Wearing ...


Do NOT ask me where these were made. I don't want to know. 


Got these in the mail today from Voice of the Martyrs to remind us to pray for China and the persecuted Christians there as the eyes of the world are on the Olympics.

Maybe it's okay that these were made in China!


Baseball Camp

video


Here is a quick slideshow from our baseball camp on Saturday. The boys ranged in age from seven to teen. Some had NEVER had a ball glove on. By the end of they day though ... they were hooked. I need to work on making videos that appear small ... cuz I know these image are fuzzy. They look better ... bigger. Fun day.

Oh. The slipnslide was part of the day's activities. How else do you learn to slide into first base?

The best part of the day was on the way home. I asked them the best part of the day. One guy said the best part was the centers, where they broke up into small groups to work on various skills. Because, he said. "That's when we got to know each other better." Everyone agreed.

Shock factor

God tells us not to live of the world while we live in it, but sometimes it might be helpful to brush up against the world to remember what we're dealing with when we are safe in our homes, reading our Bibles quietly, planning a nice dinner and meeting our friends for coffee.


And I am not talking about what we watch on TV. 

Although the scene I am about to describe most of us have seen played out on the tube before.

So last Saturday morning, early, right before 8, G and I were at Rock Island (part of Cross & Crown mission) to pick up some kids to go to baseball camp that my nephew, Chaney, did a fantastic job organizing. 

We were waiting for some more kids to come. Chandy was in the van and I was sort of in the street talking to her. (One of us better blog about the baseball camp soon, because it was such a super great HOT day. I am working on a little slideshow to show off my 250 pictures that I took).

As we chatted, a little old SUV drove right by me. I was all neighborly and waved and smiled. "Hey!"

Then it's like my brain went into reverse and replayed the seconds right before that vehicle drove by me (just like on TV).

Didn't he just stop and pick her up down the block?

Are they?

Is that?

For real?

I looked at Chandy with my "are they doing what I think they are doing" look.

Yep.

The girl looked to be introducing herself to him, but she already looked pretty strung out ... a requirement for her line of work. The guy was looking straight ahead.

This is the kind of thing that stops me in my tracks, every time. I just wanted to cry out to God (which I silently did) and go grab that girl. I never do that though. 

Giles didn't observe any of this, I don't think. He was bonding with the Rock Island kids in the back of the mission van. Doesn't matter though. He's seen it already. One time, a girl in that same line of work FLASHED our van as we drove by one Sunday morning after we picked up someone for church. 

Shocking! Yes. Good grief. We were going to CHURCH ... we were all clean and ready to go worship God. She shouldn't have been flashing us, or trying to score a job on Sunday morning. Geez.

Love her for flashing the minivan. She knew it was full of a bunch of hypocrites.


Not Green


Even if it's on sale ... those cute graphic tshirts at places like Target might remind us to be more green ... but they are not green. 


I was tempted tonight though. 30 percent off!

Something deep in my consciousness flicked on to alert  me ... THAT IS NOT A GREEN TSHIRT.  

Go on ... check the label. You know it's made in a sweat shop somewhere, probably by children or at least men or women who are woefully underpaid. How else could it be marked for $8 or whatever.

How much fossil fuel did it take to get that Tshirt here for me to buy it on sale? On the ships to get it from their coasts to our coasts, and the trucks to haul it across the country.

Guess where it was made? The Philippines. Other "green" shirts were made in Guatemala and Cambodia.

Learning.
Learning to not buy cheap c$#p anymore.

Learning not to eat asparagus anytime other than early spring. If you eat it "fresh" in the hot summer or dead of winter ... think of where in the world it might be springtime or mild enough to have it grow and what it took to get it to you. (learned that from the Kingsolver book, Animal Vegetable Miracle).

