Thursday, December 24, 2009

Stephen and I, like many of you, have been receiving Christmas cards over the past few weeks.  I myself never send them out.  It's just something I don't think of.  But if I did, I would make a point of addressing each envelope the way I like to receive them.

When Stephen and I got married, I was hesitant to take his last name.  Honestly, one of the reasons* I did is that it's much simpler to spell than my maiden name.  I'm very proud of my maiden name, and I'm very much my own person, so it was difficult to change a part of what used to identify me.  So on our wedding day, I was insistent that our pastor introduce us a certain way.  I drilled him about it for weeks so that he would remember.  Because, on my wedding day, I didn't want to become Mrs. Stephen LastName.  I'm becoming his wife, but I'm retaining my identity and individuality.  So my pastor introduced us as Mr. and Mrs. Stephen and Rachel LastName.

This is something I'm pretty passionate about, and the Christmas card thing always brings it out of me again.  A few people (those not of my generation) have sent cards addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Lastname.  I know it was considered proper back in the day... but why can't we just be Stephen and Rachel?  Why do I have to lose my first name, too?  Every time I get a card addressed this way, I feel like feminism never happened.  My husband would never relegate me to an extension of himself- why does it seem like so many other people do?

Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ, who is the true source of my identity, and no one can take that away from me.  I look past the envelope and appreciate the card and the thought behind it.  It's not even the individuals that sent the ill-addressed card that I'm offended by.  It's the whole concept of "Mr. and Mrs. Man" that offends me.  Thankfully, this concept seems to be on its way out.

Sort of a strange thing to write about on Christmas Eve... it's just where my mind is this morning.

*Mostly, I took Stephen's name because I love him, wanted to honor him, and I believe in biblical submission to my husband.  This means he does everything with my best interests in mind and puts me before himself, so when I defer to him I can trust him to make wise choices for us.  It does NOT mean that he treats me like shit, takes advantage of me, or acts as my ruler and master.  Ephesians 5:22 says, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord..."  But a few verses later, Paul instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, who gave himself up for us: "...husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies."  Lots of people know that Christians believe the wife has to submit and respect her husband.  What most of them don't realize is that he has to sacrifice himself and love his wife unconditionally.  The wonderful thing is, I married a man who really lives this way.

I guess this post turned out to be more Christmas appropriate than I originally planned.  Jesus was born for the sole purpose of dying for you.  He gave up His throne, became a man, and lived a perfect life, just so He could die and rise again.  He did this because He loves you (YOU!) and He wants you (yes, YOU!) to be with him forever.  He's not pointing His finger at you, or shaking His head in disappointment, or angry about the things you've done wrong.  Maybe that's what your dad did... but Jesus isn't like any other man!  He's 100% filled with unconditional, unchanging love for you.  I hope you encounter the real Jesus this Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

If you've been following my blog for very long, you will understand why the name is so appropriate.  One of my (many) talents lies in always being able to find something to complain about.  It makes me feel better.  And I often contradict myself, which I accept and am ok with.  Stephen has on multiple occasions reacted with surprise when I declare my vehement love/hatred of a certain thing.  "But a few weeks ago, you said the opposite!"  I'm given to passionate diatribes which match my feelings at that moment.

However, many of my pet peeves have remained the same since I developed a personality.  As a writer, unsurprisingly many of the things that make me crazier than a monkey in a knife fight have to do with words.

Shortening words
For a while I thought only teenagers said things like "whatevs" and "phenom", but in the recent months I've heard adults use this kind of language, and not in an ironic way.  I realize I might be stepping on some toes here, as a handful of friends and family members have embraced this sophomoric slang vocabulary.  But seriously, everyone.  If you're over 19 and you don't wear skinny jeans, I promise people are laughing at you.  Or at least whispering behind your back.

Adding "-y" or "-ies" to the end of words (often to children)
For example, "Did you get an ouchies?" (this doesn't even make sense!) or "I'll pour you more juicy."  I find this infuriating and not in the least cute and charming.  Children can comprehend long before they can form sensible responses and relate them to you, and they certainly won't be forming sensible anythings with their parents talking like this all the time.

Text language
I lament the gradual deterioration of the written word in today's society, and I place the blame squarely on text messaging.  I frequently receive text messages from well educated adults who use "4" and "u" and other abominations in place of actual words.  This, I cannot forgive.  I can bury it deep inside me and try my best to cover the alarming twitch I seem to be developing.  But when language (I hesitate to even call it that) like this is used in more legitimate mediums of communication, like email... well, don't be surprised if you never hear from me again.  I can't take the risk of my twitch* becoming permanent.

Excessive exclamation marks
I always say that exclamation marks are like garlic, to be used thoughtfully and carefully and never ever overdone.  Now, I like garlic as much, or almost probably more, than the average person.  This is probably why my husband always chuckles quietly to himself when I recite my wise exclamation mark adage.  But that's beside the point.  Women are overwhelmingly the common abusers of this potent form of punctuation.  When reading, say, a facebook status in which 80% of the sentences end in one or more exclamation points, you almost have to read it with the mental voice of a 17 year old Twilight fangirl with ADD.  And that's just tiring.

Unnecessary quotation marks
This is less of a pet peeve than it is a source of mild amusement.  I like to read The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, but after a page or two of posts, I go from laughing to chuckling to glowering silently to growling and clenching my teeth.  You see these amateurish signs everywhere from gas station bathrooms to office breakrooms that say things like "Please" don't take my soda from the fridge, or whatever.  I can't decide if you're quoting from another sign or you mean it sarcastically.

People who put periods at end of questions
This is where my opinions really get heated.  Questions with no punctuation whatsoever on the end just make me disappointed.  But questions with a period at the end make me angry.  If you've taken the time to push the period key, you most certainly have the time to put a question mark.  For some reason, executives and important business types think they are exempt from this rule, and unfortunately, recipients of emails from these people are often left scratching their heads and wondering how someone with such questionable** communication skills managed to gain hold of such lofty responsibilities.

The word Irregardless
I maintain that this is not a word. will ask if you meant "regardless", and even Merriam-Webster, while acknowledging that it is a word (psh, what do they know?) will suggest you don't use it.  This is a perfect example of mass ignorance creating reality: if enough people continually use a non-word, eventually the standard conforms to idiocy.  This isn't meant to be social commentary.  Just throwing it out there.

The word Disorientate; -ed; -ing
I realize that this is an actual word, used mostly in the UK, but it still sounds so wrong to me every time Bear Grylls says "disorientating" instead of "disorienting".  No amount of hot British accent can remedy the downright weird feeling always I get.

* If you notice it, please, try not stare.  I'm sensitive about it.
** Questionable! Ha! Get it?