Friday, April 29, 2011

3 Way

To learn more about the 3Way, click here.

This month my challenge was to wear a dress three times.  I chose to rock a little Mossimo khaki dress I got at Target for $12.98.  It is super similar to the one below (minus the front pockets and drawn tie waist).

First up, a little urban safari with brown boots, belt, jean jacket, and a leopard print scarf.


Look #2 was my Easter wear. Turquoise tights, a bold necklace and a brown grandfather cardigan (because it was snowy and cold in WY).


Finally, on another chilly April day, I wore my khaki dress with American Eagle jeggings, a thrifted orange scarf, self-made jewelry, and some Xhiliration sandals I got at Target for $3.24!


Given the bi-polar nature of Wyoming weather, I'm struggling to pick my next "uniform" piece of clothing to work three ways in May. Part of me says, "SANDALS!" and the other part says, "Be practical, pick a sweater!"


After much deliberation, I decided that my uniform piece of clothing to wear three ways during the month May is a white T-Shirt.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Things I Love: Turquoise

As you know I've already predicted that bold colors are going to be hot from Spring.  My favorite bold color is turquoise!  Look at all these turquoise lovies I found!

What's your favorite bold, springy color?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What I Think About: Greg Mortenson

As an avid reader, I devoured Three Cups of Tea when it became popular enough for me to notice it.

As a human, I was moved by the story (albeit somewhat vainglorious) of a bottoms-up approach to literacy and peace.

As an educator, I was inspired by the gentle reminder that what I do makes a difference (even if it looks like I'm failing kids on their high stakes tests!).

I've followed Greg Morentson since his book was published and when he came to my town to speak a few weeks ago, I dragged my spouse and in-laws to watch him.  And then I stood in line for two hours to have him sign my copy of Stones into Schools.

When Mortenson spoke, he was not eloquent.  He did not sound like a shiester buttering me up for a donation.  He talked like a man with a passion and drive to make a difference. He looked tired and unwell.  I was thrilled he seemed so human.

And then 60 Minutes happened and this man who seemed to be doing good, was called a sham.

I went on the defensive because I think 60 Minutes--whose sole purpose of raising this controversy is inexplicably linked to their desire to get more viewers because viewers equal money--did some pretty bad research and reporting.  (I'm not even going to go into the fact that John Kraukauer, who has done some not-so-honest research on his books, was co-leading the charge.)

For instance, they claim Mortenson lied about being held by the Taliban because five men photographed as Taliban claimed, when interviewed, that they were tour guides.

Think about that a minute, will you?

If you were a part of the Taliban in a country occupied by U.S. troops and you had held a U.S. citizen captive for eight days, would you admit to being a part of the Taliban--or would you lie and say that you were a tour guide for Mortenson?

60 Minutes goes on to attack Mortenson for receiving financial honorarium for speaking engagements (wonder if they'll attack Presidents Bush or Obama for this?), for flying on chartered flights, and for not talking to him when they accost him paparazzi style at a speaking engagement (that action in and of itself shows a complete lack of media ethics!).

I will not sit here and say that I know Mortenson to be an upstanding kind of guy because I don't.  As far as I know, he lied in his book and has pilferd some money.   

But I can't deny that he has done good things.  He wants to achieve primary education for girls around the world and he leaves his family and risks his physical safety to do that.  I have a hard time sitting in my comfy living room begrudging a man and calling him a sham because a disgruntled former employee has a different story.

When I sit back and watch Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute attacked like this, I think of the well-spoken words of Mother Teresea and how much they apply in this situation.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway. 
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.  
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.  
The good you do today will often be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.  
Give the best you have and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.  
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

What I think about Greg Mortenson is that he is still an educational hero of mine.  He certainly has faults but he's fighting the good fight and it's going to take more than some sketchy, biased research on the part of 60 Minutes to change my mind.

_____Want more information?_____

To hear "the rest of the story" click here

To read Greg Mortenson's response to 60 Minutes questions click here.

The Board of the Central Asia Institute answers 60 Minutes questions here.

Daniel Glick provides a good personal reflection in this piece.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Days of Play: Family Movie Night {The Emperor's New Groove}

To learn more about family movie nights, please refer to my previous post here.

I also STRONGLY encourage you to check out Family Movie Nights from Plugged In for movie suggestions and curriculum!

For this family night, we'll be watching The Emperor's New Groove!


