Donald Miller’s Scary Close

Reading this right now, and it is hands down, the BEST book I have ever read on relationships. EVER. Throw away all of your stupid single books, this is it. Just read this now and am freaking out a bit:

I was afraid of change. On the dock I was warm and dry and in control. I knew once I jumped I’d be fine, I’d enjoy swimming around. But it was still a change. I thought about Betsy, likely about to land in DC. I knew in my heart I’d be happier with her. I knew she’d take me places that were healthier, more fun, more challenging than I’d ever been. I thought also about how content and comfortable I was being single, how much control I had in my life, how I could go out and get applause anytime I wanted and then retreat to the green room of my life, eating Oreos and waiting for my next performance.

To Tinder or Not To Tinder: Part 2

To Tinder or Not to Tinder, that is the question:

Whether tis nobler in the mind to swipe left

Or to swipe right and open up a whole can of worms …

Claire Shakespeare

Tinder part 2

A really long time ago I wrote about how I was trying Tinder and that I’d eventually give you a follow up. Well, since then, a few things have happened. I deleted tinder, then I got it again and then I deleted it, again.

Long story short: it got really creepy really fast.

So I got Hinge instead.

Which is basically just like Tinder and only slightly less creepy.

So there you go.

Anyway, if you’re like me and have been kicked off of Match.com, are sick of eHarmony, think Christian Mingle is a joke and don’t mind using an app to help you make important life choices, try Hinge. You’ll make worse life decisions and remember – we’re in this together.

Also, to guide you on your journey here are my:

Helpful Hinge Hints for the Single Christian Girl (how’d you like that alliteration?!)

  1. Make sure you enjoy men with aquatic creatures. If you don’t, why are you on a dating website at all? They all fish, and they all take pictures of it. It’s like the man version of a selfie – a fishy.
  2. When in doubt, swipe right. Otherwise your soul mate could be gone forever. That’s probably not real, but just in case.
  3. Don’t ever swipe right to a guy with his shirt off taking a mirror selfie. Why is he doing that? Why? Where did your shirt go? Can you not afford shirts? Why are you taking a selfie, do you not have friends? I’m concerned. Are you cold? Did you take your shirt off, slip into a semi hypothermic state and then in your delirium think it was a good idea to take a picture of yourself before you drifted off into a coma? Are you even alive right now?
  4. Say you love Jesus. Just do it. It’ll weed out some people, but you don’t want to date them in the first place. Trust me. Trust your Mom, she’d probably say the same thing if she 1) knew what Hinge was and 2) was okay with you using Hinge … so there’s that.
  5. It’s ok to not respond to a message. They get creepy. They just do. Even if you swiped right with what you thought was amazing knowledge and foresight, peoples pictures sometimes don’t match their personality.
  6. Use the block option liberally. If they’re creepy and persistent you just block that sucker. Do it.
  7. If his profile makes you laugh, just say yes. I’m fully convinced that finding someone who makes you laugh matters a thousand times more then a good looking picture. When you’re both 105 and in the nursing home with wrinkles upon wrinkles and no teeth, you’ll still be able to make each other laugh as long as you don’t choke on your prune juice.

So best of luck friends. Have fun swiping!

Work, Calling and Faith

Via Pinterest.

Via Pinterest.

Over a month ago a friend asked me how I share my faith in the workplace. That was the gist of her email anyway, and I looked at it for a while, somewhat dumbfounded, and finally said, “Who the heck knows!”

Out loud, at work.

I didn’t respond to her email, but I’m counting this as my response. So, fair warning to all of you, if you send me a message, be careful! It could be used as blog fodder.

My spiritual journey weaves in and out of periods of legalism. I was in spaces that felt incredibly inauthentic. I tried to force myself to fit in and confronted the pain of realizing it wasn’t going to happen. My spiritual journey has led me to a place full of deep questions, many without answers, meaningful relationships, and lots, and lots of vulnerability. I’ve learned that God loves me in spite of what I believe.

Long story short, life is grey, faith is grey. It’s just about Jesus.

So now work, and how to share your faith.

Just don’t pull out a track and you’ll probably be fine.

Just kidding.

But actually, don’t do that.

The best way to share your faith at work is to do the work that God has called you to do and do it well.

Yup.

That’s it.

You could spout the gospel message all day long at your job, but if you do crappy work no one is going to give a rats ass about what you have to say. They’re just going to get annoyed because you suck at your job.

