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Amazing Zoodles

I promised a post yesterday about zoodles (zucchini noodles), but I got busy with a bunch of other things and never got around to it. Sorry! If you have cable (or TV with commercials), you have probably seen the ads for the vegetti, which makes noodles out of vegetables. If not, no worries! I found it for you:

I have been coveting a vegetti for a while now, because I love zucchini, and pasta dishes are not something I eat with wheat pastas anymore. Dreamfields turned out to be a big, fat lie, so I was right back to chunking zucchini or using spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is awesome, by the way, but not quite the same as real pasta in texture.

Alas…my amazing, wonderful, spectacular friend, Melissa, bought me a Paderno vegetable spiral slicer last week for my birthday. This is infinitely superior to a vegetti, so I consider myself very blessed and grateful, indeed!

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Image Courtesy of Amazon

I have already used this baby THREE times since Saturday. I have eaten five whole zucchini in this time, smothered in chunky garden sauce and a little bit of ground turkey. On my agenda this week is alfredo sauce with grilled chicken breast. Why? BECAUSE I CAN. Guilt-free, veggie noodle deliciousness!

As you can see, the zoodles are very spaghetti-like, perhaps a bit thicker. You can use other vegetables, but I have a healthy obsession with zucchini and I really like saying, “zoodles.” If you can eat potatoes and sweet potatoes, there are other blades to make curly fries. YUM!

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You can eat the zoodles raw, but they are also a breeze to cook. If you like them with a bit of crunch, sautee them for about 5 minutes at medium-high heat with a little drizzle of EVOO. If you want them softer, toss them in the microwave and steam for 4 minutes, drain the excess water before adding sauce.

Your choices for topping these are endless. Zoodles pair beautifully with all kinds of meats, sauces, and seasonings. Zucchini is flexible like that. Needless to say, I am in LOVE!

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Can’t we just, like, buy a new refrigerator?

RefrigeratorIt’s not like any household chores top my list of fun things to do, you know? But some chores are a little better than others. I don’t mind folding 42,000 loads of laundry because it gives me a chance to binge watch Netlifx, guilt-free. I also don’t mind dishes; I find dish washing to be rather meditative and satisfying, and I often take that time to pray for people.

Mopping, on the other hand, is a chore I detest. There is no amount of pretending you are Ginger Rogers and cutting a rug with Fred Astaire that makes that chore fun for me. Yet, I still like a clean floor, scented with essential oils, so I get it done.

In my humble opinion, the WORST chore in my entire house is cleaning the refrigerator. I seriously dread doing this. I know I should do it once a month, but I will be honest…that does not always happen. I open it up, mentally ignore spills and crumbs and go happily about my business. I am good about cleaning so many things in a timely manner, but the fridge? Not so much.

For one thing, it’s a freaking pain in the a$$. I hate pulling out drawers and shelves that don’t really fit in the sink, then rinsing, wiping, and trying not to gag over things that could be cultured in a petri dish for science. UGH. Not to mention the wiping of shelves that don’t come out and moving all the stuff around so you can keep it chilled while you work. I repeat: P.I.T.A.

I mean I try to do it when it’s mostly empty, but still, there is always something in there – a jar of jam super-glued with sugary sweetness in the door compartment. That Greek yogurt that spilled in the way back and is crusty and possibly growing a deadly disease, or a natural antibiotic.  Leftovers from the prehistoric era, so old you just toss the container rather than try to save them. There is always something weird & toxic in that slanted space beneath the bottom drawer, too. *shivers*

Seriously. Can’t we just, like, buy a new refrigerator?

God Doesn’t Care About My Happiness

This is not a new concept for me. I have heard it preached, I have read it in books, and I have taken a lot of time to process and internalize that message. God does not give a rat’s patootie about whether or not I am happy. Happiness is temporal in this world. It comes and goes based on circumstances. Joy, however, is internal and based on more than our circumstances.

My pastor has been giving some challenging sermons over the last few weeks. Two weeks ago it was about dancing in the rain (hard times), like Jesus, because life is always bringing storms. We are only really guaranteed two things: life is full of challenges and none of us make it out alive. What we do in the meantime, however, is really up to us. It can be as beautiful and meaningful as we make it, but we (too often) determine our happiness based on our happenings.

Happiness

Today he preached similarly on a kingdom perspective – on how to adjust our reality to recognize that our joy comes from putting God first, others second, and ourselves last. This is also not a new idea. Jesus was very clear that the greatest commandments were to love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. God is far more concerned with how I treat others than my personal happiness. It’s that “radical love is the only thing that has the power to change the world” idea again. Crazy, right?

God is concerned with my holiness. He wants me to be the hands and the feet. He wants me to love the unlovable, to forgive the unforgivable, and stretch myself in ways that make me uncomfortable. True joy comes from growth and giving unconditional love. Never are we so unsatisfied as when we are wholly concerned with our own well-being, and our own needs. Why? Because nothing is ever enough when we focus on ourselves. At least, that is true for me. When I focus on me, I find myself drifting into becoming more and more selfish. It’s a vicious cycle that ends in a “poor me” attitude.

Nothing highlights this problem more than my marriage. It’s not sunshine and rainbows. It’s actually pretty hard. We are really different people, at the end of the day. I made my choice for a life partner when I was young. I have questioned (A LOT) over the last five years whether or not it was time to call it quits and move on. My husband does not share my faith, we rarely agree on parenting ideals, and we share few hobbies and interests. One might say it’s been a hard row to hoe, and I am being generous when I say that. I have suffered some bitter disappointments.

Through that, I have grown resentful. I have focused almost entirely on my needs that are not being met. I have reacted harshly, even when not it was not justified. I have grown bitter and held grudges. There is nothing he has done wrong in the last 15 years that I still don’t recall and occasionally throw back in his face. Some might hear what has transpired and find me justified in my feelings. I can heap my justifications up a mile high, but I know he can, too. We need more than justificiations – we need grace.

