February 27, 2013

be discerning.

Blogs are strange things. Throughout my year in blogdom I've been amazed at the vast variety of different blogs out there, ranging in categories from lifestyle to photography to fiercely depressing poetry. I tend to read blogs that lean more towards the faith and Christian life categories (although I do occasionally look at some craft blogs, but promptly get tired and feel sucky at crafts and go back to apologetics). I've found some very interesting and inspiring writers out in my internet travels... and also some pretty bad eggs.

Here's the thing about blogging -- just like facebook, twitter, and any other type of social media outlet, it's possible to make yourself appear exactly like you want to appear, and the majority of the time, your readers will believe exactly what you tell and show them.

As such, writers hold a very weighty amount of power in their keyboard-tapping fingers. Not only can they easily convince readers that their lives are exactly as they appear in the about me section, but their chosen post topics and opinions have a far-reaching influence over every person who comes across their site.

This isn't such a big deal when it comes to photography blogs. You took a great picture, please share it! Your life probably isn't as great as that macro photo of a Starbucks latte makes it seem, but this won't really change how I think about life or how this plays into my walk with Jesus.

It's a different story when it comes to blogs that focus on Christianity. It's easy to draw followers when you've got a slammin' blog template and some CSS savvy. You might even be really good at writing! But what drives me crazy -- and I mean drives me crazy -- is when you take your opinions and your fallacious hermeneutical arguments and you prooftext the God of justice right out of the Bible. I'm aware that I don't have theological training, but I can still tell that something has gone wrong when you turn the mighty and majestic God of the universe into a total sap who sings you Taylor Swift love songs while ignoring your blatant rejection of His Word. And there are hundreds of girls in the most influential stages of their Christian walk reading your blog and drinking all this in and just loving it.

The Bible makes very clear that one of the marks of a fruit-bearing Christian is discernment (see pretty much all of Proverbs). This characteristic is even more important and necessary in a world where opinions and information are available instantly. There have always been people manufacturing their own interpretations of scripture and God and the resurrection and who Jesus is -- the only difference is that the Sadducees didn't have access to Blogger. Twisted truths aren't anything new, so this post isn't directed at bloggers who are rightly exercising their freedom of speech (although I would recommend reading your Bible and getting some facts straight before posting -- don't be an accidental heretic!), but more towards their readers. 

When you read something that doesn't quite sit right with you, try and figure out why. Read your Bible. See what other people are saying on the subject. Don't allow your critical eye to be won over by moody alliteration and pretty photos and social fads. Be discerning.

"Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgement and discretion" (Proverbs 3:21).

February 25, 2013

extreme makeover - blogger edition!

No, my hair is not that fabulously wavy, nor is it a warm shade of maple blonde. I don't have a polka-dotted shirt, my eyes aren't nearly that blue, and the face? Doesn't resemble me a bit.

There have to be at least some perks to being right-brained, and if drawing freakishly attractive though completely inaccurate self-portraits is one of them, I'll take it. Let's face it -- we're called starving artists for a reason. Let us at least make ourselves feel better by allowing us to turn ourselves into supermodels.

Yup -- this blog got a good old-fashioned facelift on the weekend. I figured that since I'd stuck around internet-land this long (no one is more surprised than me), I could do my blog the honour of rebranding it. But don't get all excited -- I'll still be posting with the regular irregularity of the past year. The new banner certainly does not mean more posts. All it means is that I had a burst of creativity for a few hours yesterday and actually did something with it instead of thinking about it and then watching the birds outside and then folding laundry and then taking a nap.

Thanks for sticking with me! If you're lucky next time I might do something crazy and change the font. Or figure out how to make these dang posts stay centred. Bah.

February 22, 2013

just around the corner...

There may be a winter weather advisory warning out right now, but this came in the mail last week:

I'm aware there's still a month until Winter ends, but nothing says Spring more than flipping through the Lee Valley catalogue and salivating over garden tools. Can't quite pull out the ole spade yet though, so to compensate I drew some little peonies instead.

And some poetry for good measure:

Again rejoicing Nature sees
Her robe assume its vernal hues
Her leafy locks wave in the breeze
All freshly steep'd in morning dews...

- Robert Burns, Composed In Spring (1786)

February 20, 2013

the wedding pt 7: the music

Lots of people hire this for their wedding ceremony music:

We thought that looked pretty silly, so hired these ladies instead:

By far the better option. Thank you, beautifully crazy cousins. 

February 18, 2013

red velvet is weird.

I lost myself this Valentine's Day. I surrendered to a trend and now must pay the consequences. 

There's a great big red velvet cake sitting in my fridge and I don't want to eat it. Every time I open the door its thick crimson layers glow at me with red-dye radiation. It's weird. There's nothing wrong with it. It tastes fine (albeit a little boring). The icing is tasty (if not a tad drippy). The cake is just really, really, really red. 

I had always wanted to try my hand at a red velvet recipe. Not sure why. Red velvet just seems to be everywhere, dominating everything from bakery shelves to Pinterest boards, and I wanted to rise and meet the challenge! Look out, cake!

I'm all about reaching my goals. Big goals. 

Valentine's Day came around. Perfect, I think. I don't buy Wayne gifts. I make Wayne cakes. I'll make a red cake. This will be AMAZING. 

First of all, don't try to make a red velvet cake when you're in a klutzy state of mind (which for me is about 80% of the time. I am by no means a graceful swan, though my wingspan is rather impressive). Red velvet cake batter is, well, really red. And when it gets on something... that something will be red. You'll be happy to know that after some intense elbow grease my countertop is now only a pleasant pink colour!

I was excited to make this cake. It was going to look pretty and taste like Valentine's Day. Then the recipe told me to put a lot of red food colouring in. I did a double take. The recipe told me to put a lot of red food colouring in. I debated with myself, but ended up doing what the recipe commanded of me. My track record with changing ingredients around in recipes isn't so good. Recipes exist for a reason.

As soon as I put that horrendous amount of red dye in the batter, I thought, red velvet is weird. I don't think I'm going to like it very much. I stirred the dye into the rest of the batter. I looked in the bowl and saw my crimson reflection shimmering back at me in the blood-red batter. Something in my stomach fluttered. 

I thought, red velvet is gross. 

I baked the cake. I ate some of the cake. It tastes fine. It's moist and light and pretty. But it's red. Turns out I don't like it when things aren't the colour they're supposed to be. Cake is supposed to be white or yellow or brown. Ketchup is supposed to be red. Cake isn't.

I'm aware that it's a purely mental thing. Mind over matter. Suzanne's brain over red cake. Chances are, however, that red velvet will not be making an appearance in this kitchen again. But -- speaking of ketchup -- here's the 2013 version of Wayne's Valentine's Day card:

He loves ketchup on his mac n' cheese. Me... not so much (I'm not always this picky, I promise!). I also tried to compensate for the undesirable cake by making romantic shortbread cookies. Much tastier. They go nice with a cup o' chocolat chaud. And that's it for Valentine's Day, folks. Just another day of kitchen mishaps and cheesy greeting cards (HAH! Cheesy. Punmaster, right here).