Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Organized: Seeking Sanity (Part 1)

What does it mean for someone or something to be organized? (Insert dramatic pause...)

Do you have a source of stress in your life that seems to be a result of absent or poor organization?

When most people hear the word 'organized', they think of neatness, which is good and important but DIFFERENT.

Organized means to 'arrange into a structured whole; ordered.'

Most of us would be happy to have our lives described as WHOLE. Instead, we often feel as if we have fallen into a hole and are scrambling to get out!

So, a journey towards being organized is a holistic journey. It means our physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual selves work in coordination.

So, where do we begin?

As the British proverb states: "Begin as you mean to go on!"

To organize or become organized, we must begin with where we want to end.

When did you last consider your priorities and whether your life choices reflect those priorities?

Or what you would want written in your obituary? I think we would all agree we don't want it to sound like this.

So, here's the first step to becoming organized: figure out what is really important to you and why.

The "why" is what will keep you moving forward on the hardest days.

A few ideas for figuring out what matters to you:

1. Write a personal or family mission and vision statement.

2. List out priorities.

3. Set some life goals.

4. Set aside some quiet time to reflect. A weekend, a day off work, a few minutes a day for successive days. Keep mulling and pressing until you find some clarity. Record your decisions and thoughts so you can return to them.

I'd love to hear if you had any "Aha" moments while pondering where you want to 'end.' Share them in the comments!

Here's the links to the rest of this series Part 2, Part 3

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rape Culture in 2016: My Story

Preface: This isn't about politics or political parties. So, don't comment about politics, I reserve the right to delete it. Also, vague details of a sexual assault are included (trigger warning).

In the last week, an audio/video of a presidential candidate has been made widespread with vulgar content. Yes, its 10+ years old audio. I don't care. The content is still repulsive. And if the details it contains have been acted upon, it is illegal. It describes sexual assault, which is defined by any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.

I happen to think that this particular presidential candidate that stated these words is a dirt bag and likely criminal, for the words stated and everything else I have read about this person. So, I wasn't surprised by what surfaced, I wasn't even shocked.

But, I was completely disgusted by the leaders who claim moral high-ground, especially Christian leaders, who stood by this individual and even excused this behavior. How? How is that earthly possible? How? How do you know the God I know, the same Gospel I know, read the same Bible I read, confess the same Jesus I confess, and STILL make excuses for this behavior?

How do you condone and encourage a culture that says whatever action pleases a man is okay, as long as he has the money and power to back it up and protect himself? (And dare I say, the right skin color? White privilege anyone?)

This all bothers, disturbs, disgusts me...for all the reasons it should any moral human being that believes in absolutes, laws, personal freedom, justice, liberty, etc. It bothers me a Christian when the God who saved me is having His reputation dragged along by these so called "leaders" who fail to defend victims and instead defend and excuse this scumbag's actions. This offends me as a mother who is raising two children who will one day be adults in this broken world.

But, it also offends me as a woman and the girl I once was. A girl that was subjected to and influenced by the Rape Culture in which I came of age.

...because of the little boy who would say nasty, lewd, sexual things to me at school when no adults were around and I was too scared and ashamed to tell anyone.

...because of the culture that taught all of us that girls and women don't have value and aren't worth love unless we meet a certain standard of beauty and flaunt our sexuality.

...because gross jokes in middle school by boys became the norm and too much of school days became peppered with sexual harassment and innuendos.

...because big boobs, no boobs...we all got harassed and teased without end.

...because at 16 I was sexually assaulted and told no one because "it must have been my fault".

At 38, I know better. I know what was done to me was illegal. That if I had told anyone, I could have pressed charges if I wanted. I know now that although the perpetrator was also 16, he was a predator. He singled me out for ease of access, he had his way, and he walked away unfazed.

There was no consent on my part as to the events that unfolded. There WAS 'Please stop', 'No, don't do that' coming from my mouth. There was physical force used by his much larger body against my small 100 pound frame to hold me down.

Was I physically damaged by the event?

No, I don't think so. It was a long time ago and traumatic, so some details are hard to recall.

If it was so long ago, why does it matter now?

Because it does. Events like this don't go away, just like the death of a loved one doesn't "go away". It damaged and battered me in deep and disturbing ways.

