Talking to the phone

I rarely, rarely talk on the phone.  Not to my mom, not to my sister or cousins or friends.  Basically the only people I talk to on the phone are my physician, dentist and optometrist.  Sometimes when people lock themselves out of the old hotel we live in, they might call in desperation to be rescued, but that’s about it.

The thing I have discovered this year is that I can now talk TO my phone.  This has been a life-changing discovery for me!  I have an iPhone (I don’t know which one).  It’s actually falling apart glass chunk by glass chunk right now, but I can still talk to it and it still listens to me.

My phone is young enough to have Siri, so I just tell her stuff all day long and she writes it down for me and I don’t even have to take my hands out of the sudsy water.  I don’t have a dishwasher, so my hands are in the sudsy water a lot.

When I’m cooking dinner and I use up the last of the olive oil, I say, “Hey Siri, add olive oil to my grocery list.”  And she has been trained to obey every single time without back-talk, which is refreshing.  She always says, “Ok, I added it.”  

Most often I ask her to remind me of things, and did you know I can have her remind me at a certain time or a certain place?  So when I’m driving down the road and see the fuel in our van is getting low, I tell Siri, “Hey girl, remind me to get fuel when I’m at the King Soopers on Centennial” since that is where we get our fuel.  And she does it! She reminded me when I was in the parking lot later that day.  

I say things like, “Set my alarm every weekday for 6:00 in the morning.”  Or “Remind me to pray for Christy every day at 3:00.”  Then I don’t mark it completed until I’ve actually prayed for Christy.  Talking to your phone can be so useful; I’m sure I’m still only discovering all the things it can do for me.  I write down all my dreams in a folder on my phone titled “Dreams and Visions.”  Since I discovered voice-to-text, I just recall my dreams out loud while I’m brushing my hair in the morning, and Siri writes them all down for me in the correct folder.  

I don’t often sing the praises of my phone, but today I thought I should since I’ve come to appreciate its prompt obedience to my every command.  It frees up brain space for me so I can remember more important stuff, like how to train my children about prompt obedience to my every command. 😉

Pioneering

For the past year and a half, my friend and I have been pioneering a ministry here in our city.  We go to places that are fronts for prostitution and human trafficking, and try to make connections with the women who work there.  It has been a long, sometimes grueling process of much prayer, research, networking, trying to grasp the issue so that we can create a strategy to help and bring Jesus to them.
Last week, two of my friends and I took our kids (eleven of them in total!) to one of these places where there were some friendly Thai women who seemed open to getting to know us more.  We gathered on Tuesday morning and listened to a worship song with the kids, then we prayed and asked God how He would like us to bless our new friends.
I took notes on my phone and I chuckled through some of them.  One of the little boys got a picture of Minecraft while he was listening to God, and his mom wisely told him he should maybe pray into that a little more and ask God what it means.
Almost all the kids got a word or picture from the Lord, and by the time we went around the circle, we could see that God was saying something to us about a birthday.  My friend had just had two dreams that week about eating birthday cake, and she felt God telling her to take a birthday gift along on our visit.
We loaded up in our three minivans and drove to Costco.  I picked out a huge cake that said “Happy Birthday!” and we drove across town, praying that we heard right about what we were supposed to do.
On the way, Ellie said, “Mom, I saw a picture when we were praying.”  Ellie was in and out of our prayer time earlier, so I hadn’t even asked her if she had heard anything from the Lord.  She is just 4, and I only told her that we were going to visit a friend.  She tends to carry the weight of the world on her little shoulders anyway, so I’m trying to keep her life carefree as long as I can.
I asked what this picture was that she saw when we were praying, and she said, “Mom, I saw these ladies standing in a row next to God and Jesus and they were all blind.  Then they looked up and saw beautiful golden heaven that was sparkling, and they saw angels. The angels said, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life!’ and then the ladies said it back to the angels and God looked over at them and they could see perfectly!”  One of the other kids in the car with us told Ellie she should share it with the women she was about to meet, but Ellie wasn’t interested.  She claimed she was much too shy for that.
Well, we descended upon this massage parlor, all 3 mamas and 11 kids armed with a giant birthday cake, flowers, paintings and a little gift bag with some earrings from Kairos Traders.  We were met at the door by Miss Jan (not her real name) who ushered us into a tiny room like a closet where we were pretty much stacked on top of one another.  “Who’s having a birthday?” my friend asked.  And Miss Jan said, “Me! My birthday was yesterday! How did you know?” Her eyes grew wide when we put the cake on the table.  We explained to her that God cared for her enough to tell us it was her birthday, and she kept pointing to her arm saying, “Goosebumps!”  The children shrieked unabashedly and showered her with hugs.  She kept telling us how lucky we were to catch her, since she is the owner of the massage parlor and was only there for a few  minutes that morning to check on things.
We had a grand time, singing happy birthday and blowing out the candles and then cutting the cake and passing it around to everyone while we got to know each other a little.  Before we left, the kids took turns laying hands on her and praying for her.  At one point, my friend looked up and said, “I feel like God wants me to tell you, ‘Goodness and mercy shall follow you.”  My little girl Ellie leapt up off the bed she was sitting on and said, “God told me that same thing!”  And she told Miss Jan the whole thing in a loud, clear voice while Miss Jan looked both astonished and teary.
As we drove home, Ellie kept marveling over the fact that even though Miss Jan does not know God, He knows her very well and He wants her to get to know Him.  We are praying for her every day, and hoping to start a Bible study with her and her friends so that they can get to know the Jesus who loves and cares for them.

