Winning! “A Year of Biblical Womanhood”

I had a great start to my Monday this morning.

After I got around and completed my morning ritual of hanging over the toilet for a few minutes (I feel like all I ever talk about on here is barfing or trying not to barf) I checked my email and found that I had won a copy of Rachel Held Evans’ new book “A Year of Biblical Womanhood!” I have been dying to read this book and waiting anxiously for it to come out!

Rachel Held Evans is kind of a superstar in my eyes, in big part because she often stands up to Mark Driscoll and his insane and offensive macho drivel. Which I sort of totally love. I nearly peed all over myself one day when she commented on my friend’s Facebook wall. Because he knows her. I haven’t met many famous people so the fact that my friend is friends with a famous person who I admire sends me into dizzy spells.

I won the book from a blog giveaway at Kurt Willems’ blog The Pangea Blog over at Patheos. So a big fat Thank You to Kurt for feeding my book addiction and decided girl crush on Rachel Held Evans. I seriously can’t type just part of her name. I have to type the whole thing.

I can’t wait to read it! I’ll be back with a review sometime later. I’m not sure how long it will take to get the book plus I have to finish up Fundamorphosis first.  🙂

Simplicity-An Experimental Collective

Tonight we welcomed some old and some new friends from Vintage Fellowship into our home to begin our Simplicity Experimental Collective.  We will be focusing on getting rid of excess for the next 6 weeks. Our inspiration for this topic was the book “7: An experimental mutiny against excess” by Jen Hatmaker. Jen took 7 areas and focused on them each for a month at a time over 7 months.  As we will only be focusing on action for 4 weeks we will each pick one area to concentrate on.  We aren’t confining ourselves to her topics, but many of us will likely choose from the following areas: clothes, shopping, wast, stress, media, possessions or food.  One goal of our experiment will be to find what resources we gain by eliminating the excess in one area of our life. Then we will hopefully find a way to use that resource to help others or ourselves.

I really am not sure which area will end up with my focus. Definitely not food.  There is no way I’m putting unnecessary dietary restrictions on myself at this point.  Clothes is a good one in that I could definitely pare down to 7 items of clothing for 4 weeks. Especially as I continue to grow out of my current clothing. I might do this one anyway but it won’t really challenge me to limit my wardrobe. I’m not much of a clothes horse and you won’t find a bunch of items of clothing in my closet with the tags still on.  Shoot, most of them didn’t have tags when I bought them because I got them at Goodwill or a resale shop. I’m no fashionista, that’s for sure.

Waste is one area I want to do better with, but we discussed not doing our experiments out of guilt and that’s definitely why I would be going hard-core on the recycling.  I’m leaning toward media at the moment because it does seem to take up so much of my time.  We watch something on Hulu or Netflix almost every day after work and it really eats up the evenings.  We have our dinner in front of tv shows instead of facing one-another and having conversations. Even if I don’t have the energy after work to clean or organize or work on projects, it would probably  be good for me to relax and read and get to bed early instead of staying up late to watch tv and then write a blog post and getting to bed much later than I planned.

Our homework for the week is to skim Jen’s book “7” and maybe do a little journaling to identify the area that we would like to concentrate on.  So I have some pondering to do this week.

I am excited to see what this Collective will bring and so thrilled to be concentrating on Simplicity as we enter into this Holiday season that definitely the opposite of simple in our American culture today. It’s going to be a challenging and wonderful 6 weeks!

Post road-trip fog

I am so ready to be unconscious in my bed right now. I’m not even the one who drove us all the way to Missouri on Saturday and all the way back today. *My husband is awesome* We got home this evening, picked up a very missed puppy, I ran over to my friend Vanessa’s for a quick Experimental Collective meeting and ran home again to help clean the house up for that same meeting that will be meeting here tomorrow night.

