Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: November 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Say Goodbye to Barbie?

     Like many of you, I grew up with Barbie...and Stacie and Kelly and Ken.  I ogled at the little Kelly dolls in Target checkout lines and I loved going to my cousins where we would turn the family room into a Barbie kingdom.  At that age, I paid little attention to the minuscule waist and large breasts.  The toned legs and perfect makeup seemed trivial compared to where Barbie would adventure next.  Yet, when you put it all together: Barbie is a package deal of perfection.  She gives little room for flaws or originality.  While I personally don't know if Barbie truly reinforces poor body image among girls, I certainly don't think she discourages it.  That's why I was so elated to see this in the news the past week:

Say hello to the Lammily doll.  According to TIME Magazine, the doll will be available for purchase and delivery this Wednesday.  Created by Nickolay Lamm, the doll's selling point is it's realistic appearance.  That includes normal proportions, curves, a realistic face and-- GASP-- feet that aren't tiptoed!  In fact, her feet- as well as other body parts-- are pliable and reflect the active Lammily doll.  As I read the article, I grew more and more impressed with the toy.  There are even "Lammily Marks."  They are clear vinyl stickers like stretch marks, acne, freckles and moles that can be place on the doll.  I'm partial to the dirt and grass stained stickers as a former tomboy myself!

The coolest part of the TIME article was the accompanying video which shows girls reacting to the doll.  The overall consensus seemed to be that the Lammily doll appeared ready for adventure: real adventure.  Better yet: The girls saw her as beautiful.  A little boy even commented that she wasn't so thin, that she looked more like his mom.  "She looks like my sister," another girl said.  "She's really pretty.

It's just a doll.  So what's the big deal?  The thing is, girls have role models.  They look up to the women in their lives and seek to emulate them.  But when society presents a different ideal, it creates a discrepancy and girls are often pulled into confusion about who they are supposed to be.  If young girls are able to play with a doll that reinforces healthy weight and real beauty: imagine the difference it will make on confidence. (RELATED: The Perfect Christmas Gift) As someone who knows the reality of poor body image and eating disorders, I applaud Nickolay Lamm for his recognizing this problem in society that is negatively impacting girls.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

November Adventures at the IMA

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is a great place to go when in need of a relaxing afternoon. Better yet: it's only 5 minutes from campus. While I've posted about the IMA before, I thought I'd show you some of the fun I've had there lately.  (RELATED: Matisse Life in Color Exhibit)

My friend and I went last week for an Asian History class assignment and got to explore the Asian art. Some of it was pretty neat!

Then, I went yesterday for my creative writing class. It was really cool because or professor gave us the assignment to go and find a really cool piece of art. Then, we were supposed to observe and write about it for about ten minutes.  

I decided to just let myself roam, instead of going straight to some art pieces hat I know and love. I wanted something new, so I prayed that God would show me something really cool. And He did. Look at this awesome, glass ship that I found:

 See that woman walking toward me in the upper left hand corner? She promptly informed me that I was "too close to the art."  Oops. I guess I just take my sleuthing and inspection job seriously!  "I'm just advising you," she sternly said after I profusely apologized. I had half aims to apologize to the lifeless piece of art as well. It seemed like the ship was very keen on keeping its distance from curious college students like me. Needless to say, I quickly finished my observations after that and headed on my way.

Don't get the wrong idea though, the curators at the IMA really are a friendly bunch, and they make the experience all the better. I hope to return soon to check out some more art. After I write my story in the boat, though. And next time, I'll keep my distance. As Lenny Pepperbottom adequately said, I want to tell that art: "Hey, you're pretty neat, but I respect your distance."

RELATED: Visiting Indianapolis

How Deep is Your Pit?

Nothing can stop or hinder our God! How amazing is He? 

I was reading through the Psalms the other night and found myself just in awe of how powerful God is. However, this is out of context. What we don't see is the long account of just how unfaithful David was and how unfaithful we are as well. We aren't talking about God redeeming His people from a terrible accident or unmerited offense- though He does do that. We're talking about redemption from the pit that choosing sin has landed us in.  (RELATED: God' Glory)

See, God gives us instructions to flee from sin for a reason. It's messy. It hurts us. It breaks apart families and  crushes dreams and ceases life. But the cool part is that God has, with "(His) arm, redeemed (His) people."  There isn't any getting around that: We are messy and He still stoops down to us.

It's a message we hear over and over and over. But I would argue that it's so rote, we have dimmed its significance. We have forgotten just how HUGE it is that we, in our sin, have blatantly broke. the heart of God by turning from Him and that He- in never ending mercy- still takes us back when we realize we goofed up big time. 

That is something I am so, infinitely grateful for. If you're like me, there are times you've taken a shovel to the ground and dug away at your pit. If that's where you are now, I want to encourage you: Christ is better. There is fleshly pain in choosing to walk away from sin. But there is also freedom and joy and life. There is the promise of redemption, no matter how far we fall. Maybe that means you lay down the shovel with me, and plop yourself down in the dirt. He will come and He will renew a broken and contrite spirit. Make the choice to surrender today, and Christ will be right there, ready to wipe the dirt off your face.

RELATED: Forgiveness

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Butternut Squash Fries

One of the coolest parts about living in an apartment is that I no longer have to walk down four flights of stairs to get to a kitchen.  Granted, I'm no Martha Stewart, but I have been having some fun cooking this year.  Exhibit one: Butternut Squash.  My parents sent me some back in October and I realized that while Butternut Squash soup sounded delicious, it also sounded time consuming and difficult.  Besides, I was much more intrigued at the idea of Butternut Squash Fries.  I mean, I've seen them done on Pinterest, but I felt challenged to discern if I too, could make a vegetable taste delectable and "fry-like"

The instructions I perused online suggested peeling the squash so the cutting would be easier, but I'm a college student and a vegetable peeler is not among my kitchen cutlery collection. Thus, I grabbed our sharpest knife and made sure the bandaids were in close proximity (I only nicked myself, by he way).

