Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Little Encouragement and Coaching....

I love the body of Christ. There’s nothing more beautiful and yet painful than living in community. Just ask my past roommates. I made a statement to a friend this past summer as I was living in a 1 bedroom apartment with three other people, “Everything in the world is coming out of me.” Call it sin or maybe it was the fact that we are in our 30’s sleeping in bunk beds, I don’t know. So I have been feeling this post coming on for a couple of years now and was inspired to go ahead and write it, even at the expense of being misunderstood. How should the Church interact with those of us who are unattached (aka: SINGLE)? I realize we could all post something on here about how we could respond to mom’s, married without kid’s, the elderly, divorcee’s, widows, but because I am unattached, I feel a little more qualified to share my angle with the hope that it will be an encouragement.


While I am unattached at the moment (okay, so I looked up “single” in the thesaurus and it is way depressing – words like “solitary, on its own, lone, solo, only” came up), I wanted to document a few common ways of relating that we unattached people have to deal with weekly.

1. When making announcements at church for the big picnic, instead of saying, “Every family bring a dish”, you could rephrase it to, “Everyone come to the picnic and bring your favorite dish.” It really is the small things that we appreciate.

2. There are two churches that I loved, but I did not go back because you are invited to come to the front “as a family” and take communion. Well, let’s be honest, when visiting a church for the first time I felt….let’s see, how do I say this? NAKED. Please don’t get me wrong, this was/is a beautiful thing, just makes it really difficult to know what to do in that moment.

3. If you are curious about someone’s single status just ask them, “Do you want to be married or do you like the single life?” or my personal favorite, “Is it hard to meet men who aren’t socially awkward and don’t wear white socks with black shoes?”

4. Whatever you do, please do not say, “When you stop looking for him, that’s when you will find him.” That doesn’t even make sense. Am I supposed to go blind? Walk around with my head down? Also avoid, “When I finally became content (at the age of 21) that’s when God brought McDreamy into my life.” I love that I just did spell-check on “McDreamy” and the option was “Creamy”.

5. Thank you for praying for us, cheering us on, and empathizing with us that dating is exhausting. Thank you for listening to our same prayer requests for years on end. On a side note, I’d love to write a blog on “unspoken prayer requests”.

6. If you want to set up your single friend, would you please think through their personalities, calling, and interests? Setting us up because I am the one single girl you know and he is the one single guy you know does not a match make. We love that you are even thinking of us, but I have a nightmare story on this one. It involves my mother, large gold chain, Beavis and Butthead, an election year, and an ex-body builder. ‘Nuf said.

7. Thank you for being honest about the struggles in your own life and saying, “Sometimes it would be nice to be single.” It helps all of us with our perspective. The grass is not always greener.

8. When inviting us to your wedding, it is so kind to allow us the courtesy of bringing a date. Not that I would, but just the option shows such empathy and that you value our friendship over your budget. Heck, I’ll give you $27.50 in order to bring someone, or tell him not to eat.

9. After you are married, would you remember what it was like being single and not talk to us as if we are still sitting at the kids table at Thanksgiving?

10. Thank you so much for the times you include us in your family activities and treat us like family. I love the scripture Psalm 68:6, “God sets the lonely in families…”

11. Please keep telling us how great we are and that some guy is an idiot for not snatching us up. 

Hope this is helpful. I really mean it with as much kindness as I can extend through a blog to the 8 people who might read it. Pass it on if you feel like it might help those who really want to encourage those of us walking this road “solo”.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Eclectic

Well, mission accomplished. When you ask God for good stories, I think He really likes to answer that request. Let me share a few with you. The first being why I went to The Today Show. My grad school had a desire to get the word out about our school, being that we are small and all they do is train therapists. The school, Richmont Graduate University truly is a unique and incredible school where we get to be taught by the best in the field of integration - Phillip Coyle, Gary Moon, Marty Goehring, Jeff Eckert, Larry Crabb, Dr. Tan, Cara Cochran, and the list goes on and on.....Am I proud? Yes. Which is why I wanted to take part in the challenge given to any Richmont student who made a youtube video promoting the school. For every 5,000 hits on the video, Richmont will pay for a class. I need help. As you now, CCC staff members raise their own financial support and currently my support can't sustain grad school bills. So, here's the link on my visit to The Today Show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fq3PObD6JQQ If I get 70,000 hits, I believe that will pay for my school.

Anyway, as you can see from the following picture, I was interviewed on camera for about 30 seconds and gave a big plug for Richmont. Some kind soul in Chicago had pity on me and donated $10 to my school "for the girl on The Today Show". Hilarious. A great story. By the way, Ann Curry is the nicest lady and very pretty. She told us she had on 12 cans of frosting on her face. Also, Stephanie Abrams is now my hero. She was the weather lady filling in for Al Roker that day. PTL for Stephanie, my new BFF. My dad said he'd be forever grateful for Stephanie Abrams. I'd say that's right. And in case you didn't notice, I'm wearing that ridiculous graduation cap for the whole world to see. It's amazing the levels you will stoop to to get tuition. I mean, every ex-boyfriend, mean girl in middle school, and past student had a good laugh over that one, myself included. Who does that? Well, I do and I did.

