Monday, December 30, 2013

You Don't Even Know Me

I think I've just identified one of the most painful things about being a single adult. It's knowing that there is really no one in the world who really knows you.

By age 40, your family doesn't really know you any more. Mine doesn't any way. And if your family doesn't know you, who does?

By age 40, if you have your OWN family, then yes, someone gets you. Even if your spouse doesn't really, one of your kids probably does.

As an example, as we opened gifts on Christmas Eve, my mom, who is three years a widow - opened a gift and expressed sincere surprise that this one gift was something she had wanted, but didn't even dream she would receive. And quite frankly, it was nothing that remarkable. It was just that one of her children paid attention to what was working and not working in her home, and had listened to her desires enough to know what was wanted.

When you're single and childless, ain't nobody making that kind of effort on your behalf! 

Last year, as my birthday was coming up, a co-worker who is married and has a 10-year-old asked me if I was looking forward to my birthday. In the conversation, I pointed out that birthdays and Christmas are anticlimactic when you're single. No one knows what you'd like and goes out and gets it.

People make fun of anyone over age 10 who makes a wish list... and I get that. But those people have spouses who know at least one thing they'd like that would be nice to not have to buy yourself!
As I explained this to said co-worker, her world was rattled. "I never thought of it that way." she muttered. Of course not. You live a convenient reality! Even if your husband doesn't know what one small thing would make you feel understood, you probably have a sister-in-law who understands your love of purses or something!

Let me be clear. It's not about the gift. It's about feeling understood. It's about feeling cherished. It's about feeling like you matter enough to anyone to warrant more than a blip on their radar.

When you're a single adult who buys a plane ticket to be home for Christmas, and the type who only buys gifts when you see something that reminds you of the person you're buying for... and you end up receiving gifts that could have been purchased with anybody BUT you in mind... it becomes very clear, "These people don't even know me. They don't know me at all."

And that hurts.

When someone buys you a very big, very fragile something - that you can't even take back home with you because it A) doesn't fit in a carry on, never mind that the TSA wouldn't let you bring this huge glass thing on a plane - and B) it isn't going to make it home in one piece even if you bubble wrapped it within an inch of it's life and checked it as baggage... or even mailed it home.... not only is it proof they don't know you, they're not even thinking about your logistics!! How absurd!

And that is something that makes a person feel lonely. (Even lonelier when there are three gifts you have to leave at your mother's house, because you're not checking a bag! )

What is even harder is... gift giving is my love language. At least it was. Then a couple things happened. One, I went through a couple years of unemployment, which cut down on my spontaneous purchases.
I was always the type who would be out shopping and think, "SoAndSo would love this!" and I would get it and mail it to them, without even the excuse of a birthday. Just knowing something would brighten a friend's day was enough reason. Well, when I was broke, I had to stop doing that. I was broke long enough that what was once a force of habit, was no longer.

The other thing that happened was, I realized that I was spending way too much money at Christmas, buying gifts that my recipients never seemed to appreciate. Perhaps my ability to find the perfect gift was waning... or at a minimum, being wasted on people whose love language is NOT giving or receiving gifts.
Realizing that took some of the joy out of my particular love language. That and, as I started flying home for holidays it was too expensive to move all these gifts with me. The first year that I really cut back was really painful for me. I thought my family would think that I didn't care about them. The ugly truth was, they didn't even notice.

So I'm dealing with people who don't share my love language. To the point that I had to curb it myself. Talk about stealing joy!

What I wouldn't give to have someone in my life (read: husband) to shower with little, tangible I love yous. No, I'm sure I wouldn't get it right every time, but what joy I would get from trying! I have a friend who feels terribly guilty about any little gifts I give her or her kids. In turn, I felt terrible that she always started cooking whenever I showed up! Dear me! You don't have to feed me! Stop cooking!
Until one day I realized that preparing food and feeding friends is her love language! (and she's a GREAT cook!) So I pointed out that gift giving is MY love language, and that I wouldn't squash her love language if she didn't squash mine. And we've lived happily ever after!

That is what knowing and loving a person looks like.

The few people who know how to love me best are not my family. That's okay. It's wonderful even. But that doesn't prevent time with family from being a bit painful.

I do wonder what I don't get about them, that hurts them.
Sometimes it's easier to think that they don't have those feelings... because I'll probably never figure it out.
Maybe, I don't know them at all.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Only Once More

Over two holidays I've had my fill of Hallmark channel movies. It seems to be the only channel my mother bothers to watch. No wonder she doesn't understand why I'm single... If that's her persception of how people couple up in the modern world.

Me? I'm ready to barf. If only I could meet a man I instantly hate, I'd fall in love in no time! Cue eyes rolling back in my head.  Oh these movies are ridiculous. The characters fall in love after a week. The story line never reveals that they have anything in common. And in the end, you wonder what he loves about her... And there's no reason. She's just nicer than the hateful woman she replaced... And pretty. The message is you only have to be pretty and someone will fall in love with you.


I've accepted long ago that I'm jaded. I don't think a woman who's remained single passed age 40 could NOT be jaded about dating.  Really, I'd be stupid not to be jaded.

You can't put yourself out there time after time, get nothing in return, experience unwarranted rejection... and want to keep doing it.

I've realized that I'm just exhausted. Like SATC's Charlotte... Exhausted... Where IS he?
I'm tired of being optimistic every time there's a date.
I'm tired of opening my heart, just enough to let someone in... Only for them to choose not to.
Tired of telling my story, explaining who I am, just to be rejected again.

About a month ago I realized that I only have one try left in me.
That's it.

Sure, I'll meet whoever. But to try? I must choose wisely.

More accurate to my experience, than Charlotte, is Jamie Stemple!

"You realize if this doesn't work out, I'm going to have to blow my brains out!"
specifically, 18:00 - 20:00, buty I recommend the whole episode! It's flawless! So yeah, jaded is a tough position to be in when one is still earnestly looking for love. You try not to let it show, but you don't know, really, how the world sees you. You hope that somewhere, on your heart, there's a legible mark that explains why your tender side is a bit crusty. Maybe, just maybe, the right person will understand that.

Saturday, December 07, 2013


I took an extended week for Thanksgiving. There were some family obligations to tend to so I took about 10 days and sprinkled in some work-from-home time as not to use up ALL my vacation time.

So I had plenty of time to putter around the small town, and once again my eyes were opened to the differences... not just between living in a city and living in rural America, but in the attitudes there.
Of course you can guess, that everyone there is married by 23 or 25, and if not, they have a few kids, possibly with different fathers. And that's considered normal because - hey - how can you not have kids. They just "happen" you know. No one even thinks about waiting for marriage!
I wonder what they think of someone who is over 40 and doesn't have kids. I should have had one by "accident" by now!

But oh well. I digress.

So I'm in the grocery store picking up goodies in preparation of our Thanksgiving dinner.
In the aisle, ahead of me, was a mother and daughter... the daughter somewhere between 18 and 22. As her mom went to put something in the shopping cart, the daughter muttered, "Put that on the bottom." as mom was positioned to put it in the cart, and then had to reposition herself to put it under the cart. Mom's adjustments clearly weren't fast enough for the daughter, who repeated, a bit louder and more sternly each time, "Put It On The Bottom, PUT IT ON THE BOTTOM!"

The mom did so, then looked up and said, kindly, "I heard you the first time."

