This is a test. Or an opportunity.

This is a test... I mean, it's an opportunity.

I just added a new comment system on the VWM. At least I think I did. I'm not sure, and I won't be sure until you say something in comments.

So, this is a test. A comments test. It WILL be graded. On a curve.

If you're wondering why I'm adding a new comment thingy, it's because A) Sometimes you guys say things that make me smile, or cry, or cringe, or sigh, or laugh, or roll my eyes, but mostly smile, and I don't see it until, like, 5 comments later and I'd really like to give you an "attaboy" or an "attagirl" or an "attatrani" ... or whatever, but I have weird guilt issues if I don't comment back to everyone in between and that just feels kinda forced, ya know? but also, B) I'd love to see all y'all talking to each other so we can be more like the Very Worst Community, and C)...nope, that's it, just the 2 reasons:

So I can talk to YOU, and so you can talk to EACH OTHER......but only if you want to, no pressure or anything. (Ok, actually? There is pressure because I really need you to help me with this test.) You are officially being pressured to say something in comments....and it better be clever... or we will all point and laugh directly at you because I now have a comment system that makes it possible. I think.

No, just kidding. Say whatever you want. It can even be super lame.


If you need something to point and laugh at you can use this tragic picture from the day I accidentally left the house dressed like Princess Leia on the planet Hoth (at least that's what I'm told by Nerds-Who-Know-These-Things).

Worst outfit ever.

I was even gonna write a post about it called, Wearing the Full Armor of Princess Leia. But I didn't for obvious reasons. You can talk about that if you want.

But how about, in keeping with the theme of this blog and in the name of "worsts", you just share the WORST movie you've ever seen and why. That's not hard. And it's a good way to see who would like who in "real life". Right?

Ok. Let's do this. If you're nervous, don't think of it as a test - think of it as an opportunity to be heard, or to introduce yourself for the first time, or to make fun of my outfit.

Or to tell us; The WORST movie I've ever seen is....


The 16 Most Amazing Things About You.

...No, not you. YOU, El Chupacabra!

1. You are the smartest human I know. Ok, but that’s not the thing. The thing is that you don’t need for people to know how smart you are. And we’ve known a lot of douchebaggy people that think they’re smart and want everyone to know how smart they are and mostly I just feel embarrassed for them, in part, because you’ve let them treat you like you’re a big, dumb, jock/cop/construction worker without telling them that you were invited to join Mensa in high school, or that you were an Academic Decathlon geek, or that you were, like, the only athlete living in the Freshman honors dorm in college, or that you studied Math and Engineering while also playing football with a wife and baby at home. And then, when you bust out with some super nerd jargon, or when you whomp ass in a game of RISK, or whatever, everybody acts all surprised and you’re just like, “What...?”

2. You smell AMAZING. And I know if I said that out loud you’d say “Thank you, I just farted.” Which is a super lame joke but still makes me chuckle. But really...amazing...

3. A loooong time ago you took me across the California state line into Nevada, and we’ve been crossing all kinds of lines, borders, and boundaries together ever since. And I never would have had the guts to do any of it without you. And now we’re missionaries and everything and in some ways I totally owe that to you. (I know that sometimes I say that as if I’m blaming you for something really awful, but usually I mean it like I’m thanking you for something really great.)

4. You’re cool. No... for real.

5. You’ve gotten really good at apologizing when you’re wrong. And not freaking out when I should be apologizing when I’m wrong but I don’t because I’m still trying to get as good at it as you.

6. In the past 3 years I’ve said to you again and again, “But... you don’t know how to do that.”...”You don’t know how to weld.”, “You don’t know how to build furniture, from like, trees.”, “You don’t know how to surf.”, “You don’t know how to speak Spanish.”, “You don’t know how to coach a football team.” And then you’ve gone and done all those things, plus a million more. And I love that you’re not intimidated by anything, ever....

7. But even more I love that you’ve taught me how to be a learner. And you’ve encouraged me again and again, by saying “You can learn to do that.”.... “You can learn how to make flan.”, “You can learn to speak Spanish.”, “You can learn how to write a blog.” “Maybe you can learn to use punctuation properly.”

