Posted in Books, Real Life

Why You Should Read “Choosing Marriage” by Debra Fileta

Choosing MarriageI don’t often recommend Christian relationship books.

I’ve found Christian authors take one of two tacks: either the author treats love with a measure of whimsy that makes them sound stupid, or they quote, “Marriage is HARD,” enough times to show they have no faith in the reader’s ability to retain information.

Licensed counselor Debra Fileta embodies a perfect combination of practicality and hope. Combining Scripture with modern psychology, she finds a balance between empowering readers to make good choices and encouraging them to trust God.

Her perspective is both realistic and refreshing. She never presents formulas, hoping instead readers will take the path toward health. Using examples from her own life, Debra outlines common difficulties that come up in marriage and how to solve them. Unlike others, however, she doesn’t make her experience The Standard; she acknowledges often that every marriage is unique and couples need to find what works for them.

I can tell Debra loves her husband, Jon. That’s what has turned me off about marriage advice in the past; Christians can fall so heavily on the “difficult duty” view of marriage that it’s hard to tell they even like their spouse. Debra writes about the differences between herself and Jon without dinging her husband. As she writes in her book, she and Jon are a team, a fact evident with every page.

The best part of the book, a true miracle in Christian writing: with Debra’s readable style, the 200+ pages fly by.

Want a good marriage, either present or future? Say hello to your new best friend.

 

Release date: May 1, 2018

Purchase here

Posted in Books, Movies

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 15

FINAL ROUND!!

For round 15, I picked

Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars
and
Cress Darnell from The Lunar Chronicles

Background
Anakin Skywalker feels very attacked right now because EVERYONE KEEPS TREATING HIM LIKE A CHILD. Thought to be the Chosen One, Anakin excels in acting rashly and crying about it later. His flirting skills need WORK.

Sand

Forced out of Lunar society, Cress Darnell spent most of her youth on a satellite hacking Earth’s security feed. Easily impressed, Cress swoons over scoundrels and expresses delight in mundane things like sand. Her flirting skills, along with her life skills, do not exist. Girl is DUMB.

Trustworhty
“HE SEEMS TRUSTWORTHY.”

The Couple
Alas, Anakin’s hatred for sand might keep these two apart.

I find it hard to ship someone as unlikable as Anakin. Who wouldn’t be disillusioned by all that child murder? Or, you know…regular murder?

Sand people

But come on. These two have plenty in common, including childhood enslavement and a love of space travel.

Sure, there are things to dislike about this pairing. Rage. Jealousy. A disturbing height difference.

And, yes, the character Cress fears most is an angry giant with murderous instincts…which pretty much describes Anakin.

Know what? I don’t care.

At least this dynamic is interesting.

At least there’s contrast.

IT’S NOT TILNEY AND LUPIN. THAT’S ALL I CARE ABOUT.

This is the final round and I’m calling it.

Verdict: SHIP IT

Posted in Books, Movies

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 14

For round 14, I picked

Remus Lupin from The Harry Potter series
and
Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey

Background
Remus Lupin taught at Hogwarts until Lucius Malfoy outed him as a werewolf. He loves chocolate, books, and acts of bravery. He also briefly abandoned his pregnant wife and I’m still not over it.

Weirdest ship
WHY WAS THIS A SHIP?

Perfect party host Henry Tilney flirts with everyone without making it weird. He teases without overstepping. He even puts up with idiotic heroines for the sake of romantic resolution. That takes class.

Related image
R.I.P. IT.

The Couple
I can’t think of a more boring couple.

What would they do together? Drink tea? Talk about books? Hide Lupin’s monthly transformations from Henry’s family?

Related image
“I heard ‘werewolves.'”

You KNOW a ship is boring when I have to use CATHERINE MORLAND as my punchline.

Sure, Henry’s shares personality traits with Remus’ closest friends…but is that enough?