She said it sweetly, with humor and a balanced touch of reproach, so I couldn't help but laugh.
The mom heard me, laughed too then motioned to her daughter and said, "Do you have one of those too? So bossy."

"Nope. Still waiting for the husband to turn up so I can start!"

They were about to turn the corner and she said over her shoulder, "Just don't look online!"

"Oh, honey, I've tried that and everything else. He's no where to be found!"

But it struck me, that her perception was that online dating was NOT a place to look!
Was it because she's a small town woman and has the idea that only creepers and ax murderers are online? That those looking online can't be sincere? Or that there's clearly something wrong with them, because otherwise they wouldn't have to resort to online dating?

I almost laughed because I thought ... look at me? Could I be single this long and NOT have turned to online dating some time in the past 11 years!!

Oh - how married people don't understand dating!

Clearly, most of us single folks don't get it either.

So when I read this wonderful outline of online dating tips from Proverbial Girlfriend, via Veil of Chastity's Quick Takes post... it really resonated with me.
I'm not looking right now, because I'm just too tired... but I have to agree with only investing an hour, one day a week into checking your matches and communicating.  Sure, you might miss out on an impatient guy, but what would that hurt?

Just wanted to share it with all of you because it's beyond brilliant.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Well I got nailed on that one!

I probably shouldn't have published it, as it was still in a stream of consciousness phase and I see now that I hadn't built to the point I actually wanted to make.

My point came to the surface though -  in one comment I left on my last post.

So I'm getting flamed by those who think I keep some list of grievances - of every slight from someone who never paid me back, or never ever reciprocated a kindness.  That's not so.

But here is what is real. We are put on this earth to serve one another. If we're all doing that, then by the law of averages, each of us should have at least one act of kindness done to us for every 20 - 100 acts of kindness we put out into the world. Clearly everyone's not doing that. And sometimes it's noticeable.

The fact is, couples and parents don't put as much out into the world, because they are focused on their families, and rightly so. They don't spend their energy trying to love strangers, or trying to hold onto friends.  Sure, to some degree but not as much as one who is solo in the world. It's their job to grow the love in their own homes. I don't have that luxury. That would be vain.

Consider the single person. No one in the world is tied to them in ways that spouses and children are tied by sharing a home, sharing the chores, exchanging hugs and kisses.
When we singles show love - by a kind deed, by just getting to know someone new, by going above and beyond...  or putting our hearts on the line... yet again, seeking love... more often than not it falls into an abyss.
You just did something kind. No one saw it. The one person who felt is going to walk away with it. sure, they may pay forward, but the odds are you'll never see it. You'll never know how you touched someone's life or what it meant.  And that's fine. We're not always meant to. Not every kind action is returned. Not every act of love is reciprocated.

Think about that. A world in which every action you ever make has no response. Heck, that even defies the laws of physics! 

Of course we all have friends who stay connected, and occasionally you learn how much you mean to someone. The effort we put into relationships as single people is risky. That relationship may not even be there next week.

By contrast, when someone who is part of a family, like a father, a mother, a child -  demonstrates a loving act... it is felt throughout the family. Even if it's not acknowledged. When a mommy changes diapers, soothes a colicky child, cooks dinner, does the laundry - there's a rather immediate return on that investment, even if it's just seeing your children in clean clothes. If no one ever says thank you - you know you're feeding your child, supporting your spouse, building a better life.

For the perpetually single, there is no one to appreciate that we made dinner. No matter how delicious it was. Laundry? The satisfaction there is just seeing that nothing got destroyed in the process!

All the efforts humans make - just to sustain themselves... married people get some satisfaction. Seeing your spouse at the end of the day, knowing all the work you did that day, improved your lives together bit by bit. Watching your children grow, seeing them learn, hearing "I love you mommy." that's a reward. Simply brushing your teeth might result in an appreciative kiss!
So don't try to convince me that you love more unconditionally than I do. You're getting something back. Yes, it's intangible. But it's something. It may not be every day - sometimes not even every week. We all go through dark periods, but even in the worst times you're reasonably confident the love is there.

Single people get none.  So yes...  when it becomes obvious that you've showered love and affection and favors and effort - time after time with no reward or reaction - there's nothing wrong with feeling a little spent and a little disappointed. 

Bringing it back to the parenting analogy - I think the only family-types who could understand are those with autistic children. Those parents love and they serve and they hug (and give up hugging) and sometimes wait a lifetime to hear, "I love you." back.  They wait years for a breakthrough smile.

That's what I think the single life is like. It's like raising a dozen autistic children. (imagine the frustration and agony!)  Everything you do to show love, to make a connection, to see a spark back from the love you're putting out there...  just sort of splats off of a flat surface. It's frustrating and hard to bear. Even those mothers mutter wishes about being loved back.

That's what my blog has always been about. It's meant to be a window into a different way of life - so that we all might understand one another better and have compassion.

So much of the world sees singles as selfish, or non-commital, or as wild partiers with no responsibilities.  I write so that sisters, aunts, friends and cousins can recognize some of the pain of the single life. So that the heartbreak can be shared, and hopefully divided. But mostly understood.

My previous post wasn't about any one person. It's a bit silly that troops were rallied for a comment that could have just as easily been about anyone. No one in particular.
Which ultimately proves my point.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Being Used

"Those who take care of others all the time are usually the ones who need it the most."
That's probably truer than I'd like to admit. 
I'm happy to be the friend everyone knows they can count on. If you need a hand, or a shoulder to cry on... I'm there. 

In those first years out on my own -- just after college, when most of us were still looking for jobs - I told friends they could call me at two in the morning if they were stranded with a flat tire. I'd be there. I think they knew it too. No one ever took me up on it... not back then anyway.

But I remember one night back then when I needed a friend, and had no one to call. I suffered from insomnia back then and in the wee hours one morning, I allowed the worst thoughts and ugliest images to enter my mind. I couldn't shake it. I couldn't pray it away. I longed for someone to talk to, but no one had ever offered me the unconditional assistance such I had offered them.  That was when I realized, that is usually the case. Those of us who would help anyone, would never feel right asking for help ourselves.

I will say, it changes when you get older.
When we were young, most of my friends still lived near their parents so that's who they would turn to first. Soon, many others married, so they had husbands to rely upon.
Now, we're quite alone in the world and relying on one another so we'll make the desperate phone call now and then.

One friend called me crying. Her car had been towed. Worse yet, she was unemployed and didn't have the funds to retrieve her car. I told her I'd be right there. I found her on a stoop in a strange neighborhood. She had called the impound lot, and learned she needed $260 to retrieve her car. (outrageous!) As we walked back to my car, with plans to swing by an ATM, I considered her situation.
I asked, "Can you take that out of your account right now without bouncing checks?"
"No, not really."
"Okay then," I spoke before I thought it through, "We'll swing by my ATM, and you'll pay me back when you can."
She stopped in the middle of the street, looked at me, unbelieving, tears brimming. "You would do that for me?"
"Well sure. You can't afford to bounce checks right now, and I can handle a $260 cushion at the moment. It makes sense."

Then, once the deed was done, I remembered that I hadn't known her long, and it was possible I would never see her again! But what actually happened... she payed me back within three months.

That's a friend who understood benevolence. And who had enough pride not to remain in debt.


