Japanese Cherry Blossoms

So, it’s been a grand total of forever since I have blogged about… well… Anything. So, allow me to give you a brief update (be aware I did not read my last post and don’t remember what I have or have not already told you all) :

I am 24 now! *gasp* SO OLD.

I live in a house with a roommate and no longer in my childhood home or with my Dad. I have real adult bills like rent and utilities and renters insurance now. Yup. Life.

I am a COA, OSC (Certified Ophthalmic Technician and Ophthalmic Scribe Certified) now, as of Dec. of last year (so I am sure I must have told you this… hopefully.)

I am STILL SINGLE. Or really single now. As I was in a courtship with my best friend, who is still my best friend, who I am still madly in love with, but who has chosen to spend the rest of his life with Jesus and be celibate. (But still my best friend, because friendship should not end just because the courtship didn’t end in marriage, fyi.)

I have made a NEW FRIEND who is a dude, who is a platonic friend, who has the most awesome testimony ever and I love him dearly (as a brother) and he is super cool. He is my adventure buddy. ^_^

As of Dec 2nd, I am getting my first (probably only) tattoo! Japanese Cherry Blossoms, which symbolize the beauty and fragility of life, and “Matthew 25:21” beneath them, as a memorial to my mom. November 22 will be three years since she went to spend forever with Jesus. My tattoo artist has been doing her thing for 27 years (longer than I have lived) and is super mega skilled. I am stoked. And terrified. It’ll be great! Pictures to come once it is all healed and ready to be seen by the world.

Let’s see… Anything else? I have an iPhone now. That’s not really news. I joined the cult. I’m sorry. I regret nothing. I am enjoying it. Sorry, Android lovers. I was once one of you, but I have moved on to bigger and better things. 😛

Anyway, guys and gals, I really really am sorry I have left you all hanging. Since my courtship ended, I have had less that really inspired me to blog. Yeah, he’s still my best friend, but it’s hard. There was such a beautiful dream, such a precious love, and it is still there, it just cannot grow into anything else, and that’s hard. Please pray for us. Pray for me, that I am able to move on, and pray for my awesome guy, that he would change his mind and marry me. (Just kidding!!… sort of.) Okay, for real, pray for guidance for him, for clarity, and that both of us will continue to be lead by God into whatever future He has for our lives. And that no matter what happens, we remain close friends. His friendship is so valuable to me.

Alrighty, I must be off. But thanks for reading, and thanks for the prayers.

~TQG

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The Best Is Yet To Come

A lot has happened since my last post…

Chiefly, the friend I went on the “Great Salsa Adventure” with is courting me now. We’ve discussed so many things and spent a lot of time talking over our pet peeves and expectations and opinions on things, it’s been amazing. And now, though he is waiting until June 2017 for God to give him assurance that we are supposed to be married, we are planning on attending pre-marital counseling to see if they can help us figure out if we’ve missed any important topics of discussion.

We take a lot of long walks and mini adventures together, spend many an evening cooking wonderful meals together and watching quirky anime shows and movies I’ve never heard of. We laugh until we can hardly breathe, tease each other, and over-all just have a fantastic time together.

All these years, praying for a Godly man, I never thought God would go so above and beyond my expectations. I feel so honored, respected and loved. And I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us as we continue our adventure together.

For those of you waiting for your knight in shining armor, stop looking. Just let him come. He won’t be what you hope for. He will be far, far greater.

Also, my Dad got remarried, moved in with his new wife, and I am living alone. Trying to find a new place to live so when the house sells, I’m not forced to move in with my stepmom’s house with her two kids. Introvert me does not want live-in siblings. 😛

Anyway, yes. Lots of changes. ^_^

~TQG

Ruth & Boaz

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I’ve been told no less than 3 times this week that I am beautiful. At least 4 times that I have gorgeous hair, and twice that I have a sweet spirit. God knows when I need the reminder.

I’m watching everyone I know, coworkers, friends, family and people I don’t even know getting engaged and married and having kids left and right. People that are younger or not much older than myself. It’s awesome, seeing everyone so happy, pursuing futures with their new spouses. But it’s also kinda hard. I have to keep reminding myself that I would rather be single than with the wrong person, or lower my standards just to get affection.

