Month: November 2011

The Great Peeler

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I was home for Thanksgiving weekend and enjoyed Sunday’s message at my old church. It reminded me of something I experienced back when I was a grad student at UGA.

One day, I had a disagreement with a professor about a grade. I was left with some less-than-positive feelings toward him, to put it mildly. I sat outside for a while that afternoon to raise a prayer for friends who had asked me to remember them. At the same time, I was trying to manage my thoughts and feelings related to the incident with the professor.  I knew I would be the only one harmed if I decided to hold a grudge and become bitter. Thanks to a message my pastor once preached, I also knew I needed to go to God with the situation to get help resolving the offense I had taken. (Of course, this knowledge didn’t stop the crazy, emotional thoughts that were popping up in my head.)

I decided to begin reminding myself of the truth in order to replace the lies floating around in my mind.  For example, talking to God, I thanked Him for the protection He has always given, and I thought about how faithfully He cares for me. This was totally contrary to the questions in my mind – questions like, “God, why didn’t you warn me in advance so I could’ve avoided this problem?”  The fact is, He has never failed me.

When I got up to start walking back home, I did what I remembered hearing in my pastor’s sermon.  I spoke to God in a candid way, saying, “God, I will not hold on to offense or hurt feelings from the experience with the professor.”  I actually wasn’t finished saying what I thought I ought to express to Him about it all, but as I took the next steps there on the lawn, I could feel Him peeling the pain from my soul.  My steps became slower as I tried to be sure about what I was feeling.  The sensation of the hurt being lifted continued for a few more seconds, leaving me feeling as if the sun was breaking through gloomy clouds inside me.  If anybody saw me, they probably laughed, wondering what was going on in my mind to produce the eyebrows-raised, “Is this really happening?” look on my face.  I opened the door to my building feeling brand new.

In retrospect, the disagreement with the professor was an unpleasant experience, but I would never trade the subsequent encounter I had with God.  When I told the Lord I wanted to let go of offense and hurt feelings, He surely took them from me.

Ten Things I’m Thankful For Tuesday

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1. Peach pie. Need I say more?

2. Christmas shows. I love the way holiday concerts and plays fill the stages this time of year. My new goal is to try to attend as many great shows as possible this Christmas. Maybe it will become a tradition for me.

3. A Danish pastry & Minute Maid orange juice. This is my favorite quick breakfast anytime I’m on the road and need to grab something in a gas station.

4. Being arrested by creativity all of a sudden. One example is a song that popped out of me with no warning while I was driving to meet a friend at Dreamland Barbecue in Huntsville. It’s a sappy love song that sounds like something Stevie Wonder would sing in a stage musical.

5. Self-control. Believe me, I’m constantly wishing I had more of the stuff; but today, I’m thankful for the measure of restraint that has kept me from getting involved with women I was attracted to but wasn’t right for.

6. Funny people.

7. Student leadership development. It’s the journey by which I get to touch the experience of college students. And the beautiful thing that I did not bargain for when I chose this line of work is the way those students touch my own human experience.

8. The greatest woman in the world. That’s my mom. The relationship we have is better than silver and gold.

9. McKay Used Bookstore.

10. Brandon Mullinax & Valerie Kelley. A sweet couple that really blessed me last night. We shared a moment that almost made my eyes get wet, but you know I couldn’t let that happen!

Ten Things I’m Thankful For Tuesday

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It’s already Wednesday according to wordpress.com, but Tuesday won’t end for another half hour where I live. This week’s Tuesday post is dedicated to my favorite season – autumn. Because of autumn, I’m thankful for these 10 things:

1. Days when the weather is sunny and mild, with a perfect breeze.

2. Mom’s chili. I ate some today!

3. The colorful leaves. Whether on trees or on the ground, the autumn leaves are magical.

4. College football.

5. Fire pits, campfires, bonfires, grill fires – they’re all great.

6. Long sleeve t-shirts.

7. Hot apple cider and various pumpkin dishes.

8. Surpassing beauty in general. There is something glorious about the colors of fall, even against the backdrop of a cloudy gray sky.

9. The best holidays are either occurring or approaching. Young and old folks alike have a good time with Halloween and Thanksgiving in autumn. And part of autumn’s charm is in the pleasure people derive from beginning to anticipate the Christmas season.

10. It’s not freezing cold, it’s not full of things that make me sneeze, and it’s not burning hot. Who could ask for more?

Article: “Why guys don’t bother to call”

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Sometimes, women ask me why guys don’t follow through after promising to call. I never know the answer to that, because it’s not something I do. But Yahoo! featured the article below, which might be of interest to women who have felt confused and frustrated by men who failed to call as promised.

