Steve Schappell-My Blog

Friday, December 23, 2011

Say Merry Christmas like you mean it.

I don't know exactly when it began....but I remember how it was.

It started the day AFTER Thanksgiving.  The ads in the paper, commercials on TV, and in the store windows, all announcing Christmas was coming.  And they were consistent, as they all said "Merry Christmas."  Christmas decorations on a Christmas tree.  Baking Christmas cookies and singing Christmas carols.   That was how it was when my parents grew up, and when their parents were younger too.

Like I said, I don't remember when it began.  I remember getting a pewter button in college that said "Keep Christ in Christmas."  Now that was back in the mid 80's, but I think it really started in the 90's.  Slowly, "Merry Christmas" was being replaced in some areas with "Seasons Greetings" and Happy Holidays."  In ads, on TV, in the paper, in decorations and cards.  At first, I did not notice it much, but like a groundswell inside, something slowly built up, until about 10 years or more ago, I made a decision, sub-consciously at first, and then directly, to keep Christmas out there.

First it was the Christmas Cards.  I ordered ones celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and had the words Merry Christmas on them, to make my own personal statement.  I looked at decorations for the house, tree and outside that did not mention Seasons Greetings or Happy Holidays.  Then I started looking at businesses that used Merry Christmas in their ads or at the stores, and when I could, began supporting them.

I began to see groups, churches, and organizations that we not ashamed to mention "Merry Christmas," or display a nativity, or talk about why we celebrate Christmas.  Over the years, it is amazing to me how much erosion there is in letting political correctness take over in all aspects of our lives.  Keeping to this arena, look around and ask yourself what do you see, read, or hear more of; Merry Christmas, or everything else.

I understand that a business does not want to offend anyone, so they have a generic Happy Holidays in all their ads.  But ask yourself, did the businesses suffer years ago that mentioned Merry Christmas?  Why change?  Why water down the holiday with generic messages when Merry Christmas did just fine.

Now, I am not attacking businesses, or anyone personally.  God is working in my life and asking me to stand up and share the real reason for Christmas, celebrate the season of Jesus and his birth.  Reflect on why we are here and be thankful because I am truly blessed in my life.  He is helping me in my own way, to spread the word that this is HIS Birthday we are celebrating.  We are HIS creation.  This is HIS world and all that is in it.

I made a decision to keep CHRIST in Christmas and support others that do.  I  encourage others to do the same, or at least think about what it was like, when things were easier and traditions were kept, and everything was less stressful.  A time when we stopped, paused, and heard the sound of a crying baby, lying in a manger, who gave Hope and Peace to a weary world.

May you have a Blessed Merry Christmas and Joyous New Year!

God Bless

~Steve

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Three months later.....


All I can say is WOW.  I have been thinking about writing most every day, and life gets in the way.  I want to blog about my son turning 16 and learning to drive; my transition in my new job and the challenges; and my current relationship, where I can honestly say that I have gone on my last "first" date....

For now, here is a copy of my holiday letter that goes out with my Christmas cards.  I will be writing more soon.....
 
Schappell-holiday letter 2011

“Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”    Luke 2: 10-11

Greetings to you and your family during this Christmas Season….it has been an incredible year in many ways and I wanted to share some of what God has been doing in our lives.

August 20th marked one year in my townhouse, and working on a weekly rotation with my kids.  I am slowly working on improvements, first doing landscaping out front in the spring, and then re-doing my patio over the summer.  I am in the process of finishing the basement for additional space.

Drew and Ariana continue to do well in school and sports activities.  Drew recently turned 16, is in 10th grade, and now has his permit.  We are slowly teaching him how to drive and recording the 50+ hours he needs before a license.  Drew has been playing soccer for over 8 years now and played JV on the HS soccer team and was a varsity “swinger,” attending all the varsity games and getting some playing time.   He continues to play school lacrosse in the spring.  Between videogames and his girlfriend, he worked over the summer and is a regular teenager in all respects.

Ariana is 12 and started middle school this fall.  She received a 4.0 in her first semester and is transitioning well.  She continues to play club soccer almost all year round.  Her team finished first in their league and won their 2 tournaments.  The core of her team has been together 4 years and is exciting to watch.  Her skills as an artist continue to improve and she is a wonderful young lady.

Our vacation was our annual roller coaster trip to Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH.  For 3 years, I have found something that my kids will do together.  This year, we traveled to Kings Island in Cincinnati for the first time; hit the Cincinnati Zoo, back to Kennywood Park in PA and Knoebel’s Grove Amusement Park.  It was whirlwind week.  We had a change to meet old friends and make new ones.

For me, it has been a year of change and growth.  I was in a 5 month relationship (my first since the divorce) that ended in January.  I focused on work and the kids, while enjoying my alone time.  My next change came in August, 2 days before my 2nd anniversary at the Credit Union, I was let go as the Branch Manager due to management changes.  I dug deep, pressed into God, and 6 weeks later found work 2.5 miles from home and working weekdays only.  I was able to pay off my car a year early and adjusting to a new reality of lower salary and building myself back up. 

I am grateful, because God is faithful and has promised to meet our needs and he did.  I was fortunate not to fall behind, and happy to be driving less and spending more time with my kids...being able to attend their games and activities.  I am still the manager for my daughter’s soccer team and in the process of writing my first novel.

The job change also opened up a new door, and that is my current relationship with a wonderful woman.  We met online through a friend (Facebook no less), met in person Labor Day weekend, and have not stopped talking ever since.  She lives across the state in Beaver, PA, so we see each other about 2x a month.  God is working in a big way and I am blessed to have found someone I love very much.

My prayer for you is that you will continue to be blessed during the coming year.  Tell your kids you love them…remember what you have and be thankful…every day is a gift and know that life is meant to be shared.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Steve, Drew and Ariana

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One Month Later....

Hello everyone,

So, where have I been?  That is a good question, as this has been a month of many things, and I will try to bring it all to you here.  This has been a month in the supernatural realm and real world.  I guess this will be a free-form posting, running this way and that.

I am still unemployed, and 6 weeks in, still searching and still hopeful.  Originally accepted for unemployment, my former employer decided to appeal and now I have appealed back and await a hearing.  Fortunately, I have savings in reserve for a few months to pay bills and keep moving forward.   Some days are long at home and frustrating to say the least.  I have been over qualified, a finalist candidate, and had several interviews, but no offers.  The time companies are taking to make decisions boggles me at times, because they are moving slow.  Opportunities I had hoped for have come down to positions where over 1,000 people have applied for spots.  Competition is out there, and I am looking for any positions, FT or PT and may need several to pay bills.

