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Kaitlin

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The Day I Stopped Hating My Job

I cried and cried and cried about my job for what seems like months.

I Facebook chatted with my friend who had just started her entry level job and hated hers too.

Are all 20-somethings straight out of college this unhappy? I asked myself that question every day.

I desperately searched for purpose. I felt useless, like I was just taking up space on the planet and not making one ounce of a difference.

I had gone from excelling in high school then in college to being at the bottom of the bottom of the bottom.

I’ve never not had to work for things – I worked my tail off in high school and in college to succeed. The difference? In high school and college, when I worked for something, it generally paid off and I was rewarded with a status or reward or grade or just a “well done, you’re awesome.” It was rare to bust my tail and not get something quickly in return.

Starting that first job out of college, you can expect to work and work and work and a there might not be a soul who notices.

Chances are, you’ll feel like you might stay at the bottom forever and life will never pick up – I promise that’s not true.

You may not even be doing anything close to what you went to school for or what you thought you’d be doing. Most people right out of college don’t hop right into their dream job.

I lived at home to save money and was commuting an hour both ways every morning at 4 a.m. I was waking up at 3 a.m. I mostly slept and tried to see friends and hang out with my parents when I wasn’t exhausted.

I can’t express how unhappy I was. I was desperately searching for a new job.

I cried out to God over and over and was so confused as to why He kept me there and let me be miserable.

I was so focused on my unhappiness that I lost my focus on His joy.

Doesn’t that happen a lot though? We start dwelling on something we are unhappy with instead of looking around and taking a big wiff of all 200 roses around us.

(Source: Unsplash/Oscar Keys)

(Source: Unsplash/Oscar Keys)

Why do we have so many blessings but choose to look at the one thing we see as a negative?

I remember trying so hard to find meaning and purpose and I tried to do a good job at work so that maybe I would love it more.

I’m not sure what day it happened or what happened in me, but my attitude and my heart began to change.

We are called to work, no matter what that work is, as if we are working for God, not man. We can’t work to find pleasure and joy that only God can give us because we will never succeed.

When I started seeing each day at work as a gift instead of a burden, things started changing. I started viewing every little conversation differently. I was there for a reason, and sometimes that reason was just to put a smile on someone’s face.

I was the low man on the totem pole, but that humbled me so much. I was working hard every day, but that didn’t mean I was climbing. The working world is not a world of instant gratification, and in a world where Instagram reigns, that’s hard for us to get used to.

I talk to people every single day who are struggling at their first job or even their second job out of college. Going from a life where every day feels like a party to a life where the party has to stop to get work done is such a rude awakening, and I know how rude it is.

There are people who have been working for 30 years who still may not be exactly where they want to be or where they thought they would be, but working is not what this life is about.

I started focusing on my life outside of work – my friends and family, people in general, my community, the city I was placed in, and more importantly my relationship with God. I got plugged in at church and in the community and met people I’ll never live without.

And that’s when I started loving my job and it felt like my job loved me back. 

Life is about loving God and loving people. THAT’S IT. If we can take that and apply it at the place we have been called to work and serve, everything will fall into place so beautifully.

I didn’t move up right away at work. I kept doing my best at my low, entry level job and just started finding the beauty in it. I got better at it and prayed for God to open doors.

Boy did He open some doors.

I was given opportunities that only He could have orchestrated. There is no way I could have done it and no reason anyone should have let me do it. He was guiding me through doors and then knocking down more.

I hit my knees and cry out in thankfulness so often for what He has done for me, not just professionally, but in my life in general.

My job isn’t perfect and it has its ups and downs. I have really bad days and really good days. There are days I want to quit and days I can’t wait to be back.

I used to be envious of so many girls my age with other jobs. I just knew they were making so much more money and living fabulous, happy, cool, awesome lives. And then I would talk to them and find out how much they were struggling too.

The grass is never greener guys. We HAVE to water our own yard and plant our own seeds because God gave us the grass right in front of us, not the lot across the street. And that was for a very large purpose.

You matter. Your job matters. Your life matters.

What you’re doing is making a difference in some way, whether you think so or not.

And the good news: You will always be where you are supposed to be.

If you are listening to God and heeding to His will, He is leading you right along, I promise. He promises (which counts way more than my promise).

Chances are, you won’t be at your first job forever. But if you are, then you will have so much joy in being there forever!

Even better news: This world is not our home. Our real job here is to love and show people Jesus. That’s all.

