Tag Archives: Love

Courage, MLK Jr., and High School Memories

The summer after my sophomore year in high school, I went to a week long summer camp that changed my life. The camp was called Anytown and it was a group of 70 teens from Louisville and Lexington who all came from very different experiences of life. At Anytown I made my first Jewish friend. I made my first African American and Asian friends, I made my first friends who were open about a sexual orientation that was different than mine. At Anytown I learned that all people are the same AND that all people are different and we should celebrate both of those things.

We did lots of different things at camp. We met in what were called culture groups where we shared common experiences and then we met in mixed groups where we talked about some really challenging topics. It’s easy to say something’s not real or something’s not as bad as it seems when you’ve never actually experienced it. It’s different when you look into the face of a new friend and all of sudden hear the truth of what they have gone through. It was an intense week and it took a lot of honesty and courage to build the community we built, but we did it.

The fact that we did was even more important on the 5th day of camp. We woke up that morning feeling good about ourselves and each other and the diversity we were celebrating and sharing, but when we got to morning circle something had changed. Don, the man in charge – a seriously large and intimidating person – told us that we would not be together that day. We were divided into our culture groups. Whites with whites, blacks with blacks, Jewish with Jewish and so forth. We were told we wouldn’t be allowed to make eye contact or communicate with our friends from different groups. We were told that if we did or if we tried to mix the groups that we would be sent home from camp.

It was an awful morning that led into and awful lunch. No one broke the silence. No one wanted to risk Don’s wrath or being sent home. No one until Ren. I can still remember Ren standing up to Don in the campfire area after lunch. At first she alone dared to question why we were doing this. She raised her voice and stood firm and told him that it was unfair and wrong and that the whole point of the camp was to bring us together and that she wasn’t going to stand for it anymore. When Ren broke the silence others followed and finally when we were all in an uproar, Don called us back together and apologized. He told us that what Ren had done was the whole point of the experience. They had wanted us to stand up, they had wanted us to show courage. They had wanted us to come together as one to change the injustice.

It’s very easy to look at the world around us and ignore the fact that the dream Martin Luther King Jr. had isn’t fully implemented. It’s easy, even with the mounting stories of hate and discrimination that we are faced with to think that discrimination and injustice are really a problem mostly solved. We have a day to celebrate it – doesn’t that mean it’s all good?

What Ren did that day at camp for us was help us to imagine what people before us had experienced. In a very small way she demonstrated the kind of courage Martin Luther King Jr. showed as he led others to join together to fight for justice for all people that face the darkness of hate.

I look back on how scared I was to speak up that day at camp – even though I knew that segregating our community wasn’t right. I remember being paralyzed with fear to rock the boat even though at worst I would have just been sent home from camp. I was so envious of the courage that Ren showed to risk it all and speak up.

I look back and think how much more frightened was Martin Luther King Jr? He was speaking out against a system of oppression. He was speaking out against powerful people and groups. He was speaking out to change injustice that affected a whole country. How much more fear did he feel as he led groups of people to boycott the buses in after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. How scared was he when he marched from Selma to Montgomery. How terrified must he have been when he received threats against his life and the lives of the people he loved.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

Martin Luther King Jr. must have felt afraid, but his faith taught him that only love could drive out hate. That only light could fight darkness. He chose to speak up to call out and to lead others in walking a path of non-violent protest, to pray for change. He had a dream, a vision of what we could be if we as people looked outside of ourselves and could truly see, love and serve our neighbor.

Every Martin Luther King Jr. day I think back to Anytown and the lifelong friendships I made there. I am thankful for them and I am thankful for the courage that I learned from Ren. A courage that came from the dream of a great man. A courage that lives on in me and in each of us today if only we can move past the fear that keeps us from speaking. I challenge you this Monday to find a way to honor that courage. To choose to see, love and serve your neighbor in some concrete way. As Martin Luther King told us…Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Let us go out into our communities on Monday and be the light and the love.

Love Never Dies

Love. A tiny word with so many variations. Romantically, often confused with infatuation. In a family, often taken for granted. In friendship, sometimes forgotten over the years. Does love in any of its shapes or sizes ever truly die? Or, once planted, is it a seed that never exhausts its generative power?

I’d be less than honest if I said this was a purely theoretical post. I feel firmly planted in the no column for the first question and the yes column for the second. Today, I revel in the fact that the love I feel for a friend is as true, strong, and full of acceptance and forgiveness as I always hoped it would be.

There’s not a person on this planet that doesn’t struggle with something. For some people it’s drugs and alcohol, for others depression and emotions, still others fight disease, apathy, and even their own selfish nature. Watching a person you love struggle can be so painful that at some point you may choose to turn away, hitting that hard to accept realization that the only love that can help your friend is the love that they need to feel for themselves. In loving, knowing the limits of your own personal power is both liberating and devastating.

I’ve been in that place of tension with one friend for almost ten years. Unable to be present because of the self-destructive choices I could not influence, control, or change. I gave up a physical presence in their life, but held onto the seed of love in my heart. I prayed for their recovery, I sent small messages of love and encouragement usually around birthdays, I cried many times hoping against hope that they might feel a small fraction of the love I had for them, for their self.

