Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The GDE: Communication Gems

Since my date with Tex, I have been trying even harder at the online dating gig. I still do not enjoy it but I want to give it my all because if this doesn't work I don't want it to have been because of my lack of effort.
And if it does work, well then pigs will actually be flying.

Recently, I have had some seriously scary/funny conversations with a few of the guys on this site. I have decided to share a few of their questions or comments with you but also the responses I had in my head as I read them. Brace yourself, dear readers. These people are really real.

"Are you modest?" 

Fiscally? Fashionably? Romantically? I am confused. And a little weirded out by that question.

"Your eyes are like the Atlantic Ocean and I wish I could swim in them."

Please don't. My optometrist would not like that.

"Do you own any firearms?"

Uhh, do you?

"I have to let you know that I dance like the guy on Hitch."

We should totally get married. (And yes, I totally wrote him back.)

"Your profile gave me a smile so I am giving you one in fair exchange."

I don't know what that means. And I am currently not smiling.

"Hi, I appreciate the importance of Christianity in your life. If you would consider someone of my age, kindly write back."

I appreciate your thoughtfulness and effort, but I am not ready to date a 43 year old. I am pretty sure I just graduated high school.

Scary stuff, peeps. Scary stuff. Dating is literally survival of the fittest.

And...Happy Halloween to you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The GDE: A Date with the Textinator

(Holy cow. I did not intend to take a fall break from blogging but I have been without the internet for a few days, and lo, no new posts. Thanks for hanging in there with me. )

I figured it was time to update you on the Great Dating Experiment! I am sure you have all wondered how well it is going or how often I have spoke in a southern accent.

SIDE NOTE: I speak in a southern accent when I am nervous. Charming, I know.

It has already been a month and I can officially state for the record that I absolutely do not like online dating.

Yes, it is an exercise in courage.

Yes, it is an exercise in keeping an open mind

Yes, it is an exercise in vulnerability.

And yes, it is an exercise in trying not to be terrified by all the crazy, lazy wacko men out there.

However, I continue to persevere because I do not give up easily and because the site automatically charged my credit card again. Regardless, I am back at it for another month, with a variety of prospective suitors and one date under my belt.

So, let me tell you about this date.

It started last week when a guy, that I later deemed "The Textinator," sent me an email. Now Tex (as we will now call him) was nice and funny and complimentary and pursued me with a refreshing tenacity. On the first day, which was Thursday, after we had chatted that evening, he had already asked me out on a date for Sunday evening.

Let me tell you, I was TOTALLY IMPRESSED with his pursuit. I come from a world where guys my age want to pseudo-date you by asking you to "hang out" and leave you wondering if you are just friends or almost engaged. Ambiguity seems to be the method of choice in the dating world these days.

So when Tex came along and was honest and confident and charming, I was encouraged that this experiment may not be a total bust.

By Friday afternoon, he had texted me at work, asking me if I had a busy weekend. I explained that I had an extremely busy weekend but was looking forward to our date on Sunday. And then we proceeded to text back and forth throughout the day.

By Friday night, however, he had texted me 50 times, asking me if I wanted to hang out before our date. I texted him back saying I was extremely busy but was looking forward to our date on Sunday.

By Saturday, he had texted nearly 100 times, called and left me a message, asking me yet again if I would like to hang out before our date but I told him that I was extremely busy but I would see him on Sunday.

By Sunday morning, he had texted almost 150 times, called again, and again wondered if I would like to hang out before our date. At that point, I didn't even respond. I was beginning to think that this guy was nuts and that perhaps I should bring a stun gun with me. What, exactly, was hard to understand about me being extremely busy? I began to cringe anytime my phone buzzed or beeped.

By the time our date rolled around, I was completely annoyed. All I wanted was for him to to still be breathing and to have a credit card in hand because you can GUARANTEE I was not paying for this meal!

SIDE NOTE: I know you may think that I was crazy for even going on this date. But I agreed to meet him in a busy restaurant while it was still light outside and about 24 people knew where I was and what he looked like.

When I arrived at the restaurant, I had absolutely zero expectations of how this date would unfold. What started off so promising on Thursday night had turned into a depressing texting circus by Sunday evening. However, I wanted to go through with it just to prove to myself that I could handle the dating world. And besides, I had washed my hair and it was looking fantastic.

