Category Archives: Food

Terrible Endeavors Require Tangible Incentives

Allow me to begin with a quote:

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar

I have some goals… some very specific, personal goals. Should I achieve those goals, I will “get” – I will receive – some tangible rewards for my accomplishments. They will instinctivize me and motivate me in ways that verbal support cannot.

However, as Zig Ziglar pointed out, what I will achieve by meeting my goals will be far more important than the tokens of my success. I get that. That’s why I’m setting the goals in the first place.

But knowing myself and my history, without some kind of tangible reward on the other side of the tape, I will, as I have so often done before, quit the race before it’s over, before I reach my goals. I need more than the satisfaction of a race well-run to motivate me through the pain and sacrifice needed to be a winner…

I need a trophy

The HUGE Announcement

I mentioned on Facebook that I had a HUGE announcement. Actually, I didn’t say that I had a HUGE announcement as much as I said that I had made some goals.

I’m establishing a HUGE goal for myself. I need your support. For the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. Details coming soon. #leanandmean

Therefore, here are the details . . .

I am tired of my appearance. I am disgusted with my weight. I regularly look in the mirror and hate what I see. Yet, since I know myself better than anyone but God, I am not one who sticks with any weight-loss plan, diet, or workout schedule for very long. Just seeing the number on the scale reduce is not as comforting as buttered cornbread or BBQ pizza.

“Terrible endeavors require tangible incentives.” – A. Baker

 TI1 (Tangible Incentive #1)

So, what’s the deal with the watch? Well, I really, really like nice watches. I will never spend the money for a top-tier luxury watch (Omega, Rolex, etc.), but I do enjoy the look and feel of beautiful and functional timepieces with a little history.

What’s the story with the above watch? Well, first, it’s a Casio MDV106-1AV 200M Duro. What makes it special? Why is it an incentive? Simple: It only costs $45 and it’s worn by the 2nd richest man in the world, Bill Gates. Honestly, who would have thought, right?

Below are four other tangible incentives (TI’s).

TI2

TI3

TI4

TI5

Now comes the time to announce what these incentives are for. 

  1. Casio Duro: losing 10 pounds
  2. Seiko 5: losing 15 pounds
  3. Orient Bambino: losing 20 pounds
  4. Seiko SNN241: losing 30 pounds
  5. Orient “Mako II”: losing 40 pounds

My Goal: Lose 40 pounds and 9 inches! 

Are there other watches I would like to add to my collection? Sure. But these are not terribly expensive. And, as you can see, they are all beautiful watches with different purposes.

And for those of you who might question the cost, at least I don’t have a smartwatch!

Nothing else has worked. But if these watches can motivate me to lose 40 pounds, I will consider them well worth the money, especially considering the savings in long-term health costs

All that will be left is buying new clothes that fit 🙂 

Will you help hold me accountable?

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Filed under fitness, Food

Poetry: Is It That Simple? Or, Do Cooling Cookies Feel?

Simple Rhymes

I never had a problem making simple rhymes. It always came real easy; I did it all the time. So when, in school, the teacher said, “Today, we will be writing verse,” I lept for joy and grabbed my pen, while other students cursed.

It’s also one of the many reasons I love The Princess Bride. The following scene left me splitting my side.

Advanced Poetry

But when it comes to the more complicated kind, my poetry skills fall way behind. Like just today, I read a piece that was slicker than butter in bacon grease. Yet, try as I might to comprehend it, it was too aloof for me to apprehend it. It seemed to make absolutely no sense, like putting a cat inside a fence. However, I knew, it wasn’t the poet; I was simply naive, as my comment doth show it.

I thought and I thought, I wrought and I wrought, until a moment of inspiration! “I know what,” I thought to myself, “I’ve too much preparation!”

I must start with a premise, a theme, or current event, then write with philosophic self-aggrandizement. It doesn’t matter if there’s no rhyming or detectable meter. All one really needs are random thoughts, the more confusing the better.

Heck, what makes it even better is when the poet refuziz to conform to societal norms, standard: punctuation, & ^ CAPitalization rules? get it?

Therefore, if you’ve yet to see through it, my theory is really that anyone can do it.

“Cooling Cookies”

I tried BBB’s “monster cookie” recipe 🙂 Click on picture for link.

Fourteen cookies on a cooling sheet, lying there, cooling there.
Fourteen, cookies. Numbers on a sheet. Only numbers.

Why must the raindrops fall from clouds? Are not oats round?
Hot. Cool. And now the bed is hot, too. The silence is dephning.

Meet me in St. Louis, if Louis is really that saintly. Did he play the trumpet?
Fourteen notes, like fourteen cookies, falling like spit from a trap.

