Thursday, March 31, 2011

Step Two: Speak Up

It's not too late to join Melissa Taylor's online Bible study of my book It's No Secret. And it's not too late to sign up for the optional conference calls. Just click here for details. 

You'll find out next week just how much I appreciate the writings of C.S. Lewis. So I had to buy, as a Christmas present for myself, a copy of the C.S. Lewis Bible when it was released last fall. When it arrived, I gave it permanent residence on my treadmill.

By the way, it's not a study Bible; it has the full text of the Bible with some of Lewis' quotes strewn throughout.

If I walk at a slow pace (somewhere like 2.5- 3.2) I can read on the treadmill, and I tend to walk for longer periods of time that way.  But if I go faster than that, the words "jump" around too much - so after reading a while I'll switch from reading to listening to music on my iPod and pick up the pace. All you Made to Cravers, you can do your quiet time and your exercise at the same time!

At the turn of the year I read through Genesis for a sermon series our church was planning. Then I continued on into Exodus and Leviticus in my C.S. Lewis Bible. I'd read Leviticus before, but it had been a while.

Around chapter 11 all the comments about how perfect the sacrificial animals had to be started jumping out to me. I already knew that they were to sacrifice the best animals to the Lord. I knew that full well.  I had no problems with that - I want to give God my best!

A day or two later I'm walking again and reading up through Leviticus 21. That's where I was thrown off ...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Step One: Show Up

In the introduction to It's No Secret (page 20) I admitted my frustration at often feeling I couldn't track with the Bible. I couldn't seem to "get" whatever other people seemed to get out of reading it. I'd read it, kind of haphazardly, and run into things I just didn't understand. Anybody else out there relate?

Sometimes I felt I understood the verses well enough, but found their message wholly unsettling. In fact, there were things I read about God - especially in the Old Testament - that contradicted what I believed about Him and His ways. That'll mess with a Jesus girl's head!  This ever happened to you?

Enough times of feeling perplexed, bored, or unsettled - combined with a busy life and many great (or not so great) things calling for my attention - and I'd give up on Bible reading. For long stretches of time.  I still encountered the Word in church or in Christian books, but my own Bible gathered dust.

Finally, I decided to take God at His Word when He said that I as His disciple have been permitted to understand His teachings. I made up my mind to believe Him when He stated that His Word would not return to Him void - that it would accomplish His purposes (Isa 55:11). I bought a study Bible and gave it permanent residence on my kitchen table.

I'd read it for 5 minutes while I ate breakfast. I'd read while I sat there waiting for my then-homeschooled kids to complete a workbook page. I'd read it during my afternoon I-just-need-some-iced-tea-right-now moments. In little snippets of time here and there, I'd read it.

There are lots of Bible reading plans out there one can follow. You can read one chapter of Proverbs a day for a month. You can read through the Bible chronologically. You can do a book study. But I didn't have any grand plan for studying it other than to obediently show up and read something. However, before I would began I'd pray for God to illuminate the scriptures and to help me understand Him.

If I didn't understand something despite that prayer, I'd look in the study notes on the page. If I still didn't get it, I didn't sweat it. I chose to believe in faith that the time spent reading was not wasted time - regardless of whether or not I "got it." And to believe that anything that seemed contradictory was simply due to a temporary lack of understanding on my part. I showed up with faith the next day and read again anyway.

You do know that God honors faith, right? In fact, He says it pleases Him (Heb 11:6). I'm all about crafting a life that's pleasing to God. (You might want to look up that verse and write it in your INS notebook!)

Soon I learned to flip back and read the whole passage or the whole chapter the perplexing part was in to catch important details or story set-ups. Or even to to back all the way up to the beginning of the book, and to read the study Bible's introduction of the book for the context of who wrote it, to whom and why.

Over time I'd read enough sections that pieces started fitting together. Something I didn't understand last month suddenly made sense now that I'd read this part today. Lights would go on. Connections were made.

More and more was making sense!

Again, I didn't spend hours of time at this. I had little kids at home. Plus, I have an open floor plan in my home (translation: not a lot of quiet spots to study in.) I also had a part-time job.

I didn't use commentaries and I hadn't yet discovered the wonder of websites like biblegateway or crosswalk.  It was just me, Jesus and my study Bible at the kitchen table.

And just showing up off and on during my week days worked. Jesus showed up too, with divine salve to anoint my eyes for the task.