I have a different friend, who calls me at the drop of a hat to babysit her kids. She once called me at midnight to stay with her kids while she dealt with a minor emergency.  I'm happy to help. It may be a little inconvenient for me, but nothing I can't handle.

Recently, though, I was struck when I had a quick phone conversation with her - and she didn't ask me for a favor. I suddenly realized she only calls me when she wants something. In fact, after our phone call ended abruptly, she texted me her request, as if it had just occurred to her. It was a request I couldn't accommodate, I told her so and didn't think much more of it. But the next time she called, I waited for the request, and she did not disappoint. I'm starting to recognize a sense of entitlement.

Well, this week was the doozy. She needed another favor. Once again for a situation she could have planned for, but once again didn't. A situation in which she really does need help. It's a shame she's worn out the goodwill from many of her friends.
This time... she didn't even ask. She just told me what she needed me to do, for several days in a row next week.
I had to tell her that I was going home (a state away) to care for a family member, and wouldn't be available to help her. (the truth) 
Then I heard her voice crack, as she realized how alone she was. That she was truly in need, but had perhaps used one person too many.

There have been many others who have worn through my good nature.
I'm happy to be helpful. Maybe too much so.
Maybe I feel that's part of my ministry, since I'm available, I'll help.
In most cases it's not an inconvenience. I mean, it IS an inconvenience, but nothing that's not worth doing. I consider it an act of mercy.

I do wonder occasionally, if anyone would ever return the favor for me.

Yes, I like being helpful. Maybe it's my thing. Maybe I get more out helping than anyone gets from being helped.
I learned it from my dad. The countless wee hours that some neighbor needed to be pulled out of the ditch. Opening a rental property to a family whose house burned down. He truly loved his neighbor, even when he couldn't stand them!

But there comes a time when limits are reached. And this friend is not the first to wear out her welcome.

It's a mystery to me, how some people feel entitled to all the good someone else is willing to put out. I can rarely even ask for the help I need, yet I see others just grabbing.

A woman I was once friends with (not anymore) seems to just get showered with goodies. When she wanted to run a half marathon in a major city, someone offered her their condo so she wouldn't have to stay in a hotel. When she saw some sweet baby gifts I was sewing for friends - rather than wait to see if  she would get one - she asked me to make one for her. (didn't even really ask - it was a demand disguised as a charming compliment)  (Kind of killed the joy of the surprise I was planning.) Somehow, people rally around this woman and give and do for her. And honestly, I've never seen her go above and beyond for anyone. I know she's never done anything special for me.   Makes me wonder what her special sauce is.
Is it just because she asks?
It's uncanny. She's not especially kind. She is outgoing. She has a lovely smile.

What makes some people givers and some people takers?

Most of my friends have a balance. I'm grateful for that.

Note: Someone's feelers were hurt by this post. They really had to go looking for it. For someone who doesn't like what I have to say, they feel a need to check in. 
What stands out though, if someone finds my observation so shocking - it seems the appropriate response would be, "Oh. I can't believe my actions made you feel that way. Abandoned and used? I'm so sorry." But instead, well, you can see for yourself

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Proposal

I want to share the funniest thing that has happened to me in years.

It happened at church this morning. Our priest has been out sick and we have been graced with some wonderful, visiting priests.
Since I am active in ministry as a Eucharistic Minister, and as a Lector, (to name two) I may stand out a bit to the visiting priests. Friday was a holy day, All Saints Day, and I went to evening Mass and helped with the Eucharist. The same priest was celebrating Sunday Mass today, and I was on the schedule as Lector. We also had a seminarian student visiting us, who is from one of the towns near where I grew up, so I looked forward to meeting him after Mass.

But before that, I had to prepare for visiting the nursing home to bring Communion, by retrieving consecrated hosts from the tabernacle.

When I finally headed out of church, most everyone had left. Only the old priest, two ladies who were passing out bulletins and the seminarian student were left in the vestibule.

As I approached Father, he extended his arms to embrace me. I figured he was going to thank me for, or tease me about being so visible at church. Instead he exclaimed, "You are blessed! You are so blessed!"
"Oh, how nice!" I thought. Hoping he was about to bestow a blessing upon me. Perhaps even reveal a spiritual gift he sees in me.
Still hugging me, he said, "Beautiful looks, a wonderful speaking voice.... you are very blessed!"

How sweet! I thanked him as we let go of the hug.
Then, still hoping for some revelation, I asked, "How about a husband?"
"Pardon me?"
"I've been waiting a long time. Could I be blessed with a husband?", I smiled.
He smiled and said, "How about me?" he joked, winked, then quickly turned to leave, leaving me standing, astounded!
I called after him, "How is it, only the consecrated men ever propose to me?"

He stopped in his tracks and laughed, along with the two older ladies and the seminarian who were nearly doubled over!
I continued, addressing the ladies, "That's my only problem. All the men who are interested in me are unavailable!"

I'm not even kidding.
There's an older deacon, recently widowed, who flirts at me every Sunday. Sure, he's available but I'm having trouble being attracted to men 20 - 30 years my senior!

I've always attracted older men. When I was younger, they were married men. Now they're ordained! Sheesh!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

A Servant's Heart

There are not many songs I can sing in church any more without my voice breaking from emotion.
That's one reason I don't join the choir! Who needs my wavering voice in front of a microphone?!

After of month of a pesky sore throat and cough, I was so pleased during the All Saints Day Mass to realize I could sing again. I love praising God in song. I have hated being silent.

Of course, that was until the choir started the chords of The Summons.
I recognize songs I love from the first chords, and I'm sure the people sitting near me can tell when I'm excited.... but this one, I can barely sing. The words hit me so deeply.
The Summons 
Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

Will you love the "you" you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you've found to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In Your company I'll go where Your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.
They hit me because they are truly a test of what I believe and how I behave. 
Do I really allow the Lord to guide my actions? Sometimes, yes.  To this degree? Uh, no.
Do I really offer my heart unselfishly? Sometimes, yes. Can I do so without being upset that my feelings and efforts aren't reciprocated? I really can't.
Do I offer to help others, even when it's ugly or hurtful? Sometimes, yes. Do I do so with no expectation of being recognized for it? Uh, no.
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me? Yes, as long as the answer is what I wanted myself in the first place. Ugh.

So, I guess I have a lot of work to do. 

I feel so many hymns so intensely, that I often think how appropriate they would be for my funeral... or my wedding. 

This song and many others, The Servant Song Lead Me Lord, Here I am Lord, (all of them) I strangely think they would be so good for a wedding. But never sure where in the ceremony it would be appropriate. 

I particularly love the one (can't find it anywhere right now)  that goes; 

Won't you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to youPray that I may have the strength to, let you be my servant too. 

Hmmm.  You can't tell me that my desire for marriage is misplaced. Any woman this devoted to a servant's heart would make an ideal wife and mother. Pity most men can't see that. 

I'm reminded that my cousin used this song at her wedding (second marriage for both of them ) in the songs leading up to the ceremony.  It was perfect. Set the tone without being heavy.  Maybe when I'm 50 I'll finally have the chance to use it too! 

--Okay, I have no idea where that highlight came from or how to get rid of it. Sorry --

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More Than a Pretty Face

Have you ever noticed that you've been doing something consistently, maybe daily - but you don't even know you were doing it until the day you stop?

