Sunday, July 3, 2016

//no i'm not crazy, i just like being single

//note: this post is not intended for younger audiences. it deals with sexuality and other serious elements. 

My mind has soared lately with a myriad of visions and dreams. 
Even though I genuinely look forward to Christ's return, (especially with this perilous era only growing worse)  I yearn to DO things in my earthly life. I have always been a dreamer, a visionary and a go-getter. 

More often than it should be, my dreams are self-focused and not centered on Christ. A close friend of mine has reminded me more than once that a plan is useless if not dedicated to Christ and reliant upon His approval. Scripture confirms this in Psalm 127:1. 

The world sees success as money, worldly goods and an attractive partner who can satisfy your carnal needs. 

Success in God's eyes is completely different. It is fulfilled in giving Christ your everything, spreading His love among creation, and loving Him with all your heart. Really, it could be summed up with just the first and last points, because if we do those things, all the other stuff will follow after naturally. If I love Christ, I should want to tell others about Him when I can. If I love my Savior, I should desire to serve my fellow human beings and be a beam of sunshine to whoever I encounter. 

One thing I have noticed, though, in the Christian, conservative community (I'm looking at you, fellow homeschoolers and homeschool alumni) is the large emphasis on getting married, ASAP. 
Obviously not /all/ folks in this category think like that, and I hate making blanket statements because obviously everyone is different. 

I'm just saying. It's common to see lots of focus on finding your match and getting hitched. Sometimes, "lots" is an understatement. 

It's not a bad thing to desire marriage, especially while in your early twenties when you think you're unstoppable against the world. In fact, not only is it perfectly normal and acceptable, it's in many ways, quite ideal. Our biological clocks are on a countdown. It's a proven fact that child-bearing is easiest when you're younger. Hormones are raging. Temptation looms over our naive, relatively-inexperienced heads like a giant, ominous weight; suspended by a piece of twine that could snap at any time. 

Let's face it, y'all. It's hard to be a young adult in twenty-sixteen.
 I'm not gonna sugarcoat it. It's flippin' HARD. 
No other era in history has been so exposed to evil-on-demand as we are. Unfortunate as it is, we have a buffet of evil arrayed at our fingertips. So many items and flavors to pick from, and most can be in our grasp within minutes if not seconds, due to technology's encroachment in our lives. 
Sin has always existed, but in 2016 we are invited in enjoy it without guilt and to give it a seat at our table. Nobody even calls it sin to begin with, because that goes against the idealogy of relativism. 
 Sin is a welcome guest on earth. You're even called weird, prudish and downright hateful if you decide not to take a bite from this alluring buffet. 

And who wants to go against the flow? 

There's a reason that I say all this, by the way. I know I ramble, but I'm going somewhere - trust me. 

I just want to acknowledge how hard it is to be single and overcoming temptation in 2016. 
Personally, I suck at it. I literally am awful at being pure. I might be a technical virgin, but trust me, I don't deserve the title. I struggle with stuff, and I know it. Not gonna lie or try to put on airs.
 Sometimes, I wish I weren't created to be a sexual human being. Sometimes I question what all the temptation and struggling is really for, in the end. When I consider the fact that there's a chance I might not marry for a while, if at all, I even get angry.  Part of my flesh screams out in distress because my body craves to be fulfilled in ways that only a healthy union with my hypothetical soul-mate can satisfy. I'm not gonna lie. I crave sex just like anybody else. 

Don't faint.
 I can see you over there, on the other side of the screen, just staring in shock at that last line. You're probably thinking I've lost my wits, right? I mean, come on, we're not supposed to talk about this subject to begin with. It's just...taboo. Because. Reasons. Right..?

But seriously.

I know I just said it aloud what a lot of single Christian virgins are thinking but don't want to admit. 
Look, there's nothing wrong with acknowledging your body's biological functions and needs. Sex is natural, normal and even sacred. Society - and sin, overall -  has polluted many peoples' ideas on it, true. But it's still just as special and important as it was when it was first created. And, heck, biology is just plain biology, no matter how squeamish talking about it makes you feel. 

