Friday Five


1. The Royal Baby is actually Southern. Or Southerners are actually royal. Either way, Prince George is one of us, y’all.

2. Writers, Stop Writing About Writing. This is how I feel every time I try to write about writing and every time I read about writing. In a similar vein (in that it’s about writing), How to Spot Satire on the Internet. As someone who would love to write more satire, but is afraid of being taken seriously, I like the advice “you need to go for the jugular and keep a straight face.”

3. 6 Times Stephen Colbert Got Serious About Faith. Speaking of satire. It’s going to be very interesting to watch him on The Late Show, because he’s mostly played a caricature of someone (himself?) for years. In some of these instances, I’m still not sure if he’s playing someone or being himself.  Either way, I love how he explains Hell to his kids (the second on the list).

4. Because it’s Good Friday, I thought we’d end with a little worship. First, the Avett Brothers:

5. This is quite possibly my favorite song of the moment. But really the entire album is my favorite. Go buy it. (Also, last week, this song debuted on Conan’s website. Just a worship song playing on all day long. LOVE that.) 

Have a wonderful Easter weekend!


we call it Good Friday

Good Friday

It’s weird that we call this Friday “Good.”

This Friday is the memorial of the grotesque, terrible death of our Lord. So, it does seem strange that we find the day of His death “Good.”

But Friday is Good because of what happened on a Friday long ago. Not the death, not the torture, but the sacrifice.

That Friday is Good because the sacrifice, the death that happened then? it didn’t last. With that one terrible, magnificent sacrifice, death exploded. Life was made possible.

He died that we may have life. Crazy, glorious, abundant life. Forever. With God.

So this Friday–the death that happened so long ago–is Good. It is the most good. The best good. It is a goodness we can barely comprehend because it is so much more good than anything else we will ever experience or know.

It’s still weird. But it is Good.
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Friday Five


Okay, we’re gonna get a little teary at first, but stay with me. The last video is worth it.

1. Some strangers and friends made sure this dad would get a chance to walk his little girl down the aisle. TISSUE WARNING.

2. I also almost cried during this. I love what she says in the beginning about it being a song about not giving up on someone even when they give up on themselves. (And I know it’s a Disney song, but it’s kinda deep, y’all.)

[So, I couldn't find a way to embed it. Click here. It really is good.]

3. Connie Britton as Goodwill Ambassador, Tami Taylor for President.

4. I liked what Shauna Niequist and Hayley (the tiny twig) said about blogging and writing this week.

5. Finally. I present, Chozen (A Passover Tribute):


2014 NCAA Tournament Bracket Winner

NCAA 2014

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is over, I hear. Good job to all the teams, I guess. I don’t really know. I only watched parts of a few games.

Here’s what I do know: UConn’s colors: BLUE and white. This is new information for me this year. I will be applying it to my strategy next year.

Anyway, the winner of the Annual NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge 2014 is…

Jason Spooner.

Jason, congrats! Email me from the contact page and I’ll send that Amazon money your way.

NCAA Tournament Bracket 2014

Thanks to everyone who played along! Better luck next year, damonridesbikes! 

1 Comment

Friday Five


1. Samuel L. Jackson. Slam poetry. Boy Meets World.

2. How I Met Your Mother ended this week. (Oh, you didn’t hear?) And most people were not happy, including me. I really liked this article about it, which kind of explains probably why the writers ended it the way they did. I think it would have been fine, and even funny to have the kids grown up at the end and film a new ending. No need to force yourself into something when the characters have grown and changed. I learned that from Anne Lamott, I think.

Someone did provide us with an alternate ending:

3. I loved this article on what the church can learn from Jimmy Fallon. It nails exactly why he’s so likable, while challenging the church to be the same…likable.

4. I’ve had this song stuck in my head all week:

5. Add this to my bucket list (thanks, Lydia!).

Bonus because it’s just fantastic, even if you have already seen it: 


Tweets of the Month, y’all.


I don’t know Dr. Hamilton, but listen. John Piper’s endorsement of commas is my favorite.

Amen, me too.








