I Ship it Like Fedex (AKA, The Other Valentine’s Day Post)

Thank you so much for all the encouraging comments on last week’s post! I appreciate each and every one, and I’m so glad if that “recycled” article blessed you in your own purpose-filled journey.

But as content as I now am in my singleness, I’m still a hopeless romantic–especially when it comes to stories. I love a good old-fashioned fairytale–all the best love stories reflect the Greatest Love Story in some way or another, right?

I’m also the kind of person who couldn’t possibly name just one OTP (One True Pairing). Who needs only one little ship when you could have a whole ARMADA, hmm?

So NO, I’m NOT anti-romance. I love my OTPs. I love the fact that they all counterbalance and believe in each other, and I just want them to be happy, keep house together, and have many beautiful babies. Some of my OTPs are canonical, others are most decidedly not, and none of them are in any particular order in this postbut they all make my heart go pitter-patter!

(All pictures are from Google, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Twitter.)

The Doctor & Clara Oswald

I place this ship within the “Canonical Column”–but even if you don’t ship them romantically, it’s hard to deny the chemistry and devotion between the Doctor and his Impossible Girl. They’re such a Power Couple, there’s even a whole Gallifreyan prophecy about them and the universe-defying love they have for one another. “Whouffaldi,” as this ship is called in the Twelfth Doctor’s era, may very well be the flagship of my Armada, especially since I’ve got a whole series of fanfic about them under my belt.

The Part That Made Me Ship It: The Doctor to Clara: Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?”

Steve Rogers & Peggy Carter

What’s not to love about these two? Peggy knew Steve was a Quality Gentleman™ long before he was transformed into a super-soldier–and he thought she was the bee’s knees the moment he first laid eyes on her. This an old-fashioned “friends-to-lovers” romance full of chivalry, missed opportunities, devastating loss, and–ultimately–a happy ending. Throw rotten tomatoes at me if you please, but I’ll always be glad they finally got their Happily-Ever-After in Avengers: Endgame.

The Part That Made Me Ship It: The scene in Captain America: The First Avenger where he said he was waiting for the right partner and she just looked at him like, “I think I’m gonna marry this boy.”

Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff

Steve gets TWO WHOLE MENTIONS in this post: we just wanted him to be happy! Before I knew he and Peggy would end up together, my sister Carolyn convinced me there was some serious chemistry going on between Captain America and Black Widow. It’s not canonical, but I still ship it in its own context! Steve and Natasha couldn’t be more different, both in personality and background–yet they learn to trust, tease, and comfort each other in a way that reminds me of an old, adorable married couple.

The Part That Made Me Ship It: Natasha: “If it was the other way around, and it was down to me to save your life–and you be honest with me–would you trust me?”  Steve: “I would now. And I’m always honest.”

Queen Victoria & Lord Melbourne

Okay, this one is DECIDEDLY in the “Non-Canonical Column!” And yet…IF the Victoria miniseries was fictional, and IF I were the writer, Victoria would’ve ended up with Melbourne and NOT with Albert, who does very little in their relationship other than make her feel small and stupid. Melbourne, by contrast, believes in her, loves her, and never ever ever insults her intelligence. I still have Extremely Strong Feelings about this (and yes, I did write fanfic to assuage my broken heart).

The Part That Made Me Ship It: Melbourne: “To me, Ma’am, you are every inch a Queen.”

Rey Skywalker & Ben Solo

I refused to ship Rey with Kylo Ren for four whole years because I have Principles™–but in the wake of his beautiful and very heroic redemption, I have NO QUALMS about the (100% canonical) love between Rey and Ben SoloThey only got a short amount of time together (a tragedy from which I may never fully recover), yet the trust, selflessness, and compassion they had for each other not only turned me into the world’s fastest “Reylo” convert, but singlehandedly cured me of a severe case of writer’s block

The Part That Made Me Ship It: The moment pictured above, when all he has to do is smile at her and she knows Kylo Ren is dead and Ben Solo is alive.

