Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Look! An Update!

I've updated the Unread Library post, for those of you interested. All of the books that have an (*) next to them are additions to the list after the original post. So, now the list is really huge.
Next on the agenda is: I have three book reviews that I'm in the process of writing to post. Isn't that exciting? Look for them in the next week or so!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shane Claiborne - Buechner Institute Guest Blog

King College is also home to the Buechner Institute, which sponsors speakers throughout the school year in order to foster both the intellectual and spiritual growth of it's students, the community, and the world. The Institute is committed to looking at the clash where faith meets culture and tries to bring in speakers that do that very thing.
This past week, the Institute hosted Shane Claiborne, a Christian activist working in Philadelphia (and originally from Maryville, TN). The following is my blog that appeared on the official Buechner website as a response to his convocation speech.

Probably the most outstanding statement that Shane Claiborne made during his Monday morning convocation address was this: "If we look closely, we can see that Christianity spreads best, not through force, but through fascination." This declaration is the vocalization of something that I have been struggling with for a long time: do my physical and emotional actions in any way resemble my vocal faith? Am I just another evangelical that marches the aisle once a year, singing "Just as I Am," while staying just as I was?

Shane talked about three remedies that could quite possibly change our walks, and the fallen world that we walk in. The first was that we should seek to recapture the movement of the kingdom of God, in that God went to those people that he was seeking and saving. Our goal in this life should be to make our lives an intersection between our faith and the suffering of the world, and be a "different kind" of whatever we're choosing to be. I currently live in a state of versatility, where I can literally change the outlook of my whole life by turning in one Request Change of Major Form, and can be that "different kind." And so often, I choose not to take advantage of it.

His second point of "Christianity Reform" is the one that I have the most trouble with. He suggested that our attitude regarding money and possessions is wrong, and while I agree with that wholeheartedly, I'm not sure that the redistribution of wealth that he was suggesting could work in the broadest sense. I do think that the church as a whole has a responsibility to attempt to provide for the impoverished and needy in our communities, and my home church makes great efforts throughout the year to take care of those needs. While we understand that we alone cannot eliminate hunger in the greater Sullivan County, TN area, we know that we are making a difference, and can show individuals Jesus by handing them a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread. But - I'm not entirely convinced that we can convince the rest of the world to live in such a way that "Capitalism won't be possible and Marxism won't be necessary," at least, not without withdrawing completely from the greater world community.

His third and last suggestion to the King College community during his lecture was that we should always and forever attempt to be people of reconciliation and hospitality. I had heard the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote about 11 o'clock on Sunday mornings being the "most segregated hour" before, and it bothered me even more when Shane brought it up. We should always endeavor to build relationships with the individuals that we might not normally build relationships with, for those are the people that we need to show Jesus to. I have to continually remind myself that the healthy people don't need a doctor, so why should I only show Jesus to my closest friends and family?

Shane reinforced a lot of the issues that I have been struggling with the last year, and gave me more reason to be empowered to NOT be normal, and to be peculiar because that's simply what I'm called to be, and to display some of that "scandalous love and hospitality." My favorite quote of the morning was when Shane recollected a border patrol officer in Iran, who stated that, "You might be Christians, but you're crazy." Crazy's not always a bad thing, you know?

First, an apology.

We've been through this before: I. Am. A. Terrible. Blogger.
But you have to understand, as much as I love school, I would forget to go if I didn't write it down. I am THE most absentminded person on the planet as far as remembering things goes. Another example is this - I logged into my Google reader this week and had >1,000 posts to read. I could hear it laughing at me, saying in a snide voice, "You're going to be here for awhile, you negligent blog reader."
However, I am determined, now, to do better. (I know, I know. You've seen me write that before... But seriously.)
I have the following things on the list to do:
Update the Unread Library list. Yes, I bought more books.
Post a couple of reviews, since I am making a little progress with those shelves.
Post my Buechner Institute guest postings. (See, I have been posting SOMEWHERE!!)

Hold me accountable, please!! (All five of you.)


Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Unread Library - Book Review Construction

Alright. So, before I start talking about the books in my Unread Library, I wanted to be clear on how I was going to talk about them. Just so everyone (all 5 of you) reading is starting in the same place. I searched online for popular ways on how to construct a book review, and I found one website that just listed several different categories, each with it's own set of questions examining the book. I'm going to just post them here, so you're prepared.
Points to Ponder:
- What was the story about?
- Who were the main characters?
- Were the characters credible?
- What did the main characters do in the story?
- Did the main characters run into any problems? Adventures?
- Who was your favorite character? Why?
Your Personal Experiences:
- Could you relate to any of the characters in the story?
- Have you ever done or felt some of the things the characters did?
Your Opinion:
- Did you like the book?
- What was your favorite part of the book?
- Do you have a least favorite part of the book?
- If you could change something, what would it be?
Your Recommendation:
- Would you recommend this book to another person?
- What type of person would like this book?

