Movie Review

I haven’t written a blog in some time and I had this one in the drafts for awhile so, tasked-oriented as I am, I had to finish it before I could start an other one.  Sorry it’s a little silly.

I took my family and a (38 your old female) friend to the $ theatre.
The movie we saw is based on a book. We had the book at home and especially the children seemed impressed with the book so we decided to pay $1.75 to see it in the theatre.

The movie starts.
Now, comparing the beginning of the movie to the beginning of the book is a quick job. There are very little comparisons. Tim, the main character is not in the book. Not mentioned once. In the movie? Seen in every scene!
The movie doesn’t stop at the beginning; it kinda just keeps on going. All of the sudden we deal with a toddler gang, puppies taking over the world and an angry baby that grew up and wished he didn’t. The funniest part of the movie was when my 38-year-old female friend (I hope she doesn’t read this, and if she does I hope she subscribes to our blog) laughed out loud when nobody else did.

I thought the plot of the movie was effortless, cheesy and full of holes.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy watching the movie, as a matter of fact it was the best movie I watched all day. The concept of a baby in a suit demanding meetings all day long and several at night is quite clever. That proves the director of the movie at least read the book or looked at the cover.
The song “Blackbird” by the Beatles helped the movie to knit some loose ends together and end it in a sweet moment where baby and brother discover they like being siblings and the Boss Baby decided to be a real baby. (spoiler alert)

Although the movie was great the book is better. It’s shorter.

 

Overwhelmed

Is it just me, or are options overwhelming?  I’m glad we have options in this life, but too many of them make me turn into a fluffy-brained snail.

This becomes really evident at the grocery store when I am trying to buy some cheese or something.  There are so many kinds, so many brands, so many options.  I feel like crying, I feel like yelling at somebody to help me, and I feel incompetent.  In short, I feel overwhelmed.

So I’ve been on a quest to pare down my options.  There are two mothers I think about a lot: Ma Ingalls and Abraham’s wife Sarah.  I’m not sure why them, except that they represent eras to me– a time when life was much harder and much more simple.  It was kind of fragile and wild too, like the earth swallowing people and then special breakfast appearing on the ground.  I think of Ma Ingalls’ era quite romantically, I’m afraid.  Reading Little House on the Prairie, I’m always reminding myself how very hard survival was back then but my heart just longs to live in such a simple time.

I thought about these two women a lot when I was assessing the options I could remove from my life.  I felt silly, because well, it seems like such a first world problem– to have too many options that you have to work hard to get rid of some.  I think these women woke up every day and simply did what needed to be done in order to keep their families alive.  That was their option.

I, on the other hand, get up in the morning and have 25 breakfast options and that’s not even counting the coffee options: French press, pour over, latte, cappuccino, cream, creamer, sugar (raw, refined, brown, white, organic, or full of GMOs).  You know what I mean?  It’s crazy.

Here I take a moment to list some of the things I did to reduce my daily, dizzying options.

  1. Only buy food that’s on sale.  I go online to see the weekly ad, and plan my meals around that.  If butter is on sale, I stock up.  Even if butter isn’t on sale, I buy it because I can break the rules for butter.  I just sounded like the Pioneer Woman, didn’t I?
  2. Have a weekly meal outline, then plan specific menus around that.
    Por ejemplo, Monday night we eat pasta.
    Tuesday: meat, potatoes and a vegetable
    Wednesday: rice and beans/curry (I add chicken and subtract tofu)
    Thursday: soup when it’s cold, salad when it’s warm (add spicy chicken to the salad for sure)
    Friday: hopefully seafood and not leftovers
    Saturday: pizza (most of the time it’s DiGiorno because I believe in a day of rest)
    Sunday: waffles
  3. Have a morning routine.  I wrote about that in excruciating detail a couple months ago.  Trust me, it’s not as hard as it sounds and it’s well worth the beginning effort, in case you’re thinking of implementing your own morning routine.  I hereby give you creative license to be yourself and design a routine you really love.  🙂  The morning routine cuts out all the options of what to do when I wake up.  Even if there are some demanding chores staring me down, I have my morning routine and that is what we do.  Save the chores!  (for chore time)
  4. Buy second-hand clothes only in April and October.  Hj doesn’t adhere to the second-hand rule, because it’s rather difficult for a Dutchman to find used clothing in the USA.  I  have no room to store clothes and I am not very sentimental, so I consign all my kids clothes and use that money to buy for the next season.  In between, I don’t even have to think about clothes.
  5. Go zero waste!  This is more of a “long obedience in the same direction”; not an overnight change.  I have always loved being resourceful and creatively making do, so this one is fun for me, as well as great for limiting options.  When I decided to buy no new plastic, it cut down about 86% of my options in the store.  Very freeing, I tell you.
  6. Ask God for a word and then stick to it.  This has been enormously helpful to me recently.  In YWAM we talk about the seven spheres of society and how the kingdom of God impacts each of these.  I asked God which sphere I am to focus on right now and He gave me a clear answer.  Now when I am asked to do things outside of that sphere, I immediately say no.  I don’t even pray about it, no matter how tempting it is.  It’s not an option.  Last year, my word was to be a wife first and then a mother, and that is pretty much all God allowed me to do.  It was great– I loved it so much.  You would think it might be restrictive but actually, I grew.  This year, I can be a wife, a mother and help run a school and I don’t feel overwhelmed.  I’m suspicious I was enlarged, like on a Xerox.
  7. Be yourself– cut out comparison.  “We have great capacity to be ourselves, but a very small capacity to be someone else.”  I developed this very profound quote; how do you like it?  It is really hard to try to be someone else, but it is 100 times harder to be 100 other people.  There are so many different kinds of beautiful moms nowadays that I see on Instagram, but I have one option– to be just like Joy Fousert and that’s it.  I believe it is the nature of God to just be yourself (the great I AM), but if you’re used to people pleasing, this can be a little icky at first.

