Friday, September 28, 2012

Let's talk about my JOYS

SIDENOTE: This goes along with my previous post on contentment in singleness: thankfulness.  I did not realize the relation until this post was done, but if you want to read my first post, click here.

I saw this quote on pinterest and loved it.  And it caused me to think, I want to share some of the JOYS of my life.  I hope I do a good job of sharing both, but sometimse, in my effort to provide an honest forum on singleness, maybe I overlook some of the benifits.

Every coin has two sides and there are many benifits to singleness.  Sure, I still would give it up in a heartbeat for the right man and right marriage, BUT in the meantime, I am soaking up all the single life has to offer.

Some of my JOYS.....

I have amazing friends. I had great college friends (and still do) but then I made my adult friends who are the type of friendships you hope for in college and many people have in college....but a lot of my friends in other cities have struggled to find adult friendships like I have been blessed with.  I love these friendships so much that when I have considered moving, this has been a driving force in keeping me there.

I love not having kids.  This is a catch 22 because I also hate not having kids.  But I love that my friday night can be whatever I want it to be-- drinks, hearing a band, late movie or laundry and netflix.  I love seeing adult movies (and by adult, I don't mean porn, I mean non-children's movies) when I go to the movies and not having to hire a babysitter.  So even though I want children, I have those moments (usually when my heart goes out to a mom with a crying baby in the store) where I think, "Its not so bad not to be there yet"

I know I complain sometimes about how so many people expect singles to make all the effort and singles to give so much (because it assumes I have no commitments!)  Despite my complaining, I am glad I have had the opportunity to teach childrens sunday school, help with showers and parties, teach a small group for youth group.  I sometimes overcommit, but I am glad I had opportunities to serve.

I am glad I finished my education and had no reason to stop.  I am glad I travelled the world--15 countries and counting!  I am glad I gave guys a chance.

I'm enjoying being in love.  Not to say my married friends aren't in love or that I won't be in love when I'm married, but there is something exciting about new love -- and at 27/28, I have been better able to appreciate how special it is to find someone you click with.  When people say enjoy this phase, I miss it  or Im jealous of this stage, I can actually understand what they are saying.  :)  This phase will pass too quickly.

I find joy in using my experiances to encourage others and reach out.

And I find JOY in the small things -- a cup of coffee and convo with a good friend, porch wine nights with the roomies and others, finding the perfect date outfit when shopping, watching a cheesy chick flick and thinking, "hmm maybe thats what my story will be like!", reading a good christian book, prayer, margaritas, a new pair of boots, tailgating, loving on my nephew.

I love hosting parties. I love date nights and kisses and sitting next to Dave in church.  I love being able to sing hymns without a kid climbing on me. I love rejoicing with my friends over dates and "i love you's" and even just a good conversation with a sweet guy at a party.  I know how important these aspects are and I am glad I can help celebrate.

I love seeing Dave but being able to go home and do my own stuff if needed. I love our sunday routine of early church, lunch, then the afternnon to do whatever I want or need to before meeting back up for dinner and a movie.

One day, I'd love the added blessing (and sometimes stress) of marriage and babies, but my life now is full of a lot of JOY too.  I would be doing y'all a diservice if I did not tell you.  Life, each and every stage, has lots of good moments and I am thankful for them.

I think people do singles a disservice by ignoring their pain, but I also think sometimes people do us a disservice by trivializing our blessings -- lets rejoice in promotions, raises, first dates, good trips, happy weekends.  And singles, do a better job of realizing and celebrating your own joys.  It would be a shame to miss out on the good things in our lives!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What I am Loving Wednesday

Usually I tell you what I am reading on Wednesday, and maybe I still will, but today I am going to tell you a little bit about what I am currently loving (a few other bloggers do this so I am jumping on the bandwagon.

1. I am loving season 8 of How I Met Your Mother, or as I always type it (I think I picked that up from Chris maybe?) - HIMYM.  Dave and I have been eagerly awaiting this series' return to Monday Nights!! (which we missed last night because we are taking a community enrichment course on investing at the local college).  We decided we would watch it together Thursday when we next hang out but caved and decided to watch it separately last night and text eachother.

I love the show and I guess I also love that we LOVE the show....guys and gals often have different tastes in shows, etc. so I love that we have this in common.

Watch season premier at CBS.

2. I am loving SOUPS.  Yes, I know that its still in the 70s in Mississippi, sometimes even 80s, but we have had several chillier evenings and mornings, even in the 50s a couple nights.  I love soups and they feel you up.

My favorite is Mrs. Grass's Homestyle Beef Vegetable and Newks. (although dave likes basic chicken noodle soup out of a bag so we have been eating some of that.

*Cook beef (lean) and mix with the bag mix and water, delicious and fairly healthy!

You can find the Newks schedule here.  If you don't have a Newks in your area, I am VERY sorry.  If you do, I suggest the crab bisque, tomato soup and red beans and rice soup.  In law school, I had this calendar memorized.

3. LOVE LOVE LOVE ME SOME PAINTED OR GLITTER PUMPKINS. I am loving fall decorations.  As I mentioned in my fall to do list, I can't wait to go pumpkin shopping and decorate some pumpkins.  I LOVE painted pumpkins. I suppose they stay good longer and are less messy to make. Here are a few ideas... I even included one wrapped in yarn or twine!






