Tag Archives: singleness

Closet Full of Stories (Part 3)

Before I left for Alaska and my cat died, I started a series about my closet.  I got a little carried away and what started out as 5 stories about 5 items of clothing, turned into 12 stories about 12 items.   (Here is Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them.)

This is the final post about a topic near and dear to all your hearts: my clothes.

The following 4 items of clothing have stories behind them- reasons I won’t ever throw them away and I smile every time I put them on.  They hang in my closet as reminders of God’s goodness.   Here are their stories.

9) My red and white striped bathing suit cover-up.

This started out as a church dress, but I am terrible at doing laundry and shrunk it so much it became inappropriate for God’s house.  However, I recycled it and turned it into a cover-up that shows up at Bass Lake every year.

One summer I was a single girl who spent the vacation wrestling my nephews in this cover-up:IMG_5211

The next summer I was engaged and taking jumping pictures with my fiancé!

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Clearly a lot can change in a year.

One of the reasons I love Bass Lake so much is that it never seems to change.  The Forks, the beloved local burger joint, is still decorated how it was in the 60’s.  The mountains never move.  And the lake remains the same.

Until this year.

This year the California drought has devastated not only our state, but also our family traditions.  The lake was drained and couldn’t be refilled this year, so for the first time in 50 years, the Vander Dussen clan is not going to Bass Lake.

I know this is a first-world problem: we have to vacation at the beach instead of the mountains!  The horror!

But it’s more than just the mountains we will miss.  We will miss the place that has been a constant in our lives since birth.  Everything around us changes all the time, but we always knew we could go back to Bass Lake and it would be exactly the same.

So there is something deeply disturbing about our ever-constant lake suddenly becoming inconsistent.

It reminds me that God truly is the only constant in our lives.  I go to Bass Lake seeking a place of refuge and consistency, but I don’t have to drive 5 hours to find that.  I can find it when I open my Bible.  Or when I look up and talk to the creator.

My shrunken, striped cover-up will be worn at the beach this year, but it will continue to remind me of Bass Lake.  It will also remind me that though our lake might change, our God will not.

10) My grey jacket

I love this jacket because it is long in the back and covers my butt.  But I love it for more than just the butt coverage.

I love it because this is one of the many items of matching clothing that Megan and I have.  I bought it for her as a Christmas present a few years back and liked it so much I got myself one as well.IMG_6677

From a young age, Megan and I have enjoyed matching each other.  Whether it was our DARE t-shirts, or matching body suits, we have always loved twinning.  Megan lives in Colorado now but we still like to match.  For my most recent birthday, she bought two of these tank tops:IMG_2672

One for me and one for her.  And she’s not even Dutch.

All the matching clothes I have with Megan remind me that God truly does go before us to prepare the way.  Only He knows what lies around the corners of our lives and in what ways we need to be strengthened and equipped.

Only God knew the friend I made in first grade would be a source of joy and comfort for the rest of my life.  I had no idea how much I would rely on friends like Megan, but God did.  He knew how rich my life would be if I had dear, true friends with whom to share it.  So He provided the friends.  And we provide each other with matching clothes.

11) My traveling pants

Paul named my striped yoga pants my “traveling pants” because I wear them every time I get on a plane.  Can’t blame a girl for wanting to be comfy.  They were given to me as a gift from my mom a few Christmas’s back.  Every year I would get one more present than my siblings.  A “sorry-you-don’t-have-a-husband-to-buy-you-presents” kind of present.  One year it was these pants.

At first I was a little insulted by the extra gift.  I don’t need your pity and I don’t need a husband to be happy!  But then I remembered how much I love presents, so I swallowed my pride and proceeded to wear the pants everywhere I went.

When I enrolled in Biola’s seminary, these pants became part of my uniform.  I wore them to almost every class along with an oversized Westmont sweatshirt.  I used my clothes to make 2 things very clear to my classmates.

 1- I was not here looking for a husband.  If I was, surely I would have dressed cuter.

