Weight Gain Is Not The Worst Thing That Could Happen

Sometimes I act like gaining weight is the worst thing that could happen to me. That it makes me less lovable, of less value and less attractive. I’ve recently put on an extra 20 pounds. A bonus to being tall is weight gain is more forgiving and less obvious on a body that provides more space for it to be distributed. I’m sure no one is looking at me like I could stand to lose a few but I know the difference. It’s discouraging and frustrating to see the difference in pictures or in how clothes fit. It may not be super noticeable but I know the difference! My weight, my body for many years, since I was about 14, has rarely felt like a friend to me. This can be so difficult because a body is something that one lives in and therefore can’t escape. 

A few years ago, after I graduated college, I became more serious about running, trained and participated in a few half marathons. Those were good years for me. I was not at odds with my body. I had put it under my submission and trained it to do things that I never thought that I could do. I was strong. I was fit. Most importantly, I had lost weight and was looking good. I was happy with the results. Runny became a part of the rhythm of my daily life and part of my identity. However, after hormonal issues, health challenges and surgery this last year, I slowed down on the running and began to refocus on other things; focusing on strength training, nutrition, sleep, and reducing stress in my life. I was recognizing that running was not helping me. What worked before was no longer working. Under-eating, carb restricting and over exercising was putting too much stress on my body. I was gaining weight. The weight gain felt like it was my fault. This is extremely frustrating to me. But what was I doing wrong? I take pride in my pursuits towards a healthy lifestyle. I’m all about functional medicine, healing my body through lifestyle and proper nutrition. I eat all the things that they say to eat and don’t eat all the things that they say not to eat; things like gluten, grains, dairy, soy, sugar, caffeine, processed foods, artificial flavors, and food dyes. I exercise regularly. I maintain a regular bedtime. Yet, I have been gaining weight. I don’t know what to do differently to fix it. Low carb isn’t working. Low calorie isn’t working. Increasing running isn’t working (I haven’t been running since I had surgery in February. I’ve gone on maybe a few little runs.). It’s easy to look at someone getting a burger at the drive-thru and think that you know the reason why they are fat. But what about me? I’m feeling fat. I’m frustrated with my body. I don’t understand why it’s responding this way. I don’t know why I’m always constipated. Maybe this would be easier if I would just poop. I’ve been to different doctors. My primary doctor doesn’t want to run lab tests. The functional medicine doctor gave me a protocol to heal my gut and says I’m being too hard on myself. Well, I’m still not pooping and I’m still gaining weight. I’m seeing an obgyn and she’s been a ray of hope. She’s been ordering labs for me and talking to an endocrinologist for recommendations. I went on my own and paid out of my own pocket to get lab work for a full thyroid panel done. I’m still waiting for those lab results to come back. Most doctors only test your TSH when testing your thyroid but all the thyroid hormones should be looked at too. That would include TSH, T4 free T3, reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies. One of those other hormones could have a problem. You don’t get the whole picture if you just look at TSH. 

I am waiting for the obgyn to get back to me about my last lab test for my cortisol levels (I had been worried about my cortisol but my primary wouldn’t test it. Thankfully the endocrinologist recommended it). She is looking into possibly cushing syndrome. That can cause weight gain primarily around the gut and high cortisol. I am also waiting for the lab results for my thyroid too. I’m hoping for answers and something that can point me in the right direction. I sometimes think that I must be obsessed with nutrition science. The number of podcasts that I listen to and the number of books that I read on the topic make up a lot of my recreational time. However, I have not gained any new revelations on what I should do. What should I do when I already do all the things? Should I just pray that the Lord causes my body to lose weight? Isn’t my life more than my body? Isn’t my purpose more than reaching a number on a scale? I was recently reading Proverbs 31, “Beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord should be praised.” Why am I so focused on my body and desiring it to look a certain way and hating it for looking the way it does now? 

I am wrestling with these questions. The answers seem obvious but the application seem difficult. I want my body to be healthy, look good and work the way it should. If I accept it the way it is I am still left with a gut that is descended, pants that don’t fit, bowels that won’t go, and unbalanced hormones. Can I really be comfortable in my skin in a body that gives me so much discomfort? Can I honor God with my body, my life, my attitude, and my mind? Am I a woman that fears the Lord? Oh Lord, heal me! Show me how to treat my body, the right steps to take, give me discernment, and a spirit that fears you.

