Monday, January 30, 2012

The Random Stuff - From Coffee Addiction to Childhood Dreams - Get to Know A Little More About Me

So I thought sharing a little of the random stuff about me would be fun. And you may get to know me a little better from afar! Enjoy, and please share with me some of the random stuff about yourself too.
Not an ice cream fan, unless it's chocolate or Ben & Jerry's...
I would eat a chocolate every day. Instead I sometimes eat chocolate every day.

I'm addicted to coffee. But I can quit when I want to - I promise.

What activities did I enjoy as a kid? Dance was one of several others... Add winter outdoor activities to that mix...

I crave gourmet pizza in every country: grilled chicken with preferably a white sauce, extra garlic, artichokes, avocado slices, and mozzarella - I made it up myself. It's so good!

Leviticus is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Ask me about it. :)

I like to hang out in coffee shops (with or without bookstores) with a friend, a book, or alone. People can overload me - I need alone time. Being alone too much is unhealthy for me - make me go out.

Silence is my friend. Music is therapeutic. Nature is life-giving. Words are inspirational.

I began writing poetry as a child.

I love relationships - I mean, building friendships, really.

I love Encouraging and Empowering but not as the Entertainment (i.e. I don't like being the center of attention).

In my next life (pretend), I would be a novelist, landscape artist, criminal profiler...or undercover CIA agent. You never know... ;)

I have two high school diplomas. Figure that one out.

How many of my family pets died before I turned 10? 5+

I can't figure myself out...

I need alone time to process. And I'm a verbal processor.

In my life I have been called shy, confident, stuck up, blunt, sensitive, and outgoing - this could be confusing.

The task side of me (needing to get the job done) and my relational side were at war. Relational won. I quit my job to be a missionary. Now my task is to be relational. (My head and heart have similar wars - only it's daily...)

I love to travel. I want to go everywhere. And I want a home.
My beautiful mountains at my childhood home.

I love learning. So I may know a little about a lot of things and not much about anything.

I want to be a better listener and less selfish. I hate shopping especially with people because then I can't leave when clothes aren't fitting me. Trying on pants is the worst.

Growing up, I never wanted to be a missionary. It looked too hard. And they came from special factories in heaven - not where all of us common people were made. Later I realized that they are just normal people too.

I need to practice patience and flexibility. Maybe that is why God led me into missions.

I love outdoor stores!

When I was little, I wanted to play the drums and saxophone, be a helicopter pilot, and enter the Olympics in this sport?

You can comment or e-mail back and ask me more questions. But how about you? Be random, crazy, serious, introspective, and/or relational. I'd love it and love knowing more about you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

October 27 - Why My Birthday Is Cool

On a random day or maybe as you got closer to that expectant or looming day (depending on the number and well, your state of mind), have you ever wondered how many people you know of who share your birthday? 

...and not the year because that is harder to find. All of my life I have encountered multiple people sharing the same birthday, but my own day October 27th, remained mine alone. Maybe I saw this as "I am unique and have my own special day." But probably not, because I don't always have the best memories of birthdays. Being a shy little girl and not liking surprises, I was reduced me to tears one birthday when my mom invited guests over without my knowledge. In college I was one of the oldest of my friends and after not having a great day anyway, I was surprised with an "Over the Hill" party, tombstone, black balloons and all - I was turning the "ripe, old" age of 23. They weren't all bad, mind you - my friends were saying they loved and valued me - in an interesting way. My 26th birthday was quite memorable - on a good note - when my friends and a bunch of my high school youth group girls surprised me. They were mostly 16 year olds... What a great way to feel young again!

But I still wanted to share a birthday. When I was a child, I thought twins were cool, so sharing a birthday would be cool too. I went on to meet people with birthdays October 26th and October 28th but still not on my day. My first college roommate's birthday was exactly one week before mine, October 21st, and we were born the same year too.  In 2008, I met my birthday twin - finally, albeit he was born a decade earlier and from far away - another country Brazil and continent South America. He was a student in YWAM's Discipleship Training School that I staffed that year. Then 2011 rolled around with another "special" day that I'm not too keen on - my 32nd year - #1) because yes, maybe I need to comes to terms with aging, and #2) I don't like the attention which comes from big groups that are often a part of birthdays. There was cause for joy of the best kind that birthday - my cousin gave birth to a precious baby boy! This is special for me because I will at least remember one relative's birthday, and I have another great reason to celebrate.