1. The first thing you need to do in the fry making process, is preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

2. While the oven is doing it's thing, you do yours: Grab the knife and carefully begin cutting the squash in half.  
3. From there, slice the pieces so they look like fries.  Make sure not to cut them too thin or they'll stick to the baking sheet...I found that out the hard way.  
4. Spray your baking sheet(s) and begin laying the fries down.  Place them close to each other, or else you'll never fit them all onto even two sheets.  After that, feel free to dust them with the flavorings of your choosing: salts, spices, you name it.  I went two routes.  My first batch was "sweet" and I coated them in cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.  The second batch was "salty," coated with a pinch of salt, garlic salt and some parsley.

5. Put the fries in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.  Stay nearby though, as the cook time varies with your fries' thickness.

6. When they look like they've crisped, take them out and flip them over.  Once flipped, they won't take as much time on the other side, probably only 10 minutes.  And once they're done, just let them cool and enjoy.

Pretty easy, right?!  I thought it was fun to try and my roommates and I agreed that the salty fries went over much better than the sweet ones.  But play with the recipe yourself.  I'd love to see what you come up with!  In the end, I found the process to be quite fun, but a little time consuming.  Good thing the squash produced such a large batch of fries.  I stored them and was eating them for a good week!  I'd love to hear if you've tried making butternut squash fries or any other healthy treat!  I'm game for another food-experiment if you've got one that you want me to try!  Just comment below :)

See some of my other healthy food posts:
Frozen Yogurt Bar Face-off!
Make your own Sushi
Healthy Omelets 
Making Spaghetti Squash

And So: I Give Thanks

Remember me?  Yes, it has been quite a while.  And while I hate clicking on a blog only to see there haven't been any new posts, I had to focus on life for the past few months.  It's been crazy busy, but really good.  It's been an uphill battle, but the view is better the higher you climb.  So I hope that you'll give me some grace and welcome me back to your screen as I attempt to re-enter the blog world.

God has been showing me so much, school has been enlightening me with information and the months have been flying by.  Today, I'm looking out the window and there is snow on the ground.  Anyone want to tell me how that happened?  I am very excited for Thanksgiving next week, though.  There truly is so much to be grateful for.  I have been blessed with loving family and friends, an awesome university and so much more.  Yet, I'm struck by how easy it is to take things for granted.  That was something I found out this past fall when I had numerous medical appointments to get to and no way to get there.  I would ask friends and take taxis, but I came to the point where my bank account was draining quickly and my friends weren't texting back.  The stress was really getting to me and I was even stranded at the doctor's office for three hours on one occasion.  The ride service I had hired didn't come back.  So I found myself lounging in a Starbucks until the ride service owner came to get me and I chatted with her Cheetos-eating son on the way back to campus.  Not the best experience.

     "Well, is he hot?"  My older brother texted
     "He's like 7....." I answered.

And thus went my day.  Needless to say, I didn't hire that particular transportation service again.  But I did have to find a way to get around.  After discussing things with my parents, we decided that getting a car for me was really the only viable option.  That led to a frantic car search during my fall break last month.  We drove from car lot to car lot, even stopping at lots we saw along the way.
"Where's dad?" I would ask.  "Oh, he stopped at a lot on the way home, just to see what they had."

Finally, on a frosty Saturday morning we pulled up to a small car lot in Hilliard and my eyes locked on Dronda.  She was sitting in the corner, shiny blue and waiting for a responsible college student to give her adventure.  I was that college student.  In all honesty, the two-door Acura didn't appeal to me too much at first.  But I took it for a spin and began to grow accustomed to the heated seats and smooth ride.  I liked the Butler blue color and the roomy front seat.  And sure enough, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, the blue Acura and I posed for a picture and Dronda left the lot for good.

Dronda-- because any dignified car must have a catchy name-- has been such a blessing.  Yes, she takes me to appointments and to church.  But she also has relieved the pressure of finding rides, the angst of crossing friends off the "ride list." Yet, at the core of it all is a lesson in love.  I am loved.  I am blessed-- both by my parents and by God.  I don't deserve to have a car to drive; yet, I have one.

It also got me thinking.  In light of how blessed I am, I wouldn't dare put a scratch on Dronda.  I see the great responsibility that comes with the blessing and I want to be a good steward of this car that is on loan from my father.  In the same way, God has given me this body that I have abused for many years.  I have pushed it too hard and loved it too little (RELATED: Relaxation).  But Dronda has reminded me that there is a sense of responsibility in a gift.  And I shouldn't even think of not treating this body with anything but respect, for it is a gift from my Father.  Funny how God teaches us these things, isn't it?

So, in conclusion: expect more posts from me in the near future.  They may or may not be about my adventures in Dronda.  But they sure as heck will contain a lot of gratitude.  This blog is called "A Grateful Life Lived" for a reason, and I often forget that.  I'm grateful for this car, yes, but I'm chiefly thankful for what it has shown me about undeserved love.  That's something else I can't wait to tell you all about-- what God is showing me about love-- but you'll have to click back soon for that one.  But you, like myself, have a lot to give thanks for.  I hope you'll take a minute just to think about God's little signs of love and thank Him for those things.  They might be little, but they aren't insignificant.  They make the biggest statement of all.

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