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What I’m looking for is totally worth the wait. I know my creator is thrilled to reveal His plan. He’s got my love story all written out, each step I take traces the lines of His pen. I grow closer each day to the moment when clarity hits. He delights in romance, the joy of learning to love someone completely and fully.

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My man is being prepared for me just as I am for him. A man after God’s own heart. Who loves God more than he loves me, and puts God first in all he does.

I studied the book of Ruth again recently, and I have to say, I just adore the love story of Ruth and Boaz. It’s so imperfect.

Tragedy, hard manual labor, long sweaty days in the sun.

A medaling older woman who gives questionable advice requiring Ruth, a woman, to essentially make the first move. (A big deal back then!) She literally tells her, wash yourself, wear your best perfume and clothes, but do not let him see you until he has finished eating and drinking. I don’t know if they were drinking water or wine, but regardless. She’s getting her daughter in law ready to wow an unsuspecting man after a long hard day of work. Sneaky old lady.

But then, Boaz, a kind hearted, honorable man, sees her hard work and blesses her for it. And takes her forwardness with such grace.

“May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter; this last instance of your loyalty is better than the first; you have not gone after younger men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not be afraid. I will do for you all that you ask, for all the assembly of my people know that you are a worthy woman. But now, though it is true that I am a near kinsman, there is another kinsman more closely related than I. Remain this night, and in the morning, if he will act as next-of-kin for you, good; let him do it. If he is not willing to act as next-of-kin for you, then, as the Lord lives, I will. Lie down until the morning.”

So she lay at his feet until morning…

I strongly encourage you to go read this book to get the full picture. There is no question that he liked and was attracted to her, but yet he sought out the course of action that was honorable and in her best interest, all while reassuring her that regardless, she would be taken care of. Even in the way that he asked her to remain for the night rather than go alone back to her home with Naomi.

I also love how when Ruth recounts the story to Naomi the next day, Naomi says “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today.”

I get the feeling Ruth was jittery and nervous about what would happen and where she would end up. I can relate with that.

I also like the honest, but very strategic way Boaz poses the idea to this other next of kin. He is totally honest, but it’s clear he is definitely hoping to be the one to redeem Ruth. It’s precious. I can’t help but see in my mind a mature, wise man, talking to this other next-of-kin, his heart pounding, praying under his breath that God bless him with this strong, hard working, worthy woman.

The whole thing is just dripping with raw humanity, and it’s beautiful. It makes my heart smile. God has such a great sense of humor.

I’m not perfect, and I never will be, but I’m hoping and praying I will be a worthy bride to my own Boaz someday.

 

Distractions

This weekend, contra dancing and a four year old’s birthday party. Next weekend, a double feature movie after work on Friday and on Saturday a trip to Carrowind’s followed by contra dancing. I’m pretty pleased. The distraction is good for me, and the people I’m spending time with are enjoyable to be around.

Today, I dyed my hair red. Not fire-engine red, just natural red. It’s a very subtle change, but a nice one. Sometimes when you feel like you’ve been punched in the face, changing a few things about the exterior just helps. I’m also intending to grow out the bangs I’ve had since I was like, six years old. That’ll take a while though. And, I’ve been using Proactiv+ for about a week now, trying to work on getting my skin truly clear.

I’ve gotten so many compliments over the last few days, been told I was “really pretty” or that I looked really good without my glasses (my barista knows me a little too well…), and other random compliments. God knows when to inspire people to compliment you when you’re struggling. Even though it’s not my appearance that I’m struggling with, it’s nice nonetheless.

And boy, am I struggling… My thoughts are like a whirlwind, conflicting emotions fighting for control, some encouraging me to never lose hope, others trying to drag me down into the pit from whence I came. The pit of complete solitude and distrust. Sometimes I just crave companionship and closeness, others I just want to be left alone.

I miss my mom’s constant encouragement and guidance during times like this.

On top of everything, my dad has started dating. The 22nd of November is one year since my mom passed, and he’s been going out on dates quite a bit… I just don’t know how to handle it. Everything combined just makes me feel like my whole world is rocky and unstable. I just want to curl up in a heated blanket and forget about the world.

Only by the Grace of my Savior have I been able to make it through these last few days.

~TQG

One Good Conversation

All it takes is one good conversation.

Today at work, I found myself in a rarely seen or found place. My comfort zone! Alone in a room with an adult, married, Christian man whilst we both enjoyed our lunch hour. This coworker and I had not previously had an actual conversation, but I have overheard him talk about his wife quite lovingly, and we’re friends on Facebook, which was, combined, enough to make me feel quite comfortable.