So, basically, there are definite biological reasons why marrying young is a good thing and very healthy. Even Paul acknowledged that marriage is good, relating to the subject of avoiding temptation to cave and act impurely. 

Of course, we also know there are countless other reasons why marriage is wonderful, if it is a healthy, loving marriage focused on God. In fact, it can be the most amazing union a man and woman can experience other than having a devoted relationship with God. 

But I'm not really here to preach a sermon on marriage. 

I acknowledge the greatness of a healthy marriage, and I understand the desire to seek out your mate ASAP. 

But let's get something straight.

Getting married is not your ultimate calling. 

Finding your soulmate is not the reason your were created. 

And, you can be perfectly happy and content as a single pringle. 
Newsflash! Being single is actually not a disease, problem or illness that needs to be cured! It's just another phase of life, that can be utilized in incredible ways to serve God. 
Being "single" is not part of your identity, and it doesn't define you. It's just another location on the map of life. And chances are, most of us won't be staying in this location for that much longer. 

You can call me weird, or insist that I'm just bluffing - but honestly? I like being single. I'm not just saying that. I really mean it. I genuinely am happy and at peace being free of a romantic, committed relationship.
That being said, I have been in a few relationships before. I know what it's like to go through all that, alright? I've been there. It has it's ups and downs. Clearly I haven't found 'the one' yet - that, or maybe the timing is just not right currently, if I have met the guy already. Who knows at this point. It's all in God's hands and I don't dare try to take it into my own.

Dating/courting somebody can be amazing, and it can bring a lot of happiness and fulfillment into your life. Hopefully, the other person's in the same belief-system as you so you can encourage eachother in your spiritual journey. If you get physical, well - yeah. There's that too. (Personally for numerous reasons I don't advocate a high level of physicalness in a relationship like this.)

But fact is, relationships also suck. There's a whole truckload of pressure that gets unintentionally heaped on both parties. Whether you want it or not.
 In my experience, the men tend to jump in head-over-heels emotionally and are spouting off the "I loves you"s way too early in the relationship. What does this do? It makes us girls feel like we have to reciprocate the sentiment, whether or not we actually feel the same. Sometimes you might like somebody, but you don't know if you actually love them. Heck, I feel like this the story of my love-life so far. *shakes head* I mean, there are incredibly amazing men out there, but when you already struggle with mental clarity (or lack thereof) and hyper-distorted messed up hormonal imbalances, it's incredibly difficult to ever truly understand your feelings when it comes to love and what love actually manifests itself as. I could write a whole other post on what love is and isn't, on my meager knowledge of the subject. I probably won't though, because honestly I'm stillllll incredibly clueless and that's kinda why I'm single. 

Perhaps I'm delusional, but I think it's perfectly acceptable to be content during your single years. 

There is nothing wrong with not desiring romance for a little while. In fact, when you can actually put this particular subject aside and give it a break, you get to really experience life in ways you couldn't during a committed relationship. 
-You have more time to fulfill dreams and serve God, for one. 
-You don't have the potential drama, stress and mess of emotional entanglement. 
-You don't have to worry about pleasing a significant other and catering to their wants/needs. 
-You belong to nobody. You are your own person, free from the confines of expectations and commitment that a relationship demands. 
Not to mention, there's nothing like that feeling of being an untamed "calico pony on an open prairie". The sky is the limit! (Obviously I don't say this in reference to what sin or bad stuff you can get away with. It's more of, being free emotionally and spiritually.) 

The biggest reason I choose to be single currently is because of my relationship with God.

How can I have a successful, productive relationship with a human if I can't have a fruitful, passionate relationship with Jesus, the Creator of mankind? 

I know we're all works in progress and that you can't necessarily use that as an excuse to stay single forever. But truth is, it's easier to develop you walk with God when you don't have another person competing for your time, love and thoughts. 

So, no. I'm not weird or crazy. I simply want to seize the day. I aim to make the most of each season God gives me. 
And right now, that means loving my single years, treating them as a precious gift. Not letting them go to waste.

I invite you to do the same. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

//musings of a hateful moron

Alright guys, I have a confession to make.

I have erred greatly.
 I have been intolerant.
I have, otherwise, committed a hate crime, and offended a few people, no doubt.
 I dare not try and shirk my offense! 
I'm guilty. 
Guilty of what, you may ask? Well, that is the question. 
I wouldn't have guessed it, myself. 

But apparently, if you ask the voices of certain folks, it's a thing. 

I'm a hateful moron. 

What did I do to get called such a name? Well, it was simple. I was scrolling facebook, wasting time as usual. I encountered a photo of two gender-fluid people. The original post was from a conservative mother about how, for many transgender people, the ultimate goal is to eliminate the borders and boundaries of gender all-together. The goal is to create a genderless society. No black and white differences. 

I should probably know better than to comment on controversial posts like that, where hatefulness is drawn like a magnet, but I couldn't help myself. I mean, I'm always seeing where liberals are shouting their views. I have a right to at least put in my opinion, too, right? It's freedom of speech, after all, right? (on a side note, I'll come back to this subject later.)

So, I said this. 

"I'm a woman. Gender is not over. I am darn proud of being a woman, and you cannot make me change that."

Simple, right? 
A few years ago, I would have been applauded for being a strong, feminist-minded young woman who has healthy self-esteem. 
In actuality, I do not claim to be a feminist. I am simply just happy to be the gender God made me. I love being a woman, and I wouldn't want to be any other way. Remind me what's wrong with gratitude, again? Oh that's right, nothing - at least, not according to God. 
So yeah, anyways. Here I am, stating how I'm happy and proud to be what I am. 
What responses do I get? I won't even say the first one, it was so very crass. In the second one, I was called a "hateful moron." Which isn't much better, but at least it didn't include an f-bomb. 

So, I'm sorry, guys. I didn't know it was a misdemeanor to be thankful with the gender you were born. I guess I need to issue an apology to the LGBTQ crowd for being so hateful that I actually profess being happy with myself and my body. Because, who on earth would actually tolerate a young woman being confident in herself? That's totally messed up, right? 

I mean, it's definitely hateful and idiotic to actually love who you are. If you're a straight, non-gender-fluid woman, anyways. If I had said I was a unicorn, maybe that would have been received with more grace. I'll have to try that next time. 

But really.



All satire and sarcasm aside here, I feel like I got sent back to the dark ages. Back to the days when women weren't allowed to own land, vote, or earn equal pay for doing the same job as men. Back in the days when you were generally looked down upon if you were a woman. 

I mean, heaven forbid that women actually be proud of their gender. 

Am I the only one who is so confused by society these days? One minute feminism is being shouted, and the next minute...well, this

I might be overdoing it here, but oh well - add it to my list of sins. Have I made my point yet? 
I see a lot of people pointing fingers at straight Christians for being hateful and intolerant of the LGBTQ crowd, but to be honest, most of the hate I've witnessed seems to come from the accusers. I feel like they are so caught up accusing that they forget they aren't perfect either. 

I know I have faults. You have faults too. I am battling sin. You're battling sin. 
But the fact is, I'm not pointing fingers. You are. When you cuss me out and call me names, you are being the hateful one. Never have I called names over sexual orientation, or sin in general. I know we are all battling something. Everyone is. 

That being said, I won't sugarcoat things. I believe firmly that God doesn't approve of the homosexual or trans lifestyle. I believe that He doesn't create mistakes or failures. He doesn't create broken things. We create the broken. We mess our lives up. There are countless ways to do it, too. But point is, I won't claim to agree with the statement that God is okay with sin. He never is. 
Sin is sin. Sin doesn't change. Absolutes don't change, either. And God's Word is an absolute. 
God's Word is my final authority. End of story.

Anyways, I'm not trying to step on toes. Well, maybe I am. Sometimes, we all need our toes stepped on, right? Truth hurts sometimes, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still the truth. Sometimes it's like a bitter medicine.  You know deep down it is good for you, it just tastes awful and is hard to swallow. 

So yeah, I'm thankful and proud to be a woman, the woman that God created me to be. I'm happy and at peace, for the most part. Hopefully, by His grace,I will be able to reflect Him in what I do and say.  

