Category Archives: culture & trends

Staying trendy: chevron nail polish?

I wouldn’t say I’m trendy, but I do try to stay current as much as I’m able.

One thing I just can’t get into, however, is this painting your nails with different colors and shapes thing. Stripes, zig-zags, polka dots, angled tips, curved tips.

Nope, don’t like it.

I think it would be fun for a tween, or maybe even a teenager, perhaps. But a thirty-something woman? Just seems a little wanna-be to me.

(Please don’t be offended if you like it – you do your thing, I’ll do mine.)

I’ve never really been a nail painter in general. I think I’ve painted my nails less than 10 times in my whole life. Ok, maybe more. But every time I do I clean it off moments or hours later. I just don’t like the looks of it on me. (I always said it made me look like a mom – haha – but I suppose I’ve not tried it since becoming a mom. Maybe it’s time for another shot?)

So considering I’m not even into nail painting, I guess it’s not surprising that I’m not into nail decorating either.

Who knows, maybe I’m just showing my age here. But it’s very hard for me to accept the current nail trends in any way, shape or form.

Am I getting old?

Will I change my mind in a year’s time when it’s all “so last year”? (HA!)

STOP.

 

Q for you: Fancy nails – yay or nay?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


How to own a house outright (by first proving your not in the mafia)

A blog I follow recently posted about their family’s journey to purchase a new home in Bend, Oregon.

This is a debt-free family who had a sizable down payment, and had worked out their budget to be able to PAY OFF a 15-year mortgage in its entirety after three years.

THREE YEARS.

They did this by renting, saving like crazy, and making the pay off their first priority… knowing that after three years they will be able to have income freed up for travel and other things.

Imagine living in a house you own outright. (Dream come true!)

The “funny” thing is this family had a really hard time finding a lender.

They had no debt, amble money, and an amazing plan.

Just hardly a credit record.

Seems a little backwards, doesn’t it? Especially considering all of those who’s mortgages are turning upside-down these days.

The good news is these guys found a loan (after proving they aren’t in the mafia), got their house, and their story is now inspiring many others (like me!) that all of this is actually possible.

These are precarious financial times we live in, but all of us (I’d hope) are trying to be smart with the money we have – whether it’s a little or a lot.

STOP.

 

Q for you: What would you give up in the short-term to be able to own your house outright, quicker? Or be able to buy a house in the first place?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


For the love of jars

I’ve had some new subscribers since my posts yesterday. I’m sorry if this disappoints you–and I sincerely hope you can handle it–but tonight I have another extremely complex and weighty topic to address:

Mason jars.

Why, oh why, have jars become this year’s hot item?

Since I discovered Pinterest a couple of months ago, it’s no secret that I became a fast and furious pinner. (Username adrielbooker – I know you were wondering.)

I love all the DIY inspiration, household tricks, and pretty “stuff”.

But there are things that baffle me about this year’s trends:

Pallets. For everything.

Jars. (Mason, if you’re really cool.)

T-shirts upcycled into “styles” that make them even more sloppy and ugly.

I don’t really know what to think of this information. But I’m really hoping that Pinterest will last.

Because think of the fun we’ll have in ten years time looking back at all of our pins of JARS and wondering, what the heck?

That is all.

Just some more deep thoughts for you to ponder today.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Are you a jar-lover? Chevron? Pallets? Old t-shirts? Art made out of plastic spoons? Chandeliers made out of twigs? Mustaches???

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


To my gay and lesbian friends who feel excluded and alienated and discriminated and rejected:

I am sorry. We have failed you.

We have not represented him well.

We have not taken seriously our calling to be ministers of reconciliation.

We have ignored peace and mercy and opted for justice (at times narrowly defined by our current political systems).

We have sought morality above love.

We have been proud when we should have been humble.

We have defended our rights when we should have laid them down.

We have picked up our knowledge of good and evil instead of picking up our cross.

