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So this weekend I went to a conference here in Pittsburgh. It’s called Jubilee, and it’s sponsored by CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach)—which my dad works for. It’s annual. It’s for college students, which I am not. But…Lauren Winner was a speaker, so I signed up.

That's right, Lauren Winner—as in Lauren F. Winner, author of Girl Meets God, Mudhouse Sabbath, and most recently Real Sex: the Naked Truth about Chastity. Brianne told me to read GMG for about year before I got around to it, but I did come across a couple of articles of hers that I really liked. Seeing her in person was…interesting. I got to meet her and had her sign a couple of books. I was completely uncool and babbled. Rule #1 when you meet a famous, brilliant author like Lauren Winner: Don’t talk about stupid stuff like football. But she was very nice. I have to say, though, that in her session, I didn’t really appreciate her remarks about President Bush. Why everyone got to be a hater?

Actually, that brings me to some of the things I didn’t like about Jubilee. I was a little annoyed with the way everyone was kind of bashing on America. Now, I’m first in line to admit that America has its share of problems. What country doesn’t? What culture, what society doesn’t? Do we create a lot of problems? Yes. But again, who doesn’t? Vilifying the U.S. is not going to make anything better. And pointing the finger isn’t exactly helpful, either.

I think if the speakers had even stepped back a minute and graciously added that they themselves were part of the problem (and not the solution, as at least one seemed to imply) it might have gone over better with me. But I don’t like being yelled at, and I don’t like being guilted. There were a lot of good points made at Jubilee, but I at least felt like some of the speakers poured it on too strong. Yes, I believe in social justice, I believe in helping the poor, I believe in living simply. But I think God calls people to all different walks of life. Okay. Off my soapbox now…

…And on to happier things. First, I’d like to say that one of my favorite things about Jubilee was the worship. Led by
Steve Fee, it was excellent. They were an awesome band, just as good as you’d expect someone like David Crowder or Matt Redman to be. And he was very humble, never once used the stage to promote his CD’s, and didn’t even use any of his own songs until the very last (and even then he didn’t mention that it was his). Very nice guy, very talented band. Very worshipful times…it’s been a while since I was in the audience.

Also, another highlight of the weekend was that I got to see a screening of the new Steve Taylor movie, The Second Chance. If this is playing in a theater near you (click on the link to go to the site) go see it. It was an excellent movie, despite whatever misgivings you might have about Michael W. Smith being in a lead role. The whole crowd gave it a standing ovation afterward. That was really cool, because actually Steve Taylor and the other lead actor jeff obafemi carr were there for discussion afterward. They had some interesting stories to tell about how the story evolved a little. And btw,
if you don’t know who Steve Taylor is, shame on you.

So, yeah…I had an interesting weekend. I roomed with some neat college girls, and hung out with my dad. I walked around the ’Burgh a bit, even took the “T” (the subway). And…I bought like ten books. Which is kind of sad, considering I have no time to read them before…well, actually, I will leave that for another post. Coming soon.



After writing my last post, in which I confessed that as much as I want to be married, it’s not at the top of my to-do list, I started think about just how weird I am. You’d really think that a hopeless romantic like me would rate marriage as her number one goal in life, but...no. Sadly, this is not the only bizarre thing about me, as you’d see if you really knew me. So, for the heck of it, I thought I’d come clean and post a list of the 27 weirdest things about me (27, btw, is my favorite number). [For future readers, I'm adding edits in this color, over 4 years later.]

  1. I have never lived anywhere for more than about five years. Some places I lived less than a year. [Pittsburgh was seven years.]
  2. I am a phone-a-phobe. I hate to call people on the telephone. I don’t even like ordering pizza. I don’t know why; but I would much rather write an email or a real letter than call someone that I don’t know very well. And I mean very well.
  3. I don’t like the taste of alcohol. I barely tolerate the smell. [This has changed.  I have come to enjoy some types very much in moderation.]
  4. I currently own over 500 books, crammed into my bedroom. And I fully intend to buy many more.  [I couldn't begin to guess. Probably twice that.]
  5. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 24 years old.
  6. I have only been on two real dates. With two different guys.
  7. I went to four different high schools.
  8. I don’t believe in evolution. [At least, not macro evolution.]
  9. I haven’t celebrated Halloween since I was five.
  10. When I was in high school, I refused to watch Friends.
  11. I like to watch TV and movies with the closed captions on, even though I am not hearing impaired.
  12. I work at a coffee shop, but I don’t drink coffee.  [Yep, drink that now, too, thanks to my stint at Starbucks.]
  13. In my spare time, when I’m bored, I watch Disney Channel programs. And I enjoy them.
  14. I believe with my whole heart that there is a God, and that He created me, died for me, and loves me.
  15. I am both a cat and a dog person.
  16. Some people hear things and burst into song (my parents); I hear things and it will remind me of a movie quote. And I have to say it. And it will sound totally random.
  17. Whenever I watch something (TV, movie) I play the “Where have I seen him/her” game. If an actor or actress is familiar, I have to figure out where I’ve seen him or her before. Luckily, IMDB has made that a whole lot easier for me.
  18. I laugh out loud when I’m reading or watching something, no matter where I am.
  19. I write in my books; I underline and circle things and scribble in the margins even if it’s a work of fiction. I can’t not write (if it’s my copy).
  20. I randomly use a British accent in conversation; but my whole family does this. [This has gotten worse since becoming obsessed with Doctor Who.]
  21. I really don’t like going to the beach or camping. [Actually, it depends on the beach, the campsite, and who I'm with.  I quite liked Greystones beach in Ireland, for example.]
  22. I watch the credits of movies.
  23. I eat cake for the frosting. But only if it’s the “good” kind.
  24. My legs do not tan. They stay super-white no matter how long I stay out. [Except in Texas, as I discovered during a long summer as a camp counselor in the scorching sun.]
  25. I snort when I laugh if I think something is really funny.
  26. I’m actually friends with my brother and parents.
  27. I don’t care a whit which way the toilet paper goes.

