Sunday, April 29, 2012

Marred Identity

". . . Abject misery is a level of daily suffering that boggles the human mind. When people have lived only in abject misery, they begin to operate from a marred identity. Marred identity is the internalization of external misery. People who have known nothing but the horrors of extreme poverty begin to believe that they actually deserve their devastating circumstances. They believe that the powers that be or the gods of fate have relegated them to this way of life and that there is nothing they or anybody else can do to change their lot in life. The more they wrestle with marred identity, the faster they sink into listlessness, lifelessness, and a form of hopelessness that is palpable for everyone who observes them."

This relationship between poverty and identity and psychological well-being speaks deeply to me because it so eloquently pin-points my motivation to know, serve, and love "the poor." This is why I go to pot-lucks. This is why I went to Uganda. This is why we may move to Ghana. Not to give people some food that will be gone tomorrow. Not just to give them material things that will rot away.

But to change their identities.

Traveling to Third World countries or going to the ghettos of America can turn a lot of people upside-down because of what they see and experience of poverty. A lot of us can't get back to where we were before.

When that happens, it helps us understand with greater clarity why, "when Jesus launched his ministry, he said that he and his followers were going to confront the structures and the systems and the people that work together in darkness of mind and spirit to keep those who are poor entangled in poverty."

One perspective of what Jesus could have been saying when he was on earth is, "We're going to announce some good news to those people who are very close to having a marred identity. And we're going to work until the sun goes down on this world's existence to let a certain group of people know that they are not forgotten, they are not damaged goods, they are not hopeless and they are not beyond the possibility of being loved by our great God and by his followers."

See, by the manner in which Jesus lived, he identified with the poor. He associated with them and hung out with them. "He healed those who had no recourse for medicine. He fed the hungry by the thousands. And he said to those with marred identities,

 'You're treasured creations of the Most High God.
I will redeem you and call you my own.'"

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fair trade

I added a list of Fair trade companies to my blog that I think are wonderful.

I encourage you to check these are and, if you're up for it, make an effort to buy gifts only from fair trade places like these. Well, as much as possible. (i know it doesn't make sense a lot of times)

I have been researching and trying to "buy fair trade" for several years now and it is slowly becoming more and more apart of my life.

I hope that in 20 years I'll be able to look around my material possessions and find almost all fair trade or hand-made-from-people-I-know, or recycled possessions. I really hope to be buying only fair trade, etc gifts for people one day too! But since I'm a big "gifter," I have a firm rule that I don't buy for people things that JULIETTE wants, but I buy what that person wants. Some people buy things that THEY like for someone else, and that annoys me. Unless of course I'm buying clothes for my husband. (in that case I have a firm belief that I should buy what I like on him since i'm the one who looks at him and he could care less)

Anyways, please refer to this list for Christmas, birthdays, Mother's days, etc! And let me know if you find other great companies!

Monday, April 9, 2012


the gardener

Even now I can feel him.
Hands buried in my heart,
reaching deep to upturn old, unwanted roots,
roots long hidden from the light, fooling me
of their power to grow and squelch the new life sprouting.
I grimace at all this sifting
now wedging dirt beneath his fingernails.
He, soiled with me,
plowing the dark forests of my hurt and shame,
and I scream, “go away,”
retreating to shadows amidst tangled roots.
But still he
to the muddled life cloaked in trees and clouds
but hacks at those stems that separate us
with the resurrected sun
and an emptied pocket full of seeds.

--Bethany Douglass

I just had to share this which deeply spoke to my heart this morning
on a dear friend's blog (which daily speaks to me.)

Monday, April 2, 2012


The front door to our new rent house we painted.
(And by we, I mean Adam)

This is the door to my new life.
New and incredibly wonderful.
I simply couldn't ask for more right now. Full, I am.
After an insanely overwhelming and busy and long season of life last year, I get to slow down.
I get to rest.
(Not that I'm really going THAT slow, but comparatively people. . . .)

Our garden

One of the highlights of my new life is this precious garden that Adam and I planted.

Hot peppers for this cajun girl, of course.

Even though Adam and I don't like tomatoes, we're giving it a shot because we just feel weird having a garden with no tomatoes. .

Cucumber of course!


Look at this wonderful fence Adam made.
My resourceful man noticed the abandoned lot next to our house had a fence falling down. . .and it just so happens that we needed a little fencing around our garden. . . so Adam put his plan into action, got an old saw from the tool house that came with our house (filled with lots of tools), hooked up a very long extension cord (thank you outdoor wedding), and literally sawed down the top half of a fence for at least an hour. (And I actually helped) Then he sawed it down even more and set it up around our garden! Now, our wonderful little pet can't disturb our produce!

Marigolds to help our veggies grow!
And to make me think of Meg.



(these herbs will be used daily.
Oh how I <3 fresh herbs.)


What the heeeelll is this, eh?
Oh just some poop we put in our garden.
Compost poop.
Been growin in for years and finally got to use it!

Compost bin, ready for more!
Here it is!

Here he is, people.
My new best friend.
go ahead and laugh.
Get it out.
Its true.
I own a basset hound.
Named "Bull," at that.
How did that happen to me?
I figured it out--surely this is what God had in mind when I vowed, " I will embrace troubled times, and count it joy to suffer with you". . . .or, "count it joy to suffer through a the presence of dog. Like this one."

2 things here:
1. my favorite man ever, put me up a wonderful clothes line and I feel like I'm in Uganda again.
2. Several of these shirts you see here I just got for free!
My friend, Becca, had a Clothes Swap party where we all brought clothes that we just don't need/want anymore, but are still in good condition (which is almost ALL of our closets, lets be honest.) And then we traded with other girls and got new-to-us items! Ingenious idea.

These are beautiful gifts left in our yard for us from the old man who lived in the house for many years. Roses everywhere!!!

The front of our house. . .landscaped. =)

My amazing mom came to our humble abode and helped us pick out and plant beautiful flowers to liven up the front of our ooooollllddd house.

Lovely flowers my mommy planted

These actually came with the house! How nice!

These, too, came with the house! Any idea what they're called?

2 things here:
1. more flowers my mom potted for me!
2. This pot is special to us because it belonged to a friend of ours, Mark, who was incarcerated back in July. He broke the law. He went to jail. And we love him still. A group of us helped him clean out his yard last spring before he had to go to jail. He had TONS of garden stuff because he was a master gardener. Let's just say, we got the hook up on lots of great garden stuff because of our dear friend mark! This pot was one of them and I'm honored to have it on my door step to remind me of our friends who sinned in a way that got them locked up, who are lonely, and probably at rock-bottom in prison. To remind me to think of them, pray for them, love them, and of course, write to them. =)

These are more mom got. They make me think of you, Mom, and my childhood.
I guess you planted lots of these or something.

love. love. love.
Big one here:
I don't know if you make out what this one is called, but it says "African Daisy." My mom bought this for us right after we told her we have an opportunity to move to Africa in a year that we are highly considering. This is a huge deal to me. I would have expected my mom to have seen this plant and ripped it to shreds then spitting on it after we told her the news. Instead, she bought it for me, planted it for me, and left the name tag up for all to see! Love that woman!

Don't these just look radiant and make you want to go to Africa?

I am oh, so grateful to Mr. Ward for all the rose bushes he left us around our house because every moment I look at these beautiful creations, I think of Mimi and Nanee. The roses of my life. The beauty of this rose hardly compares to the beauty you both radiated, and to me, this rose is beyond stunning.

And so, I have opened a door to a new life.
In a bright white house with a radiant red door.