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10 Tips for Positive Online Dating

Screen shot 2015-08-19 at 9.51.55 AMI got an email a couple months ago from a friend who wanted advice on online dating. She wrote, “You have been very inspiring to me, watching you date online with a ‘positive’ attitude, and I was wondering if you had any tips for me. I desire more than ever to find a companion and someone to share life with, and I’m trying to get in the mind set. It just feels hard to date online positively! I made a Match profile, and have gone on some sad first dates … depressing.”

You see, this year, I set a goal to go on 50 dates. Which is crazy because I don’t think I’ve even been on 20 dates in the 20 years I’ve been “of age” to date. But because of that poor track record, I wanted to figure it out. What am I missing? Why am I not dating? Am I a bad date? Am I just undatable? Do I not give off the “right vibes?” What gives? So really, this is an experimental year as I try to learn: How to date.

And we all know–I’ve been online before (exhibit A and B) and not with a very good attitude. So I took her email to heart and tried to determine what I was doing differently this time around to result in a better experience. I am NOT an expert. I’m honestly making it up as I go. But here are 10 things that have made a difference for me this time. Continue reading →

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Three Things I Need to Say About Dating and Marriage

It’s an interesting thing to read through one’s blog archives, which is what I’ve been doing lately. It’s a little embarrassing too (yikes), but mostly it’s just interesting to see who I’ve become–to compare the person I am now to the person I was a few years ago. So much has happened. So much has changed since I first started blogging.

Of particular interest to me has been to read my attitude toward dating/love/marriage/men. How I saw it then. How I see it today.

Over the last year, I’ve formulated some conclusions regarding this aspect of my life–conclusions that have brought … peace, I suppose. Although that sounds a little dramatic, even for me.

The first conclusion was more a “stroke of inspiration” that came as I was sitting on the dock one evening in my backyard in Florida (back when I was living in Florida). I’m not even sure what I was thinking about to invite its entrance, but I know it came from God. I know what those thoughts feel like and this was one of them.

“It’s not your fault that you’re not married,” He told me. Continue reading →

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Looking for a Polygamist. Or a Pilgrim. Or a virgin. (Or in other words: My adventures in dating.)

I’ve decided to change my dating tactics. This look is called, “How to snag a polygamist. Or a pilgrim.” #eatyourheartoutMarthaWashington #onlythecoolkidsstillwearfrenchbraids

Dating is so far from my mind right now (Who has the time?). But I found these snippets (filed away in my book of special memories) from another one of Frit‘s and my forays in online dating. When will my membership eeeeeennnnnnddddd? And whyyyyyy did I sign up (again) in the first place? If you missed the last installment or need a moment of comedy today, click here. There are some doozies.

P.S. Nothing has been changed in these excerpts. All errors–be it grammatical, spelling, punctuation, or personality–belong to the owner. Continue reading →

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#reverb10: moment

Day 3 of Reverb10 // Ali Edwards asks // Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

Easy peasy. The one moment this year when I felt most alive this year was on an evening walk in May. Do you remember? Here is what I wrote about that night:

It was a balmy night, the kind of night you want to drink in gulps but can’t seem to swallow fast enough. The sun was just setting behind a plateau of red rocks, sending an offering of burnt yellow rays heavenward. A warm breeze flirted with the hem of my skirt and tugged at my hair lifting single strands like kites in a summer sky. The scent of late Spring blossoms danced along, teasing my taste buds with their sweetness. Quite simply, the air–dry and delicious–was alive. And so was I.

My senses intoxicated, I wanted to slow the seconds–to have time enough to breathe it all in and wrap it up with a beautiful bow for later opening and reopening.

“Do you want to go for a walk?” I asked. “Mm hmm,” he answered.

We started South and the yellow light soon bent beneath the deep pink clouds which then gave way to an indigo dusk. Quietly, he slid his hand into mine, lacing his fingers in that way that he does and said … “Tell me something. Something about you.”

I thought for a minute. Where do you begin when there’s no limit to the answers? Memories and images flowed with the smallest of details and timidly, I began.

He listened as I talked, asked questions when he wanted to know more, laughed at the funny parts, and rubbed his thumb back and forth over my hand when I cried because of how deeply I felt about what I was telling him. It was easy, this conversation. Easy to tell him things. Easy to be myself. Easy to walk beside him.

It was his turn next. To “tell me something.” We zig-zagged back and forth, up and down different blocks, talking and not talking, laughing, listening, hand in hand, stopping to smell every flower within reach, saying hello to the neighbors, watching the moon rise, large and full, pregnant with soft light on the horizon.

And only when the sky grew black with night did we turn to make our way back home. One star hung low and bright in the western sky. Crickets chirped from the gardens by the sidewalk. I looked at our shadows stretched out long in front of us and all I could think was, how much more content could I possibly be?

