11.23.2010

Does this verse make me look fat?

What would you do if we were all at H&M and… (Oh Jeez, I just added “Organize a hipster mannequin flash-mob in H&M” to my bucket list – the idea makes me giddy!)… so anyway… we’re all shopping, and you try on these amazing jeans and they’re totally on sale and when you come out of the dressing room I tell you that they make your caboose look like a horses ass.

Would you still buy them?

Yeah, neither would I.

Ok. What if we’re there, at H&M, and you try on the amazing, sale priced jeans, and I tell you they look great, but they were made by a 9 year-old living in slavery in Malaysia.

Now would you buy them?

Yeah… so would I....

...

I’d like to change that…. I really would. But I also like my butt to look good in jeans that I can afford. So I guess the question ultimately becomes:

Who do I care about more?

Will it be my butt?...or... *gulp*….the Malaysian kid?.... Yes. I did just refer to my butt as a “who”.

Anyway. You don’t suppose this is the kind of thing Jesus was referring to when he said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” ~Matthew 7:13-14

** I know it’s hard, and –believe me!- I wanna go there, too – but let’s just try and keep the wide-and-broad-butt-jokes to a minimum. Mmkay?

Would you buy the jeans?....er, will you?

11.20.2010

Slow moving train.

Costa Rica doesn’t use railroad-crossing guards. You know what I’m talking about? Those pole thingies that drop down in front of train tracks to keep cars and busses and junk out of the way - thereby preventing insane levels of death and gore…and spurting blood. Yeah, they don't exist here. I don’t know about you, but I’m a fan of any and all things that keep my body parts attached to me. Naturally, the lack of crossing guards completely freaks me out.

Although, I can’t claim that Costa Rica takes no precautions when it comes to trains and public safety. The trains are generally very slow moving. And there are flashing lights. The problem is that the lights are always flashing. So instead of saying “Warning! Warning! Here comes a train!!”, they say “Hi. No cause for alarm. We do this all the time.” The train has a bell, too. It sounds like a Little House on the Prairie dinner bell. So you hear this Ding! Ding! Ding!, and you think ,“Either there’s a train coming, or it’s time to warsh up for Ma’s supper, Half-pint.” But mostly the bell just makes you hit the gas cause if you get stuck on this side of the tracks, that damn train is going to make you late to pick up your son who is at the mall. Alone. With a girl. Totally not ok!

But my favorite safety measure is “the guy”. The guy sits on the front of the train and his job is, essentially, to shout “GET OUT OF THE WAY! THIS TRAIN IS HEADED STRAIGHT FOR YOU!!!” But I see that guy, leaned back all casual, with his legs dangling off the front of the train and, again, I plow right on across. I speed up because I have somewhere to be.

I ignore the flashing lights because I see them every day, and that bell is so innocuous, I pay it no mind. As for the guy? I figure he’d be a little more frantic if there was really any risk. Right? He’d wave his arms or something. So I thump, thump over the tracks thinking to myself, “I’m fine. I’m safe. That guy’s not even waving his arms.”

I really wish there were crossing guards here to protect me from my own stupid, shortsighted logic. Because even a slow moving train will *F* you up.

I have a bad habit of letting things creep up on me because I’ve miscalculated the danger. I say “Look at all these precautions I’ve taken to keep such and such a sin out of my life! Look at all these lights and bells! Look at this casual reminder! I have aaaaallll these things in place to tell me that this or that isn’t good for me!” And, with that, I trick myself into thinking that I can step into that territory. I can zip across the danger zone without getting smacked, flattened, crushed to bits. I want to believe that I can look my sin in the face while it inches closer and closer but I’ll be ok, I’ll get away unscathed.

I need crossing guards.

Maybe because I’m stupid (more likely because I’m human)…. but sometimes I need something… or someone…to stand in my way for my own sake. I’m foolish and weak-fleshed and I have a restless spirit that rather enjoys a game of chicken on the train tracks. But when those arms come down – usually in the form of my husband who stands in the gap for me – it’s with a great sense of relief.

Sometimes all the bells and whistles just aren’t enough - the computer programs, the refrigerator magnets, the combination locks, the password protections we put in place to prevent ourselves from stumbling down the wrong path aren’t enough. Sometimes all we’re doing is slowing down the train. And, like I said, if you tangle with a slow moving train, it will seriously *F* you up.

So that’s why crossing guards are awesome.

11.14.2010

Deep fried awesome.

Look. I'm not one to brag - you can click through the history on the VWM and find pages and pages of whiny, tortured self-loathing. But today?...Today? Today, I am completely awesome. Because.