Use where you are to be a light and be a vessel. If you want to be somewhere else and truly believe you should be, just pray. All you have to do is ask, and in His time,  you’ll find a door swinging wide open.

Don’t be discouraged and don’t feel worthless. You’re not the only one going through this. Life knocks you down as soon as you step into the real world, but you just have to get up and get back to it.

Meet people. Love people. Love life. And just love Jesus. He will see to it that all the rest comes together for your good.

Press on. You’re doing great.

 

To The Girl Who’s Tired Of Waiting

Do you ever just look at someone, watch them while they’re doing such a simple task and just smile. They have no idea anyone is looking at them and that’s what makes them all the more lovable because they’re totally unaware of your fascination – they’re just really being themselves?

I find myself doing that all the time. I’ll just watch my boyfriend taking notes in church or folding his laundry or just watching a movie – he never has any idea I’m stealing a glimpse and it makes him even more adorable. My heart flutters every single time I catch him being so him.

I never imagined myself saying that about anyone. I had hoped I would. I wanted to be in love, but I really didn’t think there was any way I’d be so in love with someone who reciprocated all the same feelings.

I feel like I spent years just longing for someone to love me. It brought me to tears so often. I told God I was being patient and waiting on the right guy, but I wasn’t being patient or waiting at all.

I was complaining when I didn’t have someone, and when I did, it wasn’t healthy or the right timing or the right person – it never felt like love.

Being a teenager, being a 20-something, being 30 (the list goes on) and trying to find our “soulmate” is the object of the game, huh? It’s what we really long for at the end of every day. Someone to cuddle with, someone to eat takeout with, and someone to just be with.

We get to a point where we will take what we can get.

I’m here to tell you to keep waiting. When you think you can’t, just wait one more day. And then the next. And the next. Something great will happen. You’ll stop waiting and you’ll just start being.

And when you can finally just be, he will come.

He won’t be what or who you expect and he won’t come when you expect him to. I know you’ve heard that a million times, but I pinky promise it’s true.

I wish I would have taken this advice. I really wish I would have.

It finally hit me that I desperately NEEDED to be alone to learn how to deal with myself before anyone else in the world would ever want to deal with me.

That doesn’t mean it’s ever easy to deal with me, and for a long time I thought that made me unlovable. I felt so hard to love.

And then someone fell in love with me when I wasn’t even looking. I was just being me. He was stealing glimpses while I was effortlessly being myself. I didn’t have to try. I was no longer hard to love at all.

I am certainly hard for him to deal with, but I know without a shadow of a doubt, loving me is his favorite thing to do and the easiest part of his day.

He came out of nowhere and I wasn’t looking for him at all. I had been single for almost two years and was so happy being alone. But God knew my heart was getting a little restless and was ready for someone to finally love me the way He intended everyone to be loved.

And when a man finally pursued me with the right intentions, things fell together.

At first, I absolutely did not want a boyfriend and thought he was very nice but wanted no part of being in a romantic relationship with him.

I thought he was fun and we’d go on a few dates and that would be it.

That wasn’t it at all. And God was laughing hysterically at my thought process.

He wasn’t who I thought I had been looking for. So I prayed for some guidance and basically was like, “Hey God if you want me to date this boy, you better show me why because I really thought I was supposed to be alone for a few more minutes or years.”

And God said, “You got it.”

I started falling more in love with Jesus while I was falling in love with him at the same time, and that’s how I knew.

I didn’t care what we had in common as long as we were both in it to further God’s kingdom together. And with every cute date and kind gesture, I saw more and more of his desire to live out God’s plan for his life. And boy was that attractive.

I have always been pretty open to the world about my love life. I’ve written about it, I’ve talked about it, and I’ve joked about it for years. My dating life has really reflected a romantic comedy (an emphasis on the comedy part) and I think the universe was silently cheering for me to finally catch a good one.

I have had so many girls genuinely tell me how happy they are for me and tell me how much they wanted what I have with my boyfriend. Every time I talk about him or tell the story of how we met, girls are brought to tears.

That’s when I want to grab them and say, “Wait.”

A good man, the right man, is more than worth the wait. Girls, LISTEN – PLEASE do not settle for someone just because you are bored or lonely. That guy can’t ever make you the happiest you were made to be, and you can’t love him the right way either. If you don’t wait for the person God made for you, you’ll end up with SOMEONE ELSE’S PERSON. That is no fun.

When you’re with YOUR person, you know he’s your person. You can see it in his eyes and feel it in every single embrace. It’s a beautiful, moving, soul-shaking feeling. It’s what we dream about starting at age 5, ladies. Do you want to settle for the so-so feeling or wait it out and get the butterflies, the really big butterflies, every single day?