There you have it! I’m a freak. Though you probably already suspected this was true, now you have proof. But you know, I wouldn’t trade all my quirks and idiosyncrasies even if I could. Maybe that’s the weirdest thing about me.

PS: I challenge you to come up with a weird thing about me and post it in a comment. Go on. I can take it. 



I guess what it comes down to is that it’s just that time of year.

I mean, I could blame a lot of other things, I suppose; Hallmark, married friends, hormones, chocolate, chick flicks….but I really think it’s just the time of year.

You know what I mean: Valentine’s Day.
AKA, Singles Awareness Day.

You know how Valentine’s Day got this new nickname? Of course you do. It was so dubbed by the single, bitter masses who don’t like having their status rubbed in their faces every February the 14th.

I really don’t consider myself bitterly single—at least the majority of the time—but there are days. Like Valentine’s Day. Now, I have at least one friend who argued with me adamantly that V-Day is not just about romantic love, that’s it’s not just for couples. There is some truth to this; however, that’s just not the way it’s painted for the most part. Just as Christmas has largely lost its beautiful, deeper meaning in our materialistic culture, so Valentine’s Day, too, has become focused mainly on romantic love.

That’s really not so bad; it’s just that it always seems to come right around a time when I’m already struggling with issues connected to my singleness. Recently, for example, I was reading some articles on
Boundless, a Webzine in affiliation with Focus on the Family. Overall, it’s a really good resource for people in their twenties; but their preoccupation with marriage frequently alarms me.

I think marriage is a good and honorable thing, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. And I think far too many people rush into it today as it is. Their view is that most people ought to be married, and those of us who are still single in our late twenties ought to consider what we could be doing to head toward marriage. At first, I was affronted by these assertions. Then one night, I took some time and read their articles directed toward young single women like me. At the end of the night, I was frustrated and rather depressed. You might think articles titled “
Finding a Husband” or “Pulling a Ruth” might be very helpful; but unfortunately, they weren’t for me.

Ultimately, I came to kind of a startling conclusion. I sat and thought about what it is that’s really important to me right now. I realized that as much as I’d like to be married someday, it’s not at the top of my priority list. If it was, maybe the advice offered by
Candace Watters might have been more helpful. But for several reasons, that’s just not my main goal right now:

  1. I don’t really feel ready for marriage. I don’t know if anyone really is ready for everything marriage requires, but I think at some point I ought to be on my own and providing for myself before I “settle down.”
  2. My deepest desire right now is to use the gifts I have in writing and relating stories to reach people and help them connect to God. That this was a deeper desire even than marriage kind of shocked me; but it’s true. I have to be faithful to what God has given me and how He made me.
  3. I really don’t think that any of the guys I know right now (and there aren’t many who are single and my age) are “for me.” I’m pretty picky, and not just superficially; see my post on Singleness. I’m not totally closed to the idea; I just don’t see it happening.
  4. I’m not desperate enough. I don’t mean this to sound disparaging. But I know I would have to really be desperate to use an online dating service, or to start “networking” with people who “might know somebody” for me (as Boundless suggests). And I’m not. I don’t want it so badly that I’m willing to use whatever resource is necessary, and maybe that’s my problem.
  5. But I really feel that if it’s going to happen for me, then it’s just going to happen. I don’t mean that I wouldn’t have to do any work, just that my work wouldn’t be in the “finding the man” department. Why do I feel this way? I don’t know, except that many of the important things in life have just "happened" without me seeking them out (college, and most of my jobs). Is it too fatalistic? Is it too na├»ve? Maybe.

The good news is, no matter what I feel about Valentine’s Day or Singleness or Marriage, God is in control. He is the one I ultimately answer to for my convictions, so if I’m wrong, sooner or later He’ll show me.

