A Real Deal…

So I mentioned in an earlier post that I avoid “free things.” Let me elaborate. I avoid free pancakes and free smoothies (they only ever give out the blue one, who wants the blue one?), Kids Eat Free Nights (total bedlam, and though I enjoy a good balloon animal, it’s never worth the noise).

But I need to tell you about an event in our community Saturday because it involves something FREE on a whole different level.

Free dentistry. 


No one put me up to this, you know that’s not the nature of this place (my rants only, thank you). I just happened to be in the dental chair yesterday and asked about the t-shirts everyone was wearing. 

They reminded me that Saturday a number of dentists in our area are collaborating for a “Dentistry from the Heart Event”. Meaning they will provide dental services for free, to the first 200 people to arrive. FREE. Just show up. Early. There are no qualifications needed.

Friends, you know that I tend to not exert myself or take any form of physical risks, thus I have never broken a bone or had a concussion or gashed my head open. I actually don’t think I’ve ever pulled a muscle…

But I have felt some tooth pain. Tooth Number 19 Pain to be exact. That’s on the bottom left, second from the back, if you don’t count my wisdom teeth which are threatening to emerge thus explaining my time at the dentist yesterday and why I feel like I am TEETHING IN MY THIRTIES. 

Teething pain aside, Tooth Number 19 was a whole dramatic journey that evolved over fifteen years, beginning with an emergency root canal and ending with a final extraction. Though even after it was extracted, pieces kept emerging. This tooth would. not. die.

While this is a lot of  information that no one wants to know, my point is that the reality of dental pain is something many people live with when they are without access to dental care. I have seen people line up down the streets in other countries to get teeth pulled, without Novocain, because the pain was unbearable. I have felt that pain, albeit briefly, and though it effects none of your limbs directly,  it’s paralyzing. 

If you or someone you know, could use a cleaning, filling, or extraction, and can get to Norge Dental Center on Saturday, will you pass on the word? There may or may not be balloon animals. But there will be Novocain. And relief. 



Here are  some specifics
On Saturday, March 22nd 2014 Norge Dental Center will be hosting our 3rd Annual Dentistry From the Heart event. Our team will be providing the first 200+ patients with a free cleaning, extraction or filling. We will have several hygienists, dental assistants, dental professionals and volunteers donating their time and resources in order to provide thousands of dollars in free dental care and much needed relief to people in need in the community.

Patients are asked to arrive early as the event is a first come first serve basis. Event registration will begin at 8:00am and patients will be seen through 4:00pm that day. Patients are also encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather, to bring a chair, blankets, water, snacks, etc. as they may be waiting outside to be seen.

Patients ages 18+ are welcome with no restrictions.

For more information please contact us at 757-564-0804 or email norgeDFTH@gmail.com



super-sized tooth image found here

And it Moves Us All…

I hit a wall with the Ancient Troll Prophesy a few weeks ago and decided we needed a repreive before the DVD release of Frozen. (Tomorrow for those of you who failed to pre-order and/or are enjoying your pirated versions. You know who you are.  The truth will find you.)

So on one of our snow days we watched “The Lion King” with the girls for the first time. Travis and I have just begun watching movies on the internet. But don’t overreact. It still involves lots of cords and passwords and me secretly missing The Redbox. Why is technology seamless for everyone else?

Anyways, because I’m cool, I  already had the soundtrack to The Lion King Broadway Show, so now the girls and I cruise around chanting to The Circle of Life – Which is its own sort of experience because none of us knows what they are really saying at the beginning so we each sing something different, while playing our air drums and tribal pipes (offending someone with this post feels inevitable.) But wow, we are passionate and loud, and the other day when it was sunny and balmy before our weekly Monday ice storm, I rolled the windows down and we blasted “The Circle of Life” from the 2003 minivan, and someday maybe, you can all be as cool as us.

And in case you are still wondering, as I am here to inform, I just looked up what they are actually saying in Zulu at the beginning of the song:

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
[There comes a lion]
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
[Oh yes, it’s a lion]
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
Siyo Nqoba
[We’re going to conquer]
Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala
[Here is a lion and a tiger]


Friends, it has been a week. A week of grief and a week of hope and a week of feeling tempted toward some metaphoric and not so metaphoric fist shaking. I have mourned this week and I have questioned and I have felt disciplined and humbled and at every turn met by the whisper of God through the presence of His Faithful. Real flesh and blood people for whom life has not felt like a circle but a long long road, yet they are peaceful and steady, patient in the His Mystery and safe in His Love, not shaking their fists but opening up their hands.

I have learned more in this past week than probably in the previous two years. If only I was a journaler. But I’m not a journaler. And apparently that’s not a noun. And apparently I am but a simple Show Tune Chanter, who all week long when I got in the car and thought I was belting out something both transcendent and earthy about hope and despair…was singing “There comes the lion. Here is a lion and tiger.”

