Friday, May 25, 2012

10 years ago #3

I graduated 10 years ago, give or take a few days.  This fact depressed me -- until I realized that I love being 28 way more than I liked being 18.

Tonight, my baby sis graduates, I am hoping that she will grow a lot in the next ten years, during ups and downs.  I know her life won't look identical to the plan she had at 18 because very few people have it work out the way they want, but I hope her life turns out better.

I would never want to go through some of my challenges over the past decade, BUT there are also so many memories I would relive over and over again, particularly in the past 3 years.
My life doesn't look like I thought it would 10 years ago.  For one thing, I thought I would be living in DC, probably married, working on the Hill or something similar, definitely not living in MS.  In fact, I distinctly remember listening to "I'm moving on" by Rascal Flats on graduation night.  Instead, I moved to Jackson after graduation temporarilly (and fell in love with it), work in my hometown, am single, and not working on the Hill or in public policy.

I certainly haven't loved every moment of the past 10 years.  In fact, a lot of moments have been REALLY hard, but I do think I can look back and be proud. I've gotten a lot done and survived a lot in the past ten years.  And, most days, I am pretty satisfied. I have loved the past 3 years in Jackson.

Here's a look back at what has happened in the past 10 years.

I went to 2 colleges and law school. I graduated with honors from both. I wrote an Honors Thesis and was involved in a sorority, student govt and other clubs. I made some amazing friends.

Dinner after my Honors Thesis Ceremony at Auburn

College Friends

Mom, Me, and Marley at Charity Ball when I was a Maid
ADPi formal at 755 club, 2005 with Alexandria
2005 Rush, in front of ole Berta Dunn Hall. With Ashley.
Jewel Degree Ceremony. Adpi.
Law School graduation with Nana and Papa
The only place I wanted my picture taken was on the field.
I spent 3 summers interning in DC and 2 summers working at Kanakuk Kamps in Missouri. I also interned for a judge in Alabama and spent a summer at L'abri Fellowship outside of Boston.

Cabin 12 at kanakuk, 2003

I fell in love for the first time.  I got engaged.  It got called off.  I applied last minute (last minute as in, I had 2 days before the deadline) for law school (with my roomate sitting at my desk saying "don't let him take this from you, get that application in today!) I took time to recover for a couple years (and get a law degree) and I finally began dating again.

First day of law school, my parents gave me "bar wear" since I was going to be studying for 3 years to be a member of the BAR (cheesy, i know)
Celebrating my first A in law school, Christmas Eve 2006

I sold my engagement ring and backpacked europe for 5 weeks.

Paris, Summer 2007
I stood as maid of honor at my younger sister's wedding and bridesmaids at several other weddings.

Sister's wedding, fall 2007
Mallory's wedding, Fall 2007
Mary Kendall's wedding, fall 2011

Callie's Wedding, Summer 2007

Ashley's wedding, Spring 2012
I've seen 2 undefeated Auburn seasons, several bowl games, Auburn's 6th straight ironbowl win and a National Championship.

National Champs  Jan. 10, 2011

6 Iron bowl wins in a row, Fall 2007

I was at 2 back to back Ole Miss Cotton Bowl wins and saw an unbelievable win over LSU a few years ago. (gotta love Miles and his clock management, er, i mean mismanagement!)

Cotton Bowl

Fall 2010 in the grove with Ansley and Mom

Fall 2010 at the Egg Bowl
Fall 2009- all the siblings
I became an Aunt.

Christmas 2011

I ran a half marathon and did the Warrior Dash.

Spring 2012, Warrior Dash with my roomie
In 10 years, I went to Belize, Europe twice (backpacking and to see my friend Ann Kirk) and went to Africa. All in All, I have now seen 15 countries other than the US (although I had seen mexico and canada prior to 18) I also got trapped in Prague due to a Volcano!

Spring 2009, Safari in Zambia
holding baby Ruthie at the Crisis Nursury in Malawi

Prague with Ann Kirk in Spring 2010 (during the Volvano!)

I moved (unexpectedly) to Jackson and made amazing friends, probably some of the best I have ever had.

I have also heard 3 justices speak, worked for Reagan's attorney general at the Heritage Foundation in DC, saw Reagan lie in state, attended a presidential debate, and had behind the scenes tours of the West Wing and the Pentagon.

I've been to Court. I've bought a car. I have TONS of student loans to pay off (though, thankfully a lot less than other people, I am fortunate). I've moved countless times. I've made big girl purchases like a big screen TV (for football duh) and furniture.  I've learned to do my taxes and am still learning to budget. I cook a lot better than I used to and I actually enjoy it.

I grew in my relationship with the Lord in tremendous ways.... this took many tears, lots of lonely nights and sometimes even doubt and anger, but I now know its true that those who have been through a lot have a sweeter trust. It takes time and pain sometimes to help us know that the Lord is faithful in all circumstances.  I'm still growing but hope that as each trial comes up, I have a renewed sense of assurance that the Lord will walk me, my family, my friends, etc.

I grew as a person.  I am a different person than I was at 18. I know that most people are different, but I feel drastically different. My beliefs are still the same, but I think as I've walked through life, I've become a little more relaxed and hopefully more dispensing of grace.  I was so uptight, so expectant of life to go as planned, and such a rule follower.  I think I've learned that situations are more complicated than one first thinks and that you can't always have such hard a fast rules on how things should go.  I am still a planner and still pretty black and white, but some gray has crept in now.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dating/Relationship Series #3: It's just a date

This is advice for both guys and gals.

It's just a date....a meal, coffee, maybe a movie or some ice cream with a nice decent member of the opposite sex.  That's all.

Ladies, this isn't a marriage proposal.  Don't plan your name next to his or figure out who your bridesmaids will be. Its just a date. Just give it a date ---He may not be interested in more.  You may not be interested in more. Give both of you the freedom to decide that after an evening (or two together).  He owes you respect and a pleasent evening, not a ring and promise of marriage.

Additionally, don't be so worried about marriage that you don't allow yourself to evaluate the date and see if he is someone you want to see again.  Sometimes girls are so glad a man asked them out and so excited to have some interest that they become more concerned with impressing him so he will stay than they do in seeing if he is the type of man they want to stay with.

Men, this isn't a commitment.  I have seen situations where a man has pined over a certain woman for months, finally get the nerve to ask her out, and then are devestated when she doesn't want more than a date or two.  While you have had a relationship in your head for months and thought the final step to making her "your girl" was to ask her out, this is all news to her. She did not know you wanted to date until you asked her out.  My advice? As soon as you are interested, man up and ask her out.  Don't spend time planning how you two will be perfect together before finally getting the nerve to ask her out. Then you will have HIGH expectations and be dissapointed if it doesn't work out. Also, you will probably have so much riding on this one date that you aren't yourself which certainly won't impress her.

Certainly, be intentional.  Within a couple months of dating, let the marriage topic come up.  Make sure he knows thats what you are looking for.  Men, make sure the lady is looking for marriage too.  This topic has come up in dating situations and I have had it go both ways -- he was looking for marriage in the near future (and was obviously dating me to see if I could be that girl) AND I have had a guy say he wasn't looking for marriage for a few more years.  Both ways, its fair I knew and its fair he knew what I wanted. (sidenote: the man who wasn't looking for marriage yet is a great guy and we are still friendly today. I think this because we both were upfront with eachother and I didn't come in with expectations that dates = marriage).

Dates can be fun. (and I know, sometimes dates get old, you don't want a bunch of casual dates, just the right date -- but the only way to get to the right one is to keep getting out there and meeting new people and dating is one way to do that!)  Enjoy dolling up.  Enjoy a nice meal and good conversation.  Notice the qualities in someone you find attractive and even essential in a mate (your date may not be your soul mate, but you may notice something great about him that you eventually love in your spouse!).  Try to be a good listener and encourager.  Practice flirting. Enjoy being treated like a lady.  Develop conversation skills. Try new places.

He may be the one, and you may know fairly quickly, but give yourself the gift of just being allowed to date, not search for a spouse. You can have a lot of fun and develop a lot of good skills.  Plus, then when you are surprised on a first date and find yourself thinking, "this is different, what if there is something here?", you will know that is a legitimate feeling because you don't think that with every man who buys you a drink.

So, have fun. Just Date.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Midweek Confessions 5-23-2012

Linking up with E, Myself, and I for weekly confessions......

- I have a new slip that I LOVE.  This is amazing because normally I hate slips. They are always made out of that nasty cheap fabric and they are lose and billowy and way to long. You have to wear the waist at your bra line just so it doesn't show....I know all of you are nodding your heads because you know.  I always avoided dresses where I had to wear slips. I would wear spanks or tights or anything to avoid a slip. But I just bought a new slip thats fitted and has straps and lace on it. Its pale pink and so pretty. It looks like a fancy night gown not a slip and now I am obsessed. I feel like a grown up because I will wear a slip!

- Because i have this new slip, I have tried to plan my wardrobe so that I can wear it, which is a change of pace. I had a wedding Saturday night and almost changed dresses just so I could wear it. I am sure the newness will wear off, but for now, I am excited to wear dresses that I used to avoid because of the slip issue.

- I just discovered that I was typing in "200 calories" instead of "140 calories" into for my favorite meal replacement/snack bar.  I was so excited because thats an extra 60 calories I can eat (or not eat, but atleast they are there if I want them!) and sometimes I eat two bars a day when I am busy at work, so thats 120 extra calores!  Thats a bag of single serve popcorn and some carrots!! Does this make me a fatty that I am so excited about extra food.  If so, I don't care.

-Yesterday I went to target to buy a yoga mat and bathing suit. Instead I left with a work dress,blazer and colored jeans.  I got halfway back to my house and thought "why did I got to target again?"  The dress and blazer are adorable and perfect work attire, but I am returning it.  I am trying to lose weight so if I lose 10 more pounds, it will be too loose, plus I want to splurge on a JCrew bathing suit.  Priorities right? However, I am keeping the colored jeans.  It is so hard to find colored skinny jeans for girls with a booty!  I've been looking but they are all super tight (probably because 12 year olds wear colored skinny jeans, NOT 28 year olds, but whatever...) However, tip to any readers with some currently has jeans/colored jeans that are curvy skinny jeans (straight legs but not to tight at the waist and hips) for 24 dollars.

-While at Target, I tried on bathing suits. VOMIT I looked bad.  Not horribly big, just not very firm.  I am busting my booty daily eating little and working out 45 plus minutes SO here's hoping that a month from now, when I am at the beach, I will be 10 pounds smaller.  If not, I will be rocking the one piece.  and possibly the granny skirt.

-Yesterday I didn't have time to run before dark (and I live near downtown so I don't run after dark) so after my shred video, I decided to do hip hop abs for cardio. It was tragic. So tragic in fact that when my roomate knocked on my door, I said hold on a minute and paused the dvd before allowing her in (the same thing you would tell someone if they were walking in while you were changing) It was for her own good though...I was embaressingly bad.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

10 years ago #2

The other day, I wrote a list of advice for graduating seniors about college and their twenties, but I left an important piece of advice out.

#13 College/Grad School/ Med school/ etc may not be for you.

I am sure a lot of parents would disagree with me, but truthfully, college isn't for everyone.  I think it is for most successful people, I think it gives you some good basics, but its not for everyone. I dated a very smart guy who had attended a top high school then quit college during his freshman year. He owned a successful business.  So, maybe you go that route.  Maybe you will own a business or be a tradesman or work in missions.  Maybe you will do something for a few years then go to college. Maybe you will raise babies.

There are good reasons not to go to college. But, there is one reason that isn't a good excuse: laziness.   If you don't go to college, don't let it be because you are lazy and don't want to work.  If you decide to go straight into opening up your own business or getting training in a trade or as a hair stylist, work just as hard.  If you raise babies, goodness knows, thats hard work.  Don't not go to college to stay at home, rent free, working part time and watching tv.  Whatever you do, whether its the traditional path or the nontraditional path, do it well.

I feel I needed to add that because I made it sound like college was the only way.  True, college is the path for a lot, and in some areas, for most people...but its not the path for everyone. It doesn't make those who take the less traditional path any less hardworking and important. (in some cases, they will have to work harder)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bathing Suits (yes, folks, swimsuit season is upon us)

I have been working hard to get in shape so that atleast halfway through the summer, I will want to wear a bathing suit.  I do love all things water (and who am I kidding, I will get in a bathing suit before I am bathing suit ready....I've never been one to let insecurity keep me from the sun!)

My goal is to lose about 15 pounds (so far I've lost 4) using Advocare and counting my calories on myfitnesspal. (thanks tiffany, it really helps that there is a phone app and I can count it on my phone!) I also am training for a half marathon and doing the 30 day shred to tone up. 4 day, 11 (or more) to go!

I have a few stylish one pieces and one modest two piece (that I rarely wear).  BUT I bought my one pieces like 3 years ago.  I am not the type of person who shops for new swimsuits EVERY summer because I work so I only need a few for wkds and the occasional beach trip.  However, as I lose weight, I'd like some stylish bathings suits, and a couple two pieces....lets be honest, I'm getting older, so I should brave the bikini while I still can get away with it.

Here is what I have found....
From J Crew....this is my absolute favorite!

 Also from J Crew, I love the higher cut bottoms and full coverage top. It comes in other colors

 From Swim Spot. I love the X in the front.

Also from Swim Spot. Basic, but I love Navy.

 Sexy one piece from swim spot

 retro lands end. 

 Don't love swim skirts (think mommies at the neighborhood pool growing up) but this is flirty and feminine...could be cute, maybe? from lands end.

Paisley bikini from lands end.

I also plan on checking out Target (a couple people have told me they have good bathing suits but I find it overwhelming looking at the selection online) and some department stores like Macys, Dillards, and Belks.

Any other suggestions? Help a girl string bikinis or smaller suits. I want some coverage.  I'm fine with one pieces --- sometimes the one pieces are far more attractice, but I think I need atleast one 2piece because my BF thinks I'm wearing one...and its good for tanning!

Friday, May 18, 2012

10 years ago #1

In one week, it will be 10 years since I graduated from high school. (Gross, I'm OLD) and I want to acknowledge that with a couple posts on these past ten years.  I got the idea from Tiffany.

Here is what I would tell kids graduating:

1. College is not the BEST time of your life. 

For most, it is way better than high school....this is true. But, I think a lot of us go into it thinking its going to be interesting classes, parties, sorority functions, dates, meeting mr/mrs right, exciting road trips.  And, it may be all of those things, but it also includes learning to budget -- which may mean a few months where you get down to the last week and have apples and ramon noodles to eat.  It includes friend drama and cliques (did we really think that one year removed from high school, cliques would end? now we just have organized cliques called sororities! note: I was in a sorority so I can say this!) It's a time of life where a lot of people fall in love for the first time and a lot of people have their heart broken for the first time too. It's rejection from clubs, honors, internships.

Don't get me wrong, College is wonderful, BUT it wasn't the best time of my life.

2. However, the best days are ahead of you.

Sure, college may not be those days, but you have your twenties, your newlywed days, your mommy or daddy days, career days, retirement days.  Good exciting days are ahead.  I, for one, have LOVED these past 3 years since law school graduation. Mid twenties have been good to me. So, while college may not be the best days of your life --- its also unlikely that high school was your climax.

3. Find a niche.

As I said, there are still cliques in college.  There is still snottiness and exclusion. BUT there are TONS more people. And so many different groups to get involved in. What I loved about college was the variety of my friends...different types of people.  It is more accepted to be yourself in college. You have more freedom not to fit into a mold.  So, if you like somethng offbeat like tapdancing or stamp collecting, find a group! (This may not be the same at small colleges, I don't know. I base this off my experiance at a big university)

4. Make new friends, but keep the old (or rather a few of the old)

Unless you grew up in a small town and had a class of 30 that went to grade school, jr high and high school together, you will likely not stay close to that many people in your graduating class.  A lot of those people were friends of conveniance. Y'all grew up together, studied together, played soccer together.  However, you probably actually really clicked with a few people.  Fight to keep those few valuable friendships and don't fret too much if some of the other friendships become less important.  Some friendships are lifelong and some are for a certain time (companionship, entertainment, etc)  Both types are necessary.  Also, if you spend every weekend going home or travelling to see friends at their schools, you will miss out on the great people you are meeting.  SAME thing applies to graduation from college -- I have 3 good friends from college I talk to a lot and a handful of friends that I keep up with some, but some friendships were just meant for that time in life.

5. Workout. Eat Healthy

No one wants to come home Christmas FAT.  but someone will. don't let it be you. The time to begin healthy living is in college and your twenties.

6. Be prepared for struggle. and heartbreak. and pain.

You may have been prom queen, debate team captain, head cheerleader and the star point guard.  SO WHAT, everyone else in college was likely successful in high school too.  You will sometimes not win the award, make the cut or receive the internship. BUT, you are smart, so sometimes you will. Be prepared for a little dissapointment along the way.  This is especially true when you leave college.  People rarely get the job they want right off the bat.

Also, you will be excluded. You will have breakups and broken hearts and hard classes and tough bosses. You may be broke. And, in college and your twenties, you will learn to deal with this on your own.


College and your twenties are about way more than school and work, BUT those things are important.  It takes time to learn balance.  Even now, the occasional late monday night at karaoke is worth being tired at work, but not every monday.  Its wise to get your work done before the fun stuff, but if in college, you want to travel for an away game, thats fine, just be prepared to pull an all nighter sunday night to study for your test.

8. Be all in. Don't be looking so far ahead that you miss this stage of life.

Wear your school colors. Go to the big game. Get involved. Get everything you can out of this phase of life. Don't be so concerned about the future that you miss out on the things that are exclusively a part of college life.

Same goes for post grad, be broke and rock it.  Proudly wear your old navy clearance dress.  Learn to do wine nights in.  Eat cheaply so you and your girls can splurge on a fancy meal out.  Get excited about dates. enjoy your free time. Take advantage of your single days.  OR your young married days.  OR even your young kids phase.  But enjoy the good in each phase.  Look to the future but don't waste the advantages of the time you are in.

9. Your parents aren't always right. BUT they are right a majority of the time.

Your parents can be wrong sometimes.  Some kids already know this. I don't think I did. I got mad at my parents alot during high school, but at the end of the day, I desperately wanted to please them...and I still do. But, I am slowly learning that they are human and sometimes they screw up and say the wrong things.  They may want good things for me that aren't the best things for me.

However, you little rebels who always thought your parents were wrong, you will come to learn that a good bit of the time, they are actually right.  They may be human and make mistakes, BUT they do have a lot of wisdom.

10. Figuring out your life may take time.

I am dating a boy who will graduate from architecture school at 28.  He already has an engineering degree and went back to school. It took him a little more time and school to figure things out.  I graduated and went straight to law school.  I took the shorter route but at the end of the day, we are both going to have degrees in our profession.

11. Be prepared to make mistakes.

This is huge. I am not excusing mistakes, BUT I am preparing you that you will make them.  Don't let them devestate you.  You are young and doing life on your own for the first time ever so you may take advantage of the freedom or make a poor choice.  God's grace reaches you in college, your twenties, thirties, fourties, etc.  You can't fall out of His reach, so every time, run back to Him.

12. Make your relationship with Christ your own.

At my age, no one makes me go to church. No one makes me read scripture or pray.  But, I do...not perfectly, not always consistantly, but I do.  These decisions begin in college.  Find a church you like. Find a campus ministry you like. Read a book of the Bible you like.  You have some freedom in this.  Likewise, when you graduate, find a church you like...and a community of believers to hold you accountable.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dating/Relationship Series #2: "I'm just a girl who can't say NO"

Remember that song? "I'm just a girl who can't say No, I'm in a terrible fix...."

Clearly there are PLENTY of things to say NO to....(for those who can't read between the lines, I mean: premarital sex, dating a nonbeliever, abuse, etc, etc) But, still for the purposes of this post, I thought it was a catchy title.

I have spent the past 10 years of my life dating and what I have learned is: YOU SHOULD RARELY SAY NO TO A DATE OR AN OPPORTUNITY TO MEET PEOPLE.

This doesn't mean you're desperate.  I know, I know - I know what you are thinking: you HATE when married people imply that you should give everyone a chance, not to wait for mr. perfect, etc-- underlying tone: "You aren't getting any younger, dear, time to settle."

and while I disagree on settling as a WHOLE, I do agree settling on parts. OR on ways and means (ie, how you meet him).... And, if you were to start surveying your married friends, those who married young and those who married recently....FEW would say they married their first love or who they first thought they would married. (a few lucky ducks did, but not many!) This doesn't mean they settled, it doesn't mean they aren't with wonderful loving men whom they adore.  It just means they compromised on some nonessentials (and I am sure the men compromised too!) or that along the way, they changed and discovered that what they thought they wanted wasn't what was best for them (I am guilty of this one, thankfully!)

Also, if you were to poll married folks OR even those in relationships, you would learn they met their significant others in a variety of ways....some are classic ways: freshman bio class, church, grew up together....but many people met by attending a random party with a friend, tagging along to a tailgate, online dating or a blind date. 

You will even find several couples who admit that they weren't immediately smitten.  Maybe they were friends for awhie before they noticed a connection OR maybe they had an okay first date and hit it off a couple dates down the line when nerves were calmed and they were relaxed.  Maybe they both went to the same church and after several sundays, one finally caught the other's eye.

So, here is my list of "Never say NOs":

1. Don't say NO to a date

......unless he is a known for being abusive, a druggie, etc.  If he's a little geeky, say yes.  If he is a different denomination, give him a shot. If he isn't as educated as you or as tall as you or whatever your criteria is, give him a fair shot. If he has a past, hear him out....  As girls, we whine about guys not giving us a shot. Give him a shot!

2. Don't say NO to a second date

So the first date wasn't long conversation with the restaurant shutting down and roses and sharing an ice cream cone...he was nervous, you were nervous. Give him a second chance.

Once again, there are a few exceptions- if he makes you uncomfortable during the first date or says something totally against your belief system (IE: I'm a muslim, I sacrifice animals to an earth god, etc) that you know makes you uncompatable.  But, even if its just an awkward first date with slow convo and virtually no attraction, you both owe it to yourselves to give it one more date.  Let him show you who he is - because who he is may not have come off correctly on your first date. Worst case scenerio: your gut was right about him not being the one and you got a free meal.

My aunt told me a story of her friend in college. She went on a date with a guy and did not enjoy it.  Just not a very good first date. She came home and told her roomates that she would not be going on a second date.  A few days later, he called and she answered (due to no caller ID and cell phones back then!) and he asked her out again.  She was caught off guard and couldn't think of an excuse fast enough and said YES. Almost 30 years later, they are still married.  Sure, one can't give a guy several 2nd chances, but giving a dating relationship a few dates could be good.

Also, its good to know that often times when it rains, it pours. My friends and I have noticed that when one many is pursuing, there will often be 2 or 3 at the same time (ha, then months of no suitors). I think that this is due to an openess and confidence that men can sense. If I feel confident because one man has taken me on a few dates, thats when other men notice my confidence and openess. (this is not a prooven theory, just an observation and guess!) So saying yes again may be upping your attractiveness to other men. (sidenote: I once met a man while on a date with another man and several months later, ended up dating guy 2)

3. Don't say NO to other men.

He's taken you on several dates. You like him and think something serious is developing, BUT he has yet to make a commitment. Then keep saying YES to other men. (1) the first man may not make the relationship serious and (2) one of the other men might be a better match for you and since you aren't "taken", you have the freedom to explore that.

One of my biggest dating mistakes ever was 18 months ago. I really liked this guy and had been talking to/dating him for over a month. I had still gone out with another man and had been asked out by another (what did I say, when it rains, it pours!)  Guy #1 found out about the other date and said I told him we had no commitment so I could see others. He told me his intention was to date me seriously and I cancelled the date.  A week or so later, he flipped out about not being ready for a relationship and still healing from his ex.  So I lost him and the shot at something with another guy.  Lesson learned.

4. Don't say NO to opportunities.

My BIGGEST pet peeve is when my single friends whine about not meeting men, THEN they do a girls movie and wine night most weekend nights. OR I invite them to an event where there might be new people and they turn me down because they are tired. An occasional night in is fine and you can't say yes to every opportunity, but I think you should be saying yes to about 75% of opportunities-- for every 1 "girls friday night in", have 3 fun nights out - at a cookout or party or grabbing drinks.  And, sometimes that means toughening up and going out while you are tired.  Moms take care of their children when they are tired. People work late when they are tired. Students study late when they are tired.  Doing something when you are tired won't kill you.

Also, join a few clubs.  or a Bible study.  or a political campaign.. Whatever cranks your tractor, do it...and while doing it, you may meet someone new-- or new people that introduce you to someone new.

5. Don't say NO to means.

Always thought you would meet the man of your dreams at church? That may not happen. I have friends who are opposed to blind dates, online dating, dating someone a little younger, long distance dating, etc etc.  I don't get this opposition, particularly with blind dates: "I've been on bad blind dates."  True, but you have also been on bad dates, but you haven't quit dating. Worst thing that will happen is that you have a bad evening.  Plus you aren't looking at the possibility that the blind date is great. Same with online dating or going on a date with a man from a different city. It may not work out, it may be too hard...or it may be great.  Life is risky, so is dating....and most people don't get the "married my high school sweetheart" story. So what? go on the blind date, let the guy at the bar buy you a drink. See what happens.

6. Don't say NO to new friends.

I can be bad about this one. I LOVE my friends. and what I originally loved about us is that we were so open to new people, so first. Then we got into our little groove.  I had to reevaluate and start reaching out again (thats a totally different blogpost topic ha: how to have close friends but not be "cliquy")

Make new friends. Why? for many reasons- new perspectives, to be inclusive, because you enjoy new people...but one reason is new friends expand your circles (and you expand theirs!) -- maybe they introduce you to their single male friend- or you introduce them to yours!  Certainly dont make friends simply to meet men, but it is one of the many benefits

7. Don't say NO to a certain type.

This is kindof a duplicate.  But I want to emphasize this.  Currently I am dating a country boy. My normal type of guy is preppy.  And I love the change of pace.  Don't be so set on a guy being preppy or artsy or dressing a certain way.

8. Don't say NO because he has a past

Don't be so set that he never drank, had sex, tried drugs or smoked or went through life perfectly.  I see this a lot.  Great Christian girls passing on great Christian guys because those same men weren't always great Christian guys (or vice versa).  People change.  Don't date a nonmotivated wild child, but don't discount someone who has a past and the Lord has now gotten ahold of. We all have pasts. I am so glad that there are guys who won't pass on me for having been a arrogant self righteous B**** most of my teen/college years. I have dated both the "perfect church boys" and the wild boys gone good...and the ones that had the most grace and wisdom were the wild boys gone good.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't address the past or work through some issues and concerns....BUT Look at who he is now and who the Lord is making him to be. That's far more important than the past.

SIDENOTE: I know I promised a post from Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus on women and their emotional ups and downs but I am still reading! SOON I promise!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Midweek Confessions 5-16-2012

Time for MIDWEEK CONFESSIONS!!! E, Myself and I is taking a break from midweek confessions....but I decided to confess anyways!

  • I am sometimes so clueless with men, even my own BF, that I bought the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"  -- so, the book was written in the 90s but thats about how slow I am on most trends...and how outdated my dating techniques are :)
  • Two nights ago, I was on the elliptical machine with a zipup the front sports bra....which clearly I had not zipped all the way up and I realized that as it zipped the remainder of the way down about 20 minutues into my workout.  I, of course, had a shirt on top of my sports bra (not one to workout in shorts and cropped sports bra) BUT I still made a quick trip to the bathroom!
  • I bought a cinderella "3 pack" dvd set from walmart last night for ansley, but lets be honest, I am just as excited about watching these ABC family movies.
  • I am dieting/watching what I eat and working out and I have been using "My Fitness Pal" app-- I get extreme enjoyment over making sure I am under my calorie allotment each day. It is like a game, if I eat this, don't eat this. If I eat both, I must burn this many calories.  I am sure the excitement of the game will wear off and it will just be a diet.
  • on another diet note, I am a compulsive scale if I am going to drop 5 pounds a day or something!
  • I switched allergy medicines because I heard Clariton D has the side effect of not being hungry.  My thought was, well if thats true, and I have to take allergy meds anyways.....
  • This Friday night I have date night, no family time, no event or obligation. I am sure I will hang out with friends but I can't decide what I want to do.....I am almost drunk on my feelings of freedom! (Saturday I have a wedding -- still fun, but an obligation nonetheless)
  • I'm old. My firm just added a dental plan to our benefits and that is the highlight of my month.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Relationship Series: #1 The Rubber Band Theory

A year ago, my goal for this blog was an HONEST look at the single life-- good, bad, and ugly. Dating stories, encouragement, etc.  And I realize that now that I am dating someone seriously (and  calm down people, by seriously, I mean together for more than a couple months, I don't mean eloping next month...), I have not posted as much about dating, etc.  Part of this is because I don't want to be too vulnerable with private stuff.  If we have a fight, I do not want to vent that publically. If we have a sweet moment, thats still not something I want to share publically -- not because I suddenly can't relate to singles, but because these stories and moments are not just mine to share. (we have all read those blogs with OVERSHARE...recently my roomates and I stumbled across a blog of a friend of a friend who would tell us very personal moments in detail! Fine to go home and gush about that to your friends, but we could read it too and we didn't even really know her!)

But, I should share more- about what I am learning, dating, etc.  I LOVE when I read someone else's blog and they provide dating and relationship tips and stories.  So I am going to do a short dating series.


Am I the last one to hear about this? I have recently discovered this theory and love it.  NOT Love it because I think its great (because I actually think it sucks) but LOVE it because its true (and now I don't feel crazy for noticing this in my own relationship)

It was first discussed in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus which is possibly why I haven't heard of this dating theory yet.  Afterall, I was in elementary school in the early 90s when this came out...not so much dating then. (small confession: after reading about this theory in an article, I ordered this book to my kindle. Possibly pathetic that I love self help books, BUT anything that explains something I do not understand is great!)

The concept: Men are like rubber bands.  They need some pull to bounce back.  If they feel too much slack in the band, they will never bounce back to you. Therefore, they operate best if there is a little tension/distance sometimes.

The concept explained: Men have intimacy cycles. They need a lot of intimacy, then they feel scared and need "me" time and pull away.  Then they feel they need intimacy again and come back, then they get their feel of it and need "me" time again and pull away.  This is natural and it has nothing to do with the woman.  Although, admit it. Every woman has felt a man pull away from them and has felt that she must have done something wrong.

Emotions (actually feelings of closeness) trigger this pulling away-- so its quite the opposite of "he doesn't like me!"  When a couple has a good conversation or breaks a new plateau in their relationship, the woman feels closer and probably feels a need to be closer emotionally and physically (not sexually, just physically - as in time spent together)  The man enjoys that intimacy and then feels a little fearful and needs to pull away and have time for himself.  The problem is that right when men are pulling away is when women are pushing close.

Women freak out when this "pulling" happens and do one of two things:
    1. push -- which puts slack in the band. He pulls away, making the tension tight and you push in close, releasing that tension
    2. punish -- she may give him his space but punish him for it which makes him resent her OR causes him not to take it (which would be detrimental to the relationship sense men operate on this cycle)

The proper response is to pull away yourself AND be welcoming when he comes back.  IE, allow no slack in the band. He is pulling, you are pulling, eventually he bounces back. (rubber band pulled tightly eventually bounces back)  If he never feels any tightness in that band (only slack), he won't bounce back.  Don't pull away in a mean way, or a punishing way, still keep contact and be affirming and kind, but give him the space he needs.

WHY I don't like this theory: it seems like game playing and it seems manipulative -- somewhat on the part of men (although i think they don't often realize that they are doing it) but definitely on the part of women (calculating to give space to get the result they want)   HOWEVER -- to be fair, in this theory, women don't play games to begin with, they just respond with one.  And, truthfully, they are giving the man what he wants but hasn't asked for.

Why I like this theory: it's truthful and practical.  EVERYONE needs space.  The difference is woman need space when they feel angry or hurt or upset.  Apparently, men often need space when they are overwhelmed by feelings - which isn't always a bad thing.  The problem is that men don't just say, " hey, can I have a weekend away?" or "I need a day or two to process things." They just dissapear and women are left confused at how the night before he was opening up and then he seems to be pulling away.

I have felt this in my own relationship some.  The first time or two, I was really confused. I thought things were ending because he seemed to pull away quickly. (and obviously sometimes pulling away means a loss of feelings) but a few days later, he would be more attentive and affectionate than normal.  So, now I expect it.

