The Tuesday Reblog

Here’s a post I resonate with, by an esteemed fellow student from The Seminary.


Today, in one of my classes, I was asked about whether going to Seminary could cause a person to lose their faith……….Interesting question……

When I first sensed what I now know as a “call to ministry”……I had no idea what was happening to me or why. All that I knew was that a job that I had been blissfully happy in for 22 years was no longer making me happy anymore. I was restless, frustrated and felt trapped. I was turning 40 and was looking at the next 30 years of my life wondering- Can I really sit on the floor singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round’ with gusto and enthusiasm for another 30 years????? Did I want to be a 60 year old preschool teacher? What did I REALLY want to do with the next 30 years of my life?

I knew I wanted to…

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The Tuesday Reblog

Tomorrow’s my birthday so I guess I can reblog myself today, right? Here’s a little tongue-in-cheek grumble I wrote back on the Old Blog:




Possibly, if you were not born in July, you have never noticed this phenomenon. But calendar-makers quite typically save all their worst photos or illustrations for that month. Perhaps they think everyone will be on vacation, will not give their wall-calendars so much as a glance, and will therefore not even notice their laziness.

But I notice. Am I the only person who opens a calendar directly to her birth-month page to see what is represented there? Quite often I am tempted to make my calendar-purchase decisions based on the picture staring at me out of July. Often, but not always. If it were always, I would never buy any calendars at all, because July calendar art is usually ugly, or boring, or tritely patriotic, or a bad guy. This year I bought a Beatrix Potter calendar on sale in mid-January, partly because it was on-sale in mid-January, and partly because even though the character respresented on the July page is a fox (one of the bad guys, though I do not recall from which story), it’s an engaging illustration. Sometimes you have to settle.

Roommate-Rachel, however, has saved the day. (Or the month.) She has a Lord of the Rings character-portrait calendar on which we write our weekly work-schedules, hanging in the kitchen. Staring mysteriously out at us from behind her glistening white hood is Galadriel in all her elvish glory. I have always like Galadriel. I’ve pretty much always liked elves, too. I fully endorse this calendar.

Except when I googled "lord of the rings calendar 2011," some of the calendar pictures came up, but not the Galadriel one. So here's the worst picture for THAT month. It was October. Sorry, October.

Except that when I googled “lord of the rings calendar 2011,” some of the calendar pictures came up, but not the Galadriel one. So here’s the worst picture for THAT calendar. It was October. Sorry, October.

Thanks, Deviantart.

Thanks, Deviantart.

Swedish Hard Tack Crackers

The Tuesday Reblog

I totally did not know you could make this stuff at home. Or that anyone I know could, at least. I’m a quarter Swedish and Now Church is probably more Swedish than that, but I’ve never seen anyone serve this stuff during the coffee hour there. That may well be, of course, that store-bought Swedish hard tack (knäckebröd) kind of tastes like . . . sandpaper? I don’t know. I’ve never eaten sandpaper.

Here’s the thing, though. I don’t know if you have to be Swedish to like knäckebröd the way you have to be English (or crazy) to like Marmite, but I love knackebrod. And this stuff looks way more delicious than that stuff in the supermarket. So I’m pretty stoked that Mrs. Swirls and Spice posted this recipe today. So stoked that I’m sharing it with you.

Swirls and Spice

Swedish Hard Tack

Not quite a cookie, and almost a cracker, hard tack is a traditional flat bread of the Scandanavian kitchen.  My grandmother served hers with butter and orange marmalade, which I always enjoyed.  These semi-crisp crackers also taste delicious with any good jam (including raspberry rhubarb I can attest), chutney, or cranberry salsa.

Hard Tack with Jam

I enjoy rolling the dough out with my children, since they can cut out shapes with cookie cutters if they wish.  Also, hard tack is low in sugar and easy to pack.  We enjoy snacking on these all day long!

Some Swedish cooks, like my mother, have a dedicated rolling pin that presses a unique waffle pattern into the flat dough.  In my kitchen we simply use a fork.  Either way, this recipe is authentic, passed down from my grandma to my mom to me.  I have lightly adapted it to include spelt flour and light brown sugar…

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Afraid to Love

The Tuesday Reblog

I usually find something with which to resonate in Helen Valentina’s poems. I guess I decided to reblog this one because it reminded me of my approach to romantic love for most of my adult life. Some of this approach may have developed from my fear of compromising principles I held dear and important, and in hindsight, I still think those principles are dear and important, but sometimes I wonder if there might have been a way to move beyond this fear and still keep them. Anyway. I present you Helen Valentina, The Readership.


