Saturday, November 22, 2014

Single and Sanctified

I read a lot of mommy blogs. I don't know why. I am not a mommy. But one of the common themes of these blogs is how sanctifying motherhood is. For instance, you never really know how selfish you are until you have kids. Or, you have little ones looking to you to be an example every day. Or, some days are just so mundane and the kids are so whiny and you have to call on Jesus all the time.

Motherhood makes you holy, is what they're trying to say.

For a long time, I felt like maybe I wasn't as holy, or wasn't as "set apart" or just flat out wasn't as good as those married and mommied ladies. After all, being single means staying up late every night, watching my shows and eating bon-bons, right?

If only, friends. If only.

For me, being single looks more like running nonsense errands and spending money just for something to do. Being single means wasting a lot of food because cooking for one? The struggle is real, people. Being single after a certain age means a lot of weekends and evenings with only Netflix for company (I mean, OK, I am going to be real with you; sometimes that's a perk. But day in and day out? It gets old fast.). Being single means that sometimes, every bone in your body is aching to hold and be held, and it's almost physically painful, but there's really nothing you can do about it.

As it turns out, being single is its own sanctification. A long time ago, I pointed you to Steve DeWitt's post on being a single pastor. He's since married (you go, Steve DeWitt), but the way Jesus transformed Steve's single years still hold true. More recently, I stumbled upon Fabienne Harford's excellent post on the Gospel Coalition, "Sex and the Single Woman."

I don't know what to add to their wise words. Some tears, maybe, as I ponder both the weariness of the fight, and the assurance that Jesus is enough. That however intense my longings might be — for companionship, to be a little less lonely, to touch and be touched — there is something even better up ahead.

In Hebrews 11, we're presented a list of people we know from the Old Testament — people who didn't know about Jesus yet; they only knew that salvation was coming. They were confident God was faithful, and they hoped in Him, trusting that He would, indeed, make all things new someday. But all these people — Abraham. Sarah. Enoch. Isaac. Jacob. Joshua. Rahab. Moses. Gideon. Barak. David. Samuel. The prophets. And many more. — all of them died having never seen Salvation come. They didn't get to see the fulfillment of their longing, but they trusted that God was good.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. — Hebrews 11:13-16 (NIV)
And so God was not ashamed to be their God! He promised them a home, and He does the same for us now. In Jesus, in God's good plan, we have a refuge for our weary souls. Fellow singles, take heart. This means that even if we never get married, never become parents, or always feel on the outside as an unmarried, that God is still good. We can put our hope in something better up ahead — something better than committing ourselves to another person, or in coming together to create another one. Our hope is not just in our God who is, but in our God who is to come.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. — Revelation 21:1-7 (ESV)
When I wish I had someone to sit next to on the couch, I can be at peace knowing the Holy Spirit resides in me. When I feel like the weight of being single and of living alone might be more than I can bear, I remember that Jesus has promised that His yoke is easy, and His burden light, and that God's commands are not burdensome. When I'm tempted to believe the lie that I am not enough because I am single, the Lord is good to remind me that He has called me His, He has redeemed me, and He loves me. And when I am tired — just so tired — of having to wrestle with not just my own flesh, but against the schemes of the devil and the spiritual forces of evil, I can rest on His promise that He is coming soon.

Has there ever been a relief so sweet as that?

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Nostalgic Burrito

Today has been the perfect fall day. A hoodie, fuzzy shoes and binging on Sister Wives on Netflix. I'm also looking forward to 19 Kids and Counting and What Not To Wear marathons in the near future. The last time I watched those shows regularly was when I was in college, and cable was a given in the dorms. Of course, back then, there were "only" 17 Duggar kids. WHAT.

I've also been watching this part of Enchanted on repeat:

It speaks to me because it perfectly sums up my relationship with Henry Cavill. I mean, he doesn't know it, but that just makes our love story all the more beautifully tragic.

I have also engorged on candy, Cherry Coke and pizza, and even though I should be having 64 ounces of water for dinner to flush it all out, I just got back from a Chipotle run. I think what I'm trying to say is that I miss eating like I'm in college, even though that was so seven years ago.

