Happy Q2!

Smiling in field of flowersAlthough I am partial to sweater weather and pumpkin spice lattes, the second quarter of the year is also a personal favorite of mine. The first week of April brings with it sundresses, wildflowers and clear blue skies. Gloom period is over, and the earth comes to life again as though waking from a long slumber.

I underwent a hibernation of my own during the first quarter of this year – my fast from dating. I’d told myself that, in light of the seemingly endless incoming (and outgoing) line of men in my life, I needed to take a break from dating this year to refocus and center myself; to reinstate God as my First Love.

My hope in so doing was to to rest in my singleness, learning to be content in this season and celebrating all of the unique opportunities afforded to me as an unattached young woman. It’s been a great first quarter. I’ve gotten to invest deeply in some key friendships, taught Sunday school to elementary children, started mentoring a group of high school kids, gotten certified to babysit foster kids, arranged some new a capella mashups, begun fashion illustration (check out my Instagram) and started looking into a few different travel destinations for a girls’ weekend away.

When I started on this journey, I wanted to make the commitment specific and measurable enough that I could be held accountable and not bail when the first cute boy of the year looked my way, so I gave a soft commitment not to go on any dates for 2016. However, I also wanted to give myself flexibility as life circumstances changed and my heart matured; I didn’t want to be legalistic about the commitment or put God in a box as to how He wanted to refine me in this area of my life. I didn’t feel a strong conviction to give a definitive commitment for an entire year, so I gave myself the option to reevaluate at the end of every quarter whether or not I should continue my break from dating.

So as the end of March approached, and with it, the end of Q1 2016, I prayed and asked God what He thought. Then I met with the girls in my bible study and asked for their input as well. In both my personal time of reflection and in the feedback from the group, there was a consensus that I have successfully hit the “reset” button on my dating mentality and could now move forward with starting to date again, this time with a God-honoring perspective on both the physical and emotional aspects of a relationship.

I am not in a hurry to jump back into dating. My days of online dating are behind me. But I am open to the possibility of exploring whether some of my godly male friendships could grow into something deeper. I’ve had seven guys waiting for this moment – the moment I would allow them to pursue a relationship with me.

Just thinking about juggling all of those possibilities had me nearly breaking out in hives, so I’ve already told five of the seven that I am not interested in a romantic relationship with them. Care to guess which of the seven has captured my attention?

Jay – a police officer I met while volunteering for the Passion Conference in January who sends me shirtless photos of himself from time to time

Jordan – the massage therapist and divorcee I met on the Bahamas cruise

Ike – a friend for over ten years with whom I’ve done international mission trips and who is graduating from seminary in May with plans to be a pastor

Hovik – the Armenian auto shop manager who lives in my apartment complex

Grant – the banker I met at church who takes me to a concert every year

Seth – a chemical engineer who volunteers in our church’s kids’ ministry with me

Joe – an A/C mechanic in my bible study who is built like a lumberjack

Authentically Aurora

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Recovering Date-aholic

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 9.14.53 AMI am a recovering date-aholic.

I’ve been trying really hard to rest in my singleness; to be single and stay single for a time. I have been trying to even revel in and celebrate my singleness. This is a season of life where I can do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it. I have a rare opportunity here.

I am free to serve in the church and all kinds of charitable organizations. My time is my own. I can work out or eat donuts; I can travel across the world on a whim, and I can stay out until 2 in the morning if I want to. There is no one at home waiting up for me; there is no one at home I am accountable to or responsible for. I am in a unique season of freedom from familial responsibility.

I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” -1 Cor. 7:32-35

According to these verses, singleness is a time to be single-mindedly devoted to the Lord, not distracted or concerned about the needs of a spouse. I have no husband, and yet, my attention is still divided. I may not be distracted from serving the Lord by a nonexistent husband, but I am certainly distracted by any potential husband who may be in my near vicinity!

