Saturday, August 28, 2010

Birthday Cake and All that Jazz

Here's to Valpal and Dad:

Happy Birthday!!

Watch an old movie, have some BBQ, dance to mariachi music, go see a play, sing to the Beach Boys, play a game, laugh so hard you hit the table, view some home movies, strain some orange juice, drink a malt...


Friday, August 27, 2010


Ginger: Sadly, I have started watching a show at the gym. "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." I have sunk to new levels.

Val: I'm about to block you from my chat list.


Val: Touché.


This is it. My last night in my own place. I keep expecting to have really strong emotions - but they aren't coming. I feel tired. I took off from work both today and tomorrow so that I would have time to pack and clean prior to heading into the weekend. I'm working both Saturday and Sunday.

In an effort to process what this evening actually means - I pulled out my journal from the summer/fall of 2006. The pages covering July through September told me this:

1) I had decided it was possibly time to leave the place I had been living/working since graduating from college.
2) I applied for an awesome job in Dallas and then turned it down even before they offered it to me.
3) I started to wonder what the future could possibly hold. (If you had offered me $1,000 to guess which state I would be moving to in a matter of months I'm close to 100% sure I would not have said Arizona.)
4) I was going through Beth Moore's Patriarch study and finding myself identifying with Abram.
5) September 5th I found the job where I currently work and sent my resume. I had never, ever considered living in Arizona prior to that moment. Even then... I didn't really think I would do it.

Here's what I wrote four years ago this week:

As I think about where my road may be leading me, I am reminded specifically of Abram. The Lord called him to leave it all and come into the desert. I examine my own comfortable suburban life and wonder if I am willing to leave. Will I really pack it up as eagerly as I make it seem? I think I am ready. Good-bye Ur, hello desert. The desert is hot and flat and I have no idea where we are going. But I'm excited because my story is not the same as Abram's. We are not going to Canaan... but God's promise to finish his work in his people applies just as much to me as it does to Abram.

P.S. Don't miss out on the journey by being so caught up on the final destination. This may be your only time on a camel - so open your eyes to the story. Allow His story to saturate your story and you will end up in the most dangerous place possible... His will.

I had no idea when I wrote that how quickly I would have to live those words. I am so thankful for this time of independence... this time of dependence. My emotion tonight is landing right where I started. "I think I am ready... but hey... don't be so caught up in the destination 51 days from now that you forget to enjoy this journey!"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


You may have already seen this sweet little video, but if not-- treat yourself. It is lovely.

And maybe don't watch if you don't have a tissue nearby.

"I could write on and on about her.... She lights up my life when she says to me at night, 'Wouldn't you like a little ice cream?' or 'Would you please drink more water?' I mean, those aren't very romantic things to say, but they stir my heart. In my mind, in my heart, there has never been, there is not now, and there never will be another Annie."

Danny & Annie from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I got nothing.

-I left the rest of the short story (36 hours to Daybreak) across town at the house. I know the suspense is killing you.

-I found myself leaning over the sink in the bathroom at work today. I was trying to make my tears fall into the drain and not on my face. "Pull it together, Morby!" (It was a mixture of work stress, moving, and still being 7 weeks away from seeing D every day... nothing new... the usual concoction of tears.)

-I have roughly 4 days of living alone left. (I hear a grandfather clock ticking somewhere.)

-There's a family at church with three kids that I've known for the past 4 years - I've taught at least one of their sons every year since I started. This year I have the two oldest boys in Youth. Last week the oldest runs up to me and says, "Miss Ginger! My brother is passed out on the floor!"

I look over to see his younger brother (6th grader, mind you) lying on the floor and trying not to smile. The older brother looks at me with the sides of his mouth curling up and proceeds to say, "He's not breathing. I'm pretty sure you need to give him CPR."

Listen, Squinz. I wasn't born yesterday. I told them that hands-only CPR was what the Red Cross now advised... and that you break a few ribs in the process. Both boys began laughing and ran off.

The End.

Monday, August 23, 2010

No Really, I'm Totally Laughing

Now that I’m in my new office, a nice side bonus (in addition to having a door) is being in a suite with a new group of people, including a few friends of mine.

Everyone in our building that needs to talk to someone and doesn't necessarily want to, you know, walk, uses the office’s communication tool of choice: the blessed gchat. I had just gotten off the phone when Stephen told me that it was kind of creeping him out that he could hear my voice from his office. (Sidenote: I don’t think a girl can hear enough that she sounds creepy.) Later on I absentmindedly typed “lol” in the chat box to something that he said, but didn’t actually laugh in my office. He noted that he liked being able to tell whether I was actually “lol-ing” or not, which naturally made me genuinely laugh out loud. Then I heard the laughter coming from his office, and naturally then REALLY got the giggles.

