it seems that all over pinterest and tumblr are inspiring bible verses with pretty fonts and backgrounds. walk into any hobby lobby or parable store and woodcuts with those same verses line the walls, waiting to be hung in our kitchens. but do we really understand the context and meaning behind these verses, and could we even be using them incorrectly?

in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – john 1:1 niv

one of the first verses that comes to mind is philippians 4:13. commonly used to uplift athletes, performers, and the terminally ill, the verse is often seen quoted as saying, “i can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” yet the niv translation reads, “i can do all this through Him who strengthens me.” most other versions read “all things,” but the niv is different because it directly references the previous verses. (this is not to say the other translations are wrong, just to point out the importance of context in choosing bible verses.) in the passage, paul is discussing the hardships he has been through while serving Christ. he writes that he has “learned the secret of being content” no matter what situation he is in, whether starving or wellfed, imprisoned or free, at home or traveling. and it is these things, he says, that God has enabled him to endure with a strong spirit. the verse is in no way meant to imply that absolutely anything is possible for anyone who asks; instead, it means that no matter what we experience in life, God will be our source of joy throughout it and enable us to continue faithfully.

another commonly misread verse is 1 timothy 6:1-10. often quoted as “money is the root of all evil,” this verse is used to perpetuate class warfare and demonize the wealthy. yet the niv reads, “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” paul here is speaking to timothy, urging him to learn the difference between true heavenly wealth and contentment and having earthly possessions. he states that loving both God and money fully is impossible, and love of one will produce hate for the other. the Christian believes that all sin stems from a hatred of God, and so if one loves something that is not God, it can lead to loving sinful things as well. this could of course happen in a variety of ways outside love of money (i.e., love of a significant other, love of fitness, love of food), but paul here specifically discusses material goods because timothy is surrounded by false prophets who seek to gain money by turning people to follow their teachings, believing that the money will make them happy.

the final verse i wish to discuss is jeremiah 29:11. this verse is rarely misquoted, just taken out of context. the niv reads, “‘for I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ this verse is often used to console high school and college students without a career plan, or the recently unemployed who fear the future. sadly, however, this verse is not a universal comfort to the lost; it is taken from a prophecy delivered to the israelites living in exile. in the prophecy, God promises that after 70 years He will return the israelites to the land they had lived in before being taken to babylon. He advises them to live as comfortably as possible while they are there, and to stop fearing intermarriage. He directs His people to stop despairing and have hope. this verse is of course uplifting, and perhaps it can be taken as a source of hope today, but in all technicality it is not meant for us.

i don’t want to destroy anyone’s Christmas gift ideas, or say that no one should have a bible verse on a desk ever again. i simply believe it is important to know the context for any bible verse we want to quote. if we can’t even get uplifting, inspirational, and motivational verses right, then what basis is there for anyone to believe Christians have correctly interpreted God’s commandments?


this year’s thanksgiving was packed with delicious food!! i’m the only vegan in the family so i usually eat less at the family meal and more through the rest of the day than your average thanksgiving participant, but it’s still a feast.

first up was this lovely pumpkin smoothie bowl!! as you can tell from my other smoothie bowl post and my instagram feeds, smoothie bowls are my favorite thing to have for breakfast. all the recipes for my photos will be in future posts so stay tuned.

one of my mom’s favorite thanksgiving recipes is this marinated salad. vegan, colorful, and delicious, and of course guilt-free!!

next, the traditional sweet potatoes. just switch out honey and butter for maple syrup and earth balance and you’ve got a sweet holiday treat. no turkey on this plate!!

a few hours after the main meal i wanted some warm food, so i quickly heated up some amy’s lentil soup. at less than $3 a can, these protein filled soups are perfect for a college student on a budget!! just make sure the back says ‘ingredients (vegan)’ as some soups may contain meat or dairy.

no holiday is complete without at least one fatty dessert, so i grabbed some nondairy ben&jerry’s while black friday (black thursday?) shopping at target (this was a mistake). the pb&cookies flavor is my favorite, but i’ve been in a chocolate mood lately.

i hope your thanksgiving was filled with vegan food, family fun, and relaxation!! always be grateful for your blessings, no matter what the day of the year is.

stepping away

i recently made the decision to permanently delete my facebook account, not just deactivate it, and i thought i’d take the time to explain why in case anyone else is considering doing the same. my first reason is fairly basic – i only really used it for messenger if i didn’t have a friend’s number – but others are more interesting to discuss and harder to convince ourselves to fix. 

