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Hey everyone!

You may have noticed that there hasn’t been much activity on this blog for well over a year. Both bloggers have gone through some major life changes since the last post in September 2010. For Bethany, that meant relocating, grad school, and no longer being perpetually single. For Emily (moi), that meant also relocating, job readjustments, and writing a novel.

We’re just gonna let this blog lie for now, I think. I can’t speak for Bethany, but if you’re interested in reading up on my ongoing life adventures, including topics related to faith, singleness, and my upcoming novel, you can check out my other blog, Em Speaks.

Thanks for reading!

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Hey all…

OK, here’s the deal. For several weeks now, I had been planning in my head some sort of “final post” for this blog, because I can’t keep it up on my own (Bethany has gone AWOL, but not in real life, thank goodness!), because I already write for my day job AND for the novel I hope to publish one day, so I can’t write for a public blog either, and because, to be honest, being single has kind of sucked for me lately, and I haven’t wanted to address that to a wide audience.

Before I could write that post, however, God gave me another spark of insight, and I knew in an instant that I had to share it.

If you’ve been reading this blog from the beginning, you know that I’m pretty much anti-“settling” when it comes to finding that life partner. But there’s a difference between settling and having realistic goals. Settling is a defeatist, “I guess I can’t do any better” attitude that can be downright dangerous. Having realistic goals/standards is healthy, honest, and gracious toward yourself and the other person. I believe that it’s just fine and dandy to have an idea of the “perfect” mate and to have a list of ideals traits that he/she would have — but ONLY if you are aware that 1.) NOBODY is perfect, and 2.) God may have a different plan for you.

My church recently completed a series about relationships, sex, boundaries, and the (different) roles of men and women. At one point, my pastor said that, whatever the foundation of your relationship is, you have to keep doing that to maintain the relationship. If your relationship is not much more than sexual attraction, you have to keep having sex and being sexually attractive for your partner if that relationship is to last for any amount of time. If a relationship is based on having a rich partner, they better hope they will always have money, or someone is going to book it when times get hard. If your relationship is centered on Christ, then focusing and growing in Christ will keep you together.

Tonight, when talking to a friend from my small group, we were discussing people (mostly guys, but this applies to girls as well) who have an idea in their head of the perfect mate. They are not going to let go of any particle of that, and they will not “settle” for anything less. (Think Mr. Elton from Jane Austen’s Emma, if you’re familiar with that story.) In some ways, that can be admirable to hold out for the right person, but not if they refuse to be at least open to the idea of someone different. And if they do find that perfect person, guess what? If the relationship is based on that person being perfect, then that person has to KEEP being perfect if that relationship is to be maintained. The moment that the “perfect” mate ceases to be perfect, even if it is just for a moment, that will shake the foundation of the relationship. How sad is that? One little slip-up, and your entire relationship is in danger? That leaves little room for grace, patience, basic human frailty, and—well—love. (This is kind of a lesson you learn from watching The Philadelphia Story, I just realized.)

So what do you do? By all means, hold on to whatever non-negotiables you know you must have: A Christ-follower, someone with a job, someone who loves his/her mother, etc. But be aware of differences and imperfections, and love everyone as Christ calls us to do.

ETA: This post also means that I’m not giving up the blog entirely. I never intended to remove it, and now I think I will plan to post more in the future. It just will be more infrequent, since it still does have to be put aside for the sake of the bigger things I’ve mentioned above. But whenever I am so inspired, I will be posting again sometime.

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He is risen!

Matthew 28:5-6: The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.”

Ephesians 1:7: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Happy Easter!

(More updates this week; I promise.)

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Monday Musings

Happy Monday!  To those of you who have the day off – I hope you are enjoying it!  To those who don’t – well, I hope you are still enjoying it.  Today’s quote of the week has long been a favorite of mine, as it appears in one of my most favorite and often-re-read books, A Room With A View by E.M. Forster. The quote itself is actually from British poet Samuel Butler:

Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.

This expresses so well the awkwardness of learning to live.  You can’t go in your room and practice having friends, or confrontations, or dinner dates. Well, you can, but you can only get so far before 1.) your flatmates think you’re crazy or 2.) you need a real person to interact with. So you go out into the real world, take risks, try this, try that, hit some really squeaky notes, hit some really glorious ones, hurt some people’s ears, and delight some people.

