Friday, June 27, 2014

Five dates, three men, multiple felonies #EmilyDatesBoulder

Well, goodness. I’ve waited a long time to update on my #emilydatesboulder adventures. It’s almost like that moment where you’ve neglected your laundry for WAY too long, so you contemplate just throwing it all away and buying a closet full of new clothes instead. No? That’s just me? Okay, well in any case, I’ve waited a LONG time, so I will use the bullet-point method of updated, and possibly elaborate on the really “great/horrible/awful/funny/not funny in the moment” stories. Where to begin…
Oh, I know, let’s start with the kind/intense guy who I’m pretty sure wanted to marry me on our first date. Here are some of the highlights:

-       He picked me up (I know, “awww…”) which was great, just kind of nerve-racking because I was STUCK with him. What if he was a serial killer? Yeah, no transportation home people! Chivalry is wonderful, unless it LITERALLY kills you.
-       He got lost, a few times, trying to find the brewery he wanted to take me to.
-       Said brewery didn't’ serve food. I was starving. I nixed that idea REAL quick.
-       He called me his “lucky charm” (insert Red Flag number 1)
-       He tried to buy me a $500 jacked (aaaaand RF number 2)
-       He told me he would (and I do quote) “Do anything for you” after about 2.5 hours of knowing me.
-       Insisted on tickling me, even after I very, very STERNLY (picture my best teacher voice here) told him I hated being tickled (by a stranger, none the less!!!)
-       Asked me over 50 times (yes, I did count) if I was “okay”. Maybe I looked angry? Or unhappy? I don’t know! I always think of myself as an “I-smile-a-lot” kind of girl… who knows.
-       The end of the night rolls around, and he tells me that he thinks I’m perfect. Yes, his words. Perfect. Yikes. I wanted to run for the hills, but figured I say stupid stuff when I’m nervous… I decided to give him another shot.

[NUMBER 1.5]
Okay, that sums up date number one. We talked on the phone between date one and date two. He was incredibly intense with his phone conversation topics. Lots of theology, lots of past relationship drama, lots of what he wants in a wife. So, moving on to date two.
-       He picks me up (again). I’m less nervous, but still nervous. If that’s allowed.
-       He takes me to a “surprise” restaurant. His favorite. No pressure Emily.
-       It’s raining. He INSISTS on giving me his jacket, even though I have a perfectly fine one. Now, in hind-site, I realize, I should have just taken the damn jacket. Yes. I get it. He was trying to “provide” for me. Whatever. It was SUPER awkward, and ended up with him throwing the jacket at me. Not the most romantic thing ever. Plus I was already soaking wet. Whatever.
-       Conversation at dinner was all good and well until I asked where he was planning to live once he sold the house he’s living in (which he was getting ready to sell, obviously). His reply went a little something like this: “Well Emily, you have a lot to do with that. I could see myself moving to Longmont (he was currently living about 30 minutes south of Longmont) to live closer to you. I could also see myself sitting on a porch swing, drinking wine, talking about our grandchildren with you.”
Wait, WHAT?! Grandchildren? Porch swing? What the? (insert about 100 Red Flags at this point!)
So, the rest of the night was kind of a blur because I was seriously wigging out about how this guy had already named our unborn, never-going-to-exist children. I probably should have just called it quits at this point, but I’m an eternal optimist, and decided maybe ONE more chance for him. Well, he set up a date with me, bailed last minute, and I haven’t heard from him since. SUPER sketchy and kind of a jerk move, but maybe better for both of us in the long run?