Captain Kirk & Lieutenant Uhura

This is a Non-Canonical Pairing, but I blame my sister Emily for dragging me on board this one. Kirk and Uhura have some lovely little character moments in the Original Star Trek Series, including several scenes where he is either very protective and gentle with her, or she is exhibiting considerable emotion where he and his safety/wellbeing are concerned. I ended up writing a whole series of short stories about these two, and I must say, I’m still very proud of them!

The Part That Made Me Ship It: Honestly, it was that awful episode “Plato’s Stephildren,” but when Uhura basically admitted she was in love with Kirk, I nearly hit the roof.

Clark Kent & Lois Lane

I’ve shipped these two for nearly my whole life. It started when I first saw the Christopher Reeve films as a kid, simmered in the back of my mind for about fifteen years, and was joyously resurrected when I saw Man of Steel. Amy Adams’ Lois believes in Henry Cavill’s quiet, enigmatic Clark–while he, in return, lives in awe and adoration of this fearless, high-spirited journalist. I wrote three novel-length fanfics about these two–and I still think Amy and Henry are awfully cute together.

The Part That Made Me Ship It: I don’t remember what sparked my interest in the Christopher Reeve movies, but the scene in Man of Steel when Lois and Clark touched hands in the desert sealed the deal for me.

Juliet Ashton and Dawsey Adams

Out of all the relationships on this list, Juliet and Dawsey’s is probably the one I’d most like to have for myself. I relate so much to Juliet, and Dawsey is exactly the kind of guy I’d want to marry: a humble, hard-working homebody. The “friends to lovers” trope is also my favorite kind of romance, both in fiction and in real life. Juliet draws Dawsey out of his own introversion, and he grounds her in the quiet enchantment of Guernsey.

The Part That Made Me Ship It: I’m pretty sure I shipped this one almost from the beginning of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Beren and Luthien

I’m gonna say it right here and now: Beren and Luthien’s story is way better than Aragorn and Arwen’s. It’s adventurous, terrifying, humorous in places, and intensely romantic–and it even has a bittersweet (rather than purely tragic) ending. And Luthien is a far more active, interesting heroine than Arwen…though not even Beren can hold a candle to Aragorn. This was Tolkien’s favorite story in his own “legendarium,” and I admit, I kinda want to write a modern-day retelling one day.

The Part That Made Me Ship It: Beren to Luthien’s father: “Here I have found what I sought not indeed, but finding I would possess forever. Neither rock, nor steel, nor the fires of Morgoth shall keep from me the treasure I desire. For Luthien your daughter is the fairest of all the Children of the World.”

Emma Woodhouse & Mr. Knightley

Last but not least, the sparkling, hilarious, and poignant relationship between Emma and the no-nonsense, quietly heroic Mr. Knightley is my #1 Jane Austen OTP. Emma needs Mr. Knightley to balance her high spirits and bossy ways–but he, in turn, needs her to lighten his loads and bring her sunshine into his life. The BBC’s 2009 miniseries, starring Romola Garai and Johnny Lee Miller, remains my favorite adaptation of this absolutely delightful romance!

The Part That Made Me Ship It: “Will you dance, dear Emma?”

Who are your OTPs? Did any of them make this list? Let me know in the comments! You know I’d love to fangirl with y’all about all my darlings 😉

4 Special Encouragements for Saint Valentine’s Day!

Much of this post was originally published in 2017, but I’ve altered and added to it to reflect my current convictions on the purpose-filled, Christ-centered life. I hope it blesses all my readers, no matter who or where you are! 

Happy Saint Scholastica Day! This is the feast day of one of my favorite Christian heroines, the strong-willed, learned twin sister of Saint Benedict of Nursia. I’m so thankful I get to start this week reflecting on a woman who devoted her entire life to Christ and His people. Scholastica (and other Christian heroines like her!) inspire and encourage me…especially when I need some confirmation that my “unwedded bliss” really is something to celebrate.

