Monday, October 31, 2016

Shower Caps

Shower caps are so overrated. That's what I discovered ten years ago when I wrapped up my track career.

During my years of college track, I trained for hours everyday in the hot sun, and my hair needed daily washing. But when those long, sweaty workouts ceased, the hair-washing skies parted and glorious light shone forth: I could wash my hair every other day — or maybe every two days. Think of the time and effort I could save! And then I inched toward middle age and decided that a hair-wash every 3-4 days was acceptable because DRY SHAMPOO.

What a luxury.

But here is the thing about shower caps: the free shower caps hotels give you are big enough to cover your bangs, if you have them, but if you have a pony tail: good luck keeping that baby dry with such an itty bitty piece of plastic. I suppose you could run to Target and buy a shower cap big enough to cover your ponytail, but that seems like a waste because GROCERY BAGS.

What I am about to tell you may change your life.

When it is shower time, grab the nearest plastic grocery bag and slip it over your hair, with the handles down near the nape of your neck. Tie the handles into a nice, firm knot, and voila! You are ready to shower.

Folks, this trick will save you money — at least $3 (go buy yourself a latte!) — and time, and it will save you if you're in a bind. For example, if you have traveled to your college roommate's hometown for her wedding, and you do not want to wash your hair before the rehearsal dinner because you intend to wash it the next morning before the wedding, all you gotta do is borrow a grocery bag from your roommate's mom.

My college roommate's dad surreptitiously took this photo because, well, because I was standing in the hall talking to his family with a plastic bag on my head.

College roommate, Rach and I

It's easy as 1-2-3.

Happy Monday, folks.


P.S. I don't buy dry shampoo either. Noooo waaay, Jose; I save myself a dollar (and exposure to the additives in dry shampoo) and use a family trick. Click here for all the deets.

© by scj

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday evening

Sunday evening dreaming:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


The teenagers in my life are so hip. They use words like "lit" — as in "that song is lit" — and they totally don't say, "on fleek" anymore— as in "your dance moves are on fleek"— because that's so last year. I was just beginning to grasp what "on fleek" means when it went out of style, and it doesn't even matter that I one hundred percent understand how to use the word "lit" while it's current, because I am too old and un-hip to get away with it.

I've been blaming lots of things on my oldness these days. Last week I was grading essays in my bedroom when I heard an alarm go off. It sounded like it was on the other side of the wall my room shares with the neighbors' condo, so I assumed it was their alarm clock. When the alarm continued to beep for several minutes, I wondered if I should let the neighbors know.

And then I went downstairs to get some water and realized my oven timer's alarm was going off because I'd set it when I put pecans in the oven to bake 15 minutes earlier.

Don't mind me, neighbors. Apparently turning 32 inaugurates a whole new set of memory problems. I can't even begin to wonder what 80 will feel like.

Old person brain is the reason I accidentally wore my shirt inside out on Sunday, and it's the reason I decided to print my boarding pass for my flight back to L.A. a few days ago. "Why don't you just download the JetBlue app and pull up your boarding pass on your phone instead?" my mom asked.


Somehow, my mom's case of old person brain is less severe than mine.

And that's why I am so proud to say that I finally created a Facebook page for my blog AND I added social media icons to my blog's right margin so you can connect with me on social media. I found, linked, and embedded those icons all by myself, you guys. My technology game is totally on fleek this week.

Over the last couple of years, my readership has grown to the point that I don't know a lot of you. Some of you have emailed me to introduce yourselves, and I love that. Connecting with you is my favorite thing about blogging. So, would you connect with me on Facebook? Just click HERE, or click on the Facebook icon in the right margin, and you'll be directed to my new page.

And keep those emails (and Facebook messages!) coming. Seeing your face on Facebook is lovely, and hearing your stories is even lovelier.

 Hopeful, grace-filled Wednesday, my friends. I hope your day is totally lit.

Cheering for you, Home Skillets.


© by scj

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Where's Waldo?

Hint: "Waldo" is fluffy and cute as can be.

Did you spot her?

© by scj

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Story of an Apple

Please, may I have a bite of your apple?

Ah, now we can all live happily ever after.

The end.

© by scj


I'm in Washington for the week, and I'm relishing daily puppy snuggles and glorying in the expansive sky and flaming color.

 Upon my arrival earlier this week, Girlfren/Triangle Face/Dingleberry Girl/The Child/Golden Princess/Fluffy Face MaGhee (whose actual name is Roo!) greeted me with such affection, she literally bowled me over.

Roo the Red Rocket: I missed you, too! There ain't nobody or nothin' cuter than you.

Happy almost-weekend, my friends!


© by scj

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


My college roommate, Rachel, got married the weekend before last.

Because of the progress I've made with DNRS, I was able to make the trip to northern California for the wedding.

What a delight it was to watch Rach marry her guy.

Rachel lived down the hall from me our freshman year at APU, and after a few months of enjoying deep conversations, mastering Crocodile Dundee impersonations, and concocting three-course meals with my hot-pot, we decided to live together the following year.

Taking Rach to the airport for an international adventure

We lived together the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that, too. Also, we may have lived together the year after that; we can’t remember. We are getting old, and timelines are growing fuzzy.

