Archive - January, 2010

The Katdish Dictionary – Part One


Two things precipitated the writing of this post (or rather, series of posts). The first was a text message from a friend of mine. She had sent me a message, to which my response to her was, “Gaaa!” Which I thought clearly communicated my reaction to her previous text. Knock me over with a feather when she texted me back, “Gaaa?” To my thinking, “Gaaa!” is rather self-explanatory. But perhaps not…

Next, I received an email from an author asking if I would read and review his upcoming book. (No, not that author – I’ve already read that one and it’s frigintastic.) Here’s a brief excerpt from the correspondence:

“And you’re clearly the first person I’ve come across who has a “I big red monkey butt heart twitter” tag. So you win—not sure what, but you win nonetheless!”

So that got me to thinking (always dangerous territory) about how often I use phrases and acronyms here and on twitter under the assumption that everyone knows what I’m talking about. But clearly, that is not always the case. Seriously, unless you’ve been reading my blog for the past 8 months or so, how could you possibly know what PCB stood for? Or know that “I big red monkey butt heart you” is a sign of endearment?

See there? Two hundred words into this post and I’ve already used four phrases and/or words that yet to make it into Webster’s. Which is why I feel a certain duty (ha! she said duty) to give definitions, and where applicable (read: if I can remember), the origins of said phrases, acronyms and words.

Ahem! And now Part One of an endless and ever growing series:

The Katdish Dictionary

Gaaa! – (pronounced gaaa!)

Definition – An expression of shock, disgust or horror.

Origin: unknown.

Example: Hey look! Meat Puppets!

Response: Gaaa!
(Seriously – is that not self-evident?)

Frigintastic – (pronounced fri-gin-ta-stic)

Definition: Really, very super fantastic and/or awesome.

Origin: Nick the Geek, in his post Too Much to Talk about.

Example: “MY wife says I say awesome too much and started taking points away for saying it. She is right but I still like the word. I’m gonna start saying “frigintastic” instead. She will long for the days when everything was awesome.”

“I big red monkey butt heart…”

Definition – a term of endearment or strong affection for someone or something.

Origin: This explanation is a bit more complex.

The story begins to unfold with a post on The Fellowship of the Traveling Smartypants post, Cremation, anyone? This was a post noted not so much for its content, but for the epic comments that ensued – a grand total of 107. A fairly impressive number by most standards, until you realize that the comments were made by a handful of people leaving multiple comments back and forth.

Read it.

It’s life changing.

Anyhoo, Nick started out the post apologizing for the post being in bad taste (which is ironic, because that blog is all about bad taste), and quickly spiraled down from there.

At some point, I happened to mention I was going to the Houston Zoo the next day and did anyone have any practical jokes to play on zoo animals? A conversation about flinging monkey poo ensued. Alas, the following day I posted It’s on like Donkey Kong with the following picture:

Shortly thereafter, Sherri complained, “Speaking of images….katdish, this particular monkey image is freaking me out when I come here. DO you have a different one you can replace it with?”

So I changed the picture to this:

To which my friend Shark Bait commented, “I think I want the scary monkey back now.”
Around this same time, the phrase “I pink fuzzy heart you” was making its way around our blogging community. But I felt we at the FOTTSP needed our own spin on this phrase. That’s where “I big red monkey butt heart you” came from. Sorry/you’re welcome.

PCB – acronym for Pornographic Cheese Butler


Seemingly gracious wine and cheese steward from this angle, right? Not so fast!

Definition – A life sized statue of a butler once used in wine and cheese displays at the local Kroger grocery store. Unfortunately, the artist responsible for creating the PCB neglected to give him any pants. Hence the “pornographic” part. Thankfully, he was wearing a long apron covering his frontsettes. (We will cover frontsettes in a later edition.)

This concludes this edition of the Katdish dictionary. You have no idea how many of these things I can churn out. So in advance I just want to say again, sorry/you’re welcome.

What’s in His Name? (by Kelly Langner Sauer)


Kelly Langner Sauer is a wife, mother, writer, poet, photographer and a self confessed rambler. Her photos are, much like her writing, often beautiful, soulful and breathtaking. I am so pleased she agreed to write a post for me in the midst of the joy and chaos of new motherhood. Here’s Kelly:

Her name was Bethany.

It was such a big deal that her name was Bethany. It still stands out in my mind. I get into names.

She said that God had given her that name.

She said that she had known God intimately, the way I wanted to know Him.

She said that God had taught her to surrender fully and completely.

She said a lot of things.

But she never mentioned the name of Jesus.

Just over a year ago, I received an email from a reader, asking me about the poem I have posted on my blog by S. Lewis. (The poem was written and given to me by a dear college friend during a very rough time in my story, during the beginning of the end of my misconception of God.) She identified with my then-description of myself as Gomer, Hosea’s wife.