He had already arrived and he met me at the door. I could tell he was very nervous. I was fairly relaxed because, you know, ZERO EXPECTATIONS, and we sat down at a table and began talking. I was surprised to find that he was much more normal in person than his texts made him out to be and we easily talked about politics, religion and family, two of the three things you should never discuss on a first date. He also told me that he loves tigers and showed me pictures of them on his phone.

So, there's that.

The meal lasted a little over an hour and yes, he did pay for the meal, which I thanked him for a couple of times. We both went our separate ways, him asking me if I would like to do this again sometime. I mumbled something and told him he knew how to contact me. Obviously.

I drove away completely ambivalent. It wasn't terrible, it wasn't amazing, it was just neutral. And I was thankful that he wasn't a psycho.

Early on Monday morning I had a text from him saying that he did not sense any chemistry between us. If there is ever an example of how important a first date can be, this is it. He went from hot to cold in a matter of hours. And since neither one of us can control chemistry, I texted him back saying I completely agree and wished him luck in finding the right girl.

That was, by far, the best text exchange we had had all weekend.

So, there you have it. One completely underwhelming date under my belt. Even though it was somewhat stressful, I am glad I did it. You always learn something from these experiences. And hopefully he learned how to control his texting thumbs the next time he decides to bombard/completely overwhelm date a girl.

Maybe ambiguity isn't so bad after all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Faith Like A Child

And so it has been a year.


The other night, as I went back and forth between zoning out to the TV and wrestling with this blue funk I am in, my friend Mandy sent me an email. After I read it, I just sat on the couch and cried. It is definitely something worth sharing.

"Sarah - I wanted to share this story with you:
We were praying for you and your Dad tonight and we usually just pray that Miss Sarah's Dad can come home soon.  Tonight James really wanted to know more of a back story.  So, I thought I'd explain it based on the movie "The Ballad of Little Joe", so I said, "Remember how in that movie people said mean things that weren't true about Larry and he had to go to jail?" James said yes, so I said, "That's what happened with Miss Sarah's Daddy and so we're just praying he can come home soon." 

That's when James' little lower lip started to quiver.  "You mean he's in jail?"  I could tell he was about to cry, so I said, "Yes, but not like in the movie,"  I explained how he has an apartment but just can't move home.  By this point my son is totally crying in my arms while Katie and I tried to comfort him.  I reminded him that even in the movie God had a plan and part of his plan was for Larry to be in jail and in the end he got to be with his family again.  And that we know Sarah's Dad will get to go home, we're just praying that it'll be soon. 

He was still pretty upset, so I told him that you got to see [your dad] and I showed him your family pictures, by the time we got to the pictures of Noah and Sam he finally perked up :)  I forget how sensitive kids can be, especially James, and maybe I told him too much, but his reaction reminded me of why we're supposed to come to Jesus like little children.  I know that if this situation broke James' heart, which it did, it breaks God's heart too.  And I know that God is listening to all our prayers for your family, even the ones from the littlest hearts."

Amen, sweet friend. Amen.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Family Photo Shoot: The Gang

To conclude this walk down the FC family photo shoot lane, I bring you the most normal-looking picture I could find.

Consider this your Christmas card from all of us.

Exhibit E: The Gang

Feliz Navidad to you and yours!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Family Photo Shoot: The 'Rents

I realize you might be on family photo overload this week. I am sure you are ready for me to talk about cookie dough or glitter or something. But family photo shoots are as rare as me spending time on a treadmill these days so it is only natural that I give these photos their time in the spotlight.

Besides, I am a loss for what else to talk about. My brain is full of political ads and Halloween candy. It's hard to blog about that.

Exhibit D: The 'Rents

The difficulty of this past year pales in comparison to how strong these two really are. Somehow they keep going when the rest of us give up.

There is not greater example of marriage than these two.

There is also no greater example of coordinating your outfits than these two.

Way to rock it, parents.

They both look so happy and calm and...


The stealth bomber strikes again.

Someone get that kid a hobby.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Family Photo Shoot: Dad and His Girls

I can't tell you how much I love these two pictures.

And yes, I am totally biased. And perhaps a bit of an ego-maniac.

I am okay with that.

Exhibit C: Dad and His Girls

When I asked Noah if Claire and I looked alike, he said we had the same teeth and eyebrows.

I love that kid.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Family Photo Shoot: Father and Son

The next set of pictures highlight two of my most favorite people: Ferris Bueller and his offspring.

As you can see, they are a special twosome, full of love and laughter and mischief.

But let's be honest, they are also very weird.

Which means I am related to 'very weird.'

And we wonder why I am single.

Without further ado...

Exhibit B: Father and Son

Things started off great.

They were happy and smiley and normal.

And then...well...

...things began to head south.

Very south.

As in you-might-want-to-count-how-many-toes-you-have south.

What exactly are they thinking  right now?

Sam looks like he ate a bad bean burrito and Noah looks like a jack-o-lantern.

Not normal.

I am questioning my genetics.

I give up.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Family Photo Shoot: The Not-So Newlyweds

This past weekend we had a family photo shoot. It consisted of me setting my camera on a tripod and running back and forth to try to capture a somewhat appropriate picture of my family. And to top it all off, I made us coordinate our outfits.

Take that, siblings.

In theory, a family photo session is an excellent idea. Your goal is to capture a moment (or an hour) in time that you hope to cherish for years to come.

In reality, it is like herding cats who argue with you.

All you really want is one solitary photo that will make your family appear almost normal. Sometimes, that is just too much to ask.

Thankfully, this weekend we got our stuff together and made it work. It was nothing short of a minor miracle.

Throughout this week, I'll show you some of the obnoxious precious moments we captured for all eternity.

Exhibit A: The Not-So Newlyweds

Yesterday was their first anniversary. Aren't they adorable?

I know. It's ridiculous how happy they are.

So stinking happy.


However...something was lurking in the shadows.

A stealth photo bomber was creeping in on their love fest.


Photo bombed.

Totally worth the chaos.

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Fall Fashion from Pinterest

Pinterest is a virtual gold mine of ideas and inspirations this time of year. I find that any time the seasons change, I spend hours sifting through recipes, decorations and fashion trends.

Pinterest is also an excellent time waster and a perfect distraction when you are waiting for your online pseudo-boyfriends to cyber smile at you for the fifteenth time.

So, here are some of my latest finds in the fashion world. As you can see, I love feminine details, sparkle, and tailored clothing. I also love something funky thrown in, just to keep things unpredictable.

What are you loving from Pinterest these days?


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Real Cowgirl

Last week, my friend Majil introduced me to a real, live cowgirl (as opposed to a fake, live cowgirl). She wore boots that were not bedazzled and were used for more than just line dancing. And she threw words around like "round pen" and "tack room" and "manure removal."

In other words, she spoke my language.

SIDE NOTE: I also speak "shoes," "homemade baked goods," and "international travel." But that is neither here nor there.

Majil and I listened and absorbed every word she said. I became her instant fan and secretly wished we could go home with her and sleep in her barn. Instead, she invited us down to her ranch next week to meet her horses.

Formal introductions are a must in the horse world.

When Majil and I went to Argentina four years ago, we spent an entire day riding horses on the Pampas. I sang "Oklahoma" at the top of my lungs and Majil petted their pet water buffalo named Tito. Obviously, it was magical.

Our wrangler was named Alejandro, of course, and was every bit as gorgeous as you can imagine. And I did my absolute best to flirt with him. However, we both realized it could never go anywhere since I had to leave by 3:00 that afternoon.

The three of us rode for hours, across the plains, through the trees, and I remember thinking that life could not get better than this (unless, of course, I was actually dating Alejandro and he brought cookies for a snack).

Horses are something you breathe in and never breathe out. Trust me, that is not a weird sentence.

Many of you may not know this, but I owned a horse at one time. For a brief, shining time in my life, I, too, was a real cowgirl. My horse's name was Honey and she was a registered Quarter Horse and a register Buckskin (for those who speak horse). She was a long-awaited surprise and I loved her immediately.

Don't judge my perm. It was 1991. Totally legit.

I had grown up taking riding lessons and finding any opportunity available to be around horses. I love their smell. Love their ears. Love their soft noses. Love their spirit.

So, it was a wonderful, fantastic surprise to meet someone who feels the same way Majil and I do and can actually breathe them in for a living.

Our new cowgirl friend is starting a ministry on her ranch where she rescues horses from abuse and neglect and pairs them with children who have experienced hurt or loss. In a way, they help to rehabilitate each other. And in the middle of all of it, you see powerful analogies of how God has rescued us and is in the process of rehabilitating us back to Himself.

It is brilliant.