The ol' tape-up-the-nose trick

Several of us lived together in an apartment throughout those years, but Rach and I always shared a room. I suppose our propensity to use the floor instead of the closet (we'd have to take a running leap to get from the door to our beds, so tremendous were the piles of clothes on the floor) and our tendency to burst into random song made us suitable living buddies. Our shared love for Jesus, sports, music, outdoor adventures, and late-night conversations made us kindred spirits. 

If you ever meet Rach, you will notice she is tall and beautiful and absolutely radiates the Light of Christ. You may also notice she has a deep sense that her words are one of the ways Christ's light streams out. Rachel's words have always felt like ribbons of light to me; and one of the gifts of her friendship is being regularly wrapped up in those ribbons of light. 

Just after the wedding ceremony rehearsal

One day, about ten years ago, Rach, our other roommates, and I predicted the order in which we would all get married. We predicted Cara would get married first, Stacey would get married second, Rach would get married third, and I would get married last. Well, we joked that God might bring me a husband first. I had grand ambitions requiring many more years of singleness, and we thought maybe God would be funny and upend my set of single girl dreams. In the end, though, we settled on our original predictions. And guess what? We nailed them! As of last week, Rach was the third to get married.

The bride catching the first glimpse of her groom through the window

Happy, glorious wedding month, Rach.

Love you big time.


© by scj

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Mrs. N. has watched me grow from the time I was one-year old. She's in her eighties now, with short curly hair and deep smile lines, and though I don't know her well the way I knew my grandma, and though I've lived far from home these last 13 years, she has always remembered me daily in prayer.

I've taken great comfort in her prayers. When my apartment flooded, and then flooded again; when my car broke down monthly; when I trudged through doctors appointments, and suffered grievous break-ups, and watched friendships fracture under the weight of my illness, she prayed and sent me weekly letters reminding me she was praying. On late nights, when I laid awake wondering if I'd have the stamina to keep fighting my life's battles, I took comfort in the knowledge that she was fighting for me in prayer.

A couple of years ago, Mrs. N.'s memory began to fade. She started repeating herself and forgetting familiar faces, and when I learned of her deteriorating memory, my reaction was, I am sorry to say, quite selfish: what if she forgets to pray for me? What if the letters of reminder stop coming? The prospect made me feel lonely, like I was on the verge of suffering a profound loss.

It's been awhile since I've heard from her, so I assumed my fears had been realized. But then, last month, an envelope arrived with her familiar cursive scrawled across its front. A few weeks later: another letter. In both letters, she reminded me she was praying.


Two weeks ago a dear friend mailed me a bouquet of freshly-sharpened pastel pencils. Since then, I've been making lists with childlike fervor.


I am in the throes of a qualitative research project on grief among college students for one of my PhD classes. Last week, I hadn't yet started the project and I wasn't sure which direction to take it. I asked God for help finding direction, and he answered in the form of a classmate who stayed 45 minutes after last week's 3-hour class to help me process my project idea. 

I hadn't met this classmate before this semester, but I'd known of him. He almost died last semester of a heart attack, so all of us in the PhD program prayed for him and his wife. I mentioned him in a post last semester — you may remember. As he laid in the hospital, his people prayed for his kidneys to start working, and they started working. Then hundreds, maybe thousands of people prayed for other organs to begin working, and lo and behold: they started working. Prayer by prayer, his body came back online, and now he's back in the classroom, helping people like me process project ideas. 

I've never before had the privilege of praying for someone's life and then meeting them for the first time. It's a special thing. When you pray for someone you don't know, you pray because you value life and you know his loved ones think he's wonderful. But then, when you meet him you realize, Wow, this person is wonderful, and I can't imagine this class without him, and you're motivated to pray for lots of other people you don't know with a deeper sense of how wonderful they must be. 


I have a neighbor who occasionally dresses up like Darth Vader and cruises around the neighborhood on his scooter. He is five, and his Darth Vader days are some of my favorites.


Seventeen years ago my family traveled to Spain. While there, I forged friendships with a handful of girls, two of whom I am still in regular contact with. Recently, one of them invited me to come stay in her and her husband's guest room. I hope I can take her up on that one day.


Do you remember the American Girl doll named Samantha? She was the star of her very own chapter book series set in the Victorian era, and oh! I longed for a Samantha doll when I was a girl. American Girl dolls were expensive though — well over $100 — so I set to work earning money.

I washed cars and mowed lawns, but I made most of my money selling homemade Rice Krispie treats and Koolaid on the street corner. I topped the Rice Krispie treats with colorful sprinkles, which made them a hit with the neighborhood kids; and a very generous couple from church paid me to make them for their company's business meetings.

Eventually, I earned enough money to get my doll, and when she arrived in the mail, it was love at first sight.

Not too long after I got Samantha, I heard a Christian radio broadcast describing the plight of orphans in Russia. After that broadcast I decided my best friend and I would go to Russia to care for the orphans together. As I mentally planned for our trip, the staggering cost of the trip was undaunting; I already had a sure-fire business plan that would undoubtedly pay for the trip: I'd bake and sell brownies. Naturally.

I suppose I don't need to tell you that I have never been to Russia.

© by scj