Five Links that I Love

Today, I’m giving you links to five articles that I’ve read in the past week or so that I’ve really loved or that have really made me think. I’m hoping that this becomes something of a regular feature around here.

How to Make Time to Date When You Think That You’re Too Busy: I’m busy. I’m working, I’m in grad school, and I have various other commitments (youth group, church, etc) on my time. As I told a friend of mine in May, I’m not actively seeking a boyfriend/relationship right now while I’m in grad school. But if I met the right guy, you can bet your buttons that I’d make it work. For the right guy, I’d find times in ways like this article suggests.

14 Things that All Single, Independent Women Want: I’m not sure that I 100% agree with this, but there are some really good things on this list. They’re things that I want, not need. I’d love to have someone surprise me, miss me, show me that I’m valued. I don’t NEED these things. I want them. It would be nice to have them, but I can and will survive without them.

Increase Your Productivity by Listening to the Right Music While You Work: I like listening to classical music while I work, but this article has some great ideas for other ways to use music to help me while I work.

The Other Autistic Muppet: As a teacher, I’m really excited to see Sesame Street try to help autistic kiddos. But I also really appreciate this perspective on the other autistic Muppet.

Thoughts on Creativity: Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess talks about the creative process. I enjoy her perspective, and as a sometimes-writer, I find her message encouraging.

 

 

Why I Keep “Volunteering” to Marry Tom Hiddleston

It happened again. Someone pointed out that Tom Hiddleston would be a really good husband and dad-except for the fact that he’s not married. My immediate response was “I volunteer as tribute!” It wasn’t the first time that I’ve done that. It probably won’t be the last. It’s a thing that I do sometimes. I find Tom Hiddleston attractive, and that’s just a fact of my life these days.

Every now and then, I say that I should write a post explaining my Hiddleston crush. Why is it that I like this tall, skinny English dude? I first started considering this post this a few years back when I read a post somewhere on the interwebs written by some dude who was whinging about how girls keep falling for Hiddles and he couldn’t figure out why. I can’t find the post anymore, and to be honest, there are multiple such posts. But why?

Is it his hair? His smile? His eyes? His accent? His personality? His brain?

Yes, yes to all.

One of the most attractive things to me about any person is their personality. I like good, kind people who are genuine, people who love others, people who give of themselves. I want to see people who treat others (regardless of gender or any other qualifications) with respect. For that reason, Tom Hiddleston is attractive to me. In everything that I have ever seen of him, he respects others. He respects the women in his life-costars, his sisters, his mother etc. He respects his fans. He respects his male coworkers. He respects the people to whom he ought to look up, and he respects people who he is not required to respect-fans, children etc. He smiles at people, which is huge for me. I try to smile at people regardless of whether or not I know them because I think that it’s a small but important gesture. I really like the quote below because it’s simple and true. I don’t expect you to be happy all the time, but I do appreciate when people are joyful and try to share that joy with others.

Hiddleston is also quite intelligent. He has a degree from Cambridge University in Classics. That’s nothing to sneeze at. A few years ago, one of my students looked at me and said, “I just figured you out! You like smart men.” Exactly, I like smart men. And, as my roommate once told her brother, I’m more attracted to his brain than I am to his body. The man loves good literature. He loves Shakespeare. He claims that Shakespeare is the reason that he became an actor.

He always seems like he loves what he’s doing. It’s hard to find an interview where he isn’t smiling. Even when he’s being teased, he seems to be enjoying it. I’ve never heard him complain about his work or his costars. I’ve never heard him bash the work that he did when he was younger and perhaps more desperate for work. I’ve seen him laughing with his costars. I’ve heard him talking about enjoying his costars as people. He talks about hanging out with them.

I don’t think that Tom and I have exactly the same morals. He’s advocating more male nudity in film. Now, I don’t have a problem with his argument’s base in gender equality; I’d just rather see no on-screen nudity. I don’t know that we could have a happy marriage because we don’t have the same moral compass, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t dream about him or watch his movies.

So why do I like Tom Hidldeston? Honestly, it’s because he seems to exude joy. He seems to be a content human being AND he seems intelligent. And that is incredibly attractive to me.

