Thursday, May 21, 2015

Glenbrook Glitter GIFs!!!

I went to Appleseed Comic Con in Fort Wayne, IN this past weekend and got these amazing glitter doodles from Ginger Dee of chrisandgin.com. She was only charging $5 so Angie and I went a little cray-cray and requested a glitter doodle of every inside joke we could think of related to our blog. We got everything except the cocaine filled tamale Angie demanded, because Gin and I deemed a cocaine filled tamale kind of impossible to draw. Angie was enraged, but channeled her anger into her own artwork, as seen below. Anyway, enough words, bask in the glory that is GLITTER GIFS!

Natural Disaster: Branded

Dove bars are actually really good, so Jessica can stay

Foreshadowing the wicker-fest that is Sunsets

Angie drew her own cocaine filled tamale.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

WHISPERS: Lady Boners Are Not Messages From God

Synopsis:
What even happens in this book?
Never Google image
"Sexy Whales"
Whispers embodies what I love most about the Glenbrook series, in that post-Secrets, every book focuses on a former B-plot. The name of this B-plot is Teri, the overly preachy, pastor’s daughter you hopefully remember as Jessica's friend from Secrets. In her own story, Teri has flown to Hawaii for a 5 week summer vacation to visit her older sister but also to rekindle the “fireworks” she felt last summer with Whale Scientist Mark. Sadly, as soon as she arrives, she realizes the fireworks are dead, and the only sparks Mark feels are for his whales. Teri calls a spade a spade, and tells Mark she deserves her own whale love. After kicking Mark to the curb, she spends the rest of the trip being courted by two dudes; Scott, the cool jock from her high school who is basically one notch above drifter, and Gordon, a jolly, Australian seminary student and pizza delivery guy, who is possibly suffering from a decade-old TBI. 
Scott's best quality:
Has friend with a boat
Teri OBVIOUSLY chooses sexy Scott and tries to attribute the fireworks in her pants as a sign of God’s will for their relationship. This, unsurprisingly, doesn't work, because sometimes a lady boner is just a lady boner. Teri eventually realizes that she and Scott are not on the same page regarding how important their relationship with God is to their lives. Unfortunately, this happens in a super awkward scene where Teri realizes Scott wants them to move in together before marriage and reacts loudly in a crowded restaurant...while Gordon is their waiter. Also, Mark and his whale girlfriend are there and see the whole thing D: Props to Teri though, as soon as she realizes a relationship won’t be able to give her what she needs, she is gone with a hair flip. Scott’s all like, “Teri, I’m super hot and I want you back” and she’s like, “I’m hot, too. Bye.” 
Like Nicki needs a caption.
After Scott, Teri realizes that God can speak in Whispers and not through pants-sparks-libido-fests and she decides that maybe God wants her to be with the guy who she enjoys spending time with...Gordon. It’s actually pretty darn sweet, and I was genuinely touched when they got to together at the end. Gordon was a really nice guy and Teri just deserves to be happy, okay?! I may have teared up when they reunited at the end. (Angie: I couldn’t stop mentally AWWWWWWing for the last ten pages or so). We were never supposed to feel anything; this blog has gotten out of hand.

Wait…wha???:
There is a lot of questionable behavior in Glenbrook. This is where we judge it all.

1.  Teri and Scott are Both Stage 37 Clingers: After non-exclusively dating Scott for less than five weeks, Teri assumes they are going to get married. Scott, understandably, thinks she crazy, but not before clarifying that he was only wanting her to move in with him, as if this too is somehow not insanely fast. Scott and Teri need an intervention about appropriate pacing of relationships. Also, on a semi-related note, how is the same lady who strong-armed her co-worker into Christianity, okay with a semi-Christian boyfriend?

2.  How Great Thou Art: Teri sings a joyous rendition of How Great Thou Art while hiking alone in Hawaii. This is ridiculous because everyone knows the only time to sing How Great Thou Art is when you’re crying on the bathroom floor of a Honky Tonk:

3. Teri’s Singlehood: Teri is a 26-year-old, unmarried woman, which is nigh on ancient in Evangelical culture. It’s astonishing that it took until she was 26 for her family to start blaming her for being single. In real life, she would have been given a subscription to eHarmony.com every Christmas after her 16th birthday.

Precious Moments: 
Our favorite quotes...
“He looked like a three-year-old in the middle of a tickle war.” [Elise: This is describing an object of sexual attraction...?]
“Suddenly, she realized she wanted pizza, and she wanted it now.” [Elise: evidence why Teri is the best]
“I saw you and Scott in the car just now and it concerned me.” [Angie: I, too, get concerned when I see two single people who are in their late 20’s kissing each other.]
“You’re not my mother, and you’re not the Holy Spirit.”

 Conspiracy Theories:
We tell you what's really going down in Glenbrook.