Eat them! Do not lick them! They have cooled.
And when you have eaten them, you’ll turn your back on them.
Stooled.

– by Anthony C. Baker

 

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How Badly Do You Want to Be Loved?

Jingles (not the bell kind)

Do you ever catch yourself singing commercial jingles for no apparent reason? Well, when I am driving, bored, and a little (or a lot) sleepy, I tend to start singing songs I learned as a child. In particular, one song is tops on my repertoire

The Oscar Mayer Wiener Song.

Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener / That is what I’d truly like to be ‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener / Everyone would be in love with me.

First appearing in 1965, this song has become boiled, grilled, steamed, fried, and even micro-waved into our memories. But recently it struck me…what in the world am I saying? Am I so desperate for the attention of others that I would be willing to become an unhealthy food source?

The Need for Love

There are many hurting people in the world who would wish for nothing more than someone to love them. They go to great lengths to be prettier, richer, more popular, or even more “available” – all to find love. But do you really think it’s a good idea to wish you were a hot dog?

What most people don’t know is that there was a second verse to the Oscar Mayer wiener song. In the 1965 commercial a truly intelligent boy quickly understood the true ramifications of the song’s wish and sang the following:

Oh, I’m glad I’m not an Oscar Mayer wiener / That is what I’d never want to be/ ‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener / There would soon be nothing left of me.

Sing it, brother! You tell ’em! Why would anyone want to be a hot dog? Do you really want to be loved so badly that you would sacrifice your humanity and allow yourself to be eaten? It’s not worth it, people…believe me!

The lyrics to this song could be re-written to expose what people are really saying. “Oh I wish I was something else instead of human / A tube of meat is what I want to be / I’d gladly die alone in boiling water / If you would only say that you loved me.

in potLook, there is no reason to want to become a hot dog (you might get eaten by one). Really, there is nothing to be gained by having your body boiled or grilled on an open flame; covered in chili, relish, mustard, and onions; then chewed repeatedly until you’re swallowed by someone who will forget you an hour later (unless the chili upsets them). Stay human. It’s better that way! 

You ARE Loved!

Ironically, someone did become something He was not in order to die for love. The big difference is that He was God and became Human, not a hot dog. And what’s more, He didn’t die to be loved – He died because He loved. His name is Jesus, and He died for you.

“For God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 KJV

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 NIV

You are VERY loved!

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Filed under Food, General Observations, salvation, Uncategorized, Witnessing

I Just Don’t Give a Care!

Photo from a Foxnews.com story

Believe it or not, the drama has already returned. 

Starbucks didn’t put “Christmas” on their coffee cups.

Folks, I’m going to make this short and sweet (even though I like my coffee tall and black), I couldn’t care less what Starbucks does with their coffee cups.

There are a ton of other coffee shops (I went to 14 in Charleston, remember), and most of those had NOTHING on their cups. If anything, their cups were either ceramic or paper with their own logo on the side.

Heck, I’d rather go to McDonald’s for coffee! Their coffee is better than Starbucks’, and I can get 2 cups for the price of one! And McDonald’s cups keep coffee warmer longer, too.

Look, Starbucks is not a Christian company. It’s not even a Christian-friendly company. If anything, it’s blatantly liberal and apologetically so. Why would anyone expect them to promote Christmas?

This is one hill I don’t want to die on.

For that matter, you can have that hill; I’m going to the double arches. 

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Food

Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Where’s the Coffee?

Preparing Sunday lunch in Zimbabwe, not Georgia 🙂

Food

It doesn’t matter where in the world you go, food is a universal need, even here in the middle of Georgia. However, what people eat and drink when they are hungry can vary greatly between location and culture, and Georgia is no exception.

Consider the following observations…

In Romania:

When I was in Romania, I found out that ground pork wrapped in cabbage leaves (sarmale) was the national dish, and I enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember any food in Romania that I didn’t like.

…except that soup.

Once, when staying in an apartment, the host family made fish soup. When I looked into the bowl, several little fish glared back at me with glassy, broth-covered eyes. Considering that the fish had to have come from water that was heavily contaminated by industrial waste, I had to refuse it. Before I did, just to be sure I was doing the right thing in offending my hosts, I dipped a spoon into the broth and tasted it…I had a metallic taste in my mouth for a week after that.

At least there was coffee.

In Zimbabwe:

As opposed to Europe, food choices in Africa can be a little more adventurous, especially for an American. However, for the most part, the food I ate in Zimbabwe was pretty much the same as in the States. The only thing I was told NOT to eat was anything from the bush (i.e., monkey).

