An Outsider’s Perspective: Sports

 

Sports!

We ’bout to try somethin’ new.

Let’s talk about things I know humorously little about: Sports

 

Sounds educational, amiright?

 

Sports: From an   o u t s i d e r ‘s   perspective

Side note: If you don’t know much about sports…don’t learn from me. This is a joke and is (at least mostly) inaccurate. 🙂

 

 

Let us begin. 

 

Basketball:

Main Point: Get the ball to the other team as creatively as possible.

How It Works: You run across the court in costume and try to throw the ball to the other team by bouncing it off something called a hoop-pole (which is connected to a rope-net). If the other team catches it on the bounce (off of the hoop-pole), then the team that threw it at the hoop-pole gets a point.

The Highlights: In 1914, a young Michael Jackson won the NLSSH (National Les’ Shoot Some Hoops) championship at the tender age of 5.

The Lowlights: Anytime the team that’s supposed to catch the ball from the hoop-pole strategy doesn’t. It doesn’t go well for anyone.

 

Baseball:

Baseball

Main Point: Hit the ball out of the playing arena.

How It Works: You grab the line (a vertical, cone-esque piece of wood used to hit the ball) and wait for your turn to hit the ball outside the arena. Try to use as many lines at a time as possible.

The Highlights: In 2075, Mr. Junior Ritchie hit the ball so far that it touched an alien on Mars. (The alien recovered shortly after.)

The Lowlights: The food served at baseball games–generally undercooked steak and cold leaves of spinach.

 

Football:

Football

Main Point: Make a human pile

How It Works: You run around a large outdoor area (measured in inches) and hit each other with an oval-cake-shaped leathery thing. You want to throw the leathery thing while jumping onto someone else, as well as to catch the leathery thing while running into someone else.

The Highlights: When the entire team ends up in a pile. So inspiring.

The Lowlights: When the players throw the leathery thing through this fork-shaped goal. Just wasting time! Ugh. 

 

Wrestling:

Wrestling

Main Point: Draw art on the ground with your body

How It Works: Two people step onto the human-sized art palette, which is below their feet. The timer starts, and the two draw invisible art on the floor as creatively as they can. They often get in each other’s way.

The Highlights: When the art floor got sold for $1.5 billion in 2008.

The Lowlights: When the best art that came out of a 40-minute match was a stick man grimacing. It was a little disappointing. 

 

I hope that was entertaining…I entertained myself, so that’s something. 😉

Praise God for senses of humor! He sure has one.

 

What’s your favorite sport, and what’s the worst definition of it?

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Update & A Few of My Favs: Theatre

Elevate
Photo Credit: Kenn Stilger

The dance production I was in just closed last night.

If you read the Blessing of the Bruise story, this is the production we were rehearsing for. 

You guys, God was just ALL over this production. Praise God!

It wasn’t perfect by any means, but God showed up for me…and He just blesses my socks (or, should I say tap shoes? *Rolls eyes*) off. 

I asked God for a few things during the run of the show, not least of which was for a continued lack of anxiety and the dizziness that came over me at times last semester. (Again, see Blessing of the Bruise)

One night during tech week (for you non-theatrically-inclined-peeps, that’s when we add in technical elements, like lights, microphones, etc., to the production), I was waiting in the wings to go onstage when the beginning feeling of an anxiety/dizziness attack came on.

No. Please, no. That will ruin everything. 

When that pre-dizziness feeling comes, it tries to make you think that the dizziness WILL follow. No exceptions.

Except for God.

Instead of giving into that so-tempting feeling, I pressed into God.

Note: I’m not praising myself here–I’ve grown in this area and will continue to grow, and I’m only sharing this to praise God and because God might use this to encourage you, too.

Note 2: I’m also not saying that God will ALWAYS make a dizziness and/or anxiety attack go away immediately. As you know from Blessing of the Bruise, I had a really scary time of dizziness that did not go away immediately.

I just know that God is all-powerful and all-knowing, so He knows exactly when to yield His power in a way that matches up with our prayers. We can’t see the whole picture, so that timing/use of power may not look like what we have in mind, and that can be really hard to deal with!

I don’t remember exactly what I said to God in those unnerving moments in the wings, but I do remember a thought that came to mind: Our friend Esther.

The thought reminded me of how Esther bravely did what she had to do by going to the King and trusting God to take care of the rest.

My “moment” and my “thing to do” were obviously drastically smaller/less important than Esther. Not even comparable, really.

And yet, the thought of going onstage and possibly risking my sense of balance and mindset of peace to perform seemed pretty daunting.

But God used Esther’s story (like He has so many times in my life) to push me on, in faith, because of one who went before me and showed me that example.

And, guys, I was fine.

And that was only tech week.