And that!  Is how I stay under-whelmed instead of over-whelmed.

Packing peanut

It’s about time for us to be responsible and tell you what is up.

We seem busy, and that is an easy thing to do around here. We recently realized that we have been in YWAM for more than a year and we still feel like we are the new people. We are finally getting to the place that we call this place home and it feels that way. One thing that really helped was ripping off our ugly old wallpaper. We got some guy to restructure our walls and I put a beautiful Polar Bear White on the wall. All of the sudden it made sense to put something on the wall and it looked good. Our two hotel rooms became a little less hotel and a little bit more a part of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things at Kairos are going good; we are breaking sales records like crazy. After having some problems with dying fridges and other things breaking down it is good to see that we are moving forward. Our shift manager has quit her job, so me and Ryan are doing everything. We are praying for someone else from YWAM to join our team and bring some new vision in. We are still training lots of people to run their own coffee business all over the world. We had a pastor from New Mexico come and join us for a little while to teach him how to start a cafe at his church. Right now we have Lisa with us who possibly wants to open a cafe in Nepal where she runs a hair salon. Ryan is going to visit a couple that went through training at Kairos and just opened a coffee house in Zanzibar, Tanzania. In April we will get 3 more interns through the School of Business and Entrepreneurship and train them to open their own coffee shop or cafe.

Joy will be staffing that school and I am so excited about it. It is a great opportunity for her to be more involved and help out our BAM team.

Not too long ago me and Joy went to a marriage conference in CA. We had such a good time working on our marriage and learning some valuable tools. I had been feeling a little bit down when it came to my relationship with God and was praying for breakthrough. We spent a lot of the week during the marriage conference listening to God and praying for other people. God spoke to me in some powerful ways. But the real fun came when we came back home and God kept on speaking to me. On the radio, I won 8 tickets to a worship concert and felt quite clearly who to take with. The current DTS was having giving night and I felt to give a certain amount of money to a boy, but I didn’t even know his name. The next day he came to me saying that his outreach fees increased and the money I gave was the exact amount he had to pay extra.
Those are small little things but they help me so much to know that God cares about us.

 

‘Business as Missions’ at work

Next week is the last week in the SOBE (School of Business and Entrepreneurship). The SOBE is a school that our Business as Mission teams pulls off every year starting in April. The school gets a lot of teachers in and they talk about all aspects of business as missions. At the end of the school the students are expected to present their business plan to a shark tank and hopefully start a business to advance the kingdom. This year 2 of the students in the school are from Honduras. Joy is the mentor of one of them and meets with her every week.

Two other students, a couple from the Ukraine interns at Kairos. We are teaching them how to run a coffee business so they can start one in the Ukraine and employ orphans.
They will stay here in the Springs with us for two more months after they finish up the school.

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The fun part about running Kairos is that we train people to do business as mission but at the same time we ARE doing business as mission. Our barista Brad, 20 years old, started working at Kairos a little over half a year ago. He claims that if he had known that we were a Christian business he would have never applied. He grew up in a Mormon family and hated everything that has to do with religion, claiming he is an atheist. He loves working for us and he gained friends quickly. Now he is applying to do the DTS (Bible School) here on base. It is amazing what a healthy work environment can do!

