Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

He Has Risen!

He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.
Come and see the place where He lay.                                                                                                                              ~Matthew 28:6

This weekend we will once again celebrate the heart of our faith.

That first Easter all those years ago must have been scary for the Marys when they found the tomb empty. The weekend had been traumatic with the trial and murder of Jesus upon the cross. All they wanted to do that early Sunday morning was to visit the tomb where He lay.

I sometimes imagine their fear at not knowing who had taken Him. Twice in just a few days, He had been torn from their grasp.

What joy to find Him on the road and to know that He had risen! Did they really understand what that meant? Since we have the benefit of history, we know exactly what it means.

Eternal life. Death overcome.

I pray that as you celebrate Easter this week, dear reader, that the joy of knowing your Savior lives will wash over you anew.

He has risen!

easter_cross THF 04 2010

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True Sacrifice

This week has been a bit crazy—I’m smack-dab in theatre mode. The high school where I teach asked me to direct a spring play and, of course, I said, “yes!” Because I love the stage and have a hard time turning down any such opportunities. Then I had the crazy idea to direct a play I wrote titled The Ballad of Pistol & Rosie, a hillbilly version of Romeo & Juliet.

All of which means I’ve had precious little time to devote to a blog article. Fortunately, my friend Bonnie Cozadd posted a beautiful thought on Facebook yesterday morning and gave me permission to share it with you. I hope it blesses you as it did me!

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Sacrifice by Keattikorn

Image courtesy of Keattikorn/freedigitalphotos.net

Jesus tells me to be sacrificial in my love for others, but darn it! There are times I want to ask—demand—“What about me?” It’s the truth. Left to my own devices, I am incapable of living out a sacrificial life. (I’m really not that good.)

I’m being honest here. Yes, only yesterday I wrote about giving up a restaurant table to an older couple, but that very afternoon I grabbed the closest parking spot I could find! I wasn’t a bit sorry when the other drivers gave me the “look” either.

Then my Bible verse for Thursday hit me with a reality check: “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). When I keep this verse in the forefront of my thinking, my spirit grabs hold and begs, “Lead me. Keep me. Help me …”

It is only when I shed the pretense of self-sufficiency that I become desperate for the sufficiency of Christ.

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Is sacrificially giving of yourself an easy thing for you to do? Are you “desperate for the sufficiency of Christ?”

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It’s Not Too Late

Kevin is one of the sound guys at my church.  I like him because, whereas others tell me to “project more” when I speak, Kevin tells me to speak normally, to not raise my voice. It’s his job, he says, to make sure the mic amplifies the sound of my voice—that’s what the mic is for. He is diligent about making sure my ear-attached microphone works properly on Sundays, and generally impresses me as the best sound guy we have.

Recently, I learned that Kevin—50s, tall, regular, not-unattractive, white guy—is single. He told me he never married and has no children. When he got out of the service he was 45, he said, and “it was too late.” He had missed his opportunity for marriage.

I was shocked.

My reply was that it most certainly was not too late! I told him he would be surprised at the number of women over 40 who were, even now, hoping to meet a man like him.

I’m beginning to wonder if there is some grand conspiracy happening that keeps singles apart from one another. Or, maybe, it is simply that we ladies over 40 need to drop more obvious hints when we are interested in a man.

It’s hard to believe, but maybe men in our age group just don’t know we are interested in being with them. Maybe they are as unsure as we are and need a little encouragement.

What has your experience been?

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Five Things People Should Know about Older Single Women

As I’ve gotten older and remained unmarried, I’ve found there are a lot of misconceptions about singles my age. So, since I love lists, I’ve put together one of fove items I wish people knew about me and my cohorts.

Image: Public Domain/Creative Commons

Image: Public Domain/Creative Commons

  1. We may have gotten used to being alone, but we’d be comfortable being in a relationship. Some people think we’re set in our ways and, therefore, complacent about putting ourselves out there. While there may be some truth in that, the vast majority of us would be thrilled to share our day-to-day life with a partner.
  1. We may not have kids, but we can still love your kids. We thrill at being auntie to our nieces and nephews. We may not be used to the chaos and noise that accompanies kids, but we love to be included in it.
  1. We don’t really hate men. It’s easy to fall into the trap of dissing men when we get together, but most of us truly don’t hate them. We revel in their differentness. The dissing is usually the sign of a broken heart trying to heal.
  1. We don’t like having our life characterized as “easy” just because we don’t have a husband or children. Our constraints are different from those of married women, but our lives aren’t necessarily easier, or harder for that matter. What we have in freedom, we trade for the lack of a partner providing emotional, physical and financial support.
  1. We don’t want to be randomly set up with any single male friend you have just because “you’re both single.” Invite us both to a group event, but save the setups for people you think we have something in common with.

Other single, over-forty women may have some different things they would add to this list, but these are mine.

