Fun and Games. Or at Least Games.

Have you ever played “Would You Rather?” It’s a game featuring a series of choices between two equal-yet-different-and-usually-abyssmal scenarios. I thought it might be fun to play my own version of this game right here on the One Thing blog.

What sparked this idea? I’ll give you a hint with the first question.

1. Would you rather: have a three-day migraine, or 50 chigger bites in your bikini area?

I ask, because I have experienced both scenarios in the past week. Actually, I’m still in the midst of the latter one. Every summer I somehow manage to stand in a patch of the most voracious chiggers known to man. Even though I was surrounded by half a dozen other people, no one else was snacked upon with the same intensity. What can I say? I’m tasty.

I would prefer to have the adjective applied to me in a less literal way, but I’ll take what I can get at my age.

So because my mind is increasingly random, I came up with a few more scenarios to entertain myself and, frankly, to keep the agony of itching from driving me completely insane. Here we go…

2. Would you rather: have you left arm torn off by a shark, or your right foot torn off by a bear?

3. Would you rather: clean up a poop explosion, or a vomit volcano?

4. Would you rather: watch a professional boxing match, or a professional wrestling match?

5. Would you rather: Read the Health Care Reform Package, or watch the Twilight series?

haha!!! Okay, so that was mean. But I’m not entirely sure which one would be worse. Sorry.

6. Would you rather: eat a cow’s eyeball, or a sheep’s brain? Raw.

7. Would you rather: be captured by cannibals, or trapped in an elevator with Robert Downey Jr.?

Just seeing if you’re paying attention.

8. ….

sorry. Can’t concentrate now. Meditating on number 7….

8. Ahem! Sorry! Would you rather: Poke your eye with your mascara wand, or jam your toothrush into your gums?

It occurs to me that number 7 might very well be a legitimate question…for Robert Downey Jr, at least…although the two scenarios might be too similar for him to choose between…

Hawhaw! I’m cracking myself up. Almost forgot about the chigger bites.


9. Would you rather: Have to listen to someone talk about themselves for 36 straight hours, or have to talk about yourself for 36 straight hours?

10. Would you rather: Answer all these questions, or come up with 10 of your own?

Well? Well? Wouldya? Couldya? If you come up with 10 of your own, be sure to link it up in the comments! I NEED the distraction!!!

Witless Wendnesday

It’s pouring down rain outside. I mean, it’s like a monsoon. It was so dark this morning I was braced for the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse to show up at any minute. It’s the kind of weather that inspires one to do precisely nothing except curl up on the couch and watch back-to-back Monk episodes. Which is what I would be doing if I happened to have season 3 of said program, but we only recently finished season 2 and I have not made a trip to Best Buy yet to plunk down $35.99 for 16 hours of rainy-day escapism.

I really should be rallying the troups to get some math and spelling done, but I don’t want to, and you can’t make me. Can’t! Can’t! Nanny nanny boo boo!

Since I’m taunting you and feeling cozy and safe behind my computer screen and shield of drenching water, I thought I’d just go ahead and make this true confessions Wednesday, or something like that. What would be a good alliteration for something like that?

I’m not usually controversial here at ye olde blogge; at least, I don’t try to be. But some things really get on my nerves sometimes, and I’m tired to acting like they don’t. So brace yourselves for a rare dose of Jenni, being belligerent.

Mom, you can stop laughing anytime.

1. Sometimes Pioneer Woman really makes me gag. Her posts about Charlie make me borderline homocidal, and her photo contests…*breathing deeply to remain calm*…well, let me just say that most of the time I think they are an absolute travesty. She’s a funny lady and 98% of the time I enjoy her blog, but the other 2% of the time, I want to kick her in the shins.

2. My over-the-fence neighbor has two mastiffs, a male and a female. The male stays in the (small) yard all day long. The female? In a (very small) kennel in the small yard. Always. Always. All day long. They breed them. Yes. They do. The latest litter was just a while ago, and the whole family of canines cried continually. I don’t know what they wound up selling all the pups for, but a hot tub just showed up in the back yard shortly after the puppies all disappeared, so I know their motives were pure and sensible. I’m sure there was all kinds of health testing going on to ensure the puppies were strong and genetically sound. I’m sure these dogs, who live out their lives with very little human interaction, are well-socialized and well-loved family pets. I’m sure they screened the prospective owners of the puppies carefully and thoroughly to make sure the puppies don’t wind up at the local pound six months from now. And I’m sure that, any minute now, Planned Parenthood will knock on my door and ask me to be their spokeswoman of the year.

