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Christians: You’re Doing Politics Wrong

August 27, 2020

Warning: This post is about politics and Christianity. No, I haven’t been hacked. This is a rare foray into the arena for me, and it will likely be a one-and-done. My audience is fellow Christians but maybe others would care about my thoughts here; maybe not. You won’t hurt my feelings if you scroll by, but if you do read, I hope you’ll take what I’m saying to heart.

(Spoiler alert: It’s not really about politics.)

First, I’ll get the Christianese out of the way. We all know it, we all know its importance, we could all cite the verses by heart. But sometimes familiarity can cause carelessness.

So.

Salt and light.
Cities on hills.
They will know us by our love.
Love your enemies.
Pray for those who persecute you.
Love your neighbor.
Who’s your neighbor?
EVERYONE.

 

I love humor. I love to laugh. My husband and I spend our days trying to come up with new puns, cleverness, silly song lyrics, whatever we can to make each other giggle. A lot of memes that go around Facebook are pretty damn funny.  I follow a couple of pages that are nothing but funny memes.  2020 has brought a plethora of them.  (I’m particularly fond of the guy at the whiteboard calling out the 2020 Disaster Bingo cards every time a new piece of breaking news comes across the CNN chyron.)

whoHadMeme2020

I have political opinions too.  Most people don’t know what they are.  I don’t feel a compunction to explain my political views to anyone, I don’t need validation of them, and I’m old enough to still believe they aren’t really anyone else’s business anyway.

What I’m saying is, I’m not anti-humor, anti-meme, or even anti-politics.

But.

My fellow Christians, please ask yourself:  What’s a joke worth?

Is it worth damaging how you demonstrate Christ to the world for a laugh amongst the like-minded, but at the expense of the not-so-much-on-the-same-page?

Is it worth looking like hate in a Jesus-jacket?

If you laugh at and mock and disparage something really important to people who think/vote/care differently than you do, are you being “all things to all people so some may be saved?”

What’s a joke worth? 

Newsflash: The world sees us as big freaking hypocrites already. Do we need to give them proof of it?

I’m not speaking to one side of the fence or the other. This message is for anyone who professes to be a follower of Jesus. Your political affiliation doesn’t matter. The rules don’t change depending on which political party you align with. (See above regarding who your neighbors are.)

Words matter. For proof of this, look at all the words in scripture that make up the essence and reason for our faith. Words MATTER. When you see something that makes you bristle, you have proof that words matter. They mattered to you. They maybe caused you to lash out and post an “opposing” meme so that your words could make someone else bristle. WORDS MATTER.

More Christianese:

 

Be in the world, not of it.

Turn the other cheek.
Blest are you when others revile you.

Did you catch that last one? Every time someone hates on you for your faith and convictions YOU ARE BLESSED. You’re going to give that up?? For a cheap shot back?

What’s a joke worth?

It breaks my heart – I’m not being hyperbolic, it really is disheartening – to see fellow followers of Jesus put so much stock in and value on being right about politics.  Like being right, and proving that you’re right, and yelling to the world about all of the myriad ways in which you are right, is the most important thing that this world needs today.

You know what it means to win an argument? It means someone else lost. If you make someone feel small, or unheard, or demeaned, or dismissed, or judged, but you win – is that worth it?

Who’s your neighbor?

Can’t you be right without all that? Can’t you be right, and proclaim the gospel (which is GOOD NEWS but so rarely presented as such) and love people and treat them decently and turn the other cheek and put away pride and BE the message to the world?

Doesn’t the world need more of that these days?

What’s a joke worth?

If you agree with any part of what I’m saying, I’m probably saying this for your benefit.  If you disagree with what I’m saying, I’m probably thinking of you when I type this.  If you’re the one typing this, I’m most definitely talking to you, specifically.

(Spoiler alert:  You’re not the one typing this.)

Discuss politics.  Share funny memes.  Have opinions!  And by all means VOTE your convictions.  Don’t let anyone dissuade you from doing all of those things.

But take a beat.  Ask yourself, “Is this joke worth it?”  Does it include derogatory terms that, if they were directed at you, would hurt?

Here are some examples.  Could you imagine Jesus saying any of this to someone?