I also miss my old place. Most of my stuff is in storage. I sleep on the spare twin-sized bed in my mom's "Spare 'Oom." All I have in this house is my TV, dresser and clothes. More than many people have, I know, and I'm not complaining. I just miss hanging out in my own house, surrounded by my own things, my preciouses.

One of the reasons for my Chipotle run was that Once Upon a Time was on tonight. When I lived alone, and even before my last roommate moved out, I/we would often grab Chipotle and hunker down with OUAT, which I desperately used to try to fill the Lost-sized hole in my heart. It's silly, but it was a comforting routine, one I looked forward to every week. So basically, I bought a nostalgic burrito because I miss my couch.

Nostalgic burrito
Make your own Nostalgic Burrito: White rice, peppers and onions, steak, tomato/mild salsa, a little bit of corn, and cheese. If I'm feeling feisty, I'll add guac, chips and/or salsa on the side.

What are your favorite TV rituals?

Just to set the story straight, no one asked me to sing Chipotle's praises. It's just that good, and my gushing is unsolicited.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Stuck in my Head Sunday: Do you hear the people sing?

Well, it took me four whole Sundays before I offered you a selection from Les Miserables. I'd say this is a sign of growth!

I have too many several versions of the Les Miz soundtrack. The 10th and 25th anniversary editions are regulars on my playlist and I unashamedly downloaded the 2012 movie soundtrack as soon as it became available on Amazon.

One of my favorite tracks on the 10th anniversary edition is the 17 Valjeans. Valjean portrayers from all over the world share a 17-part version of "Do You Hear the People Sing?", each belting the lyrics in the language of his home country (Starting with Norway, I believe it segues into the main chorus of the finale version. Hearing friends, correct me if I'm wrong!). It's not uncommon for me to keep this on repeat during my work commute. By the time I get to the office, I'm ready to vive la France like the French student revolutionary I am, natch.

When I was listening to this last week, I wondered, "Is this what heaven is going to sound like?" (Not that I think I can take Les Miz with me to be with the Lord, but a girl can dream.) I was struck by the imagery of these 17 men -- each singing in his own language but expressing the same hope, the same call to stand, the same view beyond the barricade -- and what a picture that must be of what it will be like when we are Home.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,

who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:9-10 

On a side note, the dream I dream would be to find (or develop) an all-sign version of Les Miz. Will you join my crusade? :)

Happy Sunday (night), friends! Be brave this week, and if you're going back to school, remember, Cherry Coke is your friend.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stuck In My Head Sunday: I love you most of all because you're you

Happy Sunday, friends! I was on "Tutu" (aunt) duty this weekend, watching my two-year-old nephew while his TWIN SISTERS were busy being born! Since I work during the day, I usually babysit him in the evenings, and am well-versed in the bedtime ritual. Naptime, however, is a different story, and I was at a bit of a loss yesterday when he kept begging me to sing "Mommy's Song." I stalled for a little bit by telling him, "Well, we're going to sing um, a few Grandma songs and then we'll sing Mommy's song." I frantically texted my mom and sister-in-law to find out what "Mommy's Song" was, and went through a few hymns I knew my mom sings to him (she, unlike me, knows all about naptime), as well as a few of my own. FINALLY, Grandma clued me in that he was probably looking for: "I love you, Samon/Oh, yes I do/I love you most of all because you're you."

How I didn't think of what can only be described as the family anthem on my own is beyond me, but I was finally able to usher him into the land of Nod with the right tune!

Today, at the hospital, I realized I'd been holding one of my nieces for an exceptionally long time (I'm a shameless baby hog. I admit it.) and offered her to my dad, whose arms were empty. "Oh, no," he assured me. "I'm just fine." I ignored him and placed baby Maggie into his arms and whaddya know? Papa melted into a puddle and almost immediately started crooning,

I love you, Maggie,
Oh yes, I do
I love you most of all
Because you're you

We love our sweet Grace, too!
Oh yes we do
We love you most of all 
Because you're you!

