Shared posts

12 May 17:27


by Brinke

Clipboard01Photographer Ty Foster has created a photo series called “Timeout.”

The photos are meant to convey the emotion felt when a puppeh has to wear The Cone Of Shame.

I’d say he captured it pretty well. The cat (featured photo above) seems to enjoy it all, too. Imagine that.





As seen on Design Taxi.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: cone of shame, doggeh, Side-Eye
05 May 17:41


31 Aug 13:53

Coming Home: A Friend’s Return from Prison

by Chris Hoke


Three weeks ago, I sat in a prison’s small, sterile waiting lobby on a Sunday morning, alone. We’d waited for this day for seven and a half years.


I laced up a pair of new Converse sneakers for my friend to wear on his first day out, walking out the groaning metal gates to the rest of his life.I had a plaid shirt, new jeans, socks, boxers, and undershirt in a bag next to me as well.

Looking around in the silence, waiting the final minutes, praying, I realized this was the same lobby of the same prison I sat in 9 years ago when I first came to visit a man named Neaners. That night so long ago, I’d helped carry his newborn daughter in an infant cradle through the metal detector, alongside the mother.

But this day, almost a decade later, the guards called Neaners’ name and the gates started to open.

He did not look happy. He stared at the ground as he wheeled his property boxes out and the guards made small talk with us. Neaners didn’t jump, or open his arms, or smile, or exhale. It felt horribly awkward: Is this how things are going to start?

But after we slammed the trunk shut and drove away from the razor wire gates, the sniper towers and the prison disappeared behind the trees. My friend began to breath. “I just want to take a shower,” he said shakily. “Wash this prison grime off.”

Over the next few hours, after the prison disappeared behind us, it was almost visible how his years of protective emotional armor began to slide off as well.

(In the next several days, I would learn what a horrible hell my friend has truly been locked inside all this time–stories he has had to wait all these years to say without letter/visiting/phone surveillance.)

Neaners started to come alive with the prison gates miles behind us. Our first stop was a dark monastery chapel we visited, where we snuck in before morning Mass. We prayed and breathed in the silence, the stained glass windows around us. Neaners led my friend Holly and I in prayers. He picked a tiny rose out of the garden for his daughter.



At the first place we went for tacos in town, one of his worst enemies walked in the door while we stood in line. We discreetly left, quickly. Then the same enemy showed up at church, in the back of our worship service. A temptation thrown at him his first day out.

How did he handle it?

He pulled me outside with him, to catch the guy. “Let’s pray for —-, Chris.” Really? On the sidewalk outside, Neaners put his enemy at ease, said he forgave him, and put his hand on the guys’ shoulder, and mine as well, and led us in prayer. His enemy and I looked at each other, shocked.

I could write–and hope to one day, with Neaners–many pages about his first week out. The cabin we went to, the fly fishing, the late night conversations, the amount of people who have come around this released, tattooed inmate to celebrate and welcome him as a brother finally home.

I never expected, or hoped, things to be going as well as they have. A real transformation has begun in this guy: he is peaceful, prayerful, with a healthy fear of which temptations could take him back to a version of himself he no longer wants. (Though he wants to keep and redeem his moniker “Neaners,” still.)

I get teary most days, just for a moment: my friend whom I’ve enjoyed through the veil of gang involvement, the years accompanying him on our valley’s night streets so long ago, the prison distance and turbulence . . . that friend is actually a healthier, more whole presence in Rachel’s and my home, sharing normal days with us now. Joking around, landscaping our gnarly front yard together, doing Orthodox monastic morning prayers together, clothes shopping, washing dishes and reading books. I feel so grateful that my hope all these years was not foolish, but is coming true.

His parole officer who was uncooperative in months leading up to this–she loves him. He walked out of his first meeting with her smiling. “She’s cool, yo. She’s down for me. She hates YOU.” And he pointed at me and laughed kindly. “She thinks you’re manipulating ME, with all the things she heard we had planned, ministry and stuff. She doesn’t know all you’ve been hustling for was MY ideas and dreams!”