I've since learned to read footnotes, follow cross reference numbers, and use my concordance. But I learned all of that by myself in my kitchen over mugs of coffee with cream.  Among Cheerios and crumbs.  With Dora the Explorer playing in the back ground. (I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map ...)

Now that my children are in school I have more space and time to read and study. I have multiple Bibles and commentaries. And I meet weekly with my pastor and a few other people to talk about scripture.  But it all drives back to just learning to show up and spend some time with God in the Word.

I still have I-don't-understand-this-part moments. *In fact I'll tell you about a recent one in the next post when I give you step two.  But I've found that the very first step to becoming a woman who loves God's Word is just to SHOW UP and read it with faith that He will supply understanding.

Choose to assume that any confusion is only temporary - because God never hides truth from sincere seekers!

"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you." Matt. 7:7 (NLT)

I trust this post will help someone out there decide to just show up and read in faith.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Show Up

It's a "no brainer" and yet it is one we often forget. To create, grow, or nurture a relationship, we have to show up for it. We have to put in the time.  Make the connection.  Put forth some effort.  Reciprocate.

The same is true of our relationship with Christ.

Oh don't get me wrong - God is the initiator. Always, ever the initiator. He calls. He woos. He first loves us. But we respond. And the more we respond, the deeper the relationship goes. (Matthew 13:11-13).

That's why I'm so excited that so many of you - over 800 that I know of - have chosen to show up, spending the next 6 weeks studying God's Word through the online Bible study of my book It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know. I'm even more thrilled that we can do this together.

If you haven't heard about the study, consider this your personal invitation to show up for it!

Side Note: Apparently so many orders for It's No Secret came through Amazon last week that they are currently saying it will be 1 to 3 weeks before they're able to ship new orders out.  If you haven't bought your copy yet, click the books tab at the top of my blog for a list of stores that carry it. Or check your local bookstores. Or order an electronic copy from Amazon and you can download it instantly to your computer, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android ... you can also get it for your Nook. 

Better yet, order a copy from Proverbs 31 Ministries (the proceeds go to the non-profit) and I'll sign it for you before we mail it to your door.  And in the meantime, on my "books" page you'll find a link to read the intro and first chapter free so you can get started with us.

The beauty of an online study is its flexibility. While our hostess Melissa is setting forth a weekly reading plan, you can move at your own pace. You're not going to be late to any meetings. Plus you don't have to go out in the cold or the dark to gather. (I hear many experienced a late spring snowfall this week!)  You'll get to meet women from around the world, and you can do it in your pajamas and slippers if you want. Do you smell like the baby's spit up?  We don't mind - we can't smell it!

While all this flexibility is a great thing, I do want to urge you to show up consistently and stay with this. Commit to making the effort for the next six weeks. Arrange your life to see this study through.  Think about where and when you'll do your reading. Set yourself up with a bookmark, a notebook and your favorite writing instrument. (I'm partial to #2 pencils.) Consider blogging about what you're learning - I'll be hosting a link-up carnival here each Friday so we can meet each other and share insights - I look forward to reading yours!

Later this week I'll post a picture of a certain ring you might want to see. For now, I'd love for you to post a comment and tell me your first name and where you are joining us from - I want to pray for you by name in these next six weeks.

I'm off to celebrate my hubby's birthday tonight.  I've made him homemade mudslide for dessert.  We'll stick just one candle in the gooey chocolate mess and I'll sing happy birthday to him. You'll find out in this week's reading why he might be wishing I wouldn't!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My (salty) Lent Practice this Year

I place the edible purplish orb into my mouth, and bite down.  Anticipating the taste, my mouth puckers ever so slightly as the briny juice washes over my tongue.  After a couple decisive chews separating the olive from its pit, I spit out the pit.

And I can’t help but think of Christ.

Olives are firm and bitter - totally opposite of most people's idea of comfort food. When I posted recently on FaceBook that I was eating an olive, I discovered people either really like them or totally convulse at the thought of swallowing one. There's not a lot of indifference about olives - that's one reason they remind me of Jesus.

Another reason has its basis in a trip I took about a year ago. I packed my suitcase along with a tote bag of books, notebooks and my Bible, and headed out of town on a personal retreat.  A spiritual/writing retreat. It was several days of just me and God. I'd never done that before, and I won't soon forget it.