Valentine’s Day isn’t always easy for single, unattached people. I know it’s gotten so much easier for me in the past few years, but the temptation to feel sorry for myself (or throw up all my emotional defenses until February is over, haha) is still very real. God has been so faithful, though, constantly reminding me of the following truths since I originally shared them with my readers three years ago…

1. God loves you more than you will ever know.

“Faith,” Ann Voskamp writes in her book The Broken Way, “is confidence in God’s kindness no matter the confusion of circumstances.” God loves his sons and daughters so much, and He’s in the business of drawing us closer and closer to Himself. He works all things for our good…even when we can’t see what or where that good might be.

When my one and only “serious relationship” crashed and burned, it hurt so much. I didn’t understand why God would seemingly set me up for something wonderful, just to jerk it all away from me. Now I understand that He wasn’t just protecting me from a very perilous situation; He was also teaching me something I desperately needed to know: I love you more than any man ever could. I’ll be with you even when everybody else fails you, and I will give you peace.”

@ Pinterest

Jesus knows what it’s like to be broken. He knows the pain of loneliness. He knows what it’s like to feel betrayed and forgotten. He felt all those things as a carpenter of Nazareth. You’ll always be safe taking your broken hallelujahs to Him because He always understands, and He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)! He takes great delight in you, quieting you with His love and rejoicing over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

2. You are RIGHT where God wants you to be right now.

I’ll be 28 in a few weeks. My mom was married with three babies by the time she was 28. I have two choices: I can either fret and wonder what’s wrong with me and why I’m “so behind schedule”…or I can remind myself that God ordained every twist and turn of my story before the foundation of the world.

@ Pinterest

Here is a truth that I now stand upon: There’s a reason I’m unmarried, and it is a good and purpose-filled reason. I’m confident now that God has me in this place because He wants me to be so grounded in His love and goodness, I’ll be better equipped for whatever challenges life has in store for me. He’s molding me into exactly the kind of woman He wants me to be!

3. NOW is the time to invest in yourself & your relationships with God, your family, & your church!

I used to think self-care was selfish. There is a self-obsessed, navel-gazing kind of self-care, but there’s also nothing wrong with taking the time to make your soul happy. By taking care of yourself, you’re simply equipping and strengthening yourself physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally–which, in turn, makes it so much easier for you to focus on serving God and others!

Fill your head and your heart with God’s Word; that is the most important thing. Spend some time outside every day. Enjoy stories (the real ones as well as the imaginary ones) of kind, noble heroes and heroines. Fill your head and your heart with God’s Word! Create something, even if it’s just a pan of cookies–but not too many cookies, because your body needs nutritious food, too! Fill your head and your heart with God’s Word!! Find a way to serve your community or your church, even if it’s just serving in the nursery or bringing a meal to a new mama. Get a good night’s rest. Belt out your favorite songs in the car (did you know singing out loud for an hour can boost your immune system?). Fill your head and your heart with God’s word!!! Hug someone (did you know hugging can boost your immune system, too?). Count your blessings and write them down (gratitude can alleviate depression!). Did I mention filling your head and your heart with God’s Word???

@ Pinterest

Take the time to embrace what God says about you, to enjoy your beautiful life, and to “do your little bit” in your corner of the world. And remember, you don’t have to be a politician, a missionary, a pastor’s kid, or even a mother to make a difference. The only person you have to be is you.

4. You don’t need anybody but Jesus to be truly happy.

The 2015 Cinderella film ends with a song called “Strong.” I have my quibbles with the admonition to “Trust in your heart”–but there’s one line I do think is true, at least to a certain extent:

“A bird all alone on the wing can still be strong and sing.”

Of course, we are never alone if Christ lives inside us. We must cling to that truth, especially when we do feel “all alone on the wing.” But we must also cling to the truth that we really can “be strong and sing” right where we are, because of the fact that Christ lives inside us.

