Sunday, December 28, 2014

Does God Facepalm?

A Soliloquy on Sovereignty 

What the frickfrack does sovereignty even mean? Everybody always says God is sovereign. But that doesn't mean anything upfront.

I remember when my great-uncle died. He was a great-uncle physically, but a grandpa emotionally. I sat on a couch holding my 11 and 9 year old cousins, who were bawling because it was the closest family member they'd ever lost. And their mother just sat there saying, "Well, God is sovereign." I got so mad at her. Seriously? They're kids. They can't understand sovereignty.

The problem now is that I'm 22, a young lady, and I don't understand sovereignty. I don't believe that God is the "Giant Clockmaker", who wound the world up, and just lets it go to pot. But neither do I believe that God uses us as His little chess piece robots.

But is there a middle ground between the two? I know God sees everything happening in our world, but when does He step in and start fixing things?

I'm watching my church fall apart.

And, yeah, it's as simple as that. I have seen adults act like children. I have seen lifelong friendships bust into a million pieces. I have seen Godly leaders shrivel into power-hungry, usurpation-paranoid authority figures. I have seen leaders lie, and cover up (at best). I have seen longtime Christians ignore bad stewardship and irresponsibility.

Oh, not like moral failures, or abuse of any sort. But definitely unkindness. Cutting people down. Lying. Selfishness. Wastefulness. Showiness. Rudeness. Taking sides. Pretending. Ignoring. And all in the bubble of "God is blessing us and He wants this work to go forward".

Technically, it's been half this bad for years. But about 4 years ago, the tectonic plates started moving and stuff started cracking. And by crack I mean the Marianas Trench. I lost the only youth pastors I ever had. I lost my best friend and her family. And we were all on the same "side".

Everything has gone downhill from that year on. In the last month, downhill has turned into completely vertical. Frankly, it may be all over in a few weeks. I don't know. Part of me prays that some authority will come and mercifully shut us down.

But it hurts. It all hurts a lot, and I quit caring probably 2 years ago. But it was this church I quit caring about, not God Himself. I've talked to God several times about the whole thing. I know He can't be pleased with what's going on. I know God doesn't work this way. I think most of this behavior makes God facepalm. It's all so dumb. And I wanna know when He's gonna stop facepalming and start fixing.

Because while God is facepalming, we're all falling apart. I feel like I don't belong anywhere. My family members are currently attending 4 different churches. It's odd. The division has permanently ruined 25 year old best friendships. It's crumbled the youth's perception of church and Christianity. It's broken more than one heart. The pastors who took in my shunned, messed up family have pushed away more people than I ever thought possible. I've lost all I've understood of God's power and His Spirit.

So why has He let things get so bad? Why didn't He step in 4 years ago and knock some people's heads together? Why hasn't He convicted people so strongly that they stop picking on other people?

Actually, there's my answer: PEOPLE. Stupid, human, mixed-up, messed-up, stubborn people. 

You know what I've found out? People will believe anything in their heads. Some folks make God's will to be anything they want. And they don't care who or what they railroad in the process. What you do for God is only as good as how clear you listen to Him. For all I know, God has convicted people strongly, and God has knocked some heads together, but it did no good. Simply, there's only so much God can do. Oh, He is still certainly omnipotent, but God didn't create robots. He isn't going to override our master controls. Which is why I'm still even in the middle of this mess. I wanted so badly to leave 3-4 years ago. I was angry and mouthy and bitter. And God said, "Huh-unh, nope, you're not going anywhere until you change your attitude." If I leave something angry and mouthy and bitter, I'll always be angry and mouthy and bitter. So I stayed put, and tried to make the best of things. And then, through the church, He brought me someone that needed me. So I helped her all I could. And I've helped her nearly all I can, so I will be leaving soon. Then this new stuff started happening, and I know for sure I need to be leaving.

Unfortunately, I'm now leaving empty and dead and exhausted and lost. But remember, I still trust God, and I know that attending any particular church won't help that. It's supposed to just help facilitate that.