We have picketed when we should have been washing feet.

And for that I am sorry.

The way of Jesus is always tender. His mercies are new every morning.

His reach is not limited by any human definition.

I love his Church–fiercely–and I am a part of her. But I recognize her reflection of him is still being polished.

She is still learning, growing, being made into his likeness. (And I, along with her.)

Please know that Jesus is infinitely more good than what you see through us.

There is nothing about him outside of good. Good, good, good, good.

Pure, unadulterated, goodness.

(And we–his Church–are good too, but only in him, and because of him.)

We are weak and growing up and in need of his grace too.

We are beautiful and flawed and holy and human.

And you may not always believe it, but we really are trying our best.

As much as you need grace, we need it too.

From each other, but most of all from him.

Help me as I learn to love more completely.

Help me.

Help us. (Oh God, help us.)

STOP.

Related post: What if compassion moved us? (Thoughts on gay marriage and the church.)

 

Love,
A

P.S. I went over my time limit on this post. Please also note that I will delete any comments that I deem as unkind or disrespectful. (You are free to agree or disagree with me in the comments – that is not the issue. Just know that I will not engage in on-line debate or tolerate slander in my little space here.)

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


What if compassion moved us? (Thoughts on gay marriage)

It landed in my inbox and I couldn’t not read it:

A Christian Debate on Gay Marriage from Relevant Magazine featuring two “experts” on either side of the issue.

The article itself wasn’t even that good. (No disrespect intended.)

But the comments…

The comments are what drew me in.

I read pages and pages of comments, one after the other, from people in either camp of the gay marriage debate.

Some appeared to be written with much thought and intelligence.

Others seemingly rattled off out of haste and unbridled emotion.

Some quoting scripture and some quoting experience.

Many out of context.

All on both sides.

The tears began to well as I realized that what I’ve been fearing really is true:

We are more known for what we’re against than for what we are for.

Why aren’t Christians known for mothering for orphans, caring for widows, assisting the elderly, including the outcast?

Why aren’t Christians known for embracing the refugee and the alien?

Why aren’t Christians known for being accepting and gracious and abounding in love?

Why aren’t Christians known for bringing healing to the broken-hearted?

Why aren’t Christians known for being slow to anger?

Why aren’t Christians known for addressing poverty and engineering clean water and reducing childhood mortality?

Why aren’t Christians known for befriending inmates and serving the homeless?

Why aren’t Christians known for improving health care and education?

Why aren’t Christians known for diffusing discord and being bringers of peace?

Why aren’t Christians known for loving gay people? Any people? All people?

Why?

It breaks my heart that we are known for deciding who are sinners and who aren’t. Who gets into heaven, and who does not. What sins should be legislated and which sins shouldn’t. (As if that “right” belongs exclusively to us.)

Because don’t we all need Jesus?

Isn’t the ground at the cross a level place?

Wasn’t his sacrifice sufficient for everyone?

Have we not all been made in his image?

Does he not delight in his children, whether they know him or not?

Aren’t we all worthy of his gift?

Is there not room enough in his heart for all?

Is there not room enough in mine?

So I closed the screen as my lap became wet with heavy tears.

Forgive us Lord. Have mercy. Draw near. Show your face.

I wept as I prayed.

And then I wondered, what if we prayed more than we lobbied?

What if we practiced more than we preached?

What if we served more than we sought protection?

What if we asked for more of God’s heart to help us navigate our times?

What if compassion moved us, instead of anger, fear, and judgment?

What if we loved, expecting nothing in return?

STOP.

Related post: To my gay and lesbian friends who feel excluded and alienated and discriminated and rejected

 

Love,
A

P.S. I went over time limit today. And please note, I will delete any comments that I deem unkind or disrespectful. (Whether comments are in agreement or not is not the issue. I will not engage in online debate or tolerate slander.)

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.



Soap-boxing and mouth-shutting

My heart is weighed heavily right now about big things:

Parenting, marriage, politics, the church.

