Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Weekly Smorgasbord

 So....I am way behind on these. Some of this is sort of irrelevant even, for example since Cruz and Kasich have suspended their campaigns. But I think that the material is still really humorous and thought-provoking, respectively, so I included it. Also on the list, spiritual awakening by way of Rice Krispies, fear of place, cooking a little something extra each day, and help finding your calling!

On Faith:
Posted: 28 Mar 2016 10:57 PM PDT
"Or, I've let a lukewarm, postmodern, pseudo-Christianity take the place of real belief. I've embraced a loose cut spirituality that lets me stay in control. I've worshiped a "Jesus-lite" who would never actually let me be thrown into a lion's den, or want me to survive several years of a broken marriage, or let me feel lonely, or let me feel abandoned, or let me get sawed in half for the gospel by watching one of my children live in danger. Chasing your bliss has popped on a plastic Jesus mask in certain corners of evangelicalism, and when you're hurting, that's a tempting god to chase. But no matter how I've tried to patch up disappointment, my jimmy-rigged solutions have never worked for very long. After I've run into a concrete wall hard enough, I've finally come to the point of having to just admit the honest truth—that sometimes it's just the Saturday after Good Friday, and my hope is lying in a tomb waiting for Resurrection morning."

Rice Krispies: My Spiritual Awakening
 "Perhaps it isn’t any wonder why we struggled. We had been fed a steady diet for years that we were meant to change the world, to be heroes, to be different than the rest of the world, to be radical, to prepare only for the mountaintop! Exclamation points!
And when we found ourselves in adulthood with the truth that there are diapers to change and bills to pay, toilets to clean and laundry to fold, time cards to punch and late nights to work, it felt too humble and too altogether ordinary to possibly be God’s will for us.
As I was picking up those Rice Krispies, I had a sudden thought that came zinging into my self-important rant, so unlooked-for that it must only have been the Spirit of God breaking through.
Do you think God is also too good for the ordinary work?"

How Kasich's Religion is Hurting Him with Conservatives

"“God gives me unconditional love,” Kasich told Kelly, by way of explaining his stance on gay marriage. “I’m going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me. If you listen closely to what Kasich has said over the years about religion, you start to see a particular theme: He seems less motivated by specific strictures and “values” than by the broader conviction that eternal life changes our perspective on the temporal."

I so thought I linked to this but I can't seem to find it anywhere in a WS post. Anyway, great article. I so strongly wish more people had given/would give him a shot. Besides being shockingly sane, he truly seems like a person of real conviction.
[Most of the time I try not to let myself become too discouraged by the current political climate but it's a bad day in America when we're more alienated by Dallas Willard quoting men than by Mussolini quoting men.]
On Relationships:
Posted: 28 Mar 2016 11:26 PM PDT
"Then, there are those sandwiches I make, more mustard than anything. I heap rounds of salami and cheddar cheese onto a croissant, sliced in half and cover it everything with plain yellow mustard, and then the top half of the croissant. It tastes like Chicago in the summer, and also like living on my own for the first time in the late spring, finally responsible for all of my own grocery shopping. It's messy like those days of learning to feed myself. Messy like the tubs of guacamole I bought for dinner at Trader Joe's because I was tired and didn't have a food processor. Messy like the sticky counter after I've gotten out twelve ingredients to make one cocktail. I'm learning that good relationships are like homemade pasta sauce, overstuffed tacos, and cocktails. They are nourishing and take time and trouble, they don't stay contained in the safe parts of your life, they can delight and intoxicate you. They're a mess."

On Parenting:
Posted: 28 Mar 2016 11:24 PM PDT
"It is 11am, and I have visited every emotion on the map. My culinary degree laughs at the ramen I am boiling as I reflect on the places we have traveled in less than six hours. Just this morning, I was standing on mountaintops, intoxicated with joy as I watched my daughters laugh with each other over nonsense. Heaving with pride when my big girl taught me about the icy rings around Saturn, or my little one rolled around the shag living room rug like she was born to do it. Gravel roads turned into canyons of angst and rage as Ana argued with me over cleaning up or tried to bite the baby. Then there were the deep oceans where waves were washing over me and I was in over my head with all of the things I had to handle between lunch and naptime, all the while the baby is fussing. Sometimes, I feel like I am running through a deep sanded desert, dehydrated and trying to find water, but instead of water, it is energy that I am lacking. Always rushing, ever so slowly, to check all the boxes."