For our three performances, when family and friends came and something small in the back of my mind tempted me to open a can of worries (It’ll happen while they’re here, and you won’t be able to perform. You’ll have to run offstage and be embarrassed. You won’t be able to have fun because you’ll be focusing on the anxiety.), God spoke truth and showed His power by protecting me.

So, praise God! Because He is good, and because He allowed me to have fun and perform each night.

 

. . .

 

Since I was in a theatre-y mood this weekend and will be until June, thanks to a stage managing job I’m starting, I thought I’d share why I think theatre is amazing!

A little unorthodox, yes, but here’s a messy bullet-point list of why theatre claims a special place in my heart…

Here are a few of my favorite things about THEATRE:

 

  • Spending so much time with castmates that you become like a family

 

  • Inside jokes from weird backstage moments that aren’t as special out-of-context

 

  • When a moment onstage is SO real that it squeezes your throat and brings tears to your eyes

 

  • When you walk away from a live production inspired, or changed, or encouraged

 

  • As an actor/performer, experiencing someone or something you might never experience in real life

 

  • Bonding with people by playing make believe as adults

 

  • The unpredictability of live theatre, whether it’s hearing thunderous applause at the end of a tap number, almost breaking character because an audience member sneezed so weirdly, or milking a joke to the last bit because the audience is going there with you

 

  • Getting to represent/re-live stories in a unique, real yet pretend, way

 

  • The sound of tap shoes about to be danced in

 

  • The sound of a bunch of performers breathing so hard while they’re walking offstage because they just gave it their all onstage

 

Those are a few of my favorite things about theatre.

What are yours?

And how has God shown up in your life and blown your tap shoes off?

The Enneagram, as seen on TV

Canva - Man Holding Remote Control

The worst way to begin is by saying that I’m not an Enneagram expert.

And yet, here we are.

giphy-2

Without further ado…

…Here’s each of the Nine Enneagram personality types defined by familiar characters.

If you’ve struggled to understand Enneagram like I have, maybe these mental pictures will help shed light on the types.

 

Type 1: The Reformer

Canva - Woman Wearing Pink Collared Half-sleeved Top

Perfectionistic. Purposeful. Self-controlled. 

 

My choice for Type 1: Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins  

MARY POPPINS, Julie Andrews, 1964

Photo Credit: https://ew.com
*(I can’t take credit for this one…I was looking for examples of real people and saw this, and I stopped because I doubted there’d be a clearer example)*

 

Quinnterested Note: Mary Poppins is TEXTBOOK type 1. 'Nough said.

“Practically perfect in every way.”

 

 

Type 2: The Helper

Canva - Adventure, Height Level, Arm, Assistance, Athlete, Boys

People-pleasing. Generous. Possessive.

 

My choice for Type 2: Peeta Mellark, The Hunger Games

peeta
Photo Credit: https://www.theodysseyonline.com
Quinnterested Note: He thinks more about others than himself.

“Stay with me. 

Always.” -Katniss and Peeta

 

Type 3: The Achiever

Man making his next move

Image-conscious. Success-oriented. Driven. 

 

My choice for Type 3: Andy Bernard, The Office (US)

andy

Photo Credit: https://theofficedundermifflin.fandom.com
*(I can’t take credit for this one either…)*

“I’ll be the number-two guy here in Scranton in six weeks. How? Name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake. I’m always thinking one step ahead.”

 

Type 4: The Individualist

Canva - Person's Eye

Expressive. Dramatic. Temperamental.

 

My choice for Type 4: Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

anne

Quinnterested Note: She's 4+, but her creative romanticism is classic 4.

 

Type 5: The Investigator

Canva - Person Holding Innovation Plan Board

Perceptive. Intense. Cerebral.

 

My choice for Type 5: Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock (BBC)

sherlock

Photo Credit: https://www.studysmarter.de
Quinnterested Note: Sherlock might as well have invented the 5.

“Shut up. You’re thinking. It’s annoying.”

 

Type 6: The Loyalist

Canva - Chick, Bird, Breeding, Down, Protect, Protection, Hands

Responsible. Committed. Anxious.

 

My choice for Type 6: Horton, Seussical the Musical (and Horton Hears a Who, but I’m here for the musical)

horton

Photo Credit: http://www.playbill.com
Quinnterested Note: He's as loyal as they come.

“I’ve been guarding this clover for over a week, getting laughed at for thinking a dust speck can speak.”

 

Type 7: The Enthusiast

Canva - Man Jumping on Rock Formation Under Blue Sky

Distractible. Fun-loving. Spontaneous.

 

My choice for Type 7: Andy Dwyer, Parks & Rec

andy

Photo Credit: https://www.dailybreak.com
Quinnterested Note: Oh Andy, we love you and your fun-ness.

 

“Is that a goose that just flew by the window? Oh, it’s a plastic bag.”

“I have no idea what I’m doing, but I know I’m doing it well.”

“I’m allergic to sushi. Every time I eat more than 80 pieces, I throw up.”

