Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: Same Kind of Different as Me

same kind of different as me

By Ron Hall and Denver Moore
With Lynn Vincent

Copyright 2006
Thomas Nelson Publishers

Same Kind of Different as Me tells the story of two men: an older, black, homeless man and a wealthy, white art dealer. Denver Moore is a vagabond who made his was to Fort Worth, Texas several years ago, leaving a life of modern day slavery, sharecropping, and crime back in Louisiana. Ron Hall is a wealthy, international art dealer who drives a Rolls and wears Armani. They are brought together by Ron's wife, who has a heart for the homeless in their area, and isn't content to stand by and do nothing.

Themes such as love, commitment, friendship, loyalty, forgiveness, and dedication are all addressed in this amazing true story. Along with it, though, are stories of pain, heartbreak, and turmoil. It is a testament to the faith of one woman who brought together two unlikely men in a unique friendship. A friendship that not only would survive the tumultuous waves of life, but that would make huge strides in changing the world.

Above just being an inspiring story, this book is a challenge to those of us who live comfortable lives. A calling to those of us who wake up, drive to work, and come home to dinner and a sitcom. It is a call to stand up and do something for humanity. It is a challenge to change lives, and in the process, maybe reform our own.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

We've moved!

Well. I've moved. Let's not make this too big of a deal. Check out Balance and Blueberries. Add me to your blog roll. We'll see where this all ends up. It should be a good time!


We have a map and a plan!

A week from today, Erica and I are headed off into the Smokies to hike 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail. We now have a map! Isn't it pretty?

For the past couple of months, we've been researching and making lists long-distance, in an attempt to figure out this backpacking thing. A week away from departure day, and I think we're ready. Think. Hope. Pray.

Last night we ironed out start/finish details. We're going to start on the northeast end at Davenport Gap and finish on the southwest end at Fontana Dam. We'll meet at Fontana Dam, leave a car, pick up our backcountry permits, and drive to Davenport Gap to start our hike. Then, we walk for 7 days, and end up on the south end. We drive to pick up the other car, and then have to head home, to fall headlong into the busyness of summer jobs, having conquered the wilds of the Smoky Mountains. Or something like that.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sit up. Push up. Repeat.

I'm joining the fad. The push-up challenge. I'm going to be buff. That's a lie.

Confession time: I'm a cardio junkie. I run. I swim. I bike. I elliptical. Whatever. I could do 6 days a week of straight cardio, and be more than happy. On the flip side of that, I despise weight training. I know that it's good for me to strength train. I know that it'll make me stronger in a way that endurance cardio never will. I just don't like it. Is that valid?

So, I have a new game plan: instead of trying to go to the gym to lift weights (trying? who am I kidding? it never happens), I'm going to focus on doing just a few minutes a day of some strength training at home. I can spare a few minutes a day, right? Of course. Something little every day adding up to something awesome over the long term.

Alternating days with the push-up challenge, I'm going to do Whittle My Middle. It's a favorite of mine (by a great health/food blogger!). Maybe, this way, my abs won't be so sore for days and days post-half marathon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weekends make me happy. They just do.

Remember this?

I made it into this:


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 3 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup rolled oats


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix white sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, strawberries, and rhubarb. Place the mixture in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, butter, and oats until crumbly. You may want to use a pastry blender for this. Crumble on top of the rhubarb and strawberry mixture.
  4. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crisp and lightly browned.

Warm out of the oven with a scoop (or two) of ice cream=happiness.

P.S. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul (Revised and Expanded)
By John and Stasi Eldredge
Thomas Nelson

Captivating, co-authored by husband-wife team, John and Stasi Eldrege, explains in very simple terms the core of a woman's soul. The premise of the book is based on the presupposition that, "Every woman in her heart longs for three things: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty."

