Thursday, December 27, 2007

just a quick holiday check-in...

greetings from the northlands. posts have been few and far between lately what with prepping for the holidays and spending time with the fam. currently i'm in the great northlands (i'd say white, but it's more gray, because it's been raining, not snowing, since we got here) with my dad; we're visiting my brother and sister-in-law (can i just tell you how much i love saying that!?).

in years past i've tended to get a bit sad and mopey at the holidays. my brother and dad have generally had a significant other, while i pretty much never do (except one christmas two years ago). this year my brother is married. my dad is dating someone, but she didn't make the trip with us. this year i'm doing fine. no loneliness, no sadness, no pity parties (so far. that could change, as i still have a couples' baby shower and a new year's eve party to attend).

i feel good. i feel mature. i feel thankful. christmas has been a lot of fun, and i still have new year's eve to look forward to.

i hope the season's going well for anyone reading this. if not, i guess just try and be thankful. or go have a good cry and a glass of (spiked) eggnog first, then be thankful.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

attractiveness = gratitude = contentment

this article is great. seriously. you want to be happier? this quote, from Dr. Lewis Smedes, sums it up really well.

"Gratitude is at the very heart of contentment. My sense of satisfaction in life springs from the feeling of gratitude. I have never met a truly thankful, appreciative person who is not happy. So close are gratitude and contentment that I would equate them."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

asking for what you're not sure you'll get

i was journaling/praying/thinking the other night and a question popped into my head; should i pray for a spouse when i don't really know that i'll ever get one? i sat and thought about it some, and before i finally went to bed, i was leaning more toward a yes, although not a solid yes.

the next day the question bounced around my head a little more. i was still leaning toward yes, but i didn't have any solid reasons on which to stand yet. that night my friend tom, who is 40 and single, called to talk about an upcoming party he and i are helping plan. i asked him my question, and he agreed that the answer was yes. he had some good reasons, too.

tom said that asking god to bring him a spouse keeps him from worrying about it too much. that it reminds him that god is in control and that it's His job to bring tom and his future wife together. i really liked that. he said praying for a spouse freed him up to think about and act on other things, instead of worrying where to go and what to do and how to meet the right person.

we also talked about the fact that well, you're supposed to ask god for things. you're supposed to take all things to him in prayer. especially things that you really really want. and we're supposed to have faith like a child. kids believe in things that are completely impossible. me getting married is very possible... why not just believe it will happen?

after we talked, i also started to think about how much happier i've been since i've started to live my life like i really believe everything god says to be true about me (ie that i'm his wonderful creation, that i'm worth a lot, that i'm talented and gifted, that i'm here for a reason, etc). i'm just happier. more confident. i feel like i'm growing and understanding Him more.

it doesn't seem like that big of a jump to apply all of that stuff to the whole spouse seeking thing. i could just relax, take my desires to god in prayer as often as i want, and live with confidence that He's taking care of it. i could be wrong, but it seems like me praying more can't be a bad thing. maybe more prayer would open the communication channels up and i'd get better at hearing god when he's trying to speak to me.

plus, i like picturing myself with that kind of faith. it's cool! it makes me feel good to think about just believing with total certainty that god will bring me together with a tall, jesus-loving, awesome guy. it gives me a strong sense of peace.

(ps evan how's that for not venting!?!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

i'm not bitter....


ok, maybe i am a little bitter. why does dating happen so easily for some people? yes, i know; you generally don't get to see the whole picture. there are details of other people's lives that often remain hidden, or get over- or under-estimated in the retelling. but allow me to... well, to vent for a just a bit.

so seth is dating this girl. he was set up with her by a coworker. he met her one night while out with a coworker and her friends. then, the next week at work, coworker says, hey seth, what did you think of my friend girl_x? and seth says, um, i don't know, she's cool i guess? and coworker says, do you want to take her out? seth replies, um, ok? coworker had already had a similar conversation with girl_x, and she is agreeable to going on a date with seth. coworker gives seth girl_x's number.

fast forward... basically, all he has to do is call her and ask her out. he does. they go. it's great. overnight, stoic seth turns into googly seth. now, don't get me wrong... i am seriously so excited for him. it's great. they've been on 3 dates, and every time i get to hear how well things are going from seth, and how much he thinks he likes her, and how she left her hat in his car so he held it ransom for a goodnight kiss (yeah, i know, you want to puke too, right? right?!). and seriously, seth is an awesome guy and this is great that this is going so well for him. at one point when i was telling him how excited i was for him he laughed and said that he wondered if i was more excited than he was. (i seriously doubt that!) but yeah, i am pumped for him. it's great to see things work out for someone, especially someone as awesome and solid as seth.

