Joy to the world

He is my last born.

The one who made his arrival into my life unexpectedly.

Made his arrival into this world early.

He has brought me so much joy.

Merely by exuding joy himself.

Like when Ho Ho passed in front of our house for the Christmas parade.

And he waved at him.

I love how he expresses his joy without any consideration for appearance.

Or self-consciousness.

Just total in-the-moment-ness.

Joy to the world.

Sojourner

(Please ignore my unfinished, unorganized, undecorated mess… I just feel the need to write, and it’s overriding my usual desire to not let anyone visit my house unless it’s “just right”…)

So I’ve been on a journey of sorts for the last 14+ months. Oh heck. Who am I kidding — I’ve been on a journey all my life. We are all on a journey; sometimes we get sidetracked from the journey, or get too comfortable with where we are and stay in the same place for a long long while. Or we just flat-out forget that that we were headed somewhere. Or looking for something. We are no longer excited about what is around the next bend. “I’ll just sit on this bench and rest a little while, thankyouverymuch.”

Regardless of why mine stopped (that is a post that may never be published), I finally picked my journey up, albeit with shaky nerves, wobbly knees and little confidence.

All that to say: I’ve been reading a book. Don’t laugh. It had been awhile. It’s hard to find the time to read when you are doing things like, oh I don’t know… trying to survive. And even though my circumstances are now different and I’m no longer treading water, there are relationships, business, and kids, and the house, and OH.MY.WORD The Laundry! Reading a book is a luxury these days. I love to read. I especially love to read about other people’s journeys.

So I started with something light, fluffy and easy*

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

I’ve read this book before, but I’m reading it again with different eyes. When it first came out, it was quite the controversial book in some of the circles I ran with. To the point where I was almost afraid to read it. I finally read it for myself. It’s not without flaws, but he’s not claiming to be a schooled theologian.

I’d love to just post the entire book on here for you to read, but then the copyright attorneys would be banging on my door. And I don’t think they’d appreciate my “But I love my Internetz” excuse… Plus, Donald Miller seems like a cool guy (<— for those of you who have read the book, this is a play on a part of it) and deserves to make any profits from it. So go to the library and check it out or click on the link above and get your own copy.

Until you get your hands on it, enjoy some of these thoughts. And share yours with me in the comments.

Some of my favorite thoughts from the book (so far; I’m sure there will be a part 2 to this post)

From Chapter 5, Faith: Penguin Sex:

Love, for example, is a true emotion, but it is not rational. What I mean is, people actually feel it. I have been in love, plenty of people have been in love, yet love cannot be proved scientifically. Neither can beauty. Light cannot be proved scientifically, and yet we all believe in light and by light see all things. There are plenty of things that are true that don’t make any sense… (God) doesn’t (make sense). He will make no more sense to me than I will make sense to an ant. (p. 54)

From Chapter 7, Grace: The Beggar’s Kingdom:

(I realized) I was too proud to receive God’s grace, I was humbled. Who am I to think myself above God’s charity? And why would I forsake the riches of God’s righteousness for the dung of my own ego? (p. 85)

From Chapter 8, gods: Our Tiny Invisible Friends:

I felt as if believing in God was no more rational than having an imaginary friend. They have names for people who have imaginary friends, you know. They keep them in special hospitals. Maybe my faith in God was form of insanity. Maybe I was losing my marbles. I start out believing in Christ, and the next thing you know I am having tea with the Easter Bunny or waltzing with my toaster, shouting, “The redcoats are coming!” (p. 87)

From Chapter 9, Change: New Starts at Ancient Faith:

I said to a guy the other day ‘God bless you’, but what does that mean? I have been saying that stuff all my life, but what does it mean? Then I started thinking about all the crap I say. All the cliches, all the parroted slogans. I have become an infomercial for God, and I don’t even use the product. (p. 97)

From Chapter 10, Belief: The Birth of Cool:

I don’t think any church has ever been relevant to the culture, to the human struggle, unless it believed in Jesus and the power of His gospel. If the supporsed new church believes in trendy music and cool Web pages, then it is not relevant to culture either. It us just another tool of Satan to get people to be passionate about nothings.(p. 111)

From Chapter 11, Confession: Coming Out of the Closet:

(this is such a good one, and it’s long, and I wish I could just type it all out…)

Upon being asked to defend Christianity and telling the questioner (a radio host) he couldn’t:

Of the hundreds of thousands of people listening to his show that day, some of the had terrible experiences with Christianity; they may have been yelled at by a teacher in a Christian school, abused by a minister, browbeaten by a Christian parent. To them, the term ‘Christianity’ meant something that no Christian I know would defend. By fortifying the term, I am only making them more and more angry. I won’t do it. Stop ten people on the street and ask them what they think of when they hear the word “Christianity”, and they will give you ten different answers. How can I defend a term that means ten different things to ten different people?… “I would rather talk about Jesus and how I came to believe that Jesus exists and that He likes me.” (my emphasis)

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality **

*Yeah, that’s sarcasm…

(**disclosure: the Blue Like Jazz links above are affiliate links on Amazon.com. If you purchase the book, I receive a portion of the sale. Which is kind of like a tip in a jar, no?)