Time at home was not all bad.  In fact, there were several good things.  First, were my kids.  My son Drew stayed with me for 2 weeks, as there was soccer practice 2x a day for High School.   I was able to take him and help out my ex, who would normally have him.  Then, I had my daughter and son for the first week of school, up until Labor Day Weekend.  Spending more time with them was a nice end to the summer.
I was also able to reflect on everything that happened, spend some time alone and work on energizing my relationship with the Lord.  I am also able to get to more of my son's soccer games and my daughter's weekend games also, at least in the short term.

Home projects have been put on hold and I am paying the bills and cutting back.  I had a choice to make, go negative, sleep in and live in fear, or seek God, press into him and work hard in faith and hope.  I believe that God is moving in my life and this is a season of change....change for the better.
  
I have had a relationship with the Lord since I was Slain in the Spirit on April 11th, 1983 at an Assembly of God Church in Hamburg.  This led to my decision to attend a Christian College and begin a path of a personal relationship with Jesus.  Over the years, I have been very close and then fallen away, only to have God be there when I run back to him.

He has given me many friends over the years, including several close ones, and they have helped me in my walk with God.  Admonishing, teaching, encouraging, listening and celebrating, they have been a valuable part of my life. 

Recently, on August 19th, I became friends with someone on Facebook that is having a profound effect on my life.  I responded to a comment she made on one of my close friends' post.  Through that exchange, we became friends online and started talking that weekend.  She has a true heart for the Lord and has been understanding, supportive and encouraging.  She lives across the state and has kids and her own business.  But after talking each day and praying, we wanted to meet to see if how we connected over the phone was the same in person.  I traveled out over the Labor Day weekend and it was a very nice time.  I do not know what the future holds, but we are praying that God leads the way and if it is of God, then whatever happens, we can accept.  We attended her church and God spoke to me in a personal way though the message and prayer afterwards with some of their staff.  I have maintained a peace since that Sunday that I have not had in many years.  I know that everything is going to be OK and God is going to take care of me, just as he has done before.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Friends....

"Friends are friends forever if the Lord's the Lord of  them...and a friend will not say never, for the welcome will not end.  Though it's hard to let you go, in the Father's hands we know, that a lifetime's not to long to live a friends."
-Michael W. Smith

That song by the gifted Christian artist Michael W. Smith talks about friends and moving on.  It also speaks of the power of friendship.  As people come in an out of our lives, what we make of that time matters.

I had a friend tell me to talk to God and hold him to his promises.  Promises like this I received via email today:
“For I have plans for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future…” Jeremiah 29:11

Since this process began over 2 weeks ago, the level of friends, both old and new, coming out in support has been amazing and a blessing to me.  Daily check-in's, FB comments, texts...words of encouragement, and in some cases, job leads. 

One of my friends said yesterday that I am being paid to stay at home and find a job.  And that is what I am doing.  Working at home, sending out resumes, following up on leads, learning about new things online and looking at schools.  Now I see opportunity and a chance to improve my situation for myself and my kids.  To find something with regular hours, or work closer to home.

Just an update, while I take a quick break to write this posting.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The roller coaster ride begins....

It is Friday and Day 5 into my job search.  See I told you that this blog is more than just about relationships...

Now that my parents, kids and ex are aware, I can let everyone know and begin to network.  Using Social Media, LinkedIn, Twitter, emails and contacts, I will get the word out.

Close friends now know and are providing support.  God has been at work this week too, re-connecting me with friends I have not talked to in some time.  I know God has plans for me and I will not lose the faith.  He has given me skills and a mind to do the legwork while I wait on his voice for direction.

The question I keep getting is "What happened?"  This is not the main concern.  What happened is done.  I need to move forward and look with hope at the next opportunity in my life.

As always, there is and upside and downside to everything.  Some of the upside includes:
-Saving Gas by not driving every day
-Seeing my kids more (taking my son to 2-a-day soccer at 7:00 am daily)
-Having some time to really consider going back to school and what I want to do
-More time with God to find out what he was in store

Downsides?
-Loss of income
-Loss of self-image related to where I work and an identity related to that
-Loss of some friends and colleagues I talked with sometimes daily

I am not going to get depressed and curl up.  I am awaiting information on unemployment and if I will receive it or how much, and then how much I can work PT while maintaining benefits.  I will ask God what I am looking for and ask him to deliver on his promises.  If we are faithful and believe, we have promises from God and can ask him to deliver.

This is the start of a new journey and I am excited, but getting prepared for a lot of work ahead.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Seeking employment...

45 Year old man seeks gainful employment to maintain his house, car and kids.  Resume available upon request.  Some of my background includes:

Trade Show/Event Management
Sales Management
Banking/Financial Services

Computer Skills
Trademark and Licensing
Creative Broadcast Skills

If you hear of, or have any leads, it would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Asking for prayers....

Hello everyone,

I am waiting on my current job situation, as this may change soon.  I will keep you posted.

I am asking that God's will be done in the coming days, weeks and months.  I feel really alone right now and any prayers you say will help.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Going the Distance and doing a Hookup

Well, I really thought it might work out.  My first relationship since my divorce lasted 5 months and lived 1.5 hours away.  Ultimately one of the factors that ended it was the distance.  I had a recent dating experience that lasted 4 dates and they live 1.5 hours away.  In that instance, to paraphrase her recent email, Logistically we're doomed.
It looks like I will need to shorten my distance from home next time.
 
In the dates I have had since the divorce, I have had an age swing from 36 to 48, that’s a 12-year difference.  Age is just a number, I understand and it felt great for a then 44-year old to have someone interested in them who were 8 years younger.  Generally speaking, the older they are, the older their kids are and in that maybe more flexibility.
It looks like I may want to tighten up my age range a little bit.

Some of my dates have been almost my height; while with others have been downright short.
It looks like I may want to stay within a certain height range

I could continue, but allow me to break this down further and explain where I am going:

LOCATION/DISTANCE: 50 miles or less, or no more than an hour away
AGE:  Range would be 39-49, based on age of kids and other factors
HEIGHT:  Above 5’-4” preferred
HAIR/EYES:  Does not matter
BODY: prefer thin, athletic or average
ETHNICITY: Caucasian preferred
RELIGION: Christian, not other religion or non-religious
POLITICS: No preference
EDUCATION: Prefer college level or beyond.  Hard to exclude if you did not attend college
INCOME: Tied to Education, but not always
JOB: No preference
SMOKE: Must be a no
HAS KIDS: Not a problem, most people in the above age range do

Now before you think it….The TITLE of this Blog is not about hooking up or going the distance in a physical sense.  Shame on you…..