2- Even though I was at Biola, my true loyalty still lied with Westmont.

These pants accompanied me to all my Greek classes and meetings with my cohort:IMG_7593

Please disregard our demon eyes; I assure you we are all very holy.

My traveling pants reminded me that even though I didn’t have a husband, God was still lavishing His gifts on me.  I had a sweet family that gave me extra presents, the money and freedom to travel all over the country visiting friends, and the ability to go to seminary and take classes I loved and meet guys like the ones in the picture who encouraged and affirmed me for two years.

The pants took on new meaning this past Christmas.

Ironically, my Mom gave me this matching shirt:IMG_0947

She had no idea the shirt matched my old pants perfectly.  But God did.  And how like Him to remind me that while I only knew about the pants, He knew a matching shirt was coming…. along with a husband.

12)  My wedding dress
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Some girls grow up dreaming about their wedding day.  They envision the dress, the flowers, the cake.  All they need is the groom.  They make secret Pinterest boards where they pin engagement rings, center pieces, and Save-the-Date ideas.

In all the dreaming and scheming, many of them pin their hopes and dreams to a lie: once I get the white dress, I will be content. 

I wasn’t one of the little girls dreaming about her white dress (mainly because I was a morbid little kid who thought I would die young), but I confess that I did subconsciously start to believe the lie that only a white dress could bring contentment.

Our culture perpetuated that lie.  Well-meaning middle-aged women told me, “One day it will be your turn.”  People with good intentions asked me more about my dating life than about my opinions or my career or my travels, seeming to imply that my singleness was the most important thing about me.

But I have wonderful friends who told me the truth.

My married friends admitted that a white dress doesn’t bring happiness.  It does change your life dramatically and it is a wonderful change, but that didn’t make my single life any less wonderful.  They admitted to envying my free time and ability to travel and explore and do whatever I wanted.  They saw me as a whole person- not just the single side of myself.  And they encouraged me to find contentment in Jesus- not in the hope of a man one day sweeping me off my feet and ending all my sadness and loneliness.

They assured me that nothing was wrong with me and that while marriage is fantastic, so is being single.

I thought about this yesterday as I ate eggs with Hilary on the patio of her new condo.  Hilary is a beautiful, intelligent, hilarious, God-fearing, compassionate, creative, energetic woman.  She also happens to be single.  But that’s not who she is.  She may not have a white dress, but she already has the joy, the peace, and the contentment I used to think came only with marriage.

Don’t get me wrong: marriage brings an immense amount of joy.  I absolutely LOVE being married to Paul.  But I think there is great danger in making the white dress the end game.  If we tell little girls they are not complete until they are wed, that a husband will satisfy all their needs, well then we’re telling them lies.

Only Jesus completes us.

No one can ever satisfy us completely except for our Savior.

Let’s not pin our hopes and dreams on a future spouse who will never know us as intimately as God does.

I love my wedding dress, but my life was not made complete once I slipped it on.  I found contentment long before I found Paul and the white dress hanging on the wall.  And I still feel sad and misunderstood at times, even with a ring on my finger and a new last name.

Marriage doesn’t cure all of life’s problems.

Only Jesus does.

But let’s be honest, it sure is fun to twirl in your wedding dress and dance with your new husband:vandyk09202014-919

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Waiting…

Traffic.

The DMV.

Lines at Disneyland.

The spinning rainbow wheel of death.

Red lights.

Security at LAX.

The doctor’s office.

Question: What do all these things have in common?

Answer: They all are painful.  And they all require you to wait. 

Waiting is the worst.  And I’m pretty bad it.  I’ve been known to scream at my computer (in front of my students) and read my book during red lights.  You’d think I’d be more patient by now since God has taught me some hard lessons about waiting, but it seems He’s still got a lot of work to do on me.