Every morning when I wake up and trudge to the bathroom to start the grooming process, I stand before the mirror and take a look. I spend a few seconds evaluating what position, height or smooshiness my hair decided to form itself into during my sleep. Ponder any puffiness or pillow lines in my face. Then wonder to myself, "Am I pretty enough for a husband to love?", "Is this a face a man would be happy to wake up to each morning?"

I have no idea when I started doing that. My gut says it began about the time my relationship with Mr. Burns ended. Maybe it was way before that.  Perhaps it has something to do with my brother glaring at me across the breakfast table, years ago on a weekend visit, when I had short, layered hair which tumbled and hovered all about my head by morning, and saying, "Sheesh, I feel sorry for the man who will have to wake up next to you."

But each morning, after sizing myself up, I have determined, "Yes, I'm pretty. Someone should feel fortunate to see this face each day."

Back in my 20s when I was still optimistic on first dates, if I liked the guy, I would take a moment to assess if his was a face I would want see across the dinner table every day for the rest of my life. (it was not so much about how attractive he was, just if I liked his face. Because admit it, there are faces you don't want to see across from yours every day!) I guess I assumed they did the same to me.

Well, about a week ago, I stumbled to the bathroom one morning, studied the mirror for a second before thinking, "Who cares? It doesn't matter."

That may sound like success.  But it was when my BFF said, "Good for you!", that I realized, no, it's not success. It's not progress. It's something more like despair.

It felt more like, "If there is never ever a day in my life that I get to wake up next to my husband, what does it matter if my face is pleasing?"

Imagine there's a lovely painting that went straight into a dark dusty attic before ever having an audience, then the house burns down and no one ever got to appreciate it. Does it matter how pretty it was? What care the painter put into each brushstroke? Nope. It's a painting that never fulfilled it's destiny. Calling it a shame is generous. What you mean is that it never mattered.

It doesn't matter. Who cares?

That's one of the things that I struggle with in just my daily life. Everywhere I go, I see couples. Out to lunch, at the mall, even driving down the street. Most places I see couples, I wonder what brought them together. Did they simply find each other attractive? Do they ever even discuss the wonder of God's gifts to the world? Have they ever even been to church together? Do they visit the elderly? Volunteer at the city mission together? Then why do they deserve to have a companion in life?

Of course, I know attraction has to do with more than just the physical. But I also realize if a man is ever going to fall in love with me, he'll have to find me attractive first.

I don't like to admit this, but sometimes I look at couples and find the wife to be frumpy or homely and it just makes me frustrated. If I'm doing my job of looking good enough, and being dismissed - how did Ms. Frumalump over there get a husband? Hey, I'm not proud of these thoughts - but there they are. It possibly has to do with the emphasis my mom put on always looking my best. As though it's disrespectful to thrust yourself into society without a bit of blush and lipstick. It's just common courtesy to be put together. Why wouldn't you look your best?

That's part of the agony of being single during the entire span of your life. You know that your other fine qualities are more important in sustaining a relationship. But no one will ever notice all those fine qualities if they don't notice a pretty face first.

Ultimately the pretty face doesn't really matter, and after a lifetime of making sure you possess that okay-looking face, it's a harsh truth to realize. Worst of all, then what?

Saturday, October 05, 2013

7 Quick Takes #7

I feel like I'm in a place that Jen Fulwiler has described, about going into survival mode. The difference is, as a single person, I don't have any kids wearing me down and messing up my house. I'd really like to know who IS responsible for making it messy!
Last night one of my girlfriends started in on a little light nagging about how I don't seem to have time to do anything but workout, keep my house clean and do laundry. She's worried that I don't seem to be socializing much. She's right, to a point. But the fact is, I'm in survival mode. I'm dealing with some inner turmoil that she doesn't know about. There's work stuff, family stuff, and these days I'm acutely aware of how many friends I've lost to marriage and children - HATE that phenomenon!
That combined with my moratorium on dating, I just need to lay low right now. My friends don't get it. They think I need to be "out there". I've been "out there" for more than 20 years! Can I just relax for a minute?
So I'm a homebody. If I were married, no one would care if I stayed home more nights than I go out. But as a single person, it's like some kind of crime if I stay home. Now, granted, it's probably not the best idea for a single woman to stay in. But after 20 years can't I just relax sometimes?
You have no idea how exhausting it is to be disappointed every single time you go out. It's better for my heart and soul to stay in for a spell. Survival mode is a lot different for a spinster than for a mom!
Last month I wrote a post explaining the basic tenets of dating, and it's getting a lot of views. I had to write it because it has become clear that men no longer how to date. I don't know if it's my age group, or if it's the result of too much technology and social media. Or the influence of media, TV shows and movies that demonstrate the complete opposite of the right way to date.
If you know any men who are still in the dating stage of life, please share this post with them. It may make the difference in their success rate. Young single women should read it too, so they know what they ought to expect.
Plus, we'd all love to hear from you married folks if you agree or disagree about the rules of dating.

I was working on a couple small home improvement projects this week. I had my handyman come by to fix a few small things, one of which is my stove.  Ever since I moved in to my condo, I've tried to ignore the fact that every time I put cooking oil in a pan, it rolls to one side making it impossible to cook things evenly. Seriously, I have ignored the problem for nine years! So last weekend I had my handyman level the stove by twisting the little feet on the bottom.  Totally simple, but it does require two people to determine leveling without having to scramble up and down from the floor to the stove.
Makes a surprising difference! I can't believe I put it off for so long.

Speaking of the handyman, he was initially here to help drill some holes to install a curtain solution in my dining room/ living room. Sadly, it failed. My walls are composed of 60 year old plaster, and the soffit surrounding the window crumbles when you try to put a screw in it. So after 9 years of living here I still can't solve how to hang curtains in that room.  I had it solved for a while, until the one of the screws fell out. Hanging curtains in this room is still unsolvable.
All I need is a tension rod that spans 90 inches and doesn't require center support once the curtains add weight. (hint: they don't make those.)

This seems a bit odd to share, but in the spirit of home improvement, have you ever experienced the simple joy of discovering that you solved two problems for the price of one? As I have mentioned, my condo is in a building that is almost 65 years old. Considering the galvanized metal pipes throughout, and heaven only knows when the water tanks were replaced, when I moved in, the toilet bowl sported what was probably 60 year old rust stains. (okay maybe only 10 years - but still). The stains were such that it looked like I just didn't do a good job of cleaning my toilet. One of those you just have to grin and bear... because replacing a can like that is no easy feat. And since there's not really anything wrong with the toilet, why bother.
So last year, I found this eco-friendly cleanser and for no particular reason other than the fact that it's eco-friendly, I bought it. And last week I realized, the rust stain is GONE!  Whoo!

I'll spare you the detail shot. That would be worse than peeing scenes in movies (why anyone thinks those are neccessary is beyond me - I'm looking at you Shrek!) , even though I assure you the bowl is sparkly white! So if you're looking for an eco-friendly cleaner that does amazing things... here ya go. Look for it at your local crunchy-granola grocer.

I have had the strangest three weeks of a sore throat, and cough.  It is seriously ridiculous. I even ran into a sales clerk, who recognizing my weird cough, told me that she had it and that it lasted three weeks. I'm approaching the end of week three and still hacking cough. Oh come on!
It sounds awful. One of my co-workers said, "That sounds gross."  So the next day I stayed home.