Publish and Share Your Documents Using Scribd

DOCUMENTS.1163688748.jpg

image common property

The Publishing world has changed immensely in the past five to 10 years. No longer must you submit a transcript to 30 different publishing houses, only to receive 30 rejection letters.

Perhaps you have something you’d like to share, not for money, but just because you realize that others might benefit from it: a pattern, a list of recipes, a tutorial.

If you are like me, you have a lot of ideas swirling around – maybe you’ve written some of them down or stored them on your computer. Or maybe, just maybe, you sense that others might enjoy reading your term paper from your junior year of college.

None of these items are items that a traditional publishing house would consider publishing. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an audience looking for just that topic. If you upload your documents to Scribd and categorize them, you can share them with other readers.

Not only is it a site that is beneficial to writers looking for an audience, but there are many helpful tutorials, how-tos, menus, patterns etc for readers to seek out.

Using the iPaper area of the site, you can convert just about any major document format, including Word docs, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, OpenOffice documents, and PostScript files. Upload your documents and embed them on your blog/website. The embedding feature is really helpful and is a tidy and efficient way to place an entire document on your blog page or site. (see below for a sample of an embedded document)

Look into the Group area to find materials that are already sorted. Or use it to create your own mini-library. Create a group and choose whether it is private or open to anyone.

Consider using Scribd to free up space on your hard drive, or to finally be able to get rid of those boxes of old college term papers (scan them and upload them) There are many ways to use the site: learn something, share something, store something.

*One word of warning: there are no rating labels to show materials that may not be appropriate for children. I haven’t come across anything offensive, but, as with any other site, that doesn’t mean it isn’t on there.

(For more help or support visit the Support Desk.)

Sample Embedded Document:

Easter Peeps in a Jar

Your turn: Would you be willing to post documents for free?

What a Bright Idea – a brass lamp makeover

Most of my married life, I’ve had attic decor – Sean and I both brought some things in to our marriage home. And for the most part, we’ve had what we needed. Other than that, we’ve either purchased a needed item (like a couch), made it (like a side table and entertainment center [I’m lucky to be married to a crafty man]) or reworked something that we already had or that we were given.

One such item was these lamps.

I remember when my mom bought them, my dad encouraged her to buy some for the entire house, since she like them so much. So glad she didn’t listen to that logic.

Otherwise I would have spent all day fixing these suckers up.

Don’t get me wrong – it was an super easy process. Sandpaper, Textured Spray paint (the kind for metal) and newspaper were all it took.

But one can only have so many attractive lamps around their home before running out of room. Or something like that.

So sanding and wiping down two lamps was entirely manageable.

I swear, I’m not giving anyone the finger. Apparently, I have some inner British to channel.

Or maybe I just have sandpaper dust issues that make me avoid touching it too much.

Whatever.

Once I sanded (very lightly sanded… nothing major; just to hold the paint better) and wiped, I got to spray. It took me two cans to do these lamps, though I would have preferred a third to touch up some of the thinner spots.

But even with the thin spots, they are a vast improvement over the polished brass from before.

But I’m screwed if polish brass comes back in style.

Finish it off with a lover-ly tassel from The Nester, and it’s a beauty to behold.

Something is swirling around in this ‘lil ole brain

There are so many things I love about the internet. The connections. The community. The food.

Yeah, I said food.

I can’t think of an easier way to get new recipes than to create a Mr. Linky, spread the word and then hop around the web while drooling on my screen printing out amazing recipes.

And I also can’t imagine anything much worse than having to cook dinner in a hot house. I have stood with the freezer open just to cool myself while cooking dinner because I foolishly decided to boil some potatoes/bake biscuits at 400 degrees/fry meat/sweat like a pig.

Because y’all are so creative and domestic-y and all, I’m gonna beg you for some good easy stuff to feed my family open up a couple of posts in a few weeks so that we can all benefit from each others domestic-y-ness.

Don’t worry if you aren’t domestic-y. Your recipes are probably the best ones when it comes to not heating up the kitchen (microwave canned veggies… butter some bread…) Please share your secrets with the rest of us who are slaves to the stove in the heat of the summer.

I will be preparing some buttons to spread the word. And by all means, spread the word! You don’t want your only other choice to be my recipe for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, now do you?

Check back for details in the next few days. And in the meantime, start thinking about what recipes you’ll share.

There will be two separate recipe carnivals on 2 separate days.
1) Foods for days when it’s too hot to cook
2) Foods to take to a picnic.

Start thinkin’. And get ready!

(Be sure to scroll down for this weeks What The?!)