Saturday, February 28, 2009

End of Feb. list

I have a few minutes left in February, and one of my goals these past couple of weeks has been to write at least one more blog before the month ends, so here I go (and this might explain why I haven't written in a while). In the past week, I have set a few records. I have...

Directed 2 plays, performed 3 times each and rehearsed at least a gazillion times each.

Watched and enjoyed nearly 40 teenagers make audiences laugh with their one-act comedies.

Had over 9 hours of sleep on a school night (after said play performances).

Eaten Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets, chocolate cake, a brownie, a cookie, a muffin top, powdered sugared strawberries, and chips for lunch (the result of some very sugar filled cast parties).

Made an oh-so-yummy homemade chicken, broccoli, potato, and cheese soup. I'd tell you the recipe, but I didn't really use one in particular...and I'd have to kill you.

Moved Anna Karenina to my bedside table instead of the other room (meaning that I'm that much closer to mustering up the courage to read it).

Discovered Ten Thousand Villages. More on this later.

And this evening might bring yet another record: snow for the first time all year! Of course, it does help my odds that I'm in Chattanooga this weekend since it actually gets cold up here.

Who knew the shortest month could be so eventful? Apparently I did.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Diamond in the Ruff: Ruffner Mountain

This year for Valentine's day, Phil and I went hiking at Ruffner Mountain, one of the most overlooked natural wonders of Birmingham. I have lived here for nearly a decade and had never been to this over 1000-acre urban nature center--shame on me! In fact, next to Central Park, Birmingham has the largest urban park in the country because Ruffner falls within city limits. And it's only about 10 minutes from downtown--much closer for most than any other outdoor adventure.

There are several easy-to-moderate hiking trails, including a five mile hike and short hike up to a lookout where we absorbed a beautiful view of the city as well as a peek into our city's mining history with the quarries. It's the perfect place to take a lunch and spend an afternoon outside, and we'll definitely be returning! The best part? It's free!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gobena Coffee

I was reading on one of my favorite websites for orphans,, and came across a coffee company that gives 100% of its proceeds to orphan children world wide. According to their website, "Gobena Coffee offers fresh-roasted, organic, shade-grown gourmet coffee delivered right to your door. Gobena Cofffee founder's adopted child was saved by an Ethiopian man named Gobena. He had found the baby girl abandoned in a yard near his home. His act inspired them to start a coffee company where 100% of the net profits are reinvested in the lives of orphan children throughout the world. Each time you purchase a bag of coffee, you are providing hope and life to children who do not have parents caring for them. To learn more, visit:"

While their prices may be a little higher, it's a win-win: you have gourmet, organic coffee and (more importantly) orphans around the world are given much needed aid. I know of very few organizations where 100% of the proceeds go toward a charity, which makes this one outstanding. Whether or not you like coffee or are broken over orphans, this is an easy way to help change the face of a growing global problem one cup of coffee at a time.

Lessons from Colgate

Some writers find their inspiration in coffee shops or nature, but this morning, I found it in the simple act of brushing my teeth. Kudos to Colgate...or to my brain that can't seem to rest. As I scrubbed away at my teeth, I began to wonder: when was the toothbrush invented? What did people do to clean their teeth before then? Did they clean their teeth before then? If people back in Bible times lived hundreds of years but didn't have proper dental hygiene, were they all suffering with rotten teeth by age 20?

In the cafeteria of my mind, the tray moved to another astounding thought: God created the world and everything in it, but didn't necessarily explain it all to Adam and Eve. As far as I know, God didn't sit down with the two of them and explain the biology of each animal or the play-by-play of mating. Instead, he gave creation (including their very lives) to Adam and Eve and allowed them to discover its intricacies.

If I had a teenage child and gave him a cell phone and then proceeded to explain every function and whistle, I would rob my child of the joy of discovery. Instead, the teenager would much prefer a little preliminary guidance and then be left to discover its features. As a parent, it would be a joy to see my child enjoy and learn about a gift I had given. Similarly, God delights in watching us learn freshly about His creation and His character. Whether it's inventing the toothbrush or teaching a drama class, we are in a constant process of discovery--a gift given to us to be a joy and not a frustration.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Live Ready

I stole this from another blog, but thought it was worth repeating:

A radio clip, with Chuck Swindoll in his southern baritone, said something to the effect, (and he said it far better), that no one warns which days will forever change our lives. No one wakes us that morning and says, "This day will require you have an unwavering trust in the sovereignty of God. This day you'll need to be prepared with all truth."

There is no one sounding the alarm before the storm descends.

We have to live ready.

I took a crisis counseling class this past summer, and we talked about how the Bible says two things about crises: 1)that they will happen and 2)that God is sovereign. In one of the books we read, the author encouraged all those who are not currently experiencing a crisis to "shore up resources" now so that when those moments come (and they will), we will have something to draw from. It is reminders like these that encourage me to delve into scripture, to memorize it, wrestle with truths, write, study, and learn all I can about God so that when difficulties arise, Truth is automatic. We have to live ready.