I haven't been working out lately due to the weird cough and sore throat. But this week, our trainer came in with a crazy workout challenge. I suppose everyone else already knows this song, but it was the first time I heard it... and just now looking it up on URturbe there's apparently a well known challenge associated with it.  This one is different from the torture our trainer put us through... she started us with weighted squats... down and holding until the "Bring Sally up" lyrics. Let me tell you, it takes long enough! Barbell squats for the entire song, then again with kettlebell squats - whole song, followed by the pushups you see in the video.
So for the last couple of days my thighs hurt in a magnificent way that they have never hurt before. So knock yourself out. It works!

I feel better seeing these guys flake off and sit down when they fatigue out of the song. Sheesh. It's a killer.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Way to a Man's Heart

Or - you are what you eat?

My sweet friends invited me for dinner tonight. A lovely time with friends, an adorable baby and silly  toddler, and my friend's wonderful cooking!

And there is always insightful wisdom from my friend's husband, as he tries to solve the problems of the single women in their world.

He told us about a theory held by himself and his brothers. That the kind of food you like to get when you go out to eat is indicative of the personality of the spouse you're looking for.  Yeah, stick with us here!

So one woman said she likes to try foods she hasn't tried before, what she hasn't tried cooking for herself. Okay, it also stands that she is looking for qualities in men that are the qualities she doesn't possess herself.  Ahhh.

Then our host explained that he asked his uncle, known to be a bit of a womanizer, what he wants when he goes out to eat... the answer... "Greasy, cheap and easy!". Yeah so that holds up.

I also like to order foods I don't make for myself. But the overwhelming factor is always around my food restrictions and allergies. When I go out to eat, it's typically a process of elimination. I scan the menu for the few options that meet my food restrictions with as few substitutions or changes as possible. On a menu with dozens to 50 dish options, I can usually choose between three. (And that's fine with me. I choose really fast.) I'm just looking for something I CAN eat!

Then we all laughed when we realized the theory holds up! At my age, and with my religious preference... I'm down to finding a man who is likely divorced, and if so has an annulment, and a few other qualities that are obviously hard to find, like still being open to having or adopting a child together.

Heck, my food restrictions are easier to accommodate than finding someone right for me!

But, the theory holds up!
What do you like eat when you dine out?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Quick Takes - Emergency Edition

I had this week's QuickTakes all planned out... but I'm begging for your prayers for Denver, surrounding suburbs, and the front range instead.
We just got a year's worth of rain in less than 24 hours.
After a summer of wildfires destroying homes all over the state, this is just too much.
One of the news stations stated it perfectly, describing "the rains that came too late and stayed too long."
I'm safe and well. I really do have the best luck avoiding harsh weather wherever I live.
But blocks away, neighborhoods have been evacuated. School for Friday is cancelled.
Heaviest on my heart and most in need of prayers is my dear friend's dad who lives alone in an old house in a canyon.
She heard from him Thursday morning, the basement was already flooded, there's a creek just yards from the house. The road into the canyon is washed out, so even area law enforcement can't reach him or any neighbors. (obviously, no cell phone service to begin with and the land line is out.) 
When the family last heard from him, he was getting gear together to move to higher ground. But there is danger of rock slides, not to mention the elements over night. He's not a young man. Heavy rains in canyon areas can be unpredictable, and the flooding, swift and wild.
Please pray for his safety. This family has had much sorrow already this past year.
I'll save a spot here for a joyful update on my friend's dad. It just has to be joyful. Please dear God.

GREAT NEWS!!!  He's alive and well, sitting in the house that is still standing (though the basement is flooded) with a group of neighbors who are all camping out there. One of the group was able to hike up a ridge of the canyon to get a phone signal and call out!!
They are still waiting to be rescued. Let's pray that goes well!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dating 101 - Advice for the Guys

The other day an acquaintance of mine posed a question on her FB wall. She explained that a man who was interested in her, keeps calling her with last minute plans. She asked if she should just agree to go. She's interested, but annoyed with his methods.

As you can imagine, most of her female friends encouraged her to tell him she needs more notice to go out with him. Some men encouraged her to demand more respect, she's worth it. Then there were a few men, and one in particular who just didn't get it.

The guy who didn't get it posed the argument that if the opportunity just presented itself, she should be game. What's the harm, you're a fun girl.
I agree... concert tickets fell in his lap the day before the concert... why not?! Sure, go. It's spontaneous and exciting. Although I will say, his chances improve if he has taken her on at least one proper date already.

That doesn't seem to be the case. This guy is avoiding the effort it takes to date properly. 

As I read the continued conversation, HeDoesn'tGetItGuy asked why the potential dates tactics bothered her. She astutely explained that the fact that he's asking her as an afterthought, makes her feel that she's not important to him.
Which is completely accurate. Any man who can't call a woman up and  ask for a proper date three days in advance is okay with breadcrumbs.  Most likely, he doesn't want to invest in a relationship. He is trying to see what he can get with the least amount of effort.

The exchange became increasingly frustrating as HeDoesn'tGetItGuy chided our lovely heroine for not "explaining her feelings" to her potential suitor, and then devolved into "Don't force men to follow all these rules!"

I wanted to chime in and explain to the doofus, that he's mistakenly looking at this as a case by case situation.  It's not. This young woman is not building a wall of rules  --- and she's not actually dealing with feelings.  This is 100% about BASIC DECENCY!

She's not upset about this one guy's behavior. She's upset because men today no longer know how to date. They don't seem to know the basics about how to treat people.
It's not entirely their fault. Between the internet and texting and IMing, communication in general has turned murky.

Rest assured. Some things don't change. Share this with the men in your life who date.  We're about to get serious.

Asking a woman out

When she gives you her phone number use it. Use it to call her and have a conversation. Don't text! You can't expect her to agree to dinner or even coffee if she has no idea what it is like to have a conversation with you.  We're talking at least an hour, maybe three of her life she will never get back.  Like all great experiences, you need to build up to it.

Ask her out at least three days in advance. If you'd like to see her on Friday, call her Tuesday night. Maybe Wednesday if it's been a busy week.  If you ask her a full week in advance, you're really wooing her!

Call her again a day or two before the date to confirm details. Make sure she knows where to meet you, what time, and maybe a suggestion of what to wear.  I'm serious. If you say it's a concert, but it's actually a concert in the park, she's going to plan completely different outfits. Is it a long walk to the venue? She wants to be ready with comfortable shoes. If you don't do her this courtesy, don't complain when she says she can no longer walk in her high heels.  You didn't warn her!
About confirming the details: Do your best to have a plan for the date before you call and ask her out. Be ready with the where and when. These days, when a guy asks us to go out with him Thursday night, but doesn't say where and when - we're pretty sure he's going to flake out. We're not planning to go on that date. If you say you'll call again to firm up the plans - DO IT!  and don't text her the plans either.  If you do, we're sure you're still going to flake out. 
Communicate! Don't ask for a date and then stop communicating for the days in between right up until an hour before your date.  Come on! If you want her to be excited to spend time with you --- you're going to have to do some build up! No one wants to date a stranger. Are you interested in this girl? Then talk to her.
Are you just so nervous and don't know what to say? Here's a script, "Hi Jenny, this is Jerry. I just wanted to tell you I'm looking forward to seeing you on Friday."  Honestly, that's it. The conversation will build from there. Confirm the time and place. Chat a little but don't stay on the phone too long.

