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Oh, a-Camping We Will Go…

During spring break, I spent a day with my friend Sarah.  We’d gone to breakfast, and decided to get out of town for the rest of the day, and we went to Pedernales Falls State Park, in Johnson City, TX.  It was my first time at a Texas State Park, but it won’t be my last.

IMG_8160IMG_8167I really needed to get out of town for a while and have some reflection in the great outdoors.

There were trees and deer, all kinds of plants and birds, and rivers and I felt like Henry David Thoreau:

I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately.  I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life! To put to wrought all that was not life, and not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived.

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We had an adventure, crossing water, getting our feet punctured by the tiny rocks in the water, almost getting eaten by mountain lions, losing cell phone service and having little to no light, but we managed to make it back safely.  And since then, all I can think about is going camping.  So, I’m doing something about it.

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I’m going to go camping. Tomorrow. It’s not going to be primitive camping, but it’ll be satisfying this call of the wild inside of me.  I’m going to hike, and swim, and eat some s’mores, have some weenies and burgers to roast, and spend time with my hubby and my dog.  I might write something new, play some new songs, and get a tan.  I’m not too far from technology, but I’m going to try to be somewhat electronic free.

Scheherazade

In other news, I am also going camping metaphorically.  You see, I’ll be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’ve got two cabin mates already.  I already have a project– a script of a play called Scheherazade.  It’s about a queer woman of Middle Eastern descent who must tell stories to save her life (and possibly the lives of others).  It deals with Islamophobia, refugees, and current political events.  It’s actually a collaboration between writers and actors. I’m not the only person writing it, all of the cast has been composing and devising for it.  Another writer and myself are forming the script from their writings and devising.  The play is set to go up in June… so finishing the script is going to be really important!  I’m so ready to get camping.  Happy Trails, and I’ll report back in April!

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33

Growing up, my family always had a big party for my sister and my birthdays.  Our birthdays are four days apart, and it was always easier to have a big party for the both of us, so I’ve grown accustomed to having big birthday parties.  I won’t lie, I’d love to have a big celebration, but I also have one big fear.

What if I throw a party and no one shows up?

I know, it sounds stupid, but it’s a legitimate worry that I have, so I usually try to do several events.

Here are thirty three ideas that I have for birthday events.  I’m not going to get to do all of them, but at least there’s a starting point.

  1. Go Camping
  2. Ice Cream Social
  3. Birthday Breakfast
  4. Birthday Lunch
  5. Birthday Dinner
  6. Tres Leches Cake Tasting
  7. Karaoke Room
  8. Picnic Party
  9. Swing Dancing
  10. Wine and Cheese Tasting
  11. Board Game Party
  12. Escape Room
  13. Make Art
  14. Make a Movie
  15. Pool Party
  16. Tea Party
  17. Mall Rats Scavenger Hunt
  18. City Scavenger Hunt
  19. Blazer Tag
  20. Food Crawl
  21. Build a Bear
  22. Lush Treatment
  23. Get a Massage
  24. Rock Climbing
  25. Rent Bikes and Ride
  26. Cocktail Crawl
  27. Musical Marathon
  28. Crazy Outfit Thrifting
  29. Cupcake Decorating
  30. Amusement Park
  31. Costume Party
  32. Day Trip
  33. Birthday Blessings/Prayers
Art · culture · Death · DIY · Food · God · Health · History · Holidays · Religion · Self Improvement · Women

Holy Hamantaschen!

Chag Purim Sameach!  Or Happy Purim, Y’all!  I’m not Jewish, but I like holidays.  And this one strikes a particular chord because it’s the story of Esther- the “foreign” queen who saves her people from genocide.  Yaaaas, queen!  On a side note, can we please have more celebrations of women who do awesome things?

In honor of this day, I made some hamantaschen.  What is that, you ask?  They are cookies that symbolize the holiday’s origins.  You see, Haman was the evil dude who wanted to get rid of the Jews.  So he bribed King Xerxes, but Esther helped to save her people, and Haman was executed.

Some say that hamantaschen are supposed to be “Haman’s Pockets” as in the money that he bribed King Xerxes with; others say it’s “Haman’s Ears” as in the cutting off of criminals ears which happened to Haman, as well as being executed (?).  I didn’t do a thorough fact check on this, so forgive me if that’s incorrect.hamantaschen

Now, I am on a very particular diet, which is grain free, gluten free, sugar free, caffeine free, alcohol free, gmo free, cage free, organic, grass fed, wild caught, fair trade, and a lot of other hippy dippy stuff that limits what I can eat. So I’ve had to look up ingredients from every where and modify my own hamantaschen recipe.

