For a couple of months now, my friend Steph at Everyday Awe and I have been communicating about an idea for encouraging others that is close to both of our hearts. I am so excited to announce that she has brought that idea into fruition and, as of today, has officially posted an offer to personalize a beautiful 8×10 self-printable decorative poster of God’s promises from Scripture FOR FREE. The design comes in four different colors and can be sent as a .jpg or .pdf. I am so honored and proud of her fabulous work on this. She has done SUCH a FANTASTIC job!

We tell ourselves so many lies on a daily basis, it’s time we start telling ourselves some TRUTH, instead. Go get yourself one right now! I promise you will be glad you did.

I’m trying something new tonight. It’s called Five Minute Friday and is a challenge from Lisa-Jo at thegypsymama.com. The goal is to “Set a timer and just write. Don’t worry about making it just right or not.” Today’s Five Minute Friday is about Community. So, here goes.

START

God is so beautifully deliberate. When He said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him,” He did not say “mate” or “wife,” He said “helper suitable.”

In the original Hebrew, the phrase translated as “a helper suitable for him” could more acceptably be translated as “a power equal to him.” Not mate. Not significant other. Not servant. Not subordinate. “A power equal to him.”

God didn’t make Eve so that Adam would not be single; He made Eve so that Adam would not be alone, so that he would have community.

STOP

Wow. That was a quick five minutes but that’s all I have for today.

Note to my dearest friends and relatives: The following is a true confession that I haven’t told very many people. You may find it shocking. I am sorry I haven’t told you in person. I love you. Thank you for loving me. You have been warned. Proceed with caution.

I tried to run away from home several times throughout my childhood. I say, “tried” because I wasn’t very successful. Growing up on a dead end road opposite a cornfield in the middle of the boonies didn’t afford a pre-license lady many exit routes. In fact, I may not remember how old I was the first time I tried to run away from home, but I do recall that I didn’t even leave the house; I just curled up in the hall closet for a bit. Apparently, my young mind hadn’t completely grasped the concept.

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Today’s adage-in-the-making is:

Covered in enough mud, a zebra might, perchance, look like a horse, but he will still smell like a zebra; and a filthy one, at that.

Here’s an original Ink in Pink adage-in-the-making to get your mind moving:

When you want to say, “I thought of you today,” send fresh cut flowers.
When you want to say, “I think of you,” send something with roots.

When Nashville flooded in 2010, few people unrelated to the area knew about it for days, largely because the aid providers and the media were too focused elsewhere to respond to a very real crisis that, in the words of Newsweek‘s Andrew Romano, “could wind up being one of the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history.” In fact, his article, Why the Media Ignored the Nashville Flood, pops up as the first organic result in a Google search for “Nashville flood.” If it wasn’t for the overwhelmingly positive reaction of local celebrities and the community, as a whole, the Nashville flood may have received more publicity about the lack of publicity than it did about the actual damages incurred by the flood, the needs it created, and relief required to meet those needs. For the most part, however, the conversation was, disappointingly, about the conversation.

Recently, controversy has sparked surrounding the MPAA rating classifications of The Hunger Games, a dystopian blockbuster pitting teenagers against each other in a death match, as PG-13, and BULLY, a stark awareness vehicle for social betterment, as R. By the book, the MPAA (which, by the way, is comprised of a panel of parents) has assigned the correct rating to each work, but the juxtaposition of the two films – and their relative takes on teenage conflict – present too rich a lesson to ignore. While the ratings delivered to these movies have created their share of outcry, the opportunity to seize upon each of them as a tool for coaching teens is drowned out to a whimper, at most.

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Yesterday marked the beginning of the Lenten season. Until recently, whenever anyone asked me what I was giving up for Lent, I joked that I was giving up Lent up for Lent. Last night a friend mentioned that he didn’t see the point in Lent and that got me thinking: what is the point of Lent?

This is what I came up with.

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I know I’ve been absent for a little while, but I’m excited to announce that I haven’t been idle. In fact, I have been nearly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what I’m learning. There is so much that I can’t wait to share with you. Please continue to be patient with me while I find the time to put all of these lessons into words. For now, I leave you with this quote by Audre Lorde:

I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.

I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.

Next time, ask: “What’s the worst that will happen?” Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.

And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.

I was born deaf. My mom figured it out when I was a toddler by devising a little experiment. First she locked in my attention. Next she told me to do something. Then she covered her mouth and said something else. As long as I could see her lips moving, I responded to her instructions. She took me to the doctor and, voila, diagnosis confirmed her suspicions. I was 80% deaf in one ear and 50% in the other. The doctor put tubes in my ears and all was again right with the world.

Aside from the annoying necessity of wearing earplugs when I swam, I remember little of having the tubes in my ears, or even when they were removed. My mom remembers it differently.
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Last week, we reflected on the past and how our view of it affects our present. We revealed that each of our pasts extends beyond ourselves, born of a combination of all those who have gone before us. That was the easy part.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. From the past we reap many lessons and levels of understanding. It might require some digging, but the past is nothing if not known. The future, on the other hand, frustrates even the most carefree spirit with its inability to be grasped and mastered.

Though many have tried to divine it, the future remains largely unknowable. The very reality of that great unknown breeds anticipation, which, in turn, manifests in two forms: fear and hope.

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