Moving on

This is me writing yesterday.


This is me writing today.


Thanks to all who shared thoughtful and gracious comments (both of approval and disapproval), and thanks to everyone else as well. I would just call to mind two things that I say in my blogging purpose statement; they seem to fit.

“I make a continual and deliberate effort to reveal the fact that I am a common woman who thinks that both dungeons and pedestals are restricting, and all humans need real faces.”

Which being interpreted is, I am human and permitted to say what I think, including the occasional really dumb thing for which I may pay through the teeth. (And believe me, I have.) You are allowed to speak your mind as well, and you do not have to agree with me or approve of me.

“I am here to encourage you, to humor you, and once in a while to infuriate you—”

—and I do the latter as infrequently as possible.

We go on.

Coming up soon we have

Giveaway Results
Rumpelstiltskin Reloaded —no, I did not forget
and A Christmas Hymnsing

No sensibilities should be harmed in the making of these blog posts.


In which I step briefly onto my soapbox

*This post has been edited to remove a word that was causing offense to too many. I asked you to push back on me and you did. It’s not offensive to me personally, but quite frankly it’s not worth fighting for. I stand corrected.


Dear people,

Could we all please stop kidding* each other by claiming that X has solved all of our problems?

Let me tell you something. There is nothing you can eat [gluten free] or drink [oxygenated water] or blend [Plexus] or otherwise imbibe [marijuana] that will heal the broken places of your world.

This power belongs only to Jesus Christ.

Stop telling me that if we moved illegal immigrants out of America we’d have the perfect nation. Stop telling me that if I ate carbs and proteins separately I could have the perfect body. Stop telling me that if I got my hormones in line I’d feel like a million bucks forever.

It’s just not true. No matter how worthwhile a cause or product is in itself, it’s simply not making your life complete.

You and I live with broken bodies in an imperfect world.

End of story.

Please consider the gospel you preach. There is no cure for human suffering except the one found in the person of Jesus and His final redemption. It’s coming, folks. Wait for it. And don’t confuse it with the next political bill or diet book—

Love as always,

Warning of forthcoming sin

Confession: I’m going to commit an unforgiveable sin this week. Two of them.

I’m going to host another giveaway tomorrow.

And then I’m going to publish a post that contains the word “gluten.” And a bad word.*

*Unless of course I get cold feet, a health condition I am much prone to.

I have to give this disclaimer ahead of time, for my own sanity and for conscience’ sake. I have always hosted giveaways at least a month apart, to discourage greed in you and commercialism in me. This is intentional and I prefer to keep it that way.

Giveaways boost my stats temporarily, but I have given up faith that they matter much in the long run. I now host them as a means to an end: for you to discover and I to defend the products and authors I care about. {Still, it is fun to watch you come out of your holes.}

And the other post? I am a mercy person and much less forthright in real life than in writing. I am perpetually afraid of offending someone, and I have gotten gun-shy in writing as well, lest something hit the fan. But sometimes when even a mercy person gets tweaked so long, she stands up on her soapbox and preaches like a boss.

I suspect that I cause offense to at least half of you at least half of the time—not that you are deeply disturbed by what I say, but that it means nothing to you. Those of you who love my occasional humor and clear-headedness are probably bored to tears by my crafts and recipes. Those of you who love my hands-on projects probably wish I’d get off my theology already. It is the cost of having a popcorn blog: whatever comes to mind in the wide, wide world.

I’m considering renaming my blog Something For Everyone: Shari Zook’s Collection of the Bizarre, the Outdated, and the Macabre.

And the purists who want me innocent may object to the mercenary side of advertising.

Sometimes I object to it too. I am thinking on it, and welcome your input. Meanwhile I do not mind advertising products I actually love, however apologetic I may feel about the timing.

Matthew at Christian Learning Resource said their big push on this brand new cookbook is now, actually—just in time for Christmas—and there’s free shipping until December 10— And I said “Yes of course. I’d love to host a giveaway.”

So here we are. Hang in there. Push back on me when you think I’m getting lopsided or big-headed. And ignore the parts of me you don’t like. This is just a blog: that’s your prerogative.

Plus, I ignore the parts of me I don’t like all the time. Let’s ignore me together.

Till tomorrow then!


Any thoughts? I’m listening.


