On birthdays: a special shout out to my parents

family

G:

Well, 28 years ago today you decided to have me pop out into the world on a cold foggy day with my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck and my weight matching that of a popular convenient store chain.

I’d like to first give You a special shout out for creating me even before my parents did. You knew the plans You had for me even before my parents knew my gender. You knew how many hairs were going to be on my head even before the “no that’s not a perm that’s her natural hair” afro phase.

But I’d really like to thank you for blessing me by bringing me into an amazing earthly family. For parents whose love rivals the depth of Loch Ness. For a mother whose warmth is greater than the Sahara. For a father whose humor is better than any late night with Jimmy Fallon. For parents who have shown me unconditional love. For a mother and father whose kindness, thoughtfulness, compassion, encouragement, support, and guidance has helped form who I am today. For parents who lovingly guided and instructed me on a path to You.

My heart swells with love for them like a balloon to the point of bursting.

Thank you for blessing me with parents who reflect in real and tangible ways the characteristics of You.

Your child,

m

THE 4 WORST VALENTINE’S DAY CARDS FOR SINGLE CHRISTIANS EVER CREATED

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!

E and I are at it again. This time we decided to create the most awkward Valentine’s Day cards for single Christians ever.

We think we succeeded.

Enjoy. Share. Laugh. Love!

– m & e

love is patient 3

ruth 3

chickfila FINAL

minion 3

Check out our last photo shoot if you want to continue laughing (at us).

14 REASONS WHY IT’S GREAT TO BE SINGLE

It’s February 14.

You know what that means:

It means we should be celebrating our singleness!

Instead of lamenting what day February 14 is, let’s look at 14 reasons why it’s great to be single!

1. Forget what everyone else is doing: you can do your own thang. (Whenever, wherever.)

kid on skateboard

2. You make up your own food pyramid for dinner.

my thoughts on salad

3. There’s plenty of time to spend with your girlfriends.

i love you bridesmaids

4. Being able to sleep through the night without any interruptions.

bert and ernie

5. You can focus on pursuing your passions.

writing cat

6. Shaving your legs is not necessary.

thats prickly

7. You can pick up and go anywhere without any strings attached.

fly

8. Because all your eHarmony matches look like this guy:

creepy clown

9. You can keep your apartment just the way you like it.

this-is-my-kitchen

10. You don’t have to spilt your holidays with anyone but your own family.

modern fam christmas color

11.  You can bless others by serving them with your time, gifts, and resources.

you is kind

12. The television remote is all yours.

watching tv

13. You know nothing is wrong with you. You are confident in who God created you to be. And you aren’t afraid to show it.

dance

14. Because you have an unprecedented amount of time to be fully devoted to God right here, right now.

cherish it

An overdue heartfelt apology to Jim Halpert just in time for Valentine’s Day

jim halpert im in love with you

James:

I know our relationship lasted half the length of Kim Kardashian’s last marriage. And I know I it ended without any explanation.

You see, our love was like the Loch Ness monster — everyone knew it was a hoax, but I truly wanted it to be real.

But here’s the thing:

You’re not real.

READ THE REST ON CONVERGE MAGAZINE!

ON ANATOMICALLY INCORRECT HEARTS

heart (1)

G:

Well, it’s February.

Which means that M&Ms are now pink and red. And sugar cookies have received (limited edition) anatomically incorrect heart donations.

But here’s the thing: those darn heart shapes are like an epidemic—they’re everywhere. And everyone’s contaminated.

But the contamination of consumerism isn’t all that alarms me. And it’s not even those giant stuffed bears that have come out of hibernation for $40. It’s the fact that love has lost its meaning. Love has become so overly simplified and cheapened.

Just like the shape of the heart.

Love has come to mean butterflies and sparks and fireworks. One night stands. Lust. Celebrity marriages that don’t even last a month.

But the heart is more than just a circle resting on a golf tee wishing he were a camel (just go with it*). The heart is complex, there are valves and chambers and lots of things I don’t remember from health class in middle school.

And isn’t love so much more intricate and meaningful than sparks and chocolate? Doesn’t love come in many forms? Eros. Philos. Agape. It comes in the form of a husband and wife. It finds itself between friends. It pours unconditionally from You.

Isn’t love more than just a fleeting feeling? Isn’t it a choice? It’s selfless, sacrificial, and ditto everything that Paul said (1 Corinthians 13).

But I get it—Pillsbury would never do well with a sugar cookie with an anatomically correct heart inside it. It would be horrifying looking and confusing and the kids would cry because they don’t understand why their cookie is so ugly and moms all over the world would have to appease their kids’ shrieks and tears by covering the cookie up with pink frosting. I get it. I do.

