Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bigglesnort's, my kids are all aliens

Did you know there is a new toy store in town?  I love toy stores!  This one is called "Bigglesnorts" and it is on the SE corner of Juan Tabo and Montgomery (in the same shopping center as Great Harvest and Active Imagination).  If you've been missing the Out of the Blue that used to be on Paseo, they have a similar selection, so stop by sometime.  Free gift-wrapping is great for last-minute present shopping! 

There is also a new indoor trampoline park called Xtreme Hang Time.  The floor is made of trampolines.  You heard me!  They also have an area where you can do flips and tricks into a giant pit of foam, a dodgeball area, and a little kids' area so the little kids don't get trampled.  It's kind of pricey, but for a special occasion it's great for exercise and fun, and if you just want to watch, it's free.


And now, some quotes:

Andrea: "Every ewok who brushes their teeth and uses the bathroom now will get a piggy-back ride upstairs from Chewbacca."

Wes: "Meatballs with BBQ sauce are my favorite thing!  After you, and bacon."

Sapphire: "I am an alien that looks just like a kid. I really am. I'm not pretending."

Onyx: "When I came here in my alien spaceship I blew up my spaceship. I remember when the dinosaurs were here because I have been alive forever."

Quartz: "Will your kids and grandkids be aliens, too?"  Onyx: "I probably wouldn't want them to be."  Sapphire: "Would they be scared of you, or your alien friends?"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Beautiful and the Damned

Coach and I were out tonight talking about things, and as our conversations tend to do, we wandered from football, to work, to weight loss, and finally, somehow to homosexuality. I know I am spectacularly behind the times, but I'm still processing the whole Chik-fil-a incident from the summer.

Though it's not really behind the times; just not particularly socially relevant right now because there isn't a run on chicken nuggets or homosexual fodder.

I feel like this is a good time to remind you that I teach high school. Teenagers take a looooooong time to process social issues; especially when justice is involved. It's a thing they do.

And I want to be careful not to make God small here, because that's where I think the Evangelical Right gets it all wrong and fifteen-year-olds get it all right.

God is big enough not to be any more offended by homosexual sin than He is offended by prideful sin or angry sin or adulterous sin or jealous sin or any other kind of sin.

He is big enough to see the whole picture, and only He can objectively and benevolently judge the state of a person's heart. He does not have issues with transgressional economic policy.

So I don't worry much about my thoughts on this, because at the end of the day it's God handling the big decisions about righteousness, and sin, and eternity- not me.

Keep that in mind. Regardless of my opinion or yours- God still decides. I'm good with that.

Frankly, it takes me an inordinate amount of time to make salad dressing choices each day; eternity is NOT an area that can benefit from my input.

However, what I know about the character of Jesus is that if given the chance, He would have been right in the middle of the sinners and their sins. He wouldn't have been offended by their behavior, their fashion, or the inflection of their voices. Only He is able to discern genuineness in the hearts of man. We can't do that. If we could, prom would have been a bit less stressful.

I also know that my tendency to be judgmental has done more damage to my family than any homosexual EVER could. I have harbored thoughts in my mind and emotions in my heart that would blister the soul of the devil himself.

I am not without sin.

I have not earned the right to sit at God's right hand and judge another. My opinion does NOT matter.

My heart does.

Jesus hung out with sinners- prostitutes, thieves, tax collectors, adulterers, and murderers. Those were the people with whom He spent many of His days, the people He loved, the people He changed.

The people HE transformed.

And we like transformed lives. If we didn't, we wouldn't constantly try to transform our own.

Y'all- it's mid-January. Hundreds of thousands of people are just about ready to give up on their weight loss and fitness resolutions for 2013 in a fog of carbs and self-deprecation.

We don't aspire to be morbidly obese and imprisoned by our fat and self-loathing.

Yet statistics show that at least half of the country is exactly that.

We've drowned ourselves in our own pleasure and weaknesses.

Because Lord knows that in times of weakness, the buffalo chicken wing wields an uncanny power over the human psyche. And don't even get me started on chocolate.

No one serious about weight-loss asks a life-long skinny person how to get skinny. Career skinnies can't help those of us who have to fight the fluff.

We ask the people who have been transformed; those that were obese, out of shape, and on their way to death until they weren't. We want to know what it was that got our formerly fat friends out of their bondage; what was the catalyst that made them turn around and find the path to skinny?

Skinny people don't sell weight-loss programs. Formerly fat people sell weight-loss programs.

Self-righteous people don't sell eternity. Formerly lost people sell eternity.

And frankly? I prefer to hang with the lost and formerly lost. They have cool scars, and I'm a sucker for a really good transformation story.

The stories of my life are recorded in my scars. The shiny, taut, perfect parts? They are fading away as quickly as the years are fading. Honestly, just yesterday I think I heard pores exploding and skin wrinkling.

If I am afforded a long life, the shiny, glittery, perfect parts will be nothing more than myth. All that will be left are the scars and wrinkles of the years on this earth, and with every scar I will have the choice to tell the story of loss or the story of healing.

I so want my life to be a legacy of healing and restoration. I want the memories of me to be fond- not pitiful.

