Easier than writing lots of individual emails

Archive for November, 2008


On some levels, the election fervor is old news….well, I had started a few topic posts that I didn’t publish … that I think I might share over time.
Here’s one of those topics….

Facebook was a hotbed for political ridiculousness.  I mean, seriously. 
Don’t get me started (about ‘both’ sides).  Let me just say that nations have risen and fallen through the course of history and the US is simply one of those nations.  God is still God regardless of who rules. 

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have strong opinions, but I think it’s nice to continually be reminded of God’s perfection in wisdom and judgement and not ours.  Ok, off the soap box….back to the point….

I love it when people lay low and then come in for a smart, witty, appropriate, hilarious zinger in the midst of chaos.  While status updates (and threads that follow) are oft abused (especially during an election season),  here is one that made me laugh out loud.  So without further delay and with eternity as the backdrop…I give you the winner from Steve Clune’s friend…

In Los Angeles we voted on 17 props. SEVENTEEN! That means to me that our highly paid elected leaders are NOT doing the job that they are paid to do. Many of these props did not need to go to the ballot.

As far as the irony, goes, the big winners are veteran chickens who take public transportation to children’s hospitals to have abortions without telling the rooster.

However, I guess the gay chickens are on their own.



ok, so, follow me on this one…this post has several seperate thoughts that will converge (I hope). 

I am really really sensitve to perfumes and colognes (I wish that most people would not wear them).  Truly.  You know, the guy’s cologne that after one quick hug, it’s on you for the rest of the day.  Bleh.  Or, how about the woman at church that has used such a strong brand that you can barely breath?  Yeah, all of it is not my favorite.  Due to my sensitivity, IF I wear a fragrance (which I use the term loosely), I only wear HEMPZ Pure herbal extract moisterizer: I love the smell and I love the way it feels.  The problem with this particular brand/fragrance is that it costs $22.50 for 18oz.  I don’t use lotion alot.  ANYway, I was pondering this ‘state’ in my life (the state of wishing that people wouldn’t wear perfume/cologne) and I started taking an inventory of the worship team (a group that I meet with at least 2x a week).  To my delight and gratitude, I realized how fortunate I am (and have been for almost a decade) that no one on our team really wears ANY fragrances.  So, every Sunday at 7am and every Tuesday at 7pm, we find other things to notice and laugh about about each other.  🙂

You know how we label people? 
Well, how about the label that we give frugal people…if you use a rubber spatula to get the very last wipe out of the mayonnaise jar then you ‘must have lived through the depression’?  You know, stuff like that.  
I was pondering this today, as I have been nursing the last of my $22.50 bottle of moisturizer (that I’ve had for 7+ months), making sure to get every last drop in the bottle before I open the new replacement bottle.  I was thinking about how my patterns have changed over the years: some good, some bad.  One good one is that I really do use most things until they’re GONE (with the exception of food…soemtimes, you just need to throw it away).  When did this start? I’m not sure, but i do remember one of my college jobs was working for a millionare woman who had no concept of money management (nor did she teach any to her spoiled kids) and the amount of true waste and surplus that I witnessed (as i was barely getting myself through college) was profound to me.  Fast forward to today, I think through the increase in my involvement with justice based work, I have had the opportunity to be exposed to true destitution.  As a result, ‘wasting’ is hard for me to do with a clear conscience (I need only to picture a 6 yr old sex slave who is starved almost to death or the 9 year old Ugandan boy who was forced, by the LRA,  to kill his own brother, escaped and now tries to make it on his own in a war-torn country…and the list goes on).  I guess using moisterizer is a luxury that millions of people can’t afford…so, I scrape every last tiny dallop out of the bottle..not just for my wallet, but as a reminder of all those who have need. 

My pastor knocked it out of the park yesterday.  He said a lot, I appreciated a lot, but one main thing sticks out to me…how do i represent Christ to unbelievers in my daily encounters?…he used the illustration of 2 Cor 2:14

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”  

After people have been with me, are they left with a
1) pleasing fragrance (like my Hempz lotion)?  or
2) a faint foul odor? (like when you walk into a house that cooked fish the night before) or
3) a raging, gagging stench (insert the worst stench you’ve experienced…my EMT fire fighting friends say that anything GI related is horrendous)? 

the way I love the smell of my Hempz lotion (and nurse it and won’t waste it)…is that the same way that people respond to me because they perceive Christ in me because of my actions/words/tone/vibe/love/compassion/etc? (I doubt it)  OR, do I leave the smell like all the colognes and perfumes that gag me and that i can’t stand?  (probably)

I’m leaving out lots of sermon points, but 2 application points that he made that were SO convicting were (remember, this is about fragrance of Christ to unbelievers)
1) “How ya smelling these days?”
2) “Love them till they ask you ‘why?’ “ 

(dagger in my heart).


