Today, something very different. A tribute to bacon.
It’s a collection of bacon dishes from various U.S. cities.
Enjoy. Direct link to graphic:
Today, something very different. A tribute to bacon.
It’s a collection of bacon dishes from various U.S. cities.
Enjoy. Direct link to graphic:
In a previous post, I promised I would review some blogs and give a report on my favorites.
First, bear in mind that I read probably 20-30 blogs regularly, and others occasionally. For this reason, I won’t cover all of the ones I like, today. Now, don’t feel offended if yours, or one you dig, didn’t make it in. Instead, submit links of up to 3 of your favorite blogs in the comments, and we’ll visit them. I’ll consider them in a future “Blogs I Like” blog in January.
Also, I won’t cover blogs from super well-known people (think: kickin’ Alexa Rating), especially if I’ve already mentioned them in past posts.
Here are some new blogs I’ve started reading quite recently because of reader recommendations, or other connections:
Students of Jesus: Taking the Yoke of Discipleship Ray Hollenbach’s blog has a rich meditative vibe. Good content and thoughtful.
Teh=The Warwick Fuller is a bookish, 25% hipster, and an active dad and husband, who pens some worthwhile stuff. He’s fairly random with his topics, but I’m a fan. I also have a personal preference for his “Nana Stories” which are offbeat and charming.
Between the Sheets: A Novelist’s Adventures Heather Webb’s blog post are often delicious. Although I wish she posted more often, when she does she will often include amazing recipes.
Telling Stories Courtney Walsh is a scrappy author and scrapbooker whose site is awash in great visuals (photos, art, etc.), plus stories, and stuff on food, parenting, domestic diva/homemaking themes, rural life, and such. Likable!
Mom to 5: Full Time Mom, Part Time Sanity Sherri Jason has a great sense of humor, and she needs to, she’s be pregnant for years (if you add it all up). This reproductive quality is sort of a family tradition. Her sister Ginny also has 5 kids, and does guest posts on some Fridays, called Funny Farm Fridays. The antics of busy family life abound here, and many a busy parent can relate, or just be contented to know they don’t and won’t have enough children for a basketball team.
Awake My Soul Laura Crosby’s blog is insightful, honest, and nicely written. It’s a fairly recent venture (Feb 2011), but her welcome page made me realize that we’ve had the same sorts of thoughts about bloggers and blogging. So far, so good, Laura!
5 Personal Favorites:
Blogs and Bloggers for whom I make time to read…who are also not in the category of ”widely famed”…yet.
These authors post with predictability (most of the time) and have high quality content. Two musts for me to be a loyalist. (Yes, the list ought to be much longer, but I’m setting myself a limit…5….because I’m told this is healthy behavior.)
Ed Cyzewski Blog - In a Mirror Dimly is one of those blogs that is just consistently top notch. Ed posts frequently, and his installments can deepen your thinking, encourage you, and offer great insights. He focuses on spiritual things, practical theology, and writing. He’ll also write on other things he likes, gardening/canning, the outdoors, and rabbits.
Caleb Wilde‘s blog Confessions of a Funeral Director: Working At the Crossroads of This World and the Next might sound, well…dark and morbid, at first blush. Death is after all macabre. What is surprising and winsome about this blog is that Caleb offers hope, as a matter of course. His unique insights on living and yes, dying, are worth the read.
Christopher Cocca: Chris is funny, quirky, and interesting–all stuff I like. He’s sort of a hippie, too, in a nice way. This makes me feel young and “with it”. I’m hooked. Another great thing about Chris is that he’s generous, and regularly shares the love by promoting other writers.
Thom Turner Writer, editor (for GENERATE magazine), poet, and soulful guy, Thom has a blog called Everyday Liturgy. It’s a perfect read for a short and potent spiritual shot in your day. Lately he’s also been blogging about Food and Christian ethics. A weird mix, you say? Maybe, but it gets you thinking. And think you should. (sorry..got a wee bit yoda on ya’ll) I’m looking forward to Thom’s prayer book project as well.
Brett McCracken This hipster-esque writer is under-rated. Though he’s written for some big outfits The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN.com, The Princeton Theological Review, Mediascape, Books & Culture, and Christianity Today, to name a few, plus a very enjoyable book…
…I get the sense that he’s not receiving the props or reader traffic he truly deserves at his Still Searching blog. It’s like a “best kept secret” type of thing. Well, not on my watch, peoples. Not. On. My. Watch. Brett writes about culture, film, art, books, and stuff you’d expect to overhear at a college coffeehouse, if erudite students were hanging out…ya know, chillaxin’ and sh–tuff (Whoops, no one says chillaxin‘. It’s long “over,” dudes.) So. Right. Brett is pensive and interesting.