I never told anyone when the event happened. I told a couple peers that we had "messed around". As a therapist reminded me "You were a child." So, I went years without speaking of it. Eventually, I disclosed the event to my husband around the time of our marriage. But, it wasn't until 19 years later, when I was 35 years old and had two young children, that I was able to remember the event with any real clarity.

Then, a year later, while in a therapy session with a licensed counselor, I was able to reveal the event and all the details I could recall. I was able to say out loud and tell the truth about it.

"I was sexually assaulted."

See, for all the years in between my youth, the trauma, and the enemy of God had convinced of lies regarding the event.
The lies sounded like:
"You asked for that."
"You put yourself in a bad position."
"You feel  bad because you didn't like what you thought you'd like."
"You're just a slut, whore."
"You're dirty."
"No one wants to love someone like you."

So my husband and our love and the grace of God had to break through these lies and the damage done in their wake. It was insanely hard. I was married at 25 and didn't get clarity until 35, so we spent years and years fighting a battle we couldn't name. I dealt with massive torment and anguish related to all things sexual. Emotionally, it was very hard to let my husband in fully.

You see, I'd never been able to name the thing that happened to me as sexual assault. So, I'd never had the chance to deal with it as sexual assault, or heal from it and the trauma it caused.

I'm grateful to stand on this side of wholeness and tell my story. I'm grateful to say that my marriage flourishes and this event from 20+ years ago has no hold on me. I wish it was the same for all of us.

If you're reading this: please know Rape Culture and sexual assault of all kind are harmful and dangerous and need to be treated as such. Nothing can justify such actions and behaviors.

If you're a woman who has experienced assault in silence: Please don't give up hope. Know that help and healing can still be achieved. Tell your story when you are ready and encourage others to tell the truth of how assault and Rape Culture affect them.

If you're like me and have found healing, join me in standing up and being counted as a SURVIVOR.

Resources and links:


Productive and kind comments and questions are welcome...and even room to vent :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Right to Life & Human Rights




Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Undone-The Beginning

The thoughts that follow are true of who I am as an individual and as a Jesus-follower. But this article,  Baby Zion, and included video spurred this particular essay. I hope you will take the time to read the article, see the video, read my thoughts and share your own. Blessings to you. #UNDONE

Our nation is known for its successes, its bigness, our money, our monuments, our influence. And as a nation we worship this measure of "success"- money in the bank, a comfy life, well-groomed spouse and kids, big house, fancy cars, no worries. But it's rooted in so many lies of what success really is.

What if American Christians became known, instead, for protecting the innocent, defending the defenseless, speaking for the voiceless, naming the nameless?

What if, instead of "standing our ground", we showed the world what it looks like to bend low to come to the aid of the widow, the orphan, the unwanted, the neglected, the broken, the disheartened, the forgotten, the "useless", the used up and thrown out?

What if we made every effort to bind up the brokenhearted with the Good News that no one is beyond the reach of the Grace of God?

What if, instead of pushing away those who make us sense our own shortcomings, we drew them near? Until the grace of God captured all of us? Until we lived so dependent on the moment-by-moment, He's-gotta-show-up-or-I'm-sunk-deep, grace and mercy and power of God, that we can't imagine living any other way?

What if?

I bet our kids would no longer ask in Sunday School, "why don't miracles happen now like they did back then?" ...

I bet our neighbors and co-workers wouldn't be surprised to find out we are church-goers or consider ourselves Christians...

I bet we wouldn't spend so much energy getting angry when some newspaper is "anti-Christian" because we're too busy feeding "sheep" and have our hands full living out the love of Jesus...


I believe in the inherent value of all human life from conception to natural death. ALL human life. Yes, the unborn. Yes, the dementia riddled. Yes, the broken. Yes, the feeble. Yes, the "my body hurts so bad I can't get out of bed." Yes, the body of an adult and mental capacity of a child. Yes, the alcoholic. Yes, the prostitute. Yes, the pimp. Yes, the depressed, anxious, sad, and lonely. Yes, yes, yes.

There is not one without value and purpose. If you are alive today, it is because God has purposed it and purposed you.

If you know Jesus and call yourself a Christian, do not cast off that which God has called you to care for.

And if you do not know the grace of God in Jesus Christ, may today be the day you hear Him say, "YES, YES, YES!! I have called you by name, you are MINE!"