And then, it happened. I started noticing small changes. Little things that gave me hope. I tested the waters, looking for old clues and praying that I wouldn’t find any, knowing that I needed to respect the fact that my lack of physical presence in the past years may have impacted how much they wanted to share with me. Knowing that though my love never went away, it may not seem that way in the light of their new world.

Yesterday, I was able to stand next to my friend and know that they were in a good place. Finally I was able to set free the love that had prayed, hoped, and mourned for this person. I was able to see the beginnings of confidence and self loving that I couldn’t find for them, but could only be found through their own journey and struggle.

In giving those hello and goodbye hugs, I was overwhelmed by the unalterable and eternal qualities that all variations of real love share. My love and friendship for this person exists now, just as strongly as when I first felt it. It is a gift and seed God planted in my heart when I was twelve years-old and though it’s grown and changed over 27 years, it’s survived. And I believe it always will. Love to you, Friend. Always.

Ready For Love: Week two introduces Ben!

Attention: Ready for Love has been canceled and will be replaced by Grimm starting April 30.

Part Two: Ben Patton

Thirty-one year old Ben Patton from Dallas is the final bachelor who is ready for love. He comes from a family of doctors but spent time on Wall Street and managed funds for the royal family of Dubai. Today he works in healthcare as the CEO of a hospital. For all purposes he seems to be quite a catch. Add to that the emotional pull that a viewer is sure to feel when he mentions his parent’s divorce when he was seven and how being a good dad is important to him, there are sure to be hearts broken at the end of this experience. He’s sweet and family oriented but, truth be told, a little goofy.

Matchmaker Amber thinks Ben needs a level of sophistication from a partner so she picks Lynsee Gonzales from Portland, Tarryn Franco from San Francisco, Seneca Berniard from LA, and Kari Krakowski, Ben’s ex-girlfriend from Texas, with whom he apparently had an “explosive break-up”. However Amber believes they have both evolved and deserve a second chance.

Ben keeps Lynsee who talks of traveling and being an international model, but also mention her biology degree. He also keeps Tarryn, a confident, successful woman who works for private jet comapany. His final pick is the old girlfriend Kari who says he was the one that got away. Too bad he let Seneca go. With an MBA and a JD she was pretty impressive, but she should have known not to give them a couple name or to say her age (34). In the long run, I think he’ll be sad he let her go and kept the ex that said she couldn’t stand watching every girl in a America sees what kind of guy he was.

Tracy thinks Ben doesn’t need a “wonderwoman”. She thinks he needs his vulnerable 12 year-old boy self to meet someone he connects with. She chooses Angela Zatopek, a communications executive from Houston who is saving herself for marriage, and Katie Coyle from Iowa who’s been married before and wants the fairytale. She has two kids but isn’t looking for a father, but a role model for them. He keeps them both! Tracy’s other two choices are Renae Verata from Houston, a Texan with a tomboy spirit who gave a little extra by stripping down to her slip and Kristina Zapata from Columbia who spoke of her passion and love of family. He keeps Renae, but should have kept Kristina.

Matchmaker Matt picks women that he thinks fit Ben’s needs not wants. Possibly a dangerous strategy, but Beth Richman from Charlotte, NC (his first choice) is adorable and tells him she quit her job just to take a chance on him. According to Matt, Rachel Briese from Illinois has a geeky, nerdy side that Matt has too. Her superhero outfit and personality created just for him win him over. The final decision is between Jade Dhir from Austin who made a save the date card for their wedding (ahhhhh – seriously?) and Allie Wagner from Ohio who challenges him to a lightning round of questions to which he answers, yes, yes, yes. He obviously picks Allie, whose twin is dating Ernesto!

The Group Date:
Ben says he’s an active guy and he wants someone comfortable getting sweaty around him. They’re doing a mud run, an obstacle course where they all get covered with dirt. Everyone does well and they head to lunch. He does mention how awkward it is to have his ex on the date and some of the girls talk about Kari like she’s not there. The first girl he asks to talk to is Renae because she “killed” the course. He calls her hot and wonders why she’s still single? They have decent chemistry.

He continues to talk to the girls one on one, but when Angela’s explaining her vulnerability advice from Tracy, he’s distracted by Kari who is “waiting” off to the side. He doesn’t like feeling like he needs to go to her (which is exactly what Amber told her not to do!). They talk and he says he was so hurt that she called things off. She says it was important for her to be there and if he’s into her she wants him to express it, if not let her go. They hug as the girls watch. He’s having a hard time because he has good memories and would like to go back – he’s scared of her hurting him again.

The Matchmaker’s Choices
Tracy picks Katie because she thinks they’ll like each other.
Matt picks Rachel He’s happy because he felt she was holding back.
Amber picks Tarryn because she’s excited to tell her story.

He’s happy with the matchmaker’s choice because wants to talk more with Katie. He wants to be with someone who takes motherhood seriously. They have a nice chemistry and he gives her a peck kiss. Katie feels she has to let him know soon though that she’s not “his” mother!