I... made.... these.

Hohohooo Yeah - I deep fried those mothers!!

I have never deep fried anything in my entire life, until 3 hours ago. I don't even normally eat fried stuff. I'm that annoying female that pulls all the skin off chicken. I've left a ring of empty bun on every McDonald's tray that's ever held my cheeseburger. I'm that chick that uses a napkin to sop the grease off pizza. My point is that I am the last person to have a hankerin' for straight up carnival food.

But, we were talking the other day about stuff we miss and the word "corn dog" came up about 15 times. There's not a whole lot I can do to ease my kid's homesickness on a hard day. But I can cook. It didn't take much to mix up a batter and heat up a ridiculous amount of oil. But my family was ecstatic over the results.

El Chupacabra looked at me amorously between bites, lips glistening with grease, cornbread crumbs in his beard. He whispered, "You are so incredibly sexy". And I was like, "You're just saying that because I made deep fried food for dinner." He was quiet for a minute, then he said, "Ok. That's true.... but you are kinda cute." So there you go ladies - The path to a man's heart is found in a battered and fried wiener on a stick.

.........

It's no wiener on a stick, but here are a couple of other things that brought a smile to my face this week, and since I can't give you a piping hot, homemade corn dog, I'm giving you these:

This needs no explanation:



This is completely.... just watch it:



This has some... *ahem*... coarse language (if you speak Spanish it's way coarse), but this song makes me want to crack a Cuba Libre and fire up the grill for a night with friends and carne asada:


So, making those corn dogs and watching these stupid youtube videos with my kids (excepting Cypress Hill) are among the things that brought me a little joy this week. And I'm grateful.

What have you been smiling about this week? Did you write an awesome post? find a hilarious video? stumble upon an amazing web page/podcast/album/recipe? Share! I love your links!

11.08.2010

The Big “O”

Sometimes I fake it.

I’ve found nothing more satisfying, more exhilarating, more rock-your-world-amazing – Oh!, and when El Chupacabra and I do it at the same time, ¡Holy-Matrimony, Batman!, it doesn’t get any better than that! I just love it…and I want to do it as often as humanly possible. But still, I fake it. I find myself lacking effort, sort of unwilling to give what it takes to accomplish the big “O”, even though I want it so bad. Sometimes it’s just easier to fake.

I almost feel like this is kind of taboo, ya know?...like nobody wants to talk about…*ahem*….

...Obedience.

There. I said it.

I’m all too happy to discuss things like grace and mercy. I just love a bit about worship, and I really dig hearing all about my freedom in Christ. Go ahead, send me a link to anything called “God’s promises for me” and I’ll mass email it to everyone I’ve ever met. But, please, let’s not talk about obedience. I don’t really like being told what to do, and I especially don’t like doing what I’m told to do. In fact, if I had to pick a life slogan, I’d choose Eric Cartman’s, “WHATEVAH!! I’ll do what I WANT! It probably wouldn’t look quite as charming stenciled around the kitchen as the more common “Live well, Love much, Laugh Often”, but I find it inspirational, nonetheless.

And there’s the rub. I’m a seeker of God. My heart wants nothing more than to learn His will and serve Him accordingly. And I mean that, sincerely. But then it comes down to actually choosing His desires for the world over my own, and I realize that - even though I’ve already known the pleasure of Obedience - I’m not always interested in doing the work associated with achieving it.

I can honesty say that, in all my life, the times that I recall as the most rich are when I’ve been smack in the middle of obeying God. My closest and most intimate friendships have all been born of our mutual efforts in obedience to God. The most awesome spans of my marriage are marked by the times we’ve been obedient to God, you know…. simultaneously. I’m definitely not saying those were the easiest times. I could probably say the opposite – Obedience is damned hard. When I’m actively obeying God, it generally comes with an uncomfortable amount of sacrifice. It usually means being more generous than I’d like, being more available than I want, and doing stuff for other people….even people I don’t care for. But I’ve noticed that the more intentional I am about Obedience, the easier it gets. It starts to feel more natural. And then something amazing happens…

Yes, yes, yes!!! It's Multiple-Obedience.

No, it’s not a myth. I’ve experienced it myself. Multiple-Obedience is achieved when you’re actively obeying God in many areas of your life. And I’m not kidding when I say this - Nothing can compare with the depth of pleasure derived from lining up your whole life with God’s will – it will leave you overflowing with Faith, Hope, and Love.