4.  I have loved having weekends at home.  This fall, I am going to less football games, due to my long runs on saturday, weddings and high school reunion, poverty, dating a boy who has to study on the wkds and having several busy friends who aren't going often (I will still likely go to a couple games without Dave or pals, but still, its better to split driving and gas money and just more fun with others!), and also my family has been busy with some stressful circumstances so they aren't even at all the games.  I though this would be horrible, and don't get me wrong, I miss my family's weekend traditions...BUT it has been nice to enjoy time at home. I go to dinner, get stuff done, go shopping, to brunch, spend time with friends, do laundry, cook for the week! Weekends away from football hopefully won't be my norm BUT I am enjoying this surprising blessing.

5. WEEKEND MOVIES. This is a result of less travel and less football.  I used to view going to the movies as a winter activity, and sometimes an option in spring or summer BUT NEVER in the fall. Literally I would see maybe one movie all fall....BUT dave loves the movies and luckilly so do I, so this has become a weekend event for us.  Also, with so many more friends in town and not in Oxford or Starkville, we have been able to do a couple girls movies, and hopefully we will have a couple more this fall.  Dave and I have discovered that the theater by his home does 5 dollar movies on sunday nights, so we can see a movie for cheap basically (2 for 1)!!


6. SCARFS. I recently bought the perfect scarf blouse.  If I wasn't so poor, I'd go buy the same shirt in a couple other colors....  I love it because its not heavy, its loose and flowy (over a camisole) and it puts the focus on the scarf.  Here, in God's Country, AKA the DEEP SOUTH, we mostly wear scarfs as accessories.  I have a few heavy scarfs to wear with my Jacket in dec-feb, but mainly scarfs are for its essential to have a couple pseudo-fall/winter shirts to wear your scarfs with!!

Here's the link....  I don't wear it tucked in. Just loose with my sleeves rolled up.  Looking for a couple other blouses --these due double duty (jeans and neclaces or scarfs and wear to work if dolled up!)

7. FUNNY ECARDS. If you are in my phone book, you probably get one of these texted to you once a week. Sorry but I love ecards and other funny pictures/memos.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Contentment in Singleness #3: Thankfulness

Yesterday I referred to Phil 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."  I then focused on the verse's command to pray and bring requests before Him.

Today I will focus on the other good truth found in that verse: Thankfulness.

Thankfully focusing on the God's blessings helps us be content by reminding us of God's faithfulness and goodness in our life, focusing our attention on Him, and giving us hope that God will continue to be faithful and sustain us.
Most of us have dissapointments and many of us may be facing horrible trials.  But, most of our lives have some good in it...supportive family, loving friends, a job, food, happy moments, good health, and at the very least, a loving Savior (which is actually more than we ever deserved).

During times of trial, we should focus on the good -- not in a way that denies our pain, but in a way that admits that our life is not all pain. You know how men are good at compartmentalizing? Thats how I think we should all be when we are discontent with our circumstances.  Yes, I may be upset with this circumstances (singleness, childlessness, health problems, friend issues, whatever the situation may be) BUT in these other areas, I am so blessed.

The Lord deserves gratitude and praise for His good gifts.  Even in trials, we should praise Him.  However, the benefits are usually ours -- we begin to remember His goodness and faithfulness.  We also begin to see the rough circumstances through more encouraged eyes.  Instead of seeing all of life through our negative circumstances, we see life through our good circumstances.  We also have a renewed belief that God will be faithful and good to us in the future.

With regards to singleness (or whatever your area of discontenment may be), life will always hurt and be hard if that prayer is never answered, but it will be so much sadder if you never see the other blessings.

Thankfulness in pain teaches us that we can be thankful and content while many areas of life may still be lacking.

So, count your blessings today and every day this week.  No husband, no child, lackluster job? Ok thats one tough thing, but I bet you can list 5 good things.

Additionally, as a single, I try to be thankful for things that likely won't last.  Once I have a husband and family, there will be less girls trips and no roomate wine nights.  If I am not thankful now, I will miss the chance to fully enjoy these blessings.  It is possible to want a circumstance to change but still enjoy the silver lining :) Thankfulness allows us to do that - compartmentalize the good aspects from the bad...but luckilly for us, as we grow in thankfulness, it can't help but spilling over in all areas.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Contentment in Singleness #2: Prayer

My first post in this series discuessed a willingness to look at contentment in a new light.   We must realize (in all circumtances of life) that being content does not mean being happy with our circumstances.  Being content requires peace and satisfaction (dictionary definition is a state of satisfaction) despite our circumstances.  If we silently pretent to always be okay and tell people what they want to hear (IE, never admit struggle for fear they will judge us for "not trusting"), then we may appear okay, but will grow feelings of dissapointment, hurt, regret and bitterness.  Instead we should honestly tell the Lord we are struggling (and even others, for our testimonies will bring Him more glory if people know we choose to follow despite our circumstances and struggles).  Anyway, small recap but you can read that post here.

I think that the next step towards contentment (after admitting our circumstances are rough) is prayer.

Phil 4: 11 tells us to be content in all circumstances which is quite a hard demand.  Luckilly, Paul gives some practical advice in an earlier verse, Phil 4:6,  when he tells them:  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

(That verse is packed with two good tips, so any guesses what my next post will be on??)

I tend to be a very anxious person.  Anxiety seems to be the opposite of contentment.  One way I combat that is to follow this verse's command.  When I start to worry too much about anything, I take my worry-filled monologues and turn them into prayers, laying my fears, needs, shortcomings and REQUESTS at the feet of the Savior.

