Friday, September 16, 2011

The Six-Word Memoirs

One might argue that economy in writing necessarily causes meaning to be lost. However, Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser have shown that messages can be short on words while deep in meaning. Founders of the online magazine SMITH, they asked the world to send in six-word memoirs. ... Over 15,000 people responded to the challenge. Some notable examples posted on SMITH include these:

  • "My second-grade teacher was right." - Janelle Brown
  • "Secret of life: Marry an Italian." - Nora Ephron
  • "Took scenic route, got in late." - Will Blythe
  • "Became my mother. Please shoot me." - Cynthia Kaplan [April's note: LOL]
  • "It's pretty high. You go first." - Alan Eagle
(From Managerial Communications by Geraldine Hynes)

If you had to write a six-word memoir, what would it be?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jesus was an ineffective communicator

"...Do you ever think about what an ineffective communicator Jesus was? Think about it. He could have been speaking to 5,000 people every night. He could have been filling hills and shores and city squares constantly. Instead, he wasted his time at dinner with 12 people. Instead, he called individuals out of trees or chatted up one person at the well. And these weren’t powerful, influential people who could have dramatically helped his cause with their networks. He wasn’t connecting with “connectors.” These were sinners, tax collectors and fishermen. That seems counterintuitive to really building a platform. Why did he do it?

Because I think he knew how important relationships are. I think he knew that if you build a platform and when you stand on it no one really knows you, you’re alone. There might be a crowd of people around you, but if nobody knows you, that’s the worst kind of loneliness there is. I think he knew the value of a friendship."

~Jon Acuff

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lessons from a bike (part deux)

When one is riding one's bike in cottonwood shedding season and in gnat season, it is well to remember these words of wisdom that apply to all of life...

It is best to keep your mouth shut as much as possible.

(Told you I'd be posting these... ;-D)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sweet summer

No price is set on the lavish summer
June may be had by the poorest comer.
~James Russell Lowell

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lessons from a bike

I'm biking to and from my summer college classes this year. At nearly 17 miles round-trip, this means there is a lot of time to think and, as I'm one of those annoying people who can find Significant Lessons in even the most basic of tasks, it is inevitable that I will think of some on my bike this summer. Consider yourself warned.

Here's the first one.

There are literally hundreds of miles of bike paths in Colorado. There are also, apparently, thousands of Serious Bikers in the state, too. To be a Serious Biker, you have to either own a bike that cost more than $500 or be willing to strut out in public in one of those fluorescent, leave-nothing-to-the-imagination biking outfits. (Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.) At any time of day and in any kind of weather, if you're on a bike path, you can be sure to see solo Serious Bikers and packs of Serious Bikers. By my highly-scientific calculations, about 91.7% of the riders on bike paths are, in fact, Serious Bikers.

So here's the thing...when I'm scraping along (literally) on my $50 big-box-store bike (hey, if you were carrying a backpack whose weight amounts to 15% of your body weight, you'd be slow, too...don't judge), I'm kind of like a steeplechase hazard. Not really appreciated, but there nonetheless, and you have to get by me somehow. Just for the record, Serious Bikers, people like me exist, and we're not going away any time soon (at least not so long as biking is cheaper than filling a car with

So here's the good part...for the most part, the Serious Bikers are really nice to slowpokes like me. I have never been run off the road and here's the best part - when one of them is coming up behind you, they always give you a little call out, "On your left!" so you know not to make any sudden moves to the left, and everyone avoids a collision. They could yell, "Out of the way!" or perhaps the more polite but less descriptive, "Excuse me!" Or, of course, there's the military favorite, "Make a hole!" But no. In three little words, they let you know they're there, that they're about to pass you, and what side they're coming from.

And that's how it should be in life. (See, I told you I was all about the over-analysis and hyper-spiritualization.) Communicate. Be polite, but be clear and direct. Do not use ten words when three will do. And never run somebody off the road because you were silent when there should have been speech.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Twelve Apostles, Australia

I have been so blessed to visit many beautiful places around the world. Chantel's blog post today reminded me of one of them...the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Where I'm From Wednesday

Where I'm from, families display hundreds-of-years-old doll sets, which have been passed down through generations, every February in preparation for Girls' Day in March.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter comfort food

It's snowing. Again.

I dashed to the post office this morning and realized, as my fingers froze to the steering wheel, that I hadn't set foot outside the house since Sunday. A very good thing, when daytime highs are in the negative range. Today is a warm spell, though...the thermometer registered all of six degrees when I got up this morning! It's snowing again now...

