Saturday, January 29, 2011

Days of Play--PJ Day

Ever have a weekend where you don't have to do anything?

No sports, no guests, no errands, no "to do lists"?  I love those weekends!

If you are in desperate need of a do-nothing day, might I suggest a family PJ day?

Here's what to do:
  • brush your teeth and comb your hair but STAY in your jammies (or put on clean ones, if you must).
  • Eat a fabulously sweet breakfast--pancakes, syrup, whipped cream, sprinkles ... the works!
  • Play a game.
  • Color.
  • Pop popcorn and watch a mid-morning movie.
  • Eat lunch.
  • Take a family nap.
  • Play hide-n-seek.
  • Play playdough. 
  • Make a fort.
  • Make dinner and eat it in the fort.
  • Eat rubbish for dessert.
  • Tell and read stories.
  • Brush teeth and put kids to bed (they're already in their jammies!)
  • Watch a movie with your hubby.
  • Go to bed (jammies optional).

Friday, January 28, 2011

3 Way

From the process of "shopping" in my closet for the 30/30 challenge I learned to creatively mix clothing pieces.

Because of this challenge I am creating a new monthly feature called the 3 Way.

3 Way
Every month I am going to choose a "uniform" piece of clothing (something I routinely wear--think jeans, white T-shirts...) and I'm going to style it three different ways.  I'll compose the three photos and place them in a post the last Friday of the month.

I'm considering making this a "linky" challenge.  Anyone interested?  If so, leave a comment below!

While you are thinking, here's the first installment of 3 Way

First up, my favorite graphic T.  This $3 Target find is a wardrobe staple.  I generally wear it very dressed down with jeans.  So I challenged myself to some other looks.

Here's what I came up with!


Look #1--The usual. Jeans, knitted cardi, sandals ... all the fixin's for a lovely Indian Summer day.

Look #2--A little Emo (cuz' deep down I'm like that)--striped undershirt, graphic t, skirt, and boots.  Can you say--perfect for a day at the library with kids?

Look #3--Work day.  I managed to wear a T-shirt to work when I paired it with black slacks, heels, killer earrings, and one of my signature filly-jacket tops.

What I've learned: my favorite graphic T is SUPER versatile though I prefer it matched with the color gray (as is painfully evident). 

February's Challenge: Brown Long sleeved T-Shirt

Want to join me?  Pick one long sleeved T (brown if you have it, another color if you don't) and work it 3 ways.  Contact me about linking up to share your 3 way adventure!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Things I Love--Settlers of Catan

I'm kind of a game person.

Perhaps this is because I like interacting with people or because I'm HYPER competitive.

I don't know why I like games, but I do.

My all-time favorite game is The Settlers of Catan

Our friends Andrew and Jess taught us to play in the early 2000s and we are hooked!

Essentially Catan is like a mix between Monopoly and Risk, except it has a definite ending.  To play you set up the board (which can look different each time) and start to "settle" the island.  You have to use trade to buy things and economic concepts such as supply and demand greatly affect the game's outcome.
This photo shows the basic layout but pieces move so it's a different game each time!  Source

I used Settlers of Catan in a ninth grade classroom to introduce students to economic concepts.  One student from that class has since gone on to Penn to major in economics.  His entrance essay discussed how he came to love economics: through a crazy teacher who taught him to play Catan.

Now honestly, the game is overwhelming to learn at first but once you do, it's addictive. You can add on other games (we have Cities and Knights and Seafarers).  The fun multiplies!

On the downside, this game is really only for up to 6 adults and is not fun with just two adults.  Young children shouldn't play (or eat the small game pieces).

But if you are a board-gamer looking for your next game to obsess over, might I recommend The Settlers of Catan?

What games do you love?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What I Think About--Christian Nymphos

Bet that title caught your eye, eh?

Am I the only one who, as a Christian woman, gets mixed messages about sex?

I mean, what little I hear about sex in church is generally related to the "thou shalt nots." Thou shalt not have sex until married. And thou shalt not have sex with the lights on.  Thou shalt not have sex in any position except man on top.

All these "shalt nots" really have me so bound up I feel like I'm trapped in a prison called sexuality.

Is this how God intended me to feel about this gift He calls sex? 

I instantly want to say "NO!" yet I've never heard a group of Christian women sitting around in complete freedom discussing how sexy they feel with their husbands or how free they feel in celebrating their sexuality with their spouses.

For something that's supposed to be divine gift, Christians are pretty tight-lipped.

In a culture of rampant promiscuity, pornography and erotica, I sort of feel that because I'm a Christian I'm supposed to not talk about sex--not think about sex--not experiment with sex--not enjoy sex. The result--sometimes I feel like sex is more of a burden than a gift.

When I read through scripture there are definite references to "thou shalt nots" but have you ever read Song of Solomon?  I mean, that book is ripe with imagery of woman who dances in the freedom of her nude body before her husband; a woman who fully and sexually gives herself to her man; a man and wife who experiments with sexual positions.  She is sexually free to enjoy her husband.

That feels to me more like what sex should be like--the "thou shalls" instead of just the "thou shall nots".

Even though I'm trying to work through this "sexual awakening" where I become more confident with myself, more willing to give myself to my husband, I get "stuck" sometimes.  And where does a Christian woman turn when she needs advice and encouragement about sex?

From my experience it hasn't been the church--it hasn't even been close, Christian friends; thus, I've turned to the internet.

