There’s nothing to fear except, well, everything.


I’ve got a confession to make.  I’ve stared at this blank “new post” screen probably 8 times in the last week.  I sit and I stare at it.  I might write the first paragraph of this post, and then I chicken out and I delete it.  We’ll see where I get today.

I’ve come to the conclusion recently that I am a great big chicken.  In life.  In pretty much everything that I do… I’m just scared.  I’ve been feeling restless and uneasy and it all boils down to this:  I’m terrified of my life.  Maybe not terrified.  Maybe that’s extreme.  I’m generally apprehensive of my life.  That’s better.

I digress.

I know I haven’t been given a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).  I get that this does not come from God, and that I should be fighting this with everything in me (partnered WITH God).  But I don’t seem to be able to bring myself to do it.

Know what I’m scared of?

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Everything.  Well, and…. Change.

You see…. things keep changing.  But I want them to stay the same.

My friends get engaged, they get pregnant, they get married, they go back to school, they get into serious relationships, they get new jobs, they move away, we never talk anymore…. these things just happen.

I got a new job.  Now I have to face my fear of driving in the winter because some of the schools I have to go to are 75-80 km away from my house.  Each direction.  And right on Lake Erie.  That means snow storms!  And that means fear.  And I don’t like it.

I’m afraid to follow wholeheartedly after God because I’m afraid of what He might ask me to do.  I just spent an entire summer at Camp where I was supposed to learn and grow, and instead I stayed the same.  I sat in my comfort zone and wouldn’t let myself leave it because… well… it’s scary.

And now I have this new job, and I’ve left my work friends, and I feel a touch like I’m in over my head.  And I don’t know how to process that because in 2014-2015 I was comfortable.  And now I’m not.

I’m afraid to try to play the guitar because what if it’s too hard?  Even though I learned to play the violin as an adult… my skills combined with God’s faithfulness in the past has proven that I legit have nothing to be afraid of, and that fear isn’t worth the effort or the hassle… yet here I am.

I’m afraid to try dating because… well that’s a whole other world of crazy right there.  Every time I do it I seem to end up with nothing but ridiculous stories that would make me more of a successful author than a successful wife.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/celestinechua/10725012123/
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Dorothy Thompson Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live
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Karen Salmansohn When your faith is stronger than your fears, you can make your dream happen
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If you read this blog and you know me personally, please don’t feel like you need to call me and say “I read your blog.”  I am working through this.  But if you know me personally, you also know that I write better than I think or talk (which I don’t understand but whatever), and that this is how I process.  I am processing.  I don’t need to talk about it, because I’m doing the equivalent of that right now.

Fun Fact:  I’m also afraid to hit publish because this feels like a big confession right now… that I’m scared of everything… but it feels kind of like if I don’t hit publish and put it out there for the world to see and comment on (all 18 of you who actually read my posts…) then I’m going to have to pay someone for a therapy session where I sit and fumble my way through explaining this less articulately, when I could have just spat it out in writing on the interwebz and achieved the same result.  (longest sentence ever, man alive… maybe I’m not even a good writer…)

Ok…. time to hit publish save draft and go have a shower.  Cuz…. I might as well mull on this some more.

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Dancing with Myself


I went to a wedding this weekend.  It was beautiful, it was lovely, it was awesome!  It was my brother’s wedding, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.  It was my little brother’s wedding.

He’s not that little, I mean, he’s 27.  I am 29 and my wedding hasn’t happened, and I’m totally ok with that, because I haven’t found someone I want to walk down the aisle with, and I refuse to settle.

The thing is, a couple times during the evening, I was told the following things:

“You’ll never get a boyfriend if you keep doing that [taking ridiculous selfies].”
“I hope you can find someone to be happy with.”
“Your time will come.”

The ‘your time will come’ didn’t bug me quite as much because it wasn’t quite so condescending, despite the fact that I don’t think any of them were meant to be condescending.  In fact, I suspect the last two were meant to be encouraging, but… anyway.

The first one made me jump to my own defense.  See, normally I’ll take those comments and accept them, assuming that perhaps the person is right and I am doing something that’s keeping me single.  After reading a blog post though about food shaming and a lady who stood up for herself, I decided I’d do the same.  The conversation went down like this:

Me:  (sitting taking ridiculous selfies of myself at the dinner table)
Someone:  You’ll never get a boyfriend if you keep doing that.
Me:  No.  I don’t think that’s true.  There’s someone out there who will love me for all that I am, stupid selfies and all…. and if there isn’t, well, then I’ll be happy being single because I don’t want to change just to get a guy to like me.

I felt pretty proud of myself, because normally I internalize that stuff, but while I do believe the person who said it was just telling me something they thought would be helpful information, I don’t believe it to be true for a second.  I’ll find someone someday with a silly side who loves that I take stupid selfies.  It’d be awesome if he’d even lean in for a couple every once in a while.  I’ve been taking selfies since before selfies were cool… legit… I’d turn my disposable cameras around backwards and then be mad when I’d develop the film and half of the pictures were of half of my face cut off because it’s hard to angle them when you can’t see a screen.  Technology has made them a lot easier!  I’ll post some of mine from my bro’s wedding for you to see… haha I figured I wasn’t gonna look that dolled up again until my own wedding day.  Some people say they’re attention seeking.  Some say they’re narcissistic.  I think they’re just plain fun, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

 

To “I hope you find someone to be happy with” I responded that I’m already happy, and that a man can make me miserable if he’s not a good choice, so I’m not just going to settle for someone for the sake of being with someone.