Human slavery is alive and well in 2008.  
27 million innocent human beings are enslaved…at this very moment.

A few weeks ago I saw this movie with Jennene and Eric and we absolutely think everyone should see it. 
It was a limited release at the time and sadly we saw it on the last day it was showing.  So, while we wanted to recommend it to everyone (you), we had nowhere to send you to see it.  Well, the film makers somehow  managed to get another release!  EVERYONE should see this (and see how the world responds to human slavery) Click here  for listings near you.. For those of you ‘local’, it will be in LA & Pasadena Nov 14-20th
*Please do whatever you have to do to see this movie. 

Human trafficking is not something that’s just happening somewhere ‘out there’…it’s the fastest growing commerce product worldwide, which includes the U.S.  
I’ve talked to several people who have said, ‘I’m ashamed.  I had no idea that was happening in the world and specifically the U.S.’

So, while the ecomony is a big deal and the recent elections were a big deal, the bigger deal is the massive amounts of genuine injustice  going on in our world, often under our noses, and oft times even unknowingly financed by us. 

Check it out…be in the know…hear the call…be the response. 

*Note: this is not a ‘Christian’ movie, but it is remarkable how some non-Christians respond to this genuine on-going crisis with compassion and action. 

If you’re a Christian, have you thought through your biblical responsibility to the innocent and exploited?  To the innocent and expolited that are being enslaved, tortured, abused, sold, prostituted, exploited…with no rescue in sight?  If you have thought about it, would you like to share your thoughts, efforts, hopes, experiences? 
It’s a big deal and we’re all on the same team: Team Human. 
Some of our team mates are in desperate need:   Of physical and spiritual rescue.


Well, then read on… 🙂

So, I have posted about Advent Conspiracy and I hope you had a chance (and an interest) to read about it.  If you want to check in on Dan Franklin’s blog, he’s giving updates as he and his family are formally participating.

HOWEVER, if what I just said was too much for you to deal with, here’s a quick GREAT resource for gift ideas this season that are meaningful, experience based, and not expensive!!!!  It’s a sister website to Advent Conspiracy called RETHINKING CHRISTMAS.  There are some fantastic ideas that are relation based  alternatives to the $450 billion dollars that Americans (alone) spend on Christmas every year.  There are a bunch of diverse ideas submitted by people just like you and me.  Here are 3 examples (note: obviously any/all of the ideas can be modified to the specific intention/creativity of the giver :)…and these might be cool things for your kids to do as givers of gifts too)…

“WHAT I SEE IN YOU” Ornament
submitted by laurabeefatka on Fri, 11/07/08;  
One Christmas growing up, my mom presented each of us three kids with a special ornament.  Each one represented an aspect of our God-given character.
Laura: Star-shaped ornament, representing my ability to reflect the light of God to those around me
Emily: Heart-shaped ornament, representing her tender and giving heart
Brian: Shepherd ornament, representing his ability to guide and shepherd people
I don’t remember many of the gifts given at Christmas, but I sure remember this one! 


For each of your relatives, recall a memory with them from your youth in which you never said thank you. Each letter can be unique, or can simply be started with “I remember when I was younger” and then proceed to write down as much about that memory as you can. At the end of the description, simply thank them. I would often say something to the effect of “Even though I never properly thanked you, I was very thankful for the way you [fill in blank here] – Thank You.”
I know it sounds simple, but you’ll be amazed at how powerful a belated thank you letter can be.


I asked my Grandma not to buy me any presents for Christmas.  Instead, she is going to show me how she makes chocolate chip zucchini bread.  It was always my favorite snack when she came to visit and did her baking, and now I will be able to make it and share it with others.


I absolutely (always) love the concept of downplaying store bought, simply because, generally speaking, I think more than any gift card or piece of clothing, what people ultimately really want is to be connected with people…not stuff.  I dare say, for those of you who are followers of Christ, that what people should really be experiencing through you (us) is Jesus.  I think one of the most obvious and significant ways that people see Jesus through us is in our connectedness with humanity.  It all matters. Each person matters.  Relationships matter.  Kindness matters.  Sacrifice matters.  Compassion matters.  Caring matters. Truth in love matters.  Faithfulness matters.  Curiosity matters.  Follow through matters.  Confession matters. Creativity matters.  Patience matters.  Joy matters.  The way Jesus did it matters.  It matters because that’s the way He did it. *

Soooooooo, think about it…maybe this Christmas will be different in giving habits, not just ‘because of the economy’, but because people matter…so much so that Jesus Christ gave His life for people, not a gift card.