Until then, I’m going to try viewing S.A.D. as something positive: I’m single right now, but not necessarily forever. My awareness of my status could be of its temporal fleetingness, and a reminder to use my time wisely (as opposed to pining over something I don’t have). Maybe some V-Day down the road, I’ll be viewing it through different eyes and revel in the celebration of romantic love.

Or maybe not. Only Time will tell.

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.
*In love, you feel the most alive when things are straight-forward, and you're told that you're loved. (Why should I have to guess?)
You'd like to your lover to think you are stylish and alluring.
*You would be forced to break up with someone who was ruthless, cold-blooded, and sarcastic. (Or never date them in the first place.)
*Your ideal relationship is open. Both of you can talk about everything... no secrets.
*Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.
You think of marriage something you've always wanted... though you haven't really thought about it. (No, girls never think about marriage.)
In this moment, you think of love as something you don't need. You just feel like flirting around and playing right now.
    (Don't know if all that is entirely true, but it was fun anyway.)


Steeler Nation

Well, tonight marks a milestone in my life: for the first time ever in my 26 years, I actually sat down and watched the Super Bowl—first to fourth quarter.

I am admittedly not the biggest football fan, despite my dad’s attempts at indoctrination. But here I am in Pittsburgh, where I have lived the last almost four years. I’ve lived all over the country, and I have never, ever lived anywhere that went so nuts for a football team. It’s quite infectious. Pittsburgh loves the Steelers. And it’s easy to see why: the guys—quite aside from their athletic prowess—are great guys.

I have said many times in my life that I can’t get into sports games, unless I have some kind of emotional connection to the players. Well, it finally happened in a national game, which I never thought it would. And usually, I go for the underdog. I also usually go against the tide. But…we really do have some great guys out here. I personally voted for Hines Ward for MVP on superbowl.com during the fourth quarter. And can you believe that
Ben Roethlisberger is only 23???

I even donned black and gold for the occasion. You really can’t get by in Pittsburgh if you don’t; even in church this morning my mom said people were wearing jerseys. I’m telling you, it’s insane out here.
Black and gold has been everywhere for the last two weeks, and every other marquis down the road had a “Go Steelers” or “one for the thumb” message. (Btw, in case you’re as uninformed as I am, that means because they won their fifth championship game, they got a fifth ring—for the thumb.)

Just one more thought: they always say that one of the best parts of the SuperBowl is the commercials. Of course there was the really fun "Addicted to
Lost" commerial, but did anyone notice the MacGyver MasterCard commercial? I was like, *insert surprised noise here*? I had to rewatch it. Go, Mac! Still so cool. (But getting old. :( That was why I didn’t quite recognize him at first.) Thank you, MasterCard, for recognizing the greatness of a true TV hero.

And thank you, Steelers, for bringing home the trophy for all your fans. Pittsburgh is now officially Steeler Nation.


What's a Girl to Do?

So…I’m sick. Yesterday afternoon I was serving lattes and biscotti to people who are probably now starting to get scratchy throats. I actually took the day off—not something I normally do. I don’t generally like the idea that I’m replaceable, that the gap I’d leave if I wasn’t there to do my duties might be filled by anyone else. Anal, huh? Bet you didn’t think I was the type.

Well, I didn’t really get much in the way of a weekend, between my two jobs and my volunteering…so today was my Sunday, my Day of Rest, my Day of Recuperation. I slept in, putzed around, and most blissfully watched
Season Three episodes. Then my mom came home (with pizza and salt-n-vinegar chips!!) and we had a Veronica Mars marathon (I’m really liking that show!). It was a nice day, aside from all the coughing, congestion, and fatigue. Man, I really sound like a wimp. Hm. Something about being sick brings out the baby in me. Maybe I’m not as tough as I’d like to be, after all.

I wish, for example, that I was tough like Sydney or Veronica. Now there’s a pair of girls who know how to get things done. Whatever it takes, whatever the stakes. Wow. That sounds like an incredibly cheesy tagline. Hmm. I need to stay away from the Nyquil.

But seriously, I love the idea that I could go undercover, get the information (or, y’know, whatever) and make the world a better place. And not just metaphorically. I mean, I love the idea of an alias, of being in disguise and acting out a role…spy stuff. I’ve covered the symbolic reasons for this spy obsession of mine in my post about
Alias, but I think there’s a literal side to it, too.

However, I happen to be one of those people who thinks way better on paper than in person. I’m the type who, when insulted, thinks of the perfect comeback hours—maybe days or even years—later. I could never think as quickly on my feet as Veronica or Sydney. I’m not even sure I could lie as well. And I definitely couldn’t sneak around, snooping in people’s apartments and offices. It stresses me out just to watch.

So, as they say, I’ll play to my strengths. I’ll observe, daydream, and maybe eventually write my own spy alter-ego into a story. Perhaps I’ll come up with a slightly klutzier and less self-assured Spygirl—sure, she can still kick butt, but sometimes she’ll get by on sheer luck.

What else is a girl like me to do? Y