How To Know It’s Time To Break Up

How To Know It’s Time To Break Up

It’s no surprise around here I’m a big believer in breaking up with someone you’re dating when it becomes obvious they’re not “the one.”

This news story is too much proof I’m right to let it pass by!

Our dumb friend Kevin made a date with his online girlfriend. Ooo, yes, the glamor and excitement of online dating come to life! A real life date!

Except… his real life girlfriend showed up before his online date appeared at his house.

Tragedy! Angst! Hot flush due to getting caught!

Since real life girlfriend was now in the house, when online date showed up… he called the police and reported online date as a burglar.

Because that was going to cover his tail.

So, in honor of Kevin Gaylor of Colorado Springs, CO, I have created a list of Hints It’s Time To End Your Dating Relationship.


1. You’re browsing the personals section online.  What, are you just looking for the next best thing? Are you bored? Here’s a hint: if you’re looking for someone else, the one you’re with isn’t your soul mate. Cut the line and move on. And if you’re just bored, you’re playing with fire and your significant other should move on because they’re worth more than you.

2. You plan to meet in a private location. Mr. Kevin set up his online date at 3 a.m. Yes, that’s in the oh. my. goodness. hours of the morning, not a time when you’re likely to run into anyone you know. If you’re not proud to take your date in public, cut the line. You’re not in the right relationship.

3. Your relationship is filled with lies. Not going to be a huge shocker here, but if you’re not being truthful and honest with your significant other, you’re not in the relationship for the long haul. No, you do not need to have emotional diarrhea on the first date in the interests of “getting to know each other” or “being completely authentic with your true self” but if you’ve been steadily dating for several months, the major stuff should be out in the open.

4. You go to extraordinary measures to hide your actions. So, Kevin called the cops. He also got his tail hauled to jail and a misdemeanor for providing false information to the police. I wonder if that was worth it to him? If you have secrets that cause you to involve friends, family or authorities to keep hidden or if you’re constantly emptying your computer’s “history” tab… you need to take stock and make better choices.

5. You just don’t like them. I know this is self-explanatory, but if you don’t like the person you’re with, stop spending time with them. Duh. If you don’t like them, you don’t like them. Stop making them miserable trying to please you and let them go free to find someone who actually does like them. Any other action and you’re just being selfish because you don’t want conflict. Deal with it with integrity.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

I don’t mention the warning signs of when to break up in my book Badonkadonk: and other things that make you blush. I just talk about the nitty-gritty of the marriage relationship. And it’s pretty good, I’m not gonna lie. I’d be honored if you head over here to take a look at it, comment and rate it.

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Posted by on October 27, 2011 in The Goods


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Wanna Be Lucky in Love?

Wanna Be Lucky in Love?

Are you shy?

If you are, it looks like you may be luckier in love!

I saw an article today that covered a UC-Berkley study finding that both men and women who are easily embarrassed reported higher levels of monogamy, were considered more trustworthy and generous.

The study also found easily flustered people were seen as more cooperative and reliable team members and business partners. Tests repeatedly showed that “moderate embarrassment” signals a tendency to be “pro-social.”

People view these individuals as more relatable, and are more likely to want to affiliate with them.


After falling in love and marrying a guys who’s comfortable in his own skin and humble, I’ve come to dislike the people who are so darned impressed with themselves they have to be in the center of attention.

And I worry about gals who change their haircolor too often. I have no backing for this at all but it seems if you change hair color or style every few weeks you may be ready for a Brittney Spears-style meltdown.

Back to the shy stuff.

It makes sense… all of us are insecure in some way and the people who get flustered or blush tend to make us feel a little more secure and confident.

Just think about the scene from the movie Elf, when Buddy asks Jovie on a date (and who could forget, it’s only one of the best parts of the movie aside from his daring attempts to mount an escalator!):

“But… I really wanted to see you. And… and I think you’re beautiful, and I, um… I feel really warm when I am around you, and, um, my tongue swells up. So… Do you wanna go eat food?”