Pray, pray constantly, pray without ceasing.  This tends to be tough in very reformed staunch presbyterian circles.  We think that if we choose to believe God is soverign (as we know He is), then we must silently take our painful circumstances and pray we are wise enough to accept and learn from them.  We believe prayer is merely something we do because God commands us to do it.  Instead we should pray with believe that God can change our circumstances, that He can use our prayers to accomplish His will.  Our prayers don't change circumstances, He does, but He choses to do so in various ways, prayer included..

 I don't pretend to know how God's forknowledge and plans on our lives work together with our prayers, but I know prayers are used to change our heart and our circumstances.  I think that many singles (and many people in rough circumstances in general) are scared to ask because they are scared God does not want to bless them or that He can't or won't answer.  While we have to approach God knowing that He is not a magic genie and not every prayer gets the answer we long for, the fear of praying reflects our negative view of God, implying that He does not care about our pain, longings, desires, needs. 

A huge step towards contentment is prayer, bringing your requests before the Lord!  Pray for a change in circumstances and a change in our own hearts.  Pray for spouses and answers but also pray for contentment without those things. Pray for understanding and encouragement from others.

The Lord may not answer your prayer the way you hoped (although He will answer it perfectly), but the Lord is the only one who CAN answer prayers so why not approach Him humbly (but boldly) in prayer, asking that He meet your needs and sustain you? 

Bringing our requests before the Lord not only can lead to answers and blessings, it can also strengthen our relationship with the Lord, calm our anxieties (as the verse says), and develop good habbits for prayer in the future -- I hope I continue to be eager to pray for myself and others long after I am married (through the many ups and downs of life!).  Also, communion with the Lord where we share our needs and requests reminds us that the Lord hears and loves us in our pain and neediness.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fall To Do List

Fall to do list -- crossing out those items I have already done!

1. Wear lots of scarfs!

2. Go to a college football game --- with a cute date!

3. tailgate in the grove

4. run in cooler weather

5. make a fall wreath

6. Cook Chili

7. Cook something pumpkin flavored

8. Buy a MUM

9. make a fall craft

10. go to a pumpkin patch

11. Drink Hot Cocoa and Cider with rum

12. Bake an apple pie

13. Halloween celebration

14. Carve a pumpkin

15. host a fall wine night on the Peachtree House Porch (we haven't had a wine night recently....or maybe a cider and rum night!)

17. Curling up with Dave to watch a scary movie

18. Riding the Ferris Wheel at the MS State Fair

19. Make Dave's 28th birthday special.

20. get my flu shot -- seriously this is on my fall to do list, I suggest you all get your shot too, I have no idea why people don't get their shots!

21. Take a cute date to the Jr League's Mistletoe Preview Party in November

22. Make Smores!

23. go to the Livingston Farmer's Market (only 3 more weeks so I better do this soon!)

24.  Be more thankful.

25. Donate to a food bank

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stupid Stuff People Say (and do) to Singles #1

I can't take credit for this idea, another blogger I follow (who is married, but was single for part of her twenties) started a series about stupid stuff said to singles (also check out her first post). I've always wanted to do something like this, but didn't want to step on toes, but this gave me the nerve to do so.... this will undo some myths about singles, and possibly cause some of my readers to rething their words and actions...

BUT on a sidenote, most singles get annoyed with these comments at situations YET I know that most all of my friend's hearts are in  the right place.  I think singles learn to look at people's intentions, not their words.... probably one of the hidden blessings of singleness. :) I hope it comes in handy when one day people are judging my parenting skills, homemaking skills,saying rude comments about working when I have kids or not working.  I consider handling rude singleness comments as training for when I have to handle rude parenting comments. (Clearly, women can be bad with words in all stages of our lives right??)

(PS-Yes I realize I now have two series going on: contentment and stupid stuff people I want to start a cheap dates series where Dave and I try out cheap date options and report back.... What can I say? I'm suddenly overambitious on my blogging topics!!!)

Stupid Thing #1: One day you'll understand, when you are married and paying bills.

I had someone say this to me a few years ago.  REALLY? Did they think my parents were paying all my bills? That would have been FABULOUS, but it just wasn't happening. I have student loans, I pay rent, I have bills, a car note, etc. I pay for my meals when I go out and pay for my clothing.  Unfortunately, for singles, the "responsible" part of adulthood hits even if some of the benefits (like a spouse and children) don't.  Sure, I don't have the obligation of paying for a child (and many married folks don't either) but I do have obligations.

I actually look forward to marriage for the practical reason of two incomes (and for many other reasons too!), one apt lease or one mortgage, one set of house bills, the ability to cook in more (easier to do for two than one....)  I am certain children will increase my cost of living, but actually, marriage with two salaries will be financially superior to living on one salary alone.       

Stupid Thing #2: You're standards are too high.

This is a tricky one.  Sometimes people do have really high standards (and if you know them well enough, then you probably should kindly say this) But, the fact that I don't want to date someone who is obese or unemployed or not serious about their faith or pessimistic does not mean I have too high expectations.

Essentially what "too high expectations" implies is: you think too much of yourself, realize your age and realize that you have to settle.

A better way to phrase this is: give him a chance, go on a couple dates, he might surprise you, my husband(college boyfriend, lonterm guy, etc) surprised me.  I am a big believer in giving guys a chance, but I am probably more that way because of age and increased maturity (I hope!) than because I am desperate.  I encourage my friends to give guys a chance. but there is a difference between giving guys a chance and SETTLING, lowering standards, etc because you feel desperate (or because someone else feels desperate on your behalf!)

