Things I’ve been doing instead of blogging.

Filing. I sorted through the last three years of filing. Sounds exciting, right? That’s every piece of paper we’ve held onto for whatever reason for three whole years. And I threw most of it away.…because that’s how I file.

Burning things. I burned the stuff from the filing that couldn’t be thrown out safely. I also burned dinner and while I was burning it, I burned my thumb, and then I burned the roof of my mouth – because when food is practically on fire, common sense says, “Taste it, now!” In case that wasn’t enough burned stuff, I dropped my youngest child off at a swim party without any sun block and I got him burned, too.

Window shopping. We’re going to NorCal for Christmas. We’re fortunate to be able to get “home” once a year, but what comes along with that trip is a loooong list of things that we buy when we’re in the U.S. This includes shoes and clothes for all of us, ministry supplies, toiletries like contact lens solution and shaving cream (and other junk that’s crazy expensive in C.R.), and enough books to get us through the next year. So, I’ve been refining the list, and trying to figure out what we can pick up while we’re there and what we need to order online based on what’s cheapest and blah, blah, blah... It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s a total time suck.

Feeling confounded by Twitter. …which sumultaneously bores me and intrigues me.

Reading your blog. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed clicking through the links left in comments on the other day’s post. I still haven’t gotten through them all, but I love lurking around in your lives and getting to know what you’re about as individuals. It’s been cool. Gotta admit – I’m kind of intimidated knowing how much smarter and clever..er… you are than me. Anyway, stalking is fun.

Being a total bitch. I’ve been super cranky. And I knew I was being lame, so I apologized to El Chupacabra, but he had already been dealing with my attitude for daaays, so now he’s super cranky. This is how we do things.

Wanting to write a blog, but not finding the right words, so not writing it. All I wanted was to point you to this post, by El Chupacabra. But I didn’t want to just send you over there. I wanted to tell you about how he continues to inspire me, and show you how this post is a perfect example of this thing he does where he values people and loves them without ever using them to fill quotas for “ministry” sake. It’s half written, but my words never seem to do justice to El Chupacabra’s strengths.

Wasting time on awesome junk, like:

This must read book by Big Foot, I Not Dead.

This version of In Christ Alone, by Owl City. (I dig his breathy, robot voice!)

This Light Bright video from David Crowder Band.

Missing Halloween. I want to make a HUGE pot of chili and a pan of corn bread, and dress the whole family up like zombies or ninjas or blue-faced-Bravehearted warriors in skirts, and spend an entire evening laughing with our neighbors – both on their doorstep and on ours - sipping hot mulled wine with the grown-ups and splitting rolls of Smarties with the kids. Oh, and I want to carve a pumpkin! I always used to think pumpkin carving was such a huge, messy pain in the ass, but now I think of it as a hand made sign that says, “All are welcome!” And that’s exactly what I want my neighbors to think when they glance toward my door.

Aaaand that's about it. If you bothered reading all that, I'm sorry.

Your turn:
1. What have you been up to?
2. If you could only buy ONE book for the coming year, which would it be? (The Bible doesn't count, don't be a suck up!)
3. What are you doing for Halloween? Am I invited?


Go ahead. Call him a “faggot” again.

“What are you looking at, Faggot?”

That’s what some random guy said to my son.my child….the fruit of my… just kidding, that’s oogy. But you get the idea: Someone insulted my 16 year old mega-hipster, called him a “faggot” as he walked alone through an aquarium in Disney’s Epcot Center.

I keep daydreaming this scenario where the guy says, “What are you looking at, Faggot.”, and then he feels a tap on his shoulder and turns around to find my gigantic husband towering over him, “What did you call him?” Then our friend, Scotty B., steps in, cracking his tattooed knuckles, he flashes a menacing smile, “Go ahead. Call him a ‘faggot’ again.” As he speaks, the light catches his gold tooth with a brilliant *ting* and the guy feels a shudder, somewhere deep in his soul, that cries, “You messed with the wrong kid!”

I know. I’m silly…and crazy vengeful.

But, seriously, who does that? Who goes around calling people names? What a freaking bully!

