Curiosity Journal: April 4, 2012

Each Wednesday (or thereabouts) I’ve been recording a Curiosity Journal to recap the previous week using these tag words: reading, playing, learning, reacting and writing.

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Reading

For months I’ve thought about getting a Kindle. At first, it seemed like a superfluous gadget, especially when I have more books in my house than I could read in a lifetime.But the technology intrigued. I was curious. Would it be a good fit for me?Then friends started to get them one way or another. Laura Boggess won one in a giveaway. My daughter requested a Kindle Touch for her birthday. Then Marcus Goodyear and Charity got a Kindle Fire, and by then I was teetering on the brink of asking one for my birthday. But I didn’t. And I got a pancake griddle instead.After that, I sort of forgot about the Kindle and made pancakes instead. Then I read the post this week from Jeff Goins about his new Kindle Touch. I don’t know why his post tapped me over the edge, but suddenly I realized I wanted to use a birthday gift card toward a Kindle Touch.So I rode my bike to Target and bought one. A Kindle Touch. Just like that.You know what?This gadget looks like it’ll be a lifelong learner’s lifeline. An autodidact’s dream date. A bookworm’s steady diet.I’d already been collecting free e-books and using a Kindle app on my phone, so I was able to begin reading several books I’d been storing for just such an occasion. I picked up where I left off reading Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey and launched Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan.Thank you to those who have purchased books through Amazon affiliate links (like the three above, including one for the Kindle Touch). I don’t make a bundle, but every once in a while Amazon sends a modest gift card I can apply toward a purchase.It’s enough to buy an e-book now and then.Little did you know…you feed me.

Learning

Today, following a detailed tutorial, I figured out how to put some new  social media “follow me” type icons in my sidebar (see vintage square images on right column for twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Google+ and LinkedIn). I grabbed those particular samples because the tutorial featured them. Now that they are live, I see they don’t really match the look of my site, but that’s okay. Now I know how to swap them out for others.Update at noon: I swapped out the vintage icons for some that seem cleaner and more compatible with my design theme. So happy.

Playing

As I mentioned on Monday, we’re spending Spring Break at home.That same day, I decided to try to recreate right here in our Northern state some of the Southern eats I enjoy when we road trip to Florida.Fried okra. Shrimp. Sweet tea. Cole slaw. Hush puppies.I found a bag of fried okra in the frozen food section of Wal-mart along with a box of coconut shrimp not unlike some I’ve had as an appetizer at Scampy’s in Panama City several years ago. I picked up some sweet tea from a fast food restaurant, since I can never seem to brew it right myself.Then I faced the challenge of hush puppies.No frozen hush puppies at Wal-mart.My husband phoned from Kroger. No frozen hush puppies there, either.”It’s because we’re Northerners!” I wailed.Then I thought maybe I was wrong. Maybe I wouldn’t find frozen hush puppies at a Southern grocery store, either, because no self-respecting Southern cook would reheat prefab frozen hush puppies. No way. In the South, I’ll bet all hush puppies are always from scratch.But I’m not Southern. And I’ve never deep fried food in my life. I was counting on finding them frozen so I could stick everything in the oven and just minutes later be eating beach diner food for lunch. But the hush puppies. I had to have hush puppies.So I grabbed a bottle of Crisco oil and a bag of Martha White hush puppy mix and headed home.Because we’re in vacation mode, I had all the time in the world. I mixed up hush puppies according to package instructions and heated the oil. I dropped blobs of batter by the teaspoonful into the pot.It took a while, plunking them in, watching them sizzle, plucking them out, draining them. But I persisted.Finally.I know you’re relieved to know, I had fried okra and hush puppies for lunch.(Watch for photos on Friday.)

Writing

In addition to personal writing, I’ve got some side gigs going. We’ll see how they unfold.

Reacting

This has not been the most focused or contemplative Holy Week I’ve ever experienced. As you can see, I’m at risk of playing around with hush puppies more than pondering the Passion.Mark D. Roberts’ Daily Reflections have helped. And there are those faithfully journeying to the cross throughout Lent, like Diana and Milton, John and Kimberlee, and Megan. It is good to go together, to walk beside each other, making observations and telling stories, pointing the way, helping one another see from a slightly different angle the beauty that is found in the suffering that leads to the life that is ours.This week I’m trying to do more than fry up a batch of hush puppies. I am trying, in fact, to be hushed. Vacation week distracts, but so does everyday life. In the midst of it, I’m trying to listen, to learn, to be still.With whom are you traveling this Holy Week? In the comments, would you share links to fellow pilgrims?