as i said earlier, i only really used facebook for its messaging app, and rarely posted anything original or shared my friends’ posts. in fact, when i last used facebook i only had about 34 friends, and i only followed four of them. the messenger bit was easy enough to fix: i just asked everyone i messaged frequently for their phone numbers. however, despite my main use of facebook being on a different app entirely, i did still check my feed often enough to feel anxious. because of the number of people i actually followed being so low, i never really had the ‘fomo’ or comparison problems talked about in so many recent studies on social media anxiety. (pro tip: do NOT google that phrase, it might take you to a phishing site.) i did, however, have a strange paranoia about being blocked, or having negative posts made about me. this happened enough in my early years of being on facebook that i guess the fear became a habit. so every time i checked my feed, i was preparing for negativity rather than the uplifting Christian posts i followed. add this to the number of sensastionalist campaign trail ‘news stories’ popping up courtest of facebook’s algorithm, and it was clear i had a problem. i ended up deleting the app off my phone, only checking it at work (for context, i only work four hours on monday and three on friday, so my usage was down to less than an hour per week, excluding messenger). eventually i made the leap to totally deleting my account, not just deactiving it. (yes, this is an option. you’re welcome.) 

i truly believe that, as much as we want to deny it as ‘old people resisting technology,’ facebook lives up to all of its negative stereotypes. it causes stress and addiction, increases the amount of drama in our lives, and floods our minds with negative and often misleading ‘news.’ i realize that all these things could be true of any social media platform, but personally i’ve never had anxiety or other negative experiences caused by them. instagram has drama on occasion but i’ve never been involved in any (i think), and twitter and youtube are hilarious. i will say i’ve had some anxiety over snapchat, but after deleting the app for a few days i was able to reevaluate and remove friends as necessary to restore my enjoyment of the app. i will not be returning to facebook, and i’m glad that i finally overcame my belief that i ‘needed’ an account in order to make a decision that has improved my life. 

if any of you are considering deleting a social media account, try deleting its app from your phone for a few days. if you feel safer and happier without it, and redownloading it makes you return to an anxious state, it might be time to delete your account permanently. social media wasn’t always part of human life, or even your life – don’t let anyone try to make you believe it’s a requirement for your life now.

pumpkin pie oatmeal

fall is definitely the best season for oatmeal, and this year i wholeheartedly hopped on the pumpkin bandwagon as well. another pumpkin recipe is up on my blog from earlier this month, inspired by caitlin shoemaker. (who knows, if starbucks ever makes their pumpkin spice mix vegan i might have that as well!!) sadly i didn’t have ripe bananas on hand, but if you do, chop them up and add them as a topping for an even sweeter pumpkin pie taste.

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

ingredients: pumpkin puree, oats, water or plant milk, agave, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric.
toppings: chia seeds, coconut, buckinis, molasses.

mix together all non-topping ingredients in a bowl and microwave on MEDIUM heat for 5 minutes for a creamy texture. if your microwave doesn’t have heat settings, cooking the oats on the stove will produce much better results. arrange toppings as you like, and enjoy!! this is the best way to get out of bed on those chilly fall mornings, and the filling grains and starches will get you through work or school with tons of energy.

“candy corn” parfait

hey guys! apparently it’s been over five months since my last post *gasp* i’m back in school, and i worked two jobs over the summer, so that’s why, but i’m going to try to make time for at least one post a week.

first, some life updates: as you can see in my menu (like my new theme?), i have created a fitness account on instagram!! follow me if you want workout and food inspiration, and join me on my journey. in other social media related news, i deleted my facebook account (permanently) because i feel it has gotten to a point where, as much as we want to deny it, it lives up to its stereotype of being a waste of time and a cause of bullying and stress. i’ll add a link here when i write a post about it later this week. finally, i have become part of the marketing team for the university of mary’s collegiate deca chapter, marauders on business. if you currently go or went to umary, follow us on instagram, twitter, and facebook for all the updates!

now to the point of this post: i have been obsessed with lifestyle videos on youtube recently, so over fall break i redid my room and made a lot of tasty fall inspired recipes!! i’m going to share one i adapted from caitlin shoemaker (ig: @frommybowl). her video shows how to make a candy corn themed parfait that has the colors of the sadly nonvegan childhood treat we all know and love, and tastes like fall in a jar. i changed the recipe slightly to use vegan yogurt instead of homemade vegan whipped cream for two reasons: i’m lazy, and “parfait” equals “yogurt” in my brain.

