Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Heart Hurts


No, it's not angina after my bike ride yesterday, but thanks for being concerned.  It's something silly and trivial and yet big and hurtful.

Today when we pulled into the parking lot at the Fencing Academy, there was a big fat robin sitting along the curb where the cars nose in.  I even remarked, "look how FAT that one is!"  As I slowly pulled up, I expected it to fly away.  It hopped a little bit towards another car, but it didn't fly.  That was my first clue.

I waited until it moved away and after I parked I got out and went to look at the bird.  Up close it was clear that it was big and fat because it was seriously injured and was holding itself all fluffed up.  Because we are owned by a bird, I know that is the "stressed" position.  Peering closer, I could see its eyes were cloudy.  More telling, it didn't fly off or try to move away at all.

My daughter asked me to call some Wildlife Rehabilitators so they could take care of it. That's why I got the iPhone, right?  So I could look up things like that and make phone calls at important times?  But every place that showed up on the list in the surrounding area dealt with injured raptors. Robins are not on the list of birds that Rehab places want to use their scarce resources on.  I told her to go in to class and I'd think about what next to do. By then the robin had hopped up onto the sidewalk.  As the students went in and out, they walked within inches of the bird and it didn't move. Most looked down at it, but no one stopped.

I needed to go to run an errand, so I told myself that if the robin was still there when I got back, I'd try a little harder to come up with an idea. When I returned, the bird was gone. My hope is that someone else took pity on it and did something useful or merciful, but I really don't know what happened.  I walked around a bit outside looking for it or a corpse, but didn't see anything.

Across the parking lot I did see some fledglings trying out their flying skills, and I imagine that is what happen to this one. Perhaps it zigged when it should have zagged. Better that it would have been killed outright though.

I know God makes plenty of robins, and one more or less will not endanger the population. And I know that animals get injured and sick and many die, especially wild ones who don't have humans to spend increasingly obnoxious amounts of money on them. What bothered me about this, and what still bothers me, is that the bird was so obviously suffering.

What bothered me more is that I did not have a clue what to do about it. This wasn't one of those situations where I could put money in a bucket or make a paypal donation to let someone else alleviate the suffering of a creature. I really, really hate to see animals suffering -- even if it's just a spider!

And then I started wondering.  If some of those children with huge eyes and distended bellies were actually in the parking lot of someplace I frequent, rather than in photographs, what would I do?

Last night, we watched The Blind Side. This is the remarkable story about a woman who couldn't stand to see a young man suffering so she did something about it. If you haven't seen it, you need to get it from Netflix. Don't be put off by the football player on it -- it's a true story of one of today's NFL players, Michael Oher.

I really need to spend some time in prayer about this who issue of how I should be responding to suffering around me. You see, I get impatient with people who seem to lean into their suffering. Or those who complain about their suffering constantly. I am much more drawn to those stoics -- like the robin -- who are carrying their pain silently as they just try to get through the next five minutes.

In the meantime, I know that Jesus asked,

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care." Matthew 10:29


I'm pretty sure that includes robins as well.

Be kind to one another today. And be particularly kind to the small ones amongst us.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Perfect Riding Weather

I was to meet a friend for lunch at Silver Diner at 11, so I got on the bike at 9:30 -- just to be safe.  What a perfect day for a ride.  It is just cool enough to be comfortable in bike shorts with a windbreaker jacket. My ears were even a little bit cold when I had some downhill speed!

It was 4.1 miles there and 4.1 miles back, and I had a salad with salmon.  But will my daughter give me any Easter candy?  Ha ha

Here are some photos of the ride.

My neighbor's azaleas -- the photo does not do them justice!

This tree was HUGE


Doesn't that look like an invitation to another world?

Irises at Silver Diner


HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

School Lunches


I read a story yesterday about a school in Chicago that has banned home-packed lunches.  The children MUST take the lunches served at the school.  Here's the story:  SCHOOL LUNCH  I think the photo is eloquent.

