"Hollywood cliche"

This just in on the "well, duh" newswire: Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson have split up. Now, I'm as annoyed as anyone by the pair, but I still feel saddened whenever I hear ANYone's marriage is dissolving. Because it is sad. I remember hearing a quote from Jennifer Anniston about her under the radar (ha) divorce from Brad Pitt. She said one of the most difficult things was that their marriage was being "reduced to a Hollywood cliche." That was painful to read. No matter how spoiled these celebrities appear to us, or how quickly we think they fall in and out of love, the end of a committed marriage sucks just as much for them as it does for us.

With "The Newlyweds," it isn't hard to guess how things went awry. They practically lived and worked on opposite sides of the country 75% of the time. That is bound to wreak havoc. But we all know this: Marriage is hard. The trouble comes when you mix that "hardness" with our culture's resistance to giving it the ol' college try. If you give yourself the out of divorce, then stretch your relationship to its outer limit, what do you expect?

These divorces are no surprise to most of us, and I don't think we should care any more about their's than our own parents' just because they're celebrities. But it's all still very sad.

Embarrassing moments

Last week, after our flight out of town for Thanksgiving was canceled, Superman and I had a day to "waste" in town (we eventually made it out Thanksgiving Day, FYI). So we did a little shopping and ended up at T.J. Maxx. As I picked up a picture frame, I was reminded of a day last year when I had done the same at that exact location and dropped it on the ground. At that time, I felt my face get hot and that brief moment of "oh no!!!" You see, in my youth, I broke something made of glass on three separate occasions in the T.J. Maxx chain. Every time I was mortified by what I'd done and vowed never to handle anything delicate again while shopping! (If you've ever been a kid, you know that never sticks.) But one of the nicest things about being a grown-up is the concept of perspective. Even if I DO happen to pick up that vase and drop it, the store isn't going to ban me; there's no need to cry. Just wait for the nice teenager with a dustpan to come and clean it up. The moment is only as embarrassing as you let it be . . .

Salt water

Last night at a small group for couples, we discussed the ever-challenging issue in the book of James about "taming the tongue." One of the analogies in the third chapter, about our speech, is of a channel through which salt water and fresh water cannot both flow. And yet, in OUR day-to-day lives, we rarely make an effort to dam up the salt water from coming through in our speech.

We talked about the power of words, good and bad -- how well we remember the kindest thing anyone ever said to us, as well as the most damaging. We also talked about sarcasm, which I think may be the "nice" person's brand of meanness (masking insults with sharp comments that are funnier than saying "you're a complete idiot," but carry pretty much the same message).

When you get right down to it, I guess the best question to ask yourself before opening your big trap is, "what is the point of this comment?" If there's nothing productive that could come of it and it clearly doesn't build someone up, there is no reason to keep talking.

The salt water thing is going to stick with me for awhile. My husband and I think the phrase "saltwater speech" will be a good, UNself-righteous thing to say when keeping each other accountable with our words. I want to be a freshwater fish!

Quelled inspiration

I've been a bad blogger lately, and deserve the harshest punishment for delinquent bloggers. It just feels like my writing inspiration has been a little zapped lately, and one of the reasons must be that I can't stop thinking about my parents' permanent split.

Since the summer, anger and sadness have come in sporadic waves, slowly subsiding to puddles at present. But the emotion is still raw when I tap into it.

As much as I love Thanksgiving and Christmas (and I do, as evidenced by the Christmas music already on my iTunes at work), I think this melancholy is tied to the dread of it no longer being necessary for my parents to be in the same room on a holiday. It scares me that things like this can happen to two great, God-fearing people who are also great parents.

I don't hate my mom and dad, but I can hate what happened. I love them, and it's important to recognize their humanity in all of this.

All of this to say, it's hard for me to focus at times, but I will keep trying. There is so much in this world to observe and attempt to record in a clever way :) And besides, Rory and Lorelai reunited last night, so all is right with the world . . .

10 days

I can't believe it's been 10 days since I last posted! I must apologize to all my adoring blog followers (read: my family and two friends). Again, I have some semi-good excuses. Last week I had two partial sick days and a birthday, so things were hectic. Sorry!

The upside is that I'm one year older, so I will thus be able to bestow LOADS more wisdom on my readers ... ha! In actualily, I don't feel any older. Happier? Yes. But older? No. I love that I'm a newlywed (deeply in love) and in a career I trained for. I love that I have a great circle of friends and a strong family support system. But most of all, I'm glad my life is still in the "germinating" stage; that there are myriad adventures yet to experience and lessons to learn. Hooray for birthdays, which remind us of that!

Have a great day, ya'll, and I promise to write something more insightful soon.


This week my big sister, my husband and I said goodbye to legends: 33-year Christian rock icon Petra. They played to an under-capacity crowd at a local college campus auditorium and it was a memorable, bittersweet night.

Our family has been listening to Petra for years. I myself have been to see them (or lead singer John Schlitt) probably four times now. We like them because 1) they're great, and 2) they've stayed true to their message and mission for more than three decades. But as strange as it was for us to say goodbye, imagine how strange it is for the veteran rockers.

It was a little odd to see only one original member (Bob Hartman, co-founder) and 20-or-so-year lead singer Schlitt with two newcomers. There was no elaborate set design, no costume changes. Just four guys singing and playing hard. My sister and I couldn't get over how the singer is finally looking his age, more like a "dad" with some meat on his bones (for years he was rail thin). You could see the performance was more taxing on him than when he was younger. But he sounded just as amazing as ever. Same with Hartman. And their new drummer and bass player were more than capable replacements.

Schlitt said one of the hardest things about a "farewell tour" is selecting which songs to sing, drawing from a catalog that spans 30 years. So as part of their song set, they included two medleys -- one of their upbeat hits and one for their ballads. The three of us took turns cheering for our favorites, "No Doubt," "The Coloring Song," "Beyond Belief," "More Power To Ya," "This Means War." And on and on they went.

It was amazing, really, and encouraging to see the passion that still hasn't begun to flicker. Any fan would agree there's nothing quite like seeing Schlitt break into a smile mid-note. And how refreshing that after all these years, Hartman is still sharing the gospel unabashedly at each concert.

Leaving the auditorium, my sister and I commented on how it didn't seem like a Christian concert if we weren't sticking around to "stalk" the band (I have pages of artist autographs collected from years of staying late after concerts). But we're older now, just like them. Things change, chapters end. The important thing is that you were there.

Inevitable revelation

At the ripe age of almost-25, it's suddenly come to my attention that I should start wearing make-up. I've evaded the pesky cosmetics for a quarter of a century and, apparently, the jig is up.

I have a rear-view mirror of sorts on top of my computer monitor at work so I can be "oonagi" (that means constant awareness -- watch some "Friends," people!). Anyway, it's a very close-up mirror and every so often I catch my reflection. And today? Not such a stunning reflection :)

I've got bags under my eyes now and the tone of my skin is obviously uneven. As the older brother in "Back to the Future" would say (pardon my French), "when the h**l did this happen?"

I am not typically a vain person and probably shouldn't care that I look as if I need make-up these days. But I can't deny feeling the "need" spread around in our culture that if you have the means to cover any flaw, you should cover it.

Sighhhhh. Well, at least it will be an interesting battle to watch: my vanity vs. nature's reality.