 

Type 8: The Challenger

Canva - Man Holding Chess Piece

Self-confident. Decisive. Confrontational.

 

My choices for Type 8: Thomas, The Maze Runner

thomas

Photo Credit: http://www.fanpop.com
Quinnterested Note: If you need a leader, it'll probably be an 8.

 

“I didn’t do anything wrong. All I know is I saw two people struggling to get inside these walls and they couldn’t make it. To ignore that because of some stupid rule seemed selfish, cowardly, and…well, stupid. If you want to throw me in jail for trying to save someone’s life, then go ahead.” -Thomas

 

Type 9: The Peacemaker

Canva - Two Person Holding White and Green Peace Wreath

Easy-going. Reassuring. Receptive.

 

My choice for Type 9: Jane Bennet, Pride & Prejudice

Jane

Photo Credit: https://catchthatkissimport.home.blog
  • Quinnterested Note: Your diplomatic middle-man/good listener

“To take the good of everybody’s character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad–belongs to you alone.” -Elizabeth to Jane

 

What’s your Enneagram type?

Which of the above characters and descriptions do you most relate to?

Comment below!

 

Note: Each of the adjectives at the beginning of each type’s description were taken from enneagraminstitute.com.
Also, shoutout out to the many helpful people who contributed to the shaping of this list!

 

AWAKEN Nashville

awaken

The city of Nashville is doing something.

And I think God’s doing something, too.

It’s for God. And it’s a gift from God.

 

Here’s what it looks like: For 30 days, over 30,000 people in the greater Nashville-area prayed (and some fasted, in various ways) for every person who has a greater Nashville address.

 

If you live in Nashville, you’ll be getting (if you haven’t already) a postcard in the mail that says something like this:

“Hi [insert Nashville resident’s name here],

My name is [Quinn], and for the last 30 days I have had the honor of praying for you and your family. Although I don’t know you, I have been praying that the love and peace of Jesus would fill your home and bless your life. As you reflect back on this month, I hope you will see God’s love for you.

Blessings,

[Quinn]

 

What will result of this? Well, the 30 days of praying literally ends today, so I couldn’t quite tell you yet.

Here are 5 things I do know:

  1. God will be/has been praised (this is ultimately about praising God!)
  2. God-glorifying, big revival movements in the past have begun with a similar time of intentional prayer and fasting
  3. James 5:16
  4. Fasting and praying as a city-wide church (body of Christ) is unifying and encouraging
  5. God is moving, and I think He’s already shown me one miracle He’s done so far…

 

PMS:

(Possible Miracle Storytime) 😉

If you signed up to participate in AWAKEN, you received a packet. In said-packet comes instructions, a 30-day devotional/prayer guide, a list of 15 first names and addresses in the area that you will be praying for each day, and 15 postcards that you’ll fill out with a similar message to the one above at the end of the 30 days.

On Saturday, my mom announced that she’d counted her postcards and was short a few.

Yesterday (Sunday), I was filling out my postcards. At one pointed I paused to count the cards and noted I had only 12.

I continued anyway.

The closer I got to filling out postcards for numbers 13-15 on my list, the more confused I was at the thicker-than-12 pile of postcards I’d been drawing from.

I decided to count again.

I had 15.

I told my parents.

My mom now had 15, too.

Dude.

 

Chat time.

Did either my mom or I major in math in college? Mmm no.

But did God quite possibly just pull a loaves-and-fishes situation?

Ask Him yourself.

All I know is, that was cool.

(Understatement of the year, meyybe?)

giphy-3

Listen, I didn’t see the pile go into labor and literally birth three new cards before my eyes. (A-la the overflowing rice Ricky makes in the “Job Switching” episode of I Love Lucy, season 2, episode 1…*ahem*, my childhood.)

I’m believing that my math skills aren’t perfect, but that God is. Whatever happened, whether my mom and I both miscounted by 3 or not, He provided the perfect number of postcards for both of us.

And I’m choosing to believe He might’ve just done a magical multiplication right in front of me.

So, to the last 3 people on my list, I hope you feel extra special and cared for today, because I think God really wanted you guys to receive the notes.

 

If you want to learn more about the 30 days of prayer and fasting that Nashville took part in this month, visit AWAKEN Nashville’s website here.

Our Biblical Yearbook: Meet Esther

Chess

There’s something about that new girl…

What is it?

Dude, I think you’re right! 

It’s the way people are drawn to her without her being a “cool” kid. Like, she’s cool. But not in that way? Ya know? #middleschoolstuff

. . .

 

Everyone, meet Esther.

 

Unlike Joe from last week, Esther actually has her own book of the Bible. Buuurn.

So pop open Esther 1, and lmk when you’re ready for a true story of a normal girl that God used to move a magnificent piece of His divine puzzle.