It was a role reversal. Often people pre-judge Neaners before they meet him or assume he’s playing me, not the other way around. I felt gross with her characterization cast over me as a creep.

“It’s okay, bro,” he said as we walked away from the office. “Now you got a taste of how I feel most of the time. Sucks, huh?”

Coming home from prison isn’t easy. I’m glad we have such a good guide.

The post Coming Home: A Friend’s Return from Prison appeared first on Red Letter Christians.

13 Aug 12:16

Grilled Ramen

by IsaChandra

Serves 4 to 6
Total time: 3 hours (or overnight) || Active time: 30 minutes

Grilled Ramen

Curly noodles in a homemade dashi broth, topped with grilled hoisin tofu, shiitake mushrooms, bok choy and some diced avocado. OMG it’s Grilled Ramen. And it is beyond sublime. The kind of food that brings the room to a hush as you take your first slurpy bites.

This is definitely a date night recipe. Or a marry me recipe. Or a “I just want to do something special for no particular reason, so sue me” recipe. The sweet char of the tofu, and the meaty earthiness of the shiitakes play well with the briny broth. The avocado mimics the fatty boiled egg often atop a big bowl of steamy ramen. And a healthy dose of sliced scallion adds a bright freshness and some crunch.

Also, grilled greens are all the rage these days! Baby bok choy is especially fun, since it’s like two veggies in one: the crisp snappy stems and the velvetty leaves. Even if you don’t want to make the entire recipe, give the bok choy a whirl some time.

To make this recipe not such a pain in the tuchus, make the broth a day ahead, and marinade the tofu overnight. The next day, you’re essentially just boiling the noodles and grilling some stuff. And it is so worth it!

Grilled Ramen

Recipe Notes
~ You definitely want the right noodles for this! A trip to an Asian grocery should provide you with a wall of ramen to choose from. We’re not talking the kind that come with a flavor packet, just a plain old back of curly looking noodles. However...

~ If you can’t find the right kind of noodles anywhere, than any supermarket ought to have those packaged noodles, and there is often a vegan flavor. So let’s improvise. Lose the flavor packets and just boil the noodles as directed. In these packages, the noodles that have been fried, so, I dunno, whatever your opinion on fried foods, take that into consideration. I suppose some people will be stoked on that and others not so much.

8 oz plain ramen noodles (see note above)
1 recipe Miso Dashi Broth

For the marinade:
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce or  tamari
3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

For marinating:
12 to 14 oz block extra firm tofu, pressed
1/4 lb shiitake mushroom, rough stems trimmed

For the bok choy:
4 baby bok choy sliced in half
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

For garnish:
1 ripe avocado, diced small
1 cup thinly sliced scallion

In a wide shallow bowl, mix together all of the marinade ingredients.

Slice tofu into 8 even slabs widthwise. Place in marinade for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, flipping occasionally.

Keep the shiitake mushrooms on standby, as they will be dredged in the marinade prior to grilling.

When the tofu has marinated, cook the noodles according to package directions, then immediately cool them under cold running water, and set aside. Also, make sure your broth is piping hot and ready to go, since everything else will happen rather quickly.

Heat up a grill to about 450 F.

We’re going to put the bok choy on the grill first. Brush each half with sesame oil, and sprinkle with a little salt. Place face down on the grill for about 5 minutes, until grill marks appear. Keep the leaves away from the direct flame, if possible, since they will burn if too close to the fire. As you can see, I keep one half of the grill off, so that the leaves don’t burn.

Brush the grill with a little sesame oil, and place the tofu on the grill as well, cooking along with the bok choy for about 5 minutes. Once the tofu is on the grill, dredge the mushrooms in the marinade.

