Monday, April 23, 2012

A worldwide 'hood

Have you ever watched "The End of the Spear?" It's a movie about the missionaries in 1956 who went deep into Ecuador's rain forest to make contact with a warrior tribe so effective at revenge spearings that they had nearly made themselves extinct. They made peaceful contact, but a fight within a tribal group had gotten to the point where they were about to spear each other, so they killed the missionaries instead. The story made the worldwide news and the cover of Life magazine. The book by Steve Saint, is WAYYY better. Steve is the kid in the movie, the son of one of the missionaries.

See, the five men were killed before they had a chance to talk about God. In the Waodani culture, the families of the slain missionaries should attack and kill the family who killed their men. Instead, the widows and children moved in with them and brought medicine. They brought healing and the message of forgiveness. They presented the Gospel over the years and changed the culture enough to end the way of the spear.

But the book is incredible. It goes into so much more detail. The movie does a two-sentence voice-over with Steve saying he spent lots of time with the Waodani growing up, but the book tells what that was like, as well as the rest of the story.

They changed some stuff in the movie to make it fit into the 2-hour story frame, having to combine events and people to make a simpler story and character list.

Once the widows' stories started being told (and their books published), people worldwide wanted to help the "poor" indigenous people. That's great. But Steve tells us how much our help hurts people who are so culturally and technologically different. Once they started being given things that they couldn't repair or reproduce, they became dependant on outsiders. Once they tasted food that they couldn't grow, they required outsiders to provide it. Once missionaries built a church with more urban materials, they couldn't repair it; but they also thought they shouldn't build a different one, so they just quit having church. Also, since the missionaries built it, they didn't consider it theirs.

Steve Saint took his wife and three teenage kids to the jungle where he grew up (to his Wao family) to teach the Waodani how to build and maintain an airstrip and fly and maintain a plane for medical emergencies. They set up medical clinics and trained women how to be nurses. They built a house as a community center/ church. He refused to do any of this for them; instead, he demanded that they do it so they would own it. He insisted that his family would only stay for a set amount of time, then go back to Florida.

He and the man who speared his father, Mincaye, had developed a father-son bond as he grew up. Mincaye and some other Waodanis have come to America and Europe for speaking engagements, giving their testimonies. They tell of how Waengongi (Creator God) changed their hearts and now they follow His trail.

And they only listened to Steve's family because they came days after the brutal murders, ready to forgive, and became family.

There's a mission organization out of Nowhere, Alabama (actually, Lineville, but it really is in the middle of nowhere) called SIFAT. Servants In Faith And Technology. They bring tribal leaders from around the world to train them appropriate technology, and how to couple using it with sharing the Gospel. By appropriate, I mean water filters and 16-brick stoves and fisheries and simple irrigation. Things that don't Americanize them at all, just plain make their lives a little healthier.

I went to the top of the Bolivian Andes for a month with SIFAT to serve the Quechans there. But that was August of 1999. This past weekend, I took my church's youth to SIFAT's headquarters. There, they have built a Global Village. (As tribal leaders come in from around the world, they built a replicas of their homes. Their real homes that their families live in.)

So our boys slept in a woven stick hut from Liberia, and we girls slept in a glorified cave from Nepal that had a teeny (like the size of the rug under my chair right now) house for cooking above the roof of the cave.

We made fire in the sprinkling rain (it took nearly two hours), cooked rice and beans for dinner and oatmeal for breakfast. The size of the meals was what Americans would consider two servings... but that was for all ten of us. And we had no dishes. Have you ever tried to eat oatmeal with no bowl? One of the girls found some flat rocks in the creek and scrubbed them off to make plates. The boys worked on setting the foundation for another tribal hut.

We got a tour of the whole village, too. Eight countries were represented, including an urban slum.

Did you know that HALF of the world's population lives in poverty? They didn't ask to be born in a slum or war-torn country or secluded jungle. Just like you didn't ask to be born where you were. You had no choice in whether your parents could find work or not, or whether they stuck around at all. So, the SIFAT guy's main message to the youth this weekend was not about guilt, but about responsibility.

One thing I noticed in Bolivia was that the people were happy. They had only one or two outfits to their name,  and a few dishes, a musical intrument they'd made, and maybe a tapestry that could be used as a tablecloth or backpack or blanket or baby carrier. That's it. But they loved each other, and they were happy. And we were there to help them with building a school (using their construction methods and sun-dried adobe brick) and add a windmill to their clinic so they could generate power to treat their sick.

