Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Things I am into right now:

CS Lewis
Texas Hold'Em
Scrubs (hee hee)
The Office

Things I plan to be into in the near future:

Home repair
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
Lost (Feb 7, Baby!)
Writing - always, always in the elusive void that is the near future

Friday, January 26, 2007

You can quote me on that.

A note about quotation marks:

You may have noticed that my last post used what I like to think of as a plethora of quotation marks.

If one is trying to emphasize a particular word for ironic or comic effect, they will often put quotes around it. This is a way to indicate that writer realizes that the word is not being used in its accepted sense.

An example: The "discussion" about the benefits of icecream over coffee had escalated to fisticuffs. (I love the word fisticuffs. It's so prissy.)

These ironic quotes can also be called scare, sneer, shock, or distance quotes (my favorite is sneer).

Here was my issue:

When you are not quoting a sentence but only a word, why must the period go inside the quotation marks?
The period goes "here."
It does not go "here".
I didn't like it. It didn't make sense.

Now I could picture a conversation in my future, when some little doe-eyed worshipper like a daughter or a nephew or a youth group kid will approach me with this self-same question.

I felt ill-equipped.

"I'm sorry daughter/nephew/teen scholar, I do not know the answer to your question. I think that you should give up the English language and all her foibles altogether and focus more on mathematics and Mandarin."

Okay, to make a long story short (too late), I looked it up and experienced a change of heart.

As they relate to American English, periods and commas always, always, always go inside the quotation marks. This dates back to the typesetting days and has something to do with quotes being the most fragile part of the typesetting process and having to set them a certain way so they wouldn't get bent...etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

The British have long abandoned this antiquated tradition for something a little more "logical".

But we have not.

So really, I think it all boils down to patriotism.

I think that as long as we resist putting vinegar on our french fries, driving on the left, and drinking lukewarm water we must not waiver in our determination to keep the commas and periods on the inside!

"The End."

Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with exclamation or question marks. Those are a different beast altogether.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I think I've found my calling.

I have never been what a reasonable person would call "athletic." I have always hated that horrible ragged feeling in my chest after doing what my junior high basketball coach impishly called "sprints." I'm not a beautiful blusher. My cheeks flame red and blood pounds in my temples after way too little exertion. I can't seem to remember to keep my eye on the ball (a cardinal rule, I've been told) and my depth perception is "poor."

But I do know one thing.

I heart wallyball.
Wallyball is played four-on-four in a raquetball court. You can play off the walls. It is very hot and not very well ventilated.

I lurch and heave around the court. At times I swing my arms wildly. At times I cower and dodge the very object I am sworn to protect. But occasionally (very occasionally) I am in the right place at the right time with the right amount of warning. I hit the ball. Sometimes I score points. It's fun.

I play with a bunch of gracious people.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A message to my younger self:

Dear Jess,

Don't try to hang on to Christmas too long.

It's not a pretty sight.

Future Jess

PS - If you're ever tempted to cut a hole in your kitchen ceiling, you might want to take a moment think through all the ramifications.

...you Guata go!

As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
Romans 10:15b

Hmmm. Perhaps misapplied in this instance.

My trip to Guatemala was short. Way, way too short. I know nothing about the country. I didn't get to learn all the girls' names at the orphanage. I never got to have a sit-down talk with the American missionaries. I didn't cry. I didn't get frustrated with my team. It was SO short. Like a breath.

But it was still worth it. We spent the majority of our time visiting an orphanage that was started several years ago by American missionaries. The home has 25 girls right now and has some crazy-growth plans. The plan is to finish another house in February for 30 more girls and a home for boys this summer. There certainly is no shortage of children that need a home. We were also able to run a Vacation Bible School (so fun!) and visit two other orphanages and a hospital.

I was so encouraged by this trip. There is something to be said for being surrounded for a time by like-minded people with a like-minded purpose.

I want to go back.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It's been a year already??

It hangs over my head all year long - the ominous portent of doom. It is the ultimate test of my love for youth ministry. It is the death of my weekend and the birth of many slightly embarrassing stories.

It is the Annual Chapel by the Sea Youth Group lock-in.

My favorite.

And it has come upon me so quickly and now is breathing down my neck from two hours away.

Why, why, why do teens love staying up all night and breathing each other's air? Why do they find it a thrill to accidentally fall asleep and wake up with a magic-marker moustache? What is it about Sponge Bob Square Pants that we all find so terribly amusing?

I don't have the answers, although I've been researching them for three years now. Maybe I will come home tomorrow more enlightened.

But I can say this - they look forward to it all year. They love it and I love them. So I guess I love it, too.

And I am looking forward to laying down some smooth tracks during karaoke.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Sorry for being lame. I know that the five of you have been checking my blog every morning - collective breath held in anticipation - saying "Perhaps today. Perhaps today is the day that she shall blog."

Well, it's not today.

I have so much that I want to show you and tell you about. But I am sapped and I am tired. So bear with me a little longer and then you will get pictures and prose that will sting your eyes and melt your heart.

I guarantee it.