I get them every day. And it’s because I FINALLY waited. I stopped searching and I let the magic happen. God saw my authentic patience finally coming through and that’s when he winked, nodded, and sent a real life prince charming my way with no strings attached.

Real love isn’t fancy dates and expensive gifts – it’s a feeling you’ll never be able to explain to a single person. And you’ll know when it’s real. It is the greatest feeling in the entire world because it comes straight from the God who is love. It’s his number one greatest gift to us.

Gosh, I love love. And I love seeing people in love. I want everyone to get to be in love with someone! I really do.

So I am begging and pleading and crying out for you to wait patiently and then just hide and watch what happens. It might not happen next week or even next year, but it will most certainly happen at the perfect time.

Before you know it, when you are content, some guy you never would’ve expected to love or to love you will finally get the courage, after months of being nervous, to ask you to go fishing. And then, well… here we are.

Check out my new blog with more stuff just like this! kaitlinbrookechappell.wordpress.com

How I Want To Die

Two years ago, one of my best friends on the planet went to be with Jesus.

I was devastated. He taught me, he loved me, he helped me grow, and he did it all with the love of Jesus.

Everyone who knew him loved him, but more importantly, they loved Jesus a little more because of him.

I think he was the first person I ever met who really had the secret to life, and it was just simply Jesus.

He loved like Jesus, he talked like Jesus, he laughed with the joy of Jesus – he lived like Jesus.

Was he perfect? No. But that’s why he was the first to say, “Less Larry, More Jesus.” He desperately wanted the glory to point to God in every single moment. There was no selfish ambition laced in any of his words or actions.

He saw the best in everyone. He really did. He saw the best in me even when I felt worthless. And in those moments when I felt so unworthy, I remembered how he thought of me and that led me to remember how my God, my Father, thinks of me.

He loved to teach, he loved to fellowship, he loved to open his home to students and friends, and man did he love his wife.

I’m lucky to have parents who have set an example of a godly, loving marriage, but it was moving to grow to watch and love another couple who showed me how love should look.

I said to myself so often, “I want a man who looks at me the way Larry looks at Verlie.” I was brought to tears on so many different occasions just watching them be. He thought she was the best, most beautiful person on the planet, and he wanted everyone to know that. He treated her like the queen she was. I knew I’d never settle for less than the Nelsons’ love.

Again though, he used the love of Jesus in that marriage, not his own human power. He fell in love with Jesus then fell in love with Verlie, and she did the same.

Dr. Larry Nelson and Miss Verlie Nelson

And he loved his children the same way. The love of Jesus just spewed out from him and splashed all over everyone he touched. It was amazing to watch really.

I’ve never seen someone so respected and loved who took none of the credit and inadvertently sent that respect and love on to the highest power.

He brought people together who otherwise would have never met or been friends. I wanted everyone I knew to meet him and experience the same joy I had when I was with him.

That’s how our relationship with Jesus should be. We should want everyone we know to meet Him so they can feel the joy we have from the freedom he gave us. We can’t keep him to ourselves, we have to share him.

And I couldn’t keep Larry to myself. He was too great for me to be selfish with. I wanted to share my time with him with anyone and everyone.

He saw something in me I had never seen in myself and he made me believe in myself again. He helped me out of a valley and did it with Jesus.

He never shoved Jesus down anyone’s throat, but he sure made everyone want to know what was so special and so magical about him. And that’s when he let them know all about the love and grace he had received that was available for absolutely everyone.

When he got sick, there was a movement of Christ around The University of North Alabama and Florence. And I knew that whenever he went to be with Jesus, he would hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.” And that brought me so much joy, and encouraged me to live the same.

And when he died, I cried, but I wasn’t sad. I had a peace I had never experienced during a time of death. His funeral was so happy. I laughed and smiled and remembered the most fond memories. You could feel the peace in everyone there.

And in that moment, I knew that’s how I wanted to die. I want to die a death that gives the people I leave behind peace that I am with my Creator. I want everyone who knows me to remember me for my love and my life as a servant of Christ. I want to leave the world just a little bit brighter than it was when I got here. I want my life and death to lead, encourage, and guide other people to the loving God I belong to.

Larry taught me a lot of things I carry with me, but out of all the lessons I learned, two stand out.

Dr. Larry Nelson taught me how to live and he taught me how to die.

And I hope I do both halfway as lovely as he did.