But you can’t have it both ways. If your goal is Obedience, you can’t phone it in. If you think you can just show up on Sunday morning and stick your hands in the air during the third song, you’re wrong. That’s faking it. If you think you can simply waltz into Bible Study with a tray of double-chocolate-chunk-brownies, you’re faking it – and you are good! but still, faking it. If you think you can put on a lusty voice and say all the right words during corporate prayer, you are so faking it. And yeah, that might get you by for a little while. It might even please the people you fake it for. But in the end, your shallow faith will leave you feeling fragile and insecure. You’ll end up wearing a thin fa├žade of Christian-ness that isn’t worth its weight in Tom’s.

But obedience will treat you right. Obedience has never left me feeling used and it’s never left me empty, because the foundation of Obedience is built not on whether or not other Christians are impressed by me, but on whether or not God is pleased with me.

I still fake it sometimes. I don’t know why. That’s my silly nature, I guess - So easily convinced to sell itself short for what’s easy rather than what is amazing.

*sigh*

Anyone want to join me in a big “O” challenge for the rest of the month? It’s not hard, just seek God first, then CHOOSE HIM every moment of every day for the next three weeks.

Are you in?... Anyone?... Anyone?.... Bueller?...

11.05.2010

Then it rained a bunch.

This morning I woke up with a plan.

I had organized all the minutes of my day into little lists of things to do depending on what part of town I was in, and also, whether or not I was in my pajamas. I had to get dressed to drop my oldest off at school, which is all the way across town, so I was gonna hit the bank out there. Then, on the way home, I’d swing by the store (the one I like to buy milk and meat at because it doesn’t have the stink of week-old road kill) and then I could go to the other store where I buy cereal and stuff. And since the bakery is right next to the store where I buy all the other junk, and since I was dressed, I could pop in and buy a loaf of bread to go with dinner.

Then I was gonna go home and put my pajamas back on. What?! I like to be comfy.... Plus? Then I can run around and clean house, work out, drop food on myself, be sweaty, and dog-wrestle without a care. I'm pretty sure El Chupacabra hates it when he gets home from work and I’m still in my pajamas. He doesn’t say he hates it, but he gets this sad little look on his face like “Great. Next thing I know she’ll be a 680 pound invalid, asking me to bring her buckets of fried chicken in bed.”...So when I was done with all of the day’s dirty business, I was planning on getting dressed again.

That was the plan. But then it rained a bunch, and Costa Rica declared a state of emergency, and all the schools closed.

So I was on the other side of the valley picking up one kid, right after driving the hour commute to drop him off, and the chauffer that drives my younger boys to school called and said, “Hey Lady, I’m here at your house to drop your kids off, but you’re not here….sooo can I just leave em’ here, outside?” And I was all “Ok.”, but really I was kicking myself for not speaking Spanish well enough to say “Are you kidding me?! You can’t just leave kids on the street. Especially not super cute ones, like mine! They’ll be stolen and sold on the black market. Duh!” So, he left my kids on the street and I had to call El Chupacabra and tell him that he had taken the bus into the city to pick them up for nothing because the chauffer already left them at home, alone.

Basically it was chaos. Pure chaos. Like, who is where? and where are they now? and how the hell do we all get where we’re supposed to be when the whole freakin’ country is in this weird state of emergency thingy and everyone is doing u-turns in the middle of the highway? kind of chaos.

As I was weaving through traffic like a ninja on crack because I had to get to my babies before the imaginary kidnappers did, I thought, “Man. I had this awesome plan, and now it’s all turned to crap.” But I have to admit, it probably would have turned to crap anyway. Even without the flooding and landslides and rivers of murky water gushing up from the manholes and sewer grates.

I start every day with a plan....

Then the plan crumbles to chaos under the pressure of my own jumbled heart. It gets twisted because good intentions are no match for selfishness, and because love doesn’t cover over a multitude of laziness. Though it’s not all bad. Sometimes my solid plans give way to the tenderness of cuddling on the couch, to hot cocoa conversations, to singing off key and doing the robot in the kitchen, until chaos wins again and we all fall to the ground, laughing. And instead of cooking dinner I sit there, on the kitchen floor, in a circle with my boys, our feet in the middle and our hearts on our sleeves.

Plans are good. Honestly, most of my plans are freaking awesome. But ultimately they are so unbelievably unimportant. Because God’s presence in the world has nothing to do with whether or not I get my ‘to-do’ list checked off by 5p.m. His plans are in no way dependant upon mine. That is such a great relief to me.

Especially since I am still in my pajamas…


**Speaking of plans. Tonight I'm planning on taking a bunch of teenage girls rollerskating. In other words: Tonight I'm planning on falling and breaking a hip. Prayers are appreciated!**

How many years has it been since you roller-skated? How many decades??