Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Review: The Irresistible Revolution

The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical
Author: Shane Claiborne

The Overview:

I tend to not like trendy christian books that everyone is talking about. Lame...yes, but true nonetheless. Books by Rob Bell, Anne Lamott, The Shack and this particular book have been on my "too trendy for my taste" book list. I would probably really resonate with what the authors are saying, but for some reason...I just can't crack the first page. But...perhaps the tides are changing because I made it through this book and even started reading the intro of Velvet Elvis the other day.

The Good:

A borrowed book means no highlighting and therefore less memory, so I have less specifics to share, but overall...this is definitely a thought provoking book. Good and often great in both presentation and pulp. I love that when he had questions he dove straight into an experience that would give him the answer. Whether living in Calcutta with Mother Theresa or taking back a church in Philadelphia for the homeless who took sanctuary there. Also on the love list of this book is the way he uses terms that have definite unfriendly connotations to make a point about Jesus and the way He loves and the way Christians should be relating to the the word extremist. We are to be extremists for LOVE!

The Bad:

I couldn't quite decide if Shane and I would be friends. A lot of what he writes about make me want to do a little cheer and join him instantly, but at the same time I could recognize that I had my defenses up while I was paging through reading his thoughts on social justice, the state of the church and even Corporate Responsibility. I am not sure I was defensive because I disagreed, but perhaps because the way we approach our common thoughts is very different. Our ideas on Corporate Social Responsibility do in fact clash sometimes. Which made me want to talk to him in person and sort of hash out what he really meant by some of the things he said.

The Memorable:

There are way too many quotable moments to even pick a few to share.

The Recommendation:

Read with an open, but discerning heart. Embrace the ideas of authenticity in the personal revolution you find yourself in and pursue ways to challenge the world's perception of God.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Social Media has taken the stage

Twitter, foursquare, apps, Facebook, Google+, etc have found their way into the Adventist communicators vocabulary...finally! finally? I guess the tone you take depends on your personal preference to the-140 characters or less-world we live in now.

I'm in Chicago for the Society of Adventist Communicators convention. Arrived on Thursday and I am headed back to Seattle tomorrow, but in the meantime my little baby notebook is full of thoughts about these posting things that I have tried to keep at the controlled edges of my life for quite some time now. I was not an early adopter and I just think the whole thing is far too trendy and invasive for my liking, but I think the posting monster might take my imagined control quite quickly and in the very near future.

Working as the Marketing, Recruiting & Public Relations person at Auburn Adventist Academy means that it is sort of my job to be into this online social experience we find so valuable and rewarding these days. I have been rebelling mostly. I post to our Auburn facebook only when I have to and I have been refusing to dive into "Tweeting." (Does no one else thing that is the most ridiculous addition to our English vocabulary?) Anyways, my personal feelings aside, based on what I have heard this week, I think I am sort of excited about the possibilities that can be cultivated through proper use of social media. Even "tweeting"...blast.

Side Note: Kessia is the coolest. She was here with Adventist Information Ministry (AIM) from Andrews. She is employed as their social media guru while she is in between her masters and doctorate studies. Wise. Engaging. Authentic. So cute. Her passionate personal feelings on the matter is why I now have these...

@jessijoturner  [and]  @AuburnAcademyWA

don't hate.

the changing face of social media...xkcd's "Map of Online Communities"

xkcd - spring 2007

"Map of Online Communities 2"
xkcd - spring & summer 2010

The 2010 Social Networking Map by Flowtown
tribute to xkcd - 2010

kessia...if you read this...know that you were the very first "follow." Be proud!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

{ ]

Hi. My name is Jessi and I am a workaholic.

My to do list is long. My energy gone.

Will I change...probably not.

Cause of Death: inner and outer expectations


I am in the midst of planning family weekend.
The chosen theme is Life Balance. Ha!
Totally unrealistic. Who has time for balance.
A nice sort of idea to ponder while waiting for the printer to print though.

I guess I should probably change my blog subhead or have a change of heart. one of the two.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fred Meyer Cart Guy

Sunday...6:45am…I roll back over really not wanting to get up. Too bad Puyallup is 30 min away and I have to be there by 8.
8:30am…Finally make it to my destination with only one missed exit, one large turn around and the gas gage at "E"
9:00am…Psych myself up for a day spent at the Car Show/8th grade fundraiser I am recruiting at.
1:30pm…Realized eating two hotdogs was too much for one day. Also realized that the van's battery was dead. Guess I'll be at my booth till the bitter end till the nice man who is running the show can jump me.
3:20pm…van back in action still reminding me that she is thirsty. Takes about a decade to find a 76 gas station that the school's card will work at. Turns out most of them are out of commission.
4:20pm…van back at Auburn. Me back in my car…let the errands begin. If I don't run errands today, they won't get done. Last week I was asleep as soon as I walked in the door thanks to jet lag and a brand new job…not conducive to getting anything accomplished in the evenings. Turns out I can get a lot done at 3:30am when I wake up for the day.
6:30pm…ding! last stop…Fred Meyer…check! My gas tank is no longer empty and neither is my refrigerator. I let the cart slam into the parking lot holder and I am headed home.
10:35pm…check the car twice, check the apartment three times, check my bag 18 times. Nope…no wallet to be found. Panic. Prayer. Pacing.
10:36pm…the cart slamming into the other cart at Fred Meyer runs slow motion through my head…OH NO!!!  Dread feeling hits…my wallet was in that cart…yelling at me with his tiny blue voice, "don't leave me, don't leave me!!!"
10:45pm…think to call Fred Meyer…no one has seen it.
10:55pm…not trusting Fred Meyer phone dude, I jump in my car and head their way. I check the parking lot holder…no carts. I awkwardly crawl around the carts in the entry. I ask the front desk lady if she has seen my tiny blue wallet. She calls the dude from the phone I am guessing. I get embarrassed and want to leave. She says it is better to check…maybe they found it she says. The silence kills me. The lady on the other side of the phone is looking…looking forever it seems like.
Lessons I learned from today:
1.             two hotdogs is too many
2.             remembering what the maintenance guy from the school you work at looks like is key to not looking foolish
3.             car shows are much more fun when you know something about cars
4.             Keeping track of precious things is important for maintaining proper stress levels
5.             Man is basically good. You don't believe me? Ask the Fred Meyer cart guy who found my little blue wallet. He left it alone…my dollars are still there…and he turned it in. What a good guy/girl...whoever they are.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book Review: Strength to Love

