What is Important?

::ohmygoshsoold. Look what I found!::

 

I’m writing this post in early December.

It’s late at night and looking at the situation in which I find myself, I think it is just as likely that when this publishes, a million days from now, that I will be dating Hoyt as that I won’t.

Anyway, part of what I wanted to do with my six-months-turned-three-months of singleness was to discover what really was important to me in a relationship. That way, I could know, could say, “Hey, if this is what you’re offering, okay, let’s give it a try. But if not, I know what I want and this isn’t it.”

And you know what? I surprised myself.

Because I’ve figured for a while that the only important thing to look for in a man was that he love and follow Jesus.  But that’s just not true for me. It’s the MOST important thing, but not the only one. God made me the way I am for a reason and for the right person, the way I am will be a blessing! So, for me to be in a romantic relationship with someone, I’ve realized I need some things without which I’m just not going to flourish. And it’s been hard for me to admit, but I know it’s true, and I’m trying to believe it’s okay. Like:

Affection and attraction. Some people need exercise to keep from going crazy. Some need alone time. I need affection. And I get plenty, I’m well loved. I’m always with kids and I’m around women who like hugs so I get my fill. But If I’m going to be with someone, this person is going to need to be really in to me. I don’t have the energy otherwise. I could go on and explain but right now I don’t want to. I’m just going to say that when it comes to this, I’m needy.

Along with that comes the fact that I need to play. To engage on a deep, intentional level. And often. Interact with me!

Pianoanna is like the opposite of me. She is the lowest maintenance wife I’ve ever met. She and her husband absolutely love one another, but they just don’t spend all their time doing lovey-dovey things. They do sometimes, but they’re chill. And that works for them. (It works WELL for them, they’ve got a STRONG relationship)

But I want lovey dovey! And no amount of DESIRE to be practical is going to change that.

It is important to me to go out and do things. I’m really bad at this on my own but if a relationship is going to carry the weight required of the step up from friendship, it’s just got to have better yields too. That’s just science. ;) I want to actually go on DATEs with someone if we’re dating.

That’s all of the surprising/hard-to-admit stuff for now.  Tonight I’m fighting the fight to know and believe that God is enough and that he’s in this, and I’m just giving him a chance to teach me what he wants to, and it doesn’t have to be scary. And if it ends, because Hoyt doesn’t have the time to pay me attention or just ends up not-that-into-me, that’s fine too! God will not stop being the big strong loving God that He is.

Just cause they're on my mind...these guys are important.

assorted array

::A list of things that could each be their own entry, if time had allowed, and equally randcom photos::

Churches aren’t perfect, neither are people. And neither am I.  But I want to love churches. I want to love people. I even want to love me. Because God says I’m special to him, and that He loves me,so that seems reason enough for me to do the same.

 

I like to call this, "asking for trouble"

 

 

Some people have trouble loving others. Some have trouble loving themselves. Both of these things reflect pride – a belief that their judgement of a situation is more perfect than the judgement of the One Righteous Judge.

 

In grad school, you get to use a big-boy hole-punch. 40 PAGES!

 

 

The cannon of beauty takes into account none of the beauty of surprises and idiosyncrasies. Your big nose and little eyes and wonky ears and veiny feet were on purpose….

she said….just before she wondered what place that purpose has in a child with a cleft lip, or mal-formed hands. Did God mean for Quasimodo to have corrective surgery?

You should love your tree.

 

Red Raider, Tech Logo, Goal Post and....RAINBOW UNICORN?!

 

 

When we err on the side of being conservative, we are still erring. Yes. Some people call us conservative. And just because it makes us more comfortable doesn’t make it right.

The happy medium may not be on the narrow road.

I still love the sunshine on my skin. And have crispy face right now.

I’m a sinner. Even though I spend a lot of time at church.

If I saw as poorly as i slept…..oh wait.

You know, “Are you okay to drive?” Is a rather silly question to ask when someone  has trouble recognizing you from 10 feet away. I can see cars. I don’t have to be able to tell you if they had a ding 3 inches below the back passenger door handle to effectively navigate a highway.  But thank you for caring.

 

SPECK is a ONE YEAR OLD! And what a mature one. Ate his birthday cupcake with a SPOON.

 

 

“I don’t want to waste my time if she has a boyfriend,” leads me toward thinking you feel that caring for and pouring into a person regardless of the benefit to you is seen as “wasting your time.”  To which I lovingly disagree. But you’re a busy dude, I understand what you meant. ;)

The books of Acts is crazy. It should be an HBO mini series.

COWBOY UP, CREAM PUFF, BE A MAN. By which I mean, pull up your britches and do the dang thing, whatever the dang thing is, regardless of your gender. ‘Cause we don’t want to waste our time.