As much thought as I have put into “if I had been there” fantasies, the truth is that if I had been there, it wouldn’t have happened at all. Bullies don’t lash out against people in communities. Especially when that community includes a heavy handed, Kentucky-fried-hillbilly/tattoo artist, a massive, fur faced ex-cop, and a missionary chick who will kick you in the teeth if you threaten her young…Uh…nevermind. That’s not the point.

The point is that if we are going to call ourselves “the Church”, if we are going to offer Love, and be Peacemakers and bearers of Hope, then we better be damn ready to offer community to the “faggots” and the “fattys”. We better stand behind the “whores” and the “skanks” and the “pizzafaces”, and get on our feet for “losers”, “freaks”, “noobs”, “wankers”, and every last one of the “dorks that annoy the crap out of everybody”. We have to give up our desire to choose who we will love, instead loving everyone and welcoming all without regard for their style, size, sensibility, sexuality, color, creed, and history….

…aaaand that means loving bullies, too.

Whoa. That IS NOT where I thought this was going.

But it’s true. Right? Being the Church means being open to the bullies, and the convicts, and the addicts, and abusers, and all the other people who scare us and intimidate us, maybe even people who've hurt us – BUT – loving them within the security of the community, so that as we are protecting the weak, we are also showing those who would prey on them a better way.


Go ahead. Call him a faggot, again…. And this time, instead of imagining your white-trash mullet getting caught in a wood chipper, I’ll dream of buying you dinner, and maybe even a beer, so that we can both learn something about what real Grace looks like.

** Just so you know: I started writing this last week, before I read this post and the comments that followed on Carlos Whittaker's blog, Ragamuffin Soul. I have no doubt that the unexpected turn in the middle of this post has something to do with the conversation happening over there. If you haven't already read Carlos' post AND the amazing comments that it drew, you should! It will mess up your head. **


Pimpin' ain't easy.

My sister brought me this t-shirt from Kentucky.


It's my new favorite thing to wear.

So anyway...

The other day I got a comment on a post from last October and I realized that I've been at this whole blogging thing for a full year. This blog is technically older than that, but there's like a year and a half between the first post and the second, and then I posted pretty sporadically until October of last year. That's when I decided to commit to writing regularly. That's also when I became the Very Worst Missionary. Before that I was just... well, I was still the very worst missionary... but nobody knew it yet.

So I thought this might be a good time to say "thanks".

I don't want to be all awkward about this. I don't want to get all gushy about how awesome you are, or how your comments and emails have often been received at moments, seemingly appointed by God, himself, to lift me up or give me a push exactly when I've needed it. I don't want to go on and on about how your generosity has both kept us afloat and brought me to tears on more than one occasion. And I really don't want to get all sappy, saying how humbled and honored I am that you choose to read, and even more, that you take the time to express yourself here, which has made this more than just a blog about one girl's journey, but a community of free-thinkers that I've come to cherish. So I'll just say this:

I don't know where you came from, or how, out of the billions of pages of interwebz, you stumbled onto mine, but you being here - encouraging me, challenging me, praying for me, for my husband and my family - has been a gift. Your friendship has been a gift. And I'm grateful.
Thank you.

Now, I don't know the first thing about blogging. I have no idea what makes one blog stick while another fades into obscurity. I do know that nobody writes a blog hoping that it will never be read by anyone but their grandma's next door neighbor. And I know that if you aren't putting it out there, if you aren't strutting your long-legged blog stuff for everyone to see, then you're probably not gonna get the traffic that you're hoping for. That's it, my entire wealth of blogging knowledge.

You've got to pimp your blog, but pimpin' ain't easy. You run the risk of looking A) desperate, B) like an arrogant douche, or C) desperate. But it's a necessary evil. That's why I want you to do it, here and now. Pimp your blog. Pimp it like you're wearing a fur coat and a purple fedora. Pimp it good. Tell us why your blog is rad, why we are fools not to read it. Sell it to us like you've planted it on the corner of 15th and MLK Blvd. Do it. And don't forget to give us a link, dummy.

This is the most tangible way that I can thank you. Lame, I know. But someday, when I am the Very Richest Missionary, I will buy you a pimped out Cadillac to show my gratitude. Until then...

Ready? Set? Pimp your blog!


Mugging for the cameras.

It turns out that our favorite thing to do at Disney World was ride roller coasters. I know- big surprise.