Strength to Love
Author: Martin Luther King Jr.

The Overview:

Oh, Reverend rocked my socks! I should get paid by the publisher or something because I have been telling everyone and their brother how good this book is. I'm not a sermon reading enthusiast, but this collection of sermons penned by the man who had a dream, but first had a church and a whole ton of conviction kept me turning the pages.  His 1950s wisdom for a segregated America is still incredibly applicable to our "social injustices are not my problem" America. Preach that social gospel Brother King!

The Good:

Each Sermon/Chapter talks about something a little different: Nonconformity, Communism, Weakness v. Strength, Liberalism, Nonviolence, etc. But a couple of the chapters were instant winners for me.

Chapter 8, the sermon entitled, "The Death of Evil upon the Seashore," asks the question, "Why does God allow evil to exist?" King's answer is neither arrogant nor passive and gives an interesting perspective on God's power v. God's purpose. Look up the chapter online and read it for yourself!

I just finished the last chapter, Chapter 15, "Pilgrimage to Nonviolence" and I almost wish that had been the first chapter because it gave a lot of context about the time period and King's personal life at the time of these sermons as well. It talked about his personal philosophies, how he came to the conclusions he did and how diving into various theological theories rounded out his view of man. Super interesting. I would definitely suggest reading this particular sermon online if nothing else.

The Memorable:

"God has two outstretched arms. One is strong enough enough to surround us with justice, and one is gentle enough to embrace us with grace."

"The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but also his body, not only his spiritual well-being but also his material well-being. A religion that professes a concern for the souls of men and is not equally concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion.

"Most people, and Christians in particular, are thermometers that record or register the temperature of majority opinion, not thermostats that transform and regulate the temperature of society."

"We must learn that to expect God to do everything while we do nothing is not faith but superstition."

The Recommendation:

Enlightening, historical, heart-changing.

Monday, August 1, 2011

a monday...with the label of last

Today is my last Monday interning at World Vision.
Jenn says that I am a very sentimental person.
This is true. Good memories are like hugs.
I like hugs.
I also like cupcakes.
I think the one I just devoured will be my last of the day.
We don't normally have cupcakes, but today was someone's birthday.
Sometimes lasts are hard for me.
It is hard for me to say good-bye to good things. To let go.
Let the current do it's job Jess.
Let the next adventure surprise and delight.
Jump in and don't hold back.
Hugs, and cupcakes, and good things will come again. They always do.

I am not sure the bit about the last cupcake was a whole truth...

...but I guess you'll never know.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rivers & Roads

Harmony...I wish that lived in me somewhere.

The boy in the sweater...I wish he lived near me somewhere. ;)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Book Review: The Good Body

The Good Body
Author: Eve Ensler
[if you read nothing the conversation between Leah and Eve under the memorable good]

The Overview:
I am on an Eve Ensler kick these days...I checked this one out from the library and it was finished instantly. I stayed up late. I woke up early. I read during lunch. It is short, with lots of breathing room, but captivating. Mostly I wish I had bought it so my trusty highlighter could have painted its pages.
Every woman has that one part of her body that takes up far too much emotional time and attention. It is where all her anger and self-hatred is pointed. It becomes the reason for all of her pain, and heartache, and lack of success. It is the measure of "perfection." For Eve, that body part is her stomach.  

The Good:
Eve seems to like to make her points by using her own story and mixing it with the real and funny and transparent stories of others like herself. She tells the story of the author and pioneering editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine who is 80+ years old, does one hundred sit-ups twice a day and believes that ninety pounds is only on the way to beautiful. She talks to Bernice and tells us her story. Bernice is an African American Teenager who was sent to fat camp. She loves buffets and going chunky-dunking in the pool. She thinks she looks beautiful "all round and moundy" in the moonlight. Carmen is Puerto Rican and from Brooklyn. For Puerto Ricans, it is the spread they dread. "If you get the spread, you're dead." Tiffany is a model and a completely new woman...literally. She is her plastic surgeon's life project and life partner. She eats ice cream to keep him occupied. My favorite woman that Eve talked to was Leah...the seventy-four-year-old African Masai woman...

The Memorable:
This is what Leah had to say...
Leah: Do I like my body? Do I like my body? My body. My body. I love my body. God made this body. God gave me this body. My body. My body. Oh goodness, I love my body. My fingers, look at my fingers. I love my fingernails, little crescent moons. My hands, my hands, the way they flutter in the air and fall, they lead right up to my arms–so strong–they carry things along–I love my arms–and my legs, my legs are long, so long, Masai people, we are tall, I get there fast, my legs can wrap around a man and hold him there. My breasts...My breasts, well look at them, they're mine, my breasts are round and full and fine.
Eve: Leah, wait, I don't know how to do this. I want to feel like you. I want to love my body and stop hating my stomach.
Leah: What's wrong with it?
Eve: It's round. It used to be flat.
Leah: It's your stomach. It's meant to be seen. Eve, look at that tree? Do you see that tree? Now look at that tree. (Points to another tree) Do you like that tree? Do you hate that tree 'cause it doesn't look like that tree? Do you say that tree isn't pretty 'cause it doesn't look like that tree? We're all trees. You're a tree. I'm a tree. You've got to love your body, Eve. You've got to love your tree. Love your tree.
Love your tree! 