So why write about my birthday today? Well, 32 years and some odd months later I happened to look up famous people who share my special day via the scientific means of Google. Here are a few:  

1466 - Erasmus, Dutch humanist and theologian (d. 1536)  - interesting...
1728 - James Cook, Scotland, captain/explorer, discovered Sandwich Islands
1809 - Peter "Peerke" Donders, Dutch RC missionary to Suriname
1811 - Issac Merrit Singer, inventor (1st practical home sewing machine) - that's for you, mom.
1858 - Theodore Roosevelt, NYC, (R) 26th Pres (1901-09; Nobel 1906) - U.S. President, Rough Rider...
1872 - Emily Post, authority on social behavior/writer (Etiquette)
1873 - Henry Tate, composer
1896 - Edith Haisman, Titanic survivor - could it be Rose from the blockbuster movie? ;)
1917 - Oliver Tambo, co-founder (African National Congress) - commonality with South Africa.
1932 - Sylvia Plath, [Victoria Lucas], US, poet (Colossus, 3 Women, Bell Jar)
1984 - Kelly Osbourne, English television personality - haha, for the younger generation!

Many interesting people did come out of that day. Some of them did pretty great things, but the results of my life do not need to be rated big or small or compared to others. Someone bigger than me gives my life worth and value because He is worthy. It gives me hope that although part of my life is spent - some of it wasted and mistakes made - there is a reason to my life because I was created with purpose. 

Psalm 139:13-16 are often quoted for this, but it is so beautifully true.

"For you formed my inward parts;
   you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
   my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
   intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
   the days that were formed for me,
   when as yet there was none of them."(ESV)

It was no mistake that I was born October 27th and have lived 32 full years and maybe, I'll live on - one moment, one day, one year at a time.

What are your thoughts about your birthday? Anyone intriguing or notable to you who you share a birthday with? Does this affect you? If so, how?

To look up your own famous birthday, go to (or look up on, but be inspired to live who you were made to be - purposefully created to be unlike any other! You can also look up famous events on that day: and

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Shack City

I wanted to repost my story The Shack City from July 2011 because it demonstrates the people I go to in South Africa, Bringing Hope to Shack Cities. Thank you for Listening, Shannon

She had three small children and lived in a shack that smelled of pee. All she desired was a job and to stay healthy for her kids. Her oldest girl was in primary school. The littlest scarfed a yoghurt cup with her fingers – no need of a spoon for a hungry tummy. And the middle one’s smile brightened beyond her decaying teeth. Her hugs were given willingly – craving attention and love – probably.

The strangers entered their streets, on timid feet. Noses wrinkling and suppressing dank stenches, eyes wary of discarded items that had never discovered a garbage can. Watching for hostiles who’d want an easy dollar, and searching for those He had called – for He was not immune but responding to their holler.

They stepped out with “hi’s” and met potential eyes with kind and ready smiles, hopeful spirits, and a willingness to obey, they asked, “How are you today?” “Would we be able to pray?” With each “yes” and dialogue of requests their boldness grew and their hearts hurt. They hungered for they knew God’s call for these, the lost, and they understood there were more than a few.

The response was great…“for a job,” “to care for…” “to feed my family.” Basic needs were lacking in the Shack City, but the unspoken yearning was greater as hearts cried, “I need hope to light my dead eyes.” “I need a way out.” “I need a new life.” “I need someone to hear…to answer.” “Why?” “Why do I suffer?” “Why – Is this my lot in life?”

The strangers with timid steps were strangers no longer, but they were partakers in suffering, sharing the burdens – Givers of Life to the Dying and Thirsty. They were companions now to the broken woman and her three dirty but smiling children – never to forget the need for True Life in the destitute Shack City. 

