The Miracle of Us


Marriage isn’t easy.

I don’t want to burst any bubbles out there, but what begins as a miracle of seemingly chance encounters and that sudden knowing that this person is the one, takes some work to maintain.

At the start, that person, who you swear you’ve always known somehow even though you’ve only just met, sweeps you off your feet. You confess you’ll never love another and  he or she is your one and only love.

If you’re anything like us, you witness miracles, maybe a dozen or more (in our case) that let you know with certainty that this is meant to be. You say yes to the proposal and the dress and begin planning your dream day. For us that happened across two continents. COVID-19 long distance has nothing on us!

The wedding is pure bliss even with its few unplanned mishaps (like our crystal champagne flutes that didn’t show up on time), and you waltz from the dance floor to the honeymoon in ecstasy.

We did. Ahh…

Then begins reality.

The moment when the fairy tale becomes real life.

The best love story comes after the wedding. I have a quote something like that framed with a picture of us a year after the wedding. The best comes when you fight through the worst. The worst of both of you, the worst circumstances, the worst heartache. All of that brings out the best of your love story.

The rest of our story will be told in Beyond the Miracle: When the FairDSC_0002y Tale Meets Reality, but until its release (projected for May 2021), we celebrate the now of this year’s anniversary with a throw-back to where it all began.

In honor of our eleventh anniversary, The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater is FREE on Amazon for your holiday weekend reading.

Get your e-book copy here.

What are some of your wedding or marriage miracles?

Online Dating Popularity Update


According to current stats it seems online dating is here to stay!

Let’s compare this popular post from 5 years ago with these statistics from May of this year:

  1. 49.7 million people have tried online dating
  2. 17.5 million are on eHarmony.com
  3. 24.6 million are on Match.com
  4. 17% of marriages began online – this is the same as 5 years ago
  5. 71% of online daters believe in love at first site – WOW!
  6. New stat – 10% of people who use online dating to meet people are sex offenders
  7. According to eHarmony they are responsible for 4% (down 1% from 5 years back) of marriages from online dating – are other sites creating more matches??

If you’d like to read our story, you can get The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater here.

Re-post:

It happened again.

This time I was getting a pedicure and chatting with the lovely woman who attempted to produce something beautiful from my calloused, beach-combing feet. The conversation naturally turned to how we each met our husbands.

Her question prompted my response, “On an internet dating site,” and I grinned, waiting for the usual astonishment.

No way! You’re the third person that I’ve heard of.

I find I’m hearing that more often now. My husband and I know two other married couples who met on Christian Café. Online dating is quickly losing its stigma. Many folks are tired of the bar hopping want-to-go-to-my-place scene. They want more than one night; they long for something real, deeper and permanent.

According to 2012 statistics, internet dating is gaining popularity and producing lasting results.

Did you know that:

  • In 2007, 20 million people tried online dating; in 2012 40 million have jumped onboard
  • 10% of 54 million singles use an online dating service
  • Of online daters, 52.4% are male; 47.6% are female
  • 20% of current committed relationships started online
  • The average length of courtship leading to marriage for online daters is 18.5 months
  • 17% of couples who married met on a dating site
  • According to eHarmony, their site is responsible for 5% of all US marriages

Is it the best option?

While opportunities for meeting the person of your dreams through work, school, and social activities may present themselves to the majority of society, many people find the internet dating situation a beneficial one. Learning a little about someone from a profile or being matched to a compatible suitor offers a dating advantage that supersedes a bar scene or the constant conscious effort to pay attention to every potential single who may be in the next aisle at the grocery store.

Yes, liars and potential dangers do exist online.

But I’ve seen or met some fairly sketchy characters on a college campus, in a restaurant and even at church. There are no guarantees that you won’t meet unscrupulous people on an internet dating site—just as you might anywhere. It’s certainly not the only option; it’s only one of many. But I’m awfully glad I tried it.

Do you know someone who has met online? What’s their story?
 
Statistics provided by www.statisticbrain.com and www.eharmony.com

 

Playing With Fire


IMG_4339

My heart held a weakness for being led astray by entertaining suitors who flirted and made me feel desirable.”   from The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater

Can you relate?

When we seek relationships, we want to be careful about motives – other people’s as well as ours.

Whether online or in person, the dating journey reveals the good and messed up places in our hearts and minds. Find out more of the lessons I learned during my journey. You can also read my entire story in my book, The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater.

