Wednesday, November 30, 2005

If I wasn't getting paid for this. . .

A quick blog before I jump in the shower.

Writing has become a bit of an obsession, days in a row, I am lucky if I get a shower, leave the house or sleep more than a few hours. I know, I know, you would think I had a baby already and in many ways I guess I do. My poor husband cooks, cleans, doesn’t complain when I wake him up at 2 am when I finally come to bed only to thrash trying to get comfortable in my round pregnant body.
I really love what I do, but I definitely need to find some balance.
Now to get cleaned up and renter the human race.

I do want to thank Nate, Annika, Elisa, and my parents all of whom have volunteered there time and input to this work!
We’re not done yet but its really neat to see it all come together.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Its the little things that make life complete

Amazing friends all over the world.
Friends that you call only when you really need someone or friends you can just get coffee with and make fun of the world.
Old traditions with your family that make the holidays
Making new traditions with my husband
Discovering that home is where the people are
A chance to cook for my mom and give her a rest.
The sound of my dad’s voice on the phone planning the holiday festivities.
Being invited out to lunch by any one of my all time favorite men, my dad, my brother, or my husband.
Cuddling with my dog in the morning.
My baby kicking, reminding me how sweet life is and how much its about to change.
Amaryllis flowers reminding me that life can bloom even when the rest of the world is asleep.
Starting my morning praying for my husband and spending the evening basking in the glow of his confidence and answered prayer.
Being a spiritual being that resonates with prayer, music, laughter, all turning me back the God with delight.
The awareness that the only way to truly live is to give life and love at every opportunity
Friends that I can cry with and come to me when they’re hurting.
The understanding of how rich my life is, in the reality of those who have less I am released from the desire to want more.
The hope in tomorrow, for forgiveness and hope.
The gift of family.

Early Holiday Observations

Early holiday observations:

The only gift to get a man MUST be a Remington razor or Old Spice, this time of year it’s the only commercial on the air.

Commercials with doorbells should be banned. Dog owners of the world unite! The best way to get my dog into frenzy is for a fake doorbell, then she is as fierce as a bulldog (in reality she is an 7 lb Yorkie)

Holiday break means all the college kids come home and snag all the great spots at the coffee shops or they sit right next to you while your writing giggling, complaining about their roommates that never take out the trash. The worse part is trying to write something coherent when all you can hear over your shoulder is giggle, giggle, LIKE, I was SO mad and like, giggle, so I am sure, giggle, giggle, I can just imagine, Right? I mean, um yeah, giggle, giggle, I’m like HELLO shouldn’t there be flashing lights or something! Its so frightening to listen to b/c I am sure I must have sounded just like that, no never, I am sure I was to busy discussing Anthropological realities of the Dinka people right!?! Well now anyone who went to college with me knows I am lying.

Coffee definitely tastes better when it’s cold outside.

Christmas lights make you brave and warm against the constant darkness.

The thought of sending Christmas cards absolutely terrifies me.

Even though I swear I won’t go shopping on Black Friday I am being continually tempted by the deals I am hearing about.

No matter how many times I clean my kitchen this time of year I always seem to mess it up in the same day, I guess that’s what happens when your trying to bake like mom did.

On that note! I had no idea how many ingredients are needed to cook like mom! Shortening, baking soda, ground cloves, cornstarch my gracious!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Prayers for Africa

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." Ruth 1:16 & 17

My husbands country is now my country but the fragility of the situation becomes even more real when yesterday we put my father-in-law on a plane headed back to Chad after reading the following articles. Our prayers are with Abel and all the family.