I think that these questions will allow me to talk about the book without revealing too much about the plot, while at the same time let my opinion be known clearly.
Enough stuffiness for now. I'm ready to talk about the first book!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Unread Library

One of the blogs that I follow (Jules at Pancakes and French Fries) recently posted the contents of her summer reading list, and entitled it The Unread Library. She had moved through her dwelling, collected all the books that she had purchased but had not read, and put them in one place where she would see them every day. She has vowed not to buy another book until this task is completed. I had already been building my summer reading list, but I have now decided that not purchasing any more books for awhile could be a good thing for me, too. So, below are some pictures of my summer reading shelves, and the entire list can be found at the bottom of this post. Let me know which ones you've read and enjoyed, or are planning on reading.

Now for the list!!

Mansfield Park (Austen)
Jane Eyre (Bronte)
Wuthering Heights (Bronte)
Godric (Buechner)
A Dead Man in Deptford (Burgess)
The Man Who Was Thursday (Chesterton)
Orthodoxy (Chesterton)
The Awakening (Chopin)
Heart of Darkness (Conrad)
The Stranger (Camus)
Walking Across Egypt (Dickinson)
The Triumph of Deborah (Etzioni-Halevy)
*The Perfectly True Tales of a Perfect Size 12 (Gold)
The Power and the Glory (Greene)
*At Break of Day (Grimes)
*The Road to Paris (Grimes)
*The Monsters of Templeton (Groff)
Jude the Obscure (Hardy)
The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne)
The Odyssey (Homer)
*The Reluctant Heiress (Ibbotson)
Music, The Brain, and Ecstasy (Jourdain)
The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Joyce)
Ulysses (Joyce)
The Red Queen's Daughter (Kolosov)
A Swiftly Tilting Planet (L'Engle)
A Grief Observed (Lewis)
The Great Divorce (Lewis)
The Screwtape Letters (Lewis)
Til We Have Faces (Lewis)
*Lilith (Mac Donald)
*Phantastes (Mac Donald)
The Ragamuffin Gospel (Manning)
John Adams (McCullough)
*In His Right Mind (McDonald)
Evidence for Christianity (McDowell)
*In Quiet Light (McEntyre)
Blue Like Jazz (Miller)
Searching for God Knows What (Miller)
Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained (Milton)
*We Were the Mulvaneys (Oates)
Monster (Peretti)
The Oath (Peretti)
The Prophet (Peretti)
Don't Waste Your Life (Piper)
The Dracula Dossier (Reese)
The Mark of the Lion Trilogy (Rivers)
The Unlikely Disciple (Roose)
Nine Stories (Salinger)
Gaudy Night (Sayers)
*Murder Must Advertise (Sayers)
*Strong Poison (Sayers)
*The Bastard of Istanbul (Shafak)
The Complete Sonnets and Poems (Shakespeare)
Hamlet (Shakespeare)
Twelfth Night (Shakespeare)
*Oral History (Smith)
Liberty's Promise (Stockton)
Dracula (Stoker)
Letters to My Children (Taylor)
The Myth of Certainty (Taylor)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Tolkien)
The Hobbit (Tolkien)
The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain)
Brideshead Revisited (Waugh)
Descent into Hell (Williams)
War in Heaven (Williams)
Fireproof (Wilson)

The Dress!

So the dress finally got finished, and in time for the wedding. I was so excited!!
Here are some shots of pattern cutting:

And some shots of Mimi sewing (I wasn't able to do some of the stuff). And her beautiful pattern matching that she was oh-so-proud of.

Now, some pictures of the wedding. :)

The bridal party, pre-wedding with our fun mimosas.

And me, being ultra hot.

And the fun guy I sang with at the wedding (who I met two days prior).

All in all, the dress was fantastic. I'm definitely going to keep the pattern and try it again. The pattern also works for a tunic shirt that I so want to make. Mimi is going to give me one of her old machines so that I can get started in earnest with my sewing. Woohoo!!

That's it for this one.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Okay, okay.

