Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Hair is at an Awkward Length.

I met my friend Ellen for breakfast this morning. After hitting every stoplight between my house and Another Broken Egg, I was officially forty-five minutes late for our breakfast and that cut our catch-up time to roughly thirty minutes. Thirty minutes is never enough time for two long-lost friends to come into one another's inner circle again.

As I was getting out of the car, I realized that I had pulled the wrong purple top out of the closet this morning. I was currently wearing the one with the stain. Ugh.

I fluffed my hair using the car window as my mirror and all I could notice was that the current length of my hair, when I let it dry naturally, does not work well with my face. I then realized I was wearing gold earrings with a silver watch and the manicure I had painstakingly slapped on during the "How I Met Your Mother" finale last night had already begun to peel.

I then caught a glimpse of myself in the door as I was walking in to breakfast and realized that I had forgotten to smooth my foundation on my right cheek and I clearly had not used enough concealer under my eyes that morning. Not to mention that I had grabbed the wrong tube of lipstick this morning and this pink was one big line of nope.



Ellen and I could hardly form sentences at breakfast -- each of us exhausted from our recent work schedules. My phone beeped between bites of breakfast potatoes -- my favorite kind of potatoes! -- and I realized that I was supposed to have a few slides done for my grad school group project meeting that night.

Alas, none of the interviewees I had contacted had gotten back with me. I was going to be walking in to our meeting with empty hands for the second week in a row.



After finishing off that plate of breakfast potatoes, I realized just how much of A Fat Day I felt coming on. This shirt just didn't fit right, and I was, in a word, uncomfortable.

I realized that I had not done as good of a job this morning of planning my day, now finding myself with over an hour to spare between breakfast with Ellen and meeting Shelly for a full day of rocking BabyJ. There was a Target with a Starbucks across the way, and, as we all know, there is always time for Target.

I hopped out of my car and was greeted by the guy picking up the trash in the Target parking lot.

"Good morning, love! It is a beautiful day!"

I grunted a greeting to him, flashing half a smile.

"A beautiful day, indeed," he continued. "The sun does lovely things to your hair, ya know?! Such a lovely lass." His sweet accent getting thicker by the compliment. "Well, yes, I daresay, there is no flaw in this day. There is no flaw in you, love. Just as Solomon said. There is no flaw in you."

As I was walking away from the trash man with accent, Romans 12 entered my mind. "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought...in Christ, we form one body, and each member belongs to all of the others."

This member's job was to encourage his sister in Christ. His job was to get the wheels rolling and pull me out of A Fat Day and into Truth.

I met my friend James for coffee late last night (that is the true meaning of Spring Break: the ability to drink a cappuccino at 9:15 p.m. and not be afraid). On the way out, we ran into a friend of his and she and I got to talking. She is heading out to India for two months and she was hitting obstacles getting there. She and I swapped stories of the months leading to my trip to Lebanon. I could see in her eyes the need for a connection with someone who understood what it was like to lose relationships over a decision that truly isn't your own. We spoke of common fears and common conversations with Jesus, each of us nodding our head and laughing as we recalled our personal version of the same story.

Last night was not about getting coffee with James, as lovely as the time was. Last night was about a small divine intervention appointment with a new friend who needed a bit of encouragement. It was about a girl who although the path was laid before her, she felt lost. She felt lost in her own life, but still so sure about where the Lord was leading her.

That is the Body of Christ. Many member working for the greater good.

While my chipped nail polish, stained shirt, traffic jams, and uneven make-up all worked together for a frustrated girl, Jesus was working with a trash man to validate that my awkward hair length isn't even a drop in the bucket.

"There is no flaw in you, my darling." His delight is my giggle as I swipe on another brush of glitter nail polish. His delight is in two of His daughters coming together to encourage one another over seasoned breakfast potatoes. His delight is that He gets to provide strength for the days that I'm exhausted. His delight is that while I'm sitting in traffic, I talk to Him...even if it is grumbling. His delight is when I look in the mirror and say, "Ugh. My hair. Seriously?" and He gets respond, "Yes, love, I'll take it all."