Who did I miss?
Did you know that Church and Relationship are synonyms?
This Thursday was the second week in a row that we had a friend come to play with Nathan. Michael is a year ahead of Nathan at his school. Michael, too, has autism and its noticeable in different and similar ways (more on that some other time). He’s an only child, and making friends is tough. It’s not natural for him, but the opportunities are few as well. Together, we’re changing that.
Having him and his mom here felt like ‘doing church’ in the most wonderful of ways. Their visit warmed my heart. “Church,” in this case, means that it’s the first time in much too long where I could tell that I, no we, were living life together. We were enjoying a deeper connection and community in a natural way. In ways we all hope for when we go to church. It feels like coming home with supper waiting for you. It consists of acceptance, warts, and joys, and all. The common was somehow sacred this Thursday.
My hope it that Michael always knows he’s fully accepted and valued here. He is. I’ve made a kind of internal vow for our home to be a safe and loving place for him to be himself. He’s picked up on that. If his mom’s work schedule allows they’ll be over again this Thursday. He says, “We have a meeting.”
I’ll try to put up some video soon, because the way these two boys interact is so hilarious and sweet, and I know you’ll love it.
Make Your Home “church”
Here are some tips, if you’d like to make your home a welcoming environment for a child with autism, so a visit is something to look forward to and enjoy. (Share this information with your children.)
• Structure. Don’t expect that a child visiting will just play. Or do well if there are toys and game around. For kids, with autism anyway, most must learn simple social skills and interactions and adapt through practice. It’s really awkward at first for them. But, it gets figured out through process. You might want to create something, cook something, or play a short game, all together. Doing something with a beginning, middle, and end will add sense to the visit for them. A free play or open-ended style of interactions won’t lend to a high quality visit.
• Time limit. When Michael visits, he likes to stay for 60-75 minutes. He tells us when he wants to go. This is great, but not all kids will know when enough is enough. This can be hard on everyone involved. Plan the get-together with a defined time frame–from the outset. I suggest 45 mites to start (this depends on the child. 30 minutes for a young child might be better). Later you can move to up to 90 minutes. But play for over 2 hours, or trying for an open ended meet up can be counter-productive. A defined time slot things end on a high note, and it’s fairly easy to prepare for the visit.
• Provide goodies. Ahead of time, ask if there are food preferences or allergy issues, and then make sure to offer a snack and beverage. Food is powerful. Use it wisely.
• Ask Questions. Make an effort to interact personally a few times. Ask a “yes” or “no” question, or an “either/or” question, and indicate your interest and acceptance right away, and along the way. Don’t expect anything, just do it. If it falls flat, try again in a little bit. Be Patient. Children are more like gardens than firecrackers. (So cultivate, rather than expect a dazzling display from a brief “matching”.)
• Issues of Eye Contact and Touch We take these social things for granted and generally know what is acceptable with others, and when and where eye contact and touch it is acceptable. Many disabled children do not. They may kiss you all of a sudden, or never even glance at you. Don’t expect them to make eye contact, and don’t try to touch them unless it seems very obvious that they wouldn’t mind. (Realize that for some kids, it feels painful to be touched. Yes, painful. Same goes for eye contact.) That being said, once I’ve built trust, I find kids really appreciate and respond well to a hand on the shoulder or back, or light pressure/touch on the arm, and they warm up to me very quickly. Since sometimes others are afraid to touch them (because they’ve seen big reactions), or because they don’t have friends they interact with closely, they are sort of touch-starved. Acceptable and respectful touch will establish trust. It’s surprising.
• Notice Stuff. Maybe mention that they look good in red, they are wearing cool shoes, or that they’re getting big and strong. See them. Then, say something to let them know. This shows them that they matter to you. Make concrete comments (facts) to them, about them. It gives them a sense of personhood, or place…at the table, if you will.
• Talk to the parents. This might seem obvious, but I’m always surprised at how much the parents of disabled children feel relieved to interact and relax with conversation and company. Encourage this. They don’t often get to “feel human” because of all the stress that goes along with caring for their child. (They’re “going” or “on” all the time. It’s exhausting.)
• Follow Up. Plan ahead for the next time, soon. Set up something that day, or within a week, to have another time together. If we don’t do this, it falls off our radar. Use a pen and mark the calendar. Consistency is key.
Verse of Reflection:
Matthew 25:44-45 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
Questions, comments, suggestions?
Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.
The olden hymn Bringing in the Sheaves they say was based on this verse. It seem like on Little House on Prairie if the scene was within the church walls, this is the song they’d be singing. But was it harvest time? Dunno.
The cooler weather has made me take the mental plunge into Autumn, and I have receipts to prove it…more on that in another post.
