Left Overs

Leftovers are great, well sometimes. It really depends on what it is. The day after the night before can turn some bland dishes into masterpieces after bathing in the broth or skin or bed of whatever it was introduced on. I have friends that swear by left overs, and they aren’t the only ones. A whole website has been dedicated to making mystical leftover creations. Nice.

Sometime in early 2000 my Dutch friend Zippora introduced me to the greatest invention that Holland has ever imported, no seriously, ever. Stroopwafel

She give me one to sample, and I was hooked. She became my dealer, and I her addicted customer. Over the course of the years she has flown them across the English Channel, smuggled them across the Atlantic Ocean and shuttled them across England. I have been known to become a little (read extremely) irrational when my supply is depleting. I remember one particular time when my wife asked me to taste them, and it took everything within me to give her one of those golden wafers of sweet chewy goodness.

Oh yeh, left overs.  I didn’t know this but a baker in Gouda, Holland had finished baking and he took the left over crumbs of some dish and added spices and filled the mixture with caramel. Et Voila, the Stroopwafel was born! Little did he know that his experiment with left overs would catch fire and became a staple of Dutch confectionery hundreds of years later! Today we find ourselves steeped in a society of excess (it is estimated American’s throw away $43 billion worth of food).  We don’t generally have a high view of leftovers. We don’t tend to mend things that break, we equate left overs as unwanted, as mistakes. Such a policy in our lives can cause us to miss out on the surprises that often spring out of leftovers. The second chances.

I am thankful for the second chances that were extended to me so far in my life. Maybe this is the year  you will make sweet Stroopwafels from relationships that you once gave up on as leftovers. (Of course some things that are leftovers need to be thrown away and never see the light of day). Spend some time to think about it you might be surprised. We all know how it feels to be forgotten, left over and overlooked, it hurts. If you are currently feeling like you have been tossed onto the scrap heap of life, I want to point you to forceful texts in the bible. GOD, paints a powerful picture of maternal love for us in those times of excruciating expulsion (real or apparent.)

Isaiah 49:15

Today’s New International Version (TNIV)

 15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!

You are NOT forgotten. You are NEVER a Left Over (as good as they can be). In God’s eye’s you are ALWAYS the main course!

Self Enemy

I am currently studying for a Hebrew Qualifying Exam so that I don’t have to take the class. It’s tough going. I have to review, vocab, nouns, verbs, syntax, morphology. So sometimes I just don’t do it. Instead I blog (“,) tweet, read, eat, anything but Hebrew. Of course it is an 800-pound gorilla in the room, and soon it begins to roar and growl at me, and I grab my book and begin again.

The hardest part about studying Hebrew isn’t Hebrew, its me. I am my own worst enemy.

During my journeys around the web I came across this article about running, or ultra marathons to be specific.

After reading about this man who can run 100mile marathons, and who was so committed he changed to a Fruitairian diet, I was empowered! As humans we are capable of achieving extraordinary things. In my particular case, as I face the giant of Hebrew, I know that motivation plus discipline will position me for success in 10days! Then I started to think about the awesome things that we can do if we are fueled not only on organic local produce, but on dynamic heavenly manna.

What do you want to do in 2012?

Bone Collectors

I spent hours on the phone, skype, tango, viber, vtok, gmail sending messages and speaking with people. I spoke to my aunt all the way in Ghana and struggled through the Twi  New Year’s Greeting.

Afehyia Pa! ( this means “good year”)

and the response is

Afe nko mbo to hyen (this basically means “may this year go and meet us again”)

After we spoke and laughed, and wished each other the best for 2012, my aunt caught sight of my wife walking in the background (I was on a video call.) As they were speaking my aunt said something that was cutting and profound. She said that she was glad I had found my rib and she could tell how happy I was (awww). Then she said “yeah because sometimes people chase the wrong bones and become so unhappy” (wooow.)

Guys if you are looking for your rib, wait on God. Don’t go into 2012 with a bag of bones. Let go of that elbow, or kneecap, it just pokes or kicks you anyways.  Stop being a bone collector. Drop the bag, and ask the bone maker to bring you your rib!

Genesis 2:21-22

Today’s New International Version (TNIV)

21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[a] and then closed up the place with flesh.22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib[b] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.


A Clean Slate

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Happy New Year!