 

Esther’s story actually opens with some background info on King Xerxes. (He was a big time guy who ruled over a LOT of land.)

Chapter 1’s a little cringy. Queen lady gets dumped because she doesn’t participate in drunk King guy’s party. That’s, what, Cringe Level 7…or 8?

giphy

Long story short, a new queen must be found.

Time to introduce today’s hero: Esther. Also known as Hadassah. (Short for Haddie, if you ask me. Which pairs SO nicely with “Rey”–i.e.: “Haddie Rey.” Is that not the cutest name?? Future hub, where art thou? What thinkest thou of that na–I digress.)

This Queen search had a soldiers-needed-during-wartime vibe. So, any gal who fit the “beautiful, young virgin” bill was sent to pack and get ready for a road trip to beauty school.

 

Pause. Get ready to time-travel.

We’re headed for Esther’s house.

 

Go ahead and knock–Esther should still be home.

Hey, Mor! Good to see you. 

Friends, meet Mordecai, Esther’s guardian and cousin. I think you’ll like him. He’s an amazing father-figure to Esther, and he’s pretty selfless–he’s raised Esther since her parents passed away.

Hey girl! So glad we got to see you before you left!

Shalom, Haddie and Mor. See y’all soon!

Play.

 

Esther just got recruited in the Queen search.

Let’s review what we know about her so far:

She’s…

-beautiful

-a virgin

-an orphan

-now in-training to be Queen

-Oh, and she’s also a Jew (of the Tribe of Benjamin)

…and that’s ’bout it.

 

Actually, here’s one more tidbit that’s interesting to think about:

She’s…

-obedient

Mmm, context, please.

Good point.

Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.

Esther 2:10-11

 

Esther was under Mor’s authority, and she faithfully obeyed him, even while she was in this strange new place.

Wait–“strange new place”…doesn’t that sound familiar?

Mmm, it does.

To me, at least. If it doesn’t to you, check out last week’s post about Joseph.

As we move into the palace with Esther, let’s set Joe’s story next to hers and compare.

Time to put on your detective cap. It’s investigatin’ time.

giphy-1

Investigation #1: What similarities do you find in the following verses?

Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.

Esther 2:8-9

The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Genesis 39:2-6

 

Here’s what I found, Watson:

Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special foodHe assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.

Esther 2:8-9

The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Genesis 39:2-6

 

Thoughts: God’s up to something. Remember the Wizard of Oz-like curtain behind which God was working? He’s back behind it, and I’m feeling like we’re about to see some of what He’s got going on back there. Maybe because I know how the stories end, sure, but also because He’s a God of order, and He’s following a sort of pattern here, isn’t He? And we know how Joseph’s story ended, so, hey, let’s hope Esther experiences a similar anointing over her life. I guess you’ll have to keep reading to find out.

 

Investigation #2: What similarities do you find in these verses?

This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful.

Esther 2:7

 

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome…

Genesis 39:6

Watson, I think we’ll have similar answers here. Did you see a they’re-both-physically-attractive theme? Me, too.

 

The similarities in Joseph’s and Esther’s stories are fascinating to me.

-They’re both kids (Yes, kids. Both were around their teen years at the beginning of their Biblical stories.) 

-They’re both nice-looking/well-built

-They’re both taken (at least somewhat against their will) to a strange new place

-In this new place, God was with them. And not only was He with them, but He was blessing them and giving them metaphorical manna of sorts: little and big reminders of His presence and power.

-Amidst the challenges they face, both kids are given — spoiler alert — roles of authority, all the while trusting and obeying God.

Also, canIjustsay that Haddie and Joe should get married, because “they would make the most beautiful super baby. It would rule us all.” (S/O to ma man Andy Dwyer for that fab quote.) Actually like wow. WHAT?! Oh my word. This needs to happen. Might be a little late, though. Hmm.

Anywho.

 

Here are two ordinary kids.

They’re living life, and, all of the sudden, God disrupts their normalcy and puts them in a whole new role.

And they choose to be obedient. They embrace this new role, however unfamiliar and uncomfortable it might be.

I think it’s fair to assume that both Haddie and Joe were both wise beyond their years.  Whether or not they knew God was up to something, I think they knew the character of God well enough to trust Him with their lives.

Can you say role models?! (You can? Good job! So proud of you and your English skills, bud.)

 

Back to Esther. 

 

Our gal’s in a 12-month beauty treatment program, probably completely out of her element. Yet God shows that He’s with her by giving Esther favor. And Esther perseveres through it all, giving Mor updates on how it’s going each night. (See Esther 2:11)

Fast-forward approx. 1 year: Esther has finally finished her intense, 12-month beauty regimen, and it’s time for her to go to the King.

Once again, Esther is humbly obedient to her authoritative peeps. (See Esther 2:15)

And, what happens?

And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her.