Uber

I became an Uber driver. I thought I give it a try and I like it quite a bit. I drive once or twice a week starting at 8.00 PM till 3.00 A.M. Around 1.00 A.M the demand for Uber drivers goes up and so does the price. I drove two girls 30 minutes to the next city and made $100 just because the price was up 4.3 times as much as normal.
It makes a little bit of extra money and besides that, I want to join our supporters and support my family as much as I can outside my ministry.
I just started but I already feel I could write a book about my adventures.

*I picked up a girl from Pennsylvania and she needed to go to the Broadmoor Hotel: WEST entrance. I confidently drove right past it and got lost. I decided to drop her off at the main entrance and she could take a shuttle. While I was still driving her, I got a call from the next riders.  They were waiting for me at the WEST entrance of the Broadmoor Hotel. Very quietly I followed the shuttle, waited till my previous rider was out of sight and picked up the next riders. They happened to be part of a singing group called “Selah.” We talked a lot and at the end of the trip Todd handed me a wrinkly envelope  with $60. Praise God, what a tip!

*I picked up one of the top guys from Yahoo. I had to stop 3 times to let him open the door and vomit; he had eaten a candy bar with some “bad” ingredients.

*I picked up 2 girls fresh out of Mexico. They bought about everything Walmart had to offer them, including a brand new bike!

*I picked up 2 girls from the Olympic Centre. They are going to try out in swimming for the upcoming Olympics. The one girl was blind.

*I picked up a drunk guy once and he was showing me the way to go. We totally got lost and finally I said let me just follow the GPS. He stopped at a 7/11, got some money out and gave me a $5 tip.

* I picked up a couple and they told me they had just gotten married. They were dressed casually and I’m pretty sure I picked them up at a bar. I dropped them of right behind the “Gas and Grass” in a beautiful lodge. Happy birthday on your marriage!

* I picked up a group of young people, and one of the guys rolled down the window and started yelling at a girl in a sports car. He told me to keep up with her and continued yelling at the girl, trying to get her attention. After awhile, his friend who sat in the back commented: “Dude! You’re in a minivan!”

Happy First!

 

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I love how you say “whoo, whoo” when we ask you what a puppy says.

I like it that you giggle right after you did a mad face.

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I love your way of waving goodbye– reaching for the sky like you’re plucking an apple.

I like your sense of humor and your friendly goofiness.

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Your messes are the best and they come every two seconds.

I love it when you come running to me with your arms open wide.

IMG_3707I love it that you were born and I love your unique personality.
Happy birthday, my son!

A day in photos

On Thursday February the 4th I took a picture every hour of that day. This happened to be one of the busier days.

5:19 starting the day with coffee and God

5:19 starting the day with coffee and God

6:22 How she wakes up that happy, I don't know.

6:22 How she wakes up that happy, I don’t know.

7:23 Start work. Pour overs take for ever!

7:23 Start work. Pourovers take forever!

8:39 My latte art is abstractive

8:39 My latte art is abstract

9:35 Joy came by to pick my phone up.

9:35 Joy came by to pick up my phone

10:42 Ellie at ballet

10:42 Ellie at ballet

11:26 I came home for some lunch, we all got our own individual pen to nibble on.

11:26 I came home for some lunch. (we all got our own individual pen to nibble on)

13:52 every semester staff needs to help with 4 lunch clean up's and 2 lunch prep's. Today I did the disches

13:52 Every semester staff needs to help with 4 lunch clean ups and 2 lunch preps. Today I did the dishes.

14:53 Back to work

14:53 Back to work

15:15 Abstract latte art is a lot harder then the regular kind

15:15 Abstract latte art is a lot harder then the regular kind

16:55 a quick errant at the office

16:55 a quick errand at the Kairos office

17:38 after a quick supper on my way to the broad moor hotel

17:38 After a quick supper, I’m on my way to the Broadmoor

18:20 We were going to turn this ballroom into a gymnastic event.

18:20 We are going to turn this ballroom into a gymnastic event.

19:58 A guy from the base helps every year and he asked me and 2 other guys to help him.

19:58 A guy from the base helps set up every year and he asked me and 2 other guys to help him.

20:30 I work as an volunteer day in day out but this was a payed job, answered prayer

20:30 I work as a volunteer day in and day out, but this job paid: answered prayer!

21:33 The broad moor is an amazing place!

21:33
The Broadmoor is an amazing place!

22:29 Pizza!

22:29 Pizza!

