Monday, September 14, 2015

On procrastinating

Mom: Have you guys studied for your tests yet?

Girl: Yes

Boy: Yes

Other Boy: *silence*

Mom to other boy: Are you procrastinating?

Other boy: I haven't yet, but I'm going to!

As the rest of us giggle: Wait, what does "procrastinate" mean?

Tomato Skills

This just happened between the 13 year old boy and 11 year old girl. Read with a faux British accent.


Do you have tomatoes skills?


On a scale of 1 to 10, how are your tomato skills?


That's impossible.

No, it's not. I have great tomato skills.

What kind of tomato skills do you have?

All of them.

Which skill are you best at?

All of them.

Do you know what tomato skills are?

Being skilled at tomatoes.

I don't think you know what tomato skills are. I'm very good at two of them.

I'm a master in three skills.  Grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and yellow tomatoes.

That's not tomato skills.  That's naming tomatoes.  Well, I'm good at picking tomatoes and eating tomatoes.

I'm good at those AND at planting tomatoes, weeding tomatoes, and looking at tomatoes. I've named a tomato "Bob." Have you?


I've named a tomato "Joe." Have you?


I've named a tomato "Kevin." Have you?


I've named a tomato "Bacon." Have you?

No. But I've named a tomato "Stuart" because I'm very good at naming tomatoes. Did you know that Stuart has a magma gun?

A lava gun?

No a magma gun.

It's the same thing.

No, it's not.

No, you're wrong.

Nope, nope, nope...

Friday, September 11, 2015

Let justice roll

Image of a USA Stamp,
photo taken by Thomas E. Franklin
I have teared up twice today while telling the kids about the many people who died one day 14 years ago. It's so hard to remind children that things like this can happen. I followed it up by telling them that there is also so much good in this world, but we often don't hear about it. (Good people tend not to toot their own horns much.)

The hardest moment came minutes after the discussion was over, when my girl asked, "Wouldn't they have seen a plane near the building and been able stop it?" Like a sad movie ending, this one didn't make sense to her.

These moments make my heart hurt, but I am encouraged all the same. I will only become disheartened when we are no longer affected by such things.

One day, justice will roll.

Until then, we love as Jesus loved.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Acknowledging That ALL Lives Matter

(You may find something that you disagree with here.  If you do, it's fine to share your opinion, but please do so in a kind way that promotes conversation instead of shutting it down.)


Darren Goforth, a 47 year old man who had been a police officer for 10 years was killed this weekend. Reports say that it appears to have been an unprovoked attack, simply because Goforth was in a cop's uniform. Josh Feldman writes:

The sheriff said the attack “strikes at the heart of law enforcement” and noted the “very dangerous national rhetoric that’s out there today.” And when it gets to a point where cops are being assassinated, he said, this rhetoric is “out of control.” “We’ve heard black lives matter,” he said, “all lives matter, well, cops’ lives matter too. So why don’t we drop the qualifier and just say ‘lives matter’ and take that to the bank?”

Photo courtesy of Fox News

I'm glad you asked. I'll tell you why.

Black lives matter.
Women's lives matter.
Men's lives matter.
Cops' lives matter.
Babies' lives matter.
Indigenous people's lives matter.
All lives matter.

Saying any one of these things doesn't preclude the others; it merely speaks to a problem that the speaker sees in front of them.

Cancer is a horrible illness.
ALS is a horrible illness.
Parkinson's is a horrible illness.
MS is a horrible illness.
All illnesses are horrible illnesses.

Saying any one of these things doesn't preclude the others, it merely speaks to a problem the speaker sees in front of them.

If someone says to you, "Black lives matter," don't respond with "All lives matter." You wouldn't react that way to a cancer patient.  Imagine that conversation...


"Cancer is a horrible illness."

"Stop saying that! All illnesses are horrible. Can't we accept that ALS and MS are bad too? My Grandma has Parkinson's and Lewy Body Disease. Why are you going on and on about your cancer all the time? Can't you acknowledge my Grandma?"


No one says that. That would be incredible hurtful to the person walking through everything involved in dealing with cancer.

Cancer is horrible.
Dementia is horrible.
MS is horrible.
All illness is horrible

Black lives matter.
Cops' lives matter.
Babies' lives matter.
All lives matter.

When someone kills a police officer because of the "Black Lives Matter" campaign/rhetoric, that person clearly does not understand that ALL lives matter. It is good and important to remind the world that ALL lives matter. It is also good to tell our stories about why individual groups of people's lives matter. That's how we are able to understand the world around us. Asking us to remove the qualifier negates many conversations that could be had, conversations that would allow us to understand each other better.

