30 October 2006

Word Game Alert!

Whoooot! Whooooot! Whoooot! Whoooot!
Word Game Alert!

Rhonda just posted a "6 Word Story" challenge over on SoulPerBlog.
That is MY kind of game! (You know, the ADD and all.)

I'm dropping the 17 other things I was doing to go over there right now and write something deep with six p r e c i o u s words.

'Tis a Gift to Be Simple

Lately, the concept of simplicity has been on my mind.
I tread water in the ocean that lies between the shores of Complexity and Simplicity. Tossed about by the waves, I drift nearer to one country, then the tide pulls me back toward the other. I'm not sure I understand exactly what either one means for me. But here's the view from my patch of ocean:

- As an American, materialism and consumption pervades my everyday.

- As a human, desire to understand my existence to the nth degree drives me.

- As a woman, someone's short reply can never be JUST a short reply. There's always something behind it. (Why did he answer like that- is he mad at me? Does she think I'm boring? Am I irritating? Was that stupid of me?)

- As a Western thinker, saying, "I don't have the answer for that" is just plain unacceptable to most folks.

- As a mother, I feel the onus of knowing, rearing, teaching, training, understanding and leading my children.

- As a citizen of the Information Age, the vast composite of documentation and links-within-links-within-links seems to rule out any need to shrug my shoulders and get on with life that contains a question mark. The answers are merely a click away and I can follow my bunny trails ad nauseum.

- As a homeschooler, I stash away odds and ends thinking of the future. Perhaps we'll have occassion to drag out the Navajo rug when we study Native Americans, I better save this. All these tin can lids will make a great suit of armor one day. I just need 2,394 more!

- As an artist, that same squirreling overtakes my senses when I clean house. Glittery scraps, baubles and bangles, find their way from the wastebasket to the "someday" project bin(s).

- As a Christian, I'm caught between the simple fact of grace
(I am given a gift I do not deserve. The end.)
and the unfathomably complex weave of grace.
(I am given a gift I do not deserve. Come again?)

Over the next few posts, I'll be hashing out some of these themes in a blogversation. (I word I think I might go try to patent.) If you feel so inclined to ponder these with me, please write a note in my comments section. Or write about it on your own blog and make sure you direct me there. I want to read how other people tread this water.

Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.

The Christian life:
this is a story that trips my mind before I even get past the first page.

The simplicity of Christ's sacrifice.

That is precisely the thing that is so complex to me.

I needed to be saved. Jesus saved me. End of story.

Erin: But wait, that can't be the end of it. Surely there's more to it.

The Trinity: Well, really, there's not. But yeah, actually there is. However, you don't need to worry about it, it's been done for you. Finis. There are a few things going on here that you can't possibly grasp, so don't sweat it. We give you what you need. In total.
It's not about you, it's about Me. But it is about you. And about me. And about us. All of us. Really, it's mainly about Us. You're just blessed to be invited along for the ride. Fasten your seatbelt.

Truly, these mysteries are too wonderful for me. I am an ant. Dust. A squalling babe. Lower than the grass. A mere mist.

I've always liked the old Shaker song, Simple Gifts. The message to me is this: simplicity truly is a gift. All our striving to understand, to accumulate, to complexify... it strains our ant-ish souls. It frazzles us.
We were made to search and seek, to question and wonder; but not to become overwhelmed with the search. Wondering is meant to drive us to worship that which we do not, can not, understand. To rest in His all-knowing, all-powerful, all-over-the-place gentle grip. To cease striving and know that He is God. To marvel at His grace, to honor His otherness. Because He is beyond us. Plain and simple.

