Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Field Day Event #2

Lynne Schmidt, Mozambique

[what's brewing: something from the kids' menu!]

VBS in Paraguay!

What the World Doesn't See in Sudan

Following in Her Footsteps

Lil' Helper


Jumping for Joy in Africa

Little Girl Laughter

Cambodian Waterhole

Football in Congo

Vienna Face Painting

Kite-flying in Costa Rica
--Dianne (Grammy)

Mongolian School Girl

Blowing Bubbles in the Gobi Desert

Cold Bath, Hot Day

With the wonderful photo submissions from last week’s event, the stage is set for our next Coffeegirl Field Day event – The 100 Word Writing Submission.

The topic? Memories of a Significant Summer from Childhood

To participate, leave a comment with your 100 word writing entry on this topic. Comments must be left by 9am Mountain Standard Time (11am Eastern) on Monday, July 6. (Entries should be within 5 words of a 100-word entry limit. Save your more extended pieces for future opportunities and submissions to the WOTH magazine!)

As a reminder, each photo entry from last week and writing entry from this week will receive an entry into the drawing for our prize - a $20 gift card to their choice of Amazon.com, iTunes or Shutterfly.

Remember, we’re in this for the fun! This is a great chance to try your hand at a brief creative writing experience and share your experiences with the rest of us here at Coffeegirl Confessions.

[Editor’s Note: If you find you enjoy the writing process, consider writing an article for the WOTH onlineMagazine. Submit your piece for consideration to
Cindy Blomquist, Editor. Did you know that every article in the magazine is written by women in cross-cultural service, just like you? WOTH relies on your words and submissions to encourage your sisters around the globe.]

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Coffeegirl Challenge #5: Let the Games Begin!

[what's brewing: one of those fun little summer mochachocalattas; no wait, make that two!]

It’s summertime here at Coffeegirl Confessions, which means it’s time to have some fun together. I remember the anticipation of summer as a child being electrifying. End of the year activities at school added to the excitement as lessons and tests decreased and field trips, outdoor projects and school wide picnics increased. The ultimate indication that summer break was coming was Field Day.

I remember Field Day being a nightmare for some, a time to shine for others, and just plain fun for girls like me who didn’t care about winning and cared most about laughing with friends (that and knowing my mom was on the sidelines cheering and taking pictures). Tug-of-war, 50-yard dash, jump rope races, three-legged races – oh, those were fun days.

I’m inviting you to join me for a Coffeegirl Field Day – a series of little activities and contests over the next few weeks. It’s a chance to have fun and be creative in the midst of busy schedules and adult responsibilities that could otherwise keep you from having fun this “summer.” Even if you don’t feel qualified for the event, join in for the fun of it, just like I did every year in the long jump.

How to Compete:

There will be 2 events. We'll know you are participating by your entry into each event -- remember, when you play, you might get the big "hurrah"! Entries from the first event will be displayed on CG Confessions next week, when the second event will be announced.

Ribbon Ceremony:

At the end of our Coffeegirl Field Day, one overall winner will be selected through a random drawing – after all, we’re in this for the fun! Every “event” entry receives one chance to win, therefore by participating in both events, your name will be entered twice and your chances of winning go up.

The winner will receive a $20 gift card to their choice of Amazon.com, iTunes or Shutterfly.

Our First Event (starting today):
A Photo Contest! As we’re tapping into our own childhoods through this Field Day event, the first event is to submit an artistic photograph capturing an expression of childhood in your area. (See above photo.)

What is meant by “artistic photograph”?

I like this definition that I found online: photography that is…done to express the artist's perceptions and emotions and to share them with others. Practically, this also means no photos of your own kids, though we trust they are tempting subjects since they’re undoubtedly the cutest kids you know.

Don’t consider yourself a photographer, let alone an artist? Don’t let that hold you back! Remember – it’s Field Day and we’re all in it for the fun.

