I'm reading Servolution by Dino Rizzo and am blown away so far. I'm not to far in, but here are some of my favorite thoughts.

I feel our heavenly Father feels the same way for the lost. The heart of God Almighty sees the people in our homes, in our cities, in the cubicles next to us, and down the street. He values them as prizes He is unwilling to go without, and He looks intently into our hearts and says, "Let's do whatever it takes-no matter the cost. We can't let them get away!
Throughout the Bible, God's cry is heard as He calls out to His people to notice others. Others in nursing homes, others without homes, others living without fathers, other living dysfunctional lives, others working in strip clubs or selling their bodies, others next door, and others around the world. Because of HIs intense love for the worl, He sent HIs son to die for us, and whoever believes in Jesus-whoever believes-will be saved.

My hope is that through the story of our ongoing journey, Christians will be awakened to see the world from a new perspective, that we will not wake up thinking, "How can I grow my church today?" or "How can I improve my career today?" but rather that the first thought in our hearts every morning will be, "How can I serve the people in my life today? How can I reach out and care for those who live next door and work in the same office with me?"
We may never know until we get to heaven how our service and our simple acts of kindness have affected the course of a life, a community, or even a nation. If we do nothing, the result will be-nothing! However, when we engage in a pursuit to serve others, and a servolution is ignited to care for the hurting around us, we will witness the most amazing results. People will find hope and healing that can be found only in Jesus. We will find that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves as we join with Him in building His kingdom.

Yeah, that's just in the introduction. Awesome stuff!


Construction Zombies

When I was younger my Grandmother (mom's mom) and Aunt (mom's sister) would tell me scary things to keep me from doing things. I can understand (barely) in hind sight that they were telling me these things to keep me safe. But it was mean and dumb to do to a little girl and I loathe it when I see/hear people using ridiculous scare tactics to scare their kids into obedience. Protect them? Absolutely. But tell them the truth already, don't terrorize them into behaving.

My Grandparents lived in an old old farm house with one of those dirt floor farm house basements. Years before I was born they added on a sunporch to the house, but the foundation didn't go all the way to the ground. When you would walk down the stairs to the basement you could see under the sunporch addition. There were some shelves built up against the ceiling towards the bottom of the stairs. It's where all the cleaning supplies were kept, windex, toilet cleaner etc. I used to love to clean the outside of the refridgerator with windex at that house. I mean, it sounds ridiulous, but I would BEG to clean the refridgerator when I went over there. So I was allowed to get the cleaning supplies off the shelf.
However, my grandparents always had boxes and boxes of ice cream bars and sometimes sandwhiches stashed away in one of those rectangle deep freezers in the basement. I would go down there sometimes with my great Aunt Ellen (of ellenjane fame)to retrieve a fresh box. I don't know if it was because of my voracious and unquenchable thirst for all things ice cream related, or because there were so many old canning jars and nooks and crannies in the basement for me to get into but I wasn't allowed in the basement by myself.
Was it enough for them to tell me that it wasn't safe or allowed for me to go into the basement? Nope. Here's what happened:

One afternoon my grandmother and aunt were in the kitchen while I was cleaning the fridge (I don't know where anyone else was). When I came up from retrieving the windex they told me that I should never go onto the basement stairs alone again. When I asked them why they said because the men would get me. (Ummm....that's creepy)
They said that when the sunporch was being built there were 2 men that were killed in the course of construction. (Looking back, that's just ridiculous. How on earth would have have happened?!) My grandmother said that the men still lived on under the sun porch and they had an affinity for little girls (WHAT?! WHY WHY WHY would you tell a child that?!). My grandmother said that if they saw little girls going down the stairs by themselves, not with an adult, that they would pull them under the sunporch and they would never see their parents again.
Needless to say, I didn't go in the basement alone ever again.



