27 September 2011

Noodle Stir Fry à la Our Best Bites

I'm always on the look-out for something non Tex-Mex. Because everything I ever make ever ever is Tex-Mex. I'm good at it. We love it. But I've been full of ennui in regards to my culinary habits. Which means I was stuck in a rut. [Ennui is a great, great word.]

In comes Our Best Bites. Whom I love (even though we don't always agree). This noodle stir fry really was quick. And tasty. And I'm pretty picky about my sauces (especially Asian ones; I went through a three year period where I could not eat any type of Asian food.) but this one was yummy.

The only thing I cannot vouch for is putting cilantro or lime juice or sesame seeds on. Or adding chicken. I've been trying to help us lower the amount of meat in our diet without the hubs noticing. So far, so good. I didn't miss the meat, nor did I miss the lime or the cilantro or the sesame seeds. In my oh-so-humble opinion, the wonderful women at Our Best Bites are little too in love with cilantro and lime juice. I love me some cilantro, but (if you remember the Asian Lettuce Wrap debacle) sometimes you have to know when to say, "no."

Seriously, the next time you're at the grocery store at 5:30 and you're already kind of hungry, this is great. I will add a caveat that I only allow myself to buy one specialized ingredient per meal (sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, red chili sauce), and this one has quite a few if you don't make Asian food ever. But I had everything but the red chili sauce. I'd estimate that it came out at LESS THAN $1 PER PORTION! Pretty sweet.

Seriously, again.

13 September 2011


I know you know. The worst things you've done in your life, the things for which you feel most shame, are not the things you've done by yourself in secret.

Oh, maybe they are. They just aren't for me. I don't wish I was the person I was before I let Jesus "take the wheel" so to speak (oh, let me use it), but I don't fear the person I was, like she's a zombie out to get me. I think my conversion experience (if you want to call it something, that's as good a phrase as any) was defined enough to free me from worrying that I'll ever slip back into my old rags.

I don't really even regret the things I did and allowed to be done to me. I feel very, very strongly that God is in the process of redeeming everything in my life. Every single thing. That all of it will actually work for my good. It sounds oddly boastful to say, and I'm not sure why, but I just believe it. Like my everyday life shows that I believe it. So I almost never mourn my past.

But oh, if only I could undo the damage I've done to others. Which is very great. I've... oh, I'm not going to list out things because it may shock people, and it brings me pain. But I have gleefully invited people into sin. Sins they hadn't tried before. Sins they were even reluctant to try at the outset. Sins some are still heavily entangled in. I've participated in the first steps down steep slopes for several people who are precious to God and who are not out of where I lead them. I did it. mea maxima culpa.

If tying a millstone around my neck and dropping me into the ocean would really, truly mean that they would instantly and irrevocably fall in love with Jesus, I think I would do it. But of course, it doesn't work that way. Oh, I wish it did.

Sometimes I get nervous about how it will go with me on the day of Judgment. I mean, I don't think my actions preclude my salvation. But how can there not be something, something that shows that I helped a lost soul run farther away from their moment of salvation? How can God's justice not be served on me? Is it weird that I want some form of punishment, just to release me?

I don't necessarily need doctrinal illumination at this point (but if you just have to, you can email me. It could prove useful). I just dread seeing these people on that day.

I know what it's like to have a child and to want him to lead a holy life because it keeps him from suffering more than he needs to. It keeps him from harming himself. And it brings him closer to the best Person I or he will ever meet. And I know exactly how I'd feel if '04Michelle showed up in his life when he was 17 and confused about how life works and what was important to him. I'd have more than words to say to that girl. I feel like a mama hippo protecting her baby from a crocodile (seriously, just writing about it raised my blood pressure and heart rate and made me... angry. I was angry about an impossible hypothetical situation). And the rub is, God loves these people I called my friends way, way more than I can possibly love Ezra. How can He look the other way when I did what I did?

