Tag Archive: first date

New Year

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I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA on here… I thought I’d do some reflections from 2014 and wishes for 2015 to fill in the gap and kick off a new year.

For the past few years I’ve picked a word, or rather, a word has picked me, to describe the year. I don’t usually do anything with the word except notice and smile at how well it fits the people, situations, and feelings I’ve experienced. This year, I thought I’d share 2014’s theme word on the blog- Peace.

At first glance, peace is a strange pick for my 2014 because it was anything but peaceful from the outside. I moved, ended a relationship, and finished final edits on the book while battling a health issue. In the words of my counselor, “It’s too much.”

Yet in the midst of lots of crazy, peace forced it’s way in to my life in more ways than one.

The quickest version I can spit out of what happened is that I was feeling bad for a long time- extreme fatigue, confusion, hair loss and cold… always cold. In June, my blood doctor (that’s what I call her) checked my counts and immediately started me on iron infusions three times a week. These were rough in that they took three- four hours and the medicine knocked me out, sometimes for the rest of the day.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

My general doctor found a tumor and recommended surgery. The first two surgeons I met with didn’t think they could remove it without messing up things in my funhouse. (Meaning I wouldn’t be able to have children in the future). I met with several surgeons and finally found one that I trusted.

Which was good.

Because an MRI he ordered came back and the tumor looked odd and possibly like cancer. He decided to do a more invasive surgery right away. The next day my blood count had fallen all the way back down to my pre-infusion levels and I got a picc line put in that I wore for the next couple of months. I went in for surgery the following week and thankfully it all went well. They were able to remove everything, keep the funhouse in tact, and there is no cancer. I was off from work recovering for a month and continued iron treatments. I got my picc line out in December and have resumed a normalishhh, slower paced life.

2014 was definitely a strange year for me. I’m still discovering and piecing together it’s significance. I learned and grew in several new ways and in no particular order, I’d say the following:

  1. I learned was forced to have patience. I used to go to the doctors once every three years. Once I started going every day, sometimes twice a day, it took over my life. You sit and wait, freezing. Then they call you into another room. To wait. And freeze. In a paper gown. The doctor eventually comes and you are no longer the smartest person in the room, even when the topic is you. You try and remember half of what they say and focus on not crying. You wait again for results and an open appointment slot and move slowly forward on in your journey. I had to learn to trust others and get on their schedule. It felt unnatural…but once I gave in, it was sort of peaceful and I grew to enjoy my new pace.
  2. I learned to do less. My brain wouldn’t work most days, either because of low iron or medication. I had to be ok with simply doing less. It wasn’t easy at first but it was a good opportunity to let go. Since I didn’t really have a choice, this, too, eventually felt peaceful.
  3. I was reminded that my future is not up to me. It was rough thinking about the possibility of never having kids, wondering what surgery would be like, and envisioning battling cancer next year. It was over the top and I discovered there is actually a peace at work when you are in the midst of chaos. It turns out when there is nothing for you to control- no details you can handle, no idea what to even begin worrying over… you just let it all go. For the first time, I truly felt like everything was completely in God’s hands and it was oddly a nice release.
  4. I am extremely grateful and impressed by doctors and nurses. I am a floored by modern medicine and how freaking smart people are. With all its needles and surgery and pills and ways of healing- it’s like magic. I think there’s a time and place for natural remedies and I hate how it’s become an either or conversation…. Im glad we have access to both.
  5. I became thankful for my own health and healing. I made a lot of friends and have extended family members who are fighting far more serious health battles than my own. Their tests don’t come back with good news, their treatments don’t always work, and they haven’t yet recovered. It makes me very sad, and sometimes guilty. I don’t understand how God makes these choices. It’s a heavy, heavy burden and I have a newfound respect for people fighting for their lives. While feeling the effects of the actual illness, it’s exhausting scheduling appointments, filling out forms, paying bills. It’s a full-time job getting well.
  6. I let go of trying to be cool this year. Not that I really was ever under the impression I was succeeding at it before, I just learned there’s an identity shift that takes place when you are sick. You used to see yourself as healthy, active, and young, and then all the sudden you are no longer all those things. It’s humbling and often embarrassing owning your new limits. It was hard to admit to others and to myself that I was broken. You try impressing a first date wearing sterry strips and a picc line. You’ll feel positively geriatric when you have to ask them to walk slower, sit on a bench, and ignore the fact that you’re about to pop a narcotic. … I had to let a lot go.
  7. I learned I am more loved than I imagined. I love my friends and family, but still put the expectation on myself that I need to give back to them. I guess deep down, I viewed it as a conditional love. It’s a two-way street and I have to make an effort to earn and keep them in my life. This was a time in when I clearly had nothing to offer anyone and it was uncomfortable. I remember a moment in the hospital while three friends were visiting and I couldn’t stay awake. I fought hard to keep my eyes open, feeling terrible they’d come all the way to see me. Right before falling asleep, I saw their faces and I could tell- they didn’t care. They truly didn’t. They weren’t visiting me to get something from me. They weren’t expecting anything out of me at all. They came to give to me, plain and simple. That moment, and several like it after, gave me peace. I try to wrap my head around the idea that God loves me know matter what I do for him… but it still feels like I have to do a lot for him most days. My friends and family were a tangible picture of that perfect and unconditional love this year. There’s peace in knowing you are loved NO MATTER WHAT. You don’t always have to earn it. You don’t always have to be in a place where you can reciprocate it. This is wild to me! I don’t think I’ll ever get over the love I received during this time. The meals, visits, carried out trashcans, texts, phone calls, cards, flowers… I still can’t even believe it.