Practical Tips for Practical Jokers

Since today is April 1st, I thought I’d do a little re-blog of a post I wrote a few years ago about practical jokes. Enjoy (and don’t believe anything you read today). 

practical jokes, pranks, jokes, April Fools' Day, April 1

Today is April Fool’s Day. Not sure where this holiday originated (and I’m too lazy at the moment to Google it), but I do know we can expect at least 34% of our facebook friends will try to play a prank regarding their relationship status or (for those ready for the next stage in life) babies on the way.

April Fool’s Day can be fun if handled responsibly. Let me offer a few principles for the day, that can also be applied to days that are not the first of April. In fact, most of the best pranks I’ve ever done were not on April Fool’s Day. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure that I’ve ever tried a practical joke on April 1st. People expect it. Which leads to our first tip…

1. Do something unexpected.
This is why the facebook relationship status change is no longer funny. People know you’re joking if you change your status on April 1st. It’s expected.
When thinking of a practical joke, be original. The best practical jokes are those that have never been done before. Or, if it has been done before, add a twist. My family once rolled (or TP’d if you’re Lydia) our two best family-friends’ yards on Christmas Eve–so they could have a “White Christmas.” It’s an old prank, but Christmas Eve was a new twist.

2. Know your target.
You want to make sure the person you’re pranking won’t hate you for life. This isn’t an exact science, but some questions that you might consider: Does this person send you apocalyptic emails? Does this person cry watching America’s Funniest Home Videos because of “all those people getting hurt”? Does this person warn you not to use your full name on the internet? Then, they may not be the best people to play a joke on. Also, don’t play a practical joke on someone you don’t like. That’s a hate crime. Jokes are for friends.
Another factor to consider is revenge. If by targeting this person, you happen to start an all-out prank war, will that be okay for you? Does this person have any sort of compromising pictures of you–perhaps your junior high years? Do they own weapons? Will they follow the principles listed here? It’s important to know what you may be getting yourself into.
Finally, you want to know what they would not find funny. Everyone has a thing that is more of an anger trigger than a oh-you-got-me! trigger. For example, I have told numerous people if they ever try to scare me (by jumping out at me or something that would make me jump), I will not only cry, but also never speak to them again. Or if someone really prizes their car, you don’t want to put Vaseline on their door handles (and if you want them to be able to leave their current location, you should never put Vaseline on their windshield. I know this from experience.). You may also ask yourself, “Will they press charges?” which leads to our next point.

3. Do something you can own up to later.
If you permanently stain the brick on the side of your friends’ house by drawing a huge shaving cream heart on it, you may or may not have to pay for the damages if they find out you’re the culprit. If you could potentially have to pay a fine, go to jail, or be suspended, you may want to think more creatively. 
You want to do something so that later, when people talk about the event, you can say “I did that” and people will respond “Really? That was so funny!” rather than “Really? Can you stay here while I call the authorities?”

4. Have a partner in crime.
This just makes it more fun.

One of the best practical jokes I ever pulled off was in college. We moved all the left-handed desks into one classroom, leaving only two right-handed desks (the opposite of the norm). We chose a room where a couple of us had class the next morning and wrote something about a Left-Handed Scholarship meeting on the board to seal the deal. The next morning, a few people were pretty annoyed. A few even fell for the Left-Handed Scholarship joke (which we really didn’t expect people to believe). Mostly, people just thought it was funny. Slowly, the majority of left-handed desks migrated back to their original rooms. For the rest of my college career, though, when any of us would mention our prank, people would say, “That was you! That was great.” Prank success.

What is the best practical joke you’ve ever played? Have you heard of any great ones?


Friday Five


1. The Office Time Machine. I love people who have too much time on their hands because they make stuff like this and it is fantastic. Enter any year and it shows clips from The Office that coordinate with that year. Any year!

2. Making Sad Songs Happy and Happy Songs Sad:

3. This is just fun: an article all about Emojis. It covers the history, some explanations, some stats, and how to get a new emoji made. Please, we need tacos already.