No, this is a lead in to what I promised I would talk about, the two dating sites I am currently on.  And I am starting with the lesser of the two in terms of size and variety, www.datehookup.com

The above characteristics are part of every profile on this site.  I listed what my preferences are for someone I am looking for.  I have my characteristics listed on my profile page.  (Where I live, height, eye color, body type, etc) 

My next post will introduce you to the world of DateHookup.com and some of the adventures I have had on there….stay tuned.

Lonely Weekend

For starters, this is NOT an “I am so depressed that you should be concerned about me” blog post.  Far from it.  This is a post making an observation about the way I feel sometimes.

It’s a feeling that I know others can relate to because some of you are my readers…

Now, there are a lot of things I enjoy about being a single and a single dad
-A rotating schedule with the kids and the ability to see them often; have time together with just them, and our summer vacations together
-I have my own house
-I have freedom to come and go
-I don’t report to anyone
-I have alone time

Like most things, there’s an upside and a downside.  I’ve mentioned some of the upside.  Now for the downside.  There are times I get lonely.

This weekend is one of those times.  I work on Saturday and Sunday, so I am not alone all the time.  I don’t have my kids this weekend, but have no plans either. 

I belong to some singles groups (DayHikers, Culinary Extroverts, Singles Soiree, Harrisburg Social Club), but there are no events going on tonight or Sunday.  Some friends are on vacation, but those friends are either married or away with their kids.  I am not seeing anyone, so there is no one special in my life right now.

There is a large fireworks display outside of Reading, PA that I was originally looking forward to.  I asked someone to go and they appreciated the offer, but cannot attend.  My kids have plans and just spend 9 days with Dad on vacation.  I don’t want to go myself so….
There is a singles dance tonight, but most attending are older than I am so…

I will probably clean out my car, start some painting at home, ride my bike and everything will be fine.

But I get lonely.  I never walk alone.  God is there to comfort me when feeling this way.  I know I have two great kids, some good friends, a nice place….etc.  But, I still get lonely.  These are the times when I ask myself if there will ever be someone special that I can share my life with again.  And then it passes and I am fine.

Surprisingly, I am human after all (that was a joke) and know that if I am patient, be true to myself, don’t shut out my friends, work hard and keep the faith that one day I won’t feel lonely again.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Intimacy: More than meets the eye

Oops, I borrowed from the "Transformers" in my Title today....Saw the latest movie last week and seemed appropriate for this topic. 

For those of you who know me, I enjoy words, wordplay, definitions and writing.  Funny since I write a Blog.  For this topic, let's start with the dictionary.com definition of intimacy. 

in·ti·ma·cy  (–noun, plural -cies.)

1. the state of being intimate.
2. a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.
3. a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc.: an intimacy with japan.
4. an act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like: to allow the intimacy of using first names.
5. an amorously familiar act; liberty.
6. sexual intercourse.
7. the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar: the intimacy of the room.
8. privacy, especially as suitable to the telling of a secret: in the intimacy of his studio.

There are 8 definitions for one simple word.  One word that when heard usually brings up #6 first in your mind.

A previous post said I started dating.  I'm not...4 great dates and an understanding of the differences between us that developed quickly.  She wished me well in finding "Miss Right."  I said there is no such thing.  No one person can embody everything another person is looking for.  And maybe like you, I am looking for someone who has a some similar qualities, values and things in common as myself, and moreover, I am looking for someone to become intimate with.

Let's get Definition #6 out of the way right off the bat.  Physical intimacy and/or sex is easy.  What I mean is as humans, we are programmed for sex, to procreate and for pleasure.  Unfortunately, in some relationships the physical IS the relationship and all that intimacy is associated with.  There is so much more I believe that it should be.

Again, by disclaimer, since this is my blog, these are my opinions and you may not agree.  I understand and respect that.  I hope to inform, educate, make you laugh, cry occasionally and think.

So onto the rest of the definitions:

#1: The state of being intimate.  To me I see this best in married couples in it for the long haul.  2 people working together to raise a family, or to grow old together.  Someone that finishes the others thoughts.  A symbiotic relationship where each gives and takes and makes the other person stronger.

#2:  Close, familiar and affectionate or loving relationship.  This is what God wants with each of us.  This is what a personal relationship with Jesus is all about.  On a human level, a compelling need by our actions to show another person that we love them, care about them and want to be close to them.  I do believe that love is an action, not a feeling.  (I mean you feel something, yes, but by showing it, living it, you make it real)

#3: A close association or deep understanding... I really want to know someone, their likes and dislikes.  Their family and friends, the things in their life that made them who they are.  Getting to know someone so intimately over time that you almost become one.  

#4: An act or expression serving as a token of familiarity.  To allow the intimacy of first names, etc.  Nicknames, pet names, fall into this category.  A kiss in the morning, opening her door, or a inside joke...Things that two people share together.

#5: An amorously familiar act.  Very similar to #6.  Does not necessarily mean a sexual act. 

#7: The quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar.  Where two people can be comfortable with each other in almost any situation.  Being familiar with each others strengths, loving them at 6 am with no makeup, relaxed and making it look easy.

#8: Privacy.  Some things are meant to be shared only between two people.  I want that privacy where I can tell my best friend anything and know it will not go anywhere.

Put together in a combination over time, true intimacy forms strong bonds.  When a relationship is built on a good foundation, friendship can develop where intimacy can flourish and grow on many levels.  That's something I am looking for as I continue to move forward.
   

The swimming pool....

Wow, apparently my Holiday blog post hit a nerve.  I received emails, FB postings, and messages.  Thank you for the response....

Funny how God uses things like an afternoon at the pool for some perspective.  I took my daughter and a friend she had overnight to the local pool for an afternoon.  I wanted to get some sun and tan.  (Got some sun alright...medic) and to relax and read.  We got there at 1....I read at 5 and left at 6.

While there, and in not a depressed, but quiet state, I ran into friends from the soccer club, a former neighbor from my last residence, someone I had not seen in over a year came over to talk and it made for a nice afternoon of conversation and catching up.

I also now have some calls to return to 2 dear friends of mine who were checking in on me.  Trust me, I am OK, but glad to know that you care.  Now if one of you were only not so darn far away....

Holidays....blech

With the exception of Christmas (birth of Jesus and well Christmas) and Easter (celebrate resurrection of Jesus), most holidays for me are not always happy circumstances.

If you believe the ads, TV, and radio, holidays are family time get togethers, picnics and parties with friends.  Everyone has a place to go and is always happy.  What about the families who are divorced?  Single people with not many friends, etc.  For home people, the holidays can be depressing.  Now, I am not depressed, but wanted to elaborate more.