I didn't do much cooking that week. I ate a lot of snack bars, and resturant /coffee shop meals. God and I communed over lattes and biscotti, over roasted red pepper soup and sandwiches, and one night over olives and cheese.

I've never been an olive eater. But at the grocery store that day I spotted an olive bar and impulsively decided to take home one of each kind of olive. Black ones, green ones, French ones, Greek ones. Some I stomached okay (between bites of cheese) and some I didn’t like much at all. But I ate, and talked with my Savior as I did.

While olives themselves are bitter, slightly mealy, contain a hard pit and are not universally liked, once crushed and poured out they produce a universally prized oil. In biblical times this oil was used to anoint the heads of prophets, priests and kings - of which Christ is the ultimate.

In fact, Jesus is called “Christ” and “Messiah,” both of which mean “The Anointed One."

In biblical times olive oil was also a medicinal ingredient - reminding me that by His stripes I am healed. Those "stripes" came as my Savior was crushed and poured out. And that's what we remember at Lent. That's why we give something up or "suffer" in some way in identification with Christ.

But this Lenten season, rather than giving something up I'm adding something in: an olive a day. I stopped by the olive bar at my local Fresh Market, filled a container with olives, and I'll eat what tastes, to me, bittersweet. In remembrance of Him.

So for these reasons, at 4:45 AM this morning, I'm popping a black orb into my mouth, anticipating the earthy taste, puckering, chewing and spiting out the seed. And I'm giving thanks for the Son of God who was crushed and poured out so that you and I could be healed and anointed with His oil.

You like olives?

PS. This post is linked with Ann Kroeker's Food on Fridays.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Resurrection Life

Did you read Melissa Taylor's devotion at P31 this morning? How timely it was for me as my own grandmother passed away last week.  I stood in the sun on a hill at that grave site on Friday morning placing all my hope, soothing all of my fears, and banking all of my faith on the notion that there is a grand party awaiting those who die in Christ Jesus.

I'd been to that hilltop before. I've buried several other family members under the branches of that same tree in years past. Some of them I buried before I knew Jesus. Those deaths were much harder to take. 

In fact, everything about life and death is harder to take when you don't know the One who made you. The One you were made for. And His plans for your life, death and resurrection.

It seems fitting that I stood graveside during this Lenten season, thinking about the agony of death and the miracle of raised-again life.  It's made me all the more willing to die with Christ -- to lay down myself, my "rights," my insistence on avoiding pain, my plans, my ego -- and join Jesus in God's resurrection life.

Are you doing anything particular for Lent this spring? I'm doing something a little different for Lent this year; I'll tell you more about it tomorrow.

Meanwhile, are you giving anything up for the season? Thought about sacrificing anything for Lent?

PS. Consider joining Melissa for an online book study of "It's No Secret."  Details here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Be back soon

Hi Friends. Just a note to let you know I'm out of town this week for a family funeral.

Monday, March 14, 2011

An Invitation to Read

Welcome if you've visited from my Secret Decoder Ring devotion published at P31 today.

In it and in It's No Secret I quote Matthew 13:11-13 which calls for me to trust with faith that I can correctly "interpret" what I read in the Bible because God will enable it. And the more I do that, the more He enables it! Not only that, it calls me to listen regularly and intently to the Word and to the Word Made Flesh, Jesus - or what little understanding I have can atrophy.

If you are wondering do I always understand what I read in the scriptures ... not fully or always. But often understanding comes as I just keep with it. And pray for it to come.

Yes, there are some perplexing passages in the Bible. Yes, some things make a lot more sense once you know the context of the times they were written in.  And yes, knowing the original Greek or Hebrew meanings of the words can deepen their force.  But this is a living document used by a limitless God to call and encourage His worshipers all over the globe, throughout history. It can fuel, encourage and guide you too.

God never hides truth from sincere seekers. That's the bottom line of that passage.  And that's the foundation from which I wrote It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know.

In the book I cover a dozen "divine secrets" - straight from the Word of God - that are particularly relevant to 21st century women.  To us modern followers of an ancient way. And then, with each secret, I guide you into the Word to learn more for yourself - because you have your own decoder ring in Christ.

So I'd like to invite you to study It's No Secret with my girlfreind Melissa and me.

To Join Us:

Beginning March 27, running six weeks through May 7, a large group of women will read through my book It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know together online.

