"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." ~the Grey Pilgrim

Take a peek, into my world!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

TESLA

TESLA Review So, this weekend, Hunny and I indulged our champagne taste in Chicago with a test drive of the Tesla Model S. I have test driven the Honda Insight, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Toyota Camry hybrid, Hyundai Sonata hybrid, Kia Optima hybrid and ridden in a Toyota Prius. I have test driven Mercedes, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Acuras, Hyundai Genesis, Kia Cadenza. So, needless to say, I'm quite familiar with all the current electrics, hybrids and entry-level luxury vehicles. Of all the electric/hybrid vehicles that I have driven before yesterday, surprisingly Hunny and I have both been impressed with the overall quality, fit & finish of the Nissan Leaf. It is a great little compact vehicle (easily sits four adults), handles well, and except for the range limit that makes it slightly less useful for *our* needs. If I lived in a town of 30-40K I'd snap it up in a heartbeat. Enter TESLA. I've been following the progress of TESLA through Hunny now for about 2-3 years and I've been very excited about the prospects of a medium/long-range electric vehicle. At the same time, I've know that at the advertised prices have been far too high for serious consideration. That said, since we were in Chicago on other business this Saturday, I figured that a test drive would give me an idea if I'd been playing make-believe all along as to whether this concept would work for me someday. Needlesstosay, it was as good as I had imagined...and BETTER! The Tesla Model S is the most remarkable vehicle that I have personally been in, much less driven. It is beautiful. A stylish, sport sedan that seats five adults (honestly). Many people describe it as "driving a computer," and while that sounds like a silly way to phrase it, after days of thinking about how to describe it, it is one of the best. It is silky, smooth, quiet ride. What amazed me is that the vehicle is SO responsive that it seems the car responds to my *thought* (tho I know that isn't true); it is just that there is NO delay between the moment of thought when I begin the action to manipulate the car, and it's response. I've NEVER ridden in a car that had the fantastic acceleration that was just plain FUN! The use of regenerative braking in the TESLA vehicle is different than EVERY other hybrid/EV regen braking product that I've driven. Instead of simply being a super-sensitive (almost painfully sensitive) brake pedal, the TESLA decelerates briskly when the pressure on the accelerator is released. So, instead of using the brake in most traffic situations, you simply "feather" the accelerator to achieve speed control, using the brakes only to stop the very last front momentum at a full stop (or an emergency stop, of course!) The inside of the vehicle is top-notch comfort. All the buttons/knobs needed to personalize the driver area are within comfortable reach. One of the features that I love is that the navigation system can move into the main panel beside the speedometer, so it improves operational safety. The tech system available is remarkable; it really must be seen to be believed. Large, responsive touchscreen for routine navigation system, web-surfing, tune-in and slacker radio (XM extra), I think every electric system of the care is accessible through this screen with extraordinary personalization for each driver available (far more than seat position, etc). There is a front and rear trunk. One of the neat features is the optional jump seats that fold into the rear trunk area for children, age 3-10 years, with five-point harness (when equipped, allow for 7 passenger seating!) If the Leaf is like visiting the beauty of the Texas Hill Country in spring (which I love!); the TESLA is The Million-Dollar Highway between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado, in the San Juans, with glorious, jaw-dropping vistas of unbelievable beauty and magnitude around every corner. There is just no words to describe it; it is something that must be experienced….a truly revolutionary vehicle. PS. We visted the Skoki, IL sales center near Chicago. If you decide to stop in, talk with Evan O'Donnell, he was great! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day, 2012

I wrote this earlier as my facebook status today, Veteran's Day; felt that I wanted be duplicate it here...

On this day of honoring veterans, I want to specifically remember a special group of women that I heard little of growing up, and still to this day, know only a small bit.

It is the women of WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII).

On a recent trip to HighGround, near Neillsville, WI (which if you've never been is DEFINITELY worth the trip!), there was a monument to WASP. I found the information there inspiring and heartbreaking....

