A weekend date night

A few weeks ago, I was thrilled to set up a date for the coming weekend. During the days leading up to the planned date anticipation began building, and anticipation can be your best friend or your worst enemy. On one hand, it can leave you feeling very deflated if what you’re looking forward to doesn’t materialize. But what I was hoping for was on the other hand.

Unfortunately, the weekend didn’t go how I envisioned. The date was cancelled (for legitimate reasons) so I was left with a blank slate for that particular night. Even with the cancellation, I was determined to go on a date. I reached out to a few other potential leads, only to come up empty.

So I’ll be honest, I was upset about it. I let doubts creep in. I became my worst critic, assuming the things I don’t like about myself are what these potential dates don’t like either. I had a pity party that lasted more than a day. Maybe a couple of days… or three.

There are a few take-aways from this experience:

  1. I like when I’m more even-tempered. When things don’t go my way or something happens that shakes things up, just roll with it. Be breezy, as Monica would say. My problem is, much like Monica, breezy is not my strong suit.
  2. I heard this a few years ago and I still love it. Whether it’s in relationships, job opportunities, any scenario where you’re taking a risk by putting yourself out there, “Rejection is God’s protection.” So maybe this “date fail” wasn’t a failure at all.
  3. No matter what happens, I won my fantasy football league this past year. And it feels amazing.

Be breezy, y’all!
-Out of the Wilderness


She’s a question mark

As you’ll find when you look up the 5 W’s on Wikipedia, they’re defined as “questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering or problem solving.” Well, some people would definitely consider my love life basic. Clearly I just roasted my own self and I’m OK with that, though, because I like laughing. I laughed a lot yesterday while I was driving behind a car that had a dog sticking it’s head out barking wildly at cars passing in the other direction. I also think yesterday was a good day for information gathering. It started when I opened up Spotify.

I heard one of my favorite songs when it cycled up in my Spotify library. Every time I hear this cover of a Temptations hit, it sends my mind a’drifting, thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to put together a video with this song for the woman I marry.” Sure, it’s 90s reggae but it makes me think of a fun relationship I’ll have with my best friend.


I’m a hopeless romantic. My favorite movies are The Notebook, Elizabethtown, Hitch, and I’ll throw Serendipity in there too, as a great romantic comedy. So when I have the chance to make something personal for someone I love, of course I’m going to do it. That’s why!

An educated guess would say this story will unfold in Nashville, where I live. There are other possible backdrops to this love story; I have family in Florida so there could be a scenario where I cross paths with a beautifully-quirky woman there.

Timing is everything and right now, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe she and I are already friends. Maybe she’ll be at the Post Office today when I go to drop off some mail. Either way, I’m looking forward to the day I can’t remember what my life was like before she entered entered it.

Now this is the question of the hour. I’ve had a handful of great relationships in my love life, but none that progressed to marriage and, it might be strange to hear this, I’m very thankful they didn’t. Had I married in my 20s or early 30s, the relationship would have gone one of two ways: a rough and rocky start that crippled us for a long time, or simply ending in divorce. Neither of which is something I wake up hoping for each morning.

So this mystery will go on unsolved for the time being. Heck, we only have information for 2 of the 5 W’s and that, my friends, is what I’d call… not even close! But when Spotify queues up Billboard’s #6 song from a reggae band of white guys in 1989, I can still anticipate the day when the question mark becomes an exclamation point!

-Out of the Wilderness

Not as good as I remember it

Is there something from your past that doesn’t live up to it’s memory? For me, it’s typically music or movies. Pretty much any 90s song is now labeled as a “90s song” because it has a certain sound to it, right? But back then you’d think music couldn’t get any better. Let’s face it, a lot of songs from the 90s (and the 80s, if we’re being honest) are pretty cheesy. But we like them because they remind us of where we were when he heard them, or they just bring back good memories for us.

