Chase Fireflies

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Integrity Asserted

If I have denied the desires of the poor
or let the eyes of the widow grow weary
if I have kept bread to myself,
not sharing it with the fatherless-
but from my youth I reared him as would a father,
and from my birth I guided the widow-
if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing,
or a needy man without a garment,
and his heart did not bless me
for warming him with the fleece from my sheep,
if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
knowing that I had influence in court,
then let my arm fall from the shoulder,
let it be broken off at the joint.
For I dreaded destruction for God,
and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.

-Job, on what we should all hope to attain for those in need


Gymboree Play and Music

So I’m delving into new territory here. After much prayer and seeking, God has provided a part-time job for me that will help meet some needs. I am in the process of becoming a Gymboree Play and Music Teacher.

Gymboree is a great early childhood development program that offers classes from infancy-5 years old. From an educator’s perspective, I have been very impressed with the quality of this program and the depth of training involved. Besides teaching kids, one of their primary focuses is equipping parents with knowledge about their child’s development and how they can equip and support their children – in order to provide a strong foundation for the rest of their children’s lives.

I am pretty excited that God opened up this avenue for us for a number of reasons:

1. I get to teach, which is one of my passions. I get to use my education.
2. I will have a consistent schedule of Mondays (9-12) and Saturdays (9-2).
3. The kids will be in good hands with Paul’s mom on Mondays and Paul on Saturdays.
4. Selah and Adden will get to attend any class for free. So I am thrilled for them because they’re going to love it! It’s like a little kids’ paradise in there!
5. They pay well for part time – $15/hr
6. It never feels like work when you’re doing what you love!

So, if you’ve got little tykes, you live close to a Gymboree center, and you can afford it, definitely check them out. It’s a great early childhood program!


No Small Life

Recently, the subject of living a life of purpose came up in a conversation that I was having with a friend. She just couldn’t see how her life was being lived for God when it seemed so ordinary and plain. This is someone who has seen suffering around the world firsthand and yet is living in the here and now of her life, just following God everyday, as best as she knows how. She was wondering how she is making any kind of difference whatsoever.

Her questions and concerns struck a nerve within me – like, I almost couldn’t respond to her without bursting out into tears myself. This is my heart. I also want, more than anything, to live a life of purpose. I want, more than anything, to change the world. I want to bring healing and hope and love and joy to a desperate, broken people. But you know what I do? I change diapers all day. I comfort a crying baby. I undercook cookie bars. I watch Elmo and Mr. Rogers. I play with singing caterpillars and disturbing little glowbug creatures. I read the same book at least 20 times a day. I clean toilets and wash dishes. I lose my patience. I cook chicken till it’s so tough that it’s hardly edible.

Looking at my everyday tells me that my life is small. It’s such a far cry from changing the world. But this is where God has placed me right now. My sphere of influence consists of my husband, my children, my extended family, and the people I come in contact with everyday – the grocery store clerk, the single mom living next door, the Starbucks lady (okay, so I wish I could see her everyday, but I’m trying with all my might to reduce my drive-thru brews.) By the way, is it fairly obvious that I think about coffee all day long? It’s got me reeled in, I tell you!

Anyway, God has asked me to be faithful in the here and now. I need to love my Jesus and my sphere of influence with everything that is in me. I can’t judge how effective my life is from my vantage point. My eyes are so not observant, my vision so small. I just have to trust that God is building something in these days that will be beautiful in the long term – that all of these seemingly meaningless tasks -the burnt oatmeal, the vacuuming, the scrubbing- and all of these days sitting on the floor and playing with baby dolls – are maybe not so little after all. When I live in God, for God, and because of God – than no thing in life lacks purpose, meaning, or substance. Somehow, God will love people to Himself and He will change the world, even with what I deem as a small life. And it would be really cool to see Him use Elmo, dry chicken, and potty training stories in the process.

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“A Church Wrecked For the Community Around Them..”.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview with a guy who has chosen to be homeless so that he can love the people around him to Jesus. I’m not advocating that we all go sell everything we have to live on the streets, but the article has some great things to say that hit home hard with me.

If there were one thing you could say to the world, what would it be?

Lets live like Jesus. Just live like Jesus. Jesus showed His love for us by giving up His life for us, hoping for the same from us. Our lives are consumed with time wasted, money blown, relationships ruined, all for the sake of the American Dream. The Church even seems to strive for this so-called Dream. Jesus reminded us not to store up treasures on earth. He believed in simplicity. He urged His disciples to give up everything for the sake of the gospel. He didn’t believe that the Church was a physical building, but that we are the Church. Wherever we are, God is. Jesus taught us that we are blessed from God to be a blessing. If we have “stuff,” it is to give it away. Jesus taught that there is so much more to life than food and clothing and shelter. And He said that when we decrease and downsize our lives, we are more able to bless others. He taught us to love; yet we so easily forget. I want to learn the way Jesus loved. Love is my mission statement.