"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too." Frederick Buechner

I've been having conversations with a lot of people that are normally very compassionate people. Until compassion looks like something they're not comfortable or familiar with. Then they become....mean, shrill, obstinate. Their compassion only reaches to the poor and needy, not to those in their every day walking around life.
Why aren't we compassionate to those we interact with everyday?


Productive Weekend

I had SUCH a productive weekend!

Friday Matthew graduated preschool

Saturday I worked at the bookstore 10-2ish and then went to Bobbie's baby shower. She got a lot of cute little boy clothes, I can't wait to meet their little guy!
After the shower I came home to twirl my hair and pick up a pillowcase so I could match it to some paint I was getting. Well I twirled my hair and even stared off into space for awhile...but I forgot the damn pillowcase. Which I remembered halfway to Home Depot. I realized about the same time that I hadn't changed my shirt and therefore had on a dark green shirt absolutely covered in white cat hair. My dad's head exploded from hundreds and hundreds of miles away. He just sensed I was wandering the city inappropriately dressed.

So I ended up wandering aimlessly around Home Depot for TWO HOURS. TWO HOURS! At one point, I was sitting on a $99 porch swing contemplating whether or not I should buy it...by twirling my hair. I didn't buy it, Sharen texted me off the ledge on that one. I picked out some paint colors and bought, the most glorious weed whacker/trimmer ever. EVER!

It only weighs like 3 pounds and it's electric. I had used Sharen and Jeff's once and by the time I was done I was pretty much ready to just cut my arms off it was so heavy. I picked electric, because even though the nice man at Home Depot (and Jeff, Doug, my neighbor and my dad) explained this isn't true...I'm pretty convinced that if I try to mix oil and gas I'll explode.

I picked a light sage green color to paint an accent wall in my room (I have a gray wrought ironish bed frame, gray carpet and a bright red duvet cover) and in the master bath. Then I picked a light gray (labeled pensive sky) for the hallway bath.
When I got back from Home Depot I was tuckered out. So I just went to bed.

Sunday I had Washington Project in the morning. We washed cars down the street from church and it was awesome! The people that stopped we had the most amazing conversations with.
Then it was home, for a little hair twirling break. Then I tackled my room. After lifting my bed onto the little moving buddies (these disc like things where you can just slide heavy things across the room...I couldn't find a picture of them) and moving everything around the wall I set about removing the hardware from the wall. Wellllll, in the process of removing the bracket from the curtain rod (for which I have no curtains) I inadvertently removed a large chunk of drywall...and started pealing some paint. I swear, it was just going to be a little section!

But luckily I was able to spackle my ass off and get it looking better. Here is the finished wall!

I really wanted to sleep in my room, so I set about picking up the painting sheets, vacuuming up the ridiculous amount of drywall powder and pealed off paint from the floor and moving the bed, nightstand and bookcase back into place. I was so jazzed up about painting that I ended up dusting and polishing both dresser, the night stand and the book case. I also organized them and threw a ton of crap out. Then I vacuumed the rest of my room and cleaned up the paint pans/brushes. Finally, about midnight or 1ish I turned the shower on as cold as possible and climbed in. Because frankly I was so ripe I was afraid the paint was going to leap back off the walls and flee. (Was that over sharing? I'm sorry about that)

Even though I didn't fall asleep until well after 2am I woke up on my own at 630am today. Lame!
After playing around online and continuing to get sucked into the Jon and Kate Plus 8 marathon on TLC I decided to have some breakfast and get started on the lawn. I was planning on mowing and edging the lawn then painting 1 bathroom. That was a far loftier goal then needed. Thanks to my new Grass Hog weed whacker/trimmer I worked in the yard for FOUR HOURS. FOUR! That's an all time high for me. But man, I was drunk with power after using it the first time. Oh, I never knew that weed whacking could be like that! I whacked my heart out all over and edged the driveway and the sidewalks. I also cleaned off the mower in my continuing campaign to get all of the moldy and shellacked grass off the bottom of it.
It was great fun and not to hot...but I tell you, the last few striped on the side yard and I was feeling really lightheaded and about to cry I was so hot and tired!

