cultivate (kuhl - tuh - veyt)
v. 1) develop 2) nurture

graft (grahft)
n. 1) transplant 2) bud 3) union

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Soldiering On

A few days ago I made a batch of fresh, soft, rich, from-scratch chocolate chip cookies. Let me be crystal clear on something: I make delightful chocolate chip cookies (horrible peanut butter cookies, but yummy chocolate chip cookies). It's a gooey gala in your mouth. I can't take much credit for their sheer delectable-ness. It's my mom-in-law's recipe (which was her mom's recipe), and I use Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips. The secret's in the chips, folks. Never scrimp on the chips. (Don't worry. There is a reason I'm torturing you with my mouth-watering cookie spiel.)

I took my little care package and headed to the Post Office. Baby wipes and homemade cookies in tow, I slapped my goods in a flat rate box and wrote the APO address on the outside (and almost managed to get all six lines of the address inside that little address space). That's right. I'm a do-gooder. I sent my brother-in-law the best cookies that come from my kitchen and sent him baby wipes so he can get kinda, sorta (not really) clean while serving our country in the Middle East.
Aren't I just so lovable? Isn't he lucky to have yours truly for a sister-in-law?

Oh wait. Do we have his current deployment address (nope-had to ask his ex-wife)? Oops.
Punch to the gut.

When did he deploy, again? Beginning of the year.
Double punch.

Been there for months on end? Has received two care packages. TWO! One was from the wife of one of his soldiers (probably pitied the poor, neglected Captain).

Triple. Punch.

I'm not so thrilled with this whole deployment deal, but I'm even more hot under the collar with myself. Monday's post flipped a U-ey, and came barreling down on me like a Mack Truck. If I can't manage to display a smidgen of appreciation for the brother of my husband (seriously? cookies that will be stale by the time they reach him and baby wipes?), how can I expect to demonstrate authentic love for the people two houses down? Both deserve better from me. God deserves better from me. 

The average civilian's life is largely detached from the daily grind of the men and women in the trenches. It's far too easy to push them aside in lieu of the "here and now". To any servicemen and women who happen to read this post, I am sorry. I'm working on being a more sensitive and supportive civilian, because I am grateful for you sacrificesI've apologized to my brother-in-law, and expressed our desire to send him care packages more regularly (ideally, I'd like to send him something monthly). His response indicated this is par for the course for a lot of deployed uniforms (who set aside their comfort and safety to ensure ours). 


I realize America is divided on the war, but can we be united on the love?*

Munching on Humble Pie,


*Visit and for practical ways to show love to our soldiers (worldwide), veterans and their families.

Monday, August 27, 2012


I'm fairly positive no one can croon like Nat King Cole. Believe it or not, Timothy and I performed a lip sync performance to L.O.V.E. If I ever hunt down the recording I'll gladly subject your unsuspecting eyeballs to our award-winning choreography.

In the meantime I need to share what God has been pounding on my soul for the past 3-4 years. It's been a long journey (because I'm a slow learner), and I know it's not even close to over (also because I'm a slow learner). Four letters He has branded on my heart and seared into my grey matter.


It doesn't take a genius to realize love is complex, so let me narrow it down to something broader (yes, you read that correctly). I'm not talking about marriage or dating. I'm definitely not talking about puppies or Vera Wang's new pre-Fall line.

I'm talking about people. I'm talking about The Church* rising up to proclaim what should always be our battle cry. Somewhere along the generations we've lost sight of the hills worth dying on. Suddenly, Planned Parenthood, Ellen DeGeneres and Capitol Hill have become our death hills. Please don't misunderstand me: It's worth our while to think through and form opinions on such issues (I believe every Christian should grapple with this stuff). However, it's not worth it to make it our mission to obliterate anyone who disagrees. More importantly it's not worth dragging the gospel through the mud in order to stubbornly cling to the withered grass on that hill. Half the time we're fighting against fellow believers, for crying out loud (doesn't that speak volumes to the world?!)!

