It's been a while since I've written anything but today I happened to have a little extra time on my hands. Looking back at my blogs, I see that I pretty much stopped writing when I started dating. It took up a lot more of my free time than I anticipated. As you know I'm a single mom of two girls. One lives with me and the other lives with her father. Both of my daughters worked really hard to get me to start dating. It was so funny. They were signing me up on dating websites left and right. I really didn't understand why they felt it was so urgent for me to join the dating pool. Eventually, I realized that they assumed that I was sad and lonely on my own, which I'm not. They also were trying to make sure that I had someone to enjoy my life with once they went off to college. Both of my daughters seem to have a sense of responsibility toward making sure I'm not alone.
Now, in their defense, I did have a hard time adjusting when I first moved out on my own. I was sad when they spent the weekends with their father. I didn't have many friends back then and didn't know what to do with myself on the weekends. Eventually, I met some wonderful women and men through church and have cultivated some great friendships. This has pretty much kept me sane. I especially love spending time with my friends that have children. It reminds me of the girls being younger.
Dating has been a challenge. Not because it's particularly hard but because I tend to get overwhelmed easily. During the first few weeks and months I kept saying that I was going to quit dating. “I can't do this. I don't know what I'm doing. Why date if you don't even know that you want to get married again.” I was so unsure of what I wanted that I had a constant flow of negative thoughts running through my head. The girls kept encouraging me to not quit. They told me that I have time for this and it's just dating. Just have fun. Wow, that's a novel idea. Date, have fun, no expectations...I never thought of that. So, here I go, jumping feet first into the dating pool.
When I started dating, I realized how easy it would be to date the same personality type that I married the first time around. I was so willing to let things slide that bothered me because they were familiar. Fortunately, by dating just for the fun of it, instead of dating to find a boyfriend or husband, I was able to look objectively at these young men. I was willing take my time getting to know them and if the attraction wasn't there at first, I'd give them a chance if there was a personality connection. I did learn a few things that I'd like to share with my single friends out there.
1) Yes ladies, attraction matters. It matters to men and it matters to women. I feel better when I work hard to look good on a date and I like it when he does the same. It's okay to look for someone you are genuinely attracted to when you are dating. However, it should be one of many traits you are looking for.
2) Always, always, always shave your legs before a date. You never know when you're going to meet the touchy-feely type that has to touch your leg when making his point. Then again, maybe that guy doesn't know proper boundaries and should be scared off by stubbly legs.
3) If you meet someone who's still married, run. He still has some things to work out whether he realizes it or not. I know from experience that the marriage isn't over until the divorce papers are signed and for some couples, it's not even over then.
4) Standing around for an hour talking after your date is the “go” sign for him to move in for a kiss. If your not ready, keep the goodbye conversation short and sweet and then get the heck out of there.
5) Find time for your friends between your dates. It's too easy to get sucked into a new relationship to the exclusion of all else. Continue with your hobbies, church activities and hanging out with your friends. Do not become a “Stepford” girlfriend by turning yourself into the person you think he'd want you to be. It's more important to be yourself so he can decide if that's the person he wants to be with and vice-versa. If he can't see himself living in my world, I'm okay with that as long as he moves on.
6) It's okay to take a chance on getting your heart broken. I would never have found my current boyfriend if I wasn't willing to open up my heart to someone new. I knew right away that if I dated him I would fall hard, and I did.
7) By all means, use dating as a chance to try new things. Make it an adventure. In Orlando, there are so many interesting restaurants and activities to try. There really is no excuse for settling into the pattern of only dinner and a movie every weekend. Take a bike ride, go zip lining, kayaking, whatever but just get out there and do something. It will make your conversations more interesting also.
8) Find an accountability partner if you don't already have one. Sometimes we all need someone to help us make smart decisions when our dating brains are clouded by hormones and lust.
9) Allow yourself a few mistakes and move on. Sometimes you blow through a boundary. Don't beat yourself up. Take the time to regroup and try not to make the same mistake again.
10) This probably should have been one of the first points but here it is at the end of the list. Decide on your dating boundaries before you even go out on your first date. Write them down in a journal or tape them up on your mirror. Look at it every few days and before you go out on a date. This should help keep you from getting caught up in the moment.