So what am I taking in to 2015? So far this:

It’s a wonderful thing to let go. It’s peaceful when you throw up your hands and realize you can’t do it all, and you don’t have to. Crap is going to happen, and when it does, you’ll get through it. God prepares you and gets you through. He uses loved ones, strangers, and experts. You learn, you grow, and you’ll be glad it happened at some point. I think I’m actually getting better at knowing this truth in the moment. I am excited for what’s coming in 2015, and I know there’s a lot of work ahead for me…but I want to somehow hold on to my newfound peaceful pace.

What about you? Any reflections or hopes? I’d love to hear.



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Dec 8-The last night I had to coordinate my outfit with an IV…. I don’t miss the challenge.

Photo by Etsy.com




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Online Dating: Bachelor #2

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computer flowers

Sorry, friends. I’ve been on vacation all week at Hume Lake.  A glorious place without any cell phone reception!  I like to tell myself I couldn’t post.  Also, a blog is never less appealing to me than when I’m in the Sequoias.  If my book makes me enough $, I may just move there and become a hermit.

Anyway, back to the digital get down.  Here is the latest from our dearest Harmony.

Date #2
Big Bear Collin
In his very first contact with me, Collin asked to take me out.  There is something intriguing about an eH match that gets straight to the point.  I wanted to email a few times first before I committed to meeting in person.  But when Collin mentioned in his second email that he is “looking for any excuse to get off the mountain”   I said yes to going out.
Collin recognized me from Biola (the university we both attended) which was flattering to know and also somewhat reassuring to find out I was not the only one to leave college without a “ring before spring.”  When Collin called to set up the specifics of our date, he suggested two options: the batting cages or miniature golf.  I like to be accommodating and attempt a try at an event a man suggests, however in this case, I could not hold back.  I immediately negated the batting cage idea.  Wearing a helmet on a first date did not seem appealing. 
The final decision was to meet at Camelot at 5PM and grab something to eat afterward.  Around 4PM, Collin called to say that he didn’t feel like it was an actual date unless he picked me up and could we meet in a city nearby instead and drive to Camelot together.  On my way (4:50), Collin called again to say he was at the carwash and should he just take his car out or be late since I was almost to my meeting spot?  What!  How many changes are you going to pull on me in the ten minutes before I shake your hand for the first time.  Perfectly acceptable to change plans or run late once you’ve been dating a girl for a month or two but getting a carwash before a first date is mandatory in my opinion and doesn’t require all that much planning in advance, right?!  He should be able to make this happen. Still, wanting to accommodate and not overstress him I told him it was no big deal.  I would entertain myself until he arrived.
5PM on a Thursday in June is hot, especially sitting in my black Honda Accord.  So I parked and decided to walk across the street and wait for Mr. Big Bear at Starbucks.  As I’m typing a text to inform him, reassuring him that I don’t mind waiting at all, I get a (what I interpreted as) frantic…. “wait there! I’ll go with you.”  Wait.  What?  Now I’m confused.  “I took my car out of the wash.”  Well, now I don’t need  Starbucks but he thinks I really want to go because in my attempt to reassure him about it being no big deal that he is running late, I type something to the effect of, “I really need coffee anyway.”  Oh, communication.
So now we’re walking as perfect strangers together to Starbucks.  Remember, I’m barely 5’4”, wearing flats in preparation for miniature golf, Collin is greatly exceeding the boundaries on 6’5”.  I felt like his kid.  Throughout the entire afternoon and evening he insisted on walking on the outer side of the sidewalk (to protect me from oncoming flyaway vehicles?? ) which somehow came across awkward every time we had to quickly switch positions.
Miniature golf was fun.  Me, him, and the three other teenage couples. But as the evening progressed, I just wasn’t feeling it. A good guy but not for me.  After dinner, when he asked if I wanted to talk some more at a neighboring bar, I politely declined and suggested we call it a night.
Driving home, I thought it was good to have met him and if he called again, I knew I would politely decline.  You just can’t force chemistry.
The next morning I realized I have left my prescription sunglasses in his car.  S@#T!!
Online dating tip #2: Always drive yourself on the first date.