ANYWAY.  COOKIES.  YOU WANT THESE COOKIES. Here’s what you’ll need:20170311_101705-1 20170311_104556-1 20170311_175735-1

1 & 1/2 cups of almond flour
2 tablespoons of xylitol (can be found at whole foods/natural grocers/wheatsville)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon almond extract (or vanilla, I prefer almond)
Circular cookie cutters
Jams that you like (with no sugar added)
Parchment paper
Baking Sheet
Time

Step 1: Mix your dry items together in a bowl.  On a slow speed (if you’re using a mixer), mix in your wet ingredients.  This is the order I mixed it in: started with butter, then milk, then extract, and lastly coconut oil. The consistency may seem crumbly at first, but if you mash your finger into it, and it seems soft and doughy, then it’s good for the next step.

Step 2: Get two pieces of parchment paper and roll out your dough between them.  You can make them as thick or thin as you want, but thinner dough is a little bit more difficult to shape them and cut without it crumbling apart (because almond flour is not as sturdy as regular).  Then refrigerate until your dough is firm (30 min-1 hr).
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Step 3: Once your dough is firm, using circular cookie cutters, cut out your dough.  My first attempt, I rolled it too thin in spots, and the dough would crumble.
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Step 4: Set your oven to bake on 350 degrees, and add your jam!!! Now, I’m not going to tell you how much or how little to put in your hamantaschen… that choice is yours.  You might want to test. I put in one spoon for the smaller ones, and two spoons for the bigger ones.  The choice is yours.  Oh, also, you might want to do a test run of folding them before you put all your jam in them… because I ended up getting jam all over my arms, but eventually found a way of folding the dough into triangles that worked for me.

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Step 5: Bake for about 8 minutes, let them cool off for about 5 minutes, and then eat and enjoy!!!

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Why Women Hate Men

You look me up and down
SIZE me up.
I wear anywhere between 6 to 10 in jeans
if that’s what you’re wondering

THIS IS WHY WOMEN HATE MEN

You tell me not to eat those kinds of foods
Say that you feel guilty for letting me eat this way
Or that way
I can’t even eat a bag of chips without feeling guilty
About what I eat
About how I look

THIS IS WHY WOMEN HATE MEN

This is my body
I can exercise if I want to
This is my life
and I can lie down
Or sit on a couch and watch Netflix all day
IF I WANT TO

DO NOT TELL ME
what to eat
what to wear
how to dress
how to do my hair
what my body should or shouldn’t look like

THIS IS WHY WOMEN HATE MEN

Camping · Love · Music · Nature · Outdoors · Religion · Self Discovery · Self Improvement · TX · Uncategorized · Women

From Dust to Diamonds

Freedom: Dust to Diamonds

Last weekend, my church had a women’s retreat, and that first night was a little rough.  I had carpooled with friends, and the trip was good, though we were stuck in traffic for a while, we made it there. But because we’d arrived right when it started, we were all split up, sitting nowhere near one another. It was crowded, and I was now distracted by my thoughts of how my word count for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) would be effected, so I wasn’t able to put all of my heart into the worship.  My mind was scattered in many directions, and to make it worse, they announced that the “hotel” that I signed up to stay in wasn’t quite a hotel, but it was “special.”  All of my complaints started to burst through my seams, but I held it together, and tried to listen to the first speaker, Tina Miranda.

It was on condemnation vs. conviction, and to be honest, I was not paying attention well.  The seats were cramped.  I was uncomfortable and squirmy.  My foot fell asleep, and all around I kept trying different sitting positions to try to improve my circulation. However, I did manage to focus on one thing, and part of it is because I was so distracted that I just started drawing a cartoon elephant that was in the powerpoint presentation. Tina told a story of how in India, baby elephants would be roped up tightly, and on finding that they could not escape, they accepted that they would never be able to escape. By the time they were adults, even though they were much stronger than the bonds that held them, they stayed captive.  It didn’t hit me until after the retreat was over, but I have accepted a lot of lies that have kept me in bondage since I was young, and I’m only now beginning to break free of them. We broke into small groups and it was loud and noisy. I could barely hear what anyone else was saying in my group above all the noise. And at that point, I was reluctant to say a lot because I didn’t know these women, and I didn’t know how much to share with them.