My next date is summed up with two words: Multiple felonies.
Yes, about 20 minutes into our 5+ hour-long date, felonies guy decides to let me know that he has a parole officer and is almost done with probation from his MULTIPLE FELONIES! It was a fun date (Rockies baseball game) and he was a nice guy (aside from cussing at a man that was old enough to be my grandpa, and being a total macho-man by racing any and every car that pulled up next to us) but he was a “one and done” kind of deal. He wasn’t really my kind of guy, felonies aside. I’m looking for someone with a bit more compassion. This guy had zero. He called me a “total baby” because I said I was cold. It was FREAKING FREEZING at the game. He also made fun of my car the entire time. Just by the sight of his truck (did I mention it was GIANT, like this huge, lifted, diesel truck? Yeah, it was) I could tell he had a complex about cars. So, the date ended with a hug and an “I’ll call you” but we haven’t spoken since. I guess my record was just too clean (I'm only joking! He wasn't an all-around bad guy!!!!). Or maybe my car was a deal-breaker for him? I'm not sure, but I think it's probably for the best... 

My most recent date was with a nice soccer-loving, comic book enthusiast. He had great taste in music, and a great sense of humor! He took me to coffee and then to dinner and then dropped off the face of the earth. I’m talking radio silent status. He just vanished. I mean, I thought things were going well, but apparently I was wrong. Which is FINE, I just wish, wish, WISH he had the nerve to tell me that! It just isn’t very honoring, but then again, he was a stranger so maybe he’s not an honoring guy to begin with!

What I’ve learned from these past dates:
-       Don’t compromise your “non-negotiables”: With all of these guys, I was willing to settle for “good-enough” because the guys were (seemingly) interested in me. It’s been kind of amazing that these guys have all just dropped off the face of the dating world because it forces me to remember that I don’t have to settle. I’m allowed to wait for God’s highest for me.
-       Always meet them there: Just remember, SERIAL KILLER. You never know.
-       Be honest: I know that I’m not the only one who values honesty. I guess I should lead in it.
-       Scarcity makes you settle: Just because he’s into me doesn’t mean I have to go on another date with him.
-       Adventure = amazing stories: While I would classify all of these as failed dates, I have to remember that it’s part of the journey. These stories are super hilarious. I didn’t do many of them justice. Please, ask me to elaborate and I will. I couldn’t make this stuff up!!! This is a season of adventure and risk and saying “YES”, which will ultimately lead to crazy and awkward and uncomfortable and SERIOUSLY funny stories! I just have to remember that it’s a JOURNEY! 
     Everything gets easier, the more you do it: With every date I go on, the conversation and the hellos and goodbyes get easier. It gets to be more fun, even when they don't go anywhere! I realize that I sound like I'm complaining, but really, I'm having a great time with all of this. 

So, now the question is: do I continue on this journey? My Christian Mingle membership is up in July. I’ve been seriously debating just calling it quits for a while, BUT I’ve committed to one full year of online dating… I would love to have you all (all, what, 7 of you?) weigh in on this decision! What are your thoughts/comments/questions?

Until next time #emilydatesboulder is off to conquer another date!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Time

There's this song that I can't seem to get out of my head. It starts with the lyrics "It's always like Spring Time with you, making all things new..."

Imagine that. Spring time. Always. What would that be like? Spring time is such a season filled with hope. It means winter is over. It means warmth and light and new life are only moments away. It means the sting of cold, brutal weather is finished. It means beauty and change and joy are around the corner. What would it be like if life was ALWAYS like that? The promise of hope restored. The overwhelming relief that the harsh winter is over. Can you imagine the feeling of new life all the time?

I've found myself in a bit of a "winter" for a while now. Things have been really difficult for me. My identity has been stripped. My reality has been reset. Things have been really hard. But as the seasons change and spring is all around, I am full of continued, never ending, renewed hope. It's all around me. It's in the trees. It's coming up from the ground. It is undeniable. Things are changing. The earth is screaming "WINTER IS OVER, LET US CELEBRATE!" And for the first time in a while, I join in the celebration of new life. Of promises fulfilled. Of seasons changing. Isn't that the best thing? After EVERY winter there is a Spring time. Winter will never go on forever. I know that for me, there have been moments where it's felt like it might. There were moments where I wasn't sure if winter would ever end. If the brutal, harsh, cold, dark, painful, lonely winter would ever come to an end. But God, in all of his faithfulness, designed our winters to be followed by spring. New life. FULL of beauty. And light. And hope.

