Looking at ourselves and the world through the lens of the 21st century.

Monday, February 28, 2022


When you were a child, did you fill your glass to the brim so that it was too full and you couldn’t move it without spilling? Did it seem terribly important to get those extra few sips into the cup, as if you might not have another glass of milk for a long time? Do you still do that today?  I do.


I can close my eyes and reflect on how many times I’ve tiptoed from the kitchen to my desk with a full cup of coffee sloshing against the brim, feeling the dribbles of sweet, creamy deliciousness trickling over my fingers, which I then lick off when I get back to my seat.  Once I’m settled in, I take a big sip and savor the rich, warm mouthful, and I feel like it’s worth the extra effort I took just to get it here. 

Sometimes I walk just a little too fast, or I turn the corner into my studio too jerkily, and a splash of that sumptuous goodness will slosh over the side, splatting on the floor, or even my clothes and shoes. I’m in such a hurry to get back to my routine, that I forget how precious each little drop is, and instead waste it on a floor that has to be mopped or clothes that now have to be changed and washed. I’m always disappointed when that happens, and it takes me away from both my planned work and the fulfillment of that first heavenly sip because not only have you lost one precious sip, but, by the time the mess is cleaned, the coffee is no longer at the ideal temperature to evaporate on your tongue. That moment of sweet and savory satisfaction is gone.


I’ve tried different things to combat the problem, but it always ends up the same. I’ve used a bigger cup, in the mistaken belief that I will be satisfied with the same amount of coffee, but no, the cup just gets fuller and fuller, as if that extra inch or two of space below the rim is just begging to be filled, either with more coffee, or more likely, with more creamer. Pretty soon, I have the same problem, but with a bigger cup. It’s as if the liquid delight magically expands to fill the space it’s in.


I think we sometimes have that same mentality in other areas of our lives. Our cups are full to overflowing, filled with activities, wants, needs, and whatever we can use to fill the space; we can’t enjoy our pursuits without a little bit spilling out the sides and being wasted now and then. My daughter and I were discussing this very thing a few days ago.  She had read an article about people who are perpetually late, which, of course, we both are.  The report postulated that being late wasn’t a symptom of someone with poor time management skills, but rather, a personality trait of someone who can’t be bothered to wait. Late people can’t stand to do nothing or to kill time. Rather than waste that little bit of extra time waiting for the meeting to start or the doctor’s office to open, we fill the available space with as much activity as we can, and sometimes (well, okay, most of the time), it backfires on us by overflowing into other activities, disrupting our plans and throwing everything off.


I’m completely guilty of this. I schedule so many must do’s into each day that there is no possible way to get them all done.  I arrive at every appointment at least 5 minutes late, and I can never seem to get where I’m going without running back into the house to pick up this, that, or the other that I left behind.  I do it with my budget, seeing an extra $5 on my spreadsheet and thinking to myself, “Oh, now I can get that…” whatever-it-is that I think I need that winds up overdrawing my bank account because I forgot about that auto-charge that hadn’t gone through yet. I even do it with food; I’ll order too much, or fill my plate too full, just in case what I want doesn’t fill me up.  I’m so blinded by the potential of what I could put in my cup that I forget to stop and ask myself if I should.  And honestly, most of the time, I shouldn’t.


Selecting “simplify” as my One Little Word this year has been both a blessing and a curse.  It’s definitely an area I need to work on, and it has proven to be quite the challenge. The only way I can truly simplify is to stop putting so much in the cup.  To let there be empty spaces in my activities, in my time, in my heart. Only then can I begin to embrace the idea that less is more, that I don’t have to fill all the available space, and that what I have is truly enough.

The essay above was one I wrote several years ago while taking a writing workshop with Ali Edwards. If you have a comment or would like to share your perspective, please share in the comments below, or start a post in our MMC Chat group.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Literature, Magic, and Inspiration

Hey everyone! I hope you enjoyed our podcast this week about oracle cards. I have to confess, I have never been much of an oracle reader. I have been reading tarot cards for 28 years. I bought my first deck at Waldenbooks, a now-defunct bookstore in the local mall. I grew up in rural Texas, and reading tarot cards was not something that someone advertised or talked about. In fact, I didn’t talk about my interest in the metaphysical or tarot cards until college when I discovered a fellow enthusiast in Christen. Fast forward 20 years and now we are doing a podcast together.

My first deck 

I didn't buy my first oracle deck until a little over a year ago. I had never really been interested in oracle decks in the past, however, I was hanging out with Christen and Cindy one night when Cindy’s friend, Christina, came over with her oracle cards. She took out her many decks and she explained what each deck meant. Then she proceeded to give me an oracle reading from her many decks. I became fascinated with the idea of the cards.

It took me a while to choose a deck. There are many different kinds of oracle decks and many different sizes. Then one day I ran across the book Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers and “The Literary Witches Oracle Deck” by Taisia Kitaiskaia and illustrated by Katy Horan. Being a writer and an English teacher, I knew that this was the deck I had been waiting for.

Literary Witches book and deck

The Literary Witches Oracle Deck celebrates 30 magical female authors such as Mary Shelley, Toni Morrison, and Flannery O’Connor through symbolism and spiritual insight. The cards are perfect for those who seek wisdom from strong, creative women. The deck, in other words, is a literature lover’s dream.

The deck features 70 cards, 30 of which represent the personality aspects of the female writers featured in the deck, and the other 40 cards contain symbolic objects from the authors’ works and the ideas they represent. 

My three favorite cards in the deck:

  • Angela Carter, the Identity card: If you draw this card, it means you are probably having some form of an identity crisis. You need a better sense of who you are. Angela Carter’s writing is all about finding oneself even in the face of adversity and tragedy.

  • Emily Dickinson, the Soul card: If you draw this card, it means that it is time for you to make a major life change and venture into the unknown. Emily Dickinson and her writing pushed against the conventions of her time and encouraged readers to think beyond the confines of their minds.

  • Mary Shelley, the Loss card: If you draw this card, it means that you are probably dealing with something that is disrupting the cycle of life whether it is a birth, a death, or a major life transition. Mary Shelley suffered many losses in her life and it showed through her writing and her exploration of life through her novel Frankenstein.

How can you use an oracle deck? There are a few different ways that I like to use them:

  1. Single card layout: Basically this is your “card of the day.” You should shuffle the deck and draw a card. This is your daily card and you should reflect on the meaning of the card throughout the day.

  2. Three card layout: This is generally a “past, present, and future” card layout. When using this layout, you should ask the cards a specific question while shuffling to get a better reading on the past, present, and future of the situation. This is the reading that I usually do when I use my oracle deck.

  3. During a tarot reading: You can use your oracle deck in conjunction with your tarot deck. Shuffle your deck and draw a single oracle card before or after your tarot reading. According to Biddy Tarot, you can use your oracle deck to understand the general or underlying theme of your reading.

Past Present Future Spread

Since buying my first oracle deck, I have since added two more to my collection, but my heart always goes to my Literary Witches and the wisdom they bring through their writings. What makes a witch a witch? The magic and inspiration inside them. One day, I hope to follow in their footsteps.

Do you have an interest in oracle or tarot cards? Please share your experiences in the comments below, or in our Facebook Group: MMC Chat.

I've linked the cards I mentioned in this article with our Amazon Affiliate account. As an Amazon Affiliate, Modern Musings earns from qualifying purchases.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Exploring My Inner Self Through Oracle Cards

I’m no stranger to the metaphysical. I remember reading my mother’s copy of Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs from cover to cover growing up, followed by “Love Signs” and a whole host of other astrological and parapsychological texts. I’ve been intrigued by the paranormal, supernatural, spirituality, and philosophy my whole life, and I don’t believe there is one real and complete answer to our existence that we humans are capable of understanding. That leaves me open to explore a lot of different theories and ideologies without completely ruling out any of the others. I like it that way. I call myself a “Christian” because I follow the ways of Jesus, the Christ, but I don’t even pretend that my belief explains everything or that we know all there is to know.

That wasn’t always the case. Not that long ago, I had allowed myself to worry that things like horoscopes, tarot cards, and empathic or intuitive messages were connections to the Devil…something to be feared and avoided. But even then, curiosity got the better of me (who among us has not sinned?), and I began to understand that everything is not so black and white. After all, if the prophets of the bible, or the saints who performed miracles, are truly sent from God, then who is to say that others, even you and me, can’t receive divine enlightenment, too? And thus my journey into the realm of metaphysics, which, by the way, is a term originating in the 16th century to describe “the things after (or beyond) physics”, and is based in great part on the philosophy and teachings of Plato and Aristotle.

I won’t get into the history of metaphysics here (Wow! What a great discussion that would be!), but I will say it’s a huge and wildly divergent field, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available. That’s why I decided to start out slow, with something I could dip my toes in, and of which I had several friends with a bit of experience. Thus I began to explore tarot and oracle cards.

I didn’t know where to start, so I figured a basic Rider-Waite tarot deck would suffice, and I found one on Amazon. I had intended to stop there, but I happened to glance down at the “recommended” purchases list, and there was a beautiful deck of Oracle cards that caught my eye. I had absolutely zero experience with oracle cards other than an occasional single card pull by a friend who uses them almost exclusively. But this gorgeous deck had me intrigued, so I had to check it out.

The deck was called the “Work Your Light” oracle deck, written by Rebecca Campbell with artwork by Danielle Noel. This 44-card set incorporates digital photography and computer illustration to create a surreal landscape of fantastic images in hues of pink, purple, and teal, which eventually became one of the inspirations for our Modern Musings logo. I just couldn’t quit looking at these cards.

The imagery was what called me, but what really spoke to me was the content and message of the cards themselves. The “Work Your Light” oracle deck is filled with positive energy and potent messages meant to guide the user to deepen the connection to one’s intuition, thus aligning your life to your soul’s purpose. That really resonated with me, because I had recently been striving for clarity in my life’s purpose through my One Little Word project, and I was currently working on the word explore. I was drawn to the idea of “working my light’, which also aligned with my Christian beliefs.

To become familiar with both decks, I decided to begin a daily one-card pull from both the tarot and the oracle deck. I don’t have a lot of fancy rituals that go with my morning reads, just a simple shuffle (three times for my numerology Life Path Number) while asking “What do I need to know? What do I need to think? What do I need to do? What are you trying to tell me?”. After that, I then cut the deck to reveal the card for the day. This daily practice has, for me, become a very useful tool in growing my spirituality, introducing a bit of mindfulness into my day, giving me insight into my personal beliefs and thought patterns, and helping me become a better and more intuitive person.

My inquiry into tarot and oracle cards has definitely piqued my interest in all things spiritual and metaphysical. I’ve grown more curious about astrology, numerology, meditation, prayer (something I’ve practiced since I was 13-years-old), chakras, crystals, palmistry, and more. Do I believe everything I hear or read? Absolutely not! But I do firmly believe that I can cherry-pick as much or as little as I choose, retaining the concepts and theories that work for me while disregarding anything that doesn’t. I especially believe that I should go into every consideration with an open mind, because even if I don’t take everything at face value, I can often find at least a grain of truth, and who’s to say where that might lead me?

Do you have an interest in oracle cards or the metaphysical? I’d love to hear about it! Share your experiences with us in the comments below, or in our Facebook Group: MMC Chat.

I've linked the cards I mentioned in this article with our Amazon Affiliate account. As an Amazon Affiliate, Modern Musings earns from qualifying purchases.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Heard it on the Podcast - February 23

Did you miss a link we mentioned on the podcast? Here's a quick post we'll do every Wednesday to share any links or information from the podcast. We'll also keep a running post on the "Links from the Podcast" tab so you can refer back to any previous episode. Here's the links for this week:

S2E9: Oracle Cards

As an Amazon Affiliate, Modern Musings earns from qualifying purchases.

Monday, February 21, 2022

What the universe was telling me...

Hi everyone, it’s Christen here! This week on the blog and the podcast we are discussing Oracle cards. I hope you have had a chance to listen to our podcast; if you haven’t, be sure to check it out. Each week on Wednesday, we release a new episode, but occasionally the podcast will have a fun episode we call Excuse Me While I Read My Tarot. The name is funny to me because sometimes I just have to stop what I am doing and conduct a little reading. I know that my mom can’t start her day without her daily reading as well. 

I got my first oracle card deck shortly after my first tarot deck. I have used those same decks for almost 2 decades. This year though, I decided that I wanted to add more to my options. I had been keeping an eye on this one set in particular and when I saw it at a holistic fair several weeks back I couldn't resist it. 

The reason that this deck was so tempting was because it was an entire deck dedicated to my spirit animal, the unicorn. I have always been obsessed with unicorns, but had never considered them my spirit animal until recently. I loved them as a small child and all through my teen years up to young adulthood. I would collect images online and download them to a file on my computer or pin them to my wall. For a while there, it seemed that unicorns became less popular and my love for them, although it did not fade, was dimmed by adulthood. I sometimes wonder if I just stopped seeing them. But, I found myself “secretly” loving them. It seemed shameful to love something so childish, and with my arrival into the working world, anything fantasy, cartoonish or too colorful needed to be kept private. I wanted to fit in with corporate America to be taken seriously. Somewhere in there I lost myself. Too quickly did I become this cookie-cutter call center employee. Black pants, black shoes, and dress shirt. I would have loved to be able to wear a unicorn shirt to work, but I was too afraid to be myself. 

In recent years, it seems that everywhere I turn, there is a unicorn – it’s back in style. Not just kid’s attire, but things made for grown women and men, too. Does everyone love unicorns as much as me? Heck, they must, because it seems that there is a unicorn printed on just about everything these days. Did the unicorn go away and make a return, or was I just ignoring it for all this time? Was it a little reminder to me from the universe that it was “ok” to be myself? Quite possibly. 

So since I have been feeling not quite myself lately, I thought it was perfect timing to purchase that unicorn oracle deck I had been fantasizing about. I have been ready to invite the unicorn back into my life. I feel that with all the changes that have occurred in my life, I have slowly forgotten who I am and what brings me joy. Typically the unicorn represents uniqueness, surreal beauty and purity among many other qualities. For me, the unicorn represents self love and acceptance, mystery, divinity, creativity, joy, adventure, and childlike wonder.

The oracle deck itself is very lovely and I feel it represents all of those qualities. The deck was created by Diana Cooper and illustrated by Marjolein Kruijt. There are 44 cards in the deck and they have a full range of interpretations. My favorite card so far is “Create Your Vision,” which depicts a unicorn (of course) but along with it, a winding gold staircase leading up to a mysterious palace in another realm. The card tells you to do what makes your heart sing, and that you are being nudged forward. All of the cards have uplifting messages, and the handbook that is included, offers several ways to use the cards for personal insight.


Diana is a well known author of oracle cards and books varying from angels, mythical creatures, ascension, and personal development. On her website, you can have a reading with her oracle cards. She has 9 decks to choose from and you can pull up to three cards. This is a great way to sample her decks before you buy, plus you can get a little reading without having to provide your email to get the results! It's also a great way to see what oracle cards are all about. 

We hope that you check out our podcast coming out this Wednesday where we dive a little deeper into oracle cards and our ways of using them as an intuitive tool. Do you have a favorite oracle card deck? We would love to hear your thoughts. Join in on the conversation here on our FaceBook chat. 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Things Remembered

If you’ve been reading the blogs or listening to the podcast for a while, you know we’ve touched on a lot of topics. And sometimes, after we’ve posted, we think of something we should have said or we suddenly remember something we haven’t thought about in a long time. Like how after talking about the relaxing YouTube videos, I was reminded of the sound of my oral surgeon’s voice when I had my wisdom teeth pulled a few decades back. At first, I thought his quiet drawl was annoying because I just wanted him to say whatever it was he wanted to say and be done with it. I’m blunt. I’m loud. And I hate it when people talk under their breath…usually. But then, during surgery, I found that his calm, soft voice was quite soothing, and it reassured me that I was in safe hands. It’s a silly example, I know, but it’s sometimes the kind of thing that comes up after a podcast recording session or after reading the blogs Christen and Amber wrote for that week.

Memory is funny that way. Little bits of things that stay hidden away for years and years will suddenly jump forward as though they happened just yesterday, triggered by some odd encounter or a random sound or smell. Sometimes, we forget things altogether. Things we should remember, even things that did happen just yesterday, but have evaporated like the morning dew when the sun comes up. The older we get, the more often it happens. And sometimes, we remember things wrong. My husband and I had an argument about this very thing not that long ago.

If you were listening to the podcast a while back, you might have heard our discussion about the fallibility of memory during one of our Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth debates. I mentioned an episode of New Amsterdam in which one of the characters, Dr. Helen Sharpe (played by Freema Agyeman), misremembers an incident from her past, illustrating the fact that our memory is often tainted by our emotions and the limitations of our immature and/or egoic comprehension. My mother is a perfect example.

I’ve probably mentioned before that my mother has dementia. At 74-years-old, she is impaired by Fronto-Temporal dementia, a neurological disorder that affects her memory, judgment, impulse control, emotions, and all kinds of higher functions. She often tells me misremembered stories and tall tales. For instance, one of her frequent narratives is the account of how she lost the toenail on her big toe. She has repeated multiple times that a man stepped on it, and then, before it healed, another man stepped on it. The truth is, she had a horrible fungal infection that we spent over a year trying to treat before the podiatrist finally decided to remove it. No one stepped on it. There was no man. Where she came up with that story, we will never know.

I’d like to write that story off as dementia, and I’m sure it has a great deal to do with it, but truthfully, she’s been telling wild tales for decades…long before any possibility of dementia being responsible. She’s told my niece repeatedly that her mother favored her older sister and would let her go outside to play while keeping my mother inside. Punishment? No. When she was 7 years old my mother had a serious hepatitis A infection that put her in the hospital for months. Her mother wouldn’t let her go out because she was ill, but she doesn’t remember that. A child who can’t understand why she can’t go outside is not going to remember why she can't go outside, and thus, faulty memories are created. My mother has spent her entire life resenting her sister for a perceived privilege that didn’t really exist…or at least, not in the way she thought it did. And that brings us back to the argument between my husband and me.

I won’t get into the specifics of the argument but suffice it to say that it was over a conversation that we had. In hubby’s recollection, we had discussed a very serious matter and he had brought me around to his way of thinking. I didn’t remember the conversation at all… or rather, I remembered a very different conversation that took place months before when I had convinced him to agree with my way of thinking. This was a very serious matter, and so we continued this argument for quite some time, each of us sure that the conversation had ended in our favor. But then my husband described the scene of the conversation, and I realized…we were actually talking about two different conversations! Once I realized what conversation he was talking about, I realized that I didn’t even remember discussing that topic at all during the conversation he remembered. I do remember the conversation and the circumstances around it, but I have absolutely no memory of discussing that topic at that time.

So, who is right, and who is wrong? I don’t know. My memory of that conversation is obviously very different from my husband’s memory, and we are both sure we are right. Maybe we are. Or maybe we are both completely wrong. Or maybe the truth lies elsewhere. I’ve often been told that there are three sides to every story: two points of view and the truth that lies in the middle. So that begs the question, how much of our memory can we trust? It certainly makes me want to revisit memories of pivotal events in my life…did I totally misread things? Am I angry at this person for no reason? Did that really happen?

As we continue our readings of Eckhart Tolle, I am reminded that the past is the past, and that to spend too much time dwelling on it does not make us happy, nor does it ever resolve anything. The past is done. Gone. And it should not affect us one iota. If it does, then we are allowing it to do so. The only time that exists is NOW, and what we do with this time is entirely up to us in this momentNOW is the word I chose for this year, and it’s something I am trying to embrace wholeheartedly. NOW is all we have, and I’m ready to make the most of it, but in order to do so, I have to let go of the past. Let go of the hurt. Let go of the anger. And let go of whatever impression or misconception might be clouding my judgment or affecting my behavior. There is only NOW, and everything else is just a mark left on my psyche that may or may not be real.

If you haven’t been reading with us, I invite you to do so. I also encourage you to take a moment to reflect on your own life. Have you ever misremembered something? Have you ever made a decision based on something that turned out to be false? How would you do things differently if you were not affected or influenced by your past? Join us in our Facebook chat group and share your thoughts or add your comments below.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Meeting Mr. Right and Little Miss

During the podcast this week we discussed modern dating - and more specifically online dating. I think we touched base on just about everything there is about online dating, I even disclosed that I met my husband through an online dating service. I thought I might share a little bit more about how we met and came to be.

I honestly felt like there was no other way I was going to meet a decent man, I was creeping up on the last half of my thirties and I was still single. I had to use online dating. I was not going to meet a guy solely by conducting day to day affairs or within my hobbies. I think many people can relate to that, though. There are various ways for people to get out and meet friendly singles doing the things that they love, you just gotta get out there. But statistics were not in my favor, probably 75% or more scrapbookers are women - maybe even more than that. There are just not a lot of guys into that sort of thing. I didn’t want to meet someone at a bar, because that’s not the scene I am into. And I didn’t want to join yet another club just to meet a single guy. I am thankful for the online dating community, without it – I would probably still be single. I am also thankful that the stigma of meeting someone online is starting to fall by the wayside.

I had decided that investing the money into a paid membership would yield good results. I wanted to meet someone who was willing to make that same investment, I figured that would limit my chances of being catfished. I have to admit, I had been catfished in the past, thankfully I knew better and recognized the signs early enough that my heart and wallet were not a victim of this crime, which has grown at an alarming rate in the past decade. Dating scams in general happen all over the internet, on paid dating sites as well as free ones, so keep your guard up and stay alert for anything out of the ordinary.

Travis, my husband, and I spoke back and forth on the dating website until I was comfortable sharing my contact information with him. He was never pushy to meet in person, or to get my phone number right away. That is one way that he helped create a comfortable setting to nourish our growing connection into a relationship. If you encounter someone being pushy about meeting you right away or taking the conversation offline (to your personal phone), it is a good idea to back away, pushiness is always a quick sign that the other person has ulterior motives. Most social media platforms and dating websites have an embedded communication platform that is safe to use directly on their site. You don’t have to give out your personal contact information until you are 100% comfortable with sharing it. Additionally, anyone sending illicit images or texts should also be disregarded immediately. I am a firm believer that you only get one chance to impress me (or unimpress me) in the online dating community. I don’t waste time with those who intend to harass me. I wouldn't tolerate it in real life, so why would I tolerate it virtually?

In the past I would not have dated a man with children - I had steered clear as much as possible. I was always afraid to get into a relationship that had children involved. I often saw men’s profiles mention being a parent, but not have much else to say about being a father. That was a red flag for me. I had dated a man in the past that had kept his child a secret. He had stated that it was because he did not know how I would react. Well, he got a reaction out of me that was not in his favor. I just couldn’t understand someone being a parent and not even having one thing to say about their child - all I do is talk about mine!  Travis had mentioned on his profile how he enjoyed playing video games with his daughter and he was more than willing to share details about her personality and their relationship dynamic. He was also willing to provide details about his previous marriage. It meant a great deal to me that he was willing to share so that I could understand their situation. I can understand why some people would like to keep their children private for safety reasons, but we can be quick to judge negatively when someone does not disclose that they are a parent.

After talking to Travis on the phone daily for about 2 months, we had already planned out future dates for some fun activities together. I recommend spending lots of time getting to know each other before rushing out to go on a date. Really get to know each other and then plan something fun that you will both enjoy and look forward to. It's ok to go grab dinner, but If you can think of another activity to go with it, take your time and plan it out. I knew that Travis, like myself, was into Harry Potter, so when I saw that the Fort Worth Symphony was performing Harry Potter music by my favorite modern day composer, John Williams, I knew we had to go to that together. We also planned a quick safe-space meeting prior to the “first date”. This was not an actual date, but a chance for us to meet face to face in a safe open environment for just a brief moment. Looking back, I think this was a great way to meet and have the opportunity to bail out if we decided that we did not like each other. So we met at McDonald's for a quick coffee - yes, so very romantic, I know, but let me explain. 

Some people may be against the “coffee date” because they want to be wined-and-dined. I say, get over this foolishness, once you meet the right person, then you can spend all your hard earned money on each other. People can be flakey and not very serious about dating, and their main concern is being taken out on a date, just for the free meal. That's the old way of dating, and no one should have to put up with that. People can now go on a coffee date so that they can get to know one another without all the hoopla. If you suggest a “coffee date” and they turn you down, and say that you are a cheapskate, then you might have dodged a bullet on that one. 

And on the contrary, insist on going on a date, and insist that you meet in public. Insist that you are given the effort and fine details of an actual date. Don’t settle for “Netflix and Chill” if you are looking for more than just a fling. Don’t be afraid to set your boundaries up front - anyone with decency that is willing to honor your boundaries will give you that respect. You can change the boundaries at any time – as long as you communicate those boundaries clearly. Anyone worth their word will be willing to accept your boundaries and respect you. Don’t make excuses for people who ignore or abuse your boundaries.

After meeting a few times, it was plain to see that Travis and I wanted to take things more seriously. Travis invited me to a family gathering, so that I could easily meet his daughter, without making Reyna feel uncomfortable. I was able to meet my step-daughter as well as friends and family in a large group setting which made it less awkward for me as I’m not as comfortable with one-on-one meetings. It made it more relaxing, and I could come and go as I saw fit. Then it was not long before Travis and Reyna came over to meet my family and he and Reyna fit right in. 
There are always going to be ups and downs in any relationship, but it shouldn't be complicated. If you ever find yourself making excuses for the following behaviors and there is not a reasonable explanation, then it's probably safe to say that the other person is not emotionally available for a serious relationship or it is not worth the heartache to get overly involved.

  • They do not respect the boundaries you set forth.
  • They failed to mention they are a parent.
  • They are in between jobs.
  • They have a spouse they are still living with.
  • They cannot provide their own transportation.
  • They insist on meeting you in person shortly after getting online.
  • Their online profile is vague and generic.
  • They are “out of the country on work”.
  • Their lifestyle seems larger than life or too good to be true.
  • They ask you to send them money - for any reason.
  • They don’t want to meet in public, or insist on “Netflix and chill”.
  • They still have not introduced you to their friends or family - you determine the time frame.

My story may not sound like the most epic, but in reality it was pretty epic. I would have never crossed paths with my husband, had we not met online. Through the technology of today, I met a wonderful man, who takes such good care of me and the young lady I now consider to be “our” daughter. Yes, I became a mom too - and I was not even trying! I knew what I wanted, what I didn’t want, and I set my boundaries, and didn’t accept poor behavior from those who disregarded them. I had to put my heart out there - but you have to do that regardless of whether it’s online, or, for lack of better words, traditional dating.

I’d love to know what you think about online dating and your experiences. Have you been catfished or tricked by someone online from a dating website? Did you meet the one? Be sure to leave a comment or stop by our Facebook page here to continue the conversation.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Heard It on the Podcast - February 16

Did you miss a link we mentioned on the podcast? Here's a quick post we'll do every Wednesday to share any links or information from the podcast. We'll also keep a running post on the "Links from the Podcast" tab so you can refer back to any previous episode. Here's the links for this week:

S2E8: Dating and Modern Technology

Monday, February 14, 2022

Finding Love After Quarantine

Online dating is the act of searching for a romantic partner on the internet through either an app or a website. In 2022, according to Pew Research, one in three adults in America have used online dating at least once in their lifetime to find a partner. Online dating has become the second most popular way to find a significant other, largely in part, to the rise in dating apps and the ability to simply swipe left or right.

Matchmaking using technology is not as new as it seems. According to the article “Love at First Swipe: The Evolution of Online Dating,” the first computer-based matching service was invented in 1965 by two Harvard students looking for love. It started with a 75-question survey and a $3 fee for applicants. Over 90,000 people signed up for the service and the concept of computer-based matchmaking was born. Since then, using technology to meet people has only become more common. According to the article, 70 percent of Americans use some form of social media, and one-quarter of the country is online most of the day.

In 2020, my ex-husband and I separated after a seven-year relationship; we eventually divorced almost a year after we first separated. I hadn’t entered the dating scene in almost a decade, and I was absolutely terrified. Dating post-quarantine was hard. It wasn’t safe to go to social functions to meet someone, so many naturally turned to online dating, even if they had never experienced it before. Fortunately, I had, and I freely admit it. I met my ex-husband, randomly, on a website called Plenty of Fish. I had recently moved back to my hometown of Vernon, Texas, in early 2014 after twelve years away, and didn’t know anyone in the area anymore other than family.

After divorce, I was a little wary of dating again because I had only had bad experiences, but I was willing to put myself out there. I went through all the stages of an anxiety attack. Was I too old to date? Am I too set in my ways to start over? Do I even have time to date?

I joined Facebook Date (which launched in 2019 but didn’t become popular until 2020). After only meeting scammers, I put the app aside and decided to take a break from dating. During that time, I randomly matched with Jason, my current boyfriend. However, I told him that I wasn’t interested in dating, but we could be friends and we added each other on Snapchat. After that, we talked a few times a week and developed a friendship. Several months later, he asked me out on a date, but I was still wary of online dating. I eventually said yes to a date and I’m glad I did. Next week we are going to celebrate our six-month anniversary. 

My takeaway:

  • In 2022 we should all be cautious over meeting someone online. 

  • Always talk and get to know someone first and then agree to meet in person. 

  • You are never too old to start over. I started my life over at 36 from scratch and I feel like I’m a better person for it. 

  • Don’t let anxiety get to you. 

  • You are enough, and if you are still looking, don’t force it because it will naturally happen.

A note of caution: Since the pandemic, online dating scams have been on the rise. If you are online dating, be wary of scammers. The scammers that I have met during my time online dating usually pretend to be in the military looking for a connection overseas or a businessperson that travels a lot. These people are charming and full of compliments. They are also usually way younger or way older. If you pay attention to the way they write, you can usually tell a scammer by their grammar. Their grammar is near perfect but there are often unusual changes in tenses. According to the article “Heartbreakers, dream fakers, money takers: Romance scams are rising,” romance scams have increased 197% in 2020 compared to 2019 which has resulted in millions of dollars lost. 

I want to hear from our readers: What are your experiences dating online? Has anyone had to recently start over in the dating game? What is your advice? Let’s continue the conversation on our Facebook Group!

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