Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Category: Features (page 1 of 8)

She’s Alive

Hello, everyone. It’s me – Sarah Beth. It’s been a while, so you might not remember me. Fortunately, this blog is full of pictures of just me, so hopefully it’ll all come back soon.

I haven’t written in a while because, well, I just didn’t really have much to say. And, editing these pictures takes so much more time than you would think for as poor quality as they are.

But, I got some new clothes recently that I wanted to show off. And more significantly, I’m still paying $10.95/month to maintain this little website, so I thought I should at least do something with my money.

Also, like the powerful influencer that I am, people keep asking where I’ve been lately. And by people keep asking, I mean one person asked if I still had that blog. But that was all the encouragement I needed.

To that one person, thank you. And, please email me back.

To address what everyone actually cares about: I’m not dating anyone. Actually, I’m not even using the dating apps right now. I still go on dates occasionally – if they happen organically. But, the apps can be exhausting, physically and emotionally. And, I know what I’m looking for, so I’d rather be more selective with my time at this stage of my life.

I have been on some great dates in the past 6 months, though – and some not so great ones (once, my date made me cry at the table and then the waiter thought he was proposing. It was a roller coaster of an evening.). But overall, I’ve had some nice conversations, learned a lot more about the military (naturally), and worn some cute outfits.

Which brings me to my next point:

I recently went hunting for a very specific item – a casual pink skirt. I never found the skirt, but that search led me to buy a ton of stuff from ThredUp, the online consignment/thrift store.

As someone who is not a fan of online shopping anyway, ThredUp was a particularly terrible experience for me. There is just not enough information about the items to know if you’re making a wise purchase or not. Of the 12 things that I bought, I only kept 5 – and a couple of those 5 I would have not kept, but they were unreturnable. (ThredUp doesn’t have a very friendly return policy, either.)

With that said, if you’re looking for something VERY specific (like, you know the brand and size), or something where quality/fit doesn’t really matter, then go for it. The prices are great. But, buyer beware.

The skirt below was one of the 5 things that I kept from that bundle and it’s one that I wouldn’t have picked off the rack. However, once I put it on, I do really like it, so I’m not mad that I couldn’t return it.

This outfit reminded me of Meghan Markle’s character in Suits (my favorite show for fashion, btw). While she would have worn colors and patterns much more suited for a high-powered law office, the silhouette – crew neck sweater, pencil skirt – was a staple of her character’s wardrobe.

The trim down the back is my favorite part.

As opposed to feeling like a well-paid, well-dressed Manhattan attorney, this next outfit made me feel a little like Ronald McDonald. However…I’m obsessed with this skirt (easily my favorite purchase in the ThredUp group), and I’ll be wearing it a lot. I’ll also be wearing these rainbow shoes a lot – I mean, they go with literally everything and remind me of shoes my mom wore when I was a kid.

This next dress was not from ThredUp, but from Charming Charlie (which is going out of business – so, find one soon and buy all the things). Actually, most of this outfit is from CC: the earrings are, as is the barrette. I read somewhere that barrettes are very in right now, and I’m completely here for it.

The dress was $10, and honestly, I think you can tell it’s not a high quality dress. But, for $10, I didn’t really care. It’s a perfect summer date night dress (speaking from experience), and I can throw a sweater on and make it office appropriate.

Finally, here is an outfit I wore to work and probably shouldn’t have – I’m not sure off-the-shoulder is office-appropriate under any circumstances. But, I liked it so much, and my boss was out of the office, so YOLO.

The skirt is a very deep purple and originally from Express, but another ThredUp purchase. For some reason, I don’t usually wear pencil skirts, but thanks to these accidental purchases, I think I’m hooked.

It should be noted that I have other hairstyles than the 1.5 depicted here. But, I took all of these pictures on the same day to try to save time. It did not, in fact, save time.

Well, now you’re all caught up on my life and my wardrobe. I hope all of y’all are doing well, too. What fashion trends are you super into right now? How’s dating going for you? What major life changes have you recently experienced? I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for following along and for caring about my little life – it means the world.

<3,

SB

Goodbye, my love

Well, the news is still settling in, but I guess there is no denying it now: Tim Tebow is engaged. When I posted about this on facebook, one of my friends said, “Nothing is final until you’re dead.” And while I appreciate that sentiment, I think it’s safe to say that Tebow and I are probably not going to be a thing at this point.