I am afraid to love
This moment when it’s possible
I tremble on the precipice
And will not fall

I am afraid to care
Such sweetness does not mix with me
It has no place within my soul
It cannot call

I’m terrified of touch
To reach into the darkness here
I may find that I would disappear
I do not dare

Too petrified to kiss
I’ll let the moment pass unseen
Pretend I never noticed this
And do not care

© Helen Valentina 2013, All Rights Reserved

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A Newcomer’s Review On Halloween

The Tuesday Reblog

Conveniently this year, Halloween was on a THURSDAY, so I could’ve totally theologised about it here. Inconveniently, I didn’t have time to untangle the morass of Halloween-y, theological thoughts. (Well, inconveniently for me. It might be a relief to you, I suppose.) So here’s somebody else’s (far more entertaining) Halloween-related post. Enjoy.


I have survived my first real celebration of Halloween. I never knew this would be the most complicated holiday. You’ve got your political ‘Christ in Happy Holidays’ Christmas celebrations, a Thanksgiving rid of political correctness, probably because there’s too much to correct to stay thankful, Columbus Day, also known as ‘a Monday’, Independence Day (still on the bucket list, but seems pretty straight forward to me: America on steroids), and then those days like Easter that do come with decorations, but are celebrated on a Sunday and do not really count. Out of all these, Halloween is the most complicated by far. I will present the next three arguments and the accompanying questions: decorations, costumes, candy.


The gas station around the corner had an inflatable Dracula-in-coffin that kept creeping out. Cute. One of the places we went garage saling the other week had a fake cemetery in the yard, including…

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Tales and Stories–Shnodgrate and Napoleon

The Tuesday Reblog

The Professor over at the Punchy Lands is random and quirky and funny, and I especially liked this post today, as a woman who is learning to take herself less seriously and who has on occasion been told by perfect strangers (including the toll taker on the state highway over the weekend) to please smile because I look better that way.

The Punchy Lands!

“You see, Mr. Shnodgrate,” this professor was saying as he looked across the table at the grumpy V. Shnodgrate, “maybe you should try not to take things so seriously?”

Shnodgrate looked up. “Sometimes I wonder about you, P.VJ. If you don’t take anything seriously, how then can you possibly get on?”

“Get on with what?” I asked.

“With everything!” Shnodgrate said with a wave of his hands. “If you don’t take everything seriously, then everything won’t take you seriously.”

That got me.

Either Shnodgrate was being deep, or the professor was being dull.

“For instance,” he went on, “look at that face.” Shnodgrate shoved this picture in front of me.

Bald Eagle

“What can you tell from the eagle’s face?”

“Well…” I began unsurely. “Firstly, from his look, I suppose him a mean sort of chap–”

Shnodgrate let out a huff of disapproval and fell back into his seat.

“Something’s clearly wrong…

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Just Stand There In Your Deadness & Be Dead

The Tuesday Reblog

The WannabeSaint posted this approximately the day after we got the news that The Seminary was being shut down. It seemed appropriate, somehow.

Over at the Inquisitor there’s an interesting post on a man who isn’t dead being told he is dead and there’s not much he can do about it.


A judge told Mr. Miller, the not so deceased man, “I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned.”

Reading this I tried to get into the judge’s brain as he stares at an alive man and tells him “you’re not alive, at least not according to the law.”

Mr. Miller, his family and the judge are in an dilemma. They know he’s alive, they see he’s alive and yet according to some statute some person wrote up and had ratified he’s not. What’s Mr. Miller going to do? Not sure.

What about you? Ever had one of those times when you’re right and the other person’s wrong? Had an…

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revis and matticus save the kingdom chapter 3

The Tuesday Reblog

I’ve been waiting impatiently for approximately 24 hours to reblog this post! This is the chapter of Revis and Matticuspreviously mentioned, whimsical adventure story in which I, Jenn with 2 n’s, make a characteristically snarky appearance. For someone who doesn’t know me very well, I think Revis pretty well nailed it. You’ll have to search on your own for chapter 2 to see what led to this state of affairs.

The Matticus Kingdom

It didn’t take very long for Revis and Matticus to get back to the beach. It was the one place they knew how to get to. When they arrived, they were greeted by a smiling Goldfish. “Hello,” she said. “My name is Goldfish. Who are you two?”

Revis, who had been prepared to yell at the mermaid, was not ready for that response. He looked over at Matticus to confirm that he had heard it right, but the Jester merely shrugged. It was the exact same thing she said the first time she had met them. “I’m Revis. This is Matticus. We were just here two days ago.”

Shaking her head, Goldfish stated, “I think I would remember something like that.”

Insulted that they had questioned her, Goldfish dove underwater in a huff, leaving Revis perplexed on the beach. “You will have to forgive Goldfish,” came a voice from the…

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The Divine in Captain Jack Sparrow

Theology Thursday
Something happened to me on Tuesday which I thought I was going to blog about today, and then it turned out that maybe not all was as it seemed in that situation, so I haven't figured out how or even if to write about it. Then I remembered: Today is Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day! So in honour of pirates, I'm pirating my own post from my old blog. It was written during a decade where I kind of had some major issues with God, but I think I probably still agree with most of it.

