Some Helpful Links

April 12, 2013 | My Jottings


Sometimes I read something online and I think, “That was so good/funny/interesting/provocative/helpful! I should send that to my friends.” And sometimes I do send an occasional link to a friend or two. But most times I don’t.

Today I’m going to share some good/funny/interesting/provocative/helpful links with you all. So if you don’t have a few minutes to sit and enjoy these, maybe you could just make a note to come back to this post when you have some extra time, because these are worth perusing.

If you aren’t familiar with Jen Hatmaker, you might want to check out her blog and/or her Bible studies. I’m especially interested in her study entitled “7.”ย  She doesn’t post on her blog very often, but when she does it’s always funny and thought-provoking. I liked Jen’s post here.

And who doesn’t need a little extra awe in their life? Whenever I’m praying about something that just seems too far-fetched, too impossible to come true, looking up into the night sky always helps. Remembering how vast and powerful God is puts my own stuff into perspective and helps me pray and believe for big things. If you haven’t checked this site out, take a look at the astronomy photo of the day, right here.

Are there any poets among you? How about poem lovers? I receive a daily devotional by email every day, but did you know you can sign up to receive one poem a day too? Take a look here.

Would you like to learn how to knit, or to knit better? My daughter taught a small group of us how to knit and I truly enjoy it. But I need help now and then, and I need help to move on from knitting scarves. Do you know about the site Knitting Help? What I like about it is how kind and patient the teacher is, and how the camera view is exactly like your own view of your hands, needles and yarn would be. So you can start and stop the video again and again until you’ve got it. Need to be shown thirty-eight times? No problem! Here’s the beginning lesson right here, but if you poke around the site you can find lots of helpful videos.

Anyone who visits my blog or is a part of my life knows that I love cardinals. They’re very rare this far north. Here is a wonderful video of a Northern Cardinal and its instantly-recognizable-to-me song, here.

I think reading the book 1000 Gifts made a big difference in my life, especially since I learned at my beloved mama’s knee how to view life as a glass-half-empty prospect. So many visit Ann Voskamp’s blog already, but I think her post on nurturing marriage is worth reading over and over. Michael and I have been married almost thirty-two years, and neither of us doubts the other’s devotion and faithfulness. But every couple needs a tune-up now and then, and every marriage needs some occasional refreshment. This post of Ann’s is worth coming back to.

I love Mexican food. Growing up in Southern California not far from the Mexican border meant that Mexican restaurants were plentiful, and my family and I probably visited our favorite one every month. When I moved to Minnesota in 1981 I was surprised to learn that not many Minnesotans knew the difference between an enchilada and a burrito, and some folks I met even pronounced the word taco, “TACK-oh.” Oh dear. Today more northeastern Minnesotans seem to be enjoying Mexican food, but I still run across people who don’t know that a good taco is always made with a home-fried corn (not flour!) tortilla. Michael still calls them taco shells. ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s a picture of the kind of corn tortillas you should never have in your house. I’ve often thought about doing my own little how-to video, but I guess I’d have to learn how to upload one first. In the meantime, you can see how to fry a corn tortilla here. The only difference in the way the nice woman in the video fries hers and the way I fry mine is the duration: mine don’t get quite as brown as hers. Fill a freshly fried (and drained of course) corn tortilla with seasoned beef or chicken, grated colby jack cheese, shredded romaine lettuce, finely chopped purple onion and homemade pico de gallo and I guarantee your eyes will roll back in your head when you taste all those flavors and textures together. And you’ll need extra napkins when all that tomato-cilantro-lime juicey goodness leaks out of the taco as you take a bite.

No one likes to talk about this, but I think it’s good when people do. Don’t we all know someone who has experienced some sort of infidelity in a relationship? I know that pain from my first marriage, and always have compassion on those who have experienced it. And I also try not to throw stones at those who have not been faithful, because what am I, sinless or something? Hardly. I think this link could be helpful, so file it away in your brain or on your computer for whomever might need it someday — it’s called Affair Recovery and is right here.

Not everyone enjoys warped comedy, but I do. I don’t care for comedy that isn’t family friendly, but I do like the edgy humor of Christian comedian Tim Hawkins. Tim is the father of four, and he and his wife Heather home school their children and take them all over the country when Tim is on tour. My grandchildren love Tim Hawkins. We’re going to drive to the Twin Cities in August to see him in concert, and I look forward to seeing Michael wipe tears from his eyes from laughing so hard. Click here to see Tim talk a little about home schoolers, and then listen to him sing a weird, flat song about yoga pants. You’ll either think it’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever seen, or you’ll join those of us who laugh so hard our bellies ache.

Lastly, we just got through painting a wall in our dining room with black chalkboard paint. It’s “curing” now, but in a few days we’ll be able to write on it. Someone asked me today what kinds of things we’ll write, and I said, “Menus, happy birthday wishes, scripture memory verses, atta-girl compliments for folks in our home, grocery lists, prayer requests, doodling….whatever!” If you’d like to see some of the most incredible chalkboard art, click here to see the brilliant artist make it happen in time lapse. Amazing!

Well, Michael is waiting for me to come watch a movie with him. We’re taking a chance on this one. I liked the newer one with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger, but I wonder if this 1985 film can compare. Have any of you seen it?

Hey, what are some of your favorite links? Feel free to share them in a comment below!


  1. Dorothy Sooter says:

    Thanks Julie, I plan on checking out everyone of your links. Just
    the inspiration I needed. Have been home from work with a nasty
    cold and can only watch The Waltons for so long. Have already
    checked out your beautiful girls and what they are doing and am
    amazed at their talents. Your dad would say, they are my grandchildren,
    what would you expect. He truly would be Thanking God for the
    way they are living their lives. God Bless

  2. Just Julie says:

    I’m sick too Dorothy. Bleh! Thank you for your comments…dad would have been proud, and there would have been laughter too! xo

  3. Jessica says:

    I had never heard of Tim Hawkins but I clicked on your link and loved it!!! That kind of humor cracks me up!!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Just Julie says:

    Jessica you should visit his site —, and watch some of his clips. As I said, my grands love his wackiness. xo

  5. Tauni says:

    Love this post Julie ~ cracked up at the taco shells, those were the only ones we had in our house when I was growing up ๐Ÿ™‚ ! As much of a chef as my mom was, frying taco shells was not her gig.

    Curt is a taco perfectionist ~ we made a video at our house up in Crestline, CA when my kids were in their tweens and Curt was visiting one weekend. Fun, using “video magic” in the prep and the finished products. Tacos are a staple in our home and Curt continues to let me know that he will eat pretty much anything if it is in a taco. So, do you have any good recipes for a broccoli taco???

    Your girls are quite enterprising and very beautiful, all three! Thrilled they are finding their niche in life and blessing others with their talents. Love you my friend and thank you for the lovely work-day break!

  6. Just Julie says:

    I’m not sure I have any good ideas for broccoli tacos, Taun. Unless you bought broccoli slaw (I love adding that to salads), marinated it with a little red wine vinegar or lime juice, threw in some chopped cilantro, sprinkling of ground cumin, then after it has sat for a few hours, use that over your chicken or beef in the taco. Your wonderful mom might not have fried corn tortillas, but she was and is an amazing woman whom I will always love. xo

  7. Ganeida says:

    You fry tortillas? Oops. I just shove ours in the oven.:)
    Interesting post.

  8. Just Julie says:

    The peanut oil gives the corn tortillas an amazing taste, Ganeida. I’ve had them warmed too, but they’re not the same. Although I like them both ways! xo

  9. Shari C. says:

    Your girls are so beautiful and talented, Julie! Just like their mom!
    Bruce and I have had some great laughs, watching Tim Hawkins videos on youtube, too ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t you love him?! Have you listened to his one about going to the eye doctor? So funny!! How great that you get to go to one of his concerts!!
    Did you like the Shadowlands movie?

  10. Just Julie says:

    I have not seen the eye doctor one, and am going to search for it right now. Yes, we enjoyed the Shadowlands movie, even though the 80s were showing through very strongly. It was worth watching because we love Lewis so much. ๐Ÿ™‚

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