Sorry I’ve been busy

My number one rule of blogging is to never start a blog post with: “Sorry I haven’t blogged in awhile; I’ve been soooo busy.”

My number one rule of conversation is to never say, “I’ve been soooo busy lately.”  Sometimes I dip into dark water and talk about my life being full, though.

My number one rule of parenting is to never be in a hurry.

I don’t know if these are actually my number one rules of anything, but they are high priorities.  It’s good for me to write them down, so as to remind myself.

Last week Ellie and I were walking outside, and she held my hand and said, “Why does everyone always need you?”  She is quite intuitive, but I wasn’t sure what she meant so I asked for an example.  She launched into a story about people knocking on our door a lot and someone asking for cupcake pans.

It made me realize it has been awhile since I’ve done a “yes week” where I say yes to my kids and no to everything else.  This time it was harder than I anticipated, and today I feel a little restless.  I feel middle-aged too, because it feels like a discipline to play games on the floor, to hang out at the pool for hours without accomplishing any work on the side.

Monday morning I said they could pick a fun thing to do and Ellie chose Trader Joe’s.  She got her own miniature cart, she looked for the stuffed giraffe hidden in the store so she could claim her lollipop, and she sampled the peach jam and watermelon juice.  I even let her pick out a treat and she chose various flavors of extra creamy yogurt.

Last night we went to a baseball game with friends.  We didn’t last through very many innings, since baseball is not an overly exciting sport to watch unless you are “very American,” as my husband says.

I’m not here for anything important, just saying hello.

Hj spends his free evenings recording his Dutch radio show or working for Kairos Traders online.  He has a good excuse for not showing up here more often.

Lisa Bevere came and shared with the ladies of our campus the other day.  She talked a lot about the importance of writing down what God is saying and doing, recording our visions and dreams and then working towards them.  When she was young and wished for a mentor, she wrote down everything she wished a mentor would say to her.  She wrote down how she wished a spiritual mother would treat her, and challenge her.  Then she took the things she had written, found a young girl and applied all the things she had written.  She called it living backwards or something like that.

I believe in theory in the importance of writing things down, but actually making the time and space to do it requires some steadfastness.

Steadfastness is not my natural bent, but this year has been all about learning to do things I’m not naturally good at.  Watch me grow!

 

We Went to Holland

and France and Belgium and Switzerland and Luxembourg, with a dash of London thrown in by mistake.  It was so wonderful to see Hj’s family again and introduce Ellie and Adam to the Holland they have heard so much about.

 

We missed our flight in Denver so we got to sit in the airport and wait for 13 hours before starting our 8-hour flight.  It was a long day, as I recall, but I try not to recall.  I know we ran out of snacks early on.

Adam turned 3 while we were in Holland, and Hj turned 30.  Hj’s parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary as well, so there was plenty of cause for celebration.  We spent a fun weekend at Disneyland Paris with the whole family, before Hj and I took our kids on a  little road trip.

 

 

 

We spent a night in France at a YWAM base with our friend who is like family, Allison.  We spent another lovely day and night in Switzerland with more beautiful friends that YWAM has allowed us to meet.

We’re so glad we didn’t miss the beautiful country of Luxembourg, where we stayed in a castle and visited an art gallery.  The countryside was green and lush and moist and refreshed our souls.  After a few years of living in the desert of Colorado, a rainy day feels like such a novelty to me.