In today’s society, the opportunities to date are endless, largely thanks to social media. I’ve been asked out by three different guys in the past week, but I’m trying to say no. I’m trying to rest. I’m trying to wait. I’m trying to give myself time to heal and grow more into the woman God is calling me to be. I want to be the kind of woman who would be worthy of the kind of man I ultimately want to marry. And if I start dating while I am less than who I could be, I may spend the rest of my life married to someone who perpetuates an underdeveloped version of myself.

I’m adamant that the man should initiate a dating relationship. But there are plenty of ways for women to help the process along: Catch a man’s eye, hold eye contact, smile coyly, or dance away with a slight smile. Make sure you get caught looking a few more times. Entice their attention and interest. I leave it up to the man to actually walk over and initiate conversation, but I certainly know how to help the process along. But I’ve been trying to practice mindfulness; be where I am; embrace my season of singleness. And leave the men alone.

Last week, I got another opportunity to exercise self discipline and reaffirm my decision to wait on the Lord. When I first joined eHarmony two years ago, I was really impressed with some of my first few matches. My ex-fiance was one of my first ten matches on my first day on eHarmony. So was Nate – a mechanical engineer in O&G with an aura of confidence and a shock of blonde hair. Nate’s profile was filled with photos of hiking and snowboarding; four wheeling and rock climbing. He’s an American Ninja Warrior.

That first week of online dating two summers ago, before engagement rings and wedding dresses and heartache and depression, Ashley and I sat in her living room, giggling and looking through all of my matches. I was drawn to the man who would become my ex-fiance, but I remember Ashley rooting for Nate. Much later, in the wake of my broken engagement, I got on Christian Mingle trying to find some hope that there are still single godly men out there. And there was Nate’s big grin and radiating confidence smiling back at me, just as I’d seen on eHarmony a year earlier.

Last week our weather dipped gloriously into the 70s after a long string of summer days in the 90s. So I got up early, drove to a nearby park, and went for a 3 mile run. Right at the end of my run, I stopped by the stretch area, and who did I see directly ahead of me? Nate. He was there with a buddy and his dog. Our eyes met, I smiled shyly and glanced away before looking back at him again, unsure if he recognized me from my online dating profile.

I stretched longer than I normally would, hoping he’d come over. He keeps popping up in my life, year after year. But Nate was engrossed in conversation with his buddy. The Aurora of a month ago would have boldly walked over and asked if we’d met before. I would have struck up a conversation and gotten him to eventually ask for my number as I looked up at him through long eyelashes.

But on that sunny morning last week, I walked away. I walked away praying, “God, I keep encountering this man, and he’s caught my eye every time. I could try to make this happen, but I’m going to wait on you. If you want us together, have him recognize me and find a way to reach out to me. Help me let him go. I want to rest in you.”

My aim is to refocus my attention on the One who loves me more than any man ever could; indeed, more than I love myself. “In repentance and rest is [my] salvation, in quietness and trust is [my] strength.

Authentically Aurora

Obesely Bitter

According to tumblr, people who are fat are supposed to be happy. “Fat and Happy” – isn’t that how the expression goes?

Well I am Fat and Bitter. Bitter about being fat. And bitter about the caliper test for body fat percentage.

This bitter test has, for two years running, declared me bitterly and morbidly obese. I am not Fat and Happy. I am Obese and Bitter.

This is an actual photo of me. A current photo, not like those eHarmony matches who use old photos from when they were 453982.1 times more attractive.

Pose

Apparently bitter beauty standards really do require the Barbie figure of 39-18-33. I am morbidly and bitterly obese at 34-26-36. Just look at me in all my grotesque chunkiness compared to Barbie’s bitter beauty:

Barbie and Lammily

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to hit the weight room in order to move from being Bitterly Obese from all of the chocolate that I eat to being Obesely Bitter from all of the weights I have to lift. Like the weight of the world, which I put on my shoulders everyday. Or the sheer bulk of my own morbid obesity. You’d think just walking one step would be enough weight lifting for one day. One small step for man, one giant leap for the morbidly obese Aurora!