To The Little Brother I Barely Know

I held you a million times when you were a baby. Probably more than anyone else. Maybe even more than our parents.

You were my everything. You were my best friend, my living baby doll, my favorite hobby, and my sweet little brother.

I would come straight home from school every single day and run straight to mom so I could get you from her. While you were little, I would just hold you or rock you.

When you get bigger, I would read to you or play games in the floor with you.

When you learned to walk, I would hold your hand for as long as you wanted me to.

I don’t remember when you stopped wanting me to. I just can’t seem to put a finger on the day you didn’t really need your “sissy” anymore.

I felt like your mom. I even used to get asked if I was your mom once we were both older since we look so much alike.

I guess once I was about 15 and you were 5, you just started getting on my nerves. I am forever sorry for not letting you play with me and my friends or me and our brother. I would give anything to see you toddle down the hallway and run into my room just to play.

You just started growing up. And I was growing up too. You became that annoying little brother and I was your mean teenage sister.

I went from your favorite person in the world to probably your least favorite some days. And that breaks my heart.

I’m sorry for calling you weird and making fun of you and trying to tell you what to do. I just wanted you to be “cool” at school so you wouldn’t get made fun of. I didn’t realize you were growing into a young man who had his own quirks and thoughts and friends and life.

I read your journal one day, the one we have alike, and it made me smile and laugh and cry. It made me so proud to be your sister.

But then I realized I didn’t know you at all anymore. When I was 18, you were 8, and I was in college. And by the time I graduated, you were 11 and I had missed out on a chunk of your childhood.

I wasn’t there for any more days of school or dances or games or sleepovers. I only got to make a guest appearance in your life every once in a while.

You didn’t need me every day. You didn’t miss me anymore. You didn’t call me just to talk. You grew up without me and forgot about me. And that’s ok.

I’m so happy you are growing up into a handsome, very smart young man. I watch you from a distance now. We will never live together again and before we know it, we will both be all grown up.

I forget how old you are and try to take you to the movies or watch something silly or play a game we used to play. But you aren’t a little kid anymore. You’re a teenager and I have no idea when that happened.

I want to get to know you all over again. I want to listen more and give you just a little more attention. You have a lot of life left to live and so many places to go. You have barely gotten started and I’m glad I got to be a small part in the beginning of a beautiful life.

But I hope you do remember all those days we played and laughed so hard. And all the books we read and movies we watched and even the silly fights we had. I hope you remember how much I loved you and love you and how much of my heart belongs to you.

Because of our age difference, you are like my son in some ways. But most importantly, you are forever my baby brother. I’ll always take your side and always cheer you on. I’m your biggest fan.

The one thing that comforts me when I feel so distant from my best friend is that we really are just alike. I’ve never known another person on the planet who shares so many of my interests and quirks and thoughts and dreams.

Maybe some day soon we can sit in the floor in Books-A-Million like we love to do and you can tell me all about yourself.

I barely know you anymore, but I love you more than I ever have. Thank you for giving me someone to watch and admire. Thanks for growing up into someone I’m proud to share my heart with.

To me, you’ll always be five years old running down the hallway to my room, and I hope I’ll always be the big sister that let you come play.

I Don’t Want To Be Me

I sit sometimes and think, “Why do I have to be me?”

I mean that is a true, exact thought that crosses my mind. It sounds so silly when I say it out loud, but it fits right at home in the insecure chaos of the mind.

If you’re being honest, I’m sure you’ve thought the same thing or something similar, too.

We scroll through social media and say, “Why can’t I be as pretty as her?” “Why don’t I have a job like hers?” “Why isn’t my hair like that?”

We compare and contrast and wish we weren’t who we are, where we are, what we are.

Sometimes I just don’t want to be me. I want to be anyone but me. I just get so tired of being me and think about what it would be like to be someone, anyone but me.

But then I think of all the things this “me” has. The people I have only because I am me. The places I go and the silly, fun things I get to do. I would have none of that if I wasn’t me.

God made each of us with certain, intricate details that make up exactly who we are that no one else can ever be. That is really so cool. Things that make us laugh, things that make us cry, foods we crave, songs we sing, moments we soak in, memories we have, the way we sleep, our favorite movies… Every person is a person. And that is so, so special.

There is one me with one soul and one earthly body. There is absolutely nothing like me on this entire planet.

There will always be days I don’t like the way I look or maybe my job or my clothes, but oh the days I appreciate all the little things about me, those are the best days.

