Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Monday, March 30, 2009


"It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before." —Jane Austen

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Don't worry, you'll be hearing more.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Humor

Courtesy of "Stuff Christians Like."

Not Knowing Which Meals to Pray Before

You don't have to pray before you eat something that has nougat in it.

A lot of people don't know that but if you look deep enough into the Old Testament you'll find the Hebrew word for nougat which is "chonoug." A lot of seminaries aren't teaching that, which is a shame, a dang shame.

I'm kidding of course, but these are the kinds of conversations I have with my friends. Especially when it comes to praying before meals. That's such a murky subject which is why I've created the "Stuff Christians Like Guide to Food Prayers." Print it out and put it in your purse or wallet for the next time you have a question about proper food prayers.

SCL Guide to Food Prayers:

1. The Stand Up Rule
If you have to stand up while eating, you don't have to pray. Regardless of what you are eating, standing up makes the food feel very light and insignificant. It's impossible to cut anything while standing too. You end up just spearing chunks of fruit or meat awkwardly while trying to keep the plate from tipping over onto the carpet, further upsetting the hosts whose dog you just made urinate on the couch because you got it too excited at the Christmas Eve party. That just got personal, but trust me, no prayer required here. Use this easy rhyme to remember: "if you can't sit, prayer forget it, if you have to stand, God understands."

2. Wedding food
This rule actually works for any big event where one person prays for the whole room. Listen carefully to that person's prayer. If it's good, dig in. If it's a little weak, you better double up and pray for yourself just to be sure. No offense to the other person, but it's better safe than sorry. Plus, it makes you look extra holy which is never a bad thing if you're single and trying to meet a bridesmaid.

3. Drive in
This actually depends on which fast food restaurant you go to. If you go to Chick-fil-A or In-n-Out you probably don't have to pray because those are Christian restaurants and the holiness is applied like barbecue sauce to the food items. You're covered. Taco Bell, Burger King and other restaurants are questionable. At the bare minimum, turn your back in the car while they use that bean and guacamole gun at Taco Bell and say a prayer. Chances are you'll need it. (By the way, if you're partaking in Taco Bell's "Fourth Meal" or the food they feed you between dinner and breakfast, you better pray. Lots. You've just introduced a grilled, toasted, roasted, 17 layer, bean bandalero to your stomach at 2 in the morning.)

4. Progressive Dinner
A progressive dinner is where you travel with people from house to house having one course at each. The question is, where and when do you pray? Is it before the first house or at each house? Good question. I pray at the beginning and then at each house that serves something that might need a little God. When I used to be a bag boy at a grocery store we called it "spot mopping." You didn't mop the whole floor, just the few areas that needed it. Same thing applies here. If one house has a fresh mandarin spinach salad, hold the prayer. If the next one has some sort of homemade sausage that may or may not be squirrel, you better start praying.

5. Gas Station Snacks
Nougat? No prayer. Beef jerky? Depends. If you do regular jerky, no problem, you don't have to pray. If you do that jerky, cheese marriage thing where there's a tube of orange cheese spooning the jerky, you better pray. Or if the logo on the bag is a guy in overalls or a barrel with rope suspenders, you should pray.

6. Before or After Appetizers
The best way to get a waiter or waitress to come to your table is to start praying. They'll materialize out of thin air like some sort of prayer interrupting phantoms. I suggest praying in the parking lot before you get in the restaurant. That way, you eliminate any possible chance of the staff trying to crash your prayer party.

7. Eating contests
I weigh about 160. A few years ago, a coworker challenged me to an eating contest at Fuddrucker's, a hamburger joint. I accepted and ended up doing just fine in the "1lb throwdown." I was able to stomach a one pound cheeseburger without a problem. But then he suggested we do a "2lb showdown." Have you ever seen two pounds of meat on a plate? It was gross. It was like eating two 1lb meat Frisbees. I finished it, but ended up getting the meat sweats and eventually throwing up at work. I am dumb. If you ever find yourself in an eating contest, please pray. Constantly.