Of course she said yes! And just look what got her?! A cup of the World’s Best Coffee!

So take heart, my dear friends, and embrace the awkward guy or gal deep inside you. You’ll be more charming for it!

Do you consider yourself a shy, confident or daring romantic catch? Also, please take the time to read and rate my book, Badonkadonk: and other things that make you blush over at!

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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in The Goods


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“i’m skeered.”

“i’m skeered,” says the little voice in my head.

Wanna know why? I’m trying something new. Something scary.

I’ve mentioned I’m working on a few books. I’ve been peddling them to different publishers and I’ve got one pretty close to done.

The only thing is it’s not going to be easy to get it published in the traditional route. Why? Because it’s about sex.

And you know how much Christians like to talk about sex. At least officially – I don’t know any young Christian woman who doesn’t like to have a good sit down every now and then to discuss what’s up with down there

Specifically a humorous take on the bizarre activity of intimacy and what God has to say about it. It’s targeted toward the young woman newly engaged or married.

And I’ve gone and done something crazy – I put it on is a website for authors who want to share their work with the world. If their books get ranked highly, put on the “favorites” lists, etc. of the other readers at Authonomy, they hit the attention of editors, agents and publishers around the world. It’s free, it’s fun.

Now I need your help.

Would you visit Authonomy and leave your opinions and ranking? Here’s the link to the book, Badonkadonk: and other things that make you blush.

Take a gander yourself, rank it, then share it with your friends and such.

But please don’t tell my mom. Her sense of Southern Lady would be highly offended.

I promise you’ll laugh. I promise you’ll blush. And I’m hoping you’ll love it.

Thank you.


Posted by on October 26, 2011 in The Goods


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How To Say “I’m Sorry”

How To Say “I’m Sorry”

I’ve been thinking about the words “I’m sorry” lately.

I come from a family where “I’m sorry” wasn’t heard very often. We tend to be the type who have an attitude of “put your big-girl panties on and get over it.”

This attitude is a problem when you’re married to someone you want to get along with and are confronted with the knowledge you are not, in fact, perfect.

That’s a realization I’m still trying to get over.

I’ve taught the girls the mechanics of giving an apology. At their young ages they aren’t really sincere about the emotion but at least they know to look the person they’re talking to in the eye, say, “I’m sorry,” respond with an “I forgive you,” and give a hug to make up.

It gets a little more complicated as an adult. Mostly because our mouths can say we’re sorry while our hearts are still belligerent and insincere!

I have the book 5 Languages of Apology and I think I’m going to pull it out and read it… but until then, here’s what my armchair psychology has figured out so far about offering an apology:

1. Avoid phrases such as “I’m sorry you feel that way.” That’s an insincere apology! It puts the burden of responsibility back on the person who is hurt… after all, if they weren’t so sensitive they wouldn’t be bothered, right? It’s just their problem, not yours.

2. Avoid apologizing for something you’re not really sorry for doing. Example, if you went on a shopping spree and you know your husband’s completely frustrated about it, don’t tell him you’re sorry unless you plan to cut up the credit card. Stating the words without changing motion is worthless and creates a sense of betrayal and distrust.

3. Try not to apologize tersely. If a person comes to you with a hurt and their discussion of it lasts for awhile… it’s a bit of a letdown to say absolutely nothing except “I’m sorry that I hurt you” and move on to the next order of business. While may be sincere, there’s a disproportionate amount of words on each side. People feel better about interactions that are equal.

Then there are also ways to accept an apology. This is what has worked for me in the past:

I. Don’t start dancing a victory dance. There are some areas where you can gloat away when you win, maybe when your sports team won that game, but the correct response to a sincere apology is not, “I know! You suck! Nanny-nanny-boo-boo!” That response tends to damage trust and make future apologies as unlikely as a full-sized giraffe fitting into a thimble.

II. Try to not say, “It’s about time you saw reason” or any other version of that phrase. Apologies are hard to make – beating a person down when they are trying for authenticity is like telling a kid they’re getting coal for Christmas. It’s not so sweet.

