sincere seriousness: serious sincerity

Today I thought of something I had never thought of before.  I love it when that happens.  It was when I was reading this verse:

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
James 3: 17

And I got stuck on last word.  Sincere.  I don't think I have ever thought about trying to be sincere.  Serious, yes.  Truthful, yes.  But sincere?  Mmmm.  No.  I think it's safe to say that I lean towards seriousness a good bit of the time.  Analyzing and thinking and over-thinking is a real hobby of mine.  But that is not sincerity.  So I started thinking sincerely seriously about being sincere.  Here are some synonyms of sincere:

...whole-hearted, genuine, deep, heartfelt, profound, real, unfeigned, true, honest, bona fide

Okay. So.  Just when exactly am I supposed to be sincere?  Then I discovered the answer that must be the right answer, indeed the only answer is this:  always.  Always as in 100% of the time.  100% of the time as in all the time.  Every minute.  Hour.  Day.  In whatever I'm doing or saying I must be sincere.
But wait a minute.  I don't know if I like where this is headed.

So, this means when someone is going on and on about how their washing machine is broken and the repair guy won't come when he's supposed to, I should actually be sincere with my empathy?  That if I am there listening to this person, that I should sincerely (genuinely) listen to their woes and not just pretend to listen sympathetically to their poor-pitiful-me's?  Seriously?  Sincerely?  No buts?  So this also must mean that when really happy-go-lucky people are bragging about how awesome their life is and they want me to rejoice with them, that I'm supposed to be sincerely (WHOLE-heartedly) happy for them?  Not even a smidgen of jealously?  No hidden eye-rolling?  Man.

Now I know I'm listing examples that aren't really a huge deal in the whole scheme of things... but these things do happen.  Usually pretty often.  Like, everyday.  So I think sincerity must need to apply to those things too, not just the big things.

Then I started putting 'sincere' in front of the other words in the verse.
I should be sincerely peace-loving.  I should be sincerely considerate.  Sincerely full of mercy and good fruit.  Sincerely impartial.  Uh-oh.  Sincerely submissive.  Oh boy.

Sincerity seems to be a bona fide serious word, folks.

Why can't the verse say, 'Be sincere but only when it's easy to be.'  Then, when it feels impossible to be sincere, I have an escape route.  But it doesn't say that.
But then I know that honestly, sincerely, I wouldn't want it to.  If we are called to be sincere by a God who sincerely loves us, then I think it's safe to assume that the pursuit of sincerity must be a worthwhile endeavor.  If the wisdom that comes from heaven is all those things, then they must all be good things.  Things I want to be evident in my life.

Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom. 
James 3:13

By deeds done in humility...  humility must be the key.  For me to be sincere, I am just going to have to be humble.  Sincerity is a product of humility.  Putting others first.  That whole thinking-of-others-before-yourself thing.  That letting-your-yes-be-yes-and-your-no-be-no thing.  Whole-hearted sympathy, genuine consideration, deep heartfelt mercy, real and true impartiality, unfeigned submissiveness... sincere sincerity.  These are the evidences of wisdom from heaven.  Let this be my sincere pursuit.

sincerely yours (betcha wish I wasn't so sincere about that one)

(The person with the broken washing machine was me.  The repair guy finally came.  And we all lived happily ever after. ....Well, not me and the repair guy.  Just me.  ...Well, and my washing machine...  ...Nevermind)


a bounty of impatience

I am finding it hard to wait for Uganda pictures to liven up the grey-tones of my blog.  Oh, don't get me wrong---I love grey.  Loooove grey.  Why?  Because it's a kinder, gentler version of black.  Because it looked oh-so-mod as the text color on all those architecture boards I had to design in school.  I employed so very many shades of marvelous grey.  But the very best thing about the color grey is how awesome, stunning, vibrant, phenomenal, spectacular, dazzling, enchanting, and radiant other colors look when they are paired with it.  Grey makes the perfect backdrop for almost anything and pretty much everything.

The dark, ferocious greys of a thunderstorm set off the vibrant greens of trees and plants. The pale, hazy greys of fog and mist transform already lovely fields of flowers and crops into magical landscapes. The smokey greys of clouds hovering over mountains give further drama to the lofty heights.  And I won't even delve into my thoughts and ideas about grey tones on interior walls or finishes.  Let's just say I'm a fan.  But I digress.

Moving on.  Here's a thought: did you know I happen to like the color grey?  Oh, and did I mention I'm partial to grey?  That I am exceedingly fond of grey?  As a matter of fact, I like gray too, but I think gray is prettier in the form of grey, which I just adore.  In closing, it's safe to say I have a mild penchant for grey.  But more than that, I am wild about grey, although I must say I do like grey.  Just thought I should briefly mention it.

Anyway, I think my blog is in desperate need of some color.  So, until I can post pictures of Uganda, I thought I would put up some photos I took of my grandfather's lovely garden and then some I took at the park behind my great-grandmother's former apartment in Atlanta.

architecture school did this to me, 
forever yours,


how to pack for a ten day trip to the equator

Since I am an authority on this topic, I thought I would share my wealth of knowledge with the world.  It's the right thing to do.