Oh! While I was talking to Sharen on the phone, taking a break, these two teenage boys came by and offered to mow my yard! I asked them how much they charged, and they said $5! I told them I was about done today, but they should come over Saturday and I'll let them have a go. Seriously, $5? I'm totally all over that!

After mowing I ate some lunch, which solved the light headed issue. I also took the coldest and longest shower, because again, I was concerned the paint would come back off the walls. I finished up the last of Sharen's laundry that was lingering at my house and headed over to her house for a steak grill out with Sharen, Jeff, Doug and the kids.
Now I'm just enthralled with Jon and Kate. Urg, before this weekend I had never seen an episode now I've been sucked in.
I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and I hope it was as productive as possible!


Don't Lose Heart

Sheila's Story from Cross Point Church on Vimeo.

I saw this video on Pete Wilson's blog today. I was just crying watching it. Like Sheila said, not tears of sadness but tears of joy. Joy at knowing that this woman has overcome because of her relationship with Christ.
It also just reminds me of how integral our interactions are. Like the man sitting beside Sheila said, it just started with a conversation. He didn't come at her preaching and telling her to fall to her knees. It started with him, reaching out, caring, and coming into a relationship with her.
When you speak to people, they might not (probably won't) fall on their knees and accept Christ in front of you. They might not for a very long time. But don't lose heart, you are doing something great by planting the seeds of faith and encouraging people that often feel so alone.

1 Corinthians 4:7
7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth


Rainbow Sprinkles

I love them. I love everything about rainbow sprinkles. I like them on my donuts and on my chocolate soft serve ice cream cones.
There have been numerous occasions recently that I could just about commit murder just to get my hands on a chocolate soft serve ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles. It's worse then my cravings for Swiss Cake Rolls.
They're just so crunchy and rainbowish. They give the right kind of texture to soft serve ice cream. I've just been thinking about them a lot lately, mainly because how lovely the weather has been.

In other random news:

I watched Star Trek. It was awesome. I was cringing, laughing and tearing up the whole time. I'm not a trekkie, I've only dated trekkies. So other then the famous lines (I'm giv'n her all she's got Capt'n!...) I don't really know much about the franchise. But it was a great movie. I saw it on my own last Saturday night. I think I'm going to see more movies alone. I don't have to compromise on what movie to see, and I don't have to share the popcorn!

I'm trying to stop drinking soda. My longest stretch has been the last 7 days. Today I drank a Dr. Pepper and I might have a coke with dinner. But tomorrow...tomorrow I will be resolved! I feel like making life changes. I think it's because I'm turning 30. Instead of being all swoony and despondent that I'm not married or a mother (which I'm not really that interested in pursuing, but I feel like there's a wedding watch 2009 target on my back lately...) I think I've decided to crave physical life changes. I've stopped casually puffing and now I'm on to pop. I think when I conquer pop I'm moving on to no eating at places with a drive thru. That one is going to be TOUGH. I'm also hoping to hit the gym more, and maybe even spend some time at the metro parks this summer. They're just so lovely and there's no reason I shouldn't be going to them.

I don't mind yard work as much as I thought I would. I mean, it's definitely not something that I would choose to do if I had other options (read: a roommate or affordable neighborhood teen doing it). But I don't mind. It feels empowering. But I have this random swath of mushrooms in my side yard that make just that one section of yard greener and causes it to grow faster. How do I stop that? I feel like this time next year I'll be drunk with knowledge of home ownership.

I'm saying no. For no reason. 2009 is the year that I'm learning balance and that means I have to say no to some things and intentionally pull back so I'm not always running running running. Me constantly running isn't good for my health, my emotional well being and most importantly it really sucks the life out of my relationship with God. I was asked to dog sit over Memorial Day weekend, which I'm reserving to do things around my house (painting!) and stay at my house the majority of the (if not the entire) weekend. I said no. I said no to what is essentially $150 to hang out at a really nice house and romp with some really sweet dogs. It hurt more then I thought it would.

