Tag Archives: Single

Party of One: Living Single with Faith, Purpose, and Passion

It has long been my dream to write a book that encourages Christians to discover joy and purpose in the single years.  With the insights of many friends and the help of a great editorial team, I am excited to introduce Party of One: Living Single with Faith, Purpose, and Passion!  Please join me in celebrating the release of a new book and the start of a new chapter in my life.  Even if you are not in the greater-Chicago area for these inaugural events, I still hope you will pick up a copy of the book for yourself or for a friend!  I love to travel, too.  So please let me know if you’d like to host a book signing in your area.

Wednesday, August 24 – Vespers, Lecture and Book Signing

Old St. Patrick’s Church,Chicago IL

6:30 pm- Vespers in the Church (700 W.Adams)

7:00 pm- Lecture/Book Signing in the MissionCenter (711 W.Monroe)

Parking is available in the lot across from the church at the SE corner of Adams/Des Plaines

Wednesday, September 7 and 21 at 7:00 pm

Two-Part Workshop and Discussion with author Beth Knobbe

Join other young adults for this candid, hopeful, and optimistic look at how to enjoy being single!  Discover spiritual tools for living a full and abundant single life.  Come for one or both nights.

Notre Dame de Chicago Church

1334 W. Flournoy,ChicagoIL

Sponsored by ReCiL Young Adults – recilyoungadults@yahoo.com and Reflect Christ’s Light, the Archdiocese of Chicago Pastoral Strategic Plan

Thursday, October 27 at 7:00 pm – Lecture and Book Signing

Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University, 2110 Sheridan Rd., Evanston IL

Party of One: Living Single with Faith, Purpose, and Passion takes a candid and hopeful look at how to enjoy being single!  Using the insights of scripture and ordinary people, Beth Knobbe shows us that the single life can be a place of abundance and joy. Party of One addresses the fears singles face, the assumptions people make, and the questions singles ask themselves.  Each chapter also includes practical and spiritual advice for finding happiness and contentment during the single years.

Available in paperback or Kindle Edition, with an audio book forthcoming in 2012.


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Single Christian Ministers

An excellent post by Dan Horan, OFM on his blog “Dating God”. Check it out!  Vocation or Deficiency? Single Christian Ministers

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Let the Party Begin!

I am excited to announce that this little project, known up until now as The Single Life, is finished and in the capable hands of editors and marketing directors. As of today, it also has a new title – Party of One: Living Single with Faith, Purpose, and Passion.

Upon sharing the news, my mom replied “Awww… your book has a name!” It was a rather endearing comment. When we give anything a name, it takes on a new character. Furthermore, in the Christian tradition, changing one’s name often marks the beginning of a new identity. Abram becomes Abraham. Simon becomes Peter. Saul becomes Paul.

Invariably, each year on our mission trip to Nicaragua, a number of our travel companions adopt a nickname – like my friend “Azulita” (little blue one) so aptly recognized by the blue streaks in her hair. Or my friend Abigail better know as the “Waimea Canyon Warrior Princess” after our hiking adventure into the grand canyon of Kauai. These experiences change us, and we spend the rest of our lives living forth from that experience or living into that newfound identity.

So, this little book on how to enjoy being single has been given a new identity. As I’ve learned, books also have a strange way of taking on a life of their own! I’m excited to see where this new one leads, what kind of opportunities will come my way, and ready to hear the reflections that this book will open for those who read it.

Thanks to so many of you who participated in a focus group, allowed me to interview you, contributed essays, passed the invitation along to a friend, and shared your single life stories with me in person or in writing. 

Someone recently asked, “What are you going to do now that it’s finished?” I quickly replied, “I’m done writing books (for the moment) and ready to start living what I wrote about.” For now it’s time to celebrate, and let the “Party (of One)” begin!

Party of One: Living Single with Faith, Purpose, and Passion is scheduled for release in Fall 2011 by St. Anthony Messenger Press.

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The Vocation to be Single

Today I came across this great article from Christine Whelan over at BustedHalo.com that I thought was worth sharing.  I also get this question quite often, “Can being single be a Vocation?”  It’s a tough one to answer!  

For many of us “vocation” sounds so permanent, and not everyone who is single wants to be single forever.  Our vocation is the place to which God calls us.  Not all unmarried people are called to the single life.  Many people find themselves open to the possibility of marriage or religious life and remain single while waiting for their true vocation to unfold.  But there are others who find that single life becomes their vocation, when they recognize that God is using their single lives as a source of joy, fulfillment, and love for others.