And as far as sovereignty is concerned, sure, God is sovereign.  What does that mean? Well, I still don't know for sure. But I think it means that God knows and sees everything. Everything includes me and my heart, so I'm taking refuge in that. While He can't control some people, He can put me back together. Why did all of this have to happen? The only thing my small mind can conceive is that I can learn from it. Plenty of lessons to be had here. And I will be stronger when this is passed. I don't feel strong yet, but I know I will.

{I know this is probably the most self-centric post I've written yet, so I apologize. But I had 2 5-hour car rides this week, and this was weighing on my mind. So I wrote it out.} 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Chai Tea and Suicide

Today is a very special day. What makes Tuesday, December 23, so special? Well, it's because a very special person was born on this day.

I'm sure God knew what He was doing when He gave me all brothers, but it was kind of lonely the first 10 years of my life. Thankfully, in 2004, He finally gave me a sister. Well, sort of. Shortly after moving back to the town of my parents' alma mater, we ran into some old college friends of my parents, and their 3 kids. That's when I met Kelly.

No one would have paired us at first glance. She's a tomboy who would rather play paintball than paint her nails. I have tea parties and color coordinate my Bobby pins. She is quiet and demure. I shout before I think. She and her mom share household chores without a hitch. I and my mom fight over how I wash dishes.

But we are seriously perfect for each other. Kelly tells me to hush, and I bring her out of her shell. I cheer when she curls her hair, and she has finally (!) converted me to Converse.

In case you didn't guess, today is her birthday. Her 20th, to be precise. And as a surprise, I'm writing this post to let her know how much she means to me.

I never knew what a best friend could be until I had Kelly. She's one of the best influences I have. My very first blog post, "Remember When", was a tribute to the moments we've shared. Kelly has seen me at my very worst and my very best, and she loves me just the same. She never judges me, even though she's had loads of opportunities to do so. She doesn't mind when I get overdramatic, and she helps me reason things through when I'm having a tough day. And Kelly is always quick to encourage me when I struggle in my walk with God.
I could tell stories about us until you and I are blue in the face. But, actually, I think some comparisons would explain us best.

She's the Watson to my Sherlock. She plans; I work off the cuff. I'm socially inappropriate; she reminds me of my manners.

She's the Elphaba to my Glinda. She's happy to braid her hair and go; I love to curl my hair and use bling. She sings a lower soprano; I sing a higher soprano. She's brunette; I'm blonde.

She's the Jane to my Lizzie. She always has kind first impressions; I'm quick to judge, and usually it isn't nice. When she's hurt, she withdraws into herself. I put on a laughing face and act like nothing's wrong.

She's the Sam to my Frodo. She's always had my back and she sees the positive more quickly than I do.

She's the Elsa to my Anna. She gets super nervous in public; I get social and perky. She's deathly afraid of doing new things; I bite the bullet and go with it.

She's the Diana to my Anne. She's ladylike (yes, a ladylike tomboy); I'm loud. She does things right the first time; I tend to forget steps.

She's the Loki to my Thor. She's brunette; I'm blonde. She's a thinker; I'm a doer.

She's the Polly to my Fanny. She does practically everything right and proper; I'm still trying.

She's the Elinor to my Marianne. She's reserved and doesn't let people in that quickly; I'm emotional and am attached to people before I realize it.

She's the Piglet to my Pooh. She worries; I go.

She's the C-3P0 to my R2D2. She fusses; I chill.

She's the Kirk to my Spock. She's the gorgeous one that the boys notice; I'm the bookish one who likes to share random bits of information.

She's the Mia to my Lily. She's quiet and shy; I'm a singing bull in a china closet.

She's the Haymitch to my Effie. She needs sneakers, a long skirt, and a T-shirt; I like heels and sparkle.

She's the Betty to my Judy. She plans and prepares; I work off the cuff. Also, she's way thinner than me.

And finally, she's the suicide to my chai tea. She's a little mix of everything; I'm either sweet or spiced.

And that's probably the best way(s) to describe us. So, Kelly, even though we're 719 miles apart, I'm with you today. This is me saying that you are my best friend, half of my brain, and my shared heart. Thank you for never giving up on me, and thank you for always being there for me.

