How to live a great love story (for girls)

You all know how much I love love, so when I read this I was (of course) inspired by it and had to share it. I don’t think any guys read this blog so I only posted the one for girls. (any guys out there?) 😉

I found this post from Donald Miller’s blog– add him to your reader! But first, read this #pleaseandthankyou 🙂

Today I’ll talk to the girls, tomorrow I’ll talk to the guys.

Living a great love story doesn’t look like winning the lottery, it looks like training for a marathon. It’s hard work and you have to do the work long before you ever meet Mr. Right, otherwise you’ll be the girl who shows up for the marathon having eaten a gallon of ice cream every night, listening to Taylor Swift songs and watching love stories about vampires. No good man can run with that girl, not for much longer than a mile.

In movies and books, there are formulas for great love stories. Not all movies follow them, but we can depend on a variation on certain themes. They go something like this:

1. Boy meets girl.

2. Boy falls in love with girl.

3. Girl is a bit hesitant knowing her heart is tender and could get hurt.

4. Boy proves himself strong enough to handle and defend her heart.

5. Girl trusts boy and they live happily ever after.

All love stories are different, of course, but these are central themes that weave in and out of the good ones. And if they don’t, the stories are normally tragedies.

Juliet does not trust Romeo right away, for instance, but he pursues her and he wins her love. The same goes with the characters in The Notebook and Twilight (I confess I labored through both) and in the great romantic novels of Jane Eyrie and Charles Dickens and so on and so on.

So, if these are the principles of a great love story, how do we play them out in our lives? How do we live a great love story? Here are some suggestions:

1. Don’t hook up: Girls shouldn’t make it too easy on the guy. Don’t hook up, in other words. A recent article in Scientific American revealed when a girl hooks up with a guy, she esteems him very highly. She may think of him as powerful or famous, somebody who is strong. But the opposite is actually true from the guys perspective. Guys hook up with girls they find less attractive and sexually easy. All they want is sex, and so if they perceive she will give them sex and then get out of their lives, they are going to jump at the chance. The girl may feel very wanted and beautiful but the truth is he’s insulting her. If he thought of her with respect, he’d sit and ask questions about her life and her family. He’d try to get to know her because he wants to develop a friendship and perhaps a romantic relationship. In other words, guys don’t hook up with girls they would marry. They marry the girls they get nervous around and are made to pursue. So, if you become a “hook up” girl you get labeled, in the minds of guys as a girl you really don’t have to fight for. And when your husband finds out you were the “hook up” girl he’s going to have to have a lot of grace, which is fine, it just puts you in the category of “charity” in his mind and not “equal” or “partner.” He may still love you, but he will have serious questions about whether you’re in the kind of shape it takes to run a marathon. Unless you get over it and move on and do a period of time where you put it all behind you, he will and honestly should lose respect for you. Respect is not free. Respect is earned. Grace is free, but grace and respect are different.

2. Make him work for it: When a guy is made to fight for a girl, he esteems her much more highly. She becomes more attractive in his eyes, and for that matter she becomes more attractive to other men, too. That said, most of the time this will backfire because lots of guys are just looking for cheap and slutty sex and for her to get lost afterward. Still, it’s your chance to weed them out. And believe me, girls, there are a lot of weeds.

3. Weed them out: Guys who are just looking for a hook up need to hit the road. By weeding them out you definitely end up with a smaller pool of guys to choose from. It’s unfortunate and that is truly bad news. But there’s good news, too. There are fewer girls with the strength to not have one night stands, and those girls become much, much more attractive to men. Those are the girls who present a challenge, and who are esteemed more highly. These are the girls guys recognize as the kind of women they want to partner with in raising a family. In other words, it’s a great strategy to be more attractive to a smaller group than cheap and easy to a larger group. Plus, the stronger guys are up for the work while the weaker guys are just trying to get laid.

4. Be willing to suffer: What this means for you is that your love story needs to have a lot of lonely crying in it. Believe it or not, there will come a day when a man will fall madly in love with you and you will have the honor of sitting down with him one special night to explain that, while you weren’t perfect, you turned down plenty of guys and and cried yourself to sleep hoping somebody would come around and treat you with respect. He will be honored by this, and he will love you and feel humbled. If he doesn’t have the same story, he will feel intensely convicted and unworthy. You’ll really be giving him the foundation he needs to love your heart.