Just finished East of Eden (thank Sojo Ann! for the book recommendation). And, how does a Steinbeck classic figure into this ramble? Ah! There's a big scene where Adam Trask wants to utilize the just built railroads and new refrigeration processes to send southern California lettuce to New York, in the winter. As a delicacy. That's how it started. Lettuce in the winter. Grapes (that lost their seeds) in the winter. Sweet potatoes in the summer.  Delicacies turn to market demand and expectation. And that's why we can find bananas on every grocery store shelf in America. Anyone you know have a banana tree?

We are doomed. Doomed!

Learning.  Laughing. 

(UPDATE: Laughing because we will never give up bananas at our house. Mr. Anti-Sodium would not have it. What would he put his organic locally produced (no sodium) peanut butter on? Laughing because he's laughing at me over this post. Laughing because someday we might move to where bananas grow! Yay!)

Refreshing!


I'm reading Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal Vegetable Miracle, a year of food life.
Love it although it scares me! 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding, and so it goes with the food God gave us. I'm "beginning" to understand it. And it's about time.

This book is a narrative non-fiction ... no black mamba snakes from the Congo like in her beloved Poisonwood Bible.

The most amazing thing about the book is not so much what Barbara (I feel I can use her first name) and her husband (Steven L. Hopps) write ... but it's their daughter's contributions also. Their 19-year-old (at the time) daughter.

Camille Kingsolver contributed most of the recipes. She just didn't type them in for her mom to get her name in the author credits. They are her recipes that SHE cooks and has cooked for years. And she not only knows how to can, but she loves it more than shopping at the mall! You go Camille.

Beautiful stuff. The scariest and saddest part as it would apply to our life is that their family swore off CAFO (feedlot beef) over a decade ago ... and their youngest daughter has never had a restaurant burger before. Yes, dear ones, that means she knows not of the Happy Meal. 

Dang. My oldest son is about their daughter's age. And I shudder to think of the happy meals, big kids meals and now value meals that he, and the rest of us, have consumed. We are doomed. Doomed.

Reminds me that even though I am trying ... I still get tricked. I got tricked just this week at Walgreens buying school supplies for a nickle with my coupons (mechanical pencils, anyone?). I also had a coupon that worked for trail mix or dried fruit. After having a wonderfully friendly employee help me find the proper package, I saw that the coupon worked for dried blueberries. Dried blueberries on sale. Lucky me. Yay. I imagined them on salads, tossed with our fresh peaches and thrown in smoothies.

I had a little taste when we got home. Kind of funky. THEN, and only then, did I look at the package. Ingredients: blueberries and the evil high fructose corn syrup. It might not have even been in that order.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  WHY? WHY? WHY? Why do we need soak our beautiful naturally sweet and perfect blueberries in CHEMICAL CORN? 
Foiled again.
Always. Read. The. Package. Closely.
Or dry your own blueberries like the Kingsolver's would do. 

In other food news, our awesome college friend Kevin has a website chronicling his journey back to health. If you look at his pictures and see the June post ... you'll see the Kevin we knew when we were college brats touring Europe together (along with Full of Joy and her parents when she was but a young lassie) ... back in the 1980s! Check out his green smoothie recipe. Really. It is GOOD.  Really. I just made one ... spinach, fresh peaches, banana, ice (and no chemical blueberries).


Widows and Orphans

While I'm swiping videos from other sources, here's a small vid we did last week for Cross & Crown Mission that "aired" Sunday at a local suburban church. Paul spoke on James 1:27 ... the widows and orphans verse.

I love The Message's interpretation of that verse. "Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world."

Here's how I had always read that verse from the good old NIV:
"27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

I like the Message's "homeless and loveless." Nails it.

Loveless. Doesn't that stop you in your tracks? Love the loveless. Man, that is HARD.

I was surprised when Paul wanted me to "feature" one of the orphans they take care of at the mission. He's not a baby or a little kid. He's 20. We have a heart-wrenching answering machine message from him (in this vid). He gets cared for at the mission ... and loved through the trouble he gets into, the "harassing" he might do to get some cash or meal cards ... and how he fights his demons. He's an orphan. 