Well, all I can think is first dates are rough.  Those initial few hours present a real conundrum: you need clear communication b/c you are strangers. You can’t ask or clearly communicate well b/c you are strangers.  Unless there are real signs you won’t work out, I’m typically open and a fan of date 2.  Jitters seem to taper a little and you can get to know the other person a little better.  Maybe Big Bear and Harmony will do better when he returns the glasses;)


Online Dating: Meet Harmony

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I love when people suggest online dating (as if they are the first to ever do so). “What, what is this world wide web you speak of?” I probably shouldn’t be so mean, they are trying to be helpful. The truth is, though I’ve had lots of good friends happily meet their spouse online, (<;3 Mehaffeys, Wadas, Thieles!! <;3) I myself, have yet to give it a try. My dates still come the old-fashioned way for now. Recently, I toyed with the idea of signing up just for the sake of the blog, figuring I’d get a lot of great stories out of the deal but decided against it. So you can imagine my delight when a close friend of mine asked if she could send me her stories to post!! Why yes, YES YOU CAN!!

Without further a due, meet Harmony. This is not her real name. She was fine using her own but we decided it would be better for her suitors if she remained anonymous. In this segment, you’ll find her writing and then a few of the things I’m learning from her at the end.

“Having just turned 30, surviving the biggest break-up of my dating life, yet still yearning to find that one, true love, I decided to join eHarmony. One thing you must understand about online dating is that it occupies the same amount of time that an intensive part-time job would require. Being a teacher, I had ten weeks of summer vacation to earn some extra cash tutoring while working on meeting a handsome, godly man of marriageable material.
My goal: one date a week.
One of out ten isn’t impossible odds, right?
According to Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of said matchmaking business, there are 29 crucial dimensions of compatibility to which if you align yourself and your future partner with will result in marital bliss. Cool! Can’t wait!
Online dating tip #1: There is no man out there who will ever align to all 29 levels of compatibility with you. Nor do you want that person because who really wants to marry themself?
Date #1, Wednesday, June 13, 2012-The Casual Coffee/Tea Meet Up
Allan was handsome. He was confident. He knew what he was doing. He was my first match on eH to skip the four stages of Guided Communication and email me. I liked that. After a few casual emails and some late night intensive text message conversations, Allan and I met up for coffee/tea.
I do have to mention that every time we discussed plans to meet up, Allan referred to it as “coffee/tea”. That day, I ordered iced green tea and he got coffee. That part worked out.
I could not get over the lace up ankle boots. I have to explain that my driver’s license states I’m a whopping 5’4”. But the truth of the matter is, is that I don’t even think I’m quite 5’3”. Understanding my height challenges and the fact that I have an athletic-build, blessed with a round butt and full thighs, this whole “skinny pant, outside boot trend” is not/has not ever worked for me. So when my impending future husband showed up in skinny grey jeans paired with lace up ankle boots on the outside of his pants, I could no longer focus on the conversation.
How trendy is too trendy of a man to date? Dating a man more slender than you is never good for a woman’s self esteem. We’ll see how this one goes…”

Harmony and I had previously had several conversations about why to, why not to, and when to try online dating. When she told me she was going for it, I was happy for her She knew she had the time and was serious about meeting someone. From what I’ve observed, the people who are ready for it and take it seriously get a great outcome. I’m excited for my brave friend and her new adventure!

As Harmony mentioned, Allan was in her first round of matches. She really appreciated that he took action right away in asking her to meet up. This made me think there is still a process of selection going on that resembles what happens in nature (that’s what I’ll call offline dating). Harmony preferred the way some men communicated with her using eHarmony over others. The process sounds more natural than I’d previously thought.

She phoned on the way home from date #1 and mostly talked about the way his clothes caught her off guard and made her feel like they weren’t a great match. Quite frankly, their styles are very different. She described him as a hipster and she dresses upscale, all-american for lack of a better title. Allan isn’t someone she would normally approach or expect to approach her. Which begs the question-is online dating a good thing, since it brings people together for better reasons than the ones that can get in the way during a first impression? Or, will they actually turn out to be too different- something they would’ve known right away offline. Time will tell!


Red Flag of the Week

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Foot Care

You’d think this one would go without saying, but apparently not.  Real conversation from last week:

Me: How was it?!  Tell me everything!!

Jody: (back from a blind date): Um…it was good. We went to dinner and had good conversation. He’s really nice (interrupting herself) I’m sorry!! He had these awful, long yellow toenails!!

Me: gasp, hand covers mouth

Jody: I know!! I tried so hard to ignore them but I couldn’t! I just stared at them all night!

Good hygiene is a non-negotiable, especially while dating.   Treat it or cover it. Only two options, folks.  You are making a first impression and setting a tone for the evening.  It’s like when you see a spider from your bed at night and suddenly everything feel itchy.  When I see an untreated fungus in plain sight, everything feels icky. Not good.

**Disclaimer: Red flags are not always deal breakers.  They mean to serve as a point in which you should stop and ask yourself, “Does this signify a deeper problem?”  Red flags are also limited to things people choose to do, not things in which they have no control over.