5 Things that are on my mind, now that it’s Autumn
2. Sweaters (and sweatshirts) cozy stuff. I love ‘em. This is, until it’s even too cold for them, then I’m distracted and moody with chill, and I wear my bathrobe over my clothes all day, and doubled socks.
3. Pumpkins Love to carve them, light ‘em up, and eat the many culinary pumpkin delights of the season.
4. The Sound of Crisp Leaves. I love crunching through leaves, and that smell of fall that goes with it. mmm.
5. Football. Sunday afternoons: snacks, coffee, and the Steelers.
(There. I’m stopping at 5.)
Now! What 5 Things do you think of with the coming of Autumn?
At first blush, sheep are lack-luster. Yet, Jesus called his followers sheep. Was it some kind of “divine dig,” or was it a profound insight for us to absorb? Or both? Most of us don’t raise sheep, so some of the sheep tie-ins and metaphors in the Bible are lost on us.
To remedy that, just a bit, here are 10 things amusing things about sheep. It could change the way you think about God and life. Tell me what you think. Actually, there are more than 10 listed, so think of it as bonus material.
1. Sheep are … um, well, sheepish…So, you know… shy…nervous, and they frighten easily, especially in response to noises.
2. Sheep are basically defenseless against predators (which are often of the canine variety.)
3. Because of their body shape, and bulky wool, sheep can fall over easily. They find it very difficult to right themselves independently. Staying on their backs can be fatal, and that’s not just because they can become someone’s meal. Gases in their four stomachs build up, and they can die in hours. Sounds Painful! Watch a sheep get righted.
4. Sheep are valuable: Besides being used for milk and meat, one pound of wool can make ten miles of yarn. Can you say “waterproof sweaters”? Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Three bags full.
5. Humans have been raising sheep for about 11,000 years, and spinning sheep wool into thread for about 5,000 years. But…why don’t sheep shrink after it rains? I have to know!
6. A lamb can identify its mother by her particular bleating sound. Hear a sheep bleating sound . (Ewe know you want to click it. )
8. Sheep have excellent senses of hearing and smell. (They also see well, and in color. However, because of where their eyes of located, their depth perception is shabby.)
9. Sheep avoid walking in water or moving through narrow openings. (Back to the sheepish bit, see?) Sheep also prefer to move into the wind and uphill more than down wind and downhill. (Maybe because they’re afraid they’ll flip over? Not so dumb, after all, huh?)
10. Sheep survive attacks by staying in a group. “Flocking”.
(And, in some places they race sheep. That’s right, I said “race”! Sheep can cover 220 yards in 17 seconds! I know…insane.)
Don’t you just love this sheep racing photo? Look at the expressions of sheer determination, even professionalism. Speaking of shear, is it against the rules in professional sheep racing to trim down their wool? I imagine they could shave 2 or 3 seconds off their times.
What surprised you about sheep in this post? Anything?
Now, think for a minute, in what ways are you like a sheep? Let me know, if you think of something.
Ya know, I feel like it’s time for a few more sheep jokes. Sadly, all the other ones I know are pretty Bahhhhd. Actually, the last time I told one (.3 seconds ago), it fell flat, and I started bleating like crazy.
Thanks for reading.
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NEW post: We’ve covered about 1,600 miles since Saturday.
First, we traveled to Greensburg/East of Pittsburgh to attend my mom’s wedding. It was the first wedding I’ve gone to where two other families watched via Skype. Ever happen to you? It was very hot, but no fights broke out, and now my Mom’s last name is Sutyak.
Then we went about 9 hours northwest to Gurnee, IL to visit my brother-in-law, Jeff, and his wife, Joy, and their five kids, in nearby Waukegan. The hotel stay in Gurnee had too many moments of horror (see previous post).
Timmy DeLay is the new Waukegan arrival, and first kiddo spawned from Jeff and Joy DeLay’s genes–A 20 lb, 4 month old, placid, curly-haired boy who is incredibly adorable. We went to Girodano’s for delicious Chicago-style stuffed pizza. Okay. You should be
jealous um… happy for me. It was wonderful! We also visited the Waukegan beach, (lake Michigan). The kids were really into burying each other in the sand, and we didn’t lose anyone…for too long.
On the way back we stayed in picturesque Bryan, OH. Wee fun fact: This town is the birthplace of Ohio Art (Etch-A-Sketch) and the Dum-Dum pop, (plus Saf-T-Pops®, Spangler® Candy Canes, and Spangler® Circus Peanuts). Bryan is so much like the perfectly cute little town set in the 1950s in Back-to-the-Future. Idyllic. Jackie Blu’s was a tasty place to eat, too.