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All images by Ann Kroeker. All rights reserved. You may “pin” in a way that links back to this post.Disclaimer: Some affiliate links included in this post.

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  • Comments

    1. In case it makes you feel better, I’ve lived in Texas my whole life and never learned to fry a darn thing. Hope your hush puppies turned out delicious! I used to eat them in Corpus Christi at some seafood restaurant we would visit once a summer.

      • annkroeker says:

        Is Texas food fried quite a bit? I think of the southeast, like Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas as places to eat that kind of stuff…wasn’t sure about the southwest. Especially when you have all that yummy Tex-mex and Mexican food!

        The hush puppies were good (not great). I have more confidence now that I’ve played around to try other recipes. I wouldn’t make it too often, though, for health reasons. All that grease!

    2. Thank you, Ann, for the mention today. And I sincerely hope your week has been refreshing and satisfying, hush puppie experiment or not! Holy Week and Easter blessings to you!

      • annkroeker says:

        You have faithful walked the Lenten journey all these weeks. Here we are leading up to the big weekend…I’m glad to have you modeling it and sharing it.

    3. Just came here from Laura Boggess’ place, still mulling her thoughts about Judas and Mary washing Jesus’ feet. She’s been going deep this week, and taking me with her.

      I love my Kindle. I have a houseful of books, but I’m at a point in my life when I want to declutter and get rid of stuff. I’m feeling free to give books away and just keep the ones that I feel an emotional attachment to. Also, I love that I can use large font on the Kindle when I’m on the elliptical machine–cause it’s hard to exercise while wearing reading glasses!

      Blessings to you for a beautiful Easter, Ann.

      • annkroeker says:

        Oh, golly, I have got to get over to the Wellspring! Thanks for the tip, Nancy. And I’m glad to hear from another Kindle user. I am keeping physical books that are a) hard to get ahold of, b) expensive to replace, and/or c) meaningful. That’s pretty broad. I’ll probably get rid of some homeschool materials as my last child grows out of that grade and subject matter. And I’ll get rid of popular reading. I have a box of vacation books–books that I can throw into a bag and take on vacation, and when I’m done, I can leave it behind in a public place for someone else to enjoy (book crossing style). Sometimes I think I’ll leave it behind and get attached to it, hauling it all the way back home. :)

        This morning I picked up my Kindle and read my daily one-year Bible passage, then read a bit in the Chan book, then he recommended meditating on John 14-16, so I pulled up the Bible again and read those. It was all right there at my fingertips.

    4. You may not yet know this, but you can send Word docs to your Kindle. I have only had two speaking opportunities in the past few months, but for both I had my notes on my Kindle. May not look as “cool” as an iPad for speaking, but dang if it doesn’t work! And I feel much “greener” for not having printed my notes out. (The flip side is I can’t make last minute changes on the paper…)

      • annkroeker says:

        Great tip, Pattie! Even if at first I just use it as back-up in case I misplace the paper notes…and then I can eventually wean myself from paper (but I do make last-minute scribbles…).

    5. Who am I traveling with this Holy Week? Pretty much just with the Lord and family…so little time to be on the computer. This is a rare treat. Checking out the Wellspring, though, cause Laura’s always so thought-provoking. Wish I could remember to get over here more often. I love the Curiosity Journal! Have a blessed Easter!

      • annkroeker says:

        Well, Laura, you certainly don’t *need* anyone else this week! The Lord is all you need, really. Family is wonderful. I have found that I need reminders, you know? From people who are doing a better job staying focused. They are helping me.

    6. I admit, I am distracted and distant this Holy Week. But Deidra and I just made a plan to go to Good Friday service together — we both need to intentionally seek Jesus we decided. So that should help.

      I loved Francis Chan’s book “Forgotten God” — you’ll have to tell me what you thought about it when you are done.

      • annkroeker says:

        Sounds lovely, going to Good Friday service with a good friend. And I am about halfway through Forgotten God. More later.

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