The reason for the similarity is that Zimbabwe’s food had a history of English influence, so finding familiar food was not a problem, just as long as you knew what to ask for. Don’t eat their “biscuits” with gravy, if you know what I mean.

The only thing I couldn’t stomach in Zimbabwe was a desert made of bananas, pinto beans, green onion, yogurt, and Thousand Island salad dressing. After one spoonful I was done. My American palate had met its match.

But, at least, there was coffee!

In Georgia:

Look, believe me, the food down here is great, and other than when they spring something new on me, like pineapple sandwiches, it’s pretty much like anywhere else in the South. However, I’ve come to learn that we have a completely different understanding of one key food group: Barbecue.

The best I can tell, once you’re exposed to raw kaolin (the clay mined from the ground), pine trees, and higher-than-average heat, what the rest of the South does with pork doesn’t matter. Somewhere in their rich, rich history, these folk evidently developed a subconscious hatred for the pig. They like to eat it, but first they must pulverize it then torture it with a light bath of BBQ-flavored vinegar.

But at least there’s coffee, right? Uh, well, sorta.

Beverages

Like with food, it doesn’t matter where you go – people have to drink. Of course, what they drink depends upon the quality of the water and whether or not the locals have an excess of potatoes.

But, regardless, everywhere I’ve been in the world, from North America to Europe to Africa, one drink has been there for me, waiting around every corner, offered at every function, even boiled in pots over an open fire …coffee.

That is, except in middle Georgia!

Seriously, in Romania I woke up to a big, cast-iron pot full of dark, fragrant, exceedingly rich coffee over an open fire. Yes, there was electricity where we were staying, but because there were more than a few of us, and since coffee was a must for breakfast, they broke out the pot, lit a fire, and poured in the grounds.

In Zimbabwe, coffee was offered everywhere I went, including homes that prepared their meals in a mud hut! Even in an Ethiopian airport, where few things were recognizable to a Westerner, there was a coffee shop serving that familiar, satisfying, nerve-calming, caffeinated friend.

But here? Coffee? What coffee?

No joke, I’ve been to multiple fellowships, dinners, meetings, you name it, and I can’t tell you one time – not once – where there was any coffee offered with the desserts! Where else, except maybe the Sahara, do you go to an important meeting and find only water and iced tea, but NO coffee?

I don’t understand it.

All I can figure is that the folk down here are so laid back, so calm, so chill, so full of the “peace of that passes all understanding,” that coffee isn’t needed. Sweet tea is the cure-all for everything.

Or, it could be that they learned other ways to cope with stress way back when Union blockades stopped the shipment of coffee to Confederate troops. I don’t know.

Either way, I’ll survive. I’m tough. I’ll even grow to enjoy the way they do their BBQ.

It’s not like I have to have coffee with every meal and meeting, right? It’s not like God commanded locally-grown Georgia pecan pie be accompanied by a cup of dark roast, right?

I may need your prayers.

 

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Filed under baptist, Church, community, Food, General Observations, Humor, ministry, places, Southern Baptist, Struggles and Trials

Anthony’s Appetite (Big Bob’s Bar-B-Q)

The following post was written a few years ago. But since I’ve recently been searching for good BBQ, I thought I’d repost this to lend some context. I know what I like 😉

Bar-B-Q

I may have known in the past, but I have forgotten what Bar-B-Q stands for. I don’t know why it is spelled that way, or why other people spell it BBQ. Some people spell it out as Barbecue, but it’s all the same – good eat’n!

If you don’t know what BBQ is, then you may not be from the South…or West…or East…or anywhere animals are smoked and cooked and eaten with coleslaw and banana pudding. One thing’s for sure, if you have never eaten BBQ, you may not be American.

Decatur, Alabama

Not long ago we went to Decatur, Alabama, which is just a few miles southwest of Huntsville, the place with space and rocket museum. Decatur is also the home of Cooks Pest Control.

Back in the mid-90’s I worked for Cooks in Chattanooga, but had to train in Decatur for a month. While at the home office’s training facility, we were encouraged to go to Big Bob’s Bar-B-Q. We were told it was required of us, in order to be good employees, to eat one of Big Bob’s stuffed baked potatoes. We did, and I never forgot it.

That is why when I visited Decatur this time with my family, it was imperative that we go back and eat another potato. You, the reader, needed to hear about it.

Big Spud

Let me tell you, if you want to eat the best Bar-B-Q in the world, Big Bob’s is out to convince you theirs is it. If nothing else, they have the awards and the big-time recognition to back up their claims. But whether or not their BBQ is the best, they have a serious stuffed potato.