* Click here; press the Play button; lean back; close your eyes; and enjoy a stirring version of Simple Gifts. Brought to you by: Yo Yo Ma and Alison Krauss

25 October 2006

Tetramorium caespitum

Proverbs tells the sluggard to:
"look to the ant and be wise... It has no commander, no overseer or
ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at
So... we looked to the ant. (My title is the Latin term for the common "pavement ant.")
Busy, busy worker ants
Their Queens
Homeschool moms can retain their dignity- as long as dignity includes chenille wire antennae. I think Chris even had to discipline one of her kids while wearing hers. On a scale of 1-10, how seriously do you think he took her?
This little ant took pictures
Her ant models
"Gimme pouty. A little more aloof. Let me see you say, 'I have so many other things to be doing.' Ok, now let me see a little more bashful. Timid. Do some, 'I don't really know what all the fuss is about.' Good, good."

An ant conga line

Two years ago we had an ant farm for another h'school project, so we decided to forego it this year. Instead we made ants out of egg cartons and used floor pillows to illustrate the different layers of activity in an ant mound. Above, the queen lays the eggs in the deepest part of the mound.

Below, a nurse any cares for the pupae. My, how they've grown!

24 October 2006

Lest Erica think I'm dissin' her...

(I did warn you that I am ever-so-slow about getting my pictures organized and dealt with.)

Erica came to visit us for one glorious (gloriously hot, muggy and stifling) week in May. Amongst the coffee sipping, late night talks and nature walks, we also saw:

The National Zoo

(which is a free park, so make sure you avoid the lunchtime joggers when you're there)

A lovely hike on part of the Appalachian Trail that runs through Harper's Ferry, WV.

A scenic drive that somehow landed us in Pennsylvania.

Playing the tourists in Washington DC

The hallowed halls of the National Gallery of Art

(where I always get in trouble with the guards for standing too close to the paintings. I just wanna appreciate 'em, sheesh!)

Washington National Cathedral- another one of my favorite places
So, that was MAY. Here's what Maryland looks like in October, Erica. Wanna come back?

Oh, and Ellie lost a tooth.

Can you believe the gall on that kid?! I still can't convince her to stop growing up.

23 October 2006

There is No Title To This Post

Ya'll are just a stitch! There are some very clever blog poets, and blog not-quite-sure-what'd you'd-call-its out there. You made me laugh and smile- each and every one of you.
And for what other reason does the word verification code exist, I ask you, but to lend itself to a little wacky fun? It's all so ontological. Or is that existential? My black turtleneck and beret are back in the dirty clothes pile.

I am pathetically slow about taking the pics off my camera. I just don't have time to fix the red-eye, resize, readjust, crop, rotate, re-this, re-that. I took a PhotoShop Elements course, for crying out loud. This ought to be pie! (In my defense, that PSE program makes my computer slower an' mohlasses in Janyary.)

So, I've downloaded a bunch of pictures and I'm just throwing them up here because I want you to see what we've been doing.
Besides playing Mission: Impossible. My kids tell me the song is creepy, BTW.

Here we go...

Some dear friends of ours came for a visit over Columbus Day weekend. Leatherwing had a few days off from school, so Rhonda decided to bring him along.

We've only just begun. Mwahahaha!
Playing cards at The Mudd Puddle.

Rhonda and I, over the years have developed a wonderful, mutually sharpening friendship. "As iron sharpens iron... " Add a little bit of coffee, a lot of art, and you've got US.

I remember the first art class Rhonda and I took together. Portrait Drawing I. I was looking for a drawing class to keep up my skills, she was considering a career change. (R. is the skeptic's proof that an engineer can become an artist.) R. hated that class! Our professor really didn't teach much about drawing. I'm not sure that he taught anything at all. But R. and I had a great time together, slogging through charcoal and pencil sketches.

Ask Rhonda and she will tell you that she approaches art with a very engineered slant. She researches concepts and materials, knows exactly how each paint and pencil responds to every type of paper, and keeps careful records of all of this.
I, do not.
She has drawers and files, labels and sticky notes, brushes and metal rulers that would make the organizer in each of us drool.
I, do not.
The girl puts me to shame. Rhonda is the driving force behind SoulPerSuit.

Leatherwing just gives me the Plague.

