Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Annal 33: Tale from the Grandmotherly 'Baby-Hitter'

I did another overnight babysitting job last night and it was loads of fun.  Same three kids I babysat before and I love them--they are seriously some of the greatest kids.  I pulled up to the house and had three bodies running at me, squeezing me in amazing embraces.  I then realized that only two year old  boys can compliment you, insult you, and make you feel loved all at the same time.

As this two year old body comes sprinting toward me (well, sprinting as well as his legs will allow him to) he holds out his arms to be picked up.  I conceded (can't say as it took much arm twisting on my part--or any for that matter), and felt his little arms wrap around my neck.  He then spoke.

"I love you, Grandma."



I raise an eyebrow at him and he grins sheepishly.  He speaks again.

"I love you baby-hitter."


By this point he is grinning so incorrigibly at me that I kiss his cheek and tell him I love him back.  I can forgive him for calling me grandma as he had just come from his grandma's house.  As for the 'baby-hitter,' I know that two year old for 'babysitter' but I ask him to not say it too loudly around the neighbours anyway.

So despite having a brief moment of feeling many years older than I am, I also felt incredibly loved.  As I tucked this little guy into bed later that night, he looked at me and asked, "You here in morning, baby-hitter?"  I say yes and he smiles and answers, "Good."  He woke up this morning asking for me.

I have only one question that I can take away from this.  Why are there seemingly no men out there with the same ability to make you feel as loved as this little two year old?  He can call me grandma and make it sound like I hit babies, and yet he makes me feel so loved.

Did I ever think I would be wanting to personality of a two year old in the body of a thirty-something year old?

Go figure.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Annal 32: Tale from the Dentist's Chair

Just before Easter I went to the optometrist.  Now I figured this would be my regular trip with my regular eye doctor.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  Turns out there's a new optometrist in the office and he was young and attractive.  Of course I couldn't help but have to fight a sigh as he gently touched my face to stare into my eyes.  Mind you--and this was just my luck--he was also wearing a ring and so fighting a sigh was as far as I allowed myself to go.

A few days ago I went to the dentist.  I have to admit something here: the dentist has always scared me.  I've never had a cavity and never had anything wrong with my teeth, but for whatever reason I've always been scared that I will magically develop a cavity on my journey to my teeth cleaning.  Seeing as it has been about four years since my last visit, I was incredibly nervous.  The dental hygienist was quite nice though, and she set my mind at ease.  Then the dentist walked it.

Let me tell you, he was attractive, young, and wearing no ring.  As he looked at my record he asked my birthday, remarking that I was from the same generation as him when I answered.  He then proceeded to look at xrays and tell me my jaw was remarkably small.  Laugh all you want, but by this point I was clinging to his every word.  This wasn't even the clincher.

He looked in my mouth, told me I needed to get my wisdom teeth out--and soon-- and then told me I had an active infection on one of my wisdom teeth.  This may sound disgusting to you, but for me it led him to say the most romantic thing I have heard in a long time.  While looking into my sunglass covered eyes, my dentist said, "If this starts to hurt, call me.  I know what's wrong and I will call in a prescription right away."

By now you have obviously realized the state of my patheticism.  But, hey, when someone roughly my age who is attractive and ringless takes such good care of you (at this point I'm ignoring the fact that he was my medical profession and thus that was why he said that), it gets you a wee bit exciting.

The result of this whole exchange?  An achy jaw and me spending a weekend on Tylenol 3 and another antibiotic, thus causing a groggy, blurry few days.  Did I at least get a date out of this adventure?  No.  I'm still single and am calling my visit to the dentist romantic.

