Tag Archives: life

Cooking isn’t hard

So, I am a food lover.  I have (by choice) watched cooking shows since I was two years old.  As a teenager, if I had nothing to do, I would read cookbooks over and over again to understand basic technique and recipes.  I have been baking for around sixteen years and have been cooking the majority of my meals for about four years  and I have come to some conclusions.

Cooking isn’t hard.

Some may want to argue with me.  But, really, cooking meals from scratch isn’t hard. The type of cooking that you are most interested in may be difficult–not everyone can be Gordon Ramsey or Ina Garten.  But the act of heating and combining foods to make an edible meal is not actually all that complicated, nor is reading a recipe and following the steps.

Which is why the many magazine articles and books dedicated to quick, easy [insert number here] step meals and the bizarre amount of boxed and bagged dinners available in the grocery store bug me: because they imply that all other cooking is too difficult for mere mortals to master.

Honestly, with a small amount of research to understand terms, I’m fairly confident that anyone with proper motor skills and some interest can make just about any recipe.  I’m also confident that you don’t need three cans of soup and two packets of dressing mix to make chicken in a crockpot.

Image

 

No, really, Pinterest.

I mean, anyone can make whatever they want with whatever weird or non-weird ingredients they want.  But I just think it unfair for convenience foods to have the corner on the Easy Dinner market.  Especially when the “convenience” is often simply that they combined incredibly common ingredients for you (I’m looking at you, pancake mix).  Many, many dinners are easy.  If you’re looking for hands-off cooking, there are thousands of slow cooker recipes out there that just involve chopping a few things up and chucking them in that Crock Pot Grandma gave you for your wedding.  That prep takes all of 15 minutes.

I think I’m just irritated that food is presented as this complex animal that only the truly dedicated can understand, leaving the rest of humanity with their packets of flavoring and boxed dinners.  And, if you want to eat those, that’s fine; but don’t feel like you have to eat them because you think cooking is too hard; it really just takes a bit of research and a little bit of time.

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FYI (if you’re a Christian human being): a response to the response to Mrs. Hall’s blog entry on modesty

So, there was this blog post I saw going around on Facebook.  And then I noticed that there was a large amount of backlash, frontlash, and sidelash surrounding it.  So, I thought I’d add to the noise.  This is sort of a response to the response to the blog entry with a few sidenotes based on my own observation of the way the Church at large handles the issue of modesty.

Christian ladies: You don’t dress modestly because that’s what Pastor Bob says, because it’s what your mother told you to do, because not doing so makes Aunt Marge cringe, because that’s what Good Girls do, or even to Respect Yourself.  You dress modestly out of love for your Christian brothers.  Just like you, most guys struggle with maintaining pure thoughts.  And just like you, they don’t want to have more issues in this area than already naturally occur.  You wouldn’t wave a mimosa in front of a recovering alcoholic at brunch and then tell them not to think about it, so don’t prance about in clothing that you know will give guys trouble and expect them to have an easy time of it.

Christian gentlemen: That being said, we ladies are not responsible for your sin.  We cannot know everything that causes issues for each individual guy.  I’ve had several married friends tell me things like, “I was always taught not to wear __________, but my husband says it’s not a big deal.” And I have other married friends who express the exact opposite.  Everyone is different and there is no possible way to cater to the triggering factors of others.

I am in the long process of recovering from disordered eating (this relates; I promise), an issue I’ve had off and on for at least five years.  Recovery from something like this is slow and arduous: first I look for good days, then good weeks, then good months.  Thankfully, I’m in the good months area of recovery at the moment.

There are a lot of things in the good days and good weeks stages that can trigger disordered eating thoughts for me.  Some of those things are easily avoidable; some are not.  One of the most ridiculous triggers for me (on a bad day) is someone I am close to just mentioning changing their own diet to lose weight.  If, upon hearing this information, my brain jumps to thoughts of starving myself or of how much weight I need to lose, it is not the other person’s problem.  Many times, this sort of conversation doesn’t phase me, but it occasionally does and is something I have to learn to deal with.  I can’t ask the entire world to stop talking about weight and food and exercise; I can take my thoughts captive, as the Bible commands, and ask God for help in this area.