After the date

Call her!  Tell her you had a great time. Set up another date. Same rules apply. Rinse and repeat.

You should plan the first three dates. Yes, find out what she's interested in, but it's up to you to plan it. Even if she lives in another part of town, don't cop out with - "Why don't you pick a place, since you know the area better."  Oh my geesh, that is so annoying. You have the internet. Use it! Now, you can say, "Do you have a favorite restaurant?" or "Tell me your two favorite places." then YOU pick one. Seriously, you pick.  Oh and don't expect her to call you during this time period. She will return your calls, but she probably won't initiate a phone call. This is good.
After three dates, you can call with last minute tickets to her favorite band. Or, you just found out your friend is in town and bunch of you are getting together for dinner tonight. And she has the right to decline.
But always remember to plan dates throughout your courtship. 
You pick, you plan and you pay. You plan the first three dates - maybe four*.
This gives her time to determine if she wants to know you more. Then maybe she'll invite you on a hike, or an outing with friends, or she'll prepare a picnic in the park. But she should not treat you or reciprocate until you've taken her out three times.
That's right, she's not reciprocating until it's time. Now don't start whining about how expensive it is to date. I had lovely dates with a man who took me to street fairs. Two different street fairs two weekends in a row. No admission fee - just buy her a corn dog. Fun. It gave us lots of time to talk and experience one another in various situations.  (oh, but do tell her whether you're planning to stop for dinner, or if it's going to be fair food. She may want to eat before she leaves home if you're just planning on nibbling.)

If you have found that you didn't enjoy her company, don't leave her hanging.  Tell her you enjoyed meeting her, but there's just not a spark.  (this is universal code for "I'm not interested" - we all accept that. No spark. Fair enough.) You don't need to say anything hurtful or feel a need to BeReallyHonest - just thank her for her time and move on.

Make an effort to get to know each other. Yep, I'm talking about communication. Don't just ask a girl out on the weekends, without talking to her in-between. You're supposed to be interested in her. If you don't ACT interested, she won't think you are.

You should learn something in this step. If she is rushing you off the phone or sounds bored, she may not be interested in you. She may be legitimately distracted, and if she says so, believe her.
But if she is constantly tuning you out, move on.

Don't text. Now, this may be different for you younger folks - I understand that's how you communicate. Talk with her about it. Ask her preference.
My rule is, if you want to send a flirtatious hello, or tell her you're running 5 minutes late, you can text.  Do not text her to set up a date.  Do not text her because it's less trouble than calling her.
If you like her, talk to her. Texting is the least amount of effort you can put into communication. I suggest making an agreement not to text until you're "in a relationship".

These are not arbitrary rules.  This is all about common decency. 
Every woman will appreciate these efforts. Use them all, every date, every woman you date. 
Even if she seems a little uncomfortable with the formality. If that's the case, it's because she's been dating inconsiderate men before you. Show her she's worth it. She'll come around. 

If you are dating a woman who doesn't appreciate these efforts, you may find that you are not actually dating a lady. 

If these efforts seem like too much, or not worth it, then just face the fact that you're not really interested in the woman - or even dating for that matter. If you're really interested in someone, these are things you would WANT to do. Let that be your litmus test. 

* The three date theory is courtesy of Cynthia from Veil of Chastity. It's pure brilliance. We women tend to get excited and mentally planning our weddings after one good date!  I extend the idea to four dates because after dating Mr. ShouldBePerfectforMe, it wasn't until after four dates that he blamed God for his decision to stop dating me! I'm pretty sure God didn't tell him to share the revelation via email!!! 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Let's call it Bait the Catholic.
It's kind of like Devil's Advocate, but with more stupidity.

I was baited today and I'm still steaming.
It started with an innocent conversation when someone kindly asked me if I wanted kids. Yes, I had wanted children, I had longed for a family, but I'm 43 now and single so we're not banking on that ever happening.
A reasonable person would say, "Yeah, I can see that. That's too bad."

But you know how it is. Another voice chimes in. "You COULD have a baby if you really wanted one."
Well, I'm not going to go into how I don't have sexy time with men I'm not married to, so not so much. I shouldn't have to explain that in casual conversation, with a conversation interruptor.
I'm certainly not going into the fact that if I didn't feel right about having a baby by myself when I was young and fertile, and had endless energy... it's even less likely that I'm going to decide to have a baby by myself when it hurts to walk through IKE@ wearing sneakers!! And I can't touch my toes to begin with. If I wasn't having sexy time with non-husbands when I was young and h@rny, I'm not going to suddenly start now!

No, I'm not getting into that with someone who is baiting me.
But I did say, "What am I supposed to do? Spend 2/3rds of my salary to put a baby in day care while I work 43 hours a week just to put a baby in daycare?"  I figure referring to cash flow problems is the easiest way to appeal to secular do-what-you-want-that's-all-that-matters-anyway types.

She continued, "That's an excuse."
Um, no. That's a reality. I'm a single woman in an occupation that seriously, pays me only a few thousand more than what a year of day care costs. If I would have ever gotten married, I knew I could easily make the argument for me to be a stay-at-home mom. It's silly to work if your take home salary after day care expenses is just enough to cover your travel expenses to and from work. But I digress.

She threw it out there. You could have a baby if you really wanted to.

No. I want more than a baby. I want a family. And I want any babies that come, to have a family. A mommy and a daddy. Not a stressed out, broke mom with no resources and no family nearby.
And in order for that to happen, I need a husband.

Then I did have to resort to explaining how in order to have a husband, I had to live in a different era, one in which men saw a reason to get married. When society started telling men we didn't need to them to have babies - they heard it! They've responded accordingly! That's fine for you maybe, but you've ruined it for women like me.

She said it again. "That's your opinion."
Oh super. The great secular argument. Every option is an opinion.
I wish my brain and mouth would engage in the moment, because I should have said, "No. It's not my opinion. It's the truth. It's the truth of the Bible and the truth of the Catechism.  There's a right way to do it if you can help it. And I'm not here to please myself, I'm here to please God."

Maybe I AM more stubborn than selfless, but if you're speaking to someone who is obviously counter-cultural by way of being Catholic... putting up straw men about how I COULD have a child if I really wanted to is just insulting and rude. You know how I'm going to answer, and you're just trying to win an argument rather than listen to what I believe and why it matters to me. You're trying to shoot holes in my faith.

What you're really doing is trying to validate your choices and opinions.
By that reasoning, yeah, I could have a ferr@ri if I wanted one... I could steal it and drive it around until I got caught.
Want to live in a spacious, luxury mountain home? You could if you wanted to .... just stake out a nice place and attack the family, lock them in the basement and enjoy the place. You could live there if you WANTED to.

Like I said, maybe I am more stubborn than selfless. Maybe God would be absolutely fine with me having a child to love and raise in the faith. Maybe my holding out for a man who shares my faith and values is purely stubborn and not what God intends for me.
After all, I have plenty of relatives who aren't waiting for marriage for s@x and babie, and God is not striking them down. Maybe my holding out was silly. At least I would have loved someone.