Won’t you join the conversation? What do you wish people knew about single women our age?

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Me v. the Crazy Cat Lady

Crazy Cat Lady

This action figure implies Crazy Cat Ladies can even fight crime.

It’s become a cliché—the lonely, single woman who adopts cats, eats a lot of canned food and hoards bridal magazines. A February episode of Hawaii 5-0 had Steve McGarrett and Danno using an apartment for surveillance while the owner was away. It led to this exchange while they looked around the residence:

“Guess who’s the queen of QVC?” Danno says, glancing over the many cat tchotchkes around the room, then adds, “It smells in here, like loneliness and despair.”

To which Steve replies, “It’s mothballs.”

And yes, the woman who lived in the apartment was single and, they soon discovered, had a cat.

Personally, I prefer to believe crazy cat ladies don’t actually exist. But, just in case, I’m taking steps to make sure I don’t end up that way:

  1. I have one cat. One. And I plan to keep it that way.
  2. I don’t buy all my clothes at Walmart.
  3. I don’t wear a bathrobe.

The other day, though, something happened to make me worry I might be headed toward Crazyville. In the novel I’m reading, some of the characters were worried about a good-looking, Christian doctor who was newly divorced.

And, I kid you not, I thought, “He’s single? How old is he?”

Yes, I seriously wondered about the availability of a fictional character. It only took a second for me to smack some sense back into myself. I suppose—I hope—everyone has moments like this. So I laughed at my goofiness.

Then the situation reminded me how long it’s been since I felt any serious interest in someone. And by “someone” I mean a real, flesh-and-blood man. This is disconcerting because the voices in my head can come up with all kinds of reasons why this is so. Sure, I can dismiss them as exaggerations or out-and-out lies, but wouldn’t it be better to find a way to rid myself of the voices altogether? Or, at the very least, silence them.

These voices warn me I might be just one can of Spaghetti-Os and a stray cat away from becoming that cliché. Hearing voices in my head doesn’t help.

Fortunately, I know who I am in Christ. I also realize worrying about what might happen won’t magically change my future. God holds my life in His hands, and I trust Him, whatever happens. So I’ve determined to stay focused on doing the work He’s called me to do.

The voices and cats can wait.

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Love Takes Its Time

Image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

After 25 years of marriage, “Rose,” became single again in her early 40s. She thought surely, she would meet someone new and remarry before too long. She is now 62, however, and a second marriage has not happened.

As a single woman, Rose threw herself into the work of the Lord. She is a children’s ministry leader and kept the kids in her church busy with lessons, activities, music and events teaching them about Jesus.

A widower in the church, “Gary,” would attend the programs that his children were a part of. Rose would interact with him from time to time. After many years, she noticed one day that Gary seemed … interesting. When she saw Gary next, at a children’s concert, she handed him a note: “Do you want to have lunch with me sometime?”

Sitting at the piano she nervously watched as he opened it. He read the note, then passed it down the row to the people he was sitting with. They all read the note too. Rose was mortified.

After the concert, she approached him and asked him why he shared her note. He said, “I didn’t know who it was for.” Rose didn’t know what to say. She let it go and went on her way.

That week Gary telephoned Rose. He made small talk for half a minute, and then he hung up. “What was that about?” she wondered. He called her the next day and did the same. Gary phoned Rose for five days in a row though he had nothing much to say. Finally, he invited her out to dinner.

Rose thought dinner would be a challenge since Gary wasn’t much of a conversationalist. But the evening turned out to be delightful. Gary brought her flowers, took her to a nice restaurant and revealed himself to be, in fact, a great communicator. He was engaging, funny and a good listener.

They went out again. And again. And have been going out for over a year.

She says she can be lively or quiet with him. That he’s thoughtful–always thinking about what she might need around her house, always picking up little things she might enjoy. That he’s supportive–willing to help her with anything she needs help with. That he’s a gentleman–always opening doors and pulling out chairs. That he’s fun–oh, the places they go!

I appreciate so many things about this couple’s story. Like how it took years for Rose to notice Gary. And I love that she took the risk of asking him out. Bold lady! I love how what seemed like rejection (and humiliation) actually ended up being something else. I love the awkward way Gary expressed interest and Rose’s patience in following his lead.

They are not married (yet), but what a charming, hopeful romance!

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The Beauty of Older Single Women

DSC_0116Life has been crazy for me lately, and you all saw the results of that last week when I wasn’t ready for my Tuesday post. Then Wednesday ended up being simply a quote. I pulled that Audrey Hepburn quote from the Internet when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to finish a post in time. As I went through last week, that quote seemed to be on repeat in my mind.

I think some things are universal with women. Feeling beautiful to someone is one of those things we all seem to desire. As a teenager, I turned to magazines for definitions of what the world wanted women to look like. That created some ideas that have really bogged me down over the years.

