Friday, June 28, 2013

FMF: In Between

Linking up with Lisa-Jo's amazing Five Minute Friday!

Across Bloggerspace Topic: In Between

I broke the rules and wrote considerably longer than 5 minutes.

So I had decided what I was going to talk about for "In Between," ie. the first and only topic that came to mind.

I was going to share how by either my experience at a friend's wedding recently or by God answering my prayer to "either make me okay with being single right now or give me a husband," I think I might *cross fingers, knock on wood,* be at a place where I'm content. Gasp! I'm sorry, but that word, that word. It's the trophy earned by those spiritual girls out there who are busy teaching violin or taking photographs (no, I'm not singling out you, dear friend, truly!) and don't seem to mind that they are semi-permanently single (like so many other girls our age). Unlike those of us who are not living blissfully purpose-filled lives and go through a sighing/moaning phase every couple weeks or so.

But, I think I MAY have reached a rather pleasant in between phase. Not quite in the "give me a husband lest I die" phase anymore (ok, that was an exaggeration. I hope no guys read this) and not yet at Happily Ever After. And I'm thankful. Because even though "contentment" scares me -- I have this thought that once you give up the desire, you will never have a chance of gaining the said-desire -- it feels good to have a bit of the inner turmoil settle.

So that was longer than 5 minutes and now I want to go on for another 7 minutes talking about another, perhaps more real-to-me in between I'm experiencing.

You've taken the plunge. You've joined an online dating site.

Problem is (or not a problem?), you've always taken relationships very seriously. I mean, you've been looking at this guy for what? over six months before you decide to respond. And then you're like, I'm talking to a guy! I'm talking to a guy! on the inside.

After a couple of these, you decide that there's got to be a less emotional way of going about this.

So you sit back and try to be as casual as you can.

And then, craziness strikes. You decide to be the first to send a guy a message. But, not being a forward girl, you have no intention of it going anywhere, rather, he told a story on his profile, obviously looking for a reaction, and you send him a one-liner with a reaction. Courtesy. I like to know what people think of my profile too. You don't even consider it taking initiative at all. You would do the same thing in real life. Casual, remember?

And then from that little one-liner, he and you begin writing back and forth. But it's all cool. Because it's purely cordial. Making conversation as you would if you met someone at a get together in person.

And that goes on for awhile. Until...

You reach the "in between" phase.

Rather, I have.

See, we've kinda gotten past the plausibility of just making conversation out of curiosity about people in general. I mean, really, that can only be believable for so long when you meet on a dating site. But I really want to think that we're not scoping each other out, interrogating each other. I like to think that I'm not raising hopes and that we can build a friendship.

So I'm in between cordial conversation out of curiosity about people in general and something more. And this in between phase I don't like. Because it's a foggy place.

But, making the best out of an undefined aquaintanceship, I'm trying to just relax and enjoy myself.

P.S. I tried to upload some pics to break up the monotony, but to no avail.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

FMF: Rhythm

Joining up with the Five Minute Friday crowd over at Lisa-Jo's wonderful blog. We're all writing about the same word: Rhythm.

I am lost when I'm not at home in my daily routine.

I don't mean when I'm visiting friends or on vacation. Rather, I'm lost when I'm dog sitting, on my own, at someone else's house, and ESPECIALLY when I have a day off from work.

I just do better when my life has a rhythm.

Funnily enough I can't stand when people put me on a schedule. And I am incapable of keeping to any schedule I put on myself. (rebellion?)

But I do better when I'm in a college setting or when I'm working full time and I have to be busy. I'm not self-motivated, but I do just fine when I have to do stuff.

I will do just as much as I need to do. Goodness, that's a bad character trait.

So come two months I will be a classroom teacher again. All year I've been off and on praying for purpose in my life. Ie. if I have free time, I waste it. That's part of why I want to be a wife and mother. Have you seen homeschool moms? They don't have time to waste. I want to live a life full of purposeful activity. But if I'm given a clean slate, an empty schedule? You don't even want to know.

I'm looking forward to teaching again. For one thing, I love everything that goes into getting ready for the school year. And for another, I know that at least from 8 in the morning til 3:30 in the afternoon I will be busy and productive.

Rhythm. You didn't want to know all this and I didn't take the time to make it sound frilly or philosophical, but that's what Five Minute Fridays are about. Just writing.

