Posts filed under ‘Learning’

Con La Lengua Afuera: a Story and a T/F Quiz

“Gray hairs are signs of wisdom if you hold your tongue,

speak and they are but hairs, as in the young,” Rabindranath Tagore.

TRISH (black shirt, white capris) AND I (blue shirt, grey capris) ARE HELPING THIS MAORI CLAN WELCOME THE "DIGNITARIES" IN OUR MIDST. Or maybe we were being fierce to scare away the enemy. We are doing this at the end of their haka (Maori dance) by bulging our eyes and sticking out our tongues.

Middle school girls liked to tease each other when I was young. We all wore the same uniform (Ponce, Puerto Rico private school) so our clothing wasn’t fodder for teasing.

However if you wore glasses or braces, if you were nerdy, or if you were uncoordinated – you were a target for teasing. I was all of the above.

The biggest tease of all though – which even had its own song – was if you liked a boy or if a boy liked you. The offending girl would be circled by the singing-teasing girls.

The song was in Spanish and I learned it 30 years ago. Yes, I sometimes joined in. I resembled the young in the quote above. I don’t remember the words. It was something like our “K-I-S-S-I-N-G First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage,” etc song.

The only fragment I remember is “con la lengua afuera” (with the tongue hanging out).

The tongue has many uses depending on the species. It appears that in all species it is a type of sense organ and can indicate health. There are many quotes and Scripture which points to how the tongue is used (with words) indicates the character or emotional health of a person.

It is obvious that when I used my middle school tongue as an instrument of teasing, I was not exhibiting moral behaviour. I cared more about fitting in than about doing/saying the right thing, the wise thing.

Today my head is filled with gray hair. I like to think it is associated with wisdom. Today I care more about doing/saying the right thing. So while I may use my middle-aged tongue in a silly way like at this haka, I am committed to using it to bring encouragement, truth, and humour to all people I encounter.

NOTE: Periodically I will post photos from my New Zealand Trip, March, 2011. This is photo 1.

Your Turn . . . Are the hairs on your head “gray” with wisdom or just hair?

So in honour of the tongue, here is a True/False Quiz.

1. T/F.  To determine if someone is having a stroke, ask the person to “stick” out their tongue. If the tongue is “crooked,” if it goes to one side or the other, that is an indication of a stroke.

2. T/F.  A regular part of the dental exam includes the dentist checking your tongue for oral cancer. S/he is looking for lumps, masses, changes in color or texture, and swelling.

3. T/F.  Lizards stick out their tongue in order to better see their prey.

4. T/F.  A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.

5. T/F.  The Maori people (New Zealanders) stick out their tongues during a haka dance of which there are many types.

Answers are after the jump. Click on “More.”


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7 Ways You Can Make Me Stay Longer At Your Blog

I am always on the look out for ways to make my blog better for the reader and easier for me to do. Therefore I am always on the look out for new ideas. I Gotta Create is hosting a Bloggy Tips 101 Linky Party. Her top 3 tips are (1) Put your name on your blog. (2) Turn off word verification. (3) Upload the right size photos. Go here to read her why and how.

What would you add? Go here to link up your tip(s) post.

Last February (2011) my goal was to read 100 blogs. I wanted to see what I could learn and I wanted to  leave comments.

I find that I tend to read quickly. I understand that is how most of us read when on the Internet. Below are 7 ways you can make me stay longer at your blog.

  1. Home button. Put a home button on your blog. Makes it soooo much easier to get back to your first page. Often I will want to explore your blog further, so make it easier on us readers by installing this.
  2. Search box. Same thing as #1. Sometimes I go back to your blog because I read a post there and I didn’t bookmark it. If you have a search function, it is quite easy to find it. Or if I read about a topic on your site and want to see if you have anything else on this same topic, the search box is vital.
  3. Playlist. I don’t like going to sites that have a playlist for three reasons. (1) I like it quiet when I read. (2) I usually have multiple pages open at the same time and it is disturbing to hear music from multiple sites. And if multiple sites are open, it is hard for me to find which one has the music playing. (3) If I am in the mood for music, I have my own music playing. So again I will have music from multiple sources.
  4. Black background. I find it hard to read pages and pages of white type on black background.  When I come to a blog like that, I rarely read it.
  5. rss versus email subscription. I like being able to subscribe to your blog through the rss feed. I like the idea of being able to see all the blogs I subscribe to on my Google reader. I don’t like the only option being an email subscription. I already get too many emails. If that is my only choice, I rarely subscribe.
  6. About Me page. I always check this when I get to a new blog. It helps me decide if this is a blog I want to pursue further. It is helpful if there is a picture of you there. One reason I read blogs is for community or a sense of connection (many of you said the same thing). Having a photo and well written About Me page helps with that.
  7. Related posts. I like it when the writer will suggest related posts (from their own archives). That way I can keep reading about the topic without a lot of work on my part. This is especially helpful if you don’t have categories at your blog.
P.S. I HATE word verification, too!!! So much so that I will usually NOT leave a comment if I have to go through these hoops.
Your Turn . . . What would you add to this list?

