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Singleness
20140318_AnnieDowns_saturday

I love to read. It’s probably my favorite hobby.

And a few Saturdays ago, when it was cold and icy outside, I got up around 9am and fixed myself a hot chai with almond milk. I passed by my bookshelves as I headed back toward my bedroom. With mug in one hand, I perused my own collection, pulling out a few old novels that I like to scan. I grabbed two issues of Real Simple, my magazine of choice, that I hadn’t yet gotten to read. I headed back to my room, snuggled up under blankets galore, and read the day away.

Because my job as an author/speaker involves a lot of travel, it’s not often that I see a full Saturday of no work. So I drank it in.

With the drink still in my hand, and cracking open the first magazine, a moment of gratefulness washed over me. “I won’t be this free forever,” I thought.

It’s rare that I list the perks of being single, but having a Saturday to my self to do whatever I want and nobody cares how long I lay in bed and read and so what if I eat a marshmallow or three? That’s a perk.

We are all in different life stages, different jobs, different families. And I venture that we can all look forward and wish for something else. A marriage. A new job. Graduation. Children. Grandchildren. We can all see the thing we want but don’t have.

But do you see the life you DO have?

Do you recognize the beautiful moments that will go away when your life season changes? 

Little kids aren’t little forever.

Once college is over, it’s over.

Reading Saturdays change when Junior’s soccer practices begin.

You. Will. Miss. This.

Whatever “this” is for you, when it changes, even if you’ve been dying for it to change, there will be something you miss.

I don’t know when, or even if, this particular life spot will be over for me. I just know that I want to soak up my Saturdays of reading, the girl trips to California, the one-person’s worth of laundry and cooking, and my time (and money) spent on the things that matter to me.

I’m grateful for this life. I hope you are, too.

Soak it up today, friends. Soak up your moments and thank God for all the ways He is providing for you TODAY, right where you are.

. . . . .

What are you thankful for today that is unique to this season of life?

By Annie Downs

{Photo by Seth Sawyers}
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  1. 1

    Annie, a day of reading in bed with a hot drink sounds like heaven to me.

    I am in the season of littles right now. My 6 month old daughter has just started to notice her big brother. No one can make her laugh the same way that he can. I KNOW I will miss this when it is gone and I really do try to pause everyday to step back and admire it.

  2. 3

    Annie,
    I am so thankful for my husband and the new life we just started after years of thinking that I would never be “happy” again in a marriage. I am thankful for mornings of quiet conversation over a cup of coffee. I am also thankful that when my children were little, I was blessed with the choice of being able to stay at home with them. This is a choice I have never regretted and I have really tried to be present in every stage of their growing up.

    My son, 21, has returned to live at home (taking a pause from college) and though sometimes it is very challenging having an adult child return home, I am trying to be thankful for this “extra” time we get to spend with him…even in the trials.

    Just sitting here typing my blessings, lifts my mood on yet another rainy, cold morning. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  3. 4

    So true. I feel like I get so consumed by my size and wanting to lose the extra weight that my life revolves around:
    what I am eating
    when I am eating
    do I need to journal?
    I should exercise
    I can’t eat THAT!
    I want to eat THAT!
    Everyone else loves to run why don’t I?
    A spinning class?
    Water aerobics?
    lift weights!
    ugh…..

    I hope this phase (although its probably been about a 10 year phase now ;-) passes sooner than later in all honesty. You would think by age 45 I could let it go but no.

    Your Saturday sounds lovely by the way.

    • 5

      Kathy- I hear you – I empathize with you – I understand you, because I AM you! What you wrote about was my Saturday litany – and pretty much every day litany – for the past, oh, most of my life (I’m 52). Let me just pass on to you what changed it for me. I had used the site SparkPeople (www.sparkpeople.com) off and on for years, but one day two years ago this spring when I was in tears about wanting to change for the hundredth time, I went to Sparkpeople, plugged in my current weight and plugged in my goal weight, and chose a rate of losing about 2lbs a week. Then, the site gave me something I had never seen before in my life. It gave me a DATE when I could be DONE. Done. Finished. I felt an immediate sense of relief. You mean I could be DONE with this agony? There was actually a DATE – if I stuck with it – that I could move past this and on to something else in my life? Just seeing the date thrilled me, and I didn’t feel hopeless anymore.