I have a small family, 2 parents, myself and 2 kids.  I have no brothers and sisters.  My cousins are across the state or in other states.  There are no reunions or get togethers during the year.  In fact, when I see them it is either for a wedding for a funeral.  Now it was different growing up, there were parties my parents attended and there were friends my age.

When I was married, holidays were fun.  We would host a party or be invited to one and the kids always had friends around.

Fast forward to today.  Being a single father, with sharing of my kids, no girlfriend, or close friends that live near to me, keeps options limited.  My parents live in a 50+ development of new homes and celebrate the 4th of July, for example, with a picnic at their "clubhouse" with other residents.  I could attend, but there would be no one of my age to be with. 

The next part is not meant as a pity party.  I am the only one to blame for this and would really like suggestions on how to correct it....  I do not get invited to many parties.  In part, because I have isolated myself in some areas after the divorce and understand that most parties or events are usually couples, or families with kids, not a single person attending to mooch some food and drink.  Do you have any suggestions on how I can be more approachable or someone who could at least be asked more?

Now in context for this weekend, I have my kids and was invited to "June Birthday's Celebration" tonight.  My kids were not interested since they would not know any one there and at their ages, 11 and 15, would rather invite someone along, but I don't always want to impose on the host of the event.  We will look for fireworks to attend on Sat and Sun night and be at the house on Monday..

Maybe things will change again one day, but for now I wanted you to know that now everyone is always excited about the next holiday that comes along.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Back on track....

It has been several weeks since a blog posting and I aim to get back on track again....

June is a busy month early, with the end of school exams, the last few soccer games and practices, and a busy work schedule.  Then to quote Alice Cooper "School's out for summer..."  and just like that my situation changes.

During the school year, I have my kids every other week, on a Friday night to the following Friday morning.  In the summer, that changes to every other weekend and 2 weeks in the summer.  A staycation, and a Vacation.

I just came back a few days ago from my annual Vacation with the kids.  Where did we go?....relaxing beach retreat (not even close)....mountain camping (no way).....sightseeing and educational? (sort of)

Nope, our kind of vacation involves Roller Coasters and Amusement parks....lots of them.  We made our way this year back to Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH for what is becoming our annual summer rite of passage.  3 years in a row and running....

New this year was King's Island outside Cincinnati for 2 days and then a day at the Cincinnati Zoo.  (hence the educational part)...drive across Ohio and then spent a day at Kennywood Park outside Pittsburgh.  Finally back home one week later...and right into my company picnic at Knoebel's Grove in Elysburg, PA.

Lots of driving,  long days at the parks, interesting hotel stops and of course, food, food, food.  We found some new favorites like Steak and Shake (build one here please!!!!), Waffle House and Graeter's Ice Cream.

It was great to get away, bond with the kids, and forget about life for a while.  Trust me, the kids keep up with me when I am in my amusement park zone...

Which brings me to this point....my favorite part of this blog post.  Sunday afternoon when I dropped off the kids at their mom's after our Knoebel's visit, I got a long hug from my soon to be 16-year old son...thanking me for vacation and letting me know it was appreciated.  That my friends, is ALL I needed to make my vacation complete.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It has been a while....

Since I was last one here....wow.  I intended to set up a post a week ago Monday, but life has had other plans.  My last blog was called "Didn't see what one coming," and it was about a Member asking me out on a date.  We did, but the end result was not as anticipated.

At that point, I decided to walk away from this whole dating thing and re-evaluate where I was at.  And God in his wisdom closed all the doors, but one...

Now, leading up to Memorial Day weekend, I worked for 13 days and had one off.  Here's how I went in to the holiday weekend.  Friday night, I worked to close and then was invited out to a nearby restaurant where friends were already there for happy hour.  I was able to get a quick meal and we watched a thunderstorm pass by.  I was home by 9:30 that night.

The next day, I worked and then went home to start on my patio project.  Got myself dinner and relaxed later.  Ditto for Sunday...exact same thing.

On Monday, I slept in, worked more on the patio, stayed in for the afternoon and then went out in the evening.

Now for me, this was unusual.  A weekend with no kids and staying in....It felt great doing that and I am enjoying more time to myself and keeping busy on house projects.


So, I have not been on here due to the end of the school year and the kids schedules, working at home and enjoying some alone time.

I'm happy to see where life takes me next.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Didn't see that one coming...

I got asked out at work today....

No, not anyone I work with either, but a Member....and in a round about way.

Someone I have been working with emailed me her cell phone #  (She had my business card)

I emailed back and gave her mine.  She texted and then stopped by at work  Later she texted and asked if I was seeing anyone and if I wanted to get together.  I asked if she wanted to go out sometime and she said yes.

Was not expecting that.  It was interesting and made the day go faster.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Unatanium 2

Occasionally I get a glimpse of the qualities I am looking for in a woman.  I understand that there is no perfect person, relationship or that I will find someone with all the qualities and things I am looking for (remember THE LIST anyone?)

But, whether God allows me to, or by happenstance, there are times I run onto someone that would be worth waiting for.  And maybe not that person, but someone like her, if that makes any sense.  Let me give you some examples and see if that helps.

-The woman who works at the Consignment Shop who I briefly dated (but our timing was off) and who has been dating someone ironically named Steve for some time now.  (Steve's rule the world...you just have not realized it yet)

-The woman I started dating last fall and over the holidays (see earlier posts)

-The woman at Giant where I work who manages the front line and now recently engaged

-The woman I met online, had one date with and remain occasional friends via Facebook

-The woman playing bass during one of the sessions at the Blues Jam I attended tonight


-The woman I went out on one date with recently and hope to see again, maybe next weekend or on the holiday

I am not a vain person (I certainly hope not) and recently hitting 45 makes one evaluate themselves.  Sure, age is just a number and I certainly do not act my age, but you see it helps one's ego to know that there are woman that do not mind spending time with me.

Everyone has qualities they are looking for in someone else, and these vary from person to person.  So if I meet someone who has some of the qualities I am looking for and we make a connection or friendship, or they do out on a date, well then wow...I am doing alright.

In the words of "Ralph Mouth" from the TV show Happy Days "I still got it."

If I am to believe the direction that God is moving me and from all the recent evidence I have seen in my life then somewhere out there is someone that will surpass all my expectations and "knock my socks off."

I am feeling better about waiting.  Thanks for waiting along with me......