Related Posts   . . .  Top Two Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

7 Things to NOT Have on Your Blog written by Mom Crunch. Mom’s #1 & #2 are the same as my #3 & 4. Go to her site to read the other 5. In a word each they are about: Stealing, Sidebar, Spelling, Swearing, and Schedule.

8 Ways to Engage Visitors Longer on Your Blog This post has ideas I didn’t include on my list.

NOTE: This is an updated post from February 2011.

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Wheat-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free Recipe/Tips Website (updated links, info, & photo)

Elizabeth enjoying a DELICIOUS gluten-, dairy-, and egg-free meal.

There are many such websites out there, but I’d like to recommend: Surprisingly Thankful (food blog) by Elizabeth. She’s a newbie to blogland as her start-up was this January 3rd (2008).

Elizabeth says, “I cook weird and often surprisingly good recipes because of my food allergies. I am a little restricted in what I can eat: no cow dairy, chicken eggs or gluten (which is in wheat). Being allergic to “all things American” has forced me to be creative in another avenue of my life.”

The recipes on her food blog run from  . . .  smoothies,

Elizabeth has tips on how to clean your blender -the easy way and how to make home-made “soy sauce substitute.”  There are sections on food reviews, Getting Startedand (of course) DESSERT. She suggests 2 cookbooks that support the wheat-free, egg-free, dairy-free lifestyle.

Elizabeth’s art blog is just as amazing.  Weird and Surprisingly Good is about the art secrets, trials, and triumphs Elizabeth experiences as a practicing visual artist. She has a strong interest in braille, reading, juggling, and labyrinths, and is the creator of cactus lights

So stop by Elizabeth’s place (food blog, art blog, or website) and give her a hello by leaving a comment or two. I know I will frequent her blog.

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Including a Direct Link in Your Comments

It's easy to include a direct link in your comments.

Sometimes you want to include a direct link in your comments. Maybe it’s a link to a post you’ve written, a book, or a webpage with pertinent information. I recently learned how to do this.

Go here to read the instructions. Sometimes I am a little slow understanding techie directions. So I practised in my own comments on my blog. That way I could easily delete those comments that didn’t turn out correctly. Now I am a pro (as long as I can look up the code).

Below is the code for when you understand what to do.
<a href=”the URL of your blog post goes here”>what you want the link to say goes here</a>

Thanks to RevGalBlogPals for their tutorial.

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6 Powerful Keys 4 Not Giving Up

Often life is hard. Finances are tight. Health issues plague. Job satisfaction is at an all time low. Or maybe you don’t have a job. Relationships are unreliable. You could add many more examples I’m sure. Because of these events we get discouraged and want to quit.

However Hebrews 11:35-12:4 contains words of wisdom and help. Pastor Rick Warren preached a sermon (6/25/11) and gave the
following 6 keys to help ourselves not give up.

1. Remember heaven is watching me (Hebrews 12:1a). God sees everything I’ve done and am doing.  There is also a huge cloud of witnesses watching as well. Maybe even Abraham and Moses are watching me. Nothing is private in my life.

2. I need to eliminate what doesn’t matter (Hebrews 12:1b). Declutter my life of what’s slowing me down, of what’s causing me to be discouraged. This verse mentions 2 hindrances. (1) Weight – anything that slows me down. I.e. too many activities, memories, traditions, relationships, or unrealistic expectations. If something is not working, do something different.  (2) Sin. This one is obvious. What ongoing sin(s) do I need to eliminate from my life?

3. I run God’s race for me not other’s races (Hebrews 12:1c). Run the race He has custom designed for me, the one He has set for me. If I try to run someone else’s race I will fail and get discouraged. Stop trying to live for others.

