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Talking with a friend tonight about her man woe’s, I was reminded of an application for a relationship that I wrote with a friend a year ago, more or less as a joke.  And I looked it over and can’t help but laugh at the absurdity.  And so, I decided to post it for you to enjoy.  It tried to cover every corner we could think of where you might run into problems with a relationship.  It might also be 4 pages long of almost all essay questions, with requests to “attach additional pages as necessary.”

Please note: I would never actually give this to anyone.

Application for Partner Relationship

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? A filled application you want to turn in?

The Lenten season is coming up.  February 22 is Ash Wednesday.  Have you made any Lenten fasting plans yet?  If not, I have a suggestion.

Consider participating in Chris Seay’s A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor.  Here is the description from Amazon:

“In a culture built on consumption–especially of food–it is easy to forget the poor that Jesus cared so much about. Following the pattern of his successful Advent Conspiracy, Chris Seay invites readers on a journey of self-examination, discipline, and renewed focus on Jesus that will change their lives forever.  He challenges readers to eat like the poor for forty days in solidarity with a much-neglected group of people, and to donate the money they save on groceries to a charity or project that serves the poor in concrete ways.”

I don’t think this will be an easy thing for me to do, but I like the premise.  I like the challenge of eating like most of the world does for an semi-extended amount of time.  I like the fact that it is practical and that I will donate the money I’ve saved.  I am thinking about this now, because at least for me, it will take planning: I will have to make sure I don’t have perishables around that I can’t eat once Lent starts, and I will want to come up with recipes that make sense.  And I prefer to do a Lenten fast that matters, that I’ve put thought into.

If you want to see the chapel Seay did for Compassion, it is well worth your time: Will You Take a Place at the Table?

Let’s do it.

Alright, enough with the emotions.  Onto real life.

Why do people feel the need to ask me what I want to do when I’m done with my schooling?  Sure, I only have this semester of coursework, then a thesis.  Yes, I’m almost done, almost to the point of being kicked out into the world.  But, no, I have no idea what I want to do.  I have a whole host of ideas, but I’m not committed to any one of them at this point.  I think I’ll try to list them here, in no particular order, for mutual enjoyment and perusal:

1. Go overseas; work in an orphanage.
2. Go overseas; teach English.
3. Get a job at World Next Door and convince Barry to marry me.  I think the second part might be a joke.
4. Get a nursing degree and go overseas.
5. Find a non-profit ministry job.
6. Get married and have a family.
7. Get any job I can find, pay off current loan, go back to school for more debt.  I mean more degrees.
8. Get a ministry job, wait until I’m 35, and start adopting babies. (One parent is better than no parents?)
9. Change direction entirely and become a writer.
10. Some combination of some of the above.

I do feel confident that God will open doors as they should be opened.  I don’t have to worry about it entirely.  Opportunities will arise (or be found) when they need to be.  For the time, I’ll be in the area until at least December, when I actually graduate.  After that, well, by then I will hopefully know better what my direction should be.

EDIT: I need to add one more thing!
Either married or single, being involved in whatever ministry  it is (church/parachurch/nonprofit), I want to have a house known for hospitality.  That is probably an ultimate goal regardless of my life situation. I want a home that is open to others, where they are welcome to come and just be.

Something about the late hour (9pm can be considered late if your body hasn’t let you sleep for the last week) combined with tiredness makes me feel as if it is a good time to talk about personal things.

I have been in love only once.  And it went so poorly that I decided to never be in love again.  But in the last six months or so, I’ve begun to recognize that the ability is within me.  And even the desire to allow it.  Benefits outweigh risks.  And that doesn’t even make mention of the emotional healthiness to allowing oneself to have a full range of emotions.  I am not saying that I am currently in love.  That is not a term or an idea that I would use lightly.  I am merely saying that I am capable of being in love.  (I suppose that this is true of most everybody.)

However, recognizing my capacity for love does not necessarily matter much at this point in my singleness.  Except in the realm of increasing my capacity for love of others, not of the romantic sort, but which is probably tied to the same vulnerability that would allow a romantic love.  And then there’s the whole command to love others, as Christ loved us.  (I think that’s in the Bible? I’m not that confused, am I?)  I’m not great at that.  But I’m trying.

I was told the this the other day: “Love risks. Nobody is safe. Everyone is dangerous. Invest anyway.”  (Great words of wisdom.)