I love you, dearling.

Monday, December 22, 2014

More A Cappella!

Christmas without Christmas music is like a hobbit with only 3 meals a day. Sad. Emotionally repressed. Susceptible to volatile bursts of spasmodic babbling.

I don't even know what a hobbit having a nervous breakdown looks like.

That has absolutely nothing to do with this post. But that would make a very interesting post for later.


Oh, yeah, this was about Christmas music. Right.

This song is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel", by some obscure monk during the birth of Gregorian chant.

Me, in the itchy gold tank, singing an overdone first soprano.
My three good friends:
Alex, in the red scarf, singing a mellow second soprano.
Miranda, in the black and red dress, singing a soft first alto.
LaVita, in the gold sweater, singing a strong first alto.

Usually known as "The Overbearing Operettis". Sometimes referred to as "The Distracted Divas".

Falsetto and pitch are hard together, guys. If we hurt your ears, here's some perfect a cappella:

And some TSO. Just because I love TSO.

Merry Christmas, folks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Have Seen The Hobbit...

...and I am not okay.
I have seen Ian McKellan as Gandalf for the last time, and I am not okay.

I have seen Orlando Bloom as Legolas for the last time, and I am not okay.

I have seen Smaug destroy Laketown, and I am not okay.

I have seen Legolas' fight scenes seriously upped, and I am not okay.

I have seen Kili die avenging Fili,  and I am not okay.

I have seen Tauriel mourn Kili, and I don't even ship them, and I am not okay.

I have seen Thorin descend into dragon sickness, and I am not okay.

I have seen Thorin die as a true dwarf king, and I am not okay.

I have seen Bilbo mourn Thorin, and I am not okay.

I have heard the words "The Eagles are coming" for the last time, and I am not okay.

I have watched Galadriel banish Sauron with the Star of Earendil, and I am not okay.

I have seen Elrond fight the Nine Kings, and I am not okay.

I have seen the utter cowardice that is Alfrid, and I am not okay.

I have seen Bilbo Baggins at his bravest, and I am not okay.

I have seen Dain the Ironfoot headbutt Orcs, and I am not okay.

I have seen the armies of Gundabad, and I am not okay.

I have seen the Battle of Five Armies with my own eyes, and I am not okay.

I have heard the Shire theme for the last time, and I am not okay.

I have seen what is probably the last Tolkien movie by Peter Jackson, and I am not okay.

I have heard this song, and I am so not okay.

What Can You See, On the Horizon?

Day 7

"Into the West" from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

I know this is the same song as yesterday, but this version is my favorite, so it deserved its own post. This version is so absolutely beautiful. I don't know how, but the solo violin adds so much warmth and depth to the a cappella voice. I teared up in the first 30 seconds of hearing this one. 

To purchase

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

And All Will Turn to Silver Glass

Day 6

"Into the West" from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

 Ah. My favorite Tolkien song of all time. There is so much emotion in this. And it isn't just feelings about Tolkien's stories and/or movies. I think many people are touched by this song because they can connect it with parts of their real lives, and I think that's amazing.

To purchase

Monday, December 15, 2014

Home is Behind; The World Ahead

Day 5

"Edge of Night" (Pippin's Song), from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Oh, Pippin. Is it even possible to hear this song without having your heart break? Or even just crack a little? It's interesting that this song applies to not only The Lord of the Rings, but also it really is perfect for The Hobbit, too.

To purchase

Friday, December 12, 2014

You Are Lost; You Can Never Go Home

Day 4

"Gollum's Song" from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

I had never heard or heard of this song until Peter did it. My first reaction is still pretty much my current reaction: "Wow, that is creepy and sad and beautiful all at the same time."

To purchase:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Promise Lives Within You Now

Day 3

"May It Be" from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

 I remember it took me a while to warm up to this song, but once I actually listened to the lyrics, it became one of my favorite Tolkien songs. At first glance, it sounds like a good wish to Frodo, the Ring-bearer, but honestly, it applies to all 9 members of the Fellowship. Each member, no matter how small or how strong, played an important role in destroying the Ring.