And Remus used to be a notorious prankster…but now? He’s so stodgy! He would grade papers during Harry’s parties…while wearing a cardigan. (Sidebar: Why was Remus friends with the Marauders? Why am I questioning canon? THIS SHIP IS DESTROYING MY LOVE FOR HARRY POTTER!!)

Until this pairing, I didn’t think anything could be worse than both these characters’ ACTUAL CANON SHIPS.

I didn’t come here to be bored.

Verdict: R.I.P. IT

Posted in Books

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 13

For round 13, I picked

Kate from You Know Me Well
and
Shigure Sohma from Fruits Basket

Background
Kate runs away from things. She dedicates her painting portfolio to a girl she won’t speak to and ditches a lifelong friend for an understanding acquaintance. She freaks out and changes her mind over and over but rarely tells people why.

Shigure plays dumb so well almost no one suspects him. He uses his trashy romance novels as a cover for more devious schemes. His closest friends don’t know what he wants; they just know he’s up to something.

The Couple
know I said I aged up the characters, but…

…Shigure loves high school girls.

Why am I saving this
It’s canon.

One of Shigure’s exes described him as a ripple on water; every time you try to get close, he moves away. Now that I think of it, he embodies the lyrics to “Marry Me A Little” almost perfectly. I didn’t think that was possible.

Kate admits she’s kind of a mess. Romance terrifies her; college freaks her out. She buys people artichokes instead of flowers…when she decides to show up. With the amount of overwhelm she experiences, Kate can only handle one day at a time. (There were several solid title puns in that sentence, but I resisted.)

Luckily for her, Shigure wouldn’t care. He wouldn’t invest either. Shigure’s not one for moving forward; he stays firmly in the moment. Others running away has never bothered him; he’s good at biding his time.

These two wouldn’t help each other grow. This pairing doesn’t burst with health. I don’t want to be on board, but the rapport between these two makes sense.

To be clear, I don’t condone settling. AT THE SAME TIME…these characters both struggle to make healthy choices. Why push them to do better when this easy dynamic exists?

IN CONCLUSION, these characters are confused…and so am I.

Related image
Sorry, dawg.

Verdict: SHIP IT????

Posted in Books, Movies, Television

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 12

For round 12, I picked

Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries
and
Princess Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender

Background
Mia started as an awkward nobody with bad hair until her father revealed their royal lineage. Now she’s an awkward somebody with slightly better hair and control over a small European principality.

Related image
Much to her dismay.

Azula, the Fire Lord’s favorite child, prefers flunkies to friends. She pursues fratricide with dogmatic devotion and nearly succeeds. World domination she saves for her nights off.

Casual
This is CASUAL Azula.

The Couple
For eight books, Mia’s main antagonist is Lana Weinberger, a catty cheerleader who bullies Mia’s friends.

To get Azula, take Lana and add firepower and a predilection for murder.

Yeah, that’ll work. Nothing says love quite like torment.

I love villain ships, but come on.

“Opposites attract” won’t fly here. Mia donated her entire salary to Greenpeace. Azula eats puppies.

Image result for sad puppy
Probably.

Mia has never been much of a flunkie. She lacks the sunny confidence or cool indifference necessary to put up with Azula. Mia is too high-strung to handle a princess one bad hair day away from a breakdown.

There it is
Too late!

Verdict: R.I.P. IT

Posted in Books

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 11

For round 11, I picked

Alanna of Trebond from The Song of the Lioness Quartet
and
Emma Woodhouse from Emma

Background
Alanna of Trebond switched places with her twin brother and posed as a boy for years to become Tortall’s first female knight. Her world consists of swordplay, jousting, and magical powers bestowed upon her by the Goddess. She hates social climbers and weak women alike, preferring the company of thieves and warriors.

Alanna
As designated by magical sparks

While Emma Woodhouse has depths, they’re buried deep beneath layers of social niceties and subtle manipulation. Emma loves the power she wields over others. She’s not much for deep conversation, but she throws a mean picnic. Like…actually mean.