 

Gluten Free cookie MIX tastes awful. But baked, these babies were beautiful.

 

 

Lady Gaga is brilliant and I’m rather sure that if I met her on the street, she’d be kind. And if I could wear a sign that said “satire” I’d walk around singing Born This Way everywhere I went.

Most people tell me they don’t understand most things I say.

“It was only a kiss.” I’m Latin.

THAT IS NOT SIN, IT’S JUST COMPLICATED.

 

before

 

 

While talking about the newest controversy, I bemoaned the hurt hearts of a religious leader’s followers who may now feel betrayed. The roommate bemoaned those led astray by his faulty teaching. I said I wasn’t worried about them, becuase the ones meant to know the truth would, in the end. “This,” she finished,”Is the difference between a harmonizer and a persister.”

 

after

 

 

I truly believe that if I stay single forever, life will be brilliant, beautiful, awful, exciting, painful, and adventurous. I’m on board for that, jic.

possible new header

 

Research Mode w Jacob

When I was hanging with Dr and Mrs Z over my last break, I went into research mode. Blame it on a) trying to think of anything other than what I wasn’t supposed to be thinking of and b) being around very VERY intelligent people.

“Jacob, I’m in research mode. You’re good at things, give me advice.”
“Advice on marriage? Singleness?”
“Whatever.”
“Advice on marriage….Hm…Do it.”

::eyes shoot over in a “are you serious, you’re a doctor” kinda look::

“Marriage I mean. Do marriage. Get married.”
“mmhmm.”
“Well, and do it.” (says the man who had two babies in 18 months. yeah, we get it dr z) ;)

Research On How It Happens

I’ve taken to just telling people that I’m in research mode and would like their input on love, singleness, etc.  It’s opened up a world of new and amazing relationships as people share from their hearts in more ways than one.

I’ve heard this phrase from a few people:

“it just happens”

“It” being finding, for lack of a more theologically accurate term, the love of your life.

And  that may be the most infuriating for an achiever-type, as this means there is nothing one can do other than just be.  There is no control here. And i don’t think anyone (who has said this to me) is saying that we should be passive towards the ones we adore. I just think that like there was nothing I could do to make God find me, there is nothing I can do to make love find me. It will happen when it will happen.

And that, to me, is a GLORIOUS, freeing, beautiful thought. Makes me wanna go pick daisies and sing songs. So, if any dudes out there like that sort of thing… ;)

You Listen : Research from The Diary Reader

::Part of that Godly wisdom I told you about a few days ago.::

My friends are brilliant.

One friend of equally non distinct ethnicity as me, the Diary Reader, I’ll call her, is married to one of the pastors. He’s also kind of prophetic.

So it took me a little off guard when,  a few weeks ago, she mentions, “Me and {her husband} talked about you and Hoyt and we approve.” Because they aren’t ones to say words lightly and, well, when a {their last name} tells you something, you better listen.

Anyway that was weeks, a month, whatever ago and then recently I was over watching the kids and she asked “So what’s the latest update?” But there wasn’t one. Until the next day when we ended up on the phone (Hoyt and I) for the first time in a month and I find myself ELATED to talk to him. I missed him so much! So I write the Diary Reader and ask her “is this okay? What do you think? Can we be friends?” She knew the whole story and, like I said, she’s a teacher and chock full of wisdom so I really wanted her input. Which I am just going to copy on here because it was GREAT. Hope it helps you too.

I’ve been thinking about the whole Hoyt and you dating thing and I was wanting to just ask if you’d thought about it from this perspective:

– The Lord has led Hoyt to tell you that he has feelings for you and he has expressed that.  Now, the decision that remains before you is whether or not you can submit to Hoyt in this leading.  If you trust that the Lord has been working in Hoyt and leading him in this way and that you can both trust God’s leading of him and desire to submit to him – then date the man.  But, if you cannot submit to him in this decision – then don’t date him.  I don’t know – I sort of think that accepting the decision to date is sort of like the first act of submission.  And in submission, often the Lord tells the guy something and then he tells you – and then you follow rather than you personally getting the lightning bolt message from God – you’re still getting the message from God, but He is working through the man.  I’m not an expert on this or anything, but I know that I did a lot of agonizing over whether or not I was going to date {husband}.  I prayed and prayed and told {husband} that I didn’t know and made him wait forever – and in the end, I was like – yeah, I should date him – and {husband} was like – yeah, the Lord already told me that, I’ve just been waiting on you – what took so long?  The Lord had put it in {husband}’s heart to pursue me and marry me and I fought a lot along the way – and did some damage in the process.  So, I definitely say pray and I definitely say read your Bible and do all those things – but you have already been doing those things up until now – so it’s not as if the Lord isn’t leading you step by step every day.  And He has led you into this close relationship that you have with Hoyt- so why would it be a curve ball for His will to be for y’all to date?  Looking back, I think it’s so funny that I didn’t see how the Lord had been working in mine and {husband}’s friendship and building this trust and this respect and all of that – and then I tried to fight the dating.

