Summer Evening at the Park

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This is it, my favorite part of this day. Between work and a meeting with time to kill I choose the park, great idea. Outside with no deadlines I absorb, write, interpret, create. No one to judge it but me. I keep my hair over one shoulder so the sun’s rays touch my back where the neckline dips down. It is about 90 degrees and as the sun warms my skin I adjust my skirt carefully to cover my knees. Beneath the wooden bench sit my consignment find heels as I relax cross ankled at an angle facing the parking lot and grass. In my full skirted red floral dress I feel like a Spanish maiden, lacking only a red rose held between my teeth. The sky above is a pale baby blue with fluffy happy white clouds floating lazily along. As an airplane flies over, I wonder where its going. The bugs that unluckily land on me meet their end. 

Everything changes. The cars come & go. The basketball game gains and loses players. People grow stronger and either win or lose. The wind tosses the leaves as the clouds shift and the sky brightens to a new hue of blue above the cloud line. The birds eat, fly and grow as the grass and trees reach toward heaven. Trees sometimes seem to grow in rows, like they are standing in line to get somewhere. Which one was the first tree? Is this one the leader? 

People show up who just got off work, they are relieved to be here, maybe some are not. Either dreading or looking forward to some exercise. Grass crunches beneath a man’s tennis shoes as he carefully balances a box full of soccer balls. I hear car engines, voices, balls bouncing, hands clapping, children, swings and birds. A little girl is running past me now, she is smiling ear to ear and giggling because she is excited to get to play, she is alive, head to toe. Her dad follows behind her with a straight serious face. Play. When did you last play? Did you stop playing when you became an adult? How long since you laughed? Laughed from deep inside your soul til your cheeks ached…

Life is short. I made a good choice today, a choice for me. Was I productive at the park? Not really, but I am working on slowing my pace and living in the moment more. So this is a step in the right direction. When we are frantic and busy it is easy to miss the little things and not be grateful for all we have. Be sure to do something you enjoy every single day, just take a deep breath and look around you, who knows what you might notice.

Sunday Drive

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As a little girl I would look forward to getting home after church. Mom would have us dinner on the table soon (lunch) then we would go for a drive. We would get in the brown Oldsmobile and it would carry us down some country road. As I sat in back unbuckled gazing out the window at corn, cows and barns,  Mamma and Daddy would chat about most every family’s house we passed, they seemed to know all of them. Their health, their children, their crops, I hardly listened as I bumped along in the back. Magically the ride would slow as we neared a friend’s house for an unannounced visit. Even so we were warmly welcomed and all good southern women feed you, so soon we’d have something homemade warm and yummy in our tummies. We were so excited to see each other again as we dashed off to play outside. Of course, we stayed for hours, us wildly roaming around, parents had no idea what we were into. Pots of coffee fuel multiple games of rook while they talk and laugh. The one and only TV set lacking a remote played in the background but no one noticed. Inevitably dark would overtake our sky which signaled the grown ups to talk about leaving. But wait! A genius plan we had to hide my shoes, surely Momma won’t make me leave without them…little voices begging to spend the night together so the fun won’t have to end. Then we would say goodnight a thousand times and begin playing again cause they changed their minds and started to talk once again. Why do they talk so much after they say we have to go? So I climb back into the back seat but not for long, my favorite thing is to lie in the back window. This is the perfect spot to see all the stars so now I imagine I am in my spaceship, destination: moon. As I fly through the heavens above I think of all the fun I had with my friends and drift off to peaceful dreams.

My internet dating tips

The prince and his princessMy prince charming found me on an internet dating site. True story.

After being married for 13 years or so my life changed dramatically and I was once again single for the first time since I was like 18 or so… I was clueless. I found that I had an enormous amount of emotional energy and energy in general so I threw myself into doing things with my son, into work and I started running, a whole lot.
I did date some besides from dating sites, I met guys at social gatherings, from facebook, from church, from friends lining me up with someone. I rarely wanted a second date. I usually just wasn’t attracted to the guy.
Eventually I got on Match.com which wasn’t bad, there was a lot of traffic there. I also tried Chemistry.com and a few others. But my fave hands down was Christian Mingle. On CM I found the men to be genuinely interested in finding a Christ-like woman. I didn’t get onto CM until spring of last year. Here are some guideline though I generally followed which might help you navigate the internet dating world:

*Your Profile~ Ok, this is huge. Yes, many guys really read this. Please be real. If you are funny then be funny, if you are serious, be serious. Talk about activities you like, books you like, music you like, let them know what makes you tick without giving too much away..they like a little mystery. Do not get your friend to write it, it needs to be your language, your description. But get help if you are stuck.