And she referenced something I had said in a recent ramble-post, something I was chewing on, something I had scribbled out without too much thought, something about God calling us to do things sometimes that the rest of the world couldn’t endorse.

I had been talking about His calling on my life to love someone. I had been talking about His leading me out of “church” and into Himself.

I was neck-deep in a Flickr addiction at the time. Closed off to my husband. Putting off my daughter. Battling every day to do better before I inevitably gave in and gave out and gave up. Pushing God away for the guilt of it all. The crushing guilt.

At first, Bethany’s email was another distraction. A flattering distraction. I pursued the correspondence, looking for more affirmation, looking for her story.

I got her story all right.

And then some.

She said she was a member of what many have termed a cult.

She said she felt she could talk to me because it seemed I was the kind of person who was willing to listen.

She said God had told her it was all right.

She gave me the website for her organization.

After looking at it, my husband and I agreed with the many.

And we weren’t so certain that God was behind her invitation to engage her in conversation about her “church.”

In fact, I was certain that I was not to engage her. God gave me permission only to speak the name of Jesus.

Billy Coffey wrote about the thin places this week. The places where dark and light collide and mix into inky halflight, the places in our world where there is a crack into another world, the places in ourselves not yet yielded to God in this war between principalities and powers in the strongholds of the spiritual.

I was living in a thin place when Bethany wrote to me.

I had been too willing to pursue knowing God because it was the right thing to do, too willing to leave off Jesus because speaking of Him made me uncomfortable. Embarrassed.

I was living on the edge, and I had no response to her “have you ever surrendered your whole life to God?” I had no answer for her, “I have done that, you can too, if you’ll just do what I did.”

For two days, my husband and I talked. And talked. And talked. Our conversation was long and deep. We talked about spiritual warfare. We talked about who I was in God, about my misdirected passion. We talked about my failure. I named it as the sin it was. We talked about grace. We talked about Jesus.

Her name was Bethany, a name given to her by the spirit who possessed her.

Her testimony was her surrender, her “higher” right, her knowledge of “God.”

My testimony was Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

I had no answer to her story, to her argument, to her deception.

I had no justification for my own sin, my lack of surrender, my thin-place-dwelling.

She needed nothing more than what she had found.

I needed everything. It was a choking, desperate need for redemption.

This is how I learned about the Gospel. This is how I encountered the Truth who is the Way and the Life, the Word who became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain for my justification, from whose hand I can not be removed. This is how I began to speak the name of Jesus, to discern the Holy Spirit from the subtle lies of other spirits.

Bethany had obtained the ultimate surrender. She had become a slave to her god. She was moved by a spirit. She had fellowship with something more powerful than herself.

I had not surrendered everything to God. I still haven’t. I still struggle to offer myself willingly to Him, to let go of the things in me that would identify me as a slave to righteousness. I don’t always recognize the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life. I don’t always feel the nearness of God-fellowship that I want.

But I know this: I am justified in Jesus. Because of Him, I reckon myself dead to sin and alive to God. I am already crucified with Christ, yet I live. My faith is not something I have dredged up through trying to have more faith. It is the gift of God. My redemption comes by this faith in the Son of God who became sin for me.

I still sin. I still fail Him, fail my family, fail myself. I am every day desperate in need of a Savior.

Her name was Bethany, “house of figs.”

Jesus cursed a fig tree once for bearing no fruit.

My name is Kelly, “warrior.”

Kelly Anne.

Anne meansgrace.”

His name is Jesus. Immanuel.

“God with us.”

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.

Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

“As it is written:

‘For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

– Romans 8:31-39

(Image © Informal Moments Photography)

***

To read more from Kelly, I invite you to visit her at This Restless Heart and follow him on the twitter at @arestlessheart.

Being Useful

“Hope your folks don’t mind me doing this!”

The garage door of our house sits approximately 150 feet from the street of a quiet neighborhood. So when I saw an elderly gentleman sitting in a golf cart behind my car, I was a little taken aback. I motioned both my kids to get into the car.

“Can I help you with something, sir?”

“Well, I was just telling your son, I like to do what I can to help keep the neighborhood looking nice. I don’t breathe so well sometimes, but when I’m feeling good and the weather cooperates, I like to get out of the house. If it’s alright with you, I hope you don’t mind if I pick up your garbage cans from the curb and bring them back up for you. Would that be okay?”

My internal conversation went a little like this:

“I have 12 minutes to get to an appointment 10 minutes away. What’s the fastest way to get this man off my driveway so I can get out of here? Decision time. Do I do what is expedient, or do I do what is courteous?”

“My name’s Kathy. Nice to meet you.”

“Name’s Byron. Byron White. I live with my daughter in the house by the horse stables.”