But wouldn’t it be nice if we celebrated where love comes from and what it really means in all its forms? Wouldn’t it be great if we were all contagious with a love that meant something? A love that wasn’t cheap. A love that wasn’t dummied down like the heart into a simple shape.

The heart is more than a simple clip-art image. And love is so much more than one day in February.

Your child,

m

* Because I’m not sure you got it:

anatomy of a heart

** On second thought, never mind.

WHAT I HAVE TO KEEP TELLING MYSELF WHEN I GET EXCITED FOR THE PREMIERE OF THE BACHELOR TONIGHT

watching the bachelorette

But, but– the show provides such a great study into the psyches of 25 spray tanned girls who might tilt heavily towards the side of insanity– talk about entertainment every Monday night for two hours!

And this is why a Christian Bachelor show could never be made.

15 RESPONSES TO COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR SINGLENESS THIS CHRISTMAS

1. “Are we currently experiencing an earthquake or is that your biological clock ticking?”

really you want to go there lifeinpub

2. “I just know you are going to find someone soon and be married within 6 months!”

delusional lifeinpublishing

3. “So tell me, any new guys in your life? Wink, wink!”

dont ask me about in a relationship

4. “It’s too bad you’re allergic to cats. They make great companions. Especially in large quantities.”

rude don qui qui

5. “Why don’t you just put yourself out there more?”

uncle si im invisible

6. “There are plenty of fish in the sea!”

laughter

7. “God is going to bring him into your life when you least expect it!”

monsters inc girl blink

8. “You’re still single because guys are intimidated by you.”

when someone tells me im too intimidating to date

9. “Guys don’t like girls who can eat more Christmas cookies than them.”

michael scott you are a thief of joy

10. “My coworker’s brother has a sister who has a son who has a friend who just got out on parole…He’s tall!”

no thank you tina fey

11. “You’re just too picky.”

throne of lies

12. “Why don’t you create accounts on eHarmony, Christian Mingle, Plenty of Fish, Match.com, and heck, put up a Craigslist ad ‘Single and Christian on Christmas’ just to cover all your bases?”

aint nobody got time for dat

13. “If all else fails, I heard a rumor that the government might be legalizing marriage of first cousins.”

lucille ball

14. “Enjoy being single while you can!”

christina aguilera preach

15. “Do you know what happened to all the Christmas cookies?”

shirley temple giggle

AN OPEN LETTER TO ANYONE ASKING WHY I’M STILL SINGLE THIS CHRISTMAS

Very excited that Converge Magazine picked up this post! Check it out here.

I’d like for everyone to take a moment and look at my left ring finger.

Yes. It is naked.

I’m going to stop you right there, like you’re a telemarketer trying to sell me a lifetime supply of gold to hoard in my non-existent safe:

I’m good, thanks.

In an effort to save energy on both our parts, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling the most frequently asked questions with my responses. (Laminated for durability given the undetermined amount of multi-year usage.)

1.       Have you met any nice gentlemen recently?

Three weeks ago, I ordered something online through Amazon’s two day shipping. I received a knock on my apartment door, and I opened it. Before me was a FedEx man in a brown uniform holding a brown box. He handed the box to me, smiled, and said, “Have a nice day.”

2.     Why don’t you try online dating?

Someone once told me kidney stones were as painful as childbirth. When compared to online dating, kidney stones sound like a combination of winning the lottery, going to Disney World, and frolicking in a meadow full of daises and labradoodles. While eating an ice cream cone.

3.       Why don’t you move to where there are more eligible bachelors?

Are you referring to an actual place in America? Or in a utopian piece of literature?

The truth is, I’m happy. Honestly. I’m not pulling your leg — my fingers aren’t crossed behind my back because they’re too busy balancing a mountain of Christmas cookies.

While I’m thankful you’re praying God will put the right man into my life — and soon (I’m still not quite sure how to interpret that) — I’m pretty sure God knows what He’s doing with me.

Right now, I’m single.

And right now, I’m loving every minute of it.

I’m not living like marriage is my end goal, like it’s the only reason God put me on this earth. I’m here to know Him and to make Him known — in my workplace, in my friendships, in laughter, in writing, and in utilizing my gifts and talents. He has me in my current job, city, apartment, church, sphere of influence, and relationship status for a reason.

I’m content right where He has me.

(Isn’t that all that matters anyway?)

So let’s talk about other things — important things — like how many cookies you think I could shove in my mouth at once. And how Christ alone completes me. And what He’s doing in my life.

