Online Dating Tips for the Recently Single 40 Something

dating tips, divorced, Life changes, online dating, Uncategorized

A few years ago, I found myself in my mid 30’s and single for the first time since my 20’s. My 13 year marriage had ended and my ex-husband had already re-married. I didn’t want to try and meet people in bars, so I bought a subscription to an online dating service. I did some things right and I did some things very wrong, but I did meet the man of my dreams and married him a few years later. Recently, a friend of mine asked for online dating tips. Here are tips based on my personal experiences:

1. Use a paid site; this will eliminate some potential problems right up front.

2. Do not use your full name and consider using an alias; this may prevent you from being “googled.”

3. Consider setting your social media accounts to private during this time. This may keep those who are not your friends currently from gaining too much personal info about you.

4. Do not post specific personal info on your dating profile; keep it general. For example, instead of listing a specific grade, school, or system where you teach, say you are “in education.”

5. Use the site’s contact email and don’t use your personal email or give out your phone number until you have had a meeting and you are comfortable giving out this personal info.

6. First meeting/date should be in a public place; meet there don’t let them pick you up. Consider a coffee shop, lunch meeting, or ice cream/yogurt/smoothie during the day for your first meeting. This is not a large time or financial commitment by either party, but allows enough time to see if there is mutual interest for a more formal meeting. This is also necessary for your safety.

7. Be open to meeting people who may not meet your age, race, or other restrictions. You will never know who you’re missing if you don’t give them a chance.

8. Set personal boundaries before you start the process, before you meet someone, and after you have had a few dates. What is going well and what isn’t? Some boundary examples are: meeting your children, sexual boundaries, monetary, time, etc.

Online dating produces many different results for many different people. Know in the beginning what your goals are, follow the tips listed above, and hopefully, your’s will be a great experience!

Two Sausage Biscuits and a Life Lesson

Faith, Grief, Hospital visits, Inspiration, Life changes, Mother, Uncategorized

“You have both been amazing parents and I am so blessed that y’all are mine.” I was able to say this to my mom and dad just weeks before she passed. Mom was in the hospital again after her pancreatic cancer diagnosis and we knew she was not doing well.

It’s hard to look your parents in the eyes, knowing your days together are numbered, and say words of finality to them. I had thought about this conversation many times in recent days, but finding the right moment to stare death in the face and say what needs to be said is difficult.

On this day, the opportunity presented itself because of two sausage biscuits. A lady from a local church knocked on the hospital room door and came in with two sausage biscuits. She told us what church she was from and that this was one of their ministries; to provide breakfast for family members of patients on this floor. After she left, my dad began talking about church and his childhood which sparked a conversation that eventually allowed me to tell my parents how much they meant to me and how much I loved them both.

It took two sausage biscuits delivered by a stranger to provide the perfect opportunity to express my love and appreciation to my dying mother and my father who would also be gone 15 months later.

I don’t know the name of the lady that brought those biscuits in mom’s room that morning. I can’t tell you the name of the church either. What I do remember is this; her act of kindness opened a door for me to love on my parents and share words from my heart which gave me great peace later. It’s a morning I will never forget.

What’s the life lesson I learned from this? Simple. God can use anything and anyone at anytime for any purpose no matter how great or small.

Feel like God is telling you to do something? Do it. He’s leading you somewhere? Pursue it.

You may never know how you were used, but you could be a mighty blessing to someone.


Selecting a Stone

Funeral, Grief, Life changes, Mother

Young girls fantasize about it. Jewelry stores compete over it. It’s a monumental day when a man selects a stone for the love of his life. It’s a moment of joy and hope and excitement.

I watched a man choose a different stone for the love of his life. I watched my father choose a tombstone for my mom. Joy, hope and excitement were absent that day. Instead, we felt sadness and fear and defeat.

The woman for whom he had chosen a diamond 46 years earlier now needed a permanent resting spot and a marker for her grave.

No one makes a big deal about selecting this stone.

Lessons Learned from Linda

Funeral, Grief, Life changes, Mother, Uncategorized

These are the thoughts I provided to the pastor who preached mom’s funeral on November 22, 2015:

Lessons Learned from Linda

1. Pray

One of the things we remember most about mother is her daily routine of kneeling by her bed every night to pray. At night, near bed time, if you went into mom’s bedroom (or just walked by and peeked in the door) you would find her there on her knees by the bed in prayer. It was understood that you would stand there and wait until she was finished. She never talked about her nightly ritual. No one except those of us in the house probably even knew she did it. We know she spent countless hours on her knees praying for us and the things going on in our lives and we want you to know that she did the same for many of you. She believed in the power of prayer and would encourage you to cast your cares and worries on Him.

2. Spend time with your family.

As young children, we were taken every week to visit our grandparents. There was a time when this seemed boring and we didn’t always enjoy it. Mom explained that we would not always have our grandparents and we needed to visit and appreciate having them in our lives as much and as long as possible. This made a very strong impression on us and we tried to follow her example and visit her and dad as much as possible. She taught us that time is the most valuable gift you can give and receive from a loved one.

3. Look for the positive in every situation.

One of mom’s doctors recently said to her, “I wish all of my patients had your disposition.” She looked for the good in every situation. She could get bad news from a test or blood work and would hold on to any one bit of positive information. Instead of focusing on the negative and feeling sorry for herself or complaining, she would focus on the positive. Blessings can be found in dire circumstances…but you have to be willing to see them. Linda would remind us to look for something positive.

4.Take life one day at a time.

One Sunday morning, I (Vanessa) went to see mom in the hospital before church because that is when I knew we would have some alone time. She began to tell me about the conversation she had with  Bro. John the evening before. She said, “No one want’s to hear the word cancer, but when it happens to you, you have to just take it one day at a time; that’s all you can do…and I’m not worried.”  So mom (Linda) would say to each of us, “No matter what you are facing, take your situation one day at a time.”

5. Live every day so you can say “When He comes, I am ready.”

On Tuesday evening, we could see that there had been a change in mom. As we were giving her the evening meds, we told her how much we loved her and I told her, “Momma, we are going to miss you so much. We don’t want to lose you, but when those angels come, its o.k. for you to go. We will take care of daddy.” After a few moments, she said “when He comes, I am ready.” I think mom would remind us all that this is not our home…and we should endeavor daily to be ready when we are called home.




In Limbo

Grief, Life changes, Limbo, Mother, Uncategorized

That moment when something happens that shakes your foundation so hard it takes awhile to regain your balance…

That is where I sit now; “In Limbo” I would like to call it because it feels like a space where I am “caught up” …but also like a really bad dance.


My mom died.

I am about to turn 40.

My son is about to be a senior in high school.

I am about to turn 40.

My mom died.


MY mom… died.


I just keep coming back to that one because it doesn’t seem real.

I think more than any of the others, that one has me dancing this crazy dance and feeling caught between two worlds.

She was here and doing great, then she was sick, and then she was gone…in three short months.

Now, I’m floating in this space of mom’s stuff and dad’s loneliness and my own grief.

There is a gaping hole in the world where she once stood.

I am “In Limbo” between the world with her and the world without her…I’m learning the steps to a dance I don’t even like.