We talked for a few minutes. I told him that of course it was okay if he picked up my garbage cans and that it was very much appreciated. He told me again that he sometimes has trouble breathing, so he won’t always be able to pick up the garbage cans, but weather and health permitting, he would do so every Monday and Thursday. He likes to do what he can. I thanked him kindly again and he drove off down the driveway to provide the same service to the neighbors across the street.

Yes, we were late to the orthodontist, but only by about three minutes. My son checked himself in on the computer in the lobby and proceeded to brush his teeth at one of the four sinks in the theatre/media room. (This is a very swanky place. They don’t call them million dollar smiles for nothing.) Meanwhile, I get comfy in one of the plush couches in the waiting room and pull out my handy dandy notebook to write a story about my neighbor Byron.

About a paragraph into my story, I see a little boy about 3 years of age come running up to the cooler located beneath the plasma TV in front of me (again – swanky). He opens the door, pulls out a small bottled water and runs towards the media room. I watch him with growing amusement as he repeats this process four times. On his fifth visit, he is accompanied by a very apologetic looking father who is carrying two water bottles, which he replaces after his son takes out another.

My daughter, who had been watching a movie, comes out and tells me there is a little boy in there that keeps asking her to play a game with her. “Did he give you some water?” I asked, smiling. “Yes!”, she said. “He got EVERYONE a water!”

The very young and the very old often operate under the same principal. They want to matter. They need to know that while they can’t do everything, they most certainly can do some things.

I think it would serve us all well to remember that no matter where we are in life; no matter our age or circumstance, every one of us can be useful in some way. Just as every one of us can be grateful to and for one another.

Haiti, Pat Robertson, and the Thin Places (by Billy Coffey)


AP Photo/Jorge Cruz

I could not help but think of my grandfather as the aftermath of Haiti’s earthquake was relayed on the evening news. Could not help but wonder what he would say about what had happened. I wondered, too, what he would do. He said he would never return there and kept that promise, but in many ways his heart beat for the Haitian people. A part of me thought something on this scale might have drawn him back to the place that almost killed him. The place he warned me never to visit.

My grandfather travelled the world for most of his adult life as a missionary, visiting the remote villages and enduring the third world conditions of far-flung places not just for his love for people or even God. No, it was his love for adventure that took him behind the Iron Curtain, into Africa, and—twice—to Turkey in search of Noah’s ark.

But it was Haiti that captured his wanderlust the most, that tiny half of a tiny island that was so crowded and, back then, so forgotten. That was where he spent most of his time. He would write me letters and I would devour them, studying not just the smooth cursive handwriting but the stamp and the postmark and the envelope itself, worn and frayed as though it had passed through entire worlds to reach me.

The stories he told bordered on fantasy—villages in the grip of madmen, ritualized rape, and lives stripped bare to the point where the essentials had become excess.

He witnessed acts that defied both reason and physics performed in the name of unnamable spirits. Spoke of zombies and ghosts and curses.

Haiti was a place of wildness, he wrote. And it was also full of the most beautiful and caring people he’d ever met.

Yet twice he had been threatened by voodoo priests who saw his presence in their villages as a threat to their authority. Twice he escaped. He was a smart one, my grandfather. And no doubt protected by powers greater than darkness.

It was on a mission trip there in the mid-eighties that he disappeared. Authorities found his Jeep abandoned in the middle of a field. There were no footprints or tire tracks. No witnesses. The State Department was contacted, who then reached out to the American embassy. For three days our family waited and prayed for news.

On that third day my grandfather walked into a village sixty miles from where he’d last been seen, confused and shaken but otherwise in good health. He was questioned by both the Haitian police and the State Department, but those interviews proved fruitless. My grandfather never told them where he had been or what had happened. Never told his family, either. And he never returned to Haiti.

A few weeks before he died he pulled me aside during a family meal for questions that were short and ordinary—how’s school? Baseball? Are you still praying every day? He nodded and smiled, satisfied. And then his face grew serious, almost fearful, and he spoke to me the last words I’d ever hear him say:

“The world is a wonderful place, Billy. You should see as much of it as you can. But never go to Haiti. Promise me.”

I did. I still do.

I suppose if anyone would know the truth (or lack thereof) of what Pat Robertson said last week, it would be my grandfather. I’m sorry he’s gone. Sorrier today. But I’ve spent the better part of today remembering those letters and the way he talked about the Haitians, and I know what he would have said.

He would have said there are people who like the idea of a vengeful God as long as that vengeance is directed at someone else. He would have also said that Christianity is best defined not by what its adherents should believe, but what they do with that belief. It’s the love they display and the help they provide, regardless of where that love and help is needed.

He would have indeed said that Haiti has its evils. There are thin places in this world where other worlds meet and linger, and those are the places that must be tread upon lightly. Haiti is a thin place. But he would also say there are thin places within each of us as well, where good and evil clash and struggle.

