Archives for November 2008

Linky Interwebby Awesomeness 11.25.08

– If you haven’t downloaded Shaw-awn’s song “Kingdom Coming” yet, you still can. And it’s totally free – no email address, registration or cash money required.

– And speaking of Shaw-awn, he’s going to be in concert with Travis Cottrell (Ring The Bells? Ever heard of it?) and Cindy Morgan on Thursday, December 4th at Thompson Station Church in Franklin, TN. This is the kickoff for the Gloria tour that they’re doing in conjunction with Compassion International. If you want to buy tickets for the show in Franklin, click here. If you want to see if the tour is coming your way, you can check out all the tour dates right here.

– Finally. Slow Blogging: It’s all the rage, apparently. (via Throwing Things)

The Level Of Boring Will Astound And Amaze

1. Sunday morning I woke up with what I like to call “a touch of the conjunctivitis.” My right eye had just completely revolted. It was blood red and itchy and watery and oozy.

Be sure to come back and read that last sentence right before you sit down for your Thanksgiving dinner, m’kay?

So the eye and I have been at odds for two days now. It’s better – still swollen and a little pink and very, very tender, and I have eye drops to help me fight the funk. Plus, it doesn’t feel like I have two thousand short needles residing underneath my eyelid anymore, so hey! PROGRESS!

2. Based on the Google searches that are popping up on my WordPress dashboard, there are a whole lot of folks looking for a congealed salad recipe right now. And by “a lot,” I mean 14.

TEENS of people.

I’m actually making a strawberry-pretzel salad (thanks, Marla!) for my Thanksgiving Day congealed salad contribution, and I’m ever-so-excited about it because if offers a near-perfect sweet-to-salty ratio. Granted, it’s not nearly as good as, say, pouring a box of M&Ms into a hot bag of salted popcorn, but it’s close.

3. Our DVR did not record the “24” movie Sunday night.



If I knew Jack Bauer in real-life, and if he, you know, ACTUALLY EXISTED, I would totally put him on the case. Because if anyone can get to the bottom of why Charter Communications is trying to STEAL MY DVR JOY, Jack Bauer can.

Anyway, please don’t tell me what happened because the episode comes out on DVD soon and we’re going to rent it. AND SEND THE RECEIPT FOR THE RENTAL TO CHARTER, THANK YOU.

4. I am deeply embarrassed by what’s going on in my house with laundry.

At some point I think I’ll just have a wood frame built around the bed in the guest room and call it a “drawer.” That way at least everything will be technically “put away” when I throw the clean laundry on the bed and then leave it there for one or six days.

5. James Taylor’s (Live) CD? Is my favorite CD of my life, I think.

6. I’m about to go to the grocery store.

Pray for me.


I Need Africa

I never intended to go to Africa. Ever. In fact, after seeing some pictures of someone’s trip to Africa during a women’s conference back in 2005, I specifically begged and pleaded with God to keep me as far away from Africa as possible. Something in me thought that there was no way I’d be able to handle it. Something in me didn’t want to see what was there.

About a year later our pastor camped out in Matthew 28 for what felt like a sweet forever (BECAUSE IT WAS. OH I KID. ONLY I’M SORT OF DEAD SERIOUS), and I didn’t like it much (just to clarify: he was challenging our church as a whole about serving globally; he certainly wasn’t saying that every single person had to go overseas). I can laugh about it now, of course, but at the time, for whatever reason, it made me feel a little bit frustrated. In fact, one Sunday I was helping to set up for a dinner at church, and I looked at a friend of ours who was on staff and said, “SO. At some point does he expect that I’m going to, like, want to GO TO AFRICA or something? Because I’m not going to Africa. I HAVE A TODDLER. GAH.”

And God sat up on His throne and just laughed and laughed because He knew what was about fifteen months down the road for me. Cracks me up when I think about it.

What I didn’t know back during my “nope, not going” phase – because there was just no way I could have known – is that when I did go to Africa with Compassion International earlier this year, it would turn out to be one of the biggest gifts of my life. Everything about that place – the people, the homes, the landscape, the smells, the air – crawled up under my skin and took up residence in the deepest part of my heart. I’ll never get over it.

Today the folks at Mocha Club are starting a campaign with pretty profound slogan: “I need Africa more than Africa needs me.” And when I heard about it, I immediately wanted to write about it because I totally get what they’re saying. Yes, Africa needs our help – there’s no question about that. There’s a level of need there that will just blow your mind – things like clean water and food and medicine are in shockingly short supply. Combine that with the fact that lots of people in Africa don’t know Jesus, and you can understand why oftentimes in Africa there’s a short supply of hope. We can definitely do something to change that.