“-tard”
“nut job”
“hack”
“idiot”
“zealot”
“-wing”
“wacko”
“blowhard”
“bigot”
“commie”
“crony”
“scum”
“radical”
“moron”
“troll”
“loon”
“lemming”
“hippie”
“crazy”
“ideologue”
“misogynist”
“entitled”
“elitist”
“echo chamber”
“snowflake”
“spin”
“birther”
“deplorable”
“fascist”
“communist”
“socialist”

Because I’ve heard Christians on both sides of the political spectrum use all of these terms, and worse.  And I can’t imagine hearing Jesus say any of them.

Even More Christianese, But I’m Almost Done:

 

 

Rebuke gently, with love.
Take the beam out of your own eye.
Pray for everyone.

Here is one of my favorite verses of scripture.

“I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”  (Matt 5:22)

And another:

Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” (2 Tim 2:23-25)

Meditate on that.

And ask yourself:  “What’s a joke worth?”

 

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Gmail Label Notifications Using Tasker for Android

May 31, 2018

With the recent Oreo operating system upgrade for Android, Gmail has removed the functionality that allowed custom notifications to be assigned by label for income emails.  For example, if you received an email from your boss, you could set up a filter in Gmail that would assign a label to those emails, and then using that label you could have your phone play a custom Notification sound alerting you to the fact that an email from your boss had been received.  It was a very useful feature and it’s hard to understand why Google removed it.

However, using Tasker for Android, and a Tasker Plug-in called Notification Listener, this functionality can be restored.  Here’s how.

Requirements:

First, you’ll need a Gmail account with custom label settings.  If you are missing this functionality from an earlier version of Android’s OS, you probably already have label notifications set.  If not, go into your Gmail settings, choose your account, Manage Labels, and choose the label you want a custom notification for.  Make sure you sync this label or this process will not work.  Check the boxes for Label notifications and Notify for every message.

An example using my custom label settings for a label called Google Calendar:

Gmail Settings

Next, you’ll need to download the Tasker app from the Google Play store.  This app seems complicated if you are unfamiliar with its features.  It is very powerful, so you may want to look through tutorials to figure out all its uses.  For the purpose of this tutorial, you want to make sure Tasker has Permissions to just about everything it asks for – in particular, Device Admin permission.

You’ll also need a Tasker plug-in called Notification Listener.  This is what will “listen” for an incoming Gmail label notification and allow you to set a custom sound to alert you.

Both Tasker and Notification Listener come with nominal fees.  I believe I paid less than $5.00 altogether, which was worth it to have this feature restored.

 

Using Tasker to Set Up a Profile

Once Tasker and Notification Listener are installed and permissions are set, you are ready to begin setting up a Profile in Tasker to handle the Gmail Label notifications.  Tasker uses Profiles to watch for something to do, and Tasks to do that something.  We’ll take them in order, beginning with Profiles.

 

1.  Open Tasker.  If you have no Profiles created yet, this screen will be blank.  This screenshot shows the various Profiles I am using.  Click the Plus Sign on the bottom right of the screen to start a new Profile.  Don’t worry about naming it – you can do that later.

01-Profiles

 

2. Choose Event as the type of Profile you are creating.

 

02-Event

 

3. Choose Plugin as the Event Category.

 

03-EventCategory

 

4.  Choose Notification Listener as the Event Plugin.  After you choose it, it may bring up a sub-category that also says Notification Listener – if so, choose the top one.

 

04-EventPlugin

 

5. At the Configuration page, choose the pencil icon to enter Configuration of the Profile.

 

05-Configuration

 

6.  In the Configuration Page, use the App Selector (rows of 9 dots next to Apps) to select GmailMAKE SURE TO CLICK THE CHECKMARK TO SAVE YOUR ENTRY.  Alternately, you can enter com.google.android.gm in the Apps line.

When finished, tap the checkmark at the top of the screen to save your changes.  

 

06-chooseGmail

 

7.  You will then be brought back to the Configuration screen which is now populated with variables pertaining to the app (Gmail) that you chose during the Configuration process.  You can largely ignore all of that.  The important thing is to now Click the Back Arrow at the top of the page (next to Event Edit) to exit the Profile Configuration.

 

07-exitConfig

 

Using Tasker to Set Up a Task

 

1.  As soon as you hit the Back Arrow in the last step, Tasker should have brought up a screen for you to begin setting up your Task.  Click New Task (+) to begin configuring a new task.  Name the task in the window that pops up if you wish, and click the checkmark to save.