5. Have some faith: I’ve noticed that most women who complain a good man won’t come along are actually interested in the wrong guys. They make lists of their perfect gentleman coming to rescue them meanwhile they’re hooking up with guys who have a track record of just having sex with random women. Really? Your husband won’t really care what you say, he will care what you do. We tell our love stories with our actions, not our words. Life isn’t a Taylor Swift song, with all the hardship left out. It works more like a Normal Mailer novel, with all the gritty garbage left in. Stop falling for the romantic version of life, and start realizing that a romantic story is told with an enormous amount of pain, sacrifice, suffering and patience.

6. Don’t be thirteen: Unless you’re thirteen, ladies, grow up. Many women claim that men just won’t grow up, but then you sit and talk to them and realize they haven’t grown up either. They aren’t strong enough to demand something more from their men. They aren’t strong enough to say no to a guy who just wants to use them. These are all elements of immaturity. And it’s the stuff of a bad love story. A good man will attract a good woman. And a victim will attract a predator. Stop acting like a victim. If you want a strong man who can protect you and your children, stop trolling for predators by crying all the time. Act like a dignified woman who believes her company is valuable and should come at a price.

So, if you want a great love story, start training for it today. Start suffering, like somebody training for a marathon. Do the pain, suffer through the nights where you cry in your pillow, have some faith and stop cheapening your love story with scenes you’ll never be able to edit out.

You’re love story may not work, it’s true. Plenty of them don’t. But the chances of your love story succeeding are greatly increased when, on race day, you can actually run.

So, what do you do if you’ve completely screwed this up:

1. Be honest about it. Don’t hide it. If you went through a slutty season, don’t act like you were a helpless victim, a sweet girl who got caught up. You probably weren’t. A confession and an excuse are entirely different. Excuses talk about being hurt or drunk or being lied to. Confessions start with a radical and real understanding of how bad your human nature actually is and how you were caught up in a selfish search for validation and pleasure. Don’t lie to yourself and don’t lie to him. Don’t act like the sweet girl who “accidentally made twenty-five mistakes.” He won’t trust you because what you say and what you’ve done are different.

No good man is going to marry a woman with multiple personalities. And besides that, you’d be surprised at how much unbelievable trust you can build by being brutally honest. You shouldn’t share a bunch of details, but you should definitely share you went through a slutty season and have very few, if any, excuses. But now you want more. Now you want to put that behind you and build a love story. Honesty is very rare, and an honest girl is a girl you can build a family with, regardless of her past. I really mean this, too. If you’re brutally honest about your motives (keep the details vague, ladies. I’m serious about this. He doesn’t need visual images) then you ARE BUILDING TRUST and he can love you. If you play the victim, he’s going to walk away. And he should. A victim is great material for a counselor, but not for a husband.

2. Find out why you did what you did. Why are you capable of having sex without love or commitment? What are you using sex to accomplish? When those questions are a mystery to you, you aren’t healthy enough to get married and no good man should marry you. Those questions need to be answered and understood in a way that the two of you can build on as a foundation.

3. Start training for the freaking marathon. Marriage is the hardest job you’ll ever have. It works nothing like  a hookup. The sex is more sloppy and vulnerable and affected by all kinds of emotional contexts. If you’re used to one off sex acts where you’re having crazy experiences, you’re husband is never going to be able to match up  because, well, he’s got to stick around and do the laundry and argue with you about the electricity bill. That’s not sexy stuff, that’s the stuff of real love stories. It feels boring in the moment, but twenty years in you’ll be crying your eyes out over this man who stuck with you through the thick and thin and who honestly didn’t care that you got fat! Why not give yourself to the one who didn’t care whether you got fat than give yourself to the one who makes you feel like you’ve got to throw up after eating a lolly-pop? That kind of love story sucks so stop living it!