It is essential that all of us listen for that call from God, and live our lives with a vocation mindset.  Our vocation invites us to respond to God’s call with a sense of purpose, an intention of commitment, and a desire to love others.  Who are you purposefully in love with and what are you intentionally committed to?  And how does being married or single fit into that picture? 

Perhaps we should also ask, “how am I serving God and loving others at every stage of life?” whether I am single, dating, married, ordained, vowed religious, separated, divorced, celibate, widowed, or dying.  Ultimately, our vocation is to love God with our whole lives and throughout our entire life. 

You may also want to check out this great article from The Michigan Catholic or this description of the single life from the Diocese of Green Bay.

Can being single be your vocation?

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What Good Does It Do?

I got hit with a question that I wasn’t expecting this morning.  I was making small talk with a well-meaning parishoner as we were walking into Mass together, and he asked what was keeping me busy this summer.  I told him that I’ve been working on a book about the spirituality of being single.  And he responded with this question, “Why are you writing a book about being single?  I mean, really, what good is that going to do once you get married?”  

Ugh.  Today was not the first time someone has asked me this question.  When I first got this question last summer, I was rather put off by the comment and quite content to dismiss the guy as someone who simply “doesn’t get it.”  Needless to say, this question has crossed my mind more than once or twice over the past 12 months, but I still wasn’t fully prepared to give an answer this morning.  

I uttered a response that has become somewhat of a mantra for me, “Although I don’t feel a strong desire to be married, I hope that my heart is open and free enough to recognize the call to marriage if that opportunity should come along.”  Then I added, “The opportunity to write a book about being single is a real gift in my life and something I hope will be shared widely with others.  And if someday I do get married, I’m sure there will still be a lot of single people who can benefit from it.  It’s not as if these reflections will suddenly become obsolete.” 

My answer seemed sufficient and he appeared to be satisfied with my response.  I must admit though, as I sat down in the chapel, waiting for Mass to start, I could feel my eyes brimming with tears.  He wasn’t rude, and I don’t doubt his sincerity.  But episodes like this seem to call into question my whole premise of writing – that being single is not about waiting to get married.  My life isn’t broken.  Being single isn’t a problem to be “solved” or an issue that needs to be “fixed.” 

I was grateful for a gathering hymn that we often sing this time of year when students and community members are returning to campus.  We come as we are, with the gifts that each one brings – young and old; male and female; from east and west; single and married – all gathered around the Lord’s table.  And an uplifting psalm response with the reminder that “the Lord is faithful to all his people.”  Today finds me trusting in God’s faithfulness, and faithful to this little writing project, even in the face of those who might doubt its relevance.

The big breakthrough came later in the day when I thought to myself:  If a married person was writing a book of reflections on the joys of marriage, would someone dare ask, “What good is that going to do once your spouse dies?”   

I mean, what WOULD a married person say to a question like that?!  I almost avoided reflecting on this question for fear of offending a good friend who is a recent widow.  But I actually hear my widow friend reflecting on her marriage quite a bit.  Reading Wendy’s reflections, it is obvious that recalling the joys and struggles of marriage, their hopes and dreams for a future together, is what sustains her through unspeakable grief. 

I can’t imagine a married person avoiding the opportunity to reflect on the lessons of marriage simply because their circumstances may some day change. 

So, what good does it do to write a book about being single?  I’m sure many people who find themselves reading these reflections desire to be married, and some will eventually find themselves walking down the aisle.  Reflecting on the single life and desiring to be married are not mutually exclusive endeavors.  Whether you find yourself single for now or single forever, dating, engaged, desiring to be married, or content with your current status in life – I’d like to suggest that there are lot of benefits to reflecting on the experience of being single. 

I hope you recognize and treasure the importance of being a whole, complete person during the single years – growing in acceptance of your likes and dislikes, gifts and skills, career opportunities, personality quirks, imperfections, and positive traits.  I want singles to know that we are called to holiness at every stage of life, we belong to God, and our identity in Christ is what makes us holy – regardless of our status.  Being single has given me time to develop a lasting relationship with God through time spent in prayer and the generous support of a wonderful faith community.  I think it benefits all of us to learn the importance of forgiveness, both forgiving others when they hurt us and recognizing the need to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made.  I hope singles will embrace a spirit of gratitude for the many gifts God brings into our lives – the joy of friendship, the struggle of discernment, and the risks and rewards of falling in love. 

