Posts filed under co-connivers

12 First Dates: An Accidental Blog

Call me Sonia. It’s not my name, but if I told you who I really was, it may sabotage my dating life. 

Right before New Years, I decided I was ready to actually try when it came to romance. I promised myself I’d go on at least one date a month for the full year. Twelve First Dates.

I wanted accountability, so I put a call out on Facebook. "To my single girlfriends, like this post if you are interested in a challenge that might result in love, could result in winning money, will definitely result in some funny stories and could very well result in heartbreak too. I’ll message more details over to anyone who likes this." 100 likes later, I found my pool of ladies to join me.

Of the 100 who liked my post, 24 of them were willing to actually step up to the challenge. We would each ante up $20, joining a community where we were encouraged each other be bold when it came to dating. We built a secret Facebook community and as strangers became friends, we became each other’s cheerleaders. We’re genuinely happy when someone in our community finds love. We feel that we helped each other! (Come on, admit it, you get jealous when your friends post blissful romantic photos online.)

So, from January to May, Twelve First Dates was just a private community of women cheering each other on. As beautiful and vulnerable stories started pouring in, I began to realize that maybe the world beyond just this Facebook network should hear the stories of these gals’ bravery. 

In May I bought up the web URL for Twelve First Dates. I swooped up social media ownership rights as well. Then, I began a conversation with our group. Were we comfortable sharing our most vulnerable dating experiences? Were there confidentiality issues for the men we’d been dating? We talked and everyone agreed that there was too much “good stuff” here to not share it with the world. The blog was born.

Since May, I’ve been busy building a website from scratch. The Twelve First Dates bloggers have been working hard fine-tuning their dating experiences into posts. We’ve been writing reviews of the best dating books and websites we’ve found. We make sure to tell the book author and web designers know that we’re sharing their work on our website.

That’s working. We’ve been approached by popular dating websites and distinguished authors who find the approach behind Twelve First Dates completely fresh and authentic. Why thanks

For the past two months, I’ve filled my non-dating evenings with meetings with friends who have a strong eye for design, begging them to tell me everything I’m doing wrong. I read. I bought Blog Inc by Joy Cho to learn what the heck “SEO” means and how to improve it.

Meanwhile, while I’m learning how to build a blog, the bloggers for Twelve First Dates post. And post. And post. We’re totally okay doing this even if we never magically explode as a viral sensation. We haven’t been promoting the website until we’re fully confident that Twelve First Dates is chopped full of compelling content. 

Today, our social media following is still in the double digits, but for some unknown reason, the website is getting hundreds of views per day. Somewhere, an underground swell is building and readers are taking our blog posts to heart.

Why? I think it’s because real life is more interesting than fiction. In real life these things have already happened during the first half of 2014:

These are the juicy stories your girlfriends tell you at happy hours. Hundreds are visiting the website daily because it’s authentic

And now, this week, Twelve First Dates is launching (thanks for sharing Elora!) Rather than rushing a launch, our community has slowed down to be certain that what we have published is interesting enough that YOU would want to read it.

If you want to build a blog, slow down. Make it authentic. Build in vulnerability. Say something different from the rest. 

My goal in doing ALL this isn’t to build a website. It’s to find love and to help my friends do the same. This isn’t about elevating myself into a famous blogger... If it was, I wouldn’t put a bag over my head on my profile picture. 

Sonia
Age: 28
City: Los Angeles, CA
Career: Event Planner for the Fashion Industry
About: Sonia thought of this crazy idea while spending a bit too much time alone in her car right before New Years. She holds a master's degree, and is pretty obsessed with craft beer. Her biggest dating mistake is she keeps enthusiastically telling men how much she loves her kitten... but it's a really adorable kitten. She's datable. You should tell your friends.