They spent a waaay too short weekend making art, visiting lots of independently-owned coffee shops (no mention of Big Bother "Sbucks" that weekend), and just hanging out with me and my peeps. I'm so thankful they like my peeps. I do too.

My biggest peep was at work

17 October 2006

Mission Not-Nearly-Impossible

Mission: Impossible

Good morning Mr. Phelps.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is this:

1- Click on "Comments."

2- Use your word verification code letters as the
first letter of each line of a free verse poem.

As always, should you or any of your Word Verification Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Good luck. This message will self-destruct in 10 seconds.

10, 9... Screen shot

8, 7... Screen shot

6, 5... Screen shot

4, 3... Screen shot

2... Screen shot

Screen shot

(Cue pyrotechnics and sound effects.)

15 October 2006

Sunday Musings III: Bring It On Home, Now

* If you have not read my previous two posts today, this is not going to make much sense to you. Take a minute and read Sunday Musings I and II.

** Can't guarantee it'll make sense even if you have read them.

(Ok, probably a poor choice of words to say "if Teacher Man and Ugly Betty had a child." Wipe that from your imagination.)

I see bits of myself in both Ugly Betty and Teacher Man.
Like Betty Suarez, I am beyond a square peg in a round hole. As I've gone through life, I've understood that I really don't "fit" in any kind of traditional grouping of human kind. But unlike Betty, that is something I have fought rather than embraced. Oh, the years of pining for acceptance in one group or another! I wonder though- does anyone really feel like they belong? A by-product of the Fall, in my opinion.

You, fair reader, hereby have my permission to wear out-dated clothing, say stupid things, think our own thoughts, and live your life honestly and with integrity. Better yet, you have Jesus' permission. His assessment counts a heck of a lot more than mine does. He happens to find all the Ugly Betty's of the world beautiful and worth the cost of His life.

I am also like the Teacher Man.
Frank McCourt floundered his way through life. Most days, not knowing which way was up, he presented himself to life and said, "Let's do it! Although, honestly, I have no idea what "it" is."
The Teacher Man wanted to be liked. To be accepted in literary circles, in the teacher's lounge, in the classroom, in his marriage, in Ireland, in America... anywhere, for goodness sakes! He just never quite made the cut.
If you have read any of my postings here, somewhere underneath it all is that same desire. Accept me. Think I'm great. Tell me I'm doing a good job. Please?
It permeates.

:They hit me where I live:

Betty is true to her herself. In the process, she impacts one person (her boss), who's M.O. up until now has been get-what-you-can-while-you-can-by-whatever-means-necessary. Betty, by just being Betty, inspires another human being to begin to operate on an entirely different paradigm.
How beautiful it is that Christ calls us the salt and light of the world. That He gives us the priviledge of being His ambassadors. That he calls us to a paradigm shift. And that we can also call others to that new paradigm.
Do I care too much what others are thinking? Is my desire to be accepted by someone, anyone, overshadowing the salt and light within me? Am I so concerned with what others are thinking that I'm back on the same paradigm with the rest of humanity?

Teacher Man was teachable. Keenly aware of his inadequacy, he was open to gleaning insight from others- even his own students. He approached his position of "teacher" with liberal amounts of "student." Though he sometimes erred on the side of self-flaggelation, I think he hit upon a key point- humility. Whatever your position.
Humility equals teachability.
How teachable am I? (I already know that answer. Not. Very.) Christ was humble unto death, even death on a cross. He considered himself less than a servant. He sat under his parents and rabbi's teaching, when He was the one who wrote the Book. Crickey, He is the Book! (Mind boggling, I tell ya.)

Where am I going with all of this? I guess I just want to be more teachable, more salty and lumionous, more of the gal that challenges your paradigm, more humble. More like Ugly Betty and the Teacher Man. More like Jesus.

You may now leave your comments telling me how beautiful, modest, insightful and stunningly brilliant I am. Because that is, after all, why I write these things.

