On a Lighter Note...

Thanks for all the recent comments, friends! It makes the discussion so much more...."discussion-ey". At the moment, I am happier than Pooh Bear with a pot of honey. I love yanking a thought out of you!

On that same light note, you'll be jealous of what is coming to me in the mail, any day now. Get a load of this:

What fabulous joy! An adjective dictionary...and not just any ol' adjective dictionary. This one is the highly selective dictionary of GOLDEN adjectives, for the extraordinarily literate. Hallelujah-wahoojah, I get to torment all my gentle readers with a fresh, frothy, garish, and flashy use of juicy descriptives.
I will use adjectives On Purpose. Always a mistake amateur writers make, and I plan to make that mistake at least once before I die. (That mistake, and a few others I shan't elaborate on just yet...it'd make for far too much shock and awe, after those posts on "extremes".)
Stay tuned. It is going to get.....
...oh, heck. I wish I had that dictionary right now.

Still Tired of Extremes...

I'm still tired of extremes, after sleeping on it. (And I am enjoying the comments so much! Keep them coming!)

I could live out any extreme I wanted - being sick of extremes in the body of Christ is not an issue of sour grapes for me. ("Sour grapes" is found in an Aesop's Fable...) There isn't much I don't have access to, other than a trip to the moon. I have a credit card with enough of a line of credit, I could go anywhere, or have any cosmetic procedure I wanted. I could sell a thing or two and do the same. I have a good laptop computer, now. It never crashes. I could spend a lotttt of time on this baby.

I have friends - dear and near friends. I can create and receive text messages. Those two facts alone could send me soaring into the World of Extremes, and those two facts alone account for a terrible lack of creative soul in people today - and I cannot let it happen to me. I'd die a slow death, spending multiplied moments typing with my thumbs and answering my cell phone.

I promise, you aren't really having a creative thought, when you're doing all that! You aren't tending a garden, writing an essay, or paying attention to a child. I'd almost say you are not living, but that would be a bit extreme, wouldn't it?

I have a Facebook page. I could sit for part of every day and peruse others days and others lives, or I could live my own day, and have my own life. A Facebook page not oft updated equals a life well lived. A blog that sits silent now and then, means the writer is a balanced human being. A blog that sits silent for weeks at a time means the writer probably shouldn't have started one in the first place.

I have a twelve pack of diet Coke at my beck and call, even as I type this. However, I might drink two today. I have good relationships with the up-and-coming generation. I could call any college kid in my church, and many outside my church, and be having lunch with someone in two hours flat. But I don't feel needy to prove how hip I am. The fact that these kids love me (yes, if you are almost thirty, you are still a "kid" to me - and I never thought I'd hear myself say that!), and the fact that they are willing to hang out at my house now and then fills me with enough satisfaction to be content. I don't have to be the older lady they roll their eyes at, secretly.

"Content" seems to be the watchword. It was the subject of the sermon in Harvest Church yesterday.

So, though I have the means to be extreme, and access to all the tools of extremity, all the friends, all the technology - somehow I manage to be content with limiting my access to all if it, taking what time and energy is left over, and investing it in being a whole, balanced woman.

"Balance" is a Biblical concept. Hear, once again, wise Old Solomon:

It is good that you grasp the one and do not let the other slip from your hand. For the one who fears God will end up with both of them. (Ec.7, again!)

God said it, not me. By avoiding extremes, I will end up with the best of both worlds.

I feel I already have.

I'm Tired of Extremes!

Lately, I've been thinking.

Wait! Come back! (Those who've known me, lo' these many years, usually find a way to slip out the door every time I say that...)

Seriously. Today, I'm pondering - not the 7 zillion dollar Government Bail Out, not the election, not even the gas shortage in the southeastern US - I've been pondering the seemingly differing subjects of personal style, and avoiding extremes. Personal style. Avoiding extremes.

Amazingly, one chapter in Ecclesiastes kinda sorta addresses both concepts, a fact which I find most satisfactory. Those Biblical "Wisdom Books" absolutely send me. I find so much food for thought in Proverbs or Ecclesiastes, my brain burps, because I'm always trying to feed it too much at one time.