I'm a slacker. However, I do have finished photos of the dress and me at the wedding, so I'm working on it.
As of right now, I've been home less than 72 hours, and I've spent only 24 of those at home (not at one time), 20 at the BK, and the rest elsewhere. Tonight, though, I got to come home, take a four and a half hour nap, and I've just spend 2 hours reading the blogs that I missed while I was away (btw - I still have >500 left to read. Shew!)
So, just so we're aware, a real update is coming. Promise.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A New Dress

I'll be in a wedding a week from Saturday, and I don't have a dress. I couldn't find one that I really liked enough to buy, so Mimi and I are making one. :) Woooooo.

Here is the outside of the patter, M5882.

This is the dress we're doing.

Below are the fabrics that we're using:
The daisies go on top; the yellow is for the waistline and tie, and the bottom section; the stripes are for the big section of the skirt. I'M SO EXCITED!! Mimi isn't too fond of the three patterned fabrics, but I think it'll look fantastic.

We're cutting out the pattern tonight and the fabrics tomorrow. I will keep you posted!

What I Had for Dinner

I don't cook often anymore, just because I live by myself, and there's really no need to cook a full meal every night for one person. That, and most things you buy at the grocery store (boxed meals, etc.) are family size, and frankly, I have no desire to eat Hamburger Helper five nights in a row to keep it from going bad. I know I could freeze it, but I don't have a lot of time right now, so it's mostly Healthy Choice.
However, about three nights a week I am graced by the presence of my Mimi, who makes me cook for her (she lives alone, too, and is in the same boat).
For about a week I've been absolutely CRAVING soup beans. Call it the Harold Nichols in me, I have wanted them so darn bad! So my beautiful Chattanooga Grandmother heard my cry and answered; I found a surprise quart of soup beans in my refrigerator after she left following a short visit this weekend. :) Yay!
Of course, cornbread was in order (Mimi swears mine is the best she's ever eaten). This photo is pre-baking.

And after baking/cutting. It was pretty much perfect. (Don't worry, the recipe will be at the end of the blog!)

Yay, dinner!! It was insanely good.

Dessert consisted of the following:

Very pretty South Carolina peaches that Mimi got on the side of the road. And then we added some cooked blueberries and whipped cream. I ate until my mouth started breaking out, and then some. I like to live dangerously.

So darn good.

Okay, now for the recipe I promised.

Corn Bread
(This is from my summer at LHF in Des Moines, and is the one we used at the 1850 site)

2c. Indian Meal (Corn Meal) 1c. flour
1 egg 1tsp. + baking powder
1 tsp. salt 1c. hot water
butter the size of an egg enough milk to make batter
sugar to taste

Mix meal, butter, and hot water first, then add the rest. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. This won't get very brown on top, but you can remedy that by letting it bake almost done, taking it out and buttering the top, and finishing the bake on broil.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I warned you.

I did. Honestly. A long time ago, I made that statement that I am the worst blogger EVER. And the fact that I have been absent for 3 weeks proves this. My sincerest apologies and a big post to make up for it!!
I didn't manage to upload these pictures in a cohesive order, so you're going to have to deal. :) But we still love each other, right? These are a little bit of what's been going on in my life in the last three weeks.

So, the summer of MAKING has gone almost halfway by and I haven't made very much. :( However, I now have a solution!!

I've been printing off new recipes, patterns, etc. and putting them here for easy access. Yay!

Then, there is this beautiful thing:

Which may, or may not be, a carseat/carrier blanket for a beautiful kid named Izzy.

I super love this yarn!!

I finally made the Italian burgers left over from my meatball foray.

These gorgeous puppies are dressed with sauteed onions, cream cheese, a fresh tomato, and spinach. Yum! They were so good.

I found a turtle in the yard! I named him Turtle.

I was in a wedding! This is a picture of her gorgeous cake.

I celebrated the 7 year mark for this beautiful kid here.

Most of the time, she looks like this:

I completed two summer courses, and read 12 books in two months with > 150 pages.

I made my first meringue! So beautiful. And so yummy.

That is all for the update. I promise, more book reviews coming!! And (hopefully) a finished shot of the baby blanket.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Alas and alack, what to do with leftover cake??

Remember all that cake leftover from my last post?
Well, the time came to do something with it. So, I got creative.