 

 

We got to spend time with both of Hj’s grandparents.  We did the Easter egg hunt in Opa Fousert’s green yard among the tulips and daffodils, being careful not to fall into the canal. We made some sweet memories with all the generations together, sharing tea and cookies and memories from the past.

 

 

We loved all the special times we had with Hj’s family.  We packed a lot into 2 weeks, but we saw everyone we wanted to see, we ate everything Hj had dreamed of, and we visited all the spots ew really wanted to see.  Here Ellie is riding to the train station on the back of her cousin’s bike.  We took the train to the Hague for Adam’s birthday, and visited a children’s book museum.

Hj’s granddad gave Adam a harmonica for his birthday.

 

I hope you can see beyond the jetlag and culture shock of the Amish woman in the photo below.  It doesn’t look like it, but I was having the time of my life!  I shared with over 400 Dutch young people about growing up Mennonite, marrying a Dutch guy and about the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord in my life.  To be honest, I preached a little.

The next day, a photographer came and took pictures of me in the park by Hj’s former home, right next to his old school.  At one point, I remember seeing faces crowded around the windows.  I suppose not every day an Amish woman is being photographed outside the schoolhouse windows.

The cake of culinary hope

If you know me for any amount of time you will know the reason why I am somewhat short and definitely chubby; I love cookies and candy. I embrace the culture I moved into (eat as much as you like) and move out of the culture I grew up in (one is plenty).

Recently I have gone through a baked good frenzy. The bakery that delivers our baked goods at Kairos sent us a week’s notice that they are going to quit being a bakery. I had to find someone else in 7 days. After tasting at least 5 different kinds of free baked goods I decided to go with Andy; for this story let’s call him Bob. Bob was a jolly guy with 2 coffee shops and a bakery downtown. His baked goods were…good. His timing not so much. He couldn’t deliver on Monday so I had to do something for Monday, as that was the first day the old bakery wouldn’t deliver the goods.

While surfing on the interweb I read a blog by Melissa about her delicious cake. I had that cake before and I remember it was very good. I decided I could make it and serve it on Monday then Wednesday Bob would start delivering.
Like a real wanna-be baker I got up before the crack and started my adventure to bake the cake of culinary hope. Normally I wouldn’t stay very close to the recipe but this time it couldn’t fail so I stuck to the recipe very closely, even mixing the dry ingredients before mixing it all together. I was nervous. The convection oven was so hot. Colorado Springs is so dry but the recipe said the cake of culinary hope couldn’t fail. That sounded like a recipe for failure. I pulled the culinary hope from the oven and looked at it. It didn’t look bad, but it didn’t look super great either. Nothing a little bit of frosting couldn’t fix. I decided to let it cool and go on with my day. When the time came for my cake to shine and be sold to coffee-loving cake eaters, I heard a crash.

My culinary hope on the floor.

You will never believe what happens next: the old baker comes walking in with a load of baked goods. Today was the last day they would deliver. “But it is Monday, why would you end something at the beginning of the week, I got up earlier then you!” My thoughts never formulated into a spoken word for it was too late. I had 3 boxes full of culinary hope and that’s all I needed.

Year’s End

Our fall was busy, and I don’t use that word lightly.  In fact, I hate the word “busy” and I try to avoid using it whenever possible.  I prefer to say I have a full life, but even that is starting to get a dark tone to it.  Constantly being busy shrivels my soul like no other, so I usually work hard to make time for pausing, reflecting, and being quiet.  It feels like swimming upstream sometimes, but I think I’m learning to feed my soul and spirit more than drive-thru fast food.  I discovered, though, that I am better at short bursts of very busy with white space in between than I am at constantly being sort of busy.  That’s kind of unrealistic, isn’t it?

God did set up creation to rotate through days and nights, seasons of harvest and seasons of rest.  I think that is the thing I am trying to learn, to find the rhythms that bring fruitfulness and peace.

This fall we had about 100 students join the already 150 full-time staff here, and that’s not counting all the kids.  We are at max capacity in this building.  God has been speaking to our leaders the past few years about building systems and roots that can hold more people, so it is a blessing to see the fulfillment of that word.  Hj and I led the business track of our DTS this quarter.  We had 5 students, who are in the lecture phase of their discipleship school.  Most of the time they were with the other 50 students in DTS, but we had several hours a week with them.  They got introduced to what business as mission (BAM) is, we took them on a number of field trips to local businesses, and they were instrumental in launching a fair trade store here on our campus.  They left this week for several months abroad, putting into practice all that they have learned the past three months here in Colorado.