Now, obviously, I’m me and you’re you so this might not all work the same way for you that it did for me – but I just wanted to throw in part of my story in case you’re stuck in the same place that I was.

Research from the Gentle One

About a month ago (do I ever blog ANYTHING in real time?) I posted a silly little thing about why i would/wouldn’t want to get married. Though it was mostly written in a spirit of levity, it revealed a certain truth, that i wasn’t sure there was a good reason to ever get married, at least not for me.

The Gentle One, who I’ve mentioned once before, wrote me about the post. She shed so much light on the situation that I wanted to share. She gave me permission. The following is our exchange: (her words are regularly formatted, mine are in italics)

….

I will still stick by my original thought that 99% of the time it is not like the first part of your post, but the bad things in the last part of your post are maybe not as bad as they seem. All in all, yes, marriage is hard, intentional work, day in and day out. It is living out the gospel when you feel like throwing in the towel. It’s realizing how to be unselfish (and even more so if kids come along!). It’s realizing why Paul said that it’s better to be single. It takes a LOT to be someone’s wife.

BUT the blessings are enormous. I mean, isn’t it crazy to imagine? Learning to be best friends and lovers at the same time?! Going to sleep together every night?! Creating life together?! Having a physical person to love and submit to, as to Christ?! So yes, it is worth it, absolutely. Looking more like Christ via the covenant of marriage is worth it.

…..

For me, I’ll be honest to say that I (sinfully, ugly-heartedly?) have thought that most men I’ve ever dated have been guys I was “good for.” I made them better, they’d say, but I’m not sure I’ve ever felt like I pursued God better because of them. And so i’ve thought, “If I don’t love God BETTER with them in my life….then aren’t they just a distraction?”

And I’ve wondered if there would be a man who would make me better. Not because I think i’m perfect (although surely my self opinion is too high) but because i’m….so….odd…. and high maintenance and I’ve never really known a man who (in a romantic relationship) spurred me on further toward Christ.

But in my closed minded wonderings, I never considered (and thus the beauty of community) the sheer necessity of growth in Christ that occurs when a woman is committed to being a Godly wife. There’s no way to do that, to enter into a convenantal relationship of marriage, and NOT grow.

It may seem basic, but it blew my mind!

….

What you are saying about the essence of how and why you attract men is interesting. I do think that motivation for dating someone should be that they are marriage potential, and of course that should only be someone who IS spurring you on further toward Christ, not just someone you’re good for or vice versa.

Yes, you got it! God designed marriage to refine us! I think the gist of it is that although the blessings are abundant, so are the difficult parts. And just like Christ says we should count the cost before we follow Him, I think we should also count the cost before considering marriage, because there ARE costs. Which, it sounds like, is what you’re doing in weighing the good parts and bad parts. So good job, keep processing! :)

 

 

So what are your thoughts? Any contributions you want to make to the 50 or so people reading about this journey with you?

How the Magic Happens

You know those black friday ads that people look through, trying to find the best deals so they can go shopping? Well, we were lounging about (otherwise known as hibernating) after Thanksgiving lunch and came across the following:

Fancying myself in “research mode” since the beginning of my SMOS, I turned to Mrs Z and asked “Is uh… is this what young ladies wear? Is this how the magic happens?” (Dr and Mrs Z had two babies in 2.5 yrs of marriage. They surely know about the magic ;)

Dr’s ears perked. “What? I’m supposed to be telling you advice on marriage right? What is it?”

Mrs turned and instead of showing him the ad, says, “It has a collar. And pockets.”

“Oh,” says Dr. “No, no that is NOT how the magic happens.”

La Lo ah Luigi

 Want to smile? This is perfect.

beautiful. silly. lovely. lovey dovey.

singleness is made much easier when I see the sweet silliness of romance play out.  The part of me that longs for romance is sated when given examples like Dr and Mrs, Jess and Hank, or the Iveys.

That part of me says, “Oh look. Beauty! A little example of a big truth.” And rather than hurting that I do not have, I rejoice that I do, through them.

Or, through Mario and Princess Peach. ( Sidenote – I was once told that I was the answer to a Christmas list impossibility. “I asked for a princess to save.” Ah, sweet silliness.)