A friend sent me a Babylon Bee article about both Tebow and Chris Pratt being off the market in the same week, and it hit a little too close to home with its satirical interview. “If I couldn’t land a Christian football star or an A-list Hollywood actor,” laments the single Christian girl in question, “then is there really going to be any guy out there for me? I’m just not sure there are many other choices that God would have for me.” Words I may or may not have spoken at some point. The article goes on to say that at time of publication, this girl was “googling ‘single Christian celebrities’ to try to replenish her list of men she suspects God has destined her to be with.” Something I may or may not have done.

While my crush had significantly subsided in recent years (due, in large part, to the realization that he’s not into blondes), at other times in my life I was honestly pretty convinced that some way, somehow, Timmy and I were going to end up together. I intentionally didn’t read his book for a long time so that if I ever did meet him, I wouldn’t know everything about him and could ask him questions like a normal person. Because normal people are definitely convinced they’re going to marry celebrities they’ve never met.

I did TRY to meet him, though. When I lived in Virginia Beach, Tim was doing a football camp in Williamsburg, and I dragged a friend with me to see if we could find him. We could not. Another time, a friend invited me to her church in Knoxville where he was speaking. I went and intentionally wore a bright yellow dress so I’d stand out. Like a highlighter. But that didn’t work, either. Even when I went to India, I had a layover in France, and I thought I’d get to hang out in the lounge (I was wrong), and I imagined that Tebow – who would for sure have lounge access – would come in, we’d strike up a conversation, I’d tell him I was returning from a mission trip, and he’d propose on the spot. Or something like that.

That also did not happen.

But, I was prepared for this disappointment. I had been pretty convinced another time in my life that I was going to marry a celebrity – Prince William. Princess Diana died when I was 12, and like everyone else, I was glued to the coverage – and that’s how I learned that her 15 year old son existed. And like the 12 year old that I was, I fell hard.

I bought every magazine about Diana in print and plastered my 7th grade locker with William pictures. I sent a cassette tape to the princes that I thought would encourage them after their mom’s passing (this was half well-intentioned sweetness, and half because I thought he’d listen to it and just have to know the American girl who sent it – and to know me is to love me). And when one of my friends said she really thought I’d end up with him, I took it as a word from the Lord. This was also middle school, so I took license plates with my crush’s birthday numerals on them as signs from above.

Alas, Wills is 3 kids in at this point, and Tebow bought his fiancée a rock the size of Texas. But, I don’t regret my day dreams. Being a romantic makes life more rosy and interesting. Sure, following Tim across the country wasn’t the most productive use of my time, but I had some fun adventures with friends and got some good stories along the way. And perhaps my friend was a little off in her forecasting about my future royal wedding, but if 7th graders can’t have wild dreams about the future, who can?

So, I wish Timmy the best, and I will continue to live vicariously through Kate and Megan and all those who wear a crown, because, well, my name literally means princess, so I can’t help it. But, I won’t start googling Christian celebrities again, just yet.

I don’t have a good tie-in for this outfit. I just liked it. I actually wore this dress to work last week. I know it’s really too fancy for the office, but I’ve been watching a lot of Suits, and Donna inspires me with her fashion choices, as inappropriate for the workplace as some of them may be. And, I put a sweater over it, so that definitely toned it down.

So, friends, I told you my embarrassing stories – what about you? Have you ever been CONVINCED you were going to marry someone famous? Who was it, and what measures did you take to make this happen? Please share so we can all reminisce about famous loves gone-by. I bet some names might pop up more than once.

<3,
SB

thank u, next

Happy New Year, everyone!

In the spirit of not making resolutions I won’t keep, I’m going to stop promising how often I’ll have a new blog post. I get embarrassed when I don’t live up to my own expectations, so the new rule is, I’ll write when I have something to say. Or a really great outfit to feature.

Also in the spirit of the new year, and of Ariana Grande, I thought it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane. Reflecting on the past can sometimes be a great way to head into the future.

Unless you’ve been trapped in a fallout shelter for the past month or two, you’ve probably heard Ariana’s new song, “thank u, next.” It has spawned countless memes and an epic music video that took the social media world by storm for a full 24-48 hours.

The basic premise of the song is Ariana looking back on all of her past relationships and reflecting on the good they brought her and the lessons she learned. She ends by talking about focusing on herself and being grateful for all the ways she’s grown, even through difficulties.

Of course, in true 2019 pop star fashion, the song is full of profanity and teenage slang (I honestly don’t see how it’s possible that she’s over the age of 15). However, I really like the sentiment – the idea of looking for the good in all of our life circumstances, including the painful ones.