Hj is helping several businesses in the 10/40 window establish an online presence through website and social media.  It’s a challenging job without ever having visited these businesses, but he is planning a trip next year to several countries where he can meet the business owners, as well as create and gather the content he needs.  Hj has committed to another year at the coffeehouse.  It has been a year of explosive growth at Kairos and with it, of course, growing pains and challenges.  We are sending 3 employees to do a discipleship training school with YWAM this year.  If I didn’t believe it before, this year has confirmed my belief that one of the most effective ways to invite people into the family of God is to hire them.  Especially here, our employees rub shoulders every day with young people who are passionate about following Jesus and they can’t help but be drawn into the story of what God is doing.

For almost a year, my friend and I have been going to the places in our city where prostitutes work because of a dream she had in which God told her to go every week and to take me along.  During the summer, we had 4 interns who went with us every week, but this fall it was just the two of us.  For security reasons there are a lot of things I can’t say on this platform, but God has led us one step at a time into a deep love and commitment to these women and introducing them to Jesus.  In January, we will officially launch this new ministry in YWAM and I will spend a few months doing nothing but research and prayer on many different fronts so that we can wage a strategic war on prostitution in our city.  We will seek to find out the biggest needs of the women we love, and working with law enforcement, politicians and spiritual leaders to understand what are the spiritual and legal strongholds we can work with or against.

During this time, Hj will be working in a three-month counseling course that is specifically focused on helping refugees.  He will be staffing the course, which means he will sit in on the classes, run the finances and mentor several of the students personally.  There has been great interest in this course, and they have accepted about 20 students so far.  We are excited, because they are coming from all parts of the world to learn how they can make a lasting impact in the global refugee crisis.

As you might know (or maybe you forgot), we live on the generous donations of our friends and family in order to be able to do missions.  We cannot be paid for any work we do with YWAM, but we are blessed with extremely generous families and friends who support us monthly and a church family who loves us and prays for us so faithfully.

There are so many wonderful places to invest your money this holiday season, but if God lays on your heart to give toward our mission, here is the link to give, for a tax-deductible receipt.

https://www.ywamcos.org/support?code=618

My Children

Disclaimer: these thoughts are several months old.

Last evening I met a girl at Natural Grocers.  She was a student here for a semester, but her ethnicity was Indian.  She was pretty and vegan and we talked about how we feel after we eat junk food.  Then she asked how old my kids are.  When I told her, she said, “Wow.  What do you do with them?  Like, can you talk to toddlers?”

I thought that was such an interesting question.  What do you do with toddlers?

She asked to see pictures of them on my phone, which made me happy.  I showed her these two from the day before.  Adam fell asleep on the way to our garden, so we put him on a blanket in the grass.  Ellie couldn’t stop kissing him and snuggling him.  She often tells me, “Mom, he is so adorable.”

What DO you do with toddlers?  I feel like I clean up after them a lot, and I take them places and train them.  I read to them many books a day, most days.  I tell them stories every night and I comfort them when they’ve pinched a tiny finger.

I’ve been saying it a lot lately: “I wish I could freeze time.”  My babies are 4 and 2 years old and I have always had such an affinity for toddlers that I just wish we could stay here forever.  I’m not so familiar with 6-year-olds and 10-year-olds so it feels a little more scary out there, but right now I really think it couldn’t get better.  About once a day I think how nice it will be when Adam doesn’t launch into such startling, unreasonable fits of frustration, but I don’t take those too seriously.

 

 

 

There are two questions I hear a lot.  “Are you planning to have more kids?” and “Do you think you will homeschool?”  I didn’t know I was expected to have answers to either of those questions at this stage, but hearing them often enough has pushed us to develop some reasonable-sounding + humorous answers.

This week Ellie had dance camp, so every morning we were out the door by 8:30.  I like it like that.  We usually go somewhere fairly early in the day, come home for lunch and then they sleep all afternoon.  Around 4:00 I start the laborious task of waking Ellie, who sleeps very, very deeply.  I feel like I need some creative strategies for waking her, because it is really one of my most challenging chores.  Yelling into her ear barely makes her flinch.