More Than Words on a Page


I recently marked my third year anniversary of blogging.

Originally I began blogging to build a platform as recommended by agents and publishers in order to help facilitate an audience for the book I had been writing. And yes, I published the book, finished another and have more in progress. But the best part of blogging has been the people I’ve “met.”

Relationships make life worth living.

From the deeply intimate ones I enjoy with Jesus, my husband and children to the casual liked-your-post types, they all add so much to my life. Every week I’m challenged, encouraged, or uplifted by laughter not only because of my dear family and friends, but also through you, my readers and fellow writers.

I thought I’d take a jaunt down my blogging memory lane and provide some of my newer friends with the links of my fondest posts and those readers found helpful.

Mostly, I pray that whatever I write will point people to Jesus.

 Here’s the Top Ten:

 Did You REALLY Meet Online? About Us

A Shout Out

Is Online Dating Gaining Popularity?

The Emptiness of Sexual Encounters

What I’m Learning From My Illness

Miracles Do Happen

What is Intimacy?

Getting Well Series – How Do You Rebuild Your Life?

Online Dating…An Obsession?

IT’S FINALLY HERE!

Hope you enjoy!

Dater Beware


miracle book cover_0001The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater has been so well received. I’m grateful, blessed and a little amazed at all the positive comments. People have said (or written) the following:

“…great read…captivating…page turner…excellent…amazing…inspiring…”

Thanks to everyone who has read or is in the process of reading and has encouraged me with such wonderful praise. I say the glory goes to God.

While I’m basking in your kindness, I’m also sending a caution.

You see, I’ve been doing some research for one of the characters in my next book, A Voice from the Past, and what I’ve discovered is quite alarming. I don’t want to spoil any future readers’ appointment with the book so let’s just say this character, Sam, is an unsavory one. Which leads me to the point of this post.

Beware of unscrupulous online suitors!

My experience with internet dating ended in wedded bliss, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Even though my friend, Carol, and I both met our amazing husbands through that vehicle, we also waded through some cads and even potential dangerous predators. Please be careful when you are pursuing someone online.

And not only online.

Anyone practiced in deception can convince us to fall for their charms. I had a couple of close calls with some I’ve met. It is crucial to get other opinions from family or friends who know you best. (Thank you Carol!) When we are swooped off our feet by someone intending to disarm us and use us, it’s easy to have our thinking a little distorted. For specific tips see my earlier posts: Fantasy vs. Reality, Are You Kidding?, Meeting Face to Face, and Meeting Face to Fact Part 2.

Are You Dating A Crook?

This was the title of a brief insert in the Feb/Mar 2012 issue of AARP Magazine.  It gave the information for MyMatchChecker.com and BeenVerified.com where you can get access to public records like criminal history. Is seems like the $15 -$89 (depending on the level of info you choose) is worth the investment.

Online dating can be a great vehicle for finding the love of your life. But be careful. Be wise. Because you’re worth it.

Have any online dating stories to share? We’d love to hear… 

Can You Hand Me a Fig Leaf, Please?


miracle book cover_0001 The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater  went live on Amazon this afternoon and the reality of what we’ve written (I say we  because Brendan put his story, thoughts and feelings in there too) is hitting us full force.

 Why? You may ask.

Well, we’ve shared our personal testimony. Our thoughts, feelings, struggles, triumphs as well as the fun and the nitty-gritty tragedy in between are all in the open. Suddenly, we feel a bit self-conscious to talk about our failures, losses and newly found love. Love found on the internet, no less. We think of the conflicts we’ve given you a glimpse into and the intimacy of some of our moments together, and quite frankly, we’re blushing.

So, why would we do something like this?

The Bible tells us that we overcome our enemy by Jesus’ blood and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). It’s that simple. And complicated. When any one of us shares our story of the amazing things God has done for us, our faith is strengthened. Our testimony encourages the people who hear it, and fills them with hope that if God could/would do that for someone, then maybe he could work in their situation as well.

Each word of our testimony sends our enemy reeling.

We gain hope, strength, power all because of a confidence in the God who just did miracles for us or other believers. When someone tells me about how they were healed, or given $462 when they needed that exact amount for a doctor bill my faith leaps with excited anticipation of what God will then do for me. I am filled with awe, wonder and praise for his mighty works, and his great love that incites him to do those things for us. Like the woman at the well who ran to tell everyone in town about Jesus being the Messiah because he told her things he couldn’t have known unless he was God, we share the miracles of God and others believe.

