Yeah, There’s an App for That


I want to puke. I wish I could hurl the ugly and abusive practices and realities out of myself and out of this place and run far away. I’d never come back. I’d never let anyone come back. We’d never look at this agin except to recover from it.

I’m speaking of sexual trafficking and prostitution. Learning about this breaks me and you wide open and hurt, but for the sake of those dear ones broken wide open so terribly and often, let us learn a little, please.

Allow me to splat facts at you.

There are 27 million estimated trafficked people in the world.Roughly 80% are women. Roughly 80% of trafficking is sexually related.

There are twenty-one million women being sold for their bodies.

I knew about this. I remember hearing that word – prostitute – as a child when my parents read us some of the Bible stories and interrupting hastily “what is that?” “When you’re older, sweetheart.” Sweetheart. Thankfully, I trusted that God-forsaken knowledge to my parents for many years. Sweetheart.

I don’t want to think of the false endearments these girls hear every night.

Then I learned what it meant. I learned it happened in the past. Somewhere, I learned that it wasn’t just a thing of the past. In my innocent, darling-ed and sweetheart-ed and childlike life, I didn’t connect it to now. I didn’t connect it to here. I didn’t connect it to places I have been, places I have lived, or people I could have been.

I did, though. Last year. I wandered a bit on that world wide web and tangled myself in something crying for justice. I blinked and recoiled and wondered and grew a little angry.

No. Not in this place. Not in this time. Not to these people – to any people. No.

But yes. Yes in truck stops when she stretches her legs. Yes in cafes where her customer service plays to his stalking. Yes in broken homes where Mom’s boyfriend never should. Yes in destroyed families where the paternal one isn’t called Daddy. Yes in times when she just felt lonely and he just pretended to love. Yes when she trusts someone new and he breaks somebody new. Yes when that’s what Mom did, and it seemed like a living. Yes when brothels are legal some places.

Somebody cry with me! I don’t want to write anymore.

That is not all. Achingly not all. See India?

Yes when Mama and Papa groom her for this. Yes when one whose pockets jingle “needs” her. Yes when her sister or mama needs money. Yes when she is promised a job and receives a beating.

Let me show you something.

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I love these beautiful little honeys, these sisters of mine. It’s a lovely thing knowing they’re alive and gorgeous and happy, and just loving them and them loving me – we’re glad together.

And yeah, I have dark nights and weepy days and tests I don’t pass and a temper I don’t want to tell you about, and I struggle to comfort them and we all cry together or take selfies for instagram when we should be laughing (and eating our unfrozen yogurt).

But. We have a beautiful life. We have not been owned, but nourished. We have not been sold, but sold ourselves out to God. We have not been cheaply priced by pricelessly loved.

I cherish our freedom.


The pain and anger you read (recoiled from?) at the beginning of this post come from a deep angst over a new app – an app to connect johns with pimps and prostitutes. With the simplicity of tapping a button, they can put in their preferences. Not only can people search for this stuff and find it, but it has been organized and searched out for them. I am horrified. Please take the time to read this article by Eric Metaxas.

Be shocked and angered with me.

I can’t say more now. I will, because I can, and I care. But now now. Please come back and see it. I’m going to India, and I’ve hosted 5k runs, and I love the sweet abused hearts of those girls, and I have stories and hurts and victories to share, and I want you to be educated about this.

We can help, folks. Please begin by praying for these girls.

Grace always,



Thai Noodles and Sapphires

Happy Thursday!

Let it be known: I like food. Much.

I also love reading.

So maybe this post makes sense, somehow?

First, the review.

Thai Noodles and Sapphires - Book

Ruth Reichl’s “Garlic and Sapphires” is the book making me all sleepy-eyed and coffee-cravin’ in the morning right now. I was all gonna make this a classy review, but I’d rather be honest than try to fool you. I’ve only ever written one book review (years ago, and probably poorly) so I’m just going to follow Sarah’s example, and use Goodreads’ blurb, my own thoughts, and what the writer in me learned.

Goodreads: Ruth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, knows a thing or two about food. She also knows that as the most important food critic in the country, you need to be anonymous when reviewing some of the most high-profile establishments in the biggest restaurant town in the world–a charge she took very seriously, taking on the guise of a series of eccentric personalities. In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl reveals the comic absurdity, artifice, and excellence to be found in the sumptuously appointed stages of the epicurean world and gives us–along with some of her favorite recipes and reviews–her remarkable reflections on how one’s outer appearance can influence one’s inner character, expectations, and appetites, not to mention the quality of service one receives.

My thoughts: Each character Reichl discovered makes me wonder what other people might be hidden inside of me. I’ve made acquaintance of a few, I think. I like them. But what else could I be with my next haircut, job, project, trip? Might more people be like this with characters in onion layers or rainbow stripes? It’s an interesting concept. At the same time, it’s interesting to see Reichl underneath each one, just trying characters on for taste. I notice that often, after she finds a disguise that emphasizes one extreme of her character, she defaults to to some antithical trait. For example, after dressing and acting as her mom (who sent almost every dish back as unsatisfactory), she discovered Brenda, who saw everything in rose-colored glasses and who brought out the best in anyone she met.

Also, Reichl makes food interesting. I have always like eating, but Reichl makes fuelling oneself into a panorama delight of texture, color, taste and even fellowship. It seems lovely. Perhaps that was meals were really meant for. Of course not all lunches are feasts, but might food and company be more pleasant than boiling another batch of potatoes?

As a writer: It’s a fabulous and important concept to be different in writing. I’ve always  striven for a different style. Something poignant and unique and lovely and varied. Reichl is not. She writes bluntly about the facts and descriptively about the important details. The difference is that the story she tells is different. Obviously, people who do not write well won’t get hired for the new York times. That said, I don’t particularly like Reichl’s writing style. However, she takes a story (that anyone could chalk up as “just life”) and tells it like the odd, sweet, crooked, colorful story that it is. I take it as a reminder that each charming little life is that – a story. A palette. A set of words, just waiting to be put in order and written down.