I love volunteering our house for groups.  Mostly because it forces us to clean at least once a week because people are going to be here. It’s also just so much simpler to come home and eat right before group than to have to plan to get home from work early enough to get something to eat for dinner with Daniel in time to go somewhere else for a meeting. My evenings are still pretty tough at this point (I start feeling really sick about 4:30 or 5 at work) so it makes me feel better to get to come straight home.

I’m extra excited about this group because it’s all about simplifying and getting rid of excess during the least simple, most excessive season of the year.  I was so moved by how impactful and perfect the Authenticity through Creativity Experimental Collective was over the past 7 weeks that I just can’t wait to try another. I never want to go to another Small Group again! I feel like the Experimental Collective model fits Vintage so well. I don’t want to speak for everyone else, but I felt after our first meeting that this format suits me much more than the Small Group format.  I need homework. Real homework that is meant to change me.

I’m so excited!

That’s weird. The elections are over and the world still exists.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’m currently incubating a small human. It came along today when its Daddy and I voted. I really wanted to be cheesy and put my “I voted” sticker on my belly but our polling location never gives stickers. Bummer of the day.

Later in the evening we went to Vintage for election night communion. How beautiful it was to sing together about turning our focus to Jesus when there are so many things pulling us in other directions lately. It’s so easy to get sucked into the political bickering. It’s kind of fun and we want to be right, don’t we? Tonight I came together with my church family to rest in the knowledge that, no matter how the elections ended up, I believe that God is sovereign and where our focus needs to be. Jesus didn’t call us to convince everyone we know to vote the way we want them to. He called us to LOVE.  We gathered together tonight as a group that represented pretty much every bubble on the Arkansas ballots.  There was no tension or arguments. Just the joy of being together. A feeling of love and trust that our votes do not separate us in any real ways. And the knowledge that no election results will change any of that.

Back to the tiny human-shaped critter currently giving me killer heartburn.

I have no memories of a time without MTV. It may be lame now, but it does still exist. This little one will come into a world with an African American as the elected leader of the USA. He or she will probably never know a world where it’s a big deal. Maybe our kid will grow up and just not be able to stand Barack Obama and think “I hate that my least favorite President was in office when I was born!” But, while I hope we will have instilled in them an understanding of the importance of the step forward, they won’t have any memories of Americans electing a non-white President being any big dang deal.

That makes me so happy.

I didn’t get that, though I wanted it so badly growing up. I seriously felt like a 60’s era civil rights activist in a little 7 year old body. I was an odd kid.  I know that I can’t truly understand the experience of growing up a person of color in this country. I’m a white woman who grew up in a home with both parents and, no matter how tough times got, I never had to worry about a roof over my head or dinner on the table. Maybe my parents worried about it at some point, but I never did. I was and am a child of privilege. I married  a white man. We have good educations and good jobs and a roof over our heads. I have had great prenatal care from before this baby was even sparked into existence. It was a child of privilege the moment it began to grow. Still, I am so happy that it will have a privilege that I didn’t have. The privilege of always living in a world where a black man got elected to the presidency of the United States. Twice. No matter what his politics are, that is such a joy to me.

I got into a lot of fights as a kids about race. I’m not sure how much of it was my personality and how much of it was something my parents did early on, but I was never shy about standing up for issues I felt strongly about. It might have stemmed from me finally figuring out the whole “color” thing.  See, I had two bi-racial cousins when I was a little kid. I knew their white mom (also my cousin) but she remarried a white man before I was old enough to remember anything else.  So, in my infinite 4 year-old wisdom, I put two and two together and decided I knew how it all worked. Let me explain genetics to you through a Pre-Ker’s eyes.  Before you have any kids you don’t know what race they will be.  Then you have your first one and you find out.  My cousin had her first baby and she was black. So obviously the second one was too.  Thus, when we went to visit her to see her new baby with her new husband I was very confused and, frankly, pissed off that her baby was…white.  What the crap? What business did that baby have being white? Once my mom explained the situation I was pretty ticked because I had been really looking forward to finding out what kind of babies I was going to have. Also, now that meant I was probably NOT related to Ozzie Smith, after all.  I think that just made me extra sensitive to the whole issue of race at an early age. So I noticed a lot more than most other kids around me when the grown-ups talked about it or it was the subject of a tv show or movie.

