Matthew 6:3

Matthew 6:3 goes a little something like this: “when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” 

Basically, don’t announce when you are being charitable. Don’t simply give because you want people to think you are an awesome person.

And, yet, here I am about to announce to the internet that I am doing an awesome job not letting my hands know what the other is doing. And, as a result, both of them think that the other is doing all of the giving. 

So, I think Jesus would be okay with me shouting from the rooftops that I am doing a piss-poor job at tithing. I haven’t filled an envelope since… let me see here… January 1st. I won’t even try to make an excuse.

I should apologize to the offering counters at Good Hope who will probably be confused when they get my January envelopes in… April? May? August? Here is a picture of all of the envelopes that still need to be filled. (January 8-March 28, 2012.) Dang.

 

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#23: Get a Tattoo

I don’t have “Go Skydiving” on my 30 before 30, so #23 might be the most typically quarter-life-crisis item on my list. I can assure you that I have been considering this for almost 5 years, and I think that’s more than long enough to classify it as a well-thought-out decision.

My commitment to the idea of having a tattoo comes in waves. Some days I can’t believe I haven’t taken the plunge already. Other times I remember that I’ve never dyed my hair and I’ve had the same haircut (it can hardly be called a “style”) for practically all of my young adult life. Appearance-altering isn’t exactly my thing– especially when it’s very permanent. Since sandal wearing season has prematurely begun (that should give you a clue about the placement of my tattoo), been thinking more and more about getting myself inked. (Inked?! I can’t even write that without feeling silly.)

I think this summer might be my time for a few reasons.

A few days ago I got a “save the date” from The Reverend kindly reminding me that June 22 will be the day that we will be celebrating our 10th Friendiversary. When would be a better time to get a tattoo than the 10th anniversary of knowing my most tattooed friend? I’m sure she’ll be ready to get another by then, too.

It is my understanding that jumping monumental hurtles is a good reason to get a tattoo. By June 22, I’ll have jumped a few. If I pray hard enough, and don’t screw up, I will be graduating in May. Then, on June 6, Ty and I will be running our first half-marathon. We’ve talked about possibly getting celebratory ink if we actually stick to this goal (no, not matching ink, thank-you-very-much).

Finally, I will leave you with a link to the accidental inspiration for many of my life-decisions (our lives are the SAME) who spontaneously got her nose pierced two weeks ago. If she can do it, well… (just kidding!)

Time MARCHES On…

I hope you can forgive me for the cheesy title. I’m very excited that March is here. Through my window I can feel the sun shining and hear the birds singing! I have a lot to look forward to this month– a weekend retreat with some friends, a choir reunion at Geneva, a quilting weekend at Lutherlyn, the first day of spring…

Let’s see how I’m doing on my 2012 things to do. As the months go by, I’m discovering that I don’t care as much about some of the things on my list as I did when I wrote it and there are other things I might like to add. I’m okay with that.

-Run a half marathon with Ty (and Oliver!!).
Yesterday was our first official training run. We ran 3 miles, and we both felt pretty good. The air was cold and my biggest complaint was that my teeth were sensitive to the cold. It’s been a while since we’ve done any running outside, and I’m thankful that we don’t have to start from the very beginning (one painful minute at a time).

-Make and send  my “Pay-It-Forward” crafts from 2011.
I’m down to THREE from 2011, because I finally sent these tie-dyed onesies…

-Sew a very over-due wedding quilt.
I pieced the whole top of this quilt in February, and I’m very excited about it. Maybe in March I will get up the nerve to quilt it.

-Finish quilting UFO quilt.

-Read and return The Last Child in the Woods.
I’ve given myself a deadline on this book because it’s not mine, and I need to return it. I’m about halfway through, and it’s very interesting (and affirming) for me as a former camp counselor and future educator. It reads kind of academically, so I have to force myself to pick it up, but I would definitely recommend it.

Finish my thesis well (and with a good attitude).
I finally presented to the Institutional Review Board in February (a huge roadblock, so far) and they approved my project pending a few simple revisions. If all goes as planned, I will be starting my group next Friday. I’m trying to stay calm, but when I think about it, the whole thing just makes me sick with stress. So, if you ever feel like asking me about it, just… don’t.

Finally graduate with my Master’s degree.
I applied to graduate in May. Maybe you could say a prayer for that to actually happen? Thanks.

Oh, and since I need to start learning how to use my camera, I think I’ll end these posts with my favorite picture from the previous month. (Also, I feel like I’ve ended on a crabby note, and who can be crabby when they see a birthday baby with a balloon?)

Thirty (or more) Weeks of Indie Travel: Jane’s #5

Prompt #5: KINDNESS

One of the greatest joys of travel can be the random acts of kindness you’ll receive from total strangers. Have you ever found kindness from strangers in unexpected places?

The kindness I’ve been offered around the world has looked like a warm shower, a soft pillow, and a delicious breakfast. I don’t have any scientific evidence, but I don’t think there is a culture on Earth that doesn’t include hospitality in its set of ethics. (Maybe someone would like to pay me to do this study? Fly me around the world. I’ll eat people’s food and drink their coffee. Perhaps this is my calling. Yes.)

Most recently, I think of my trip to Seattle with Jocelyn when a friend of a friend offered to let us stay with him for a few nights rather than paying to stay in a bed and breakfast. Then he took us to church and spent his whole Sunday showing us around the city. Our trip was enriched by his kindness and hospitality (and his life-sized Star Wars characters).

And, how could I write this without mentioning my lovely Aussie mum, Gail? For years, Gail welcomed FOUR American girls into her home for a semester at a time. Open arms. Open doors. Open pantry. Open peanut butter jar. (Who knows how much peanut butter four American girls can eat?! Gail does. And, it’s a lot.) When people ask me the best part about my semester abroad, my answer is always Mum Gail. (And I went scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, so that says a lot.)

A few weeks ago, I heard a radio ad looking for families to host exchange students. I don’t know anything about this organization, but it would be a place to start if you are interested in being a host to an international student. (http://www.yfu-usa.org/host-families.php) Maybe not before 30, but this is definitely something I’d love to do, because others have shown me how important it is.