The first eight years of my daughter's and five years of my son's education, they attended a school that did not have a cafeteria service, so school lunches were the ONLY option.  On occasion my son spoke enviously of friends whose moms brought fast food to them. I asked the principal about it and she said it was an occasional treat when that mom was pulling "lunch" duty.  That made sense to me.  If I had to take my children out for an appointment, I would similarly treat them to something exceptional like fast food. (Especially milk shakes).

But, because I packed lunches for years, I'm pretty familiar with what's available and what they will eat. Fortunately, mine are NOT picky.  They are both hungry by the time lunch rolls around, so if I pack it, they eat it.  Of course, they occasionally trade for food (strictly prohibited at their schools but I'm not stupid).

So, if the locals were to ban my kids' packed lunches, this is what they would be telling my kids wasn't "good enough."

Daughter:
Deli Meat (usually ham) w/dot of mayo and bigger dot of horseradish on wheat bread
Slices of red or orange bell peppers (she loves them) or edamame or celery
An apple, orange slices or grapes
Milk (those little long shelf-life ones)
Yogurt (if we have it) or a treat (this week it's two pieces of Easter candy. Small pieces.  I send two because she always has a friend who needs a lift)
Often, pieces of seaweed.  She loves it.

Son
PBJ on wheat (used to be Sun Butter) x 2 (he's nearly 6 feet tall)
Orange slices or grapes
String Cheese or Hard Boiled Egg or both, depending on late his lunch is that day
Milk
Yogurt (if we have it) or a treat (this week it's two pieces of Easter candy. Small pieces.  I send two because he is the horse trader in the family. And he only gets a treat if he makes time to practice his trumpet before he goes to school. But I'm not legalistic about it.  Today he skated.)

Sometimes they get those small packages of Pringles or a handful of crackers of some kind. But we buy those very infrequently.

Interestingly, my son says the item that is the most 'high value' for trading is milk.  The water fountains are too far away, and kids hate carrying water bottles, so by lunch time they are desperate for liquids.  He also says the only kid he knows who brings soda consistently belongs to a teacher.  Whoops!  They can purchase bottled water (courtesy of the school system with its own logo) for $1.25 each.

You might notice my son doesn't take a vegetable. The easy one to take is carrots, but they make his mouth tingle.  At dinner however, I try to make sure he eats twice as many vegetables as anyone else.  And we ALWAYS have a salad at dinner and they ALWAYS eat some.  Okay, maybe not always, but 96% of the time.

There is the argument that the children in the story might live in a food desert, or without sufficient resources to make good choices.  I don't buy that.  The free and reduced lunch programs for kids in those situations are very generous -- we're only talking about kids who pack their lunches.

And that's the key.  The reason my kids' lunches are healthy is because I still pack them (yes, even for high school kids). They would choose what was quick and convenient instead of what might take 3 extra minutes but would be nutritious. Why? Because they're human beings, and most of us default to doing what is convenient rather than what is the best choice.

So, I guess the lesson for me, too, in my struggle to lose weight is that the few extra minutes to put together a healthy lunch is worth it.  Leadership by example and all that.

Final point:  I can tell you having left private school for public school, I am often dismayed at the implication the public school sends that "they" know MUCH BETTER how to raise my children than I do. This policy in Chicago is an example. And I'm dismayed at the number of parents who don't think they have any authority to challenge it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Atticus Finch Says ...

I recently received an e-mail from my uncle. He is a retired English teacher, so his e-mails are always formal and you can just HEAR a teacher's voice when you read them. But this was even more stiff and formal.

The e-mail informed me that one of his children, one of my cousins, has just received a final divorce decree. I didn't know the cousin was getting divorced until December, when another family member told me.  When my uncle heard that the family member had told me, he was incensed and hostile towards the family member, and then called me to warn me that this was PRIVATE and NO ONE'S BUSINESS and that I was not to pass it on.

Okay, fine.  I think his instinct to protect his child's privacy is a little over the top, but I respected his position. I didn't tell anyone else in the family -- not that any one else would have cared.

