Monday, April 25, 2011

d.i.g.: Baalbek

Everyone knows the Parthenon.

Everyone knows Petra.

Everyone knows the Coliseum.

In general, the great architectural marvels of the past are now commercialized and remain if only to offer wealthy travelers a chance to minimize their bucket list and get a frequent flyer pin.

Being generally intrigued by the mysteries of the world and owning up to a strange affinity for geography with the rest of my family, I naturally decided it was time to start a new series: discovering. inconspicuous. geography: d.i.g.

The site Atlas Obscura, shown me by my brother Kyle, has helped me find plenty of lesser-known spheres of life in my free time. However, it was the book Tea with the Hezbollah (a great read about loving your enemies...set in the Middle East) by one of my favorite authors, Ted Dekker, and amazing speaker Carl Medearis, that breathed inspiration into this first post.

Baalbek, Lebanon.

In it, Ted mentions a beautiful ruin-clad mountain-top with historic roots reaching all the way back to Cain in the book of Genesis: Baalbek. Heres a teaser:

"What is amazing about the archaeology in Baalbek is the unique tale it tells of changing religion. Behind us were the remains of the Phoenician temple to Baal, the god to whom ancient worshipers sacrificed animals and children. On top and around these excavated ruins from which Baalbek takes is name stands the two-thousand-year-old columns from the Jupiter temple, built by the Romans. Among these ruins lies what remains of a Byzantine (Christian) church, and finally, the ruins of the walls of a Muslim citadel and mosque."

Does that not sound amazing?

See for yourself:

Monday, March 21, 2011

I reached my arms out over the table at El Azteca last night in an effort to stretch my muscles. My hands landed in the salsa bowl. I just did that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

beautiful distraction.

A couple weeks ago was the TSC retreat, and I attended as always. I've been battling a barrier between me and my King, and He chose this weekend to reveal this analogy to help me understand how to choose Him (whew, that was a mouthful!).

This barrier is a chasm. Me on one side and Christ on the the other, beckoning me to be with Him. But a many chasms are, it a beautiful distraction, and Christ looks small and feels distant. The rushing river below is deafeningly loud, stealing my attention. I can see that it is deep and dark and to fall would be certain death;the darkness consuming, the swift tide sweeping, or the collision shattering.

I call out to Him and I can see that He is calling for me too, but the roar of the river is too loud. Yet I know, He hears me. I yell for help-- for a way to reach Him--and like His refining character, He provides a bridge for me to labor over towards Him. He does not simply close the chasm as His power might suggest, but in His sovereignty chose to give me a way to choose Him.

I step onto the small but firm limb and with each step realize what He is allowing me to overcome. The gorge still plunges, reaching for my heart, claiming fear in the darkness of the unknown. But as I change my view from void to His face, my step becomes light and my foothold sure. I begin to race to the other side, confident of the promise He has made to be all that I need and want. But yet I run to the end of the limb and find that it does not reach the other side. I am confused, but I know that I must cross to conquer for once this gaping chasm. And then clarity comes as I see that this is not an end but an opportunity for faith. I fix my eyes on Him and slowly step where I know there is no support. I do not fall. I blink in astonishment and He is there beside me. He picks me up and carries me across, lifting my fears and expectations from my shoulders to His.

He speaks only these words, "My child, I am so glad you have come."

We walk together and time escapes as He shares Himself and His love for me. The chasm I once knew so vividly still rages behind, but as I walk with Him the roar becomes a mumble and then a whisper until I can hear it no more. Still I never forget what lies behind us because I know that if I were to part with Him, I would find myself back at the gorge or one of many others like it. To cross back over the the other side, I know, would lead only to death.

I remain content, and even filled with joy to walk with Him as he leads me ever into the thickening forest, along the path which He has promised to lead to His home. My home.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


May I introduce you to my favorite new tab to keep open on my browser at all times for comic

Handerpants. Underpants for your hands.

Just say it.

Usually, it comes out of my mouth more like "Handapanz." And it makes me smile everytime.

What? They even LOOK like tighty-whities?
(Not sure what the intention was there)

Also mentioned is that they are, apparently, 'sexy.' Justin Timberlake probably should've sought out some professional help from these guys when he tried to Bring Sexy Back.

Population: Narwhal Aficionados, Ninjas with Delicate Hands, Hobos, Assistants to the Magican's Assistant, British Sitcom Stars, Jerks and m
any, many more. My personal favorites: the elderly, senior citizens, old people, grandparents, and retirees-- just to cover all the bases.

Uses: Girly Stuff, Sanitary Handshakes, Night Blogging...

and of course: the elderly.

I know, I know, at this point, you must think this is all a scam. I did. But I did my research. I went to the website, which is just as ridiculous as the video, and then clicked the "Buy Yours Now!" button, which took me to a website that sells them along with emergency underpants, instant underpants, and an 'undercap'.

They have serious obsession with undapantz.

But they earned my respect with their description of squirrel underpants:

"Are you sick and tired of squirrels running naked in the trees around your house? Have you had to hide your children’s eyes when a tiny furry streaker crosses the sidewalk in front of you? We’ve got the answer, Squirrel Underpants! Each pair of tiny briefs has a 3" waist and is made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex. Also good for hamsters, frogs and gerbils."

Also to their credit, they like mustaches. Mustache bandages, hipster staches, switchblade mustache combs, mustache soap leaves, and other manly things of that nature.

I feel like I just stumbled onto a goldmine.

Friday, March 4, 2011

For Real?

I'm betting that when you think of wind energy structures you think of this.

But there are some pretty amazing innovations in wind structure technology.
Like this one in Saudi Arabia.
Or this one in Japan.
Or this one...which I think is in Dubai.