*sidenote: I am also aware that provision matters and that sometimes giving monetarily/materially IS another way to show Christ to people.  And if you have the opportunity, then by all means follow the Spirit and give accordingly, in obedience.  This post was moreso primarily to offer options to the ‘stereotypical’ habits of Americans around ‘the holidays’.


I bust out the ol ‘black on the outisde, cheatah on the inside’ slippers, given to me about 5 years ago by one Erin (Johnston) Klang.  I wear them when it’s time to truly welcome winter: when the nights are to-the-bone-cold around 5pm.  THAT’s when I know it’s time.  Tonight…it was time.  They’re on my dogs as I type. 

I am somewhat grieved by the reality that this may be their last winter (evidenced by stuffing coming out the torn seams).  I hope not. 
For many reasons, they are deeply sentimental… for starters, they are the iconic finishing touch to ‘the uniform’.  You know, the outfit that you unconsciously strip for and suit up in once you get home and just want to be comfortable.  Moreover, the slippers are an essential factor when I travel to Walnut Creek, Hanford, Washington…or wherever I go that will only feel like ‘home’ once I get the uniform on.  I will be sad if I do not have them as travel mates next year.  Oh, AND, the indentations have been perfectly crafted and honed.  When my cold feet slide in, they feel like they’re in a 2nd skin.
Well, I suppose I will have to cherish them all the more this winter season.  

who knows what I’m talking about?…mostly cuz you have something similiar?


I had the thought myself as I watched the acceptance speech.  I shoved my thought deep into my private mental ‘SNL’ skit closet and scolded myself for not ‘taking this seriously’.  I was taking it seriously and I DID take it all seriously.  But I kept quiet about this ‘other’, maybe ‘not so serious’ thing.   I stayed quiet for 2 whole days!  🙂

I was reading this article today and wanted to yell out to everyone I knew ‘i KNOW, seriously, right?!’, but I did not do that.  Instead, I just quietly and, in solitude, enjoyed the moment by myself.  But, it was when I read the reader’s comment that said this, ‘My wife and I both thought Mrs. Obama’s dress looked like a black widow spider…’  that i just could not keep it to myself anymore.  

If you’re a regular reader, you know my love/hate relationship with the black widow spider.   And, you know that I watch Project Runway.    When I saw Mrs. Obama on stage for the 1st time on Tuesday night, all I could picture was Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors with their little note cards sitting in their little director’s chairs: Heidi with the big eyes of shock, Michael Kors with that snarky smirk on his face and Nina Garcia looking unimpressed and disinterested.  Of course, Tim Gunn had already told the designer to ‘make it work’, but obviously the designer ‘didn’t care what the judges would think’. 
It made me laugh when the cast made their way into my fictitious SNL skit and ‘judged’ that dress.

I type this as I am about to slip into sweats that should’ve been thrown away 3 years ago and then I will do some work on my computer.  What I won’t be doing is having 50 million cameras on me as I am supporting my husband as he runs the most powerful nation in the world and I won’t be raising my children in the harsh and critical public eye (as evidenced by my own post)…so, who am I to talk about some dress?

But, it really did look like a black widow dress.  And I FULLY expect to see that dress in an SNL skit soon.



On a day that was advertised to be charged with historical intensity and discord, I experienced many blogable vignettes, both pleasant and unpleasant.  You decide which is which.
As is my bullet point style…

-The voting poll that was 50 ft from my house had voters screaming, at 7am, ‘Go Obama!’.  Not annoying at all, since I was still debating if I should hit snooze one more time.  By 7:45, I drove by the line that was out the door, into the street…and in the rain.  Soooo, since I had to be at school by 8:15am, I knew I’d have to find another poll sometime during the day to cast my vote. 