Speaking of important things and Christ, rumor has it that it’s His birthday.

WHY THE BAR PRINCIPLE SHOULD BE APPLIED TO OTHER VENUES WHERE THE EXCHANGE OF GOODS FOR MONEY OCCUR

(THE UNREALISTIC DEMANDS OF A MODERN SINGLE CHRISTIAN YOUNG ADULT WOMAN)

marshall bar

It’s late on a Saturday night, and I’m sporting an outfit inspired from someone’s Pinterest board entitled “threads and treads” when I see him in my peripheral vision and my insides suddenly begin practicing for the floor routine in the next summer Olympics in Brazil.

He approaches me, smiles, and I get a waft of scents I’m only used to smelling after walking by the Abercrombie and Fitch store at the mall. I flip my hair over my shoulder, blink my eyes in a fashion that hopefully isn’t confused as battling a rogue eyelash, and smile just enough to show interest and not desperation. He leans in and rather seductively whispers “excuse me, can I buy you a gallon of milk?”

He grabs my gallon of 1% cow juice out of my shopping cart and proceeds to scan it at the self-check out line in the grocery store. Surprisingly, he has a coupon. He looks at me, winks, and my stomach sticks the landing and I hear distant cheers in Portuguese. “So what do you say? Can I get your number?”

I never get a chance to give him my number because this never happened. Ever. To any girl who ever lived.

As the name aptly implies, the bar principle is only applicable in bars. A locale not unlike the African safari, where a guy makes his way across the smoky and loud room like a lion spotting a gazelle after three days without food. After a time of admiring his prey from afar and surveying the competition, he swoops in unexpectedly and asks to buy her a drink. Then he takes her home.

As a general rule of thumb, the lion doesn’t stalk the same prey twice.

The bar principle is also clearly a cost effective one: instead of buying her a cheesesteak with a side of French fries, he buys her something cheap. After all, a lion isn’t successful on each and every hunt.

But for the herd of Christian girls who aren’t found roaming in bars, we’re looking for more than one cheap drink and a one night stand. We’re looking for a commitment. We’re looking for a lifetime.

We’re looking for a good Christian gentleman to pay for 1/3 of the groceries in our shopping cart.

A serious pursuit of a serious relationship should begin in a bookstore when both our hands happen to reach for Crazy Love on the top shelf (he will be tall like me, obviously) and we commence witty banter about Christian literature and Twilight. He’ll ask to buy the book in my hand. I’ll say yes. We’ll get married and have 2 kids (a girl and a boy) and live in a 4 bedroom 2.5 bathroom house on a corner lot with enough of a yard for a hypoallergenic crossbreed canine.

A serious pursuit of a serious relationship should begin at a gas station that is not in New Jersey where they pump the gas for you and he comes to my rescue because the gas tank cap is stuck. He’ll tell me that my rear left tire looks like it needs more air in it. I’ll tell him he’s probably right. He’ll ask if he can pay for my tank of gas. I’ll say yes. We’ll get married and travel the world for three years developing a slight obsession with cruise lines until we decide to settle down and have 2 kids (a girl and a boy) and live in a 4 bedroom 2.5 bathroom house on a corner lot with enough of a yard for a hypoallergenic crossbreed canine.

A serious pursuit of a serious relationship should begin at a coffeeshop where I’m writing a post for my blog that nobody reads except my parents and some random person I’ve never met in Hong Kong, and it’s raining and he comes in and he’s wet because guys in America never carry umbrellas with them. He sits down at the table next to me and I offer him a napkin because that’s the best I can do and he asks if he can buy me a tall double chocolate chip frappuccino and one of those really expensive cake pops. I’ll say yes. We’ll get married and he’ll guest blog on my blog and we’ll have five total readers, his parents, my parents, and that random person I’ve never met in Hong Kong until we settle down and have 2 kids (a girl and a boy) and live in a 4 bedroom 2.5 bathroom house on a corner lot with enough of a yard for a hypoallergenic crossbreed canine.

All this gazelle is looking for is a good Christian gentleman to make his pursuit serious. Don’t give me cheap. Don’t give me once and done. Don’t ask for the bare minimum. Ask with the ultimate goal of everything—Christ centered, two-becoming-one-til-death-do-us-part everything.

But if the bar principle never has any hope of transferring to other venues where the exchange of goods for money occurs, I’ll settle for a good, Christian man making his way through a crowded grocery store to find me and he’ll lean in and rather seriously ask “excuse me, can I spend time getting to know you?” I’d be out whatever the current state minimum is for a gallon of milk, but there would still be the sound of distant cheers in Portuguese.