A Nigerian man at SIFAT a few weeks ago looked at an American staff member and told him that we Americans are poor. We surround ourselves with meaningless stuff and big houses. But we don't know our neighbors. We say "Hi," to people we know then just keep walking. We don't stop and talk, don't build relationships, don't care about people, and don't know how to love selflessly. We're fat and depressed. So, though they have no material things, they are rich, and we are poor.

So here's my takeaway: There is one race. There is one family. We are the children of God. We are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. No matter what difference -  language, culture, money, status, religion (or lack thereof), sex, age, odor, or anything else; we are to love others above all else. We are to lift them up so they can stand up high enough to see God. We are to not be blinded by our blessings and think that our things make us better than anyone else. We are to be family, no matter our differences, and offer love and reconciliation and the Good News. As Steve Saint's family put it, Waengongi had a son, and he was speared; but he let his enemies spear him so that those enemies could have a better future. It really is that simple.

I could go on and on, but please go check out It's awesome.

Share the love, y'all; share the love.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How Algebra Should Be Taught

How it's taught now:  x(2y)=z

Explanation: If you have an unknown number of oranges (x) and an unknown number of apples (y), but a total number of 30 pieces of fruit (z), how many apples and how many oranges do you have?

How a teenager answers: Why do you have 30 pieces of fruit? Those apples are gonna get mushy. You're stupid for buying so much fresh fruit all at once. I'm not eatin' that crap. Bring me some Doritos.

How it should be taught:

Example 1. x(2y)=z

Explanation: x= how much time your mom says you have to get ready and get out the door
y= how much time you decide to actually take
z= how big of a $#!tfit she's gonna have when you don't get your lazy adolescent butt out of bed

How a teenager understands it: Oh. That's why she flipped out? Really? How much time I take ticks her off double the amount of time I was supposed to take? Hm. Well, there's a proportion that's good to know.

Example 2.

Normal:  A population of rabbits triples every month. Assume we start out with 100 rabbits.

a. How many rabbits are there after 4 months?

b. How long until there are 50,000 rabbits?

Teenager thinks:
 Bow chicka wow wow! Those bunnies are gettin' some tail like cray-cray! Dang! I wonder if I'll get any at prom?

Should be:
If you cave in to the pressure from the guy you like to text him a naked picture of yourself, taking 2 seconds to reach him, and he forwards it to three of his friends five seconds later, and they each forward it to three friends in five seconds, and they each do the same,

a. How many people will think you're a skank a$$ ho after two minutes?
b. How long until the entire population of your school has seen your embarrassing sext?
Bonus: Explain why you can go to jail for this. Hint: Child porno.

See? Make it relevant, and kids will understand math with no problem!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Smokin' Hot

How to apply "smoky" eye makeup:

Step 1. Make sure kids are in bed so you don't have to explain yourself.

Step 2. Apply eye shadow, making sure to use all three different shades for highlight and shadow so your eyes really pop.

Step 3. Decide that the eyeliner you bought like eight years ago is too chunky and throw it out.

Step 4. Attempt using the tip of the mascara wand to smudge on some make-shift eyeliner.

Step 5. Look in the mirror an frighten yourself with the jagged, gross looking smear around your eyes.

Step 6.With ONE drop of water on your finger, smudge the mascara around right eye to actually look half-decent .

Step 7. With TWO drops of water, smudge the mascara on your left eye into wet goo that smears all over your eyelid, making you look like you just got beat to Hell and back.

Step 8. Clean off all makeup off left eye.

Step 9. Notice that when you blinked, your right eyeliner that looked good transfered to the middle of your eyelid.

Step 10. Clean off right eyelid, trying to not remove decent eyeliner.

Step 11. Re-apply mascara to left eyelid as jury-rigged eyeliner.

Step 12. With ONE drop of water on your finger, smudge the mascara around left eye to look half-decent enough to match the right eye.

Step 13. Force eyes to not blink so it doesn't smudge onto middle of eyelids again.

Step 14. Hope husband is still awake & hasn't fallen asleep waiting for you to finish getting prettied up.

Step 15. Realize that he's managed to get three children to sleep, and shower, and shave, while you haven't even finished getting eye make up on.

Step 16. Re-apply eye shadow, making sure to use all three different shades for highlight and shadow so your eyes really pop.

Step 17. Apply mascara to eyelashes as intended.

Step 18. Add a second coat of mascara to lashes. Go all out. Hope you look more like Stana Katic than Tammy Faye Baker.

Step 19. DON'T BLINK!

Step 20. Move on to lipliner and lipstick. Nah. Screw it. Smudge on a little tinted lip gloss & be done with it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Google Autofill. It's like Catnip.