4. Erin and MeLissa are at it again with “Plan A.”

5. Run Your Race by Jen Hatmaker. Love this.

Bonus because I realized this past weekend that 80% of my fall/winter/March2014 wardrobe involves a cardigan: Cardigans, A Love Story.


A Simple Guide to the Paleo Diet

guide to paleo, paleo, diet, paleo diet

There’s a diet craze sweeping the nation. It seems to be really popular among bloggers, but I have yet to write a post about it. What kind of blogger am I? I don’t know. That’s beside the point. Today, I’m here to tell you all about the paleo diet.

The paleo diet gets its name from the paleolithic-era man. The story goes that some nutritionists were taking in an exhibit at the Museum of Natural History and noticed that the manikins in the neanderthal display seemed rather fit. The conversation went thusly:

Nutritionist 1: You know, those people knew how to eat.
Nutritionist 2: Yeah, I mean, look at them. They’re in great shape.
Nutritionist 1: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Nutritionist 2: That we should come up with a new diet based on what neanderthals ate and make millions of dollars in book sales/customized products?
Nutritionist 1: Exactly.
Nutritionist 2: What should we call this diet? The Neanderthal Diet might turn some people off.
Nutritionist 1: Hmm, true. … What about the Peleolithic Diet?
Nutritionist 2: Is that the same thing?
Nutritionist 1: No clue, but “Paleo Diet” sounds pretty cool.

And thus the Peleo Diet was born.

It makes perfect sense that we’d want to emulate these people who, frankly, wouldn’t have a chance at  becoming America’s Next Top Model (it’s probably due to the inbreeding), lived lives that were simply about surviving, and then died before they hit 35. Dem abs, tho.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You want to get started right away. You’re probably tempted to jump on Pinterest where you’ve no doubt seen countless paleo recipes for things like “brownies” and “hotdogs” and “salsa.” Lies. I once saw a paleo recipe for turkey bacon. Yeah, right. Cavemen see a turkey and think, “How could we process this creature into tiny strips and cook it?” No. They throw the carcass over a fire and then tear a leg off and eat it. I’ve been to enough renaissance faires to know that’s how old-timey people ate turkey.

But don’t give up, dear reader. I’m here to help. How can you, too, follow the diet of these fit people from our past? Simple. So, so simple.

Step 1: Locate some hunting grounds.
The Peleolithic peoples were hunter/gatherers. They worked together, each playing to their strengths. If you’re going to do this solo, though, you’ll need to locate an area rife with flora and fauna. Flora and fauna that you are legally allowed to kill. Good luck, urban-dwellers.

Step 2: Learn to make weapons.
You want to do this right, don’t you? Peleolithic peoples did not have guns.

Step 3: Kill some animals with your new weapons.
Congratulations, you have meat!

Step 4: Skin, pluck, and otherwise prepare your meat for cooking.
I’m sure there are YouTube tutorials for this step. If not, I remember Little House in the Big Woods providing exceptional detail to the process of preparing a pig. A wild boar would probably be similar.

Step 5: Pick some “veggies.”
I put veggies in quotes there because I’m guessing it will be more like “grass” that you’re able to find in the wilderness. Careful with the mushrooms. WikiAnswers was inconclusive on whether or not the paleolithic people had gardens. I suppose you could grow some stuff without cheating too much. But you’ll probably have to find the seeds on your own. Paleo people didn’t have Home Depot.

Step 6: Build a fire.
You may use two sticks or flint. No lighters, newspaper, starter logs, or any form of gas or charcoal. Cavemen didn’t have those things.

Step 7: Cook your food over the open flame.
No spices unless you found them while gathering your “veggies.” Also, no pots or pans unless you made them with your own hands out of organic items you yourself found. I recommend just stabbing the animal with a stick and holding over the fire. Modern man finds this kind of thing “quaint” and “fun” and “a way for small children to set their  hair on fire.” You’ll come to know it as “survival.”

Step 8: Eat and repeat.
You may need to quit your job, because this is going to cost you a lot of time. But, hey, you’ll be in great shape!

That’s it! Easy peasy.

