Mar 4, 2015

Cupcake Roadkill



When I was in kindergarten, my mom made pink frosted cupcakes, for me to bring to school on my birthday. I couldn't wait to carry them in to my classroom. Those cupcakes would make me the immediate star of the day; everyone's best friend.
But when we got to school, the cupcakes were not in the back seat. Mom remembered putting them on the roof of the car, back in the driveway...
I'll never forget that sight, when we rounded the corner. There were all of my pink cupcakes, dotting the street in front of our house, where cars had been running over them. It was the most tragic thing my five-year-old self had ever laid eyes on.
Cupcake roadkill.
Come read the rest on my new blog, and sign up for either email or feed updates! 
(In case you missed it, I moved a while ago... but don't feel badly. My husband missed it, too! Honey, if that's you reading... come on over. You'll like the new blog. :))

Jan 29, 2015

Tiny Paragraphs is MOVING!


Dear Tiny Paragraph Readers,

I'm kind of nostalgic. I've been a Blogger Girl for about 4 years now. But sadly, it's time to move.

Everytime I ask someone, "Why can't people post a comment from their phone?" or "Why don't my pictures load properly onto facebook?" or "Why can't I get the 'like button' onto my blog?".... the response is always the same:

"Oh... you're using Blogger? That might be the problem."

Well, fiddlesticks.

So, I've set up my blog www.shannonpopkin.com--and I'm excited to take advantage of Wordpress.com's features for non-technical people, like moi!

I hope you'll come join me there! It wouldn't be the same without you. :(

I want you to know that I tried reaaaaaally hard to move my feed so that you, dear reader, wouldn't have to do a thing. But, alas, life is complicated.

BIG FIDDLESTICKS.

So, if you're a subscriber, here's what to do to RE-subscribe (and keep the tiny paragraphs comin'!):


  • If you're on a PC, go to www.shannonpopkin.com and look for the email subscription or RSS feed subscription in the TOP RIGHT CORNER. Email subscribers will get a confirmation email, which allows you to manage your subscription (bonus!). 


  • If you're on your phone, go to www.shannonpopkin.com and scroll to the BOTTOM of the page, and look for the email subscription or RSS feed button, there.
  • If you just find me on facebook or pinterest, you won't have to do a thing!)

Please let me know if you have trouble. I'd hate to leave you behind!

On a serious note, THANK YOU so much for reading. You make writing worth it! Some of you have let me fill your inbox, your feed reader, and your heart with my tiny paragraphs for over SIX YEARS! That's amazing. I'm truly honored.

I'm excited to use my new blog platform to expand the ministry of Tiny Paragraphs even further. Would you help me do that by inviting a friend to visit? I'll be sure to make them feel welcome. :)

Warmly,

Shannon


Jan 21, 2015

The Un-plowed Driveway

We don't have a snow-blower.

My husband says, "Why would we have a snow-blower, when we have three healthy kids who need to learn to work?" So while other kids are inside sipping hot chocolate to get out of the cold, my husband is sending our kids out.

Once, when Lindsay was about seven, she came in from shoveling snow, with a burst of enthusiasm. She said, "Mom! There's this snowplow on our street right now, and it's going to all of the driveways,

Jan 13, 2015

Which Control Girl Should be Chopped: Miriam, Delilah, or Naomi?

Hi friends! I'm looking for a little input.

I've been holed up, working on my book Control Girl. I'm so excited about all the things God is showing me, but as my wordcount climbs, there is one chapter that needs to be CHOPPED!

I'd like you to help me choose which one.

I have three chapters yet to write, and I would love to study each of these Control Girls! But only two will make it into the book. Here are the three options, listed in chronological order.

  • Miriam: I Could do a Better Job than Him


From her small beginning as a slave girl to the day she led the dance on the Red Sea banks, God gifted and positioned Miriam to serve him. But like many gifted women in leadership, she felt slighted and overlooked. Using the powerful weapon of words, she tried to undermine her baby brother, but God used her skin—the very thing she had criticized about Moses’ wife—to remind her that freedom only comes from following His lead.

  • Delilah: I’ve Got the Power

Samson thought that the only way to be powerful was with muscles, but Delilah knew differently. Using her body and words, she pressed Samson to his breaking point, proving that she was stronger—but only because the true source of Samson’s strength had left him. Delilah is the perfect contrast to the godly wife who resourcefully uses the power of her body and words to do her husband good, not harm, all the days of his life.

  • Naomi: When Dreams Die


Naomi lost everything—her husband, her sons, and any sense of control over her future. In deep anxiety and desperation, she returned to her forsaken land with the daughter-in-law who refused to forsake her. Through beautiful, ripening providence, God demonstrated that he does not leave us empty-handed, but redeems our pasts, restores our dreams, and fills our laps with hope. 


So, which of these sounds most interesting? Which would you most like to study? Which one most correlates with your life? Which chapter would be most equip you for handling your own life struggles? Which do you think a friend would really enjoy? Which do you think you most need to study?

Now, which one didn't you name, just now? She's the one that should be chopped. Don't worry--each of these gals has gotten a lot of press. She won't be offended... because she's not a Control Girl anymore!

Please feel free to put your 'chop choice' in a comment here, or on facebook. Or email me at shanpopkin@gmail.com. Text is 616-450-1528.

Thanks so much for your help!


Jan 9, 2015

Recommended: The Hundred-Foot Journey

I love movies with redemptive underlying messages. I've talked before about evaluating books or movies, based on whether they celebrate good or evil. As you watch or read, do you want the characters to do what is right or what is wrong? Does the movie make you want to root for the same thing God does?

