Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Please, God. Shut the door.

Sometimes when I am praying for this or that, instead of praying for doors to open, I pray for doors to shut.  It helps me to be more cautious and to pay more attention to the stop signs.  I don’t mean to sound like Debbie the Downer here, but by paying attention to closed doors (the negatives) I see more clearly the things that could spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E in the future.  In past relationships, the closed doors have come in many forms such as: too much baby momma drama, suspicious texts, bouts of silence, unclear pasts, age differences, lifestyle differences, and identity in things other than Christ.  These things were God’s way of shutting the door.  These things told me that the relationship was just not right.  I attacked graduate school the same way.  I prayed for doors to shut when I was making my decision to go/not go, and nothing shut.  So I went.  I’ve ignored the shut doors before and/or tried to open them back up myself after God shut them.  BAM!!  Right in the nose.  I really, really try to leave the doors shut now that God has closed.  My nose likes me to do that too.                  

Monday, January 30, 2012

My favorite Things Monday – Road trips!

One of my Jesus Girls (Laura) and I went to Winterjam 2012 last night in Cleveland and had soooo much fun driving and chatting all the way down the turnpike (both ways).  PLUS, we got to see one of MY favorite bands, Sanctus Real, and one of HER favorite bands, Skillet.  We packed turkey sandwiches, fruit, chips, and water and calculated and recorded our calories to and fro.  We spent $10 each to get into the show, $10 to park, plus gas and tolls.  It was a very cheap night out and boy oh boy did we enjoy ourselves!  As I drove into Cleveland, I thought to myself, “Self. Why don’t you get out of Dodge more often?”  So I need to do this more, and more with my kids.  We need to go places more often.  We don’t have to spend much money, we just need to see new stuff every once in a while.  maybe I need to come up with a theme - like cities that start with A, B, C.... or bridges, or old schoolhouses, pizza joints, or something my kids will have fun with.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

My career leap of faith

Sometimes when I pray for this or that, I find clarity through an event, a conversation, a book, but mostly through a sense of peace when I’ve really focused on being still and listening to God.  Honestly, I’ve never heard the voice of God.  I have never really heard Him speak to me in His voice.  I have, however, felt the weight of the Holy Spirit guide me many, many times while in prayer.  The most significant time I can recall was when my son was an infant (summer of 2000) and I was at the kitchen table one morning praying about resigning from my successful and high-paying career to be a stay-at-home mom.  In a total leap of faith (and discussion with wasband), I turned in my letter of resignation that day.  My daughter came along 16 months after my son.  For almost five years, I worked part-time (very part-time) so that I could be home with Kyle and Jami.  Wasband was a brand new teacher at the time.  We were broke as a joke, but looking back I know without a doubt that God had us in his safekeeping.  We made ends meet by the grace of God because the income certainly did not justify the decision.  Let me also add that when I had my son in 2000, I was working for a very racy radio station and a big portion of my income was from selling advertising to bars and adult-oriented establishments.  I was just getting back to God at that point after being away from Him for about 15 or so years. 

I went back to work full-time in 2005 and have struggled putting my career back together for the past seven years which has been very, very humbling.  That’s why I slipped in that MBA a few years back – to add to my tool belt.  When I resigned in 2000, the economy was booming,  When I returned in 2005, it was quickly headed to a recession.  I can’t question “what if,” but rather trust God completely that I will regain the security that I once had (career/financially speaking).  Let me clarify, it’s not about the money that I used to make.  That’s not the security that I am looking for.  I am in sales, so my income is 100% commission.  The way that I am paid is stressful because now I am divorced with two kids and a mortgage.  Most people would agree that a steady paycheck is ideal - especially when it’s the only one running the household.  Again, by the grace of God I continue to make ends meet, but feel very uneasy about my paycheck from day to day since I am paid commission.  Trust me, it’s something that I am in constant prayer about daily.

So, right now I have enough.  Just enough.  I pray “thy will be done,” but sometimes get anxious about when my break will come.  So, I return to prayer.  I know it’s in God’s hands, and feel that He is using this lesson for me to rely on Him.  To draw me closer.  To be in full surrender.  Of all of the fruits of the Spirit, patience is the most difficult for me. I want to know NOW, but to God, His “now” is not even close to my definition of “now.”  My “now” is this minute, His “now” might be in 20 years.  I am, however, working hard in the meantime at my job to do my best because that’s my duty to my employer and my family.  Is this God’s ultimate plan for my career?  I don’t know that, but He does.  In the meantime, I can use it as part of my ministry in some way.  (I am very excited that one of my past co-workers is coming to my church now!)