 

Lastly, to “your time will come” I simply said “thank you.”  This person was pretty much a stranger, and didn’t really know me, so had no way of knowing that I don’t resent my lil bro for getting married before me.  Also, can I tell you how much I LOVE my sis-in-law?  My brother’s got fantastic taste.

 

With my new-found self-confidence that evening, I got out on the dance floor and danced like no one was looking, even though people were watching.  This is not like me, I promise.  I had grandparents watching, and sometimes they were laughing… because, well, I was doing the lawnmower and the shopping cart… I deserved to be laughed at haha.  But you know what?  I had fun.  I dragged my grandmother out on the dance floor, and I taught her how to slow dance.  That was so much fun, and it’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.  My grandma had never danced before, and she even came out on the dance floor during a fast song and started shuffling and moving her arms to the beat… determining that “I think it’s just about having fun!”  and she’s right.  So it doesn’t matter who’s watching.  It doesn’t matter if anyone thinks you don’t look amazing.  It doesn’t matter if all you know how to do is shuffle to the beat or jump up and down (hello high school lol).  My step-Dad taught me how to polka, and it was fun!  and I don’t care if I didn’t look good doing it.  My Grandma was right, it’s just about having fun.

 

Anyway, selfie time!  Here they are!  Allow me to state that as someone who enjoys taking pictures very much, the ability to play with the light from behind me, whether it be from the sun-reflected lake or bouncing off the glorious fall leaves… it’s fun.  I suspect the admonition that stupid selfies won’t get me a boyfriend probably comes more from the 2 silly ones (which, by the way, I didn’t post on Facebook and am only putting here to make a point), but anyway…. here they are.

 

 

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When we don’t realize what we’re saying


I am single.

That’s not a secret.

At this point, it’s not my choice.  At most points, it hasn’t been my choice.

As a result, I don’t have kids.

Again, not my choice, because I’m not married and while I admire single parents and hold them in high esteem, it’s not something I see myself entering into by choice.

There are a bunch of articles floating around the interwebz about “the things that single people are tired of hearing” and normally, I don’t share them, but since I’m writing this out of a place of genuine emotion, I’m doing it now, on account of …. I’ve dealt with every single one of those.

Disclaimer:  I want to tread lightly here.  Before I go further, I should point out that I’m quite sure that there are things that married people and parents are tired of hearing, too.  I’m certain of it.  I don’t know what they are… I do my best not to gripe about this to my married friends.  We don’t talk about this.  But I’m sure there are things.  In fact, some of you might be annoyed with what I’m about to say.

But…

Here it is.

“Just wait til you have kids.”

This is how the conversations go:

“What’d you do last night?

“Ordered a pizza and watched Netflix for 6 hours.”

“Ugh, I wish!  Just wait til you have kids.  I never watch TV anymore.”

The one that stung the most was “I don’t think we’re really the best teachers we can be until we have kids.”  While that one wasn’t said to me or directed at me, it happened.  I said nothing, because I know your intent wasn’t to hurt me.  I know that.  I know I was just in the room while you were reflecting on how being a parent has made you a better teacher…. but it still hurt a little bit.  Because I may never get that.

And you know what?  Fair.  You’re busy.  I get that.  Kids are busy.  I watch you guys parent your kids and I think you’re superstars.  There’s a big part of me that has considered in a very real way whether I’m selfless enough for kids.  It’s a lot to give up.  It’s a lot of freedom that you no longer have, and I see that.  I don’t know how you do it coming home from working all day long to parenting your kids with everything you have in you.  Especially my teacher friends…. you spend all day with little kids, and then go home to kids of your own.  I know it’s not the same kind of care, but trust me when I tell you I legit think you’re superstars.  Also, if I’ve met your kids, please know that there’s a pretty good chance that I love them to death.  If you’re important to me, so are your kids.  I love your children because I love you.

But when your answer to asking what I did the night before, or what I did on the weekend, or what I like to do with my free time is to shake your head and say “just wait til you have kids,” I don’t think you realize how much that hurts…. because I’d give my left arm to be able to have kids right now… but it just hasn’t worked out yet.  It might never work out, and I have to be ok with the possibility of that reality or I’m going to be miserable until I die.  I’m only not-even-30-yet so if I never get married, that’s a long time to not be married and not have kids.  It’s also enough time for it to still happen, and I totally understand that, but I have to be ok with the possibility of it not going the way I’d like.

I understand that I could do other things.  I do enjoy Netflix though, especially since I just discovered it on Monday (oh my gosh, do you watch Suits!?).  But while I am single, and while I have no children, I have chosen that instead of sitting home and wallowing, I will do what I’d like with my free time.  If that means that I watch Netflix for 6 hours, then sometimes, that’s what it means.  Sometimes it means I take my dog on nice, long walks.  Sometimes I play my violin for hours until my fingers are numb.  Sometimes I go to Bible Study.