Sometimes I picture myself arriving at the pearly gates and God and Saint Peter just shake their heads, sadly. "Oh TRS, you could have had so much more. We admire your fight, but you were fighting the wrong battle."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

7 Quick Takes #4

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary again!
(I don't know why my formatting gets so weird) 

You know when you find yourself bored with work, undervalued and under-appreciated and you're justthisclose to think about really, seriously quitting? 
And then you come back to work from a few days off and your door code doesn't work and for a moment you think, "Gee, I hope I'm not fired!"

Thankfully you learn that it's not you... it was the coworker who was just difficult enough to get along with that their existence makes work that much harder! Then after a week or so, you realize work without them in the mix is SOMUCHBETTER! Yay. 
That happened to me last week. 

Suddenly, my job is more enjoyable again, my ideas are considered and valuable, and my reliability is reinforced.

Yes, I'm saying sometimes the best thing that can happen is someone else getting fired. Sorry for them. I've been unemployed, I know how rough it is. She's married though, she'll survive, there are two of them to earn a living. 

I suppose I may get pounced on for that, but let me explain. I've been through layoffs. I've gone years at a time unemployed or underemployed, not for lack of trying or talent. 
When layoffs were announced, I always thought, it would only be fair if they lay off the married people and not the single people. It's much easier for one of two people to find work than for one of one people to find work.  That's just odds talking people! 

I mean, a single person can only take one full time job And you can only work so many part-time jobs at once. (Actually I know from experience, the limit is two. I tried having three part-time jobs at one time... scheduling is a nightmare!) Two people can have a total of four part-time jobs!  

Funny thing during Thursday's workout, our trainer started us out on the rowing machines - which are not my favorite. I don't know how to pass the time on those. I don't have that kind of drive and motivation that makes me want to excel and row really hard and really fast. What?
I end up counting my rows - but the automatic display shows how many meters you're "moving" - so then I'm counting, but the numbers in front of me don't match up to my counting... and that could make my head explode! 
How am I supposed to get through this?!?  Suddenly it came to me, why not pray the Rosary? Guess what, it worked! I'd take a stroke, "Hail Mary, full of Grace." release back in, "The Lord is with Thee." take another stroke, "Blessed art Thou among women." release back in, "and blessed it the fruit of Thy womb," stroke, "Jesus." 
Hmmm. 1000 Meters = two decades. 
Ten mysteries would be quite a workout!
More good news... this time in the grooming department. I have the puniest, most pathetic eyelashes you have ever seen. No mascara has ever really made a difference, because separating and defining short, puny, sparse lashes only makes them blacker, separated, but still sparse. 
Well, one day the mascara wand sort of skewed to the side and WHOA! All my few lashes were swiped to one side and look at that... it looks like more lashes! 
(I tried to draw an illustration for you but it was very very bad. So you can be thankful I didn't share!)
Amazing! How many years of mascara application did it take to figure this out? I hate to think about it and I'm not doing the math. 
So. Free tip for you. 

Then I went to a makeup counter for some new eyeshadows and shared my discovery with the gals there... and they were all, uh huh yeah. 
Wait! You knew this and no one told me?  Oh come on! 

Saw this hilarious video of protesting sheep on Jimmy Kimmel and he made the comment that this guy could run for office! 

I thought, "Gee, that looks like one particular political party to me!" 

Then the next morning, I was listening to my iCatholic Radio App which had a short commentary about references to sheep in the bible. Explaining that sheep know their shepherd's voice. They are not responding to words, nor to their name - only that they recognize the shepherds voice. 

Even being a farm and ranch kid, I never realized that. They know and heed his voice. It's so poignant, but it also reminds us, be careful who your leaders are. 

What I love most about the bloggy world is the great sense of community. 
I'm coming across more singles blogs these days - which is an answer to prayer. You can just feel so alone sometimes, with everyone blogging about back to school for their kids, about their homes and back yards, their husbands and vacations. 

This week I found Proverbial Girlfriend who also led me to a group of bloggers joined together for the Not Alone series. (whose origin I cannot find - but I know that I first found the Not Alone Series in Jen's 7QT to begin with, so maybe most of you already know about it.) That should be an ample selection of great, faith filled single girl bloggers. 

There are so many to select from, I could morph into my iPad if I didn't tell myself to go out and socialize! 
Let me know who you have found that speaks to you. Share your favorite singles bloggers and posts in my comments! 

On the other side of that (That being faithful single bloggers) - notes from the secular world!  I met up with some girlfriends the other night, and there are always some new ladies joining the group. I've noticed that the women associated with one woman in particular (who I've decided not to socialize with) seem to have the opposite attitude about s@x and dating as me. 

One woman who is almost 40 (I'm passed 40 myself) felt compelled to share the details of a one night stand she had with a hook up she met the very night she took him home. TO HER HOME! 

The more she said, the more I winced and covered my face! 

Now, I'm a loud, sarcastic girl - so when my friends see ME covering up in embarrassment, they KNOW I'm uncomfortable. It seemed no one knew how to shut her up! And I can't imagine anyone else was interested in these details. (who wants to hear about anyone else's s@x life?!!) I suspect she was trying to justify her behavior and get some kind of validation that she's normal and okay. 

I managed to stop myself, because my sarcastic side was about to say, "I've always wondered what kind of women do those types of things. I always thought it was fictional writing for TV and movies, but I guess there really are women like that. Thanks for opening my eyes. Now I see why so many men aren't looking for wives."  But I don't suppose that would have been gracious or charitable.  
On the other hand, it might have started a dialogue. 
But I can't imagine a soon to be 40 woman, engaging in that type of behavior is looking to change her ways in that department.
Ugh. Anyone know of a way to handle that kind of situation? Should I just get up and leave? Go hide in the bathroom?

Ending on a lighter note... Has anyone else noticed that selection at The G@P is rather bland lately? I tend to head straight to the clearance section, and all I find lately is button down shirts, and striped t-shirts. (not the cute striped t-shirts either) Oh well, I guess it helps me not spend money. 
Thankfully though, we finally have an H & M, which has a much more charming selection. I haven't figured out their clearance section process yet - but I will. 
Has anyone else had good luck there? What do you prefer? I do most of my shopping at TJMaxx. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Pray. Relax.

Looking back over my archive of posts, I found more than one past entry in which I declared, "That's it. I'm done! I give up on finding a husband!"

I laugh because each time, I recall being so horribly frustrated and weary in my years of waiting, but even I wasn't entirely convinced by my conviction. The ugly truth is that rather than handing my heart over to God and saying, "Thy will be done." - it's more like a bitter, "FINE, God! It's obvious that You have no plans to give me the gifts you grace upon other, somehow more deserving women. So I'll try to accept that." Mumble, grumble. 

Oh yeah, that's really what Mary would say, hmm? 

Right now, I must admit that I'm not entirely free from bitterness, but I am getting closer to, "If it is Your will, God - I'll wait for the call."
That's me trying to chill out.

I think a couple of things have influenced this. One and two are the last two guys I dated.

One who really saw my heart. He said himself that what drew him to me was seeing that I had the purest heart of anyone he's ever met. That's quite a compliment, and knowing my own heart intimately, I worry about what sort of people he's been around. (I'm partially kidding, but that's not entirely fair to me either - in the past few years I've been told, randomly by several people that just being in my presence makes them feel peaceful and recharged. One described it as being able to just rest.  It took several people saying it for me to realize it must be so - and that is obviously a gift of the Holy Spirit.)
Anyway, that guy really thought he was in love with me and he treated me like every woman hopes to be treated.  It was difficult for me to realize that I just didn't feel the same way about him. That sort of realization is excruciating, because when you're finally treated the way you've prayed about, and it still doesn't feel right, you really start to wonder whether or not you're made for love.