Miss Wendy was here for dinner a few nights ago, and we were sitting on the couch chatting when I noticed Ellie was missing.  Hj found her in the bathroom with a scissors and a bunch of hair in the trashcan.  She said she wanted to be like Miss Heather, my friend who has short hair.  She spent a long time in front of the mirror after that, brushing her hair and coming to grips with what she had done.

The next day Adam took all his clothes off, went to the corner of our building right by the road and relieved himself and then stepped in it.  Ironically, at the moment Adam was outside doing his business, I was on the phone with a friend telling her how frustrated I am that I can’t strike the balance between being a wife/mom and being a friend.  I feel like I’m either neglecting my friends or neglecting my family, but I can’t seem to find the spot in the middle.  I was on the phone catching up with a friend, but ignoring Adam for a full 50 seconds.  The irony, huh?

 

 

 

 

The other day at staff meeting here on the campus, we were to sit in circles and take turns talking about what we personally are doing to reach the unreached, since our campus is called to stay focused on reaching people in the 10/40 window.  I had to say my first mission is the unreached people in my home.  Maybe not technically unreached anymore, but my kids came to us completely ignorant of the Gospel.

It’s a topic for another day, but I have a lot of thoughts and questions about teaching our children about God.  I’ve always read Proverbs to them, but just recently introduced Bible stories like Joseph and Noah and Jonah.  Their reactions are priceless.  It has stirred in me such awe and wonder again for these incredible stories, and the Word of God in its mystery and depth.

This week Ellie’s dance camp has been very Christ-centered, and Ellie has loved it more than her birthday, I think.  She told me on the way home one day, “Mommy, when I was dancing so beautifully something happened which I thought was going to happen.  God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit came and danced with me.”  And I thought, I know that feeling.  I’m fumbling through this beautiful dance of motherhood, but I can say with humble confidence, “I know what’s going to happen– God in fullness will come!”

I have been reading the story of Jacob wrestling with God over and over lately.  In Sally Clarkson’s book “Different” there is a passage that talks about wrestling being a full contact sport; in other words, wrestling with God means being close to Him and engaging with Him.  I found so much comfort in those words because I am always wrestling with big questions and beliefs, and usually I feel silly for getting hung up on things that most Christians seem to accept easily, or I feel like a traitor for my doubts.  God has taken me back to Genesis 32 so many mornings in a row now, I’ve lost count.  There are tears on those pages because I cry every time I get to the part where Jacob names his place of wrestling “The Face of God.”  Even if I walk with a limp the rest of my life, I know that my wrestling and even my doubts have always led me back to the Way, the Truth, the Life.  I know I have met God in the long, dark nights and I have never been the same.

I hope and pray that I will be able to let the people I love wrestle through hard things and deep questions too.  I pray that I will sleep in peace, and when I wake up in the morning and see the limp of one who has wrestled with God in the night, I can say with joy, “Something happened which I thought was going to happen.”

Do More

So when I started driving for Uber, I saved that money and me and Joy went to the Bahamas. Then 2017 started and I did not want my Uber money to disappear before my very own eyes. I looked up a plan on the internet to save $5.000 in one year. Every week I go out, I have to make a certain amount of money. I then put that money in a savings account.

One day I was watching some videos on Youtube and I found some really good Dutch Youtube channels. Vloggers and You-tubers alike have risen in the Netherlands and having your own Youtube channel is what you need to be cool. Then I discovered Casey Neistat and I was sold.

I have always loved making videos; I just never had the equipment. I started dreaming: I could do this. If only I had some money to buy a new computer and a camera. Then I remembered I had money. All my Uber money sitting in that dusty bank account. I was hesitant. We recently started budgeting and it has helped us a lot more to steward the money we got. I asked some people if they could lend me their opinion if it was wise to spend that money on myself.

My question was: I have $—- in a savings account here in the states. I was gonna invest it, but now I would like to buy a new computer and a nice camera so I can make videos, which I love doing. What would you advise? 

The common answer was something like: Do the things you love now so you won’t regret that you didn’t later. 

I loved hearing other peoples’ opinions and it helped me a great bunch. One friend asked me some good questions about my life and the future. Because of his questions I now have life insurance and a Costco membership.

After lots of research I decided which computer and camera I wanted. First I bought the camera, secondhand. Then I bought the computer, brand new.
Here comes the crazy part. The day the computer arrived in the mail we got a donation for almost the exact amount I had just spent on the camera and computer.
I honestly didn’t know what to think or what that even meant. What is God trying to say?

