Tip of the Day

This post brought to you by the makers of Quinoa. And yes, this is a paying sponsor, because God made Quinoa and all my treasures are in Heaven. So yeah, I’m set.

Source: http://www.prevention.com/whats-healthier-quinoa-or-brown-rice

Apparently 2013 is the international year of quinoa. Why? Because some genius in the Andes decided to cash in on this nutrient-packed seed and make sure that everyone knows that this superfood darling is going to be a win-win. People in Peru make more money, and we eat healthier.

My favorite way to use quinoa? Throwing a handful into soups or stews at the last minute in place of pasta or rice. It cooks in just a few minutes and doesn’t get super soggy like rice if overcooked. Other favorite ways? Cook quinoa plain and not in chicken broth, so that if you have leftovers, you can add it to quick and yeast breads, pancakes, salads, or even smoothies.


How not to save the world/educate the internet

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls; I have an important announcement. Thanks to the careless overuse of the “share” button on Facebook, I will now be forced by my active imagination to lift up every public toilet seat before I use it.

True confession time: Even though I’ll admit it isn’t likely, I like to keep the bathroom shower curtain open so that ax murders can’t hide there. I also prefer not to dangle my feet or hands off the bed at night for obvious reasons, I am pretty certain you can’t get STD’s from public toilets but I use all the necessary precautions just the same, and I am ever mindful that my computer webcam could double as a spy scope for a computer hacker at any moment. Just to be clear, the last one is the most likely of the four. Now that you’re convinced I’m a paranoid cat lady, I’ll share my latest irrational fear. Some genius friend-of-a-friend shared on Facebook a link about this poisonous new spider that hides under public toilet seats so it can bite your butt and kill you. Fortunately, our mutual friend posted a link to a snopes.com article discrediting this “fact”. However, the damage to my delicate psyche was already done.

Enter: My Soapbox Moment, brought to you by anyone who shares something on facebook without fact-checking it first. But first, a little history. When I was fifteen, I got my first email account. This virtual connection to friends and family and the ability to send a letter at the touch of a button was truly amazing. Then, the forwards. At first, there weren’t really a whole lot of email forwards to circulate to educate and encourage and challenge your friends, but just like the flu, it started to catch on. Not only was I learning tons of new things via my email forwards, I was also daily challenged in my walk as a christian to show my boldness and share the love with others. You know, the forwards say something like, “Now, if you really love Jesus, you’ll forward this to ten of your friends right now! Still not sure? 98% of you are too ashamed of our Lord’s sacrifice to send this to your friends. What are you waiting for? Ever moment of hesitation is the same as adding another thorn to His crown of suffering!” So yes, of course I sent it out. Fortunately for me, my parents staged a “just say no to forwards” intervention after my youth pastor made a joke to them about being on my forwards list and after lengthy rehabilitation that consisted of daily reminders that hitting that forward button is not a sign of your devotion to God but simply a good way to be super annoying, I was done for good. Plus, with the unsettling revelation from my dad that not everything pretty much nothing you find in an email forward is true (mind.blown.) I was even more determined than ever not to involve myself with the propagation of unproven facts and needless information.

And then Facebook happened. Also, apparently a lot of you people never learned the whole just-because-it’s-on-the-internet-doesn’t-mean-it’s-true lesson. Because trust me, that lesson can be multiplied when it comes to anything you found first on facebook. For some reason, unquestionable verity is given to a “fact” once it is shared by a real person and not just some faceless source known as the internet. I think the general rule of thumb here is, if you found it on facebook, it probably isn’t true.

Here as an example, I have included two of the most popular “forwards” I have found on Facebook. The first one is of course the high school commencement speech given by Bill Gates. Sorry guys, not true. I’m not going to list the entire speech since I’m certain most of you either shared it or read it, but I’ll include everyone’s favorite part of the speech, “Be nice to nerds. Chances are, you’ll end up working for one.” Source? Not Bill Gates, but an excerpt from a book by Charles Sykes. Second most popular forward? This one gets a whole new batch of people every couple of months.

“I would like to keep my FB private except to those I am friends with. So if you all would do the following, I’d appreciate it. With the new FB timeline on its way this week for EVERYONE. . . please do both of us a favor: Hover over my name above. In a few seconds you’ll see a box that says “Subscribed”. Hover over that, then go to “Comments and Likes” and games, unclick them. That will stop my posts and yours to me from showing up on the side bar for everyone to see, but most importantly it limits hackers from invading our profiles. If you repost this I will do the same for you.”

So basically, good news and bad news. The good news is that your facebook privacy is not in the hands of your lazy friends, but completely accessible to you through your settings. The bad news is that you got taken to town by a facebook sharing scam.

Last but not least of the soapbox points? Resharing “facts” relating to issues/causes/politics without fact-checking them first. Everyone likes to whine about how much they can’t stand facebook during election season because of how aggressively their friends can push their voting preferences, but personally? The sheer amount of inaccuracies and “facts” shared are a much bigger problem. If you feel strongly about something, do your credibility a favor and fact-check before you share.

Oh, and if you suspect foul play while at an atm, entering your PIN backwards doesn’t call the police.