*Your tagline~ Please don’t be boring. Come up with something goofy or funny or all about you. Sometimes the guy’s tagline alone would make me smile so I would respond to his request to chat just from that.

*Your pics~ PLEASE be real. I hear this complaint from guys more that anything else…She was 10 years older than her picture, or 50 pounds heavier. Oh yeah, and ladies, guys are visual..You need to load on up at least 3 pictures. They wanna really see your face and you may want to load a full body shot. Get some help, if you have no idea what color to wear, consult a stylish friend to assist and maybe take the picture for you. Guys if you load a pic of your without your shirt on NO I am not talking to you. Keep your clothes on please.

*Winks~I personally think this is the stupidest feature ever. If you think I am cute come on now, open a chat box and tell me HI. And no, I don’t ever wink at a guy.

*Emails~ I always responded. Yeah, I did. If he had the nerve to say something to me then I needed to take the time to answer him. If I didn’t like him I would simply say “No thanks” or “That was sweet, I am not interested.” “Good luck to you, no thank you” or “No thanks and God bless” You do NOT apologize. You do not owe this person an apology, it is not your fault you don’t wanna talk to him. If he acts ugly after the NO (and he may and that is HIS problem) you do not respond back and you immediately block and/or report him.

*Chat~ Ok, this is what I like best. You can immediately get to know him a little better and you can tell a lot about him hopefully. I rarely drive this part. Let him ask you questions, he needs to pursue. “How are you tonight” “I am great” is a fine response. Less is more, remember he needs to pursue and you don’t need to let him know everything about you quickly. Do NOT tell him your name. I waited until the 3rd or 4th chat for this. He isn’t getting my name, my child’s name, my address, where I work, no no no. You will know when you feel comfortable for this. IF he asks your phone # immediately that is not good. They will ask for your email as well, proceed with caution. Always keep in mind, you usually easily block emails, texts, calls, etc. But you can’t change your address so easily 😉 You want someone with energy who is interested in you and interesting. Boring doesn’t work. And the single best questions I found to ask are “What is God teaching you now” or “What are you studying in your Bible now” WOW, you will learn a lot from his answer. And whatever he says, probe him further. Many times his answer meant GAME OVER for me. Next.

*Know what you want~ if you don’t know what you want then don’t waste his or your time getting on the site. Do you want to get married soon? Do you just want to date? Make friends? Have a chat buddy? A texting buddy? Do you want more kids? Do you have a job? A car? Please be honest. If he is an upstanding guy and interested in you he will start to ask these type questions before he asks to meet you. I would never take a step to meet someone before I knew all those vitals and more. Consider what is important to you, maybe make a list of what you need to know before you take the risk of meeting him. If he asks you any stupid questions or gets too personal do not hesitate to end the conversation. You do not have to be nice about this “I gotta go” will suffice then block him. Listen, some of these guys are nasty, when they get rejected they can be mean. Just block him then you don’t have to deal with it. He should never ask you “what are you wearing” or anything that disgusting.

*He asks for your # ~ if you feel safe then you can do this. I do not recommend chatting on the site for months before you speak by phone. The person will be different from chat to phone then from phone to in person. Many times you will like one of those 3 “personalities” but not all 3. That’s the key is to find someone you like all 3 ways. You may want to only text for a while then move to voices to see if you even like him in text mode, it will be different that chat mode. I don’t like unresponsiveness or neediness either. If his gear is way lower or higher than mine I move on. Once you talk, again don’t give too much away too soon, there will be time for this. At this point I drive a bit cause I am invested in him a bit by now and I need to decide if I am going to take my time to meet him in person. So I want to know his intentions, dreams, goals, #kids, where he lives, about his family, his denomination, etc.

*He asks to meet you~ This will only be by phone and he will have to ask or he isn’t meeting me. So if he says “I would really like to meet you” well that is great but he didn’t ask to did he? Remember, you are the princess and he best treat you as such or you ain’t got no time for him. You are a locked treasure chest and You and You alone hold the key. You will only meet him in a public place such as a coffee shop, a park if you feel this is ok, a very casual restaurant, whatever. But you meet him there, he does NOT pick you up. I don’t do this until date 3 or further out depending on my comfort level.
He best be opening the door and making good eye contact with me. Do NOT hesitate to end the date immediately if he does something you don’t like. It is perfectly fine to say “excuse me” when he begins to detail his stay at the mental institution (Yes, this HAS happened to me). Go find a server or an older gentleman to walk you safely to your car. Your safety and comfort level is your #1 priority. You owe him nothing.