but at the same time that i'm excited, it's also tough. seth is 25, almost 26. i'm 28. he hasn't dated much at all; this girl was his first date in six years, i think he said. so, his first date in six years, and it's AWESOME. and he does like next to no work! this girl just falls from the sky, into his lap, and boom! it's awesome. what the crap!?!? yes, i know, they're not married yet; it's only been 3 dates. but i admit it; i'm a little jealous. how many random annoying dates have i gone on? how much work have i put into this? how many books have i read, conversations have i struggled through, and for what? i know, i know, it's the journey. and yeah, i've learned a heck of a lot.

so maybe i am a little bitter. i guess i should i probably go pray and ask god to take that away. i don't like feeling that way, but can you blame me? i'm sorry. i'll be better tomorrow. promise.

Monday, December 17, 2007

waiting, obeying, trusting

recently at church the sermons have been christmas/advent related, as most sermons are this time of year. one in particular talked about how waiting can be really difficult, and then segued into how during times of waiting, god often asks us to obey him even though we don't fully understand why or what or how.

i'm well acquainted with waiting. i've been waiting for marriage for quite some time now. and i'm getting a lot better about the whole 'obey now, ask questions later' part. for the first time, i want to not only obey god, i want to obey him gladly. cheerfully, even. with full faith and hope that obeying him now and making hard decisions is in both of our best interests. with full faith and hope that the best really is yet to come.

it seems like it's a lot easier to obey god and be hopeful when, oh, say for example, i think there's a possibility on the horizon with someone like vb dude. now that he's out of the picture, it's a little more difficult. i'm doing ok, (much much better than i would have done a year ago, that's for sure), but i still have to fend off the doubts and the bad thoughts that creep up. and i have to fight hard to keep god's promises in my head.

it's really easy to slip back into believing that the past determines the future; i've been single forever, no relationship ever works out, why would anything change? even as i typed that sentence, and now as i reread it, it really scares me. it's a powerful lie used to disarm me, i think. but that's not who i am. god has made me new, he works in me more and more every day, and he determines my future. i have firm faith that my father in heaven who gives all good gifts has good gifts for me. gifts beyond my wildest dreams.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

fun for one?

so i'm 28. i have a really solid job. it's not what i want to do forever, but it's a great place to work, i'm paid well, my boss loves me, and i was recently promoted(again). i don't have any debt, i don't have a car payment, and my rent is ridiculously cheap. i should have a big chunk of change in my savings account, right? it's not really a chunk. more like a chip. instead of a chunk, i have some pretty nice clothes, a good music collection, and a few other random things.

i'm ready to change that. i was thinking i should probably buy a house, so i need to start saving some cash. even if i don't buy a house, beefing up my savings account is a habit i'd like to be good at. things like grad school, a wedding, some kind of cool vacation, etc, would require some cash.

the house thing has been on my mind a lot lately. i'd looooove to be able to paint and tile and do all those kinds of projects. have a studio with a sink and a floor i could spill on. have a yard i could enjoy. have an actual big comfortable leather couch. but... the thought of owning a house all by myself is kind of... something. scary? intimidating? maybe.

they say you shouldn't put off the things you dream of doing just because you're not married. but what if you're pretty freaking sure you'd enjoy them a lot more with a spouse? the house thing, for example. it seems like so much more fun with a spouse. all those projects... by myself? sure, my dad would help, but that doesn't seem the same.

and on top of that, while i want a house, is that really the best use of my time/money? could i better serve god by remaining in my apartment and doing other things with that money?

i guess these are things to think about while i save money over the next year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

status check

aside from feeling a tiny little bit disappointed still, i really am fine. and it feels really good to feel fine. finally, after years and years, i've started to internalize god's truth about myself. if i could show you a movie of my life, with a voice over track of the thoughts in my head, you'd understand why this is such a big deal to me.

it's like i'm looking up at god, saying, oh my gosh i get it now! you're really right! i wish i could've gotten here sooner!

i still wonder a little why vb dude doesn't like me, and why i am 28 and still single, and why i have to endure this version of life while so many of friends get to walk on the more traveled path. but the questions don't sting so much this time around. there may be times in the future where they sting again, but i am so glad that right now they aren't. thanks for that, god.