Clingy can be Good

I said in my last post, written six months ago, that I had to cling to God’s promises because that’s all I had.

 

I’m glad I did. It was tough. I really hurt but in all of it I knew God was with me and hurting isn’t always a bad thing. It caused me to see how much I love God and more importantly how much (and just HOW) he loves me.

 

Andplusalsotoo,  guess where I’m going tonight (yes actually tonight, this post is, atypically, in “real time”)?

 

I’m going to go spend time with la familia, those people I told you about in the last post.

 

And I’m going to spend the night.

 

Why?

 

BECAUSE I HAVE A STINKING AMAZING RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM.

 

Now hear me out on this. God will not always give you exactly what you want, because sometimes what you want is NOT what’s best for you. (And sometimes he will give you what you want and it IS best for you in the sense that you learn but it is NOT fun and part of what you learn is that you should try to go for what God wants. Ex: Israel wanted a king.)

But sometimes he will give you the sweetest wildest desires of your heart! And my hope then was that God would heal me of that insane pain. Just make it not hurt so much, be so traumatic.  Instead what happened is that he healed me AND he gave me a season of huge growth in my relationships with them.

It’s complicated. It’s ESPECIALLY complicated because…ahem… other, very complicated stuff is going on right now….and if you KNOW me, like you’ve talked to me, this probably seems confusing (you’ve got to remember, I wrote that last one SIX MONTHS ago and six months is Ritz land is like an eon of activity) but if there was one take away I wanted you to have it would be this:

 

GOD IS GOOD. He was good when it hurt and had he never ever revealed to me why these things were for my good (and holy moley, has he ever revealed!!) HE WOULD STILL BE GOOD.  AND SOME THINGS MAY NEVER GET HEALED HERE ON THIS EARTH.

 

And it is NOT my restored relationship with La Familia that made things better. It was just God’s mercy and kindness. He just so happened to execute said traits through seester snuggles and stories and slumber parties and guitar playing in the kitchen.

 

Cling to God. Not circumstances. And know that he’s the God of circumstances too.

Ring Tattoo

I’ve gotten something pierced or tattooed every year since I was 12. And I’m 25. And that’s another series for another day, but for now, I wanted to share with you my FAVORITE (especially poignant during my SMOS) tattoo.

it did not take more than 2 minutes, literally

the only man in the city i could convince to do the job.

greek lowercase "brotherly love"

I got it back in April, about two weeks after Q broke up with me, in the middle of a really hard time, actually, but I’d been dreaming of getting it for YEARS.  Some very special, very Godly women didn’t want me to get it (because they figured that when I got married, I’d want to get one with my husband) and that’s why I’d put it off for so long, but it was finally time. Each of my tattoos has a very special story of God moving in my heart and life and this one is no different.

It’s held up okay, but it is NOT perfect. None of my tattoos are, actually, each has it’s own little idiosyncrasy. (Maybe not the one behind my ear, but i never see that one.) I got it from Johnny at Rock of Ages Tattoos which is one of the only shops in Austin that will even CONSIDER tattooing hands, and this was especially hard to get because EVERYONE said it was too many characters for such a small space. The only reason this guy did it was because I walked in and said,

“This will be my sixth tat and I’ve done my homework. This is what I want and this is where I want it. I know this will be painful, i know it will be squished, i know it won’t hold up as well as something somewhere else and I know it will NOT look clean in a few years.”

To which he replied.  “Oh. Okay. I can get you in five minutes.”

So if you are okay with ALL of the above (depending on size, design, and artist, some can turn out WAY better than others, but ALL will fade with time)  then this is the process to take when getting a tattoo. I don’t recommend my artist and shop because there are better out there, you just have to go to another city and pay more. But my guy was fine for what I was going for.

All of that being said, i LOVE this tattoo. It means so much to me. It’s on my left ring finger and it’s the greek word for brotherly love. As I understand it,  the New Testament uses three words for love, one for romantic, one for God’s, and one for our love toward our families. This is the last. I recommend any research GOOD research you can do on the subject because it’s a great words study. But back to the tat.

This little marker reminds me every day that I am chosen. I am loved. I am special, I got picked. I got called out amongst all the others and marked as someone that God wanted and no one and nothing else could have. My soul and my heart are his and maybe, someday, I’ll share with someone else, BUT ONLY WITH GOD’S PERMISSION.

So why this word? Because there is a saying, I don’t know where I heard it, “Until he’s your husband, he’s your brother.” It reminds me that I am in a covenantal love with God, and that until there is a different ring covering this one and signaling the change in my current status, I am to treat all men as my brothers. (something, you may have noticed, I am not great at).