All you need to join us is a copy of It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know. If you want a signed copy, at 10% off, order from the P31 office (877-731-4663) and mention you are doing the online study.

Then send an email to This will register you and ensure you receive the group communications.

The Schedule:

This study is hosted by P31's Melissa Taylor. On Sundays and Wednesdays Melissa will run It's No Secret (INS) posts at her blog. Sunday's post will always contain your reading assignments and directions for the week. Some of her posts will be video posts and trust me, you'll love getting to know her cute self.

On Mondays and Fridays I will be posting a bit more about the week's chapters and topics here at my blog. So Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we'll be chatting it up online together.

Also on Monday evenings, there will be optional conference calls hosted by Melissa at 8 PM EST.  You'll learn more on those calls, hear from some special guests, and have a chance to ask questions or make comments. The cost for that is just $10. If chatting it up on the phone on Monday evenings interests you, call P31 at 877-731-4663 to sign up for the conference calls. I'll be joining you and Melissa on one or two of those calls as well.

A Invitation to Enter In:

Study questions are inside the book at each chapter's end. However, you may prefer to use a small notebook to answer the questions and jot down additional thoughts, notes, prayers, and ideas. (I'm a bit of a journal junkie myself.) I'm believing and praying that God speaks to you a lot through this study and I want you to record what He says! 

Or, you can blog your thoughts instead of writing them in a book or journal. If people are interested in doing that, I can host a link-party for us here on Fridays at the end of my post. So let me know if that interests you. I'd love it!

You can join us by yourself for this, or you can bring your girlfriends, Mom or book club along. The more the merrier in the Yahweh Sisterhood. But the beauty of an online study group is you can move at your pace, as your schedule allows, even wearing your PJ's if you'd like. (smiles)

So I invite you to get as involved as you want or can with this. You can simply read along with us if life is hectic right now. Or you can enter fully into the online community with us for those six weeks - talk with us, blog with us, process the book with us, share your ah-ha moments, meet some new friends and let God do a deep work in your heart this spring.

I hope you'll join us!

PS. The winner of this weekend's giveaway - the book and a pass to the conference calls - is "ssunnyrn."

PSS. I loved the collards soup (and I don't eat collards), and the black bean cupcake with bacon sprinkles. Yes, the cafe dessert was awesome as well. I didn't like the shredded goat or the goat cheese topped pear and fava bean cupcake. Apparently, I'm just not a fan of goat. Surpriningly the sea bass was fine fired or iced. And so was the squid ink in risotto. The beef tongue was a lot like brisket - who knew?

PSSS. Pop over to Wendy Blight's blog today for another chance to win the book.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I Threw Down (but not up)

I typically order the chicken. While I'm not a simple  "meat & potatoes" kind of girl, I'm also not quite an adventurous eater. I watch shows like Anthony Bordain's No Reservations with my hands half-covering my eyes. So last night was kind of a big deal.  I put my "culinary big girl panties" on and ate an unreal 17 course meal.

I'll post the menu below and if you try to guess the two things I liked best or the two things I liked least, I'll enter you to win on Monday an autographed copy of my book It's No Secret and free access to the conference calls Melissa Taylor and I will be doing in a couple weeks in an online study of my book.

But first, let me explain who made this interpretation of the 17 Classical Courses of French Cuisine. This was a thrown down with 33 chefs from 16 higher education institutions (including my own UNC system).

The chefs were divided into groups, then each group was given seven mystery ingredients and three hours to prepare two courses with them. The courses were then judged by experts and three chefs were chosen to advance to the national competition. Rick and I, along with some other university representatives, got to eat the meal after the judges sampled and chose.

(sorry for the blurry cell phone photo)

Without further adieu, here is the menu - which I was handed as soon as I walked in the door so I knew everything I was eating. I still can't believe I ate every single thing listed here!  And really there were only two that I would rather not put in my mouth again - that astounds me! 

marinated local lamb ravioli with tomato ragout, mint caviar, and fried basil

Hors d'oeuvre (appetizer)
black garbanzo bean hummus with pink Hawaiian sea salt, tri-pepper relish, and fontina cheese

Potage (soup)
local collards soup with bird's eye pepper powder and smoked fromage blanc (white cheese)

Oeufs (eggs)
local quail egg with deep fried pork belly, smokey tomato vinaigrette, and micro greens