If you aren’t a fan of the Paleo Diet, I’m working on a new one called the Aztec Diet. It consists mostly of chocolate and coffee. And lots of corn.


Elizabeth Hyndman is qualified to write about neanderthals and nutrition because she was once described as “Paleo-curious” and she kissed the Blarney Stone in 2006. 


Friday Five


1. The Giver is being made into a movie. I loved that book in high school (I also thought it had a different ending than the rest of my class did.). From the looks of this trailer, I need to read it again because I remember very little of this.

2. I just really liked this quote by Flannery O’Connor.

3. Check out this adorable baby workout.

4. This is just incredible technology. It’s a high-res picture of NYC and you can zoom in anywhere. It takes a minute to get the navigation down, but it’s fun to explore.

5. Who doesn’t love Charlie Brown and Snoopy? It will be good to see these guys finally make it to the big screen.

And just because this is such a great Friday song, a bonus:


2014 NCAA Tournament Bracket

NCAA 2014

Hey guys. It’s March, which means March Madness, which means that the NCAA division has a basketball tournament and people get mad about it and it’s in March.

It also means that it’s time for my Annual March Madness Tournament Bracket Challenge (trademark pending). You, yes YOU, could win a $30 gift card (email) to Amazon! [Not a billion dollars, but you have a much better chance at winning this one.] Details are at the bottom of this post (Kinda like how they put milk at the back of the store. I at least want you to have to scroll all the way through my ramblings strategy.).

But you may be saying, “Elizabeth, I know nothing about basketball. How can I possibly fill out a bracket? How will I know which teams to pick? What is a good strategy for filling one out? How do you shoot a layup?” Look, I can’t answer all of your questions. But here’s the deal: anyone can fill out a bracket. You never know what’s going to happen, other than you can pretty much guarantee at least one upset.

You can employ strategy in filling out your bracket, like you could look up stats and do math and stuff. Or you could just pick your favorite teams. You could pick your favorite animal mascots, or your favorite colors. Or you can make up your own strategy. You do you.

Because usually everyone is all, “Tell me, how do YOU fill out your bracket? You know so much about sports! You must be great at it!” I always provide my strategy here on the blog. I’m here to serve.

Here we go:

Round 1-SOUTH
Florida vs. UA/MSMary. I don’t know who Ms. Mary is, but she’s not going to win. The parts of my twitter feed I actually read during Selection Sunday tell me Florida is pretty good this year.

Colorado vs. Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh. I feel like they’ve been here before. And Colorado can now smoke marijuana, so I’m sure that’s affecting their game. Right? [I know nothing about the effects of marijuana.]

VCU vs. SF Austin. Why is San Francisco in Austin? Also…VCU. I have to look this one up every time. VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY: file it away. [Googles "SF Austin"] Stephen F. Austin State University. What does the F stand for, you think? Franklin? [Googles "What does the F in Stephen F Austin stand for?"] Fuller, you guys. It’s Fuller. Eh. VCU is rated 5 and S. Fuller A. is a 12. And it’s their first year, I think. I THINK.

UCLA vs. Tulsa. UCLA, no contest.

Ohio State vs. Dayton. Ohio State is a big football school, and they aren’t like SEC football schools (who aren’t also necessarily basketball schools), so I’ll go with it. Also, they went to like the Final Four or something once when I was in college. Since the players alternate every year, I’m sure their past is a good way to measure their future. Maybe they have a good coach?

Syracuse vs. W. Michigan. Syracuse. They’re here every year, folks.

New Mexico vs. Stanford. Look at you, Stanford. First Harvard runs away with the tournament last year and now you’re here, too. I’ll give you this round. Smart people, FTW. [Did you know that Stanford isn't technically an Ivy League school, but it has been called the "21st Century Harvard"? Looking good for this year's tournament, then, guys. Looking good.]

Kansas vs. E. Kentucky. Kansas. Always and forever. At least, you know, in the first round.


Virginia vs. Coastal Car. Huh? Oh, I bet Carolina. It has a coast. Or they both do. Which one is this? It doesn’t matter. Virginia.