@ Pinterest

You don’t have to wait for your life to begin, because your purpose-filled life began a long time ago. You don’t have to sit around waiting for the perfect mash-up of Steve Rogers, Tom Branson, and Mr. Knightley to come a-knocking on your door, either. If that person exists, he’ll come when the time is right.

And if he doesn’t? Well, there’s plenty for you and me to do and learn in the meantime–and more than enough people in our lives to love.

As for those cruel, cutting thoughts in your head about how nobody will ever love you for who you are, or how you’ve been totally forgotten…they are lies–all of them–because God loves you so much and He will never, ever forget you.

In the light of that truth, we really can be strong and sing our little hearts out.


10 Reasons Why I Loved “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Before I get into this outrageously fun post, I have THREE QUICK THINGS to share with y’all:

Okay, enough with the announcements. I mentioned in my review of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that I still hadn’t seen The Last Jedi–but I finally remedied that problem a couple of weeks ago. And guess what? I LOVED IT.

Now, The Rise of Skywalker did retcon some things, and I do have some minor quibbles with certain plot points and storylines. But as Jane Austen would say, “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can.” And like Rose Tico, I’d far rather focus on the things I love rather than the things I hate.

So without further ado, here are 10 reasons why I loved The Last Jedi!

1. BB-8’s Most Excellent Adventure

BB-8 is my favorite droid, hands-down, bar none, no questions asked–so I was thrilled he got so much fun screen time in this movie! Between helping Poe destroy a First Order Dreadnought, pelting bad guys with casino coins, and rescuing Finn and Rose multiple times, who knew the Resistance’s most adorable mascot could also be such a fierce little fighter? 

@ Google Images

He is also a smol baby who needs lots of cuddles from his daddy, as you can see from this sweet GIF.

2. Luke Skywalker’s Character Arc

Luke’s inner conflict in The Last Jedi gets a lot of flak, but I thought it made perfectly good sense based on what we already knew about him. Luke feels everything very deeply, and he tends to takes a lot onto himself: we saw it in his desperation to help Han and Leia in The Empire Strikes Back, and in his unshakeable faith in Anakin Skywalker in The Return of the Jedi. He’d probably be terribly hard on himself if ever he failed someone…especially if that Someone happened to be his young nephew.

I wasn’t shocked by Luke’s self-imposed isolation or his depression…but I really appreciated the fact that he didn’t stay in that place of self-loathing. Skywalker Males tend to be a bit melodramatic (*side-eyes Anakin, Luke, and Ben*), but they always get their act together in the end.      

3. Rose Tico

Okay, Rose’s adventure with Finn and BB-8 didn’t really advance the plot (except to get the Resistance into even deeper trouble). I’ll admit that right-up front. But I don’t mind too much, because Rose still represents the small, ordinary folk of the Star Wars universe–people we don’t often get to see! Yes, we’re dealing with space battles, galactic politics, and awesome warriors, but we’re also dealing with everyday people who just want to defend their homes and regain their freedom.

That is why Rose is important. Plus, she’s an absolute dear–so pure and sweet!

4. Poe Dameron

Poe is such a fun character: warmhearted, reckless, snarky, and intensely loyal to his General-Princess. He learns a lot in The Last Jedi, though–namely, that he isn’t the Fount of All Strategic Wisdom, that Ellie Sattler–uh, I mean, Admiral Holdo–might actually know more than he does, and that if he misbehaves, Her Royal Highness Princess Leia will literally rise up out of a coma to shoot him with a stun gun.     

Leia loves him dearly, though. I suspect that he not only reminds her of Han, but also that she’s “adopted” Poe in the absence of her own son.

5. Rey’s Jedi Training

Rey went to Ach-To expecting to recruit Luke Skywalker and learn everything she ever wanted to know about the Force. Instead, she got pushback and scorn from a depressed old man. Not exactly the most encouraging situation for my favorite Star Wars character of all time.