*Date 2 ~ Again he is going to have to ask me for a date formally by phone or he isn’t getting one and he won’t succeed in asking the night of or a couple days before. DO NOT go on date 2 unless you are very interested in him. If you are very unsure talk some more, wait it out or just say no. And no, it isn’t ok to drag it out and continue chatting, this is not fair to him. Or to you.

*Continuing on dating site~ for me I will still be on there until several dates. Maybe not as often but until we decide we are exclusively dating and we have clearly defined that fact and what it means to each of us and where we are possibly headed I am not leaving the dating pool. And he will have to ask me about this. I sure ain’t gonna mention it first since I am a princess.

*Being alone ~ I am not going to be alone with someone until several dates, he is not coming into my home until I am extremely comfortable. He will eventually get to sit on my sofa with me but I will be quick to tell him it is time for him to go home I am sleepy and I get up and take him to the door. And no, it will be quite a while before I am ever alone in his place especially for any length of time. By the way, a gentleman will NEVER push you on any of your boundaries, if he does he isn’t a gentleman and you ain’t got time for that.

*Meeting family/children ~ After making a couple of really dumb mistakes I learned this has to wait. You have to put your kids first. Until I was sure I really liked the guy I wouldn’t talk to him in front of my son on the phone, he knew it was my week with my son and he would have to call me after 9pm or call in the mornings or wait. I don’t care how much you adore this new guy already. Whatever, men come and go, you will have this kid the rest of your life and you are his only mamma. Loverboy can wait to meet your kids for at least 6 months. YES, a minimum of 6 months. Yeah, I know how smart you are and you are intuitive and you know everything about him. Trust me, wait 6 months. If he can’t wait that long kick him to the curb OR draw him a map to wal-mart and point him to his car.

For Andrew and I ~ we only chatted a couple maybe 3 times. We were never on at the same time so this took about a 2 month span of time. I made him GUESS my name and he wanted a clue so I told him the first letter and he said “Dana”… 🙂 By this point of trying to find me on there so much he was impatient and very upfront and wanted my #. These weren’t long chats, he is very private and introverted, I picked up on this. I didn’t give it to him right away but at the end of the chat I did and made him promise not to call me, to only text until I was ready to talk. We only texted a little bit and he was saying he wanted to see me. I said Andrew you don’t even know me yet. He said “yeah, I know I like you, I want to learn more, in person.” I really liked his forwardness and confidence. He told me later he knew I was talking to other guys and he wanted to snatch me up before someone else did 🙂 So we talked on the phone the next day and he waited maybe 5 minutes of talking before he said “I want to meet you for lunch” I said “when” he said “right now, yesterday?” I giggled and we found a way to meet that day. It was very easy to be the princess with him because he was the ultimate gentleman and he always respected me and whatever I said. It was almost always about me and what I wanted. He gave me a whole lot of space physically too which made me trust him and feel safe. He did make a move to hug me though on our 2nd date. And I let him. We still always hug upon seeing each other and before we say BYE. The first time we held hands or had any kind of closeness was date 6 and we had our first kiss at the end 🙂 Slow is best. I am not only in love with my prince but I really like who he is and I love his heart. It has been over a year now and we have been engaged a couple of months and I still learn something new about him almost every day and that is so exciting, I wouldn’t trade out one single thing about our journey. It is all part of the tapestry of our love story God is still writing for us.

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*I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

Many of the struggles described in the Bible are set in the desert, perhaps a valley. These are easy to relate to and fit the time and place.
Having just watched Life of Pi and Princess Bride… somehow I envision a different adventure. Behold blind and weak human me, walking a step behind Jesus, being obedient as He leads. He is powerful, big and strong, able to see ahead. We are in a dangerous thick jungle surrounded by wild animals. Colorful noisy birds fly above. I am basically defenseless other than my Savior who knows where the tigers crouch and watch us. He knows which path is best. With machete in hand He easily clears away tangled vines and limbs in the way so I can follow. All I have to do is follow. But wait, hold up! Oh, what if I head this way? Surely I know a better route. I may be blind but I do indeed have great ideas! Let’s take the short cut. And off I go again down the wrong path, following my own desires of course, attempting to plow through a jungle with only a butter knife..
Pray that God will help us to hear His voice, let go and follow without hesitation after Him.