Even if I am a "hateful moron."


P.S. On a side note, I've come to learn that facebook is awful for sharing your views. It is really quite a waste of time. It's almost to the point where I want to delete mine. There's just too much hate and lack of civility. Too many negative vibes. I yearn for the days when you didn't have to think about getting called a cuss word out of nowhere for doing nothing. I know that's utopian thinking, but is it so hard to treat eachother with civility? 
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." 
Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be considerate. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Kintsukuroi // beautiful ending {the final chapter of 2015}

"Oh, why do I let myself let go
of Hands that painted the stars
and hold tears that fall?
And the pride of my heart makes me forget
It's not me but You, that makes the heart beat
I'm lost without You, Your dying for me
So tell me, what is our ending?
Will it be beautiful, so beautiful?"

-Beautiful Ending by BarlowGirl

// 2015 was a whirlwind. 
It was a tsunami that has left me stunned, numbed and speechless. I still can't believe it's nearly gone, and I still can't believe all that happened within these 365 days. 

Not gonna lie, I've had pleasanter years. 2015 was exhilarating and bombastic. It was full of beautiful moments and wonderful memories. 

But I also made mistakes, had my heart broken a few times and cried myself to sleep more times than I can count. Along with the good memories, there are plenty of times I wish I could forget. Things I wish I hadn't said, bad choices I made. I wandered away from God many times. 
I feel like I was a prodigal child this year in my relationship with the Lord. Still, as I draw back closer to Him, His grace and peace only becomes sweeter. 

Even amidst those painful experiences and messes I got myself into, there is still a silver lining. I learned valuable lessons which I will never forget, and you can mark my word, I won't be making the same mistakes again. I am a stronger person for having gone through 2015. Parts of me may have been broken, but I know these scars do not define me. When you look at me, don't think that I presume to know everything or imagine myself to be immaculate. Don't look surprised when you find out I've taken some hits and botched things up. 

I was just a shattered vessel that the Lord pieced back together with love and patience. I'm no longer broken because He has won the victory for me and He has pulled me out of the ashes. I'm not the same girl you knew last year. I'm a work in progress. God is writing my story, and I'm just trying to go where He leads. 

So, from this perspective, 2015 was like a piece of kintsukuroi - broken Japanese pottery that is pieced back together with gold. In the end, the pottery is even more beautiful for having been broken.

Some of the highlights from 2015 included but were not limited to -
♪ many amazing reenactments and improving my reenacting impressions vastly
♪ taking up snare drumming for reenacting, creating my female soldier impression
♪ my very first individual piano concert
♪ lots of piano teaching
♪ lots of instruction with my own piano teacher 
♪ lots of adventures traveling and exploring new places with people I care about
♪ lots of trips to get coffee with mom 
♪ starting a beautiful courtship with my best male friend
♪ revising The Rebels of Florida, to be completely historically accurate
♪ started brainstorming other new book ideas
♪ got to go to lots of dances
♪ started up my own local monthly contra dance group 
♪ got my first car
♪ went shooting, canoeing, camping, and hiked everywhere possible
♪ got paid to do my biggest art commission ever 
♪ got to meet two of my distance writing friends, Lauren and Carilyn in person
♪ our family had a cow for a little while
♪ got to hear/see the Piano Guys in person

from when our dear friends visited

reenacting memories
McIntosh contra
Gainesville contra, for the first time together

my ride!

before-Maygan's-wedding girls' day out

My best friend's wedding happened <3

With one of my piano students at the first recital I coordinated 

playing with the Morses at Ocali Country Days

possibly my favorite picture of the year

canoe trips with him are the best
My favorite commission yet 

 Southern Lights playing at the Micanopy festival 

Southern Lights playing at the McIntosh fall festival

from the visit with my dear friend Carilyn 
teaching my brothers their anatomy got kinda crazy
he's into daredevil, i'm into river tam and shiny 

korean writings - i think this will be my motto this year 
Anyways, there you go!
It was a memorable year. Here's to twenty-sixteen being remarkably better, and much more full of Christ. ♪ ♥