“They can be like a sun, words. They can do for the heart what light can for a field.”
—St. John of the Cross
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Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul

Chicken Soup for the Soul Life Lessons for Loving the Way You Live Whether you love being single or you long to find your life partner, you’ll find wisdom, laughter and inspiration in Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul. Written by and about other singles who are divorced, widowed, or have been single all of their lives, these stories relate the unique challenges and joys of enjoying life as a single person. Includes celebrity stories byJoan Rivers, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Dave Barry, Cathy Lee Crosby, Mrs. Jack Benny.

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Thank you for wonderful, real-life stories about finding love, blessings and new insights in the world of being single or single again.”

Dana Kressierer, president
Single Volunteers
Female Executives Women’s Foundation
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“This book chronicles the meaningful, challenging and ultimately amazing realities of being a single person today. Anyone who was, is or may be single should keep a copy close at hand.”

Trish McDermott, single’s coach and
advice columnist, Match.com
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“Thank you for recognizing singles! These stories help us to make being single, the single best time of our lives. I suggest that all singles read the entire book, as it will help us all remember to “Make very Single moment count.”

Rick Mandelbaum, founder & president
Singles Source organization
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Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul is the perfect companion if you’re seeking love, laughter and loyalty. These inspiring tales will never let you down no matter how often you turn to them.”

Andrea Engber editor, SingleMOTHER
coauthor, The Complete Single Mother: Reassuring Answers to Your Most Challenging Concerns
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“The secret to being happily single is recognizing one’s self as a true friend. Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul expresses this perfectly.”

Janet Sussman, spiritual counselor
writer and musician
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“Tempted to have a ‘poor ol’ single me’ party? Forget it! Pick up Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul. These stories have something to say to every single adult—including you! some of the stories sneak up on you and catch you off guard. While you’re at it, buy a couple of copies. Because some single adult you know needs this book. Now!”

Harold Ivan Smith, author
Singles Ask
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Read an Excerpt…
Reply to Box 2228

Was it loneliness, the call of adventure or just plain insanity that made me answer that newspaper ad? I paced back and forth through my house, telling myself it was a really stupid thing to do. But like a jeweler crafting a priceless, one-of-a-kind brooch, I composed my reply to the tantalizing ad.

I actually answered a lonely hearts ad. Am I really that desperate for a man?

 I’d always believed that only born losers advertised for a companion or answered the ads of those who did. Surely you had to be dying of loneliness, ugly or really dumb! That’s what I am, I thought, really dumb!

 What would my children think? Would they understand that the bold, black letters just leaped out at my unsuspecting eye? “Christian Rancher. 6’ tall, 180 pounds, 50+. Hardworking, clean-cut, healthy, good physical condition. Enjoys fishing camping, cross-country skiing, animals, dining out. Wants to meet sensible and sincere lady, 40-50, attractive, neat, loving, honest, for meaningful relationship. Box 222B.”

 Mama mia! What loving, sensible, honest and lonely woman could resist? Well, maybe not sensible.

 “Fifty-plus what?” my letter began. “I’m a healthy, hardworking woman who loves to cook, sew, travel, pray, and walk in a desert sunset or barefoot on the beach.”

I didn’t say I could meet all the requirements in his ad, but I didn’t give him any reason to think that I couldn’t. But could I?

I was already past fifty, questionably attractive, not always neat and very uncertain about pursuing a meaningful relationship. What I really wanted was a friend. Had I been dishonest not to tell him so?

 Holding the letter heavenward, I asked God, “If you want me to meet this man, will you bring him to me?” Then I set the stamped envelope on the desk for the following day’s mail.

 During the next few weeks, I found my hands getting sweaty every time the phone rang. Could it be him? What if he didn’t like me? What if he showed disappointment as soon as he set eyes on me? Could I handle that?

 Contriving excuses to be away from the telephone became a game I played with myself. At the car wash one afternoon, towel-drying the finish and shining the windows, I found myself fantasizing about every man who came in to wash his car. Look at him; I bet he’s 50+. He’s almost bald, has floppy jowls and a big stomach. Oh, dear, he’s wearing a cowboy shirt and boots. I’ll just die if that’s my Christian rancher!

 I didn’t see even one man there who I hoped might be Box 222B. Damp and discouraged, I went home to shower, questioning my motives, suppressing my loneliness. Dressing before the mirror, I turned from side to side, surveying the ravages of fifty-plus years on this Earth.

 I studied my face, hollow and gaunt, perched atop muscular shoulders and arms. Large, sturdy hands that never knew what to do with themselves. Twenty extra pounds, a thick waist, stalwart thighs above husky calves and large, scrawny feet. I remembered the boy in the fifth grade who told me I was built like a brick outhouse: strong and useful but not much class.

 Tears began to flow freely as I slumped to my knees beside my bed. “Oh, God, look at me, I’m a mess. Why did I send that letter? Please forgive me for misleading that man, for communicating the woman I want to be, not the woman I am.”

 It was a Sunday evening a few weeks later when I invited my friend, Jeanette, for waffles after church. As we were leaving the service, she introduced me to a friend from the singles group she sometimes attended. Impulsively, I asked him if he’d like to join us for waffles and he said yes.

 We spent the next three hours stuffing ourselves, laughing and talking. Jim was divorced, had several grown children and raised alfalfa for cattle feed. He was a likable man, tall and handsome, considerate, and seemingly ambitious. I felt sad for him as he talked about his loneliness.

 Shutting the door behind them after a delightful evening, I began to clear up the clutter. I’d dumped my past few days’ mail on the big maple desk in the dining room and it seemed like a good time to sort it out. I tossed the junk mail in the trash and filed some bills for payment. Then I stared in astonishment. There was the letter! My reply to “Christian Rancher” had never been mailed. All that emotion and self-doubt for nothing.

 Then a suspicion crept into my thoughts. Pieces started to fall into place. Jim wore cowboy boots and a western shirt; he was a rancher; he was lonely. Could he and the Christian rancher possibly be one and the same?

 I rushed to the phone to call Jeanette. “Do you think he ever put an ad in the newspaper for a woman? Do you suppose he’d call himself a Christian rancher?” Jeanette roared with laughter. “Yes, everybody at the singles group knows he did that. I guess he’s gotten some seventy or eighty answers by now. Some real lu-lu’s, too.

I hung up the telephone feeling a trace of excitement, a bit of foolishness and a lot of awe at a God who would arrange for a letter that I never mailed to receive an answer. And God and I were the only ones who knew about it.

 Several days passed before I picked up the telephone to hear Jim’s voice suggesting that we go to the state fair for the day. “I’d love to,” I said. Wow! A real live date with a guy who had seventy or eighty women to choose from!

 A warm toastiness cradled me as I hung up the telephone. Then I raced to the bedroom, my heart pounding with excitement. What would I wear? In front of the mirror once more, I observed a middle-aged woman, still awkward and overweight, with a skinny face and bony feet, but she wasn’t afraid anymore. “What you see is what you get,” I chuckled.

 The next day I stepped out into the sunshine to begin a new friendship with a Christian rancher.

 What happened that day at the fair? We had fun together. Did we see each other again? Yes. Did we marry? No. But that didn’t matter. My self-confidence soared, and I learned something else too: If you’re destined to meet a particular person, whether future friend or spouse, it will happen, as surely as the sun rises every morning. And it’ll happen even if your perfectly crafted letter sits gathering dust on an old maple desk.                                                               —Barbara Baumgardner

© 1999 Barbara Baumgardner. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission of Health Communications, Inc. from Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul, by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne and Marci Shimoff. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.


Feedback from readers…

One reader wrote: “Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul…had quite a remarkable effect. For the first time in two years I don’t feel so alone and singled out for punishment and lessons.”
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Another wrote: I have loved the seven Chicken Soup books I’ve read so far, but far and away the one that spoke to me the most was Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul. I am a 26-year-old Australian teaching in England for two years. I have a wonderful, large family at home, a great job and my health. However, I have been praying for years for the ‘special other’ to love, look after and share life with. It never really occurred to me that God’s not saying ‘no,’ he’s just saying ‘not yet.’”