Esther 2:15b

What happens next? Well, as Esther 2 so romantically puts it, the King set a crown on her head. (Romance, amIright?)

In other words, our girl’s a QUEEN now!

 

So there’s a celebration and lotsa fancy stuff, and then we’re reminded of what seems to be a pretty important character trait to Esther’s author: her obedience to Mor. (We’ll find out why in a min.)

But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.

Esther 2:20

 

Let’s fast-forward again, this time to a sticky situation.

Long story short, the King’s right-hand man (S/O to all the left-handed people for being forgotten, or something, in this long-standing expression) does not like Mordecai. Mordecai’s being his faithful, humble self, and Haman (that’s the righty) is not about that life. (#millennialism)

I’m gonna take a leap and say that Haman has some anger issues.

Why?

Because he has a little disagreement with Mor, and he decides the solution is to…

apologize

agree to disagree

passive-agressively roll his eyes and not talk about it

 

…Nope.

Haman’s solution? Kill all the Jews in the King’s 127 provinces.

Needless to say (then why say it?), Haman’s not a subtle guy.

The King, annoyingly, is like, “K, fine.”

So the word about the mass destruction of this people group gets out, and here’s what Esther’s author says about the people’s reaction. It’s powerful.

The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.

Esther 3:15

Mordecai probably isn’t feeling so hot right now. He didn’t do anything wrong. But, because of his choice to act upon his beliefs, Haman was motivated to kill all of Mor’s people.

So Mor goes out and mourns, and Esther’s peeps tell her about it.

Esther asks for more info, and so her peeps come back with instructions and documented proof about the edict from Mor.

Esther’s flipping through everything, astonished and hurt for her people, and then she gets to the last sentence of Mor’s instructions.

“…go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her [Esther’s] people.” (Esther 4:8)

Oof. 

Why? Why “oof”?

Hey, it’s time for history class, so hurry up! Seriously, one more tardy and we’ll get expelled!

We’re studying ancient sociology today, so that’ll help explain.

Basically, in Esther’s time, if you weren’t summoned by the King, then you weren’t going to see him. You’re left to his whims.

So, if you go to Mr. King Man to be like, “Hey, want some pizza?” he could kill you.

Dude, it’s just pizza. Calm down. 

And yet, that’s how it worked back then.

 

So Esther’s mourning this insanely awful edict when, all of a sudden, the tone shifts.

Suddenly the saving of her people rests on her.

And the only way she can save them is by going to the King.

And the King hasn’t summoned her.

Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”

Esther 4:10-11

Mordecai’s response:

(Read carefully)

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:13-14

Sorry, I gotta pause just for a sec. Verse 14b (the end of the verse) is one of my most favorite verses of all time.

I could talk for approximately 97.3 years about why I love that verse, because of the purpose it brings to each of our lives (because of our intentional Creator), but we may not have time for all that.

Instead, I humbly suggest that you have a minute of communion between you and the Holy Spirit, meditating on Esther 4:14.

 

A couple thoughts on that verse…

Mordecai didn’t sugar-coat the truth. He was bold in his words to Esther, however taboo or scary they were. (Remember, Mor loves Haddie like his own child. He would NEVER want her to die. But he sees the importance, maybe a little of the behind-the-Wizard’s-curtian element of this story, and he speaks truth to her all the same. Because he loves her.)

Look at the difference in casualties! Yes, the risk here seems silly from an outsider’s perspective. I mean, hmm, one life or the lives of people in 127 provinces? The answer’s easy, right?

But what if that one life is yours?

There’s a lot riding on young Esther here. Haddie’s possible scenarios:

She…

Doesn’t go to the King (Esther: Life; Jews: Death)

Does go to the King (Esther: Death; Jews: Death)

Does go to the King (Esther: Life; Jews: Death)

Does go to the King (Esther: Life; Jews: Life)

I’m not a math major, but if those odds were about my own life or the lives of people I cared about, I’d be nervous, too.

 

Esther responds with the courage and grace of a true Queen:

“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.

Esther 4:16

 

Storytelling Time:

*I wasn’t there when the following happened (wait–you’re not over a thousand years old?), and the Bible doesn’t super-clearly illustrate this part, so I can’t tell you that this is exactly how this looked.
Thus, this is for illustrative, let’s-get-in-her-shoes purposes.

 

Esther’s moment has come.

She’s standing outside the doors to the King’s room. She’s shaking.

Her heart’s beating so loudly that she barely feels a bead of sweat drop from her back to the cold floor.

Everything in her body is telling her to turn around.

And then, just maybe, something changes.

The shaking doesn’t, but the feeling motivating it does.

Esther is overcome with a divine sense of purpose.

She’s here for her people, and ultimately for the glory of God, so whatever happens will happen. It doesn’t matter, because God’s got her, and He’s big enough to take care of His people.

He’s also big enough to take care of Esther. He’s already proven that to her, giving her favor and the role of Queen and all.