Box HIll
Pictured: Box Hill

The Couple
Alanna’s appreciation for other women is limited to those who look fantastic while cutting down enemies. She likes underdogs, oppressed peoples, and magical cats far more than she likes lords and ladies. Don’t get her started on fancy parties.

Emma has no interest in the gritty side of knighthood. She’d be down for songs composed in her honor or daring deeds performed for her praise…but those chivalrous concepts  come from literature and Emma doesn’t read. She prefers wit and throwing the same fancy parties Alanna so despises.

In terms of grit, these two are equals. In any other case, that would be enough. Too bad Emma doesn’t WANT an equal. Look who she picks for a best friend!

Image result for emma harriet smith
UUUUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHH.

Compare Alanna to Harriet Smith. Alanna goes after what she wants and challenges people she dislikes. She’s handy with a sword and once killed a man by breaking his nose.

How would Emma control someone like her?

In the second book of her series, Alanna encounters a rival for Prince Jonathan’s affections. Tamora Pierce describes Princess Josiane of the Copper Isles as tall and blonde, a good dancer, and an annoyingly coy flirt. Hmmmmmm….

Emma

Yes, Alanna. Hook up with someone who reminds you of the woman who killed your cat.

Related image
…spoilers.

Verdict: R.I.P. IT

Posted in Books, Movies, Television, Theater

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 10

For round 10, I picked

Kyo Sohma from Fruits Basket
and
Mark Cohen from RENT

Background
Kyo Sohma can turn into a cat. That’s kind of his thing. If involuntarily turning into an adorable animal isn’t embarrassing enough, he’s an outcast in his own family, forced to spend the remainder of his life in a locked room.

Image result for kyo sohma true form
Mostly because this…happens…sometimes…

Mark Cohen hates paying rent almost as much as he hates the virus that keeps killing off his closest friends. He struggles to create while squatting with his best friend Roger in New York.

Art
Art is hard, guys.

The Couple
Kyo hates everything and everyone and expresses all emotions as poisonous rage.

Kyo gif
Our romantic lead, everyone.

Mark hates plenty – his parents, his job, Roger’s abandonment issues – but prefers to observe rather than engage. According to Roger, Mark uses art to numb his emotions so he doesn’t have to face them…ever. In fact, he only really brings up his feelings as a way to win arguments or push people away.

Blow off auntie Em

Two people actively pushing each other away? That screams health to me.

Maybe, despite all this, these two can work it out. The two have complementary personality traits: Kyo is loud, Mark is quiet; Kyo is aggressive, Mark is passive-aggressive; Kyo perceives constant rejection as a result of his family’s hatred, Mark experiences crushing loneliness despite group acceptance…

Now that I think about it, Mark has a lot in common with Yuki Sohma, Kyo’s canon rival.

How did that relationship work out again?

Adorable fighting
Oh.

Verdict: R.I.P. It

Posted in Books

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 9

For round 9, I picked

Ryan from You Know Me Well
and
Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey

Background
How do you know Ryan is a serious artist? He writes SLAM POETRY and works on a LITERARY JOURNAL, two things that would make him cool if he wasn’t such a terrible friend. Ryan pretends his “friends with benefits” relationship never happened. When confronted, HE NEVER APOLOGIZES. His feelings eclipse every wrong he’s ever done. In short, Ryan is the WORST.

Ryan
“I’m the real victim here!”

And then we have Catherine Morland, the patron saint of stupidity. Young, fanciful, and dumb as a rock, she creates AN ENTIRE MURDER PLOT out of nothing. That’s not fanciful; that’s insane. I don’t love that when people think of “bookish” characters, they list Hermione Granger, Harriet the Spy, and her. THIS IS NOT THE CHAMPION I ASKED FOR!

Ruining
Catherine Morland: ruining reading for women since 1817.

The Couple
Well…they’ve tied for first in my Most Hated Character contest.

Ryan loves slapping ill-fitting labels on himself and others; for instance, he, the oblivious, self-centered tool, is the Sensitive Artist, while his emotionally-savvy best friend is the Dumb Jock.