I was going to begin the year with an entry about Turduckens, Steve Jobs and the 99%. The more I thought about it the less interesting it seemed or relevant to anything in life. lol.

So instead, I would like to share a poem by an up and coming writer (who will be re-establishing her online presence soon (“,) This was some thoughts she put down regarding 2011.

For the friends I lost, for the hard lessons i learned,
for the sacrifices made and thanks i didn’t get in return,
for the hell i caused myself and the consequences I felt,
for all the forced good-byes and the bad cards I was dealt,
for all the battle scars & wounds that i didn’t deserve,
for the opportunities i didn’t take because i didn’t have the nerve,
for people I could’ve helped but was to selfish to act,
for the things I could’ve had, but splurged and then lacked
for the words i used as weapons & words never spoken,
for the anger that I hid for peace and the pieces of my heart left broken…
this LAST cry of 2011 is for you, these tears are the soap and water for my soul, washing the chapters of 2011 closed. #itsallgood

Kimberly Pearson.

I love the last line especially washing the chapters of 2011. It reminds of something I read this morning regarding Papyrus. It was a writing material used in antiquity, and the ink used had no acid in it like our Ink today. So it didn’t ‘bite’ into the papyrus as modern ink does. So if a mistake was made, or you wanted to start from scratch all you had to do was to get a damp sponge and wipe it clean, then it ceased to exist. So I take the promise of a clean slate into 2012. I give permission to God, the careful cosmic editor of my life to wipe out the sin, the mistakes, the bad choices, the embarrassment of 2012!

 I am excited by the promise that is held by this year, its a blank canvass, so many possibilites. There is much learning, loving, and living to be done and only 366 days to cram it in to (leap year) Get busy!

A Girl Named William?

On the last sabbath of 2011 I was surrounded with family and friends in Detroit. I meet my beautiful niece Isabelle for the first time! And we went to church. At church there is one part of the program that everyone uncatergorically pays attention to.

“Good morning boys and girls, how are you?”

(now at this point, you hold you breath and wonder. Is this going to be one of those kidult stories, you know, geographically aimed to the kids but cognitivally aimed at PhD philosophy students that may have accidentally wondered in at 11.45am…)

“my grandmother lived in the south and one day she was playing in the woods when she heard music coming from the mississippi river. She went and found the steamboat called the MorningStart. Over the next few days she heard the music and eventually went on the boat, and heard sermons by Edson White. At the age of 13 she went home and told her father she was going to join the Adventist Church. Her father looked at her and forbid her, he added “I’ll kill you”

The next day she repeated her conviction at dinner.

Her father became catatonic and dragged her to the back yard grabbing a rope on his way out. Her mother run out and saw that he had tied a noose around their daughters neck and had tied the end to a tree.

(and this point I was like errmm, trauma alert! These are kids from 1-7, you are gonna give these kids nightmares.)

Her mother run and got aunt Samuela-William who told her father to leave her. Aunt Samuela-William took her home and grandmother never saw her brothers and sisters again! That is why I was supposed to be a girl called William because my great aunt saved my mothers life. Kids. Names are important, and the most important name is Jesus.

[What in world?!!? Breath.]

Apart from its gross inappropriateness for kids, there were some good lessons to learn.

Christian. Thats an amazing name. Christ followers. We are to reflect the name of our rescuer. Who saved us from death, when the noose was tighting around our neck, when we were gasping for breath. Who hung on a tree for us, and in his last breath whispered his love for us. Who has gone to prepare a home for us to live with him eternally. What a name! Christian.

But really someone needs to screen these children’s story. Please kids are suffering, it’s painful, a donation of …Lol

Praise & Pretzels

G1. “hey Girl!”

G2. “hey wsup with you?”

G1. “nothing, yo, I was at the club last week, and I meet this guy, hmmm”

G2. “really”

G1. “yeh we were getting it on, dancing, drinking, it was so much fun!”

[conversation continues]

G1 “anyway so my grandmother invites me to go to church on sunday with her coz I aint been in a minute. and when I get there I be seeing the same guy from the club up on the praise team singing, saying “oh Jesus bless me, bless me” I was [inaudible] …. £$£%**?@

G2 “DANG”

G1 “see that’s why I don’t go, HYPOCRITE. God aint gonna bless him, and I aint gonna call him”

This was the conversation I overheard whilst at Ben’s soft pretzels. (highly recommended by the way.) The hidden things of darkness came and bit this man in the behind. But more worryingly he calcified the already hardend heart of a child of GOD from being in community with his people. A few things that immediately jumped to mind

1. It really doesn’t matter who you are, you have influence. For good or for evil.

2. Your sins will, I repeat will find you out. Today, tomorrow, or at the judgement bar of GOD.

3. In darkness there is rotteness. In light there is forgiveness, but if we are still wearing the garments of rot and decay in light, well thats just stupid.