Lord, I think You need to get me out a little more often than this... I'm turning into the crazy cat lady my students feared I would become--minus the cat.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Annal 31: Tale from Sometimes

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would.  Sometimes all the plans you make are for naught and you end up somewhere you never anticipated.
Sometimes the people you thought would never leave your side do leave.  Sometimes you will be treated like the outcast and the unloved by the same people who once welcomed you with open arms.  Sometimes your trek will be the loneliest one in the world.
Sometimes God will call you to change and to make a stand that you aren’t sure you’re ready to make.  Sometimes making that stand will make you so unpopular that the people you once called family will no longer acknowledge you.
Sometimes you will devote years of your life to causes and when God calls you somewhere different no one will remember the devotion with which you served.
Sometimes your only companions while travelling through life are sorrow and suffering.  Sometimes people will only see what’s on the outside and will never stop to consider the depth of pain you may be experiencing.  Sometimes you will feel so hurt and alone that you can’t stop the tears from flowing, no matter how hard you try.
Sometimes the road to growth in thorny, crooked, and seems to be falling apart.  Sometimes you will fall from it only to emerge scratched, bruised, and bleeding.  Sometimes you will not want to continue on but will want to sit in the thorny underbrush, hiding from everyone because you pain is too great.
Sometimes it takes immense pain to grow.
Sometimes God will bring people into your life to give you hope; to hold your hand and bring you back to the path; to support you and lift you up.
Sometimes this doesn’t make the pain go away.  Sometimes it just lessens it a little bit, but it’s enough for you to carry on.
Sometimes all you can do is trust that God will make beautiful things out of the ashes of the life you once had.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Annal 30: Tale from Mount Doom

I came to realization while having a Lord of the Rings marathon with a good friend of mine: Frodo’s journey into Mordor is a metaphor for my journey toward marriage.  Stick with me, this will all make sense.
1.       When the story begins Mordor is not even in sight for Frodo.  At this moment in time, marriage is definitely not on the horizon—I don’t even have a ring to get me there.
2.      Frodo is surrounded by friends who are all on the same mission as him: they have to get to Mordor.  When I started off I too was surrounded by friends who were all looking toward marriage.
3.      A third of the way through the series Frodo is left by all but Sam as they head off on separate adventures.  My friends found spouses while I was still alone, hoping that if I strained my eyes enough I might make out the flames of Mount Doom.
4.      Frodo had many adventures and side quests on his way to Mordor.  My life has taken several twists and turns that I did not expect.  Sometimes I find myself at the Black Gate only to realize that that way is shut and I must go another way.  Other times I may find myself meeting new people in Gondor whom I never would have met had the Black Gate not been shut.
5.      It takes Frodo a great deal of time to make it to Mordor, but he has Sam along to help him.  I’m still trudging on, and at times I feel like there is no end in sight.  But God has granted me a friend who is also making their way toward Mordor.  When I feel like I can’t go on, her encouragement to me is much like Sam’s when he tells Frodo, “I can’t carry the ring for you, but I can carry you!  Come on!”  She helps me carry on with my mission.
The moral to take away from this story?  I am obviously destined to marry Elijah Wood because of the resemblance my life has to a role he acted.
I’m kidding, don’t worry.  I may be delusional, quirky, and occasionally talk in a growly voice while crying out, “It burns, Precious!” but at least I am not completely unrealistic.
I’ll hold out for Eomer.
Such is the life of a Christian single.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Annal 29: Tale from the Dark Side of the Force

Sometimes I fall under the illusion that I'm cool.  This usually happens when I am surrounded by friends who love and appreciate me despite my quirkiness.  When I'm with them, taking pictures of myself with a photo of Mr. Darcy, or walking into sunlight while crying out "It burns, Precious," seem like completely natural things to do.  I can write statuses on Facebook that read: "Today is a day where one feels as if they attempting to walk into Mordor only to discover the Black Gate is too heavily guarded to enter that way. What is one to do? Turn back to the safety of the Shire, or press on despite the fact that Shelob and an army of orcs block the way? And what of this ring that constantly drags me down, willing me to give up?" and my friends completely accept me (yes, this may have been my status today).  Then I have moments like the one I had this morning.

