66: Before I Called You Mine

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

This is my favorite book of 2020. I know it’s only May, and it might feel a little early to say so. Even still. I loved this book.

Lauren has been on the adoption list with an organization specializing in international adoptions from China for two years without a match. She discerned that the Lord was calling her to be a mother and to pursue adoption as a single woman. The only catch is that she has to remain single throughout the process, and at least the first year or so. The first part is a requirement of the agency (if married, at least 2 years in) and the second is just a good idea for the child who’s working to attach to and trust you.

Before Thanksgiving (and a match comes) enters Joshua. The guy she’s been waiting for her whole life. They just click immediately. She’s sworn off dating for the sake of her yet-to-be adopted son or daughter, but still, here stands Joshua. Why are you doing this Lord?

The story is sweet, centered on the Lord, profound in its understanding of adoption and the longing of single women who desire to be mothers (a feeling I’m all too familiar with). It gets all ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and most likely the award of “best book of 2020.”

5: City of Girls

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

I was first introduced to Liz Gilbert when I read Eat, Pray, Love more than a decade ago. That book changed my life, well it was a catalyst for one of the biggest changes in my life … my move to North Carolina. I read the first two sections “Eat, Pray” and skipped out on the last section “Love” until years later. That’s the slowest section with the least amazing food! I then read her follow up about Marriage, and then her life got a little odd for me. That doesn’t sound great, but it’s the truth.

I heard Anne talk about this book on What Should I Read Next soon after it was released and thought, “That book isn’t for me, I’m going to skip it.” And so I did, until it was recommended to me by a dear friend whose taste in books I appreciate.

Overall the writing is delightful. Many aspects of the story are riveting and sweet and super descriptive. The entertainment world of the 1940s in New York City isn’t something I know much about. I also appreciated the conversations surrounding female friendship, a bit of feminism, and in the last few chapters true love.

But there’s a lot of things in the beginning and middle about sex that I just cannot get on board with being okay. People using other people, and even paying for sex being seen as okay and ‘just how it’s done.’ If I didn’t trust my recommender so much I would have abandoned this on page 50 the first night … but instead I’ve been reading it since Sunday (5 entire days). Because the plot and the writing grabbed me, ⭐️⭐️⭐️.

154: No One Tells You This

No One Tells You This by Glynis MacNicol

Shani from A Single Serving Podcast recommended this book a while back. My library only had it as an eBook so I set out to read it in the two days before it automatically returns tomorrow while riding a lot in the car this weekend. That’s Texas countryside out there y’all.

This book stirred up lots of feelings, lots of things about this single life. Will I always be un-partnered? Am I choosing this life or is it choosing me? Am I okay with it? Are others, or does me being alone make them uncomfortable, feeling like they always have to figure out how to fix this for me?

How do you fix it? I don’t think you can, unless you’re a single, mid-30s, Catholic guy who’s interested in dating, proposing to, and marrying me. If you are, great – send me a message. If not, then just be a friend and sit with me when it’s hard and celebrate with me when it’s not.

One of the hardest things that came up when reading this was quote:

The last time someone threw a party for me that everyone was invited to, my family from far away, friends, neighbors, church people, etc. was at least 15 years ago. I’ve never created a list of what I needed or wanted to have “fully stocked home and new start to life” for a party where people came to celebrate my next life milestone.

I’ve purchased a house, crafted a job that’s mine, launched a new product in the world, completed a 2 year coaching certification, and paid off my student loans, all without fanfare, excitement, or a party. The point isn’t that I need gifts (although some of the things in my kitchen could use an upgrade). The point is will there ever be a milestone in my life that my entire family and friend group feels the need to throw me a celebration for?

This book was excellent. While I appreciated feeling heard in my state of aloneness (not always loneliness), I also found myself crying a lot too. Mourning the loss of things I might not ever have. There’s nothing to do but recognize it, mourn the loss, and move on with the next thing in my life.

This book is a must read for single women. Call me if you need to talk when you’re done! I’m here for you! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

147: No More Bad Dates

No More Bad Dates by Kate O’Keeffe

I had a rough end to my workday yesterday so when I got a Kindle notification about a book I might like on Kindle Unlimited I downloaded the sweet romance and started reading. Then I proceeded to say up quite late just to finish.

I knew who she was going to end up with by the end of the first paragraph of chapter 1 … but still found the story sweet. This is a sweet, chaste romance story with some funny twists and turns. Overall a fun read and a great escape!

Favorite Quote: “Everyone is entitled to my opinion.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Being Comfortable with Me

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I found the below post today (from October of last year) when coming in here to write something new. I don’t think I ever published it, but find it appropriate after discussing why I won’t be renewing my eHarmony subscription in counseling today. It’s been a weird year with online dating. A few good conversations surrounded by a lot of ‘no response’ or ‘not interested’ or ‘you’re a weirdo who thinks a picture of his knuckle hair is attractive.’ So although the below thoughts are old, I think they might still be a helpful to think about.


I’ve been thinking a lot about me lately. Wow, that sounds self-centered, doesn’t it? Last month I decided to take control of one of those sticky areas of my life (my singleness) and put myself up on one of those sites. So I had to fill out a giant profile all about me. My marketing plan if you will. That’s what it feels like. Marketing myself to all the available men to check and see if they’re interested. I can make online dating sound delightful, can’t I?

But anyway, questions like “what are you most passionate about” and “what do you do with your leisure time” really make me ponder and think about how I spend my time and if it’s worth sharing. So many of the men are just “passionate about living their life to the fullest every moment of every day.” I think that’s a cop-out answer, I mean, maybe some people are passionate about that – but most people don’t actually live that way.

But back to me (remember self-centered post), what am I passionate about? Is it worth sharing? Is it dorky? Am I okay with that? Will someone else ‘get me’ from that less than 500 character analysis of what I’m passionate about? Am I putting too much emphasis on an intro paragraph to my online dating profile?

Probably.

Am I putting too much emphasis on the guy’s? Maybe – but what do I really have to go off of aside from the two weird pics he put up, knowing his most passionate about ‘living life to the fullest every moment,’ and he spends his leisure time with sports.

But anyway, back to me (once again). What am I comfortable sharing about me? Am I comfortable saying “no, I’m not a big sports fan, it’s okay that you are, but I’m just not – that won’t be our thing.” Because that’s the truth. I’ll do things that you like with you but that’s not because I’m a huge fan of sports, it’s because I’m a huge fan of you.


Current me back again. I still think the “passionate about living life to the fullest” guys are odd. I mean, is that your one. true. passion in life?

All that work on my intro paragraph and I’m not sure it did anything all year. A few guys ‘smiled’ at me, some engaged in conversation, a few called me on the phone, one video chatted a few times before I said “you know, I’m not really interested.” Overall, I’m a little glad I did it – but also I’m happy to not have this app and subscription in my life for another year.

Am I scared I won’t have a “marketing tool” for my single self out there in the world? Maybe a little, but the Lord can do whatever He wants, so I’m asking Him to use a different tool that I’m calling “meeting a person in real life.”

137: Dating You Hating You

Dating You Hating You by Christina Lauren

After The Unhoneymooners earlier this summer, I’v been slowing working through the “Christina Lauren Catalog” of their stand-alone books (I’ve got another one waiting in the library pile right now). It’s fun, modern, and fast reading.

I read this one in between coats of pink paint on the inside of my front door. As you can see I have at least 1, maybe 2, probably 3 to go before it doesn’t look awful!

Overall, this book was okay. I read it in one sitting (like watching a rom-com) and even stayed up late reading. But really it was just blah. Some of the characters were undeveloped. Also there was a giant scandal at the end that begin in the last three chapters. It felt real, but a little trite.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

136: The View From Penthouse B

The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman

I heard about this on What Should I Read Next from Anne Bogel. Although it’s a short book (less than 250 pages) that took me almost a whole week to finish, I loved it.

Gwen was recently widowed so she moved into her sister’s penthouse and figured out how she would navigate love again. She’s got a lot of the same online dating thoughts I do with a lot more success … how does one take out an ad in a paper publication about books? If you know, DM me!

The book is written as if it was Gwen’s memoir complete with a chapter of acknowledgments at the end, which I loved! This book is about love, redemption, forgiveness, dating, love, and what the best of us do when we find ourselves living in the PoorHouse with a great view!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️