Dance Gypsies

If you saw the previous post, and the POV video from the rollercoaster I rode on Saturday, consider this post “Part Two”!

After leaving Carowinds, we went to a dance hall in Charlotte, for some Contra dance! Contra is a very easy to learn, fun to practice dance– no footwork, just memorizing some terms and listening to the caller. It’s such a fun way to get out of your comfort zone. It makes me feel like I’m in the Pride & Prejudice days. ^_^ This time, there was a guy there who talked to me while we danced, gave me some pointers on how to improve my dancing, taught me a few new moves, and also gave me this bit of advice: “Dear, if a man tries to spin you, but is to lazy to lift his arm high enough that you don’t have to duck, he shouldn’t be spinning you!” Which really amused me. He was an excellent lead. Really understood how to make the lady feel guided and protected throughout the dance. Contra has a LOT of spinning, if your lead isn’t careful, he can literally spin you into a wall, another person, or trip you if he’s not leading well. It’s his job to guide you through the moves and use caution to avoid spinning you off into oblivion! Trust me, it’s happened.

Likewise, I reached a whole new level in my following. It’s taken me such a long time to learn how to relax and follow the leads direction, go where he sends me, stay loose and easy to guide. Yet, be aware of where I’m supposed to be, so that if he does have a moment when he forgets where to send me, I can give him a gentle push in the right direction. Sometimes that means literally grabbing his hand and bringing him with you to the next move, which really doesn’t come naturally to me at all. Maybe being tired and physically exhausted from a long day riding rollercoasters helped me be more relaxed in it all. Whatever the cause, that night was one of the best nights contra dancing I’ve ever had.

No obligation to watch this whole video, but at least watch the first four minutes. This is the actual dance hall I was at! :)

Learning to be Lovely

Just a quick note, God is doing SO MUCH in my life through my church and the Young Professionals group, working on my heart attitudes. Especially on my opinion of myself. He’s using others to help me appreciate who He created me to be. Showing me what it looks like to let your inner beauty show, and how to like what I see in the mirror. I’m learning to love myself for the first time in so long I can’t even remember. And you can’t properly love others until you learn to truly love yourself, seeing yourself as God sees you: perfect and breathtakingly beautiful. Loving the journey He’s taking me on.

A Mild Presence

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The world’s got enough “wild child” personalities.

What’s so wrong with being mild? A soothing presence in a world of tumult.

What’s wrong with being the one who leaves the party first? The one who listens more than speaks?

Maybe the mild ones get forgotten in a crowd, left behind by the thrill seekers and drowned out by the latest scandal,

but we anchor the world to reality.

All I want is to be a place to rest for those who are weary of the brutal tide of this world.

A warm ray of sunshine on a cool Fall afternoon.

A cool breeze before a refreshing Summer storm.

Just as I rest in the presence of God, I pray that others can rest in my presence.

Lord, please teach me to shine Your spirit into the lives of others.

You created me to be daring, Elyon. And being gentle and calm in a world such as this requires a fierceness of spirit that only You can provide. Give me a fiery passion for Your people, Lord, and grant me the gift of a mild presence.

Crazy Weekend Madness

Soo, this week I did a 5k, the Color Vibe 5k to be exact. It was SUCH a blast. Especially the after party, SO much color and loud music.

My hair was pretty epic.

My hair was pretty epic.

Lovin' how much color I managed to collect.

Lovin’ how much color I managed to collect.

Obligatory Color Vibe selfie.

Obligatory Color Vibe selfie.

I was with a group of friends, but since I don’t have permission to post their pictures here, it looks like I’m all alone. I promise I was extra especially social today. After my 5k I went to a pool party and hung out there with more people for like 3 hours. I have my very best white girl tan going on. (Aka, freckles. Like, a crazy amount of freckles.) And I DIDN’T GET SUNBURNT. Suncscreen is such a fabulous invention.

Anyway, that’s all I have to share. It was awesome. ^_^

~TQG

Legacy of Bliss

After church on Sunday, my dad and I went to lunch with a lovely couple that we’ve known for quite a while. True, honest, real friends. Their last name is Bliss, and it’s the perfect name, they exude a joy and playfulness far beyond what you get from most married couples in their late 60’s.