In Kindergarten we had one of those worksheets where they tell you what color to use on each area. Like a paint by numbers only with crayons.  The worksheet was a picture of a Native American (only we still called them Indians back in the early 80’s and sat “Indian Style” instead of “Criss-Cross Applesauce.”) My teacher instructed me to color my “Indian” Red. I don’t remember if I hesitated. I just remember refusing to do it.  I told her “Indians aren’t red. They are kind of brown” It wasn’t a political statement. I just thought it was stupid. Why would she be trying to force me to color a person a color that didn’t actually match them? I never did color my picture red. Usually I would have gotten in trouble for talking back to a teacher but I think my parents were actually pretty proud. It never occurred to me after that to adapt to fit the norms around me when it came to something I felt was right or wrong.  A lot of self-confidence came out of that one moment of not getting in trouble for sassing.

When we moved from Kentucky to Missouri I was 10 and in for a big shock. I had only heard the “N” word a few times before that. I started hearing it a lot more. I heard it within the first few weeks when my mom put my ponytail in a bunch of tiny braids and sent me to school. I could wear that hair-do for a week and then I’d have wonderful crimps when it came down. Hey, it was cool at the time. That first day a boy came up to me and asked me if I was a “Some kind of N—– lover or something?” I was so very shocked. I never ever come up with good comebacks so I’m pretty proud of my 10 year-old response of “I love all people. Except for jerks like you.” Smooth, tiny blond girl. Smooth. I did adjust to my surroundings there.  I stopped calling everything “Coke” after a while and switched to “soda pop.” I stopped using “ma’am”  and “sir” when speaking to adults because my entire 5th grade class laughed at me my first day when I said “Yes ma’am” to our teacher. But that particular trait, the horrible bigoted racist one, never rubbed off on me.

Again, I just want to reiterate that I don’t think my experiences are anything in comparison to kids who dealt with racism directed at them. Mine was 3rd party indignation. I could step outside of the sadness and hurt I felt. When I had a teacher in 6th grade who continually made racist remarks about property values and black neighbors and Michael Jackson being glad he was “turning white” I was angry but it did not affect my self esteem in the ways that I’m sure it could/would have an African American kid. I’m  not comparing my experiences with those kids.  But my experiences will be comparable to the little human I’m cooking right now. And I want so much more for her/him than we had. The election four years ago and the one tonight made sure there is at least one thing that will be different for this new generation. I am so glad for that.

PS–I’m not forgetting the awesome results tonight where women were elected to various offices for the first time EVER. It’s just really past my bedtime and I’ve already rambled enough for one post. Maybe I’ll revisit it later.


It’s not about how you vote. It’s about how you love.

We have been focusing on on the election for the past few weeks at Vintage Fellowship. “What?” you ask, “Isn’t that against the law?” No, we are not in danger of losing our tax-exempt status by endorsing candidates from the pulpit. We don’t even have an actual pulpit. If we all believed the same things politically, then what kind of true representation of the Body of Christ would that be?  NOT a true one is my opinion. Also boring. We have people voting all over the place at Vintage and, you know what? I have not been tempted even for half a second to delete any of them from Facebook in the past 6 months. Not even Matthew who keeps sending me links to really, really scary horror movie trailers and telling me “They’re coming to get you, Barbara.” But that’s neither here nor there.

Do you know WHY I haven’t been tempted to delete them from Facebook? Because I have not seen a single ugly, hateful thing posted berating candidates or the people who plan to vote for them. I have seen passion. I have seen anger and hurt.  But no ugly. Not once did anyone from my Vintage family pop up on my FB feed questioning the Faith of others based on who they intend to vote for. There was no “You’re not a real Christian if you don’t want to ban abortion.” No “JESUS would want universal healthcare, so you must not really love Jesus if you don’t support it.”