AAARRRRGGGHHHHHH

Acerbic Aurora

It’s Raining Men

It's raining menI keep thinking that I should take a break from dating. It’s been a hell of a year, and my heart needs a rest from the angst, stress and trauma of dating. It’s exhausting.

People tell me all the time, “You’re young! You’ve got time! Don’t be anxious about your singleness!” They don’t realize that I’m not anxious about my singleness. I’m not worried about getting married. I actually enjoy seasons of singleness, and I do hope to one day be married. The part that gives me angst is the season of dating. If there are no men in my life, great! If I’m married to my soul mate, great! But this in between gray area of I’m-not-sure-what-we-are-but-you’re-cute makes me break out in proverbial hives.

Do I like him? Does he like me? Do I like him more than he likes me? Are we exclusive? Is he seeing other people? Is he comparing me to his ex-girlfriend? Should I call him or wait for him to call me? Should I offer to pay? Is he going to kiss me? Should I dress up or dress down? When will I see him next? Do I want to see him again? Is this headed toward marriage, or is this just a fling?

Since my broken engagement last summer, I’ve been on dates with John, Nick, David, JonathanVictor, Philip, Flynn, Bryan and several others I didn’t blog about because either we only saw each other once or the dates were too bland to be notable. In December, I started to filter out unsuitable candidates in favor of Flynn and Bryan. By January, Bryan had earned himself exclusive dating rights (not that he ever claimed them).

After breaking up with Bryan in April, I seriously considered taking some time to sit back and re-evaluate my life – not just my love life. It’s been a whirlwind for as long as I can remember, and I tend to do well in long seasons of singleness. I’ve had multiple three-year stints of singleness that were some of the happiest stretches of my life. But the men just keep coming.

I’m not even seeking them out. Old eHarmony matches have come out of the woodwork, new guys have asked me out at church, and one guy even asked for my number at the retreat in front of my ex-fiance. Classic.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had flowers sent to my apartment by one suitor and to my office by another. I’ve been taken golfing and have been escorted to the symphony. And these are just some of the messages I have received by would-be boyfriends:

G1

K1

J2N2

G2

S1

Some of them are very sweet and affectionate, which is refreshing after Bryan, but none of them are clear winners. K is a very negative person, N does not share my faith, S has zero emotional intelligence, P is anti-vaccinations, G1 is deep in debt, and I know G2 to be a player. The only one with any potential is J, and we just went on our first date this past weekend.

I am still hearing from Bryan, too. He called me from London on Saturday and asked me to join him in Spain for two weeks come September.

I told him that I don’t have much vacation left. He told me life is too short not to be spontaneous, and besides, I’m probably leaving this job soon anyway.

I told him that I can’t handle more than one week with him at a time. He told me that he recalls things got a lot better (*wink, wink) after the first week of our sailing trip. He has a point… but of course I didn’t let him know that.

*Sigh.

Again, I state:  Dating is exhausting.

Authentically Aurora

Match Madness – Part III

My online dating profile doesn’t always get matched with socially awkward, grammar challenged bums. Although Parts I & II of this comedic trilogy may have led my readers to that conclusion, allow me to debunk that misconception by showcasing some of the genuinely wonderful bachelors I have come across during my adventures in online dating.

First of all, there’s Blake. He’s an attractive, 6’1″, 30-year-old Finance Manager who loves working out and playing guitar. Just look at his awesome profile!

Blake box

But then I came across the section that tells me about his smoking and drinking habits, along with his familial aspirations:

*Issue - maybe kids

This is a non-negotiable for me. I would really love to be a mom someday, whether biologically or through adoption if my husband and I are unable to conceive. It’s true that Blake “might” want kids someday, but if he’s 30 years old and still on the fence, that tells me that he’s probably not the best daddy material, and I want a loving, engaged father for my future kiddos.

Then there’s Josh. He’s a good-looking, 28-year-old, 6″ tall dentist. Josh is self-described as a deep thinking Christian who is looking for a godly, independent woman with a penchant for sarcasm. Hmmm… could this be a more perfect fit?!