I like the freeing-ness of this thought. Mistakes will be made, but we can learn. And God – through His Word, though our parents and friends and teachers and pastors and neighbors – is ready and willing to give us lessons and to forgive our squeaks and squawks and help us live beautiful lives that are a blessing to other people and to ourselves as well.

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Hello all!  Welcome to Wednesday.  Some lengthier posts are in the works both from Emily and myself, but in the meantime, here is a quote for you today:

Why should we think upon things that are lovely? Because thinking determines life. ~William James

I like this thought and attest to its truth. We shape our worlds and our experiences so much by what we believe how we react, and the way we think has direct influence on our beliefs, attitudes and reactions.  So lets think on things today which are lovely and true.  Here is something I find lovely:

As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration. I long for rural and domestic scene, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children. ~John Adams

Please share something that you find lovely!

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Potluck

Hello and welcome to Wednesday!  I hope things are going well for all of you on this third day of February.  As I was searching for a quote for our quote of the week (which which I’ve not been keeping up particularly well, sorry) I learned lots of interesting things. For example, not only is today Norman Rockwell’s birthday, it is also the birthday of Austrian Expressionist poet Georg Trakl (good stuff) and actor Warwick Davis (of whom I am very fond. I love Willow. You may judge me.)  So a big happy birthday all ’round.

I also found several delicious-looking recipes which I intend to make later today. (Cajun Chicken Pasta and Orange Marmalade Cake from The Pioneer Woman. Yum.) I’ll let you know how they turn out.  My brain is a little all over the place today, and I want to cook and read and write and make homemade Valentines.

And all this rambling and this funny collection of wishes brings me to something I really want to talk about:  identity.  Who are we?  How do we define ourselves? Single, Christian, woman, daughter? Am I defined by what I do? Am I “traditional” because I like to bake and scrub the floor? Not “womanly enough” because I enjoy philosophy or “too girly” because I read People? I know for certain that for me – I don’t know about you, please let me know – there is a kind of inward pressure to identify with a particular set of duties and traits. But I – and I assume most people – don’t actually fit neatly in to these roles.

So over the next few weeks I’d like to take some time to think about this with you guys.  I think it’s something that as a single Christian woman* can be kind of difficult, because I at least often feel that that already places me outside of predefined categories.

Who are we?  How do we identify ourselves? As Christians, how should we identify ourselves? These are things I’d like to mull over with you all. Let me know what you think!

*I say this because I’ve experienced being a single Christian woman. I am completely certain that other life stages have just as many challenges – I just don’t know enough to comment.  So if you’re in some different life situation, please please bring your perspective to the table.

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We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.  ~Ellen Goodman

Welcome back readers! Emily and I took an unexpectedly long holiday hiatus, but now we’re back and ready for a new year. In the spirit of that, I thought I’d share with you this quote with its lovely positive spin and some of my own resolutions for 2010.

~Living less fearfully. Tell the truth. Talk about God. I’ve realized there are a whole list of things I „don’t talk about unless people ask me“ or „don’t tell people if I don’t know them well enough.“ These things include everything from my opinon on a movie or my beliefs about the afterlife. I’ve realized that my boundaries a bit arbitrary, and probably need to be reconsidered.

~Pass along information, both personal and of general interest. I’m terrible about telling people about myself or even about interesting things I’ve heard or seen or experienced. Usually I’m quite happy to let others regail me with their (much more interesting) lives. But it is really ungenerous to expect friends and aquaintances to share their lives and not share my own. (But seriously – ask me questions! I’ll tell you!)

~Read more, watch TV less. I’ve recently realized again how much I enjoy reading, how relaxing I find it and how much it fills my mind with interesting information and sparks challenging trains of thought (which I can share with others, of course). The less TV/movies is there not because I have anything against the medium, but because it takes up a lot of my time that I’d like to spend reading or painting.

~Get married. (Ha ha, made you look!)  Sorry, Candice Watters, I still do not feel that it is God’s will for me to pursue marriage like I would a carreer. But I do pray that God uses this year to prepare me for whatever life has in store, and that the things I learn will help me to become more like Christ and a blessing to those around me.

~Post once per week on this blog. Keep me honest!

How do you guys feel about New Year’s resolutions? Have you made any?

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