Can I really say “I’m so [edited] grateful for my ex” about every guy I’ve dated? I’d have to think pretty hard about that. But, I can at least highlight a few:

Thank u, next:  To my grad school guy – thank you for being the reason I made a lifelong friend. There’s nothing like common relationship drama and young T. Swift music to bring two early-20s girls together and make them inseparable for life. Also, thank you for shoveling my snow.

Thank u, next: To the guy I went out with a few times when I was 23 – you prompted me (quite unknowingly on your part, I’m very sure) to refocus my life and reprioritize my relationship with God. My twenties may have looked a lot different had I not known you.

Thank u, next: To the guy I went out with a few times when I was 26 – thanks to you, I went on a 10 month Man Fast, and it was the single best spiritual undertaking in my life thus far.

Thank u, next: To Hot Trainer. We never actually dated at all, but you showed me what respect looked like at a time when I’d experienced very little of it. And you set an impossible standard for text response time with which no man has ever been able compete.

Thank u, next: To the guy from Ohio. I freaked out a little on you. Sorry about that. Thank you for being nice and letting me get it out of my system on you, so no one else need experience it.

Thank u, next: To my chiropractor. Whenever I want someone to think I’m funny, I tell our story, and they always do. Also, you fixed my back, so I appreciate that.

Thank u, next: To the lawyer. We’ll always have Whytheville.

Thank u, next: To the Navy SEAL I went out with that one time. Thank you for helping me realize that it was possible for a man of your caliber to be interested in a girl like me. I’m also glad I can someday tell my grandchildren that I dated a SEAL (you’ll forgive me if I embellish the story a little).

Thank u, next: To Bradley Cooper. You raised my standards permanently and helped me realize what I’m really looking for. And it snowed in Chattanooga in March, which was pretty magical, if you think about it.

Thank u, next: To all the military men I’ve ever dated – thank you for teaching me about your jobs and war zones and the insiders’ scoop on international relations, and for answering my questions about the 2nd Amendment and whether or not we should even be in said war zones. Also, thank you for serving and looking so good in that uniform (heart eyes emoji x 10).

Thank u, next: To everyone else – to the first dates who I genuinely enjoyed talking to, thank you for good conversation. To the first dates that were a little painful, thank you for taking the risk, anyway. To the ones who didn’t ghost me, thank you for being honest, even when it’s awkward. To the ones who did ghost me, thank you for helping me strengthen my own skills at having difficult conversations.

I don’t know what 2019 will bring me, but if I can keep looking for the good, perhaps it’ll all turn out just fine, no matter what.

I do know that 2019 will certainly bring me new clothes, even as I’ve been watching Tidying Up and throwing out tons of old ones (to be fair, I read the book a few months before the series came out and had already begun the process).

But here are a couple of 2018 outfits that will remain in my closet, as they definitely spark joy:
I’m not 100% sure that this dress wasn’t intended to be an “Ugly Christmas Dress” – it’s pretty loud and velvety… But, I love it and proudly wear it, unironically.

Poinsettas are a Christmas flower, of course, but I may still wear this dress into January, as it doesn’t have any Santas or trees on it – I think I can get away with it. It’s just a shame to only wear something you like so much during one month of the year. The next dress was my New Year’s Eve dress. My expectations for NYE are always way too high, and I’m usually disappointed. But, I love the hope found in a fresh start – and the sparkles, of course.

Lest you think I skipped my sequins this year in favor of a more subtle sparkle, please look more closely at my shoes. Sequins will forever have my heart.
I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and are expectant about the new year. Perhaps you might also take a lesson from Ariana (words I would never have expected to come from my mouth) and reflect on some of the past seasons in your life – good and bad – to see how you’ve grown because of them. And, let’s pledge to ourselves to continue to look for that good in every situation we encounter in the new year.

<3,

SB

SB and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Date

I’ve had a suspicion for a long time that my fashion posts really weren’t the most interesting to many of you. Although the original purpose of my blog was to talk about clothing and trends, my audience (aka, you guys. My friends.) seemed to prefer the juicier topics. Based on the fact that about 200 people read my post about weight loss, and only 30 read the following week’s post about casual apparel…I’d say my suspicion was right (shout out to you hard core 30!).

So, in the interest of giving the people what they want, let me tell you about the worst date I have ever been on.

One of the conversation topics that often gets brought up on first dates, particularly if you’ve met the person online, is dating horror stories. And I’ve heard some doozies. Men especially seem prone to being catfished, whether in the more innocent form of a girl using older pictures with good angles, or the more absurd cases where a girl flat-out uses someone else’s pictures.

But I’d always felt a little boring when this topic came up. Either because I’m a pretty good judge of character and weed out the weirdos before I meet them, or because I genuinely enjoy talking to strangers, most of my dates have been pleasant. Pleasant, while not “good”, does not make for an interesting story.

Well, at least until a few months ago…

It started out like any normal Bumble date. We agreed on a specific public location (that I picked, because he was from Bowling Green – an hour and 15 minutes away).

Side note: it seems very flattering when a guy is willing to drive any distance more than 30 minutes to meet me for the first time. But I’ve learned that this should be a warning sign when we’ve only talked for a day or two.

Anyway, we met and I could tell immediately that it wasn’t going anywhere, but we were there, so might as well make the best of it. He told me that I was his first Bumble date, which I was totally fine with. I actually am always kinda happy for guys who have me as their first date from an app – I will be nice to them and I pretty much look like my pictures. If nothing else, it’ll at least be a positive first-date experience. (Side note 2: I told this to another date once, and he said I was the Bumble Mother Theresa, so if you guys want to start calling me that, too, I’m cool with it).

The date was fine. He had two Bud Lights with dinner, and we walked around town for a while after (because dinner ended too quickly for me not to feel guilty sending him all the way back to Bowling Green). At some point, he said that he couldn’t really read me, but I didn’t seem NOT interested. I took great pride in this because, while I was definitely not interested, at least I was nice enough that he didn’t feel like I hated him.

When we finally got back to our cars, he kissed me – and let me assure you guys, hard to read or not, that was NOT the vibe I was giving off. I then got in my car and drove the 15-20 minutes back to my house.

So far, this was a pretty par for the course poor date. Nothing noteworthy, just not good.

And then I got the call.

Literally as I was pulling into my driveway, buddy called me to say that he’d been pulled over and the cop could smell alcohol on his breath.

To save you from scrolling backwards, I’ll remind you of his drink order – two Bud Lights. He was a 34 year old, normal-sized, adult male. Two Bud Lights and somehow the cop could smell them.

Well, spoiler alert, fortunately, he didn’t get a DUI, but the cop wouldn’t let him leave unless someone came to pick him up. But, since he lived in Bowling Green, there weren’t that many people he could call. So, I turned my car back around to get him.

At this point, my niceness was wearing thin, and so was my patience. When I arrived where his truck was parked, he got in my car and said, “I hope you don’t think this was a line.” With no sympathy whatsoever in my voice, I replied, “Of course I don’t think this was a line. It would literally be the worst line in history.”

I wasn’t sure what we could do for an hour while he “sobered up”. He suggested we could just go back to my place, which I FLATLY vetod and suggested instead that we just go walk around some more.

After about an hour of walking, I took him back to his car and he drove back to Kentucky. I drove back to my home and hoped he never texted me again.

But, the next day, he did text me – only to say that while I seemed nice, he just didn’t think it was going to work out.

Y’all – HE dumped ME!

I let him save face, though, because there was no point in making him feel more embarrassed, and I didn’t want to see him again, anyway. So, all’s well that end’s well. And, as the silver lining, I finally have a really good worst-date story to share. Added bonus that it’s at least a safe worst-date story – despite his repeated efforts to kiss me, I really don’t think he was creepy or meant me any harm. He was just really green when it came to dating and had no idea idea what he was doing.

I don’t remember what I wore to meet that guy, but here are a couple outfits I have worn or would wear on dates:

I love this dress for its elegant simplicity. I almost always pair it with gold accessories and makeup and feel like a Greek goddess every time. The perfect summer dinner date outfit.

This one is good for a day date. I actually wore these shorts on one of my favorite dates, but that was in the summer. To make them a little more appropriate for a 90 degree fall day, I swapped my white off the shoulder top for a peach sweater-T (I wish I had had a rust orange top, but you make do with what you’ve got) and my sandals for booties. I think it works.

So there you have it – my worst date story. It’s probably not the craziest story I’ve ever heard, to be honest, but it’s definitely the craziest that has ever happened to me. Do you have any that top that? What’s your worst date – or the worst you’ve heard of? I hope you’ll comment because these stories are my favorites!

<3 ,
SB

Long Time, No See!

It’s been a while, y’all. When I went on my blogging break a little over a year ago, I wasn’t sure what the future held for Tastefully Trendy. Would I be back a week later? A month? Would I ever be back? Would anyone care either way?

Well, a few weeks ago, at least 30 of you voted in an Instagram poll that you’d like to see me back, which is way more validation than I needed. So, let’s dive right in. Here’s a look at my life since July 10, 2017 – by the numbers:

414 – approximate number of days I’ve been MIA.

8+ – pairs of shoes I’ve bought in that time period

Innumerable – Target trips

2: low-key celebs I’ve met and tried to slide into their DMs

0: times I’ve been successful


(Bobby Bones and John Crist – it’s not too late to get back to me!)

5: days spent on a beach trip to Pensacola

10: pairs of shoes I packed for said beach trip

Countless: hours it took to pack for same beach trip. Still the worst packer ever, guys.

1: Navy SEALs I’ve gone on a date with

1: Navy SEALs I’ve instantly fallen in love with (spoiler alert: San Diego and Nashville are too far apart.)

2: exes who got engaged this summer

0: chiropractors I’ve hit on

409: days I’ve been grateful to live in Nashville (I subtracted the days I was at the beach, let’s be real.)

So, as you can see – not a lot has changed. I still love clothes and going on dates and my church choir. I still waffle between being hopeful and feeling discouraged about my life trajectory – sometimes even simultaneously. And, I still hope that my little blog is both fun and encouraging to those of you who read it. Thank you so much to all of you – your existence is good for my soul.

I’m still not sure what the future holds for Tastefully Trendy. For now, I’m thinking a weekly post might be both attainable and enjoyable for me. We’ll see. In the meantime, here are my vacation outfits – even more poorly edited than usual because I took them with my phone, in a mirror. But, I left on my Snapchat captions for your reading pleasure.

Honestly, y’all, my stomach is not my greatest feature, so this is as much crop as I dare. On a related note, I’m 33 years old.

This last outfit I did not wear on vacation, but I bought it and took it with me on vacation, and I love it, so it’s a bonus.

Thank you all for reading and encouraging me to come back. Please feel free to leave comments, and let me know if you have anything you’d like me to talk about – fashion or otherwise. Or, just say hey. Have a good week!

<3,
SB

Anchor for the Soul

When I first started studying hope, I thought God was encouraging me to be hopeful about a certain situation, and I was pumped. I couldn’t wait for how I thought things would work out, and I was excited to prove the naysayers wrong. But, as my friend had predicted, that situation did not work out how I’d “hoped” at all. Like, not only did the door close, but it was slammed in my face, locked, and the key thrown away – that’s how much it did not work out.

So, then I had to decide if I was going to practice what I preached. It wasn’t hard to be hopeful when it looked like things were going my way; it’s much harder when it actually went opposite of what I wanted, and there was no evidence in sight that things might improve in the future.

But, as we discussed yesterday, we do have evidence of better things in the future because God is good and His promises are that He gives good gifts to His children. His plans are to give us a future and a hope, and He has never let His people be forsaken.

Hope is a choice.

That is the conclusion I’ve come to. Like almost everything else in our lives, we can choose to be hopeful. We can choose to believe that God’s Word is true, that He loves us, that He’s working things out for our benefit, and that “this too shall pass.”

OR

We can choose to stay stuck in self-pity and fear and worry and doubt and all the other things that tend to creep in when we’ve lost our hope.

Since beginning this study, I’ve learned that Romans is a book chock full of hope. The book I’ve always viewed as very theology-heavy and cumbersome to read is actually full of inspirational verses about this confident expectation. Two of those verses are in chapter 5 (verses 3 and 4): “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Hope is a result of strong character.

We’ve all heard cliches about what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or, as my best friend in college used to say, “it builds character.” But, cliche or not, that’s what struggles do – they make us stronger, and out of that strength, we can have hope. Hope is not a passive, Pollyanna outlook on the world that ignores real life pain. It’s a choice that looks at pain and decides to take God at His word and remain hopeful, knowing that He is working all things together for good (also in Romans – 8:28).

Continuing in chapter 5, the very next verse says that this hope – the one that rises out of strong character, the one founded on a decision to persevere while maintaining hopefulness – does not disappoint. Why? Because of God’s love. Even if the circumstances are disappointing, our hope was not for nothing.

Hope is an anchor for the soul.

This same hope that buoys us also grounds us. When the peaks and valleys of life threaten to throw off our equilibrium and toss around the proverbial ship of our lives, hope keeps us steady. It keeps our emotions from going all over the map. The highs and lows of unmet expectations do not shake us as much because our hope is grounded in the One who is unshakeable.

And when we choose to have hope, when we choose to be grounded, we can also find true joy. Because knowing that this hope does not disappoint, we can, as Romans 12 says, be patient in troubles and joyful in hope!

I want to have hope.

I want to walk in joy. And, I want to live an exciting life that’s buoyed by the happy expectation of what God’s going to do in me and through me, and grounded in the knowledge that no matter what comes my way, God is working it for my good.

And yes, I want a happy ending “in the land of the living.” But, as Gigi from my favorite movie, He’s Just Not That Into You, says, maybe the happy ending is learning to live in hope, no matter what. Then, can we recognize and enjoy the happy ending that God had in mind all along.

I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait and HOPE for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. – Psalm 27: 13-14 (AMPC, AMP)

(Part 3 of a 3-part series)

Hope Deferred

There are a lot of really great reasons to have hope.
  • By focusing on the possible positive outcomes, you take your mind off the negative possibilities, relieving yourself of that worry and anxiety.
  • The expression “hope floats” demonstrates hope’s ability to keep us “buoyed” – our spirits are high when we are looking forward to something good.
  • Hope motivates us to action. When you’re believing in a positive outcome, you take steps toward making that happen. Just like a pregnant woman prepares her nursery in happy anticipation of her child’s arrival, hope enables us to take measures to prepare ourselves for the good things coming down the pike.

I think the main reason most of us don’t actively hope is fear. When you have been hurt or disappointed so many times, you want to “guard your heart”, as the Bible says. Only, I don’t think “guarding your heart” means exactly what we’ve often interpreted it to mean. I don’t think it means do whatever you can to keep pain out. Rather, it means surrounding yourself with those things that give life to your spirit, with people who encourage you, with Scripture that speaks truth, and with faith, hope, and love. In doing so, you will protect your heart – not from pain ever getting to it, but from being crushed under the weight of that pain.

But, I get that fear.

I have been very disappointed in one particular area over and over again, and that’s the area where I struggle to have hope. When I go shopping, I have no trouble hoping that I will find some cute clothes; my experience has taught me that is likely to happen. I also find it easy to hope that when I go out in downtown Nashville, I will hear good music and talk to interesting people. I’ve learned to have a confident expectation of that result.

But, what about those areas where I haven’t had good results? Where I have been rejected or overlooked or turned away time and again? Those areas that actually really matter to me, deep down? What about those hopes for each of us of getting married, or having a child, or being matched for an adoption, or getting a promotion, or passing the licensure exam, or fill in the blank… How do I have hope when everything seems to indicate I really should keep my expectations low?

Those are the times when hope is absolutely the hardest. But, those are also the times when we must have hope. We must fight for it, for all the reasons mentioned above, and so many more.

If a situation is certain, there is no reason to have hope. At that point, you’re essentially just stating a fact. Yes, I have hope every night that when I go to sleep, my bed won’t collapse; however, that’s never happened, and I know the wood in my bed is sturdy and assembled well. So, I’m really just assured of fact at that point.

I mentioned yesterday that there was one more definition of hope according to Merriam-Webster. Technically, I guess it’s a definition for the expression, “hope against hope”, but it says, “to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment”. Similarly, Romans 8:24-25 says, “…[H]ope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

We can’t wait until things look like they’re going in our favor to have hope. We must have hope now and confidently expect God to move on our behalf.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

Many of you are probably familiar with this proverb. I’ve heard it a million times and always thought it meant that hope unfulfilled makes the heart sick. And, I think it does. But, I also think that it refers to putting off hope. By trying to protect ourselves from pain by delaying having hope, we’re doing the exact opposite. We’re depriving ourselves of the peace and joy that comes from anticipating that God will move in our lives. We’re giving room to anxiety and worry and becoming pessimistic. And we are limiting the joy we can experience when something good does happen as a culmination of our hopes and dreams.

I think putting off hope also can create self-fulfilling prophecies. Earlier I mentioned how hope motivates us to action. The converse, though, is that if we don’t have hope, we are motivated to inaction. How many great things never happen because we’re too afraid they might not work out? By failing to act, we create the very scenario we were afraid of in the first place. You’re afraid the boss might find you too forward if you mention taking on more responsibility, so you stay silent; he assumes you aren’t interested in a promotion, and you get passed over. You’re afraid you might not be successful in that career, so you don’t pursue licensure and stay in a dead end job you don’t love. You think long-distance relationships seldom work, so you break up before you have a chance to try.

However, hope actually minimizes disappointments.

To use my earlier scenarios, I don’t lose hope if I shop and find nothing. I’m bummed, of course, because I like new clothes. But, I have the confident and happy expectation that the next time I shop, I’ll find something. If I go downtown and the band sounds terrible and no one talks to me, I might wish I’d stayed home and watched a movie instead, but I don’t assume I’ll never hear good music or meet interesting people again. And I certainly don’t think something is wrong with me. I just assume it was an off night and have hope that the next time I go, it will be better.

Disappointments always come. It’s a part of life, especially since while we know that God’s plans are best, we don’t always know what those best plans are. But, if we have hope, we can bounce back quicker from that disappointment. We can take things in stride, knowing that something else good is around the corner. God’s Word promises that since even human fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, our Heavenly Father does even more. It also says that the righteous have never been forsaken or God’s children had to beg for bread (Ps. 37:25).

So, while we may not have, as M-W says, “any basis for expecting fulfillment” in our particular situation, we do have basis to expect God to do good things in our lives because that’s who He is, and He has before. Just like David knew God could equip him to kill Goliath because he’d killed the lion and the bear, so we can look back on our experiences and see the many ways God has worked in our lives, even in ways we didn’t anticipate or in circumstances that seemed, well, hopeless. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so if He came through before, He will come through again – sometimes in the exact ways we’re hoping, sometimes in ways that exceed what we hoped for, and sometimes in ways that are completely different than what we imagined. But, He always comes through.

Where have you been deferring hope in your life? Have you put it off because you’re afraid of the disappointment? Think through the worst case scenario, and imagine what it will be like if you do have hope versus if you don’t. If the end result is going to be the same, won’t it be better to go into it hopeful, and then emerge still hopeful? And maybe, in the process, we will find what we were hoping for all along. But, as the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace said, EVEN IF we do not, we are able to still praise God because He is good, and so are His ways in our lives.

(Thank you to Joyce Meyer and her book, Get Your Hopes Up!, for inspiration on several of these points.)

(Part 2 of a 3-part series)

Take Me out to the Ballgame

I was out of town last week which always puts me way behind in my blog writing. But, y’all, I was in Utah for work and it was GORGEOUS! I wouldn’t last living there: cold and outdoorsy. But, it was so pretty!

Also, ALL THE TULIPS!!!!

I wanted to cry every time I stepped outside, it was all so beautiful. Seriously.

Anyway, prior to that trip, I went on a date. It was the Saturday before Easter – you know, the Sunday where I needed to leave my house by 7:15 to be at church for 5 hours – so, I probably shouldn’t have gone out. But, how do you resist an invitation to a baseball game? It’s my favorite kind of date!

Except for the clothes…casual clothes are REALLY hard for me. Well, I should say, casual clothes when you want to impress someone are really hard for me. I don’t like wearing flats on dates; I’m short enough as it is. I also prefer to wear rompers or dresses for warm-weather dates. But, obviously, at a baseball game, I can’t look like I’m trying too hard (although, as I was soon to learn, at Nashville baseball games, no one watches the games. I could have worn a romper with wedges and been quite at home with many of the other girls who just walked around the stadium and hung out at the trendy bar past left field.)

So, I settled on this: casual shorts, a t-shirt (but at least a cute one with a ballet back), and floral flats because it’s too early for straight up sandals. Maybe not my best date outfit, but it worked and got me out the door (I was, naturally, running late. I blame it on the casual clothes).

What would you wear to a baseball game – either, normally, or on a date? I feel like my answers to that question would be different depending on the circumstances; maybe yours are, too. Give me some ideas for next time, please!!

Cool Cool

I made a comment on facebook recently that I think I might be losing people’s attention because I haven’t had any good dating stories in a while. So…it’s time to give the people what they want!

One of the reasons there has been a shortage of stories about my love life is that I deleted all of my dating apps. I decided to just give real life a chance again for a while. And real life has treated me pretty well – I can generally weed out the weirdos before I go on a date with them (that doesn’t prohibit me from doing embarrassing things like asking out my chiropractor, but it does limit the awkward interactions), and so my dating experiences are much more pleasant. Perhaps, though, pleasant isn’t as great for my blog readership.

Fortunately for all of you, the other night, a ghost from Tinder past popped up.

For you to understand this story, I need to tell you about a guy I met online back in May. He lived in Knoxville but came to Nashville a lot. We exchanged numbers, and he started texting me. His texts were not exactly stimulating, though… Almost every day, he’d ask me how my day was, I’d answer, and then he’d ask when I got off work. Everyday I’d tell him I got off at 5. Guys, 5:00. Like, that’s not a weird time to remember. But, every day we’d have the same conversation, and I’d tell him the same time. His response was always, “cool, cool.” End of conversation.

Naturally, he became the “cool, cool” guy to my friends. After a week or so of this dead end conversation, I just ghosted. People may disagree with this technique, but when we’ve never met and I’ve shared no more conversation with you then when I get off work and “cool, cool”, I think ghosting is completely appropriate.

Fast forward to last weekend, I went out with some friends for my birthday. A man I’d never seen before came up and started talking to me, and as the conversation progressed, he insisted, repeatedly, that he knew me. I knew I’d never met this guy, and I don’t usually have “one of those faces”, but he insisted. After about 5 minutes, my friends were ready to leave, and I was over the conversation, so I said my goodbyes and the guy asked for my number.

Side note: I almost always give my real number, unless the guy is REALLY creepy. It’s hard to reject someone out right like that, and I don’t like lying by giving a fake number. I figure the worst that can happen is I get a few annoying texts after. Again, you may have a different philosophy on this point than me. That’s fine.

Anyway, the guy texted me while I was standing there so I’d have his number, but I didn’t open the text then. My friends and I went on our way, and it wasn’t until a few hours later that I looked at my phone and saw the unopened text. I opened it, and much to my surprise, there was a text history from that number. And, of course, as you’ve likely guessed by now – it belonged to the “cool cool” guy.

I guess my profile pictures are super memorable, or maybe he just has a photographic memory, because I for sure did not recognize someone whose pictures I’d seen 9 months ago. But, kudos to Cool Cool for being right; technically, we had “met”.

Also, as you might have guessed, I did not ever respond to him. Sorry, buddy. Meeting you in real life had only confirmed what my intuition has previously told me.

So, the morals of the story here are 2-fold. 1) Always listen to your intuition. It will not lead you astray. And 2) never delete your text history.

I was going to show you the outfit I wore that night – it was a very cute romper/choker combo, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, none of those pictures turned out well. So, instead, here is what I wore on my actual birthday. I told you’d I’d probably wear this tulle skirt – and, I did! (Still not my best representation of a cute outfit. I promise it looked good, though. And I was a big fan of this color combo!)

My Awkward life

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming: My Awkward Life.

Y’all, I had the most awkward moment in my not-as-short-anymore-life a couple weeks ago. And this is coming from the girl who asked out her chiropractor – and then went back to him. It was terrible.

As ground work for this story, let me say that although I’m on this kinda-break from dating, I did have one “pre-existing” guy that resurfaced about the same time I started my break. So, I was grandfathering him in and had a date planned with him for the Tuesday after Halloween.

The Saturday before Halloween, I took my cute little Tooth Fairy costume out on the town with some friends. As I was about to leave (literally, I was checking Uber and Lyft rates), a man dressed as a chicken started talking to me, and he happened to be super interesting. (This is not important to the story, but he was from New Jersey, had gone to college in Oklahoma for the rodeo, moved to Nashville for music, still was the front-man for a band, but during the day was a commodity trader who was loaded and lived on his boat (I called it a yacht, but I think it was technically a boat.). FASCINATING. And it was all true. I googled him.)

Anyway, so the Chicken and I ended up talking outside for quite a while, and as we’re sitting there, a guy high-fives me. While I’m high-fiving him back, I look up and see that his buddy, dressed like a tiger, is the guy I have a date scheduled with for 3 days later.

Awkward.

Pause for a moment and let’s reflect on how small of a town Nashville really is. I run into people I know all the time. Usually in less uncomfortable circumstances.

Back to my story, the Tiger says nothing, but keeps walking, and I tell the Chicken that I have a date with that tiger on Tuesday. I figured he might as well share in the discomfort with me, although to his credit, he was much less phased by it than I was.

The Chicken and I keep talking, and after a little while, I’m calling an Uber again, when from across the street, I hear my name. The Tiger yells hey and waves and keeps walking. And I want to die. The Chicken says I can go talk to him, but that’s weird. I think I just did a little half-step dance move, said “this is the most awkward situation of my life”, and got in my Uber.

Needless to say, nothing ever came of either of those two guys. No big loss with the Tiger – this was about his 4th chance, anyway. But, I wouldn’t have minded talking to the Chicken more, even though I don’t think he shared my values. So, maybe it was for the best.

And, there you have it. Definitely the most awkward moment I’ve ever had – hopefully the most I will ever have. It really was like being in the Mindy Project or some other sitcom. But, I survived, and maybe the two bullets dodged made it all worth it.

Maybe.

As my shirt says, though, “Life is short.” Embrace the awkward (and wear sequins).

1-sequins-glitter-sweater

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