The Recommendation:
I think this is a powerful book for woman to digest. I am not sure it would be as meaningful to the man species. Perhaps if the man had a woman in his life that was obsessing about one part of her body....maybe for the hope of understanding he might want to read through this book.

Book Review: Insecure At Last

Insecure At Last: A Political Memoir

Author: Eve Ensler

The Overview:

This book was $0.75 at Mckay's. I couldn't put it down once I started that first page. Whoever marked this as only $0.75 had obviously never read Eve Ensler, or maybe the price maker person was a boy, or perhaps they just hadn't discovered yet how captivating her writing can be.

As a playwright, Eve tells stories. True ones...about women all around the world: Bosnian refugees, female prisoners, Katrina survivors, etc. This is also about Eve's story and about how coming in contact with these women have taught her how to take back the power from "security."

The Good:

Eve is real and raw and penetrating. Unsettling in her quest for understanding and immovable in her stance against violence towards women of every shape, color, language, size, and circumstance. She writes about security because it is something she has been striving for and something she has yearned for her whole life. We are products of our culture and our culture has decided that the female gender, the American, the the mother of 2.5 children has only arrived once "security" has been achieved. We throw away our rights, we destroy faith in humanity and we label all for the sake of this one little word. Security is's definition ever's power ever growing. Eve dives into the question..."What if I were to live insecure."

The Memorable:

A story:
Agnes Pareiyo was a victim of FGM (female genital mutilation). The pain, the humility, the consequences of somebody else's ignorance...she lives with all of this, but has used it to educate and prevent. Agnes walks from community to community through the hot and dusty Rift Valley for hours or even days looking for the Masai. She carries around a woman's torso and teaches the mothers, the fathers, the boys and the girls about the consequences of FGM. She has created an alternative ritual for girls that celebrates their coming-of-age with dance and music and theater...and NO cutting. Fifteen hundred girls have been saved from being cut because this woman kept walking and kept teaching.

A quote:
"Today the United States has the highest prison population in the world, over 2.1 million people. This is the population of a small country. We lock people up at a rate that is seven to ten times that of any other democracy. We build more and more prisons, rather than addressing the poverty, racism, violence, that are the roots of crime. In our need for security, we fortify against our fear rather than changing the circumstances that create it."

The conclusion:
"The Law of Security goes something like this. It is almost a guarantee that in the pursuit of security you will become more insecure...

Make the world "secure" by spending all of your money on destroying things rather than creating–bomb rather than build, annihilate rather than feed...

Allow corporations to ransack contries you are, in theory, saving, making the majority of the people poor and sick and without resources, then call them security threats, illegal combatants, terrorists, insurgents, when they rise up to fight you...

Control will eventually be mistaken for security."

The Recommendation:

"Freedom comes not from holding your life more precious or sacred than others'. Not from consuming more than your share...Freedom does not mean I don't have values or beliefs. But it does mean I am not hardened around them. I do not use them as weapons...Freedom cannot be bought or arranged or made with bombs or guards. It is deeper. It is a process. It is the acute awareness that we are all utterly interdependent."

So good.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I bite my thumb at thee!

Too bad that is the only quote I can remember from all the Shakespeare I was doused with in 9th-12th grade English Lit. Also, too bad it seems to be a misquote. Oh well.

Sahale and I have lived in the same vicinity now for...oh, about 5 months. Since the beginning of the..."I'm in Seattle!"..."Me too!" texting stage of this hide-and-seek game we have been playing, the plan has always been to hang out in some way, shape or form.

[insert winning sound from "unblock me" when I get the red block free]

Today was our day! We win! It only took 5 months...pathetic, lame. We seem to be busy on the weekends and I guess during the work week too. I guess we are mostly grown up and have jobs and stuff.

Back to Shakespeare...

Sahale had the awesome idea of going to "Shakespeare in the Park." She was already going with her mom and asked if I wanted to join. "Yes!" Free entertainment! outside! A plethora of people watching to be had!!! It is fun to see who treks in for an event such as this. The couple in front of me had their matching REI short chairs and looked like they had stopped at Whole Foods to get some fancy olives and such before staking out the perfect spot. The couple beside us to the left looked like perhaps they liked motorcycles and let their dog just dig away at the park lawn. Perhaps they didn't ride the motorcycle and bring the dog...that wouldn't make sense now would it. The group kiddy corner to the right were the "we picnic like professionals" crew. Salad bowls included. The two ladies to my right looked cool. One of them had something crocheted in her backpack. I saw it as she was rummaging for her Organic Cashew Butter.

Comedy of Errors was the play. At first I thought it was 12th Night, which I love, just by a different title, but nope, I guess Shakespeare had a thing for writing plays about twins. We'll call it his twin phase. It was good...a little bit hard to hear, so I am not sure I grasped fully, but then again...when have I ever grasped fully what Shakespeare threw down.


If all baseball games included this...I might actually want to go.

One of my World Vision friends who also happens to be a Seattle sports fanatic posted this on facebook and I thought I would pass on the few moments of pure delight that I just enjoyed...times two...I pushed replay.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

that darn lane...[sigh]

guys! remember this? I do...that was fun.

Jessi's Band Photoshoot from nicholas livanos on Vimeo.