Mrs. Bliss is a fantastic painter, her art fills me with awe whenever I get to see it. Stunningly beautiful portraits and scenes that look like memories stretched out on a canvas. And every bit of beauty from those paintings shines in her eyes and her youthful smile. She’s a classy, amazing, gorgeous lady. One of few people I truly admire and look up to. Though I’ve never told her this, and haven’t gotten to spend much time around her.

After we had lunch, she and I were talking, and she looked at me straight in the eye and said to me, “Now, I’m not just saying this, I really mean it! You know, I’ve known you for a while, and I’ve seen you growing up, and I have to say, you have just gotten more and more beautiful as you grow older. I mean it! You’ve matured into a beautiful woman, inside and out, and I’m just amazed by you.” And she did mean it, I could see it in her eyes that she meant every word with complete sincerity and honestly was amazed by me. 

I’m… really at a loss for words. I feel completely unworthy of that level of compliment, I’m humbled by it. I pray that I may be the kind of woman who will someday speak that level of loving encouragement into the life of younger women around me.

Attractions

As I think back over the recent months, I am struck by the superficial nature of our attractions today. In many ways some adults reflect the same level of understanding about relationships as the kids I worked with. The girls are impressed by the boy’s athletic abilities or looks or car, the guys by her physical appearance, her hair or body and all of them seem to value a sarcastic or perverse “wit” or rebellious attitude. As I was thinking back on this Proverbs 31:29-31 came to mind;

“Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

This led to other passages;

Proverbs 11:16 A kind hearted woman gains honor, a ruthless man only wealth

Proverbs 31:31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gates

What struck me was how off kilter we are when evaluating others as men and women, friends and potential spouses and how these verses need to be applied from both the male and female perspectives.

Too often we see the surface appearance, the facade. What we should be looking at is the person on the inside. The beauty will fade, the body will change, gravity will take its toll and age will add lines of character where there was once smooth skin. What will be the same, indeed what will grow is who we are on the inside.

Ladies and gentlemen will you still be happy when you are left with an aging shell of the person you once “loved” and find yourself the focus of the sarcasm you found so amusing when it was aimed at others.

Guys, that girl you think is so hot, is she beautiful on the inside? That guy who is so cool, will his heart be warm and tender to you when your beauty fades and his six pack turns into a keg? If they were struck by debilitating disease or scarred by fire or accident would you still love them? I like this bit of advice given to a young man though I don’t know its origin;

“Marry the most spiritually beautiful woman you can convince to have you”

Good advice but I think it needs a second half, it should continue – Then spend the rest of your life running after Christ so you are able to lead and care for her as Christ loves and cares for us.

Guys spend your time examining the young ladies around you for their inner qualities, kindness, patience, gentleness, tenderness of spirit, a Christ centered heart. One day when you see a woman who possesses these you will be amazed. You’ll blink and when your eyes open you’ll see her for the true beauty that she is, a pearl of great price for which you would give all that you have.

Ladies look to the inside, for a heart that seeks to follow Jesus, a forgiving spirit, a servant’s heart. That strength never fades, it grows.

Fall in love with the inner beauty, the kind and noble heart that follows after God and you will be blessed for life, not just satisfied for a season.

~My Dad :)

He wrote this as a post on his Facebook, and it hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention. I see plenty of “hot” guys, and I’m frequently asked why I don’t “go after” them. I’ve even been told “Y’know, if you really wanted a boyfriend it wouldn’t be that hard for you to get one, you’re just too picky.” Well you know what? A guy that is spiritually “hot” will last a lifetime. Being on fire for Christ truly is the sexiest quality a person can have. I’m willing to wait for that.

About a week ago, I brought an apple to work with me. I love apples, and this one was a HUGE, organic, fuji apple. One of my favorites. I was sitting in a park near my work when I took my first bite. I nearly threw up. Though it was bright and firm and gorgeous on the outside, the core had rotted, and the flesh was bitter and blackened. Any thoughts of the sweetness the exterior had implied were totally gone, and all I wanted to do was find something to get the horrible taste out of my mouth.