4. I must focus on Jesus and not on my circumstances (Hebrews 12:2a).  Life is not a 50 yard dash but a marathon. By focusing on the Master I will not get distracted or discouraged and quit. My hope, strength, and endurance comes from focusing on God.

5. Minimize the pain and maximize the profit of doing what’s right (Hebrews 12:2b). Look at the long-term consequence versus the short-term hardness. Play it down and pray it up.

6. Remember what Jesus did for me (Hebrews 12: 3-4).  Think about the attacks, abuse, cruelty, and torturous death Christ endured for me. Let His actions on my behalf be an encouragement for me to keep on keeping on.

Action Step: What have I started in my life that I need to finish? Which commitments do I need to honour? Pastor Rick mentioned a few possibilities . . .

  • Join or lead a small group
  • Get baptised
  • Tithe on a regular basis
  • Lose weight
  • Declutter (see #2)
  • Finish school
Don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (The Message)

Your Turn . . . Which key is most powerful for you? . . . What action step will you do today? This week?  

I don’t want to be a quitter in the middle of this race. Do you? I am struck by the need to finish the bottom three in the above list.

Be sure to check out this page on the Saddkeback webpage for more internet resources.

 Related Posts . . . 

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I’d Like to Buy a Word

Emily, my 2 1/2 year-old niece, and I were having a conversation about food in my pantry. Her words were not coming out as she wanted. All of a sudden Emily stopped, tilted her head and informed me, “Auntie, we need to go to the store!”

Why do we need to go to the store?” I asked.

I need to buy a word” was her serious answer.

Instead of going to the store, I gave Emily some word choices. She decided that “jello” was the word she wanted. Emily didn’t know what to call the product because my jello came packaged in a small, clear, plastic tub. She had never seen it that way before.

Your Turn . . . Share an example where it took some effort to find the right word in order to communicate.

Related Posts . . . 

  1. Figuring Out the Real Meaning of Humane Society
  2. Rolls and Buns: A Communication Mishap
  3. Sometimes a Question is Not a Question
  4. What Surprise Ingredient Do You Put in Your Eggs 

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Figuring Out the Real Meaning of Humane Society

One year as part of our homeschooling program we studied the American Revolution. Elizabeth was particularly interested in one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush, because he is an ancestor of ours.

Elizabeth learned that Rush is called the “Father of American Psychiatry” in part because he instituted many humane measures for people in mental institutions.

After seeing mental patients in appalling conditions [in chains and dungeons] in the Pennsylvania Hospital, Rush led a successful campaign in 1792 for the state to build a separate mental ward where the patients could be kept in more humane conditions.[15]

We had just moved to CO. We were during errands and both checking out the businesses that lined the I-25 Corridor. All of a sudden Elizabeth exclaimed, “That is such a weird place to have a mental Institution! It’s right there alongside the freeway in the middle of all those businesses.

I also thought that would be a strange place for a mental hospital and so looked to see where Elizabeth was pointing. I looked and looked but couldn’t see what she was talking about.

After a minute Elizabeth said, “Mom, can’t you see that brand new building with the bright blue sign? It clearly says Humane Society.”

I did some quick thinking and it dawned on me that Elizabeth thought the humane society was for mental patients. Some discussion between us soon cleared up the confusion we had about the definition of “Humane Society.”

Your Turn . . . Describe a time when you had a miscommunication about the meaning of words.

Related Posts . . .

  1. I’d Like to Buy a Word
  2. Rolls and Buns: A Communication Mishap
  3. Sometimes a Question is Not a Question

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Sometimes a Question is Not a Question

“You all right?”

Every new person that Josie, my English neighbour,  introduced me to asked me that question. Some asked with kindness, some with curiosity, and some with sternness.

At the end of the week, Josie invited my two children (4 and 5 years old) and me to come over for tea. “You all right?” she asked after opening the door to us.

“Josie,” I blurted out, “Why does everyone keep asking me if I am okay? Is it that obvious I’m miserable?”

The surprised look on Josie’s face showed me that I either said something wrong or that she misunderstood me.

“Oh, no, lovey! ‘You all right?’ is just something we say when greeting people. It’s not an invitation to talk about your feelings.

“Oh.” I mumbled as my face turned red. Not only had I let on how miserable I was feeling, I also misunderstood everyone’s intent.

Clearly this question provoked a very different metal image  for me than it did for the people in the British village of Levington. The meaning I attached to it was strongly influenced by my experiences in America. I am so glad that I talked to Josie so that my misunderstanding was cleared up.