Now for those that love food like I do.

Here is a recipe that seemed to me like something Reichl would have liked.

Thai Noodles and Sapphires - Noodles


Spicy Thai Noodles

Recipe credit doesn’t actually to go Reichl – I found this recipe on pinterest and traced it to LeAnna. (Sorta kinda imitated her photo. It was lovely, what can I say?)

Combine 1 tsp. crushed (or ground) red pepper with 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup sesame oil. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, and then strain the pepper out of the oil – save the oil! (I used ground red pepper, and put a coffee filter in my colander to strain it.)

Whisk 6 tbs of honey and 6 tbs of soy sauce into the oil. Now, this will separate a little as soon as you stop whisking. The point is to get the honey thoroughly mixed in, and then before you combine it with the noodles, whisk it up a bit.

Boil and drain a package of angel hair or thin spaghetti.

Poor the oil mixture over the noodles and toss it together.

Chop: 1/2 cup green onions. 1/2 cup cilantro. 3/4 cups peanuts.

Shred: two peeled carrots.

Toss these last four ingredients in with the pasta, and enjoy!

My family loved this dish, but the noodles did get a little hot. I may have simmered the red pepper too long, however. Make sure it’s only 2 minutes, or use less if it’s too much for you.

So. Got any favorite ethnic recipes, or books?

The Dailies

There’s a lovely soul I know. She (Ann Voskamp) talks about counting grace and giving thanks and trying trying to keep your pen and grace-list up and speedy with God’s grace to you. It’s been a struggle for me – me who loves and ponders words and holds laughter like a mis-timed jack-in-the-box that springs up unwarranted. Me who answers pastor’s “Are you in love with life” pulpit question with the slickest, happiest “yes, I love life”. Me who counts blessings separate in each little leaf and moon-beam and joke.

But much as my little heart wanders from joy to thirst with the quickness of a deserter, so also God’s grace is something I cannot stop declaring.

It’s in my name.

Gianna. God is gracious.

My existence, my handle, my identity all declare his glory and generosity.

I love it that way. I love the way my name testifies to his love, and my pen can testify to his faithfulness in all the little daily things.

So that’s what this list is – the dailies. The sweet, the spicy, the beautiful and ponderous and laughable and shocking and happy and intelligent (maybe.)

Happy Monday!

Giant bubbles with rainbow skin shrinking back in a slow, soft pop? Yes.

This happy, random story. Ah, but to be there. (Photo cred to Inna at Paperraindrops).

Dailies - Anni's Post

Society6 has lovely art, and Takmaj has some of the loveliest. Find some of it here.

Dailies - art

Those lyrics, and that cheer. Amen.

Then rain came down an artist, and painted everything bright and beautiful.

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Grace always!


Sunshine on my Shoulders

The crickets are going wild, sweet things. My feet hurt from running, and my heart is happy from bent-double laughing with friends.

Daylight is sleepy-gone. I lay down below the window and grope for starlight. Searching out the faint light in my room has become a relaxing ritual. There are stars most nights, and in the winter they settle into the netted branches of the trees like voluntary Christmas lights. The yard light shines on a photograph of my older sister and I, and there is another faint twinkle where light catches a certain curve of the window-latch. Sometimes moonlight settles across my bed and onto the collage on my closet doors.

I am enthralled by light – enchanted. Taken. Excited. Thrilled.

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John Denver gets me –

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy

Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry

Sunshine on the water looks so lovely

Sunshine almost always makes me high.

(Sunshine on my Shoulders – Denver).

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Sunshine is why I don’t close the kitchen blinds even when I can’t see for the glare of the sun on the dew. It’s why I hate wearing sunglasses, and why I may have missed catching the Frisbee for admiration of the sunset in the park.

The yard light silhouettes the trees against my window in a fluid, friendly shadow. Even when the stars are dancing privately behind a curtain of clouds and the moon has sailed around the curve, I will still have the rustling, light-imprinted leaves on my window and the soft square of light reflected by the photo of my sister and me.

Why is it I cling so to light? Why do people love the sun so much that we have a specific disorder for sun-deprived depression? Why do people I love find the least joy in months where there is the least sunshine?

I think there’s a heavenly reason for this bright, heavenly bliss we name summer afternoons. What if we were made to look at the sun and think of the Son? What if we’re meant to grow under this light to the world, and so also our souls deepen and strengthen under the Light of the World? Perhaps, just as without luminance of some sort, we cannot see, so also our spirits are blind without the illumination of the Spirit?

What if our God was brilliant enough to give us a symbol of himself in the form of simple joy?

Oh happy sunshine.

Grace always,


August Afternoon

All summer’s been scholastically oriented for me. Why don’t you take the summer off? they say. I want to graduate! I reply.

This afternoon was a happy sigh – just a lovely fit for an August day. 8.16.2014 August Afternoon


This sweet little fellow would have been content to lay there forever if only I would keep scratching his tummy. 8.16.14 August



The pup whose wee, chipper tail you see was curled up in Leah’s shadow a moment earlier, and she wanted a selfie with him. Lil’ Squirmy ain’t got time for that, I suppose.

8.16.2014 AA


Mmmm. Smelling the grass. Feeling the soft warm of a puppy by your side. Hearing the laughter of sweet Leah.  This is summer.

I must explain a bit about Leah. Henceforth – she will be called my sister because we have mutually decided that I am her big sister and she is my little Leah. It’s a fabulous arrangement.

Leah, Blog. Blog, Leah. And puppies.



Grace always,