On the days I don’t love me, I feel like no one else does either. But when I love being exactly who I am, I know there’s no way everyone else can’t help but love me. If they see me they way I really am, I know even the worst parts can be lovable.

That’s all everyone wants, is love, so that’s all we really have to give – to ourselves and every other person we are able to give it to.

And if you think that girl you follow on Instagram has woken up and not wanted to be herself before, you’re wrong. You aren’t the only one who doesn’t always want to be you.

But that’s why we can’t ever stop pursuing ourselves. We can’t stop pursuing love for ourselves, our dreams, our flaws, our victories, and failures. Because once we can celebrate ourselves, we can celebrate each other.

So I decided I really do want to be me. It’s so much fun and no one else can ever do a better job of it. And I really want you to be you. You’re the best at it!

If I’m me and you’re you, then there’s really no better way the world can exist. Because that’s exactly how it’s supposed to exist.

So let’s wake up, look in the mirror, look at our own Instagram, and like what we see because it’s what we will always see. And when we finally decide to wholeheartedly love and adore what we see, we will love and adore everything else around us.

Beauty is contagious. Carry your own, give it away, and catch a little from everything and everyone else.

From the pit to the peak

It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. That’s what they always say anyway.. whoever “they” are.

I’m a couple weeks in to my 23rd year of life, and I have been reflecting on this whole life thing more and more every day.

As I rounded the corner to end another year of life and start a new, fresh one, just a couple weeks ago, my roommate asked, “What was your pit and peak of this year?”

If you’ve never heard of it, pit and peak is just the high and low. I try to find the pit and peak of each day. The pits humble you and the peaks remind you there is good in every single day we breathe.

I had to think pretty hard about this one though. This wasn’t just one day’s high and low, it was the high and low of 365 days.

I thought back to the beginning of year 22 for me. It honestly wasn’t that great. I wasn’t happy, not really, truly happy anyway. I had some beautifully happy moments, but my overall state of mind wasn’t of joy.

I was worried a lot, stressed a lot, and I was missing something. I had no clue what it was, but there was definitely a big, gaping whole that I had no idea how to fill.

For a while, I figured if I could just fall in love and find that person, my person, my gaping whole would close and I would live happily ever after. HA. What a whopping misconception.

We do that though. We search and search and try to find what’s missing. That’s what life is for so many people… just a waiting and searching game. We aim for the wrong things to fill holes that can’t be filled by anything on this earth.

I tried to fill the hole with my job, with having fun, with food, with shopping… with any kind of worldly possession or activity you can think of to make sure I stayed afloat and stayed “happy.” Even if I wasn’t happy, I sure had to seem like it to everyone around me and to every one of my social media followers because what a shame it would be for anyone to know we are real and have real struggles and real highs and real lows.

I stayed in that pit for much of year 22. I would climb up to the peak and feel the sun on my face and then fall right back down into the dark valley. The peaks made the pits even worse. When I was low, I would crave the highs I had and the happy moments that seemed to go away in a blink.

My peaks weren’t permanent. They were the result of instant gratification.

I’m not saying I didn’t have good days. I had plenty. But there was no consistency about my life or relationships. I was a roller coaster, and you had to buckle up if you wanted to ride along.

I don’t remember when it happened, but I finally stopped climbing alone. I stopped trying to make my job make me happy when it never will because it’s not my identity. I stopped trying to compete with every other person around me. I stopped searching for someone to fill the emptiness I felt.

I started just being.

And I found people to be around who helped me climb. Because you cannot climb alone and expect to stay on the peak and not fall back down. We are too weak as individuals. We were wired to be in relationships with the people around us.

Most importantly, I found my way back to the relationship that mattered more than any of the highs and lows ever will. My Jesus. My God. My friend. My Savior.

He never moved. He was right where I left Him. And man, I found Him again, oh did I find Him.

He started pulling me up that mountain while I was kicking and screaming and pulling myself down.

He gave me people. He gave me joy in the very smallest things. He opened the eyes of my soul and let me see the entire world around me like I had never seen it before. He changed me over and over again. He gave me grace and whispered the truth about me to me.

He told me who I really was and that I really didn’t have to try so hard anymore. That I didn’t even have to climb because He would just carry me.

And carry me He did. To the top of the peak, and He let me rest the whole way up. Then, He just said, “Enjoy.”

He let me enjoy life. Even when it isn’t sunny skies, He showed me how to find the light.

And when He knew I was finally at peace with myself, He gave me someone to really climb with.

He picked someone out who I may have never picked out for myself.

