Joan Reynolds

Real Faith, Real Life & Real Joy
Browsing Adult Dating

An Update On That Dating Thing!


Just wanted to bring this blog and anyone who follows it up to date on the outcome of my excursion into the Christian dating scene. The past few months have been really exciting, but more because of the way God has brought me closer to Himself than for anyone I met while making myself approachable online.

What happened was that several men I met, spoke with or corresponded with all asked me the same question: You have an amazing testimony. What are you doing with it?

Hmmmm. That was a tough one, but it had an easy answer. Nothing.

I had stopped blogging, I was not volunteering in any capacity except hospitality at church, and although I regularly attended and shared at my bible study group, I wasn’t doing anything with the story of my adventures with the Lord.

Could it be that what I got out of the dating site was a direct road back to the love of my life? Actually that is exactly what happened.

I asked God to go with me and indeed He did, and facing my past head-on where men were concerned, helped me to find a few places that still needed forgiveness and God’s healing touch. Had I not gone there, I may never have known there was still some crusty residue in the heart of this vessel. As the months progressed, I felt as though I was finally willing to let go of all hurts where men from my past were concerned and come back into God’s loving arms with a clearer love and yearning to know Him than I had ever had the previous thirty years.

I was able to choose Him completely, knowing He had already chosen me, no matter which way my head had turned toward gentlemen at any given point in time. I have to say, this journey did start out with me wondering if I had yet found the love of my life and ended with me knowing for certain that yes, I had already found Him, and He was going to remain with me into the eternity He has promised. There is nothing safer and more certain, nothing more exciting than that! Nothing.

Lighten Up!


The preceding post may have seemed long winded and heavy, but I do know it is something that is a struggle for many people I know. There isn’t a simple answer or solution. It can be difficult discerning God’s will and His plan for our lives. We are entering the period of our lives that we grew up knowing as “retirement”, but most of us are working harder and longer than we did before, some with the added responsibilities of grandchildren or aging parents to care for.These are not days that most of us thought we would be navigating totally alone.

The upside is that God can always bring something or someone unexpected into our lives and redirect our course in a split second. I know that most of my christian friends are excited about this time being wide open to new directions and experiences. I feel like there is an untapped well of enthusiasm that is just waiting for the new opportunity that is about to cross my path. The peace that I have come to know as God’s leading in my life is easier and easier to notice and proceeding one step at a time is not only the way He often reveals His plan, it is the best way for me to follow it.

We don’t know, nor do we need to know, everything that follows. We just do the next best thing. The lightness that accompanies a life lived like that is amazing in  contrast to the heavy struggling we have all known at various times in our lives. Were we struggling against Him? Perhaps, in some cases. Surrender is the hardest thing to do, and yet it yields the most results with the least amount of effort. Sometimes we learn it at a very high cost. Sometimes we decide to choose it and let go of our own need to feel like we are in control. The best thing we can do as we get closer to Him is lighten up! Carry as little baggage as possible, and be ready to go wherever He calls us.

Now there’s a journey to pack for! Remember having the bag ready for the trip to the hospital when your first child was about to enter the scene? You knew that no matter how prepared you were, your life was about to change in ways you could never imagine. That’s the way I feel these days, and I think a number of women I know feel the same way, perhaps the men do as well. It is as though God is birthing something new within us, and we are full of expectation, surprise and wonder that He could. Personally, I am thinking of whittling my necessities down to a backpack to make the traveling even easier!

A Column For Older Christian Singles?


I am remembering Dear Abby, and all the others who gave us their take on this or that social dilemma growing up, where there seemed to be a correct answer to handling a social situation between people. Today there is so much information available, it is mind boggling, and yet it seems we still struggle with how to be appropriate, how to handle social interactions, how to heal without hurting others.

I am struck at this point in my life at how differently I look at the dating scene than I did the last time I tentatively passed through. Perhaps this has to do with having fully surrendered my life to Christ, not just in word, but in deed. I can quickly process through inquiries on a website, because if they don’t list a relationship with God, or attendance at a church and/or Bible study as important to them, I know that they would not be the people God would be bringing into my life for any long term purpose. Even ten years ago, this would not have been a problem or even a part of my sorting process. I would have thought that I could bring that spiritual dimension into someone’s life. No longer do I feel that way.

I am too far gone to go backward, even for the sake of someone else and their journey. Not that I am not supportive; I will do anything to offer God’s love and encouragement to another on their path to knowing Him intimately. It is just that once you have known Him as brother, friend, Father, provider, and husband in your own life, it would seem worse than divorce or death to leave Him out. Fortunately, for the way He presents Himself in our lives, He can and is an important third party in any relationship going forward. To have Him in common brings an instant knowing and sense of family to people who have just met, who  may have very little else they would normally share as like interests.

I was struck today by two friends my age asking for my help in their relationships with the opposite sex. How to address people in their dating lives in words and yet not say anything hurtful or misleading. I think that as Christians, it is even more difficult to navigate the dating waters, because we are so conscious of acting in His name, and wanting to represent Him well. I have a few concerns about the church and its approach to older singles. I feel they often ignore them. I feel they are missing a golden opportunity to provide a safe and comfortable arena for older singles to meet each other on non-dating terms, without the fear that they may find someone who is actually leading them away from Christ rather than toward Him.

I believe, and have for twenty years, that there are ways to facilitate this process and keep the hearts and mind of those precious people safe. I believe they are just as important to Christ as are His youngsters stepping out for the first time into the arena of love and relationship. In some ways, it is even more critical that we do not get hurt or lose our way, as we have already found what is most important. I do not believe that God only wants for us a life of serving and showing up to fill the many volunteer capacities that a church always needs filled, for which  older singles  always seem available.

I believe that God wants to partner some of them and use them even more effectively as couples, people who have testimony to share, to offer hope for how God heals and provides and blesses, even after tragedies have separated them from the path their lives were originally taking. I am confident that He is beginning a new work, where the churches will begin to step forward into an incredible opportunity to minister to those who already occupy their pews every Sunday, who for the most part would never think of asking anything of their church for themselves. It is just the way we were brought up, and it is something we would probably see as a selfish request. If asked we would answer, “I’m OK, God is good, He is taking good care of me, I am fine”. But my question is, is that really God’s Best for that person? Would  even some of them find a more complete healing and wholeness and ability to serve Him if they had a supportive partner for this unique time in their lives. It is a time they have so much wisdom to offer, and yet are so often burdened by just accomplishing the everyday tasks and finances alone, having no one to share that journey with, yet never wanting to burden their children or their church with their happiness and health issues.

Is it possible for me to eat alone almost every meal of my life and be grateful? Absolutely. Is it God’s best for me? I won’t believe so until He personally informs me. As of yet, I have not heard that still small voice saying anything of the kind. I am listening, however, and I hope He will give me direction for something that weighs heavily on my heart, because I know that I am not alone in this feeling. It is the burden of the others that He has placed on my heart that makes me speak up where I would normally push my own feelings aside.

I have some ideas for ways to address this within our churches, how about you?

I’ve Found My Way!


When  my sister sent an overnight refrigerated package to my Mom at Christmas, we were all anxious to see the contents. Fortunately she said refrigerate immediately and eat as soon as possible! So we dove into what turned out to be two packages of cheese curds. Now I don’t personally ever remember having these, but this particular sister has an amazing memory for things involving our mother, and so I am pretty sure there is a story behind it somewhere. In the meantime, I enjoyed tasting the soft and funny shaped cheese that was a by-product of some cheese making process, but when I talked with my sister, I of course said but now that I have my curds, I still can’t find my whey!

She laughed, but the nursery rhyme (who was that eating her curds and whey?) stuck in my head, and later that week when I was back home, I was shopping in Costco and stumbled across….you guessed it, Whey! In fact such a huge bag of it, it will take me a year to drink it all. However, I was surprised to see it had amazing amounts of protein and muscle builders and who knows what else, in a chocolaty powder you mix up with water.

So after I brought that home, I could not help but go around the house singing “Ive found  my way”….which was naturally followed by “love came just in time, you found me just in time, and changed my lonely life that lovely day!”

How funny if that puts a new energy into my christian dating scenario, giving me a renewed vision for the possibilities if I can manage to stay focused. I have decided to be looking for a good grandfather for my  pre-conceived grandchildren. That gives me a better and once removed way of looking at potential dates…would they make a good grandfather? That is an easier concept than would they be right for me? My standards for my yet unborn grandchildren are bound to be higher than anything I think I could put up with myself, so I think I will give this one a try!

Certainly takes the heat off me  for the time being, while God is still working on that.

Of course, after I consume all this whey, I may just be a huge muscle mass and not very attractive to the good grandfather prospect!

A Serial Romantic…. Really?


I had someone email me, complete with a picture of  faux wine and roses, then later one of a box of faux candy, an epistle filled with things that sounded as though he already knew me. I was flattered at first, but later began to be suspicious of a cut-n-paste scenario possibly going on at his desk, complete with files of material printed out from  letters to other women to whom he might be sending similar notes.

After he failed to follow up on a proposed phone call, I went to the site and was able to discern he had been on it recently. Stupid information they make available, but you never know when it might come in handy. Since he had said he would call as soon as he got home, that was the first flag. The second was when he said he would use my regular email next time. When he didn’t I also thought that might render him powerless, should he truly have  a control center where he tried to keep everyone straight,  venturing off the site with all the pictures and profiles lined up could be a disaster! I also noted that when he called it was from a land line, not a cell phone. Not really important, unless you wanted again to make sure you only took and received calls when all your information was handy in front of you.

OK, Sherlock Holmes I am not. I guess I bring all this up because I am a romantic. The dictionary says:”characterized by freedom of form and spirit, emphasis on feeling and originality, not practical, a visionary” (I think I am a somewhat ‘practical visionary’, but that could  just be where my circumstances have brought me over the years).

I, personally, could not possibly feel romantic about five to ten men at a time, but this one protested that he was on a quest after a woman’s heart and was not going to stop til he found one. I wondered, is that the point where he decides to be the romantic? Because there was nothing I could see romantic about trying to woo ten to twenty women at one time.  I wish him luck, but I would call him a clever and resourceful salesman, not a romantic (a faux romantic, definitely!).

I have chosen to focus on one person at a time, as they present themselves, and either go forward or stop the relationship based on its merits and chemistry alone. I cannot imagine pitting one man against the other as though we were in high school. Perhaps it is my own attention problem creeping up again, because certainly this is not the way we are told to play ‘the game’.

At this stage of my life, I am going to defer to the wise words of my online mentor, Seth Godin, who says ” If the game is designed for you to lose, don’t play that game. Play a different one”. Hide and Seek, anyone?

What’s The Big Deal About A Pedigree?


I was thinking today about my dog, Gypsy. I know many people prefer to get a dog from a breeder, someone they know who can assure them their new little fur ball will soon exhibit all the fine traits characteristic of the lineage from which he descends. There is almost a guarantee of that, by the AKC registration of his name and his birth certificate.

I wonder how many of those dogs turn out to be the black sheep (a little out of control or feisty perhaps, or a little more laid back than expected?). Do they get returned if they are somewhat of a disappointment to the breed?

Personally, perhaps partly due to cost, I have always gone to the Humane Society for my dogs, unless perchance they showed up on my doorstep (think Gus, a wonderful Shepherd/Doberman mix, as best we could tell) with a kind of “you’re meant to be my family” look in their big brown eyes.This has always brought a kind of fascinating mix into the life of my family, or just now, into my midst.

Those of us willing to take a chance on the unknown often reap the rewards of the best of several breeds, randomly combined by nature and the crossing of eight feet during heat. Gypsy’s background certainly had some very interesting characters. There must have been a hound, perhaps a greyhound, with the long and very swift legs he uses to reach the base of the tree where Mr. Squirrel is counting his days at this juncture.

A shepherd may have stopped in briefly along the way, because his markings and black/caramel coloring are certainly obvious. The scrunched up wrinkly forehead could have been a Basengi,  his curled tail and somewhat different speech patterns are also leading me in that direction.

A lab of some sort may have been a party to this transaction some where way back, because he retrieves beautifully, much unlike Jet, our black Lab mix who could never be taught to come back with the ball. There is a softness to his fur which might match the beagle mentioned in his veterinary paperwork, but besides his wistful expression, I don’t see so much of that.

He has the deep bark of a large breed, the weight of a medium breed and the lightness of a small breed, all wrapped up in one completely undefinable package that suits me…I can spend hours just observing him and watching him reveal who he is, and who he is not. I guess that makes him a kind of muse, and so much more interesting because I do not expect him to live up to any expectations of his breed. I got what I wanted, a dog delighted to be rescued and determined to find a way to become a permanent part of my heart.

Makes me question, do I really want a man who comes with papers? How about one who is just grateful to be appreciated for the mix he already is? I think that is all I want, too. After all, if you love a dog, you learn to deal with the dog hair.

Patience, To Deal With The Backlog!


It wasn’t until I was explaining this to a newly pre-qualified woman looking for a home, that I was able to see a parallel in my own life. We had put in the criteria for her new home into a search to see how many homes fit that description. While we thought we had tightened it up a lot, there were 976 homes that fit her description and price range currently on the market in Jacksonville!

Wow. We made the square footage larger and took off town homes, and that brought the figure down… 748! She looked at me with an overwhelmed expression and I have to admit, I had to overcome a bit of that myself. I told her that many of these homes had been on the market one year, many more even two years, and they had been looked over many times and hadn’t found a buyer. Perhaps she would easily discard them as well. If she was willing to go through and give a thumbs up or down to the long list of homes that had been on the shelf so long, we would be confident she had not missed the one that was perfect for her.

I was certain, once she chose maybe five to ten of those that we could make an appointment to look at, after we did that there would only be one or two new additions per week and those we could easily keep up with. She got right into it and started narrowing the field immediately, as there were only a few that caught her eye. Once we check those out we may find one that she loves, but if we don’t we will be up to date with everything available and can wait for the new ones to be listed from which to make her final choice.

It never occurred to me before that I was approaching the singles sites the wrong way. When I go back on, with fresh optimism about once every year, I get so overwhelmed in the first week that I almost always check out within a week, at best a month. Partly it is because I see many of the same pictures I saw a year or two ago, the same exactly written profiles, still there. It implies absolutely no growth or change to me, and I have allowed that frustration to stop me dead in my tracks. Aren’t I then only repeating my behavior that hasn’t worked very well for me? Hmmmm.

A house that hasn’t been cared for in a year or two looks none the better for neglect when you see it today. A person who has not even thought to update a picture that obviously isn’t working for them probably isn’t interested in marketing himself very well. He is thinking Ms Right is just going to come along and fall for that old picture and be delighted when they show up in person and look nothing like their old self. Good Luck with that.

It discourages me when I see that and get unsubstantial emails from so many men that I cannot even process them. They hit the button on every attractive new woman, just hoping for the best. This makes the first week or two particularly challenging for a woman. It takes a lot of patience to go through those early responses to get caught up on the backlog. There is probably a point where only the new people come in, and you cease processing the ones who have been there too long and have no interest in changing their tactics.

I personally have never lasted through the backlog. In light of what I was saying to my excited new buyer, anticipating the home of her dreams, I can see that I failed to apply that principal to my own life experience in this area. As difficult as it is, and I am not about to make it my new job, as some apparently are doing, I still would like to believe that I will stand out to Mr. Right For Me Now, and not be just a number on his list of fifty possibilities.

However, Mr. Right For Me Now can’t find me if I have left the building (or the website, as it were). Here’s to perseverance and a new degree of  patience!

Not Enough Information!


We live in a world where we are either overloaded with too much or  teased with too little. How does one make a good decision without enough? Now I am an intuitive person by nature, and my gut is my strong suit (often possibly the nudge of the Holy Spirit) , but once again I am faced with a dilemma I cannot seem to process.

They have evidently changed the format of the singles site I was on about a year ago. Presently the men just hit a button that gives me a message “JoeFish232 wants to meet you”! What happens when you first go on is that every guy watching his screen who sees a decent looking picture come across it hits that button. The whole point to me of writing out a profile and talking about yourself and the kind of person with whom you might be comfortable, was to eliminate it being totally based on looks.

But, alas, it is even more so now than it was a yr ago. This not only annoys me, as I have to go and read all their profiles and look at all their pictures before penning some sort of response, it eliminated the one thing I wanted to know: Are they a good communicator and do they like to communicate and if so, about what? That tells me if I would even want to spend an hour over lunch with them or be bored out of my mind trying to make conversation. I guess this goes back to my previous blog about talk based on what where and with whom you ate. (By the way I did have a wonderful meal with a friend from my Bible study and her son after church last Sunday!)

I am turned off by all the attention paid to the outside of a person. I must admit I give men a wide berth when it comes to that, based more on what they share and if they seem to be an interesting or compassionate person than I initially pay to their picture. Men notoriously take pictures of themselves at their computer, the lens often giving a kind of fishbowl effect to their face. Always one in front of their motorcycle or sports car, which is usually very shiny and clean but they forgot to tuck in their own shirt. And one in their living room, often with a can of beer next to their barca lounger in front of the TV. I look past all of these things initially. I do wish they would hit spell check though, as I have such a difficult time looking past spelling errors. I am working on it, but that would be so easy for them to do. Often a year or two later, their picture is the same and the spell check errors are still there. If they don’t find even that worth changing, so much for character flaws or behavior modifications!

It is difficult. They keep wanting more pictures. I begin to wonder, are you making a scrapbook or are you looking for a real live woman? Do you not trust me when I say I am thin, or do you really think I only offered a face shot because I am hiding four hundred pounds beneath it? I do get discouraged. They are looking for a “classy lady” but do they really think class is something you can buy at Talbot’s? I admit I am perplexed by the way their minds seem to work. Everything they have written in their profile  is usually betrayed by their first communication.

Oh for the days when we met at parties and were introduced by mutual friends. When someone could tell by the way you lit up the room or the way your eyes sparkled, that you were a lady of value and passion. It does not compute into a dating website. My dog Gypsy came with more references than any of these potential candidates for relationships will ever have. I think there should be testimonials from former wives, friends, children….someone! I have ten of these to respond to. My ADD has just kicked in and I am pulling my profile off now. God will just have to find another way to do this, because I am exhausted!