3. Junk Shot. Seriously, BP? You’re planning to shoot golf balls, shredded tires, and knotted ropes into the hole currently gushing oil in the bottom of the Gulf? And this after spraying untold gallons of deodorized kerosene into the water to break up the oil, because, as we all know, kerosene is perfectly! safe! for everyone! I’d breathe it all day long if I could! It makes me so tingly!

Junk Shot. Kerosene. How about if we just fill in the entire Gulf with cement and call it a day?

4. STOP, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THE FLUFFY PUPPIES ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH, MISSPELLING DEFINITELY! It’s not definately. It’s not definently. And it is never, ever, EVER definintly. Do you want me to hurl a dictionary at your head? I think you do.

5. What is the purpose of geometry for the average human being?  Are these triangles congruent? Is angle A complementary to angle B? You think so? Oh yeah? Prove it! PROVE it! PROVE IT!!

Geometry: invented by channelling the spirits of all the obnoxious younger siblings that ever existed.

Sometimes, during the course of their schooling, your children will ask “when will I ever need this information again?” and sometimes, you can truthfully answer: NEVER. Never, ever. But I had to do it, and so do you. So there. Prove it!

6. The rain has stopped, and so has my diatribe. I have been as controversial and belligerent as I dare to be. I’m sort of a coward that way. Got anything you feel the need to vent? Let this be your engraved invitation to let fly. Ready, set, go!

My Mother Always Said…

“Only boring people get bored.”

That’s what she used to tell me. Whining to her in the middle of summer or during school breaks for the holidays like the spoiled rotten brat that I was, I would slink off to my room after she said it, pouting that my own mother called me boring. Assembling my ten million stuffed animals, I would call the meeting to order and inquire as to what grand adventure we should have together.

They would stare at me, glassy-eyed, silent…unhelpful. I knew they participated in all sorts of hair-raising schemes behind my back, but were they going to confess to their devoted, doting person? Not a chance. Screw them. I retreated to my closet to check if it had transformed into a portal to Narnia instead. Nope. Still just a wall of sheetrock.

My mother would also offer to let me fold laundry, or dust, or put away dishes, if I complained too frequently, or too long. What I really wanted was a flying unicorn. Or a rainbow I could climb to visit the cloud men of Roald Dahl’s imagination. I WANTED AN ADVENTURE, BY GOLLY.

When my own children get bored, I say “Revel in it! Enjoy it! Do you know how many people in the world would LOVE to know how it feels to be bored? It’s a luxury!! You could be working in a sweatshop or a coal mine! You could be digging potatoes until your fingernails fall off, you could be…(etc)”

I’m much more long-winded than my mother.

I am also the world’s biggest hypocrite. Because,

Right now? 




The most exciting thing that happened to me today was that my baby boy pooped Stonehenge. It is, at this moment, sitting in the bottom of the toilet bowl, slowly eroding since it refuses to flush. I should start a betting pool amongst my children to see who estimates its time-to-flushability to the closest minute. 

The sameness of my days is killing me. Am I alone? Or am I just the only one brave enough to say it? I mean, come on, it’s an unwritten rule that Christians (especially) are not supposed to complain of boredom. We are supposed to savor every moment in an attitude of thankfulness for our every breath. I know this. I’m not stupid. It’s pretty much sinful to pout over the lack of portals to other dimensions where every episode moment is a new thrill.

And so I’ll make my own excitement. I will rise above the boredom that is trying to claim me. I AM NOT A BORING PERSON, BY JINGO! I AM A CLEVER AND CREATIVE SOUL!

I will go and see if I can flush the toilet yet.

And maybe burn something down.