These were women that were trained to fly "The Army WAY." They completed the same primary, basic and advanced training of any male cadet in the Army Air Force, then specialized trainings (B-26, B-17). They willingly flew non-combat service flights in the US during WWII, but were not recognized as members of the armed services. They paid, on their own, for training and eventually their travel home when disbanded in 1944. 38 died in service, without recognition or honors...in fact collections were taken up from family and friends for burial. For 35 years, these women were denied their status as veterans.

So, TODAY, let us not forget them; though once they were classified "secret," ignored in history and forgotten by Congress...these brave, hardworking women of WASP.

WASP Facts

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mexican night!

Tonight, I decided to try another recipe from Pinterest, Taco Bake.  To accompany it, I heated up some refried beans (mixed with whole red beans), Best Spanish Rice and green beans (with onions and bacon, requested by Hunny!)

Here's a picure of all of it together...please ignore the mess on the remainder of the table... *blush*

Now, truth be told, I didn't follow the recipe for the Taco Bake exactly, I forgot to get some salsa con queso; but I faked it with a bit of chunky salsa and some shredded cheese melted into the meat mixture.  Hunny loved it!  Rated it an 8/10 stars. 

The Best Spanish Rice was, in fact, super easy to put together; and tasted pretty good (though I'm not a huge fan of spanish rice).  Hunny had seconds, so I figure it tasted good to him. :)  It was a bit wetter than most spanish rice I get a resturant, but Hunny says he likes it better that way...so I'm sure this will re-appear again for other mexican dinners.

The green beans were relatively simple, but again, Hunny liked them...and that's what matters!

I'm really excited about this meal, and will probably try to reproduce it when my parent visit next week.

Here's the pics of the Taco Bake and the Best Spanish Rice.  ~Tik

 
 

Grace, what is it?

I have personally always had a serious problem with the Christian definition of grace as "God's unmerited favor."  I've always viewed it as a cop-out, not sure why, but that was the way that I thought of it.  The definition that I first remember learning was from the "Basic Seminar" is that Grace is the desire and the power to do God's will.

The dictionary defines grace as 1) elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action; 2) a pleasing or attractive quality; 3) favor or goodwill; 4) manifestation of favor, typically from a superior; 5) mercy, clemency, pardon.

The first thing that I discover is that in the New Testament, there is only ONE word interpreted "grace."  This is charis, interestingly a feminine noun, meaning "graciousness of manner or act;" it is from chairo meaning "to be full of cheer."

I'm not sure why I resisted the definition of grace as God's unmerited favor, as I've thought about it over the last several days I think that is simply because I have been unwilling to acknowledge the simple beauty that the God of all creation, before time, extended his unmatchless favor to ME. 

I grew up a 5-point Calvinist.  I cut my teeth on TULIP, and that God's grace was irrestible.  Somehow, in my mind, the combination of this and Gothard's definition melded into a very odd amalgam.  Over the last week or so, I've realized that I have viewed grace a human response to the divine, rather than the other way around.  Don't ask me how, I'm just trying to explain something that really does NOT make sense...even to me, reading it now.

The first inkling that I had gotten grace all wrong was last year, in the New Member's Class at Black River Falls United Methodist Church.  It was there that I first heard of prevenient grace, the divine grace the precedes human decision.  It was at this moment, that I first reconsidered the concept of grace as God's unmerited favor.  Interestingly, on the matter of grace, I find fewer differences between Calvinism and Arminian teaching than I had been led to believe; but that is a discussion for another time...

So, now, stumbling upon RecoveringGrace, reading the testimonies there, a light in my mind began to shine on my humanistic concept of grace and I find on re-review of grace in the New Testament that grace is typically described as the gift of grace, grace of God, or His grace.  This leaves me with only one conclusion.  Bill Gothard's definition of grace is contrary to Scripture.  Grace has NOTHING to do with me, or my actions (my desire or my power); it is all and ONLY God. 