Back from the "dead"


What a difference 10 days makes.  It has been at least that many days since my last update.  God is good and has closed some doors in my life.  He is working to re-focus my attention and I am listening to his direction.
After my last relationship ended there was mourning period, followed by jumping back into the dating scene courtesy of two online websites.  At the time, my main goal seemed to be to find someone and fast.  My best friend called me on that and it was my first awakening.  She told me that, while not an obsession, it seemed to be what I was living for.  And of course sometimes, the more you try, the less successful it is.

As you have read, I had some dates and I have made some new friends.  In some ways, I was comparing them to my previous relationship and that was not good.  In other cases, the other person did not feel a connection and moved on.

God then filled up my time in other areas.  April and May are busy months for school: lacrosse and soccer games for the kids, back to school meetings for the fall, soccer tryouts, summer trip planning and working with my kids on projects and other stuff.  At work, two of my staff has moved on.  One left for another job outside the company and the other, a lateral move to another branch.  Being down on manager means more time for me at the branch, along with my assistant manager until others are hired and start.  Then, I had my annual spring allergies, cough, runny nose cold mess—a few days feeling like death warmed over.  I added my landscaping, worked on the basement, turned 45 and did a lot of thinking.

That’s a lot going on and it’s also called life.  I just came off a weekend where I did have my kids and didn’t have to work.  I was originally to be on a getaway weekend in Baltimore, something planned months ago when dating that never materialized.  That, along with everything else had me pray harder and have more conversations with God, which is what he wants.

Sometimes be brings us to the point where we admit that we need him and we give it over to him.  We need him every day and he has been telling me I am not ready yet.  When I stand back, I can see circumstances around me changing.  For example, online dating activity has ceased.  There is no one emailing me, adding me as a favorite or wanting to meet me.  It just stopped.  Friends are asking me out to events, dinners and concerts...filling up my open time that I might otherwise sit at home and be lonely about.  Work has been productive, yet busy.  I am learning to stretch myself as a manager and leader.

My bottom line is this.  I need to wait for that person God has for me in his time, not mine.  I cannot pursue it like I did before.  I need to stay focused on where God has me, my kids, friends, work.  It will happen in time.  He is teaching me patience and I am not good with that when it comes to being along and not dating.
 
But don’t worry, I still have much to blog about, starting with the 2 dating sites I was on and more about online dating.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It starts with a Profile....

Online dating sites....fun, fun, fun.  My next several posts will explore the world of online dating.  I have many stories to tell and some observations from both sides (Some women have told me their side of this too).

How to start?  Well, it all starts with profile and I wanted to include mine.  I wrote it myself and to date have not read another guys profile.  I am currently on two sites and have the same profile for both and same photos too.  On both sites, you have an alias, a headline and other information (age, height, etc) and will talk about that later.

I've been told by some that my profile is really good.  Others say it's too wordy.  At the very least, I wanted it to stand out and make and impression.  What do you think?  I am interested in your thoughts.




About Me:
I am a hard working and dedicated person who likes to sample what life has to offer. I am a single dad with two children ages 15 and 11, who will always be forefront in my life. With a son in high school and a daughter soon to start middle school, I understand why my parents felt the way they did when I was a teenager—nervous, but proud.
I have an amicable relationship with their mom and have been divorced for 2 years. We share custody 50/50 and I have my kids every other week during the school year and longer weekends in the summer. They both play soccer and my son plays lacrosse as well. I am the manager for my daughter's soccer team, keeping me busy in the spring and fall.

My faith guides and defines me. I may be one of the last “nice guys” left and it’s both a blessing and a curse. I would describe myself at stable in my career and goal oriented. (I am a Branch Manager for a local Credit Union) I enjoy making people laugh…am intelligent and carry on meaningful conversations. I believe that my blue eyes will eventually find a way into your heart. I can be an intense person (in a good way) but also relaxed.

I care about other people’s feelings and enjoy time with my friends. They help keep me in check and are there for me. When I’m with someone special, I like being spontaneous, adventurous, romantic, sensual and playful. I am looking for someone who has similar qualities and desires someone who they can connect with. I feel there has to be a mutual physical attraction for there to be good chemistry between two people. I have a lot to give for the right person. I believe in standing up for what I believe and not being walked on. I don’t run from adversity, but let it help shape me. I am honest and trustworthy and would expect my match to have the same qualities. That is very important to me.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my kids, bike riding, hiking, hanging out with friends, listening to local bands and live music, working on projects around the house, amusement parks, painting (the interior kind, not art work), reading a good book or watching a good movie. Oh and dancing. I love to dance the night away.

If you want to know more, send me a message. I enjoy messaging for a little while, but if I’m interested, would like to talk on the phone and see if there is an agreement to meet.

What I am looking for:
I want to meet someone who shares the same values I have in faith, family and friendship. Someone who will introduce me to new things, adore (or put up with) my wacky moods and keep me in line. I am looking for a woman who is confident, intelligent, funny, beautiful, patient, responsible and loyal--someone who will support me, yet still tell me if I am wrong, and will want me to do the same for her.
A woman whom I can get lost in conversation with, but just as easily share one of those moments of comfortable silence in each others arms. I prefer someone who is thin, athletic or average and who makes an impression on me.

       First Date
Ideal first date:
Doesn’t exist….it’s the Unicorn. Surprise me. Make it a collaborative effort. Skydiving anyone? Seriously, I can plan the night out or let you take control. If there is a connection, the day (or night) will take care of itself. I am open to most anything from traditional dinner and a movie, to hiking followed by a hockey game. If it ends with not wanting to say goodbye, that’s a good thing.
 

Life...and a different Mother's Day

That's what the first part of this blog is called, Life.  Let's talk about that for a moment.

On Friday night, I attended a viewing for a former boss of mine at my current job.  Her 29 year old son was killed in a car accident earlier in the week.  I drove down after work with flowers and cards from my staff and expected a somber mood.

When it was my turn, I told her how sorry I was for her loss and remembered the conversations we had about raising her kids alone after her divorce and about how I was doing with mine.  She told me that time we talked in my office and now again as I stood before her how important it is to remember the time we have with our children.

In a way the viewing was a celebration, with contemporary music playing and photos everywhere of her son growing up, in school and college.  Video was playing of the photos set to music.  You got to see a life that was well lived and someone who was well liked and touched the lives of many, and even mine that night...even though I never met him when he was alive.

As I drove home I thought about my friend, the mom who has lost a son and what it will mean on this Mother's Day.  I take comfort in the fact that he was loved by a mom and dad who were there for him and you can see that she raised a great son.   I went home and told my kids that I love them.  Hugged them.

We hear the cliche "Live live to the fullest," or "Live like you were dying," and it is so true.  Our time on this earth is but a mere speck, dust in the wind.  Life given by God to love and serve him and help others while here.  Time and life are fleeting and it takes situations like this to make one appreciate life. 

