Archive for November, 2008

30
Nov
08

Did you know?

Davy and I have been planning to forgo traditional gifts for certain members of our family this year, instead choosing to give a gift that we felt was more “needed.” We have been looking at several options. We began by looking at the catalogs distributed by organizations committed to serving children in poverty around the world, such as Oxfam and World Vision. In their catalogs you can buy a family a goat, or a dozen chicks, or a milking heifer… all for a reasonable price. You can also donate school uniforms, personal health items, or a years worth of schooling… We were looking at all the options, dreaming of a child in Africa receiving an item that would improve the quality of their life. And that is when I saw it…

“We promise to use your donation in the most effective way possible. The needs shown in this catalog reflect World Vision projects at the time the catalog was written and each item is representative of the gift category in which it appears. Donations will be used to provide assistance where it is needed most within that category or to address a similar need. With the larger items, such as wells, clinics and schools, World Vision pools donations in order to provide as many wells, clinics and schools as possible. These items are not matched to individual donors.”

I mean it is fine and dandy to make a donation to one of these charitable organizations, but they are now telling me that you pick out an item (from a catalog), you tell one of your loved ones that you have purchased a goat for a child in Africa, they send them a card that states the same thing, and then the child in Africa never receives their goat?

Isn’t that lying? 

Just thought you should know…

I have been researching more direct donations made in the names of others. Don’t get me wrong… I think a donation to these organizations is fantastic, but why do they publish these specific items that appear to go to specific regions of the world, and then clearly state that they may not use the donation in the way it was specified… that just doesn’t seem right. Some better options that we have found for more honest and tangible gift giving is:

-talk to specific people you know about specific needs they are aware of. For example, if you know a missionary or foreign aid worker, contact them, asking them about their community needs.

-Kiva is amazing. Check it out on the web. It is a people to people lending site for small business owners in developing countries. It is honestly, in my opinion, one of the most tangible ways to use the wealth of the US to better the the lives of those who don’t have access to economic opportunity.

-a friend taught me about ETSY, a website fully devoted to homemade and handmade goods. Instead of buying your child socks made by a worker that is making an unfair wage in China or Indonesia, buy socks from a woman who loves to knit and lives in San Antonio. Check it out here: http://www.etsy.com/

Just a few practical ideas I have been testing out to deal with the mayhem that our society calls “Christ-mas”

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30
Nov
08

tears and such

I’m not sure what my fascination with tearful photos is… but I absolutely love them. My children are wonderful, full of joy, and often so absorbed in their own emotions… and that does not exclude tears… so here are a few of my recent favorites. I love the super-ego of children… so self absorbed and forthright in their expressions.

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24
Nov
08

jesus loves rihanna

Yesterday, I must admit, I woke up in a black mood. I was the literal thunderstorm, except for the fact that the clouds kept gathering, and there was no release from the density of the storm. Days like this allude me… sometimes I just wake up in a certain frame of mind. Yesterday was one of those days. 

Those that I love so dearly do not have the luxury of taking a vacation from me, so unfortunately, I seemed to threaten everyone within a reasonable distance with an impending downpour. By this time, my husband had not only run for cover, but also taken me aside and in not so many words said… “You need to take some time…”

Which is exactly what I did. I took some time for me. My life, as many of yours are as well, is filled with people constantly sucking my personal reserves away. That sounds so negative. Aside from the occasional negativity, my satisfaction in life comes from allowing others to have access to me: the real, honest, me. This means I try to allow people in: physically, emotionally spiritually. I don’t always succeed in this, but the times that I feel known well are the times that I feel most fulfilled. But there comes time, when either some self-absorbed teenager, or a child in need of some tender care, or an adult asking me to make the decision… just piles up. And, in that moment of gathering clouds, I  begin to deflate. While the storm builds, my energy is sapped, and I am now angry and tired. I am angry because I feel I can give no more and I am tired because I have given what feels to be the last of myself. 

So, I needed refuge. I needed to figure out a way to either live in the black mood without it rubbing off on others (this seemed an impossible option) or to replace my mood with one that was brighter and lighter. I could sit at home and pray, read, write, or generally commit myself to more rumination over the topic which was biting me in the butt in the first place. Or I could put myself in a place where I was no longer thinking of myself, but something else.

The second option is often the better option for me. I tend to be the type to sit and obsess over my thoughts, attitudes, and all that is not right in my soul. Obsession is never a good thing, so I am learning, with each year, that I personally need to, at times, transport my mind to a different place, other than my own simple self. 