Note: I visited a Shack City near Cape Town, South Africa and saw a glimpse of hopelessness and many do not know True Life. I saw those living in poverty, with no jobs, and little for their families. They live in shack cities, the slums, called “townships” in South Africa. There they live and die. There they laugh and cry and fight and love. There they have needs - to provide for their families and impact their communities. And there they need the transforming Hope of Jesus Christ. 

“O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; 
you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, 
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”
~ Psalm 10:17-18 ~

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Best Day of All

~ a children's Christmas story (imagine with illustrations) ~
By Shannon Mintz
December 16, 2011

There were two little girls who attended the same little school.
They were the same age and grade and about the same height.
They liked dolls and princesses and playing on the swings the best.
But they weren’t the same in everything.

They had different personalities and different favorite subjects.
One liked science and the other history.
One had two brothers and the other a little sister.
One had a mommy and daddy and the other, just a mommy.

These two little girls lived in two different neighborhoods
and in two very different homes
One with handsome presents under a sparkling tree
and yummy smells of dinner filling many rooms.
And the other lived with many people and little space.
The only thing made of a tree was wood for a single chair.

No dinner roasted in the oven for all to feast,
only potatoes awaited – a common fare.
No presents were seen in shining paper,
only one small gift was wrapped in a discarded newspaper.

It was time to get up and time to go to school.
It was the day of the class Christmas party – the best day of all.
The one little girl picked up the newspaper-covered gift,
and her mommy stated, “That is your Christmas gift.”
She quietly replied, “I know, Mommy. I know,”
and confidently walked out the door.

At school the children all gathered around the Christmas tree
and sang Christmas songs. They laughed, and they smiled.
They played fun games and ate too many delicious Christmas cookies.
It was the best day of all.

Then it was time for the gift exchange,
and each child was excited for what gift he or she would receive.
The one little girl waited with her newspaper-wrinkled gift.
Her name was called, and she walked over to the other little girl
from the big and nice-smelling home.

“This is my Christmas gift. I want you to have it,” she simply said.
The other little girl tore at the newspaper
to uncover a small and handmade, patched Teddy bear.
She responded with a smile and a “thank you.”
“I’ve never had one like this before.”
The one little girl with little at home returned the smile –
For today was the best day of all.

That evening the one little girl who had given her little gift away arrived home.
Her mommy asked, “What did you do with your Christmas gift?
 You know, I only had enough money to give you one gift this year.”
“I know, Mommy. I know. But she is my best friend of all…”
Her statement was interrupted by a knock on the door.

And there stood the other little girl with her mommy and daddy.
The other little girl said, “You are the best friend I’ve ever had,
and today you gave me all you had.
Will your family have Christmas dinner with mine?”
And for the other little girl with much at home 
that day became the best day of all.
As we are surrounded by Christmas spirit this time of year, Christmas trees and lights and songs and food and – not to be left out – Christmas shopping, extravagance, and wealth, someone asked me if I ever thought about the children who would not get a gift this Christmas? About the parents who couldn’t afford to? 

Many children in the U.S. this year will not receive Christmas gifts, but my thoughts also go to South Africa (where I will be serving) where many children, who live in townships, don’t ever receive a single gift, let alone at Christmas. I read a news story the other day about some generous Americans who are paying off strangers’ lay-aways at K-Mart so that these families experiencing economic difficulties will be blessed this Christmas season. As I thought of what to give to others this Christmas, I reflected on how much I already have, and the wealth of things many of us in America are blessed with. But there are families with little; there are children with nothing – here in the U.S. and around the world. I ask myself, what can I learn from these little girls in the above story that Christmas goes beyond the getting and even the gifts to the giving from the heart? So what can I give – because I already have so much – in order to bless others?

What or how can you give it doesn't have to be Christmas but as a new way of thinking and a new way of living – because you have – to those that have little?  

You can demonstrate hope and love to a child and to a family during this New Year of 2012. Maybe they will be blessed, but just maybe your heart will change a little as a result.