I waited a long time for Paul.  Longer than most people wait for a spouse.  So I’ve learned a thing or two about waiting.  Here’s what I wrote about the waiting process back in 2012:

In church this week, the pastor talked about the importance of waiting and the change that happens as we wait.  You better believe I teared up.  Especially as he read this quote from Lewis Smedes:

“Waiting is our destiny. As creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for, we wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light. We wait in fear for a happy ending that we cannot write. We wait for a ‘not yet’ that feels like a ‘not ever.'”

I think God is using this “not yet” that feels like a “not ever” for a reason.  And I get to live in a place of hopeful expectation, a place where my faith is strengthened as I hope for what I cannot see and I wait for God’s crazy plans to unfold.

The waiting sometimes feels confusing and chaotic; at times it’s lonely and long.  But I firmly believe in a God who acts at just the right time.  I believe in a God who has purposes and plans that are much grander than my own.  So I’ll wait.

And wait I did.  Then on February 1, at  just the right time, I walked across an In-N-Out parking lot, gave an awkward side hug to a blind date, and the wait was over.

I can see now why I had to wait for Paul.  They say hindsight is 20/20 and I’ve certainly found that to be true because hindsight doesn’t require any faith.  It’s when you’re in the thick of it- waiting for a spouse or a job or a baby or whatever it may be- that faith is required and faith is refined. 

Who needs faith when you have everything you hope for?  It’s in the midst of the hoping and the longing and the often painful process of waiting that faith is strengthened.  The author of Hebrews explains, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

Paul writes this about Abraham having to wait decades for God to deliver what He had promised:

“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Romans 4:20-21).

I wish I could say that I never wavered in unbelief and that I was always fully persuaded that God would deliver, but that’s just not true.

The thing is, God never promised me a husband.  God never promised to give us everything we want.  But here’s what He has promised:

He will never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).

He has given us His peace (John 14:27).

He will supply for our every need (Philippians 4:19).

And He will work out everything for our good (Romans 8:28).  Not for our comfort and pleasure, but for our good.

In the middle of the waiting, we can cling to these promises.  God may not answer our prayers how we want and and He sure doesn’t operate on our timetables very often.  But we can trust that when He says “no” there is a reason and when He says “wait” there is a purpose.

Stay tuned for the next post in which I list the 20 reasons I should have known Paul was the one for me.

20 I Should Have Knowns

I met Paul on February first.  One hundred days later he was down on one knee and opening a little black box.

Moral of the story: a lot can happen in 100 days.

But before I tell the story of that 100 days, you need to know the back story.  To truly appreciate God’s timing and plan, you need to know that I was 31 when I met Paul and I had never had an official boyfriend before him.  Paul was my first kiss.  And that wasn’t because I had “kissed dating goodbye” or was saving my first kiss for the man I knew I would marry.  It just worked out that way.  And I’m so glad it did.

You also need to know that before I met Paul, I went on a lot of first dates.  But not a lot of second dates.

In fact, in March I wrote an e-mail to my friend Cindy who was collecting “should have knowns.”  She wrote a book about Christian dating and on her blog she compiled a list of red flags that signal the point when we SHOULD HAVE KNOWN things were definitely not going to work out.  Here’s the list I sent her:

20 I should’ve knowns
I should have known when…
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1- he tripped me and smashed my face in the mud. #ithoughtitwashilariousatthetime
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2- he told me his New Year’s Resolution was to do more yoga.  When I asked why, he replied, “To be honest, it’s to pick up on girls.”  #ew #thiswasafterhetoldmehewasarocketscientist #apparentlytalkingtogirlsisharderthanrocketscience
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3- his first question to me was, “Okay, I have to know- Chevy or Ford?” #idriveatoyota
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4- he told me he doesn’t like going to baseball games because he doesn’t like big crowds. #weirdphobias
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5- he showed up carrying a machete. #actuallyithoughtthatwaskindacool
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6- I found his blog where he wrote about proposing to his friend even though they never had dated. #shesaidno #sodidi
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7-  he told me about his addiction to dip. #ithoughthewastalkingaboutchips
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8-  he assured me he had no children…or grandchildren. #doesthatreallyneedtobeclarified
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9- he had shoulder-length silver hair and fought in the Gulf War. #howolddoyouthinkiam
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10- I asked him what he did for fun in college and he said, “I don’t know.  I ate a lot.” #fatkidproblems
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11-  he looked like an Abercrombie model. #prettyboysoftenhavezeropersonality
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12- he was a real life model who just moved out of his girlfriend’s house. #atleastigotapizookieoutofthedate
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13- he talked about himself more than I talk about historical fiction novels. #thatmeansalot
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14- he thought it was strange that my whole family gets together for dinner during the week and plays kickball in the front yard. #thehardemansweretoocoolforhim
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15- I ate way more of the dessert than he did. #inhisdefenseidoeatanabsurdamount
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16- he would only hang out with me after midnight when no one was around. #mycollegeroommateshatedhim
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17- he would karate chop my throat as part of a “game” we would play. #throatpunchingisneverokay #myroommateshatedhimtoo
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18- he made a joke about my acne. #imtheonlyonewhocanjokeaboutmyzits
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19- he talked a lot about Nascar. #fellasleepwithmyeyesopen
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20-  he was 47.  I know it’s my lucky number and I know age is just a number but when you’re 19 years younger than a black man named Stacey who works as a janitor in Comptom and is a foot shorter than you, you can use the age thing as an excuse not to go on a second date. #wehadsoupatcocos #imwaytooniceduringthemeetngreetatchurch
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By the time Paul came around in February, I was truly beginning doubt if there were any good ones left.  Waiting for him to arrive was hard.  But good.  Stay tuned for the next post in which I’ll write about the waiting.

Christmas Surprises

Christmas as a child is full of surprises.  That’s why it’s so fun watching kids open presents.  Their reactions are never fake or forced.  If they love a present, genuine joy spreads across their face.  Like here, when Heidi opened a Barbie car:

And if a child is disappointed by a gift, an instant scowl or look of disinterest appears.

Like the year my brother Trent opened up an expired Lunchable.  He didn’t find it nearly as funny as my dad did.  Nor did he laugh the next year when he opened a box of rocks.  And the year he didn’t give my mom a list so she surprised him with karate lessons when he really wanted roller blades?  Well let’s just say that ever since then we’ve given her very detailed Christmas lists.

I always loved being surprised on Christmas morning.  It was so hard to fall asleep on Christmas Eve because just thinking about the surprise presents soon to be under the tree made me giddy with excitement.

I didn’t expect to receive the gifts on my list like I often do as an adult.  As a child, I simply hoped for things and was still shocked when I got them.  And then there were always other surprise gifts I didn’t even know I wanted.  Like the giant chalkboard I unwrapped one year after my parents had noticed how often I played pretend teacher.

The anticipation of presents and surprises woke us up before the sun rose, and we’d race down the stairs to look in wonder at all the wrapped gifts delivered late in the night.  I think it’s those surprises on Christmas morning that make the 25th so magical as a child.

We don’t get many surprises on Christmas morning any more.  Sure, we’re surprised by the type of candy in our stockings and the style of pjs we open on Christmas Eve, but we usually know exactly what we’ll open Christmas morning.  I had already tried on the running shoes my sister got for me this year. And I knew precisely what my parents got for me since I only had one thing on my list.  And though I love my new Newton running shoes and my Vitamix, I can’t help but miss the wonder of surprise that comes with Christmas as a child.

However, this Christmas season I learned about one of the greatest surprises of all time.

I learned in my seminary class that there was never a prophecy about the Messiah coming from a virgin.

I know. I was shocked too.

In fact, I raised my hand in class and said, “Dr. Way, you’re telling me that there was never ANY prophecy about the virgin birth?  It was a total surprise?”

He assured me that it was and said, “Absolutely no one expected the Messiah to come from a virgin.  It was a bonus.”