When you remove the bok choy, flip the tofu, to grill for another 5 minutes. Use a thin metal spatula to flip, so that you can really get under the tofu and it doesn’t stick. In the meantime, place the dredged mushrooms on the grill, and let them grill for 5 minutes as well.

Now remove the tofu and mushrooms from the grill. It’s time to assemble your ramen!

Place the cooked noodles in the hot broth to heat through, just for about 30 seconds. Divide into big bowls.

Slice tofu slabs on a bias, and divide amongst the bowls. Add bok choy, mushrooms and and avocado in little piles. Scatter scallion across the top, and serve immediately!
26 Jul 20:31

Strawberry Raspberry Crisp

by joythebaker


My summer love language is pink and fruity.  All I want to do this weekend is put Van Morrison in my headphones, tool down the bike path at the beach, people-watch, seagull-watch, and express my affections in strawberries and raspberries.

 Good, right?  What more do we really need?  (If your answer to that rhetorical question was: CRISP OAT TOPPING!!!… then you’ve totally come to the right place.)


We don’t even need a bowl for our mellow summer baking.  This crisp topping can come together on a clean counter or a plain ol’ baking sheet.

Pile together flour, oats, sugar, and spice and work in cold butter and walnuts.

This is totally relaxed summer baking.  Embrace it!


Flour, sugar, oats and spice.  Gather it all with your fingers.  It’s totally cool.


Quickly break cold butter into the dry ingredients.  It’s like we’re making pie crust but much more mellow and spiced.


Gather in the walnuts and we’re all the way in the game!


Combine fresh raspberries and big strawberry bites.  Add a big dose of crumble.  We’re going to stir it together.


We’re adding flavor and coating the fruit in a bit of flour and oats.  The fruit juices will bake and thicken beautifully.


The rest of the crisp topping is piled atop the fruit.

It’s a lot of topping.  It’s serious.


Baked and golden.  The more golden the crust, the more crisp the bites.  Yes!


This crisp is elegant in its comfort and simplicity.  The raspberries bake down into a jammy consistency and the strawberries become slight and tender, but still hold their shape.  The amount of oat topping rivals the amount of fruit, making this crisp extra toothsome, extra crunchy, extra delicious.

Breakfast?  Yes.  Afternoon snack?  Sure?  Dinner?  You know I’ve done it.

This is an anytime, summertime crisp.  Do it up!

Strawberry Raspberry Crumble

makes 1 8×8-inch pan

Print this Recipe!

1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 cups fresh raspberries (if using frozen, just thaw and drain)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup old fashioned oats

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place sliced strawberries and raspberries in a square 8×8-inch baking dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, oats, spices, and salt.  Add the butter and toss the mixture together with your hands.  Break the butter up into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of small pebbles and oat flakes.  This took me about 4 minutes.  Toss in the walnuts (if using).

Toss a generous handful (about 1 cup) of crumble topping into the strawberry and raspberry mixture.  Toss loosely with your hands.  Spread fruit evenly in the pan and top with the remaining crumble mixture.  Bake until fruit is juicy and bubbling, and the top of the crumble is slightly browned and crisp, about 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and serve with vanilla ice cream.  Crumble is delicious served warm and can be stored, covered, in the fridge and reheated in the oven or microwave for serving.

16 Jul 12:11

Sometimes being odd is what makes us special

by dogkeeper

Our American Bulldog, Grimm, has some interesting ways of relaxing.

09 Jul 12:44

How I Defeat the Fear of Trying

by Donald Miller

The hours before I write in the morning are often filled with dread. Will the words show up today? Do I still have what it takes?

This is, of course, an irrational fear. On most days, the words will be there. On some days, they won’t. The point is, of course, to sit down and try. To do your daily duty and to fling your words onto a page to see if something sticks.

There’s no greater feeling than losing yourself in a manuscript. On some days you don’t have it, on other days you can get it done, and then on a very few days you go into a trance and the words fling off your fingerprints and stick on the blank page like a Jackson Pollock masterpiece. Or at least that’s how it feels.