So, I have to say this thing has been weird all along.  But this is one of the paragraphs in the e-mail he sent:

This has been an arduous process for [cousin's name], and we continue to champion all of [cousin's name]'s decisions related to these events.  Above all, we remain steadfast in respecting [cousin's name]'s privacy on this matter and the decisions [cousin's name] might make about sharing any particulars with us or other family members.  


It sounds to me like the cousin was afraid of what everyone might think -- including the parents.  What I find so heartbreaking is that IF we had known, we would have been able to pray, encourage the cousin, and be loving.

I believe in what the great philosopher Atticus Finch said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”


I would never have condemned, judged or maligned my cousin. I would have asked, "how can I help you?"

Sad. Very Sad.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Muffed Target


It's a good thing Quilly plays, because it always reminds me to play, too!  Tuesdays are very busy for me so its nice to slip it in.

To find the rules for Muffed Target, go HERE.

Here's my muffed target from Easter. I have NO idea what was going on at this moment.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is Risen, Indeed!



The family is coming over in about an hour, so just a quick note to wish you all a Happy Resurrection Sunday!

For fun, this year I made these:


Italian Sweet Bread with Easter Eggs in the middle.  I did a trial batch yesterday.  NO PHOTOS of that batch.  Today the yeast worked better, and I was more confident!

The recipe is easy, so let me know if you want me to send it your way.  OR, you can go get it from theitaliandishblog.com

I also made a German Potato Salad.  This is really yummy.  No photos though because no time!

4 potatoes
4 sliced bacon
1 Tbs all purpose flour
2 Tbs white sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped green onions
salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in skins for about 15 minutes.  Drain, cool, peel if you want to, and chop.

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet.  Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown.  Drain, crumble and set aside.  Reserve bacon fat.

Add the flour, sugar, water and vinegar to skillet and cook in reserved bacon fat over medium heat until dressing is thick.

Add bacon, potatoes and green onions to skillet and stir until coated.  Cook until heated and season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm.

Enjoy your day!

From church this morning.  That handsome trumpet player is my son.

UPDATE:  Google (picasa) or Blogger or Apple (iPhone) is jerking me around and the video won't play.  My apologies.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Beagle?

When my kids were little we'd pull out a videotape (yeah, back then) for every holiday.  I loved the Charlie Brown Christmas special because Linus got to share the real point of the season.

For Easter we also had a Charlie Brown tape -- but it was all about the eggs and the bunny and spring and somehow, it just seems hollow these days.

The most important day of the Christian calendar is NOT Christmas. It is tomorrow. The world calls it Easter, but it's Resurrection Sunday. Because if there's no resurrection, there's no point at all.

Sure, the eggs and spring are symbols of rebirth. And cultures have celebrated the earth re-awakening after the winter for many thousands of years. But the world around us is NOT celebrating the glorious news that Jesus is ALIVE.  They're missing the point!  Death could not hold Him.

He willingly gave His life as atonement for my sin.  Your sin.  The whole world's sin.  Whether or not those people He gave his life for wanted Him or NOT...

I know there are people in your life who you love very much. But would you sacrifice them?  If you're a parent, would you sacrifice your child so that another might live?  Of course not!

But God did. Do you realize how loving, generous and amazing that is?

Then how can you continue to spurn Him? How can you continue to look in the face of the Creator (you can see Him all around you) and say, "I do not want you?"

There's no gimmick. No special way of praying.  No putting in money or joining a particular church. No new way of dressing or rules about what you eat.  Just accepting.

He Died For You.

Is that not enough?


Spring Break Day 5

Not a good day.  Went to the class I love that occurs on Friday at the Y.  It's a sports-fitness class.  I was taking it a little easy and doing okay but then rolled my ankle coming off a Bosu.  End of class for me.  Fortunately, I don't think it is very serious.  I iced and elevated yesterday.  Today it's just a little swollen, and feels more tight than sore.  So I'll try to stay off it today.

The only thing about this that really ticks me off is that I just missed two weeks of workouts being sick.  I NEED to get back to the gym...or stop eating.

