The end of October is a time laden with anxiety for young Christian women. The stress that revolves around finding a bargain on a pair of riding boots is the culprit of many sleepless nights. And then there’s the candy that shrouds every aisle at the grocery store that calls to you in a sweet whisper, “Take me home and have your way with me,” which you eventually do and house a whole bag of peanut butter M&Ms in one night over a few episodes on Netflix.
And then there’s the stress that causes your hair to jump ship as if your head were the Titanic—finding an appropriate Halloween costume.
If only you could don the typical costume a girl your age usually wears—a cat, a maid, or a bunny who all happen to live in the town of Promiscuity. But no, you can’t. You are a good Christian girl. You don’t want to be “that girl” at your Christian young adult Halloween party in a skintight black pleather outfit that really has no resemblance to a cat whatsoever. It would cause gentlemen to stumble. Or become nauseated, as you really wouldn’t look good in all black pleather since you did house that whole bag of peanut butter M&Ms.
Curses, Christian morals and wise standards for living!
So instead you Google image “clean Halloween costumes” and this pops up:
Remember what you learned in your trips to the library in middle school about being specific with your search terms and quotations marks, etc. and try again.
You’ll yield results that are only applicable to babies. And parents with babies. And babies with other babies. And babies as food objects:
This will make you hungry. Decide to eat anything in your kitchen that has some sugar content and then return to your quest at hand.
You contemplate going topical—but let’s face it, everyone is going to be Kate Middleton in a brunette wig and plastic baby from Walmart on their hip. You don’t even know a balding young man to be your prince anyway.
There’s also the option of sculpting your hair into a tornado-esque fashion and planting dozens of plastic sharks in there. This will require at least a dozen bottles of hair spray and at least 3 more viewings of Sharknado.
Decide to turn to the Bible for inspiration. Eve pre-fall would be the cheapest option that requires no preparation whatsoever but, while biblical, is entirely inappropriate and worse than all pleather (even if you decide to use leaves). Remember the no-longer-in-existence bag of peanut butter M&Ms.
You contemplate taking the mundane inanimate object route by fashioning yards of tulle to yourself as your shower luffa. Purchasing a bottle of bubbles would make the costume that much more realistic.
You’ll find you are getting progressively even more indecisive in your elder years and can’t make decisions about dinner let alone a costume. Decide to not decide and be all the costumes combined. Eve, who is dressed (thankfully) as Kate Middleton, who was picked up by a tornado during her most recent visit to the coast of California, who also has an affinity for shower luffas, and in an act of rebellion against the royal family, throws on a headband with black felt cat ears attached.
Decide to begin planning ahead for next year’s Halloween costume the same day all those leftover peanut butter M&Ms go on clearance.
photos: realsimple.com and pregnancyandbaby.com
I think we saw it at the same time. The giant rock beside the park trail shrouded in spray-painted graffiti. The five-year-old boy in front of me stopped in his tracks and gasped.
“Look, mother! Somebody wrote on that rock!”
I could sense his mother’s hesitation at beginning to describe what exactly he was seeing. The wheels in her brain churning, trying to concoct a kid-friendly word for vandalism. Before she uttered a word, he uttered something surprising.
There were words in neon paint that only Urban Dictionary could give a detailed account of. Numbers and names of people and activities you hear about at 10 PM on your local news. His mother gently patted him on the shoulder, attempting to appease his sense of awe at something awful. No, this wasn’t a good thing. This wasn’t a good thing at all. But he put his hands on his hips and proclaimed defiantly:
“Well I think it’s BEAUTIFUL!”
His comment stuck with me—like a movie or book that makes you think even long after you’ve read the last word or thrown out your popcorn. It stuck with me not only out of humor or surprise, but also out of truth.
I’m like that giant rock along the park trail. Living in a fallen world where unfortunate circumstances and difficult situations and poor decisions have left marks.
I’m a rock that’s been vandalized.
But yet You come to me, and you find me, colored by the troubles and trials of this world all of which are clearly visible to You.
And I see you stop. And I heard you gasp. And I hear you say, “It’s—it’s beautiful!”
I don’t understand it. What good is there to come from the bad? What awe from the awful? No, these aren’t good things. These aren’t good things at all.
Yet you say, in all things you work for the good of those who love You (Romans 8:28). You take all I’ve been through, in any circumstance or situation, and you bring good from it all.
You make beautiful things from the bad.
You make beautiful things from the broken.
You make beautiful things out of spray-painted rocks.
You look at all that was and is and will be, and with your hands on your hip, you proclaim defiantly: “well I think it’s BEAUTIFUL!”
PHILADELPHIA—State trooper Gregory Johnson filed a unique police report last Thursday during a speeding incident on the Pennsylvania turnpike. At exactly 9:27 PM he pulled over a young lady who he clocked at 87 miles per hour in a 65 miles per hour zone.
“She was driving a black Chevrolet Cruze. These kids think that if your car is black you can get away with speeding at night. False. Kids are stupid,” stated Johnson.
Johnson followed the young lady for over a mile and contemplated calling for backup on the chase before she finally pulled over.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest with you,” Johnson explained. “Could have been a drunkard, could have been a lady about to pop out a baby in the driver’s seat. The only labor I’ve ever been involved in was my own and I came out with the umbilical chord around my neck so I wasn’t conscious enough to remember what to do in those types of situations.”
Johnson approached the vehicle to the loud sounds of pleasant music. “It was a song about having reasons, a lot of them. I think a hundred, maybe a million. It might have been thousands even.”
Johnson found a young 27-year-old woman crying in the driver’s seat.
“When I asked her why she was speeding and why she didn’t pull over right away she blew her nose really loud into a Kleenex and looked up at me with her eyes all red and puffy. She said, ‘Officer sir, I beg your forgiveness. Please, sir. I was so busy jamming out to my worship music that I got carried away with the gas pedal because of the love of Jesus and didn’t even hear you following me,’” Johnson recalled.
Johnson saw a cross necklace dangling around the rearview mirror.
“Then the lady asked if she could pray right then and there. She was saying words like she hoped the big man upstairs would bless me in my job and that I would join her for her church’s BBQ after church on Sunday and then she started talking about her dog that had a tumor in his neck the doctors didn’t know what to do with and then she threw her hands up in the air and started singing an awful rendition of ‘Jesus Take the Wheel’ and I just had to tear up her ticket and run away because her singing sounded like my cat when I accidentally ran it over with the lawn mower,” Johnson stated.
Johnson has seen a lot of interesting speeding incidents in his 35 years of service, but nothing like this. “I’ve had an 85 year old drug dealer propose marriage to me and a toddler that stole his dad’s BMW. I arrested all of them, including the stuffed animals the toddler had in the backseat. But let me tell you what—that BBQ from that church must have been made from pigs that came straight from a farm up there in the clouds.”