Podcast Top 5: New Faves

Podcast Top 5: New Faves

I love podcasts. It started with two heavy hitters: Serial and Sorta Awesome. Not too long after I found gems like the epic true crime comedy podcast My Favorite Murder and the enthralling fictional show Limetown (that strikethrough is part of the logo).

These are still favorites, and there are many more I’ve listened to and loved, but I thought I would share my favorite newer (at least to me) shows that I cannot get enough of:

Against Diet Culture

  • Food Psych Podcast – Christy Harrison is an an anti-diet dietician on a mission to help people develop a healthy relationship with food and their bodies through intuitive eating and body acceptance. This podcast really does go a long way to accomplishign that. Not every episode is going to be directly relevant to every listener – but the ideas of intuitive eating make a lot of sense, and seeing them applied across circumstances by different people is really helpful.

On Books

  • Currently Reading – This podcast has literally transformed my reading life. I used to read a LOT more 2-3 star books, but hosts Meredith and Kaytee have led me to better-fit books for me over and over again in the last few months, and that’s leading to more joy in my reading as well as a willingness to DNF books that aren’t working for me, for whatever reason. As I’m learning with intuitive eating, when you know you can have “the good stuff,” you are less likely to fill up on stuff that isn’t so great. (Don’t worry; there’ll be a post about books coming soon.) Their bookish moments of the week make me feel less crazy, too.

On True Crime

  • The Murder Squad: Jensen & Holes – Is there any doubt that the rising star of true crime podcasts is this collaboration between two men – one a writer, the other a detective – who were instrumental in the identification and apprehension of Joseph DeAngelo, the alleged (but come on, he clearly did it) Golden State Killer?

On the Enneagram

  • The Enneagram Journey with Suzanne Stabile – If you’ve heard of the Enneagram, odds are good someone has mentioned the book The Road Back to You and told you to read it. Suzanne coauthored this book which has introduced so many of us to the ideas behind the Enneagram and how it can be useful. This podcast is a delight. Suzanne usually interviews a Christian with a big platform (pastors, writers, musicians, podcasters, etc.) about how they are their type in the world and in relationships. She also does Q&A episodes with her producer-son that are really helpful and insightful.
  • Typology with Ian Morgan Cron – Ian was the other half of the authorial team that brought us The Road Back to You, and while his podcast is similar to Suzanne’s, it has a different feel and approach due to his 4-ness (vs. Suzanne’s 2-ness). I would say he is more exploratory, while she is more therapeutic. I really appreciate both of these shows as I learn more about what the Enneagram has to offer us – and myself specifically – in terms of self-knowledge and paths to growth.

On the Christian Life

  • Thirty Minutes with the Perrys – Preston and Jackie Hill Perry, a married pair of spoken word poets whom I admire greatly, come at the dilemmas of life with humor, thoughtfulness, and a whole lotta Gospel. They started their podcast with a two-part episode on how they navigated Preston’s recent addiction to pornography. They are raw, intense, and real, and their understanding of God’s grace as mighty and transformative is really helpful. I freaking love them, and this podcast is phenom.
Easy, Drool-Worthy Everyday Seasoning

Easy, Drool-Worthy Everyday Seasoning

I don’t remember where I first learned about 7:2:1. I don’t *think* it was when I was looking for a cheap, homemade Christmas present to make for friends and family, but that’s exactly what wound up happening. Once I made it and we started using it on everything we made, I had to give it away. And it is the only gift I’ve given that has my people asking for it again.

Here’s a lovely fact: 7:2:1 is the easiest thing in the world to make.

  • You need salt. (Choose your variety! I’ve done Kosher, sea, table, and mixes of them.)
  • You need garlic powder. Not garlic salt. Garlic. Powder.
  • You need black pepper. (I usually use preground black peper for this. I suppose you could grind it. Have fun with that.)

