Monthly Archives: March 2012

Citizen Soldiers

Capitol gaze

Politics are distasteful. And nasty.

Make a grand motion like running for office, or a quieter foray like taking a stand on an issue, and you feel it.

When you become involved, you expose yourself to attack. You lay your values on the line and offer yourself as a sacrifice for your convictions.

I suppose if you’re a fighter, nothing’s more exciting than the battle. The mudslinging, name calling, and scandal are all part of the game.

But at times, watching it bothers me. I think it bothers a lot of us. It’s scary. Hurtful. Unsettling and dangerous.

So we shy away from stating a position. Tread water in the middle, hoping no one will ask our opinion. Justify ourselves by thinking our views are personal and no one’s business. The personal is the political, after all.

We shield ourselves with tolerance. And we NEVER ever run for public office.

A friend of mine boldly stepped out and got involved on a local level. She took a stand and instantly made enemies in her own community. In her own party. From across the miles, I watch as she and her family are maligned.

Another friend of mine needs to run for office. He has the background, reasoning, patience, and wisdom to lead well. His life’s work demonstrates a love for his community. He would serve it selflessly.

But he hesitates. Is running for public office worth the beating that comes with it when real change seems next to impossible?

It’s tempting in this heated political climate to spew at the other side. Easy to take shots at politicians. I know because I’m ashamed to admit I’ve done it.

Those who run for office or take a stand on an issue are a brave lot, even if—especially if we disagree with them. They hold the frontline of our republic.

Capitol Rotunda

Capitol Rotunda

As Americans, we are all citizen soldiers in the fight to preserve our country. We can serve with our lives like people in the military. We can serve with our work like civil servants. Or we can serve with our votes, our taxes, and our abiding by the laws of the land.

It’s an election year. Prime time for us citizen soldiers to live out our heritage. Stand brave in the face of conflict.

We disagree because we can. Thank God for that privilege. With civility and respect, with the steady voice of our convictions and the sure voice of our votes, let’s keep it that way.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with My victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NLT

The United States Marine Corps Band plays Halls of Montezuma like nobody’s business. Check your pulse if this doesn’t make you march a little prouder into the weekend. Semper Fi. God Bless America.

as seen at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.;
Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. (December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002) was a United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen.

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the Book Giveaway?

To enter the drawing for The Action Bible, simply comment on the post Action Attraction by midnight, Tuesday, April 3rd. Share the post with others who may like to enter, too!

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Many Happy Returns

Returns. The ability to take things back. Don’t know how I would shop otherwise.

Sperry cute

The crazy town that is Macy’s during a shoe sale is no place to make a decision. It’s grab and go. Four pairs snagged at the pre-sale this past Saturday should be on their way to me from Kansas City as you read this.

Will I keep all four? Probably not. I don’t need them all. But I couldn’t decide in the store.

They all fit. All comfortable. All on sale. All gorgeous. If I left them in Macy’s unspoken for, I risked losing them to another suitor.

Remember The Limited’s old return policy? No sale is ever final. Those were the days.

Now you have to watch and make sure you don’t overstay the time limit. Sixty days are standard for generous stores and online orders. Thirty at the trendsetters. And always, always, keep your receipts.

put me in, Coach

My method is three-pronged. Try on once I get home. Make a decision as soon as possible. Return upon deciding. Not a moment to lose. While there is still time for the credit to hit my charge card’s current billing cycle.

From the pages of their books and blogs, wardrobe consultants urge me to go in with a list. Shop the list. Buy only what’s on the list.

I had a list this past Saturday. Silver sandals, black sandals, other comfortable shoes.

Macy’s, however, did not get a copy of my list when they sent their buyers a-purchasing for spring 2012. Maybe it’s too early in the season for sandals. Maybe comfort is out this year.

Nothing was a perfect fit for my list. Nothing except for the four pairs that fell into the catch-all category other comfortable shoes.

Sam Edelman stripes done right

Buying and returning is not an efficient way to shop. Yet I think the wardrobe consultants would side against efficiency in this case.

They consistently tell me dressing stylishly and within your means takes an effort. It takes time. And it’s worth the investment.

As image consultant Brenda Kinsel writes in Brenda’s Bible: Escape Fashion Hell and Experience Heaven Every Time You Get Dressed, “You’re allowed to change your mind. It’s one of the redemptions you have in life… (p. 42)”

Redemption in shopping and returns.

Sold to the lady wearing the gorgeous shoes.

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to Me,
for I have redeemed you. Isaiah 44:22 NIV

Nu Shooz? I Can’t Wait.

6 days left

Enter Our Book Giveaway!

We’re giving away a copy of The Action Bible. To enter the drawing, simply comment on yesterday’s post Action Attraction by Tuesday, April 3rd.

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Action Attraction: The Action Bible Book Giveaway

ready to roar

“Take care of your backpack, please,” I said to my son.