ETA (10/4/2012):  I have recently had two additional descriptions of grace shared by friends.  The first, by my soul's sister, L.  She read a definition of grace as, God's radical committment to us to rescue and restore!   I love the use of the word "radical" describing God's commitment to us.  Additionally, like the way this acknowledges that we need rescuing, but doesn't leave us there, but moves on to restoration.

Lastly, a dear friend, J, recently shared a quote of Max Lucado, ""Grace goes beyond mercy. Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance. Grace threw him a party."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chef, huh?

Taking a break from my review of grace...

I was experimenting with a Facebook app this morning, and apparently my "Profession by Birth" is CHEF...really???  Does anyone that knows me, think "chef"?!?!?

Interestingly though, since we have moved to the new house, I've been planning to get started on meal planning and focusing on expanding my *very* limited selection of meals for Hunny and me.  Over the years of our marriage, Hunny has been extremely gracious regarding my cooking attempts, and the intermittent nature of my cooking.  I don't tend to cook a lot.  I have blamed my inexperience (that is, I don't feel like I'm a good cook), lack of time, small kitchen, poorly-stocked pantry (and I still don't know how to maintain a "properly" stocked pantry, but that's another subject), and whatever else ... my list is seemingly endless.

Then I discovered Pinterest.com; suddenly, what recipe websites and various books couldn't do, occured...I'm truly motivated.

So, I will probably intermittently blog about my cooking adventures.  As I stated previously, I am eternally grateful for Hunny's willingness to try new recipes, and offer constructive comments without making me feel like an idoit. :)

So, without an further ado, on to the food! :)  Wish I had some awesome pictures, but I don't...sorry!

Ok, so I looked through my Pinterest recipes and found four that I wanted to try.  Chicken Spagetti from the Pioneer Woman, Chicken Enchiladas V from BookCooking.net, Pasta Pie from Noble Pig, and lastly Cream Cheese Spagetti from Plain Chicken blog.

I went shopping and bought all my ingredients, which in and of itself it a MAJOR accomplishment, as I *hate* shopping, but specifically grocery shopping.  Then, I made an executive decision, I left the meat in the frig.  See in my world, either the frig OR the freezer is a bad place for the meat to be, because I either I forget the meat, and it spoils in the frig; or I can't use it when I want to from the freezer...overall, both BAD things!  So, time went by, and I just KNEW that meat would spoil before I had a chance to do anything with it.  Remembering something that I had read on Menus4Moms site, I browned the ground beef, sealed it and froze it.  Chopped up the chicken, cooked it and froze it.  Miracle of miracles, my meat didn't spoil!

Now, the first night after grocery shopping, realization struck...cooking and de-boning a chicken is much less difficult or time consuming that I remembered.  My first recipe attempt that night was the Chicken Spagetti, and it was yummy!  Hunny gave it 8/10 stars.  The recipe made enough for one small and one medium casserole.  So, we ate one, and froze the other for when my parents are here this next week.  Definitely, a keeper!

Then last night, it was Chicken Enchiladas...and it got mixed reviews.  I didn't mind it, though I thought the chili powder could be toned down; but Hunny didn't really like it at all.  He ate enough "to fill my tummy," but didn't enjoy it; rating it 4/10 stars.  So, we threw out the extra pan that I was planning to freeze.  The good news is that I got a simple, but reportedly YUMMY, chicken enchilada recipe from my friend, Emily.  So, all hope is not lost on the chicken enchilada front! :D

Last night, I miraculously remembered to take out some cooked ground beef; gonna try the Cream Cheese Spagetti tonight.  Hunny is hesitant, as he isn't a big fan of cream cheese; and he *LOVES* regular spagetti.  I'm just hoping that it is different enough to be good, but not so weird as to freak him out!  I'll report back later tonight on the results...

~Tik

PS.  Oh, I did try a cold pie yesterday too, Butterfinger Pie from Food.com.  Modified it; I made it in an oreo ready-made crust...really good, but SUPER rich...so just small servings!