Which brings me to the subject of extremes. There's a pitiful thing in Christendom, and it is people who conceal their lack of substance by masquerading as "being radical". Extremes are quasi-Christian, actually. They resemble the authentic Christian life, but are entirely human in their origin. To tend towards extremes is to live in a very dangerous place, according to the wisdom of Solomon:

Don’t be excessively righteous, and don’t be overly wise. Why should you destroy yourself? Don’t be excessively wicked...why should you die before your time? (Ec. 7)

Extremes manifest in ordinary life, and are quite easy to discern, if you remain alert. They are seen in the tendency to believe that if a little bit of something is good, a whole lot of it is better. If enjoying a friendship is good, why then ten text messages and a phone call or two a day is better. If spending a couple of hours in fellowship is good, then hanging out almost every day must be better. Staying for dinner - good. Staying for ten hours - better! If being friends is good, why, let's be BFF's.

If making your acquaintence is nice, I say we up the ante, and you be my long lost sister, 'kay??

If having a Facebook page is good, then spending forty-five minutes every other day "keeping up with friends" and pasting little buttons on a bulletin board, and writing lots of messages on lots of walls, and having lots of contacts is better. If using my spiritual gifts is good, then camping out on them must be better. If doing "it" once is good, then running "it" into the ground must be even better.

If God has called me to be a writer, then I ought to be writing down everything. If He has called me to prophesy, then I'll come up with "a word" for almost every corporate gathering. One mission trip is not enough, I must go on five trips. If I am good at administrating my small sphere of influence, shouldn't I be critiquing everyone's leadership style? If exhibiting passion is inspiring, then an emotional melt-down might bring revival!


You heard me. I find extremes to be boring. Because they are, literally, everywhere. Mega-churches, IMAX theatres, Big Gulp drinks, Hummers, collagen lips, boob jobs, loud music and loud personalities are a dime a dozen these days. Much like an experienced grade-school teacher will softly read a storybook to a roomful of squirming, noisy children, understated elegance is now what attracts attention.

Which brings me to the subject of personal style. Whether we're talking in terms of a woman's wardrobe, her home decor, her talents, or her personality...personal style can never be bought or imitated. It is precisely when a writer strains to write Great Literature, he begins to write trash. When anything poses as Art with a capital "A", it becomes Pretension with a capital "P". When a Christian strains to lead, she becomes irritating with a capital "I".

My sister has this gorgeous head of hair. I was not so blessed. You either have great hair, or you don't. If you don't, you could buy a wig...but I'd be reduced to admiring the talents of the wigmaker, and not your hair. So if you don't have great hair, how about drawing out those deep brown eyes? Or your smile? If you don't have a voluptuous figure, for heaven's sake, don't go out and buy one. You won't look quite right. Find a way to enjoy being lithe and graceful with the figure you were given.

If you are forty-something, please, for the love, stop wearing outfits designed for a twenty-something. Trust me....it isn't "you, only better".

Style is organic to the person. It is as much a part of the person as their eye color or their voice-print. It cannot be manufactured, it can only be highlighted or honed. Problem is, many women have spent so much time copying Sister Someone Else, they don't know who they are! In the Christian life, you can only work out what God has worked in. In matters of personal style, copying someone else is the equivalent of shopping at Rooms-To-Go. Takes no imagination.

Ecclesiastes kinda sorta tells us this, when it says:

Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, and an advantage to those who see the sun. For wisdom is protection as money is protection, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of its owner.

Don't you love it? "Wisdom is as good as money."

Having personal style is as good as being rich enough to afford a designer house, designer wardrobe, and surgical enhancements. In fact, the woman with style is at a distinct advantage. Both style and riches can lend you some measure of influence, but while you can run out of money, you can't run out of good taste.

Solomon would advise us: avoid excess, and always remember....the most important things in a woman's life cannot be bought or imitated.


How to describe The Hannah Bird? The Fanny? Nanner-bananer? There is no one word to describe this beautiful girl...this artsy little slender reed of femininity....this fiesty bundle of smiling wisdom.

She draws all who know her into her wake, somehow. Oh, and by the way, if you are NOT drawn into her wake, you won't have a clue as to what she just said. She's that way, you see. She comes up with what her family indulgently calls "Hannah-isms".

"I have spent my entire day putting numbers in alphabetical order."