My mind raced as it tried to wrap around this idea.  I had always believed that Isaiah had foretold the virgin birth and the Jews had simply misunderstood Isaiah 7:14 just as they misunderstood what kind of Messiah Jesus would be.  So to learn that it was actually I who had misunderstood the verse was more than a little disconcerting.  However, as Dr. Way continued in his lecture, he explained how the verse should actually be read and how it actually reveals an even greater God.

Nerd alert: I’m about to throw a bunch of bible nerdiness on this post.  I find this stuff uber interesting, but realize that not everyone will.  Feel free to skim to the end of this rant if I start to bore you.  No offense taken.

Okay, so in every Evangelical bible Isaiah 7:14 reads something like this:

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

But there are several things wrong with this English translation.  First, the verb tense is wrong.  In Hebrew it doesn’t read “shall conceive” as in the future, but rather, it indicates that the woman had already conceived but not yet given birth.  This was huge because Isaiah was referring to a woman who was already pregnant.  In fact, most OT scholars believe this was a woman in the king’s harem whom the original audience would have known.

Therefore, this prophecy that we always assume is about Jesus, was actually about a child named Immanuel who had been born long before Jesus came to earth.

Next, the “sign” that Isaiah mentions was not referring to a miraculous birth.  It was totally normal that a pregnant woman would give birth.  But the sign would be the fact that in a few months, a child would be born and God would once again be with Israel and judge the nations; hence the meaning of his name: Immanuel= God with us.

Here’s the crazy part.

Isaiah didn’t actually use the word “virgin.”  I know.  For the record, I fully believe that Mary was a virgin.  I’m not contesting the virgin birth.

Isaiah used the word “alma” which means young woman- some almas were virgins and others were not, just as some fiances are virgins and others are not.  John H. Walton wrote THIS ARTICLE in 1987 in which he convinced most OT scholars and even the Bible translating committee that “alma” should not be translated as “virgin.” However, the publishers wouldn’t change the translation to say “young woman” because they knew the controversy it would create.  Instead, they added a footnote which indicates that “virgin” can also be translated “young woman.”

If you’re a bible nerd like me, you’ll be fascinated by Walton’s article and this summary:

But even if you’re not a Bible nerd, I think you’ll appreciate the fact that Walton proves that nobody expected a virgin birth.  Not even Isaiah.

When Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14, he wasn’t saying that  prophecy was being fulfilled through the virgin birth.  Matthew often used OT scriptures to make a point, and knowing the OT scriptures much better than us, Matthew knew that this boy named “Immanuel” had already been born.

So when he writes that, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel'” (Matt 1:22), he was using a teaching strategy the Jews accepted.  He was applying a prophecy that already been fulfilled to make a point that God was with them again- just as he was back in Isaiah’s time.

Mary named her son Jesus, not Immanuel, because the angel instructed her to and because Isaiah’s prophecy wasn’t about Jesus.  Matthew simply points out an interesting connection to the OT passage and uses it to illustrate that when Jesus was born, God was with us again.

Bible nerd rant over.

Maybe you buy this and maybe you don’t.  I realize that I’m not exactly a bible scholar.  I’m a girl who reads US Weekly and almost electrocuted herself last week.  But the Old Testament scholars I respect the most, the ultra bible dorks who study the bible for a living, all agree that NO ONE expected a virgin birth.

It was a total surprise.

And I think it says something awesome about our God.

He is a God of surprises.

A God who continually surpasses our expectations.

A God who fulfills His promises in ways far better than we can imagine.

So when He promised a Messiah, the Jews didn’t realize how great this Messiah would be.  They didn’t realize he would come from a virgin and be God himself in human flesh.

What a crazy surprise!

And when God promises to “meet all our needs” (Phil 4:19), and give you “the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4), He often surprises us in the way He does this.  I’ve certainly seen this in my own life.

Last year at this time, I thought for sure God would meet my needs and give me the desires of my heart by providing a job in Chile or Panama or Nicaragua.  And if not that, then I’d stay here and God would provide a husband.  Or even just a boyfriend.