I'm still learning and still dating. I can always use advice from my girlfriends. Since, I'm definitely no expert in the field of dating I appreciate hearing from my friends that have been there before me.
Wish me luck!
This semester has been a little bit busier than most. I'm taking a Statistics class which is basically all word problems, which happen to be one of my weaknesses in math. I'm doing better than expected with as little effort as possible. I learned that studying from the text book after the lectures is pointless because my teacher uses completely different equations or symbols in equations and it only serves to confuse me. Then, I tried doing the homework and I ended up skipping a third of the problems because, after I spent 10 to 15 minutes on a problem I realized that it's something we hadn't covered in class. I've spent many nights staring at my homework wondering how I'm going to make it through this class. Fortunately, at the midterm point I had a B in the class and I don't expect that to go down anytime soon.
I decided that this semester it's just as important for me to have a life as it is for me to go to school. There was bound to be a way to do both and it's working so far. Instead of studying on my lunch breaks I've gone back to the gym. There's just nothing like taking that break in the middle of the day to recharge. I think I've said this before but, the gym is recess for grown ups. Thank goodness there's no dodge ball, though. I don't need flashbacks to elementary school.
Anyway, aside from the workouts, I started dating which I must say is more fun than I expected. I keep thinking that there's no time to date and I'm gonna quit. Every time I voice this opinion to Taylor she says, “No, mom you're not going to quit dating. You have time to do this.” She's so cute. It really doesn't take that much extra time but it takes more mental energy that I'm used to expending. So far, so good. It's been a nice change of pace and I figure it'll be fun until the first time I get my heart broken. But, that's all part of getting back out there. There's no point being scared of it.
As a single mother, I know we tend to want to wrap our lives around our children's. But, I've found that my girls seem happier when they know I'm doing things that I enjoy and make me happy. They inspired me to go back to school three years ago and they pushed me into dating this year. My angels just want their mom to be happy and to go after her own dreams. I've taught them to be independent women that can do anything and they're reminding me that it applies to me as well. Yes, my house suffers a little in cleanliness but it's totally worth it.
Do you ever feel that are too many hours in a day? No matter how organized you are and how much you manage to accomplished you just are wiped out. Usually it's just the opposite but lately I have been hitting the sack pretty hard. I get up at 6:00 am and get to bed about 11. Even when I get to bed earlier it just doesn't feel early enough.
This semester, I'm taking a Statistics class that starts at 8:30 and ends at 9:45 pm. That didn't seem too bad when I signed up for it. The good thing about taking a class that late in the evening is that I have no problem finding a parking spot. I like that a lot. However, by the time I get home it's already 10:05 which gives me almost no time to sit down, talk to my sweet daughter and shoo her off to bed. Then, I walk the dog and head off for my evening routine.
If any of you ladies are over the age of thirty-five then you know what I mean when I say, "my evening routine" or maybe now it's more of a ritual. My beauty ritual. This is my attempt at staying youthful and beautiful. I have finally given in to using anti-aging products to stave off wrinkles. I don't like it but in my mind, it helps. I'm still looking for that “miracle” under eye cream but haven't found it yet. I know it's out there somewhere. That was off topic, but there was a point to my rambling. Some days I'm so tired that I use frozen washcloths to reduce the bags that have taken up residence under my eyes. Also, a new mattress is in my future but that's a topic for another day.
If you're wanting to know the solution to too many hours in a day, I'll have to get back to you on that. I'm still working that out. I do know that, if I work out regularly, then I feel better. I think Recess should be mandatory when you grow up. We never really do outgrow it. If I take a break from work (my version of a lunch break) and workout at the gym, I feel refreshed when I come back and can concentrate on my work more. I'm much more productive and focused after a run or weight training session. I am glad, however, that we've outgrown dodgeball. That was just painful.
Well, it's time to get back to school. Even though it's still very hot here and the surf is good, August still means that school is back in session. I do enjoy the routine of the school year.
I made my first video blog and am considering adding a video from time to time. Please, let me know what you think.