NO Easter candy for me tomorrow.

Rats.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Break Day 4

Met some Friends of the Library cronies for brunch at a local kitchen.  It's always fun to see them outside the area we usually see them.

Our Friends group has encountered some difficulties lately. We received a donation of some very high value, unique books. Despite them being behind a locked door, someone (staff, volunteer, maintenance?) stole some of them. This isn't the smartest thief -- the books are part of what is called the Dietrichstein collection.  They were wealthy European collectors of the 18th century, and their books are eagerly watched for.  So unless it goes into a private collection and never sees the light of day again, there's no money to be made.

What's interesting is the positive response we've received from the antiquarian book world.  They have watch lists and postings and people who regularly view the ebay-type sites looking for stolen items.  Book lovers, unite!

My friends and I are also trying to look down the road 10-15 years.  Donations to libraries are down because people are not buying as many physical books. Yet, county governments have come to rely on the friends groups for money. In 10 years, when our book sales are much smaller due to dwindling supply, it is doubtful that county demand for revenue will be any less! So we need to look at how our Friends group might morph into something different.  Some Friends groups raise money with gala events or big dollar author talks.  If we go that direction, they'll have to do that without me.  I don't mind packing boxes and running a cashier stand, but I am so NOT a gala-event type person!

What is your library doing to enhance its collection?

Here are some photos of unique items we offered during the recent sale.






Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Break Day 3


Yesterday we traveled to Annapolis, Maryland to visit a college my daughter is interested in. The college is awesome.  St. John's College is a Great Books school, with an amazing record of producing graduates who can THINK. They area eagerly sought by graduate schools.

The school is small -- fewer students in the undergraduate body than in her class year at our high school. And if she'd been in the public schools around here the entire time she'd been in school, she would be woefully unprepared for St. John's. But she was in a Classical school through 8th grade, so she is not only prepared, but eager to continue learning for learning's sake.

St. John's does assign grades, but does not tell them to the student except by specific request to the registrar. They would forego them altogether if graduate schools didn't need them.

This school is not  a good match for everyone. But if you know a student who delights in learning, not in just "getting the highest grade", you might want to tell the parents to look into it. You can read more about it at these links.



And here are some photos of the day. The college is in lovely old town Annapolis.  The main building was started as a governor's mansion back in the day, but that governor ran out of money and was not re-elected, so the building was given to the college.

Street side of the main building -
where each class meets for chorus class.
Beautiful to sit outside and listen.

Building that contains the dining hall.
See the actual hall below.



The library is my favorite building (big surprise). From the outside, a 17th century building. But inside ... well, judge for yourself.

Formerly the hall of records for Maryland. When they outgrew the building,
they donated it to the college. It was moved here through the streets of
Annapolis.  Can you see the dates?  The Hall of Records was established
1634.  The Greenfield Library, 1696.
Yeah, I thought so too.  But check out the inside below.



And finally, the ENTIRE student body gets their mail here. That's how small and personal the place is.


Upside:  Incredibly great place for students who love to learn through the classics
Upside for my daughter: A perfect match

Downside: Same people every day for 4 years might get really old
Downside for my daughter: Tuition is $42,000 per year

Ouch.  Yeah, we're praying about that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Daffodils

Daffodils cheer me.  When I was growing up, no matter where we lived, those cheerful bright yellow faces and bonnets were a sure sign spring was on its way.

Last fall I ordered some bulbs through my son's school.  They were "mixed daffodils."  My dear friend who is really good at gardening (she spends 15 minutes twice a day spraying all her garden with stinky anti-deer spray) helped me plant them. She told me they were a good choice because deer don't eat them.

HOWEVER, she warned that squirrels would dig up the bulbs if I didn't keep the area covered with dried chili peppers.  I was so faithful last fall and it has paid off!  Here are some of the happy flowers in my yard.




My Spring Break - Day 2

Spent the morning at the car dealership.  Supposed to be a minor maintenance check, and in the end, the cost WAS minor.  It just took a REALLY.LONG.TIME.  They have an appointment system, but their bosses tell them they cannot turn work away. So jerks who just stop by to get something done get squeezed in, which makes those of us who made an appointment have to wait longer.