Elise: Jessica and Teri are actually frenemies. 
Totally genuine BFFs
“ Jessica noticed then that Teri’s thighs were large and not at all in proportion with the rest of her figure. She had hidden her thighs well over the last few days, but today the white slacks did nothing to camouflage them.” -Secrets

“‘Teri tells me you want to go to Mexico with us this weekend.’ Kyle said. Jessica was speechless” - Secrets

“Jessica noticed that Teri didn’t wear a drop of makeup, yet her skin was stunning” - Secrets

Teri: “I really care about you Jess, I don’t want you to go to hell” - Secrets

Teri thinking about Jessica: “She wasn’t a beautiful woman, but she was lovely, with a simple, gentle appearance.” -Whispers

Jessica responding to Teri’s question about “fireworks” in her relationship with Kyle: “Oh there are fireworks...That part of my marriage is between Kyle and me.” -Whispers

Teri, thinking about Jessica: “She wasn't much of a cook, having grown up with servants and chefs.” - Whispers

Angie:  Scott is an aspiring drug trafficker.
So Scott and Dan (Teri’s brother-in-law) have this idea to corporatize Teri’s tamales, a family specialty Teri makes on holidays or for her extra special love interest. At first, it seems as though Scott just has an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoys Mexican cuisine. But there are signs that something far more sinister is afoot. First, we have the Moonfish, Scott’s roommate’s boat which he commandeers all the time to woo Teri with the open ocean and raspberry wine coolers (which she indignantly refuses to drink). We find out later that the boat was, in fact, stolen. Next, Scott mentions he has spent extensive time in South America on “a dig.” That would make a lot of sense if Scott was an archaeologist, a paleontologist or some other –ologist that digs. He is not. He is a former high school football player-turned-bellhop. His interest in Teri is also a little suspect. By her own admission, Teri isn’t the conventionally attractive/Wonder Bread type that Scott dated in high school. Why is he so intent on moving in with her and investing in her business when it’s clear she’s not going to sleep with him any time soon? IT’S BECAUSE HE’S GOING TO STUFF TERI’S TAMALES WITH COCAINE AND RUN DRUGS ON THE MOONFISH. You know what masks the smell of coke so the drug dogs get confused and crave salsa? Teri’s Tamales. Teri’s Friggin’ Tamales.

Final Judgement:
Is it worth the $0.01 on Amazon?

There is actually so much to like about Whispers! First, the moral of this story was less creepy than Secrets. No one had to fundamentally change their belief system to end up together. Instead, Whispers focuses on how easy it is to obsess about a relationship you may not even enjoy, especially if your living in a culture that thinks being unmarried at 26 is bordering on spinsterdom. Teri and Gordon are also great characters. Teri’s bluntness from the first book seem less obnoxious in Whispers because instead of focusing her directness on converting a car-accident victim, she’s using it to call out lame dudes for being lame. Teri also calls douche-bag Scott on his high school racism which was surprising, but amazing to see in 90s Christian romance fiction. Gordon was joyful and goofy, and managed to be the patient love interest waiting on the sidelines without ever falling into "nice guy of OK Cupid" territory. Overall, I give it 4.5 out of 5 cocaine filled tamales!


COMING SOON: ECHOES! In Whispers, Teri's friend Lauren calls to let Teri know that her fiancee dumped her. Echoes follows Lauren's story...and the exact plot of You've Got Mail.

~Elise


Thursday, May 14, 2015

...hey guyz...(whispers)

Whispers is almost here...

Come closer...


closer...


closer...


closer...


WHISPERS.
...next tuesday... (whispers)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Missionary Position: Evangelical Traumatic Flashback Corner


In which the Romines’ sisters reminisce about going on missions trips to predominantly Catholic nations, triggered by Jessica's Mexican missions trip in Secrets.

Elise: Oh man. The memories.
Angie: Are they memories or hauntings?


Angie’s Story:

Cultural sensitivity tip: don’t brand a natural disaster
In early 2001 an earthquake registering at 7.6 on the Richter scale devastated the small Central American nation of El Salvador and killed over 1,000 people. As a POS high schooler, I was devastated that we wouldn’t be able to get to the beach on our Spring Break missions trip to the capital, San Salvador, because the roads to the ocean had buckled. So, our week-long missions trip transformed from pure evangelism to evangelism + water bottles, Purel, and other necessities wealthy, suburban Christians thought the locals might need in this, their darkest hour. We each had a bright yellow bag with our names embroidered on them along with a logo of an earthquake. That bag remains, to this day, the best part of that trip.

The "lost" city of San Salvador
There are so many WTF moments from that particular missions trip which I will keep in my back pocket for another time. (Teaser: My best story involves a performance of the Friends theme song). But for now, let’s focus on the intent of the missions trip, which was to evangelize or “lead people to Christ,” as the saying goes. According to the ever-accurate Wikipedia, El Salvador is 53% Roman Catholic and 31% Protestant. That’s 84% of the population identifying as Christian as opposed to 73% of Americans. Just let that sink in. We went to tell them about Christ, when the conquistadors made damn sure they knew about Jesus Cristo over 100 years before the United States declared independence.