Why guys don’t bother to call

By Dave Singleton

It’s the number-one question women have about dating. Does this scenario sound familiar? You have a great time with Mr. First Date. Not a so-so, marginal, you-can-sort-of-understand-why-it-didn’t work-out time. No, this was clearly fun that was had by all.

He says he’ll call you, but when the phone doesn’t ring, you think, “OK, maybe it’s too soon to hear from him.” One week later without a text, tweet, email, or call, and you wonder what you did wrong. Why did he disappear after the date that apparently only you thought was great?

You imagine dozens of reasons why he didn’t call you back. His phone fell into a pond. He lost his memory in an accident. The telephone company is on strike and no one can get through.

Yes, there could be dozens of bizarre turns of events that left him unable to contact you. But that’s probably not the case. To end the suspense, I spoke to men to uncover and share (in their words) some of the most common reasons they don’t call women back after that first date.

I wasn’t ready for a serious girlfriend
“When I first met her, I felt a hot connection with this girl I knew nothing about. During our date, I got to know her better, liked her, and could tell she was really looking for a serious boyfriend. I could sense our expectations were different. I didn’t have the energy to explain to her that I wasn’t looking for my future wife right now, so I just passed.”
— Allan, 27, Westchester, NY

Lesson learned: The woman he wants (eventually) to bring home to mom may not always be the woman he wants to date right now. If the guy in question was just looking for casual dates and you had different expectations (which is a good thing, unless that’s all you wanted in the first place), you are much better off putting your energies elsewhere.

She was too self-absorbed
“She gabbed with me like I was a girlfriend. I guess I made her feel comfortable, since she had no problem telling me the minutiae of her life. She seemed very focused on how she was coming across. I wasn’t feeling it.”
— Bill, 33, Bethesda, MD

Lesson learned: The idea that men are totally focused on a woman’s looks is a big myth. That’s not how building an attraction with someone works. In this area, woman and men are alike. Most men don’t want a self-absorbed woman who’s focused solely on herself — her friends, her job, her hobbies, her goals, etc. Ask him about his life, too. Focus less on making an impression and more on facilitating the best possible connection.

“More than most women realize, men judge a woman less on looks and more on how they feel around her,” says Evan Marc Katz, author of Why He Disappeared. “‘Do I feel attractive? Do I feel masculine? Do I feel funny when she laughs at my jokes?’ Those are the questions he’s asking himself before he calls her again.”

I didn’t want to deal with any confrontation
“Sometimes women get upset when you say it’s not working for you. The attraction we had shared initially faded pretty fast. I don’t know why. She’d probably press me for some logical reason why I asked her out in the first place if the attraction was so iffy. But attraction isn’t created by logic.”
— Chad, 34, Washington, D.C.

Lesson learned: Some men are too immature or scared to be honest and straightforward with a woman about their feelings. The truth is simply that, somewhere along the line, the attraction and connection vanished. Of course, a man’s definition of “confrontation” might be the same as your definition of “friendly, respectful call.” But if he’s scared, he won’t be calling you.

I’m keeping my options open
“I had a good time on the date, but I’m focusing more on another girl I’ve been seeing for a few weeks. Who knows, I might change my mind and call.”
— Jack, 38, San Diego, CA

Lesson learned: The timing just wasn’t right for the two of you. He’s otherwise occupied, and it has nothing to do with you or your charms (or lack thereof). Dating can be like musical chairs; your date is simply keeping his options open until the right one presents itself. Always assume that your dates are seeing other people until there’s a mutual agreement about exclusivity. Remember, some men don’t call women back because there’s someone else who’s picking up steam in their dating race.

“While men excel at compartmentalization, women tend to have a more difficult time separating their feelings, so multi-male dating may be a bigger challenge for the female set,” says Kimberly Dawn Neumann, author of The Real Reasons Men Commit.

She was annoying
“She had this annoying habit of throwing her head back when she laughed. It was too hysterical and weird for me.”
— Josh, 29, New York, NY

Lesson learned: Some guys carry the Seinfeld curse; that is, they share George Costanza’s obsession of overly picky and shallow physical or behavioral traits when it comes to their dating lives. In her book, Why He Didn’t Call You Back: 1,000 Guys Reveal What They Really Thought About You After Your Date, author Rachel Greenwald notes that 78 percent of women she surveyed believed that a man hadn’t called her back for reasons beyond her control, i.e. the elusive “chemistry” or a career that intimidates men. The truth is that 85 percent of men surveyed felt the opposite. In fact, there were sometimes small and always-specific behaviors women exhibited which ended up being deal-breakers for the guys.

Both men and women can nitpick their dates into obscurity. Ask your closest friends if you have any controllable, attraction-inhibiting habits that warrant adjusting, such as avoiding eye contact when you’re nervous. But if you’re being judged on characteristics you can’t control, don’t spend time obsessing over what you could have done differently. Move on, because the next person will likely have different expectations altogether.