However, their 'after action' surveys punish the service representative if you say anything that can be remotely construed as negative. And I like my service rep.  He's been taking care of my car since I bought it -- and he's always in the hot seat to get folks in and out of there, and has to take the heat when they don't like the news or the bill, or...


At any rate, I'm home now, and here's my MUFFED TARGET photo for the week.  Thanks Thom for hosting this!



We were trying to show the features of one of the pop-up books we had for sale during the Used Book Sale, but I had already taken about 30 photos of really expensive books and didn't want to take the time to set up a good shot of a $6 book!  Laziness = bad photos.

But, the book sold anyway.  So there.

Thom said this photo wasn't awful enough.  So here's another to prove that I can be underwhelmingly bad at photography!



Monday, April 18, 2011

My Spring Break - Day 1

I put up the painters' tape last night, and then went to the gym this morning.  The gym happens to be near the Home Depot.  I had picked out the color yesterday.

When I opened the can at home I was really nervous.  It was VERY bright green. But it has dried beautifully!

Yes, I need to steam the curtains, and perhaps hem them -- and there are some shelves coming, but this is the paint job.  Just so you know, the color was "bone" before.

You'd think, looking at this, that those are doors.  Nope, windows.  I'd love to change them out for doors, but then we'd have to put steps out there, which means some kind of porch, which means construction which requires permits from our HOA and sometimes, it's easier to just deal with what is rather than jump through a bunch of hoops!

If you can't really see the color, click on the photo.

Next, gotta do something about that light fixture...Any suggestions?


Friday, April 15, 2011

Quilldancing Assignment #4

A perfect assignment for April Showers.

Quilldancing challenges us to write a story, based on a theme, in 500 words or fewer.  This month's was April Showers and National Poetry Month, so we were to combine a non-functioning umbrella and include poetry.  Whew!  I went over, so my challenge to you is to tell me which of the extra words YOU would remove!  I'm a lousy editor of my own stuff, so feel free.

Please join us for this fun writing exercise.  Start by clicking on this graphic, and go from there!
http://quilldancer.com/2011/04/15/a-rainy-romance-quilldancing-assignment-4/

Corinne's Umbrella.


Corinne squeezed into the quiet elevator. With her arrival, it was officially full, and there was barely enough room for her to turn around and face the door.  She giggled inwardly, imagining herself having turned around and backed into the elevator in order to maintain etiquette.

When the doors opened with a whoosh on the ground floor, she couldn’t move, mesmerized by the torrent of rain streaming down the glass front of the building’s lobby.  Others pushed past her, bumping her in their eagerness to escape the confines of a building that represented work.  It was Friday, time to switch to their own schedules.

All around her umbrellas began to pop open. She recognized Monet and Picasso depicted on some; others showed product endorsement. Still others were the ubiquitous pink of breast cancer research support. A few were the bright red of The Economist newspaper, with an ever-so-tiny imprint that tastefully proclaimed that publication.

Corinne grinned and began to reach into her bag. She knew hers was unlike anyone else’s. She’d found it the month before while visiting Mexico City. Incongruously for that location, it had simple pictograms on it that looked like Kanji, Japanese lettering.  She’d looked at the inside workings and marveled at the high-grade plastic that looked like aged ivory. The design was unusual, but she opened and shut it a couple of times to make sure it worked. The handle was carved to look like bamboo joints.  Again, it was a very high grade plastic that looked quite realistic. She didn’t see another in the shop, and instinctively realized she’d not find another like it, here or back in New York.  She asked the young man in the shop whether he knew what the Kanji said. He grinned at her question, amused by her school-book Spanish, and answered in English. “It says whatever you want it to say, seƱorita.”

It was the last day of her holiday, and she wanted a souvenir that captured how intriguing and romantic she had found Mexico. Impulsively, Corinne bought the celadon green umbrella resolving to decipher the letters before she used it in New York. But she had forgotten about the Kanji as the weather had been gloriously sunny since her return. She’d had no time to research it; now she wondered if she might offend someone by what it said.