4. Work through your need to be validated by men. You’re going to marry a man, not men. So cut the slutty dresses and facebook photos. Start acting like a woman a man can partner with to build a family, not a woman who would make a great romp on a drunk and emotionally foggy friday night. And stop using alcohol as an excuse. Nobody gets drunk and accidentally sleeps with a hamster. You know what you’re doing, drunk or not, so cut it out. In other words, become the woman who fits the character in the love story you want to live.

5. Don’t act. Don’t pretend. Don’t pretend to be a wholesome girl who is starting over when you’re secretly still wanting to hook up. These changes need to be internal and they need to be real. You are going to have to go through the withdrawal of using guys for validation. If it helps, just know you’ll stand before God one day and you want him to be proud of you. That’s the only thing that helped me stop validating myself with women. I couldn’t do it for Paige, but I could do it for God. Turns out God loves Paige more than I do. Go figure. Anyway, get over the acting part and start doing the real living part. Every great story demands enormous sacrifice. Start sacrificing your validation with other men to make a real love story happen.

Tell a great love story and you’ll dazzle the world. Do the work and enjoy the benefits. The world needs some great love stories, but few people are willing to do what it takes to tell them. No wonder we all love them so much.

Do you want a great love story. Do you want to run the marathon it takes to be married to the same man after fifty years. Do you want him to look you in the eyes with so much respect it bring tears to his. If you do, start training for the marathon. No good story comes easy. A great love story is still possible. Go for it!

* Will you do me a favor and print this blog out and read it with the women in your life who you love, especially the young women who are dating? I think you’ll be shocked at what a great conversation you’ll have when we talk openly about what it takes to live a real love story.


If you actually read that, good job! Let’s chat: Thoughts on this? I loved it all. I think this is one of those posts younger woman should read, it’s a great reminder to be yourself, to remember to never-ever settle, and being picky is okay 🙂 Love will come your way when it’s the right time.


Photography 101

Hello, Scatterbrain Fans,

My name is Laura and I blog over at! I recently found Caitlin’s wonderful blog this past spring and was so excited to find out that she lives in the great state of Minnesota, just like me!


I am a graphic designer by day and blogger by night. I started blogging as a creative outlet and was surprised to find out how much I enjoy it! My blog started out as a design blog but has gradually transformed into a random, lifestyle blog. Topics range from wedding planning, fitness, recipes, design/photography, and random bits and pieces of my daily life.


As a guest on Caitlin’s blog, I thought I’d share some photography tips for new bloggers. Photography is a hobby of mine and I am by no means an expert; however, I have picked up a few tricks of the trade over the years.

1. Don’t get discouraged. I used to think "Oh, I shouldn’t even try photography because I will never be good enough! My photos never turn out like so and so’s…" Stop right there! Don’t bash yourself before you even try. Want to know a secret? I’ll bet you that my photographs look a lot like yours before I edit them.

Yep, every image is edited in good old Photoshop before it hits my blog. Sure, you can take great photos but if you really want to make them pop–you’ll want to edit them since cameras have limitations and can’t capture something as great as your eye sees it.



Here are two of my photos; the image on the left is raw, while the one on the right is edited. See how much it pops after touching it up a bit?

See, I bet you’re feeling better already!


2. Don’t think that you need to go out and buy a huge expensive camera that you have no clue how to operate. 90 percent of the photos that you see on my blog are shot using a Sony Cyber-Shot point and shoot camera. I save my big, bulky Nikon for things like scenic trips and artsy-farsty shots. Let’s face it–a big camera is a huge investment and it is not fun to carry around in your purse. Believe me, I’ve done it–and it is heavy and annoying.

3. Avoid using the flash while taking photos. You may think that the flash will enhance your photo but in reality, it takes away from your picture. Built-in flashes cause things to appear way too bright and unrealistic. Your best bet is natural lighting since lamps and lightbulbs tend to give a yellowish glow to images. Whenever I can’t avoid taking a picture inside, I always edit it to balance out the colors and remove the yellowish cast that it has to it. See how my flash in the above photo made the strawberry super bright and unrealistic in comparison to the super dark background?

4. Take a look at your photo as a whole before you release the shutter button. Are there distracting items in the background? Remove them and tidy up a bit–taking a picture of your lunch is awesome, but the enjoyment factor drastically decreases when we can see your garbage can in the background. See how much more appetizing the same salad looks when I photographed it in natural light and added a few props that I had on hand such as salad dressing, bread, and a cloth napkin? I also blurred the background a bit to make my focal point pop without competing with the distracting background for attention.

5. Want to know one of the best tricks? Don’t center your image. I like to have my focal point be on one of the sides or at an angle–it adds more interest and spark to an otherwise boring photo. Try standing on a chair and shooting downward or laying on the floor and shooting up for a fresh perspective. Leading lines in a photo also increase visual interest. Look for lines that lead your eye to the object to give it an extra punch.

That wasn’t so bad, was it? It is easy to step up your photography with just a few simple steps! If you have any questions about photography, please feel free to contact me or stop by my blog!

A big thanks to Caitlin for letting me steal the stage for the day!



Hi Scatterbrain fans! I’m Lisa from a little blog called I’m an Okie. It’s a fun and honest blog about my life. I blog about food and fitness, but most importantly my quest for healthy relationships, loving myself, and working through life’s daily struggles. I pride myself on holding nothing back on my blog and I strive to write honest posts about all of the ups and downs in my life.


When Caitlin asked me to write a guest post, I jumped at the chance. Her blog is unique. Her blog is interesting. Her blog is different. It’s not the sometimes-boring mundane posts about food—it’s a blog about life, life, and words to live. (Plus, I LOVE all the super cute pictures with quotes in them. I will be going through her blog and pinning them to pinterest VERY soon).

As I was thinking of something that would be a wonderful post for Caitlin’s blog…I kept coming back to one topic.



Her blog is about life, correct? I know that patience can be one of the hardest virtues to possess in life.

We want it all and we want it now.

That constant wanting and not receiving can wear us thin. I know it can wear me thin.

Patience is really something I struggle with. I consider myself a big “go-getter.” I decide what I want, I formulate a plan on how to get it and I put the plan into action. Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am.

However, sometimes it’s not that cut and dry. Sometimes you want things you cannot have. Sometimes you will receive something in your life but it’s just not the right timing for you. That’s where patience comes in.


I’ve learned that patience is one of the hardest virtues for us to understand. We pray to God and we know that He is able to help us at any minute–so why is there so often a delay? Why won’t he just GIVE it to us? It would certainly make our lives easier, wouldn’t it?

However, it never says in the Bible that He promises INSTANT answers to our prayers. He simply promises that the answered prayers will be amazing, but sadly, there is nothing to be found about a timetable.

Remember, there is a reason behind everything. Whether you believe it’s God doing work or something else entirely—it all boils down to the same thing.


He has his reasons. Perhaps our needs are being prolonged because there is something we need to learn and making us exercise patience is the only thing that will accomplish that. Perhaps they are being prolonged because He is doing work in the life of someone else who is involved in our situation.

It could be many things.

Remember…if you are waiting for something that you want to happen in your life…there must be a very good reason.

If we can learn to exercise faith and patience, the wait will be rewarded.

His timing is always perfect. Comforting, right?

You don’t have to believe to God to believe that having patience is in our best interest.

What can we do to increase our patience? Practice makes perfect, so it only makes sense that we can practice our patience.

Zen Habits offers some great tips to cultivate this virtue.

1. Become aware of when you lose your patience: Keep tally marks. When it happens, mark it down. Once you are aware of your impulses, they can be easier to control.

2. Figure out your triggers: What really sets you off? Certain triggers happen more often, so focus on getting those under control.

3. Deep Breaths: Take 3 deep breaths. Slow down. It will help you keep your emotions under control.

4. Remember what’s important: Is this issue really going to be important 5 years from now? Think about it.

5. Remember that nothing good happens right away. Let things happen. Let life fall into place.

6. Figure out ways to deal with frustrations: Exercise, take a walk, bake…do whatever works for you.

And when all else fails…

Just Laugh. Just Love.

Thanks Caitlin for letting me occupy your space today!

You can find me at, on Twitter, or on Facebook.