A Single Christian Girl’s Wedding Survival Guide

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Ah, wedding season …

Never have I ever felt so simultaneously elated and assaulted all at the same time. It’s a beautiful mix of joy and pain which is why I mistakenly picked up Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy and assumed it was on this very topic. For further notice, it’s not. It’s about some dude who paints a ceiling in what I’d like to refer to as “legal vandalism.”

Anyway, it’s midway through June and if you’re in your 20’s and 30’s the number of weddings you’ve gone to in the past few weeks has been akin to a blitzkrieg.

You’re barely alive at this point. You need food, water, a fricken’ bubble bath and a gift certificate to Target because those wedding presents do not buy themselves.

So am I late with my survival guide to weddings?

Possibly.

But a wanderer in the desert never turns down a cold glass of water.

So here we go!

A no nonsense guide to surviving weddings.

(Imagine Destiny’s Child’s I’m a Survivor is playing quietly in the background)

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Don’t be afraid to look AWESOME. There’s nothing that makes a wedding sadder than an outfit that makes you feel like you’re only one step up from a muumuu with a cat pattern.

If you have a plus one, take a date. Weddings with a plus one are code word for “Adult Prom.” Stop following your work crush to the copier and timing your bathroom breaks so you just “happen” to run into him at 9:17 am, 11:23 am, 1:24 pm and 3:07 pm. It’s getting weird. Just ask him to be your date to your friend’s cousin’s wedding. Make it casual. You can do it.

Or maybe – don’t take a date. You’re single and ready to mingle! Scope out those groomsmen! Get your flirt on! But for all of our sakes and your own self-respect please do not huddle in a corner, rocking in the fetal position.

Make a budget. You make a budget and you Dave Ramsey the crap out of that thing. Weddings are expensive. The outfits, the gifts, the transportation costs … excuse me well I give my bank account CPR. Make a budget and STICK TO YOUR BUDGET.

Get the kid’s meal. There is nothing worse than getting dry chicken when your friend was smarter then you and ordered the kids meal which is mac and cheese and chicken tenders. What’s better then mac and cheese and chicken tenders? Nothing. Except for maybe the glorified mac and cheese and chicken tenders that you’ll be served at the wedding feast of the lamb, but other than that … nothing.

Have a go-to dance move. Mine is a lunge with a hip thrust. It is equal parts awesome and a future trip to the chiropractor. That lunge, hip thrust combo though? People love it. However, my fellow wedding guests might not be so much laughing with me as at me, so there you go.

Request the Macarena. Why? Because it’s hysterical, and a crowd pleaser.  Even Great Grandma Edna knows what it is.

Bring tissues. Crying at a wedding is the best. Be prepped and ready.

Write your own card. I was at Target a few weeks ago buying weddings cards and in order to buy one they ask you for your first born child. Who knew a piece of paper with a stupid design on it could be so expensive? And there’s only like 5 varieties so you know the couple probably already has a gazillion of the one you chose. Also, in my never ending search to find a funny wedding card, I’ve repeatedly failed so welcome in the “write your own wedding card.” Not only is it less expensive, but it also means more. You took 10 minutes to think of something sentimental to say and got carpal tunnel in the process? Your newly married friends are going to love that.

EAT CAKE. Oh wait, what? You’re on a gluten free diet and you’re avoiding sugar? Not today girlfriend. Not today. You stuff your face full of cake and you ask for a second piece! When Marie Antoinette said “let them eat cake” she was referring to this very moment. So stuff your face. (Unless, of course, you have Celiac Disease and then please don’t. No one wants you to be violently ill …)

Get excited for the couple. This is one of the biggest days of their life – to be totally honest, it’s not about you at all. It’s a chance to celebrate with a friend that liked you enough to invite you to be a part of the most significant party they’re ever going to have. So chin up, enjoy it.

Sunday Worship Tunes

You know, just casually listening to this song on my commute to work on Friday and sobbing hysterically …

Just, you know, casually listening.

Clearly this baby had an impact. I love the way it starts out:

In the process

In the waiting

You’re making melodies over me 

Want more? Check out my Spotify P&W playlist.

Sunday Worship Tunes

Just because at some point on Sundays I end up rocking out to something and figured I’d share it.

Already cried to this song once today … just super great.

I also have a whole playlist on Spotify with some of my favorite worship songs called P&W catchy huh?

Seeds and Hydrangeas

hydrangea-endless-summer

I asked my amazing and wise friend Steph to write a blog for Single Christian Girls. If you enjoy this post, you should check out her blog Everyday Awe. It’s beautiful. Also, if you’re close to Minnesota, and like digging into the bible, Steph leads Socratic Scripture Studies that you should absolutely check out!

Enjoy.

The early chapters of Genesis have gotten trapped in scientific arguments and children’s stories. It’s not often the place we turn when looking for some inspirational Bible reading. Yet, the poetry and images contained within these earliest chapters paint some stunning portraits of God and humanity, if we have the eyes to see them.

One of my favorites comes in Genesis 1:11,

“Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.”

How easy it is to jump to what God created, without pausing to notice how God created. Both the product and the process reveal things about the Lord’s character.

The anticipation had been building. God called light from darkness, and crafted space between the waters. Creation had begun, but yet life had not yet become part of it. Hydrangeas and roses, oak trees and pines, cacti and fruit trees were all resting in the imagination of the Creator, waiting to be birthed.

Yet when day three came, when the time for vegetation arrived, God did not thrust full grown vegetation onto the scene. The Creator shared with the creation the role of bringing life. Did you catch it? God did not say, “Let there be plants.” God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation.”

God did not create plants. God created seeds.

God planted underground the seeds of future life and beauty, and allowed the earth to partner in the act of creation.

“The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.” – Genesis 1:12-13

Then, the Creator waited. God let the earth break open the seeds, nurture the sprouts, and grow the flowers, vines, and trees into full grown beauties. Once those mature plants carried fruit with seeds in them, ready to start the process all over again, the Creator’s work and the earth’s work was done, and God called the day good.

——

Ephesians 2:10 is an oft quoted verse for good reason. We are God’s masterpieces, created intentionally, carefully, and beautifully. The second half of this verse adds to the first, saying we were also created “to do good works.”

Though the word “good” is often trapped in realms of “moral,” let us not forget that the first use of the word good is in that creation narrative of Genesis.

We, like the earth, were created to create. There are seeds of future life within us, waiting to be broken open, seeds we are called to nurture and water and grow into something that will make this world a deeper reflection of its good Creator.

Those seeds are what make us unique, and can come in many forms. Poems, paintings, and more traditional forms of art are surely among them. But so are well-ordered meetings that honor the gifts of those participating in them, or great meals that satisfy hunger and companionship, or helpful spreadsheets that bring order to a problem, or deep questions that bring life and purpose to conversations.

Too often, we don’t let what we have grow into something that we share with others. We are afraid that what we can bring isn’t good enough, or are waiting for a job that’s better before we really let ourselves dig in, or have had seedlings squashed in the past and are nervous to try again. Pretty soon, we think there aren’t any seeds there at all.

Don’t let your circumstances fool you. The seeds are plentiful. Sometimes, they rest dormant for a season, like the bulbs lying in wait below the winter snows, but they are there.

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One of my favorite flowers is the hydrangea. I love the burst of blooms at the end of each stem. I also have an affinity for potted flowers whose blooms last longer than the cut variety.

hydrangea-endless-summer

I also love the variety of colors from true blue to deep purple to bright pink.

In the seed, the hydrangea has the potential to be any of those colors. It is the pH of the soil that determines the hydrangea’s final hue.

Our hurts and fears and history, if we let them, can actually weave their way into the beauty of the life that comes forth. They have not destroyed the seeds, but have only changed the soil. Even if we carry a similar seed to someone else, it will not be the same. Our unique stories will make our flowers pink and theirs blue, which makes neither better nor worse, but works together to make this creation shine.

—–

The Creator is inviting you to bring new life and beauty to this world. Will you let what is within you come forth?

Things We Learn About Being Single on Tax Day.

The older I get the more I realize the government is stupid.

However, I would also like to run for public office one day so can we say hypocritical?

I think it’s because I’m an idealist and like every young American, I expect the government to be perfect and then it does something just super dumb and you sit there wondering if they have an even basic understanding of modern economic theory…

But I digress.

Bringing it back, yesterday was Tax Day!

#winning

via Pinterest.
via Pinterest.

Or not if you had to pay in and then I’m sorry for your loss.

I’m sort of like an ostrich when it comes to taxes. My head is in the sand. Don’t tell me what I’m paying, I don’t want to know.

However, I hit up ye ol’ google machine yesterday which solves a lot of the world’s problems and I typed in a fated string of text, “difference in tax rates among married and single people.”

Don’t do it friends.

Don’t do it.

In the wise words of Bon Jovi, it was indeed a “shot to the heart.”

Because as far as salt in a wound goes, this is a big one. Right behind how no one ever buys me jewelry.

Basically, single people pay more. And the government is doing this intentionally to encourage marriage. To which I want to say to the government, “would you get off my back?! I’m TRYING ok?!?!?!”

But am I really trying?

Uh oh. I’m about to drop bombs.

I’m not really trying. Not at all.