Also...Nick's demo reel is AWESOME...check that out too!

Friday, May 13, 2011

the stack

finishing one before starting another...what a pleasant thought

Monday, April 18, 2011

save tara from the sun...quick!

ps...we live by the pier...did you know that?

Friday, April 15, 2011

first person

A love reminder from the God of the universe to little baby me...

Trust in Me and do good
Dwell in My land and cultivate faithfulness
Delight yourself in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart
Commit your way to Me
Trust in Me and I will do it 
I will bring forth your righteousness as the light
and your judgment as the noonday
Rest in Me and wait patiently for Me

The steps of a man are established by Me...
I am the One who holds your hand

The salvation of the righteous is from Me
I am your strength in time of trouble 
I help & deliver you 
I deliver you from the wicked and save you
because you take refuge in Me

Take that my doubts and fears, my hesitations and miscalculations! Psalm 37...from God, who yearns and groans and pleads...for me.

Be still little one...just please take my hand...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

warm, bubbly...and at times, even fun.

I seemed to have misplaced my personality...

I hope I find it soon.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Guys...oh my word! Today, I met Mr. CSR (Corporate Social Responsiblity...[cough] chelsea) for World Vision!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a beautiful day! I literally could not stop smiling. He came to my cube three times this afternoon. The first time he came over to figure out my last name so he could invite me to a meeting about CSR next week. He loves to talk about CSR, I love to talk about CSR and we have a whole hour to do all the talking we want next Tuesday! Oh when will Tuesday come!!!

The second time he came to my cube was to give me a book to read about CSR...don't call me this weekend...I will be busy! The third time he came to my office was to give me the corporate stewardship booklet that TOMS just put out this year. He is the big Kahuna working with TOMS at World Vision. My co-worker Kim is actually headed to Honduras for a shoe drop with TOMS tomorrow! (I told her to check what the shoes were actually like...for Nick and my peace of mind)

My TOMS shoes actually brought me and Mr. CSR together today. We were both in a meeting over the lunch hour and he noticed my choice of foot wear. He pointed it out to the entire room. Then, he wanted to meet me after! Wahoo. He shook my hand! Then my supervisor told him to stay away and not to take her intern...haha.

Guys...World Vision is awesome!!! God is so good.

And in other news...
  • Tara and I went to look at our first apt yesterday...that was fun...we felt all grown up and stuff.
  • Tara and I also just skyped to remember those days when we were in different states instead of just different rooms.
  • The Blaser's cat loves me...even though it scratched me the other doesn't like to have it's back legs touched...I got too close!
  • I bought skinny hangers for my clothes. I love them. Tara thinks I am crazy.
  • It is Chris Clouzet's bday today...we miss him...I am quite certain I can speak for the group on this one.
  • I am living without a car...not very well, but I decided to stop complaining about it last week. Depending on other people is fun too. It reminds me of my first two-years of college...oh darn...
  • My choir teacher from High School now teaches choir at Auburn Academy. I haven't seen her in like six years...I got to see her tonight. She is quirky and delightful and Russian and exactly the same!
  • I met a bunch of Tara's friends from Walla Walla last weekend...they are cool. I hope they think I am cool too.
  • Have I mentioned that I LOVE my job...cause I do. Oh man...can it please be for forever...or a very long time at least? I sure am overwhelmed with all the acronyms and stuff. They actually use all those business terms I was supposed to learn in college! I work for wise and wonderful women and I am excited about how much I will have to learn (re-learn).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

three cheers for new adventures

I woke up this morning to a new adventure! New bed, new city, new internship. The explorer in me is super excited, but the logical/pessimistic me is holding me back just a little...playing it safe. Don't have high expectations of a great time, don't get overly confident because that could all change, my first day of "work" at World Vision. Just be even-keeled, don't let your emotions have full reign and try not to spend too much time thinking of that darn rainbow-skyed future. Mostly, I just want to scream and do a little dance and yell, "I'm finally growing up!" at the top of my lungs.

So really...I just want to act like a child.


but really...we'll see...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: The Cost of Discipleship

The Cost of Discipleship
Author: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I have now tried to write this blog 3 times...each time it gets erased somehow...I wonder if that is a sign.

The Overview: 
Dietrich...I am pretty sure he could have been a might fine mathematician because most of this book feels like one large proof to me. He is wise and thoughtful...that is for sure.
The Good: 
Even though this book was first published in 1937, I was surprised at how applicable it still felt for a 2011 Christian. He really emphasized the idea of "Costly Grace"...the grace that results in a life change and not just a few free words. I really liked how he went through the Beatitudes and made them a little more impactful (I don't think that is a word) with his particular form of passion for Christ.
The Bad: 
I am quite certain I only actually understood about 1/3 of what I was reading. If I were to describe this book in one word it would be heady...but it is good to read hard things...right? I think actually comprehending would've had more of a positive effect, but hopefully I gleaned a few morsels of wisdom.
The Memorable: 
Chapter 14 is the only chapter I dog-eared and then highlighted the I am guessing I was a big fan. Here is talks about the in the world/not of the world idea:
"We are therefore confronted with a paradox. Our activity must be visible, but never be done for the sake of making it visible...That which is visible must also be hidden. The awareness on which Jesus insists is intended to prevent us from reflecting on our extraordinary position. We have to take heed that we do not take heed of our own righteousness. Otherwise the 'extraordinary' which we achieve will not be that which comes from following Christ, but that which springs from our own will and desire."
Throughout the book, he takes the position of "Why not? It is for our own good." Which is so true, but often hard to remember. The harships...well, that seems hard. The mercy...seems like something we should deserve (to our selfish brains). The sacrifices...that seems like something everyone else should be required to endure, but not us. Dietrich is pretty blunt about it all. We signed up...we carry the cross, not because it is easy, but because it is good.
Here is another quote I liked: 
"If when we judged others, our real motive was to destroy evil, we should look for evil where it is certain to be found, and that is in our own hearts. But if we are on the look-out for evil in others, our real motive is obviously to justify ourselves, for we are seeking to escape punishment for our own sins by passing judgment on others, and are assuming by implication that the Word of God applies to ourselves in one way, and to others in another. All this is highly dangerous and misleading. We are trying to claim for ourselves a special privilege which we deny to others."
The Recommendation:  
This book was good...but it took me a super long time to finish it. I wasn't super stoked about picking it up, but there were little gems of wisdom to be found every time I did. Game? Go for it...heady is good once and awhile, but if you aren't up for the challenge then don't feel bad.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Middle-aged woman can still shake it...

