Tag Archives: Friday Five

Friday Five: I Love a Woman with a Sense of Humor

16 Mar

The new age of women comedians is here. Instead of women being a sideshow to funny men, women are making people laugh and people are taking notice. So here, in no particular order, are the five biggest names in funny women in TV and movies today, in my humble opinion:

Tina Fey

tina fey in bust magazine, 2004

The genius behind Mean Girls, 30 Rock, and Bossypants. This chick made glasses look hot and made America think Sarah Palin really said, “I can see Russia from my house!” She was the first female head writer on SNL, and paved the way for a legion of funny women to start on SNL and jump into mainstream media. I can’t explain how much I love this woman. In fact, the first thing I asked A when I came home with my new glasses was, “Are they Tina Fey or Lisa Loeb?”

Amy Poehler

amy poehler in bust magazine

She was brilliant in SNL, amazing in Mean Girls, and though it wasn’t critically acclaimed, I thought she rocked Baby Mama. She’s been in the best women’s magazine ever, Bust Magazine, like, a million times.Parks and Recreation is a weekly watch for me, and she constantly blows me away with her witty, sharp humor. Plus, she married Will Arnett. They’re, like, the funniest couple of all time.

Maya Rudolph

maya rudolph in bust magazine. apparently all my funny-girl heroines have been in bust magazine.

This woman is the whole package. Smart, funny, gorgeous, and she can sing. She’s the only reason I watch Up All Night, and, in my world, a comic genius. Here’s her performing The Star Spangled Banner as the winner of a small town American Idol-esque competition at a Haiti benefit. (Her intro starts at 1:50)

Kristen Wigg

image courtesy of creativity-online.com

This lady cracks me up. She’s the main reason I still try to catch SNL when I can. Loved her in Rollerball. She’s the queen of the drawn-out awkward moment and the crazy characters that make you want to dress up like them for an in-the-know Halloween costume.

Sophía Vergara

image courtesy of seat42f.com

Lest you think all the funny women I love are SNL alums, Sophía Vergara is a comedic force to be reckoned with. I have a lot of respect for this woman. First off, she’s a freaking goddess. It would be so easy for a woman with her assets to be pigeon-holed into a dumb eye-candy role. But I would argue that she’s one of the funniest parts ofModern Family. She’s turned her looks into a punchline, landing her tons of endorsement deals, including a Cover Girl ad that cracks me up. Well done, Sophía, well done.

Anyoen you’d care to add to the list of funny ladies?

Friday Five: Gratitude

9 Mar

image from askorbinka on pinterest

Given that A landed in the hospital this week and came home with a fistful of prescriptions, I feel it’s a fitting time to list what and who I am grateful for this week. I’m so grateful, in fact, that I’m cheating and listing more than one thing as my number three. Because it’s my blog, and I do what I want. Boo yah.

1. Texting
I left the house Tuesday morning with A saying he didn’t feel well and was going to stay home. He was running a slight fever (99.2°) and was going to call our doctor when they opened. He called me at 8:45 to tell me he had a doctor’s appointment at 11:30. At 12:30 I got out of class because I’d gotten no less than four texts from A and people from church telling me he’d been sent to the hospital with a 104.4° fever, severe dehydration, dizziness, and severe mystery abdominal pain. I was an hour away, without traffic, and since there are ten school campuses I could be at on any given day, A had no idea how to contact me except by cell. If it weren’t for texting, I’d never have known until way later, as I can’t check voicemail in class.

2. Shane
One of the texts was from Shane, our new Young Adult minister who A has become quite close to in the short time he’s been at our church. There were two men A thought to call when he couldn’t get in touch with me and didn’t want to be alone, and Shane was closest to the hospital. A told me later that Shane arrived at the hospital ten minutes after he’d called him. Shane sent me texts letting me know he was with A through triage, through his first doctor’s examination, and to tell me that A was in good spirits and joking. I didn’t tell Shane that his words were little comfort to me, as A would have done that even if he was dying just to make Shane feel more comfortable, but it was a huge comfort to me knowing that he was there. That A had a friend he was close enough to reach out to, and that he showed up.

