Jul 312012

When my husband and I got engaged (22 years ago!) and we picked out our everyday dishes (okay, I picked them out and he nodded), I didn’t pay close attention to every detail. I chose the dishes based on the color and the pattern and figured that was all that was important. They’re just dishes, right?


We got 12 place settings of those dishes, Dansk Christianshavn Blue, from various wonderful friends and relatives as wedding presents.  We started out our married life with more dishes than we had seats in our apartment.  And then we started to use them.

At first we didn’t notice the problem.  Dinner consisted of microwaved Weight Watchers pizzas or whatever meat was on sale at the local IGA.  Neither of us quite knew how to plan and execute a side dish that was edible at the same time as the main dish: only one large plate required.
Then we discovered the miracle of salad in a bag and we began to use the ‘salad bowls’ from our set.  

Since we now had a few of the bowls unpacked, washed, and ‘in the rotation’ (table, sink, dishwasher, repeat), we got brave and started using them for cereal as well.

Yum!  Special K & Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies & Cracklin’ Oat Bran (Remember that?).  But something was wrong.  

Our bowls weren’t the right shape for cereal.

I know! How in the world could a bowl be the wrong shape for cereal?

Our new bowls were flat and disc-like.  In fact, they reminded me of an upside-down frisbee.  Instead of having a central well for gathering liquid, they were slightly raised in the middle and pushed any liquid into a ring around the outer edge.

Imagine trying to eat cereal from a bowl like that!  Chasing the flakes around the edge with your spoon, unable to collect even a dram of cereal-flavored milk because it refuses to gather in one spot. Finally resorting to tipping the bowl to gather all the goodness and having it flow out over the inadequate edge and spread mockingly across the table.

I was devastated!  How could I have failed so miserably?  Why didn’t anyone warn me?

And then my wonderful, innovative, forward-thinking, not-bound-by-convention husband saved the day.  He pulled a coffee mug down from the cupboard and filled it with Golden Grahams for me.  He handed me the milk and a spoon and rescued me from a cereal-free existence.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we still eat cereal from coffee mugs at our house.  

Don’t tell my kids.  They think everyone does!

 Posted by at 06:33
Jul 292012

I’ve been back in the classroom for the last few weeks and, although I absolutely love it, it uses up all my words for the day.  By the time I get home, I have nothing left to say.  My vocabulary is depleted.  

But life doesn’t stop and I’ve had plenty of Teachable Moments both in and out of the classroom so I’m scrambling to catch them before they leave my consciousness completely.  I know: write them down.  

So here’s my Teachable Moment for today:  I will never be an Olympic Athlete.


No, really.  I actually had this thought as I watched the Olympic coverage this weekend: I am not an athlete.

I am too old to become an Olympic-class athlete.  

I will never be an Olympic Athlete.

Now, what I might be is one of those Olympic volunteers.  You know, one of the army of “Games Makers” who do essential tasks like clean the floor in a perfect pattern before the volleyball match or tell the atheletes from Senegal where to buy a camera.  That’s the kind of job I could have in the Olympics.

 Posted by at 07:35
Jul 122012

A friend recently tackled the question of fear on his blog.  His question was “What do you fear?”, more specifically, “What do you fear more than God?”  (No surprise, this friend is also my pastor.)

So, what is it that drives you, controls you, and shapes you?  

After thinking and talking about this for a while, I’ve found my answer:
I fear not knowing.


Not knowing what everyone is talking about.

Not knowing anyone.

Not knowing what’s going on.

Not knowing what’s coming next.

Not knowing the plan.

Not knowing what to do.

Not knowing the answer.

Now that I know what I fear (deep irony here), I’ve begun to see how this drives what I do and how I react to different situations. Often it involves a frenzy of activity or double- and triple-checking details.  Queasy stomach anyone?  Sometimes it makes me want to just punch something.  

If I stop and think about it, I remember that God is the only one who knows everything and, really, he’s the only one who needs to know.  But then I forget again.  


Trust is hard.








 Posted by at 07:41
Jul 072012

A few days ago, I wrote a post about The Curious Hieroglyphick Bible and in that post I mentioned that I like new takes on the Bible.  So here’s another one: The Brick Bible: A New Spin on the Old Testament.  That’s Brick as in Lego Brick.

Yup. Lego. Awesome, right?