Filed under “Things that Chap My Hide”

First there was this:



Now, I understand the idea here. But frankly, it’s wrong. Death? Abuse? Injustice? Genocide? Slavery? Murder? Rape? Starvation? Death? These are very real, very huge, and very scary things, and they are part of life on planet earth. How does it make those people feel who have experienced and are experiencing these things to say “oh, silly you, just don’t sweat it!” 


It is the ultimate in belittlement, and it makes me angry. Even the lesser things, the things are are deeply personal to us and tear at our hearts daily are not small things. The child who struggles in school, the husband who lost his job and wonders about his identity, the woman watching her father descend into the darkness of Alzheimers, the mother who has just birthed a disabled child…God does not look down from His heaven and say “tsh tsh, such small stuff! what are they worried about?”


“In everything, with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…”


In everything. No matter how “small” the ignorant may term it, God wants to hear about it. It is not small stuff to Him. It should not be small stuff to us. How much is God interested in? Oh, just everything.


Yes, it says “with thanksgiving”, and I am not missing that point. With thanksgiving, so we don’t forget how much we have to be thankful for. With thanksgiving, so we remember Whose we are. With thanksgiving, so we do not become the swine trampling the pearls.


But with thanksgiving does not mean without grief. The two are not mutually exclusive.


Which brings me to my next bit of wrath.



Don’t misunderstand me. 13,999 out of the 14,000 are wonderful things to be happy about. But somewhere amidst the just and true is one honest mistake. Interposed between the lollipops and daffodils is one word to which I object.




Everything is to be happy about?


No. I’m sorry, Barbara Ann, but I cannot be happy about everything.


I will not be happy about miscarriage. I will not be happy about leukemia. I will not be happy about infidelity, or mental illness, or pollution, or stillbirth, or tragedy.


And I refuse to feel guilty about that. I don’t think there’s any scriptural basis for the premise, frankly.


Here’s what the Word of God has to say:


Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. Phil. 4:4


In everything give thanks…1 Thess. 5:18


Consider it all joy, when you encounter various trials…James 1:2


And plenty more along those lines. Rejoice. Have joy. Consider it all joy. Give thanks. And how can I do these seemingly impossible things? IN THE LORD. In His strength. In His comfort. In His hope. Because I know He is with me. I know He will never let me go. I know He brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. I know where I am going.


But I am infinitely grateful that nowhere in the Word of God does it exhort me to be happy about the state of this refugee camp into which we are born. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, a supernatural state of being. Happiness is a flighty thing, borne of the moment and our often whimsical and deceitful hearts. I cannot conjure up happiness. And I don’t have to.


So there.

Seriously. It’s hard to get published?*

Every time I receive CBD’s catalog of the newest Christian fiction offerings, I find myself giggling. Setting aside, for the moment, the very fine argument that the moment “Christian” fiction became its own genre it also nestled down inside a slick and silky coffin and began driving in the nails, I submit that for every one quality “Christian” novelist there are at least 100 high-school-creative-writing-teacher’s-pets churning out books that get published simply by virtue of the fact that they are bereft of anything objectionable, and contain at least one scene of someone getting baptized.


However, I do have one thing to say in their favor: their summaries in the CBD catalog are delightful targets for mirthful ridicule.


Don’t believe me? Here, I’ll prove it. I’ll write several blurbs for novels that exist solely in the dark recesses of my twisted mind, along with copying an equal amount of completely real  blurbs from completely real novels. Can you tell the difference?


Ready? Here goes.


The Scent of Jasmine


Retired Private Investigator Flax Cracker thought he’d left business behind him when he won the lottery and moved to Honolulu. But things aren’t all peaches and cream in the land of aloha. When his sweet and unassuming neighbor, Honey Sunshine, is accused of murdering her 3-star General of a husband, he finds himself caught up in a desperate race to clear her name. But will his heart be the second casualty in this thrilling murder mystery?


Okay, okay, so that was a gimme. I was just dying to use those names. The following will be more of a challenge, I promise. No fair googling titles to see if they exist!!


1. Hourglass


The sleepy little town of Moss Point, Mississippi, is shaken out of its slumber when a mysterious stranger arrives with the apparent ability to stop, and even reverse, time!  The tight-lipped and brooding Mr. Adrian offers the struggling townspeople economic stability if they choose to accept his offer of help, but is he the angel he appears to be…or something far more sinister?