Over the Christmas holiday a few weeks ago I was awarded with choosing a movie to watch on the night we celebrated my birthday. I chose a movie I hadn’t seen in years but remembered loving it. The film stars an actor who was relatively new to Hollywood in the early 2000s, Owen Wilson. He plays Navy navigator Chris Burnett in Behind Enemy Lines.

It’s a great movie, especially if you enjoy war movies that involve a good guy and a bad guy, an underdog and a bully, an intense cat and mouse chase, and spoiler alert: it has a predictable ending. But watching it that night wasn’t as glorious as I remember when I first watched it. Now, part of that is because I rarely watch movies twice. Something about knowing what’s going to happen drains any desire I have to watch a movie more than once. There are exceptions, of course. In fact, I just watched Wonder Woman for the second time and was still entranced and captivated by the story, the editing, the slow motion effects they used, and the special effects. I also watched Enchanted twice over the holidays. It’s so good!

I guess there’s a level of predictability that I rather do without. So prequels? Nope. Hallmark movies? Nope. TV shows from the 90s? Boy Meets World, otherwise nope.

So anyway, back to Behind Enemy Lines. It’s a really good movie, it is. What stuck out the most in this holiday viewing, though, was the soundtrack. I don’t remember it having the characteristics of a 90s war/action movie but it does. Even some of the filming looked vintage late-90s.

All that to say, I wonder if my memory is similar to how Baz Luhrmann describes offering advice in the song “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen),” it’s a way of…

…fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

I romanticize something in my past, and when I revisit it, it’s not quite as amazing as I remember. Hmm sounds like my dating life! And by that, I mean how every girl I’ve ever dated thinks of me!

Girl: I think I remember him being pretty great.

*Girl reconnects with Ben*

Girl: nope, still a dork.

Well, she’s not wrong. I’m pretty dorky but I like it that way. This is not turning into a dating blog, I forbid it! So it ends here. What things in your past do you have on a pedestal? Is there an experience you have where something you loved isn’t as great as you remembered? One thing is for sure no matter what, Baz is right… wear sunscreen!

-Out of the Wilderness

The top posts of 2017

I had so much fun posting blogs about life, love, music, dogs, and many other things in 2017. Here’s a list of top new posts from the year.

Music or music videos

  1. The woman in Keith Urban’s “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (10,653 views, posted Jan 10)
  2. The cast of Brett Young’s “In Case You Didn’t Know” (9,358 views, posted April 8)
  3. The dancers in Keith Urban’s “The Fighter” (7,661 views, posted April 5)


Dating or Relationships

  1. Ten more signs a Christian guy is into you (583 views, posted May 1)
  2. Rekindling an old flame (384 views, posted July 19)
  3. Rekindling an old flame, part 2 (285 views, posted Aug 9)


My favorite light-hearted posts from 2017

  1. A guy who (sometimes) shaves his legs (45 views, posted Sept 17)
  2. Encounter with a car salesman (39 views, posted Sept 28)
  3. Avoiding a “Talkative Tim” or “Chatty Cathy” (12 views, posted Sept 9)


My favorite thoughtful posts from 2017

  1. Thoughts about Virginia, and why I love the Nashville PD (80 views, posted Aug 16)
  2. I have a hard time saying no (10 views, posted Sept 15)
  3. Brief encounters (15 views, posted April 5)


My favorite spiritual posts from 2017

  1. What if God is the sun? (9 views, posted June 2)
  2. Jesus saved a bunch of animals, too (18 views, posted March 22)
  3. God is able (14 views, posted Feb 20)


I’ll be posting a lot this year as well, so please subscribe and come with me on another year-long adventure!

-Out of the Wilderness

What is broadbacking? Dating answers here.

By now we’ve all heard of “ghosting” (disappearing from a conversation, whether it’s online or texting, and then zombieing… reappearing days, weeks, or months later). Other more traditional terms like “DTR,” “red flag,” and “an item” have all been used in or about relationships over the years, but for recent trendy terms, here’s a list. One you won’t see on there yet is a dating word I’m coining today.


Broadbacking is when you’ve met someone and within a short amount of time they dump an overwhelming amount of emotional baggage onto you because they think you can help them carry the load.

This behavior can happen online through long and drawn out emails that take you 29 minutes to read, text messages that are broken up into 17 different sections that you have to piece together to make sense of it, or even in person/on the phone where you may have to practice the art of listening…a lot.

No matter how this information is being thrust upon you, just know that it is, and the person doing it is totally broadbacking you.

-Out of the Wilderness


I have a little phrase I’ve been repeating to myself as a reminder of my appetite. And no, I don’t mean peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, although I’m down if you have some to share. I mean appetite as in what I’m hungry for, what I want my life to be about and in turn, what I’m feeding it and how I’m feeding it. What am I doing each day? What am I not doing each day? More on all that here.

For her, for You, for us, for us.

The her is my future ________ (insert “girlfriend” or “wife” here).

The You is God.

The first us is for the relationship I’ll have with previously mentioned girlfriend or wife.

The second us is for the relationship I have with God.

It might sound simple, I know what you’re thinking. Love can walk through…wait, what? OK, it might be simple but it’s been a good reminder to keep my eyes pointed towards God– my savior, my helper, my provider. I don’t always get it right, but that won’t stop me from trying.

-Out of the Wilderness

Being single at 38 years old

NOTE: This was originally written last spring but I recently decided to go ahead and share it. Life in and out of the dating world can be a roller coaster emotionally. Count the following as a moment of bare honesty on my roller coastery journey.

I’m not exactly sure where this post will go, but I wanted to write down thoughts I’ve been having as a single guy at my old age. Old! That’s how I feel some days. Usually that sensation comes over me the night of, or the morning after, playing basketball or volleyball. I move a little slower, I groan a little more, I tighten my bathrobe a little more snugly arond me. I’m pretty happy with where my life is, with what I’m doing, and the friends I spend time with. Is this where I thought I’d be at 38? The truth is, I don’t ever remember thinking about where I’d be at 30 or 40. And even though I feel old sometimes, I feel really good other times.

I also think I’m past the question, “Why aren’t you married yet?” …because I haven’t been asked it in ages. The answer is always the same: haven’t found the right one yet. That’s partly true. I’ve dated on and off for the past few years and I’ve been in the company of greatness. But for whatever reason the relationships fizzled and died, or never even really started. There have been a handful of dates that would have never happened, if I knew how they’d go. I’m thinking of one at Buffalo Wild Wings, or another attending a Ben Rector concert.


But truthfully, those, and other less memorable one-hit wonders, as in “I wonder why we are here, now, together,” have helped me get to where I am. A little more mature. A little more focused. A little less hopeful. Yes, I said less hopeful. It’s hard to keep hope alive all day every day.

In fact, I’d say it’s impossible.

In fact, stay away from people who are positive all the time, they’re hiding something!

In fact, you don’t want to be there when they explode.

I’ve gone through periods of great hope, great excitement. I want to be there again but I’m in a season of doubt right now. Doubt about marriage, doubt about even wanting to date. Because dating might lead to marriage, and I’m not even sure I want that. We’re taught through many ways that finding a partner will make life worthwhile, that you can be on top of the world like Jack and Rose if you find the other half of you. I don’t really believe that’s true. Life is worthwhile even without marriage. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Do you want to know the thought on the forefront of my mind the past week or so? It’s this…

Who’s going to take care of me when I’m old?

My mind drifts to 50 years from now when one of my nieces is stuck with checking in on their cenile uncle. You know, the one who never got married and had all the goats? He keeps mumbling about wanting more tattoos but his whole body is covered.

OK, OK, sometimes I think I’ll get a few more tattoos, not all over my whole body, though! But that would be me: the crazy, single, never-married uncle who didn’t reach his potential as a husband or maybe even a dad.

People get married later in life. People get divorced later in life. People stay single their entire lives. So many different stories. I’m in the middle of mine, just wondering if a co-writer might come along who can help me, and let me help them, through the next few dozen chapters.