Yes, he would say, Haiti is dark. But so are we.

***

To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at at his website and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.

***

And to read ways you can help with the relief and rescue effort in Haiti, please visit my friend Maurenn Doallas at Writing without Paper

Evidence for God


An excerpt from The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

Evil and Suffering May be (If Anything) Evidence for God

“Horrendous, inexplicable suffering, though it cannot disprove God, is nonetheless a problem for the believer in the Bible. However, it is perhaps an even greater problem for nonbelievers. C. S. Lewis described how he had originally rejected the idea of God because of the cruelty of life. Then he came to realize that evil was even more problematic for his new atheism. In the end, he realized that suffering provided a better argument for God’s existence than one against it:

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of “just” and “unjust”?…What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?…Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies…Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple.

Lewis recognized that modern objections to God are based on a sense of fair play and justice. People, we believe, ought not to suffer, be excluded, die of hunger or oppression. But the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection depends on death, destruction and violence of the strong against the weak–these things are all perfectly natural. On what basis, then, does the atheist judge the natural world to be horribly wrong, unfair, and unjust? The nonbeliever in God doesn’t have a good basis for being outraged at injustice, which, as Lewis points out, was the reason for objecting to God in the first place. If you are sure that this natural world is unjust and filled with evil, you are assuming the reality of some extra-natural (or supernatural) standard by which to make your judgement. The philosopher Alvin Plantinga said it like this:

Could there really be any such thing as a horrifying wickedness [If there were no God and we just evolved]? I don’t see how. There can be such a thing only if there is a way that rational creatures are supposed to live, obliged to live…A [secular] way of looking at the world has no place for genuine moral obligation of any sort…and thus no way to say there is such a thing as genuine and appalling wickedness. Accordingly, if you think there really is such a thing as horrifying wickedness (…and not just an illusion of some sort), then you have a powerful…argument [for the reality of God].

In short, the problem of tragedy, suffering, and injustice is a problem for everyone It is at least as big a problem for non belief in God as for belief. It is therefore a mistake, though an understandable one, to think that if you abandon belief in God it somehow makes the problem of evil easier to handle.”

Dr. Keller’s argument thus far may sound cold and irrelevant to the real life sufferer. Later in the chapter, he continues:

“…for every one story in which evil turns out for good there are one hundred in which there is no conceivable silver lining…”So what if suffering and evil doesn’t logically disprove God?” such a person might say. “I’m still angry. All this philosophizing does not get the Christian God ‘off the hook’ for the world’s evil and suffering!” In response the philosopher Peter Kreeft points out that the Christian God came to earth to deliberately put himself on the hook of human suffering. In Jesus Christ, God experienced the greatest depths of pain. Therefore, though Christianity does not provide the reason for each experience of pain, it provides deep resources for actually facing suffering with hope and courage rather than bitterness and despair.”

The Return of the Pornographic Cheese Butler


It was sort of stroll down memory lane on the twitter this week. The topic of an old post of mine came up (I do not heart grocery shopping – which was the introduction of the Pornographic Cheese Butler), and after tweeting with @marni71 and @HelenatRandom, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to sell muumuus with heart-shaped monkey butts on the back. Yeah…I’m weird. But you probably already figured that out by now.

The best of me (or not) on the twitter this week:

Sigh…I should probably go for awhile. I got my eliptical (sp?) trainer back yesterday. So far, so good. No clothes hanging off of it yet.

@Helenatrandom @weightwhat must be giving google kickbacks. Perhaps in bra snacks…

@br8kthru Do you know what that pathetic apology needs? A ham sandwich… (in reply to br8kthru @marni71 sorry, how about this: PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE TELL ME YOUR STORY? PLEASE? any better?)

RT @marni71: @br8kthru That didn’t sound enthusiastic enough. I rescind the offer. Go eat your sandwich you dream crusher.

Yeah…I have a lot of free time…

So, I googled PCB, and @weightwhat ‘s post came up first: Are bra snacks kosher?

@marni71 You know…the true pioneers in any field are never appreciated until they’re gone. I feel their pain. (in reply to marni71 And NOW I’m being followed by cross-stitchers and people who make scarves. I blame @katdish.)

So @TheTwitCleaner gives me a list of people called “These people ignore you”. Boy, that’s an ego booster…

And the follow-up PCB Post http://bit.ly/6NT4tj

The infamous PCB Post: http://katdish.blogspot.com/2009/03/i-do-not-heart-grocery-shopping.html

@billycoffey Come on. That day has to rank pretty high on the “bestest day ever” scale. (in reply to billycoffey @Helenatrandom No. @katdish left a snarky comment on my blog and I followed her to hers. It was all quite shocking.)

