Single Riders: An Opportunity, Not a Stigma

Recently, James and I visited my cousin on the East Coast of Florida and enjoyed a day at the South Florida Fair. When I was a child, my parents had steered my focus toward the animals and educational aspects at the fair, so James decided I needed an introduction to the midway rides.

We enjoyed over half a dozen rides, but seriously, why do they all have to SPIN?

As we waited in line for the ferris wheel (much more my speed than some other rides), the attendant refused a little girl at the front. She slipped back through the line with her head down.

“He won’t let her go because she’s a single rider,” James said. “Here, why don’t I wait this one out so she can ride with you?” (Yes, my husband really is that nice.)

I spotted the girl as she walked up to a lady in a wheelchair and called out, “Excuse me, would she like to ride with my cousin and me?”

The woman smiled. “That would be wonderful. I can’t go on the ride, and they won’t let her ride alone.”

I waved the girl, who was maybe ten or eleven, back in line next to my cousin and me, and without a word, the attendant let her join us.

Responding to the “No Single Riders” Rule

I did an internet search on the “no single riders rule” at fairs, and honestly, couldn’t find much information about it. My hunch is that people cite it for “safety” reasons, but to that, I would point them to the single rider line at theme parks which seems to be a popular option.

Regardless, I’m not here to advocate against policies that a leadership team decided was in the best interest of guests. What I am suggesting is how each of us can make a difference one person at a time.

  1. See other people. We often get so absorbed in ourselves that we miss what’s going on in the lives of people around us. This ability to see others is something that attracted me to my husband. If we were at an event, he was the first to welcome the newcomer or the person standing by himself. That’s an example I want to follow.
  2. Empathize. There is a point in all our lives when we’re single riders. Whether we’re young adults, single, or newly single due to life circumstances, all of us have been that single rider at some point. Don’t forget what being alone feels like.
  3. Foster community. Whether at a state fair or in any other life setting, invite that single rider to join you.

I was a single rider for a long time and have many amazing friends who still are. My experience is that when you welcome the single rider, they’re going to bless you so much more in return. They have wisdom and experience you need. They can offer a more flexible schedule than you can. They can love others in incredible ways.

To My Single Rider Friends

If you’re a single rider right now, don’t let anyone make you feel that your status is a stigma. It’s an opportunity for you and for others to build community with all the different people who are riding this journey of life. My challenge to you today is to let others tug you into their circles.

Sometimes, it’s easy to develop a loner mentality, but whether we think we can sustain our own island or not, the truth is that we need others.

When I moved away from home to help some friends start their own business, I remember feeling very isolated. Each weekend, I tried church after church, looking for a place that had a young singles ministry. Time and time again, I was rebuffed. “We have a growing young marrieds class,” I was told. (Thanks, not helpful right now.) Or, “Our college ministry is booming.” (That’s great, but I’m not in college anymore.)

Feeling like I didn’t fit in could have made me withdraw, but instead, I became more determined. I did internet searches for a singles Bible study, and sure enough, I found one. It was led by three married couples who loved on us and invested in our lives, while also having a rich singles-led ministry team.

While married couples and families have a responsibility to welcome singles in need of community, single riders also have a responsibility to seek out and embrace relationships with others.

We need each other. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul craved time with his church families. He writes in his epistle to the Romans, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:11-12 ESV)

Whether Paul was single or married at one point in his life doesn’t matter. (Scholars disagree.) The point is that Christian community is essential to growing in one’s faith and encouraging one another.

When singles and marrieds both do their part, we’re all better for it.

~ Kristen

If you’re a single rider right now, don’t let anyone make you feel that your status is a stigma. It’s an opportunity for you and for others.

My 2019 Christmas Letter to You

Ah, my friends, how this year has flown! It has been perhaps the best year of my life, with so many happy moments. Below are some of the highlights and a personal reflection on celebrating what God has done.