I can’t have kids right now.  At this moment, where at 10 pm on Saturday I’m sitting on my couch alone watching TV, I wish that I had a baby monitor on and that I was listening to make sure kids were still sleeping.  I wish I was hanging out with my husband.  But… that’s not my reality.  When you’re putting your kids to bed, please know that I would rather be putting mine to bed than watching TV at most times.

So when I tell you that I watched Netflix for six hours straight, and you wish you could go back in time to that, it would probably do us both a lot of good to remember that there are plenty of times that I’d like a time machine to propel me forwards.

Can we all just be happy with what we have, instead?

No one gets hurt that way.

Thanks.

This too shall pass…


It was hot today… but… Canada hot.  And I know I’ve never really been anywhere that has real hot.  Washington, DC on the 4th of July might count, but I don’t know if it does.  I’ve never been anywhere near the equator, a desert, or a jungle.  I’ve only ever experienced Canadian hot.  So take my assessment with a grain of salt…

Allow me to geek out for a moment when I say that my favourite part of this part of the year, this mid-May mid-Springtime bliss, is the thunderstorms.  Cold fronts meet warm fronts.  High pressure systems meet low pressure systems.  The battle lines get drawn in the atmosphere and we get to watch the spectacular fight to see who wins.

Today was one such day.  I was sitting in my basement watching the finale of The Voice after work.  I had a very, very hard day and getting through it was enough of a chore that I just wanted to turn my brain off.  The trouble was though that I didn’t turn off my brain at all, because it was the first time I’d been able to sit down at my computer for longer than 10 minutes in a little over a week, which left me with almost 100 new emails to read — mostly blog posts from other bloggers I love.

The utter difficulty of pretending to hold myself together through this day, and knowing that there are others just like it coming, made the idea of cooking myself my own dinner sound really unappealing.  Remembering my colleague’s leftover Chinese food today at lunch, I caved and I called my order in.

You see, from my basement, the world outside looked peachy keen.  It appeared to be sunny and I knew it was warm.  I stepped outside though to go pick up my dinner, and because this was a rare occasion that I forgot my phone, I can’t show you what I saw from the parking lot.  I’ll have to tell you.  There had been thunder rumbling behind my house to the South West, complete with the blackening sky and the ominous calm stillness to the air.  The thunder rumbled low and constant, maybe 15 seconds at a time.  I just stopped and listened for a moment… while to the North and the East, the sky was blue, the clouds white and puffy.

Parking lots haven’t been my friend these last 24 hours, so being stopped in my tracks in sheer awe while standing in the middle of one wasn’t what I expected this afternoon.  But that’s precisely what happened.  I got out of my car to run in and pay for my dinner, and I literally stopped and stared.  I’m mad that I didn’t have my phone.  To the East, a beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds was arced with a vibrant rainbow.  To the South and West, the sun fought hard to pierce through the darkness threatening to engulf it, and the rays shone through, but only a few.  To the South West you could see the shelf lines – the lines where cold meets warm and high pressure meets low.  The front had drawn its battle lines.  It seemed like it wouldn’t be long before the sun was swallowed by the ominous looking thunder clouds.

This whole analogy feels kind of like my soul.  The light is trying to pierce through.  I’m trying to shine my way through darkness that threatens to swallow me up, and right now it feels like the darkness is going to win.  Those thunder clouds are going to get my sun.  But that rainbow reminds me of a promise made so many, many years ago…. and I know that the sun never loses the battle for long.  And I can cling to that.

I got home and grabbed my phone, and took a stroll up and down my street.  As I walked for just a few minutes, I once again heard the constant rumble of the thunder, but at the same time I listened to the birds chirping and the mourning doves singing their sorrowful song.  I love mourning doves.  And I wonder… the birds have to know that something’s brewing up there.  Animals sense things much better than we do, and I could sense it.  Did the birds know it wasn’t going to be as bad as it looked?  Is that why they were still being brave and carrying on with their day?  Do they know a secret that I’m not in on?

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All of this reminded me of that saying — Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.  Normally, I’d say I agree with that statement, but in this case I just don’t.  I can’t get behind that this time around.  And so in this stormy season I may not be dancing, but I will be clinging to the promise of that rainbow.  This too shall pass.

Cuz the funny part….. it didn’t rain until 6 hours later than expected, and the severe warned storm just never showed up.

 

On Mentorship


I’m not sure when I got old…. but somewhere along the way I guess I sort of did.

It doesn’t feel like it was THAT long ago that I was in teacher’s college, trying to get my feet underneath of me in a pretty challenging world.  I was trying to learn how to teach.  I was trying to learn how to take the stuff that I knew — mostly a compilation of useless random facts that have been filed and categorized into something somewhat mildly useful — and impart it to rooms full of young, mostly only semi-interested minds.