I Sold My Precious Treadmill!

I had been mulling it over for months. I was realizing that for the health of my body I should probably cut back on running. It was putting too much stress on my body. But I continued. I needed to run. I wanted to log more miles and go faster. I wanted to reach my goal of running a full marathon. But it was becoming an idol. Running had become too important and I could sense that the Lord was prompting my heart to make a change. Running became part of my identity. I loved telling people about how many miles I ran before 6:00 am that morning. I loved how it changed my body. I loved that people would notice that I look athletic and ask if I played a sport. To which I would explain that I was a runner. 

I bought the treadmill after Covid regulations at the gym required you to wear a mask. I did not want to run with a mask on. So, I canceled my membership and bought a treadmill. I could not let anything stop me from being able to get my miles in. 

I have been serious about running since 2017. In 2018 I ran my first half marathon and since then I have competed in others and have run many 13 mile runs on my own time. I would rest one day a week and push myself on all the others. Running was becoming an idol. If I was going to go on a trip, half my bag would be my running gear. Heaven forbid I miss a day. 

However, over the last year I was beginning to see the signs that the stress of running was beginning to have on my body. It was impacting my sleep, my menstrual cycle was nonexistent, and I was beginning to put on weight. Overexercising puts a tremendous amount of stress on the body, with the potential of raising cortisol and insulin levels and even causing weight gain. I was feeling frustrated and fearful. I wanted to lose the weight I had gained so I ran harder. I was not getting the desired results that I hoped for. It was stressing out my system more but I was afraid to stop. I was afraid that I would become fatter and unhealthy if I didn’t get that daily run in. 

Then I had surgery. Due to needing to rest while I recovered and not having energy because I couldn’t eat while my tongue healed, my running took a much needed sabbatical. As I recovered I slowly transitioned away from running and more towards strength training and walks. Surgery took its toll on my body and I haven’t been the same since. I need more time to recover from the trauma that it was to me. As I was recovering and refocusing on how I care for my body, my treadmill sat in my living room. I knew I needed to let it go. I wanted to honor God with my body. The treadmill was a way for me to have a back up plan if I couldn’t run outside. I felt safe knowing that I could run whenever I wanted as long as I had it. But I’m rethinking what I’m doing. I hope to be healthy enough to run again. Right now I don’t even know if I can call myself a runner. I’m a runner in rehab. If it is no longer part of my identity it doesn’t make me any less valuable. I may never reach my goal of running a full marathon. I had to ask myself, “who is holding me to these goals of mine? Who is keeping track of my miles? Who is going to be disappointed if I don’t reach them?” I am the only one holding myself to them. No one is going to be disappointed if I don’t. I am still loved. I am still beautiful. I am still a child of God even if I don’t run. 

Put my treadmill on Facebook market and sold it today. I wasn’t even sad to see it go. I knew it was the right thing. I can honor God more with my body, time, and resources without it. 

I Backed Out Of The Deal

I left off sharing that my offer on a condo had been accepted. It seemed so mysterious why God would allow that after I had signed the lease. Then everything about this condo turned out to be a lot of back and forth, rigamarole, and wearisome decisions that this stressed out and hormonal chick had to deal with. The home inspection proved to be very insightful. I found out that my water heater and electric panel are located in the garage belonging to another unit. The condo is sitting on top of three garages. One is mine and the other two belong to the two ground level units next to me. The garage that contains my water heater and electric panel was deeded to the wrong unit. The garages need to be switched and deeded correctly. This is a huge legal issue and it did not look like it would be complete before closing. However, another issue came up during the inspection. My siding, my siding is in bad shape and the estimate of what the repairs would cost was 25,000. Yikes! I showed the inspection report to my parents and they were concerned. Between the legal issue of the deed and the issues with the siding, they advised me to back out of the offer. I expressed this to my realtor. She asked if the seller would take care of the siding before closing and pursued fixing the deed. The seller would not and when asked she asked the HOA rep for the email from the lawyer about the deed, they did not have it. Then I read in the HOA rules that they did not allow partial renters, only renters of the entire unit. So, I could not have a roommate who paid me rent. That was a deal breaker. I wanted to back out. I signed the papers to do so. However, my realtor did not submit them that night. The next day she found out that I could, in fact, have a renter as a roommate and she got the email from the lawyer regarding the deed. We discussed asking if the seller would come down 20,000 and pay the closing cost to compensate for what I would need to pay in repairs. Everything else seemed to be lining up. The updates on my status of where I was at with this condo was constantly changing, I didn’t get it, I got it, I’m backing out, I’m reconsidering. My realtor asked me to pray about it and we would talk at the end of the day. I was at work talking to her during the 20 minutes I get for planning during the day while I was trying to organize my students’ leveled reader. After school I had a training to attend. She had tried to call me. I finally called her back later that evening while on a walk down a beautiful wooded trail near my new home. I needed to decompress. I was going to go ahead with the big ask of 20,000. The realtor said it was like a 2% chance he would go for it. I was feeling frustrated. The night before I had thought I was done. I had signed the papers but here we were continuing to try and make it work with this condo. I had until 6:00 to submit my new offer. It was 5:30. I appreciated all the extra work that she did to get documentation about a renter and the changing of the deed but when all was said and done I would still have that troubled siding. I could not do it. Even though the seller most likely wouldn’t go for the offer, I didn’t even want to try. I found myself thinking, “I’ll ask and pray that he doesn’t”. But then if I don’t even want him to go for it because I don’t want to be stuck with that siding, then why even ask? I called the realtor. I told her I can’t do it. She was proud of my decision and it was done. I walked away.

Back to the beginning again. Where I do not have plans of moving this summer. Where my parents are not coming with my furniture and to help me install new carpet. Where my dream of having a permanent home of my own instead of the revolving door of temporary living situations, lays dormant again. Where my plans to nail pictures to the walls is replaced with command hooks so that I don’t leave marks on my landlord’s property. I had it. I had a home at my fingertips and I let it go because of bad siding. Maybe I should have tried. Maybe it would have worked out. When will another one come on the market that is within my price range? What if one does come and my next offer is not accepted? It has been two days since I submitted my decline. I was relieved. Now I’m disheartened.

Looking for a home is very similar to looking for a man. In both cases it pays to be picky. It will be something that I will have to live with. It is not like buying a dress at the store. Returning it because it doesn’t “fit” isn’t an option. I’m in these things for the long run. As I wait for a home to come on the market, I think, “It would be nice if I got email notifications when men who met my criteria were available.” Right now I can’t see when my future home will become available nor do I know when a man, my man will come. Then like my condo, there are the hopes of something but it quickly changes after the home inspection. I met a man. It appears that it might be something. But then like the inspection I discover that his electric panel is not in the right place and he is moldy under the siding. I back out of the deal and wonder if I did the right thing. Maybe it would have worked. Why do any of these things have to be if they just have to end in disappointment. I am waiting for the day when my pursuit of a home comes to completion. I am waiting for a man who will stay. My fingers touched it. I thought it was right there before me. I was in that condo. I saw myself living there. I went out with that guy. I imagined what it would be like to meet his family. I hoped that I could take him to Reno to meet mine. I saw us dating seriously and planning a future. Both realities reduced back to dreams. Dreams that once again sink back into their hole to remain dormant again until something stirs their possibility. Possibilities that I have had countless times but end up as another disappointment on my list. I wait and pray. When, God, will my sorrows be my tomorrows and that in which I wait will be my fate? I do not know.

I had a tumor removed from my tongue!

A significant event took place last week. I had a tumor removed from my tongue. Gross, huh?! Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. I was almost embarrassed to tell people. What! Your tongue? I could see the cringing faces. If only it was on any other part of my body. Maybe then the recovery would not have been as hard as it was too.

I discovered it about 11 years ago. Actually, I noticed it not too long after my first kiss. About 5 months later I felt something in my mouth. I looked in the mirror and there was a purple bump on the top of my tongue, kinda on the right and in the front. My first thought was that my boyfriend had given me something weird (since I had just recently started kissing). I called him and he didn’t have anything like that in his mouth. I went to see a dermatologist. She diagnosed it as a hemangioma. It was a filled blood and that is what gave it its purple color. I also saw an oral surgeon, an ENT, and my dentist measured it every six months. The consensus was that due to the nature of the tumor it was best to leave it unless it was growing or giving me problems. The risk of it hemorrhaging or growing back after being removed kept doctors from wanting to do anything with it. So there it sat for years. It was my silent little buddy. 

This last year things changed. It started to become noticeably bigger and was beginning to give me problems. It would swell and feel like a marble in my mouth. It bled a couple of times and other times would have a gray murky color to it. It was time. It needed to go. Getting better could cause more problems. So, I saw an ENT, also considered a head and neck surgeon. She was confident that removal would be easy and didn’t expect there to be any problems afterwards. So, plans were set in motion.

My breakup with my boyfriend will have its 10 year anniversary this August. In my mind, my tumor is a marker of the beginning of our relationship. The relationship has been over nearly a decade and my heart has more than healed from the event. Though, that breakup was a significant event in my life and propelled movement in life that took me to places I would never have gone and have made me more into the “Alina” that God wanted me to be. Yet, I still carry some of that heartache. Especially as the years go on and I remain single. I believe in a BIG God and have seen him answer big prayers. I want a job in Washington: Bam, Kindergarten Teacher! I want a home of my own: Bam, a home rent free! I want a man: Dial tone! I know God hears me and yet I wait. 

Like my breakup, the recovery of my surgery was rough. My tongue was SUPER swollen for about 5 days. I couldn’t eat or talk, barely. My tongue was so big that I couldn’t close my mouth. This made sleeping a challenge because I couldn’t swallow and my spit had nowhere to go but out; I drooled a lot. As that went down things got easy but were still difficult. The incision bled a couple of times when it should not have. Even after the swelling was gone, I still struggled speaking normally. I had to take more time off from work. I’m a teacher. Talking is my job. I need to sound normal. By day 9 things were looking up. It was a short season of suffering but not one that I would even wish on my enemies. 

My breakup was a lot like that recovery. There was the removal of something that had become a part or my life. My heart bled. I couldn’t eat. Many are familiar with pains such as these. Moving forward, I will no longer have my little hemangioma. Instead, I will have a scar across the top of my tongue. I’m almost considering naming it. It marks a new beginning. It marks a new decade. I love what God has done in me. The good work he has done in my life, he continues to do. I praise him for this and eagerly await for the man I hope he has for me and maybe the removal of my tumor will mark the beginning of a new relationship like the appearance of it marked the old.

Regret

Over a year ago I met a man online and dated him for a brief time, five dates total. I ended the relationship for several reasons but since then have regretted the decision. I have a short list of qualities that I filter men through to see if they are someone I would want a relationship with. I call these things “My Five F’s” (Faith: serious about Jesus, Finances: responsible with money, Family: similar values, Fitness: values a healthy lifestyle, and Fun: similar interest). Online guy, Nathan, I discovered had them all. He was also kind and respectful.  Yet, during the time I was dating him I was overwhelmed and fearful of the thought of letting things move into a committed dating relationship. 

I don’t know why. I can’t seem to sort my emotions out any better today than I could at that time. Why did I let him go?  Was it my pride? I struggled with the fact that I met him online and had preached openly that I would never do the online dating thing. Was it out of fear of embarrassment? I didn’t want him to meet my friends and have them ask how we met. Was it out of fear? Fear that if I committed to dating him I would have regret? I was interested in a guy from church, Jeremy, (Jeremy doesn’t even meet 3 of my 5 F’s) but that wasn’t going anywhere. However, I thought that if I entered into a relationship with Nathan I might always wonder what could have been with Jeremy. As if, somehow Jeremy might come around if I just waited long enough. Well, he didn’t! 

As we dated I began to fear that I was going in too deep and started to back off. I wouldn’t reply to text and would tell him I was busy if he wanted to hang out. I texted him and told him that all of this overwhelmed me and that I had feelings for someone but wasn’t dating him. He was very gracious in his response and recommended taking things slow and even taking a break for a while. We went out one more time. We talked a little bit more after that and then I blocked his number from my phone and removed him from my contacts. At the time it was a relief. I brought my life back to the state it was in before I meet him. However, memories cannot be blocked as easily as one blocks a number in a phone. 

For a brief moment, after this, I thought things with Jeremy were finally going to move forward. I was wrong. It didn’t work out. Friends of mine even told him that I was, “head over heels for him.” He did nothing. He’s silence was my answer. 

When I made the decision to end things with Nathan I had hoped that something would work out with Jeremy. However, I was more convinced that I would just end up with neither. I knew that if things with Jeremy didn’t work out, it wouldn’t be fair to return to Nathan. He shouldn’t be treated like a plan B. 

Last summer, months after I stopped talking Nathan, I looked him up on Facebook. To my surprise he had a girlfriend. Never in the scenarios that ran through my mind did I imagine him with someone else. This is where my heart was sinful with pride. Did I think so highly of myself that I thought I would be in a relationship before he found someone new? I thought surely I would have more opportunities and options for that to happen for me than for Nathan. Well, I was wrong and not only wrong but alone. I prayed that they would break up. I would deactivate my Facebook for a couple of months and then check back. Still they were together. Now they are engaged and getting married on the 19th of July.

Now, I regret the choice I made and wish I responded differently. I wish I could go back and change what I did and just go for it. There is no shame in meeting a great guy online. There is no embarrassment in it either. I wouldn’t need to regret meeting a great guy. But no, I turned down a great guy, a sure thing, someone who really liked me and expressed his interest and intentions in a godly way, for the dream of something that left me disappointed. I’m comforted in the truth that God can take broken things and fix them. That even if I made a mistake, it doesn’t mess up God’s plan for my life. God is the same even when I am fickle. The best I can do now is commit all these things to prayer and trust and obey. I can’t make choices that will change the past but I can do my best today to make choices that are good and honoring to the Lord. 

Maybe I just want my situation right now to be different as I am still single and didn’t think I would be. Also, I am facing a move and do not know where I will live. If I was the one that was getting married this summer, that problem would be solved. Or would it? When I think like that, where is my trust that the Lord is the one that solves my problems? I think I just want right now to be different and I think if I did things differently back then, they would be. However, the Lord may still have someone for me and a home for me but it’s not time yet. I think I made a mistake because I can’t see now how things are going to work out later.

I’m a Fox without a Hole!

I’m a fox without a hole. At least, I joke that I am. It’s partly true. Since the first time that I moved to Washington until now I have had 4 temporary living situations. Even my current one I would consider temporary (though I may be here longer than the others). I was a live in nanny. I knew I wasn’t going to do that forever. Then I moved back in with my sister who at the time was planning her wedding. The good Lord knew that I wasn’t going to live with her after she was married. She, her man, nor I would have wanted that! After she was married I moved in with my parents. That was a humbling experience. I love them but after living on my own for 8 years and not only on my own but out of state it felt like a set back to my life. Now I live back in Washington. I love my living arrangement. I rent a room in the home of a very kind couple. There is another girl, a friend of mine that also rents a room there too. The four of us get along fabulously; we respect each other’s space and have a system that works when it comes to sharing the kitchen and getting our laundry done. But once again this is a temporary arrangement. I’m going to be 30 this year and help me please if I’m here more than 3 years. See! Still, I’m a fox without a hole. I don’t have my own home. As I consider these facts about my life the goal setter in me starts scheming.

Somewhere along the way as I’ve gotten old, remained single and pursued my interest, I made a conscious decision to live as though I will always be single. Living 600 miles from my family has also shaped my independence. That was almost by force. When one is removed from their source of support they are put in a position where they just have to figure things out. For example, first time I got a flat tire in Portland and daddy couldn’t just come help me; I learned how to change a tire after that. Now that my 20’s are ending and I am approaching 30 I have a plan regarding a home for this foxy lady. I spent my 20’s focusing on becoming who God wants me to be, getting myself through school, figuring out my career path, prioritizing my health, developing healthy friendships, remaining debt free, and doing some traveling. These are all great things for someone in their 20’s to work on and then maintain through their 30’s and onward.

I’ve decided that my next goal will be to save to buy a house. For some reason I was thinking that would come when I have a man (either he’ll have one or we’ll save and plan together). I didn’t think that I could do it by myself but then I realized why not? I put myself through school. What I paid in tuition could have been a down payment on a house. I’m a young, ambition, smart girl who can and has done more than I ever thought I would (by the grace of God). My plan in the next 3 years is to save enough for a 25% down payment on a house. Hopefully the housing market will be better by then. So, as I think of my current situation. It doesn’t feel as endless with a goal in mind. 3 years! I can do. And if a man comes along he can jump on board with my plan or we can revaluate the plan and set our own goal. Here’s to the future! I don’t know what God has in store for my life but I’m going to take it one day at a time. I have my plans but he determines my steps.

My Plan to get a Husband… Do Nothing!

Things like pursuing a career or working towards a college degree are all things that I can plan, save and make happen. I can set five year plans and chart out my course for reaching these goals. Having a husband could be a goal but I cannot pursue it the same way I would other big goals. Hhhmmm let’s see… how about I just be married before I turn 30. Well, it looks like that is not going to happen. I could be but that would require me to lower my standards and settle for any creeper that asks for my phone number. For me, that is not an option, so I remain single. I would rather be single than be married to some of the guys who have asked me out. As flattering as it is to be the center of attention, it is also discouraging because I rather it be with the right guy and not the cult member who can’t get anything done, only eats pizza, is allergic to the outdoors and church, and hasn’t talked to his family in 10 years. It makes a girl wonder how she can attract such creepy men. I am convinced that the creepy ones lack any awareness of how awkward they are and have no fear of pretty girls. The descent men see the pretty face of a nice girl and think that she will bit their heads off if they say hi. Because really, my face screams, “talk to me and I will bit your head off.” Try me!

In the past when I have liked a guy, I think I tried too hard to make things happen. It didn’t work. Relationships are not like trying to get good grades. They do take work but one person cannot make them happen.  Manipulating things such as walking down the hall at the same time as he does or signing up to play on the same soft ball team never made any man fall for me. Actually, when I was most successful at getting the attention of a man was when I did nothing. Men that were never on my radar would ask me out. Of course, they were not on my radar because I did not like them. So, I was just myself and did my thing (which I guess they found attractive). However, their attention always did come as a shock. I would wonder why they were talking to me. I wanted them to leave me alone.

In this new season of my life and now that I am back in Washington, my new plan of action is to do nothing, nothing in the area of a relationship with the opposite sex. I will do my thing. I will keep running every morning, I will keep working hard to be the best kindergarten teacher I can be, I will continue to grow healthy friendships and in all of these things I will seek God. If a guy that I like comes around, I will not message him, try to manipulate situations or do anything to try and get his attention. If he wants to talk to me, he will. If he wants to message me, he will. If he wants to make something happen, he will. If the creepy men have taught me anything, it’s that being myself is enough. This of course takes patience. It can be frustrating too. At times I wonder why I am still single and other people are getting married. As I approach 30, I am thankful that I did not waste my 20’s. I went to school and finished. I traveled. I lived in new places. I discovered what I believe and stand for. I grew and so did my standard (which narrow my choices in men). I get to teach kindergarten and live in the Pacific Northwest. All these things I thank God for. Through all these things there have been many joys and struggles but I have seen the faithfulness of God. If he has been faithful in all the areas of my life up to this point, then he will continue to be. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes, the area of finding a husband feels like God doesn’t care. He clearly has the whole world and starving children to be more concerned about. However, my mind is not capable to grasp all the cares of the world but God is big enough to care for the whole world AND the little cares that burden my heart. If I believed that God was incapable of caring for the world and my cares than I would be making him smaller than he is. God does not fit in any human box. He is big and his was we cannot grasp his ways. He can move mountains and has in my life. So, I will patiently wait and continue moving forward doing what I believe God has called me to. If he brings me a husband (and I hope he does) that will be great and if not, God will continue to be great and good and loving.

I Spent a Week on a Dating App…

I spent one week on a dating app. It was a social experiment. If you know me, you know that I have no interest in online dating. I know people that have used online dating and it worked great. For me, I have made the choice not to use it as an avenue to find love. During my time on the app my intentions were to learn about how people try to sell themselves and maybe learn something about myself. Essentially the first impression from people’s profiles are what moves the other person to either “swipe left” (rejecting them) or “swipe right” (expressing interest). What I liked about the app that I was on, was that the ladies are the ones who initiate and send the first message. Guys can’t send out a message first. I did not want creepers messaging me. I also didn’t really want to talk or meet anyone. My account was purely for science.

It was amazing to me how many men used the same kind of statements in their bios. Most of the men want a “Partner in crime,” “good vibes,” and someone with their “Sh*t together.” So, if I want to commit felonies with a hippie attitude (but I must have my life together), I would make a great option for these men. It also amazed me at how they tried to sell themselves. Maybe I’m just a breed of my own but the top things on my list were not mentioned in their bios. Maybe some girls really want a man who kills spiders. I personally enjoy seeing a spider out in nature (not in the house). Some are beautiful and make stunning webs. And who doesn’t want a man who is good at cracking “dad jokes” and has a great “dad bod”? At least they are honest about how they are built. That is important for some girls to know. However, there was a large number of the men who emphasized that fitness is important to them. I’m all about being healthy and fit but it’s a bit much when a guy states that they want a girl with a “tight light waist.” Thanks for being honest guys!

Most of them also listed their height, which for this Amazon woman, is very important to know. They usually made some kind of comment about why they included it. Which, it usually was due to the fact that they get asked. So, my guess is they updated their bios after being asked a number of times.

Most of them don’t like it when girls use photos with filters such as the filters that add things like bunny ears. I would never choose to use photos like that. I want to look real. They apparently want to see the real deal too but hopefully my waist is tight enough?

After a week I felt that I had compiled enough information. But honestly, I was annoyed, and my eyes were starting to bug me from looking at the quick motion on the screen from constantly swiping left. There were barely any men on that app that I would have been interested in. Actually, the app told me I ran out of people. The men that are shown are based on your location. So, I guess I eliminated all the men in Reno and should move back to Washington. If my science experiment proved anything, it proved that there is no one here for me or that I am just too picky. My plan is just to let God take care of this area of my life. In the mean time I will keep “dating” my running schedule and preparing for the half marathon that I am going to run in a week! My commitment to my running feels like a relationship or another full-time job. If I ever meet a man that I could be interested in, he’ll have to be able to keep up.

I Became Friends With A Homeless Woman…

The other day Facebook reminded me of an event that happened while I was living in Washington. This was one of the craziest things that has ever happened to me. God’s hand in my life and His amazing ability to orchestrate time and space is the only way I can explain this.

I posted on Facebook on July 26, 2017 about how I saw a homeless woman in Vancouver, Washington on my way to work. However, the significance of this woman was I knew her when I was still in Reno. I never thought that I would see her again and yet while driving on 78th street in Vancouver, Washington, I see her on the side of the road with the same bags of luggage that she always carried. I could not believe it! I pulled over and ran to her. She was so startled to see me. I think that she must have thought that I was stalking her. She asked me what I was doing here. I asked her the same. The answer was the same, we both had moved. However, the reasons why and how were different. I was finishing school, living as a live-in nanny, and working. She hitched hiked, took the bus and ended up there. Of all the places that she could have ended up, she lands in the same corner of the world that I was residing in.

Let me further explain my history with this woman. My heart for the homeless has not been as tender as it is now. A big shift in my feelings took place after taking a class on the prophets while I was in Bible College. I realized more than before that God has a heart for the oppressed and outcast of society. My heart became sensitive to the homeless people I saw on the side of road. On my route to and from home, I consistently would see the same homeless woman standing at the intersection with a sign asking for help. Not being content with just giving her a hand out and wanting her to know that she is valuable because she is created by God, I stopped to talk to her. I approached her and asked if she was hungry and wanted to go to the Taco Bell that was right there. She stared at me. At first, I thought maybe she couldn’t speak. She probably was stunned by the offer? She asked me why I wanted to spend time with her. I told her that I believe that she is created by God and therefore should be treated with dignity and that I wanted to get to know her because I love her. With that, she agreed to dinner but only if I was hungry (I wasn’t but didn’t want to miss this opportunity. So, I lied and said I was.) Our time at Taco Bell was educational for me and moved my heart to care more for the homeless. I learned about her life, the events that lead to her becoming homeless and what it is like to be homeless. My heart broke over the stories she shared. Especially, about how she is treated now. People spit at her, call her names, and steel her stuff while she sleeps. She buys body spray at the Dollar Store because she doesn’t want to stink. I didn’t know that a homeless person would care about that. I was wrong. She is human and wants to gain some dignity for herself by not smelling.

After our first Taco Bell date it became a thing. Every Monday and Wednesday at 6 pm I would meet her at the intersection for dinner. I loved it. I loved her. One day, she stopped showing up. It broke my heart. For a while it discouraged me from trying to reach out to the homeless community. Why? You love them, and they leave. However, we are called to love whether it is returned or whether we think it is deserved. God gave me the gift of seeing her again on that beautiful Summer day as I drove to work 600 miles away from where I first met her. To me this seems impossible that we were to ever cross paths again. But God moved!

As I am in this place in my life, where I am sorting things out and trying to figure out where I belong, I am encouraged by this. God has me right where he wants me for a greater purpose than I can see or understand. He is moving in my life and I will be in the place that he calls me to at the time that he wants me there. That may be here, and in the future, it may be Washington. I’m hoping for the later. In the mean time I will continue to wait. There are moving parts that haven’t settled yet and questions unanswered. There are hurting and oppressed people who need love. While I am not always content with where I am currently at in my life, I’m blessed with a home, friends, family, daily food, and more than I deserve. I have received more love from God, far from what I deserve. Hopefully, I’m sharing that same kind of unconditional love to all wherever I’m at.

He Destroyed Me!

“The more I grow in my faith the higher my standards grow,” said my good friend, Michelle. I have realized this is true in my life as well. I think if I got married at 19 or 20 when my girlish heart had wanted to, I would have made a stupid wife. I would have gone for any guy who was, first taller than me, then a Christian. Sure he lives at home, doesn’t own a car, keeps dropping out of college because they make you write papers (what did you expect?) and the only job he can get is selling knives for Cutco. But he says he loves Jesus and me! He has potential. Let’s get married someday and hope that he grows into the man that he could be. Thankfully that relationship didn’t work out!

I’m thankful now. But when that relationship ended, I was destroyed. He hurt me so badly. He’s words are burned into my brain. The events that led to our break up where ugly and he did some things that I don’t understand how someone who says that they love you could do. When I asked him about his actions he said, “I wanted to hurt you and I knew that would get to you.” Wanted to hurt me? But you love me. Those two things cannot coexist. I was destroyed. My body felt so much pain I questions how it was even able to support life. Time moved slowly. It seemed that I would hurt forever. These new wounds trigged old wounds that I had never dealt with. I hated it. I had not felt that pain in such a long time and it stacked on top of my current pain. I was frustrated that I was feeling so many things that I did not want to feel or even felt capable of dealing with. I would cry at night. My sister could hear me down the hall into her room. She was worried. I would go on drives just to scream in my car where no one could hear me (praise God I didn’t crash!).

I prayed to God while lying flat on my floor. I prayed that God would make me into the “Alina” he wanted me to be. That I would grow into a godly woman. Slowly I healed. The moments of pain slowly faded. Slowly I became okay. Then I became grateful that the relationship ended. I went to Bible College. I lived out of state. I kept praying to grow into the “Alina” that God wanted me to be. He must have been pleased with that prayer. He answered it and continues to grow me. I’m thankful for the woman that God is making me to be and all that I have learned about myself and life in the last ten years. My standards are higher.

At times it feels like a curse to have high standard about what kind of man I want. That kind of man just doesn’t seem to exist or is already taken. The leftovers at this point seem to be creepy men who go for any pretty face that they see. I know that it’s not true. There are good men out there. I just don’t know where out there.

Kindness is something that I have greatly grown to value in a man. I have known too many mean men. The man I described about is one example. I want someone who will be kind to me, kind to everyone! Flattery is not a form of kindness. That has been used by men who just want me to be their girlfriend because they like my face or maybe just my butt. Being back in Reno I have observed something. I think it was always there but my increase of value of kindness has heightened my awareness of kind people. I have observed my dad and my new brother-in-law. They are kind. I love watching how they treat other people. I love how they treat my mom and my sister and everyone else. Good men still exist! My standards are still high. I won’t marry potential. Patiently, I wait for a kind man of God who is hopefully taller than me (can’t let that one go).