2. A Widow’s Hope


A tender love story set in the rolling green fields of Ohio Amish country! When newly widowed Hannah relocates from Pennsylvania to Ohio with her sheep, she’d determined that her new life won’t include romance…until she meets widower Seth Miller. Is the gentle farmer drawn to Hannah–or to her productive flock?


3. Sweet Charity


An undisciplined two year old named Charity has Shauna Alexander seriously questioning her calling as a child care provider. Pastor Kent Chapman’s heart is still raw from losing his wife. He knows he spoils his daughter, but he can’t help but see his wife in her. During a computer repair mix-up, Kent finds himself attracted to Shauna, but when their worlds collide over the rebellious toddler’s behavior, both must work toward reconciliation. Will the Lord cause Kent to choose between his daughter and his heart?


4. Blue Skye


Skye Cerule finds herself sinking into an unshakeable depression after the death of her twin sister. When she resorts to an overdose of sleeping pills one dark night, she awakens to find herself in the care of Dr. Darrin Angelus at the local mental hospital. Through the good doctor’s compassionate therapy, Skye begins to feel stable enough to be released. However, when her sister begins to visit her in the dead of night with strange warnings about Skye’s future, she begins to question what is real and what isn’t. Will she ever find peace?


5. Pasadena Promises


Love blooms like a rose from the thorns of war for three strong-willed women. Rebecca, a widow, reaches out to battle-scarred Courtney. Will Jack ever see Daisy as the compassionate woman she has become—not the little girl he once knew? And Claire struggles to understand Daniel’s reluctance to enlist after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.


6. Spurred by Love


Hotheaded cowboy Flint Colton has been breaking mustangs since he was kneehigh to a prairie dog. But when fiery Stella Dawson shows up to offer a newfangled method for gentling wild horses, sparks fly between the two! When Flint’s prize stallion escapes into the Texas hill country with Stella’s favorite filly, they are forced to work together to bring their horses home. Will they find more than just the runaways during their time beneath the endless prairie sky?


Okay, time’s up. Which are fake, and which are tripe real? Leave me a comment listing the THREE FAKES and I’ll reveal the truth Saturday, along with a fun prize for the winner (picked from all the correct entrants).


*alternate title: Sour Grapes Make Great Whine

The Caribbean Vacation that Almost Was

Have you heard that the economy is shot to heck? Up the creek? Over a barrel? Between a rock and a hard place? In a pickle? On the fritz? And other assorted prepositional phrases?


Yeah. I think I heard that somewhere.


Fortunately, even though the economy is, well…you know…here’s some good news. You can still take a lovely Caribbean vacation! Yes! In fact, in my current issue of Coastal Living (AKA “that glossy publication that repeatedly causes me to break commandment #10 into teeny, weeny pieces”), there is an entire article devoted to helping good, hardworking folks like you and me save a buck or two on just such an endeavor. And since I am all things magnaminous, I will henceforth share this information with all of you.


First on the docket is the fabulous island of St. Lucia. Can you believe such places exist on this earth? Are those angelic voices that I hear, or have I just suffered a minor brain embolism in the face of so much lush tropicality?



Lucky, lucky us! Coastal Living informs me that we can go and stay at the Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia anytime this year and receive our fourth night FREE!!!! FREE!!! Absolutely FREEE!!!!!


Pack your bags! Buy your flip flops! Slather on the sunscreen! Wax your…


Hang on.


Forgot to mention something.


The first three nights? $850.


Per night.


Okay, okay, okay! Don’t despair! I’m sure that was just a little joke to whet our appetites. Let’s move on and see what else they can offer us middle class slobs who stand in Wal Mart and compare cost-per-oz before choosing a can of garbanzo beans.


Deep, cleansing breath.




Oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….be still my heart. The Turks and Caicos Islands are surely the jeweled landing on the staircase to heaven, if not the lobby of heaven itself. Drink it in, my friends. Drink it in.