Probably the biggest highlight of my summer would be when my cousin Ami and her friend Anda came to visit and to spend some time with my staff mom friends on the project. Somehow Haley and myself wound up working and loving on the mom's this summer which I thought was hilarious and only a God-thing since I am unattached (sounds better than "single") and have no spawn. Just some really great shoes and fun friends. I digress... Anyway, Ami and Anda spent time not just praying for the mama's, but for several of us that are free and unattached. Being around them made me want more of Jesus.

In this picture we are eating Ethiopian food. Imagine if you will, large platters of colorful food that you eat communaly with your hands. A nightmare for some of us and a party for others. It tasted fine, but probably will pick Panera over Ethiopian food most days of the week. However, the goal was to "expand the borders" if you will, of our staff and students in regard to eating food of different cultures. We had Senegalese, Cuban, Ethiopian, and Haitian. The years Chad McGhee and I led the project our cultural food nights were soul food, Italian, Chinese, and Indian. hahaha!!
I shamelessly tried to do everything in my power to meet Tom. Brokaw, that is. I drug Haley with me to the NBC Studio Tour and pestered the tour guide with questions about Tommy B. He had never seen him and tried to talk to me about Brian Williams, but I wasn't having it. Sigh. One day I will interview him. If you watch the youtube video you will see my last ditch effort to connect with the elusive anchor.


Here Haley is reminding me of my need for lipstick before we start the tour and I run into people who will make my dreams come true - aka: Today Show producers who discover my raw and undiscovered anchorwoman talent or the casting director for SNL needing someone to impersonate Eddie Murphy doing Buckwheat. Unce, Tice, Fee tines a mady.
We didn't meet anyone. Maybe I should've stuck with my Berry Berry shade of Clinique instead of MAC. Next time.
So all of this brings me back to Knoxville with a desire to be part of a greater story than the one I was living. People can have all sorts of opinions on Donald Miller, but he wrote an incredible book called, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" that is a great read. It's all about our story being God's story......Anyway, that's a little fun roundup of some things that happened this summer. Maybe one day soon I'll write a more serious blog, but those aren't as fun to read, are they? Okay, off to click on youtube 66,000 more times.
Bdubs

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Haley

I can't believe it's my last night in NYC. The past 7 weeks have flown by and I head home tomorrow. Right now I should be cleaning our nasty apartment and packing, but I am a bit sad as I think about another transition.

Seven years ago I met Haley. Haley was assigned to UT as one of our new staff members. Fresh out of college, Haley was eager to get started in campus ministry and to invest in the lives of other women. I was her "boss", so to speak. We went through lots of adjustment with her being new staff and desiring to be a peer, and I being 6 years older and her mentor led to some challening and yet stretching (in a good way) dynamics, conflict, and growth.

In 2006 I began to see that Haley needed to be in leadership position and so we began talking about what that could look like. It was during this time that Haley's family died tragically in a plane crash and honestly, there are no words to describe what that journey has been like with her and just too sacred to write about in a blog. I started a book on it awhile back and maybe one day I will share it, but I see I have digressed...

Tonight marks a big transition in my sister/friend's life. This was her last summer project, and God was sweet to put us together for this oh so redemptive summer. She will be going to seminary in the fall, which I couldn't be more thrilled about, but selfishly I am going to miss her terribly. God has been so kind to give us a lighthearted and hilarious summer after some hard seasons in our frienship. We have laughed so hard. Gone to the curly girls salon, which has changed our life....well okay, not our life, but for sure our hair. We've seen NKOTB. Haley helped organize the Today Show deal this morning and she doesn't like to get up before 10AM. Here is where she would insert, "Beth, people will think I am lazy." She is not. The girl just likes her sleep and this is a perk of singleness and being childless. We've walked through Central Park, interceded for one another, gone to Macy's 20x's, ventured to Soho time and again in hopes of finding the perfect restaurant only to be bummed out, we've walked the Brooklyn Bridge, dodged bicylists, gotten sketchy massages by old Korean women (more details in person), gotten lost in Queens, drooled over the same waiter who was a Versace model, had conflict-resolution at the Rascal Flatts concert on the Today Show, loved on the Mama's even though we are 2 single women, had a bathtub that was like a wave pool with brown water, fussed over her 1950's alarm clock, watched in shock as 200 naked bikers rode down the street, put on the lb's with NYC's food and vowed together that our diet starts tomorrow.....oh the list goes on.

Dearest friend, this blog doesn't even begin to describe our journey of friendship. I will miss you so much as I miss my sidekick at the MTL conference. Who am I going to text my commentary to? I will miss you at Regional Staff Conference laughing the loudest at my attempts to be funny emceeing because you are my biggest cheerleader. I will miss that like me, you didn't bring a snack either. I will miss you at CSU as it can be the loneliest place on the planet.

Even though I am sad that this season of life is changing for you, I am equally as excited and anticipatory for "what's next". And just betwee you and me, I believe wholeheartedly it will involve laughter and a lion.

I love you friend of my heart.

Bdubs