“Okay, Mom,” he said. “But first can I read my Bible?”

Never expected to hear that in a million years. And read he does. Independently. And learn. Without prompting.

Enter The Action Bible. We gave him the book this past Christmas.

“Mom, did you know Jerusalem was conquered by a series of empires?” he said. “Babylon conquered Jerusalem, Persia conquered Babylon, Greece conquered Persia, and Rome conquered Greece.”

Oh, dear. Mom needs a refresher course. This isn’t kid’s stuff.

Brilliantly illustrated by Sergio Cariello, The Action Bible brings to life more than 200 Bible stories in the exciting style of the graphic novel. The result is riveting.

Here’s a sampling from a familiar story on pages 280 and 281:

Copyright 2010 Sergio Cariello. The Action Bible published by David C Cook. Publisher permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2010 Sergio Cariello. The Action Bible published by David C Cook. Publisher permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved.

The thrilling narrative and bright colors capture my son’s attention. And they remind me God is not some namby-pamby, sissy deity.

I’m as guilty as any kumbayah Christian of embracing God’s tenderness and mercy—the essence of His character, to the neglect of the ferocity of His determinant power. God is love, yes. God is also holy, strong, and just.

The struggles in the Bible and in our time are life and death battles. Humanity hangs in the balance. There’s violence and vengeance, plagues and murder. Fire ripping from the sky. Blood dripping from a splintered, wooden cross.

Want to brush up on your Bible stories? Never learned them in the first place? Here’s your chance.

Maybe you love the Bible. Want the kids (or adults) in your life to love it too, without your nagging? The Action Bible is a fantastic place to begin.

As milk helps us to develop a hunger for meat, The Action Bible whets the appetite for Scripture in those who would dare to read it.

So will the Words that come out of My mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
They’ll complete the assignment I gave them. Isaiah 55:11 The Message

God’s Not Dead. He’s surely alive. Newsboys.

We’re Giving Away a Copy of The Action Bible!

Here’s how to enter:

  • To enter the drawing for The Action Bible, simply comment on this post.
  • You have until midnight, Tuesday, April 3rd, to comment to enter.
  • Only one comment per reader please.
  • A winner will be randomly drawn and contacted Wednesday, April 4th.
  • I will personally pay to ship the book to an address of the winner’s choosing within the contiguous U.S. in time for Easter. International shipping cannot be guaranteed in time for Easter.

The Action Bible New Testament

Disclaimer

I’m not being compensated to promote this book.

I was so impressed with The Action Bible that I contacted the publisher David C. Cook myself. They were kind enough to honor my requests for permission to show the illustrations in this post and for a book to give away.

They also surprised my son with something I did not request, their new book The Action Bible New Testament. I am thankful for their graciousness.

Suggested Links to Like

Comment by midnight, Tuesday, April 3rd,
to enter the drawing for The Action Bible!

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Announcing Spring Break

yellow flower

Hello. So nice of you to stop by. Sorry I missed you.

It’s spring break here in Wichita. I’m unplugging for a few days to spend time with the family.

God willing, I’ll be back on the blog next week. See you then.

Now go. Get out there and live the gift that is your life.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

Learning to be the Light, a happy song for a happy spring, by Newworldson.

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Destination: Perspective

Sometimes what I really need to do is run away. Travel can hold the ticket to a clearer, better perspective.

over Alaska

I may go to a faraway place and detox from the real world. But there are closer, shorter voyages that achieve similar, lifesaving results.

Drive 200 miles to see an old friend. Spend the hours alone in the car. Singing with the radio. Turning it off to discuss things with God. Questioning. Talking it over. Being heard. Listening.

Or take a long lunch to catch up with someone I haven’t seen in a while. Break down the state of the world as we know it. Pick up where we left off as if the time never passed at all.

Or simply bow out of the room for five minutes. Walk around the block. Step back. Breathe. Remember what’s important. Re-engage with peace.

on the beach in Bali

My favorite psychology professor in grad school once told my class a secret. He said he recommended depressed people go to the mountains or the ocean. I imagine the plains, desert, or forest would work as well.

It is in such places they could come face to face with how small they are and how big God is. Surrender to it and find refuge. Then come home able to move—even if ever so slightly—forward.

Perspective is easy to lose, but not so hard to regain either.

Here you thought it was gone forever, but look. There it is a few miles up ahead.

God’s love is meteoric,
His loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
His verdicts oceanic.
Yet in His largeness
nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse,
slips through the cracks. Psalm 36:5-6 The Message

You Lead, I’ll follow, by Jamie Grace.

Meet Traveling with the Jones

The incredible photos in this post are compliments of Janis and Jeff Jones, my traveling friends who see the value in venturing.