And guess what???  After June 1st, rates drop several hundred dollars per night! And if you book four nights in a row, you get FREE MEALS!!!!!


Where’s my snorkel? Is my passport still valid? Does my camera have batteries? Has anybody seen…?




I seem to have overlooked the fine print.


Staying in one of those cute little pavilions?


$1200. Per night.


But yoga classes are free with that! And afternoon tea!


If your windows shatter suddenly, do not be alarmed. It is simply the frequency of my shrieks at this moment.


Okay, Coastal Living. I’m giving you one more chance. Show me something that the teeming masses can enjoy, or I’ll cancel my subscription.


How about Virgin Gorda? It’s a sweet little British spot of fragrant frangipani, sea grape trees, and white sand beaches rimmed by that undefinable blue-green Caribbean sea.



I’m finding it difficult to type, my keyboard being so slick with drool.


The good news? Seven-night stay packages are several THOUSAND dollars cheaper right now.


So now, nights at the resorts run a paltry $700, champagne included.


What are you waiting for? It’s practically free!


Forget drooling. I’m starting to spit.


On the bright side, I think I’ve figured out what sort of relaxing, sun-drenched vacation I can afford this summer.


And it looks something like this.


Well If That Don’t Beat All

Do you have anyone difficult to buy for on your holiday shopping list? There are many kinds of people who can be tricky to buy for, no matter how well you know them. This is usually due to any number of factors, such as


1. They have no interests. At all.

2. They buy themselves whatever they want, before anyone else has a chance

3. They have appallingly expensive tastes.


This year, why not skip the totally predictable “mug” or “gift card” or “gift-card-in-mug” and buy them something they will treasure forever? The embodiment of heart-felt affection and spiritual goodwill?


I give you:



the dismember-able plush zombie


He’s velcro, y’all. Your kids won’t have to share. Everybody gets a piece! But most importantly: you can take out his brain.

If that’s not the reason for the season, I don’t know what is.


Unless it’s this:


The Men’s Extended Reach Body Hair Groomer



Seriously. Do people actually wrap these things up in pretty paper?


Don’t answer that.


Somehow it seems like this year I’m seeing more than ever of the absurd and disturbing. Ever since this ad, I’m hyper-aware of the ludicrous in the holiday hubbub. More than once I have donned my “What the–?” face in disbelief.


My Beloved likes to quote a phrase from Star Wars at times like these. It’s a line from the famous final scene in A New Hope (that’s the first one for all you old-timers like me…for you upstarts, it would be recognized as the fourth episode) when Luke (be still my heart!) and his buddies are going to blow up the Death Star. One guy (I think his name was Dac, or maybe Blid, or possibly Grug) is getting shot at, and his ship is starting to break up, but he keeps saying STAY ON TARGET! STAY ON TARGET! even as he eventually gets blown to smithereens.


My Beloved likes to say STAY ON TARGET! When I start to digress, as I have just done quite powerfully in the above paragraph.


But it strikes me as appropriate for all of us who claim the Risen Lord Jesus, Savior of souls and Best of All Gifts, as the reason for the season. Can we put on blinders, determine not to be swayed by the false and the ridiculous this Christmas? Can we remember What It’s All About, even when the ads cajole us to shell out more and more for that which passes away?




I’m going to try. I’m gonna keep firing away at those falsehoods and idols, even if it looks hopeless. Because by golly, that old Death Star is gonna blow in the end.


I do love a good metaphor.


Maybe one of these is the perfect addition for my tree this year?






Face It

Okay, I give up. Advent wreath? Nightly readings? Lighting the candles as we meditate on Christ’s coming? Who needs it? This ad on the back of my Family Fun magazine has forced me to face the truth that none of those things is pivotal in heightening familial love and unity this holiday season.






Oh sure! You can go ahead and TRY your pathetic crafts at the table and singing ’round the piano. Go ahead and have your face-to-face interaction as you play a hand of cards! Reminesce as you decorate the tree and bake treats!


Just remember, though, that if you don’t like game systems or greasy food, you’re pretty much doomed to perpetual alienation. There goes your last chance to be a part of something beautiful. You fool!