But He didn’t.

Instead, I’m still in America, still living in the same house with my cat still sleeping on my chest, even though my uncle warned me that I could get a parasite that will make me suicidal if she sleeps near my face.

And you know what?  Life is wonderful.

My needs are met.

I’ve been given many of the desires of my heart.

And I get to live in a place of hopeful anticipation, waiting for God to surprise me again.

Because He’s proven Himself to be a good God.  A God who hears our prayers, knows our needs and desires, and chooses to surprise us with the ways He answers our prayers and meets our needs.

Instead of giving His people a mighty human king to overthrow Rome, He shocked the world and gave us His own son, born of a virgin, to overthrow death.

Instead of giving us what we think we need and desire, He continually surprises us by giving us what He knows we need and what we should desire.

So if you weren’t surprised at all this Christmas season, if like me, you got exactly what you asked for, I hope that you can rejoice in the fact that God will surprise you this year.  He won’t give us exactly what we ask for because we often ask for the wrong things.  But He will give us good gifts because He is a loving Father who loves to bless and surprise us.

Would you join with me in asking God to surprise you this year?  Let’s raise our expectations and our hopes in this God who delivers wonderful surprises.

November Wows

November started off with a big ol’ “What in tarnations just happened?” kind of wow moment.  On the first of the month, I went for a run in the park and luckily I’m pretty unobservant.  As I ran past a man standing by his mini-van, I thought, “I’m not 100% sure that man is wearing any clothes.”  Once that thought registered, the curiously got to me, so I glanced back and yep, sure enough- 300 pound man standing stark naked in the parking lot.  Thankfully he wasn’t facing me, but I was still a bit traumatized by those flabby buns.

I really should probably pay more attention to my surroundings when I run, since yesterday I screamed really loudly when I nearly stepped on a dead pigeon. Continue reading

g’OLD’en friendships part 2

I started writing about “golden friendships” last week when I wrote about my long-time friend, Megan.  She’s old friend and she’s a golden friend.  Continuing on with this idea of old friendships that are “golden” friendships, I’ve put together a list of indicators that your friend might just be a g’OLD’en friend.  If you can think of any more, please feel free to share them in the comments.

20 signs of a golden friendship

1) They know your birthday without checking facebook.

2) They’ve known you through multiple different hairstyles.

3) They know your weaknesses and don’t judge you for them.

4) They know your strengths and don’t envy you because of them.

5) They know how you take your coffee and what you put on your burgers.

6) They know all about your siblings, scars, ex’s, moles, parents, warts, celebrity crushes, fears, and childhood pets.

7) They have passed gas in front of you. Continue reading

Rock Candy and Love Letters

My sister-in-law HATES Valentine’s Day.  Like hates it with a passion.  Hates it as much as I hate pickles and traffic.  And it’s surprising because not only is she married, she’s a hopeless romantic who loves chick flicks and wears a lot of pink.  Naturally, one would assume that a girl like Emma would love today.  But oddly enough, she doesn’t.

And me?

Well I’m 29, single, and have yet to have had a Valentine’s Day date, so if you do the math, it logically follows that I should despise Valentine’s Day, right?  I should groan and grumble about how this is a pointless holiday Hallmark made up and I should wear lots of black and feel miserable all day long.  But oddly enough, I don’t.

I used to.  I used to belong to the group of girls that refer to today as, “Single’s Awareness Day” and was a little bit bitter with the world on February 14th.  But I’m not any more. Continue reading

Dating Grandpas and Becoming Lions

I really don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to blurt it out:

I accidentally went on a date with a 47 year old black man.

I’ll let that fact sink in for a moment.

47.

Black man from the hood.

Me.

Coco’s.

It happened.

For reals.