Rachel is different from the other girls. He connects with her sic-fi/fantasy side and likes that she’s interested in the same things he is. He feels like emotionally they’ve connected quickly and he kisses her for real! They both feel something.

It’s Tarryn’s birthday and he brings her a cake which they eat together. He asks again, how are you still single? She mentions she’s goal oriented and driven. He says he’s not intimidated and mentions the chemistry building between them. She asks him to kiss her, he says he’d love to, and it’s a whopper of a kiss.

The Matchmaker’s Critiques and Advice:
While the guys are in the man cave and can’t listen. Matt asks Rachel how she thinks she did. She says well. She feels they connected on an emotional level and there might have been a kiss. Matt asks how far she stepped out of her comfort zone. She says 110% but he doesn’t agree. He calls her a people pleaser and asks her to give more. Amber thinks Tarryn did well, and Tarryn says the birthday cake was her highlight and she doesn’t kiss and tell even with Amber’s prodding. Tracy says Angela didn’t follow through on actually being vulnerable, she just talked about being vulnerable.

Amber addresses Kari and gets on her for breaking down and crying because now Ben is confused and doesn’t feel free. Matt says the hug was for the other girls and Kari gets very defensive. Giuliana asks for an experiment. She asks Kari to close her eyes and for the girls to hold up their hands if they thought the hug was for them. All of them raise their hands and Kari opens her eyes to look. I’m not liking this girl’s entitled attitude! Katie questions Kari’s intentions and Kari turns it around on her. Amber breaks in and reminds the girls that she’s been a matchmaker for 17 years and she chose Kari and believes her heart is in the right place.

Elimination Picks:
Amber chooses Kari so they can have an answer as to whether or not he wants her there.
Matt chooses Rachel because he thinks she’s not a big enough puzzle for Ben in the long run, but he thinks she’ll be back.
Tracy picks Angela to make her vulnerable, to which Angela say OK in the hard, so not vulnerable voice that seems normal for her.

When Ben can save just one, he keeps Angela. This means either Rachel or Kari is going home. This is actually surprising because I thought he would keep Kari and Rachel. They head down to the garden in the pods and we get flashbacks of them both. Ben says he didn’t expect to have them there. Rachel tells him she felt a real chemistry and would never judge him. Kari doesn’t want him to feel pressured. She’s there to participate and wants to be known for the girl she is now. Ben pulls Kari aside and says they need to talk. He is pissed about their break up. He asks her to not make him break Rachel’s heart if she’s not there for the right reasons and can’t let him get to know the other girls.

He sends Rachel home because it’s just not there for him. Rachel says maybe she shouldn’t be so nice, but she’s not going to change who she is. She’s heartbroken and disappointed. To be honest, so am I. Kari might be good TV, but we’ve all seen relationships like theirs before…toxic stuff.

Why “The Croods” made me appreciate my dad even more…


First off, let me admit that I usually cry at animated movies. I have the distinct honor of probably being the only person to cry at the previews to Return of Neverland and Finding Nemo, but I digress, Yesterday, I went to see the Croods and my crying streak continued. If you’ve seen only seen the previews to the film you may wonder about my sanity. It looks freaking hilarious and it absolutely is. I laughed quite often. What I didn’t expect was to be so taken in by the story of a daughter and her father.

The character of Eep, voiced by the wonderful Emma Stone, struggles to come into her own in a family where her overprotective dad won’t let them out of the cave. The father, Grug (Nicholas Cage), tells stories where anyone that tries something new dies. His is a message of fear, born out of inexperience and love. Grug doesn’t want to keep his daughter from goodness, he just wants to protect her from everything!

It’s hard not to watch as a grown woman and see both sides. I can absolutely relate to the desire to follow the light, which Eep does both physically and metaphorically, but having loved children with my whole heart, I can also see the desire to protect them from hurt at any cost. Watching the journey (and it’s an actual journey) of Eep and Grug from the cave of darkness into a new world of understanding took me back to my journey with my father.

While we didn’t have as much conflict as Eep and Grug, we had our share of moments. It’s hard when you watch a movie, hear the words for which you judged your dad, and realize they just came out of your own mouth not an hour before. The empathy and compassion I felt for Rudy Ray Davis at how hard it must have been to love me and give me freedom brought tears to my eyes.

But those tears were nothing compared to the onslaught at the end of the movie (STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS).

As the family runs from the land that is crumbling behind them, they suddenly encounter a chasm that it too great for them all to cross. Grug, being a caveman and immensely strong, selflessly throws each member of the family across the divide, saving Eep (of course!) for last. She knows that once he throws her he won’t be able to come with them and the moment where she tells him she’s not ready to go, that she has too much to tell him, to fix…was where I first lost it. He responds in the way only a good father can. He tells her he knows, that he loves her, and he gives her a hug.

I am lucky enough to have a father who knows me, loves me, hugs me and forgives me.

At this point in the movie, I don’t think it can get worse, but oh, am I ever wrong. Grug tells her to blow her shell if she’s in trouble and throws her to the other side where they catch one last glimpse of each other before the cliff he is standing upon collapses. Of course, the family all believes he has perished and eventually they start blowing their shells as a way to honor him more than anything else. But Grug is alive and he hears the call.