Story break: A long, long time ago, in this very galaxy, there were these things called “analogies” on the SAT. The basic notation was all about colons. A “:” meant “is to” or “is related to” and “::” meant “as” or “in the same way as.”

You still see this sort of thing on some standardized tests; it’s just that they used to be really hard and an entire chunk of the Verbal Section and alllllllllll about vocabulary. So you’d have page after page of stuff like this:

You can see why they decided this was maybe not the best way to judge college readiness.

(Ignore the fact that obstreperous is not a sentence and the cursor bar. I made it up in Wrd and used the Snipping Tool – #snippingtoolforLIFE. But obviously my attention to detail was sorta lacking, and I didn’t save the Word doc, and it’s 1 am…)

BACK TO THE RECIPE.

The point of that story was to help you remember the recipe for 7:2:1. Because its basically saying 7 parts SALT, 2 parts GARLIC POWDER, 1 part BLACK PEPPER. It’s a relational recipe – 7 units : 2 units : 1 unit.

I usually do it in tablespoons. I typically think I have way more of something than I actually have, so doubling the recipe has had…less than favorable results. (Once, I had a spill and accidentally wound up with 7:2:2, which was a bit peppery for our tastes but some people love.)

Dump all that in a bowl.

Mix it up.

Clearly, it’s about time to make some more!

Now I usually decant into seasoning jars for gifts with a small funnel, but have started using this mason jar because we use it so much that I now wind up keeping most of it for myself (if not all) unless I’m specifically on a gift-making mission.

Y’all, it’s so good and simple and I use it in almost anywhere “salt and pepper” are called for. DE. LIcious.

Enjoy your 7:2:1. And the new SAT.

INGREDIENTS

7 T salt
2 T garlic powder
1 T ground black pepper

Instructions: Mix all. Decant into containers. Serve with everything.

Back in Black

Back in Black

Well hello there, gentle readers!

It’s been far too long since I wrote on here, but the truth is, I have a lot to say. A lot of questions to answer?

Like, what should one do with the garlic parsley escargot in oil from Whole Foods?

Why is my Williams-Sonoma quarter-sheet pan the #1 kitchen item I wish I had more of?

Is the complementarianism vs. egalitarianism debate actually a false dilemma?

Is Breckenridge Brewery really that great?

Why did I not remember that Mama Day mostly takes place in New York City, and why does it always make me cry?

What are the three most beautiful places I’ve been, and why are they not the same as my three favorite places?

What is the enneagram teaching me?

Stay tuned, friends.

One Day More (Till the Election)

One Day More (Till the Election)

adapted from “One Day More” from the musical Les Miserables

[Random American Citizen]
One day more!
Another day, another destiny.
This never-ending stream of baloney;
I can’t believe it’s come to this;
It makes previous elections feel like bliss!
One day more!

[Hillary Clinton]
The Feds exonerated me today.
Will American voters even listen?

[RAC]
One day more.

[Hillary & Huma]
Tomorrow America decides,
And then we’ll know if we have blown it!

[Donald Trump]
One more day left to campaign –

[Hillary & Huma]
I’m pretty sure we have a shot.

[Donald]
– One more day to be a jerkface –

[Hillary & Huma]
I was born for this career.

[Donald]
– On an international stage –

[Hillary]
And I swear I’m Presidential!

[Donald]
– This is going to be yuge!

[Evan McMullin]
One more day before the storm!

[Paul Ryan]
This is so embarrassing.

[Evan]
At the barricades of freedom!

[Paul]
Can this please be over soon?

[Evan]
We’ll save the country from disaster.

[Paul]
What am I going to do now?

[Evan]
Will you take your place with me?

[ALL]
The time is now, the day is here.

[RAC]
One day more!

[Third-Party Voters]
One day more till the election,
We will never be ashamed!
We watch an unfolding crisis;
The parties have themselves to blame!

[RAC]
One day more!

[Gary Johnson & Jill Stein]
Watch ’em run amuck,
Catch ’em as they fall,
Never know your luck
When there’s a free for all,
We may get a blip
We may get a bunch
You never know with voters
And their brains are mush !