Because it’s not about how you vote. It’s about how you love.

We have made 3 pledges in the past 3 weeks as a Church.

heartHEART: I will care more about what people think of Jesus than my candidate or party. I will focus on what is right, admirable, and praise-worthy in the candidates.

lipsLIPS: I will speak with grace and kindness about every candidate. I will refuse to engage in rumor, sarcasm, name-calling, or lies.

handHANDS: I will do what I can to show love in tangible ways that no politician or party can.

Because each person you see on your ballot tomorrow (or you saw already when you voted early) and each celebrity personality talking about it on their show is a child of God.

  • Barack Obama? Child of God
  • Mitt Romney? Child of God
  • Nancy Pelosi? Child of God
  • Todd Akin? Child of God
  • Rachel Maddow? Child of God
  • Rush Limbaugh? Child of God

Each person who will be voting exactly opposite your choices is a child of God.

  • Republican
  • Democrat
  • Libertarian
  • Tea Party

You get my drift.

Stop and think about that and ask yourself if your behavior reflects that knowledge. Have you made sarcastic comments about them? Have you said derogatory things before checking to see if they were true first? Have you made sweeping statements about a group of people based on who they will be voting for? Have you shared a post or a status because you found it witty and funny (especially at the expense of others) without thinking about whether or not it furthered honest and open communication?

I have a challenge for you for Tuesday and in the days to come. Stop before you speak or post.  Stop and remind yourself that whoever you are aiming your comment at, whoever it is about, is a child of God.  Ask yourself, “Am I showing love? Is what I am about to share appropriate to say about a fellow child of God? Am I helping or hurting?”

Can you put the ugly aside for a few days? Or maybe even decide to drop it altogether from now on?

Romans 12:14–Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse


Goodbye, Daylight Saving Time. I will miss you so.

Today  was a nice lazy day with a few moments of productivity. We stayed in bed until around 9 or so and only finally got around because neither one of us could breath. Stinking allergies. I have found that my best mornings are Saturday mornings.  Getting lots of sleep and getting to wake up when my body is good and ready definitely gives me less nausea.  So today has been a pretty decent day as far as that goes. Hopefully the extra hour of sleep tonight will help me out tomorrow. As much as I hate to see Daylight Saving Time go and it depresses me to drive home form work in the dark, at least I’ll get a little extra sleep tonight.

We made a run to our local healthy pet food store to get dog and cat food and found that they aren’t carrying Luna’s dog treats anymore. All of the ones they do carry are pretty expensive since they are made with high quality ingredients and are considered “specialty” treats. Part of that is just that the demand isn’t high enough for them to be making huge amounts like the brands they sell at Walmart so they don’t get the bulk production cost savings and part (probably most) of it is that people are willing to spend more if they are the type of people worried about the ingredients in their dog biscuits.  I’m definitely worried about our pets’ food and treat ingredients but, as we all know, I am also a giant tightwad. So I decided now would be a good opportunity to try making homemade biscuits for Luna.

As it turns out, you can make them from pumpkin and it’s really good for dog tummies. Luna is kind of a barfy dog AND we had a Cinderella pumpkin getting soft that needed to be used.  Win/Win. So I baked up a pumpkin today and tomorrow I’ll be making some dog biscuits from scratch.  If it ends up not being too much of a hassle and Luna likes them it will be much cheaper than buying them from the healthy pet store and healthier than buying them from Walmart.

Wish me luck!

I didn’t throw up today and everybody clapped

Everybody lies. Bunch of liars.