*Then He said to them all:”Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”* Luke 9:23

The Legend of the Dogwood

Two thousand years ago, few trees in the Middle East were big enough to construct anything. However, one tree was valued above the others for its thick trunk and fine, strong wood.

When the Romans came to rule over Jerusalem, their government used this same timber to build the crosses for executing criminals. A group of workers were assigned to gather wood for the crosses. Before long, every Roman official knew the best wood came from these gatherers of execution wood, so those workers became popular.

One day, the wood gatherers received a special request. An officer of the Roman court came and said, “The King of Jews is to be put to death. Deliver an extra-large cross made from your finest wood.” So, a fresh tree was cut from the forest of the trees with thick trunks and fine, strong wood. An extra-tall (and extra-heavy) cross was quickly made and delivered.

Three days after the death of Jesus of Nazareth, the chief wood gatherer got alarming news. “All of our finest trees are withering!” the messenger whispered. The wood gatherer hurried to the forest and saw that it was true.

Several years later, the chief wood gatherer heard that, every spring, many people visited the old forest that had once made his job so easy. Despite his advancing years, he set out to discover why. He saw the remains of forest, now like a salty bottoms, with only a few trees still standing tall, bare, lifeless and rotting.

But what was this? As he drew closer, his feeble eyes could make out the people walking among thousands of beautiful, flowering bushes. Seeing one of his own workers there, the old man said, “No one could ever make a cross out of this twisted wood. Our finest tree has gone to the dogs!” He noticed the beautiful white flowers, each blossom looking as if it had been burned from the touch of a miniature cross.

As told to Ben Baston by his grandmother, Louise Brown.

There Is A Legend

At the time of Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used thus for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus nailed upon it, sensed this.
In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering Jesus said to the tree:
” Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross–two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember.”

The pink dogwood is said to be blushing
for shame because of the cruel purpose
which it served in the Crucifixion.
The weeping dogwood further symbolized the sorrow.
The red dogwood, called the Cherokee, bears
the color to remind us of the blood shed by our Savior.

* The house we lived in at Monticello just a few years ago had a pretty white dogwood tree in the front yard. The strangest thing would happen on a very moonlit night, the tree would actually glow. Something about the spot it sat at in the yard and the lack of shade directly above it made the light hit it perfectly so that it seemed to have a spotlight on it at times. This did somewhat remind me of the burning bush. There were some lonely difficult nights when sleep escaped me, I would stumble downstairs and look at my tree and be with Jesus. Reading my Bible and sitting there with Him, it was like He put that tree there just for me. Most often I was comforted enough to go back to bed and dream. I am definitely a believer in the legend of the dogwood. *

dogwood flowerThe Legend of the Dogwood

http://www.promiseofgod.com/dogwood/
http://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0oG7qZG4NlRXWUAd3kPxQt.?p=the+legend+of+the+dogwood+treee&fr=&fr2=piv-web&hspart=Babylon&hsimp=yhs-002&type=br112dm25

The Kiss

So this is my very first blog post and my thoughts are on kissing. Why? Well because it is International Kissing Day! Do you remember your very first kiss? Did it surprise you, ignite you? The first one I remember took place in our kindergarten classroom…In the back of the room were these panels with hooks behind them for our coats and book satchels as we called them. Chris Hays must have thought this an ideal spot to sneak a kiss. Sweet Innocence.
The last kiss. What about this one? Who will be your last kiss? My mom kissed my dad while he lay in a bed in a nursing home. I wondered at the time whether he was aware of this or if he even knew we were there at all. A different kind of kiss, selfless.
Love, hearts, adoration, joy, happiness, you must think of these words in relation to the word kiss. But what of betrayal?
Wounds from a friend can be trusted but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:6
A famous kiss. Jesus Christ was kissed by Judas to single Him out from the crowd to be carried off by the soldiers. But why kiss Him? Maybe I am a coward but I see myself quietly standing on the sidelines secretly pointing and whispering: “That’s Him, there.” But no, Judas was bold and walked straight up to Him, knowing Jesus was aware of what was happening and greeted Him and kissed Him. Not so sweet or innocent.
So think about it and make certain you kiss someone today, but only out of Love.

The Kiss By Gustav Klimt *in honor of International Kissing Day* img alt=”The Kiss” src=”https://danalyne.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gustav-klimt-the-kiss.jpg” /> By Gustav Klimt *min hojjnor of International Kissing Day*