I've been working at the bookstore again. Every other weekend, sometimes each weekend, only on Fridays or Saturdays. Dan pointed out Wednesday that's like me having 3 jobs, my "real" job, Washington Project, and the bookstore. No wonder I feel grumpy and strained. I'm still chewing over what to do about that revelation.

I'm reading Harry Potter for the first time and LOVING it. I'm halfway through book four. Don't tell me anything. I've made it years without knowing anything about anything past the 1st movie. If it's spoiled now I will straight up murder someones ass!

I really love my house. I mean I just love it. It's a lot of work and all that work is on me only. But I love it. Sometimes I just sit in the living room, or look up from the lawn mower, or sit in the driveway in the morning and think...this is MY house. MINE. I love it.

This is the end of random thoughts with Bethany. Please wait for the captain to turn off the Fasten Seat Belt sign. Once the sign is off you may unbuckle and collect your carry on items.



I'm a very relational person. I tend to see things in relationship with other things, same with people. I just want people to get along, to play nice and to feel included. This used to mean that I would flee conflict, but it doesn't anymore. Now I see that conflict is needed sometimes, but I strive and long for an appropriate conflict.
A conflict that doesn't decimate the other person and leave them in a shattered pile of crap on the floor. A conflict that is kind and uplifting and not destructive.
I seem to have spent such a large amount of energy working through my avoidance of conflict that I neglected to see the flip side.

I lead outreach at my church. What that looks like this year and for the near future is Washington Project. Every Sunday, serving in some tangible way the city of Cincinnati. Before this past weekend I believed that I was one of three leaders that executed this outreach every week. I wanted us all to be on equal ground, no one more important then the next. But a conversation with Michelle changed that. Because we're all leading outreach, Michelle, Mark and I. But I am the leader. It's me. I am the one that should be taking the reigns and ensuring the vision and mission is developed and communicated effectively. There has to be a clear leader, and I haven't been very clear
This isn't to say that Mark and Michelle are integral parts of the leadership team, or that I could do this without them...because I couldn't. But I have hindered our team by not embracing my role as the leader.

I didn't want to seem like I was bossy, I didn't want to seem like I was controlling. I wanted Michelle and Mark to feel important and needed. But I haven't been clear.
My natural tendency towards relationship is a good thing. But there can be too much of a good thing. There is a place for relationship in leading, but it should not come at the expense of the overall mission and vision of ministry.
One of the things I love the most about leading is how much I'm learning. Not only about leading, but about my God who uses imperfect people to execute His perfect plan.


My sister whom I love

I have this sister. She has no idea how amazing she is, or at least hides it very well :).
Today is her birthday, she is 32 years young. She forgets how old she is sometimes.
She is an amazing mom, a wife that adores her husband and a sister that would defend me to the death.
She's kind, generous, frugal, hilarious and compassionate. She rules with an iron fist while at the same time taking the time to hold and comfort...reassuring the kids that they are loved.
So Happy Birthday Sharen! I hope you have a great day and a wonderful date with your hubster tonight. I love you!



Today I got up early and didn't have to rush. I ate breakfast at my table and read the book of James. I talked to God, I packed my lunch.
It was a fantastic morning.
I left early and drove calmly and clearly to work...not having to yell at people for merely going to speed limit means I got to work far less stressed than I usually do. It also gave me time to look around while I was driving.
On the way to work today I saw a cat playing on a schools playground. It slid down the slide...seriously. It climbed back up the slide and was preparing to slide again when I realized I needed to keep driving. But I like to imagine what that cat's night was like. Was he there all night just sliding down the slide over and over again? Can cats use monkey bars? These are serious questions people!