Popcorn [pop’ corn] Noun

a. A delicious snack made from superheating the dried kernels of corn.

b. A brief and random collection of thoughts and experiences. A smattering.

popcorn and a book

  • Last night I thought that with popcorn, coffee, and The Fellowship of the Ring, my world was as complete as it could ever be. Except I drank the coffee too fast.
  • Someone I just learned to really love is leaving facebook in submission to her husband. I am full of admiration and sorrow.
  • I am trying to decide if I can babysit a bunny for my friend’s children. He is a most beautiful bunny named Jo-Jo and we would all love having him here. But can I run the risk of him getting lost, eaten, or harassed in the meantime? Can I really take the happiness of her children into my hands? Hmm.
  • Someone in my church offered a pastor appreciation gift: keeping our children for several hours one evening and sending my husband and I off with a complimentary picnic lunch. I cannot imagine any more perfect gift. Do it for your pastor soon: unless you are in my church. In which case you should find a different way to bless me, soon.
  • If anyone takes that seriously I will cry.
  • I’m taking my mom along when we go school shopping on Wednesday. Our August schedule has pushed the date later than I would ever have chosen. But I think having Mom along will make me and my three littles very peaceful, especially with a break for donuts halfway through.
  • My husband just gave me four Pinocchios for a line I wrote. And worse, he was right.
  • I do not know what this is:

porcelain knob

…a little porcelain knob with a hole. My son found it in the woods. Do you know?

  • My siblings and I are having an email discussion/ share time about what it was like growing up as the children of John Coblentz. My dad initiated this conversation by sending us a link and inviting our thoughts. I like this about him, and I am discovering things about us that I never knew.
  • I have a big project with a looming deadline and I am not getting to it. And I’m trying not to look at the state of my garden.
  • But I spent a very sweet weekend of oasis with some beautiful ladies. And I’m ready to come back to my normal, humdrum, exquisite life and live happily ever after.
  • Sometimes I don’t know how to thank you guys for reading my blog. And clicking on my ads. And blessing me every week with your sweet words. I don’t know blogger etiquette very well; I try to stay out of my own comment section because that’s YOUR place to talk and I don’t want to dominate and micromanage. But so often I wish I could click “like” about what you said, or give you a hug, or tell you how much your words mean. So thank you. I don’t know how to say it without getting all maudlin on you, but it means the world.




Share your popcorn?

Does God notice?

“Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

“I am running away from my mistress,” she said.

Then the angel of the Lord said, “Return to your mistress and submit to her authority. I will give you more descendants than you can count. You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (God hears), for the Lord has heard about your misery.”

Thereafter Hager referred to the Lord, who had spoken to her, as El-Roi, “the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have seen the One who sees me!”

Genesis 16


“Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from?”

I am running, running away from my mistress. I can answer you this, for it runs in my mind like a wheel. I am running, I am running away.

“Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where are you going?”

Do not ask me where I am going, oh shining one. I cannot answer. I am only running and I do not know where. Far away, far away, far away.


Surely you do not mean it?

To your mistress—

Oh shining one I cannot, I cannot. To the proud mistress who treated me harshly, to the jealous mistress I supplanted, to the barren mistress before whom I tossed my shining hair and paraded my growing belly and rolled my sated eyes? I am filled with hatred for myself and for her.

And submit to her authority.”

In my mouth the bitter tastes of desert thirst and hard obedience are mingled. I do not ask you why, for there is righteousness in your command to me, but I ask you—how? This thing you are asking will be death to me and my child and I ask you this question—how can I?

“I will give you more descendants than you can count.”

The fragile life of my baby flutters against me, so frail, so helpless. This is not the end?

“You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son.”

A son! I feared I could not carry him to completion, a penalty for my pride. I feared that, born, he would fall prey to my jealous mistress. A thousand things could snuff out this tiny life, and she will never give me the chance to win another. You say he will live? He will prosper?

“You are to name him Ishmael (God hears), for the Lord has heard about your misery.”

Can it be? Here in the desert with a frail life fluttering and a heart sick crying, you heard and you saw. There in his tent you saw her hand raised against me, you heard her cruel words of shame. Not one tear, one task, one flinch escaped your view. You noticed.

Shining one, you have answered. I will give my son this name Ishmael and when I speak it, I will remember we are not forgotten. We are not lost in a void. We are not a cosmic mistake.

Your eyes are on us forever. And mine, at last, have looked up and met them.

Come, darling. Come, most precious unborn son. Mama has a long walk to take…


When I speak of my faith being shaken, I mean this question most of all: Does God notice? My husband and I have walked in a long eight months of silence, waiting for God’s next move. Like every good chess player, He spends much time in thought and I am tempted to believe His mind is elsewhere. Hagar named him The God Who Sees, and it was my mentor who first spoke this sentence to me: His eyes are on you forever. Somehow, then, I know I can bear it…

If you are by chance walking in a similar time of doubt and silence, I pray He will meet you as El-Roi.