Monday, November 2, 2009


Alright friends, this is an old post that never got posted. just for fun.

I received a shipment a few weeks ago for an exhibit that is now open at the Museum of Natural Sciences where I work. The shipment consisted of two items. A large wooden crate, and a medium sized cardboard box. Inside the box... was poop. No kidding. As I sifted through the bubble wrap, new, offensive organic smells gave me assurance of the contents and reason to question their containment. I pulled out ziplock baggies of dried arctic animal scat. That's what scientists call it so they don't have to use the word "poop". Speaking of poop and scat- how many words do we have for poop?? now I don't want to offend anyone here, but this could turn into a really fun blog post. I am still not sure if anyone reads my blog, but if you do, please list your favorite poop word. Mine, obviously is "poop". When talking about the actual thing. If I just dropped something, I prefer "crap". Ok, back to the box. I found dall sheep poop, wolf poop, ptarmigan poop (its a bird), caribou poop (smaller than you would think), and grizzly bear poop- thats right, bear poop. big and smelly. Of course, the wolf poop looked a lot like the sample of caribou fur that came in the same box. And there was a stuffed squirrel from 1956. He smelled worse than the poop.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Don't know how many people read this and are waiting to hear about South Africa, but to all two of you, I am sorry for taking so long. And I am sorry that I am not doing it tonight. Someday. I do have a real blog post coming... wait for it...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Day

Why do I call this a happy day? because today is about 10 times better than yesterday!
Yesterday I woke up at 6:30 having angrily re-set me alarm - twice, and slept only 5.5 hours. for the third time in less than a week. Sometimes I just can't. It sucks. So yesterday I was super tired all day, so tired that fighting the sin of laziness and focusing on work was harder than normal. and its normally pretty hard for me. Then I felt guilty for wasting the day away reading the news, and blogs and searching for airline tickets for trips I may or may not take.

I sauntered home because that was about as fast as I could go, hoping to not run into anyone I know, but wishing to run into a friend I could complain to. I managed to avoid both. But on the way, God brought to mind that I should worship Him and be happy that I have the greatest gift ever- salvation! I forced out a few verses of "come thou fount" and started to feel better.

At home I declared myself a crank monster to the delight of my loving roommates. What makes them loving roommates? They listened but did not indulge self pity. They cared, and promised to pray for me. They advised me well. Char even spent over an hour working on my hair. (She does this regularly, and that is why I still have a savings account AND good looking dreadlocks - lockticians happen to cost as much as a high-end haircut, which I have never paid for)

Something about insomnia in the life of Mara- Usually it happens when I am rebelling against God in some area - not submitting to Him, not praying for someone, or about something. Sometimes it is just extra time to pray, but I rarely use it that way, I mostly waste it by getting more and more angry that I am not asleep. Sometimes I think, ok, time to get out of bed, go sit on the couch and intercede like... Barbara Thomas... or Jim Cymbala. At that moment I am usually hit by a wave of tiredness that I cave to and think - Oh! maybe I can sleep now! a few minutes later, I am wide awake again, but no longer willing to get out of bed and pray. what an infuriating cycle! Unless you see it the way God does. And I dont know how God sees it. His ways are mountains higher than mine, but I have some ideas. He wants me to experience the amazing fellowship with Him that is unique to being alone, on my knees in a sleeping house with the Holy Spirit in me slowly breaking out of the box I have put Him in and praying through my words, songs, my tears, my groans. So, he keeps me from sleeping. When I get the desire to pray and start to get out of bed, Satan gets scared and throws a flaming dart. It hits me, since my shield of faith is down, my helmet of salvation is forgotten, and my breastplate of righteousness is my own - a flimsy cotton t-shirt. (Cotton is pretty flammable). When it hits, I yield. But my loving Father does not let me sleep. He still wants to meet with me, He still wants me to grow in faith and love for Him through prayer, or through renouncing my choice idol of the week that has been stealing my affections from the Lover of my soul.

So, last night, getting in bed was scary. I normally love getting in bed, because its soft and cozy and dark and quiet and sleep is coming soon. But I was terrified of having another night like friday night (when I didn't sleep until 4am) I cringed when I saw my Bible and journal. I thank God that this is when I realized I was afraid of the wrong thing. I should fear God! I should fear a seared conscience and run TO my Savior for help instead of away from him. He is waiting to be gracious to me. I read Psalm 139 and enjoyed the sweet presence of God as I was reminded that there is no escaping Him. I confessed my disobedience in not loving others well, I experienced His amazing forgiveness and His love! As I continued to read my eyes got heavy and I even dozed off reading. Sweet sleep came! I enjoyed last night's sleep with a thankful heart and woke up very aware of God's love for me.

Today was a happy day for this reason.