This huge potato comes with your choice of pulled pork, beef brisket, or chicken. Under that is cheese, sour cream, butter, and a few other goodies. Believe me, it is a meal and a half. Just don’t eat it if you are on a carb-free diet.

Overall

I won’t say that Big Bob’s is the best BBQ in the world, but it is pretty dang good. And if you want a potato that will hold a quarter of a pig, then Big Bob’s is a place you need to try at least once. You won’t regret it.

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Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Listen to the Locals

“In the Middle Of…”

When I first traveled down to this part of Georgia, having no knowledge of what was around, I used a common term to describe the area. I told others it was “in the middle of nowhere.”

Since then, I have felt bad about saying that. First, unless Warthen was in the middle of nowhere – like some outpost in the middle of Antarctica – the term could be considered derogatory. Coming across as bigoted isn’t helpful.

Secondly, nowhere is actually nowhere; everywhere is somewhere because God is there. In reality, I’m right in the middle of where I’m supposed to be.

So, there’s that.

Listen to the Locals

But when it comes to getting around and finding what you need, the somewhere might not be “nowhere,” but finding anywhere when you’re there can prove difficult, if not leave you stranded with an empty gas tank and no filling station for miles. That is why before you start exploring, listen to the locals!

One of the first things that bothered me (and, I know, this is more of a first-world problem) was that there seemed to be no restaurants. My wife and I had pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that there would be no nice place to go on a date. But what we came to find out was that if we were only willing to drive a few minutes, and if we were willing to trust our local guides, we would find exactly what we were looking for.

For example, last week a couple from our church invited us to join them for a movie and dinner. After the movie, they took us to a steak house. But if we had not trusted the suggestion of our new friends, we wouldn’t have even given the place a chance. I mean this place was the quintessential example of “hole in the wall.” It was literally a steak house.

In front of Tumpies, the “Best little steakhouse this side of Texas.” It’s not too far away in Dublin, GA. It was a house built in the 1880s, but now a great place to eat!

But the food was some of the best I have ever had – ever. It will be a destination when we host friends from out of town.

Another thing that bothered me was that I didn’t think there were any coffee shops around. Again, when I listened to the locals I found out about a great coffee place not far away from where I will be meeting a new preacher friend every week to talk shop.

So, no, my place in the middle of Georgia might not be Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, or the like, but it has everything I thought I was going to miss and everything I need. I mean, come on, it’s got steak and coffee!

Been Where We’re Going

You know, the children of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, were faced with a similar situation when they were about to cross over the Jordan River. In chapter 3, the Lord told Joshua to send the Levites and the Ark of the Covenant ahead of the people. The reason was pretty clear.

“But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between yourselves and the ark. Don’t go near it, so that you can see the way to go, for you haven’t traveled this way before.” – Joshua 3:4 (CSB)

If there is there anyone we should listen to, it’s the Lord. Do you realize there is not a place He has never walked? Do you know there is not a place, not a situation, not a wilderness, where He has not already worn the straight and narrow path?

Think how much time and effort I saved after listening to the locals who’ve lived in this little town for years and years! How much more would all of us benefit if we’d just trust the One who’s already been where we’re going?

If you can trust the locals, you can certainly trust the Lord – He knows where everything is.

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Filed under Christianity, Church, community, Faith, Food, God, ministry

Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Food and Fur

It’s still a work in progress, but take a look at my new writing spot!

It’s not the most comfortable seating position (in relation to the keyboard), but I think I’ll get used to it… Oh, cool! I just lowered my chair and the keyboard’s in a better position! Sweet!

Anyway, it’s been a really long while since I sat down to write a brand new post, so here it goes!

Culture Shocks

Moving to a new city and a new culture brings with it a multitude of “shocks.” You’d think that a distance of 250 miles (201 as the crow flies) wouldn’t make that much of a difference, but you’d be wrong. Life in rural middle Georgia compared to metropolitan Chattanooga (Gig City) is totally different, and some adjustments are easier than others.

For instance, back in the Chattanooga area there are tons of restaurants, and not just the fast-food variety. There, for instance, you can find several very good barbecue restaurants, all within a few miles of each other. Yet, when my wife and I decided we wanted to find some barbecue down here, we had to drive 45 minutes to a place that was open only on Fridays and Saturdays, had outdoor bathrooms, had no air conditioning, and the floor was sawdust.

I asked a lady sitting quietly nearby, “So, tell me about this place.” With matter-of-fact tone and an attitude that gave me the impression she didn’t enjoy strangers asking stupid questions, she replied, “My daddy woke up one day and decided he wanted to sell barbecue, so he did.”