III. A simple way to respond is with “Thank you. I really appreciate that.” A humble acceptance of a real apology is a huge step in coming back in alignment and moving toward a common goal. You may still be hurt and it’s ok to talk through that in a calm, reasoned way, but respect the one who wronged you enough to let them know their apology is valuable to you.

In college I learned 90% of conflict occurs because people are fighting for a limited resource. In a residence hall, that’s the spacious 10×10 space of a dorm room! In a professional setting it may be a promotion or accolades sparingly doled out. In a home it could be quiet time or recognition. There are so many options!

It’s ridiculous to think we’ll go through life without conflict! There will be disagreements, there will be hurts, there will be problems. So the key is to learn how to deal with the conflict gracefully and respectfully.

The wonderful thing is that even if you come from a stunted conflict background, like me!, there are skills you can learn and practice to make life more peaceful and satisfying.

And I’m all for that! How about you?

What are your tips for how to give and accept an apology?


Posted by on October 25, 2011 in College Living, The Goods, Vive!


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5 Tips for Surviving a Small-Town Gathering

5 Tips for Surviving a Small-Town Gathering

Yesterday we went to a small-town festival.

It was lovely. It really was.

But I saw more strange sights there than expected and came up with a survival schema. Just in case you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s how I got through it:

1. Wear a paper bag. This is the only way to survive the large number of people you went to high school with. Too often I saw someone I recognized from decades ago and thought, “Oh! That’s so-and-so. And, oh my, they’ve gotten fat!” It’s disturbing. And I’m certain they were thinking that about me, too. So the safest bet is to wear a paper bag on your head so no one will recognize your rotund torso and try to reconcile it with your 16-year-old self.

2. Don’t dress your six-year-old as a two-bit hooker. I saw a gal wearing wedge heels and a strapless top. Her hair was piled high on her head, she was tan, and she had a youthful vibrancy that was quite attractive. Which made sense because she was probably six years old. I know I’m a scrooge about clothing but why would you let your child go to a place where there are strangers everywhere dressed to attract sexual attention? Why? Why?!

3. Stop before you teach your 10-year-old to pole dance. I don’t know if I was just on a roll of judgmental opinions but I had yet another why?! moment when I saw the 10-year-old girl dancing in front of the live band (which was truly awful, by the way). She was absolutely into the music, swinging her hips, pelvic thrusting the air, grabbing the stage pole and pretending it was her partner. It was disturbing. It was also 1 o’clock in the afternoon and she was the only one on the dance square. Awkward. Made me wonder if she’d gotten into the beer garden or just watched too much Jersey Shores.

4. Make friends with the tractor driver. My favorite part of the adventure was the tractor driver for the hay ride. He was funny, ironic, and not at all concerned by the sweat drops rolling off his skin. I loved him and his personality. So often we overlook interesting people because they aren’t where we expect them. I’m going to give you a truism: if someone can drive a tractor, they’re worth getting to know!

5. Clog your arteries. I’ve heard some fairs are now serving fried sticks of butter! I haven’t seen it with my own eyes, but I did see Navajo fry bread, cotton candy, roasted corn, cheese curds and funnel cakes. There’s a rule about eating carnival food – consume as much as possible as quickly as possible because if you don’t your body will rebel. Oh, and word to the wise: don’t ride the Zipper or the Gravitron directly after eating. Vomit is NOT my favorite.

There you have them! Five definitive ways to prepare and enjoy the local festival, fair or carnival. You can thank me later.

And I thought of one more: Go to the bathroom before you arrive. Because those Port-A-Potties are killers. I mean it.

What are some things you expect from a fair that would be bizarre to you in normal life?

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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Vive!


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Swing Vote: Montana = success!

Swing Vote: Montana = success!

We did it! Hurray!

I’d like to extend an official welcome to the visitor from Laurel, Montana. You have resurrected my faith in the Swing Vote process.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart, because I was pretty sure this Swing Vote was going to be a bust. And I was grieving.

But you turned my sadness to dancing. Now, you just need to comment and tell us about your state from a resident’s perspective.

