1994. In the United States that year, 3,952,767 babies of the Millennial generation were born. Halfway across the world in Rwanda, between April and
July of that same year, more than 800,000 people were killed and over 2 million others fled their own country as the result of a devastating genocide in which the Hutu majority turned murderously violent against the Tutsi minority. In addition, sexual violence against women was employed as a genocidal tactic. An estimated 354,000 women and girls were raped. Christian leaders and their congregants participated in the atrocities.
Ten years later, in July 2004, a group of forty-seven Christian leaders from some of the most conflict-ridden countries in the world convened in Kigali, Rwanda to create a theological vision for reconciliation. After a year of intense discussions and revisions, they unanimously endorsed a document entitled Reconciliation as the Mission of God: Christian Witness in a World of Destructive Conflicts, in which reconciliation is defined as:
“God’s initiative, restoring a broken world to His intentions by reconciling ‘to himself all things’ through Christ: the relationship between people and God, between people themselves, and with God’s created earth. Christians participate with God by being transformed into ambassadors of reconciliation.”
Rwandans have made incredible strides in rebuilding and developing their country in the aftermath of genocide, but many challenges remain. Currently, 39.1% of Rwandans live below the poverty line, and women make up the majority of this population. In addition, approximately 7,000 children in the city of Kigali alone live on the streets. Africa New Life Ministries, founded and run by Rwandans, 1) provides vocational training for vulnerable women, which helps them develop marketable skills and the know-how to start independent businesses, 2) offers holistic support for vulnerable children, including a feeding program, a child sponsorship program, and a Christian school, and 4) provides much-needed theological education for pastors and other spiritual leaders.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of recovery in Rwanda is the reconciliation work that Rwandans have done collectively at the national level in the wake of neighbor committing unspeakable crimes against neighbor. As black women born and raised in the U.S., many of us descendants of Africans who were involuntarily enslaved and brought to the Americas, we believe we have much to learn from Rwandan women about how to pursue that kind of restoration and reconciliation, since we still grapple with ripple effects from our own painful history: disproportionate poverty, state violence, sexual violence, marginalization, and trauma.
So eleven of us are planning a trip to Kigali, Rwanda this summer, from July 14-24, to engage in a learning exchange with Rwandan women through African New Life. We’re calling the initiative “Woman to Woman Rwanda.” Our team will facilitate entrepreneurial workshops with women in the ministry’s vocational training programs, experience the Kigali Genocide Memorial, share mentoring sessions with high-school girls, and participate in learning sessions on reconciliation and healing. Our hope is twofold: 1) to bless, empower, and encourage the Rwandan women, and 2) to apply what we learn from them to the challenging work of gospel-based racial reconciliation in our own communities here.
How You Can Support Us
We need your help! We have until June 30 to raise the necessary funds for all eleven of us to go. A few of us are fully funded, but we still need to raise an additional $20,000 in the next 28 days. Please consider donating a gift of $10, $20, $50, or more. Because this trip is a true exchange, each dollar you contribute will support both communities in Rwanda and the communities we serve when we return home. The donation link is https://www.purecharity.com/woman-to-woman-in-rwanda-trip-fund. Feel free to share our campaign with your network using the hashtag #W2WRwanda. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
The Woman to Woman Team
These days, Instagram is my over-sharing medium of choice. I used to be a Facebook girl, but now it’s just. too.much. I realize that I like people better when I don’t know their every thought. And you might be having that same thought after reading this post, but neverthless, here I go: My new installment (starting this month, ha!) of observations that are too much for Instagram.
1. Amazon has spoiled me. It’s no secret that I much prefer online shopping to driving from store to store trying to compare and shop for the best deal. It feels like a major crisis in my head when Amazon doesn’t have what I need and I have to order from somewhere else. It seems like a deep injustice to have to pay for shipping AND have to wait a week for an item to arrive. Prime has spoiled me and now I expect quick, free delivery from every online retailer. Amazon continues to change the way everyone does business.
2. Customer service is a dying art. A few weeks ago, we had to buy a new back door…something you can’t buy on Amazon. In shopping around, asking questions about our options, I discovered that many of those home improvement store employees are really good at sounding like they know what they’re talking about, but you’d better do your own research. I did that and ended up having to buy the door from one place and special order the lock from a locally-owned place. And I loved my experience at the local place. Great customer service. And when I picked up the lock, the guy said, “If that doesn’t work, bring it back and I’ll sell you another one just like it.” Funny, too!