Photo Essay: A Should-less Morning
"A few months back when our days felt like they were bursting at the seams and our lives were seriously lacking down time, I heard about this idea of having "should-less" days. The concept was simple: when life got too busy or too overwhelming, you'd give yourself a day free from to-dos and obligations to rest, to play and to connect. "

On Place:
Posted: 28 Mar 2016 12:25 PM PDT
"So why, why, do we live here? I tell myself we're here because place matters. Where we live matters. What we see every day, the people we come in contact with, the reality of our communities — they matter. Our place, our community, shapes what is "normal." For every smashed beer bottle, there are dozens of friendly "hellos" and shared toys over the fence with the Somali family next door. For every waft of second-hand smoke, there are kind strangers holding open the door for my double stroller at the Dollar Store. And I want to go down kicking and screaming against the mantras of the American dream, that more stuff and homogenous living is better. I want to rail against the malaise of centering only on me and mine and my kind. I want my kids to know that their whiteness is just one color among many. Because I want to be where God is dwelling, and God is here, or so I've been told."

On Race:
Posted: 27 Mar 2016 11:22 AM PDT
" So the white librarian flips through her iPad and then finally, triumphantly, shows you a picture of the only other black boy who has ever been to storytime who looks nothing like your son, who is two years older than your son. And you realize that, to this white educator, all black boys look alike—are to be equally, interchangeably, dismissed in the classroom—and you suddenly understand that the preschool to prison pipeline is very real and just how many black boys in prison are there because they have been falsely accused, misidentified as someone else."

I typically try not to make this about me when I link to this sort of thing, because it's so, SO not. But it's hard not to this time.  Recently, I've shared how grateful I was for our friends at Calvary-St. George's who met us right where we were. Many of you know that when we lived in Brooklyn, we were fortunate enough to find two bodies of believers who welcomed us and loved us well. If we had been there indefinitely, I think we would have had to face some decisions at some point, but as we knew we'd only be there a short amount of time we chose to push ourselves to invest as deeply as we could in both places.
Reading this brought to mind our friends at Trinity Grace: Crown Heights, who also welcomed us as we were- white, very priviledged, often fearful folks from the suburbs of the Deep South who happened to have a small child who was deathly afraid of elderly black women (which ironically seemed to me at first to make up like fifty percent of our neighborhood and about ninety percent of our apartment building).
This all occurred to me because I cringed as I read about the librarian, thinking of our first Sunday at TGC and how I made the exact same mistake with two black men close to my own age. Y'all, these two guys look about as similar as Hulk Hogan and Mr. Rogers. Even their actual skin tones are probably as different as my own and Malibu Barbie's. But our new friend, who I made the mistake in front of, grinned and continued the conversation eloquently as I dug myself further and further into a hole. He ended up becoming one of Peyton's closest friends from our time there and became very dear to all four of us.
I reflect all the time on the way my experience in the city fundamentally changed who I am and my worldview, but too often I forget that it was often the PEOPLE doing the holy work of welcoming us into their communities and lives and giving us grace to grow and learn.

On Calling:
3 Important Lessons to Help You Find Your Calling
"So I propose an alternative, a compromise between doing nothing and picking the wrong dream: Make a seasonal commitment. Choose something that strikes your fancy based on the possibility that it could be your dream. In other words: Experiment. Not in a flaky, noncommittal way. Pick something, and commit to it for a season. Call it a seasonal dream if you want. Iterate on it until you reach a point where you know this is what you should do or not. Then go deeper or move on. This will give you experience, broaden your skill set, and teach you the value of commitment."

On HSPs: 

12 Things a Highly Sensitive Person Needs
"Noisy, busy environments — like a crowded mall during the holidays, a concert, or a big party — can wreak havoc on a sensitive person’s highly reactive nervous system. Likewise, packed schedules and high-pressure situations, like a job interview or the first day in a new school, are overstimulating. If you know you’ll be in situation that will frazzle you, plan some time to decompress in a quiet space afterward. It’s best if you can be alone."