His response is to immediately find a way to come to their rescue because he believes they are in danger. He concocts a crazy scheme that should never have worked and ends up by their side.

This is where I became absolutely verklempt. The selfless love, the willingness to face any danger, the ability to do what must be done because the people you love need you and are in trouble…I’ve only known one man in my life that could actually do what Grug did and I’m lucky enough to call him Dad.

So, thank you Rudy Davis for loving me despite my flaws, for protecting me even when I didn’t want you to, for forgiving me when I was an egotistical know it all brat, and for being the most loving, sacrificing, generous man in the world.


The penny flew from his hand and he scrunched his big brown eyes tight. Small lips mouthed words I couldn’t hear; secrets that filled his mind.  I envied his concentration, but more than that, I envied his belief.  We went to the mall to throw pennies in the fountain.  When we talked in the car I asked him what he’d wished for last week.  “To be the richest man in the world,” he said. “It didn’t come true.”  I told him it was still possible and he shook his head and nodded, “Yeah, that’s true.”

Sitting by the side of the fountain, I gave him five pennies and waited patiently for his wishes to form.  With each passing moment, I reminded myself that there was no more than now, nowhere else to be, nothing more important to be doing.  What could be more valuable than wishing? I held two pennies in my own hand.  I thought of how often I’d hastily thrown pennies in the fountain since growing up.

As a child I was like him. I believed. I wished.  Somewhere along the journey, the pennies became symbols of dreams that just didn’t come true.  Along the path, wishes changed from thoughts on which to concentrate as I pulled them from the depths of my soul, to bland, general desires.  I wished to win the lottery.  I wished to fall in love.  I stared in horror at the splashes that followed my two pennies into the water.

I wasted my wishes again.  I watched a beautiful seven year-old boy show me exactly what wishing should look like.  I formulated the thought in my head that my present moment was precious and magical. And yet, habit took over and the pennies launched by routine, thoughtless requests hitchhiking a ride.  I guess it took more than realization to change something  engrained in my actions for so long.

Like most adults, I like to think I live in reality.  I like to think that I’m logical and smart enough to know that there are some things I won’t accomplish or get in my life and that’s OK.  Today at the fountain I caught a glimpse of the wisher inside of me.  For a fleeting moment, before I thought about what a realistic wish would be, I wondered what I would ask for if I had five wishes I KNEW would come true.  After all, that’s exactly what Ben had.  In his perfect, trusting mind he took his time because his wishes were reality.  He only had five so he had to make them good.  In my cynical aged brain, I could have wished from here to eternity with no guaranteed results.

Except…except for the fact that one of my wishes came true.  I didn’t (sorry to say) win the lottery, and I didn’t fall in love, but before my conscious mind called out for love and money, my subconscious called out to be more like Ben.  I wanted to know what my real wishes would be. Eight hours later as he laid in his bed, probably dreaming of those wishes he held so dear, I sat in the hallway, laptop in hand, and searched.  My eyes weren’t tightly closed and my lips weren’t moving, but the wish came true anyway as my fingers flew across the keypad.  I wished to write.

Jef, Arie, or Sean – Who will get the final rose + thoughts on hometowns!

If it was that hard for Emily to get rid of Chris last night, I don’t know how the lady will make it through this final three.  There can be cases made for each one of the men to receive the final rose…and I’ve already made most of them.  After the hometown dates I thought maybe Jef and Sean had a slight edge because I didn’t think Emily could see Ricki in Arie’s life as well as she could at Sean’s family home and Jef’s family ranch, but who knows? The chemistry between Arie and Emily is definitely off the charts.

I’m not going to even say much about Chris’ hometown date in Chicago because it was obviously the least eventful of the four, BUT I have to give it to the producers, editors, and to Em as an actress, they almost had me thinking maybe she would go for him.  I think it was a little out of line for her to tell Chris’ dad she was falling in love with Chris.  She had to have known at that point that the other three men had a stronger hold on her heart.  Maybe Chris’ sister telling her to let him go if he wasn’t the one sunk in too late and she was just caught up in the excitement of his loving family, but I think, unfortunately, that her statement was more of a calculated move by the show to keep us guessing. Yuck.

Jef’s date in Utah couldn’t have been better.  Who would have guessed he had “a little country in him” as Emily said.  It was fun to watch them shoot and she seemed to really connect with his sisters.  I have to admit when they left the family gathering, I thought, “That’s it?” Cut to the scene of them on the picnic blanket and him reading her the letter…heart melt.  It was so different from the last letter Emily had read aloud to her on the show ( Ryan Bowers!).  It’s obvious that Jef has fallen head over heels for Emily and, I think, from the way she looks at him with goo goo eyes – she’s fallen for him as well. However, once again, we are watching a show and you will have noticed that she didn’t tell his family she was actually falling in love with him. (Calculation and acting – no!)

