Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy 91st to the 19th

And then there was suffrage, which is a good thing, but it sounds horrible.
— Phoebe Buffay, Friends

Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31:31 (KJV)

Ninety-one years ago today, the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution gave American women the right to vote.

But this right reflects far more than the ability to cast a ballot. A vote represents the ability to participate more fully in society. A vote is a voice.

I recently watched the movie Iron Jawed Angels, which looks at the Women's Suffrage movement during the years just before the 19th amendment was passed. I was struck by how little I knew about this part of U.S. history.

And it made me think a little harder about what it means to have a voice — not only in the democratic process, but in the family, the church, the workplace, and society as a whole — and what it's like for those who still lack that voice.

Longtime mosaicsynapse readers may recall several posts on topics related to women in this and other countries whose voices have been silenced in various ways. And there are a few more posts still in the hopper.

This is not just a women's issue. What happens when half a population's voices are silenced? The whole population loses.

As I celebrate the 19th amendment's 91st birthday, I'm hoping that it doesn't take another 91 years for this whole thing to be seen, not as a women's issue, but as a human issue.


Friday, August 19, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Volume 49

The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.

This week on 7 Quick Takes, I explore just how much mileage I can get from a bowl of soup while claiming this isn't a cooking blog. Join me, won't you?


Last weekend, I made jalapeño corn chowder with peppers from my garden and corn from a local farm. (And because one member of the family isn't so hot on the hot stuff, I used this recipe to allow each diner to personalize the heat level of their own bowl.)

This season, I've added serrano chilies to my usual pepper lineup. But after a few were harvested, I thought I'd better find out how hot they are before I put them in anything.

Enter the Scoville Heat Scale:


Hm. Turns out serranos are quite a bit hotter than jalapeños. I'll need to use those carefully.


And talk of chilies means it's time for Fun with Homonyms!

chili: refers to the stew that's so great on a chilly day, as well as the pepper (Capsicum annuum); plural chilies.
Chile: the country.

Even though the name of the website listed above encourages me to eat more chiles, I don't think I could possibly eat even one. Because, you know, it's huge.


Here's little story that begins with a free kitchen tip:

This is the easiest method I've found to remove corn from the cob:

One addition: I always put the Bundt pan inside a big bowl to catch the stray kernels that would otherwise go all over the counter, floor, etc.

As I was prepping the corn for the chowder, the knife handle kept hitting the side of the ginormous (16" across) bowl. It sounded like I was hitting a gong.

Because we had just watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the 1939 version), the continual clanging of the knife on the side of the bowl reminded me of the scene where Quasimodo introduces Esmeralda to the bells: "Look, look, here, up here! Friends! Up there: Babies! Jacqueline! Gabrielle! Guillaume! Big Marie!" (See this clip, beginning around the 6:00 mark. It's a great moment.)

So my largest stainless mixing bowl is now Big Marie.


And finally, a few items that have nothing to do with soup.

First, my friend Suzanne talks about the gift of presence:

The way Jesus communicated goes against my natural bent, on so many levels. If I am talking to a young woman battling addiction about Jesus, and her eyes glaze over, I am tempted to talk faster and louder to see if she gets it. If I am counseling someone on entering a vibrant relationship with Christ, I am tempted to rush to the sinner's prayer, instead of helping this person understand the enormity of Jesus' love for them and the cost of following him. This goes against the very teachings of Jesus and his way of loving and engaging people with truth. (read more)

Speaking of loving and engaging people with truth... Sarah Moon proposes a better way to do pro-life:

You've seen the hateful, bloody battle that both sides have been fighting. You've heard the ruthless attacks and the fear-mongering. And, while I'm not going to change my mind about my stance on this issue, I am going to come out and say, on behalf of my fellow Pro-Life supporters that I am sorry.

I am truly, remorsefully sorry, not for our beliefs, but for the way that we've expressed them. I am sorry for the hate and the ignorance. I am sorry for turning a blind eye to some of the reasons why people get abortions. I am sorry for the hurtful, accusing bumper stickers. I am sorry for calling people "The Mother of a Dead Baby," or "Murderer." I am sorry for not realizing that any woman who feels the need to give up her baby is probably struggling enough as it is without us adding shame and guilt. That isn't our place. I hope you'll forgive us, and I hope we will do a better job of supporting life. (read more)

Sarah Bessey reminds us of our true name:

There are a million people that like to give us names. But....

Our name is not Failure.
Our name is not Slut.
Our name is not Worthless or Ugly or Fat or Lazy or Rejected or Lonely or Bitter or Angry or Abandoned or Undeserving of Love.

Our name is Precious.
Our name is Beautiful.
Our name is Chosen, Cherished and Created.
Our name has been pronounced, my luv, and we, we have been named Beloved. (read more)

And just for fun, some amazing bike tricks:

Happy Friday, friends!


Friday, August 12, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Volume 48

The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.


Tuesday I went out to snip some herbs for dinner and discovered the mosquitoes are back, and they've brought reinforcements.

I'm not sure whether send notes of apology to the neighbors, or to bill them for the impromptu dance concert.


For the record, I feel a little ashamed of complaining about mosquitoes in light of Jennifer Fulwiler's take #1 this week.


But speaking of the mosquito dance, I just happened across a writeup of this product on the blog of a local retailer. Have you tried it? I'm curious how well it works.


Last night, I had dinner with an old friend a friend I've known since the early 90s.

On the way home, I drove past a fenced-off parking lot, from which emanated the distinct sounds of 70s/80s metal. And then I remembered this event is going on, and this artist was onstage last night.

It sounded great from inside my car (and I could hear it for several blocks before and several blocks after, with all the windows rolled up), and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. But I couldn't help thinking I'd had a better time spending a few hours catching up with my friend than I would have had at a rock concert.

But after all the catching up, my vocal cords are just as raspy this morning as they would have been if I'd gone to the concert last night.


Speaking of rock music, here's something for the guitarists in the audience:

If you stand like a certain artist, do you play more like that artist?
Because if so, I'm going to stand like Bonnie Raitt... just give me a minute to find her...


This next take is a timely reminder for me, especially in light of Wednesday's post and others I'm working on:

Looking back we are frustrated, embarrassed, even angry that we once held certain beliefs or acted certain ways. So, when we see those same traits in others, we are the first to pounce.

We want to fix them, or rather we want to fix us, all at once. We want to pretend we’ve never been there. Our façade of perfection has no room for having once held that view.

And so, like the parent who resents seeing their own failings manifest in their children, we push our baggage on another and all too often make the situation worse.

Never mind that it doesn’t work like that, for anyone.
— Mason Slater, writing for A Deeper Story


To wrap up this week's assortment, here's a little jazz to help you enjoy the last bit of summertime:

Happy Friday, friends!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The other "S" word

Updated: please see the note at the bottom of the post.


Last week, Donald Miller published a two-parter on his blog.

In a stream-of-consciousness style, Miller advises women to hold out for the right man. (The second part was aimed at the guys.)

The article makes some good points. I especially appreciated the section advising women not to seek male validation through their sexuality.

Sadly, the tone of the article was less-than-gracious. Several commenters (and fellow bloggers) took issue with Miller's use of the word "slutty," and with his implication that such a woman is less desirable as a long-term partner.

And I have to admit, much as I want to like Don Miller, he lost me there.


In my work and in my personal life, I've met many women.

I've met women who dress and act in ways designed to attract male attention.

I've met women who have only one partner, but haven't married him.

I've met women who hop from bed to bed.

I've met women who dance at a "gentlemen's club."

I've met women who trade sexual favors for drugs or cash.

But I have never met a slut.


As a counselor, I work every day with women who have made decisions with their sexuality that would put them in Miller's "slutty" category. And for far too many of my clients and friends, their first sexual experience was in childhood, at the hands of a relative or close friend.

For such a woman, the word "decision" didn't even factor in.

And she begins to think of herself as unlovable... as damaged goods. And she begins to believe that lie, and act as if it were the truth. And over time, the damage can permeate more and more areas of her life, and the self-loathing comes out in every self-destructive way imaginable.

Using a word like "slut" is just piling on. It's not redemptive. It doesn't show Christ's love for her. It doesn't tell her she's worth far more than that.

That word just piles on the hate.

Let's excise it from our vocabulary.


Updated 8/12/2011: Donald Miller has deleted the two blog posts referred to early in this post, and has issued an apology. Thank you, Don.


Friday, August 05, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Volume 47

The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.


New discovery — a website that combines the visual arts with the culinary arts, and lets you look up recipes by category or ingredient. The illustrations alone are a feast — They Draw and Cook:

Wheatberry Pilaf, by Nate Padavick


Bryan Lopez believes technology is the new smoking. What do you think?


My friend Suzanne Burden asks, do women have full access to God?


Speaking of access to God... and, er... smoking... have you seen the video of the pastor praying before the Nascar race?

I know, I throw movie references and quotes around all the time. But if your prayers start to resemble Ricky Bobby's pre-meal grace, maybe you've seen Talladega Nights one time too many.


After this, can we be done with referring to our spouses as "smokin' hot?" Please?


A friend once told me about an article she'd read in More magazine that advised women-of-a-certain-age that they'd look younger (and probably hotter) if they would stop wearing a watch and instead check the time on their cell phones. And, well... being me, I immediately got a visual in my head.

It's like Dan Piraro is reading my mind:

Bizarro by Dan Piraro, 7/31/2011

I honestly don't see how that's going to make me look younger.


Speaking of cell phones... remember Dot — the world's smallest stop-motion animation movie, shot on a Nokia N8 cell phone? (If not, check out take #5 here.)

Here's Gulp, the world's largest stop-motion animation movie, also shot on a Nokia N8, from Aardman Animations (the maker of Wallace & Gromit):

Happy Friday, friends!