On Old-Fashioned Practices
Old-Fashioned Niceties That Deserve a Comeback
"From kids home with 
the flu to friends in the hospital, life presents 
oh-too-many opportunities to tend to people who are ill. Unfortunately, I think we are kind of 
terrible at it. We’re not sure how to behave, bent over our devices rather than being present. My closest childhood friend died last year, and I 
spent many long days and nights by her hospice bed. Here’s my simple advice: Take off your coat, put your phone away, 
and find something to do—leafing through a magazine, knitting, working on a crossword puzzle—that communicates that you’re available to help or chat but don’t need to be entertained. The same rules apply to someone who has lost a loved one. Just show up...“There’s something so intimate,
 in this day and age, 
about sharing media with 
just one other person, rather than live-tweeting 
whatever is on Netflix.” Joanna Goddard of, says 
that her husband started 
reading aloud to her at bedtime when she was pregnant with their first child: “I was too sleepy 
to keep my eyes open. But we’ve continued it because it’s a lovely 
way to lie close and see what jumps out or resonates with your partner.""

I loved this so much. The phone cord and welcome wagon tips were two other favorites.

On Cooking:
Posted: 25 Mar 2016 02:32 PM PDT
"To keep up with the high food demand in my house, I try to cook a little something every single day. Sometimes, it's as simple as hard boiling some eggs or baking banana bread. Whatever, cooking a little something everyday keeps my momentum going, saves money, and ensures that there is always something homemade in the house. I always do this cooking in the morning or early afternoon and never during the dinner prep hour. Sometimes, the cooking is in preparation for our dinner meal, but more often than not it's for breakfasts or snacks. I add it on to one of those things I have to do like laundry or unloading the dishwasher. It's part of running the household and not subject to my feelings. Cook a little something everyday - sometimes I feel it, and a lot of times not. Regardless, I'm always glad I did it!"

Such a smart idea! 

Can-Opener Cuisine
"But food is never just about taste. It’s also about culture and desire and the ways we want to present ourselves to the world. Poppy Cannon wanted convenience food to be a miracle for working women. So she held her nose and believed. See, Cannon understood working women. At a time when women were expected and encouraged to be financially dependant on their husbands, Cannon was viscerally familiar with the downside of such arrangements. Her father walked out on her family when she was a teenager, leaving her and her siblings alone with their mentally ill mother. She herself was married four times and divorced three, and had three children by three different men. Her food writing work wasn’t just a lark — it was a necessity.""

Satire Worth Sharing:
Posted: 25 Mar 2016 08:14 PM PDT
"Jerusalem — big city! Biggest city. You know, Jerusalem, it used to be great. Now it's just terrible! Terrible! We gotta get great biblical cities again. Gotta get great. So Jesus — really nice guy. Too nice. Way too nice. People are too nice now. That's why we're losing. Losing all the time. So Jesus, he's going into Jerusalem. So he asks a disciple to get a … a donkey. And that's why he's a loser! That's why Jesus Christ is a loser. Why are people trying to act like this loser on a donkey? When Donald Trump goes into a city, he's getting the best. The absolute best. A Trump horse. A Trump stallion. You know they measure horses in hands? Well, they measure Trump horses in Trump hands. The biggest hands."

Posted: 15 Mar 2016 08:08 PM PDT
""It's absolutely revolting, and I can't believe they would run something like that on television," said Dorothy Chalmers, a Dillsboro, NC mother who saw the ad with her three small children. "I immediately turned it off, of course, but I had to talk with my kids about what we had just seen. It was so nasty and unpleasant, my youngest one started to cry. Is this the kind of low-blow campaigning we can expect to endure through November?""

Technology Worth Sharing: 

Library Extention Turns Into a Branch of Your Local Library

Once installed (and configured), simply browse book or ebook listings on, and Library Extension will insert an extra window above the buy button with info on whether your library has the title in its catalog. For some libraries, you can also browse the audiobook, movie, and music catalogs. 

How cool is this?? 

Text Editor Restricted to 1000 Most Common Words
Inspired by Randall Munroe's Thing Explainer, Morten Just built a simple text editor for OS X that restricts your writing to the 1000 most common English words.