And horsey.

And just exactly where I should be on the weekends.

 Now all we need is Alejandro. And cookies.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Weight of October

October carries a lot of weight in my world. It is filled to the brim with memories and milestones and days you wish you could relive and others you wish you could forget.

October is like a very large speed bump on the calendar. If you approach it too quickly and do not take your time to get through it, you may come out on the other side battered and bruised, and probably without a  muffler.

October can make you dance like a lunatic. It can also make you sleep for days. It is just that kind of month.

First, there is the celebration of Claire and Carr. I cannot believe they have almost been married a year! I am pretty sure my little sister should still be in 7th grade, but she is actually quite adult-like and living a blissful married life with the man of her dreams. They are such a beautiful couple. They love each other in ways I have never seen. And after nearly 12 months of wedded-ness, they still hold hands even when sitting on the couch.

I have a feeling they will be like this for the rest of their lives. Some couples are just like that, they need to be near each other always.

It is breathtaking to watch when I am not totally annoyed mesmerized by it.


And then there is my Grandpa. I had a dream about him last night. I do not remember the details but I remember he was there and I was at his house and life was simpler. My world was safer. My heart was lighter. I do not understand how some people can have that effect on you. Their mere presence in the world anchors your soul, mind and heart. In a way, they are your home. He was that way for all of us. He equaled home, a love-filled, laughter-brimmed home.

On October 20, it will have been two years since he left this earth for something unbelievably better.

Now he is home.


Finally, there is that Monday.

That Monday in the courtroom, surrounded by friends who held our hands and prayed like warriors. That Monday where the judge read the verdict and I sucked in my breath and my brother squeezed the fingers on my left hand. That Monday where my mom and I drove his truck home without him and I could have sworn that God had abandoned us and let the enemy win.

That Monday where my head and heart both screamed but my soul remained silent.

That Monday where God whispered:
"Oh, the plans I have for you, my child.
I have not left you. I have not left them.
I am right here, sitting right next to you, squeezing the fingers on your right hand.
I am working on something that is bigger than you.
Something that will change you for the better.
Something that will draw you closer to me.
Something that screams of my unbelievable love for you.
I am fighting hard for you, my daughter.
I am fighting hard for all of you. 
Trust me in this.
I am trustworthy."

I am just now hearing this. He has been here all along.

We have come a long way since that Monday.


Oh, the magnificent weight of October.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wedding Marathon Anniversary

Can you believe a year ago we were here?

And that resulted in a 10-day marathon of epic proportions that still boggles the mind and makes me want to take a nap.

Holy matrimony.

Time flies really, really fast.

Thankfully, the outcome was blissful.

They still look like this, by the way. All dreamy and lovey-dovey.

However, they have moved on to stretchy pants and sweatshirts.

So romantic.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In Other News

I am happy to report that the fire drill went off without a hitch or an actual fire. No cats were thrown into the ceiling tiles, no vending machines were vandalized and no overhead projectors were thrown out windows.

It was civilized, underwhelming and safe, which is kind of what my hair looks like today.

I would also like to report to you that very little action has occurred in the online dating world. While my handlers are hard at work, the pickings are slim. Some may call this "picky," but I call this long-term mental health. I only decided to do this for a month and we are almost half-way through, but here is hoping that things will pick up. I could really use a free cup of coffee.

Do you want to hear something awesome? Of course you do! My brother is taking my darling nephew to Disney World for his fall break. They left today. Oh, how glorious it is to be seven years-old.

Back in May, I posted this picture of the view out of my office window. I was a little bummed that they decided to build something directly in front of my view of the mountains but hopeful it would only be a parking lot or something low to the ground.

I was wrong.

Today, my view looks like this:

I realize this is a first-world problem, but now I have nothing but building material to look at when I decide to be less productive at work.

And lastly, to all those who do not live in the Denver area, be very thankful. The presidential debate tonight is being held at my alma mater and let's just say that traffic is going to be less than stellar. On the news last night, I saw someone driving on the sidewalk because they could not get to their house.

Really, political people? Do you think shutting down our major highways is going to get us to vote for you?

I am rooting for everyone to work from home this afternoon and for both campaigns to pay for ice cream for the entire city.

That only seems fair.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fire Drill

On Monday nights, I help teach a Bible study to high school students.

And tonight we are having a fire drill.

Let's hope it looks nothing like this.