Once again, we have a beautiful violin accompaniment. Taylor is one of my favorite collab partners of Peter's. You'll see her again in my all-time favorite song, "Into The West."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

If The Night is Burning I Will Cover My Eyes

#HollensPlusTolkien, Day 2

"I See Fire" from The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Talk about an earworm. This song didn't really click with me until about 6 months after Peter produced it, but once I got hooked, I couldn't stop singing it for days. Again, I'm amazed at how the lyrics carry a pretty sad tone, and yet the music gives it the feel of a rousing battle cry.

I learned something new with this post, though, and it's that Peter did a second take with this song, too. Like "Misty Mountains", he did a duet with violinist Jun Sung Ahn.

Personally, I don't like this one as much as the a cappella, because you lose the amazing beginning vocals. Still, the violin is beautiful, and you don't lose any of the emotion of the music.

A cappella

With violin

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold

In case you haven't heard, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies comes out in theaters next Wednesday. In honor of this momentous occasion, I am sharing music from my favorite artist, Peter Hollens, inspired by the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies. I will share one song each day, in order of Tolkien's stories. So here goes! :-)

First up..."Misty Mountains", from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Peter doesn't often do multiple versions of a song, but this one is an exception. This is a second take, with solo violin accompaniment by Jun Sung Ahn. I love how much depth the violin gives to the layers of voices.
I think it's amazing how this song captures the different emotions of the dwarves. They're sad because their homeland has been stolen, and so many of their people have died trying to get it back. And yet you still sense their excitement at starting this journey and the thrill of a new adventure. Which brings to mind something I've wondered for a long time: do you think Thorin sensed from the start that he wouldn't make it out alive?

If you like this song, you can purchase it from Loudr or iTunes. (Loudr gives more back to the artist, and they're cheaper.)

A cappella

With violin

Monday, December 8, 2014

An Inspection and An Introspection

So I read two very interesting posts recently.

The first one, by Hamlette, brought me to this Tumblr where Charity types fictional characters by Myers-Briggs, and discusses MBTI personality types.
The second post, also by Hamlette, is an older post where she discussed why she loves certain characters and/or stories. Both posts really made me think.

I already knew that I was random, but I have now decided that I must be really narcissistic or really emotional or both. I made lists of my favorite characters and my favorite stories in my downtime at work. Like Hamlette, I wanted to see if there was a common thread. I also took a couple of tests to see what MBTI type I was, and it seems like I'm an ESFJ. "The Caregiver" I wasn't sure at first, but I did run the boys' lives from birth until they were big enough to beat me up. Teehee.

But now that I've looked through my lists, it starts to make sense.

Some stories I like without really having a favorite character. I like all the characters equally because they're all equally important to the story. Some characters I love to pieces, while the story is just so-so for me. The story can be really great or really horrid, but I'll read or watch it just because I love the character.

I'm not sure if that explains it very well, but here's what else I discovered. When I studied my stories list, two things stuck out to me: "impressive", "nostalgia". When I studied my characters list, five things stuck out: "male", "female", "admire", "identify", "sympathize".

Let me explain.

If I own a book or movie...

1. It's because I'm impressed by it.

My two favorite Ted Dekker books are Skin and Adam. And they're not warm and fuzzy favorites. They're deep and disturbing favorites. Adam was the first Dekker I read, and I remember being awed by the deep theology. I read Skin in 4 hours: a decision both brilliant and misguided. I questioned my psychological existence for the rest of the day. Similarly, I picked up Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale, for free in 2007, I think, and I've read it at least 5 times since. If you are a girl, or if you know a girl, get this book. It's a wonderful story about growing up and finding your strength. Because of this, I can't pick a favorite character. Oh, and Monster, by Frank Peretti, is something every Christian should attempt to read. Evolution vs. Creation is a pretty hot debate, and this book certainly opens up some thought-provoking ideas. I read it in 4 hours, too, and it very nearly blew my mind.

