Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Scary Little Thing Called “Christian Culture”…

Seeing as how today is Halloween I thought I’d have a little fun and repost this blog that my sister and I wrote together a few Halloweens ago in 2010 on our e-zine, The Waking! This is one of my favorite blogs we did together, trust me, we had a lot of laughs writing this one! So if you grew up within the awesome but admittedly sometimes odd world of Christian culture, you may be able to relate! ;)

I (Cecily) was a paranoid and terrified little child all because of a scary little thing we call "Christian Culture". In light of Halloween, we thought it seemed fitting to address the many ways Christian culture scared the "hell" out of us as pun intended lol. Okay lame joke, but it had to be made. If you too were subject to any of the things we mention in this blog please feel free to share your story. We Christian culture kids have to stick together. ;)

It all started with .... Carman.

"No Monsters" music video by Carman ~

So this is one of the many Carman videos that scared the "hell" out of Cecily. Some people might laugh when thinking that someone as harmless as 90's Christian musician Carman could instill such fear in a person but trust me, you didn't see the fear in her eyes. "No Monsters" was a song and video that was supposed help kids conquer their fears through Jesus...but it REALLY had the opposite effect on Cecily. Poor wasn't his fault. He had the best of intentions. Carman if you're out there...just know....we don't blame you.

When this music video would come on I (Cecily) would cower in the corner. The video shows monsters coming out of places and terrorizing people! As you can see, this is still a very sensitive subject lol. It scared me as a kid. It's like my eyes caught the visual but my mind missed the message lol. I would stare at my closet at night and wonder if and when the monsters were going to come out. I would always look for the closet door to just all of the sudden open. It never did. But to this day, I still make sure my closet door is closed when I go to bed...out of sheer habit I tell you!

Left Behind ~

Ah, Kirk Cameron, what can we say? Let us first confess our undying love and affection for you. Mike Seaver will forever and always live in our hearts. However Kirk, we must admit you lost some serious brownie points with us for the end time’s thriller "Left Behind".

UPDATE: Just found out from Relevant Magazine that a remake of this movie is in talks and will be reportedly starring none other than…Nicolas Cage. As much as I know you hope I’m joking I assure you, I’m not. World gets stranger everyday.

The Power Team ~

For those of you who’ve never heard of The Power Team before, let me explain a bit; they are a group of really strong men that do things like break bricks and lift really heavy things, and give their testimonies on stage of how God’s broken the chains in their lives. Pretty cool, but when you’re a kid sitting in a big church watching these men pour gasoline on bricks and set them on fire, and then try to smash the firry bricks with their fists, it's pretty scary!

Before they would do these stunts they would preface it by saying that we should not be afraid of the smoke and fire and the intensity of the stunt, we weren’t in any danger. Well, I’m sorry, but when the whole place is filling up with smoke and there are scary flames, and the veins are popping out of the red faced man’s head and neck as he tries to break the bricks as people yell “help him!”….yeah, it doesn’t feel very safe! I (Cecily) would cower in my seat and uncover my eyes only to look for the emergency exits!

"Satan Bite The Dust" music video by Carmen ~

Yes, Carman strikes again. If you saw this video as a child you probably understand where we're coming from. "Satan Bite The Dust" is the equivalent to a spiritual western. Complete with a gun slinging saloon standoff between Jesus, demons, and devil himself. No folks, we're not making this up. Cecily always hated the devil voice.

"I Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb" music video by Ray Boltz~

To a 6 year old, talk of religious persecution is never a fun thing. In Ray Bolt’s video for “I Pledge Allegiance to The Lamb”, a father has to explain to his son how he is going to have to die because of His love for God, and says his goodbyes to him. The video shows images of persecution that has happened to Christians in the past, and what is thought to happen to them in the future. To my (Cecily) 6 year old mind, these images meant immediate impending doom, and thoughts of having my parents carted away to get their heads chopped off, leaving me stuck in a prison cell to fend for myself would race through my mind…so not cool yo, so no cool!

"Witches Invitation" by Carman ~

Okay Carman, three strikes and you're out! .... maybe. A song and music video based on a true story of a minister being invited to a warlock’s house to "talk" about God. The warlock challenges the minister’s belief in God. The minister rises to the occasion and leaves the warlock speechless with the word of God. As a kid I (Krystal) thought the song and video were pretty cool but Cecily was absolutely terrified of it! And would even run out of the room if the song or video was on, therefore never making it to the very dramatic ending line... "Next time think twice before you rumble with a man of God!!! And by the way thanks for your.. uhh... witch's invitation."