You all think I’m going to talk about how much I like Johnny Depp, don’t you? Well I do. But I’m not. What I really mean is something like, “How Relating to Captain Jack Sparrow Might Be Like Relating to God.”



Such a proposition necessitates a lot of disclaimers, probably too many to enumerate here. But these are some of them:

  1. I don’t think Jack Sparrow (or Johnny Depp) is God.
  2. I don’t think God is a rather lascivious alcoholic pirate with multiple personalities. (I do believe He exists in multiple Persons: three, to be exact. But I digress.)
  3. I don’t think that any of the Pirates movies resemble allegory or analogy to Scriptural history in any point-by-point or intentional way. [2013 Note: I have not seen the fourth of these movies, so cannot speak to any parallels–or overturning of the parallels I mention here–in that one.]
  4. I mean no disrespect.

But hear me out. Here we have this enigmatic character who polarises people. He also polarises reactions within the same person. All of Jack Sparrow’s friends seem both to love him and to hate him. Not to mention that said friends seem to be on rather an unequal footing. He demands attention and respect, but we aren’t always sure he deserves it. Sometimes he seems absent. Sometimes he seems in control. Sometimes he seems to have completely lost it. Often, he seems crafty and clever. At least as often, he seems a complete buffoon.

I feel like this about God a lot. I think it might even be permissable to say that the Bible presents Him similarly on occasion. Of course He’s majestic and holy and just and wise and all those “omni-” things. He is. (I wouldn’t say the same of Jack Sparrow.) But He’s also presented as affected by our actions, emotional, ranting, and sometimes a little bit crazy. Who would come down here and sacrifice His life for us hopeless excuses for the Divine Image if he wasn’t somehow insane? Although foolishness is spoken against in the Bible, there’s also a holy foolishness (picked up on sometimes powerfully in literature) that it might be dangerous to forget about.

Here are some other interesting points of comparison. In movie number 2 (admittedly the worst of the bunch), Captain Jack does (albeit a little unwillingly) sacrifice his life for his comrades, having been betrayed by one of them . . . with a kiss. I find it hard to imagine that these parallels to Jesus’ experience were really intentional, just like I don’t think Jesus needed His disciples help to rise from the dead the way Sparrow needed his friends’ help to bring him back. Still, it does seem a detail worth noting.

Also, the major question underlying all three of the movies (besides, “Why is all the rum gone?”) seems to be “Can we trust him?”

Even as the audience, we never really know the answer to this question. (Usually the answer to the rum one is a lot clearer.) People are constantly surprised when an action apparently completely self-destructive ends up turning things around and saving the day. In a fictional (and not so fictional) world where every character seems to put his or her own interests first, none seems to do it more or better than Jack. But without him, none of them would have survived past the first half of the first movie, and if they had, their lives would likely have had both little adventure and little purpose. (Either way, there would only have been one movie. And few people would have bothered to see it.)

At one point in this last film [as of the writing of this post–1 June 2007], young William Turner (Orlando Bloom), whose own relationship with Sparrow has become strained, defends a strategy by telling the older pirate something like, “I tried to think like you would think. I thought, ‘How would Jack do it?’ I thought this was what you would do.” (What Would Jesus Do, anyone?) Sparrow mocks him lightly and then casts the poor boy, one might say, adrift. By doing so, however, he sets in motion a chain of events which saves the entire Pirate Brotherhood.

We, along with the rest of the characters, wonder if Sparrow really knows what’s going to happen? “Does,” as one of his opponents asks, “he plan it all out or just make it up as he goes along?” Is he just lucky? How does he know everybody so well? How does he turn even their antipathy towards him into something redemptive? Does he really care about everybody as much as he says he . . . doesn’t?

BRITISH SCI-FI TUESDAY – September 17, 2013.

The Tuesday Reblog

So many good posts to reblog . . . and then I saw that it is, apparently (?) BRITISH SCI-FI TUESDAY at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester (not in Britain), where I did a reading of Trees back in January. So . . . I couldn’t resist. Because everybody needs a Desktop Patrol Dalek. Trust me.

Annie's Book Stop of Worcester

desktoppatroldalek_blue1Our latest shipment from Underground Toys included the following:

* The Desktop Patrol Dalek, in blue…. Simply turn on the Dalek and place it on your desktop (or other flat surface).   This toy has built-in sensors that detect the ground in front of it, and will turn away from the edge of the desk or any object! At each and every turn, the Dalek says “Exterminate”!  Lots of fun for home and office, and a great gift idea for the holidays!

* From the 4th Doctor story “The Pyramids of Mars”: The Priory Set, with robot mummies, canopic jars, Professor Scarman and Sutekh’s sarcophagus!


* From the 11th Doctor story “Victory of the Daleks”: The Dalek Paradigm Set!  This assortment of five brightly-colored Daleks had been out of stock for some time, and we’re pleased to have them back on our shelves.


We will be carrying more of the DOCTOR WHO “new Who seasons” boxed sets…

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