Saving Sean and Arie for last totally sets the viewer up to think they will be the final two.  The fact that she told Arie she had missed him and she called Sean “honey” were just two of the little clues being dropped that, hey – these two are sure things.  The show is totally setting us up for the ouster of one of the big guys next week.  I can’t even begin to guess which one it might be…unless I look at Emily’s behavior with Sean’s family which on the surface seemed really cool.

When Emily was with Arie’s family there was a moment of tension with his mom but then we saw their one on one conversation and it was clear that they liked one another.  With Sean’s family we had the practical joke about him still living at home (and if you watched the credits – the armadillo for dinner).  With both of the jokes, Emily’s smile never reached her eyes.  She seemed uncomfortable and a little out of place.  The other clue we got was the absolute overuse of the term perfect with Sean.  Everything about Sean is “perfect”.  In the Bachelorette that usually signifies an upcoming issue or problem.  True, he ran after her for one last kiss and he’s romantic, but if you watch the way she kisses all three of them he’s the one that she looks the least comfortable with.

To close, I will say that if you contrast the way Emily used the word perfect with Sean to the way she used it with Jef, her tone of voice says it all.  My prediction after hometowns: Jef is final two – probably endgame – but I still have no clue about Sean and Arie.  Leaning towards Arie.  What do you guys think?

Bachelorette: Did Jef take the lead? Will Sean give her babies? What happened with Arie?

Ashley Hebert tweeted that, “When s%*t goes down…the guy with the next date is the one! #secretformula?”  I laughed out loud because she could be right on the money.  DeAnna Pappas Stagliano tweeted about the music change they used for Jef and said it was “frontrunner” music.  These girls know that of which they speak.  If we look at the edit of the show and past season experiences it’s very possible that Jef Holm could end up Mr. Emily Maynard.  Last night was a great episode, and not just because Kalon’s smug behind finally took a hike. Last night’s episode had real romance with two guys we KNOW are 100% there for the right reasons and want to marry her!

Sean’s tour date through the city of London showed a natural chemistry.  I loved the cute pics they were taking together.  You know those will end up in the family album.  When he got up to speak I almost believed the producers didn’t walk them past that spot on purpose.  He spoke from the heart and he had her from word one.  At dinner in the Tower of London – HOW COOL  –  she twirled her hair nervously and asked him about babies! Points for him he didn’t look scared.  One caveat: when she asked him how many and he said two, he looked like he was hedging his bets because he didn’t know how many she wanted.  There’s no way he’s intentionally holding back but I’m not sure he’s not just agreeing because he’s so in love.

The group date added drama and it was highly enjoyable to watch.  I did feel al little bad for Dad Doug when she didn’t give out the rose because no one had her back enough to tell her about what Kalon said. Huh? Did the scene we watched seconds before not actually happen? How did she describe what Doug did? Anywhoooo…It was awesome to see her come alive and go “West Virginia, hood rat, backwoods” on him! That was as true to life feisty as we’ve seen her.  That’s the Emily I want to know, not that southern belle, polite, submissive stuff.

Jef’s date was saved until last and even though he won me over, I wondered the whole time when it was going to pick up! Emily said she was slow but he might take things even slower.  Had he not kissed her last night he might have been taking himself home.  The cool thing about their date was his proclamation in the London Eye of what he wanted with her.  Don’t know that there were many women watching that didn’t ignore his funky hair and melt when he so GENUINELY explained how he thought she could be his best friend.  It was at that point on Twitter that he even won JP Rosenbaum’s support.  This boy (he calls Emily a girl) is the real deal…but Emily’s looking for a protector – can he beat Sean in that department?

We didn’t see much of Arie but even with the producers attempt to make it look like she was mad at him for not telling her, he was never in any danger. No doubt he’s still in contention.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.  The previews looked awesome. Romance, tears, drama.  Hoping she didn’t actually mean she really liked Ryan again but there were obviously some kisses coming up.  Did you see her walking angrily towards Chris Harrison and that woman saying, “What else do I not know?” Something big is happening there! It’s going to be a bumpy ride but a great season and I’m 100 % positive we’re finding true love! Yeah!

Bachelorette Emily’s Lost Charisma…Found! (best episode yet!)

Dare we hope that Emily has found her charisma? The question floated through my mind as they played the teasers for the evening and I found myself getting excited.  After watching the first two episodes, I had almost given up on Emily.  Where was the sparkly, flirty, entertaining woman that we caught glimpses of with Brad? Turns out she might have had a little stage fright/insecurity to deal with, or maybe she just felt overwhelmed when surrounded by the larger group of men, but whatever it was – last night she found her chutzpah!

I haven’t really been a Chris fan since I viewed his pic on ABC.com, but I’m willing to say I was wrong about him.  His date was the first time this season that I actually felt excited for Emily.  Sure he’s a little competitive, young, and he seems to be seriously underestimating what she may have going on with other guys (has he watched the show?), but she sparkles when she’s with him and their first kiss was undeniably romantic. He seems sincere and for the most part sweet, although I could have done without his comment on how unbelievable she looked in a harness! (Ick!)