Not sure how we got there, but eventually we got to talking about what we had studied in scripture, and he shared what he had been learning about how we are to handle grief and death, which lead to me talking about my mom.

I worked exceptionally hard to keep from crying, and managed, but just barely, as I talked about her and how she passed. But what really struck me what his reaction. He too was working hard not to cry, and I could see the tears welling in his eyes as he just sat and listened. Not many people take time to sit and listen these days. And when they do, it stands out to me. But even more than listen, he was feeling my words as I spoke them. That is a rare and often burdensome gift to bare. I know, because I share it, and it’s one of the reasons I literally can’t get very close with more than a few people at once. I just can’t handle it. I feel what they feel, and I can only feel so much before I burst.

Back to this coworker of mine. Our lunch hour ended, and we both gathered up our emotions and laughed a bit, and went our separate ways to the opposite sides of the building where we work. But the whole thing shed light on a struggle I’ve had just recently as I try to integrate myself into this new church group I’m in.

I’m not actually as bad at communicating as I keep making myself out to be. See, at this last group event I went to, I was the only girl on the speed boat (be jealous. Of the speed boat, not of me being out numbered by attractive guys, because that’s actually just overwhelming and exhausting) and though conversation is not readily required when going 35-60 mph over water dragging people on skis, wake boards or tubes, there are still plenty of moments when it’s really a good idea to say….something…. anything…. like, seriously. And I DID. Several times!! And I did, indeed, speak loud enough to be heard and somewhat acknowledged for having said something. But a conversation is a two way street. I can say as much as I want, but if no one picks up the topic and runs with it, it’s just gunna lay there on the ground and die a slow, awkward death. And my introverted self only has energy for a few well place conversation starters before it’s really up to them to come up with a new one. Don’t get me wrong, in a group setting, I can kill a conversation without even trying! It’s like a super power! I’m speaking of one-on-one conversations here, where I prefer to live.

Now, I did talk to people, and have good conversations. With a girl who later joined the boat, and her husband. I’m noticing that married men seem to be much more capable of conversation… Single guys however… at least, the ones in this group… man.

It only takes one good conversation, just one time when I feel like they are actually interested in talking and listening, and I’ll talk to them pretty easily from that point on. Not totally absent of awkward, but at least halfway capable of forming cohesive sentences. If someone would just take that 10, 15, maybe 20 minutes to get past that initial awkward, I promise, I have something to offer. It may be walled away, but behind the gate is a garden. And the greatest treasure is planted at the very center of that garden– my heart. I don’t mean this just from a romantic standpoint, my heart is who I am, and you don’t really get to see it until you take the time to try. Not saying it’s easy to get to, but it’s totally worth the trouble, and the path through the garden is actually quite nice.

I talked about this to my Dad recently, and he said to me, “The right guy will see that, and he will take the time to get to know you whether you’re awkward or not, he’ll see what’s hidden behind it and want to seek it out.” Man, I sure hope that’s true. Cause right now, it sure doesn’t feel that way.

~TQG

Please also enjoy this: “Introverts and the inner flame“, a very good little article that relates to mine quite well.

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

The Way He Speaks

Last week I met a man in his late 70’s who I have no doubt God placed in the exam chair that day just for my benefit. I don’t remember how it came up, but he told me, and I quote: “You are the only one with the talents that you have, the experiences you have, God only made one of you, and He made you with a purpose! He’s got big plans for you, I can tell. You just wait! It’s going to be bigger than you could ever have imagined!” I almost cried. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

He also said “You must have a boyfriend, yes?” to which I said no, and he said “Oh, well I saw the ring on your necklace.” I explained that it was my mother’s ring and that she had recently passed away, and he asked how Dad and I were handling it, so I told him we were doing okay, and we knew we would see her again. He beamed, such youth in those eyes, though greyed with cataracts, a joy in them so refreshing. “That you will, darling. She’s proud of you. I’m sure of it. And you’ll find your man eventually don’t you worry! *wink*”

God is amazing the way He brings people like that across my path. There have been several.

Whatever this plan is that God’s got in the works, He obviously wants me to know that it’s big, and I’ll love it. Looking forward to finding out what it is. ^_^

~TQG