I bought The Brick Bible for my kids last Christmas and we spent hours pouring over it and marveling at the clever way the stories were represented as well as asking each other “Really?  The Bible says that?”

Some of the Old Testament is really bloody and Brendan Powell Smith doesn’t shy away from depicting the violence. My kids were fascinated.


Here’s the best part!  It’s online as well.  In fact, www.bricktestament.com contains illustrations from the New Testament too.  

How awesome is a Lego depiction of the Last Supper?


From the website: “The world’s largest, most comprehensive illustrated bible.  A sprawling website best suited for those with the maturity to read the entire bible.”  Now there’s a challenge.  I’ll admit that I love some of the illustrations, but others make me squirm.

Smith even tags the stories according to content: N=nudity, S=sexual content, V=violence, & C=cursing.  He isn’t shy about depicting modern day events in order to make a point either.  

It’s a great place to start a discussion…or an argument.  I’m telling you, it’s not for everyone, but it may just get you thinking and talking and reading and learning about God.

 Posted by at 18:23
Jul 042012

I love books – actual books.  The way they feel, how they smell.  I love curling up in odd places with them propped open just right.  They speak to me in a way audiobooks and eBooks never will.


But today’s Teachable Moment is brought to you by…..my Kindle.  I discovered a treasure called The Curious Hieroglyphick Bible.  I saw it on the Library of Congress list of books that shaped America.  I hadn’t ever heard of it, so I went trolling around the Internet.  No copies at the local library, but Amazon had it and the first chapter was free on the Kindle – instant satisfaction for my curiosity! 


Can I just say “WOW!”?


It’s an 18th century collection of “select passages of the Old & New Testaments” illustrated with nearly 500 woodcuts.  Sound boring?  Not at all!  It’s an incredible work of art and the way it is put together is wonderfully clever.  The title page describes it this way “Represented with emblematical figures for the amusement of youth designed chiefly to familiarize tender Age, in a pleasing and diverting Manner, with early Ideas of the Holy Scriptures.” 

It reminds me of an early graphic novel.  The Creation story is absolutely gorgeous.   I can see 18th century children pouring over the illustrations for hours. 


Look at the way they represent God and the Spirit at creation:



I’m hooked!  I love new takes on scripture, no matter how old.


By the way, there are only 4 original copies of this book, but you can peek at photographs of the first chapter here. Be sure to click on the Kindle edition. The Print edition can’t compare.



 Posted by at 19:18
Jul 032012

How long is 15 minutes?  

No, really, how long?  How do you measure it?

Is it a short period of time as in “Only 15 more minutes on the computer” or an extrordinarily long period of time: “There’s a rest stop 15 minutes up the road.”  I guess it depends on how you look at it.

About 9 years ago, when my kids were smaller, 15 minutes was all I had.  A toddler, preschooler, and elementary school kid can fill every minute of the day with fun, mess, laughter, whining, food, dirty dishes, activity, exhaustion, and mountains of laundry.  

I really wanted to dig my way out from under the pile of stuff and the list of chores and just breathe.  When I saw someone who looked peaceful amidst the flurry, I’d ask for the secret.  One day, someone gave it to me: 15 minutes.  

She directed me to a woman called FlyLady whose motto was “You can do anything for 15 minutes!”  And it’s true.  

15 minutes

There are two sides to this:

1. You can accomplish a lot in 15 minutes if you focus.

Even if I couldn’t fold all the laundry, I could make a decent dent in 15 minutes, if I just stayed with it.  I discovered that I was flitting from pile to pile and not completing anything.  My to-do list was filled with half-finished tasks and overwhelming me before I even got started.  Which brings me to #2.

2. If you are dreading a task, just spend 15 minutes on it.

When faced with “cleaning the house” or “doing the taxes”, my inner princess would run screaming and I’d find every excuse in the world to not even start.  I can talk my princess down off the ledge now with the promise of spending ONLY 15 minutes on a dreaded task.  (She’s really easy to fool.)

I’ve discovered that most of the things I used to dread take less than 15 minutes: mopping, vacuuming, unloading the dishwasher, dusting, filing papers, paying bills.  The list goes on and on.

What can you accomplish in 15 minutes today?  Set your timer and find out!

For more on FlyLady and the power of 15 minutes, check out

 Posted by at 17:18