He'll take it all. And then He'll give back more.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

90 Days of Online Dating: Tying Up the Loose Ends and a Look Back at 2013.

Here we are, folks. 2014.

While the year 2013 comes to a close, so do my adventures of full-time online dating.

As I'm sure plenty of other blogs that you read are doing, I wanted to pause and take a look back at 2013 and sum up 90DoOD as well.

January: I officially began full-time at Trojanburg High School. This place was my dream job and I couldn't have been more thankful for it. I loved, loved, loved being back in the classroom and finally figuring out what having a team of support (not just handful) looked like. 
While my career was hitting the reset button, my love life was taking a hit. I was dating a guy who had swept me off my feet and that came to a roaring halt in the middle of January.
My sweet Shelly got married!!!


February: I dove head-first back into teaching. I spent way too much time planning and re-organizing my desk. I was taking it all in and falling back into love with my career. At one point I was completely planned for my 9th grade class every single day until the end of the school year (things had to be shifted of course, but it was on paper!).
My family welcomed my second niece into the world. There are not words for how much I love that little girl!
It was love at first sight for sweet Eliza! #eqh

My best friend Ava Michelle found her way back to the good ol' US of A after a round-the-world extravaganza! It felt so good to hug her sweet self!

March: Eden (Niece #1) turned three which was of course celebrated by a big family get-together and an appearance from Mr. Wuf!

April: Spring Break 2013! I spent the week lounging around my house and enjoying being lazy way too much. While I didn't make it public for a few more weeks, I also signed the dotted line to move to The New High School in my county -- yet another career was in the works!

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but I needed a picture so roll with me.
Sarah and I cheered on the Carolina Hurricanes to a victory!
May: Oh, Lordy, May! I turned 24, my sister turned 22. My family lost our wonderful Mama Bet, my grandmother's sister. I began planning for my next trip out of the country. May is always a whirlwind of activity and too much fun. My childhood neighbor got married, my cousin Mary Stuart graduated from East Carolina University with her Bachelor's and my cousin Browning graduated from East Carolina University with his Master's.


June: I wrapped up my time at Trojanburg with a mixture of excitement and sadness. I was leaving some of the best kids I knew and was more than anxious about finding new kids at the new digs.
I got to meet one of my favorite authors, Sarah Dessen! I "fan-girled" like you wouldn't believe!

I helped out with my church's annual summer sports camp for the first time ever.

During this week, I received a phone call from my new principal. She was letting me know that through no fault of my own, my job was being given to another professional. That left me out pounding the pavement attempting to find another job, another new start.
However, I didn't have much time to think about job hunting because the Summer of a Lifetime was picking up! First stop: Lake Week!

Right after Lake Week, Chloe moved in with my family.

Two of my good friends from college, Patrick and Courtney, also tied the knot!


July: I left Lake Week to join the other side of the family at Beach Week.


After all of that sun, I came home ready for some time at my house and sitting on my couch. That relaxation didn't last. I got a phone call from a principal and just like that, I had a new job. The one thing that I said I would never, ever do, was about to become my reality: I  was going to teach 7th grade Language Arts. The idea of starting this new adventure was terrifying and exciting all at the same time. I had no idea what was in store for me!

While I was "dotting the Is and crossing the T's" for my new job, I was helping my church with our annual Vacation Bible School. While this is a fairly typical part of my summer, it was also a step of preparation for the next big adventure: CANADA!

My Kaitlyn also made her way through Raleigh on her way to her next adventure! Definitely a highlight of my summer!
August: I spent a week in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada leading a Vacation Bible School for a new church plant called Vertical Church that my home church is partnered with. I had always wanted to go to Canada (why, I don't know) and this was the perfect opportunity. I spent the week praising the Lord, teaching sweet children about Him, and sight-seeing all around Calgary and Banff National Park.