My Brother

I’m not really sure what makes this cat tick. He is so unlike me that he’s – at times – a shock to my system. He’s fun, daring, adventurous, and carefree. He somehow lucked out and got all of the tech-y smarts, the “I can fix anything and everything” gene. He could fix your car, your dishwasher, and your ingrown toenail. He could masquerade as Emeril in your kitchen, your favorite Calculus professor, or your best friend that just makes you laugh so hard that you cry.

Sometimes my brother sends me over the edge. When he visits, he leaves a trail of stuff in his quake – dirty socks, a chess set, a painting, his army fatigues, remnants of all you can drink smoothies, a comforter set, oh yeah – anything. He stays up all hours of the night and snoozes till about 1 pm – just in time for the kids’ naps. (Maybe that’s intentional?) He leaves our bathroom sopping wet after every bathing use. I’m still not exactly sure what he does in there – it’s quite befuddling cause the shower never runs and he only ever wants a facecloth?????? I’m thinking that it has something to do with conserving water. Well, whatever he does apparently works – he doesn’t reek, so more power to him.

So why do I love him? I love him because he makes me go outside to the park, just to fly a kite for hours. I would never do that of my own accord. I would, instead, choose to do something completely boring and necessary like stain sticking the kids’ clothes.

I love that he and my grandfather (affectionately known as Boppie) are the best of buddies. My brother will trek in the door at 3am cause he and Bop will have been up under the guise of a Stooge marathon – when, in reality, my brother has been completing odd jobs around his home and listening to him relive the same old stories, with his characteristic uncanny attention to details.

I love him because he pushes me out of my comfort zone. Like the time we went climbing on one of those indoor walls. Instead of letting me down when I didn’t think I could make it up any further – that little twerp refused. And because his will is even stronger than mine (it’s tried and true, sound Ellsworth material) I climbed to the ceiling and discovered that I had the strength within myself after all.

So did I mention that I miss him? Dan has been studying in France for the last 7 months or so. And things just aren’t the same without him. We think about him constantly and wonder how he’s doing. We wish we were a little bit wealthier to journey out there and a little bit less encumbered with two little kids under the age of 2 ½. We hope he knows how much he is loved, whether he is experiencing a letter drought from us or not. And I guess that most of all, I pray that Selah and Adden will enjoy a brother/sister bond this good – no matter how much their personalities may differ or clash.

Dan – we think the world of you and we love you tons.



The Sports Gal, Kristin Style

On Monday, Paul and I kicked off his bday a tad early and caught Pitt pull an upset over Georgetown at the Pete. It was a blast – electric atmosphere with fans tuned in to every basket. The Zoo did Pitt proud as they vied for ESPN screen time and Pitt knocked off a 5th ranked team to prove that beating Duke wasn’t just a flukish happenstance.

Speaking of Duke and in an effort to provide full disclosure – I used to be a HUGE Duke fan. Oh yeah, with clippings of stats and “such” (that “such” may be more specifically referring to Christian Laettner) plastered all over my bedroom. For those of you who don’t know, I married a North Carolinan Tarheel – Duke’s number one rival. And we are still together – I guess, in part cause I switched allegiances. It’s a rather embarrassing admission, but it’s contributed to a very happy and healthy marriage:)

Anyway, Paul knows everything there is to know about basketball – every in and out there could possibly be. Though he would claim otherwise, he used to be a pretty jammin player, who could dunk and stuff. Whaaaaahhhhaaaa! After his days of playing were over (though Rob is ever so persistently working on changing this!), he coached high school guys and then girls basketball for years. (I still say those girls prepared him for me. Thank God for their hormonal crying fits!)

So Paul is like the basketball master and then there’s me. My expertise is, shall we say, limited. I can identify a travel, a charge, and a handful of other fouls, but I fall short concerning most everything else. If I were recapping our game for you, I would say that the freshman 45 guy was amazing, the little Ramone character (who is, in reality, probably not so little at all, though quite a character) kept throwing up the threes to find only the net, and the really huge 7 foot something man was really tall. Really tall, even from our seats.

I guess my point is this. I thank God for Paul for a number of reasons – here’s just two: his patience with my ineptitude (from bball knowledge to cooking to computer anything) and his love of sports (though thankfully he’s scaled down quite a bit and no longer gives credence to curling.) At first glance, the latter is such an insignificant trait to love – but for us – it’s a part of doing life together – just hanging out, having fun, screaming your head off, and getting all stressed out cause you’re really not sure if they’ve got this one or not. I wouldn’t trade these nights with Paul for anything. It seems absurd, but they mean everything to me – even if I hardly know what’s going on.