8. You make chinese fried rice, and it is awesome.

9. You tell me I’m pretty when I look like Oscar the Grouch took a steamy dump on my head. And I know I act like I’m all mad, but really? I love that you love me best when I’m a hot mess.

10. We like most of the same TV. That’s a pretty big deal relationshipnally.

11. You don’t care that I make up new words all the time and use them as if no one notices. And you didn’t correct me for 15 years while I said “For all intensive purposes.” Which might annoy some people, but to me just says that you know what matters and you don’t get bent out of shape about what doesn’t.

12. You can laugh at yourself.

13. You can laugh at me.

14. We can laugh at us together.

15. The other night when you were outside at 11pm killing massive amounts of cockroaches with cancer causing poison, I was struck, once again, by how you are always willing to take on the biggest, dirtiest, worst jobs.... and maybe that’s how you ended up with me 16 years ago. And I thanked God for you.

16. Um. That thing I said yesterday? About the way you took off your shirt.... Yeah, you still do that, and it still makes me bite my bottom lip. ;)

Happy 16th Anniversary. Here’s to another...however-many-you-can-take. Cheers!


Unequally Joked.

Tomorrow is my 16th Anniversary. No kidding.

And I've been trying, for like 3 weeks, to write something awesome to post as a tribute to El Chupacabra. But I'm failing so miserably.

Look, here's an excerpt from something I wrote and then scrapped:

...It’s kind of like 16 years ago today, in a ceremony that lasted 12 minutes and included a three month old baby in a velvet, one-piece tuxedo, an Ox was yoked together with a Chihuahua. You're the ox; Strong, smart and capable. I'm the chihuahua; Yappy, annoying, and bug-eyed (and most of the time, you just wanna throw it under a passing car.)

See? Ugh. This is so hard!! (yes, we'll all wait while you insert your moronic joke here: __________________) So then I tried this:

The first time I saw you, you were taking off your shirt. But not how normal people do it, like, one arm at a time. No. You reached both arms over your head and pulled it up from the back... all sexy like.

You were stripping because everybody wanted to see your first tattoo (so new it was still covered in plastic wrap and vaseline). And this was way before everyone and their grandma went and got a corny tribal arm band. It was before tramp stamps and shoulder fairies and ankle dolphins and it was before everybody got a chinese proverb on their butt or wherever. It was almost as if you were the first person on the face of the planet to get a tattoo, the way everyone was looking at you like you were crazy. You were like 18 and a day. And so cute.

But I didn’t actually meet you that day. I just saw you from behind, taking your shirt off like a Chip-n-Dale dancer. And I liked it.....a lot.

Gah. Seriously?! I suck at this!

It's like I just don't know how you say thank you for marrying me after you knocked me up and I had your kid 16 years ago and if I'd known you were gonna turn out to be some kinda Jesus loving Spanish speaking super hero of mythological proportion I probably would have said thank you on our wedding day instead of waiting until now.

Ya know?
How do you say that to someone? ...but not have it sound crappy ...or corny ...or contrived ...or lame.
Speaking of lame:

I always thought it was weird that Superman liked Lois Lane. I mean, he was freaking Superman. And she was this sort of average, boring, snotty chick with a crappy car and an icky voice. Ridiculous.

Yeah. I actually wrote "ridiculous" and felt embarrassment when I tapped out that little gem.

What am I gonna do???


Um. That's my SON, not my boyfriend... Ew.

You pretty much know, when you’re 17 and the pee stick says “+”, that you’ve severely effed up your own life.

But, once you decide not to have an abortion and after you conclude that you are, in fact, too selfish to give your baby up for adoption, you move on. You quit wallowing in self despair, and you get used to the idea that you are going to shove a human outta your girl-howdy, and that human will be your kid, and that kid will be just fine in your loving hands.

No harm, no foul.... or something like that.