But it wasn’t the actual ride that got us all excited. It was the camera that flashed in our faces right before the vertical drop that had us going back for more. We could hardly wait for the ride to end so we could check ourselves out on the little TV screens near the exit. We thought we were hilarious. I’m sure everyone else thought we were idiots.

Ok. We were idiots....

...but we were idiots having fun.

We were joy-filled idiots with the breeze in our beards.

We were love filled idiots who's kids were grossed out and totally embarrassed.

I was the idiot who didn't get the memo when her idiot sister shouted "Everyone look bored!"

Mugging for the cameras became the thing that had us running through the winding trails of empty lines as many times as possible in the last minutes before closing. It was the most fun I've had in ages.

It's funny, though, the things we'll do for a snapshot, the faces we'll make or the poses we'll strike for one moment in time. Things we wouldn't otherwise be doing. I mean, El Chupacabra is smokin' hot and everything, but I don't
make out with him in public. We only did that to get a reaction from our kids (and, Oh, how it worked!) But you're not gonna find us sucking face at a stop light, or groping each other in line at McDonalds. What I'm getting at is that that's not how we normally act. That's just how we act on roller coasters with cameras.

After roller coaster photobombing,
people watching was probably my second favorite thing to do. And there is no better place on the planet to people watch than a place where every type of person under the sun is trapped in a single line. Entertainment abounds!

So, I was watching this guy ream a park employee while we waited in line for Space Mountain. He was pissed because they'd been in line and they missed the light parade, so he was
screaming in her face about it. When he realized everyone was staring at him, he quieted down and said to her "I'm sorry. I'm not angry at you, I'm just frustrated." And I thought "Dang, I'd hate to see you when you are angry, Freak." And judging by the look on the employees face, she was thinking the same thing. Either that, or "What?! You had to wait in line?! Welcome to Disney World, Dumbass."

Anyway, I wondered how his roller coaster pic was gonna turn out, how his Disney vacation would translate in pictures. The truth is, it was probably great. It probably showed a family having the time of their lives with their hands in the air and their hair blown back. I bet no one will ever mention how Dad lost his shit in line for Space Mountain.

But the worst part is, I could kind of relate.

I mean, I've never chewed a Disney employee a new one. -But- I have
totally been that Mom who freaks out on her kids to get them out the door on a Sunday morning, then manages to plaster a smile across her face for the church masses. I've absolutely been the wife that cannot stand her husband's face, but quietly slips her hand into his as they walk into the church lobby, for appearance sake. I've been the friend that has talked smack behind another's back only to warmly embrace her at Bible study.

I can honestly say that as a Christian I've wasted much time and effort mugging for the cameras. As if my faith were only lived out in snapshots for a Facebook album. As if playing "happy family" for an hour on Sunday morning had more value than putting in the effort to actually
live in a way that made my family happy.

When you're just mugging for the cameras, Faith is easy to fake.

But I quickly learned that when I wasn't preoccupied with thoughts of "How is this gonna look?", the ride itself was a lot more exhilarating.

I long to enjoy God with that kind of abandon. I want to live out the kind of Faith that puts off false pretense, rather than adopting it. I want to be thrilled by the path that God has placed me on, and not preoccupied with how I look while I'm on it.

It's time I put my hands in the air and free fall into worship
like nobody's watching.

Wanna join me? There's no wait.


I'm gonna need more bleach.

Our trip to Disney World was completely awesome.
My sister and her boyfriend flew in from Louisville to join us for the fun, and I spent 4 days on the brink of peeing my pants from laughing so hard.

I'm dying to post about it, but we got home to learn that leaving all your windows closed for 5 days in the middle of Costa Rica's rainy season is a really bad idea. Like
really bad. When we opened the front door we were smacked in the face with....funk. The kind of funk that makes you pull your shirt up over your nose while you run around spraying Lysol and yanking windows open with gusto.


There is mold on
everything. The walls in the laundry room are black, there's something white and furry growing down from our windows, and it appears that my oldest son's bedroom has grown eyes. It could only be creepier in this place if there was a sad clown sitting on the couch. It's kind of terrifying.

So anyway, today, instead of writing I'm gonna wash the whole house with bleach. Yeah... Try not to be jealous.

Oh. And this is what happens when you let my family into a major theme park.
I told you. It was completely awesome. More on that later...