But Rey proves in The Last Jedi that she is more than able to face these challenges. Not only is the Force always with her, but it highly favors her–and her courage, compassion, and intuition serve her well. When Leia looks straight at her and tells her the Resistance has everything it needs, it’s because Leia knows Rey is the Last Jedi. She is their greatest weapon against the Darkness.

[Disclaimer: I could digress into a long discussion about how the Force is an unbiblical concept, but we’ll confine that to the comments and/or another post for another day. Suffice it to say that I’ve noticed the Force has become more “personal” over the years, which is interesting.]

6. ForceTime™ (because it’s like FaceTime…sort of)

I LOVE the scene when Rey and Kylo Ren are quietly minding their own business in their own places, when boom–all of a sudden they’re in each other’s presence! They’re still in their own locations, but they can see, hear, and even touch each other now. And Rey’s first impulse is to try and shoot him in the gut. (*proud grin*) That’s my child.

We get an immensely satisfying explanation for this in The Rise of Skywalker, but watching them figure out how it all works in this movie is mesmerizing, especially as they become less hostile, more vulnerable, and even sympathetic towards each other.

7. Princess Leia

This was technically Carrie Fisher’s last movie (J.J. Abrams used recycled footage to build her scenes in The Rise of Skywalker), and I’m so glad Leia played such a pivotal role in it. We got to see her in action not only as the Resistance’s beloved General, but also as a grieving mother and a trusting sister.

I also love the fact that Leia “adopts” Poe and Rey and that her own skills as a Jedi are on full display in this movie. She is truly an iconic character–not just in Star Wars, but in modern storytelling as a whole.

8. The Throne Room Scene

Okay, guys…THIS SCENE. I was on the edge of my seat, and I had no idea what to do with my emotions. Rey’s defiance, Snoke’s nastiness, Kylo Ren’s absolute horror when his master starts torturing Rey, the “WOW WOW WOW” look on Rey’s face when Kylo sent her lightsaber flying back into her hand and they got to fight together…gosh, it was a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end. And don’t even get me started on the “Join me” bit. I didn’t know whether to be furious or heartbroken.

This is so worthy of a GIF, it ain’t even funny. (Thank you, Tumblr.)

And may I just say how unbelievable the choreography is? Daisy Ridley says it took twenty-five takes to get it right, and when they were finally finished, Adam Driver hoisted her over his shoulders and carried her off the set in exhausted triumph. (#bless)

9. The Battle of Crait

Crait was so unique: a salt mine planet where everything looks white…until you scrape your foot along the surface of the ground. Then it looks like you’re leaving bloody footprints in the snow. My inner artist’s appreciation for symbolism and dramatic effect found it rather fascinating.

The desperate “last stand” of the Resistance against the full might of the First Order also establishes a few key points: Kylo Ren is still a horrible person (in spite of the Throne Room Scene, alas), Luke Skywalker is still a true-hearted, self-sacrificial hero, Poe Dameron has learned what it means to be a real leader, and Rey is truly the new hope of the Resistance.

10. The Foreshadowed Eucatastrophe

Watching The Last Jedi in a post-Rise of Skywalker world is thrilling when it comes to the Eucatastrophe of the Sequel Trilogy (which I discussed at length in my review of the final film).

“If [Ben Solo] were turned from the Dark Side, that could shift the tide!” Rey tells Luke. “This could be how we win!” She even goes as far as to insist, “He’s our last hope!” When I first heard that, I had goosebumps.

You’re just about one year too early, Rey–give it some time… (@ Tumblr)

It wasn’t the only moment of foreshadowing, of course. The Throne Room Scene itself foreshadows Rey and Ben’s epic reunion on Exegol beautifully. But Rey’s plea to Luke predicts Ben’s Eucatastrophe beat for beat. His “conversion” does shift the tide, it does help Rey and the Resistance win against Palpatine, and he does prove to be Rey’s last hope by bringing her back from the dead.

What are your thoughts on The Last Jedi? I’d love to know! (Please keep them respectful, though–I know it’s a controversial movie for some and I want to keep things pleasant on this blog 😉 )