when I did it.

Remember I said I don't have a lot of clothes that can be seen out in public? I really don't. Panic sort of started to sink in.

I grabbed a black shirt that would work with a jacket (which is always fun to wear in high humidity), but not by itself. I grabbed my orange blazer from Salvation Army. What in the world was I thinking? I looked like I was ready for Halloween. And I remembered the shoes that go with the pants are brown, so the black shirt really wouldn't work even if I changed jackets. Now real panic started to sink in and I started to feel like Michelle Pheiffer's character in One Fine Day when she is forced to wear her son's dinosaur shirt she pulls out of her purse. I begin to wonder which child's room I could raid for a shirt.

Before I could decide which one to rob I spied a t-shirt I planned to give away and threw it on. It was beyond wrinkled. Thankfully I had wrinkle remover on hand. It works if you spray in all over the shirt while it's on your body and then you just stretch it out. I'm pretty sure that's not what they had in mind when they created it, but by golly, that's how I used it. Then I threw the orange jacket on because I didn't spray the back of the shirt.

Feeling pretty good about my ensemble I marched out the door 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

Only to find there was no car.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fuel Diner Bread Pudding

A couple of friends and I started Fuel Diner. Our goal is to feed the hungry in our neighborhood. We've got some repeat customers (they don't pay) and are looking with great anticipation to feeding more.

One of our goals is to not be a stereotypical soup kitchen. I don't even like those two words together. We have a lot of fun coming up with recipes and some of our best could not be repeated if we wanted to. Karen is absolutely amazing at taking leftovers and turning them into masterpieces.

A few weeks ago I made bread pudding not realizing that Karen had made bread pudding while I was in South Africa. Now there is a running joke about bread pudding in the Diner.

I was really thrilled with how this bread pudding turned out, so I made sure I had everything written down. The fun thing about it is just about anything will work in it.

Fuel Diner Bread Pudding (according to Nancy)

The equal to 4 or more loaves of bread. You need to have at least 2 inches worth of bread on the bottom of your 24 x 16 pan. I used Country French, Sourdough, Italian Wheat, and Sweet Italian.
1 gallon milk
5 sticks of butter, softened to room temperature
16 eggs
5 cups granulated sugar
8 Tablespoons vanilla
4 cups brown sugar

Crumble the bread into a bowl. Pour milk over it and let stand for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 24-by-16-by-3 inch pan with 4 tablespoons of butter.

In another bowl, beat together 12 eggs, the granulated sugar and the vanilla. Stir this mixture into the bread mixture.

Pour into prepared baking pan and bake until browned and set. This could take about an hour and 30 minutes, depending on your oven.

To make the sauce, melt the remaining butter on the stove top. Add the brown sugar and stir together until the sugar has dissolved and is extremely hot. Don't let it burn. Stir it constantly.
Remove from heat. Beat the remaining 4 eggs and stir them quickly into the sugar mixture.

Pour the sauce over the pudding and serve.

Depending on how it is cut it can make at least 45 servings.

I didn't say it was healthy, but it is really good.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Maybe by the time you read this I will have stopped crying

Please read Kacy's blog post from today.

I got to be part of the miracle of the overflowing food.

Now my heart is breaking about this week.

If you can make a change in these kids life, please do so.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I saw death yesterday

Wasn't how we expected to start the day, but it happened anyway. On our way to Kruger National Park we drove up on a guy giving another man CPR in the middle of our lane. Some of the people in our van jumped out and ran back to the scene. An EMT had hit a man as he was walking along side of the road. At 5:30 a.m. there are many, many people walking along the highway to work or to the bus stop. Krista went to his feet and started praying and talking to him. Carla grabbed the EMT's phone to make the "911" call. I was by his head. It was so overwhelming. It was definitely a time of not having words to pray, just groanings. Someone asked for more gloves and I ran to the other van to see if anyone had some in their first aid kit. No one had any so Scott grabbed a huge plastic sheet off the side of the road and took over CPR. One of the team brought up t-shirts to use. They didn't know what was going on in that van and they wanted to help however they could. She was not prepared for what she walked up on. I'm sure her gut wrenching, heart breaking wails could be heard across the valley. Three EMTs came flying up in their personal cars, leaped out and went to work. After a few minutes they called it. It was too late, the injury way too severe. The EMTs didn't have a sheet big enough so they covered his body with the plastic and gently covered his face with the fabric they had.

Many times when a black person is hit here in South Africa the driver continues to move on. Not from fear of getting in trouble for killing someone, but because they just don't care. That is how deep the prejudice runs here. To say that makes me beyond sick is an understatement. I can't comprehend the depth of that selfishness. It makes me think of the Scrooge line in A Christmas Carol.

If (the poor) would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.

Just put in "blacks" for the poor.

There is so much death here. There are funeral homes everywhere and
tombstone stores everywhere.

There are so many children that are already fatherless and I can't help but
wonder if yesterday morning more children became fatherless or complete
orphans. That breaks my heart and haunts me. Will those children now have to go to a feeding station to get food twice a week?