 

08-NewTask

 

2.  Next, click the Plus Sign to add an Action.  Select Media as the Action Category.

 

09-ActionCategory

 

3.  Choose Play Ringtone under Select Media Action.

 

10-playRingtone

 

4.  You are now at the Action Configuration Screen.  First, since you want the alert played on an incoming email to be a Notification, you need to Change the Type of media played from Alarm (the default) to Notification, or Ringtone if you’d prefer, using the drop-down arrow.

Next, assign a Sound to be played.  The easiest way to do this is to use the Search button (magnifying glass) to locate the sound you want to use on your device.  It will populate in the line under Sound.

Finally, you have to tell the Action which label to listen for.  You do this with the IF command in the configuration screen.

Tap the Plus Sign next to IF.

The variable to enter is %nlsubtext ~ [Label name] where [Label name] is the name of your label WITHOUT the brackets.  NOTE: The Label Name must match your Gmail Label in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc.

Here is a screenshot of a completed configuration page using my label called Google Calendar.

 

11-actionEdit

 

5.  You’re almost done!  Hit the Back Arrow at the top of the screen next to Action Edit, then hit the Back Arrow at the top of the screen next to Task Edit, to return to the Profile page.  You should now have a working Profile and associated Action to handle your incoming label notifications in Gmail.

If you want to name your Profile or Task, long-press the Profile in the Profiles tab, or the Task in the Tasks tab, and then Press the A at the top of the screen to enter a name in the field provided.

 

12-Rename

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Crock Pot BBQ Pork Roast

January 11, 2017

This has become one of our favorites, so I figured it was time to record it as a keeper.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pork roast (I use tenderloin, about 3 lbs)
  • 1 cup Southern Comfort
  • 1 jar sweet honey barbecue sauce
  • 3 strips (uncooked) thick cut maple bacon
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 jar apple butter
  • 2 pouches Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice (I use long grain and wild or brown)
  • salt, pepper, garlic to taste

Put pork roast in large ziploc baggie (I use meat tenderizer on it, both sides)

Add Southern Comfort and barbecue sauce

Zip bag (I double bag) and shake well so entire roast is covered.  Marinate in refrigerator overnight.

Put roast in crock pot with marinade.  Season with salt, pepper, garlic to taste.  Lay strips of maple bacon across the top of the roast.  Add chopped onions.

Cover roast with apple butter.  Use a spatula to spoon marinade from bottom of pot into the apple butter covering the roast until well mixed and covered.

Cover pot and cook on low all day, at least 6 hours (I cook 8 – 10 hours).

Option 1:  30 minutes before serving, shred pork in crock pot.  Add pouches of rice and stir in until well mixed.  Let cook the last 30 minutes so rice thickens.

Option 2:  If you want more liquid, cook rice separately (90 seconds in microwave) and plate.  Put pork on top and pour sauce over everything.

Makes 6 servings.

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Crock Pot Sesame Chicken

February 23, 2015

At my husband’s request (haven’t tried it yet though)…

1 1/2 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried onion
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tablespoons water
Sesame seeds

Put chicken into crock pot. Combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, and garlic. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in 3 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and return to crock pot – can leave chicken in and simmer on low or serve. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice.

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Easy Chicken Pot Pie

December 17, 2014

This is a modification of Betty Crocker’s Chicken Pot Pie recipe found here:

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/easy-chicken-pot-pie/df0d82fa-a1de-4bc6-8952-a4a2533baf75

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

1 cup frozen peas and carrots

2/3 cup frozen cut green beans

1 cup cut-up cooked chicken (I bought a cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and used about 1/3 of it)

1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup

1 can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup

1 can Pillsbury crescent rolls

Directions

1 Heat oven to 350ºF. Mix vegetables, chicken and soup in ungreased glass pie plate, 9×1 1/4 inches.
2 Separate crescent rolls and lay flat over the top of the mix to form the top crust of the pie
3 Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

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Jamie Oliver’s Roast Turkey Recipe

November 27, 2014

I was looking for this recipe earlier today and finally found it.  We made it about ten years ago and it came out wonderfully.  Just logging it here so I don’t have to go searching for it again next time I want it.

Roast Turkey
Serves 6 to 8

The big problem with cooking turkey is that the legs take longer to cook than the breasts. This means the breasts dry out in the oven waiting for the legs to catch up. In this recipe, I push sage and apricot stuffing up under the turkey breast skin, increasing the thickness of the breasts so they take the same time to cook as the legs. The result? Juicy turkey all round!

