Friday, December 1, 2017

231: that Christmas spirit

a gift from a parent
during parent/teacher conferences!
So I picked up some December writing prompts, but my students don't have time to do them this month (we have 2 weeks to learn how to take notes for research papers :O), but I thought, hey, maybe I could do them on my blog. Get those writing muscles exercised some more.
December 1 prompt: I am excited for December because...
Well, December is a crazy month. Like, 2 weeks of school craziness, 1 week out of town, 1 week socializing before BAM! back to SCHOOL with Easter break on the distant horizon. I have two Bible college finals to take in the next two weeks, lessons to plan, presents to buy, just stuff, stuff, stuff.

So what am I excited about? That Christmassy feeling. Captured in movies. Bottled as an essential oil. Dark nights, crisp air, twinkly lights, people bustling and shopping. *cue Christmas music*

A feeling. That's what excites me about December. No wonder there is so much stress this time of year. Planting your expectations on a feeling. Like nailing Jello to the wall. Except usually a chilly evening with some Christmas songs will do the trick. Much more attainable--and enjoyable--than gooey walls. The Christmas spirit.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Book Review: Too Far Down by Mary Connealy

Well...I usually love Mary Connealy, but her latest book, Too Far Down, was a dud for me.

Connealy's genius comes in her action writing. This book spent the first full half inside the characters' heads and in reminisces (retelling) of what happened in all the other Cimmaron Legacy books up to this point. Waaaay too much thinking. Way too much talking! The first half of the book was boring, redundant, and not even especially believable.

Now the second half of the book got fun! The plot finally MOVED, there was at last more action than thought and dialogue, and, yeah, basically things started happening. There was still too much dialogue, ie. Murphy's loooong speeech, Hattie's loooong speech--neither seemed quite believable, but they were at least more interesting.

I'm not sure what made the author change her normal method of writing (the last book in this series was weak too), but I hope she goes back to what makes her older books so great. A little less Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot scratching verbally at the problem and a little more, well, Mary Connealy!

Also, I have a bit of a problem with the last page of the book describing the author. Connealy's books are NOT "romantic comedies about cowboys." At least, not in the American sense of "comedy". At least, I don't think of them as comedies. Enjoyable, but not because they are knee-slappers.

Review for book 2 in this series: http://ladymsdistractions.blogspot.com/2017/04/book-review-long-time-gone-by-mary.html

Review for book 1 in this series: http://ladymsdistractions.blogspot.com/2016/07/book-review-no-way-up-by-mary-connealy.html

P.S. The Bartered Bride by Tish Davis was a pleasant discovery last weekend after reading Irenaeus and Too Far Down! It too is the third in a series, and now I'm reading the first in the series because The Bartered Bride was such a solid Christian romance.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Book Review: Irenaeus of Lyon

This year we didn't have any plans for Thanksgiving until later in the day, so I took the opportunity to finally read one of my free-in-exchange-for-an-honest-review books that I'm I was supposed to review weeks ago. Oops.



Irenaeus of Lyon by Simonetta Carr is a lovely-looking biography for young readers. My mom and I relaxed on our living room couches and I read to her the 62 landscape-laid pages.

Although definitely meant for readers above my 6-9 yr. old range, Irenaeus is thorough and very clearly written. My mom and I were fascinated by this less well-known brother from early church history. As was the same with the author's biography on Martin Luther that I shared with my class last month, this one is interspersed with Rembrandt-esque original art relating to the story and with photos of statues, ruins, and other relevant depictions of the culture of Irenaeus' day.

The book is very informative not only about Irenaeus but also about early church history and the theological differences of the day. It was edifying and interesting. My favorite part is actually about a disagreement between Polycarp and Anicetus about when Easter should be celebrated. The author says, "In the end, Polycarp and Anicetus couldn't persuade each other but agreed to allow both practices so that the churches could be united." Apparently this unity left an impression on Irenaeus. I was delighted too.

I highly recommend this book, but I think it is more fitting for pre-teens and teens than elementary-age children. The theological content is deep, but also there are descriptions about persecution that, while sensitively handled, are still intense. 5 out of 5 stars!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

230: can't whine, so what then?

You know what the blessing of singleness is? I can't blame any unhappiness on my insensitive husband or on my chaotic kids. I can blame it on what I don't have, but the blessing of prolonged singleness is that, if you're not actively going on dates, blaming stuff on singleness starts sounding like whining and stops being socially acceptable, like complaining about your spouse and kids still is (contrary to God's way, fyi).

You then find yourself forced to either be that negative whiner or, instead, wrestle with God about your feelings. Social acceptability for once has the potential to direct us toward God and sanctification and maybe even intentional thankfulness.

So, ouch though it may be, today's blessing is that whining about being single is not socially acceptable.
Ever need to complain less?


Ok, this post may be a stretch, and it's more a blessing IN than OF singleness, but this is my last post for the month! Hoozah! I'll be posting the complete list of links soon if you want to look back on the other quirky things I've been thankful for this month. :) May God continue to increase our awareness of His many blessings. Ciao!



I have inconsistently participated in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme has been "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Monday, October 30, 2017

229: different is normal

Seriously running out of unique things specifically related to singleness to be thankful for!

As it is late for a school night, this will be brief (that, and it's hard to come up with anything I haven't already said).

As a single living at home still, my life is very much not like the lives of other believers I may interact with. I met with two older ladies tonight for "triad" (like a community group but with only 3 people). They were talking about their adult children and grandchildren.

Mmm, well, I've got my parents?

But isn't that what life and the body of Christ consists of? Interacting with people in different stages and seasons than yourself. Feeling a little like I've been stuck in the same stage for the last 32 years--granted, growing in maturity over the years within this stage--I feel a bit behind the times listening to these ladies talk. But no matter what stage of life we are in, there will always be someone else who is in a different stage that we can't quite relate to even if we listen and "understand" what they are saying.

So today's blessing of singleness is the opportunities to interact with differences, deal with that rub within myself, accept this path as ok and their path as ok, and learn yet again that different is okay, not on opportunity for envy or exclusion or blahness.

Restating this again...

It can feel as a semi-older single that most people are in a different category than yourself, but the truth is there are multiple seasons, and whatever season you are in will look different from another's. I think of my friend with a son whose illness probably means a shortened lifespan. How can her life path be compared to another young married's? We all have unique lives.

So I am thankful for the chance to learn that a bit now.

This is my single life. Any of my Eeyore-ness of "poor me" fades in light of truth.

What different stages of life are you glad you get to interact with?

P.S. Oh, and learning to accept that other people might not get my struggles, might have no clue about my journey of wrestling with my current season, and that's an opportunity too to either communicate or to get to the place where I don't need to be understood to be secure in the place where God has me, ie. in His hand, which ironically is where "they" are resting too.

P.P.S. Apparently I am more long-winded than brief when I haven't time. :P No time to be concise!

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

228: unexpected reminder

It's been a temporarily rough weekend in the singleness department. No, no drama to speak of, just a sudden WHACK! of "hey, remember? it's just you. no male half. no other side of the equation. no, 'and God saw the man and woman and it was good.'" And then, I think I was on my blog and glanced at the post from last Christmas Eve. Or somehow Christmas Eve came into my head. And WHAM! hey, you get to be the in-between, unattached person again this year. Your niece is MARRIED, your 70+ yr old widowed aunt has a BOYFRIEND. It's not that I want a fiancé for Christmas or even a boyfriend (let's not be greedy now). I just don't want to be the only person at our family event that is winging it solo.

So what am I thankful for, specific to singleness?

Well, I was communicating my woes to some girls in a Facebook group (probably too much so), and a girl I have never met in person (cuz that's how we roll in 2017), but who had liked one of my recent blogposts replied to me with this:

"Just bring those 30 days of gratitude posts with you and remember you ARE special, God just has you serving a different way right now."

Exactly what I wanted to hear? No, I wanted to hear of a rent-a-plus-one website like in Holiday Engagement and Hitched for the Holidays. Just kidding. Kinda.

But, I am thankful for the reminder that . . .

. . . there are things to be grateful for. And He does have my life in His hands. And He is working. And while I don't have grand hopes of enjoying this year's Christmas Eve (sometimes the stiff upper lip is rather elusive), my life is not in vain. It has eternal purpose, eternal meaning. What more could I ask for?

I needed that reminder again. So thanks, you-know-who-you-are, for the love and Christian fellowship. Truly. It means a lot.

This is my single life. It takes a community.

Where have you received unexpected encouragement lately?
one of my 2nd grader's handwriting work this week <3
I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Friday, October 27, 2017

227: sounds in the night

I am thankful that I still live at home for a bit longer where late at night I can hear a train from the middle of town whistling and moaning and clattering by. I love that sound.

This is my single life. Same neighborhood noises as when I was little, and  I love these sounds in the night.

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

226: no family - what??

If we must be thankful for little favors, I am thankful that I don't have any family I need to get home to.

Tonight is our school's Fall Concert. Which means, school ended about an hour ago, and I need to be back here in about 2 hours, but with the commute and teacher-y responsibilities, I generally stay, and currently am staying, here on campus until these evening events. I don't run back home and then come back.

However, if I had a family, instead of going about classroom stuff and calming down from a full day while waiting for the fundraiser dinner in 20 minutes, I would be thinking about my family, calling home, feeling guilty for staying. Or, I would be running home, getting dinner ready, preparing everyone to come to school. I actually don't know what it would be like if I had a family while working. But, I know that aspect of life would be consuming a lot more brainpower than is currently being used (because I'm pretty brain-dead from this week of work).

So, today, as a single with an evening work commitment, I am thankful I do not have a family. If only because I do not need to split my focus between tonight's event and home.

What are you doing today that would be harder to do if you were not single?
It is okay.
 
Reaping the benefits of one season does not disqualify you from experiencing a change in seasons. Enjoying today does not mean you're not willing to enjoy a different kind of tomorrow.
 
 
At school we are learning about God's name I AM. We read Exodus 6 for Bible today.
 
I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

225: no clue

Today I finished listening to the three broadcasts Family Life Today just did with Joshua Harris about I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Can you believe the book is 20 years old? They discuss what was good about his book, what was misleading, and how people have been helped and hurt by its influence.

I am thankful that I have ridden the waves of "dating is worldly, courtship is Biblical" to today's "if you ask me out to coffee, I won't consider it a marriage proposal, and if I agree, I hope you won't take it as serious interest. But secretly I'll be thinking of everything through the lens of a potential marriage." I am thankful that I have lived through enough micro-cultural dating-courtship-betrothal-etc. fads that I now have absolutely no idea how matches are made, love forms, or marriage occurs. I could have become a legalistic, formula-based, married know-it-all. I don't know any marrieds like that, but I'm pretty sure I could have nailed it. Seriously. Instead, I'm a clueless single at the mercy of Providence, because I am realizing more and more how imperfect and insufficient I am to change my status.

It's not a bad place to be, right? At a loss on your own? Dependent on God's sovereignty, sanctifying power, and wise counsel?

This is my single life. Learning, dependent, but really, no clue.

What inadequacy are you thankful for in a weird sort of way?

~*~
I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

224: people I've met, places I've been

I am part of a network called Homeschool Alumni, or HSA. I've been to three "reunions" in Oregon where I got to meet dozens of other fellow homeschool grads. Besides those reunions, a couple years ago I had fun at a single women's vacation retreat that an HSAer hosted. Two summers ago I stayed in Boston and Maine with a bunch of other HSAers for an HSA wedding. This summer, I visited an HSAer at her home in Chicago, and she took me and a couple other HSAers around her city. I've befriended HSAers, prayed for HSAers, been excited for the weddings of HSAers, crushed on HSAers, dated an HSAer, done fun things with HSAers, learned from the wisdom of HSAers, and, well, all these new friends and events would not have happened if I hadn't been single, doing the whole online dating thing, and one guy said, "Have you heard of Homeschool Alumni?"

A whole friend base would be GONE without singleness. I probably would not have visited Maine last year if I were not single. I definitely would not have traveled to Chicago this year if I were married.

So today I am thankful for the Homeschool Alumni friends and experiences I have gained through this season of my life.

Friends are also good for taking pix of you! Hiking at the HSA retreat two weekends ago.
Timberline Lodge in Oregon, built in the '30s. Another HSA experience from this last trip.


Who have you met because of this season of your life that you wouldn't have become acquainted with otherwise?

 
I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Monday, October 23, 2017

223: can't blame that on singleness

So I'm starting to think that my occasional melancholiness has nothing to do with being single and more to do with my own temperament. My natural, sinful leaning toward discontent.

And that a change of circumstances is not going to take that occasional dissatisfaction or quiet contemplation away.

I'm thankful that I can be single long enough to differentiate a little between what parts of me are responses to who I intrinsically am and what may change with different life situations.

Basically, I am thankful again for the better clarity that comes with prolonged singleness. No where near clear as crystal, but it's fun to know yourself a little better, and a little convicting not to be able to blame something on not being in a relationship, but instead know you'll always have to deal with it...

This is my single life. And I need to get to bed now.

What can you not blame on this season of life?
 
I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

222: external work

Today I am thankful for work. For surprise careers. For purpose. For external structure.

I may have spent the last several hours of my weekend grading. And I'll probably spend a couple (several) days late at school this week finishing end of the quarter grading, preparing for our annual mock election, and, I almost forgot, Thursday night is our Fall Concert, but...

It is a blessing to have something to pour my time into that is fulfilling as a single.

I feel very inadequate right now, and looking at grades is not the nicest way to begin a new week, but...

This is my single life. What God has granted me. And it is definitely good.

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

221: one blah day does not define the rest

Today was perhaps the most blah day I've had in awhile. And there was literally no reason for it, except maybe my choice to sleep in after a week of trying to work with a head cold after getting 3 hours of sleep Sunday night due to staying up late with once-a-year-see-them friends. The fact that I got to spend the last weekend with these people I only get to see once a year is something to be grateful for. The fact a teacher friend chilled in my room for an hour or so after school yesterday, even in silence, and that my long distance mother-of-three-under-2 friend called and talked for an hour last night--I am super grateful and my soul is fed.

Gratitude does not flow over and power up unless you choose it. And even then, well, I have absolutely no reason to complain yet I was thinking tonight how I just want to give up. Then I had an imaginary conversation with myself and realized, no, I'll get through this (maybe "this" is end of the quarter stress? or the feeling of isolation after last weekend?) one step at a time. Actually, I was imagining Mr. Right telling me we'd get through this together one step at a time, but I don't need another half to realize the truth. Blah days will end. Problems will be faced. Mountains will be scaled. One step at a time. Just keep swimming. And I am not alone. God Himself is my constant companion and Helper. He will preserve me to the end.

Goodnight, blah day. Thank You, Lord, for a lazy Fall day and a new day tomorrow.

This is my single life. Never completely alone. One blah day does not define the rest.

Aren't you glad God never leaves or forsakes us?

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

220: freedom and flexibility and time

So I've been gone from writing for a week (my excuse is a week-long head cold) and the thought of coming back is a little overwhelming. But I can see my perspective changing away from thankfulness, not because I don't have a pile of things I could have said the last several days that have been blessings, but because I haven't been writing them down. So now I'm more blaaaaah.

I guess the way to get back to writing is to actually write, whether it's cohesive (or succinct) or not. Last weekend I was at a Homeschool Alumni retreat with about 50 other singles. During one of the lunchtimes, they divided us between guys and girls, and one of the HSAers that married a year or two ago talked to us girls about things on her heart. One of the things she mentioned was how now with her baby she has less freedom to build relationships and stay up late talking with us and all that. That really stuck with me, especially as I could see later in the weekend her trying to hold onto a squiggly baby or changing a diaper in the middle of a dance (ECD and swing).

I've always focused more on the downside of not being a wife and mother. Probably because I didn't want to adopt an attitude of valuing independence over family. But...

This week, watching that one young mom at the event, spending time with another here locally, I'm realizing how much freedom and flexibility I DO have as a single, and probably should be enjoying while I have it.

On the flip side, I've been really blessed the last couple days with three young married friends who have made a point of catching up as friends, hanging out, spending time.

Singles still have lives. We don't have all the time in the world. We prioritize how to spend our time. But, we do have the freedom to choose how to spend our time, and when you're married or when you have children depending on you, that flexibility dwindles.

So today I am thankful that for this season, my time is my own. May I enjoy it--and use it well--in this season.

What relationships are you building now while there are no outside pulls on your time?
 
 
last Sunday's HSA hike
 
I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!
 


Friday, October 13, 2017

219: naps

I have time to post!

There is a fine line between joining in the happiness of semi-newly wed friends and feeling a left out envy. One moment you're oohing and awwing and genuinely interested and the next you're strikingly aware of not being in the same season. And you swallow back the grumpy, green eyed monster and try to think of something else.

Today my plan was to take a looooooong nap. I needed it, I had time, I was going to take advantage of the couch. I was talking with another tired friend today who was about to travel, and I suggested, "Well, maybe you can nap on the plane." And then I realized, wait, she's a mom. Sure enough, her reply was, "With a squiggly little one?" Right.....

So today I am thankful for the freedom as a single to take naps without having to first put my baby to bed or having to fight the guilt of not getting household chores done during those few carefree moments while baby is asleep. Singles can nap when we have time, with no other inhibitive responsibilities. We may not always have that blessing.

This is my single life. And yes, I took a nap.

Do you enjoy the blessings of your season?

P.S. I would gladly trade naps for a baby, but this is the blessing God has currently given me, and so I recognize it and choose thankfulness today!

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

218: unknown

I've been living with the unknown for a long time, and rationally-speaking, I always will.

But there is an element of singleness that is particularly unknown. That what if, and who, and what would life look like then?

Because marrying two lives definitely changes the separate ones.

I am at a friend's house tonight on my way to that event I mentioned. She married a few years ago, but this is my first time seeing their newly built home. She is mistress of her own house. She mentioned how, prior to this, she had always lived in community, roommates, housemates, etc. Her husband on the other hand had lived on his own for many years. Yet here their lives mesh. A new whole. Something not able to be foreseen.

Today I am thankful for the unknown element of singleness. The scary hope that IF "twue love" ever mutually struck, well then, who knows? This single life would, methinks, radically change.

Steady, everyday life--but with a question mark in the background. A question mark amid normal, present-tense living.

This is my single life. And I accept the romance of its inherent unknown.

How do you feel about the unknown?

P.S. I will not be blogging again until Monday or Tuesday. Happy weekend!

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

217: that my present circumstances are more than enough

Some days, weeks, months are consumed with longing. Longing for something else.

I'm going to an event this weekend where I get to see people I usually only see once a year, if that, and some I haven't met. It is going to be emotionally charged with sleep running low and my emotions probably running the gamut of high to low,  insecure to ridiculously giddy.

So I am very grateful that last night and tonight God is reminding me that the life I have, the life I'll come down to next week, has everything I need. I currently, not wishfully, live with the hope of good things. Like, the good thing of my students and coworkers and upcoming activities and fun lessons. My church triad group starting Tuesday. Faith Bible Institute classes where I am building acquaintanceships. God actively at work, and the promise of His power to answer prayer even for the seemingly impossible.

Ah, Lord God, nothing is too difficult for Thee.

He has set me in a good path.

I may come back with a year-full worth of memories tucked in my heart, but I will come back to an equally, though different, good life.

This is my single life. And today I like it.

Because the Giver is glorified when we actually enjoy His gifts.


What good things has He given in this your life that put a smile on your face?

We had a firefighter couple visit our school today!

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

216: time to jazz

One of the blessings of this my single life is that I have the money to pay the monthly Jazzercise fees and the time to go. 💃🏻 I know this probably will not always be the case, especially if I move, so I am thankful for it now.

This is my single life. And I receive its blessings.

What extracurricular activity do you get to participate in because of this season of your life?

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Monday, October 9, 2017

215: mom

I came back from the wedding reception trip exhausted and stressed, a looong list in mind of everything I must accomplish in the next few days before my last excursion of the season. The biggest stresser has been the looming task of packing. I think I mentioned it before, but it is difficult to think of figuring out outfits for weather at least 20 degrees colder than here. I'm in sleeveless mode not winter coat mode!

You know what my mom did? She offered to do all my laundry so I could start figuring out what to pack. While I was at work today, she not only did my normal laundry but also washed the winter clothes we pulled out last night. And when I came home, she had a good dinner prepared too.

This is my single life. I don't deserve it, but I am blessed.

What undeserved blessing did you receive lately?

I love you, Mom! 💕

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

214: time and flexibility

Last night (my friend and I spent the night with the groom's sisters) we stayed up til the wee hours watching Maleficent. Today we went to church, had a fun lunch at Red Robin with the newly weds, saw their apartment where they are in the process of nesting, and then went back to the girls' house and chilled with pillows and leftover wedding reception cake. Chatting. Smart phone browsing. Slouching. Lying down. Just Sunday rest. Us four girls.

I have the flexibility to take the drive and spend the night with my girl friends, stay up late, eat cake, lie around after church. I have that freedom and that superfluity of time and that minimal responsibility that allows for the flexibility to go hang out with girl friends. And then drive back in time for work the next day.

It's a blessing of this season that I'm sure I've mentioned before.

This is my single life. And it is good.

The Giver is glorified when we actually enjoy His gifts.

What R&R have you enjoyed recently that is unique to being single?

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

213: gotta conversate!

Today's remembered blessing is that when you are single for a long time, when you finally realize you have to put yourself out there at least a little bit if you want a chance at something more, then you are forced to actually, intentionally, attempt conversation, especially when you would rather not.

I went with a girl friend to a wedding reception today. I am so happy for the couple! He is in his late 30s and has wanted to be married and, via online dating, he finally found his heart's match. I wouldn't have missed today's reception for anything.

Table 13. That was apparently the singles table. I have a hunch it's because the two single sisters (our friends) that did the seating arrangements wanted to give their single friends a chance to mingle, in case, you know, sparks flew, interest brewed.

And so my girl friend and I found ourselves sitting across from three older men. They tried, we tried. We really did work at having conversation. But when a third woman arrived, gregarious and funny, I more or less abandoned the intentionality and enjoyed conversing with an easy-to-talk-to female.

As a single, I don't have a built-in conversation partner. A built-in social gatherings partner. It is either learn to intentionally ask questions and volunteer info or sit in awkward silence.

God's blessing in my singleness is that I am forced to think outside of myself and engage the men around me. At least for a few minutes at a time.

This is my single life. And this blessing is good.

Has singleness forced you to be more social?

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

*P.S. I really do enjoy talking to guys. Just sometimes it requires intentionality.

Friday, October 6, 2017

212: learning about marriage

I love hearing people's love stories. In fact, on the drive to the conference this week I asked one of the staff members about hers.

Today on the drive back home, one lady asked another how she and her husband met, and that lady asked another lady, and soon it became a chain effect with every lady telling their love story.

. . .

I really do love hearing these things! But I was also really aware that I was the only person in the car who wouldn't be asked. I had to fight a I'm-tired-and-emotional bitterness because I really do enjoy hearing real-life love stories when I not feeling an awkward everyone-but-Michelle. The newest married and I were asked if when we were single (someone clarified the grammar on that for my situation) if people tried to set us up a lot. I truly appreciate the consideration it took for the lady to come up with a question that included me!

Ironically, mere hours earlier I had been listening to Ted Cunningham on Family Life Today via my phone's podcast app. Of course, it was on marriage--really good broadcast, btw! I really enjoyed it.

This week I have been noticing women slyly but pointedly trying to give me hope or anecdotes about how they met the right guy. I appreciate that consideration too.

So. My blessing as a single is being able to study about marriage via podcasts and observing others' examples. I understand knowledge can mean next to nothing when experience takes over, but I'm grateful that during my singleness I can build mindsets and gain a vision of what is attainable in marriage so I can be better prepared.

This is my single life. And I support marriage too.

What have you learned about marriage or relationships while a single that will be great preparation if/when you are a wife?
 
not me, this week
 
I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!


Thursday, October 5, 2017

211: the present

What a day! All afternoon through evening was spent at a teacher conference. In the late, late evening we came back to the beach house and played a rousing game of pit--English/Spanish teacher, K/1 teacher, Science and Middle School Math teacher, 2nd/3rd teacher (me), office manager, records and finances--all together, laughing hysterically.

But first thing in the morning, before breakfast and time on the beach, I woke up on the bottom bunk with my teacher friend up top. Like college dorm life all over again. We read a chapter of the Bible together and had relaxing girl chat in our pjs with a mattress separating us between bottom and top story. It was like having a slumber party!

It's not a blessing particular to single life, because all the ladies here are married. But if I was a mother with littles I probably would not get this opportunity. So...

This is my single life. And I am enjoying the present while it is the present.

What is a moment today that was special?

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

210: blessing of extended singleness

Six hours in a car with six kind coworkers. Stop for brownie brittle and cheese cubes that turned into an early lunch. Early dinner on the bay, big bowful of clam chowder. We took group pics and then started meandering along the harbor. I found myself alone, feeling alone. Trying to embrace the aloneness, the quiet, the moment I have lived over many a time through the years.

Lord, what is the blessing of singleness today? What about today is a blessing particular to my singleness?

When we were driving down here, one of my fellow teachers told us about when her kids were young and they all got chicken pox one after the other. After 20 days stuck at home, she told her husband, the kids are in bed, the house is clean, I have to go grocery shopping. Her husband gladly volunteered to go for her. No, she said, I need to see something other than these four walls.

Such a different season of life, I replied from the back seat.

I watched the scenery pass and thought HOW different from mine. Was this then today's blessing I was going to notice? That I get to be part of the patchwork quilt of God's story--that my prolonged singleness looks different than her getting married at 19 years old? And that I am glad I have a unique place in God's storytelling (as long as I am doing this singleness thing well, which I don't think I've gotten there yet).

But...I wasn't feeling that blessing today. I've been feeling isolation, not gratefulness. I looked out at the ships in the harbor, the water, the gulls, the people walking out of restaurants--and I fought for contentment and meaning and okayness in my aloneness.

I think the blessing God has given me today is actually this extended singleness.

Time. I have needed this length of time for things to only begin to fall off.

You spend years thinking the answer to your problems is for your life to move on. Seriously.

So as the 20s passed, I don't know, I guess God started bringing to my reality that this life-change wasn't happening. And with that thought, He is still stripping away my expectations of what I need.

My wants haven't changed. But God is using my extended singleness to strip away what I've thought I needed and take me back to some basics that I should already have mastered but obviously haven't. Basics like "all I need is Jesus" and "the chief end of man is to glorify God." Who knows what all He is teaching me through this long season? Still teaching.

As I took pics of the boats in the harbor I reminded myself too that it's a temporary season, and I need to take advantage of it--enjoy the quiet and freedom--while I still have it.

So, today, I am grateful for the blessing of extended singleness. Because it is stripping away and giving me the time and circumstances that God is using to get truths through my apparently determined-to-depend-on-marriage-as-the-solution brain.

God has allowed me to still be single at 32 years old. And it is good.

What is the blessing of your looooong singleness?

~*~

I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

209: teacher friendship

School is over, and a teacher friend just walked into my room, fly swatter in hand. "Why is it, " she asked, "that they will fly at your face and mouth and nose, but as soon as you get out a fly swatter, you cannot find one?" And then as we chit-chatted about our upcoming teacher trip, she killed two flies in my room and cleaned up their remains with my Chlorox wipes.

That's a true friend right there. Because I really do not like smashing flies. *bug guts*

(She also has volunteered to vacuum my room when I've been at my wits end. But I bucked up.)

For six years this teacher friend and I have done life together. Almost literally, because we spend every weekday during the school year right next door to each other, our "kids" sharing recess and lunch and special events. We collaborate about teaching--we've heard the same education speakers that we refer back to--and we collaborate about how to do relationships, discussing male/female communication differences and how best to interact with the various men (and male students!) in our lives. Through the years I've heard about her relationship's journey--she finally married her man this last winter. And she has been here through two of my relationship journeys to their respective ends.

When I was gone from school for a year, we stayed friends. When she was gone from school for a year, we stayed friends.

She encourages me in the Lord. She gives me an in-real-life dose of quality time.

(And she plops herself in my special yellow teacher chair and let's me keep working while she just relaxes for a bit at the end of the day.)

Who knew co-workers could be like sisters?

This friendship is part of my single life. And I love it.


a right now pic of my yellow teacher chair and part of our reading area
What friendships make your single season in particular sweeter?
I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!

Monday, October 2, 2017

208: the blessing in stress

I'm stressed.

*here's where I tell all the details of my life that you can skip if "I am stressed" is sufficient info :-P*

I have Faith Bible Institute homework due Wednesday evening that I'm farther behind in than I like to be by Monday eve. I am leaving for a teacher trip also on Wednesday so I need to make sure my students have their home study packets in their backpacks before they leave tomorrow, and then when I get home I need to pack for the 6:45 a.m. departure. When I get back from that trip, I have a full weekend, limiting the amount of time I can lesson plan for the next week, but really I need to lesson plan for 2 weeks because I'll be leaving that Thursday for an extended weekend, which means preparing for a sub for a couple days. And for that trip I'm going to be in the mountains where there is the possibility of snow, so I'm really stressed about figuring what to wear since I'm in the hot weather with sleeveless tops mindset, not the cold weather, will I really need boots and sweaters mindset. I need to get out my winter clothes and decide what will look cute! All that within a very limited amount of time.

And I have a blog post to write and what am I going to write on?

The blessings. The blessings that will come on the other side of these stresses.

I get to go on that trip to the mountains and I am so excited about hanging out with new and old friends!

I get to have a job where littles depend on me for their education, and I have the independence to assign to the sub whatever work I think will best enhance their learning.

I get to go with my fellow teachers on an all-girl trip to a beach house! And we get to go to a teacher conference too, and I always enjoy conferences.

I get to spend 3 hours a week doing satellite Bible college classes and being straight-up fed the Word!

So while I have this limited time with lingering stress (Lord, take this worry and help me accomplish everything!), the blessings are numerous, meaningful, and worth the extra push.

This is my single life. And it is good.

Because the Giver IS glorified when we actually enjoy His gifts.
 
 
I got to go watch Bella's agility class tonight.

What stresses in your life are actually blessings in disguise?
 
I am participating in "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone who knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. Click here to access the links for my 31 days of writing! And if you want to read everyone else's blog posts, go to http://write31days.com/ and click "Linking Up" for the categories!


Sunday, October 1, 2017

207: seriously, how am I going to come up with eye-catching titles every day?

"Well, I do this every day for work."
"It shows."

Experience is so huge. You can't buy it. You can't take it for granted. You can't really boast about it. It's the passing of time in one area. You don't really set out saying, "Man, I want years of experience in this area, so I'm going to do this for x amount of years until I've gained experience." At least I didn't. It kinda just happens to you.

The result? Familiarity. Patterns. Skills, tricks of the trade. Hopefully, confidence.

This morning I taught Sunday school. I was nervous going into it because of the heavy subject matter, and then I found out my "helper" would be one of the children's ministry leaders. No pressure! But as the morning wrapped up, she let me know that the lesson went well* and that my experience showed. (I had also prayed and asked God to take over for me because teaching on the crucifixion is a big deal, and I didn't feel adequate to it. Thank You, Lord!)

I credit any comfortableness in teaching to being single. If God hadn't kept me in this season of life for the last decade plus, I most likely would not be starting my 6th year as an elementary teacher at a Christian school. If I were not single, I probably would not have accumulated five years of teaching other people's kids on a daily basis (b/c the plan was to be a SAHM), and I probably wouldn't have the same level of confidence I now have corralling and teaching children. Even when I'm nervous, I still have experience behind me (and that experience is a gift from Him).

It's a blessing of my single life. And I accept that blessing with both hands.

What experiences/skills/confidence have you accumulated because of God's sovereignty over your life circumstances?

The Giver IS glorified when we actually enjoy His gifts.



the empty lot next to our church
 
So today is the first day of "Write 31 Days," where a bunch of bloggers write...for 31 days. My theme is "This My Single Life," with a focus on the blessings of this season. Hopefully it's obvious to anyone that knows me or has read my blog that I want to be married and have kids. But at 32 years old, I am quite single, and I think it's God-glorifying to highlight the good things God has given me with singleness. So, here's to 31 days of writing!

Here are the links to all my posts this month: the blessing in stress, teacher friendship, the blessing of extended singleness, the present, learning about marriage, gotta conversate, time and flexibility, mom, time to jazz, that my present circumstances are more than enough, unknown, naps, freedom and flexibility and time, one blah day does not define the rest, external work, can't blame that on singleness, people I've met, places I've been, no clue, no family, sounds in the night, unexpected reminder, different is normal,


Morning Glories

*Lest anyone imagine me in a neat blazer standing in front of a class with a flannel graph, lemme clarify, my "lesson" was a chaotic jumping from one thing to another, sitting down, standing up, all good posture out the window. Building pretzel bridges was involved, and I was wearing a bright orange ankle-length skirt, because bright is better? Anyway, just had to clarify that "crazy group of kids" was my personal take-away from the lesson. :-P They actually were a rather engaged group, just not sedate.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

206: taking right now blessings

I drafted this early this month. Finally posting.

Saturday early afternoon:
Lord, I want a husband.

Lord, I want a husband. But I thank You that today I have complete freedom (sans kids) so that I can go nap for 2 1/2 hours while the house goes to pot. That I can take my time lying here getting everything right with you while laundry is piled on the chair and floor, and shoes are strewing out of the closet. Thank You I can have 4 girl friends over tonight on no time schedule except worrying about getting up for church in the morning.

Lord, thank You for these things, today's gifts!

(Please also bring me a husband.)

Saturday evening:
Why is it when I'm with a group of girl friends that I really wish I had a guy to message? I don't get that.

Saturday/Sunday midnight:
That was a really fun time! I'm exhausted, but that was great!

Sunday morning during church: "Years and years of planning to get you here" --the pastor summarizing God's intentions in Joshua 24:3. Lord, I can see some of what You've done in me through this singleness, through [names an objectively negative thing], through [names another objectively negative circumstance]. You have done Your work with the clay of every undesired circumstance. So I can know these years are not wasted, my life still at home is not wasted--only because of Your sanctifying Spirit.

Sunday evening after a day spent doing fun things with 3 company friends:
That was such a wonderful time! But, it wasn't just a good time. These are the blessings of my singleness. I take hold of these blessings. I would not have had this day if I weren't in this season of life. Lord, I accept the blessings of my singleness with no shadows or regrets or "but it would be better ifs." Because there is no need to put a dark edge to it. It was truly a wonderful visit, and I'm unreservedly glad! I totally accept this holiday weekend as a gift.


A Giver IS glorified when we actually enjoy what we are given....

Sunday, September 24, 2017

205: bit by the autumn love bug

I've been bit.

Bit by the autumn love bug.

I can't blame it all on autumn, but the fact is, Friday was the first day of fall and Saturday morning I could feel it. The wistfulness of fall. The happiness of cool mornings, colorful scarves, pumpkin spice. The hope of . . . something new.

Funny how winter is all about death and darkness, but I always see fall as the coming of all things cozy and romantic.

Like big band music or Michael O'Brien's Something About Us love song album.

Long sweaters.

Apple crisp, apple pie, apple cider, Apple Hill.

My friend sent me a Scripture today. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."

Our hope is so much more than circumstance-based.

And sometimes I get so focused on someone I think I want--John Yates of Faith Bible Institute says, "the object of our desires becomes the focus of our hearts."

But what does a focused lens do? What does the sun do when it narrows in on a magnifying glass? It sets fire to the leaf underneath it, or so I'm told. It destroys.

I love autumn. I love romance. I love the hope of something new, something more.

I know well the mesmerizing agony of making an unattainable human the object of my desires.

Is it sin? I cannot say beyond how God convicts me. Not for all people at every time, otherwise how on earth would anyone ever get married? (but not via the inordinate, idolatry kind of desiring!)

But there is a time to step back from the magnifying glass, gaze at the falling leaves around, feel the surge of romance in the chilly air, set your face to the warmth of the light, and say, "You are my God and You alone. With You is the fountain of life. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

And go forth and enjoy the season.

And maybe, if you feel the freedom to do so, breathe in the hope of the unknown too.

Friday, September 22, 2017

204: confessing trust mid stress

This week--4th week of school--was a hard week for me. I'm not sure why.

This morning I had a parent in my class all morning, observing me so she can be my sub when I go to a Homeschool Alumni retreat in a couple weeks. I was already going into the day drained and fractured. And missing a copy of a test we NEEDED to take today. I didn't have a moment to unwind until after a hurried lunch when my mom arrived and we actually had time to gather our wits before the elementary "Fall Rotations." Fall Rotations went great! with each teacher taking about 10 kids in each classroom doing a fall-related lesson/activity for 30 min before passing them on and getting the next 10. It was an island of blissful fun amid stress. Short-lived however, because once I had my own kids again after a teacher-watched recess, I realized we did not have time *stress level building* to finish the tests (which HAD to be done!) or finish the book that I practically promised the kids we would finish today--it was supposed to be prep for next week's mega field trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium. My perfectly planned package of culminating the 4th week with ending a couple chapters and having everything complete for the field trip disintegrated before my eyes as I railed at the kids to hurry, and we literally do no have time, you have to finish this, etc. etc. until I finally had them pack up and then come to the reading area. Two students' tests lay incomplete. We didn't have time to read more than a page or two of the marine biologist book. Another assignment that had to be finished today would prove to have ridiculous spelling errors even though the proofread copy was right in front of the student to copy. But I had to apologize to my students. It wasn't their fault that I hadn't planned our time well. It was mine, and because I was seeing the day fall apart, I was taking it out on them and I was sorry. And, here's where the rubber had to meet the road. I confessed I had to trust that God would take care of the details. These tests that they now wouldn't finish til Wednesday, I would have to trust God with them. We'd have to finish this book next week (meaning the one girl that really was looking forward to it today will miss the last three chapters)--and I had to trust God with that. The rushed assignment that I couldn't proofread with my student before I send it off to our Kansas penpals--I have to give that mess over to God.

We're always talking in Bible about what our God can do.

Well, the one and only thing that could give me peace at the end of a maddening day as I faced my students knowing all the loose ends would stay frizzled was confessing trust in Him who can do all things, He who is able to take care of what is falling apart.

Note to self: My circumstance may not change. But He is creative enough to provide a way, to give a solution for the now.