What Will You Do With This?

I tweeted this link yesterday. It’s a post on Blaine Hogan’s blog by Ben Arment. Ben is the founder of the Story Conference that I am attending next week. I am beyond excited about this trip. Beyond. Anyway, this 100 Words feature is brilliant, and Ben’s words hit me right in the gut. Like, I can’t stop thinking about the implications of what he said. Go read it, if you haven’t already. Here are the opening lines:

We are motivated by two conflicting fears in life: the fear of failure and the fear of insignificance. What we endeavor to do is determined by which fear is the strongest.

“Children are a Blessing . . . “

Babies

My kids admiring my friend Heather’s new twins.

Heather was my go-to babysitter for years. One time she took care of 9 month-old Ada for several days when Claire was hospitalized with pneumonia. She’s a peach, I tell you, and these boys are plenty of work but lots more blessing!

I just thought you all might need a dose of cuteness this week!

Does This Social Networking Site Make Me Shallow? Or Better?

SocialOccasionally I start to tweet something and change my mind because of someone I’m “friends” with on Facebook and what they might think. I suddenly get the feeling that someone is peering through my front windows and judging my life. (I haven’t yet sent a tweet that gives me that kind of caution, in case you were already worried.)

But I wonder, does that make me shallow? I mean, shouldn’t I be the same person to my Tweeps and my Faces? What exactly am I hiding? Perhaps social networking has suddenly given us the ability to be one person instead of a fragmented mess of student, laborer, family member, etc. All of my roles that can remain separated by time or space come crashing together in a cyber reality. Sure, I can do a good amount of impression management from Facebook and Twitter, but I also put my “person” out there for ALL to see – and I wonder if some people see a person they never really knew?

OR – does Facebook make me a better person? Does the awareness of how many people are going to read my thoughts make me less likely to say something I would probably regret anyway? Could the Facebook me be the best version of myself? You now, right, that employers have been known to skip over candidates whose social networking profiles included compromising photos and commentary? Could putting my “best face forward” actually help me be a better person?

What do you think, Tweeps and Faces? Are we more, or less, ourselves in the age of social networking? Who really knows the REAL you?

Banana Bread Genius

When I think about poverty, pandemics, and orphans, I get overwhelmed. I want to do BIG things, like adopt a baby or build a school, but can’t even manage to send in that little card that says I promise to donate my coffee money for the month. If you are like me, I have a little story for you. I promise. You’ll feel better at the end.

Brazil

This picture is from Dan’s trip to Brazil two years ago. It was taken during a house church Bible study and Andrea Powell (the one smiling at the camera) was delivering the lesson. Marcondes is the man next to her; he was interpreting her words into Portuguese. Our church supports the University for Life in Brazil and Marc and his wife, Ruth (seated next to him), are some of our favorite people in the world!

Mission trips have the reputation for impacting us in the short-term but not always changing our long-term habits or decisions (there are exceptions to this – share them in comments!). Mrs. Powell is definitely the exception. Maybe it is because she was a missionary to China. Maybe because she comes from New Zealand (Are people nicer there? All the kiwi’s I know are fabulous!). Maybe it is because she fits into that category of Real Christian. I don’t know for sure, but you are going to love the genius of her idea to support missions.

Every week Mrs. Powell bakes banana bread mini loaves. She individually wraps them and puts them at the convenience store counter with a donation can that says: $1 buys a brick for the CBC gymnasium project. I personally contribute to this can at least once a week and use its existence as my excuse for NOT giving up carbs. (Yes, I know I could donate without taking one of those tasty little bricks, but I do not have that kind of will power.)

She’s been doing this for nearly two years. Every week. I figure if she bakes a dozen, and at least ten people pay a dollar each, then she’s making $40-50 a month for this program in Brazil. Amazing. And, really, it doesn’t sound that difficult – except for the consistency part! : )