10.29.2011

If I ever disappear...

Question....





















the....





















Kitty.






















Knives is watching me.... *shudder*

Help.

...         ....         ...

Can a six pound cat get rid of a full sized human?... Has your cat ever murdered you or anyone you know?....Anyone?... Seriously. This is important.


10.25.2011

"I need you" by Great White.

My youngest child sings in the shower.

When I say he "sings", what I mean is that he belts out made up songs at the top of his lungs until I pound on the door and tell him to knock it off because he's making the neighbor's dog bark. 

I adore his funny little tunes, so I always make it a point to stand outside the bathroom door for a minute, before I make him shut up. His songs are shamelessly loud, and sometimes his lyrics are kind of embarrassing (particularly his ballads to bodily functions) but when he really gets going, his joy-filled bravado is contagious. In all of his 11 year-old awesomeness, he reminds me to make the art I want to make, and not give a fat-crap if the dog next door doesn't appreciate it. 

Last night, he was in there for like an hour, alternately beat-boxing and singing opera while he soaped up. And then he jumped out of the shower and ran into my room, still dripping-wet, to grab a pen and paper. Two minutes later he handed me this page, and said, "Here. I wrote a song." And then he went to bed like it was no big deal.


I need you
When you see me, 
don't just leave the country.
cause I need you, 
to get over this flu 
that I got when I said, 
"I don't want you."

I'm not made of water, 
but it looks like you are, 
cause of this cycle your in, 
sometimes you're gas, 
lighter than air, 
sometimes you're liquid, 
everywhere, 
sometimes you're solid, 
what I need you to be, 
so you can cure me.

Seriously. My kid wrote that. 

I pray that life never pounds this kind of creativity out of him. I hope that he will always feel able to share his God-given gifts with the world as easily as he did last night, when his spirit was so moved that he ran to catch the spillover on paper, and then handed it over to be shared, without fear or shame or any of the other junk that holds some really talented grown-ups back. 

I love that. 

Plus? I think he's kind of a rad little genius, and I think he has some real potential to be the next great white rapper.... Ooh, ooh, "Great White" - That could be his rapper name! 

...         ...      ...

Ever been afraid to unleash your creativity on the world?
If you've got a blog, an album, a business, a book, a gallery, or some other creative expression that you'd like to shamelessly share, leave us a link!  =) 

10.23.2011

Missionary Positions: How a CPA does it.

Today's guest post comes from blogger/writer, Heather Sunsuri, who reminds us about what a mission field really looks like. I love what she adds to the conversation:

Am I really that obnoxious, unlikable, unwelcoming? Do I smell? Or is nearly everyone I work with completely miserable (a.k.a. in need of a giant hug)?

I can be at the office where I work on tax returns (yes, the IRS kind) six months out of the year and not have a single person say hello to me before noon on any given day. That’s after passing a host of not-so-friendly faces in the hallway, or the kitchen while pouring coffee—even if I first extend a pleasant greeting.

I wish I was kidding. I’ve even made it a joke to my husband before by sending him a quick text around lunch time. One word. “Twelve.” As in twelve—the number of professionals I’ve passed in the hallway who haven’t smiled today. Or, “four.” Out of the ten people I said hello to this morning, four said hello back.

I don’t know about you, but that shatters my heart into tiny pieces most of the time. Other times, I’m having my own bad day, and it just pisses me off.

Several weeks ago, my pastor was sermonizing (it is too a word) on patience, or something unrelated to God’s actual message to me that day, when he said the following (and I’m paraphrasing):

“Maybe you think people you work with aren’t a Christ-loving bunch, and maybe you should look for a different job, or…”

His voice trailed off while my mind wandered into temporary dream world where I only worked with people who always made sure the printer had paper and everyone smiled and helped one another until every last person was done with their projects each day. No one kept score of who worked the most hours or completed the toughest assignments.

As I sank deeper and deeper into judgy land and my dream job where I got to wear jeans and flip flops, my pastor’s voice got loud again.

“…or-OR-OR, you could think of your workplace as your mission field.”

My head jerked back to attention, both eyes attempted to jump for it. WHAT!!??!? You expect me to share Jesus’s love with those people? But I’m not supposed to talk religion and Jesus at work. In case you hadn’t heard, that’s considered politically incorrect or some such nonsense.