We, as women, want to be a part of something. We want to be found valuable, irreplaceable, and beautiful. Stasi, through personal anecdotes, addresses the fact that the world has quelched these desires. In varying degrees, we've had wounds inflicted on us from childhood that lead us to believe that the opposite is true: that we aren't valuable, that we aren't beautiful, that no one needs us. We have been led to believe that in order to fix this hurt, we must be "good Christian women," we must follow a list of neatly scripted bullet points and how-to's. Unfortunately, these "how to's" tend to focus on our exterior actions, and not on the heart of the issue.

Captivating reminds you to pay attention to your heart. It encourages you to return to the desires that you had as a little girl, and to begin the search for romance in your story. It may not be as hard to find as you think it is.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy, happy weekend!

I just love weekends. I love weekends exactly like this one; weekends in which you have very little to do, nowhere to be. And so, you are able to just BE.

Yesterday I took advantage of my backyard (I mean, the park) and enjoyed the sunshine, The Horse Whisperer,

and a Green Monster:

Last night, though I have no pictures to prove it, I went to see a friend north of Fort Wayne. We played volleyball, consumed the best lasanga and cheesecake ever, and talked. A lot. So good!

This morning, my running buddy copped out on me due to illness. True confessions: I am secretly thrilled that I don't have to run 10 miles today. In lieu of the run, I spent my morning going to the farmers market, Aldis, and then a random garage sale on the way home. Farmer's market purchase:

How does one cook rhubarb? I only have a pound of it, so it's not enough to make a pie or tarts or anything. What would it do on oatmeal? In stirfry? I'll have to research, and then will keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This beautiful mystery

Art is difficult to label; it’s difficult to pin down the exact meaning of a piece into a nice, tidy, three sentence description. It seems indefinable. It’s a mystery. We know that, whatever it is, it is a beautiful, awe-inspiring, convicting work; but a precise definition eludes us. What is it about that work that convicts you so? Why do you find it so beautiful? Why is it so inspiring?

Writer Randy Smith says, “Because of the awe-inspiring relationship between God and man, the symbolic essence of creation, the image-bearing nature of human beings, and the limitless riches of the gospel, artists can rest assured that they dig into a world and experience that is saturated with meaning—they do not chase phantom rabbits of beauty and truth”
(The Wonder of It all). Read that again; there’s a lot packed in there.

Another way to look at it is this: because of…
1. Our relationship with God
2. The essence of creation
3. The fact that we bear God’s image
4. The gospel
...we live in a world full of meaning.

Our God is a God of mystery. It is no secret that we, in our finite human-ness, do not understand all of the complexities of our triune God. Through our art-making, we can portray an aspect of the mystery and the beauty of God that cannot be explained in a bullet-ed list. We can hand our audiences a way to understand something about themselves; we can give them respite from the cut-and-dried reality of the world. Through art, we can offer people another perspective as they gaze upon and seek to understand the great Mystery.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Today's the day

"There will come a day that you can no longer do this. Today is not that day."

Yesterday, my housemate and I ran 8 miles. Was it fast? No. Was it easy? Of course not. Did we have fun? was nice to spend some time together, I suppose, though I can think of more pleasant ways to bond.

If that's the case, why do I run?

I've thought about this a lot over my last couple of years of running, and I've come up with several reason. In reality, the reasons change depending on the season of life I'm in.

Running has stress therapy.

Running has gotten me through...busy times...down times...happy times...heartbreak...stress.

So, why do I run? A bunch of reasons, I guess. It's a challenge; it's a way that I push myself to the limit. But ultimately, I run because I love it. I run because it's good for my body and it's good for my soul. I run because I know that I won't always be able to. I run because I can.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's OK

Today, someone walked into my office to tell me exactly what I need to hear: it's OK to be frustrated with God. That may sound strange, but bear with me.

I often wander through life wondering, "Should I stay or should I go?" Unlike The Clash, however, I'm talking life path decisions, not the most recent romantic fling. Is God calling me to remain here? Or does He have something else for me? And if He has something else, what is it? Where is it? Under which rock is He hiding the news?

