monday miscellany

From here and there:

~ John McCain, Prisoner of War: A First-Person Account

~ Reconsidering the Astonishing Literary Legacy of James Michener. Left out were my favorites, Hawaii and The Source.

~ Sunday Church Services Are Not About You. Yes, especially this:

Moving from me to us also impacts how we use sound systems and choose music. When the sound is too loud, individuals in the congregation feel isolated and anonymous. Lower levels let us hear one another, encouraging participation.

~ Auburn football kicks off THIS WEEK, y’all! So let’s go Beyond Bo: Let’s remember a bunch of great Auburn running backs.

~ The problem with falling in love

~ Dream job alert (Thanks Milda!)

Happy Monday y’all!

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“Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit…”

kitchen-confidentialAfter hearing the sad news of Anthony Bourdain‘s suicide earlier this summer, I decided I should finally read Kitchen Confidential, the book that got him noticed. Y’all, that man could write. He was flawed, for sure, but so very vibrant and passionate about food and cooking and the people he worked with. And he was a straight-shooter, which I appreciate. Somehow I’ve ended up reading more than a few food-related books this year, and I really enjoyed this one.

Here are a few bits and bobs I highlighted as I read:

Cooking is a craft, I like to think, and a good cook is a craftsman — not an artist. There’s nothing wrong with that: the great cathedrals of Europe were built by craftsmen — though not designed by them. Practicing your craft in expert fashion is noble, honorable and satisfying. And I’ll generally take a standup mercenary who takes pride in his professionalism over an artist any day. When I hear ‘artist’, I think of someone who doesn’t think it necessary to show up at work on time.

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No one understands and appreciates the American Dream of hard work leading to material rewards better than a non-American.

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Somebody who wakes up with a scratchy throat and slight fever and thinks it’s okay to call in sick is not what I’m looking for.

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Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter-faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.

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Bigfoot [one of his bosses] understood — as I came to understand — that character is far more important than skills or employment history.

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Skills can be taught. Character you either have or don’t have. Bigfoot understood that there are two types of people in the world: those who do what they say they’re going to do — and everyone else.

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Given how his story ended, this was particularly poignant:

That was never my problem. When they’re yanking a fender out of my chest cavity, I will decidedly not be regretting missed opportunities for a good time. My regrets will be more along the lines of a sad list of people hurt, people let down, assets wasted and advantages squandered. I’m still here. And I’m surprised by that. Every day.

*Big sigh.*

If you’re into food writing and haven’t yet read this one, check it out.

don’t give up

I consider myself a skeptic and a cynic, and I’m not really proud of either trait. These are the logical outcomes of a logical personality, and I’m not proud of that, either. In fact, there are days that I wish I were not so logical; it’s a burden in a world that lacks common sense! And it can cause me to be cold and clinical when I’d much rather be warm and compassionate. Also, I’m sure it drives some people crazy.

So I was surprised at the the direction my thoughts took when I recently scrolled through my Instagram feed. I follow Jon Gordon, a best-selling author and motivational speaker, and I’ll be honest and say that some of the rah-rah, positive attitude stuff makes me roll my eyes at times – not specific to him, but that genre of posts. (I’m not proud of this, either! I don’t want to be that kind of person!)

Here’s the post that made me think:

dont-give-up

(More total honesty: that word MIRACLE made me think of the Miracle at Jordan Hare. I can’t help it – I’m an Auburn girl.)

My logical self wouldn’t ordinarily find a cynic and a skeptic to be hopeful. But you know what? I am! That’s why I persevere through books I don’t particularly enjoy — I figure there has to be some redemption in there somewhere! Alas, sometimes there is not. It’s why I’ll almost always gut it out and finish every episode of a television series season that has been recommended to me — holding out hope that it’s worth it. It’s why I will rip out a knitting project over and over if I can’t get it right. I’m hopeful that one of these days, I will figure it out. And it’s why I didn’t quit on my marriage or give up on some very important relationships that were really hard once upon a time. I’m not proud of this trait either; it’s just how I’m wired, I guess. And I’m not the One who did the wiring!

Maybe it’s a by-product of that stubborn streak that so frustrated my mother (and shhhh…. came from her! Thanks, Mom!).

So, anyway, that’s a long way of saying that, at fifty years old, I’ve learned something new about myself through glancing at an Instagram post. Life is funny, y’all.

And now I will say to you in the spirit of rah-rah cheerleading and positive thinking (but seriously), if you’re in a hard season, DON’T GIVE UP! Don’t quit right before the lesson is learned or the person changes his heart or the book gets good or the Lord shows His stuff. Pray for perseverance. Wait. (My logical, practical self is compelled to include here the caveat that if you’re in an unsafe place, don’t wait, get out! Otherwise, hang in there. Pray. Obey. Wait. Believe.)

Don’t give up y’all,

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psssst. Anyone here?

This may have been my longest blog hiatus ever! It was completely unintended, and I can offer no explanation. Blogging just didn’t happen. Since my last post, I’ve turned 50 and read some books, among other things like working and sleeping and chores. Paul and I got away to the beach for my birthday, and we’ve visited my peeps in Chattanooga, and they’ve visited us. I’ve done a little knitting, but it’s just somehow remained in the knitting bag during these sauna-like days of summer.