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
November 15, 2005 Posted to the web November 15, 2005
Chadian authorities on Tuesday insisted they had the situation under control a day after attacks on military camps in and outside the capital, N'djamena, that left at least two of the gunmen dead and 15 under arrest.
"The city is calm. People have returned to work as normal," Communications Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor told IRIN from the capital.
In the early hours of Monday, a score of armed men in civilian dress attacked an army training centre about 25 kilometres south of N'djamena, while a dozen assailants staged an attack against the National Guard and Nomad Camp in the capital, the government announced Monday evening.
In the attack outside N'djamena government forces killed two men and detained four. "The rest were able to flee with some arms," the 14 November communique said.
Describing the attack in N'djamena, the communique said: "Twelve men, with the complicity of the national guard, tried to break into an arms depot and the chief of staff's office."
The government said it has been monitoring a group of would-be insurgents for some time.
"A network for recruiting combatants in N'djamena and in the south has been identified and has been monitored for several weeks," the statement said, adding that some involved are "well-known" by government security and information officials.
Doumgor said an investigation into Monday's attacks was underway.
Tensions have been high in Chad since scores of soldiers deserted their posts in N'djamena last month and fled east.
And days after the desertions, President Idriss Deby dissolved his presidential guard in a move some analysts said signalled a desperate bid to save his administration.
Deby - who seized power in a 1990 coup and was elected in 1996 and 2001 - has long faced dissension in the ranks of the armed forces.
The deserters now based in the east - who call themselves the Platform for National Change, Unity and Democracy (SCUD) - claim they number at least 700 and are demanding Deby's departure before they will enter into negotiations with the government.
Their self-proclaimed leader Yaya Dillo Djerou told IRIN on Tuesday that SCUD was not linked to Monday's attacks in and around the capital.
"We have no contact at all with them. These are not our soldiers," he said in a telephone interview.
In its statement, the government called Monday's attacks "a desperate and very limited act."
"The situation is totally under control," it added.
In past incidents of tension within the army, dissident soldiers in May 2004 staged a rebellion in N'djamena that was put down by loyalist forces. The mutineers, most of then from the Zaghawa people like Deby, said Chad was not doing enough to back the largely-Zaghawa rebels fighting the Sudanese government and allied militia in Darfur.
Last year, Deby accused neighbouring Sudan of backing a 3,000-strong rebel force operating at the border.
But Djerou, who is Zaghawa, told IRIN in a recent interview that ethnic questions played no part in the dissension within the army. He said the deserters were not linked to the Darfur rebel movements.

Senegal: Ex-Dictator of Chad Arrested
Human Rights Watch (Washington, DC)
PRESS RELEASENovember 15, 2005 Posted to the web November 16, 2005
Senegal today arrested the former Chadian dictator, Hissène Habré, on an international arrest warrant from Belgium for atrocities committed during his eight-year rule. The Senegalese government must now fulfill its international legal obligations to extradite Habré to face trial in Belgium, Human Rights Watch said.
This morning, Habré was arrested, taken to jail, then brought before a prosecutor to be questioned and then transferred to the penitentiary wing of a hospital in the Senegalese capital Dakar, where he has lived in exile since 1990. On September 19, a Belgian judge issued an international arrest warrant for Habré under Belgium's "universal jurisdiction" law, which allowed prosecution of the worst atrocities no matter where they were committed.
"Habré has been running away from his crimes and from his victims for fifteen years. Seeing him arrested and put in jail today, it looks like justice is finally catching up to him," said Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch, who coordinates the international efforts of the Chadian victim plaintiffs, and was at the courthouse in Dakar. "But Habré's arrest is just the first step. It's now up to Senegal to live up to its treaty obligations and extradite Habré to Belgium where he can answer the charges against him in a fair trial."
Extradition procedures in Senegal impose a series of tight deadlines following the arrest of a suspect. Within eight days, Habré must appear before the Indicting Chamber of the Court of Appeals in Dakar. If the court renders a favorable decision on the extradition request, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade will have one month to sign the extradition decree.
Habré took power in the former French colony of Chad in 1982 until 1990, when he was overthrown by the current president, Idriss Déby, and fled to Senegal. His rule was marked by permanent terror, serious human rights violations and widespread campaigns of violence against his own people. In 1992, the Chadian Ministry of Justice's Commission of Inquiry established by his successor accused Habré's government of 40,000 political killings and systematic torture.The United States and France supported Habré, seeing him as a bulwark against Libya's Mohamar el-Qaddafi. Under President Ronald Reagan, the United States gave covert CIA paramilitary support to help Habré take power.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hit by my own car!

It was just one of those days, rainy and cold as always I was probably doing too many things at once when I pulled into the drive way. Since our garage door opener still sits in the box on the floor warm and dry inside, I had to open it up myself. Imagine my surprise when I turned around to see my car moving towards me! Throwing myself onto my Solar to slow its momentum I was suddenly watching my car move into my garage on its own. Thankfully my driveway is slopped up, slowing the momentum and the extra weight of baby etc. . . all worked in my favor. I slipped across the hood of my wet car in time to steer the moving vehicle away from the walls. Unimpressed by my Dukes of Hazard move I quickly looked around to see if my neighbor’s were watching.

I can’t think of better incentive to install that garage door opener!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Living in the Burbs

You know you live in the suburbs when you have a baby gate for your dog.

You know you live in the suburbs when you buy a piece of furniture to hold the TV before you buy furniture to hold your clothes.