Oh the irony…

So we live in Portland, right? I mean, not in Portland, but pretty much. One of the interesting things about cities is that everyone is a little bit stranger. Now, I know most of you are thinking, “Yeah, you live in Portland!” But really, there’s something about urban living anywhere; the anonymity of being alone in a crowd that makes people act and dress in certain ways that you just can’t do in a small town without attracting attention. However, Portland does have it’s own special…flair…for the unusual.

I’m not sure how long this has been the case, but right now all the cool kids are hipsters. Except that it’s not cool to want to fit in to a mold or stereotype, so they won’t admit to all dressing alike because they just really feel like they naturally fit in their own personal style–which of course, is ironically similar to everyone else. Speaking of ironic–and i didn’t come up with this–apparently being a hipster is about…irony? I know. Kids these days. I didn’t really get it either until I noticed an advertisement for an iPad case. It was this mass produced look-alike of some old beat up leather bag with plaid accents–just like old timey loggers used. So let me get this straight. You want the most care-worn beat up old leather bag custom fitted to hold your iPad in. That, my friends, is irony.

Picture a man. He has a full beard, his hair is shaggy and mid-length, and he wears ill-fitting jeans that are rolled up at the ankles. Those hairy ankles are encased in a pair of clunky work boots that are dark brown with plenty of scuffs and look slightly old-country immigrant. His shirt is plaid (of course) and looks well made, although a little past it’s prime. Who is he? What is his story? Well, he doesn’t live in the sticks in montana running a sawmill. He’s your new barista. That’s right, this man makes lattes for a living.

But just wait. Before you go laughing at this strange little love-child of a hippie and a yuppie, don’t forget to look for the plank in your own eye. Got cowboy boots? Ever worn a cowboy hat? You better hope you’re a real live cowboy…on a ranch…driving cattle. What about jeans with store-bought holes or perfectly worn baseball caps? Yep. You too.

*I have no problem with men who make lattes for a living. I just find humor in ironic situations, and lucky me–i have a whole city of them.


What Little Boys Are Made Of

The jury is still out on slugs, snail, puppy dog tails, or anything else of that nature, but one thing is certain–every little boy is a future man. Each day I see new traits of my son’s masculinity begin to express itself. Lately, he’s decided that he must tangle. He absolutely must fight someone head to head with no holds barred in a battle that renders one the victor and the other–a scheming loser. As you may have deduced, the scheming loser is Henry because his only allowed target is his father and the weight-difference alone is clearly not in his favor.

Of course, both my children love to inflict physical pain on their dear old Dad, and few things bring them greater joy than a well-aimed punch or body slam to their old man’s ribs. However, it wasn’t really till the other day when AJ was home in time for dinner, and all Henry wanted to do was fight over anything that I realized how much he craves and needs that daily challenge of measuring his strength and violent force against the mannest man of them all–Dad. After all, there’s no satisfaction in wrestling with Violet–she’s still stronger and definitely more coordinated so the fights end quick and usually result in tearful apologies from both of them. Wrestling with Mom just isn’t done, but mostly because he resorts to making baby animal noises and we all end up snuggling. Super manly. Things are different with dads and little boys though. It’s almost primal–like watching a wild animal play with their cubs; the huge restraint on the part of the parent and the all-in war cries and throat head-butts of the cub-boy, both fostering a safe place to test and measure and aim high.

Of course, being a man isn’t about your ability to be physically violent, but lets not forget that fostering that appropriate aggression is integral in shaping the man he will become. A protector of women, children, and the needy. A provider who is confident in his abilities. A loving father and spouse who knows the importance of being fully engaged on every level with his family. And so in the meantime, the boy measures his strength against his father. He’s two. I worry about AJ’s health by the time Henry reaches highschool…


For All I Know

2013 broke this morning with crisp cold air and bright blue skies in the great state of Oregon. That’s right. Oregon.

In looking back, I can describe 2012 as no less than a whirlwind of tension. Not tension in an angry, uncertain way, but tension in a tightly-wound-ready-for-something-to-begin way. There were many great parts to this last year, but it was also a tough year for many reasons. I struggled to become the mother I thought I should be, dealing with banks and home loans is not for the faint of heart, we had to put more effort into our marriage than ever before, and we also renovated a house. By the fall, we were done. Just ready to settle into a routine and relax and start stepping into an easy rhythm. However, God, in His great goodness, had other plans in mind. Our job situation changed suddenly and we decided to take another out-of-state travel job to help us rectify our financial state post-home renovation. All of a sudden, we were swept back up in a whirlwind of uncertainty and decisions on locations, housing, how our children would handle a move and many other factors. Randomly, we decided to spend the assignment in Portland since we wouldn’t have to buy a car on location or fly down and only arrive with carry-on baggage. So that’s what we did. We worked like crazy people, finalized the home renovation details, packed our van up to the brim and drove to hippie-opolis where we settled into a short-term rental in one of the Portland suburbs–Beaverton.

And then something weird happened. God told us to move here. One day, we were praying and fasting and the heavens opened and a light–no, that didn’t happen. All I can say is, by the time we dared to broach the topic to each other, we were both becoming increasingly aware of the Holy Spirit awakening in us not only a desire to move here, but also a sense of urgency and conviction over His timing.

I have no idea why. We are content in the assurance that this seems like a pretty interesting idea, and that it certainly wasn’t ours. So far, 2013 is shaping up to be a great adventure.

“….Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

-Robert Frost