Also, he has lovely blue eyes, and I’m kind of a sucker for lovely blue eyes. But things won’t work out for Tommy H and me unless he becomes Catholic. (Hey, T-Hiddles, the Eastern Catholic Church is awesome. Want to come hang out with the cool kids? We’re the real happy few.) But if that doesn’t happen, that’s okay. I’ll just watch his movies and enjoy his talent.

“Chosen” Suffering

A little over a week ago, I was talking to my eighth graders about being a grad student. It was finals week for me, and I was a bit stressed. One of the girls looked at me and said, “Yeah, but that was your choice. You didn’t have to go to grad school.”

I told her that she was right, but then I told her that sometimes the sufferings and difficulties that we choose to bring into our lives are harder to bear than the ones that we don’t choose.

She looked at me like I was nuts and went back to whining about the potential end of One Direction.


But here’s the thing. Whether or not that student likes it, I often find that the difficulties that I choose are harder to bear than the ones that are pressed upon me. Difficulties that I’ve chosen are also things from which I could walk away. I could choose to leave grad school behind. No one is making me stay there.

But I want to be there. Yes, the time commitments are demanding. The work is not always easy. I have to work hard for this degree. And there are times when I question what I’m doing. I wonder why I’m putting myself through this. And the answer is that I want the degree that I’m pursuing. I want the knowledge that is available to be gained. But that requires putting forth effort and making sacrifices that I don’t always want to make.

On the other hand, there are difficulties that I’ve faced that I didn’t choose. My sophomore year of college, I had a case of walking pneumonia that went undiagnosed for far too long. (It was also an unusual case of it.) I didn’t choose that. And the treatment/recovery from it were difficult. But I didn’t choose it, and at some level, that made it easier. I wasn’t forcing myself to have pneumonia. I don’t know if I could have handled it if I had chosen to have pneumonia. It definitely impacted my life, but I would never have chosen it and I hope that I never do it again.

But I did choose grad school. Do I always love it? Uh, no. Will I be better for it some day? Yes. Is it better than pneumonia? Always. Is it making me a better person? Most days. Is it helping me to become the person that I am meant to be? Yes. Should I be doing it? Yes. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

So I press on.

Gratitude

I was recently talking to a family friend about the concept of marriage being a vocation and not the default. It was a beautiful conversation, and we talked about a variety of things related to faith and vocation. In the course of the conversation, I found myself admitting that I am really grateful that I didn’t get married young. This is not something that my nineteen-year-old self would have liked to hear, but looking at my life, I’m really grateful that I’ve been single for all of my twenties.

Why am I grateful for my singleness?

Simply put, it has allowed me the freedom to do things that I probably would never have done if I had been in a relationship. Would I have gone to grad school at 26 if I had been in a relationship? Probably not, and I’m really glad that I’m in grad school. I believe that grad school is a part of God’s call for my life. I wouldn’t have done some of the traveling that I’ve done. I wouldn’t have developed as a cook in the ways that I have. Do you think that I would have turned into a bread queen if I’d been in a relationship? Probably not. Would I have learned to cook all of the different kinds of food that I’ve explored? Probably not. I’ve been the gift of time to grow and explore during this season of my life.

I may not have grown in my faith in the ways that I have the past few years. I’ve developed a stronger love of and a deeper understanding of my Byzantine faith in the past few years. I’ve actively made choices to be involved in my church that have dramatically improved my walk with the Lord. And I think that I’m better for these decisions. I think that I’m better able to function as a daughter, a sister, a friend, and woman because of these decisions.

I may not always love my singleness. I have days where I’m lonely. I have days where it’d be really nice to have a man. I have days (many, many days) when I very seriously wonder how God could ever provide for me a man who is open to both charismatic worship and the Byzantine Catholic Church. (I don’t know that such a thing exists.) I have days where it’d be nice to have a husband for household tasks and for company. But that isn’t my life these days.

But those days have taught me many things. They’ve taught me what I can do as a woman. They’ve taught me to rely on God for my needs. And while I may be called to marriage in the long-term, I’m not called to be married now. Now, I’m called to be a teacher and a grad student. I need to remember that. I need to focus on where the Lord is calling me in the here and now and leave the future to worry about itself. And right now, I have many things (friends, family, career, cats) to be grateful for. That should be my focus. I should focus on being grateful for what I have and not worry about what may come.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Philippians 4:6