Photos should be submitted to Cindy Blomquist , (editor@womenoftheharvest.com) the faithful editor and creative director behind this blog, by 9am Mountain Standard Time on Monday, June 29. (Please include how your byline should read when posted on the blog.)

Let the games begin! One Photo = One Entry!!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


[what's brewing: I hope the water is hot enough to kill any germs; I can't get sick; what if I do...]

My somewhat excessive (okay, slightly neurotic) treasure keeping ways tells you something about who I am and how I operate. Beyond being a treasure keeper, this diary of Coffeegirl Confessions has revealed that I am also:

  • an introvert
  • a coffee lover
  • a creative copycat
  • a reader
  • a lover of chocolate
  • a lover of beauty and
  • a learner of language

And now I must confess another quality that is deeply engrained within me: I am a worrier. I don’t wear this one proudly; in fact, I scarcely acknowledge that I am a worrier on most occasions because I am largely an undercover worrier. Undercover not because my worry is so subtle I don’t see it, but because I tend to call worry by a different name which allows me to forget its true identity most of the time.

In the thought world that keeps my mind running in circles instead of resting in His peace, I call my worry by the name of wisdom. As I rehearse different scenarios in my mind and anxiously wonder what will happen in this situation and how I’ll respond and what I’ll do next, I convince myself that the investment of my thoughts and energy in this way is an exercise of wisdom. It’s planning ahead, anticipating possibilities, and developing responses in advance. Worry is something else entirely, I tell myself. In fact, it may even be un-wise not to think things through as I do.

And then there are moments like last Thursday night when my oh-so-wise ways bring me to an emotional breaking point and my anxiety over the unknown feels as if it could literally kill me. In tears of desperation, the veil is lifted and my eyes can see the true identity of my torturer: worry.

This verse is as familiar to you as it is to me:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)

But I read this and say, yes, life is more important than food, the body more important than clothes; therefore I contemplate worry about these things: life, health, relationships. I am a planner – a self-proclaimed control freak. I long to feel in control of my circumstances; not to control what happens, but to consider and anticipate every possible outcome so that nothing can take me by surprise.

If you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books from years ago, you can understand what I mean when I say that in times of uncertainty, I create countless combinations and sequences of events to try and gain some understanding and control over what may be coming my way. If I just knew what were going to happen, I could handle it so much better. But again, when the veil is lifted through the power of Truth, I see what is hiding beneath my well reasoned ways: worry. And not just worry, but unbelief.

On Thursday night, in the midst of tears and anxiety, I read these words on a blog that was recommended to me recently:

We are all in His divine, omnipotent care. He has numbered our days. He orders our steps. The more we believe this with evangelical faith, the more we will be set free from worrying because we will see it for what it is — unbelief. God loves us and He loves our children more than we do. What a great relief and blessing the truth always is. Wisdom doesn’t worry.

These words stripped away my well rehearsed justifications and injected truth right where it was needed.

Worry isn’t wisdom. Wisdom doesn’t worry.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Treasure Keeper

[what's brewing: Ma'am, would you like to keep your Starbuck's gift card?...of course, it will remind me of...]

I suppose my tendency to keep things started at a young age; in fact, it’s probably something I either inherited genetically from my mom or learned through osmosis as a child. My mom taught me to save special things, and I eventually adapted this to include saving anything that could potentially become special at some point in time. Even as a young girl, I felt emotional connections to the strangest things, and I insisted on keeping them once the connection was made.

My parents indulged this tendency and allowed each of us to reserve the top drawers of our dressers as our “Treasure Drawers.” My sister, brother and I would keep our treasured mementos in these top drawers and they were always overflowing with undoubtedly sacred items. New additions to the drawer were carefully slipped in when it had been opened just enough to let the item in without letting the rest of the contents emerge and keep the drawer from shutting again.