What stinks is when you go looking for that feeling every morning and you wrongly define this kind of day as a productive day and every other as a waste.

If that’s how I am going to define a productive day, I might as well quit.

Here’s what I tell myself these days to calm myself down: I won’t know until I sit down and write.

The fear I feel of sitting down is all about not knowing whether it’s going to be there today. But what good is that fear? I’m afraid of something that hasn’t happened. Why not sit down and see if it all works out?

The truth is, by not sitting down I’m daily decreasing the chances of having that magical day.

I won’t know until I sit down to write. I won’t know until I sit down to write. I won’t know until I sit down to write.

*Photo by Averain, Creative Commons

I’ve a friend who is a landscape photographer. We once hiked deep into the woods to get a picture of sunset. When we got there, we set up the camera and waited for the light to fade. As it did, the sunset was magical. But my friend didn’t take the picture. I asked why and he told me, “Because I’ve got a better shot from this same spot. There’s no reason to waste a 4×5 piece of film on this one.”

He made sense, of course. He shoots for a living and that shot would never have been used. But I asked him another question and I’ll never forget his answer. I asked how he stayed motivated to keep shooting, to travel and hike and sleep in a tent, never knowing if the shot is going to be there.

His answer: Because sometimes it is. And I’m in it for the sometimes.

I like that answer. It reminds me of my mantra: I won’t know until I sit down to write.

How I Defeat the Fear of Trying is a post from: Storyline Blog

09 Jul 12:24

You’re 8. You hear the music. You steal $2 from mom’s purse. You run outside. What do you order?

by loswhit

You’re 8. You hear the music. You steal $2 from mom’s purse. You run outside.

What do you order?

08 Jul 15:30


08 Jul 15:29

Crazy Ideas That Are Borderline Genius [via]Previously: Useless...

Crazy Ideas That Are Borderline Genius [via]

Previously: Useless Things You Don’t Need to Know

08 Jul 15:15

Butt Pillow

by dogkeeper

Every single time we let her on the bed…

02 Jul 13:14

In my defense, since I wrote about it it’s technically considered “work”.

by Jenny the bloggess

A series of emails between me and my husband:

me:  Hey.  Wanna see what I’m gonna look like when I’m old?

Victor: Is that a hat? DO NOT BUY ANOTHER HAT. We live in Texas, for God’s sake.

me:  It’s not a “hat”, Victor.  You’re insulting all three of us here.

Victor:  …Three?


Victor: This is why she doesn’t come to you when you call her.

me: She doesn’t come because she’s a cat.  She fucking loves this.  She feels useful. For once.

Victor:  Did you actually need something or…?

me:  I did have one serious question.  Does this cat make me look fat?

Victor: Stop emailing me cat pictures.

me: “Said no one ever.” Hey, I need something.


me: AND I NEED SOME BANDAIDS. Like, a lot of bandaids. And some iodine.

Victor: I’m blocking this email address.

09 Jun 22:00

Jesus keeps on walking

by hballaman

When we’re honest, we all recognize that we don’t have all the answers. But it looks like many Christians have stopped asking the hard questions. It’s like their curiosity has died. They’ve found Jesus and that’s all they need. They’re like the Sunday school kid who answers every question with “Je-sus.” And they pride themselves in their certainty and feel smug about being unwavering.

Is life really that easy for them? Are they really that simple in their thinking? For some, maybe yes. But I wonder if, for the vast majority, this simplicity is more accurately a decoy for fear. They don’t want to ask the hard questions because they have a sinking feeling that their Christian worldview won’t hold up to the scrutiny.

The Bible says it, I believe it, that’s enough for me.

So you’re saying that the Church has gotten it wrong for 2000 years?

The Bible clearly says…

You’re moving the goal posts.

That’s a slippery slope you’re on there.

You’re rebelling against God.