2. It's because I grew up with it.

Probably 80% of my favorites fall under this. An Old-Fashioned Girl, Love Comes Softly, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, The Wind in the Willows, Christy, The Boxcar Kids.....all of these are stories that I watched or read repeatedly as a child. Fiddler on the Roof is one of the three movies my go-getter mother will actually sit down for. The Sound of Music is the sole reason I ever started singing, and it's all my dad's fault. ;-) I only owned about 10 Boxcar Kids books, but I read them until I nearly had them memorized. I remember trying to use their detective tricks once to figure out who was coming over for dinner. (I failed, but it was interesting effort at least.) And thanks to the Christy series, I had an undying crush on the Reverend David Grantland for at least 6 years. Until I read the actual book a couple years ago, which simultaneously crushed my childhood dreams and gave me a whole new appreciation for Miss Huddleston's work.

3. Or it's because I'm a groupie.

Some books or movies I wouldn't love half as much if I didn't have friends or brothers to enjoy them with. I can't remember which of us kids had The Wind in the Willows for literature one year, but the boys and I ended up writing a screenplay about Toad crashing his new car, and we went around saying "poop-poop" for 2 months. The boys and I quote Napoleon Dynamite without even thinking about, and my girlfriends and I compete to see who can bring an Austenland quote into the conversation first. (Our official leave-taking phrase is "Tally-Ho!") With Tolkien or the Avengers, there's so many characters that we start pegging people. Our youth group was so small and diverse that it usually works perfectly. In the Avengers, we have Iron Man, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow (who doubles as Peggy Carter), and Jane Foster (me). [The fact that we have an Agent Carter and a Jane Foster should pretty well explain why nobody--and I mean NOBODY--gets pegged as Captain America or Thor. ;-) ]  In Tolkien, we have Gimli, Aragorn, Legolas, Eomer, Eowyn (me), Arwen, Tauriel, and Galadriel.

And then there's my characters. This is where I get all embarrassed and self-conscious, because I've realized that I get way, way too "into" characters. First, I approach a character differently if they're male or female, and I must be the only person who does this. (I know why I do it, and it's just because of my life, and for that reason, it seems a bit silly.) Second, I tend to favorite unique or supporting characters. I don't like to just jump on bandwagons, but I think it's because I like an underdog, too.

Essentially, I like a female character if...

1. She's my mirror.

Reason #1Aa1.1I I love Emma Woodhouse Knightley. We're so alike it's almost annoying. We meddle in people's business, and we know everything, of course. Effie Trinket: I said it in Hunger Games, I said it in Catching Fire, I said it in Mockingjay 1, and I'll say it in Mockingjay 2. "I. Am. Effie. Trinket." In the middle of horribly depressing situations, we put on a saccharinely silly disposition to try to forget everything around us. Mia Thermopolis and I have the same life motto: "The concept is grasped, the execution is a little...elusive." We also trip over things all day long. Glinda Uplander and I are like blonde glitter sisters. Pink fixes everything, you know. (My best friend is Elphaba Thropp, so it's perfect, yes.) Penelope Garcia and I have the same idea: if you mix a few big words into your conversation, everyone else gets a kick out of it. Plus, they think you're super smart, when really you just love words. And then there's Margaret Hale Thornton. *sigh* The parallels I could draw between her and me are uncanny. "A father who had to leave the church and move the family to a place we never wanted to go. A mother who hated living there. An older brother who nearly broke the mother's heart. Being shunned and misunderstood by basically everyone around. Being stubbornly set in your opinions. Judging other people too quickly. Being thrown in a culture totally different than what you grew up in. Eating your words. Playing peacemaker." Suffice it to say that it was physically painful to watch Mrs. Hale's reaction to Milton. :/

2. Or she makes me look horrible.

I am in awe of Elizabeth Bennet Darcy. She is seriously amazing. Polly Milton Shaw is the epitome of a lady. I will never be as great as she, but I will die trying. Ignoring her ridiculously bad social skills, Dr. Temperance Brennan is jaw-droppingly brilliant. Sammy Lane Matthews is surprisingly shrewd, and I applaud her growth. I wanted to hug Kitty Pryde in DOFP, but, honestly, she didn't even need a hug, because she is Kitty Pryde, thank you very much. And Martha Lucinda Claridge Davis...I love how her faith plays out in her day-to-day life. Steady, faithful, honest, without parading it or pushing it. She also taught me never to use water to clean chinking in a log cabin. That's a good housekeeping tip to remember. LOL.