God did amazing things for two broken people.

This is our story to encourage, inspire and give thanks to a wonderful, loving Heavenly Father who deserves our gratitude and praise. It might bring laughter or tears, or even ruffle a few feathers, but the focus is on the big picture of what an incredible God can do when we trust him. Ultimately, we hope it will bless everyone who reads it, even if we feel a little naked sharing it.

Now available at:

My CreateSpace Store – purchasing here means the highest author royalties

AND

Amazon – this option may be more convenient and offers a discount and the potential for free shipping!

 What is your testimony?

Miracles Do Happen


When my friend, Carol, and I decided to take a chance with online dating, I don’t think we expected the outcome we ended up with. Oh, we hoped to find Mr. Right, but really, what were the chances we would both find our husbands through that vehicle?

At the same time?

Brian and Carol's rehearsal dinner
Brian and Carol’s rehearsal dinner

The actual odds were pretty slim considering that only 1 in 5 singles form a committed relationship with someone from a dating site (match.com). So for both of us to meet our husbands online at christiancafe.com within a couple of months of each other seemed pretty miraculous.

How many people do you know who have met through an internet dating site and are now happily married? (I’d really love to know in the comments below.)

We are both coming up on our fifth year anniversaries which seems amazing to me. What’s even more amazing is the story of how it all happened. Well, Carol’s story is hers to share, but you can find more of my story from earlier posts in Confessions of an Online Dater.

Or, you can read the book.DSC_0002

It’s in the proofing stage currently and is now set to release on February 7, 2014. It will be available through CreateSpace.com, Amazon.com and other retailers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON IN PRINT AND KINDLE EDITION

 

 

IT’S FINALLY HERE!


Many of you have been waiting…(drum roll)

🙂 I’m thrilled to announce:

The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater is soon to be released!

miracle book cover_0001

This four year writing project has taken many twists and turns along the journey, but at last, the ultimate love story will be released on February 7, 2014 in time for Valentine’s Day.

In case you haven’t been following the Confessions of an Online Dater portion of this blog, here’s the scoop:

They met online.

Laura was a twice divorced mother of four grown children. After two decades of marital devastation, she wasn’t sure if God would give her another chance at love.

Brendan, shocked and devastated after the sudden death of his wife, was left a widowed father with three children. He didn’t see how God could overcome their unexpected tragedy.

But God held all the shattered pieces of both their lives, and He had a good plan. Could He bring together two families 8,000 miles apart? How would they trust Him with the risks required for such a miracle? With each step of faith, God changed their lives and replaced their pasts with a new story. A story of hope, healing and redemption. And it all started on the internet.

The best news is I’m offering a couple of ways to get your FREE autographed copy.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Be one of the first 5 (five) people to submit your comment using the following form.
  2. If you have a blog, be one of the first 5 (five) people to volunteer to read the book and write a blog post with your review. I appreciate your honest evaluation. Use the following form to volunteer.

And that’s not all!

For anyone who pre-orders by January 24 (you have 2 weeks), you can get 20% off the retail price of $14.99. I will personally send you an autographed copy. Use the following form to pre-order, and I will email you secure payment information.

Thank you for your readership and support. Your encouragement means so much!

NOW ON AMAZON IN PRINT OR KINDLE EDITION

What Are You Looking for?


DSC_0033

The other day I decided to hunt around some blogs sharing their internet dating stories. I love to hear stories of people who have met the love of their life online. It confirms the legitimacy of online dating and the validity of it as a viable option for finding one’s soul mate.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find any. What I found were numerous blogs about looking for sex online. And the discouraged seekers wondered why they couldn’t seem to connect with anyone in a real relationship.

It made me sad.

Our society has duped us into believing that sex and love are equivalent entities. But sex does not equal love, and those who believe it does are left in lonely puzzlement.

I read a portion of a blog that related a dating experience in which a conversation regarding the size of breasts was the compelling reason for a date. Another confused soul was thrilled about the sex they were having as a result of online searches, but lamented their inability to find someone interested in a serious relationship. Seriously.

How unfortunate that we’ve bought the lie.

Sex wasn’t intended for entertainment. Beginning with it leaves us with nowhere to go except into more extreme expressions of it or onto the next person. This even starts in junior high! Twelve year olds “go out” with each other because of a physical attraction (that boy/girl is cute). Their relationship consists of hugging and kissing. No real conversations about who they are (or becoming), no real friendship, no hanging out except for the entertainment of making out.

