The end is near... and while you prepare for the close of another year, it may do you good to get out a nice little pen and paper and figure out the things you need to leave in this year.

I remember when I dated this guy who shall definitely remain nameless. I loved him so much. He loved me. But the relationship wasn't cohesive. Unfortunately, we called it quits, but that didn't change how I felt. I cried... A LOT. For those who know me, I'm not the type to cry in front of people if at all possible, but when this relationship ended, the tears would just pop out anywhere at anytime like a dysfunctional jack in the box. It was like adding insult to injury. (Whew! Glad that's over.)

When that year drew to a close, I decided I'd sit down, finish up my tears, and leave him and all the hurt in that year. Now, it wasn't quite so easy, but before the following year ended, I'd moved on with my life, the tears were gone, and I was smiling again. It may not feel like you can live without some people, but there are some people you'll have to live without anyway. It's better for you to accept it quickly, grieve and move on. Plus, there's that moving on part that can be sooooo exciting! There just might be a Morris Chestnut or Tom Cruise in your future. You never know until you release your past. And hey, even if all the future holds is a Cedric the Entertainer type or someone like Peter from Family Guy, if he loves you, accepts you and respects you, then you still came out on top.

(Teeheehee... Peter from Family Guy... I crack myself up!)
I've had many friends ask me how to win a man's heart. Seems every magazine has a new article every week on how to make a man fall in love with you. Truth be told, no matter how much we study love, we will still never fully understand it. In fact, it's not even love that we are studying. It is chemistry. Chemistry happens in an unexplained way, while love is a choice made in a responsible manner from a Christian perspective because love is action. Chemistry for some is opposites attracting. For others, it is seeing a mirror image of themselves and no one can tell you which kind of person is in front of you.

When it comes to matters of the heart, let's just be real... most of us are as clueless as the day we were born. LOL! I know I am. However, I have learned that changing who you are, even temporarily, to win someone is not the best way to start a relationship. Otherwise, you look up several years down the road and resent the person in front of you because of something you did... deceiving them and deceiving yourself. Yes, we should be adaptable, but not deceptive.

So, how do you win "his" heart? Be yourself. Be funny sometimes. Be odd sometimes. Be all the things you are and if he can hang with that, then he'll give you his heart. If he can't, why do you want him anyway? Lord knows, the real you can't hide forever and we don't want him to discover the real you on wedding day (then instead of a wedding, he'll be calling for an exorcism)... Joking... just joking! (I almost had this happen to me. I'll tell that story later.)

Keep it real with your chosen guy. Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are and who they will become.
Dating has a whole new meaning these days. In fact, it's funny to even think of all the new implications. The younger you are, the more pressure to make your relationship sexual way too soon. In fact, sex should come only after marriage, but I'm willing to bet less than 10 percent of those reading this post will agree with me and about 50 percent probably stopped right there because people want to explore their sexuality. The problem is, the sooner you introduce sex into a relationship, the least likely it is to work.

A good relationship is not built in the bedroom, though it certainly is sealed there and it grows there. On the other hand, a good bedroom experience can sometimes cause people to hang on to relationships that simply do not work. That's only one complication. How has sex complicated your relationships that ended in failure? How has it complicated those you are still in?
It may no longer be politically correct to some, but screw it... who says we have to be politically correct all the time.

No matter how many times we promise ourselves we won't get caught up in holiday mania, Christmas has a way of melting people. And so today is the eve of gift-giving day. Many are just now wrapping and buying. I definitely had my share of Christmas eve days playing catch up, which reminds me of a funny proposal story.

I once dated this guy who used to swear by all things golden that he didn't want marriage until he was older, much older. It didn't matter much to me at that time. Finally though, the day came when he actually asked me to marry him and we set the date close to Christmas. But something didn't set well with me about being married around Christmas time. I thought about it and thought about it. Guess what was bothering me most? Oh, you'll never guess so I better tell you...

THAT WOULD MEAN ONE GIFT FOR TWO SPECIAL DAYS! No way! I wanted every one of my gift-getting holidays to count separately with separate gifts for each. I've grown up since then (at least a little bit- LOL)

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and experience all the joy that giving bestows upon the giver.
When my ex-husband proposed to me, he did it in the most creative way. He was a creative man, though. All day long his friend kept asking me if I'd gotten my birthday present yet. I'd began imagining a new car or something HUGE so you can imagine my short bout of shock and disappointment, but then joy when Elias (the ex-husband) whipped out a beautiful birthday cake while being on one knee. And the cake read...

It took all of 45 seconds for me to get over the fact that I didn't get a new car for my birthday, and I'm only half kidding. It then took me almost exactly five more seconds to say yes. That was one of the sweetest proposals because he actually looked as if he was afraid I'd say no.

Hats off to you, Elias, for a unique proposal!
Ladies, maybe you've never thought about how difficult it is for a man to propose marriage to a woman, even if he is head over heels in love with her. He has to battle through a lot of things. Talk about nerves of steel!

He has to make sure he is ready to give up his solitude, which believe it or not, some men enjoy. He has to make sure he can provide for a family because it's hard to think marriage without thinking children, mortgage, car notes, grocery, etc. He wonders about his chosen lady... will she accept his proposal? Will she change on him after that ring is on her finger? Lord knows he's heard and seen enough horror stories to make him have night sweats! Will her sex drive drive away permanently as many a married men sit around and lament about? What if he does meet someone else down the line who is "better" for him? What if he disappoints his wife? What if she cheats? What if she loses respect for him? What if they get a divorce? Who wants to go through that? You can believe that he's not marrying you planning an escape route, but he has to face reality that divorces happen. What about children? Is he really ready to be a dad? The questions go on and on. Every man has to look at himself over and over again, questioning and re-questioning his ability to be a husband and whether he'll be rejected.

So, we have to give the guys a break. After all, it's common for women to have a support system when they have wedding fever. Everyone is encouraging and sweet and helpful. For men, often their friends' advice start with a "are you certain" type question followed by the million and one things he's already terrified of. If your man proposes, you can believe he's fought through some heavy demons to get to that point.

Be considerate when he asks, even if it isn't the most romantic proposal, or if the ring isn't what you want, etc. Don't be critical. That is a lesson for life, especially married life. Being critical will kill any chance of romance instantly!
I can still remember the first proposal. So, it wasn't romantic but boy was I happy to hear it from that good ol' country boy that had given me two sons (one died). While it didn't play out like a movie scene, not even a little bit, it did stay with me throughout the rest of my next relationship. Oh, I forgot to mention that he didn't ask until after I'd married someone else. I know. I know. That sounds horrible so let me clarify (as if the real story is any better)!

I'd wanted to get married since I was ten years old. When I finished high school, I wanted to go to the Air Force so bad I could taste it, but I didn't want to sign away any rights, temporary or otherwise, to my son. The other alternative at that time was marriage. So, since my long time boyfriend was afraid to do it (with good reason), I married one of my friends. While I was supposed to be on something like a honeymoon in a cheap hometown motel, my son's father popped up and begged me to get an annulment and he'd then marry me. Music to my ears, but it was too little too late. Needless to say, we never married though he tried for over a year after that. Now, why did I tell that embarrassing story?

First of all, the point is some men wait until it's too late to ask the question women have been dreaming about. Some men meet women they want to sleep with and see what happens after that. Most women meet men they want to get to know, marry and bare children with. See the disparity there. That's another one of those miscommunications that can cause you to miss out on something beautiful. That was the first time a guy waited too late to ask me, but it certainly wasn't the last. And in this I learned a valuable lesson: for the men who are predatory and wild by nature, sometimes they have no idea what they want until it is taken away or a real threat of it being taken away looms nearby. Why do you think all those sappy love movies all end the same way with the guy chasing down the cab or plane or train to tell the woman he just realized she is the one? THAT, my dear women, is true for many. I won't draw a final conclusion for you from that, but I did for myself- NEVER stay in a dead end relationship hoping he wakes up while my years dwindle away. If he doesn't know what he wants, it'll be obvious and many times (not all the time), it hurts too much to wait with your heart on your sleeve for him to wake up and see you as a treasure.
Okay, let's be honest. Most of us have had WAY more than one man (or woman for my male readers). Society isn't like it used to be when people were ashamed if they'd had even two partners. Nope. Now, we can openly brag about our conquests, though not so much so as women.

It's also a fact that women outnumber men. If you factor in the percentage of men that are gay, that means we have pretty stiff competition out there (pardon the pun cause it wasn't intended). No one likes to think they have to compete for attention or love, but facts are facts. Whether you're a Christian (as I am truly from my heart) or atheist, Buddhist or whatever, if you want to be married, you have to look at things as they truly are. So, how are they?

There are many men and even more women out there. Believe it or not, many of them are seeking love, but not all of them know it yet, and even fewer of them trust that they can find what they seek which makes them desperate. So dating has become more and more difficult as society becomes more and more accepting of overt sexuality. People are having more and more one night stands, more and more casual encounters, and fewer connections. Some men have in fact had so much easy sex that they are desensitized and can no longer discern marriage material that needs a little development from blatant and overt promiscuity. So with all those women who want what you want, how in the world do you separate yourself as a diamond among simple coal?

Stay tuned and you'll find out!
So here I am. I keep looking at myself in the mirror as if to find some hidden feature I haven't seen in all of my 34 years of life. I find something new every time, though, and that keeps me at a place of inventory. What does that mean?

Most women have a hard time being honest with themselves. We're either way too modest or way too critical, both of which are dangerous and destructive to our self-esteem and love life. But me, I've learned to be a realist. So each day, I have to ask myself this question: who am I really?

Well, I'm a wife (for the third time). I'm the mother to a 19 year old college student. I'm a business owner. I'm a traveling consultant and community activist. I'm a convicted felon, too, who used to live a life of crime. I'm so many things that I often forget who I am to myself. Those are the things I am to others. But, who am I to myself?

Am I as nice as most people think I am? Am I as naive as I'm thought to be? What motivates me to wake up in the morning? What pushes me past depression when it comes to steal away my laughter? What pushes me towards making others in my life happy? If I can't answer these questions, then there's no way I can have a happy marriage or a full life. So, that's where I'm starting this blog and the book that corresponds to it.
I never thought I'd actually write a blog or a book about this, but I've been proposed to more than 20 times and have been married three times. I find myself dying to be in a wedding that isn't mine. My friends are all dying to be in a wedding that is theirs. So, I get THE question all the time... what on earth do you do to make men want to marry you?

Let me start by saying I have no earthly idea, but hopefully this journey of blogging and writing a book about the subject will shed some light on how I've managed to never have an un-serious relationship. So, enjoy the journey! Laugh with me and at me. Talk about me. By all means, leave comments, both favorable and unfavorable. I'll be honest with you if you be honest with me.