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I'm still writing; you just won't find me here any longer. If you want to keep reading my writing, head over to mollyflinkman.com. I'll keep a cup of coffee warm for you.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


word of the day: cast \ˈkast\ 
verb: to cause to move or send forth by throwing
noun: a rigid casing used for immobilizing a usually diseased or broken part 

You know how I love words with multiple meanings.  Cast is a funny one because it can mean movement or it can immobilization.  Here's some real life word irony for you...

Above you see cast as a verb.  Unfortunately I don't have a great picture of Jake doing a flip on the wake-board.  He does a mean flip, and really, that's movement by throwing in its finest sense of the word.
  Have you ever noticed how sometimes when you cast something forward it doesn't land as it should?  So Jake landed his last wake-boarding flip of the season.  
 And so Jake found himself at the doctor's office so he could be immobilized for at least four weeks.

I suppose it's not all bad, though.
 Lucky for Jake, I don't do much.  So, I have officially added "doting over Jake" to my to-do list, and he is now free to cast his cares upon me as he spends the rest of his summer doing basically what you see above.

Crossing our fingers the cast comes off by Mexico!  

Monday, June 27, 2011


word of the day: list \ˈlist\ things to be checked or done.

It should be a well known fact by now that I am a lover of lists.  I don't think a day of school went by this past year that my desk was sans post-it note list (see how much better sentences are with 'sans'?).  

I tried to do summer sans lists too, but let's face it, that's just not me.  So, last week I broke down, made two to-do lists, and taped them to my refrigerator.  
In my case, you will see that color-coordinated, categorized lists are a must.  As you will also see, I have already checked off two boxes in a mere four days since the lists were created.  The main thing that side tracks me from to-do lists though?  Books.  And I have finished a few more in the last few weeks.

Room by Emma Donoghue

This is a heavy book.  While very well written, it feels a little off to say that I liked it.  Truth be told, it was very disturbing, but I couldn't put it down.  The story is narrated by Jack, a 5-year-old, who is born into 'room'.  His mother was abducted before he is born and so all he knows are the walls inside his eleven by eleven foot prison.  To Jack, though, his world is everything it should be and that's what makes his perspective so fascinating.

 The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

I made a glorious discovery the other day.  Public libraries give you the option of checking out e-books straight to your e-reader.  Brilliant.  Last Saturday, I had every intention of checking a few boxes off of my to-do lists, but instead I sat down on my couch and read this book cover to cover.  The irony is that I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.  Allen's writing style wasn't my favorite, and although I got caught up in the story, I don't think I'll check out any more of her books. 

On a slightly related note, I went to see Water for Elephants in the theater this past weekend and can say, for the first time in my life, that I actually enjoyed the movie better than I enjoyed the book.  Go figure.

I suppose it's also worth saying that I went to see the aforementioned movie alone which is a new pastime I enjoy very much.  I checked that item off the bucket list in May when Jake was in Chicago for his brother's graduation.  When I told my 9th graders I had seen a movie alone, here were a few of the common responses:
Seriously?  WHY?
Didn't you invite anyone to come with you?
Didn't you feel like a loser?
Weren't you embarrassed sitting in the theater by yourself? 
 You had better believe that I held my ground against the persecution.  Going to movies alone rocks. If you've never done it, you really should.

Well, the to-do lists are calling.  The folded laundry on my coffee table is pleading to be put away and the cold pasta on my stove is announcing its stiffness.  Mostly though, I think it's looking forward to taking residence inside a very clean refrigerator.
Before I go though--Happy Anniversary, Timmy and Kelly.  You guys are the best! And by the best, I mean I'm not sure what we would do without you.
 Can you believe this is the best picture I have of the two of you from your wedding?  That's embarrassing.  I'll make it up to you with some really great pictures in Mexico.  :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011


word of the day: forgotten \fər-ˈget, for-\ to treat with inattention or disregard; to give up hope for or expectation of; to fail to become mindful at the proper time

Our small group just finished reading the book Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan.  Chan suggests that in looking at the Trinity, Christians often overlook the presence of the Spirit.  I fall into that category not because I don't believe in the Holy Spirit, but because I don't think I have ever fully understood the Holy Spirit.