I had no students today, but was still at the school working on report cards and finishing off cleaning up my classroom.  I decided I needed some tunes to help me feel inspired.  You see I need a good deal of inspiration in order to do certain things.  I decided that the obvious choice in music would be the "Imperial March" music from the Star Wars movies.  I know... it was one thing to be odd, but now you can label me under sci-fi geeks as well.

So there I was, listening to my awesome movie soundtrack, all the while trying to defeat insurmountable odds and complete my report cards.  I thought this was cool.  The response of a neighboring teacher told me differently.  "Really?" she cried.

Is there where I mention that for superhero day at school I dress up as Darth Vader?

Yup, that's cool right there.

I should probably mention that I moved on from the Star Wars music.  I progressed to the Indiana Jones theme song, and from there to Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings soundtracks.  If my life had a soundtrack, it would definitely be epic.

And so on days when I think I am cool and I cannot figure out why I'm still single, I will reread this blog entry.  Then everything will suddenly become clearer to me, in the same way Frodo becomes clearer to the Nazgul when he puts the one ring on his finger (yeah, I went there).

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Annal 28: Tale from the First Date

For anyone out there who did not believe me that Mr. Darcy would be my date to the movie theatre last night, I write this post to spite you.  All you have to do is look at the pictures below to see how devoted we were to each other.

See, while other women were oogling (yes, oogling) Ryan Reynolds as The Green Lantern I felt no envy for while I watched the movie, Darcy watched me.  He had eyes only for me.  It was incredibly romantic.  No words needed to be spoken between us--it was as if we had known each other all our lives. 

Of course now I look at these pictures and I shake my head and laugh.  This is what my life has turned into.  There are no single, Christian men in my community so I have resorted to taking pictures of literary heroes to the theatre with me.  I give such pictures drinks from my cup during the movie.  I find myself realizing that I could quite seriously turn into a woman with an assortment of photos who takes a different one out for every occasion.  Suddenly Thornton will attend me to dinner, Rochester for walks, and Darcy to the movies.  My life is spiralling into an epic mixture of eccentric, dull, singledom.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Annal 27: Tale from Mr. Darcy's Eyes

I am currently typing this entry while gazing into the intense stare of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.  Anyone who has seen the six part mini-series of Pride and Prejudice knows what I am talking about.  And his stare is reserved just for me.
It’s the last day of classes and thus my last day teaching for a while.  I took the year off from school to teach and so in the fall I am going back to university.  As such the staff at the school decided to get me a going away gift.  This gift was a music box with a gorgeous red velvet lining.  And, of course, a picture of Mr. Darcy.  He’s touching his cravat, his dark curls are falling on his forehead, and that piercing stare is holding mine.  Did I mention that while all this is taking place “My Heart Will Go On” is playing from the music box?
The best part about this (if anything can beat Colin Firth) is the quote engraved on the lid.  It says:
“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment” –Mr. Darcy.
I don’t think I have ever laughed as hard as I did in that moment when the principal presented me with the gift.  I am surrounded by a staff that cares for each other, and this attested to it.  I am also surrounded by a staff that reads  my blog and relishes in the life of this poor single (my principal is the one who wanted to hook me up with some Mennonite boys from her home colony).
Am I still single?  Yes.  But by golly I feel better about myself when looking into Colin’s eyes.  I’m going to the movies tonight, but I think it very likely that I may smuggle my music box into the theatre with me and possibly set it on the seat beside me.  If I can’t get a human date, at least I can have a pretend one.
Such is the life of a Christian single.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Annal 26: Tale from the Sound Effects

So when I'm not spouting off unusual names, claiming to have been a paratrooper during WWII, or telling my students that I'm actually an elf who was born just a few years after St. Patrick was, I'm doing other cool things.  Like telling them how to write sound effects.  Take yesterday's class for example.

Student: "Ms. S, how do would you write the sound of a lightsaber?"
Me: "Well, it sounds like this" *make noise* "so it would be spelled B-Z-Z-Z."  This is not to be confused with the bzzz sound a bee makes... the z sound makes more of a zh noise.
Student: "Ms. S, what sound does a lightsaber make when it stabs someone?"
Me: "Kind of a psh sound."
Student: "How would you spell that?"
Me: "P-S-H."

I know... I know... you don't even have to say.  You've never met someone so cool in all your life, right?  All those years of watching the original Star Wars movies and playing with the action figures have finally paid off.  I knew there was a reason I was geek.

This year has been full of interesting revelations for me.  One of the biggest ones was realizing that I really am a little odd.  To go along with that I realized that God created me with the personality that I have and He loves me for it.  There have been times when I have felt like I didn't belong in a group and where people just shook their heads at me because my interests were at times so different from their own.  But something happened this year.  I became a teacher to a class full of wonderful, creative, quirky students.  And I think God is showing me that there are ways I've been able to relate to them and help them with things that someone less odd, or quirky, would not be able to do.  I like comic books, I like literature, I  like superheroes and video games, but I also love classics.  At times I feel like I'm a walking contradiction, but it works.

So here's to all of the odd quirks out there like myself who sometimes feel like the things that make them who they are are terrible.  I no longer despair (at least not this morning, anyway) because God has shown me that my interests and personality traits are unique--and not in a bad way.  They make me who I am and help me to fulfill the purpose He has set out for me.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Annal 25: Tale from my Quirk-o-Meter

I’m a little weird.
Just when I start to think I’m verging on becoming normal, I have a moment that reminds me that my nutty level is still quite high.  Interestingly enough it is again at the hands of my students that I am reminded of this.
My students had a free write for journal yesterday and one of them asked me for a name.  Now I need to explain something here: I have a fetish.  My mother looks up real estate, my sister collected rocks, my dad organizes his books according to category (ie. Christian living, Church history, etc), and I research names.  I have a thing about names that are a little different, and I will often spend time on baby name websites looking up names and their meanings.  So when I am asked by a student for help coming up with a name, I’m usually fairly capable in that.  Yesterday’s suggestion was Maher-shalal-hash-baz.  It’s  a biblical name and can be found in Isaiah 8:1.  I informed my students that it’s the name of one of my stuffed animals; I call him Murray for short.
Yeah, I know... I scream cool right now, don’t I?  Apparently my students thought so too because their response (after acknowledging how cool it was that I could even spout this name) was to say, “We kind of feel bad for your kids, Ms. S.”  I would love to say that this is the first time I have ever heard this; but it’s not.  Their second response?  “What will happen if you marry a guy who likes plain names?”  Yeah, I’m touched by their concern too.
The result of this entire conversation?  One student wrote a journal entry about me.  In it my currently non-existent boyfriend broke up with me, but when I woke up the next morning I had multiple super hero abilities (I had strength, telepathy, and I think I even flew).  The story ended with me kicking some villain’s butt.
The moral of this story?  Maybe I’m weird, and maybe people pity me because I like different names, and maybe my quirk-o-meter is constantly registering at a higher level than other people, but regardless, my students think I have the capacity to be a super hero.  It works.
Such is the life of a Christian single.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Annal 24: Tale from Van Helsing's Crossbow

I am probably the closest you will ever come to meeting a vampire.

There, I admitted it.

No, I don't drink blood.  I'm not a huge garlic fan, but it definitely doesn't hurt me.  I quite like crosses, and while I have never come into contact with holy water, I'm pretty sure I won't sizzle when splashed by it.  No one has ever tried to stab me with a wooden stake, though I'm sure that it would kill me were it driven through my heart.  But the sun... well... that's another story.

As I write this I'm fighting the urge to scratch my ears.  You see about three years ago I developed a mild sun allergy.  It doesn't last all summer, just for May and June, while my skin adjusts to the sun's heat again.  My skin bubbles.  I believe the correct term would be "breaking out in hives" but bubbling skin sounds a little more Dracula-esque, don't you think?  And so I am currently exercising all my self-control to not scratch those glorious little bumps that have appeared on my ear lobes.

See, when most people think vampires, especially in today's culture, they think glamorous and sexy.  They think Edward Cullen glittering in the sun, or Kate Beckinsale in black leather.  The closest I can come to that is red, bumpy skin that itches.

Attractive, isn't it?

Every once in a while I like to envision myself gloriously shaking my hair loose in the summer sun, skin glowing with a golden hue.  Instead I look in the mirror and see red skin...  that bubbles.

My only hope?  That Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing will catch wind of this "North American Vampire" and come hunt me down.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Annal 23: Tale from my Heart

This entry is going to be a bit of a movement from my typical ones, but I assure anyone who reads this that my next blog will be full of my shallow rants.  This is just what is on my heart right now and I need a way to voice it.
Everything that Jesus said and did during His stint on earth had to do with following what He said were the two greatest commandments.  Loving God and loving others.  He said that all the prophets and laws were summed up in those two things.  Sounds easy enough, but if one were to look at Christians today I think we would have to say it doesn’t appear to be all that easy.  Especially that loving others part.
What does love mean? Paul seems to sum it up nicely in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”  These verses are quoted so regularly that we tend to overlook what they mean.
Right before what is infamously known as the “Love chapter” Paul is talking to Corinthians about unity and diversity in the body.  He mentions that we are not made up of one part but of many (12:14).  How many people can honestly say they love all the people around them who are so different from them?  If God had intended for us to be carbon copies of each other I’m fairly certain He would have created us that way.  But He didn’t.  He created each of us unique because each of us has a different purpose.  Some might be the hands, while others might be the liver.  God calls us to have equal concern for each other, to mourn with each other, and to rejoice with each other.  How often do we do that?
Sometimes Christians are the most cutthroat group of them all.  If someone disagrees with us we find ways to make them seem “less spiritual.”  We make them feel uncomfortable in our small group.  We gossip about them.  We do little discreet things that no one catches; the sort of things never mentioned from the pulpit because it’s easier to mention things like drunkenness, or drugs, or tatooes (yes, I once heard a description of a ‘sinner’ as being a tattooed person.  As my brother has tatooes and it doesn’t seem to interfere with his relationship with God, I’m going to assume that God is not sending him to hell for them), because those are the sins we can nail.  But those aren’t the things that divide the Church.  It’s the lies, the bitterness, the unresolved hurt, and the offenses we refuse to deal with that cause the division.  Loving each other requires us to be patient, to not keep a record of the wrongs done to us, to not seek our own glory and kingdom but God’s.
Ironically, I began writing this thinking of the ways that I have been hurt by Christians recently.  Thinking of how THEY didn’t show love.  How THEY didn’t meet the criteria in 1 Corinthians 13.  And as I’m writing it God is nudging me and say, “Are YOU meeting that criteria?  Are YOU making sure YOU don’t keep a record of wrongs done against YOU?”
What does love look like?

Friday, 10 June 2011

Annal 22: Tale from a Vintage Photo

Today my class when to a heritage village for a field trip.  It was a fantastic (albeit long) day, and they all seemed to enjoy it.  My students were given a tour of the village and were also able to sit through a 1930s-style lesson.  It was fantastic.  My highlight was when they were told that in many cases teachers would board with the families of their students.  I asked the students what they thought of that idea.  Here are their initial responses:

Student 1: "I would  put itching powder in your underwear."
Student 2: "I would booby-trap your bedroom."
Student 3: "That would be creepy... you would wear slippers."

Once upon a time I may have taken remarks like that to heart.  Pathetic, I know, but I have always been a mildly sensitive person and words have always been important to me.  Teaching has been good for me though.  It has taught me that for each of these remarks students will also say something like, "Ms. S, I think that would be the coolest thing in the world."  I have students who think the best way to spend a night would be reading with me... or having me read The Iliad to them.

To top off our field trip we got a class picture--vintage style.  All of my students were dressed up in old-fashioned clothing.  My girls were in dresses, hats, and gloves, and were sporting either fans, handcuffs, or shotguns.  My boys had bandanas, dusters, cowboy hats, boots, and also shotguns.  Then you had me in my magenta gown, hoop skirt underneath to increase the "poofiness" of the dress.  The first response I got when I stepped out of the changeroom?

"Ms. S, you look bad."

Not so long ago this kind of a response would have choked me up.  But I ignored it, because for this one comment there were about three others telling me I looked good.

The point of this story?  For as long as I can remember I have struggled with my self-esteem.  I had people tell me that I couldn't base my value on what others thought of me, but that never changed how I felt.  I could be told God loved me but that always seemed to be dimmed by my insecurities.  I think God has been teaching me this lesson all year but I didn't realize it until I sat down to start typing an account of today's events.  As a teacher you hear all sorts of things.  In the course of a day I can be told I'm cool, that I "rock," that I'm hated, and that I'm bad.  It could do a number on your self-esteem.  And sometimes it does.  But then I look at the bigger picture.  The wall behind my desk is plastered with 62 (one of my students counted them) pictures that my kids have made for me throughout the school year.  For every sarcastic comment about me I usually either hear from students, or receive notes from them on their assignments, telling me how much they appreciate me. 

My students know what I'm like.  Depending on their moods, or mine, their comments might vary.  But throughout the year they have proved to me what they really think of me, and it is that which shines through.  That's what I cling to.

God knows me.  And He loves me the way I am.  People change.  One day they might love me and the next day they might hate me.  He doesn't.  In the same way that I can't base my self-esteem on my students ever-changing comments, I can't place my value in the ever-changing views of humanity.  God's view is what truly matters.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Annal 21: Tale from a Non-Church-Hopper

I once read a book where a group of singles actually plotted out when the services of every church in their community (and the surrounding communities) started, and would manage to attend up to three services a day.  I would love to say they did this because they simply could not get enough of learning about God.  But they didn't.  They did it so they could rate each church according to its population of singles. 

At the time, this made me laugh and shake my head.  Now I actually begin to comtemplate it.

I know people in surrounding communities who constantly suggest that I and my single friend come and check out their churches.  Of course, by "checking out their churches" what they really mean is "come check out the singles at our church--we'd love to hook you up."  After reading this novel as a teenager, my first thought was actually how much fun that would be.  But then I had a realization.

Just because someone goes to church does not mean that they are what I am looking for.  I had that realization this fall.  I had changed churches because I felt that God was calling me in another direction.  Ironically enough, as soon as I left the church they had an influx of single men start attending.  My first thought was "Should  I go back?" but I realized I couldn't.  Just because a man is single and goes to church does not mean that he is the man I am looking for.  Call me picky, but I prefer to say I'm not desperate.  When it comes to faith, I want a man who is willing to think deeply and not just accept what is said from the pulpit because it is said from the pulpit.  I want a man who is discerning.  My father constantly tells me that I'm better off being single and waiting for the right guy, than rushing into a relationship simply because I don't want to be single.  I suppose I'm beginning to agree with him.

Will I stop visiting other churches?  No.  Heck, I may even enjoy going to them, trying them out, and yes, seeing if they have an single men.  But will I jump into anything simply because that guy goes to a church?  No.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Annal 20: Tale from the Pacifier

Sometimes when I envision myself I see not what I look like, but more of a feminine version of Vin Diesel in his role in The Pacifier.  I feed kids, bath kids, and get tackled by kids.  And when the kidlets are tucked into bed I blow on my fingers as if I'm blowing on guns.  There's a reason why I tell my students I'm a super hero.