Monday, June 1, 2009

To live is Christ, to die is gain

My dear Grandma died about an hour ago. In her last hours, I was at Bible study reading these words:
"We will say (to the dying), ... "Trust in God, because whether you live by faith or die by faith God will take care of those who trust in him. To live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil 1:21)
And ultimately, it is God, and not we, who decides when and how we die. He has his purposes. They are hidden from us. And faith means, we believe they are good. " from a sermon by John Piper.
I wanted to tell Grandma, but I knew she was not able to talk on the phone any more, so I prayed "God, please speak these comforting words to her now, since I cannot."

She is glorified now. Free from pain and sin and death! She is in the presence of our great and beautiful and glorious God, worshiping Him! She entered into His presence with Christ advocating for her "She is mine! I bought her with my blood!" So God looked on her with favor, with delight and said "well done, good a faithful servant."

And we are left to mourn. But... "not as those who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Glory to my loving God. He is sovereign. He is good.

Friday, March 27, 2009

even more amazing

This morning, I had a hard time getting my mind off the events of last night. I mean, it's pretty incredible to see something as big, and stable, and seemingly grounded and constant as a car all crazily perched on top of another car. "Awesome" as Char said in her interview with the the news station. "but not in a good way, more like a volcano exploding" Oh, I hope we get a copy of that interview- she was pretty funny. back to my point. So, I was distracted as I sat down to read God's word and pray this morning. I asked God to give me love for His Word, and He did!! As I finished reading I was even more blown away by the promises and truths God revealed to me than by the events of the night before. Glory to God.

I read Revelation 5...
John was weeping loudly because it looked like no one would be able to open the scroll (I am not sure, yet, what is written on this scroll) Then one of the elders told him...
There IS someone who can open the scroll! The Lion of Judah, the Root of David, the one who conquered, the One who was slain and whose blood ransomed people for God! Amazing! not just people, but people from EVERY tongue and tribe and nation! OH, how glorious and awesome is that?! And then all the elders and angels and creatures bowing down and worshiping Jesus! Its beyond words!

the night my car jumped on char's car

First, I have to assure you all- no one was hurt - the only person involved in this wreck was the hit and run driver who we assume was wasted, and he, or she, was ok enough to speed away. Knowing that, please be amazed with me at the scene that we woke up to at 1am last night.

Yeah, so apparently this person was driving a crown victoria, fast on the wrong side of the road, smashed into my car pushing it up on Char's car, then sped away. The students at Shaw who were awake heard it happen and then saw the car but not the plate number.

Obviously, we are so thankful that our empty cars were hit and not people or cars with people in them. Praise God for that! He is sovereign and good.

Goodbye cars! They were towed off to salvage land together.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

how to find a lost object

Seriously. I found this. Don't ask me how. I think I was looking for images for work (something about Mayan chocolate) and somehow ended up at this entertaining site. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

a common scenario

funny, yet tue.

Joanna recently recommended a book to me. I have not read it yet, but I thought this illustration (pg 14) was worth sharing.

Anyone experienced this before? Can we agree that this happens at least 80% of the time to varying degrees?

As Joanna said:
"It's true. The girl is thinking about having children, and the guy is thinking about ice cream." I mean, probably literally if they are at Ben and Jerrys.
I suppose I should give a reference.
A Guys Guide to Marrying Well. Found at I know I know. 1. I am not a guy, 2. Marriage is not in the near future for me. But I hear its a good book, and I mean, just look at the picture! :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

pursuing righteousness?

You remember my post about the pirate who loved money and died trying to keep it.  Well, I read this story  about a customs official in Liberia who did not love money. At least not enough to accept a huge bribe for letting some cocaine through.  It happened two years ago, but recently Mr. Karyea was honored by the President of Liberia for his integrity.  Perhaps he was fleeing the love of money and pursuing righteousness and godliness... 
1 Timothy 6:10-11
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you o man of God, flee these things.  Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 

good book

I recently had to leave the Land family where Leif Enger stopped telling their story in his book Peace Like a River.  And as often happens when I read, I imagine that I, too, have writing skills as genius and entertaining as this author.  Perhaps I am fooling you in this post. I must confess that each of these decent sentences is hard work.  Each one takes intense concentration and a good amount of delete and rewrite before I move on.  For that reason, I stop here.  Seriously though, it's a novel written in beautiful prose that makes you want to live in it - well that is probably the story line, that is so compelling I find myself almost praying for the characters.  

Friday, January 16, 2009

a peice of the definition of "good design"

How interesting!
Sustainability- not just related to our environment but having to do with the lifespan of the product and company...

the love of money

I read an article that I think may illustrate amazingly the passage that we are memorizing. On the other hand, the whole situation in Somalia makes me sad. I know people are desperate.

I am not going say I know that the pirate who drowned with $153,000 of ransom money in his pocket was being judged by God... but its hard not to assume that, and it is likely. The only ones who survived the storm lost their money in the water. Read the article though.

And God's Word says:
1 Timothy 6:6-10
6Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Friday, January 9, 2009

sweet architecture

I just found this amazing building in NY- the New Muesuem.  its good.  my verbal skills are limited at the moment, so just read the article.