I've been hunkered down in the basement all morning studying calculus. I love my little study area, which looks out over my winter-napping garden. My guinea pig is nearby and talks to me every now and then (usually to demand something...more me...let me out into my playpen...). The only problem with my study area is that, well, it's in the basement. And, after many days of sub-zero temperatures, the floor is a wee bit chilly. <--colossal understatement

Days like today (and feet as cold as mine) call for warm and filling comfort food, and one of my favorites is rice pudding. We got the recipe years ago from the side of a bag of rice. Living in Japan, the recipe was always the preferred method of getting rid of leftover cooked rice after dinner. We don't eat rice as often now that we live in the US, but it still gets made several times every winter.

Mid-Winter Rice Pudding

3 c. cooked rice
2 1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
3 TBSP butter
3/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 c. raisins or chopped dates
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine rice, milk, sugar, butter, and nutmeg. Cook over medium heat until thick, 20-25 min., stirring often. (Do not allow to boil hard, or pudding will be grainy.) Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and raisins/dates.

If, by some remote chance, you have leftovers, reheat by putting in a pan on the stove with a little more milk.

We always eat short-grain white rice in our house, and hence, always use short-grain white rice for this recipe. I tried using brown rice once. Don't. It's yucky. (Well, brown rice in general is yucky, but that's another subject entirely...) We get our short-grain white rice in the ethnic food section at our local grocery store. I can't imagine how this would turn out with long-grain rice. (Come to think of it, I can't imagine how anyone eats long-grain white rice, period. Yes, I freely admit I am a rice snob. But I digress...again...)

If your family is like mine and there are people who don't like raisins (umm...::raises hand::), let them serve themselves after you've stirred in the vanilla but before you add the raisins. (We never use dates since this recipe is usually a last-minute creation, and dates are not something we keep in the pantry.)

Also, if someone in your family is on a restricted diet (umm..::raises hand:: again), you can go with a modified version which, in my opinion, is actually pretty much as good as the original.

Almond milk for cow's milk
Maple syrup for brown sugar (the extra liquid doesn't seem to make any difference...yay!)
Coconut oil for butter

Winter comfort food at its finest.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Maple Cinnamon Trail Mix

I've made three or four batches of this trail mix since the beginning of the year (when I first made this recipe) because all the ingredients are on the wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free, caffeine-free diet I'm on. It's really simple. You should try it. (Do not be afraid of the loooong explanatory paragraph. That's just me being verbose. The recipe really is simple.)

Maple Cinnamon Trail Mix

(All measurements are approximate.)

2 - 2 1/2 c. rolled oats
1 - 1 1/2 c. almonds (whole or sliced...or both)
1 - 1 1/2 c. raisins

1-2 TBSP coconut oil (or you can use butter, but coconut oil is healthier)
3/4 c. maple syrup
1-2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Put the last three ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until oil is melted. While it's heating, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the maple syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to mix well. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the mixture over it in an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and stir. Return to oven for 15 minutes, and then stir again. If it's not done at this point, put back in the oven for another five to ten minutes and stir again. Repeat until it's done toasting. How will you know it's done toasting? It will turn a wonderful, golden-brown color, your raisins will start to puff up, and you will smell a rich, maple-y, toasty aroma. You DO NOT want a dark brown color, black shriveled raisins, and a burnt smell. That means it's overdone (duh). Ask me how I know.

I eat this plain as a quick snack, or with almond milk just like granola. I love it either way!

I have been experimenting with soaking the oats and almonds first to make them more digestible, with not-quite-satisfactory results. I mean, it's still fine, but the oats and nuts don't have quite the fabulous crunch that they do when you use them un-soaked. I'm trying to figure out the right combination of oven temperature and letting them dry out before toasting to get the texture I want.

(Learn more about soaking grains and nuts at Passionate Homemaking.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What can separate us?

I came home yesterday after six days of friendship, sunshine, below-zero temperatures, laughter, fun, trying new things, and experiencing the grace of God in new and unexpected ways.

I'm always a little sad on days like today. Just me, myself, and I at home feels quiet and lonely after nearly a week of being a part of a big family tripping over each other in a mountainside dollhouse. I miss someone's laugh. I miss another's hugs. I miss special facial expressions, and favorite phrases, and inside jokes, and the many hands that make a load both light and fun in the doing.

But I am comforted.

The day before we all headed our separate ways, scattering across the state and the country, I read Romans 8 in my devotions. Verses 38 and 39 have always had special meaning for me on the path God has taken me in this life, and He is using them afresh in my heart today.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yes, the house is a little too quiet today. Yes, I am lonely for these dear ones that I love all the more in every time we have together. What I am clinging to today, though, is the fact that I will never, never, be separated from God and His love. He is here, today, right now. He is my Friend, my Brother, and my Helper. What's more...He loves me.

I can't ask for a greater promise and a greater truth than this.