The best book on work that I know of is “Every Good Endeavor” by Timothy Keller. In it, he creates a beautiful picture of God’s purpose for work. At a high level, work is about calling. It’s about doing the job that God created and planned for you to do. It’s about leaning into your talents, strengths and gifts and not wasting them. It’s about making sacred the secular and offering up your 9-to-5, or sometimes 6-to-6 plus weekends to God.

I’m not saying you won’t have the chance to share the Gospel, because you probably will. But the Gospel is best delivered in the midst of a trusting relationship where the person who is bringing the Gospel message has done more than their fair share of listening well. That can take months if not years, especially in Minnesota where stoic Sweds litter the frozen tundra.

Calling isn’t easy.

Not at all.

It’s terrifying. Stepping into who God truly created you to be means giving up complete control.

My friend Lee just started working for this company called “Branded by J. Otto.” As a future (hopefully) entrepreneur, I’m obsessed with people who start their own businesses. Branded by J. Otto’s CEO and founder, Jessie, felt called to start a business that allowed people to show up at decisive moments in their friends lives. She wanted to create something that was an alternative to sending flowers or an edible arrangement. What she came up with was at its essence, a clothing company that has a greater purpose.

Hop on Branded by J. Otto's our website www.brandedbyjotto.com and shop by theme. The themes are printed on the outside of the garment and represent life events we all have in common. Scripture has been carefully matched with the appropriate theme and is printed on the inside of the garment.

Hop on Branded by J. Otto’s our website http://www.brandedbyjotto.com and shop by theme. The themes are printed on the outside of the garment and represent life events we all have in common. Scripture has been carefully matched with the appropriate theme and is printed on the inside of the garment.

Branded by J. Otto is just at the beginning of its journey, but I’m assuming that we’re finding Jessie somewhere in the middle of God’s plan for her.

Would you help me support Branded by J. Otto and its new employees live out their calling? I’m donating and would love if you would join with me in partnering with them.

Check out their Kickstarter page here.

For more on the Story of Branded by J. Otto watch the video below.

Raise Your Hand If You Were Single Over Christmas!

Google recently reported that the most common search between Thanksgiving and Christmas behind “how much should I spend on an engagement ring,” is “why am I still single.”

Just kidding, that’s not a thing, but my Google search statistics are up which means people had to explain to that one extended family member for the 6th Christmas in a row why a great person like them is still single, just as you overhear one of your cousins, whose 4 years younger than you, announce that she’s pregnant for the 2nd time!

How exciting.

What joy.

What bliss.

Merry fricken Christmas.

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

Next thing you know, you’re waste deep in eggnog singing a version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” that sounds so pitiful it’s making angels weep and terrifying all of your cousins under age 8.

This is all hypothetical of course.

Humor me if you will, I am about to defend your overly zealous family member who is inordinately concerned with your relationships status.

Why?

Because I will be that person. Heck, I am that person.

What can I say? I love love.

Your relatives and I just want you to be happy.

What your relatives might not tell you, but what I will remind you of, is that your relationship status doesn’t determine your value.

My favorite book is “You are Special” by Max Lucado. It’s a children’s book so don’t judge.

I’m barely literate people, let’s be real.

Anyway, it’s about these little wooden people called Wemmicks who spend their days sticking stars and dots on one another.

Why they can’t find more economically productive things to do is beyond me.

I digress.

Basically these little Wemmicks slap stars on other Wemmicks that they think are awesome and slap dots on the suckers they think are losers. Punchinello, our main character, is a Wemmick with a lot of dots. He’s not very good at being a wooden person. His paint is chipped, he stutters, he’s kind of clumsy and he probably doesn’t have a little wooden girlfriend.

Without ruining the whole story, one day he figures out that the only person’s opinion who matters is the opinion of the carpenter who made him, and he thinks Punchinello is pretty special.

Then, some of the dots stop sticking.

Intentionally or unintentionally people can make us feel like our worth and value depends on our relationship status. When that happens, we’re giving them power to give us dots (or even stars).

People don’t have that power, only God does. Only God’s opinion matters and he thinks you’re pretty special.

Think about that for a second.

You, right now, this second, are special.

You could be in a vegetative coma for the rest of your life and God would still think that you have an incalculable amount of worth and value.

Welcome back to all of the overachievers and perfectionists who just passed out.

You are special.

Without even trying.