Josh box

But then I noticed his location:

*Issue - distance 800 miles

It’s pretty daunting to consider starting a relationship between two people who have never met and live 800 miles apart. So much of chemistry is determined through face-to-face interaction that Josh really seemed like a great catch who just isn’t meant for me.

Lastly, there’s Nate. He’s another 6″ tall 28-year-old, only he’s a Mechanical Engineer and, unlike Josh, he actually lives in the same city as me! I got really excited reading over his profile, and my best friend Ashley picked him out of all my matches as the one she envisions being most compatible with me:

Nate box

I sent Nate a smile and waited for him to initiate the first series of get-to-know-you questions. But his questions never came. A week went by; then two, until finally:

*Issue - over month 2

I realized that an amazing man like Nate wouldn’t have stayed single for long. A lot of dating sites don’t close out their inactive members’ profiles, so I’m sure Nate found his lady love and is off enjoying his “best friend, [his] lover and the mother of [his] future children.”

I just wish she was me.

Authentically Aurora

Match Madness – Part II

As a continuation of Match Madness – Part 1, here are the Top 10 profile essays of men with whom I have personally been matched online.

I wonder if there’s an option for me to retake the personality assessment that this site is using for its compatibility algorithms…

#10:
ShavingMental note made: Don’t touch the man’s head!
#9:
Cooking movies
I’m sure there was supposed to be punctuation in there somewhere. This reminds me of “Let’s eat grandma: punctuation saves lives.” Fortunately, all that’s on the line here are a couple of DVDs.
#8:
Excited
Wow! You are very excited! And enthusiastic! Yay!!!
#7:
Biohacking
For those of you who don’t know what bio-hacking is (I didn’t, either; I looked it up), it’s basically self-mutilation. Gross. Where do they find these people?!
#6:
Grammar
“There is to many.” If you don’t understand why this one made the list, please don’t read You Lost Me at “Your”.
#5:
Talkative
…I see.
#4a:
Expectations 1High expectations.
#4b:
Expectations 2
More outrageous expectations.
#3:
Passionate
Yeah, you sound really passionate about people.
#2:
AwkwardUm… [walks away]
#1:
Heaven

Baby, if you’re expecting your wife to get you into heaven, you’ve got seriously unrealistic expectations about marriage.

Authentically Aurora

Match Madness – Part I

I pay good money for my online dating site to match me with compatible candidates with whom I could feasibly enter into a successful dating relationship. However, over the past month, instead of communicating with my matches, I have kept a continually refreshed Top 20 list of the most ridiculous profile pictures of men I have actually been matched with.

For your viewing pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, may I present:

#20. Probably not your most flattering angle…

Bad angle#19. Either lost and confused or a mouth-breather. No thanks.
Mouth Breather
#18. One does not simply… date someone twice your age.
Once does not simply
#17. I can’t decide if this is hot or creepy.
Beard
#16. Ah, selfies.
Selfie
#15. Is this supposed to be sexy? Flirtatious? Just plain weird?
Tongue
#14. Why? Just… why? Do you not have any photos of yourself without a highlighter in your mouth?
Mouth
#13. I always wanted to date the leprechaun version of Yosemite Sam.
Mustache
#12. Are you golfing or getting ready for lift off?
Golf
#11. Oh dear. You are entirely too excitable.
Excited
#10. Is that supposed to attract me to you?
Muscles
#9. Yes, your dentist does great work. Now please close your lips.
Teeth
#8. I am really frightened right now.
Frightened
#7. Nice hair, Fabio.
Fabio
#6. Ah yes, I love the smell of limes in the morning.
Limes
#5. Oh, rednecks… there’s one in every bunch.
Redneck
#4. Half of San Francisco would attack my blog with angry comments if I asked the obvious question about this one.
Limp Wrists
#3. Does he realize this is a dating site?
Player
#2. So, when you say “girlfriend”, what you mean is getaway driver.
Robber
#1. I have no words.
Riding
Authentically Aurora