3.1 Elaine
Another text I got at 12:30 was from my friend Elaine. She works with Shane, and not only was the second one to tell me A was on his way to the hospital, she let me know she was praying. Then she let me know others were praying, and checked in periodically to get updates on how my love was doing. In short, she made me feel very loved, and much less stressed and alone while we waited for the results from his CT scan.
3.2 Molly
I had plans with Molly on Tuesday. Not only was she completely understanding and concerned for us both, (A loves her like a little sister, after all) but she texted me that day to see how things were going and for two days after to see if we needed anything and if she could help. Even though I told her A was ok, and she’s got more than enough worry on her plate to last her the rest of the year, she kept reaching out. Again, I felt very loved and not alone.
3.3 Cara
I’ve never even met Cara in person, but she’s a kindred spirit I’ve been blessed to meet through my blog. She wrote a comment in response to my Mondays post that I didn’t see until I was sitting with A in the hospital. It was so sweet, so endearing, so heartfelt that it made me tear up. I emailed her back that night after A was home and safe and just poured it all out. She’s been going thorough her own stuff lately and we’ve been holding each other up in prayer. But when she got my email she sent back such a heartfelt response, I felt her prayers and love through her words. Again, one more person I’ve been blessed with who made me feel loved in a time of need.

4. Mom
My mother gets up at four in the morning almost every day. She’s usually in bed by seven. I called her because she was the first person I thought of who might be willing to take me back to the hospital to pick up my car after I’d taken A home in his. She picked me up after six, completely disrupting her schedule and sleep, without hesitation. She’s a great mother, and I’m glad I’m hers.

5. Aaron coming home
More than anything, I can’t express how grateful I am that A came home within a few hours, with nothing more serious (although still very, very painful) than good prescription drugs could cure. When the ER doc ordered a CT scan, every episode of Grey’s Anatomy came rushing back to me, and all I could do is watch and pray as I saw his insides scanned, hoping I wouldn’t see an abnormal growth or something that would require emergency surgery. (Because I SO would have been able to tell.) Especially considering how much crap I gave him that morning because I didn’t think he was serious enough about going to see the doctor. I was so scared and worried, and I am so glad that he is home, almost healthy, and on the mend. Thank you Lord.

What are you grateful for this week?

Friday Five – Color Cures the Winter Blues

17 Feb

I love nail polish. I mean, I LOVE nail polish! You know that statistic that says in times of crisis lipstick sales go up because women want a little bit on inexpensive luxury? Well, I nix the lipstick and head to the nail isle instead. Just so’s you know how much love I’m talking about, here’s a peek into my nail polish drawer:

obsessed much? why yes, yes i am.

There’s something that’s so refreshing about painting my nails. I match the color to my mood – if I need a pick me up I go bright. If I’m feeling saucy and mysterious I go dark. If I’m feeling clean and pure, polished, I go with a neutral, either shimmer or gloss. A laughs at me because I’ll go for months without painting my nails, then I’ll go through a spurt where I change the color daily. I try my best to stick to non-toxic brands, for A’s sinuses’ sake, but boy do I love me some OPI.

I thought I’d share the colors that make me swoon right now. Some I own, some I covet, all give me a fresh shot of happy, which I really need this time of year.

I’m always on the hunt for that elusive, perfect neutral. I think Scotch Naturals may have a winner. It’s described as a tawny beige-cream, but I think it has just enough pink in it to be perfect.

heather blush by scotch naturals

Dark colors make be feel sophisticated and sexy. I love colors that are one shade off of black, and I fell in love with Honk If You Love OPI when I got my post-marathon pedicure last year. So dark, so plum-perfect, I love it.

honk if you love opi by opi

Every gray day needs a little sparkle. A good platinum never goes out of style, and this one you can layer until you get your desired level of glitz. It’s neutral enough to not raise eyebrows at work, but I wouldn’t hesitate to throw this on for a glittery cocktail party. Cheers everyone!

designer...de better! by opi

Speaking of glitter, this is my new favorite find. Coming from may favorite au natural line Zoya, this is on my toes right now and I absolutely love it. In the bottle it looks very violet, but when it’s on you get this strong coppery shimmer, backed by a lovely rosy-lavender hue. I think this will be a go-to for awhile.

faye by zoya

I’m cheating a bit with this last one, as it’s not just one color, but a collection. But I love Every. Single. One. And I couldn’t choose!

smoke collection by zoya

It’s got lavender neutrals, two unique purples (I’ll admit it, most of my nail polish collection is shades of purple. I can’t get enough!) super-hot-right-now colors of dark teal and olive. Plus, you know how I said I love dark colors? I’ve been looking for a perfect bitter-sweet chocolate brown color for years. So many nail lines have nice browns, but they’reeither too light, or have too much red, or have glitter, or something that makes them not what I’m looking for. Not anymore! The Smoke Collection includes my new nail obsession, Codie.

codie by zoya

Zoya  describes it as a blackened espresso brown creme with subtle olive undertones. Great for when you want something dark and dramatic but not black. Um, hello, yes please?!? A, my darling, my love, if you’re reading this, any of the above colors would make a great gift. I’m just sayin’.

Do you love nail polish as much as I do? What are your favorite shades right now?

Friday Five – If I Had $100, I Would…

10 Feb

photo from ohashleylove on tumblr

There are so many amazing causes out there, so much justice to be done, so many poor and downtrodden that need to be served, so many lost that need to know God’s grace. I can think of, oh, about 100 things I could spend $100 on for myself. But to be honest, when a friend asked me that question the other day – if I was freely given $100, not earned, not budgeted for, not having to talk to A to decide how to spend it, but given free and clear what would I do? – the only thing I wanted to do was give it away.

Now before you think I’m tooting my own philanthropic horn, I’m not. I grew up with the concept of giving back. My father, though he had no boundaries and often gave to the point of endangering our family, did teach me to hold onto things loosely, and to give with an open hand and open heart. As I’ve grown in my faith, I can’t help but feel that we who are so richly blessed have a responsibility to give back and not only support our church, but to help further the cause of justice world-wide. We have more access to more need than any other generation before us, thanks to a little thing we call the internet. Need is literally staring us in the face, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and shut down in the face of so much hurt. But it’s just as easy to give. Every little bit counts, and I believe that every little bit given freely is honored by God. So I give, not for self-aggrandisement, but because I, who have been so richly blessed, am compelled to give back that which I’ve been put in charge of.

So here are five organizations, in order of those that tug on my heart the most, that I would gladly give an unplanned-for $100 to in a heartbeat:

International Justice Mission

International Justice Mission is, in my opinion, one of the most important organizations out there today. IJM is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems – police, courts and laws – effectively protect the poor.

From their website:
Through individual casework, IJM confronts aggressive human violence: violence that strips widows and orphans of their property and livelihoods, violence that steals dignity and health from children trafficked into forced prostitution, violence that denies freedom and security to families trapped in slavery.

Violence against the poor is not driven by the overwhelming power of the perpetrators – it is driven by the vulnerability of the victims. This violence can be stopped when the power of the law is brought to bear on behalf of those who need it, and when people of good will contribute their financial and professional resources to insisting it stop.  IJM’s casework model combats victimization and violence on the level of the individual, and supports functioning public justice systems where the poor urgently need an advocate.

 In the tradition of heroic Christian leaders like abolitionist William Wilberforce and transformational leaders like Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr., IJM’s staff stand against violent oppression in response to the Bible’s call to justice (Isaiah 1:17): Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. As a feminist and human rights advocate, IJM is everything I care about, and is directly fighting the oppression that I believe greaves God’s heart.

To Write Love on Her Arms

I came across this organization years ago, and many of my high school students have taken it upon themselves over the years to host fundraisers to contribute to TWLOHA’s mission. They deal with the broken, the hurting, the ones so wracked with pain that they turn on their own bodies, which makes this non-profit is very dear to my heart.

From their website:
To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.  TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

The vision is that we actually believe these things…
You were created to love and be loved.  You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you’re part of a bigger story.  You need to know that your life matters.


Made In the Streets

Made in the streets is an orginization my church has supported for longer than I’ve been attending. Charles & Darlene Coulston, former members of our church, went to Kenya on a short missions trip and were so moved by the plight of the street kids in Nairobi that they came back to the US only to raise funds so they could go back and get to work. They started with a small facility, rescuing kids who want a life off of the streets and out of the slums. Many street kids in Nairobi are addicted to glue-sniffing, and almost all of the girls have been victims of sexual assault. MITS offers them a new life, and offers a safe place, biblical study, and training in real-world skills.

From their website:
Our ministry begins in the streets of Eastleigh. We go to the streets to find kids just as they are, and offer them a new life. Our team is trained to take first aid, friendship, Bible study, food, sports, counseling, and the opportunity to go to a skills training school – all the things needed by children who are sleeping on the streets. On the streets, we are looking for boys and girls who are 13-14 years old and ready for a new life free from glue, drugs, stealing and hunger. We also look for young girls who are pregnant or have babies.

He picks up the poor from out of the dirt, rescues the wretched who’ve been thrown out with the trash, and seats them among the honored guests, a place of honor among the brightest and best.  Psalm 113:7-8

MITS has been going on so long that some of their early street kids have ‘graduated’ from the program and are working as staff members. Our church has personally committed to providing the monthly salary for two former street kid staff members. Other kids have moved on, taking the real-life trade skills they gained while at MITS and gotten jobs or started their own business. Others have started families that are forging a new path of health and prosperity in their family tree.


Living Water International

When Jesus went out and met people with real needs, He didn’t start by preaching a sermon at them. He met their needs first, showed them that He understood them and loved them, and by doing so He changed their lives forever. Living Water International has a vision to bring the gospel to underdeveloped nations, and they start by meeting one of humanities most basic needs: the need for water.

From their website:
Living Water International exists to demonstrate the love of God by helping communities acquire desperately needed clean water, and to experience “living water”—the gospel of Jesus Christ—which alone satisfies the deepest thirst.

 Nearly 21 years ago, we set out to help the church in North America be the hands and feet of Jesus by serving the poorest of the poor. More than a billion people in the world live on less than a dollar a day. 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water. For all practical purposes, these statistics refer to the same people; around the world, communities are trapped in debilitating poverty because they constantly suffer from water-related diseases and parasites, and/or because they spend long stretches of their time carrying water over long distances.

In response to this need, we implement participatory, community-based water solutions in developing countries. Since we started, we’ve completed more than 10,000 water projects (and counting!) for communities in 26 countries.

I don’t know what it’s like to not have access to clean water. The closest I’ve ever come was having my water heater break a few weeks ago, or the time we had a pipe burst when I was a kid and we had to shut our water off. I can’t imagine walking with my kids dozens of miles to get to a dirty water source, just so I could fill a jug with brown water and carry it back home. I heard a comedian once say that “it’s no wonder other countries hate America. Most countries don’t have access to clean water, and here we have whole parks dedicated to playing in it.” I said as much to my high school kids on a group trip to Water World – jokingly, because I have a morbid sense of humor – and my justice minded, soft-hearted kids decided to host a charity lunch and raised enough money to build a well. I was humbled by their passion, and LWI remains one of my favorite charities. My mom makes a donation in my name for Christmas each year, and it’s the best present I could ask for.


New Life Live

I’ve listened to this humble call-in talk show since 2003. I’ve been to counseling, I’ve received mentoring, I’ve experienced healing, and I can say unequivocally that this talk show has been a major force in shaping me into the person I am today. It helped me through my family falling apart and having to carry a burden that no teenager should have to bear. It helped me learn to communicate in a healthy way, when my family of origin’s style of communicating was screaming at each other until someone left the room. It helped me identify the areas in my life where I was broken, and needed healing.

From their website:
Mission Statement:
To transform lives through God’s truth by reaching out compassionately to those who seek healing and restoration.
Core Values:
Connection, Truth, Transformation
Statement of Faith:
As a professional organization, we set forth the following beliefs which have been agreed to by the professional and support staff of New Life Ministries.  These beliefs are essential to our treatment philosophy and ministry.