When Emily lets it slip she’s been thinking about someone since the beginning, I tend to believe that’s her voice and not the producers.  It’s obvious he’s on her list of potentials. There date was a pretty cute set up, but you can’t convince me they couldn’t have checked the weather forecast – scaling the building with a threatening thunderstorm seemed an unnecessary risk. The Charlotte people running into the dance floor after their kiss was a little contrived as well, but cute.  Overall, this date brought me back into the process! Hooray!

The group date was one of the best ever, in my opinion.  Never has a Bachelorette had the chance to get so much scoop on her men before.  Emily’s friends preformed to the best of their ability, not shirking the harder responsibilities like viewing the push up performances or the pectoral magnificence of various men.  If you hung around to watch the credits you caught a glimpse of the reasoning behind Emily’s party time conversation with Alessandro, too.  Would she have kept him by mistake had her friends not been looking out? Maybe!

The group date also gave us the chance to get to know Sean and Ryan better.  With Sean, well, let’s face it – is anyone not head over heels for this guy yet?  He’s handsome, sincere, wants to be a husband and father and talked about family and faith.  He seems like he could be her perfect match! With Ryan – wow – the warning signs that cropped up last week made a full-on appearance tonight.  Could a guy be any denser than to say he wouldn’t be “loving on” Emily if she gained weight?  And to say it in front of her friends? Loser! His behavior at the party before the rose ceremony was like that of  a snotty toddler.  Seriously, I know he may have been sincerely jealous when he saw her kissing Arie, but it’s what he signed up for and Arie’s a race car driver not a ballerina! He called him girly! His face as he lifted his glass for a toast spoke volumes.  She’s picking up on it, too – so it’ll soon be sayonara Ryan!

Emily’s last one-on-one date with Arie showed why he’ll be around until, my guess, the end.  Not sure about the very end but probably top four, at least.  Her actual words after her date with the daring driver, “Guys like Arie are really hard to find.  I feel like I finally found him and I don’t want to screw it up.” My only concern with Arie is that Emily has a bit of a transference issue going on.  First she transferred all her excitement and idol worship of Dolly Parton in to the experience of the date, then she transferred her feelings about little Ricki’s daddy to Arie.  She said he reminds her so much of him – good for Arie, maybe not so psychologically good for Emily finding true love.  She’ll have to get past the image she’s imposing on him to see the real him.

My favorite moment and line of the night had to be when Kalon reprimanded her for interrupting him. In reference to his rudeness she stated, “I do like tall, skinny, and funny but I don’t like tall, skinny, and condescending.” It was at that moment I fell in love with her.  I just wish the producers would have let her kick his skinny butt off the show like you know she wanted to! Sadly, it was Kalon’s nemesis, Stevie, that took the walk out alone since she had already sent Tony and Alessandro packing!

Three moments to keep in mind for future shows: Sean and Emily’s first kiss at the rose ceremony party (oh my goodness!), Arie and Emily’s make out session at the rose ceremony party (oh my goodness gracious!), and Jef’s confession of his crush on her – courtesy of her friend’s advice.  We only caught a glimpse but it was apparent in that moment that her friend’s dug him.  They gave him the edit they gave Sean last week and look what that got Sean this week…I’m just sayin’.

Looking forward to next week’s show – Golly, I’m so happy to be able to say that!

Online Dating Sites…Just Not For Me!

Recently I decided to try the world of online dating again.  I went back to a particularly well-known site that I had tried about 10 years ago because the number of people using it had grown exponentially and I thought that would guarantee a better experience than before.  In a way I was right and in a way I was crazy.  While there are so many more attractive men using online dating services than in the early 00’s and the stigma of admitting you’re on a dating site has decreased, I haven’t really been happy with my time there.  I’ve searched my soul trying to decide if I’m just too picky or if maybe, I just really don’t want to be dating, but I haven’t come to any firm conclusions.

I can be a little picky, but not in the way you’d expect.  I’m not looking for Mr. Perfect in the looks department, but the bar is set pretty high when it comes to his brain.  With this is in mind, you can understand how frustrating it is to get one e-mail after another that doesn’t even attempt to show that they read my profile, or can manage a full sentence. I’m sorry guys but an e-mail that just says, “Hi!” leads me to believe you’re either lazy or lacking. Then there are the guys that must not be able to read.  If the first line of my profile says I’m serious about you living in my city, I don’t really want e-mails from other states.  So, while there seem to be more guys to choose from, it feels like the good ones are still pretty difficult to find.

Which leads me to my other concern regarding myself – not them – if I feel “done” and bored by the prospect of having to meet any more people after 1 week…do I really have it in me to FIND anyone? I’m thinking about pulling my profile because I ‘m already annoyed by one guy’s texts who I haven’t even met yet. He was probably just being nice when he texted me two mornings in a row just to say good morning and in the middle of the day after I had made plans to meet him later in the week for coffee, but I kind of felt like it was an intrusion on my time from someone I hadn’t had a chance to decide if I wanted in it or not.

I guess I just really don’t like the whole process. I know myself well enough to understand that it takes me a while to know if I’m into someone or not.  People I find very attractive can become less so after spending time talking and people who at first I don’t find attractive can really grow on me.  The thing is – with a dating site it’s hard to give the people who might grow on me a chance.  It feels like so much work!

