on why i am not a good blogger, and maybe never will be

{current time: 15:53:37}

something really strange happened yesterday. i’ve been feeling like it’s about time to post something on my blog, mostly because i’ve heard that if you don’t post regular content, you lose – or just don’t really gain – your readership. makes sense.

problem was, i didn’t really have any ideas…and i was feeling a little wound up and snarky, which isn’t really my favorite time to try writing anything, whether an email or a status update. i hate complaining in cyberspace because after the moment has passed, i feel like an idiot for whining about whatever dumb thing was bothering me at the time.

i came up with a brilliant idea: channel my general annoyance of the day into a sassy, tongue-in-cheek kind of post. it sounded like a win-win, really, where i could vent a little bit and keep the snarkiness focused on something general instead of becoming pointed at anything personal.

found my topic, which sounded pretty innocuous, and scribbled some thoughts. was about to hit publish when the phone rang, which lead to another project, leaving the draft to cool its heels in the purgatory of the “unpublished internet.” later in the afternoon, i remembered something i forgot to add and opened it up again. quick edit, placing the final picture, and, wouldn’t you know it, as i’m moving the arrow to click publish for a second time, the power in the building goes out and the wifi is rendered useless. how annoying!

third time’s a charm, they say. so i head over to the coffee shop, finish up a couple of emails, and set to work getting my post tweaked a bit again. i kid you not – the internet goes down. i give up and go home. this is ridiculous.

this morning before i rolled out of bed, i ticked through my mental checklist of things to accomplish today and remembered that the blasted blog still wasn’t up. funny thing is…i was relieved. sometime between yesterday evening and waking up today, my annoyance at everything dissipated, along with my desire for spewing more sarcasm and complaining all over the cyber world. or my blog. or my life, just in general.

i enjoy writing and exploring ideas and notions and interacting about them. i like sharing things with people. i thought that blogging was a no brainer for me, that i just needed to sit down and crank things out and it would be easy. but it’s not easy. and the more i think about it, the more hesitant i am to want to just throw whatever words come to mind out for the world to see. even less desirable is the idea of putting both negative and unproductive words out there. a legitimate essay railing against human trafficking and a call to action is one thing; sharing the top ten cliche quotes that i can’t stand {my brilliant idea that never got posted!} is something different…and that’s not even terribly negative on the grand scale of encouraging {or not} talk.

anyway, i digress. main point: blogging – as i thought of it, and as i thought i wanted to do it – is not actually my thing. i started timing myself on how long it takes to write a post, and i’m not impressed at the moment…especially since i know that i really, really want to just scrap everything here and start over. but i don’t have time for that, and it probably wouldn’t make it that much better. so i’ve got some ideas to help make it better…

  • pick a topic and make a little outline before writing a post…and don’t do it all in the same sitting;
  • set a timer so i don’t waste time looking for the perfect word/story/illustration/connection;
  • get a better idea of what i even want to do this {keep up with a blog} for…what is my focus? what is my purpose in writing these posts?

so, here’s to a bloggy reboot. i want it to be better, and useful, and interesting…but i don’t really know what for yet. if you’ve read a few different posts on here, you tell me: what would you read more of? i don’t really need a digital public diary, so if this is completely pointless, then i’ll just shut it down or find a new use. i don’t have time to waste!

please, dear reader, tell me your opinions. even if we haven’t met, i’ll still take your thoughts into consideration. feel free to leave a comment or send an email, and i’ll definitely reply.

{current time: 16:39:24}

guest post :: a heart full of love for costa rica

welcome back to #aspinoftheglobe blog series with Praying Pelican! here’s a peek at what Anna Morgan has discovered during her trips in Costa Rica. she’s not the same…and you won’t be either when you check it out for yourself! and visit her over at www.famjammissions.com.

Costa Rica… Oh, my heart is getting more and more wrapped up in this beautiful country. It’s filled with awesome wildlife, breath-taking landscapes, and adventure around every turn. BUT the people… oh, the people. They are extraordinary. Your heart will be forever changed and engaged in Costa Rica because of the people. Missions in Costa Rica is all about the people, their stories, and their extraordinary hearts.

Missions in Costa Rica is about loving on cute faces like these. Who wouldn’t want to get dirt all over them playing soccer with these twins? They have your attention from the moment you look at their sweet eyes. Missions here is about walking around with a cute kid attached to your leg… begging for more play time!