And how it’s all wrapped up together.

I have strong opinions on most things in life – always have.

But I realize opinions must be carefully shared.

Sometimes social media (public broadcasting at our fingertips) tempts us into soapboxing before we really know what we’re soap-boxing about (or why).

Dangerous.

This is why I’m being quiet for the moment, even on things I feel passionate about.

Because it’s not just about the speaker, it’s about the hearer.

And sometimes words just aren’t good enough to convey.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Are you voicing your opinions publicly about the “hot issues” of today? Why? (Or why not?)

 

Love,
A

p.s. Have you noticed I missed two days this last week? Yeah, 3500 birth kits have kept me busy. Last night I realized I hadn’t written here as my head was hitting the pillow. Wisdom told me to skip “discipline”, and even be relaxed about it, so I did.

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited

 


A note to US voters

My friend Jim tweeted this today:

@jimastephens: Note to US voters: The Messiah is not among the candidates for election. Nor is the Anti-Christ. These are politicians.

Genius.

Every time an election rolls around it amazes me how so many of us get swept up in the tsunami of religious rhetoric surrounding the candidates.

As a believer, of course I think that the beliefs of the candidates are important. (But so does everyone else. That’s not a “Christian” thing.)

I want to know what people stand for. I want to know how they vote. I want to know where they will channel their efforts. (Or at least where they think they will. We all know wars and natural disasters and economic downfalls tend to derail things a little.)

But for the love, why must we go about deeming so-and-so the “Christian” choice (or not) and then villanizing anyone else that opposes?

The polarizing effect of elections is so disheartening.

Every time it rolls around people say “let’s work together” and then in a heartbeat we get busy defending our own issues and opinions and deciding the “other guy” is the devil.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have opinions. Even strong ones.

But how about we try and act like grown-ups, do our research, and lend our support in a way that brings life and hope and intelligence into the conversation?

And in the meantime, how about we quit with the anti-christ comments. (Cuz they make us all look like weirdos anyway.)

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you love or hate American politics? As frustrating as they are at times, I’m definitely of the “lover” category.

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Confession: I’m a sucker for reality TV

We love reality tv shows around here. LOVE.

Not what you’re thinking (Jersey Shores, The Bachelor). We love the talent competition ones.

First it was American Idol. Then, Australian Idol.

Then it was So You Think You Can Dance, the American version. (Yes, Ryan liked it just as much as me!!)

When that wore off, we got right into Master Chef for one or two seasons, the Aussie one.

That one got annoying because it was on six nights a week. SIX. (And it’s highly addictive!! Who wants to be “chained” to a show nearly every night a week?!!!)

Last year we got into The Block and Top Design. I was kinda obsessed with these shows. Seriously. I lovelovelove design and decorating. Ryan was almost equally into it. (It would be hard to equal my passion on this one.)

This year? Well, the Block is on again. (Yayyayayay!) But we’re also now ADDICTED to The Voice – the Aussie version.

The judges – Seal, Delta, Keith, Joel. Hello, they are the perfect line up!!

I think Ryan has a celebrity man-crush on Keith Urban. And I so get it – he’s so adorable!

And Delta just might be the most beautiful woman on the planet. Pretty sure I gush about her every ad break.

Joel is hilarious in a wear-it-on-your-sleeve kind of way. (He annoyed us as first and has now won both of us over.)

And then there’s Seal. (Need I say more?)

And the competitors? So. Awesome. So. Talented.

We were so excited to watch it tonight that we actually let Levi watch the first 1/2 hour with us since it started at 6:30.

As strange as this sounds… I felt like such a “real” little family sitting there, all watching The Voice together. Flash back 20 years and we would have been gathered around the little tely watching Young Talent Time.

Levi was captivated! Of course he’s obsessed with music so it was right up his ally… but I think there was also the I’m-up-at-night-watching-tv-like-a-big-boy-with-mom-and-dad factor that was pretty fun for him too.