I ran into an old friend on the site and facebooked him instead of using the site’s communication system.  We went out for drinks to catch up because despite mutual friends, we’d never really gotten to know one another.  That was fun.  He was attractive, intelligent, funny and I enjoyed the conversation. That experience leads me to think that it’s not the actual dating I’m having issues with – it’s the starting from scratch that irks me.

The laundry list of qualities that you use to narrow the search would never have led me to my past relationships. The ages, religions, and interests of my old boyfriends would all have been things I could have used to eliminate them – but those men I didn’t “match” with added up to the awesome years that were my early thirties.

I’m pretty sure after writing this blog that I’ll be pulling my profile in the next day or two.  I don’t think my desire to “date” is strong enough.  I do have a desire to be with someone, but not enough to continue a process that feels more burdensome than fun. I’m thinking I’ll return to the old what’s meant to be is what’s meant to be mentality and just keep my eyes open in my daily life.  My life’s too happy and good as is to make it miserable by dating just to date!

A Reflection on Faith, Trust, Pixie Dust and Mom

“You think you’re very adult, but you have a lot to learn.”  – Wendy to her daughter Jane in Return to Neverland 

While overnight babysitting, the 5th grade boy I watch decided to leave the channel on Return to Neverland, the follow-up to one of my favorite movies ever, Peter Pan.  I didn’t say anything because I was afraid he’d turn it off and it seemed such a better option than Spongebob. At the beginning of the movie, Jane, Wendy’s daughter, tells her little brother that all of their mother’s stories about Peter Pan and Captain Hook aren’t real.  The tears on the small boy’s cheeks elicit a slight feeling of guilt, but you can tell Jane feels her rationality and knowledge are something the young child needs to grow up.

Wendy’s response to her daughter is to tell her, “You think you’re very adult, but you have a lot to learn.” She then follows her young son and holds him as they look off together towards the second star to the right, obviously affirming his burgeoning beliefs about faith, trust and pixie dust.  As Mother’s Day approaches I can’t help but think of the times in my life when my mom used that same message, whether spoken or not, to teach me the heart trumps the brain when it comes to growing up.

Most of us remember moments we’re ashamed of – moments when we pushed an argument to far, made a cutting remark we knew would hurt, or tried to make someone feel inferior in order to boost our own self-worth. I know in my everyday life I like to pride myself on the fact that I think I am smart.  I have hurt my sisters, cousins, and especially my mom in order to make myself feel better or right.  I guess that’s why watching Jane squash her tiny brother’s beliefs constricted my chest and moistened my eyes. I related to Jane.  I felt her regret in the moment she heard Wendy and knew she’d messed up.  Return to Neverland closes, of course, with Jane’s transformation and understanding, a transformation that wouldn’t have been possible without Wendy’s firm faith and trust in all things magic.

I believe my transformation – the reason I can even begin to right some of my wrongs –  comes from the admonishment that so often showed up in “a look” rather than words from Cathy, my Wendy.  While Wendy told Jane straight out, my mom used her beautifully expressive face to say, “How could you?” And when my heart heard it, I always felt the deserved guilt that came from not living up to what she believed I could be.  Because of her, as I have “grown up”, especially these past few years, instances of my “know it all” behavior are more easily identifiable to me and I try to swallow that icky pride and apologize in order to set things right.

The ability to say you’re sorry and mean it or to admit you’re not infallible takes a lot of faith and trust, faith in the growth process of the human spirit and trust in your relationship with the person you’ve hurt.  But it’s truly impossible without pixie dust. When Wendy looks at Jane and delivers the words to help her learn from her mistake, the pixie dust is love.  The only way the rebuke doesn’t harm the child is if the child feels and knows that she is loved.

My mom sprinkled my whole world with pixie dust and continues to do so today for me and many other children – related or not.  Her love, faith, and trust envelop me in a cocoon that I continuously emerge from at each new stage of my life journey. Sure, I’ve worked hard to develop my intellect and my brain and I’m not going to stop, but she’s taught me that true maturity comes from being able to turn off the brain and lead with the heart.  Some people see growing up as a negative, but if growing up means becoming more like her, then there’s nothing more positive I could do.

I love you, Mom!

Hey Ya’ll! I’m (Maybe) Excited about Emily Maynard as the Next Bachelorette!

Emily Maynard is the next Bachelorette.  Old news, I know, BUT for the first time since hearing it, I’m sort of excited.  My initial reaction to the reveal wasn’t positive.  I was disappointed that the franchise would again go with a runner up instead of bringing in fresh blood.  On the heels of my disappointment in goofball Ben’s fiasco of a season, I was ready to give up on all things Bachelor/ette.  I guess I could just be feeling the need for optimism, but I think there’s potential that Emily’s season could be one of the best ever.