[Political Commentators(2 Groups)]
[1:] One day till Trump’s people riot

[2:] Perhaps the GOP will split!

[1:] Everyone will be at odds

[2:] Everyone will be at odds

[1:] There’s the old way for the losing

[2:] It is going down in flames

[ALL]
Do you hear the ballot box ca-ching?

[Hillary]
My place is here, please vote for me!

[RAC]
One day more!

[Hillary & Huma]
The Feds exonerated me today.

[Donald]
One day left to campaign!

[Hillary & Huma]
Will the voters even listen?

[Evan (overlapping)]
#NeverTrump and #NeverClinton!
We will not give up the fight;
We’ll be sure to cause an upset,
It won’t be over tomorrow night.

[RAC]
One day more!

[Hillary & Huma]
I was born to this career.

[Donald]
I can’t wait to be the Big Boss!

[Hillary & Huma]
And I swear I’m Presidential!

[Third Party Voters (overlapping)]
One more day till the election;
Will we finally be heard?
Couldn’t vote for Trump or Clinton

[Jill & Gary (overlapping)]
Watch ’em run amok
Catch ’em as they fall
Never know your luck
When there’s a free-for-all!

[RAC]
Tomorrow night we’ll finally know
Which way our country’s fall will go

[ALL]
Tomorrow we’ll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!

A Few Thoughts on Internet Dating

A Few Thoughts on Internet Dating

As you may well know, gentle reader, I met my favorite person on okCupid. Before our fateful first date that Friday in September 2014, though, I did quite a bit of internet dating. There were four main phases in my internet dating history: several months 2007-2008 (one meet-up in person, which led to my own first panic attack – and not remotely because the guy wasn’t great; it turns out I was a wreck); spring of 2012, which led to a few dates (then I got horribly, horribly sick for a year, which cut that short); fall 2013 (kind of a lot of dates); and then late spring 2014-September 2014 (a LOT of dates). Even the one-off dates (of which there were many) were a pretty positive experiences. Internet dating did me well – obviously.

This is not a post about whether or why you should be online dating. It’s not about what I think of all the sites I was on at one time or another (in addition to okCupid, I did Christian Cafe, eHarmony, Christian Mingle, and Match). It’s not about the cultural impact of this new way of forming romantic connections (check out this article if you’re curious about that). It’s also not about my stories (although I have some good ones).

What I want to talk about is how to do this thing. I learned a couple of lessons I think are worth passing along – maybe you will find something I learned useful.

When you’re on a date that isn’t going anywhere, be charitable. One of my friends used to talk back in her single days about helping awkward guys learn some dating skills if she found herself on a date with them, just by being a good date herself. She didn’t do this over multiple dates – she wasn’t leading them on or anything – but she chose to see each dead-end date as a different kind of possibility than romance, not a waste of her time or energy. I found that sometimes that chemistry just wouldn’t be there face-to-face, or something would come up in discussion that made it clear we weren’t a great match, and it was tempting to abruptly end the date, be a bitch, or regard the fellow with animosity. But not once was he actually a bad dude with nefarious intent; he just wasn’t the right guy for me. And that is not his fault. Not once would my antagonism have been warranted. I really think kindness is clutch here.*

Another way to think of it is this: especially with the way you end things, whether you’re just chatting online or have been dating for awhile, try to be a positive experience that will encourage good men and women to go out and try again. Putting oneself out there is tough and scary work; be the kind of person who makes others feel it’s worth their effort – and that they have something to offer – even if you didn’t turn out to be “the one.”

Don’t lie. I never struggled with lying until I started getting “maybe we could do this again sometime” from men I didn’t want to go out with again. I am totally ashamed to say I had a terrible habit for awhile of saying, “sure,” and then emailing or texting “Actually, I’m so sorry, I was nervous and I lied; you’re great but I’m not interested.” It was a huge step for me to learn to be honest to men’s faces. Just being frank without being mean is plenty for most people – you don’t need to “make a statement” with your “no thank you.”