My point is, we can’t know every issue you have.  Even my friends who are very familiar with the ups and downs of my eating problems can not possibly guess what may cause issues for me on any given day; sometimes, I don’t even know.  It is my responsibility to be prepared to shut down those thoughts as they come.  It’s the same for anyone dealing with any ubiquitous, unbiblical thoughts.

Christian parents: Okay, this is probably a tad presumptuous of me as I’m not a parent myself.  But there are kids in my life who I want to protect, and I do want to have kids and often think about how I will approach difficult issues with them.

First off, yes, it is your right and your duty to protect your kids.  Insulate them in whatever way you feel is necessary. But you also need to train them.  Train your daughters to dress modestly for the sake of the men in their lives.  Train your sons to treat women with respect and to consider them something other than sexual objects.  They need to be able to react to the world around them with biblical understanding.

Years ago, when I was knee-deep in disordered eating, I remember reading a blog post concerning eating disorders.  One thing to note for the uninitiated is that most ED support sites will have ***TRIGGER WARNING** plastered all over various posts in order to let those who are easily triggered know what they’re getting into.  However, the woman writing this post was somewhat against labeling everything with the warning — not because she didn’t care about how her writing affected others, but because she recognized the deeper want held by many recoverers of complete isolation from all triggers.  She essentially said, “I can put trigger warnings at the top of each post and you can avoid them and avoid the pro-ana sites and the fashion magazines.  But do know that there will come a day on which you are walking down the street and you will look up and there will be a giant billboard with a stick-thin model on it.  And you have to be able to deal with that.”

I can insulate my (hypothetical, future) children from every evil I have control over.  But there will come a day when my sons see a less-than-modest photo or even just have a friend who starts dressing less modestly.  And they need to have the tools and understanding to address any unbiblical thoughts that arise out of those issues.  They will only learn how to deal with such temptations if my (hypothetical, future) husband and I teach them to understand their human weaknesses and run to the Lord and take their thoughts captive.  They won’t learn that just from being isolated from instances of immodest, immoral, or unethical behavior.

Finally, (a slight deviation from the topic at hand) to every Christian out there: the issue of sexual purity isn’t just a man’s game.  I have run into far too many women recently who have told me something to the effect of, “Growing up, I didn’t think other women struggled with lust.  I thought I was the only one.”  Just as you men are responsible for your thoughts, we women are responsible for ours.  But don’t think that none of us understand the struggle you face and don’t think that we are beyond temptation in that area.  And please, please don’t neglect to teach your daughters how to handle that temptation.

Well, those are my thoughts.  I would love to hear the opinions of others on both the blog post I linked to and what I’ve expressed here.  Thanks for reading!


Random thoughts from one of the most emotionally wearing weeks of my entire life

  • The amount of times I’ve had to tell myself, “It’s really none of your business; you don’t have to have an opinion on everything.” in the last week is astounding considering the fact that I am, in fact, a 26-year-old woman who manages to keep old friends, make new ones, and maintain a decent relationship with most of my coworkers and family members.
  • Really the fact that any one of us puts up with the rest of us is the common grace of God in His understanding that His creation needs companionship.  Because, really, we’re all such self-centered messes.
  • I trust people’s philosophies way too much and their motives way too little.
  • I would really, really like a dog.  A great, big, floppy dog who I will name Theodore or Remus or Paddington or something.
  • I absolutely have some of the most devoted, kind, loving, patient, wonderful, and dear friends in the entire world and I’m very glad the Lord has placed them in my life.
  • I find my brain to be buzzing more and more with useless and absurd imaginary conversations simply because I’m so used to thinking constantly. This week has been so crazy that my brain wants to be quiet but habit dictates that I fill the void with something.  These aren’t even conversations that I expect or want to have; they’re more like A Word from Our Sponsor filling the space between thoughts.  I think maybe I need to learn to sit quietly, mind included.
  • I’ve had such sweet conversations this week despite the tossing and turning of my mind.  It has been quite wonderful, really.
  • Sometimes, sleeping on a giant pillow and a giant stuffed bear really does make most everything better somehow.
  • Astoundingly, I don’t have to continue to feel as if I’m responsible for the actions of others.  I’ve known this for awhile, but it’s just now sinking in.
  • I have a friend who has two sisters and the three of them are essentially best friends and it’s really the most lovely thing.  I wish I saw that sort of sibling affection more often.
  • The Lord really does come through with His promise to progressively sanctify His children.  He equips, He chastises, He encourages, He loves.  Utterly phenomenal.

