Thursday, November 29, 2012

All I want for Christmas is you

All right everyone, it's that time of year again. The leaves are off the trees, cute sweaters are replaced with heavy winter coats, everyone's eating leftover turkey sandwiches, and Black Friday shopping wounds are starting to heal. "It's the most wonderful time of the year," as our Christmas songs proclaim. And the celebration of Jesus' birth, family time, and the overall spirit of holiday cheer and generosity are something that should be held near and dear.

This is not a post about the true meaning of Christmas. This is a sympathetic post about a mutual understanding that the holiday season is romantic, and not everyone has that special someone to kiss under the mistletoe. Lord knows my Christmas wish some years was just that next year I'd have my one & only to toast with at Christmas parties, but sometimes that's just how the gingerbread man crumbles. However, this is not a time at all to get lost in nostalgia for that which might someday be or whatever (which people tend to do around Valentine's day as well), but this is a time to celebrate love, life, and another year of JOY!

This year, instead of being distracted by the couples getting cute little sleigh rides for two, count your blessings. This usually has a negative connotation, as it naturally fits in a sermon to complaining children. But for realzies, it works!

Thanksgiving is not the only season for giving thanks. If there's any time to do it, it's the end of the year. Looking back on what I've accomplished this year, I am proud and thankful for all of the opportunities that have been given to me, all of the friendships I have made, and gifts that I will always, always hold close to my heart. I hope that each and every one of you, dear readers, can look back on this year and not only see the hurt, loneliness, heartache, and trials, but also the little joys and blessings in disguise... of course, as well as the big things.

This is probably my favorite time of year (autumn when the leaves change and the sun is out but the air is crisp is up there too, but that's besides the point). Families and friends come together to share in a tradition of loving selflessly, to an extent that often overflows to gift-giving and works of mercy. It is beautiful, heartwarming, and inspiring. As are you! Singleness is nothing to be scoffed at, especially during a season that encourages cuddling, cocoa, and catching snowflakes on your nose. This year as the commercials for diamond rings and lovers sharing eskimo kisses by fireplaces run on primetime, take a slow, deep breath of winter and get geared up for holiday mayhem and joyfully usher in a new year full of change, hope, and promise.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bucket List

Hello Readers!

This blog is all about bettering yourself, growing as an individual, setting goals, and not being afraid of not dating. On my other blog, Cataloging the Search for True Feminism, I posted my bucket list. Sometimes when you write things down or say them out loud, it makes them more finite, and especially with goals that I hope to accomplish at some point in my life, there is no time to start like the present!

I debated placing my list of hopefully future accomplishments on the side margin of this blog like I did last time, but I noticed with the widget I used there was no strike through feature, so I couldn't even cross them off as I went! Until further notice (or unless any of you other bloggers can help a neophyte like me), I am just going to list my items here and come back to cross them off as I accomplish them.

I think it is important to set goals, to work towards a purpose, as I have mentioned many times before. Creating a bucket list can be a ton of fun, dreaming of things like "attend a royal wedding" or "own a Ferrari." As entertaining as it is to come up with anything I could ever possibly desire with the sky as the limit, I like to think I am a little more on the practical side. For my own bucket list, I tried to pick things that might actually happen... that way I could set tangible or small goals and work towards eventually crossing them off of the list.

Nobody likes to be told what to do, so I am merely throwing this out there as a fun and motivating suggestion to self-motivate and remind yourself of the richness of life and the wonderful things you are capable of... it's an extraordinary eye opener!

So without further ado,


  • Be someone's hero
  • Be the belle of the ball
  • Drive stick shift
  • Eat a baguette in France
  • Eat pizza in Sicily
  • Get kissed on a Ferris wheel
  • Go ice skating
  • Host a cocktail party
  • Join a book club
  • Learn French
  • Learn Spanish
  • Live in the south
  • Make it through a life-size maze
  • Paint a masterpiece
  • Play tennis
  • Run a half marathon
  • See a Broadway show
  • Solve a mystery
  • Write a book

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Maybe It's Me

I have a confession for all of you: I love Taylor Swift's songs. People remind me all of the time that she writes about high school drama, makes something out of nothing, and is always whining about a messy breakup or empowering herself after dumping Joe Shmo for the last time. Whatever... they're catchy! I admire that she uses her music to express herself, writing her own stuff, and sings about real things. And she's managed to stay a pretty good influence, despite the crazy showbiz whirlwind her life must be. Good for her.

As much as I enjoy her catchy tunes, this someecard got me thinking:

I understand that great music, poetry, prose, art, etc comes from heartbreak in one way or another. So yes, many of her songs that relate to listeners are ones that her fans can identify with, who seem to not only enjoy the song hooks like I do, but also have experienced some drama that at least kind of fits the lyrics. Not the point.

Maybe the makers of the meme have a point (not necessarily for Taylor specifically, but you know). If someone gets stuck in the victim mentality, some serious relationship issues can arise: both in the present and developing into bigger problems in the future. Where is the line between looking at what isn't working that the desiree is/isn't doing and identifying where you might need to make some changes?

It is good to have expectations in relationships, potential relationships, plutonic friendships, and so on and so forth. Both parties should at least have a pretty good idea of what he/she is getting into and how the two plan to function together. Expectations keep us goal oriented, focused on the good stuff, and keep us from losing our heads. However, too many expectations can make things a little bit dicey.

We grow up dreaming of someone who will love us for all that we are, including everything: strengths, weaknesses, successes, faults, annoying habits, passions, hopes, dreams, and all of that great stuff. It's a wonderful ideal that is totally fine to aspire to. The important necessary flip side that should accompany that is recognizing that the beloved will too have weaknesses, faults, and annoying habits... along with the fun parts. We have (fair and balanced!) expectations for them that should be there, but they also have expectations for us.

Here's the tough part: that means we have to keep looking at ourselves and identify where we can do better, where we can grow, and what we might need to change. 

*GASP!!* "How dare?! Why would I ever have to change! I am me and that is more than enough and any man should be lucky to be with me!!!!" you might say. Disclaimer: I don't mean become a different person, pretend you are someone you're not, or put up a front of perfection until you rope a man into loving you no matter what and then open up the real can of crazy.

I mean, we should constantly be challenging ourselves to be growing in virtue... all the time. We'll always mess up (some of us less than others), but an attempt should be made to see ourselves as others see us so they can help us identify ways we could be growing or things we could be working on that we might not see. If ex-boyfriend (and w-boyfriend, and v-boyfriend, and u-boyfriend, and t-boyfriend...) all break up with you because you constantly talk about how you are jealous of other girls or telling stories of ex-boyfriends past or you chew the ice in your glass when you eat out until the ice starts to melt and excess water drips out of your mouth... these are things that are helpful to know so we can fix the little things (or in some cases big things) and be that much closer to forming happy, healthy, and lasting relationships.

Another thing to keep in mind on this foreboding part of the path to self-discovery: sometimes the critiques of exes aren't accurate or they're just incredibly biased/tainted. Take them with a grain bucket of salt. And never, ever get nitpicky. You are a wonderful human being, and don't ever lose sight of how much you are loved, the fact that you are a gift, you are unique, you are irreplaceable, and you have infinite value! This is all about becoming more you--the best you! Becoming the best version of yourself isn't always fun, but it is always rewarding. Virtuous people are happy people, and according to our classy girl Audrey Hepburn, "happy girls are the prettiest."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Encourage your sense of daring.

 I wrote and posted this article on my blog, "Cataloging the Search for True Feminism" a while back (so the family reference is a tad outdated), but the title phrase came to mind once again when I came across this G.K. Chesterton quote:

Wise words. That man cracks me up sometimes.

I love adventures, taking risks, adrenaline rushes... oh, the thrill of it all. The following musings are not particularly related to single-ness per se, but they apply to love and life, so naturally they get me excited.

So, in an effort to maintain some consistency and at the same time share things that I think are worth sharing, I have reposted my own post for your reading pleasure and convenience. And this time I added pictures. Enjoy!

This title also came from a Dove chocolate wrapper.

My dear friends, what drives you? What makes you get out of bed in the morning? What is it that keeps you moving throughout the day? What keeps you looking forward to the next big thing? What is it at the end of the day that gave you the strength to make it back to bed again after it is all said and done? When you want to quit, when you are tired, when you are sore, what do you think of that gives you the drive to push through that last leg?

I recently witnessed a scene on a TV show in which a “medium” told a woman that her marriage would not last and that her husband would never be able to fulfill her emotionally. The face of the wife broke my heart. Here is a woman who loves her husband, but the thought was presented to her that he would never totally make her happy, never fill every void in her heart—and she could not respond to it. I saw this scene and I thought, of course not! When we mourn the loss of loved ones, we find peace in the thought that they are in a place of never-ending, unceasing joy. Why? Because we know, somewhere inside of each of us, there is a yearning for something, for someone, which will never be satisfied on this side of heaven.

Is this disheartening? Absolutely not! If anything, it is a hint that there is something more, that there is a greater joy that awaits us on the other side. This anticipation should drive us to wake up each morning and to make it through the day, with each choice and each act and each word bring us one step closer to eternal bliss!

My sister is a new mother. Her small family is incredibly beautiful and a tremendous source of joy for all of us around them. I keep a constant countdown of the next time I get to see them and hold my little niece again. As cute as she is, she sure can make a lot of noise—and sometimes she makes a lot of noise in the middle of the night. In spending time at my sister’s house, I had the privilege of witnessing something extraordinarily beautiful: the sacrificial love of a mother. I have seen this before, but these particular circumstances struck chords in my heart. Even when she’s sick, tired, sore, or just needing a break, my sister continues to feed the baby, cradle her, play with her, change her, and love her. This tiny person depends on her totally. Even if my sister didn’t particularly feel like it, she keeps going because she loves her baby. It is love that motivates a heart. Mothers who wake in the middle of the night to feed their crying babies choose love. Fathers forced to work extended hours to put food on the table choose love. Teachers writing their lesson plans and grading papers so their students have the chance to succeed choose love. Nurses, ministers, firemen, soldiers, and volunteers choose love. The list goes on and on and is by no means limited to any walk of life.

When we think of what keeps us going, hopefully we think first of the ones we love, but we must also remember the ones who love us. My family works hard to give me the best that they can, I take care not to disappoint them. We have people counting on us who constantly choose love for our sakes. Even when we cannot see it, they have hearts that also beat with love for us.

Women have hearts that want to know love. There is a part of us, on the most fundamental level, that yearns to experience a burning love for who we are just because we are. There is a deep joy and peace in knowing there is a heart that longs to love at all times, despite faults, failures, and shortcomings. Unfortunately, many women’s ability to receive that love is hindered by wounds that cut to the core. Shattered homes, absent parents, abusive family members, deaths of loved ones, and hearts broken by lovers leave behind scars that affect us for the rest of our lives. It would be easy to build a shining barrier of our own, a kind of wall around our hearts, that guard from any chance of pain. But my dear readers, I am posing this question to you: is that any way to live? To sacrifice an unsurpassing joy for a life of inner solitude? Where is the risk? Love is always a risk! It involves going out on a limb for the sake of another, and purely for the sake of that loved one. It includes choosing the best for the other even when it hurts. What is it—or should I say, who is it—that gets you out of bed in the morning? Do you know the one whose heart beats and burns for you? This love overcomes the weight of fears that we can’t see and eclipses afflictions with glory. This love is jealous for you. This love is trustworthy, constant, and unconditional. It is hard. It is risky. But my friends, I urge you to encourage your sense of daring and break the walls of the shining barrier. Need proof? Look at the created world. And I’m not talking about what we made. Dare to love completely.