Related image
Cute.

Catherine sees things that aren’t real. She would buy into Ryan’s broody shtick real fast. She might even see good qualities he CLEARLY DOES NOT HAVE. Ryan must be who he says he is; Catherine’s read plenty of books with Sensitive Artists in them!

PEOPLE ARE MORE COMPLEX THAN THAT, CATHERINE.

I don’t know if you’ve picked up on the fact that I despise Catherine Morland.

Image result for catherine morland
I’M NOT SORRY

EVEN SO, I can’t help but think of the devastating fallout ahead.

Do you know how much energy it takes to feed someone’s self-perception? Constantly feeding another person’s ego while they roil with “torment” kills relationships.

What happens when Ryan’s facade finally fails and Catherine sees there’s nothing there?

She’ll discover that her relationship, much like creating murder mysteries out of thin air, has been a complete waste of time.

I wouldn’t wish that on ANYONE.

Verdict: R.I.P. IT

Posted in Books, Movies

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 8

For round 8, I picked

Harriet Smith from Emma
and
General Hux from Star Wars

Background
According to Regency social conventions, Harriet Smith is worth nothing. An ungenerous person might call her an uneducated upstart with no class or personality. A petty person might comment on her annoying voice. A cruel person might call her “naive” or “spineless.” That is just a sampler of things someone might say about Miss Smith.

Image result for emma harriet smith
Keep reading, I have plenty more to say

General Hux serves as Kylo Ren’s competent foil. Where Ren strikes fear, Hux commands respect. Where Ren overreacts, Hux maintains order. Hux will let no idiot stand between him and his plans.

Enough
Okay, sorry!

The Couple
I-

Hux yelling

I just-

Fire

Should I be shipping this!?

Hello no.gif

What can I say here?

Hux would not hesitate to blasterbolt Harriet in her stupid face the minute she became a load.

If she became a load, that is. Harriet has no opinions of her own, making her easy to manipulate. Need a loyal soldier to the First Order? Tell Harriet Hux has a crush on her. I can see her being of use in different areas: the First Order’s laundry division; on the bridge of a Star Destroyer; as Hux’s assistant with a cute little datapad. The woman just needs a job.

So it comes down to Hux: destroy a useless nobody with an annoying voice or retain her fawning idiocy for his own purposes?

Related image
Decisions, decisions…

 

Sorry, buddy. I’m making this call.

Verdict: SHIP IT

Posted in Books, Movies, Television

R.I.P. It or Ship It: Round 7

For round 7, I picked

Harry Potter from The Harry Potter series
and
Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender

Background
Harry Potter survived a Killing Curse when he was a baby. Harry Potter is the youngest Quidditch player in a century. Harry Potter can talk to snakes. Harry Potter is “special,” a status he does not enjoy.

So done

Banished from his kingdom, the character formerly known as Prince Zuko was given an impossible task by his father: find and capture the missing Avatar. Aided by his uncle, Zuko seeks redemption. He will regain his place! He will impress his father! He will roll his eyes at his uncle’s stupid jokes!

Will this save as a gif
While sulking!

The Couple
For as many advantages as Harry has, he lacks supportive father figures as the ones around him keep dying. I doubt he’d have much patience for a prince who resents his loving, living uncle. Plus, Harry’s never been impressed by social standing; he chose a blood traitor and a know-it-all Mudblood as his best friends. How much would he enjoy a partner who wishes he was still a prince?

Draco
Who does that sound like?

On Zuko’s end, I doubt he would care for a Chosen One who squanders all his influence. Zuko may be banished from the Fire Nation, but he still uses Fire Nation resources to track the Avatar. Harry could have whatever he wants, yet he would rather hang out with his friends than seize power.

Zuko’s penchant for betrayal dooms this couple. Harry would NEVER leave his uncle rotting in prison. Zuko sent his uncle to jail ON PURPOSE.

Best Harry Potter picture
“UNACCEPTABLE!”

Verdict: R.I.P. IT