Even Judah woke up so that he could be a part of the action. (cheeky baby.)

I so enjoyed having my boys piled on the couch with us as we enjoyed good music and watching people step out in faith to pursue their dreams.

We couldn’t help but wonder as we were watching… what would we do if one of our littles were on that stage one day?

STOP.

 

Q for you: Reality TV – yay or nay??

 

Love,
A

p.s. Another confession: I went over time today. Like a minute.

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


The loop (And staying in it)

My favorite newsy show moved from 7pm to 6pm and I haven’t seen it in weeks. Maybe months.

By the time we get the kids both into bed it’s 7:00 or 7:30pm and by the time I do my rounds picking up the house, changing over the laundry, or whatever else needs to be done, I’m often not sitting down until at least 8:00.

The last thing I want to do at 8:00 at night is to “read the paper” so to speak. I want to browse pinterest, check out facebook or instagram, and maybe watch some “compelling” television. (My favorite right now is the Voice – Australia’s edition just started.)

Sometimes I write at night, or edit photos.

And if I’m up for it, I might get some “work” done like answering emails or making lists for whatever it is I’m working on at the time.

But this “disappearing” program (and my lack of ambition to find my news online) means that I’m woefully behind on current events.

This is all very strange for me.

Normally I love keeping up-to-date. I love following the politics (hello, it’s an election year!!). I love being abreast of the latest breaking story.

But I don’t like to use my online time to read the news. I’d much prefer social networks or reading blogs or just researching stuff that I’m learning about. (Like googling “what to do with your lucky bamboo when it grows too tall”. True story. Mine’s grown way too tall and I have no idea what to do with it.)

So since I’m not reading much news online and I’m missing out on my favorite news show, I’m totally out of the loop.

And being out of hte loop makes me feel ignorant. And lazy.

I guess I’d better get in the loop again.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How do you stay current on world events? Is it important to you?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


What I hate about Australia (besides giant bugs)

There are so many things to love about Australia:

The sun.

Gorgeous beaches.

Ridiculously cute animals like koalas and wallabies.

Cool buildings like the Opera House.

Indigenous art.

Bush dances.

BBQ culture.

Passionate sports fanatics.

Words and phrases like “mate” and “g’day” and “no worries”.

The amazing (Asian) food that you can find everywhere.

Teh fact that most people don’t take themselves too seriously and are quick to have a laugh.

Morning tea.

Afternoon tea.

I love so much about this nation. So much. (I’ve been here 12 years, duh.)

But there is one thing I hate. (And yes, I know “hate” it a very, very strong word. One I don’t use often.)

Yes, I hate the cockroaches, the ants, and the mosquitoes that I come across on a daily basis… but that’s not what I’m talking about.

What I’m talking about is this:

THE AUSTRALIAN SHOPPING TROLLY.

(Otherwise known as a shopping cart.)

I have never, ever, EVER driven one of these things that steers correctly. Tehy are not made to balance and flow like the American ones.

They simply will not go in a straight line when in less than perfect circumstances.

Going around a bend (with a full cart) is like trying to pull a semi-truck around a hair-pin turn on the side of a mountain pass. Ugh.

Trying to push a cart with 50+ pounds of groceries in it and steering it in teh right direction when there is any remote slope to the ground is virtually impossible… Comparable to crocodile wrestling. (Just try to imagine that.)

I’m convinced that the CEOs of Woolworths and Coles have never gone grocery shopping a day in their lives.

If they had we would be seeing some radical reforms in the trolly department.

A nation that’s built the Sydney harbor bridge, hosted the Olympics, and engineered countless other modern marvels…. yet they can’t figure out how to make a decent shopping cart.

(Embarrassing.)

So this, my friends, is the thing I hate about Australia.

Shopping trollies.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you ever tried to wrangle an Australian shopping cart?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited