Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Life Around the Table

Have you ever met someone who understands so deeply what you hold most dear that you just know you would be best friends? This is the feeling I have right now.  To have another human creature validate and also value what means the world to you is warming to the very soul. To borrow from Anne Shirley, I have found a kindred spirit. Shauna Niequist wrote a book called Bread and Wine where she talks about life around the table. Shauna is not the first author to focus in on the importance of having the ones you love around your table. But she is one of the most poetic.

“I’m not talking about cooking as performance, or entertaining as complicated choreography of competition and showing off. I’m talking about feeding someone with honesty and intimacy and love, about making your home a place where people are fiercely protected, even if just for a few hours, from the crush and cruelty of the day.”'

This was my first year where I truly lived out on my own. This was also the first year that I could start to have people in my home as I wished. My dream, and hopefully reality, was that I could make my house a safe haven for my friends. I wanted them to feel entirely welcomed and loved when they walked through those doors, for their shoulders to relax as burdens fell away, and smiles to spread as stomachs were filled.

Life around the table brings a unique opportunity to be present in one another’s lives. There is something to be said for hands being full and hearts being unencumbered. Passing dishes and sharing stories—that is life around the table. An added element for me is cooking the food.  It gives me an opportunity to pour extra time, love, and prayer into the preparation for those meals.  I have found in my limited experience that nothing transforms relationships quite like welcoming people into your home for a meal. It conveys a deep care for those that come because to welcome someone into your house is to welcome them into your life. To read Shauna’s take on the same concept has been like finding a soul that is a twin to mine. Her most succinct advice comes from the front jacket “Tell someone you love them and dinner is at 6.” 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bachelor Ben: Episode Two

Ben is probably the cutest bachelor we’ve had in the last 5 seasons. He’s just adorable. Our house is pretty excited about him. Sooo hoping I don't dislike him at the end of this. I was really excited about the last Bachelor Ben....but he picked the crazy chick....

my reaction to seeing Kevin Hart
Lace looks like she’s going to actually have a mental breakdown. I expect great things from her. And by great I mean totally insane. 

I’m so lucky they have names for the girls on the screen all the time. So many of them look alike. He definitely has a type. I know some of the girls that have had screen time, but the rest? It's like they just filmed a Liberal Arts college sorority. 

We are starting the evening with ubiquitous shots of Ben getting ready/ looking pensive. Cause apparently it’s IMPOSSIBLE for a bachelor/bachelorette to get ready without looking pensive. Because putting on my jeans routinely makes me ponder the difficulties of dating 20 people at once. 

Lace admits that she “got a little too drunk, a little too emotional”

“Let’s learn how to Love” –Or more aptly titled “Getting Schooled”

Jackie, LB, Lauren H, Becca, Amber, Portland, JoJo, Jubilee, Jennifer, and Lace get the first date card.

Lace is excited to redeem herself. When you have to say “I am not a crazy girl” you are pretty much A CRAZY GIRL. 

Jubilee is adorable. I really hope that she breaks the barrier on the show and actually makes it really far. The end is usually way too white.

The girls are going to school... They will be split into teams and will have 4 “classes.” After each challenge one team is eliminated. The winner will be Ben’s homecoming queen. Unfortunately, Jubilee was partnered with Lace (who is the worst) and they were eliminated.
Portland won the competition….because she’s got the legs of a stork. That’s so unfortunate. Amber is the one that carried them.
Oh good, Lace is pissed and is just going to be crazy. “My goal is just make sure that Ben doesn’t think I’m a crazy girl.” Oh honey, it’s too late for that.
Becca and Ben are chatting while shooting some hoops.
“My wife could be in this group. We’re getting to the point of real feelings developing.” WHAT?!?! What kind of feelings?? You’ve spent like 30 min with a girl. Feelings of disgust? Feelings of wanting to make out? It sure as heck isn’t feelings of love. You don’t know.
Jennifer and Ben kissed. With this knowledge, Lace’s crazy eyes popped.
Back at the House
Olivia is talking about getting a date card…and makes this horrifying face

Caila gets the one on one date card. I think Kevin Hart will be in her portion of the night!

Lace steals Ben to apologize for last night. She keeps cutting him off and telling him that she’s “not that person. I don’t want you to see that person.” The more she’s talking the more he looks slightly unnerved. She looks like a crazy stalker. Jubilee just SAVED him, walked in before Lace could maul his face. “I can’t believe that Jubilee of all people would do this to me.” Honey, I don't think you guys are close. This is not your bestie stealing your boy. this is a fellow contestant on a television show politely asking to talk to Ben. He is probably blessing her for walking in before Lace pounced.

So let's have a little background on my girl Jubilee. She was adopted from Haiti and is in the military. This girl is so amazing. There is a strength to her that most of the other girls don’t have. And she's gorgeous. She one of 3 girls that I'm pulling for at this point. I really, really hope she goes far.

Lace decides to complain about her lack of time and then interrupts one of the other girls to talk to him again.