My brother and sister-in-law had told me that Mommy's other song is "You Are My Sunshine," so armed with the right music, I put my nephew down for another nap after lunch. Now listen, this is a kid who, for the better part of a year, has decided that he's done being rocked to sleep. After story and/or song time in the rocking chair, he slides off the lap and heads straight to bed. He can put himself to sleep, thankyouverymuch

Today, however, he curled up with me in the chair and I sang a mashup of "You Are My Sunshine" and "I love you most of all because you're you" until he fell asleep... in my arms. And friends, I'm not afraid to tell you I cried a little. And held him much longer than I needed to, because he's getting so big and I knew it was probably our last time to do that together. It was too dark in the room to get a good picture of us, but here's one of him from almost two years ago (!!!):

I love you, Samson
Oh, yes, I do
I love you most of all
Because you're you

I leave you with a montage of me trying to get a picture with all three kids. Hilariously unsuccessful.

Be brave this week, friends, and remember, you're loved because you're you!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Stuck in My Head Sunday: Sonnet 60

(I want to say this is a picture I took from the plane when it stopped in Albuquerque on my way home from visiting my cousin in Vegas a few years ago... but don't quote me on that.)
Happy Sunday, friends! I can't believe it, but I am loving this cool, rainy day in August. Truthfully, I'd been dreading this part of the summer, as the temperatures around this time last year were not playing nice. I realize things could still change, but for now, I'm reveling in the novelty of enjoying a day of the eighth month in the year of our Lord 2013.

Then again, I just got back from a massage, so maybe the post-rubdown euphoria just hasn't worn off yet. ;) Does anyone else think too much during their massage? Like, why is she spending so much time on my neck? Don't forget, you need to write that email when you get home. Should I stop to get gas tonight or in the morning? Finally, I told myself to just stop with all the thinks and enjoy the dang massage! So I let my mind wander on its own and it led me to one of my favorite Shakespearean sonnets:

Sonnet LX
By William Shakespeare

Like as the waves make towards the pebbl'd shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

After that, I was able to appreciate the rest of the massage sans annoying mental reminders from my "to do" list!

Be brave this week, friends, and cherish your moments!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I even strike out in my dreams

Guys, this is so embarrassing, I almost don't want to tell you. Almost worse than the time I peed my pants at the grocery store when I was 10. I reallyreallyreallyreallyreally had to go so I thought maybe I could just let a little slip out to relieve some pressure and, well, it went downhill from there.


(I should be way more embarrassed about that, considering I was, you know, 10, and supposed to have more control over my bodily functions. Instead, I'm sitting in front of this here blog cackling away at the hilarity of it all. Hindsight. It's a beautiful thing.)

ANYWAY, the real Embarrassing Fact About Me:

At age 30, I have never been:

In a relationship
or even....
On a date!

I know, right? To answer your imaginary questions, I don't know what's wrong with me, I do not bat for the other team (I like boys. Boys boys boys boys boys. Sorry, dad) and sure, we can talk about you setting me up with your best friend's brother's classmate's cousin's neighbor.

Before all you more experienced folks launch into (not so) helpful diatribes like, "Well, at least you never wasted your time with the wrong person!" or "It's better to be single than with the wrong person!" or "Just wait, the right person will come along when you stop looking for them!" (Here are my replies in order: "So true!" and "Amen, sir!" and "WHAT does that even mean?!")

As my mom pointed out the other day, if being single is so great, why aren't all the married folk (usually the dispensers of the sage advice above) single?

BOOM, roasted. And THAT'S why we don't mess with mamas. They know of which they speak.

Part of the reason for my singleness has to be my generous awkwardness with the opposite sex. I am oblivious, for one thing. I am pretty sure if some guy asked,

I would answer brightly, "Oh, just fine! How are you?!"