Still I am not totally sure. I had to think back to the last week of my DTS lecture phase. Our teacher created this image of a little kid in a ice cream shop and God tells the little kid to get what ever flavor he wants. Pick what you like. I love to see myself in that ice cream shop and I picked “media” as the flavor I like and because God loves to see me happy with the things He created for me, He blesses it. I am sure it sounds like some kind of easy prosperity gospel. But it is quite the opposite, to follow your passion, you often have to take many steps in faith. Go out on a limb take lots of risk, be fearless. I have been cooking all my life and it has been good.  I thank God that he took me that direction. I just know that that is not my calling. Cooking is something I keep doing because I know how.
If I keep cooking, the people around me will never know what I could have been. If I always stay in my comfort zone and never take any risks I will not grow, I will not enjoy my daily life and I will not live in God’s full potential for my life. Lord, help me to do more!

Again, I am still asking God many questions about this and maybe one day I can be confident. For now, I am taking one step at the time.

I am super happy with my camera and I recently played around with it a little bit, click here to watch it.

Thanks for re(w)a(t)d(ch)ing.

 

 

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.

 

Podcasts

Alternate title: One Way to Keep your Brain from Shrinking as a SAHM

Last time I was here, I was talking about talking.  I just listened to This American Life, the podcast version of the radio show.  Last weekend’s episode is called “Say Anything.”  It’s all about talking, believe it or not.  I have been listening to This American Life for as long as I can remember and I probably will for a long time into the future, so if you’ve been wanting to judge me as a crazy left-wing liberal, now’s a good time.

In this episode of the podcast, I learned about a man and woman who go on the streets of New York City with a little sign that says, “talk to me.”  At first, people are skeptical because they think they’re being sold Avon or Plexus or something.  But there really is no agenda besides inviting people to talk about whatever is on their minds.  Do you ever feel like maybe you’re wearing this sign on your forehead?  I do.

I listened to a podcast awhile back about a woman who was obese most of her life, but she came to a point as an adult where she told her friends and family that she was fat. She called it, “coming out” as a fat person. She grew up hoping that if she didn’t mention it, maybe no one would notice that she was overweight.  It seems foolish to admit it, but that’s how I feel about leaving the Mennonites. Maybe if I don’t mention it, nobody will notice.

I’ve gotten used to being interesting to most people and I wonder how my children will handle boring small talk without being able to casually bring up the fact that they were raised Mennonite. That always unleashes a myriad of questions and observations. “So maybe you can explain to me the difference between Amish and Mennonites?”  That’s one I could answer in my sleep.  I learned some of what I know from a podcast episode called “Who Are The Amish?” from Stuff You Should Know. They’re the ones who taught me that Mennonites came first, then Amish.  From them, I also learned the three reasons the Amish split from the Mennonites.

When I’m cooking dinner, I let my kids watch Peppa Pig and I stick my earbuds into my ears and listen to podcasts while I’m busy in the kitchen.  (If you have been wanting to judge me as a lackadaisical mom, this is the perfect time.)  Lately I feel like I don’t have much time to sit down and read, so podcasts keep my brain on its proverbial toes.  I’d feel better about myself if I were listening to audiobooks but I can’t ever find good ones for free.

Sometimes I branch out and try new podcasts, but I always go back to the same handful that I’ve listened to for years.  However, this year I added a new one to my rotation as soon as it came out.  It’s called How I Built This, “a show about innovators, idealists and entrepreneurs and the stories behind the movements.”  I found the interview with the TOMs shoes guy especially interesting.  In the business school I’ve been staffing, we watched a documentary called Poverty Inc. (find it on Netflix!) that shows why a business model like TOMs is disruptive to markets in developing countries.  I was so happy to hear the TOMs guy say that he agreed with this criticism and they now manufacture over 40% of the shoes in the countries where they give them away.  I thought that was pretty humble of him to admit that they really needed to work on this aspect of their company.

The episode about Whole Foods didn’t have that same humble vibe, to be honest.

One podcast I tried recently is a lady who asks people personal questions, on topics we normally consider taboo (politics and money and such).  I forget what it’s called.  I found the concept intriguing but I was disappointed by the interview.  It just sounded like a normal American conversation to me, nothing too deep or uncomfortable.

I have never thought of myself as a creature of habit, but maybe I am; I do stick to my favorites.  It’s not a podcast, but I’ve listened to this so many hundreds of times over the years that I almost have it memorized.  So, if you would send me your favorite episode of your favorite podcast, I would love to listen to the things you are finding fascinating these days.