I need to make score cards for
·         Lace saying she’s not crazy
·         Ben saying I appreciate that
·         Anyone saying I want to get to know you followed by kissing
·         Disbelief about intensity of feelings developing this quickly
·         Private concerts
·         Statements of being “here for ben” or for “the right reasons”

Ben gives the rose to JoJo.

Chris Harrison planned the One-on-One (like the Bachelor ever plans them)

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart walk through the door. I’m so excited for this. Kevin Hart is hilarious.
What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done for a woman?
                Ice Cube: I married one…that’s romantic right?
                Kevin Hart: I cooked fried chicken one time…in a crock pot.

Kevin Hart is trying to make the date as cheap as possible. He heckles a street vendor to give them half priced flowers. Ice Cube wants Ben to buy condoms and hard liquor. Kevin Hart is giving commentary and Ice Cube is trying really hard not to judge them…but he totally is. I hope they gave them a lot of money to be on this show.

Obviously, the ride along was not conducive for getting to know one another. Especially when Kevin Hart was naked in the hot tub...So the night portion of the date is that much more important. Ben asks Caila what she is looking for in a man…and she answers with the right relationship and then asks him why he thinks he’s unlovable. That’s not actually answering the question.

Gosh, I should have made a score card. Ladies and those Gentlemen forced to watch this, we have a private concert.

“Are We a Perfect Match”

Emily, Shushu, Sam, Olivia, Haley, and Amanda comprise group number 2.
Tweedledee and Tweedledum need to leave. They are obnoxious. 
The girls are at a “love lab.”
a what?
The lab did eye tests, smell test, and a thermal reaction test. It was very weird. Olivia was kinda being a butt about it. She was scoring well and knew it. Sam knew she wasn't scoring as high and Olivia just kept making snide remarks. Gah, her stupid smug face! She needs to stop making the open mouth face.

Ben is very classy on this date yet somehow he picks the meanest girl on the date. 
Maybe it's a Ben thing?
Amanda is super sweet and opened up about her family and he still gave the rose to Olivia who has been a jerk about getting the high score on the love test. Granted, he can’t see it, but darn it! Stop rewarding only the outgoing people! Amanda is Emily 2.0. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS PICK EMILY 2.0!

Cocktail Party

Ben is a lot more calm and he hopes to be talking to everyone tonight. He offered his jacket! He's so sweet sometimes.

Olivia doesn’t want to ‘rest her laurels on having a rose.’ She steals him and sets the house ablaze with gossip. “Now I’m done. Everyone else have at it. I hope everyone can respect that.”  What on earth?! Why would you say that? “Me getting the rose last night, was not my choice. Him pulling me aside, was not my choice.”
OH MY GOSH. LACE pulls Olivia aside to talk about how she’s behaving. Crazy B 1 talking to Crazy B 2.  What. Is. Happening.
Ben gave Lauren B a photo that he had the producers print off. “I don’t know how to make you feel special?” He’s adorable. Go for solid women like Lauren B and Jubilee please! He is giving a couple of the women little presents. HE WANTS TO MAKE THINGS FOR AMBER’S GIRLS. It’s precious! Totally planned by ABC, but great!

Rose Ceremony

EMILY 2.0! Jubilee! Lauren B! Leah, Becca, Rachel (who is that?), Lace (HE LOOKED DOWN! HE DIDN’T WANT TO KEEP HER!) LB –wants to talk to Ben. She's leaving?!?! Jennifer, Emily, Jamie, Lauren H, Shushu, Haley

Chris Harrison comes to remind us all how to count to 1
we should all be able to count to 1

Amber gets the final rose.

Up next: Ben makes out with people, everyone says he’s great, Ben makes out with more people, Olivia gets super possessive, Lace cries more than I think is possible, and eye rolls abound.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Bachelor Ben!

Dear Ben,
I hope I still like you at the end of this.
Love, Me

He hails from Warsaw Indiana…and my sister and Ben have a mutual friend. ALSO she told me when they were filming there.  Crazy, right?!

Ben is telling us about his hopes and dreams while wading in some tall weeds. I wonder if they made someone sit out there until they found some deer to film.
Ben’s greatest fear is to be un-loveable. I wonder at going on national television with that fear. It’s exponentially harder to be real with people when there are 20 other people watching, let alone millions watching on the screen. “I’m really nervous to date 25 people. BUT I’m looking for ways in life to make me a better man…” DATING 25 GIRLS AT ONCE WILL NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER MAN!

Apparently ABC has no shame. Bachelor Ben in a McDonald's commercial. No. Stop. Marketing teams needs to cut it out. That actually makes me want to go to McDonald's less. 

Chris, Sean, and Jason stop by for their contractually obligated advice giving session

“I wanna join the married bachelor club” sooo don’t listen to Chris…
“Good news, is that you’re the only guy. They won’t compare you to anyone.”
“They’ll be thinking about you all the time”
…you are also in the perfect breeding ground for numerous, terrifying stalkers…

I also love that Chris was silent for a good portion.  His advice “it’s hard…and these guys did a lot better job than I did.” You sir, have spoken truth. 
“I am excited about finding someone who is excited…to be alive….and in love” So an adrenaline junkie.
“Nothing was more heartbreaking than when Ben confessed to Kaitlin that he feels un-loveable. Just to show him how loveable he is, we made him the bachelor.” So to show him he’s loveable, you put him in an environment with a horrid success rate?!?!?

Mandi is crazy…but she’s also from Portland. She's keeping stereotypes alive one bad hat after another.   “Ben seems like he flosses…”

Twins. Why? Just no. Are they a package deal? Can you pick one without the other? Can they even tell themselves apart? Calling it now. They will be Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Ah, we have our token mom. Amanda is adorable. I have hopes that she’ll be the next Emily.
*Not featured on the show. But Google chickens in sunglasses. Seriously.
. Tiara is “a chicken enthusiast” What does that mean? “These are my human babies”


First one out of the limo is Lauren B.  She’s cute and giggly. She brought him a pair of wings. I wonder if she wore blue because she’s in the sky all the time.
Caila hops out of the limo, runs, and jumps into his arms. “Thanks for catching me. Can I catch up with you inside?” 
Openners are bad. “Will you remember my name? Ben and Jen is too cute to forget” gag. me. now.
Jami is from Canada. She says she knows Kaitlin and she told Jami that Ben has a really really big…heart. I’m done. I’m just done with this show
Jubilee is stunning. She chokes a little which is adorable.
TOKEN MOM IS HERE! She’s actually normal at the greeting. That will be memorable.
Lace is wearing lace. You are a cliché. And she stole the first kiss.
Lauren R. is a math teacher. She mentions that she’s stalked him over social media. 

He asks for her name…which she never gives… “she was gorgeous…just…don’t know her name…” She's gorgeous and terrifying. Does everyone stalk people on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Sure! Do you admit it? NO!

There was a girl that spoke a foreign language the whole time. “I don’t know if I’m tired or just losing my mind.” Probably both. From what I’ve heard about the show, it’s probably crazy late at night by this point.

JoJo needs to just go home. The unicorn bit need to not happen. I wonder how tired Ben was because he said this was normal….and he asked to keep the hat. I bet it was to throw the mask away.

Mandi IS the first impression rose. I'm just going to call her Portland now. She offered to let Ben pollinate the flower later

Self-appointed Red Velvet is freaking out because she “has yet to see an ugly individual.” She may be falling apart, but she's got the best nickname. 
Tweedledee ad Tweedledum are so excited to make an exception for Ben and date the same man.
There is a pony. I am soooo done. 
“He’s the onesie for me!” NO. 
No one wants your puns. Go home.

Jessica looks normal. Please be normal.
Tiara’s here! Chicken lady is here!
Olivia has a cute dimple and seems normal.
Chris Harrison comes to talk to fill time and let Ben know that he can head inside. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed because they TOTALLY doctored his eyes on the ABC website. See?!?! No one has those eyes!
I say lies! No one has eyes like that!
Ben calls his parents on speaker phone and tells them that there are so many beautiful women. I hope he looks for more than looks. 
Olivia left a job that she loved as a news anchor to come on the show…if this doesn’t work out that’s will prove to be a really bad decision.

Ben is talking to all of the girls and says “tonight is gonna get crazy” and cue Chris bringing in Becca and Amber. Hahahahaha he just sends them inside “find Ben and see what he says.” Helpful Harrison is not something that Chris would ever be called.

Lace is wasted. She asks Ben for a kiss. Before Ben could explain why he wanted to wait on that, Portland came in and stole him. Lace is losing it.

Okay, Ben is solid. He searches for Lace to clarify so that she isn’t reading into things too much. That’s so thoughtful. However, Lace is so wasted that she’s reading too much into that and completely confused what Ben said.

I really like Ben and Lauren B. They seem very natural together. I hope she gets the first impression rose…..but it goes to Olivia. She gets it for giving up a job for a man she doesn’t know.


Ben walks in and mimes his heart pounding. Nervous laughter obnoxiously floods the room. Ben gives the thanks-for-playing speech.
The Rose Winners is order of appearance:
Lauren B, LB, Caila (Dang it. Crazy eyes is staying), Amber, Jami, Jennifer, Jubilee, Amanda, JoJo, Lea, Rachel, Samantha, Jackie, Tweedledee, Tweedledum, Shushuana? Shushawna? Shushu? Shushu. Lauren H., Becca, PORTLAND?!?!, AND FREAKING LACE? but…..but…Red Velvet. Why? She’s cuter and WAY more sane. 

Lace is also wasted.  She grabbed Ben to scold him for not looking at her. She’s questioning everything because he didn’t look at her once. “I GAVE HER A ROSE!” Yes, you did Ben. But when you give a Lace a rose she’s gonna want a ring.

Coming Soon! to a TV near you: Girls Crying! Ben Crying! Drama! Backstabbing! Waterfalls! “Advice” from Chris Harrison! And every 5th girl telling Ben she loves him (I see what you did there ABC)