One Year Ago Today….

One year ago today I met the love of my life. I met with Lee for coffee and we never spent another day apart since then, well maybe one day due to our children’s schedules but the point being is that we met off of Match.com and were such a perfect match that we never looked back.

In all honesty if I were to set a bullet point list of qualities that were important to me in a relationship as well as a life partner, Lee would fit every single one of them. We have an amazing capability to communicate, to show love to each other through all stresses and at the end of the night he never falls asleep without his arm on me.

Brandy Ellen Gets Engaged

Each day we wake up happy to be near each other, we don’t like being apart but we are not so out of our minds being apart that we can’t handle it. This week is living proof that we are two people, when put home together for a 12 day stretch, still don’t falter. No matter what you throw at us, we start swinging and always make it out on top. There are so many stresses going on in our world but that hasn’t kept our love from growing stronger each day.

When Lee comes up behind me to give me a quick hug or a quick kiss on the back of my neck while I am cooking our family dinner, I still get shivers. Goosebumps are a common occurrence when you put me with Lee, just the mere sight of him makes me so heart fluttering happy. Today, is one year and I am still just as smitten with him and him with me as our first day we met for coffee.

Engagement Ring

Never in a million years could I have thought I would have met someone who was indeed who his profile said he was, his appearance was what his profile picture showed him to be. Everything has been our most wonderful time of our lives and as we celebrate our one year anniversary today, we look down upon my left ring finger at the commitment Lee made to me and I made to him late Christmas night.

On Christmas night we went out to dinner, then walked around looking at the Christmas tree lights at the town common and then returned home to read this couples book. While reading this couples book we found that a lot of the tips and quotes that were inside of the book were ways we already think daily about each other, ways we already show each other our love and have for the past year. I don’t foresee that changing, why? Because if I only shared with you the extent of the challenges we have faced in the past year. It’s a long story, honestly, we may just write a book about it all someday. For now, they are our own family secrets so-to-speak that don’t need to be broadcasted, but let me just say this; Lee and I have experienced a level of stress that I personally have never, ever had to experience in such a mind boggling, jaw dropping way before. We never let these stresses affect our love, we cannot change outsider influences, we cannot change other people and we are determined to remember our love for each other at the end of every night – no matter what!

Engaged at 32

About 11pm on Christmas night, Lee got down on one knee and asked if I would do him the “monumental honor of becoming his wife”, there were tears, giggles because we both were so nervous and happiness. With a ring that is so pretty yet so simple. We now have committed to marrying each other in the future. We do not have a date set yet, we have the commitment and the intent to wed down, but now it’s all about planning what kind of wedding event we wish to have and then pick a date.

Right now, in all honesty, I am just enjoying the complete happiness that comes with being engaged and so is he. We are so blessed, both us as adults and our children, to have been able to experience the joining of two families with two adults who are completely, utterly in love with each other. Prior to our engagement, I had asked my daughter {because my son’s at ages 5 & 7 really have no real concept of “marriage”} what she thought about us getting hitched. Lee also asked his children what they thought about the idea of us getting married. With great happiness, all three of our older children were happy about the idea of us getting married. That was all we needed to know in order to move forward, while our children do not tell us what relationship we shall have or not, it is important that they play a key role in building our family, together, forever and always. The children are a huge part of our combined love together and we want them to know that we both love them all very, very much!

How To Avoid Sketchy Online Daters

The dating scene can be a pretty slippery slope, and most people with dating experience would gladly vouch for that. However, when you throw the Internet into the mix, the whole thing becomes even more sketchy. See, prior to the rise of online dating sites, the entire dating process took place in person with the exception of blind dates.

It usually happened in a public place like a coffee shop or a park. Someone would catch your eye and spark your attention, introduce themselves, start a conversation, and if you felt a connection with the person, you’d either ask them out on a date, or hope that they’d ask you. But meeting organically just doesn’t happen all that much anymore. Why? Well because people started turning to online dating sites in their search for love.

Don’t get us wrong, online dating sites are great, and they’ve helped millions of people find true love, but they also have their downfalls. For every good-hearted honest user, there is a also creepy sketchball whose intentions are far from good, which is why you have to be super careful on these sites.

You shouldn’t be too quick to trust anyone you meet on the Internet, let alone a person you could potentially get involved with romantically. When you get matched up with other users, or if someone strikes up a flirtatious conversation, you should always try to learn more about them before agreeing to meet in person.

Helpful Resources

There are different sites you can use to background check your potential dates, like InstantCheckmate.com, which was created to help online daters avoid the creeps and criminals that lurk on dating sites. All you have to do is type in the person’s name, hit search, and boom—you get a detailed report that could significantly influence your decision about the date.

You can find out tons of information, including the biggest deal breakers which, for online daters, are usually 1) If the person is actually married (what a scumbag!), and 2) If they have any prior arrests or criminal convictions on their record. Imagine going on several dates with someone only to find out that they’re an ex-con who did hard time for murder. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? Now, imagine if you did an online background check as soon as the person started chatting you up. You’d find out about their heinous criminal history, and then run in the other direction—we hope.