What did Mordecai say? 

“Such a time as this…”

I believe that. 

Here we go…

Our girl bravely pushes open the doors and looks at what will be perhaps the most important 50 or so steps of her life, to the front of the King’s throne.

This is the moment.

This is what Jews in 127 provinces have fasted and prayed over.

This is where Jews in 127 provinces either die or live.

And their fate is in the hands of God, which are hovering over the courage of a young little Jewish girl who just risked her life for her people, some of whom she’s never met.

When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand.

Esther 5:2

If you could read all of Esther’s chapter 8 right now, that’d be perfect.

 

. . .

 

Go say hi! Trust me, she’s super nice. Hey, we should invite her to our slumber party! I bet she’s a really good storyteller for our classic 2 AM storytime, too.

 

. . .

 

I’m so glad I got to introduce you to one of my role models. Thanks for journeying to her world with me. It means a lot.

I hope you see God’s hand over your life like it was on Esther’s.

The same God who anointed Esther with favor and protection is the same God who knitted you together in your mom’s body. (Psalm 139:13)

And He loves you and has SUPER plans for your life.

 

Finish the story. See how God used a simple little girl to save almost countless people.

No one would’ve predicted it. And yet, God chose Haddie.

 

Be blessed, friends!

Our Biblical Yearbook: Meet Joseph

Hear that? It’s the school bell ringing. Grab your backpack and get ready to shake some hands, because we have some new classmates to meet.

See the cute new guy over there in the fancy coat? Yeah, that’s Joseph.

Girl, I see you smirking. Relax, I’ll introduce y’all today.

As for the rest of our new classmates, we’ll meet them soon.

. . .

Time for a new, non-food series? Yes? K, cool.

I’m excited for this one! Bible people are so cool, especially the more you look at them in a human light and not just a “Oh, they existed? I thought they were just some person in the Bible”-way.

Ya know?

So we’re gonna dive into the stories of a bunch of cool Biblical people, adding them to our lil’ Bible yearbook along the way.

Today’s gent is a hero in my book. Maybe he’ll be in yours, too.

 

Friends, meet Joseph.

 

Who’s Joe? Check out Genesis 37.

For a Quinnterested (and hopefully God-inspired) summary, put on your reading goggles, because here we go:

Joe was one of the youngest of a bunch of Jacob’s kiddos. And he got special treatment because he was a son of Jacob’s fav wife. #familydrama

(Honestly, doesn’t that kind of sound like a Bible-times reality show? Mmm it does. And I’m not sure how I feel about that.)

Joseph’s probably best known by modern peeps for his dreams. Or his dreamcoat. I guess they go hand-in-hand, in a way, like two lil’ tykes, walking down the sidewalk, who are planning their wedding at 7 years old. (AGAIN with the analogies, Q. I thought we’d covered this??)

The dreams: Joe started having these prophetic dreams from God. He told his bros about them, and they got angry, because the dreams made it sound like Joseph was better than the rest of them (See: “We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it” in Genesis 37:7)

The dreamcoat: A fancy robe Joseph’s dad gave him to show his favor for Joseph. (Can you see the steam rising from Joe’s brothers’ heads? It’s palpable. #coolword)

What happens when bros be jealous? Well, in Joseph’s case, the bros turn to murder.

Yikes. 

Long story short, Reuben, Joe’s eldest brother, manages to turn his trigger-happy brothers to a slightly more reasonable solution: Sell Joseph as a slave.

Seems like a good solution, right?

Not to be too critical of the brothers, but, no, not the best solution, me thinks.

Nevertheless… (yay for words that look like a hashtag minus the ‘#’)

…sold Joseph gets.

(A little Yoda never hurt nobody.)

What happens next? It’s probably a bit of a blur for Joe, but, basically, the people who initially bought him sell him on to Pharaoh’s captain of the guard: Potiphar. Pretty big deal.

Not that being a slave is ever a good thing, but, as far as being a slave goes, this wasn’t the worst of options for now-enslaved Joseph.

Happy days are here again?

Not yet.

Handsome lil’ Joe innocently gets roped into a sticky situation with Potiphar’s horribly scheme-y wife. She’s super into him (Yo, you’re married, bruh), and Joseph’s like, “No way.” (YAY Joseph!)

 

Let’s “pause” this ever-expanding reality show.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present Exhibit A of why Joseph is hero-material: This probably attractive Potiphar’s wife lady is arguably tempting to Joseph, but he says “No.” In fact, he says, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (See Genesis 39:8-10)

LOTS of non-sarcastic respect for Joseph and the man God made him to be right there.

Good guys are so cool.

Okay, “play.”

 

Joseph (he’s so cool, you guys) doesn’t do anything shady with this lady. This lady’s arguably (sorry for the repetition, but *shrug*) a little kooky in the head and definitely hungry for attention, so she blurts out that Joseph did a thing that we know he did NOT. She says he did, though.