What season are you in? Are you like me, coming out of a winter? Take heart, spring time is here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I'm BACK! #EmilyDatesBoulder

You guys, #EmilyDatesBoulder is back. Can you believe my last date was in early January?! I know, the harsh reality of online dating. Listen, it’s not because I’ve given up. Oh no, not a chance. I’m still working the sites and “winking” at my matches… ha! The truth of it is, these things take time. I think I was lucky right out of the gates with three good dates, but it’s slowed down and that’s okay! Anyway, I’ve got a funny #EmilyDatesBoulder story for y’all.

This past week was Spring Break for the school I work at. It’s been almost a year since I left Redding, so I figured a visit was in order. I packed up all of my courage and cutest outfits and boarded a plane VERY early Saturday morning for California. Saturday was packed full of reunions, hugs and tears. After a fun dinner out, a group of us headed to a local restaurant who was celebrating their one year of being open with a big ole party. About two margaritas after arriving, a friend abruptly asked if he could introduce me to a friend of his who had also spent some time in Africa. Of course I was excited to meet another person who shared my love for Africa (you see, I was expecting this “friend” to be a girl, probably my age or younger) so you can understand my surprise when this “friend” was a very tall, handsome man with a very English accent. So, to make a LONG story short, we hit it off. Come to find out, his work has him traveling to Boulder (about 30 minutes away from where I live!) often. When I found this out, I gathered up all of my courage and blurted out “why don’t I give you my number…” or something to that nature. I could hardly believe the words flying out of my mouth. Usually, I’m a bit less bold upon meeting new men. Who knows, maybe he had a girlfriend! What if he wasn’t interested in me?! But there was something so disarming about being in a town where I knew I wouldn’t return for probably another year. What in the world did I have to lose?! So, the next day, I channeled that inner boldness and texted asked him if he would like to get together one last time before I left. We ended up grabbing dinner one evening and it was a great evening. 
Will I be pursuing any kind of relationship with him? 
Was it the greatest date I’ve ever been on? 
But listen, I’m quickly learning that sometimes it’s not about the actual DATE, but the practice of DATING. It isn’t about being super bummed when every guy I meet isn’t my “happily ever after” story. It’s about taking risk. It’s about being bold and brave and embracing single life. It’s about enjoying the ride I’m on. This ride will not last forever, that’s something I’m sure of. I won’t be single forever (although, on some sad nights, I tend to convince myself that I WILL in fact be single forever…. We all have our weak moments, okay?!). I’m learning to enjoy and embrace this place in life. I’m choosing to find joy in every moment, even the super awkward and semi-boring first dates. One day, my story will change. It will take a wild turn toward love and marriage. For now, my story is unfolding one risk at a time.

((Is it funny to anyone else that it took me LEAVING and COMING BACK to get a date in Redding? I laugh as I type this.))

Follow more of my journey on my blog and on Instagram #EmilyDatesBoulder

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Today's Tuesday. If you follow what Dan's doing with The Rooster Party, you know that Tuesday means #RealTalkTuesday

I've been reading this book called The Gifts of Imperfection.
Let me just first say that I did NOT want to read this book. I was honestly a little annoyed when my book club picked this book to read this month. I just wasn't having it. There are a list of reasons that I will spare you at the current moment, but I had my reasons. As I (begrudgingly) sat down with this book, the author's words began to pierce my heart. It's like she isolated my exact thoughts and beautifully captured them in ink, word for word in her book. As I was reading, I had a really eyeopening realization:
Vulnerability produces courage, and courage produces hope. 
(And we all know that hope can move mountains.)

