Monthly Archives: January 2015

Love/Hate Update 1/18

I’m pretty short on energy today so this is going to be brief.

Love:

-Celestial Seasonings Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland Tea.  My sister gave it to me fr Christmas.  It’s only available during the holiday season, so I plan to stock up next year!

-Foyle’s War.  It’s an extremely well-done BBC drama about a police detective during World War Two. If you like Poirot, you’ll like this.

-playing Solitaire and Freecell on my iPhone.  It’s more fun than it should be.

Hate:

-the stigma of physical illness

-the fact that people think there is no such thing as a stigma against physical illness

-Minnesnowta winters.  The idea of flying south sounds pretty good right about now.

-my tendency to support other people’s goals but neglect my own

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Desert Sand Cookies

My wonderful, full-blood Swedish mother-in-law gave me this amazing Scandinavian cookbook for Christmas a few years ago.  The desert sand cookie recipe is one of my favorites.  They are so easy to make and yet they are extremely delicious.

The old me would have balked at the fact that this recipe uses two sticks of butter.  The new me knows better.  The new me is diligently working on shedding this butter conspiracy complex that plagues society.  Don’t scrimp on the butter, because it makes this recipe taste amazing.  And don’t just throw the butter in the microwave.  It’s so worth taking a few minutes to brown the butter.  Plus, browned butter just smells absolutely amazing.  To quote the movie Julie & Julia, “Is there anything better than butter?”

Desert Sand Cookies:

-1 cup butter

-2 cups all-purpose flour

-1/2 teaspoon baking powder

-1 cup sugar

-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Brown the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Once the butter starts foaming, stir constantly until it turns golden brown.  Set the butter aside and let it cool for about an hour.

Mix flour and baking powder together.  Add the cooled butter and vanilla to the sugar in a medium bowl and stir until evenly mixed.  Add the flour and mix to form a dough.  (The dough will be extremely crumbly because there isn’t much liquid in this recipe, but it comes together pretty easily once you start forming balls.)

Shape dough into balls and place on baking sheets.  Press a crisscross pattern onto the cookies with a fork.  Dip fork in a bit of flour if the dough sticks.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes.  The cookies don’t really brown, so touch them to see if they’re done.  If they give, they need more time.  Cool cookies on the baking sheet for at least two minutes before putting them on a cooling rack.  The cookies will be very fragile and crumbly until they cool.

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The Church, School, and Health Care Connection

In a weird way, my beliefs have paradoxically stayed the same but also changed drastically over the past year or so. I still believe in G-d. I still believe in heaven and hell, although I’m different from many Christians in that I believe it doesn’t just exist on the other side of eternity. You think selfishness and abuse (in any form) don’t make life a living hell? Think again! I don’t believe that every other religion is completely sound per se, but I also don’t believe Christians have a monopoly on truth. C.S. Lewis didn’t either, for the record.

I’m starting to look at church the way I look at the public school and health care systems. We need both of these systems to exist. I have had some extremely positive experiences with both. But I’ve never been so delusional as to think they’re perfect and don’t need any improvement. It’s a bit of a paradox. I’ve received significant benefit from public school and the American health care system, and yet at the same time, I have some honest questions about how we can improve them.

I think this is exactly how we need to look at westernized churches. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not only okay to go to church while remaining critical of it, but it’s extremely necessary.

Life Lessons I Learned in 2014

Instead of making a bunch of resolutions that’ll get ditched sometime in mid-January, I decided to celebrate the personal growth that’s happened this past year.  I’m ten times stronger and more mature than I was a year ago.  So without further ado, here is my list of things I’ve learned this past year:

1.) loving other people and being their slave are not the same thing.

2.) Self-love is not selfish.  (I want to throttle every professing Christian who has ever implied otherwise.)

3.) Life is better with a little color in it.

4.)  You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, so you might as well chill out and stop trying to please everyone.

5.)  Unfortunate life events are not some kind of divine punishment.  Sometimes crap just happens and no one knows why.

6.)  Life is better with a little less TV and a little more music.

7.)  Pilates may not be a cure-all, but it sure helps

8.)  Fleece pants, Disney movies, and teddy bears solve any problem.  (Yes I am coming up on the 7th anniversary of my 20th birthday and i have a teddy bear.  Deal with it.)

9.)  Putting value judgments on your emotions is asking for disaster

10.)  Failure to put the lid all the way on the blender will, in fact, result in an explosion just like on TV.  Apparently they weren’t making that one up!

11.)  Whoever you are, wherever you are, you have something valuable to give the world whether you realize it or not.  In the words of Fred Rogers, “There’s not another person in this whole world like you.”

I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year, and I’ll be back in 2015! 🙂