A few blocks later I notice a car that looks a little funny. I scoot closer to see why and I realize, the car has been POSTED! As it covered with Post-It notes completely. Even the radio antenna was wrapped in Post-It notes. It was hilarious.
Hopefully the rest of the day will be as lovely as my first 3ish hours were.


Trust You

I am walking on this line between the knowledge of what I need to to and how to do it and the stubbornness of not wanting to move.
There is nothing about God's character that should give me a moments pause. It's all me that I can't move past.

I can’t walk without watching where I’m going
I can’t speak without knowing what to say
I can’t love without any hesitation, ‘cause I know that you don’t work that way
I can’t reach without something to offer
I can’t come now, I am so ashamed
I can’t hold out for you any longer, ‘cause I know that you don’t work that way

I’m not gonna fight you anymore
I’m not gonna try to lock the door
You took your life and gave me yours
There’s no reason why, I shouldn’t trust you with mine

It’s never easy changing direction
It’s so unnatural to loosen up my grip
Are you growing weary, of all my good intentions,
‘cause I know that you don’t work that way

I’m not gonna fight you anymore
I’m not gonna try to lock the door
You took your life and gave me yours
There’s no reason why, I shouldn’t trust you with mine

Some days this weight upon my shoulders is my shame
I know I should know better
‘Cause you say that I must now surrender, there’s no other way

I’m not gonna fight you anymore
I’m not gonna try to lock the door
You took your life and gave me yours
There’s no reason why, I shouldn’t trust you with mine

I’m not gonna fight you anymore
I’m not gonna try to lock the door
You took your life and gave me yours
There’s no reason why, no good reason why I shouldn’t trust you with mine

Brandon Heath: What if We


I fought the lawn and the lawn won

I am sometimes so overwhelmed by the idea of owning a house by myself. Never has this been more true then this past Sunday, when I decided it was more then time to mow the backyard.
My backyard is at a little of an angle, not much...or so I thought. Apparently when you're grass is 1 million feet talk you can't really tell the grade of things.
So I pulled out the mower, started it up and mowed exactly 1 strip of grass when the mower stalled out. It was full of grass on the bottom.
I cleaned it out, all the time cringing imagining that at any moment the mower would spring to life all on its own and chop both of my hands off...and secondary to that thought was the question, "How will I call for help? I have a touch screen phone!" (You will be happy to hear that I have practiced several times this week dialing 911 with my nose. I can also call Sharen with my nose too.)

The grass is all pulled out, I mow a few more strips and it stalls again. I continue this rhythm for about 45 minutes until I give up. I call my brother in law Jeff and ask to borrow his weed whacker. While I wait for him to check the gas/kerosene levels I decide I need to clean off the bottom of the mower more thoroughly. So I tip it up against the side of my house and spray at it with the hose. This is the part where I get soaked from head to toe and covered in grass clippings. However, I learned one important piece of information...the bottom of the lawn mower is supposed to be red, not green! I even was scraping the shellacked clumps off the bottom, which turned my hands green even though I was wearing gloves.
After cleaning the mower off I hadn't heard from Jeff yet, so I watered my plants. I think something happened to my hose connection because it's started spraying from the house connection. So, having just gotten dry I was soaked again.
Once I was done with that Jeff called, so I went to get my keys through the garage and discovered that door was locked. Luckily the back patio door was open so I could just slide open the screen and grab my keys....I just tracked a little more dirt/grass in my house then I wanted.
While I was at Sharen and Jeff's I grabbed their hose too, so I could spray week killer to the far reaches of my yard.