At least that’s how it went for me; I got knocked up at 17 and everything turned out just fine. True story. I mean, yeah, it wasn’t ideal to have a child when I was still, well... a child.... But it worked out. I mean, I don’t recommend it, and I NEVER would have planned it that way, but I can’t really complain about how it’s all gone down for me. Naturally, yes, there have been consequences. It’s been a tough road at times, but I’ve always felt that by God’s grace I’ve come through the slutty missteps of my youth relatively unscathed. Then, last year, on Mother’s Day, when my oldest son gave me a hand made card that said, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Thanks for not aborting me!”, I felt reassured that he’d survived the trial and error (but mostly error) of having been raised by very young, very stupid parents, pretty much unharmed as well.

I can honestly say that I never really felt like I ruined his life by having him when I was so young. I didn’t really think that our relatively short age difference was gonna mess with his head in unimaginable ways.

But I was wrong. So very wrong....

See, the thing is, my baby boy is 16 now, and he’s 6’ 3”, and he wears chops down to his jaw, soooo he’s like... a man. And I never stopped buying my clothes at Forever 21.

So we went to the mall the other day, just the two of us, and when we were in the foodcourt I was like, “Jeez, what is wrong with these people?! Do you feel like we’re getting stared at? Like, more than usual...” And he was all, “Um. Yeah.” And I was like, “What is the deal? Sheesh, now I’m getting dirty looks from that crew of grannies over there by Taco Bell!” And my son said, “Mom” and he shoved exactly half of a Subway sandwich in his mouth, “They’re staring because they’re trying to figure out what’s going on here.” and his index finger wagged back and forth between us, “Those old ladies? They think you’re a dirty cougar....” And then he just finished eating, as if he hadn’t uttered the most disturbing thing in the world.

A cougar! A COUGAR. I mean, really? A cougar?! What a bunch of creepy pervs! So I have a baby when I'm young and, what!, suddenly I'm freaking Demi Moore?? This is my SON, not my BOYFRIEND!

And I started to get all kinds of mad at the creepers who were staring at us, staring at me, and trying to pervert the love of a young hot Mother and her son by making me into something that I wasn’t. A cougar. Pshhhh....

And then I started to feel really bad for my son. Because, seriously?, that is messed up.

No teenage boy should ever have people looking at him as though he is actually on a date with his Mom..... Ew. Ew. Ew. No. Never. That should never happen.

And I wanted to be really pissed off at the jerks that kept looking at us funny, but the truth is that I’m the one that messed it all up for him. I think I’m the pervert. No, not because I still shop at Forever 21. It’s because, when I was young, I thought the only way to show a boy that I liked him was by having sex with him. So I did. And then, duh, I got pregnant. And, in a nutshell, that’s all just a huge perversion of God’s plans for love, and sex, and bringing kids into the world and stuff. Having people judge me, and unfairly assume that I am a cougar is simply an extended consequence of my earlier lameness. Sadly, my son also has to live with the repercussions of having a Mom that is kind of a retard.

Sooo.... I’m a pervert, and I have officially ruined my kid's life. There. I said it.

But the other part of the truth is that my son will probably be just fine. Despite me, to spite me, or in spite of me, he’ll turn out alright.

Even if people keep looking at us funny. He'll be alright.

That's the cool thing about Grace; we're both just covered in it. Shoot, we've got more Grace than Demi Moore has Botox.

There but for the Grace of God go I... and my poor son...


Being like Herpes: An object lesson in spreading Faith.

When our middle son was a just few weeks old, he was hospitalized because he was having these crazy seizures. It was awful. But the worst part was when the doctor came in and told us they wanted to give him a spinal tap to rule out the possibility of a Herpes infection on his brain.

I looked at my tiny newborn son, and then back up at the waiting doctor, and I was like, “Um...I think he’s still a virgin...." 

...Sorry, it's really not funny. Herpes is no laughing matter... *snickers*... No really, don’t go! I’m sorry. I am. I won’t laugh about herpes any more (Ok. That might have been a lie. We’ll have to wait and see).

So the good doctor went on to explain that sometimes Herpes can be passed from mother to infant as the infant passes through the birth canal, and then it can form lesions on the baby’s brain. Horrible. That was a terrifying thought and we still didn’t know why our baby was seizing so we had to consider the likelihood. And even though I didn’t think I had Herpes, and I didn’t think El Chupacabra had herpes, we both sort of shrugged our shoulders and admitted that, given our pre-marital histories, it was certainly within the realm of possibility. Then we begged the doctor to test us for STD's instead of torturing and potentially maiming our precious son, but he said that wouldn’t do the trick, and ultimately we allowed the procedure.