In my defense, I didn’t realize I was on a date until it was too late.  I’ve never been great at “reading people” so I had no idea that he was thinking “date” when he asked what I was doing after church.  And apparently I’m a little too friendly when meeting visitors at church- so much so that elderly gentlemen from Comptom think I’m “putting out the vibe” when really I was just trying to make him feel less awkward about being at the “young, hip, white people service.”  And thus, I ended up eating soup in a booth at Coco’s (his choice) on one of the strangest dates of all time.

I suppose I should resort back to taking a fake pee during the meet n greet.

During our ever-so bizarre and ever-so awkward date, I swallowed giggles the whole time.  I’ve never received so many confused looks from strangers and that’s saying something because people, I get A LOT of confused looks from strangers.  Typically, when there is an awkward lull in the conversation, I fill it with mindless chatting, but this time I didn’t even try.  Nope, I sat there like a mute, basking in the cloud of awkwardness watching him fumble for words.  And all the while I kept thinking, “How did I end up here?  How has it come to this?  How am I 29 and going on dates with men old enough to be grandfathers?”

Typically I wouldn’t write about my “dating life” on here, but I’m pretty sure this fella hasn’t figured out the Internet and I’m also pretty sure that this date doesn’t officially count.  I mean, he did pay for my soup but again, let me stress the fact that I did NOT realize he was asking me on a date.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my “single status” and not just because I’ve had to switch church services so as to avoid running into gramps.  (I know, I know- I’m passive aggressive like that) But my singleness has been on my mind for a number of other reasons as well.

For one, my team is continually talking about how it is a team goal to “find coach a husband.”  They tell me I need to stop making Harry Potter references or I’ll never find a husband and they are forever winking and nudging me whenever a single man is in the gym.  At our latest tournament, I was talking to one of the coaches and kept seeing flashes from across the gym.  I knew what it was immediately and pondered flipping off the pack giggling girls who were snapping pictures of us, but I refrained.  Then a few nights ago, one particularly persistent teaser would not let up about the opposing coach being my “boo”, so I squeezed her neck so hard she collapsed to the ground.  Took that one from the coaching  handbook of Bobby Knight.

I’ve also been reminded of my singleness thanks to two recent conversations with my 5 year old nephew.  First, I explained to him why he and I have different last names.

Me: “Your mom used to be a Hardeman, but when she married your dad, she became a Ploog.”

Vander: “And you used to be a Hardeman and now…”

Me: “I’m still a Hardeman.  I haven’t found my husband yet.”

Vander: “Well, where is he?”

Me: “I don’t know.  I have to find him.”

Vander:” Katie,” switches to an oddly patronizing voice for a 5 year old  “here’s what you gotta do.  You see a cute boy…”

Me: “Yeah?”

Vander: “…and you go get him.”

Me: “Well, how do I get him to like me?”

Vander: pause as he thinks hard about this and then “You kiss him.”

Me: “I don’t think it’s that easy, Vander.”

Dan (Vander’s dad): “ummmm….yeah, it kinda is.”

So basically, if you’re a cute single boy and you’re in my vicinity, look out. Continue reading

“That Girl”- 29 and Single

When you’re 29 and have never had a boyfriend, most people tend to think you’re a freak.  So I try not to mention this fact to those I don’t know very well because I assume that they’ll assume that I must be an Amish lesbian and no offense to Amish lesbians, but I’m not one and with that much assuming going on, someone’s bound to make a major ass of themselves.

For the record, no, I did not “kiss dating goodbye.”  I did read the book though, and laughed pretty hard at the guidelines for when to give side hugs versus full frontals.  I’m an awkward hugger in general and still prefer the high five, so maybe that’s been my problem.  And no, I don’t have a horn growing from my forehead or a tail from my rear.  I’m a normal-looking, normal girl, but for whatever reason, I’ve yet to be swept off my feet by a normal-looking, normal boy.  I can count on my hands the number of dates I’ve been on and apart from one creepy tale involving a creep from e-Harmony, they weren’t stupendously awful or awkward dates, so I didn’t even get good stories out of them.  All I got were free meals and my mom’s hopes up. Continue reading