Oh yeah. She said that. The maddening thing is, those of us who know know her best, and love her most....we knew what she meant. We're not sure what that says about us. (Are we, Justin?)

Hannah is the Divine Combination of Audrey Hepburn sophistication, and Anne-of-Green-Gables wit and melodrama. She can, and she will, flat-out put you in your place, but you will walk away wondering if she maybe...just maybe....was actually paying you a compliment. She will break down and cry over the darndest things, but be strong as an oak when you need her to be. She serves quietly, in a multitude of unseen ways, and her family absolutely cannot....no way, no how...will not be what it is without her steady, upbeat, consistent heart.

Hannah anticipates your needs and desires. How many women can do that? She not only does it, but has elevated it to an art form. She makes serving look beautiful, even fanciful.

That same artistic bent that makes her spelling an atrocity ("...but there are so many pretty ways to spell it!") makes living with her pure joy. As her family, we chortle at her attempts to be funny, and we downright bust a gut when she is being entirely serious.

I treasure my mandate I had, for twelve all-too-short years of formal schooling, to train her up in the way she should go, to pour into her by tablespoonfuls, all the standardized bits of knowlege requisite to doing well on SAT's and getting on with life. Educational hippie that I am...renegade that I've always been, I do confess to the fact that we spent far more time on far more imaginative pursuits. But we did touch on all the Standardized Stuff that is Supposed to Make One Successful In Life.

She's been graduated from high school, lo' these last three years. She earned her diploma, and earned it fair and square and well. But I confess to being relieved that Hannah never really acquiesed to being a standardized teenager, or a normal, average twenty-something. Something about her spirit, combined with her upbringing and education, combined to preserve the slightly addled, delightfully artistic, passionate manner in which she seeks to glorify God with her life.

We love you, Hannah Banana.

Cambodian Mission Trip - In Pictures

Here are a few of the many pictures of the mission trip to Cambodia that my daughter Sarah, and a team from our church and others, embarked upon this past September ~

Sarah, and some of the children from the Heritage House orphanage...

"Oh no! I have to clean this??!"

"All in a day's work..."

Strength through servanthood!

Sarah and "her boy".

Jonathan (who we heard from, on this blog, while he was with the team in Cambodia!) and his "footwear".

"Dinner, anyone?" Ahem...

This was not a pleasure trip, though the trip was a pleasure...

Sarah and children...

The Guitar Chick in Cambodia!

Some of the team...

I Dedicate This Blog To Justin...

Justin, lover of cheese.

I ran across a quote in my art book/slash/ calendar. The quote yanked a huge grin out of me, which was a necessary and medicinal thing, seeing as my youngest son and I had a bit of a row over his grammar lessons this morning.

This lovely book is entitled The Year in Art, and each day features a painting to the right of the two page spread, and a quote to the left. Today's painting is Breakfast Piece, by Floris Van Dyck:

The quote is GK Chesterton (wouldn't you know it?) :

"The poets are mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."

My friend Justin (my daughter Hannah's long-time boyfriend, Godly man, high achiever, and - Tim and I speculate - her future spouse...no pressure, Justin...) has the soul of a warrior-poet, and is also an avid cheese lover. I trust he shall remedy this situation forthwith.

Please see Justin's blog, "Equipped For Battle", when you have time to go lolly-blogging. You'll find his link under "My Favorite Blogs".

We're the Jet Set...

Tim and I are part of the "jet set", but it's not what you think. I truly believe that those who reach their forties and fifties, who have nearly-grown children living at home, and who still manage to have a vibrant love life - those people are the elite. They belong to a band and a brand of married couple nearly vanished from this planet.

It is rather like being a member of the "Mile High Club".

And if you don't know what that means....just nevermind. Or go ask your mom.

To claim a happy, healthy love life in this stage of the game is a stunning admission. But I have to raise my hand and confess to it - and it is no less rare than belonging to that fabled "Mile High Club".

So yeah, I'm part of the "jet set". It takes the same amount of bold, same amount of brass, same amount of stealth, same amount of sneaky to pull it off. Those of you with more than one teenager (or twenty-something) living at home...you know it.

Timothy, my love, I raise my glass and propose a toast....

"To us!"

(zoom, zoom)

PS. Yes, I am a Christian. Yes, I am referring to sex. God thought of it first.