Ultimately, I thought "Well, know I know how Mr. Burns felt when we dated." There is a cross to knowing you're with someone wonderful and faithful but still not for you. Oh, and wondering what to do about it. Sigh.
Penultimately, I realized that I had to let this other guy go, so he could find someone who would really appreciate him. I think both people in a relationship/ marriage should think that they are the lucky one - and he deserves someone who will feel like she won the lottery when she met him. 

This taught me, in a new way that the right one is worth waiting for. Settling is settling, even if it's wonderful man, but your heart is not in it. Now I know that the right man will see my heart, and appreciate all that is in it.

Two, is the guy who seemed like everything would fit together - Catholic, Annulled, an adult child, and  his being open to more children... followed by great dates, laughs, chemistry and what seemed like a solid connection... then POOF! He admitted that I possessed every quality he was looking for in a woman, but that he was going to pass.

What a blow. But that experience taught me that I am so not in control. Nothing I can do, ever do, will bring my husband to me. Only God can do that. 

The third thing was the dream I had, in which I met my husband and my heart felt rest.
Because of that I believe God really does have a holy spouse in mind for me, and He will bring him when it is time.

That has made my heart relax a bit. I'm not looking. I meaning I'm always "looking" but I'm not looking. I'm making sure I get out to socialize more. I've joined some meetup groups to make sure that I both get out, and expand my social circle, because my social circles are very secular right now.  There's still no assurance I'm meeting faithful people, but who knows who they might know? 

I am also reminded that as much as we want certain life experiences, or stages of life...  getting married, having babies, having grandchildren....  in this earthly life we'll never stop praying for more. A stronger marriage, a healthy child, a reliable car....

One of my dear friends was so weary of her single life, she cried almost every day for a very long time. She also dealt with some tough symptoms of endometriosis and feared that she wouldn't be able to have children if she ever did get married.
Then she was engaged twice! Thankfully the first one didn't work out - he was so wrong for her (quite similar to my examples above for me - this is close enough, maybe I should make it work, kind of situation). The second is her wonderful husband, and they now have two beautiful babies.
But now, she is consumed by wanting their own house, to such a degree that she feels her prayers aren't being answered - all she wants is a house!
Today I told her, you sound like you did when you were praying for a husband and for fertility! You have everything you've prayed for, it is amazing. Relax, the house will come at the right time too.

That's all we can hope for. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes - #3

Obviously, I didn't get a regular post in this week. I tend to get several ideas swimming in my head but no time to commit those ideas to writing. 
So here's another 7QT - Thanks Jen for hosting! 

A residual effect of my trip home to the family ranch is some crazy sore hamstrings. What the? 
I've been working out the past few months, at the office gym. With a trainer one day a week and with Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 the rest of the time. I've never had sore hammies before, so imagine my shock! 

I do have the tightest hamstrings in the world - so I think there's a chance they finally decided to loosen up after all my hard work. 
But another side of me thinks it's from a nice long walk in the pastures. 

Before I left, I walked out to see the colts (nothing like baby horses to love on!!!) then I walked about 2/3rds a mile to another pasture to pick some wildflowers. The grass was so tall, (just look where it comes up to on the horses!) I had to take big, reaching steps - and that's the only thing I can think that stretched my hammies so much. Oh well, I guess I'll take it! 

I'm so excited about a new grocery store in my neighborhood. There's a new Spr*uts a lot closer to my home than any other grocery store... and I love Spr*uts! 

I don't do all my grocery shopping there, but I really love much of what they offer. Now I don't have to drive what I consider "out of my way" in every possible direction to pick up a little something.
And in a few more months we get a Tr@der J*e's opening within walking distance of my home!  Walking distance people! SO excited. 

I hate grocery shopping with a passion, so anything that makes it easier is a blessing. Imagine, conveniently buying and eating produce without worrying it'll go bad before I get around to making a meal! 

I've been trying to up my fruit and vegetable intake. I even have a log book to track it. The goal is five servings a day - and as many colors as possible so I've been enjoying plums and nectarines. I think I prefer plums. They can be so sweet, and I think they have the best texture of all fruits. 
Speaking of fruit - am I the only one this fickle about bananas? They need to be perfectly yellow, not because I'm picky - but because too green is a certain kind of acidic that I don't like - and any degree of brown is another kind of acidic that really bothers my throat. I was explaining this to my mom, and of course it just sounds like I'm fussy. But I really don't believe in eating food that wants to hurt me. 

Oddly, at the Starbucks near work they consistently have bananas that are simultaneously green and brown spotted! How is that possible?!

A recent past/passed boyfriend found me on a dating site. He texted me about it. We're friendly, but not overly so. He seemed to think it was quite remarkable (obviously he's new to this) And pointed out that we were a 100% match. 
Sigh. I couldn't bear to tell him how many 100% matches I've encountered that are not matches at all.  Poor thing. He doesn't know what he's in for. He's a super nice guy, but very inexperienced in dating after his divorce.  (Post-Divorce Dating could be a whole other post!) 
I'm not active on any sites, but my profile is still up on a few of them. sometimes I think if I ever met someone significant... I wouldn't even know how to delete the profiles!!
Double sigh. If you're married and never had to online date... get on your knees right now and thank God. And while you're down there, pray for single adults! Please.
I like being Go-To, Miss Reliable. It was pretty short notice, when a friend asked if I could watch her two kiddos while she went to an orientation meeting at their school. We made it work, and it was fun to watch them climb at the park and yell, "Miss T, watch this!" when they did something tricky. I would applaud a daring jump or leap and the little one would run to me for a hug because she was feeling so successful!

The older kiddo is more challenging. She loves to test boundaries. Every slight offense on her person is considered egregious... even someone accidentally bumping her as they share an apparatus brings on crocodile tears. For the Love!

At one point I was getting the little one down from the counter in a public restroom, and her shoe struck the other girl's finger in the process and OH.THE.INJUSTICE! 

Tattling voice ensued... ohmyshekickedmyfingerwhaaaaaa! 

And I'm all, with equal parts sarcasm, detachment, and just enough concern: Really, does it hurt? Is it bleeding? Is it broken? Was it on purpose?  
No, no, no, and no. 
Well then, I suppose we're about done worrying about it. 

Felt pretty good when the other women in the restroom smiled at my tactic, and laughed when kiddo realized she had to shrug it off. 

On TV - I'm really loving Hollywood Game Night.  Hosted by actress Jane Lynch, who is quite a talented host - and two rotating couches of guest celebrities (and a commoner contestant on each team). It's pretty entertaining in the way that television was entertaining when I was young... in the days of Johnny Carson and Carol Burnett. Not quite that good, but this is pretty wholesome and family friendly for TV these days. 
One of my favorite games is Celebrity Fusion - where they merge two celebrity faces, who share one name... and give a hint like "Do you really want to hurt the sexiest man alive" which was of course Boy George and George Clooney. (not pretty) 
I'd love to figure out how to duplicate the games and have game night at my house. It could be a riot. 
Speaking of... I found a link to a review (up there) for the show and I must say that's a thorough review. I guess I recommend that too! 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!