3. A YouTube video changed my life. I’ve been growing my hair out. About 5 years ago, I went from this,
in one day. And it’s been a good 5 years, saving money and time by cutting my own hair. But I’m bored and ready for hair again. But growing it out is crazy. I found this video where the creator pinpointed my problem…the ackward stage. She suggested consulting with a barber to continue to shape my hair while only growing out the top. Hadn’t even thought of that. Sent my BFF this picture
after my first style with Maxton’s barber. Said barber also introduced me to this little gadget that twists your hair without actually having to twist it. I don’t know how it works, but it works. Game changer.
5. I’ve been freelancing more in the past few months than I have since the twins were born. It’s been good, but hard to adjust. I’ve gone to bed after 4 a.m. more times than I can count. One of the girls keeps asking, Why are you always working, Mommy? My summer seems to be falling by the wayside. But I’m not complaining. And I figured out one of the reasons working is a nice break to my mommy-life is because it actually has an ending. You start a project, you work on the project, you finish the project and (most of the time) you don’t ever have to think about it again—unlike laundry and dishes and cleaning and cooking. None of those things are hard, but they frustrate me ’cause all it takes is a few hours before you have to do them all over again.
6. But on the flip side of that, sometimes these projects feel constant and burdensome too. The last time I worked this much, I didn’t have a smart phone. I didn’t have constant access to email and texting. Now it feels like my mind is even more divided and it *feels* like I’m supposed to handle problems immediately, as I become aware of them, no matter if it’s the weekend or the middle of the night. I know it’s up to me to set boundaries. Or I could change my perspective. I just had to write down what my wise-ish, smart-mouthed friend reminded me, when I was complaining one day:
7. If you watch this documentary, you’ll have no doubt that the NSA has stored every shred of information there is to know about you. It’s just a matter of compiling the information once they need evidence to build a case against you. I couldn’t help but wonder if my husband’s new commitment to Fitbit is aiding and abetting Big Brother, though. He’s handing over information! That thing knows everything, including how many times you woke up last night and for how long.
8. Speaking of Big Brother. A couple of months ago, I Instagrammed something about The New Yorker costing $7+ per issue. The very next day there were ads on Facebook telling me that I could get a 3-month subscription for $12. Spooky, but not really (FB owns Insta and they evesdrop on my conversations in exchange for the free service). So, I bought the subscription.
But oh, man, it’s only adding to my to-read pile. I’m cancelling this week after my bargain-basement introductory 12 issues. I have enough New Yorker reading material ’til Christmas. On a regular basis, I’m highly distracted by interesting but inconsequential (seemingly, anyway) articles and the contant stream of blogs on my feedly. Still, this summer I’m trying to read be disciplined and intentional about my reading by reading a book a week. Some weeks I accomplish it, sometimes I just decide that the book is not worth another ounce of my time and I force myself to move on. Here’s what I’ve read so far:
One-sentence review: I realized that I already write notes, questions, thoughts and prayers all over my Bible, so I skimmed this and moved on. Ask me if you want to borrow this book.
Own Your Life
Two-sentence review: I love everything Sally Clarkson, and think she always has valuable insights to download into my thinking. I highlighted a ton on this one. I can loan you this book on Kindle if you want to read it.
Our of Mormonism
Three-sentence review: Whoa! I had no idea Mormonism was so unbelievable. Fascinating to read this woman’s account of being lured in and being led out via Scripture. Available to loan on Kindle.
After Chapters & Verses
Many-sentence review: The book had many, many good points about how the chapter/verse divisions skew the way we read Scripture: “This is the equivalent of interrupting the last movement of Bach’s First Brandenburg Concerto in the middle, and then, after a pause, playing the rest of this movement and continuing without a break into the first movement of the Second Concerto. It’s artistically absurd.”
But the author also makes some sweeping assertions like: “But so long as we continue this approach…we’re aren’t hearing genuinely from God, and we’re not having a life-changing encounter with God through His word.” I don’t think that God is limited by our chapter/verse divisions.
The second half of the book is a reprinting of a report about how they designed one particular Bible differently (detailed and made me sleepy). Available for borrowing, including all my “talking back” in the margins.
More sharing about what I’m reading, drinking, thinking and buying next week.
This post contains my affiliate links. All that means is that, at no charge to you, I may get a few pennies if you buy something I linked to.
Every other Friday, quiche is on the menu. It’s quick, easy and the kids eat it up. No fights or haggling about eating spinach and onions. They.eat.it.up. and ask for more. It’s also a great dish to share with friends—busy friends, grieving friends, just-dropped-by unexpectedly friends. It’s comfort food.
It’s easy to make 4 pies at a time —enough for lunch, sharing and breakfast the next day. It’s an any meal dish. For breakfast, lunch or dinner, quiche works.
A friend asked me for my recipe and I decided to make it a blog post…because my blog lays dormant for months at a time and I’ve never done a recipe post before, so why not? Unfortunately, all the pics are from my phone ’cause I’m usually in a hurry while cooking. No time to experiment with food photography. But this is not a food blog, so just go with it.
