December 27 – The Aroma of Love

I went on a date several weeks ago. It was pretty awesome. I've had over 30 of them, and I rarely use that word to describe a date. He was sweet, funny and romantic. I remember thinking, I could fall in love with this guy. We talked about everything under the sun. Nothing too threatening for the first date, but he was so easy to talk to. After a long string of bad dates, I was hopeful again. Since we met at a restaurant, we said our goodbyes at my car. It was a Tuesday night and we talked about getting together again that weekend. I smiled all the way home and relived every moment we spent together.

When I got home, I didn't rush to the phone to call my girlfriends, nor did I post in on Facebook. I didn't want someone's insensitive comment to ruin the moment. Instead, I simply thanked God. I remember saying, I don’t know where this will lead, but I thank you for the time we had tonight. I was so grateful. My mind raced ahead to January 1st and how I'd be able to share with the world how God came through during the final month. Hallelujah! (yes, my imagination runs wild).

After some time in prayer, I sent my date a short, but sweet email thanking him for the evening and telling him I was looking forward to seeing him again. That morning I woke up with a smile on my face. Although work was anything but rosy, the memory of the date lingered. I knew he would call that night and I looked forward to the evening. But he didn’t call. I did that thing where I checked my phone to make sure it was working and it was. I reasoned that perhaps he had a busy day, but he would call the next day.

Well the next day came and went and I didn’t hear from him. Nor did I receive an email. Finally, after 5 days I called. I didn’t want to sound desperate, so I left a message and asked him the name of the car dealership he mentioned when we were together. There! That sounded like I wanted to talk, but didn’t sound desperate or hurt that I hadn’t heard from him. But I didn't receive a return phone call. Then I got worried and I thought perhaps he got into an accident on the way home from our date and is in a coma. But I saw that his online dating profile had been active within the last 24 hours, so he was not only alive but had time to look for love.

I can't imagine what happened. How could I have missed the signals? Obviously our date was not as significant for him as it was for me. After decades of putting myself out there, you'd think I'd be better prepared… that disappointment wouldn't penetrate this thick skin I've had to develop. It hurt my feelings and wounded my pride to the point where I didn't want to share with anyone what had happened, let alone blog about it to the world. But here I am sharing it with you in hopes that those of you who were duped like me won't think you're all alone in this. Looking for love can be fun and adventurous, but sometimes it just stinks!

December 25 - My Christmas Wish for Singles

May your stockings be filled with hope – hope that pierces your heart and helps you to once again believe that love will come calling.

May the gifts under your tree be wrapped with hurt and disappoint of past relationships – wrapping that you do not recycle, but instead discard and allow to be carried far, far away.

May those gifts now free from the packaging of negativity be revealed to you as possible "him"s, waiting for your love.

And as you hand out gifts to your love ones, know that you are more than how attractive some man finds you. You are a gift to so many with your selflessness, kindness, generosity and love.

May the ornaments and lights on your tree be reminders of friends and family, authors and teachers, all who have decorated and illuminated your spirit with encouraging words throughout the year.

May the star on top of your tree shine brightly, and guide you as that star did long ago to the one we celebrate this day – our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. The One who has and will continue to meet our needs.

December 22 - The Many Steps of Online Dating - When to Take It to the Next Level

I have been emailing back and forth with two guys who I like based upon the limited information that I know about them. Each email makes me like them a little more. It has me thinking about the many phases of online dating:

You receive the first email from a potential suitor, which prompts you to do the profile review. If that goes well, you continue and there is a 2nd and perhaps 3rd email. At this point, you expect to receive the email that takes it to the next level, i.e., would you like to meet, talk on the phone, or here's my chat name on yahoo, etc. Then there is the 1st phone call, and perhaps soon thereafter a 1st date, and even a 2nd. And then for me there is that ever elusive 3rd date.

That's a lot of phases. It's approximately 8 steps that takes you from a first email to a 3rd date.

Well, I have been looking back to see if there is a pattern with my online dating - taking note of those who make it to a first phone call and those who make it to a first date. Obviously it's not all up to me. A guy could drop me at any step, just as I could choose to end it with him. But what are some of the things that make you want to continue or to discontinue the many phases of online dating?