So if you have a mom who is still here among us, let her know how much you love her tomorrow and every day.  If she is not here among us, may her memories bring your comfort and peace for she helped to raise you with everything she had.

Happy Mother's Day everyone.  Stay safe and enjoy each day, each moment like it may never come again.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Facebook thoughts.....

So it hit me last night as I was thinking about some of my friends on Facebook as to the number of women that I am friends with that I have also either dated, had a fling, or a relationship with. 

My context is that I have remained friends with these women over the years in person, or have re-connected with them through the magic of Facebook.  That made me feel good.

Personally, I do not like to burn bridges.  If possible, I try to remain friends.  It doesn't always work out and sometimes you lose touch with some of them.  My recent foray into dating has been teaching and confirming lessons about being myself, staying the nice guy, and your friends will grow.

Now back to my thoughts....Some of my female friends include:

-A childhood girlfriend
-Someone who helped me "understand" the female anatomy
-Jr High Prom Date
-Sr. High Prom Date
-Freshman year college girlfriend
-Sophmore year college girlfriend
-College Christmas date-Jr year
-Senior year college girlfriend
-First post divorce fling
-Post divorce few dates (1 person)
-First post divorce relationship
-Recent date turned friend

Now the fun is to figure out who is who.  :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

THE LIST…

This was something that my friend Trisha and I have talked about doing for some time now.  I was going to post on Facebook via the message option and then along came this blog.

We talked about listing what we are looking for in a person, put in list form and map it out.

These are in no particular order and are attributes and or items, if possessed, would be a deal breaker.  I realize that no one will have all of the following, but it may give you some insight into my inner workings.  I am leaving out items like an age range, height, and weight.  You’ll understand when you read it.

So without further Adieu, I present to you THE LIST….

-A Christian.  One who believes in the Lord and Christ regardless of what religion they are
-Have good morals and values at their core
-Loves kids
-Respects others
-Is compassionate and sincere
-Can be flirty and sexy
-Loves to laugh, in public or alone
-Confidence….(a really big thing for me)
-Comfortable for who they are in any situation
-Not jealous or possessive
-Accepting of others and their flaws
-Non smoker (major deal breaker if you do…will go no further)
-Likes to kiss, hold hands, and make out
-A friend first, then a lover, partner and best friend
-Enjoys long walks, the outdoors, hiking, the beach, or mountains
-Likes to try new things, not easily bored
-Not manipulative
-Comfortable in sweats and a T as they are dressed to the 9’s
-Knows their priorities in life and what they want
-Is romantic and will let the man take the lead…occasionally
-Enjoys movies
-Is honest and genuine, no pretense
-Likes to snuggle….enjoys hugs
-Can be intense about the right things
-Enjoys the small things in life and is optimistic
-Stays active and takes care of themselves
-Smiles
-Can get lost in my eyes and potentially see forever
-Enjoys sports
-Has a little bit of geek inside
-Accepts me for who I am
-Wants to be with a genuinely nice guy

Oh, I am sure there are more and maybe I will add to it.  But for now, this is THE LIST.  Any questions? 

Reflection....

I'll bring my geek out a little here...

Early on in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, there is a scene with Admiral Kirk and Dr. McCoy in San Francisco.  It's the Admiral's upcoming birthday and he is given a pair of reading glasses as a present.  When asked by the Dr. how he feels, Kirk responds that he feels old....worn out.

Later near the end of the movie after the villain is dispatched, and the loss of Spock, his best friend....he watches the creation of the "Genesis" planet form.  (You have to see the movie to understand)
When asked by the Dr. how he feels, he responds this way  "Young.  I feel young...as when the world was new."

In  my last post, I had an interesting start to my week and had to change perspective.

Age is just a number.  We have all heard that.  I truly believe that I do not look nor act my age, and that can be a good thing.  As I get older and approach my birthday, I go through a short time when I feel old, slightly worn out.  The occasional daily pressures of work and home, obligations, fixing up the house, relatives, dating (or attempting to), can add up.

Inevitably  as we get older, our morality occasionally comes up.  Now personally  I believe I am still young and not yet at the halfway point in my life.  I intend to live past 100 or be swept up when Christ returns.  I'll take either option.  And knowing where I will go when I die makes death lose it's sting.  "O grave where is thy victory, O death where is thy sting."

God puts people in our life at just the right time when we need it, to remind us of what we have, to correct us, and to be there for us.
"Cause our hearts in big and small ways, will keep the love that keeps us strong.  And Friends are Friends forever cause the Lord's the Lord of them, and a friend will not say never, cause the welcome will not end.  Though it's hard to let you go, in the Father's hand we know that a lifetime's not to long to live as Friends."   Michael W Smith, Friends

Thank you friends for the cake today at work before my birthday and the card.  And thanks to my friends for a birthday dinner on Sunday coming up.  God continues to show me the life I lead is a good one, anchored with friends close and far away.  I truly and blessed.  And it does not hurt to be flirted with by women in their 30's, letting me know that there still is hope for me when God let's me know I am ready.

So how do I feel as I approach 45 on Monday?

Young.  I feel young...as when the world was new.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Perspective

Do you ever have one of those days?


First off, it's a Monday.   Strike 1

I'm feeling a little punchy, off-kilter.  There is a lot on my mind.  Work is busy right out of the gate, some Member issues, loans to prepare, weekend follow up.   Strike 2

Soccer game to reschedule.  Kids off school.  My son has a Lacrosse Game.  My daughter has soccer tryouts.   Strike 3

You get the picture.....

I have unfinished projects, like my basement.  My dad offers some suggestions on improvements, like changing my door to swing out, not inside.  I want to work on my front yard, but it seems to rain every time I have a chance, which is not too much lately.  I have plans for landscaping.


I feel like my house is falling apart while my ex-wife is pouring money into hers...new appliances, counter top, hardwood flooring all downstairs....while I have a broken spindle on my stairs, press and peel flooring that needs replacing and a basement to finish.

I may have staff changes at work and that may mean down some staff in May.  That means more hours for me, the Manager, to be there and see things through.

Nothing new on the dating front.  I am trying to plan a getaway, I mean really away across the country and cannot commit to the time because if possible staff changes at work.

I'm exhausted, tired and frustrated...and I have a birthday next week and feel older, not young like I normally feel.

PERSPECTIVE.....It's all in how you look at it.

I had no plans to write this, and then I was in the basement and it hit me.....God spoke to me in his own way and said "It's all in your perspective...look at it again." 

So I did.