this tasty fall treat looks even better on my mom’s cute dining room table!!

ingredients: two frozen bananas, two fresh ripe bananas, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4 cup chia seeds, 3/4 cup plant milk or water, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (organic tastes better!), 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, vegan vanilla yogurt (i used the “so delicious” brand).

directions: for the yellow banana ice cream layer, blend the fresh bananas until smooth, then chop the frozen bananas and blend them in as well. blend in the turmeric and add more if needed to achieve a yellow color. the turmeric will change the color of the ice cream without changing the flavor. you can add vanilla extract here if you don’t like the taste of plain banana ice cream. place in the freezer. for the orange pumpkin chia pudding layer, mix the chia seeds, plant milk, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree in a glass container and refrigerate for at least an hour. this layer can also be prepared the night before for a thicker texture. once the banana ice cream and chia pudding are the right consistency, layer them in a mason jar, then add the yogurt on top for the white layer. serves two in mason jars, or four in small glasses.

smoothie bowl

if you’re looking for a filling, sweet, nutritious breakfast option, i highly recommend smoothie bowls! they can be made in all colors and flavors and you can have just as much fun with the toppings as a kid at the froyo stand. today i’m going to share my recipe for a peanut butter smoothie bowl.

ingredients: four ripe bananas (you can always add more!!), peanut butter powder to taste, strawberries, blueberries, dates, buckinis, cacao nibs, chia seeds, coconut.

directions: blend the bananas until smooth. add pb powder to taste ( i used about a tablespoon) and blend.

pour the mixture into a bowl. next, chop up the strawberries and dates. add your fruit and other toppings to decorate the smoothie and enjoy!!

Media and Societal Values

Media and Societal Values
Does the media influence society’s moral and political opinions, or merely reinforce the ones it already has?

The media can have a powerful effect on how people see certain topics, but in general this influence is seen simply to move people much further toward an opinion they already held. In several countries this has been proven to be the case, through the different media outlets of advertising, news, and entertainment. The first example, on advertising, is from a study done by Italian psychologists Stefano Tartaglia and Chiara Rollero on advertisements in the largest newspapers of Italy and the Netherlands. The study found that although the two countries scored very differently on the European gender equality index, a scale showing whether a country grants equal rights and representation to both sexes or not (Italy being the less equal of the two), the likelihood of advertisements to sexualize women more than men and show men “in occupational roles and women…in decorative roles” was the same, which demonstrated that the media reflected the Italian society and failed to influence or reflect the Dutch society, which unlike Italy has nearly equal numbers of men and women in the workforce. The second category, news media, is discussed in an essay by Francois Gruber-Magitot. In his writing he concluded that French news media tries to reflect the general public opinion through surveys, while American news media is more specialized toward the opinions of separate political groups. However, in both countries the media only reflected what the viewers already believed, and if it persuaded viewers of anything it was merely that their views were correct and should be held on to even more strongly than they already were. The third category, and often the most controversial when it comes to the origin of societal values, is entertainment. In an article on Christian Answers, the role of entertainment media in creating societal norms is considered from several points of view. On the one hand, the article states, the fact that Americans spend six or more hours per day in contact with entertainment media is important to note because “when you spend that much time watching something, you have just developed new role models and a new window on life.” The article also points to the vast number of studies which seem to suggest that life imitates art, not the other way around. On the other hand, family structure is an important factor in deciding how much media influences viewers, particularly children. The article points to studies showing how Japanese media, though having far fewer restrictions on showing violence than American media, has lower rape and violent crime rates by a long stretch. They also have much lower rates of teen pregnancy or pregnancy outside marriage, and thus a more family-oriented society than America. This implies that violent media is only likely to incite violence in those who grew up with violence and lack of supervision as a norm. It can therefore be concluded that media only influences society when the beginnings of a particular value are already present; otherwise, it merely reflects what is already there.
lexxie rae 04-28-2016

“Entertainment Media – Does It Lead or Follow Society?” Christian Answers. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.
White, Lawrence T. “Does Advertising Content Reflect or Shape Societal Values?” Psychology Today. N.p., 26 Dec. 2015. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.
Gruber-Magitot, Francois. “Does Mass Media Shape or Reflect Public Opinion?” AcademiaN.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.