I will try to get back in the blogging habit, but for now, I’ll leave you with a few random thoughts:

~ johnIf you’re looking for a good Bible study (where you actually study your Bible, and not a book that occasionally references a few verses here or there), I highly recommend Kathleen B. Nielson’s studies. I’ve done several. Right now I’m working through John: That You May Believe, and it is soooooo good.

~ I’ve read quite a few books this summer (instead of blogging, right?). Here are a few of my favorites:

The Lake House – Kate Morton (and it’s $2.99 on Kindle right now!)

Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain   The man could write.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption – Bryan Stevenson  I want everyone I know to read this one.

The Paris Wife – Paula McLain  Books about adultery are usually not my favorite, but this one is well-written, and so thought-provoking (and it sent me down a Google rabbit hole of checking out Ernest Hemingway’s tragic family members). There are some lines that will stick with me.

I hope to be back soon. If you’re still here, thanks ever so much for not giving up on me!

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monday miscellany

A little of this, a little of that:

~ Five lessons learned from counseling those with anxiety. Lots of good stuff here.

~ Why you should live in the Psalms

~ Anyone want to try a week (3 meals for 2) of Hello Fresh for free?  I have some invites, so just let me know in the comments if you want one. Paul & I just enjoyed a free week, and we’ve signed up for more.

~ The 25 best true crime books. True crime podcasts and books interest me because I’m fascinated by human behavior. Why do people do what they do? I haven’t read any of the books on this list, but I own a couple, and others have been on my TBR list for a while now.

~ I finished two books yesterday (My Berlin Kitchen and Better Than Before). I feel like I’m in a bit of a reading rut, and I’m hoping an upcoming beach vacation will help me get out of it. Any recommendations?

Happy Monday y’all!

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pink

~ pink cotton yarn
pink-cotton

~ sweet K in pink
k-reading

~ an Easter long, long ago
azaleas

~ a rose in downtown Thomasville, the City of Roses
broad-rose

~ an old book I’ve never read
jack-and-jill

crowds

From Jonah Goldberg:

I don’t like crowds, personally or philosophically. I don’t care if they are right-wing or left-wing, young or old. They are the idea of “strength in numbers” made flesh. Like any other kind of show of force, they can be good or bad depending on the cause that animates them. But I start from the premise that they are to be viewed skeptically.

and here:

I guess my point is that I don’t like crowds. I don’t trust them. Good things rarely come from them. Not all crowds are mobs, but all mobs start as crowds, and I’m a little allergic to the vibrations within in them. The heroic unit in the American political tradition is the individual, not the mob. The crowd is what makes the cult of personality a thing. Without the crowd, it’s just a person.

Yep.

monday miscellany

From hither and yon:

~ The best makeup you can buy at the drugstore. I concur on the Wet & Wild foundation, although it’s tough to find.

~ I made this cheesecake again recently. And I still love it.

~ Internet trolls in church clothing. Here’s the ouch (part of a list of questions to ask before posting a comment):

  • Am I speaking from a soul satisfied in God or from my discontent?

~ There is much wisdom in this wedding sermon (and so neat – I went to church with Micaiah and her family when we lived in Hawaii!). A peek:

What I am saying is that this marriage, if it is to be successful, must be a marriage of the Book. You must love and respect one another, and you do that by relating to your wife, or to your husband directly. But if you want to check on how you are doing in that relating, you don’t look to them, and you don’t look at the world, and you don’t look into your own heart. Rather, you hold the Word up, and you look at your relationship to your spouse as it is reflected there. The Scriptures are not just a compendium of divine information. The Word is light, it is food, it is conviction, it is a perfect mirror, and it is living wisdom. There is no better way to see the back of your own head.

~ A very sad story of addiction – My broken heart

~ I’m cranking out dishcloths these days because I’ve discovered I like using them better than sponges. I basically use this pattern and knit until 28 stitches before I start decreasing. That is the size I like using best so far.

Happy Monday!

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

[From 2013, but still true! Happy Birthday, Mom!]

mom

Let me tell you a little about my mom: My stubbornness and hers often bumped into each other when I was younger, but I have a fuller appreciation for her (and the stubbornness!) as I get older. She has always been there for me. She was with me for Lamaze classes when I was expecting Will and his dad was deployed, and she helped me through a traumatic experience giving birth to him. She was there for me when Caroline was born and her dad was deployed. She’s been with me through all of Caroline’s surgeries, my wisdom teeth removal when I was thirty and home alone with two little ones, and my recent move back to Georgia. She’s calm in a crisis and never lets me feel sorry for myself. (That has irritated me a time or two, but it has been a gift.) She has a gift for serving in practical ways. She loves Jesus and her family. She makes things lovely.

She hates having her picture taken, so it's hard to find any of her.

She hates having her picture taken, so it’s hard to find any of her.

She loves my children well. She has always been interested in the details of their lives — knowing who their friends are, their activities, their interests. She and my dad have traveled around the world to see us and know their grandchildren. They’ve missed lots of the daily things because we were far away, but they have tried hard to be there for the big ones. And as Will has been at college in Georgia while we were living in Europe, they’ve gone up for his birthday every year to take him out to dinner. Efforts like that make a family a family.

I love my mom more than I can say, and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

[This time I’m adding one of my favorite photos of her, taken a couple of months before I was born.]

mom-table

Happy Birthday, Mom!