oh and a random update.... i never followed up on things with seth... and i really want to because things with seth are great! we didn't talk for about a week, and then he emailed me and said he wanted to talk. we met up, he said he realized things were the way they were supposed to be, and that he wanted to be friends. so we're friends! almost immediately after we started hanging out again, he got set up on a date with a coworker's friend. this friday, he and this nice girl are going on date number 3! our friendship is great and he's dating someone else... pretty awesome, huh!? now if i could just meet someone worth going on 3 dates with...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

over before it began

so, i saw volleyball dude this weekend. i even got his number. and yup, i even called him. but by the time i called him, i knew it wasn't going anywhere.

he'd rsvp'd to the holiday party my friends and i threw saturday night. he even left a cute reference to us both having double first names on the evite. that got my hopes up! but when he came to the party, it was... different. the vb dude i chatted with a few weeks ago and this vb dude seemed like two different guys. when he left (he and his friends were heading to another party), he hugged me, but when i said 'i hope i get to see you again' or something along those lines, i didn't get much of a response. he just wasn't biting. i thought that was weird, but i was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

it was rather ironic when, an hour after he'd left, my friend drew him as the winner of two round trip airline tickets. i gathered my courage and offered to be the one to call him and tell him he'd won. what the heck, i thought; maybe he was nervous last night. maybe i should give this one more try. i think i was already feeling that i tried plenty, but well, one more shot, just to be certain. so i called him this afternoon. he answered, i told him he'd won and that i'd contact him again when i knew more about when the tickets would show up. we made some small talk, and that was it. he clearly was not interested.

and so today i found myself feeling a mixture of confused and disappointed. do i totally suck at reading guys? was he just buzzed that first time we met, and so he was more talky and flirty than usual? was he just being nice? and of course, the most logical question, what's wrong with me that he wasn't interested!? (yes, i know, nothing is wrong with me).

yuck. i hate all this stuff. i like to think i am smart and a good judge of if someone is interested. so what happened here?! i'll never know. in the meantime i feel very vulnerable and more than a little stupid. i know i shouldn't, but i do. i'll get over it.

one good thing is that i can see that i've grown a lot in the last few years. had this happened even 6 months ago, it probably would have wrecked me. i would have been so depressed, probably for a couple of days. but i'm ok. so this one quality guy doesn't want me. whatever. am i little hurt? yes. i took the afternoon to be kinda sad and yell at god a little bit. but all the while, i was thinking, ok, i'll be sad today, and then tomorrow i'll go back to being my fabulous self. one afternoon of sad is an allowable grieving period for this guy.

my identity is much more grounded in christ now. i truly believe i'm fabulous. god made me fabulous. if vb dude doesn't want to see it; fine, his loss. (though i do admit it's frustrating that he doesn't see it! what's wrong with him!? i mean seriously, if he isn't interested in a tall, model-thin, blue-eyed jesus-loving beautiful web designer (who recently got promoted to associate art director!) who throws fundraisers, makes awesome champagne punch, speaks italian and has a giant heart, then what the hell is he interested in!?)

ok. so... next?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

dating: work or wait?

i'm still thinking on this. why? maybe because i've tried both tactics, and so far neither one has yielded a spouse. the working thing, however, has yielded my trying new things (volleyball), meeting new people, and several mediocre dates. well, and that whole 'learning about yourself' thing. that was pretty important.

maybe working at meeting someone and trusting god are not mutually exclusive. maybe i can do both. work at meeting a guy while trusting god he'll introduce me to someone cool? woah. groundbreaking, eh? not really, i know. living with the tension, as bev so wisely pointed out to me in her comment on the previous post.

i'm also thinking it would be better if i didn't look at situations as so black and white. no, dating lots of different guys didn't immediately lead to me meeting a husband, and yes, that's kind of frustrating. but i learned about myself, learned about men, and i now have some more random stories to tell. same thing with not dating; i just have less stories from that time. neither one was all bad or all good.

it'd probably be a good thing if i pushed myself to try some different activities in an attempt to meet some new prospects. even if i don't meet anyone, other good almost always comes from trying new activities/service projects/etc. i have to admit i feel kind of lame when i think, oh, i'm trying random activity x so i can meet some guys, and i'm not sure why. it feels kind of fake or something. i think that's my own crap to get over, probably, though.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

more work? less work? i have no idea

i am comforted by the thought that god can do whatever he wants to do no matter what i do, because a lot of the time, i just don't know what to do.

on one hand, i want to wait on god. i want to be patient enough to let him do his thing without me messing anything up. i want my future husband to notice me because of who i am; my character, kindness, quirkyness, even my physical beauty. i don't want to feel like i have to scheme and plot and throw myself in front of him in order to get his attention.