Turns out he didn’t have baby brain Herpes. Phew! 

He’s 12 now, completely seizure free, and has grown into the most brilliant, most gorgeous, most amazing middle child I've ever had. And I think he’s still a virgin. 

Anyway, the other day I heard detailed report on NPR about how Herpes is spreading like crazy in retirement communities. Like, the kind WHERE OLD PEOPLE GO TO DIE! ...Yeah. Herpes everywhere. *shudder*

That was followed by a report about how the Herp is catching like crotch burning wildfire on high school and college campuses. By the end of those two reports, I was completely convinced that one cannot run to the store for milk without also picking up an unwanted case of Herpes. It’s THAT prevalent. So old people are spreading it around, and young people are spreading it around, and, based on the number of soccer-moms I know who also have it, everyone in the middle is spreading it around.

Then, those two bone chilling reports were followed by a sad one that was all about how the church in North America is shrinking. I listened and shook my head, like, “Man, if only we could spread our Faith as well as we spread Herpes.”.  And I was suddenly struck with this great idea for a line of VWM t-shirts that say “Jesus lasts longer than Herpes!” and “Spread Hope not Herpes!”. But then I remembered Christian t-shirts suck...

Anyway, where was I going with all this......?

Oh yeah. My point is that maybe the church needs to take a lesson from Herpes. We need to be getting more intimate with people, I mean, not like that kind of intimate, but maybe we need to invest in the people around us on a deeper level (but not like that). I’m just saying that if we want Jesus to go viral, like Herpes, we’re gonna have to get spiritually naked, bare our souls, share our faith in a way that others can’t even help but to pass it along.

***Not gonna lie, I was a little afraid to post this cause I don’t want to offend anyone who may, or may not, have a raging case of the Herp. This is why I didn’t specify that I do or do not have it. That's between me and Jesus. And El Chupacabra. And my doctor. And on rare occasions by kid's doctor, but only when their having seizures. I'm just gonna leave a dangling question mark, like a mysteriously veiled show of solidarity with my virus carrying friends. Fist bump.*** 

Soooo, whadaya think? I mean, about the t-shirts?? Slogan suggestions are welcome.


Missionaries probably shouldn’t be jealous of strippers. But sometimes they are.

So, the other day I boarded a plane from Reno to San Francisco, and I was stoked because there was no one else in my row, and I wanted to read People magazine, but I would never want anyone to see me reading People magazine because I have a serious aversion to freaks who carry on weird, one-sided relationships with famous people. (What!? People is the fastest way for me to see how out-of date my clothes are. That’s all. That’s why I read it. Sheesh, let it go...) ANYWAY. You can imagine my dismay (and also how quickly I shoved Sandra Bullock’s tragic smile back in my bag and pulled out Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day) when someone stopped at the end of my row.

It was a girl, and she was wearing one of those tight black velour matching two piece sweatsuits with fake Uggs. When she turned around to shove her crap in the overhead, her butt said “Juicy” which, in my opinion, has about the same sexual appeal as having the word “Pfffffft” stamped across your rump. But, I'm old, so what do I know.

Despite her fashion sense, the truth is, she. was. gorgeous. GOR-geous! Like, twenty years old, with perfect skin and teeth and hair, and glossy, fake nails on soft, smooth hands. And her body was long and lean and seemingly flawless.

And I immediately did not like her.

Now, I’m not generally a jealous person. Seriously. I don’t really get jealous. I more, like...covet, but I don’t really get jealous, as in envious. Sometimes, I want things that other people may have. I want more money, I want a smaller butt, I want to be 5’9”, I really, really want a maid, and an admin, and a personal masseuse. And if you possess those things, I will probably covet them. But I usually don’t harbor feelings of hostility or rivalry toward people that have what I want, and that’s what I mean by jealous. It’s just not one of my go-to character flaws. Or maybe it’s just not as well developed as my other junk. Either way, it’s not my main thing. But this time, this time I was having these wild, crazy, JEALOUS thoughts. Mean thoughts. Cruel thoughts. Thoughts that were turning this girl, with whom I had never even shared a single word, into my mortal enemy.