Carrot Cake
1 box French Vanilla Pudding (Wal-Mart brand is great!)
Whipped Cream

Layer them together and you get this:

It definitely has a banana pudding thing going on, but it's not very banana-y (for lack of a better word). And the whole carrot thing is interesting. Overall, I give it a 10.
Now, will someone please come take it out of my fridge? I've eaten half of it by myself. :(

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Everyone loves candy-coated balls of cake.

I found this recipe/idea at C and C Dish, and immediately just knew I had to try it. Luckily, my Faith and Imagination class is doing light supper meetings, and I volunteered desserts! Yay!

1 Cake Mix (and everything that goes with them, like, an egg? Maybe oil?)
1 regular tub of cream cheese icing
Vanilla candy coating (I've always called it Almond Bark, but that's not the real name)

Make the cake and let it cool. Mush the cake up with the icing (I didn't use the whole tub, just enough to make it a kind of paste-y consistency). Make balls o' cake! Freeze (I did overnight). Follow candy coating directions (you should probably do this) and coat the frozen balls o' cake in candy coating and let them set up.

<--- Dipping. <--- Skewering.

So. The original was for carrot cake, which I thought was fabulous, but I'm currently obsessed with red velvet cake. I made two cakes! I only mushed half of each, though, since this gathering is relatively small. Now I have this sitting in my kitchen.

Oh, the humanity.

<--- Carrot Cake Balls

<--- Red Velvet Cake Balls

So, I had to stop coating after about half of the carrot cake. Where I was dipping, the cake was shedding (for lack of a better word) into the coating, and then it wouldn't melt right. So. Resting (and writing a paper), and later (once the Red Velvet Balls are a little firmer, since they only got refrigerated), I'm going to finish the rest. But - the ones that have been coated are firming up nicely.

And, uh, my kitchen just might be candy coated as well. :) Oops?
My camera died, so hopefully I'll have a finished product picture soon. As in, as soon as I find my charger. Which could be anywhere.

Friday, May 21, 2010

None of us like to talk about this. But we're going to.

Okay, let's face it. Many of us HATE to shop for bras. It's annoying, it takes forever, you're forced to be completely naked in a dressing room (okay, well, that might just be me that has a problem with that), and all the good ones are so expensive!
So, up until yesterday, I used to avoid it like the plague. I've only ever owned two bras at a time, and I just try to make it work. Additionally, I'm extremely lopsided (almost a cup size difference!). So, I hated it with a passion. I wear bras until they fall apart, and generally by that time, they look gross. This is one of my character traits that my mother refuses to deal with. So, for Valentine's Day, she got me a Victoria's Secret gift card and told me that I was only allowed to by bras with it (buying underwear, oddly enough, is not an issue with me, kind of like buying Vera). So finally, yesterday, I remembered to take my card with me when a friend and I went to JC to shop.
Turns out, I've been wearing the complete wrong size since things quit growing while I was in high school. Who would have thought? So, after being enlightened, I found THREE, count them, THREE bras that I liked and (since wonders were apparently never ceasing), they fit. And there is no fallingoutage (new word), and no annoyance at the fact that I have on a bra, and it really doesn't feel like I'm wearing one. The best part about them were the fact that I found all three of them in the sale bins, and my ending total (although a little high, but I had a gift card) was roughly half of what it would have been if the bras were full price.
In the end, while this post was a little out of my comfort zone, I really think that every woman should go have her assets measured at the VS. Even if you don't buy a bra there, get measured. It may surprise you!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things I Love Today

One of the other blogs I follow did a post like this today, and I thought it was an excellent idea. Sooooo...
1) I got a new Vera today. I should probably stop buying them.
2) I didn't have to work at the Burger King today. (Annnd I might have a new job! Eeek! Details forthcoming.)
3) I'm going to finish The Man Who Was Thursday tonight. Very excited about that, and starting Orthodoxy.

Annnnnnnd, that's my list! The house (meaning myself) is in a frenzy of packing. I have to decide what's going to Grandmother's, if anything needs to go to Chattanooga, and what I need here until I move. My Civil Rights class is also overnighting in Atlanta this weekend, so there is that to prepare for, too. Whew! What a week.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Anarchy, Undercover Cops, and Deceit. Oh My!

Before I begin talking about the book I want the whole world to read, I need to notify the blogging universe that I just sneezed and scared the poo out of my dog. She ran out of the room. It was hilarious.