For this family night you'll need:
  • Some photos or a website about Llamas
  • A family-friendly meal (maybe let your kids choose!)
  • Blocks
  • Movie
  • Blankets/pillows
  • popcorn or other snacks
Start your evening off by asking kids what they know about llamas.  Show them photos or funny (previewed) videos of llamas online.

Next, make dinner together. This can be an elaborate family pizza or simple mac-n-cheese.  Let your kids pick the meal tonight and spend time cooking together.

After dinner, build a pyramid of blocks.  See who can make the biggest, silliest, tallest ...

Finally, pop popcorn, get snacks, get comfy and settle in for a show.

After the movie, ask your kids some questions (from Plugged In curriculum):
  1. How does Pacha treat Kuzco even though Kuzco is mean to him?  How should we treat those who are unkind to us?  Read Matthew 5:46
  2. Kuzco grew up having everything he wanted and not being disciplined.  How does this make him act?  Why are boundaries/rules good for children?  Are any of our rules unfair?
  3. Kuzco is blind to the needs of others because he is selfish and greedy.  How are his actions different than Jesus'?  Read Philippians 2:3-4 and talk about how to put others first.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Accepting the Bad

Have you ever had something you needed to say but you just can't find the words?

A burning disappointment.  A broken heart.  A repentance.

I've been at a loss to explain my own feelings--even to myself.  But as I've spent time in prayer and thought this weekend, a few feelings have come to my tongue.

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like God just didn't. Show. Up?

Let down. Angry. Floundering.

When my mom was diagnosed with CADASIL it broke my heart. When I learned the hideous disease was hereditary, disappointment, fear and anger raged through me.

I like to imagine I felt how John the Baptist felt when he sent word to Jesus that he was in jail and Jesus--THE Jesus who gave sight to the blind and healed the lame and healed people from leprosy--called John great and yet--didn't go save John the Baptist from jail and his impending death (Matthew 11).  How must John the Baptist have felt?  Angry? Disappointed? Hurt?

In prison John the Baptist questioned if Jesus was the messiah.  How could He be the messiah when this bad thing was happening to John? How could Jesus not save the man who prepared the way for him?

Jesus makes a poignant statement--the prophets through John the Baptist prophesied the coming messiah.  Are we willing to accept that Jesus is Him even in the midst of a bad situation (Matthew 11:14)?  Even when bad things happen?  Even in discomfort or death? Even when we don't get what we want, no matter how noble the request?

When you are going through infertility or watching a loved one die or worrying about your health and wondering if you've given your children a disease that will one day kill them, people like to comfort you with words of encouragement.

"This is God's will."
"Keep the faith."
"Keep praying and God will give you your heart's desires."

To these "comforts" I reply:

Even if it is God's will ... It still hurts.  It is still confusing. In fact, God's will seems much more dubious when it is messy and dangerous and not an obvious blessing.

When I'm angry ... God can handle it.  It is a testament to my faith that I trust HIM with my emotions--even the ugly, angry ones.  My faith is not lacking because I question.  My faith is strong because I know He can comfort me in spite of my doubts.

My bad situation is not a result of not praying enough or trusting enough.  And though I pray, God still MIGHT not give me what I pray for.  But He might make my heart soft toward Him and draw me closer to Him and I might come to learn that it is not my selfish desires He wishes to give me, but to line my desires up with His.  And His heart's desire is that I know Him intimately and trust Him so fully that even if everything else falls away, He is still E N O U G H.

Give me that kind of heart.

I want my desires to be so in line with Christ's that in all circumstances I can stand in full faith and with the heart of trust, I can proclaim as Job did so long ago, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21).

It is easy, oh so easy, to proclaim God's will, and God's blessing, and God's grace when things are good.

But right now as I hurt and break and bleed and fear, I cry out to God and plead with Him to help me accept the bad.

The more I cry out, the more I am being intimately drawn to Him.  And though I hurt, I sing praise.  For peace.  For joy.  For knowing that even that which seems bad, is good in Christ.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

From a Sigh to a Celebration

The pain. The sacrifice. The sorrow.  All but a sigh on the winds of eternity.

For where there was despair, there is now a song.  A celebration.

Not simply because of a love worth dying for.

A celebration for the resurrection that spurs me on to do the work of the cross, to be disciplined and sacrificial in my love for God and His people.

My song is hallelujah.