The books lie. lies.  “Oh, you’ll feel much better after the first 12 weeks.”  LIES LIES LIES. When I went to my Dr. appointment at 12 weeks the Dr. said, “I’m sure you’ll feel better around 14 or 15 weeks.”  She said that about 12 weeks when I was there the month before.  Here we are at 15 weeks and this whole being pregnant thing is still kicking my butt. It’s pretty exhausting to be nauseated just about every moment of the day for almost 4 months. I feel like it’s never going to end. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be hanging out at this kid’s high school graduation trying not to barf.

If somebody asked me how my day was, I’d say it was OK. I did have to stop multiple times and just breath and try really hard not to lose my previous meal but I was successful all day. At our end of the week meeting at work today someone asked for wins of the week. I said I hadn’t puked all day. The entire office applauded.  No lie.  They were legitimately excited for me.  How sad is that? If I really thought it would be over soon I would be OK with a day being classified as “good” if I was only feeling on the brink of puking all day and fighting heartburn that would fell a trucker. But I’m really nervous that it’s not going to end and I’m going to feel this way until April. I’m not sure I can handle that. I mean, I know I’ll survive it physically but I’m afraid I will lose my sanity completely.

Everyone also says it will be worth it once the baby gets here. They better not be lying about that too. Do you hear that, baby? You better not be a dud. You better be awesome.

Brings A Whole New Meaning to “Hotter than a whore in church”

For several weeks our pastor Robb has mentioned every Sunday that maybe it would be cool if everyone dressed like Bible characters or just anyone from church history on Halloween. At first it was “Wouldn’t it be LAME if we did that?” And then “Wouldn’t it be FUNNY if we did that?” And it finally ended up the week before Halloween with “OK, I can pretty much guarantee you a few extra jewels in your crown up in Heaven if you dress up next Sunday.” Which is basically a dare. And I’m defenseless against a good dare.

So Daniel and I hemmed and hawed at the last minute trying to think up some funny costumes.

Daniel suggested I be a double rainbow, all the way.

Cause a rainbow is a Bible character.

But I didn’t have anything to make a rainbow costume. Instead Daniel used an old tunic costume he had and I used a big pretty piece of fabric from Thailand, some Mardi Gras beads and the walking stick I bought for Daniel at my family reunion year before last and a pillow for a fake baby belly.

You see, we’ve been moving through Genesis this year in church. A few months ago we came to the the story of Judah and Tamar. Quick recap–Tamar marries Judah’s son and he is struck down by God. So she marries her brother-in-law. He doesn’t want to father a child with her like he’s supposed to because it would be considered his dead brother’s kid. When he is remiss in his duties, God also strikes him down. Judah sends Tamar away and promises she can marry the other brother when he grows up. But he breaks his promise. And Tamar pretends to be a prostitute and Judah helps her get into a family way when Judah comes to town. She hangs on to his staff (family reunion walking stick) and cord (Mardi Gras beads) to prove who her Baby Daddy is when she gets a big belly and everyone in town wants to do away with her what with her no-husband-having, person-growing situation. But she busts out Judah’s belongings and he’s all “Oh yah, my bad.” The end.

Nice story, lots of lessons to be learned. By grown ups. In the sermon. For my part, it’s my responsibility to write the Kids Church lesson plans. Riiiiiiiight. So Robb attempted to tell me right before this lesson came up how important it was for me to be planning my lessons on EXACTLY what we were studying in church each week. But he couldn’t even keep a straight face through the first sentence. And the kids sang Father Abraham and glued macaroni to construction paper. Not really.

Anyway. In closing, the scenario Sunday morning went like this.

We were totally late for church and walked in the door in our super costumes just as Robb was saying that he really thought more people would come dressed up but no one did. Except for my friend Wendy who dressed up as Michelle Duggar and I didn’t even get to see her. Boo. Enter us:

And cue the laughter. Someone asked if we were Mary and Joseph and, instead of answering, I glared around, shook my stick and beads, pointed to my belly and glared at Daniel. After a beat Robb yelled out “You’re Judah and Tamar?!?!?” It was awesome.