Remember the whole promise about blogging about the making and the reading? Well, I'm here to try and fulfill it!
For my Faith and Imagination summer course, we started our reading with G.K. Chesterton. I've used Chesterton's commentary in research papers and the like before, but I hadn't read any of his fiction until now. Our first book was/is The Man Who Was Thursday.
Like me, the title probably puzzles you a little bit, but within the first two chapters, that clears itself up just a little bit. The basics of the book are anarchy, undercover cops, and an ongoing discussion of the merits and downfalls of poetry and philosophy. There are also a lot of Biblical parallels. I don't want to give anything away, but the book is SO. FUNNY. Seriously. I have had so many "laughing out loud" moments (usually in awkward places). So, if you're looking for a quick read (maybe less than a week if you're disciplined), then this is definitely for you.
*Tip: I would recommend keeping a list of characters. Just a thought. :)
I have to finish this book within the next couple of days and start reading our next Chesterton, Orthodoxy. Annnnnd I have to write a paper about them. Before next Monday! Woohoo, summer classes!
Happy reading!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Eventually, I am going to get the hang of regular blogging, I promise.
I've decided that this is the summer of making for Miss Amanda. Making what, I have no idea. But I've gotten way into subscribing to blogs (instead of writing in mine) and I have tons of starting points. I'm also just going to read a lot. And (hopefully) blog about it. :) We'll see.
Last Saturday I was privileged to host a dinner party for a close friend of mine, and I was so excited to try out a couple of new recipes that I found here and there.

The (Original) Menu
Florentine Mac and Cheese with Chicken Sausage Meatballs
Fresh Zucchini and Squash Salad
Tossed Caesar Salad
Crusty Italian Bread
Lemon Bundt Cake with glaze

Oh, if only things were so easy!! So, after planning the menu, three trips to various grocery stores in three different days (because I kept forgetting stuff, etc.), and working 16 hours the day before and the day of the party, the menu turned out like this:

Florentine Penne
1lb. box of pasta (original calls for cavatappi corkscrew, and alas, I couldn't find it. Penne it is!)
2 boxes chopped frozen spinach (10oz each)
3 tbls butter
2 tbls all purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk (the original called for whole, I used 2%, and it was still yummy)
1 cup grated Parmesan
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1/8 tsp nutmeg (eyeball it)
Boil a large pot of water. Cook pasta. Strain, and reserve one cup cooking liquid. Defrost spinach according to the package directions. Make sure your boxes are in a shallow bowl, there will be some run off. In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, melt butter, whisk in flour, cook 1 minute. Then, whisk in stock and milk, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Let sauce thicken for 5-6 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, and reduce heat to the lowest setting. Wring spinach completely dry in a kitchen towel, and separate as you add to the sauce. Also add the 1 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid. When pasta is done, toss in the sauce, making sure things are evenly coated.

Yummy Italian Meatballs
1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken (which, they conveniently do not sell at Wal-Mart; I ended up with 1 lb. beef and 1lb. Italian seasoned ground turkey)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Palmful of rosemary (original calls for fresh sprigs; the dried worked very well)
Palmful powdered garlic (original calls for fresh cloves, which I didn't have time for; this improv still works just as good)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 egg
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (Sargento Italian style were fabulous)
*The original also calls for fennel seeds and crushed red pepper, but I'm not a fan of either. Just keep in mind that you can hike up the spice if your particular tastes call for it.
Preheat oven to 450.
In a large mixing bowl combine ground meat, salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Add the egg and breadcrumbs. (If it's too wet, add more breadcrumbs.) Form whichever size balls work for your particular meal (ours were 1 1/2 inches in diameter, but the original says 3-4). Drizzle meatballs with a couple of teaspoons of EVOO and roast 17-18 minutes until the juices run clear.
*This made 30 meatballs, plus about a half pound of mixed meat leftover that I put in the freezer. (Which I plan to make Italian burgers with. Yum!)

Zucchini and Squash Salad
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 whole, ripe tomato, diced (original calls for red and yellow cherry tomatoes, which I don't like :/)
2 tbls Dijon mustard
3 tbls balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup EVOO
Salt & Pepper to taste
*this also calls for a red onion for the dressing, but alas! Allergies defy me. So no red onion.
In a medium bowl, toss together zucchini, squash, and tomatoes.
In a separate bowl, combine the Dijon and balsamic. Whisk in EVOO until the whole is completely combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss veggies in dressing!
*This was good, but not jaw dropping. And there was a lot left over. I'm going to oven roast the rest (since they have *ahem* marinated) and we'll see how that goes.)