We moved to England December 1988. The nearly five years we lived there are highlights in my life. But the first months were hard ones. We moved there in the winter (SAD kicked in), right before Christmas, away from my family, into a village (where it takes time, sometimes years, to get to know your neighbours). And since I didn’t work outside the home, I didn’t have a built-in social network. Thankfully Josie and her family (Robbie is her son) soon became family to us.

Related Posts . . . 
  1. Do You Have a Highlight in Your Life?
  2. Figuring Out the Real Meaning of Humane Society
  3. I’d Like to Buy a Word
  4. Rolls and Buns: A Communication Mishap

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Rolls and Buns: A Communication Mishap

After unpacking and settling into our new home in Levington, England, our first friendly act was to invite some British neighbours to an American Bar-B-Que. Soon our weekend tradition of having a Bar-B-Que for the evening meal appealed to Robbie, our blond, curly-headed, always hungry, 3-year-old neighbour. (This tradition lasted the 5 years we lived there.)

Robbie was usually first in the queue (whether he was an officially invited guest or not) when the bangers and rolls were being passed out. He knew the drill. That wasn’t always the case though. One thing Robbie taught me is that even though people may be speaking the same words, communication is not always taking place.

At that first Bar-B-Que, I prepared plenty of food not knowing what our new neighbours would prefer to eat: hot dogs and buns, chicken, hamburgers, bratwurst, pasta salad, potato salad, green stuff (a fancy jello salad), and a vegetable salad.

Robbie expressed delight over the hot dogs and buns. He’d finish one up and then would ask for another.

After his third one I asked, “Robbie, aren’t you full of hot dogs and buns yet?”

“Crikey,” he exclaimed. “I keep waiting for the buns!”

After some discussion I realized that to Robbie a bun was something sweet, a dessert. The delight I thought he expressed was really surprise and anticipation. He wanted to taste a (British) bun holding an American hot dog. From then on we both made an effort to make sure we were speaking the same language.

I wrote this anecdote in response to today’s RevGal Blog Pals’ Friday Fave.

Your Turn . . . Have you had a communication mishap with someone from another culture? Please share!

Related Posts . . . 
  1. Figuring Out the Real Meaning of Humane Society
  2. I’d Like to Buy a Word
  3. Sometimes a Question is Not a Question   

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January’s “Out of My Comfort Zone and Loving it”

Fear has kept me in its grip for too long. No, more! My motto for 2011 is “Out of my comfort zone and loving it.” For an explanation of what this monthly post is about, click on this link. Below is January’s list of OMCZ.

Attended vision party. This actually happened in December 2011, but I attended because of the motto I would be embracing in 2011. I attended this by myself and besides Barb, one of the event organizers, I did not know anyone. I am so glad I didn’t let my fear of not knowing anyone and fear of making an “art project” in public keep me home. Since I am a highly visual processor, the vision board that I made has been helpful in keeping my 2011 goals in mind. I look forward to attending other events that Barb Wilber organizes. Yes, even if I have to go by myself.

Gave my first sermon in church. I knew that my material wasn’t heretical since Pastor Mike looked it over. I knew that it had a good flow because my preaching class colleagues critiqued it. I was fearful because of having to deliver this in front of people! I was afraid I’d stutter. I was afraid I’d sound so nervous that folks would concentrate on me instead of the message. Know what? I didn’t throw up, stutter, or ruin the experience for others. I felt God’s presence and I did okay. In fact, I am semi-looking forward to the next time. (In time I know I will love it!)

Huge undertaking at work. I have taken on more responsibilities in children’s ministry. This is out of the comfort zone for someone who likes to be an independent worker and do it all myself! In truth, to do the job well, I need God’s help and people’s help. It has been amazing how many folks have come alongside as volunteers. It has been amazing to see God’s hand in all the details coming together!

New way of eating. I am on the anti-inflammation diet (for most days). I avoid eating processed foods and too many carbohydrates. I’ve added more vegetables, lean meats, and soups to my diet. While this new way of eating doesn’t make me fearful, it is out of my comfort zone. I have to be intentional about out what I eat by having a food plan and by having the food available. I can no longer rely on cereal or granola bars. I need to find new comfort foods (no more tapioca pudding or sweets).  I have to put effort into making healthy food and cooking new types of recipes just for me. (Making healthy food wasn’t a struggle when I had a family to cook for.)

Your Turn . . .

