Nobody Told Me

   When I was a little girl, I dreamed of the day when I would meet my Prince Charming, be swept off my feet, and live happily ever after. I still look forward to the day when I marry a strong, Christian man and am blessed to live out my days working side by side with him. In the meantime, I am living life and enjoying the pursuit of other dreams!

   I remember being so excited when people I knew slowly started to find a special person to spend their life with. I was in my late teens, barely into my 20's when these events started to occur. My Mom always told me it was a sign of growing up... becoming an adult, when one's friends start marrying off. Did I mind? Not at all! I was excited for them!

   Let another year or two pass by and suddenly announcements of relationship pursuits, engagements, and weddings were flooding in. At first I was excited, but it didn't take long before I became overwhelmed and suddenly living under a rock sounded very appealing. Sometimes it still does. There were days I literally found myself cringing as I checked my online social networks, because I truly felt that I couldn't take another announcement along those lines.

   What happened? I remember so clearly the joy I experienced when my friends first started marrying off. Nobody told me while I was dreaming my youthful fantasies that the joy I envisioned could someday be painful.

   It's something you don't fully think about or expect to happen. I remember hearing once in awhile from the "older" girls and sensing their struggle to be happy when yet another wedding was announced. It was something I didn't understand at the time. How could they not be happy over such a joyous occasion?

   I have found that the expression, "feeling blue," describes my mood fairly well when I'm struggling with romantic news. It's not about jealousy or being discontent, though I can't say I haven't had my moments. I am confident that God will bring that special man into my life when the time is right, and because of this jealousy has thus far rarely been a struggle. Discontent? My life is so richly blessed right now and God has presented opportunities to pursue other lifelong dreams that how can I stay discontent?

   I truly am enjoying life where I am, but that doesn't mean that I don't experience those moments of loneliness and longing. You may be thinking, "but you're still so young!"
I know I am! That doesn't make my pain any less real. I may not be far into my "adulthood" or even "single-hood" for that matter, but it doesn't lessen the loneliness I feel acutely at times.

     Why am I sharing this? Why am I pouring so much time into making sure this post comes together "just right"? Why do I continue working on it even though I feel as though I'm baring my soul to an unforgiving world?

   I'm not sure I truly know. What I do know is this. I needed to say it. I wanted to let you know that if you've experienced what I'm speaking of, you're not the only one. Did it make sense? I'm not sure, but I needed to write it. These thoughts have been tumbling around in my head for so long, it was time to record and share them.

   Being alone isn't easy. I'm reluctant to use the word "single" in this instance since it's thrown about so often.  Not yet having a special someone to share those monuments of time or enjoy the little things of life with can be downright hard at times, especially when your friends and culture just seem to remind you of what you don't have.

   Feeling lonely, desiring a special somebody, or struggling with romantic news, isn't wrong! It's a season of life and though painful, it's also a time of growth and learning. Please don't think that you're less than because you don't have somebody! I've heard a phrase go around and while I don't remember the whole thing, the point of it was; God's not ready to share you yet. It may sound cliche, but I have found it comforting.

   Please don't take this lightly. This has not been easy for me to write and as far as I'm concerned, this is getting pretty personal. I also don't want you to leave thinking that all I do is walk about and mope. While some may doubt me, I have found that it is possible to live a full life and yet still struggle from time to time with these emotions. I am only human.

   What have I learned through these experiences? It's something that I've known, but it hasn't been until the last couple weeks as I've worked on this post that it has finally started to strike home.

   Christ is the only one who will be able to truly satisfy. 

   I knew I needed to work on my personal walk with Christ, but it has become evident that I need him so much more and for so many more reasons! I know I'm going to grimace as I write this next line, but it holds true. If going through these struggles and "the blues" is what draws me closer to Christ, then hooray!

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

Psalm 30:5b KJV 


A Glance Back

   I've been considering the idea of writing up some thoughts covering my year of 2012 for awhile now, so here I am. I'm not sure how in-depth I'll get, but I hope to at least cover the things I've either experienced or accomplished.

   It was a very full year for so many different reasons.

January 2012 saw me working at the shoe store for 4 months and a friend of mine announcing her engagement. I was able to start attending Bible study more regularly. (I started attending mid/late Oct. 2011)

February - I had the fun opportunity to see Steven Curtis Chapman (for the second time) and Josh Wilson in concert with 3 friends. Well worth the 2-3 hour drive. :-)

March - Mom was going through some health struggles and I was looking for additional work to supplement my job at the store. I applied for a couple open positions at the Creation Museum, but didn't expect to hear anything in return.

April - I landed a position in the Creation Museum Cafe less than a month after I initially applied. It's been such a huge blessing! God really took me by surprise with this one. :-)
   I very unexpectedly ran into someone I had met a few years previous and we were able to chat for a few minutes before I had to leave. It was a genuine pleasure and blessing.
   I believe it was during this month (it was in the spring for sure) that I participated in a girls "camp-out" that one of the girls from Bible study hosted. It was a fun night. :-)

May - Had my first real taste on the receiving end of a "matchmaker." I quickly put a stop to things, which confirmed for me that I don't particularly care for it. Started planning a white-water rafting trip to TN.

June - My younger brother, David, graduated high-school and quickly landed a job. Attended my friend's wedding (the one that become engaged in January.) Learned how to play Ultimate Frisbee for the first time and really enjoyed the exercise and time spent with friends. My family had the Bible study group over for a fun afternoon/evening of shooting, food, games, and fellowship. My parents offered to sell their car to me that I had been using.

July - My parents celebrated 26 years together and I turned 22. Went white-water rafting with friends; Emily, Katelyn, Jeff, and Drew in Tennessee. I also camped for the first time that weekend! :-) On the way home from the weekend, I stopped in Asheville, NC to visit a couple chocolate shops Drew had told me about. I had to see for myself and got to try a liquid truffle. It's delicious! I'm not kidding. It's a must try for any chocolate lover.
   I took my parents up on their generous offer and officially started paying for my first car! It's a burgundy Sable which I've named Brogan Ryder. :-)

August - I resigned from my position at the shoe store. Working two jobs, though not unmanageable, was wearing me down a little due to stress, etc. It was also time to move on from the store, which in the end has freed me to pursue a life long dream.
   We took our yearly family trip up to Michigan. While the water was freezing cold, it was nice to be able to relax on a beach. It came at a much needed time for me.

September - I attended a local festival where Clint Black was performing. Attended an annual homeschool alumni event in northern Ohio. (OSR) Alex moved out due to a job promotion and transfer. Found out another friend was "courting." Become reunited with somebody (Rebekah S.) I knew for a short time when I was much younger. Started attending Truth Community Fellowship.

October - I drove up to visit a friend in northern Ohio for a short weekend.  I attended a Celtic Thunder concert. It was wonderful! It was the first time I had ever seen them live in concert and they did not disappoint! The result of a spontaneous purchase when I found out they were going to be in Indiana. :-)

November - Thanksgiving with our elderly neighbor, Rose. Visited my very good friend Emily in South Carolina at the end of the month. A trip I thoroughly enjoyed! I also stopped in Asheville, NC again on my way down.

December - My trip to Emily carried over into the new month and we accompanied her sisters and friends for a visit to the historic city of Charleston. It's a beautiful place and I would love to visit again when I have more time to simply explore. It truly was a visit full of firsts. I got to see and touch the Atlantic ocean for the first time in my life. It's a satisfying moment when you can cross off an item from your "bucket list." :-) I stopped in Asheville again on my way home and picked up a few fun items, one of which being chocolate.
   I worked my first Christmas Town season here at the museum. It was a fun time, but I'm glad it's over. ;-)
   I went to a Christmas Ball hosted by friends in Erie, PA with my friend Rebekah S. We both had a truly wonderful time.
   Samantha, Rebekah, and I went and saw part 1 of The Hobbit in theaters with a group of friends. Great movie! I can't wait until the next part comes out on screen. :-)
   Christmas came much faster than I was ready for this year. It was a blessed Christmas for all of us. I'm actually sitting here typing this on my "biggest" gift. A Chromebook! It was very much unexpected, but I am loving it! :-)
   Sadly we didn't get a white Christmas, but the day following we got a big winter storm, which in the end probably gave us close to 6 inches. That was accumulated over a period of a few days though. It was bad enough the first morning for me to call into work. It's been really nice to have enough snow to go sledding. Last winter we barely got any. The snow is just now starting to melt. By the end of the week it'll probably all be gone since the days are supposed to be on the warmer side.

It's been a good year and I have been richly blessed. 

Looking Ahead

I go back and forth about setting "new year" resolutions, so I didn't really set any this year. However, I did make a short list of goals that I hope to work on in the year 2013.

1. Focus on my relationship with Christ and make sure I set aside time to read and study scripture. I've really fallen behind with this and so I'd like to see myself work on it more.

2. Bring my music back to life. Since I started working, my playing has dropped to nearly a zero. I truly love the piano and I'd like to improve a little on my own. I'm going to start with trying 3 days a week. This can cover basic finger exercises to get my hand strength back, playing for fun, refreshing old pieces, learning new ones, etc. I also want to memorize chords so that I can easily figure out which key the music is written. 

3. Writing, journaling, or blogging. I love to write and I see no reason why I should continue to neglect my practice of it. My goal is to do a form of writing once a week. I'd like to dust off some of my old stories and see if I can do anything with them or possibly come up with new ideas. I also enjoy blogging, but that tends to only happen when I feel I have something worth sharing. Whatever it takes to get me writing consistently, that's what I'm going to work on.

Those are my goals for this new year. What happens beyond that, I'm not sure. I don't have any big plans at this point, but I do hope to see more traveling in my future. :-) 
I'm not sure why, but I have a feeling this is going to be an odd year for me. Not in a bad way, but potentially a lot of changes ahead. No, I couldn't give you any kind of indication on what they might be, because I don't know myself. 
In the meantime, I am going to take one day at a time. 

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Matthew 6:34 KJV

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."James 4:14