Then there's the male characters, who are about half and half. I applaud myself for not picking just hot guys, but when I compared my men, I'm afraid one of my common themes isn't much better.

After further review, it appears I gravitate towards male characters who...

1. Are sweet or sensitive or gentle. In a non-weak way.

I don't know why. (Actually, I have a two-page answer to why I like Thor, but that's...not here, not now.) When I tried to think of the first moment--in a movie, at least--when I first thought "I like him. I like him a lot"--it was usually in a scene where the character was hurt, or vulnerable, or softhearted. And the character in general is a gentle-soul type of person. I spent nearly all of TTDW resisting the urge to hug the TV, because poor Thor really goes through the wringer. I've only seen one episode of Combat! so far, but my first exposure to it was a book called Counterattack, and Caje's quiet, fierce protection of a French civilian boy really stuck out to me. (And then I watched "No Trumpets, No Drums", which firmly cemented him as a favorite.) Spock...well, I have absolutely zero explanation for that one. I watched Into Darkness first, and then Star Trek, and I just remember falling head over heels in love with him. It must have been when Vulcan was destroyed. Then there's Beastie-boy. What a guy. I saw him in DOFP first, and I liked him a lot, and then I saw First Class, and his face when the other mutant teens are like "Let's see your 'problem', we're cool with it." He can't hardly believe he's finally accepted, and that look.....yeah, I was hopeless. :-)

(But this at least explains why I so fiercely defend P&P '05 against '95: Matthew MacFadyen made Darcy much more sensitive and approachable than Colin Firth did. Let the purists take what they like; I like my men approachable. ;-) )

2. Are admirable examples of fine gentlemen.

[oh, come on; whose picture did you think I was gonna use?] 

Again with the admiring. I love Mr. Knightley so, so much, because he's so smart, and so stinkin' right. In reality, I'd probably get into multiple fights with him, but in fiction, he amazes me. I admire the book Darcy for the same reason. Clark Davis is another good example, as is Tom Shaw. Tom hit a few speed bumps before he got his act together, but all along, he was a good guy. Faramir is another. So noble, so honest, so brave, so selfless. John Thornton--I think I'd hit him, too, but realistically, it would humbling to think such a good man would ever be okay with me. And then before I wax introspective AGAIN, yes, I'm going to mention Thor. He's like Tom--took him a bit to get better, but I love him all the more for having those struggles.

So there you have it. A super-long, super-detailed look into my reactions to fiction. Having typed myself as ESFJ kind of clarifies some of these, but I'm still learning about the whole MBTI thing. If you're curious, I suggest checking out Charity's Tumblr. (But be careful: it's black hole of curiosity. ;-) )

But now I pass on Hamlette's questions: what draws you to certain characters? Why are your favorite stories your favorites? Do you think it reflects anything about you?

(Okay, I added that last one. ;-) )

You Have Been Warned ;-)

Just poppin' in to say "hey, y'all" and also to give you a chipper warning.

You guys already know I'm a dedicated fan of Peter Hollens' work, and I figure you're aware that The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies comes out next week. (I might get to see it Tuesday night, if my work girls agree. I'M SO EXCITED.) Well, Peter has produced several Tolkien songs, and they're all perfect of course, and I love to promote his work, so I'm spamming all my social media for the next week with his LoTR/Hobbit videos.