Since we traveled so many hours on Sunday, I haven’t been very good at remembering what day it is. The practice of worship, and Christian fellowship each Sunday works like a reset button. It centers me, including such things as mundane as the order of days. Is it like that for you? Needless to say, tomorrow will be a recovery day…sort of a sabbath on a Friday. Tomorrow is Friday, right?
I wanted to share the lovely or interesting pictures from our Western Pa and midwestern adventure. So, Enjoy. Leave your questions or comments, if you’d like.
Where are you traveling soon?
If you still have your dad, I hope you do something nice for him this Sunday.
Gwyneth Paltrow lost her father a few months before mine left for the next world after his long fight, at age 54. She has got in the habit of sending me email. Well, I admit we’re not super close, since she named her daughter Apple against my advice. Still, I get her GOOP newsletter, and it’s nice. So, in this month’s GOOP newsletter she features one of her foodie father’s recipes included in her cookbook My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness. Maybe you can make them for your dad.
Bruce Paltrow’s World Famous Pancakes
Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes + overnight resting
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons fine salt
3 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus more butter for cooking
6 organic large eggs
Up to 1 cup milk, as needed to thin batter
Real Vermont maple syrup, warmed.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, butter and eggs together in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones whisking just enough to combine (small lumps are okay). Let the batter sit, covered, overnight. The next morning, heat up your griddle or favorite nonstick pan and slick it with a little butter. Add enough milk to the batter to thin it to the right consistency—the thicker the batter, the thicker and heavier your pancakes; the thinner the batter, the more delicate your pancakes—neither is wrong. Cook the pancakes on the griddle, flipping them after bubbles appear on the surface of the uncooked side. Let cook 2-3 minutes more, then remove, and eat with lots of warm maple syrup.
Have you ever made your dad breakfast in bed? What is one of your dad’s favorite foods?
Tell us what you like best about your dad.
Friday and Saturday I took off to the Poconos with my daughter for a mother/daughter retreat. The whole getaway sneaked up on me, and I realized about an hour before we had to leave that we were due to attend this overnight cabin camping getaway.
Ten things I learned from my getaway:
1. When a female retreat speaker likes to take off her shoes (and has toes that look like man fingers) I have trouble concentrating.
4. A camping getaway is not complete unless several bugs are captured and treated like members of the family, before they die in captivity.
5. Turkeys wake up at 4 a.m….vocalizing.
6. Even if a mom/daughter hike includes spotting deer up close, friendly fowl, and indescribable beauty, wet pants, shoes, and socks will incur massive amounts of overshadowing whining.
7. Staying up past 11 p.m. for its own sake makes an eight year old immeasurably ecstatic and then immeasurably exhausted 12 hours later. Usually there is crying involved.
8. Apparently, when camping, there’s no such thing as “too much candy”.
9. Unspoken camp rule: carbonated beverages are a right, not a privilege.
10. Mysterious forces beyond one’s control cause one’s washcloths and towels to dry in no less than four days.
What are some things you’ve learned from camping?
photos of our time away.
You see, no one needs to take Route 66. Faster, smoother, and bigger interstate highways make this route outmoded. No, folks get their kicks on Route 66 for the journey itself…to experience the epic route that is America’s most famous and alluring roadway westward.
The picturesque course was established in 1926, and originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, before ending at Los Angeles. It covered a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km).
During the Dust Bowl days, in the early 1930s, people packed up and took this road to make a better life for themselves. In the 1950s, a trip on route 66 was a common family vacation, filled with plenty of sights, shops, roadside attractions, eating establishments, camping grounds, gas stations, and lodging choices. A virtual monument to Americana and campy kitsch. Now the trail ends in Santa Monica, CA, and parts of the old route have been long abandon or fallen into disrepair.
Still the mystique and history of the open road west continues to excite travelers to venture on various portions of the legendary Route 66.
Starting April 3, 2011, I will be teaching a class fashioned after this type of adventure, at Bethesda EC Church, called: Route 66: Adventures in Spiritual Formation. Part I will include getting familiar with the route and its ways: the epic trail God has in store for each of us. Part II will involve the experience of traveling it for ourselves. Two 6-week bursts. I hope you can come.
Various postings here will serve as a companion to the weekly excursions we will take…like postcards and journal entries from highlights and stops on the road.
So, Hop in. During April, May, and June, get hip to this timely tip, and we’ll find some kicks on route 6-6.
Now a question for you: What’s the best road trip you’ve ever taken?
The past week has been a doozie. On Fat Tuesday, no less, I decided to stop having carbohydrates. This includes sugars and starches. This is no easy task. Apparently, I have a bit of an addiction. I’ve never had a good grasp on cutting out sugar for more than 2-3 days.
This week, I also got a head cold, and lost my voice, and hardly have it back now, six days later. And I’ll just stop there, with my woes, because it’ll get too complicated.