-I taught for the 2nd day in an 8th grade Science class.  I used my prep period to attempt to get voting done in that 50 minute time frame (including driving, lines, actually voting, driving back, signing back in to school, being ready at the door for students greetings).  The poll location that was closest to the school was at Friendly Valley’s Retirement Rec center.  Here’s why voting there was my new favorite
1.  There were American flags everywhere!
2.  I shut my car door, went and voted, and was back in my car in 10 minutes
3.  During the experience, I spoke with three different poll workers and ALL of them were pleasant.  Whilst doing some paperwork, I chatted with the older gentlemen assigned to me.  This was his 5th presidential election for which he’s worked the polls.  Twenty years…20 years!!!  Wow.  I asked him questions and felt like I might want to volunteer here next time around…I bet I could learn a lot about our U.S. history by hanging out with people who have fought in it.
4.  The room was filled with war veterans.  There’s something inspiring and gut-wrenching about  voting in a room full of people who fought and sacrificed to preserve my freedom and privilege to vote. 
5.  I left teary-eyed…I love the democratic process.  I was overwhelmed with the ease of casting my vote and being heard…I flashed on other countries where people can’t vote or have fear of death if they turn out to polls.  It’s good to be an American…oh, and I want to vote at Friendly Valley for every election!

-During the school day, I had yet another encounter with the liberal agenda in the public school system.  That’s a whole other post.  Let’s just say this snipet epitomizes it all…
Admin: ‘As educators, even if kids ask us specific questions, we don’t give our opinions.’
Me: ‘Huh.  As educators, shouldn’t we be giving them information on the issues about which they’re asking?’
Admin: (lumberg style), ‘yeeaaah, I know what you mean, but even if they ask, we as educators shouldn’t give our own opinion.  It’s actually a rule.’
Me:  ‘A rule?  Really? Hmmm, where is that rule located cuz I’m going to need to see that in writing, please’.
Admin: ‘Well, it’s not really a written rule.  It’s more like an implied rule.’
Me: (nodding my head in an ‘oh, really’ kind of way), ‘Ohhh, implied.  ok.’ 
(rolling my eyes in my heart, keeping my temper controlled, asking the LORD to give me an eternal perspective and mentally muttering, ‘yeah, we as educators don’t give opions unless we have liberal opinions and then that unwritten rule never existed and we go on to say whatever we want’). 

-Went to the always-packed IN-and-Out for a quick dinner.  I walked in and it felt like a Stephen King movie…only the workers, 2 customers, and the endless stark whiteness.  Insert eery music.  I asked a worker why it was so desolate.  He smiled and said, ‘Election day.  Everyone is standing in line voting.’  🙂

-Around 6pm, I was at the cashier counter of a dept store and the female cashier (about 50 years old) asked if I’d voted yet…here’s how it went…
ME: I sure did.  I was in and out in 10 minutes.  It was great.  Have you voted yet?
CASHIER:  Not yet.  But now I think I might be changing my mind
ME: Changing your mind? About who to vote for or whether or not to actually vote?
CASHIER: Whether or not to vote.
ME: What? Why?
CASHIER: (somewhat whiny, but smiling) I’m tired.  Why?  Do you think I should?
ME: Absolutley I think you should vote.
ME: Because it’s a privilege to vote and your vote matters.  Think of all the countries in the world that don’t have a voting process or where women aren’t allowed to vote.  Please go vote.  You can sleep later.  you can only vote once every four years.  Please.  Really.  Go vote.
CASHIER: (smiling) You’re right.  Ok, you’ve convinced me.  I will go vote.
I hope she did.

-At rehearsal, we were about to do our last song when our sound guy interrupted saying, ‘This just in: per CNN, our new president elect has been named:  Obama.’  Our whole team was silent for a few moments.  We said a few things about God’s will and then started our song.  (I remember where I was when Clinton was elected and I remember feeling despair and being dumbfounded with Americans.  Fortunately, this time I am at a different spot spiritually and I welcome His will, through Obama’s presidential election.)  As the music started for the song, I thought, ‘Here’s another moment in time that I won’t ever forget.  Where i was and what i was doing when I learned that Obie had been elected.’  And then we sang ‘Heart of Worship’.  It was cool to find out major political news in the midst of worshipping the LORD…God is huge, man is small.  Man makes his plans, God directs his path.  Here’s to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit…and here’s to humbly yielding to to all three of them. 

Today, a friend of mine who was born in/lives in another country, sent me an email asking my reaction to the Obama result.  I didn’t have time to fully respond, but I did say that ‘eternity is still as sweet a hope today as it was yesterday’.  As I was driving to an appt. I realized that I hadn’t said why…I think I might’ve forgotten why…so, i answered it to myself out loud in the car…
It’s still as sweet a hope not because of anything political, but rather because of Jesus.  The central issue is still the gospel.  Always has been and always will be.  It’s quieting to think that all this political hoopla (yeah, I said hoopla, Kristin) pales in comparison to the praise that Jesus deserves and will eventually get.