"Above all, put on love-the perfect bond of unity." (emphasis mine, Colossians 3:14)

The way I see it, I should be getting dirt-under-my-nails messy in the lives of my neighbor.** They don't need my condemnation, my judgement, nor my cold shoulder. Putting on love supersedes all rights to "set them straight". Love means I embrace them no matter their lifestyle, skin color, (gasp!) political affiliations or whathaveyou. It does not mean I'm blind to those differences, but it does mean I choose something greater upon which to focus: (you guessed it) LOVE, people!!

I've spent waaaaaay too long casting judgement upon others (I'm sure God's "Thank you for your help" note to me is in the mail). I've picked up my stones and thrown them with deadly accuracy. I've denied Christ by choosing to die on ridiculous hills of self-righteousness.

I have failed. The Church has failed. We've sown some serious seeds of hatred and we're reaping a devastating harvest. We've replaced "compassion for the lost" with "fellowship for the believer". We've turned inward and lost the momentum to love others. It's time we tilled the soil and started sowing seeds of love, where once only condemnation flourished. It's time we uprooted that garbage and started getting our act together.

How 'bout it? Shall we begin the ascent up a hill worth dying on? One that challenges us to radically love our neighbor? Jesus certainly exemplified this for us on Calvary.


*Ecclesiastical (as opposed to specific church/denomination)
**Watch VeggieTales' Are You My Neighbor? OR read Luke 10:29-37. If you're feeling super spiritual, partake of both.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Diving In

I’m a blogger. There. I said it.

Now there’s that small matter of actually blogging. I hear tell that’s how this blogging thing works. Before I scare all three readers away, I suppose I should introduce myself (therefore effectively scaring off everyone except my unflappable mom-Hi Mama).

I lead a scintillating life as a deep sea tour guide. Thanks to my independent wealth, I enjoyed the luxury of seeing the world and taking my pick of fancy-schmancy careers. I landed in Hawaii and fell in love with the adrenaline rush of close encounters with sharks and other sea life (much to the chagrin of my parents). While I haven’t yet succeeded in riding a dolphin, I’ve come dang close.

Just kidding.

I’m a stay-at-home-mom who is 1,000% horrified at the mere thought of snorkeling (Did you know jellyfish can sting you?!?), let alone diving into the deep blue, depending on an air hose for sustenance, a wetsuit to guard against hypothermia and my own mad skills to fend off sea predators.

OK, here’s the real skinny on moi:

1. I start my days with coffee. Always.
2. Sometimes I restart the dryer for the express purpose of avoiding the clothes therein.
3. My husband and I are just like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (or so we’ve been told).*
4. I read every night before going to sleep. Unless I fall asleep first.
5. I just happen to have married the best man on earth. (Ladies, who else gets a wee bit irked when they read stuff like that? Hey woman! My husband is a stud too, ya’ know.) Allow me to clarify. I married the best fit (for me) humanly possible. I’m pretty sure no one else on the planet in the galaxy (Let’s not rule out extraterrestrial life forms, folks) would put up with my brainless brilliant antics.
6. I’m just a tad scattered. I blame the children.
7. I have a penchant for those tasty little chocolate orange sticks. I blame my older sister.
8. Girlfriends close to me describe me as a crunchy mama. I’m not convinced. Die-hard crunchies would turn in their graves if they knew the junk my kids have eaten this week. (In other news, mint chocolate chip ice-cream pairs quite nicely with apple slices.)
9. We’re one of those families.**
10. We’re NOT one of THOSE families.***
11. I am passionate about a few things: Strong marriages and families, intentional gospel living, and the orphan crisis.
12. I’m struggling (and failing) daily to live like Jesus. All the while, God is continually challenging my perceptions of what it means to follow Him with reckless abandon.
13. I’m not kidding about the snorkeling.  

So, if we’re a match made in heaven, put your feet up and stay awhile. I’ll brew some more chocolate hazelnut coffee. If you’re coming to heckle me on my very first post, shame on you. Wait until I post something controversial.

Either way, I’m hankering to see where this lil’ blog goes. Please Lord, not to the bottom of the sea.


*It’s our dashing good looks, salary or the fact that we have adopted internationally. Pick any two.
**You know the kind. Conservative, religious, larger-than-socially-acceptable homeschooling family.
***Unfortunately, you know the kind. Shove my religion in your face, and walk away pleased with myself for fulfilling my heavenly civic duty for the day. But that’s a post for another time.