Maybe my marriage is meant to be an opportunity for me to exhibit that radical love and grace. Perhaps I need to view it from a different perspective…to find joy in the challenges that encourage growth…and learn to treat him differently.  Maybe I need to forgive the past and mean it, and to move forward looking for the good, instead of focusing on the bad. There is plenty of good, but once I focus on the bad, it’s all I can see.

I am also not discounting that there are problems that need addressed and corrected. Counseling is a good thing. Sometimes, divorce is a blessing. In no way do I condone staying in an abusive situation. But for most of the struggles people experience in a marriage, there is an opportunity to choose an abundant life in spite of challenges. I am choosing to affirm what is good until the good is what is overflowing – even if all I can affirm some days are that God is my strength and I am saved by grace.

I am learning to dance in the rain, step by step.

Wordless Wednesday: Back-to-School Edition

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Penis Homes, or Why We Need Feminism in the Church

Feminism

A new scandal broke yesterday in the Mark Driscoll (megachurch pastor) saga. Apparently, in 2000, he posted on a church message board using a pseudonym, and wrote  that women are homes for a man’s penis. I wish I was joking. You can read the excerpts for yourself.

The first thing to know about your penis is, that despite the way it may see, it is not your penis. Ultimately, God created you and it is his penis. You are simply borrowing it for a while.

While His penis is on loan you must admit that it is sort of just hanging out there very lonely as if it needed a home, sort of like a man wondering the streets looking for a house to live in. Knowing that His penis would need a home, God created a woman to be your wife and when you marry her and look down you will notice that your wife is shaped differently than you and makes a very nice home.

Therefore, if you are single you must remember that your penis is homeless and needs a home. But, though you may believe your hand is shaped like a home, it is not. And, though women other than your wife may look like a home, to rest there would be breaking into another man’s home. And, if you look at a man it is quite obvious that what a homeless man does not need is another man without a home.

Paul tells us that your penis actually belongs to your wife, and once you are married she will trade you it for her home (I Corinthians 7:4), and every man knows this is a very good trade for him to make.

With his penis, the man is supposed to learn to please his wife and learn how to be patient, self-controlled and be educated on how to keep his home happy and joyous (I Corinthians 7:3). The man should be aroused by his new home, and the wife should rejoice at seeing his penis rise to greet her (Song of Songs 5:14b).

I was speechless for a good hour after reading this. THIS is why we need feminism in the church. Because pastors, PASTORS, are spewing out crap like this. Men in the church believe vile nonsense like this. Saddest of all? There are women in the church who buy this ideology as well. It makes me want to weep.

Here is what I do know about women: WE ARE IMAGE BEARERS OF GOD (Genesis 1:27).

I dare you…I triple dog dare you…to look up at God Almighty and suggest that He is a penis home. Go on, I’ll wait here.

God is not male or female. God is more than we can imagine. We use the “He” pronoun because we have no pronoun that accurately describes the divine. But it’s clear that He/She is male and female if we are both made in the image of God.

She did not create me to be a penis home for men. He created me for a divine purpose. She created me for relationships – for caring, loving, sharing, growing, learning, and experiencing everything that being alive can offer. Yes, sex is part of that experience, but it’s a small part of my human experience. I should enjoy sex. Sex should be joyful, fun, and fulfilling. I am, however, much more than the physical pleasure I share with someone.

I am a co-heir in Christ. I am a spiritual equal, not merely a device to keep men holy. I am so offended at that idea. All Christians should be helping each other be holy. We should be encouraging one other, praying for each other, uplifting one another, and gently correcting with scripture.

There are verses in the Bible that apply to married couples about not using sex as a weapon against each other, to not withhold it as a punishment, which is emotionally damaging and cruel. But nowhere in any of scripture does the Bible say women are houses for a man’s penis. NOWHERE. That is not my purpose.

Driscoll’s comment even imply that unmarried women are just future houses for some other man. We are merely chattel in his mind…future property to be bought, sold, and managed at all times. Our bodies are the property of some man, even if we don’t know him yet. It’s dangerous thinking and it feeds right in to rape culture.

My body is mine. ALWAYS. I may share it, I may give it to someone to be enjoyed, but ultimately it’s mine. No one has the right to take from it, or use it without my permission, not even the man I call husband. Not ever.

It is not my responsibility to manage any man’s sexual purity. It is not my responsibility to manage any man’s sexual thoughts, or help him control them. That is individual spiritual work. Let’s also focus, for a moment, on the fact that these statements reduce men to being simple creatures, driven entirely by their sexual urges. Here you are, fellas, a thing with a penis and your entire purpose is to find somewhere to stick that penis. Um..no, just no.

Men, you are more. Don’t let these people speak for you. Don’t embrace these ideas. You, too, are image bearers of God. Created for life and experience, for learning and growth. You are capable of sexual control. To place the responsibility for your sexual thoughts, urges, and actions on a woman, diminishes you. Can you see that? Be more. Rise the challenge of exceptional humanity.

I hope Mr. Driscoll finds the help that he needs. I don’t relish in his downfall. I don’t find joy in it. I am repulsed by his ideas. I am repulsed by his behavior (and abuses of power in his church), but he is still a human being in need of love and forgiveness. As are we all.

His skewed thinking is just one example of why the church needs feminism. We, collectively, as brothers and sisters in Christ need to affirm the equality of women in God’s name. We need to root out these ideas about a woman’s worth and purpose. We need to shed light on this darkness and drive it out. The church needs to embrace the truth of God’s duality. Those words in Genesis are not a mistake…male and female, they were created, image bearers of God.

 

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