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Monday, September 29, 2008

Another World Is Possible

Tonight, I had the pleasure and the honor of listening to Shane Claiborne speak about love, poverty, and Jesus. This is the same man that lit a fire under my butt in the summer of 07, and inspired me to take my love to the streets. I am an Ordinary Radical.

"You don't have to wait for a politician to change the world. Show the world the transforming power of Jesus Christ." -- Shane Claiborne

"November 4? What about November 3 or November 5? We vote everyday with our lives." -- Shane Claiborne

"It doesn't say 'for God so loved America" in the Bible...'" -- Shane Claiborne referencing John 3:16

Shane Claiborne

Shane's Books

Simple Way

Another World is Possible

Ordinary Radicals

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fire in the hole!

The moon was still out when we left the house this morning. "We," as in myself, Siebe and Molly, and "we" must have been crazy. "We" signed up for a Habitat for Humanity home build and "we" didn't know what "we" were getting ourselves into.

The three of us watched the sun come up as we drove north of Nashville to Timberwood, Habitat's current neighborhood development. We arrived, signed in, ate breakfast and waited for instruction. Likely, we would be painting, or caulking, or some other monotonous, yet satisfying task. Boy, were we wrong.

Among the ten houses in the development, there must have been at least 400 people on-site. Read: too many people. The three of us were left standing without an assignment, when a girl walks up and says, "I need seven people at a house up here on the hill." My hand shoots in the air as Siebe and Molly look at me trepidly. "That's us, let's go." I was ready for some action.

The seven of us crest the hill, and realize that we're not being led to a house...we're being led to a concrete pad. I look at Siebe, and she asks, "Mary Anna, what have you gotten us into?" Clearly, we are going to build a house today.

We're led to the concrete and the volunteer contractor (which I shall now refer to as "Bojangles" because he was such a tool) surveys his motley crew. I think he was expecting seven men, not women. He began to jabber about the "plan" and mentioned something about a .22 caliber ramshackle gun and lifting wood and such and I pretty much tuned all of it out--until he pointed at me and said, "how about you Mary Anne?" Uhhhh....

Siebe told me later that when he'd mentioned the word "gun," she automatically said "no way." But about ten minutes later, she and I were suiting up with tool belts, safety glasses, and big plastic ear mufflers. Some guy handed me a small box, and I opened it up and saw half-inch long bullet cartridges. Minutes later, I was given a handful of six-inch nails. And then, the gun. It was heavy.

We stood around waiting, dressed to the nines in our garb. It's too bad we forgot a camera, because we looked ridiculous. Bojangles and his partner with funky teeth walks up to us and shows us how to load our weapon. First, the nail, and then the cartridge. Pop it into place, and you'll hear it click as it's loaded. Then, we were instructed to yell "fire in the hole!" before shooting the gun, so that those around us weren't rendered deaf by the gun's charge.

It was about a half-an-hour later before they needed our services. I told Siebe I was so nervous that I had to poop. But alas, there was no time for that (and not that I would ever use a Porta-Potty anyway). "Ramsetter!" yelled Bojangles. I was up.

I bent over to the base of the wood frame that was held in place by six men. All of them watching me. Talk about performance anxiety. I put the barrel of the gun to the wood and wrapped my other hand over the top of the gun. Weakly I yelled, "fire in the hole!" I cautiously pulled the trigger.

The gun discharged loudly and the nail shot off the frame and hit Bojangles between the eyes. Ok, not really, but that would've made the story better, right? Truth be told, after that first shot, I started having fun. Well, sort of. I guess it's relative, as I can think of a thousand things I'd rather be doing.

Most of the day, Siebe, Molly and I stood around and waited. Waited, because Bojangles clearly had no idea what he was doing. Walls were installed backward. Measurements were off. Pieces of frame were broken. Occasionally, I'd hear "Ramsetter!" and one of us would step up to the plate. I got pretty good at it, and even mastered popping my shell out of the gun into the air like they do on tv. I know someone out there who will really be proud of me for wielding my gun like a pro.

While the three of us waited, we feasted on the scenery around us. Earlier in the day we'd spotted a rather attractive (a.k.a., so hot I had to wipe the drool off my chin) man that was on staff for Habitat. I don't think I can describe the level of hotness. And as the day wore on, and as he got sweatier and sweatier, I got hotter and hotter. It was nice to be around some testosterone today, even if I only got to admire its glow.

The majority of the frame was in place when we broke for lunch and Siebe and I noticed how shaky our hands were behaving. It was a struggle to get the fork to make it to my mouth. We were exhausted already. So, we left. It was time to call it quits for these girls.

I framed a house today and I'm pretty damn proud of it. But, I've retired my tool belt and don't intend to ever put one on again, thank you.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I've been walking around for the past month or so on the verge of tears. Every time someone asks me, "how are you" or "what's new," I would reply with a polite, "oh, I'm fine. Same 'ol, same 'ol." But my insides have been screaming the opposite.

Normally, I'm really good at hiding it. But in the past 48 hours, I've received an onslaught of emails and announcements about new babies, new marriages, and new houses. When I opened one this morning, I burst into tears at my desk at work. Why have I missed the boat, God???

The problem with crying at work and crying in public, or crying around others in general, is that you have to be quiet about it. So there I sat, in my cube on the main hallway in my department, with my back turned, a wadded up kleenex in one hand and a stack of papers in the other hand (so I could make it look like I was busy). But in cube land, no one leaves you alone and there is rarely any privacy. When someone sees you crying, they ask what's wrong and that makes me cry harder. And on this morning, my tears weren't neat tears...I was...blubbering. I don't know what came over me... oh ya... Loneliness. Fear. Desperation. Sadness. How am I supposed to explain that to any of my coworkers, and why would I want to anyway (with the exception of two or three)?