Of course there are all sorts of taboo things on the internet so I was diligent in doing "healthy" searches.  And I came across this site: Christian Nymphos 

The name "Christian Nymphos" is not meant to offend. "Nympho" is a term attributed to a woman with an abnormal desire for sex.  According to The Christian Nymphos, a Christian woman who wants to enjoy sex, talk about sex, experiment with sex and be passionate about sex is very often abnormal in her circle of friends.

The Christian women who run this blog, a few with pastors as husbands, are passionate women who want to teach women to walk in sexual freedom with their husbands.

From what I've seen of the site (and at this point I may have seen everything), The Christian Nymphos aren't afraid to tackle "taboo" topics such as oral sex, anal sex, foreplay, and sex toys.  They answer questions honestly, directly, bluntly and with scripture.

Honestly when I found this site, I was shocked at the content.

It made me uncomfortable.

However, I forced myself to read a few of their articles like How to Have a Sexual Awakening, Correcting Wrong Thinking About Sex, and 10 Ways to Embrace the Sexy Wife God Made You To Be.

While many articles address women who are struggling with their sexuality, many more addressed women who are living with husbands who are "refusers."  I know several women who feel alienated because common talk is the over-sexed man and the "not tonight" wife.  How isolated must a woman feel when she is married to a man who does not desire her often? If that's you, this site has words for you--encouragement.  Specifically check out Living with a Refuser.

The articles I've read made be breathe a sigh of relief.  I was so grateful to know I wasn't the only woman out there struggling with my sexuality and my self-image.  I'm not the only one who needs a community of Christian women discussing sex in a positive, passionate manner. 

What I like most about this site is that it is a community of women.  Men are encouraged to seek information elsewhere and their comments are not allowed until they are monitored.  There are no explicit photos.

Women, on the other hand, are on the Christian Nympho site asking tough questions, sharing romantic ideas, and offering encouragement.  That's why I've bookmarked The Christian Nymphos and continue to check out their posts.

What I think is there is a Christian Nympho inside me dying to get out and share a passionate, intimate sex life with my husband.

How about you?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What I've Done

Yesterday I talked about The Hunger Game book series and why I think the series should be required reading in our high schools.

I basically stated that we need a good dose of reality--our actions and our inactions have consequences.

Leave it to Linkin Park to demonstrate the reality of injustice with such lyrical brilliance.

This video won't make you comfortable.  It is disturbing. 

Isn't that EXACTLY why you should watch it?

First They came... - Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists ,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Hunger Games: Required Reading?

A couple of months ago my Facebook page was alive with discussions of The Hunger Game series. 

I'm not one to let a good book series go by so I did my research.  I bought the books.  I read roughly 900 pages in four days.  Yep--they are that good!

This three-book, young adult literature series, penned by Suzanne Collins, describes districts enslaved by a desensitized government who forces two children (12-18) from each district to fight to the death in gladiator-styled games in provide both entertainment and control.

The books follows Katniss as she tries to save her life while noting with irony the concessions of humanity she is willing to make to stay alive.  Katniss rises up as a leader and enemy of the government as she seeks to rectify injustice.

Each book is packed with disturbing detail, uncomfortable "real-life" parallels, and enough suspense to make you want to read the next one ... FAST!

A classic dystopia, this series has gotten negative reviews for being too preachy, too graphic, too disturbing ...

In essence, Collins has done such a fabulous job of re-creating current day injustices that people who would normally think nothing of social injustices are uncomfortable.  They don't want to be reminded about starvation, forced labor, and violent dictators--so long as they are well fed and entertained.

Why bother with petty reminders that not all are as fortunate?

Though classified as a dystopia, I'd say this book reeks of reality and that should be enough to terrify us all.  We aren't sending our kids to the arena to fight and die, but some one is.  And generally it is for entertainment.

The themes in these books are mature, to be sure.  As a parent, would I let my young adult (15+) read it?  Yep!  As an educator, would I use this book series in school?  Absolutely.

As Americans we live in a country of wealth, entertainment, and privilege.  We must be reminded that as we struggle to "look thin," other people are starving.

While we have surgeries to look younger, others are wishing their mortality age was much older.

We can't forget that our privileges come with responsibility and sometimes those responsibilities call for us to sacrifice a few of our frills for basic rights for others.

This book series reminded me of Maurice Ogden's classic poem, "The Hangman" (yes, I used this in class) in which people of a town are systematically hung one-by-one while others watch, out of fear, without protest.  Finally all were dead but one.  And the poem recalls:

"You tricked me. Hangman!," I shouted then,
"That your scaffold was built for other men...
And I no henchman of yours," I cried,
"You lied to me, Hangman. Foully lied!" 

Then a twinkle grew in the buckshot eye,
"Lied to you? Tricked you?" he said. "Not I.
For I answered straight and I told you true --
The scaffold was raised for none but you. 

For who has served me more faithfully
Then you with your coward's hope?" said he,
"And where are the others who might have stood
Side by your side in the common good?" 

"Dead," I whispered. And amiably
"Murdered," the Hangman corrected me:
"First the foreigner, then the Jew...
I did no more than you let me do." 

Beneath the beam that blocked the sky
None had stood so alone as I.
The Hangman noosed me, and no voice there
Cried "Stop!" for me in the empty square.

This book series ought to be required reading in every high school.  

May the work of fiction be a sound, sobering reminder that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

 Want a bit more conviction?  Watch this OLD animated version of The Hangman.