Decade Retrospective: Things That Happened, Good and Bad

We’ve reached the tail end of 2019, which also marks the close of a decade. That means instead of getting a year-in-review retrospective, you’re getting a decade in review, minus the boring bits.

All things considered, the past ten years have been a mixed bag. Witness the following accomplishments and events from the last decade, both good and bad.

Between 2010 and 2019

  • launched a writing career, publishing six books, four plays, and four sacred scripts, all while amassing an avalanche of rejections
  • started running, progressing from that first exciting 2-miler to 5k to 8k to 10k to half marathon to Ragnar Relay to this year’s full marathon (completed only after a short stint lying on my back crying at the top of a bridge)
  • lost several toenails (see above)
  • reunited with my best friend from middle school
  • sneezed my gum out of my mouth
  • survived multiple Atlantic hurricanes
  • broke a tooth
  • tried internet dating (I almost said “tried and failed” but if you’ve ever internet dated, you know surviving the experience is a win)
  • snake fell on my head
  • visited the American Southwest
  • called 911 while on a run because I thought someone was being assaulted but it was just two little kids play/scream-fighting in a hot tub
  • bee flew into my mouth
  • slowed down significantly on overseas travel, but sneaked in some visits to old haunts and new favorites: Israel, England, Scotland, France, New Zealand, Haiti, Korea
  • broke my ankle falling off a bucket (and leveraged the experience for the plot of my debut novel)
  • started wearing reading glasses
  • first international showing for one of my plays (Enter Macbeth, Dubai)
  • made the switch to half-caff coffee
  • dropped my entire dinner-on-the-grounds contribution in the church parking lot one Sunday before even getting out of the car
  • earned a master’s degree in theological studies
  • lost friends and connections to old age and sudden death
  • attended funerals
  • wrote and performed original music with a friend from church
  • woke up with half a spider stuck to my neck and the other half under the fingernails of my right hand
  • said “Okay, I love you, BYE!” at the end of a Skype lecture to a high school class
  • frog jumped on my head
  • audiobook I’d loaded on my phone started playing at full volume in the middle of church (not a sacred text)
  • intermittently treated for chronic pain, neuropathy, and inflammation
  • surprise medical tests, contemplated my own mortality
  • read nearly 2,000 books (official count started in 2011 – 1,712 as of today)
  • developed a long list of historical boyfriends (see above)
  • touched an alligator
  • stopped working with the church youth group and started teaching adult women
  • opened an umbrella in the car directly into my own face (twice)
  • finally joined Spotify (please welcome me to the twenty-first century)

2019 finds me in a place that 2010 Ruth would never have imagined. To be honest, I have mixed feelings. I’m thankful for the successes but am ever mindful of the disappointments, struggles, and pain. Life is a beautiful, ridiculous, and messy mystery.

God’s grace keeps me steady.


What’s your decade been like? What items would you include on your list?

Comment below or shoot me a message on social media. I’d love to hear points of comparison and departure in our experiences.


Coming Soon

2020: A Year of Books

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Each month during the next year, I’ll be sending a recommended set of titles for you to check out. No forced discussions, no homework, or anything like that. Just fresh reading recommendations casually delivered to your inbox on the first day of every month: fiction, non-fiction, classics and new releases, accessible Christian theology, well-known authors and debut writers, you name it.

Join us for 2020: A Year of Books!


I’ll be back next week to post my 2019 reading retrospective.

Until then, I hope you savor the last few days of 2019 and enjoy a wonderful holiday week with your family, friends, and loved ones.

Merry Christmas from me to you!

Ruth’s Extremely Helpful Do-It-Yourself Online Dating Profile Sample Questionnaire


Note: This post was originally published in 2015 on my former blogging site. It’s been refreshed and relocated for your convenience. Enjoy!

Recently someone asked a friend of mine if she’d ever considered internet dating and seemed shocked when she said she wasn’t interested.

I wasn’t shocked. I get it. Internet dating’s a lot of work.

Consider the process. When singles first join an online dating service, they’re immediately tasked with filling out long, tedious, one-size-fits-all surveys. Frankly, it feels a lot like homework.

Homework isn’t pointless, of course; and while the online-dating system does work occasionally, that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.

Perhaps one way to refine the system would be to spice it up by offering our own questions.

I’ve provided a sample set below.

Ruth’s

Extremely Helpful

Do-It-Yourself

Online Dating Profile

Sample Questionnaire

Your Name:

Childhood Nickname(s):

Your Age (select one): 

[ ] Old Enough
[ ] Older
[ ] Oldest
[ ] Benjamin Button

Your Body Type (select one): 

[ ] Hourglass
[ ] Anchovy
[ ] Chopstick
[ ] Texas
[ ] Yam

Your Personality Type (select one): 

[ ] Chocolate
[ ] Vanilla
[ ] Salsa
[ ] Triple Venti Vanilla Bean Soy Latte with No Foam
[ ] Turnip

You in a Crisis (select one):

[ ] Okoye
[ ] 007
[ ] River Tam
[ ] Mr. Bean

Languages (select all that apply):

[ ] Pop Culture
[ ] Logic
[ ] Irony
[ ] Math
[ ] Puns
[ ] Philosophy
[ ] Theology
[ ] Computers
[ ] Scifi
[ ] History
[ ] Fashion
[ ] Alternate History
[ ] Music
[ ] ¡Emotions!
[ ] Sportsball
[ ] Real Talk
[ ] Books
[ ] Drivel

Complete the Sentence: “I love long walks on  ____________.”

[ ] the beach
[ ] the moon
[ ] tightropes
[ ] the Dark Side

Your Sense of Humor:

[ ] Michael Scott
[ ] Lucy Ricardo
[ ] April Ludgate
[ ] Severus Snape

How would you describe your emotional resting state?

[ ] Solid
[ ] Liquid
[ ] Gas
[ ] Plasma
[ ] Dark Matter

You without coffee:

[ ] Lethargy
[ ] Stupor
[ ] Delirium
[ ] Angst
[ ] Selective Mutism
[ ] Vegetative State
[ ] N/A (don’t drink coffee)*
*Please abandon survey.

Select One:

[ ] Salty
[ ] Sweet

Select One:

[ ] Breakfast foods
[ ] Other foods

Select One:

[ ] Malcolm X
[ ] Malcolm Gladwell
[ ] Malcolm, Prince of Cumberland
[ ] Malcolm in the Middle

Select One:

[ ] Early Bird
[ ] Night Owl
[ ] Screech Owl
[ ] Ostrich

Select One:

[ ] Reading
[ ] Writing
[ ] Arithmetic
[ ] Swashbuckling

Name Your Ideal Man: 
Name Your Ideal Woman: 

Reasons you are late for things (select all that apply):

[ ] No real sense of time and space
[ ] You never write anything down
[ ] Wardrobe issues
[ ] Getting distracted
[ ] Getting lost
[ ] Netflix
[ ] Naps
[ ] Caught up at work
[ ] Trapped in a time loop
[ ] Stopping to help turtles cross the street
[ ] Different cultural understanding of time
[ ] Exempt (you are never late)

Complete the sentence: “There is no _________”

[ ] fear in love
[ ] business like show business
[ ] Frigate like a Book / To take Us Lands away
[ ] crying in baseball
[ ] try
[ ] spoon

Select a theatre:

[ ] Movie
[ ] Military
[ ] Surgical
[ ] Puppet

Music:

[ ] Playlist
[ ] Shuffle
[ ] Same song on repeat

Ideal room temperature (F):

[ ] 60-65
[ ] 65-70
[ ] 70-75
[ ] 75-80

The number of pillows necessary for sleep:

[ ] 1
[ ] 2-3
[ ] 5-7
[ ] 8-12
[ ] ALL THE PILLOWS

Documentaries:

[ ] Always
[ ] Sometimes
[ ] Never

Talking during plays/movies:

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

Eating in the car:

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

Sharing fries:

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

Stopping to ask for directions:

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

Disobeying the GPS in lieu of common sense:

[ ] Always
[ ] Sometimes
[ ] Never

Surprises: 

[ ] Always
[ ] Sometimes
[ ] Never

Best Holiday:

[ ] Thanksgiving
[ ] Easter
[ ] Christmas
[ ] New Year’s
[ ] Pi Day
[ ] National Battery Day
[ ] What If Our Pets Had Opposable Thumbs Day
[ ] The Festival of Sleep

Reading:

[ ] Yes

Travel:

[ ] Yes

Religion:

[ ] Jesus


So there you have it! My very own do-it-yourself online dating profile sample questionnaire.

What do you think about the concept? What questions would you include if you wrote your own? Let us know in the comments below! (You don’t have to be single to chime in: some of us could use some pointers on what to add to our own surveys.)

In other news, as of this posting, the e-book for Collapsible: A Novel of Friendship, Broken Bones, Coffee, Shenanigans, and the Occasional Murder is temporarily on sale for $1.99. Snap it up! Also, if you’ve already read and enjoyed any (or all) installments in the trilogy, could I prevail on you to leave a sentence or two of an honest review? Reviews boost visibility for new authors and help us build trust with wider audiences.

Plus, I’ll love you forever. So there’s that.

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope your day is fabulous. May your coffee be hot, your A/C cool, and your online dating profile anything but boring.