In my video, I mention the "Snowflake Method" as a way of organizing the contents of my future book. This method was developed by Randy Ingermanson. Here's a link to his web site just in case you're interested. https://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php I did buy his book, Fiction Writing for Dummies, and I'm sure I'll get a lot out of it. I don't know how much time I'll have to spend on it now that school is back in session but, I'll just keep plugging along.
I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not but, I did get to do quite a bit of surfing this summer. I plan on getting back out there several more times before the water gets cold. Maybe I'll see you on the waves!
Also, please keep the victims of Hurricane Irene in your prayers. God Bless!
Thank goodness my class is finally over. Believe it or not, I actually got a C in the Pre-Calculus class which means I probably got a “B” on my final. I left just enough problems unanswered to assure myself that I wouldn't get an “A”. I'm sure my grammar's not correct in that statement so, I apologize if you're a grammar nazi. By the end of the class I was burnt out. It doesn't seem possible when just taking one class but let me clue you in to what a week was like in the life of...well, me.
Typical Work Day: I wake up at 5:45, take out the dog, fix breakfast then, at 6:50 take Taylor to summer school and head off to work. On my lunch break I'll do homework then leave the office at 5:30, sometimes earlier if my daughter has a doctor's appointment. Usually, I'd get home by 6:15 and take the dog out then start dinner. Once a week I would drop my teen off at her tumbling practice for an hour then start dinner. While dinner is cooking I might start some laundry and pick up a little around the house. (By house I mean my little apartment that feels like a house to me.) I'd clean any dishes sitting in the sink from breakfast or the night before and unload the dishwasher. My teenager repeated “forgot” to unload the dishwasher and I've learned that it's pointless to argue since she does a good job of doing her own laundry and keeping her room and bathroom clean. After dinner I'd load the dishwasher and wash any pots, pack up left-overs and then sit down with Taylor to have a little mother daughter time. Usually, I'd just do my homework in front of the T.V for about an hour and then take it in my room to finish. Of course, I have to shower and get ready for bed.
Weekends: Almost every Friday, I'd drive round trip to Melbourne to pick up my eighteen year old daughter for the weekend. Then, I'd do the same trip to drop her off on Sundays. Now, if you know me at all, you know that time with my kids is priority and I don't want my daughter thinking that she's coming to visit me so that I can sit around and ignore her while I do school work. So, We'd spend time together on Friday (usually movie night) and then do something for about half the day on Saturday and I'd try to do homework the other half. Then on Sundays I'd go to church, come home and hang with the girls and try to take my oldest home early so I could come back and do some homework.
This whole process seemed to allow very little time for school work so, I started making meals that would last two days so I'd have one evening to heat up food and do homework. Also, I must admit to moving almost completely to paper plates and plastic cups for about a month when my class was getting really hard. I slowly gave up almost all my time at the gym during lunch to do homework or study. Also I did homework just about everywhere...doctor's offices, dentist waiting room, in my car while Taylor was in her class, at the dog park, etc.
After my last test and before my final exam I quit pushing quite as hard. I took an entire Saturday for the beach (oh my) and even got back into the gym on my lunch brakes. I did work hard at reviewing but from past experience, I'm not likely to learning anything new at the end of class, I just need to review what I know and hope for the best. Fortunately for me, the light bulb did come on for a couple of log issues during my last week of studying. It's not that I learned anything new it's just that I made the connection. Picture two wires, one in each hand, and you touch them together. Sparks fly but there's no real connection made. That was my brain on Pre-Calc.
Thank goodness it's finally over. Now...on to Statistics.
Here's a quick video of one of my many online math tutors...
Sorry there's been a delay in writing but I've been a little burnt out from school. So here's something a little more personal and I know you all want an update...
I've spent much of my time over the last two years keeping close track of Tay's school records. As many of you know she's been in and out of public school and home school due to illness. We're finally at the point where she's able to be in school full time and is doing great. She's only missed one day of the summer semester and she's carried the highest grade in her Honors English class for most of the summer school session. Now that we're finally making great progress in her treatment, it's time for me to get all of her school credits straightened out.
Between myself, and her new high school, we've been trying for a year to recover some missing records from the 9th grade center that she attended during the 2008-2009 school year. I made several attempts to contact the registrar this summer with no return calls. Finally, I got fed up and decided that I'd go to the school and not leave until I had the records. God and the school system eventually came through. But, it was quite the ordeal. This is how it went over a two day period.