I hope today when you sit down for lunch or dinner you'll consider these pearls of wisdom. I also hope that you won't take this seriously and email me with comments like "how dare you tell people not to pray when they eat nougat. You heathen."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wyatt Wins a Dude Ranch Vacation

In March, we published an article in Clubhouse Jr. about a Bible contest where kids could win a dude ranch vacation for their families. One of our readers won! This is a news clip about the experience. I will get to go riding with the family in June at Tumbling River Ranch in Grant, Colorado. Yee-haw!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bekah in Thoroughly Modern Millie

These past two weekends, my sister Bekah played the part of Millie in Grays Harbor College's production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie." From Wikipedia:
Based on the 1967 film of the same name, Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of a small-town girl, Millie Dillmount, who comes to New York City to marry for money instead of love – a thoroughly modern aim in 1922, when women were just entering the workforce. Millie soon begins to take delight in the flapper lifestyle, but problems arise when she checks into a hotel owned by the leader of a white slavery ring in China.

Debuting in 2002, the musical won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The musical was pure fun! Bekah was phenomenal as the spunky Millie, who, as a modern girl, plots to marry her boss while falling in love with the poor but wonderful Jimmy. Bekah learned tap to play the part, and I enjoyed seeing her take her singing and acting to the next level.

I have seen many Grays Harbor College productions, but this was the best. I overheard more than one theater-goer proclaim that they felt the production — based on its quality — belonged in a bigger city. But my favorite fan was Ezra, Bekah's husband, who attended every show. I asked him if he just wanted to tell everyone that his wife was the lead.

"Of course!" he said. "I even have a strategy. When I strike up a conversation with the person in the seat next to me I say, 'So, do you know anyone in the play?' " Eventually the person would reciprocate the question at which point, Ezra could bask in the reflected glory of his wife's accomplishments. I think that's how it should be.

On the final show I attended, I noticed Ezra chatting with the little, old lady in the seat next to him. I caught his eye a few minutes later and mouthed, "Did you tell her?" He grinned and gave me two thumbs up.

And that's pretty much my opinion of the play. Two thumbs up.

Monday, March 16, 2009

5K on St. Patrick's Day

Becky, Carmen and I ran the Colorado Springs 5K for St. Patrick's Day. I love how my number is THAT off center. I was satisfied with my time: 30:09.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Christian Dissonance

I have recently been pondering dissonance and its affect on faith. Many former Christians claim dissonance as the reason for leaving the faith. And I have experienced this disharmony myself. It can be very painful. But you have more than one option when dissonance occurs. You can run from the discomfort; or you can wait to see how God will choose to resolve the chord. Several of my friends have resorted to the former and have distanced themselves from Christianity. But one friend of mine experienced the latter:

Two years ago, my friend Joe suffered a major crisis of faith. Halfway through Christian college, a series of hurtful experiences led him to seriously question his beliefs. With his former "perfect" life crumbling around him, Joe remembers asking himself, "Why do I have to believe this? Why be part of a group that hurts more than it helps?"

Growing up in a Christian home, Joe knew all the basics of Christianity. He'd given his life to Christ at a young age and even felt called to full time ministry as a teenager.

But suddenly, his faith didn't seem to ring true. He began making sinful choices, which heightened these feelings and isolated him from Christian community. "I was ready to throw it all away," he says.

A few weeks ago, I heard someone say that dissonance is the number one reason people leave the faith. "If a person is claiming a set of beliefs while living in a way that violates those beliefs," he said, "he will eventually give up on his faith to escape the pressure."

We all experience this kind of disharmony at times in our lives. Googling dissonance and faith, I came across the blog of an ex-Christian. He wrote: "Christianity promised life fuller and more abundant. Instead, it separated me from life. It made me miserable."

Sadly, I don't have to go to the blogosphere to hear words like these. I've heard them from many of my own friends. Dissonance, defined here as "inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one's actions and one's beliefs," occurs when a person's perceptions about themselves and life fail to match their beliefs.

While sometimes painful, dissonance exists to be resolved. I believe it points us to a God with knowledge and ways so much higher than we can fathom. And it is that tension that produces the beautiful music that God plays in our lives.

Read the rest of the article on Boundless.