It doesn’t feel like it’s been THAT long since I sat down at my kitchen table in a small little farming community in the Niagara Region, poring over applications to teacher’s college and wondering where I was headed.  Would I be accepted to Western, and move to London?  It was what I wanted.  Would I be accepted to Nipissing, and move to North Bay?  Would I be accepted to Trent, and move to Peterborough?  Would I be accepted at all??  It became this kind of existential crisis where my entire future (or at least, what I thought I knew of it) started to hinge on the essays, the grades (which weren’t great, hence the existential crisis), and the shoddy list of volunteer experiences.  I was afraid I’d end up moving to New Zealand to get my education (because Christmas on a beach), and my Momma was afraid I’d leave and meet a guy at the beach, never to return.  Luckily (for my Momma I suppose), this was not the case, and to Peterborough I traipsed off… flung very quickly into placements where all of a sudden, I was responsible for the learning of teenagers.  Once upon a time, I thought I wanted to teach 14-18 year olds… my how times have changed — My most popular Facebook posts are quotes from my Kinders and my Grade 1s.

Because I went to teacher’s college in what’s called the Consecutive route, I just did one year of schooling focused solely on teaching.  There’s also this deal called concurrent education, where students take education courses interspersed through their undergraduate work, and do placements on Mondays until the end of their time in school, when they start to do multiple week blocks instead.

My first placement was a tutoring block where I spent 3 weeks working daily with a few different kids, pulled out of their classes, to focus on reading skills and help them with writing.  I was privileged enough to work under an amazing mentor.  She was my first associate teacher, and she and I developed a solid mentor/mentee relationship in just under a week.  It was Cindy who I felt was the only one I could go to to ask questions like “how do you be a Christian and work in public schools?” when all my professors were making it sound like it would be impossible.

My next was teaching Grade 9 Core French.  My associate teacher in that one helped me SO MUCH in understanding that there’s more to teaching French than being able to speak it.  She gave me the skills I needed in three short weeks to help translate more than the language — she showed me how to translate the passion I had for kids to learn it, both in how she taught and in the feedback she gave me.  I truly valued her mentorship.

Being in a consecutive program, we had “extended blocks.”  I had 10 weeks in one placement.  Over an hour from my house in Peterborough.  My associate teacher and I clashed in nearly everything we talked about.  Her ideas about how I should be teaching were not mine, but I assumed I just didn’t know better.  After all, my knowledge base in Grade 11 Anthropology and Travel & Tourism was non-existent, so I assumed I just didn’t know what I was doing.  I felt like I tried to be what I was being asked to be, and it wasn’t working.  I was miserable, and I almost dropped out of teacher’s college during that 10 week placement.  It took many, many tearful conversations with my Mom on the phone to convince me to just stick it out and if it wasn’t what I wanted after all, I’d at least have my expensive piece of paper.

I didn’t realize it then… in fact, I didn’t realize it until last year… but our mentorship relationship was not well suited.  We didn’t fit.  While she was a fantastic teacher, she wasn’t the teacher that I saw myself being, or that I thought I even could be because our personalities were so different, and so I had a difficult time learning from her.  I had the feeling that she expected me to teach like her.  That may not have been her intention, but I felt intimidated.

Fast forward a few (*cough* 6) years, and now all of a sudden, somebody somewhere considers me old enough, experienced enough, and mature enough to mentor others.  I started last year with my first student teacher, and it took me a while to feel comfortable in that role.  Mentoring someone else… teaching someone how to teach…. when did I become responsible enough to pull this off?

At 3:30 this afternoon, I said goodbye to two more student teachers.  I took on a 3rd year student teacher in October, and then when the opportunity arose to take on a first year student who would be mentored by the third year (and by me), I signed up.  It was an incredible opportunity for me, and, judging by the difficult goodbye the three of us experienced this afternoon, I suspect it was meaningful for them as well.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on the value of a solid mentor in the last few weeks, but particularly in the last week as they finished up a solid week block (instead of just being in on Mondays).  It just hadn’t occurred to me that I could be seen as a solid mentor.

I don’t feel old enough, responsible enough, mature enough, or experienced enough for this to have happened…. but somewhere along the line it seems to have.

What about you?  Have you ever found yourself in a spot where you were mentoring someone?  Have you been mentored?  How was that experience for you?

photo 3(5)I nearly wept…. couldn’t even handle it… I’m gonna miss those girls.

 

 

Happy Flipping Valentine’s Day


**That title is very much the PG version of what I wanted to call this post… I decided to behave :p**

This year, I’d determined that I was not going to let Valentine’s Day get me down.  I was doing really, really well with that actually until about 1 pm.  I got slammed with a cold.  I was teaching Grade 2 Drama and my head plugged up, I couldn’t finish sentences without sneezing, and the kids were all like “you sound funny!”

I know, right?  Funnier than usual, of course 😉

I’m supposed to be headed away for the weekend, since in Ontario it’s Family Day weekend and it’s a long weekend.  Wooo!  No school on Monday!  I’m picking my brother and his fiancée up on my way, and it’s supposed to be fun.  I was supposed to go away two weekends ago as well, to see a bunch of my Camp peeps… and I got sick then, too.

You see, this is the curse of working with children who don’t blow their noses, who sneeze directly onto my arm without covering my mouth, and who insist on hugging me all. the. time whilst snot drips from their noses.  And you’d think that by Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2… they’d have figured out that these things are not ok.  Well… some of them haven’t.  They share their germs quite freely.  I’ve been sick off and on since November…. more on… but I digress.

I was having a really good Valentine’s Day until I got sick, and then came home and opened Facebook.  I should have known better than to open Facebook when I was already feeling icky, but Facebook did me in.  When I opened it up, I found that….

  • Several of my friends received beautiful bouquets of roses today
  • Several of my friends are going out for lovely dinners this evening
  • Some of my friends are going out with their friends to celebrate their singleness together (which I’d totally be doing if not for the snot coming out of my own nose… bahaha)
  • Many of my friends are chilling with their kids
  • Every blog I follow has posted about Valentine’s Day… all week.
  • A friend’s Dad drove all the way out to her home to deliver her flowers, a Starbucks card, and a card just for her.  My heart melted.
  • One friend has posted honeymoon pictures

Now, this side of a spoonful of Buckley’s, I have a bit of a better perspective.

I love my God, my friends, my family, my job, my students, my house, pretty much my life… I don’t need to be upset because I lack any of the things in that point form list on Valentine’s Day for a couple of reasons.

  1. It’s one day a year, and it’s highly over-commercialized …. therefore its sole purpose isn’t for love, it’s for money.
  2. I was completely content with everything in my life … um… yesterday.  So this is silly.
  3. I am genuinely happy that all of the people in my life have things that they can look at and be truly thankful for.  We’re all blessed.

So instead of burying myself under my blankets and crying or moping about the things I don’t have, I choose to be thankful for the many, MANY things I DO have.  I think that I will go to the store, and I will buy some conditioner (I’m almost out, and I’m going away all weekend.  Bad news bears.), and then I will hit the Tim Horton’s Drive Thru for some soup.  What else would any good Canadian girl do when she’s not feeling well?  If it can’t be cured by Timmy’s Chicken Noodle and some Buckley’s, you might as well buy a gravestone.

This post was brought to you by Buckley’s — the giver of perspective (because it’s the clearer of heads).  Also brought to you with indirect support from Tim Horton’s and WordPress.

“I’m Sexy But No One Knows It” — Thoughts From a 29 Year Old Virgin


What a topic.  My friend Darcie over at Darcie The Kindred Spirit is doing her blog on a theme called “The Sessions on Sex” for the month of February.

She’s asked me to guest post for her on singleness and celibacy.

I’ve posted on singleness many times.  I’ve been single for the better part of my 29 years on this planet.  There was a brief stint in high school (like 11 days brief) where I technically had a boyfriend, though I’m not even sure at this point that I count that.  I’ve dated a bit, but haven’t been out on more than two dates with anyone since then.

And this is the shocking part.

I’m OK with that.

But I’ve never once talked about celibacy in this platform before.  I’ll be honest when I admit that I’m a little nervous to write this.  And I’ll also admit that it’s one thing to write it with the intention of handing it over to Darcie, but I’m nervous to post it on my own blog …. to my own readers.

I’m single.  I’m also a virgin.  I have a few reasons for having made that choice, and for having maintained it all these years.  And this may be surprising, but the reasons for still being single and a virgin run deeper than “because the Bible tells me so,” although that’s a completely valid reason.

Firstly, I’m single mostly by choice.  I haven’t found anyone yet for whom I’m willing to give up the independence I’ve grown to love deeply.  But I also have a lot of experience in watching absolutely broken relationships, as well as phenomenal ones.  As a result of the combinations of those, I’ve made a conscious decision not to settle.  If it means I’m single until the day that I die, I’m ok with that.

Before I came to grips with this for myself, before I was really ok with that (even though I’ve been saying it for a long time), I had many people tell me that it’s better to be single than in a bad relationship.  I knew deep down that they were right… I did.  But it was very hard to internalize that.  When you look at a good relationship though… a really good relationship… you see the things that are worth waiting for.  They respect each other.  They have each others’ best interests at heart.  They share a common love of Jesus (when they’re Christians — I’m not at all saying that healthy relationships don’t exist outside of Christ, they do… I just don’t want to be in one of those).  They know how to disagree with each other.  They share common values and aren’t completely opposed to each other on really key things like how they raise their kids.  They’re friends — they know how to relate to each other in all circumstances because they do life together.  They share a sense of humour.  They’re equally committed to the success of their relationship.

I am holding out for a relationship with a man who can share that kind of relationship with me…. even if it never happens.  In the meantime, I have incredible friends – I’m so blessed.  I have a family who loves me dearly.  I have a church community that I love.  I have great interests and things that I invest my time in while I continue to become the best version of myself I can be in Christ.  I’ve waited this long, I don’t intend to settle for less than wonderful.

Now… something that goes hand in hand with this is that I’ve never had sex before.  Absolutely, it’s something I’d like to do at some point… and I won’t talk about that any more 🙂 …. but I made a decision really early on in my young years that just like the Bible instructed me to do, this was something I’d like kept for my husband.  It’s my sincere hope that when I do find a husband, he’s done the same for me, though I hope if that’s not the case that I can be full of grace and understanding.

But for me it’s more than just a “because the Bible tells me so” kind of commitment.  I’m a product of the youth group era where we glued paper together and showed the damaging effect sleeping around can have … we get all torn up and we’re damaged.  And then I grew up and realized how terrible of a message that is without the other half of it — we’re covered by grace and there is beautiful redemption in the arms of Jesus if we didn’t make it to marriage.  I have an issue with the amount of shame that was pushed on me while I was a teenager, and it pains me to know that we’re still preaching the same rhetoric without the love and grace.

Anyway — beyond the Biblical reasoning, beyond the possible diseases, beyond all of those typical reasons… my biggest reason for keeping sex inside of marriage (if I ever get there) has come in the last couple of years, when I would say I’ve really owned this decision and made it for myself and really thought it through.  My biggest reason has come from something really profound that a couple of friends of mine (who are married to amazing men) have expressed to me.  The type of relationship you have with your partner outside of the bedroom will impact the type of relationship you have with your partner inside the bedroom.  It would stand to reason then that it’ll be better if I wait until I’m in an awesome relationship… and if I’m holding out for a God-glorifying relationship before I commit to giving up my singleness, why wouldn’t I hold out for the God-glorifying sex that goes along with that?

I think that the people who claim that you can’t really know someone until you’ve slept with them (I had a guy try to pull that one on me after we’d spoken on the phone once… ick!), are wrong.  Because while I know that this isn’t a popular stance in the culture I’m in, God’s designs for us aren’t meant to be culturally popular.  In fact, normally they’re counter-cultural…. and I’ll trust the designs of my Creator who knows best for me before I’ll take the advice of my culture.

This post first appeared at darciethekindredspirit.com.

Are YOU my husband?


When I was younger, this book came out called Are You My Mother?  I thought it came out much earlier than it did… my experience reading it must have been to groups of young children… because it came out when I was in Grade 8 so I guess it’s not something that my Mom would have read to me.

Anyway, if you haven’t read it, the premise of the book is this:  This baby bird starts to hatch, and its mother decides it’s going to need something to eat when it comes out.  Well wouldn’t you know it, after the mother bird has flown off to get ready to feed her baby, the egg hatches, and this poor baby bird wonders where its mother is.  He winds up out of the nest, hopping around like the precious, lost little baby bird that he is, and he hops up to many things, asking “Are you my Mother?”  The dog says no, the construction equipment says no… pretty much everything says no.

To be truthful, I honestly can’t even remember how the story ends… so you’ll have to watch it yourself…

I was talking to someone yesterday, and we were talking about being single and online dating a little bit.  I asked her if she ever feels like every time she goes somewhere new, she’s sizing up who’s in the room, wondering if she might meet her husband there.

I’ll confess I’ve done it.  I don’t do it all the time, thankfully… I think that’d drive me over the edge… but I’ve done it.

I compared it while talking with her to that little baby bird… I sometimes feel like I hop from new setting to new setting, and like maybe I’m sending off this “Are you my husband??” vibe to every single man in the room.  I don’t mean to, but it’s hard sometimes not to be thinking ‘maybe I’ll meet my husband here!’

It’s funny though, because I have actually never been more content with being single than I am right now (we’ll see how I feel in ten months when I turn 30, haha), but those habits are so engrained that it’s hard to convince my brain that we’re not on the lookout for the first man with no ring.

And… to end this post on kind of a bummed out note… I thought that this analogy — my comparison of myself to the baby bird in Are You My Mother? — was really original.  I found it extremely humorous… and I had a brief moment this afternoon while thinking through this post in my head where I thought it’d be kind of neat to write a book in the same style as Are You My Mother? but change it to Are You My Husband? and kind of make fun of myself in the process in a children’s-book style.

I went to Amazon though to find Are You My Mother? to link into this post…. and I found this brilliant, yet terribly disappointing gem called Are You My Boyfriend?

Not gonna lie…. I might buy it.

One Word for 2014. Some goals, and my favourite posts from 2013.


I had actually already thought about my New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 when I read She Loves Magazine’s One Word idea for the year.  I’ve decided to combine this with Mama Kat’s writing prompts, and add in my top 12 blog posts from 2013 and to talk about some Resolutions, or anti-resolutions if you will.

Here’s what I love about this one-word idea, to get myself back on track.

You pick one word for 2014.  Not a bunch of New Years’ Resolutions.  Not a bunch of lofty probably unattainable goals that you’ll be discouraged over later.  No.  One word.  I had already thought about it.  I had already given 2014 enough thought to decide that the only thing I’ll be ‘resolving’ is this:  value.  I will value myself.  I will value those around me.  I will refuse to devalue myself on account of things of this world.  I will wrap my value up in things of Christ, knowing that that’s where my true value is to be found.  I described this idea to my parents as “I will be less hard on myself,” but when I saw the One Word idea put out by She Loves, I wracked my brain for one word.

So the things I’m not resolving to this year, because I’ve resolved to them every year and failed:

I’m not going to put a number on weight loss.  Instead, I’ll value myself enough to make healthy choices, and if that results in weight loss — awesome.

I’m not going to put a kilometre goal on running.  I haven’t been able to run in such a long time because of a stupid ankle injury from LAST CHRISTMAS that I may stick with boxing and take up swimming instead anyway :p  I will value myself enough to know that I don’t need to obsess, and that if I don’t get in a certain number of kilometres or minutes or whatever… accomplished in a week, that doesn’t mean I’m a failure or that I should be so hard on myself.

I’m not going to put a ‘I hope to be in a committed relationship before I’m 30’ marker on this year, because that doesn’t value my singleness or myself AS a single individual.  I will instead recognize that I have value whether single or coupled.  Besides, I’m currently rocking the preferable term, ‘independently owned and operated.’

I have a few things I’d like to accomplish this year, certainly, but these things have less to do with beginning a new year, and more to do with being a person who likes to set goals for herself.  Most notably, I’d like to rock the violin this year.  I’m starting a 52 week money saving challenge with the end goal being a stellar (probably refurbished) violin which was not made in China and which will not break as easily (mine’s currently with a repair guy and I have a borrowed one.  Handing it over to a stranger was like turning over my baby.  It was sad).  I actually may have a resolution for 2015… I’d really like to enter the Canadian Open Fiddling Competition held every year in Shelburne.  I went with my Grandparents for the first time this past August… and I was enraptured.  I don’t think I’ll be ready for this August.  Maybe next year though 😉

Ann Voskamp summarizes really well my thoughts on heading into 2014.  I want to fall forward, not stumble backwards.  Check this out.  Wonderful words, here.

And as I get ready to usher in 2014 with One Word, I’m going to bid 2013 farewell with a few of my favourite blogs from this year (both my posts and those that I follow).  I’ll do 12 of each.  One for each month, I suppose.  Check out Sarah Bessey’s post along the same idea.

First:  Blogs I followed.

Tim and Olive, Olive To Run, A Holy Experience (Ann Voskamp), Jen Hatmaker, Sarah Bessey, Megan Gahan, Sometimes Screaming Helps (Sarah Richardson), Holley Gerth, She Loves Magazine, The Young Woman’s Bucket List, Mama’s Losin It, Darcie the Kindred Spirit, The Road To Rome, Avoiding Neverland (I know… that’s 14.)

Second:  My top 12 posts from 2013.

1.  My ‘2nd Blogiversary Post — I Will Not Humour the Cray Crays.‘  I wrote this just kind of summarizing my most recent dating experiences, and didn’t expect it to get kind of out of hand.  Blog Her picked it up and featured it and it got like 1300 views or something insane like that.  For a fairly newbie blogger, it just blew my mind.

2.  I Am Not Bible Barbie.  This was another one that kind of blew up on me.  I had decided that I’d had enough of being held to this impossible standard by potential suitors, and some friends and I were talking about it at church, and this happened.  And then 450 views happened.  It was my first big post, and the first one that blew up without help from anything else.

3.  The More Boys I Meet, The More I Love My Dog.  I’d been on an AWFUL date.  Seriously, read the story.  I decided that I’d better channel it into good writing that would get new readers, lest I sit around and mope.  It was good therapy 🙂

4.  I Don’t Want to Marry Bible Ken.  The day after I wrote I Am Not Bible Barbie, it occurred to me that I had picked on guys for holding us women to this impossible standard, when we do the same thing to them, and that I don’t want to keep looking for the ‘perfect’ guy.  Read on to find out why 🙂

5.  Singleness is not a disease, nor a curse, nor an affliction… nor is it a problem of mine for others to solve.  I wrote this post about a year ago.  Someone obviously had a ‘solution’ to my singleness problem.  I haven’t re-read these posts, so I don’t remember what prompted it, but it sounds angsty.

6, 7, 8, and 9 were parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 in a series of stories I wrote about a girl named Anna (fictional) who was sold into the sex trade.  I wrote it for The Exodus Road, an organization which works to spread awareness about sex trafficking and the work that’s being done to combat it.  Read Part 1 here.  Part 2 is herePart 3 is hereAnd Part 4 is here. Please read them.  They were hard to write because the details were supplied by Exodus Road, and I knew they were technically fictional, but it was gut-wrenching to think that even though I was making this up, it could very easily have happened in real life.

10.  How I Feel About Endings — A Tribute to My Buddy, Jack.  Hardest post to write this year probably.  I wrote it in the days before we had to have one of my Mom’s dogs, Jack, put down… he was very sick, we had no choice, really.  But it was really hard.  So hard.

11. A Picture’s Worth A Whole Lot… Apparently.  I updated my profile pictures on the dating sites I was registered on because a friend of mine showed me how to use makeup…. and like magic, I had a whole bunch of interest generated.  It caused me to reflect on the value we place on looks.

And tied for number 12 (yes, I know that means I have 13… but I have 4 tied into one story that took 4 months to finish, so I think it’s fair.  Also — it’s my blog.  #idowhatiwant)  “My ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment about Rob Ford’ and ‘A Duck Call for Love.’  Both of these posts were written in response to public figures blowing it in view of the entire Western World, and how I feel like there has to be a better way to do things than we’ve been doing it.  As Christians, we’re called to love, and that’s what both of these posts are aimed at.

favourite TV

Bones, NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago Fire, Rick Mercer Report, Elementary, Castle, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, and… apparently there are only 11 of these.  That’s ok.

Books:  Confession ~ I didn’t read anywhere close to 12 books this year.  I’d like to read more in this next year.  I guess that comes with valuing my intelligence and not squandering so much time on Facebook?  We’ll see how that goes.

Pirates of Savannah, The Sacred Search, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Made To Crave, Every Body Matters, The Sweet By and By, Love Lifted Me, Softly And Tenderly, Flabbergasted.  I can’t think of any more that I read this past year.  There might be more, though that number in itself kind of shocked me.  I have a giant stack beside my bed to get through still, so… we’ll see how that goes :p  Next on the list, which I’m really excited about (just have to finish The Sacred Search first), is Real Men Don’t Text, by Ruthie Dean.  Can’t wait.

Movies: I should preface this — I’m not super picky when it comes to movies.  I’m pretty easy to please.  The only one I really didn’t like was The Heat.

The Hobbit, Frozen, The Butler, Captain Phillips, 12 Years A Slave, The Family, Oz the Great and Powerful, Gangster Squad, Safe Haven, Olympus Has Fallen, 42, Runner Runner.  Those are just ones I saw in theatres.  Like I said, I’m pretty indiscriminate.

Music:  I could never pick just 12 songs.  I guess I can pick 12 artists, though.  Note:  I fell in love with Eastern Canadian Folk Music this year.  So…. get ready for this.  That’s right… The Rankins are in there.  Classic, 1990s Rankin Family.  On repeat in the car for the last 5 days.  Straight.  Legit.

Charlie Worsham, Natalie MacMaster, Leahy, The Rankins, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Third Day, Dixie Chicks, Sugarland, Duelling Fiddlers, The Piano Guys, Lady Antebellum, Lindsey Stirling.  I know, I know, that’s 13.  It’s the best I could do.

And that’s it, guys!  That’s it for 2013!  Stay tuned for January.  Another NaBloPoMo kicks off January 1.  Am I insane for taking the challenge during a Report Card month?  Probably, but it could lead to some really entertaining (albeit brief) posts 😉

A Duck Call for love.


So I had this gigantic ranty post written about the whole Phil Robertson explosion…. And I woke up this morning and hated every word I wrote because I hadn’t practiced what I was calling all of us to preach, so I deleted every word. I’ve never scrapped a 1600 word, link-filled post before… And now, post-ice-storm at my Grandparents’ farm, their internet is down and so I write with my thumbs from the 3G on my iPhone because the words are burning to get out of me. So here we go. Round two.

You see, my rant from yesterday was full of angry accusations that Phil Robertson wasn’t being very loving with the things that he said in his interview with GQ, and that our job as Christians is to speak in love. Do you see an issue here? I do. God must have softened my heart up overnight because I read my words this morning and became so grateful that I’d saved the draft before publishing. Guilty. It’s so easy not to speak in love when we get all fired up.

I’ve decided that rather than rewrite my rant, I’ll share and echo the thoughts of three of my favourite bloggers. Their words are more eloquent than mine, and I’d like to share the words of women whose writing I respect deeply. And I agree with each of them wholeheartedly. So especially while I write with my thumbs, why reinvent the wheel?

So here we go:

Jen Hatmaker, my favourite author, says

“As for me, I care deeply for all the watching eyes, waiting for something real, something that heals instead of wounds. I dream of a faith community that demonstrates a love so scandalous and embarrassing that only the foolish and the rejected and the misfits and the cynics will find any solace in it. My heart’s cry is that someone far outside the sphere of Christian endorsement might whisper, “Even me?” and be stunned by Jesus’ answer: “Always you.””

Jen tells us to make the gospel real. Making it real means making it loving. Love love love. Love is so vital. It’s what God is, after all.

Ruthie Dean talks about the stark difference between making a point and making a difference in the lives of others.

Ruthie says:

“But then, something changed. I awakened to the truth that the Gospel is an absurd love story. That God gave his only Son over to ridicule, torture and death that we may have life. The Bible says that people outside the church will know Jesus because of our love for one another. Nothing else, just love.”

She also says:

“We cannot be content to sit back behind our computers and make a point. As Christians, we are called to make a difference in people’s lives–and making a difference is usually slow and messy because when you’re meeting someone in the mud, in the darkness, in the betrayal, in the pain, they’ll need the healing power of Jesus flowing through you. They need us to be with them, not preach at them.”

And finally, a woman whose words pack so much punch… Always…. Ann Voskamp talks beautifully about the power of words and how desperately important it is to choose them carefully and speak them with love.

I have huge quotes from her, but her blog post is so well done, and there’s so much more there that I didn’t quote…. So please if you only read the work of one of these three ladies in its entirety, let it be this one. Let it be Ann’s words.

A guy I know often mails books.

And every time the postal clerk asks him the obligatory question about if there’s anything hazardous or flammable in the package, he always speaks truth: “You bet — words.”

Whoever said sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you?

Was dead wrong.

Ask a bearded guy from Louisiana or a tweeting PR exec en route to Africa to comment on that.

Don’t ever forget it, kids:

There is nothing more explosive than words.

Words are nitroglycerin. Words can literally ignite a heart, detonate like a global bomb — or explode in your face.

She also says, and I love this:

You can mean something — but if you say it mean, no one can hear your meaning.

Have convictions — but if you don’t have compassion, you will have trials.

Please, say what you believe — but please, always be love.

Or you’re an annoying, clanging cymbal who a whole lot of people will be desperate to make silent.

Also:

Hear me, get this, don’t ever forget this: The tongue is the tail of the heart. The heart is known by how the tongue wags.

And lastly, the ones with the biggest punch. The ones that made me gasp in air after I’d written my own rant that I ultimately trashed…. These…

The only words that are infallible — is the Word of God Himself.

So — we grant grace.

Grace is air — without it we all die.