January

James and I went on our class ski trip to Beech Mountain for the second year in a row. Last year, we had been dating, and this year, we were engaged. We were also thrilled to celebrate as two of our friends became engaged on the trip!

February

The final book in my Rogues trilogy, The Reactionary, released. This book holds a special place in my heart, because in 2018, my friend Maria and I traveled to Italy to visit some of the settings.

Also special to February was the second annual Galentine’s Day party held at my place. I love that each year, the group keeps growing. Although we should celebrate our friends all year, having a special day set apart to do just that is tradition I plan to continue.

March

After all those years of waiting and prayer, James and I said “I do” at beautiful Harborside Chapel in Safety Harbor. We could not be more grateful for this practically perfect day and the wonderful family and friends who celebrated with us. You can read about our special day in the post “Wedding Day Joy.”

April

Our honeymoon in St. Lucia was both breathtaking and quite the adventure! You can read about one of our misadventures and a real-life application in the post, “Flat Tire in a Foreign Country …”

May

James and I traveled to Connersville where I spoke at the Women’s Ministry Event for Baptist Temple. It was such a privilege to share with these ladies! We also made a side trip to Chicago so James could introduce me to the Windy City and its deep dish pizza. Yum!

July

Getting to introduce James to one of my favorite childhood places, a family cabin in New Hampshire, was a dream come true! Even better was that my brother and his wife were able to join us on this couples’ trip.

August

James taught me how to lobster, and what an adventure that was! Before this trip, I hadn’t heard of a tickle stick, let alone imagined I’d be using one to help catch lobsters. You can read about my experiences and a life analogy in this post.

October

We traveled to Beech Mountain with friends for our second annual reunion trip! Last year, James proposed here, and no matter how many times we visit, there is always something new to explore and appreciate about this beautiful part of God’s country.

November

James and I consider ourselves abundantly blessed to call so many incredible people our friends. We found some deals on flights and were able to visit friends in New York, Texas, and Colorado. (My friend Maria introduced me to Niagara Falls, which was stunning!)

Christmastime

Maybe your year has had more challenges than cheerful moments. We all have years like that. Even so, Christmas is a time to celebrate what God has done, even with the challenges that come our way. (For example, not pictured were my many falls while skiing, the sinus infection I got on our honeymoon, or the ordeal we experienced in selling a home.)

May I encourage you that even though you may only see the highlights of other people’s lives, all of us are waiting on outstanding prayers to be answered and wondering how God might see fit to do that.

Here’s a personal example. James and I continue to wait on God for an open door regarding a new home. We truly believe this next home will be a way for us to minister and bless others, and so it’s easy to become impatient after months of waiting. However, in the waiting, we are grateful for the home we have and how God can use us right where we are.

Whether you’re heading into this Christmas season with a happy or heavy heart, remember that God loves you and has a perfect plan for your life. Sometimes, that plan is messy or unexpected. That has certainly been the case many times in my life. But as His children, we can have the confidence that His plan for our lives involves hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and New Year!

~ Kristen

I’ll be taking a break on the blog until next year. See you then, Lord willing!

Penguin & Moose, a Story the Whole Family Will Enjoy!

This adorable new release by Hannah Hall is the first children’s book I’ve shared about on the blog, but it fits right in with my theme of thinking truthfully and living daringly. This sweet story will not only entertain young readers but also drive home a message readers of all ages need to remember.

We all have dreams, right? We all want to soar in one way or another, and Penguin is no different.

After all, other birds can fly. Why can’t he?

Penguin is determined to remedy this situation and enlists the help of his friend Moose. Together, they try a series of comedic attempts to help Penguin fly.

[Spoiler: They don’t work.]

Discouraged, Penguin trudges home and talks to his dad about his day. His dad offers a fresh perspective on the situation. Without giving away the ending, I’ll just say that Penguin realizes he has something better than the ability to fly.

I love how Hannah Hall incorporates Scripture and a spiritual truth into this engaging children’s story.