I am very excited about my career and what God has in store for me!  I have grown a lot these past seven years while getting my career back on track personally, professionally, and most importantly Spiritually.  I am in a much better place than I was back in 2000 in every area of my life except finances.  You know what?  If that’s the price, I would pay it over and over again to feel the peace that I feel right now because when I was making all of that money I didn’t have God in my life.  I also have some amazing kids that I feel are off to a great start because I was home with them.  (Which I respect is not right or possible for everyone.) 

Take a leap!  I’m telling you  - you’ll never regret it!  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Confessions from a former fat kid – Part 1 (because something tells me there will be more)

You see, I was the fat kid in school.  I was the kid that got picked last in gym class.  Actually, I didn’t even get picked.  I was last so went to the team who got stuck with me.  I’ve never had a bit of athletic talent.  Even to this day - if everyone gathered in the yard for a game of volleyball, I would not participate because I know I’m not good at it.  I would be embarrassed. Forget that!  You know what?  Next summer, if I have the opportunity, I’m going to play volleyball in the yard.  You know why?  “Because I’m nice, and doggone it, I deserve it.” (A little Stuart Smalley SNL there for one of my readers.)  If anyone laughs at me, I will probably run home and eat cake then crawl under my bed and suck my thumb. Then eat more cake.

So now I run.  I’m not the fastest runner, but I’ve come a long way in my 43 years because I participate anyways.  I know I’m not the best, or anywhere close to it, but I still try.  I enjoy the camaraderie of the other runners too.  We cheer each other on like we’re Olympians.  I actually have two 3rd place trophies for races that I’ve participated in (and there were more than three women in my categories, so I actually did have to compete for them).  I have already signed up for a half-marathon in April and a Warrior Dash in June. (www.warriordash.com) I’m not that little girl who hides anymore.  I love to run and play now!

My sweet daughter, Jami, plays softball and loves it!  Right now she is playing basketball and likes that too.  I am really encouraging cross country in the fall because, of course, running is MY favorite.  Jami can do whatever she wants, but my only request is that she tries things.  I think Jami will be a great cross country runner and I can’t wait to cheer her on in the fall.

I wish I would have participated in sports as a kid for many reasons including the competitive aspects and learning to push through the hurt.  In my career (sales), having a little competitive edge is good.  It pushes me.  I’m not psycho about it, but in sales it goes with the job and is expected to some degree.  In other things like divorce and running, a little pain makes you a little bit tougher! Like sports, it’s good to learn to push through the hurt.  I hope that makes sense.

I love this:

Even though I’m not the fat kid anymore, I still eat cake.  Just not as often.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I love my Jesus Girls!

Tonight was LifeGroup night and let me tell you – my Jesus Girls are the absolute coolest chicks on this whole entire planet! We laugh together, cry together, pray together, but most importantly are experiencing Spiritual growth together. When I was married, I really didn’t have a network of girlfriends. I had one friend that I spoke with daily and did kid activities with, but I did not have a network of girlfriends, particularly Christian girlfriends. Now that I am single, I have come to really value my Jesus Girl friendships. I don’t have any biological sisters, so maybe that’s part of it for me.
I love this verse from Proverbs:
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” ~Proverbs 27:17
I love how my Jesus Girls sharpen my mind. They help me see what sometimes I cannot see on my own with completely different insight. I would like to think that I do that for them as well. That we do it all for each other like a little team. We speak to each other in love and hold each other accountable in love. Earlier in Proverbs 27, the Bible reads, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” (v.6) Unpleasant advice from a friend is better than insincere praise from an enemy. Amen, Sister!
I'll take a picture of my Jesus Girls in 2-weeks when we meet again so you can see how beautiful they are;  I just know that you will love them too!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don't just "date to date"

This is wrong.  Very wrong.  You know why?  Someone will misunderstand the relationship and someone will get their feelings hurt.  You don’t want your feelings hurt, and you certainly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings do you?  I believe in intentional dating and will not pursue a relationship with anyone I do not see myself in a committed relationship with down the road.  I say committed relationship and not marriage simply because I live in a rural village where wasband and I have agreed to raise our kids.  I cannot move out of the school district, so likely will not get married until my kids have graduated from high school unless I marry the only single guy in the village.  He rides a 3-wheeled bike (God bless his heart) and I prefer guys who ride 2-wheelers, so I have pretty much ruled him out.  I already know what you’re thinking.  Seven and a half years is a veeeeery long time to wait to have sex again.  I’m way ahead of you there, sister, as I have already though about that like a bazillion times!    
In the book “Boy Meets Girl,” the author, Josh Harris, talks about courting versus dating.  Courting is simply intentional dating.  I really like this whole idea of courting and think God does too.  It’s a commitment from the get-go to determine if there is a possible fit or not.  Tell some hot man you want to court and watch his eyes roll to the back of his head.  Go on.  I dare you!  The word sounds scary, but the purpose is to honor God with your intentions.  Whatever word you use, make sure you and hot man have a clear understanding of your intentions.    
I always go back to the relationship that I want for my kids someday.  I would not want some boy to take my daughter out on a casual date without any feelings for her. She deserves better than that.  Likewise, I don’t want my son to take a pretty girl out just to have someone to hang with.  That’s very disrespectful to the pretty girl.  It’s just not nice to play with people’s hearts or imply that you are interested in them when you really are not.  I need to set relationship examples for my children.          
But we get lonely… and just want someone to talk to… so we go out… then we share our hearts… then next thing we know we have crossed into that area that is supposed to be reserved only for someone who deserves to be let into that area of our tender hearts.  Crossing the line emotionally is every bit wrong as crossing the line physically.  As women we get emotionally attached when we start to share our hearts.  Do you see my point here?  Are you going to share your heart only to have it broken?  Besides, sharing things that are too personal too soon is not a wise idea.  You need to know that you can trust who you are talking to.    

And, what if while you are out on this casual date and you see the most gorgeous man in the whole wide world who you would make beautiful babies with and you are sitting there with some dude you could really care less about?  That would really stink, huh!?
No casual dating, girls!  You deserve better than that!

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Favorite Things Monday. You dig?

Here’s my new Monday theme – My Favorite Things Monday!  (Please don’t tell Oprah.  This “favorite things” idea was hers first.  It can be our little secret.)  Mondays are pretty stinky, quite honestly.  I mean, it’s so hard to get back to work after a fun weekend.  Getting back to the grind is not too fun, is it?  So, on Mondays I am going to share with you a little something-something that I love.  Something that makes me happy.  I want you to give me your ideas too!  It can be anything, but just to warn you, my topics may center on girly-girl things or sweet peanut buttery deliciousness.  Just so you know - I love bling.  And peanut butter. 
I absolutely love love love short well-manicured fingernails with fresh bright polish.  OPI nail polish  is my favorite because of the cool names like “I’m Really Not a Waitress,” but I have found the Orly brand at Sally’s to be very durable and a few bucks less.  My favorite color is Bus Stop Crimson.  I trim my cuticles, buff my nails, and file my nails short so that they are all the same length before I paint my nails.  Remember to start with a good basecoat and always use a fast drying top coat.  My absolute favorite topcoat is SecheVite Dry Fast Top Coat which can also be found at Sally’s.  It’s about $7, but worth every penny.  You can paint your fingernails before bed, apply the topcoat, and then go to bed.  Your nails will dry super fast and you won’t end up with blanket marks on your nails. It also makes your polish last longer.  Plus, painted nails make my hands less dry.  I don’t know why, but it’s true.    

What are some of your favorite things? 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ants in my pants

I love the following verse where Peter was speaking to wives:

“You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”  (1 Peter 3:4)  

I notice this thing about myself - when I have ants in my pants, I do not have a gentle and quiet spirit.  When I have ants in my pants, my face breaks out and I am pretty sure I make those around me uncomfortable or downright nervous.  Do you have any of those restless friends who are always goofing with their phones, or tidying around the house, or shifting conversations quickly from one topic to the next?  Do they put you at ease or make you a nervous wreck right along with them?  On the contrary, do you have friends who amidst all the chaos remain gentle and calm?  These friends seem to draw you to them.  They make you feel comfortable.  Their beauty comes from the inside out.  My dear friend, Dawn, is the latter.  She has four beautiful children (3 of which are very active boys), and she always seems so cool, calm, and collected.  She puts me at ease with just the tone of her voice and her gentle spirit.  Dawn doesn’t adorn herself with fancy hairstyles or lavish jewelry and clothes, but she is one of the most beautiful women that I know simply because she clothes herself instead with the unfading beauty that comes from within of a gentle and quiet spirit.  She’s actually the whole package because she’s a bombshell on the outside too. 

Which woman are YOU?  Which woman do you want to be?  We pack our schedules with so many activities.  We work so hard to maintain the perfect house, raise perfect kids, be recognized in our careers, volunteer at church, volunteer at our kids’ schools, do fun stuff with our kids, visit mom, Facebook, etc. that we don’t even take time to be quiet.  Ever.  How do we expect to hear God when we are never quite enough to listen?  How are we supposed to teach this to our our daughters when we are not setting good examples in this area?  I wonder if this is more difficult for women than it is for men.  I heard some insane statistic once about women using three times as many words in a day as a man.  Maybe if we cut back a few words, we could find time to be quiet.  But then again, when we are quiet, men are the first to ask what’s wrong because we’re quiet.  Forget that idea.     

Speaking of being quiet, yesterday I deactivated my Facebook.  It’s been about 36 hours and I don’t miss it one bit.  Part of deactivating my FB is so that I have time to be quiet with God.

Anywho – where was I?  Oh, yes.  Being quiet.  See how I get sometimes?  Do you see how it can be so hard to be quiet when I have a bazillion things racing through my head.  And ix-nay on the oga-yay.  (Do you speak Pig Latin?)  (Is Pig Latin a proper noun that warrants capitalization?)  Yoga is NOT where I go to be quiet and reflective.  Un uh.  Nope.  Not my dealie whopper.  So how do we be quiet and gentle?  I think it starts with beginning each day with God in prayer.  Every morning I sit and drink half of a pot of coffee while I read my Bible and pray.  I don’t start my day hurried.   

Peter is telling us girls to develop an inner spirit of Godliness so that others can see Christ in us. 

How do you work on developing a quiet and gentle spirit?  Do you already have one?  Do you think it’s even possible these days?  Do you make people a nervous wreck? 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Can men and women really be friends?

When I was married, I didn’t have guyfriends and wasband didn’t have girlfriends.  Waaaay back then (5.5 years ago), Facebook wasn’t invented and texting was barely used.  I had girlfriends and he had guyfriends.  Wasband knew who I was friends with, and I knew who wasband was friends with.  Simple.

Now I am single.  And I have Facebook.  And I text.  And I have more friends than I ever did when I was married – both girlfriends and guyfriends.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and feel blessed to have such a great support system, but to someone who doesn’t really know me – the lines might look blurry.  My guyfriend relationships (married and/or unmarried guyfriends) may appear inappropriate. 

Here are a few examples:

I have both men and women on my FB.  Some of the men are married (like old highschool friends) and I do not know their wives.  Are their wives  OK with their husbands looking at pictures and into the personal life of another woman?  Would I want my husband looking at pictures and into the life of a woman that I did not know?  Not really.  I am contemplating leaving FB altogether or un-friending men that I am not related to.  I just posted that I will be leaving FB for a while so that I can use my time more wisely - then deactivated my Facebook.  I don’t know if this will be permanent, but it will allow me more time for now to talk to God.  I see another FB blog coming in the near future.   

A few months ago, I was talking to a divorced dad of one of my kids’ friends at a school sporting event.  The conversation started out about the sporting event then somewhere shifted into him telling me that he is struggling to get over his divorce.  He followed up with a text, which I briefly responded to.  He has a girlfriend.  What would she think of he and I engaging in a personal conversation like this?  I regret that I even allowed the dialogue to occur.  I knew there was nothing to it, but would she understand?

A few weeks ago I rode to the grocery store alone with a married male colleague.  It didn’t feel right the moment we pulled out of the parking lot.  What did the people at work think when they saw us leave and return together?  What if we would have bumped into his wife?  Not a good decision.  Again, we knew it was innocent, but to everyone else it may have appeared suspicious.

I also have guyfriends that I talk about running or career stuff with.  Really.  All we discuss is running or career stuff.  As long as their wives are in the loop, are we OK?  I feel OK about it, but can this be one of those gray areas?

As a single, I have made friends with other single guyfriends mostly through church.  I will sever those relationships when/if I get into a committed relationship because it would not be fair to hot new manfriend for me to be personal with another man.  So should I end the relationships now?  What good will become of these relationships anyways?  What is the point in holding on to them? 

The bottom line is that it’s a slippery slope.  Sooner or later temptation will strike and it will probably be different for you than for guyfriend.  He may try to get close physically, and you may start to feel very close emotionally.  A small thought may cross your mind (like I wonder if…) or a conversation may turn personal into something best shared with a girlfriend.  Something will get awkward.  Someone’s feelings will likely get hurt.  Something will be misunderstood.  Most importantly, at some point, it probably will no longer be honorable to God.   

I am glad I am convicted about this right now.  God is talking to me and I’m listening.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A few thoughts on online dating

It’s certainly not easy meeting (hot) Christian men these days so what’s a girl to do?

My career has always been in sales, so I would say I am a friendly person and able to chat with a stranger fairly well.  It’s the meeting part that is difficult for me.  My job, church, kid stuff, and community are all too familiar.  I just don’t go to new places or come into contact with (hot) Christian men too often. 

The goal in meeting a man online is that he really is the person that he is portraying himself to be – especially the single and Christian parts.  

So let’s say the most gorgeous man in the whole wide world sends you an online wink and you melt.  You just KNOW that you are going to meet, get married, and make beautiful children together.  STOP!  Don’t get too excited here.  Girls, we need to be very, very careful meeting men online.  Here are a few basic rules that I follow:

·         Do not give your identity too soon.  Get his first, then Google him and look for anything suspicious, the record of his divorce, and deed transfer on his house.  It’s fun to be a detective! 

·         Have an email address that does not disclose your identity and use it until you feel comfortable.

·         Meet Mr. Perfect in a public place.  DO NOT let him come to your house!

·         Be sure to tell someone else your whereabouts in the event that something really bad goes down. 

I think lunch on a work day is a great first date because you can make the excuse that you need to get back to work, especially if he’s a weirdo. Also, if he has any couth, he won’t be trying to kiss you in the China Garden's parking lot either.  You shouldn’t be kissing on the first date anyways… or second, but we can cover that topic on another day.

And how about the 45 year old who says he is looking for a woman between 25 and 50?  I bet he is!  He has no clue what he is looking for but will take anything.  Archive that match real quick! 
So here’s the biggest hugest deal of why I hate online dating:  Excessive email chatting is just not healthy.  When you are typing away, he can be anything you want him to be because he’s the most gorgeous man in the whole wide world and your babies are going to be beautiful.  It’s easy to hide behind the computer screen and sweet talk with Casanova, but meeting in person sooner rather than later will determine if there is any real attraction.  Of course he will be attracted to you because you are so darn cute, but what if he smells weird and you just can’t take it or he’s only five feet tall?  You need to know these things before you get too far along.   

My final point - and then I promise I will get off my soap box for now.  This one is BIG.  NO NO NO multi-man chatting!  I don’t care if you took advantage of the half price man-sale on eHarmony and are trying to get your money’s worth.  If you are hitting it off with Mr. Has Potential that winked at you, then give him your undivided attention.  Then, make it clear that this is how you roll and expect him to roll that way too.  It’s just not respectable to be behaving online any differently than in person.   Would you have one dropping you off at the back door while another is waiting to pick you up at the front door?  I hope not, so treat online the same way.  How would you feel if he was chatting up numerous ladies at the same time including you?  YUCK!!  It’s a very slippery slope that could lead to trust issues later on.  Just don’t do it.  If he doesn’t agree, he’s not ready for a committed relationship.   

There.  I’m done now. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Facing Goliath... on our own

One very, very difficult part about being single is that we have no strong arms to fall into when we are scared.  The physical strength that comes from a man is very comforting, but being single, we have no other choice than to face Goliath all by ourselves.  We don’t have a protective warrior to rise up and defend us.  Or hold us.  Or tell us that everything is going to be alright.  These are the times more than ever that we need to depend on God, and let Him be our strength.  I love how David sang to the Lord in Psalm 18:

“I love you Lord.  You are my strength.  The Lord is my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.  He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”  ~ Psalm 18:1-2

I could really use a hug right now.  I could really stand to feel comforted and protected from a Goliath that I had to face today, but I fought the Goliath on my own and I am a little bit tougher tonight than I was when I woke up this morning because of it.  I went into battle with a Goliath - with God as my shield and power – and He saved me.  And I feel safe.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"A wise son brings joy to his father." - Proverbs 15:20 (... and his momma!)

I went to see the movie Courageous last Friday night.  It was a very powerful film, and truly gave me hope for a Christ-centered man when/if that is God’s will for me.  The movie was basically about men being men and leading their families as better husbands, fathers, and brothers in Christ in a God-honoring way.  That’s the man I will wait my entire lifetime for.   

As single women, we are strong out of necessity.  We manage our careers, our homes, and our children very well, but truly that is not how we were created.  God created Eve to be Adam’s helpmate.  It still feels unnatural to me to be the woman AND the man of my household.  I can do it; I just don’t always want to.  It just doesn’t feel right.

I sometimes wonder if my son, Kyle, will know how to lead his family (husband/wife/children) when he doesn’t see one in operation on a daily basis.  My ex-husband goes to the same church as I, but I really don’t know what he is teaching Kyle at home about leading a God-honoring family.  I want Kyle to know how to love, comfort, and support his wife and children and to be a God-honoring example for them. 

Last night I got a little glimpse of the young man that Kyle is becoming.  Of everything I’ve done wrong in my life, I know one thing I am doing right - Kyle.  I am not saying perfect, but right.  Upon my return from a short business trip, Kyle left this note for me on the kitchen counter:


Kyle loves outside of himself and he’s only 11 years old.  If the way he loves and respects me at this early age is any indication of how he will be with his wife someday, I know he will be a great husband and leader in his home with his family.  He brings me joy every single day, and I pray for his wisdom as he grows to always honor God with his life and to be that man that God calls men to be.  Courageous!     

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The secret to having it all... is knowing that you already do!

Something that I do personally, as well as with my kids, is to write down three things in a journal every day that I am grateful for.  I call it my “Gratitude Journal.”  My kids and I recently looked back at our family journal and were so sweetly reminded of some special times: like when Jami wrote that she lost her first tooth, and that Kyle was grateful for Duke (our cat), and that I was thankful for a new kitchen gadget (go figure!).  In my personal journal, I’ve noticed that I have noted (more and more often) feelings of peace as the years increase since my divorce, and comfort with small things like coffee with a girlfriend or making homemade noodles for the first time.  We sometimes get so hung-up on the things we don’t have (like a man in our life, or endless bank balance, or help around the house) but truly forget to be grateful for what we already have. Special moments. Things we love. What makes us tick.  I pray, dear Sisters, that you always have food in your bellies and a safe roof over your heads.  Above that, I pray that you see God’s blessings all around you and feel His love.  Look at the sunset, check out the stars some night, light a candle in quietness and be still for just a moment and take some time to tell God what you are grateful for.

I encourage each of you to list three things every day that you are thankful for.  What are you most thankful for today?  Please share with me!     

Sunday, January 8, 2012

NEVER shave your legs before a date

And be sure to wear your granny panties. White cotton works best.  I hope this isn’t the first time you have heard this advice.  My hope is that it merely serves as a reminder to have a mental game plan in the event that things get a little steamy and your date finds you irresistible – if you know what I mean.  Have a few sex-defense weapons in your arsenal.  Think of granny panties as a Kevlar vest and leg stubble like your personal 38 Special just in case Mr. Hunky Manfriend gets a little too close and he smells too good.  When you go on a date looking all cute and irresistible (which I am sure you will), and he gets a little close... and you start to think about how looooong it has been since…and everything is feeling very alive again… You will think of me. And your hairy legs all itchy. And your panties cutting into your bellybutton and riding half-way up your back.  And you will be a better person for it.  I promise.  I can’t find this doctrine  in the Bible anywhere, but I am sure if you asked any of the authors of the Good Book they would certainly concur that this should have been somewhere in Proverbs. 

What’s in your arsenal?      

Saturday, January 7, 2012

You mean a man might see me naked again? With the lights ON?

This scares the lights out of me! Literally!  (Did I tell you that I love exclamation points?)  Let me bring you up to speed here: I am 43 years old, have had two kids after the age of 30 (when the skin wasn’t quite as elastic), nursed them both (you can only imagine), then proceeded to neglect working out like a gymnast over the last decade.  Let’s just say my body is NOT that of an 18 year old and my wrinkles and stretch marks are quite, shall I say, un-artful. (I like to make up my own words sometimes.)  I don’t even like to see myself naked for goodness’ sake!  Even the thought of a man seeing me in a bathing suit brings a sharp pain to my left eyeball. 