Like I said, it’s easy. Easy to customize to your tastes. You can make it vegetarian (like I do for my parents) or vegetable-less (like I make for my nephew and brother-in-law).
You can vary the ingredients, but 3 staples that are in all of mine:
- Fresh eggs from my chickens
- Wholly Wholesome pie crust (regular or gluten-free that we buy at Kroger)
- Coconut milk
Your ingredients will vary, but here are the basics:
Eggs (about 4 large eggs per pie)
Cheese (your favorite cheese or blend + feta)
1/2 can of coconut milk (full fat)
Optional ingredients for a “loaded” quiche:
A bag frozen spinach
1 large onion
Sausage, bacon, or bacon bits
Your favorite seasoning
Here’s the process:
As soon as you think of it, thaw pie crust and frozen spinach.
STEP 1: Wash your fresh eggs (4 per pie). Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add coconut milk (1/2 can per pie). Whisk eggs and coconut milk together and add seasoning. Season well, with salt and garlic powder. If you’re just making a cheese and egg quiche (no vegetables) add shredded cheese to this mixture.
STEP 2: Line the thawed pie crust with shredded cheese. It might sound silly to thaw the pie crust that is going straight into the oven. But I’ve found that if I forget to thaw, the crust (at the bottom) is mushy. I like crust that holds up. If you’re just doing a veggie-free quiche, then you’re basically done. Skip to Step 4.
STEP 3: Cut up onions and saute in coconut oil or your favorite cooking oil (olive oil, ghee, butter, it all works). Add minced garlic and saute until onions are translucent. Add the spinach (as much as you want) and any of the optional ingredients listed. I don’t usually plan this out. If I have a leftover baked potato from a previous meal, I dice it up and put it in. If I have 4 cherry tomatoes (not enough for a salad), I add those in…and they’re yummy in the quiche when they’re cooked and burst in your mouth. Saute everything with seasonings, pesto, tomato sauce….whatever you have on hand. One day I didn’t have any pasta sauce, so I used this Masala sauce. It gave the quiche a yummy Indian flavor. If you add sliced black olives and mushrooms and season the sauce with basil and Italian seasonings your quiche could end up tasting like pizza. Do your thing here. Make it yours.
I do the meat in a separate pan just to keep it separate from the vegetarian quiche that I’m making simultaneously, but you incorporate the meat to this spinach mixture.
STEP 4: Set your oven to 400 degrees. Place the spinach mixture on top of the cheese-topped crust (skip this step if you’re only doing egg and cheese). Ladle the egg mixture on top. Then add some cheese on top…or feta. Bake in oven for 45 minutes, until crust browns and eggs firm up. Take it out and let it set for 30-40 minutes. Don’t skip this step. It needs to set. If you cut it too soon, it’ll be runny mess.
Eat and share!
Guaranteed: You’ll go from this
in no time. So make several!
Let me know if you try it.
I have a bumper sticker from our favorite spice shop posted on my refrigerator. It says ‘Love People. Cook them tasty food.”
I love it because it reminds me that I don’t have to love to cook in order to cook. Even though I do like cooking, the fun kinda fizzles out when you have to feed kids 5x/day. You cook because you love them.
There’s another thing that takes the fun out of cooking and that’s picky, demanding eaters. From my perspective, “I’m hungry!” should never be followed up with specific requests and demands. “Hungry” should be delighted with whatever is set before him/her.
So, I’ve decided to coin a new phrase. One that I’m considering firing up the Silhouette to create a new sign for the kitchen.
Hungry ain’t picky.
I hope my kids will pass on to their kids and to my great grandkids. “My mama used to say….”
I encourage you to use it too. When you offer a PB&J sandwich and they say, “I don’t want that!” Or when you put dinner in front of them and 30 minutes later it sits untouched, yet they’re still singing the I’m-hungry song standing with the refrigerator open. Say it: “Hungry ain’t picky!”
People who are truly hungry, who are not just eating out of boredom, aren’t picky.
Is it possible to instill an attitude of gratitude and satisfaction in a culture that values customization and endless options? Is it possible to be satisfied with what’s in front of you even if it’s not “your way, right away?”
Once upon a time, in 2010, my husband and I dreamt up an organization to encourage biblical literacy, called Quarterlife Ministries (which we’re not longer actively pursuing, btw). We bought the domain name “doesitjivewiththebible.com and put up a website.
Several years later, we completed a digital story….the working title was “The making of an Adventist” but at the very last second we changed it to “does it jive with the bible.” (See it here).