Pool at our hotel. We did not "rough it."
While we did add a few “Earthquake Relief” activities to the our agenda, the majority of our time was spent going door-to-door in San Salvador inviting people to a movie about Jesus with the help of a translator. My translator had his work cut out for him because for some deep, psychologically-disturbing reason, I could not stop speaking with a thick Southern accent. Maybe Yankee Angie thought Rebel Angie seemed more like the type to proselytize to complete strangers. When we would get back on the bus every night after our Jesus movie viewing to drive back to our super-swank hotel, the youth leaders would tally up how many SalvadoreƱos we had led to Christ. My answer was always zero until one humiliating night. 


 
Y'all ready to get saved?
I was a very competitive person, and this zero souls bullshit was starting to get to me (my heart was obviously in the right place). So I found these two boys who looked like they were in high school like me. With an older white missionary woman translating for me, I led them through the Sinner’s Prayer with a little help from my tiny pamphlet that has the Romans’ Road on it. (For those of you who didn’t grow up in Jesus-Pleasantville, every verse you need to explain salvation to a lost soul can be found in the book of Romans. Thus, you walk some chump through ten crucial verses in Romans, and BAM, enjoy heaven, my brutha.) The whole time we were praying, I heard the boys snickering. So, I peeked (we didn’t have nuns to whack us for doing this in church services, so some of us were a bit bolder about opening our eyes during prayer time). Well, those SOBs were totally staring at my boobs and laughing. I suppose in their position, I’d laugh too, as I was still an up-top lightweight. But at the time, I was pretty pissed. It was clear to everyone (except for the middle-aged missionary) no saving was going down. And yet when we piled back onto the bus later that night, you’d better believe I made sure my two souls were counted. Tally ‘em! Angie’s on the boarrrrrrddddd!!!!

Now I guarantee you there were earnest, well-meaning people on that trip, both from our church and San Salvador. All missions is not like this one trip. In fact, I've been on a different missions trip that was a really positive experience for me and for the people we were serving. But for me, the whole San Salvador experience with the heavy emphesis on evangelism was so incredibly uncomfortable and also seemed like a really weird, borderline insane thing to do to people who were just minding their own business, trying to rebuild after the earthquake, wearing crucifixes around their necks. Thank God they all made it through with the help of my fake Southern twang.


Elise’s Story:

So my missions trip to Mexico was through my evangelical college. (Angie and I went to similar colleges, but hers was stricter than mine. My school let us watch any R movie we wanted, and her school only allowed The Passion of the Christ). I was a junior and already pretty uncomfortable with the idea of “witnessing” mainly because I was very introverted and pathologically polite. I thought it was intrusive to make eye contact, much less to ask people what their personal religious beliefs were. But all my friends were going on a Spring Break missions trip, so I decided to go too, since distributing eyeglasses in rural Mexico sounded better than staying in Indiana for a week. Once we got there, it was pretty clear that no one else in Mexico realized we were there on missions trip. In fact, it seemed as though we were there partially in support of a local politician's campaign. We were taken on tours, photographers followed us around, we stood behind the guy during speeches, and there was a ceremony in which I was given a certificate that my four years of Spanish have yet to decipher. To this day I’m convinced that if I ever become famous, a photograph of me shaking the hand of a rural Mexican dictator will surface a la Jane Fonda.


United in that one guy.


Anyway, at the eyeglass distribution center, Mormon missionaries were our translators. They were basically trying to do the same thing we were (providing a service for the purpose of witnessing). It was absolutely absurd. They were trying to convert us, we were trying to convert them, and we were both double teaming the Catholics. It was a three-car-pile up of Jesus-centric religions. 

While now it’s hilarious, at the time this was a legit crisis of faith for me. The toughest part was that everyone I met were genuinely lovely, thoughtful people. I loved my mission trip buddies, the Mormon dudes, and the local people. I struggled with the fact that these awesome people had put just as much thought into their faith as I had, but had come to a different conclusion. Afterwards, I journaled a lot. I listened to Sufjan Stevens. I thought about how I had a very different understanding of God at the age of 11 than I had at the age of 21 and suspected that I would have different ideas at 31.


Ugggghhhhhh. Never journal, kids.
At what point was I believing the “right thing”? The answer for me was that the chances of anyone being right are really slim. I decided that I was going to try to live my life in the way that I felt embodied what I believed about God, which is that he wanted me to be kind. I would trust that he would be cool about the rest.  Much later, I would learn that my psychotherapy hero, Carl Rogers, had the same thoughts on a mission's trip to China, which was the catalyst of him leaving seminary and becoming a psychologist.

But before I would learn that, I had to stop writing crazy pants, navel-gazing things in my journals and start living my life. I had a beer. I finally met a gay person. I forgot about the ridiculousness of my missions trip until a few years later. I was hanging out with a couple who are Eastern Catholic. They had been sporadically going to a Christian* small group, and the husband told us how he decided to go with the group for a medical service trip to Peru. Upon his arrival he was given this to help with “witnessing”:

 
It’s a Jesus cube. If you solve it, the rapture happens.
At that moment, holding a Jesus cube, he realized the purpose of the trip. He was a secret Catholic in a tiny boat, on a river in Peru (a nations that is  77% Catholic), surrounded by dozens of evangelicals. As he was telling us this story afterwards, all I could say was “I’m so sorry” over and over again. The hysterical laughter made it hard to hear me though.