ETA: To start off, the cream cheese spagetti was a hit! 7/10 stars...and this was with the "wrong" seasoning tonight. Initially, I was really worried, because it didn't look to impressive at all...here is a dinky picture of it.

Made the 9X13 pan tonight, as we want to try the leftovers tomorrow.  Reportedly they are really yummy!  I think this will freeze well, I'll try that next time...  ~Tik

ETA Again:  This was fantastic leftover!  Definitely going on the routine menu plan!  ~Tik


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Doctrines of Men

The last few days have been another step in shedding the doctrines of men. 

This last week, I discovered an enlightening site, www.RecoveringGrace.org, developed for those coming out of the IBLP/ATI/Gothard sub-culture.  On initial inspection, I didn't think much of it, as I thought I had all those issues behind me (years behind me); my first thought was something like, "Wow!  Why didn't I think about reaching out?"  Honestly, during and after the shunning that I experienced coming out of ATIA, the thought never crossed my mind that others were leaving too, and finding a challenging road.  Maybe it was my immature selfishness at the time as I began to heal from the pain, or just the fact that I simply didn't know anyone else who had done it.  My life experience was divided into three groups: extended family, ATIA/IBLP, and everyone else (and my perception was that family & everyone else thought I was different/weird or didn't care about my struggles). 

Several months ago, I found No Longer Quivering (NLQ), and while this gave me the first hint that there were others, like me, who had turned from Gothard; I found that this site reaching out to those who had suffered far worse that I at the hands of their "authority."  Additionally, many had, in turning from Gothard, turned from Christianity entirely.  Given what I perceived to be the differences in experience and response, this site has not held my attention for long, though I wish them well in their goals to support women coming from spiritually abusive situations.

A few months back, I finally discarded all my old ATIA stuff, Wisdom Booklets, etc.  It was liberating but equally terrifying; and honestly, it still is...I know that I made the right decision, but years of earnest effort to achieve godliness...gone. 

Last week, tumbling upon RecoveringGrace, was life-changing.  After deeper exploration on their site, my world has been turned upside down...and that is never an easy experience.  I have read the experiences of children, like me, who have grown-up and discovered a life outside of ATI/Gothard.  I have realized over the last few days, that much of what I've been taught to believe about the Christian life is, at best, tainted with poor hermeneutics or, at worst, plain wrong...personally, I feel foolish, scared and a little overwhelmed.  While I had stripped away the outer wrapping of this lifestyle (ie.  I wear pants, went to college, have a career, listen to "rock music," etc) the innermost parts are deeply ingrained ruts in my mind.  I have found that I, too, need to recover grace...

I hope over the next several days/weeks to chronicle my study of grace, and possibly reviewing the "Basic Principles" in honest Biblical study for myself.  My goal is to help discover those ruts of thought that are wrong, and begin walking in the paths of Truth.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:...

...if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20.

Now, I know that most people use this verse as a word picture to describe salvation, and they may be right; but that is not what caught my attention this morning, as I pondered the last few weeks and months. This reminder is written to the Church at Laodicea, and the vivid word picture of the Almighty vomitting these lukewarm souls. Again, this is not the point of my post today, but yet another fantastic description in this epic writing.

What I realized this morning, is that, personally for me, this scripture is describing a merciful Visitor, waiting at the heart's door of his inattentive, or maybe disobedient, child...waiting for the invitation to come in and fellowship together.

Several months ago, I realized that I had stopped taking the time to nuture my spirit, and reflect on the majesty of the Creator. My step to return may be seen as a "selfish" prayer, but a sincere one, in faith nothing wavering...though as time went by, my faith nearly collapsed as I second-guessed myself repeatedly. Then in a matter of two weeks, my prayer was answered. Almost immediately before this answer, another situation was made perfectly clear that the One Who Provides had made a way for me. Most recently, as my Hunny and I discussed a significant question regarding our future, the Author of All again confirmed it.

So, when you have lost your way, or stop paying attention, or even if in disobedience; the answer is simple. Stop, turn around. Answer the door, and He promises to enter in for fellowship.