Monthly Archives: June 2012

Three things I’ve learned about finding courage on 52 Dates with Myself

Dating myself often requires that I boldly go beyond my normal comfort zone.

Courage seems to come much more naturally with companionship. Sort of like an unspoken, “I double-dog dare you” between friends out for a good time. This can be especially true when the companion is a gregarious extrovert with dangling coat strings we introverts can ride.

But when you’re flying solo – and doing it 52 times – courage has to be brought along in different ways. In fact, not only does it have to be brought along, but it has to be let go. Freed, if you will, to do its work.

Along the way these last four months there’s three things I’ve found that have helped to bolster my courage for 52 Dates with Myself:

  1. Connect. 52 Dates with Myself is not about isolation. It’s about connection. Connection with myself and connection with others whom I encounter in the process of my dates. I’m also connecting with my environment, with history, and with a wide variety of experiences. All of these are providing me with opportunities to learn more about myself and my world.
  2. Smile. Not only does it make people wonder what I’m up to, it brightens my face, makes it much easier to make eye contact, and often makes it easier to start a simple conversation. Conversations lead to connection.
  3. Share my first name and get theirs. Maybe it’s my waiter, the tour guide, or a bench dweller in the park. Yes, I need to be cautious and trust my instincts. But, I also know that courage is sometimes the better judge of people. And, caution can sometimes bring unfounded fear and create unnecessary isolation.

There you have them. Connect. Smile. Share your first name and get theirs. Now that you have some tips for finding your courage, get out there and have date with yourself.

Ponder & Chat: What other ideas do you have that might help you have the courage to date yourself or just try a solo experience?  How might you commit to finding your courage to go on a solo date?

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Categories: Challenges, Commitment, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekend Getaway: Get your weekend at Charley Creek Inn!

Lobby of the lovely Charley Creek Inn, Wabash, Indiana. It’s delightful small-town charm in the Midwest.

More to come on this lovely boutique hotel in charming Wabash, Indiana…but there’s a Charley Creek Inn Groupon deal right now you’ll not want to miss.

Check out Charley Creek Inn website here for photos that are true to the charm you’ll find.

Categories: Date Ideas, Solo traveling, Uncategorized, Weekend Getaways | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why have you made me like this?

“Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” ~ Romans 9:20b-21 (NKJV)

Wheel-throwing clay during my recent date at Bisque It Pottery in Fort Wayne. My teacher is Ashlyn Emberton. For more info on their classes visit their website: http://www.bisqueitpottery.com/Clay.html

Categories: Artistic Dates, Date Ideas, Date Night, Pure Fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“So I went down to the p…

“So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw [her] working at the wheel.”

Jeremiah 18:3 – NIV

Categories: Artistic Dates, Date Ideas, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solo Traveling: Surprising Moments with Nature

The wharf at Mount Vernon with nesting osprey on the front piling.

Sometimes nature offers up the best surprises!

Like it did on my visit to Mount Vernon, the home of our first president, George Washington. Among the pristine gardens, the stately riverfront home, the history, and the visitors, was a rough-hewn home and feathered family who captured my heart.

Osprey nest on piling at Mount Vernon wharf – home of President George Washington

Though they’re common place among east coast dwellers, to those of us living in “fly-over” states, the magnificent osprey are a rare treat, indeed.

So often in life, as the saying goes, things come in threes. That’s what happened with my osprey adventure.

  1. Early one morning I awoke and found myself enthralled with a PBS television nature show. More specifically, their piece about osprey, which described their nesting habits, their family patterns, and showed some wonderful demonstrations of their amazing deep-dive fishing abilities.
  2. Little did I realize that just a few short hours later, I would come face-to-face with a real-life osprey family living atop a piling along the banks of the Potomac River at the Mount Vernon wharf. According to an article on the osprey family, the pair have nested on the estate in prior years in the top of a sycamore tree. In the summer of 2010, their nest was destroyed when the top of the tree was lost during a storm. Undaunted, the pair returned this spring and built a new home on the top of the wharf piling – just inches from where the tour boat, Spirit of Mount Vernon, boards passengers six days a week.  That’s how I met them.

    My up-close and personal meeting with the osprey of Mount Vernon wharf – a bit blurry from my excitement:(

  3. A couple of days after my visit to Mount Vernon, some friends took me on a boat ride out into the Chesapeake Bay. To my delight every channel marker seemed to be the home of an osprey family. As little chicks poked their heads out of the nests, parents sat guard or flew off in search of the family’s next meal. My only disappointment was not seeing any of them deep-dive fishing. But nature watching does take patience, I suppose. Thanks to these great videos, however, we can all enjoy the amazing abilities of the osprey to “fish.”

You can watch a brief video I took of the osprey here, and see the parent take flight as the Spirit of Mount Vernon pulls closer. Mount Vernon Osprey nest

A live webcam of an osprey nest can be found here if you’re interested in watching them in action.

Ponder & Chat: Have a favorite nature story you can share with us? Where are you favorite spots for dates with nature?

Categories: Date Ideas, Nature, Reflections, Solo traveling, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solo Traveling: Would George Washington Own an iPad?

“No estate in United America is more pleasantly situated than this….” ~George Washington on his Mount Vernon home

George Washington’s Mount Vernon home as seen from the Potomac River

For nearly half a century George Washington preened and prospered his Mount Vernon estate to 8,000 acres along the beautiful banks of the Potomac River. An 18th century entrepreneurial farmer, he developed and utilized a number of innovative technologies. We’d probably label them “cutting-edge” today.

The 16-sided barn invented by George Washington to more efficiently thrash grain.

For example, he invented a 16-sided barn to more effectively thrash wheat and collect its berries. He purchased the third patent on a water-powered gristmill that allowed him to more efficiently grind his wheat, corn and other grains. Just a couple of years before his death, he built a whiskey distillery that ultimately supplied nearly 11,000 gallons of whiskey a year to the Alexandria, Virginia, marketplace. Washington experimented with gardening and fertilization techniques and utilized the Potomac to develop a fish export business.

Of course, during this time he also led a Revolutionary Army, served as the first president of the United States, and offered his obvious talents in many other ways to his new nation. You know, simple things!

As I walked the beautiful gardens and sat on the front lawn overlooking the river, I couldn’t help but think George would have owned one of the first iPhones and iPads. He’d have had a website to sell products online. He’d have blogged to promote ideas and  conversation, and his KindleFire would be loaded with books and ideas.

Ponder & Chat: Which of the Founding Fathers have inspired you and why?

Categories: Date Ideas, Reflections, Solo traveling, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solo traveling: How to spend a Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C.

“Exploring things on my own means I get to set a pace that works for me.”

The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Setting my own pace. That’s just what I did yesterday as I set out from my hotel in Washington, D.C. for the three-mile walk to the National Cathedral. The uphill climb in the near 90 degree weather was made a bit easier by observing the many beautiful foreign embassies along Massachusetts Avenue. Entering “embassy row” near Dupont Circle and walking north reminded me a bit of a day at Disney’s world showcase at its Epcot theme park. Ok, it’s not like “being there,” but one can see and taste small pieces of various cultures in a short time and you don’t have to go through customs.

Mexican Embassy on Mass. Ave. in Washington, D.C.

With wonderment and curiosity, I strolled. Past various countries – Luxembourg, Sudan, Ireland, Madagascar, Malawi, Korea, Japan, Brazil, and the United Kingdom to name a few. Past the brightly colored Mexican Embassy. Past Winston Churchill standing with one foot in the UK and one in the US.

Winston Churchill with one foot standing on US soil and one on British Embassy grounds, symbolizing his Anglo-American descent, and the alliance he worked to forge in war and peace

Does anybody really know what time it is?

To highlight the marking of time, I passed the Naval Observatory master clock and snapped this photo just as it was changing time, making it look as if it isn’t working properly. Time is like that sometimes, don’t you think?

First glimpse of Washington National Cathedral approaching from Massachusetts Avenue

A half mile or so from my destination, towering spires began coming into view. I reached the National Catheral in time to share in the last third of the morning worship service, glorying in the anthems, the readings and partaking in communion with worshippers from all walks of life and faith backgrounds. Afterwards, I quietly explored the Cathedral’s many chapels, praying, meditating and lighting candles along my way.

Returning to the sunshine of the day, it was time to venture another long walk. This time I would take a path down Wisconsin Avenue.

Embassy Row had seemed quiet and a little austere. In contrast Wisconsin Avenue, even on a Sunday afternoon, was bustling and inviting. Shops from chic to punk, conservative to bohemian, enticed me in.

The final pièce de résistance – Thomas Sweet bittersweet chocolate and lemon custard ice creams. Come now, a gal doesn’t walk 6 miles for no reward!

Thomas Sweet – Now that’s a reward! I’m just sayin’

Categories: Solo traveling, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How My Dates are Connecting Me to the World

As I’m nearing a quarter of the way through this journey of 52 Dates with Myself and my 50th post, it seems appropriate to introduce you to some of my fellow bloggers who have encouraged me along the way. Whether you’re into poetry, gardening, painting, cooking, or the general beauty of life and community, you’ll find something special from each one. I’m grateful to these and others who’ve encouraged me along the way these past few months!

June 5, 2012 – Meet Liam Rainsford. My adventure in painting connected me to painter Liam Rainsford of Ireland. You’ll definitely want to visit his site and check out the beautiful time lapsed videos of his paintings. For those interested in painting, he offers an amazing art school for beginners right on his website. I’m honored that he would “Like” one of my posts and give me a chance to “meet” him.

May 22, 2012 – Meet Dan & Mindy Soulsby. This inspiring young couple have a thriving sustainable farm and have created a nonprofit called Project Garden Share that helps connect people who need food with those who grow it. Dan worked for a number of years at Disney in Los Angeles before returning to his home state of Ohio to “live his dream.” I’m honored that he would “Like” one of my posts on gardening and give me the chance to “meet” him.

May 22, 2012 – Meet Stephanie – A Modern Christian Woman who has one of the best recipe blogs going. I’m honored that she would “Like” one of my posts on gardening and give me the chance to “meet” her.

March 23, 2012 – Meet Preetam Nath and his Manipal”s Photo Blog. Showcasing the talent of photographers of Manipal University in India – you’ll love the variety, beauty and life captured in this wonderful site. I’m honored that Preetam would “Like” one of my posts and give me the chance to “meet” him and the wonderful photographers of Manipal U.

February 23, 2012 – Meet Angela Marie – One-in Creation. From the early days of my journey of 52 Dates with Myself Angela Marie has been there encouraging me, commenting, and liking. She shares beautiful, heartfelt poetry and art from her site. I’m honored to call her my friend, to dialogue with her and to receive her multiple “Likes” along the journey.

Categories: Commitment, Reflections, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Word of Encouragement on Painting (& Life) from Vincent

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Ponder & Chat: How does this principle apply to other areas of your life? What’s happened when you have lived this principle?

Categories: Artistic Dates, Date Ideas, Reflections, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wisdom for the Journey: On Digging, Delving, and Stillness

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” ~ Claude Monet

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” ~ Hermann Hesse

“The sound of  ‘gentle stillness’  after all the thunder and wind have passed will be the ultimate Word from God.”Jim Elliot

“One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be mere rushing on.” ~ D.H. Lawrence

Categories: Reflections, Relaxing Dates, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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