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I love lists.  And I make them all the time.  I live by my lists.  But there is one list that I have not been in the habit of making: a list of qualities I would desire in a man.  Perhaps there is just enough of a romantic in me that I thought that beyond the basics, I did not want to try to pre-determine who I thought would be a good fit.  But perhaps it is time.

And so I give you my list, most set in stone, some set in wet concrete:

1. Christian
2. Intelligent
3. Decent/Respectable
4. Respects & Loves me
5. Hardworking
6. Musical
7. Has life plans
8. Pursues his goals
9. Kind
10. Can dance

I don’t feel like this is too much to ask.  I don’t feel like I am too picky or that my standards are too high.  I could have gone on, adding things about climbing and camping and how long he might take to get ready in the morning, but those were things that felt superfluous.  I picked a few core qualities that, after all these years, I feel are the most important to me.

I think it’s a good list.

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Today is my birthday.  I am 28.

Last night, a couple of friends and I went Swing Dancing in honor of my birthday.  It was one of the best times I’ve ever had dancing.  The instructor was fabulous, and not only that, but he actually danced with quite a number of the girls there instead of only dancing with the really good ones.  Plus, there was a nice amount of people, fairly even for both men and women, and enough okay to good dancers to make up for the few really awful ones. 

I got to dance with the instructor for 4 dances.  It is fabulous to dance with a lead who knows what he’s doing.  I didn’t know most of the moves, but I was able to do them because he could lead me.  Some of them I’m still not sure how they worked; I only know they did work.

I like dancing.  And when I’m dancing with someone who knows how to dance, it’s easy to forget what else is going on around me.  You get completely involved in your own little world, your own dance.

What a great way to start the year.

…am I just a warm body?  A reliable, warm body?  (Will I ever get a chance to be the one to cop-out at the last-minute or to show up or not as I please?)  Do I actually bring anything worthwhile to the table or is it simply that I can be relied upon to show up?  And what is it inside of me that hears, “I can’t stand you” when someone says,  “You’re awesome”?  Or that hears, “You are seriously nuts” when they say, “You’re one of my favorites”? 

I am skeptical of these people, of these statements.  I am skeptical that in actuality, I am merely one of the few people who continues to show up, week after week.  I am skeptical that I actually have any “mad skills” as I have been accused.  Do I have skills?  I am skeptical of people who might trade friendship for services.  [Side note: I just had a brain wave.  I might not be Liz Lemon from 30 Rock yet, but I just might be Kenneth the Page…]

I suppose my question is: Do people actually like me or do they like what I can do for them?  And I am just a Simon Cowell version of Kenneth the Page?

I am not starting grad school this Fall afterall.  I had realized the accreditation of the school I was going to attend is substandard.  They are only regionally accredited, which is not adequate for an academic degree of any worth.  The Dean of the seminary I am going to attend confirmed this with his email: “If you’re considering a career in higher education, you should think carefully about accreditation issues.  I have a lot of respect for Liberty, but their lack of ATS accreditation could limit the number of schools who would consider you.”

He also told me how I can get the degrees I want in three years instead of four.  And I do mean by doing a year less work, not by doing more work each year.  It ends up being more relevant, so I’m pretty happy about that and plan on looking into it more thoroughly.

So now the plan is to get a full-time job this year, save as much as I can, bite the bullet and go to grad school in Fall 2011.  I have realized that the timing will never be right, and I will never have the money, so I just need to do it.  I’m actually pretty excited about everything, though.

Do I watch 30Rock, take a bath and read a good book, or go to sleep?  If only the wireless in our house worked, then I could watch 30Rock while taking a bath.  Sleep might be overrated, anyway, as I wake up just as tired as I was the night before.  And 30Rock has to be a priority in  my life because I have a sneaky suspicion I might be Liz Lemon in another 10 years.  But the idea of a luxurious bath…so relaxing…so warm.

What are the frivolous decisions that plague you?

I found the following verses the other day and thought them rather poignant:

Psalm 37:23-24 “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.  When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.”

I find this especially encouraging.  God has established my path and delights in what He has given me.  And when I fall (note: when, not if), I’m not going to fall headlong because God is holding my hand.  It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes by Edward Teller:  “When you come to the end of the all light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”

Praise God that He is holding my hand.

I think God might be trying to teach me contentment.

An example: I ran into a fellow that I have not seen since the day we graduated from highschool (10 years ago).  We weren’t friends, so it wasn’t such a big deal.  Only… he has my life.  Or, at least, he has what I hope my life is in 3 or 4 years.  He has gone the exact same educational route I am going, but he is currently working on his PhD, compared to my just beginning an MDiv, because he has a wife who is a nurse who is supporting him through the process.

Another example: A couple days ago, I wore a skirt because it was supposed to be in the mid 70’s (which it may have been for a short while), but as the day went on, the sky grew more overcast.  And that evening, while I was still out and about in my lovely skirt, it poured.  It rained.  Liquid sunshine (as we like to call it sometimes in lieu of real sunshine) fell upon me with abandon.

Trust me when I say there are many other examples of God trying to teach me contentment.

My struggle has been to remain okay with where my life is.  With what life brings me.  My instant default is to wish I had the life I wanted, or to wish life would go my way.  But God frequently doesn’t work that way.  David wrote in Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”

I don’t think that means that I get whatever I want.  I think it means that if I am delighting myself in the Lord, He will replace my worldly desires with His desires.  He will give me the desires of my heart, will place in my heart the desires He wants me to have.  And if I commit my way to Him, He will be faithful.

God makes all things beautiful in His time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

How has it been nearly a week already since I posted?

My supervisor seems to have remembered that I am done with my AmeriCorps*VISTA year in two months, so has been giving me much more work to do… That combined with all the things I told myself I’d have done by the end of my year has given me more than enough to fill my days.   I’ve been having some fun with graphic design, plus was given the go-ahead to re-design the logo for our department, so that’s a lot of work so far, but I enjoy it.

And, since I started LiveStrong, I’ve lost 8 pounds.  Although, I don’t know if I like the terminology of “losing” weight.  I’m not losing it.  I am working to get rid of this weight; it is not magically disappearing.  I just want to be back to my pre-college weight.  It is possible, and is going to happen.

We had a beautiful day here today.  I love where I live.