Farineaux (rice or pasta)
black squid ink risotto with plugra herb butter, Parmesan chip and chive gremolata

Fire & Ice (fish)
FIRE: local stripped sea bass cooked on Himalayan salt bocks with sweet pepper chutney
ICE: raw stripped sea bass with citrus ceviche, radish, green onion and sweet pepper chutney

Sorbet (flavored ice)
Cabernet Savignon sorbet with blueberry jelly

Releve (meat course)
local pickled beef tongue with fried aioli, arugula and brioche

Roti (raost)
local shredded goat with sweet potato latke and chive creme friache

Legumes (veggies)
ratatouille "martini", green goddess drizzle, ricotta salata, alfalfa sprouts

Salades (salad)
Caesar "gelato" in cornet with romaine lettuce and fried anchovy

Buffet Froid (cold buffet)
local rabbit sausage with rosemary focaccia crisp, red dragon cheese and daikon sprouts

Entremet de Sucre (sweets)
black bean and carob cupcake with orange creme frosting and sugar-smacked bacon sprinkles

Savoreaux (savory)
fava bean and pear cupcake with pecorino and local goat cheese icing, topped with fried sage

Fromage (cheese)
local goat cheese with grape and spiced pecan
Muenster cheese with green apple and micro greens
local Carolina blue cheese with orange date-nut bread

lemon pound cake with lemon curd and earl grey tea with local honey and thyme drizzle

Cafe (coffee)
espresso truffle with beignet and hazelnut vanilla foam, with coffee

Here's what I learned: A top chef is a true artist, using a palate of colors and flavors. He or she can make anything taste good. I learned that herbs take on an interesting new twist when flash fried. And salts have different colors and flavors depending on where they are mined from. I also discovered exactly what rabbit sausage, beef tongue, goat meat, raw sea bass and black squid ink taste like.

And I found I'm a more adventurous eater than I previously thought. I guess watching all those Food Network shows and reading French Lessons by Peter Mayle paid off. 

Any guesses on which two things I liked best or least?
Anything here sound totally yummy to you?
Besides the expresso truffle, because that's a no-brainer. :) 

This post is linked at Ann Kroeker's Food on Fridays.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

God on the Brain

I walked into class last week and there on the conference table sat an actual human brain.  Fully intact. Inside a glass jar filled with a slightly yellow liquid preservative. Good thing this class is right before lunch and not right after it.

We have about a dozen students in the class - four of which couldn't bring themselves to look at it closely. I was intrigued. Despite that I usually pass out at the sight of anything that belongs inside the body.

In case you are like me in that sense, or just ate lunch, brace yourself for the photo.

Did you get the willies looking at it?

Me too a little.

My colleague had brought the jar to class as a point of reference while we discussed the ways the the human brain appears hardwired towards religious belief. If I weren't a communication scholar, I might want to be a neuroscientist. Except that would mean I'd probably have to work with rats. That would present a problem.

Your brain is a fascinating work of God! It's roughly 3 lbs. of tofu-like material. It's mostly salt water and some fats and proteins. But it contains over a trillion different cells, with about a 100 billion neurons! They all fire with electricity. Doesn't that amaze you? I always seem to forget that I am an electrical being.

The human brain's capacity and complexity astound me. Somehow, inside this 3 lb mass of grey matter that fits inside a jar as easily as it fits inside our head, somehow inside this mass of cells and salt water, is a way that you and I can connect with God. And with His Word.  And be transformed by that process.

Romans 12:1-2 says:.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

I stared at the organ in the jar off and on throughout class and thought, this is arguably the single greatest creation on God's green earth. Something about it makes us in God's image. And some things we can do with it  - like prayer, reading, thinking and internalizing scripture - make us remade, further made, into His image.

What are you doing these days to use that electric tofu in your head to connect with God and conform to His will?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, March 7, 2011

When Controversy Comes to Church

While I'm by no means a social media fanatic, I am on Twitter and enjoy it. I tend to follow people who tweet biblical truths or links to thoughtful articles or blog posts. For example, I follow Pastor John Piper on Twitter. Piper's tweets are typically convicting scriptural statements, or statements about the glory of God. 

Last week, however, I saw a Piper tweet that simply said, "Farewell Rob Bell." I wondered if something lethal had happen to Pastor Rob Bell. Then I figured Piper and Bell had been having a twitter conversation of which I caught the end. Later I learned it was in reference to Bell's new book Love Wins.