Lemon Bundt Cake
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
Cream butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon juice until well-blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the first, a little at a time and alternate with milk. Pour batter into a greased bundt pan. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until cake springs back in the touch test. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then flip onto rack to cool the rest of the way.
*** This did not go as planned!! First, I didn't have sugar. Argh. Then, I followed the directions completely, and when I "flipped", my cake ended up in about six different pieces. So, we had trifles with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream. Heh. They were very good, though. But, I can't vouch for the way the glaze tastes because I didn't make it ('cause of the breakage, you see). The cake wasn't very lemony, so I might up the juice next time.

So, for credit: The pasta, meatballs, and salad were Rachel Ray, but I feel like I altered them enough to take a little credit. The cake came from

All in all, the night was a success. :) The boys were awestruck with my skills, and that made me feel nice. The meal was colorful, too, so it felt healthy.

Now, back to the real world. I have successfully avoided my presentation for class for an hour to type this, and alas, I must make an A.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I really love chicken salad. Seriously.

And it's not lie. I have an insanely unhealthy fondness for the stuff. So much so that I've been attempting to rework my recipe so that it's a little less fattening. Originally I just omitted the mayo in favor of a light salad dressing, but last night I made what was quite possibly the best batch of the stuff EVER. So, I'm here to share the secret with you. (It's really no secret; I just threw whatever looked good into the bowl and it was AMAZING.)
4 chicken breast tenderloins, minced until in small-ish chunks (baked already, lightly sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic)
1.5 tablespoons of Green Goddess dressing
2 tablespoons of honey mustard (dressing or actual honey mustard)
2 tablespoons of honey
salt and pepper to taste
a handful of dried cranberries, blueberries, and cherries (available at the Wal-Mart)
a handful of glazed walnuts
1 tablespoon of sweet pickle relish
Seriously. Best stuff I've eaten in a long time. I had it on top of a bagel with cream cheese.
Mmmm. Now I'm hungry.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm sure things will be different a year from now.

Honest and true.
After about two years of spiritual stagnation (since the death of my grandfather in early 2008), I have reached a breaking point. Is it due to the fact that my entire family moved out of my house and I am now responsible for the upkeep of it, as well as the two other living things that live with me (dalmations, of course)? Is it helped along by the fact that since September of 2009, we've been fighting a constant battle against my Grandmother's kidneys and have almost lost her multiple times? Is it reactionary to all the change that consistently rocks my life?
Mmmm, perhaps.
While I can't point out a specific reason for why I had stopped praying completely (except for those moments when you can't help but think, "Oh God, oh God, oh God", but not much else) and didn't read my bible (with the exception of Sunday mornings), I can point out when the turn around occurred.
This past weekend I was at Ridgecrest for the annual Holston Baptist Youth Conference. My youth group goes every year, and even though there is no longer a session for college students (because they started a new retreat for them), I now get to go as a chaperon/leader-in-training, if you will. Normally I get a little refreshed and then head home for more of the same. This year, however, things went a little differently for me. The main session speaker was Clayton King (and he was amazing), and on Saturday evening, the topic of his lesson was relationships. Now, typically, this wouldn't apply to me (seeing as how it's been 4 years since I've been in one), but at the end of the night, he made an offer to the crowd.
"I am presenting to you a challenge, ladies and gentlemen. If you are one of those people that I just talked about, the ones in the unhealthy, unGodly relationships, then this is for you. Take a year off. Seriously. Take a year off and DON'T DATE. Just expand your relationship with Christ instead. That way, when the year is up, you'll know what a healthy relationship looks like and how to maintain it."
And I got to thinking. Am I in a relationship currently? No. At least, not as everyone else would view it. However, I am emotionally attached to someone. Someone that I know very well. Someone I'm crazy about. Someone who is completely UNAVAILABLE. And how many times has this really happened to me? At least a couple of times a semester. And how many times do I build it up in my head, and look for those "romantic moments" and make an utter fool out of myself? At least a couple of times a semester. Then, something clicked.
Don't you think it's time to get emotionally attached to someone different? Someone that can provide you with everything you'll ever need to be fulfilled? Someone who knows the plans in store for you and promises that, if you walk in His way, he will bring them to fruition?
So, I stood up. And from now until March 28, 2011, I will not date in the typical way, nor will I get emotionally attached to the member of the opposite sex. I'm choosing instead to focus on the person that knows the plans for the next phase in my life. And come graduation, because I've only been considering that one being, I know I'll be in the will for my life.
Will it be hard? Pretty sure it will be.
Can I do it? In Christ I can do anything.
So wish me luck, all two of you that read this.