new to you friday–unitasking

I’m only slightly better at this now, a whole year after the original post, so it’s a goal that’s carrying into 2011. And it’s even more necessary; with several new clients and three more email accounts, I just don’t have the luxury of wasting time. But even more importantly, I enjoy my work more and do a better job with it when I’m focused.

So I’m closing down the windows currently open on my laptop—the one for Wendy’s new fries with sea salt (anyone tried them yet?), the one for …


what’s your 20?

My life is completely about me.

It’s an occupational hazard of being single and childless; from spending my time to spending my money, I rarely have to consider anyone else. I even work at home, so I “miss” the conflicts and compromises of office life.

This can be fun, of course (yes, that was me buying a $4 peppermint mocha on Saturday) but it can also create a very self-centered existence. One way God grows our character and maturity is through living in a family or community; although I have lots of friends, I don’t have a daily responsibility to sacrifice for someone else, and I’m probably worse off for it.

So …


new to you friday—jen-in-the-box

In his book Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare, Jeremy Butterfield lists ten of the most irritating phrases in English, including “it’s not rocket science,” “with all due respect,” “fairly certain,” “I personally,” and “shouldn’t of.” (It’s shouldn’t have, folks, as in “I shouldn’t have slept through so many English classes.”)

I’d add another to his list: “out of the box.” The phrase isn’t just a cliche; I think it’s also become counterproductive.

All creative endeavors require boundaries—rules, even. In addition to correct grammar (shouldn’t have), effective writing requires various elements: paragraphs have topic sentences, sentences have …


new to you friday–the last christmas pageant ever

Welcome to October. (Wasn’t it just July?)

Anyway, here we are, and right on cue my church-enews-only email account has started to fill with announcements of Fall Fests and Harvest Parties. Churches have started rehearsals for Christmas choir programs and plays. And I’m still skeptical of the long-term value of any of it. What do you think?


I’m guessing at least 50% of you attended a “Harvest Party” or “Trunk-n-Treat” at your church last month, and at least 25% more attend a church that held one.

Which is all fine, as far as it goes, although I take …


new to you friday–mary christmas

The baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move


I don’t worship Mary, I don’t pray to Mary, and I certainly don’t believe she was sinless. But I will say this—the girl had guts. And I’m so grateful.

[tentblogger-youtube 5KY6Hov0wSc]


thoughts on missing the point

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. —Micah 5

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. —Isaiah 7

The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. —Psalm 72

Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, …


new to you friday–baby talk

If I’ve learned anything from my friends having babies, it’s that no matter how you try to prepare yourself, you are always hugely unprepared for the massive ways life changes after the baby arrives.

Exhaustion. Unpredictable hormones. The lack of opportunity to eat a meal while it’s hot for at least three years.

Mary (and Joseph, to some extent) also faced this, but without a birthing suite, Target registry or suburban house to come home to. Instead she got to experience the fatigue and the postpartum mood swings WHILE giving birth in a cave and then making a run for it to save the baby’s life.

When I first posted these thoughts on …



It’s a cliche this time of year to talk about “Christmas presence”—i.e. giving the gift of time or attention instead of something bought in a store. But like many overused phrases, it’s a popular idea because it’s a good one, and this year I’m giving that gift to myself.

I live my life as a multitasker. Some of it’s harmless, like paying bills while watching a favorite movie (I’ve seen “Clue” so many times I don’t even need to look up at the screen to know what’s going on) or dusting my …


the last christmas pageant ever

I’m guessing at least 50% of you attended a “Harvest Party” or “Trunk-n-Treat” at your church last month, and at least 25% more attend a church that held one.

Which is all fine, as far as it goes, although I take issue with two of the most commonly given reasons for these sugar-fests: that they provide a safer alternative to traditional trick or treating, and that they are a powerful outreach activity to the community.

Although some local news stations still dust off the razor-blades-in-the-apples story each October, Snopes.com disproved every instance of candy tampering ever reported in conjunction with Halloween. It’s just a myth—as is, most likely, the adult …


From the December 1961 “Good Housekeeping:”

What’s your charm quotient?

Have you a new hairstyle that’s swirled and curved for the holidays?

If you’re mad for eye makeup—but he’s not completely sold—do you apply it lightly and win his approval?

Will you pamper your husband with a frivolous Christmas gift you know he secretly desires?

Have you taken a walk outdoors lately to loosen the “shopping kinks”—making sure your spine is straight, tummy in, head high?

And while you’re walking, do you breathe deeply, for a Christmas glow that only fresh air can give?

Do you get a kick out of glimpsing your own neatly pink-polished toenails in the shower?

Do you automatically reach for …