I was busy hating her in my heart, when I turned on my overhead light and opened my book, and as the plane started to taxi toward the runway, my stupid light burned out. Then, that awful girl looked over and offered a sympathetic smile, with her perfect, plump lips, and teeth like gleaming white chiclets. We both reached up and started pushing buttons and twisting knobs, trying to get my light to flicker back on, and she yanked on something a little too hard and the whole plastic casing came off in her hand. We looked at each other with huge eyes like “Oooh damn!” and then we both started snickering like third graders in the principals office. Snickering became giggling, and giggling made way for laughter, and by the time we were in the air, we were howling as if it was the funniest thing that had ever happened in the history of the world.

I know, it's not that funny, but that’s how I became instant BFF’s with a stripper from Reno.

We began a conversation that was mostly stupid and boring and, occasionally, intensely personal. And yes, she really is a stripper...I mean, ”dancer"?. She was on her way to California to visit her sugar-daddy. (Which, technically, I think makes her something other than a stripper, er, dancer, but whatever.)

We both pulled out our trashy magazines, and poured over the clothes of the rich and famous. We talked about our lives, as different as they are. And we talked about God. And when we didn’t talk, she pulled out her Sudoku book, and I thought, “Oh, awesome. She’s prettier AND smarter than me.” But, I noticed (because, apparently, I’m kind of a creeper) that when she got bored with her puzzle, she would scroll her name in cursive, again and again, along the edges of the book. Practicing her autograph? Signing her first name with some guy’s last name? Trying out a flashy new stage name? I really don’t know. All I know is that she was daydreaming as she wrote that name, all fat and swirly, over and over and over again with a glittery pink gel pen.

I was struck by how sweet and girlish this was, and it reminded me of how I used to do the very same thing when I was younger. In high school, my friends and I used this stripper name formula to decifer our pole dancer personalities : First family pet + street you grew up on = your stripper name. 

Mine is Heidi Oaklawn.

Maybe it sounds weird, I mean, since I’m a missionary and everything, but I could totally relate to this stripper, with her Juicy pants and spray tan. El Chupacabra and I have a little running joke that if our lives hadn’t turned a certain direction at a certain time, today he would be in jail and I would be in a nightclub. We laugh about it, but we know that it’s really not that funny...but it's probably not be far from the truth. If things had gone differently, you could be reading the blog of Heidi Oaklawn, the Very Worst Stripper right now. Or maybe you wouldn’t be. Or maybe you would....

Anyway, when we parted ways in San Francisco, it was clear to us both that we shared some sort of connection. Call it stripper’s intuition, but there was something there, between us. We hugged and quickly said goodbye....*sigh*

Juicy disappeared into the crowd, and as soon as she was gone, I realized that all of my envy had melted away, and only one thing remained. Before we'd gone our separate ways, I wished I'd told her something that had been nagging at me as we talked; I wanted her to know that God is jealous for her.

And that I was jealous for her, too. Not jealous of her, and not the envious kind of jealousy that makes a missionary act like a bitch on an airplane when a hot stripper starts to sit next to her. But jealous for her. Jealous in a different way. Jealous with a longing, loving, hope filled kind of jealousy.

I was jealous for her to know that she’s worth more than the dollar she gets for swinging around a pole in clear, plastic stilettos, or the thousand that she’ll get for spending a weekend in San Francisco with some dirtbag she met on the internet. Jealous for her to feel love apart from sex. Jealous for her to daydream about her own name in a way that didn't have to include fame, or fortune, or dancing naked for men. Jealous for her to know that, if she can do Sudoku? She can do anything!

This is the kind of jealousy that begs for a change in direction. 

God is jealous for us to turn away from the distractions of this world and turn toward him. He’s jealous for us to let go of the false identities we hold onto so tightly, and to align ourselves with Him. He’s jealous for us to relinquish the things we allow to define our worth, and grab tightly to our value in Him.

Our God is jealous for her. 

And for you.

And for me.


So, the obvious question is, what would your stripper name be?