The Thief In The Night ~

Oh the horror! If any of you saw this movie when you were kids you know exactly what I'm talking about. In fact, I don't even have to say another word because just the very mention of the title is enough to elicit shivers up your spine. Yes, I (Krystal) too was subject to this creepy 1970's classic, in which a girl dreams the rapture has happened and she has been left behind. Throughout the movie she is being chased by people trying to get her to take the mark of the beast. She wakes up at the end of the movie relieved to find out that it was only a dream...until she realizes... that in fact the rapture has just occurred and she really has been left behind. The movie ends with her screaming in complete terror as the song "I Wish We'd All Been" ready by Larry Norman played (we'll tackle that song next).

"I Wish We'd All Been Ready" by Larry Norman ~

Now for the song...the song that gave us butterflies at the very sound of the opening notes...the song we dreaded hearing whenever it played. Much props and respect to the late Larry Norman, who paved the way for Christian rockers everywhere, but man did he write a creepy song! “The Father spoke, the demons dined, how could you have been so blind? There's no time to change your mind, the Son has come and you've been left behind." ' nuff said... "I Wish We'd All Been Ready” sung by Larry Norman or DC Talk .... it doesn't matter; it freaked us out either way. Oddly enough we're actually going to use this song in an upcoming church play ... gotta love irony! :)

Carman's Riot movies ~


For their real and intense depiction of gang violence. I (Cecily) would always get so scared while watching these movies because T-Bone was so ghetto and scary, and had guns and drugs and i didn't want him to shoot Carman! But, thankfully, Carman always showed so much bravery when taking on a drug lord... he was da bomb!

Kevin Max (formerly of DC Talk) ~

Oh Kevin Max, what can I say? He used to scare me! Kevin has always had a very gothic style, which now, I (Cecily) flipping love and admire, but then as a youngen, I would hate watching his video for his solo song “Existence” because in it he wears angel wings and I thought he was trying to be the anti-Christ. Sorry Kevin! I don’t think that anymore! And I now dig the angel wings! :)

We hope you enjoyed our look into a scary little thing called "Christian Culture".... or rather the many reasons why we need therapy! :) But we know we are not alone. There are many of us out there who have been holding this inside since maybe 80's...and just looking for a safe place to find solace and hope. It is our prayer that we have provided that for some of you today. But in the event you need more moral support feel free to share your stories about how Christian culture scared the "hell " out of you here! ;)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Playlist!


Hey friends, thought I’d stop in today and share a fun little Halloween playlist with y’all!

I don’t know about you but there’s just something about Halloween that always makes me feel like a kid again. And maybe that’s because it makes me feel very nostalgic. It makes me nostalgic for trick or treating with my sister and cousins, dressing up in cute costumes, for family gathering at my grandparent’s house for sandwiches, chips, popcorn balls, and my dad’s special green punch (as was our every year tradition).

It makes me smile to think about how serious my sister would be about her costume every year. It makes me smile to remember the couple times my parents decided as Christians we shouldn’t be trick or treating… then later on feeling so bad that we missed out on all the fun. And it makes me laugh to think of Halloween 2001 when my dad would not let my sister trick or treat because of the whole anthrax scare…yeah, she was not a happy camper. ;)

It was always such a fun time of year and as an adult I still enjoy it! And even though times have changed, my grandparents are gone and my sister has moved away, tomorrow I will still be enjoying sandwiches, chips, popcorn balls, and green punch with my parents. Hey, ya can’t buck tradition, right? :)

Halloween Playlist -

Halloween 2012 Playlist by Krystal Rodriguez on Grooveshark

Here’s a playlist of songs, Halloween jams if you will, to rock out to tomorrow as you pass out candy or you know, toilet paper a house or two.  Happy Halloween! :)


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wedding Recap!

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a week since my sister’s wedding. It all felt like such a crazy whirlwind but it could not have turned out more beautiful!


(Photo courtesy of Blackbird Photography) 

My sister is a Georgia peach now so we were basically helping her plan this wedding long distance through many phone calls and Skype sessions. Yeah, not easy. Her & her husband (they were already married but never had a ceremony) came down a week before the wedding and it was non-stop chaos getting everything ready. Luckily we had a lot of help with family willing to pitch in left and right. Such a team effort! My cousin even came all the way from PA to be a bridesmaid and help out with everything. She was such a life saver, even stepping in as a wedding coordinator of sorts. Seriously we all kept telling her she should do it professionally.

One week isn’t a lot of time to get things together but somehow we all made it happen. We did wedding crafts (as it was very much a DIY wedding), threw my sister a bridal shower complete with great food, cupcakes, and bubble tea (first time making bubble tea, so easy, will post recipe soon!), wedding rehearsal and dinner.

Then the night before the wedding my cousin and I basically stayed up all night long baking treats for the dessert table and making cds to play at the reception. I got three hours sleep, woke up, finished making chocolate truffles, headed straight to the wedding venue to decorate, get ready, take pictures, and head down the aisle. So I may have been a bit delirious from lack of sleep lol but I suppose my sister is worth it. ;)


(Photo courtesy of Blackbird Photography)

It was an outdoor wedding held at a nature center close to our town where they said their vows in front of a pretty wooden arch. It was a lovely place that fit their woodland/rustic theme perfectly. And after a minor mishap that made us a little late getting down the aisle (so inevitable, right?) everything was quite a success! It was a small but beautiful wedding and I think everyone had a great time.


My sister took this photo of us on her phone after the wedding as we were all getting ready to leave. I think it might be one of my favorite photos of us. I don’t know if you can tell in the photos but she dyed her hair blue, green, and purple…looked so awesome! So my cousin and I surprised her by putting blue streaks in our hair last minute so we could match; she loved it!

This photo was also taken about ten seconds before I basically lost it and dissolved into a puddle of tears lol. The reality just set in that those were my last few minutes with her till her and her hubby left back to GA that night. I swear I’m such a basket case sometimes when it comes to the people I love … no really, maybe it was also the sleep deprivation, but I was still in tears when I got home lol.

She moved to GA in March, and while I hate living so far away from each other, I’ve adjusted and am fine most of the time. We call and Skype as much as we can. But spending a week together and then saying goodbye all over again is still heart breaking. I guess it probably always will be. We were always so attached at the hip that it’s so hard saying goodbye not knowing when you’ll get to see each other again. I’m sure many of you can relate to that feeling.

But I’m so glad that we had that week together and that I got to see her walk down the aisle. The wedding was so lovely and she made the most gorgeous bride ever (though I may be somewhat bias ;)).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bits & Pieces

Hey loves! Thought I’d stop in tonight to share a few photos of bits & pieces of life and what I’ve been up to lately. Hope you enjoy! :)



Craft projects for my sister’s upcoming wedding: hanging mason jar lanterns and chalk board labels for the dessert table. It’s been fun and I think they’re turning out good, if I do say so myself. And let me just say, I now have a love affair with chalk board paint…I want to cover every surface of my house with it. :D

007 - Copy

Love lettering. If you haven’t heard of the amazing organization The World Needs More Love Letters, please check it out. To get involved is simple, write a sweet and encouraging “love letter” to a complete stranger and leave it in places such as cafes, stores, libraries, dressing rooms, ect. for people to find. Sometimes we all need a sweet letter to brighten up our day and give us hope, that’s exactly what More Love Letters aims to do.

I’ve been meaning to get involved for a while now but kept putting it off, until these past couple weeks. I have finally started writing and leaving love letters and I can’t tell you how much I love it! There’s something so joyful and fun about writing letters of encouragement for someone you’ll probably never meet. Leaving them in random places like the makeup section at Wal-mart (the location of my first letter) and taped to the bathroom mirror at Hobby Lobby…hoping that just the right person who needs that letter will find it. I really have fallen in love with doing this and I hope you’ll check it out and start spreading the love yourself! :)


A pretty new journal I bought last week. No, I did not need it … I don’t know about you but I have a really hard time resisting cute journals. There’s just something about a brand new journal with all it’s pretty blank pages that feels full of possibilities.


One of my favorite cool weather meals, Chicken & Dumplings. We had a few really amazing fall weather days in the 50’s & 60’s, felt like heaven! So I took advantage of it by cooking this up for lunch on Sunday after church. Sadly, the fall weather has gone bye bye for now and we Texans will be seeing the return of 90 degree weather for the rest of the week…ugh! I swear, TX, sometimes you really disappoint me.


A homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte! Yes, I have been in pumpkin everything mode. I made this last night…and after a little bit of tweaking, it was rather delish! Recipe to come soon! Now, if that cold weather would just hurry back…it’s no fun drinking hot fall drinks in 90 degree weather. ;)

Hope you’re having a lovely week so far! And enjoy your fall weather if you are lucky enough to have it! :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m happy to report that fall baking has commenced in my kitchen! There’s just something extra special about baking in the fall as well as around the holidays. With all the lovely seasonal ingredients you get to use such as pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves (this recipe has ‘em all, btw), baking takes on an even warmer aromatic experience. And as bakers we all know that by the time your done baking your treats, not only does your kitchen take on these aromas, but so do you. And that’s perfectly fine with me as I don’t really mind smelling like cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Ah, the signature scent of a baker, right? ;)

I had bought a can of Libby’s Pumpkin for a recipe that I didn’t end up making and I of course just couldn’t resist finding another use for it a.s.a.p.. But what to make?…I mean on Pinterest you can only find like, oh say thousands of pumpkin recipes. There’s pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin roll, pumpkin donuts, even pumpkin ice cream sandwiches! And I don’t know about you but I tend to have an incurable case of indecisiveness if given too many choices.