One thing babysitting is good for is making you forget that some of the reasons you are single are as dorky as they are.  Suddenly, being able to contort my face is cool and causes children of all ages to emit giggles.  Singing Christmas carols in the summer?  The coolest thing ever!  Being able to sing "Down by the Bay" with the kids?  Yeah, I'm pretty much an American Idol contestant.  The fact that I spend evenings playing video games?  Kids actually admire that kind of an ability.

So while typically I am reminded constantly of my single status, spending the last few days doing some overnight babysitting has worked wonders for my self-esteem.  Especially when, while cutting pancakes, two little voices tell me, "You look so pretty today."

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Annal 19: Tale from the Dog Whisperer

While I do not believe I run the risk of becoming a crazy cat lady, I think I may be at a high risk of becoming another sort of crazy.  You've heard of "The Horse Whisperer"?  Terrible movie that came out several years ago?  Man who can understand horses?  Well I'm the dog whisperer.

You see, I house sit... alot.  All of my friends seem to have dogs and so when they go away on vacation they require someone of immense expertise to take care of their dogs.  Well, we all live in a small town which means such experts do not exist.  So they call me.

I have had dogs pee on me, sleep with me, and pee on me while sleeping with me.  Yeah, if ever there was an image of a single woman with dogs, it would probably be me.  I walk into multiple homes and respond as dogs start barking, "It's all good, guys, Aunty's here."  Yeah... I refer to myself as "Aunty" when I am around dogs... awesome, isn't it?

So while I may not notice if a guy is hitting on me (a friend had to point out that the seventeen year old in the theatre was flirting with me) or that a guy in the Walmart electronics is waiting for me to look at him so that he can ask me if I'm married or in a relationship (yeah... it was an interesting weekend), I can read dogs.  The sad part?  They become somewhat attached to me now.

I have one friend whose pups always cuddle and bark a certain way when I show up.  Apparently one of them only cuddles with guys... so either she thinks I'm a guy, or she's attached to me.

My problem?  There isn't really one.  I'm just more or less commenting on the mildly pathetic turn life seems to take.  If you're married and need someone to watch your dogs, call me.  I may not be an expert, but they will feel comfortable relieving themselves on me.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Annal 18: Tale from Sunday Worship

I had a wee bit of a smack on the head today in church this morning.  I sometimes get so caught up in myself and my 'plight' as a single Christian women in a small town where the Christian male population is either non-existent, non-eligible, or non-interested, that I tend to forget that there are people out there going through much rougher times.  I have some friends who are going through a heart-breaking time right now.  My mother lost her job unjustly.  And here's me thinking how rough my life is because I'm not married like the rest of my friends.

All of the songs we sang today were about the faithfulness of God.  About how He is more than enough for us.  About how His love gives us hope, faith, peace, and rest.

I thought of my friends and how they are clinging to God right now, and how even though they hurt so much they are still trusting Him.  He has promised to never leave us (Hebrews 13:5) and I'm watching as their pain causes them to hold onto Him even harder.

I look at how God is bringing healing to my mother and teaching me about what forgiveness means through her ordeal.

And then I looked at myself.

I was standing there, singing "You're always enough for me" and God stopped me.  It was like He was asking me if I believed this.  Did I really believe that He was more than enough for me?  If so many people close to me are dealing with issues that are so much greater than my life as a single, and they are able to cling to God and to trust Him to get them through these circumstances, then shouldn't I be able to do the same?  Shouldn't I be able to place my trust in God and believe that He is enough?

For now I am single.  And that's okay.  I think of Mordecai telling Esther that perhaps she was placed where she was "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14) and I can't help but think God has me here, in this position, for such a time as this.  Should I waste it away longing to be married?  Or should I seek Him and His purpose for my life, and trust that He will be enough?