At first I felt crazy without my best friend, sugar, and kept craving sweet things: candy, chocolate, cake, pie, bread, you name it. But after 3 days it’s like my body adjusted. I put a tad of frosting in my mouth from my son’s cake, and it wasn’t what I was hoping for. Very surprising.
And I’ve lost 5 lbs. It’s not easy to cut out sugar. Sugar is added to bread, meats, and plenty of things you don’t expect. Plus, I love rice, pasta, and bread…that’s all broken down into sugar….like BOOM. For me, sugar seems to hijack my metabolism and make it really difficult to shed extra pounds. I’ve gotten rounder in the last two years. Too round.
CRAZY STAT I LEARNED
In the U.S. each week, each person ingest 5 pounds of sugar (from various sources). Just read that again. For most of us, it makes us feel awesome for a short bit, with a sugar spike, and then there is a crash type of feeling later. This was worth the ride for me. But I’ve noticed having eggs and other proteins for breakfast keeps me satisfied and stable for about 4 hours, compared with 2 if I have juice or cereal or pancakes at breakfast.
BUT I LOVE SUGAR. The food fantasies were crazy.
This is the season of Lent. I didn’t give up sugar for lent. I haven’t given anything up for lent. I am trying to be more spiritually aware, and this time without sugar during what is also the season of lent, has been the one-two punch for me to stare my cravings in the eye, and not back down. I see that this sweet delight is a kind of poison for me on several levels. It’s sobering.
How does sugar play out in you life?
What sugary things do you like?
Could you give them up? Let Me Know.
Did Jesus get ashed on Ash Wednesday? Um. Nope. Duh…
This day in the Christian calendar has marked the beginning of the season of Lent for way over a thousand years. But, yes, it can be “observed” even if we don’t show the signs of charcoal. But, why bother? It’s pagan, right? It’s not in the Bible, right? It’s just kooky works-righteousness thing, right?
Well, here’s the thing. Let’s think about this. If something is not in the Bible does that mean it’s rendered useless and meaningless from Christian devotional practices? I doubt it. From the beginning God used known culture practices to help his people remember things in a physical/visible way that were connected with the the invisible Reality of him. Have you heard of circumcision? Of (Israelite) cleansing before temple participation? How about Baptism? Well, then you see what I mean.
Do you ever celebrate Christmas or Easter? Then, you’ve enacted what I mean.
Pagan Egypt (used for God’s purposes)
Nationally, Egyptian cultic practices were incorporated with the Israelite’s life of worship of the One True God. The Egyptian priestly practices, in particular, were employed. (Israel was a KINGDOM of priests. Quite an upgrade from slave status, right?)
God wasn’t threatened by the use of Egyptian priestly rites and rituals, the Israelites were familiar with, to help them remember and worship the Living God. On the contrary, God encouraged it. God commanded it. Similar sorts of things can help us today as well.
Still, we mustn’t ever forget–It’s not about the intricacies of the ritual itself, it’s about the condition of one’s heart. We can avoid false religion when we ask ourselves, “Does this practice draw me into relationship with the Living God?” If it does, keep it. If not, scrap it. You might want to read that again. It could be life-changing.
Just for you. A LENTEN SPIRITUAL EXERCISE:
Challenge yourself, by asking God to reveal himself to you, to minister to you, and to awaken you in a new way in the days leading to Easter. What might God want you to look at more closely? What might God wish to make more like him in your life?
This could be very personal, and private, but I encourage you to share what findings you’d like to. It will help all of us journey together through this time of Lent, toward the great joy we celebrate on Resurrection Sunday! (a.k.a. Easter)
Thank you for coming here today! Blessing this holiday season.
First, a confession: I considered posting a photo here of a little person eating a donut hole here. This is to say, posting a visual of “a (so-called) ‘midget’ eating a munchkin®”…because I thought it would funny, a little funny…Yes, in two ways. But, I changed my mind. It just seemed like a bad choice. Some vertically challenged folks mightn’t feel respected. Also, I couldn’t find a good photo.
Today, March 8th, is my son’s birthday. Today is also Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday). It seemed fitting to send some donut treats for a birthday snack to share with his classmates.
Where I live, Fat Tuesday is celebrated as Fastnacht Day (pronounced: FOSSt-Not) or Donut Day. Potato dough is fried and served with dark corn syrup. After 3 Fastnacht donuts, and you might need assistance to stand or move. Plus, the local Dunkin Donuts shop makes 1,900 dozen donuts on 24 hour shifts just be ready. Don’t mess with donut lovers!
Will you eat a donut today?
The fact is most of us love the indulgence of Fat Tuesday (and other times of feasting), but pay too little attention to the times of simplicity, in the following season. I usually do.