Though The Hundred-Foot Journey never mentions faith in God or living according to His ways, it does celebrate what God says is good and right. It's a movie seasoned, not just with interesting characters and beautiful footage, but bursting with redemptive flavor!

Here are a few of my favorite things. These would be great to discuss with your kids after watching together. (Warning: spoilers abound!)

Jan 1, 2015

I wanna be a nothin'.

I laughed as I read my friend Jocelyn's Christmas letter. She described how her 8-year-old, Elsa, has solidified her life plans--where she'll attend college, her field of study, and her career objectives after graduation.

Life is quite tidy for Elsa. Turning to her six-year-old brother, Elsa asks, "What do you want to be when you grow up, Ethan?"

"I wanna be a nothin'," Ethan says in a grumbly voice.

Dec 30, 2014

My Husband Went Running in the Dark, Scary Woods


When we lived in Lake Orion, our house backed up to a wooded state park. So Ken would get up very early and go running on the trails in the woods.

To me, this seemed very scary. From our back deck, those woods seemed so thick and ominous. And on winter mornings, it was so dark! So I said, "I don't think you should run back there! What if there was someone out there, in the woods? What if they attacked you?:

He laughed at me.

I said, "I'm serious! You should at least take a cell phone."

He laughed again. He said, "What should I do--call 911 and say, 'A big scary guy is attacking me somewhere in the woods'?"

I didn't think it was funny. Day after day, I told him how worried I was. I begged him to run on the well lit sidewalks of our neighborhood. Or at least wait till daylight. Finally, he said, "Look, Shannon. If anybody is in those woods, I think they should be scared of me."

He had a point. My husband is big and strong and he runs with his hood up. I suppose he would look pretty scary, coming through the woods in the dark. Since I'm his wife, I'm not used to picturing him as a threat. But someone trying to attack him would!

When I obsessed about my husband's safety, without realizing it, I was making a statement about him. I was communicating the level of confidence I had in his ability to handle himself.

Similarly, when I worry and obsess about what's 'out there' in the future, I'm making a statement about God. If I'm wringing my hands and fretting about this dark world that I, and my loved ones live in, I'm not exactly expressing supreme confidence in the exalted name of Jesus.

If I persist in my fear and worry, God says, "Look, Shannon. If any force is out there lurking in the darkness, I think they should be worried about Me."

And He's got a point. My God is powerful enough to vanquish any enemy. I suppose He would look pretty scary, coming at you in a fury of wrath! Since I belong to Him, I'm not used to picturing Him this way. But His enemies should!

We needn't worry about the ominous threats lurking in the darkness of the unknown. When we feel the worry creeping in, we must remind ourselves that God--who is our protector--can handle himself against any enemy. They need to worry about Him. 

Dec 19, 2014

Their Jesus Stocking would be emptier this year.

Each year, our friends, the Gebhards, put up a ‘Jesus Stocking’ at their house in December. All month, they collect money, and then use the funds to buy a gift for someone in need. All month, they thumb through the Samaritan’s purse catalog, hoping to be able purchase a dairy goat, stock a fish pond, or give toward a fresh water well.

Often when people come to their home, the Gebhards get to explain what the stocking is for, and sometimes their friends and family even throw a few dollars in because they think it’s a neat idea.

In all the years past, Kevin and Angela promised to match the girls’ gifts, along with what they had planned to give. But this year was different. Kevin had lost his job, and so while they would be giving a little bit, they told the girls it wouldn’t be as much as last year.

Kevin and Angela didn’t expect this to be as disappointing to their girls as it was. They had always totaled the gift at the end of the month and showed enthusiasm over how the number had grown compared to previous years, but that wasn’t really the point. The point was to give—which they still planned to do.

Together, the girls came up with a different plan. They told all of their grandparents, aunts and uncles—anyone who would have ordinarily given them a Christmas gift—that this year, in lieu of a gift, they would love for them to contribute to the Jesus stocking.

Their family members were incredibly touched by the tender hearts of these sweet girls. Not wanting a Christmas gift? Wanting to give instead of receive? That was the kind of Christmas spirit they wanted to endorse. So these family members gave to the Jesus stocking—and they probably gave more than they would have spent on gifts!

When the Gebhards totaled the amount, they were astounded. $1,005.00!! It was the biggest amount they had ever been blessed to give! And the joy they might have experienced by unwrapping gifts was far exceeded by emptying their Jesus stocking, and giving to others.


May God grant your family a season of great giving and great joy. 

The Gebhards

Dec 17, 2014

"It's not a competition."

As I strolled through the room of tables, which were all decorated and ready for our ladies' Christmas event that evening, I heard someone say, "It's not a competition."

Of course we were all aware that no one was scoring or ranking the tables, but I knew what she meant. Nobody wants the be the table that everyone walks past, thinking silently, "That one isn't very pretty," or "... isn't very original," or "...didn't require a lot of creativity."

Dec 13, 2014

He Asked if I was Affordable

Last week, Ken and I went out of town for a little getaway. While Ken was running an errand, a man knocked on the door of our hotel room. I looked through the peephole, and saw that he had a red sweater on, which to me, symbolized 'employee', so I turned the knob.

But the man was not a hotel employee. Through my cracked door, he asked cheerfully, "Are you affordable?"

Immediately appalled at what this implied, I gave him a disgusted, "No!" and slammed the door.