Hey, the food wasn’t bad, but even more, you didn’t have to worry about slipping and falling!

As we find other culinary establishments to visit, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. Should you come visit and get tired of my wife’s cooking, you’ll be better aware of your options.

Critter Shocks

We left not only our daughters behind when we moved away, but we left two little dogs we loved, too. However, even though I have no wagging tails to great me when I walk in the door; there are plenty of wagging tails on the outside.

Imagine waking up your first morning in a new house, sitting down on your front porch to enjoy the cool, misty air while you sip a cup of coffee and read your Bible. Then, imagine looking up to see two dogs trotting down the quiet two-lane road, one with a shoe hanging from its mouth by the strings. With only the sound of a few birds singing in the trees and the faint squeak of the antique glider you’re sitting on going back and forth, imagine saying to yourself – as I did, “Well, that’s different.”

Here in the equivalent of Mayberry, the dogs are happy, wander the neighborhood, enjoy being petted, and steal any shoe left overnight on a front porch. Literally, the very next morning this same dog came from the opposite direction with a different shoe … only this time she came into my yard and dropped it long enough lick my hand and roll on her back to greet me. A neighbor, out for a walk at the same time, hollered from the street, “She’s the community dog … she doesn’t belong to anybody, but she’s a good watchdog … her name is Dog.”

…There’s also the gnats.

Did you know there was such a thing as the “Gnat Belt”?

Well, we are in it!

Continued Observations

Honestly, there’s a lot more I’d like to tell you, but I don’t want to wear out my welcome. If I bore you now, you might not come back. How sad would that be?

I mean, I’ve left my hometown; I’d hate to lose you guys!

So, hug the ones you love, thank the Lord for His blessings, and be on the lookout for some more posts. What I’m learning I’ll certainly share with you 🙂

God bless!

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Filed under animals, blogging, community, Food, General Observations, places, writing

Things to Do In 2019: Lose an “X”

Honesty Is the Best Policy

OK, I am going to be completely honest with you, dear reader, and the rest of the world – even Dr. Phil…

I’m overweight! 

If the truth be known, I could stand to lose 40 pounds and at least one “X” from my clothing. My current collection is 2 X’s, including an extra “X” for more casual occasions. Believe it or not, my first new suit in years had a coat size of 50R!  I should be in a 44, or less.

Needless to say, I am not as photo-worthy as the sleek version of myself in my header pic, that’s for sure. That’s why I haven’t changed it in the last 8 years!

Not My Temple

But the thing that is so hard to remember when I get a hankering for fresh-baked bread is that this body does not belong to me – it belongs to the Lord.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. – 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 

God not only owns my soul, but He owns this old (literally) body, too. My body is His temple, and I have never been given permission to build any extensions.

Therefore, it is my intention to restore the condition of this fleshly temple, making it more usable and more profitable for the One who owns it in 2019 and beyond.

To do otherwise would be a sin.

Literally.

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin. – James 4:17

 

Oh, and I’ve got to average 83 views a day to break that 30,000 mark.

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Filed under clothing, Food, the future

Got Leftovers? God Wants Them!

The Meal

Yesterday for Thanksgiving we had a wonderful meal of green bean casserole. macaroni and cheese, rolls, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, giblet gravy, pecan pie, sweet potato pie, and the all-important turkey and dressing.

We had to put an extra leaf in the table to accommodate everyone, but we had fun with the new turkey plates, fancy silverware, and the new tablecloth meant to be written on… yes, we signed our names.

But that turkey – oh my goodness! It was the largest turkey my wife has ever prepared! It weighed 20 pounds! Needless to say, we are going to be eating turkey for a while to come. Including what we freeze for later, there will be turkey sandwiches, turkey pie, breakfast turkey, and late-night turkey snacks up until Christmas.

Leftovers

Yes, one of the best things about Thanksgiving is the leftover turkey. However, not all leftovers are good. Sometimes leftover food should just be thrown away the next day, especially if it’s not properly stored.

When it comes to leftovers, it really all comes down to context, and that was the basis of a sermon I preached at Riverside Baptist Church (my former pastorate) back in 2015. Actually, the sermon I preached was divided into three major points, the Provisional Context, the Praise and Worship Context, and the Personal Context.

If you feel like God can’t use you because you’re too used up, too far past your prime, or yesterday’s news, why not take a few minutes to listen to the sermon I’m linking to below. The audio is not the greatest, but you should be able to understand it well enough.

Find out what God thinks about “Leftovers,” especially now that you’re going to be surrounded by them for the next month 😉

Leftovers (In Three Contexts): a Sermon by Anthony Baker

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