By the by, I highly recommend going over to Lisa-Jo's link up and just reading others' blogs. It's inspiring, encouraging, and easy, because everyone only writes for about 5 minutes!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

43: practicing life

Sometimes I surprise myself.

Sometimes I embarrass myself.

Sometimes I disappoint myself.

I don't know about you, but I can think pretty highly of myself. Especially when there's no experience to base my opinions on. I'm not going to do THAT. I know how to handle that SO much better! I've already conquered THAT sin.

And then there's times when I wonder.

I've been keeping Lisa-Jo's post "When Your Temper Scares You--Some Suggestions for Defusing" in my inbox because, in a moment of fearful honesty, I thought I might need to read it.

It's kinda scary to think how my latent temper might flare when I have kids.

Actually, it's really scary. Because I don't know how it will show itself.

Reading her blog post reminds me that everyone is sorta in the same boat. We're all practicing life. We're learning as we go. We all make mistakes, shocking, embarrassing, disappointing mistakes.

And damaging. And crawl-into-a-hole-and-die before I hurt anyone else mistakes. And take-me-now because I am such a sinner mistakes.

But God doesn't take us, and we don't crawl into a hole. We're not allowed to give up on practicing at this very real thing called life.

Lisa-Jo wrote:
I won’t carry the baggage of yesterday’s explosion or last week’s near melt down into tomorrow. I will practice grace on purpose.
I want to pray, Lord, don't let me need grace!

And then I want to cling to the hope that I am not the only one who does or will mess up and that a cloud of witnesses are likewise clinging to Him and His grace.

Now to figure out how to extend that grace to others....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

42: it's not fair

I don't think it's fair for kids to hear their parents fight.

I don't think it's fair that the young women who always dreamed of nothing else but getting married and having a family are the ones who are not doing so and the ones who wanted a career are the ones that are.

I don't think it's fair when a person has a wonderful life and then one event alters it forever.

But . . . life isn't about fairness, is it?

And life isn't about everything being perfect or about me deserving everything to be perfect.

I can say that we live in a messy world and that's just how it is. But when the trite saying hits a little too close to home. Ouch! THAT'S NOT FAIR!

And then I take it out on God and rail against His sovereignty. Like a prisoner shaking the bars, demanding answers.

Ok, step back, Michelle.

Do you believe? Do you trust?

It's not about your little perfect world. It's not about ideal circumstances.

You've been saying He's your Rock no matter what.

And now, when things don't go according to your standard of fairness, will you give up on the idea that God is sovereign? That He is above all this turmoil? That you have to transcend this messiness down here and put your faith in the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God?

Go back to your idealism, Michelle. Not the idealism of perfect fairness, because, really, it just hurts to demand everything be fair. "Fairness" is like a knife; you use it to hurt yourself and you use it to demand answers from the grand silence.

Go back to what you believe. That it's not about you. It's about God. And God is good. And He has proven Himself over and over throughout many generations.

Now go and act on your belief. Remember your beliefs.

Civil War reenactment

Saturday, June 15, 2013

41: letting go

Piles of books on my bed. Books to get rid of. Books to extricate myself from because they are becoming a burden instead of only a delight.

I love books, love to collect books, LOVE to shop for great deals. (25 cents? How can I say "no"!)

The other night at three in the morning God showed me that it's not just the space of three bookshelves in a rather small bedroom that is making me feel claustrophobic but the spiritual weighing down of incoming materialism. For example, could I get rid of all these if God called me to a foreign mission field? No.

So I got out the chopping block, hoping for God's strength to cut off that which I love and value and have emotional connections to.

I remember how my mom bought me that beautifully vellum-covered book, and it ended up not being a very good biography of Amy Carmichael, but I've been trying to give it a second chance for, oh, maybe 10 years.

I've idolized The White House Cookbook for a similar amount of time, guarding its gold leafed pages from abuse while not using it.

I have a lot of pride of pride of possession and noticed that I base most of my collection on someday/one day/what if.

What if one day I finally become a history teacher?

One day I'll be married.

Some day I'll want to read these Agatha Christie's even though right now I'd rather watch the BBC movie versions.

I need these Dickens books because they are a good addition to my library (even if I don't enjoy reading Dickens).