@marni71 I’m on my second one today. Three is too many, one not enough. (in reply to marni71 @katdish OH DUH! Told you I was slow. I need a blue Monster…)

@marni71 I think @billycoffey meant a board that you smash crickets with. (in reply to marni71 @billycoffey That was my personal fave too 😉 The Pakistani are known for their refined games of cricket.)

@marni71 I’d watch that episode for sure.

RT @marni71: @katdish We could consult with the Dog Whisperer. It would look good on his resume.

@marni71 Also wondering if you could get a baboon to sit still long enough to get a clean impression.

@marni71 I wonder if I could borrow a baboon from the zoo and have them stamped? (in reply to @marni71@katdish But if you offered to autograph them, we could sell at least 12 I think )

Oooo! New hashtag! #SnowDay about 7 hours ago from TweetDeck

RT @FaithWords: Rt: @billycoffey @DueFriday: Sending out @billycoffey’s debut novel, SNOW DAY, for endorsements! #SnowDay

@marni71 @Helenatrandom Okay, just envisioned a muumuu with a heart shaped monkey butt on the back.

@marni71 You know, we could seriously make some t-shirts. At least 10 people would buy them. (in reply to marni71 @BridgetChumbley Yes, yes I am. That and cross stitch pillows. They’ll be on mine and @katdish ‘s new etsy site.)

RT @Helenatrandom: Today I am grateful for having a cute avatar….

@gyoung9751 Yes, Glynn, but my dog loves them. Don’t be a hater. (in reply to gyoung9751 RT @katdish Eating chex mix & giving the pretzels to my dog. Cuz I’m generous like that… / And you don’t like the pretzels.)

@Helenatrandom Amazingly…no. (in reply to Helenatrandom @katdish Hasn’t the Wordy McTypelot thing been working out?)

@Helenatrandom Well, there you go. Who needs a book deal? (Although I am entertaining any and all offers…) (in reply to Helenatrandom @katdish We could sell them on FOTTSP!!! And NtG hats that say “Think Geek”, and muumuu’s with chopped veggie pattern saying “Salsa Anyone”)

@BridgetChumbley You just have to ask yourself WWKD? I think @marni71 is working on some bracelets. (in reply to BridgetChumbley @katdish Do you teach classes? You know I’ve always been a BIG fan…)

@BridgetChumbley It is if you’re me. (in reply to BridgetChumbley RT @katdish: @makeadiff21 Let me put it another way. I don’t want them all up in my business. // Is that an option?!)

@makeadiff21 Yes. That’s what I’m saying. My family is a great source of blog fodder. I need to freedom to write about them w/o fear. (in reply to makeadiff21 @katdish @Helenatrandom Are you saying you live your lives in compartments? What are you hiding from ppl???)

Okay…My Uncle Franklin just became my facebook friend. And you people wonder why I don’t link my blog on facebook…

@PuriChristos You’re about as subtle as a freight train, Nick. (in reply to PuriChristos I had an epic idea just now. Waiting to hear from @ProdigalJohn to see what he thinks. He should check his email if he reads this)

RT @DueFriday: Sending out @billycoffey’s debut novel, SNOW DAY, for endorsements!

Care no more for the opinion of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.~Mansfield

@the_original_xy That’s a challenge. Hate is so much sexier & more newsworthy than love & grace. (in reply to the_original_xy @katdish then you non-crazies have to start being louder to drown out the crazies.)

And I pray that people would understand that one Christian does not speak for all of us.

As Christians, I honestly wish people knew more about what we’re for than what we are against…

#SCL Snobbery: You see people making up definitions w/word verifications & think to yourself, “That is SO 6 months ago!”

Squirrel? http://twitpic.com/xx4jf

@marni71 We should set up an etsy account. (in reply to marni71 @katdish I think I just found my new cross-stitch pillow quote!

@marni71 Me too. Silver linings and snark. It’s a rare and beautiful thing. (in reply to marni71 @katdish I feel it’s God’s way of rewarding me for not dying. Silver lining…I’m all about the silver lining.)

@billycoffey It doesn’t suck… (in reply to billycoffey @katdish It must be great to live your life.)

@billycoffey I can’t be bothered with details. That’s your job. (in reply to billycoffey @katdish You know all those Tannenbaum’s ended up in the hospital, right?)

@billycoffey That’s unacceptable. Tannen-baum! Tannen-baum! (in reply to billycoffey @katdish Yes. So far it’s a draw.)

@billycoffey Hey there. Fighting the Resistance this morning?

@makeadiff21 Oh, I have plenty of weird followers already

RT @buzzbyannies: I am not quite sure why Boz looks so worried. He’s driven with me a million times….http://bit.ly/792j6L #scaredycat

@sarahmsalter My people are working on the prototype. (in reply to sarahmsalter @katdish You know, if you could figure out a way to bottle that snarkiness and sell it, you could probably make some good money…)

@sarahmsalter fajita taco.( in reply to sarahmsalter @katdish Buenas dias!)