In this particular case, a reflective time is set aside in the Christian calendar following the feasting period. Yes, it’s called the season of Lent. This year, Lent starts Wednesday, March 9th, and ends in the celebration and remembrance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (a.k.a Easter Sunday). This year, Easter falls on Sunday, April 24. (To find out the strange way they determine this date each year, go here.)
Why bother concerning yourself with Lenten season?
To show you are devoted to God? Nope. (God already knows your heart.) To please God with sacrifice? Hopefully not, because a pure heart and obedience is better than sacrifice. It’s not about proving something or doing something for God. Instead, a season of Lent can work well to prepare our hearts for God’s work. It can open our eyes to the greater Reality, as well as draw greater significance (for our understanding) in the sacrifice in Jesus Christ’s life of obedience and death for our benefit. This season, can also help us identify with and have compassion for the poor, and the those millions upon millions of humans suffering in our world, which often does not enter our thoughts nearly enough.
This lenten season can be a time of gratitude, and questioning our priorities and cravings. So, what would happen if you observed the season of Lent in a new way, in some manner, this year? I think you could be pleasantly surprised.
Need an idea?
One thing you can do differently is simply drop by here and pause to read a lenten reflection. Once a week, or more, I will post some Lenten Season reflections to make better use of the season, spiritually speaking. I hope it brings an unexpected blessing to you. So, check back soon, or or sign up for post updates to be notified when a reflection post goes live.
But, first things first–go get a donut!
What’s the funniest or strangest fortune cookie you’ve ever gotten?
My son is home with tummy pains. I hope he didn’t eat anything bad.
This is my cell phone photo which conclusively proves I had little monster fans before Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga released Fame Monster on November 18, 2009…(click for wiki)
She gets all her best stuff from me? Perhaps.
I forgive you, Gaga. Call me.
It is a Spiritual Discipline to properly care for your body. It’s one I’ve been quite poor at doing.
I pass them on to you for 5 main reasons.
1. It’s good for you (body, mind, spirit).
2. I’m going to give them a try and doing them together would be more fun.
3. They’re very simple, and your success will encourage us both.
4. I LOVE to share awesome things I find with my friends.
5. Warmer weather is coming (which means less hide-your-bulges clothing). Really it is only about 6 weeks away, and you’ll thank me.
CLICK this link below to view the videos. AND Keep me posted, please.
Four Hours to Your Perfect Body, Pt. 1
Have you ever had an ice bath?
How much would you have to be paid to try it for 10 minutes?
Some of us don’t fast. Some of us fast for the wrong reason. This is the first of a few posts on FASTING. Bring your thoughts to the table, and stick with us until the end. I promise, you’ll see Fasting in a new light.
Here are 5 Poor Reasons to Fast, and the “inner monologue” that may follow one’s rationale. Can you see yourself or someone you know in the following?
1. To lose weight.
(inner monologue) Oh, if I could only lose these last 8 pounds. I know, I’ll kill two birds with stone, and fast. It’ll be like a diet, only it’ll make God happy, and me feel better about myself at the same time.
2. Because other people are fasting.
(inner monologue) I’m going to look like such an pathetic loser if I don’t join in this fast with my group. There’s going to be an awkward silence if or when I don’t have something to say amazing to say about my fast.
3. To prove something to yourself.
(inner monologue) It’s just time for a change. I’m ready for God to do something BIG. Really Big. There’s nothing like fasting to give God the signal that I’m ready to follow his lead. This time I’ll try for 5 days.
4. To attract positive attention.
(inner monologue) I like to tell my friends when I fast…to keep me accountable. But it makes me feel encouraged to just tell them about it, I must admit. Hopefully, it encourages them.
5. To feel more spiritual.
(inner monologue) Sometimes when I’m going through a dry period spiritually, I like to crank it up a notch, and give food the boot for a while. I want it to sort of give me a boost, and start a fire for God in my heart.
I’ll be address each one of these, and your comments, in the next post.
Can you think of a bad reason to fast?
TO BE CONTINUED…
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On January 1, 2011, in a short series of unfortunate events, my husband prepared a Betty Crocker pizza crust from a mix. It turned out terribly. We couldn’t figure out why. It was paper thin, and stuck so badly to the pan that it seemed to only come off in stamp-sized pieces, not to mention being brittle and tasteless.
I forced it down, and after the kids bemoaned their meal, I, being a proper mom, I had them finish most of it–by decree. It was only after I saw the varying package design of some just-bought Betty Crocker pizza crust, did suspect something was amiss. That little wave of electric panic fear went around on my back. This could be a long night in the bathroom, I thought.
