Monday, July 25, 2011

The Single Girl and

Forgive me in advance for the diatribe I am about to unleash, but I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Dating is just not what it used to be.  Not that I dated very much.  But I daresay that this online dating thing is a daunting task for even the most achieved dater.  And if you are seriously looking for a lifelong partner, it truly is a jungle out there, full of beasts.  I am not a serial dater, but this dating stuff is especially difficult for us ladies who desire to be a Real Girl.  A Real Girl actually expects just a few small things from the potential man. 

For example:

How about giving us your real name?  I don't care what your daughter told you about Brad being a more appealing name than Warren, it is a HUGE, RED FLAG to a Real Girl like me.  To top it off, you waited for 30 minutes to go by in conversation before it occurred to you to come clean.  This is unacceptable and only the least of us card carrying ladies will let you get any further than out the door!

How about being unmarried?  I am kinda thinking that your wife and two little girls wouldn't think much of you bringing me my favorite pink, tulips while they wait for Daddy to come home.  And you must know how I feel about it because you have been kicked to the curb with extra vengeance.

It really is the small things.  It is quite misunderstood by men that they have to "shell out alot of dough" to find a Real Girl.  I know that every Real Girl out there will back me when I say, an inexpensive bouquet of flowers from Safeway works every time.  A sticky note left on our car window with a sweet message has us thinking about you....alot!  Opening the door for us and being polite to our family goes a long way.  Trust me.  I know what I am saying is true.

Would you consider having something on your mind besides getting the cookie?  Being the lady that I am, I will tread cautiously here, but you know, Real Girls like to go out for movie, or dinner with friends or walking the Rose Gardens holding hands.  Or, dare I say it?  If you asked me to attend church with you, you would have received one gold star!   It takes alot of gold stars, buddy!   Being asked to watch a movie at your house before a real date occurs, well, let's just say that cookies are considered dessert and dessert comes after you have committed to the entire meal.

Could you understand that us Real Girls have to be aware of our safety?  Yes, we are watching out for our hearts too, but we are also taking care to be cautious for our safety.  You don't have a chance with a Real Girl if you ask us to join you on a quiet, little hiking trail in Timbuctoo on the FIRST DATE!  I cannot even respond to your email because that is such a  frightful thought.

Treat us like a lady, and you will get treated like a king.  I am not kidding.  It is that simple.  Keeping all of the above firmly in mind, treat the Real Girl like the girl of your dreams.   You just might find that you aren't dreaming! 

Lastly, while it does get difficult to carry our own groceries or at times we need a guy who can put together a bookcase, a Real Girl is not willing to settle for anything less than a Real Man.  A coffee meeting at Starbucks does not count as a date.

~A Real Girl

P.S.  Yes, readers, all of the above examples of less than stellar behavior truly happened to me!  As said in Eat, Pray, Love:  I don't need a man....I need a champion!

Dear God, Thank you for the strength and courage You have given me to stand as a single person in this world.  The family and friends that you have given me, surround me and encourage me.  They see my blind spots and point them out.  They empower me to do what is right for a Real Girl.  Because of You, I have this peaceful and serene life and freedom from the life of a Pretender.  I am content to be right where I am...with You.  ~Your Real Girl

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Are You a Gluestick?

Or perhaps an iron?  Does it seem like you are the one holding it all together?  The fixer and mender and glue to all situations?

I have recently realized that I have been this person, whether I was asked to be or not, for as far back as I can remember.  I have always taken on the task of taking emotional temperatures and gauging who would need an emotional pat on the head, pop on the butt, or a punch in the nose!

I just wanted everyone around me to be happy.  I would avert conflict at any cost, always watching for the next potential flick of a sour face and armed with my self-designated badge of the Happy Police.  Sad must be turned to happy.  Sorrow must be turned to joy.  Anger must be turned to love.

Seriously, this was my purpose in life, to manage, correct, change or update everyone's emotions.  Someone to fix everything, everytime?  This sounds too good to be true because it is!  It is impossible and unnatural for us to be happy ALL THE TIME. 

After the downs, the ups are more enjoyable.  We can learn from the good and difficult situations so we are better prepared for the next time.