Although I don’t always floss…

Pretty much love God, floss, and post at 12:01 AM CST.

I’m tempted to post early, because my post goes with @brian_russell’s post. But I follow so few rules, I feel compelled to stick to them.

@mdgoodyear Marcus, I think I have some time share opportunities you may be interested in. (in reply to mdgoodyear @katdish I confess, I love this *as seen on tv* thing => http://bit.ly/6g8jIz)

@LynnRush OH WOW! That’s just AWESOME! (in reply to LynnRush I feel like I’ve entered the Twilight Zone. . . . I’m looking at my first book contract right now. . .)

Sigh…I’ve decided against my better judgment to get dressed. I have to go to the bank & I don’t think they want to see me in my pjs.

RT @AmberAusten: Haha, RT Organizing my tupperware/gladware/rubbermaid cabinet. I have found the end of the universe. (via @rocksinmydryer)

@billycoffey Some things are just God given gifts… (in reply to billycoffey @katdish Oh wow. I’d like everyone to know I did NOT train your ego…)

@sarahmsalter Um…scuse me @billycoffey trained ME? You mean like Jay Leno trained Johnny Carson?

@sarahmsalter @billycoffey is right. When he found me I was a quiet, shy demure little blogger. (in reply to sarahmsalter@billycoffey Now, Billy. You have to be willing to share @katdish’s gifts and talents with the world.)

@billycoffey Mwha ha ha! (in reply to billycoffey @katdish Okay, now that’s just wrong.)

@billycoffey I’m sorry, what? Wait…I have to take a call from another client. (in reply to billycoffey @katdish Then it better not be work for ME.)

@billycoffey I’m doing work, but it’s probably not that important… (in reply to billycoffey @katdish You’re lazy. Don’t you have work to do?)

Speaking purely hypothetically of course – at what point in the day do you decide instead of getting dressed you simply stay in your pjs?

@poemsandprayers And yes. I am. Proudly so. (in reply to poemsandprayers @katdish smart ass)

@poemsandprayers I’m not talking about legitimate groups, I’m talking about the “I Love Ranch Dressing” groups. (Of which, I am a member.) (in reply to poemsandprayers @katdish guess im a little touchy about the facebook group thing)

Do you know what this world needs? More groups on Facebook…(yes, I’m being sarcastic)

I put a bird feeder outside the window of my office. I find it relaxing watching the birds whilst my dog barks incessantly at them.

@sarahmsalter I am SO getting you a poo purse. (in reply to sarahmsalter @weightwhat Well, my birthday is the 31st. But please don’t get me a poo purse. Thank you.)

@Brian_Russell Stop being a slave to your analytics. Just write and create. You’re welcome.

@weightwhat Well, just don’t google yourself again. (in reply to weightwhat @katdish Thank Gumby! I thought I was going to have to TWSS myself again. TWSS.)

@weightwhat TWSS (in reply to weightwhat My hangtags are going to be so cute!!!)

@shrinkingcamel I never know what I’m doing. You get used to it. (in reply to shrinkingcamel @katdish I’m not really sure what I’m doing at this point.)

@Brian_Russell Fo shizzle. (in reply to Brian_Russell @katdish Word.)

@stretchmarkmama Hey! That there is what we call an “Art Car” around these parts. (in reply to stretchmarkmama @katdish “Novel” is one word. “Trashy” might be another.)

Maybe just once, someone will call me “Sir” without adding, “You’re making a scene.” ~Homer Simpson

A novel use of happy meal toys and gumball machine trinkets. http://twitpic.com/xk62h

It’s not the bitter cold or the harsh winds of winter I hate so much, it’s the static electricity wreaking havoc on my hair. Yes, I’m deep.

RT @michael_arndt: If you are trying to blame me, the buck doesn’t even slow down here, keep on going

One of my son’s happier moments… http://tweetphoto.com/8388114

Sigh…oh well. It’s only paint right? http://twitpic.com/xdq4v

My daughter wants to redo her room. All my work to be painted over. http://twitpic.com/xdpze

Just checked my facebook account. I have 93 items in my in box #baneofmyexistence

RT @Doallas: Need a headline writer? Hire @katdish. Here’s an example: http://bit.ly/8xXYow

RT @muchl8r: Compelled by the promise of adventure, our protagonist ran out the door yelling, “oh CRAP! i’m late!” off to work:)

RT @badbanana: 85,000 jobs lost in December. Mostly football coaches.

And YES, I left out a whole bunch of tweets about Chex mix. I realize you’re probably bitterly disappointed, but those are for research.

As always, Sorry/You’re welcome.

A long way to go


No twitter post today. Perhaps tomorrow. As random as I tend to be, I’m fairly disciplined when it comes to how I post for this blog. There is an order to this seemingly hodge-podge little blog.