So, I decided to put on my running shoes, grab my ipod, and see what happened. I ventured out into the cool fall air with a weight on my shoulders and a load on my mind. However, in leaving the house, I had to make myself promise that I would not continually fixate on why I was feeling the way that I was. And I tried to make good on the promise. I tuned in to some music ambivalently… allowing it to be the background on the canvas that I was observing. I walked, briskly, across the ball field that borders our neighborhood, noticing the emptiness of the dugouts, the carefree blowing of the grasses, and the joy in the family that was playing in the field. I began to move more quickly, and found myself running, with fervor, believing that I was doing what was best to alleviate the stormclouds that had so quickly gathered. I ran. And I ran. And though it wasn’t for a long spell of time, I began to see and hear with more clarity. I was so thankful to be out of my box of self-absorption, taking some time to do what was important to me. Ever since I was a young girl, physical motion, the action of pushing my body to some sort of limit, has been cathartic. And it was also on this breezy November day. I listened to a little of this and a little of that, but most of all I enjoyed the freedom of the moment. I was young again, running through fields, listening to music I love, and choosing to do something I love. I was gaining more clarity as I ran. As I turned the corner into the neighborhood that is adjacent to ours, and passed under the oak trees, crushing the acorns with my strides, Rihanna’s song, “Pon de Replay” from several years back came on. This is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous songs I know, but it is nearly intoxicating in its rhythm and its decisiveness in lyrics. It is a simple song but with a killer beat. I shamelessly love this song. I don’t know what switch flipped within me, but in that moment I was not alone. I was not alone in my struggles nor was I alone an I ran.  And in that moment, I became aware of the fact that I had shared my whole thirty minute journey with a friend. He was running right with me, and he loved this song! We were laughing about how silly the lyrics were, but we were also appreciating the fact that music is a buffer between the things we don’t understand about ourselves and our lives. He was pretty fast, my friend, but what I loved most about my friend is that he didn’t need for me to dissect my day for him. He ran right beside me, smiling, laughing, and loving Rihanna. 

Eventually, I returned home. The storm had passed. My mood and spirit were renewed.

And I am now convinced that Jesus loves Rihanna.

21
Nov
08

“Everything’s amazing, nobody’s happy”

Ok, so this is pretty hilarious… and true. I don’t usually post videos but I watched this the other night and I found myself constantly laughing and agreeing.And Lewis CK is a comedian, for those who have never heard of him.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

18
Nov
08

there once was a time

There once was a time, when I thought only about how I appeared to others. I would frantically fix myself up for all to behold, the most perfect of all.

I would fuss over words, to sound just right. I would doctor my memories, just to make them more light. There was only the good things that showed to the world. I had forsaken the oyster, which made me the pearl. The truth of the matter, hidden not far from sight, was my soul which was drowning in the dark of the night. My soul was all dirtied, and rusty, and real. Made only of flesh, and not made of steel. It sat there just waiting for someone to say, you suck you young girl, you don’t know the way. But the rusty old soul, the realness exposed, began to feel open and honest and bold. No soul is imperfect, we all come the same, all blemished, and torn, and hurt from the game. My soul it persists, just as it is, I have learned I can’t fix it, just love it as is. It hurt me so much to live such a lie, to pretend I knew all, and never ask why? Why was I weeping a river within, and felt that there was no one knew their true friend? Fooled by the idea that people love best, that which is not messy, nor failing the test. I cannot disguise, exactly who I am, I’m learning to embrace it, and with it toss the plan. We all are just human in need of some grace, a true friend, a warm smile, and a genuine embrace.

Don’t be afraid of who you really are…

I was… and it sucked.

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18
Nov
08

time away

The faces were so familiar and the voices so true.

I missed them all this time.

However, I laid in bed, without You, feeling hollow, empty, like there was a blank space… longing for the warmth from your voice.

I laid there wondering, were you asleep? awake? thinking? hoping? praying?

I could almost hear your breathing as I drifted…

How much we have become entwined… without you, I am me, but not you and me.

Thank you for giving me you. I love you.

09
Nov
08

in my element…

I am most in my element…

  • sitting outside under the swaying trees surrounded by the voices of my family, friends, or my children. (You make me feel more alive…)
  • running along the trails in Indian Hills. (Don’t have that here… so I have to substitute the bayou. Not the same… but it has to work.)
  • surrounded by people I have known half my life enjoying the beauty of good food and drink and ridiculous memories.  (Thanks to my girls who have know where I come from.)
  • when the ocean is all I can see. (And I spent a month of my last year in this element. Amazing…)
  • when reading a fantastic story (I find myself going through lots of books… but I really don’t care for topical books… I like to meet an inspiring character when I read.)
  • when I am soaking in a hot bath wasting a heck of a lot of time away. (Every night… often with the book mentioned above.)
  • Listening to music that moves my soul with honesty and emotion (It all began when I was seven and I discovered my parent’s record collection… I spent a whole afternoon listening to James Taylor.)
  • when my feet are propped on the dashboard, a map on my lap, and not another gas station for a hundred miles. (And Davy has to be there… without him it seems meaningless.)
  • writing

When are you in your element?

Feel free to post on your blog… this was fun to think about.