Some people brine the turkey, some people don’t. Personally, I like to rub the turkey with table salt inside and out and put it in a clean plastic bag and refrigerate it overnight (12 to 24 hours). This removes all the excess moisture and allows it to cook beautifully.

12 small fresh rosemary sprigs, plus few extra
At least 8 cloves of garlic, 2 peeled
6 strips pancetta (smoked bacon)
9- to 10-pound organic free-range turkey
4 shallots, roughly chopped
2 carrots
1 big orange
Olive oil
1 teaspoon flour
1 quart or vegetable stock, for the gravy
A little white wine or sherry (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. To prep the turkey, rub it with salt inside and out 12 to 24 hours before cooking; table salt is fine. Store the salted turkey in a plastic bag and refrigerate. When ready to cook, rinse or wipe off excess salt. Pat it dry with paper towels and place on a board.  Make a bed of roughly chopped shallots, 6 unpeeled garlic cloves, and carrots in your roasting pan to act as a rack.

Slice the strips of pancetta in half and slice the peeled garlic into thin slivers. Place a rosemary sprig and a garlic sliver on one end of a strip of pancetta and roll it up tightly. Repeat with the other pieces of pancetta until you have 12 little rolls.

Stab the thighs and drumsticks of the turkey in 6 places on each side. Push your finger into each slit to create a gap. Place each pancetta roll into the holes until it just peeps out. Find the edge of the skin at the turkey neck and with a rubber spatula or large spoon separate the skin from breast meat so that you can put the stuffing under the skin of the turkey breast. If you’re careful you should be able to separate all the skin from the meat, keeping it attached at the sides but without ripping any holes in it.

From the neck end of the turkey, spoon the stuffing up between the skin and the breast, tucking the flap of skin underneath to stop any leaking out during cooking. Microwave the orange for 30 to 60 seconds to get it nice and hot. Poke a hole in the hot orange and stuff it into the turkey cavity. You can also add some rosemary to the cavity.

Place the bird in roasting pan filled with the vegetables, season well with salt and pepper, and rub olive oil all over. Weigh the stuffed bird, cover with foil, and roast for 18 minutes per pound, or until the juices run clear from the thigh if pierced with a knife or a skewer. Remove foil for the last 45 minutes to brown the bird.

Remove the turkey and rest on a board for 20 minutes.

Remove most of the fat from the roasting pan. Mash the roast vegetables right in the pan with a potato masher. Add the flour, sherry and stock and bring to a boil on a high heat. When the gravy thickens, strain into a bowl. Serve the turkey with the gravy.

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Crock Pot Sesame Chicken

August 26, 2013

1 1/2 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts 
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried onion
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tablespoons water
Sesame seeds

Put chicken into crock pot.

Combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, and garlic.

Pour over chicken.

Cook on low for 3-4 hours, or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce.

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in 3 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot.  Stir to combine with sauce.

Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces and return to crock pot – can leave chicken in and simmer on low or serve.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice.

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Not Yo Mama’s Banana Pudding

August 26, 2013

Haven’t tried it yet, but we love banana pudding in this house.

Recipe from Paula Deen

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Cookies OR 2 bags Vanilla Wafers
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5 oz.) box French Vanilla pudding
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz.) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream

Directions
Line the bottom of a 13×9 inch inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.
In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer.
Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth.
Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.
Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.
Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies.
Refrigerate until ready to serve!

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Apple-Bacon Monkeybread!

August 4, 2013

Apple-Bacon Monkeybread!.

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Chicken with Veggies and Rice (Crock Pot)

July 22, 2013

This is a really simple crock pot recipe that you can throw together with almost anything you have available, and it’s very tasty.

Ingredients

  • 5 – 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I use frozen from Costco)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic to taste
  • Rosemary, Mrs. Dash to taste
  • Meat tenderizer (if not defrosting chicken before use)
  • 1 can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic soup
  • 1/2 sweet raw onion
  • 1 bag frozen peas with pearl onions (or whatever veggies on hand)
  • 1 pouch Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice

Directions

Put chicken in crock pot (frozen or unfrozen)
Season thoroughly with salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, other seasonings
Rub minced garlic onto chicken
Cover with condensed soup
Cover with raw sweet onion
Cover with frozen veggies
Cover crock pot and cook on low heat 8-10 hours

30 minutes prior to serving

Break up chicken, stir well
Put rice into mixture
Cover and cook for remaining cook time or until rice has expanded and thickened the mixture

Serves 4