Traveling with the Jones

Between the two of them, they’ve traveled to 80 different countries, all 50 states, and 175 cruise ports around the world.

“Travel, for us, is about personal growth,” says Janis. “It gets us out of our routines and our comfort zones; it broadens our horizons and breaks down our misconceptions. Through our travels, we’ve found  people are basically the same despite living under vastly different circumstances and cultures.”

Janis and Jeff share a wealth of travel tips and info. Follow them on their blog Traveling with the Jones, on Facebook, and on Twitter @travelinjones. If you can keep up, that is.

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Field Trip to Visit a Cowboy

Ryan Goodman riding horseback on the west slopes of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming

There’s a new everyday epistle post out. But it’s not here where it usually is. Today we’re taking a field trip. A blog-cation.

Saddle up and click on over to Ryan Goodman’s excellent site Agriculture Proud.

Ryan is a real cowboy. Comes from the hearty stock of an Arkansas cattle ranching family. Smart, too. He’s currently in graduate school at the University of Tennessee.

And Ryan is social. His Facebook page I am Agriculture Proud has more than 1,400 followers. Find him on Twitter at @AR_ranchhand.

Ryan Goodman is Agriculture Proud

Ryan is also tall. He’s six feet four inches of tall, dark, and bachelor. Said he’s not ready to settle down yet. Single ladies, see if you can help him with that, will ya?

Humor and matchmaking aside, I’m honored to be guest posting on Ryan’s site today because he has a passion for telling the true story of American agriculture. And he’s invited some friends to join him this month.

So come along with me to Ryan’s cyber ranch. Meet a real cowboy and find out why I’ve been known to follow ag blogs, write about farm stuff, and collect photos of barns and livestock on Pinterest.

All this, a mere click away. Now go be Agriculture Proud!

And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 2 Timothy 2:6 NLT

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? asks Paula Cole. Get with the program, Paula. They’re over at Agriculture Proud

 

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Intuition Visits the Nail Salon

The first time I visited Chicago I was in my early 20s. A lovely, drunk Chicagoan took it upon herself to counsel me in a bar.

choose your color

“You’re cute,” she said. “But your nails just ruin it! You must get a manicure.”

Nothing like one woman’s criticism to motivate another woman to action.

I don’t get manicures every week. I get them when I can. When I must.

And I throw in a pedicure. Need it to exercise. How can I be expected to do yoga with unpolished toenails?

As you know, we recently relocated. Had some free time one Friday. So I’m thinking, I’m in Wichita, the largest city in Kansas. I’ll just pop in somewhere and have my nails done. No problem.

No appointment, no service was more like it.

“We’re booked until 4:30 p.m.,” said the first shop.

tools of the trade

“How about next week?” said the second.

“We don’t have time to do both,” said the third. “Manicure or pedicure?”

I have to choose? But I’ll be unbalanced. (Please hold all comments until the end.)

My free time was evaporating. Desperate, I tried one last shop.

“How long for a manicure-pedicure?”

The row of women paused their filling and filing to stare like I was from Mars.

“No, wait!” said one woman as I turned to leave. Must have been the owner.

“She can take you now.” The owner pointed across the room to a beautiful, young woman reading a magazine.

The young woman looked up and rolled her eyes. Red flag number one.

“No. No. No,” said the little voice inside me.

pedicure station

I sat down in the pedicure chair anyway. I needed to have my nails done.

As the young one began removing my old polish, I smiled and said, “I’m so glad you could take me today.”

She looked up and snarled. “You’re lucky you got in,” she said. “We usually only take appointments.”

The little voice inside me whipped around and wagged a finger. “No, you’re lucky I’m sitting in your chair, sister!”

In real life I was stunned silent. My feet literally in hot water. Better not to speak lest I lose a toe.

Forty-five minutes later, I had ravishing, plum toenails. They were shaped kind of weird, but they were all still there.

We moved to the manicurist station where the young one placed my hands in little dishes of water. Then she disappeared into the break room. For 10 minutes.

The skin on my fingers pruned and the little voice shrieked, “GET OUT!”

candy dish

Back in St. Louis at Ladue Nails I would have been done with all this in less than an hour. No coffee breaks allowed if you have a customer in the house.

Should I call her out of the break room? Pay the owner for the pedi and leave? Run screaming from the building?

Finally she reappeared, all smug and caffeinated.

“You know what?” I said. “I have to pick up my son from school. Let me pay for the pedicure and go.”

“Are you sure you can’t stay?” she said.

“You’ll listen to me next time?” said the little voice as we drove away.

Count on it.

Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:11 NIV

Intuition by Jewel.

me and Nini

Epilogue

Despite this experience, there are many fabulous salons in Wichita. For example, I found a terrific manicurist at a friendly salon that boasts of the best candy dish in town.

Nini, at Nails and Spa on Central near 127th, advises me to be on the safe side and always make an appointment.

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