Missions in Costa Rica is watching transformation take place in the eyes and lives of teenage girls. It’s about seeing the callousness that comes with fending for yourself and working hard since you could walk… softening into laughter after they see you really do love and care for them. It’s about sitting down and telling them about the love that Jesus offers them, and seeing hope blossom in them. It’s putting down your walls so that they’ll put theirs down, and with anxious expectancy, as you leave they embrace you and tell you they loved having you with them.

Missions in Costa Rica is sharing the love of Jesus with women. It’s meeting women, hardened by hard work, caring for a family, rejection, poverty, _______ (fill in the blank), and telling them that they have a Savior who loves them with no limits or conditions. It’s seeing them smile and laugh with other women… and telling you they haven’t laughed like that in a long time. It’s sitting with them while they attempt to teach you how to make beautiful bead jewelry and laugh at you while you fail miserably. It’s telling them about the amazing hope they have in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus… and putting that hope in their hands.

It’s sitting with the women and listening to their story of heartbreak, abandonment, and struggle. It’s encouraging them and crying with them. It’s washing the feet of wonderful mommas that have walked to gather food and water for their families. It’s about rejoicing over a delicious meal and about celebrating great things in life.

Missions in Costa Rica is coming alongside the men and giving your all to complete a project. It’s sweating, exhausting yourself, getting disgusting, getting bit by strange bugs, and going farther than you ever thought your body could handle in efforts to accomplish a task. It’s going 110% because the men of Costa Rica are going 150%.  

It’s getting to know the men of the churches and their faithfulness to Jesus. It’s learning that a man has built all the houses in his village by hand, provides and loves his family, and rises before the sun each morning to study the Word of God. It’s seeing their determination and dedication, ensuring that their sons grow to be men of God… loving those around them and knowing the same Jesus they serve.

It’s completing the seemingly impossible tasks, despite language barriers, and forming a brotherhood with men of a different culture.

Missions in Costa Rica is partnering with pastors who are pouring their lives out for the sake of the Gospel. It’s supporting their cause and vision in bringing their community/village to the saving knowledge of Jesus! It’s encouraging them, empowering them, and praying that they continue living as world-changers.

Missions in Costa Rica is about the people. No matter what city, pastor, or group of people you are serving with, the people are beyond extraordinary and worth the adventure!

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

Psalm 96:3

A Spin of the Globe is a series compiled by Praying Pelican Missions Mission Coordinators and Advocates. Within our individual blogging, most readers only get a narrow glimpse of PPM and our world-wide ministry. Between us bloggers, we realized we never speak much to countries we don’t have experience in – so we are Spinning the Globe. We hope through this series, you can experience another country within (and even outside) the world of PPM and get a taste for ministry that is unique and powerful, in every location. We pray you are blessed. For more details about all of our domestic and international locations, go here: http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/mission-trip-locations

a glimpse into the heart of Belizean ministry

clowns-mimes-etc

it’s time for another guest post and series with my fellow pelicans! this ones comes to you straight from Belize, the country where it all began for praying pelican missions. Josh & Amy Edmonds are our first full time missionaries in Belize and have been true trailblazers in partnering with our Belizean pastors and communities to expand the real ministry that takes place on a daily basis. here, Josh shares what it was like to be part of a dynamic and incredibly impacting children’s ministry training this past fall. make sure you check out the Edmonds Adventure blog, and don’t forget to check your calendar to see when you can join them on a mission trip to Belize!

Thank you for praying! Thank you for petitioning the Lord, interceding on behalf of Pastor Ed, Koinonia Oasis Ministries.  Thank you for praying on behalf of the kids of Belize.

Amy and I got to participate in Children’s Ministry training this weekend.  Here are the stats:

  • 3 countries represented: Mexico, Belize, El Salvador
  • 63 churches
  • 160 participants
  • Over 7000 kids represented

It was a HUGE blessing to be part of a group of people willing to do whatever it takes, to PROUDLY act like a FOOL for GOD, to draw children to Jesus.

We were not without attack from the Enemy.  Spiritual Warfare was alive and well.