That relationship ended all of one month later. And though it was time for it to end, and though he wasn’t what I wanted for forever anyway, it was, I realize now, another loss. Another loss after my first significant loss. Looking back, I wonder … was that the tipping point for my life this year? The final drop in the bucket of disappointment that pushed me into this hazy, gray, tunnel of empty? I don’t know.

But I am reminded of another time when I felt that alive. Again, it revolved around a guy. And I wonder … What is that? Why is that? Am I that girl? Perhaps.

I’ve tried to deny the romantic in me for years, telling myself that practicality is the way to go. But the cold, hard truth is, love and romance make me feel alive. They feed the need I have inside to connect deeply with another human being. Admiration pushes me to new heights and when I love, romantically that is, I find myself being more and doing more.

No, I wasn’t in love with Brandon, but I cared deeply for him. And knowing he cared about me, even for the few short months we shared, filled me with life. That night under the orange sky was filled with all the romance this girl needed to feel every molecule of the moment, from the tips of my fingers to the soles of my feet. It was those 60 minutes, a mere 1/8760th of my entire year, when every cell was awake and full and alive.

To read more #reverb10 posts, click here.

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4 Free Valentine Card Downloads (from me to you!)

So since it’s Friday, and since the big Day-o-Love is in like 9 days, and since I don’t like shopping for cards (exhibit a), and since I can never find one that says the right thing in exactly the right way anyway, I figured I’d make my own. And then I thought … maybe you could use some too?!

I’m on a black and white kick these days so I wanted something clean and simple, with the emphasis on the message. I got some black envelopes and a white paint pen to label and address mine. Cut lines are marked on the page. And don’t be surprised if I offer some more tomorrow because I had so much fun making these.

Have a fantastic Friday! Happy weekend-ing. Oh and as always, feel free to share the link with friends and family.

Download HERE

Download HERE

Download HERE

Download HERE

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Looks Like It’s Your Lucky Day

See, here’s the thing. I don’t like to talk about dating. Partly because I don’t know what to say about it. But mostly because it’s difficult. It’s like walking a tight rope. If you wobble or bobble and say the wrong thing you fall on one of two sides: a) the side where you’re viewed as whiny and desperate and unsatisfied with your life because you don’t have “someone” or b) the side where you’re overly “fine” with your “situation” and don’t appear to even need that “someone”. And both, are dangerous.

Having said that, I need to explain some things about my perspective, which is LDS (Mormon). Most people who are not LDS would say that “30 and unmarried” isn’t that big of a deal–that there’s plenty of time. But the thing is, being “30 and unmarried” in the LDS faith is a bit of an anomaly. Most Mormons marry in their early 20’s and begin families soon thereafter. And while that trend is shifting to where people are now marrying at slightly older ages, it still doesn’t negate the emphasis our faith puts on the importance of family, regardless of age.

We believe–I believe— that the family is central to our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness for us, His children. We believe that the greatest joys in life are to be found within the walls of our own homes. I know that to be true. And therein lies the foundation of my greatest wants.

And yet, beyond these matters of faith, there are also just the simple feelings of a girl’s heart–a hopeless romantic girl’s heart who wishes for someone to hold hands with and dance with late at night after all the dishes are done. Who wants to pack her love’s lunch every morning and iron his shirts every afternoon. Who wants to have dinner waiting, along side a big fat kiss. Who wants evening walks and quiet talks right before she tucks her perpetually frozen feet in between his warm ones under the covers. Who wants Cherrios ground into the carpet and permanent marker on the walls. (And if anyone tells me I’m living in a dreamland, leave now please. You’re not invited to read this blog anymore. I’m serious.) This girl has kept these feelings locked up tight for a while now, because it’s too hard to feel them. It’s just easier to avoid them and dive head first into the life I’ve been given, than to allow them to permeate the hours of daylight. It’s easier to say, “it’s fine. I’m happy. I love my life. What great things can I accomplish while I have this time?”

But that’s the thing…I really am fine. I am happy. I do love my life and want to do all I can to acheive great things. And I am–acheiving great things, that is. I’m on that tightrope, as we speak, feeling all of it at the same time–being “fine” but knowing there’s more, loving my life for all that it is but seeing what it still lacks, working hard to accomplish great things while knowing the greatest achievement I could ever attain is that of being a wife and mother.

Oh wow. I just re-read everything I just wrote. It’ll be your lucky day if I actually push “Publish Post.”

And so. I don’t talk about it. Because I don’t know what to say. And because it’s difficult and I don’t know how to walk the tightrope in public.

***
as always, please don’t leave any stupid comments.
and no, I still don’t want to talk about it.
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A Step in the Right Direction? I don’t know. The jury’s still out.

So I did it. I paid for eHarmony.

It was impulsive and reckless–which is how I think most normal people sign up for these sites. It’s late at night. You’ve just finished watching a Jane Austen movie and in a fit of longing for a man (preferably with an English accent) to sweep you off your feet and fall madly in love with you, you find yourself actually thinking, “This might be a good idea. I mean where else am I going to meet someone?”

I’m not saying that’s what happened to me. I’m just saying…I imagine that’s how it might could possibly happen for someone else. Or something along those lines. Maybe.

So it’s been three days and can I just say…it’s miserable. Every anxiety, fear, and insecurity has come bubbling to the surface as though I was a 10th grader facing the lunchroom wondering what table is acceptable for me to sit at.

I can’t believe I actually paid money for this.

*as a reminder: don’t leave any stupid comments about dating, being single at 30, how you understand, how you got married later (at the ripe old age of 26) and that it will all work out, how God has someone wonderful waiting, how God needs me for something special in the meantime, etc. “Stupid” being the operative word here. And if we meet in person, no. I don’t want to talk about this.

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The Most Important Thing

Karly and JJ were married, or what we Mormons call “sealed”, at the Columbia South Carolina Temple. We believe that when a marriage is solemnized in a temple by someone holding the proper priesthood authority, it is recorded both here on earth and in heaven and that it is an eternal union–not just until “death do you part.” This is one of the main reasons we place such a huge emphasis on families–creating them, strengthening them, and loving them–because they are forever.

I don’t write much about my own personal experiences with love and relationships (or lack thereof) here on my blog for a lot of reasons. Partly because people say stupid things to “older” single people–not because they mean to or are stupid, they just don’t know what to say, and in the absence of knowing what to say, people wind up saying really dumb things and well, I don’t want to read dumb comments about being single. But mostly I don’t write about my own experience with love and relationships because I’m still figuring it out. Figuring out how to live singly. Figuring out how to thrive singly. Figuring out how to date, who to date, where to find people to date, etc.

And I know (I know alright?) that I will find someone (or they’ll find me), so don’t leave that in the comment box. And I know I’m doing great things in the meantime, so don’t leave that in the comment box either. And I know he’s going to be great once I find him and that I’ve still got time, so don’t think about leaving that for me to read first thing tomorrow morning. See what I mean? It’s just too complicated to write about love and relationships because I have to include too many caveats about how I’m not sad or wistful or lonely or cynical or or too career minded or waiting for perfection. So now that I’ve scared you all away from the comment box, I do have one thing to say–one thing that I don’t think needs any caveats. It is this…

As I sat in the temple, in one of the most holy places on earth, surrounded by friends and family, and watched my sister kneel at an alter holding hands with a good, loving man, making promises to each other and to God, I knew. I knew that that moment was what we, humankind, are here for–to find a spouse that we can create an eternal family with. It is where the truest joys are born. There is nothing worth more than that covenant and relationship. And there is nothing more important to me. Nothing.

I just wanted you to know.

***
Pictures at the temple:

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(Me, Dad, Mom, Karly, Kaycie)

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(Just the girls: Me, Grandma, Mom, Karly, Kaycie)

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(Dad, Kaycie, Karly’s BFF Josh, and me above)

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(Me and Kayc AND the dresses)

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(One more dress shot…I couldn’t resists. Columbia Temple in the background. Cool stormy sky in the back-background)

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Today, Hope Lives

A couple weeks ago, Frit and I took a tour through the new Oquirrh Mountain LDS (Mormon) Temple. I’ve never been in a temple that wasn’t spectacularly awe-inspiring and this one was no different in its own special, unique ways (I loved the decor with the bright pink poppies splashed in with all the whites and creams!). I’ve also never left a temple without being moved to personal spiritual heights. Upon this particular visit I was reminded of a journal entry from 2005.

November 25: My friend Alicia and I went to an early temple session today at the Jordan River Temple before going in to work. We talked and laughed (quietly of course) about how we often vacillate between discouragement and hope as we watch all the couples coming and going, at the temple.

Well. This morning, like I said, it was kind of an emotional session, especially towards the end as I thought about how badly I wanted to enter into the presence of the Lord, in so many figurative and literal ways, but knowing that I don’t have all the answers to do so on my own. But there comes a point where I can’t go any further without the hand of the Lord resting upon me and prompting me beyond my own abilities and knowledge … But also knowing that that is the whole purpose for going to the Lord … to momentarily breach the line between heaven and earth and receive the answers I need.

As I walked into what we call the celestial room (a room that symbolizes coming into the presence of God) for my own quiet contemplation, I looked to my left and there, in the chairs beside me, was this dear old couple, somewhere in their 70s, wrinkled, age-spotted, rounder I’m sure than when they first met, shoulders hunched under years of life, eyes closed, each praying, and their hands–their hands quietly intertwined on the chair arm in between them–his thumb rested on top of her hand with a visible sense of tenderness coupled with fierce protection. I watched them pray. I watched for a long time. And then I watched them leave.

And today, for me, there was no vacillation. Today, there was no discouragement. Today, my hope lives and its life is light.

Oquirrh Mountain Temple 1
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Teaching Me How to Love

I’ve loved two boys in my thirty years. I was twenty-two the first time I fell. It was young love–the kind of love you feel when you still don’t really know what love is. And though sometimes I wish I didn’t have to “claim” it, I must, because even though it didn’t have a lot of depth–it was love. And I think perhaps that had it been allowed to progress, it just might have become more. But it didn’t. And while “loosing” it shattered my heart, I see how I was led from it, to something better. Something more. Something that expanded my capacity to be.

It was only a few months later, after that midnight heartbreak, that I sat in Church one Sunday disillusioned and distrustful. I still didn’t understand how he could say one thing and then take it back a few weeks later. I didn’t understand how quickly his head could be turned. But mostly, I didn’t understand how I had been so naive. I’m smarter than that. At least I thought I was.

That’s when he stood up. He, was tall, dark and handsome with a tweed jacket, or maybe it was corduroy. I can’t remember. Either way it had elbow patches. He announced where the Sunday School classes would be held and which one he would be teaching and I immediately knew which one I’d be attending. (How quickly a girl’s mood can change.)

For the next hour, I sat amazed–but not by the blue of his eyes (although I obviously noticed. How could I not?). My mind was reeling with the depth, and wisdom, and insight that spilled out of him. “It is a daily battle to maintain pure motives,” he said as he closed his remarks, and I walked away wondering about my own motives, evaluating and weighing their level of purity. Simply put: I was impressed and I wanted to know him. I was still wary, but I took my want to the Lord. “Father,” I said, “I want to be friends with him.” And Father answered.

Over the next three years, we became friends. We carpooled to work, ate dinner together, hung out with other mutual friends, and talked for hours. And hours. And hours. Oh did we talk. In the car after work, on a the peaks overlooking the city, in a mountain meadow surrounded by aspens, at my kitchen table, we’d talk of God, of relationships, of spirituality, of love. So often it came back to love.

He was a philosopher and a musician and I was wide-eyed, hungry for his thoughts. A typical conversation began, “What are you learning right now?” or “Tell me what you’ve been thinking about?” And then we’d go back and forth, back and forth. Floating ideas. Questioning validity. Engaged in each word with mutual respect. I told him my secrets and of my heartache. He shared his plans and the paradoxes of his life.

Later, I’d often find myself in the library, sitting Indian-style on the floor in between the stacks for hours at at time, fingering books, smelling their pages, determined to read more, learn more, be more, do more–because of him. I bought Kierkegaard and Plato, Diana Krall and Alison Krauss. I began making lists–of who I wanted to be and what I could accomplish. I could feel the broken parts of my heart piecing themselves back together.

Yes, we became friends. Dear friends. Always friends. And somewhere along the way, I began to love him. I find that I never say “I fell in love with him,” because … it wasn’t reckless like that first time. It was careful, and simple, and sincere. It was honest. And it changed me.

I asked him once why he never asked me out. He said he didn’t know–that he’d thought of it, but didn’t know. And we never spoke of it again. He eventually married another girl. A lovely soul full of grace. A girl who, I’m certain, I will become friends with. She’s perfect for him and fits in ways I never did.

But I loved him none-the-less.

I recently found a book he gave me on my twenty-fourth birthday and a few notes he’d left on my car throughout those last years of college, and as I looked at the familiar handwriting, I saw pieces of my history–pieces of me–flash in my memory. I felt that oddly-familiar feeling of adoration. I could remember how the smile felt on my lips when I saw him. I could remember the tingles in my toes when he played his guitar. I could remember the way my heart literally felt like it was doubling in size when he was near. I could remember how anything seemed possible to me when he was teaching. And while I no longer love him like that, I could remember what it felt like when I did.

I’d forgotten that that feeling is possible. That it exists and that I’ve felt it before.

Tonight, I learned his family’s world was rocked with a fierce tragedy. And as my knees bend, and my prayers rise, and my tears fall for him, I find that that piece of my heart–the one that I think will always belong to him–once again, has doubled. And though the feelings are different, he is still teaching me how to love.

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I Wish

I wish that we lived in a world where things like this still happened.

Or maybe the do still happen. I just wish they happened in my world.

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