And then all my Sunday school kids thought I was actually pregnant and kept asking me if I was having a boy baby or a girl baby. Less awesome.

But we ended the morning with my new favorite quote of all time coming from Robb.

“Nobody dresses up like a fake prostitute like you, Erin.”

It’s true.

Nobody does.

Something will get done eventually, right?

So the flashback to my tender years was brought on by me trying to decide whether or not it was ironic that the reason I hadn’t posted in two weeks on my blog (you know, the one about having too much on my plate & putting that plate aside for more plates?) was because I’ve been busy with hobbies and traveling and being lazy.  I put my shelves together and rearranged the sun room into something of a sewing room/library but left the shelf boxes propped up against a wall so, of course, I never took a picture to share.  And I went to dance class twice a week getting ready to dance with a local men’s choir this weekend but I never did go buy the shirt I’m supposed to get or the right pants so I’ll have to get both tomorrow.  And I never did write about how I got into dance class because I took some video in class to include and I need to edit the clips to make sure you only see feet and not the ladies in my class, cause that would be seriously rude.

Then I went to Memphis with Daniel for Labor Day to visit his family and do Memphis things.  Also we’re down a few people at work in my position so I’m doing lots of filling in so my brain is spinning by supporting 4 client groups instead of 2.  But I’m making lots of progress on the afghan I’ve been working on so basically when I get home I want to eat dinner, watch a movie and knit.  Or write lists.  About Daniel’s Birthday.  And the things I need to do to get ready for it. Which are a lot of things.  Including fixing the toilet because I can’t have dozens of people at my house and have them turn off the water to the toilet after they’re done because it runs constantly if you don’t.  And has pretty much all of 2010.  Yah.

But tonight I was productive!  There was much secret planning and arranging and MAYBE some doing tonight.  But that is all I can say.  Because I love surprises and I don’t want to spoil any of Daniel’s.

On being a “Smart Girl”

Ahhh, how my friends and I loved Jagged Little Pill when we were in, what, 8th grade? 9th grade? I could look it up but it doesn’t really matter. Suffice it to say that we were old enough to start having some drama in our lives and young enough to think it was REAL drama. Thus the joy in listening to post “You Can’t do that on Television” Alanis as a method to either work through our own “pain” or work ourselves up into manufacturing something to feel angsty over if we didn’t have any angst to speak of.

But even then, in the midst of feeling awkward and not cool enough and wondering “oh for the love of all that is good and holy was I ever going to grow boobs?” (answer: no) I was still a (slightly apologetic) nerd and knew the definition of the word irony. Sure, I sang in a really off-pitch adolescent voice about finding black flies in my chardonnay even though I didn’t REALLY know what chardonnay was other than some kind of wine. I bemoaned the trials of rain on your wedding day. I pretended I was one of the different Alani in the car on the way to the mall. Somehow I always got stuck being the spazzy hair-eater. All the while I had a dirty little secret. That damn song ate at my very being. I thought I would burst with know-it-all-ness every time it came on the radio. Finally, one day I snapped and yelled out “I hate this stupid song those things aren’t even ironic!” Only to be met with blank stares and “Of course they are. It’s on MTV.” Or something equally brainy and well-thought-out. So I’d sing along because, honestly, it’s really catchy. But eventually I’d have to pipe in my 2 cents. Sometimes someone would laugh when they realized the truth. A few people joined me in deconstructing exactly WHY each line was not ironic and we felt so stinking intelligent and just above it all. If there had been a coffee shop in our small town we totally would have hung out there being cool. But usually, in the true essence of teenagerdom, people just said “Who cares? This song is amazing. It’s, like, so totally exactly what I’m feeling right now, you know? I mean, gaaaaaah.” And I would cozy in a little further into my assigned role as the friend who didn’t really mind being the spazzy hair-eater Alanis on rides to the mall and who was “smart” because I knew what irony was.