So, yes, "Lives Matter." ALL lives matter.

There will always be evil around us. The way we discuss life, with its good and bad, forms the framework for how we act and react. The man who killed the police officer clearly did not understand that all lives matter.  Have that conversation with people if you haven't.  It's a good and important comversation to have.

And when someone tells you that a specific life matters, please listen. There just might be a reason they're feeling that way.

(Inspired by a June 20, 2015 Facebook post by Jamie-Grace Harper. Spurred on by a quotation from Sheriff Ron Hickman.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Glazed Vanilla Bean Scones

This is a fully-bad-for-you, totally-indulgent, not-healthy recipe, so any Paleo or gluten-free diet people can just read for funny comments, drool, and move on. The rest of you should just go ahead and print this one off because you're going to be the hit of the next pot luck with this recipe.

Vanilla Bean Scones

Scone Ingredients:

2 vanilla beans
3/4 cup heavy cream

3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

1 egg

Glaze Ingredients:

1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup half and half cream
5-6 Tbsp milk
3 cups icing sugar, sifted

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Split 2 vanilla beans lengthwise down the middle and scrape out the goodness, stirring it into cream. Let it all blend together like wide-eyed freshman at a school mixer, for 15 minutes. (Do they still have school mixers these days?)

Sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Add egg to cream mixture, then add to the flour mixture; stir with a wooden spoon until all comes together.

Put down parchment paper and form dough into a rectangle on paper. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and roll the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick.

Cut dough into 12 -16 even rectangles. Cut those rectangles in half diagonally. Put on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 12-18 minutes, just until the edges are barely browned. (Cooking time varies greatly depending on size.)

Let scones cool for at least 30 minutes before you attempt to glaze them.

To make the glaze: Split the remaining vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the goodness. Stir the vanilla bean goo into cream and milk; let it mingle like singles at a speed dating dinner for about 15 minutes. (That doesn't even make sense. If they're speed dating, don't they jump around from person to person within a matter or a couple minutes or so? I don't know; I've never speed dated.) Whisk the milk mixture with the icing sugar until smooth.

When scones are as cold as a polar bear's toe nails (or, really, room temperature would do just fine), baptize those scones until they are fully immersed. After it's had a chance to drip dry, put each scone on a cooling/drying rack for speedier drying. (Speedier drying means speedier eating.)

Let scones sit for about an hour before you indulge. They taste best fully drip-dried.

Sources say these scones will last for several days if placed in a dry, sealed container, but we've never had them last that long.

Makes 24-32 scones.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Paleo "I'll have another" Choco-Peanut-Butter Bites

"Mom, can I have another one of those little circle things?"

I just made these...  No sugar, but so tasty, as evidence by the quote above, just spoken 10 seconds ago by my girl.
"Mom, can I have another one of those little circle things?"

Peanut Butter Brownie Balls


1/2 cup dates

1 cup ground almonds
2T cocoa powder
1/4 cup natural peanut butter


Add hot water to dates and let them sit for 5-10 minutes.

Have a coffee or tea.  Brush up on your Latin and Greek. Play Candy Crush and Farmville.

Drain the water from the dates.

Place all ingredients in a small food processor and process for 30 -60 seconds or until the dates are smooth and incorporated.

Roll into balls and try not to eat them all at once.

Have no guilt because that was a guilt-free treat!

Thank your friend, Wanda Whoopie-Cushion.

Friday, July 17, 2015

How to Get a Free Gigantor Hot Fudge Sundae, in 16 Easy Steps

How to Get a Free Gigantor Hot Fudge Sundae, in 16 Easy Steps

1. Meet a boy.

2. Decide he's cute.

3. Make sure he thinks you're cute.

4. Invite him to see The Lost World with your youth group.

5. Wait for him at the back of the theatre since he said he'd be late coming from his softball game.

6. End up sitting next to him since your youth group saved seats next to each other for you.

7. Realize that you are both slightly obsessed with John Williams' music.

8. Get engaged a year later.

9. Pick up a coupon somewhere along the way for a free small sundae from McDonald's.

10. Get married 14 months and 2 days after you got engaged.

11. After you leave your wedding reception, stop at McDonald's before you get to the hotel.

12. Drive up to the speaker, tell them you have a coupon and place your order.

13. Before pulling forward, tell them that you just got married that day and ask if they can give you some extra chocolate sauce.

14. Present your coupon.

15. Collect your Gigantor Sundae that has been made in a large soft drink cup.

16. Drive away celebrating.


Happy 16th Anniversary of getting that Gigantor Sundae, Aaron. Here's to many more!