I don’t see myself getting married anytime soon, which makes these reflections all the more important.  The lessons of the spiritual life are what sustain me when singlehood feels difficult or demanding.  God’s gifts of gratitude, prayer, discernment, forgiveness, and friendship keep me going especially when I face long days or lonely nights.  These are also the lessons that have brought me great fulfillment and acceptance of the place where I am right now. 

It is enough to be single, and not waiting for something – or someone – else to come along.  But if someday I do get married, I think knowing these things will do us both a whole lot of good.


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Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!

A friend of mine recently required some minor surgery for an ongoing health issue.  We had been out for coffee the day before, and finding myself with relatively few commitments that week, I said, “Please don’t hesitate to call if you need anything.”  My cordial gesture was met with the usual, “Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” 

I wasn’t at all worried.  Like most single women I know, my friend is strong, independent, and self-sufficient – certainly not the kind of person to ask for help or be thrown for a loop when it comes to something as routine as a simple out-patient medical procedure.  She had taken all the necessary precautions, stocked up on groceries, and reluctantly arranged for another friend to drive her home from the hospital.  

The doctor told her to walk no further than from the bedroom to the bathroom – at least for the first 48 hours.  She thought he was being overly cautious.  Surely she would be able to get around her small one-bedroom apartment without any problems!   

Late that evening, I received a text message asking if I could stop by. Once home from the hospital, she found that she was much less mobile than she had anticipated.  As the anesthesia wore off and before the pain medication kicked in, she was feeling uncomfortable at best.  Hobbling the few short yards from bedroom to bathroom felt longer than a football field!  I was happy to give her a shoulder to lean on (literally), grab snacks from the kitchen, and provide a welcome distraction from the events of the day. 

Despite our attempts to talk about something else, our conversation kept coming back to what it means to be single when we’re sick.  We both agreed that it’s easy to be single when we’re feeling on top of our game, but there is something about being under-the-weather that is incredibly isolating and lonely.  I’ve survived food poisoning, falling down the stairs, and a face-first dive into the sidewalk.  A good pain killer might numb the pain, but it doesn’t erase the confusion and loneliness we feel after suffering a major trauma or minor surgery. 

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to ask for help, especially when we live alone.  As single people, we don’t like to be dependent on someone else.  Asking someone else to assist with even the most basic tasks makes us vulnerable, it requires that we show our weakness and admit that we cannot do everything on our own.  

 Yet, when we are able to let down our guard and ask for help, we often experience the love and care of God shown through the goodness of others.  Physical healing can be a slow process at times.  The spiritual growth that accompanies our physical healing may include an increase in faith, a deepening of prayer, and a greater willingness to surrender those things which are beyond our control.  Ultimately, we are reminded that God heals all of our ailments from broken bones to a broken heart. 

When I cried out, you answered; you strengthened my spirit.  (Psalm 138:3)

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Virginia and the Wedding Invitation

We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

Virginia has already invited herself to my wedding.  Virginia is an old family friend, and every time my parents run into her, Virginia asks, “When is Beth getting married?  We can’t wait to come to her wedding!”  It’s not that I wouldn’t want Virginia at my wedding.  I just think she’s going to be waiting for a long, long time.   

I recently shared this story with a friend, who relayed a similar story.  As a 30-something single adult, she attended a family reunion, and her great-aunt remarked, “Oh poor thing, you never got married.”  As if her life was ruined and there were no hope for the future. 

My friend is not the kind of person who wallows in self pity.  Likewise, I don’t worry about whether or not there is a wedding in my future.  Life is not always perfect, but it is by no means incomplete.  I am blessed with an abundance of friends, a loving family, and fulfilling work.  I trust that God has a purpose in store for my life, and I’m amazed at the ways I see that unfolding. 

With whom are you being invited to spend your life?  Are there people, places, organization, or causes to which you have committed your time, passion, and creative energy?  Where are you being called to say “I do”? 

I want people to embrace the fullness of life, and I believe that only happens when we say “yes” to God’s invitation – no matter where God call us.  I’m celebrating a full and abundant life today, and you’re invited!

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