Sunday Musings II: Teacher Man

Teacher Man: A Memoir Cover I just finished reading, Teacher Man, a memoir by Frank McCourt.
You may know him of Angela's Ashes fame.

In Teacher Man, McCourt writes about his 30 year career as a public school teacher in the New York City public school system. Anything a public school teacher has to say is of particular interest to me, as a homeschooler. I am always curious to know what the public teacher thinks of the whole 28-plus-kids-of-the-same-age-crammed-together-in-a classroom deal.

This book flounders. Which is funny, because it totally fits what McCourt is writing about. Born in America, moved to Limerick as a child, moved back to America as an adult, McCourt kind of falls into the teaching profession because he has nothing better to do with himself. He describes his entire life as one big flounder. (Can that be a noun?)

Not quite American- the only thing his English classes want to hear about are tales of his woeful childhood in Ireland, and they're fascinated with his accent, which he suspects is a ruse to keep him off the task of actually teaching anything. Not quite Irish- entering a Dublin pub in an American serviceman's uniform (he served in the US army), he gets razzed for being a Yank. When he opens his mouth to defend himself, he incurs even more scorn for his accent. Not only is he standing there in an Irish pub in a Yankee uniform, but he's a Catholic from Limerick in a Yankee uniform standing in a pub on Protestant soil! (Oh, the shame of it all.) The poor guy just can't win.

McCourt spends the majority of his teaching career wondering what in the world he's doing. There is a division in the classroom: students vs. teachers. Why can't we just come here to learn? Why can't we all be on the same side and enjoy each other's offerings at the table of education? Does there HAVE to be this posturing to determine who is "in charge" and who must be "kept down"? He gets the same thing from the administration and other teachers. "It's us against them. Always let them know you are in control. Never look them in the eye. Show no weakness." Geez, it's like they're taming wild beasts rather than discussing literature and culture.

The key to McCourt's success as a teacher though, is found in the midst of his "flaw." Because he KNOWS he doesn't know what he's doing, he's willing to try anything. He sometimes wonders if his students are pulling one over on him, luring him off the path of education so they can mess around for a week or two by feigning interest. He decides it's worth the gamble if he can connect with something deep inside them. If he can spark a desire to learn in his students, McCourt is willing to throw caution (and diagramming sentences) to the wind. He doesn't want to be diagramming sentences anyway. Much to the chagrin of school administrators.

Here's where it gets good. McCourt and his students begin to treat each other as fellow learners. They discuss ethnicity and diversity (being in New York, there's quite a lot of that). Which leads them to plan a class potluck lunch in the park where each student brings a dish to share that represents who they are and where they come from. Chinese, Cuban, Italian, Korean, Irish... can eating food in the sunshine at the park really be learning? From there, McCourt follows a wild hare and asks his students to bring cookbooks to class to discuss as examples of poetry. Huh? Cookbooks are poetry?

Eventually, the class is not only bringing in recipes to recite, but accompanying each other's recipes with musical instruments like they're in some kind of beat nik coffee house.
"At the end, class critics suggested Pam should have performed last. They said her duck recipe and the Chinese music were so dramatic everything else sounded anemic. Also, they said, words and music were often mismatched. It was a big mistake using bongo drums to back English trifle. You need the delicacy and sensitivity of the violin or maybe the harpsichord and it really puzzled them that anyone would link bongos and English trifle. And speaking of violins, Michael was just perfect backing the eggs Benedict reading, and they really dug the bongos-and-harmonica combination for stuffed pork chops. There was something about pork chops that demanded the harmonica and it was amazing now how you think of a food and an instrument to go with it. Man, this experience called for a new kind of thinking. They said other classes wished they could read recipes instead of Alfred Lord Tennyson and Thomas Carlyle. Other English teachers were teaching solid stuff, analyzing poetry, assigning research papers and giving lessons on the correct use of footnotes and bibliography.
Thinking of those other English teachers and the solid stuff makes me uneasy again. They're following the curriculum, preparing the kids for higher education and the great world beyond. We're not here to enjoy ourselves, teacher man."