Numbers 32:23

23 But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out. (ESV)


Oranges

Oranges

I love oranges, and recently I came into a heavy bagful of juicy Alabama oranges while in NY, well actually Florida oranges, I don’t think Alabama grows oranges? These were no ordinary oranges my friends, they were organic. The skin peels away beautifully, the segments break away obediently and melt in your mouth. And the juice, ha, the juice makes Tropicana taste like it was mixed with medicine. After enjoying a few of these magnificent oranges, I left them in the plastic bag and put them on the kitchen counter.

 

rotteange

Rotanges

The next day I went to get another orange, and it had begun to blacken, and mould. I was vexed. I had driven these oranges 700miles, and now they were rotting? Nonsense. But then it dawned on me like a bad smell, it was my fault. These oranges are organic. They are not covered with pesticides that give them bionic longevity, and so they don’t last for weeks on end. Coupled with them being in dark, sweaty plastic coffins bags, I was essentially burying them alive. They had become rotanges.

Pesticides

Oranges don’t flourish in the dark. Oranges need light, and air, otherwise their lustrous orange coats begun rotting skins of decay. And it all happens so quickly one moment they are fine, the next they are rotting, in just 24hrs. We are all organic creations, created by GOD in his image. If we shut out light, and air from our creator for 24hrs, something will begin to rot, for sure. There are no spiritual pesticides that we can lather on ourselves, that will allow us to stay in dark, airless situations without decay. In darkness we rot, decay, we die. In light we flourish, grow, we live!

12Night is almost over, and day will soon appear. We must stop behaving as people do in the dark and be ready to live in the light. 13So behave properly, as people do in the day. Don’t go to wild parties or get drunk or be vulgar or indecent. Don’t quarrel or be jealous. 14Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won’t try to satisfy your selfish desires. Rom 13:12-13 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

10,000 times Hello!

I recently completed a round trip to New York. I drove 12 hours there, and 12 hours back. Growing up in England, I always marvelled at Americans ability to drive seemingly interminable distances at a whim. So whenever I complete a trip that edges into double figures I feel like a hero!

My trip with my newly wed wife, took us to Staten Island, Manhattan, China Town, the Lower East side, and finally to Upstate New York. We stayed with friends who live near the Catskills mountains 10,000ft above sea level. When you are 10,000ft up it makes a difference. 10,000 of most things in this world make a difference.

Gladwell, M in his book Outliers  discusses the 10,000-hour rule. Essentially, those who hit this magical figure interms of practise rise to the standard that the world terms “world class experts.” Mozart, Bill Joy, Edison, Bill Gates, The Beatles… the list is longer than your arm.

I guess there are no shortcuts to success. Sometimes I get frustrated when I don’t wake up on that cold tuesday morning as a world expert in… [fill in the blank] It seems unfair that some people just have it and other’s don’t? Gladwell’s musings gives hope to an average guy like myself! I may not have 10,000hrs to put into my desired area of improvement, but the mechanics of my mind don’t preclude me from maximal achievement in my personal journey! To throw a pugilistic hat in the nature vs nurture ring, it seems that nature is the true prize fighter! The article goes on to speak about each person having terrific opportunities. It got me thinking.

Those people that memorise the bible, the ones that have a ready answer on theology, ontology, ethics, obscure exegetical points; you know the ones. Maybe they were not zapped with a magic wand when they were born. Maybe they just put in the hours, maybe they are gaining ground on the 10,000.

So lets toast to the 10,000, we may not get there, but every hour clocked is a step in the right direction. But wait. What about GOD and the bible, how does the 10,000 fit in there? I’m not sure to be honest, I know that time with GOD does not always output godliness (pride, wrong motives etc are contributing factors). But I know that I will be closer to my wife after 10,000hrs of loving, persevering relationship, and after 10,000hrs with GOD I know that I will closer to my maximal personal goal of looking more like HIM.

2 Cor 3:18 – But we all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.