Looking at the deluge outside the door, she wasn’t sure that any umbrella would be much help, but something would be better than nothing so she popped it open and stepped through the doorway. She hadn’t gone ten feet down the pavement towards the subway before the umbrella fabric with its beautiful Kanji was in shreds hanging from the ribs of the contraption. She gave up and ran for the stairs.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she moved out of the stream of humanity so she could throw away the left-overs of a misguided purchase. As she started to toss it into the bin, a hand touched her shoulder and she heard a deep voice say, “No, please, doesn’t throw it away.” Corinne turned to see a handsome Asian man speaking to her. “Well, it doesn’t have any use any longer,” she said. “It is just plastic parts now.”

The man smiled at her, “It only appears that way.  That is actually genuine ivory and hand finished bamboo. This is an ancient, special umbrella, meant to shield the user from pain, not rain. It fell apart because you were using it incorrectly.”

Corinne felt a little defensive. “The seller didn’t say anything like that.”

The man continued, “He probably didn’t know.  I noticed it when you first came out of the office building, and sprinted to try to stop you, but the crowds on the sidewalk prevented my catching up until now. “  He laughed softly.  “Running after a beautiful woman in New York City is a good way to get arrested on a sunny day. Today no one was going to be generous enough to allow me to move quickly.”

Corinne’s heart was racing. He thought she was beautiful? The unspoken dialogue between them was heating up -- intense and unrelenting. She felt her mouth drying and cleared her throat to ask, “But of what use is it now?”

He took the broken thing from her hands and caressed its ribs.  “I can help you repair it, personalize it, and allow it to protect you.” His voice held a reverence for things beyond normal understanding.

Corinne sensed that the conversation had moved beyond more than just a broken umbrella. Her body was betraying her, leaning towards this intoxicating man.  Trying to regain her equilibrium, her voice sounded harsh as she asked a practical question, “Well, do you know what the Kanji said?”

His smile widened, and he recited:

Home for your dear heart
Refuge from slings and arrows
But not waterproof.

Happy Anniversary

Two years ago today, I restarted my blog.  I hadn't really paid much attention to how much time had passed, but wow...

I hope I've matured a little in the process, but I'm not holding my breath. Smile.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good Grilling

Spring has finally sprung in the Washington, D.C. area.  And while we are year-round grillers (you should have seen my husband in a thick coat grilling outside when we were without power during the snow storms), some of you are just now venturing to do so.

Here's an excellent low cost recipe to try.  If you're inclined, it's South Beach friendly.

Grilled Thai Beef w/String Beans

1.5 lbs flank steak
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbs Asian fish sauce
1/4 - 1 tsp chili paste OR 1 tsp seeded, minced serrano chile (wear gloves)
1 tsp granular sugar substitute
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 lb green beans, trimmed

Heat a saucepan of salted water until boiling.  Add beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain.

Trim the really gross excess fat off the flank steak.  Leave some, as it adds flavor.  Rub steak on both sides with 1 tsp of the olive oil, then season thoroughly with salt & pepper.  Grill until desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare.  Remove from heat and set on a cutting board for 5 minutes.

Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, chili paste, sugar substitute, cilantro and scallions in a large bowl.

Thinly slice meat across the grain.  Toss with lime juice mixture, adding any meat juices that have accumulated on the cutting board.  Add beans, toss and serve.
*****************************************************************

This is the fish sauce and chili paste I use.  As you can see, the jar is empty and the bottle is near empty.  (A trip to the Asian grocery store tomorrow, yippee!)  The fish sauce is foul stuff, but absolutely essential to the taste.  Don't ask me how it works, just trust me.  I mean, if you taste vanilla, it is nasty.  But baked goods that use it just wouldn't be the same without it, right?

The numbers on this recipe:

Serves 4
340 Calories, 17g fat; 5 g sat fat; 38g protein; 10g carbs; 3g dietary fiber; 530 mg sodium

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Got Twenty Bucks?



