Read: What Is God Like?

What Is God Like?What Is God Like? by Rachel Held Evans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What is God Like? God is Love. This beautifully illustrated book shares the heart of the late Rachel Held Evans and provides the basis of her faith in a way that's accessible to young readers and reinforces the beautiful gospel truth for all ages. I loved reading a digital NetGalley advanced reader copy, and I'm looking forward to holding the hard copy in my hands and sharing it with my daughters. Grateful that Matthew Paul Turner was able to see Rachel's vision through, and this book's beautiful prose will touch many children across the years.

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Enneagram One Memes to Save

I made this one in Canva after listening to this Unsolicited Advice for Ones episode of the Enneagram & Coffee podcast:

Then these are just ones that I've screen-shot from Instagram primarily, and in a very non-One way, I'm not going to try to link or find original sources (although I'd be happy to add links or take something down if any of this is your content):

Even before I knew Enneagram I had "You are doing great!" as my message in my Start Menu - I am my own best hype man!

Be Kind to Yourself

 I've been part of an Enneagram study with my church -- all on Zoom of course. It's through Life in the Trinity Ministries, a video course via Vimeo rather than DVDs or anything. Pretty expensive (each person had to pay for their access to the videos separately rather than just buying the DVD once that we'd all be able to watch together), but most people have seemed to enjoy it and get a lot out of it. My favorite part has been community building with my sub-group of friends. But the whole thing is tiresome especially during pandemic and when I've been very busy and pulled and stretched in different places and different ways.

This was a video that was recommended for my number (I am a 1) - by another participant. I just want to be able to find it later.

I've exhausted my core small group with my writing about my 1-ness. I can't identify "growing edges," and even Shawn is tired of hearing about it. I know I'm capable of change, but I can't even see what that change might look like.

Edit to add one more video, also 1-focused:

Psalm 64:1

They have changed the back-end editor for Blogger and so far I hate it. I can't adjust how the graphic appears -- text wrapping I mean, and I don't really want to break out my HTML skills for blogging.

Internal Weather Check: Raging Storms

Official artwork of this time
*I love my initials*
Housekeeping: I reverted the design of this blog back to "simply classic" or whatever the basic Blogger theme is. I liked the option of the other, but I couldn't get the older post/newer post scroll to work, and that's how I like to look at my blog, so the new theme wasn't working. I've still got it on, and I'm trying to decide what to do with that site. Possibly a professional WordPress site would be better, as I am still creating content in other places and want to have a record. I'm not sure what's worth the effort (or expense beyond the simple domains).

I haven't written here since the pandemic, social distancing and stay-at-home orders. I've written elsewhere, of course, and at night while I'm trying to sleep I write like a demon in my mind. It's weird, when I am in front of a blank Google document or blog window the words don't flow like they do when I'm working things out before resting in the dark quiet of my room with the hum of a fan and Shawn's sleeping presence.

Everything is different. And yet a lot is the same. Some of that I can explore and unpack in a post for the magazine, since that's parenting-related. But some things are emotional and messy and more ME, and I decided this is the place to write and keep those memories. Or at least attempt that.

On a Zoom meeting yesterday (church staff meeting, of which I'm not on staff but my volunteer presence has expanded exponentially during this time ... another experience to unpack that's appropriate for here or as a faith story but another post entirely -- for a time such as this), our pastor asked for an internal weather check. Similar to John Wesley's "how is it with your soul" but with the prompt to respond with weather metaphors. I get a constricted heart and panic when asked the soul question. I'm not in tune enough to have a good answer, perhaps? It's also general anxiety of sharing with people that pre-dates the pandemic. But I experienced it anew in this virtual experience. I have answered the question more honestly on previous calls because the answer was clearer (mostly cloudy, anxious, maybe a little windy from the swings up and down). Yesterday I just said "fair" because in the moment it was just OK -- my kids were fine in the other room doing their Kindles, I could focus on whatever the call was going to be about. The reality of my internal weather, however, is volatile and there is not a constant weather pattern to be sure.

While trying to sleep last night what kept coming to mind was RAGING STORMS of anger. I am furious at the lack of federal leadership. This type of situation was what entered my mind and filled my being with terror on November 9, 2016. When this jerk and the establishment that enabled and supports him ruins everything my fears included: How will I get contacts? Will I have enough pens and paper and eyeliner? (Good grief.) How will I take care of my kids, and how can people who love them deeply do this to them? And those fears are more real than ever in this time.

Currently I'm furious with the notion that we can get back to "normal" any time soon, even as tens of thousands of Americans have died from this. How many deaths were preventable if adequate personal protective equipment were available? If the pandemic team hadn't been fired years ago? If shut downs and shelter-in-place orders had been issued across the country (you know, at a federal level)?

So I can push those storms down temporarily, and focus on my own little world and my little work. Parenting my two girls through this. Supporting Shawn and his research work. Keeping our church family connected through online offerings and other support. But when the rages surface they are engulfing. And the storms and anger can absolutely spill over into these other areas of my life. I speak unkindly, overstep my bounds and even break things (RIP two pairs of headphones so far).

The raging serves no constructive purpose, but neither can I change that about myself. I hope by recognizing it, marking it down and sharing it I can step toward peace or some semblance of it.


Crochet: Blue Swirl Hat

I made a quick swirled hat, basically designed by the almost-seven-year-old intended recipient, a friend at church. She flipped through my book with designs I'd crocheted and picked out this Divine Hat pattern. I used the exact hook sizes as the pattern recommends and worsted weight yarn.

But she wanted to make specific edits - with the colors and adding the dark blue lines on a light blue background. I put off doing it for many weeks but started it while she was at our house on a play date, to ask for some specifics (what color do you want the band at the bottom - light blue, is it OK that one of the stripes -- my beginning/ending of each round -- is thicker than the others? yes, do you want a pom-pom added to cover the light blue circle at the top? no). It took me a few hours to finish over the course of a few days, very quick and it turned out great. A little big on her but not too big, probably sized for a small adult or tween because of the length. I like when hats can be worn for longer than just today (I've made one or two for my girls that are outgrown within a month ... what a waste).

Anyway, I like the way this turned out and think it would be really cute with white background and red stripes, as a peppermint, and with a striped band at the bottom, although that would be even more of a struggle!

Taco Soup in the Crock Pot

So I don't forget -- I made a delicious taco soup in the Crock Pot while my mom was visiting over Thanksgiving break. I am making it again today and don't want to lose the recipe in and among the hordes of similar recipes. This one is probably the easiest out there, but I might have added too much water today! I eyeballed it until the crock pot was full, egads. Here's my slightly modified version, mainly that I cook the meat with the taco seasoning instead of adding it with the liquid).
  • Brown one pound of ground beef and one chopped onion with packet of taco seasoning until meat is brown.
  • Put the mixture into the Crock Pot. 
  • Add 2 cups of beef broth (about half of a standard size box); a 28-oz can of Rotel, undrained; a 15 oz can of pinto beans, undrained; a 15 oz can of corn, undrained; and one cup of water. 
  • Stir it up, sprinkle on a dry packet of ranch dressing and slowly stir in. (There's probably a smarter way to do that too without sloshing the liquid! Maybe sprinkle the ranch over the meat after added?) 
  • Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Put shredded cheese and sour cream on top to cool it down and cream it up. 
  • Eat with Tostitos Hint of Lime chips (Jane's favorite) or Fritos (maybe my favorite).

Tastes even better the next day heated up. Nom. Nom. Nom.

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Thanks for your interest in silvermari crochet hats . Most of what I make are sized for infants and toddlers, although I can size up and dow...