Photography Worth Sharing: 
Posted: 03 Apr 2016 12:54 PM PDT
So pretty

Noteworthy Quotes: 
"Perhaps I seem to you rather fanatical. I myself sometimes worry about that. But to be honest, I know that the day when I become more 'reasonable,' I shall have to chuck my entire theology. When I first started in theology, my idea of it was quite different--rather more academic, probably. Now it has turned into something else altogether. But I do believe that at last, for the first time in my life, I am on the right track. And I am often quite happy about that. My only anxiety is that fear of what others may think will bog me down and keep me from moving forward. I think I am right to say that true inner clarity and honesty will come only by starting to take the Sermon on the Mount seriously. In it alone is the force that can blow all this hocus-pocus sky-high... The restoration of the church must surely depend on a new kind of monasticism, which has nothing in common with its former self but proposes a life of uncompromising discipleship, following Christ according to the Sermon on the Mount. I believe the time has come to gather the people together and do this." -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"God tells our story by deconstructing the story we have about ourselves. What is left is the story of Calvary. And that is the only story that matters." -David Zahl

"I've read ‪#‎HB1523‬ through a couple of times now. I've read innumerable reactions and commentaries on it. Most of them are ill-informed and inflammatory. The law itself is pretty poorly written, but welcome to legislation. All of this discourse makes me very concerned, again, for our ability as a society to calmly and rationally discuss differing views.My thoughts are that we likely won't know if this protects the bad kinds of discrimination or just allows the reasonable kinds for quite some time. Or, perhaps, does nothing. Reasonable kinds of discrimination? Yes. Each one of us discriminates every day. For good and bad reasons and in private and public ways. Some discrimination should be illegal (discrimination based on race is the most obvious and glaring example). Some other discrimination is part of being a successful business person. I won't hire an English teacher with poor grammar throughout his or her resume. I can remember my wedding photographer telling me she interviews all her potential brides and their mothers before agreeing to photograph their big day. Why? Because she discriminates against people who are mean or crazy or otherwise difficult to work with. Lawyers do the same thing - only taking cases they think they can win and often choosing not to work with someone for personal reasons. Doctors don't usually and shouldn't usually have that luxury. Counsellors are a sticky wicket - I have heard of many folks being referred to a new counselor because of personal conflict, and it seems this is a necessary part of that type of work. Some discrimination is simply the drawing of boundaries. Not liking someone's lifestyle, viewing it as immoral, or not wanting to participate in it is not hate. I can show you some who hate, but disagreement isn't hate. I don't particularly like biker gangs and I think the Ku Klux Klan is immoral and I don't want to participate in abortions. I don't hate any of these people. Promise. At the same time, if I open up a lemonade stand, I will happily (and even be bound to by my own views of the teaching of my savior Jesus) serve that lemonade to the tattooed motorcyclists, the worst white supremacists, and the nurse coming to cool off after assisting in an abortion. Serving these people has not made me a participant. I am supposed to love all my neighbors, regardless of anything in their lives I may view as bad. A lot of this "should I participate in something I view as sinful?" turns on how much are you participating in an act and how much are you serving a person? I don't think people or businesses should be required to participate in an act they view as violating of their conscience, but I do think people and businesses (especially those at issue here - service industry businesses) should be required to serve all kinds if they will serve any. Where the line is between service and participation? It's hard and it takes calm and kind and servant-hearted people to figure it out. Individual liberty should be preserved- both of people and businesses; persecution should be forbidden; consciences should be respected; the image of God in every human should be recognized. Most of all, I'd like to exhort anyone who might stumble across this one tiny person's opinion, to calm down. Give a person on the opposite side of this issue - and any issue - the benefit of the doubt that they're not filled with hate or perversion and might be a person in need of grace. And you yelling at them might not be that grace.Go listen to MLK's I Have a Dream speech. Have a cuppa tea or a cold beer or whatever does it for you. Read the Soggy Sweat whiskey speech. Pick some wisteria. Pray. Kiss someone.We'll make it through. Mississippi is a beautiful place with trees for days and the most hospitable, ready-to-laugh people I've ever known. And the food, oh, the food." -Ann Lowrey Forster


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