  1. What have you done in January that was out of your comfort zone?
  2. How did you let fear make a decision for you?
  3. What fear-busting activity do you hope to do in February?
  4. What do you hope to learn by doing this activity?

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I’m Not Letting Fear Make Decisions For Me

“Do not fear” is used in the Bible many times (between 62 and 365 times depending upon whom you cite). God, angels, and men said those words to many people in many types of situations. People were fearful and needed reassurance that they could handle the situation. And even today people need the same type of reassurance.

I, too, have many fears. I fear heights, public speaking, horror films, getting in over my head, and talking to strangers. Too many times I’ve let “fear make my decisions for me.” I haven’t relied upon God to give me His strength, wisdom, peace, and empowering to do the things He’s asked me to do.

Oft times I haven’t relied upon my own abilities. This is mainly because of three reasons. (1) I’ve seen where I’ve failed. (I’m a procrastinator.)  (2) I’ve seen where I didn’t do such a great job. (I’m a perfectionist.) (3) And I’ve seen people do unpredictable things. (I want to control them and the situation.)

Well, no longer! My motto for this year is “Out of my comfort zone and loving it.” Each month I will list what I’ve done that is outside my comfort zone. Some of these things won’t be actual “fears,” but things that I’ve been reluctant to do because … well … it is something new, something out of my comfort zone.

I am striving to do more than move past my fears, I want to enjoy the process. I want to know the reason why I can do these things.  I will share January’s list of “Out of my comfort zone and loving it” on Saturday. Normally I will share last month’s list on the first day of the new month.

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7 New Small Groups Added to CNC’s Small Group List (January 2011)

CNC Information to Know . . .

Small Group signups are happening NOW in Rudat Hall. Sign up and pay for your book in Rudat Hall on Sunday, January 23rd. Or contact me at any time as many of the groups have open enrolment.

These Sunday Groups Start January 30th, 2011 at Cordova Neighborhood Church.

  1. The Smart Stepfamily: Seven Steps to a Healthy Family – Mark and Michelle White will lead this 8 week DVD group at the 9:30 hour. The workbook is $5.00. The book costs $14.00 and is optional. You can get it on Please pay by January 23rd for the workbook.
  2. Marriage Built to LastGrant and Jodi Lien will lead this 6 week DVD group at the 9:30 hour. The cost of the book is $15.00. Please pay for your book by January 23rd.
  3. Living a Purpose Driven Life – Pamela Finney will lead a 6 week group through this book at the 11:00 hour. No charge for the book.
  4. 4. Introduction to Greek – Andrew Green will be teaching this 16 week 90 minute class on Sunday mornings. This language class requires the student to complete weekly homework, quizzes and tests. But by the end of the course, you’ll be able to translate large portions of 1st John! It will be at the 11:00 hour and run from 11:00 am -12:30 pm.. Bring your own textbooks to the first class.

Required Texbook: A New Testament Greek Primer by S. M. Baugh, 2nd edition (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R  Publishing, 2009)–Available on for ~$20; for ~$23

Highly Recommended Textbook: The Greek New Testament w/ Dictionary (United Bible Societies, 4th Edition)–Available on for ~$32; for ~$32

This Tuesday Group Starts February 1st, 2011 at Cordova Neighborhood Church.

  1. The book of Ruth – Elise Gaube will teach this 12 week small group from 10-11:30 am. If you’d like, come at 9 am to help with the stamp ministry and then stay for the study. The book, Love Knows No Barriers by Margaret Hess is optional. You can buy it here.

These Wednesday Groups Start February 2nd, 2011.

  1. 66 Love Letters: A Conversation with God That Invites You into His Story by Dr. Larry Crabb Susan Wright (and others) will lead women through the Bible one love letter at a time. It will be at CNC from 7-8:30 pm. RSVP for childcare. In order to get more out of the book, we will have an 8 week overview of the Bible first. Please pay for your booklet by January 30th, 2011. The cost of the booklet is $5.00.
  2. Pastor’s Class – Pastor Mike and Robin Mitchum invite you to attend a 5 week small group at their home. You will hear about the current ministries of CNC and Pastor’s vision for our future. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions. It is held in their home (2380 Rudat Circle) from 6-8:30 pm and includes dinner. RSVP for childcare.

If you have any questions about hosting a small group in your home, or leading a small group, contact me, Susan, today! I can be reached at or 635-5992 x 14.

Click on this link for all the Small Group information, women’s ministry information, and meals ministry information.

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