This book is transforming my perspective on the purpose of my life.  I'm still trying to figure out exactly what this message means for me, and to help me in my processing, I'm going to share with you some of pieces from his book that stand out to me as especially profound.  Like usual, this is more for me than it is for you.  :)
One concern I've often heard (and felt) is, what if I pray for the Holy Spirit and nothing happens?  What if I ask for more of the Spirit's fruit in my life and don't see any apparent "results"?...I think the fear of God failing us leads us to "cover for God." This means we ask for less, expect less, and are satisfied with less because we are afraid to ask for or expect more...I can't imagine how much it pains God to see His children hold back from relationship with the Holy Spirit out of fear that he won't come through (47-48).
 When the Holy Spirit truly moves, God is the one praised...Let's pray that God would empower us so radically that we would get no glory.  That people would see our works and glorify God (87).
It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are.  But it's absolutely vital to grasp that He didn't call you there so you could settle in and live out your life in comfort and superficial peace...If you are still alive on this planet, it's because He has something for you to do (92).
I don't want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn't be doing this by my own power.  I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through (142).
 You are most likely familiar with the "fruit passage" in Galatians 5, which says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law" (vv. 22-23 NIV).  You may even have the list memorized.  But look over those traits right now and ask yourself if you possess each to a supernatural degree (146).
 God wants the praise for what we do in our lives.  But if we never pray audacious, courageous prayers, how can He answer them (150)?
God continue to reminds me that my faith requires action. I can't do the work He has set out for me unless I take steps in His direction.  Chan gives an illustration about buying a treadmill then taking it back three months later only to complain that it doesn't work; you didn't lose any weight.  When the salesperson asks what's wrong with the machine, you reply that you're not sure because you never actually used it.

So are the prayers I pray passively.  The times I ask God to help me forgive a person but then take no initiative to move past my own bitterness.  The times I ask God to help me love people better but then don't act on the opportunities He provides for me.  The times I ask God to make His Spirit real to me but then just sit back and expect it to happen subconsciously.  

I am not a passive participant.  Instead, I'm asked to play an active role in the journey (128).  

It struck me that the definitions of "forgotten" all contain within them separate verbs (infinitives if you want to get especially specific): to treat with inattention, to give up hope, to fail to become mindful.  I see very clearly now that neglecting the power of the Holy Spirit in my life is a choice and not a choice I'd like to be making any longer.

For me, it starts with prayer.  Prayer that God will help me to be more aware of the Spirit's presence in my life.  That I would see more clearly the opportunities to do His work and hear more clearly His teaching.  That I would desire a life that is unexplainable without Him.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.  [I] don't know exactly what that means and looks like for [me] yet, in the particular place you've called [me] to inhabit.  But, nonetheless, whatever it means, [I] ask for Your presence.  Come, Holy Spirit, come (166).
Chan, Francis, and Danae Yankoski. Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2009. Print.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


word of the day: noteworthy \-ˌwər-thē\ worthy of or attracting attention especially because of some special excellence

The title of this blog post is rather ironic because I feel like I really don't have anything noteworthy to say.  That seems to be a common theme in my thoughts lately.  I don't blog because I don't feel that I have anything to say that is of any "special excellence".  They are just regular old thoughts spinning around in my head.  The problem with feeling like I always have to have something significant to blog about is that I stop writing.  That's not really a problem for you so much as it is a problem for me.  I like to write.  

And so begins my quest to write more.  To sit down at my computer even if I don't have anything especially important to say.  Here goes nothing...

I won an iPad a few months ago.  The story goes that they drew my name out of a raffle for the big prize of the night.  You will notice Tess to my right with her prize of free carpet cleaning.  Obviously we were both equally thrilled.

I initially wasn't quite sure what to do with the iPad.  Unsure, that is, until I downloaded iBooks, the Nook App, and the Kindle App.  As a lover of literature, I didn't think I could make the switch to electronic books, but I am now, without question, a full convert.  Convenience beats the feel of pages through your fingertips because a mere tap of your fingertip is all it takes to turn the page.  For my fellow book junkies, here are my reviews of the first two books I read on my new toy:

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

I read this 500 page book in four days and cried literally the entire last 5 chapters.  I don't think I have ever become so emotionally invested in the lives of characters before.  It's long but moves quickly, and if you've ever had a best friend--it's well worth the read.  Just keep a box of tissues handy and avoid reading it in public.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I wanted to love this book, but I just didn't.  It comes with a good story, but didn't come attached with enough character development for me.  It's hard to root for a love story when you feel fairly indifferent about the woman.  I thought what Gruen did with the Prologue was interesting and Jacob's character as an old man grew on my by the end.

I also recently finished the book Light or Darkness: Reclaiming the Light in Sports by a certain Dr. Bob Stouffer.  In case you've never heard of him, he's a pretty big deal around these parts.  It's not readily available to the public, but if you're in any way involved in sports you should contact me for your own copy.  The new philosophy proposed will change the way you play, coach, and watch. Shoot, I may even be able to get an autographed copy for you...