Won't my husband be impressed when he sees I own a book arguing against pacifism?

Via my library, I've built up city walls around me of my supposed wide-variety of interests. As I tore them down, I redefined myself and felt a bit like a blob. I'm not interested enough to read that? Or that? Or that?

But what about these Ravi Zacharias apologetic books? Am I going to get rid of all apologetic books and make myself look like a heathen who doesn't care?

To get rid of good history textbooks on the sheer acknowledgement that I will never be motivated again to read over 300 pages of size 8 font, even though the info is valuable?

I just don't need them right now.

The reality is that I'm not a mother or an apologist or a historian or even a "great reader."

So many good books. And I had to say "no."

God gave me grace. I sold/donated almost two shelves worth yesterday at a sale. And I still have how many shelves full of books? One purge at a time.

Friday, June 14, 2013

40: what a coinkadink!

One of those one in a thousand happenings where you meet a person (ok, a guy) that you've heard tell of (not in a matchmaking sense but in an informative sense) in person and feel like they (he) are looking at you for the next hour
and then you come home and go, wait a minute, I think he was one of the guys that sent me a message on ChristianMingle, so you go on said online dating site but don't recognize him,
and then, tonight, you go back on and click on the handsome guy's profile that sent you a message, look at his other pics, look at his profile info, FB google the guy's name you met in person, and go, OH YES, that was him, same picture, I just didn't recognize him, and he HAD sent me a message on ChristianMingle before we met,
so you wonder if he recognized you from online all that time we were in the same building...but too much time has passed for you to really care or feel too awkward but the coincidence is still rather funny,
and as he's divorced and you have already generally ruled out divorced men because you don't know what to do with Matthew 19 (is that the right chapter?),
it's not one of those girly OOOOOOOOOOHHH moments. :)
Like I said, one in a thousand.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

39: life update

Neglectful, neglectful, neglectful.

So you know how this blog is supposed to center around online dating? Well, it might have to veer off because my life right now is revolving around preparing for the new school year.

Last year at this time I had just finished my first year teaching in a (Christian) school and was eagerly planning improvements for the next year.

I took a 6 week online grad class on classroom management. I went to a homeschool educational swap and bought up loads of children's books. I discovered Pinterest! And I broke down each subject by month and brainstormed field trips and activities.

Enter July 16.

I was told they couldn't afford to hire me back.

I wrote in my journal,
Losing a job is a lot like breaking up with a boyfriend. You know you are where you're supposed to be (God knows), but you are still emotionally at sea, unsure of the future. We went to Costco afterwards. Found the perfect stepladder for my class for $20. Saw how much vacuums cost. Didn't look at the supplementary school books display.
Thousands of minutes spent preparing for next year. . . .
Lord, what now?
All that time spent propelling forward to a point in time, only to have that point in time obliterated and all the propulsion for naught.

my friend and I's idea for a history/science wall garden for next year
$5 bench from a thrift store - isn't it darling?

About a month ago I got another call from the administration asking me to come back!

And I feel I've come full circle.

This year has been GOOD. God provided a terrific tutoring job with a 2nd grade boy who needed help with reading and behavior. I have learned so much that I wouldn't have learned otherwise, about how to be the authority figure and how to teach reading. Just lots of stuff I wouldn't have learned if I had spent the year juggling multiple subjects and multiple students.

God also had to break me of materialism and idolatry last summer. I was obsessing over the coming school year, which is why I didn't know what to do when the rug was pulled out from underneath me. I had learned too to enjoy shopping and was getting a thrill from buying stuff. But until December, when I got a second job, I had to stop being so fancy free because it was cutting into my savings.

Now I'm back trying to figure out how to healthily obsess over school. And also I'm trying to spend more time with God, because I didn't bolster my spiritual life this year like I should have, and I need to be strong in the Lord if I'm going to do a better job this year than two years ago.

God's also confronting me again about materialism and how although I've enjoyed buying bargains, all the stuff is weighing me down.

So basically, all day long I'm thinking about sorting children's books or painting a frame for the kids' artwork or washing the footlockers my grandma gave me for classroom storage.

But I'll try to get back to blogging. Because I also love writing, and if I don't write, I won't grow in it, right? Write. Right.

Later, gators.