But I had the itch to make something with pumpkin and chocolate so when I saw these cookies on Pinterest I just knew, that was it. And I was ready to bake my pumpkin lovin’ heart out.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies -


(Recipe found @

These cookies are the taste of fall, let me tell ya! They are so light and chewy… and I’m told healthy (hmm, wonder if that still applies after your 3rd one in a row ;)).

First, start out by mixing your dry ingredients together; including all the lovely spices that will make it seem like fall is having a party in your mouth…mhmm, ignore that lame description. But really, just do something for me… take a whiff of each spice as you put it in; your cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Then mix it all together! You have to savor the scents of the season, after all. :)


Mix your eggs and sugar together till smooth and light in color; then stir in the pumpkin. And watch as the whole mixture surrenders to the beautiful orange hue.



Stir in the dry ingredients and last but certainly not least, add the chocolate chips! Always the best part. Drop your cookies by 1/4 cup measurements and bake!



The pumpkin with the warm flavors of the spices, and chocolate chips is the perfect fall taste combo. Really pumpkin and chocolate were just meant to be. The texture of these cookies are almost like a cross between a cookie and a cake. They’re not cakey though just really light, airy, and soft.



If your looking for a great pumpkin recipe to bake on a breezy fall day, give these lovelies a try! :)


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola or corn oil

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips, or any chip you like


Position a rack in the middle of the oven . Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. Mix in the chips.

Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart. You could also simply use a 1/4-cup measuring cup if you don’t have a scoop. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar, if desired. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Foodie Penpals Reveal!


Hey foodies! Time to reveal the box full of goodies I received in September’s Foodie Penpals! This time around I received a lovely package from Bailey who lives in CA. She did such an awesome job of filling it with lots of yummy treats! Totally made up for not getting a box in August…yes, that kinda sucked… but I’m not bitter ;). Anyway, as soon as I snapped a couple photos I dove right in!


  • Peanut Brittle from Bravo Farms Cheese Factory – So let’s start out with what is probably my favorite item. This peanut brittle is so delish! Seriously, it’s just about gone as I’ve been munching on it all week.
  • French Burnt Peanuts from Bravo Farms Cheese Factory – This was the first time I ever tried french burnt peanuts and while they aren’t my favorite, they do have a pretty good smoky flavor to them. I’m actually trying to think of a way I can incorporate them into my baking somehow. We shall see!
  • A dozen cookies from Smith’s Bakery – These soft, chewy, and buttery cookies were the very first thing I went for upon opening the box. Delish!
  • Multi Sunburst Popcorn Kernels – I love this kind of popcorn…so much better than microwave, in my opinion. I’ve yet to open this bottle but I’m looking forward to it!
  • A sampler pack of 4 popcorn seasonings – Along with the popcorn, Bailey sent me this sampler pack of seasonings! These seasonings sound so delish, they include: Creamy Ranch, Buttery Jalapeno, Zesty Cheddar Cheese, and Movie Theater Style. The popcorn with these yummy seasonings has movie night written all over it! Movie recommendations, anyone? ;)
  • Two different types of gum – And last but certainly not least…possibly the two cutest packs of gum I’ve ever seen! One says “Follow Your Dreams” and has a picture of a cat off in the sunset on the front!! Seriously, how cute is that? It has a fruity flavor that reminds me of Juicy Fruit. And I got such a kick out of the other one, “Supermodel Meal in a Box” gum…which boasts “8 complete meals” ;). The back of the box cracked me up, “Now the waif like 5-9, 97 pound frame that once seemed impossible can be yours! Pan seared duck alongside grilled sweet onion topped with a blackberry confit and rich brandy demi-glaze, all packed into a cinnamon flavored gum.” Ha! Love it! And love the spicy cinnamon flavor of this gum. Only one piece left…sad :(.

I just want to say thank you to Bailey for all these delish goodies; I’m so enjoying them! Also, thank you to Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean for making all this possible! And if you want to see the goodies I sent to my Foodie Penpal, April, click on over to her lovely blog!

Sadly, I’m going to have to skip Foodie Penpals for October since this is going to be a particularly busy month for me (first time skipping since I started participating in May). But will definitely be picking it back up in November! And if this appeals to the Foodie in you, think about joining in the fun! More info below! :)


-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penpals is open to US & Canadian residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re interested in participating for October, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by October 4th as pairings will be emailed on October 5th!