Soon, it seemed clear that we ingested 14 year old crust mix from 1997. There was no expiration date visable on any package, but there were copyright dates. The new ones said ©2009. [Obviously the old one read ©1997.] Gulp. This was bad news. Really bad news. This is nearly double the age of my daughter. Who eats food twice their age, and gets away with it? Okay, babies. But who else?
The thought was sickening, but oddly the meal wasn’t, in a true sense. We were all fine. No harm done.
1. Betty Crocker Pizza crust is not food.
2. God spared us (because sometimes he’s wacky like that.)
3. Pizza crust couldn’t hurt us, even if it was 50 years old…’cause that’s how p.c. rolls.
4. We’ve just realized we are the real life version of “No Ordinary Family”
Do you have any ideas?
It was a mysterious way to start the new year, and things have only gotten stranger since.
What the oldest thing you’ve eaten recently?
Or…What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you so far this year?
Nevertheless, I felt a sense of well-being just watching the Quaker Oats commercial. A rugged construction man, sits back, high upon a skyscraper girder. From a thermos, he peacefully enjoys his heavily textured cooked oats . The voiceover asks, Does your breakfast make you amazing? (The build up to that was the scripted: “Rome wasn’t built in a day; and it wasn’t built on a coffee and a danish.”) Well, I think Rome was built on mead, or sambuca, but whatever.
In keeping with pop Evangelicalism, I’ll do the obvious. I’ll do the proverbial. I’ll take this inspiring tag line, and do a Christian parallel. (Isn’t it some sort of moral duty to take catch phrases, or witty wording, pilfer it, and spiritualised the thing ad nuaseam, in the name of edification, of course? I think the Biblical backing for this comes from II Leviticus 2:1, “Thou shalt copy they neighbors clever word-smithage. I am the LORD.”
Is it an epidemic religious and cultural kleptomania? Um. Yep.
And, right now, me fingerz feelz sticky, too.
So, here we go: “Does your God make you Amazing?”
Of course, this is a wildly self-centered question. I don’t even want Christians to “go there.” This is a preemptive, cut-Christian copy cats off at the pass, post. It’s meant to subvert a horrible Christian propensity, or worse, an ill-advised “evangelizing tactic”
I’m making an executive decision. I’m going to hijack the hijacking of, at least, this tagline.
Are you surprised?
So, what about that?
AND–What breakfast, or attribute of God (or both) propels you towards “AMAZING”?
Which one sounds wrong?
A. Do you have the guts?
B. Put your heart into it.
C. Make up your heart.
What is the heart?
The answer might surprise you.
In modern times, the “heart” has been called, “the feeling mind”. That sounds pretty good to me. What do you think?
A recent visitor responded to my post Is Chocolate Filling my God-shaped Hole? with the comment below (edited down). I think it would help to respond through a post, also. Now we can open up the whole thing to dialogue a bit more. Thanks for your contribution on this topic.
Visitor Response to Post–Submitted: on 2010/12/03 at 3:10 pm
The way I look at it, viewing the heart and mind as separate is extrabiblical; thus, in fact, “that thing that ‘falls in love’ or gets sentimental” *is* the mind. So the modern “follow your heart” does not connote the *opposite* of the biblical “heart,” but rather only *part* of it. Bottom line, I can’t trust my mind or my heart, or even my own spirit completely… only God is 100% trustworthy. As for filling our “voids” with things “besides” God, I try to remember that God gets the credit for all good things anyway…
I should have also pointed out [within that post] that the Hebrew equivalent of the emotions or passions (what many now consider the “heart”) were also referred to differently than the mind (i.e. set a different category, if you will–the bowels or “guts”). The “guts” implied connection with those qualities of emotion, and so forth.
To sum up: In the Bible, (most especially in the Old Testament)…
1. What is translated as “heart” (in the KJV and others) is closer to what we now term as “the mind”. More specifically, the individual’s command center, or the place where decisions are made– which includes the will.
2. What we may think of as “the heart” that is, passions, desires, emotions, in the Hebrew language is connected with “the guts” or “bowels” of a person. For instance, “In his guts he loved her”. Yes, it sounds awkward, at best.
Even more controversy:
There is a big dissimilarity in the Hebrew vs. English renditions of the word often translated in English as “soul”. In Hebrew, it refers to the whole being. The whole person (So, no. It does not mean a ghosty thing that floats to the clouds like in Warner Brother cartoons). We can understand it in our context more this way when we say, “30 souls were lost [died] in the shipwreck.”
Hey, everyone, please, weigh in.
This post is open to opinions, thoughts, comments, or if you’re of the particular stripe…exegesis.
(Yes. That’s the BIG word of the day.)
“Does your Breakfast (and your deity) make you AWESOME?”
Since November (yes, last month) I’ve started balancing Jon Acuff’s “Serious Wednesday” posts with a Wacky Wednesday alternative. It’s especially written for those who need a smidgen more zany in their lives on Wednesday, because of the vacuum left by Jon’s only mildly humorous Wednesday posts.