In times of waiting, people offer platitudes such as, "Trust God. Wait in Him. He hasn't abandoned you. He'll do something big. You need just to rest and to wait in Him." This makes sense. This is Biblical. There are many verses that back their statements up. Psalm 37:5, says, "Rest in the Lord and wait patiently on Him, " and Lamentations 3:25 reminds, "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him." Waiting on God isn't a new thing. His people have been doing it for centuries and centuries. Remember men and women like Abraham, Moses, Job, and Hannah?

Honestly, when I hear such statements, my response is much like that of a belligerent child, "Yeah? You want to work in my life? Go for it. Show me. Because right now, I don't feel like you are, and I don't see how this is going to work out. Much less how this could possibly work out for anything resembling my good." I recognize that this is not exactly a holy reaction.

And yet, I was reminded today that it's OK. This is not to say that my whining is music to God's ears; however, it is to say that he remains good and constant and Love even when I am questioning his perfect plan. It is to say that it's OK to wait. And while I wait, it's OK to ask God why I'm waiting. It's OK to tell Him that I'm frustrated.
To ask Him what the point is. David and the Psalmists did it often (see Ps. 55:17, 72:12, 88:1, 130:1).

He has a purpose and a plan; He promises. Proverbs 2:3 and 5 say, "
If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding...then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." Right there in the Book of Wisdom, it says to cry out to God for an explanation, and find Him.

Even without the end of the waiting in sight, even when the odds seem to be stacked against my cause, God is there; He's there to stand in my weakness as my strength and my comfort. Whether I want to or not, I need to lean into Him, trust, and, when I have questions, to "cry out for understanding". Even when I want to throw myself to floor and kick and scream like a child---
especially in those moments---He's there for me to cry out to. He never ceases to be perfectly good and perfectly God, loving me through the times of waiting and questioning.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Plagiarized brilliance

I read. A lot. Books. Blogs. Articles. I'm not picky. Because I spend so much time immersed in the ideas of others, I fear that I don't have many unique ideas of my own to express to the world. It seems that other, wiser, more trendy people have thought these ideas and expressed them first. I would have gotten around to original thought, given some time. I promise. But, alas, they've beaten me to the punch. As such, I'm relegated to passing on the brilliance of others, and obligated to credit them with their own ideas. Somehow, this system seems to have flaws.

Today, I read this article. Donald Miller, my most recent fountain of inspiration, writes about the most important question that one can asks oneself: What if?
What if I quit my job?
What if I moved to Siberia?
What if I tried brussel sprouts and actually liked them?

What if? A question that can torture you and send you into a life of constant wondering or a question that can rocket you out of the depths of despair and toward a life of greater adventure and intrigue? It's up to us as humans equipped with free will, I suppose, to decide the answer to that question. I'd like to think it's the latter. That, as I ask myself what if questions, as I dream about what my life could be, I'll become more daring, I'll try new things, and as a result, will learn more about myself in the process.

What if I took more pictures?
What if I were fluent in another language? Any language?
What if I were more willing to approach new people?
What if I practiced the piano for even just an hour a day?
What if I were able to travel for a living?
What if I learned how to rock climb? White water kayak?
What if....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God
by Sheila Walsh
Thomas Nelson, 2009

Sheila Walsh's Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God is a wonderfully organized book that will be an encouragement to women, regardless of geography or generation. It is a book that mixes Walsh's biographical story with Biblical story in a way that teaches about the beauty and the fulfillment in total and complete trust of the High King of Heaven.

The book is comprised of chapters with titles such as "The Beauty of Courage" and "The Beauty of Crying Out to Jesus." Jumping off these themes, Walsh uses anecdotes to tell a story, often first a personal story, and then a Biblical one. The reader gets to know people like Joseph, Gideon, Tabitha, Samson, and Saul. Through these stories of the men and women of the Bible, the Christian woman in 2010 is shown that trusting God is not a recent challenge; that even in the days of the Old Testament, through the life of Jesus, and into the time of the early church, trust has been a difficult issue. In each of the stories though, Walsh paints a picture of the beauty of the Christian life, and ultimately, the beauty of being able to place our trust in the hands of the Lord of all.