To begin, the packer must have goals.  For example, someone going to Mongolia would probably choose something like 'Pack Items That Will Help Me to Not Turn Into a Block of Ice' or a past traveller to England might have chosen 'Pack Items to Woo a Prince.'

As for me, my packing goal for my trip to the African Equator is this:
"Pack Items That Won't Make Me Look Like I'm Sweating When, In Fact, I AM"
and the equally glamorous "Don't Get a Parasite."

Now that goals have been established, the next step is to acquire the things that will make reaching these goals possible.  What this meant for me was: tie-dyed shirts (loud obnoxious patterns should do a fabulous job of hiding perspiration), dark-colored lightweight cotton pants, and CLOSED-TOE tennies with socks to keep those pesky parasites out of my footsies.

In case you were wondering exactly just how close we will be to the equator, take a look at this:
The line of the equator passes right over where we will be in Uganda.  Our team leader, Jonathan, joked that we would be able to look up and see the line in the sky.  I wish it really was a visible line, then I could brag about how I had actually seen the equator.  Instead I will just have to say, "See this sunburn? The equator did that to me. That's right, the imaginary line equidistant from the poles zapped me with it's rays and colored me red."  Amusing maybe, but not quite as cool.  Literally.

So, keeping this equator-business in mind, I will therefore also be packing:
a water bottle (we are bringing lots of bottled water with us since drinking Uganda's water isn't advisable)
bug repellant
deodorant (I hear thank you's coming from the general direction of my teammates, although I can't imagine why. I'm just taking it cause I like the bottle, that's all)
malaria pills
and more sunscreen (malaria pills make you more susceptible to the sun)

So all that, plus a few more miscellaneous items like my camera, journal, snacks, bath stuff, and work gloves will no doubt push me dangerously close to my 50 pound baggage limit.  Standing in line to get my ticket is always an adrenaline charged moment... "Will I pass or fail? Pass or fail? ....What?...You say I'm overweight?  Excuse me sir, there is no need to get personal here."  If I had a scale at home I could solve my baggage-weight mystery before my baggage is placed on the chopping block by the airport personnel.  But I don't believe in scales.  Anywhere.  Especially scales in my home.  That includes those of the snake variety.  I don't believe in the awful creatures, snakes or weighing scales, therefore they do not exist.  Simple, really.  Anyway where was I?  Oh yes, packing.

I think I'll go do that packing thing now actually.  Five days of packing and re-packing should be plenty for a paranoid-I'm-going-to-forget-something-or-pack-something-illegal-like-peanut-butter packer like me.  I did that once.  Packed peanut butter in my carry-on. Who knew it was illegal?  Not me.  Probably not you either.  Now you know.
That's what I'm here for --- providing vital information.

until next time, over and out,


the other double-u

What = That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is.
You know what I love about the English language?  It's so strange.  When else can you stick two of the same words side by side and call it proper grammar?  Do do, that that, had had, etc.  And another thing, if the police police police, who polices the police police? But that's all beside the point.  Wait, what was my point? Oh right, I haven't made it yet.  Well, whaddayagonnado?

This is what, that's what:
Give a point in the title above to the word what. Then throw this foolishness out the window coming from my mouth.  Furthermore unconnected to this post in a similar vein sometimes I like to personify words (sorry, I can't stop).

For example:
Wut:   It's What! Waddup What?!
What:  Oh I thought we could dicuss what's what, whaddaya say?
Wut:  Wait, whaddid you say, What?
What:  Whaddit sound like? Whaddisaid was what's what, that's what.
Wut:   Oh, well, whaddaya know?
What:  I know I know but do you know? 
Wut:  What! What already?
What:  Whatchamacallit got married. Now she is a Whatchamadoodle.
Wut:  Oh, you don't say, What!
What:  Wut, I just told you what!  Pay attention!

Now that I have had my linguistic fun for the day and lost all of my three readers, let's get to the what. Wait, what was my what?
Now don't start that again!
Okay, okay I hear your cries. You dont think I do, but I do do I do! (uhh.. nevermind)

The WHAT in my African Adventure:
As I mentioned in my first post, Cornerstone has been going to the village of Buloba since 2007.  So my trip is merely a continuum (by the way, look up that word in the dictionary sometime and see if it doesn't intimidate you) of the partnership that was begun four years ago.  My group will be working to install rain-catch systems on the roofs of about twenty houses, playing with the kids in the village, visiting Bethany Village Orphanage (check it out online; it's awesome), and just meeting and talking with the people of Buloba.  Here are some links to videos and a letter that tell more of this story. 

the uganda invitation:   http://vimeo.com/9977150

the story of buloba community church:   http://vimeo.com/4848423

uganda 2010b:   http://vimeo.com/13515043

carrying water:   http://vimeo.com/12682665

buloba, uganda:  http://vimeo.com/13645449

Ebenezer Primary School:   http://vimeo.com/7761213

letter from Buloba Community Church to Cornerstone:

forever yours,
the abuser of the blog & linguistic nerd