I even strike out in my dreams. I had this dream the other night that I got pulled over by a rather handsome cop, who fell somewhere between

Mike Vogel - source

Taylor Handley - source
Which is weird, because I don't normally go for blondes, but Subconscious wins this round. So, a little irrelevant but nonetheless quirky back story: In real life, whenever I get pulled over (I don't mean to imply that I get pulled over constantly. In fact, I only recently broke my 10-year streak of not getting pulled over. True story), I always feel compelled to put the officer at ease and over-explain what I'm doing. "Oh, you want my license? OK, it is in my purse, which is on the floor, so I'm going to reach over and get it." You know, so they don't think I'm about to pull a gun on them. Obvs.

Back to my dream. I was pulled over for speeding and Officer Handsome saunters up to my door. I roll my window down and he asks to see my license, which prompts me to begin my over-explaining ritual. I hand him my license and then say, "And my registration is in the glove box. I'm going to lean over and get it from the glove box now."

He glances at my license, likes what he sees (of course) and interrupts me. "Oh, ma'am," he says, grinning, "I don't need to see your registration."

Startled, I repeat, "You don't need to see my registration?!"

"Oh no," he says. "In fact, you're free to go." Flirty smirk. And hands me back my license.

Meanwhile, he has a criminal locked up in the back of his squad car, who has been watching the whole thing go down. Also, the squad car is parked in front of me, instead of behind, so clearly Officer Handsome has mad pulling-over skills. The criminal rolls his eyes and sputters, "Oh, just ask her out already! You clearly want to get together!"

Awkward laughter all around!

"Welllllll, ma'am," Officer Handsome offers smoothly, "do you date police officers?"

"Well, that depends, Officer," I murmur slyly, flirtatiously stroking my hair, totally unaware of how quickly I'm about to nosedive. "Do you date.... uhhh..... ummm..." Brain freeze. "... citizens?"


This was followed by another dream a few nights later that included one Mr. Channing Tatum. Oh, and not just any Channing Tatum. A version of him with FROSTED HAIR:

"Werk, Boi" says the source. "What is even happening," says Lucy.
He was only present for about .062 seconds before my dream took off into a series of unfortunate events that ended with me frantically texting my college friends, "If I don't make it back in time, just leave without me!" while being chased through a European villa/mall by a mobster. The highlight of Channing's cameo consisted of me asking him to have my picture taken with him and breathlessly complimenting him on his performance in White House Down, while he politely, albeit boredly, thanked me and moved on with his life.

So to recap, in a fantasy world where I can do anything I want with Channing Tatum, the best my imagination could conjure up was, "Hey, take my picture?" with Frost Hair (a fad that not even Mr. Tatum can redeem). Really? REALLY?

My love life is doomed, I tell ya! Both my consciousnesses (regular and sub) are working against me! RUDE.

What's your worst/most hilarious dating story? Or feel free to share an embarrassing "pee your pants" story. We all have them, right?

... RIGHT?

Uh, guys?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Nutella Toast with Strawberries

Listen. This is not a rocket science recipe. It's barely even a recipe; more like a feeble attempt to health-ify Nutella (anything whose first ingredient is sugar needs some justification). But if you love Nutella and strawberries, here's an idea to jazz up your breakfast or snack, or for those nights where you don't really feel like eating a dinner dinner, y'know?

You will need:

One or two slices of bread, depending on how hungry you are
Some strawberries, chopped

Toast the slice(s) of bread to desired darkness
Spread Nutella
Scatter chopped strawberries atop Nutella
Chomp and enjoy!

Now about this photo. Part of me feels obligated to apologize for its poor quality. Another part of me is like, "Meh, we can't all be photographers." The best I can do is make sure there's enough light (even if it means I have to put the photo subject in some wonky places) and remember the rule of thirds when I can. I know I said not to do everything half-baked, but a corollary to that would be, "It's OK to not be an expert at everything." In fact, if you try to master every single task, you will be mediocre at all and excellent at none. I've wasted time comparing myself negatively to bigger and better and prettier and well-photographed blogs out there... only to realize that I'm me, not them. And I'm come to terms with the fact that me is not a professional photographer, and me's OK with doing the best I can. ;)

So be brave, non-photographers! Post your crappy camera phone pics, your slightly blurry photos, your not-enough-light subjects. They're your memories to enjoy... so enjoy them!

Keep Calm and eat Nutella toast with strawberries.