But I think what we miss sometimes is that we need Africa, too – oh my word do we ever. Because Africa reminds me – every single day – that I’m not called to be comfortable. Africa reminds me that I’m called to live sacrificially. Africa reminds me that it’s meaningless to say “Jesus loves the little children” if I’m not following His lead and helping to take care of them. Africa reminds me that my safe little suburban lifestyle brings with it a deeply skewed view of what’s “necessary.” Africa reminds me to feel grateful when I wake up, turn on my kitchen faucet and see clean, drinkable water pouring out of it.

Africa reminds me to take nothing – NOTHING – in my life for granted.

Yes, Africa needs us – beyond a shadow of a doubt. And you can check out the work Mocha Club is doing if you’re interested in reaching out to Africa; MC is doing some great stuff over there. Most of y’all know that I’m pretty deeply involved with Compassion, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize it when other organizations – like Mocha Club, for instance – are doing a phenomenal job.

And now, more than ever, I think – it’s important to remember that we all need Africa. Right here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. We need Africa to remind us of joy that supersedes our circumstances. We need Africa to remind us what really matters. We need Africa for perspective. Because Africa, sweet friends, is a gift. To all of us.

You know, if you’d asked me even two years ago if I needed Africa, I would’ve told you – in no uncertain terms – that I didn’t.

But now? Now I know better.

I’m forever grateful for the lesson.

(Edited to add: Be sure to check out Kate’s and Annie’s posts on this same topic; you’ll be so glad you did.)

Linky Interwebby Awesomeness 11.24.08

– Tina at Antique Mommy is hosting a handmade and homemade holiday carnival today. Delightful craft and gift ideas await – so head on over.

– Mary at Owlhaven has some great tips for navigating Walmart on Black Friday. And if you want to see a run-down of all the Black Friday deals at all the different stores, you can check them out right here.

– You can win Beth Moore’s “Loving Well” retreat-kit-in-a-box over at AllAccess.

– Is the Wii sometimes a wee bit much? Kathryn’s talking about unplugging over at The Parenting Post.

A Giveaway For The Little Ones

We don’t do a lot of toy-buying in our house. I won’t bore you with the reasons why, but suffice it to say that new toys are big-deal, must-be-a-birthday-or-Christmas special events. We don’t get new toys because it’s Tuesday and we happen to be at Target and LOOK! STAR WARS ACTION FIGURES!

So while I’m probably not a toy expert, I do put a lot of thought into which toys actually make it into our playroom. This little computer, for instance, is probably the best $20 I ever spent on a toy. EVER. And even better? Our boy learned a whole bunch from playing with that little VTech laptop. As a result, we’re VTech fans.

And that is why I’m tickled to be able to give away a pretty FAYNCEE (by my standards, at least) kids’ toy: VTech’s KidiArt Studio. KidiArt Studio hooks up to your computer (PC only) or your television, and your kids can create works of art that show up on the “big screen.” You can even save their masterpieces to your computer and email those sweet creations to grandparents. The KidiArt Studio comes complete with a little low-res digital camera and – here’s the great part for moms of little boys who might not love refining those small motor skills – a digital “pencil” that enables kids to write and draw all the live-long day.

One word to the wise: KidiArt Studio requires 8 (EIGHT!) AA batteries, and they’re not included. I think a power cord would be an excellent addition to this toy, but nobody asked me, so I’ll just smile and continue to be delighted that one of your cute kids is going to get a free toy, amen.

If you’d like to win VTech’s KidiArt Studio, just leave a comment and tell me so. Because of shipping costs (it’s a big toy in a big box), this giveaway is restricted to folks who have a mailing address in the continental United States.

I’m so sorry, Canada. Please know that I still love you deeply.

Comments will remain open until Wednesday, November 26th, at which point I’ll pick a winner with

Thanks for playing, everybody!

This giveaway is now closed.

Linky Interwebby Awesomeness 11.21.08

The Mother Letter Project – y’all, this is such a sweet idea. You have to check this out – it’s one of the most wonderful things a husband could ever do for his wife. Absolutely precious. (via Shannon)

– Jack Bauer is back. For one night only.

(At least until January.)

– As part of my quest to use as much cream cheese as possible between now and the end of the year, last night I made these appetizers for Bible study. They are so pretty and so delicious.

I do, however, make a few changes to the recipe: 1) I trim the crust off the bread slices and then cut the slices in half – you get more mileage out of your bread that way. 2) I don’t use horseradish; I use a cup of mayonnaise instead. 3) I put a little piece of crisp bacon on top of each mini-sandwich. 4) I use dried dill instead of fresh dill because I think it’s pretty to sprinkle it all over a serving plate.

And these are so great as “big” sandwiches, too – the cold tomato and the soft egg and the crispy bacon are deeeee-lightful together.

The end.