      Tracking my food on SparkPeople and working out a few times a week (walking) was all that it took, physically, to do the trick. Mentally, I had to pray constantly and remind myself over and over again that I WAS making right, albeit small, choices that in the end would pay off. And they did! If you would like any help or support, I’d love to partner with you in your journey to be DONE! email me at bcoulton (at) msn (dot) com. Be encouraged! You can be done!

  4. 6

    I’m prone to always looking for the next big thing, the next season, the next move, etc. This reminder to be present and grateful for right now is timely for me, especially since I spent my Saturday shuttling kids around for five hours and NOT reading a book;)

  5. 7
    Jessica says:

    I am learning to live in the moment with my 2 young children. I am treasuring every moment with my 11month old son, I now realize that I wished away the time with his older sister to grow up and not cherish EVERY moment that I am blessed to be their mommy. Grateful for this time in my life!

    Thank you for this post today as it was confirmation of what God is speaking to me in my quiet time the past couple of days!

  6. 8

    “You. Will. Miss. This.” I needed this reminder today.

  7. 9

    You are wise beyond your years. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  8. 10

    Oh, yes. So true, Annie! I’m so thankful for what God has given me. My husband and I are waiting for our children to come, but we are having the best time ever in this season! We can travel when and where we want; we can enjoy each other’s company all the time; we can eat out without having to worry about babies behaving…. We haven’t always been able to be grateful, but God is showing us the value of this present moment! Life is beautiful. Thanks for the post!

  9. 11

    Right now, being single, I’m flexible when my friends need me (baby-sitting, spur of the moment events etc) and I’m glad to be there for them when I can. If/when my situation changes I know that I won’t be able to always do that. But for now…now I can be a blessing to them because I can and love them and I WANT to do this for them without getting back anything in return. And that’s where God has me right now.

  10. 12

    Love this!

  11. 13

    I’m thankful for learning to be disciplined while working from home. It’s the first time I’ve been in this position and it feels weird and uncomfortable. Some days feel like they will stretch on forever with nothing really to do. Others feel like I can never get away from the work because it’s just in the other room! But I know that this stage will change as all the other stages of my life have changed so I’ll be grateful for what God is teaching me today. Thanks for the encouragement to find my life in the life I’m actually living.

  12. 14

    What a kind reminder to live in the moment. I rushed through many seasons of my life at 42 and I.Do.Miss.It. God is working in me and I’m learning to slow down and enjoy this season of the “empty nest”. I’m able to travel with my husband on TDY trips, read while he is working, and soak up the beauty of our marriage when he returns in the afternoons. We are learning to relax with each other. Blessings to all.

  13. 15

    Annie, thank you for this! Such an important truth of our lives–if we cannot be grateful now, we will not be grateful “then.” I’ve learned this fist-hand as a young Army wife. My husband deployed 6 months after our wedding, and if the Lord showed me anything at all during that painful year, it was His faithfulness to give good gifts, even if they weren’t the gifts I would have picked. I couldn’t wait for the year to end, though there were days that’s all I did. Deployment was my life. I had to actually live it.

    Now when my soldier leaves for shorter training periods or business trips, I’m eager to see what good things Jesus delivers in his absence. Many times it does look like a reading day and putting off laundry and eating popcorn all day. A lot of the time it looks like girl time I cannot typically be flexible for. Whatever it is, He is faithful. He only gives good things, the things that work for His glory and my good. But my hands have to be open to receive His gifts, not clenched in frustration over what I don’t have.

    Thank you for your words. Beautiful and timely. Much love.

  14. 16

    As we are in the throes of baseball season and I’m working on my grad work it’s a precious season. I’m rounding out my time as a stay at home mom and starting to become a professional…again, but it’ll be different this time. The seasons change and the momentum with each one changes you, but each one will fuel you differently. Baseball games at 9 am which mean getting up by 7 to get everyone fed and ready to be there for batting practice at 8:15 is chaotic (miss sleeping in!) but seeing one of the boys learning to love baseball and seeing the camaraderie of the boys being built is pure fuel….along with a strong cup of coffee. Enjoy time as a single, but remember that self care always!

  15. 17

    So good, Annie!

  16. 18

    I completely agree, Annie. So often we want so badly what we don’t have that we overlook all the blessings around us. I also needed to hear the You. Will. Miss. This. part. :) Thanks for shining your brilliantly beautiful light into my day, Annie. Blessings to you.

  17. 19

    A much needed perspective for me-thank you! I am enjoying this season of little ones crawling into my lap-I know that day is coming when they will be too big!

  18. 20

    Contentment is a beautiful gift that we often have to force ourselves to see. To take a moment and breathe in blessing is often necessary for me to continue on through the insanity of life:). Your post is a lovely reminder! :)

  19. 21

    Annie,

    I loved this article. Saturday mornings are mine and I selfishly guard those quiet hours of lingering in and on whatever the Lord leads me to. . . a second cup of coffee, staying in pajamas until 1 o’clock-ish if I so choose. I recognize this quiet gift and it soothes my work-week weary soul… Currently, I enjoy the time to read and work on your Speak Love study. . . I enjoy being a Speak Lovely. . .

  20. 22

    Such wisdom here, Annie. When my first baby took over my time and energy, I missed those free Saturdays in ways I never expected to. You are right. So when my four-year-old asks me to carry her today, I won’t tell her she’s a big girl and can walk. I’ll savor the chance to hold her before it becomes my last. Blessings!

  21. 23

    I just love reading your posts, Annie. It always feels as though you’ve drawn up a chair to address a circle of women that you know quite well. I appreciate this about you. Your words are always fresh, true and timely. I am grateful that during this season of your life that you are embracing where God has you. Thank you for sharing your gift. May we continue to “soak up” these very moments.

    Blessings,
    Jennifer

  22. 24

    I needed this. More than I realized. I get so easily discontented with how still and quiet my life is now. I’m married to a man in the military and we don’t have kids, thus I spend a lot of time by myself. It makes me feel so small and insignificant. What I so quickly overlook is that, there may be no better time if my life to sit at the foot of God and just drink of His love and truth.

  23. 25
    Dawn B. says:

    I have had the luxury of staying home for the past three years as an empty nester! I do miss the children at times but love the quietness of our home! This season might be coming to an end as a job interview looms of the horizon! I have loved my leisure time but look forward to stepping back into the workforce.

  24. 26
    Rebecca says:

    This couldnt have came at a more appropriate time for me. My oldest daughter is 17, she never had a lot of friends or stayed away much. But a few weeks ago, SUDDENLY, she has something to do almost everyday. My heart is broken! I know, most kids are like this by 17, but its ‘gradual!’ I know she’ll go to college in a year and half. But, this SUDDENLY, has whirled me into depression, and missing curling up on the couch and watching Disney Movies!
    Though it doesn’t help that I dont have a career, or a ministry (YET), I am praying for open doors for my call, my niche. But….. I’ve always just been “Mom.” But, it has opened my eyes to spend more time with my 13 year old daughter. And, I am praying about implementing a designated “family night” since we arent here together all the time to just let it happen naturally.
    Life is full of stages. I knew this would happen, but in the far future. This stage, I dont like.
    But, I am thankful, I have my kids, they are healthy. And God is with me every minute, of everyday. (so are my dogs :-) )

  25. 27

    I enjoyed reading all of the comments here. I’ve been through married season, children at home season,empty nest season and widowhood season. Wow..that’s a lot..through them all I’ve done my best to stand back once in a while and soak in all of the noise,activity and love. I feel I’m in my last season. My adult children are all going to be back in our town. They are such a comfort to me and we really have great time together. My grands are still young so I get to enjoy that season of life. I am so truly humble in what God has given me. To know that He knew I needed to have the house I have. He knew I needed to have the neighbors and friends I have..He knew my life….and planned for it. I am blessed.

  26. 28

    This post is pure sweetness. And needed truth.

    What am I grateful for in my current season? The loud voices I hear down the hallway…playing with airplanes. The backdoor being left open for the twentieth time today. And half the chocolate chip muffins I made this morning already being consumed.

    Thank you for having me stop and seize the current.

    Kind Blessings,
    Kate :)

  27. 29
    Shannon says:

    This is a much needed reminder for me this morning! My wish for change is my current job situation. But you’re right, there are several things I will miss when and if this season passes. Thank you for the reminder to soak up the present and be grateful. My focus verse this year is Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot fathom the whole scope of God’s word from beginning to end.” Very fitting.

  28. 31

    Annie,

    You are a wonderful writer! Thank you so much for all you do allowing God to work through you. I wish your events for teen girls came down to Florida! I loved this post and felt like I had a day like that this Sunday. After church, we went to lunch with friends, I napped and then read an entire book. Kristen Billerbeck, so it was funny and light-hearted and just cute. I announced that we had a big lunch, so there would be no dinner made and each was on his own to scrape together left-overs. So, even though I have 3 teenagers and a husband, I gave myself the day off. It felt totally strange, like I abandoned them all because everything they need comes first – but it was good. Right now, I have one in college, so I cherish every call, especially the ones where she is not asking for something. I cherish my high school senior, who will leave me to go far away in August. I made a big irish dinner last night with all the fixings, after work and we are not irish and don’t really celebrate st. Patrick’s day. But, hello, my name is Erin, my dad loved the day and yesterday marked 16 years since we lost the most amazing dad and grandfather ever and it felt good to celebrate him. It’s also the last St. Patrick’s day with my girl and I am aware that each season and stage goes too fast and I did spent too much time rushing the early years and am trying to be more thankful and intentional with each day with them! And, trying to not mess up so much! Erin

  29. 32

    Right now, we are in a season that I’m not sure I will ever miss. Emotional strains, wandering-from-the-faith adult children, concern over each child’s future…these things are wearing us out in our parenting, in our marriage. But yet, I have lived long enough to know that it could indeed get worse, and we at some point may long for these days that right now we can’t wait to get out of. It’s been a long season of prayer and concern, and I’m so ready to move on, yet God has not seen fit to change anything about our children or our circumstances, so still we wait and trust in Him. One day, this season shall change, and I can only hope that we are not clamoring to go back to what right now feels like Egypt.

  30. 33
    Courtney L. says:

    I am thankful for the blessing of being able to stay home, to care for my home and family; for a husband who is wonderful provider. Sometimes I take that for granted, selfishly wishing I could go back to work and have more money, more things… things I don’t really need. We have enough. We are blessed. Thank you, Annie, for words that reminded my heart to be thankful & joyful in this season. I know it can and will change when the Lord sees fit, and I don’t want to take a single moment for granted.

  31. 34
    Paulette says:

    This really hit my heart because I am in the season of driving my son to school and to work and I complain a lot just ask my son and he would gladly tell you. YET I must realize and he often reminds me that this season will change and I won’t have the luxury of him being around once he goes to university and then what?? I will complain some more about how I never see him.. BUT GOD shows me that this time is a blessing to both of us and it is one of the many seasons we will go through in our lives. I must cherish this season and THANK GOD for my son and what a blessing he is to me. To everything there is a season…Enjoy the NOW and where GOD has placed you. You are right where he wants you to be. That is something I am still trying to learn. Thanks for sharing..

  32. 35

    {Melinda} My oldest, my daughter, is 17. I only have one more year with her before she goes off to college. I’m trying to savor those moments with her, watching her play soccer, just hanging out with her watching a movie … I know she’ll return home, but it will never be the same as it is THIS MOMENT. Such a great reminder to savor, instead of always looking to the future. Thanks, Annie.

  33. 36

    It is good that you are seeing this NOW, at a young age! As an empty nester I appreciate my days of being home, working from home, writing when I want to, sleeping late (if I can), eating at unset times, staying up late watching a series on Netflix – I love my NOW, and I also loved my THEN!!!! Great, insightful post.

  34. 37

    So, so true! The stages of life pass so quickly. I am in, as they call it, the autumn of my life. I try to make the most of each day. Life is short, eat dessert! That’s something I used to believe, but now my thoughts are more along the lines of ‘how will I be remembered?’ Well, I hope. Bless you for your writing. Sharing thoughts and feelings with others is so important. God bless

  35. 38

    Rest, fun and laughter. But most of all happiness.
    Time flying by like there is no tomorrow at all.
    Life is a bliss.
    :)

  36. 39

    My stage of life is single, never married and 50 ish. I love that I can paint my fingernails to match my clothes every day. I treasure plenty of time on fb as my sisters, brothers , nieces and nephews are on it. I can stay out until 4 am having a good conversation with a friend.

    I have a warm spot for a best friend,, a husband. I haven’t given up. But God is near and I have the privilege of writing a blog and for an online newspaper. Those times I write are times I spend with Him.

  37. 40

    So thankful for this beautiful life and the blessings that can be found in the struggle. I’m a single mother, which has more than it’s fair share of challenges. I am also surrounded by friends who give their love and support. I am in a place where I’ve had to lean on God and rely on nothing but His word and His faithfulness. Coming out on the other side of that makes the journey so worth every minute. Love this post!

  38. 41

    I loved this post, Annie. When I was single, I yearned for marriage …when I got married, I started to regret not taking more time to enjoy what I had when I had it … and strangely, that regret only kept me from again appreciating what I had in the present! You have it right my friend … I need to soak up the beauty that is in right now and then when tomorrow comes, I need to soak up the blessings that come with it instead of pining for the past or longing for whats yet to come.

  39. 42

    This mama needed this reminder today!! Thank you!! Savoring the toddler years and about to settle in for round 2 with another baby in July:) but these moments are fast and fleeting!

  40. 43

    So very true…you’re a wise woman, Annie :)

  41. 44

    Thanks for reminding me to look around and appreciate my life as it is, right now! There are times that I do lose sight of all that is good and right in my life. I miss God’s goodness all around me and take for granted what He has so graciously provided.

  42. 45

    Annie,

    Your post was such an inspiration and I am so thankful for all of you that post each day .

    What I am thankful for this season, to be able to ‘pause’ and enjoy the many wonders of it.

    Penny

  43. 46
    Beth WIlliams says:

    Annie,

    My hubby and I live out in the country–far from most places we go. It is a grrreat day if we can stay home and not go anywhere or be with anyone. I find it most comforting to just stay at home and rest! Oh I wouldn’t live in the city for anything. We have such beautiful surroundings–mountains, quiet neighbors.

    I would love to just leave my job right now. Wouldn’t mind early retirement. I would miss a few things. Mostly being around some of my co-workers and the ability to pray for them. I get a blessing out of assisting/helping people. It brings me great joy. Thus I will continue to work full time for a while longer.

    Blessings :)

  44. 47
    Megan Ruth says:

    Thank you, Annie. I have struggled to learn this contentment and the Lord has been breaking down this hard heart of mine and showing me that today is His plan for me and that all His gifts are good! Thank you for the call to Thanksgiving!

  45. 48
    Rebecca says:

    This is so beautiful – I often find myself saying “I wish..” which is actually un ungrateful spirit for what the Lord has chosen to give me!

    I am in the life cycle off wiping snotty noses, sleepless nights, and having the opportunity of teaching our three beautiful ones about our Saviour. This is what I always dreamed of! But still find my selfishness creeps in and wants other things.

    Thank you for the simple reminder of savouring what the Almighty has given us through His nail scared hands.

  46. 49

    Oh, how true! I love those times of curling up with a good book, and as we expect our first baby any day now, I wonder how these times might change. Thank you, Annie, for the reminder to cherish the times that are before us – whatever / whenever those may be!

  47. 50

    thank you for this!
    I needed the reminder :)

  48. 51

    Thank you for sharing this! I’m married in my mid-late twenties and Saturday mornings are my “me” time. I love when I get to sleep in, have a cup of coffee, read, and just start the day at my own pace. I know that this won’t last forever so I just savor it and try to not feel guilty for being “lazy” on these Saturday mornings.

  49. 52

    Lovely post and reminder! Sometimes I’m so busy rushing through to the “next thing” that I don’t enjoy where I am in the moment. This has been ever so true in rearing my boys. One is in college now and oh how I think back to those rough & tough little boy days and how quickly they rushed by (rushed because of my own doing with wanting to move on to the “next phase” and rushed because years just do that).

    Thank you for this timely reminder to “be all there” with the two boys I have left at home and to enjoy every.single.minute.

  50. 53

    You are so right Ann. I am also single and travel some for my ministry. I love the fact that when I can, I can sleep in or stay up and read ALL NIGHT. That is really one of my favorite things to do. Nothing to bother me and it’s usually quite. When I was younger people would make me feel guilty that I wasn’t awakened by small children. I never got that pleasure. But that time passed for all of us. I also don’t know what it is to have someone bring me coffee in bed every morning (I have a friend whose husband does that) or to cook breakfast and leave it in a warming oven every morning with a fresh cut rose (I have a friend whose husband does that), but I can make my favorite cup of coffee or hot tea and curl up with a book or take a walk in at the beginning of spring or drive to the beach with my friends for the day or go to an afternoon movie or mentor a young girl, things I wouldn’t be able to do if I were married with kids. You are right, “for everything there is a season”. I wished I had learned it early on. I have always felt like I was “waiting for something” and guess we all kind of are, but I am learning to love my “season” and life MORE of my life.

  51. 54
    Brandi Luiz says:

    Needed this today, I am struggling with my “baby” finishing her senior year and heading off to school. I know that once she goes, she won’t be coming back, she is that kind of girl! God has big plans for her and I am eager to lay witness to it, but it still is very hard on me to know this is the end of our time together in this way.

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