23:45 It was hard work but a lot of fun! Sunday we will break it down again

23:45 It was hard work but a lot of fun! Sunday we will break it down again

12:40 I finally came home and found Ellie wide awake. Its gonna be a long night :)

12:40 I finally came home and found Ellie wide awake. Its gonna be a long night 🙂

 

Stories from Kairos

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It all started when YWAM took over an old hotel and turned it into living quarters for students and YWAM staff. The hotel had a restaurant and a bar. The restaurant kitchen is the domain for two cooking schools– one secular one and a YWAM one.  The coffee shop, Kairos, is where the bar used to be. The coffee shop has been around for a long time. In 2011 it was a booming place, according to a Yelp review: “Not really a place for outsiders to go out of their way to patronize.”
It all changed about a year ago. YWAM asked the B.A.M (Business As Missions) team to take over Kairos and turn it into a profitable business. So they did. They made some renovations  and did some advertising. One thing I hear at least once a day is: “I saw your sign and thought I’d try it out.”  YWAM used to have a big sign out beside the road.  The B.A.M team chopped it in half and added “Kairos Coffee House” on to it. Big hit!
The last two weeks have been interesting for me since I had to run the coffee shop on my own.  One of the mangers got married and the other one was in Thailand for a B.A.M conference. It is always interesting running something you aren’t necessarily familiar with.

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One day a lady came by and ordered 3 drinks. She wanted a macchiato. I know what a macchiato is: two shots of espresso and the same amount of foam, no milk.  She took her drinks to her office across the street.  A little while later she came back and seemed quite upset. She kept asking me what this drink was, as she showed me the cup with the two shots, the foam was pretty much all gone and now the cup was half empty (in my opinion it was half full).  I tried to explain to her what it was, but our opinion about the macchiato was so different that I offered to make a new drink trying to understand what she wanted. She kept repeating that she wanted a Starbucks macchiato. I had no clue what that was. My friend who was sitting at the bar with his son then explained to me what a macchiato was and it all became clear to me that Starbucks is out there to confuse my customers.

It was very slow one day because of an east wind dropping 15 inches of snow. So I told the employees to close at 12:00 and go home. I was trying to dig my car out so I could go to the bank when one of the workers at Kairos called asking if I want to come over to do an interview with the local news. I quickly changed into some snow-free clothes and went over to the coffeeshop. A lady came over and asked some questions while she pointed the camera on me. The deal was that all the other coffeeshops in town were closed and we were the only ones open. So she asked what we did when it was slow. I told her that we make up new drinks and pointed her to our new special: Cinnamon Toast Latte.  We showed her how it is done, she drank the drink, loved it and went off. We closed as soon as she left.
That same day at 5:00 I went to the neighbors and watched it on television AND out the window, as she did part of it live in front of Kairos, talking about how all the businesses are closed except this awesome coffee shop! They showed some footage of earlier and me talking in my lovely accent!
This is the second time I got on TV working at a local business. The last time was at the Mountain View Restaurant in NC and they showed a closeup of my mouth while I (“the grill master”) expedited the food with my “signature whistle.”

I quickly snapped a blurry picture of the reporter

I quickly snapped a blurry picture of the reporter

Here are some quotes I overheard:

Three older ladies sitting at the bar being fascinated by the syphon coffee maker.  All of the sudden one pipes up and says, “Oh no, we’re late! We are supposed to pray and prophesy over people!” And off they went without their drinks.

A lady came to me the other day, asking if it was ok that the people who were sitting upstairs in the coffee shop were praying really loudly.

The Fuller Seminar is in full swing and the students come often to eat breakfast.  After breakfast a lady came by and told me her school leaders gave them the assignment to go out and bless somebody, so she asked if she could pray for me.

Not a day the same!

 

Review: Losing My Religion

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I have always liked music and I listen to a broad selection. I did not have to hide my country CDs in some hidden place in the floor so I was never tempted to listen to country. It might strike you odd, but I do really like black gospel. One of my favorites is Kirk Franklin. He had an album out not too long ago and I decided to buy it and write about it.

His last album, Hello Fear, left a huge impression; that’s why this album, Losing My Religion, had to wait so long– it had to be perfect!
The album starts with a spoken word about how Kirk lost his religion. The message Kirk is trying to convey is that religion masks love and mercy and how it can stand in between God and us, rather than connecting the two.