Less than 15 hours after my plane landed back at RDU, I was back on a plane heading west for Perry Ladies Vegas Trip! My grandmother, mother, cousin, sister, and I did Vegas the right way and left the men at home.

Once Sin City had more than it could handle of us ladies, it was only a matter of time before school began. With a bit of trepidation, I walked into Wolf Village Middle School with a fake (only due to the butterflies in my stomach!) smile plastered on my face and started setting up camp and making new friends.

My little brother also turned 19!
September: School was in full swing and football season had started!

The idea for my "90 Days of Online Dating" series came to me after being spoken to by a guy at Panera Bread & Co. one afternoon. I had this urge to give advice to guys about the way that they interacted with women; the general consensus from my previous online dating experience and random guys from the street truly went to show me that the majority of the male species did not have a clue how to have a conversation with the opposite sex.
I consulted a few girlfriends of mine and low and behold...the madness began!

Shelly had her gender reveal party -- I can't wait to be Auntie Bekah to this little boy come January :)

Alecia came to Raleigh for the weekend!

October: Wolfpack football season was taking a disappointing turn into a slump that we wouldn't recover from this season. I was given the opportunity to realize that the people I worked with liked me. They actually liked me!

My co-workers and I also had (probably too much) fun for our school spirit week!
One of my best friends was proposed to via flash mob and I got to help! Although that's the official video, a stranger caught the whole thing on camera to give you another angle.

"90 Days of Online Dating" was going and I was hopeful. Every time my phone beeped I was hoping for a message from a sweet somebody!

MJ became MJB and the 10th Grade Team from Wildcat Academy O-W-N-E-D the dance floor that night!
My college friend Charles got hitched too and I had the pleasure of catching up with these sweet ladies!

November: I loved every minute of teaching, even though I felt the exhaustion in my bones. Football. Thanksgiving Break. Sweet time with friends. Sweet time with family.  I took some time off of "90 Days of Online Dating" because truthfully, my soul hurt. The guys I was talking to simply were not up to the par of humanity that I would like to talk to, much less possibly date.

I went to the Duke - NCSU football game with my bestie Ellen and her family!

My Granny is better than your Granny.

My sweet Bug-a-Boo wasn't feeling too good, but that just means she gets to cuddle with Aunt Bekah!

My sweet friend Chris has been the Mic Man for the NCSU Student Section for the past four years. His reign came to an end at the end of this season.
December: My kiddos were crazy but kept me loving my job. The end of the most disappointing football season for North Carolina State University in my lifetime. My church's Christmas pageant came and went. It was my honor and privilege to lead the drama ministry for the second year for the production. I applied and was accepted into grad school at NCSU for Literacy Education. I had wonderful adventures with the sweet people I have the privilege to work with and have loved being lazy over Christmas break. Unfortunately, sickness had its hold on me on Christmas Day so this year wasn't exciting, but ringing in the New Year with my co-workers certainly was a cherry on top of this year.

With football season at a close, basketball season took over!

My Daddy turned 50!

No month is complete without cuddles from my favorite princesses!

Over Christmas break I got a text from my Project brother and best friend Mattie saying that he was mere miles away from me at his parents' house! I was beyond thankful for the time I got to spend with him and lovely bride! CBSP for life!

Before school let out for Christmas Break, my co-workers and I did not disappoint for our Holiday Spirit Week! 

My one picture from our Christmas festivities this year.
Eliza Quinn: Bow Thief!

I have loved spending these last ninety days regaling you with my tales of the people I've met through online dating. I have loved the time for introspection this adventure has allowed me. I am uncertain if I will continue online dating in the future and simply not blog on the regular about it, or if I'm going to walk away. Nevertheless, you can rest assured that I'll keep you posted on any crazy adventures I may have.

I pray that you find the happiest of adventures in 2014, my friends!