Thursday, July 28, 2011


Useta:  something that was a usual occurrence in the past.  "I useta live in Taiwan."  Useta.

I useta:

hate Chinese food
love the show "Dallas"
listen to KLBJ
have skinny arms
drive fast
get caught up in drama
spell good
have really, really good grammar
get walked on
think I knew a lot
cross stitch
sunbathe.  With crisco.
have blonde hair
dream about being a horse trainer
love to travel
trust everyone
never cry
be competitive...

but not anymore.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Connecting with Distant Relatives

There's something about family that gives us roots, makes us feel grounded.  I am blessed to a HUGE degree to have strong family ties with my immediate family as well as extended family.  Having shared memories with cousins and seeing events from my memory from another perspective is so fun. 

I got to see some cousins today.  While I only got to spend 5 hours with them, the talking and laughter that we shared was priceless.  We talked about memories from when we were young, Mimi and Papa's house, stories about my dad and his sister from his sister's side of things (their family is known for being quite the pranksters.  With seven kids in the house, the stories are endless!) and so much more.  It's nice to know my following my cousins around didn't bug them too much.  It was also fun to know they had similar "bowling" stories, and having a similar sense of humor is just icing on the cake.

My daughter went with me.  She has a close connection with these cousins of mine.  I'm not sure why, but she just fits in so well.  And I love passing down this history and sense of belonging to her.

I guess the reason the roots and history is so important is it adds to our sense of purpose and responsibility.  You really don't want to let family down when there are strong ties involved.  And being able to laugh and joke brings people together in ways that even geography can't replace. 

Family is the tie that binds, but laughter is the glue that holds it all together. :)  Love, love, love my family.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sacred Work

A few months back, when things were crazy-busy at school, I was thinking about my kids and the life we led just a few years ago and I compared it to our life now.  Back then, we had the luxury of being on pedestals, unfortunately.  We were revered for our choice to go overseas as missionaries, and to serve in a place where no one had served before.  In fact, I wrote about it here.  The reverence placed on our position then as opposed to where we are working now has been concerning to me, because in my mind, the service aspect of our lives have not changed.  Only location.

Back when we lived overseas and I started blogging, I took part in a blog tour with Marcus Goodyear, an editor with the High Calling.  It's a branch organization of H. E. Butts, from H. E. B. grocery stores.  Mr. Butts is a huge believer in the High Calling of the every day worker.  In fact, he runs a camp for those workers called "Laity Lodge."  He uses his work as a nationally known grocer to serve others and to glorify God in his everyday work.  Mr. Butts also has 30 second radio blurbs in which he encourages the everyday laborer to use their work to serve others and to show our love of God through the quality and character of our work. It was then that I started noticing the disparity between those who were professional ministers and those who served but worked regular, secular jobs.  The former had an easier time doing ministry because it was what they were paid to do yet they received the accolades, while the latter had a harder time with ministry because it was done in their extra time, yet they received no recognition for their hard work.  Yet through it all, it is because of the lay worker that any type of ministry actually exists!

See, the thing that bothered me to my core while I was an "overseas missionary,"  (I've never stopped being a missionary) was the sense of entitlement I saw in my fellow missionaries, even when they knew they were living better than most people in the states, let alone the people they were there to reach.  And even in that lifestyle, they would complain, or find loopholes in the system in order to gain financial advantages.  They would present themselves as living worse off than they were or being needier than they were, in order to gain sympathy from those in the States who didn't know any better, so that some giving, hard-working soul would hand over their hardworking dollars to them.  They knew that lay person worked harder than they themselves ever intended to, yet they greedily accepted the money. I believe there will be special consequences for those people. Even now it sickens me.

But I happened upon this book called Mission Critical: 90 Days of Meditations for the Marketplace by Dwight Hill, and it completely affirmed this thought process I've had for awhile now.  The book discusses how we as Christians have placed ministers and missionaries on a pedestal of christian service, but don't see the value in what we as lay persons do on a daily basis.  We see our work as a "necessary drudgery" in order to make money, when we should be seeing it as a way of life in which the nature of man "should find its proper exercise and delight and so fulfill itself, to the glory of God." (p. 11)  Mr. Hill writes that even Paul, one of Christianity's most famous and sold-out missionaries said in his letter to the Thessalonians, "You should follow our example.  We are not idle when we are with you, nor do we eat anyone's food without paying for it.  Rather, we work night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you."

I think back to my mom's grandfather, Reuben Shinn.  He was a minister.  It was what he was called to do.  So in order to minister, he had to work to sustain his ministry.  He worked as a doctor during the week, and on weekends he ministered to four different churches.  He traveled to each church once a month so that the ministry could continue and the people in those communities could have church services on a regular, albeit limited, basis.

My husband and I no longer work in overseas ministry.  But that does not mean we are not missionaries.  We see our daily work as a work of service to those around us, and a way to bring glory to God in the workplace by working hard, and having a work ethic that glorifies Him.  Do I have bad days?  Yes.  But there is always the recognition that my life is a testimony to others.  The work I do is a High Calling.  It is Sacred Work, and I'm thankful that God has allowed me to do it.  I pray our ministers today learn to connect with this part of the people they serve.  I know God will bless them for it.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

What the World is Looking For:

Men who are not for sale; Men who are honest, sound from center to circumference, true to the heart's core.
Men with consciences as centered as the needle to the Pole.
Men who will stand for right if the Heaven's totter and the earth reels.
Men who can tell the truth and look the world right in the eye.
Men who neither brag nor run. Men who neither flag nor flinch.
Men who can have courage without shouting it.
Men in whom the courage of everlasting life runs still, deep and strong.
Men who will know their message and tell it.
Men who know their place and fill it.
Men who know their business and attend to it.
Men who will not lie, shirk or dodge.
Men who are not too lazy to work, nor too proud to be poor.
Men who are willing to eat what they have grown and wear what they have paid for.
Men who are not ashamed to say "no" with emphasis and who are not ashamed to say "I can't afford it."
God is looking for men. He wants those who can unite together around common faith - who can join hands in a common task - and who have come to the kingdom for such a time as this. God give us men.
~ Senator Frank Carlson.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Let me get this straight.

Regarding the Casey Anthony trial and the logic (or lack thereof) used:

-If Caylee died as a result of an accidental drowning, why was there duct tape covering her nose and mouth?
-Doesn't the admission of the accidental drowning indicate an acknowledgment of knowledge of the death, and therefore knowledge of where the body was?
-Doesn't that lead to knowledge of who placed the body there, and who put the tape on the nose and mouth?
-If that's the case, why the tape if she had drowned?

I'm just not following the logic here.  Put aside how she died.
She died, and Casey said it was an accidental drowning.  The jury agreed that she misled police regarding where Caylee was and the fact that she had died.  So there is acknowledgment that they were there when the body was disposed.  So why didn't anyone ask why the tape then?  Why was it necessary for them to tape her mouth when they disposed of her?  In a garbage bag.  In the woods.

If there is EVER a reason for teaching thinking skills in the classroom....    ugh.