So your faith never rises above minimum wage
So when it’s time to save the world
You don’t know what to say
To your brother that you love when he tells you he’s gay
Do you push him away?
Judge him down till he leaves?
Give him a gospel he hears or a gospel he sees
Love wrapped in truth is the gospel he needs
There’s room at the cross for everyone, even me

Though his words are rhyming, I wouldn’t call it rap. Really that is what Franklin does best: talking. The album is full of songs where all he does is talk in between the lines or maybe a soulful shout here and there.  It is who Franklin is and it is what he does. Without his talking or shouting the songs wouldn’t be the same. You hear a beautiful verse, like in “True Story.”  It’s catchy, and you hear female vocals sounding like a choir. Kirk comes in and emphasizes certain words and helps you to feel the meaning. Besides, he writes the music and lyrics and plays the piano.
As a matter of fact, Kirk plays the piano since he was 4 years old.  His aunt Gertrude (who raised him) would collect aluminum cans and sell them, so she could pay for his piano lessons. By the age of 12, he led the church choir. In the meantime he is the brain behind 11 albums, several TV shows and his own record label.

The album is split up in three parts.
It starts all very positive with “Miracles,” the first song. It’s a typical Franklin song, very controlled, beautiful instruments and encouraging lyrics. The next two songs “123 Victory” and “Roadtrip” are very upbeat, talking about how God already has a plan for your life no matter how bumpy the road might be. There is freedom if you choose relationship instead of religion.

Then there is a change in lyrics. “It’s Time” (featuring Tasha Page-Lockhart & Zacardi Cortez), “Wanna Be Happy”, and “True Story” all talk about how life isn’t always easy but God is still there in those moments.
“Pray For Me” features Kirk singing with just the piano. It is very calm and quiet till he says: “Let’s pray,” and a group of male vocals start to sing the Lord’s Prayer.  It’s a beautiful crescendo that will give you goosebumps if you are a goosebumps kind of guy or gal.

The last couple of songs are more about prayer and worship and the longing of being in God’s presence. “My World Needs You,” which features Sarah Reeves, Tasha Cobbs and Tamela Mann, is a beautiful song full of harmonies and with it’s 7:16 minute, the longest song on the album.

Losing My Religion has the typical Franklin sound, (lots of female vocals) but with songs like “Pray for Me” and “Intercession”  where Kirk does the main part of the vocals, it adds a little bit more depth because you are actually hearing the words out of his mouth.
In the last song, “No Sleep Tonight,” Kirk is not sending us home without a challenge and that is to change the way we represent Christ and to not go to sleep before the issues are dealt with in a real way: with love and compassion.

The Circle Maker

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Since me and Joy both are the youngest in our families, we seem to have a hard time with structure and discipline. We often just step in the car and go somewhere, or decide something and then do it. Because we want to better ourselves, we have lists upon lists full of good intentions– but good intentions won’t win the war. January seems a perfect opportunity for us to turn some of those good intentions into good actions.
One of my goals is to read 2 books a month. When I started trying, I realized that I don’t have time for it. My schedule is very irregular and often I have to work at 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning. The kids wake up before that, so I am occupied all morning and then go off to work and busy, busy, busy. By the time I am reading a book I fall asleep. The first book I tried to read was called The Circle Maker.  Actually, it was called The Circle Maker: Guide for Students.  I e-borrowed it from the library.
This is quite an amazing book and at one point it talks about making sacrifices to improve your prayer life and walk with God and push through in prayer.  I found it very inspiring. I was convicted that I don’t put much effort into trying to get to know God more.  So the next morning I woke up at 5am and decided to go to a place where I would not be interrupted.
This place was Garden of the Gods. I guess I forgot about the sun not being up yet and when I arrived at the parking lot there was a truck with its lights on, just sitting there. For a moment I thought, I should go back home. It was a tiny tad creepy and not to mention freezing cold. Since this whole thing was about pushing through, I got out of the van and started to speed walk toward my favorite rock. I got lost of course, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would say if I ran into somebody (which I didn’t).
I googled when the sun was going to rise. I had 45 minutes to wait. I found my favorite spot on top of  one of the red rocks. I prayed and had a good time with God. It was getting colder the less I moved. I had my Bible in my hand, but I didn’t read it because it was too dark and cold. I waited for the sunrise and when I realized I was on the wrong side to see it really well, I got up and left. There were many times during my morning adventure that I wanted to give up and be more comfortable, but I am glad I pushed through and did what I said I would do.
From then on, I set my alarm clock at 5am every day and I have about an hour to read the Bible, read a book and write.  The Circle Maker also taught me to keep up a prayer journal, which has been great fun!  In January I read three books and started my fourth one. Waking up at 5am is a sacrifice for me, but really it is nothing compared to what I get in return.  Now I just stay at home with the heater on high.

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