Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ruffled Apron

Here's the project I worked on last week! Ali posed himself for this cameo.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cloth Baby Shoes

A couple of years ago, my mom gave me a sewing machine. I was thrilled at the idea of learning to sew and may have attempted an item or two. But, when I went overseas, the sewing machine went into the closet and out of my mind. When I moved back, I brought it to Atlanta with me, but was hesitant to adventure into new things.

But, the other day, I was re-inspired after browsing a few sewing blogs. My brother and sister in-law are going to have a baby girl next month, so why not have my first project be a gift to my new niece. I found a cute (and easy?) tutorial online for cloth baby shoes, and here's the final product.

I had to make a couple fabric store runs to get the right items and make a practice shoe, but all in all, it didn't take more than 3 or so hours to get them both done.

Hopefully I'll keep sewing more and more. I just keep telling myself it'll only get easier. That's the great part about beginning new things!

Friday, May 23, 2008

You've Got to be Kidding Me

Car dealership offers free gun to anyone who purchases a car:


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Room of our Dreams

Jonathan and I are dreamers. The kind of dreamers who will only dream if it's more than we could ever accomplish or bigger than we could ever imagine. We also believe we are together rather than on our own because God has dreams for us we couldn't accomplish individually. We're both experiencing the joys of companionship daily in both the big things and little things.

An example of the little things: we often joke about reading one another's minds and if we have the same idea or dress similarly one of us will usually burst out with an "we're so one!" comment. On Saturday, we hit our peak in the middle of a Cranium game. Jonathan was given the clay to sculpt something, clue being food. Jonathan picked up the clay and before I even knew what was coming out of my mouth, I shouted out "corn on the cob!" Jonathan put the clay down and, in surprise, said, "Yeah, it's corn on the cob." Everyone's mouths dropped open, and we cheered in honor of our "oneness." [Another example is that I wrote this blog yesterday without posting it and didn't mention it to him before he posted his most recent blog about our pursuit of being one.]

Anyway, back to our dreams. Anyone who has a conversation with us for over 5 minutes will realize that we long to live overseas among the lost, broken, forgotten, oppressed, hurting, and hopeless. We want to change the world--not just a little bit, but a lot. At the moment, we are both living in the states confident God has us here, though we tell God daily we'd be happy to be somewhere else. "Just say the word, Lord, and we will go!" So, while we're waiting to hear the word, we've set up our guest room to be the room of our dreams. (You were thinking neat paint and pretty pillows, weren't you?) We started by hanging a map in the middle with writing above it saying "to the ends of the earth." We hung up crosses we've collected around the world as well as a prayer flag from a conference I went to in the middle east. We've posted scripture that has spoken to our hearts, and a quote about dreams with our updated "to do" list beneath it. We'll continue to add to it as the Lord continues to add to and expand upon our dreams.

Our room of our dreams will be a daily reminder to us of the reason we are here and of how we want to see the world change. It'll help keep our actions in perspective--the way we spend the money God has given us, what we do with our time, how we treat strangers, etc. I hope it will allow us to see to a greater extent the creative side of our Father as well as a bigger picture of His relentless love for all nations, peoples, tribes, and tongues.

In Pursuit of Oneness

While Sarah was still in Egypt she recommended the book "A Severe Mercy" to me. I recommend reading it if you haven't - it's the only book besides the Bible that I've ever cried while reading. It's the story of the powerful love of a couple that has a "pagan" start and comes to center on Christ. As their relationship journey unfolds, they wildly pursue a complete sense of "oneness" that to some may seem over the top. A notable part was when the author talked about how if one of them liked or enjoyed something then the other should do all they could to like it as well, for there must be some value in it.

Sarah and I make references to "A Severe Mercy" every now and then when we speak of our own pursuit of love and oneness. The best idea we stole from their story was the development of secret signals known only to us... ones that allow us to say a silent "I love you", or "Let's get out of here!" or even "Do you hear that guy behind us who's talking really loudly and acting like a jerk to the nice guy in the red hat? I totally disagree with that!" No lie - we can share that without speaking.

One action I'm going to be taking soon has somewhat of a basis in the reckless pursuit of oneness displayed in "A Severe Mercy". You see, Sarah's currently a vegetarian (not in the strictest sense - she'll eat humanely-raised meat at Chipotle, for example) and I've always loved a juicy steak or burger or a #1 combo at Chick-Fil-A. But I see her reasoning behind her decisions and I see the value in it. And because I want to support her completely, one of the best ways I can do that is to say that I will stand at her side and advocate on the same issues; I will take up her causes as ours and never let something just be "Sarah's thing".

So I'm going vegetarian. I haven't started yet, but Sarah's gonna treat me out to a Last Meat Supper sometime soon.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Least of These

Loving Jesus is hard. Painfully hard. Loving Jesus means so much more than attending church and small group. More than fishes on our cars and crosses our walls. More than giving 10%. More than prayers telling God how great and wonderful and perfect He is.

Jonathan addressed John 21 in the last post when Jesus asked Peter how much he loved Him. Here's Jesus' response: "Tend My lambs," and a second time, "Shepherd My sheep," and the third time, "Tend my sheep." It's clear throughout this passage and others that Christ is referring to His beloved people. Those bearing His image.

I'm reminded of His sheep on the days that I'm overflowing with joy and love for the Lord. Those days, I find myself praying, "Jesus, I love You so much! I wish I could show You how much I love You in a million ways rather than just telling You." Without skipping a beat, I'm taken to Matthew 25, "Then the King [Jesus] will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You...' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'"

Jesus' words about the poor, hurting, broken, lost, dying, etc. have hit me harder than ever since I've returned to the states. Perhaps it's culture shock, perhaps it's my daily commute with NPR news, or maybe it's the heart of God. All I know is that the Lord is changing me and growing me, and it hurts. No matter how much Jonathan and I want to be overseas loving the poor, He's made it abundantly clear that He has us in Atlanta for the time being. And thankfully, we can still love the poor here.

Mother Teresa once said, "It's a poverty that a child should die so you can live as you want."

I'm trying to live that out, and it's difficult. For awhile, I've boycotted almost every thing worth boycotting: WalMart, anything made in China, meat, etc. But, I've still felt guilty, like it's not enough. It still leaves me in tears as I hear stories of Palestinians losing their homes, Burmese dying due to military violence or even bad weather, children being abused in Chinese sweatshops, Tibetan monks being murdered for protesting peacefully, Americans being murdered on the streets and dying silently because they can't afford health care. When will it end?

I left church in tears again yesterday, wondering how I could be celebrating when there were people dying left and right without knowing Love. I asked the Lord how long this pain in my heart would last. He said it would last until He has wiped every tear from our eyes. He reminded me that becoming like Him means feeling what He feels. But He also reminded me that He is sovereign. God's arm is not so short that it cannot save. It's important that I love Him by loving the least of these, but it's also important I remember that I will fail. It's not up to me, because God is Almighty. God is sovereign. God is good.

I'm still boycotting WalMart, things made in China, meat, etc. but I'm doing it with joy and freedom, rather than in desperation and guilt. I've remembered God's love, grace, mercy, and sovereignty, and it tastes sweet.

"The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples of this mountain; a banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, and refined, aged wine. And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all nations. He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord god will wipe tears away from all faces. And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken. And it will be said in that day, 'Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.'" (Isaiah 25: 6-9)

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.