But as the news began to trickle in about the goings on in Haiti, and then the news of Pat Robertson being, well…Pat Robertson, this song kept playing in my head over and over. The words of the song in tune with what was going on in my head and in my heart.

So much death; so much need and desperation. It’s painful to watch mothers and fathers grieving for their missing children; children searching for their mothers and fathers. I just wanted to shut it out. Turn it off. As selfish and self-absorbed as this may sound, I’m just not ready to process all of this right now. I’ll get there. Just not today…

If you’re so inclined, please visit my friend Sherri’s site, Matter of Fact, and read her post Hope for Haiti

Losing your monkey

When my daughter Rachel was a year old, she received a stuffed animal as a Christmas present – one of those long-legged monkeys with Velcro on the hands and feet. She had plenty of other stuffed animals, but for whatever reason she latched onto that monkey from the moment she got it.

“Monkey” became her constant companion. When we went to the doctor to get shots, it was Monkey she clung to for comfort. She dragged him everywhere – literally and figuratively. As you might imagine, Monkey got a tad gamey after awhile. I was afraid to wash him for fear he would lose his fluffiness, but after she got sick, I really didn’t have a choice. The thing was a furry petri dish of potential infection.

After the initial washing, Monkey made a trip to the washing machine on a weekly basis. My daughter was unfazed. It seemed the more matted his coat became, the more she loved him. Linus had his blue blanket. My daughter had Monkey.

Until that horrible January day a few years ago. Rachel was 3 years old. We were up at the church building putting away Christmas decorations and costumes from a Christmas program. After a few hours up at the church with nothing much to keep her entertained, Rachel became cranky and was in need of a nap. I excused myself from the rest of the work crew, drove home and prepared to put her down for a nap.

Exhausted, she lay down and through heavy lids said the word that caused a sinking feeling in my stomach:

“Monkey”

I tried to mentally backtrack all the place we had been in the church building. Several boxes had been packed away and stored in the attic. I immediately called the church office. Everyone there was quite aware of Rachel’s attachment to Monkey. No one had seen him.

Back up to church. Several searches through countless boxes in the attic and in every room and storage closet in the building and still no sign of Monkey.

I promised my daughter that I would look again the following day. She didn’t want to go to sleep without him, but she was somewhat comforted by the hope that he would be back the following day.

When the second search produced the same results as the first, I began to panic. I’m ashamed to say that I went so far as to buy a new monkey at Rainforst Cafe in the hopes of passing it off as the original. In an attempt to age the monkey in record time, I covered it in Vaseline, rolled it in the dirt and washed it. I repeated this process four times. (Pathetic much? Yes. Yes I am.) When presented with the monkey, as I expected Rachel said, “That’s not my monkey. It’s too fluffy.”

I hung my head and accepted defeat. I told her Monkey was gone and he most likely would not be found. She cried. I cried. We mourned the passing of Monkey. The first night without him was a long one.

But guess what? The day she lost that monkey was the day she stopped sucking her fingers and the day she began to realize that she could comfort herself.

And I realized the things we sometimes desperately cling to for comfort and security only represent the strength that was within us all along.

So how about it? Are you ready to lose your monkey?

A woman on a mission

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~Matthew 28: 18-20

Do you believe that all the world is the mission field? I honestly do. I think we all can be ambassadors for Christ in our homes, at our workplaces, at the grocery store, anywhere.

Having said that, I think it takes a special person to give up the comforts of home to travel to distant lands and be the hands and feet of Christ. My friend Sarah Salter is one such person. She has been on several mission trips in her young life, and now she has been given an opportunity to go on another one to the Sudan. Here’s Sarah in her own words:

Isaiah 61:1 has always been one of my favorite scriptures…

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…”

As much as this is a scripture about Christ, because I’m a follower of Christ, I also accept that it’s my personal calling as well. The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD has also anointed ME to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim freedom for the captives. Because of this calling, when missionary Rose Boyd came by my office the week before Christmas to invite me to come with her to minister to the refugees in Sudan, I immediately felt compelled to say yes.

From July 11-25, 2010, I will be joining Rose and a team of ten from Operation Teaching Tools and Every Nation Education to travel to Sudan and minister there. We will be doing Vacation Bible School with the refugee children, as well as doing teacher training and evangelism and a bit of construction.

In order for me to take part in this trip, I am responsible for raising my own support, in the amount of $4,050. If you believe that God would have you to give a tax deductible contribution, you can contact me at smsalter78@yahoo.com. If you wish to send a check, please make checks payable to Operation Teaching Tools and mail them to:

Sarah Salter
PO Box 54
Falcon, NC 28342

On behalf of the team and the folks we’ll be ministering to, I would ask that you pray for us. Sudan is a severely impoverished, war-torn country who is in its third year of drought. The needs are great, but I know that your prayers will give us strength, wisdom, and favor to take Jesus to this part of the world. Thank you!