Posted on July 17, 2014 and filed under co-connivers.

co-connivers :: we are reconcilers

this is part of my series on brandy walker’s eBook saving the worldcheck out the rest of the posts here i first saw the video posted on facebook. at first, you're not sure what you're watching. i've heard of these windows in amsterdam. i've heard of the women beckoning men through the glass, scantily clad, promising a good time.

i also knew the implications of these brothels and trafficking.

it's less than two minutes, but it only took two minutes to completely break me. the girls break into a flash mob dance, the men looking on in hunger. once the dance ends, you hear whistles and clapping and hollering...until a sign above the girls lights up and reveals truth.

every year, girls are promised a dancing career but end up here. stop the traffick.

and then there's silence.

complete

silence.

the first time i watched it, i crawled into our bathtub and wept. the situation was all too real to me - the injustice blatantly in front of me.

i knew i'd just intersected with my purpose.

in dan allender's book to be told, he says that our greatest pain within the story God's written for us will point to our greatest purpose in life. i've known this for awhile. i've even experienced it. there's nothing that gets me more ruffled than hearing of girls or women taken advantage of...

but this video? it did something. it rooted deep and rearranged all i had organized in my heart. knocked a few "important" things off the list in order to settle in nice and snug toward the top. it snuck in so quickly and unobtrusively that it's been weeks for me to even be able to find words to describe the experience.

what i know is this :: our purpose, our dreams, they aren't meant for us alone. we didn't find ourselves in this moment so we could be self-serving. our passions, our talents, our leanings, they all point to Him.

we have been reconciled so we can turn around and be reconcilers. 

think of your gifts. think of what angers you - where you find you just can't stay silent.

where are you called to reconcile? 

Posted on May 9, 2012 and filed under co-connivers.

co-connivers :: looking ahead

this is part of my series on brandy walker’s eBook saving the world. check out the rest of the posts here

where do you want to be one year from today? 

people ask this question a lot when you start talking about dreams and goals. it's a good question. forces you to think, narrows your focus, makes you set reasonable benchmarks to get where you want to go.

it's difficult for me to think that far in advance, though.

don't get me wrong - i have a picture in my head of where i would like to be on may 2, 2013. i think the difficulty lies dormant in the speaking out of this dream. like, once i say it, people know it and some may even hold me accountable...

...or, now i've said it and people know so i'll seem a failure if i don't make it.

this is why i created my 50 before 30 bucket list. i have a little under three months to complete quite a few of those goals, but the most important thing?

i never would have completed any of them had i not written them down.

by writing them down, i declared myself willing and able. writing them down provided a space for me to think and pray and dream, allowing some of those dreams to morph into something bigger than i ever anticipated. when i started, i wanted to finish my novel. i did. as i began to work through that process, i knew i wanted to get it published. it will. when i first started talking with rhizome, they mentioned it would be sold as an ePub, through nook and kindle and iPad. if it sold over 500 copies, they'd consider paperback.

in editing, we decided to scratch that idea and go straight to paperback as well as nook, kindle and iPad.

i've also completed a 5k, shared my writing in an unexpected place, gone dancing, got another tattoo (or two), and spent time spoiling myself with massages. by the time i turn 30 in july, there are quite a few others i expect to have marked off the list, things  i never anticipated being able to accomplish.

i wanted to write an eBook. i did. i wanted to take the leap and publish it. it's on amazon. i promise you. this time last year, i never would imagine i'd be where i'm at today. ever.

and it's because i've taken to the notion of declaring yourself worthy of fulfilling dreams. there in us for a reason, you know.

so this time next year? i plan on having a child - i imagine we'll be placed long before may of 2013. i'll be in the throes of writing and editing my next novel. i'd have published my book of short stories, come alive will be out and {hopefully} still selling, and i'll be preparing for the next stage in the adventure our little family has embraced {how's that for vague}. by that time, what's most exciting is that i'll hopefully have planned and executed my next big project :: an eBook on why story is so important and why you should share your own.

and this is just the beginning.

you'll find that once you start, there's really no stopping you. ideas will suddenly come and you'll wonder why you haven't taken the step needed to complete that goal. and it will seem really, really easy to go ahead and make that step now.

so...think about it.

where do you want to be in a year? 

let me know in the comments. i'd love to hear from you.

Posted on May 1, 2012 and filed under co-connivers.

co-connivers :: children know.

this is part of my series on brandy walker’s eBook saving the worldcheck out the first post here and the second post here

Do what you were made to do. Throw your heart, soul and skin into it. Breathe life into your dreams. And they will breathe spirit back to you - brandy walker

i still remember settling into the chair at my desk as a little girl. the desk, a white and yellow-trimmed canvas, held scribbles and doodles from years of wear and tear. i would situate myself, grab the nearest dr. seuss, and breathe deep before opening to the first page.  i'd read through the story, making my own comments where i thought necessary.

i taught myself how to read. i remember the joy i felt when i scrawled the word s-t-o-p on a spare sheet of paper while sitting off to the side of my grandmother's aerobics class, entertaining myself. i don't ever remember a time in my life where i wasn't reading or writing or thinking - it all just came to me.

almost as if it was second nature, as if i was meant to live my life through words.

here's a hint :: more often than not, our child-selves know what we're meant to do in this one wild and precious life. we just get too busy with the shoulds and forget our purpose.

my challenge for you today - listen. really listen. 

what was it you wanted to do when you were younger? how is this different than what you're doing today?

Posted on April 25, 2012 and filed under co-connivers.

co-connivers :: believing impossible things

this is part of my series on brandy walker's eBook saving the world. check out the first post here.

Magic exists. Anyone who has ever given birth, played in the Super Bowl or visited the Olympic Peninsula can attest to that. Belief has the inexplicable quality to illuminate reality. Sometimes, we can't see the truth until we allow it to dwell in us - brandy walker

i've always been an idealist. 

i believe a story can change the world. i believe if given an opportunity, story moves others to action. like when i sat behind the computer screen and watched my husband perform song and dance outside of oprah's studio, singing in the name of love. it was story that brought these vagabonds together, and it was story that catapulted the fire-starters to fame a month ago when they launched kony 2012.

i believe in the power of your story.  

i believe rescue is always possible. i know where i'd be without the One who rescued me and i hope and believe in this type of rescue for those who've known any sort of pain.

i believe love wins and no, i'm not talking about the book. i have been known to write love on my arms as well as my students' so we can remember. the love of Christ flows deeper than any wound, and whether writing over razor scars or the invisible ones that run deep, i've found the felt-tip of a sharpie does wonders in helping you keep perspective.

i believe anyone can be creative. i think we do ourselves a disservice by working, not resting, and assuming status quo is sufficient.

i believe young people can do infinitely more than we expect from them and because of this, our schools are suffering. i've always wondered what would happen if we instilled a belief in students to accomplish the impossible rather than anticipate discipline problems. i have a feeling many of our teenagers in society would surprise us with their lack of apathy when given the chance to care.

i believe in magic. i've seen miracles and have met angels and know this world is not our reality. and like brandy, i think God uses dogs more often than we care to admit.

i believe i do not know enough about God and that i'm learning more and more how to fall in love with Him. i think this is all He really wants, too - me resting in Him and letting Him love me. i'm pretty sure i could do nothing more for the rest of my life and He would still love me the same. because of this, i'm moved to do more and am more willing to let Him mold me to the woman He created me to be for His glory.

i believe He chose me. i know all things work together and to say anything opposite would be to completely negate the darkness i've seen and would completely take away my hope. because He chose me, because He knew me and still loved me...even then...i am filled with gratitude.

i believe i cannot do it all. 

but He can.

and i'll rest in that Truth.

these are just a few of the things that make me who i am - there's more and i'd venture to say these really just scratch the surface. but. writing them down makes them real and helps me not forget. 

and if you do the same, looking closely, i believe you'll begin to see your purpose.

so...what do you believe? 

also, if you haven’t yet ::

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Posted on April 11, 2012 and filed under co-connivers.