The wrap-up...

Finding my way around other college campuses is hard. Good thing I ran into trumpet playing–electrical engineering–didn't have class til two, who helped me find my way to Ehly Hall or I would have been wondering around in the bitter cold for awhile (walking from class to class would have been AWFUL here). So much for maps being helpful...I never have been very good with directions. Finding the mass comm departments on the college campuses in our area was my final assignment as the Communications Intern at Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota. I collected a prize at the end of my scavenger hunt...not really, but hopefully my boss does...a new intern. I'm off to my new internship next week...yipee!

Dear married man...

I see the ring on your finger. It is clearly visible. Discreetly, but not so discreetly waving it in my face does not in fact make me any more aware of its existence. Dropping the wife bomb every other word is also unnecessary...just an fyi. I am sure you love your wife, I hope you love her deeply, but you and I are just having a conversation...just chit-chatting, worries! I am guessing that you think I am probably attracted to you, being I am a young ring-less female and you are a dashing, but "taken" man. But relax married man...who ever you are...who says I am attracted to you anyways? We ring-less females are completely capable of having sincere, but platonic conversations with the married, male peers in our lives. If you are making your wife a constant part of our conversation for your sake...go for it, but if you are doing it for my sake...then there is no need.

Like a Polaroid picture...

I am often the youngest in my Zumba class (don't hate, or judge, but you can laugh if you is comedic most days). Middle-aged women everywhere are shakin' what their momma...two plus children...and numerous birthday cakes have given them...and me too...haha! It is music and fun dance moves! Plus, the best part is I don't want to kill myself after 5 minutes like when I try and run on that darn hamster wheel for humans they like to call a treadmill. It is probably not the best cardio, or the best work-out in general, but I don't gets my heart pumping, my hips a shakin' (please don't picture that!) and my core feeling it the next day. Watch out for the grandmas though...whoohoo...their hips don't lie! Sooo cute!

Well...that was a random bit of nonsense...

          Sunday, February 6, 2011

          Year of the Cat

          Happy Vietnamese Lunar New Year!

          Sitting and watching, observing, taking it all in and hopefully coming out with a bigger picture of the world and more understanding of how we can all fit together. I love festivals, cultural events, rodeos, farmers markets...anything where a subculture exists and invites others to observe and even join in if they so desire. Last night I went to the Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival at the local National Guard Armory...haha! This festival, affectionately called Tet is a very important celebration for the Vietnamese culture. They prepare for and welcome in the new year, by cleaning the house, gathering with family and giving the children lucky money for the year ahead.

          The expected: food that I couldn't pronounce or recognize was being served. The women walked around in high heels and beautiful cultural dresses next to men that I could look in the eye. I felt almost tall (at 5'4") and my blond hair didn't really help me blend into the crowds. I saw an umbrella dance by the cutest four-year-olds ever. The fan dance was cool too. Oh...and the dragons made their dancing debut by teenage boys in furry pants!

          Che - I felt like I was eating eyeballs in coconut milk
          The dresses were SO cool.

          The unexpected: The almost suggestive hip-hop dance by two twelve-year-olds was an eyebrow raiser. The plethora of Justin Bieber hair...asian version.

          Overall thoughts on the evening...glad I went. I wish I would have remembered my camera though! Then I could have shown you some of those beautiful dresses! They were my focus for most of the evening! They were all the same general form, but all so unique and different...all really beautiful. That is what I love about tasting the uniqueness of other cultures through food or experiences. You come away seeing first hand the beauty that their subculture brings to your world even though that beauty takes a different form from what you are used to viewing.

          And to all my dear friends born in 1987...this is your year! The year of the cat!

          According to the program last night:
          The Vietnamese year of the Cat symbolizes sensitivity, gentleness, and kindness. People born in the year of the cat are naturally attentive and hospitable because they do not like unpredictable situations; they have the tendency to feel contrived in promoting a comfortable and peaceful atmosphere. Cats pay great attention to detail. They always get anxious when everything is in chaos. They gravitate towards safe and conservative decisions, thus missing good opportunities in life. Sentimental and compassionate, Cats wear their hearts on their sleeves. As a result of being empathetic, Cats make great friends.
          I would have to all make great friends, even if this only describes some of you! haha. (How could everyone born in the same year be the exact same personality? That is my question.) The program went on to describe Cats in a career and a love it if you are curious. This blog is in no way encouraging Vietnamese Zodiac usage, but the blog author did find it an interesting read while she was waiting for the program to

          Saturday, February 5, 2011


          Thanks to Kessia for posting this article on her blog. Check it out. Read and be informed.

          Here is a Traffick911 PSA

          Natalie Grant and Tenth Avenue North PSA for Traffick 911 from Nate Bernard on Vimeo.

          Spread the word. Join the fight. Pray for those enslaved.