God stepped in at this point. That’s never stopped you before from talking about things you’re ‘not supposed to.’

Huh. Good point. Then God pointed to this:

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:3-5

In other words (and I’m kind of talking to myself now), stop being an egocentric loser, believing others have it figured out any better than you do.  The purpose of missioning is to spread the love of Christ, not be crushed when it’s not returned to you. Christ loved every single person he hiked by, carrying their heavy weight. Your heavy weight. He loved the ones who cast stones, the ones who judged, and even the ones who frowned and pretended not to see him. Did it hurt his feelings? I imagine so. It hurts God’s feelings every single time we turn away from Him or any of his children.

But he loves us and offers us grace despite the times we snub Him.

The whole world is our mission field. We only need to “have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”

Story after story of Jesus loving the harlots, the thieves, and even those awful tax collectors paints a picture of what our great commission looks like here on earth. We don’t have to recite Matthew and John to spread the gospel. But we must spread love, offer grace and “think of others as better than ourselves.” We must take an interest in all those around us, even the ones who growl at us getting off the elevator. Maybe even especially those.



Do you find it difficult to love after you’ve been snubbed?


You can find more good stuff from Heather on her website, and by following her on the Twitter machine. 

10.21.2011

Creepy Coffee Voodoo.

You know what?

I don't like pumpkin spice lattes. 

I totally thought I did.

In September, I spent all kinds of time thinking about how I was going to go to the states in October and I was going to stop at the very first Starbucks I saw and I was going to indulge in a grande non-fat pumpkin spice latte for the first time in 4 years and it was gonna be sooo goood.

And then I went to the states in October and I did all that. But it wasn't good. Like, at all.

Because pumpkin spice lattes taste like sh...chemicals.

I don't know what kind of chemicals one must use to make things that aren't pumpkin taste like pumpkin, but I'm pretty sure it's unnatural. And offensive to pumpkins.

And that's exactly how my pumpkin spice latte tasted. It tasted unnatural and offensive, like a desperate melding of flavors that really don't belong together but which someone forced together because they knew that some dumb sucker, like me, would come along and buy it.

It tasted like clever marketing.

And it tasted like a waste of $4.

I blame myself. I mean, come on! Pumpkin in coffee? What is that?! When did we decide this was a thing? And did I really enjoy this monstrosity 4 years ago?... And why don't I like it now?...

I've been away from all those big coffee conglomerates for some time now.  It's possible that I've grown unaccustomed to the magic they use to make a simple cup of steamed milk and espresso taste like pie and ice-cream with sprinkles on top.  To me, it doesn't taste like magic anymore, it tastes like... fraud.

I bought that icky pumpkin spice latte in the airport and I sat down to await my next flight. I was thinking about all these things as I slowly sipped and scanned my email. That's when I read a letter from a guy who goes to a big fancy church in the big fancy suburbs.

He said "I don't know why I'm telling you this", (I get a crap-ton of mail that starts like that!),"but I want to get it off my chest, and I think you'll understand."

And then he went on to tell me how his experience at church feels hollow, how he's weirded out by the rock-concert he attends every Sunday, and how he feels like his church is masking the Gospel with all kinds of other things just to get people in the door, which is working, but he feels bad because the people are buying into this false idea of who Jesus is and what He's going to ask of them if they follow him. Then he called the whole business of Church "creepy Jesus-VooDoo", and said something about how "marketing magic" can fill our pews, but our hearts will remain empty if we keep inviting people to meet their Savior under false pretense.

I thought it was a really good letter.

And it made me wonder about what Jesus would think... ya know, of my latte.

....         ....        ....

Seriously though. Does anyone know how they make it taste like pumpkin?!... I'm so curious.

10.17.2011

To everywhere, from everywhere.

Someone shared this video with me on Facebook.  I loved it.  It's just simple and true.

And it's... cute.  I love the little people with their big heads.  But I'm a sucker for cute.



There is, however, one part I didn't particularly care for - Guess what it is! 

Just kidding, I'll tell you.

You know the part where all the little Christian lights go from the U.S. to the rest of the world? Yeah, that kinda bugged me.