You know you live in the suburbs when you don’t think twice about picking up your dogs droppings on a walk. Or worse, that you worry what your neighbors will think if you don’t.

You know you live in the suburbs if you know your late to work because you can hear the school bus, or if you go to work early so that you won't get soaked by the automatic sprinkler system.

You know you live in the suburbs when you walk around your house holding your laptop to figure out which one of your neighbors has the strongest wi-fi signal.

You know you live in the suburbs when you wave at your neighbors every time you see them but have no idea what their names are.

You know you live in the suburbs when you get upset with Pottery Barn for stealing your home decorating ideas.

You know you live in the suburbs when you stop subscribing to InStyle and start subscribing to Parents Magazine.

You know you live in the suburbs, when you sigh contentedly every time you walk into Target.

You know you live in the suburbs when you and husband plot ways to get the garbage man to take your left over pumpkins, or any other oddities.

Got any others? I'd love to hear them.

The L Word

Had a date with my dad last night. That is the nice part of living so close, sometimes when our spouses are busy we get to treat ourselves. I think Nate and I don’t realize how lucky we are to have our family nearby. Anyway, my dad had a meeting of his leadership group from work, all engineers and all the stereotypes that apply so obviously he didn’t want to go alone. It cracks me up, is just seems to easy to pick on engineers b/c by and large everything is true.
The main speaker for the night was Tim Sanders, who was speaking on his new book “The Like Ability Factor” and I admit I immediately thought it was going to be very cheesy. Boy was I wrong. There is a reason this book has been a NY Times bestseller. Through amazing research this book explains how several factors of positive reaction improve brain power, leadership skills and are essential for the workforce of tomorrow. I was interested to learn that our generation believes that cash compensation is only the THIRD reason to stay at a job. Second is mobility the opportunity to move around and be constantly challenged and the number one reason we take or leave a job, the environment. Basically we don’t look for financial freedom we want the freedom not to “work for a jerk.” Here’s a brief clip from Tim’s online bio.
From 2001 to 2003, Tim Sanders served as the Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo!, delivering next-generation marketing programs to world class brands. He created and led Yahoo! ValueLab, an in-house “think tank” that can deliver innovative solutions to Yahoo!’s current and prospective clients. The ValueLab consulting team coordinates and leverages Yahoo’s resources to add value to clients’ growth strategies. Tim currently serves as Yahoo!’s Leadership Coach. He also advises business and public sector leaders on next generation strategies.
If you want to have a little fun take his assessment and find out how you rank, then take it a month later and see how you do. I took a TON away from this lecture last night but I was amazed to learn that most business people read .7 business books every 5 years! Compare that to Fortune 1000 business owners who read 5 books each year and it really is true, well-read people change the world!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Think Pink

Not long ago, I sat in a coffee shop minding my own business when a gaggle of young college students sat down within earshot. Any of you that have been in a coffee shop recently understand that suddenly an unwitting hostage to the groups discussion. Turns out, I had stumbled onto the local feminist organization at one of our states prestigious universities.
At first I was just curious, the group was about six or seven people strong, including a couple of young men, mostly freshman and sophomores. So as I casually attempted to read my New Yorker I became more and more drawn into the conversation going on beside me. Nothing outright negative or appalling was discussed since most of the young people were already of the same mind and so the meeting focused primarily on activism.
I have to admit I was also a little disappointed in their action plan, and it is here I should probably admit that I am do not consider myself a feminist. Even though I do appreciate the world that has been opened to me because of the work of early feminist’s such as my right to vote, own property and earn equal pay and responsibility with my male peers. However, thanks to my encounter with these aspiring feminists I had a major revelation as to why I have such a hard time embracing the role and ideals of the current movement.
As I listened to these young men and women strategize, I realized just how dumb it sounded to raise awareness on a college campus, filled with a generation of men and women that had grown up without much masculine oppression what so ever. It seemed to me that this nation and especially this age-group didn’t have much to complain about, let alone fight for.
In fact, it seems like feminism is one movement that may have served its purpose. Personally, I feel down-right selfish “fighting” against men, who never have mistreated me or stepped on my rights, especially when there are SO many other causes that need attention. I feel silly and selfish “fighting” for my rights, in the face of world-poverty, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and AIDS only to name a few.
I’ll also admit that if I had accidentally stumbled into this meeting of the minds and they were planning to send money to programs that rescue women from forced prostitution or slavery, I probably would have signed up on the spot. I would gladly give my time to an organization that is assisting women gain education and economic opportunities or educating women on AIDS or infant care.
But much to my chagrin this little band of brave men and women were planning a flyer campaign to change people’s perception of the color pink. Sigh, am I the only one who thinks this is a pitiful waste of time?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Art is just as much about input as output