          Friday, February 4, 2011

          Book Review: The Hole in Our Gospel

          The Hole in Our Gospel 
          Author: Richard Stearns 

          The Overview: 
          "Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it."
          "Well, why don't you ask Him?" 
          "Because I'm afraid He would ask me the same question."   
          ~ Anonymous 
          The Good:
          I very much enjoyed most of this book. Richard Stearns very eloquently, very simply, very powerfully put words together on these pages to display the huge need for us as individuals and churches to get involved in the needs of those around us and the needs of those who find themselves at the mercy of circumstance all around the world. I did not feel preached at by his words, but perhaps that was because these are the ideas and passions and compassions we (friend group) have been talking about for so long now.
          The Bad:
          Ask me in person sometime.
          The Memorable:
          An explanation of this book in his own words:
          "The idea behind The Hole in Our Gospel is quite simple. It's basically the belief that being a Christian, or follower of Jesus Christ, requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God. It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world."
          An eye opening perspective:
          "For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved."

          An appropriate question:
          Where is the Church of Jesus Christ?
          "One of the disturbing things about Church history is the Church's appalling track record of being on the wrong side of the great social issues of the day. If the Church is indeed a revolutionary kind of institution called to foment a social revolution by promoting justice, lifting up the sanctity of human life, fighting for the underdog, and challenging the prevailing value systems in our world, then it seems we should be out in front on social justice issues rather than bringing up the rear."
          "Imagine how stunning it would be to the watching world for American Christians to give so generously that it:
          • brought an end to world hunger
          • solved the clean water crisis
          • provided universal access to drugs and medical care for the millions suffering from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis
          • virtually eliminated the more than twenty-six thousand daily child deaths
          • guaranteed education for all the world's children
          • provided a safety net for the world's tens of millions of orphans"
          The Recommendation: 
          Really good. A good thinking book...that hopefully leads to action in whatever way you and God decide is best.

          Thursday, February 3, 2011

          Secret Animal Sign Language

          I think my dog told my cat the house rules...

          Somehow she knows that she can be on the rug but no further...look, her toes are in bounds, even if her nose is not...

          She knows the dog is choosing to break the rules here and she can't look...

          Somehow she just knows where she is supposed to go and where she is not. She doesn't go upstairs, she doesn't get on the counters and she knows that mom and dad's room is OFF LIMITS. She even has it figured out that her job is to lick the plates clean so the dish washer doesn't have to work as hard (is that gross...sorry...each family to their own I guess).

          How did she learn these things. She technically has different rules than the dog. The dog can't come upstairs...she could if she wanted to, but she doesn't...because the dog doesn't.

          Can dogs and cats communicate? Can they tell each other secrets and plan mischief? Can they teach each other the ways of the world?

          The wind snowed us in today

          we pushed dad out of the snow this morning
          45mph winds last night
          foreshadow of water in a different form
          there used to be a driveway behind me

          Monday, January 31, 2011

          Book Review: Let My People Go Surfing

          Let My People Go Surfing
          Author: Yvon Chouinard

          The Overview:
          Just put me in the sunlight and call me a cat and I will purr all day about this book. I have no idea how to even summaries the awesomeness that was described on these pages. If only you could see the amount of yellow highlighter stained in this book...

          Yvon Chouinard: rock climbing/surfing/outdoor junkie turned rockin' activist/business entrepreneur. Sometimes passions make us more responsible. Sometimes they make us crazy. In the case of Mr. Chouinard, his crazy is making me a little bit more responsible.
          The Good:
          Everything...but, perhaps a few key ideas might be nice inserted here.

          I read this book because I happen to be obsessed with Corporate Social Responsibility. To me, the irresponsible use of power by big business has caused a lot of the social issues we see today and I dare say almost all of the environmental ones. Wealth is a hunger that can not be satisfied and Power is its dessert. But the eyes of Yvon Chouinard still see the trees, the mist, the sandy beach as something powerful and profitable. Profitable in the sense that his children, his grandchildren and those that come after that will still be able to live healthy, productive and satisfying lives...still be able to surf in clear waters, breath clean air, and use products that are conscience friendly. Chouinard birthed Patagonia, the company, out of necessity. He wanted to climb, but his climbing was destroying the rocks he so dearly loved. His passion turned into a need which turned into an awareness which turned into a responsibility which in turn is now a very profitable company. Today, the more responsible Patagonia tries to be, the more profitable they are too. It is a beautiful word, the prettier cousin to the word wealth...sustainability.

          Get this...Patagonia has something they call "Let My People Go Surfing flextime policy"...if the waves are high they can go surfing. If the river is rushing they can put on their skirt and swipe their paddle. If they want to be home to see their kids jump off the bus they can do that do. They believe that happy and healthy employees are valuable, productive and committed employees. Hence the cafeteria that serves healthy, organic, mostly vegetarian food and the ability to use company time to participate in Patagonia's environmental program or start one of their long as their regular job gets done of course.

          The 5 elements of Patagonia's Environmental Philosophy:
          1. Lead an examined life.
          2. Clean up our own act.
          3. Do our penance.
          4. Support civil democracy.
          5. Influence other companies.
          The Bad:
          He speaks harshly of Christians...but then again, so do I sometimes. Just because we believe in a second coming where everything will be made new again doesn't mean that us using up the world as fast as we possible can, will make Jesus come any sooner. I am quite certain that wasteful, disrespectful and irresponsible will not words used on the resume of a good and faithful steward. Christians are not known for being big time environmentalists, which makes me sad. Why not? Have you ever read an Anthony blog? Every other one is about nature's grandeur, its purity, and its soft whispers of peace. Grandeur, purity, peace...that sounds like a place to see God to me. Why would Christians not care about that?