Which means you guys are getting in on this, too. I'm hoping to share one video every day up into Wednesday. I'll probably say a couple things about it (ideally, things more than OMG THIS SO GOOOOOOOOODDDDDD). So, if you're not really into Tolkien stuff, or if it feels incessant, I am sorry. (Not really; I'm just being polite. Hahaha.) At least I'm warning you. ;-)

And, again, I SWEAR I'm not getting paid for this. Even though he has a label now, Peter has worked so hard to be independent that he would never dream of setting up something like this. I'm just the type of person who likes to promote quality, honest, hard work. Furthermore, he doesn't really know I exist. (Although.....he did follow me on Twitter last week, after I tweeted him something. I screamed. Out loud. It was amazing.)

Anywho. I leave you now to keep my turkey enchiladas from burning, and I was supposed be switching my closet 3 hours ago, and I got distracted looking up Chris Hemsworth memes. I really don't want to go back to school.

(I'll be back.)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Halloween: Garcia-Style

Existential question of the day: how much makeup does it take to give your brothers a heart attack?
A less existential question is "Did Satan create liquid eyeliner?"

I've never really dressed up for Halloween before. But this year, my best homie suggested we go as nerds to our church fall party. I wasn't quite sure what a "gal nerd" costume consisted of, but then I had an idea. Why be a plain ol' nerd girl when I could be the Queen of Nerds?

AKA Penelope Garcia, FBI Technical Analyst, from Criminal Minds

We both wear glasses, we're both heavyset, and we're both blonde, so I figured why not?
So I got off work early the day before Halloween, and took myself shopping. And, girls, lemme tell you, I couldn't have put this together better if I planned it. I probably only spent $25 overall. I already had the wig, the flower, and the jewelry, and I found the rest of it at thrift stores.
getting my Emma stone on....

The makeup was hilarious, because I've never done my own. Mascara all over your nose isn't the most glamorous thing. The lashes were fairly easy. I'm our resident connoisseur of fake lashes. :D

While we're at it, I'll share a tip for wearing wigs. I don't have a bald cap, so I French braid my hair and then tuck the tail up inside the top. I secure it with Bobby pins to be sure. It's tight and there's little to no bumps to keep the wig from fitting right.

The glasses were another funny story. They were from the dollar store, so I assumed the lenses would pop out easily. Nope--took my uber-macho brothers 15 minutes, a cutting board, 2 screwdrivers, and a lot of arguing to get both lenses out.

My heels were perfect and cute and perky and totally Penelope. The dress was amazingly comfortable. The funniest part is that I found it at a thrift store, but the sweater and tights came from our local Penney's outlet, and they matched the dress perfectly!!! Hilarious, I say. The ring I had already bought on clearance at Goody's, the bracelets came from the same thrift store, and the necklace I got from a work friend.
And, of course, the most important part was the headset. My job made this super-easy. ;)

The reactions made it all worth it, though. Half my coworkers didn't recognize me, and the other half couldn't stop laughing. The gal behind me said about halfway through the day "I swear I can't even work. Every time I turn around I feel like I'm watching TV. You look just like her." I sent a pic to my best homie (who is a Criminal Minds fanatic), and she responded simply with "HOLY CRAP WOMAN."

And then I got home. The boys saw me first. Joe nearly jumped out of his skin with a "Who the heck are YOU?!" Then I told him it was Garcia, and I wish I had a picture of his face. LOL  He gave me a side-eye and a "Holy...that's an uncanny resemblance." My mom...well, haha, she just looked at me for about a minute and then shook her head with a half-grin, and went, "I hope you won whatever contest you were in...." (I didn't, but, oh well. :D ) My dad was out of town, so I don't know what his face looked like. :-)

I got mixed reactions at the church party. Mostly, the old ladies kept squealing how "cute" I was. I did discover, though, that you really can't wear openwork tights in 40 degree windy weather. It was cold, y'all... Also, 4 inch heels do not agree with gravel.
And one more thing--if you soak burgundy nails in polish remover, you probably want to take a Q-tip to your nails instead. Otherwise, you come out looking more like Lady MacBeth and less like June Cleaver.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I tweeted my picture to Kirsten Vangsness, who plays Penelope, and she retweeted it. :-)

As did about 200 other people. Hooray for 24 hours of anonymous Internet fame. :-) 
I think next year I'll try Effie Trinket.