The widow in this vid is a neighbor. She is blind and frail and scared of the sounds she hears in da hood around her. She has the most beautiful little hands. She's been a "widow" since 1942!

Read the Bible to her. Hold her hand. Bring her some blackberries. Love on her. Listen to her stories. It's all it takes.

Do you ever have an overwhelming feeling of panic sometimes that God is going to hold us accountable for how his church did not take care of the widows and orphans (homeless and loveless)? The way we have let the state take care of them through behemoth bureaucracies that are inefficient, overwhelmed and cold? (Not saying the church doesn't do it, sometimes, or that all state workers are cold.)

I do. What should we do about it? 

Okay, I'm sliding back into my hidey hole now. Just typing words ...

Stealing ... cardboard testimonies.

Is it stealing? I don't know.

But my friend, Keli, sent me a link to this video. She doesn't have time to forward stuff or spend eight minutes watching (with her four precious bebes) ... and you think you don't have time either. BUT MAKE THE TIME.

I'll save you a little search time, this comes from Hillside Christian in Amarillo.

Now, this is church.

Mercy

When I'm rocking along whining about my kids wanting cell phones and "mall" clothes, I meet a new gal at the mission today who brings a little perspective to what we're dealing with in this world.

Cross and Crown opens at 11 and the staff prays at 10:30.We got there during that time, and so we waited outside with the others who were there for prayer and food. I sat next to a lady, and started some chitchat. How are you, I asked. Not great. She said. Then I'm thinking ... DUH, what'd I ask that for? She was there, right? She needs HELP, doesn't she? Get a clue, I said to myself.

She was older and had some pretty impressive tats, including a cool tat ankle charm bracelet complete with tat charms that included a cross.

Anyway, the conversation finally opened beyond the weather and "how are yous" ... and pretty soon I found out she's raising her grandkids because her kids are in prison (drugs). The preschool age child wants to see her mom all of the time. The older child doesn't.

Add to that, gasoline is too expensive to make as many trips to the pokey that is in another town.

She's had heart trouble and a stroke ... no doubt exasperated by the added stress in her life. Can you imagine?

Mercy.


He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Welcome to Minco



Love Lucas Ross. Famous OC alum. Hilarious. He doesn't know me from a hill of beans or a beehive, but I know who he is. Just heard about this vid today ... and laughed and laughed.

Summer Trends


I've been wanting to snap this picture all summer. G and his buddies sit in front of us each Sunday morning. And each Sunday, they have on their plaid shorts. I feared they wouldn't let me take a picture of their backsides or flaunt their fashion savvy in this way. AND, I confess, I actually took this DURING our worship service. But at least I tried to be discreet (no flash!) ... so the picture isn't the best.


Then there are the girls. And what I call the Kit hairdo, that I wonder if I myself could pull off. There's a whole gaggle of 7 - 10 year old girls who are precious in every way. Young enough to ALL be best of friends without boys, jealousy and icky junk interfering with their sweetness and giggles. Every week, there's another one who shows up with THE hair cut of the summer. Wonderfully adorable. (I took this AFTER service ... but wish I'd try to art direct a little more. But as cute as they are, they didn't get WHY I wanted to take a picture of the back of their hair.)

These trends are easy, but I am finding myself more and more distressed and ill equipped to handle the intense pressure of hearing from my kids about what "everyone else" has. Cell phones at ten years old? (Do their parents know they are texting at midnight?) Ipod nanos (we have one shuffle in the house and it is MINE). Bikinis (yes, even at 8 or 40). Abercrombie (I might write about that some day). It's tough. When that was rolling around my head today, I read this from Many Meadows. She rules. Her post on comparing helps put it in perspective - being content, understanding (2 Cor 10:12) ... AND ... not conforming to the pattern of this world (Rom 12:12) ... which is a lot easier for me to DO myself (at this old age) than it is to explain or communicate EFFECTIVELY to my children. Do I have any amens? Do I have any advice?