Ya'll didn't know before, but you'll know now -- aside from playing pickup basketball and binge viewing wholesome, family-oriented TV series (such as Breaking Bad and Deadwood) on Netflix, and occasionally working in desultory fashion, I also offer matchmaking services for American religious historians (the occasional free beer or blog post is my charge). To wit: some years ago Hilde Løvdal, a graduate student from Norway, wrote and told me she'd be traveling through Colorado Springs and researching Focus on the Family; we met up and had a pleasant conversation over coffee and kept in touch; she even wrote about her experiences for the blog (and another one later about the Oslo Soul Children and the Cowboy Twins, at which point i christened her "Senior Norwegian Correspondent" for the blog). Some time after that, I was rooming at the AAR with my longtime friend and co-blogmeister Randall Stephens, and at said AAR ran into Hilde.
The light bulb turned on, cartoon character style, and I returned to the room to tell Randall, who was soon to be on his way to Norway for his Fulbright, that he really ought to meet this very funny, intelligent, engaging person from the University of Oslo. Said meeting took place. From there I heard nothing until many months later, when in an email conversation about work matters, Randall wrote in response to a query about whether he had seen Hilde, "she is AWESOME." I figured that was a good sign.
So: a big Thanksgiving week congratulations to Randall and Hilde, now engaged, and between them sure to possess more humorous anecdotes and inexplicably acquired bizarre tidbits of information about religious kitsch, life in Branson, Missouri, family values coalitions mass emails, Creationist museums, offbeat artistic design, alt-country-punk bands, midwestern Nazarene culture, and Norwegian evangelicalism than any couple on the planet. And I couldn't be more pleased for two of my favorite people on the planet! Congratulations, Randall and Hilde.