A new kind of thinking. About the art and science of life, literature, cooking, music, and all things inhabiting our existence. A new way to approach higher education and the great world beyond. Giving students the tools to see overlaps, intersections and themes within their experience. Almost anyone can teach the proper use of footnotes and bibliographies. What McCourt was doing, in his floundering efforts, was helping his students to learn how to learn.

Up next- if Ugly Betty and Teacher Man had a child...

Sunday Musings I: Ugly Betty

Sick. Again.
Home from church. Again.
This time I'm home solo. (I caught Leatherwing's scourge. Thanks buddy.)

There's a new show out on ABC called, Ugly Betty. I don't know what made me want to sit and watch the pilot episode, because it really is just a stock plot pulled off the shelf and re-vamped for evening television. Unattractive girl lands job at high powered fashion magazine. She thinks it's because if her brains and talent, when really it's because the "powers that be" hope that, in her role as assistant-to-the-editor, her boss, the dashing playboy, will be encouraged to keep his pants zipped in the workplace.

But here's what has struck me about Ugly Betty. She is guileless. She is really smart. And completely genuine. She knows what's going on in the world and in the cut throat universe of fashion. She just doesn't care. With an inkling that she doesn't fit the part of the fashion magazine, she is going to be who she is anyway. (Occassionally, she weakens under pressure and attempts to fit in. You already know how that turns out...)

The best thing about Ugly Betty is the influence she has on her boss, Daniel. He's become Mode's editor because dear old dad put him in the driver's seat. Daniel is there for the fringe benefits of working with beautiful women, and to prove himself to his father. No one is on his side. Not his father. Not the power-hungry creative director who was passed over for the position. Not the receptionists or the models Daniel dates. Not wardrobe or photography. Daniel is on his own in a den of wolves.

Enter Ugly Betty.

Originally repulsed at having to work with such a shoe horn, Daniel senses Betty's determination to keep this job, no matter what insults and low-ball tactics Daniel tries to get her to quit, and their friendship begins to blossom. Daniel's never had a platonic relationship in his life. Betty is the first woman he knows that is not trying to sleep her way to the top. Removing the hormones from the scenario sheds a whole new light on things for Daniel. He is beginning to see Betty as an ally, not as just another play toy to be used and discarded.

And Betty... she remains Betty... throughout the entire show. Doing her job as a loyal employee, she takes the abuse dished out by the glam Mode staff, does Daniel's dirty work, jumps through the hoops. With her brace-laden teeth and frizzy hair, Betty does her job with integrity, despite the cost. And as a result, someone else is being changed.

12 October 2006

All Over the Map with Mary DeMuth

My lovely friend, Mary DeMuth, is a writer. Well, she's really a lot more than that, but we're here today because she wrote a book. A good book. It's called, Wishing On Dandelions. Let me introduce you...

Erin: This book deals with difficult subject matter: childhood sexual abuse and its residual affects. How did this book emerge?
Mary: My passion is to write about redemption through the avenue of story. I started the first book, Watching the Tree Limbs, in a flurry. In my mind I saw the streets of Burl and a girl who didn’t know where she came from. Because my personal story involves different instances of sexual abuse, I wanted to write a story that showed the reader how God could intersect an abuse-victim’s life and make a difference.

Childhood sexual abuse is not talked about very often, and seldom covered in novels.
What made you decide to write about it? For that very reason. The more victims are quiet, the less healing they will receive. The more we talk about it, bringing heinous acts to the light, the better able we are to know we are not alone. I wrote this book so other abuse victims would feel validated and heard. And to offer hope.