Just because God made you.

If you want to read more about your worth and value as a single person, check out Shauna Niequist post called “You Are Significant With or Without A Significant Other.

It’s the bomb.com and I want her to be my best friend.

Shauna, if you read this, send me an email in my contact me section and we can get this friendship started.

I also promise I haven’t stalked you …

Sort of.

On Being Tall.

The other day I was rocking my favorite pair of booties . . .

Let’s just take a pause and ask God to bless the human being that invented the bootie.

You could literally be wearing a muumuu with a cat embroidered on the front, throw on a pair of booties and then suddenly it’s like you walked right out of New York Fashion week and someone’s pulling you aside asking you if your outfit is from the newest designer whose name you can’t pronounce.

Genius.

Anyway, my booties make me 6’2”.

That’s real.

I’m not kidding.

My new favorite person, who is also super tall, asked me how I do it.

Confused, I said I put my shoes on my feet and then I walk around.

Realizing that I’m an idiot, she clarified her question and asked, “How do you wear high heels since you’re already so tall?”

The answer?

I don’t always.

I remember being incredibly self-conscious about how tall I was in high school. Then, one day, by the grace of God, I had an encounter with a woman who, I am not kidding you, looked identical to Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada. I was wearing a beautiful dress, but I had paired it with ballet flats and she asked why I wasn’t wearing heals instead.

I told her that since I was tall, the laws of nature dictate that I shouldn’t.

She told me that was stupid.

The next day I went out and bought my first pair of stilettos.

It was glorious.

And I’ve never turned back.

Kind of . . .

Sometimes, I hate being tall.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about a guy that I liked. As per usual girl conversation, we were over-analyzing the crap out of that whole deal until she finally said. “Do you think he goes for cute and little?”

Crap.

Yes. Of course he does.

Sometimes there are perks to looking like an Amazonian woman. Other times, there aren’t. Like if a guy has a legitimate concern that if your date doesn’t go well you might rip out both of his arms.

That’s fair. I get that. I understand how you might be emotionally attached to your limbs. Makes a ton of sense.

In fact, I frequently say I’m not interested in certain people because I could “break their arms in half with my pinkie.”

This suddenly got so violent and I don’t know why . . .

It’s probably because I was just researching “Amazonian Women” on Wikipedia.

Anyway, I was bummed. Because I got to thinking, maybe if I were just a little shorter, I wouldn’t be writing this blog anymore.

Luckily I had a come-to-Jesus-moment.

Guess what verse I read?

The fricken fearfully and wonderfully made one.

Obviously.

(Psalm 139 in case you’re wondering)

I had to listen to Jesus tell me that he made me this way, and he doesn’t make mistakes. I had to hear him say that he knit me together in my mother’s womb and decided to make me the height of the average American male instead of the height of the average American female.

I had to hear him say that looks don’t matter. I had to hear him ask me, “Why do you care so much?” And then I had to think about why do I care so much? No matter what I look like, I have unlimited worth and value, because of who created me.

Huh . . .

There isn’t anything I can do about being tall, except for having my legs amputated, which sounds painful, so I’m going to maybe not do that.

Instead, I’m going attempt to embrace who I am, and who God created me to be.

And I’m wearing my booties to church.

What I wore to church.  LOOK AT THE BOOTIES!!!!!!!!!!!

What I wore to church. LOOK AT THE BOOTIES!!!!!!!!!!!

What’s your thing? What physical thing do you get hung up on about yourself? I want to know! How do you remind yourself of your value and worth?

No More Coffee First Dates.

Coffee and Owls

Via Pinterest

I’m as obsessive about coffee as the next person.

But I think we all need to calm down.

After freaking myself out via different articles on the Internet preaching about coffee’s disastrous health effects, I gave it up for two months, somewhere between April and May, so I apologize if you received an incoherent email, text, phone call, telegram or smoke signal during that time.

No, none of that seems odd. I’m off caffeine and I swear I either had a dream or this actually happened where I was in the middle of a field sending my friends smoke signals.

Don’t judge.

