Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Positive" Updates and the Nature of One's Heart


Okay, rant time. It is always curious to see what people post as their FB statuses or Twitter updates. I believe it reveals the nature of their heart. Most of the time, status updates are pretty innocuous; they are descriptive and personal, informative, and/or just sort of random or silly. Other times, I see that they are a means to raise awareness for causes (awesome), or a way to encourage others (also awesome).

But sometimes, I feel that people use their updates as a means of self-promotion, or a way to "puff themselves up." I find certain types of updates, even though they are phrased with excited exclamation marks and written in positive tones, to be boastful. Every keystroke, every word, is meant to tell the reader how awesome the writer's life is, and how awesome and skilled the writer is. It feigns humility, but in fact reveals a heart that is arrogant and self-centered.

The Bible teaches that, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord" (1Cor.1:31). Though I've searched for any reference to Him in these updates, few (if any) have been found. If these status writers are Jesus-followers like they confess to be, then it should be evident that any blessing, any gift, any good thing comes from God. To fail to acknowledge this suggests that either the writers do not want to give Him credit, or the writers don't think He deserves credit. Either way, their words point to them and not to their Creator, and that really reveals the nature of their heart condition.

Of course, I am not so presumptuous as to assume that even though these folks are on my FB, they will have read this post. However, in the off-chance that they do, my message is this:
check the intentions of your heart before you tweet or FB. Make your words count for eternal glory rather than your own earthly purposes.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Birds Droppings from Hell and the Antidote

The place where I work (a school) is but mere minutes away from a cute fishing village on the water, and also immediately beside a giant field. Translation: birds. Seagulls and other feathery fowl that like to lurk near the water or graze on the field or fly back and forth in an attempt to avoid winter cold - *those* birds - also like to fly overhead, above our crowded staff parking lot.

And birds, as you can guess, really like to defecate. They do not discriminate by make or model, colour or age; they just let their poop bombs fly and land as they may. Unsuspecting vehicles in our lot often fall victim to these sh*t bombs.

During the winter, the droppings usually stayed relatively moist, and could quickly and easily be removed with a wet wipe. However, now that it's spring, and we've been blessed with some very warm temperatures and hours of sunshine, a wet wipe will no longer suffice.

Such was the case the other afternoon, when I discovered (much to my great dismay) that my rear driver door had been tagged with a giant brown bird bomb. In my panic, I grabbed a wet wipe and started to wipe, only to find that as I was running the paper towel back and forth I was also scratching my paint.

I quickly ditched Plan A and opted for Plan B: Google it. This is when I learned that these nasty diseased birds like to chew on gravel to help them digest their food, resulting in waste products that are not only acidic and toxic to car paint, but also grainy like sandpaper when wiped across a painted surface. The droppings on *my* beautiful car were also baked on from the heat of the day, so there was no way that water alone would be able to do the job.

Thank God for Google and iPhones! As I frantically searched for an effective solution, I came across several sites that recommended I use salt-free seltzer (or club soda) to dissolve the nastiness. Immediately I raced over to a 7-Eleven and stocked up on two litres of the good stuff.

When I got home, I shook my first bottle furiously (to build pressure), then opened it enough for the carbonated beverage to come shooting out like a fire hose aimed directly at the poop. Immediately the bird poop turned white (from its brown colour) and began to fizzle. I then soaked a towel in club soda and let it rest on the spot to soften the poop further. After covering up the droppings for a few minutes, I was able to sufficiently "soften" the stool so that I could remove the bulk of it without further destroying my paint job.

Moral to the story: keep some club soda handy. Birds are merciless poop monsters, and you can't sue them for damaging your car's paint job.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Cookielicious The Easy Mrs. L Way

I am not a cook or a baker, and I don't pretend to be one. However, on occasion I feel just the teensiest bit of guilt about not using all of the lovely appliances, small appliances, and kitchen gadgets in my cupboards and drawers. So, every blue moon I drag out the ol' tools (actually, they're more like *new* tools) and I make a noble (or Nobel) attempt.

Today was such a day. In two weeks' of spring break, I hadn't lifted a finger to feed my Hubbs. I figured I should at least try, sort of. My thoughts drifted back to a time just mere weeks ago, when my boss shared her lemon cookies with me, and I was astounded by how delicious they were. When I asked her about her recipe, she told me just how easy it was to make these cookies using generic cake mix and a few other ingredients. I know she repeated it to me like three times, but for the life of me I couldn't recall what those "other" ingredients were.

So I turned to Google, did a bunch of research (more than anyone should justifiably do for the sake of cookies), combined several recipes, and ended up making some of the most delicious yellow cake mix cookies Hubbs has ever had. Not only did he lick the batter off the mixer, spatula, and bowl, but he also ate three cookies right after they cooled.

The ones I made ended up tasting like Snickerdoodle cookies, but I think you can use any flavour of cake mix and make cookies of all varieties. Here's the recipe:

1 box yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup softened butter
white sugar & cinnamon (to roll the cookie dough in)

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Mix the cake mix, eggs, and butter in a mixer on low. The batter is ready when it's all cookie dough. WARNING: It will stick to the mixer spokes, so get ready to scrape with your spatula!
3. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough into the cinnamon sugar mix and roll around, making a nice spherical ball.
4. Place on a non-stick cookie sheet (I used one pan with a silicon mat, and the other I sprayed with cooking spray) and flatten the ball out a bit to make it cookie-shaped.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown on the sides, or you lose patience. I baked the regular-sized ones for 8.5 minutes and the giant ones for 10.
6. Cool on the sheet for a minute or two and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool and harden.

Voila! Semi-soft, delicious cookies.

It was super easy to do, even for me (that's saying a lot). Enjoy! :)