Reading the introduction to Wishing on Dandelions- just a few short paragraphs- I was moved to tears. Mara's attempt to own her broken childhood and the damage done upon her spirit just pierced me. Can you comment on the "push-pull" in all of us to embrace the pain inflicted by a fallen world while still yearning for complete healing?
It’s a strange dichotomy. We long for complete emotional healing, but we keep butting up against pain, so that we always need more healing. God made us that way so we’d long for Him. And we’d long for that Place where there will no longer be any mourning. Heaven will be so much more heaven because of that.

One image from your first novel, Watching the Tree Limbs, has stuck with me. Aunt Elma's drawer full of moldy can lids. For such a minor, quirky detail, the symbolism it carries throughout the story is amazing. Were you thinking anything in particular when you penned that section, or am I just reading into it? (And if you weren't conciously trying to hit me between the eyes, let me just say that in my book, the moldy can lids are right up there with Frodo's ring in the "symbols-with-ooomph" category. Well done!)

That actually came from a story that circulated around my extended family. It struck me then, years ago, so when I wrote about Aunt Elma, the image popped back into my mind. Caked can lids might not be as evil as the one true ring, though. :)

You've also written a couple of non-fiction books on parenting. Which is your preference to write, fiction or non-fiction? Why?
I prefer fiction. When I write nonfiction, I tell a lot of stories; therefore I consider myself primarily a storyteller. If I write nonfiction, the subject has to grab me. I have to have tons of passion for it to be able to sustain me through the writing. With fiction, the simple act of seeing a story in my head and writing it on the page, is life-giving—creativity at its utmost.

As a Christ-follower in France, what has been a struggle for you? What has been a particular blessing about your situation? Where do you feel God leading you next, personally, as you minister in France? Struggle: adjusting to a completely and utterly different life and dealing with my longing for home. Blessing: the pace of life in France is so much slower than the US. I love that people aren’t running around with their heads cut off here, that they value a long, enjoyable meal, and that family time is sacred. Leading: I’m not sure. We don’t know how long we’ll be here in France; it’s pretty open-ended. In terms of my ministry with writing, I sense God is continuing to expand that.

What other creative ventures besides writing do you undertake to unwind, interact with God, refuel, ponder life, and engage the world? I run. I know that doesn’t seem creative, but many of my creative thoughts come out when I’m running. I also read. And I create little pieces of art (like SoulPerSuit). I try to spend time in nature, as that is where I tend to refuel.

I know you enjoy cooking. Is there anything you cook that your family thinks rivals the famed cuisine of France?
Ha ha! Well, my daughter Julia really-really loves my tortilla soup. (link:
http://www.relevantprose.com/Recipes/tortillasouprecipe.pdf) And since that’s so different than French cuisine, I’d say she thinks it’s better than French food. The cool thing is that my French friends say I make very good bread! It took me YEARS to learn how to make bread, so this was a really cool compliment.

Next time you see the sights of France, what museum or monument are you going to visit? And can I come too? Yes, of course you can come. I’d like to see Normandy. I’ve never been there and heard it’s quite moving. And I’d love to revisit the French Alps. Wow.

What do you want your reader to take away from Wishing on Dandelions? That redemption of a broken life takes time. We’re all on a journey of healing. Sometimes it’s slow going, but if we can endure through the dark times, God will bring us to new places of growth. I want the images and characters to stay with a reader for a long time.

Thanks, Mary for visiting with me. I'll pack up my art supplies and be on the next plane- ready for some tortilla soup with you and the gang. And hey, Normandy...Alps... I'm easy!

Click here If you'd like to take a gander at the first chapter of Wishing On Dandelions.

11 October 2006

Dontcha Think a Cat Is Just Like That?

Yowzers! I tried to do something fancy with my photos and now they're all over the place. Admittedly like my life in recent days. Let's just pretend I did it on purpose so you could play a photo scavenger hunt. ;)

Our family is learning about how to be responsible pet owners. The KONOS curriculum we use actually recommends that we go out and BUY a pet for this unit! Well, I tried, I really did. I even couched it as a "key to furthering our children's education and character building." My husband was havin' None. O. Dat.

