Tag Archives: notaloneseries

Not Alone Series: Prayer Routines

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What do you do in the morning, and evening, and during the day, to keep up your relationship with God? Do you have any pro tips? As single people, we’re not forced to attend to families when we get home from work, but it’s easy to just have a Netflix binge (especially during the cozy winter months). What can we do to maintain a thriving prayer life?

I am all about my habits, routines, and organization around here. For me, what gets scheduled gets done. This is what my prayer life looks like right now:

  • Roll out of bed: the Morning Offering and the Prayer to My Guardian Angel (the same one we teach little kids, except that I had to learn it as a teenager)
  • When I get to my email: read Evangelio del dia (the Gospel of the day, in Spanish; plus a reflection, also in Spanish)
  • Before eating lunch: the Angelus
  • On my drive home from work: the rosary
  • Before Mass: prayers of thanksgiving for being at Mass and for whatever is on my mind and heart
  • During Communion: my favorite prayer, some secret prayers, and whatever comes to mind
  • After Mass: the Divine Praises, the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, and a Glory Be
  • Saturday mornings (usually): Morning Prayer, from the Liturgy of the Hours (LOTH) using my single-volume breviary and iBreviary
  • Sunday evenings: LOTH Evening Prayer
  • Before bed: LOTH Night Prayer

One of those is Scripture reading, but otherwise I just stuck with prayer for that list. Trying to wrap up all the parts of my spiritual life would be almost impossible!

I say all of this not to brag, but to point out that I have customized my prayer life to my personality and my state in life. As we discussed last link-up, it’s not so much that single people have more time for prayer but that it can be shoved into our days basically wherever we want it. I don’t have a toddler wandering out of bed and into my room when I’m praying Night Prayer. I am a total GTD fan, so I stay on top of my email inbox and don’t let the daily Scripture readings pile up. For me, the Morning Offering is a joyful habit, not a burdensome obligation or membership requirement.

I do what works for me. You should do what works for you. If you can find time to binge a show on Netflix (or even just watch one episode every day), or to read a whole book in a single day, you can probably find time to peruse the daily readings.

What works for your prayer life? How do you pray without ceasing?


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Not Alone Series: Sharing Spirituality

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How would you describe your personal, individual spiritual life? How do you want to share your personal spirituality with your future husband? How important is it to you to share a religion with your husband? If you want to join a religious order or movement (or already belong to one) as a lay member, do you want him to join, too? What aspects of your spiritual life are you hoping to share or do together? Is anything non-negotiable?

Mr. Man and I were just talking about this—and not in the context of NAS. It has been a relevant point of reflection for me since long before we started dating, though. Way back last fall, I wrote that one of the things I like about being single is that I can live my own spiritual life without really needing to accommodate anyone else’s preferences or schedule.

For example:

  • I pray Night Prayer every single night. It doesn’t matter whether my roommates are out, in, or already asleep. It’s just me, in my room, with my lamp and my breviary.
  • I like praise & worship music, but I prefer silent holy hours. I love making a weekly holy hour. I can feel the difference in my life since that regular time with Jesus stopped happening.
  • I don’t like small faith-sharing groups. I do like small-group Bible studies, adult faith formation: basically anything with a syllabus and a teacher. I like learning.
  • I like to sing all the verses of hymns. You never know when you’re gonna go!
  • I get to Mass early so I can pray, I very rarely sing Communion hymns, and I stay after to pray, too.
  • I attend all the Triduum liturgies and just stay home on Easter Sunday.

So far, none of that matters to anyone except me. I will make my holy hour alone, and I sit in the middle of the pew at Mass so people can enter and exit while I’m praying.

One of the tougher challenges of being in a long-distance relationship is that I don’t get to share my day-to-day spirituality with my boyfriend. We can only go to Mass together when we’re in the same city. He is actually a virtual member of my current Bible study, but that’s not quite the same as having him in the room during discussions. He is more of a Stations of the Cross guy than a Triduum liturgy guy. For the most part, I’m still kind of living my faith on my own.

We do share Jesus, though, and the Catholic faith as a whole. That’s important to me. One of my dealbreakers was loving Jesus, which includes non-Catholic Christians, but let’s be real: I don’t think a non-Catholic could even handle my spiritual life. It’s everywhere. I have a tiny praying nun statue on my shelf at my completely secular job.

Our shared faith life is part of our foundation. It keeps us (mostly) hopeful through trials, and practically speaking, it keeps me from just moving in with him to close the distance. It’s hard, but no part of working out our salvation is easy.

Edited for clarification: Mr. Man would like to point out that, although he does typically observe Good Friday with the Stations of the Cross (as opposed to the Good Friday Liturgy), he also attends the Holy Thursday Mass and usually the Easter Vigil. So he does observe the Triduum, just not the same way that I do.


Next topic, on November 15: Prayer Routines (link up here at Lindsay Loves)

What do you do in the morning, and evening, and during the day, to keep up your relationship with God? Do you have any pro tips? As single people, we’re not forced to attend to families when we get home from work, but it’s easy to just have a Netflix binge (especially during the cozy winter months). What can we do to maintain a thriving prayer life?

View past and upcoming topics here or like our Facebook Page for regular alerts.

Link up by clicking the blue button below!

Not Alone Series: Sacrifice for Singles

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We hear all the time about the call of married people to sacrifice for the sake of their spouses, and we all know parents make sacrifices for their children. Religious sisters sacrifice just by taking vows! But if you don’t have a spouse, a child, a community, or even a pet, how do you build a spirit of sacrifice? How do you determine the difference between selfishness and supporting yourself? What are some ways that you offer sacrifices for the people in your life? (Thanks to co-host Laura and to Katie for the suggestion!)

I struggle with this topic.

At this point, most of my friends have moved on to the very states in life listed in the prompt. Their sacrifices are clear. I would imagine they don’t even have this worry: wondering whether they are sacrificing enough. Some have already finished their religious formation and become priests or taken final vows as sisters. Others are married with kids; they have literally moved on, to houses in the suburbs that they hope to fill with more children.

I’m ready for that life. I want it. But I don’t have it. I even put in all the work to build up great communities because of and in spite of my single state, in-person and online. Then, well, they moved on without me, and I got left behind.

I’m still in transition. It’s not just a single-lady thing, and I’m not so young anymore. More and more of my single friends (male and female) have purchased homes and established careers. They’re making permanent decisions. But not me. I still have to do all of the work with no certainty of getting results. I’m spending my life and making uncertain investments.

Is that selfishness? No. God has called me to sacrifice for my family, my boyfriend (after many, many years without dating at all despite desiring to), and my friends. He is still asking me to sacrifice everything I thought I would have by now: a permanent home, a husband, children, a career, money, contentedness. My sacrifice is to wait and not to wait, to be patient and to get things done. My sacrifices are the dreams I once had for my life.

So I’m not being selfish in my single life. I’m living the only way I can right now, and I’m waiting for God to show me where to go next.


Next topic, on November 1: Sharing Spirituality (link up here at Lindsay Loves)

How would you describe your personal, individual spiritual life? How do you want to share your personal spirituality with your future husband? How important is it to you to share a religion with your husband? If you want to join a religious order or movement (or already belong to one) as a lay member, do you want him to join, too? What aspects of your spiritual life are you hoping to share or do together? Is anything non-negotiable?

View past and upcoming topics here or like our Facebook Page for regular alerts.

Link up by clicking the blue button below!

Not Alone Series: Love Songs

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If God is love, then every love song is a song about God. What are your favorite love songs? They can be about romantic relationships, family relationships, or the love of God. What is your favorite hymn or Christian pop song about love? What secular love songs are your favorite? Have you ever heard a song that didn’t seem like it was about love on the surface, but after further listens, you heard the truth? If you’re married, what was your first dance song?

Welcome back, ladies! I’m excited to have NAS back in my life. Laura of A Single Drop in the Ocean, our new co-host, will be running the show on Instagram and in our Facebook Group.

This week’s link-up prompt was inspired by brainstorming (which I did for NAS even though I detest brainstorming) and by one of my most popular posts. Its popularity is mostly due to my linking up very early—I think I was poster #2 or 3!—but I’d like to think that it’s also popular because love is a language everyone can understand. I still enjoy all of the songs on that list, but I have a few original twists to add for this take.

My favorite “love song” that is definitely not a love song: “Love Song,” by Sara Bareilles

This also wins for “most misleading title.” Scuttlebutt says that Bareilles was asked to write a contemporary pop love song when she was first signed to her label. She refused and wrote this song instead, which has as a lyric, “I’m not gonna write you a love song ’cause you asked for it.” And she got famous anyway. (I also like this one for karaoke.)

My favorite song about loving God: “Love Song for a Savior,” by Jars of Clay

My actual theme song is “Vow to Vowels,” but a good friend once told me this Jars of Clay song reminded him of me. It was such a lovely compliment. And don’t we all just want to fall in love with God? This video is a remix I greatly enjoy.

My favorite song about searching singles: “Hide Away,” by Daya

This was my jam for a while. It’s a question every single lady asks: “Where do the good boys go to hide away?” In my case, they are mostly already married to my friends. I’m very grateful for Mr. Man, as is every woman who has found a good man a little later in life. Don’t you sometimes wish butterfly nets were an effective man-catching device, though?

My favorite song about family love: “A Song for Mama,” by Boyz II Men

Throwback! I do not recommend the movie this song was associated with, but the song is lovely. I wanted to go with the Backstreet Boys, but I can’t remember how their mom song goes, so this one wins. This is not the best rendition, but its the least sketchy-looking video. (Why aren’t there any sweet ballads about dads? Do dads not like songs? Recommend one for me. A song, not a dad.)

What are your favorite love songs? Do you hate sappy love songs, or were you suddenly cutting onions right as you clicked the play button? Share your thoughts this week!


Next topic, on October 18: Sacrifice for Singles (link up here at Lindsay Loves)

We hear all the time about the call of married people to sacrifice for the sake of their spouses, and we all know parents make sacrifices for their children. Religious sisters sacrifice just by taking vows! But if you don’t have a spouse, a child, a community, or even a pet, how do you build a spirit of sacrifice? How do you determine the difference between selfishness and supporting yourself? What are some ways that you offer sacrifices for the people in your life? (Thanks to Laura and Katie for the suggestion!)

View past and upcoming topics here or like our Facebook Page for regular alerts.

Link up by clicking the blue button below!

Not Alone Series: Wedding Fun

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This month’s guest hostess is our other co-founder, Morgan.

We are now fully immersed in wedding season! What are your favorite parts of a wedding? Where do you find the best dresses for the occasion? Have any unique gift ideas? Share anything and all tips and tricks with us!

I generally like weddings. Before I took up West Coast Swing, weddings were my best chance at a good, old-fashioned dance party: less teenage awkwardness, more fun. I also like going to church and dressing up, although managing the expenses of travel and clothing can be tricky.

I find my favorite wedding guest dresses at department stores. The one I’m wearing in this photo was originally purchased from Kohl’s for a wedding. I re-wore it for so many formal occasions that I eventually had to retire it. I still have it, though, just in case!

purefashiondessertwithdadyoungpros

Me with my fellow Young Professionals volunteers. Photo by Anastasia Curtis.

My favorite gift idea stems from my budgeting lifestyle. My personal rule is that I will spend money to be in a wedding, to fly to a wedding, or to purchase a customary gift, but not for all three. So when I don’t send a regular gift, I like to give spiritual bouquets.

When I describe this concept to friends I’ve met post-college, they’re always a little bewildered. It must be one of those things like my holy medals (I wear four) that is more common on the East Coast than inland. A spiritual bouquet is a collection of prayers, sacrifices, etc. offered for a particular occasion. It’s like a bouquet flowers, except that flowers die. Prayers have eternal effect. It also has the advantage of being way less expensive than actual flowers or most other wedding gifts.

When I am invited to a wedding I can’t attend, I actually do both: a regular present and a spiritual one, usually a rosary prayed as the wedding begins. When I’m invited to one I just can’t afford, I like to combine a rosary, a Divine Mercy Chaplet, and some other prayer that reminds me of the couple (St. Michael, or even just a bunch of Our Fathers and Hail Marys).

My favorite single-girl wedding strategy is to dance the night away. Literally. I generally wear my hair up to weddings because it won’t get sweaty from dancing for hours. (It’s also usually in updo-only condition by Saturday. #blackhaircareproblems) I pick relatively comfortable shoes. Dancing nonstop keeps me from drinking too much and sitting around complaining about how, yet again, this is not my wedding. I’m always without a partner, but that doesn’t matter. My freestyle is beyond satisfactory. I’m developing a small collection of wedding thank-you cards that specifically note my masterful dance floor presence.

Even when I’m down about not being married myself, someone else’s wedding is a chance for me to look good and celebrate for a few hours. I can get behind that.


View past and upcoming topics here or like our Facebook Page for regular alerts.

Link up with Morgan at Follow and Believe!

Not Alone Series: Online Community

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This week, we begin our summer series, which features a once-a-month link-up instead of once per week. The Not Alone Series has been around for three years now, so we’re returning to our roots a little bit. Co-founder Jen of Jumping in Puddles is hosting.

In honor of the Not Alone Series’s recent third birthday, we thought it would be fun to talk about online community. What role has it played in your life? Have you made lasting relationships from your online world? What do you love most?

I met my boyfriend through my blog! It was my NAS post about pursuit that encouraged him to ask me out in the first place, so that is definitely my favorite thing. I think he would agree.

Apart from Mr. Man, my favorite thing about NAS is that it gives me the freedom to express myself. I wrote last year about my gratitude for connecting online with other single women who are seeking spouses. Writing those posts on my own would just feel like complaining. No one wants to hang out with a grumpus, let alone date one. But a whole bunch of single women writing on the same topic is a discussion. Somehow, when I can read other people’s perspectives on the same topics, I don’t feel quite so alone.

I also credit the Internet with basically my entire social life in Austin. When Christmas rolled around that first year I lived here, I realized that I had no friends. When I came back after vacation, I Googled some keywords and found a non-parish-specific Catholic young adult group. That which was perfect because I worked in campus ministry, so I didn’t belong to a parish. Crashing a parish group would have felt strange. I also met some great non-Catholic people through Meetup, which I highly recommend. I love Meetup’s premise: using the Internet to get off the Internet.

That’s the point, really. Online communities are best when they lead to in-person interaction. They encourage us to establish connections that serendipity could never bring about. But even God had to become flesh eventually. We need that meeting of soul and body to really show the love of God to our neighbor.


Next month’s topic: Wedding Fun

We will be linking up with our other co-founder, Morgan, at Follow and Believe. Join us on July 5!

View past and upcoming topics here or like our Facebook Page for regular alerts.

Link up with Jen at Jumping in Puddles!

Not Alone Series: Love Languages Revisited

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Love languages apply to more than just romance; they help you learn how to make people feel appreciated and cared for in all of your relationships. What is your love language? (Take the quiz at 5lovelanguages.com.) How have you learned to speak someone else’s love language? Do you find it easier to speak some languages than others; if so, which ones? How have you shown or received love in multiple languages?

As I wrote the last time we discussed love languages, Quality Time is my jam. I am a member of the “please put down your phone so I don’t feel like you would rather look at Facebook than my actual face” club. For me, that is just how it works.

Conveniently, Mr. Man and I have the same primary love language. Less conveniently, both of our secondary love languages are close seconds and different: mine is Words of Affirmation, and his is Acts of Service. There has been some hilarity, annoyance, and frustration as we’ve tried to learn to speak each other’s secondary languages. I had to explain that he does not need to shower me with compliments all the time. When I get too many, I doubt that any of them are heartfelt. That’s not what we want. We’ve found a good balance now. I, on the other hand, still struggle with ways I can serve from so far away. I mostly offer my prayers for him. Prayer knows no distance.

Physical Touch falls at the bottom of my list. I struggle greatly with it. I even struggle with my struggle! Because I was stuck in a dating drought in addition to not speaking that love language at all, I started losing my ability to manage physical touch in a healthy way. Taking up social dancing helped a lot with that. It’s not exactly a venue in which touch is a sign of care and appreciation, but it has helped me understand (mentally and physiologically) that touch is okay. Baby steps.

One of my roommates has Receiving Gifts as her love language. I made her take the quiz when she wondered why people (boys) seemed not to always appreciate the gifts she was giving. I have never been a fan of the “little somethings” that people bring around after vacations or for birthdays, but I know she likes them, so I’ve tried to get them for her. And I’m not completely opposed to tokens: I have some sweet souvenir coasters from coworkers. Those are inherently practical, though; no one likes water rings.

The major takeaway from examining love languages is how useful they can be to communicate with all the people in your life, not just your snuggle bunny. Kristin Wong wrote an article for Lifehacker about love languages. She had to explain to her brother that, when he didn’t answer calls from her and from their dad, they got upset not because they didn’t understand he was busy but because they felt like he didn’t love them. I had to understand that one of my guy friends always greeted me with a hug not because he was flirting (also, he’s married) but because that is how he shows me that he cares about my well-being as a friend. Love languages explain why I feel cut to the heart when someone says something that they don’t really mean or doesn’t spend any time with me. Parallel play works for toddlers, and it will work for me, too. I just need my people to be with me.

Love comes in many forms, and so do love languages. Please, learn yours, learn the languages of the people you care about, and start working on those language lessons!


Next week’s topic: Online Community

In honor of Not Alone Series’ recent third birthday, we thought it would be fun to talk about online community. What role has it played in your life? Have you made lasting relationships from your online world? What do you love most?

Our co-founder Jen will be hosting over at Jumping in Puddles!

View past and upcoming topics here or like our Facebook Page for regular alerts.

Link up below!

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