Plus, the illustrations are imaginative and bright. Their whimsical nature gives the pages a lighthearted feel that fits Penguin and Moose’s creative attempts to solve Penguin’s problem.

Bottom line: I can’t wait to read this story to my nieces and nephews. Even though this story releases at Christmastime, making it a perfect gift, its message is timeless for any season of the year.

Happy reading!

~ Kristen

Welcome to Tales of the Lonely Sun!

Calling teen readers and writers! Here’s a new website worth visiting. These four talented teen writers have joined forces to start a community just for you.

Tales of the Lonely Sun

Hello and welcome!

Tales of the Lonely Sun is a blog for writers and readers who want to celebrate the light that literature can spread rather than the darkness that is so prevalent in today’s world. It is run by Carlye Krul, Merie Shen, Jorja Ayres, and Mya Gray. We are all teenagers, followers of Jesus, avid readers, and fiction writers. You can expect posts about writing and reading as well as author interviews/guest posts twice a week.

To help you get to know us better, we put together this ten-question Q&A:

Q&A About Us

What is your name and 5 words that describe you?

Jorja: My name is Jorja Ayres (pronounced Georgia Airs) and 5 words that describe me are: talkative, perfectionist, unique, tall and a total fangirl.

Carlye: My name is Carlye Krul. I would probably describe myself as thoughtful, a daydreamer, patient, passionate, and organized.

Mya: My…

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Young Adult Fiction’s Universal Appeal

I’m honored to talk about young adult fiction on the Inspired Prompt blog today. Hope you enjoy this re-post! Leave a comment and let me know what you think: Why does young adult fiction holds such a universal appeal?

Inspired Prompt

by Kristen Hogrefe

There’s something irresistible about a young adult on a mission, whether it be saving the world, conquering a coming-of-age crisis, or embarking on a journey of discovery. As I’ve transitioned from the young adult to adult age bracket, my interest in this genre has only increased, and I don’t think I’m alone. Why? There are a few trademarks qualities of the young adult fiction genre that contribute to its universal appeal.

#1: We all love an underdog.

Have you ever read a young adult novel where the teenage hero or heroine is on top of the world? Even if page one opens with that scenario, you can expect that moment to get snatched away, and the character to spend the rest of the story fighting to restore or reclaim what’s rightfully his.

In Nadine Brandes’s Fawkes, the story opens on the eve of Thomas’s color ceremony…

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The Revolutionary Liberate The Captives Rogues, Book II, by Kristen Hogrefe After being sentenced to a labor camp in Rogues Book I, The Revisionary, Portia Abernathy’s story continues three months later, in a coal mine. [You can read my review of The Revisionary here] The Revolutionary—I was hooked by the opening paragraph. The rest of […]

via The Revolutionary – A Book Review — Betty Thomason Owens

The Revisionary Wins Selah Award

My heart nearly beat out of my chest as Eva Marie Everson, the Blue Ridge Conference Awards Director, called my name. Not just for finaling in two awards (an honor in itself) but for winning them both.

Last week, The Revisionary won one of Christian Fiction’s most notable awards, the Selah,  in its category of Speculative Fiction. It also received the Directors’ Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction.

At the Awards Ceremony with Conference Directors Edie Melson (left) and DiAnn Mills (right)

One of the best parts was celebrating with friends who also received awards. I remember meeting Lindsey Brackett at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference a few years ago when we were just talking about our book projects, and now, she won three awards for her debut novel Still Waters. Go, Lindsey, and congrats to all the finalists and winners!

Pictured with Multi-Selah Winner Lindsey Brackett (left) and Awards Director Eva Marie Everson (center)

I want to say a big thank-you to everyone who helped make this moment possible, including my family and supportive friends, my editor Marji Laine, and mostly my Savior Jesus Christ who entrusted me with a writer’s calling. Writing can be lonely, thankless work at times, but most callings can be. Praise God for the endurance to keep going, regardless if the podium is in sight or not.

The Revisionary and its sequel The Revolutionary are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

~ Kristen

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