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Annal 17: Tale from the Movie Theatre

Last night I went to the movies with some friends.  It was opening night of X-Men: First Class and I was pretty excited to watch James McAvoy portray Charles Xavier (strictly because of his acting ability, of course).  I sat down in my seat, married friend on my one side, single friend on my other.  My married friend commented on her husband having gone to the earlier showing of the movie.  A random guy, probably about seventeen, who was sitting in front of me commented on his own marriage.  Our conversation went something along the following:

Him: "I enjoyed my wedding."
Me: "Oh yeah?  Well that's good."
Him: "It was in Vegas.  Went really well.  Happened about four days ago."
Me: "Well, congratulations, you must be very proud."
Him: "I am."

We then proceeded with our own conversations.  Shortly after, he again interjected into our conversation.

Him: "I'm divorced now."
Me: "Oh yeah..."  *I actually misunderstood what he was saying and so only absentmindedly acknowledged him*
Him: "... Think about it..."

So there we have it, I am the object of flirtatious attention from a teenaged boy.  So remember, just when you start to lose hope, there may be a boy almost ten years your junior out there to make you feel just swell.

After this we more or less ignored each other as I was too busy attempting to still my rapidly beating heart at Hugh Jackman's cameo appearance as Wolverine... sigh... give me a man with metal claws, an eyebrow that cocks, and that tough growl...

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Annal 16: Tale from the Field Trip

Today our school went on a field trip to a nearby dinosaur museum.  I love my students, but a total of four hours on a bus with them definitely makes things interesting!  The following is one of the conversations the took place:

Student 1: "Ms. S, do you still have pictures I drew for you from kindergarten?"
Me: "I'm pretty sure I do in a box somewhere."
Student 1: "That's kind of wierd."
Me: "Well I like it when you guys draw me pictures.  That's why I put all the ones from my students on my wall."
Student 2: "Ms. S, you should marry an artist."
Me: "Why?"
Student 2: "Because then he could draw you pictures all the time."
Student 3: "And because you can't draw."

I had no indication that the conversation would take this turn, which is proof that my students (and students from other classes) are more interested in my lack of a marital status than I am at times!  That being said, I had another eye-opening "that's-why-I'm-still-single" moment later on in the day.  We were hiking back to the bus after visiting dinosaur tracks when I began to sing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs (in my defense, it had been snowing that morning--yes, on June 3--and was getting ready to snow again).  The students with me began to belt out the songs as well and so we filled the forest around us with our renditions of "Jingle Bells," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and "Deck the Halls."  It was lovely, but carols in June could be another reason why I am still single.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Annal 15: Tales from the Proposals

I received my first proposal when I was ten.  It was a lovely spring evening and I was walking with one of my best friends.  A boy we sometimes walked with appeared from out of the bushes with a beautiful wild rose in his hand.  Our conversation when something like this:
“Will you marry me?”
“F*** you.”
And then he walked away.
My next proposal was in grade nine.  It was “Capture the Heart Day” where all the girls had paper hearts and weren’t allowed to talk to the boys.  If they talked to a boy, he got to have their heart for the day.  By the time I left homeroom one of my classmates had proposed.
Come to think of it, I didn’t actually turn him down.  Of course, I didn’t accept either.  I remained quite silent.
Looking back, I wonder if perhaps I was too picky.  Did I already, at such young ages, expect too much?  Sure  the first boy was a year younger than me and couldn’t say three words without throwing a curse word into it, but I’m sure other than that he would have been wonderful husband material.  And he did pick me a flower.
The other guy was a really nice guy.  I didn’t know much about where he stood with Jesus, but he was still very nice and we got along wonderfully.  Why did I not accept?
Right.  I was fourteen.  Pish posh, people were married with children by that age not all that long ago.
I have not received another proposal since.  Perhaps this is simply a sign that I really am just too dang picky.  I really must work on it.  And so I think I shall have to accept my next proposal... in Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennett comments that despite having turned down the odious Mr. Collins, if she is lucky, she many in time meet with another man just like him.  Is she being sarcastic?  Sure, but I’m positive there is a lesson to be learned.  And so here’s to Mr. Collins!
Such is the life of a Christian single.