We need to be careful not to imply that the Peace, Hope, Love, and Light of Jesus come from the United States of America.

Jesus is already IN Africa. He's IN Asia. He's ALIVE and well in Europe. He's AMONG US in Latin America.

We all have much to learn from people of other cultures and backgrounds. Perhaps it is the U.S. who should be receiving missionaries from other parts of the planet, that the light of Jesus might shine more brightly among the faithful.

People going to everywhere, from everywhere. "Missions" belongs to the world...
.....          .....         .....


Did you like the video? I think it's cute and true.

10.13.2011

One Jesus.

Last week, El Chupacabra and I spent the morning with some cool folks of the more Pentecostal persuasion. Later that day we had dinner with some seriously funny Southern Baptists.

I liked them all very, very much.

Honestly, I'm way out of the loop when it comes to the particulars of Christian circles.

These guys were cracking jokes from the main stage of Catalyst about the different denominational worship styles, and I only laughed because everybody else was laughing - I didn't actually get it. I couldn't begin to tell you which Christians sing aloud with their hands in the air, or who claps or sways or does a praise robot. I have no idea who prays with their eyes open or closed, or with their hands clasped or unclasped, or who only talks to God laying face down in a darkened closet while flogging themselves with a whip made of oiled palm leaves and donkey hair...

I just don't know about these things.

I didn't grow up in ~or anywhere near~ the Church. So when you say “Lutheran” or “Methodist” or “Quaker” or “Brethren” or... like, “JesusismyBoyfriendian”... it all means the same thing to me. All I hear is “Christian”.

And I like it that way.

I feel kinda fortunate that I can walk into a room of 13,000 church leaders and see nothing but brothers and sisters. I have no preconceived notion of what your specific theology looks like - I just have to trust that you're doing your damn best to follow Jesus. Maybe that makes me a simpleton... or a dumbass... But I have no interest in Church politics and I'm generally unmoved by a single interpretation of scripture.

My heart beats for anecdotal Faith; for the silliness and folly of our nature, the way we reach for God with all the dexterity of a newborn baby, jerking limbs, crossed eyes, and a steaming load in our pants. I'd really rather hear about your disease than your doctrine, I guess. And I'd rather examine your Daddy-issues than your diplomas. But if you really want to get crazy, let's talk about what your average weeknight looks like, because the Sunday morning Jesus-fest bores me. I'm more keen on knowing how you connect the dots between the two - ya know? How does this Bible stuff shake out in your everyday life?

There are over two billion Christians on the planet, and from what I gather, over two billion ways to be a Christian. Sometimes I think that all these circles, sects, styles, interpretations, branches, devisions, and denominations are confusing the only thing that matters:

There is only one Jesus.

One Jesus. Billions of ways to meet Him, seek Him, and adore Him.  Two billion souls, united by one Savior.... That's crazy, right?!  But here we are, the body of Christ – and it's a big ass body! When we are united, when we aren't bent over by our dispensation, when we can take a page from each other, when we're willing to listen and learn from one another... well... that's when we'll be the bearer of Faith, Hope, and Love to the world.

Yesterday, I got an email from a pastor who said, “I don't look like you, or act like you, and I would never talk like you, but I sure do like you.

And I like him, too, this brother of mine, who is able to see in me the one Jesus I see in him.  



....          .....        ....

Are you of a particular persuasion? I mean, denominationally speaking... 
Do you have inter-denominational relationships?


Also? That video is freaking hilarious!

10.11.2011

Mind dump.

I went to Atlanta last week with El Chupacabra for the Catalyst Conference, and I think it will take me a solid week to recover. There was so much to take in.  Honestly, I'm still processing it all.  I wanted to write something that makes sense, today, but I can't.  My mind is so backed up with thoughts and experiences that I just can't get anything out.

...It's constipated. My mind is constipated.

I need to get something out, relieve the pressure, restore the flow, move this train along. Ya know?

So here are a couple of things from this last week. I may or may not write more on this stuff in the future, for now I just wanna get it OUT.  I'm gonna call this a "highlight reel", but, really, this is what it looks like when your mind takes a dump on your blog:



13,000 is a hell of a lot of people. 

I have so many thoughts on the actual conference, it's unbearable. There were a ton of good things said and done. And there were a few things that left me scratching my head.

Not gonna lie - walking through the concourse, with its miles of vendors and every "Christian" product you can imagine, made me uncomfortable. The industry of Faith conjures images of Jesus, badass with a whip, overturning tables, scattering profits to the floor.  

I thought it would be kind of funny to set up shop and sell a t-shirt that said "Brood of Vipers" - like, funny in an ironic way.  I'd buy it.

Anyway. Lots of thoughts on the market place of Christianity, and on treasures and hearts and the sale of doves and other Bible-y things which I have yet to get ordered in this itty-bitty brain of mine. 

.....     .....     .....

I think Atlanta is beeeaUtiful! 

But I'm a sucker for a skyline. 

I just love "the city" and find myself easily charmed by thoughts of living on-top of and underneath my neighbors. 





.....       .....       .....

We got stuck, unexpectedly, overnight in Houston. 

Which led us to a $59 airport motel. 

Which led us to IHOP.

Which led us to all-you-can-shove-down-your-throat pancakes.

At Midnight. 

Go ahead. Guess how many pancakes I ate...

.....         ......        .....

Also?  I love him.  We have unreasonable amounts of fun together.  

I thank God every day that my husband is my best friend. 

Also? I think he kinda looks like a crazy Revolutionary. 

¡VIVA EL CHUPACABRA!




....       .....       .....

Aaaaand. I'll leave you with this:



Um. Yeah. That is Jesus staring back at you from a used bathroom towel.  Pretty sure it's a miracle. Or a wet spot. But I'm going with miracle....

10.08.2011

Missionary Positions: How a Wife does it.

When I read this guest post, from Alise Wright, I wanted to post it that very second - I loved it that much.

I think Alise is the bee's knees for a bunch of reasons, but these are my top 3:  She's rad.  We have the same last name (which makes us almost practically real life sisters pretty much).  Aaaaand, she compiled and edited an entire book's worth of sad/poignant/funny/true stories from people living with depression and has graciously made them available to the rest of us in her book, "Not Alone".

So enjoy her post and then go check out her book.

Um....but, I don't mean "check out her book" like, from the library... I mean buy it.



The Reverse Missionary

When I start thinking about missionaries, I think about people are sharing Jesus with people. A missionary is someone who knows the gospel message and whose life goal it is to tell that life-giving message to anyone who will listen. I’ve been in the Church long enough to know that you don’t have to go to Africa to be a missionary (though it totally helps your missionary cred), but missionaries have a group they’re out to make sure to tell the story to. The unsaved.
I’m a Christian and my husband is an atheist.
So we all know who MY mission field is, right?
Yeah, not so much.
I’ve met a lot of atheists in the past two years and one thing I’ve found about almost all of them is that they know the story. They know who Jesus is, they know what Christianity teaches, they know what we believe. They’ve visited our churches, listened to our songs, read our holy book. The message is not the problem.
We are.
We, the Church. We who talk about grace, but are quick to cheer when the bad guy gets his. We who talk about talk about forgiveness, but would rather hold a grudge. We who talk about desiring persecution for His name’s sake, but make sure that we do our fair share of persecuting of “the other”. We who talk about God’s acceptance, but are loathe to share our filth with one another.
And I can look at this and point to all of the reasons why we suck, but I think it boils down to one thing. We don’t believe that God really and truly loves us the way he says he does. And when we don’t believe it, we can’t live it, not really. We serve a God can do “immeasurably more than we ask or imagine” and yet we place limits on how much he can love. We place them on ourselves and as a result, on others.
So my mission? To show love. God’s wide, long, high, deep, immeasurable love. Love that is wild and free. Love that reaches further than we can think, further than we dare to hope. Because when we get that, deep in our bones, we don’t have to worry about making sure people know the gospel.

We will BE the gospel.

  
For more from Alise, visit her blog "Alise... Write!", follow her on the Twitter machine, and go check out (meaning buy) her new book, "Not Alone" :)
Ps. I've been traveling and conferencing and eating and sleeping and meeting cool people in Atlanta this whole past week, but will resume regularly scheduled (technically, not scheduled at all) blogging soon. 


Pps. I hope my plane doesn't crash tomorrow. But if it does? ....Bye.