Just read, The Covenant, by Naomi Ragen. Picked it up as I was looking for compelling covers (research) and then happened on it in the airport. I LOVE it. For a book to be good for me it MUST be written well. I am an auditory learner, so it has to sound real, authentic and almost musical for me to pull through it. I don’t have the luxury of being a very fast reader UNLESS the writer can capture these qualities.
Another great quality I love in literature is when the narrative teaches you history, or facts without you really knowing your learning. A great narrative teaches you while your lulled into the story and your don’t realize how much info your absorbing, one of the reason’s I LOVE using stories to teach. So much of the Bible capitalizes on this quality, there’s something very primitive about a good story that allows us to open up to facts or truths we may have no interest in on their own but we get caught up in the story of it all.
Anyway, I digress, Naomi Ragen captures SO much modern politics and history in her narrative it’s incredible. The heart of the story lies in Jerusalem and the current Palestinian, Jewish conflict but the character development humanizes every angle of the story, creating a page-turner that captures the heat of the moment and somehow balances itself, walking in the shoes of everyone involved. Oh, and I love the Yiddish grandmother’s that add so much color. If you have ever had a Jewish woman in your life (I do but quite by accident) then you’ll love this. The book also covers multiple bias that impact the Middle-East, bias of the press, historic bias, and many aspects of terrorism that have engulfed life as we know it. A great book-club read.

Just watched, Proof, with Anthony Hopkins and Gwenth Paltrow. What an amazing piece by Gwenth, she actually looks homely in this but you really feel for her. She starred in the play not too long ago in London and it shows. She’s had the time to hone the scene’s and become the character, its also fun to listen to a majority of the dialogue that was written for the stage. It’s tight, and bounces though the air so you can almost hear the space in the theatre, an amazing feet for cinema. Not the most compelling life drama but great if you want a thinker, or if the artist in you wants to get involved and critic some great performances.

Just watched, In Her Shoes, Cameron Diaz and a wonderful cast of others. Loved the book, but they are very long (all of Jennifer Weiner’s characters go through real life transformations that almost feel like real time) so it was fun to see them souped up for film. It was expertly cast and it feels like the screen writer shaped the adaptation to fit the women who would be playing the role. Good chick flick but especially good for sisters. My favorite Jennifer Weiner book is still Good in Bed if your shy like me you may want to cover the title when reading in public. The title comes from a magazine article the main character’s ex-boyfriend writes entitled “Loving a Large Women” forcing the character to come face to face with her life, size and sexuality, I think it captures what so many of us feel no matter what size you are.

Still reading, The Artist Way, Juilia Cameron A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. Amazing to me how so much of the creative process is spiritual, and yet this is not necessarily a Christian book. In fact I doubt many of us Christians think about our creativity in ways that are God glorifying, or that we should. In her text her “Creative Affirmations” hit me because they were all about my God and yet I don’t think I have ever heard these at church.

I am a channel for God’s creativity, and my work comes to good.
My reams come from God and God has the power to accomplish them.
As I create I listen, I will be led.
Creativity is the creator’s will for me.
My creativity heals myself and others.
I am allowed to nurture my artist.
Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish.
Through the use of my creativity, I serve God.
My creativity leads me to truth and love.
My creativity leads me to forgiveness and self-forgiveness.
There is a divine plan of goodness for me.
There is a divine plan of goodness for my work.
As I listen to my creativity I am lead to my creator.
I am willing to let God create through me.I am willing to learn and let myself create.

More to come on the Artist Way process.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Special Thanks to the Man of my Dreams

I am writing this from Washington DC and I am overcome with the generosity of my new husband. The man who LOVES to fly almost as much as he loves me, recently gave me a free ticket he'd accrued and sent me off to spend the weekend with one of my dearest friends. While I am here we're taking in a women's conference that looks like its going to be fabulous. After Eve,, is sponsored by Zondervan Books and Relevant Magazine and I would describe it as a women's conference for Generation X. Its incredibly inspiring to have all these amazing women around and to get out of my comfort zone. For Nate and I there is nothing more exhilarating than travel. It sinks into your bones and makes you want to live everyday to the fullest. This weekend is an amazing tribute to the generosity of my husband. I can't thank him enough for his love and support in my journey to becoming an author, wife and now mother.


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