So go ahead and get on that, please.

I’ll start with a little fact about Laurel, Montana. They have “Hometown Pride – City Wide” according to the city website.

“Within one hour’s drive, we offer blue-ribbon trout fishing, the Beartooth Wilderness, hiking, biking, sight-seeing, and skiing. We are located just 15 miles from the largest municipality in the region and 114 miles from Yellowstone National Park. The City of Laurel is a great place to live.” That’s the blurb from the mayor.

I’m guessing they like their outdoor activities. And that the residents invest in a lot of cold weather clothing.

Neoprene, Goretex, down jackets and such.  We will consider moving to Laurel immediately.

I learned that there is a Smokejumper Center in Missoula. And that immediately took me to the Nicholas Evans book about smoke jumpers and I needed a pregnant pause in remembrance of how hard I cried while reading that novel.

Between that and the Notebook I’ve had to swear off Nicholas-authored books forever. My constitution just can’t handle the deep, heaving, ugly, snot-filled sobbing.

I can’t do it.

However, I can promise I’m going to visit Montana as soon as the opportunity presents itself. The photography that shows up with a search of “Montana” on Google images is stunning, you should check it out. And since I love mountains so much I think it would be a good thing for us to check out the state whose name means “mountain” in Spanish.

I’m going to sign off tonight because I’m getting up before the birds tomorrow and I need some beauty rest if that’s going to take place in a fashion that is at all useful and friendly.

But I promise you’ll want to stop by tomorrow because I’m planning to offer some insightful advice on how to negotiate the local small-town festival.

And I will mock my neighbors. Because I’m just that friendly.

What are the three words you would use to describe Montana?

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Posted by on October 23, 2011 in Vive!


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Swing Vote: Duck-billed, hoof-less cowboys. Oh, yeah.

Swing Vote: Duck-billed, hoof-less cowboys. Oh, yeah.

So let me tell you what would NOT happen if I were in Montana-pioneer shape.

Acquiring a major muscle strain in my back from the overwhelming physical activity of… wait for it… putting on my pajamas.

Yep. I’m so proud.

Since my lower back is balled up in a manner that makes me howl like a rabid dog inside my head I took two Tylenol PM.

This means I have approximately 23.6 minutes to impart very important knowledge about Montana before my fingers collapse into sludge and I stop making coherent sentences.

So let’s go.

There have been no visits from the state of Montana yet. The stat map is just a broad, white space bleeding into Canada. The surrounding states, they have pin marks from visitors. But Montana, it’s just a big nothin’.

I’ve decided not to take this personally because the population density of the Treasure state is six people per square mile. And that’s not many people. And I’ve got to assume at least one-third of all people are over the age of 60 which means they might not be online at all.

So. I’m not going to allow the populations’ choices to affect me. I will be persistent. I will continue the Swing Vote.

Until blog time tomorrow. After that, I may have to write Montana off as dead to my heart. And that will be a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions.

Writing Montana off will hurt my heart. Because I have fallen in love with the landscape, the sweeping vistas and rugged mountains.

And it doesn’t hurt that “near the Pines Recreation Area as many as 100 sage grouse perform their extraordinary spring mating rituals.” Did you catch the extraordinary there? Who wouldn’t want to know more about the mating habits of sage grouse?!

(A grouse is not the same as a grouch. Unless their extraordinary mating is interrupted. Then… well, if you do that God have mercy on your soul. Some things are private.)

(I can feel the Tylenol PM starting to take over my body. Sigh. Happy sleep is coming my way. Smile.)

I’m a bit nervous about possibly getting on the wrong side of Montana. Because, I know they like their firearms up there.

For example, in Fort Benton, a cowboy once insisted on riding his horse to his room in the Grand Union Hotel. When the manager objected, they exchanged gunfire. The horseman was killed before reaching the top of the stairs; fourteen .44 slugs were later dug out of his body.

Word to the wise, don’t mess with a horse, hotel and firearm.

Gun loving is practical in Montana – after all, they have the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states.

Residents know how to handle their problems, even problems of raptor-rific proportions. I found out the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman gained fame through the work of its chief paleontologist, Jack Horner. Horner was the prototype for the character Dr. Alan Grant in the best selling novel/movie, “Jurassic Park.”

Don’t mess with the dinosaurs.

Speaking of dinosaurs, did you know Montana has its own dinosaur fossils? Specifically they have an official state fossil,the Maiasaura Peedblesorum (duck-billed dinosaur). And their claim to fame is the duck-billed dinosaur fossil –  it was also the first dinosaur fossil launched into space!

That is an accomplishment to hang your hat on. I certainly haven’t launched anything into space. Though I have a poodle available if NASA comes looking.

Not to start any interstate rivalries, but even though things may be big in Texas, even the proudest Texan will have a hard time competing with the World’s Largest Steer, found in Baker, MT. Montana weighed in at 3,980 pounds, grew to be 5’9″ tall and 10’4″ long and lived for 15 years and 4 months.

That’s a big bovine. That’s bigger than me by a lot – at least 20 or 30 pounds. Don’t mess with Montana the steer.

My last bit of Montana information also involves a four-legged animal. A mountain goat, specifically.

In Montana, mountain goats will butt heads so hard their hooves fall off. That’s true, I found it on the internet!

I hope you’re learned more about our brethren cowboy state, Montana. I know I have learned. I would like to learn more – from a resident of the state. Wouldn’t you? So send any Montana friend over to StealingFaith to comment and teach us more about this precious place.

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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Vive!


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Swing Vote: Common Loons, Chaperoned Sheep and Naughty Bits

Swing Vote: Common Loons, Chaperoned Sheep and Naughty Bits

My home’s in Montana, I wear a bandanna
My spurs are of silver, my pony is gray.
While riding the ranges
My luck never changes
I saddle my pony and gallop away.

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where never is heard
A discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

Do you know both of these tunes? I knew Home on the Range from childhood but only learned My Home’s In Montana when I was in college and backpacking abroad. These two songs can be sung at the same time in a round and it’s really neat. In fact, these little ditties have been sung in train stations and a Sicilian quarry. So that’s cool.

Completely separate from the Swing Vote: Montana campaign we had a family over for dinner and they’re from Montana! Can you believe it?!

They’re really cool, so I’ve decided Montana must be full of the coolest people ever.

And then there’s the Missoula Children’s Theater. I was a part of a stunning production of Little Red Riding Hood as a child. That performance didn’t launch my acting and singing career but it was special nonetheless.

As of press time I didn’t have a hit from a Montana resident on, and I now know why.

The average square mile of land contains 1.4 elk, 1.4 pronghorn antelope, and 3.3 deer. You’ll notice there’s no mention in that statistic of a human. And last time I checked, humans are the most likely consumers of internet joy.

Having opposable thumbs rather than hooves helps when surfing the world wide web.

I’m not giving up hope, though, and neither should you. We need to convince the folks in the sparsely populated, largely bovine wilds of Montana we love them and want to learn more about their state!

Here are some fun facts to let them know we’re sincere in our desire to learn more:

  • Montana has the largest migratory elk herd in the nation. And the elk are the polite ones, not the ones who expose their naughty bits to the world. (If that reference confused you, take a look over here where my precocious children explained the difference between an elk and a deer.)
  • North of Missoula is the largest population of nesting common loons in the western United States. I’m not sure what this means. I don’t know why loons should be nesting. Nor why they are common. But Montana has a lock on the whole loony process.
  • Last fact of the evening? It is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone. Because, you know, sheep without chaperones can get a little rowdy. Hubba, hubba. (Keep ’em away from the deer.)

We have barely touched on the surface of what there is to learn about Montana – and we want to learn the facts from someone who’s right there!

So tell your friends, share to anyone with Montana links! Send a resident to in the next two days and well have a Swing Vote success.

And I know how competitive you are. Go on, get on it.


Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Vive!


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Swing Vote: Montana!

Swing Vote: Montana!

It’s that time again. The special season of joy when we take a hint from Kevin Costner and Hollywood movies and try to woo those special people from a special state to the life-changing blog that is

Yes, it’s time for a Swing Vote.

And that special state is… Montana!

While it’s true I have never seen a site hit from the state of Montana it’s important to tell you I am also choosing this state because I have a fond, delicious memory of Legends of the Fall (ummm…) and my oldest daughter is convinced she’s a cowgirl.

(She just let us know there’s a coyote in the barn! Lizard told her to shoot it. I scolded Lizard for telling her to play with guns. His response? “It’s a coyote in the barn. You need to shoot the coyote if it’s in the barn!”)

(It may be significant to mention we live in an urban area, specifically a storage facility. There are no barns. Or coyotes.)

(But my daughter has “shot” the coyote and is now off killing javelina. In fact, she came into the house and asked if we were done cooking the piglets yet.)

(Yes, we’re the weird homeschooling family. It appears we’re also a little violent. And there’s a chance I’ve read them a bit too much of the Little House on the Prairie series. Lesson learned.)

But… anywho, Montana!

Kick off your boots, hang your hat, get online, and send any Montana friends, acquaintances or strangers on over to visit Because those are the rules – we have three days to seduce a reader from the Swing Vote state to come on over and leave comment about their state.

Why? Because it’s best to learn first hand and the people in Montana are in need of shot of StealingFaith. And what else do you have going on that’s more important than gaining a little love toward Montana?!

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

In the meantime, I scour the world wide web to determine the facts of most importance in our knowledge of Montana. (Don’t believe me?? Check out our Swing Vote: Maine, Swing Vote: Nevada, and Swing Vote: North Dakota campaigns. You’ll laugh. You’ll chuckle. And you’ll have a whole new appreciation of nude & lewd politicians, toothpicks, and turtle derbies.)

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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Vive!


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Be A Commitment-Phobe. Please.

Be A Commitment-Phobe. Please.

Two nights ago I had a brawl with a gal about my affinity for the Millionaire Matchmaker.

We went back and forth via facebook commentary about why Millionaire Matchmaker was better than American Choppers, Lizard got involved, it was lively and I defended Patty to the hilt.

Yet I feel compelled to tell you I am not a complete Millionaire Matchmaker devotee.

(In fact, if you’re not watching it now please do not start. It will bring nothing to your life. At all. It’s my guilty pleasure, but it’s kind of like Glee. I watched Glee for awhile because I kept seeing people post about how amazing it was. And it’s not. Sorry if that offends you but Glee is NOT GOOD. And neither is Millionaire Matchmaker.)

I love watching the train wreck of people and I’m generally fascinated and in love with talking about relationships, so the show is right up my alley. But, regardless of the fact the Daniel Kibblesmith episode was amazing and included the most awkward kiss ever, I don’t think she was nice to him because he was utterly charming without the makeover and you can feel nothing but love for a guy with “kibble” in his last name.

I appreciate Patty’s gusto and bluntness (but not her language) but I’m going to take issue with one of her philosophies.

She always says a broken engagement is a sign of commitment phobia.

Yes, that may be true in the occasional case but in general I’m going to say a broken engagement is a sign of good sense.

If someone is smart enough to recognize their doubts and get out while the gettin’s good, huzzah for them.

Because do we really need to add to the divorce rate statistic? Do we really need people in marriages that are dodgy and breed adultery?

If you’re going to commit to someone for a lifetime then you should commit. Not 90%. Not 95%. Commit. 100%.

And if you can’t say that, if you’re going back and forth and writing a pro and con list, if you have doubt while you’re engaged… cut the line and back away.

Ignore Patty. You’re not a commitment-phobe. You realize the importance of what you’re about to do and you’re being wise.

That’s what I have to say about that. I don’t know if it will affect my viewing relationship with the Millionaire Matchmaker, but I do know it’s important to me to make a definitive statement.

And I also mean what I said about Glee. Cut the line. Get out while the gettin’s good.

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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in I'm Married!


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