For some people, they hear the word "vulnerability" and they immediately break out into a cold sweat, "Share my feelings? No way. Talk about how I'm ACTUALLY doing? Not a chance."
Others hear this word and they immediately check out of the conversation. "Eh, feelings just aren't really my thing. Sorry..."
Some hear it and think that they're going to have to share their deepest, darkest secrets, and frantically start searching for the nearest exit.
But for ME, this word has kind of been one that has shaped my life. I've always felt like I'm supposed to live a life of vulnerability. God has given me a really wild story, and I feel like I'm supposed to be really honest with people about it. And let me tell you, it's difficult and it's been a huge journey for me. Learning how to have wisdom and boundaries with my vulnerability has been a struggle, but I just feel like it's something that's so important!
See, when we're vulnerable, we are putting ourselves out there. We are embracing others in their brokeness and letting them know "YOU ARE NOT ALONE!" We are pushing past discomfort to bring truth and light to the darkness that's around us. And when we do that, do you know what happens? The people around us are filled with courage. As we share our hurts and wounds, the people around us realize they're not the only one who struggles with that addiction. They're not the only one who's been in that situation. Our stories fill others with the courage to keep on going. And when we're filled with courage, suddenly our situation is surrounded by hope. Hope that this addiction won't last forever. Hope that the impossible relationship can be restored. Hope that redemption can happen in a marriage or family. Hope that someone else has been in my shoes, they know how I feel, and this pain I'm in won't go on forever.

Vulnerability produces courage, and courage produces hope.

Whether we realize it or not, when we're real with the people in our lives, when we open up and share our WHOLE hearts, we are harvesting hope all around us.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Real Talk Tuesday: Plans

Real Talk Tuesday: Plans
(Check out the heart and idea behind Real Talk Tuesday here.)

Ever since I can remember, I've been a planner.
I like plans.
I like to sit down and map out my plans.
I like to know what's happening, when it's happening and how it's happening.
I like order.
I like control. (You're probably thinking I've got some issues. You are correct.)
For the last 9 months of my life, nothing has gone according to the plan.
I didn't plan to quit my job. The job that I LOVED, the job that I was good at. The job that I worked SO incredibly hard for 5 years to build and keep.
I didn't plan to leave my friends and family behind and move to Colorado.
I didn't plan to have to say some of the absolute HARDEST goodbyes of my life.
That was not the plan.
Some days, I am so full of anger and sadness and pain and bitterness. All I can think to myself over and over again is "This was NOT the plan..."
This was not the plan.
I've got a lot of forgiving to do.
I've got a lot of healing to do.
I know that.
I'm working on it, okay :)

I know what you're DYING to tell me right now: "Emily, never fear, God has a plan. His plan is so much (fill in the blank) than yours. His plan will never (fill in the blank), don't worry...." I know, everything in your BODY wants to say that to me. You want to assure me that the God of this universe has always had a plan for me.
Here's the thing: I know that. I know it. Trust me, I know. But I'm still angry. And hurt. And sad. And lonely. And furious. And bitter. And heartbroken. And struggling. Even though I know that "God's got a plan, Emily!" it all still sucks. And I'm still wounded.

Want to know the truth that I hold onto? God will make EVERYTHING beautiful in it's own time.

Right this second is not my time.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Emily Dates Boulder: The First Date

So, I've been on two first dates since my last post. Two in one week, that's a new record for me! Both with really nice guys, who I hope to have a second date with one of these days. But honestly, no matter how sweet and kind the date is, there's something SO uncomfortable about the first date. Here are a few of the most uncomfortable moments from MY first date experiences:

-The Meet: I always find myself full of anxiety right before I get to the designated location of said date. Will I recognize him? Will HE recognize ME? Will he look like his profile picture? Will he even be there? What if he's a midget and just lied about how tall he is? I'm always overwhelmed with the possible disaster this first meet could potentially turn into.