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pilau (Seasoned Rice Dish)

I made Pilau for my family as our Easter meal. I'm sad to say that after almost 10 years of marriage, it's the first time I've made it. It's sad because it was so darn easy! I should have been making it every week for years.
When I lived in Mombasa, Pilau was one of my favorite dishes. There was(is) a restaurant just down from the Mombasa Post Office called Little Chefs. They had great Pilau and Kachumbari. I always assumed it was a difficult dish to make because on several occasions I saw it made at the school where I worked and it seemed to take all day. Now, I have no idea what was being done because I can have it on the table i less than 45 minutes. Most of that time is simmering, with no work on my part. This recipe can be adjusted for more or less meat, different vegetables, more rice...whatever you need. I haven't had coconut milk in my pantry in a while because of the high cost. I opted to use chicken broth instead of the coconut.


1 T oil
1 onion, diced
minced garlic
2t Pilau  Masala (or 1/2 t each of: black pepper, cumin, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, cinnamon)

1 lb meat: beef, lamb, chicken; in small pieces
2 c frozen vegetables (peas are a great option)
1 1/2 c Basmati rice
1 c coconut milk (or 1 1/2 c broth/water with bullion)
1 t salt
2 tomatoes, skinned and chopped (or a 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes)

- Heat the oil and then saute onion and garlic until clear. Add spices and saute for about 2-5 minutes; don't burn them.
-Stir in the meat and cook on medium until cooked to desired tenderness.
-Add vegetables (if they are hard, cook 2 minutes. If tender like peas, move to next step.)
-Add rice and liquid.
-Stir and bring to boil.
-Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook 20 minutes.
-Serve with Kachumbari or cabbage slaw.

WARNING: This is such a delicious dish it may be addictive!!!

A Conversation on How the IRS Pigeonholes Mothers


HOW THE IRS HURTS MOTHERS, is the actual title of this. While the author's motivation is for women to stay or get back into the workforce, I think this is an important issue because many women don't have the range of choices that they ideally could.
For most mothers, the idea of working beyond the home front is an "all or nothing" idea. Between the cost of childcare and the meager wages available in part time positions, college educated women either have to decide to get a "good" job which means high pay and an absurd work schedule or not work. And really, its incredibly discriminatory that childcare costs aren't a business expense. I found these things out the "hard" way when I became self-employed.
I have an amazing working husband and I am the childcare provider. But, my long term financial security entirely rests on him. That's fine for us because I trust him (and God :)) 100%. But that's an awfully precarious situation for society as a whole with a 50% divorce rate!
Ideally (in my perspective), a parent should have the largest burden of raising children but, if college educated, still have some outlet for staying "credible" in their field. There aren't many professions where this is possible. I have friends who are registered nurses and can be per diem at a hospital and only work occasionally. And I know a few pharmacists who can work very part-time, but there aren't too many lines of work in which that's possible. At least where the pay being brought in makes it worthwhile to juggle the duality of work and family.
I'd really love to hear from moms in every generation on this. Is your current lifestyle/work situation dictated by the economics of childcare costs and absurd (salaried) work schedules?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Maharagwe (Maragwe)

Recipe for Kenyan style beans with coconut milk. This makes a big pot of beans. If they are too much, just toss them in the freezer and they'll taste just a great when you pull them out after a month! The beans will taste even better after they sit in the spices for a few hours. Leftovers are usually better than the first time. Ideally, fix them in the morning or on the weekend to eat during the week!

2 lb. pinto beans (or another red/white bean)
3 cubes bullion
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 t. curry powder
1/4 t. black pepper
dash gr. red pepper
1/2 t. salt
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can of coconut milk
cilantro, chopped

Soak beans overnight according to directions. (I soak mine in a 4.5qt slow cooker) Drain and rinse and return to pot with water to cover. Add bullion. (I often cook mine in the slow cooker on HIGH for about the same amount of time as on the stove.) Bring to a boil and put on rapid simmer for 2 to 3 hours.

Once beans are cooked, in a fry pan, add oil, onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add spices and salt and saute for a minute or two longer. Add tomatoes and let simmer for 5 minutes or until tomatoes no longer taste acidic. Turn off heat.

Turn beans on high and add coconut milk. Bring to boil and add tomato/spice mixture. Add cilantro. Let simmer on low for 15 minutes or longer. Serve with rice, ugali, cornbread or flatbread.

When serving leftovers, add fresh cilantro.