Please lift up the family that is grieving now. Pray that in their heartbreak they will feel God's love surround them in a supernatural way.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

South Africa

Wish I had a lot of time to spend on this. South Africa has gotten under my skin. I figured it would, but not so fast. Yesterday was our first Discipleship Training session. I taught on True Leadership. Usually I'm a bundle of nerves before I speak. I really don't lAdd Imageike doing it. My stomach is churning before, during, and after. The team started praying for me Monday night and continued all day on Tuesday. The peace God poured out on me was so pure. Today I'm going with 5 other women to help cook for the orphan feeding station. Pray for me. I'm hoping not to be a blubbering idiot.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I'm sitting here listening to Outside The Camp practice and, while they are excellent musicians, they are extremely loud. So, if there are any mistakes in this post it will be their fault.

The following statistics come from UNICEF, United Nations World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. I found them through Compassion International. My comments are in italics.

  • 925 million people worldwide are chronically hungry - almost one in seven. Almost 73 million people in the United States of America are obese.
  • 75% of the world's hungry live in rural areas, primarily in villages in Africa and Asia.
  • 146 million children in developing countries are underweight, the result of chronic and acute hunger. And here in the USA we can find news stories everyday about our children being obese. One out of three are considered overweight or obese.
  • 17 million children each year are born underweight, "inheriting" malnutrition from their undernourished mothers. Malnourished mothers have trouble breastfeeding their babies and in developing countries other feeding options aren't readily available.
  • 7.7 million children die each year before age 5. In 53% of these deaths malnutrition is a factor. One child is too many. It is completely unacceptable.
The effects of hunger on the body:
  • Normal growth is compromised.
  • Physical activity is difficult.
  • Resistance to disease is lessened.
  • Learning ability is diminished.
The following are the numbers that really got to me.
Nutrition Comparisons: On average, the body needs at least 2,100 calories per day to allow for a normal, healthy life.

In 2007, these three countries averaged the most calories consumed per person per day:
  • United States - 3,770
  • Austria - 3,760
  • Greece - 3,700
These three countries where Compassion works have the least calories consumed per person per day:
  • Haiti - 1,850
  • Ethiopia - 1,950
  • Tanzania - 2,020
There's more than a tad bit of difference there.

Click here to find out how you can make a difference in the life of a child.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another recipe...yes, I see your eyes rolling in the back of your head

I took a recipe from this lady right here. Some people would let the words "fat free vegan" send them running, but don't be afraid.

The original recipe is here. I did a couple of things different.

Quinoa Vegetable "Paella"

1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon or so of garlic powder
1 1/2 cup quinoa
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 14 oz. can Cannellini Beans
3 14 oz. cans vegetable broth
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed and cut into quarters
2 tablespoons of olive oil

I put the quinoa in a very fine mesh strainer and rinsed thoroughly. Set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring for another 2 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, cayenne, tomatoes, peppers, beans and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, and cook covered for 15 minutes.

Place the zucchini on top of the quinoa and re-cover. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until quinoa is done. Remove the cover, stir in the green beans, and cook uncovered until green beans are warm and all liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Arrange the artichoke hearts on the top and serve.

So that's my version. I loved it and the reason I made changes was because I don't like green peas and didn't have saffron. Check out the original recipe because you might like it more.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Evangelism & nurturing vs buildings & budgets

I've been reading Follow Me To Freedom - Leading and Following As An Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne and John M. Perkins. Been working on it for awhile. It's the kind of book that takes me a long time to get through because I have to put it down and think about it. Fluff books I can burn through in a day or so and I save those for the days I need to completely check out from reality and not think about anything. This isn't one of those books.

This is something I came across today in Conversation 3 - The Vision (Carrying A Cause).

The vision of the family of God relies on evangelism and nurturing. We lose that focus and vision when we fuss too much over buildings, budgets and institutions. Why are we building bigger churches when we have trouble nurturing the people already coming through the doors? Too often, our vision has turned into creating institutions rather than developing people. We have to keep our focus on the people of God-reconciling them to God and to each other. John M. Perkins

Evangelism and nurturing instead of building and budgets? Who would have thunk it?!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Giving when it hurts

I've been reading up on Ten Thousand Homes over the last couple of days and let's just say that I've been extremely impressed and extremely moved.

For a few years now I've known about Ten Thousand Homes because I know a family on the ground with them in South Africa. Their faith family in the States strongly supports the ministry with funds and volunteers.

Over the last couple of days there has been a tug in my soul to visit there, so that's when I started doing more intense research about TTH.

I came across this in their blog.

10K Tuesday: A Sacrificial Gift

Last week, a local volunteer at our Kabokweni Care Center was seen counting her money. When asked why, the volunteer replied that she had seen that one of the orphaned children needed new school clothes and she wanted to help. This volunteer is a single mother with several children of her own and she struggles everyday to put food on her table, but despite all of her own trials she gave from her heart even though it must have hurt.

Creative Action:

This is a challenge for all of us this week. Find a way to give even when it hurts. Whether that means sacrificing your money, time, or emotions, find your own way to give sacrificially, which means ESPECIALLY when it hurts.

TTH 2 from Ten Thousand Homes on Vimeo.