With Happy Police coming around all the time, correcting, mending, and softening the blow, the reality of situations gets lost, as well as the lesson that might be learned!

Oh, I am not saying that we can't be cheerful, even during distressing times....but we need to be REAL.  Life is not always perfect.  We don't always win the game.  We aren't always picked first.  Sometimes we splash through a mud puddle and mom is not happy about it!

I have found it is more healthy to deal with reality.  If you have lost, it's okay to cry.  But learn how to get back up.  If you aren't chosen first, then celebrate being chosen 4th, 10th or last and then remember that feeling when you are the chooser.  The focus shouldn't be on being happy.  It is on how to gracefully handle the varying situations that come our way in life.  That is really the measure of HAPPY.

Expecting perfection or happiness or winning all the time is asking to be sheltered and cocooned from real life.  If all we experience are feel-good times, we would miss out on alot of teachable moments, and some of them make sweet memories. 
How about these life moments?
birth of a child
kissing our kids' booboos
telling the truth after a lie
apologizing after we hurt another
learning to roller skate
heartbreak after love
the possibility of trying again...and again

If all we want is to be comfortable, and happy, and never sad or hurt, it would be like living with only one color choice.  My favorite color is all variations of pink but I would not want my life all in Pepto-Bismal!  Ewwwww.

I am challenging myself, and perhaps you, to live A Real Life.  Don't appoint yourself as everyone's emotional iron or family gluestick.  Accept people and things as they are.  For every high there is a low so expect it and learn from it.  Embrace life as it comes.  Listen to  your heart.  Live your life.  Be your own best friend.  Don't look to others to measure yourself.  

Just. Be. You.

A card that I received from a friend said the following (paraprhased):  "She was a gluestick, rolling across people's emotions, donning them as she went.  But as of 2006, it was no longer necessary for her to dress in others' issues...she was free to wear herself."

As I learn to "wear myself" I find myself happier with every passing day.  As I am open to new ways to approach life, as I am open to share my bad and my good, I am more content and empowered to live MY life. 

To find happy, either keep doing what you are doing or change something.  Just. Be. You.

Dear God,  Thank you for helping me to become a Real Girl.  I didn't like the old me who always decided what to do based on the opinions and acceptance of everyone around me.  You are showing me, teaching me and bringing people into my life as examples of what a Real Life looks like.  I am grateful for this.  Yes, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel.  No, it is not an oncoming train but bright rays of hope!  I love you God.  ~Your Real Girl

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Full Heart

My heart is full.  My cup is running over.

I realized yesterday that I REALLY DO thank God for the  mountains and the valleys.  I REALLY DO thank Him for my second grade year.  I REALLY DO thank Him for hard times and broken hearts.  Because of these things, my heart is full and my cup runs over.

It has been a long road back.  As I was talking to a friend yesterday, they asked how does one forgive themselves?  Only one answer came to mind.  Keep walking.

Keep walking and keep trying and keep looking.  When you seek, you will find.  God brings to us little nuggets to help us make it one more day, one more step, one more breath.  Keep believing in what you know is true.  Accept that no one can walk your walk but you!

So many times a phrase, a song, a friend, a scripture, or a story was able to speak to my heart.  We must keep our eyes and ears open to hear when God gives us these precious  gifts of encouragement.  Have them ready in your pocket when you find yourself in a moment of doubt and despair.  Then pull out that gift and remind yourself what God has done for you!

To find your purpose, to forgive yourself.....there is no button.  I asked.  There is no playbook.  That's for sports.  There is no golden ticket.  That's in the movies.

"The road to happiness is so narrow that two can only walk on it if they become one.  It's you and God."  And you can quote me on that!

Dear God,  There are so many gifts that You have brought to my life to help me on my path of life.  Thank You for the friends You have brought into my life.  Thank You for the "loose change" that You unexpectedly bring my way that add a richness and fullness to my heart.  I am blessed to be part of Heart Warmers and thank You for the opportunity.  Thank You for my class at church and my mentor. Thank You for my family.  Thank You for Your neverending love and Your mercies that are new EVERY SINGLE MORNING!  I am grateful. And I am happy.  Amen.  Laura