on the other hand, i know guys aren't perfect. i know they can be insecure and that girls can be intimidating. i also know that most of them appreciate a sign from a girl who is open and interested. plus i don't want to miss out on something because i am sitting on my butt waiting for some dude to drop out of the sky. plus i don't want to put unrealistic (or maybe a better word is ungodly) expectations on a guy or on a future relationship.

i'm having trouble figuring out how much work or focus on dating is too much, or not enough, or just right. i used to think a relationship would just happen; it'd be a natural thing. i'd be doing my thing and some great godly guy would be doing his thing and our paths would cross somehow. there'd be some kind of mutual interest and then something would develop. but now i'm a little confused. i still want it to happen that way.... it's just not. i've been doing my thing for quite some time and it hasn't worked yet.

then i hear things that make me think i need to work at this more. don't get me wrong, i've done some work. i've taken multiple shots at internet dating, i've gone on a lot of dates with a lot of random guys, and i feel like i'm really open and outgoing. i meet new people relatively often. a while back evan emailed me and said he'd heard james dobson on the radio saying that if he really wanted to be married, he'd be working hard at it. he'd be going to new places and hanging with new people if he didn't see any options in sight. as in, if there's no fish in your little pond, go find a new pond. evan said that dobson was saying he would relocate to find love, move to another city, find new clubs or organizations, join a new church, reach out to new people.

woah. that's a lot of work. and i struggle with that. i really do want to be married. should i completely change my life and social habits if i'm not meeting anyone worth dating? should i focus on it more? or should i just let go, and instead focus on loving and serving god? it does seem like there are a lot of people who meet someone great when they least expect it; when they let go of searching and just live for a while.

ok. i'm going to marinate on this some more. you do the same.

Monday, December 03, 2007

waiting is hard and i'm not good at it

um, so i didn't last very long with the waiting. but it's not my fault!!
ok, so it's totally my fault. but i do put some of the blame on elisabeth elliott.

here's the deal. so today, i had a long IM conversation with a guy friend about volleyball dude (henceforth known as vb dude). i asked my friend if i should take one more shot at trying to send the message that i am both interested and available, or just wait and pray. we talked for awhile, and we both finally agreed that it would be totally ok for me to email the girl i know in his small group and ask her if she wouldn't mind inviting him to a christmas party we're having this weekend. so that's what i did.

but i really struggled with this. i read so many elisabeth elliott books in my formative years that i live in fear of pursuing a guy or being manipulative. i also spent my high school and very early college years being rather forward with a few of the guys i dated. and i don't like that. i don't like chasing boys, at all. i did it then out of desperation. and i'm not desperate anymore.

now that i'm an adult and i've read books like how to get a date worth keeping, and heard all kinds of great stories about how certain awesome christian couples got together, i don't know what to think (or do for that matter).

after sending the email and talking to a few friends (guy and girl), i feel like what i did was ok. all of my friends agreed that guys are often clueless and need help. they also agreed that it's no big deal. men appreciate knowing if a girl is open/receptive/interested or not. i never found out if this girl talked to vb dude after i mentioned that i met him and thought he was cool. so this was just a follow up.

of course, now i really have to be done. like, for serious! no more. i feel like i really have to let go of this and leave it up to god and this dude. so now i am waiting and praying. and trusting that the results, no matter what, are within his will.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

waiting... hard!!! that dude i met while playing volleyball several weeks ago has yet to reappear, and it's really annoying me. he's come up in conversation a few times with friends, and i've met a few more people who know him, but that's it. at work recently a girl came up to me and said, hey, so i hear you met volleyball guy! yes, i replied, i did... he's really cool. and that made me think, hmm.... ok, he mentioned me to his friend. that's a good sign, right? sure. i'll take what i can get. :-)

it's really kind of surreal. i feel like like we live in separate parallel universes. we know the same people, do similar things, attend the same church, but our paths only crossed one random time, and never again since.

i don't want to over-think this. he's just one guy, and i talked to him one time. but i don't meet many quality guys who really spark my interest, so when i do, i want to make sure i act accordingly. i put the word out with a girl i know who's in his small group. she knows that i met him and was interested. and that's really all i can do. i have to just wait and see.

but the waiting is so hard! holy crap. i really believe that as women we're supposed to be pursued. so i have made my interest known, tried to make myself available, and now i just have to wait and see. and that is just frustrating. to sit and trust god that his perfect will will happen without me messing around with things.

but i can DO this. i know i can. so i'm shutting up about this dude. i'm not asking anymore friends about him, i'm not going to whine to anyone else about how frustrating it is that i met him one time and haven't seen him since. if he really is quality and really is someone i should get to know, he and god will work that out. in the meantime, i'll just keep praying.......