I’m not sure what disturbs me most about this ad. The wording is rude, the idea is reprehensible, and the graphics are just plain scary. You’ve got a giant Wii vortex, complete with god-like rays of ecstasy, about to envelope a sweet little family of four who are walking hand in hand, apparently unaware of the impending doom. Only one hangs back…a little boy of about six. Perhaps he feels a twinge of foreboding. Perhaps he has noticed the shadow of the console as it prepares to pounce upon him. But no matter. Thanks to the Burger King Crown Card, he will soon be adequately sedated with a steaming pile of french fries. He won’t feel a thing.


I, on the other hand, feel not a little queasy.


Have you ever heard this popular bit of opinion? “Any book that gets kids excited about reading is a good book!”



Is it just me, or does anyone else find this logic disturbing?


Don’t get me wrong; I love books. All kinds of books. As a child, books were my comfort, solace, and faithful companions. My head was in a book constantly, from Ramona The Brave in the elementary grades to A Wrinkle In Time in Jr. High to Roald Dahl’s short stories in High School. I don’t think I’d be overstating the fact to say that books were one of the most critical elements in forming Who I Became (after the flesh-and-blood humans in my life, of course).


And hence my problem with the aforementioned assertion.


To me, the characters in books are so much more than words on a page. They encourage and teach, warn and exhort. I always felt like the protagonist was my friend, and the antagonist my own enemy. One can really get into a good book, but a great book gets into you. Great books have a way of seeping into your bones, becoming a part of who you are and how you view the world.


I just read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time last Christmas, and I can honestly say that it changed me…its challenge to buck the norm was woven into the rhythm of every genteel word. I wanted to be like Atticus–unafraid to stand up to the bullies, and like Jem–horrified by injustice, and like Scout–honest and questioning.


Our heroes do not have to be real to have a very real impact on our lives.


Just as I would not want my child hanging out with someone who is irreverent, hard-hearted and foolish, neither will I allow them to fill their heads with books in which that sort of character is esteemed. I don’t want my children to listen attentively to a small-minded, petty, and misinformed person, so neither will I shrug cheerfully when they bury themselves in the latest work by an author who is.


When a book feeds on the most basic, gratuitous impulses in human nature, is it laudible simply on the basis that the kids love it?


Are there some poor unfortunate souls out there who are that desperate for their children to read?


I would suggest that, when the literary diet one is feeding one’s mind is equivalent to the goop found in one’s kitchen trap, perhaps it would be best to abstain altogether. Even if it’s not arsenic outright, the result is a brain that is anemic and wasted, lacking stamina for any amount of exertion towards loftier thought.


And I do believe there are enough of those in the world already.

@!!#%$$!!! And especially $$$!!!

I have been to Wal Mart far too often lately.


Far. Too. Often.


It’s beginning to seriously frighten me. We either need to

  1. get substantially richer
  2. eat far, far less, or
  3. prices need to fall just a few pennies. Or a thousand.

Cuz friends? It’s getting stinkin’ ridiculous out there.



And that whole let’s-make-the-package-smaller-so-we-can-keep-the-price-the-same thing? It’s just not funny. It’s mean and tricksy and evil. It seems to me like the dishonest scales spoken of in the Old Testament, even though, okay, technically YES, they ARE giving you exactly what the box says.


Because then you buy the same number of boxes or whathaveyou as you always have, and you don’t see the difference in your grocery bill until you realize that you have been to the friggin store friggin FOUR TIMES in a friggin week because you’re using up the friggin tiny boxes at a friggin frightening rate!




I’m seriously afraid somebody is going to go postal in Wal Mart when I’m there because they simply cannot take it anymore.


Actually, I’m afraid it’s going to be me.


I’m afraid I’m going to cease resisting the urge to pick up the ORANGES for OVER A DOLLAR EACH and just hurl them at some poor employee’s head. Or maybe I’ll shove some random store manager into the freezer with all the incredible shrinking ice cream containers. Or perhaps I will REACH FOR SOMETHING ON THE TOP SHELF WITHOUT ASKING FOR ASSISTANCE.    


**insert maniacal cackle**


Please send the men in white jackets. And all your recipes utilizing beans and rice.