First off, it's a Monday.  You got all your issues solved before 11 am.  And you opened 3 accounts today.  They were from your friend that you went on 2 dates with and kept in touch because you are a nice guy and it paid off.  Strike 1 and Strike 2 down for the count...

One soccer game solved and one two finish Tuesday.  My parents came to help out.  They got my son to the bus for the game and my daughter to soccer tryouts.  I was around after work to pick them up.  They were fed and were fine.  Strike 3 thrown out...

My dad is good with projects and wants to help.  He complimented me on my handiwork and will replace the door for me and secure my window downstairs.  He is retired and likes the work.  It keeps him busy.  He is also replacing the spindle for me.  Heck, I need to repaint them anyway, so I can go with a new color. 

Tonight, I got the kids, made dinner, worked some outside and started clearing the mulch and plants out front.  Did 2 loads of laundry.  Got their soccer and lacrosse bags ready, worked on Ariana's science project with her and wrote a blog.  Not to shabby for a few hours....

My house is not falling apart and I am choosing to spend my money on a vacation for my kids in June, home improvements and have money for friends, dates, etc.  My bills are paid on time and I have breathing room.  You cannot worry about what someone else is doing, I tell myself.

Changes at work may not be a bad thing.  We can bring someone in eager to work and grow my branch.  It can mean a new beginning and looks good for me if I keep a level head and work through it.

I have friends to hang out with.  I can re-work plans to take a vacation for myself and the dates will come.  Just take it easy, be confident, and they will come to you...

Finally, I am as old as I feel.  I have been invited to dinner Sunday for my birthday and am off Monday on my birthday to do...whatever.

Perspective...funny how looking at things another way make all the difference. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

More "Nice Guy" follow up...


Normally, this blog is my writing and observations.  When I was doing some research for my post, I came across this from e-how.com and forgot to include it.  Here it is, along with some of my comments in italicized highlights....As always, I welcome your comments.  This first part comes from women.
Women need to find the difference between a nice guy and a guy with nice guy syndrome.
--The only thing worse than a bad boy is a guy who says he's nice but is just some wimp or a whiner willing to buy you dinner and tell you how much women hate him. I have spent many a date apologizing for women.  (Personally, I do not whine about my ex or other women.  I get asked questions about the relationship with my ex since it is out there on my profile and I have learned that my situation is very tolerable compared to most that have no assistance from their ex, or that he is a jerk...or other words I cannot print here.)
Those "nice guys" ended up being worse than bad boys. What's the point of that?  A wimp is not a nice guy. He is a wimp. Same with the whiners.  (I agree here.  You need to be confident in who you are and be confident when out.  People see that and are drawn to it.  No woman is going to like someone who whines all time either.  We have enough drama in our personal lives to throw more on someone else.)
Nice guy = a man who is smart, considerate, generous, charming, has a solid group of friends, knows what he's willing to do and communicates what he's not willing to do, can keep a job, is not going through self-created drama (terminal unemployment, heavy drinking, begging for forgiveness).  (AMEN.  Could have not have said it better.  And personally, that is who I am...)
A nice guy may have been dumped for bad boys in the past, but he doesn't spend the first date telling you about it. He spends the first date listening to you and sharing positive thoughts and experiences with you.  (Right again.  This IS paramount.  A man listens more when he talks less.  On my recent date I posted about, she did most of the talking and I listened.  And considering I talk a lot...well that's saying something!)

Continuing on from a woman's perspective the article mentions more after the first date and implores that if there is any kind of connection to explore it further.
Go on a second date. And a third. And a fourth.
Lust is easy to find. A good conversation and being treated well is harder to find. But how many of us have told a girlfriend after a date "He was great, we talked forever, but I just wasn't feeling it." So we didn't bother with the second date.
Women are ADD daters. If we don't get the addictive feeling, we get distracted.  But lust can build.  Many women meet men they want to marry but don't want to date. Read that twice. Does that really make sense?  (WOW.  This is how I feel... and I am a guy)
Lust builds.  A good night of conversation can lead to steamy post-date action.  Just not on the first date.
Go on a few more dates. See what happens. The worst case scenario is that you have a great time with a great man. And you can use that experience for when you find the nice guy who IS right for you.

Enjoy it.
Go through as many nice guys as it takes to meet YOUR nice guy. Those nice guys are going through the same thing. They want their Miss Right, too. And they likely have the same horror stories you do. And they are just as happy to wait for their soul mate. (Women aren't the only ones who have to kiss a few frogs to find love.)  (WOO HOO...Preach it sister!)
So be honest.  Meet good people.  Be good people.  And stay optimistic.  Everyone deserves a good person to be by their side for the rest of their life.
You deserve him. Have fun finding him. And have fun keeping him!


Now, here is more from a Man's perspective.....

            Be yourself.  If you like who you are, stay that way.  Don't change for other people. The girl who is really worth your while will love you for who you are and nothing else.  (A simple truth that I am finally starting to live and not compromise on)
Start off slow. Talk to her about simple things. Some examples can be what music she likes, what she likes to do with her time, what she does over the summer.  Don't ask these one after another, spend time on each topic, maintaining an interest in what she is saying. Remember, this is a lengthy process, so don't screw it up early by wanting to rush. Once you've kept up with this for a while, you can start getting a little more personal about the things you speak about.  (For me, I sometimes cover this in emails and texts before we meet.  I like that you keep some of the mystery in and can talk more on a date to expand the topics...)
If she wants to talk for hours, tell your friends you're busy tonight.  Making yourself available to talk is a great way to show her you're there for her.  Although you're not dating, she'll be comforted knowing she has a person she can talk to.  Obviously, it will take some time before she confides completely in you.  Girls are naturally skeptical about trusting guys with the truth about themselves at first.  (And some guys are the same.  I tend to be "heart on my sleeve" guy and some of that has to change.  Too much too fast is a killer.)
Take the first step. If you are comfortable with the girl, and you feel that you can trust her, help her to be able to trust you.  Before you do this next step, make sure that she has confided in you a few things about herself.  Once this is done, set a date.  Don't be too forward. If she has done what was previously been stated, you will not be rejected.  (I need to try this and see what happens...)
Don't be the bad guy. Girls, as much as you don't believe it, like the guy who listens to them more than the tough guy. Yes, they want to feel protected physically, but nothing beats being emotionally protected. This is very important.  (Ladies, do you agree?)
She was willing to go out with you, so don't be nervous. You're in a good spot.  Remember though, the first date does not mean you're committed to each other only.  If you play everything right, when you say goodnight, you make the determination of the kiss goodnight.  (Hmmm, wise advice from someone who needs to keep it more casual)

Ok.  Time to move on and prepare for my next postings, as I begin to talk about the world of online dating....this will be good.