Monday during my lunch break:
There was a software change the year she left 9th grade and went to 10th and her records were lost.
If the system was backed up, nobody seems to know about it.
The office that the Registrar called didn't have a record of Tay being enrolled in the 9th grade center, even though we had partial transcripts.
The high school's main campus found a screen shot of her semester grades but, semester credit was only given for two classes.
They stated that only the new high school could decide to give semester credit for the classes taken but they could not.
Fortunately, the registrar stamped and signed the screen shot that was faxed to her so that I would have some record of the classes she took at the 9th grade center.
Tuesday Before work:
The new high school said they already had all the records from her 9th grade year, which they didn't.
Initially, the new high school refused to accept the semester grades since a semester credit wasn't given a her previous school. They wanted to enter all her grades as F's. Yikes!
They said that semester credit would have to be given by the previous school and if you remember # 5 above, they refused to give semester credit. Apparently, neighboring school system doesn't give semester credit for full classes which our current school board is quite familiar with.
I debated that any child that transfers schools would get credit for the completed semester. Changing from a high school to the online school (which by the way is a high school) should follow the same guidelines.
Eventually, after pulling her file, the registrar at gave Tay credit for the completed semester during her 9th grade year. Yay!
I faxed in her withdrawal from Home School form as soon as I got to work so they can set up her schedule for next year.
As difficult as it was, clearly the employees are on the students' side. They worked really hard to get the information that I needed. They also put up with me and kept looking into her records until we were able to settle everything and they understood the situation.
Unfortunately, there's still a full semester of grades on her record from me pulling her out second semester of her 10th grade year. These grades are pulling down her GPA when they shouldn't be averaged in. I'll be battling that one soon enough.
My oldest daughter just graduated from high school and fortunately, we managed to get her through high school relatively unscathed. We had a couple of rough patches during high school, but who doesn't. I'm very proud of the young woman that she's turned into. She knows what she wants to do with her life and has a sense of direction that I certainly didn't have at that age.
Her future is full of college softball games, new friends, hard work and first dates. For me, it seems, that time has passed in the blink of an eye but for her time is still slowly churning away. I imagine that her future will hold lots of fun, heartache, love, uncertainty and blessings. God has spoken to her heart and she has welcomed Him into her life at an early age. I know that He will be with her during this part of her life and that she can live a fulfilling life if, she learns to trust in God's love and faithfulness.
I can't help but think of the mistakes that I made at her age. Sometimes, I wish I could go back and change them. But, our mistakes help make us who we are and, they help us to have empathy for others' circumstances. Challenges lay ahead, both great and small and how she handles them will help to shape her character.
I'm sure there are plenty of things that I've forgotten but for now, here's a list of things every young christian woman should know as she heads out into the world.
Learn how to forgive yourself and to accept God's forgiveness.
While in college, find a group of godly men and women to hang out with. There are probably plenty of groups on campus but if not, visit a few churches.
Pray and read your Bible every day, even if it's just for a few minutes before you go to bed. It's much easier to follow your moral compass when you're reading the manual daily.
If God tells you to do something, do it.
When dating ... wait for intimacy. Being intimate can cause emotions that normally wouldn't exist so, wait until you know your boyfriend's character and personality well.
Pray for your future husband. Don't pray to get one, but pray that the Lord would lead you to a Godly, loving man who puts Christ above all else. Also, be willing to accept that marriage may not be God's will for you.
Finish college. A college degree will come in handy in your job search. It doesn't guarantee employment and although you may not need it, it's an asset that can never be taken away.
Every single paycheck, set aside a little money for retirement. This should be stashed in an account you never look at so you can pretend that it doesn't exist. Even five or ten dollars a week will have a huge impact if you start saving during your first job and never stop.
Have a rainy day fund. It sounds old fashioned but, it's much less stressful to have some money stashed away for an emergency than to try to figure out how to pay for an unexpected car repair or doctor visit.
Find two or three godly women that you can talk to about anything and then work to keep those relationships strong.
Call your parents.