Don't worry about me. I'm okay - I know God's grace and His sovereignty enough to know He's more powerful than my pitiful wickedness. I had ground myself into dust at the bottom of a deep pit, and He brought me into a spacious place and has given me joy. Such joy. Nothing is impossible for God - I see it in my life. I just don't know how it's gonna go down at the end so that I can finish this mourning for the consequences of my actions that others face. I know it will happen because there won't be any mourning in Heaven. I just can't picture being fully free from the knowledge that I engaged in evil. That I harmed others. And I did. And I can't take it back.

10 September 2011

Some Grammar Hints

So I'm kind of neurotic. As in my test scores show I'm one of the more neurotic people you'll ever meet. It's tempered by Jesus, thank Him. But still.

This little quirk can benefit me (I've always done well with grammar, punctuation, and word usage. Spelling has been the bane of my life. For example, I just spelled bane as bain and then had to go look it up. *sigh*).

That being said, I have some helpful hints. :-)

Alot vs. A Lot:
-alot is not a word. It may help to change the pronunciation of this misspelling to alut in your mind. It's what I do automatically, and can get kind of irritating, but, if you struggle with this, it may very well help. Also maybe think of it in your mind as a noun, as some funny blogs have illustrated. [I will say that I type with one hand quite frequently while holding or nursing a baby and, therefore, don't feel bad about not capitalizing my comments on Facebook. I do still use apostrophes; they aren't optional. They just aren't.]
-a lot is a phrase that modifies a verb. As in, "I sing a lot." You cannot sing an alot. They don't like it.

Along vs. A Long:
-along is a preposition. A preposition modifies another part of speech in order to clarify. If I just lost you, know this: if you can roughly exchange the word along for beside, you're using it properly. Yay! Example: "Along the coast of Texas are a bunch of unimpressive yet lovable beach towns."
- a long is a phrase that modifies a noun. As in "a long way" or "a long beard." See the difference? You cannot say "Bob has along beard" any more than you can say "Bob has beside beard."

Y'all vs. Ya'll:
-ya'll does not exist. Please stop using it. You'll immediately lose five pounds and your hair will be instantly shiny and healthy and the skin on your elbows will never be dry and scaly again. Just say no to ya'll. If you'd like some explanation, let's review how contractions work (in English, at least): the apostrophe takes the place of the letter(s) you remove. As in don't, where the o is replaced by the apostrophe and the two words are contracted into one. If we are forced to make a contraction out of ya'll, I posit that it should stand for yam will. Example: "The ya'll grow in their season." or "The roasted ya'll be delicious tonight!"
-y'all is the proper contraction of you and all. If you say it isn't proper, then please try explaining to me why shan't is.

Anyway vs. Any Way:
-anyway is an adverb (it modifies verbs). If you want to make sure you're using it correctly, exchange anyway for regardless or nevertheless. Example: "I cannot win this game. I will win it anyway." You can also use it at the beginning of the sentence for that awkward segue we've all come to know and love.
-any way is a phrase that includes the noun way. If you want to make sure you're using it correctly, exchange way for means, manner, or direction. Example: "I will win this game any way possible. Unfortunately, any way you look at it, we cannot win. "

Clinch vs. Clench:
-clinch is a verb that means "to settle decisively." Example: "The savvy agent clinched the deal just in time for happy hour." It is also a construction-related verb and some nautical/boxing jargon. These are THE ONLY ways you can use this word.
-clench is a verb meaning tightly closed. Example: "My hands were clenched; now they're open."

If this has brought some color to your cheeks, I promise I don't like you less for your terrible, terrible grammar. I fully recognize I have a problem. However, it does make you a better communicator if you say what you really mean to say. I really like to mean exactly what I say, but it seems to be very, very difficult, even when my grammar is not interfering with my intended meaning.

Feel free also to look up the difference between its and it's (hint: just always say "it is" in your head any time you write it's); anytime and any time; your and you're (I believe you can do it right every time!); and the there/their/they're debacle. I know this stuff can be a lot of little rules, but it really will help you communicate with others. And pass your writing-intensive classes. And make your profs view your short answers and lab write-ups more favorably. Seriously.