Yesterday, one of my manager's baby girl passed away. Her name was Molly and she was a Trisomy-18 baby, a condition that is not compatible with life. Molly lived for two months and now her parents are heartbroken without her. Read about it here and please pray for them. Since her mom delivered Molly, I've been asking God for two months why things like this happen. Molly's parents have spent every day for the past 60 days in the hospital by Molly's side. This sweet little girl has been hooked up to an IV or oxygen since birth. There are so many unloved children in this world, and here was one child born to two people that were elated about her--and now she's gone. Everyday, women end pregnancies or are bad parents to their children, and yet these two parents have had their daughter taken away from them.

Why do things like this happen? Why is Molly gone? Why am I alone without a husband and kids to love and why are my other single friends alone without a husbands and kids to love? It's not fair and it feels like such a waste.

I know my Creator and I know He is with me. But my heart is not joyful right now.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Sonseed. Now this?

No wonder non-Christians think Christians are idiots... I mean, I don't get this either. Since when did my Savior become synonymous with the moonwalk or the box-step-two-kickball-change? This has got to be a cult...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

All the Way

At the request of legendary Cubbie Ernie Banks, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, a Cubs fan himself, penned this song in honor of the 2008 season. Enjoy--or live with it--cause you're not gettin' much else but baseball from now through Halloween.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Onward October

Today's 5-4 win against the Cards sealed a Cubs 2008 NL Central playoff berth for the second year in a row. Except this year, we're actually going to do something with it. Clear your schedules, because October is coming soon.

Friday, September 19, 2008


My boss sent me home from work three hours early today. I think he was concerned that I would finally flip my lid after the two weeks I've had. He kept asking me, "Are you sure you're okay? Is there anything I can do to help?" Needless to say, between closing out our fiscal year, completing 150 marketing plans and budgets for our new fiscal year, corralling 150 managers at National Sales Meeting, and a Christmas banquet (yes, you heard right), I'm wiped.

I was happy to accept his offer.

Instead of going home, I drove over to Griffin Plaza Art Supply to purchase six tubes of Winsor & Newton watercolor with fabulous names like "Scarlet Lake" and "French Ultramarine" and "New Gamboge."

Why, you ask?

I had my first Water Media class at Watkins College of Art & Design on Wednesday night, and it was the highlight of my month. I only have five other classmates and a wonderfully weird teacher. We spent three hours discussing the type of hair on brushes (squirrel hair is preferred), the chemical makeup of paint (cobalt is poisonous), acrylics versus watercolors, the weight and press of watercolor paper, and the best places in town to shop for supplies. My inner dork came alive--I learned so much. I can't wait until next Wednesday night.

I'm really proud of myself for finally enrolling in an art class. It's been a long time coming. I used to regularly take art classes during my formative years, but I haven't done so since high school. I've missed it terribly.

Tomorrow, I will make a trip to Hickory Hollow to visit Jerry's Artarama to buy brushes.

Tonight, I'm going to dinner with Siebe and Aubrey. We're going to try a new place on our list of undiscovered restaurants. First-up, Rosario's Mexican Restaurant, where we'll do a little dining al fresco.

And, I leave you with this little nugget of J-O-Y, compliments of Amy-Jo, but really, compliments of the WWW. Sarah Scott, this one's for you:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


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Read the full story HERE.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Race, Sex & Politics...

...These are a few of my favorite things!

Last night during Sarah Palin's acceptance speech, I caught myself thinking more than once, "I am so voting for her for President." And then I got a reality check and realized that my vote for her would be a vote for a candidate I'm not particularly fond.

It's not that I don't agree with McCain on important issues--it's just that I don't like the guy. I find him incredibly boring and blase. And Cindy? I see vapid. Yawn.

Flip the coin, and you've got Obama, a very charismatic man. I love him. And, I disagree with him on some major issues. And his wife? I love her too. But who the hell is this old, white-haired Joe Biden guy???

For a while there, I thought Obama had it in the bag. McCain was dying a slow and painful political death until his announcement last Friday that Palin would be his running mate. With one strategic chess move, McCain yanked the nails out of his coffin and put himself back in this race.

Ladies and gentlemen, in one corner, we have an ancient balding white man with a woman as his running mate. And in the other corner, a black man with an old furry white man as his running mate. I love this country.

Not that I want to make it out to be all about race and sex, but you gotta be proud that our country is considering a black man to be its leader, and now considering a woman to be its co-leader. And just for kicks, let's have a little history lesson:

In 1787, eleven years after our country was founded, Jews, Quakers and Catholics were finally granted the right to vote. Well, it was actually 1828 before Jews got the right to vote in Maryland... In 1865, the 15th Amendment to the Constitution gave African-American's the right to vote. But it wasn't until the sixties that the Civil Rights movement began to make it safe for African-Americans to exercise their rights. And women? In America, the voting rights nationwide weren't granted until 1920 upon passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

All that to say that it's a pretty big deal that a black man and a woman are contenders in this election.

I haven't been this excited about a political battle since my John Kerry flip-flops arrived in the mail in September 2004. Maybe I'll dig them out of my closet for the new political season.


Forget the fact that I am responsible to help choose the next leader of the free world. Forget that the position of President should be chosen wisely. I'm just thrilled that the competition has been kicked up a notch. And what's even more fun? I don't know who I'm going to vote for yet.

Courtney (conservative) and Nathan (liberal) have been fighting over my vote at work. It's a nice place to be--the middle. I told them they should begin to lavish gifts upon me and then we could talk politics.

I am so proud to be an American during this historic election!

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