I have to tell you about a GREAT way to spend $20.  A friend of mine from our Friends of the Library group was reading a front page story in the Washington Post a few years ago that was about some of the refugees in Darfur.


Instead of saying, "that's too bad, somebody ought to do something," and turning the page, she looked at her son and said, "we need to do something." That was the birth of Bookwish Foundation.  They started a non-profit foundation dedicated to getting at the root of problems in that part of the world.  They believe that literacy changes lives, so they started figuring out how to get books and libraries and reading glasses and pencils and pens and paper ... you get the picture ... all those things to the refugees in the camps on the border of Chad.


And wow, things really started to move.  Now they're launching a book, What You Wish For: A Book For Darfur, an unforgettable and inspiring exploration of wishes by some of the top writers for youth today, with a Foreword by Darfur advocate Mia Farrow.
WHAT CAN $20 DO?


1.  Pre-Order a book (great holiday gifts so feel
free to order 6 or 7)
2. Give $20 and have your name included 
IN the book! (I won't tell anyone if you want to start saying you were
"published alongside" Alexander McCall Smith!)


The books are only $17.99 (full price) each, 
so $20 will get you a book OR your name in it.
or how about both?
How about instead of going out to dinner 
one night this week,you spend the $40 this way???


www.bookwish.org

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Muffed Target


I missed it last week.  I didn't realize it was Tuesday or that the meme was back.  I'm so glad Thom is "live" once more!  Resurrection is good for you, Thom!

So, here's the deal.  We all have horrible photos. Here's your chance to wallow in humility. Show us what you're made of. Because the chances are, we've done that SAME STUPID THING with our cameras, and you'll make us feel better.  That's right, you show us yours, we'll show you ours.

Comment if you want, post a muffed target on your own blog, and then go link up with Thom. Easy-peasy.


There are so many things wrong with this photo, it's easy to criticize!  The finger in the corner?  The lighting, or lack thereof?  Ai-yi-yi.  At least it's not like the old days when I would have had to print the photos to see how bad it was!

Sheesh.

Now go play!

If I Could ...

When I was little I was always frustrated by those stories in which someone received three wishes. It seemed that the person often squandered the wishes, even in search of a good moral to the story.

I was sure I would know how to spend those wishes if given the opportunity!

But I look back at the 5 year old, 9 year old, 13, 20 and 30 year old and realize that the wishes I would have had at each of those ages would look like squandering to my next age of development.

As I've grown up, the conventional wishes (more money, more stuff, more, more more) have paled as my maturity has dictated that more doesn't equal better.

It is true that as a mom, there are times I would have wished for my children to not have to struggle in one area or another, but I have come to understand it is the struggle that builds their character.

There are times I would have wished for more happiness and fewer mean people in the world, but I realize that happiness can only be fulfilled by a personal quest for Truth ... and mean people are just those who don't know Jesus yet.

And there are times I would wish for my personal relationships with others to be more Christ-like and less selfish. But if my marriage, children, and interactions with others were seamless and trouble free, would I ever be seeking God's presence?

So, I've come to the point where I don't waste a lot of time and energy wishing for things to be different than they are.  If I can change them, and care enough to do so, it is incumbent upon me to follow that course. If I can't change them, or it's not a big enough issue for me to expend that effort, I can let it go.

But this morning, I truly feel like I have a worthy wish to make.  I wish I could bring back my dear friend who died nearly four years ago.  He was a husband, father, Christian and all around great guy. He had that rare ability of listening to you as if you were the only important person in the room. He treated his family that way too, and they all just glowed with that love. But his time on this earth was finished, and he rests in the arms of the Lord now.

But ... his baby, his daughter, is getting ready to graduate from college, and is mourning her dad. Every milestone in her life will be shadowed by the sadness that he isn't there to share it with her.

Given the circumstances, none of us can or should take that pain from her.

But boy, don't I wish I could make it so the pain would never have had to occur at all.

Love you, KT.