I knew that JIBE was the correct word,….because I’d looked it up… but I’d never in my life heard someone say “jibe.” It was always “jive”… Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard or said JIBE! That’s what I thought. So, I went with it… anchored by the Urban Dictionary’s 4th definition, I proceeded, full steam ahead…not giving it another thought.
Until Chris, my editor on the Proclamation! blog stopped a post that I had scheduled. He corrected my “jive” to “jibe”. I usually wouldn’t give this sort of correction a second thought…but I’d plastered “jive” everywhere… on the website, on the digital story, on the Facebook page, in my ebook Bible Study,… it was everywhere. I couldn’t just correct it on the Proclamation! blog! If this was an epic mistake, it would take an epic amount of work to make it right.
So before protesting to Chris,I sought a second opinion. I called Judy, a trusted, seasoned journalist who used to be my editor when I was a reporter 14 years ago. She has a keen sense of slang vs. correct usage. I trust her judgment and appropriate use of colloquialisms.
Certain that she would side with me, I explained to her my dilemma.
Judy: No, Delina. The correct word is “jibe.”
Me: But Judy, everyone says “jive.”
Judy: People say “irregardless” too…
New domain name purchased.
All corrections completed.
For a long time, I’ve dreamed of gathering place. A place where people put down their phones and choose to talk instead of text, laugh together instead of LOL. A place where you don’t have to wonder if people LIKE what you just said, because you can see it in their eyes.
For a long time, I felt like that space had to be public space, like owning a library cafe or community center. I still dream of creating community in a third-space (not home, not work/school) but while I was dreaming of that, I heard about a wonderful person who had successfully created community right in her yard. And she inspired me so much that last year, I asked my brother-in-law to build 2 farmhouse tables (plans from Shanty2Chic) and slowly but surely, we began to intentionally invite and gather people in our front yard. But that was last year. And this year, I did more talking about having people over than actually having people over. I needed some inspiration and motivation.
When I heard, through Instagram, that the lady who inspired me would be hosting one of her Neighbor’s Table events, not in her backyard, but at West Elm, I quickly said #pickme. And to my surprise and delight, they reserved a space for me at the table. I figured it would be the perfect kick-off to the dinners-outdoors season.
Ever felt like you walked into one of your dreams? This was better than that…’cause weird things happen in dreams… This event was much more than I anticipated. The tablescape. The people. The stories.
I first heard of Sarah Harmeyer from this post by Shauna Neiquist… heck, when I first read the post, I didn’t even know who Shauna Neiquist was but quickly became a fan (friends say, an obsessed fan, but whatever).
I was so excited about getting to meet Sarah and watching her in her element, working her gift. And what a gift she has. She made me— and everyone in the room, no doubt— feel at home (yes, even in retail store) and welcomed. When you talk. her eyes, her body language say, “I’m interested.” She takes the time to know (and remember) a special something about everyone in the room and uses that information to introduces each person by name before dinner. Everyone feels “interesting.” And everyone has something to talk to a stranger about. Brilliant.
I got to chat with Sarah a little about the logistics of hosting … real dishes or paper & plastic? cook or potluck? She shared what she does and how her focus is on the people and not the stuff. Centerpiece or no centerpiece, Sarah mission is to love her neighbors around the table.
Sarah has encouraged me to quit feeling paralyzed with over-thinking and just start gathering people again. Trust God.
And speaking of God. Sarah is a believer and she naturally weaves this in to her conversations and her storytelling. So much to learn from her.
A couple of weeks ago, the If:table blog featured Sarah’s story (click it. read it!) and once again I felt that little nudge to “open” for the season.
Sarah, again, encouraged me to just do it… just gather people. It’s not about the food or the decor or anything else. Just bring people together. And I need to hear that. For whatever reason, I’m having a hard time getting jump-started this season. I’m full of excuses —my son’s t-ball schedule, the yard is a mess (due to construction, plumbing work, etc.) and now it’s getting hotter and hotter here in Texas. But there really is no excuse to put the pause button on community. Because life without community is no life at all.
So, who is coming over? Dinner. Let’s just do it!
The last time I cleaned out my closet, I was determined to find a new charity to donate to. My friend, who introduced me to yard sale-ing and flea markets was looking for a wedding dress for a photo shoot. We went to look in Goodwill and I saw their ridiculous re-sell prices. And everything they sell, they received free. I thought this was a place that you could buy what you needed when you couldn’t afford Target!
What was going on?
I know this was an image that they have cultivated for decades. And after shopping at some fabulous clothing thrift stores, finding furniture and decor bargains at flea market events like Antique Alley and donating to Operation Blessing after my closet-cleanout, I know there are better ways to do business when acquiring or donating used items.
After seeing this piece that aired on NBC, I’m convinced that Goodwill is up to No Good.
Let’s find another charity to donate to when we clean out our closets.