It’s true, though. I am definitely guilty of overusing “lol” (which, for the uninitiated, means “laugh out loud.”). You’d think I’d be stingier with my useage of the phrase, but truthfully I just use it mostly to acknowledge that I find what the other person is saying is funny. Then I just try to alternate its use with that of the very eloquent “hahaha.”

Very occasionally I really am laughing out loud, in which case I attempt to tell the other person this fact, usually by typing out “I really am laughing out loud right now!”

It certainly would be nice to know when people are truly laughing.

They should really invent an acronym for that.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Treasure Trove

I promised to share the treasure trove of childhood ramblings and I'm finally finding a spare hour to be able to get to it. As far as I can tell - this short story was crafted by my 6th, 7th or 8th grade self. (That's a guess based on handwriting.) I am going to keep all the original spelling and will probably have to break this up into several installments.

-Even though I came in second in the all-school spelling bee in 8th grade... I'm atrocious at spelling.
-During this period of my life I was reading a lot of Mary Higgins Clark. Scratch that. I read every book that woman wrote one summer. If you've read any of her work you will find some similarities here.
-I haven't read this story all the way through before posting it. I'm just going for it.

"36 Hours till DAYBREAK"
Houston, TX. Wednesday, January 12 at 2:45pm

"Hobby Airport please, and quick"

The tall, imposing, brunet barked out the order as she closed the door of the taxi she had called for over 30 minutes ago. Her flight left at 3:30, if she didn't make it her whole evening would be ruined. Blair Stevens was not late for anything. Blair pulled out her compact and brushed through her hair. She tried to smoothe out the wrinkles of her black skirt. Her outfit was one large oven. The bright red button down sweater and black sweater skirt combo had become suicide on the warm winter Houston day. It was already 67 outside and now there was traffic on I45. How there could be a traffic at 2:45 she didn't know. Blair pulled out her cell phone to call her boss.

"Hi Janet, this is Blair Stevens, could you put me through to Kurt?"

The reply came stiffly over the breaking connection.

"Mr. Phillips is not to be bothered, but if you would like I will give him a message."

"Oh sure, tell him the last leg of my story is being finished tonight and that I will be flying home tomorrow."

"It sure will be nice to have you back Mrs. Stevens."

"Thank you Janet. Goodbye."


The dial tone rang in her ear as she looked out at the buildings. Of course they couldn't compare to New York City, but after telecommuting and traveling to Houston every two weeks for two years she sure would miss it. Blair was a television journalist working for ABC about two years ago. She had been given a story that was going to rock America at its heart. Now, tonight she would be interviewing her last source. Without him she had no story.


Blair opened her eyes to find she was at Hobby airport. She quickly grabbed her purse and handbag as the taxi driver gave her luggage to the porter. She paid the taxi and rushed to the gate. When she got there, the last of the passengers were just getting on. As she boarded a sense of relief came over her. As she fell into a deep sleep hearing the vague sounds of the captain welcoming everyone on their non-stop flight to Dallas. It was now 3:42pm.

Dallas, TX Wednesday, January 12 at 3:45pm

"What do you think chief?"

"Well - it looks to me like we got ourselves one heck of a hit-man, Miller. Some heavy dough was put into this one. The son of a... well... the poor dead guy has a wife and a little girl. He was only 35. He didn't even know what was coming. This guy was shot through his car window as he was pulling out to go to work, or it looks that way. His wife was bringing the kids home from school and they find this."

"Do we know where the guy who shot him was when he did this?"

"It looks like he drove past in his car and shot, but there's nothing to prove it."

The tall, balding police chief left to go inside to speak to the wife.

"This has to be getting to him," thought Sergeant Miller. The Sgt turned to spot the medical examiner.

"Hey Frank, boy have I got a story about this dead guy."
. . . . .

I know. You're just as excited as I am to find out what's going to "rock the heart of America" and if this heck of a hit man has anything to do with it. Deep breaths. I may not have even finished the story. Who knows? Perhaps the chief or Sergeant Miller. My guess is that only Mrs. Blair Stevens -telecommuting journalist for ABC who pays porters to lift her bags - really knows.

(P.S. I think I would like to read a running commentary on this story by Valerie. Anyone else with me?)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I just got my hair done, and getting it done always makes me feel like I have cartoon Disney princess hair, so when I’m driving home from the hair salon, as I look left, and right, I find myself looking left, right again- left, right, left, right. Was that something over there? Better check. Swish! I think I saw something over THERE! Swish again.

Julie once told me she wanted to spin my hair into gold, and now whenever I get my hair done I feel like I’ve just been to a nice golden hair-spinning appointment.


I first met Annie at Julie’s wedding in Nashville. The next time I saw her was at Joey’s wedding in Austin. Now in two months I’ll get to see her at Ginger’s wedding in Phoenix. They should totally make a movie about us, and call it “Wedding Crashers 2: The Invited.” Or "RSVP Me." Or "Hustle Bustle." Or "Val and Annie and 17 Weddings*."