He gave me someone who would make me feel as beautiful as He created me to feel and who would give me the grace and patience I was designed to receive.

He let me learn to love without fear because love and fear don’t go hand in hand.

Most importantly, He allowed me to find out for myself how to be content without being complacent. He helped me start to figure out who I am without forcing me into anything. He just really let me live.

All along, I thought I had to do all these things and have all these things to really live, but it turns out I just had to let go of everything and let Him take me to the peak.

He showed me that I already had so much of what I had been desperately looking for.

The last day of my 22nd year of life started out as a pit. I was tense, stressed, trying to make sure everything was perfect, worried about the rain ruining my day, thinking too much. But it slowly and surely turned into a peak. There was laughter, adventure, friends, love, no worries, and beauty.

As I let go that day and rode home from a day trip with amazing friends, we saw a rainbow. And it was a perfect reminder that God is always bringing us out of the valley and up to the top of the mountain to see the view. He does that every day for us, sometimes with just a little wink. He is always showing His affection for us; we just have to open our eyes, look up, and let ourselves see it.

That day, I had to embrace the rain, and when I stopped worrying and just looked up, I got the reward of a rainbow. As cliche as it is, the rain that I was so worried about turned into something so beautiful that reminded me to just let go and breathe. Everything always will be ok.

Every day is not going to be great, but there is always going to be something great about every day. And as we look back on days, months, years, decades, they aren’t all spectacular, but wow, we can certainly look back in awe as we rattle off all the many peaks that outweigh the pits.

Why you shouldn’t casually date

I am sure I will get totally bashed for this post, and that is fine.

I have to start by saying, up until recently, I was a firm believer that everyone should date whoever they want whenever they want and as many people as they want. I decided that unless you were in a committed, Facebook official, labeled relationship, you could do whatever you wanted without the other person having the right to get upset about it.

Granted, I haven’t been asked on too many dates in my day, but I just knew that when I finally did get asked, the ball would start rolling and if two guys asked me out in one week, I’d go with both guys on different nights and not think twice. Because that’s the no-feelings, heart-of-stone attitude all us independent women are supposed to have these days, right ladies?

Wrong.

Since when did tossing other people’s feelings aside become the “independent” thing to do?

Those people asking you on dates, yeah they are people with feelings, too. If they took the time and courage to ask you on a real date, not “hey let’s like hang out and watch a movie at my place or something,” but a real spend-time-together, get-to-know-each-other, plan-an-actual-date kind of date, then they probably already have some feelings invested.

Going on a date with a guy or girl doesn’t seal the deal and mean forever, and you never have to go out with them again if you don’t want to. But if you do, then you’re saying to them that you are maybe interested in furthering the relationship into something more.

So, if you go do the same thing with three or four other people, are you saying you are interested in a serious relationship with all of them?

This isn’t The Bachelor. We don’t get to have dates lined up exiting a limo to win our hearts. We don’t get to toy with all their emotions and then finally pick a winner. (Yeah I love the show, but it is in no way realistic or healthy).

Hanging out with people is fun. Getting to know people is fun. And there’s nothing wrong with being “interested” in more than one person. But pursuing more than one person – that is making a conscious decision to begin a relationship that has the possibility of becoming serious and eventually leading to marriage. That should not be taken lightly.

This goes for girls and guys. Guys are not the only ones pursuing. Ladies, once a guy does pursue you, it is your choice to let him or to stop him before hearts get broken. A relationship always, always goes two ways. If it doesn’t, it’s not a relationship.

So, if you’re being pursued by one guy on Monday and another guy on Tuesday, you’re confusing three people – both guys and yourself.

Guys, if you’re pursuing two or three girls, then you aren’t pursuing anyone. You may think you are being a gentleman and trying to date the right way, but the only right way is to focus on one person.

“Casual dating” is such a thing in our society today. Going for dinner or drinks or coffee or whatever is labeled “harmless”  – that way, it isn’t really serious dating so we don’t feel obligated to be committed.

If you aren’t ready for some type of commitment, then stop letting him pursue you after date four or five. Because if there’s a fifth one, chances are he wants there to be a sixth or seventh one.

If you aren’t ready for a commitment, just stay single until you are. IT’S OK TO BE ALONE I PROMISE.

Hang out in groups and get to know multiple people, sure. Go eat lunch with your guy or girl friends. Go grab coffee. Hey, get crazy and watch a movie. But when you know there are real feelings involved and there is potential for something serious, don’t play the field because you will end up losing.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too, and you can’t have a relationship with all the people you’re “dating” and be at peace about it too.

Life is full of decisions, and dating really is an important one. Every date is a potential mate – corny, but absolutely true.

So, don’t treat the person who could be your husband or wife like just some article of clothing you’re trying on.

If you decide to buy that really great sweater, it’s usually because you really like it and it feels right. You aren’t going to go out the next day and then the day after to buy a different sweater that just feels alright for the time being.

Treat the person you are pursuing or you are being pursued by exactly how you want your children to be treated when they start dating. Treat them as a human being with tons of emotions if nothing else.

Refraining from “casual dating” and “playing the field” really teaches you a lot about yourself and about each person who comes into your life.

You don’t have to stay with the person you’re dating forever. You have the right to decide when something or someone isn’t making you happy.

But if you never give them your undivided time and attention because your mind is foggy with feelings for four people, you might never know if they are the one who fits so perfectly.

What I Learned From a 65-year-old Man Who Asked Me Out

I’ve been single for quite a while, and I have really learned to love it. I am 110% happy being alone, but lately, I decided to start actually praying really for just a date.

I’m not looking to get married any time soon or anything, it would just be nice to go on a fun date with a good guy. I’m not desperate by any means, I think I’m just ready for a little change to my norm to get me out of my comfort zone a bit.

So, I asked the big man upstairs to hook me up.

Now when I pray, all I really ask is that the man will be a real man and ask me in person, or at least during a phone call, not a text message. I am over text messaging or messaging over social media about important things. I’d hate to tell my kids their dad asked me out in 140 characters or less.

God does certainly have a sense of humor, and I just know He gets a total kick out of my life, which is fine. I am always okay with the hilarious every day events that happen to me if I can share them with someone and make them laugh, even if that someone is God.

I was shopping with my mom today, per usual, when we separated so she could shop for my brother. As I was headed to the jewelry, an older man approached me. I will talk to literally anyone, so I smiled and responded.

He asked if I was local and said he hadn’t seen me around before. I explained I was, but that I didn’t live in town anymore.

Instead of trusting my instincts and listening to the little voice telling me to walk away, I felt bad, so I kept smiling and talking while he told me about his daughters.

I proceeded to answer his questions and told him where I worked and my parents names. Don’t ask me why. I have no clue how to lie on the spot. I’m surprised I didn’t give him my social security number.

He then said, “I’m not trying to hit on you.. I’m just trying to take someone to dinner.”

I laughed. When I get nervous, I laugh and just talk more. I said, “Oh that’s so nice, but I actually live in Huntsville.”

“That’s fine, I can come to Huntsville if you want me to,” he quickly replied.

Oh sir, I do not want you to. That’s what I wanted to say to him, but I just laughed again.

He said, “I lost my wife 7 years ago and I’m just trying to take someone to dinner. I tried Facebook and I’ve gotta get off all that crap.”

Well great, now I feel bad because his wife died.

Then I realized, Kaitlin you can lie to this man for the sake of your own well-being. And you don’t have to continue this conversation. Run.

So I said, “Haha…well I actually have a boyfriend.”

Lie. Such a big, huge lie. I almost burst out laughing at the lie.

“Well I figured you did the way you look,” he said.

Well that really was very nice of him to say.

Joke was on him for sure.

“Haha have a nice day,” I said as I swiftly went to hide in the purses and call my mother.

While I was highly disturbed that a creepy man the age of my grandfather asked me out, he really taught me a lot. And he’ll never even know, for which I’m thankful because that means I won’t have to have another terribly awkward conversation with him.

1. I need to be more specific with my prayers.

All joking aside, God is my friend. He doesn’t want me to just scratch the surface when I talk to him. He knows my heart, but He wants me to tell Him all about it. He wants to know what I want and what I’m struggling with and all my hopes and dreams and fears. He’s the only One who can ultimately make a difference in any and all areas of my life, so why hold back when I’m talking to Him?

2. I can’t be afraid to go after what I want.

The thing about that old man is that he was not afraid to go for what he wanted. He wanted a dinner date, so he was determined to find one. He didn’t think about how silly he would look or what might happen if he got turned down, he just did it. I want to be more like that. I want to be comfortable with who I am and go for what I want even if it means I might fall flat on my face. The worst anyone can say is “no,” and we can’t be afraid to hear “no” because it’s inevitable in life.

3. I don’t have to stay somewhere just to make someone else happy.

There comes a point when we have to take the wheel of our own lives. There’s no fun in being the passenger in your own life. God put you in the driver seat of one life and one life only. He gives you the directions, but you have to drive. It’s kind of like a Driver’s Ed car, God is always in the car with you and He can hit the breaks at any time, but He wants you to drive and make the mistakes and wrong turns so you can learn how to go the way He’s pointing  you. If we are always waiting for someone else to say “go” or until someone else is happy, we won’t ever be in charge of our own happiness. I am such a people pleaser, and I used to think that meant I was nice. Being a doormat is not nice. I’ve got to learn to walk away from a situation when it isn’t adding anything to my life or anyone else’s. That doesn’t mean I have to be rude, it just means I shouldn’t feel obligated to always entertain everyone else when I don’t feel ok with it. I gave up a lot of information to the man that I really shouldn’t have. It taught me to stop giving a piece of my heart to everyone I encounter. Not everyone is meant to have a piece of it.

While my encounter with the man three times my age was nothing less than awkward and made me sweat and run away and nervous-laugh more than usual, I learned something, and that’s what matters.

I think we learn something from every single person we meet and every single thing that happens. If we pay close attention to every day we are given, we can learn a little more about ourselves and the world around us. Even when we get thrown into incredibly awkward, uncomfortable situations, we can make the best of them and use what we learned to propel ourselves forward in some way, in some area of life.

And as for the man in Belk, I really do hope he finds a dinner date that’s a little closer to his age.

The Confederate Flag Controversy: The Opinion of a White Southern Girl

I don’t care if it stays up or comes down or gets ripped to shreds or gets flown around Disney  World. It’s a flag.

I know the Confederate flag is more than just fabric and it represents so many different things to so many different people. To tell you the truth, I’ve never thought much about the Confederate flag. I obviously know what it means, according to me any way, and why we have it, but I’ve probably never had a conversation about it.

Now, it’s all I see online, on television, all over social media. It’s all we’ve talked about for days. And I get the debate. I understand why people want it down. I understand why people want it up.

I heard a man say the Confederate flag represents racism to him. That makes me want to take it down forever. But, another man said it’s special to him because the people who fought to have it up, race aside.

Again, I am not taking aside. I’m here to take a totally different side of doing away with the entire argument.

As many have pointed out, this has been a discussion/argument for years now, but no one has ever done anything about it.

Now that nine innocent people have been killed, we see the opportunity to act. While tragedy usually does provoke movement, and it’s great that so many people want something good to come out of something so horrendous, I think we’ve got it all wrong.

The person who killed nine innocent people said he wanted to start another Civil War, and by the entire country arguing over a flag, he is getting exactly what he wanted. He is hearing and seeing all this knowing his plan has come to fruition.

We have been divided yet again. People are saying racism is still an issue, and unfortunately that is probably true. But it’s not just about skin color. There are so many prejudices people face every single day. We have GOT TO STOP bashing each other and showing hatred for people who are different from us and feel a certain way.

I have friends who are different colors, different religions, come from different backgrounds, different incomes, different educations, and different beliefs. We are friends because we always love each other even when we disagree. We just love.

I’m a white, southern girl born and raised in Alabama. But I know there are people who think differently than me and speak differently than me and that makes them intriguing and beautiful to me. I hate for anyone to feel discriminated against because of a flag. I also know some people will say it doesn’t represent anything negative. I am taking a stand to not take a stand in the fight.

I am discriminated against far too often for being a woman, being white, being from Alabama, being blonde… etc. There will always be something you are judged for, and that’s just life. You can’t please everyone and everyone won’t always love you, but you have to love them anyway.

Instead of giving a murderer what he wants and going to war over a fight that could just be a discussion, let’s show him that Americans come together in a time of tragedy.

The issue can be addressed, and all opinions can be presented, argued, discussed, etc. without being harsh. Instead, it is bringing out the worst in people.

Lives were taken in a place those people felt safe. Their families will never see them again and they are gone forever. But their legacies do live, and while I did not know them at all, I can almost bet they would hate to know people were being so cruel to one another.

If you want the flag down, you have the right to say it. If you want it up, you have the right to say that, too. Feel free to speak your mind and discuss the issue, but please don’t feel free to be close-minded and hateful toward anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

Instead of arguing over the symbol, we need to prove we are not a racist country. We need to prove we are the melting pot of love we started as.

The bottom line is, if the Confederate flag comes down, or if the Confederate flag stays up, we have an American flag that represents the freedom, love, and determination of our country, and I think we can all agree – that flag ain’t comin’ down.