Love making is intended as an act of consummation between two who have already come to know each other intimately through conversation, shared experiences and time spent enjoying each others company. It is a fulfillment physically of an emotional, mental and spiritual bond. No wonder people feel empty and alone. Physically satisfied perhaps, but emotionally left wanting.

Casual sex may seem satisfying if you haven’t experienced actual love making.

The culmination of joining together in every way is a far greater experience than simply hooking up for the physical pleasure. Great sex can be had for a drink, but a great relationship requires an investment of time which can eventually lead to even greater sex. According to an article in the Huffington Post, married folks have better and more frequent sex. No wonder. Sex was intended for married couples. It makes sense that many singles are frustrated with their relationship situation, or lack thereof.

This isn’t about morality.

This is about a great plan gone horribly wrong and leaving in its wake confusion, loneliness and frustration. Both my husband and I can attest to the fact that following the “way of the world” in this area left us feeling lost and lonely in our pasts, but changing our way of thinking and focusing on relationships rather than on physical satisfaction changed the parameters of who we met and spent time with.

Perhaps people would find the availability and quality of relationship more what they long for if they reconsider what they are truly looking for and why. For us, it was well worth the shift in focus, even if it meant sifting through those who hadn’t, and waiting for the right person who wanted more than a sexual experience.

What has your experience been with internet dating? What are you looking for?

The Emptiness of Sexual Encounters


Society glamorizes sex.

Chris and Sabina's Wedding Cake
Polish Apple Cake

Why is this? Because it feels good? Because it’s entertaining? We assume that any remote attraction between a man and woman should result in a sexual encounter. Why is that? What are we really seeking?

Companies spend billions of dollars each year to promote an activity devoid of any value except a pleasurable experience. Some people feel bungee jumping is a titillating affair, but we don’t see ads telling us that if we wear the right clothes or perfume or even deodorant we will attract a bungee jumping adventure!

So why sex?

Recently, I was chatting with someone about dating online. Since she and I both met our guys on the internet, we had that common connection. The topic of older people looking for love online came up. She wanted to know if I had heard of a particular older woman who wanted sex so she used internet dating to find men.  Traveling all over, this woman encountered these online suitors and had a lot of sex. Apparently, she wrote a book about it.

My initial thought when I heard about this was “and then what?”

Was she satisfied? Left wanting more? What was the point? More sex? Don’t think for a moment that I don’t understand the enticement of the physical experience and outcome of the sexual act.  I’m fully aware! But sex without intimacy, love, and the commitment of two souls is like eating a scrumptious dessert; it may taste good at the time, but it will only last the night.

My husband and I have been reading the book Love and War by John and Stasi Eldrege. I’ve mentioned it before and can’t recommend it enough.  The past couple of weeks we’ve been digesting “The Chapter on Sex” (that’s the title).  The following is from p.178:

Marriage is the sanctuary God created for sex, and only there, in the refuge of covenantal love, will you find sex at its best. For a lifetime. The coming together of two bodies in the sensual fireworks of sex is meant to be a consummating act, the climactic event of two hearts and souls that have already been coming together outside the bedroom and can’t wait to complete the intimacy as deeply as they possibly can.

It doesn’t get better than that.

Truly, it doesn’t. Brendan and I experienced our hearts and souls melding together through our long distance relationship long before we met in person. And we’ve found that our choice to wait for our wedding night to complete the intimacy was one of the best we’ve ever made!

Unfortunately, the general public has bought the line (hook and sinker included) that sex is meant for one night stands or a couple of months of physical pleasure, but that type of encounter is a hollow counterfeit. It may feel good, even great in the moment, but believe me when I say that it’s settling for second best.

The Bible puts it like this:

I have seen something horrible: they commit adultery and live a lie.  Jeremiah 23:14

Adultery is simply any sexual encounter outside the “sanctuary of marriage.” Having sex like that, simply for the sake of a good feeling or entertainment, is living an empty lie. God made sex and made it great (read Song of Songs in the Bible for proof), so the “something horrible” isn’t sex. What’s horrible is the way we get ripped off when we settle for something less than the best God has.

Using the internet to find the love of your life—good idea. Using the internet to find sex—a poor second.

Have you ever taken part in anything you thought was great until you experienced the real thing?