*Hat tip to Joey for the awesome movie title ideas.


I feel like there’s a "Veronica Mars" renaissance going on right now. And I love it. I keep hearing about it all over the place! For instance: a friend of mine wrote on my Facebook wall to say she was getting into the show and was letting me know that it made her think of me. (Now whether she thought of me because she’s heard me talk about it before, or because Veronica reminds her of me remains to be seen. I like to believe it is the latter.) My friend Amanda even managed to get her hands on a copy all the way down in PERU! And Joey and Sam just watched it and-wait, what was it? Oh yeah- loved it.

Now best of all, my group of friends has been getting together once a week to watch- about four episodes at a time! Heav. en. ly. It’s times like this that remind me that my love language is indeed sharing the things that I love with other people. I love watching it with my friends, and love even more to know that they are enjoying it. So when I hear that they are excited to watch more episodes, or see them “Like” it on Facebook, I do a little happy dance and clap my hands and maybe even swish my hair a little.

Shape Up

I came to the realization last night that I have roughly 10-12 days of living on my own before I am community-bound forever. This was both exciting and (for a brief moment) terrifying. I am moving in with a wonderful family next weekend. They have been kind enough to care for me since I first arrived in Arizona. But I've basically lived on my own since November of 2006. I had a two-month stint at a condo... but the roommate situation didn't work out. (I can't sleep with temps at 86 degrees in my bedroom - even if I sleep with wet hair and a bag of ice on my stomach... go figure.)

So I'm moving in with my Arizona family... and then possibly a family from David's church... and then in with my parents at a hotel... and then with some gals for the weekend of the wedding... and then... with a boy.

Living alone is really nice. I set the air conditioner at 75 to sleep. I choose what to eat for my meals. I walk around wearing whatever I want to. I listen to my music at any volume. I eat in front of the T.V. or at my kitchen table... or not at all. I sleep with TWO noisemakers and a fan. I run laundry at 11pm at night. I narrate as I cook and I sing as I clean.

But this complete freedom, while amazing, doesn't force me to change much. Occasionally I have the plummet into self-pity, loneliness, or even fear... but I generally recover.

I think being in a situation where the other person is designed to be a mirror of my faults sounds a little wondrously terrifying... if I'm completely honest. Community is designed to shape us. I'm on the road to shape up.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” - C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


My grandmother's maiden name is King. She makes great casseroles and other Southern-style meals.

Is it any wonder that I always thought King Ranch Chicken was a family recipe?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good Recent Things

I feel like I've been showered with more than my fair share of fun/happiness/good things in general lately.

Here look:

Passed 7,000 FANS on the Facebook Page I help run for work. Seven. Thousand.

Family game night... THREE games of person/place/thing. I nearly passed out from laughing. And there may be videos of all that excitement floating around somewhere....

Dad smoked/grilled ribs/sausage for dinner... my absolute favorite food.
Family water volleyball game... Mom and I dominated.

Early birthday present from parents: Satellite radio!!!!!!!!

Kyle cooked dinner for our whole group (chicken and veggie stir fry!) followed by Veronica Mars.

25-minute Chair massage. At work. Holy heavenly relaxation, Batman.
Celebratory end of summer lunch at Rudy's BBQ with my department, plus some of the fun summer leadership staffers. Paid for by NOT ME.
The dentist and hygienist both complimented me on my great teeth. nomnomnom.

Dinner with cousins and (cousin's awesome girlfriend) at Olive Garden.

Ginger's wedding invitation came in the mail!!

See? Blessings. I have them in abundance.

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. -Psalm 126:3

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

There and Back

Whew. Texas and back. Thanks to Shani for a fabulous shower. I'm sure we will be sharing details of the decor soon as they were fabulous AND crafty. I was so blessed to see so many of my favorite women in one place.

Also accomplished over the weekend:
-Quality time with the family - including a rousing game of water volleyball.
-Lots of shopping for the wedding - shoes, jewelry, odds and ends.
-Going through boxes of memories (some gems to be published here first over the next few months - this includes my short story "36 Hours to Daylight.")
-My parents loading up the SUV with shower goodies, "special treasures", and themselves - ready to come and help David and I paint the house this week. Good-bye white walls! (I somehow talked him into a yellow bathroom!)

Ok. Must keep moving... it's almost October. Yesssssssssss. (Fist pump.)

p.s. Please forgive the point and shoot camera... it wishes it could do a better job.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I didn't watch the pilot episode of "The O.C." when it premiered exactly seven years ago today. I vaguely remember seeing the commercials for this new FOX drama, something about a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, some sort of fight breaking out at a coming out party, and lots of teenagers. I'll admit, I didn't go seeking out this 90210-lookalike, despite the fact that the critics were already declaring it a winner.