***

As I mentioned before, Sarah has been on several mission trips. It is part of what God has called her to do. She is also an excellent writer. On her blog, she has chronicled three such mission trips:

A Priceless Hope
Her name was Hope. Okay, well, sorta. Her name was Esperanza, which in Spanish, means “hope.” She was nine years old and cute as a bug’s ear, with a smile that would make Oscar the Grouch’s heart get soft. But the day that she was carried into our mission clinic in Concordia, Argentina, she was far too scared to smile. She sat in her mother’s lap and buried her face in her mother’s neck. continue reading

When There’s Nothing You Can Do
”Did you see Nightline on Thursday night?” Chrissy sat across the table from me last Saturday afternoon helping count out 25,000 adult multivitamins into packets of 30 for an upcoming mission trip.

I shook my head and glanced at her to let her know that I was listening as I tried not to lose count.

“I thought about you because I know you’ve been to Congo a couple times….”
continue reading

The Water, The Widowmaker, and the “Why”
When I was very young, I had a strong desire to do mission work. I didn’t think that I’d ever be a strong enough Christian for God to use me. I managed to spend a week at a teen missions camp when I was about 15, but then I put the dream away. Then, when I was 19, God opened the door for me to go on a construction team to Galeana, Mexico. I spent several days, shoveling gravel into a cement mixer (and learning how to spit to keep from swallowing the gravel dust). And that was all it took for me to be hooked. continue reading

Lust and Cheating


How’s that for a title, huh? Okay – actually, this post is for the One Word Blog Carnival hosted by Bridget Chumbley, the topic is Lust, and I’m cheating because I’m posting a short story by Brian Russell instead of writing my own. (Aren’t I clever?)

So there you go…

Through Cracked Glass by Brian C. Russell

The crack in my windshield grows a little bit each day. It’s like the roots of a young sapling, sprawling to find water. I didn’t think it’d get this bad. It started with a chip, which started from a pebble. I swear if it were quiet enough, I’d hear it creak as the glass pulled apart.

I hate coming out here, but it’s what I do. My world is filled with watching people go in and out of buildings. Stores, restaurants, houses. In and out.

Oh, there’s the happy couple now. I fling my sunglasses into the passenger seat and pull the camera to my eye. These’ll be good.

She looks happy wearing a red pair of shoes she didn’t have before walking into the store, and he looks excited. His sunglasses were on before he came outside, and his jeans have strategically placed holes. She’s got a headband to match the shoes, I imagine, and khaki capris.

In each picture, they’re a freeze frame of perfect happiness. In each picture, they’re a snapshot of how her marriage should be.

In and out of stores, there’s sure to be a restaurant stop soon. Maybe then I can get some grub. I’m lucky my job doesn’t normally require me to drive fast. This windshield’s going to shatter someday soon. It’s only a matter of time.

This lady, I’ll call her Helen for her privacy sake, she probably just got bored. Bored with her housekeeping life, bored with her husband’s workaholism, bored with everything. But this new guy, he buys her gifts, takes her on dates. To Chili’s? She must’ve been pretty bored.

The people I watch mimic their actions. Popping in and out of these relationships. In and out of love. It’s amazing how quickly people can become shallow, empty hulls of the fruit, I’m sure, they once were.

A knock startles me. It’s a knock on my passenger window. I push the button and roll the window down a few inches. “Can I help you?”

His eyes are watery. It’s the client. I didn’t recognize him. “Stop. Just stop.”

I unlock the door. “Get in.”

“I can’t take it anymore.” He slumps in the seat. “She doesn’t deserve this.”

“What do you mean? She’s cheating on you.”

He sniffles. “I know. I’ve gotten the pictures. But, I realize now that I wasn’t providing for her.”

This is an interesting turn. It’s never happened to me before. “What are you going to do? Confront her?”

“No.” He straightens up in his chair, breathes in deep through his nose. “I’m going to go home, and do some laundry.” He sighs. “I’m going to earn her back.”

I set my camera down and stare at the client. He’s looking right back at me. “So, why the change of heart?” What else am I supposed to say?

He smirks. “First Corinthians. I’d heard it a million times, but seeing my wife with another man… it… The message used to go in one ear and out the other. You know?”

“Yeah, I get that.” In and out, people do it all the time.

“You might want to check it out too. It’s amazing what small things can have such a big impact.” His nose twitches as he gets out of the car.

The sprawling crack in my windshield creaks, I can’t hear it, but I see the glass splinter a bit more. All this damage from a pebble. “Yeah, I get that too.”

***
To read this story from the wife’s perspective plus more short stories from Brian C. Russell (and I would strongly encourage you to do so, and while you’re there tell him to write more), visit him at at his website and follow him on the twitter at @Brian_Russell.

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