Better Safe Than Sorry

It may be an old cliche, but “Better safe than sorry,” has never been more fitting than in the world of online dating. It’s impossible to truly get to know (or trust) someone based solely on their profile or the sweet nothings they send you on chat. That hottie you’ve been messaging back and forth could actually be a 65-year-old pedophile whose photos came from Google images. Seriously, these kind of situations occur more frequently than anyone would like to admit, so you should do everything you can to avoid them!

Do YOU have any additional advice for online daters? Let us know in the comments!

Amber Hollingsworth is a blogger from Dallas, TX. She specializes in writing about safety tips for online daters. 

Today I Turn 32 Years Old

Today is my birthday and I’ll cry if I wanna.

I’ll dance if I wanna.

I’ll embarrass you if I wanna.

I’ll sleep if I wanna.

Today I turn the big ole 32 years of age… and I couldn’t be happier to be another year older

Each year I learn more about who I am, what I love and what it is in this world that makes me “tick”.

I welcome the 32nd year of my life with open arms.

Happy Birthday to ME.

Happy 32 Birthday to Brandy Ellen

Siblings at their Best, Worst and Most Amusing Moments

Siblings in SNowSometimes I sit back, watch and listen while my kids interact, more so with my two sons. My boys are 2 years and 6 days apart, both being born in August and they are extremely close. They are like partners in crime one moment, best friends the next and in another blink they may be smacking or punching each other saying how much they hate each other. It’s the most amusing time of my life watching as my sons continue along in their close brotherly bond. I never had a brother, just a sister who is four years younger than me and at times I can be found calling upon my sister to ask why in the heck are my kids like this, then in that moment, my sister takes it upon herself to remind me of just how our relationship was when we were younger. My sister and I were much like my two sons and even my daughter are; they have that love/hate sibling bond relationship, each can annoy, mess with and instigate each other but if an outsider comes in and messes with them, all hell shall break lose. You don’t mess with ones family, ever. No matter what.

Sibling LoveMy youngest is four years old now and the way he articulates his words and talks in full complete paragraphs is just amazing. Lately K-man has been rambling on and on holding a full conversation with his six year old brother in the back seat on the ride home from school. The conversations always range in topic from something cool that happened in school to dinosaurs still being alive and even occasionally, when we pass a cemetery, the topic of dead people and zombies comes up. It’s hilarious. Absolutely amazing to listen to my two sons who barely spoke to each other in previous years due to my son Aedan having a mood disorder that wasn’t diagnosed properly until this past May of 2012. Now that medication is right for Aedan he is such a ball to be around, sure he has the normal six year old boy/son issues but they are so much easier to handle now that he has been properly diagnosed and medicated. The joys of listening to boys talk is unlike anything else. I grew up with girl talk mostly, not dinosaur, zombies and dead people talk. It’s so much fun.

My youngest son is more of the actor and comedian in the family, he loves the camera and is often found posing in odd ways, making goofy faces and acting out some scene as if he was auditioning for a movie. My middle child and oldest son is more shy and serious but has a great sense of humor on most days. I love watching both boys throw their heads back in laughter at a joke the other one told, that by the way was totally not even close to be funny. I love watching as they walk down the driveway holding hands investigate various tire tracks they see. I love watching as they each learn something new together, encouraging each other to push forward and they will get it!

From what I see, there is simply nothing better in this world than siblings, well aside from your children.

My Kids are Happy, Even the Little One

My youngest child is my sweet four year old son who at times can be found to be rather grumpy since the past few months. K-man started to get grumpy when he was upset about something or not happy, it’s as if he simply put – did not know how to voice his unhappiness or emotions at all. Every single emotion was played out through actions. That meant if he was not happy, he was aggressive. If he was happy, he was overly hyper. It was as if he simply did not know how to deal with any change in emotional feelings. Which I have found is common for age four?!

Loving Mother with her son

Then one day, all of a sudden, my “baby” started to be super happy, consistently happy. Amazingly happy. I was baffled but then it dawned on me, I am happy, consistently amazingly happy too. It’s so true that happy parents make happy children because I was having some rough patches for a bit, all the while K-man was too. Finally, I met this man and his children and him have become a consistent part of our world. Ever since then? My kids have been extremely happy and while they still have their normal childhood testing of my patience and boundaries – they seem to be happy with my relationship choice too.

It’s such an amazing feeling when you find that one person who seems to be that perfect match for you but then when you find out his two kids are a perfect match with your three kids – it’s heaven on Earth! We all are so amazingly happy and enjoying life that my four year old is now giving me hugs, kisses and often is my sidekick partner again. Whether baking, doing crafts or simply cuddling up to watch some Bubble Guppies while eating lunch, my K-man is back to being super happy and lovey dovey!

The great news? His Dad said K-man was super lovey dovey to him as well last night during his visit! So across the board the changes that are being made around here are shown to be a positive one because not only am I insanely happy, but my children are too! I love it when I makegood decisions; not only as a parent but as an individual woman too!

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