So my mission is simple. Tell others that because of Jesus I am changed- not perfect, but transformed.

Because He loved, I am loved.

Because He died, I don't have to.

And the love I have is the EXACT SAME LOVE that everyone else has.

Do we all get into Heaven?

Nope.

Not all of us will be in Heaven. But let me ask you this-

Have you met the person that said, "I'm not going to Heaven?"

I haven't. We all think we're on the bus to the pearly gates because we're good people.

And we're not. The Bible is very clear about that. God is just, and He enforces justice according to his plans, His economy, His ways. And we aren't equipped to understand those ways.

I don't know who makes the heavenly cut and who doesn't. AND. NEITHER. DO. YOU.

God doesn't count anyone out for a shot at eternal life until toes are in the grave. If He withholds judgement until the very last heart beat, then we should too.

So what do I know? I am responsible for two things.

First, to love Him with all my heart and all my soul.

Second, to love my neighbor as I love myself. Even the loud ones that don't march to the same drummer. And the ones who like cats.

Period.

No exceptions. No rules. No laws. No preconceived notions.

Just love.

Even if it kills me.

See y'all.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Roll Tide Retweet

Listen, it is no secret that Alabama is not my favorite football team.  And while we're sitting here, neither is Florida.  Or anywhere Steve Spurrier coaches.  But last night.  Last night?

Last night Coach Saban masterminded one of the most atrociously definitive defeats I've ever seen on a football field.  (And I feel like I need to remind you that I am a die-hard Tennessee Vol- I've seen many atrocities this year).

And I know, everyone is all over the Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and everywhere else talking about the South rising again and Irish potato famines and AJ McCarron's girlfriend. There are a whole lot of people down here claiming The Crimson Tide as their own today.

Hypocritical? Perhaps.

Or just family.

The SEC is a conference that spends the end of September and most of October beating the snot out of each other, thus ruining each other's chances at being ranked #1.  (Ahem, I'm talking to you A&M- welcome.  You proved you could hang with the big boys).

We fight, we poison each other's trees, we light things on fire, call each other's mothers and sisters all sorts of unsavory names, and then, just as the holidays are abreast- we all kiss and make up.  It's no different than any other sibling relationship.  I can beat up on my brother all I want, but Lord help the outsider that comes in and tries to do the same.

Loyalty.  And maybe a little bourbon.  That's what holds us all together down here in SEC territory.  So, as slack-jawed as I was to find myself cheering for Alabama last night, I did just that.   Maybe  I was a little half-hearted about it, but I did it.  And so did a whole bunch of others.

And I watched comments on Twitter roll in last night just as the Tide got rolling.  I like Twitter for the more volatile situations - elections, football games, and The Miss America Pageant, because people seem to be a little kinder and wittier on Twitter.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to "retweet" some of the comments I saw last night, because sometimes a little wit covers a multitude of touchdowns.

Here you go in the order they were posted- it's a history of sorts:

"Rooting against the Catholics never ends well.  Just ask Anne Boleyn."  @clemsonjenn

"Watching the game with my boy, who now sees the appeal of playing offensive lineman because, well, CARBS."  @boomama

"Oh, listen.  I've lost count of how many times A. has pulled up his shirt and roared."  @boomama

"I'm watching #BCS but I'm going to try to guess what is happening on #Bachelor too.  A girl just over expressed her emotions for a stranger."  @jonacuff

"Bachelor Spoiler Alert, it doesn't work out."  @jonacuff

"Tuck ya belly in #65!!"  @k_bass2

"Bad when AJ's girlfriend is on tv more than Notre Dame's offense"  @johnsonjamison

"This has to be the worst Irish performance since Tom Cruise in Far and Away."  @badbanana

"Notre Dame coach's half time speech to his players - 'You is kind, you is smart, you is important.'" @istevewilson

"Forest Gump 21 - Rudy 0" @AndreBranch

"Only mistake Alabama made tonight was how little Gatorade they actually got on Coach Saban." @jonacuff

And I bet if I asked you, you could give me a whole lot more.  So, I'm asking.  Did you see anything that tickled you?

See y'all!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fauxreos - Low-Carb Gluten-Free Brownies



Everyone needs brownies once in a while, right?  Even if you're on a gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or low-carb diet, sometimes you just want a little treat.  So here's a brownie recipe I adapted that, when added to vanilla ice cream or just whipped cream, tastes kind of like Oreos. 

Fauxreos

(Low-Carb Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Brownies)

Ingredients
1/4 c. soy margarine or butter
sweetener of choice (I used 2 TBSP agave and 1 packet Stevia)
4 oz. 85%-100% chocolate (depending on desired amount of sweetness)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. almond flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
dash salt

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350.  In a saucepan, melt butter and add sweetener.  When melted, turn off the heat and add the chocolate.  Stir until melted, heating over low heat if necessary.  Stir in egg and vanilla, and then add almond flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Press into greased 9x5 pan, and bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or coconut cream.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Here's to a Fruity 13


My resolution for 2013?

Bear fruit.  

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law."  Galatians 5:22-23



I'm not going to lie.  I feel like there may be a stumble or two in the patience department.

See y'all!