So...since we don't own a dog or a cat, just a pathetic herd of Sea Monkeys on the kitchen window sill, we had to improvise a bit. Here are a few things we've worked on in the last few weeks to learn about caring for animals responsibly.

Our field trip to the vet's office
... and the dog groomer's, which was right next door.

The co-op kids show us how pets do snack time. (Cocoa Puffs and Goldfish crackers make great "pet food"!)

Playing "Dog Trainer Says"

One of our co-op activities was a Show and Tell about our favorite pet. The kids each chose an animal breed and prepared a short oral report to present to the group. I was VERY impressed to see the kids' enthusiasm for their topics and the preparation they put into it. (Especially when I thought many would balk at this first venture in "public speaking.") Even Anna jumped on the bandwagon and demonstrated how her stuffed kitty cat can drink from a bottle. :) Here we have Rebekah treating us to a lecture, and I do mean lecture, on Seal Point Siamese cats, and Ellie showing the different coat colorings of the German Shepherd. (Behind her on the wall is our poster of the anatomy of a Great Dane.)

Anna-the-Puppy gives her Daddy some good ol' puppy love.

Lest we forget the feline members of society, I dusted off the old "Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes," changed the words, and added hand motions to teach everyone the anatomy of a cat. Sing with me now- "Mask, ruff, haunches, paw, haunches, paw. Mask, ruff, haunches, paw, haunches, paw. Ear tufts, papillae, and the whisker pads. Mask, ruff, haunches, paw, haunches, paw!"
I also asked my girls to coreograph a dance to the song, A Cat's Like That. In the end, their performance turned out to be more about spinning in circles and lying on the floor, but frankly, it's a fun song and they were too busy enjoying to the music to do a theatrical interpretation for a school assignment. Dontcha think a cat's like that?

10 October 2006

Meet a Fellow Christian Artist

*Hey all you artist/writer/musician/dancer/creative-types... sit up and take notice!*

Jennifer DeHuff is an artist hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she was a volunteer and intern with the Philadelphia Metro Campus Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ for 6 years, focused exclusively on mentoring and coaching Christian fine arts students. Once she gets her affairs in order, Jen will move to College Park, Maryland, where she’ll join the new Crusade staff team at the University of Maryland in pioneering a new ministry.

As part of her ministry at UM, she aims to help fine art students connect relevant and transcendant themes in life and art to the claims of Jesus Christ, despite the subjectivity and relativism they are surrounded with. These art students in the metro D.C. area will one day influence the world we live in with their creativity. Jen thrives on engaging with art students and wants to help them find an accepting environment for sharing their struggles and asking hard questions. Because God is the ultimate creator, she longs for them to one day value themselves and their talents as His beloved creation.

Jennifer -in the middle-

Can it get any better than that?!

01 October 2006

I Forget that He Forgets

This morning, our church is worshiping by taking the Lord's Supper together. I'm staying home with a sick little Anna-boo.

Communion is something I absolutely look forward to, and therefore, hate to miss. My flesh is so easily distracted through the buffeting of the daily grind, that I so need that time at the foot of the cross to remember His gift of grace. I'm lonely for Jesus this morning.

Jesus, You see my sinful state- my perpetual forgetting of Who you are and what You've done.

Make me remember this morning, how beautifully you forget.

(Ben Pasley, CCLI Registered)

Sometimes I’m afraid of You…

You are just too good
Sometimes I am scared to look at You…
You are just too beautiful

I am frightened by the notion
That You would hold my hand…
Have you witnessed my devotion?
Have you seen what I hold on to?

How you forgive me, How you forgive me Jesus

Sometimes I’m afraid of You…
You are just to kind.
Sometimes I am scared to pray…
You are just to merciful.

I am frightened by the notion that
You would hold my hand…
Have you witnessed my devotion?
Have you seen what hold on to?

You take away the pen writing out my every sin, and
You burn the book of my rebellion
You tear the pages holding everything that I regret
How You forgive me, Jesus