I had a collection of all the teeth I had lost, and a number of orthodontic retainers, saved in my drawer; by second grade I had packets of letters that had been exchanged with my childhood best friend who had moved away to Illinois after kindergarten; I had a coin purse of copper disks – pennies that my Grandpa helped me to place on the railroad tracks that ran through their town. Favorite stickers, invitations to birthday parties, old pairs of glasses (yes, I’d been wearing them since 1st grade) and funny shaped pencils were just a few of the collections that amassed in my Treasure Drawer.

The occasional chore of cleaning out our drawers usually resulted in a 2 hour reunion of sorts as we rediscovered the gems that had sunk to the bottom of the drawer over time. A limited number of items would resurface with the realization that their sentimental value had been lost over time, and those few things would find a new home in the waste basket. But most everything in the drawer was reinstated as a treasured item and returned to the drawer where it rightly belonged.

As I grew up, the Treasure Drawer overflowed into treasure boxes that were stashed in the top of my closet and then under my bed as space ran out. At the end of each year of college I would fill a shoe box with the best treasures of the year and bring it home to add to the collection. When we left for our new home nearly a year ago, I left many boxes of treasures behind in my sister’s basement and I can’t wait to go through them again someday.

Over the years my criteria for selecting “keepers” had become a bit more reasonable (though a non-saver like Jason may claim that to be quite humorously untrue – he calls my saving habits “hoarding” – imagine!). While my standards or criteria may have changed over the years, I suffered what Jason would call a setback in this regard upon moving so far away to our new home last year.

My treasure keeping ways have not only followed me here, but they have actually grown stronger. If an item (or scrap of paper) reminds me in the least of friends or family back home, if it captures any essence of an experience in our new culture, it goes in the box. Not just letters, but the post office claim slips for letters are treasures. Not just the photos from the sleepover we had for the girls in the Children’s Home, but the little notes about it they passed to each other during Sunday School the next day. Not just birthday cards, but the tags from the new items of clothing that were sent as gifts.

I don’t fault you for thinking I’m crazy; I’ve grown comfortable with my own husband’s doubts about my sanity in this regard. To those who aren’t treasure keepers, it is difficult to explain the genuine warmth and comfort I find in simply knowing these little keepsakes are safely tucked away. When I look through them on occasion, I am reminded of so many special details that would otherwise slip away from my memory. Each item represents a treasured moment, and those moments collectively remind me of the many good and perfect gifts I’ve been given by the Father of the heavenly lights. And that’s worth remembering.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ahhh, summer!

[what's brewing: iced Caramel Macchiato -- read on to see why!]

The month of May seems to have evaporated and I was in disbelief when I flipped my calendar today and found the reality of “June” looking me in the eye. Maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy lately (but when am I not busy, really?) but I haven’t really noticed the days passing by so quickly until I turned that page today. Even though it isn’t technically summer here, June + July + August will always equal SUMMER in my mind. And what is so great about summer exactly? Oh, I’m glad you asked.

For me, whether I get to experience these things or not, summer conjures up images of:

…strawberry lemonade
…playing Frisbee in the park
…the Coppertone baby
…covering myself in bug spray
…running through sprinklers
…homemade ice cream (oh, that’s a torturous thought!)
…sunglasses and ponytails
…windows down and the radio up
…road trips
…iced Caramel Macchiato’s at Starbucks
…my mom’s famous strawberry Jell-o salad

I am a happier person when filled with these distinctively summer images, and somehow even though I’m removed from most of them this year, they still leave me feeling like I’ve been sprinkled with a bit of Tinkerbell’s pixie dust. Around the holidays I was saddened by my separation from my many distinctively Christmas images, but not this time of year. I don’t know what the difference is, but I feel refreshed just thinking of summer days and simply picturing them in my mind.

Okay, I confess. I’m headed “home” for a quick visit soon and will get to enjoy some of these summer treats over my stay. This may contribute to my summer giddiness, but I stand by my claim that just thinking of summer has an intoxicating effect on me. So indulge yourself with me…

Whether you’re headed into summer or winter, and whether you actually have these things or will simply dream of them, what would you add to my list?

Are visions of root beer floats dancing in your head?


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