Baby steps?

I recently read an article that I thought might have merit, only to find that it’s worse than outright commodification of women, because it hides behind a veneer of old time values.  The article, “The Death of Pretty,” is supposed to lament the turning of women into commodities.  Although, the author, Pat Archbold, only ties this phenomenon to the US and to the last 40 years, which is very short sighted.

I think what bothered me is that women are made into an ideal.  They are assigned characteristics, qualities and expectations that absolutely cannot, and in some cases should not, be met across the board.  Terms used to describe women, or the ideal of woman, were “pretty,” “innocent,” and “pure.”  Really?  This is how we still want to see women?  We still want to classify women by their appearance, by their level of modesty, by their willingness to play the game of so-called femininity?

The thing is, being a woman inherently qualifies me as feminine.  And simply because I am a woman, I should not be expected to be anymore pretty, innocent or pure than the man next to me.  (Granted, “pretty” is a feminine term, whereas “handsome” tends to be more socially accepted in the description of men. But I digress.)  Men and women are equally capable of modesty, of innocence and of purity.  And as a side note, I think it is equally wrong to hold men to an ideal and use them in that way.

I as a woman should not be the reason a man then strives to be whatever it is he thinks a man should be.  We are all made in the image of God, we are all humans.  If we are living as we ought, living the path that God has given us, faithfully for Him, we will be what He created us to be.

All of this jumble to say that turning women into an ideal is still commodifying them.  It is just happening in a much less obvious, but no less evil, way.

Get excited.  These are real secrets.  At least I think they might be…

Okay. The problem is that I can only think of three real secrets (i.e. things I am unwilling to tell the world at large) and unfortunately, I have no real desire to tell the interweb, either.  So I suppose I could tell half-secrets.  Things that I haven’t told the world at large, but are still true.  Therefore, without further ado:

1. I recently decided that instead of acting like I am not interested in a person I like, I should at least act as though there is a door that could be opened. (Metaphorically speaking.)

2. Girls scare me. Especially the “cute” ones.  It’s something about how they always have perfect makeup and perfect hair and perfect outfits…  even in their “comfy” outfits, they’re still perfectly put together.  It astonishes me.  I manage to be put together approximately once a year.

3. I can be peer pressured into almost anything.  I cannot be guilted; I cannot be manipulated.  But peer pressure gets me every time.  The idea that all of my friends want me to join them?  I might have the strength to say no once, twice or even three times, but ask me right or ask me enough, and I will likely give in.  (Caveat: there are some things that I absolutely will not say yes to; this is not an across the board truth.)

4. I am unreasonably afraid of the dark.  Until college, I used to jump into bed because I couldn’t handle walking across my room in the dark.  I used to have to ask people to walk me to my car at night.  Now, I soldier through and fake it, but it takes almost nothing to scare the wits out of me. (Friends who know me: do not use this to your advantage.)

Something else you want to know about?  Just ask.  (Although I make no promises.)

It’s the second day of the first week of classes.  Yesterday, I spent the afternoon organizing my life.  Printing syllabi, organizing notebooks, figuring out my schedule…

I apparently need my assignments written down in three different places: the syllabus, my planner and monthly calendars I make to hang up on my wall.  The calendar is great: I put all my due dates for projects, papers and tests so that I can see at a glance what my weeks/months will look like.  And with any luck, I can work ahead when there are weeks that are stacked.  It’s a sight to see, since I put up all five months at once, in a giant conglomeration.

Today I must begin doing homework.  And I will.  I will.

But this semester, I am making some decisions about the priorities in my life.

Yes, school has to be a priority: I’m paying for it, and I want to do as well as I can.  BUT, last semester, and typically most semesters, I tend to drop off the face of the planet socially and I tend to stop doing things like exercising.

This semester will be different.  I am committing to working out every weekday morning.  I am committing to attending theology pub every week.  I am committing to attending a home community group every week.  I am committing to attending church every week (which normally does happen anyway), and I am committing to helping out with the babies once a month.  I am committing to honestly making people a priority: this doesn’t mean that I will just hang out simply to avoid doing homework, but that I will spend intentional time with people, and if they need me or need to talk, I will make time for them regardless.