When you get super-judgy and cynical, you might need a break. I felt my heart hardening in the spring of 2008. I noticed I was trending toward this nasty attitude when I caught myself looking at profiles and thinking, “Not cute enough for me…Not godly enough for me…Not smart enough for me.” That is not the person I wanted to be, so I quit online dating for 4 years. And when I came back, it was completely different. For me, a big part of guarding my heart was keeping myself from becoming mean and cold and hard.


* I do want to note that having boundaries is important, and you might be justifiably “rude” by putting your foot down and insisting on being left alone, etc., when you’re being pursued past the point at which you said “no thanks.”

Book Review: The Envy of Eve

Book Review: The Envy of Eve

I ran this review on my old blog over four years ago, but since it became relevant again this past weekend at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conferences 2016 in Indianapolis (which was awesome, by the way), I thought I would repost it here. 

When I started seminary, I was in a bit of a unique position – I was the only full-time female student in the entire school. My professors were rather fantastic about the gender-thing (as well as everything else), but obviously, there are just some things women need other women for. As it happens, one of the women who really shaped my seminary years is married to my favorite seminary professor (who also happened to be a pastor at my church). Right about the time I left Charlotte, Melissa was hired as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator at our church.

I’m sure the wisdom of Melissa Kruger will come out in various and sundry contexts on this blog, but today I just want to flog her new/first book.

The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World is a convicting, challenging book. Melissa guides us to look unflinchingly at the sin in our hearts, unwaveringly at the Savior Who redeems our hearts, and hopefully to the Spirit Who heals and sanctifies our hearts.

The Envy of Eve argues that there is a consistent pattern in the way that coveting affects people: we see, we covet, we take, we hide. Sounds like Eve, right? She sees the fruit, she wants it, she takes it, and then girlfriend is sewing up fig leaves and ducking behind bushes. This pattern is all over the book, and I’m pretty sure it’s all over my life too. Melissa spends the first half of the book discussing the pattern – what it looks like, where it comes from, and how it meets its end – and the second half demonstrating how this pattern works itself out in our coveting of different things. This “see-covet-take-hide” thing is not Eve-specific, and Melissa makes sure we can’t deny its effect in the men and women of the Bible and in our own lives. I, for one, would not have done such careful self-examination if I had not been led through it; thankfully, I can flog this book with a metaphorical steak over my metaphorical black eye and tell you gleefully that the beating is totally worth it.

One particularly helpful point for me was that we can “take” because of our coveting in a way that has nothing to do with obtaining the actual thing we are coveting. In other words, coveting rarely will goad someone like me to steal the thing I want, but boy, I sure can steal from what I owe or am called to give others when I am under its influence. Here’s a snippet from the chapter entitled “Coveting Seasons and Circumstances” that really kicked my butt:

…[We] take because we are unable to love our neighbor as Christ loved us. When we simply view our neighbor as a means of measuring ourselves, we will never care for him or her well. We will fixate on what is easier in that person’s life and fail to sympathize or support what may be difficult for him or her. Our prayers will be centered on our own cares, instead of on those around us. (210)

Though this book is easily applicable to all kinds of Christians, Melissa specifically is writing for an adult female audience. The only way you can really tell this is her examples – her exegesis, analysis, and systematic theology are top-notch, and her frank, straightforward tone is refreshing. I feel like I have to say this, because the assumption is often that books written for women are “theology-lite.” Maybe some of them fit that category, but this book is not one of them.

One of the best things about this book is that Melissa does not aim it at single women, or married women, or married stay-at-home moms with kids, or empty nesters, or any particular subset of women who belong to Christ – I was made to feel the communion of the saints in a new way, because women 50 years older than me and 6 life-stages away were addressed alongside women like me. We really do all have the same problems, and in the same Savior we find the redemption and restoration for us all.