Jake and I ran out of food this week.  You know what I mean.  We still have food, but we ran out of the basic essentials: meat, bread, and pasta.  We realized that the aforementioned were no more on Monday the 13th but decided to see if we could make it until payday on the 20th.  I want to emphasize the fact that this was a joint decision or challenge, if you will, and not a personal refusal to go to the grocery store.  In any case, it is now Thursday and Jake and I have managed to make two pretty decent meals based upon what turns up between the cupboard, fridge, and freezer.

Wednesday: Vegetarian Tacos
Ingredients found: brown rice, taco shells (hidden in back of fridge, mind you), jalapeño pepper, onion, frozen corn, re-fried beans

Instructions: Chop onion and pepper.  Saute in extra virgin olive oil.  Stir in rice and corn.  Spread re-fried beans on taco shell and add rice mix.

Thursday: Smoked Chuck Roast and Chick Pea Rice
Ingredients found: 1/2 chuck roast (forgot about this one stowed away in the freezer), brown rice, garlic, onion, chick peas (garbanzo beans)

Instructions: Have a handy husband who smokes delicious things.  In the meantime, finely chop garlic and onion.  Saute in extra virgin olive oil.  Add chick peas to pan.  Add rice.   


My camera can't be trusted to take quality pictures, but you get the idea.  It's a fun game.

What else have I been thinking about?  Summer wind makes the best blow- dryer. Starbucks at dusk on a "busy" downtown Des Moines street is lovely.  I think studying for medical boards is a little more difficult with me across the table.  Izze Sparkling Blackberry is a nice compliment to the tap, tap of my computer keys.  Skorts can be cute and pearl earrings make everything feel a little fancier.  C.S. Lewis is fascinating and walks with Jake on a summer night are close to perfection.

I guess when I really sit down and think about it, there really are some noteworthy things going on.  Special excellence doesn't always refer to an extraordinary event.  Maybe it just means paying a little closer attention to the little things each day.  With that, you'll be hearing from me soon...

Thursday, June 9, 2011


 word of the day: eudaemonic \yoo-dee-MAH-nik\ producing happiness

I just learned the word eudaemonic via Merriam-Webster's online dictionary.  Apparently Henry Feldman spelled it correctly to win the 1960 Scripp's National Spelling Bee.  There are two reasons why I know this: 1.) I love words enough to look them up on m-w.com and 2.) It's summer and I have time to look up random words on m-w.com. 

Summer.  It produces happiness.

I had great aspirations of blogging more over the summer, but I have found that I'm too busy doing very little to have time to blog.  Ironic isn't it?  And so, this eudaemonic blog has very little substance other than to tell you a few of things I hope to accomplish this summer.  A to-do list of sorts that is really more for me (because if I don't put them down on 'paper' I'm more apt to push them to the back-burner). 

  1. Read books.  Lots of them.  I'm two books down and almost finished with my third.  That's more books read in 2 weeks than I read all of last year.

  1. Relax by the pool.  I'm all over that one.  In fact, between Sunday and Wednesday, I probably spent about 12 hours poolside.  If it weren't for the incessant rain today, I'd be out there right now.

  1. Paint my living room, bathroom, and kitchen.  I'm looking at rust, gray, and chalkboard, respectively.

  1. Paint new paintings for my classroom and bathroom.

  1. Submit a piece of writing to be published.  First on the list is Real Simple's Fourth Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest.  I wrote an essay for this last summer, but didn't make it to the submission part.  

  1. Drink as many iced vanilla lattes as I can.  I also discovered McDonald’s Iced Strawberry Lemonades last week—dangerously delicious.  Darn it.

  1. Cook lots of meals for Jake to make up for his lack of home-cooked meals this past year.

  1. Watch So You Think You Can Dance faithfully (because it’s not summer without it).

  1. Watch all seven Harry Potter movies before the final installment comes out July 15.  I had high hopes of re-reading all the books as well, but I think I’m just going to settle for re-reading The Deathly Hallows.

  1.  Go to the gym at least 5 times a week.  It’s Thursday and I’ve been twice.  I’m on better terms with the treadmill now and I discovered that Pilates is a lot harder than it sounds.  

So, there you go.  If this blog gets sporadically written on (as has been the recent trend), it’s probably because I’m doing one of the above ten things.  Either that, or I’m doing absolutely nothing.  I’ve been known to do a lot of that lately too. It's all very eudaemonic.