  • Pastor Ed’s wife, Dyna, and son Jonathan were very ill the whole weekend
  • One of Pastor Ed’s teachers was ill was well.
  • Pastor Ed himself was sick
  • The only means of transportation, Pastor Ed’s van, was down for the whole training

Yes Satan and his demons were on the move against what the Lord was doing with these FOOLS FOR CHRIST.  But the thing about God is that Our God is Great, Our God is Stronger and He prevailed.  He has the victory and He had the Victory this past weekend!

Saturday and Sunday was filled with instruction, practices, really a practicum of sorts.  During the last session on Sunday afternoon, we all dressed as either a mime or clown or had our puppets and marched through the streets of a village to the local park.  It was something out of a movie as you saw clowns and mimes coming from each direction through the streets, descending on the basketball court in the center of the park.

Then we sang songs, danced dances, did skits, did tricks, and shared Jesus with about 50 kids plus parents.

At the end of the time we offered an invitation and 6 kids from the village, 6 kids who peeped out of their windows to see people acting like fools for God, 6 curious kids, prayed to receive CHRIST!! God is so good!

Thank you for praying!  Thank you for being part of those children meeting the Lord!  Thank you for loving us!  Here are some pictures from the weekend!

Rob came to deliver the key note address to the training. I am so blessed to have him as a boss!

Some of the kids listening to the stories

Some of the kids listening to the stories

more pictures of the kids

more pictures of the kids

Everyone all dressed up and ready to go!

Everyone all dressed up and ready to go!

with two of Pastor Ed's team

Josh with two of Pastor Ed’s team

A powerful family for God!

A powerful family for God!

The kids were great on Sunday. They played all morning with scrap wood and coke bottle caps

The kids were great on Sunday. They played all morning with scrap wood and coke bottle caps

I LOVE the concentration

I LOVE the concentration

Here they come.  It's like Field of Dreams

Here they come. It’s like Field of Dreams

Everyone before we dressed up

Everyone before we dressed up

A great show!

A great show!

 

A Spin of the Globe is a series compiled by Praying Pelican Missions Mission Coordinators and Advocates. Within our individual blogging, most readers only get a narrow glimpse of PPM and our world-wide ministry. Between us bloggers, we realized we never speak much to countries we don’t have experience in – so we are Spinning the Globe. We hope through this series, you can experience another country within (and even outside) the world of PPM and get a taste for ministry that is unique and powerful, in every location. We pray you are blessed. For more details about all of our domestic and international locations, go here.

how to lose {spectacularly} like a champ.

CC courtesy of Adam Hilliker {http://flic.kr/p/86RBXE}

confession: i don’t watch a lot of football. before the “big game” last night, i doubt i had watched a cumulative full game over this season. i just don’t have a team to follow {what? i live in minnesota so i should love the vikings? SKOL no…have you seen them lately? i need something to believe in.} and, yeah, i just don’t care that much. but after watching bits and pieces of the seattle/san francisco game last week, and hearing how good the broncos were looking in the post season, this was bound to be a great match! could be close! definitely want to watch it all!

and i did watch almost all of it, but for a different reason: it was the spectacularly awful car wreck you can’t bear to look away from.

the seahawks played a solid, nearly flawless game. the broncos…not so much.

i don’t pretend to understand what happened to the broncos last night, and, honestly, i don’t care. things went from a rough start to an amazing potential comeback story to a tragic loss. there are so many particular things that could have caused this phenom team to stumble, on the world stage, where an estimated 1 in every 4 or 5 people were watching. at the end of the game, the only thing that matters is that they lost. spectacularly.

or is it?

i love cheering on an underdog. the tension, the willing suspension of disbelief that there’s no hope, the breathless anticipation in the action where you know that anything could really happen. hollywood has taught us that the underdog will pull through, win the day, and live happily ever after…or it’s just a tragedy.

even though my life has been pretty good, if i give it a hard look, i definitely see more times when i failed than when i succeeded. more often than not, i am the underdog that comes up short, that doesn’t make big save and turn things around, whether it’s measured against externally or internally imposed criteria. failure is a defining factor in my life. how’s that for positive self-talk?

where do we get the idea that we should succeed the first time at anything and everything we try? insert any motivational poster about success found in failure here, like this one:

CC courtesy of symphony of love {http://flic.kr/p/igoPpc}

CC courtesy of symphony of love {http://flic.kr/p/igoPpc}

it’s taken a lot of failure opportunities in my life to get to the place where it’s truly better to try and maybe fail than to hang back and wait for guaranteed success. and, ever so slowly, i’ve learned how to embrace the inevitable missteps and not-quite-realized goals that litter the landscape of my life and see them for the positive character-building trials they are. when you see setbacks and skirmishes along the way to victory as mile markers instead of insurmountable challenges, you can see all your hard work for what it is: progress. even if you’re not there yet, you’re on your way. and that is worth celebrating.

to the broncos i would say: you know you blew it. but don’t forget that you made it there, and that you can do it again. don’t let this failure define you, as a team or as individuals. let it be a mile marker on the road to greater success, in football and in life. your story is not complete.

to you i would say: when you blow it, know that you know that you know it’s okay. it’s okay! let it be a mile marker. see how much you can accomplish between this one and the next…because there will be another one.

to myself i do say: don’t let this reminder be only for others. you take it to heart, too.

what’s your reaction to the outcome of SB48? what do you do when you fail? what’s your best advice for those who fail?

when 3 stars out of 10 isn’t a total fail

http://www.benekeith.com/images/food/skirt-steak-fajitas1.jpg

oh, this year. this is the year! the year of…austerity.

we’re cutting our spending. we’re amping up our savings. we’re getting significantly closer to that glorious, shining horizon of debt-free living! thanks to spending lots of useful time around one of my favorite blogs, and then we saved, 2014 is the year of austerity. if germany can do it, we can sure give it a try!

there are so many things wrapped up in how we spend {or don’t spend, or try not to, or wish we could} money, aren’t there? i’ve realized that, for some unknown reason, when i’m feeling starved to spend money on something, anything, even picking up some garbage bags and air freshener at target feels luxurious. it’s embarrassing, but it’s true. i hate it, and i’m ready to change it.

let’s do this!

one of the tricky parts of not spending money when you don’t need to is the fact that you realize what a waste of money it is to eat out, so you try to cook more often. good idea, right? not when you don’t really have great experience making a grocery budget stretch, or planning far enough ahead to actually have things on hand to make a meal that doesn’t suck. but, this is the year…the year of austerity. we will suffer together and make it work!

we’ll kind of suffer together, that is. i hate making food that my husband doesn’t like. it used to upset me when he’d say that a meal was “good,” or “fine,” instead of “great!” as if i’m actually a chef. when you decide saving money is more important than eating exactly what you want every meal, you’re willing to put together interesting combinations, like…

* “kitchen sink” fajitas *

1 little chicken breast cut into little pieces + 3 stoplight peppers halfway to wrinklesville + thrown together spices for seasoning + freezer-burned tortillas still slightly cold in the middle + leftover brown rice and black beans {only for me} + plain greek yogurt {sour cream sub} + shredded mozzarella

supplement with a handful of tortilla chip shards from the bottom of the bag and chunky mango salsa {easily the best part of the meal}.

i started asking him to give me honest ratings of meals, because i need to know! and he is pretty honest. i watched him out of the corner of my eye as we were eating, and i had my guess of how many stars he’d rate.

“okay, tell me for real. scale of 1-10: how satisfying was that?” {note: the question isn’t “how good?”, it’s “how satisfying?” the low bar is set.} he kind of grimaces a little bit, probably because he knows how much it could hurt my feelings. i’m ready for it.

“mmm…i’ll go with 5 stars tonight. i mean, the chicken and peppers tasted good. the rest, not so much.”

i look at him and raise my eyebrows. “really? 5? are you sure it’s that high? i would have guessed a 3…”

he laughs a little, shakes his head, and says, “yeah, i guess i really would say 3. but i appreciate the effort all the same.”

3 out of 10 stars. that is 30%. that is a total fail by any standards. but, you know what? for one of the first times in my life, i’m totally okay with a fail in one area if it will help me succeed in another. we’re fortunate that we have food that’s both nutritious and edible, and we saved $10 by not going to subway for $5 footlongs.

i was just looking to save money this year and change some financial habits, but it’s looking like there will be a bit more in store than that…break some perfectionist tendencies, let go of some pride, and stop pretending that i could be a foodie if i wanted to be. because, let’s face it…you just can’t do mozzarella on “mexican” fajitas.