Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Sweetie," "Honey," and the like

"Sweetie" and "Honey" are fine pet words for your spouse or maybe your child, but they're not designed to be used outside of that context, like when the secretary at my dentist's office (who is my age, by the way) called me today and said, "Alright, sweetie, we'll get that worked out." I know it's a southern thing to say and that tons of people say it without meaning anything negative by it, but it sure as heck comes across negatively to me. Every time. It's either condescending (spoken by a peer) or insulting/degrading (spoken by a male), and it makes me feel like that person sees me as a child and wants to take pity on me. Nobody wants pity...espeically when there's no reason for it. I think the only people who can get away with saying it outside the family context are really, really old ladies. They've earned the right to say (and wear) whatever they want.

Whew. I feel better now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and if I hadn't read it somewhere on the Internet, I would have missed it completely. I never really celebrated Lent growing up. My church didn't observe it and I don't remember any explanations of what it is, or why people "give things up" for Lent. When I went to college, Lent was in vogue. Everyone in the cafeteria would talk about what they were giving up for Lent and for the first time I thought maybe I should do that too. So I gave up caffeine one year, which was pretty convenient considering I rarely drank anything other than water anyway. Lots of press, little sacrifice. I completely missed the point and honestly, the experience of "giving something up" meant nothing. After that Lenten experiment, I decided to let Lent be for the Catholics and Episcopalians, for people who grew up with that tradition, and to not worry about it myself.

Until this year.  This year I had to actually ask myself, What is Lent? Why do people celebrate it? What is the point of giving things up if you're just going to broadcast it? So, I've spent some time reading and researching and here are my big takeaways:

  • In the Old Testament, ashes were a sign of humility and mortality
  • Lent is a season of repentance and expectation
  • The Lenten season is best compared to the Advent season
Those two words humility and mortality stuck with me and those first two bullet points should really go together because repentance always needs humility and expectation comes when I face the fact that I'm finite. To be aware of my mortality is to be aware of eternity. 

So I struggled. Do I give something up? Is there Biblical evidence that I should? While I don't think the Bible mandates self-denial during the Lenten season, it is clear that self-denial can benefit our spiritual lives. So, fasting (from food or anything else) isn't a bad thing, but it's also not a mandate. And in the process of more study and conversation with those wiser than me, the main point of Lent isn't what we are giving up or even if we are giving something up, but rather that we set aside this season as one of repentance and expectation, a season of exposing our hearts. It doesn't even mean adding to our devotional lives (although it might), but simply an intentional redirection toward confession, humility, repentance, and ultimately HOPE, which is a sure expectation, making Easter all the more joyful.  

For a great article that discusses these issues further, click here. As you can see, I have a lot to learn, so I'd love to hear your thoughts and responses.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I can't take credit for what I'm about to share with you; my friend, Sarah, can be blamed for the ridiculous amount of "study breaks" I've taken lately. Be warned, though. This website will probably suck you in. I feel the need to qualify the site before sharing it with you. I'm not a trivia person. Not at all. I don't remember random facts or trivial information. I remember things if they're part of  a story, part of my experience, or something I've seen (and even then, my memory is questionable).  BUT I LOVE this site that's full of timed quizzes on anything from words that start and end with "d" to Arrested Development facts to countries in Africa. So, enough said. Check it out for yourself: http://www.sporcle.com/. No wonder its motto is "mentally stimulating diversions". Consider me officially diverted.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Wrongo Dongo

Phil and I went to a charity wine tasting last night for our friends Jim & Amy Jo, who started a foundation for pediatric cancer called the Austin Hatcher Foundation.  Every "team" (1-2 people) brought 3 bottles of the same red wine.  Two of the bottles were covered with paper bags, numbered, and set out for mystery tasting while the third bottle was displayed on a table in the center of the room.  As we tasted wines, we wrote down the numbers of the bottles we liked and then voted at the end of the night. The person whose wine had the most votes got to take home everyone else's third bottle, which amounted to at least 50 bottles last night!

Since Phil and I had a hunch that we wouldn't win (and we didn't), we decided to buy the wine with the funniest name, so we came home with three bottles of Wrongo Dongo because, as the bottle says, "Dongo to the party without it!" I'm not sure what the marketing strategy is here.  Honestly, it sounds like a potty word that your mom wouldn't let you say as a kid.  Why would a wine with the word "wrong" and "dong" in it be appealing? Must be for all those reverse psychology folks out there, Phil being one of them.  Unfortunately, we can't tell you what it tastes like because all the bottles were numbered and we didn't know which number was ours, but I can tell you this: it wasn't expensive. So, if you're in the mood for a red wine experiment, check out Wrongo Dongo, if for no other reason, then simply for the name. And, we think this would be a fun idea for a small dinner party. Any takers?