It wasn't until about six months later that I started to take notice. I was spending the semester in England, and I specifically recall one of my fellow students, Joey, petitioning his housemates to come gather in the common rooms to watch this awesome new show. He swore that it was funny, and interesting, and we wouldn't regret it. And since Joey was one of the decidedly "cool" students, I had no choice but to believe this mysterious show to be "cool" as well. I settled down to watch, and was intrigued. Nearly every Sunday evening thereafter we'd all gather together to savor this small bit of American culture coming to visit us through the television set and remind us of home.

Upon returning to the states, my roommates and I kept the tradition alive by watching every episode togther, laughing at Seth's quick wit and sarcasm, feeling bad for the cards poor Ryan was consistantly dealt, aww-ing over the sweetness of Sandy and Kirsten's marriage, and maybe also yelling and throwing things at stupid Marissa.

I now find myself going back to the DVDs and feeling particularly nostalgic about those first few seasons that I watched in community. I feel so tied to the show and the characters; everything that happens comes with a wave of memories, both of what happened on the show and what was simultaneously happening in real life. Every character, every twist, and every storyline feels somehow weightier, more realistic, and more... SOMETHING because of its reminders of that period of time in my life.

I'd originally intended to use this space to write about why The O.C. really is a good show, no really, I'm being serious. I was going to talk about the vivid characters, self-aware storylines, and laugh out loud (lol, if you will) moments. I planned to talk about the genius of the show not only being a somewhat soapy teen drama, but also simultanesouly making fun of soapy teen dramas.

But I can't convince you to watch the show, or expect you to love it like I do. My personal biggest draw to this show is in its reminder of the days of watching it with my friends, sometimes screaming at the story developments, and creating inside jokes about the ridiculous fringe characters.

So here we are, seven years later. I find myself bizarrely grateful for... a television show, of all things. I'm delighted to find that The O.C. conjurs up more warm fuzzies and fond memories than I ever could have expected.

Here's a look at the start of the show that somehow got wrapped up in my own story:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

If you can't say anything nice...

I was all set to use this post to whine and complain about today. It definitely had it's ups, but the downs were the kind (when mixed with being stressed, and warm, and feeling gross, and like I have the skin of a teenager) that produced near breakdowns throughout the day. I was close to cursing, crying, and wanting to be ridiculous and drive 47 miles across town at 9:00pm just to get a hug before driving back. That kind of day. Nothing was really that awful, all will be well in the morning.

So instead, I decided to say only wonderful things.

10. I am flying to Houston on Friday. Yes, it's Houston in August... but I get to see these people:

9. I finished reading the book of Joshua today. I feel very strong and courageous... and like I know a lot about Jewish land inheritance.

8. My wonderful cousin Shannon is throwing me a shower on Saturday!

7. My soon-to-be in-laws are taking me to the airport at 6am on Friday morning. They are lovely people.

6. I purchased the Matt Maher album and I have been playing it continuously. Lots of theology to chew through in his lyrics.

5. We are reading "Mere Christianity" and "Sacred Marriage." It's a nice combo.

4. My fiance made pesto stuffed fillets on Sunday... and peach pie. I loved him a lot before this... (Yes, the pie does say "D loves G.")

3. The car battery that had to be replaced after several hours of impatience... fell under warranty and was put in for free.

2. I spent 5 hours with teenagers this evening playing laser tag and hanging out. I connected with some students... and then I beat them... in laser tag. I placed 2nd in the first game.

1. "Thou hast led me on and I have found thy promises true,
I have been sorrowful, but thou hast been my help,
fearful, but thou hast delivered me,
despairing, but thou hast lifted me up.
Thy vows are ever upon me,
And I praise thee, O God."
From "God Enjoyed" in the The Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Lawn Party

Last weekend a few friends and I turned a hankering for croquet into an entire themed party. Because... that's how I roll! Invitees were asked to come enjoy dinner and croquet dressed in their "Gatsby Casual" best. Here's a look at some of the fun:

Favorite Flicks

D and I are watching each other's top ten list. I watched both "Usual Suspects" and "Doc Hollywood" this weekend. I really wish I hadn't caught the end of "Usual Suspects" sometime in the last 5 years... but I did.

His list:
1. Life is Beautiful
2. Love Actually
3. Braveheart
4. Hoosiers
5. Goonies
6. Princess Bride
7. The Usual Suspects
8. Doc Hollywood
9. Miracle
10. Cinderella Man

My list:
1. Waiting for Guffman
2. Chariots of Fire
3. The Family Stone
4. Pride & Prejudice
5. Love Actually
6. Amelie
7. Chocolate
8. The Last of the Mohicans
9. Meet Me in St. Louis
10. Galaxy Quest

Your list?