          The Memorable:
          This book first explains the history of Patagonia and then dives into the individual policies that drive the company onward in their fight against a dying world and a profit hungry economy. Does that sound boring, perhaps, but it wasn't. The section on their financial philosophy was a highlighter killer for sure (No, I did not graduate as an accountant). Here is a quote:
          We get approached by prospective buyers almost weekly, and their intent is always the same. They see an undervalued company that they can rapidly grow and take public. Being a publicly help corporation or even a partnership would put shackles on how we operate, restrict what we do with our profits, and put us on a growth/suicide track. Our intent is to remain a closely held private company, so we can continue to focus on our bottom line, doing good.
          More good quotes (from other sections):
          "At Patagonia the protection and preservation of the natural environment aren't just something we do after hours or when we finish our regular work; they're the reason we are in business. We'd have the same environmental philosophy if we were a cabinet shop, a winery, or a building contractor. I believe, as do most of our employees, that the health of our home planet is the bottom line, and it's a responsibility we all must share."
          "Unfortunately, most of the environmental damage being done by business is the result of large corporations that aren't operating under the philosophy of sustainability, for either themselves or the environment. They're applying their own short-term business principles to a natural system that can operate only in the long term."
          "No animal is so stupid and greedy as to foul its own nest–except humans."
          "It takes twenty-five bottles to make a jacket, and from 1993 through 2003 we diverted eighty-six million soda bottles from landfills."
          "...each time we tried to do the right thing for the environment, regardless of the cost to us, we ended up saving money."
          The Recommendation: 
          I loved it. I hope that you would too, but I won't be that bold to assume such a thing.

          Sunday, January 30, 2011


          Martin Luther King Jr. day came a little late for me this year...

          I'm reading the book The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns (President, World Vision U.S.) and will write a full book review as soon as I am finish but, as I was reading, these words of Dr. King's really made me stop and think.

          The word "extremist" has always been one of those words that is said in a slight whisper as if it was code for the boogie man to suddenly appear or shouted at someone to condemn those who don't think exactly like they do. Dr. King addressed this label of "extremist" from his jail cell in Birmingham.

          But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

          Although I'm not likely to start using the label "extremist" in my everyday conversations for obvious social reasons, I would still like this principle to resonate deep in my soul. I would also really like this principle of extremism to affect the church which I so dearly love and all too quickly criticize. Dr. King had a few words on that as well...

          So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

          But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

           an irrelevant social club...oh snap!

          We are disappointed....that is true. All we see is back biting and power tripping adults who sometimes should be in cradle roll singing about Jesus' love instead of teaching the Sabbath School Lesson. They are busy, exhausted and trying their best, but where is the church community surrounded by the glow of mutual respect and support? Where is the helping hand to the orphans and widows? Where is the...Love (wouldn't that be something if we sang Black-Eyed Peas on Sabbath morning..haha!) And in the words of Dr. King...where are the extremists for Love?

          Hold on...just a minute...I have to get the log out of my right eye.

          I am next up to bat. You are too. Mere seconds away from church boards, treasurers, and community outreach committees. What am I doing besides talking a lot more than I am acting. That isn't helpful now is it...nope, sure isn't. Lead by example they say, well perhaps that will be difficult to be examples to those who were examples to us. They raised us to be leaders though and are waiting for that day when they can pass the mantle. Perhaps they won't be super stoked with all of our ideas, but they can't be leaders for ever. Eventually they will have to trust us because they have no other choice. Doctrine and Social Justice can be friends. I believe it. The church can be a positive and supportive community. I believe it. The principle of extreme love that Jesus lived is possible. I believe it.

          Dr. King warned the churches leader to not become "more cautious than courageous" and to stop "remaining silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows."

          I am suddenly very overwhelmed with all of these ideas. It seems like a lot of work. Churches these days aren't so much known for their love, but for their seems like a long road ahead to change that social stigma. Sometimes I want to give seems too hard, too time consuming and frankly not worth it. But I love the church and finding truth is important. Being authentic and real and approachable is also important. Being the healthy and vibrant body of Christ is what we are going for. do we go about doing that? I'm guessing Dr. King would answer with a question...

          Will we be extremists for hate or for love?

          I hope we don't disappoint you Dr. King. I hope I don't disappoint me either, because somehow I have to find the motivation to get off my butt...and my high horse too...

          Monday, January 24, 2011

          Switching Sabbaths

          I went to church on Sunday instead of Sabbath this weekend...not on purpose...

          I woke up, ate a grapefruit, got ready for church, entered church and sat down...all at a very normal pace, at a normal time, and in a normal frame of mind. Normal would end about 5 minutes later. Sometimes being a woman is just too much pain for a system to handle. I was promptly wisked home where I immediately [Nick stop reading and skip to the next sentence!!!] threw up, which made the pain go away for a few precious seconds because I couldn't concentrate on anything but aiming. Too much info? perhaps...I then settled back on the floor wishing death would rescue me or at least the very strong, tiny white pills that were on their way to me at that very moment. Thank goodness for mothers with motherly instincts and fathers with a Dr. title!

          Church skipper...that's me.