So are some of your single friends standards too high? absolutely, but only a few. Just like the assumption that a lot of southern girls who married young just "settled" is wrong, the concept that singles are all too picky is wrong.  Take me, for instance, I have dated cute men, not so cute men, men with wild pasts, men who were nerds, a divorced man, successful educated men, a man who dropped out of college.  I haven't met the right man because I haven't met the right man, it can't be blamed on overexpectations for myself.

Stupid Thing #3: I didn't invite you because it was a married event. (I didn't invite you because it was only/mostly married people there)

I want to be married, yes. But I don't cry everytime I am with a group of married people and I don't lack the conversation skills to speak to them.  If you are having a dinner party, invite me. I would love to come. If you are really concerned about me being the only single, invite a couple others or tell me to bring a friend or two.  And, come to my events when I invite you too (I swear, I think some of my married friends think I am throwing wild parties and choose not to come to things at my house, nope, its just a wine and game night, not a frat kegger...)

I can make an effort to jump into talk about babies, marriages, etc.  And you can make an effort to ask me about my life.  And you might find that we have a lot more in common than we don't -- all young 20somethings, finding ourselves, starting our careers and lives, etc.  We can all talk events, jobs, football, etc.....Sometimes, it may be hard to find common ground between marrieds (mainly those with kids) and singles, but unfortunetely, like any other two groups of people, God doesn't give us a "pass" on establishing friendships.

So, if I promise not to cry at being the only single, will you promise not to leave me out of your events simply because I am single?                                            

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I am reading Wednesday

(1) This girl slipped off her purity ring and is no longer waiting for a husband. I like her viewpoint....

(2) Waiting patiently when the Story Goes Dark.  Oh, how I can relate.  I am sure you can relate too.  I love what the author says:

The point is, God often takes us through the darkness. He does this so that we might learn to trust him with all our hearts, and lean not on our own understanding. God wants us to know that he is our shepherd. He leads us beside still waters, and he leads us through the valley of death. He wants us to learn to trust him in both places. Often God lets our circumstances get so extreme that our only hope is God himself.
When our story gets dark we must look to the Author of our story. The story may seem bleak, but we can be absolutely sure that the Author is good.

(3) This article on my beloved grove, literally the BEST tailgating in the nation. I love that  articles (thank you notes from visiting schools) tend to be written often to my two alma maters...People for Ole Miss and Auburn show others a good time and tend to treat them well!

The Grove is 10 acres of nothing but trees and tents as far as the eye can see. It's zero-lot line tailgating and it's the close proximity that gives it a synergistic spirit of community unrivaled by any other. Imagine the parking lot at Texas with the most happening tailgating scene and magnify it by 10 or 20. That's The Grove.

And you'd think with all those people packed in there that there'd be a propensity for conflicts to arise, especially with several opposing fans practically stumbling over one another and copious amounts of booze at every turn. But everyone is free as can be to move about as they please, courtesy is an unbroken code, and the more that squeeze in, the merrier it seems to get. After a few hours, you can hardly tell where one tailgate ends and the next begins. The result is a homogeneous sea of endless cocktail parties and I don't think anyone ever met a stranger in The Grove. At least I know I didn't.

Lest we be remiss with getting too deep into the logistics and forget to mention the pageantry of it all, and that starts with the ladies of course. When they say the women are so good looking at Ole Miss that they can redshirt Miss America there, they're not wishful thinking. And it's not just that they're good looking, it's the effort and lengths they go to stick out in a cauldron of eye candy. Think social Darwinism, the All-Stars edition. Between the painted on dresses, high heels, and hair to match, just about every female mingling about is dressed like they're late for their best friend's wedding. Ensembles that would seem completely impractical and out of place at just about any other football venue in the country are basically their dress code. Their male counterparts don't go to quite those lengths, but it's definitely business casual for many and it's not uncommon to see a dapper dandy clad in a dinner jacket and a bow tie.

(4) True Love Does More than Just Wait.  So many of these articles recently. I am assuming people are realizing that the ways they were teaching abstinence were incorrect.

(5) Wait, God wants us to have fun sometimes?

(6) Another article on waiting......  this time discussing what we are really waiting for. I have talked before about how waiting gives you an eternal perspective and this article discusses that (in a much more eloquent way of course!) Thanks to Nikki for sharing it.
What about y'all? Any articles you have enjoyed recently?? Please share!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Missions Series #4: Prayers

As I previously mentioned, my friends, the Bonhams (and their partner family, the Kines), are moving to Columbia (today!) to serve as missionaries!  I am sad to see Nikki go but know that the Lord will use them.  And I can't wait to hear about what they are doing (and provide y'all with updates!)

Please keep this sweet family in your prayers.

Pray for:

  • safe travels
  • adjustment to a huge city with a different culture and language
  • the Bonhams' partner family, the Kines (whom I don't know) are expecting a baby AND moving to a new country all at once -- pray for them and their 4 other kids as they move
  • pray the Bonhams learn the language quickly - they start language school soon!
  • pray they find a place to live (they are in temporary housing right now)
  • pray their twin boys adjust quickly!
  • pray that Nate and Nikki as they meet Columbian people, pray friendships develop and ministry (one on one) begins!
  • also, pray for them as they continue to pursue a Columbian adoption (read their personal blog for more info on that!)
Thanks for your prayers for the Bonhams.  Here is a picture of Nikki and me at their going away party Sunday.

Monday, September 17, 2012

1000 gifts: 186-200

Today I am thankful for...

186. football season being just football season, nothing eternal or so important that it determines who I am
187.  a cool saturday morning run (when you have been running in MS 100+ degree weather, mid 70s was glorious!)
188. having family live close enough by that we can go shopping and to brunch on saturday.
189. 5 happy years of marriage for my sister.
190. my brother in law
191. pumpkin flavored foods
192. successfully painting my own finger nails this wkd (seriously this was an accomplishment for me!)
193. edamame (I am craving that for dinner....)
194. new seasons of tv starting!
195. clean clothes
196. my friend Nikki (who is moving tomorrow)
197. the preaching I am blessed to hear each week at Highlands Pres.
198. knowing that I am not going out of town for the next 2 wkds!
199. my new shirt -- perfect lose white blouse to wear with scarfs and skinny jeans!
200. cooking blogs and pinterest recipes

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sweet Wedding

This weekend, my friend Sarah married my friend Asa.  Such a sweet couple and a lovely wedding.  I am sad to see Sarah move to Memphis but know they have a lovely life ahead.   I've mentioned Sarah several times before.  She is my sweet friend who was happily dating or engaged (and now married) for the past 2 1/2 years, yet has been praying for her single friends to meet the right men/women.  Since she started praying last year, everyone's dating life has picked up.  I don't think this is a coincidence since sometimes God uses our prayers to accomplish His will (read this article HERE, and be encouraged to pray for yourself or others in ALL areas of life!!) BUT, I digress.....Sarah is a sweet girl and it was so fun to celebrate with her!

Another fun fact about Sarah and Asa -- they were the first of my friends to meet my sweet guy (you know its always nerve wrecking to introduce someone you are dating to your friends)  I wanted Sarah to meet him because after I had several recent short dating relationships, she had been actively praying for me to meet a nice guy to date longer than a couple months :)  And Asa was a great guy to give me a male's perspective.

The wedding was precious.  Her dad is a preacher in the PCA and he did part of the officiating.  The bride wore her mother's gown (redone) and both she and Asa looked so happy!  Afterwards, there was a reception with desserts and dancing!  Including an ice cream bar.... yum.  It was at this cool venue in an old school auditorium which has been redone. Several of my friends and I ran to Babalu next door and had a drink before heading to the reception.

Here are some pictures the reception.... (I just started instagram so tolerate my "artsy" photos with different tints!)

Mr. and Mrs.

Sweet Friends

The Bride and Me

My sweet date

Take 2

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Contentment in Singleness #1: Disliking your circumstances

1. Contentment in Singleness: Giving yourself the freedom to dislike your circumstances while trusting your God.

Read this post.  (this post inspired my new blog series) Read it before you read mine because it says what I so dearly believe and won't be able to phrase correctly.

I have spent a good bit of my single years being annoyed with people who seem to think that one day I will finally be happy with my singleness, that I will finally agree that this is good.  I even spent many evenings feeling like a failure for wishing I had a spouse -- good Christians don't long for things other than Christ right? Why can't I just get past this? (not to mention, hearing people who have what you want say that you should just get over it and be content is quite frustrating and insensitive) But, here is the reality of it, it is not good to be alone.  Not in a perfect unfallen world.  And like the author of the article states, I finally got to a point where I quit kicking myself for wanting to be married.  I quit trying to distract myself with business and telling myself that I should be "content and happy with singleness." And I quit believing those lies from friends and families.  I also quit buying into the sunday school lie that once I am finally content, God will bring me a husband....or bring you a child...or find someone a great purpose and career.  I kept trying to "learn my lesson" so that I could be content and this season would then pass (although was I really striving for contentment in my circumstances when the point of contentment was to tempt better circumstances along?)  Am I really supposed to be happy with my circumstances? Will I ever get there?

When someone has an illness which is a result of an imperfect broken world, they might be told to learn to be content in their circumstances, but what is really expected of them is to be content despite their circumstances.  Cancer is bad, God thinks its bad, he doesn't you to pretend its good, He wants you to love Him despite your sucky circumstances, He wants you to be content in Him, not in the fallen broken circumstance you are living in.  We seem to understand what contentment in bad circumstances means regarding disease or job loss or other forms of heartache, but not in singleness or waiting for a child (biologically or throught adoption) or even waiting for healing in broken relationships.  These are forms of grief as well, something that is not good and intended by God, so why do we belittle that as a real longing and real pain?  Some go forever without one or all of these things and this is something they will struggle with. No one tells someone who is sick that those are good circumstances to just accept, but what about singlness --- what is the answer if it isn't happiness with your circumstances?

"So what is godliness with contentment in these circumstances? It it NOT bucking yourself up to be all happy and smiley with your situation. Contentment is not a command to be OK with something God Himself says is not good. You long for something that is normal to long for by the very nature of your creation by God. Yet in our fallen world, that God-given aspect of your nature is unfulfilled. Contentment is understanding that you are not left as an orphan in this longing. You can say, “This sucks!” Because it does, but you can say it hand in hand with God, who said it first but in nobler terms. And you can say it knowing that you are equipped by the gospel to do battle and not be overwhelmed in this season.

If there is a lesson to learn in your singleness, it's to stay engaged with God in the wrestling. It's not to put to death longings that are part of your very God-given nature. And it's not to disengage with God because He refuses to answer those longings. It's to stay engaged with Him, alternately crying out in longing and resting in peace in His arms, calling on Him at every moment to meet the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs exposed by your unfulfilled longing."

What I have learned during my singleness is this: RUN to Jesus.  When others seem to shun my heart for longing for something different, I take the concerns to my Father, His arms are always open. (which by the way, making a single person feel that longing marriage is frivilous or silly is one of the most hurtful things you can do, but that is an entirely different topic for a different day!) Ironically enough, I begin my single years trying to fix my God-given desires because others scolded me - fearful that my failure to be happy with my situation made me a horrible Christian.  Eventually, the constant frustration over others not understanding and dissapointment in myself for wanting marriage pointed me to the arms of my Savior.  It felt like He was telling me that it is okay to long for the things He created as good.  Simply accepting that brought so much Joy and peace, despite remaining longing.  I didn't quit wanting marriage, but I quit beating myself up for being the way the Lord made me!

I can now freely say that I do not like singleness.  I don't hate it. In fact, it even has its "moments" I enjoy my life, but I don't love that my circumstance remained singleness for so long.  I think that over the past couple years (whether dating someone or single), I have learned atleast a little more contentment and I think that began when I quit trying to like singleness and be happy with my circumstances.  (And you know what? If I never get married and remain single forever, I will still not like that I remained single!) I felt like I was hiding who I really was and how I felt from my Savior, but now I am honest with Him about the way He made me. Seeking happiness in my circumstances was from my own strength which is why despite the scolding of others, I failed time and time again.  Seeking my Savior as a place of rest and peace despite negative circumstances and despite those who are critical brought a place of refuge and yes, even contentment on many days.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I love Sundays. I used to not really like them (despite being the Lords day). I taught Sunday school and worked with the youth group on Sunday nights. Then I was dating an out of town boy so I was driving every weekend or spending it with him (before he left and I headed to youth group). On top of my busyness, I also had to tell Dave goodbye for the week.

Now, Dave lives here. And my youth group small group girls have graduated and gone to college. And although I am sure I will one day help with youth group or children's ministry again, it's nice to have my Sundays back.

This Sunday, Dave and I went to early church then fixed an early lunch and talked to my roomies. He went to the studio to work and I enjoyed our pseudo fall weather with a walk and talk with a dear friend. I also cleaned my room, went to the grocery store, cooked dinner, read a magazine, moved a piece of furniture and did laundry. I felt so productive and so relaxed!!

I think I understand why the Lord commands us to rest on the Sabbath-- to take time to enjoy solitude or family time, enjoy his day, cook a good meal ... I know some people would disagree with folding laundry or cooking a meal, but I think that what he intends us to do is rest- not be overly social, overly committed, and overly stressed. Folding laundry while watching tv and cooking a yummy meal was relaxing to me. Starting the week off having leisurely tidied up made me feel less stressed.

I now love Sundays. I love enjoying church and not overcommitting. I love ending the weekend with Dave on Sunday evenings. I love Sunday naps and movies and reading. I love leisurely fall walks and cooking a yummy meal. I even hope to start doing more of my chores ahead of time so I can just have a quick tidy up Sunday.

When saying goodbye on Sundays, Dave and I used to whine about how Sunday evenings were our least favorite time of the week-- but now these afternoon/evenings are some of my favorite!!

And I even burned a fall candle.... :)

What's your favorite way to relax on Sunday afternoon or evening???

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken

Tonight I cooked a lovely meal for Dave and Me....I had some chicken that needed to be cooked and already had most of the ingredients to try a new recipe so I picked a couple more ingredients up and made Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken (no beef!) It was delicious, definitely something I will make again!  

  • Chicken breasts, cut in half to make strips
  • teriyaki sauce
  • ranch dressing
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • bacon (strips cut up, or prepackaged bacon pieces)
Saute the chicken in a skillet til both sides are brown (5-8 minutes)  The chicken doesn't have to be fully cooked, just beginning to brown.  Place chicken in a 9x13 pan (sprayed with Pam).  Pour 1/4 cup of Teriyaki Sauce (give or take) on top of chicken and squirt (and spread with knife) some ranch dressing on each piece  - I would guess that I put about a tablespoon on each strip.  Then pour cheddar cheese and bacon pieces on top.

Bake for 25-35 minutes on 350 degrees (until chicken is fully cooked)

I served the chicken on top of rice with italian green beans. It was great and lucky for me, I have leftovers for lunch!!

Served with rice and green beans....

Friday, September 7, 2012

SUYL: Grownup Birthday Party Ideas!!

I am linking up with Kelly's Korner to share some birthday party ideas for adults (Show Us Your Life Fridays!). At our age, there aren't games, clowns and favors- and most birthdays are dinners out with friends....but occasionally we throw a fun birthday party!!

The trick to a good adult birthday party is a theme, preferably one where everyone can dress up and you. An make matching snacks. Otherwise it's just dinner or drinks with friends which isn't bad, just nothing special.

My tips:
-pick a theme and add a few touches from that theme thought the party!
- add costumes but Make the theme easy so everyone will dress up (IE, 80s, mustache, fiesta, orange for auburn, etc)
- email invites- but make them fun! (paperless post is a step above evite)
- provide one drink option
-alternate who is in charge for the party. The same person should not host everyone's birthdays!

Celebrating birthdays is a great way to love on your friends, particularly your single pals. And you don't even have to throw a party to celebrate! If you don't take her to lunch or bring her a cupcake, who will? It's nice to feel important on your birthday so show your friends how much you love them!

Here are some of our parties...... (sorry I don't have many pictures of decorations)

1. A Mustache Party!!!! (you could bring your own or there were some there to put on - buy them at your local party store!!!)

2. My National Championship Birthday! (sweet friends threw this party for me because my birthday was the week after AUBURN won the NC.  Everyone wore orange (or blue!)

3. a WIG birthday party!! (we all put on wigs and went our for dinner and drinks, so fun!)

*** Wehave also thrown a shark week birthday party (everyone wore blue or gray and TONS of cute decorations!!), an 80s party, numerous wine nights, a cinco de mayo birthday party, etc. BE creative and have fun! Just because we are older doesn't mean we can't act a little crazy :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Forgotten Element of Romance

Read this article on the forgotten element of romance (and no, its not chocolate, diamonds or flowers, though boys, those are fun things!)  The best part of romance is the friendship. 

People spend so much time looking for a soulmate -- someone we share deep intense conversations with, someone we are intensely attracted too, someone, someone who fixes life and takes away loneliness. And although this isn't the purpose of love, I think many of these elements are found in relationships, particularly marriage.

But, what marriage is mostly, is a strong friendship, the strongest you can have...someone who makes you laugh and who you care enough about to spend the afternoon doing nothing together. Someone you are there for, through thick and thin.  Someone who you like and respect and enjoy -- not all the time, but most of the time.  

Marriage is just as much about a deep friendship and companionship as it is about sex, attraction, intimacy.  Most of life is spent, well, living...not discussing, being physical, or staring into eachother's eyes.

As the author states...."That’s the kind of relationship I want to have when I get married—the kind where the simple act of enjoying each other’s company, of laughing together, is enough to tell the world that we belong to one another."

What I am Reading Wednesday

1. God is not who I thought He Was (Jon Acuff) -- Thank goodness He isn't who I thought he was, because sometimes my view of Him have been lacking.  I could really relate to this concept of "unlearning God"  We have preconceived incorrect notions about a lot of things in life, including our Savior.

2.Another Jon Acuff article on grace, forgiveness, not needing to be perfect, etc. "I know in my head that, when you give us grace, you are not finishing the process of forgiveness, you are beginning it."

3. I am dating a boy that loves to tell me (a very black and white thinker) to think outside the box which is why I enjoyed this article about holding on to God's words, expecting Him to do marvelous things and seeing God outside our limited box view.
4. WORST MARRIAGE PROPOSAL EVER.   seriously, folks, if this happened to me, I'd say NO, try again.  Not because I am mean, but because this was cruel.

5. I loved this article encouraging men to deal with the fears of rejection and man up.  Women risk rejection in different ways than men so all have to be willing to take a risk.

6. Ever questioned if God really has your best interest at heart? I suppose if you have been hurt or waited for anything in life, then you probably have. THIS ARTICLE was one of the most encouraging articles I have read in weeks, not because it provided answers, but because it summed up what many of us have felt before.

7. Delaying sex improves marriage?  SURPRISE SURPRISE.  Granted, this statistically speaking, not specific to everyone. But, on the whole, delaying sex imrovees communication, sexual quality, relationship satisfaction and stability.  It's nice when obediance has benefits

8. This is a good article on a trend I have seen lately: making families and marriage an idol.  This article talks about making God's gifts into gods.You see this in small "noble" ways like obsession with a certain type of schooling, birthing, parenting style in which you believe you are superior if you do those things (not attacking a certain type of parenting style) and you also see this in pettier areas such as exclusive young mom groups at churches. AND I think this notion of making God's gifts into gods applies to lots of things: career, enjoying your single days, obsession with marriage or boyfriends, college football (gulp), friends, etc.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

1000 things: 176-185 (edited)

Today I am thankful for:

176: Wonderful Roomies -- This was last night at our going away party for Constance (Mary Marg, Constance, Me, Claire)  Lucky to live with sweet girls.

177. I am thankful for a successful going away party! (It was hard to throw together quickly with one roomie moving in and another moving out but we did it and it turned out to be cute! You may recognize decorations from the Bachelorette Fiesta, I was recycling!)

178. Thankful for our new roomie, Mary Catherine.  God provided another sweet girl to move in, we didn't even have to look for her!

179.  Thankful for a fun weekend in the country with Dave's family.  I have dated boys from awful family situations before that caused issues for them or even us! So I am glad that Dave's parents and siblings are kind loving people!

180. Grateful that the Hurricane did not do as much damage as some feared. Please keep praying for MS and LA as these states recover.

181. Grateful for football season! (despite our opening loss)

182. I am thankful for my aunt and uncle who are sharing their home in Starkville this weekend (as well as two tickets!) with Dave and me so that we can attend the MSU- Auburn game.

183. I am thankful for Mums....these are certainly not the most beautiful flowers, but they represent my favorite time of year! I love when I see them at the grocery store, it signifies football, fall, pumpkins, holidays, sweater weather and cider are all nearby!

184. I am thankful Dave's school is so near my home.. He has to study a lot and spend many hours in the studio. It helps that he can stop by for dinner (or yesterday, lunch!)  I don't mind making him supper if it means dinner time with me can be his study break.