We all know the world and media’s view of beauty is warped. Still, I think all too often we women fall in line with these views and are too hard on ourselves. I know I do. As single, over-40 women, we may be especially vulnerable to this trap because, in the world’s view, there must be something wrong with us. How many times have I listened to a friend say, “What’s wrong with me? Am I not pretty enough? Interesting enough? Smart enough?” How many times have I said those words myself?

Then along comes Audrey with the gem I posted last week…

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.                                                               ~Audrey Hepburn 

The beauty is in the eyes. Our eyes show that even without a man in our lives, we do know how to love. We open our hearts to family and friends, and surround them with love. We have learned over the years to give in love even when we don’t always feel we get the same. There is beauty even in the sorrow of unfulfilled dreams since that sorrow often makes us tender to the suffering of others. So, we may be without another half, but we certainly know how to show love, care and passion. This is where true beauty lies, not in the look of our skin or the way we wear our hair.

Yes, I loved this quote from Audrey Hepburn when I first heard it, and I love it even more today. It’s a great reminder for us “older” singles that we all have amazing things to offer the world.

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Spring Cleaning the Freezer

I have had a half-empty bag of chicken wingettes in my freezer for at least a year. They were frozen solid and encased in ice, but I still thought there might be hope of salvaging them. And I needed to salvage them because I have restricted myself from buying any meat until I eat the meat that has been sitting in my freezer forever.

Well, where there’s a will there’s a way! I transformed those freezer-burned wings into something tasty. And it was rather easy to do.

Just before I rushed out to an appointment I put the wings (sorry I forgot the pic of the frozen wings) in my crock pot and just barely covered them with water.

Then I added seasoning. Just the basics: seasoned salt, pepper, onion and garlic.

I put the top on the pot, turned the pot on high (since they were frozen solid), and went on my merry way.

Three hours later the chicken was cooked. But I wanted the meat to fall off the bones, so I let it cook for another four hours while I studied.

When I next checked, the bones were easily separated from the meat. Perfect.

I scooped the bones out, which was easy since they were all drumettes with one bone.

What was left was tender, flavorful chicken stock.

This could be the base of a hearty soup, or it could be eaten with rice or noodles.  But I plan to get a bowl and spoon and enjoy it as is!

Have you salvaged anything good from the freezer lately?

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Tearing Down Walls

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a Facebook junkie. I love the connections I’ve made, the friendships that have been strengthened, and the gradual advantage it has been to my career. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen the dark side of Facebook … and it isn’t pretty.

It started innocently enough. A friend posted something silly on her wall. One of her male friends—someone I don’t know—remarked, “You are so funny! How are you still single?!” That made me laugh and I couldn’t resist replying, “If men wanted funny, I’d know a lot fewer single women.”

Facebook - Bitter - by marin

Image courtesy of marin with FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

This stranger, who, it would seem, doesn’t share my sense of humor, responded, “I take it you’re single, Ms. Kopf. By the way, your bitter is showing.”

Ouch. Clearly a response to Mr. Insensitive was warranted but where would I start? When I made the comment, I wasn’t motivated by any bitter feelings; I just wanted to be funny. Sure, I believed there was some truth to what I wrote, but I don’t think I was being mean about it. Men aren’t necessarily beating down the doors to date witty women. A sense of humor can be a must-have for a lot of girls when it comes to liking a man, but, in my experience, it’s not high on the list for most guys. That’s okay with me. It’s just the way we’re wired.

But instead of seeing my words as a humorous commentary on the differences between men and women, he disagreed with me. This, too, was fine. My problem with the whole dialog was his decision to attack me personally about it in one of the cruelest ways possible. I imagine he knew that to deride a woman’s singleness while accusing her of being bitter had to hurt. Needless to say, we did not become friends—on Facebook or otherwise.

So, we’ve established the fact that this man’s comment was hurtful, rude, and unnecessary. But was it true? Dear God, had I really become that girl? That … spinster? In some ways, and on certain days, I realize I have. When I snap at someone about being single, especially men, there’s bitterness oozing out. I’m kidding myself if I think they don’t sense it, even feel it.

Talk about a wall.

Our hearts have been broken in an incredibly painful way. Lifelong desires have been thwarted, often, it feels, without reason or cause. Not knowing how to respond to the pain, we lash out. It’s a bitterness born of grief, something you don’t just decide, one day, you’re fine with. These things take time.

In my case, it took about a decade, but, by God’s grace, I’ve chiseled away at that wall and found hope on the other side. And, I believe, I’ve left the bitter behind. It might not change the way Mr. Insensitive sees single women, but it changed me.

Do you struggle with bitterness about your single life? What can you do today to break down that wall of anger and embrace the peace and hope we have in Christ?

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The Beauty of a Woman

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The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.                                                                                                                                                        ~Audrey Hepburn

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