Memphis vs. G Wash. G Wash was totally the first POTUS’ rapper name. Memphis. #StateLoyalty

Cincinnati vs. Harvard. This is difficult, because Harvard is rated so far below Cincy, but Harvard went so far last year. Also, I have a Harvard Tshirt. We’re going to hope for the upset again. Harvard.

Michigan State vs. Delaware. Michigan State.

UNC vs. Providence. UNC, definitely. But you guys, the puns the sports people-writer-announcer guys will be able to make if Providence wins. It’s almost like it’s meant to be!

Iowa State vs. NC Central. I feel like there are a lot of teams on here I haven’t heard of. Iowa State. 

Connecticut vs. St. Joe’s. Is it for real St. Joe’s or is ESPN taking liberties with a Saint’s name here? Just curious. Connecticut. 

Villanova vs. Milwaukee. Villanova, and not just because I didn’t know how to spell Milwaukee without looking.


Arizona vs. Weber State. Weber–where even is that? Utah. Also, their color is purple. Arizona. 

Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma State. Fun thing I learned last year: Gonzaga “always” “chokes” during the NCAA tournament. Not sure what kind of stage-mom coach they have over there pressuring them so much. I’ll still go for them this round. You guys need to KEEP CALM AND PLAY BASKETBALL.

Oklahoma vs. ND State. OKLAHOMA! 

[I was singing that last part in my head...not sure if that was made clear by the caps I wanted to verify. Musicals+Basketball. Not a lot of blogs offer this, you guys.]

San Diego State vs. NM State. Both of those places are so pretty. Y’all need to get outside! Don’t be in a gym all day. San Diego. Only because they’re rated higher. That’s the only reason.

Baylor vs. Nebraska. Baylor. 

Creighton vs. Louisiana. Creighton. Mostly because I just like their name. I know literally nothing else about that school.

Oregon vs. BYU. Oregon. It rains a lot there. Basketball is a good way to escape that. Wait, that’s Seattle that has a lot of rain. Hm. maybe BYU then because WHY NOT?

Wisconsin vs. American. You guys, did we get this confused with the Olympics? All these teams are American. What is going on? Wisconsin, because it just makes more sense.

Almost finished….with the first round. The rest will be easier.

MIDWEST (What, no North?)

Wichita State vs. Cal Poly/TX So. All of those sound made-up. But Wichita State.

Kentucky vs. Kansas State. If my twitter feed/friend Katie has taught me anything this season, it is that the Harrison twins were a disappointment and KY has not been doing so well. They ALMOST beat the Gators the other day and it was like a huge deal that they even came close. Or something like that. I was mostly skipping over those tweets. Nevertheless, they’re in one higher seed (am I using this terminology right?) than KS, so we’ll go with Kentucky. For this round.

St. Louis vs. NC State/Xavier. I need to know who wins that game before I can place my vote. [Googles "Xavier"] Yeah, see, North Carolina is good at basketball. Xavier is from Ohio. I guess they’re also pretty good. We’ll go with option B here.

Louisville vs. Manhattan. Is that Manhattan like in NYC? WHAT. Yeah, it is. One of the first results on Google was “Manhattan matchup is nightmare for coach.” No joke. Louisville won last year. Poor Manhattan. I’m all for upsets, but I highly doubt that one.

UMass vs. Iowa/Tenn. This is ridiculous. I guess UMass because I have literally heard nothing but prayer requests about UT’s team this year. And who even knows about Iowa. Who. even. knows?

Duke vs. Mercer. Duke may be a “football school” now and in the SEC (right? [googles] how can Google be so inconclusive on this? It’s a simple question. Someone just let me know in the comments.), but I think they’re also still a basketball school. Plus, their color is blue.

[If you're new here. It's a fact theory of mine that all blue schools are good at basketball. Think about it.]

Texas vs. Arizona State. Texas, because Texas.

Michigan vs. Wofford. Wofford sounds like a Muppet name. Oh, hey. It’s a small school in SC. Well, congratulations guys on making it this far. I’m sorry Michigan will beat you in the first round.

[VERY disappointed Vandy isn't here.]