This post is about LeRoy (LEE-roy) James, my friends pugnacious pug.
12 Things about LeRoy
This is sort of like the 12 Days of Christmas, except with a Pug, and it’s not Christmasy.
1. LeRoy is HIGHLY motivated by food. He’s learned all kind of tricks by being tricked. (But he hates potato related products.)
2. He owns a purple snuggie, and doesn’t seem feminine when he dons it.
3. Other names for LeRoy are: L-Train, Lee Lee, Baby LeLory, Grump, son of a **tch, and a few names that can’t be mentioned here.
4. He has a pumpkin Halloween costume (next year he’s going to be an ice cream cone), and a reindeer outfit for Christmas.
5. He makes everyone feel special. So, you get the sense the he loves you the most.
6. He doesn’t mind eating his own poop. Yes, in most ways it’s regrettable, but yet a highly Green lifestyle (recycling).
7. He loves vegetables as much as meat.
8. He’s muscular and has great cardio.
9. He watches tv, and his favorite movie is Toy Story 3. (He brought his own stuffed toy out to watch it.)
10. In the morning, he doesn’t spring from his kennel. He gets up when he’s good and ready.
11. He gets acne.
12. He snores like a buzz saw.
Have you ever known a pug? What are your feelings about them?
For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and
sky and sea.
We thank you, Lord.
For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women,
revealing the image of Christ,
We thank you, Lord.
For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.
For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.
For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering
and faithful in adversity,
We thank you, Lord.
For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice,
We thank you, Lord.
For the communion of saints, in all times and places,
We thank you, Lord.
Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and
promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord;
To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the
Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.
See also The General Thanksgiving on pages 58 and 101.
From the Book of Common Prayer online: here.
What you see here is a cup of “Turbo” and the Dark Chocolate Crepe (filled with mascapone cheese, fresh strawberries & dark chocolate truffle ganache. Served with more strawberries, fresh cream & chocolate drizzle) from Cafe Chocolate in Lititz. I only wish I had more than my poor quality camera phone to capture it.
WHAT AN EXPERIENCE. If church were like this place, well, we’d all go a lot more, and be heavier. Heavier, but probably happier too. Jolly. We’d be jolly.
Their signature beverage is the Turbo. Made with West African %60 chocolate cocoa, frothed with organic milk, and infused with a shot of smooth Espresso. Image a rich, creamy, chocolaty goodness that sort of shoots you into euphoria, on a Japanese magnet propelled train.
Pleasurable? Yes. Think of your best worship experience with God…and then add fudge.
Okay, don’t do that. I think I went over the line there, plus, it’s like comparing apples with oranges, or chocolate bars with communion wafers.
It’s the kind of drink that can make you cry or sing (or in my case, both). Since God made chocolate, it was eventually a worship moment for me.
And thank goodness for smelling salts!
Lititz, Pa is also the home of Wilbur Chocolate, a very superior confectioner, and the now famous yearly Chocolate Walk. With Hershey Chocolate close by, this whole area of Lancaster County is sort of a Mecca for chocolate lovers. Also Sturgis pretzels is there in Lititz; and they boast America’s first commercial pretzel. You can make your own pretzel on their tour, and eat in fresh out of the oven.
Oh happy day! :)
HAVE YOU BEEN TO LITITZ?
What is your favorite chocolate goodie?
To be fair, if you’ve never seen a golden-mantled ground squirrel (a.k.a. “chipmunk” by people who get confused?) with a switchblade, you really should tweet this.
1. The squirrel fights in your yard look choreographed.
2. You start going to the store for just odd things, like tapioca or beef jerky.
3. You wonder if time in a prison cell could have its upsides.
4. The garden hose has become your version of a “water park”.
5. You use a beach towel after a shower to add more adventure and pizzazz to your life.
oops forgot one: You realize “pizzazz” has the word “pizza” in it, and that causes a food fantasy for Boardwalk fare.
Let the wild rumpus start!
What tells YOU that you need a vacation?
We are having a “diversity picnic” with Nathan’s class. Few people, at the outset realize my Puerto Rican heritage. I was born there, and my dad was Puerto Rican (my mom was of English descent and everything else.)
I’m going to surprise all the party-goers with my ethnicity today.
SO- I decided to try one of my favorite dessert recipes. “Arroz con Dulce” Sweet Rice Pudding with spices of ginger, cloves, cinnamon) with coconut creme. It’s really good.
What ethnic foods have you made recently? (And don’t say the easy stuff. Pizza, spaghetti, and tacos, don’t count, unless-of course- you made the stuff from scratch, or it’s incredibly unique somehow.)