185. I am thankful my sister has taken her comps. She is so close to having her masters degree, I know its a good feeling to see your hard work almost done! (EDIT: Apparently marley has 2 more comps to take - they are taken in stages so this will be moved to a thankful thought on a further date!!)


185 (edited): I am thankful for breakfast for dinner.  Admit it, this little treat makes you happy too!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

A deliciously easy Chocolate Chip pound cake....I've made other chocolate chip poundcakes but this one is just as good and its basically just a "doctored up box cake mix"

1 box yellow cake mix
1 3 ounce package of instant vanilla pudding
1 3 ounce package of instant chocolate pudding
8 ounces of sour cream
1 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp of vanilla
4 eggs
6 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips

Mix together, pour into a greased bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes.  SO Yummy! I suggest you try it soon.


I love this essay about Auburn. I loved it the first time I read it and I love it again every time it circulates during the weeks before football season. I love Auburn and I shall possibly soon write a post about why I love Auburn so so much, why I feel so at home on the plains, but maybe not, because I can't write about Auburn as well as this fellow does. War eagle.  Welcome Football season!

I am Auburn

Written by: Robert L. Gillette
I am Auburn.

I am the 30-year old couple coming back to campus for the first time with both little ones in tow. One wears her first blue and orange cheerleader outfit; the other wears #34 even though he is too young to understand why.

I am the 50-year old man who hoped no one saw tears in his eyes when the eagle circled the field. I was too choked even to say 'War Eagle'. For a moment, I felt foolish and then I didn't care. God, I love this place.

I am the 60 year old woman meeting her freshman granddaughter who is now the 3rd generation of AU students in our family. Despite my age, I'd strap it on Saturday and hit someone if it weren't for my gender and this blasted arthritis.

I am Auburn and I have always believed I was different. You can see it when you look up into the stands. My orange is not the same as Tennessee’s and my blue is not that of Florida. But the differences go much deeper than my colors. Read my creed. What other school has one? I genuinely believe in these things. To be a real Auburn man or woman speaks of character, not of geography. All are welcome to walk though my gates, not just the wealthy or the elite.

So this Saturday, when the warm ups are over and the prayers and amen spoken, when you hear my thunder growing in the stands above you, when you stand in the tunnel and the smoke begins to form, listen for my voice when you run onto my field. Behind the frenzy of the shakers and deafening roar, I will tell you something in a whisper you may miss. I will be telling you that you are my sons and I am proud of you for the way you wear the burnt orange and navy blue. I am telling you that you are my sons and I love you.

Auburn is so much more than a city or a school or a team or a degree. It is something that, once you have experienced it, will live inside of you forever and become a part of what makes up who you are...

It is driving into town on a game day. You may have come from hundreds of miles away and as you get closer and closer to the city limits, you feel it rising inside of you. Other cars on the highway proudly display their orange and blue flags, magnets or car tags, and you honk and wave at them, because, for that one day, you are all on the same team.

It is the smell in the air and the ritualistic act of tailgating...catching up with old friends, making new ones, and invitations from perfect strangers to try their ribs or watch their satellite TV showing all of the day's important match-ups...of course, all being secondary to the one that will occur in the great cathedral of Jordan-Hare later that day.

It is the Tiger Walk...where you might just see 300 pound men overcome with emotion and weeping with pride because you have come there to cheer them on. As they walk by, you might exchange a glance with one or two of them and you can see it in their is going to be their day.

It is the students...dressed in their best, because going to an Auburn game is like going to church for Auburn show the same respect as you would if you were in God's house. Those students remind you of the days when you were walking in their shoes and Auburn was your home...but then you realize, in many ways, it is still and always will be HOME.

It is that lump that rises in your throat when the band plays the Alma Mater as the eagle is soaring over your head during pregame.

It is walking around on a "foreign" and sometimes hostile campus. You are easily identified (Auburn people always are) and the enemy jeers and shouts things at you to mask their feelings of intimidation. But just then, you happen upon a friend you have never met before. You know they are your friend by the colors they wear or the shaker in their hand. You exchange a "War Eagle" and a confident grin because he/she knows what you know.

It is when your heart leaps with every touchdown, field goal, sack, and interception...because those are our boys. And win or lose, they will always have our undying support. After all, it is those boys that you are really there for, and not a coach or a logo or a trustee or a president.

It is the complete and utter exhilaration of walking away victorious over a worthy opponent...that feeling of pride and accomplishment as if it were your own feet that had crossed the goal line scoring the last points yourself...that feeling of wanting to scream War Eagle" at the top of your lungs and hug complete strangers...and then there is the ultimate high of defeating your most hated foes from across the state.
No words can describe what this feels like, but you know because you have experienced it.

It is the sheer agony of defeat as the last minutes tick off the clock and you realize that all hope of a victory is gone. You feel like crying and maybe you do...then you hear the faint sounds of a cheer that grows louder and louder...."ITS GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER."

It is knowing that year after year, no matter how things change in our hectic lives, you can always come back to "the Loveliest Village on the Plains"...the place where you came from...your home. It will probably look a little different and there will be new names on the backs of the jerseys, but deep down, no matter what, it is still the same.You still love it as much as you always have because Auburn is as much a part of you as your arms, legs and the orange and blue blood that runs through your veins.

And, finally, it is the feeling you have right now as you read these lines....the anticipation inside of you because you know it's almost time....It's about to start all over again...but then it really never goes away, does it?