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, inerrant, authoritative Word of God.
  • We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  He has revealed Himself in creation, history, and in Jesus Christ.
  • We believe in God’s creation of the world and humankind and in humanity’s rebellion and subsequent depravity.
  • We believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ, including His deity, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His true humanity, His miracles, His substitutionary death, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father, and in His coming personal return in power and in glory.
  • We believe that for the salvation of the lost, sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.  We believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ as one’s Savior.
  • We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life and to grow in the knowledge of God and Christian obedience.
  • We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost—the saved unto the resurrection of life and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
  • We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ and in the importance of the church for worship, service and missions.
  • We believe all human life is a sacred gift from God and is to be protected and defended from conception to natural death. We will uphold the sanctity of life and bring the grace and compassion of Christ to those who face the realities of previous abortion, unwanted pregnancy, and end-of-life illness.
  • We believe in the importance of marriage.  Specifically, that marriage is a covenant relationship between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24), and that a person’s sex (male or female) is determined by God in the womb (Psalm 139:13) and revealed at birth.
  • We further believe that marriage is a covenant relationship that is mirrored in the relationship between Christ and His Church (Revelation 19:7, 21:2, 21:9).  And although the Bible states that divorce is permissible in two unusual circumstances (adultery as described in Matthew 5:31, and abandonment of a Christian by a non-Christian as described in I Corinthians 7:15), we will do all we can to preserve marriage.
  • We believe that all psychological principles should be thoroughly evaluated through the grid of Scripture, and that Scripture always holds the final authority.

The wisdom you receive through listening to this show every day is priceless. I can never listen when it’s live, but I subscribe to their podcast and listen on my commute. Around my birthday I often ask friends and family to donate to New Life in lieu of giving me a gift, because in my life, New Life is truly a gift that keep giving.


Do you have any organizations you love to support? Give them a plug in the comment section below; I’d love to check them out!

Friday Five – My Life According to Nidhi

3 Feb

In case you couldn’t tell from my header, I love the art of Nidhi Chanani. So many of you have asked where I got my headers that I thought I’d share a few of my current favorite pieces, as well as giving her a much deserved plug. She is letting me use her art just because I emailed her and told her how awesome I think she is, after all. Her work embodies the exuberant spirit, the sense of freedom, and the appreciation of quiet moments I wanted to bring to life in BiRL. It also pays homage to my heart-home city and my heritage. I so love everything she makes, and really want some Nidhi art to be part of redecorating our bedroom one day.

As I was going through some of her latest creations, I was struck by how well a few of her prints illustrated my life right now. For those of you who don’t know, A is an accountant. He ceases to exist from January through April 15th. This year it’s been more like October through April 15th. He gets home late and works on weekends, and I miss him. This year he’s really laying down some boundaries and just saying no to working on Sundays, so we can still go to church and have the rest of the day together. So this Friday Five has a double purpose: to celebrate my favorite parts of my day with my man, and to share some truly great art.

We set the alarm clock at least half an hour before the earliest of us has to get up so we can cuddle up and spoon. Usually A. hits the alarm and whispers to a sleepy wife to turn over so he can hold me. We spend every morning in each other’s arms, dozing, hitting snooze, until the reality of the day forces us up. It is, without a doubt, my favorite part of the day.

Especially now, A usually leaves the house before I do, planting kiss after kiss on my sleepy lips. Half the time I have to call him when I wake up to confirm his ‘notes’ to me before he left. He always tells me when he’s going to be home and if he fed the dogs, but in my sleep-addled state I never can remember. I remember the “I love you’s” though, and the “I’ll miss you, have a good day’s.” (I think the girl kind of looks like me, too. Yes?)

This is so how I feel when A comes home. I don’t always show it – I’m usually up to my elbows in dinner prep – but the thrill, the joy, the peace that’s in this piece is there. Oh, and sub two over-exuberant dogs for the cats.

Ok, this one is a bit of a stretch. We do this sort of thing – eating in bed – when we’re on vacation and I absolutely love it. But by the time we get under the covers we’re both in the  mood for quiet down-time, not a snack. But we often have the late night snack in our living room, just before bed. So bad, I know, but these nights A gets home so late so we end up staying up talking or watching a show, and a snack just helps sometimes.

This is absolutely us, every night I don’t have trouble sleeping. We both love to read before bed. It sets A at peace, it calms my mind. This piece shows us one light-click away from dreamland. And the next day we get to start all over again, in each other’s arms.

Thanks to Nidhi  Chanani for sharing her art with Bigger in Real Life. You can view Nidhi’s etsy shop here, or click on any of the images to view their listings.

If someone drew a picture of your life today, what would it look like?

%d bloggers like this: