Sunday, December 27, 2009

Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men - Especially the Single Ones! (Marnie)

In the true Christmas spirit, I decided to make it a goal to be nicer to the men in my midst - single or married. That includes speaking kindly of them and refraining from speaking when I'm NOT thinking nice thoughts about them. I've made this goal before, and it's time to do it again. I've even prayed to love them as a whole and try to show some empathy for their predicament - trying to understand women. And that is no easy task! I know we women can be very confusing to them. Heck, I find that I confuse myself sometimes from trying to sort through my own thoughts and feelings! Seems only fair to cut them as much slack as I think I deserve.

Christmas season is a mixed bag of feelings for me. I love going home for Christmas and seeing my family. I love the opportunities to get together with friends and hearing from them through Christmas cards. But there are other reasons that make the holidays hard.

One of those reasons is the constant reminders I run into of how alone I am. Sure, I am really lucky to have so many people and wonderful things in my life. And I know it! But life is not a Christmas Hallmark movie - the kind they play 24/7 during the month of December. I don't get a boyfriend/fiance by Christmas eve because of some incredible, out of the ordinary situations that can only be contrived by a female script writer. Curses to these women!! I suggest avoiding the Lifetime and the Hallmark channels completely in the month of December if you want to escape feeling sorry for yourself...You know it's bad when after watching one of those poorly acted, cheesy, completely unbelievable films you go to bed completely depressed about your marital status and jealous of a fantasy world.

Sometimes you need to protect yourself by avoiding those movies and just focus on the REAL meaning of Christmas - the birth of the Christ child that redeemed all mankind from sin and pain. Not many people remember the pain part! We are good at realizing our sins and getting relief through repentance. But do we utilize the atonement to heal our broken hearts? Our hearts that have endured disappointment, hurt from circumstances beyond our control, and loneliness that makes our hearts feel as though they will literally break? You don't have to be single to feel any of that. You just have to be human. But there is a special feeling of isolation for single women over 30, that no one truly understands unless they've been there before. But there is some relief.

And that's why this Christmas I've been really trying to focus on the gift of the Atonement that only comes from Jesus Christ. I've said it before, the only thing I really have control over in this life is my relationship with God. And what a glorious thing! I can make all the difference in the world on how much love I can feel from God and how much help and revelation I can get - just by making an effort. It really doesn't take a huge one, but an effort nonetheless.

And if I can feel that love and peace from God, I can surely be nicer to the male population and give them the benefit of the doubt - especially those that are in my dating pool. If I can see the best in them and keep a positive attitude, I know I can keep my heart and eyes open to finding that great man that is meant for me. I think we can keep ourselves from seeing what is really in front of us sometimes - jaded, sarcastic eyes don't see clearly at all. I must keep myself from doing that and if I can, I know it will pay off in the end.

So, single men in my dating pool: I extend an olive branch to all of you! I will no longer speak in generalities or stereotypical terms concerning your abilities to date or commit! I will recognize your goodness and kindness. And I will now believe that the kind of man I'm looking for - and need - is really out there and actually looking for me.

Starting now...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Statistically Speaking...(Marnie)

When I finally decided a few years ago to take the bull by the horns and really change my life and behaviors to improve my dating habits and abilities, I read a dating book that talked about the statistics of the possibility of a single woman marrying after the age of 30. We've all heard that saying that there is a better chance for a single woman over 35 to be killed by a terrorist than to get married. It's not that funny. At least not today it isn't.

The book I read gave numerous reasons why that statement is completely erroneous and how chances are BETTER for a woman in her 30s to marry because her dating pool is so much bigger because she can date so much younger or older than when she was in her 20s. There were multiple many reasons and I really felt like they were all valid and it gave me hope!

Plus, if you date on a regular basis, the chances of marriage is really just a matter of time. Statistically speaking, of course. Right?

But I'm an anomaly. I'm Mormon. I want to marry a Mormon man. I want to marry a Mormon man who is actually practicing being a Mormon! I've dated a couple of amazing men in my time - I don't settle for less. But when push came to shove, these men weren't ready for marriage. A few were so far from it I'm not even sure why I bothered to date them. But the thing was, each guy was amazing! A great human being that had so much to offer! Yet, they couldn't get to that commitment stage - and each of the relationships ended.

I know it's easy for me to analyze these men and lay blame on them and their inability to commit. (Heaven forbid they broke up with me because of some flaw in me!) But I've heard the stories of many fellow women in their 30s trying to find a quality guy to marry. And you think, well is there a great guy ready for marriage in his 30s? Well, no! If he was, he'd be married already!!

Now I know that there are men that have a change of heart, work through the difficulties, and somehow work through their fears and hangups and get to the temple alter. I've seen it! it's kinda like a four-leaf clover though...they are very much a reality but they are rare. And the chances of YOU being the one to find that four-leaf clover, well, that's just lucky! (sorry for the pun!)

And what are the chances that I am "that girl" that falls for "that guy that's finally ready for marriage" at the right time in the right place?? Statistically speaking? Not so good...

So what's the point? Some days I just don't know. But I have to keep trying. I have to keep the faith that there is a bigger plan for me than just believing in the statistics. I have to believe that this is all a part of my life experience that was SUPPOSED to happen to me, not happened by accident. I haven't met the "one" at the right time in the right place because it wasn't right. Thankfully, looking back at almost all of my past relationships, I can honestly say I'm so grateful that they didn't end in marriage. I'm much smarter about what I want and what I need in a husband. Unfortunately, that isn't taught to you as a child. It takes experience and risk. And then comes a lot of the hurt. It's all essential and necessary. And it takes time. Apparently for me, LOTS of time!

So, here I I'll be depressed about the statistics, but tomorrow I've got to start believing again! Get my faith back! And TRUST that this is all a part of the big plan - no matter how daunting and impossible it seems. Because, as the scriptures say, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:37) Even when dating single Mormon men over 30.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Alma - the War Chapters (Marnie)

Ever had trouble applying stories from the book of Alma (in the Book of Mormon) to your own life? I recently found that you can apply the war chapters to the world of dating!

Here's the scripture - Alma 60: 21-23. It's the famous letter from Moroni to Pahoran:

21 Or do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit upon our thrones and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for us?
22 Yea, will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of those, yea, and tens of thousands, who do also sit in idleness, while there are thousands round about in the borders of the land who are falling by the sword, yea, wounded and bleeding?
23 Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.

You may think I'm a bit off my rocker to think that this applies to dating but it does for me. I just went through another disappointment. Nothing serious, just lots of casual dating that seemed to have SO much potential that ended with nothing. (And I lost out to another girl. I'm still shocked and amazed about that, but maybe that's just pride talking.) So the feelings I fight are disappointment, despair, anger at the male population, and just the feeling that I'm never going to find a man that I want who wants to keep me. It's a never-ending battle, but as time goes on, it gets better.

I'm proud to say that instead of my blaming God (which I'm prone to do), I've come out of this with the attitude that this guy just wasn't the right one. He was not in my plan that God has in store for me, which makes it good that he is out of the picture because now I can look for the right guy.

And I can't find the right guy without doing my part - which is where the scripture comes in to play. I can't sit on my butt and wait for "him" to come to me. I have to get back out there in the single world and smile and be the best me. But I can't be the best me until I'm feeling my best, which includes feeling good about my self - inside and out. And to make sure that I'm in a good place spiritually. I find my best relationships have begun when I feel like my relationship with God is going pretty well (i.e., I'm not mad at him for my current situation or circumstances). In this out-of-control existence I lead, the only thing I have control over is my relationship and attitude with God. And to me, it's about cleaning that inner vessel and working on making sure I'm doing what I know makes me happy. That's no easy task, but it's very necessary!

And if I'm ever going to be "delivered" out of this place I'm in and move to the next stage in life, I need to fight the urge to stay home and pout that the man I really wanted didn't want me. No good comes of that idleness and I don't want to waste any more of my precious time on behavior that doesn't help me. It's always a good time to take a risk and try again - especially when I really, really, really don't want to.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why I've Been Missing (Marnie)

It's been months since I've blogged on this website. The few of you that still read this may have wondered, what happened to Marnie? Did she fall in love and get married? Like Marcia, Kris and now Leah? No. No I didn't. I did date someone for awhile, but it ended. I'll talk more of that in another blog.

But I did have a life altering experience that has distracted me from blogging. I moved and I've been trying to make some order in my new home. And I must admit, I've never been so preoccupied with my living space in my whole life. It's needed a fair amount of work - which has forced me to do all sorts of things I don't like doing - like asking for help, relying on others knowledge and assistance, making decisions based on what little experience and knowledge I have, and making really stupid mistakes while trying to fix the problem myself. It makes me feel completely out of my league and shoots me down to new levels of humility. I've often tried to avoid learning new things that have a very high learning curve for me - they tend to make me struggle to the point of frustration and I hate that (You should have seen the day I tried to wakeboard! DISASTER!!!). Nothing drives me more to crying than working on a home project that "should" have taken 60 minutes to do - according to the instructions – that really took 9 hours and 2 trips to Home Depot to complete and still not quite achieving the desired result.

But now that the worst of it is over, I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I took the risk - although I really didn't know what I was getting into - and I'm learning (slowly) to appreciate the journey as much as reaching the destination (a warm, inviting environment). My house isn't perfect, but then, nothing ever is. There are still lots of little things that drive me crazy, but I have gotten some things resolved and I like to focus on that.

I feel as though I married this house. The commitment level has been huge. Not only on the financial level, but I have had to put a lot of work into it. Tons. And sometimes the results are nothing what I anticipated or wanted. But I have a home that protects me from the world and keeps me warm (when I feel rich enough to turn up the heat).

I wonder if after you first get married you go through the same shock and frustration as I went through with my new home? At one point I wondered why I did it. I prayed about it and felt good about the decision and it all fell into place - but when the problems started to arise and I felt over-whelmed, I wondered why I made the plunge in the first place.

I also wondered why I missed some important realities about the condition of the place. I didn't see many of the details I should have when I visited the house those multiple times before I moved in. Once I had the place, all the flaws and problems seemed so GLARING! If I had seen them before, I would have had a better understanding of what I was up against. I wouldn't have NOT made the decision to get the place, but I would have been less surprised and disappointed with the realities.

Why was I so naive about the experience? If it I got an answer of "yes" to do it and it felt so right to do in the first place, why were there so many problems that had to be dealt with and why were they so hard to conquer? Several times I thought maybe I had made the wrong decision and I had dreamed up that good feeling before as an answer to a prayer.

I think I sabotaged myself on a regular basis because unfortunately, I always have a very good idea in my head of how things should go. Structure and order are one of the things that make me happy. And at times I felt like I was in a construction zone (I'm exaggerating of course) and had no routines. Living day to day and not really knowing what I was doing or what exactly what I needed to work on first because there seemed so much to do, left all my previous security I had felt go out the window. And when I don't feel secure, the little things like picking the right paint color seems as big as deciding whether to move to a different city or change jobs. It's almost like everything was magnified into being a bigger situation than it really was. I didn't see the eternal perspective (it's just a house for crying out loud!). It left me so discontented at times that I wished I'd never tried this new adventure in the first place. Crazy!

I wish I could say I'm in complete control now and that things are going smoothly and everything is in it's perfect place now that some time has passed. Nope. That's going to take much longer to do. But it is going much better. My patience has improved a little better - I can work on the house until 2am before I start crying from frustration as opposed to midnight. And my idea of how things “should be” has been completely shifted to "what can I live with?" Maybe this was a way for God to give me a small glimpse into how a real committed relationship is. I've never had one and no matter how many books I’ve read, experiences I’ve heard about or movies I’ve watched on people dealing with a committed relationship, nothing beats the experience.

But having this home feels good sometimes - really good. And then sometimes it's just one huge pain in the neck. Sounds a lot like a committed relationship with a man to me. Well, at least from what I’ve heard…

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lessons Learned in Sunday School (Leah)

I've been meaning to post for some time now. Over the summer I found myself listening to old BYU devotional talks. One was by Elder Ballard about womanhood. I was struck by the lack of feminity in my own life and vowed to embrace my divine nature as a daughter of God. I think women of today can and should do more to be feminine. I think I posted something like this before but now I have church authorities to back me up - too bad the talk was so long ago I can't remember specifics. So... on to a new topic!

Yesterday in Sunday School we discussed missionary work. The teacher put the following list on the board:
1) Not knowing how to start
2) Fear of rejeciton
3) Thinking they aren't ready
4) Don't have the spark
5) Overcomplicating it
6) Don't know any nonmembers
He said this was a list of reasons why he had trouble being a member missionary. He realized, though, after putting it on the board that it sounded like a list of reasons why he wasn't in a dating relationship. Everyone in the room acknowledged how right on he was. Earlier this year my ward got a new bishop. I struggled with his new push on missionary work. I kept thinking, doesn't he know our ward? Doesn't he know we're trying to get married and that we NEED to? Why is pushing missionary work when that's not our purpose as a ward? Over time I've come to the realization that if we worked on our missionary skills we'd also be working on our dating skills. This list only proves it. If we can get over all those hangups as member missionaries then we'd probably also be over them in the world of dating, and vice versa. It's all about taking relationship risks and being genuine. Essentially aren't we all on this earth to learn how to love others and be more God like?

p.s. In other news... I'm engaged. Phil and I are getting married very soon! But not soon enough. :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

What is Patience? (Leah)

Lately people have been coming to me for advice about dating. Phil and I have been dating a decent amount of time and enjoying every bit of it, but to the average female friend I've become a poster child for patience. Maybe so - I would have never said so. One thing I realized when trying to help them out is that I'm not the only one in this relationship that's making it successful. I know - hello - it always takes two to tango. My point is, I think if things aren't going well in a relationship it also takes two. I'm learning that you just keep going forward until the two of you can't go forward. If that stopping point happens before marriage you likely go your separate ways. If it occurs after marriage then you get counseling or at least do some serious talking and praying together. So I think patience is just being able to enjoy and appreciate the moment you are in. The trick is to want to strive for more while also being happy with what you have. I think that's a lot like what we have to do at every stage of the search - still strive to get married while not being miserable with where you are. Tough. I find that it's easy to be hard on yourself, critical, and demanding. At least some of the women I've talked to (and I can relate) feel like if things aren't going right then I must be doing something wrong. Last Sunday I realized that it's not good to be critical of yourself, but you also can't be afraid to advise yourself. That way you are striving to be better but not falling into Satan's trap of discouragement. I once received a priesthood blessing and was told to have charity for myself and others. That was real turning point for me. I need to have patience for myself as much as I do for Phil. Isn't the whole gospel plan about learning charity period? Not just for others. Well, anyway, I just wanted to share those thoughts. I'm truly blessed with good people in my life, but I'm especially blessed to have a loving Father in Heaven who is patient with me.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Setups and Mayonnaise (Marnie)

Back in 2001, I wrote this "article" for a friend's magazine endeavor. After re-reading it, I actually remember writing it and the experiences that inspired this article. Wow. Nothing like going down memory lane...I wish I were farther along than I am, but I'm afraid that some things haven't changed: I still HATE set-ups!

So, I thought I would share it with you:

“Setups are like a sandwich with too much mayonnaise”

If you’ve ever been on a set up date, you know the feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when the ominous knock on the door happens by the guy you will have to spend at least 4 hours of your life with. You don’t know what he looks like, just a name. You of course, do a prejudgment with this important information…Dilbert Schultz doesn’t do anything for you…nor does a Mario Buccumbuso…yet, Brad Cruise or Harrison McConkie seems to spark something in you that makes you think, yeah, it could be “him.”

You tentatively walk to the door swallowing your gum (because it’s uncool to be chomping on a first date…that’s reserved for the 2nd date) giving a quick prayer that he doesn’t remind you of the kid that creeped you out in 8th grade.

As the door opens you look at his face and think silently (you hope) that you can’t be in that time of life where you are going out with a guy that looks THAT old. Yep, check the mirror, baby! You ARE getting old.

The first moments of the date are spent in spastic chatter while trying to act as casual as you can. You think, “Yeah, I’m calm…I’m cool, I’m collect…I’m rambling about my obsession with Coo Coo Roos.” So much for a great first impression.

The night is spent in trying oh-so-hard to “be yourself.” Yet you can’t pass up the chance to stress your finer points. “So what do you do in your spare time?” “I visit the homeless shelter and give blood when I can.” Sure, it’s true, but you conveniently forget that most of your time is spent in front of the TV. And of course, everything you hear out of his mouth, you judge to be a half truth – “yeah, surrrre you passed the bar the first time.” Nothing like pulling a double standard!

As the night draws to a close, you’ve both done your best to be as interesting as you can (so the report back to the mutual friend is that you were the better conversationalist). But as he drives you home as slow as physically possible (that “old guy” thing must really be true), the dreaded silence clouds over the car. You’ve already made a mental check-list in your mind of previous topics discussed. You’ve covered: his family, his career, his schooling, his hobbies, his mission, his favorite food, his favorite Nintendo game, his preferred toothpaste. Nothing is left. You dart your eyes out the window, looking for anything to talk about…ANYTHING.

“Yeah, that’s the Smith’s I shop at. It has better produce then Albertsons, even though Albertsons is closer to my house.” “Oh, you shop three times a week? Wow. That’s really interesting. I try to go only once a week. Saves on the bills. Oh, yeah. You don’t have to worry about that. You passed the bar.” Nope, not hitting it off.

You get home and get through the dreaded door scene. “Um, thanks! I really had a good time.” “We should go again sometime?” “Sure.” Could it be more awkward?

The roommates wait up and want the scoop. Did you like him? Well, he wasn’t offensive. Was he cute? He didn’t scare me, but then I wasn’t ready for him to touch me either. Did he make you comfortable? Are you kidding me? I didn’t let “me” be comfortable, it was a set-up! Do you want to go out with him? I have no idea…

The date had all the potential in the world…two seemingly normal people with a commonality of religion and apparently the same bad case of aversion to marriage. It should have worked! Yet the set-up was ruined…the moment I opened the door.

* This is not a true story although this article was inspired by real events. The gentleman is now happily married with 2 children. And that’s the way it goes…

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shopping for a Relationship (Leah)

Hmm, I tried to come up with a clever title, but I'm afraid I didn't capture my true message. Maybe it will attract readers, though, with its sensationalism! What I really want to communicate, though, is how finding a mate can be a lot like buying a house for the first time.

Over the summer three of my good friends have all bought their first homes. As a home owner myself it was interesting to relive my experience through them. When they'd come to me with different fears or stresses I was reminded of my own back in the day. It also reminded me of some wisdom I've learned about shopping for a house in relation to finding a mate.

When I first considered buying a home I went to my neighbor, Bob. He was a home owner and recently married a good woman - two of the big things I was hoping to do. I feared that by buying a home I would become stuck and less available for marriage. Bob assured me that by owning a home I would be more desirable to a man. He said he would have been more than pleased if his good wife had a home when they married. So I did it. And you would not believe this, but I got my first serious boyfriend (in years) right about the time I moved in. Oh how I loved that Phil - but then he moved and we broke up and you know how life goes. Truthfully, though, I've had a few Phils since and none of them seemed concerned about me owning a home. One actually told me that he considered it a huge asset - I think he loved me for my home.

Now let me share another bit of wisdom I gained from another Bob in relation to home ownership. This Bob was a newlywed when we were visiting one day. He was giving me advice on a relationship. He said that when men date it's a lot like house shopping. They look about and pick a home that they think is super. What makes them love that home, though, is knowing that others will want that home as well and it's a bit of a challenge to be the one that gets it. He said he was never tempted by houses that nobody wanted and that he could get for super cheap. I think he was trying to tell me that men like a bit of a chase - they want to feel like they work for her and win her. I've heard similar things from dating coaches so I think my Bob may have been right.

As for my own lessons learned in house buying, well, it was a real faith exercising experience. Just like dating, I felt like going forward in the looking and then negotiating required a lot of patience, confidence, trust, and out right luck. Just when I thought I had the perfect house things came up that made me question if I really wanted it. I also wondered if I was getting a great deal or if I was being taken advantage of. I've felt similarly in past relationships. When you start to feel more used than honored then that's a good sign to get out. I had to remember, though, that no house would be perfect. So when I am tempted to give up on things or find faults in Phil I have to remind myself of what I really want. In shopping for a house I didn't get the dishwasher I wanted but I did get the garage. It was a tough decision at the time, but I am thrilled by my decision, just as I know I'll be when I finally get my man.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Importance of Proof-reading (Marnie)

I mentioned before that I had decided to go online. I'm now on two LDS single websites. I've chosen LDSplanet and LDSSingles. I found LDSplanet to be a place where I attract men at least 10 to 15 years older than me. I can't tell you how discouraging that is! One email from a guy even said, "I wish you were younger! I'm old enough to be your dead." Yes, he typed "dead" instead of "dad." Even a better sign that we are NOT meant for each other.

I did find a cool feature that may cut down on communication from "older" gentlemen of that website. Under My Account, there is a section called "preferences." Under preferences, I can decide what age group can "view" me. Oh, it's a splendid feature!! I have limited it to 35 to 45 (I'm 38). That's the age range I'm comfortable with. Now, I am no longer getting creepy old guys sending me flirts like "love at first sight!" anymore! Now if they ONLY had that feature on LDSSingles...

LDSSingles tends to be more my style. I like how it shows more detailed information up front about the individual. I'm getting some emails from some guys my age which has been nice. One email asked me about my profile and wondered how I could hold a temple recommend if I said I never attended church. DOH!!! It appears that I failed to complete the profile and the default setting was "never attends church." It's been like this for at least a week and a half (when I first signed up) and for at least 3 emails I've sent out to potential guys that have not responded.

I since fixed it so it appropriately reflects who I am. I can only imagine what it would be like to get an email from a girl that is on a LDS website and specifically says, "never attends church." Not a good way to attract church going men - which I am looking for among other things.

So the lesson here? Double check your profile and proof-read! Oh, and change up the picture if it's not getting a good response. That helped too...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reporting in...(Marnie)

It’s July 5th, and I’m reporting in on my goals that I hoped to achieve by July 1st.

GOAL: Four dates by July 1st (to help me accomplish my "50 dates a mate" goal)
RESULTS: I did not get ONE date from a guy I had not been out with before! I guess I’m in a slump! Before I could at least get 1 if not 2 within a month’s time, but although I tried hard, it just didn’t happen. I did get asked out, but one guy canceled and said we would figure it out later (It’s been 2 weeks). And the other facebooked me and after I told him, "Sure! Let's go out!" He said he had to go “out of town.” It was VERY odd!! The “out of town” one isn’t a great choice. He doesn’t have any of the qualities that I’m looking for, so I may just skip him altogether. Then, I can focus more on guys that DO have the qualities I’m looking for. Of course, they appear to be currently hiding…

GOAL: Be on 2 single websites by July 1st
RESULTS: Well, I joined one website! But the 2nd one I haven’t done yet. I’ve been a bit disappointed about the response of the first website: LDSPlanet. Initial response was from 95% men that were over 50 years old. Are they kidding?? I'm 38!! I guess my profile or picture implies I’m desperate, because one is even being overly persistent. I’m blocking him the next time he sends me a “love at first sight” flirt! I guess I need to start searching for potentials myself and sending some flirts at the guys that at least “appear” normal. I’m not great at being the first to contact, but I guess it’s time to get over that. I do have faith that it will get better. I know in my singles ward, the first few months were all about meeting the crazy and creepy guys. They preyed on the new people. Once you work through them and they know you won’t be dating them, they move onto the next new batch. And then, the normal guys started to come out and approach me. Maybe that will happen on the website too. Here’s hoping!!

GOAL: Attend 3 new venues (places where singles can be) and practice 10 flirting techniques at each
RESULTS: I did attend 2 new venues where I did a great job at completing the flirting techniques. But then I had 2 new venues that I got a total of 8 all together. I blame it on timing and lack of males in each venue. Then I ran out of days in the month.

Overall, I guess it wasn’t a bad month. I didn’t really complete all my goals – ok, I did terrible! But I at least got it started. I’m hoping July is full of lots of activities and new venues to go to. We’ll see how the websites go…I’m a bit skeptical, but maybe it won’t be as bad as I think.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Goal Plan for the Summer (Marnie)

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a day long dating workshop that was put on by Val Baldwin and Alisa Snell. I know! I'm a little addicted to these things. But I firmly believe the more I know, the better decisions I make. And since it's obvious my gut reaction on how to date hasn't gotten me very far, I've been really working on getting that knowledge and applying it. I firmly believe the techniques I've learned have helped me get more dates and be more successful in my dating experiences.

It was a great workshop giving great information about online dating (like writing a good profile and being safe online), the basics of flirting techniques and interacting with people of the opposite sex. One great thing about the workshop was that Alisa gave me a personalized goal plan for the next several months. I thought I would share my goal plan in hopes of making me more accountable and thus meeting my goals.

There are a two main goals I wish to complete by 9/9/09:
1. Complete the 50 dates to a Mate program. That means I've got 11 more dates with 11 different men before Sept 9th.
2. Be working on a relationship to get past the "3 to 6 week drop off"

Concerning #2, most relationships don't get past 3 to 6 weeks - which is a reality of dating. Some will never work out (one doesn't like the other). But some don't work out because of bad dating techniques - whether its looking too interested, not showing enough interest or not connecting in the kind of way that builds a relationship. I've had a couple relationships that have gotten past 3 to 6 weeks (my last one made it to 10 weeks!), but in the last 7 months I haven't gotten past 2 dates with any of the men I've gone out with. My excuse is that none of them have been the kind of guys I've wanted to go out with again. According to Alisa that means I'm not putting forth my efforts to meet and flirt with the right guys - which is probably true. That's why she had me make a top ten list of the traits I'm looking for in a mate. Five are non-negotiable and five can be. Now that I have that list, the goal is to focus my flirting techniques on the kind of men that have the traits I'm looking for, instead of with just anyone.

Here is my goal plan:

June 2009:
1. Add three new "venues" to visit this month (places you can meet other singles)
2. At each of those venues, practice 10 flirting techniques BUT only on men you interested in going out with
3. Go on 4 dates - on each date, do 5 flirting techniques
4. If you really liked the date, text him a thank you

July 2009:
1. By July 1st, be on two LDS single websites with different profiles and different pictures
2. After 5 exchanges in email with a guy online, tell him you would love to talk to him on the phone
3. Go on 4 dates - on each date, do 5 flirting techniques
4. If you really liked the date, text him a thank you

August 2009:
1. Go on 3 dates - on each date, do 5 flirting techniques
2. After the 4th date with a guy you want to go out with again, bake him his favorite cookies (thus taking a risk and showing him you like him enough to make that effort - that's a hard one for me...)
3. At least 3 times after an interaction with a guy you want to go out with, say, "It was nice talking to you, you should call me sometime" and walk quickly away. (the goal is for the guy to come back after you to ask for your number)
4. After a man calls you 3 times, call him once (again to show interest and take some risk)
5. Express faith and trust in one man you are dating - do this two times

The ultimate goal is getting those 50 dates to a Mate and finding a couple of great guys to get past that 2 date drop-off I habitually have. I'll report in periodically to let you know how it goes! I'm already half way in June and still no date toward the 11 I have left. But no worries! I believe that hard work, taking some risks, faith and lots of prayers will help me obtain my goals!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fear and My Precious Time (Marnie)

I was watching something I taped a while back from the Lifetime channel and it went to commercial. Before I could grab the remote, a commercial played for a movie that had Ricki Lake in it. It was called Matters of Life and Dating and it is about a single woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer. One of the clips from the movie was quite poignant (yep, I used the word "poignant" in reference to a Lifetime movie!). Ricky Lake's character says, "Fear has been a waste of my precious time."

That really hit home. Because for MANY years, dating equaled fear for me. In essence, I have wasted much of my precious time. And it's something I've worked hard to change.

What where those fears? The unknown, the known, the potential loss, the potential gain, the heart broken, the heart not even being touched at all...oh! the list of fears goes on and on when it comes to dating!

And it doesn't get better when you are in a relationship. The risk gets deeper and the potential fallout can make you go numb if you dwell in that fear.

So why have I been so afraid? What's the worse that could happen from dating? Well, let's list them:
1. Heart broken
2. Feelings hurt
3. Rejection
4. Loss of a loved one that doesn't love you back
5. Being vulnerable and having that person hurt you or exploit that vulnerability
6. Taking a risk and looking stupid
7. Saying something you regret

I could keep going, but that pretty much covers the gist of it. The fear is real. But it can keep you from something really important - and I don't mean a husband. I mean an experience. Because maybe that experience is necessary to go forward! Maybe that experience - and yes, you can get hurt when you take a risk - helps you make a better choice and carve out more room in your heart for the great man that is up ahead!! If we don't face that fear, we don't go anywhere!

We Mormons are always looking for the miracle (the man of your dreams comes from nowhere, you both suddenly realize you are perfect for each other and get married quickly). But alas, often life is about hard work and patience. As I've continued with my "50 Dates to a Mate" program, I'm finding that it's not just a date I'm getting, it's experiences and some of them aren't that fun. I would REALLY love to be that girl that sets that goal and meets "the one" at date #26. But as I've reached #39 with no good potentials on the horizon, I realize this could go on all the way to #100. That in itself sounds depressing but I at least can see now that each of these dates has taught me something I needed to know - how to improve a relationship skill, humble me, give me confidence, teach me what NOT to do in a certain situation, help me make better decisions about who I date and deal with confrontation. All those things will help me be a better catch and helps me make a better decision and see what I really want in a spouse. And I've been very fortunate to NOT have gotten what I prayed for in the past when it has come to the few relationships I've had. Those matches that seemed so great at the time really weren't and I can see now from these experiences it's good they ended.

So what about fear? Even though I know those experiences are important, I've let the fear creep in again and it's made me very discouraged with my dating situation this last little while (thus the reason I haven't posted anything for so long). I've thought, what is the point??? I have put my heart and soul into everything that I have control over to find more dates, meet more men and to try to find a guy that works for me. And what I've gotten has been disappointing. Mostly that I don't have much to show for it but some painful dates and some hurt feelings from taking a risk with some of those dates. And when you make a goal and seem SO far from it after what feels like you've put your whole heart, soul and faith in, it's very easy to succumb to the fear and just walk away.

But I can't. The reason I want to walk away is only because I'm scared my biggest fear of never finding someone will come true. But listening to that fear is the very reason it WILL come true! Thus, the dichotomy. (I think I used that word right?!)

So what am I going to do about it? Not give up. Not succumb to my fear. Get back out there and keep searching for dating experience #39 - even though it's scary for me.

Tonight I'm supposed to go to a singles dance - the scary kind. And all my friends have bailed out on me. What should I do? Stay at home on a Saturday night because going alone will make me feel vulnerable and uncomfortable? It's scary! There will be times where I will feel out of place or even feel like a sitting duck with some less than great hunters taking aim. But it's better to take the fear head on and go. Face that fear! I've done it before! I can do it again!

And hopefully, this will help empower me, overcome that debilitating fear and stop wasting my precious time!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Prayer (Leah)

This morning I was looking online for an Education Week talk about healthy living to share with a friend. I found it. Then I decided to keep looking, just to see what I could see. I came across a talk on dating and finding your mate - "Hanging Out, Hooking Up, and Celestial Marriage," by Bruce Chadwick. After reading it I decided to share a bit with all of you. I was able to make a personal application in a friend relationship I'm currently struggling with, so I know there's truth in here for everyone - single or married. First is the link, then what follows is an excerpt.

I don't know whether they ever repeated this simple exercise. But I learned a great lesson that has affected how I live my life, and I pass it on to you as my fifth suggestion: "Pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Most of us probably don't like those who hate us, and, sadly, these feelings of dislike canker our souls. Amazingly, praying for our enemies reverses our feelings. Maybe the person still hates you, but that does not matter. What matters is that your heart is softened and the Spirit abides with you. Usually a change in your feelings and subsequent actions will initiate a reduction of the other person's hatred of you. Perhaps even reconciliation may occur.

Whenever I have been angry over the years with my wife, Carolyn, I kneel and pray for this good woman. She is such a kind and loving person that my anger is usually my own fault. Whatever the cause, my angry feelings are turned to increased love by sincere prayer.

On Sunday afternoon Carolyn saw me editing my remarks and asked if she could read them. She offered some insightful suggestions. Later that night, just as we were drifting off to sleep, she whispered to me, "I heard you share your experience about praying for your enemies when you taught our Jerusalem students during the Mount of the Beatitudes field trip. Since then, whenever I have been angry at you, I have prayed for you. It has worked every time."

I did not know how to respond. I did not know whether to be miffed that she had felt I'd done things that justified her anger or to be happy that she had discovered the same results that I had in applying the Savior's words. If I were miffed at her, I would have had to get out of bed and pray for her, and since I was very tired, I decided to just go to sleep a happy man. It should be no great surprise that good things come from following the teachings of the Master.

Besides this suggestion to pray for your spouse, the implication for those of you who are single is to not only pray for yourself in a dating relationship but also to pray for the young man or woman in whom you are interested. Pray for what is best for them, which may turn out not to be you. But that is okay. The Lord will bless you, and good things will follow. This simple action will change feelings between husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, children and parents, and neighbors and co-workers. When you are angry, when a relationship is stretched thin to the limit, sincerely pray for the person who at that moment "hates" you. It will bring a mighty miracle in your feelings and in your ability to bear affliction.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Evils of the "Why" Road (Marnie)

I attended a funeral the other day: a very old gentleman who was in a lot of pain finally passed away. But he left behind a wonderful family that dearly loved him and respected him for the kind of man he was. The family assured us all he had a great life.

It really was a great service, but it left me a little out of sorts. After hearing about this amazing man who openly adored his wife and lovingly called her his "little bride" til the day he died, it sent me down what I like to call, the "Why" road.

The "Why" road is destructive. You should NEVER go down it. It only brings more questions with no comfort and slowly torments you into new ways of regret and self-pity. I think a few you might know what I'm talking about.

The "why" road started with: "why didn't I find a man early in my life who loved and adored me and married him so I could have some kids before I was 30?"

Another why: "why did I get stuck with all the issues that have kept me from serious relationships?"

And: "Why didn't I deserve a chance at the kind of happiness that leads to watch your posterity grow as you become grandparents and great-grandparents?"

And still more: "Why didn't I figure out 10 years ago that I had some real fears with the opposite sex that has kept me from overcoming them and as a result has left me unmarried at 38?"

And even more: "Why did I have to be an old maid instead of the bride I see having pictures taken every time I walk through temple square?"

Not to leave out: "Now that I FINALLY understand my problems and have worked on overcoming them for years, why am I still so far away from a relationship with a really great man?"

And my favorite: "Why am I STILL alone?"

I think you get the drift.

Well, I'll quote Alisa Snell again: "It is what it is." I take that as, "Yep, that's what happened. Now get over it." Not much compassion in that statement, but when you are going down the "why" road there isn't enough to make you feel better anyway. So it's best to just take the nearest exit and get off of that road.

My life didn't turn out like the typical female at my age. No amount of questioning or wondering why my life didn't turn out that way will turn back time or give me a "do over." It's easy to crave another existence or even wish someone else's life. But that kind of questioning or thinking really leaves a bitter taste in your mouth and causes MORE problems: bitterness, anger, depression, frustration directed at the opposite sex and even God.

My life could have been the typical outcome, but that isn't the way it was supposed to happen. And that's it. The good news is that I took that exit and got out of my "why" road funk. Doing so reminded me how grateful I am for my life. Because really, my life is great! It's not the typical life I expected or desired when I was 12 years old, but I can see how many great opportunities and challenges I've had. And no married at 21 woman would have had those same opportunities. I know exactly who I am! I know what I'm made of. I've seen some really hard times and I've seen some incredibly wonderful times. It's a good life. It just lacks a significant relationship with a male.

But the good news is that even though I will never be a 30-something soccer mom - at my rate, I'll be the late 40-something soccer mom - it doesn't mean I WON'T have a great relationship with a wonderful man who will adore and love me and even might refer to me as his "little bride."

He's out there. I just have to keep looking...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back from the Dead, plus a little humor (Kris)

Just dropping by with a quick post. I just went back and read some of my entries when I started blogging on here and first met Grant. I can't believe that was less than a year ago. It was interesting reading all of that without the emotion behind it anymore. All that stressing. Things really did happen quickly. I can hardly believe I actually went through with it. It was a huge leap of faith.

I am happy to report that all those crazy things I was worried about ...well, to be honest, a lot of them came true. My life is so different than it used to be. A lot of what I loved about being single is gone. My life has become quite complex with a 45 minute commute to work each way on top of feeling new family obligations that I never seem to have enough time for, plus moving, trying to sell my condo, dealing with financial stress, etc etc. But, honestly, I have never been happier. I do not regret the leap of faith one bit. Grant is as dreamy as he ever was. For instance, tonight I was supposed to make a cake for Relief Society. It is also our date night and we usually spend it in SLC then sleep at my condo (his kids are with their mom one night a week). Grant just called to remind me about the cake and told me he was making it for me and sending it with a neighbor so I can fulfill my obligation at church yet still have date night with him. He's so great!

I hope you don't mind the personal update. I've missed this blog. What I really wanted to post today was something funny I found while cleaning out my bedroom in the move. This was something one of my girlfriends sent me when we were in college circa 1993.

Top 10 Reasons a Franklin Planner is Better than a Boyfriend:
10. A Franklin is neater.
9. A Franklin will never make you cry.
8. You don't have to worry about whether your Franklin will call.
7. A Franklin can never be late.
6. If a Franklin could kiss, it would be better.
5. A Franklin wont make you do its wash.
4. A Franklin is without hormones.
3. A Franklin won't leave you with wet lips and a broken heart.
2. A Franklin is FULL of necessary commitments.
1. A Franklin is used to organize your life, not screw it up.

Oh how we loved the Franklin planner back in the day.
Thanks for letting me post, even though I'm no longer qualified for this blog. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Warning: This is a RANT! (Marnie)

Dating -
Yeah, who made that up?? I realize it was "courting" for centuries, but when did it change? And when it DID change, who made up all the rules and regulations for current art of "dating?"

And WHY - in the name of my unborn children - didn't anybody teach me how to date???? I suppose it was supposed to be done by my older siblings. But my older brothers were ABSOLUTELY no help. They were more afraid of the opposite sex then I was of boys! Should I have asked my mom? Who does that when they are a kid?

I guess my girlfriends should have tuned me in - but I only had one best friend and she didn't date either. And when I got to college, I felt too embarrassed to ask my new friends.

And how come the Young Women's program didn't talk about it? Sure - there was the instruction on chastity. But they never said, "when a boy calls you up and you don't want to go out with him, say this. Or when you DO like a boy and he DOESN'T ask you out, do this. And whatever you do in this situation, DON'T do this!" That would have been helpful!

Most of my dating examples came from the Love Boat and the Brady Bunch. THAT wasn't good. Although I did know that the boy was always to meet the parents when they came to the door to pick you up. Marcia was good about that. Oh, and that coming over to someone's cabin for a "night cap" meant having sex. No really - I thought "night cap" was code for sleeping with someone. See how this wasn't good?

I also got some insight from movies I watched as a teenager, like: Some Kind of Wonderful, Say Anything, Pretty In Pink, Breakfast. All unrealistic and completely useless in the real world of dating. And actually those movies scared me to death! Really, it's no wonder I haven't had any success in relationships until now. I guess I should be blaming John Hughes.

When I was about 29, I got the book, "Dating for Dummies" in a white elephant exchange. Everybody laughed when I got it, but I was secretly pleased and anxious to read it. It made sense and it did help to a point. But then I didn't date anyone for at least a year...I probably forgot it all. I started reading other dating books several years ago after breaking up with The One. It seemed like I was doing something completely wrong because it ended poorly and I really hoped that those books would be the answer to improving my skills. And I'll admit, I have learned quite a bit that was so foreign to me before.

I have also learned some things on my own from practical experience. Nobody is better at a blind date than me! I've had more than my share of practice. But when it comes to going out with a guy I've just met or an acquaintance, I seem to get all confused as to how that works and things get messed up. And when it's trying to take a casual dating relationship into something more - watch out: I crash and burn at that! You can see the flames from miles away. It's really tragic.

I realize I'm blaming the past for my current troubles, which is a complete waste of time. Only I can change the future. But honestly, I wish I had some kind of heads up on how to understand, how to relate and how to respond to the male gender when I was much younger. I'm positive if I had, I would have been more successful, found out my issues faster and would be currently happily married with 4.5 kids.

Well, I HOPE happily married...

Stupid dating. I hate it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dreams (Leah)

“I finally understood what it meant to lose yourself, and I'm not talking about surrendering to the joys of motherhood and all that jazz. I'm talking about forgetting who you are or who you ever wanted to be, realizing that who you wanted to be would be an impossibility, a joke in your personal repertoire. To lose yourself meant the very real possibility that at the next holiday party you go to, you will become invisible once people find out that you don't "do" anything. You're just a mom.”

I read this on a young mother’s blog this morning. When I got to the line about “forgetting who you are or who you ever wanted to be, realizing that you who you wanted to be would be an impossibility” I was totally struck by my own voices in my head in relation to the lost dreams of being a mother. Who I always wanted to be was a young mom with a ton of kids. I never wanted to be some great public school teacher. I never wanted to be the secret blogger about being single and in my thirties. In fact, truth be told, I always dreamed of being married by 20 or so, living in a basement apartment cooking beans for dinner while the husband finished his graduate degree. I liked to imagine that I’d help him type and proof his thesis (my mother did that for dad) and we would both feel the victory of his academic accomplishments. We’d continue to struggle as we had one kid after another while he worked his way up to a respectable sort of job and we’d celebrate when we were able to finally buy a car that wasn’t a total junker. Yep, those were my dreams. They’re gone now. If/when I do marry the basement apartment will never happen – something about owning a nice house of my own dashed that dream. Please don’t get me wrong – I totally value my life’s experiences and wouldn’t trade them – I love all that I’ve learned and the fabulous people who I’ve encountered in my life as a single woman – but it does require that I put aside childish dreams. A “joke” as the blogger said. Not a painful one, just the inside variety that make you go “hmm.”

It just goes to show that dreams really are just dreams – good for formulating goals and giving a bit of color and excitement to the present, but like the kind that happen when you’re asleep – when they’re over, it’s best to look at reality and get living.

Monday, March 9, 2009

50 Dates to a Mate! (Marnie)

Remember when I blogged about every date being a learning experience? Well, I’ve come up with something else that makes any date – no matter how painful or embarrassing – all worthwhile for me! It’s called, “50 Dates to a Mate.”

I’m a list kind of gal. I love checking things off. It makes me feel like my hard work is worth it in anything I do and I get a lot of satisfaction when I complete a list. A while I go, after I had several bad dates, I decided I would give myself credit for going out on them and “enduring to the end” of the date. I made up a chart with 50 boxes – numbering them from 1 to 50. And for each date I go on, I fill in the name of the guy I went out with.

The goal for me is to go out with 50 different guys. I read a book called, If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single by Susan Page and it talked specifically about how statistically speaking, the more a person dates, the better chance they will find the right person to fall in love with and marry. And let’s face it, most dates aren’t that fun – setups can be downright, tragically WRONG. But, if I can just remember to make it a learning experience AND a check on my chart, it’s much easier for me to take the risk and go out with a guy that may not normally qualify as the man of my dreams. Because ONE of these times, it’s GOING to be the right guy! It’s all a matter of getting through those 50 dates!

The rules for myself was that I couldn’t count a date if I wasn’t sure if I was asked out because in my painful, past experience (referring back to my relationship with “Rebound”) - if you aren’t sure you are on a date, then you’re not. (I went on about 6 “hangout dates” with him that never meant a thing to him much to my embarrassment.) I also couldn’t count a guy more than once. And I couldn’t count it as a date if I asked them out. I only started really trying to date about a year ago, so I allowed myself to count some past dates as well so I would have a good running start – because for a girl like me 50 is A LOT!

Once I made this goal for myself, I had to figure out how to get more men to ask me out – because the truth is, the ball is in their court to ask us out. So I decided to change some expectations and to go out with guys maybe I had already realized wasn’t going to end up in a relationship. That doesn’t mean I’ve gone out with creepy or mean guys, but it means I try to keep an open mind and go out with someone that may not be the perfect choice for me. For me, it’s about building some skills and trying to learn to get along and communicate with guys. And it’s a true known fact (because it happened to me once), that a girl that dates – even if it’s a lot of first dates – shows more confidence around guys and somehow becomes more attractive to the opposite sex and - as a result - gets asked out more. It’s a really strange phenomenon.

Also to help out my situation, I found some good flirting tips from Alisa Goodwin Snell’s book, Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man. I’ve tried not only smiling more and making myself look more approachable, but I also try to compliment them once during the conversation or touch their arm once while talking to them to show my interest. I made a real effort with ALL guys instead of just the ones I liked or was interested in. When I did that with any guy I met or talked to at a party, it was much easier later to talk to the guys I was really interested in. I try to make the few moments (and that's the key too!) with me good and positive. As I have done this, I have had success and am asked out more than I ever have. It hasn’t always been with whom I’ve wanted – but like I’ve decided, no date is a waste!

Now I might be wrong and at the end of 50 dates and I may still be single. But I’m pretty sure if I put all my effort into it and try as hard at that as I do with anything else in my life, I will be that much closer to my ultimate goal of marriage. (Maybe at date 65!?!?) And the experience will at least help me learn some important new skills in relating to that very intriguing, sometimes annoying, always surprising and downright confusing, opposite sex.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Jack Fm,just what the Dr ordered(Bridget)

I took my Sunday drive on Saturday this weekend. The morning after a date with my old flame. The evening produced some emotional residue, some positive,some negative. This morning when the emotions were still running high,I was driving and assessing what had happened the night before and taking inventory, as it were. Take the Long Way Home by Supertramp came on the radio. And I thought of how appropriate that song is to describe much of my life. Taking the long way home. I thought about how the Gospel gives us a road map to follow, that if followed, offers a straight line to happiness and more importantly,joy. I thought about how much of my behavior and patterns with the men I fall for, and the decisions that I make help design a road back home with extra pitfalls and turns down dead ends. Things I know in my heart have been pushed away numerous times and sometimes forgotten because I'm tired of the fight, or the belief that it is really valid for me is waning. I've covered a lot of ground in my 37 years. A lot of ground that has taught me that even though my way home is long, the pitfalls are part of my individual road. If they weren't necessary, I wouldn't continue with them. There's some sort of scenery on those dead ends that may be still necessary to teach me that the paved straight road is better..and simpler...that without the pitfalls I wouldn't be able to recognize how safe and sound the straight road is. Apparently for me it takes a lot of dead ends to offer me the lesson. Overall,life is good. The Lord loves us and is aware of us fully, in the pitfalls and on the road.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Speed Dating - the Next Generation (Leah)

I have a student with less than the perfect set of social skills – he’s in high school, though, for crying out loud! Anyway, he came into class today excited to show me a flier he’d picked up at the local library. It was for a workshop on dating. It advertised a panel of experts. He misread that part, though, and thought it was going to be one of those speed dating things. What surprised me was that he even had the concept in his head of speed dating and was excited to try it! I thought speed dating was for desperate people over 35! Now a fifteen year old needs to resort to it? He then proceeded to tell me how every girl just sees him as a friend. He wants to get past “friends” and actually have a girlfriend. I advised him to ask those girls for advice. Apparently they just tell him he needs to change his face. It’s too bad girls can be so immature and hurtful. He did say they advised him on what to wear and he was apparently dressed on the spiffy side today. I advised him to talk less and ask girls questions about themselves. I felt like I was spitting in the wind. (That’s a real expression, I think that means doing something useless – anyone know?) Anyway, I’m hoping for the best for him. He may not be the tallest or smartest or suavest guy in the bunch – but if he’s really nice and attentive I think he’ll be successful someday in the world of dating. Someday. I will choose to be hopeful anyway!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Perspective (Leah)

I’ve really wanted to post something on here, but sometimes life gets so busy being lived it’s hard to find time to do much reflection. Or, as may be the case right now, sometimes the living and reflecting of life just gets so serious that it’s hard to find reflections fitting to share with the masses. This weekend, though, I had a lot of good bonding time with solid girl friends that helped bring some clarity to my thinking. Perspective seemed to be a running theme. Then this morning I was reading an email my brother sent to the family and I noticed a part of it could relate to my ideas of perspective. First let me share what he wrote. I’ll preface this to say he is a first year teacher. He has said that this is the hardest job he’s ever had. The teachers out there may enjoy his thoughts in relation to the profession; I did.

“I used my day off to outline some more chemistry. By the end of this year I will have essentially my own mini high school chemistry textbook. I’ve gotten less creative as the pressure of time has blown the petals off my week. Creativity is a time intensive product, which demands concentration and a lot of patience. ‘Patience is a virtue, catch it if you can. Seldom in a woman, never in a man.’ I’ve also started making mini-lectures online to accompany my mini-textbook. The problem is I don’t have all the necessary equipment to do the job that I want to do, so I have to settle for mediocrity and pray to Salieri for forgiveness (a reference for those who’ve seen Amadeus). I post my lectures on you-tube and use it as another tool to convince my students that it is their own fault that they are failing my class. I never realized how guilt-inducing a student’s failure is on a teacher. I’m trying everything I can to shake my clothes in front of them and not be lazy in my responsibility to teach. Nevertheless, the guilt still haunts me and I try to think of ways to reach them and motivate them. Pom-poms anyone?

“School starts tomorrow and it is a long stretch before our next break. I hope I can maintain the necessary patience to withstand the hurricane storm of complaints that my students launch at me daily. I’ve decided that they are going to have to write them down. My skin is too thin and my conscience too weak to stand up against the daily barrage of whining. It’s tiresome enough to teach and to think of creative ways of connecting the material with their life let alone to swallow the excuses that pile up at your feet. Every student must take chemistry to graduate. What percentage of students would you imagine are grateful to be struggling to learn chemistry? A new rule will be written on the board tomorrow, ‘All complaints and excuses will have to be written for them to be considered.’ Perhaps I will start a blog for that, for my students to post their complaints. I can respond to them at home, at a distance.”

So… how does this relate to a dating blog? I’ll tell you. I find that a lot of my peers and I complain. We complain about the clueless members of the opposite sex, married people, society that makes us feel second rate, pain of rejection, bad blind dates, petty and manipulative women, creepy old men, bitter old-maids, and judgmental twenty-somethings, whatever we can find we complain. Don’t get me wrong – the world is full of complainers – not just single people. I KNOW we’re not an exception in that regard. I just know what I hear and I hear complaining. One friend says she is concerned because she feels like a lot of people wind up cursing God in their frustration. Whatever it looks like or sounds like I think it’s easy to fall in the trap of self pity and negativity. When I read my brother’s woes it occurred to me that we’re all a bunch of “chemistry students” in the school of life. We’ve been required to take a class we really don’t enjoy. Instead of complaining about it and making our “teacher” miserable maybe we should all just suck it up and try to learn something.

Actually, that sounds a lot harsher than I intended. When I first decided to share my brother’s words I wanted to share the fact that I think God has probably bent over backwards trying to help us understand. He’s provided endless resources for us to find solutions to our problems. He is available at all times to answer our questions and He’s even paid the ultimate price to enable us to repent and progress despite our weaknesses and short comings. But like my brother’s students I think we are quicker to complain than we are to take advantage of God’s help. Maybe my brother needs to create a gratitude blog, instead of one for complaining, since after all, gratitude brings more happiness than complaining.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's all about Drew (Marnie)

The other night I was flipping through the channels and saw Drew Barrymore being interviewed by Jay Leno. I don't know about you, but I've always liked her. She's had a crazy life...her parents didn't look out for her and she got into drugs, alcohol, and the party life - even entered rehab - all before she was 13. She's also had her share of many relationships - multiple marriages and engagements that ended. But I've always liked her. One thing I've admired about her is that she has always had a positive attitude - no matter what experience she had just gone through. This girl could have become even more crazy and whacked out because of her terrible upbringing and even from her genes. (She comes from a long line of alcoholics.) But she cleaned up her life by 15 and has maintained an upbeat and hopeful outlook. She's always talking about being happy and finding the good in everyone. That's really impressive for someone who has lived the darker side of Hollywood.

I was once again reminded about her positive attitude when Jay asked her a question about her being single. She had the best answer I've ever heard. It went something like, "Yes, I've been single 9 months. And I love being single right now! What a great opportunity! I can focus on my work and on my friends. And really, the prospect of a new love is exciting! It could be right around the corner! How romantic!"

Those words really humbled me. Why can't I have that kind of excitement about my single status? Why when someone asks me if I'm dating someone I get defensive and start trying to prove I'm working on finding a mate? And it is so true what Drew said - love CAN be right around the corner - and it often is. Especially if you are in a good place and generally happy. There have been several times in the last couple of years where I've had a good attitude about my single life and had hope and faith that a relationship was just up ahead. And I was right! And I don't believe that's a coincidence. And even though those relationships didn't end up in marriage - ok, not even close - all of them have ended up being a significant experience with someone - and I have some great memories and learned some important things from each of them.

I think because we talk so much about eternal marriage, we think that we are always failing if our relationships don't end in a trip to the temple. But dating and relationships is about finding the right person to take us to the temple. So really we aren't failing; we are separating the wheat from the chaff! And that goes for when the guy breaks up with us. Because if they don't appreciate us or want to make the effort to commit, they are DEFINITELY considered chaff and not right for us!

(Of course, trying to keep that in mind is easier said than done - especially if you fell in love with that chaff...)

My good friend - who is now married - always had the best philosophy about dating and relationships. She believed that relationships were meant to teach us things and that they were necessary and important BEFORE we get to the right guy we marry. Too often I go on a date thinking, "can I marry him?" instead of, "do I want to spend the next date with him?" or "What can I learn from this guy?" And each of those relationships I have had taught me TONS of things I needed to know and helped me with the next one. I think having my friend's outlook on relationships and dating can really help when that relationship does end and disappointment sets in. Because it's no longer a failure, it's a learning experience. And as another good friend told me: Life is a laboratory. There is no failing - just a lot of experimenting!

Bouncing back from a disappointment or even keeping a good attitude after a long spell of no dating is the hardest part. But it's so necessary if you are going to get to the next relationship. You have to keep hope alive and believe that there is someone else out there that will really appreciate you and want to spend time with you - even if it's for a little while.

It's all about getting that hope back. If you have just an inkling of hope, it can grow! Especially if you nurture it with positive feelings, hard work (usually means going to singles activities and flirting), and a whole lot of faith and prayers. And as that hope grows, you really can't help in feeling those positive vibes and feeling happier about life and your current single status. And then those positive vibes will be returned back to you - sometimes in the form of a really good date - and even a relationship.

So I really think Drew Barrymore has a good thing going! And I plan on responding the same way next time someone asks me if I'm single.

You know, I never thought I'd say it (because really, she married Tom Green!), but from now on I'm going to try to be more like Drew!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I apologize to the men in my dating pool (marnie)

Ok, so I’m feeling a little guilty about something I said in my last blog. I compared my dating pool to a bushel of overripe apples. Yeah, its not the meanest thing I’ve compared men to, but it isn’t a good one. Nor is it respectful.

I used to have a very dim view of the opposite sex for a time (ok, all through my 20s). They could never do anything right! And if one male misbehaved, I slammed them all. And I did this in my every day conversation. Yeah, you wonder why I didn’t get married before I was 30, huh??

Well, I’m a reformed slammer of men. I don’t think pointing out the faults of a group of people have ever built bridges to understanding that group of people. It’s better to take the positive and focus on it. I know one of the things I desire most from people is understanding and compassion. And I know I have some really shallow points about myself that I’m sure some other people don’t like. But I would much rather them focus on my really good points that I’m proud to have worked on and actually achieved. So shouldn’t I also give that much courtesy to others?

And the truth is, I have met and dated some wonderful guys! Wonderful guys that have been in my same social status predicament. And if I truly have changed, I shouldn’t be comparing these guys to rotten apples. That’s just rude!

A girlfriend of mine was telling me about her boyfriend and some of the things he’s done for her as they’ve become closer in their relationship. She has a hard time believing he really digs her a lot and it’s hard for her to see when he is sacrificing and making her priority. But because I’m an outsider, I can see it as clear as day! What a great guy! Not perfect, but he tries so hard to do what’s best for both of them. It’s good to see a man committed to putting his girlfriend first and trying to work as a team as they figure out their social agendas (both family obligations as well as their own wants and needs). He is an outstanding man that really is a good representative of how many good men that are out there.

Yeah, I know. They screw up. They come off as selfish brats sometimes. But they also come through, too! And I know that as I’ve focused on their good points (harder to do when you’ve recently been rejected, mind you), I’ve found I’m happier and more upbeat about the future. And I’ve dated a whole lot more. Sure, some of those dates haven’t been my favorite, but it’s nice to be wanted enough for them to take me out!

So, I apologize to all the men in my dating pool! I think you are tremendous! And even though some of you don’t prefer my company, that’s ok too!

As that primary song goes, “Kindness begins with me….” - I pledge to keep seeking out the good in the men I know and even point out the good things I see they do when I have the opportunity. Not only will it help me keep positive but it will reinforce those behaviors that often go overlooked and unrecognized. It will also help me identify the kind of man I’m looking for to date and eventually marry. And that’s a win-win situation.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

To Celebrate or Not to Celebrate (Leah)

I wanted to post something I’ve been thinking about but I don’t want to be “negative.” We’ll see how it goes. This week one of my single guy friends sent an article to me about Valentine’s. It basically stated that it’s a retailers’ holiday and should be boycotted for the sake of true love. Bob full heartedly agreed with the article. I’m one to shun “the establishment” and I too hate to think I’m being “sold” anything so normally I’d be agreeing with him. Well, maybe it’s because I’m happily connecting with Phil these days, but I found myself disagreeing. (Maybe if I’d read the article during a between-Phils stage I’d have agreed with it.) Anyway, because this anti-vday article got me thinking about how men (Bob is a guy and the author of the article is a guy) view the holiday I began noticing how other men I know (married friends, co-workers, etc) view the holiday. And I was surprised and a bit sad to see plenty of v-day haters. I get the impression that they don’t like it because they feel manipulated. Nobody likes to be manipulated. I think in the world of expressing emotion there can be a lot of undue pressure put on men to express things they may feel, but would rather not express on command or in a rote way. It DOES seem that society has trained us to think that the only acceptable form of expressing affection is in the form of candy and flowers. Well, with all this thinking I decided that if a man really wants to buck the system and be independent and non-manipulated by the retail industry he can find plenty of alternative ways for expressing his emotion. As for the date he does it – I say it never hurts to have an excuse to show some love. It’s like ward temple day – sure you can go when you want, but it’s sort of nice to have a set date to do it in case you tend to forget and there’s something communal and good natured about doing it with others. Celebrate!

Friday, February 13, 2009

maybe if more men recited poetry (marcia)

With Valentines Day coming up, I thought I'd share my new favorite poem that Clue recited to me when we were just starting to get serious. It totally worked.

The Bread and the Knife by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter, or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.

But don't worry,
I'm not the bread and the knife.

You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Persistence and Patience (Marnie)

I’ve just finished reading, If I’m so Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single? By Susan Page. She has a lot of insightful information in that book! Some of it really hit home and I’ll go into some of the issues I identified with in later posts. But one of the principles she talked about is Persistence and Patience. She says the key to getting married is really to keep dating and not give up. Don’t burn yourself out, but just keep trying and trying. Well, easier said than done!

These last few months have been about me working on my mantra and actually living it. The gist of it is that I believe I can meet some great “potentials” and date them. That means not only repeating this mantra several times each day, but living it. I’ve gone beyond my normal comfort zone of attending parties (several on New Years eve alone!!) and functions where I can meet the kind of guys I want to date. I’ve flirted, done the security guard stare, and tried to be as open an approachable as possible. It’s a lot of work and I’ve had my moments of awkwardness and disappointment. But I have had some success. I even went out with a couple of guys – even one that I really thought there was a real possibility.

But unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. It’s sad because I really thought there could be something there.

I kinda feel like I’ve been through a bushel of overripe apples – studied, examined and found the best apple that looked the tastiest out of all of them, took a bite and realized it had lost all of it’s flavor. It was such a promising apple!! And now after a whole bushel, not one apple that fits my needs. I feel so deflated from the last apple that I can’t help be think discouraging thoughts such as, “really? This is the best there is out there?” Or, “What are the chances that I find a guy that has what I’m looking for AND is emotionally ready for a long-term commitment? Or even wants me back?? Is that even possible???”

It seems so futile. And I just want to throw my hands up in the air and walk away because the emotional investment and risk taking to just meet guys and try to encourage them to ask you out leaves you in all sorts of vulnerable positions and completely drained. Who wants to do THAT again? Especially when the options can look so bleak at times.

Well, I’m not into self-pitying for too long. I believe this book. Not because it has some magic answer but that it speaks truth. Statistically speaking, the more you get yourself out there and take risks, the sooner you will stumble into the right guy that is ready for something real and meaningful (aka marriage).

So until I find some new good possibilities and find who I’m looking for I’m going to keep repeating over in my head, “persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience.”

Hey, I may even cross-stitch it!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Love Languages (Leah)

I just tried writing something for work. It got lost in a careless computer button pushing error. I tried to rewrite it and came up dry. So, instead, I’ll try to post something on the blog!
I’ve recently been discussing the challenges of dating with a friend whose boyfriend hates gift giving and thus hates holidays. As a gift giver herself, she’s extremely sad about this upcoming weekend. In fact, I bet she’s convinced her relationship won’t last past Saturday. I can’t blame her. Every time I try to think of “tomorrow” I can easily scare myself. I keep focusing just on today. In her case, though, it seems like some serious consideration of the love languages is called for.
Have we all read it? I think it’s been around for awhile. I read it years ago – three or four Phils ago, actually. It’s taken me awhile to figure out my love languages. I’m pretty sure mine is quality time. I love it when a friend calls or visits and just spends time catching up hearing all my woes. I am also big of physical touch, but I’ve learned the hard way over the years that touch doesn’t always equal love like I thought it did. Gift giving, my friend’s love language, is not spoken by her boyfriend, thus giving her a bit of a challenge in truly expressing her love, or feeling loved. Gifts make me happy, but only when it seems like a gift that took time and attention, and the love is felt in the exchanging of gifts. Words of affirmation may be a big one for me. All I know is that in the years I’ve been dating I rarely hear them – I wonder if it’s just not a guy thing. When Phil expresses himself in words, like that, though, I feel like I’m flying. I know that all love languages speak to us, but if you have a primary one that your significant other is not especially talented in expressing then you need to be aware that it’s time for you to learn a foreign language. I really do believe the languages can be learned – both in giving and receiving. Wouldn’t true love be shown if I managed to express love in a way that means a lot to Phil, even if it doesn’t come terribly naturally for me? Now if I can only figure out with more confidence what his love language is. I guess I better ask more questions – do some finding out!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Caution: Dating Causes Humility - and Sometimes Humiliation (Marnie)

So all those non-dating years from 16 to 30 really has left me miles away from being properly experienced for dating. I'm sure everyone has had their learning experiences about what is kosher on a date and what is totally taboo. I've watched lots of chick flicks trying to make up from a huge lack of personal experience, but sometimes I just choke!

Like for instance, the guy I've been waiting to ask me out for months caught me off guard when he called me and asked me out. He asked me for a night I couldn't go. Instead of doing the appropriate, "Oh, I'm not available Friday night, how about Saturday night?" all I could do was ramble about how I had to go to a stupid function and how I wished I didn't. I knew after the conversation that he would think I was just being polite and trying to let him down easy. It was so sad that I didn't have enough experience (or brain cells) to spit out what I SHOULD of said to give him the proper vibes to encourage him of my interest. I CHOKED.

I knew he wouldn't ask me out again (call it intuition or revelation, whichever), so I took a chance and asked him out to something I needed a date for awhile later. Luckily he said yes. I was having such a relaxed, good time with him that night that I started forgetting I was on a first date - which can be dangerous.

Now the dating books say that on a first date you are supposed to be on your best behavior, try to watch what you say and not be offensive. On a first date, a lot rests on first impressions when it comes to getting that second date. Did I remember that? No! I just kept spewing - talking off the cuff and not really thinking about what I was saying. (I couldn't help it!! he was really easy to talk to!)

Then I heard a huge generality coming from my mouth, "Yeah, I never want to be rich. Rich people are snobs and their children are spoiled rotten and become menaces to society" and so forth. At one point he said, looking rather serious, "how much does a person have to make before you consider them rich?" Because I don't know this guy all that well, I knew I had gone into dangerous territory - what if his family WAS rich and I just offended him and his family? Maybe he was rich!! WHY WAS I STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS???

This is of course not the first time I've made a fool out of myself or learned the hard way about the rules of etiquette on dates or to put it bluntly - what turns a guy off...there really are too many to bring up.

But stuff like this reminds me why I've avoided dating for some many years - so many opportunities to look silly or say something embarrassing. Now that I'm in a time in my life that I am dating and practicing a fair amount, it still brings me down that I still have so far to go before I'm not making silly blunders like this. UGH! What I wouldn't do for rewind buttons on dates!!

Before you think I feel too sorry for myself, I know this goes both ways and guys have their humiliating moments. I've witnessed behavior by dates that I know they wished they could have a "do-over" (like we used to get as kids when playing kick ball).

I went out with one guy who had a cow because I beat him at a card game and INSISTED on a rematch instead of just going to the next activity. When he did beat me he rubbed it in my face like he had done something great. He later mentioned that he felt bad for acting like that.

And then there was the guy that went ON and ON about his stomach and bowel problems. That wasn't fun to hear - and I didn't ask.

Then there was the guy that talked the WHOLE night about his ex-wife and how mean she was. And then to top it off he bragged about how he got kicked off a dating website for "inappropriate" behavior - three times!

I'm sure all of them thought later that maybe they shouldn't have said what they said during the night. I know I regretted hearing it.

But sometimes it turns out ok in the end. A friend of mine once told me that on her fist date with her husband, he stood up from the table at a restaurant and acted like a monkey - literally. She later asked him why he did it. He admitted that he was just trying to impress her and that's what came to his mind to do right then. He regretted it.

It worked out in the end for them - because they got married - and I guess if there is really "something" between two people, it won't matter in those silly embarrassing moments. But many times have I made a snap judgment on a guy by one thing he said? He is trying to impress me as much as I'm trying to impress him! Maybe I should be giving more "do-overs" myself. I know that's what I would want.

So, that cute guy that I went out with and hoped he would call to ask me out again? Yep...didn't call. Here's hoping it wasn't the "rich" comment and instead he left town for the weekend! Maybe next week he'll call???

Ah! Humility...What a glorious thing! (insert sarcasm here)

The question of the week: what's the most embarrassing thing you've done or said on a date?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I learned from Adam Walsh (Leah)

So much in my head – constantly thinking I should blog, but then I don’t get around to it and I feel guilty. Guilt is useless. ’m going to come up with something now. Today my students and I were discussing competition, in particular among friends. Is it good? Is it okay to compete against friends? Can a good friendship survive the most difficult situations? Well, it just so happens I was talking to a friend last night about the recent news in the Adam Walsh case. I remember as a young child watching the “made for TV movie” about his disappearance. What I remember most from that story is that his disappearance led to troubles in his parents’ marriage. In my memory they wound up divorced, but I think in the news recently I noticed they were married, so who knows where I got that idea. But the point is, when I was young I took note of an important lesson from his disappearance. I learned that when really difficult situations arise, marriages often can’t survive. The individuals turn so inward toward their own grief and suffering that they fail to support each other and think of those who are still living. It’s true that what happened to them was horrible and hard, but that was the time to really rely on each other and look for ways to comfort and sustain the other – not turn inward. Easy for me to say, I guess. But a few years ago when I was experiencing some of my own very trying grief I was also in the middle of a long distance relationship that I felt was taking a lot of time and attention. When I complained to him of how hard it was for me to worry about “us” while also coping with my own personal trial he suggested we break things off. I responded quickly with a “no way” – I had seen the story of Adam Walsh and I knew that when things get tough then that’s when you stick together. That’s when you just try harder to be there for each other. I was just asking him to do more since I was feeling so emotionally drained. A month later he broke it off. He said he wasn’t feeling right about it – I can totally respect that decision, but at the time I wondered if my personal challenge precipitated his lack of feeling. It was long distance – I think it’s hard for a man to feel like he’s really helping emotionally when he’s physically so far away. It was an amicable break up – my trial had passed by that time (nearly) and I was able to move on. Still, I won’t forget the important lesson I learned from Adam Walsh. He taught me how relationships can (and must) survive the most difficult situations. And I guess a question for another day is how do you deal with personal suffering without dragging others down with you? Maybe I know the answer but I think I need to constantly ponder it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Coming Out(Bridget)

Kris was the one that invited me to be on this blog, and I am thankful she did, I would have never thought about thank you Kris. I have decided to start my own blog...head out on my own...not as Bridget, but as Jen, who I really am. Please visit me at
Thank you Marcia,Leah,Marnie,Scully and Lorelai for being great blog pals and for all of your insight and support.

Falling off the Planet (Lorelai)

I just realized how easy and refreshing it is to fall off the planet and how terribly difficult it is to recover. Just yesterday it was Thanksgiving, a minute ago it was Christmas, this very nanosecond January is passing me by. I took ten days off from Christmas to New Years and it was wonderful. I had so much fun playing with DK, making crafts, cleaning the house and reading several books that have been on my list. While I was away I did not get on the Internet once, not once. I limited my TV time to sharing time with my son and I did not even attempt to learn all the fun things my new cell phone will do. But now that I am back I am playing major catch up. It is astonishing how much things can pile up in the technological world. Seriously, I thought technology was supposed to make life less complicated!

To me excess is sometimes the hardest thing to control in this life. I mean the excess of good possibilities. There are so many options. The good, better, best kind (as Elder Oaks would say). In my recovery process I decided to continue to limit Internet and TV time at my home (although I have spent far too many minutes playing with my new phone) and concentrate on the better things. I hope that I can get to the point where I can choose only the best things.

I am not exactly sure how this relates to dating other than I find it difficult to make the time. There are so many choices of what I can do with my time that making time for dating has been difficult. My alternate choices are not bad choices so it makes it easier to choose not to put myself out there. But just as I was able to recover from becoming a hermit for ten glorious days I know I can recover from avoiding dating opportunities.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Expectations (Leah)

Sometimes you start out a relationship with a person because he SEEMs to be a pretty good option. From what little you know of him there’s no reason not to get to know him better. As you do get to know him you are impressed with little things. Stuff comes up, though, that makes you wonder and ask yourself what it could mean for the future. Thinking about the future is inevitable – the next day, the next date, the next week, then next month, the next year – you can’t help but ask yourself how your relationship with this person is going to affect your future. I know some of the debates I’ve had relate to my fears about the relationship NOT working out as much as my fears of it working out. I worry about the pain and awkwardness of trying to “just be friends.” Lately, though, I’ve tried really hard to not worry about any of it. I’ve focused a lot more on just the moment and being present in the moment. One of the things I’ve discovered is that the moment I’m in is ALWAYS better than anything I’d have anticipated. Of course I’ve fallen back on old habits of expecting and anticipating something exciting and fun, but when that moment comes I’m a bit disappointed because it never matches my expectations. So I’m again reminded to just live in the moment and be grateful for what happens as it goes. I just have to share that New Phil continually surprises me, as each moment with him brings new joy that I never expected. Dating him has been a real blessing in my life.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Congratulations Kris!! (marcia)

Congratulations to Kris who marries Grant today!!

Kris is the founder of this blog - she wanted to do something that would help her reach her goal of getting married. I'd say she met her goal!

I always say that it's a miracle when two people find each other - but I also believe that miracles happen everyday!

Best of luck and much happiness to you both!!