Do you ever start typing something into the google search bar and it automatically fills in what it thinks you're going to ask with something truly bizarre?
Type "wha" and it fills in "what does yolo mean?" So I think, "Huh. What does it mean?"

*** There was a lot more to this. It was funny. But it disappeared. Cyberspace voodoo, I guess. But I'm not retyping it. Sorry.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wake Up!

To everyone, Happy Easter!

My 5 year old girl came in my room just after sunrise & snuggled up. She fell back to sleep, but soon, I was ready to get up. I whispered to her, "Do you know what today is?" (We've been going through what happened each day since Palm Sunday.)

She said, "Is it Easter Day?"

I told her it was, and that Mary went just before sunrise on Sunday morning to the tomb, where she found it open and Jesus was in the garden. Then she went to tell the disciples that he was alive. They were still asleep, and she woke them up with the exciting news.

Then I asked if she thought they celebrated. She answered, "Yes! They probably went on a pony ride! Can we go on a pony ride! That would be a great celebration! Maybe even two ponies! Can we get two ponies?"

I laughed and said we had little baskets of treats as our celebration. So she asked, "Well, after we get our basket, can we get some ponies?"

"Where would we put them? Our back yard is too small."

"Oh. Maybe we can find some very small ponies."


"Do you want to go wake up your brothers and sister?"

She jumped up with a smile and ran out of my room. I heard little feet & her shouting, "Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive! Wake up everybody! Jesus is alive!"


My computer has been wonky, limiting my posts lately. But my husband not only got it fixed, but also got me a laptop this week! So, expect to hear from me more frequently. I know you've missed me. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

So... I'm typing with sore fingers... Because I worked in the garden today without gloves. Scratch that. I mixed quickrete in my kids' green turtle sandbox with my bare hands because I couldn't find a trowel and built a garden wall out of marble & granite chunks mortared together with the quickrete.

When I was done, I got up to make sure it looked right (though, who was I kidding? It's not like I was going to change it at that point.) and found the trowel in the grass about eight feet away. Huzzah!

I washed the dirt and concrete off my hands (I say dirt. I mean composted manure, peat moss, and dog crap. Because my dog decided that one foot behind me was the perfect place to drop a turd.) and showed the scrapes to my husband. He said, "Why didn't you wear gloves?" It was one of those questions that instantly make you feel like a complete moron. I didn't even think about walking over to the storage shed to get gardening gloves.

So I told him, "Because they're dirty and would have irritated my hands anyway, especially since I was working with wet concrete." Which was totally true, and I'm sure that somewhere in my psyche the thought of getting gloves was evaluated and dismissed for exactly that reason. (That sounded convincing, right?)

Anyway, my garden's a little bigger now, so I can have four varieties of tomatoes, grapes, berries, squash, cucumber, watermelon, potatoes, stevia, and even more herbs. (My garden can kick your garden's butt.)

Right now, I should be writing out what I'm teaching this week or loading the dishwasher. Instead, I've been laughing at funny pictures on George Takei's facebook page, chatting with a high school friend, and now blogging. I haven't typed anything in over a week, so now I choose the night that I've got my fingerprints scraped off to peck at the keyboard. Yeah, I'm a smartie.

So, as I wasted time pecking because I can't type properly for my hurting fingers, I found this article:  Go ahead, it's just three paragraphs long.

In a nutshell, people in charge of public education are complete chuckleheads. How on God's green earth did "dinosaur" make the list of 50+ controversial words banned from New York's standardized tests? Idiots.

Meanwhile, here in Montgomery, a lunchroom worker brought a gun to school, hidden in her Bible (what?! Her Bible?!) where she'd cut out a spot in the pages like in an old movie, so she could threaten another lunchlady. In a room full of knives.

I sit here tapping my thumb (because the other fingers are beginning to really sting) and ponder why she didn't just pull a knife. I got nothin'. Solomon, she's not. Yeah, Montgomery Public Schools iz where itz at, yo. Our elementary school lunchladies beez strapped wid a heater.

Where was I? Oh. Right. We'll use the garden in science lessons for home school, too. Like watching seeds sprout, cutting apart a bloom to see what the inside parts of a flower are, and seeing if the dadgum dog can outrun me when I try to hit her with a shovel for digging up my garden again. (Of course I'd never actually hit her. She's too dang fast.) So maybe next we'll study why four-legged creatures are faster than two-legged creatures. And perhaps a lesson on why we wear clothes, shoes, and bike helmets to protect us... and garden gloves.