I’m reading this great book by Mark Batterson called Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge it’s a follow up to his book The Circle Maker which I highly recommend ESPECIALLY if you’re in a season of not knowing what the heck to do with your life. Which has been most of my 20’s so far … so basically if you’re in your 20’s you should buy it.

Anyway, in Draw the Circle Mark talks over and over again about how we need to “work like it depends on us, but we also need to pray like it depends on God.” In most areas of my life I would say I’m pretty good at the working part and need to do more in the prayer area part, but when it comes to a future spouse I’m zero for two. I don’t do anything (big issue) and I don’t pray about it (arguably bigger issue).

Let’s sideline the praying about it deal because you people are like toddlers and I can only hold your attention for about 100 more words (true story – it’s science).

But we, as single christian women, DON’T DO ANYTHING.

UPS isn’t going to drop off a guy at your house. They just won’t. And not only because the packaging is expensive and it’s really hard to ship live things but, apparently, if you’re trying to ship a person there is some nonsense about them needing “air” because they could “suffocate.” I don’t know – the government made it up.

Anyway, you, (and by you I mean we) have to get off our butts, stop watching Netflix on Friday nights and get out into the world!

I feel like a mother wood duck about to push my little ducklings out of the nest.

wood duck

We can’t complain about being single, but also refuse to go out on dates.

We’ve got to put forth a little bit of effort ladies. Like signing up for one of those dumb dating sites I’ve talk about before. Yeah, they’re stupid, but people get married because of match.com all of the time! Or sign up for the Bachelor! Just kidding, don’t do that. Volunteer! Be nice to random men who have fantastic socks (sign of a winner – just FYI). Go outside! Or my favorite, join singles BSF! Because we all KNOW the people who sign up for BSF are NOT 100% there to study the bible.

“Oh, I’m just here to learn about God and his word!”

“Yes – and I’m here for the amazing coffee.”

No.

Anyway, you can do it! You’re powerful, confident, capable and beautiful. And in case you need to hear this too – you’re good at relationships.

Fly my little wood ducks! Fly!

Sabbath.

I hardcore failed this morning.

I was at a party last night and therefore didn’t get out of bed until 10:25 am.

Church starts at 10:30.

I was going to try to make it, until suddenly, shortly after I had looked in the mirror, realized church probably wasn’t going to happen.

Side note, when you have short hair, it is possible for them to stick straight up.

New discovery.

To spare the good people of the world my #IWokeUpLikeThis face, because lets be honest, it makes children cry and there are a lot of children at my church, I made myself coffee and oatmeal and sunk down to … rest.

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I guess rest is the best word to describe what I’m doing right now, and it feels awesome, but it also feels like I don’t deserve it.

My friend Gabby wrote the most beautiful post on rest the other day and she basically said even though God commands us to rest, we often fight against it because we either don’t trust God will provide, or don’t believe we deserve it.

I think about the first one a lot. I worry ALL. THE. TIME. The worst part is I know it’s a sin. I know we’re not supposed to worry, but I can’t help myself. It’s sort of like it’s the sin that I was born with, my personality is predisposed to worry.

And it sucks.

But I don’t think about the last one, the “I don’t deserve it” one, but as soon as she put it on paper I immediately thought, “yup, I totally believe that.”

I’m pretty Type A, and by pretty Type A, I actually mean psycho crazy all the way Type A. If a day goes by without me achieving anything it’s a waste. So resting is REALLY hard, if not impossible. I’m also studying for a test, applying to grad school, working and honestly failing at making this blog a real thing. So basically, there is always something in the back of my mind going, “why are you reading? You should be doing XYZ instead!”

Because at some point when I was younger, I decided if I didn’t do XYZ, if I didn’t perform, if I didn’t accomplish, I didn’t matter.

So resting is hard, because when you rest, you don’t do anything.

You just rest.

You take a nap.

You read a book, and not even an impressive book, but something kind of stupid. (and by stupid, I mean awesome, because I pounded this book called Rose Daughter yesterday and it was great).

You go see a movie.

I’ve been going to see a therapist lately and it’s kind of great.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to do this. Like I said before, I worry, but sometimes it gets really bad and becomes full-blown anxiety.

One of the things I’m learning, is my anxiety is really bad when I’m not taking care of myself. My therapist and I were talking the other day and she asked me what I was doing to “fill my bucket.”

I couldn’t tell her anything.

It was actually pretty sad.

So this weekend I’ve been filling my bucket. I had brunch with friends, I just read all day, I skipped church to write, and I saw the new Cinderella movie by myself because I just really wanted to see it (glorious by the way, so, so amazingly good).

And I think it’s all working.

I’m feeling rested and I’m feeling at peace.

