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Archive for March, 2008

uMakhalekhukhwini

I seem to be pretty good at starting series and not getting very far with them. Oh well, I don’t blog to ADD pressure to my life, so if I start running with an idea and don’t end up carrying it very far, this is the one place in my world where I can do so without feeling bad about it. All that to say, I’m starting another series here. I thought about calling it the Word of the Week. But, for sure I’m not going to pressure myself to have to come up with a great word every week, so I’ll just call it A Great Word and then number it. If there’s a 2, 3, 4 and 5, great. I’ll post them when they come up, so know ahead of time, it won’t be in predictable increments. If I don’t come up with any more posts in this series (which would make it NOT a series), well, I’ve already enjoyed finding this word and getting to share it with you.

Now, did you try your hand at pronouncing the above word? It is the Zulu word for cell phone and it literally means:

the screaming in your pocket

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Messing with My Mind

You know how some things seem so polar opposite, you can’t imagine them together? And if you try to put them together, the result is almost discordant? For me, moments like that give me a little shiver up my spine that feels similar to what happens when I hear fingernails scraping on the chalkboard.

I had one such moment recently when Lingamish (again) changed the colors on his blog template–some shade of green hippo severely clashing with royal blue trim on the blog. At the time, I couldn’t think of a word to express what was happening to the nerve endings in my brain when I went to his blog. Lingamish himself described it as “Trippy”. And I thought that was a pretty good word for it.

Well, today I had a similar experience when I followed a link on my gmail home page to a recipe for Spam Imperial Tortilla Sandwiches (I always kind of wonder why the particular links show up when they do. Sometimes a link will be related to something I’ve emailed someone about recently. But I can’t figure out the connection with this one. Maybe I was talking about my redneck roots to someone and Google thought surely I needed one more recipe for how to use Spam?)

In any case, a recipe for Spam is what I was given with that link. And Spam in general, and Spam sandwiches in specific kind of gross me out.  But I can comprehend that somebody, somewhere might like the idea.

It was when I read the recipe itself and the specific combination of ingredients that my brain started blowing fuses. How can alfalfa sprouts and Spam co-exist together? That’s not like Yin and Yang where one type of thing balances out the other. Spam and alfalfa sprouts–that’s not balance. Spam epitomizes processed food that is arguably non-food. Alfalfa, well that’s about as natural “pure food, just the way God made it” as you can get. 

And, really, if you’re feeling the need to eat Spam for whatever reason–perhaps you’re short of time, you’re out on a camping trip, you’re in a post-hurricane scenario without electricity or running water–are you really going to take the time to purchase fresh dill and chop it up to add to the sandwich?

If you have Spam as an actual food option, does fresh chopped dill even show up on your radar screen? Or, coming at it from the other angle, if chopping up fresh dill is something you get in to, does Spam show up on your radar screen?

Eclectic as I may be, I have found my limits. Eating Spam with alfalfa sprouts, sunflower seeds and chopped fresh dill, nicely wrapped on a tortilla, is too eclectic for my brain to handle. (To say nothing of, I’m still trying to convince myself that Spam really does qualify as food, which would be an obvious prerequisite to preparing this recipe.)

But, just in case you are feeling brave, or, perhaps, in need of shaking up your life and stretching your boundaries or stirring something up because you’re feeling a bit bored with your diet–if, for whatever reason, the idea of Spam Imperial Tortilla Sandwiches appeals to you–here is the recipe. And, please, let me know how it turns out (and if you make it, I’d also love to hear WHY you decided to do it. I’m really curious, because the why behind this recipe is totally incomprehensible to me at the moment).

* Exported from MasterCook *

SPAM IMPERIAL TORTILLA SANDWICHES

Serving Size : 6
Preparation Time :0:00

1 cn SPAM Luncheon Meat (12 oz)
1 pk Cream cheese, softened (8oz)
1/3 c Chopped green onion
2 tb Chopped fresh dill
3 Flour tortillas (8″)
1 md Cucumber, peeled and thinly -sliced
1/4 c Sunflower seeds
1/2 c Alfalfa sprouts

In bowl, combine SPAM and cream cheese. Stir in green onion and dill. Spread 1/3 of SPAM mixture evenly over each tortilla. Top with 1/3 each cucumber, sunflower seeds, and alfalfa sprouts. Roll up tortilla jelly roll fashion and wrap in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Refrigerate 2 hours. to serve, cut each roll in half.

[By the way, my brain has finally adjusted to Lingamish’s color combination, which probably means he is getting ready to change it. I find the adaptability of the brain to be incredibly fascinating.]

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I was going to title this post, How I View God, but that sounds concrete and final in a way that I’m not intending.

As an analogy to how I’m thinking about God right now, I have a very dear friend. When I think about her, at times I use different descriptions. Sometimes I think of her as my first deep friend when I moved to this area from a foreign country. Other times I think of her as the friend who is always there when I need to talk (even late at night or early in the morning). Other times I think of her as my hilarious friend (because I’m very serious, and she can be very funny). She is the friend who has spoken up on my behalf on many times when I was being misunderstood, misrepresented and aggressively opposed by different people. She is the friend who feeds me on weekends when I don’t have the energy to make myself eat, let alone think about what to prepare. She is the friend who organizes other people to help me in practical ways in my struggling to make it as a single mom.  Ultimately, she is my friend in a very rich, full and complete way, but I think about her and the friendship she gives me from many different specific angles.

The same with God. He is God. That is very big and very profound. As a detail, not so big picture type of person, I find myself relating to him at different times, not from the starting point of what all that means, but from specific, concrete angles of how I’m relating to him at a specific time. When I was going through a drought time (personally, spiritually, relationally), I thought about him as the God who refreshes, who makes green, who gives life and revitalizes me. There was another time when I clung to the truth that he is the God who Sees. The God who Understands. The God who Cares. All of these are true. And so much more.

Lately, I’ve been singing a song over and over, which verbalizes how I see God right now. It is “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and is another wonderful find in the hymnal of the church I’m currently attending. I’m not going to quote the whole song here, mainly because where I’ve seen they lyrics printed on blogs, there seems to follow a lot of controversy and even argument about the politics and theology of this song. For me, it is not political, and I don’t really think about it as a theological treatise. The  song feels like an expression of my heart cries and a picture of my walk with the Lord in recent years. I encourage you to look up all the lyrics online. (And feel free to argue about them in some of those places, if you are so disposed 🙂 )

For now, here is the part that portrays God in the way in which I am currently relating to him:

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears

I’m so grateful that he is God in my weary years and in my silent tears, and tonight, as I have been over the past several weeks, I am lifting my voice and singing to him with gratitude for all that that implies. Some days recently, I have sung this song through not so silent tears and out of deep and painful questions. Sometimes the song is as confident of a proclamation as I can muster in my doubts.  I’m singing a “song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,” only it’s the dark present where my faith, right here and right now, is being taught and formed and tried.

The song also talks about “the days when hope unborn has died”. Have you ever been there? How have you experienced God in those times?

And one other part (if I keep going, I’ll end up quoting the whole song anyway, won’t I?)  which my heart joins in praying, asks God to

“keep us forever in the path…lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee; lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee…”

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