Happy Easter Everyone!!  Christ the Lord is risen today!  Hallelujah!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

You’re a nice guy, but…..

I’ve wanted to talk about this for a while.  Let’s get this rolling with a definition of sorts…

Nice guy: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nice guy is a term in the general public discourse and in popular culture describing an adult male with friendly yet unassertive personality traits in the context of a relationship with a woman.  A typical "nice guy" is perceived to put the needs of others before his own, avoids confrontations, does favors, gives emotional support, and generally acts nicely towards women.  There is an active debate about whether the nice-guy personality profile may actually make a man less desirable to women romantically and/or sexually. Part of this debate includes speculation about possible hypocrisy among women in the dating world: that women may say they want a nice guy but won't date him or have sex with him, and rather subconsciously prefer men who are more confident and assertive but less considerate.
A common aphorism is that "nice guys finish last." The phrase is attributed to baseball manager Leo Durocher in 1939, though Durocher was originally referring to the opposing team rather than to male/female relationship dynamics. The full quote is, "Take a look at them. They're all nice guys, but they'll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last."

Now, let’s keep this rolling with some actual quotes I have received via text from some recent dates.  Apparently, texting is the new way to say no.  I used to be you met the person face to face, or called over the phone.  Now, we can text.  It’s new and improved and so impersonal…

“Honestly, I feel like I’m not ready to be in a relationship.  You are a very nice guy!  There’s no such thing as “too nice” so don’t ever let anybody tell you there is.  I enjoyed meeting you, but you’re not what I’m looking for…I have a strong personality and I need someone equally strong personality wise so that we offset each other…I’m sorry.  I hope you find the one you’re looking for.  Don’t sell yourself short and don’t take too much blame for past relationships!”

“Thanks.  I don’t think there is a curse involved.  I will tell you this…what I’m looking for in a guy is intelligence, sense of humor, ability to put me at ease and confidence.  If I don’t laugh during the first meeting, I don’t go on a second date.  You are obviously intelligent and have reason to be confident and are a nice guy.”

“You are a nice guy, but I didn’t feel an attraction.  Sorry.  You seem to have a lot to offer, but I’m not it.”

“I had a nice time and you are a nice guy, but I’m looking for someone different.  It was hard for me to tell you this.  We won’t be going out again.”



Ok. I get it and now so do you.  I keep hearing the same things in slightly different ways.  The broken record comes into play here.  I wanted to refer back to the definition and the words I underlined, then add my qualities to each of them.

A typical "nice guy" is:

Perceived to put the needs of others before his own
In my life, my kids come first.  I made that decision long before I divorced.  It became more evident when I realized that my “family” were the three of us.  I enjoy helping others and sometimes do that at the expense of my own time.  I am learning a balance between taking care of myself physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally with the needs of others.  I do like to make other people happy.  In a relationship, I work hard to put her first when we are together and try to see that their needs are met.

Avoids confrontations
I generally do this now in all aspects of my life.  Sometimes confrontations are unavoidable.  At my job, I sometimes deal with unhappy Members and may have confrontations with staff.  I have it with my ex wife at times and occasionally with my kids.  In a relationship, I try and do the same thing.  Sometimes, the results are not good, meaning I should have had a discussion and not avoidance.  However when something ends like a relationship or a few dates, I walk away and do not burn bridges or bug the other person.

Does favors
I enjoy doing favors for others.  I like helping people out.  Whether bagging groceries for customers at Giant while working at Members 1st, helping neighbors or friends out with projects, or their needs.  In a relationship, I will do favors for them and work together for our mutual interests and likes.

Gives emotional support
I have compassion and listen to others.  In college, I thought should be a counselor because of the number of friends that confided in me and knew it would not go any farther.  I support my kids with my love and support, and believe I do that with my friends.  Yes, in a relationship, I provide emotional support through my words and actions.  I genuinely care about them and their kids (if they have them).

Generally acts nicely towards women
How can you NOT do this if you are a guy?  You need to treat women with respect and courtesy.  I understand that a lot of women are independent, intelligent and do alright on their own.  Still that’s not a reason to no open their doors, hold their hand and be a gentleman. 

So yes, I am a nice guy.  I always have been.  My parents and grandmother did their best to raise me that way, to instill values in me that I still hold on to.  I don’t make excuses for it, but I wrestle with it also.

Being a nice guy is part of who I am at my core and I am learning that I cannot change it for anyone.  I have tried before to please others and it only makes me worse.  Unfortunately, being a nice guy in my world means wearing my emotions on the outside at times, opening myself up to be taken advantage of, used and then thrown aside.  I have learned to “toughen” up over the years and have gotten better.  Except lately, I have opened myself up to more hurt because I am actively seeking a relationship, instead of focusing on myself and the kids and letting them find me.

I am also learning that when I am told I am a nice guy and it’s not working out, I tend to blame myself and learning that it may not be me that has a problem.  I often don’t look at their perspective.  What are they looking for?  Maybe I am not that and like an interview, I am one of many candidates.  Not a bad thing….and good to find it out sooner than later. 

My friends have been helping me to understand this and I am thankful for those who give me affirmation and support, like these examples:

“One piece of advice.... Don't try to change for anyone. Some lucky woman out there will fall in love with you for the way you are! You did NOT do anything wrong. You just picked the wrong partners thus far.”

“Sorry to hear of your breakup but nice blog...romance is so difficult for so many of us and I'm sure you're comforting and connecting with people through your posts. It’s easy for me to say now that there is light at the end of the tunnel since I have been fortunate to find my match this year...but it took me eight long years of dating after divorce and a whole lot of frogs to find my prince. Hang in there....it will happen for you. Don't know you well but from meeting you and reading your blog, I'm confident you are a wonderful person. Things will work out I'm sure of it.”

“Steve, it was indeed nice to see you. Thank you for still considering me someone you trust to share what is going on in your life. Yes, I have grown, but so have you! It is wonderful to see us learning through the relationships God has given us. Even if for a season, they heal and give us hope.”

I’ve made the decision to continue to be a nice guy and be myself.  It’s all I can be.  And I won’t change for anyone else.  I may bend a little, but not break.  And I have to understand that if someone else cannot accept me for who I am and does not want to take the time to find out, then they are not for me.  The more confident I become in myself and my abilities, the less I will feel like I need someone else.  But when that someone else comes along, they will compliment me and I them.  That friendship will grow and maybe turn into a partnership along the way.

As for me, this is one nice guy that will NOT finish last!