10 May 2009

Top Ten Tuesday

Okay, it's not Tuesday, rather, late Saturday night. But "Top 10 Late Saturday Night" sounds stupid (and this has nothing to do with Niger, just thought it would be fun). I was catching up with an old friend from middle school, via her blog, and I really liked this idea, especially since it's been a while since I've posted anything substantial. So here goes, "ten things that have been occupying my mind lately."

1. My awesome travel mug. This is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill, free-random-company-promotional-piece of tin-with-their-logo-on-front travel mug . . . no, it's an Essential Infuser. It has a basket inside for loose-leaf tea or coarse ground coffee; with a little lever on the side that lowers the basket into hot water for steeping perfection! It's WONDERFUL!

2. Gleaning. The other day I had an interesting conversation with a good friend. We discussed the Old Testament concept of gleaning (Leviticus 19:9 & 23:22). God told the Israelites not to harvest the corners of their fields, but to leave it for the poor & out-of-towners. Leviticus is actually full of all kinds of social laws that God put in place for the society to take care of one another. So we got to talking about what this would look like today . . . in the Church. I would lean toward interpreting it as pro bono work: taking a portion of my time to use my skills for someone in need or who cannot afford to pay (for me this could be relieving a care-giver for a few hours, or taking photos for a faith-based NGO). Just some ideas. Would love to hear someone else's thoughts.

3. LOST. That's right, I'm a fan. Since the very first episode five years ago . . . I'm hooked. It is the only show on TV worth sitting down for (even if it is at the edge of my seat). In my opinion, this is the best show to have ever been on TV! If you aren't a LOSTie, I highly recommend renting the DVD's of Season 1 and give it a try. Beware, you will get hooked.

4. The Woman of Mark 5. The Gospel of Mark is full of the miracles of Jesus . . . it begins by describing His ministry as the first mobile clinic in history. He heals the man with the shriveled hand, the paralytic, the leper . . . and the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. I am currently taking a correspondence course called A Team Approach to Caring for the Whole Person. One of the lessons today used this woman as an example. Mark doesn't give many details about her, but we can "read between the lines" to know that because of her condition, she was out cast from her community & was unable to bear children during those 12 years. She was, no doubt, lonely, isolated, & depressed. She went to any doctor she could find & tried every means of treatment . . . she exhausted all of her resources, including money. Then she heard about this guy, Jesus, who had been traveling around healing the sick. And not just any "sick" but lepers and paraplegics and those with massive deformities . . . all free of charge!! Can't you just hear her thoughts?? Too good to be true?? Maybe, but there's no co-pay . . . what would it hurt to go & hear Him out? So she took a chance, found Jesus, hid in the crowd and got close enough to touch Him. He's so powerful that I'll bet I could just touch His robes and be healed! And she was. On the spot. And she knew it! Her body was fixed. But then . . . UH OH! Oh no! He's turning around!! Where can I go?? What do I do?? What if they stone me?? And Jesus said, "Hey, who touched Me??" (and the ticker-tape across Peter's forehead read 'Hate to break it to You, Jesus . . . we're in a crowd . . . lots of us have been touching You.') She fell to her knees & owned up to it. But instead of ostracizing her for making Him unclean, He does something remarkable. He calls her "daughter," for her faith has made her well. When she touched Him, He healed her organs, but when He spoke to her, the words she needed to hear, He healed her heart!!

5. The Pilot G2 Extra Fine. There is such a thing as just-a-pen. They are often gifted from some cheap advertising campaign . . . or picked up at the bank. Your junk-drawer is full of them (and maybe the bottom of your purse too . . . right next to the loose change). While these are handy when you're filling out a deposit slip, they are the Kraft-singles of pens: your kids will use them because they don't know any better. But then there's the Pilot G2 Extra Fine. This is why they invented writing! The Pilot G2 Extra Fine transforms chicken scratch to fine penmanship. As they say, an artist is only as good as her tools.

6. Penne with Asparagus, Peas & Fresh Sage. I made this AMAZING dish the other night for some friends. It was an instant favorite. I added a few sliced-chicken breasts to make it go further . . . it's good either way. Mmmmmm! Delish!

7. The Pic. I went out towards the Jersey Shore with a friend the other week . . . she had to pick up a table that she bought off Craig's List. On our way home, we passed this hole-in-the-wall place that claimed to be the 'King of Wings.' Turns out, the local country music station was having a ticket-run for their big anniversary bash in June. My friend whipped the car around & demanded that we stay to win tickets. Not being a fan of country music or biker-establishments, I was immediately out of my element & am still convinced that this was the actual location of the swine flu outbreak. Apparently this is where all the colorful characters in South Jersey come to hang out. My friend won tickets & insisted that I try to win too . . . so while she waited with my raffle ticket, I ventured inside to buy us some of the world-famous wings. I got the hottest ones they've got . . . and boy, were they good! I couldn't feel my lips, mouth or throat by the time I was done . . . mmm! Just how I like it! So I had my first exposure to The Pic . . . but not to worry, I went through the decontamination chamber & had a tetanus shot when I got home.

8. Homemade Ice Cream. For my birthday a friend gave me one of those ice cream maker balls to take with me to Niger . . . it's a big hamster ball that has a metal core where you mix the cream & sugar & vanilla (or if you're like me: instant coffee). The other end opens as well for the ice & rock salt. We successfully made a batch for staff meeting at the church, so it was time for round two for a meeting I had that night. Round two didn't go as well. We ran out of salt, so the ice kept melting & the ice cream core was really just-lower-than-room-temperature cool. So, in an attempt to be resourceful, I went to the church's electrical closet, and sure enough, left over rock salt from the winter! Ah yes, finally, the core was solidifying (from the outside, in). So I had to scrape the solid sides down into the liquid center & mix. I'm not really sure what happened. I think I have retro-grade amnesia from the event. The last thing I remember was a tidal wave of not-yet-coffee-ice cream ebbing towards me. Then I blinked & realized that I was covered from neck down in a cold, mocha colored substance. It was dripping down my legs & running up my arms. Needless to say, we had a very hearty laugh (and the ice cream was yummy!).

9. Rental Cars. I had my very first rental car a few weeks ago. It made me feel like a grown-up. I know, I've technically been a grown-up for a while now . . . but I really don't feel like one most of the time. I wonder if octogenarians feel this way too. Hmm. Anyway. I had a red midsized SUV . . . since they were all out of economy-sized ones. It was brand new. And shiny. And smooth. I should do grown-up things more often.

10. Facebook. I know, it's cheesy, but it's true: I LOVE FACEBOOK! I was just "friended" by a girl I went to KINDERGARTEN with!! I mean, how crazy is that?? She had an unusual name, so I haven't forgotten it; but never in a million years would I have thought that I'd ever be contacted by her. CRAZY!! It really is a convenient way to be able to "hear" what people from the past are doing without actually having to engage with them too much. I know, that sounds horrible, but hey, I can't have 670 friends in real life . . . at least not if I expect to get anything done!