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I Know the Weenie Man?

So then, the time comes for us to go to the cabins. Whoopee, I get to stay in the “special” cabin, which was farther off than any of the cabins or hotel rooms. Luckily, I had a few friends walk me to the “special” zone, or the Ranch House, as it was called at the camp site. And as I entered in, my insecurities began to well up inside of me.  The friends I had carpooled with, and all of the ladies in the community group I go to, were all staying in the cabins. Since I am an introverted extrovert, I signed up for the hotel, knowing I’d be surrounded by people all weekend.  While I do love being around people, I do not like a whole lot of noise when I’m trying to sleep.  You can ask my upstairs and downstairs neighbors, who have gotten visits from my more rational and understanding husband, asking them to quiet down because his wife would throw a fit if they didn’t. Anyway, back to the special zone.  The entry was decorated with a lot of weird paintings, like The Weenie Man.  There were others, but none as weird as this.  A little frightening, if you ask me.

 

 

 

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Giddy Up, Lamp Stand!
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I claim the lower bunk.

There were three different rooms and the hallway to bunk in.  I chose the room in the back where all the bathrooms were.  I have a tiny bladder, so I knew I’d probably have to make frequent trips.   Another advantage was that there were only three beds, so there would be less people that would be noisy at night.  The downside was that if anyone else had to use the bathroom, they’d have to come in to do their business.

 

 

 

Kiesha But the pros outweighed the cons, and there only ended up being two of us in the room.  Another awesome woman, Kiesha, who is a personal trainer, and I ended up falling asleep on the earlier side. While things were a bit noisier in the other rooms, with the bathroom fans on, it drowned out some of the talking and laughing.

In the morning, we both woke up and got ready.  I got all my things packed up into my book bag and my purse, and then I headed out, on my own.  I was feeling a little bit lonely at this point.  I hadn’t really gotten into any deep conversations with anyone. I really didn’t make any new friends, which made me feel bad about myself .

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So I climb up onto this water slide that’s closed up, and I look at the view, and I am in wonder of God’s creation. I open my Bible App on my phone, and I open to wherever. It happens to be 1Thessalonians 5. I read and I pray and I begin to thank God instead of complaining and throwing a pity party for myself. After that, I headed to breakfast, and then headed over to the morning sessions.

The next three sessions kinda blasted me. Jamie Chapman spoke on Control and how the roots of it were Fear and Pride. She used Moses’s Song from Exodus 15:2 and the Lord’s Song from Zephaniah 3:17, and made us sing out loud. Little did I know that the woman who was leading my small group would be speaking next. Shiela Chopin was preaching about Complaint. I was so engaged in her bringing the word and keeping it real when she spoke about Moses and David dealing with the people’s constant complaints, that I actually forgot to take notes, which I now regret. Luckily she provided an outline. She spoke of walking in God’s Spirit, and “getting fat” in the word because if we are full of God’s word, then there is no room for complaint. And she left us with an awesome and powerful prayer.

After that, we broke into small groups. Our group went outside, and I was much more inclined to share, especially with the woman who had just blasted my heart with conviction about all of my complaining. I was so glad to get to know these ladies, and the discussion with them really blessed me.

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Small Group Time!

After small groups, I was one hundred percent ready to receive the last session from Adele Douglin, and it was about Comparison. This is one of the areas that I struggle with A LOT. She gave examples in the Bible: Cain and Able, Leah and Rachel, Mary and Martha, and as a little sister with a “perfect” older sister, comparison has been following me around my whole life. When she talked about Antidotes to Comparison, I was hit strongly, and I’ll share them:

  1. Choose Thankfulness
  2. Speak God’s Promises Into Your Life
  3. Compliment Sisters and Learn from Them
  4. Take a Break from Social Media
  5. Let Friends Know that Comparison has No Room in Your Life
  6. REDIRECTING CONVERSATIONS TO SPEAK WELL OF ONE ANOTHER

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We finished out with worship and lunch afterwards, and I couldn’t believe the difference in my attitude form the night before to the afternoon. I left encouraged and excited about what God is going to be doing in my life. I know that becoming a diamond from a lump of coal isn’t going to be easy, but I know that in the end, all of the pressure and pain in this life is going to result in something beautiful.

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