Anyway, during my time away from coffee (because let’s be real, I’m 100% back on the juice) I really felt a lot of pain for my other single Christian friends who don’t drink coffee. If you’re taking them on a first date to Starbucks what are they going to order? One of those smoothies that tastes like a petrified liver? No, don’t make them do that, that’s mean. Or me. If it’s a date, I’d really like to order a glass of wine. But actually, you can apparently do that at Starbucks now… so … yeah …

So, the coffee first date needs to go, and here’s why:

  1. You don’t need to be more jacked up when you’re meeting someone for the first time. On first dates you need to be mellow, relaxed. You need to be yourself. What you don’t need is for your whole body to be shaking because you got so nervous that you drank your grande sugary venti blah blah Americano drink like a shot at your girlfriend’s bachelorette party.
  2. Coffee dates are so much pressure! You’re going on a coffee date to try and generate conversation with someone you’ve never met for at minimum an hour. WHAT? Really? That seems exhausting. Whatever happened to, say, mini golf? You can have polite conversation for a set 18 holes, and if something clicks, someone can extend the date. If things aren’t working? No worries, you’re done, you’re out and you’re conversation didn’t have to go down that wandering path of doom towards “the future”. Get outta here serious conversations – this first date doesn’t need you.
  3. Fight against Christian Cliché’s. I’ve started an organization called “Christians Against Christian Cliché’s” and by started, I mean I just made it up. But you know what would be at the top of my list? COFFEE DATES. I’m turning over the tables at the proverbial coffee temple. We already spend so much of our lives there: small groups, meeting with a mentor, being someone’s mentor, quite times, etc. It’s time to get out and enjoy other parts of God’s creation. Like the outdoors.
  4. Coffee is nature’s diuretic. And what is the one thing you NEVER, absolutely EVER want to do on a first date? I can’t say it because I’m a lady, but it’s starts with a “P” and then ends with an “oop”. So why are you taking me on a date where the lie that I’ve created in which everything that comes out of my backside is sunshine and rainbows has to be destroyed like the tower of babel? Don’t do that. Just don’t.

So hopefully I’ve ended that tradition.

Have fun mini golfing.

The Man. The Myth. The Legend.

Today is Father’s Day, and my Dad is quite possibly the most difficult man to shop for.  When I see those commercials for Lowes or the Home Depot saying something to the effect of, “every Dad wants a drill for Father’s Day!” The thought that runs through my mind is, “If I got my Dad a drill, he’d probably come out minus an appendage and we’d get to spend some quality time together in the ER.”

Needless to say, he’s not really a handyman.

But I think he’s awesome.

I was home from college one weekend, probably around my senior year. I woke up that Saturday morning and went down to our den to hang out with my parents who had been having their respective quite times.  My Mom left to make my Dad’s favorite breakfast, “The Lu Plate Special,” (it’s cute because he calls my Mom Lu … you can all go “awe!” now) and we were just chatting.  He brought up boys, because at this point my lack of a relationship was less of a blessing and more of a concern.  He said very seriously, “Claire, you can’t look for someone who’s like me.  I’ve had 30 years to get like this.”

Honestly, I laughed, rolled my eyes and said, “ok Dad.”

I just thought he was being weird.

Because sometimes, Dad’s are weird.

But, to be totally honest, my Dad is the reason why I’m so picky.

Why?

  1. He loves Jesus more then anyone I know.  I don’t see him cry a lot, but when I do, it’s often when he’s talking about his relationship with God.  He cries when he talks about what God has done in his life, what he has done for our family, or the way that he sees God working in my life and my siblings lives.
  2. He’s an incredibly hard worker.  He’s put his heart and soul into building a world-class business.  He views his job as a calling from God.  He’s an incredible example of using your work as a way to worship.
  3. He’s brave.  Yeah, he went bungee jumping when we were in Africa, but his bravery extends beyond stupid physical feats (I was opposed to him bungee jumping, just as an FYI).  I’ve grown up watching him surrender control of his life to God.  I’ve watched him take risks that the world thinks are irrational, but he’s taken them anyway because he knows that God’s plans are better then the plans of man.
  4. He loves my Mom.  When I was younger, he said to my brother, sister and me that our Mom was his number one priority.  Honestly, then I was a little offended.  After all, I’m “Princess CC,” so I should be number one, right?  But now, looking back and seeing how much stability that created in our household, I’m so grateful that I have that example to look to.

So, yeah, I’m picky.  But really, I just want to be able to bring home a guy that will be able to firmly shake my father’s hand, look him in the eye and say “Nice to Meet you Mr. Wyatt,” without wetting himself.

So cheers to the Man that I most admire, and happy Father’s Day.

The Man. The Myth. The Legend.

The Man. The Myth. The Legend.