Ok, so weed whacking...not really as much fun as it looks. I mean it looked all light and breezy just swinging it around whacking weeds. It isn't. It's HEAVY and VIBRATY. My arms are still a little sore from it. After thinning out the grass in the backyard I successfully mowed most of the rest of the yard. It started stalling out again and at one point it billowed massive amounts of white smoke out the front of it. There were really only 2 strips left, so I just stopped there.
After cleaning the mower (again) and the weed whacker, I settled down to some nice relaxing sweeping. Because there was chunks of grass all over my patio and driveway thanks to my cleaning out the mower so much. I was soooo tired.
But I wanted to spray the weed killer on my lawn so I could mow my yard Wednesday (today). I hooked up Sharen and Jeff's black hose to my hose using my grass stained green hands and hooked up the weed killer bottle to the hose. As I set off to start spraying I wiped my hand across my face because I was hot and tired and a little frustrated and overwhelmed. I wouldn't find out for another hour that I had smeared some black hose yuck and grass stained across the right side of my face. I sort of looked like I was about to set out on some crazy mission that required camo paint...no wonder those kids that walked by looked at me funny.

Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel! I sprayed and sprayed with gusto, knowing that when this was done I could go in the house and do nothing. (even though there were dishes in the sink...which are actually still there... laundry to do, beds to change out, floors to vacuum..well you get the point) I let go of the bottle at one point to smear more "camo" across my face and the bottle, propelled by the force of the hose, spun around and around...spraying me in the face.
Just in case you were wondering, weed killer does not clear up acne.

Lord help me there is so much to do! I also need to start pumping iron just so I can weed whack apparently. But when to find the time with all the mowing, laundry, cooking, cleaning, sweeping...



I sponsored a child today. Through World Vision at Family Christian Stores. I've been working at the one in Tri-County again for some extra dough (houses and things you want to do to them are expensive!) I've also been reading several blogs, Anne, Angie and Pete's specifically. They were on a trip with Compassion International. They were bloggers sent to Kolkata India with the goal of seeing how Compassion works and how it benefits the kids that are sponsored. Their trip garnered the most child sponsorships of any of the Compassion blogger trips to date. I don't know the exact number, but there are a lot of kids that are going to have adequate nutrition, education and medical care because of these people. There are tons of kids that are going to have hope for a future different than their parents.

While I was reading through these blogs, I was beginning to come out of this funk that I've found myself in in the last few months. The darkness had knocked me down hard and I was really struggling to get back up, struggling with even wanting to get back up. But in rare moments of clarity I reached out to some people that could partner with me in prayer and that I felt comfortable asking to truly press me into accountability. Because while there is a true darkness that grasps at my ankles far more often then I would care to admit, I do plenty to nurture it and invite it to make itself comfortable.

One of the things that I struggle with each year is April 24th. It's the day my friend was killed, and that day makes me really sad. I do pretty well 364 days of the year to not focus on her death but on her life, but that one day is such a struggle for me still, 9 years later.
While I was reading Angie's blog she mentioned that she and her family sponsored a child with the birth date of their daughter Audrey. Audrey who died the same day she was born. Audrey who Angie carried to term knowing that there was little medical hope for her baby girl to survive, but praying to a God that is so big that he would save her. Angie has a site that talks about Audrey, and it will bless you like little else to read about her journey. While Audrey is not with us in the flesh, her brief flicker of a life has been sparked into a bonfire by God himself. This girl that lived for only a few hours has worked miracles, in my faith, and in so many others.
But I digress....
So I was thinking that I wanted to start sponsoring a kid again, the one I had previously aged out of the program and I hadn't sponsored one since. Furthermore, I thought that it would be lovely to find a little girl that had a birthday of April 24th. Because that day holds so much sad for me, I wanted to try to put something good into it.
I sponsored Glendy today. She was born April 24th 2006, she is 3 years old and lives in Honduras. She loves playing with dolls. Because of the $30 a month I set aside to sponsor her she will have access to things such as clean water, nutritious food, and an education, so she can grow up to be a healthy and productive adult.
I sponsored her online, where you can search based on country, birth date, type of sponsorship etc. You can sponsor children with AIDS, you can sponsor whole families for not much more.

We are so rich in the US, so rich. I don't have a lot of money, I don't have a lot of room in my budget. But I'm making room for Glendy and I'm pushing the sadness out of the way on April 24th so I can make way for a celebration that Glendy was born.