I’m feeling like it’s ok to not have to achieve all the time.

It’s ok to take it slow and to not have to do everything.

God’s going to provide.

Happy Sabbath friends.

Engaged Christian Girl

Casey and her Man!

No, not me. My wonderful frequent Guest Blogger … Miss Casey soon-not-to-be Nordman!

On January 16th, on the Guthrie Endless Bridge in Minneapolis, fully exposed to the cold of a Minnesota winter, at approximately 7:53 pm, a handsome, hilarious, brilliant, blue-eyed masterpiece of a man got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes because, on top of all those dazzling qualities, he’s also my favorite human.

I know I’ve lost some of you. Some are in the middle of an eye roll so violent you may require an ophthalmologist’s attention. Some are already checking the freezer for Ben and Jerry’s. Some are plotting ways to send me hate mail for writing a post about being engaged on the Single Christian Girls blog. This is supposed to be a safe place!

First, let the record show I was asked to write this post, so we can all just calm down. Second, let it comfort you that you’re not alone. Third, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I am not far removed from SCG life. I have some things to say, and I promise not one of them is, “SUCK IT, I WIN!” I also intend to keep the gushing to a minimum, but look at this man! Gushing is inevitable.

Casey and her Man!

The day I am writing this post marks one month and one day of being engaged to the hottest software engineer/drummer you’ll ever meet, and I absolutely love wedding planning. I love spreadsheets. I love color coding. I love binders. Understandably, this is not everyone’s experience. Not everyone is a Type A poster child who spent twenty minutes at Target deciding between two planners. Not everyone is excited to plan a wedding because people go out of their way to confirm appointments with brides. I get that. But for me, wedding planning is pretty much the most fun I can have while still having to think about money. It also helps that my fiancé has Olympic status in the following events: calming me down, listening to my rants, and making things fun. (I know, the gushing. I’ll try to stifle ever so slightly.)

Wedding planning is easy for me. It’s fun for me. What isn’t easy? What isn’t fun?

Engagement. Engagement is neither easy nor fun for a grand majority of the time.

I was prepared for physical temptations to increase. That doesn’t make it simple to deny them, but at least I knew what we were in for.  A light at the end of the proverbial tunnel makes not thinking about sex one iota easier and about 10,000,000 iotas more difficult. But, again, that’s the one I was ready for.

Engagement is the most emotionally taxing time I have experienced. Incandescent happiness is there, of course. The sheer joy of knowing I’m going to marry the best man I know is definitely present: the recognition of his presence in my life, much less his choosing me, as one of my highest blessings from God. But then it’s time for him to leave on a Saturday night. We’ve spent some time out for drinks and in watching Parks and Rec. We’ve spent some time on wedding stuff. It doesn’t feel like he should leave. It feels ridiculous that he should leave. Why? Because we’re a unit, dagnabbit. We just made 80 decisions for our wedding DJ’s must play and never play lists (should you be at our reception, please note there will be no Black Eyed Peas). We just discussed when we should look for apartments and rehashed my unwillingness to move to St. Paul. Ever. We had another conversation about paying off our student debt. And now he has to go back to where he lives right now, completely separate. It feels stupid, and it makes me sad and confused.

(If there happen to be men who read this, it’s okay that you don’t understand. Just be nice to your fiancée when you have one. If you’re a woman reading this who doesn’t understand, teach me your ways.)

The point I have reached, through several conversations, is this: It’s okay that I love my fiancé and want to spend time with him. We’d have other problems if I didn’t. It’s okay to feel tension between having to act as a married unit at times and not getting to act as one in all respects. This tension draws me to consider the fact that this is the current state of the Church. We’re redeemed, but not restored. We’re waiting for what the Bible describes as a wedding, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb – unity with Christ, everything made new! What’s more, God has appointed this time for a purpose. The Church has work to do. My fiancé and I have work to do. Actual planning, yes, and growth in love for and knowledge of God and each other. We’re going to learn things during engagement we couldn’t learn any other way.

Let me be clear here: this perspective does not automatically make it easier. It needs to affect my heart, though, and, however slowly, that change of heart will affect my emotional reactions.

I could’ve written a lot of things about engagement, like how life doesn’t stop like you thought it should (the day after I got a ring on my finger, my front passenger tire exploded on 35W), or like how expensive weddings are no matter how big of a cheapskate the bride is. But this is the most important word I have for you, SCG: Engagement isn’t the end-all be-all. It’s really hard. Marriage will solve two of these problems and create 53 of its own. I haven’t arrived. I’ve barely begun. But I get to walk through engagement and marriage with Jesus and my favorite human, and the only thing I can expect for certain is immeasurably more than I could imagine.