I believe in sexual purity outside of marriage.  Obviously, I am not a virgin, but I am one of those “re-virgins” since I am have recommitted myself to purity.  I am a bit lot fearful of a man seeing my imperfect body when and if I ever get married again. I just cannot see where it could possibly be desirable.  Will a man ever find me desirable when there are so many younger, sexier, leaner, tighter-bodied women out there?  What do men really see when they look at us?  Am I the only single woman (with a pudgy belly) that worries about this?    

So, what do we do?  We need to be confidant with the bodies that we have, which is much easier said than done!  Let’s see what the Bible tells us:

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:14)

Can you really say this to God like David did?  I mean honestly?  Are you tempted to add your own ending to the verse like, “… except for my pudgy belly.”  Well, let me tell you, the enemy loves to take us down that ugly path of insecurity.  The enemy finds those cracks in our confidence and wiggles his way in to destroy. 

I went through a stage (a few in fact) when I let myself go.  I quit trying to look better because I knew I would never measure-up to the women in the magazines.  Now, I try to look good for my age and all the carnage that pregnancy and breastfeeding left behind, but I know I will never look like Jillian Michaels.  I have cellulite that I just cannot hide.  I have wrinkles and stretch marks that are just not going anywhere.  And I have a pudgy belly.  So, I still wear my bathing suit cover-up until the last possible minute then take it off and quickly jump into the pool, I still believe that cellulite looks better sun tanned, but at the same time I will continue to keep working on my body confidence and try to look the best that I can with what God gave me. I will also continue to pray to God that I end up with a blind very understanding husband.  A Christian man who follows the Lord will look at our hearts, not our boobies.  Deep down, I know this.  But still…   

How about the men rockin’ the beer gut strutting around the pool in their Speedos swim trunks?  I'll bet it wouldn’t bother them to be seen naked with the lights on.  You think?    

Now.  Who is going bathing suit shopping with me?  Anybody?  Anybody? Bueller?


Monday, January 2, 2012

Dating rules: Make them or break them?

This is a dilemma of mine.  In a perfect world, Mr. Perfect will not only be tall, dark, and handsome, but he will: be strong in his Faith, have kids my age or older, have a solid work history, have the ability to perform home repairs (or the financial ability to pay for a professional), work out in lieu of taking blood pressure and high cholesterol medication, smell good, be divorced/live alone for 2+ years, wait 3 months to meet each other’s kids, have access to a pick-up truck, live within 20 miles, enjoy outdoor activities, be taller and weight more than me, appreciate drinking wine on the patio…..  You get my drift?  What if he doesn’t know how to operate a screwdriver or has a toddler or is between jobs or has only been divorced for 1-month?  Should we rule him out based on our own set of rules?  Do you think that we as women get too hung-up on some perfect man, then complain that there are no good ones out there?  I mean, we know our lifestyles, we know what we can/cannot tolerate – or do we?  Let’s ponder this for a moment.

It all comes down to this for me - he must be a Christian and he must be good looking.  Of course, good looking comes from the inside out, so there are no set rules here.  I don’t have a particular “look” that I am attracted to - except the “look” of a man who loves Jesus.  Loving Jesus makes a man very, very attractive to me.  Do you know that song “Lead Me” by Sanctus Real?  That’s the man I want when it all comes down to it.  By Christian, I mean a fully devoted follower of Christ including: assuming his duties as head of the household  (1 Cor. 11:3), loving me ( Ephesians 5:33), and setting an example in what he says, how he lives, and in love, faith and purity (1 Timothy 4:12).    

Let’s be careful at the same time to NOT over-Spiritualize this.  If he is too far from your gut level of  a possibility, and the relationship has a few red-flags, God is not going to bring it all together magically just because you are Christians.  Seek wise Christian counsel (friends, pastors, etc.), give the relationship time to develop, watch how he treats his mother/children, read Christian relationship books (“Boy Meets Girl” by Joshua Harris is my favorite), get a clear understanding of where he sees his role as the man in your relationship, understand his willingness to compromise, stay pure, and listen to God.  And make sure he smells right!     

Have you ever looked outside of your box?  What attracts you to a man?  What are some of your rules?