My thoughts on the Myth of the FriendZone

So, say you’re a guy and you like some girl and you express your like for her and she responds with, “I’d rather just be friends.”

Uh-oh.  You just got FriendZoned!

Or, maybe not.  I’ve been thinking about this the last couple of days because I hear/read complaints about it fairly often.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the FriendZone doesn’t actually exist.

It seems that being FriendZoned equates to one of two things.

Take Scenario A:

You’re a guy and you like your friend Julie.  You and Julie aren’t super close, but you know her well enough to know that you’d like to go out with her.  You ask her out and she turns you down, adding, “I really like you as a friend.” You have been:

a. FriendZoned.
b. rejected.
c. none of the above. If I keep trying really hard, Julie will finally realize she’s interested in me romantically.

If you answered b. rejected, you’re correct! I know it’s hard to admit and sometimes difficult to handle, but Julie has not, in fact, put you in some sort of undefined social Zone that exists to torture you and you alone.  She has been honest with you; she isn’t interested in a romantic relationship with you and that’s that.

Now, I can’t speak for all women, but I can say that when I’ve said this to guys it’s been because they expressed romantic interest in me and I wasn’t interested for whatever reason and wanted to break the news in a nice way.  It wasn’t because I wanted the guy to act like one of my female friends or because I’m just cold-hearted and didn’t appreciate how nice he’d been to me or whatever.  (Sidenote: if you’re nice to someone with the expectation that being nice will eventually earn you the right to demand their romantic affection, you’re doing it wrong.) I think this may be where the disconnect lies in these scenarios: the woman doesn’t want the guy to think she’s rejecting him as a person or that she thinks he’s a loser or something, and she can’t give him what he wants, so she offers the best thing she can give him, which is friendship.  She’s being honest, but tries to spin it toward something positive.

At this point, the best thing for you to do is to put that hope for romance with her to rest.  If you can remain friends with Julie without a huge amount of discomfort to yourself, please do.  If you find that you need some distance from her, you should communicate that.  It’s really terrible and confusing to the other person if you just slowly creep away from the friendship when they didn’t do anything other than express their feelings honestly.

Scenario B:

You’re a guy and you’re really close with Lauren.  She texts you all the time, tells you about all of her problems, has you drive her places, etc.  You wouldn’t normally do all of those things with such consistency for someone, but you like Lauren and you want to do things for her.

It takes a few months…years…decades, but you finally mention to Lauren that you’d like to date her.  She responds with, “Oh, but I just like being friends with you!” What does your relationship consist of?

a. all I can see around me is…The FriendZone.
b. absolutely no understanding of boundaries, terrible communication, and a woman who (probably unwittingly) thinks she can have all the benefits of a boyfriend without the commitment and affection.
c. none of the above. If I keep on doing everything she wants, she’ll eventually fall in love with me. She has to.

Once again, b is the answer. (Though I did touch on c briefly above, let me say it again: you should be nice to people in general. You should not be nice to someone in order to try to earn the right to their affection. That’s less being nice and more heinously manipulative.  This goes for both genders.)

Okay, first of all, communication is key always and forever.  If you thought Lauren was interested in you because of something she did or said, it’d be good to bring that up.  You can even use fancy phrases like “mixed signals” to drive the point home.  This gives Lauren a chance to explain her point of view concerning the situation.

Second of all, if you’re doing a bunch of stuff you generally reserve for a girlfriend…even if that “stuff” is something as simple as seeing Lauren multiple times a week, it’s probably time to explain that, too so that boundaries can be set up.  You don’t have to say, “I only do this for someone I’m dating,” but be honest about what boundaries you need to set up for yourself so that your relationship is clearly defined.

And, to the Laurens out there: if you’re using a guy as a fill-in for a boyfriend, stop it.  It’s confusing for both parties and is an abuse of the friendship in general.  Guy friends aren’t the same as your best female friends and they certainly aren’t just like a boyfriend without the commitment.

To sum up: using the term “FriendZone” to describe any guy who has unrequited affection toward a girl who wants to remain friends is skirting the issues at hand. In my experience, said guy needs to accept the rejection that he’s been handed or both parties need to strive toward clearer communication and healthy boundaries within their friendship. I’d really love for the term to go away completely, but as it won’t, I think I may just start calling people out for using it.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this issue.  I’d love to hear yours as well.  Do you have a different definition of FriendZone? Is there an area that I’ve gotten totally wrong or that I need a different perspective on? If you think so, comment away!


Re: Trayvon Martin and the American judicial system

Okay, so here’s the deal: I often write notes before my current-event-related posts to the effect of, “I don’t like writing about politics, but the one thing burned my biscuits so badly that I need to write a blog post about it.” or whatever.  I have realized this isn’t exactly true, and thus there will be no more caveats of that nature.

So, having said that…let’s talk about this Martin/Zimmerman fiasco.

I’m not going to tell you my opinion on this issue as it truly, truly doesn’t matter.  What I do want to comment on is the apparent misunderstanding about how the American system of trial by jury works.

Juries exist to decide if, based on presented evidence, a person is guilty of the crime(s) with which they are being charged.  They do not exist to exact vengeance upon someone, nor to force their own moral standards on the rest of the court.  Their one job is to make a decision concerning the evidence given and criminal charges.

In the United States, in case you were unaware or conveniently forgot, those being charged are innocent until proven guilty.  This means that the burden of proof falls on the prosecution.  In this case, George Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter (source).  That means that, unless the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman had approached Martin with the intent to harm or kill him, he would be considered innocent of the crimes with which he was charged.

No one has questioned that Zimmerman killed Martin.  In fact, Zimmerman admitted to killing Martin.  He claimed self-defense, the prosecution claimed otherwise.  The prosecution was then responsible to prove that he killed Martin maliciously rather than in defense.

The jury had to decide whether Zimmerman was guilt of the charges the prosecution laid against him.  They were not deciding if Zimmerman had killed Martin, if Zimmerman was racist, or if Zimmerman deserved the punishment that would be given presuming he was found guilty.  They were deciding if, considering the evidence provided to them, there was reasonable doubt concerning the allegation of second-degree murder and manslaughter.  Apparently, there was.

So, please stop picking on the jury.  Stop picking on the court.  I don’t know what happened to Trayvon Martin that night and I have no idea if Zimmerman had malicious intent.  But, what I do know is that, using the system that our government has provided for us, the jury made a decision based on the evidence was given.  And that’s all that can be asked of them.


Reflections on the difficulties of making friends of the opposite sex

Over the years I have, quite frankly, had very few healthy friendships with men. I’ve realized that this is a problem recently and have been attempting to fix that as best as I can.  I know it’s important to have friends of both genders, and I quite enjoy the company of my Christian brothers, so it is something I’m actively working on.

I’ve run into some road bumps though, and I think I can explain why.

In some groups at my age, there seems to be this unspoken awkwardness surrounding guy/girl friendships.  People like to question whether they’re a couple, which is reasonable, I suppose, but it tends to make everyone involved mildly self-conscious about the entire friendship.  The main problems I see, however, aren’t with outsiders questioning the motives of the friends, but with the attitudes about duel-gender friendships themselves.

First off, a lot of women seem to have trouble with thinking that an afternoon coffee with a guy means he’s interested in some sort of romantic relationship.  This, quite frankly, is stupid.  I feel I can say it because I’ve been that woman in the past.  It’s also a tad insulting to both the woman and the man involved because the assumption is then, “He could not possibly be interested in a friendship with me; he must only be interested in what I can give him.” I think it’s best to assume friendship unless intentions are stated as something other than friendship.

Now, on that note, guys: one of the reasons women have issues with this mindset is because of a horrid practice I like to call Sneak-Attack Dating.  For the love of your integrity, if you want to take a woman out on a date, take her out on a date. If you are interested in a friendship, communicate that.  But do not under any circumstances try to trick a woman into dating you using the guise of friendship. It’s completely dishonest and puts us in an incredibly awkward position.  Just don’t do it.  I understand it’s hard and scary and the possibility of rejection is a tough thing to handle.  But, I feel pretty safe in saying that, even if the Lady of Your Dreams returns the sentiment, starting off the relationship with deception is never, ever the way to go.

I really think that these two factors cause awkwardness when it comes to making friends with the opposite sex…at least at my age.  In my speculation, the guys who would rather stay friends are somewhat skittish when it comes to interacting with women because they’re afraid the women will think they’re interested in them romantically, which is probably somewhat true, but partially because of some other guy who Sneak Attacked them…it’s kind of a muddled mess, and I don’t really have much of a solution.

My conclusion may be totally wrong, but this is what I’ve observed thus far.  If you have any other input, I’d like to hear it and discuss it. I’m trying to integrate friendships with people of both genders into my daily life because I do enjoy the company of and want the input of my brothers in Christ.  I’m not totally sure of the least-awkward way of doing this, but I am trying.

Have you ever had issues with forming friendships with the opposite sex?


Regarding the issue surrounding the Wendy Davis debacle (AKA abortion and women’s rights)

I am very hesitant to post this as I’m not fond of entering into Internet debates about any topic, particularly political ones.  However, I think it’s time to discuss this issue frankly.  I’m quite certain most of the feedback I receive for this will be negative, but that’s okay.

Since 2010, I have been a part of a growing Internet subculture called the Nerdfighters. Nerdfighter groups are made up of loyal viewers of the vlogbrothers channel on YouTube. (For those who don’t know, Nerdfighters don’t fight nerds; they fight for nerds and for awesome.)  I watch the vlogbrothers and several other YouTube channels run by Nerdfighters because I find most of them funny and insightful.

I will admit that Nerdfighters are, generally speaking, liberal in their political leanings.  There are a few of us who are conservative, but we are vastly outnumbered.  As a result of this slant toward the left, I have been exposed to far more positive commentary on this whole Wendy Davis filibuster thing than I would have been exposed to prior to joining this group.  I am glad to have been privy to the thoughts of those whose view is different than mine.  But, it’s time to address some things.

When it comes to women’s rights and abortion, particularly regarding the Wendy Davis debacle, the attitude that I have seen displayed by those who lean to the left is that there are Those For Women’s Rights (which includes, but is not limited to, being pro-abortion to some extent) and Scumbags Who Want to Oppress Women and that’s it; you fit into one of those groups.

As you can imagine, this makes life quite awkward for those of us Texan women (and non-Texan women) who are anti-abortion.  Personally, it feels as if I’m opposed to my own gender, even though I know there are millions of women who hold similar values across the nation.  When one divides the abortion issue into Women’s Rights and The Opposition, it makes it sound as if The Opposition hates women and just wants to oppress them for all eternity.

Let me first say this: while I’m sure a few hold that idea, by-and-large, this is not true.

When this topic is broken down into Pro-Women and Anti-Women camps, it is skirting the actual issue at hand and insulting a large portion of the population in the process.  There is no reason not to address what is actually going on rather than sweeping it all under the broad title of Women’s Rights and washing our hands of it.  This debate is far more complex than that.

It’s time to call a spade a spade.  The fact is, most anti-abortion advocates don’t want government regulation concerning what women do with their own bodies.  This is not, in fact, an issue of women’s rights but of semantics.  The main area in which we differ with those who want access to abortion is on the definition of where the woman’s body ends and a child’s begins.  We don’t differ on how women should be treated or what rights they should have…just on where their bodies stop and another person’s starts.

I’m for women being treated equally as men.  I’m for women’s rights.  But I am opposed to abortion, and I’m incredibly irritated by those who act as if those of us who are anti-abortion are also anti-women. It’s not true and it’s an uneducated, dangerous, and offensive misconception.

I look forward to reading insightful comments, but please know I personally will not be engaging in debates beyond the scope of this very limited post.