Christian Jacobs, a fire inspector with the 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron, demonstrates techniques for extinguishing a grease fire during Fire Prevention Week at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. Oct. 11, 2013. The week-long national campaign was designed around kitchen fire safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Areca T. Wilson/Released)

Grease Fires and Book Updates


Yesterday was a typical day: I started a grease fire and was standing on a swivel chair, moving in a slow motion twirl and waving my Snuggy at the smoke detector when Drew came home.

Hi, hello, how was your day, could you be a doll and toss some baking soda in the toaster oven for me? Thaaaanks.

Later, over our delicious dinner of Cracklin’ Oat Bran, Drew told me that no one at his office knew about gleeking. We marveled at this. Completely mind-boggled.

Everyone knows about gleeking, right?

That mysterious saliva geyser that shoots out from under your tongue on occasion? That typically happens on a date, or when you’re meeting a foreign dignitary of some sort? Whoops, let me wipe that off real quick. Gleeking is a thing. GLEEKING. Come on.

There are certain things that I just assume are common knowledge.

Like Gleeking.

Like Cat’s Cradle.

Like Dumb and Dumber quotes.

Like the fact that baking soda puts out (small) grease fires.

Like the existence and progress of a Werewolf Jesus book.

I think in some part of my brain, I just assume you’ve all been with me forever, ever since I was a little college student and this was all just a dream, “my adventure” (that’s me, awkward and oily, right around 1:10). But some of you are new and some of you are probably (rightly) wondering what has happened in the nearly 5 years since my shine-tastic debut.

Honestly, I ask myself the same question sometimes. How has it been five years? How is this taking so long? 

I think it was Abe Lincoln who said “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” I think my personal version would read,

I walk slowly, sometimes in circles…and sometimes I stop to lay down on my face…but I never walk backward.

I have been on this writing journey for a long time now. I thought I was finished and chatted with an agent and had some dark times and did the corporate thing for a while. But as you know, this year was a year of returning for me – and part of that was coming back to my dream. To ‘my adventurous life.’ I quit my job and dusted off my manuscript and have been working hard for about 8 months now.

And it is such exhausting, exhilarating work. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity.

There’s days when I feel like a stereotype from a romantic comedy: tossing crumpled drafts at an overflowing wastebin, typing furiously until 4 am when inspiration hits, laying around in my greasy hair and pajamas when it doesn’t. I’m becoming more and more okay with this new version of myself. It’s hard to believe that a year ago I wore pencil skirts and owned a bus pass.

So here’s the skinny, as best as I can summarize:

I am finishing the book! It is so much better than before, so please disregard any old chapters you may find in the archives! My 2009 draft had about 53,000 words and I chopped it down to 20,000 because I want it to be perfect! I’ve worked my way back to 34,000 and have outlined to finish at around 60,000! I am hoping to finish by the time summer hits! At that time, I’ll call in all of those uncle’s-friend’s-neighbor publishing contacts you have offered over the years!

I know we joke around a lot here, but I want to seriously say 2 things:

1. I’m grateful for you readers, who provide a springboard and testing ground for many ideas. You keep me encouraged and laughing.

2. Part of the reason this is taking so long is because I believe that Christian art is art that is excellent. The content of my book is overtly Christian, but I want the form to be so in its excellence. So I obsess over wordsmithing and I write and rewrite sentences. I pore over my thesaurus and I keep lists of my favorite verbs. This blog may be my drawing board, but I want this book – in content and in form – to serve you all well. I want it to – as Leonard Bernstein and Madeleine L’Engle say – point toward cosmos, instead of contributing to chaos.

I believe the best worship is wonder and I want this book to be wonderful.


So now you all know about my book, all about gleeking and all about grease fires. If you need me to fill you in on Cat’s Cradle or Harry & Lloyd, you just let me know and I will put together some sort of Public Service Annoucement.


In the meantime, make sure you FOLLOW me on Facebook or SUBSCRIBE via email, so you don’t miss any of my extremely important and helpful tips.



  1. Laura Y

    Yes yes yes!! I have a friend who can gleek on command. I wouldn’t have believed it was possible if I hadn’t seen it demonstrated many a night while camping and sitting around a bonfire myself! It only happens to me at extremely unexpected times or while eating Starbursts. You can’t triple stamp a double stamp!!

  2. Brandon French

    Proud of you! Keep it up, looking forward to the finished product.

    And I only gleek during business meetings or when introducing myself to a stranger for the first time. Without fail

  3. Liz

    You are such an inspiration! Love it and you. Speaking of your book, I owe you an email. #worstpenpalever. I’m so sorry.

    I never walk backwards, but snails and sloths often beat me.

  4. Lindsay Knuckles


  5. Suzanne Ludwig

    Funny! I just say that I am sorry when I spit ever so graciously on whom ever I am talking to, now I can say “sorry for the gleek!”. Love you Mariko!

  6. Mem O'Hara

    What a blessing to have a Grand”child” who can teach and inspire me. Your insights make me look at life differently.and keep me on the wider, opener Christian path. You probably never know when your words fill the hole that I have at that time…not only with your great wisdom but with the gift of Christianity that you share. You remind me to “Let Go And Let God” and I cherish our connection. I love you for so many reasons and your blog is a biggy. Keep it up… there are so many of “me” out there who love and learn from it.

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