I realized the other day that I’m almost done with school.  This is my last semester of coursework, then it’s just my thesis, and then I’m done.  And you know what?  School isn’t going to be waiting for me when I’m done.  School is not a support network nor will it be.  My support network is largely (not entirely) from my church and if I don’t start cultivating those relationships, I won’t have anything when I’m done here.  And life and faith require community and relationships.

This semester is going to be busy, but I think it will be worth it.

Don’t get excited. I’m not spilling any secrets in this post. Which is an ironic statement in light of what follows.

I’m not a secretive person.  Really, I’m not.  I’m not necessarily a very open person, per se, but I’m not secretive.  As in, I don’t think I actually have any secrets that at least one person doesn’t know.  And I’m not opposed to people knowing the details of my life.  I just need them to be in a place where it would make sense for them to know.  I feel as if that is wise, not secretive.  Right?

I’ve also realized that I’m pretty open about things in general on my blog.  Way more so than in real life.  That is an interesting disconnect.  I keep this blog somewhat anonymous.  It’s linked from my facebook and twitter, but there are no links going back to them.  And my name, other than first name, is nowhere here, neither are there any photos of me or personal details, such as where I live.  So if you know me, you know this is my blog.  But if you don’t know me, then you have no idea who I am in real life.

That must make me feel safer?  Which is an unfortunate thing, considering my views on community (which I’m not sure I’ve actually posted about here).

This whole thought process was brought on by myself telling a group of friends (some older, some newer) a so-called secret the other night. I was disinclined at first to say anything, but then I thought it through, decided it’s not such a secret in my life and that the group I was with was probably safe enough. But the ‘secret’ probably wasn’t worth the telling in the end.

C’est la vie.

This might just be a rambly sort of blog, as I simply feel the desire to write what I want, without care about cohesion.

I am trying to not feel discouraged about where I am in life.  I am trying to find the purpose and good in where God has me currently.  There is purpose, there is good.  I just can’t seem to get over what I’d rather be doing.  And as I spent another Saturday morning by myself, I again reminded myself that this might be my life forever, and that perhaps I ought to simply accept and embrace it.

I’ve begun reading the book, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture.  One of my profs from undergrad, who is himself an introvert, recommended it awhile ago, and it’s been on my nightstand, waiting for me.  I think it is going to be a very redemptive book for me.

The Method hand soap dispensers are probably the best designed hand soap dispensers ever.  I recommend buying one simply to have, and then refilling it with a soap that is realistically priced.  Because it gets all the soap out, instead of consistently leaving an 1/8″-1/4″ in the bottom.

There is a boy who I almost dated last year who is sometimes awkwardly friendly with me this year.  Thinking back, I should have known it would never work from the time I made red potato soup and he put ketchup in it. Who does that?

If I ever get married, I’m pretty sure all I will care to put on the gift registry is kitchen stuff.  Who needs anything else?  And there are so many delightful things I wish I owned, wish I could afford.  (What a silly reason to want to get married… but honestly, how else do you get a Kitchen Aid Mixer, the ultimate mixer?)

When I read blogs, I notice grammar and spelling issues.  But I rarely point them out to the author, even if its a friend.  Is that good or bad?  I haven’t decided yet.

And finally, there are patches of blue sky today, and that makes me happy.

For some  reason, I have agreed to participate in a conference my school puts on, in the form of a workshop presenter for the paper on gender that I posted previously.  It is in the beginning of March, and I will have 55 minutes to fill…  It should be interactive…  Yikes.  In addition, by the end of the month, I have to have a title, summary paragraph, picture and bio submitted for my workshop.  Double yikes.  Mind, this is all in addition to my coursework.

Now, this conference is nothing big or exciting, in the big scheme of things, but to me, it is both big and exciting.  And slightly scary.  It is not as if I haven’t done anything like this before, but I always knew my audience.  And the presentations I have done were entirely school related, which for some reason felt like less pressure.  It is not as if anyone will expect me to be anything other than I am: a seminary student.  But I will still be expected to be able to dialogue intelligently about my topic, to engage my audience, to be prepared.

I need to rework my paper, to improve it, to smooth it out and take care of the issues that remain currently.  I need to continue to study my topic, to become more familiar with it, to become comfortable with dialoguing about it.

I will view this as what I believe it to be: a learning opportunity for me.  And with any luck, a learning opportunity for the few who decide to attend my workshop.