Sweet Sixteen-SOUTH

Florida vs. Pittsburgh. Florida.


Ohio State vs. Syracuse. Syracuse based solely on the fact that I like saying their name better.

Kansas vs. Stanford. Kansas. Blue uniforms. Plus they’re usually pretty good. USUALLY.

[Sidenote: who is teaching these bracket-makers geography? Seriously. Stanford? UCLA? Pittsburgh? In the South? Don't think so.]


Virginia vs. Memphis. You know what? Memphis. #StateLoyalty eh…just noticed Virginia is a 1 seed. (is it seed or seat? Now I’m doubting everything.) Oh, what the heck. Memphis.

Harvard vs. Michigan State. Sorry, Harvard. Can’t have too many upsets per region per round. #Strategy. Michigan State.

UNC vs. Iowa State. Listen. I saw this picture on twitter of some Iowa State player with blood where his eye should be. I don’t know if maybe his eye was there, too, but there was a lot of blood. A LOT OF BLOOD. I don’t know if he was an important player or not, but I know this: you need both eyes working for proper depth perception. You know what requires depth perception? Throwing a basketball into a net that’s several feet away. Also, catching a flying sphere as it’s hurdled toward you. I’m going to have to go with UNC on this. Bonus: Blue.

Connecticut vs. Villanova. Villanova. It’s fun to say + they’re usually pretty good.


Arizona vs. Gonzaga. Arizona. Gonzaga “always” “chokes.”

Oklahoma vs. San Diego State. Oklahoma. [okay, I sang it that time, too.]

Baylor vs. Creighton. Here are some facts I googled about Creighton: It’s a private, Jesuit university in Nebraska. Now that I type all of that, I remember looking it up last year. Because I compared them to the Pope, who is also Jesuit, though not from Nebraska. #FunFacts Creighton.

BYU vs. Wisconsin. Wisconsin. Because I saw something about Wisconsin mentioned in a positive way…or maybe it was Wichita…something W.


Wichita St. vs. Kentucky. See above note on something positive about something W. Also, those Harrisons, amirite? Wichita. 

NC St/Xavier vs. Louisville. Louisville. They won last year.

U Mass vs. Duke. Duke because blue.

Texas vs. Michigan. Texas. No real reason.


Elite Eight [almost done you guys]

Florida vs. VCU. Florida because I just hear they’re really good.

Syracuse vs. Kansas. Gotta go with Kansas here. Because a. they’re seeded higher; b. blue; c. they won me bragging rights one year a long time ago.

Memphis vs. Michigan State. This is an odd thing I have going here. Um, Memphis. 

UNC vs. Villanova. Villanova. Only because they’re seeded higher. Oh, hey. They also have blue. Would you look at that?

Arizona vs. Oklahoma. Arizona. 

Creighton vs. Wisconsin. I think the W I heard about was Wichita. Creighton.

Wichita St. vs. Louisville. Wichita St. 

Duke vs. Texas. Duke. 


Final Four

Wichita State



Florida vs. Wichita State

[At this point, in case you're wondering about my strategy, I just go with my gut. It's complicated.]

Winner: Florida. 

Score [I just arbitrarily pick numbers because I know so much about basketball that it's difficult to crunch those kinds of numbers and algorithms and stats and stuff. Okay, I also googled past game scores.]: 68-45.


There you have it, folks. An air-tight strategy for picking your bracket. You are welcome. 

Now, some people fill out different brackets for each competition they’re entering. I don’t. I would be mad at myself if my bracket in my blog’s tournament did well, but the one I fill out for Warren Buffet gets everything wrong. Plus, when you apply so much strategy, it just gets exhausting to try to do that several times.

Okay, here’s how you enter’s Annual NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge for the $30 Amazon gift email: You go to through this link, or if you’re already on there, the group name is The group password is: elizabeth. Fill out your bracket, submit it, and you’re entered. You have until Thursday, March 20 to make your selections. Easy peasy. Check back here when the tournament ends if you won and I’ll let you know how to collect your prize (I’ll ask for your email address).

Um, so…Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose. Go! Fight! Win! 

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