Do the important people believe Joseph?

They sure don’t.

Or, if they do, they don’t act like it, because Joe gets sent to prison. Specifically a prison where the king’s officials are sent. (You’ll see the importance of the “king” detail later.)

 

It’s v important to note that, through all of this, we don’t hear any despair (or even mild complaining) from Joseph.

To illustrate the amazing-ness of this point, let’s recap real fast:

Joseph:

He was…

-born

-the fav son

-hated on by his brothers

-sold (by said bros)

-taken from home by strangers and sold to other strangers

-(wrongly) accused of adultery

-thrown into prison

…Did I mention he didn’t complain?

To be fair, not everything that happened in life was recorded in the Bible. Yay for obvious facts, I know, but I’m just diplomatically saying that it’s not like we have any conclusive evidence that Joseph definitely did not complain. No Joe-body-cam action goin’ on.

But here’s what we do know: We know Joseph’s character by his actions (and, occasionally, his recorded words.)

He seems to have a pretty black-and-white sense of what’s right and wrong, and he seems to faithfully follow-through on those convictions.

Here’s another thing we know:

“The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered…” (Genesis 39:2)

“…the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did…” (Genesis 39:3)

“…the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.” (Genesis 39:5)

But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” (Genesis 39:21)

“…the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” (Genesis 39:23)

Um, this is SO cool.

One more thing before we move on:

The prison warden loved Joseph, just like basically everyone else did, so he gave Joseph lots of responsibility. That might sound weird, since you’re like, “Aww, thankssomuch, but how ’bout we get outta prison?” Right, I know. But our Divine Connector-of-the-Dots God was planning out Joseph’s amazing legacy in prison. And before then, too. But particularly in prison, because God was doing stuff. Behind-the-scenes preparation. And one of those preparation elements was the leadership training Joseph received. In humble circumstances, yes. But…maybe that’s part of leadership training? Mmm, yes, God. Love it.

Anyway, point is that God was miraculously NOT wasting any of Joseph’s time, very a-la-God-style. (If you could read and comprehend that Quinnterested-lang sentence, I’m impressed.)

Something happens in prison that changes Joseph’s life. It’s not the leadership training, though that contributes to it. Like I said, it’s a connecting-the-dots type thing.

Remember when I said that detail about “king” and the prison thing would be important? Here’s where we start to see its relevance.

Joseph’s not the only one in prison. Two of the king’s peeps are in there, too. And, guess what?

They both have dreams that need interpretation.

 

We’re all given spiritual gifts (for a great, relevant read, see 1 Corinthians 12).

One of Joseph’s was the gift of interpreting dreams. Remember his childhood dreams that loaded the gun for his jealous bros? Another time of preparations (with major, seemingly negative results).

 

Back to prison.

 

The king’s people need interpretations, and Joseph (via God’s divine knowledge) gives it to them.

 

“Pause” #2.

Ladies and gents of the jury, I present Exhibit B of why Joseph is hero-material. Joseph clearly had gifts. Can we all agree on that? If we can’t yet, skip ahead several chapters and see how those dream interpretations work out. But do it on your own time–no spoilers here.

It’s obvious Joseph was gifted. What’s SUPER cool is that he knew it, too, but not in a prideful way. Sound impossible? I kind of grew up thinking that, too. How can you not be prideful while freely stating that you’re gifted?

Here’s how: By believing that the God of the Universe, your Creator, hand-crafted each human on this planet creatively and intentionally, giving each one gifts for a reason.

You can believe that and give glory to God by believing that. In fact, not believing that is kind of an insult to your Creator, right? (S/O to my sweet little sister-in-Christ for sharing that concept with me! So good.)

The line not to cross is when you take God out of the equation. Always remember that “every good and perfect gift comes from above.” (See James 1:17) We don’t give ourselves these gifts. It’s our free-will duty to use and hone them, totally. (See “Parable of the Talents” in Matthew 25) But God gave them to us, to use for His glory. So let’s do that.

Comment if you have questions about this, and we can keep thinking about it and referencing the Bible together for answers. It’s a tricky idea for some people, at least for me!

 

Back to the jury.

Joseph had a gift that he wasn’t afraid to use. He was confident in his gift, 100% because God gave it to him, and Joseph trusted God to use the gift for His glory. Heroes don’t have to applaud themselves. They should be worthy of applause. Partly because of their insistence of applauding God and not themselves.

“Play” in 3…2…1!

 

The king’s prisoners who dreamed said dreams are eventually released from prison. Both Joseph’s interpretations come true. (Unfortunately for the one who Joseph predicted would die…)

When Joseph shared the interpretations, he asked the receiver of the positive interpretation (whose title was “Chief Cupbearer”) to remember him (Joseph) when he (Chief Cupbearer) was released, and to help him (Joseph) also get out. (Pronouns can be confusing…)

Long story short, CC (our chief dude) didn’t.