Piper tweeted this, reportedly, based on Justin Taylor's blog post Rob Bell: A Universalist?

Rob Bell’s forthcoming book is raising questions about universalism, exclusivism, the love of God, and heaven and hell.  Few people have actually read the whole book at this point.  Most reactions are being based on the back cover copy, marketing descriptions, maybe a sample chapter, and a promotional video for the book. If you're unaware of the brou-ha ha that has unfolded in the last week - and you care to know - this article from Christianity Today outlines it. 

Every day more voices lend their opinions on the growing controversy—most recently Brian McLaren, Albert Mohler, Tom Batterson, Scot McKnight, and Mark Galli of Christianity Today. Even the prominent mainstream media outlet The New York Times has taken notice.

I have not read the book and, therefore, will make no declarations about what it says, means, or indicates about Rob Bell.  I will say this has served to reinforce my already burgeoning desire to examine and understand theology for myself -- so that I can rightly discern right from wrong in a marketplace clanging 24/7 with assertions, rebuttals and opinions.

When controversy comes to church I think it's a call for you and I to seek and fit together the scriptural testimony of God’s character. In this case, what did Jesus say about God’s wrath and hell? Why did Jesus go to the Cross? Why will I, as a believer in Christ, not experience hell? And what does the Bible tell me happens to those who refuse to believe? Can you articulate the Bible's answers to these questions?

Also, this particular controversy makes me ponder: What would Jesus tweet?  :)


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mystery Fruit

Came off the soccer field this morning.  Made a weekly menu. Shopped.  Now cooking three meals at once.

Completed in the pot: Black Bean Soup
Up on deck: 20 Clove Garlic Chicken in the crock pot
Last in today's line up: Chicken Broccoli Cheese Casserole

While at the grocery store I bought a bag of mystery fruit for $1.00. I couldn't resist at that price!  I recognized the star fruit in there. I like those and they're usually $3 each.  I'll probably make some sparkling jello for the kids and put the star fruit in with some grapes. 

I figured out what the other odd looking piece was: a cactus pear. Any idea what to do with that?? I have two of  them and I'm clueless so I haven't sliced it open yet.

I just sliced into what I thought was an orange, but it's a blood orange. They're in season right now. I think I'm going to put them on our salad when I serve the garlicky chicken. But if you've got other ideas, I'm all ears.

My friend LeAnn Rice is cooking up some lemon chicken on her blog. And my friend Ann Kroeker is hosting her Food on Friday's with lots of interesting links. What's cookin at your place?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy is a Clean Floor

While in Ecuador with the poverty relief organization Compassion International, I entered many homes with dirt floors.  I thought of my own floors back home. I thought of how often I sweep and mop my kitchen floor and how happy that makes me. I'm not the most active housekeeper you'll ever meet but my kitchen floor is my "thing." It has to stay clean.

I long would have told you that having clean floors is therapeutic to me. It has the power to make me happy. Turns out, according to the book The Price of Everything, I was right.

In 2000 the Mexican government began a project called Firm Floor. They offered people living with dirt floors the opportunity to receive up to 50 square meters of concrete flooring. Large trucks rolled through neighborhoods pouring cement from house to house, leaving the families to smooth it out. Over the next two years, the World Bank and two universities studied the impact of those cement floors.

Dirt floors are a breeding ground for worms, protozoa and parasites. People living on dirt suffer many more bowel and respiratory infections. Plus, the children have more developmental disabilities.

Turns out cement floors lead to a 78% drop in parasite infections. Bowel issues dropped 50% and anemia dropped by four-fifths. Children's cognitive abilities improved 30-100%. And depression in mothers fell by half. The families showed a 69% increase in their overall happiness.

All this from $150 worth of cement. Happiness really is a clean floor.

This is what I'm thinking about today as I prepare to vacuum and mop. With dustpan in hand I'm able to give thanks for my housework, and the concrete under my feet. 

And I'm praying God leads me to a way to help some other family get on a solid floor, after all, my feet have been graciously placed on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Fruity are You?

Sometimes it's hard to see Christian growth happening in yourself - ever wished for a way to asses your spiritual maturity?  Ever wondered how you're doing in terms of producing the fruit of the Spirit?

Then you might enjoy this link to a measurement survey