  1. a little of this is okay, but a lot is not good.  If the man you are dating is putting you on an extreme roller coaster, then there might be more serious issues than a male freakout. Its one thing to learn to deal with the opposite sex, its another thing entirely to be used or mistreated.
  2. Realize that its normal and has nothing to do with you.
  3. Realize that it is good for your relationship.  People need some time away. You need some time away (although you're a woman so you probably just ask for it)  Men need alone time to process and bounce back....if you never give them that alone time, how can they bounce back and pursue.
  4. At a certain point, I think its fine to discuss this with men.  My BF pulled away for a couple days once, I gave him his space.  A couple days later, he realized he had hardly talked to me for a couple days and wanted to know if I was mad at him because I hadn't been calling/texting. I told him that of course I wasn't mad, I had just sensed by his pulling away that he needed some space so I was trying to give it to him.  This started a conversation when he confessed he did not realize he had pulled away but admitted that the space had been good.  We talked about both being able to take space, but maybe being upfront about it-- therefore, the other person doesn't feel dropped.  I think women feel most hurt that men go from being "all in" to "pulling away" without a warning. Its not the space, but the way he goes after his space that annoys the woman.  A simple, "I am going to be gone all day fishing with the boys, but I will call you tomorrow" will suffice. In my case, this talk helped..he has done a lot better with telling me he is going to be out of touch.
  5. Lead by example.  We all need space, its just women rarely just dissapear on a man.  I take space all the time, I just clarify it: "I am going on a girls weekend, so if you don't hear from me much, its because I am out of town with them. I will call when I get back."  As I said above, what hurts most women is that pulling away happens without warning and abruptly - so my guess is that as you do things correctly, your man might catch on.
  6. Have reconnect time after he finishes his "pull away" stage.  Once you get to a point in dating/relationship/marriage where you have discussed the rubber band theory, you can be supportive of his need to pull away, but ask that he be supportive of reconnecting when he has had his space. For women, things don't shift so quickly. I have noticed that I have a hard time shifting into the pull away stage and shifting out of it...I get used to having the space, I guess!!
Also, I think this theory tones down the longer you are together.  Clearly, the more you trust eachother, the less a man feels a need to pull away when feelings grow stronger.  Also, the more free he will probably feel to just ask for time away. So, the comfort is that this theory isn't as extreme forever.  The author gave examples of pushing/pulling in marriages, but I think that it is probably most profound during that first year of dating (just my guess!)

understanding this theory helped me not freak out. I think knowing that men's greatest fear in relationships is often the loss of independence helps women understand that men need space...and relax when they take it.  Also, I think that men understanding they need this space helps them to be more understanding to their girlfriends/wives and make it clear they need some "me" time rather than just pulling away.  (sidenote: I am sure that in marriage, one cannot just take me time as easilly as before, particularly when there are kids involved) but scheduleing some when possible might be good!)

I think I previously would've just called this game playing, but because there is a cycle, I think its less playing hard to get, and more just about how men process things.

And girls, don't think only the men have their weird tendencies... next relationship post will be about women and their CRAZY emotions.

SO, THOUGHTS LADIES? Anyone else experience this or know about this theory? Or was it as NEW to you as it was to me?  Any other tips?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mothers Day

I think this is an interesting article on childlessness on mothers day. We remember those who have lost moms or lost babies on mothers days.  We also often remember those who are trying to become moms. But, I don't think we put a lot of time into remembering those who long to be wives and mothers on mothers day.  Personally, I don't find this day very hard -- I hope much more for a family on other major holidays.  I do usually pause and pray Lord make me a mother, but thats about it.

However, for those who are 10 or 20 years older than me, who believe that motherhood may have passed them by and who still long for a spouse and kids, this day must be hard.  I want to remember to pray for those too.  Often times, we think that loving and losing is harder than never having at all....and I disagree. Never having had children is probably just as painful for these women as losing one --- only in different ways.  Remember these women today.  That single woman in your sunday school class who hears you complain about screaming kids or rebelling teenages, longs to have her own troublesome kid at home.  Remember that and pray and encourage her.  I know an older lady at my church (by old, I mean early 40s, so not really old) who is single and is beginning the process of adoption.  I am praying especially hard for her today (I also pray she meets a godly man too, but shhh, dont tell her)

A couple years ago, I wrote out a prayer for mothers day.  I pray the same prayer today.  God bless mothers, God bless those who have lost mothers, God bless those who have lost children, God bless those (single and married) who are waiting for motherhood.

I have a great mom. A mother whose goal was to be my mom, not my friend.  Its important that mothers' self esteem not be tied to their children because sometimes their kids will dislike them.  My mom always taught her daughters we could grow up and be anything we wanted - whether that be doctors or mothers or both. I always appreciated that.  I liked that she didnt think we could only stay home. But I also appreciated that she didn't think we couldn't.   My mom is funny, just ask her...she cracks herself up. She is stylish and fun and practical.  She will stand by any one of her kids through rough patches.  She's amazing.

a few pics with my mom....