All of these phrases are designed to shut down conversation. They are tried and true tactics that put you on the defensive and draw the battle lines in such a way to make it look like you’re picking a fight with… God. It’s you disagreeing with God, not you disagreeing with another person.

It kinda reminds me of a junior high fight. The kid with the bigger guy or the most people on their side will be so intimidating that the fight is over before it’s begun. I mean who wants to start throwing punches when they’re outnumbered?

People who use these phrases are trying to bully their way out of a fight, trying to make it look like it’s not a fair fight. They’re armoring themselves with a God-posse, and I think it’s because they don’t want to rely on their own arguments. They don’t want to stand on their own, and I reckon they’re afraid to stand alone, without the God-posse back up, because they haven’t asked the hard questions. And they haven’t asked the hard questions because they’re afraid of the answers. They don’t want to erode their certainty.

They’re essentially afraid of their whole theology crumbling.

It’s a scary thing to bear. If your theology crumbles, what do you have left to hold on to? Ah, but there’s the bottom of it. I think people are clinging to their theology when they should be clinging to Jesus. Grasping a theology is a much easier endeavor than holding a Hand.

Following Jesus is scary. You don’t know where he could walk. A theology is much more predictable, much more static, but Jesus keeps on walking. A theology is something you can master. It gives you a sense of control, a sense of superiority, a sense of accomplishment. Knowing your theology makes you smart and competent and intimidating.

You can memorize Bible verses and train your brain to travel the same paths of purity and righteousness. You cannot memorize or train Jesus. He keeps on walking. You can hide the Bible in your heart and carry it with you in a backpack. You can take it out and put it away when you decide. God in a book is manageable. But Jesus keeps on walking. A God living outside the covers of the Bible who can show up unannounced, anywhere, anytime is unnerving. A God we cannot explain, a God we cannot bound with leather and ink, a God we cannot prove or defend or … control, that’s a little too much to handle. But that’s the point. We cannot handle Jesus. We can only follow him, and Jesus keeps walking.

We want to make theology static and make our beliefs stand firm.

Jesus keeps on walking.

We want to do Christianity by the Book and decide who’s in and who’s out of our camp.

Jesus keeps on walking.

We want to take stances and build fences and become watchmen and gatekeepers for God.

Jesus keeps on walking.

We want to stand on the foundation of 2000 years of Church teaching. We want to insist that the Bible is inerrant and our faith immovable.

Jesus keeps on walking.

Following Jesus means we must be light and nimble. We cannot carry a bunch of luggage or provisions. U-hauls full of theological furniture don’t cut it when you’re living in a tent. Storage units of positions and stances seem silly when you’re constantly on the move. Following Jesus means the life of a nomad. His yoke is easy and his burden is light for a reason. We don’t have time for the heavy load, because Jesus keeps on walking. It might be nice to get comfortable in our theological houses. It might feel safe and more secure to settle into our well-built statements of faith. It might seem prudent to pour a sturdy foundation and built our lives around it. But Jesus keeps on walking.

This nomadic life is not necessarily about where you live. It’s about how you live. It’s not what you believe; it’s how you believe. We must be spiritual nomads, willing to move and adapt our understanding of God. The key is staying close to Jesus. The journey will be erratic and sometimes irrational, to the point that all you can do is keep your eye on the Jesus.

The movement and adaptation is not an indicator of apostasy. Leaving some teaching behind is not leaving God. Changing beliefs does not mean severing a relationship. This idea that we must remain cemented in our belief system because God doesn’t change, it’s bad logic and bad theology. God is unchangeable, but he’s also infinite. That means he remains unchanged even when our understanding of him changes. God is infinite, which means he is far too big to be seen sufficiently from one vantage point.

We’re not moving the goal posts; we’re changing our seat in the stands.

So, yes, following Jesus is scary. But clinging to a theology is scarier. One has a foundation that will eventually crumble. The other has legs.