Why would I seek to marry and become one flesh with someone who’s rotten on the inside? Of the few men that I’ve actually been interested in, rarely was I struck with their looks when I first met them, but their gentleness, kindness,  strength, and desire for God. Their looks grew more and more appealing the longer I knew them, the deeper my knowledge of their faith, until I could see nothing but who they are in their features. And it was beautiful.

And the guys that have caught my eye with their looks, most have shown to be hollow on the inside. Consumed with themselves and their wants….

Not to say all attractive people are selfish, but that looks should be a secondary qualification when evaluating if they’re someone you want to pursue a relationship with. I have indeed met a good number of extremely attractive men who were also awesome, Godly men. But sadly for my sake they’ve so far all been married. ^_^

Anyway… that’s my little mini rant of the evening. It’s 12am and I’m dead tired and very sore, so I’ll be off now. TTFN! :)

~TQG

Dad Quotes

“Let’s go back to Genesis, where we see male and female, the female form created from the rib of the man, therefore separated from one body into two. We were created with the real, felt, and pure longing to be united with a spouse, per the design of God. There may be a few who God has placed in their heart the desire for none but Him, but that is the smallest percentage. We are designed for the intimate relationship that is marriage between man and woman.”

Lady’s and gentleman, my father. He’s pretty awesome. A+ to you, pops.

This “quote” is actually several quotes from varying times put together to make a whole. But it’s totally worth sharing.

Rough Days, Sleepless Nights

Last night I was kept awake until 5am with nightmares bordering on hallucinations, due to a mild fever. Eventually I managed to fall asleep and slept until 2pm, waking with an insane hunger and being short of oxygen because of the congestion in my lungs.

So, entire holiday weekend taken up by sickness. Yayyyy. Literally nothing I had planned/needed to accomplish has been done. Nothing. Very annoyed by that, but, can’t do anything about it.

Spending several days at home unable to do anything but watch TV and eat things may have been good for me physically, I’m sure I needed the break. But mentally and emotionally hasn’t been good at all. I honestly hadn’t realized how much the business of a full time job, running errands and keeping the house up has kept my mind away from both the continuing grief of being without a mom and the desire for relationship. About four people I know got engaged in the last few months, several people I went to youth groups with or worked with (who are younger than me) are married and about to have their first child. One of my close friends just celebrated her one year anniversary and my cousin’s was today.

Being without my mom has actually made it worse in a way. She was one of the people who never got tired of encouraging me that “my prince will come”, constantly reminding me that I am beautiful and I am desirable. You never realize how valuable that gentle reminder is until it’s gone. God has been so faithful to remind me of these things both through scripture and the kindness of random people I meet. He has not left me through this. If anything, He’s helped me draw closer to Him and learn to long for His word even more. But nothing takes the place of a mother’s love. God designed it that way, and I know He cries with me. He’s holding my heart together when I don’t have the strength to.

Seeing my Dad without his bride is one of the most painful things I’ve experienced. It is not good for man to be alone. (Gen. 2:18) As I’ve written about before, few is the number of people “created for singleness”, God designed us for that intimate relationship. It teaches us to be more selfless, to put their needs above ours, but it also provides companionship in a world where few are trustworthy. “Till death do us part” is a vow that guarantees that even on your worst day, you’ll still have at least one companion by your side. Until death, that is. Marriage is such a beautiful union of two imperfect people learning to love one another with Christlike love. And that makes the loss of a spouse all the more painful. I’ve seen my Dad hurt before, but seeing him lonely is so much worse. He tries to hide it, to smile and be silly and just keep on going. But I can see it in his eyes.

I have no doubt that God has a plan for all of this. I know He’s got a man for me, and I’m certain He won’t leave my Dad lonely forever. He’s already used our testimony in the lives of those around us, people are amazed by the joy we continue to have despite the loss. God has blessed us with a peace that passes understanding and He comforts us in our mourning. We still have our really hard days, but we are making it.

Today just happens to be one of those really hard days…

~TQG