But now I’m sitting here laughing. Which feels both transcendent and earthy.

Oh friends. Here’s to the sweetness of what we see and the Glory of what we don’t.


On Lent, NT, and Jay Z

Lent began yesterday. I know this for a number of reasons not the least being that Ash Wednesday always follows Free Pancake Tuesday at IHOP. I went once and it so traumatized me I have not forgotten it. I avoid “FREE” events in general. There is a reason we pay for things. But “Free” involving large crowds and syrup and the smell of breakfast cooking all day. I can’t go back. 

Our church is reading through NT Wright’s “Lent for Everyone”

I am already behind. But I will tell you that I’m a fan of N.T. Pause for a moment and try to list the great writers and thinkers of the past century who were willing to  drop the whole name thing and go with their first two initials: A.A. , P.L.,  J.K., E.B., C.S., Jay Z.  We can’t go wrong.

N.T. Wright is a favorite of mine for two reasons:

1. He can get people from two different critical Biblical spectrums around the same table and still say something. He doesn’t compromise. But he doesn’t polarize. There’s a goal.

2. He has a passion for getting the “deep stuff” into everybody’s hands. Obviously he’s brilliant and reads in 9 languages but his “For Everyone” series is powerful and applicable and has become such a vehicle for scholarship informing discipleship.

Six bloggers from our church will be submitting writings on their experiences during Lent and with this book. Today’s post gives the history behind Lent and ashes on the forehead in case, like me,  you’re still stuck smelling syrup this time of year. You can follow the blog here

The 40 Days of Lent are based on Jesus’ 40 Days in the desert – when this God-man declares that God is enough. Enough. So we give up things, and we add on things and we practice being thankful and mindful all the while walking towards his death and sorrow and his resurrection and joy. We engage Him and His story in a deeper way, tied up inevitably with the ways our own stories right now bring sorrow and joy. I’m reminded as I journey through my own stuff , how much I wish spiritual growth occurred on all-inclusive trips to St. Barts. But I know, though too often I resent it, that He draws us close in the darkness, and in the unknowns. The stuff that breaks us forms us again and again. “Abraham…obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

Here’s to Lent friends. May we finish at a different place than where we began.

If I had live-tweeted during the Oscars,

this is what I would have said.

Who is that? Who is that?
What are they talking about?
What time is it?
What time is it now?
Travis watched with me for the first two hours. When he announced he was going to bed I proclaimed I was sticking it out for the nostalgia of my youth. The problem is, even if you begin the Oscars with youth, it will not be with you in the end. I  felt like I was in a bad relationship with the show “I mean…I’ve stuck it out this far, it’s got to turn a corner eventually…”
At some point, I actually think I fell asleep then woke up thinking I was hallucinating because Bette Midler was singing “Wind Beneath My Wings,” and it was a twenty year flashback. Jared Leto’s hair had grown another three inches, further confirming that Jordan Catalano may have become a serious film actor  but he needs some help with his split ends.
Then there was this:

Okay, brilliant, even if you have trouble stomaching the Samsung product placement. I have never seen a picture that Angelina Jolie was being blocked out of and Kevin Spacey was trying to get into.  That Pizza Delivery Guy? Tell me he was really from Big Mama Pizza and that was not a set up. I want to believe that that’s what life in LA is like.

There were great movies this year. Maybe I just I actually saw movies this year.  I still tense up just seeing the clips of “Captain Phillips.” I haven’t seen “Twelve Years a Slave” because I’m too scared, but I want to, but I’m scared. Tonight we just finished watching “Blue Jasmine”, you know so I could feel personally sure that Cate Blanchett deserved it. She did. We watched “Gravity” the other night – there’s some good life perspective for you. I actually have thought to myself today, on Snow Day Number Who Even Knows, “at least I’m not spinning untethered in space…”

Though, I have to tell you that my favorite of this year was “Philomena”. It is a beautifully told ,wonderfully paced, heart-wrenching, redemptive story. Is that enough adjectives? I  was sad it wasn’t talked about enough last night. Great films are acclaimed for dealing with important issues. And “Philomena”? It deals with forgiveness. The impossible, miraculous kind. Wow. Well done true story.

And my fuzzy final thought as I clocked 3.5 hours in an exhausted stupor, in between placing fully asleep children on the toilet and eating Ben and Jerry’s Frozen Greek Yogurt, not “Everything but” because Travis is trying to be healthier (WHAT?)? When the super elegant Cate Blanchett accepted her Oscar she explained that fellow nominee Judi Dench, from “Philomena”, was absent due to filming in India and that Judi Dench  is 79, I whispered to myself the true lunacy inspired by these events: “you’ve still got a chance.”