Fast-forward to 2 years later. Joe’s still in prison. Pharaoh has a dream. And CC suddenly remembers Joseph.

*Praise hands*

Guess what? Pharaoh needs a dream interpretation, and nobody else is able to give it to him. So CC comes through after all, suggesting Joseph to be the man for the job.

 

Make way for God.

*Not for Joseph, for God.*

 

You know what’s coming. God gives Joseph the divine knowledge he needs to give an accurate interpretation, and Joseph does so with humble aplomb.

 

Here’s when this story goes to a whole new level, and God lets us peek a little behind His wizard-like curtain.

Here’s the scene that follows Joseph’s correct interpretation:

So Pharaoh asked them [his officials], “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.

At this point, do you kinda feel like God is lovingly, and maybe slightly meloncholy-ly, with a smidge of sneaky, but cool, cleverness, winking at you?

Like, He knew this would happen all along.

But don’t think for a second that He was winking and smiling while a teenage Joseph was shaking in fear while his new owners brought him to a new land. I’m sure that broke God’s heart.

But He saw that from the perspective of knowing what Joseph didn’t know in that moment.

Goosebumps? Just now?

Me, too.

 

There’s more to the story–way more. But I feel like this is a really sweet spot. So let’s settle here, and you can pick up the Bible and read the rest on your own. (Also, shameless plug for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat musical–besides basically completely omitting God and His MAJOR involvement in the story, it’s a pretty accurate depiction of Joseph’s story…maybe minus an Elvis-like Pharaoh. And brothers that change accents like four times. It’s fun, y’all.)

. . .

Girl, stop shaking his hand. You’ve been shaking it this whole.time, and it’s getting weird. I think Joseph has to go…

Glad y’all got to meet! Looks like y’all are already becoming friends.

 

I’m very excited to introduce you to another of my very favorite Bible heroes, Esther, next week. There’s a really interesting similarity between Esther and Joseph: the Lord gave them both overwhelming favor with their peers. Fascinating. Really cool stuff.

 

Praying you feel God’s hand on your life like it was on Joseph’s (and is on yours.)

You are loved ❤

 

Healthy Eats in Nashville, Part II

My best friends

Welcome back!

Let’s continue our lil’ GF/DF tour of the Nashville-area…

 

  • Sunflower Cafe: Berry Hill Nashville

Sunflower Cafe blackboard

Sunflower Cafe is one of the best places for delicious, quality (yet reasonably-priced) vegan and gluten-free food in Nashville.

There are just a lot of things to love about it.

Here’s some of my favs:

-Everything is vegan (except for dairy cheese you can choose to sub for vegan cheese)

-Most food is gluten-free

-Fun, house-made desserts

-Reasonable prices

-Tofu that actually has flavor

-Happy.Hour. (big appetizers for $5!!)

That’s my list. Go to Sunflower, and then tell me what you’d add to your own list.

The only main downside to Sunflower that I can think of is, if you’re going with a strong-willed meat & potatoes-person, prepare yourself for

a Ron Swanson-like emotional breakdown, Ron*

since Sunflower doesn’t have any real meat. If your meat person’s flexible and open to a yummy dish of sunflower rice with seasoned veggies and tofu, or a vegan quesadilla with a side of–did you guess it?—aioli, then you’ll be good.

My Fav Sunflower Dishes:

-Thai Ginger Tofu Bowl (with sunflower rice or subbing extra sesame kale for the grain)

-Garlic Mushroom Veggie Burger

-Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla on brown rice (GF) wrap (only available during Sunflower Cafe’s Happy Hour)

sunflower 2
Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

 

 

  • The Dotted Lime: Columbia

IMG_3162

It’s just magical and beautiful and a land of wonders.

Just read this:

Dotted Lime's

Yeah, that’s right. CINNAMON ROLLS that are gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. By God’s grace and the love that The Dotted Lime’s family pours into their products, these are not taste-free. They are fabulous. My only warning is that they’re addictive and will put you in a sugar-coma, so be careful. I’d recommend splitting one three ways to avoid brain fog!

Other highlights:

…Everything?

One of the best things about Lime is that EVERYTHING is gluten-free (see first pic), so you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination. Woot woot!

Another of my favorite things about Lime is that it’s family-run, so you’ll probably see employees of quite varying ages cooking and bussing tables. They’re all adorable and are gaining great work experience in a really sweet environment. So go support them!

Another thing to like about The Dotted Lime: Panzzinos, which are sandwiches on a Naan/pita-style gluten-free bread. It’s happy.

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I hope you get a chance to check out these lovely eateries. Please do.

 

*Thanks to http://highsteaks.com/carnivores-creed/ron-swanson/ for the Ron Swanson meme!