But the coolest ones are definitely the proposed ones. This one is for the Atacama Desert.
An echo chamber design for Taiwan.
Not sure where, but it will be awesome.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


So I saw this ad in one of marketing classes, and I thought it was simply genius. I couldn't find it anywhere on the web but here, so just ignore everyone's negative comments. They obviously aren't marketing or advertising students...what would they know..

Hopefully you know that I am just kidding. But seriously...genius stuff.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I had one today.

Let me clarify: Jesus gave me an epiphany today.

I often mull over how much I love being a goer, how I love being used by the Lord to share the Good News with those who haven't heard. I get to hear about it from the Bible and people with crazy awesome experience at Perspectives, and also from a lot of my close friends. I have also been blessed to be a goer myself at times, most impactfully (?) to South Asia.

Here is my faulty thinking. I often say I'd love to return to South Asia as a goer and reference my love for the people there, the culture, etc., and that I want to share the gift that is Jesus with them. But I've got it all backwards. I need to love Jesus first and more. Why should I be a goer? Because Jesus is my Saviour, my treasure, and my pleasure to share and I want bring Him glory.

Seems so simple, and my head has known this for a long time. But in the action of loving internationals here as I would those nationals overseas, my heart lost track of the ultimate treasure. I began to love internationals from my own limited supply of human love, instead of being filled with His love through meeting with Him. I shared him as a gift, not a treasure.

Now, the adventure begins again. I get to re-discover my King as the indescribable beauty He is.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How did I just do that?

two equally great things happened today.

firstly, I was walking in Gerdin with my snazzy leather boots from Ireland that click and clack all teacher-lady like. I always get alot of 'looks' when I wear them (pretty much every day) because I'm so noisy, but dangit, I like them! today, however, the tiny half-inch heels revolted. I was going around a corner, and I suddenly--magically--wiped out. pretty sure it looked like i slipped on the ice....inside. nicely topped off with a comment from aside, "I promise I won't tell anyone." who makes that kind of promise?! seeing someone do that pretty much makes my day...which reminds me that my friend Nattie made my day pretty hardcore on Monday. best wishes for your bum-healing!

to make my day immensely greater, I was walking into Gerdin in the middle of class time, so there were only two other people in sight on the sidewalks. as we are about to merge into one path up to building, the guy in front on my sneakily takes a look over his shoulder at the girl who just passed him, ignores my presence and starts running really strangely. it looked exactly like this:

to top it off, I caught up with him and recognized him from various classes and things throughout my time at ISU. Most notably when we saw him creeping on layla's apartment from his apartment last year...through like 3 different windows.

good day, and it is promising to get better with TSC tonight!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I just did alot of things this year.

So blogspot, old friend, I'm going to dare to declare once again that "I'm back." But as its been so long since I have been consistent, I'm going to try to appease the bitterness of our separation by updating you on what I've been doing.

I know you're really only interested in the good stuff, so heres a compilation of my last year in a nutshell:

I lived at home this summer. One day I wore my shirt backwards all day long. I had a sweet internship with Every Ethne ( in Iowa City and did graphic design work. I left my power cord home once and drove an hour each way to do two hours of work. I was blessed to teach an amazing Sudanese woman to drive. One day we had a shopping lesson instead. I was able to go to Cornerstone Festival and blow my ears out listening to music for a week. I fried in the sun.

I had the coolest opportunity to study in Ireland this fall. I didn't compensate correctly for my connecting flights and missed my London-Cork a day. The first four weeks I took an intensive culture class, met amazing friends, and traveled a bunch around Ireland. I left my memory card at home the day I kissed the Blarney Stone. I was able to go to Paris last minute, see a friend, and stay with some awesome Irish students (and of course see the city). I left all my purchases at a restaurant one night. My roommates and I got to spend a couple days in Tenerife, Spain (one of the Canary Islands) off the coast of Morocco. We waited for two hours to get into our 'condo'....that we booked the night before.

My parents got to come visit me and see the beautiful Emerald Isle. I took them to see Harry Potter 7 on Thanksgiving. We were able to go to China to see Gabe and some friends. I left my passport in my apartment 4 hours away in the middle of a snow storm...and realized it at 11 p.m. the night before our flight. I got to see the Great Wall of China! I puked for over 48 hours, got dehydrated and ketonic, and came off the airplane on a wheelchair. I spent my first night in China in the hospital.

Ireland eventually sent me back home. It took a train, bus, 4 flights, and a taxi to get me home 2 days late due to closed airports all across Europe. I'm now enjoying life back in wintry Ames. I slipped on the same piece of ice twice in one day. Family Group with internationals and Salt Company with 800 students has blessed my life so much in the last month. I hit Collin with my car today.

But if you didn't want to read that huge post, what you really need to know about my life is none of that. In a sentence, the last year has been God stretching me, pushing me, and loving me so that my life would be more about His glory.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

HSBC does that.

Ok, so I'm going a little crazy blog posting. But I have two hours on my hands, and danget, I want to blog! Not to mention I wanted to beat Gabe to the punch on this one. We sat down and watched a bunch of these the other day, and being the suave cultural adapters we are (a.k.a. we have some pretty awesome cultural no-no stories) we enjoy laughing at others' mistakes.

I hope this can happen. Next time I ride the subway somewhere...its happening.

Germans vs. French. I bet you want to see what happens.

And Chinese conundrums are always super entertaining.

I'll limit myself to just four, but there are plenty of good ones to go around. Heres one for animal lovers. And sports lovers. What? You'll see.

Go ahead. Look up more. I know you want to. Start with swings, washing machines, my world, and shopkeepers. Break!


I am starting to really enjoy my marketing classes. I get to watch videos a lot (which is fantastic unless you are tired) and I learn some amazing things about how people think and behave.

Every once in a while, I come across something really depressing about our culture. This is one of them.