-The Conversation: After the initial meet, I tend to over-think the conversation, which leads to me either 1. Over-sharing or 2. Talking WAY too much about something WAY off-topic. I do this because of that painfully uncomfortable lull in conversation. Awkward silence is bad enough when you're talking with someone you've met before, but when it's a complete stranger, it's just terrible. Ugh, the worst. Seriously. I would rather give step-by-step instructions on how to make instant oatmeal than let a conversation die with a stranger who I'm on a first date with. It's like a phobia of mine. I wonder if there's a 12-step program out there for me...

-The Check: Now, there are certain expectations about The-Paying-Of-The-Bill. I kind of expect the dude to pay! I may be old fashion in this way, but hey, I'm a lady! But it's terribly uncomfortable and presumptuous to just assume he'll pick up the bill. It seems I always get to the point in the night when I'm done (and I mean DONE) with the date. These two dates happened to fall on days when I had had an unusually long and exhausting day at work, so come 8:00, I was toast. I wanted to be home, in my pajamas, reading my book or (judge away judgers) crocheting something cozy. I didn't want to be over-thinking and over-complicating conversation with a stranger. But what am I supposed to do? Reach for the bill, and hope he picks it up? Hint for the 12th time that I'm super tired and ready for bed (hoping that THIS time he'll pick up on my painfully obvious hint-dropping)? What I usually do is just wait it out, and try to not fall asleep in the process.

-The Good-Bye: This part is equally as uncomfortable as The Meet. Do we hug? Do we shake hands? Do we high-five? What do I say? By this point in the night I'm past the point of exhaustion, so I can't be held accountable for my actions. Do I tell him I hope to hear from him soon? And then, when I'm in the car, I start reliving the goodbye. Did I thank him for driving 45 minutes just to buy me dinner? Did I even thank him for dinner? 

There's just no two ways about it; the first date is uncomfortable and full of painfully tense moments. However, I've been REALLY fortunate to have had my past few first dates with some seriously stand-up men.

I'm confident that at least a few of you reading this have your own "Awkward First Date" stories. I'd LOVE to hear them. I know I'm not alone in feeling the tension of meeting and conversing with total strangers!

Check out more of the story behind the dating stories here.

Be sure to follow my journey! #EmilyDatesBoulder

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dating Etiquette: Part One

Here's a little tip on dating etiquette: Don't change the time and location of a first date THREE times and then cancel last minute. It's super rude. And kid of makes you look like a jerk. And no, I will not "hit you up" next week to "figure something else out." Thanks, but no thanks. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be busy washing my hair. All week long. Also, inviting me to watch a soccer scrimage with you and your 11-year-old team and their parents is NOT my idea of a proper second date. Nope, sorry, just sounds SUPER awkward and full of weird, uncomfortable moments. I'll pass. Sorry, not sorry.

Call me picky, or say that my standards are too high, I don't care. I've waited a long time to find love, and I refuse to just settle for whatever is thrown my way. I know, I know, I said I would say yes to every date I was asked on, but SERIOUSLY? What is up with these guys? Ask me out on a proper date, even if that means just having coffee together! That's fine with me! Drinks at a local bar? Totally fine! Soccer game with your youth team? NOPE. Not going to happen. I would rather wait for a man who can treat me like the lady I am. One who will pursue me, even if it's only just to figure out if he wants to actually pursue me! I'm not one of the dudes, don't treat me like it. I'm not your sister, don't treat me like that, either. I deserve more, and maybe my expectations are too high, but that's okay with me. I know my worth and value and won't settle for less. And please, don't hear me wrong- I appreciate that maybe these guys are just trying to figure it out. Maybe I should have more grace, but it just gets frustrating because, as a woman, we're not supposed to be too aggressive or pushy. We're supposed to let the man lead, right? At least that's what I WANT. I want a man who can ask me out on a real date! Not some last-minute-pseudo-kind-sorta date. I want him to be direct! It doesn't have to be dinner at a five-star restaurant or some romantic evening that he's spent hours planning. I just appreciate directness. But, at the same time, I apprecaite all of this juicey material to blog about, so I suppose it's a win-win! 

Follow along with my journey! #EmilyDatesBoulder
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