There’s no denying that Emily has the “it” factor.  The camera loves her.  After catching part of the episode this season where Ashley and Ally helped her dress shop, I was charmed by her charisma. It seems like a given that the Bachelorette should be beautiful (inside and out, but for now let’s focus on the out), but how many seasons have we dealt with disappointments in this area?  Sure we fell in love with Ashley, Ally, Jillian, and Jen, but not since Trista have we really seen the total package.  Part of the fun of watching the Bachelorette is to see gorgeous, dreamy men fall all over themselves and compete for the girl!  For the first time in a great while there’s the chance a group of men will indeed, truly be gorgeous AND dreamy because it seems like all men find Emily to be gorgeous and dreamy!

Then there’s the fact that she might be beautiful on the inside as well.  I’ll admit that after her season with Brad, I indulged in the gossip and rumors that she was probably in it for the publicity and fame, but I think I may have to revise that opinion. I started thinking about the fact that the show is making the unprecedented move to hold events in her hometown instead of making her come to LA. The fact that she demanded this shows she really does put family first and isn’t just interested in another Hollywood experience.  She wants the men to see where and how she lives and to be able to make a commitment fully knowing what they’re getting into. That’s savvy.

Finally, I’m excited because after a season like Ben’s, how can this one not be better?  Anything in comparison will seem like a success.  On Ben’s season watching the women was tiring and icky.  Men are always more interesting to watch in the house.  The villain angle with Courtney really hurt viewers buying into Ben’s final choice.  We’ve already seen the “Bentley” character that wanted Emily over Ashley, so hopefully there won’t be any major villains involved.

The elements are in place. You’ve got the girl that every man desires.  There will be men that every woman will want to watch.  The tragedy of Emily’s past with her first love and her experience with Brad will have the audience hungering for a true “love that heals all” experience!  If the producers can keep their grimy hands out of it and let a realistic and genuine love story unfold, this could turn into one of my favorite seasons ever.

The Flawed Premise: How When Harry Met Sally Kept Me in the Friends Column

Warning: Friends with Kids spoiler ahead…read at your own risk.

I think When Harry Met Sally ruined my life.  Well, at least I think it ruined my dating life.  I came to this conclusion after seeing the movie Friends with Kids this past weekend.  The premise is that two friends decide to have a kid together so they can skip the romance sucking whirlwind that children seem to be to a marriage and leave themselves open to romance in their future relationships with their respective “person”.  As in When Harry Met Sally, when the woman voices her love for her friend there is the inevitable break-up of the friendship, followed by the overwhelming romantic moment when the man realizes he was in love with her all along and pleads for her to still be in love with him.

For a good fifteen years I bought into waiting for, as have millions of other women, the moment when a man who has been your friend suddenly realizes he is emphatically in love with you.  It’s what should happen – what I should wait for!  If I can just be a good enough friend, one day it’ll pay off.  He’ll realize I’m the one.  While watching Friends with Kids I realized with horror that the truest moment in the movie, the one that has happened over and over in my own life, is the moment at the woman’s birthday dinner where she spills her secret and he honestly says to her, “I love you. You’re my best friend, but I’m not attracted to you.”

Truth is – in real life – that’s where the movie would end, and it would be a tragedy.  The guy moves awkwardly on and she spends the next year getting over her feelings just to go ahead and fall for another “friend”…always hoping for that When Harry Met Sally moment when the guy will realize it’s been her all along.

This realization made me consider how I’ve approached attraction and dating since viewing that Billy Crystal/Meg Ryan classic romantic comedy.  The thing is, I think, (I’m not a guy so I can’t know for sure) that guys aren’t looking for a best friend, at least initially.  I realize that I have been operating from a flawed premise.  While I may be able to fall in love with a best friend, a guy’s not going to really be my best friend until after he falls in love with me.  I have watched so many guys I’ve been “friends” with that I’ve had crushes on over the years pick/marry the girl that I looked at and thought, “Seriously?  She’s nothing like him.  They’ll never make it.  She doesn’t even like the same stuff he does.  How can he stand hanging out with her?”  What I didn’t see was the attraction that comes from the fact that she’s not like him; the mystery that comes from her otherness.

Once a man has put you in the friend column it’s extremely difficult to get out.  Unfortunately, I’ve been sticking myself into it on purpose for quite a while.  “Hi, let me show you how great I am at talking sports.  Let me listen to your stories about your ex or the girl across the way you want to hit on.  You want to hang out after your divorce but you’re not ready to date anyone yet?  Of course – that’s fine.”  I’ve been pretty stupid. (Caveat – if I wasn’t truly repressing my girly/romantic nature and trying to be his “friend” this wouldn’t have been stupid, but I was.) I like soap operas and romance novels.  I like when a guy opens the car door for me.  I like jewelry and flowers and chic flicks with other girls over football games with the guys.  I want to wear clothes that make him think I’m beautiful and desirable as opposed to non-threatening and laid back.  I want him to like my mind but not because it’s like his…I want him to like it because it’s mine.

Flipping it the other way, I wouldn’t really want a guy that acted like my girlfriends either!  When I look at my successful relationships there’s no question they didn’t start out as friendships.  In fact, only my biggest heart breaks have come from this common romantic comedy formula for love.  So why is it so hard to give up on this silly dream of the best guy friend that suddenly sees he’s been in love with you the whole time?  I’m not 100% sure but I definitely place a good portion of the blame on a guy named Harry and a girl named Sally.