With so many situations that give us a reason not to trust, women can find comfort in clinging more and more to the perfect trustworthiness of God. This is a book that will plead that case and pave the way for the beauty of trusting in our Abba Father.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cooking up a storm

Last night was atypical for me. I usually don't cook much, and, as a result, eat the same boring thing over and over again. Well, no longer! From here on out, I'm going to put forth more effort to create healthful, tasty, and VARIED meals. Last night, I started out with a huge batch of crack, ahem, granola, and a container of hummus. My poor sad $10 Walgreens food processor finally died, so I had to resort to my trusty blender to make the hummus; it did alright, but I don't want to try it again anytime soon. RIP, food processor.


Dinner was tilapia with yogurt/dill sauce on a bed of spinach. So easy, so tasty, so yummy. All on one plate: omega 3s, protein, dairy, veggies, healthy fats, fiber. Yum! Prep time: less than 10 minutes. That's my kind of dinner.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And we're back!

Today was officially my first "long run" day. Hardly a long long run, but considering where I was a month ago, something to be accomplished. Here's the stats:

Distance: 3.1 miles (firecracker 5k loop)
Time: 31 minutes

I'm not breaking any speed records, and it doesn't feel comfortable like it used to, but it'll come back. I have two weeks before I even hit a 5 miler, so I have time. All the time in the world.

I finished A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller last night. Combine that with my current ruminations about the emergent church and a short lunch discussion about living life to the fullest and engaging culture makes for a lot of thoughts floating around in my head. Once I can concisely express them, I'll write something about it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friends. Fellowship. And guys in bookstores.

Today, I went into Fort Wayne to see my friend Emily. So good! We drank coffee, wandered around Jefferson Point, and talked about life, relationships, and Donald Miller.

After she left I hung out in Barnes and Noble for awhile, relishing the feeling of city life. There, if you would believe it, I met the perfect man. I really did. He complimented my skirt, reads the Bible, keeps a journal, and approves of my Donald Miller obsession. The only hitch in the perfect beginning to this beautiful love story is that our interaction began and ended in a matter of 2 minutes. And then he was gone. I don't know his name. It's tragic, really. I should write a novel. It would be a best seller.

All in all, this was a great way to start the weekend. I have two more blissful days of nothing-ness! On the agenda to fill up the nothing-ness is setting up new bookshelf and unpacking books, a run, church, and some reading (Donald Miller, anyone?). Oh yeah...and I should balance my checkbook.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Grace. It's what life's about.

I recently read a book and borrowed a concept from it in the naming of this blog---Sin Boldly: A Field Guide to Grace. Since the new year, I've been learning so much about grace, giving and receiving. The author of the book, Cathleen Falsani, says, "Grace has a way of sneaking up on you. When you least deserve it." She also adds, "In the end, it's about grace, something you don't do. It just is." True story. Grace is getting what I don't deserve in exchange for something I didn't have to do.

I see grace on several levels. First, there's the huge saving work of salvation. Through grace, by faith, I'm saved from the eternal death I deserve. This one wasn't a huge shock to me. It's something that I know, that I believe, yet that I need to be reminded of. Second, there's grace in every day life. This is especially what I've been noticing. Grace is an unexpected free hour in a jam-packed day. Grace is an encouraging phone call. Grace is someone making dinner for you. Grace is getting a tax refund when you planned on having to pay. Grace is a rehearsal with a patient teacher. Grace is a forgiven debt. Etc. Etc. This is a list that could continue for an eternity...Third, and the one that I struggle with the most, is giving grace to myself. Why is it that that's so difficult? I continue to work on the fine art of cutting myself a break, and will probably do so for the rest of my life.

I hope that these lessons are ones that will continue throughout my life. It's wonderful to see and acknowledge that there is a Force larger than myself working in my life in a very involved way.