          I like to experience people's habitats...the ins and outs of their daily life. Others perhaps find these details boring and easily ignored, but I find them fascinating and worth some time exploring. I was visiting the g-rents in Minneapolis this weekend, an added dear friend Jenn lives their too. (Not with my grandparents of course...just in case anyone was trying to be confused)

          Jenn always has fun active ideas for us to do while we hang out and catch up...

          hike to a waterfall
          rockclimb indoors
          walk around a lake

          this time we went ice! But, what was even more fun was that I finally got to see her habitat. We met at her apartment so I could finally put names with roommate faces and see the little nook she calls home. Then, Sunday morning I got up and went to church with her. Beautiful old-world church in the middle of downtown, dwarfed by the now collapsed Metrodome right across the street, but grand on the inside for sure. Stained-glass windows and a pipe organ long since replaced with electric bangles and media screens as the focus. But yet, the character of the building still remained. And the community still being fed. Jenn is working with a nonprofit ministry on the verge of making it big. Pulse is the ministry and that church is their home base. So after the service she showed me her office upstairs and the rooms they had painted and the file cabinets they had snatched from craig's list. Jenn is just about the cutest person ever. She also has awesome relational skills. Combine those two qualities, mix in her passion and work-aholicness and you have a force to be reckoned with.

          A Sunday keeper...this week that was me!

          And in other news...our car is stuck out in the middle of the road. We didn't quite make it home in just one vehicle tonight. I hope cars don't have feelings...

          Monday, January 17, 2011

          keep breathing

          I want to change the world
          Instead I sleep


          instead I watch tv
          instead I turn away
          instead I shop online
          instead I chose worry
          instead I ignore reality
          instead I make excuses
          instead I look elsewhere
          instead I keep complaining

          instead I blink...permanently.

          Thursday, January 13, 2011

          Book Review: Between Two Worlds, My Life and Captivity in Iran

          Between Two Worlds, My Life and Captivity in Iran
          Author: Roxana Saberi

          The Overview: 
          Evin Prison. Labeled Iran's most notorious. A black hole for those who think outside the prescribed national box. Political activists, students, those of the previous regime, journalists, those who preach a different gospel and even bloggers can get checked in for a awhile. This is the hell that Roxana Saberi woke up to one morning. She was taken to Evin Prison...accused of espionage. 
          Before being falsely accused and imprisoned, Roxana, an Iranian-American journalist had two main goals for her time spent in Iran...the first was to live in a culture that claimed half of her origin, the second was to write a non-biased book about Iran for Americans to read and fall in love with a place that she herself was quickly falling for. That second goal earned her months of interrogations, months of wading through lies and months of wondering about her future or if she even had one. She did end up writing a book, but not the one she had expected.
          The Good:
          Eye witness experience...what could be more powerful than that? I wanted to keep reading and read quickly! I felt like the longer I took the longer she remained in prison! Even though I knew the end was happy, reading her story was still very interesting and page turning.
          The Bad:
          I found myself wanting to punch people in the face. Mostly the characters in this book who were manipulating and lying to accomplish their own will.
          I spent a year in Egypt experiencing a different culture, a different religion, and a different way of living life in general. I loved it there. I loved the people, the new ideas, the eye-opening experiences and I came back with a new life goal...I want to always think positively of other cultures, religions and people who are different than me in general. Give them the benefit of the doubt. I don't agree with their thoughts all the time, but I don't want to fall into the rut of thinking the way I live and do things is the way everyone else should be thinking and doing things. This book made that goal difficult. I found myself angry...annoyed...dumbfounded. The justice system seemed so unfair. Roxana was mistreated, unfairly accused, manipulated, and emotionally tortured. And for something that seemed so innately human to me. It didn't make an logical sense. But...I have been bred for is a delicious consequence of being born to my parents in this country. I will not expect to understand. But I don't like it...Amnesty International agrees with me. 
          The Memorable:
          The women she described in this book, her fellow inmates were incredible. Strong and spirited...the ultimate beauty in my opinion. They knew that they fought the system alone...and yet they still fought. There was no United States, no pleas from the president, little or no media coverage to hang their hope on. They put their foot down...on their beliefs, their God, their unwavering resolve and were prepared to stand there in Evin, until they and their conscious could be called free.
          The Recommendation: 
          Read it! Roxana grew up in Fargo, ND...good things come from there.

          Friday, January 7, 2011

          and in other news...

          Visiting Krista in Argentina is probably the headline event that I should be blogging about, but in the mean are a few of the non-breaking news-news stories in my life.

          I saw a squirrel rock climbing a plastered wall the other day...

          I even snapped a picture with my phone real quick just to prove it to the world.


          I found this show of part athleticism, part crazy magic completely inspiring. Immediately after this photo was taken I climbed the wall after him and we became instant friends. We have nicknames and secret handshakes of course and we set up an appointment to climb together again.

          Terrifying viewed from the comfort of your own home

          The following is a view from my car as I was coming home last night.

          Just kidding. But mostly not.

          I was coming home late after spending the evening at my friend Cari's house. She is awesome and only in town for a few days before she heads back to grad school. It became obvious as my journey home continued that as I had been enjoying the company of my dear friend, the roads had been kidnapped. Tragedy! 
          I could accept that the crystallized roads were pretty. The endless sparkly treachery stretched out as far as my headlights could reach. No tracks to follow, no lines to be found, no telling if one was on the road or off. I had never experienced this mixture of beauty and stress before. The world was literally shimmering and shining and throwing diamonds straight at my face. Before, there had always been a clue or two to follow, but this blanket of crystals had completely smothered my clarity about what was road and what was inches upon inches of sparkle communities that had set up camp along the side of the road. 

          I made it...don't worry. I wouldn't be writing this if I hadn't.

          I saw something nasty in the wood shed... 

          Actually I didn't, but Ada Doom did. I just saw the movie Cold Comfort Farm last night.

          Not awesome, but definitely good in my opinion. Witty, a tish creepy, and a good bit of poking fun at the likes of Jane Austen. What more could you want in a "spoof on British costume dramas."

          Cari's house is where all the good, but random movies are kept. Here are a few from the past...just in case you find your self with time to spare.

          Twelfth Night
          Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte