Wednesday, August 27, 2008

gotta love dave barry

Dave Barry used to have a syndicated column that ran in the Sunday edition of the Independent. Nearly every Sunday, my brother would read the column to us while we ate our Sunday dinner. I've developed a fondness for Barry over the years. Today, a blogger I follow had a link to Barry's Democratic National Convention columns. And so, I must also share with you. Enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

singleness, part 2

More thoughts on singleness . . . this time from January 2007. (FYI, the links don't work anymore.) Reading this again has been a good exercise for me.


Last night I rejoiced in my singleness. I wandered through my apartment, grateful that I live alone and wondering how on earth I could adjust to living with a man. I shopped for chick flicks on Amazon, grateful that I don't have to justify my purchases to anyone. I watched Gilmore Girls and The Lake House, grateful to have sole possession of the remote control.

I went to bed happy.

Then, somewhere around 5 a.m., I fell in love. It was wonderful. Until I woke up. Suddenly, my singleness didn't seem like something to rejoice in. It felt more like a curse.

I struggled with this all day, wondering how I could go from being completely content to utterly discontent.

On the way home from Awana, I turned on the radio. These were the first words I heard: "What's worse than being single and wanting to be married and not but having hope and trust and faith is to be lonely in a marriage and have no hope because you married a person based on the accoutrements and not on their character." The sentence construction is horrible, but you get the drift. When I got home, I ran in and found the broadcast on the internet. The whole message is great--exactly what I needed to hear tonight. If you want to listen, you can get it

I also came across an article by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Here's a portion of it:

The Scripture teaches that both marriage and singleness, like children, are gifts from God. To some, He gives the gift of marriage; to others, He gives the gift of singleness. Either way, we are to receive our marital status as a gift. This gift does not come from some distant relative who has no idea what we really need; it comes from a gracious God who loves us and gives the very best gifts to any of His children who leave the choice with Him.

In the will of God, marriage is an incredible gift, to be received with joy and thanksgiving, and to be used for the glory of God. Likewise, in the will of God, singleness is an incredible gift, to be received with gratitude, and to be used equally for the glory of God.

In his classic chapter on marriage, the Apostle Paul cautions against striving for a gift or a calling other than that which God has entrusted to us. He exhorts us not to seek to escape from binding circumstances or to insist on having a gift God has not chosen for us. "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called" (1 Corinthians 7:20). The issue is not our martial status or station in life but rather choosing to live in that state in union with God: "Let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God" (1 Corinthians 7:24, emphasis mine).

Throughout this chapter, Paul sets forth the principle that what matters most is not whether or not we are married but rather the will of God. What state has He called us to? What gift has He given us? "Each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that" (1 Corinthians 7:7 New International Version). Jesus Himself referred to singleness as a special gift from God (Matthew 19:11, 12).

I am not single by accident. I am not single because the "right man" has never asked me to marry him. I am not single because I have made up my mind not to marry. Rather, I am single because God has chosen for me the gift of singleness. I believe that I am single according to the perfect will and purpose of God. I have no way of knowing how long He will give me this gift or whether He will ever choose to give me the gift of marriage. I do not know whether it will be His will for me to be single in five years. But I do know that it has been His will to this point in my life.

I must set my heart to respond to this and every area of my life with the words of the virgin Mary when her world was turned upside down by an angelic messenger: "I am the Lord's servant…. May it be to me as You have said" (Luke 1:38 NIV).

Certainly there are times when I whimper and long for something God has not provided. But over and over again, He brings me back to that wonderful place of trust and surrender that says, "Oh, Lord, if it pleases You, it pleases me." We tend to think that what is really good is the fulfillment of our desires. But, in reality, the highest good in the universe is whatever God chooses for our lives.

The question is not "What do I want for myself?" but "What does God want for me?" What will please Him and bring Him the greatest glory? What will best fulfill His purpose here on this earth?

(You can read the rest at Family Life Today's website.)

And now, I'm again rejoicing in my singleness.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

life begins when?

Up to this point, this blog hasn't been political, and I plan to keep it that way, for the most part. However, I just came across this article by Peggy Noonan, and I had to share. As you may know, McCain and Obama recently took part in a forum moderated by Rick Warren. Warren asked both candidates at what point a baby should get human rights. McCain's answer: "At conception." Obama's? "Answering that question with specificity is, you know, above my pay grade." What??? At what pay grade could he answer the question? Perhaps if he had the position he's aiming for? 'Cause surely the President of the United States should be able to answer that question! (Even an "I'm not certain" would have been better!)

I haven't done enough research to know if McCain's voting record backs up what he said (I think he's a bit sketchy on abortion), but he gave an answer. Obama dodged the question . . . and I know that he has a pro-choice voting record. While I don't believe a candidate's stance on abortion is the most important issue to consider, it's still very important. And I think Obama's dodging the question may hurt him more than if he'd said, "At birth," even though he was speaking to a largely pro-life audience.

Here's what I love most about Noonan's article--her explanation of when life begins:

"As to the question when human life begins, the answer to which is above Mr. Obama's pay grade, oh, let's go on a little tear. You know why they call it birth control? Because it's meant to stop a birth from happening nine months later. We know when life begins. Everyone who ever bought a pack of condoms knows when life begins.

To put it another way, with conception something begins. What do you think it is? A car? A 1948 Buick?"

Preach it, Sister!

love is in the air

At least it sure seems that way. Three couples I know are getting married in December, and one in January. I'm 3-7 years older than all of them. My brother just announced his engagement. On Friday, another one of my high school classmates "bit the dust"--now at least 27 of the 41 people in my class are or have been married.

I turned 27 two weeks ago. Most of the time, I'm OK with my age and with my marital status, but every once in a while, I'm not. I feel like a little kid who's raising her hand and jumping up and down: "Pick me! Pick me, God! I'm ready! Please pick me!" And then I tell God the obvious: "I'm not getting any younger. I want babies! Everyone else is getting married. Why can't I?" I sound like a petulant child.

Almost exactly a year ago, I was feeling the same way. Here's what I wrote on my MySpace blog:

Love is Everywhere

My mom has a sampler on her wall that my sister cross-stitched several years ago. It's a picture of a bear with the words "Love is Everywhere." (I distinctly remember my sister giving this sampler to me, but no one else seems to remember it, so on my Mom's wall it remains.)

Well, that's how I've felt recently--that everywhere I look, love is there. In the past few weeks, several of my friends who previously were part of the singles club have gotten into--or are on the verge of--relationships. And while I'm genuinely happy for them, I sometimes feel like it's never going to be my turn. Here they are, embarking on this great adventure, and I can't even see a guy on the horizon! The other night, I got so frustrated after talking to a friend about her "special someone" that I wrote in my journal, in giant letters, "GOD, WHY AM I STILL SINGLE???"

Of course, He answered. And then He answered again and again, and it's finally getting through my thick skull. I love Paul, and when I'm not following a specific devotional plan, I gravitate toward his letters. I recently read (and highlighted--it was my first "this is for YOU" moment on this subject) Romans 11:33-34. Last night, I read 1 Corinthians 2:16 and thought, "That sounds really familiar." I saw in my footnotes that both passages were referring to Isaiah 40:13-14.

"Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who knows enough to be his teacher or counselor? Has the Lord ever needed anyone's advice? Does he need instruction about what is good or what is best?"

I don't know why I have to keep learning this over and over again, but I do. I guess sometimes I'm a slow learner when it comes to the things the Lord is trying to teach me. But as I read this, I felt the Lord nudging my heart, showing me that this is exactly what I've been doing--trying to advise Him. How arrogant is that??? He doesn't need me to tell Him that it's time for me to get married; I'm just a fool. He is the one who knows what's best for me, and I need to stop bemoaning the things that aren't going exactly as I'd like them to and start trusting Him to give me what is best, whatever that may be.

I'm still a slow learner, but it helped to read this again. Sometimes I think of marriage as the be-all and end-all of life, even though I know that's not true. If I were married, I'd be longing for a baby, or for a writing career, or for a thousand other things.

Hebrews 13:5b "And be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

things i love about the olympics (so far)

  • Jason Lezak's amazing comeback in the 4x100 free relay.
  • the Opening Ceremony. They used something like 15,000 performers. It was amazing. (Except for the whole lip syncing thing.)
  • Michael Phelps (and the rest of the US swim team).
  • Alexander Artemev's pommel horse routine. Incredible. (Pommel horse begins at 4:17.)
  • Bela Karolyi, the gymnastics coach turned NBC commentator. To quote my brother, he's "totally unintelligible and very funny." And he's not afraid to take the Chinese to task over the ages of their gymnasts. (Apparently with good reason--this report came out today.)
And finally . . .
  • AT&T's Phelps Phan commercial:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Steph got me a C.J. Mahaney book when she was at the Resolved conference. I have a book of his that I started reading once but didn't finish (this is often the fate of non-fiction), but I've heard him preach (on dvd, not in person) and really liked him, so I'm excited about the book. Plus, she got it autographed :-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

insight into a life

My birthday gifts from my family. They say a lot about me!

thoughts on my birthday

I love my birthday. I always have, and I probably always will. I don't care that it means I'm another year older (although, can I really be 27? Is that possible???) . . . I just love the day. Since I have a summer birthday, I never had to spend it in school (which I think would really stink). And in my house, birthday kids never had to do any work--so I always hoped that Dad would decide beans needed to be picked, cans needed to be crushed (my most hated chore ever), or we'd have particularly nasty dishes that day. Selfish and spiteful, I know, but I always loved it when my siblings had to do those chores but I got out of them because it was "my" day.

Admittedly, my birthday is not quite as much fun now that I have to spend it working. But it's still great. From my coworkers wishing me a happy birthday to my sister bringing me coffee and a rose (from my mom) to a birthday email from Melissa in my inbox, it's been as good a birthday as it could be, considering I'm at work!

Friday, August 8, 2008

with hope

Steven Curtis Chapman and his family were on Larry King Live on CNN last night to talk about the death of Maria Sue, his youngest daughter. It's a heartbreaking story, and you can read the whole transcript here or watch a video of part of the interview here.

Chapman also wrote an article on adoption for CNN. It explains why they adopted and why Christians should be doing more for orphans. Read it here.

Throughout the interview, I kept thinking of his song, "With Hope." At first, I was surprised that the producers didn't choose that song for any of the clips, as it fits so perfectly . . . but they're probably not huge SCC fans like I am!

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

writing again, and it feels so good!

How much do I want to be a writer? That’s a question that keeps rolling through my mind. I used to think I wanted to be a journalist—then I got a glimpse of a journalist’s world through some of my college journalism classes. I don’t like high-stress situations, and I don’t like interviewing people . . . so how would I ever get the story?

I was one of the “technical” English majors—one who loved the grammar aspect but not so much the literary aspect. One of my best friends decided I should have been a math major because I loved the few math classes I took and only tolerated the lit classes. (My favorite college class? Probability & Statistics, which I took totally for fun my last semester.)

Advanced English Composition, really a fancy name for creative writing, was my most dreaded college class. I put it off until the 2nd semester of my senior year . . . and then I could put it off no more! Our first assignment was to write a first-person, present-tense account of something. I wrote about my thoughts on the first day of class (trust me, they weren't positive) . . . and got bit by the writing bug! I’d always told people that I’d like to edit because I didn’t have a book inside of me. I soon discovered that might not be entirely true—I just needed to be forced to be creative. During the class, I wrote two short stories--one about a girl who learns her boyfriend may be a serial killer, and the other about a woman who lost her husband on 9/11.

Since college, I've only dabbled in writing. I have a non-fiction book started, but as I haven't touched it in nearly a year, I'll be surprised if I ever finish it. Every so often, an idea will strike, and I'll sketch an outline or write a couple paragraphs, but nothing more. I've even considered going back to school to get my master's in creative writing, but it's not gone beyond some wishful thinking.

I've mentioned my new-found affinity for some country music. While station surfing in my car last week, I heard a song that caught my attention: "Every Other Weekend" by Reba McEntire and Kenney Chesney. The song was on the verge of being "too country" (can Reba be too country when Trisha Yearwood's not?), but the lyrics grabbed me. I looked up the video and was pulled in by the tragedy of it all. (Interesting tidbit: the couple in the video is portrayed by the actors who were Van and Cheyenne on Reba.) I started thinking about what could have gotten them to that point--divorced, sharing the kids, still in love with each other but unable to say it. Throughout the weekend, I kept thinking about it, creating a back story for the couple. I thought about writing something and even brainstormed names.

Last night, I couldn't sleep--I just couldn't turn my brain off. I started thinking about the story and the twist I'd cooked up. Finally, I got up and started writing. After an hour, I had 3 pages . . . then, I finally decided it was time to go to bed. It was strange how the words just came--that's how it happened in college when I was writing under a deadline. Anyway, I don't know if I'll finish the story or if anyone but me will ever see it, but it feels so great to be writing again!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

my daddy loves me

Back in June, I wrote about the need to lower my caffeine consumption. It's been going pretty well. I didn't monitor my caffeine at all when I was in Florida, but most days, I just have one caffeinated pop in the afternoon.

Both of my parents work at my school, and Dad keeps us well supplied with pop. The Monday after I told him I was supposed to cut back on the caffeine, he brought caffeine free pop to work. This morning, I checked the fridge in the office and saw that out of the six cans that fit in the holder four were caffeine free.

It's the little things like that that let me know my dad loves me. He's never been one to be overly affectionate or say "I love you" repeatedly, but I've never doubted his love.

Recently, I've read several stories of people who struggled with the concept of God as Father because their own fathers were so lousy. I'm so thankful that my father is a man who has pointed me toward God, rather than away from Him.

I love you, Daddy.

Friday, August 1, 2008

i am SUCH a nerd!

A few years ago, a friend and I were talking about the kind of people we'd like to marry. After we got past the "must haves," he said, "Now, what do you want?" My answer? "I just want someone to watch Alias with!"

Of course, now I don’t care if I marry someone who likes Alias. But it sure would be nice to be with someone who appreciates LOST like I do! I jumped on the LOST bandwagon the summer after the first season, and I’ve never looked back. The thing about LOST is that half the enjoyment comes from discussing the intricate plot points with others—something that’s hard to do if you watch it alone. During the 06-07 season, I discovered recaps on Then, the recapper started his own LOST blog on Zap2it’s site. People toss around theories, argue about what plot developments mean, and just have fun discussing LOST. When I got home from Florida, I was catching up on the posts, and I saw that a facebook group had started. I joined, of course.

I usually check facebook at lunch, and today I had a friend request . . . from Ryan McGee, Zap2it’s LOST blogger! I actually gasped . . . that’s how much of a dork I am! I know that being facebook friends with someone means virtually nothing, that I will probably never have a conversation with Ryan, and that he most likely “friended” everyone who joined the group. But still: I’M FACEBOOK FRIENDS WITH RYAN MCGEE!!!

"mrs." ritta

I sent a work email today, and the response came to Mrs. Ritta. That annoyed me. Why would you just assume I’m a Mrs.? This was a conservative Christian company, so I understand their reluctance to use the “feministic” Ms. But couldn’t you go the more informal route and address me by my first name? That is how I signed the email, after all! I wonder if I’d have the same reaction if I was married and someone called me Miss . . . I kind of doubt it.