For me, one example is that I've noticed that I'm more likely to respond to men who smile in their profile photo. The bigger the smile, the more appealing they are to me (go figure).

I become less interested in guys who in their email exchange offers an average of one or two sentences, or those men whose emails fail to ask me anything about myself.

Once I get men on the phone, I'm discovering more about the guys on a different level. I love the conversations where I'm laughing or smiling or we're both sharing what we like about the world around us. On the opposite side, this seems kind of an obvious no-no, but it's amazing how many men talk about their problems during the first phone call or those men who want to have a long conversation about their previous dating (or love) experiences. Maybe I'm being too quick to judge, but isn't that what dating is about - judging (or deciding) if we want a relationship to continue? We add up the sum of our previous experiences with a person (a profile, and a couple of emails, and maybe a phone call or two) and decide if we want more of the same.

I now realize that every step is a glimpse of the next step. If I don't like where I'm currently at with a person, I need to explore whether there is anything that makes me think things would be any different in the future. If in your emails you only talk about yourself and never ask questions about me, why would I want more of the same? If you're really, really boring on the first date, or if you're rude to the waiter and short with me, what makes me think the next date would be any different? I'm not talking about going overboard and being really picky about everything that person says or does. One goofy comment about an ex, doesn't make me run for the hills, but if my overall experience during one of the steps isn't a good one, it just may be a good indicator of where the next step will take me.

December 20 - Would I be Shoveling If I had a Husband?

Growing up, I never saw my mom with a shovel. Mind you that in addition to a husband, she had six kids (half of which were able-bodied boys). We lived on a farm, so the driveway was as long as some city blocks, and there was the path to the barn that needed much work. All of it was man's work -- thank God. But in these modern times where the gender lines are blurred, and independence reigns, as does life in suburbia, who holds the shovel?

Well, I got my answer this morning as I trekked outside to brave 12 inches of fresh snow, shovel in hand. In my subdivision there were 8 neighbors also putting unnatural strain on their backs. But I couldn't help but notice that I was the only woman.

It actually made me smile. In an era where wives often make as much money, if not more than their spouses, and certainly work as hard, it's nice to know that men still feel the burden to take on the heavy labor (at least they do in my quiet little town in New Jersey). This is yet another reason to look forward to marriage (that and the taking out the garbage thing). Although I don't really mind shoveling (it gets me out of a day of riding that stupid elliptical), I will gladly hand over the wintery tool to my future husband and let chivalry take its rightful place on snow-filled mornings!

December 18 - Sending Christmas Thoughts 2 Him

Boy do I want to laugh with you today. You know--laugh about something silly that just you and I get.

Someone asked me the other day my suggestion on what she should buy her boyfriend for Christmas. I'm pretty good at gift giving. I'm not the "spend a lot of money" type. Nor am I the kind of person who wants expensive gifts. I just like knowing someone took the time to think about me, understanding who I am… and then finding something not based on what I want or even what I need – but something that pulls a smile or a tear from somewhere deep within me.

LOL – I know that sounds like a lot of pressure. Don't worry. I won't be mad if I unwrap a blender or a bottle of perfume from you. I just wanted you to know that I look forward to getting to know you. And I look forward to our first Christmas and the gift of finding each other.

December 17 - Just One Day

It's 11:13 pm and I'm going through my online dating sites and am responding to 3 emails. In addition, I have 3 new emails to read (2 that don't include photos), and a couple of winks. I look at each one and have to make a decision if or how I should respond. I also wonder - will any of these guys still be a part of my life a month from now… or in a year? Too much thinking for this late hour, so I focus on the moment and consider how to proceed for this day -- as I have done for the last 350 days.

I have 15 days left. Yes, I'm at the point where I am counting down in days. You know something, in one day Theresa Kennedy's life changed when she went from being unemployed for 11 months to getting an amazing job. Phillip Brunelle's life was changed when he bought a million dollar lottery ticket. Anne Stoltz life changed when she received that call saying they had a kidney match. It's amazing what can happen in just one day.